By: Rosa Swann
When you know there is a huge difference between having a house and a home…
Telling my family about the situation with Wes was scary, but it’s finally behind us, that secret is out in the open.
Now I need to make sure that the house I’ve been working on for years will finally be a home…
Spending a lot of time with Wes is giving me a different outlook on the prospects of having my own family, especially a big one like he has.
It’s still early days, but I’m sure that if we all work together, we can make the house into a real home. Only, some plans go a little differently than expected…
“You, what?” Rose, Clay’s youngest sister and his only other Alpha sibling, jumps up, stalking to him and standing right in front of Clay, her hands balled at her sides. “You… What?”
“I married Aiden last weekend.” Clay doesn’t even flinch, just looks straight at her.
“So, you lied about Aiden being your mate before then?” She puts her fists on her hips.
“No. He was my mate. We just didn’t know it just yet.”
“You lied. You lied to your family. For what? Looking better than you are?” Rose seems angry, though the rest of the family may be in shock, they’re just sitting on the chairs and couches, staring at us.
“I didn’t want to be the odd one out, the only one without a mate. It wasn’t really the plan to deceive you.” He shrugs a little.
“But asking you all to come here wasn’t about me getting yelled at. I just wanted to make clear what was going on. I asked Aiden to be my date that weekend, we then found out that we were actually mates. His kid is actually his nephew, but he’s pregnant with my kid right now.”
Before anyone can comment on that, he keeps going. “We got married last weekend to make everything official. He is my mate. He is my husband. That’s what I wanted to tell today and be very clear about.” He looks at Rose, and then at the rest of the family.
It’s scary. They’re all so wound up and I can see the frustration in some people’s eyes. But we need to do this. We need to tell them this, before we tell them the other stuff…
“I was there.” Wes leans over a little. “I was at their wedding. I was also the one who saw through everything that day at Rose’s wedding.”
Now they’re all looking at Wes. When they came in, they glanced at him, asked if he was okay, but somehow they accepted the answer of him being fine and that he’d explain it later, and it was enough for them to then ignore the bruises, or the precarious way he’s sitting.
Are they so conditioned to just accept his answers? So conditioned to not ask questions?
It has made me feel very uncomfortable.
“How?” Jas turns to him. “How did you figure it out?”
“Aiden went into heat and Clay didn’t even realise what was going on. He had no idea.” Wes shakes his head.
“Any Alpha who has been around their mate when they’re in heat knows how that feels. They don’t need anything but their own instincts to know when their mate is in heat.” He looks at his mum, at Jas’ wife, at Rose and then, finally, at Clay. “He didn’t realise it back then. That’s how I knew.”
“That’s why you went to bring Aiden dinner?” Clay’s mum looks at Wes.
Wes shrugs a little. “Yeah. Tried to figure out if I was right or not. I’d hoped I wasn’t…”
“Yeah…” I look at my hands. “He really helped me out back then.” Having Wes there, next to me, calming me, it really saved me.
Wes takes my hand, holding on. “I’d do it again, if needed.”
“Thanks.” I try to smile a little.
“Okay. Now we’ve got that out of the way.” Clay comes over, carefully putting his hand on Wes’ shoulder, and then one on mine.
“The real reason why we asked you all to come here is because we’re taking in Wes and his kids. At the moment, I’m talking to people to finish this apartment as soon as possible, and Wes and his kids will come live with us here.”
“Why?” Jas frowns. “He’s got an Alpha. Why would Daxton allow that?”
I flinch a little at the word ‘allow’, too close to the way Wes’ Alpha spoke last week.
Clay squeezes my shoulder as Wes squeezes my hand a little. I’m not sure if it’s because of the way I reacted or because they need the strength themselves.
Then Wes takes a deep breath. “Because I’m no longer with Daxton.” He licks his lips, then he looks down at his lap and his hand in mine shakes badly.
“He left you?” Jas stands up. “How dare he leave his Omega and four kids?”
“Jas?” Jas’ wife, Ivy, grabs her wrist, pulling her back into her seat. “I don’t think Daxton left Wes. I think Wes is leaving him.” Her voice is careful, but steady, her eyes on Wes and then on me.
“What? Why?” Jas looks at her wife, and then back at Wes. “Why would you leave him?”
“Dear, you know why. You can see why.” Jas’ wife takes her hand, holding on. “You know what his home situation is like.”
Jas’ face falls, her lower lip quivering a little, her breathing stuttering. “I… I… I didn’t think it was that bad.” She wipes at her face.
I feel for her, I feel so much for her, but I also can’t bring up any energy to comfort her, because I know that she didn’t want to see what was going on with Wes.
“You can’t just leave your Alpha.” Rose shakes her head. “You can’t just leave over a few arguments and some bruises.”
Wes reaches up, pulling at the high collar of the sweater he’s wearing, showing the bruises around his neck. “Daxton tried to kill me over spending a weekend at Clay’s place while Daxton was out of town.”
And then, all his strength, all his bravado, his control, it gives away. He covers his face with his hands, his shoulders shaking and his whole body curling up on itself.
I immediately reach out, wrapping my arms around him and pulling him close. Fuck. I can’t even keep my own tears in check.
The whole room is quiet for a while, nobody saying a word.
