The feeling of hands detaching me from Kaiden jerk me back to reality. My eyes glare into Jamie’s as he pries my paws off Kaiden’s face. “He’s dead, Scar. Come on, let him go and Patricia will take him. I’m so sorry honey.” He pulls me into his embrace and I cry openly in his arms.
“I’m having his baby. What am I supposed to do?” I whisper, choking on a sob.
“Live your life. You have a part of him inside you. Just remember that.” He murmurs in reassurance.
A savage roar breaks the silence and my head whips towards the sound to find Cade his eyes pitch black as he finally lifts his head from the dead rogue he’d literally ripped to pieces. Oh, God. The Curse. So lost in my distraught I’d forgotten for a few minutes.
I watched in horror as he runs wild towards pack members his intent on killing clear to see. I had to stop this before someone else I loved died.
Not thinking about the consequences I sprint in wolf form towards Cade darting in between him and another female, leaving about 20 meters in between us, enough time to try and calm him down.
Shifting back into human form, knowing full well I’d be completely naked, but also aware that I wouldn’t be able to talk to him while shifted I begin, “Cade, Cade! Look at me. It’s me. Scarlett. Please calm down.”
Cade comes to a quick halt in front of me, but the look of danger is still in his eyes and I proceed, staring into his eyes hoping to see the real him behind the dilated pupils.
“Come on, Cade. This is not you and you know it. You can beat it. I know you can. Do you want to know why? Because I believe in you. You hear me? I believe. In. You.”
I watch as Cade struggles internally to fight the curse, his wild eyes slowly beginning to dim before he collapses onto the ground in a heap.
Falling to the ground with him I pull his head into my lap, accepting the long tee Jamie hands me that I slip on over my naked flesh. Brushing the hair off of his face I murmur sweet words to him as he slowly regains consciousness. “You’re okay. I’m here. Everything’s going to be okay.” Even though I didn’t exactly believe my own words I knew it was true. Everything would be okay. Maybe not in a few hours or even months, but eventually.
I take in a sharp breath when I notice Cade’s eyes flicker open. “Letti?”
“I’m here Cay, you saved me, I’m here.” Using his nickname I reassure him.
“Don’t leave me. I know I’m a monster, but please don’t leave me.” I nearly burst into a new set of tears as I notice the vulnerability in his eyes.
“You’re not a monster. You’re you. Caring, Compassionate, but not a monster. Never a monster.” I kiss his forehead and take him into my arms, knowing it was exactly what he needed right now.
We just sit there for a few minutes before he breaks the silence with a question. “Where’s Kaiden? I want to thank him for coming when he did.”
I shake my head sadly. “He’s dead. The rogues killed him.”
“Oh, pretty girl, come here.” He pulls me back into his embrace as I begin to tear up. “I’m so sorry. Really, I am. He was what you deserved.”
With Cade’s arms around me, I let my tears free.
“Come on, let’s get you inside so you and Little One can sleep.” Without a second thought, I curl up into his embrace as he lifts me in his arms bridal style, tears continuing to flow down and around the curves of my cheeks.
I faintly notice that Cade is taking me to his room, but at this point in time, I don’t care. This is what I need. His comfort. If only just for tonight.
When we reach his room he lays me gently under the covers and into the warmth of his bed. After he’s settled me in he gives me a featherlight kiss on my forehead and then begins to leave the room.
“No! Don’t leave me. Please, please, don’t leave me.” The words come out of my mouth as a breathless whimper. I’m swallowing back tears.
Immediately he’s back by my side, brushing the hair that has fallen across my face away. “I’m just getting a blanket so I can sleep on the couch, okay. I’ll be back in a second, promise.”
As promised he reappears minutes later holding a blanket and a pillow. He settles himself on the floor beside me and reaches a hand up. I intertwine my fingers with his and feel a strange comfort.
“Sleep, pretty girl,” Cade whispers and with those words, I drift off to sleep with his hand in mine, sad dreams awaiting me.
When I wake in the morning my hand is empty and Cade isn’t lying on the floor anymore. The panic begins as a pit settles in my stomach. My heartbeat falters and my eyes start to burn with unshed tears.
I need him, I need him, I need him.
A door opens to my right and my head whips in that direction to find Cade with a towel wrapped around his waist and another in his hands as he dries his dripping hair. When he sees the panic in my eyes he immediately sprints over to me and pulls me into his arms and onto his lap, rocking me back and forth to calm me down.
