"We're taking it to court," Morgan huffed. Instead of going home right away, he insisted that we stop by the hospital so that my injuries could be documented. "Ashur's what? 21, nearly 22? He's not getting away with this. I don't care how much money his family donates to MU."
"You're right," I nodded. "If I don't press charges, he could do something similar or worse to someone else. Wait, how do you know his family donates to MU?"
"Am I the only one that reads the student handbook?" Morgan responded with a sigh. "All the top donating families are listed there. Lex's family's on the list and so is Derrick's family."
"Lex's family too?"
Filing a police report was much easier with Morgan helping me. He filled most of it out for me since I was still feeling a bit groggy. Though I knew that Morgan had always wanted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, I hadn't realized just how serious he was about his future career. I was seeing everything with new eyes. He reallydidwant to become a police officer. He wasn't just doing it to follow a kid's dream or to make his grandpa proud. Those were just bonuses.
"You're amazing, you know that?" I admitted.
Morgan seemed a bit startled, as if his entire focus had been on the report. When he sorted out what I said, he gave me a brilliant smile. "What are besties for?" He countered.
We took a taxi to get back to the apartment and, a few minutes later, Lexus arrived. After Morgan opened the door for him, the chocolate lab peered at me over his shoulder. "I'm going to walk over to Sabine's," he announced. "Unless you want me to stay?"
"I'll be fine," I affirmed. "And Morgan?" I called just as he was about to step out the door. "Thank you for everything."
He sent me an encouraging smile before closing the door behind him.
I took a deep breath as I tried to settle the nervous butterflies in my stomach. Was Lexus angry with me? Was he disappointed? Did he regret choosing me?
How could I possibly regret choosing you? Do you regret acceptingme?
I hadn't realized that he was able to read my sporadic thoughts.Of course not.I responded.I couldn't have asked for a better mate!
"I wouldn't go as far as that," he replied aloud with a rueful smile. "Ididkeep the fact that I knew that Ashur was following us around to myself, after all. And I apologize wholeheartedly for that."
"Whydidyou keep it from me?"
"After what happened in high school and how you reacted so strongly against anyone and anything that reminded you of them…" He explained. "I just didn't want him to cause you any more grief. I cornered him and told him to back off, but he kept on. I told the Dean about it, but he wouldn't take my word on it alone since Ashur's family was one of the bigger sponsors for MU." He frowned, clenching a fist. "And then something likethishappened."
I reached out to take his fist into both my hands. "You couldn't have known," I responded. "In the past, it was alwaysNestorthat was the physical attacker. Ashur had always been sadistic enough to enjoy seeing me hurt, but he had never physically attacked me before this. I had heard he was violent too, but I had never been the actual recipient."
"I'm glad Morgan helped you file out a report," He confessed with a sigh of relief. "He's a great friend. I'm sorry I took so long and couldn't meet up with you both at the hospital. I had to give a report myself to the Dean and to the police."
Lex lifted his hand and I let it go so that he could gently cup the side of my face. "How are you feeling? Where are you hurt?" He asked.
"He hit me pretty hard and I have a bit of a goose egg on the back of my head," I admitted with a shudder. I found it hard to turn or move my head too fast without it hurting. "And there's a bruise on my back from where he bit me…not to mention the cut along the emblem on my neck. But, thankfully it wasn't deep."
"Can I see it?"
I nodded and carefully tilted my head. I had changed into another shirt as soon as I got home. Morgan had quickly thrown the one that was torn in the trash for me. So, it would be trickier to show him the bruise on my back.
I felt Lex's warm fingers along my neck, but he didn't touch anywhere near the cut.He's alive. He's hurt, but alive. I need to calm down before I become more of a hindrance than help.
"I'm sorry," I found myself whispering.
"You have nothing to feel sorry for," Lexus insisted. "Why are you apologizing when it was all Ashur's doing?"
I bit my lower lip as I fought the tears once again. "No, about the mind-reading thing...I was going to tell you, but a part of me was scared and paranoid."Why couldn't I have just told you right away?
I knownow, Avi. That's all that matters.He lifted my hand to press the knuckles against his forehead.But, Avi, was the mind-reading as scary for you as it is for me right now?
"Only at first," I confessed aloud as I moved in to hug him. He hesitated for a moment, as if he didn't know where to place his arms where it wouldn't hurt me. Ultimately, he carefully wrapped them around my shoulders as he hugged me back.
Are you afraid of sharing your thoughts with me?I asked him.
I just don't want my silly thoughts to scare you.
I let out a soft snort.You mean like when you called me your 'little dragon?'When I looked up, I had the rare pleasure of seeing Lexus blushing.To be fair, I did call you 'My Faceless Bus Stalker Alpha' for a while.
What do you call me now?He mentally wondered.
