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chapter.20

Chapter Twenty

LUCAS watched as the closed casket was lowered gently into the ground. He gave comfort to Ava as she sobbed into his chest, both feeling depressed but only one showing it.

He kept his face emotionless throughout the whole funeral, surrounded by a sea of grief stricken bodies in black outfits. The whole pack watched silently as the beloved member was covered up with soil. In fact, most of the town was present at the funeral, the death touching everyone.

Words were spoken but Lucas couldn't focus on any of it. It was like he wasn't there and only his body was present. The touch of his mate was all he felt. He tried to focus on that but it was impossible when sadness seeped into his skin. The suffering look on Ava's perfect face shattered his heart even more than he thought could be possible.

He didn't know how he was supposed to feel. None of it felt real. It felt like one big nightmare. This was the person who had looked after him all his life. This was the person who was there for him. This was the person he had just buried. The death had only happened two days ago but to him, it felt like an eternity.

Flashback

Lucas didn't waste any time. As soon as Issac, a member of his pack, told him where it happened, he ran. He ran faster than he thought was possible.

Of course, he quickly told Ava to meet him at his room but she ignored him and followed after her worried mate. He didn't know what to expect. Issac hadn't even told him who was hurt but it was obviously someone. Lucas didn't want anyone in his pack to be injured nor die but he had a terrible gut feeling it was someone he was close to.

Lucas knew he reached it when he saw the backs of many pack members surrounding something. Some were crying silently, letting the tears slide down their cheeks, and some were bawling, cursing at the sky.

He pushed through the crowd, admittedly forgetting Ava for a second as he needed to get to the injured person as quickly as possible. Tearing through the mass of people, Lucas didn't meet any of their eyes, not able to face the fact that because of him not being there, someone they all cared about was hurt. He felt their eyes burn holes through him as they made way for their Alpha and jumped back from whatever they were looking at - the body.

And then he saw it.

The blood.

There was a lot of it. There was too much.

The colour drained off his face as he saw a bloody Miss Lillian lying on the ground, gasping for air.

Lucas fell to his knees in front of her, getting blood on his clothes but he didn't care. He tried to inspect her wounds but he couldn't see anything past the dark shade of red all over clothes and her pale, wrinkled skin. From the amount of blood he knew her wounds were deep. Fatal.

"M-miss Lillian." He stuttered, too shocked to say anything else. He was surprised he managed to croak out her name as all the air left him when her light grey eyes met his.

He recognised Ava's gasp, which was quickly followed by loud sobs and wailing. Lucas was about to comfort her but he heard Ryan do it instead, whispering soothing words to her. He knew he should be the one to comfort his mate but he couldn't move, frozen on the spot in front of his beloved guardian. Right now, he was thankful someone was there to help Ava.

Lucas watched as Miss Lillian struggled for breath. He felt useless as all he could do was encase her cold hands in his warm ones. Her lips parted, air coming out in ragged breaths.

"L-look-look a-a-after Av-Ava f-for m-m-me." She whispered to him. It pained him just as much to watched her wince after the short sentence.

As much as Lucas tried to hold it in, a tear ran down his cheek. He wanted to be strong for his pack, for Ava, for Miss Lillian, but at this point, he knew that she was going to die. His tears were uncontrollable and now fell freely.

He forced a small nod, finding the action difficult when all he wanted was to lie down and die with her. "I w-will. I-I prom-promise." Lucas struggled for words as he watched her grow weaker by the second.

Miss Lillian reached up to touch his cheek so he held her hand to hold it up, giving her a wobbly smile. She sighed happily. "You-you'll h-have s-s-such be-beautiful ch-children."

He laughed weakly. A Lava shipper 'till the end. Lucas shook his head at her and gave a kiss on her wrinkled hand. "Please don't leave me." He begged, his voice suddenly sounding like child again and not the strong alpha he was supposed to be.

"I-I'm s-sorry." Miss Lillian coughed, blood appearing in her mouth. The sight only made the sobs around him stronger. "Be strong f-for her. B-be her m-mate. Be the-the fa-family she d-deserves."

He brought his head closer to her as her words grew quieter. Lucas knew it was only a matter of seconds and he felt like throwing up. The smell of blood was overwhelming now, filling his nostrils of the metallic scent. He nodded again, doubting his ability to form words.

Lucas felt a strong hand on his shoulder and saw his father crouched next to him, tears of his own hitting the bloody ground.

"I h-have to-to tell y-you some-something." Lucas looked into her eyes, watching as her eyelids closed slowly and her breaths slower. "Veron-Veronica's b-b-back." Her words were barely audible but he made sure to listen intently to every one.

"I-I'll avenge y-you. I-I'll a-avenge you." He repeated, resting his forehead gently in hers and feeling her skin become wet with both their tears.

That was the last thing Miss Lillian heard before she took her last breath.

Flashback

He was later told that she was mauled by the rogues but the main cause of her death was a stab in the back with a branch. The branch was removed by a pack member before Lucas got there so he didn't know until he was informed by the pack doctor.

"Alpha?"

