“Surprise!” I chucked the wad of cash into Kendra’s hands while she stood at her apartment doorway with her mouth wide open. Obviously, she didn’t expect me to actually come through with her tuition.
“And I brought another surprise!” I shook a brown paper bag that I had in my other hand. I managed to make a pit stop on the way home from work to the liquor store. Might as well celebrate? I literally robbed the dangerous Alpha I was apparently dating, and the funny thing was, I don’t remember agreeing to being his mate or girlfriend.
“Hunter! Where did you get this? I can’t accept this!” She handed the cash back to me and I pushed it back into her hands.
“Take it Kendra. You need to stay in school.”
“Well, I don’t know where you got this Hunter, it’s just-” I cut her off and thought of a good lie to keep her at bay.
“Well, if you want to know the truth, Marcus lent it to me.” I chuckled realizing he sort of lent it to me without him realizing.
“What’s gotten into you?” Kendra examined the cash and finally placed it in her purse beside the door. “Please come in.”
“Thanks!” I lifted the brown bag with the bottle of tequila as I made myself at home.
“You didn’t have to Hunter, really. This wasn’t your issue to fix...”
“Kendra, what the hell?” I looked around the empty room. No pieces of furniture, just a lamp fixture sitting on the floor along with painted canvases scattering the ground.
“Yea, um I was sort of short of funds for furniture.” She scratched her head while her cheeks flushed in embarrassment.
“No worries, I completely understand.” I chuckled.
Suddenly I felt a vibration in my pocket. It was probably Marcus.
I couldn’t gauge the situation I was in with him. How could he own the Rogue and not tell me? Was he hiding something? At the same time, I was lying to him about Alpha James and my fight that was next week. I’ve never opened myself up to someone else (other than my brother), and it scared the shit out of me. Was that my reason for lying? I couldn’t get a handle on my own emotions, let alone, understanding Marcus.
I took out my phone while Kendra started talking about her art ventures.
Marcus: “Where are you? I can’t get a hold of you. Sam said you already went home.”
Marcus: “Let me come pick you up, you are not at your apartment either. Please I’m worried, you shouldn’t be living in this part of the city, it’s too dangerous...”
Wait a minute, how does he know where I live?
“Do you mind? I got to call Marcus.”
“Yea, no problem, I’ll pour us some drinks.” Kendra grabbed the brown bag from my hand and analyzed the contents, “Patrón, my favourite!” She excitedly ran to the kitchen with the bottle.
“Leave some for me!” I yelled back as I heard her puttering in the kitchen for glasses.
I refocused my attention on my phone, looking at the messages while hovering my finger over the dial button. What should I say to him? I was anxious to see him again, but at the same time, I was scared.
I held my breath and dialed his number. It rang once and he immediately answered.
“Hunter.” Just hearing him say my name gave me shivers.
“Marcus. Or should I call you boss?”
“I need to see you; I’ll explain in person. I didn’t mean to lie to you. The city isn’t safe, especially at this hour of the night. Why aren’t you home?”
“How do you know where I live?”
“Sam gave me your address, I’m coming to get you, where are you?” Of course, Sam gave him my address. Why am I not surprised?
“I’m at my co-worker’s place. You wouldn’t even know where to go don’t worry about-”
Suddenly, the phone disconnected. Was he mad or did the phone just cut out? I shrugged my shoulders and thought that I would just deal with this bull shit later.
“I’m guessing that’s him. So, what did Mr. Alpha have to say Hunter?” She handed me the glass filled with the golden tequila. I immediately took a big swig and felt my anxiety drifting away.
“Just enough Kendra. Cheers.” We both clunked our glasses and took another swig.
“Hunter, I still can’t believe what you did. Why did you do this? I mean, we haven’t been friends for that long and, you know...” Kendra glanced out the nearby window as she played with her red hair.
“Kendra, you have your quirky ways, but you are full of the dreams I wish I aspired to have. My only goal in life was to escape, to try my best to get me and my brother out of this black hole, but I failed to realize there is more to life then running away. My life is full of… well… nothing. You are the light in my life that I couldn’t bear to see put out. I’ll be damned to see you kicked out of school.” I pursed my lips on the glass, watching her reaction, hoping it wasn’t too cheesy. I was never good at this sensitive mushy talk.
“Hunter.” She turned to me and I could see her eyes tearing up.
“Why are you crying?” I raised my eyebrows curiously. Was it something I said?
“Let me show you something.” She sniffled as she took another drink from her glass.
“I don’t think there is much to show in this apartment, but ok.” I took the final sip of liquid from my glass bearing it empty.
“Look.” She raised her tiny arms at a brown cloth hanging on the white wall.
“Wow, is this your art?” I coughed.
“No dummy.” She smirked as she pulled the cloth off the large canvas, and what I saw next left me speechless.
