Chapter 2: A New Beginning
It was a quiet night in the Lenoir house. The lights were all on and the fire in the hearth was burning bright, giving its warmth to the medium-sized living room. All of the white couches appeared yellow from the light of the fire and the pink Victorian rug seemed orange too.
Rosalie unlocked the front door after she returned from the grocery store, which was down the street of their new house. She put back the wet umbrella into the brown basket near the door. She was glad that she had taken it, despite the weather forecast lying to her about the clear sky all day. She didn’t get her cashmere coat wet, which was a big relief to her.
Rosalie took of her boots at the door. “Vivian,” she called out. “Baby, where are you?”
A small head pocked out from the kitchen right in front of Rosalie. “I’m here,” Vivian answered back.
“What are you doing?” asked Rosalie. She took off her jacket and draped it on the couch. She grabbed all the bags to take to the small but cozy kitchen, that was all white too.
“I got hungry. So, I ate some cereal,” answered Vivian. Suddenly, the small girl froze on the short stool that helped her reach the sink. Her head turned, exposing her bright green eyes. “Is that okay?” her voice sounded careful and nervous.
Rosalie froze. “Of course, it’s okay,” she said feeling the ache in her chest for her niece. “This is your home. So, you don’t need to ask me when you want to do something.”
Vivian turned back without responding. She continued to use the yellow sponge covered in soap to wash the small bowl and spoon.
“Alright then, I brought many different ingredients for dinner,” she said. Rosalie tried her best to brighten the mood of her six-year-old niece. “What would you like to eat?” she asked as she pulled out everything from the bags. “I can cook great lasagna, pasta, pizza, any type of soup, salads or even chicken. Or if you want something different then-”
Vivian stacked the bowl in the dish-rack. “Anything that is easy for you, aunt Rosa,” she answered, as she wiped her small hands with the cloth hanging on the side.
Rosalie went over and surprised Vivian by picking her up in her arms. “Everything is easy for me, since I’m so fabulous,” she jested and finally Vivian smiled. “Alright, I know how much you love cheese. So, let’s eat lasagna.”
Vivian nodded. “I can help you,” she said. “Mom taught me to cook before-” her voice fell and instantly her skin turned cold as ice.
“Vivian, it’s alright,” said Rosalie calmly. “I know your mom was a great cook. She taught me too. But I was such a bad student, that she had to write it all down in a book for me.” Rosalie crossed the kitchen and grabbed a book off the table. She presented to her a messy leather-bound book with all sorts of ingredients and recipes.
Vivian’s small hand skimmed the pages. “Mom wrote this with her hands?” she asked.
“Your mom made a whole book full of your favourite recipes and mine too,” said Rosalie. She flipped the pages to the lasagna page. “Should we get cooking then?” she asked. “How about we listen to some music and cook dinner. How does that sound?”
“You have to put me down if we want to cook,” said Vivian with a dim smile.
“Oh, right,” Rosalie chuckled and put her niece down.
Rosalie fixed the flower dress on her niece who really was a beauty like her mom, even at such a young age. Vivian had wavy blonde hair, that reached her waist. It was braided back and Vivian had done it all herself. Vivian’s complexion was fair as milk, just like her mom and she had rosy cheeks too. She wasn’t a chubby kid, since she was a ballet dancer now, and a very skilled one like Rosalie was at her age.
Rosalie went over to the stereo and played her favourite song La Vie En Rose. The sweet voice of French singer, Edith Piaf danced its way into the entire house. She grabbed the apron and put it on, she also bought one for Vivian who loved to cook too. They both got started on the small meal for both of them who had gone through quite the tough day. However, Rosalie managed to complete all that needed to be done for the opening of her new ballet academy.
“What would you like for lunch at school tomorrow?” asked Rosalie.
“I already made it,” said Vivian who was helping open the cheese packets.
Rosalie tilted her head. “What?” she asked.
Vivian went over and opened the fridge. “My lunch is packed already,” she said.
“Oh, okay,” mumbled Rosalie. “Did you pack fruits and veggies? There better not be only candy in there.”
Vivian’s eyes gleamed with amusement. “No, aunt Rosa. I packed a sandwich like I always did back home,” she told her aunt.
Rosalie looked from over the pot to her niece who had to leave Paris; her birthplace after her mother’s tragic suicide. Rosalie’s sister, Madeleine Lenoir had killed herself in a fire leaving her six-year-old daughter in Rosalie’s care.
“Well, I will make you scones for breakfast tomorrow,” said Rosalie.
