A/N: So here is the second installment of my POV for Cole. I just really like being in his head because I feel like it makes Forever Waiting on Nothing at All make more sense because his character is hard to read at times. Hopefully, y'all like it too!
(Corresponds to Ch 6 of FWNAA)
Cole focused on his breathing. In through the nose. Out through the mouth.
He had reached over twenty miles, but quit counting because it did not really matter when all was said and done. Just the act of running was all he needed to make sure his head stayed clear. Without the physical exertion, he was much more prone to become agitated and relapse into his aggressive mindset. Basically, he outran his rogue side.
When he came around a bend, he spotted a glimmer as strawberry blonde hair reflected the sun. Her hands were on her hips, and she was facing away from him as if whatever she was looking for would just spring up out of the ground. He began to jog towards her. Since he was upwind, he saw the moment Jade caught his scent.
He had cornered his sister last night to find out about Jade's presence and was rewarded with discovering that she had not found a mate bond with any males in her own pack. Julia wasn't sure how Jade had ended up with their own particular pack to look for a mate, but Cole was not concerned enough to be that specific with details.
But he wasn't really in the mood for a morning chat. There were dangerous vampires in the area, and here she was strolling around without any protection. She didn't look like much of a fighter.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"I could ask you the same question, Buddy."
What was up with the Buddy name? By her tone, it was obvious it was far from an endearing tone. "Don't call me that. I'm not your 'buddy.'"
"I'll call you what I want. How long have you been running?"
Sassy. "Almost three hours now."
"Did you walk at all? A break?" She was making a fish face at him, and it almost made him want to smile. To him, this was just a morning run. He could go all day if he had a good reason.
"No. I don't like to walk. You didn't answer my question."
She looked a little bashful as she revealed, "Um, I was going to your house."
Nodding, he said, "I figured. Follow me. Also, get that look off your face. It's not that impressive." Although, he really did not figure that. It was just habit for him to act like he knew more than he actually did.
They began walking, and he let her scent wash over him. She smelled even better today than she did last night. There was something intoxicating about it.
"I could probably only go for like an hour straight," she said in a self-deprecating voice.
A twinge shot through his chest as he read her bleak face. She really should work on concealing a bit more than exactly what she was feeling. "Seriously? I can run the majority of the day with only a few minutes of break."
"How do you do that?"
He almost felt uncomfortable at the awe in her words, but he shrugged it off—pride could get you killed. "You probably can too. You're just out of shape." Cole picked up his pace in an effort to get out of the cloud of her scent.
But while he was distracted, she chattered away. "I've never been able to run. Wasn't much of an option for me,"
"You just have to start. I think you'd be surprised how quickly you'd adapt." Her indelicate snort relayed her skeptiscism. But after a split-second of deliberation, he decided that having a running partner—who wasn't Michael—could be a good thing. "I'm not kidding. I'll help you. How about tomorrow?"
She gave him a shy smile, and he was struck at how that was the first time he had ever seen her smile. "Sure, Cole. That would be cool."
"Awesome." He was pretty certain he wanted to see that smile again, but he knew those kind of thoughts could bring a man to his knees in the end.
He knew that all too well.
It was time to walk away from the spunky, blue-eyed girl before he had any other strange feelings. They got to his family's house, and he yelled, "Jade's here, Mom," before retreating to the upstairs.
In the privacy of his room, he took a deep breath. Jade's scent was messing with him for some reason. He stripped down and got into the hot stream of the shower, trying to clear his head. Maybe he should have shown her the house then went for a longer run.
Too late now.
He resolved to run even longer tomorrow if he had the time after he had taken Jade out to run and shown her that she was capable of more than she gave herself credit for. Walking back down the stairs, Cole could tell Jade was still in the living room by smell alone.
"Did you take a shower this morning?"
"No." Maybe he should work on his phrasing so that he got a more willing reply.
"You smell like it." Or not.
"Hey, Buddy. I didn't ask for your opinion."
