You can read ahead on Patreon now. Use this link to find out more: patreon.com/littletroublemaker_
Lazarus was right. Leah’s house was empty when we arrived.
It took a lot of convincing to get Officer Martinez to drive me here—to an unfamiliar place. Thankfully he allowed me to come here, probably out of sympathy. The only rule he had was that he could do a scope of the place every hour.
Lazarus locked hands with me and guided me into their large, beautiful house. I was still in awe.
He chuckled at my face, clearly amused by my reaction. I shot him a glare, pretending to be angry with him.
“If it’s okay with you, I want to show you my wolf now,” He said, nervously.
I could see he was anxious. He thought that once I saw his wolf, I would run. I wouldn’t though. I just wish he could see that.
“I would love to meet your wolf,” I replied, softly. His green eyes brightened in hope and happiness.
He took me outside, where we had the garden party a few weeks ago, and inhaled sharply. He bounced on the balls of his feet and rubbed his hands together.
“Just...don't run,” The look in his eyes was enough for me to feel my heart shatter a little bit. He was really scared I would run. “Please.”
“Never,” I whispered, sincerely.
He exhaled loudly and started to undress. My cheeks turned a rosy color and I forced myself to look away.
The sound of bones snapping had my attention again. Slowly and hesitantly, I peered up from my hands and saw Lazarus mid-way through shifting. Black fur covered his body and the features on his face enlarged. It was truly magnificent to watch. When I first saw Dexter shift, I was too shocked to properly digest everything. Now, however, I could watch with wide eyes as he transformed into a large wolf.
He got down onto all fours and released a quiet growl. I shivered but not from fear. From awe.
It was truly amazing to see.
Right before my eyes was Lazarus...but as a wolf.
His green eyes glowed. He put a paw closer to me, hesitant about coming closer to me. I sucked in a breath and treaded carefully towards him.
“You look...” I paused, gathering my thoughts together. I wanted to say the perfect thing. “This is truly amazing.”
He barked happily and trotted over to me. My mouth was agoge—his wolf truly looked magnificent. He had razor-sharp claws, deadly fangs, and a powerful aura. I felt safe in Lazarus’ presence but I could imagine other people being scared of him. Georgia would definitely freak out.
I held my hand out, wanting to pet him. He seemed wary, probably still worried I would run away at any second.
“I said I wouldn’t run Lazarus; I meant it,” I told him, staring directly into his familiar eyes.
He cocked his head to the side, contemplating whether he should let me touch him. In the end, he made the first move. He pressed his furry head into my waiting hand, gently. I shivered in delight and smiled brightly.
I lowered myself to my knees so that I was eye-level with him. We continued to maintain eye contact. As time passed, Lazarus let his guard down more. I found my arms wrapped around his neck.
I was hugging a bloody wolf!
Eventually, Lazarus shifted back. He dashed into Leah’s house and grabbed some clothes. When he returned, his eyes were gleaming with pure happiness. He marched over to me and swooped in for a kiss.
I pulled away first, gasping for air. He chuckled, not at all out of breath. It must be a werewolf thing.
“Now that you’ve had a day to accept everything, do you have any more questions for me?” He asked, leading me back inside. We sat in Leah’s lounge and snuggled up together on the couch. I released a sigh of content.
“Actually, I do have a few more questions,” I replied, peering up at him. “I just don’t know where to begin.”
His fingers started to play with my hair.
“What’s the first question that comes to mind? We can go from there.”
I loosened a breath, “When I asked you about Raegan, you said you had a...” I coughed awkwardly, feeling lots of emotions hit me as I thought about the pretty blonde. “Friends with benefits arrangement. How long did that last? Why did you do that?”
His eyes filled with worry. I worried I shouldn’t have approached the topic.
“When I officially met Raegan, around thirty years ago, I was still recovering from a very long horrific episode. She was a distraction. If I had known being with her...intimately would result in her acquiring an obsession, I would have stayed far away from her. She has a mate out there. Falling for me is not a good idea.” He explained, sounding regretful.
