"I'm not pleased with your surprise." Lily scowled.
Cole gave her a cheeky grin as he passed by and entered the cafe. "I promised a surprise. Never said it would be a pleasant one."
Lily closed the door behind her and pinched the bridge of her nose. She could feel her heart racing. The scent was faint but it was still there.
"Yo, Lil!" Cindy shouted from the kitchen. "You sure creme is the right color?!"
Lily sighed and met her in the kitchen. They had emptied the kitchen and wrapped the furniture in the cafe with old fabrics. Cole had shown up pretty early that morning with his supposed to be 'crew'. He had recruited two patrol guards Jim and Trevor, Gabe, Kyne his student Dave and oh, the one who actually surprised her. The Alpha.
They were currently covering the floors with plastic. Lily had a hard time picking colors when he was standing across the table digging his gaze into her skull like a drill.
"Not creme, Cindy." Lily rolled the sleeves of her shirt up and checked the paint buckets. "It's oyster."
Cindy popped her hip out and huffed. "It's the same thing."
"There wouldn't be two different words for it if it was entirely the same."
"Dude, English is fucking weird. Anything can mean anything whilst they don't."
It earned her a smile. "...still."
Lily pulled her hair back into a low ponytail and glanced over at Cindy toying with the end of her hair. "I'll take care of this. Go ahead, you had plans for today."
Cindy clicked her tongue and waved her off. "Rain check."
Cindy grinned mischievously. "Have you even seen the guys outside? They're sculpted to rock a girl's world. I'd be the luckiest girl alive in this pack if even one of them slid into my sheets tonight."
Lily was speechless but brushed it off as she reached for a soda can and took a sip after muttering, "even one of them."
Cindy heard the words and her eyes bounced to the closed door. "Yeah well... I don't know if they're into gangbang or orgi–"
The soda burst out of Lily's mouth in fits of violent coughs.
"Fuck!" Cindy rushed to her side and slapped her back a couple times until she could breathe again.
Lily was red in the face with tears in her eyes with how hard she coughed. Goddess, her throat felt raw.
"Geez, if a word can get that reaction out of you, I wonder what witnessing it would do to you."
Lily shook her head in disbelief. "Goddess, no. Thank you very much."
Cindy laughed. "I can't wait to tell you about my other three gang–"
"For goddess sake, Cindy!"
That littered more laughter. "Okay, okay. TMI, I guess. Let's take these babies out."
Cindy and Lily grabbed the red and gray paint buckets and carried them outside. Cole had just put on his overall when Lily placed the bucket by his feet.
"How much time is it going to take?" She asked.
Cole surveyed the space. "I'd say like two days. Painting the kitchen would be done probably before the end of the day but the cafe might take some time."
"Okay. I'd be here in case you need my help with anything."
Cole raised an eyebrow at her as he slid his gloves on. "You can paint?"
Lily shrugged. "Not like a professional but yes."
Cole tilted the corner of his lips. "That would be fun."
"No." Ezra walked up behind her. "You hired us for a reason. Don't have to worry about a thing. We'll take care of it."
He was standing right behind her. A few steps separating him from her. She could almost touch his musky masculine and heavy scent surrounding her. It seeped right through her barriers to meet her wolf every time. A bitter sting of delusional relief.
Her eyes lifted up and locked with Cole. He scratched his chin with his thumb and said, "You can supervise though. I'll handle the cafe with Jim, Trevor and Gabe. You see to the kitchen with Ez, Kyne and Dave if you think you can."
She had a feeling Cole was up to something the moment Ezra stepped through the door. He was helping sure enough. What bothered her was his subtle attempts of striking a conversation between her and Ezra.
If she refused, it would prove she was hiding from him. That was not an option. Despite the contrary, she set on showing both of them that it didn't matter to her anymore.
It wasn't worth it.
"Okay. I'll help with the kitchen."
Cole nodded and strode away leaving her with Ezra. It was almost comical how her heart was dancing but the butterflies in her stomach were motionless.
He drew in a deep breath. "Lillian, I... about last night... Uhm... Sorry."
She wet her dry lips and lowered. "I'm starting to despise that word. I'm hearing it too much."
"Me too." He replied. "It can't explain my regret."
Lily left him without a respond and entered the kitchen. Dave was placing a makeshift ladder by the wall and Kyne tapping his boot anxiously while he sat on a stool. He was listening to someone on the phone.
"Everything set?" She asked.
He shot her a reassuring look. "Yeah, in a bit. I'm sorry, I have to make this call real quick."
Kyne sighed and shut his phone. "A little anxious."
Lily smiled. "No pressure. How's Stacy?"
Kyne snorted. "She's throwing a fit. Won't even pick my calls. She told me she wouldn't."