“You knew about this, didn’t you?” Clay’s mum doesn’t sound accusing, but more like she’s trying to establish a fact with someone.
“Yes,” Clay’s mummy replies. “It’s why I stayed here this week.” Her voice wavers. “But we had to make sure that… We had to make sure that Wes and his kids were safe before we talked to anyone else.”
“Where is Daxton?” Clay’s mum doesn’t sound as calm anymore now.
“In jail.” Clay walks around us. “They picked him up last weekend when he was trying to force his way into the hospital wing where Wes was staying. But it wasn’t until yesterday that we knew for sure that he wouldn’t be getting out any time soon. We had to make sure Wes and his kids were safe, we couldn’t take another risk.”
“I don’t get it. Why would Daxton do that?” Jas’ question makes us all look up.
“To finish the job?” Wes deadpans and I see colour drain from everyone’s faces.
“He…” Jas shakes her head.
“He would have.” Wes sits up, looking around the room. “I’ve lived, hiding the bruises, hiding everything, for so long. When I gave birth to Mia, to my beautiful little daughter, I nearly didn’t make it. The hospital wanted to keep me there, but I knew I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t pay for an extra night at the hospital, but I also couldn’t afford to not be with my children, to leave them with you. I knew that. I was very aware of that.”
He stands up, hissing a little, but then raises his head, strong. “At the same time, Clay and Aiden had their suspicions that something wasn’t right. That there was something wrong. So, they got me here under the guise of having a relaxing weekend, recovering from giving birth in a place that was warm and welcoming. And it was, it was warm, welcoming, and filled with some of the most amazing people.”
His voice brightens, before it darkens. “Then, on Sunday morning, I got a message from Daxton, he knew I was gone and wanted to see me. He already knew that I was with Clay, so we met up a couple of blocks away from Aiden’s apartment. I knew it wasn’t safe, but I didn’t want to bring trouble to anyone. So I went there. I told everyone that I was going for a walk, that I needed some fresh air. And when I met Daxton…” He stumbles for a moment, but then straightens.
“You can see the result. He accused me of many things. He promised to hurt many more people, including our children. And I knew he would. I don’t really remember going back to the apartment, or anything really, for the couple of hours after it happened. But when I became aware of my surroundings again, I was in the emergency department at the hospital, Clay and Aiden at my side.”
He turns to me, and then to Clay, reaching out for us both. “I’m not going back to Daxton. I can’t. I literally won’t survive that.” His voice wobbles.
“I’m staying here. With Clay. With Aiden. With Seb. With all the people I’ve met in the last week who’ve all been there for me.”
Clay’s mummy stands up, going over to Wes and opening her arms, there are tears in her eyes, slowly dripping down her cheeks.
Wes steps into her embrace, wrapping his arms around her.
“I love you. I will always love you. I will do whatever it takes for you to be safe again.” Her voice is soft, but clear.
Rose also stands up, coming over. “I’m sorry that I didn’t realise it. I’m sorry that you were hurt. I’m so sorry.” She reaches out and Wes takes her hand, squeezing. Then she turns to me. “Thank you. Thank you for saving him.”
I nod, not sure what to say, not sure what to tell her. I’m only part of a much bigger group, it wasn’t just me. But I get what she’s saying, I get the feeling of it.
The next couple of hours are a little odd, a little unusual. Clay’s family is not really sure what to talk about or how to respond to each other.
At some point, Wilder and Sterling bring by Wes’ kids and Seb over, and also drop off Maddy and Des. They talk to Clay’s family for a while, but then they leave again for a fun evening with just the two of them.
The kids luckily lift the mood a lot, and everyone is going gooey over Mia, which is sweet. But I’m exhausted. So much has happened today, and I really just want to slow down and take a nap.
“Aiden?” Wes touches my arm.
I turn to him and see how pale he’s gotten in the last hour. “Yes?”
“I need to lie down for a bit.” He closes his eyes, taking a breath.
“Me too.” I turn to the room. “I think it’s time for Mia and the others to take a nap too.”
“Yeah.” Wes nods.
“Come on. Clay said that there should be some place to sleep on the top floor.” At least those rooms are livable enough, livable being a big word for the state they’re in, but it’ll do for now.
It only takes a couple of minutes to round up all the little ones, and to get them to the top floor with Clay’s help.
He’s staying with the rest of the family downstairs and I know that he wishes I’d stay with him there, but he knows that we’ll have a long evening today, so me taking a nap now is actually the best idea.
It’s easy enough to set up sleeping arrangements for the little ones, and Wes and I share the air mattress. For a nap, this will have to do.
I’ve almost fallen asleep when Wes speaks. “Are you really sure about this?”
“Taking us in?”
This again? “Yes. I’m sure. You’re family. I want to help you, protect you. This is part of that.”
“Family… What a broken family we have.”
I shake my head, putting my hand on his shoulder. “Then we’re making our own family. We’re making our own home. That’s what I want you to feel. That when you come here, that you feel like you’re home. This is your home now too.”
“Thank you.” There are tears in Wes’ voice, but he doesn’t say anything else anymore.
It takes a while before I fall asleep, thinking about what I just said, about the implications.
And that includes Wes, at least for now.