By: Rosa Swann
What would you do when at your husband’s funeral you find out that he used to have another mate?
Ten years ago, Logan left me. He told me that two Alphas cannot be together, that our mating wasn’t real.
Yesterday, my sister called 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? Why am I the only one who will help them?
Logan and I had everything we ever wanted. Then he was ripped away from us in a car crash.
Logan’s family doesn’t care for me after the funeral, so one of Logan’s old friends steps in.
Only, in all the commotion, I didn’t keep an eye on my 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… What’s going on?
If you don’t want to buy through any of the international stores, this story is also available in the Netherlands and Belgium in two parts, Second Chance Mates Collection 1 and Second Chance Mates Collection 2. These feature (respectively) the first four and the second four novellas of the series and are available in ebook or paperback.
I hadn’t seen Logan in over a decade, not since he left me stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the dark of the night.
I can’t believe it’s been that long, that so much time has passed, but the aching in my chest never went away. And then, yesterday, a phone call from my sister —Did I know that Logan had passed away? That he left behind an Omega, and a child?— I didn’t, but I could have known. I should have known that he would move on.
But still, it hurts, knowing that your mate, the one person you love more than anyone in the world, is no longer here. It hit me right in the chest.
I haven’t slept since the phone call.
The pain is too raw, too much taking away each breath I try to take. To know that he moved on from me, from us, from our relationship, and then passed away…
A car crash, supposedly. I don’t know any details, but that is what my sister told me.
It all comes down to that one question.
How could he move on?
We were mated. I’m sure of it, even now, no matter what he told me.
The questions and doubts keep going through my mind. If we were mated, really mated, then he couldn’t have conceived a child with someone else, an Omega… But then why, why do I still carry his mark?
Stepping into a coffee shop, I try to pull myself together.
I can’t show up at the funeral like some distraught mate. He already has a mate attending the funeral, surrounded by family and friends, supported by those closest to them. And it’s not me.
Even for the few people who do still remember that Logan and I used to be in a relationship, it’s no use showing up looking like a mess. There’s no reason to pull all the attention from his family, his Omega, his kid. My chest tightens painfully at the thought.
“Coffee, please. Black. Med—” I stop. “Make that a large.” I don’t look up, not able to face anyone right now.
I quickly pay for the coffee and as soon as my hand curls around the hot carton outside of a cup, I’m back out the door.
The cemetery is only a few minutes down the road. I start walking, but as soon as I see the signs for the cemetery, I falter. I can’t do this.
I step away from the middle of the path, not wanting to be in the way of anyone. Then I lean against the wall, taking deep breaths.
My mind keeps going in circles. How does Logan’s Omega do this? How can they show up to the funeral and keep it all together? I can’t even do it, and I haven’t seen or heard from Logan in a long time.
They? The morning of the accident they woke up in bed with Logan and by the evening, they were alone, and, unlike me, they knew that he would never come back again. That he would never hold them in his arms again.
I push back the tears. Was this ever a good idea? Should I not have gone?
The bells of the church start ringing, jolting me back into action. I start moving towards the sound, following the cars, following the other people. Further up the road, I see a car. I stop, my heart racing, holding my breath, but it’s just a car that looks like the one Logan and I used to have. The model is just off, probably a couple of years newer than ours was. I let out my breath.
People start filing into a small church. I’m about to follow them as I see a glimpse of a tall man with jet black hair, now with streaks of silver. Logan’s father.
I stop too suddenly. The hot coffee spills over my fingers and I curse under my breath. I quickly make my way out of the stream of people, moving the cup from hand to hand as I try to find something to dry my hand with. I’m getting all worked up now.
Of course, this would happen.
“Here.” A woman’s voice catches my attention, and she holds out a tissue. I take it gratefully, drying off my hand.
As I look up to thank the woman, I recognise her.
“Sarah.” My voice is breathless. I’m too stunned. Logan’s sister.
I hadn’t recognised her voice, but her face is the same. Even after all these years, she still looks like the girl who always came around to our house to play with my sister. Back when Logan and I didn’t even realise what it meant that we were always close, or could foresee that the jokes about us being ‘joined at the hip’ would soon turn to sharp whispers and suspicious looks.
