I had no idea where I was heading.
I just needed space away from everyone. What happened with Troy back at his meeting was uncalled for, and now I was doubting everything I was doing in my life.
It was dark, and there were a few people scattered on the sidewalk, minding their own business as I passed by. Thankfully, it was a clear night, no rain, and warm enough to just have a sweater on.
I think I was walking for ten minutes before a bright light caught my eyes.
That's when I decided where I was going to next.
“Worlds best cup of coffee.” I looked to the large neon diner sign. I’ve been here a few times after work, it was open 24 hours and was low key and quiet. They had decent coffee and reasonably priced meals. Nothing spectacular, but good enough if you were on a budget.
“What are we doing here?” Xavier’s voice came from behind me, and I turned to see him and his entourage of thugs trailing my every move. I hadn’t realized they were walking so close by, I thought they would at least give me a little more space.
“You can wait out here, I’m getting coffee.” As I stepped forward, he reached for my arm preventing me from going any further.
I looked to his hand that grasped tightly onto my arm. “Is there a problem?”
“Just sniffing it out for other packs, seems clean.” He was such a brutish looking man, but I suppose that’s why Marcus sent him to follow me. He was annoying, but I was going to have to get used to having bodyguards following my every move.
After a few more seconds of sniffing like a dog, he released me.
"Thanks." I headed towards the diner. The building itself was dated, it was a tacky turquoise blue that needed a new paint job, but it wasn't the appearance that I fell for, it was the quietness inside.
As I entered the diner, I could see there was only a couple of patrons sitting at the dinner bar, so I decided that I would grab a booth at the end.
I looked to Xavier who was heading towards the same booth. “Please, I don’t want company.”
“Fine, I’ll be on the other side.” He grunted and left with his men to the opposite end of the diner.
“Try the breakfast sandwich, its to die for.” I called out sarcastically.
Just as I planted myself in the booth, an older red headed lady wearing a black uniform and white apron came with a pen and notepad.
“Can I take your order?” She looked to me with overworked eyes, the bags under them told me she lived a hard life. I could relate, a minimum wage job plus lousy tips could barely get you a shabby apartment in the slums of Elysium. She probably had to work double shift to cover the costs of living in this city.
“Just a coffee.” I replied.
She rolled her eyes, obviously the order wasn’t enough for a decent size tip. I understood how hard it was to make a dollar around this town, so I shrugged it off.
“I’ll be back.” She disappeared into the kitchen, most likely to use stale coffee instead of fresh, but at this point anything was fine with me.
I kept looking to my hands that rested on the table. For some reason, I couldn’t recognize myself. I was shaking, my skin was a different shade, my veins popped out a little more and my nails were growing so long. My back was starting to burn up too.
Maybe I was starting to get an infection?
I should try calling Dr. Rosalie tomorrow to sort it out.
“Fancy seeing you here” Suddenly, a familiar voice popped out of thin air. I was too distracted to take notice a man sitting in the booth next to me.
“Derek?” I peeked over to see Derek sitting alone in the booth next to me, sipping on a coffee cup.
“I’m surprised you here on your own this late at night.” He stood up from his booth and came in front of my table.
“She’s not alone.” Xavier stood up from the other side of the aisle and stomped over. His hand already hovering gun holster under his jacket.
“Well, that’s unexpected.” Derek looked to Xavier, but not in fear, with concern. He sat across from me. I was surprised how fearless he was. If anyone else stumbled across Xavier, I'm sure they would run as far away as they could.
“Get lost human.” Xavier slammed his hand hard on the table, but Derek remained un-phased. The other guests in the diner turned their heads at the commotion, but once they saw Xavier and his men, they immediately turned back away, pretending they didn't take notice of our presence.
“Xavier, please, he’s Troy’s friend.”
He stood there; his eyes narrowed into Derek. He looked like he wanted to tear him to shreds.
“Need help with that? Looks like your M9 needs some maintenance.” Derek leaned over the table, peering at Xavier’s weapon that he hovered by his waist. “Don’t want it to jam.” He smiled, then he looked back to me as he casually sipped his coffee.
I was beginning to like this guy. I mean, I barely knew him, but he had a funny sense of humor and smart-ass attitude that I appreciated.
“Watch yourself, HUMAN.” Xavier growled and looked to me once more before walking back to the booth.
“That was, epic.” I chuckled.
