I smile at the little dark haired boy at the table drawing. His green eyes sparking.
"Mummy look!" he squeals in delight holding up his artwork.
I go towards the table and hug him as Nathan comes into the kitchen.
"Wow kiddo! That's one hell of a wolf!" Nathan kisses me as a greeting and picks up his coffee.
Door slams open, taken off jts hinges.
Two men barge in with more behind.
Screaming in the street followed growls, howls and crying.
Max is taken from his chair and taken outside. The children are being rounded up on the street.
I try to follow but am dragged back.
I start screaming "No my baby! Please!"
It goes dark... So dark.... I can still hear the screaming of mothers and children.
"Cassia! It's a nightmare. Wake up please!" Garett leaned over her, his face panicked. She opened her eyes and felt the familiar cold sweat from replaying her last memory of seeing her family alive.
"Garett? I'm so sorry!"
'You were screaming. I thought you were hurt!" he looked fearful at her.
"Not physically hurt at least" Cassia attempted to smile as though she was making a joke, knowing full well she meant she was emotionally hurt.
"Garett? Would you mind staying with me please until I fall asleep? When I have the nightmare, I can never get back to sleep."
"Of course. Whatever I can do to help." he got onto the bed next to her but didn't get under the covers. It was then she noticed he was shirtless and she could see his tattoos. It covered his chest. It was of a moon over hills. The shading made the picture almost like a photograph. The tattoo artist really had a talent. She then noticed his right arm had a day of the dead girl in a native Indian headpiece. She was beautiful. The only colour evident on this piece was the purple in some of the feathers and her eyes. Remarkable! He noticed her staring.
"How are you feeling now?"
"I think my heart rate is back to normal now. Can I ask a question?" she started up at the ceiling.
"How does it feel for you? This whole finding your mate?"
"Intoxicating in a word. As soon as I sensed you in that bar, you have constantly been on my mind. For my kind, it literally is falling in love at first sight. When I saw you i felt my world finally had a light in it that it lost a long time ago. When you walked away it knocked the breath out of me. It felt like someone had clawed my heart from my chest. You have no idea how difficult it is to feel what how I feel for you. Yet feel your hated towards me. It's almost unbearable. Not that I want to make you feel guilty. I just wanted to be honest." he spoke without looking at her. She had turned her head to look at him as he was speaking.
"I don't hate you as a person. Please know that. If anything now.... I'm just confused and don't really know how to handle this situation. Before the war I was married. I had a child. We were young but believed it was forever. Having him taken away from me and finding out I am fated for someone else... It's alot to handle." She whispered honestly. Silently crying at the feelings growing for Garett and the betrayal she felt for Nathan and her son.
Garett pulled her into a hug as she silently sobbed.
It's so bright! Cassia opened her eyes and focused on the glass doors in the bedroom.
The sunrise! So beautiful!
She strapped her ankle into the boot and grabbed the crutches. She slowly made her way to the doors and opened them. As the heat and air hit her she closed her eyes and smiled. The sky was blue already with some whisps of clouds that took on a pink hue. The sun shone bright and cast light onto the mountains to her right. Orange light up the sky slowly fading into a pink glow. As she watched the colours dance in the sky she felt a presence behind her that made her feel warm.
"This is my favourite part of the day. My dad always used tell me to look forward to it. For it brought a new day with new prospects." she focused on the natural beauty in front her as Garett came to her side on the balcony.
"Mine is the sunset. It's a reminder that a new day will come with new prospects and new hope. My mum used to say that to me." he looked at her and smiled. His grey eyes shone bright in the orange glow from the sun rise. He took her breath away in that moment and she felt the urge to have him hold her. Feel comfort. Feel love.
"Your mother sounds like a very intelligent woman." she forced her focus back to the sunrise.
"Your dad sounds like my mother." he laughed. Cassia couldn't help the smile on her face as she was thinking similar. The sun began to climb into the sky. It looked like it was going to be a lovely day by all accounts. Cassia turned to head back inside.
"Cassia? How would you like to get out of the house today? Cabin fever can set in pretty quick." he seemed flustered when asking her if she wanted to go out.
"That sounds lovely. Oh, Leila was going to come round this afternoon." she said, instantly regretting the words as it meant less time with Garett.
"it's only early now. How about get dressed and we go for breakfast? I know a really nice place. And they do the coffee I gave you yesterday." his smile took her breath away again for the second time in the space of twenty minutes.
Fuuuck! His smile could light up Manchester in a power cut!
"OK. Let me get dressed and we will go for breakfast."
Garett went to the walk in wardrobe. He came out a couple of seconds later with clothing and left her to get ready.
She decided on a lilac summer dress that was in the bag of clothing. She didn't want to try and put jeans on over her now black and puffy ankle. The dress fit perfectly. Square neck line with thick straps. It fitted in just under her bust and floated out to just under her knees. She put her black converse shoe on her right foot and admired the full leg tattoo on her right leg. The outside of her calf had an Alice in wonderland inspired timepiece with a small fairy sat atop next to a purple flower. The inside was a close up of a fairy face. Dusted with shades of gray and pink. Her knee had swirled of colours around the knee cap so it looked like a rainbow. Her outer thigh was covered with a fairy with red hair and broken wings. Facing forward an owl with a sand timer. Instead of sand a forest sat in the bottom of the glass. The back of her thigh depicted a fairy with dark hair and a long dark dress. Her wings span the full area. She looked like she glided towards the onlooker. The spaces between the art had shading and bursts of colour to create a full leg sleeve.