“Our...relationship lasted two years. I cut it off when the guilt overwhelmed me. From then on, I learned to control my emotions.”
When I looked into his eyes, I could see his insecurities. He felt unworthy of me because of what happened in his past. I wished I never brought it up.
“Lazarus,” I whispered, softly. My hand rested on the side of his face. I forced him to look down at me and stare into my eyes. “You did nothing wrong. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Having a relationship before I was even born is completely fine. I’m not mad. I’d say we’re all human and we make mistakes but you’re not completely human.”
My petty excuse at humor somewhat worked.
Since we were having such a deep and meaningful conversation, one question that rolled around in my head appeared again. “Lazarus, a few weeks ago, when you were comforting me, you said you had your own demons. What did you mean by that?”
He exhaled shakily. “I—,” He swallowed audibly. “It has been known that some werewolves—werewolves who are more wolf than human—can go feral.”
As soon as he said the word feral, I was transported back to the night I had a date with Jamie. There was that wolf with sinister red eyes that tried to attack us. I had never seen anything so wild before.
“It’s when wolves go mad. They can only focus on one thing: blood.”
A tremor of fear ran down my spine. I did not want to imagine Lazarus like that.
“A—and that happened to you?” I queried. He nodded his head. “Why?”
Lazarus stroked my hair soothingly. I could see he was deep in thought. He was probably reliving some unpleasant memories. To comfort him, I drew circles into his chest.
Whatever happened in that period of his life was very painful to remember. His eyes looked haunted.
“Werewolves can go years without finding their mates,” He started. “But I waited so long for you, my wolf began to feel helpless. The only thing that could satisfy us and keep us alive was accepting our true nature. I’m not proud of that time in my life. I killed innocent people and slept with tonnes of girls—hoping to feel some sort of bond.”
“You were lonely,” I summarized.
“Yeah, I was. It’s funny though because I was surrounded by so many glamorous and powerful people but I still felt so isolated. Everyone had mates—everyone except me.” He added.
“There was one night when I had been drinking so much, I was completely out of it. I think it was around 1932, in Philadelphia. I was in a small town, avoiding my family. My loneliness was eating my whole. The only way to get rid of it was to do something that would make me feel alive again. I found this cabin in the woods. There was a family in there, having tea. They were all laughing, having fun. It made my wolf rage.”
Bile rose to my throat. Hearing this made me feel awful. I could never hate him—I knew that now. But it didn’t mean I didn’t feel horrid about his actions. It wasn’t entirely his fault he was like this. I was born too late.
“I can only recall flashes. There was blood. Lots of blood. The children—two girls and a boy—were all lying on the floor in a puddle of blood. The mother was torn to pieces and the dad...he was choking on his own blood. I left after that.”
I was frozen. I had no words.
“If me turning into a wolf didn’t scare you before, this definitely will. I’m a monster.” He murmured, bowing his head in shame.
He was breaking my heart. Tearing it to pieces. And yet, my mind was still reeling. I was still gathering my thoughts.
He continued talking. “When I first saw you, I knew I had to be around you. I was only stopping for a short amount of time to visit Leah. But as soon as my eyes landed on you, I knew I could never go anywhere without you. I enrolled in your school to keep a close eye on you...and to meet you properly. But I knew I shouldn’t be with you. You’re too pure and good. Not right for somebody like me. A monster. I tried to avoid you, especially when Raegan arrived. She threatened to tell you the truth if I pursued you.”
So that was why he was so hot and cold with me. Not because he didn’t want me but because he thought he wasn’t good enough for me.
“But the more I got to know you, the harder it got to stay away,” He finished, breathing heavily. It took a lot out of him. “And now I can’t leave. I can’t bear to be away from you. Call me selfish but I’m not letting you go. Not when I finally have you.”
His final words were enough for me to twist in my seat and throw my arms around him. His body fell backward against the couch; he recovered quickly.
“I am so sorry you went through that,” I mumbled into his ear. He tightened his hold on me. “You didn’t deserve to feel those things.”
