Never Ago (Book 1)

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The Roots

"What I want to know is how you managed to make an appointment and found out you're pregnant on the same day–omph!"

Lily jabbed Cindy's ribs with her elbow, throwing her a wide-eyed 'are you serious?!' look. Cindy groaned and rubbed her side with one hand while holding the steering wheel with the other.

"What?" Cindy whined. For the tenth time.

Stacy laughed in the back seat, her voice dry. "It's okay, Lily. I have a friend who's nurse at the hospital. She said she'll take care of it."

Cindy stuck her tongue out at Lily. That earned her a very disapproving look. Which obviously flew past her head.

"You forgot the pills?" Cindy asked in the mirror.

Stacy shrugged. "Not that I remember. I was very conscious about it... happened anyways."

Cindy clicked her tongue. "And that doesn't make you feel like it was meant to happen?"

Stacy bit her bottom lip as her eyes concentrated on her hands in her lap. "It's complicated, Cindy."

"I get you." Cindy agreed. "That's why I always have a condom on me in my bra."

Lily made a noise which suspiciously sounded like a choke. Her hand smacked her forehead. Stacy, however, smiled as naturally as she could in her state.

"Take notes when I say condom is going to be your first rival when you meet your mate." Stacy said.

Cindy feigned a shivering. "Jeez, I'm having second thoughts."

Lily couldn't sit still for two seconds. The anxiety inside her had a vice on her nerves. The restlessness bumping heads with her thoughts had her on a rollercoaster.

"Here we are." Cindy dropped Lily and Stacy and drove to the back of the cafe where there was a parking lot.

Lily hugged Stacy. "Have faith in the goddess. And whatever choice you make, see to it that it doesn't create a conflict inside you. It's far more serious than a relationship."

Stacy nodded and smiled broadly. Even though she applied make up to hide her misery, she still looked exhausted. Lily led her into the cafe where the crew had already begun their tasks. All of them were dressed in their overalls, sleeves rolled, hats on, gloves with splotches of paint.

A picture of her mate in overalls flashed before her eyes. For a mere second, her heart stuttered at the thought.

"He's in the kitchen."

Lily took her hand and guided her. The smell of paint was heavy in the air, it was hard to trace scents inside. Nevertheless Kyne whirled around when Stacy entered the kitchen. He hastily climbed down, put the brush aside and hugged Stacy before kissing her forehead.

"You off your horse now?" He asked.

Stacy tightened her arms around him and sighed into his chest. "I don't know, baby."

Dave and Ezra paused their work and paid attention to the two love birds. Or only Dave. Ezra had his eyes on Lily. She could feel it like a hand on her face. It was tender, soft and rough at the same time.

Dave whistled, "Yo, Stacy. Kyne here been telling everyone you are suffering from a server case of mood swings."

Stacy turned to Dave with a small smile. "Is he now?"

"Yeah. I'm snitching on him."

Kyne flipped him the finger. "Fuck off, douche."

Stacy opened her mouth to say something then closed it. The conflict inside her was subtle but sharp. Her eyes kept flickering in search for an escape. Lily gave her a firm nod when their eyes met. Stacy seemed like she swallowed shards when she spoke.

"Dave," she clutched her sleeves. "Let's say you had found your mate and now she's pregnant. Would you keep the baby?"

The noises in the room dropped. The men stared at her as if she just grew another head.

Dave howled in laughter. "What the holy fuck does that mean?"

She flicked her gaze at her mate and back at him. "Just curious. Hypothetically speaking... Would you?"

Dave exchanged a puzzled look with Kyne. "Ah... I don't know. Depends on how things are at that time."

Lily mentally smacked her forehead. She was extracting opinions that didn't matter. The change in her demeanor was instant. Her guard went up.

"Ezra... What about you?" Stacy asked, her courage wavering.

Ezra crossed his arms, his exposed biceps flexing. The sight had a direct effect on Lily's wolf despite her still being mad at him.

"What about me?"

"Would you feel happy if Madeline got pregnant?"

The question poured like acid on Lily. A familiar ache zinged in her heart, chewing on her insides. She didn't want to hear it.

"Absolutely not." Ezra answered. "She can keep it 'cause–"

"Stacy!" Lily cut in. It was utterly ridiculous. Both, her cowardice and his answer. "We'll leave you with Kyne since you came here to see him. Take your time."

