Going to your ex’ house is scary, especially when you’re there with their husband…
– Rosa Swann, author of Mated to the Alpha
Chapter 3 - My Alpha's Secret, an omegaverse non-shifter mpreg romance
We quickly drive by my place, picking up some clothes. I never expected this to happen. To spend day and night with Logan’s mate, but somehow, since you can never expect any decency from Logan’s parents, I seem to be the only one who can be there for his little family. How did everything get so messed up?
In the back, Sterling and Maddy have fallen asleep, and Sarah keeps giving me glances, but she doesn’t say anything. She knows too well what Logan meant to me, and she also knows that I would never have let his mate and child be alone after all this mess. There are only so many times in your life that you can make a difference, and I believe this is one of them. Besides… It’s not just about them, I don’t think that being alone is the right thing for me right now either. I know that I won’t be able to lean on him, but I think that just being there for Sterling and Maddy may help somewhat to lessen my own pain.
We drive out of the bounds of the city, into fields and hills.
It only hits me then that they lived so close, close enough to just drive there. My quick gasp attracts Sarah’s attention.
“We’ll be there in 20 or so minutes.” She puts her hand on my leg and I cover my mouth as I internally break down, trying not to let out the sounds of pain as this new realisation sets in.
He lived so close. Any time in the past ten years that I got out of the house, we could have ran into each other.
My eyes shoot to the two in the back, they’re still asleep. Which, I guess is good right now, as the pain won’t go away and the tears keep coming. This is my pain, they don’t need to know about this, this isn’t about them, this is about me, me and Logan. Sarah squeezes my leg again as she keeps driving, she knows, of all the people, she’s the only one who knows about this pain. I put my head to the window, looking outside over the fields. But it doesn’t calm me down, especially since I know that the city isn’t far behind us, my city, the one I’ve lived in my whole life. I close my eyes, my heart too heavy.
I must have dozed off at some point, as the next thing I know is the sound of gravel under the wheels of the car. The house emerging in front of us is simple, not very big, sort of like a cottage, but there is a good sized walled garden and there are fields around it. I think I can see some sheep walking around in the back.
“Home!” Maddy chirps from the backseat as she starts to get restless.
I look up and meet Sterlings’ eyes in the mirror, he tries to smile but there is just no energy behind it, if anything, he now looks worse than before. I can’t blame him, this is the house he shared with Logan, there will be many memories and they’ll be a constant reminder of his loss.
“Okay, let’s get inside.” Sarah puts on a happy face as she opens the car door and in the back, Maddy also tries to get out of the car as quickly as she can. For the first time, I’m on my own with Sterling.
“Hey, I know you would have much preferred someone that you actually knew to stay here with you. I get that, I know that it can’t be easy to have a stranger around right now.” I meet his eyes again. “Sorry.”
He nods, looking out the window. “I guess it’s okay. Sarah was right, I can’t keep this all running on my own. So thank you for staying with a stranger,” he follows his little girl with his eyes as she is rushing to the gate that opens into the garden, “and his kid.” He’s quiet for a moment and I’m about to get out of the car as he speaks up again. “Maybe knowing that you knew him and that you cared for him, even after a long time, knowing all that, maybe it makes this a little easier. I don’t know. Does that make sense?”
“Loss doesn’t have to make sense, neither does surviving one.” I open the car door. “I’ll be here if you need me for anything, it doesn’t matter what it is. But you don’t have to do it all on your own.” As I step out, I see him nod from the corner of my eyes. He looks exhausted and so lost. How did I get myself into this again? Oh, yeah, because I’m way too nice of a guy, or maybe I know what it’s like to be profoundly alone, even if our situations are different.
I get to the back of the car and grab my bag. I only packed some essentials, so I don’t have to worry about clean clothes and stuff. Though, seeing this place, I don’t know, maybe I should have taken some clothes that are better suited to get really dirty. It seems like they do a lot of outside work around here.
Sarah joins me and stops me for a moment. “Are you sure about this? I could see if I can change my parents’ mind, or even ask a neighbour here. I don’t want to put you in a bad situation.” I can hear the underlying words, even if she doesn’t speak them ‘not another one’. Because Sarah and Lilly are the only ones who know how I nearly didn’t survive Logan leaving the first time, who knows what will happen now he’s really gone?
