The wheels were set in motion with Marcus, I was going to tell him everything tomorrow. He was insistent on having dinner tonight, but I promised Troy to go to his meeting. I couldn’t back out now, it was too important. Marcus was going to have to wait one more day for me, it’s not like I’ll have anything else to do with me dropping out of the fight.
I was nervous for tomorrow, but today I was excited.
I was excited for Troy and the progress he’s made, and I had to support him as much as I could, especially since I would be moving out soon to live with Marcus.
I was also looking forward to meeting his sponsor, Derek. He seemed like a mystery, but I suppose I can form my own opinion once I meet him.
“Large coffee, one milk please.” I gave my order to the young barista working at a nearby coffee shop close to Troy’s new place.
I still couldn’t get used to being uptown. Everyone and everything were vastly different from the other part of the city. No garbage, no homeless, neatly trimmed, and decorated gardens on each block, and next to no crime. If the politicians in the city would just allocate more money into the social and education systems to where it was needed, maybe it wouldn’t be such a shit hole.
Most of the youth downtown dropped out of school and started working for the Alpha’s whether they were human or werewolf. Most of them would either end up dead or in jail. All the while, the rich and privileged lived in this protected area of the city, enjoying their cappuccino lattes while they fellow citizens squander for scraps.
“Six dollars, seventy eight cents.” The Barista placed the coffee on the counter in front of me while giving me a strange look, like I was about to steal the damn thing.
“Are you serious? Six dollars for a cup of coffee?” I blurted out, without realizing I turned a few heads.
He gave me a strange look and crossed his arms; probably ready to kick me out of this place. Besides, I didn’t look like I belonged in this area anyways.
“Fine, here.” I held Marcus’s black credit card in hand. He insisted on me having it for anything I needed. I felt strange taking it at first, but then I thought, why not? I’m not working at the Rogue anymore, and I wasn’t going to ask that asshole for my last paycheck. Speaking of asshole. I was looking forward to telling Marcus about Sam, I was looking forward to telling him because I knew he would pay for it… Including James…
“Oh, this?” The barista looked puzzled as I held the card out for him to take.
“Is there something wrong?” I raised my eyebrows, and I tapped my fingers on the counter. I just wanted me to get my coffee and leave.
“I didn’t know you were associated with an Alpha, my apologizes.” The barista’s trembling hand took the card and processed in through the machine attached to the till.
I didn’t want to ask him, but the gears in my head were turning. The Alphas in Elysium have their own credit cards?! What has this world come to?
“Here you go miss, and thanks for your business.” He gave a slight bow and instead of getting back to his work, he waited for me to turn away, like he didn’t’ want to further offend me.
“Um-” I took a sip, “Thanks, tastes good.” I let the hot burning liquid fall down my throat. Nothing felt better then a cup of coffee in the morning. Not only the taste, but it was the after affects of the caffeine that I most enjoyed.
“Thank you, thank you, please come anytime.” He stood there as the other staff members watched me closely. I wonder what they were thinking. Were they scared of me?
“Cheers,” I lifted the cup up and took another sip before leaving. The air was tense, and the café was silent. As soon as I stepped outside, I could hear the sighs of relief and whispers. I suppose that was something I had to get used to in my new life with Marcus.
It was a beautiful sunny day, like most days’ uptown, which gets me to believe only the sun shined here, because the area we come from was always rainy and covered in overcast.
I was only a few blocks from Troy’s place, when I heard a familiar voice call out to me.
“Hunter? Oh my god, is that you?!”
I turned my head to see who it was, and much to my surprise it was Kendra, standing beside a table from an outdoor patio.
“Kendra?!” I navigated myself around the gate to gain access to the gated area surrounding the patio.
Thankfully, there wasn't many people occupying the tables surrounding her, but when I looked to the other side of the patio, it was completely full. That’s when I figured out why it was arranged like this.
She must be meeting her father here.
“Oh my god, what are the chances?!” She hugged me tightly.
“You look great Kendra!” I looked her up and down and went wide eyed. I’ve never seen her look as good as she did today. Her hair was in a tight bun while she wore blue maxi skirt with a stripped tank top. I was so used to seeing her wearing a uniform that it was strange to see her in other clothes.
“My father is on a quick phone call; we are just having some brunch.”
“Oh, I don’t want to interrupt,” I nervously looked around, but I could only see well dressed bodyguards that surrounded the perimeter of the patio.
Suddenly, a voice came from behind me, like it appeared out of thin air, “Pleasure to see you again.” I turned around to see Alpha Hiro, in the same dark suit from when we first met.
“OH,” I turned around quickly, caught off guard by his sudden appearance, “I better go, I’m sorry I don’t want to interrupt. -“
“You’re not interrupting, please, if it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t be here, please, join us?” Kendra looked to her father who kept his eyes on me. I felt so awkward, I didn’t want to interrupt their reunion.
“She’s right, I’ve heard much about you Hunter.” Hiro gave a small smile and pulled out an extra chair from the other table, “Please take a seat.”
I froze as I looked to the chair, it would be rude to refuse now. What’s the harm anyways?