"Well, you got it." He glanced at the TV and nearly went back up the stairs because he hated talk shows. "Are you seriously watching this?"
"Be nice, Cole," his mother scolded him. If anyone but his mother had chided him like a misbehaving school boy, they would have found themselves on the ground with his fist in their face. But obviously, that was never an option in regards to Mom.
Not long afterwards, Cole was tuning out the female conversation at the table, choosing instead to focus on his savory breakfast. He needed to go meet Michael today so that they could track vampires. And while he was working, he also should give Jo a call to update him.
He glanced towards Jade, who was looking increasingly distressed at Julia's plans for the holiday. Should he mention the girl's sudden appearance to Jo?
Probably not that important.
He caught the tail end of the conversation. Julia's excited voice told him all he needed to know. They were hanging out with Troy. He may not have been around his sister for the past couple of years except for this holiday, but it was plenty of time for him to hear her gushing about this particular male. When his sister flew away from the table, he asked, "You really think that's a good idea?"
"What could it hurt?"
"A lot, actually." Jade didn't know that Julia had been pining for this guy for a year now, but with Jade on the male-hunt along with Julia, this was a potential nuclear explosion. He disregarded the new girl and picked up the newspaper—anything to ignore the sound of the talk show.
"Hey, Buddy, opinions are like arm pits. Everyone has them, and they all stink."
He smirked, hidden behind the news print.
His sister came back down, thrilled with the idea of an excuse to hang out with Troy. But Jade said she was going to go back to the Kefalas house, Cole sighed to himself, knowing he was not about to let her walk by herself.
"Can you make it back to your house?"
"Shut up. I can make it just fine, thank you."
Even if he believed her, it wouldn't hurt for him to scout the area again. "I doubt it. Your nose is obviously not very reliable."
"I'd only ever been here once—and at night to top it off. Give me a break."
She was riled up so easily, completely opposite from his cool demeanor, and he could not resist sending her another barb. "Did your pack not teach you anything? If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were domesticated."
"I am not! My pack is just as good as any," she squeaked at him. Her squeaking was pretty amusing. He held the door to the garage open for her.
"Oh? Now you want to be a gentleman?"
"I'm always a gentleman."
"You're lying to yourself."
Her verbal jab hit closer to home than he was willing to admit. His old self was a gentleman, always looking out for everyone and considerate of feelings. Now, he had his missions, and that was all that really mattered. Otherwise, he wouldn't have disregarded his family for two years, then show up out of the blue only for the sake of an assignment. His old self would have also felt guilty about not letting his former pack know there was danger in the area, but he had explicit instructions for silence from Jo so as to not compromise the larger scheme.
They began their journey down the various streets on the way towards the Kefalas house, but as they neared, Cole started to think this was not a good idea. Flashbacks filled his mind of times when he would walk this exact same route with a different female by his side. For a split second, he thought he saw dark hair and olive skin, but on a second look was Jade's light hair with pale skin. It disturbed him more than he wanted to admit to be thinking like that.
If he started hallucinating again…
"Why do you walk so fast?" Jade's voice cut through his negative thoughts.
"How tall are you, anyway?"
His lips drew together. "Six-two."
"You better be glad you're a girl; otherwise, I would have punched you by now." His mind tried to redirect him back to thoughts of her, but Jade wasn't giving up so easily.
"Why's that?" she said with a sugar-sweet tone and a smile to match. When he felt a growl rise out of his throat, she added, "You're no fun."
"I don't try to be." And that was the entire truth.
Fun was no longer part of his life.
As they neared the Kefalas house, Cole became more anxious. Maybe this was not such a good idea. He couldn't even count the number of times he had happily made this exact same trip, anticipation of arriving at his destination and seeing her. He would knock, hear scampering feet, and be greeted by the biggest grin and excited eyes. They arrived at the house, and Cole nearly forgot how to breathe. Searching for a distraction before Jade noticed, he saw Fred, the smiling garden gnome.
