I Think You Fell For Me
“She was a drug to take in moderation.”
“You’re sure this is a good idea?” Hunter asked, scratching the back of his head.
“No, but I want to talk to her,” I responded, vaulting myself over a fallen tree. “Who knows, maybe she’ll give me more information about Gigi’s and Tommy’s kidnapping that’ll help us with our mystery.”
Hunter ducked under the fallen foliage. “If I get a bad feeling about it, I’m staying.”
“No, you’re not. I’m still annoyed you’re coming at all.”
“Yeah, well, I’m your older brother, and I get to boss you around.”
“You forgot the word ‘annoying’ before ‘brother,’ and no, you don’t get to boss me around. Only mom and dad get to do that. I just agreed to you coming because I knew you would’ve followed me had I not.”
“See? You are the smart one.”
“You don’t exactly make it difficult.”
The two of us crested the hill into the neutral territory. Lily, in wolf form, sat patiently waiting for us. She shifted upon our arrival.
“I was hoping this would be a private meeting,” Lily said, eyeing Hunter in dismay.
“It will be,” I replied. “He just wanted to make sure you weren’t going to kill me.”
“Like I said, if I wanted you dead, I would’ve killed you in high school.”
“Why then?” Hunter queried. “What did my brother do to you? Other than being his idiot self?”
I scowled at my Hunter, which he smiled cheekily at me in return.
“He can tell you if he wants,” Lily began, “but I’m going to tell him privately first.”
Hunter frowned. “Killjoy… fine. You two behave. Don’t kill each other. Don’t make any new Shifters.”
“Get out of here,” I said, a growl escaping at the end. Snickering, Hunter trotted off. Lily and I watched him go before we made our way up to the frozen lake, brushing snow off a boulder and taking a seat on it. I turned to look at Lily. “All right. You’ve got me. Alone. I’m all ears.”
“When you said we had chemistry in chemistry, what did you mean?” She asked, leaning back on her hands and staring up at the stars.
I joined her. “I don’t know. I just always felt like we had something between us. With the banter and flirting… at least on my end. I couldn’t tell if you were flirting or just being you.”
“So, you liked me?”
“I don’t know many guys who didn’t, but yes.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
I looked at her like she was crazy. “You’re a Stark. I’m a Laroche. Need I say more?”
“Do you know what my brothers and your sisters have done?” Lily cocked a perfectly manicured eyebrow at me. “It didn’t matter to them.”
“Yeah, but Spencer and Elsa both agreed about the pack feud thing. I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like it either, but I trust my parents have a good reason for it,” I admitted. Looking Lily up and down, I added, “Still, it limits the dating pool.”
“Tell me about it,” she muttered.
“Now, I’ve answered your question. You need to answer mine: why did you suddenly start giving me the cold-shoulder? It was like, one day, we were fine, and the next, you would barely speak to me.”
Lily sighed, sitting forward. “It was my defense mechanism, one I had to initiate before I did anything stupider than I already had.”
“I don’t understand. If anyone is stupid in this acquaintanceship, it’s me.” I leaned forward. “What did you do?”
“I fell for a guy. Hard. I didn’t even realize it until a girl tripped on her backpack, and he caught her and said, ‘I think you just fell for me.’ Of course, the girl giggled like a moron because she’d fallen him long before that just like every other girl in the school… including me.”
I stared at her, my mind processing her words and trying to form the evident conclusion, but my dumbfoundedness prevented me from speaking a coherent sentence. “You- me- interested?”
A glimmer of amusement shined in her eyes. “Wolf got your tongue?”
“Very funny,” I said, regaining my wits. “So, you’re not the only Stark to fall for a Laroche?”
“No, I was just better at hiding it.”
“Want to know something funny? Elsa isn’t the only Laroche to fall for a Stark, and I’m not talking about Anna.” Unable to hide my smirk, I added, “I was just better at hiding it.”
Lily chuckled, and I bumped my shoulder into hers. She asked, “What would you have done had you known?”
