Journey: 1st version

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Chapter 9

Ezekiel sat on Cole’s bed, his arm wrapped around the boy, his broken arm propping up a book. Raine had left a little earlier with Isabelle to file the charges against Stuvock, promising she’d be back later that night.

Isabelle had found in her exam that the blood Raine had seen came from some rather deep scratches on her upper inner thigh. She explained that Raine probably hadn’t noticed the injury due to being in shock and having a concussion. Raine breathed out a huge sigh of relief when Isabelle said it didn’t look like she had been raped.

Ezekiel flipped the page, reading the story out loud. Cole listened intently, the corners of his mouth rising and falling at various points.

“Dad?” He sat up.

Ezekiel put the book down, “Hm?” He looked at Cole, raising an eyebrow.

Cole pursed his lips in thought then pulled in his bottom lip chewing on it. He sat like that for a moment collecting his thoughts, “What’s a mom?”

Ezekiel blinked having not expected the question, “Where did that come from?”

“The girl in this book has one... And Ira has one... Do I?” He looked at Ezekiel innocently, his eyes wide with confusion.

“No, you don’t,” Ezekiel frowned, brushing a stray hair from Cole’s eyes, “A mother is a woman who has children and cares for them.”

Cole bit his lip in thought, “She cares about them?”

Ezekiel nodded, “Yes. She helps raise them.”

“I don’t have a mother?”

Ezekiel shook his head, “No.”

“But I have a Raine,” Cole nodded assured of himself and smiled, “She’s like my mom.”

Ezekiel’s jaw dropped at Cole’s revelation, “Uh. She... Raine is... Well...”

“My mom,” Cole nodded again, “She cares ’bout me, and I love her.” He smiled up at Ezekiel happily.

“She does… uh…” Ezekiel scrambled for the right thing to say, “You’re going to have to run that by Raine...” He mumbled his face flushing.

“Run what by me?” Raine stepped into the room with her backpack slung over her shoulder.

Before Ezekiel could respond, Cole jumped up, “Raine! Will you be my mommy?”

All color drained from Ezekiel’s face. He covered his eyes with his free hand and sank down into the bed, moving the book to hide his face.

“Your mommy?” Raine repeated, biting her lip to keep from laughing at Ezekiel’s reaction.

Cole bounced on the bed, “Yes! Dad says a mom loves their kids and takes care of them. You love me and take care of me. Can you be my mom?”

Raine walked over, picking Cole up, “Aw, kiddo! That is the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.” She hugged him.

Ezekiel curiously moved the book, peeking out to see what was going on. Hesitantly he stood up next to them and took Cole while smiling sheepishly at Raine, “Cole, it’s time for you to get some sleep.” He said, laying his son down and tucking him in, “You’ve had a busy day.”

“But I don’t want to sleep!” Cole yawned. Then shook his head, frustrated his body was betraying him.

“Sleep, then we get to go home in the morning.” Ezekiel brushed Cole’s bangs from his eyes.

Cole sighed heavily, “Fine.” He grumbled, closing his eyes and turned over.

“Good night, kiddo.” Raine said with a small smile.

Ezekiel turned to her, tilting his head towards the door. They both walked from the room, Ezekiel closing the door behind them.

“That was so sweet of him asking if I’d be his mom.” Raine smiled, adjusting the strap on her shoulder.

Ezekiel let out a breathy laugh, his hand going behind his head, “Well, you’re really the only woman he’s been around more than Isabelle.” He said softly, his face darkening.

“I’m glad he’s comfortable with me then,” She straightening up, “Isabelle said I could stay with her for a while, until I figure out where I’m going to live. My job knows what’s going on and said I could take a few days off.” She looked away uneasily, her face falling.

“Oh, that’s good.” Ezekiel nodded, confused at why he had felt surprised by it all. He hadn’t offered her to stay at his place. Not that the thought hadn’t crossed his mind, he just didn’t know how to bring it up.

Raine nodded back, “Yeah, are you staying tonight?” She turned her side to him, gesturing for him to follow her down the hall.

“With Cole,” He followed alongside her, “Going home tomorrow.”

Stopping in front of a closed door, Raine glanced over her shoulder at him before pushing it open, “Good. That’ll make you feel better having him home.” She dropped her backpack next to the wall just inside the door.

Following her into the room, Ezekiel hesitated, “It will,” He folded his arms watching Raine look around the room, “Will you be okay?”

She made a face then shook her head, “I’m not really sure, I guess?” She grumbled, walking into the bathroom, turning on and off the water in the tub, “Did you know her bathtubs all have jets?” She called out.

Ezekiel walked over to the window and looked out before moving over to the bathroom door, “You don’t have to stay here, if you don’t want too.”

“Because of the hot tub?” Raine said lost in her thoughts about the room, picking up the various soaps and lotions sitting out on the tub’s edge, “It’s kind of nice, don’t you think?”

“No,” Ezekiel chuckled nervously, “I mean, if you wanted to stay with me, that’d be okay.”

Raine stared at him blankly then blinked coming back to the same page, “Oh!” She moved to the doorway, leaning against the frame, “You want me to stay with you?”

Looking to the side distractedly, Ezekiel lifted a shoulder in a half shrug, “If you want too. Might help getting away from the city and all?”

“Yeah...” She grabbed her tail, smoothing the fur out gently, “Can I think about it?”

He nodded, “Of course. I should get back to Cole, see you in the morning?” He backed up towards the door to the hallway.

Raine opened and closed her mouth, “Y-Yeah.” She smiled weakly at him, unable to bring herself to ask him to stay. He looked like he was going to say something more for a moment but instead turned away, putting his hand on the door knob.

His heart stuck in his throat, he took a deep breath, “If you need anything, let me know,” He glanced at her quickly, “Good night.” He said gruffly, opening the door and disappeared as he closed it behind himself.

“Night.” She whispered, sitting down on the edge of the bed. The room suddenly felt dark and heavy with silence. Not bothering to change into her pajamas, she leaned back in the bed and crawled under the covers.

~*~

Empty plates laid scattered across the table, crumbs of eggs, pancakes, and bacon, the only left overs. They had packed up and left Isabelle’s early that morning, arriving home in time for a late brunch. Cole had been distant on the way home, lost in thought through the majority of the ride. Ezekiel was beginning to worry about the boy, wondering if they should have stayed a little longer. He put off doing the dishes, said goodbye to Raine as she headed off to the city, and now was outside with Cole. The two lying in the grass doing stretches to help with Cole’s healing.