“There’s no need, aunt Rosa,” objected Vivian. “I don’t like eating breakfast.”
Rosalie stiffened. “Why not?” she asked carefully.
“I just don’t,” Vivian’s eyes dropped and her hands froze. “Here,” she handed the packet over and started opening the pasta for the lasagna.
Rosalie dropped the matter because there wasn’t any need to push Vivian about these worries. That wasn’t the reason that they both moved to New York, Manhattan leaving everything behind. Their beloved hometown, which had turned into a crime scene and graveyard was a memory to them now.
Rosalie didn’t adopt her niece to bring up terrible memories, which were clearly painful to remember for the child. Rosalie wanted her niece to make new memories with her, here in this new house, a safe house and away from anyone that could cause Vivian pain.
That was the reason Rosalie retired from dancing in the first place. She needed to focus on making sure that her niece had the best of the best, that was what Madeleine would’ve wanted for her daughter. And that’s what Rosalie wanted for her niece, who had a void in her life and heart since her mother’s death. However, Rosalie was going to make sure that their life together would be a good one. And if that meant for Rosalie to quit dancing and start a school, so be it. She would teach kids ballet and make sure they accomplish their dreams for her.
Speaking of kids, Rosalie remembered another child that walked into the school and won Rosalie’s heart. Evelyn was her name, she believed. The small girl was sunshine bursting in a body, she smiled and talked to everyone, no matter the age, which was astounding to everyone. Rosalie wished that Vivian would express her feelings like that little girl had today at the school. So, she knew what Vivian held onto so dearly in her heart.
Although, what was more surprising than the kid were her parents. Rosalie had never seen a fiercer couple. The mom looked like a supermodel and she wore the latest fashion pieces from the new Chanel spring collection. Rosalie knew that because she had seen the collection in a magazine, she also had a few pieces herself. They were prized collections for her and knew the value of them.
Mrs. Ashley Iron had styled sun-kissed blonde hair and big sky-blue eyes. She really resembled a barbie-doll especially with those white stiletto heels; Rosalie missed her chance to ask about them because they really were to die for.
But then there was the woman’s husband. Mr. Iron was indeed formidable like his name, which sounded familiar, but she just couldn’t place her finger on it. The man stood dressed in a three-piece Valentino suit. It had two buttons on the jacket and styled to his healthy physique. Rosalie guessed it was custom-made from the way it clung to his towering body. And what was even more intimidating about him was that he had tattoos. They were all over his neck and hands that had golden signet rings on them too. She didn’t want to say it, but he looked like he dealt with the mafia. However, with a delicate family like he had with him, she doubted if he really was a dangerous man.
The pheromones from their wolves had surprised her too, which Rosalie sensed the moment they walked inside her school. She never felt such raw power from wolf shifters before, like the both of them were in control of their wolf spirits, except the feral scent from Mr. Iron was extremely noticeable. She wondered if they had more family or even a pack. Rosalie was never part of a pack and she didn’t think to join one either. But she was always curious of how they operated.
Rosalie shrugged off the thoughts and put the prepped lasagna in the pre-heated oven. “We should decide what movie to watch while this is cooking,” she said to Vivian.
Rosalie loved the movie; The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, so that was what they decided to go for tonight. Rosalie opened the CD casket and put in the DVD player. The TV lit up to life and the screen played the beginning credits.
Rosalie knew that the lasagna was going to take more or less twenty to thirty minutes to cook. So, she quickly ran up the stairs to her bedroom to change.
Taking a five-minute bath, she then quickly changed out of her long dress into a silk nightgown to match Vivian. Settling in front of her dresser, she applied a bit of night cream and through the round mirror, her doe brown eyes looked back at her fair complexion. Rosalie pulled off the clip on her bun and tied her long, heavy brunette hair into a braid before going back downstairs.
Vivian had gathered two plates by the. She had used the stool that Rosalie bought for the kitchen, so Vivian could reach the higher cupboards. Rosalie didn’t have a problem helping her niece with any and every task, but it seemed that it bothered Vivian. Her niece arranged her own seat, gathered her own dishes and washed them too. Rosalie didn’t stop her or bother her, because then that would just make Vivian uncomfortable around this new environment.
“Lasagna looks done, Aunt Rosa,” said Vivian who was peering into the oven glass. “The cheese is golden.”
Rosalie went over to the oven and checked herself. “It looks ready,” she confirmed. “Alright, I’ll take this out. Can you take the plates and forks to the table?”
