Chapter 15 - Time & Gelato
An owl hoots in the distance as I watch the trees sway in the gentle breeze. The moon shines clear in the midnight blue sky, no clouds in sight. I feel hopeless. It’s a feeling that’s frustrating me to no end.
Driving around aimlessly, I finally found myself at a park in the next town. After Vulcan had explained to me about what he was and what I meant to him, I asked him for some much needed time to process things, as it was all very overwhelming. He protested but eventually, he agreed that it would be best.
The more I think about it, the more my self-esteem drops. There are so many doubts in my mind and I find myself thinking that I won’t be enough for Vulcan. He’s a Lycan King and I’m just an ordinary human, how am I supposed to lead with him?
The news of Vulcan finding his mate has already spread and the members of Damon’s pack are not going easy on me. People are ridiculing and criticizing me, whispering about how I’m pathetic and weak, not fit to be a Luna nor a Queen. Day by day, they’re breaking my confidence to the point where I can’t stand it anymore and have stopped visiting Damon and his family.
Maybe they’re all right? I wonder to myself, my heart aching with hurt. Vulcan can have any woman he wants for a mate, a werewolf who’s strong and perfect; who will be accepted as someone worthy of leading by his side.
I sigh loudly and shuffle my feet, I’m currently sitting on a swing in an empty park. I needed some time in a quiet place to figure out the jumbled thoughts in my mind. But throughout all this, I had not noticed a figure walk up to where I sat, jumping out of my skin when they laid a hand on my shoulder. Shooting up from my seat, I turn around to see the boy pull off his hood, revealing a familiar face.
″What are you doing out - wait, why are you crying?″ Kaden steps closer to me, wiping away my tears with his thumbs. ″Aurora, what happened?″
I shake my head, pulling away and wiping my wet cheeks once more, the cold air drying them quickly. Feeling his gaze on me, I look back only to bite my lip at the concerned expression on his face.
“It’s nothing, just thinking about some things.” I sigh, swinging slightly.
“Do you want to talk about it?” He asks gently, making me shake my head as I stand.
I feel a sob rising in my throat, causing me to turn around and start walking up the pathway to where my car is parked. I don’t want him to see me cry, I won’t be able to explain it to him. I hear rushed footsteps before Kaden is in front of me, blocking my path. Looking up at him through blurry eyes, I’m about to speak when he does.
“Want to go for some gelato? I know of a place.”
Immediately, a soft laugh escapes me. The moonlight reveals the smile on his lips and the hand that waits for mine to grasp. Sighing, I nod before taking it and letting him lead me down the pathway and into town. My gaze sweeps across the city lights, the pumping music emitting from open nightclub doors and the lit-up windows of countless, independent boutiques.
We walk for a long while until I find myself standing outside the cutest gelato place I have ever seen. I barely have any time to admire it before I’m tugged inside and pulled to the counter where a colorful selection of various flavors are showcased in a glass cabinet. After a long argument over which flavor is the best, I end up trying out a gelato mixed with blueberries and blackberries. Kaden hates pistachio but tries it out because I dare him to and obviously, he needs to “maintain his rep.”
″I think,″ He starts as he takes a seat in the booth beside the window with me following behind him. ″That you look much better when you’re smiling and being a weirdo, not bawling your eyes out at midnight on a park swing.″
″Just one of those days.″ I murmur, spooning the sweet treat into my mouth and enjoying the amazing burst of flavors. ″You know, when you drive around and end up bawling your eyes out.″
I look up to see him staring at me expectantly, curiosity in his eyes. ″I don’t want to talk about it, sorry.″
″Don’t worry. The sensei knows all.″ He winks at me, his Adams apple bobbing as he swallows the ice-cream. ″But, can I ask how far away you live? It’s late and tomorrow’s a school day.″
″I live in the next town over.″ I reply, not minding the drive home.
