“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”— Niccolo Machiavelli
Outside of Esmée, Michael and Nathan's home
Returning from a run together, chatting and laughing about something funny that happened, Michael and Esmée turned towards the front door of their home when both realized there was someone waiting for them.
Ezzy didn’t know the guy, but Michael evidently did, he stopped short, stiffened and pulled Ezzy behind him in one swift move while assuming a defensive stance.
“Don’t argue!” he growled in a no-nonsense tone that made Ezzy oblige.
“Relax Michael, I come in peace.” the man said.
“And you’ll be leaving in pieces!” Michael’s voice and tone were foreign to Ezzy, dark, deep and frightening, she could feel the vibrations from the growling sound his warning made. For the first time she realized what he must have been like when transformed.
“I just want to talk to you. Five minutes of your time. Please, hear me out.” the man pleaded. As polite as he was, there was something threatening about his presence.
“Fuck off!” Michael sounded dangerous.
Ezzy had enough and walked out from behind him to next to him.
“Michael, who is that?”
“Ezzy stay back.”
“NO! Who are you? You’re trespassing!” Ezzy now asked, while Michael tried to pull her back, and she fought him.
“Ha – I can see why you like her so much. Makes a lot of sense now. Definitely your type. Feisty – and sexy in those tight pants, they make her little ass look like a delicious little apple. Doesn’t leave much to the imagination, congrats Mike. Bet she can go all night and not get boring.” the man said, stroking every single pet peeve Ezzy had, and she now unleashed on him.
“Well, you sexist motherfucker misogynistic waste of human skin, I don’t like YOU much. Not at all! I do wanna know WHO you are and WHY you are TRESPASSING on MY property yet dare to flap your nasty gums you failed erectile dysfunction commercial tryout!!?!” Ezzy yelled at him.
“Right – yeah … Ezzy, meet Luke Connery, also known as the man who tried to kill me. Almost succeeded, too. So-called best friend, well former. What do you want you fake ass motherfucker?” Michael said.
Before Luke got a chance, Ezzy was up in his business again.
“YOU?! It’s YOU? And you DARE show up here?” now Ezzy seemed uber-angry, proverbially foaming at the mouth, Michael was a very strong man, but had his hands full trying to keep Ezzy from probably punching out the other guy.
“Ezzy! He still is a Werewolf. You and I are NOT. Let me do the talking!” he said near her ear, which calmed her down some.
“Why? If he wanted to kill us, we’d be dead. He doesn’t look like much of a talker.”
“Listen to your girlfriend, Michael. Smart girl. Not bad. And she’s right. I am not looking for trouble, or this would already be over.”
“Oh, I usually am right! And we don’t want to talk to a traitor, someone who would betray and try to kill his best friend to steal his girl and son – and his house! And then you even went after Nathan! You are a monster! Evil! Despicable! DISGUSTING! You didn’t see Michael after he escaped you, but I did! You are a beast! A thing, not a human being.” Ezzy spat out at Luke’s feet.
“EZZY!” Michael tried to reel her back in.
“No, let her. I get it. And now please let me. Yes, I did bad things, but you are not one of us. You wouldn’t understand pack dynamics. I HAD to do that, the only way to protect Michael, to protect his son and to protect the woman I love. I didn’t take Nicolette from Michael. She wasn’t his, she was always mine. They were always only friends, except that one night when they screwed drunk and made Nathan. Nico always loved me, and Michael loved his freedom, until he became so wrapped up in a normie from Windenburg, you, and now I can see why. As you already said, had I wanted Mike dead, he would not be here. The pack dynamics had taken over, I had to play along, two of us could never fight all of them. I took over in a challenge and when he was down, I called the win. That saved his life. He was banged up, but evidently, he is fine. I saved his life best I could. And I did take over the leadership as I couldn’t trust any of the others not to start wars with the normies, the Fangs, the … others.”
Ezzy noticed a change in Michael. Something seemed to check out with him, and his fuming anger changed to deep sadness.
“You were my best friend. You took everything from me. And you wanted to kill my son. Explain that.” he demanded.
