“So, what Kendra?”
“You were quiet as a damn mouse the entire bus ride and you failed to tell me why you just quit your job?! Why did you want to come to my place anyways?”
“I don’t want anyone overhearing us, and besides, I can’t shake the feeling I’m being followed.”
“Excuse me? What the hell would be so damn interesting about us, and why are you being followed?!”
“Take a seat, I’ll explain.”
We were both tired, Kendra’s eyes were sunken in, and her usual neat hair was tousled like we were in a wrestling match. Her eyes were leaking black mascara from all the crying.
Our conversation lasted an hour and felt good to tell her everything. I needed the privacy away from Troy just in case he waltzed in from his new job and possibly Marcus (who I believed had someone following me). I could be wrong about it, but it was the least of my worries now.
“Are you a werewolf?” I held my breath as I waited for her response.
“NO!” She went wide eyed, like I caught her off guard with the question, but it was only reasonable to assume she was one.
“My mother is human, and I suppose it never passed onto me.”
“Interesting.” I exhaled heavily, “And WHY didn’t you tell me about your father? He’s a god damn Alpha! A nice detail considering all the shit I’ve been going through the past few weeks.”
“I didn’t want to lie. I didn’t think he would even attempt to contact me… I hadn’t spoken to him in years. I decided not to tell you because its not everyday your father is a god damn Alpha in Elysium city! What are the chances you ran into him?”
I placed my hand on hers and she looked me in dead in the eye, “I’m not sure, fate? Maybe he works with Marcus? He was walking outside his building, so it would make sense…”
She sighed heavily, “Just when my life is going in the right direction, he pops up through thin air.”
“At least you know your father…” My eyes fell to the floor. I didn’t mean to make her feel bad, and I didn’t need the pity, but it was true. The past few weeks I’ve been thinking about my parents more frequently and I wasn’t sure why. Its the reason I thought it would be in Kendra’s best interests to make things right with her father.
It’s what I would do if I were in her shoes.
“I feel like an idiot, I’m here complaining to you about my family issues while you and Troy have only each other. And to top it all off, all the things that happened to you…Alpha James…Marcus…the fight… What are you going to do?”
“That’s not something for you to worry about. The question is, what are you going to do? Your father may be involved in God knows what, but he seemed genuine to rekindle your relationship. Its your decision to make, and to be honest, I was scarred shitless when I first met him, but he sounded so damn proud of you.”
“My mother always hated him for leaving and what he did for a living, and when she got sick, she refused for him to pay for her treatments.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was like that...”
“No, no its fine, its just, she has so much resentment and regret. I don’t want to follow in her foot steps. My father has his businesses, and there is never changing that. He will always be an Alpha.”
“Sometimes I worry about Marcus and what he does… I mean, I would be stupid to think he flew straight, but the specifics of his business are what worries me…”
Kendra tightly squeezed my hand, “Hunter, he loves you, he will do anything for you, don’t think otherwise. Just like my father, I need to accept what he does, and maybe I don’t agree with it, but we share the same blood and there is no changing that.”
“My brother has suffered so much at the hands of the drug lords of this city, it would kill me if Marcus was part of it.”
“You have to be honest with him Hunter, look how many lies your tangled up in. How do you expect for him to deal with the fact about… You know… James? And even the fight!?”
I sighed heavily, I knew deep down she was right, but why did I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach? Was it just me? Was it Marcus? Was it fear?
“It’s so damn complicated Kendra, I don’t know where to begin. You must think I’m crazy for second guessing Marcus’s offer…”
“No. You’re not crazy. Do you see the shit hole I live in? You think my father wouldn’t hesitate to give me a luxury penthouse uptown and pay for anything I asked for? Do you understand how messed up that would be if I accepted that? He left Hunter, he left my mom before she realized she was pregnant, and when he found out he had me, he came back. That’s when she got sick, and everything spiraled out of control. I can’t take handouts as an apology for not being there. My mother allowed my father to give me a second name to remember my heritage, but deep down, it reminded me of a life that I could have lived. Yes, we spent some time together, but in the end, it hurt my mother and she is the only thing that I love in this world. It kills me to hurt her.”
“See what your saying Kendra?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your mother wants you to have a father, to be part of his life. You don’t have to get wrapped up in his business, but at least give him a chance because he’s not getting any younger. You don’t want to live with the regret for the rest of your life by denying just a conversation with him.”
“I suppose your right... I mean, I don’t have to accept things from him, and he’s only getting older...”
“I wish I knew my parents, so cherish the time you have. Even if it’s just having a simple coffee. At least you know in the back of your mind that you tried.”
I could see a small smile in Kendra’s face, “Want to see something cool?”
