Addy took the coat Sid held out to her. She smiled. She hated to be rummaging through garbage like this but they had no choice. Tonight was to be a cold one. Sid kept glancing around the corner.
“What are you looking at?” Addy peered around the corner but she didn’t see anything. Sid shrugged. “There was a man here but he’s gone now.”
“I don’t see anything but the man over there.” Addy pointed to the man standing by a barrel with burning wood inside. He drank from a plastic cup. He watched her with a grim expression. Sid grabbed her sleeve and pulled her in the direction she came from. Addy wondered where he was leading her. Addy passed another homeless pair who glared at her. She ignored them. She wasn’t after their spot if that’s what they were thinking.
In their world, some of them claimed certain areas for themselves and certain items. She and Sid had to be on a first come first serve basis. It didn’t matter. If she and Sid found a spot to sleep at night or found certain items to help them out, they were taken from them. It was the way of things here on the street. Sid led her to an abandoned building. Addy was surprised they were the only ones there. The building wasn’t the best of places. Addy heard it would be torn down soon, but it was home for the night.
Addy glanced at the worn mattress lying in the center of the room. Sid had a fire going in one of the barrels. Addy watched him gather pieces of broken wood and throw it in the barrel. Addy went to the mattress. She sat down and bounced. It was firm. She laid down with a smile and closed her eyes.
“One suite for the lovely lady.”
Addy opened her eyes to catch Sid doing a little bow for her. She sat up and shoved him playfully. Sid unwrapped an old blanket he carried and placed it over her. Sid always looked after her. He unrolled another blanket and placed it on the ground beside the mattress. Addy scooted over.
“You can lie here with me if you want.”
“Nah, get some rest. I’ll be fine.”
Addy didn’t like when Sid did things like this. He would give her the best things and not take anything good for himself. She got up from the mattress with the blanket. She laid on the ground beside him. Sid sat up like he’d been hit by lightning.
“What are you doing?”
Addy folded her arms with a pout. “If you’re not going to lay on the mattress, I won’t either.”
Sid smiled. “Addy, come on. I’ll be fine down here.”
“So will I.”
Sid laughed and climbed onto the mattress. Addy followed him. He grunted when she jumped on the mattress. Addy smiled and snuggled up to him. It was the only way to stay warm in the cold.
“We’ll be okay, won’t we?” Sid asked, wrapping his arms around her.
“Of course,” Addy said. “One day we’ll have everything we want. Good jobs, a nice warm bed, a beautiful home, food to eat…”
Addy closed her eyes. She couldn’t finish. It was a lie they told themselves. Salvation would come they all said. Addy saw more of them die every day. Some in the shelters she frequented and some on the streets. She turned away from Sid as tears slid down her cheeks. There was no salvation for her and Sid. Pretty soon, they would die out here too and no one would notice or care.
Addy woke up the next morning to find Sid gone. She got up and jumped. A homeless man stared at her. Addy smiled.
“Good morning, Don.”
Don pointed to the mattress. “If you’re done, can I lie there for a while? All the good spots were taken.”
“Sure.” Addy straightened the blankets for him. Don hurried to the mattress and flopped down. He closed his eyes as Addy wrapped the blankets around him.
“It’s not the best thing,” she muttered. “But it’s better than sleeping on the cold ground.”
Don nodded. Addy felt sorry for Don. He was an older gentleman. Addy didn’t know the details of how he came to be homeless but she heard rumors. He lost his family because of gambling debts, or his family was involved in a car accident and he was the sole survivor. They were hit by a drunk driver. He spent all his money to bury them and it came to this. Addy thought some of the stories were ludicrous. Don never addressed the rumors and Addy didn’t question him.
Some of them didn’t want to talk about their experiences and she couldn’t blame them. Don was sick from time to time and Addy wished there was a way she could help him. Don shivered as he settled down under the blankets. Addy touched his forehead. He had a fever. Addy could only imagine how he walked the entire night looking for a place to crash. Like her, he stayed in shelters from time to time.
“Rest, I’ll be back to check on you,” Addy said.
She left the area and prayed no one would bother him. She had to find Sid. Addy located him on the street corner. Addy rolled her eyes. She didn’t like to panhandle but sometimes, it was the only way to get food. Sid stood with his cardboard sign. Cars passed by him. The people inside not giving him a second look. One man shouted something obscene to him which warranted a middle finger from Sid.
“Any luck?” Addy asked jogging over to him.
“Nah.” Sid frowned and looked at his sign. “All I got was two dollars and a bottle of Mountain Dew.”
Addy sighed. “People aren’t trusting like they used to be.”
“That’s something a naïve person would say.”
Addy rolled her eyes. She was naïve so sue her. Sid grabbed her hand and gave her the sign. “You try. You might get better luck cause you’re a lady.”
Addy snorted. She doubted that. More like get obscene things shouted at her but for Sid, she’d give it a try. Sid stepped back and sat in front of the building behind them. Addy lowered her eyes as cars whizzed past. This was embarrassing but she was hungry. As Addy held up the sign, a dark figure watched her from the shadows.
Pierce took a drive to his favorite bookstore once again. He believed he was starting to get addicted to books. It was a healthy addiction at least. He really didn’t sleep last night. Hadria was up late at night because of her cravings. Victor was up too and this time Pierce was needed. Victor dragged Pierce along to satisfy the cravings of his Luna. Pierce was glad to be of assistance but once he proposed he, Bryce, and Victor hang out to catch up on old times and get in some brotherly time, Victor shot down the idea. He didn’t want to leave Hadria unattended. Pierce could understand. After his betrayal, Victor was more cautious about everything.
Now Pagen and his pack were visiting and Pierce didn’t feel like chit chatting no matter how much he liked them. He almost missed the red light because of his thoughts. He slammed on brakes. Pierce hid his face on the steering wheel. He needed to reign in his thoughts or they would be the least of his problems. His wolf reacted again. Pierce growled. Were his emotions so much out of balance it was starting to affect his wolf? Pierce glanced around to humor the beast in him. He froze. A human female stood on the sidewalk holding up a sign. Pierce couldn’t tear his gaze away from her. When the light changed, Pierce sped past her. He couldn’t park his car just anywhere. He saw a store nearby and parked there.
“I’ll just check her out for a few minutes,” he mumbled. “Just for a few minutes.”
Pierce hoped she would still be there by the time he got across the street. He stood on pins and needles as he waited for the cars to pass. When the road cleared, he jogged across the street. The female was still there on the sidewalk and the closer Pierce got to her, the more his wolf reminded him of one thing he didn’t think would exist for him. The female had a beautiful, brown complexion. She turned to glance at him and it stole his breath. Her eyes were a deep shade of brown and slightly big. They watched him out of an innocent face. Her hair was beautiful and dark.
She wore it in a ponytail. She wore a long skirt with different patterns stitched onto it and a long-sleeved, gray shirt. When the wind blew around them, she gave off a lavender scent. Pierce cursed himself for not realizing it. She was his mate. It was the reason his wolf lost it every time he came to this part of town. Pierce’s legs began to act on their own accord. Before he knew what he was doing, he fished his wallet out of his back pocket. Pierce didn’t care if she were homeless, he could take care of her. He could help her. One way or another, she would be his.