Lucas turned his head to see a pack member, Will, looking at him with sympathy filled eyes, rimmed with tears. Will was one of the strongest pack warriors, nearly like an uncle to Lucas as he was also Ryan's father and worked along side his own as a Beta.

"My condolences." Will pulled him in for a quick hug, patting him on the back.

The alpha nodded in appreciation. "Thank you Will."

"Poor Joe. He was going to propose to her you know. They went on like five dates but he said something about not wasting time." Will shook his head sadly. "Poor guy wasn't fast enough." Lucas didn't respond, not being one for gossip and just turned to the head stone that presented Miss Lillian's name. "How are you holding up? I know how close you and Miss Lillian were."

"Miss Lillian was close to all of us, a well loved woman in the pack."

Will frowned at Lucas and pursed his lips. "That's true but she was like a grandmother to you, a mother even."

"What is your point?" He snapped. Lucas knew who the woman was to him. He didn't need to be reminded of his loss when he was clearly standing in her funeral.

"What I mean is that you haven't shed a single tear since two days ago. The wounds are still fresh. It is ok to cry Alpha." Lucas looked at the man, he had called an uncle, with cold dark eyes.

"You do not need to see me cry to know that I am grieving. And you are right. I am the alpha. Meaning, I need to be strong for the pack. Not weeping in the corner like some sad little boy." His fists were clenched as his eyes turned to slits, glaring at the concerned man.

"I understand Alpha."

"Good. Now if you want to continue to talk, we'll talk in my office about catching this Veronica." Lucas was more determined to catch her more than ever. Now having killed two people he loved dearly, he was ready for her blood to spill.

Will agreed but said he wanted to have a few days to himself and family, him too grieving the loss of Miss Lillian. After a short acknowledgement from Lucas, they said their farewells. Other people came up to Lucas, apologising for her death when he knew it was no ones fault but his own.

He hadn't even realised Ava wasn't by his side until the end of the service when everyone had left. Panicked, he turned around in a circle to look for her.

Luckily, his panic was short lived as he heard whimpering and sniffles coming from near a tree in the cemetery. Instinctively, he looked up at the branches but when he didn't see a small body hanging on, he looked down. On the other side on the tree was a crying Ava, her legs tucked into her chest as she buried her head into her knees.

He crouched onto the ground and wrapped an arm around her, whispering sweet nothings into her ear to calm her cries down. His little mate instantly curled into him, crying into his tear soaked tux. Lucas was worried about her. She hadn't said a word since the death happened as the only thing that left her mouth was hiccups whenever she cried her big heart out too much.

"Shhhh. There there. It's ok, baby. You'll be ok." He whispered, kissing the shell of her ear as he spoke.

"I-I'm s-sorry." Ava sobbed hysterically, her words barely recognisable but when Lucas did, his eyebrows creased in confusion.

"You have nothing to be sorry for." He reassured her, rubbing her tense back as she violently shook with hiccups.

"I should b-be comforting y-you."

Lucas rocked them back and forth, shaking his head at his silly girl. "No, my beautiful mate. We comfort each other. You need it more right now."

"N-no. I k-know you're s-sad. Y-you j-just won't show i-it. I c-can tell. I'm y-your mate." She sniffled. Lucas gave her a tissue to wipe her snotty nose, which she took gratefully. He should've felt happy that she had acknowledged herself as his mate for the first time but right now, he couldn't feel anything. His heart had already broke when Miss Lillian died in his arms and it shattered to pieces when he saw the tears come out of Ava's eyes.

"I know, baby. I know." He said, wiping her wet cheeks with his thumb.

"It's m-my f-fault." She whispered.

Lucas was shocked. How can she even think that? He knew it definitely wasn't her fault but she seemed to think the opposite as she chastised herself. For the first time, he saw the guilt in her eyes and realised that it was because she thought this whole incident was because of her. She truly believed it.

"No baby. Of course it isn't. It's not anyone's fault but my own. I'm the alpha and it's my responsibility to protect the pack and I didn't do that." He told her, believing every single word. Lucas was swimming in guilt since that day and he had finally told someone. He had finally admitted that he was to blame. The burden felt lighter but still weighed heavy on his heart.

Ava shook her head in his chest, refusing to believe such words. "N-no. Y-you were saving m-me because I was t-too stupid t-to es-escape." She sobbed harder, making it nearly impossible for Lucas to understand her words.

He held her head in both hands and lifted it so her eyes met his. "Ava. You are not stupid. Ok?" He said sternly, raising an eyebrow at her, daring her to say something. In a softer voice, he continued, "now, there is no point playing the blame game because what's done is done and we can't change what has happened."

