Never Ago (Book 1)

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Incomplete Wound

"She wants to see you."

Ezra had barely made it to the room when Cole uttered those words. It was a hit to the cold bubble of frost around his heart. It jumped, rolled and raced.

"Lillian?" He perked up. "She wants to see me?"

His eager legs ate up the distance. His demanding fingers gripped his friends' arms. Cole quirked his lips and nodded. He had thought he would at least ask who.

"At the temple."

"When?"

"Eleven."

Ezra shot up to his feet. "That's fifteen minutes."

"Yeah, g–"

"I'll see you tomorrow!"

The alpha ran out of the room.

"Good luck." Cole said to the empty room.

Ezra couldn't stop the flutters in his stomach. A smile stretched his cheek, complimenting his deep dimple. His fingers tingled with excitement as he rode out of the parking lot and headed to the temple.

That place was holy for her. What she didn't know was it had become holy for him too. It reflected his Lillian and it gave birth to his love.

Meanwhile, Lily waited in the backseat anxiously playing with the seam of her dress. Sam loaded the car and then jumped in to the driver's seat. Cindy was listening to some rock music which drowned out the buzzing dread in the car.

"All set?" Sam asked.

Lily nodded without looking up. Her wolf was restless and her heart stuffed with thorns. Each breath made those thorns dig her sensitive muscle. The world could not understand what she was going through. She had not loved him for a month, it was most of her conscious life. As much as she needed this, she couldn't deny the hurt it would leave behind.

The dreamy thoughts of belonging to someone that once used to birth butterflies in her stomach now suffocated those butterflies to death. She didn't want to belong to anyone. It was going to be just her from now.

Love was never the answer. It was only a reason.

"Lily?!" Sam called out and honked.

It made her jump. Her hand shot up to her chest. "Jeez, Sam. There are other ways of drawing attention."

"Well I tried two times." Sam threw his arms up defensively. "Are you deaf?"

Cindy flicked his shoulder. "Let her freak out in peace. It's a moment of crisis."

"Was that sympathy or sarcasm?" Lily asked.

Sam sank into his seat. "Both if you ask me. We're running late, by the way."

Lily peered outside and inhaled. Sam observed her in the mirror silently. For the life of him, he couldn't understand her. Her actions were in contradiction to the shadows in her eyes. The only thing he could visibly notice was her need to escape.

"I'll be back soon." The words were barely whisper.

The door slammed shut when she got out and sauntered over on the muddy path to the temple. Halfway through, she hesitated. Her feet wanted to go back. Part of her was cautious of Ezra's reaction. He was very impulsive and demanding.

Lingering only intensified the prickling under her skin. With a heavy heart, she resumed her journey. Pretty soon, the temple came into view. She could see the warm glow of candles from afar.

He was there.

Each step drew her closer to the dreadful temple. She had prayed wholeheartedly for years in front of the goddess but she broke her heart in the end anyway. Even her creator betrayed her. Her life was an irony.

With bathed breaths, mixed with the uncanny musky scent of her mate, she climbed up the steps. And there he stood, in all his magnificent glory. The gray shirt he wore was stretched to accommodate his unapologetic frame. His sleeves were rolled up to his forearms and a dangerously alluring smile on his face.

Before she could speak, he yanked her to his devilish embrace. It spurred her delightful tingling. The tiny gasp that spilled from her throat disappeared in his warm and hard chest. His arms locked her in. His haze surrounded her in a rush.

She wondered if his presence would effect her the same when they abolished their bond.

"My breathtaking Lillian." His greedy fingers crawled into her hair, his thumb tilting her head up. "I thought you'd never come."

Lily worked on her swallow. Her mind was disoriented for a split second. No, this here, it needs to end. She could not bear to depending on anyone.

"Ezra," her hands were stuck between them. "I don't want to fight or argue today. Listen to me and please understand what I want to say."

His smile stretched, his eyes fluttering close and his forehead dipped to touch hers. "Say my name again."

Lily pursed her lips. "Ezra."

A hearty chuckle touched her cheek and seeped through her skin. "Your voice can slay a man."

"I'm not here to slay. I'm here to say."

The alpha, in his haze, rocked their bodies steadily and slowly. He had no clue what was coming.

"Can we please talk?"

Ezra stopped and opened his beautiful blue eyes. They were beaming down at her. The innocent gleam made her feel guilty.

"Sure."

Nobody moved.

"What is it?"

"If you would... let go and let me breathe."

The double meaning was lost on Ezra. He was not happy but reluctantly loosened his hold full on scowled when stepped out of his arms.

"Thank you."

She peered up then dropped her gaze. The intensity of his scrutiny was like the wrath of a blazing sun.

"Here's the thing," she started slowly and clasped her hands together. "I don't mean to hurt you. This has nothing to do with you specifically. I'm doing something for me for once, not some fantasy or the family who are already gone. I deserve to be free of obligations."

Her heart pounded in her chest as her ears picked up the lack of breathing from the alpha in front of her. She didn't dare confirming it.

"I'm here to severe the bond–"

"How dare you, Lillian!"

Ezra clutched her forearms and gave her a firm shake. "After all the fucking things I have done and said, you think I'd let you skip out of my life like a fucking ballerina?!"

"I have choice too." Lily fisted his shirt and retaliated the storm in his eyes. "You made yours, I'm making mine."

"No. Fucking. Way." He bit out the words through his clenched teeth.

"Why?" She demanded. "You can do whatever you want and I can't? I don't want to be with you."