“It’s not just for them. I’ve never properly been able to say goodbye either. I feel like I need to do this. For me.” I pull the bag over my shoulder and look up just as Sterling opens the door to the house. I stumble back as my mind flashes to the past, directly in the doorway is the exact painting that Logan used to have at our front door. According to him, it represented love, kindness and an invitation to do good by a stranger. For me, it represented home. I let out a strangled sound. Yeah, Logan doing good by a stranger, that was so him, but what about the people that actually loved him? What about them?
Maddy appears in the doorway, her shoulders down and Sarah and I both step towards her before I stop and let Sarah take the lead. Sarah looks at me for a moment, confused, before she goes into the house. I follow them and close the door behind me, then I touch the painting, at about halfway up the frame, on the right side, a spot worn away from years of doing exactly that. It still feels so natural, so comforting. And for a moment, I’m transported back into the past. I don’t exactly know why I started touching this spot, but I’ve always done it, maybe as a silent prayer at first, but over time, I did it because it made me feel like I was home. I guess, this time, that prayer is not for my own happiness, or for a home, but for everyone to survive this horrible time.
When I look to the side, Sterling stares at me, tears in his eyes. He quickly dries them but they won’t stop. Fuck, what did I do? I messed up. I reach out, pulling him into an embrace and he leans against me, sobs wracking his body. My own tears rise to the surface again and I hold onto him tightly.
As he calms down, the words come out. “Sorry. Sorry. I was just supposed to come get you to show you your room. I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t apologise. I’m sorry for being weird right when I step into your house.”
“It was just… It felt like he was right there. He… He’d always do that. I’ve never seen anyone else touch the painting like that. It was surreal. I guess it just overtook me.” He steps back and wanders over to the painting, his voice mellowing. “You had this same look on your face as he always had, some sort of serenity. Even if it was fleeting.” He turns to me, his eyes locking with mine before he looks away. “I’m rambling, aren’t I?”
“It’s fine. It’s nice to hear bout him.” Even if it hurts.
He stands up straight. “Right. Your bedroom. Follow me.” He guides me through the hall, to a door at the back, right across from a staircase. “The guest room is in here. It may be a slight mess, we don’t use it often. Our bedrooms are upstairs and so is the main bathroom. The small bathroom is here.” He opens a door next to the stairs to show me. “And ehm, the kitchen is all the way back down the hall, just like the living room.” He starts moving nervously.
“I think I’ll be able to find it. I’ll see you in there, yeah?” He nods and makes his way down the hall. I take a deep breath and step into the guest room. As I expected, there are a lot of things from Logan here, pictures, books, some knickknacks. I close the door behind me before I let out a sound. So many things that he took with him when he left, that he kept apparently, even if it’s just in a spare room. So many things that I have have memories connected to, so much of our past lies here. He didn’t throw it away, he kept these things, even if not in plain sight. What does that say about him leaving? Why did he keep all this? How will I even survive this? How will I be able to pretend that I’m ‘just a friend’, when everyone who takes a two second look at me can see how badly this hurts?
A quiet knock on the door makes me take a deep breath and pull myself back to the present. “Yes?”
“Daddy wants to know if you want something to drink.” Maddy speaks through the door.
I open the door for her and kneel down. She frowns and pulls the dirty tissue I gave her this morning from a pocket in her beautiful dress. “For your tears.”
I take it and rub the tears away. “Maddy.” She looks at me. “Let’s keep this between us, okay? Daddy doesn’t need to know about my tears.” I put my finger to my lips.
She copies me. “Shh, secret.”
“Yes, secret. Now, where is your daddy?” I feel like such an ass, making this little girl keep a secret from her only living parent. But I don’t need Sterling to know, not now, hopefully never.
Maddy brings me to the kitchen, a perfect kitchen, a kitchen exactly as I’ve always wanted it, like it was plucked from my dreams and planted into this reality.
Sterling is sitting at the table, looking at me, apparently taking my surprise the wrong way. “Do you like it? Logan designed it. He also built most of it.”