As if knowing why I was panicked he whispers gentle words to me: “I’m here, Letti. I was just having a shower. I’m sorry, baby. I’m not leaving you, I swear, pretty girl, I’m not leaving you… or Little One. Ever.”
I begin to relax as he continues to rock me back and forth.
“I need to call his parents and organize his funeral.” Not knowing where my phone is I ask Cade if I can borrow his.
When Brandon answers the phone I almost burst into tears once more. They sound so alike.
“I’m so sorry. I couldn’t do anything to stop them.” I choke out the words.
“Oh no. Please, no.” And the next thing I hear is Kaiden’s father sob. I begin to cry with him, especially when I hear Trisha’s voice on the line asking whats wrong. Not seconds later she begins to cry too.
Some rustling occurs and then Trisha speaks. “But the baby, the baby’s okay?”
I nod, then realize she can’t see me. “The baby’ fine and healthy. Kaiden saved us.” I pause. “Trish I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.”
“No, honey. Don’t say that, don’t ever say that. Kaiden would hate you for thinking this is your fault. No one is to blame but the person that killed him.”
I sob once more. “I don’t want to say goodbye.” Cade, who had walked out of the room to give me some privacy comes back inside and pulls me into his arms, giving me the comfort I hopelessly need right now.
“Honey, you don’t have to. Kaiden will always be with you, in your heart and in that beautiful baby of yours you both created.”
“Thank you, Trish. That’s exactly what I needed to hear right now.” I murmur. “I don’t know what to do about the funeral.”
“Don’t worry about that, we’ll all handle it together. Even if Kaiden’s gone Brandon and I are still your family. Why don’t you pack yourself up and come here for a while and we’ll sort it out when you get here?”
I barely whisper an ‘okay’ but manage to give her some sort of confirmation. We say our goodbyes and then hang up.
I am so not ready for this.
“Oh gosh, I am so sorry.”
And the pity begins.
“How are you feeling?”
The words barely register in my head as I tune myself out to my surroundings. All I know is that I’m at Kaiden’s funeral and his parents and Cade are standing next to me. I vaguely hear Trisha reply as Brandon comforts her.
“Thank you all for coming and under such unfortunate circumstances.” The funeral director speaks and everyone begins to quieten as the funeral service commences.
I’m lead to sit at the front of the room, the closest to the coffin and I almost burst into tears. I can’t believe he is really gone. He would have been such an amazing father. I bring a crumpled tissue to my eyes and dab as they begin to water with unshed tears.
I reach my arm out, desperately seeking the comfort I need right now. Like a prayer, fingers intertwine with mine and clasp my hand in a firm yet gentle grip. Cade squeezes my hand as I silent reassurance that he’s here and not going anywhere.
As the funeral progresses people are called upon to speak. “We will now have Kaiden’s fiancé come to the podium and speak.”
On shaky legs I make my way to the podium, disentangling my fingers from Cade’s.
“Thank you all for coming. Kaiden would have been so happy to know that he had so many people who loved him.” I pause and take a sharp breath. “Kaiden Williams was such a good man to not only to me but to so many people. I remember the day we met so vividly. I ran away from my pack and trespassed on his land and his brother, Daxton, brought me to him. Immediately we had a connection. He didn’t care that I had trespassed, he just wanted to provide me with a home and happiness. He gave me so much more than that though. He gave me a tiny little life.” I murmured, rubbing my belly. “So, to commemorate him, I would like to sing a song in his honor. I’m not that great of a singer so bear with me.”
I clear my throat as Daxton comes to the stage and hops onto the piano. When he silently nods I begin to sing softly.
“Go in peace,
Go in kindness.
Go in love,
Go in faith.
Leave the day,
The day behind us.
Day is done,
Go in grace.
Let us go,
Into the dark.
Let us hope,
By some good pleasure.
Arrive at home.”
Once I have finished many people have tears in their eyes and I bow before taking my seat. The funeral director once again takes to the podium and starts to wrap up the service.
“Actually! I have something I’d like to say.”
I don’t know what caused me to do it, but I knew that I needed to. As I walk up to the podium I begin to speak.
“There are a lot of things I wish I could say to Kaiden that I never got the chance to say in person. I wish I could thank him for taking such good care of Scarlett when I was too coward to do so. I wish I could apologize for how I treated him when we first met, letting jealousy get the better of me and lashing out. But the main thing I wish I could do now that he is no longer here is to thank him for standing by my side and helping my pack and me with the fight against the rogues. He risked his life for the many and I will forever be grateful for such a man. Rest in peace, mate. You will be missed.”
