“Hey Hayley!” Axton shouts, as he comes over to me and ruffles my hair. I pat down my now messed up hair as Axton walks over to kitchen door frame to lean on it.
“Hello,” I say with a tight smile. Axton squints his eyes at me, but then looks away before I can even wonder why he gave me that look.
Jax walks over to me and stands behind me, wrapping his arms around me. Axton stares out the window, giving us some privacy.
“I’m going now baby. I want you to know that if meeting some of the members is too much, we can leave it for another day. I don’t want you to feel any pressure that you have to go and meet the pack.” I shake my head to go say something, but Jax beats me to it. “If it’s too much but you want to do it, get Axton to mindlink me and I will be there. See you soon baby,” he says, then pecks me on the temple.
Jax walks over to Axton and mutters, “Look after her.” Axton nods in response.
Jax gives one more look towards me with a quick wink, then walks out of the packhouse.
“You’re nervous,” Axton observes. Without having realised, my legs are bouncing up and down as anxiety courses through my body.
I nod my head. I start chewing on my finger nails as I stare blankly into nothing. Axton comes over to me and gently pulls my hand from my teeth, making me look at him.
“You’ll be okay. I’ll be with you the entire time, and if it gets too much we can leave. They will all understand so it’s no big issue. We can be there for just five minutes then leave,” he says as he strokes the back of my hand.
There is something about Axton where I feel calm. Whenever he is near, I feel that I can think clearly and I forget everything that has happened. I feel comfortable with him. I like him, but not in that way. More like a brotherly way.
I stand up and give him a hug. He rests his chin on the top of my head, giving me a squeeze. I pull away and give a smile.
“No problem,” he says then ruffles my hair like usual.
He wanders over to the fridge and steels a can of drink. He downs the whole can, squeezes it together, making it into a pea size, then throws it into the bin like a basketball player.
He checks the thing on his wrist then says, “We have an hour to kill before we have to leave, so what do you want to do?”
I shrug my shoulders, not sure of what to do.
“Hmm. I think I saw UNO in the living room the other day. Come, I’ll teach you how to play. Trust me you’ll like it.”
He holds out his hand which I take as he leads the way...
“It’s beginners luck,” Axton says with a sulk. He has been saying that for the past thirty rounds.
I burst out laughing, stick my tongue out and shout, “I win!”
Axton rolls his eyes and mutters, “Yeah, yeah, don’t go on.” He checks the weird thing again on his wrist and says, “Come on, let’s head off then we won’t have to rush.”
I nod my head and pack up the cards. I head towards the door and open it, for it only to be slammed back closed. I turned to Axton with my brows frowned and confusion written on my face.
“You can’t go like that.”
I look myself up and down, not understanding what was wrong. I had my normal, everyday clothes on, so why can’t I leave?
When I look back at him, he shakes his head. “First of all, you’ve got no shoes on. Second, it’s becoming Auteum so you’re gonna need a coat. And lastly, I got you some earmuffs.”
He walks over to where a line of coat pegs are and takes off a royal blue, button up coat and comes over and helps me into it. Once I’m all zipped up, he walks back over to the wall and picks up a pair of white trainers. He bends down to help me put them on, and I rest my hands on his shoulders to stable myself. He ties my shoes for me as I still don’t know how to tie them myself, and stands back up.
“I need to teach you how to tie your laces soon,” he says, almost as if he read my mind. I hum in agreement.
After, he grabs the pink, fluffy earmuffs and places them on my head. Now that I’m all wrapped up, he wraps himself up with a coat and says, with a charming grin, “There you go. Now we can leave.”
He grabs my hand and places it on his elbow for me to link around it and leads me outside.
Being free still seems so unreal. Being able to go where ever I want and whenever I want seems unimaginable. It’s unsettling.
The outside world still takes my breath away and I think that it will continue that way for a long time.
Ax leads me down the rather large steps from the packhouse and heads in the direction of the Flower Club as I still don’t know my way around the pack yet, as I haven’t left the packhouse.
Without realising, I grasp Axton’s arm tightly, subconsciously thinking that danger awaits me when I am perfectly safe.
“You’re okay. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you,” Axton says with a wink. I give a nod and I smile in a way to say I know but I’m still cautious.
I do trust Axton and so does Jax otherwise he wouldn’t have signed Axton to protect me, but the outside world is still so scary for me. I know Axton is perfectly capable of keeping me safe, it’s just that I’ve been on my own for thirteen years that I’ve got used to having to deal with everything on my own. I’m not good at expressing my emotions when I’ve been taught that they are a sign of weakness.
“The walk is only five minutes, so we won’t be out here long.” I heave a sigh of relief.
My legs are still sore from all the training with Jax that it’s hard to walk even ten footsteps. My breath becomes shorter and heavier with each step I take, put I push myself to keep going.
This is for Jax. For the pack. For me.
I can do this.
“You’re tired,” Ax states. “I can carry you if you like.”
“I’m okay, but thank you.”
“Okay, not long now. You see that building near the pack hospital?” He says as he points to the brick building next to hospital that I came out of when I first came here. I nod my head. “Well that’s it. That’s the Flower Club. Jax thought it would be a good idea to put it near to the hospital as a lot of pregnant females go to the Club, so if any of them go into labour, they wouldn’t have to travel far.”
Jax’s consideration makes my smile beam from ear to ear. He really does care.
As I take the last few steps towards the Flower Club, I take in a deep breath, preparing myself to meet Jax’s pack members...