My eyes often drifted to the door. He had not arrived at the Diner yet.
“Are you expecting someone?” I was startled by Alice’s voice and turned towards her.
“What? No?” I denied and got busy myself with the system.
Alice chuckled and moved towards the tables. I sighed in disappointment and resumed my work. He had never showed up the whole day. After biding night to Alice and Diana I stepped out to see him waiting in the same place as yesterday.
When he found me searching for him, he crossed the street to reach me.
“Hi” I said without knowing how to start the conversation.
“There is a park nearby. Can we go there to talk?” I asked. He nodded and walked with me towards the park. We sat on a bench in silence. People were still around and children were playing here and there.
“So.. Have you decided?” He asked turning towards me.
I nodded. Clearing my throat I said, “I thought about your proposition. Even though I am afraid of the heart break again, I cannot live thinking what if, throughout my life.” I took a deep breath and continued. “Yes, I accept your offer. Let us be friends. But...”
His growing smile dropped slightly.
“How long we are going to be friends?”
He pondered on my question for a minute.
“How about a month?”
A month? Could I sustain that long? I didn’t have a choice. Did I?
“Ok.” I smiled at him.
He now extended his hand with a smile.
“Hi, I am Drake Mason.”
I laughed and shook his hand.
“Dr. Rose Nooman.”
We then talked about ourselves to know each other. I understood that he was a warrior. His brother was an Alpha and was very close to him. He lost his parents at young age in a Rouge attack. But he had not answered when I asked his pack name. I was a bit disappointed but left the matter. I also told him about myself, my parents and why I wanted to become a doctor. We talked for some time and when I looked around, the park was almost empty.
“Oh look at the time. We were talking for almost an hour.” I said looking at my watch.
“Yes.” He also looked surprised.
“Rose, Can I meet you in Diner from tomorrow?”
“Why do you ask?” I asked him.
“I don’t know. I want to know that you are OK in us meeting in public.”
“Are you?” I asked him back. Did he feel embarrassed to be seen with me?
“I am more than happy. Friends, Remember? I just want to know how you feel.”
“Friends, Remember?” I re-quoted his words and we both, chuckled. And I continued.
“I don’t have any problem. I will meet you in Diner tomorrow.”
When he offered to walk along to my home this time, I did not rejected it. We just walked in silence till we reached my doorstep.
“Err... This is it. Welcome to my humble abode.”
“Are you inviting me in?” He asked in surprise.
“What? No. I mean not no.” I stopped my blabbering when he laughed.
“I understand. See you tomorrow.” He said with a smile.
I smiled sheepishly at my actions.
“Good night.” I said to him.
“Good night.” He waited till I entered my home and left. I stood near the window, watching his figure as it disappeared by the corner of the street.
It’s been two weeks since we had met in the park and Drake was visiting me in the Diner every day. He would come just before the closing time, and waited for me. We either had the dinner in the Diner itself or just roamed around the town. Later Drake would drop me in my home.
Alice is surprised when I told that Drake and I became friends. She could not connect the dots, as how we became friends. Diana did not commented for a couple of days, but on the end of week one, she insisted on talking with Drake in person. I did not knew what they talked, but from that day onwards, Drake was allowed to sit in the Diner as long as he wanted and he actually got a special seat in the corner. And Diana was warmer towards him and smiled more than often at me. I could not decipher her actions, but did not want to take a risk by questioning her.
Each day, we tried to understand us, more like our likes and tastes. Surprisingly we liked kind of books and music. And I never imagined him to be a book person, but we could not judge a book by its cover. He surprised me more and more each day when I got to know about him more. I marveled hearing his story as how he travelled across the country, how he stayed with rogues as one of them, how he learned about them and framed a strategy to counterattack them. He not only eliminated the violent ones, but helped the innocent rogues to join the nearby packs, which was not an easy task considering about the general opinion of packs about rogues.
I fell in love with him more each day. I sighed as I could not anticipate the future waiting for us. Sometimes I get panicked whether I took a wrong decision in giving a chance on this relationship. But we were not in a relationship yet, right? My mind was clouded in confusions and tangled thoughts.
I came back to the present when Alice shook me.
“Earth to Rosie. Where are you?”
I pushed her slightly in shock and started giggling when she fell down. I shot up my hands in surrender, when she got up and glared at me.
“Sorry, you startled me.” I said with a smile.
She nodded but could not hide her smile.
“Your man has come.” She shook her head towards the corner booth.
“He is not my man. Just a friend.” I said back.
“Say that to your bright eyes and red cheeks.” I rubbed my cheeks at her comment and she started laughing.
“Got you…” She said and moved out towards the tables.
I would take care of her later. With that, I moved towards his booth.
He looked up from his phone and smiled bright.
“Hi Rose. Busy?”
“Nah. Just the same. I will take another couple of hours to get more customers.” Then I noticed the bruise on his cheek.
“What happened?” He hissed as I touched his bruise.
“Sorry.” I took my hand away.
“It was nothing.”
“Drake, it does not look like nothing. But if you don’t want to talk about it, I can understand.” I could not hide the pain in my voice completely.
“What? No. I did not want you to worry about that.”
“Let me be the judge for it.” I said mildly.
“Today Aubrey had come to visit his brother. When she saw me, we just asked about each other and she gave friendly hug while leaving.”
I growled when he says about hugging her. Drake stopped and looked at me with a smile.
“Sorry.” I smiled sheepishly. He chuckled and continued.
“Her mate Leon came at the same time. He is still on edge at me considering our past. I can understand that. He could not control his wolf when he saw us together and hit me on my face. After Alpha Reol’s intervention, he calmed down, understood on what happened. He apologized for his behavior and they left for his pack.”
“Are you alright?” I asked in worry. I knew his feelings towards Aubrey and I could not find what was going on in his mind.
“I am fine. But…”
“Even though my visit is for Aubrey, the main purpose of my visit is the alliance between Alpha Reol’s pack and mine. The talks are not over yet and I can see that Alpha Reol is not comfortable in me staying in the same place as his sister. Even though they are not staying here, she is still visiting often. I cannot go back till the talks are finished.”
I could feel a bit down when he mentions the reason for his stay is only for the pack alliance.
“Also…” He stopped looking at me.
“Also...” I asked without a thought.
“The problem now is, I need a place to stay nearby the pack, but far enough not to disturb Aubrey and her mate.”
I thought for a couple of minutes and looked at him.
“I have a solution.”
He looked up at me with a question in his eyes.
“You know that I am staying alone. And I have a spare bedroom in my house. You can stay with me.”
“What? No. I don’t want to burden you.”
He said softly.
“Friends, Remember?” I said with a smile which reflected in his face.
“I don’t have a problem. When do you want to move in?”
I blushed once the words flew out of my mouth.
“That is... What is meant is…”
He laughed at my stammering, which made me glare at him.
“Sorry. I got what you are trying to say. How about tomorrow. I will talk to Alpha Reol and will come with my belongings tomorrow.”
I nodded with my smile. We then realized that our hands are locked together. I took out my hands rather fast and left with a bright red face.