"My Lexus," I confessed aloud.
I felt him press a kiss to the top of my head. "Come on, you should get some rest," he suggested. "I'll tuck you in."
"Lex...can you stay?" I asked. "I mean, at least until Morgan gets back?"
"I'll stay for as long as you want," he replied.All night long, even.
I gave him a smile.I'd like that.
In the weeks that followed, we were all busy. Lexus and Morgan were really serious about taking Ashur to court, and everything was handled surprisingly fast. Ashur had apparently not singled me out alone in his attacks. Three other Omegas also came forward after hearing about what happened to me. It was almost surreal to hear that Ashur would spend time in jail despite the influence of his family.
My mother, Jacqueline (Jackie) Arter, literally came to visit me once a week from the moment I told her about it. But, after the first initial couple of weeks, she mostly came to visit in order to get to know Lexus and to embarrass me by telling him tales of my youth. She was a yorkie too, and though she had some signs of Albinism, most of it was passed on to me. She was a pale blonde with hazel eyes. My grandfather apparently looked just like me at his age. She even brought the pictures to prove it.
The young man in the photo, however, had a more mature look in his eyes than I did. He passed away before I turned two years old. But, according to my mom, he was absolutely enamored with me.
"From the moment you opened your eyes and looked at him, he swore that you were looking right into his soul," she relayed. "Like a miniature clone."
"Jeez mom, a clone?" I whine. "Did he really say that?"
I heard Lexus chuckle beside me.
"Oh alright, so maybe it was justmethat thought it," she conceded as she pulled her long, blonde hair back into a ponytail. If it weren't for the small wrinkles around her hazel eyes, she could have passed for a college student herself.
My parents were generally opposites in personalities, though my dad, Dominic Arter, was also a blonde. He had golden yellow hair and hazel eyes. Despite being a Golden Retriever, who were usually known to be friendly and sociable, my father was a studious introvert. He was in the air force and we rarely saw him. Mom and I looked forward to the day he would retire. We missed him whenever he was away, but we knew that flying was his passion.
"Hey mom, when is dad coming back?" I asked. "I really want him to meet Lex."
"He should be back sometime next month, sweetie," mom replied. "Don't worry, he'll definitely approve of your Lex." She then reached over to pat the top of Lexus's head, which was easy to do since we were all sitting down looking at photo albums. "He's agoodAlpha."
"At least Itryto be," Lexus admitted. "We all make mistakes…"
"And the very fact that you even admit to that makes you A-O.K. in my book," she concluded.
I felt a sudden warmth inside. Though he still had to meet my dad, the fact that my mom already approved of him made me happy. Lexus had definitely been nervous at the beginning, but she quickly put him at ease in her usual charismatic manner.
Though I took after my dad in the love of history and books, I definitely got my "moxie" from mom. At times, I wanted so badly to be more like her...to be as strong and sociable as her. She was just like Morgan in that respect. She was able to befriend anyone regardless of age or status.
"And this one is when his cousins dressed him up like cupid for his birthday on Halloween when he was a darling 2-year-old cherub!" She cooed as she showed Lexus the embarrassing image.
Then again, I knew I would never embarrass my future kids by showing off their baby pictures to potential suitors. Granted, Lexus was no longer a suitor, he was mymate.How strange it was to accept that...
My mom's voice then fell to a sly whisper."At first, he fought them off when they were placing the costume on him and he went around streaking naked with only a pair of costume wings on his back and a heart arrow in his hand!"
Lexus let out a rich laugh. "How adorable!"
"Yep, I think that's enough pictures for one day," I declared as I reached over to put away the albums with a face that was surely flushed.
"Don't worry, Lexie, I'll send you copies," I heard my mom tell him.
I could only let out a groan of despair.
"He doesn't want copies!" I whined.
"Hey," Lexus rebutted. "Idefinitelywant copies!"
"He's just being shy. Did I ever tell you how shy Avion's dad was during college?" Jackie practically purred. "Let me tell you, for a Retriever, he was practically the Omega and I was practically his Alpha…"
As the gate automatically closed behind us on our way into Lex's family estate, I almost felt as if we were entering another country. I had never seen a private property with such an enormous expanse of land before. Why did I keep getting shivers? It's not like Lex's parents would murder me and hide my body somewhere in their own private woods, right?
No one's going to murder you and bury you in the woods,Lexus responded to me mentally.
I didn't realize my wary thoughts had been broadcasting.How would you know?I questioned back telepathically.If the bodies were buried down deep enough, you would have never come across their bones while playing in the woods.
"You sure have quite the imagination, love," Lex commented aloud. "Are you sure you don't want to be a Scholar of Literature instead?"
"Are you sureyoudon't want to be a Sports Coach instead?" I fired right back.
