Liam

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Chapter 7

“Roderick…” Liam repeated, sounding like he couldn’t believe that Ricky was standing there.

“I thought Savannah had told you about me. I see she hasn’t,” Ricky stated, looking partly amused. It was a strange look on him. I was more used to his serious, threatening appearance.

“She told me your name was Ricky. I didn’t connect the dots,” Liam said, sounding not too happy, his eyes landing on me again with a questioning look.

“She likes the nickname. It is not a personal favorite,” Ricky said, grazing me with a smile.

Ricky was drop-dead-gorgeously-handsome. That many descriptions were necessary. I found it annoying and unnerving. Kat loved it. She loved him. Getting a smile from him did things to me, and I had to look away. Something about him, it was truly unsettling.

“This is my territory, Roderick. I didn’t know that you were alive. But this area belongs to me,” Liam stated, his voice fully a threat.

Ricky nodded. “So I see. I was not aware you had settled in Leland. I want peace. I was not looking for trouble. If I had known the golden boy of the Rogues had settled in Leland, trust me, I would have picked another town.”

Liam cocked an eyebrow. “The golden boy—is that my official title?” he asked, sounding amused.

“Some say you hate pack life. I am simply amazed by how closely your Wolves resemble a pack, how much you act like an Alpha, and by all the power you hold with the Rogues,” Ricky replied.

Liam chuckled. It wasn’t friendly, but it also wasn’t hostile. He just continued to seem… amused.

“I have friends in packs,” Liam said.

“You have powerful connections.”

“From what I’m seeing, so do you,” Liam said, his eyes shifting to India. Liam was looking at her distrustfully. “I know what you are.”

India narrowed her eyes at Liam.

“Do you know what she is because of Layton’s mate?” Roderick asked.

“Cassidy is a Legen too. Your scent—it’s just like hers. Savannah talked about you. Some of the things she mentioned make sense now. I only can’t explain the dead humans. I know your kind don’t harm humans,” Liam told India.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“What do you want?” Liam asked Ricky instead. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pressed me to his side. I noticed that Adam stood beside me, close, almost in a protective stance.

“To share your town,” Ricky said.

The way Liam was holding me made me feel like he didn’t trust Ricky. Ricky wasn’t threatening us, and it was only him and India. Still, Liam was acting like if Ricky was a huge threat.

“I am not going to harm you,” Ricky said, almost like if he was reading my thoughts.

“Leland belongs to me,” Liam said.

“I can’t move. This is India’s home.”

“You hired human thugs to do your bidding?” Liam asked disapprovingly, shaking his head.

“They needed money, and I happen to have an abundance of it. Unlike you, my pack has been destroyed. I don’t have many Wolves on my side. Caine and Dylan made sure to kill most of them off.”

“Roderick,” India whispered softly, walking over to his side.

The way she treated him—it was obvious he meant something to her. Ricky’s eyes, which had been turning dark, shifted to liquid silver as soon as they landed on her. It was seriously too much. Ricky and India together were too much.

“Your thugs threatened me. They approached me while I was with Savannah, and they tried to attack her.”

Ricky frowned at his words, and his silvery eyes turned to towards me. “They hurt you?”

I swallowed loudly, not exactly happy that all of the attention was now focused on me.

“Did they hurt you, Savannah?” he repeated, his words louder.

“They tried to take me,” I admitted, my voice barely audible.

Ricky sighed loudly, unhappily, and shook his head. “I had no idea. I don’t control the humans. They are not like Wolves—they are not loyal. I pay them, they do my bidding, and they are sloppy. Did you take care of them?” Ricky asked Liam.

“I did, but that doesn’t stop the fact that my girlfriend got attacked by five of your thugs.”

I blushed at Liam’s words. The thought of how pathetic I was, returned to me. The silliest things got me excited. He had called me his girlfriend, in front of all them. It was not a situation where I should have been smiling, but I couldn’t help it.

I tried to keep a serious face, but I could feel my cheeks lightly trembling because I just wanted to smile. It was stupid, but I couldn’t help it.

“How do you know about Layton and Cassidy?” Liam asked Ricky.

I had never heard of those two people before until Ricky brought them up earlier. The way they both reacted to those names—it did not give me a good feeling.

