I hadn’t seen Logan in over a decade, not since he left me stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the dark of the night. I can’t believe it’s been that long, that so much time has passed, but the aching in my chest never went away. And then, yesterday, a phone call from my sister—did I know that Logan had passed away? That he left behind an Omega, and a child?—I didn’t, but I could have known. I should have known that he would move on. But still, it hurt, knowing that your mate, the one that you loved, is no longer there. It hit me right in the chest.
I haven’t slept since the phone call. The pain is too raw, too much taking away each breath that I take. To know that he moved on, and then passed away… A car crash, supposedly. I don’t know any details, but that is what she told me.
How? It all comes down to that one question. How could he move on? We were mated, I’m sure of it, even now, no matter what he told me. The questions and doubts keep going through my mind. If we were mated, really mated, then he couldn’t have conceived a child with someone else, an Omega… But then why, why do I still carry his mark?
Stepping into a coffee shop, I try to pull myself together. I can’t show up at the funeral like some distraught mate. He already has a mate, and it’s not me. Even for the few people who did know about him and me, it’s no use showing up looking like a mess, there is no reason to pull all the attention from his family, his Omega, his kid.
“Coffee, please. Black. Med—” I stop. “Make that a large.” I don’t look up, pay for the coffee and as soon as my hand curls around the hot carton outside of a cup, I’m back out the door. The cemetery is only a few minutes down the road. I start walking, but as soon as I see the signs for the cemetery, I stop. I can’t do this. I step away from the middle of the path, not wanting to be in the way for anyone, then I lean against the wall, taking deep breaths.
My mind keeps going in circles. How does Logan’s Omega do this? How can they show up to the funeral and keep it all together? I can’t even do it, and I haven’t seen or heard from Logan in a long time. They? The morning of the accident they woke up in a bed with Logan and by the evening, they were alone, and, unlike me, they knew that he would never come back again. That he would never hold them in his arms again.
Fuck. I push back the tears. Was this ever a good idea? Should I not have gone?
The bells of the church start ringing, jolting me back into action. I start moving towards the sound, following the cars, following the other people. Further up the road I see a car—I stop, holding my breath, but it’s just a car that looks like the one Logan and I used to have, the model is just off, probably a couple of years newer than ours was. I let out my breath.
People start filing into a small church, I’m about to follow them as I see a glimpse of a tall man with jet black hair, now with streaks of silver. Logan’s father.
I stop too suddenly, the coffee spilling over my fingers and I curse under my breath. I quickly make my way out of the stream of people, moving the cup from hand to hand as I try to find something to dry my hand with. I’m getting all worked up now, of course this would happen.
“Here.” A woman’s voice catches my attention and she holds out a tissue. I take it gratefully, drying off my hand.
As I look up to thank the woman, I recognise her. “Sarah,” my voice is breathless, I’m too stunned. Logan’s sister. I hadn’t recognised her voice, but her face, even after all those years, she still looks like the girl that always came around to our house to play with my sister. Back when Logan and I didn’t even realise what it meant that we were always so close, that the jokes about us being joined at the hip would soon turn to whispered words and suspicious looks.
“Wilder.” She looks me over, but I can’t read the look in her eyes. “Did Lilly tell you?” Lilly, my older sister.
I nod, not able to say anything. We all used to be such good friends and then everything went wrong. But this time, the emotion is unmistakable, relief.
“Good,” her voice is soft. “I didn’t feel like it would be fair to you not to know about this. You deserve to be here. You probably more than anyone else. You knew him best, the true him.” She looks up, her eyes now guarded. “Don’t let my parents see you.” She steps away, looking back at me one last time before she joins her family inside.
What? What was that about? It’s not like I was planning on talking to anyone anyway. I’m here just to say goodbye to Logan, that is all. I wince when the coffee burns down my throat as I quickly finish the cup, because I can’t take it inside with me, that wouldn’t be proper. I breathe deeply a few times before I make my way into the church. I stay at the back, as far away from his family as I can, but, even as I do that, I can’t get around Logan’s face. It’s printed on two huge banners that hang at the front of the church. I keep my eyes on the first couple of rows, both trying to make out who is who and also to make sure nobody sees me, at least, nobody but Sarah. It’s too busy at the front to see much of anything, there are constantly people walking to and from the first couple of rows, obscuring anyone I may try to get a glimpse of
The church quiets down as someone walks to the front, a pastor or something, even though neither Logan nor his family is religious. But, as I look around and see the serious faces, I guess it makes an impression on the people that were invited. I’m not sure what I expected, who I expected to show up. But even after all these years, I recognise some of the faces, business partners of Logan’s father, some people from either side of the family, I just hope they don’t recognise me. What I’m missing though is friends, I guess I expected Logan to have at least made some friends in those ten years.