I walk over to Scarlett and hold out my hand and she immediately leaps up and pulls me into her arms. “Thank you so much for that. Kaiden would have been so happy to hear you say those things about him. Thank you.” She kisses my cheek than walks to flower rose petals over his casket.
Trisha gives me a tender kiss on the cheek before following Scarlett. Brandon pauses, looks at me thoughtfully, then gives me an approving pat on the back before walking off. No words needed.
I stand in the same spot until everyone has gone up to Kaiden and it’s my turn. Slowly and purposefully I walk up to his casket. It saddens me that something so tragic had to happen in order for me to see how wrong I was about him.
“I promise I’ll stop being a coward. I’m going to take a chance. I’ll take care of her. Both of them. I promise.” As I say the final words its like his presence is with me and he’s saying, “That’s all I could ever ask.”
It’s been a week since the funeral and to say things have been better would be the truth, but things were still hard for certain people especially.
I continued to make the pancakes the way Scarlett liked them (with blueberries) as I hummed to myself an unfamiliar tune.
While letting it sit for a few seconds I grabbed two plates, put some orange juice in a glass for Scarlett and some coffee for myself I finished plating up the food.
I’m not surprised when I find the room empty of anyone and the bedroom window open. It had almost become a ritual over the past few days. Scarlett would escape for air and then I would go find her to bring her back before she did anything overkill. I should have known the food would be to go.
I head back downstairs and pack all the food and drinks into a picnic basket making sure to wrap the pancakes with alfoil to keep it warm on the trip. I also pack some whipped cream and strawberries.
Walking out of the house at a steady pace I head to the place I know she will be. It had become her favorite spot since returning this year.
When I reach the clearing I take a deep breath preparing for anything. Both times I’ve found her here she’d been bawling her eyes out which wasn’t good for the baby.
After walking through the final trees before the lake opens up to me I immediately notice Scarlett sitting by the edge of the lake, her feet shoeless and covered by the water.
Setting the basket down at the halfway point between the end of the trees and her I continue forward. Without saying anything, I settle beside her and we watch as the water ripples every few seconds when a leaf falls.
For what feels like hours, but was most likely only minutes we sat in silence. Then suddenly, the silence was broken.
“I miss him,” Scarlett whispers, continuing to look at the water.
“I know.” I murmur as a reply. “But you gotta live for him and for Little One.”
“When did you get so wise?” She laughs and I smile. Because I haven’t heard her laugh since Kaiden passed.
“When you walked into my life and forgave me for my mistakes,” I say, seriously.
“Who said I gave you my forgiveness?” She nudges me with her shoulder, raising a brow as she turns to face me.
“You didn’t have to. You wouldn’t still be here if you hadn’t. You could have gone back to Kaiden’s pack, Hell, even to your brothers and parents once all the funeral stuff finished. But you stayed with me. Actions speak louder than words.”
"Actions speak louder than words? Wow. You really have gotten wise.” She pauses. “But, yeah, I guess I have forgiven you. Especially after all you’ve done for me lately.” Scarlett leans her head down to rest it on my shoulder and I put my arm around her own, pulling her closer.
For a few more minutes we sit like that, then he suddenly gets up and pulls me towards a picnic basket. He opens up the basket and pulls out a rug to sit on. He places everything onto the rug including a bottle of orange juice, a travel mug which I can only assume is filled with coffee and a plate of something covered in alfoil. There is also whipped cream and sliced strawberries.
He sits down and than pulls me by the hand, causing me to land in between his legs with my back against his chest. I’m about to get up and move, but he pulls me up closer and tells me to stay and I settle back into his chest, relaxing.
He removes the alfoil from the plate revealing blueberry pancakes, my favourite breakfast treat food. I turn my head and smile at him and he returns it.
He places 2 on a plate for me and 4 on a plate for him, leaving a few spare. “Whipped cream and strawberries, Madam?” He asks in a posh accent and I’m surprised he didn’t bow, because at this point it wouldn’t have surprised me.
“Why, yes, kind Sir. You know me so well.” I reply with just as much poshness.
And so we eat our blueberry pancakes topped with whipped cream and strawberries while having little conversations and I feel the happiest I have been since Kaiden’s passing.