Never Ago (Book 1)

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Hurts Slowly

The slab of meat in her chest greedily feasted on her peace. Lily stood under the spraying hot water of the shower head untill the water turned cold. The water washed away his scent but his searing brand didn't leave her insides.

The more she ran from him, the closer he got. Her dignity was too selfish to spare her pride. Moving on was all she wanted. The bruises on her self respect weren't healing and his constant pestering scratched those bruises further. It was suffocating.

Wrapping a towel around herself, Lily exited the bathroom and sat on her bed. Time moved, she didn't. Her rigid heartbeats numbed her ache. Despite all she felt, the regret, the guilt, the remorse of losing something she was proud of, her shameful defeat, her wolf rebelled against her.

Part of her justified the marking of her body by the man who tattered her trust whilst a bigger part of her was mortified. She recalled giving him consent. She recalled willingly participating yet she was in denial of enjoying it.

"Lily?" She heard the anxious voice from somewhere beside her. "Lily, I'm so fucking sorry. I was too stoned to do something. This is all my fault. I should have been more careful..."

The words were from her friend. Sam. He shook her and turned her face. The emptiness of her gaze prickled his skin.

"I'm sorry." He pleaded, face ashen. "Thank goddess, Ezra saved you before something bad could have happened."

"It happened anyway." Her low raspy tone was barely above a whisper.

Sam stilled. "What?"

"I lost to my self respect. All this time I was proud of my decisions even if they were ridiculous but he took that away from me too."

"What are you talking about?"

Lily swallowed, the muscles in her throat stung. "He knocked my guards down. He broke my barriers. He doesn't respect the fact that I have my boundaries. He can't just cross each and every."

Sam cautiously slid closer, aware of her nudity but she needed him. "You're almost making sense."

Lily stared at him blankly. He could have sworn her gaze was not set on him even if her eyes were.

"I need escape." She said. "From my past. And he's a part of it."

"Are you certain about this Lily? You shouldn't be making this decision after what happened last night. You're not ready."

"Disasters don't wait for us to prepare. They come, they destroy and they vanish after they're done. If I survived this long, one more hit won't kill me."

Sam tried reading his friend in vain, as always. She was a blank book. "Sleep on it?"

"I'm done."

"It's going to be painful."

"Pain is poison. It's a plague, a pandemic. It was here since the birth of time and it's going to end with time. Rich, poor, beautiful, different, young, old, any race, any caste, any culture, any specie, powerful or powerless, it spares no one. There's no shelter, no cure."

Her head steadily descended on Sam's shoulder with a deep sigh. "Waiting won't make it hurt any less."

Sam's arms came around her hunched shoulder and pulled her into a hug. His forehead rested on her wet hair.

"I wish I could share your pain."

"The one who was supposed to do that gave me twice more wounds. I saved all myself for him. All my secrets, my feelings, my firsts, my heart, my dreams. He shattered it all. Now he's blaming me for being so broken. Why is my loss of no value?"

"It is, Lily." Sam rubbed her forearms tenderly. "You deserve love."

Lily pursed her lips and made a noise somewhere between a chuckle and a sob.

"I thought love will make my life colorful. I forgot those colors altogether create darkness. I can't see."

Sam let her mourn on his shoulder. She had a way of coping in silence. Her breaths would turn shallow then she'd compose them and roll with her day, hunting distraction.

The comfortable silence they shared was their way of support. He'd go to her for those moments and she'd go to him. In all honesty, they helped more than words.

"I want to see him." she declared and lifted her head. "Take me to him, Sam."

Sam cracked his knuckles thoughtfully. "Now might not be the best time. I heard Cole is in chronic condition. They saved the abducted children but he got hurt in the process."

That wrinkled her forehead into a deep concerned frown. "He's at the hospital?"

"Cole and the former Alpha." Sam explained. "Ezra and his mom are at his house."

"He doesn't even care about his best friend."

Sam shrugged. "They say he was pretty shaken up so the luna dragged him out of there."

"It's better if the luna is there. No drama. If he's at his house, he's very much okay."

Sam opened his mouth to object.

"He rejected me on a hospital bed." She reminded him.

The bitterness in her eyes shut Sam up. It was new and unsettling. He could only nod when she changed into a sweater, white leggings and a scarf around her neck to hide the hickeys.

Sam remained silent the entire ride. Her tension and anxiety spoke volumes but her stubbornness stood tall and proud.

The car parked in front of the house and Sam killed the engine. Lily peered out of the window, silently gauging the place tainted with her guilty memories of sharing her most intimate essence with him.

Tentatively, she slid out of the car and made her way to the door. Sam knocked on the door and waited. Soon the luna greeted them with red rimmed tearful eyes and ushered them in.

Once seated on the couches in the living room, the luna sniffled and wiped her eyes with her handkerchief.

"I can't lose him again." She craoked, the delicate undertone of a mother. "We won't be able to help him this time."

Lily shared a muddled look with Sam and took the luna's hand in hers. "Cole is going to be alright."

"No." The luna drew in a shaky breath. "I mean Ezra. Sure I'm mad at him for being so foolish but I don't have an ounce of courage to see him lose himself again."

Sam scooted to the edge of his couch. "Is he injured, Luna?"

Amelia looked up at Lily, devastated. "He's not stable. Never was. He still tried changing for me, for Cole, for his dad. We struggled years to steer him away from becoming a rogue. Without his best friend, he'll be lost once again. I'm scared for my son."

Lily dropped her gaze.

"Why?" Sam asked.

The luna swiped at the fresh tears escaping her eyes. "I can't say. Are you here to see him?"