“I’msorryIhurtyoudaddy!” Cole blurted out suddenly. The words coming out sounding like a mumbled mess.

Ezekiel sat up, running his hand through his hair, “What? Slow down.”

Cole took a deep breath, “I’m sorry I hurt you,” He said slower, “I didn’t mean to, really I didn’t.” He sat up, his eyes watering.

“Cole,” Ezekiel scooted over to him, pulling him into a half hug, “I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.”

Cole pulled back, “But I did it... And I can’t remember it all. I just remember you being hurt.”

“I know, son, but it’s okay. Don’t worry about it anymore.”

“Okay,” Cole pouted moving away and returned to his stretches, “Dad?”

Ezekiel grunted preforming a one handed push up, “Hm?”

Cole stood up, stretching his back to each side, “When are Ira and Gabriel going to be here?” He bounced a couple times before sitting back down.

“Soon,” Ezekiel dropped his knees and sat back, “Gabriel said sometime before lunch.”

“Oh,” Cole crossed his legs, “Is lunch soon? I’m hungry.”

Ezekiel shook his head, “You just ate.” He said exasperatedly.

Cole pressed his lips together, “Oh,” He smiled sheepishly, “I forgot.”

Ezekiel fell over.

It wasn’t long before Gabriel and Ira showed up, both carrying a small cooler.

Ira set his down and ran over to Cole, “Cole! I missed you!” He shouted, tackling Cole to the ground, “I was afraid you were dead!”

Cole giggled, falling into the grass with his friend, “I wasn’t dead!” He laughed, the two wrestling playfully.

“Hey,” Ezekiel greeted Gabriel, smirking at the coolers now sitting before him, “What’s this? Don’t tell me they’re leftovers from your wife?”

Gabriel laughed, his hand going behind his head, “Val got a little out of control last night... So I brought lunch!” He grinned goofily.

“Ah, I see,” Ezekiel opened the cooler up and startled, “Gabe! Why do you let her do this!?”

“I don’t mean too!” Gabriel cried, grimacing, “She was online and then the next thing I know we have a fridge full of food.”

Ezekiel closed the cooler, “Well, at least I don’t have to get food for a while,” He rubbed the side of his face, “I’m afraid what Raine’s going to come back with when she goes over there this weekend.”

“Oh yeah,” Gabriel straightened up, “Are you going to come with her?”

“No,” Ezekiel shook his head, “Cole has an appointment with Isabelle.” He pressed his lips together in thought, “Keep an eye on them... Because this is crazy.” He nudged the cooler with his foot.

Gabriel laughed, “I’ll try my best.” He shifted his weight to his left foot, leaning slightly, “So... You and Raine have gotten pretty serious, huh?” He wiggled his eyebrows up and down suggestively.

“Sort of,” Ezekiel rolled his eyes at Gabriel’s eyebrow wiggling, “Stop that.”

“Sort of? I’ll take it! It’s about time!” Gabriel grinned happily, “I was shocked when you said you were dating that other woman.”

Ezekiel looked away to the boys collecting grasshoppers, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” Gabriel lifted a shoulder in a half shrug, “Raine has been around a lot since the wedding. You guys seemed to have just clicked.”

“Yeah,” Ezekiel sighed, turning his attention back to Gabriel, “She helped keep me grounded through everything.”

Gabriel frowned slightly looking out at Ira and Cole, “I can’t imagine,” He said, his eyes landing on the fresh scar etched down Cole’s face, “It was terrifying for me. I can’t imagine how you felt.”

“I’d rather be back in the war than have to live through that again.” Ezekiel shook his head, “I thought I was going to lose him.”

“You didn’t. He’s a fighter, just like his dad.” Gabriel said sincerely, “I’m glad Raine was there for you through it. She seems to bring a peace in you that I haven’t seen before.”

Ezekiel coughed, his cheeks tinged with embarrassment, “She’s amazing,” He grunted, avoiding looking at Gabriel, whom he could tell was grinning, “But she hasn’t exactly said ‘yes’ to being in a relationship.”

“What?” Gabriel’s eyebrows raised in surprise, “Really?”

“Really,” Ezekiel nodded, leaning back on his good arm, “She wants to think about it first.”

Scratching the back of his head, Gabriel looked Ezekiel over as though the answers were written out on him somewhere, “What happened?”

Leaning forward resting his broken arm across his lap, Ezekiel looked off angrily, “Her ex attacked her.”

“Stuvock!?” Gabriel growled, his tail puffing out.

“That his name?” Ezekiel scowled.

Gabriel snorted, “Yeah,” He punched his leg a couple times in frustration, “Uhg, I thought he was finally gone. Is she okay?”

Sighing, Ezekiel shook his head, “She was really shaken up, but she’s strong,” He looked up at Gabriel, “She’s really strong.”

“When’s she coming back over?” Gabriel opened up the cooler and began taking things out, setting them in the grass.

“She needed to talk to someone at her job.” Ezekiel said helping set up the lunches for them and the boys.

Cole looked up from his bug catching, “Are we eating!?” He yelled, jumping clumsily to his feet.

Ezekiel smirked in amusement, “Yeah, come on.”

Ditching their jar of bugs, the boys ran over to the picnic set up and plopped down.

Ira rocked back and forth happily, picking at the fruit on his plate, “I love fruit.” He smiled at Cole.

Cole nodded enthusiastically, “Meh doo.” He said around a mouthful of grapes.

“Slow down, son.” Ezekiel growled in amusement, fixing his own plate of food.

The boys seemed to be done before they had even started, and were racing back to their bug collecting.

Ezekiel picked up their dishes, putting them back in the cooler to take inside. He looked up at the sky frowning slightly,

“Looks like a storm’s coming in.”

Gabriel looked up at the darkening skies and nodded, “Yeah,” He flinched as a bolt of lightning cut across the sky, “Let’s get this stuff inside before it starts.”

“Boys,” Ezekiel called out to the kids as he picked up a cooler, “Time to go in. Weather’s getting bad.”

They just made it into the house when the sky opened up releasing a torrent of rain. Gabriel helped Ezekiel clean up the kitchen and coolers, putting away the leftovers from lunch. The boys sat in the living room playing a card game of some sort, the two making animal noises and laughing.

Gabriel looked out the sliding glass door, “It’s still really coming down out there.”

Ezekiel looked at the clock on his microwave and frowned, “I hope Raine didn’t get caught in that. She should’ve been back by now.”