"Trouble in paradise?"
"Yes," Kyne confirmed. "Whatever that means. She says I take care of her too much. It bothers her. Why would it bother someone that someone is taking care of them?" He air quoted in frustration.
The smile on Lily's face grew. The worry on his face mixed with annoyance was adorable. "Maybe she needs a little space."
Kyne slumped his shoulders. "Ugh, space."
Dave appeared beside Lily, his eyes laughing at Kyne's expense. "Hi, I'm Dave."
Lily eyed his outstretched hand for a while then cautiously put her hand in his. "I'm Lillian. Nice to meet you."
He kissed the back of her hand and smirked. "Likewise."
Kyne made a face. "For the sake of your own health, don't start."
Lily slid her hand out of his. She didn't know what to make of his alluring black eyes, brown mop of hair and inviting smile. He skin was tanned and his jaw sculpted. He was an attractive guy. The attention slightly took her off guard.
"Bruh." He rolled his eyes at Kyne and put on a plastic cap over his head. "What's wrong with appreciating beauty?"
Heat crept up Lily's neck. He called her beautiful. It was flattering though. His forwardness enhanced his laid back aura.
"Let's just get to work. I don't have time for your sappy bull." Kyne grumbled and went to pick some tools.
"And I thought sappy is considered cute." Dave remarked.
"So," he grinned at Lily. "May I ask why I never crossed paths with you, Lillian?"
Lily stared at him. "That's a question you need to ask yourself."
Dave chuckled. "Understandable. Sorry if I'm intruding, though. I'm not known to filter my thoughts when I speak."
Lily crossed her arms. "No worries as long as those thoughts are appropriate."
"I try, Lillian. I try." Dave winked.
"It's Lily." Ezra shot from behind Dave.
He whirled around swiftly and faced Ezra. His face was set hard, his jaws clenched and eyes flashing. Dave scratched the back of his neck and chuckled.
"Yeah. We just met, Alpha." Then looked over at Lily. "I'll see you soon, Lily. Lots of work to do right now." Then he took off.
Lily cocked a brow at the anger shadowing his freatures. She had half a mind telling him off but she knew she was still reeling from what happened last night so she let it go. The fact that Dave went out of the kitchen and Kyne drowned in his phone didn't help either.
"Stay away from him." Ezra growled lowly in his chest, his striking blue eyes hard.
Lily scowled. "Excuse me?"
Ezra marched up to her and gripped her forearms, slaming her against his chest. His eyes dissolved worry into the stormy mix. "He's flirting with you. Next time he tries something, tell him to back the fuck off."
The heat they shared in that brief moment had an instant effect. Lily felt the flames under her skin rebel to rekindle. She pushed him off in panick.
"Mind your own business. I'm not telling anyone to back off. It's my life. I make the rules, not you."
The darkness in his eyes grew as his eyes flashed to black. "Then I'll personally have to have him back the fuck off. And trust me, baby you won't like how I do that."
She glared at him, her wrath clashing with the Alpha possessiveness radiating off him in tsunamis. She would have given him a piece of her damn mind if she didn't risk making a scene.
He gave her a chilling smile. "I'm reaching new heights here. Don't test me."
"You–ph!" Lily clenched her fists then controlled herself and breathed evenly. "Ugh. Talking to you is useless."
His towering frame drew closer as his eyes lit up in adoration. "Then do something to me. Who's stopping you?"
"My dignity." She spat out. "I'd rather not waste time on a lost cause."
His hand was smacked away when he tried cupping her face. "I don't get why you're getting upset over a douche who's trying to get into your pants."
Lily's jaw dropped. "Getting into my pants? Are you hearing yourself? You sound ridiculous and so what if he is? I'm not naive anymore and certainly not a danty damsel."
His eyes narrowed into threatening slits as his blues switched into black and his voice turned heavy. "Nobody is allowed to even think about what's mine."
That rised her hackles. "Yours?!" She whisper-yelled. "Get your head out of your ass, Alpha. You don't have that privilege and never will. Whether I let him in my pants or not is entirely my choice, you hear me?!"
Ezra was ready to pounce on the subject but Kyne called him over when Dave came back to the kitched with another ladder. Ezra was bursting with energy again. He had a clear idea how uncomfortable it would make her if he argued with her in front of a crowd.
"We'll talk later." He command.
Lily scoffed. "No sir, goodbye."
She was fuming when she left him in the kitchen and sought out Cindy. She'd rather get food of the crew then look at his face one more second. She didn't trust herself. She'd probably do something rash or maybe embarrassing. A very supressed, very tiny part of her perverted wolf was purring in delight at his possessiveness. It made her even more mad.
"Cindy! Let's go get some food for the guys. I'm starving."