It has been two years since my father’s death and our lives have changed. Our grandparents came all way from Africa to see their daughter and us. They stayed with us for a few months, and it helped our mama to some extent.
Grand Ma Amina enhanced our Swahili, while Grand Pa spent most of his time telling us stories. Their visit gave us more security to suppress our mother's suicidal thoughts. Yes, It's that bad and she was not even marked! She made us understand more about true mates, as long as two mates accept their bond and are strong enough to overcome possessiveness, in a little way they can, then the mark is nothing.
Mum tried to end her life twice and her attempts made us even more concerned with her. The only time we heard her voice is when she sobbed for her mate at night after waking up from nightmares. It was the most difficult time of our lives.
As for me, I continued my training for two years by taking The Bar Professional Training Course and Pupillage to become a Barrister. I promised Mama I’d be strong and that’s what I am doing. I’ll stand with my brother by his side to make sure he doesn’t sort the workload by himself and help him when he gets in trouble since the business world can get brutal.
I didn't want to stay idle while my brother was out there fighting, and coming back home with stress and adds up a headache when he thinks of our mom. I wanted to share responsibilities with him.
Two years were enough to improve mum’s health. Even though she tried to appear normal, we saw how really sad she was. But at least she was trying. She got out of her room, she smiled and oh! She cooked. On my last days of legal training, I came back to find the house a chocolate cookies heaven. Mom's improvement did a good job to Shaun as he started to regain his lost weight.
Jake had been busy with his father running their export company, but he made time for us. He usually came with Marvin’s Chicken to make mama smile. I remember when I used to avoid him after the kiss we shared. He decided to confront me three weeks after mom’s return. I was in my bedroom when I heard a knock. I could smell him. I felt heat rise on my cheeks as I remembered what happened between us the last time we were in this room. I opened up the door with an awkward smile.
“Hey!” I started.
“Hey..!” he smiled. "I wanted to check on you, to see if you’re alright”
I decided to stop looking at the floor like it’s the most interesting thing and looked at him, his eyes had a flash of uncertainty. "Come in..” I left the door open for him to enter as I climbed back onto my bed leaving a space for him to sit beside me. After a few minutes of silence, I spoke up. “I'm okay J, thanks. How are you holding up with Uncle Allan?”
“Uh.. everything is going smoothly. I'm a fast learner you know”. He smiled and winked. I giggled.
“Um, Jake..” I looked up to him, “about that kiss.. you see..” I tried to explain but he cut me before I could go any further.
“I’m sorry Phoenix, I didn’t mean it to happen, I mean yeah I like you but I don’t like to make you think like I’m taking advantage of you..” he looked into my eyes as to search for something I wasn’t sure of. He looked sincere and I could smell his anxiety.
I sighed. “Jake, you never made me think that way. On the contrary, it was what I needed from you at that time. I never meant to lead you on or anything, you deserve better than that.”
“What do you mean?” He asked with a cute frown slightly forming on his face.
“I don’t think I’m right for you Jake, you’re a great guy and I want you to be happy with a woman who shall truly love you. With everything happening in my life now, I cannot…..”
He interrupted “I understand, you shouldn’t be pushed into something like this considering what you’re going through now. But Nix, I can wait for you”.He purred as he reached for my hands, then his hand came to brush my right cheek. He stared deep into my eyes. God, what have I started?!
“Jake please…” I sighed. “I cannot make you happy as a woman”
“Why should you be the one to judge? What if I am to make you happy?”
“That wouldn’t be fair J!” my eyes started to sting with unshed tears. “You deserve more than this, please?”
“Shhh, baby! It's okay. But let me try to wait for you”. His face reached for mine and his nose brushed mine playfully as he whispered “please?” Then he gave me a small perk on my lips.
“Promise me first, that when you get a chance with someone better, you’ll try it out. Do not make me your priority”
“You’ll always be my priority Nix” He murmured stubbornly
“Jake!”I glared at him.
“Okay! I Promise you.” He smiled as he pulled me into a comfy hug. He knows how much I love hugs. My wolf starts to growl inside my head. Really? You do this today? I tell her as I internally roll my eyes while she huffs inside my head.
“I don’t want him”
“And I'm doing you a favor, you’re welcome”I tell her.
“He’s not strong enough for us” She almost sounded like she was in denial.
“As I said, you’re welcome”
“If things were different, he would have been a potential choice mate."
My jaw slacked! “What are you saying you crazy shit?”
“Jake nice, but not good enough.” She then went quiet
She never makes sense. Even if she dislikes something she always considers my feelings. I like Jake but I don’t want to be in my father’s shoes either. He was forced. I shan’t be induced. This is just a mere crush it shall be over. I let out a loud tired breath.
“Hey, you alright?” Jake inquired.
“Yeah I just want to go lie down with mum, I have a study date tonight with Alexa, my colleague so I need to relax my disturbed brain.”
He chuckled as he stood up and took my hand. “let me take you.”
Amora always visited and slept over on weekends, so that our bond doesn’t weaken due to the growing responsibilities. I wish I told her about my true nature, but I'm afraid she’ll fear me and I’ll lose the only closest girlfriend I have.
One day when I came from Marvin’s restaurant, I found mama at the kitchen island drinking warm milk while playing with her phone, she must be texting her favorite cousin Hidaya.
“Hey mom.. look what I brought!” I raised my hand which carried the plastic bag containing the package.
She looked up and smiled.
I went to take plates from the cupboard. I washed my hands and slipped beside her. “Go wash your hands and let's dig in,” I told her excitedly. She put her phone on the table as she stood up and moved to the tap.
"Baby...” She started.
"Yes, mommy!" I turned to watch her closing the tap and started moving towards me. She sat again beside me.