“Sure,” I glanced down at my phone to check the time, it was only 4:36am. At least I can sleep in now that there was no work and gym for the rest of the week.
“Be right back.”
I nodded and leaned back on the cushion, “Where did you get this couch? It feels like I’m sitting on a wooden plank.” I teased.
“Someone in the building was getting rid of it. I had to scrub it down, but its better then sitting on the floor.” She chuckled from the other room.
At least we can still joke around after the serious conversation we just had. That’s why I liked Kendra so much, she was such a nice and accepting person.
“Yes, I can relate to that.” Just as I was about to close my eyes she came out of the room holding a small wooden box.
“Here we go.” She placed it on her lap beside me. It was covered in dust, like it hadn’t been open in a while. “My father gave this to me when I was young. Wasn’t sure what the relevance was, and I never had the chance to ask him. He just wanted me to have it. I suppose the next time I see him I’ll ask him.” She lifted the dusty lid off the box.
“What is it?” I leaned in to get a better look.
“Its a samurai mask. It only covers the lower part of your face, and that’s why its referred to as a Mempo.” Kendra pulled the mask into the light; it was in perfect condition.
It was a pure black, with subtle curves that gave it a unique form and shape, almost creating an illusion of a monster. The straps were made of black leather, and the lining was covered in mesh. The lower part of the mask had sharp teeth that surrounded the mouth hole, giving it an animalistic appearance.“Looks scary, almost like a werewolf.” I curiously starred at the strange artifact.
“Ironic right? It’s supposed to intimidate your enemies. Here, its pretty light.” Kendra placed the mask in my hand, and I closely analyzed it.
“You think this is a real samurai mask?”
“I’m not sure, but even it was, there were some upgrades done to it.” She pointed to the inside of the mask, “see the mesh on the inside? That’s definitely a modern upgrade.”
“Even if it was, or is altered, its beautiful.” I wiped the film of dust that covered the edge of the mask, “I wonder what significance it has to your father?” The mask was so unique, and yes it was old, but it held together perfectly. “I wonder if anyone died wearing this?”
“I wonder too, and I am really curious.” Kendra took it back and looked at it once more before placing it back in the box.
“Only one way to find out.” I smirked.
Kendra patted on top of the box as she carried it away. “You’re right, I’ll see if I can reach him tomorrow.”
I had so much to think about.
I left Kendra’s apartment and climbed the last few steps to my apartment door. I was happy she was willing to rekindle the relationship with her father, but now I was still stuck with mounting number of lies that I had to rid myself of. I knew it was inevitable that I would tell Marcus everything, but when and how was another issue altogether.
I’m sure Troy was already home by now, most likely sleeping, and I’ve yet to message Marcus back, but he could wait a little while longer.
I was tired, frustrated, and confused, but there was still one thing that I couldn’t wrap my head around.
It was Sam.
Why would he risk getting himself killed just have me? He knew Marcus would kill him, so why risk it?
My legs were shaking at the end of my trek up the staircase. I was so happy I could sleep in tomorrow; it was long overdue.
Just as I turned the corner, something caught my eye.
“What the hell?” I looked around, it was quiet, and there was not a soul in sight.
I peered down at red roses sitting on floor next to my door. It was a huge bouquet, and I was surprised no one tampered with it until now. Did these flowers just get here? I could only assume they were from Marcus.
There were at least three dozen in the glass vase, and it looked damn expensive. I bent over and grabbed the small card poking through the flowers. It was a plain piece of white paper with unfamiliar handwriting.
Roses will never be enough, but for you I’ll give the world.
I smiled as I read it. This had to be Marcus.
I jumbled for my keys and opened the front door. I placed the flower arrangement on the table console before setting my bag down on the floor. I could see Troy’s shoes by the front mat, and by the sounds of the loud snoring, he was already fast asleep.
It only took me a few minutes to change quickly into my usual sleeping ensemble; shorts and an oversized t-shirt. Nothing feminine about it, but it was comfy as hell.
I decided to send Marcus one final text before I passed out. Thankfully, he was giving me the space I needed and by the looks of his messages, there wasn’t too many.
Me: I’m passing out, so tired from work. Thanks for the roses they are beautiful. Love, Hunter 😊❤
My head was already resting on my pillow, and my eyes were flickering close as I held my cell phone on my chest. I had so much to think about now. I had to figure out the best way to tell Marcus everything. Should I wait until Saturday when the dust settles? Or should I just tell him everything now?
I squinted my eyes in the darkness, my vision already blurry from my drowsiness, but enough to see that there was a missed call and message from Marcus.
Marcus: What are you talking about?? I didn’t send you flowers.
I sighed heavily as I read the message.
This is going to be a very long week.