-September 29, 2018......
-New York City.....
“Hey, Castiel, there's a customer here that wants the new Vanish installment, but I can't seem to find it.”
Castiel almost cringed when he smelled the bitter smell. The man was an Alpha who had been coming in repeatedly to flirt with him since he had caught his smell. He had discovered that he was an Omega when he hurried in before they closed. Unfortunately at that point his Omega Blocker lotion that his sister, Evangeline made had worn off. Usually it lasted for a full 12-hour workday, but he had worked 15 hours that night and by that point it had worn off.
He looked up from the spreadsheet he was looking at and smiled at the pretty blond that was standing in his office door. “I'll be right there, Kristen.”
She smiled and left the office, shutting the door as she told the Alpha on the other side of the counter that he'd be right out. In a few days Kristen would be taking over the store while he got the one in his hometown of Lawrence off the ground and made it the headquarters for the company while this store stayed the flagship store. He wasn't sure if he'd expand after opening the one in Kansas, but he was considering it. He just didn't know where.
It wasn't part of his overall plan though.
The overall plan had started 15 years ago. Of course, then the New York City location wasn't even apart of the plan. He remembered his initial life plan like it was yesterday, partly because he remembered whom he had made the plans with. Dean Winchester.
Dean Winchester was the love of his life. He was 28 years old, he could admit that. He could admit that he had put all of his life's dreams into his relationship with Dean. He loved that man more than life itself and he wanted to be his forever mate—as Dean had called him.
But that's not how things happened and because things never seemed to happen for Cas the way that he had planned, he learned to adapt and revise his plan. Which the revision included a move to New York City where he went to Columbia University business school with his older brother and best friend, Gabriel. Gabriel had left with him after he graduated because of what had happened with Sam.
Of course, the change of scenery helped with the heartache, but not getting over the handsome green-eyed Alpha. If Dean had walked into the store today and pledged his undying love and devotion to him, he knew that he'd go back home with him and hopefully they'd fulfill their plans. But he knew that wasn't possible because he was either married to Lisa and living happily or he was enjoying the single life. He believed his brother, Michael who had visited him and Gabriel about 8 months ago, Dean never married Lisa and really hasn't been with anyone since. However, he wasn't sure if he believed that because he knew how much Dean secretly loved being in a relationship—even if he didn't act like.
About 2 years after he had moved to New York, he had met Arthur Ketch. He was a British financier who'd been living in New York for about 6 years before Cas moved there. The Alpha wasn't like Dean at all, but he thought that was a part of the attraction. Why would he want a guy that was just like the guy he'd been trying to get over? However, he hadn't expected the man to become a barbaric, archaic Alpha who fought with him tooth and nail about what he was 'expected' to do as his Omega.
Castiel would remind him that he wasn't his Omega, because he hadn't mated with him. They hadn't even talked about their future as a couple. At least not in great detail like he had with Dean. The knock on the door pulled him out of his thoughts and he sighed. “I'm coming,” he called through the door.
He tossed down the pen and stood from his desk. Today was the last day that he would be in the store, because he was leaving in the morning with Gabriel to go back to Lawrence. He walked out of the office and placed a smile on his face, trying to hide the fact that the man's scent was going to make him gag. “Good morning, Mr. Whitfield, how may I help you?”
“Hello, my Omega,” he said softly.
Castiel almost grimaced. “Um....sir, I feel uncomfortable with you calling me that. I wouldn't even let my ex-boyfriend call me that when we were together.”
“My apologies, Castiel.”
“Excuse me?” the man in the designer suit asked.
“As opposed to my name, Sir. It's Mr. Novak.” He leveled his eyes with the man. “I believe I've shown you the proper respect, I'd appreciate the same, Sir.”
“My apologies,” he muttered. “My daughter has informed me that the new Vanish installment is out today, is that true?”
He nodded and walked around the counter just as a couple walked up with a bunch of books. Teresa, one of the other workers, took over the counter. He walked about 3 book shelves down to a small table stand, where the newest book was out in the series. He picked it up. The series was written by a New York native named Maddox Stevens. This installment was called Vanish in Secret. Like the others it was a murder mystery, but this one was a case from the protagonist's past. One he had personally gotten involved in....romantically. “Here you go, Sir.”
“Thank you, Mr. Novak.”
“So, um...may I take you out to dinner?”
He smiled politely. “Um...no,” he said just as stoically firm as he was talking to him now. “Honestly, I'm not interested.” He smiled. “If you'll excuse me.” He turned and walked back behind the counter and headed into his office. He had a lot to do before he walked out for the last time tonight at 6pm.
A scary cold shiver went up Gabriel's shoulders as he sprinkle nuts on the apple pie cupcakes. He'd been getting that feeling all day today, and he couldn't seem to shake it. He had no ideal what the feeling was for either. The reason for his anxiety had skipped town before he could be prosecuted for abusing him, so it couldn't be him. Not even Asmodeus was that dumb.
“Hey, Gabe, um....the caramel's all finished.”
