IT wasn't until the sun started to go down that Lucas finally got home. He had to stop a fight between some pack members so he was more than eager to return home and have Ava in his arms.
"Where have you been?" Ryan asked him curiously. He also had a bucket of fried chicken in his arms.
Lucas groaned and rolled his eyes. "Some fight about who knows what. I put them in the cells to get them to sort it out." He reached for a piece of chicken only to have his hand slapped away.
"Mine!" Ryan ran away from him, protectively cradling the chicken.
Shaking his head at his crazy friend, he walked into the pack house. "Son. How did it go?" His father asked, referring to the rogues.
Shrugging, he said, "easy. No injuries on our side. They must not have known who's land it was."
John nodded in understanding. "Well, there's some lasagne in the oven."
He felt his stomach rumbling at the sound of Miss Lillian's lasagne but then he wondered whether Ava had eaten yet.
"Is Ava here?" He asked his father as he was about to leave to room. John shook his head and Lucas frowned in disappointment. Must be at the children's home.
After eating a few spoonfuls of the tasty dish, the longing for his mate was too much to handle. His fingers twitched with the urge to run his fingers through her soft hair. He wanted to feel the tingles that came with touching her. He wanted to hear the angelic giggles she did at the littlest things.
The chair scraped back as he ran out of the door, no longer being able to be away from her. It was just too hard. And he was glad because he never wanted to fall out of love with her. He wasn't ever going to.
The rain was still heavy but he had already left the house and didn't want to waste time in getting the keys to his car. It didn't take long for him to reach the children's home. The lights were on and he assumed they were eating dinner or something. Knocking on the door, he anxiously waited, kind of worried Ava would be annoyed about him leaving school today.
"Hello Lucas." Miss Barnaby greeted him. She was a large women, tall too. He remembered being slightly scared of her when he was younger but quickly learned it was her who should be scared. He was the Alpha after all.
"I'm here to see Ava." He never did see the point in greeting people other than to get their attention and be polite. He couldn't care less about being polite and she already had his attention so it was much easier to get straight to the point.
Miss Barnaby's eyebrows creased and her lips were pursed. A look of confusion was on her face, worrying Lucas but he didn't show it.
"She's not here. Hasn't been here all day actually. I assumed she was with you."
Lucas felt his insides drop to the ground and his face paled. Ava wasn't here. She didn't come home. She didn't have a ride. He forgot he was her ride home! My poor Ava!!
The door closed on the shocked boy. He was frozen. Each limb couldn't move but his heart was beating out of his chest. He felt it constricting and suddenly it was hard to breathe. Lucas felt his knees give way and he fell to the ground, skin painfully scraping against the concrete floor.
He couldn't believe he was so stupid as to forget that she didn't have a ride home. Too worried about his pack and not caring enough about his own mate. He imagined scenarios in his head where Ava waited for him but he never showed. He imagined that someone came and kidnapped her. He imagined her dying in a hole, yelling for him to save her.
Then he realised, he still hadn't gone to look for her. Forcing himself out of his frozen state, he stood up ran. He didn't know where he was running to but he also didn't know where his lost mate was either.
"Ava!" He called into the empty school parking lot. Somehow, he had managed to make it there in the pouring rain. His fists were clenched, nails dug into his palms, drawing blood. He welcomed the pain with open arms, thinking he deserved it after what he's put his mate through.
She's not here. Where could she be?! He thought about what Ava would do. Quickly, Lucas reached into his pocket and retrieved his phone. Clutching it tightly, he frantically wiped the rain off the screen, only for it to be replaced with more. Thankfully, it still worked and had power. Unfortunately, it was on silent and he hadn't checked it so when he did, his eyes widened at the mass of calls, texts and voicemails all from his little mate.
Where are you? You aren't in lesson and neither are the boys. X
Please text me back so I know you're ok. X
Lu Lu? O.o X
Lu Lu???? Are you mad at me?????? Xxxxxxx
Where are youuuuuuuu???!!!!
Jackson said you probably skipped. Why didn't you invite me Lu Lu?! Xxx
He imagined her pouting whilst writing this, making him miss her cute little face even more.
I guess you're not checking your phone... I'll see you later then. Xx
He then listened to his voicemails but the most recent one made his heart stop.
"Lu Lu? I have no ride home and I don't really know how to walk back." His heart painfully clenched at the sadness in her voice. "Please come get m-me." Her voice broke along with his heart. Normally, he could listen to her beautiful voice all day, everyday. But, this. He couldn't listen to this.
Lucas felt absolutely shattered. He let his mate down and had no idea where to look for her. He ran down the streets, looking in every corner and behind every bush. He knew that Ava had no sense of direction whatsoever so everywhere had a possibility of her being there.
"Ava?!" He called every few seconds, mentally begging that his wolf hearing would hear her sweet voice answer him.
