Never Ago (Book 1)

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A Broken Bridge

"We're not technically mates." Ezra corrected her sharply and steered to his car parked at the front of the packhouse.

His previous open chamber of emotions slammed shut and his face morphed into a hard expression. Madaline was quick on her feet, she followed him to his car and claimed the passenger seat of his car before he could object.

"Yet." She emphasized, reminding him of the impending sword ready to fall on the slab of meat in his chest. "Granted we're not mated but we chose each other. It's been that way for two years."

The car swivelled out of the driveway and drove off swiftly, leaving dust flying. Ezra rubbed his face on one hand and gripped the steering wheel with the other.

Madaline laid her hand on his bicep. "I've been looking everywhere for you. I was worried. You didn't respond to me last night and now this. Is there something you want to talk about?"

His hand gripped the steering wheel with so much force, his knuckles turned white. The guilt of dragging two lives in mud with him restricted his chest to the point where breathing became a struggle.

"Babe?" She tried again. Hoping to catch a hint of what was going through his head.

Getting a reaction out of a stone would have been easier. If it wasn't for the rise and fall of his chest, Madaline could have sworn he was a granite statue.

The short ride to his house went by in silence. Madaline tried touching him to ease his tension but it seemed to fuel it more. She had built a life with this man and she wasn't ready to walk out of it just yet.

Ezra parked the car in the driveway of his house and kicked the door shut. He fished out his house keys from his pocket and unlocked the front door. No matter how much she tried, Ezra never gave her a copy of the keys. He was overprotective of his privacy.

Madaline trailed behind him, cautiously searching his eyes. She was used to his random outbursts but they seemed to be increasing with each day.

"Baby." She threw her purse to the couch in the lounge and wrapped herself around his back. He paused, breathed and waited. Her heart fell when he didn't reciprocate the hug. He didn't even turn her around to kiss her forehead like he used to. He was just standing there, an inactive participant.

"What's wrong?" She coaxed and pressed her cheek against his back. "I'm used to your fits. It gives me an idea of what's bothering you. This, you shutting the world out leaves me in the dark. Give me something to work with."

Ezra sighed and unhinged her arms from his waist and stepped out of her reach. Madaline whirled around in front of him, preventing him from moving.

"Madaline." Ezra started, "I'm not in the mood to sort things out. I'm even ready to think about it. Right now, I want to rest. I want to forget about everything and just... sleep."

Madaline grabbed of his hands and flashed him her charming smile. "I can help you forget, baby." She cooed and pressed her cleavage up against his waist. "I'll make you feel better in no time. Besides, it's been a week since we last made love. I'm dying to feel your hands all over me."

Ezra glanced at her boobs squishing against him then at her greedy eyes and let out a deep breathe. His hands gripped her shoulders to push her far away from him.

"What I need is a break, Maddie. A break from the world around me." He saw hurt cross her happy smile. Fuck. Seemed like he was born to screw everything. His palm cupped her cheek tenderly. "Thanks for the offer. Thanks for trying. Hell, thanks for giving a fuck but I'm tired."

Madaline swatted his arm away angrily. "Sure, you're tired. I wonder why. Oh, wait. It was because you were off screwing your mate all day–"

"That's not what happened!"

"Then what?!" Her voice broke. "Everything I say pisses you. Everything I do bothers you. It wasn't like this before she came into the picture. You're drifting away from me. You think I'm blind? I can't see? Or do you think I don't give a damn to notice?"

Tears welled up in her eyes. She furiously wiped her eyes and sniffled. "I gave you all I had for two years straight, Ezra. We were going to be together for the rest of our lives. You promised me. You painted that world in my head and now you're acting like you couldn't care less about what happens to us. Don't play games with me..."

The claws of guilt dug deeper in his flesh. What he and Madaline had was not what he and Lily had but what he promised Madaline was her entire future. He was there when she got bullied for being an Omega. He was there when she was underestimated because of her rank. He was there when she was taken for granted even if she put all her effort into being a part of his pack. He saw the potential in her, he mend her broken life, he prevented her misery.

Ezra pulled her into a hug with a heavy heart and wounded conscience, rubbing her back as she sobbed into his chest. "Don't cry. I'm sorry. Shush..."

Lily woke up early the next morning. She helped with preparing breakfast and left for her bus after she ate like a bird. When she woke up this morning with a clear head, she realized she was unjust with treating Ezra the way she did.

To her, a mate was the love of her life before she even met him. She prayed and waited for that one person who'd come into her life that would belong to her and to whom she'd belong. The world she wanted to build with that person was her dream.

That person was Ezra.

But she forgot he didn't grow up waiting to dot on his mate. He didn't grow up praying for a silly mate to rebuild what he had. He was a very practical man. Utopia, imaginations and dreams were not a part of his life. She projected her feelings on him and then expected him to reciprocate it. He needed his time to adjust to being a great part of someone's life. He needed his time to understand what he actually felt about all of this.

