Saydee appeared distressed from the moment she entered my class. She was jumpy and distant. I wondered just how much of my lesson she managed to grasp. Then, around two in the afternoon, I saw her grasping her stomach. Her face was so pained that I knew exactly what was going on.

"Class is dismissed early today," I declared. "Try to think about the phrase 'return with your shield or on it' and of modern day cultures that have similar phrases for next two weeks."

"Saydee, please stay," I added as the young Pomeranian began to get out of her seat. "Tell me, by any chance, is this your birthday hour?"

"Teach..." she whimpered as she began to lean closer. "Why does everyone smell like food? Even you're all's so weird."

I sympathized with her panic. My life had changed when I began to recognize others by scent before anything else. Cautious and attentive betas would stay home on their 18th birthday. Saydee seemed to want to meet it head-on, just as I had.

"Take deep breaths. I promise it will all die down soon..." I coached.


"...when you form a partial bond to someone else," I explained. "As Omegas, we're naturally more drawn to Alphas than Betas or other Omegas, but any match is possible."

"I didn't think I'd be so scared!"

"We all are at first...but, you need to trust your instincts. My body recognized Lexus as my partner long before I recognized him. Physically, his touch burned and his voice kept me calm enough to think. From what I've researched, your Omega instincts rarely try to pair you with a complete stranger."

"Wh-what's a partial bond?"

"When your partner chooses you and marks you with their family emblem. It's quite instinctual on their part, as well, even though you might think they're the ones in control, that couldn't be more wrong." A rueful smile formed on my face. "Many times, they're just as frightened of what they feel as you are."


I would have said more if I hadn't heard the door open. The familiar curly hair of Nadia was the first thing I noticed as she stepped into the room. "Oh!" She gasped. "I'm sorry, I was wondering if Saydee-" The border collie trailed off as she froze in place. Her nostrils flared as her gaze locked onto the young Omega. Was that the same way Lexus looked when he first caught my scent?

"Do you feel you're clear enough of mind to talk to Nadia, Saydee?" I asked softly.

The Pomeranian nodded as she stood up straighter in her chair. "I'll be fine, Mr. A. Promise. I trust Nadia." She responded.

As I walked out the door, I tossed them a final warning. "Girls, remember that this door is still open. Try your best to control yourselves while on campus."

"What the...ew, Nadia, that was my NECK..."


Lex, I wrapped up early. Heading your way.

Great timing. I'm calling it a day as well.

The two of us had formed such a strong bond that we were able to communicate telepathically anywhere on campus. We'd also gotten into the habit of continuing our conversations mentally, which tended to annoy our friends and family. As I walked down the hall, I breathed out a sigh of relief. When I started officially working as a Scholar, part of me dreaded coming across maturing betas. In spite of it all, I felt I handled the situation rather well, as did the young women.

When I arrived at the auditorium, I caught sight of several students putting away props and scripts. Powder blue eyes greeted me as I approached. Lexus smiled as he wrapped an arm around my waist.

Saydee matured into an omega today. Nadia formed a partial bond with her already.

Those two certainly had been inseparable these last few months.

I envy them a bit. The two of us never really crossed paths before I matured.

Lexus winced and lowered his eyes to the ground before daring to look back at me again.

Actually, I did see you around on campus every now and then. I just wasn't brave enough to approach you.

Oh? Well, while it may not have been the smoothest of propositions...a part of me knew it was you. I regret nothing.

The smile that formed on his face warmed me up inside.

Then, I heard a sharp whistle aimed at our direction.

"I don't think 'making googly eyes at each other' is enough to get them in trouble..."

"Oh, come on, Mr. Streicher, get a room!"

"You're all dismissed," Lexus responded with a wave of his hand. "Remember that two weeks from now, we'll wrap up act 3."

The two of us had carpooled that autumn day. So, we headed towards the parking lot together. Lex's hand was warm compared to mine. He then placed our entwined hands into his coat pocket. Though that particular pocket was empty, his other pocket held the car keys.

After I was buckled into the passenger seat, the German Shepherd leaned over to give me a kiss on the tip of my nose. I hadn't realized how cold the tip of my nose was until I felt the warmth of his lips against it. By the time both of my cheeks were kissed, my face felt warm from the inside out.

"Lex..." My whine was cut off with a kiss against my lips. Both our mouths parted and we became lost for a good moment. The taste of chocolate flooded my senses. It was both comforting and stimulating. By the time we pulled away, my thoughts had been effectively scattered. "What was that for?"

Lexus shrugged. "Just felt like giving a little love to the most adorable nose I've ever seen," he responded.

The blush that lit up my face had nothing to do with desire and everything to do with embarrassment. "A cold nose isn't cute at all," I huffed in retaliation. "But, I'll let it slide 'cause that was a worthy kiss. If you kiss me like that tomorrow, it might even be worth all of this chaos." I emphasized that while holding my phone, which already had ninety-four new text messages awaiting replies.