Cassia brushed her hair and pulled the top half onto a bobble. The rest of her dark hair cascaded down her back. She looked at her right arm to admire the sleeve there. The lower half had a tree in black blowing in the wind with the leaves coming off in the breeze. The sunrise behind it being the only colour. Vines of delicate leaves and flower buds snaked up her arm. Very reminiscent of the victorian botanical drawings. These lead to a phoenix on her shoulder designed in leaves.
It was warm outside already despite being early in the morning. But she decided to tie a jumper around her waist. She hobbled over to the door just as a light knock sounded.
"Oh! Wow! You look... Just... Beautiful!" Garett seemed breathless when he spoke. Cassia felt the her skin blush from the sincere compliment. As they got to the stairs, Cassia looked at them comprehending how she was going to get down. She was just about ready to ask Garett to grab the crutches whilst she shuffled down her bum when he swooped her off her feet and carried her down the stairs. She giggled.
"I didn't want you falling down!" he stated as he opened the front door.
"Morning alpha. I wondered if..... Oh! I'm sorry I didn't know... Sorry. I'm Brax. The beta. You've met my mate Leila?" a tall dark haired man greeted us at the door. He had long hair down to his shoulders. Eyes the colour of the sea. The man next to him was dark haired also and had dark eyes.
"I'm Raul, the leader of the warriors. Nice to finally meet you Cassia." the two men smiled at her as they held their hands out to shake hers. She smiled back and shyly said hello.
"We are going to Greta's for breakfast. Is everything ok? Or do you need me?" Garetts body language became quite formal and assertive.
"No no. It a trivial thing. If we can't sort it ourselves we can wait until your back. Go and enjoy. Cassia, try the ultimate stack. Honestly you will never want anything else for breakfast ever again" Brax smiled at them both and he and Raul walked away talking.
The drive to Greta's was peaceful. Once there Garett pulled the crutches from the back seat and helped Cassia out of the truck. They walked into the small diner. It smelled of pancakes, bacon and syrup.
"Garett! It's been too long! Where the hell have you been?" a graying woman in her 60s ran at Garett and pulled him into a hug before hitting his shoulder as a telling off.
"Greta! So good to see you are doing well! This is Cassia. She is staying with me for awhile." Cassia smiled at the woman who pulled her into a hug as a greeting.
"Cassia. What a lovely name! I'm Greta. Here let me sit you down in this booth. Here is the menu. I'm sure you've been told by Brax what to order! Take your time and give me a shout when your ready."
Cassia didn't look at the menu. She decided she was going to take a chance on the ultimate stack.
Fuck it. Caution to the wind and I am hungry!
"I'm ready if you are." Cassia smiled at the muscular, happy man facing her. Garett laughed and got Greta's attention.
"Greta can I have my usual please? With a coffee and a ginger beer. Cassia?"
"I will go with the Brax endorsement of the ultimate stack and a coffee. Could I also get the peanut butter and chocolate shake?" Cassia smiled at Greta as she handed her the menu.
"English! If my memory serves me well... Manchester right? Ah! The birth place of perfection!" Greta smiled and her eyes clouded over. Garett and Cassia looked at each other confused.
"David Beckham? Come on! You youngsters have no concept of class or beauty." she laughed as she walked away from the table to give the chef their order.
Cassia placed her knife and fork down and sat back defeated. The ultimate stack was well named! Five large pancakes with smoked bacon and maple syrup with blueberries and raspberries on the top. It was amazing and she cleaned the plate.
"I am impressed! I think you could Brax a run for his money. I know you said you love food... I didn't realise it was a love that serious." Cassia laughed, dipped her finger in the maple syrup on the plate and licked it. They had shared small talk of their likes and dislikes. They laughed together and joked together. It felt a little bit like a date. Cassia felt care free for the first time in a long time.
"So... How long have you been alpha?" the happy glint in his eyes started to fade. Cassia felt like she had shot him down.
"Just over a year. I took over from my brother when he died." he didn't expand on the subject and so Cassia reached for his hand over the table as an apology.
"I'm sorry. I didnt mean to pry." she stroked his hand with her thumb. The heat and sparks were comforting. She didn't want to let go of his hand. Greta came over with the check and smiled at the two of them in the booth.
"Here you go guys. You two look so happy together. It's about time you pulled your finger out and found a good girl. You deserve it." Cassia noted the loving gaze Greta had for Garett as she squeezed his shoulder. They clearly meant a lot to each other. Cassia smiled at the woman as she turned to her and spoke.
" You have a good one there missy. Trust me. If only I was his type." she winked at her as she walked away.
He is clearly loved by a lot of people and has respect. Maybe I should give him a chance and open up to him
Garett paid the check despite Cassia wanting to pay for hers and they left together to go back to the house.