“Ok,” I hesitantly took a seat, while Alpha Hiro and Kendra followed suit to their own chairs.
“Miku tells me you helped her out quite a bit with her schooling.” Hiro sipped his cup of tea and pushed an extra cup to me, “Jasmine tea, you will be pleasantly surprised how good it tastes.”
I still held my coffee in one hand, but decided it was best to take the tea instead. I was a nervous wreck, and the last thing I wanted to do was be rude to Alpha Hiro.
“Thanks.” The cup was empty, but Kendra proceeded to top off Hiro’s cup first then fill mine.
The dark liquid steamed from the cup as I brought the cup to my lips, inhaling the subtle green tea aromas.
As I took a sip, I noticed Hiro looking at me, studying everything I was doing. I kept my eyes on Kendra, unsure what I should do or say next.
“She deserves to be in school, it was the least I could do.” I placed the cup down on the table after swallowing another hot sip. It surprisingly tasted nice, I was never a tea drinker, but now I could understand the appeal. There were subtle hints of fresh perfumed florals, along with a dewy aftertaste.
Alpha Hiro followed suit, taking a small sip, then placing the cup back down onto the table, “It’s hard to find someone in the city that sees what you see.”
“How’s that?” I fidgeted my body in my chair, trying to get more comfortable, but I think at this point I was beyond comfort.
“Friends are known first in hardships.” He answered.
“I can agree to that.” I pursed my lips to my cup, looking to Kendra then Hiro.
I wondered how much Kendra told her father about me. I wonder if he knew who I was? Or who I was to Marcus and Xanos?
“I have to use the lady’s room; I’ll be right back.” Kendra got up from her seat, but before I can suggest that I come with her, she was already walking away, leaving Hiro and I alone at the table.
This was awkward. What the hell were we going to talk about? My legs were shaking anxiously under the table, and I was hoping he wouldn’t take notice.
“So,” Hiro sipped his tea, “Does Marcus know that you fight?”
I choked on my words, “Excuse me?”
Hiro chuckled, “If you’re wondering if Miku told me about your life, you are mistaken. My daughter would never betray her friends.”
My eyes widened, my muscles tensed, and I didn’t know how to answer. Was he trying to trick me? Did Kendra tell him everything? I find it hard to believe he had me figured out.
“I don’t mean to pry Hunter, but you intrigue me. I’ve lived a long life; long enough to know when someone is keeping a secret.”
“It doesn’t matter now, none of it does. I’m dropping out. There’s no point to it anymore.”
Hiro leaned in, looking me straight in the eye, and I of course, looked straight back to him. Maybe it was something a werewolf wouldn’t dare to do to an Alpha, but I wasn’t going to be afraid.
“Don’t loose sight of who you are.”
“You have no idea of who I am.” I replied.
“Exactly, and do you?”
I paused and looked around, unable to answer the question.
Was this a trick?
“Yes…- “I held my breath, unable to formulate another sentence.
I was ready to leave, this conversation was getting intense. I didn’t intend on sitting down with Kendra and her father. I had enough on my plate. On top of it, I wanted to warn Hiro about Xanos impending betrayal, but that would be foolish to get in the middle of that.
“Who chases two rabbits catches neither.” Hiro said.
What was this?! Did he fucking know about my mating pull between Xanos and Marcus? Did this guy know everything in my life? I wanted the conversation to end, but for some reason, I felt the need to continue.
“Who says I’m the one chasing?”
“In time, it will be unbearable.”
I gasped when he said unbearable. That was the exact word Marcus said to me. It was true, it was getting difficult to contain my urge for both Marcus and Xanos, but it was something hidden away in my subconscious, not out on display for the whole world to see.
“Not to be rude…But how do you know all of this?”
“I just observe what I see.” He replied.
I looked to my hands that were trembling in my lap, was he right?
“In time, you will see, and –" He leaned in, “I will keep this to myself, it is only up to you to make that decision.”
“Um-” I had no words at this point. I wasn’t going to say thanks for not spilling the beans on my secrets when he shouldn’t know in the first place.
“Look Hunter, if you need if you ever need guidance, don’t hesitate to call.” Hiro placed a black business card on the table and slid it towards me.
“Why would I need help?” I looked to him curiously as I analyzed the card.
The small card didn't contain much information, only a couple of Japanese symbols and a number engraved with silver foil at the bottom.
“I may know a lot of things, but that is something I cannot tell you. The future is yet to be determined.”
“I already know the direction I’m heading.”
Hiro paused as he reached for his tea again, taking a small sip while he kept his eyes on me.
“Love is funny, isn’t it?” He asked.
“How is it funny?”
“Scars are beautiful in the eyes of a lover.”
My mouth hung open, was this guy a psychic monk? Was I missing something here? If Kendra didn’t say anything to him, how in the hell did he know what to say, as if he was reading my mind and giving me advice like some fortune teller.
His face lit up and his eyes went to Kendra, who was re-entering back into her seat.
“So, what did I miss?”
I raised my eyebrows as I stood from my seat. “Oh. Nothing, but I have to get going, I have somewhere to be, if you don’t mind Kendra can I have a word?”