“Maybe she’s waiting it out at work?” Gabriel said, his eyes scanning the sky, “Where does she work again?”

Ezekiel leaned against the kitchen counter, “She’s a receptionist at the hospital near Isabelle in Deka City.”

“Oh yeah,” Gabriel moved away from the window, “Val worked as a waitress at a cafe in Deka during high school. We liked it out there,” He smiled, sitting down at the table, “She could have stopped by Isabelle’s before the storm.”

“Probably, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Suddenly feeling uneasy,

Ezekiel filled up his tea kettle and turned it on, “I think they tell each other everything.” He said trying to distract himself from the oncoming storm.

Gabriel chuckled, “Girls do that. Val tells her best friend everything. Even our sex life,” He pressed his lips together, “That was an awkward conversation to walk in on.”

“They talk about their sex lives?” Ezekiel furrowed his eyebrows.

Gabriel nodded, “Oh yeah. Val goes into detail too. I swear they’re keeping score or something.” He made a face and then shrugged.

Ezekiel turned away pouring the hot water into a mug, “Huh.” He dropped a tea bag into it and began searching for the honey.

“I don’t think you have to really worry about that.” Gabriel relaxed back into his chair, kicking his feet up on the chair across from him.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ezekiel growled, pushing Gabriel’s feet down so he could sit.

Gabriel immediately turned red, “You know... Because you’re Drakon... And you don’t do those things...?” He stammered, suddenly unable to look at Ezekiel.

“Uh huh,” Ezekiel sipped at his tea, “We actually can do those things.” He took another sip, watching Gabriel take in what he had said.

“Really?” Gabriel’s face scrunched up in thought, “Really!?” Then realization dawned on him, “You and Raine have done it!?”

Ezekiel nearly spit out his tea. He set the hot mug down, shooting Gabriel a look, “That’s not any of your business, Gabe.” He said wiping his shirt off.

Gabriel slammed his hands down on the table, “You have! Oh wow! I knew you two were serious, but that’s... That’s serious!”

“What the hell are you rambling on about?” Ezekiel grumbled, going into the kitchen to get more water, “I never said that!”

“Come on, Zeke,” Gabriel put his feet back up on the chair,

“You can tell me.”

Ezekiel pushed Gabriel’s feet back off the chair and sat down in it, “Are we suddenly like the girls?”

Gabriel grinned, “I see why they do it now.” He laughed.

Ezekiel shook his head, “You’re a dork, Gabe.” He lifted his mug to his mouth when the front door opened and Cole screamed. The mug fell to the floor as both Ezekiel and Gabriel rushed into the other room. Ezekiel caught Raine as she fell into him, hugging him tightly, her body soaked from the rain.

“Raine!” Cole cried, his eyes welling up with tears, “Dad, she’s hurt! She’s hurt!”

Ezekiel tried to pull back to see what Cole was seeing.

Gabriel ran up the stairs, “I’ll get a towel.” He disappeared around the corner.

“Raine?” Ezekiel felt his heart pounding in his throat, “What happened? Look at me.” He finally just picked her up, moving her to the couch.

Gabriel came back down with a towel and wrapped it around Raine’s shoulders, “What happened?”

Cole sat down on the steps shaking, Ira sitting down with him nervously.

“She’s bleeding, dad.” Ira said softly while trying to console his friend.

Ezekiel held Raine to him, waiting for her to talk to him. Her whole body was trembling violently, making his own tremble with anxiety. He ran his hand up and down her back, trying to help comfort and warm her. Finally Raine pulled back, holding her hands to her face.

“I’m sorry,” She whispered as Ezekiel gently moved her hands from her face, “I didn’t... Didn’t mean to scare Cole.”

His mouth fell open. Her left eye was swollen shut, her bottom lip split open. Ezekiel gently cupped her chin, turning her face to the side. A gash made its way from her left temple to her eyebrow, blood matting her hair to her face.

“Who did this to you?” He growled, wiping the blood from her face with his good hand.

Gabriel disappeared into the kitchen, returning with ice wrapped in a paper towel and a wet wash cloth, “You might need stitches.” He handed the ice and cloth to Raine.

“I don’t know,” Raine put the ice to her eye, “I went to Isabelle’s first then was quick at work so I’d beat the storm. A group of Lycans stopped me,” Her face crumpled as tears fell from her uninjured eye, “I didn’t recognize any of them, but they knew me.” She wiped at her face, her hands stained with dirt and blood, “They said something about my ex, and me being with a Drakon.”

Ezekiel looked up at Gabriel who nodded and turned to the boys, “Cole, why don’t you pack a bag to stay the night tonight?” Gabriel nodded to Ira, “Ira, go help him, please.” The two hesitantly went up the stairs to pack as Gabriel pulled out his cell phone, “I’m going to call Val.” He walked off into the kitchen.

Raine looked between Ezekiel and where Gabriel had walked off to, “What just happened?” She whispered, noticing the way Ezekiel’s jaw tightened and relaxed, “Zeke?”

Ezekiel took the wet wash cloth from her, gently wiping the blood from her face, “We’re going to take care of it. I think you should stay with Valery until we get back.”

“Zeke, no,” Raine panicked, “I don’t want you guys to get hurt. I’m fine, let’s just leave it alone. I just need to start training again, remember you said you’d help me?” She inhaled deeply, gripping onto his shirt tightly.

Ezekiel set the wash cloth to the side, “Raine,” He said softly, “You can’t keep putting up with this. You’re still healing from the last time he attacked you. Now this? Did you see what they did to you?” He scowled, his voice lowering to a growl, “I can’t let him get away with this, not again.”

She stood up, “I’m going to go clean up, can we talk before leaving,” She locked eyes with him, “Please?” He nodded and she went up the stairs to his room.

Gabriel walked back into the living room, “Val said it’s okay for Raine and Cole to spend the night. She said she’ll show Raine how to cook tonight.” He winced slightly, “I think she’s nervous about us fighting.” He scowled, “I’m not going to let them get away with what they did to Raine either. Vince is coming with as well.”

Ezekiel raised an eyebrow, “Vince?” He stood up, suddenly realizing he was trembling with anger.

“I called Isabelle to meet us at my place so Raine can get stitched up. Vince said he was coming with us.” Gabriel shrugged, his hands opening and closing, “The more the better anyway.”

“As long as he doesn’t get in the way.” Ezekiel growled, pacing the living room.

