The drive back was quiet however, not awkward, just a comfortable silence. I believe me marking him suddenly made everything more real. It was, in a sense, easy to play off that he is my mate, easier to deny our bond or our weak one anyway. Now though, people would find out, the entire City would realize Valen had been marked, the paparazzi would go berserk, and I now I worried what that meant for Valarian. I could handle the drama’s the media would portray.
Valarian was a child and I knew once it was out, a lot of people would have something to say about it.
Also, I could already imagine the rumors. People would believe. That he knocked up some rogue wh0*e and was forced to take me as his mate, the things I could see them saying about me in papers would sting me but could damage my son. I was used to negativity, yet no child should have to deal with that.
“I think we should move the Alpha meeting, ” I whispered. I hated the idea of confronting my father, yet I knew it would be worse if he found out via a news article. I knew I should care what he believed after everything. I was an adult now, and he no longer controlled my life, but for some reason, it nagged at me. Some part believing that he shouldn’t find out through a news outlet.
“You want to push it back? ” Valen asks. I shake my head.
“Move it forward. Once the media gets their hands on this story, it will blow up; it should be announced to stop it hurting Valarian.”
“Anyone says anything about our son Everly, and they won’t have a city to live in,”
“You can’t just kick people out of City; that is not the answer, Valen, and that is not what I am worried about,”
“Then what are you worried about?”
“Worried about what version of our strange… whatever.” I sigh, rubbing my temples before looking at him.
“They are going to say some horrible sh!t about you being with a rogue wh0*e, Valarian has only just found about you, well about who you are, and I worry that what they say about both of us will have an impact on him,”
“Then I tell them the truth, simple,”
“It’s not that simple. You have a reputation to uphold in this City Valen, one that holds power,”
“I don’t care about my reputation Everly, they can say what they want about me, they do anyway. But If you think I am going to let you take the fall for all it, you are mistaken,”
“They will say I am gold digger, someone who trapped you, probably even say Valarian isn’t yours,”
“That they can’t say, you can tell by his aura, plus DNA will shut them up,”
“My father is going to lose his mid,” I mutter, shaking my head.
“Surprisingly, my father took it pretty well, ” Valen adds, making me think of Kalen and my meeting with him earlier, “
“I saw your father earlier today, ” I admit looking back out the window.
“Did he threaten you if he did tell me? I will handle it,” Valen says.
“You would really go against your father for a rogue?
“For you and Valarian, I would go against the entire world if needed, ” Valen says, and I chew my lip. I could feel he meant what he said. Feeling him made his words hold more meaning and I didn’t know what to think about him. He could lie through words, but not through the bond, so to feel that he meant exactly what he said kind of threw me off.
“He didn’t threaten me. He told me to let you mark me,” He chuckles.
“Yeah, he is a good father, strict, but he means well, mostly, “
“Is that why he tried to get you to marry my sister, “
“No, idea what he meant by that. He has hated your father for decades. It makes no sense to me, ” Valen admits, and I could feel his worry through the bond, making me realize he too noticed his father’s change in attitude.
“Are you worried about your father finding out?” Valen asks as we pull into the hotel parking space. He stops the car.
“Yes, and no. I will be relieved I don’t have to keep it a secret, but also scared of everyone’s reaction, “
“Why didn’t you just tell him, ” I raise an eyebrow at him and he laughs.
“Yeah, that was a dumb question, ” he adds.
“Do you think he would have kicked you out if he knew?”
“I have thought of that actually, thought about telling him, especially once I found out you were in fact, my mate,”
“Then why didn’t you. Would have saved you being homeless, “
“Your father was not the only one that worries about his reputation, Valen. When he found out I was pregnant, he tried to get the doctor to abort him, sweep it under the rug so no one would know and I could still take my place as Alpha. Like Valarian was some dirty secret, ” Valen growls at my words and his knuckles turn white as he grips the steering wheel.
“I couldn’t do it, so he kicked me out. I believe the reaction would have been the same or worse if he knew you were his father, “
“You think he would have pinned you down and made you abort if he knew?”