“Yea, sure of course,” She nodded to her father who was still sipping on his tea.
“It was nice to see you again Alpha Hiro.” I gave a small nod to Hiro and he stood up from his seat.
“Until we meet again Hunter.” He nodded his head and sat back down.
I couldn't get out of there any quicker. My head was spinning with information and I had to get to the bottom of it.
Once we were in front of the restaurant, I pulled Kendra in close.
“Kendra, did you tell you father about me?! About my fighting, and Alpha James? And everything?” I tried my best to keep my voice quiet, and thankfully everyone walking past didn’t seem to take notice.
“What the hell are you talking about? I would never do that!”
“It was like he knew everything…”
“What!? Are you serious? How did it come up?” Her eyes widened as she placed her hand on my shoulder. I could see the concern in her face, which started to cast doubt that she actually told her father anything about me, but I shouldn't be so naïve to think like that.
“Well, he didn’t tell me exactly, but when he spoke, it was like he knew everything… If that makes sense.” I grabbed the back of my neck as I thought about what Hiro told me. Did he know? He didn’t exactly say the words, but the advice he gave made me believe he knew everything.
Kendra sighed heavily as she grabbed my hand, “Before my mother got sick, he came to visit us. It was like he knew she was sick before she even felt sick. He has this way about him, I can’t explain it, but he can see through things that are not obvious to other people. He does it to me all the time.”
“He knew I was fighting…”
“Another intuition, Hunter.” She pulled me in for a tight hug, “I would never betray your trust.”
As she pulled me away, she went into her purse, “And here,” She pulled out a wad of cash, “This is repayment for getting me on my feet.”
“What is this? I can’t take this.” I raised my eyebrows and took a step back from her.
“I can’t accept that you gave money to me, so I am giving it back. It helped me in the time I needed it for school, but now that I am with my father, I felt it was the least I could do.”
“No.” I pushed it back.
“TAKE IT.” She placed it in my hand and pushed my fingers around the stack of cash.
“You’re a good person Hunter, a great friend and I don’t know what I would have done without you. Who knows where I would be now? Back to the outer parts of the city, doing nothing, all the while my father was looking for me.”
I analyzed the stack, it looked like the same amount that I gave her, all ten thousand of it. I was too pissed at Sam to give it back, but it seemed Kendra’s mind was made up with paying me back.
“My father surprised me with the art installation for my birthday next week, he told me you knew, so I hope you can come.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” I pulled Kendra in for another hug.
“Thanks for convincing me to come meet him. Life’s too short to live with regret.” She whispered.
“You’re so right Kendra,” I placed my hands on her shoulders so we could be at eye level, “Promise me you will be safe.”
Her face scrunched with confusion, “What? Safe? What are you talking about?”
“I don’t know, I just… Maybe its paranoia.” I looked around, but there were only people walking past us, too enthralled in their phones to even look up.
“You be safe too Hunter. If you ever need me, call.” She straightened her skirt and top, adjusting herself before she went back into the restaurant.
“I’ll catch you later” I waved and turned away.
“Maybe I’ll catch your gig out on Saturday.”
I turned my head back briefly to see her smirking.
“You asshole.” I sarcastically replied.
At least we could still have a sense of humor after everything...
I was still a few blocks away until I got to Troy’s place. I found it was strange to say, 'Troy’s place,’ and if you told me that we would be living uptown a few weeks ago, I think I would die of laughter.
This whole situation was surreal, and now my good friend was having brunch with her Alpha Father, who seemed to take interest in my life oddly enough. I couldn’t wait to tell Marcus everything, it was beginning to get difficult to stay so far from him the past few days, but it was more reason to wait until tomorrow.
My dreams were getting more vivid as the day’s past, and Marcus was ALWAYS on my mind. He was my addiction, and my body craved him. The more time that went by, the more sporadic my mind became. I was changing, and I was scared of what I was becoming. I never depended on anyone, I always did things for myself, and now, my whole life was revolving around him.
I loved him, but I was still fearful of the change.
I soaked in the sun, taking my time as I walked back home, but something wasn't sitting right. I knew Marcus had someone following me, but there was something more that didn’t feel right.
Like a gut feeling.
The sun was bright, and my vision was beginning to fade. Eventually, the clouds started to roll in, but the blinding brightness was not fading away.
I felt myself becoming warmer as I continued my pace on the sidewalk.
Maybe I was getting too much sun?
I pulled out to see a message from Marcus.
Marcus: I got the dinner all planned, my place, Wolfie is cooking 😊 ……
There was more to the message, but I couldn’t read it. My vision was getting too blurry.
I squinted my eyes at the screen and decided that I should try calling up Marcus instead of texting, but I couldn’t make out any of the screen.
I wiped the sweat pellets running down my forehead as I continued my pace down the street.
“What the fuck is wrong with me?” I breathed heavily as I leaned against a streetlight.
The people walking past me briefly turned their heads, but quickly looked away. They didn’t give a shit, hell, no one did in this city. I could be dying in the street and I wouldn’t think anyone would attempt to save me.
Suddenly, something caught the corner of my eye causing me to freeze.
“What the hell is that?”