Gabriel leaned back on the balls of his feet, “We’re not going to let him get away with this again,” He said quietly, his eyes narrowing, “Isabelle said it was pretty bad.”

Hesitantly Ezekiel nodded, “The night before last, she came over with bruises on her arm. He was living in front of her work, and attacked her when she got off,” He grit his teeth together, “He tried to rape her.”

Gabriel let out a long breath, “Well... That explains some things,” He winced at the sharp look Ezekiel threw at him, “With Vince and Isabelle,” He said quickly, holding his hands up defensively, “When I was on the phone with Isabelle she told him what happened, and I heard him say something about finally getting his hands on the bastard.”

Ezekiel felt chills crawl up his back.

“Hey.” Raine stood at the top of the stairs, a bandage over the gash on her face. She had cleaned up the blood and dirt from her face and hands, and changed into a clean blue shirt. Her jeans were damp from a failed attempt at spot cleaning the blood and mud from them. Ezekiel watched her walk down the stairs, moving to the side as she walked passed him to the living room.

Gabriel exchanged looks with him, “I’m going to go check on the boys.” He said quietly, going upstairs to give Ezekiel and Raine some privacy.

“I don’t want trouble, Zeke,” Raine said softly, “I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

Ezekiel licked his lips, moving closer to her, “He can’t keep doing this to you, Raine.” He stood beside her, hesitantly reaching out to her.

Raine flinched, “You think you three going out there is going to stop him? The police can’t even do anything!”

“We have to at least try. I can’t stand by and let him continue to hurt you like this.” He growled, looking out the window at the darkening sky.

She shook her head and sighed, “It took me three years to get away from him, Zeke,” Her eyes narrowed, “Belle and Vince pulled me out of it. They showed up to my apartment when he was at work, grabbed my clothes, and put me in the car and hid me for months. I’ve changed jobs, moved apartments, gotten the police involved over and over again since then. Even this last report nothing has been done. I don’t know what else to do but put up with him.”

Ezekiel breathed in deeply through his nose, trying to control the anger rising up in him.

She looked up at him, “I don’t want you getting mixed up in this. You already have so much on your plate...” She lowered her eyes, “Maybe we should wait on having a relationship for a while.”

Ezekiel startled, his hand dropping by his side. He opened and closed his mouth a few times at a loss for words, the anger quickly fading, “Raine...”

“I couldn’t even defend myself,” Her voice broke, “I can’t risk yours or Cole’s safety.”

“Raine!” Cole ran down the stairs and hugged Raine’s leg, “Are you okay?” He asked sincerely, holding her tightly.

Raine wiped at her eyes, “Yeah, kiddo,” She looked up at Ezekiel sadly, as Gabriel followed Ira down the stairs, “I’m okay.”

“I get to spend the night at Ira’s tonight!” Cole smiled, “Are you coming with me?”

“Yep,” Raine nodded, looking down at him, “We’re having a sleep over.”

“You okay?” Gabriel glanced between the two, noting Raine’s tears and Ezekiel’s pale face.

Raine nodded quickly, “I’ll meet you guys at your place.” She flashed him a forced smile, eyed Ezekiel for a moment, and walked out the door.

“What. Just. Happened?” Gabriel turned to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel stared at the door, “Nothing.” He took Cole’s backpack from Gabriel, and walked out the door.

~*~

Arriving at Valery and Gabriel’s apartment, Ezekiel hesitated in the doorway noticing Raine was doing her best to avoid him. A feeling he never experienced before was working its way up from the pit of his stomach to his chest. He swallowed it back, trying to squash down all the emotions he didn’t understand and become numb. Gabriel looked at him worriedly while trying to pay attention to Vince’s plan of action he was getting very detailed with.

Raine hesitantly glanced over at the boys, noticing Ezekiel trying to make eye contact with her. She looked away quickly, her heart jumping into her throat. She excused herself away from the girls and cautiously walked over to Ezekiel, following him outside.

Ezekiel tried to look her in the eyes, frowning when she avoided it, “You’re mad at me.”

“No,” Raine shook her head, “A little.” She admitted with a sigh.

“You don’t want me to go.” He said, his ears lowering back.

Raine shook her head, her tail tapping her leg, “I don’t,” She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, “But I know you and the guys are set on doing this. I can’t stop you.”
He looked at her sincerely, “I’m not doing this to make you mad.”
“I know why they’re going,” She nodded towards the door where she knew everyone was waiting for word on what to do next, “But you really don’t need to do this.”

Ezekiel looked away, “Why are they doing this then?”

Shifting uneasily, Raine took her tail in her hands, “They saw what happened before…” She whispered, her eyes dropping to the ground.

“Well I saw what happened this time,” Ezekiel scowled, “You don’t have to be alone in this. You don’t deserve to be living in fear because some asshole might attack you again,” His face softened, “Let me try to help.”

She locked eyes with him, then nodded and turned going back into the apartment. Gabriel and Vince filed out after, both looking ready for some kind of action.

“Ready?” Gabriel shook out his hands, looking at Ezekiel expectantly.

Ezekiel nodded, “Let’s go.”

~*~

“Relax.”

“I can’t, you’re poking me in the face.”

“That’s what she said.” Isabelle snorted, finishing up the final stitch to Raine’s temple.

Raine rolled her eyes, “Funny.” She grumbled, holding an ice cube to her lip, “I don’t like them out there.”

Valery, sitting on Raine’s other side, patted her on the shoulder, “They’ll be okay. I doubt they’ll even find the guys. More than likely they will end up blowing off steam and heading back in a couple hours.”

Isabelle nodded slowly, looking away, “Yeah, don’t worry about it.” She mumbled, putting away her first aid kit.

Raine glared at her, “Vince knows where he lives, doesn’t he.” She said more as a statement than a question, making Isabelle laugh nervously, “Izzy!”

“Well!” She said putting her hands on her hips, “It wasn’t exactly hard finding out! And I mean, look at what they did to your face! They deserve to get a little messed up.”

“Uhg, Izzy...” Raine hid her face in her hands, shaking her head, “Why did this have to happen?” She put her hands in her lap and sighed.

Valery and Isabelle exchanged looks, “Because people are stupid.” Valery said sympathetically.

“I feel sick,” Raine ran her hands through her hair, “We finally started to get on the same page, this shouldn’t be happening.”

Isabelle scooted back on the couch, pulling her legs up and crossed them, “That’s right. Story time now.”