“I know about Layton’s feud with Dylan. I have friends in Mountain Peak. I was there when Layton arrived to ask for the support of their pack.”

“Layton wants Mountain Peak on their side?” Liam asked.

I was getting lost, trying to keep up with all the names.

“He does.”

Liam chuckled at Ricky’s words. “Mountain Peak…? The pack with a female Alpha? The pack that is a Wolf away from falling apart? Layton wants them on his side?” Liam laughed harder.

“They have two Legens. One of them is mated to the female Alpha. The agreed to fight with Layton,” Ricky stated.

Liam’s mouth dropped open in shock. His hazel eyes, which were quickly darkening, turned to India. “There are four Legens?”

India looked at Ricky. I couldn’t decipher the look that they shared, but he shook his head at her. “Yeah,” she replied, but she sounded unsure.

I didn’t know if Liam picked up on it, but it sounded like she was lying. I didn’t even know what Legens were. Whatever they were, it had Liam freaked out.

“You should go,” Liam told Ricky.

Ricky nodded. India was by his side, his arm around her waist.

“We will continue this discussion another day. Leland belongs to me and I am not willing to share. I don’t trust you,” Liam bluntly told him.

“I am not looking for a fight, but I will not leave. This is India’s home, and it has been my home for a while now. We can come to an agreement at another time. Savannah has my number, in case you need to contact me,” Ricky told Liam, not even sounding a little scared by Liam’s words.

Liam narrowed his eyes at him. Ricky ignored the look. He turned to me. “I apologize for anything my… employees might have done to you. I will make sure that does not happen again. I do not like bullies, and I definitely do not like men threatening or hurting girls. I will take care of it. Kat is still asleep, but she will be waking up soon. You should be there for her,” Ricky said to me.

The air felt tense when Ricky was taking off. All of the guys were staring, threateningly. Neither Ricky nor India paid any attention. Something told me there was a reason why they weren’t scared.

“We have a problem,” Liam stated as soon as the guys made sure that Ricky and India were out of the building, which coincidently, Ricky owned.

“I thought he was dead,” Ren said, sounding like he couldn’t believe that Ricky was alive.

“I’m guessing he’s a big deal…?” I asked.

“He used to be an Alpha,” Chase told me. “I’m not from around here, but even I’ve heard of him.”

“Roderick had a mate—Irena. He was crazy about her. She was a psychotic bitch. She did not like humans—at all,” Liam added.

“I heard that Irena had a human parent, and she turned when she was eighteen. She always resented her family for that,” Adam said.

“My dad’s a human and that made me like humans even more,” Liam said. “Having a human parent is no excuse to turn into a psycho. Damn, all the shit I’ve done, and even I think that Irena was a fucking monster.”

Liam placed a kiss on my cheek. It made me feel tingly all over, just that small contact. But I could see he was still worried, thoughtful. His mind was on what had just happened. I didn’t even know how to help. I had so many questions.

Legens, mates, Alphas, packs, Irena, Layton, and Cassidy—those were a few things and names I had never heard of or didn’t know of.

“So what happened with Ricky and Irena?” I asked, deciding to tackle what seemed to be the easiest question, first.

“Nobody really has the story clear. We all just know one thing for sure; Irena asked Roderick to wipe out their entire town—Highland. He did. He killed every single human. It was fucking sick. I don’t know how he was able to do it. Everyone in Highland was a fucking psycho. The two Alphas that came after him—they’re Dylan and Caine. They arrived at the pack, asked Roderick to step down. He didn’t, and there was a war. Highland was destroyed, Dylan killed Irena, and everyone thought Roderick died during the battle. I guess he didn’t,” Liam explained.

It was way too much to process. Ricky and India were together. I honestly could not think of two people with pasts more messed up, and they were now together. In a way, it was freaky.

“Wow…” I mumbled.

“I know. It was the mate bond. I mean, I’m pretty sure Roderick is a sick motherfucker on his own, but the bond messes with you,” he continued.

“What is a mate?” I asked.

Everyone in the room went silent. They had been mumbling to each other, agreeing, nodding, or talking quietly about what had just happened. Mostly, they all couldn’t believe Ricky was alive. But my question made everyone go silent.

