Liam dropped me off at my apartment late that night. Kat had been texting me like crazy, wanting to know where I was and if I was spending the night with Liam. Every time I read one of her texts, I ended up blushing. Liam caught on to it, but he would just smile and ask me if it was Kat. I would nod, and I felt like he could read what Kat was telling me.
“I’ll drop your car off tomorrow, okay?” Liam asked. He was walking me up to my apartment, his hand lightly on the small of my back. I had been walking slowly, trying to stretch the time I had with him.
“I have class tomorrow.” The disappointment was clear in my voice, and from the way he smiled at me after I spoke, I could tell he noticed.
“It should be ready by noon. Where are you studying?”
“I drive into the city.”
“Every day?” Liam asked, frowning.
I shook my head. “I only have class two days a week, at least this semester. I piled them on so that I wouldn’t have to come and go every day.”
“So you have class tomorrow?”
“No, I had class today. But I didn’t catch Kat before she left.”
“You skipped?” he asked, grinning.
“I did, but it was mostly lectures. I feel bad, but not as much. I need to go tomorrow to see my brother, and to talk to one of my professors.”
“At what time?”
“I’m leaving in the morning so that I have the afternoon free. I didn’t go in to work today either,” I said, feeling embarrassed with how irresponsible I sounded.
Liam simply chuckled. “Today was ditch day for you?”
We had already made it my apartment. I had spent almost all day with him, yet I didn’t want him to go. I tried to ignore the part of me that was already missing him. It was not normal how fast I was getting attached to him.
I turned to the door to slide the key in, and gave myself some time to breathe. I had to keep stopping myself from staring at him too much.
“I guess it was. It wasn’t on purpose. Last night was not normal for me,” I admitted.
“That won’t happen again, Savannah. If you need anything, you already have my number,” he said.
We had exchanged numbers before he drove me to my apartment. He told me to call if I needed him, but I knew I wouldn’t be using the number. I would be too embarrassed, but I pictured myself obsessing over his in my phone.
“Okay,” I nodded.
“If you need a ride for tomorrow, call me.”
“I will,” I said, but I knew that I wasn’t going to.
Once I was inside the door, Liam took a step in. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Savannah.”
I nodded, and looked up at him. Liam was smiling at me.
“Okay,” he said.
He leaned down and brushed his lips against my cheek. Just the slightest contact with him started my heart beating erratically. He stayed like that, with his lips against mine for a couple of seconds. Instead of pulling away, he rested his forehead against mine. I placed my hands on his chest, and took in a shaky breath.
“Why?” Liam asked in a low voice.
He nestled his head in my neck, and wrapped his arms around my waist. He had kept them by his side. I imagined he hadn’t planned for anything else but a quick kiss on my cheek.
“Why what?” I whispered.
“Why did you come into my life right now, when everything is falling apart?”
He finally pulled away. His hazel eyes were on me, and he looked serious. I didn’t know what to say so I stayed quiet.
“Bye, Savannah,” he said, nodded once, and then walked away.
Every time he left, I felt like it was the last time I was going to see him. He was grinning and smiling most of the time, and then when he was saying goodbye, he’d get serious and say something that confused me.
I walked straight to Kat’s room. I knew she was still awake. She had music on, the door to her room was open, and her lamp was on.
“Hey,” I said, walking in and dumping my bag over one of the bean bags on her floor. I lied down over her bed, where she was sitting with her laptop on her lap.
“It’s late,” Kat said, pointing at the clock on her nightstand.
“I was talking with Liam and lost track of time,” I shrugged, trying to act casual about it.
“Well, what happened? You were at his place for a long time.”
“Nothing happened, we just hung out.”
“Who was that guy—the one who dropped off my car?”
“That’s Adam, he’s Liam’s friend,” I said.
“Why did he drop off my car? Why didn’t you tell me you were going to chase after Liam?”
“I wasn’t,” I said, defensively, feeling a blush creeping onto my face.