Valery raised an eyebrow looking over Raine at Isabelle, then back to Raine, “Yeah! Tell us how you and Ezekiel got together.”

“I already know this, but go ahead.” Isabelle grinned.

Raine rolled her eyes frowning, “It doesn’t really matter now.”

“What.” Isabelle tilted her head, raising her eyebrows.

Valery worried her lip, “You guys didn’t break up, did you? Is that why you guys were talking, and Gabe insisted on going as soon as possible?”

Slowly Raine nodded, “We didn’t break up, I never agreed to anything... I told Ezekiel we should wait to be together.”

“Raine!” Isabelle snapped, half whining, “Whyyyy would you do that? You have been crushing on this man forever,” She looked pointedly at Raine, “FOREVER.” She said louder, enunciating both syllables, “You can’t just break up with him after,” She scrunched up her face, “Has it only been a day!?”

“Two days,” Raine said meekly, “And I didn’t break-”

Isabelle rolled her eyes, cutting Raine off, “Oh okay, two days. That’s like forever,” She shook her head, “Seriously though. You cannot break up with him over Stuvock.”

Valery, sitting by quietly through Isabelle’s rant, nodded, “I have to agree. You have liked Ezekiel since I can remember, and I’ve been out of the loop for a while.”

Blushing in embarrassment, Raine sank down into the couch, “Stuvock has been stalking me... He found out where I work, and where I lived. When we went to my place the other day, one of his boys was hanging out in the lobby. They ambushed me after I went into work to officially put in time off, and I couldn’t fight them off.” Her lip trembled, “I don’t want him finding where Ezekiel lives and hurting him, or worse, Cole.”

“Hon,” Valery put her arm around Raine’s shoulders, “Don’t put your happiness on hold because of someone else’s problems.”

“Yes,” Isabelle agreed, “If this doesn’t stop him, then I will find a way to deal with him.” She patted Raine’s thigh and stood up, checking on the boys in the living room.

“This isn’t just his problem, it’s mine,” Raine frowned, “I’m scared.”

“Come on,” Valery hugged her, “Get your mind off of Stuvock, tell us about Ezekiel.”

Laughing under her breath, Raine scooted back up, “You guys...” She rolled her eyes, then smiled, “We started talking more at the wedding-”

Isabelle waved her hand, “Skip to the good stuff.”

“You’re so impatient.” Raine shook her head.

“I know! So spill!”

“Stop your mouth!” Raine laughed, catching the awkward look Valery was giving them both, “Sorry, she’s trying to rush me.” Isabelle stuck her tongue out at her making Raine roll her eyes, “I spent a lot of time with him after the wedding.” She eyed Isabelle making sure she wasn’t going to interrupt again, “We got really close. After Cole’s accident he opened up a little more to me, and I tried to be there as much as he needed me to be.”

Valery sat back, “I’m sure he appreciated that. I can tell he seems different with you around.”

Isabelle nodded in agreement, “He seems to have loosened up a lot.”

“I’m glad I’m helping him. He’s been helping me in more ways than I can count.” Raine tried to smile, wincing when it split her lip back apart. She moved the ice back to it for a moment.

“Oh?” Isabelle leaned into her, “Has he been helping you in the bedroom?”

Raine’s face turned three shades of red, “Izzy!” She shouted, her jaw dropping, “We haven’t done that.” She looked away, her face dropping slightly, “Seriously you guys. I’m a mess.”

Valery shot Isabelle a questioning look, leaning to wrap her arm around Raine again, “You’re not a mess.”

Raine breathed in deeply through her nose and sat up. She closed her eyes and shook her head, “It’s okay, I know I am... Ever since Stuvock tried to rape me, I’m afraid to get too close to Ezekiel.”

Taking a deep breath, Valery gave Raine a little squeeze, “Have you talked to him about it?”

“Yeah,” Raine nodded, “A little.”

“Then I’m sure he understands. He cares about you a lot.”

Isabelle nodded in agreement, “It’s true. Mr. Antisocial has actually been social lately.”

Raine snorted, “That’s more because of Cole, than me.” She shook her head smiling, then perked up, “Oh! Cole asked if I’d be his mommy.” She chuckled.

Isabelle sat forward, “Oh my god, shut up!”

“That’s adorable!” Valery awed.

Raine scratched the back of her neck, “Yeah, I avoided answering him. Ezekiel seemed really uncomfortable about it.” She chuckled, “Do you think I ruined it with him?”

“No.” Isabelle and Valery answered simultaneous, then giggled.

Valery stood up, “Come on, let’s make some cookies.” She said ushering the women into the kitchen, “We can talk while baking.” Isabelle and Raine exchanged amused looks as Valery began loading the counter tops with ingredients.

~*~

The girls had just given the boys snacks and were in the process of cleaning up the kitchen, when the front door opened. Raine was the first to react, dropping the pan she was cleaning into the sink. She all but ran into the living room, her heart suddenly in her throat.

Aside from a few scratches here and there, and Vince’s black eye, they looked pretty put together. Raine stood back as Gabriel and Vince silently walked to their wives. Gabriel hugged Valery while Vince leaned against the wall near Isabelle, giving her a sly look.

“Oh yeah, you look tough.” Isabelle rolled her eyes, earning a bigger grin from Vince.

Raine locked eyes with Ezekiel, “You okay?”

He nodded stepping closer to her, “They weren’t hard to find.”

“They had all joined up with Stuvock,” Vince snorted, folding his arms over his chest, “They mocked Zekey here because of his broken arm.” He smirked, “That didn’t last long, did it? Is there beer?” He turned to Isabelle, who shrugged.

Gabriel nodded, “Yeah, I’ll grab you one.” He said walking into the kitchen, Valery on his heels.

“Come on, let’s help.” Isabelle pulled Vince towards the kitchen.

“Help with what? It’s a beer, woman, not-” Isabelle shot him a look and he closed his mouth following her into the kitchen.

Raine stepped back, “You met Stu then.” She pressed her lips together and turned away, “You didn’t have to do that... If I trained a little more, I could defend myself. I’m just weak right now.”

Ezekiel shook his head, “There were five of them, Raine. I saw what you did to three of them alone. They aren’t going to leave you alone because of what we did but because of what you did.” Raine bowed her head and Ezekiel reached out again, pulling her to him, “You are not weak.”

Raine leaned against him, covering her face with her hands, “I don’t know, Zeke.”

