Part 31

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The past week, Daemon has been distant. Now I know how agonizing it was for him when I ignored his texts the whole week after our first kiss. He hardly texts. We haven't seen each other for a few days. I can't help but worry that I've done something wrong or that he's tired of me.

I hadn't realized how dependent on him I've come to be. I can't sleep if he doesn't reply to my message. My nails are bitten down again, sore and they sting whenever I use my hands. I'm so attached to him that I've just been miserable not being able to see him. Something is definitely up with him, but Lylah advises me not to be clingy so I try not to bother him.

Anyway, I can't dwell on that right now. Because I find myself standing in front of the packhouse, doing the breathing exercises my psychiatrist recommended for me to do when I'm really anxious. The source of my anxiety? Wren. Today I'm going to talk to him. Lylah told me to take a hands-on approach because if I ask to talk over text he'll just ignore it.

I just really hope this can make our group be back together. Looking back, when we all first met and hung out are some of my best memories. I can't let all that go down the drain over Jay. So taking one last breath, I head in.

I get a little lost on the way, but this really nice alpha directs me to the location I tell him. I reach the staircase that leads to Wren's dwelling, knocking on his door. A woman with shiny dark hair just like his opens it. "Oh my!" she exclaims when she sees me.

"H-Hi?"

"Ash! You've finally come to visit!" she opens the door for me with a big smile. "Call me Gabriela. I'm Wren's mom. I know you from your hair! Wren was telling me about this boy with white hair from his school and oh I've been so excited to meet his new friend!"

I'm overwhelmed by her exuberant personality, but pleasantly so. I take it she doesn't know we've fought. "N-nice to meet you,"

"Don't be shy! Friends are like family in this house," she envelops me in a hug and it catches me off guard, but it's really nice. It makes me feel like I have a mother and I hug her back, probably a bit too enthusiastically but she doesn't seem to mind.

"Well, Wren is down talking to the neighbor about some leaking pipe problem we have but he'll be back soon,"

She immediately pours me a bowl of crackers and chops up some fruit for me. Wow. I know Wren's the one that supposedly wants to 'be me', but dang. I feel so envious of him right now. His mom is probably one of the loveliest, sweetest people I've ever met. She's so friendly and warm, dressed in a pink floral dress and her hair pinned high in a bun. She's put up dozens of pictures of Wren around the house at every stage of his life. In many of the pictures, he's accompanied by his mother and the man that I know is his stepfather. I've seen him pick Wren up a few times. There are also photos with his biological father, a tall man who's making silly faces as Wren laughs in almost every photo they have together.

All of their smiles are so bright it makes my heart ache. Of course, I'm happy for them but...could I have had that? Could I have had a happy family like that if my father hadn't left the pack? If no one had ever let my stepfather get his hands on me? A wave of grief hits me when I think about what could've been. What I would do for a family like Wren's...

"Honey? Why don't you bring these up to Wren's room?" Gabriela snaps me out of my sad daze, holding out a tray with the snacks on it.

"Oh!" I take the tray that she hands to me. "Thank you so much," I smile at her.

"It's my pleasure, honey," she tells me. I savor the warmth of her words. I miss my own mother so badly right now. I think she was kind of like Wren's mom. At least before my stepfather broke her.

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