"Hmm, we could always elope?" Lex suggested with a grin.

"Mom wouldn't care either way, but dad..."

"I wouldn't want to make an enemy of your father," Lexus admitted. "I barely got his permission to marry you."

"Last time I checked, I was the one who proposed to you. I don't know what he did to make you feel so threatened," I replied. "But, I promise you he's harmless. Mom's the tough one and you already won her over."

"You keep forgetting that Dominic Arter was in the Air Force, and you're his only son," Lex countered.

"And you keep forgetting that you practically saved my life twice. Besides, if anything happened to you, dad knows I'll be miserable. Therefore, you're safe."


Yes, as I'm sure you would be if it were vice-versa. Or, am I wrong?

You're not wrong. I can hardly believe that this time tomorrow, we'll finally be married.

"Neither can I," I confessed aloud. "I'm excited and happy. Though, this is nothing like what I had imagined for myself as a kid. With my height and build, I dreamed of maturing into a beta and marrying someone of a similar height and a Shih Tzu or a Pekingese."

Lexus burst into laughter. When I looked over, he had tears in his eyes and his hands shook on the steering wheel. "Hey, focus on the road!" I huffed. I wasn't angry or offended in the slightest. But, had I known that he'd find it so funny, I would have waited until we parked.

I'm sorry, it's just...a Pekingese? I know they're generally laid back, but I don't think even a Pekingese would have made you happy.

You never know! If I hadn't matured into an omega, who knows what might have happened?

I'd have tried to get closer to you, even if you had matured into a beta. You wouldn't have gotten rid of me so easily.

What about you, then? Who would you have wanted to marry if we didn't cross paths like we did?

"I would have hoped to find someone sweet and kind...maybe someone like Alrico," the German Shepherd responded as I narrowed my eyes and folded my arms. "But, it all would have been very dull. I'm grateful to have you in my life."

"Hmm. To be honest, if either of us ended up with someone like Alrico, we'd have become very round and complacent," I mused aloud, thinking of the pounds that Nestor had gradually gained over the years. "Doesn't sound all that bad, now that I think about it."

"Are you saying if something were to happen to Nestor, I'd lose you to Alrico?" Lexus questioned, pretending to be shocked.

"You know that wouldn't happen," I responded with the truth. "I'd still be his friend for support. But, I wouldn't trade you for anyone."

Lex's contentment seemed to radiate along our bond. For a moment, I basked in its warmth. Though I had been the one to propose, Lexus hadn't pressured or rushed me into marriage. We became more and more comfortable in one another's presence the more we learned of our nature and habits. Then, it became a challenge to match up everyone's schedules so that we were able to celebrate with our loved ones.

For me, tomorrow couldn't come fast enough.


"I'm not ready," I huffed as I paced about, fumbling with my thin tie.

"Everything will be fine," Morgan appeased.

"Don't get so worked up or you'll generate too much sweat," Derrick added.

Both Morgan and I glanced his way. I vaguely remembered that Derrick had to change out of his dress shirt before his own ceremony began. Wasn't it normal for weird things to happen at weddings? Big events rarely turned out perfect.

When I stopped thinking so hard, my fingers finally stopped shaking long enough for me to properly fix my tie. Lex and I had practiced the intricate knots for weeks just to get a certain look for the occasion. Why was I so freaking nervous? We were already living together and commuting. The ceremony was just a formality.

"Wow, it's like I'm back in time staring at my young dad instead of my adult son," my mother said as she snuck in. "My darling Avion, born in mid-flight, reaching new heights."

"That's what you said when I graduated," I pointed out.

"Yes, but marriage is yet another stage of life," Jackie Arter affirmed. "At times, I would say that studying and graduating is easier than married life."

"Are you sure you should be telling me those things right now?" I questioned.

"It's time," my father said as he poked his head in. "Derrick. Morgan. They need you."

I gulped hard. Just a formality...for legal purposes. That's all...

"Son, remember that you don't have to do this if you don't want to," Dominic Arter stated. "Being mates is enough for most couples."

"No, this is something I want," I said as I took hold of his arm. "Just cause I'm a bit nervous doesn't mean I don't want it to happen."

"Then, I'm going to go find my seat. We're both proud of you, sweetie," were my mother's parting words.

When I was alone with my father, I frowned. "Dad, did you ever sometimes feel as if you weren't deserving of your lot in life?" I asked softly.

"Yes," Dominic responded. "Especially whenever I had to leave you and your mother for any period of time. How could a father who didn't spend every waking moment with his family be called a father?"

"But, you did it to take care of us and put a roof over our heads," I countered. "And you eventually retired and spent as much time with us as you could. We never loved you any less."