They both believed they were to blame and neither could convince the other otherwise. No matter what was said, the feeling of guilt was heavy and the sadness that surrounded them was unavoidable.

~~~

Flashback

"Miss Wiwian!" A young Lucas came in running into the kitchen and crashed into Miss Lillian's legs, wrapping his little arms around them.

"What's the matter my dear? What's gotten you all teary eyed?" She said, wiping the tears off the sobbing boy. Miss Lillian picked the three year old up and put him on the counter.

"Daddy no wove Wucas!"

She continued to wipe his tears with a tissue and cooed, "of course he does! How can he not?"

The little boy frantically shook his head. "No. Mummy die so he work work work." Miss Lillian watched as he spoke with animated gestures and glassy eyes.

"That doesn't mean he doesn't love you." She spoke to him in a soothing tone, rubbing his belly to calm him down.

"You make a-apple cwumble. You wove me. Daddy no wake apple cwumble. Daddy no wove me." He explained to her.

Miss Lillian had made Lucas plenty of apple crumbles, knowing it was his favourite. Lucas knew his daddy was busy but he would've thought he'd have time for apple crumble. So, it was easy to assume that his daddy didn't want to spend time with him and preferred to be alone and work all of the time.

"How about, we make apple crumble and then eat it in his office. We'll make him sooo jealous, that he'll regret not eating with us." She suggested to him with wide eyes, showing her excitement.

Lucas obviously got excited too, wanting to make his daddy jealous and hopefully he'll love him again. So, after they made apple crumble, they brought it to the big office Lucas never really went in.

"Is anything wrong?" His daddy asked when he saw Miss Lillian and Lucas at the door, holding a big plate of apple crumble.

"Nope. Lucas and I just wanted to eat in here." Lucas caught the wink that Miss Lillian gave him and tried to wink back, failing but giggling nonetheless.

The alpha looked at them with confusion and shrugged. "As long as you don't disturb me."

Lucas mentally cheered and ran to the large sofa at the side of the office. Quickly, he devoured the dessert and made exaggerated "mmm" sounds after every bite.

"This is delicious isn't it, Lucas my lovely? So yummy." Miss Lillian said, closing her eyes in satisfaction but peeping out of one eye to look at Lucas' daddy. This made Lucas laugh and jump up and down on the couch, hoping their plan was working.

"Yum yum! Yum yum!" He cheered, before stuffing his cheeks with more apple crumble.

"What have you got there?" Lucas finally heard his daddy ask.

"Apple crumble, Alpha." Miss Lillian told him, sending Lucas a cheeky smile.

Lucas' daddy came closer to the pair and grabbed Lucas, putting him on his lap as the boy held tightly onto his spoonful of apple crumble. "Can I have some?" He asked.

Lucas shook his head vigorously, giggling with Miss Lillian.

"Really? You're not going to share with your daddy?"

Again, he responded with a shake of the head.

"How about I give you a thousand kisses?"

Lucas shook his head, mumbling a no.

"Or I can just tickle you." His daddy said and suddenly the giggles of Lucas echoed in the large office. Miss Lillian watched the two as Lucas tried to squirm out of the alpha's grasp, yelling that he would share the apple crumble.

Flashback ended

~~~

Lucas sighed as he saw the clock. 2:34am. It was a couple of weeks since the funeral and he had been drowning himself in work, not allowing him time to drown in tears instead. He was determined to catch this Veronica person and the traitor that is letting the rogues in the pack and the sooner the better. Clearly, her plan was thought through as she kidnapped Ava to distract Lucas from protecting the pack.

He tugged on his hair in frustration at the memory. It haunted him that he was to blame for the murder. He felt that if he could've told someone he was going to get Ava so they could be more prepared. He felt that he should've known it was a trap.

Lucas was disappointed in himself and wanted to redeem himself as an Alpha by catching Veronica and killing her, torturing her like Lucas had felt since Miss Lillian's death.

What was even worse was that he unknowingly separated himself from people, including his own mate. He had hardly spent time with her since he spent all of his time in his office. She brought him food but that was it, both having nothing to say.

Ava was now staying at the pack house permanently. Because Lucas knew that they both loved each other and were dating, he didn't want her living away from him. He paid Miss Barnaby to not tell social services and just keep it a secret until Ava could legally leave. He had to threaten her too, of course.

But, despite living in the same house, he had never missed her more.

He groaned and pushed the papers off the mahogany desk, kicking them as they fell. The creak of the dear paused his break down.

Lucas fell into his chair as he watched his little mate walk to him in one of his large white t-shirt, looking like an angel as it swayed with her steps. She eyed the mess on the floor but didn't say anything. Lucas closed his eyes, exhausted and wishing for sleep to come but he knew it wouldn't.

His lap felt heavier as he opened his eyes to see a sleepy Ava settle herself on him, wiggling to get comfortable. Groaning, he grabbed her hips and pulled her to lie on his chest, his back resting on the large chair.

"I brought you warm milk." She whispered to him, presenting the large mug in her hands.

He took it and kissed her lips softly, feeling the warmth he missed fill his chest again. "Thank you baby."

Lucas sipped the tasty drink and placed it on the desk, followed by a kiss on Ava's lips again. "I'm in love with you."

"M'love with you too." She mumbled, her eyes closed as she fell asleep.

With his mate in his arms at the dead of night and only the sound of their breathing in the room, Lucas finally felt it was ok to cry.

And so he did.

~~~

Thank you for reading!

Who do you feel sad for the most?
Lucas. Ava. John. Joe. Miss Lillian.

I love warm milk!

WORD COUNT: 3253

Much love <3

~~~

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