Dave paid the company for organizing the party before he picked Lily up from Mrs. Kandra's home to go grocery shopping since Lily wanted to make the surprise chocolate cake herself. She was enthusiastic by the time they had everything loaded into his truck. The sun was slowly descending behind the horizon, blessing the sky with beautiful colors.
"White looks nice on you," he complimented casually as he pulled out of the parking lot.
Lily gazed down at her white floral dress with trimmed sleeves. "Uh... Thanks."
Dave burrowed his dark eyebrows, his eyes set on the road. "Don't like compliments?"
"No. Not used to it."
Dave let out an exaggerated breath. "Phew, I thought you think I'm some pervert too."
Lily glanced at the side of his face. "Too?"
Dave squared his shoulders. "As I said before, I don't have a filter on my mouth. I say what I see or want to say. My childhood was spent in a foster home where I grew up with girls. They had a hard time lifting their self esteem. It surprised me sometimes. They thought they're less than those women who had parents. So, I got used to praising their inner beauty."
"And they called you a pervert?"
"No. Not them. When I came out of foster care, my habits followed along. I soon realized complimenting a girl on the streets give them the impression that I'm praising their panties."
Lily giggled. "Aw, poor you."
Dave jutted his bottom lip out. "I know right. I like telling girls they look pretty. It doesn't mean I'm flirting with them. Even if I am, it doesn't entail anything serious. Jeez, women! Just take a compliment in peace."
Laughing, Lily patted his shoulder sympathetically. "There, there. I appreciate your efforts on behalf of all women."
Dave tipped his head. "You're welcome."
Lily sighed and sank in her seat, a small smile playing on her lips. Her eyes caught something familiar which immediately pulled her attention away. Her back shot up straight, her hands reaching for the window for leverage.
It was her home. Her childhood home.
A crowd was gathered around the structure, a bulldozer crashing it's foundation down. She saw the gigantic ball of destruction hit her parents' room on the second floor. Dave stopped the car, surprised at her sudden reaction. He looked over her shoulder at the house.
"Lily... you okay?"
Her eyes were fixated on the flying debris, witnessing the home her father made turn into a pile of dust. Her breaths came out in short pants, eyes stinging, heart shrinking.
She sold it a long time ago. Yet, it hurt watching it ending. The memories she made, the home her father built and her mother made... gone.
"Dave," her voice trembled. "Drive."
Puzzled, Dave drove away, resisting the urge to ask what corrupted the smile on her face. His eyes briefly flew to her shaking hands.
A rotten lump wedged in her throat. Her dreams were not the only victom of destruction. Pain was digging it's way into her, clearing a path to find residence in her heart.
"Lily..." Dave tried.
She bit down hard on her bottom lip, almost stabbing the tender flesh.
The car stopped in front of the cafe in the street. Lily stumbled out of her seat, disoriented. The burning evidence of distress threatening leaving her eyes. Dave ran around the hood and caught her bicep.
"What happened back there?"
She gazed up at his eyes distractedly. "Huh?"
"Something bothered you," he put it lightly, cautiously, slowly, "You're... May I know what upset my friend?"
"It... They..." she croaked. "They broke my home, Dave. It's not mine anymore but it was my home..." Her voice lowered to a whisper. "Why would they do that?"
Dave had no answer, his stomach twisted when a tear rolled down her cheek. "I'm sorry."
She opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out. Her vocal cords were paralyzed. Dave caught her when her knees buckled. He was stunned at the depth of her feelings, for a house.
"Lily," he started softly, "Things change, people change, every thing created is meant to end at some point. I'm sorry you had to see that and go through this..."
Her breath hitched, tone "I know... but why?"
His heart throbbed for his friend. "It's going to get better, Lily. Day comes after every night. Maybe it's a sign that your silver lining is coming. Don't lose hope. Everything is going to make sense at some point, I promise."
The tears welling up in her eyes irked him. He wiped it away from her cheek, it didn't belong there. She deserved to smile, not cry.
The next sentence died in his throat like his sense of hearing when a beast crashed into him. Lily was snatched away from his arms and his head plummeted into the cafe's window. The deafening crash pulled a scream out of Lily.
The Alpha's eyes flashed death. His fangs extended, his vengeful claw around his throat.
"Don't fucking touch her!" He roared, rattling the broken glass jutted out of the wall.
He flung a wheezing Dave to the ground and swooped down, pressing his forearm against his throat. Break it! The beast in his head snarled.
Lily threw herself at Ezra, pulling with everything she had in vain. Dave was coughing as his face turned red, his feet kicking out under him. Sam bolted out of the cafe, alarmed by Lily's screams and tried pulling him away.
"Ezra, let go! Please, he can't breathe!" Lily shouted and tugged on his granite arms. "Leave him alone, please! Ezra, he's dying!"
Dave pulled his leg back and kicked Ezra's jaw with as much force as his body allowed. It made Ezra stagger back but fueled his vicious temper.
"Ezra!" Lily gasped as he growled and sneered, ready to end his prey.
Seeing no other way, she threw herself onto her knees in front of him and let him claim her mouth. It fired him up like a gasoline tank. His arms smashed her to his chest, his greedy fingers tilting her head to plunge his tongue into her lethal mouth. He was instantly high on her taste. It was a fatal drug, her essence, her presence, her kisses.
Sam dragged Dave away, supporting his frame hunching with the brutal force of his coughing fit.
Ezra seared his claim on her lips with a pinching bit, a growl vibrating between their bodies. Lily clutched his hair and yanked his head away with a grunt. His momentary dizziness gave her the time to recover and scramble to her feet.
Before he could comprehend reality, her hand descended, turning his face with the strike. The loud slap resonated in the street, stunning him in his place, kneeling at her feet. Her burning rage set her eyes ablaze.
Chest heaving vigorously, hands fisted, guts clenched, she seethed with deadly calmness. "Get out of my sight."
Ezra heard nothing. His ears were ringing, his mind shut down. Someone had plucked the cord out. The pricking sting in his cheek provided the face of his abuser. She slapped him.
Lillian the little wallflower slapped the alpha.