“Every Wolf has a mate—their other half. It is the person they are meant to be with. For a human, it would be like falling in love—except the bond is deeper, permanent, and it only happens once in our lifetime.”

At Liam’s reply, they all looked away and pretended to get distracted with my apartment. Suddenly, they all had to leave because there was no more danger and with Ricky in the picture, there were things to plan out. They could not get out of my apartment soon enough.

“Am I your mate?” I asked Liam, and as dumb as it was, I could hear how hopeful my voice sounded.

It sounded like such a powerful thing. He had simplified it, apparently. If Roderick had been moved enough by his mate to kill an entire town, it meant this bond thing had to be extremely strong.

Liam slowly shook his head, keeping his hazel eyes focused on me. “I had a mate—Abigail. She is dead.”

“Oh,” I said. I didn’t know what else to tell him.

Liam closed the distance between us. He wrapped his arms around me. There was a smile on his lips, teasing, playful. It was a contrast to how I was feeling, and to the mood Ricky and India had left in the room when they left.

“What we have is different.”

“But you already had her… that someone?” I asked.

“I did. That doesn’t change things between us.”

“How do you know?”

“I’ve been with a lot of girls,” he shrugged.

His words were not what I wanted to hear, at all. Liam grinned, though, sensing that I was not happy with his statement.

“They had no staying power. None of them.”

“You haven’t been in a relationship since…”

“Abigail, my mate, you can call her by her name. I don’t really talk about her at all. She’s my past and not a past I’m proud of. And no, I haven’t. Once upon a time, I thought I loved a girl. My feelings for her are now nothing short of non-existent. But she made me realize that I could move on. Up until her, I didn’t know that I could. I wasn’t caught up in my mate’s death. I wasn’t like most. Abigail died, my Wolf and I were in pain, I caused a lot of damage, and I moved on. Abigail… she was a lot like Irena.”

“I’m the complete opposite of that,” I stated. “Seeing blood freaks me out. I can’t stand it when people get hurt.” I had never thought about those things as weaknesses, not until Liam. I saw how they all were, the Wolves—they were really tough. I wasn’t like that at all.

“You are nothing like her. I like that about you. Maybe it makes me a twisted freak. Most of the Wolves I’ve met, they cannot move past the death of their mate. I’ve seen some Wolves go completely insane.”

“You don’t feel like that?” I asked, hopefully.

Liam sighed. “Not in the same way. I can’t explain it to you. You’re different. I wouldn’t change that. You just have to trust what I tell you. You have to trust me when I say that what we have is different,” he said, placing his hands on either side of my neck, making me look up at him.

“I do,” I nodded.

Liam grinned at me, before leaning down to brush his lips against mine. He kissed me slowly, gently. I wanted more. I pressed myself flush against his chest and deepened the kiss, slipping my tongue into his mouth even though he wasn’t pushing for more.

I smiled when Liam groaned against my lips. “You are good at distracting me,” he whispered, biting my lower lip gently, making me giggle.

“Good,” I said, pulling away from him and laughing.

He was still grinning, so I didn’t think he was too upset about me distracting him.

“So Roderick and weird girl, huh?” he said.

“You think she’s weird?” I asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“From this moment on, I’m declaring that every Legen is officially a weird creature that is just going to bring me headaches. I do not like dealing with headaches, although I rarely have them, I still don’t like them,” he shrugged.

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. He made me feel like that—I just could not be in a bad mood around him.

“You didn’t explain what that was… a Legen. You said India was one…. Why? What is it? How do you know?”

Liam chuckled. “Breathe, one question at a time,” he said.

“So India’s a…?”

“She’s a Legen. Cassidy, the girl I thought I was in love with—she’s a Legen too. She belongs to Blue Bloods. Roderick just admitted that two more Legens are flying around. They belong to Mountain Peak, and that pack has joined Layton’s side. I have no idea what part Roderick plays in this war, but even if India does not get involved, that is already three Legens on Layton’s side.”

“Why are you so scared?”

“I guess if I am going to explain this entire war, Legens, and your friend India-”

“She’s not my friend. I didn’t even know she knew my name,” I interrupted.