A smile formed on the Golden Retriever's face. "Then, that's the answer, isn't it? Deserving or not, would Lexus love you any less? Would you love him any less?"

He had a point there. I certainly had been lucky to have been claimed by an alpha who not only supported my independence, but celebrated who freed me from Alpha Commands because of his great trust in me. The two of us cared about one another on many levels. That part hadn't changed.

"Thanks, dad," I whispered as I gave his arm a gentle squeeze.

The ceremony itself was a blur. Lex's powder blue eyes never left mine. We had to mentally remind one another when our cue was for certain traditions we had to perform during the ceremony. But, before we knew it, it was time for our first kiss as official husbands.

Lexus didn't disappoint. The kiss he gave me was so intimate that it made me forget just how many friends and family members were watching us. When we parted, my face turned bright pink at the cat-calling and applause that exploded around us.

On our way back down the aisle, I caught sight of Nestor and Alrico, Lex's parents, and a few co-workers with their families. I glanced back at Morgan, who had Sabine on his arm, followed by Derrick and Deziray, and finally my parents. That time, it was my joy that overflowed our bond.

Lexus turned towards me to give me another kiss when we were out of the building. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to become lost in the moment. The German Shepherd was my husband. If I could have gone back in time, I'd have told that frightened, maturing omega that everything would be just fine...that, instead of punching my faceless bus stalker alpha, it'd be all the more satisfying to marry him.


Lexus was not as flexible as I was in certain regards, but he was never afraid to try something new in the bedroom. We generally saved anything adventurous for weekends to play it safe, but he gave and received with complete trust in me. Since I was the omega, my natural ability to lubricate made our coupling easier. But, Lex never denied me the chance to switch things around. Our honeymoon was no different.


I gave a gentle bite to Lex's shoulder and he spread his legs as far as he could. One of my hands stroked his flesh while the other gripped a hip firmly. The two of us were kneeling on the bed and I was thrusting upwards into his depths. That position allowed the curve of my length to slide along the German Shepherd's more sensitive areas.


What other alpha gave an omega so much freedom? Lexus didn't fear that I would use his weaknesses against him. His trust in me made my heart skip a beat and I redoubled my efforts to bring him to the peak of pleasure.

Lexus arched against me when my thrusts reached deeper inside. The hand I had around him was relentless in its movements. He was downright beautiful in the midst of release.

"Hmm," I rumbled when the two of us finally retired for the night. "Admit it, your 'little dragon' isn't all that little if it made you come twice."

"Ha. You know that when I refer to you as my little dragon, I'm not referring to that at all," Lexus refuted as he trailed a finger over the emblem on the side of my neck. "It's you, your personality...the way you never backed down from a fight."

"I was only teasing," I responded with a yawn. "I may be a dragon in personality, but you still have more of the stamina physically."

"Oh? I might just have to prove that statement in the morning."

I snickered at his reply. Goodnight, husband mine. I give you full permission to wake me however you wish so long as the sun is up.

I felt a kiss on the back of my hand before he responded. Deal.


"You can't catch meeeeee!"

"Remember not to run with anything in you hands, kids!" I called out as the Three Little Terrors rushed past me in the yard. "Lunch will be ready soon."

Sabine had been the first to become pregnant. She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy that was a shade darker than even Morgan. A few months afterwards, Deziray gave birth to a little boy, as well. His eyes were a stunning green. Though the girls urged us consistently to adopt a little one of our own, Lexus and I refused to for years.

But, then something awful happened. One of our co-workers, a single mom, had been diagnosed with an illness that swiftly took her life. She had arranged it so that Lexus and I would take custody of her baby girl in the event of her death. Fatherhood had been thrust into our arms in the shape of Jacinda, a rambunctious, dark-haired, toddler with so much heart that she was a force to reckon with.

"Jacinda, Damien, and MJ! Get your butts over here to eat your hamburgers," Morgan called out as we all gathered to sit down around the picnic table.

"I want mine with cheese!" Morgan Jr. requested.

"No mustard on mine, please," Damien insisted.

"I want mine with everything! Pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, mustard, mayo, and ketchup!"

I let out a long sigh at the mess she'd surely make of her face and hands. Lexus was already tying a large napkin around her neck to try to shield her clothes from the massacre. My lilac eyes met his and the two of us couldn't help but laugh.

I poured out the drinks for everyone. My smile widened when the Three Little Terrors passed their half-filled cups down the line with as much care as they could muster. Jacinda was seated between both boys and the sharp tug at my heart surprised me. Though they were barely out of their toddler years, I was in no hurry for her to leave the nest with either of them.

My father patted my shoulder as if in sympathy. I shrugged in an exasperated motion, which prompted a smile. Perhaps it wasn't too soon to start preparing for when I had to walk my baby girl down the aisle, just as my dad had done for me.

After all, it was only a matter of time before she came across a mate of her own.