Marie left that day. She reluctantly gave in to Lily's persistence about taking her responsibility serious. She also made Sam promise he won't feel guilty about spending more time with his new friends. It made her wonder why she felt lonely all this time when she had her friends all along.
Not only Sam and Marie but most of the pack too. Sure there were lots who hated her for no reason. They never met, never talked, never crossed and still detested her company.
It was an eye opening tragedy for her. You can't please everyone no matter how hard you try. The reason is not you, it's them.
"I'm delighted to share half of my burden with you. I won't die with a broken back after all."
Kendra was ecstatic when Lily contacted her again. She had checked the money from the settlement her parents had left her in addition to the money she had in bank. Half of it came from selling her family home and the rest was her savings.
The cafe was now fifty percent hers.
"Don't worry about a thing as long as I'm here." Lily gave her a heart-warming smile. "I need to change the paint here, buy new furniture and perhaps hire a few workers. It won't be long when this place will get back it's recognition."
Kandra gazed around the empty cafe expect a few customers scattered around the booths. The five sets of table and chairs sat in solitude on the old hardboard flooring. The livelihood of the cafe was fading.
"Yes, dear. It needs a makeover. Since I have more money now, I'll manage the furniture. My daughter Cindy works here after school. You both can decide what this place needs and we'll order it. As for the paint and hiring new employees, I'll leave that to you."
"It's settled then. I'll see you tomorrow, Mrs. Dickinson." Lily gathered her bag which contained the documents they signed and slung it over her shoulder.
"Take care, honey. And please call me Kandra."
It took nearly three days to pull up the paperwork by the pack's attorney. It also might have something to do with the fact that the Alpha knew about it but that's beside the point. She had taken her first step up the ladder of her future.
Suffice to say between the increasingly challenging training, her final examination and plans for the cafe, she had barely five hours to sleep.
Ezra was growing more and more restless with each day. The first day she left and he laid there awake in her bed was the seed of hollowness that spread roots inside him. His emotions were the stems penetrating his chest and desperation the buds which would soon become leaves.
His legs, his arms, his heart, his head, even his fucking eyes had declared a war against him. They rebelled for her sake. Everywhere she went, she tugged at his heart with a force that knocked his sanity out of the equation. He was turning into a professional stalker.
In the past few days, he had memorized her daily schedule. She had stopped even throwing a pity glance in the direction of the temple. There was no more babysitting, no laughs, no ice cream stops, no picnics.
It was college to her hotel then to the gym. From the gym it was to that cafe she had bought shares in and then back to her place.
"Can you stop with that friggin' scowl, man?" Kyne punched his shoulder in annoyance. "It's scaring the bees away."
"What bees?" Ezra puzzled.
"The bees, yano..." He gestured with his thum. "You're the bird and they're the bees."
Ezra gazed over his shoulder to the two girls nursing drinks in their hands. They were currently in a club, the floor taken by a sea of people and the music loud enough to make a gunshot sound like a cough.
Apparently he was turning into a ghost. His friends pointed out he was typing his life away. His father had left the previous day. The workload on him was double. Luke and Cole did their best to help. It didn't help though.
He wasn't bothered by the work he had. He was bothered by the plunging nightmares and brown eyes in his head.
"I don't give a fuck about the bees." He grumbled and chugged his shot of tequila.
Kyne shrugged and kept glancing in the direction of the bathroom. Stacy was taking way too long to return. She didn't feel like drinking and she most definitely wasn't drunk. Then why the nausea?
"You can have the other birds, if you want." Cole said, causally sipping on his drink.
Ezra shot him a warning look.
Cole shrugged and leaned back against the counter of the bar. "It's not like they'd turn you down. You're the Alpha."
Ezra drained a few more shots, his back to the dance floor and hunched over the countertop. The intoxication took burning his throat and seeping into his consciousness.
Stacy appeared with the front of her dress wet, her hair in disarray and her eyes red. Kyne was out of his seat before his next breathe.
"What's wrong, baby? What happened? You look like shit." He fussed.
Stacy rolled her glossy eyes in his embrace. "Geez, thanks." Her voice was groggy and her breath smelled like puke. "I threw up really bad. I have to go home, pumpkin. Just get me a taxi, please."
Ezra and Cole perked up to see what had her so sick. Cole asked, "Need help, Stace?"
She shook her head weakly. "It's fine. I think I ate something bad this morning. I feel sleepy. Take care of my man for me, kay? And please do tell me if he ogled boobs all night."