“Easy. Who told you I wanted to kill Nathan? The Fangs you like to fraternize with nowadays? Since when do they ever tell the truth? I didn’t want to kill Nathan. I wanted to ADOPT him. The mob kept showing up at our house demanding I execute him, as the boy had the blood of a traitor Alpha in him. Does your little lady there know how all that works?”
“She doesn’t need to. It is no longer relevant to our lives.” Michael said.
“Hmm … the adorable tattoo on your arm tells me otherwise, you didn’t have that last time I saw you, but fine. Know this – umm, Ezzy was it?”
“Ezzy to my friends, ESMÈE to YOU! And I have the same tattoo. Doesn’t mean anything other than it’s his past and we both embrace it as such! Past. As in history. Over. Gone. Done.” Ezzy corrected firmly.
“Okay, Esmée then. I had to hurt my best friend and run him out of town. I was the new leader and didn’t know who my allies were, with Michael gone, the only one I knew for sure I could trust was Nicolette. She is a good fighter, very strong, and also the love of my life, but she was pregnant with our son. I couldn’t risk it. So, I once more did what Michael used to do, chose diplomacy, and acted as if I didn’t like Nathan. I sold them a cockamamie story about wanting to kill him myself under a full moon, instead the night before the full moon I purposely dropped hints I knew Nathan would pick up on, basically telling him how to escape, wrapped up in angry yelling at him and threats. I meant to scare the living daylights out of him, make him fear me, so the boy would really leave and not choke halfway through, cos Michael and I know what that would mean. Werewolves are just humans by day, but once transformed, you cannot reason with most of us. Nothing we can do about it, it is part of the virus that made us this way, some things we can control, others are overridden by a feral instinct. My plan worked. I saved my best friend, his son and my wife. And our children.”
“Aww, what a sweet sob story, love the bullshit peppered throughout. Let me go inside and get a few big knives to show my appreciation, cos, that’s how I show that I am so happy to meet you. Let’s have the woman who loves you patch you up like I had to patch up Michael and see how SHE feels about all this then! I am sure she will then happily explain to you why I will NEVER like you!”
That man looked surprised, then burst into laughter.
“Man, Mike, you really got yourself a good one here. I can see why you risked everything for that one. You two are perfect for each other. You two would make perfect wolves. Apex couple from the get-go.”
“Warms the heart. But let’s just not, shall we.” another voice sounded, startling everyone while a black cloud dissipated.
Michael’s former friend suddenly looked very uncomfortable and even afraid, when Connell appeared.
“Fuck. So it’s true. You really did sell out to the Fangs. What the hell man!? I thought it was just a vicious rumor!” he muttered, glaring at Connell, who seemed easy as Sunday morning.
“Funny, YOU of all people calling ME a Fang, Wolf. Ever looked in the mirror once transformed? There is a lot more fang-action going on in your mouth than in any Vampire’s.”
“I am not vain like a Vamp, I don’t spend all day worrying about looking pretty, but at least I CAN look in a mirror and see more than just what’s behind me.” Luke shot back.
“Too bad your little infected wolf brain is too feral then to see anything but food everywhere. Sounds like rabies, doesn’t it? And you are surprised my kind chooses to rid the world of your kind? Isn’t that what you do with rabid animals?”
“At least we don’t suck on humans like a damn mosquito! For as much as you Vamps like to act oh so fancy and dignified, that sounds pretty low on the totempole to me.”
“Your kind just kills every living being they come across, including humans, then tears the flesh off their bones to devour them. Not exactly classy. My kind at least found alternative food sources, and even if we feed on mortals we let them live, mostly unharmed, with just a light stinging sensation and a little temporary weakness. Can you say the same?” Connell argued back.
“Don’t act so high and mighty! I have seen what your kind is capable of! Vampires are every bit the monsters we are, just hide it better. The butchery is only done by young wolves left unattended, who haven’t learned to control it yet. Most of us are very much in control! I have seen corpses that looked like jigsaw puzzles, courtesy of YOUR kind, Vampire! You’re as much a saint as I am.”
“OH MY GOD! EEW! Stop! Both of you! We haven’t even had dinner yet and now I wanna puke!” Ezzy looked disgusted.