″That’s an hour’s drive away!″
I shrug, carelessly. ″I’ll sleep in the car or something. I don’t exactly want to go back home yet.″
Looking back up at him, I see him staring at me in disbelief, his blue eyes widened slightly. ″Yeah, no. You’re crashing at mine for the night.″
I immediately shake my head, pushing away the now empty cup of dessert. ″I don’t want to intrude, I can -″
″So, you’re being formal now?″ One, thick eyebrow arches as he spoons the last of his ice-cream into his mouth.
″I’m not letting you drive home this late, Aurora. I don’t live with anyone and I also have an extra room. We’ll head into school together tomorrow, okay?″
A strict look from Kaden has me huffing in defeat and nodding tiredly. He grins and pulls me up, leading me out of the parlor. I will definitely come back here again, I think to myself and look back to see us heading to the park. I had told Kaden that my car was parked there and he insisted on driving the ″sweet ride″ back to his place.
Regardless of all my doubts and fears, I still feel an ache in my heart at the thought of not being with Vulcan. I want him, no matter who and what he is. The tingles and sparks, his forest green eyes, his touch, his husky chuckles, sweet lips; I want it all. Is it safe to say that I’m addicted to him? Why touch on drugs when I have him?
My mind is utterly consumed with the thought of him. I need him to hold me tight and tell me everything is going to be alright, to kiss me and make me forget about everything else. Why am I falling so hard and fast for him? Is this how it happens in normal relationships too or am I just weird? I wish my brain would shut up, I have done enough thinking about life today. Thankfully, Kaden pulls up to a two-story house that has a picket fence and all. He parks in the driveway and gets out, me following him.
″Well aren’t you a rebel with a halo!″ I tease, smiling at the blooming flowers.
He walks up the porch and takes out a key from his pocket. ″I hate messy gardens.″
I laugh, humming in agreement as we step inside the cozy house. I follow him to the spare bedroom with him chatting all the way. He opens a door on the right-hand side of the hallway, which turns out to be a decent sized room with a single bed propped up against the wall, a bedside table behind it with a lamp perched on top. The walls are plain white and the carpet is a soft beige, almost cream.
″This is it. You look tired so I’m guessing you want to head to bed now, right?″ Kaden asks, leaning against the door while he watches me sit on the bed and place my bag on the ground next to me.
I had gone back to the house and packed some clothes before setting off, knowing I won’t be spending the night with the Valentine’s. They had refused to let me stay at my home alone, but I felt like I was being smothered and didn’t have much space and time to think.
″Yeah,″ I cover up a yawn, my eyes drooping. ″I’m tired, I think I’ll just change and go to sleep. Will you wake me up in the morning for school?″
″Sure. I’ll leave you to it but if you decide to have a pizza then come to the sitting room.″ He winks, chuckling as he closes the door on his way out.
Suddenly, I’m not so tired anymore. I mean, if I have a choice between sleep and pizza, it’s obvious what I’m going to pick. Changing quickly into my pajamas, I walk out of the room, putting my hair up into a messy bun as I head down the hallway. I pass the kitchen before backtracking and walking through the open doorway, grinning cheekily at Kaden when he laughs, cutting the pizza into slices.
″Not tired anymore″ He teases, his voice rising to a high pitch as he jokes around, making me double over in laughter.
″Nope, now hand me a slice.″ I grin after calming myself down and grabbing the plate from him.
We head to the sitting room with me laughing in surprise when I see that he has ‘White Chicks’ recorded on the TV, waiting to be played. Taking a seat beside him, I place my plate in my lap as he presses play, biting into the pizza slice. Soon, we are so engrossed in the movie, mouthing the dialogues, choking on food, laughing and pointing at each other’s faces, that I forget about everything else. I go to bed happy with nothing on my mind that night because over-thinking ruins you and makes everything seem much worse than it is.
