I felt like an idiot ringing Everly, but I couldn’t sit there and try to hold myself together in front of Zoe; she was too emotional, and seeing her cry would make me bloody cry. The woman was a damn onion. Zoe wore her emotions for the world to see. I loved that about her, but I just wanted silence right now.
Everly was the opposite. I swear she is made of steel. It took a lot to break the woman. Everly was our rock. She was the glue that held us all together; she never judged, questioned, and was just there when you needed her, no matter what.
So that is why I chose her. I would have gone home to mum, but even she wasn’t an option. She would blame me, and rightfully so. Mum loved Tatum, and so did Taylor. Now Tatum was just another person ripped away from her right as she got used to them, another way I had failed her.
Taylor was at Zoe’s, and I was going to go over and pick her up, but I decided against it as I climbed into my car. I felt terrible knowing I was ruining her night, yet I knew Tatum would come home eventually, and I couldn’t face him. I just hoped he only needed time to get himself together.
I should have known better. Werewolf men are all the same. They want heirs, something I couldn’t provide. Was it too much to ask for somebody to want me and not what I could give them?
My phone vibrates as I am about to pull out of the driveway. I stop, and my hands are racing to dig it out of my handbag shakily. Tatum’s name pops up. It is only a text message, and I open it.
Tatum: Can you leave the back door open? I have lost my keys.
Macey: I’m still home; I haven’t left.
Tatum: I will grab some clothes tomorrow while you’re at work.
Macey: Want me to drop some clothes over to you? Where are you?
Tatum: No, and I am at Creed’s place. I don’t want to see you right now. Just leave me be. You and Taylor can stay there until we figure something else out.
Macey: I’ll leave my keys in the mailbox for you. I am not staying in your house while you sleep on your friend’s couch. I replied before tossing my phone back into my bag.
It rings, I ignore it. I don’t want a handout, and I am not living in a house that belongs to someone who wants nothing to do with me.
Turning my car off, I twist the house key off before heading inside. I grab one of the moving boxes from the shed and load up some of Taylor’s toys that I know she won’t go without before grabbing her school clothes and my work uniforms, and our documentation. The rest I will organize to pick up later. If not, I’ll just dip into my savings to replace it.
I knew how this worked. It wasn’t the first time I let myself get my hopes up. Once I had my bag packed and a box under my arms full of Taylor’s stuff, I flicked off the lights and locked the door.
Dropping the key in the mailbox before popping the trunk. I drop everything in before climbing into my car. drove to Everly’s, angry with myself. If I had told him from the start, I could have avoided all this. We would still be perfect strangers that f*cked once on a desk. How it should have remained.
Yet as I pulled up at Valen’s and Everly’s place, I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car. My mind was plagued with what I would tell Taylor. She really likes Tatum, and he was good to her and the first real father figure she had. Her own father was a dropkick.
Taylor’s father, Preston, beat me when I told him I was pregnant. He hoped I would lose her. I was warned by my mother not to get involved with him. My mother was right. He was no good. Mum then patched me up, and we waited to see if I would miscarry. But my girl was a fighter.
My next encounter with Preston was at the shopping center when I was with Valarie. I lost sight of Valarie as I wandered down an aisle with Taylor. Yet the panic I felt when he walked into the same aisle with his pregnant sister nearly made my heart stop. Preston looked into the pram and snarled when he realized he didn’t successfully abort his own child.
I had left the aisle in search of Valarie when she couldn’t be found, so I went to the parking garage. I had just gotten Taylor into her car seat when he attacked me from behind. He slammed my head into the door trim, splitting my forehead open. Luckily, the keys were still clutched in my hand, and all I kept thinking was that I needed to lock the car. I needed to protect her from him, so I hit the key fob and got to my feet as he tried to rip the car door open.
Me or her. And I chose her. I would always choose her, even if it cost my life. That’s what being a parent is. You give your last breath so they can take another. I was a rogue, and Preston was Slasher Pack’s Gamma’s son. His reputation was on the line, and Taylor could destroy it.
So I did the only thing I could at the time. I hit the speed dial on my phone, which was Valarie’s number. I then dropped the phone while he smashed the windows, trying to get to her. Until Valarie could get to her, I needed to keep him distracted. And that’s what I did. Taylor was screaming her head off in the car, but I just kept thinking I couldn’t let him touch her, so I kept getting back up.
So, as he reached through the driver’s seat window to unlock her door, I picked up a broken piece of glass and plunged it into his neck. Valarie came out moments later, frantic with a bat she had stolen on her way out that she grabbed from one of the display stands. Yet it was too late, Preston was bleeding out at my feet, and I was looking at prison time. Or so I thought.
Valarie had grabbed my arms and shook me because all I could do was stare at his d**d body, choking and gasping for air as he stared at me helplessly.
“You didn’t kill him,” Valarie said to me. I remember staring at her when she raised the bat and hit him in the head. Once, twice, thrice. “I did! Now get in the car while I clean this up,” she said.