“Pardon me, Ezzy. He won’t bother you any longer. He was just leaving. While he can. Which won’t be for much longer. You best take the hint, Wolf.” Connell spoke in his always soft voice, a little nuance too deep to truly match his almost ethereal appearance, until you realized as nearly angelic as he seemed, he was very dangerous. Then it all matched perfectly and felt even more frightening, almost sinister. Just as you would expect of a Vampire.
“Connell, it’s okay, I am handling it.” Michael tried to defuse the situation.
“Are you? The stench of wolf is so strong, I could pick it up all the way over on the mainland. He’s been here too long to just be passing through. I told you; I will tolerate you. YOU. And the boy. But any other wolf I ever spot around here will not live to tell the tale. So, I am being polite by giving him a window of opportunity to get out alive. My politeness is starting to wear thinner by the minute.” Connell’s tone carried a strong undertone of urgency.
Michael now walked up to the other man, both of them hulking, the other man flexed slightly as if unsure if he was going to have to fight but remained eerily calm.
The air was laden with electricity, so tense, and Ezzy was now glad Connell was there. If anyone could stop it, it was him, even though she knew Werewolf bites caused severe reactions in Vampires, similar to infections, and usually ended deadly, which was why he still kept his distance.
The two former friends now stood face to face to each other, silently, until Michael broke the silence.
“Look me in the eye and tell me again that you told me the truth.” Michael’s voice was so low, it was almost a growl.
“Everything I told you was nothing but the truth. Trust me, if I were to lie about it, I’d make myself look a helluva lot better. I feel bad about how it all ended, but I don’t feel bad for what I have done. Not a single regret. You know, brother, as I do, it was the only way. The ONLY way.” Luke responded, holding Michael’s intense stare.
Michael and the Werewolf Alpha in his human form kept staring at each other, then Michael nodded – before landing a very hard punch sending the other man to the ground. A small shriek escaped Ezzy.
Connell tensed up and quickly pulled Ezzy behind him, shielding her, but the other man did nothing, just sat up, looking discombobulated and slightly confused, until he shook his upper body, reminding Ezzy of the behavior of a dog. Another shake of his head, then carefully rubbing his chin, before Luke wiped the blood from his face.
Next, Michael extended his hand, the man took it, allowing Michael to pull him up – then they hugged.
“What the fuck?!” Ezzy blurted out.
“I think it’s some Werewolf bro-code. Who knows? I don’t speak primal brainless brute.” Connell told her.
The men spoke briefly before Michael turned to Connell and Ezzy.
“This is Luke Connery, my former best friend. Nathan’s stepdad.”
“And also father of Nathan’s little brother and sister. Faolan and Luna” Luke added.
“Two already? My last count was one. How many replicas of your ugly mug you think the world needs?” Michael told him.
“Relax, both take after their mother.” Luke countered.
The men laughed, looking as if nothing ever happened between them, as if they were best friends still. Ezzy was rendered speechless, Connell wasn’t impressed.
“Well, as darling as this scene is, my rule stands. Get off this island and out of Windenburg while you can. The window I gave you is closing.”
“Fine. I get it, this is your territory, Fang, I will go. Michael, I would like to talk to you again. Really talk. Let me give you my number. Nicolette misses Nathan like crazy, maybe we can arrange for them to meet too.”
“Not in Windenburg.” Connell insisted.
“Yeah yeah, chill Fang, I got it! Somewhere neutral. You can bring you fanged friend if you don’t trust me. Kinda rough to know I was replaced by one of those, but such is life.” Luke said.
“Oh, Connell and I aren’t friends. He’s just … ahem .. he’s … umm …” Michael struggled to find words to describe the odd relationship, when Connell spoke in his stead.
“Michael and I are secret lovers. Ezzy is just a beard, as is my wife.” Connell said bone-dry, causing Michael to grimace.
“Get the fuck out, you disgusting Q-Tip! I can’t ever be desperate enough to even consider that! Nasty!” Michael blew up as intended, putting a smirk on Connell’s face.
“If Emmy hears this you are sleeping on the couch, Connell.” giggled Ezzy.
