Cherry

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Chef de cuisine

I pull on a pair of black jeans and look at myself in the mirror.

He told me to dress casually.

We've been texting nonstop since he surprised me at school. I already had a message when I sat down in my seat. I had to give him props for his determination.

He hasn't shown up unexpectedly again and much to my displeasure, I'm disappointed. I shouldn't want him to pop up.

The loud knock on my door surprises me. Shit. He's five minutes early. I don't know why I'm shocked, he's been eagerly talking about this date every day.

I pull the door open and my smile fades when I see the angry look on his face.

"Cass! This is where you live? A guy just offered me drugs in the hallway!"

"Did you get any?"

His whole body tenses, "do... do you do drugs?"

"Weed occasionally."

He sighs, relieved and his body relaxes. I try not to laugh. I need to check myself sometimes, he clearly takes things seriously.

"You look beautiful," he whispers, "that was supposed to be the first thing I told you when you opened the door."

He holds a single purple freesia out to me. It makes my knees wobble. I told him they were my favorite flower but I didn't tell him why.

My dad always gave them to my mom. They symbolize unconditional love.

"Thank you," I choke before taking the flower. I shouldn't have told him. Seeing this stupid flower is sending me into an emotional tailspin.

"Are you alright?"

His soft voice makes me feel calmer but his hand on mine is having the opposite effect.

"I'm fine," I lie, "let's go!"

He knows I'm lying but thankfully he turns and holds the door open for me.

He puts his hand possessivly around my shoulders as we walk through the hallway. When we get to the lobby he pulls me closer to him.

"Night, Robbie!" I call out with a giggle.

"You have a nice night, Cherry," he calls back.

"You know the drug dealer?"

"Yeah, that's Robbie. He's a good guy, he usually comes outside when I pull in after work, he makes sure I get inside safely."

He tenses but doesn't say anything.

I immediately choke out a laugh when I see his car. It sticks out like a sore thumb. A G-Wagon isn't a car that we see often in this neighborhood.

"Nice wheels," I smirk.

"Just get in," he bites back a smile as he opens the door for me.

Once he's in the car I turn to him, "so what are we doing?"

"You'll see," he shifts in his seat.

"Are you...nervous, Aiden?"

"Yes," his voice is soft, "wolves don't do this. We don't date. Everyone is giving me so much shit about going on a date. Wolf stuff won't work, I have to woo you the human way."

"What's the wolf way?"

"Well, wolves both feel the bond and want eachother equally. If you were a wolf I would have taken you home the night we met, fucked you, then marked you."
His voice is low and gravelly.

I involuntarily squeeze my thighs together.

"Shit..." I whisper nervously. I can't say that doesn't sound like a wonderful option.

He chuckles, his eyes dark and full of lust, "instead, we're going out."

He pulls his car into a very fancy looking restaurant. I panic, looking down at my clothes.

"We aren't dining here, not exactly," he smiles as he slides out of the car.

He takes my hand to help me out of the car and it take me a second to realize that he's still holding it as we walk toward the door. My head wants me to jerk my hand away but my heart, surprisingly, doesn't.

"I've known some wolves but I don't know the inner workings of how you guys...do things. What exactly is the bond you were talking about?"

"I know wolves you've met throw the word around to get laid but a mate is a special thing. It's a soulmate, a partner, the other half of you. The bond is like... a link we feel. I can feel you like you're part of my body. Your heart beats in time with mine, you're made for me and I'm made for you. A perfect match."

My chest aches. That doesn't sound like it can possibly be real.

"And... I'm that for you..."

"Yes, I can feel you everywhere. When we touch it's like my skin is on fire, in a good way. The desire I feel for you is... I can't even describe it, Cass."

My heart clenches in my chest...no one has called me Cass since...

"I'll answer any questions you have, after this," he smiles and opens the door we've been standing in front of.

The restaurant is empty.

"Aiden!" A man calls, "you made it! You must be Cassidy, you're as lovely as I suspected you would be."

An older man with a thick accent grabs for my hand, "I'm Valter!"

"Nice to meet you," I smile still confused but his energy is infectious.

"Come, come, let's get started!"

He walks quickly toward the back of the beautiful dining room. We walk through a set of swinging doors into a huge, industrial kitchen.

Valter hands me a chef coat.

I turn to Aiden with a quirked brow.
"Are we cooking?"

"We are."

"Wow, you were really paying attention this week."

The smile on his face makes my heart melt.

"I am the Chef de Cuisine here at Paloma. Tonight, we will be making a Seafood Fra Diavolo. I'm told you like spicy."

"Yes, very much!"

I bounce slightly, I am so excited. I haven't been on a date in so long. None of my dates in the past put in this kind of effort.

I barely gave him anything to go off of and he was able to put this together? The wall around my heart cracks slightly, maybe we are mates? He seems so honest. I want to believe him but I know the heartache that can come from that.

He'll leave, eventually. Everyone does.
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