Wilder's seven days at Sterling's house are over, but what about the things they've been through together?
– Rosa Swann, author of Mated to the Alpha
Chapter 7 - My Mate's Mark, an omegaverse non-shifter mpreg romance
I’m not sure what happened between Maddy and Wilder, but they’re both upset, and I’m not sure if I’d even want to know right now. There’s just too much mess in my head. Going into Logan’s office was a bad idea, but still, I can’t keep avoiding the room forever. And Wilder was right, I’m going to have to face it at some point, preferably with him and not someone else. He makes me feel safe, in all this mess, he makes me feel safe.
“Daddy…” Maddy slides around on my lap.
“When will I have to go back to school?”
Maddy nods, thinking for a moment. “Will Wilder be here then?”
I look up at Wilder, who is still baking, his back to us, but I’m sure he’s listening in on our conversation. “No, Wilder will have to get back to his own house by then. He also has to go to work.” I don’t want to think about it right now, but I know that we’ll have to deal with this soon.
“Oh.” Maddy’s face falls.
Wow. I didn’t realise that she cared that much if he was around or not, but maybe she’s more attached to him than I thought. Then again, in the last week, there have been many things that I’ve never thought about before. “I’ll make sure he comes by sometimes, yeah?”
Maddy smiles now, sliding off my lap and getting back on her own chair, a little happier now. But the conversation, no matter how short, it reminds me that there is an ending to Wilder being here and that ending is soon.
When Wilder turns around with the pancakes, his eyes fall on my face, and I can see the reluctance in his eyes. I guess we’ve all gotten a little used to each other by now… even in this short span of time.
He blinks, then puts on a smile. “Let’s eat.” And just like that, we’re back to being just two people having breakfast.
My hand slides up to my shoulder, where Wilder’s mark is still tender, but definitely there. I wince, and my eyes shoot up to the other side of the table where Wilder looks at me. I try to smile and pull my hand back down. He doesn’t look like he’s going to say anything, but I know that his eyes are always on me, always trying to make sure I’m okay. It’s a little scary, how intense he is, but also, it’s comforting, knowing he’s there to take care of me.
After breakfast, Maddy wants me to go read with her, and I take the opportunity to do something else, something easier than having to deal with adult things. For a good three hours, I’m in Maddy’s bedroom, reading books, playing with toys, just being there with her and not worrying about anything. In everything that’s been going on, this is something I’ve definitely not been doing enough. But I also know that Maddy hasn’t really been in the mood for things like this either.
When I hear a sound outside Maddy’s room, I look up, and Wilder stands in the doorway, looking at the both of us.
“Wilder!” Maddy jumps up and pulls him into the room. “Read this for me!” She makes him sit on her other side and gives him a book to read.
Wilder laughs for a moment but then starts reading the book. His voice low, calming, and he seems to be pretty good at reading out loud, a skill I’ve never been properly able to manage. I still read too wooden, even after seven years of doing this. I guess that some of us are just better at things like this than others. When Wilder finishes the story, he closes the book. “I actually came here to get you two for lunch.”
“Lunch? Already?” I look around for Maddy’s little clock. Damn, yes. “Ah. I guess we better go downstairs then.”
Maddy is on her feet quickly, Wilder and I a little less nimble and we laugh as we get up from the floor. As Maddy rushes through the house to the kitchen, Wilder takes my hand for a moment.
“I’ve taken a look at the files on Logan’s computer.”
I wince, that hurts, for him to do that without me being there. Why would he…
“Star.” He makes sure I look at him. “I can make sure to send you a list of potential people to hire when I get back to work. I can even get someone from the company I work for to help you out with this. You don’t have to do this on your own.”
I know he’s trying to help, even though him going into Logan’s office without me knowing hurts. “Thanks.”
“No problem. I can’t just leave you in a situation like that. There is no reason why this can’t keep going.” He steps back. “Unless. You didn’t want to do this? Did you want to sell the company?”
I shake my head. “No. No.” No way, not when Logan and I have fought so hard to make this all happen. Not when I’ve seen it grow so big over time. “Thank you for everything.”
