Never Ago (Book 1)

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Damp Air

Lily had never felt as drained as she did then, she curled her knees and buried her face in it. The corner of her eyes were damp. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of seeing her pain.

Ezra couldn't see her shoulders hunched, her quivering breaths clawed at his chest. He lowered to the ground and ingulped her tiny frame in his arms. She tensed up immediately.

"I'm sorry. So fucking much I can't explain." He desperately tried making amends. "I'll make everything right. I'll make it up to you, Lillian. I promise. I'll take all your pain away. Things will go just the way you want. I won't hurt you ever ag–"

"I'm alright. It's fine, I'm okay." Lily rubbed her cheeks against her knees and lifted her head. Her shimmering eyes sucked him into a pool of void. "It's easy, now that you've crushed the last of my hope. Nothing will bother me ever again. I'll know I don't have anyone. I won't have to waste the better of my life daydreaming about a foolish fantasy."

She withdrew from him, both mentally and physically. The act gutted him. He was running short of breath when she gripped the edge of the bench and pulled herself to her feet weakly. His stomach shot up to his throat. The slow prickling pain spreading in his chest was making him disoriented.

"You made life easy for me." She kept whipping him with word after word. "Now I know how foolish I've been this whole. Do you know why I'm forgiving you right not?"

Ezra looked like he was swallowing a cactus when he shook his head. "It's because I made the same mistake you did. You thought love was, what is it that you called it– oh, bullshit. You were wrong there but so was I. I thought love was selfless. I thought you trust that person blindly and hand him over your heart without asking for his in return. I thought it was giving yourself as it is. I guess it's not. That concept of love has expired a long time ago. See, I was wrong too."

She swiped at the treacherous tear trying to fall from her lashes and jerked away from Ezra's outstretching arms. "Now I know though. I'll trust only after I confirm again and again that my trust isn't getting misused. I'll ask for exchange offer for every piece of myself that I give. I'll put myself first and then think about the world. I'll be as selfish as I can because that's how love goes."

"No, no..." Ezra was racking his hair through his hair roughly with a pleading look in his blue eyes. "Don't change. For the love of goddess, Lillian. You're perfect. I wouldn't change a single on your head."

"But I would." Lily retorted. "I should have done that a long time ago. At least, I would've seen your treachery that first time you bailed on me."

"It won't happen again–"

"Exactly. It won't. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I won't let that happen."

"Lillian." He warned. "I'm not going to let that happen. Whatever you're thinking, stop. I made a fucking mistake. I'm apologizing... In fact, you gave me your word you'd forgive me."

Lily wet her parched lips with her tongue and climbed the edge of the bed in a daze. "I forgive you, Ezra." Her eyes darted to her clasped hands. "I don't have the energy to hold a grudge against you. So I forgive you. I'm letting you go..."

Ezra frantically shook his head and dropped to his knees in front of her and clasped her hands. "Don't go there. Don't even try." His voice was concrete. "I don't deserve this. I deserve a chance to prove myself–"

"Why?" She smiled down at him sadly. "You wanted this. You wanted to teach me a lesson and witness your victory. Both happened."

"I told you I was wrong. I don't want that anymore. Fuck love, damnit! We can start with a clean slate and just see where it goes..."

Her trembling hands escaped his clutches and tilted his head up to catch his flickering gaze. "What do you want out of it?"

Ezra thought long and hard then demanded, "You."

"You had me. You played me. Then you tested me. I guess the object quality is worth another ride–"

Ezra growled at her as his eyes flashed. "You're not an object!"

"Then why do I feel like one?"

"I don't know! I'm going to just sit here and let you walk out on me."

Lily's jaw dropped. The reason why it was bothering him came clear in front of his eyes. This is why he was dreading it. His Alpha genes wouldn't let him breathe if it was her who walked out first. It would wound his pride. Lily's eyes hardened.

"You're a coward."

She watched satisfied as he flinched back like she had just slapped him. She pried deeper. It wasn't lost on her what his insecurity was. She'd caught onto it the moment he started his story.

"Look at you. The boy who's going to be an Alpha is begging me." She mocked him calmly. "I'll comply with you. Beg me."

Ezra's eyes flared up in dark flames and black vengeance. He scrambled to his feet and let a threatening rubmle conquer his chest.

"No. Actually, first I'd prefer you grow up. You're a whinny boy who wants to have his way. Come back and beg when you're a man."

Ezra snatched her shoulders and pulled her to his face. His towering massive frame and murderous eyes mixed with the loud growl he released would've made an enemy whimper in fear. It didn't effect Lily. Even as she stood on her tip toes to match the storm in his eyes.

"Stop it. Just fucking stop." He seethed through gritted teeth. "Don't play with my temper." He warned her.

At this point, the Alpha in him was front and center and he didn't like the spine she had. She knew him enough to bet this was where she'd get to know what was more important to him.

"Why, Alpha?" She threw in his face. "You're not fit to be an Alpha. You know it don't you. You never wanted it. But this is your fate. You're terrified of failure even if it's once because you want to be perfect. That is what made you so desperate for a perfect Luna. You–"

His aggressive snarl cut her off. His claws extended and dug into her skin. His eyes were flickering from electric blue to chaotic dark. Ezra was fighting for his control.

Lily dug her finger into his forarms and pressed herself against his heaving chest. Her heart was pounding in her ears but she rubbed more salt in his wounds.

"We both know you're never going to be perfect. It's an illusion. You just proved your cowardice by begging to me, a measly little girl in the pack. A pleasant. A cook. How pathetic!"

Ezra stumbled back from her and roared as his claws extended to their full length. His voice was hoarse and even deeper when he snapped. "I don't beg! Shut up or I'll fucking–"

"What? Beg again?"

"I'll reject you!"

Ezra sent the bench flying across the room where it smashed into pieces against the wall. The door burst open as a nurse, Marie and Sam rushed into the room.

Lily and Ezra only had their eyes set on each other. She pushed her shoulders back and narrowed his eyes at him with a glowing challenge.

"Do it. I dare you."

Sam threw himself at Ezra in vain. His weight did nothing to stop the Alpha from moving up into her face. He was burning with rage and she was panting when he jeered,

"I, Alpha Ezra, reject you Lillian Avi as my mate!"
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