“Wilder.” She looks me over, but I can’t read the look in her eyes. “Did Lilly tell you?” Lilly, my older sister.
I nod, not able to say anything. We all used to be such good friends and then everything went wrong. But this time, the emotion passing over Sarah’s features is unmistakable, relief.
“Good.” Her voice is soft. “I didn’t feel like it would be fair to you to not know about this. You deserve to be here. You probably more than anyone else. You knew him best, the true him.”
She looks up, her eyes now guarded. “Don’t let my parents see you.” She steps away, glancing back at me one last time before she joins her family inside.
What? What was that about? It’s not like I was planning to talk to anyone anyway. I’m just here to say goodbye to Logan, that is all.
I wince at the coffee burning down my throat as I quickly finish the cup. Because I can’t take it inside with me, that wouldn’t be proper. I breathe deeply a few times before I make my way into the church.
I stay at the back of the church, as far away from Longan’s family as I can. But, even as I do that, I can’t get around Logan’s face staring straight at me. They’ve printed a professional looking picture of him on two huge banners that hang at the front of the church. Just of him, not his family, of him with his loved ones, just of Logan in an expensive looking suit.
The pictures carry his face, but they look nothing like the man I used to know. They look like the image that his parents always had of him, for him, not like the man he really was.
Carefully stepping past a couple of people, I keep my eyes on the first rows. Both trying to make out who is who and also to make sure nobody else from Logan’s family spots me. It’s too busy at the front to see much of anything, there are constantly people walking to and from the first couple of rows, obscuring anyone I may try to get a glimpse of. Which hopefully works to my advantage.
The church quiets down as someone walks to the front, a pastor or a priest or something, even though neither Logan nor his family is religious. But, as I look around and see the serious faces of the people nearby, I guess it makes an impression on the people that were invited.
I’m not sure what I expected, who I expected to show up. But even after all these years, I recognise some of the faces, business partners of Logan’s father, some people from either side of Logan’s parents’ family. I just hope they don’t recognise me.
What I’m missing though are friends. I guess I expected Logan to have at least made some friends in those ten years. But all I see here are people much older than us, showing a respectable amount of grief, not for a friend, but for a business associate.
The service is about to begin, but as the man at the front starts to speak, a young girl slips past me. She can’t be more than seven or eight years old, her face streaked with tears, her sobs getting louder and louder, even as she moves away.
I quickly go after her, on instinct. A little girl can get lost around here, and nobody needs the added problems of a lost kid at a funeral. I follow her, and a little away from the doors, not quite out of view of them, she stops and starts to sob uncontrollably.
Oh, poor girl.
I walk up to her, kneeling in front of her so I’m not towering over her and hopefully won’t scare her too much. “Hey.” I hold out the tissue with the coffee stains. It’s all I have right now, and I don’t want her to ruin her beautiful dress. “Here, dry your tears with this.”
She looks up and for a moment I’m captivated by her. She is beautiful, in a should-be-a-model-for-a-fashion-magazine kind of beautiful.
“Thank you, sir.” Her voice is quiet, and polite, but she seems genuine as she tries to dry her eyes.
“It’s bad, eh? All those crying old people.” I try to smile a little, give her some courage, even though it’s mostly me I’m talking about.
She nods solemnly, her face now twisted in pain. That was probably not the right thing to say.
“There you are.” A man’s voice reaches us, followed by quick footsteps. “You can’t just run off, Maddy.”
I look up, and the moment his eyes meet mine, a jolt goes through me. I don’t need to be introduced to this man, I already know who he is. Little Maddy is a perfect mix of Logan and this man in front of me. Logan’s Omega.
Somewhere, I’d hoped never to meet him, to not have reality clash with my imagination. Maybe even ignore the last ten years of my life, like it never happened.
But seeing him here, it feels like a knife is being jabbed into my chest, all the feelings of pain and loss intensify and at the same time make me feel numb.