The rest of the day is spent with Maddy, playing, having fun and sometimes even working in the garden. I’m not ready to go back into Logan’s office just yet. But I know I’ve got a couple more days. At the end of the day, after I’ve brought Maddy to bed, I walk back into the living room, and Wilder is sitting on the couch, reading a book.
I slide next to him on the couch. “Wild…”
“Yeah?” He looks up, his eyes intense.
“Can I… Can I sleep with you again tonight?” Look away, not able to face him right now.
“In the literal or the figurative sense?” There is a teasing to his tone and when I look back up at him, his eyes sparkle.
“Both, maybe?” My heat is a lot less than it has been for the last couple of days, and I know that he’d probably be able to resist it, even if we slept in the same bed. But at the same time… I like feeling close to him like that, makes me feel safe.
Wilder reaches out, pulling me closer, then he kisses me softly. “Sure. Just tell me when. I’m here.”
I nod, swallowing hard, then I slide in close next to him. “Can you read that to me?” He’s got a really good voice to listen to, probably even makes boring books sound interesting.
He slides one arm around my shoulder, pulling me a little closer and relaxes before he starts reading.
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Chapter 7 Cont. - My Mate's Mark, an omegaverse non-shifter mpreg romance
The final days are over before I even realise it, until, one morning, Wilder says the dreaded words over breakfast.
“I’m going home today.” He slides a piece of paper over the table. “These are where you can contact me. Phone numbers from my mobile and my work phone, email address, home address, all of it.”
Next to me, Maddy is quiet, and I don’t dare to look at her because right now, I feel like the ground is falling out from under me. Wilder leaving has mostly been a thing for the ‘future’ until now. I stand up, needing to move, needing to get a little air. “Okay.” I try to stop my voice from shaking. “I’m going to… do something.” And, like Wilder did when he came here on that first day, I flee from the kitchen.
I knew this would be happening, from that first day, this was all there was ever going to be. One week. He’d be with us for one single week. I blindly cross the garden until I’m at the gate into the sheep’s field. They look at me for a moment, but since I just fed them, they’re pretty content just staying where they are.
I know I can live on my own, I’ve done it before. And with Maddy… that shouldn’t be much of an issue, she’s old enough that she doesn’t need constant supervision.
My chest hurts, it hurts so much. I don’t want this. I don’t want to be alone. But I know that that’s the only way forward… There is just Maddy and me. I’m a widower, Logan’s widower, and who would… Who’d even look at an Omega like me?
Wilder. Wilder would. But he’s got his own life, and even though he mated me, there is no way we could even do anything about it right now. He’s got to go back to work, and I need to learn to be without Logan. Maybe in another time, maybe in another life, but as we are now, this can’t happen. There is too much going on, if anything, I need to learn to care for Maddy and myself first.
“Star.” Wilder’s footsteps stop right behind me. “I’m sorry.”
I shake my head. “You can’t help it, this was always the plan.”
Wilder’s fingers slide up the side of my head, and his touch breaks something inside me. I twist around, burying my face in his shoulder. His arms tighten around me, and I can’t help the sobs.
“Shhh, shhh.” His voice is unsteady too. “I know this was the plan. Doesn’t mean that we have to like it. I’m still sorry for having to leave, especially since you’re so upset.”
I nod against his shoulder.
“Sarah will pick me up at the end of the day. I’m not leaving just yet.” He slowly sways side to side, holding me closely. “But this is something we’ll have to do.”
“Yeah. And I’ll have to calm down, Sarah can’t see me like this. Fuck. No one can.” I turn my head so I can look at him. “What have we done?”
He looks at me for a moment, his eyes sad, before he looks out over the fields, his jaw setting for a moment, squashing a thought or a feeling inside him. “I don’t know. When I came here, I thought I knew what I’d be doing. Helping you out. Helping you get your feet back under you. Making sure that you were safe. But now…”
“You marked me.”
“Yeah. And at some point in the future, we’ll have to talk about that. But, right now, when you’re still grieving, when everything is still so uncertain. Now is not that time. You need to be Logan’s widower before you can become anything else again.” He looks down at me, giving me a soft kiss, and even though it’s chaste, it takes my breath away.