“No, I believe he would have killed me or come after our son once he was born to use a tool against you. I couldn’t allow that,”
“And now, what’s changed, “
“He has you. I know you will keep him safe, ” I admit. I could tell just by his reaction to having a son. Zoe said it herself too. She knew Valen’s intentions were good, unlike some we had come across over the years.
“Can I ask how you came into the possession of a hotel, being rogue,” Valen asks, looking out at the place I called home, my village. I loved this place, not just because of what it had given us but because of where it came from and the history behind it.
“It was given to Valarian and me. We inherited it” “By your grandparents?”
“No, by the woman who owned it, when you kicked me out of the packhouse, I went home or tried to anyway. Dad was gracious enough to let Valarian in the house after my mother begged him because it was raining, the next morning, dad tossed some money at me, and he said he never wanted to see me again, that I was causing problems between him and mum, so I went back to my car. Grabbed a few things walked here and met a woman,” I told him. I looked over at the doors where the main front counter was. I could still picture her clearly like it were yesterday.
Valarie sitting out the front with a smoke between her lips, rough as guts but with a heart of gold, she was a tough woman, a remarkable woman.
“I thought she was someone staying at the Hotel, ” I chuckle.
“She was rogue also. She gave us a fresh start, offered me a job, paid for my schooling, she gave me
hope. Then when she died, she left it all to me,” “Is that how you met Zoe and Macey?”
“No, I met them at the maternity ward. When I was given the job we needed help to clean it up, the place was a dump, she gave them jobs too, said we would build our own village that family is what you make, so once it was running and I found out about it inheriting it, that’s what I did, I built our village, our village of rogues.”
“I guess I owe her one. She seemed like a good woman, “
“She was; I could only dream of being half the woman she was. No words could describe how great she was,”
“Have you got pictures of what it looked like before? I honestly never knew the place existed, ” Valen laughs.
“You want to see?” I laugh before opening the door.
“Come, I will show you,” I tell him. Valen hops out of the car before locking it and follows me toward the front entrance. Walking in, the bell sounds and the secretary looks up.
“No, we are fine, Jenny. Shouldn’t you be knocked off?” I ask her, knowing Emily should have been in for the afternoon shift.
“I knocked off an hour ago, Emily never showed, and I have been trying her cell but no answer,” That was very unlike Emily. She never missed a shift.
“She may have come down with that bug that’s going around, ” Jenny tells me. I nod.
“Knock off. I will handle the front desk until I can find someone to come in,”
” Actually, I don’t mind. I could use the overtime if that is alright?” I turn to face her, and she looks down, fiddling with her fingers.
“Your son?” She nods her head. Jenny was in her fifties and had a son, who was constantly in trouble, especially with the police, and she managed to get him into rehab a few weeks ago, making me wonder what was going on. With everything going on lately, I hadn’t had a chance to ask how he was doing. He sometimes helped the gardeners here and the handywoman.
“Everything alright?” I ask her.
“Yeah, it’s fine, ” she answered too quickly. “Jenny?”
“I didn’t want to ask because you bailed him out last month already, and I still owe you for that,”
“You don’t owe me anything, so what has he done now? You know we have emergency funds for staff, its there to be used, to help when someone gets stuck, “
Her eyes dart to Valen for a second, and I completely forgot he was still behind me. I glanced back at him, and he looked at me.
“Nothing, he is doing great actually, but the hospital is making him leave,”
“I thought it was a three-month program?”
“It was supposed to be, but he isn’t a priority on the waiting list,”
“But if he already got in, he should be fine to stay. I am assuming you are talking about some rehab facility or medical facility? ” Valen answers behind me.
She looks at him for a second before looking at me. She then does a double-take of Valen, her eyes zeroing in on the mark on his neck. It was no secret in the Hotel that Valen was my mate, yet we rogue stuck together, and I suddenly worried what the other woman would think. I knew they would be happy I had a mate but hoped they didn’t think they still couldn’t come to me. “You marked him?” she asks.