The second thing I notice is how exhausted he looks, how broken, and that somehow hurts even more.
I turn around, about to walk away, as his hand falls on my arm. “Thank you for going after her. She’s taking it hard.” I can hear the restraint in his voice. It’s not just her who is taking it hard, but he’s the adult, the parent, so his first priority is taking care of Maddy, not himself.
“I can’t imagine what it must feel like for her to lose her father so suddenly.” What I can imagine is losing a mate, but I don’t say anything, not able to speak the words for fear of breaking down in front of Logan’s Omega. Instead, I put my hand over his, a reflex, but neither of us pulls away.
He nods, his eyes averted. “How did you know L—” He starts Logan’s name, but can’t seem to finish it. “Him?”
How did I know him? Who am I to Logan? In comparison to his Omega, his mate, the father of his child? I’m nobody. Just a person Logan used to know.
Logan’s Omega can never know who I really am. I can’t break these memories he has of his mate. He can never know that his mate used to date another Alpha, had been mated to another Alpha. “We used to be good friends when we were young. But I hadn’t seen him in ages.” I try to sound as calm as possible even as my heart races.
The man mulls this over for a moment. Then he looks at Maddy, who is quietly leaning against him, her eyes far away as she lets out a little sniffle. “How did you know who she was? Who I am?”
“She looks like him, or Sarah, when she was younger, and she also looks like you. I heard he—” My voice breaks, words no longer coming out of my mouth.
The man looks at me and I realise I’m a little taller than he is, so when he meets my eyes, he has to look up.
I clear my throat, swallowing down the heartache that is constricting my throat. “I heard he left behind an Omega and a kid. I just assumed. I guess.”
Tears well up in his eyes and I want to wrap my arms around him. Instead, I squeeze his hand a little, all the comfort I can give him right now.
“I’m sorry. That was stupid of me to say.” How did I manage to make both of them cry? I’m so not the right person for this.
“No.” He shakes his head. “You’re… You’re right. I just…” He takes a deep breath. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”
“Me neither.” The words slip from me, and Logan’s Omega looks up at me with a strange look in his eyes.
I have to remind myself that I’m not here to make trouble, I’m here to say goodbye to Logan. I’m here as ‘just a friend’, nothing more.
I let go of Logan’s mate’s hand, stepping away a little, putting distance between us before I do something else stupid. “I think it’s better if you go back inside. They’ll be wondering where you are.”
A look goes over his face, frustration, anger, dejection. His reluctance to go back inside, and the way that we’ve been out here for a while but nobody has come looking for them… It makes me suspect Logan’s family is still the same as ever, and I don’t expect his Omega has been treated the best.
He lets out a sigh. “I guess. It’s just so much. Too big.” He eyes the church.
“He would have wanted a small cremation, just a few people, no hassle.” As I say the words, I kick myself mentally. That was totally out of line for ‘just a friend’.
His eyes shoot to my face, surprised, then he nods. “Yeah.” He’s about to ask me something, but I’m saved by Maddy as she starts to pull on his arm, obviously starting to get bored now. “Again, thank you for going after her.”
“It was no problem. I’m sorry for your loss.” I step back, giving him more space to move away.
He steps past me, but then meets my eyes one last time. “You too.” He takes Maddy’s hand and walks back towards the church.
I gasp for breath, feelings overwhelming me and I’m sure I won’t be able to go back into the church in this state. I guess it’s time for me to go home, there’s no reason to stay around any longer. I won’t be able to see Logan one last time, and the one person I was dreading to see, the one person I actually had no interest in meeting, ever, I saw. I didn’t want to meet Logan’s Omega, but I guess I had to.
It’s over now.
Logan is gone.
And before he passed away, he’d stopped being mine a long time ago. I can see that now.
I guess I was so wrapped up in my own world, in my own past, that I never considered the possibility that there might be someone out there for me. Someone just for me, like Logan found in this man.
Then why am I not leaving?
Why am I staying here, waiting for everyone to come outside?
Why am I taking that chance?
Why am I taking the chance that his family will see me and make a fuss?