Sam scrutinized Lily's silence. She sat stiff for a good minute before nodding.

"He's in his room." The luna told her incredulously.

Lily gulped and stood up, avoiding looking at either of them. How bad was it going to be? Her hesitant footsteps stopped once she entered the room she had ran from that morning. Everything was as she had left it. The knocked over lamp, displaced nightstand, messy bedsheet and a broken headboard.

Her eyes, however, fixated on one thing. The curled up figure huddled near the headboard. His fingers were deep in his hear, head burried in knees and back tense.

She stilled when she noticed he was shivering. His exposed forearms and neck were slick with sweat and was muttering something under his breath.

Her throat instantly closed up. Her foolish heart staggered, stopped then took off. It still ached... for this man.


The words fell on deaf ear. She got no reaction. Cautiously, she ate up the distance between them. Seeing the arrogant, angry and selfish alpha so... disoriented, squeezed her lungs.

"He's okay... He's fine... That bastard is going to call any second now... He's alright..." Was all she could make out from his rant.

The sight of him tugged at her heart. He was in no state to hear what she came for. Her wolf paced madly in her head. Pushing her to him. Subconsciously, she reached out. A tiny gasp escaped her when she felt how ice cold his skin was.

"Ezra?" She called out. He didn't hear.

His shivering continued non stop. A cord of concern was struck inside her. It slipped her mind that she was here to reciprocate her pain, not comfort him.

She hastily pulled at the blanket and draped it around him. His head tilted and his eyes stopped flickering when he noticed her. With a yelp, she was yanked into his arms.

"Lillian," he rasped into her neck. "Did you hear? Cole is sleeping. They won't listen. He's sleeping."

How could she breath when her heart was in her throat? Her chest felt empty.

"They're fucked up. I know he's alright. He's okay..."

Lily grabbed the side of his face pulled him up to lock her gaze with his. His eyes had a feverish glint.

"Calm down. Take deep breaths."

"But he's not dea–"

"Deep breaths. Like this."

She inhaled and then exhaled deeply. Ezra watched her silently before joining her and syncing their breaths. Their heartbeats followed.

"Good." She praised as if he was child.

Well he was acting like one. A lone, scared child.

Tightening the blanket around his shivering body, Lily shifted in his iron-clad hold.

"Where are you going?!" He perked up.

Lily froze. Her guts felt heavy. Why did it effect her at all? A dark cloud loomed over her mind. By the looks of it, Ezra was too out of it too comply with letting go of her.

"Nowhere." She breathed. "I'm here. Everyone is here. Cole is healthy. Don't panic."

"I know," he buried his head in her neck again and sniffed her scent. "I know."

The bittersweet burn in her chest spread out like wildfire. His fingers absently moved to his hair and stroked his hair as she allowed him to pull her closer. The heat they shared instantly reached her core, reminding her of her inevitable action.

Not now. She told herself.

Turns out she still lacked a cruel bone in her body. His state shook her and bothered her. Her mind was up in flames, imitating the ones under her skin. His sweat clad skin was clammy against her but she couldn't find it in herself to mind it. Even his sweat smelled delicious.

Perks of a broken bond.

Soon, the breaths tickling her neck evened out. The shivering stopped and the heaving of the chest attached to hers slowed their rythm. Her heart quivered.

It's not supposed to be this hard.

Unconsciously, she tilted his body to the side until he was lying on his side and covered him with the blanket. She was out of breath by the time she made it to the living room. The luna stood up quickly and rushed to her.

"Did you accept the rejection?"

Lily's eyes shot up. "Who told you?"

Sam cleared his throat behind Amelia.

"No," Lily assured her. "Not yet."

Amelia almost collapsed with relief and hugged her. "I can't take your right away from you but thank you for waiting a little longer. I can't see him any more troubled than he already is."

Lily struggled with swallowing the lump in her throat. "I... It can wait. I'll see you soon, Luna. I need to go."

She released herself from her embrace, almost ran out of the house and jumped into Sam's car. Her fingertips were numb when she curled her arms around herself.

Her heart was foolish. That was why she ended up where she was. The first time around, she herself aided that fantasy of love. This time, there was snowball's chance in hell.

"Drop me off at the cafe." She told Sam when he slid into the driver's seat.

"You can't seriously be working in this state. Look at you."

"Sam, please," she pressed. "I need to work. I need a distraction."

Sam groaned and rubbed his temples. "Fine."

The moment her foot touched the threshold of the cafe, she dashed to the kitchen and baked up a storm. Their customers were more than happy to order takeaways. Lily's magical touch made even poison delicious. Her fired up mind and burning chest kept her busy the entire day.

Dave popped up at Cafe later that day to inquire about the incident. She told him everything minus her intimate slip up with Ezra.

"Man, if they weren't in the cells already, I would personally have tracked them down. Disgusting motherfuckers."

Lily poured him a cup of coffee at the table in the kitchen. "Where were you anyway?"

"Patrol duty. A buddy had the day off so I took over."

Lily sauntered over to the oven when it beeped and pulled out a fresh batch of cookies. Her nose had her mate's scent lodged up their. She smelled him everywhere.

Out of the blue, the kitchen door burst open. Kyne marched in and set his unforgiving eyes on Dave.

He got up for a high five. "Hey, man. What up? How's Stacy and the baby?"

Kyne's jaw ticked. "You're coming with me."

Lily removed her gloves and walked up to Kyne. "Where are you guys going?"

Kyne threw her a look. "To the dungeons."

Team Ez or Team Lil 🤧
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