Vivian moved quickly. She put the two silver forks on the plates and went to the table in the living-room.
Rosalie didn’t like eating at the dining table much. So, they simply ate on the soft rug with the coffee table close to them. Rosalie quickly poured them some Coca-Cola and took it over to the table for them. She placed the pieces on their plates and like that they devoured half a lasagna tray themselves, as they movie stole all their attention.
The movie ended and Rosalie looked over at the clock ahead of her. It was almost ten o’clock, which meant that Vivian should’ve already been in bed.
“You have school tomorrow,” said Rosalie. “I’m going to clean up. I want you to brush your teeth and get in bed.”
“Yes, aunt Rosa,” answered Vivian. She got up with her dishes in her hand and went off to the sink. She climbed the stool, placing them into the sink.
Rosalie collected all her dishes too. “You can leave them, baby,” she said. “I got it. You just get ready for bed.”
Vivian’s summer-field green eyes looked at her. “Okay,” she said. The small girl climbed down the stool and went off to her bedroom.
Rosalie was quick to do the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, especially the tough lasagna tray that was coated in cheese still.
She heard the floor creak right above the kitchen, so she knew that Vivian was in her room after using the bathroom. Rosalie closed all the lights. She checked the two doors that were locked and she then closed all the windows too. She looked onto the front yard and deliberately left the small porch-light on, before she went upstairs to her niece.
Vivian’s bedroom was across from Rosalie’s. It was a mid-size room with a golden metal-post bed, that was perfect for a little girl. The bedding was pink, just as the rug that laid on the dark oak floors. There was a massive book shelf on the right near the dresser where Vivian had everything she needed to pamper herself. A mini gold chandelier hung on the ceiling warming up the white room perfectly. Rosalie adored the vintage molding and the sitting area near the window too.
Vivian walked out of her closet, dressed in a white nightgown that reached her small feet. “Yes, aunt Rosa,” she said as she spotted Rosalie near the door.
“Are you ready for school tomorrow?” asked Rosalie as she walked inside.
“Yes,” she answered. “I have already packed my bag, see?” Vivian pointed behind her towards the brown bag sitting near a large brown teddy bear.
“I meant, are you feeling nervous at all?” she asked. “I know it’s a new school and you’ll have to make new friends too.”
Vivian golden hair fell forward when she climbed up on the fluffy bed where Rosalie took a seat too. “I’m alright,” she said softly.
Rosalie tucked the long golden strand behind Vivian’s slender shoulder. “What about ballet school?” she asked. “Are you ready to learn some ballet with me and teach the other kids, since you’re the famous Lenoir’s niece.”
Vivian beamed. “I am excited to dance,” she said. “Aunt Rosa, what made you become a ballerina?”
Rosalie remembered her own mom and that memory was like someone took a knife and stabbed her gut and twisted it. “Your grandma was a ballet dancer like me,” she said. “And I wanted to follow in her footsteps.”
Vivian’s eyes gleamed with interest. She crossed her legs on the bed. “I didn’t know nana was a ballerina,” she said.
Rosalie’s heart ached. “Nana was a great dancer, she won many hearts with her shows,” she said. All except their father who didn’t have a heart; only a black hole with no mercy or kindness. Rosalie noticed that Vivian saw her expression had flipped. “Oh, and nana also loved her hair,” she added with a chuckle. Rosalie got up and grabbed the golden comb off the dresser. “She would comb it and braid it all day,” she said.
Vivian giggled. “I know, mom told me,” she said.
“Here, turn around,” said Rosalie. “I’ll do it for you like nana did it for me.”
Vivian turned around and her golden hair that fell in thick waves grazed Rosalie’s hands. The silky mass was abundant and hefty, Madeleine really did a great job taking care of her daughter’s hair.
Rosalie took the brush and gently started to run it along the little girl’s head. Vivian had gone quiet and simply enjoyed the few moments of peace this gave her, like it had for Rosalie. Just like this, Rosalie wanted them both to fill their lives with good memories and not bad ones. Vivian didn’t deserve a hard life after what she had seen and been through.
However, did Rosalie have it in her to protect Vivian from all the bad in this world? she wondered.
Rosalie wasn’t equipped like other parents were for their kids. She didn’t know how to fend off bad people, not that she didn’t know how to bad-mouth people, she did. But wolves Vivian’s age, school and life were going to be difficult.
Both of them were going to have to be careful if they were going to build a new life. No one was going to be their knight in shining armour and protect them bravely. Rosalie would have to do it herself and for her niece.