My heart beats like crazy and I feel my face heat up. I try to push it down, this dark and sickening feeling. Try to force it to go away. “Right.” My breathing comes out heavy and I grab around behind me, finding the handle of a door, as I try it I feel a gust of air, a door to the outside. “I’ll be…”
I open the door fully and flee into the garden, my pace fast, trying to get away as far as possible before I explode before this feeling overtakes me. The darkness inside me grows bigger and bigger. In the back of the garden I find a stack of fire wood and nearby, leaning against the wall, an axe.
I shrug off my suit jacket, grab the axe and some wood. Breaking things with my hands isn’t going to help, but at least this is a more productive way of getting that darkness out of my system, to cool myself down. I swing the axe, letting it come down on the wood, the splitting of the log like the sound of lightning, the smaller pieces shooting off to the sides, before I grab the next log, and the next. As many as I can get my hands on before I realise I’m being watched. Sarah.
The words come out harsh. “That’s my kitchen! He designed that for me. And he lived in it with him!” I’m not sure if my heavy breathing now is from the emotions or the work I did.
“I know.” Sarah steps closer carefully and I drop the axe, letting it fall to the side. “I know.” She pulls me close, like she did last time, like she did when Logan left me.
“I’m so confused. It hurts so much. Not just him being really gone, like really really. But why did he tell me he had to move on, and then he lives in the house that we wanted together? How can he live in my house with a mate who isn’t me?” My breath shudders, my chest aching. “I’m confused. It hurts.” I hide my face in her hair, trying to hide from the world once more. I don’t care that I’m an Alpha, this was supposed to be my life, this is what Logan and I planned for all those years ago, and now… Why did he leave?
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Chapter 4 - My Alpha's Secret, an omegaverse non-shifter mpreg romance
As I watch them interact, the way Sarah rushed after him, the way her eyes are so different when she looks at him. Something must have happened between them, there is no other explanation. She’s so caring, so careful and so much more friendly towards him. There is a history there that is more than just caring for a friend of her younger brother, you don’t react like that to just a friend.
And it’s not like Wilder doesn’t seem like a good guy. But there’s something off in the way he acts, like there is a whole world inside him that he hides and the only person who knows about it is Sarah. It’s like they lock everyone out of their little bubble.
Maybe that’s just because I feel so distanced from the world right now. As I’m sitting here, I expect Logan to step through the door at any moment. If that’s not being disconnected from reality, I don’t know what is. He’s gone. A lump forms in my throat, taking away my breath.
Maddy pulls on my arm, staring up at me. “Daddy, I’m hungry.”
“What do you want to eat?” I stand up to check the fridge, there isn’t much, but there is enough to come up with some type of dinner.
“I want pancakes.” I know she’s testing me, trying to see what I’ll allow her, but I’m in no mood to deny her anything.
I grab the ingredients for the batter and start making the pancakes, enough for the four of us. Because, thinking about it, it’s been a while since I had any food. And no matter what, being a good host is important too.
Sarah steps back into the kitchen, her face thoughtful, but she gives me a tight smile when she sees me looking at her. “Pancakes? Your princess is lucky.” She kneels down next to Maddy. “Is daddy spoiling you? Pancakes for dinner?”
I don’t need to look at them to hear the smile in Maddy’s voice. “Yeah…”
“Will you be good to Daddy, then?” Sarah comes over to me, looking over my shoulder. “I’m going now. Call me if you need anything.”
“Thank you for everything you’ve done these past days. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.” I feel my throat close up and shake my head. How do you even properly thank someone in these situations? Then I realise that she came in on her own and that someone is still missing from the kitchen. “Where is Wilder?”
“He’ll be in soon. He’s changing into something clean.” When she sees the look in my eyes she really smiles. “Let’s just say that you have enough firewood to run the fireplace for a couple of days, maybe even weeks.” Oh. She winks and then hugs me. “I’ll check in on you tomorrow.”
“Okay. Thanks.” I pull her close, her warmth reassuring. “Have a safe trip home. Drive safe.”
“I will. You take care of yourself and Maddy.” She goes back over to my little girl. “If you need me, call me. You can borrow Daddy’s phone, yeah?”
“Yeah.” Maddy nods and looks up at me. “Right?”
“Right.” I nod at her and Sarah leaves the kitchen, a couple of moments later the front door opens and her car starts. With that, she’s gone, leaving me alone again.