Ezekiel wrapped his good arm around her, “Raine...” He turned her to him, gently removing her hands from her face, “You stayed with me for the week Cole was injured. You have helped me more than I can say. It’s not weak to need help,” He lifted her chin gently, “You’re not by any means weak.”

Raine sniffled, looking away nodding, “Zeke,” She said softly, her face flushed, “How can you say that knowing he’s not going to leave me alone?”

Ezekiel shook his head, “It doesn’t matter. We’ll handle it then,” He brushed a strand of hair away from her eyes, “Are you… Are you sure you want to take a break?”

“No,” Raine worried her lip, “But I’m worried... I’m scared he’ll do something to hurt either you or Cole.”

Ezekiel kissed the top of her head, “He won’t. I’ll keep you both safe.” He whispered leaning back, laying his ears down nervously, “I’d really... I’d like it if you would move in with me, Raine. At least he couldn’t stalk you so easily from my place.”

Raine startled, her jaw dropping, “Move in?” She leaned back, suddenly feeling dizzy, “But we... Are you sure? I think I need to sit down.” She went to move over to the couch, instead sat down on the floor instead.

Ezekiel raised an eyebrow, but followed suit, sitting down in front of her, “I’m sure, only if you want too."

“I don’t want to run from my problems.” Raine whispered, keeping her voice low so that the eavesdroppers couldn’t hear.

Ezekiel shook his head, “You’re not running. I know I asked you to stay with me after he first attacked you, and you needed to think about it,” He paused, trying to word what he wanted to say without rambling too much, “But... if you lived with me, he’d second guess going after you with us together. You’d be safe, plus Cole loves having you around.” His voice lowered gently, “He adores you too...” He smiled as she looked up at him curiously, “Everyone’s been telling me how you ground me, how you’ve been changing me... I’m starting to see it too. I’m probably rushing this, I know that... but you can have my room and I’ll sleep in the living room. We don’t have to share a room. This way you’re not paying for rent in a place you’re not staying at, and I know for sure you’re safe... And hopefully you’ll feel safer too?”

Raine nodded quietly in agreement, her fingers running through the fur on her tail.

“I’ve never felt like this about anyone, Raine,” Ezekiel continued, making eye contact with her, “You and Cole are my life. All I want is you both safe and happy. If moving in isn’t what you want, that’s fine. If you don’t want to be in a relationship or need a break, then I’ll be here when you’re ready. You need to do what you feel is right, what’s best for you.”
Raine looked down at her hands, opening and closing them.
Ezekiel rested his hand on her forearm, “Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. I know things have been crazy lately... But I’m ready for this if you are.”

Raine looked up at him tearfully, “I’m not ready.” She said, her voice breaking.

A “What!?” Followed by a muffled, “No!” And shuffling feet, resounded from the kitchen.

Ezekiel raised his eyebrow toward the entryway, then turned to Raine, “Okay, when you’re ready, we can talk about it again.” He smiled reassuringly.

Raine nodded, “Okay,” She hugged him, “And you’re okay with it?”

“Absolutely,” Ezekiel kissed her on the forehead, “I just want you happy.”

Breathing in deeply, Raine nodded, “I’ll think about it.” She whispered unable to understand why she was even debating the offer. While she felt safe being held in his arms, the mere thought of committing to someone else made her stomach turn in fear.

“Zeke-” She started to say, only to be cut off by a yelp from the kitchen.

“DID YOU JUST BITE ME, WOMAN!?” Vince roared.

“Yes! Raine!” Isabelle poked her head around the corner, looking frazzled and disheveled, “I’m kicking you out!”

Ezekiel gave her a sharp look at the same time Raine’s jaw fell open, “Peer pressure much?” He growled, making Isabelle glare at him speechlessly.

“Guys,” Raine coughed, finding her voice, “It’s okay, chill out.” She rolled her eyes at Isabelle, “You’re a dork, Izzy,” She stood up, Ezekiel following suit, “Okay,” She turned to Ezekiel, “I’ll move in.”

“Yay!” Isabelle squealed, turning to Vince, “You guys help her move her stuff tonight.”

Vince balked, “Tonight?! Seriously, woman?”

Raine looked at Ezekiel with a mixture of amusement and panic, “Is that... Is that okay?” She stumbled, wondering if everyone would be alright if she just laid down on the floor for a little bit.

Seeing the distress on her face, Ezekiel moved closer to her, “Yes,” He wrapped his arm around her as she leaned into him, “Are you okay?”

“Mhm,” Raine mumbled, watching Isabelle bark out orders to the boys about what needed to be done, “My head’s spinning is all.”

“I guess this is happening,” Gabriel chuckled, patting Ezekiel on the back as he passed him to the front door, “Cole can stay the night if he wants too. I know this is his first night back though.”

Ezekiel shifted uneasily, “I want to keep an eye on him...” He looked between Raine, staring off in a daze, and Gabriel waiting for Vince at the door.

“I want to stay, dad,” Cole piped up, “Can I, please?”
Feeling at a loss of what to do, Ezekiel started to say ‘no’ when

Valery spoke up, “I’ll keep an eye on him tonight. You can get him after Raine’s all moved in if you feel up to it. He’s more than welcome to spend the night too.”

Letting out the breath he was holding, Ezekiel nodded, “Thanks, Valery.”

“Okay kids,” Isabelle addressed them, clapping her hands together, “Let’s get this done!”

~*~

Raine collapsed on the bed with a sigh, “I had more things than I thought,” She groaned, “I don’t really want to unpack it all either.”

Ezekiel laid down next to her, “Don’t worry about it tonight,” He chuckled, “We can get to it tomorrow... Do you work tomorrow?” He looked at his phone, a text from Valery lighting up the screen.

Raine shook her head, “No, after all this...” She gestured to her swollen eye and lip, “They understand I’m not coming in for a few days.”

“Hm,” Ezekiel frowned, putting his phone down on the night stand and gently touched her face, “How do you feel?”

“Like I was punched in the face a couple times,” She grinned wryly at him, “I’m okay. It’s a little sore, but I’ll live.”

“Good.” Ezekiel kissed her forehead, then gently her bruised eye.

Raine smiled, scooting closer to cuddle with him, “How’s Cole doing?”

“He’s asleep. Valery said she’s checked on him every hour, and he’s doing fine. Said it’s alright if I pick him up in the morning.”

“You’re good with that?”

Nodding, Ezekiel let out a small sigh, “Yeah, I’m okay. By the way,” He looked down at her, “Isabelle is bossy as hell.” He groaned, shifting so his arms wrapped around her torso.