I grabbed a pillow and covered my face because I knew that Kat was going to keep bugging me. I knew it was what she was going to do, that’s why I had walked straight to her. I needed normal, and I needed girl talk. I felt like I needed to talk to someone about Liam.
But the most important thing about Liam that I wanted to discuss—I couldn’t share with Kat. Now that Liam wasn’t there, it was crazy to imagine that he had shifted into a Wolf. I felt insane thinking back to the conversations Liam and I had that night about Werewolves. But it was real.
“Did something happen?” Kat asked, putting her laptop to the side and shifting herself to face me. “Sav, come on, you have to share. What happened?”
“I like him,” I told her.
“I know, but what happened?”
“Nothing happened. He didn’t even kiss me or anything. I think he’s… I don’t know. I just, I really like him.”
“Sav,” Kat said, outstretching her arms for me to go to her.
She felt bad for me. I could see it in her eyes. She thought that Liam didn’t like m back and that was what was hurting me. I didn’t know exactly how Liam felt. He had said he liked me. That should have been more than enough. I had just met him. But knowing what he was, it made him somehow more unattainable in my eyes.
“We should watch a movie—something bloody and gory or something funny and stupid. What do you want to watch?”
“Scary,” I replied.
Kat set everything up, grabbed a bag of chips—some that Liam had bought, which felt strange—and we snuggled up in Kat’s bed.
I distracted myself watching the movie, but my thoughts kept going back to Liam. There was so many things to think about—first and foremost, he was a freaken Werewolf.
Kat woke me up the following morning. It was the second day in a row where she was awake before me. It was a habit I wasn’t sure I liked. It made me feel lazy.
“I went for a run!” Kat said, sounding way too excited for how early it was.
“Kat, it’s only seven in the morning. Since when do you go on runs?”
“I want to start working out, getting in shape,” she shrugged.
“You are in shape,” I said, cocking an eyebrow.
I had fallen asleep on her bed, and she’d left me there until she felt the need to wake me up.
“Yeah, and I struggled to run a quarter of a mile. I’m skinny, but way out of shape. Who cares, that wasn’t the point. I went for a run and you are never going guess who I saw!”
“Uh…” I expected her to say she had seen Liam. Maybe it was what I wanted, for him to be out there keeping an eye on me.
“I saw my future husband! He was out for a run too, and we jogged together!”
“Oh, that is… weird, but cool, I guess?” I said.
Ricky—as I usually called him—was the poor guy getting stalked by Kat.
We had met him for the first time the day Kat and I were leasing the apartment. We were meeting with the owner of the apartment to sign the lease, but he kept cancelling and rescheduling. He was a busy guy.
The owner turned out to be Ricky. While Kat had had several crushes throughout the year, once any of them disappointed her, she went back to her obsessive behavior with Ricky, who had yet to show an ounce of interest towards her.
He was a young guy, probably around Liam’s age. He was usually serious, talked only when it was absolutely necessary, and always had a guy or two around him. It was strange, but I usually let it go. He smiled or said hello when he saw either of us, but that was about it. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen the guy. He was always away and busy, which was why Kat always struggled to keep up with him.
I had told Kat there was something iffy about him, but Kat just could not look past his good looks. I couldn’t exactly blame her, the guy was extremely attractive. That didn’t mean he wasn’t just a tad bit intimidating.
“What’s he up to these days?” I asked Kat, because I knew she’d want to talk about him for the rest of the day.
“He asked about you. It was kind of weird. I told you him you got a new boyfriend,” Kat said in a teasing tone, grinning at me.
“Kat,” I sighed loudly, rolling my eyes.
“What? It’s true. It might happen. You’re into Liam, Liam looks like he’s into you—it’s practically official. Anyways, he was away on business,” Kat said, giggling and covering her mouth.
“Right,” I said, because Kat and I had always wondered what kept Ricky so busy all the time.
Kat talked to him any chance she got, but it was still not a lot. I sometimes felt like he got annoyed with her, but he was still polite and I appreciated that. He seemed like a good guy. He at least tried his best not to be rude.
