Seeking happiness

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XIV

The time of day that Jolena hates most is getting up. Especially when she has to get up early. She just really isn’t a morning-person. So, when her alarm goes off the next morning, she lets some profanities leave her mouth before slamming her alarm clock to hit the snooze button. She really, really hates getting up, today is no different.

After her lunch with Danny and Ava yesterday, she had to work her shift at the restaurant. The last customers were done late, and the restaurant was a mess, so it was late when she got home. When she turns to her other side, she thinks about what day it is. Today is Wednesday. Was there a certain reason she set her alarm this early? She jolts up. Yes. Today is the day that Ava will leave for the Grey Mountains. Her mood immediately changes. She really is happy for her friend, but on the other hand, she is not. She really wants to be selfish and ask her friend to stay here. But that’s not what a true friend would do, right. A true friend would always put the happiness of the friend before their own. She throws her legs to the right side of the bed and sits up. She stretches extensively, then gets up and strolls to the kitchen.

“Morning sunshine,” Joe smiles when he sees her tired face, “did you sleep well? I didn’t hear you coming home tonight.”

“I didn’t really sleep much,” Jolena yawns, “had a long shift last night. And I got up early just so I can say goodbye to Ava.”

“That’s right, she’ll be leaving today, I almost forgot,” Joe no longer smiles. It seems like Joe is having a hard time with Ava leaving as well.

“I’ll miss her,” Jolena says quietly, she grabs a cup of coffee from the cabinet and pours in some coffee to keep herself busy.

Later Jolena arrives at Ava’s apartment. She sits for a moment before she gets out of her car. She’s dreading this moment. It’s not that Ava is off to the other end of the world, but still. Just as she slams her door shut, Danny comes out of the apartment building with a big duffel bag. “Morning,” he smiles, then throws the duffel bag in the backseat of a rental van. He shuts the door of the van, locks it, then turns around and looks at her. “Are you alright?” He asks. He frowns, “you seem quiet.”

“I’m sorry,” she looks at her toes, “it’s nothing personal, but my friend is moving away. I am just a little sad.”

Danny steps in front of her and lifts her chin so he can look her in the eye. He gives her a sad smile, “I saw this conversation coming. I’m the one who should be sorry. I am taking your friend away from you.”

“It is her own decision, isn’t it?” Ava shrugs and looks down again, “you aren’t responsible for her decisions, are you?”

He lifts her chin up again, but this time he continues to hold it, “then why do I have the feeling you blame me? You know I am a wolf; I can sense these things.

She sighs, “I don’t blame you, I’m just sad, honestly. She is my best friend. We met when we went to the same high school. She was there for me when my parents died. She was there when I went to college, she was there when I got my driver’s licence, she was there when I bought my first car. I am just so sad that she won’t be here for the rest of the things I will go through. Besides Joe, she is the only family I have left.” A tear escapes her eye.

He lets go of her chin and wipes it away with his thumb. “I didn’t realise you were so close,” he says quietly, he looks sad.

“Yeah,” Jolena doesn’t know what to say.

“You know, I really am sorry. I know it isn’t the same thing, but you can always come and visit us in Miller Creek. Ava can visit you if she wants. You can have video calls; I’ll do everything so you two can stay in touch.” He rubs her upper arms comfortingly.

“Thanks,” she gives him a sad smile, “I know you’ll do anything for her. She couldn’t have found a better man.” She steps away from Danny to walk to the door of Ava’s apartment building. “Let’s get inside, see if there’s something useful left for me to do.”

A couple of hours later, the van is fully packed, the apartment is empty, and everything is clean. Ava handled everything with the janitor and now the only thing left to do is to say goodbye. Danny, Ava and Jolena stand in front of the building, in a little awkward silence. Danny is the first to break the silence. He says goodbye to Jolena first, so he can get in the van and give Ava and Jolena some privacy. He realises how hard this is for them.

“I’ll miss you,” Ava gives Jolena a hug. She doesn’t let go; silent tears start trickling down their cheeks. Jolena lets Ava go and wipes away her tears.

“I’ll miss you more.” They both smile. “Let me know when you arrive. And call me when you’re settled in.”

“I will, if you’ll let me know what the result is of your interview.”

“I will,” Jolena takes a step back as Ava walks to the passenger side of the van.

“I’ll text you when we arrive,” she shouts, she opens the door and gets in. Danny lets the engine roar and takes off. Jolena gets into her own car and pulls out her keys. Tears start streaming down her face and she finally lets all her grief out. Her heart hurts. Although Ava hasn’t left out of her life for good, it still feels like it is definite. Ava leaves a hole in her heart.

It’s the same morning when Chris decides to take a shower. He hasn’t slept all night. He kept tossing and turning, thinking about his mate. This hide and seek game she seems to play with him is driving him insane. She may not do it on purpose, but it is still frustrating. He needs to get this situation under control, otherwise the situation will get out of hand. He keeps thinking. He needs to find a way to find her.

Jolena. Her name is Jolena. The fact that she is one of the candidates for the job offer is a good start, but he must find a way to get in touch with her. He can’t just call her and say, ‘hi, I think you are my mate, let’s live together for the rest of our lives.’

He steps out from under the water and grabs a towel to dry himself off. He needs to wait. When Joseph decides that she turns out to be the best candidate, he will meet her once she is working as Joseph’s PA. Maybe that is a good strategy. He walks back into his bedroom and pulls out one of his suits. He throws it on the bed and sighs. He really doesn’t want to, but he has to go back to the office for a last meeting with Mr. Verona. He hopes he will be a bit indulgent today. His phone rings. He walks to his nightstand to pick it up. When he looks at the screen, he sees its Danny. “Danny,” he says when he answers the phone.

“Hey Chris, I just wanted to let you know that we just left Ava’s apartment. We are now on our way home.”

“Okay.”

“Are you alright?” Danny sounds a little worried.

“Yes, I am,” Chris says evasively, “I just didn’t sleep very well, that’s all.”

“Is it because I didn’t sleep at your place, did you miss me?” Danny just loves to tease him way too much.

“No. I’ve learnt to live with that,” Chris smiles, what Danny can do, Chris can do too.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Danny is serious again; he knows something is up with his friend.

“No, not right now. Your attention should be on the road, not on me. I’ll tell you tonight, or maybe tomorrow, depends on when we see each other.”

“Are you going home as well?”

“Yes, I have an important meeting within an hour, after that I’ll pack my things and I’ll be on my way. My wolf needs a run urgently.” After that they say their goodbyes and Chris continues to get dressed.

The meeting with Mr. Verona was tough. Verona really didn’t want to give in. Chris smelled the strange scent again, but this time it was even worse. Possibly because Verona brought a man with him. He seemed to be some kind of partner of some sorts. Verona didn’t tell Joseph and him who the man was. Just that his name was Vince Jones. He still can’t seem to find out where he recognises this scent from. Just as he can’t find out where he has seen the eyes of this Vince before. He just knows he has seen those piercing green, almost yellow eyes before.

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