The red headed waitress came over finally with a fresh cup of coffee. Perfect timing.
“Thanks,” I took the cup and pursed my lips to the cup, inhaling the mediocre aromas of the medium roast beans. It wasn’t like uptown coffee shops, but it was good enough for me.
“Yeah whatever.” The waitress rolled her eyes and walked away, leaving Derek and I alone in the booth.
“Bitch.” I muttered under my breath.
“Something troubling you?”
I scoffed, “You have no idea.”
“Yea, well, I suppose we all have our days, especially when your being followed by that guy.” Derek looked over his shoulder at Xavier who was eye bawling the fuck out of us.
“Yea about that…”
Am I going to have to live the rest of my life this way?
“No need to explain, I mean, you probably have your reasons for needing such high tier bodyguards.”
“As a matter of fact, I never wanted them to follow me, but I need them.”
“I know we just met and all, but just,” He looked side to side, “if you need any help with, you’re uh – little situation, I can help in more ways then you think.”
“What makes you think I need help?”
“You have an entourage of werewolves following you.”
“For my protection.”
He took another sip of coffee, “Are you sure about that?”
“What the hell is that suppose to mean?” I furrowed my eyebrows in his direction, then quickly looked back to Xavier who was now focused on his cup of coffee.
“Are you sure its for your protection? Or is it to prevent you from doing what you want to do?”
I paused for a moment, “No, its for MY protection.”
Why did I hesitate? Maybe it was because his comment sort-of made sense.
“If you say so,” He took another sip and placed the cup back down on the table, “So, what do you do for fun?”
“For fun?” What the hell was this guy’s angle. Why was he so interested in me?
“Look, Derek, I get that you are close to my brother and all but doesn’t mean that I am your friend.”
“We’re all in need of friends.”
“I have enough, trust me.”
“Well, I guess we don’t need to be friends, we can just be two people chatting over coffee then.”
I took another sip and kept my lips pursed to the cup.
Should I trust this guy?
He helped my brother, so I could at the very least get to know him. Besides, it wasn’t like I had anything else going on.
“I play guitar if you must know.” I replied.
“See, was it that hard?”
I let out a small growl.
Since when did I growl?
Derek chuckled as he continued sipping on his drink. The way he looked at me with his blue eyes gave me shivers. Why was he so insistent on pursuing a conversation with me? Were there ulterior motives? Was he just innocently flirting with me? The way his smile lit up reminded me of Marcus when we first me. It was like breathing in fresh air for the first time.
“My wife used to play guitar. You sort of remind me of her.” Derek smiled, but his eyes dropped to his cup as he played with the handle.
“Where is she now? Did she run away from your constant chatter?” I sarcastically remarked as I looked back to Xavier once again who had his full attention on us.
I didn’t think that comment through. Troy mentioned he went through a lot. I thought he meant his former life as a Marine, not his dead wife.
I looked back to him, and my eyes widened at the revelation, “Oh...- Look I’m sorry – “
“No need, you got your guard up I understand.”
I sighed as I fumbled the coffee cup handle with my fingers. I felt like a complete asshole.
“Her name was Angela.” He looked to me with assurance. He understood my sarcasm, he was more understanding than I originally thought.
“Our daughter was Alice; she was supposed to turn 3 this year.”
Daughter? I didn’t want to ask, should I?
“I’m so sorry,” I reached my hand to his arm and we locked eyes. I saw the grief that struck through him as we spoke about his family. Maybe I got this guy all wrong. Maybe he was just looking to talk and heal his grief with others that suffered from the same emotions.
“They took my family from me.” He looked back to Xavier and then back to me.
“The very species that oppress us.” His eyes turned cold and as his fingers fidgeted more on the table.
My face dropped, and I felt myself trying to choke up, but I had to hold back. I barely knew who Derek was, he could be just a guy telling me of his past, or could he be trying to guilt trip me? What would be his end game?
“I don’t want to bother you with stories of the past, I mean, looks like you have a lot on your plate as it is.”
“I’m seeing an Alpha, maybe two if you want to know the truth.” I don’t know why I indulged that information to him, but I felt like I could tell him.
His eyes widened as he looked back to Xavier drinking his coffee.
“Wasn’t expecting to hear that.”
“What were you expecting then?”
“To be honest, I don’t know…I just feel like you are easy to talk to.” His blue eyes, locked onto mine once again, and I immediately looked back down to the table. Was he still flirting with me even though I confessed I was dating an Alpha?