“So he’s also working out?”
“He looked distracted?” Kat said, looking thoughtful. “I asked him if everything was okay, and he said it was fine. But I don’t know. Anyways, he’s coming over for dinner.”
“Yeah, he’s going to be here at seven,” Kat said, looking down at her phone.
She was taking off her running shoes and looking through her closet for clothes.
“Ricky is coming here, to our apartment?”
“Yes,” Kate said, and she turned to give me a flat look.
“He’s having dinner here, at seven?” I asked, just to make sure. “Ricky, Ricky—the one you’ve been in love with for the past year? That Ricky?”
“Oh, come on, Sav, don’t make me feel bad. I know it’s unbelievable, but I swear he’s coming. I invited him, and he actually said yes this time.”
“Why not?” Kat asked, and she sounded offended.
“No, I’m just saying. You invite him all the time, and now he suddenly says yes. It’s kind of weird, but cool. I mean, I’m happy for you,” I told her, offering a smile.
It was what Kat wanted to hear. How she could easily forget the entire year where she tried to get his attention and he had ignored her, was beyond me.
Kat had school that day, so I drove with her into the city. I called my brother on the way. He had been calling to meet up with me. Unlike me, Asher had preferred to rent a place in the city. He loved it there. While he didn’t mind visiting Leland, he preferred the city.
My face still had the bruise. It was fading away, but it was at the yellowish, nasty looking stage. I went with make-up, but Kat told me it was still noticeable.
I left my hair down, and I was wearing a hoodie. I was glad that it was cold out. At least I had an excuse for why I was trying to keep myself hidden. It hadn’t been raining in Leland, but as soon as we took the highway, we could see the dark sky coming on and it started raining heavily.
I met up with Asher in the student union. He was in between classes, and had been hanging out with his friends. I walked over to him and was received by a ‘hey’, a ‘hello’, or a ‘what’s up’ from each of the guys. I was known to them as Asher’s nerdy little sister, a name my brother did not mind because he was the one who had started it.
It was in good fun, supposedly. I was used to their humor. They weren’t mean, but they were crude, although never towards me.
“What happened to you?” Asher said as soon as I approached him.
He had barely noticed my cheek, which I felt self-conscious about.
“I fell,” I replied.
“That doesn’t look like you feel,” one of Asher’s friends, Mickey, said.
“Well I did,” I said, giving Asher a pointed look. I so did not want to get into it with him in front of his friends.
“Savannah,” Asher said, his eyes focused on my cheek. It wasn’t even swollen anymore. I thought it didn’t look too bad.
“I’m fine, I had a little accident. Gosh, you don’t have to look at me like that,” I snapped, and walked away from him.
Asher quickly started saying bye and waving at his buddies, and followed after me. The student union was packed and noisy. I assumed a lot of it had to do with the rain. Everyone was trying to stay dry or they were hungry. We were in an hour when a class ended and another one began, and there was usually more traffic during that time, especially on rainy days.
“Sav, wait up!” Asher called. He had lost me in the crowd.
Most of the student union was kept dimly let, except for the areas where there was a food joint. All the rooms with tables and chairs though, were mostly kept in the dark. There was enough light to see, but there was almost an eerie feel to the place. At night, when it was lonely most of the time, I could hardly stand to be there alone.
“You wanted to see me, I’m here. Now you’re making fun of me,” I told him, stopping in the middle of the hallway and crossing my arms. People were coming and going, giving me an annoyed look because I was just standing there.
“So you didn’t want to come see me? You’ve been ignoring my calls, why?” Asher placed his hand on the small of my back and softly pushed me towards one of the open spaces.
There were hardly any tables, but a pair of guys cleared one up after they did a guy handshake with Asher and he asked them if we could have the table.
I always felt so little next to him. Asher and I were different. We were as different as a pair of siblings could get while still being related to each other. Asher was outgoing and sporty, I was calm and quiet. Asher was tall and I was on the short side, although that might’ve just been because he was a guy. He was a complete jock, down to the looks, his friends, how well-liked he was, the girlfriends he had, and the way he behaved.
