“How was London?” Emmett beamed as he greeted me with a hug the second I stepped out of the gate.
“It was amazing, Dad, thank you so much.” I sighed happily, sinking into his warm arms.
The trip to London had been beyond compare. It allowed me to take a breath from all the craziness that had been going on since we came to Willow Lake. However, I had found myself missing Alicia and Emmett more than I thought I would.
I felt almost like a new me, refreshed, energized, and free. As sad as I was to leave London again, I was glad to be back where Emmett and Alicia were. It was a trip I’d needed for more than one reason, and it helped me realize, as much as I missed being in London, Willow Lake was my home. After all, my home was wherever the family I spent over eighty years with was, and right now, they were in Willow Lake.
“Where’s Alicia?” Masato asked as he looked around.
Emmett released me from his arms as he smiled at me, “She’s working. Someone messed up one of the accounts last week, so she had to work today to get it fixed. Plus, she figured after the drive back to Willow Lake, you’d be hungry, so she’s going to have dinner cooked. So, Zach, what did you think?”
“It was awesome, thanks, Emmett. I think we certainly needed it, and it was amazing to see Thomas again. Not so much getting eye raped by Elise though...” Zach’s eyes turned to me with an eyebrow raised with his lips pursed.
“Oh come on, she wasn’t that bad.” I laughed amused.
“No, and in another life, I probably would have gladly accepted her advances. But, we’re in this one, and she’s my sister’s best friend, there are lines you do not cross. But seriously, what is it with Daisy and water bottles?”
“If I knew, I would tell you.” Masato sighed, patting Zach’s shoulder.
“Pretty sure she threw one at all of us, at least once.” Emmett chuckled, “All right, let’s get your bags and head home, huh?”
“Sure.” I smiled as Emmett turned and we made our way to the luggage collection area.
“So, feeling better?” Masato smiled sweetly at me from across the table in a small cafe.
“Very much.” I nodded as I sipped at my coffee. “Kind of sucks I have to go back to school tomorrow though, and exams start in a week.”
“Yup, back to reality. I’m glad Alicia and Emmett didn’t come across anything while we were gone, though. I was a little worried.”
I nodded my head as I sighed softly, “Yeah, just a turf war from what they found. We’ll go back to keeping watch and make sure no one gets caught up in it.”
“Oh, hello, Hallie.” The sound of Ms. Jameson’s voice caused me to look up from Masato.
“Hi, Ms. Jameson. Have a good week off dealing with us rowdy students?” I smiled politely as I inwardly wished she’d go away.
I’d quite enjoyed not having to deal with her for a whole week and how uncomfortable she made me feel.
“Hmm, I quite like teaching at the school, as loud as you can all be. It’s just part of the joys of teaching young minds. But yes, it was good, thank you. How was yours?”
“Was good, we went to London for the week, a little escape before exams start and all.”
“Oh, I do love London! So much rich history and stories sound that city. This must be the strapping young man of yours.” Her eyes turned to Masato with a quizzical look.
“Masato Hayawaka.” Masato smiled kindly as he held out his hand.
“Liz Jameson, pleasure. Hallie is certainly a very bright girl; you’re a lucky man.” She took Masato’s hand in a firm handshake.
However, as soon as their hands connected, his face flashed a brief look of confusion and concern, and he looked spooked.
“Yes, she certainly is.” Masato agreed, pulling his hand away and eyeing her suspiciously.
“So, Hallie, read any more of the book?” Ms. Jameson turned back to me with a broad smile on her face.
“I finished it.” I nodded.
The flight had been long on the way there and back, so I took the opportunity to finish reading the book she’d given me to read.
“Oh, excellent! I’d very much like to hear your thoughts; however, I am in a bit of a rush. Come by tomorrow during lunch so we can discuss it?”
“Sure. Have a good day, Ms. Jameson.”
“You too, Hallie, and it was lovely to meet you, Masato.”
“Yeah, you too.” Although Masato smiled, I knew him well enough to know it wasn’t his genuine smile. His tone held a sense of doubt to it, and his eyes were slightly narrowed at her.
Ms. Jameson nodded politely with a smile before she turned and headed towards the counter to order her drink.
“Babe? What’s wrong?” I looked over at Masato, concerned as his eyes remained fixed on her as she ordered her coffee.
“Nothing, baby, not here.” His voice came out a whisper as his eyes finally left her and looked at me.
“Okay.” I nodded, taking another mouthful of my drink, trying to suppress the worry I felt over what I’d just witnessed.
By a rule of thumb, Masato didn’t give trust away to just anyone. Especially where I was involved, but I’d never seen him react like that to someone.
No one had ever caused him to lose his genuine, sweet composure the way she had. He faked it well enough, so I was sure Ms. Jameson was unaware, but I knew.
“Have a good evening.” Ms. Jameson spoke as she walked past us with her drink.
She turned to smile as she pushed the door to the exit open before disappearing into the busy street.
“Let’s go.” Masato put his cup down and stood up from his seat as he held his hand out to me.
I nodded as I finished my coffee and unhooked my bag from the back of the seat. “Where are we going?”
“We’ll go back to the house.”
“All right.” I sighed, taking his hand in mine as he led us out of the shop.
“I don’t trust her,” Masato spoke as soon as the door locked behind him, and he threw up a barrier.
“You don’t trust many people, Masato.”
“No, but her? Something’s off, be careful, please. When she shook my hand, I had this weird flash. Only for a second, but it was like everything went black and I could hear a scream. It was a girl that screamed, and she sounded like she was in pain. The flash left as quick as it came, but yeah, I don’t trust her. Between the book, and then that, I don’t like it, Hallie.”
I could see the concern spread across his face as he spoke, his eyes not wavering from mine.
“Vampire?” Although I knew that wasn’t possible, she had a heartbeat like every other human.
Masato shook his head, “No, she’s not a Vampire. She can’t be a wolf, nor a Witch either. Not unless she’s like my Mom and yours, although I didn’t get that sense off of her. But other supernatural creatures exist too.”
“Yeah but, they’re all pretty much extinct at this point, Masato. Even then, the only other creatures that existed, to begin with, were fay’s which had been wiped out before even I was born.”
“Jinni’s existed too, although the last record of them was probably around the time the village was attacked. Don’t forget, Lycanthropes, too, the shape-shifting werewolves. Not the ones our family created.”
The Lycans and the Wolves our coven created were different. The Lycan’s were traditional werewolves, changing with the full moon and being human otherwise. The Wolves we created never could shift into human form again once bitten. They were exactly like the Wolves you’d find in the wild, only stronger, faster, more vicious, and holding the ability to turn another human into a Wolf.
However, in the entire history, only four packs of Lycan’s had ever been found throughout the world.
“Lycanthropes got wiped out by our coven back when my great, great, great grandfather ran the coven. Their bite was poison to us, it killed one of the younglings, and it had been a mere nip. He made sure all Lycan’s were taken out. Leaving only the Wolves, we created.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not running risks. Maybe it’s just me being paranoid and overtired. I didn’t sleep last night because of damn jetlag. Still, I don’t like the idea of taking chances when you’re involved.” Masato moved and wrapped his arms around my waist as mine rested around his shoulders.
“I’ll be careful.” I nodded and pressed my lips to his.
I knew I’d sensed something off about her the first day she’d stepped into the classroom. Even still, she left me with a light sense of wariness, although I never thought much of it. She would not be the first person I felt that way towards, and it be nothing more than just a pure feeling.
She had the heartbeat and scent of a human. However, I could sense Masato’s concern and worry, and in this town, we were learning that nothing was impossible.