Novel Name : Beautiful Creatures Series

Chapter 20: 18

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Aurora rolled over onto her back and stretched as she opened her eyes. The morning sun filtered in
through the windows filling the house with a soft, homey glow. Aurora reached out for Stanton to find
herself alone in their bed.


She sat up and looked around the house, expecting to see him up or even sleeping uncomfortably on
the couch. Stanton was nowhere in sight. Aurora tossed the blanket back and placed her bare feet on
the floor. She stood up and raked her slender finger through her long blond hair as she crossed the
room to the door and opened it. She stepped out onto the porch and looked around the driveway.
Stanton’s SUV was gone. He must have gone out.

Going back inside, Aurora looked at the clock on the stove. It was 8:00 AM which meant she had slept
in, and he had gone to work.

She got dressed and then made the walk to Darrell’s to see if he were home. They still needed
groceries because there was very little in the house. Unfortunately, the closest grocery store was in
Aspen, and while it was the closest town, it was still too far away for her to walk to and then walk back
with armloads of food. Reaching Darrell’s farmhouse, she stepped up on the wrap-around porch and
knocked on the screen door. She waited, but there was no answer. She walked around to the side of
the house, hoping to find Darrell’s truck in the driveway, but it was gone. He, too, must be at work.

Leaving Darrell’s place, Aurora walked along the road heading for the hub of their little community. That
one small street only had a few businesses, all of which were Lycan owned. The whole pack lived
within a twenty-five-mile radius of the central hub. That was their community. Their land. With the
exceptions of travellers passing true and the odd person come to patron the businesses unaware of
their owners’ true identities, the only people that ever walked those streets were pack members.

When she reached the hub, Aurora walked along the street, looking around. It was so inconvenient for
the pack to have to go into Aspen every time they needed food. Standing in the middle of the street,
Aurora slowly turned around a full 390 degrees, looking at what they had.

A tattoo shop…

A liquor store….

A butcher shop…

A gas station…

A community garden closed for the season…

… and a few vacant buildings with windows boarded up.

They really ought to build this little community up and make it a self-sustained town. Aurora walked
over to a midsized building that looked as though it had been empty for a long time. Using the sleeve of
her shirt, Aurora wiped away years of grime from the huge window. Placing both hands around her
eyes to see better, she leaned into the window and tried to see what it looked like inside.

What little she could see, the place looked spacious. If fixed up, this place could be a quaint little
community grocery store. They could stock the store with vegetables and fruits from local gardens.
They were next door to the butcher shop so patrons could go from one to the next with ease. They
could even knock out part of the wall between the two and build an order window so patrons could get
meat and produce in one stop. Then all they would have to do was order in a few pantry products to fill
a few local needs.

Someone should do it.

She was someone. Why shouldn’t she be the one to do it.

Aurora walked down the street to the Blood Moon Tattoo Parlour. Walking through the door, she found
Gordon tattooing a butterfly to some college girl’s collarbone. He looked up just long enough to
acknowledge her and then back down at his task. “Morning Aurora, how are you today,” the girl in the
chair squirmed. “Listen, Darling, if you keep moving, this thing is going to end up looking jacked. I
suggest you stay still because there are no refunds.”

The girl stilled.

“You busy?” Aurora asked, taking a seat on one of the leather chairs along the nearby wall for people
to wait on.

“Nope,” he said, continuing with his artwork. “What’s up.”

“You know that abandoned storefront down the street? The one right next to the Mountain Meat
Butcher Shop and across the street for the Last Call Liquor Store.”

“Yup, I know the one.”

“You wouldn’t know how to get a hold of the realtor or the owner, would you?”


Aurora thought for a moment as she tapped her fingers on the leather arm of the chair she was sitting
on. She didn’t want anyone to tell her that her idea was stupid until she decided if it were even
plausible. She decided to confide in Gordon. “Well, I thought that maybe the pack could use a good
local organic grocery store. I thought that empty storefront would be a good location.”

“And who is suppose to run this grocery store?”

“I thought… maybe… me,” she said nervously. Gordon paused, taking a moment to look up at her.

“You want to own a grocery store? Why?” He asked.