The night was brittle. The breeze bit at their bones and crawled over their skin. Adrik didn’t bother with the cold though. But the others waiting in line in front of the club were shivering in their shoes because of their inadequate choice of wardrobe.
Adrik and them didn’t need to wait in line though, since they had their VIP passes on them, which Trez gave to them the first time they came here. Once the security guard let them inside, the dark walls shielded the cold outside, and then thick humid heat hit Adrik first.
The loud music boomed against the black walls of the nightclub, Underworld. The bar was as busy as ever, which wasn’t unforeseen, but it was definitely annoying since Adrik needed a drink right now. The bright red laser lights flashed in his eyes, smoke filled his lungs and tobacco was heavy in the heated air of the club. The massive dance floor was packed with people, he didn’t bother himself with them as him and his pack members entered the club that never slept. All night people would enjoy themselves here and drink away their troubles and demons.
Adrik came to do just that. But he didn’t really favour the crowd, because they were definitely staring at him and it was getting old.
Dressed in layers of black, he would’ve expected to hide in the shadows of the club, but that wasn’t the case at all. He stood out, amongst all the wolves and humans that were here tonight. The dark pheromones that emitted from his wolf was a heavy warning to back the fuck off if they wanted to survive. This was the reason Adrik was rarely approached by women too because when they saw his horrid scar they ran for it. Occasionally, a bold girl would try but his icy glare was enough to get her to leave with her tail between her legs.
Adrik was never in the mood to hook-up with anyone. He didn’t need it, and if he did, then it wasn’t something he enjoyed. Especially when there was a chance that if he let go of his control, then his wolf was waiting to escape from his chains and kill the one alone with them in the room.
“This place is always so packed,” said Zeiden over the music.
“Damn, Trez really knows how to keep people in here,” praised Ronin.
“We should get some drinks,” said Lazarus.
They left the entrance and went deeper into the club, when suddenly, through the heavy crowd, a man dressed in a black pin-striped suit came towards them. Adrik’s sharp gaze locked with Trez’s blazing blue eyes, which were gravely dark and a mystery that hid beneath the sharpness of them. Trez was always put together, his dark hair artfully styled too, like he was a gentleman who knew the difference between a Tom Ford suit and Valentino.
“Welcome to the Underworld,” Trez’s smooth sensual voice was clear despite the loud music.
“Hey, Trez,” Zeiden greeted him first, “it’s great to see you.”
Trez gave as much as a smile as he could conjure. “It’s good to see you too,” he said. “Anyone from the Iron Blood pack is welcome in my club. So, if you follow me, I’ll take you to where you can enjoy yourselves better.”
Adrik looked at Lazarus and Ronin. They didn’t seem to mind, so they all followed the man deeper into the black halls of the club. The music hushed behind them as they passed a couple of heavy black doors.
Once they reached a more remote area, the red laser lights vanished and lavish golden chandeliers appeared in the black hallways. The secret corridor opened to some extravagant rooms.
Trez took them to the VIP ward of the club, where the loud music didn’t reach nor the did mundane crowd. The walls turned a deep red, rich and sexy against the black leather of the large lounging area. There was a private gambling hall, that many prominent men and woman spent their private evening and riches. The golden ceilings matched the crystal chandeliers and the grand piano was used by a beautiful woman in a black gown, as she played a sweet tune to seduce them inside.
Adrik and the rest of the passed the gaming hall and went straight to the bar, which was fairly busy here too. The seats were all taken and many sat on the leather booths with their friends or companions.
“Let’s play billiards,” challenged Zeiden. “Loser buys drinks.”
“You’ve got a deal,” agreed Ronin.
“Prepare yourself to get your ass handed to you, Zeiden,” threatened Lazarus, as he grabbed a cue to play, accepting Zeiden’s challenge.
“I guess that means Adrik is on Zeiden’s team,” said Ronin. “I’m with you Lazarus because last time Zeiden cost me fifty bucks.”
Zeiden groaned. “How was I supposed to know that Isaiah would play for Ashley,” he said. “Ashley cheated that day. So, it wasn’t my fault.”
“Stop making excuses,” said Lazarus.
“You’re just saying that because Ashley was on your team,” retorted Zeiden.
Adrik grabbed the billiards cue. “Are we going to talk all night or play?” he dared, as he joined their side and got ready for the bet. They grinned over the pool table, that was ready for them.