“Nah, my wife happens to like my sense of humor.” Connell told Ezzy winking. Michael rolled his eyes.
“You have one? Must be well hidden, I haven’t found it yet, you visual void.” Michael said, trying to hide a smile. Connell now got serious again, as he addressed Luke.
“Joking aside, you have 30 minutes from this very moment to clear the borders of Windenburg. If I still detect your presence after those 30 minutes are up, the local pet cemetery will have a new addition! I know how much you Wolves like to push the boundaries, but I don’t recommend you try that with me. Won’t end well. Have a good night, everyone.”
Connell vanished, leaving Luke shaking his head.
“What a tool. And that’s what you’re friends with now?”
“Connell and I are NOT friends!” Michael repeated annoyed.
“They’re more than friends. Connell is gonna be his brother-in-law soon.” Ezzy said grinning, earning a ‘there will be payback for this!’ glance from Michael, which only made her flash her biggest smile at him.
“Brother-in … you are getting married, Mike? YOU? YOU are getting hitched?! Wow. Now I literally have heard it all. Esmée, this man is the prototype of the eternal bachelor. If he asked you to marry him, you should feel honored. I didn’t think that day would ever come. Congratulations. Wow. Just wow. Things DEFINITELY worked out for the better for you, man! I am happy for you.” Luke said, clearly surprised and bemused.
Now both Michael and Esmée burst into laughter till tears ran, for various reasons, none of which Luke could even have guessed. First of all had the proposal been more than unusual to say the least, secondly was Ezzy just as bad, if not worse about never wanting to get married as Michael had been. They were still laughing about it long after Luke had left.
Once they calmed down, she looked at him.
“Are you gonna forgive him?”
“No. I can’t forgive all that, but I now understand why, which gives me great comfort. It always hurt me deeply to have trusted someone for so long, my two best friends, my only friends, who I then got to know as a murderous traitor and his sidekick, doubting my own sense of judgement. Now I know why. I am grateful for what he did back then, he sacrificed our friendship to save Nathan and me, casting himself as the villain so my son and I could live. And in a way, he made me come back to you, begging for your mercy, which you gave me – and look at us now. Honestly, I don’t think he came here truly expecting to rekindle our friendship. I think the dust had settled enough that he was able to come her trying to clear his conscience and give me peace of mind. Worked too. I feel better about all that. A weight has been lifted off my heart.”
“Are you gonna call him though?” Ezzy wondered.
Michael now pulled the number Luke had written on a crumpled-up receipt from his pant pocket, looked at it for a moment, then crumpled it up, tossed it in the air and with a well-timed motion punched it into the distance as it started falling back down.
“Does that answer your question?” Michael asked, Ezzy nodded.
“What about Nathan? Maybe he wants his mother.”
“Look, Ezzy, to the Werewolf crowd my son and I are dead, both of us died years ago on that fateful night everything changed. We may still walk, and they may know we do, but we are dead nonetheless to them and they to us. It is unfortunate, but I don’t see how to make this work without opening a whole new can of dangerous worms. And Nathan has a mother. The best one he could ever ask for. Like it or not, tell me you hate kids all day long, but you are his mother and a damn fine one. Now, what’s for dinner? I am famished!”
2 thoughts on “Chapter 433) Closure”
I was worried Luke showed up to make more trouble or reveal something that would drive a wedge between Michael and Ezzy. Shew! He came offering an explanation and to make sure Michael understood and of course he did. Michael knows how things work in the pack. I’m glad, it was good for Michael to hear why things went down like they did. Took a weight off his shoulders. Then Connell shows up to investigate and protect Michael and Ezzy if it was indeed trouble. He likes Michael. 😙 And Michael likes him too, but neither will own up to it. They both love the verbal jabs and trying to out do each other. 😂. However, Connell was dead serious that Luke had to leave and Luke knew it. No reason to test Connell and start a war.
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Luke probably has the same issues with how things ended as Michael does. They once were good friends, as was Michael with Luke’s wife, Nicolette. It just all went downhill in a handbasket and all because Michael got along with Connell.
It was pretty expressive at the end, a small gesture only, but Michael made clear that the was done with the entire Werewolf crowd and past.
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