The service is about to begin, but a young girl slips past me, she can’t be more than seven or eight years old, her face streaked with tears, her sobs getting louder and louder, even as she moves away. I quickly go after her, on instinct. A little girl can get lost around here, and nobody needs a lost kid at a funeral. I follow her, and a little away from the doors, not quite out of view of them, she stops and starts to sob uncontrollably. Oh, poor girl.
I walk up to her, kneeling in front of her so I’m not towering over her. “Hey.” I hold out the tissue with the coffee stains, but it’s all I have right now and I don’t want her to ruin her beautiful dress. “Here, dry your tears with this.”
She looks up and for a moment I’m captivated by her, she is beautiful, in a should-be-a-model-for-a-fashion-magazine kind of beautiful. “Thank you, sir.” Her voice is quiet, and polite, but she seems genuine.
“It’s bad, eh? All those crying old people.” I try to smile a little, give her some courage, even though it’s mostly me I’m talking about.
She nods solemnly, her face twisted in pain.
“There you are.” A man approaches us. “You can’t just run off, Maddy.”
I look up, and the moment our eyes meet, a jolt goes through me. I don’t need to be introduced. Little Maddy is a perfect mix of Logan and this man in front of me. He must be Logan’s Omega, right here. Somewhere, I’d hoped never to meet him, to not have reality clash with my imagination, maybe even ignoring the last ten years of my life even happened. But seeing him here, it feels like a knife is being jabbed into my chest, all the feelings intensifying and at the same time making me feel numb. The second thing I realise is how exhausted he looks, how broken, and that hurts even more.
I turn around, about to walk away as his hand falls on my arm. “Thank you for going after her. She’s taking it hard.” I can hear the restraint in his voice. It’s not just her, but he’s the adult, the parent, so his first priority is Maddy, not himself.
“I can’t imagine what it feels like to lose her father like that.” What I can imagine is losing a mate, but I don’t say anything, instead putting my hand over his, a reflex, but neither of us pulls away.
He nods, his eyes averted. “How did you know L—” he starts Logan’s name, but can’t seem to finish it, “him?”
Who am I to Logan? In comparison to his Omega, his mate? Nobody. He can never know, I can’t break these memories he has of his mate. He can never know that his mate used to date another Alpha. “We used to be good friends when we were young. But I hadn’t seen him in ages.”
The man mulls his over for a moment. Then he looks at Maddy, who is quietly leaning against him, her eyes far away as she sometimes lets out a little sniffle. “How did you know who she was? Who I am?”
“She looks like him and you together. I heard he—” My voice breaks, words no longer coming out of my mouth.
He looks at me and I realise I’m a little taller than he is, so when he meets my eyes, he has to look up.
I clear my throat, swallowing down the heartache that is constricting my throat. “I heard he left behind an Omega and a kid. I just assumed. I guess.”
Tears well up in his eyes and I want to wrap my arms around him. Instead I squeeze his hand a little.
“I’m sorry, that was stupid of me to say.” Why do I make him cry? I’m not the right person for this.
“No.” He shakes his head. “You’re… You’re right. I just…” He takes a deep breath. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”
“Me neither.” The words slip from me and Logan’s Omega looks up at me with a strange look in his eyes. I have to remind myself that I’m not here to make trouble, I’m here to say goodbye to Logan myself. I’m here as ‘just a friend’, nothing more. I let go of Logan’s mate’s hand, stepping away a little. “I think it’s better if you go back inside. They’ll be wondering where you are.”
A look goes over his face, frustration, that and the way that we’ve been out here for a while but nobody is looking for them… It makes me suspect Logan’s family is still the same as ever, and I don’t expect his Omega to be treated the best of ways. He lets out a sigh. “I guess. It’s just so much. Too big.” He eyes the church.
“He would have wanted a small cremation, just a few people, no hassle.” As I say the words, I kick myself mentally. That was totally out of line for ‘just a friend’.
His eyes shoot to my face, then he nods. “Yeah.” He’s about to ask me something, but I’m saved by the kid as Maddy starts to pull on his arm, obviously a little bored now. “Again, thank you for going after her.”
“It was no problem. I’m sorry for your loss.” I step back, giving him more space to move away.
He steps past me, before he meets my eyes one last time. “You too.” Then he takes Maddy’s hand and walks back towards the church.
I gasp for breath, feelings overwhelming me and I’m sure I won’t be able to go back into the church in this state. I guess it’s time for me to go, there is no reason to stay around any longer. I won’t be able to see Logan one last time, and the one person I was dreading to see, the one person I actually had no interest in meeting, ever, I saw. I didn’t want to meet Logan’s Omega, but I guess I had to.
It’s over now. Logan is gone. And before he passed away, he’d stopped being mine a long time ago. I can see that now. I guess I was so wrapped up in my own world, in my own past, that I never considered the possibility that there may be someone out there for me. Someone just for me, like Logan found in this man.
Then why am I not leaving? Why am I staying here, waiting for everyone to come outside? Why am I taking that chance? Why am I taking the chance that his family will see me and make a fuss?
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