Liam grinned and shrugged. “Right, your non-friend India,” Liam corrected. “I should start from the beginning.”

“It’s been a while since this war started?”

“I started this war. Well, it wasn’t me directly, but it was because of me.”

Liam stayed quiet for a few moments, gathering his thoughts. He was trying to keep a blank expression, but I knew that he wasn’t exactly happy with whatever was crossing through his mind.

“There aren’t many Alphas. In the US, there are only thirteen packs. There used to be fourteen, but after Roderick was defeated and Highland was taken down, there were only thirteen left.”

“You’re an Alpha?” I asked, because Ricky had called him that.

“I have an Alpha Wolf. When an Alpha has pups, they inherit the gene. Even if he has two, three, four, or five pups—they all inherit the Alpha Wolf. But the oldest male always takes the position. It’s one of our customs. That is hardly a problem because Alphas tend to only have a single pup. It’s rare for an Alpha to have more than one, let alone five.”

“So you are an Alpha Wolf, but you don’t have a pack?” I asked, curiously.

Liam shook his head. “I’m a Rogue, but yes, my Wolf is an Alpha. I do have friends in packs. Roderick is right—I know important people. But I’m not in a pack. I’ve never considered myself a pack Wolf.”

“Okay, I think I’m getting it,” I said, nodding slowly. I was trying to take it all in, trying not to confuse myself. There was so much to his world that I wanted to understand—I wanted to be a part of it.

Liam grinned. “It’s a lot to take in. If you forget something or you feel like it’s too much, you can tell me, okay? I want to know. I don’t want to scare you off. I want you here, with me,” he said, nuzzling his nose against my cheek.

“I will,” I nodded, placing a kiss on his neck, and pulling away enough to look at him. I wanted to watch him when he explained. I wanted to take in his expressions.

“My parents are… My mother is the daughter of an Alpha—which is the leader and strongest Wolf in a pack. My father is a human. Every Wolf is supposed to shift when they turn thirteen. Because I am a hybrid, I didn’t.”

The way he spoke, it sounded like talking about his past did not bring good memories.

Liam stopped talking suddenly, and he gave me a flat look. “I don’t need your pity, so please don’t feel bad for me. I was part of New Elite Pack. When I was there, you could say I had a bad time. I was bullied a lot. I was weak, wimpy, small for a boy my age, thin, and short.”

I couldn’t imagine that. Not seeing the guy standing in front of me, over six feet tall, with an athletic build, and extremely handsome appearance. I couldn’t imagine a time when he wasn’t all those things. He didn’t want me to feel bad, yet I caught the emotion he was trying to hide in his voice.

“I was bullied to the point where I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to die. My mother, basically an Alpha Wolf, owned half of the pack fortune. It meant I had money. Took enough with me, packed my bags, and I ran away when I was fifteen. I hated everyone. I hated the world, I hated Wolves, and I hated packs. I was full of hate.”

“You were alone?” I asked, not able to keep the sadness out of my voice.

“I was. But I found a crew soon enough. I met the guys that I now hang out with. It wasn’t all at once, but we all got together from the moment I ran away from my pack till this day. I have an Alpha Wolf. My mother is an Alpha. But she’s a She-Wolf. A lot of shifters don’t consider She-Wolves as strong, even if they have the Alpha gene. It’s the reason I always get underestimated. I don’t mind, since it works to my advantage.”

I grinned at that. He seemed proud of it.

“Anyways, I assume it’s the Alpha side of me that makes the Rogues follow my lead. I have a crew. Roderick was right. I have a strange relationship with packs, but I don’t exactly approve of them. But with my crew, we follow a similar hierarchy. Packs have an Alpha, a Beta, Third in Command, a lead tracker and a lead fighter. They have rules and laws. I have the people I trust, and the ones who do my bidding, like Roderick called it. But I’m more lenient with my Rogues. If they are loyal, I will stand by them. These days, it’s hard to be a Rogue. They know I’m here if they run into trouble and I know I can count on them if I need help,” he explained.

“It actually sounds like a good system.”

“It works, and my gang is loyal. They are a lot more loyal than some of the pack Wolves I’ve seen.”

“How does this tie in with this war you keep talking about?”