“Mi amore, you should be disgusted by me. You should me running away from me. I murdered innocent people.” He declared.
“Lazarus, when I first saw you, I was so drawn to you. But as time progressed, I fell more for you. I can’t get enough of you. If I left you, I would not cope. You have become my rock.” I told him, feeling confident in telling him this. Everything I said was true. He became my rock and I didn’t even realize it at first.
Now that I knew so much more, I felt bolder. He was just as scared as me.
“I won’t let anybody harm you,” He promised, brushing his lips against my temple. “Especially the demon that haunts you.”
I sucked in a breath and fluttered my eyes open.
“I’m not ready to tell you about that yet,” I said, making sure he could see how unwilling I was.
Lazarus blew out a long breath. “But you will if something bad happens? You are obviously in some sort of danger because you have an armed bodyguard following you around.”
“You’re right, I am in danger. But there is nothing you can do to help me right now. But I know with you around, it’s unlikely anything bad will happen.”
He smiled ever so slightly. “I’m glad you have so much faith in me.”
“I don’t know what I would have done if you didn’t accept me,” He commented, absentmindedly.
“Don’t think about it. It’s never going to happen,” I answered, firmly.
“I know. I just like hearing you say that,” He replied, cheekily. I swatted his hands away and shot him a playful glare.
I wasn’t mad at him. I could never be mad at him.
“I’m glad you went against your thoughts and followed your instincts,” I muttered, happily.
He sighed happily, also pleased. “Without you, I am nothing. I can never be a better person.”
And whilst I didn’t believe that for a single second—I already thought he was a good person—I felt proud to be mated to him.
It was at that moment Leah waltzed into the room. She had a pair of shades covering her eyes and her lips were pressed together tightly. She looked on edge.
“I didn’t realize Celeste was going to be here,” She said, not in an unwelcoming way, just a confused way.
I smiled, “Hi, Leah.”
“Hey, how are you?” She asked, placing her bag on the ground and moving to a seat.
She cocked her head to the side, searching my eyes for any deceit. “Lazarus told me what happened yesterday.”
Of course, he did.
I made sure to show her I wasn’t scared. “I’ll admit, at first, I was confused and terrified. But once he told me the truth, all of these feelings disappeared. I don’t think I can ever be afraid of this man. I know he will never hurt me—not intentionally.”
She seemed satisfied with my answer. Leah was simply being the overprotective sibling. Sometimes, I wished I had that. I wanted somebody who would protect me like that.
“Good,” She nodded her head. Her protectiveness reminded me of Georgia. “He could never hurt you anyways. Wolves would rather die than hurt their mate.”
I glanced at Lazarus who was wearing a grim face.
“How was your meeting, Leah?” Lazarus asked, changing the subject. I was thankful.
Leah exhaled slowly, “Boring. On the way out, the strangest thing happened. I thought I saw Miles.”
Lazarus stiffened. I wondered who Miles was.
I peeked up at him, my eyes no doubt swirling with questions. His reply was silent but I understood the look. I’ll tell you later.
“Leah, you know that’s not possible.” He told her, seriously.
“I know,” She sighed, sadly. “But what if it was him? What if he really is alive? You know what that means for me.”
She perked up, hopefully. I could sense Lazarus felt uneasy about diminishing her hope.
“Leah...” Lazarus drawled, staring at his sister painfully.
Her right leg bounced on the ground. “Yeah, yeah. I know. He’s dead. I was probably looking for somebody that wasn’t there. Or maybe I just saw someone who looked like him.” She rose to her feet, dusting off the imaginary dirt on her jeans. “I’m going to make a chicken pie. Are you staying for tea, Celeste?”
I turned to Lazarus, asking for permission. He seemed eager for me to stay.
“Okay, I’ll leave you two lovebirds alone for a bit then.” She vanished around the corner, making a little noise in the kitchen.
“So, who’s Miles?”
He pursed his lips. “Her dead mate.”
I'm sorry I didn't update yesterday. I hope today's update makes up for it. What do you think of this chapter? My next update will either be this Friday or Saturday.