“Well, I’m bored at home. I have nothing to do. I feel useless. I want to contribute to the community. I
like gardening. I figured I could grow organic vegetables and some fruits and sell them in the store. I
could probably make business relationships with local dairy farmers and get eggs, cheese, and milk.
The fruits I can’t grow myself I could get from the growers down the highway. I think it would keep down
costs while providing the pack with a healthy, convenient place to get their groceries, instead of having
to go all the way to Aspen to pay outrageous prices for stuff filled with hormones and pesticides.”

“I admit it sounds good, but where do you plan to get the start-up capital for this little venture?” Gordon
asked, wiping his hands on a shop rag. “That is not going to be cheap, and you would have to grow the
stock first. You probably can’t even open your doors until next summer. After which, you will spend the
first year of profit just paying your overhead and paying off the suppliers who helped you stock those
shelves on credit. Plus, you need a business licence, a food handling permit, a few health and safety
permits, not to mention registering with the government as a business so Uncle Sam can get his

“You don’t think I can do it?” She asked, feeling a bit defeated.

Gordon smiled. “No, Darling, I’m just pointing out that it is going to be a lot of hard work for very little
gain for a long time. I just think if you are going to do this, you should go into it with all the facts.”

Aurora thought about his question. How would she get the money? “I could take out a business loan
from a bank.”

“You have never had a bank account. No fixed address until a few months ago. You have never had a
job, and you still don’t. No bank in the world would give you alone.”

Aurora scowled; he made a very good point. She would never get a loan. There was no way Stanton
had this kind of money. She wouldn’t want it from him even if he did. This was something she wanted to

do without him.

Aurora looked up at him with confidence and determination. “I don’t know how I’m going to get the
money, but I will get it,” Gordon didn’t look convinced. “Do you know how to contact the realtor or the

Gordon sighed and picked up his tattoo needle setting back to work. “I do, but I wouldn’t bother him
until you got a better business plan. I’ll give you a piece of business advice, from one entrepreneur to
another. If you are serious about this venture, educate yourself about the business. Most businesses
fail because they forgot to plan. When you have a good plan, that is when you can start seeking
investors to finance your start-up, you do that, and I will put you in touch with the correct people.”

Aurora grinned. “You would help me find investors?”

“Yes, but first, you need to prove you are worth investing in.”

She understood the point he was making. If she wanted to do it, she should do it right.


Stanton walked, pulled into the driveway and put the vehicle into park as he got out. He ached all over.
The machine had broken because the ground was frozen and the cat was from the dark ages. The
company was too cheap to fix it or get a new one. His new supervisor, some arrogant little twenty-one-
year-old shit head fresh out of school with zero real-world experience, who probably only got the job
through nepotism, insisted Stanton dig despite Stanton’s insistence the machine couldn’t handle the
strain. As Stanton expected, the machine broke down, and that should have been the end of his day.

It wasn’t.

Foreman Shit-Head bitched about how they had a deadline to meet and forced all the crew, Stanton
included, to dig the trench by hand. They made no progress and broke four shovels. As a result,
Stanton’s muscles ached, and he was covered from head to toe in dirt.

All he wanted was a hot shower and a good meal. A smile curved his face as he stepped up the
wooden porch steps to his front door. He enjoyed having Aurora around. She always had a great meal
on the table as he came through the door. It was one of his favourite parts of the day.

Opening the door, Stanton went inside and looked to the oven where he expected to find his
Hummingbird. She wasn’t there. There was no food on the table, and it didn’t smell like anything was
cooking. Stanton looked to the sitting area and found Aurora sitting on the floor, using the coffee table
as a desk and typing away on his laptop. She didn’t even acknowledge him as he walked in.

Stanton shut the door and walked over to the stove. He opened the oven and looked in only to find it
empty as he suspected. Looking around the spotless kitchen, it didn’t look like she was prepping
anything. In fact, it looked like she had no intention of making dinner.

He didn’t want to sound like a chauvinist, but he was wondering where his dinner was. Stanton walked
over to the sitting area. He wasn’t going to sit down on the furniture until he was clean. He stood next to
Aurora, but she didn’t look up from the screen. “Hello, Hummingbird,” he greeted her with a smile.

