I look out the window to the children playing outside at the playground. I smile at how happy they all look. I pack up my things and lock up the library I own. Layla's Library & Café has been open for about three years now.
Since it's May, the air is warm, but the Rockies are still covered in snow. I've always loved Colorado, but these past few years have changed. They've become somewhat lonely since my parents moved. I head towards my car across the street. Once I'm there, I hear a deep voice call my name. I turn and my blood runs cold.
What is he doing here?
I turn back towards my car and frantically search for my keys. I feel a hand on my shoulder before I'm turned around. Nash stares down at me in concern.
"Hey, are you okay?" He asks.
"No, I'm not okay. What are you doing here? Just leave me alone, please," I beg.
"I can't do that. You're my mate," Nash says in a duh tone.
"Really? I'm your mate? The last time I checked, you quit talking to me, because you thought I was a virgin," I retort sarcastically.
"I didn't want to hurt you, or for you to hate me. I did what I thought was best at the time."
"Well, you did hurt me. You made me hate the only place I've ever known. What more do you want from me?"
"I want to be apart of your life. I want you and only you," he says seriously.
"No, I can't do that," I say, shaking my head.
"You rejected me. What the hell did you expect?" I murmur before unlocking my car and driving away. On my way home, my mind keeps wandering to probably the worst day of my life. The day my mate rejected me.
When I first met Nash, I thought he would be a nice guy. Only to be a total prick who screwed girls and tossed them aside. Including me.
We had been flirting for about a month before he cut off contact with me. When I finally convinced him to talk, he said he didn't want me as his mate or Beta female and said he could never be with a virgin. I never got the chance to tell him I wasn't a virgin before he walked away. He had become my best friend and my partner in crime. I felt lost without him.
I had lost my virginity in high school to my boyfriend, Mark, at the time who I thought loved me. A few days later, my brother overheard him laughing with a bunch of his friends about me and talking about how much of a slut I was. My brother ended up with a black eye, but Mark ended up in the pack hospital.
A few months later, Nash stopped me in town to say he wanted me back and that he was wrong, but I never gave him the time of day. Afterwards, I opened my book store and focused most of my time on building my business into a success. Nash comes to the store every so often, but I usually ignore him.
He's not worth my time.
* * *
The following Monday, I unlock the shop and set coffee down on the check out counter. I start putting away a new shipment when I hear the bell on the door chime, signalling someone's entrance.
Instead of looking up, I say, "Just a minute and I'll be right with you."
"Take your time. I like the view from here," a familiar voice says with laughter. I tense up and stand up straight from the position I am in. Turning around, I meet eyes with the one individual whose presence I loathe being graced with.
"What the hell do you want?" I say, hatred lacing through my voice.
"Woah. Retract your claws, kitten. I just wanted to talk. Seeing as, you are my mate and all."
"I'm not your mate. That title of yours is an insult." He growls and comes closer, backing me up against a bookshelf. Nash puts his hands on each side of my body near my breasts. I shudder when his breath touches my cheek.
Stupid mate bond.
"Now are you ready to talk? 'Cause if not, I can sit you on the counter and do something you really won't like," he tells me, smirking.
"I have nothing to say to you and I want nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with you. Why can't you get that through your f*****g skull?"
The smirk fades and his face turns into a mask of pain. "I'm sorry. I wish I could take it back, but I can't. That alone kills me and the idea that I can't take away the pain I caused. Just tell me what you from me. I'll do it."
I can feel the tears clogging my throat. I shake my head, because I can't respond. The tears eventually overflow and run down cheeks and Nash wipes them away.
"Just please, leave. Go on with your life. Forget that you ever met me," I say quietly, not looking at him.
"I can't do that."
* * *
Beta Nash Hendrix-
I can see the hurt and betrayal in Layla's eyes and I know I'm the reason behind it. I know I don't deserve her forgiveness, but I have to at least attempt to get her attention. Her words from the other day still ring in my ears.
You rejected me. What the hell did you expect?
On Friday night, I couldn't sleep and decided to shift to clear my head. I ran to Layla's house and waited for her come home. I didn't expect to see a guy arrive about an hour after she did. He didn't stay long, but it was long enough to peak my interest.
"Who was the guy at your place last night?"
She gasps. "Were you spying on me? How do you know where I live?"
"Who was he?" I say angrily, my wolf taking over.
Layla flinches. Her voice is quiet when she speaks. "My brother, Rush."
"I'm not dating anyone, if that's what you mean. It didn't turn out so well last time," she says, referring to us.
"Yeah, I know and that's my fault. Which is why I am taking you out Friday night. I have things to take care of before then."
"No," she snaps, shaking her head.
"How am I supposed to fix things if you won't give me the chance?"
She's silent for a moment. "Fine, but if you screw up, I'm done. No more chances."
Over the past few months, I haven't been with girls or partying like I usually do. Nowadays, things like that seem dull and uninviting. I need my mate and to start a life that I can be happy about.