side story - Samantha
I begged my parents to send me away, not for long but for a couple of days, I told them it was to take a glance at the college that I wanted to attend, and with a little bit of hesitation; they let me go. Now, I stand in front of Seattle Central college with shaky legs and sweaty palms, the building intimidating me as every smell and object became unfamiliar to me. My thoughts seemed to run a mill within my head; bringing doubt that I might not be able to do as I dreamed.
“Excuse me, are you all right?”
I turn around, startled by the sudden deep voice that vibrates from behind me, my gaze collides with deep brown eyes. The guy frowns in my direction, bushy brows creased, and I wasn’t for sure if he was looking at me or just in my general direction; when he angled his head a little further in my direction, I knew he was talking to me.
Flicking my gaze from him to the building, I gulp. “Ah, no— I mean, yes, I-I’m all right.”
The sound of his footsteps behind me alerted that he was inching closer, from the corner of my eye his form positioned beside me; his head tilted up as he stared at the college building.
I watch him from the corner of my eye, my gaze sliding down the features of his face, taking in his jawline, the curve of his cheeks, his darker skin tone and lashes that curled and brushed against his cheekbones with each blink. His gaze finds mine.
Quickly facing away, I stuff my hands in my pockets. “No, I’m actually just visiting. I should be starting here soon, though,” I tell him.
He hums, “Nice, it’ll be good to have a few more of our kind around here.”
My heart freezes as I inhale deeply, finally catching onto his scent as I face him once more, from the smile of his face, he knew I hadn’t caught it beforehand. My mouth opened and closed, no words formed on my lips or in my head and I could see that he knew what was I was thinking and chuckled.
“Don’t work your brain too hard,” he states, shifting his body to face me, “if you allow me, I would be honored to take you someplace nearby to talk a little more— without the company of my shovel and rope, of course.”
The twinkle in his eyes shows his amusement and his calm exterior welcomes me further into those brown eyes. A flash of a person replaces where he stands, with the same eyes but darker as they look deeply into my soul— it was there and then it was gone. Blinking, I present him a smile, turning my body toward him until we faced across from one another.
His smile grows wider, “Great,” then he sticks his hand out. “My name’s Casper Reed, it’s nice to meet you.”
Glancing at his hand, I meet him halfway, his hand clasping around mine in a handshake; engulfing it completely.
“I think I heard about it.”
Casper found a nice little homey feel of a café that wasn’t too far from the campus, nothing but walking distance from where we once were. He paid for the small croissant and tea that I have gotten myself, moving to a table that sits by the window.
“Moonbrooke you say?” he questions, looking out the window.
I nod, dragging my finger around the rim of the teacup, my gaze lost in the swirl of the darkened liquid.
“I’m positive. There wasn’t a day that went by your pack’s name was brought up in conversations around where I was,” he says, his gaze moving back toward me.
I blink down at my reflection, “A lot of shït, that’s what I can say.” I sigh, leaning back in the seat. “It’s been two years since then and I still don’t understand the things that went on.”
“We lost people, we learned some things that changed before for the better and for worse— I just don’t—” I cut short with a pained sigh.
I lean forward to hold my forehead, “I’m just tired of a lot of things.”
Warmth engulfs my hand as my attention is brought to Casper’s hand as it completely covers mine, I look up to find his eyes focused on me, dark with concern.
“I apologize, I shouldn’t have asked and caused you to strain yourself. It was none of my business.”
I stare back, the sincerity in them choking me as I glance at his hand— his hand was soon replaced with an image of another, the same size but bringing forth a rush of fire in my veins at our contact, once again, as quick as it was there it was gone.
As the lake of silence stretched over the minutes, I was lost in a trance with my gaze stuck on his hand, mistaking it with the thought that it was bothering me; he removes his hand, snapping me back. I pull my hands into my lap, twisting my fingers together as I mumble an apology myself.
“Who is he?”
Casper’s question catches me off guard, my eyes meeting his once more. He leans forward with a gentle smile on his lips as he rests his chin on the knuckles of his hand as they give support.
“The guy you’re running from.”
My eyebrows twitch, my eyes shifting around his face looking for something, anything negative so that I can get up and leave him in the dust. I see nothing but the kindness he’s been giving me from the moment we met and I sigh.
“I’m not running—”
“Stop lying to yourself, Samantha,” his smiles grows a little, “it takes one to know one and you have that look in your eye.”
My mouth parts a little in astonishment and in thought. Running away? I was never known to ‘run away’, usually I would work out and face my problems head-on — or so I thought — there was nothing for me to run away from, Mason didn’t want me. That was clear. Yet, here I was going into the medical career so I can further take care of him.
I chuckle at myself, “What gave me away?”
Casper’s smile radiates onto my skin with a hint of smugness. “You gazing off into space a lot, so, who is he?”
I shake my head, “My mate.”
A hum vibrates from Casper’s chest as he nods, leaning back and crossing his arms.
“He doesn’t want you?”
“Something like that. While the whole ordeal was going on, he had been tricked by a woman that she was his mated and after learning the truth he has been hesitating to accept me. . .”
We grow silent for a short minute before Casper breaks it by shifting in his seat, I watch as he leans forward and sets his eyes deep on mine.
“How long have you been waiting?”
“Two years and a half.”
He immediately whistles, a frown overtaking his beautiful features, “There must be something wrong with that guy.”
My face breaks into a small smile at his words, “Why do you say that?”
“Well,” he shrugs, “getting to know who you are as a person and your appearance, makes me wonder what’s taking the guy so long to already claim you.”
There seemed to be something else he wanted to say but he covered up with a smile, looking down at the tablecloth, his fingers grasping at the handle of his cup. His words warmed my heart and caress me in a way that I needed after a long while of being alone.
“What’s your reason?” I inquire, tilting my head.
He sighs, almost as if saying it out loud pained him more than it did thinking about it.
“I found my mate three years ago,” he begins. “she was actually someone who I had known all my life but never really knew who she was. When I met her, I was too late, she had already fallen in love with someone else.”
“Unfortunately, she had a choice; chose between the person she knows and has grown to love or the person who was made to complete her soul.”
He pauses, shutting his eyes as his nostrils flare with the action of his deep intake of breath. His knuckles tighten into a fist.
“In the end, I chose for her. Who was I to come into her life and take her away from the person who can love her better than I could?”
I knew what he had done.
“You let her go,” I whisper, and he nods, giving me a brief of a weak smile.
“Yeah,” he chokes out, “I did. And it’s been years since I have and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and what we could have been.”
As I watch the man before me, lingering on the past pain of what would have been his future, there’s that flitting, betraying question in my head that makes its way into my core.
What if Casper was my mate instead?
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