Finally, she looked up at him with a smile. “You are home early.”

“No, I’m not.”

She looked confused and then searched for the time displayed in small font at the bottom right-hand
corner of the screen. Suddenly she gasped and shot to her feet. “Oh my God, I had no idea it was that
late. I haven’t even started dinner,” she said, rushing past him to the kitchen. “I’ll whip something up
fast. You go have your shower, and I’ll get dinner started.”

He watched her as she rushed, trying to decide what to make. Stanton walked over to the fridge as she
was looking in it, and he pushed the door closed. He took his wallet out of his back pocket and took out
some money, then placed it in her hand. “Order in,” he told her, “Anything you want. I’m going to go
have that shower now,” he told her, walking away.

“Any requests?” She asked as he reached the washroom door.

He paused in the doorway and grinned wickedly at her. “Anything that leads to heavy petting and
handcuffs,” he heard her laugh as he shut the door behind him.

It took the better part of forty minutes to scrub himself clean under scalding water. He had hoped the
heat would soothe the pain, but it didn’t. He turned off the water and got dressed in a clean pair of
jeans and nothing else. As he exited the washroom, he noticed Aurora going to the door. The delivery
guy must have just arrived. He thought he had heard knocking.

Aurora answered the door, and the first thing Stanton heard from the hamper where he was tossing his
dirty work clothes was the young man's whistle. “Hot damn! Hello, beautiful.”

Ok, someone had to put a stop to this. Stanton made his way over to the door and stood directly behind
Aurora, glaring at the now frightened delivery boy, who couldn’t have been more than seventeen. The
young man’s eyes widened with shock and horror when Stanton grinned menacingly. Aurora paid the
boy and took the bag, then Stanton wrapped one strong arm around her waist, grinding up against her
from behind as he pulled her back into the house and shut the door in the astonished boy’s face.
Stanton couldn’t help but snicker. It was the first time in his life anyone had envied him.

He placed Aurora back on her feet, and she giggled as she carried the food to the counter. “What was
that about?” She asked knowingly as she took down two plates while Stanton removed the lids to the
Chinese food she had ordered.

“Just staking my claim.”

“Very mature,” she teased.

“I could do it wolf style and mark my territory by peeing a circle around my property, but I’d need a few
beers first.”

“Just keep it to the trees, Big Daddy.”

With their plates loaded up, Stanton and Aurora decided to eat in the sitting area. Stanton wedged his
massive body onto the floor in that tight space between the couch and the coffee table. It was a
cramped fit, and he even had to move the table afoot to make it work.

The TV was on playing some reality show about people locked in some house where they have to
escape the house room by room by solving complex puzzles and riddles. It was rather interesting.
What interested him more than the show was what Aurora had been doing on his laptop. It was still
open and displaying what she had been up to. It looked like she was researching government grants
for small business start-ups.

Stanton turned to Aurora. “What are you doing? Are you planning on opening a business?”

Aurora’s face lit up with excitement. “Actually, yes, I am. I’m thinking of opening up a local organic
grocery store in the hub of the community. Just a small one. I thought the pack could use one, so
members don’t always have to go into town when they need something,” she explained. “I have been
researching business models all day, as well as ways to finance my start-up,” she was so excited as
she brought the laptop closer to show him what she had been doing all day.

For the next hour, Stanton listened to Aurora’s detailed plan. He had to admit she had done her
homework. With the right backing, she could probably make it work. Her idea about putting in a service
window between the store and the butcher shop next door was a good one.

“It sounds like a great idea. You really seem to have this all planned out,” he smiled at her. “I wish I
could help, but all my money is wrapped up in this property.”

“I wouldn’t take your money even if you could,” she said flatly. “I want this to be my own. I’ve never had
anything of my own.”

Stanton grinned. He understood. She was trying to establish her independence. It was important for
Aurora’s self-worth to feel she could stand on her own two feet. He wanted to see her succeed. He
would help her in any way he could. Maybe not monetarily, but the storefront she would rent would
likely require cleaning and maybe some renovation or repairs. If there was one thing Stanton was good
for, it was heavy manual labour. He was built for heavy lifting.

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