Because, there, in that kiss, are words we can not speak, are things that are still unsaid and promises we can not make.
We stand there for a while longer, enjoying the weather, enjoying our time together. Then, Maddy disturbs us and pulls us back into the real world.
The rest of the day goes much faster than expected. I can’t help but dread the end of it. And when I hear tires of a car come up the driveway, I look at Wilder one last time. Reaching out for him, entwining my fingers with his until the doorbell rings. From now on, I’m Logan’s mate, Logan’s widower, and Wilder is just Logan’s friend. We’re two people who’ve only sideways got connections to each other.
I make my way to open the front door as Wilder says goodbye to Maddy.
When I open the door, Sarah looks nervous and exhausted. “Hey. I’m here to pick up Wilder.”
“He’ll be right out.” I step to the side. “Do you want to come inside?”
She shakes her head. “I’m only here to pick him up. How are you doing? You look better.”
“Thanks. Life’s been going on, I… I don’t know. Having Wilder around was a big help.”
Something changes in her eyes and I’m not sure how to read it. “I can imagine. He’s… been through a lot, but he still cares for people. That’s his strength.” That’s a curious thing to say, but before I can say anything else, Wilder comes walking into the hallway, a bag over his shoulder.
When he sees Sarah, he nods. “Hey.”
“Hey, you ready to go?”
“Yeah. Just need a moment, okay?” His stance is stiff, and I squeeze my hands to not reach out to him.
“Sure. I’ll put your bag in the car.” She reaches out, and he hands her his bag. Then she leaves us alone.
He takes my hands, making me unfurl them. “Listen to me closely. As soon as I step into the car, you close the door. Do you hear me? From that moment on, you’re Logan’s widower. Forget what happened between us this week. If I’d met you at any other time, maybe something could have happened, but not now. This is not our time. Contact me if something really bad happens, if you really need me. But for now, you need to focus on you and Maddy. Be Logan’s widower, Maddy’s Daddy. That’s you. Forget about me and what happened. Promise me.”
“Wild…” I can’t. I can’t promise that.
“Promise me. Promise me that you’ll forget about me.” There is an urgency to his voice that I haven’t heard before, and when I meet his eyes, there is a pain there that I can’t explain, but it resonates inside me.
“I… I promise.” As soon as the words leave my mouth, Wilder wraps his arms around me and pulls me close.
“Thank you. Goodbye.” He lets go of me, stepping outside and quickly walking to the car. He looks back at me one last time, and I need to fight everything inside me to not run after him. Then he turns, steps in, and closes the car door behind him.
It takes me a moment to get back to myself enough to close the door. As soon as the door closes behind me, I slide down it and sit on the floor, wrapping my arms around myself. When the car starts again and drives off, a sound I don’t recognise is pulled from me.
This hurts. This hurts so bad. How can I deal with this on top of losing Logan?
Maddy comes from the living room, her feet soft on the floor, when I look up, I see the tears on her face too.
I reach out to her. “Come here.”
She rushes over and pushes up close, hiccoughing as she cries.
Fuck. I know that I selfishly want to keep Wilder close, let him take care of me, but he’s right. I just lost Logan, and I need to learn to be a single parent for Maddy before I do anything else.
I can learn to be a single parent. Maddy is already seven years old, at least we’re out of the nappies and waking up in the middle of the night phases, she’s too old for that now.
I can stay away from Wilder until we’re all in a better place and have learnt to take care of ourselves. It’s not like we’ve got anything to do with each other even though he mated me. Right?
You've been reading Second Chance Mates 2 – My Mate's Mark
Sterling going into heat was not part of the plan, me marking and mating him even less so.
The whole day I've been able to resist him until we both can’t fight our needs for each other and the pressure of Sterling's heat anymore.
I'm supposed to make his life easier, not harder.
Being stuck in bed most of the day doesn't help the thoughts running through my head. Especially not after seeing a mating mark on Wilder's shoulder.
This man is here to help me, but all I want is to find out about his past, even though he's trying to help me face mine.
But the clock is ticking… Wilder's only here for one week…