“Thanks, Justin. I'll get it.” The oven buzzed and he sighed. Today had been hella crazy. Definitely crazier than usual. They'd been extremely busy since they opened that morning it didn't look like it was going to slow any time soon. He'd opened Sinful Temptations about the same time as his younger brother, Castiel had opened Books Galore. This place had been his baby for 6 years. It was going to be hard to leave it tomorrow when they flew back to Kansas.
He couldn't believe it. He was going back home. He was going back to the place that he had promised himself that he'd never go back to. Not for the same reasons as Cas had made the promise. Cas was doing it because his thought to be future mate had broken up with him, he was doing it because of Dean's little brother, Sam. Sam had approached him 10 years ago and vowed that he was going to be his Alpha. 2 of his 4 brothers who were standing with him when 13-year-old Sam had approached them thought it was adorable.
And Gabe hadn't really known what to say or how to act. He thought of giving him a cheeky response about waiting 8 years and come find him, but he didn't. He just stood there while Michael and Lucifer, his oldest two brothers laughed at him. He knew that Sam was horrified, but he still hadn't said anything. He had done the one thing that his older brothers had pointed out was a bullshit move, but he really didn't care.
He picked up an oven mitt and walked to the oven that had buzzed. He pulled open the doors and pulled out the large cupcake trays. He looked up at Justin. “Remember, these are the pumpkin spice ones, so make the appropriate frosting.”
The Beta smiled. “I promise. I won't pull a Mindy move.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
“The bride's here,” he called back.
He smiled at Justin before he started making the frosting. Justin would be taking over this store when he went back to Kansas to open a Sinful Temptations there. “Justin, you ready to try a wedding cake order on your own?”
He nodded. “Yeah,” he said happily.
He waved him to the front of the store. He smiled at the beautiful Omega. “Hi, Courtney. How are you?”
“I'm good. I've had one helluva day though. My mother and my soon-to-be mother-in-law have been bitching at each other and then calling me since seven this morning. You'd think since they've known each other since preschool that they'd be able to get along, but nope.”
Gabe laughed. He'd give anything to have even a little bit of her issues. However, his last attempt at the 'white-picket fence' lifestyle ended with him in the hospital with a broken jaw and severely blackened eye that they thought he'd lose the sight in it. Of course, his eyesight in his right eye hadn't been the same, but it was better than losing it, right? “All right. Um...you remember, Justin, right?”
She nodded. “Yes, hi.” She gasped. “Oh! That's right. You're opening a store in your hometown and leaving soon, right?”
He nodded. “Yes, ma'am. We leave tomorrow morning. We would have left sometime next week, but um, my sister's also getting married next weekend and she asked me to make her cake since her original baker bailed on her.”
“Oh,” she said pressing a hand to her chest. “That's too bad. Has she had that kind of luck since planning it?”
He shook his head. “No. I think it has something to do with my mother. She can be a little....” which was the best way to describe Naomi Novak? “....domineering? I guess is the right way to put it.”
She nodded. “My mom's the same way. Which is why I'm here alone. I don't need her making you nervous.”
He smiled. “Thank you.” He cleared his throat. “Shall we get started?”
She nodded. She looked Justin, taking the binder he held out. “I do think that it should be a vanilla cake,” she said. “It's my fiancé's favorite flavor cake.” She smiled, her eyes dancing with love. “I want to include him in the cake too, so....”
Gabriel smiled, holding back his omega whimper. There was no use in wishing and hoping for himself to have a look like that. Not when he was 30 years old. Everyone knew once an Omega hit 30 the chances of them finding a mate were pretty slim because most Alphas wanted young mates who could have lots of babies. Not that his reproductive organs were old. They could still function for at least 10 more years, and he's never wanted a lot of babies anyway. He'd always knew he wanted at least 2. A boy and a girl. But Alphas usually liked their omegas to be younger than them for breeding purposes that is.
In Lawrence, at least in their small community of people anyway, he'd be the only 30 year old Omega around. Most of the Alphas were either mated or married, depending on their preferences. And watching his sister get married Next Saturday was going to be hard because his mother wouldn't have anyone besides Evangeline and Cas to pester about the 'embarrassment of unmated omegas' still being in the family.
Fuck, the woman still called to pester him about the fact that he was 30 and unmated and how much he was embarrassing his father. He had never thought Charles 'Chuck' Novak would be embarrassed by that, because the kind Alpha father knew Gabriel's history. But to his mother, it didn't seem to matter. She didn't seem to care that her son had almost died almost 3 years ago because he took a beating so severely by his ex-boyfriend, Asmodeus Jones that he was in the hospital for 2 weeks. Using his father was just an easy way to make her children feel guilty and cave to what she wanted.
For 38 years—since Michael was born—all of the Novak children was trying to figure out how their kind sweet Alpha father could have chosen an Omega who thought she was so privileged enough that she could control her children and even her husband the way that she did.
Coming back to his current reality, he tuned back into Justin expertly making out the order form for the wedding cake. He smiled. Knowing he had made the right decision for the manager of the store was a good feeling.
Now if only he could shake the ominous feeling he's had since he got up that morning......