"Fred's still here," he said quietly. That gnome was privy to many secrets, and Cole almost wanted to smile at the number of memories and inside jokes that he shared with that gnome. Fred had been there to encourage him on his first date and had seen his first kiss.
"Yeah, he watches over the house," Jade replied nonchalantly.
"He always has."
But Fred had also been witness to the Day. The Day when Cole stormed over—still bruised and bloodied—pounded on that door for hours, and finally slunk away to the forest in order to make sense of it all. It was not too long after that when…
"Um…okay. I have to go get ready."
Her voice jarred him out of his dark thoughts, and he was almost grateful. Being near this house wasn't as easy as he had thought it would be.
Hastily, Cole asked, "Yeah, so you think can make it back to our house?" He wasn't sure if he could stand waiting for her. And it was late enough in the morning that she should be fine walking around, especially since there was no hint of vampires on the way here. "Okay, then. See you tomorrow morning. Five o'clock A.M."
Jade smacked her face with door, and Cole felt a chuckle forming in his throat. That was definitely not among his memories here.
"What?" Her face was complete bewilderment.
"We're going running," he remarked flatly.
"No, we're not. I didn't agree to that." Cole decided he liked the spark she had in her eyes when something was not going according to her plan. She definitely did not have a problem back talking him, which was rare for him, especially with the female species. Most girls giggled at whatever he said, regardless of if he was trying to be funny.
"You're going to need some sort of endurance if you're going to go hunting with us." This statement was true, but Cole had an ulterior motive. He wanted to see how different Jade was from her. So far, they had nothing in common besides a nice smile. But if there was one thing that he and she could not agree on was running. She would always be so aggravated when he'd drop her off at her house early in the night so that he could wake up to go running the next morning. He tried to tell her that she could come with him to spend more time with him, but she'd always refuse. Although, he didn't run as much from enjoyment as much as necessity nowadays.
"Wait. You'll be hunting."
"You, Irene, Chris, my family, and probably another family or two will go. You have been hunting right?" He couldn't resist taunting her again. It was quite amusing to see her puff up, and then her cheeks would turn pink from the pent up aggravation.
"You're such a city girl.
"Goodbye, Cole." And with that, she slammed the door in his face. Yet another first.
He turned and walked away from the house, trying to seem like he wasn't bolting. He pulled out his cell phone and pushed the speed dial for Michael.
Cole frowned at his phone. Sometimes he was certain that Michael actually being an agent was a complete joke that the rest of the Brigade was pulling on him as an initiation. But since they had been working together for over a year now—and there was no "fooled you"—he assumed it was permanent. One thing was for sure though, Michael kept life interesting.
"You really need to work on your small chat, man. But I have an idea of a place we could check out. There are some local vampires that live just outside your pack's territory. We could look into them."
"Sounds good. I'll meet you in twenty minutes."
"What are you going to tell your family about you disappearances?"
"That I'm hanging with some friends of course. It'll make them think I'm coping better if I seem social, or at least social with others outside the pack."
"Awww, you mean I'm your friends? I'm so honored. I feel like—"
Cole hung up on him and shook his head. As much as he was reluctant to admit it, he did consider Michael a friend—probably his only one.
Maybe you could add Jade to the list? a voice in his head said. She's not part of the pack, so she's not tainted. She wasn't here all those years ago…
Cole gritted his teeth against the thought. He couldn't afford real friends besides his partner with his line of work. The Brigade hired bachelors for a reason.
Several hours later, Cole was ready to kill a vampire, and any vampire would do. They had been observing some of the local vampires but had not discovered anything that would help them track down the troublemakers.
"What's the plan, Big C?"
Cole frowned at the nickname but tried his best to ignore it. If Michael knew that it was annoying, then he would never stop until Cole strangled him. "How about we go back to where we last saw the bloodsuckers and start again. I don't think the locals have anything to do with it, but we may need to question them later.