Dave looking puzzled whereas Ezra had a remarkable lack of expression. Kyne jumped at the idea happily. He was oblivious to Stacy's pale face. Lily gave her a firm nod and walked out of the kitchen.

Ezra followed her without asking questions. Dave shrugged and winked suggestively at Kyne before following them.

Lily wrung her hands nervously. For someone whom she met just once, her heart brew a lot of emotions. Maybe it was the little life connected to her. She'd always dreamed about it. Her own little lives. At least now she knew she could have neither–

"Ahh!" A shriek ripped from her throat when she stumbled over a foot and her face went straight for the ground.

Before the impact, a pair of very strong and very familiar arms snatched her up and held her squashed against his chest. The contact allowed her palm witness his racing heart as he stormy blue eyes glared down at her.

"Be careful." He growled.

She shoved at his rock hard chest which shouldn't be that warm and moved out of his embrace. The concern swimming in his eyes didn't deserve to be there.

"I've learned my lesson once." She assured him with an undertone he knew all too well.

"You okay, Lily?" Dave asked as he came up to her.

"Yeah," she said to the other spectators. "I'm fine. Go back to work."

Her eyes met the guilty pair in the room.

Cindy shrugged.

"What happened?" Dave inquired.

"No idea. I think I stumbled on my feet."

"You're clumsy."

"How observant."

Ezra clenched his fists. "I don't think he is."

Then don't think, it's never good for anyone. Lily snapped at him via mind-link.

It took Ezra off guard. Her presence in his head messed with the pumping organ in his chest. When tried replying, she shut the mind-link off.

Damn her fucking temper. It's ruthless.

First she had to blow her fuse over nothing and now she's giving him the attitude. Interesting. It was the first time he was witnessing something else in her. It only made him want to uncover more of her layers. She was a mystery. His mystery, as long as their current situation was concerned.

He never took his eyes off her fiery brown angry eyes as she raised her chin, turned around and took a seat at one of the tables. Dave followed him like a puppy and sat beside her.

That boy has a fucking death wish. I swear to his damn destiny...

Dave leaned back in his chair and cast a cautious glance her way. She was simple in a sense. A peaceful girl with the occasional complicated streak. He'd been friends with a lot of people, dated some even. But his only favourite by far were the good girls.

"So... You and the Alpha...?" He let the sentence complete it's purpose.

Lily whipped her head his way. "No." She confirmed. "Not now, not ever."

"That's bold."

She twitched her nose. "I don't run away from my words."

He grinned. "Awesome. Just confirming. He looked like he was about to pounce on me earlier."

She huffed, looking through the bags. "Alphas have egos greater than their ranks."

That drew a hearty laugh from him. "Can't argue with you there. He's been temperamental ever since I've known him."

"You're friends?"

"In the same circle but not really. I've met him on occasions and it was not pretty whenever someone challenged his pride."

Lily gazed at Ezra under her lashes only to be met by his already set eyes on her. The heat of his predatory eyes clashed with the flames under her skin. She couldn't believe how easy it was for this man to tamper with her feelings. He was leaning against the table near Cole and definitely not listening what Cole was saying.

"Why am I not surprised..." She looked away.

Dave started bouncing his leg under the table. "You know him?"

Lily faltered.

Did she? The Ezra she thought she knew and the Ezra he was were two different persons.

"No." She knew he heard her. "I don't know him at all. The only thing I know about him is that he's the Alpha and he makes his decision the way he pleases."

Dave frowned. "That's what Alphas usually do."

She smiled at him. "That's exactly why he's just the Alpha for me."

"Fair point."

"Um-hm."

Dave reached for the bottle of water, uncapped it and drained it in half a minute. Lily got distracted by the bobbing addam apple in his throat.

Not because it was hot. Which it was. But because it wasn't the same as the man who once used to make her blush.

Suddenly, the kitchen door flew open. Kyne walked out dragging Stacy behind him by clutching her wrist. Without a word, face hard, jaws set, he marched out of the cafe. Stacy had her head down but Lily could see her pursed lips and glossy eyes.

Her heart sank. So did her mind. Dread crawled up her stomach and strangled her throat.

The baby.
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