Barking out a laugh, Raine nodded in agreement, “Oh yeah she is. She means well though, mostly.” She snuggled into him, “So uh,” Her face heated up, “I want us to be in a relationship.” She blurted out.

Ezekiel scooted back a little to look at her, “Really?” When she nodded, he couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face.

Butterflies exploded in Raine’s stomach, the anxiety she had felt over the whole thing fading away immediately. She smiled back, her body suddenly feeling warm.

“You’re sure?”

She leaned forward, pressing her lips to his, “Yes,” She whispered, “I don’t feel like I have to explain anything to you. You accept me as I am.”

He looked at her happily, “That’s how I feel about you.” He kissed her forehead, wondering again why it took him so long to realize his feelings for her.

Raine gently touched his face. Her finger tips barely grazing his cheek as she ran them down to his jaw. His breath caught in his throat at the intimate contact. She sat up kissing his lips softly and pulled away leaving him wanting more. She leaned back smiling seductively, making him swallow unconsciously. He raised an eyebrow as he helped her straddle him, his stomach doing flips. He leaned up kissing her, his good hand moving up her back while his broken arm rested on her leg. He broke free of her mouth kissing down her jaw to her collar bone. Raine worked at his shirt, pulling it up. He paused to help take it off, only to get it caught on his cast. Raine giggled as he struggled, gently helping him remove it.

“Sexy.” He grumbled, his cheeks flushing again.

Raine grinned, “It’s not the movies, babe.” She kissed him, enjoying the feeling of his smile against her mouth.

Ezekiel ran his hand up her shirt again, “Babe?” He smirked, gently biting her neck, enjoying seeing her confidence shining through.

“Mmhm,” Raine moaned, grabbing at his pants, “You don’t like it?” She unbuttoned them.

Ezekiel’s breath caught in his throat, “Maybe.” He flipped her clumsily onto the bed, making her laugh. He shook his head at her smiling, “Stop your mouth.” He laughed softly, making her giggle more. He kissed her, trying to undo her pants.

She reached down, undoing them herself, then wiggled and kicked them off, “You first.” She smirked, biting his lower lip gently.

Ezekiel growled, pushing her back on the bed, kissing her hard. He held himself up on his good arm while trying to kick his pants off. Raine placed her hands against his chest and pushed gently. He stood up, pulling his pants off the rest of the way, nearly tripping over them at the end. When he looked back at her, she was topless.

“Oh, god...” He stared, his body suddenly feeling warmer and tingly.

Raine slowly stood up stepping towards him hugging herself. He took her arm gently kissing the bruises, then up to her shoulder. She pressed herself to him, wrapping her arms around his chest, making him breathe in deeply. His eyes locked with hers as she led him back to the bed.

“You...you’re beautiful,” He breathed, as she kissed his neck, shoulder, then down his chest, “Wha-what are you doing?” He chuckled, letting out a soft moan as her lips met with his stomach.

“Do you like it?” She whispered, pushing him gently down onto the bed, straddling him.

Ezekiel grunted, feeling her hand slide into his boxers, “Yes.” His eyes rolled back.

Raine laughed softly kissing him gently, letting him thrust his tongue into her mouth. After a few moments he growled, his hips bucking into hers. She squealed as he lifted her up and put her on the bed trying to pull her panties off. She giggled helping him out, moaning as he climbed on top pulling his boxers down. He kissed her softly on the neck then paused, looking her in the eyes. She smiled at him, wrapping her arms around his neck.

He kissed her gently on the forehead, “Raine... I...” He hesitated, his breath caught in his throat. Words didn’t feel accurate for how he felt, it was something more.

Raine smiled, stroking his hair back from his eyes, “I know.” She kissed him.

~*~

Tangled up in the blankets and sheets, Ezekiel watched Raine sleep soundly. His fingers gently stroked her hair, enjoying its soft texture. Carefully he untangled himself, climbing out of bed and pulled on his boxers. Raine sighed in her sleep, snuggling deeper into the pillows and blankets.
Quietly Ezekiel crept out of the room, down the stairs and into the living room. Silently he paced; his chest heavy and tight with anxiety. He paused, tilting his head back, praying to whoever might be able to hear him who might be able to help. Anyone at all.

Running his hands through his hair, he briefly wondered when the last time he had had a haircut was. Frowning, he made his way to the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes were dark, but not as dark as he had seen them in the past. He looked like he was gaining color, and weight. Where his bones had been poking out before, were smoothed over with muscle and fat. He was actually starting to look healthy. Blowing out a breath, he leaned against the counter. He knew this was mostly because of Raine and Cole, because of them he had purpose, he had a distraction from his own mind. The anxiety attack slowly dissipated, leaving him wondering why he had even had it in the first place.

Running his fingers through his hair again, he dug through the cupboard, pulling out his hair clippers. Quickly he switched blades and clicked it on, running the blade through his hair. His hair fell into the sink and onto the floor. A more familiar him reflected back in the mirror once he finished. Feeling a little more at ease, he cleaned up the mess, tucking the clippers away under the cabinet, and hopped into the shower.
Climbing out, he glanced at himself in the mirror, spiking his hair up with his fingers. He snorted, shook his head, and dried off. Raine was sprawled out in the bed when he came back, snoring softly. Carefully he sat on the edge of the bed, attempting to lay down, when Raine sat up. She looked at him with large panicked eyes for a moment then relaxed, scooting over so he could lie down.

“Uhg, sorry,” She mumbled, rubbing her eyes gently, “Did you take a shower?” She lifted her head groggily, “Did you cut your hair? What time is it?”

Touching his hair, Ezekiel smirked, “Yeah, a little,” He rolled over onto his side, looking at his phone for the time, “Three,” He set it down, rolling back to her, “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Shaking her head, Raine yawned, “You didn’t. I was having a nightmare.” She scooted closer to him, resting her head on his chest, breathing in his clean smell.

“You okay?” He whispered, combing her hair back.

“Yeah,” She smiled, “Just sleepy.”

Ezekiel kissed the top of her head, opening his mouth to say something when a knock at the door startled them both.

He sat up, “I’ll get it.” He caught the concerned look Raine threw at him, “I think it’s Gabriel and Cole.”

Raine closed her eyes for a moment and nodded, “Yeah, why are they here?” She climbed out of the bed, following him down the stairs. Ezekiel shrugged, opening the door up to a sobbing Cole and a tired looking Gabriel.