“I would’ve kissed you, first of all,” I responded immediately. “I don’t know what I would’ve done after that. It’s… complicated being an alpha, and I don’t know if I’d have the guts to choose my love life over my pack.”
“I don’t think Spencer would’ve if he hadn’t mated with Elsa.”
“He did what?!” I demanded, my voice rising more octaves than I thought possible or cared to admit.
“Yeah, long before the wedding and before I ever figured out they were seeing each other.” Lily sighed. “Part of me is happy for him. He found what we all want: someone to mate with for life, someone who the universe made just for us. All wolves mate for life, but there are some relationships so strong they defy even our normal standards.”
“What about the other part of you?”
“The other part is jealous. I want to have what he has. I want to know what it’s like to be so incredibly in love with someone that you’d do anything for them without hesitation. I can’t fathom feeling that way about someone or anyone feeling that way about me, but I have to wonder if it’s out there, if I’ll ever find my intended mate.”
“Maybe you have, but this feud between our families has prevented you from finding them,” I suggested. “It’s a possibility.”
“Are you insinuating our mutual pining for each other stems from the possible idea that we might be mates?”
“I’m not saying it’s me specifically, but-” I leaned closer to her- “you’re welcome to kiss me and find out.”
Lily patted my cheek. “Try again, handsome.”
“Worth a shot.”
Lily stood up and brushed off her jeans. “Well, that was an enlightening conversation and not near as embarrassing as I thought it’d be, but I think we’ve spent enough time away from our compounds.”
“Spent enough time away from our compounds or spent enough time with each other?”
“I meant what I said, Caleb,” she said, stepping closer to me. “You should remember that about me.”
“I remember everything about you,” I replied quietly, brushing a piece of hair out of her face. “I remember you bite your lip when you’re deep in thought, and how you clasp your hands behind your back when you’re nervous or uncomfortable, and how your favorite candy is inexplicably and disgustingly licorice vines.”
“Hey!” She slapped me on the chest. “Don’t diss the vines.”
“They are absolutely disgusting, and something is horribly wrong with you for liking them.”
“Says the guy who eats pickles like there’s no tomorrow!”
“Excuse me-” I held up my pointer finger- “they are delicious! Ironically, other than Ember, everyone else in my family hates them.”
“Oh, so they’re normal?”
“Are you done insulting me, or you just stalling going home so you can continue seeing my handsome face?”
Lily stared at me pointedly. “Right, that’s my cue. Good night, Caleb. I’ll get you the results of the dirt sample as soon as it comes in.”
She started to back away, but without looking behind her, Lily failed to notice the tree root. Her heel hit it, and the Stark alpha lost her balance. In the blink of an eye, I grabbed her before she could fall into the freezing lake. Lily clung to my shirt, peering over her shoulder at the ice before meeting my gaze and realizing how close we were.
I smirked. “I think-”
“Don’t say it,” she warned.
“-you just fell for me.”
Lily narrowed her eyes. “… Fuck.”
Lily crashed her lips onto mine, and I tightened my arms around her, pressing my body into hers as much as physically possible. I felt her hands cup my cheeks and slide up into my hair; her leg glided up mine. My hands traveled all over her body, wanting to feel every inch of her. I leaned into her more and more, and she went along with it. Unfortunately, we forgot there wasn’t hard ground beneath us.
Before we could stop our descent, we plunged through the thin ice and into the lake. Disentangling ourselves and surfacing, we hastily crawled onto the solid ground, shivering.
“I’m pretty that was the universe telling us we shouldn’t have done that,” Lily said through chattering teeth. “It was worth it, though.”
“We should do this again sometime. Not the falling into an icy lake bit,” I corrected hastily, “but the making out part. Highly enjoyed it.”
“That won’t happen if we die out here from hypothermia. I’m heading home. I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Looking forward to it.”
We shifted into wolves, our coats much warmer than our soaked clothes, although I still shivered violently. I’d barely warmed by the time I’d gotten home, and when I slipped into the house, I discovered Hunter remained awake, watching TV in the living room. Taking in my dripping wet appearance, he grinned.
My brother opened his mouth to say something, but I cut him off, saying, “Not a word.”