The first thing Lily noticed when she returned to the cafe was the three guards standing outside. She recalled them training in the gym when she was attending her sessions.
The news of her pregnancy weighed her down so she let it go for the time being and went to the kitchen. Her will to work was exhausted and Kandra could clearly see that.
“I told you I can handle the cafe for a day.” She insisted and dragged Lily to the nearest chair. “I was on my own before you, after all.”
Liky sighed and palmed her face. “It’s crowded outside. I feel guilty for leaving you alone.”
Kandra patted her hair. “No problem, dear. Just tell me you’re feeling alright because you’re still pale as a sheet.”
Her head was swimming and vision dancing. The demanding presence of warmth in her belly had her nerves in a tangle.
“Nothing serious. I guess I need some rest.”
“Are you pregnant, Lily?” Kandra asked the question she dreaded. The concern in her tone was welcoming but the answer felt too person.
“Uhm... No.” She lied. “I’m not.”
“Take the day off.”
Lily would have protested if she knew she could hang on for longer. The guards outside watched her like a hawk from the distance when she stepped out of the cafe and climbed into a taxi.
There was a car in Ezra’s driveway. Lily easily recognized it as the former Alpha’s car. Frowning, she entered the house and ventured into the living room. There she found Ben and Amelia in a heated conversation with Ezra.
At least he was wasn’t throwing furniture around.
“Lily?” Amelia rushed to her side and hugged her.
Anxiety crawled up her throat as a strange overly protective wire of possessiveness wound around her belly. Lily did not like the proximity but refrained from being disrespectful.
“Are you okay?” The Luna tilted her chin.
Lily smiled at her then moved her gaze to Ben. “Fit as a fiddle.”
“Did he force you?”
Lily snapped her gaze to Ezra was already scorching her with the blues of his eyes. “No,” she said. “I asked to be here.”
Amelia opened her mouth then hesitated and exchanged a puzzled look with her mate. “Really?”
Ezra scoffed. “Yeah, thank you for treating me like shit. Me. Your own son.”
Ben narrowed his eyes. “You leave us no choice.”
“Oh, yeah?” Ezra mocked. “Supporting your son is not a choice?”
Ben fisted his hands. “Supporting his lunacy?”
Ezra shot up to his feet. “Your attitude towards me is showing me your real faces.”
“Ezra!” Amelia warned.
Her son had no shame left. “Don’t talk to me, mom. Enough is enough. You gave birth to me, raised me and fed me and whatever the hell you have to throw at me is not going to shut me up. I didn’t ask you to do any of that. You had free will. You wanted a child and you had it.”
Lily was speechless.
“You’re my son!”
“The fuck I am! I’m nothing but a dog for you. Don’t train and control me.”
Ben threw an accusatory glare at Amelia then marched out of the house.
His mother merely stared at her son. “What are you now? I wanted a child? Where’s that child?”
Ezra crossed his arms, “You’re not going to be my mom for long if you ever told me to let go of her again.”
Amelia was reduced into a crestfallen mess. Lily gripped her shoulders and held her up. She didn’t want to interfere.
“Mom,” he cut in. “Just leave.”
His mother had more to say but Lily squeezed her shoulders and silenced her trembling plea.
“I’ll see you out.” She told the Luna.
The confused and hurt Luna was led to the foyer.
“I’m not sure what I’m doing will work.” Lily confessed to her outside the front door. “I came back to prove a point to your son. Let’s hope the goddess will allow some sense into his head.”
Amelia gazed at the door. Noticing this, Lily clutched her hands. “I know he hurt you. I apologise for dragging you out of there but I can’t see him disrespect your motherhood any more than this. He has no idea what he’s losing in his blind obsession.”
Amelia drew in a deep breathe and casted a glance at the car waiting for her.
“He was never like this before.”
“I can tell.”
“No. He’s not crossing his boundaries with me.”
“That’s a relief.”