The next day, I’m woken up by someone shaking my arm gently. Groaning, my eyes open of their own accord and meet Kaden’s stormy blues. I glare at him before huffing and shutting my eyes again, trying to go back to sleep. Turning onto my side, I cuddle closer in the blankets and throw them over my head to cover my face when he pulls open the curtains.
″What are you, sleeping beauty? It’s four in the evening.″ He chuckles, making my eyes snap open in shock.
″What?!″ I shoot up from the bed, fixing my hair. ″Why didn’t you wake me up for school?″
″I tried but I guess you were really tired from yesterday. Thought I’d let you rest. Since you’re a nerd, I brought you back homework!″ He mock cheers, throwing the books and assignments on the desk nearby.
I scowl at him before asking for a spare toothbrush. Walking down to the bathroom, I neaten myself up and brush my teeth, wiping my wet face with a fluffy, blue towel. I find Kaden in the kitchen, rushing over to pop the pieces of burning toasts out of the toaster, coughing as I wave the black smoke away from my face. Kaden looks back from the fridge with a carton of orange juice in his hand.
″Oh,″ He frowns before shrugging. ″They always come out like that, I don’t know why -″
He stops when he watches me turn the dial which is at the highest setting. Shaking my head at him, I place two pieces of bread into it, showing him the perfectly toasted pieces when they pop up again.
″So that’s what it’s for!″ He exclaims, shock lining his features before he grins cheekily. ″Say, how would you like to live with me?″
I roll my eyes and chuckle, joining him at the small table and eating the food prepared by him, almost choking on it as he fills the evening with dirty jokes and funny faces. I choose to stay with Kaden until six in the evening. Well, I’m forced to actually, he brings me around to various places and then we go bowling where I, sadly lose. I swear, that boy is a pro. My swings went down the gutter more than they met the bowling pins!
Walking out to my car, I catch the keys in my hand when Kaden throws them from behind. Throwing my bag into the passenger seat, I turn back around to hug him, suddenly.
″Thanks for cheering me up and for not asking me about it.″ I murmur against his shoulder whilst he stands frozen.
He snaps out of it and wraps his arms around me but, I can tell he hesitates at first. Kaden’s weird like that, if you show the boy an ounce of kindness, he’ll act as if he’s unknown to the emotion. Maybe he is. Maybe he’s the type of person who hides his pain behind his smile because from time to time, I can see it escape onto the forefront of his eyes before he would conceal it.
″Yeah, yeah. Just don’t bawl your eyes out in a park next time, you know where to go now.″ He winks and pushes me towards the car, gently. ″Also, uh...don’t mention this to anyone -″
″What?″ I gasp dramatically, staring up at him in shock. ″And ruin the bad boy’s rep? Gosh, I wouldn’t dream of it.″
He shoots me a mock glare whilst I laugh and sit in the driver’s seat, starting up the engine. Backing out of the driveway and onto the street, I stall for a few seconds before waving goodbye and watching him repeat the action before I’m off. Driving down the narrow, residential street, I realize with a gulp that nothing can save me from my own thoughts now, not even the radio.
I pull into the driveway, shutting off the engine but not leaving the car. I know the Valentine’s will be mad, even though I had left them a note explaining why I left. I needed to process everything without anyone’s opinion on what I should do with my life. With resolution, I get out of the car and walk up the driveway, slipping into the house nervously. Walking through the hallway, I find myself standing before the lounge room and staring at the people in front of me, sitting on the couches with worry marring their features.
I instantly feel bad for worrying everyone when I look at Damon’s tense posture and messy hair; as if he has run his hand through it a hundred times. I step forward, my shoes hitting the floor audibly making everyone’s heads snap up.