Maddy stands next to me as I heat up the skillet. “Can you do shapes? I want shapes.”
“You know Daddy can’t do those. Only Dad could.” I swallow hard, trying not to let my emotions overrun me. “We’ll just have to make normal ones this time. Okay?”
“But I want shapes.” Maddy’s voice hitches and I feel like such a crap parent right now. Why can’t I give my daughter what she wants? What she needs? She doesn’t need a failure like me.
I startle as a voice comes from the door. “I can do shapes. I haven’t done them in a while, but I’m sure I can remember how to.” Wilder steps into the kitchen, his suit replaced by a worn pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt, then he looks at me, and the moment our eyes meet, I can breathe a little easier. I’m not alone in this, at least not right now. I’m such an Omega, I can’t even take care of my family without an Alpha or a Beta present.
“You can?” Maddy’s eyes light up.
“Yeah. Who do you think taught your dad how to make them?” He comes over, rustling her hair. “Just, bear with me, it’s… been a while since I did this.” There is a flash of something going over his face before he looks at me again. “Go on, sit at the table you two. I’ll show you the skills of a real master.” He touches my lower back for a moment as he steps past me, his touch comforting, safe, relaxing me a little.
We make our way to the table, from where we can watch Wilder show off. It’s fun, especially since the first couple don’t really come out as expected, a wonky heart, a flower that looks more like a blob and a few other odd shapes. But, next to me, Maddy is smiling, enjoying the show Wilder is putting on and I guess, I’m smiling too, a real smile. I can relax, I’m home, I’m safe and I’m with Maddy, for now, those are the most important things. I can worry about the rest later.
“Daddy! Eat!” Maddy hops in the chair next to me. I’ve been so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t even realise that Wilder put a plate in front of me too.
After a while, Wilder sits down at the table with us, a way too big stack of pancakes in the middle.
He sees me look. “Anything we don’t eat, I’ll turn into breakfast tomorrow.”
I don’t know if I find it odd or comforting that he assumes he’ll be on breakfast duty tomorrow. “Thanks.”
“No problem. I love cooking, and food.” He smiles and digs into his own stack of pancakes. Yeah, I can see that.
I try to eat some of the pancakes in front of me, but, even though I’ve barely eaten these last few days, I just can’t seem to.
Wilder looks at me, his eyes softening. “Don’t force yourself. We don’t want you to get sick.”
I nod and look at the clock, it’s getting late. “Maddy, it’s time to go to bed. Go get changed.”
“But I want to stay up longer. I don’t have to go to school tomorrow, right?”
“Right, but you still need to get changed.”
“Only if Wilder will tell me a story.” She challenges us.
“But I don’t know any good stories.” He smiles as he says it.
“I have books full of stories, you can read those.” Maddy hops off her chair.
“Sure, but you need to get changed and ready really fast, okay?” He stands up, looking at the clock. “Three, two, one. Go!”
And, like magic, she’s off. Her little feet bouncing down the hall. I’ve been having no luck with getting her to do much of anything lately, but Wilder seems to have the correct charm to get her moving. Or, maybe it’s just because he is new, that he’s a new plaything that she’s excited about.
When I look up at him, there is a strange look in his eyes, like he is sizing me up, then he averts his eyes.
“I’m… Eh…” He waves his hands. “Something.” His stance deflates. “I don’t know. I feel like I should do something, since I’m standing and all, but I have no clue what.”
“Help me clean up?” I stand up, grabbing some plates.
“I can do that.” He turns on the hot water tap, and I let out a smile.
“Wild?” I wait for him to turn around, but am stopped in my tracks when he looks at me oddly. “What?”
“Wild—” I realise my mistake. “Is that not okay?”
His forehead creases, then he shakes his head. “It’s okay, I guess. It’s just been a while since someone called me that.” It’s that weird look in his eyes again, like a painful memory.
“Okay…” I try to remember what I was going to say. “Oh, you don’t need to do that. We have a dishwasher.” I open one of the cupboards and show him our ‘hidden’ dishwasher. “We didn’t think it fit the style of the kitchen.”