“Now you’re just gonna make me feel guilty,” I told him.
“Good, feel guilty for ignoring my calls. Where’s Kat anyways? I called her and she said you met some guy,” Asher said. He sounded serious. Asher was hardly ever serious, so I knew he might’ve also been a little mad. “Who’s the guy?”
“I don’t know what guy,” I told him.
“I’m going to get us some food, and you can rethink your answer. His name is Liam, that might ring a bell,” Asher said, before getting up from his chair.
Kat had already told him who knows what. Damn her big mouth. She didn’t understand that Liam and I weren’t even together. I was slightly annoyed by that. I knew that if Kat started spreading around that Liam and I were together, and then nothing happened between us, I was just going to end up feeling like crap.
Asher returned ten minutes later carrying two burger meals, and sat across from me on the table.
“Okay, now catch me up. I haven’t seen you since last week. You show up today with a bruised cheek and a new boyfriend,” Asher said, setting the things on the table and handing me my burger, drink, and order of fries.
“Isn’t it a little early for a burger?” I asked, eyeing the food. It smelled good, but I felt like eating actual breakfast.
“You can restrict burger time, Sav,” he said, playfully. “Now don’t distract me. Tell me about this boyfriend.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend, Asher,” I told him, flatly, but I could feel my face warming up. I didn’t like it when he put me on the spot.
“Are you lying?”
I sighed and rolled my eyes at him. “No,” I replied.
“Alright, I’ll believe you.”
“Gee, thanks,” I said, sarcastically.
“No problem. I’m here all week, from eight to five,” Asher said, and he chuckled when I frowned at him.
“That wasn’t even funny,” I said, and threw a fry at his face. Asher caught it midair and popped it into his mouth. Yup, he was definitely annoying.
“See what I tell you. You want to keep distracting me. Okay, moving on, where did the bruise come from?”
“I got mugged, sort of,” I muttered, eating a fry.
“You got mugged? What the hell! When did this happen? Why didn’t you call me?” Asher was pissed off now, but he started looking at me, inspecting me. “Did anything else happen? What did they take? Have you told mom and dad?”
“Why would I tell them? No, it’s just the bruise. Liam was there, he… he saved me,” I told Asher, and I couldn’t keep the smile from forming on my lips. Thinking about Liam definitely picked up my mood.
All the way into the city, I had been wondering what he was doing. I kept imagining him changing into the giant silver Wolf, and running around through the woods.
“And then you two started dating…? I don’t know, Savannah, I don’t like it. He sounds suspicious,” Asher said.
“What don’t you like? We’re not dating and you don’t even know him, Ash,” I stated, flatly.
It wasn’t like I had guys chasing after me like crazy, but every once in a while, when one was interested, Asher always found a way to get rid of him. There was always a ‘but’.
That guy is a player. That guy is too nerdy. That guy doesn’t watch TV. That guy watches too much TV. That guy always wears a belt—it must be suspicious. The list of things Asher always considered a problem with anyone was endless.
“Well, I mean, it just seems very convenient that he was there to help you,” Asher said.
“Now you’re just making stuff up. Look, I am doing fine,” I told Asher.
I knew that he was worried, but I wanted to reassure him that I was doing okay. I was fine. I was more than fine, I was actually happy.
“You don’t look fine. You skipped class yesterday.”
“My car broke down,” I shrugged.
“Again,” Asher said, frowning, his usual playful face looking serious and worried.
“I’m already getting it fixed. That’s why I didn’t come, but I’m fine, seriously,” I told him.
Asher didn’t look happy. The entire meal he was frowning and complaining. He asked why I didn’t call; I told him that I didn’t want to bother him. He asked if I was seeing Liam, I told him no. At least that made him happy. It wasn’t entirely a lie. Liam and I weren’t dating, not really. We were just getting along and had hung out twice.
By the time the interrogation was over, Asher had to get to class and most of his buddies were waiting around for him. The student union was still packed, and the rain hadn’t let up.