"My father was the one into sports. He signed me up for everything just because I had the talent that he lacked when he was my age," he explained with a shake of his head. "I've always enjoyed performing arts more than sports."
I stayed quiet after that. Who was I to judge? Having the talent for something didn't necessarily mean that a person enjoyed doing it. I didn't realize you were so passionate about drama.
To be fair, I didn't know you were so passionate about history.
I gave him a half-smile as he finally parked the car. I didn't remember ever being so nervous. I tried to push the feeling down as he opened the passenger door for me and took my hand in his. We could do this. It was just lunch.
After we walked inside and were greeted by a real butler, it felt like we had to walk half a mile to get to reach the patio. We had to walk down yet another path until we reached a large water fountain. From there we took a turn past what appeared to be a life-sized labyrinth until we reached a canopied area with tables, chairs, and umbrellas.
Lexus had explained to me that his dad was a silver sable-coated American Alsatian and his mother, Brittney Streicher, was a black-coated Poodle. But, he hadn't told me that his father, Giles Streicher, had such intimidating-looking yellow eyes. The man was wider and taller than Lex with gray hair and a grey beard that was shaved with such sharp edges and angles that it looked downright villainous.
Lex's mother had gorgeous curly black hair that fell down her back in cascades. She also had similar blue eyes to Lex's, though hers were rounder and larger. She looked like a delicate, porcelain doll.
Lex's father's glared at me for such a long time that I began to feel cold on such a sunny day.
"So,youare the reason that the Streicher bloodline ends with my son."
"Giles!" Mrs. Streicher gasped.
However, the massive man didn't appear to be chagrined whatsoever. He glanced at Lexus and then back to me as he approached us both. "Or would you not impede my son from taking on a second, female, mate?" He questioned.
I was taken aback for a moment, but then I clenched my fists and looked him right in his yellow eyes. "No, I wouldn't...IF it's something that HE wants."
"Which I don't," Lexus insisted. "I don't need bloodline heirs, we can adopt."
"That's absurd!" Giles Streicher scoffed. "You heard him yourself, you can take on another mate that can bear a child-"
"I don'twantanother mate," Lex argued. "And I'll only have a child if Avion's willing to adopt onewithme."
I couldn't deny that my heart skipped just a bit. I hadn't been joking about allowing Lexus to take on another mate if he really wanted to have a kid of his own. But, the fact that he left the decision of adopting open for me made me feel like he really did value my opinion...that he wanted us to make important decisions together.
Lex's words definitely didn't seem to sit right with his dad, however.
"So, you'll kill off our blood? Our ancestry?" Giles growled as he motioned towards me. "Forhim?"
"Honey, calm down," Mrs. Streicher pleaded in a weak tone of voice. She then turns towards us. "Please, don't take what he said to heart, he's just being his stubborn and unreasonable self."
"Go back into the house right now!"Giles commanded her.
Mrs. Streicher frowned and reached out to press a hand to her son's face before kissing him goodbye on the cheek. She sent me an apologetic glance before walking back towards the house. She didn't say a single word, but the sadness in her blue eyes was easy to see.
"And you!"Giles continued as he pointed a finger at me."If you don't get my son to change his mind, I'll-"
Lexus immediately stood before me, back straight and chest out, in a protective stance. "Howdareyou try to command my mate?" He hissed. I had never heard him sound so angry. "Don't you see how much youhurtmom when you're like this? Ordering her inside like some child when she's done nothing wrong!"
"You are my son and you will do as I say!"
"I am a mated Alpha now," Lexus growled back. "I don't have to doanythingyou say, especially not when you're like this." His voice became softer when he regarded me. "I apologize in his stead for everything. Do you want to head back?"
I shot a final glance at the aged Alsatian. He didn't look like he was going to listen to anyone any time soon. "Yeah, let's head back," I agreed.
We had to go back towards the house so that we could leave the same way that we entered. Lex's mother stopped us before we headed out the door. The next thing I knew, I was nearly crushed in a tight hug by the ravenette.
"Oh, honey," she whimpered. "Don't you listen to that stubborn old goat!"
"It's ok mom, I should have known better," Lexus responded a bit dejectedly.
His mother then pulled him into a hug, as well. "I'm sorry I can't do much when he gets like this...but, know that I really am glad you found your mate. Grandkids or not, I would still like to see you both every once in a while."
"Next time, I'll pick you up and leave dad behind," Lexus replied. "You'd really get along great with Avi's mom. She's really cool and funny...and you could exchange baby pictures of us."
"I'd really like that," Mrs. Streicher whispered in response.
As we drove back out the ridiculously long driveway I couldn't help but feel that, though Lexus had grown up with wealth, I had really been the more privileged one.
a/n: Apologies for the delay. My sister underwent an operation and it's been a chaotic week.