″Aurora!″ I hear Damon shout in relief, his footsteps echoing in the quiet room before I’m engulfed in warmth. ″Where have you been? God, I was so worried! You wouldn’t pick up and you weren’t at school and -″
″I just needed space, some time to think about everything. I’m sorry, I didn’t want you all to worry.” I interrupt, feeling guilt creeping up within me. “I was feeling suffocated and people kept talking about me and I -”
″Oh, honey.″ Theia pulls me into her warm embrace, hushing me when I try to apologize. ″Everything is going to be okay. You’re home now and that’s all that matters. Why don’t I fix up some food and we’ll answer any other questions you might have at dinner?″
I nod and she kisses my forehead before gesturing to Sophia to follow her to the kitchen. The next hour is spent with Darius and Damon telling me about werewolf history. Werewolves are an archetype of the supernatural world, Darius reveals. From what most elders say, their condition started as a curse because of a man who cheated on his wife...who was a witch apparently. She cursed his unborn children to shift into a wolf at the mere age of sixteen, the next generation of children following soon after.
Darius and Theia had been the former Alpha and Luna of their pack before they passed down the title to Damon when he found Sophia, his mate. The Beta, which is Alex in this pack, is their second-in-command.
Silver is the poisonous metal for werewolves, being able to kill unless treatment is given immediately. If not treated within 48 hours, it will kill a werewolf slowly by coursing through their blood like acid. If treated on time, they will only experience slight discomfort where they were wounded when they shift.
My thoughts move back to Vulcan as Damon explains a werewolf’s feral nature. No matter if they are in their wolf form or not, they can forget they are human and succumb to their wolves. They are also highly prone to temper. I also find out, to my horror, that other supernatural creatures exist, one of them being vampires. Lily and Christian are mated to them and it now makes sense why they don’t go to the same school as me, instead living nearby but in different states.
Darius and Damon also explain that Nina Valentine died by the hands of rogues, who are unstable werewolves. We became very emotional for a moment as I remember how she died protecting me one night when men stormed into the holiday home we were all staying in a few years ago.
I nod in understanding, all the new information swimming around in my mind. ″Why does Sophia have this weird mark on her neck? Is that a tattoo or is it something to do with your world?″
Both men chuckle as I sit there, confused. ″Yes, it’s to do with our world but, you’ll have to ask your mate about that, honey.″
“I don’t feel like I’m ever going to be ready to lead by his side.” I sigh, wanting this pressure off me.
″Aurora, you’re not alone in this. Your mate will always be with you; helping you.″ Damon smiles reassuringly before crouching down in front of me. “He’s giving you time to process, isn’t he? That shows that he wants to help you understand what is in your future.”
“I wish I had more time.” I groan, running a hand through my hair. “But at the same time, I want to go back to him.”
″That’s the mate bond, it helps mates get closer to each other. But, we can’t stop the King from taking what’s his. Mates usually stay with their mates after they’ve found one another.″ Damon explains, making me nod in understanding.
I remain quiet for a while, listening to the sound of pots and pans clattering in the background and Sophia and Theia murmuring to each other. I can hear mine and Vulcan’s name in their conversation which makes me sigh.
″What if a mate doesn’t want you?″ I wonder, making their eyes widen. “I’m not saying I don’t want to be with him! Relax!”
″That’s frowned upon, Aurora. Mates should give each other a chance. Many wolves would reject their mates, only to regret it later and go berserk if their other half moved on or worse, killed themselves.″ Darius replies sadly, shocking me.
″Aurora,″ He takes hold of my hands, making me look up at him. ″Don’t let your doubts ruin what you have with the boy. You’ll never have that special bond with a human, like you will with Vulcan. You were chosen for him for a reason and I bet everyone can see why.″
″I don’t understand.″ I shake my head with a frown.
″I can see that he’s changing for the better, Aurora. Do you not see the way he looks at you? It’s like you’re his whole world and he’d do absolutely anything for you.”
Damon pulls me up from the ground just as Theia calls everyone for dinner. Walking into the dining room, I pull out a chair and sit across Damon and Sophia. But as everyone converses, my mind is elsewhere.
I have made my decision. No matter what everyone will think, my happiness comes first.