I met with my two professors, I printed some notes, and I ended up in the student union waiting around for Kat. I was sitting in one of the tables there, reading one of the chapters for the following day.
I was there when my phone started vibrating on the table. It was almost noon. I had been waiting for Kat to call, but I knew it was still a while for her to be out.
I was surprised to see Liam’s name and number lighting up the screen of my phone. I had only a second to be nervous before answering the call.
“Hey, what’s up?” I answered, trying not to sound nervous.
“Where are you?”
“I’m waiting for Kat. She gave me a ride. Why, what’s up?”
“I have your car. It’s ready. I’ll take the keys to you,” he said, casually.
“You’ll bring the keys… here? Like to the city or you’ll take them to the apartment?”
“Well, I can take them to you, if you want. Unless you’re coming back already,” he said.
“No, I’m not,” I hurriedly said, probably too quickly.
Liam chuckled. “Okay, good. Adam will drive your car over to your apartment and then I’ll head over.”
“Do you need directions?”
“Na, I know where it is. I’ll see you in about an hour.”
With that, he hung up. I was anxious. I wasn’t prepared to see him. I had been thinking about him all morning, but I didn’t think he would call.
Just like he promised, Liam arrived an hour later. He didn’t get off the car. He waited for me in the parking lot, far away from the student union. It was a long, wet walk, but I didn’t mind it too much. It was still drizzling, but at least the rain had cooled off.
Liam got off his car when he saw me approaching him. He opened the door for me, nodded, and closed the door.
His car was warm. I felt like I was making a mess. I dumped my umbrella on the floor. My clothes were mostly dry, but my converse were soaked.
“Are you hungry?” he asked, putting the car into drive.
“I could eat,” I said, although I wasn’t really hungry. I just wanted an excuse to hang out with him. I had already eaten with Ash. I was still full from the morning burger.
“Cool, I know a place,” he said.
It was about a ten minute drive to the restaurant, which was smack in the middle of the city. Liam and I made small talk on the way there, but nothing serious. He was asking about my classes, my major, how my professors were, and if I liked school.
He hadn’t finished high school, but he had gotten his GED. I was surprised to hear that he had taken a few college courses here and there, enough to pick up some things, but he never finished a semester.
“There was always something going on, something I needed to take care of,” he shrugged.
We were sitting in one of the tables towards the back. Liam had taken us to a small Italian restaurant. It was partly full, but everyone was talking quietly. The place was quaint—elegant and cute.
“You don’t want to go back to finish school?”
“Not really, I think I’m done with it. I have too many things on my plate, especially right now.”
“You said something similar last night… to me,” I said, quietly.
“I’m here,” Liam said.
“That’s supposed to mean… what?”
“It means that I like you and I’m trying to make this work. I’m not really known for trying hard at these things,” Liam said, motioning with his hand between him and me.
“Again, what does that mean?”
Liam chuckled. “I have to be specific?”
I shrugged. “I want to know where I stand, if I even stand anywhere.”
Liam reached across the table, and took my hand in his. He interlaced his fingers with mine, and began running circles with his thumb on the inside of my palm. It felt tingly and ticklish.
“That’s a loaded question.”
“We met two days ago.”
“And I found out your secret yesterday,” I reminded him.
“By mistake,” he said.
“I’ve never had a boyfriend before,” I admitted. Liam pulled away from me briefly, taking back his hand. He looked surprised by what I’d said. “It’s complicated,” I added.
Liam nodded. “Okay, so… You have never had a boyfriend and I don’t know how to proceed.”
“Well, I’m not a noob with girls, Savannah. The problem is girls wanting to stick around,” he said, smiling.
“You look too happy with that. You get… dumped a lot?” I asked, not really believing him. I could not imagine any girl turning him down. He was way too nice, and as superficial as it made me feel, he was gorgeous. I couldn’t see it—someone leaving him.
“Oh, no, that’s not what I meant. Making them stay, wanting to keep a girl around, really liking a girl—new territory for me.”