Kyne grumbled his displeasure. "Your boobs are enough and I'm not going to enjoy staying back if you're sick. Let's go."
He scooped her up in his arms, tucked her head under his chin and turned to his friends.
"No need, Kyne. We can hang out some other time." Ezra stopped him. "She needs you. Drive safe and she looks like she needs a doctor."
Cole nodded. "Drop by the hospital before going home."
Kyne bid them farwell and walked out of the club with a barely conscious Stacy. Cole ordered another drink for himself when a blonde girl sat on the stool by his side and smiled at him seductively.
He didn't have the heart to tell her that her boobs were nearly spilling out of her neckline. It was ridiculously clear what she wanted.
"Hi, handsome." Her voice was surprisingly melodious. "Did your license get suspended for driving all these girls crazy?"
Cole laughed. "Yeah. They took my key. Can't drive anymore."
The golden hair was flicked off her shoulder when the hazel eyes drew closer. Her hand landed on his bicep as her voice dropped a few octaves. "You don't need a key to drive me crazy."
Cole was impressed. She managed to stir his groin. His eyes flickered to Ezra for a split second who was lost in his own world. She smelled delicious and her eyes gave him every reason to think she had plans under his sheets.
"What can I do for you?" He whirled the drink in his glass.
She traced his bicep and allowed her eyes to devour the sight of his plump dark lips that made sinful promises to her core. "Would you be so kind to borrow me a kiss? I'll return it as soon as we walk out of here."
Ezra scoffed from his place, breaking their conversation. They both turned their heads to look at the side of his face. His forefinger was circling the rim of his glass on the counter.
"Just say you want to fuck him. What's with the drama?"
The girl was taken aback by his forwardness. There was no mystery of who he was. His scent and dangerously dark aura said plenty.
"Ahm..." She bit her lip and looked up at Cole.
He was bitting into his knuckle to stop from laughing yet his eyes laughed louder than him.
"Sorry." Cole said when Ezra rolled his eyes in annoyance. "He's crabby today. Don't mind."
The girl nervously smiled. "So...?"
Cole placed his drink on the counter and kissed the back of her hand. She blushed furiously, hope in her eyes.
"You're gorgeous. I'd love to f– I mean, borrow you a kiss but you see, I'm committed."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you have a mate."
She blinked. "You said you're committed."
"Yes." He picked up his drink. "To her. Even if I haven't seen her yet."
"You're a virgin then."
"Nope. I recently started believing in commitment."
The girl was quiet for a while then a slow smile stretched her cherry red lips. "She's lucky."
Cole chuckled. "That would be me if she showed up."
They both immersed into a friendly chat about mates. Everytime someone mentioned mate that one picture sank it's claws into Ezra tore little pieces of him away. Desperate gnawed at insides when he thought about how she'd be studying at the very moment for her paper.
He had seen her in the library yesterday. She was chewing on her pencil with a frown. Her bun was messy. It made him want to let it loose.
Fuck me. I need to see her.
Inconspicuously, he slid off the tool. He was half drunk, stumbling his way out of the swaying crowd and desperate bitches who got in his way a few times, rubbing and touching him like they were in heat.
The guards caught him when he tumbled out of the entrance. His vision was stable but his head was swimming. Abandoning his car, he reach her hotel by foot. The closer he got to her, the more every cell of his body buzzed in anticipation to see her. He made it to the elevator in excitement but he got goosebumps thinking about her reaction.
I don't care. She can slap me if she wants. At least she'll touch me.
With growing desperation, he stumbled out of the elevator at her floor and rubbed his face furiously. His hair was messy, he probably looked like a rat with his crumpled work clothes. He even noticed the dark circles under his eyes this morning.
Suddenly, he felt insecure. What if she felt disgusted? The fuck! What's that ugly feeling? Why would the Alpha even second guess himself?
Fists curling and uncurling, he finally had enough of the emptiness inside him. The alcohol helped avoiding his better judgement. Just a glimpse. One glimpse and he won't feel like shit for a few days. Just one.
His fist raised to knock then paused hesitantly. What's he going to say? These questions...
He groaned then drew in a long, hard, swift breathe and knocked.
The noises inside made his heart race. His heart beat was roaring in his ears and then... he forgot how breathe when she opened the door.
Her hair was messily resting on her shoulders, her pyjamas were black his favorite color. There was sleep in her tired, swollen eyes that instantly vanished when her eyes met his.
Goddess. This woman.
"Can I kiss you, please?"