Zeiden may suck at billiards, but Adrik made up for all the pup’s losses. Lazarus and Ronin were no match for Adrik once he got serious and competitive over the game. Zeiden got the hang of the game as Adrik showed the man how to play properly, which turned the game around at the end. So, Lazarus and Ronin had to buy drinks for all of them.
“Zeiden, get us all a whiskey on the rocks,” said Ronin, as he passed the cash.
Zeiden looked over the moon after winning, but Ronin’s order burst his bubble. “Why do I have to go?” he carped. “I won, remember?”
Lazarus put his arm around his brother’s shoulders. “You did. Great job,” he smiled, which was scary all on its own. “Now, be a good boy and get our drinks.”
“Stop smiling and I will,” Zeiden retorted.
Lazarus’s smile dropped and Zeiden went on his way.
A while passed and Zeiden hadn’t returned with their drinks yet. Another game couldn’t start without him. So, Adrik left the billiards table and went straight to the bar in search of his partner.
He spotted the rugged leather jacket, that Zeiden adored because on the back was a large wolf-head stitched in dark-grey and it said Daredevil in white lettering. Zeiden was turned onto his side, his elbow resting on the long bar table, his posture relaxed as he spoke to someone.
Adrik moved deeper into the darkly-lit room and he stiffened when he recognized the man on the long stool; it was Marcello. He wore the same suit from this morning, so he was probably here since then, guessed Adrik.
Adrik couldn’t hear what the men were exchanging, except that Zeiden was laughing over something. But clearly, Marcello didn’t find it funny. Once in a while, his rough hand combed through his golden hair, pushing the strands away from his stern face. His golden gaze was fixed and lost themselves to Zeiden.
Adrik walked in closer, when finally, Marcello’s icy voice rolled in; “I was wondering where all the noise was coming from,” grumbled Marcello.
“You want to join us?” asked Zeiden.
“And why would I ever do that?” mocked Marcello.
Zeiden held a kind smile, even though Marcello was glowering at him. This was the one thing Adrik admired of Zeiden, he always had a bright spirit and didn’t let anyone ruin it.
“Well, I think it’s better than drinking here alone,” said Zeiden. “And I thought we were all friends. Especially after we saved you this morning.”
Marcello raised a brow. “I never told you to,” he said quietly.
“Your drinks,” said the bartender.
Adrik came up behind Zeiden, his gaze locked with Marcello’s for a hard second. Both of them exchanged a cold regard without even trying. Adrik stepped between them and was prepared to keep Zeiden away from this guy.
Adrik grabbed the two glasses and something in Marcello stiffened, like in front of Adrik he put up a wall of indifference. He grew even more on guard around Adrik, which was called for since Adrik was one scary bastard.
“Zeiden,” Adrik said sternly.
Zeiden followed without complaint. “Marcello,” Zeiden called out behind him. Marcello didn’t even spare Zeiden a glance. “You’re welcome to join us any time. Don’t forget, okay.”
Adrik ushered Zeiden away before Marcello could say anything in return. But he didn’t think that Marcello had anything to say anyways.
“I wonder why he’s like that,” Zeiden spoke with a soft voice. “We weren’t mean to him, were we?”
Adrik met Zeiden’s compassionate blue eyes. “Some people don’t know what to do with kindness even if it’s right in front of them,” he told his cousin. “Don’t worry. It’s not you that’s the problem.”
Zeiden looked back at Marcello who was drinking alone. “He looked alone,” he said then. “That’s why I offered. Was that a bad idea?”
“No,” said Adrik.
Zeiden froze in his tracks, Adrik wondered what happened that he froze, but it was clear. Marcello had locked eyes with Zeiden and a drift of tension swam through the room.
“Take these,” Zeiden put the glasses on the table for Adrik. “I’ll be back.” Zeiden left Adrik alone to go talk to Marcello again.
Adrik went back on his own. “Where’s Zeiden?” asked Ronin, as he grabbed the glass only when Adrik put them all down.
“He’s with Marcello,” revealed Adrik.
Lazarus’s brows shot up. “Marcello’s here,” he astounded.
“Seems so,” said Adrik, as he ignored the sick pit in his own heart as he threw the drink back in his throat. The strong whiskey burned through his throat, down to his empty gut. He grabbed the second glass and did the same.
“I wonder what Zero saw in Marcello,” puzzled Lazarus. “He seems like a douche to me.”
Adrik met eyes with Ronin who looked rather stern. “He’s just been through some shit like us,” said Ronin. “I don’t think we should bother him a lot.”
