He pulled the handbrake and killed the engine. Cohen drove for twelve hours straight without the need of sleep. He zoned out in the truck for a moment as he was feeling nervous about coming back here after nine months. There were too many things ran through his mind at once, and he couldn’t get a good grip on any of them. Nine months weren’t a short amount of time. Anything could have happened during that nine months.
Many things happened to him. Not because of fate or anything, but because he wanted those things to happen. He involved in illegal fights as he thought it was the only way to quench his rage for losing Mira. Fight after fight, it didn’t exhaust him at all. But, Cohen was very careful not to take anyone’s life by accident. As much as he wanted to kill many bad people with his bare hands, he stopped himself. Killing those people weren’t the best way to quench his rage. It would just fuel him even more.
Mira was the only person in his mind. Whenever he slept, he saw her in his dreams. Whenever he was awake, he saw her around him as if she was really there physically. It hurt so much knowing that she was long gone. For the past nine months, Vincent found a way to find him. He came to visit occasionally. Cohen knew Vincent was looking out for him because the latter knew what it felt like to lose someone. Sometimes, they sat on the porch with beers in hands and talked about life. Other times they just sat there in silence. Even silence could speak a volume between two people who had lost their mate. Cohen had to make him promised not to tell anyone about his location. He wasn’t ready to come back to his pack yet.
That was until Amanda showed up and told him that somebody took Mira’s body from her grave. That angered Cohen to the maximum point. His blood boiled and the only thing in his mind was a lust to create havoc upon the person who took his mate’s body from her resting place. If the thoughts of retrieving her body didn’t come across his mind, he probably had lost his entire sanity. How could someone do that to his mate after all she went through? What kind of sick bastard would take a body from the resting place? The thought of not protecting Mira’s body made Cohen felt like an ultimate failure. He failed to protect her when she was alive. Now, he failed to do it again when she was dead. What kind of a mate had he become?
Taking a deep breath, he exited the vehicle and closed the door. Going back here again after nine months, it suddenly felt alien to him. Cohen felt he didn’t fit in anymore.
The front door swung opened, and his mother, Georgia, ran out after the news of his return spread like a wildfire. The moment her arms wrapped around his body, she cried as much as her eyes allowed her.
“Oh, my baby boy. Why didn’t you come home? This is your home. Your family.” She sobbed harder.
Cohen’s heart clenched. He didn’t mean to make her sad after what she had sacrificed to raise him to be the son and Alpha she wanted him to be. He wanted to make her proud—not sad and broken like this. Enough with him broken. He didn’t want anyone else to be broken because of him.“
I’m sorry, mama. You know I had to leave.” He kissed the top of her head.
He didn’t mean to leave everyone like that. It was his responsibility to stay strong despite everything. But, after what had happened, Cohen knew he had to leave in order to keep his sanity together. Losing a mate wasn’t the easiest thing that a werewolf could experience. In fact, it felt like half of him died at the moment he lost Mira.
Eric walked down the stairs slowly, looking unable to believe that his son was finally here again. Cohen let go of his mother and headed to his old man. This was the man who taught him everything. Eric taught Cohen to fight and defend himself since he could walk. He was always with his father during the training.
Cohen considered his father was the greatest challenge. He always felt very competitive because he knew how good his father was. Eric excelled in everything and Cohen would make sure he broke every accomplishment his father had achieved. That was how competitive Cohen was.
To be the best like his old man. To be better than him.
But his father never taught him one thing.
The lesson to survive and moving forward without a mate.
Cohen felt like he was an ultimate failure.
He had failed his mate.
He had failed his parents.
He had failed his entire pack.
“Dad,” Cohen called softly as he kept his gaze to the ground.
“You’re stupid, you know that,” Eric said sternly.
Once an Alpha would always be an Alpha. The authority in his voice could make any other Alpha bowed to his command.
Despite the sternness in his father’s voice, Cohen could hear the disappointment was evident.
He nodded. “Yes.”
“Leaving your pack just like that. How could you be so irresponsible? I did not teach you to be like that.” Eric wanted to be strict with Cohen at this moment but his voice was cracking. “I did not...” he paused, looking away briefly as tears pooled in his eyes, “I did not teach you to leave! We as Alpha, we stand strong no matter what we face. We don’t show any moment of weakness.”
The anger he had for his son for leaving was unquestionable. A pack without a real Alpha was like an open invitation for a challenge. Not to mention the Council was still on their tail. But, knowing what his son had to go through, Eric had to make an exception.
Cohen kept his head lowered, unable to meet the gaze of his own father. The only wrath he would accept was from his father.
Eric pulled him in his embrace, “You are my only son. How could you leave your mother and I just like that?”
“It doesn’t matter now.” He put his hands on Cohen’s shoulders. “You are home with us now. We would make this through together as a family.”
Could this place be his home once again? Cohen drew in a deep breath as he stared at the pack mansion that he grew up in. When he was a kid, he spent five days a week in here and during the weekend, he stayed his parents in their own home. Cohen was sixteen when he left his pack to go for training in the Council. Every future Alpha had to go training in the Council for four years before they could be appointed as Alpha. That four years living apart from this place never made him felt unwelcomed. Now, it felt different because a home was supposed to be where he was with his mate. Without Mira, there was no place felt like home anymore. He couldn’t stay here knowing this place was where he spent most of his time with her.
“I’m going to stay at the lake house,” He mumbled after a while.
Sadness was still evident in his tone. The lake house held a small memory of him and Mira. They only ever stayed there for one night and even just one night, it still had a very good memory of her.
“She would have wanted you to finish the house.” Eric patted his shoulder.
Maybe that house where Cohen would start anew.