“Blue Bloods and New Elite are neighboring packs. When I got my Wolf, I attacked them, killed some of their Wolves. Last year, I went back to attack them once again. I met Cassidy. Don’t give me that look,” he said.

I hadn’t noticed I was giving him a look. He had been watching me the entire time, probably to gauge my reaction to his words.

“I’m not giving you any look,” I told him, but it was a lie. Cassidy—I didn’t even know her and I already felt resentment towards her.

“With her, it wasn’t like you and me. I didn’t see her and automatically want her,” he said.

That was a confession I had not heard before from him, and one that shook me up in a good way. I only didn’t like that he was talking about the girl he had apparently once loved.

“I was impressed by her. Not at first, of course. She was pretty… cute, more than anything. It was the way she was that really got me. I fell for her. That and Legens have this crazy aura. Maybe you don’t feel it, but Cassidy drove Wolves in Blue Bloods and New Elite crazy. I noticed that India had the same thing.”

“What exactly is a Legen?”

“Legens are creatures… I don’t know how to explain them. They can fly, they have wings. They can do other things, crazy shit that’s pretty awesome. But it’s dangerous. They are not physically stronger than Wolves, but they have enough powers to unarm us.”

“So Cassidy…?” I asked, because even though I didn’t want to know, I really did want to know.

“I fell for the way Cassidy was with me. It was so stupid, and very much unlike me. I honestly have no idea how it happened, but after I was away from her, I blamed it on what she was. It stupefied me. I kidnapped her.”

“Liam… Oh my God!”

“I know, it’s stupid. Layton found us because I had no plan. If you know me well, you know I’m always the guy with the plan. This just happened. I just took her. I have no idea what I was thinking. I just wanted her so badly. Layton threw me in a cell, told Cassidy he had killed me, but instead shipped me to Midnight Moon—probably the only pack I can stand. Dylan, the Alpha of the pack released me from prison because I became friends with his mate and the Luna of the pack, Leila. You’ll meet her, she kicks ass. Layton found out about that, he got pissed off, and declared war on Midnight Moon.”

“This is the war you were talking about?”

“Yes. Half of the packs in the US are feuding because of me. It’s not a pretty feeling. I’m a person who likes to wreak havoc, but even I know this entire war has gotten out of hand. Roderick has just told me he has been in contact with more Legens, and they are going to fight against the only pack that I really consider home.”

“I think I’m still a little lost,” I admitted.

“It’s a lot to take in,” Liam said.

“How should I feel?” I asked, feeling insecure about his answer.

“About what?”

“You had a mate. I’m still coming to terms with that word, but I know it’s important.”

“She’s dead,” Liam stated flatly.

“How do you feel about that—about her?”

Liam sighed. He closed his eyes, and took a few steps away from me. I did not like the distance he created between us. “I loved her. That is the point of mates. You love them to the point you feel like you can’t live without them.”

“You still love her?”

“Yes, I think so. Not in the unhealthy way I did after she died. The way I mourned her… it was bloody. I killed a lot of Wolves.”

“Oh,” I mumbled once again, not sure how to feel about his reply.

“What you and I have is different. I already told you that.”

“Different better?” I asked, hopefully.

Liam chuckled, and shook his head. “Different, different. I couldn’t tell you. The first moment I felt you, I hadn’t seen you and my Wolf was attracted to you. I’ve never felt that before with anyone. I can’t tell you what we have. I can’t explain my feelings. I don’t think it would be normal if I could. I’m letting it happen. I know that you worry, but you shouldn’t. I feel it, strongly, here,” he said, patting his chest with his hand in a fist.

Liam smiled at me. “Let it happen. I’m here with you. I’m just asking you this one thing—let it happen on its own,” he said.

It wasn’t the declaration of love that I desperately wanted—as insane as it was—but it made me feel a lot better. I wasn’t sure if it was the way he smiled at me, the way he held me after saying those words or the kiss he planted on my lips right after taking me in his arms.

Kat waking up a few minutes later halted our conversation. She was pissed. I was happy that her anger was no longer directed at me.

She was cursing Ricky every which way. Kat could not believe that India and Ricky had been together all this time. Kat felt like Ricky had strung her along. Before, I would not have believed that. But the moment that Ricky accepted a dinner invitation from her, Kat had assumed it was a step up in their relationship.