"The fuck you don't." Ezra dug his fingers into her arms. "There's no other man for you. You hear me? None."

Lily struggled in his hold and winced. "You're hurting me."

Ezra whirled her around and let go, watching as she stumbled back. His ears were ringing, palms sweating. Something was trying to yank his heart out of his throat.

"What about me? Your pain is pain, mine is a joke?"

Lily palmed her flesh where he probably left bruises. "I don't want to hurt you. Understand where this is coming from and move on."

"Move on?" Ezra spat and marched up to her. "Are you nuts or are you stupid? Move on from what? The love you put in my heart or from your memories? Wait, let me guess, you want me to move on to the fucking afterlife!"

Lily retreated and her crazed alpha followed her each step. "You don't love me. You want me. There's a massive difference. For the sake of the moon goddess, come out of your madness and look at reality."

Her back hit the foot of the statue, putting a stop to her attempt of escaping. The vengeful alpha, with his dark eyes ablaze, leaned in until their short breaths mingled.

"Reality? Reality is that you want to turn a blind eye on me and my feelings. You want to hurt me for your own sick reasons. You fucking like seeing the alpha at your mercy." His hands planted on the block on either side of her waist. "You are a heartless woman."

Lily shook her head in disbelief. "Reality is that you're a prison. The prisoner before was your ego and the prisoner now is me. I believe every word you say when you claim I'm your madness, when you claim I have the right to write our story, that I can decide our destiny but the condition is as long as I lock myself in that prison."

"I fucking love you, damnit!"

The words pierced her already throbbing heart, went right through it then pierced it back. Those same words she had uttered in this temple and they were disregard. His blind obsession was misreading his mind.

"Then let me go." She said, "Love is freedom, it's not a compulsion. It has no limits but neither does it have conditions." She softened her tone. "Please, try and understand–"

His fist raised and slammed into the block in a flash. Lily gasped, astonished and concerned as debris flew after she heard that sickening crack. Blood oozed out of his busted knuckles but his eyes never left hers.

"You never understood me. You never even considered listening to me. All I want is you. Why do you break me every time? My heart is not a circus!" His voice raised to a tormented melody at the end. His nose flared and chest heaved.

Dropping down to his knees, Ezra massaged his scalp and gritted his teeth. Lily was trying to catch her breaths. No matter how much she tried, he was hell bent on making it a disaster.

"I don't want to hurt you..." Her voice broke off. "Don't make it a battle of ego. I hope you can find happiness–"

"You want me to be happy after taking that ability away from me? I never knew you hate me to this extent."

"I don't." Lily knelt in front of him.

He inhaled shakily. "Then do me a favor. Pray for my insanity. Show me how to forget you. Rinse your mark from my soul." He crawled closer to her. "Erase your existence from my mind. You want separation, I will oblige"– his hand plucked hers and slapped it on his chest–"Only if you rip this out before you leave."

The brown cruel eyes staring back at him welled up. She tried pulling her hand back but he held it firmly, forcing her to witness the downfall of his withering heart.

"Please," she rasped.

"No."

"Don't make this harder than it already is."

"No."

"I deserve to be happy."

"Then you have to let me bring that happiness to you."

"I want to find it on my own."

Ezra tugged on her hand and yanked her body closer to his, ripping out a yelp from her. His mind was buzzing, ears ringing and blood drying with every heartbeat. He failed to see the agony in her eyes.

"Can you forget about me? Can you undo us? Can you change my mind? If came to it, will you walk past my dead body like I don't matter?"

Lily sniffled. "I can't forget about you. Not your face, your words, your actions, not even your existence. And no, I don't want to walk past your body. It's not easy, possible even but that doesn't mean I would die without you. I can and I will live on my own. Why are you so selfish? I'm not leaving for another man, I'm leaving for me."

Ezra clenched his jaw and cupped her face with calculated firmness. His fingers dipped into her cheeks ever so slightly as his aggressive gaze flickered from her eyes to her lips then back up.

"That me," he growled. "That me is mine. She belongs to me. Don't you get it? You're mistaken if you think you will ever erase the blemish of my name on you."

Lily whimpered when he yanked her head closer and slid his hand down to her throat then applied pressure. It allowed her to breath but forced her to acknowledge his hand there. His beast was agitated.

"Now say... you are mine."

His eyes were drawn to the movement of her throat when she swallowed. Her eyes peeled open next and the determination in them made his heart quiver.

"I'm sorry." She whispered.

Ezra frowned. His mind didn't have the time to ponder over it because her next words floored him.

"I, Lillian Avi, accept your rejection, Alpha Ezra."

He reeled back as if she had punch him in his guts and gasped for air. The string connecting him to her snapped at last, slicing his insides into tiny pieces in the process. His throat closed up like he just swallowed a stone. His arms could barely hold his weight.

Lily wiped her eyes and scrambled to her feet. His gasping and heaving struggles constricted her chest.

Luna. She instantly reached out. Your son is in the old temple behind the pack. He needs help. Hurry.

The link shut down immediately after. She didn't have the strength to face anyone else. With crippling pain spreading in her own chest at the bothersome sight, she sniffled and swiped at the fresh tears rolling down her cheeks and ran out of the temple. Her feet didn't pause a beat. Oh, how her heart wanted to turn around and help him. She couldn't.

Sam and Cindy acted calm and collected unlike their eyes and fidgeting bodies. They knew what she was gone for and she had made it known their sympathy would make it worse. The moment she jumped into car and curled up, Sam drove towards their new destiny.

The mating ball.





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