"There is something I wish to tell you and Shaun, but since you're here I'll tell you first."
"Sure go ahead!" I encouraged her as I separated sum meat for Shaun, he wouldn't appreciate finding a delicious scent without a meal to support it. He'd go out and enjoy a grilled steak and bring some for himself as comeback revenge. I rise to go keep it on the fridge and come back to sit finding her already at her first piece. I started to eat my piece as I listened to her.
"I'm thinking about moving out from here. This house is too much for me. So many painful memories. I want a simplier , somehow smaller place in the countryside. With nature. It shall be simplier for both you and your brother there to shift and be yourselves. Consider it as starting afresh." She explained.
I thought about it for a few minutes as I finished up chewing my piece. She’s right. She went through a lot. Burying her daughters and losing her husband. This house haunts her. Mum used to be quiet but this is too much. She’s unhappy but atleast she’s trying. I'm happy that she’s eager to live again. Even though she’s middle-aged now but she’s still not old. She doesn’t need to work for her remaining days, we’re here for her now. She should live like a queen she is. What are children for after all? So I asked her, “Which place do you have in mind?”
“Castleton” She said.
My eyes widened. “Why mama! That’s indeed far away from London!” just as I finished my sentence I heard a car engine outside. “That must be my brother. I left him at the office as I passed through at Marvin’s” She nodded as we continued eating.
"Since he’s here, let's hear him out as well!” She said. I nodded and continue eating away. What shall Shaun think? With him being so uptight and overprotective of mama, it's going to be a hard job to make him agree to this. I better be full, I need all the energy I can get.
He came in smiling showing off his dimples. He kissed Mama as we went through the how was your day questions. I passed behind him as he sat and went to the fridge to take his share out. I heated it for him and after it was nicely warmed, I served him his full plate. I took a glass of water and served him and once everything was settled I gave him a perk on his cheek as I glided back onto my stool.
He started to dig in and we ate in silence for few minutes before he spoke up. “You knew better to save some for me.” I laughed.
That’s the thing about us in this house, we all love to eat. That’s why mommy is chubby. I looked at her and smile. Daddy used to tell me how much he loved her skin tone, and how some girls used to envy that. It's a blessing to find someone who loves you just the way you are. I look at her and smile sadly to the memory.
I looked at Shaun and started “so..”
“What?” uh ruude. I rolled my eyes.“Mom has something to tell you, well us but I came home first so.."
He looked up to mum expectantly, “Yes beautiful?”
My wolf scoffed, look at how smooth he can be. I chuckled and they both looked at me. “No no don’t mind me”.I told them. So mom went on telling him what she told me.
He paused to think, as I finished my pieces to find out I still wasn't full. I looked at mum, she shook her head which meant she was content. I sighed as I stood up and went again to the fridge and took out raw pieces of chicken and started to prepare them. After a few minutes I started to fry them. Mom is used to this, our metabolism needs us to eat, a lot.
As I cooked I heard him say “How can I be calm with you out of my sight for more than 12 hours? I’m not used to it” He paused. “ Anyway, which place do you have in mind?”
I replied with a grin . “Castleton”
Silence.. great I foresaw this.
Few seconds, minutes...Mum blew out a breath.
"Mama...!" He started to be interrupted.
"I know its hard for you son, but I can't stay here. I want a new environment. I'm tired of city life anyway." Mum explained.
He let go of a long breath I didn’t know he was holding, then he replied with a kindest tone I never heard from him before, “I understand Mama. But I just can't let you live there alone.” He paused for a moment then he spoke on his serious tone. "In fact, I won't let you live in a human settlement.”
At moments like this, he truly reminds me of Daddy, he’s looks so much like him. Uptight bastard!
“What? Why?” Now mom spoke up
“You’re thinking of living in a territory of the Demon Alpha. I’m rogue, how can I visit? Phoenix has no problem with that, she smells human. No rogue werewolf has the balls to enter that territory. I'm not ready to be a meal.” He said with a huff
I snorted. “You’re a disgusting choice of meal.”
He gave me a dirty glare.
“Are you serious Shaun? I’m used to a normal life, I wouldn’t fit in pack life.” Mom said. "I didn't think that place was a pack property. Even so, why shouldn't I live around humans?"
“Then pick someplace else, and to answer your question; I need to protect you from who ever is pursuing us so human dwelings aren't favorable for us anymore.” he replied.
“No” Mom stated coldly. "If I don't live in a pack around there then I'll live with the humans around there, you'll find a way to visit."
“Are you even sure the rumors are true? The cannibalism part.” I challenged him.
He shrugged. “It's his wolf who eats raw meat and I’m not sacrificing myself to find out. You smell human, go find out.”
I raised a brow “Who is going to trust a human with a werewolf information Einstein?”
“You kids are hurting my head.” Mum complained.
We looked at her. I let out a long tired breath and looked back at the frying pan as I placed out the already fried chicken. “I have an idea.”
Shaun eyed the bowl full of pieces of meat. I smiled as I went to him and let him take the pieces he desired. I went back to my seat and started to explain. “Shaun has to visit the demon and ask to join the pack. Make an appointment. You have a clear record, clean lifestyle. Decent family. A rogue like that is a valuable asset to his pack. Actually, we are lone wolves, not rogues.”
“You do realize his pack is rich. He stays there because he believes it’s a simple but beautiful place. And he hates people. How is my situation going to woo him?” Shaun challenged.
“You’re strong brother. Yes, we are not as wealthy as before, you know… but at least we live a comfortable life. No scandals. And you’re obviously a beta. Your or let's say our contribution to his pack could be valuable at the right time. Now think about it and let me eat”. I took a bite on my food as I mumbled, “and you’re welcome mama.”
"He might even like your serious personality”
He rolled his eyes and we laughed.