Lily nodded. “Yeah.”
“I should come back tomorrow and—”
“No,” Lily stopped her sympathetically. “Not yet. I’ll tell you when he’s ready to apologize.”
“He will. Trust me on this.”
Amelia hesitated before nodding. “Take care, Lily. He’s... unstable. Call me immediately if you ever need something.”
After the departure of his mother and fuming father, Lily went inside. Ezra had to leave for a quick patrol schedule meeting and reviewing stat reports but he was back before dinner.
His deceased stone cold heart melted when he came home to Lily wearing an apron and setting out plates on the kitchen table.
“Hi,” he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.
Lily paused for a few seconds then slowly put the bowl of spaghettis down. “I made dinner.”
He sniffed her air and smiled. “Delicious.”
Even if he meant her and not the actual food, she didn’t notice because her body was busy fighting the urge to cover her belly and shove his arms away.
“Let’s eat,” she moved but he pulled her back against him.
“You’re mad at me.”
Her lack of eye contact and stiff posture colored her displeasure and it didn’t sit well with him.
“Does it matter?”
“Of course, it does.”
Lily pursed her lips and untangled his arms from around her. She gripped his wrists and turned to face his sharp, devilishly fascinating face.
“I don’t have time for this.”
Ezra scrunched his forehead. “This what?”
Lily took a seat at the head of the table and grabbed a fork. “Lies.”
Ezra plopped down on the chair beside her and stopped her hand before it could reach for the bowls.
“What lies?” He demanded.
Lily had a calm expression on her face which irritated the hell out of him.
“That you would respect me.”
A soft yet sharp taunting laugh bubbled from her lips. “If you can’t respect the woman who had loved you more than any woman ever will, you can’t respect me either.”
Ezra unlatched his hand from around her warm skin. “Oh, that’s what bothering you.”
“It’s not bothering me because it was a real eye opener.”
“Excuse me? I chose you over her. How was that not respecting you?”
Lily gazed at him in a way which made him feel stupid. Her eyes alone sucked the fight out of him.
“She was there before I was.” Lily pointed out and held up her forefinger before he could refute. “She is going to be the only woman who will know you more than anyone else. The only woman who will love you even if you don’t. The only woman who will forgive you no matter how much you hurt her.”
“You do?” Lily asked, aggravated. “And you still chose her over me? What did you think? I would be impressed and proud of you? Wrong."
Ezra combed his hair back and leaned against the back of his chair. “You’re always going to pinpoint the flaws in every picture.”
“Flaws can ruin a picture.”
Lily slammed her fork down against the table. “You disrespected your own mother for a woman who is barely there in your life. If that’s the value of love in your cards, I don’t wanna think about how you’d treat me if your obsession ever found a new target.”
Ezra raised a thick brow. “You’re not going to be barely there anymore.”
“You ignored my point.”
Ezra shook his head, reached for his bowl and picked a spoon. “Fine. I’ll apologize.”
“Please don’t,” Lily huffed. “You’re not even feeling any regret or guilt. Don’t disrespect her love anymore than you already did.”
Ezra gripped the fork tighter and clenched his jaw. “Every obstacle between you and me is an offence to my existence. I don’t care who it is. I’m not going to tolerate it.”
Lily inhaled and cut off the thread of their argument. They ate in silence and avoided looking at each other. There was fear behind her anger. The fear of revealing the truth growing in her belly.
What if he used it as leverage to hold her down?
Cole. She mindlinked him. I need a butterfly.
Did you just say butterfly? Came the bewildered response.
Yes. Lily twirled her fork in the cluster of noodles. A blue butterfly. Catch it in an air tight jar.
The silence that followed was predictable loss of words.
Are you conscious?
I need it. Catch a butterfly tomorrow. Inform me when you do.
Uhm... I’ll see what I can do.
Lily threw a quick glance at Ezra. Thanks. He was chewing, lost in thoughts.