“Kendra. It’s umm.” I brought my index finger to my chin as I analyzed the large piece of art that was hidden beneath the brown cloth.
“Beautiful.” Her face lit up as she gazed at the enormous canvas. For a bubbly personality like herself, I didn’t take her to have such a dark perception, but I was in fascination and in awe.
It was a large landscape portrait of Elysium city, with hints of abstract figures scattered at the bottom. It held mostly dark shades of greys, blues and reds.
“Is that?” I pointed to the small writing across the bottom.
“My real father is, yes.”
“You’re real father? I thought your name was Kendra Dautaine and your father was French?”
“My biological father is Japanese, I was really young when my parents separated. My mother remarried my step father and both of them are French. Sorry it’s kind of complicated, I haven’t seen my biological father in years.”
“Well, that’s new.” I glanced over at her reanalyzing her features. She didn’t look Japanese at all.
“Sorry, I don’t tell many people, its a long story...I know, hair dye and make up. These freckles aren’t real either, I got most of my looks from my mother anyways.”
“Jeez, so your a Japanese French hottie? What do I call you now?” I teased to lighten the mood.
“Kendra is fine.” She chuckled.
“So,” I glanced back up at the canvas, still taking in all the dramatic edges and coloured figures that filled the dark city scape. I saw monsters, maybe they were werewolves, but the figures were so abstract your imagination could make them whatever you wanted them to be.
“Werewolves?” I pointed to one of them, which looked like it was holding a sickly looking woman in its giant black arms.
Kendra was silent as she starred at monster that held the woman. The figures didn’t resemble anything to me, but obviously it meant something to her.
“You alright?” I placed my hand on her arm.
“Oh.” It was like she was was in a daze, or maybe the picture had more meaning than what I realized.
“Hey, its beautiful.” I smiled and her face immediately lit up.
“Yes.” I glanced back to take it all in again. Every time I glanced back at the picture, I saw something different poking my interest.
“Miku?” Who’s that?” I pointed to a name scribbled on the bottom.
“Oh- it’s my Japanese name that my father gave me when I was born. I prefer Kendra though, but I use Miku for my art.”
“Miku.” I smiled, “I love it.”
“Hunter, I really appreciate it, and I’m sorry.” Her eyes fell to the floor as she swayed back and forth anxiously.
“Sorry? For what?”
“You didn’t have to help me like this. To be honest, I could ask my father, he works here in the city, but we haven’t spoken in years. I would rather get kicked out of school then see him again...”
“Are you serious?”
“Well, we sort of had a falling out, pretty messy situation after my mother left him.”
“You don’t need to explain yourself Kendra.” I placed my hand on her back.
I’ve never seen her this emotionally vulnerable before. It was like I was seeing a whole other side to her, and to top it off, I made all these assumptions about her, not realizing that her life was far from perfect. No one’s life is perfect, no matter where they came from.
“Want to know what it says?” She gulped the last of her tequila from her glass.
“Yea, of course.”
“It means, blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family.”
“Fucking right.” I pulled her in and tightly gave her a hug. I didn’t care that I was still sore, I wanted to hold her tightly, to let her know that she wasn’t alone.
“More Patron?” She smirked holding her empty glass.
My eyes lit up, “Yes please.”
I was almost home and it was near 4 am, I was so relieved I had the day off. I couldn’t imagine doing anything today, I just wanted to sleep. Coach Andrew mentioned Dr. Rosalie would be at the gym to take my stiches out on Monday, which I have been looking forward to because the itchiness was driving me crazy.
As I continued my pace down the sidewalk my mind kept replaying Kendra’s reaction when I gave her the money. She seemed to enjoy the night and I felt lighter in my head, knowing that my friend was going to school for her passion.
Before I left Kendra’s apartment, I tucked her drunk ass in bed while she mumbled countless stories about her art school and how screwed up her family was. I stuck to two drinks tonight because I think Coach would be on my ass if he knew I was indulging a week before the fight. I had to stay focused mentally and physically. I was in the best shape of my life, minus my sore ribs and back, but it was only minor at this point.
I was only a few streetlights away from my place, the sky was clear, and I felt rejuvenated. Helping Kendra kept my mind in high hopes. Maybe one person in my life will succeed.
“Hunter.” Suddenly, I heard a man’s voice, but didn’t see anyone around.
Only darkness surrounded the small spaces of light between the sidewalk and I anxiously glanced around, hoping that I could catch a glimpse of who it was.
“Who’s there? Don’t fuck with me.” I stopped my pace, hoping to gage whoever was stalking me. My anxiety rose when I considered that it may be a werewolf lurking around.
“Marcus? Enough of the games, I know its you.”
There was only silence.
“Hunter, it’s me.”
Was that who I thought it was?