By: Rosa Swann
Three mates. One set of parents set on breaking them apart. And one interview nobody is going to forget any time soon.
The day started off so well, I went to see a house I was interested in and even put an offer on it. I just want a place where we can be together as a family, somewhere we can be safe.
So I didn’t expect it to end sitting in a chair, on a stage, about to be interviewed on live TV…
After a couple of days of quiet, my mom reached out to me again, demanding I go with them or they’ll ruin my friends and family.
I can’t let that happen. I really can’t. But, sitting in these bright lights, I’m not so sure this is the right way to go about that…
There is no way I’m going to let anyone hurt my family, no way. But I’m also not going to allow anyone use my crappy past to vindicate their actions.
The best defence is an offence, right?
If you don’t want to buy through any of the international stores, this story is also available in the Netherlands and Belgium as part of Omegas’ Destined Alpha Collection 2. This features the second four novellas of the series and is available in ebook or paperback.
Five days of being locked up inside the house and no way to really know what’s going on or what to do was too much for me.
So, instead of letting me go back to the normal cafe that I work at, Clay has allowed me to work at one of the cafes that I haven’t worked at before. At least that’s some measure of safety… I guess.
It doesn’t help that Clay will be babysitting me all day while I work here… But again, that’s the price of being protected. That’s the price I’m going to have to pay for wanting to get out of the house and not being locked inside.
Nathan pushes open the door of the cafe and looks up, smiling at me.
My heart flutters and I quickly go over to him. “You’re not supposed to come here.”
“I’m just here for a moment. Don’t worry, I’ll leave soon.” He steps close, running his fingers over my hand. “I had to show you something before I went to work.”
“What is it?” He looks a little more serious now, though he’s still smiling.
“I put an offer on a house.”
“You did, what?” I stare at Nathan, not sure I heard him right.
“I put an offer on a house.” He keeps my gaze, no doubt in his eyes.
“Why?” I shake my head. This is so not a conversation to have in the middle of the cafe, definitely not.
“I’m not leaving this city any time soon. Seemed like a sensible next step.” He shrugs.
I sigh, closing my eyes. “Come with me.” I grab his arm and he takes his bag with him as he lets me drag him off to the back of the cafe and into one of the empty workshop rooms.
I close the door, turning to him. “Why?”
“Eh. Many reasons.” I lean against the door. “For one, why would you? Why here? Why now…?”
Why would he do this when we don’t even know what’s going to happen with me?
He doesn’t seem impressed. “Any other reasons why I can’t?” He sits down on one of the chairs, his bag in front of him, his hand on the bag.
“Why would you buy a house? You’ve got your apartment. Isn’t that enough?” I cross my arms in front of my chest, trying to keep the feelings inside. This is too much, too big.
“Not if I want to live together with my family.” He’s so calm. How can he be so calm? It’s getting annoying, really annoying.
“I don’t get it.” I sit down on the opposite side of the table. “With everything… You just…” I shake my head.
Nathan opens his bag and pulls out a folder. It’s a realtor’s folder. He puts it in front of me, closed, as he slides his bag onto the floor. Then he simply looks at me, his eyes steady.
“You want me to look at it?”
He nods. “Take a look.”
My heart beats loudly as I carefully open the folder.
The first page is a page with all sorts of text and details about whatever stuff, but in the middle is a picture looking out over the water and a row of houses on the other side. They’re really colourful and it looks so cheerful.
“Which one is it?”
“The grey one with the glass room on top, like a lighthouse.” He points it out in the picture.
“It looks nice.”
I’m impressed. I’ve seen the neighbourhood a couple of times, it’s on the edge of the city. But I never really considered that I’d ever see one of the houses up close. I swallow hard.
“I thought so too. I took a look around inside this morning and made an offer.”
“Why?” I just can’t understand why he’d make such a big step out of nowhere.
Nathan leans over the table, his hands outstretched. “Because I want us to become a family. All of us.”
When I look at him this time, his eyes aren’t so sure, they’re filled with fear and anxiety. “I don’t want to lose you, or Wes. I don’t want anyone else but you two in my life.”
Fuck. Tears spring to my eyes. I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t do this, wouldn’t let this happen.
But I reach up and slide my hands into his, squeezing a little. I don’t have any words to answer him.
I can’t promise him anything, he knows that, not now. Definitely not now.
“Are you trying to make me feel bad for not even being able to tell you that I’ll stay with you there?” I want to be angry, upset, but I’m just filled with love and a sense of security.
Nathan shakes his head, his eyes downcast. “No. I want you to have something to call home. I want you to have a place that’s home, your home. A place where we can all live together.”
“No.” Nathan shakes his head. “No, you don’t get to… You don’t get to do that. This is about all of us. This is so we can all live together in one place.”
I just can’t believe it, why would he do something like this. Why would he… Why? “I can’t promise anything.”
“I don’t want you to. There are many things that I could do, many more things that I wish that I could do to help you, but… Right now… This is the best I have. This is the only thing I can provide for you.”
There is a pain in his eyes, a pain that I can’t ignore. “Why do you… Why do you keep doing that?”
“You… You keep doing these things that…” I shake my head.
How do I explain it to him? How do I explain that… How do I explain that wanting to be with him hurts even more? That him doing these things makes knowing that it could all be taken away from me in a moment so much more painful?
“Zeke… Zeke, look at me.”
I look his way and Nathan’s eyes are… They’re filled with pain too.
