Some secrets lie just underneath the surface. If you were to scuff your foot too hard on the ground, they'd appear right in front of you.
Some secrets you spend your life digging graves for.
And some, the worst kind, are buried so deep, even you can't find them again.
I have a life built on lies, I'm not going to pretend I don't. Which means that any mistake I make, any slip up, is fucking detrimental.
The fear of mistakes is the constant pain in my head that follows me from the moment I wake up to the second I fall asleep at night.
Even now, on a Friday night in a bar, it's there, despite my attempts to drown it in glass after glass of rum and cokes.
"What's your name, sweetheart?" Is the question that interrupts my internal monologue.
"It's none of your business." I reply, my tone as polite as possible. I'm not in the mood for this tonight.
"Fair enough." He orders a drink from the bartender and tries again. "What's a little omega like you doing in this part of town?"
I roll my eyes internally, we both know I'm not a 'little Omega'. I'm grazing six foot, a decent build and enough of a gob shite to make an Alpha feel intimidated. To top it off, being twenty-five without even a whiff of a mating mark usually cancelled me out as an omega almost immediately. And as much as I hate to admit it, the fact that he'd picked it up so quickly made me nervous. So I attempt to offend him.
"Soliciting prostitution is illegal and even if it wasn't, you're in the wrong bar."
He chuckles humourlessly and out of the corner of my eye I see him take the stool next to me, "I don't want some dirty beta."
I put my glass down with an annoyed huff, turning to regard the asshole that had disturbed my peace. He's big, even for an alpha. He's wearing a simple white t-shirt under an expensive looking suit jacket. Dark hair, almost black, and eyes almost as dark, add to the overall impression of the type of wanker that's used to getting exactly what he wanted. This, unfortunately, is exactly my type.
It takes a waft of air when the bar's door opens for me to smell it on him. Even then, it's barely there, telling me he must be using a masking cologne.
"Real catch you are, eh?" I say through a scrunched nose. He nods a thanks to the bartender when he's handed a drink but only responds to me with a smirk. I doubt he's realised what I know yet though. So I clarify.
Surprise tugs at the corners of his sleazy expression, "It doesn't matter."
"To who? You or your mate?"
"He's fine with it." His words are edged slightly, clearly this was a button that he hadn't expected me to press.
"Does he even know you're breaking your bond?" That did it. He slams his glass down on the bar and stands up, eyes glowing yellow. Any other omega would be cowering, submitting as if their life depended on it with the amount of pheromones he's emitting. I imagine my wolf rolling his eyes.
"Another fucking word and I'll ring your worthless neck. Learn your place, omega."
I don't say anything, swallowing my pride and a string of insults with the last of my rum. I look back towards the empty glass, inspecting it closely as I wait for him to calm down. The bar is quiet, and not just because it hadn't been busy in the first place. Alpha's getting into fights is a pain in the ass, but it's neither uncommon, nor that concerning. This, however, is an alpha threatening and using pheromones to dominate an omega in a public place... this is a reason to stop your conversation and watch.
I make eye contact with the bartender, something that happens easily because she's already watching me. The beta's waiting to see if I need help so I hold up a twenty, enough to cover my bill and a large tip, between two fingers instead. She nods in understanding; I don't need help.
The bar stool scrapes along the ground as I get up. Wow, I'm more drunk than I thought I was. The ten-ish other customers are still watching too, a few aren't even pretending to not be and regard me with open faced intrigue.
I wasn't planning on doing anything. I honestly wasn't, but then he grabs my upper arm when I attempt to leave and says, "I thought I told you to learn your place."
Anger churns in my gut. I push his hand off roughly. He doesn't try and stop me this time when I leave, and I almost make it to the door when I hear his muttered words.
"Deserve whatever they get coming to 'em."
For someone else, they might shrug it off. On the scale of things to say to a person, it doesn't matter that much, even though it means that violence committed towards omegas is completely deserved. I've heard much worse but unfortunately for this alpha, he's accidentally touched a very deeply ingrained nerve.
So, I don't even think about it. I just walk straight up to him and punch him square in his smirk. The bar is absolutely silent now. I haven't knocked him out, but he lies there on terracotta tiles, staring at the ceiling and obviously stunned that an omega has just floored him.
He seems to regain a bit of energy as I stand over him and he sits up on his elbows. His face is almost comical, contorted with a mixture of shock, confusion and disgust.
"I'll fucking report you for this." He spits. I crouch, fist closing over the collar of his shirt and bringing him closer.
I don't say anything, because I don't need to... and technically, his command to not say another word is still hanging in the air. So I just show him my badge instead. And with the look of realisation still dawning on his face, I shove him back down with enough force to finally push him from the realm of consciousness.
Now, that wasn't the detrimental mistake I'd been worried about making for the past, I-don't-know-how-many years. He probably wouldn't have remembered my name, nor even being knocked out judging by the level of whiskey on his breath. The mistake was the card that I neatly tucked into his suit jacket. The one that simply read;
D.I. CHARLES GREENHILL
It made so much sense to me at the time, a perfect balance of irony and professionalism. The alcohol in my blood stopped me from seeing any repercussions, leaving me quietly buzzing with satisfaction as I walked the twenty minute journey home.
I wouldn't even know it was a mistake- no, the mistake that would fuck everything up for me until my life was already... well, royally fucked up.
Until I found myself led into a drug investigation case that seemed completely unsolvable.
And, of course, until it led Nathan Calahee, the man who I should have never met, to me.
MATURE CONTENT: As a head's up, I use swearing a lot, there's mild violence, drug references amongst other things... All for the sake of a story, not to glorify anything. As a fallsafe, I'm tagging almost every chapter as 'mature', as it is for older audiences