She was hurt and in pain. Unlike the rest of the times she was going through a break-up, I wasn’t sure if she would be able to get over it as quickly.

Liam stuck around. He found it amusing every time Kat criticized something about Ricky, and then wondered out loud why Ricky couldn’t be more like him. Every comparison made Liam grin wider.

It was late. Liam had told me there was a lot to do, especially now that Ricky was in the picture and Liam had confirmed more Legens existed.

I was still having a hard time coping with the idea of Wolves. Now I had another creature to worry about, one that Liam did not trust. It was not comforting.

By the time I got Kat back in bed, it was even later. Liam was in the living room, waiting for me.

“How is she?” he asked me when I went over to sit with him in the couch.

“Well you heard her. She hates him, but she’s really hung up on him. Ricky and India, that really took both of us by surprise.”

“Why do you call him Ricky again?” Liam asked, cocking an eyebrow.

I laughed at his question. “It’s something stupid,” I admitted.

“I want to know. Seriously, that name almost makes him sound human. I’m curious.”

I laughed, and shook my head. “The day I him, he told me his name was Ricky. Kat had already seen him, and he had told her his name was Roderick. I think he was trying to keep his name a secret. He probably didn’t think Kat and I were going to be roommates, and Kat has a way of getting information out of people. When Kat mentioned his real name, he tried to act casual, but I saw the blush. He was embarrassed because he had lied to me. Since then, the name just stuck. But he hates it. I think it reminds him of that day. And calling him Ricky also makes him sound less threatening. Kat loves to call him Roderick. She likes how… dark he is,” I explained, laughing.

“You’re not moved by him?” Liam asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“Why? You’re jealous?” I asked, grinning playfully.

“I would be, but you barely paid any attention to him. It’s surprising.”

“Why?”

Liam laughed at my question. “Being beautiful, attractive, or stunning is a trait very common in Wolves. You get used to it. But there is averagely attractive, there is really stunning, and there is out of this world beautiful. So far, a friend of mine and Roderick are the only ones I know in that category. Most of the people I have met have had a reaction to those two. I like that Roderick doesn’t move you. I’m a guy, but I’m not blind.”

His explanation made me laugh. “So your friend is the prettiest girl you know?” I asked, and I knew that the answer to my question was a trap. Liam caught on to it.

“Nope, she’s the most beautiful Wolf I know. I met a human the other day…” Liam said, smirking, his eyes playful. “The things she does to my dirty mind…”

I giggled. I couldn’t even be mad or jealous. The way he acted—it was what I needed from him. He understood that, and I appreciated it more than he would ever know.

“That was a good save,” I told him.

“I meant it, not trying to save my ass,” he said, wrapping his arm around my waist and pressing me to his side.

“Are you gonna leave?” I asked.

“You’re kicking me out already?” he asked, smirking.

I laughed and couldn’t help but blush. “I’m not kicking you out. It’s late… really late. That’s why I’m asking.”

“I’m not tired,” Liam shrugged, but he did look kind of tired. It really was late.

“You can sleep here… if you want, I mean,” I said, awkwardly.

Liam cocked an eyebrow. He pulled away, but only to look at me with a teasing smile. “You want to sleep with me?” he asked, raising his eyebrows playfully.

“Oh, shut up. If you don’t want to stay, then don’t,” I said, but I was only kidding. I wanted him there.

“I do. I think I want to get taken advantage off,” he said, and I burst out laughing.

“I was only offering the couch,” I warned, but the grin was still plastered on my lips.

“Damn, so the couch is all I’m gonna get?”

“Take it or leave it,” I shrugged, heading over to my room.

“Now you’re ditching me?” he asked, but he was following me to my room.

“I’m going to get you some blankets and a pillow.”

“So all I get is your pillow,” he asked.

He was still smiling. I knew he was kidding. It was good. Now that I knew he was going to sleep only a few feet away from me, I was starting to get nervous.

“I can sleep on the floor,” Liam said, looking down at the rug beside my bed.

“You prefer the floor over the couch?” I asked, while I looked through my closet for some blankets.