Her first intention was finding him somewhere where she could apologize for her behavior but that changed quickly when she got off the bus and came face to face with Sam.

He dragged her with him to their building and pulled her into an empty class.


He crossed his arms over his chest and glared accusingly at her. Under his scrutiny, Lily felt small.

"Uhm..." Her eyes darted from left to right nervously. "He's my mate...?"

"Is that a question or is it an answer?"

She bit her lip. "Answer."

"Seriously?" Sam shook his head. "I want details. Why does absolutely nobody know you're the future Luna."

Lily's mouth opened to answer then clamped shut. All this time she considered herself Ezra's mate. Looking at it from Sam's perspective faltered her approach.

"We needed time." Lily explained. "Ezra said if we let the pack know, things will change fast. People will start having expectations and perhaps they'd try getting between us."

"What?" Sam gripped her shoulders. "The hell. You're mates. There's no getting between two mates."

Lily hated how he made sense. "Look, Sam. We have a whole life ahead of us. Sooner or later, the pack will know. And I get why you're surprised. I was too but I'm letting him set his pace. I waited my entire life for him, a little more wait won't kill me."

Sam searched her eyes, he seemed to have more to say but decided against it. "Well, I can buy that. What about Madaline though?"

"What about her?" Her hackles rised recalling her kissing Ezra.

Sam stuck his thumbs in the straps of his bag over his chest and shrugged. "I thought Ezra was dating Madaline."

"He's not." Lily stumbled over her words. "I haven't seen him with her ever since I've found out he's mine."

The bell rang outside in the hallway, giving them a break from their secret meeting. "Okay... I'm just asking. I mean, I never heard about their official breakup."

"They didn't officially announce dating each other either, Sam. I guess it was never serious."

Sam raised his hands. "Hey, I'm worried about you. That's why I asked. I know you hate people prying in your life but if you ever need help, I should be the first person on your mind. Get it? Now let's go or we'll be late."

Lily nodded absentmindedly and walked out of the class with him by his side. A bitter taste rose in her throat and spreak in her mouth as the doubt rooted in her mind. She tried hard ignoring the looks she received throughout the day from Sam. Guess he could sense her unease too so he never mentioned it after that.

Lunch break was a bitter nasty pill to swallow. As much as she could, she suppressed her raging jealousy. It didn't help seeing Madaline sitting with Ezra and his friends. He caught her gaze a few times but she flickered her eyes away from him each time.

"Hey, suckers!" Kyne fist bumped his friends. Zeke, Gabe, Cole, Noah and Madaline greeted him enthusiastically. He turned a chair around and plopped down on it.

"Who pissed in his Cheerios?" He beckoned to Ezra who flipped him the bird.

Zeke smacked Kyne's hand when he tried reaching for his fries. "Fuck off. And I don't know. He's acting like someone stole his nuts."

Madaline rolled her eyes and slid her plate of burger across the table to Kyne. "Pack work. He's taking over his father's place. Of course Zeke won't understand. I bet he even has his butler wipe his ass after he poops."

"Ha-ha." Zeke scowled at Madaline. "I would be surprised if you don't do the same for Ezie here."

Cole munched on his sandwich silently. He was the only one who could sense the change in his friend. His red rimmed eyes proved his lack of sleep. Kyne laughed at Zeke's stunned face when Madaline smacked the back of his head.

"Hey, hey. No bloodshed. And I came here to let y'all know Stacy finally agreed to come to the bowling game with me tomorrow." He beamed as he raised his hands and waited for the others to high five him. That earned him howling laughter.

"Dude," Gabe drawled, eyes mocking. "You're fucking pussy whipped!"

Zeke smirked at Kyne. "Ever since you met your mate, it's like you don't have a dick anymore."

Kyne waved him off nonchalantly. "How can I have it when it's always buried where it belongs?"

Cole mock gagged. "Gross."

"Bruh," Kyne rolled his eyes. "You motherfuckers have no idea what your mate can do to you. Amongst us, I had scored the most cherries but boy, that one right person can turn you world upside down. Who needs drugs when you have a mate. I'm going to be honest and say I'll chose her over you any day."

"What happened to bros before hoes?" Zeke raised his brows.

"It's still our motto except Stacy is not a hoe. She's a part of me."

Gabe snorted. "Just admit you're too fucking scared of Stacy to man up."

"Yup." Kyne slapped his back and stood up. "I'm too fucking scared of messing up the smile of that one woman who means more than life itself to me. I'd rather die than go back to the way life was without her. Come back and call me a loser when you meet your mates, folks. I'll see you around. She's waiting for me." He saluted them with his middle finger and left with a cheeky grin on his face.

Zeke and Gabe made faces at his statement, Madaline nodded, Cole glanced at Ezra and he was busy staring at Lily across the cafeteria.

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