“Good. I like that.” He helps me put the dishes in the washer and as we put the last cups in, Maddy’s footsteps rush down the hallway.
“How did I do?” She’s all excited now and I cringe, that’s going to be one hell of a task to get her to sleep.
Wilder looks at the clock again, appearing to check the time. “Really fast! Wow!”
Maddy shines as she comes over for a quick kiss and a hug. “Night night, Daddy. See you in the morning.” Then she looks around and her face falls. No Dad, no Logan.
Instead Wilder steps in, holding out his hand to her. “Show me where you sleep, so I can tell you the best story ever.”
It helps, at least for now, Maddy relaxes and shows a small smile. It would be good if she actually went to sleep tonight, I know she barely did the last couple of nights. As they disappear down the hallway, I turn on the dishwasher and make my way to the living room. I turn on the TV and curl up on the couch. There isn’t anything I want to watch, or am even inclined to watch, but I don’t dare to get behind my computer or look at my phone right now. I’m not ready for that, I’m not ready for the world. I pull a blanket around myself, creating a little cave. Safety.
Slow footsteps come down the hallway again, Wilder, but I don’t hear Maddy’s light steps with his. The door opens and Wilder comes inside.
“Hey.” His low voice makes me shiver for a moment.
“Did she fall asleep?” I look at him and he stares back at me, then he nods.
“Yeah. She fell asleep pretty quickly. She was exhausted.” He comes over and sits down on the other side of the couch.
“I can imagine.” I yawn. I’ve barely slept either, it’s a wonder I’m even sort of functional at the moment. “You’re good with Maddy, do you have kids of your own?”
A dark shadow crosses his face, making my heart ache for him. “No…”
Even though I can see it hurts him, I can’t help but ask. “Why not?” He seems great with Maddy, and she seems to like him too.
“I…” He stops, thinking it over for a moment. “My…” he starts, “my partner would never have been able to.”
“Would?” Oh, crap.
“I lost them, about a decade ago.” He closes his eyes, his face pained, and instinctively I reach out, taking his hand.
Fuck. No wonder he looks looks so upset by Logan’s death. No wonder Sarah is so careful around him. No wonder he seems to know how I feel, what I need. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pried. That was none of my business.”
He squeezes my hand, looking at our hands combined, and lets out a shuddering breath. “It’s okay. I just don’t usually talk about it.” He looks me over again. “Have you had any sleep these last couple of days?”
I shrug. “Some. Maybe a few hours. I can’t—” I stop for a moment, trying to keep my voice under control, it’s shaking too badly. “I can’t seem to sleep alone in the big bed. Too many memories.” Too fucking many memories that I’m not ready to confront, that I’m not ready to face right now.
He nods. “Try to sleep here. I’ll stay with you if you want me to.”
“Thank you.” It’s not just the memories, it’s the being alone that’s the worst. It’s the knowing he’ll never return. I pull the blanket higher over me to hide my tears, but Wilder tugs on my shoulder and I let him pull me onto his lap. Using his legs as a pillow, his heavy arm over my shoulder, letting me know I’m not alone. At least not in the physical sense, because there is no way to soothe the gaping hole in my chest, the hole that Logan left behind. You’re not supposed to lose your mate, we’re not made for that, we’re mates because we’re together for life.
Still, it doesn’t take long for sleep to overtake me. A deep, dark, but dreamless sleep. The sleep of an exhausted man.
So I’m not sure if I’m just imagining things or if Wilder really muttered, “fuck you, Lo, for leaving us both.”
You’ve been reading Second Chance Mates 1 – My Alpha’s Secret
Ten years ago, Logan left me. He told me that two Alphas cannot be together, he told me that our mating wasn’t real.
Yesterday, my sister called me and told me that Logan passed away, leaving behind an Omega and a child.
Today, I’m at Logan’s funeral. Why am I offering to look after his little family?
Logan and I had everything we wanted: a house, a beautiful daughter and lots of big dreams. Then he was ripped away from us in a car crash.
His family is too busy to help me out after the funeral, so one of Logan’s old friends steps in.
Only, in all the commotion, I didn’t keep an eye on the calendar, and my heat starts at the most inconvenient of times.
And why is Logan’s friend reacting to my heat? Only true mates are supposed to react to a mated Omega…