There was no sign of her anywhere. The streets were empty and the sky was now dark. Lucas' clothes were soaked through, dragging him down with every step, but he carried on. He didn't even want to think about how his precious Ava was feeling right now.
He was practically running around aimlessly when he decided that he needed all the help he could get to find her. "Ryan! Ava's lost. I- I have no idea where she is." He mind linked his best friend, whilst whipping his head at every little sound.
"What do you mean she's lost?!" Ryan answered almost immediately, sounding worried for the little girl. He knew far well she was too sweet for any harm to come to her.
"I mean she's lost man!! I didn't pick her up because of the rogues and I guess the receptionist didn't tell her I left. Not that it would've done much. She walked home and you know how Ava is..." Lucas couldn't control his ramblings, explaining rapidly the situation.
"Man! What's this about you losing Ava?! How could you do this to her. You know it's raining right?! She could get sick! Or die!" Mason joined in the conversation. Lucas growled at the thought and now he felt angry - at himself and at others but that was probably to make himself feel better.
"Be careful Mason. I am your Alpha remember."
"Sorry." He replied submissively at the tone of Lucas' voice. They were friends but he was still Alpha and wouldn't tolerate disrespect from anyone.
"It's not your fault Lucas." Connor said and Ryan agreed. It didn't make him feel better though. They were wasting time and Ava still wasn't right beside him, where she should always be.
"Just come help find her." The plead in the Alpha's voice was hard to ignore but they couldn't blame him.
He played her message over again, despite the pain it caused him. Lucas needed to hear her voice - pretend she was there with him. He went to the place he first found her. It was the last place he looked and he felt stupid as to not check it earlier.
The addicting smell of mangos filled his nose as Lucas looked up at the tree and sure enough, he saw his mate was in the branches. He felt like that six year old boy again, saving the little girl in the tree. But this time it was different, he was the one that caused this.
Her back was rested against the tree trunk as she sat precariously on a thick branch. The dress she was wearing held more water than the puddles on the ground and her hair looked brown, drenched with water. Goosebumps stood on her usually tan skin, showing evidence of how cold she was. Lucas felt his heart beat faster as he quickened his movements to get to her, not caring about the various cuts he was getting.
The most frightening sight was the look on her face. Ava's puffy eyes were closed and her blue lips trembled. She looked lifeless. Her backpack was clutched tightly to her chest with her shaking arms as if it provided her comfort or warmth. As if it was Lucas.
"Ava." He whispered to himself, dripping with sorrow, knowing that she wouldn't be able to hear him anyway.
Quickly but carefully, he climbed closer to her. The day they met replayed in his head as his eyes stung, tears clouding his vision. He reached for her backpack and wore it on his back to carry it. She was very fond of the backpack. Then, he wrapped an arm around her back and another under her shaking knees.
Ava's skin was so cold that he had to stop himself from flinching away at the sudden temperature. She must've been here for hours. Lucas thought painfully.
As if knowing she was in the arms of her mate, Ava snuggled closer to his chest as he cradled her. It was difficult to get down but once he was a few feet from the ground, he jumped and landed gracefully.
"Ava baby. I'm here now. You're ok." He whispered softly in her ear and pressed a kiss on her head.
"Lu Lu." Ava mumbled in reply. He didn't know if she was sleeping or awake but too tired to move.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, making his head snap at the person. It was Ryan, Connor and Mason. He was too entranced by his mate that he didn't even notice his friends arriving.
"She alright?" Mason asked, already looking intently at the shivering girl.
Lucas shook his head whilst Ava let out an adorable sneeze but the guilt was too much for him. He couldn't let himself feel any emotion other than that as he caused this to happen.
When they arrived at the pack house, Lucas' father couldn't stop asking questions. He wanted to know what happened as he saw Ava as a daughter, knowing full well Lucas and her would get married in the future. Ava seemed to bring out the softer side out of everyone so obviously, the sight of her sick was heartbreaking to many people.
Miss Lillian was crying out of pure worry for the girl. Ava's cute sneezes broke Lucas' heart every time. He refused to talk to anybody and just walked to his room with his mate. He knew someone would explain but right now, his focus was on Ava.
He laid her gently on the large bed and changed her out of her clothes. Swimming too deep in a sea of guilt, he couldn't even look at her lustfully. He didn't deserve to ever look at her like that after today. Lucas put Ava in one of his softest shirts and sweatpants, that were all too big for her, and then changed himself.
The covers were thick and Miss Lillian even brought up a hot water bottle for her, hoping she would warm up soon. Lucas pulled Ava on top of his body and wrapped his large arms around her. She wiggled to get closer and smiled graciously at his warmth.
He felt a wave of emotions wash over him as he laid there. Relief that she was now in his arms. Anger in himself for doing this to her. Concern that she was not ok or she'd be mad at him in the morning. And guilt. Guilt for not being good enough for his mate.
Thank you for reading!
Much love <3