“I don’t want to hurt you more than you already are. All I want is that, no matter what happens, I want there to be a place that’s yours, that’s ours. A place where you can come back to us. A place where you belong. No matter what. I’ll always be there for you.” He reaches out and I grab his hand tightly.
I can’t stop the tears anymore, they keep coming, my heart is so filled with emotions it’s almost bursting.
How… How can they both be like this? Both Nathan and Wes, how can they be so sure that… That I’ll return, even if I’m taken away? That I’ll be able to return to them.
“We’d fall apart if we didn’t do this.” Nathan’s words are only soft but the way he looks at me… “That hope is the only thing keeping us going.”
My breath gets caught in my chest. How did I deserve mates like this?
My shift at work went pretty well, nothing bad happened and I was able to just work like I normally do, mostly…
But as I’m getting back into the apartment and find Wes staring at me as I step inside, my heart hurts again. They’re both so good, so honest, and now that I’m here, I’m putting them in danger. I really have to do better. A lot better.
My phone starts ringing and Mum’s name pops up on the screen. I frown, what now? I look around, and step back into the hallway as I accept the call, closing the door behind me. “Yes?”
“Is that any way to greet your mother?”
“It is when I’m really not interested in taking your call, but I have to anyway.”
She makes a dismissive sound. “Jonah called, he said that you refused to come with him. And he told me that you actually got yourself mated by someone else. I even heard that you were marked.”
Oh, great, they now know… “Hmmm, hmm.” I’m not going to confirm or deny anything right now.
“I thought that you were smarter than that. I thought you knew better than that?”
I don’t give her an answer this time.
“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. We’ll come with him next time. You can’t break your promise. You can’t just push Jonah away because you think that you have any control over your life.”
Fucking hell… How does she always know what to say to make me feel the worst?
“I’d advise you to pack your bags and get ready to leave. Or, better, don’t pack anything, it’s not like you’d have anything suitable to take with you anyway.” Her voice… It’s cold like ice, making me shiver.
I lean against the wall, trying really hard not to let her know how close to crying I am.
“Oh, and if you don’t come with us. We’ll see how well ‘Away from Home’ deals with allegations of mistreatment of Omegas and kidnapping. Don’t even try to call our bluff on that, you know that it’s no use.”
“Mum, please…” They can’t hurt Clay. They can’t hurt him. If they do that, it would ruin not just Clay but also Wes, Aiden, everyone. “Please, don’t. Don’t hurt them.” I can’t hide the gasp, the cry I let out, this time.
“Like I said, if you come with us without a struggle, nothing bad will happen to them. It’s up to you. See you tomorrow. I expect you to be waiting downstairs at your apartment complex at seven in the morning.” She disconnects the line and I slide down the wall, my legs giving out.
This can’t be happening… This can’t be true… I let out another gasp, wrapping my arms around myself.
No. This is… No.
With shaking fingers I search for Nathan’s number, hitting the call button.
“Hi, missing me already?” His voice is light, happy, and I let out a sob.
“They… Help.” I don’t even know what I should tell him, what I should ask him.
“Where are you?” He’s serious immediately, I can hear him starting to move.
“Home.” For now.
“Clay’s?” I hear a door slam on his side of the call.
“I’ll be right there. Don’t move.” And he disconnects the line.
The next moment the door to the apartment opens and Wes and Felix come out, Wes still has his phone in his hand. “Yes, he’s here. See you soon.”
Felix kneels next to me, his hands touching my arms, trying to soothe me.
Then Wes is on my other side. “What happened?” I can hear the upset in his voice.
I shake my head. I can’t do it. I can’t tell them right now. I can’t… This isn’t happening. This isn’t… No.
“Shh. Shh.” Felix pulls me closer, holding me tightly, and I realise that Wes is stepping a couple of steps away, and my phone isn’t in my hand anymore.
“Hey. Yeah. Bad news.” How can Wes sound so strong right now? “His Mum just called him. I don’t think it was good news. Yeah.” Wes walks off a little. “I don’t know the details yet. He’s… He’s not in a state to talk right now. Yeah. Yeah. See you soon.”
Then he’s back at my side. “Zeke?”
I open my mouth, but all that comes out is a squeaky sound. I’m shaking all over. My brain all over the place.
My parents know where I live. Of course, they do. They knew where I worked, so of course they’d know where I live too. And they also knew that hurting Clay’s company would hurt all of us.
They can’t hurt them. I can’t let that happen.
Felix and Wes help me back to my feet, taking me inside the apartment, and putting me on the couch. Evan comes over immediately, patting my leg, his eyes filled with worry.
“Ow?” He asks, looking me over.
“Just on the inside,” I whisper, not able to talk louder.
Evan nods, climbing on the couch with me, and gives me a kiss on my cheek as he wraps his arms around my neck. “Pain away.”
I wish it what that easy, though, having Evan in my arms does make me feel good, even just a little. I wish it was as easy as a kiss on a cheek to make everything go away, to make everything go back to the way it used to be.
Wes and Felix don’t ask me anything, instead, they’re doing things around the apartment. Probably getting papers and stuff together to help me. Whatever they think will help me anyway…
But how can they help when I know the only way to solve all of this? How can I help when I know exactly how to make my parents stop?
The only way to make them stop is if I go to Jonah, if I go with him and do what I’ve been expected to do all my life. That’s the solution.
No matter how much it would hurt everyone. If I stay here, they’re only getting hurt even more and I can’t let that happen. I really can’t let that happen. Not now, not ever again. I can’t.
I can’t let my parents hurt my family, no matter what I need to do for that.