“Oh,” I mumbled. Suddenly, his words sounded really discouraging.
Liam smiled. “Don’t give me that look, Savannah. I’m not talking about you.”
“Because I haven’t happened yet?”
“No,” Liam said, “Because I’m actually trying.”
Liam drove me home after that. The drive was nice and quiet. I had to admit, there had been a smile on my lips since we walked out of the restaurant.
Liam had been sharing a few things about himself and Wolves. Wolves were fast, they could be deadly, they were dangerous, and I had to stay away. Except for him, but he was “awesome”. Those had been his exact words. I had laughed. He had that kind of humor—light and cheery. I liked it.
Even the night before, when I had known about Wolves, Liam had still been hesitant and more on the serious side. Now, I felt like he was opening up to me.
“Today… we should do it again,” Liam said.
He walked me up to the apartment. He was still holding on to my hand. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want for him to go.
“Yeah, we should,” I nodded.
“Kat is there,” Liam said, nodding. “I feel better knowing you won’t be staying alone.”
“She is? I didn’t see her car outside,” I said, trying to see if I hear Kat being loud or any music.
“I smell her scent—it’s a Wolf thing,” Liam shrugged.
He had been doing that all afternoon. He grinned at me, and it only made me smile. I loved it. It was kind of stupid, but I felt like I had my own personal superhero. The fact that said superhero had saved me multiple times, and was holding my hand only made me feel ten times better.
“Maybe I’ll see you tonight. I have some things to take care of, but I can come over when I’m done, if you want.”
“Kat is making this dinner thing, so maybe you can come to that. I won’t feel like such a third wheel,” I told him, giggling.
“With Kat and her boyfriend?” Liam asked, grinning.
“She wishes. He’s the owner of these apartments. Kat’s in love with him,” I told Liam, smiling. “So today is support Kat day.”
“The owner? I thought these apartments were owned by the people from Main Street? They used to be, at least the last time I was here.
I nodded. “They were but Ricky bought them out. He bought a ton of places.”
“Yeah, he lives on the abandoned house, out by the outskirts of town, about ten, fifteen minutes from you.”
“I haven’t heard of him,” Liam said, slowly.
It didn’t really surprise me. Ricky was a private guy. It was the main reason Kat struggled to keep up with him, but she definitely tried.
“Well, you’ve been away,” I told him, shrugging.
“I have,” he said, getting serious all of a sudden. “So I’m invited to dinner?”
“Yes, you are. It’s at seven,” I told him, placing my hands on his chest.
He was already leaving, and I wanted to have some contact with him before saying goodbye.
Liam nodded, and slid his arm around my waist. I expected the usual peck on the cheek, a smile from him, and some words on how right now wasn’t the time for us to be together. It was what I had gotten from him since I had met him, and as disappointing as it was, I was getting used to it.
But he didn’t pull away. Liam brushed his lips against my cheek. He rested his forehead against mine, closed his eyes and stayed there. I slowly wrapped my arms around his neck, wanting to pull him closer. Liam tightened his hold around my waist, and closed the distance between us.
I was surprised when he kissed me. At first, it was only a small touch to my lips. Once he pressed his lips against mine, it was like I turned something on. I felt Liam’s fingers digging into my waist. It wasn’t painful, but I felt the pressure. It was a nice, tingly sensation. His lips were moving against mine hungrily. I felt like all the restrictions he’d had since he met me, slipping away. His tongue was in my mouth, and his lips were guiding, and tasting, and bruising mine.
When Liam pulled away, we were both out of breath. I rested my head against his chest. I was trying to even my breathing. Even though we weren’t kissing anymore, I could still feel his lips, the little electric shocks that we’d created together.
Liam nestled his head in my neck, and placed a gentle kiss on my skin. “I think I want to do that again, a lot,” he whispered against my lips. I could feel him smiling against my skin.
I laughed, and enjoyed the moment. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I had to agree with Liam. I wanted to kiss him again… a lot.