“Sorry guys,” Gabriel said as Cole jumped into Ezekiel’s arms, “Guess he’s not ready for sleep overs yet. He woke up pretty upset.”

“It’s okay.” Ezekiel hugged Cole gently, thankful to have the boy home.

Cole buried his head into Ezekiel’s shirt, “I want to be in my bed.” He sniffled.

Raine offered Gabriel a sympathetic smile, “Thanks for bringing him home... And for all your help today.”

Gabriel smiled, “No problem, you guys are family.” He winked, turning away, “Have a good night.” He said over his shoulder before taking off.

Ezekiel closed the door, gently rubbing Cole’s back, “What’s wrong, Cole?” He said softly, moving towards the stairs to take him up to his bed.

Cole lifted his head looking at Raine, “I want Raine,” He whimpered, reaching out to her, “Please.”

“You don’t want to talk to me?” Ezekiel asked disappointedly, pausing halfway up the stairs.

Cole shook his head.

“What’s wrong, kiddo?” Raine asked softly, following them the rest of the way up and into Cole’s room.

Ezekiel carefully set Cole down on the bed, kissing him on the top of the head, “I’ll wait outside then.” He turned to Raine and kissed her on the cheek.

Once he had left the room, Cole turned to Raine and started to cry again, “I had another nightmare.” He rubbed at his eyes, flinching slightly as his hands hit his still healing wound.

Raine sat down on the edge of his bed, “The same one?”

“No,” Cole shook his head, “Different.”

“What was this one?”

Cole bit his lip, trying to stop himself from crying. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, “I was with Gabriel, but it wasn’t him, he was a little different,” He sniffled, wiping at his eyes, “He was angry, and I was so sad. He screamed at me. Said I was messing up his life. Then he hit me and I was in a field with... A friend... I can’t remember his name,” He started to tremble, so Raine pulled him into her lap to help soothe his nerves better, “He was like me, but his skin was different...” He closed his eyes, “Blue like Daniel’s. We were in a field behind some bushes. There was a lot of loud sounds and yelling around us,” His voice started trembling as he recalled the nightmare, “I could hear something that sounded like a monster growling, it was getting closer. My friend was suddenly screaming,” He covered his ears, tears running down his face, “The monster was biting him, and there was blood everywhere.”

Raine hugged him tightly, “It’s okay, it’s okay. You don’t have tell me anymore.” She kissed the top of his head, rubbing his back, “It was a nightmare, a really bad nightmare.” She hesitated, hearing the bathroom door close and something fall to the floor, followed by muffled retching sounds, “It’s over now, kiddo.” She said facing him towards her.

“It felt so real,” Cole whispered, his eyelids looking heavy as he leaned into her, “I was so scared... I didn’t want to tell Ira or Gabriel, I just wanted to go home.” He sniffled, “Are they mad at me?”

Raine shook her head, “Not at all. Gabriel understands you were scared, don’t worry.” Hugged him again.

Cole nodded, “Good.” He whispered, his breathing becoming steady and even. Raine looked down at him, finding him fast asleep. She waited another couple of minutes before carefully laying him down and exiting the room. She paused outside the bathroom door, and hearing silence gently knocked.

“Zeke?” She called out, waited a moment then carefully pushed open the door.

Ezekiel sat on the floor, his back pressed against the wall, his head in his hands. Raine moved over to him and sat down.
“Are you okay?” She whispered, watching him carefully.

He shook his head, his body rocking slightly. Raine climbed to her feet and looked through the cupboards finding a washcloth. She ran the water for a minute, waiting for the water to get cold, before submerging the cloth in it. She rang it out and sat back down, putting it over Ezekiel’s neck.

He tensed slightly then sighed in relief. Raine carefully touched his arm watching for a reaction before wrapping her arm around him.

He leaned into her, “I’m alright.” He said gruffly, his body still trembling off and on.
Raine brushed her fingers through his hair, “Anxiety?”

Ezekiel nodded breathing in deeply through his nose, letting the breath out slowly from his mouth.

“Do you need space?” She asked, her fingers still gently combing through his hair.

“No,” Ezekiel shook his head, “You’re okay. It’s helping.” He took another deep breath, “I thought this was going away,” He grumbled, his eyes closing in frustration, “I haven’t had an attack in a while.”

Raine took the washcloth from his neck and set it on the floor, “They’re going to happen, babe. We just deal with them as they come.” She put her arm back around him, “I can’t say I blame you either, it’s been a crazy past few days.”

Ezekiel groaned, “I need to take Cole to see Isabelle tomorrow.”

“Did you overhear his dream? Is that what triggered this?”

“Yeah,” Ezekiel swallowed thickly, “That was one of my memories he was remembering.”

Raine breathed in deeply, “Oh, hon...” She frowned, “That war was hell for absolutely no reason.”

Ezekiel nodded, “It was for power. My father was the center of it.”

“Your father?” Raine leaned back to look at him better, “Xerxes was your father?”

“Unfortunately,” He shakily climbed to his feet, leaning heavily against the sink, “What Cole was remembering happened just after I switched sides.” He turned the water on and splashed his face a couple times.

Raine stood up next to him, “Who was he?”

“His name was Yuki,” Ezekiel sighed, letting the water drip from his face. He looked at himself in the mirror and frowned, “He switched sides with me. We had been in three battles before that one. I took his tags to his wife that night.”

Raine leaned back as though she had been hit, “I’m sorry.”

Ezekiel nodded, “Me too.”

“Come on,” Raine took his arm, “Let’s go back to bed.” She whispered, shutting off the lights before leading him to the bedroom.

Ezekiel sat down on the edge of the bed, Raine crawling on beside him, “You’re not questioning me about Xerxes.”

Raine snuggled down into her pillow, “Should I be?”

“I don’t know,” Ezekiel laid down next to her, “It’s what most do when they find out.” He yawned, wrapping his arm around her.

“I’m not most.” Raine kissed him on the cheek.

Ezekiel smiled, the residual anxiety fading away, “No, no you’re not,” He whispered back, stroking back her hair from her face, “My life is pretty crazy, are you sure you’re up for all this?”

Smiling back, Raine nodded, and then giggled, “I think we’re both even for crazy lives, judging by the past week. Are you sure you’re up for it?”

Ezekiel kissed her forehead, making her giggle again, “Yep,” He whispered, leaning his forehead against hers, “I am.”

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