“I want to be near you,” Liam admitted casually, like if his words weren’t at all a huge deal.

I tried to act casual too, but I couldn’t. I was way too happy.

“It sounds like you’ve been through a lot,” I quietly said.

Liam was on the makeshift bed I had fixed for him right next to my bed. He was so close to me, I felt him. I didn’t think that was normal—but I knew I wasn’t going crazy. I could feel him there, close, his warmth making me tingly all over. It made me feel calm, peaceful.

“Well, this is my first war. It would be my second one, but I’m not counting the first one because I only participated towards the end,” he said, like if discussing wars and battles was an everyday thing for him.

“What about this Legen stuff?”

“What about it?”

“What are you going to do?”

“I need to keep an eye on weird girl,” he said. “I also need to speak with Roderick. I need to find out more about those two Legens he found. Weird girl, those two Legens, and Cassidy—that means there are four creatures flying around. It doesn’t give me a good feeling.”

“Can I tell you something?”

I could hear the grin on his voice when he spoke. “You should turn on the light. If we’re going to be talking about unpleasant things, I at least want to look at something pretty while I do it,” he said.

The blushing I’d been doing like crazy came back. I also turned on the light. Liam sat up, and rested his back against the nightstand beside my bed. I ended up getting off my bed, and sitting on the ground, with my legs crossed, right in front of him.

“What did you want to tell me?” he asked.

“You know what you said about Ricky and your friend—how they’re really beautiful, even in Wolf standards?”

“Okay… Yeah, what’s up?”

“India is exactly that. I mean, you were happy that I wasn’t attracted to Ricky. I could say the same thing about you and India. Earlier, I was not exaggerating when I talked about all of the attention she got from everyone. She is really beautiful.”

“She’s a Legen. It’s…” he said, trying to explain. “I mean, it counts. I just don’t see it genuine anymore. After Cassidy, I feel sort of cut off from the attraction. You know? I feel it, and I see it. It’s just there to me, though. Weird girl looks just like any other pretty girl I’ve come across, and I’ve come across many. Looks don’t make you special, not if you’re rotten inside.”

“I love that you think like that, although I don’t think India is rotten,” I said. He had no idea that his words made him look a thousand times better in my eyes.

“She’s hanging out with Roderick. I can’t trust her,” Liam shrugged.

“Ricky isn’t that bad, though.”

Liam’s eyes went from hazel to dark in a flash. “You don’t know him, not really. Neither do I. But I know of him, and I know what he’s capable of. We have to be careful.”

I nodded. It wasn’t because I agreed, but I didn’t want to fight with him. He did have a good point—I didn’t really know Ricky. He hadn’t hurt me. He had been respectful. But there was so much more I didn’t know about him. I trusted Liam.

“Besides, if weird girl is as messed up as I think, and I know Roderick is definitely fucked up—imagine the kind of sick relationship they have.”

“I think it’s good for them. I know India has been through a lot. I’m glad she’s happy. You can’t judge her for that. It wouldn’t be fair.” I was again crossing territory that I knew was dangerous for us, especially way too early in our relationship. I just wasn’t sure how I felt about the last part of his words.

“You haven’t noticed,” Liam said, smiling and shaking his head, as if he knew something I didn’t. “I’m fucked up, Savannah—bad. I’ve done a lot of shit. I’ve killed a lot of Wolves. You don’t notice because, I guess, you like me too much, and I’m lucky that you do. You are all the good that I don’t have in me. It wasn’t what attracted my Wolf and me to you, but it damn well will make us work.”

And again, I couldn’t help but smile at his words.

We talked a while longer. I asked him questions, and he would answer them without complaining. I could tell when something that I asked bothered him. His eyes would grow dark, and his forehead would crease in a frown. He tried to hide it, but I was already getting used to him. I could easily spot it.

We both ended up lying down on the floor. We were still talking, laughing quietly. I could tell he was tired. I was tired. But I wasn’t ready for the night to be over.

I wasn’t sure when it was that I dozed off. Liam’s arm was around me, keeping me close. In all my nineteen years, I couldn’t remember a night when I felt as happy as I did in that moment, laying right next to Liam, knowing that he was there with me, keeping me safe and warm.

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