However, I couldn’t function, and she ended up putting me in the car, and she made a call. At the time, I was in too much shock for it to register who she called, yet he came.
“Get home. I will take care of it,” Kalen told her, and that was the end. Kalen took the wrap and said it was self-defense. The camera footage miraculously disappeared, and it was splashed over every newspaper about how Slasher packs Gamma’s son attacked the Blood Alpha’s father.
Only four people really knew what happened. Valarie, Kalen, and Everly, and myself because when Valarie brought me back to the hotel, she rang Everly to help clean me up. After that, we never spoke of it again. Yet today, I still have the bat, the bat Valerie gave me.
After that, she put me in self-defense classes and watched Taylor for me while I went to every class, determined not to feel helpless again.
Yet right now, as I sat in the car park of Valens hotel, one so similar to that place, I was reminded of that helplessness, only this time it was my fault. My phone rang in my bag, and Everlys ringtone played. Reaching over, I grabbed it out and answered it.
“Where are you? Did you pick up Taylor?”
“No, I didn’t want to wake her or Zoe,” I answered.
“Okay, where are you?” She asked.
“In the car park,” I admit. I just couldn’t be bothered moving and destroying their good night while mine fell apart. So stupid! So, so stupid! I thought when the phone hung up. I couldn’t remember if I said goodbye or not or if I hung up on her. I felt numb, stuck in memories of men’s worst and the one good one I drove away.
The driver’s side door opens.
“Move over,” she says, and I unplug my seatbelt and slide into the passenger seat. She climbs in, starting my car before leaving the underground car park and going to the rooftop car park. She parks up the top and swings her door open.
“Get out,” she says, walking to the front of the car. She then climbs on the hood and rests her head against the window.
“Everly, it’s freezing! And you’re pregnant,” I tell her, but she pats the hood, and I roll my eyes.
“Best warm me up then,” she says, and I laugh, climbing up beside her. She wiggles closer, the metal creaking under our weight. Everly rests her head on my shoulder, and I wrap my arms around her. And she asks what happened and I explain, then we watch the sunrise together.
“Dunno. Probably still inside,” she says.
“I’m sorry for ruining your night,”
“Na, you’re good. Valen knows us girls are a package deal,” I laugh because she was right, no one would ever come between us three, we had a sisterhood stronger than any bond.
“He’ll come around, Mace,” Everly says.
“And if he doesn’t?” I ask.
“Plan B! And Valen gets an extra wife,” she laughs. I sigh. Everly could always switch a situation.
“I am dreading telling Taylor,” I admit and she nods.
“It will be alright. She has you, Zoe, and me.” I nod, knowing she is right. We had each other. Always each other.
We lay there in silence, watching the colors of the sky change when someone clears their throat. I turn my head to find Valen holding a blanket and a tray of coffees.
“Room for one more? Or will we break this rice bubble car?” I laugh because we have definitely dented the hood, yet we shimmy over, and he climbs on next to Everly, passing us our coffees, and Everly raises an eyebrow at him.
“Don’t think I don’t know that it was Macey or Zoe swapping out the coffee in that jar,” he says, kissing her cheek.
“It was me,” I lied for Zoe, and Everly laughed. Valen clicks his tongue.
“You three are terrible, but I’ll let it slide,” he laughs while chucking the blanket over the three of us.
“Did Evie tell ya you may have an extra wife?” I chuckled, mucking around with him.
“Really? Sounds like a bad reality show,” he says, kissing her head and rubbing her arms to warm her freezing skin.
“I will have the hotel set up one of the apartments for you until you and Tatum sort everything out. If you don’t, you know you’re always welcome here. Until your hotel opens up, then I’m sure you’ll want to move back there,” Valens says.
“Yeah, true. I could stay with Zoe if it puts you out too much,” I tell them.
“Or you could stay at one of the apartments there since you own it,” Everly says when Valen moves, digging in his pocket. He hands me some rolled-up documents.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“We wanted to give it to you and Zoe when we opened back up,” Everly tells me.
I unrolled it and looked at it to find the title changed. Mine and Zoe’s names are now on it, as equal partners with Everly.
“I can’t accept this! Zoe won’t accept this!” I tell them, shaking my head.
“You can and will. Everly wanted to cut you, girls, in any way, but I don’t want her taking your money. Save it for the arcade. But you all built that place, made it what it was. And you looked after my mate and son when I didn’t, so I will foot the bill as my way of saying thank you. And you will accept and sign it,” Valen says.
“And you’re okay with this? It was your mother’s,” I asked him.
“Of course! Besides, you just said I had an extra wife, so I’m not losing anything,” he laughs.
“Guys, I can’t…”
“If not for you, accept it for Taylor,” Everly says, cutting me off. I nodded, and Zoe was going to lose her sh*t.
“Thank you,” I tell them, not knowing what else to say.
They both nod, and Everly lifts my arm and places her head back on my shoulder.