Cherry

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You look just like her

I'm pacing back and forth. I haven't slept all night. I can't stop thinking that he's hurt or worse.

I know I told him to go but I'm struggling. Its only been a day and I'm a mess. I spent the evening with his parents, looking at all of his baby pictures. Looking through his childhood was oddly comforting.

As the sun rises my phone dings from the nightstand. I've never run faster in my life.

Aiden - Coming home, baby. We need to make a quick stop, be there in a few hours.

I breath a sigh of relief. He's coming home.

I shower and mindlessly straighten up, doing anything to pass the time. If I don't I know I'll sit and stare at the clock.

I decide to walk down to the gate, I can't wait anymore.
I pass a few pack members on the way who smile at me knowingly. I must look a wreck.

I round the final curve in the street just as a large, SUV pulls through the gate. My heart explodes as he jumps out of back seat.

Sheer panic takes over, he's covered in blood.
When we reach one another I search him everywhere.
"Cass, it's not mine," he says softly and my eyes go wide.

I hug him tightly, pressing myself into his chest. He pulls me up, carrying me to the car. I sit on his lap as we drive up to the packhouse. Everyone else is completely covered in blood, too. There is a girl with them. She can't be more than eighteen. She looks out of it, staring blankly ahead.

Cole is sitting in the front with an angry expression on his face. Everyone in the car is tense.

"My Beta has guest rooms set up for you, shower, sleep, eat, whatever you need. We'll meet in my office for lunch to debrief. The council reps should be here by then. Kayden, take Dina to my mother," Aiden tells them sternly.

We quickly exit the car, leaving the group with Beta Johnny and Kayden as we rush into the packhouse and up the stairs.

I don't miss Cole scoff as we walk away. When we make eye contact there is something there that I can't place. Sadness, maybe?

As soon as the door closes, I'm on him, trying to pull him to me, desperate to feel him close.

He holds me back, "not like this, baby. I need to shower before I can touch you."

I huff but let him go. I sit on the end of the bed, it's not just the blood, something is wrong.

When he steps out of the bathroom beads of water roll down his chest into the towel tied around his waist.

He runs his fingers through his wet hair.

"I have to tell you something," he whispers.

My breath quickens, I knew it. He moves slowly, coming to sit beside me on the bed. I'm really getting anxious as he holds my hand in his.

"The rogues had two humans with them, two men" he clears his throat, "they cooked meth for them. Just before we left I learned their names... one of them was Aaron Vidot."

The room spins. Uncle Aaron?

"He's still alive?"

He sucks in a breath.
"Not anymore," he whispers.

We sit in silence for a moment. I'm surprised that he was involved in all of this but I'm not really upset that he's gone. Truthfully, I suspected that he died years ago.

"Aiden?"

"I killed him, Cass," he whispers with a shakey voice.

I squeeze his hand.

"I didn't mean to...not at first. When I found out your uncle was there I went to speak to him. I just wanted to talk to him. He... Cass he said things that made me so fucking angry. I didn't even realize I was killing him until Cole pulled me off of him."

"Aiden," I grab his face in my hands, "whatever happened, I trust you, I believe you. I can't even be upset about it..."

"There's more. After I killed him the other human was afraid I was going to kill him too...he told me something..."

He stands and walks toward the door. There is an old suitcase sitting outside the door.
"I had Johnny bring it up,' he explains before setting on the bed.
"I... I didnt look inside..."

I reach forward like its a snake about to bite me. My fingers shake as I unzip the suitcase and flip the top open.

There is only a box inside. When I pull the lid off a sob cracks through my chest. On top of the pile of papers is a picture of my parents. I hold the picture against my chest and cry. I didn't know any pictures of them still existed. When I was taken as a ward of the state I was never given anything from my parents house.

The box contains more pictures, a few of me as a baby and small child, my parents and one of my dad and uncle Aaron. Their official death certificates and my birth certificate are also there.

"Wesley Michael Vidot, that was his name," I smile through the tears. I always thought but I couldn't be sure.

"You look just like her," I can feel him smiling into my hair.

"Thank you so much for going to get this. I had no idea that he had any of this stuff!"

We lay in bed and he tells me everything that happened. I feel so horrible for the girl. She's going to feel guilt over this forever. I'm so glad they all made it back here safely.

I hold him while he drifts to sleep in my arms. I know he's exhausted. At some point, I fall asleep too. His warm chest and slow breathing lulling me to rest.

I'm not sure how long we're alseep but I'm jolted awake by him shooting up out of bed.
"Cassidy! My father is coming to get you! I need you to go with him. Promise me you'll stay with him!"

I barely nod before the door is thrown open and his parents rush in, "come on, honey!" His mom grabs for me, dragging me from the room.

As we run through the packhouse the girl, Dina's face is white as a ghost, "Luna," she whispers to me, "he marked me... he followed me here."




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