“Then you should get Zeiden away from him,” said Lazarus, as he sharpened the tip of the cue and started a new game after enjoying his drink.
Adrik didn’t say it aloud, but he knew exactly why Marcello was the way he was all the time. Adrik was just like that before he met the Iron brothers and Ronin. Maybe, what Marcello needed wasn’t solitude, but people like Zeiden who were pushy and persistent to get him to open up.
Except, Adrik didn’t understand the rogue alpha Zero who spent her life protecting the innocent. She always said that people could change, become better and help others. Adrik didn’t believe that for himself. He didn’t think he was capable of being benign around others. He knew his limits and once they were passed, he was dangerous enough to hurt his loved ones, like he had hurt his blood brothers.
A memory from the past that Adrik could never forget no matter how much alcohol he drowned himself with appeared. It never mattered because all the evil inside him crawled out of the deepest, darkest part of his soul. That vile darkness tainted his head to see things, which no one should ever be able to see without crumbling away their sanity bit by bit.
Adrik ditched the next game and merely opened a tab to keep the drinks coming on their own. Adrik sat alone on the stool, his pack members enjoying another game and placing bets to their hearts content.
Zeiden had returned, triumphant. “I got Marcello’s number,” he waved his hand up in the air, with a small white note.
“Oh, how impressive,” mocked Ronin. “Instead of a hot girl, you got Marcello’s number.”
Zeiden pouted. “That’s rude,” he pointed at Ronin, making the man laugh. “This means that Marcello is open to being friends.”
“Whatever, let’s just play another round,” said Lazarus. “I want to beat all of your asses.”
“Don’t get cocky, Lazarus,” retorted Ronin who drank his whiskey and got ready to play again.
Trez appeared through the room to talk to the tall bartender who had blue hair, that matched his blue eyes. The bartender had an easy smile and had a few piercings too, under the bartender uniform, his dark tattoos were seen. He worked alone and it seemed that it was the most efficient that way, he was fast despite being on his own. Not that Adrik cared if the man had help or not, as long as he got his drinks on time was all he needed.
Trez appeared in front of Adrik. “You enjoying yourself?” he asked, as he poured more whiskey in Adrik’s glass.
Adrik drew in a breath and met Trez’s inquiring blue eyes. Surprisingly, the man wasn’t distracted by Adrik’s scar or the fact that he was scowling at him.
“Not much of a talker, are you?” he observed. “My brother is like that too.”
“Axe,” said Adrik.
Trez looked up, not surprised. “Yes, Axe,” he said, as he poured himself a drink too. He held it towards Adrik. “Cheers,” he said when Adrik clinked his glass with Trez. “Where’s your alpha tonight?” he asked curiously.
“Home,” Adrik gave a curt answer.
Trez went quiet and both of them enjoyed the drink now. The rich, fiery taste of the dark whiskey was enough to hypnotize Adrik. He relished the sensation of the flame that grew when the whiskey poured inside his body and it mixed into his cold blood, heating him a little.
“Looks like you guys are friends with Marcello,” said Trez next. “Do you know him well?”
“No,” said Adrik. “Only met him twice.”
Trez raised a brow. “Your pack mate over there looks like he’s besties with the man,” he retorted.
“Zeiden’s like that with everyone,” said Adrik, without turning around, he heard Zeiden’s cheerful voice that was having fun beating Lazarus and Ronin after learning from Adrik.
“Oh,” muttered Trez over the rim of his glass. “Well, Zeiden is impressive. Marcello’s a hard man to talk to.”
“Does he come here often?” asked Adrik.
“Nowadays, his visits have increased,” pointed out Trez. “Well, I don’t care, more business for me.”
Adrik agreed with that. But he didn’t say anything and just continued to drink his booze. Trez put his glass away and Adrik finished too. He slipped off the stool and took out his wallet ready to pay when Trez stopped him.
“It’s on the house,” said Trez.
Adrik looked at him sternly. “I’d rather pay,” he replied.
“I enjoyed my drink with you,” countered Trez. “Don’t worry about it and you can tell your pack members that the drinks are on me too. Enjoy the rest of your night, Adrik.”
Before Adrik could say anything, Trez had already walked off and vanished behind the secret door between the long, tall shelves. No one else noticed but Adrik did.
Adrik returned to his group who weren’t ready to head home just yet. So, they stayed for a few more hours. Until the day had broken, their cellphones went off and Isaiah texted them back home just before sunrise arrived.