“You call that an easy conversation?”
My heart was racing.
What the hell was I doing?
I shouldn’t be talking with him, I had to figure out everything else that’s fucked up in my life.
Derek leaned back into the booth couch and placed his large arms across the top, “A simple cup a coffee in Elysium is far from relaxing.”
“Well, now you know.” I got up from the booth and threw my bag over my shoulder. I’ve already said too much. I was done with this conversation and just wanted to go anywhere but here.
“Take care Derek,” Just as I stepped away, he grabbed my arm. Xavier was trigged and bolted from his seat along with several other men trailing behind him.
I looked back to Xavier, “It’s fine.”
“If you need an outlet, I’m here.” Derek placed his hand in mine, almost like he went to shake it, but instead, placed a crumpled-up napkin and squeezed my fingers around it.
I nodded and started walking away, keeping the napkin rolled up in the palm of my hand.
I uncrumpled the napkin to see several digits. It was probably his number, so I placed it in the front compartment of my bag and continued walking outside.
I didn’t want to go home, which begs the question, where is home? Was it Troy’s new place? Was it Marcus’s penthouse? Was it my old place back downtown?
I pulled out my phone and dialed up the only person that I felt like talking to now.
RING RING RING
It was late, near 10:36pm, but I knew she would be awake. She usually spent the night painting.
“We need to go back to the Alpha’s, its late.” Xavier growled as I started walking in the opposite direction of uptown. “We got the car ready for you.”
I ignored Xavier and continued my pace with my phone against my ear.
Finally, I could hear her voice,
“Hey Kendra, I’m sorry to bother you, but do you think it would be ok if I crashed at your place tonight?”
Of course! Is everything alright? Why aren’t you staying with Marcus? Did you guys get into a fight?
“Long story, but I’ll be there in 10. I’ll explain it to you when I get there.”
I’ll see you soon then. Be safe out there.
“Oh, yea, don’t worry,” I looked to Xavier who was practically hovering over me, “I’ll be safe.”
“I said, the Alpha wants you home.” He stepped in my path preventing me from walking further down the sidewalk.
“And I said, FUCK YOU XAVIER.” I tried pushing him away, but he was as heavy as a fucking car.
He placed his hand on my shoulder and I whipped it away. Who the hell does he think he is? I understand he was sent to protect me, but he was going well over the line with ordering me around like some child.
“Ok, dial your Alpha up now and ask him what he thinks of you bossing me around like your little bitch.” I snapped back.
He paused as he looked to me. His eyes darkened. I was beginning to get the vibe he didn’t like humans based on how he was treating me.
Thankfully, he eventually released my shoulder.
What the hell has gotten into me?
Why didn’t I want to go back to Marcus?
Maybe it was because I felt like I was losing my freedom, but did Marcus see it like that? He only wanted to protect me, and considering all the trouble I’ve gotten into, I’m surprised he wasn’t locking me away in the penthouse.
My life was changing so fast, and I wanted to understand what was happening to me before I committed myself to him. Maybe that was why I was scared to go back to him, because I could lose the connection I had to Xanos. He wasn’t aware I overheard his conversation with Christian.
He said he was going to mark me NO MATTER WHAT.
Was he going to give me a choice? Would Xanos do the same to me? Was I being naïve?
Even if I did go back, I would probably get on my knees like some horny teenaged girl. I couldn’t contain my raging ecstasy between him and Xanos anymore. They both haunted my mind, and I needed more time to breathe and get a handle on everything.
I should probably call Marcus and at least explain to him why I’m going to Kendra’s, but I felt like a coward and texted him instead. A little white lie on top of the mountain of lies won’t hurt the situation I suppose.
Me: Wolfie, Kendra needs my help with preparing for her art exhibit, I hope you understand, I’m spending the night at her place.
Shit, was he coming here now to take me away? Would he order Xavier to do it?
Suddenly, there was a message.
Marcus: I would prefer if you didn’t leave at all tonight, but if you insist… Xavier is going with you. There is no question about it.
Me: Love you Wolfie
Marcus: Always my love.
I sighed in relief as I read the message. I was grateful Marcus was so understanding, but I was afraid he was losing control himself. I wonder how hard it was to type that message to me. How hard it was to let me out another night without being with me.
It was probably killing him and much as it was for me, but I had to get a handle of myself before I was trapped with no where to run.