As night fell, Cole and Michael became restless. It was time to face facts, they had lost their targets. Jo would definitely not be happy about it, but it was part of the job at times. Things weren't as easy as action movies made them out to be. Sometimes the bad guys really did get away.
Cole growled at the thought.
"Hey, did you see that?" Michael whispered, his eyes alert and trained on a section of the road that they were near but hidden from. Cole's head whipped in the same direction. There were two figures strolling down the side as if they hadn't a care in the world.
"That's them," Cole said triumphantly. "Let's move." Keeping low and under the cover of the trees and bushes, Cole and Michael stole along until they were closer. From their downwind position, they could almost make out what the fiends were saying, but then the vampires stopped as if sensing they weren't alone.
"What you thinkin' bout?"
"I was just thinkin' that I'm in the mood for a snack. 'ow bout it?"
"Sounds good to me." And with that, they took off running.
Michael swore, but Cole yanked him back before he could blow their cover.
"They couldn't have known we were here. Stay quiet and follow me," Cole ordered, allowing no negotiation whatsoever from his partner.
They tracked the vampires for nearly an hour before winding up in some woods not far from the city.
"Double damn," Cole spewed as he and Michael circled the area for the fourth time. There was no way the vampires could have eluded them again. And there was also no way that they could have caught wind that werewolves were following them. After all, he and Michael had been specifically trained for reconnaissance, so they knew how to mask their presences and stick to the shadows.
"Maybe their movement has nothing to do with us. They may be here for something entirely different from what we think," Michael suggested.
Cole glanced at him, unconvinced. Michael's expression told him that the blonde wolf did not believe it either. These vampires had been in the game for a long time, long enough that they didn't do things without specific reasons.
"You want to head back?"
Cole nodded, frustrated beyond belief.
He barely slept that night. Tossing and turning from the vampires with distorted, laughing faces every time he closed his eyes. He glanced at the clock and groaned. 3:00 A.M. If only it were two hours later, then he could have the excuse to get up and run. Strangely enough, he was looking forward to this run a little more than his usual ones. Jade would make an interesting running partner, even if she was abysmal at it. Cole snorted. Surely she was not in as terrible a shape as she thought. She was still a werewolf after all, so she had to have some physical stamina naturally. Regardless, he was a bit curious to see how she would fair. He wasn't sure why, but he felt like she needed a goal in her life.
At 4:40, he couldn't take laying down any longer, so he got up and got dressed. He paced until nearly 5:00, then called the number that his mother had written on the fridge as Jade's.
"Hey, Pops," said a very lethargic voice.
First Buddy, now Pops? He didn't know what either of them meant, and that bothered him a little.
Pushing the feeling aside, he said, "Pops? What? What's up with you and nicknames?"
"Who is this?"
He rolled his eyes. "Cole. Who else would be calling you at five in the morning?"
"It's 5:00 A.M.?" He could hear the surprise in her voice, and he resisted the urge to laugh at her. She would probably not appreciate that.
"Yes, ready to run?"
Cole felt a challenge raise up inside him. There was no way he was going to let her get out of this, especially since he needed a distraction after the failing hunt. "To bad. I'll be at your house in ten minutes. And if you don't answer the door, I'll wake up Chris and Irene. Then you'll have to deal with Grumpy Chris, and let me tell you, Grumpy Chris is to be greatly feared."
"I hate you." There was a click as she hung up. Cole raised an eyebrow at the phone. Jade had to be one of the most in-your-face people he had ever met, and he'd be lying if he said it wasn't fun to rile her up. He may not have known her long, but he'd already managed to tick her off in so many ways.
As he stepped outside into the chilly air, he took a deep breath, wondering what the next few days would hold.
A/N: So there's Ch 2! And I need y'all to give it to me straight. Should I continue to post this story (I probably will continue it for my own enjoyment anyway). I know it's pretty much a repeat of the events in FWNAA, but does it give enough variety to keep you interested? Let me know!