His eyes shifted between me and his customers, and he knew I was pissed off at him. My arms were crossed, hood lowered in front of my forehead to cover most of my face.
A shadow fell over the table and I lifted my eyes to get a good look at who could possibly be the culprit. “Look at what the cat dragged in. Oh, I apologize. You’re not a cat but you sure act like one. Dogs are loyal,” I said with venom lacing my tongue.
“Shani, can we please talk?” Phillip asked.
I laughed without a drop of humor in me. “Talk? Are you afraid of the payback I have in store for the stunt you pulled? Pathetic.”
“What stunt? I didn’t... I’m really sorry. I am. I know that I can’t take back what I said. You’re not a liar and I know you care about me.”
“Do you really believe that? Do you truly believe I care about you? I’m just the killer. You were waiting for the moment to ruin my reputation for good, knowing the story was true.” I slumped in my seat.
Phillip sat down in front of me. “What are you talking about?”
“What the hell do you think I’m talking about? You were the only person who knew my secret! You were the one person I trusted to tell about the time I killed that wolf and you told the entire town. My brother had to bail me out of jail. You used that against me. You know how much that hurts when people see you as something your not.” I pulled my hood further over my face.
“Shani, I didn’t tell... I... I wasn’t the one who told the town. I swear it. I was just so upset with the way you were trying to turn me against my friends and I confided in Whitney about the kill. I... When I saw the newspaper, I was angry. I was angry because only she knew and when she turned you in like that, I confronted her. She came clean about everything and I knew you were right. You were right and I was a jerk not to see that these two turned against me. I thought they understood.” He sighed.
I looked away from him, trying not to look at his face. I had a hard time with not pitying people. “You insulted me. I tried to tell you the truth to save your life and you insulted me.”
“I know. It’s not justifiable. I’m just really sorry for being an asshole.” He put his hands up. “I want to make it up to you. I do.”
“How do you suppose you’ll make it up to me, Philly? You’ve hurt me. Now I’m seen as the killer. How can you make it up to me?” I tapped my fingers on the table, lifting my head in the slightest.
He stood up and pushed his chair in. “You wait. You’ll see. I will make this right.” He left the shop in a hurry and I watched him run off. Where could he be going?
Jason threw the newspaper at me, hitting my face. “Hey, excuse me!” I yelled at him.
He sat next to me. “Read it.”
I grumbled and looked at the paper, reading the headlines. I could not believe what I was seeing. “Oh my gosh. He... He...”
“He turned himself in. Now everyone knows you’re not the killer. They know humans aren’t as bad as they thought,” Jason said.
I stood up quickly. “Jason, Phillip is just a man. He is not like other wolves. He won’t survive prison. He needs me. Oh my gosh. I have to go fight. I have to tell them that he did it to protect me. Jason, we have to.”
“You promised to back me up in this. Help me.” I pulled at his arm, trying to pull him off the couch.
“Okay, okay.” He put his arms up and got off the couch himself. “I’m coming.”
I smiled and watched him walk with me to the police station. At least I had him by my side.
We arrived and the sheriff led us to the jail cell. I looked inside to see Phillip sitting against the wall on the bench. “Why are you here?”
“You turned yourself in. Why else?” I shrugged.
He rolled the back of his head along the wall as he turned to look at me. “I told you I wanted to make it up to you. I had to do that be letting everyone know that you were the good guy. You deserve to walk without judgment.”
“And you deserve to walk free. You killed them to protect your mate. The town has to understand that. They’re all werewolves and I’m sure most of them have mates.” I tightened my fingers around the metal bars. “I’m going to get through to them. This is my chance to save you from death.”
Jason and I walked back to the desk, demanding to speak with the sheriff. The sheriff agreed.
He turned to us and put his hands on his hips but in more of a manly pose. “What the hell do you two want now? You’re free. Your name has been cleared.” He eyed me.
“Sheriff Rockefer, I want you to know that Phillip and I are mates. Everyone knows that and that is why I’m hated. I’m a human. But he killed those werewolves because they attacked me. Don’t you have a mate?” I had to get to his soft spot.
His weight shifted and he nodded a bit, stroking his beard. “I do. She’s got a heart of gold but she’s not afraid to speak her mind.”
“What would you do if another wolf attacked her?” I was trying to keep my body language as open as possible to show him I cared. I had to be calm about this. I had to be persuasive.
“I’d rip the damn thing apart if it so as dared touched any part of her.”
“Phillip did that. Phillip did that for me because he couldn’t stand the thought of others hurting his mate. What would you do if your mate happened to have been human? Imagine your wife was a human instead of a werewolf. Would you love her?” The nerves in my body were tingling.
Sheriff Rockefer cleared his throat and put his arms at his side. “I would. She’s an amazing person and the wolf part is just a bonus. I love who she is as a person.”
“That’s great. That’s how it should be. Phillip sees me as a person. He sees me as a person who got mated to him. He judges me based on my actions and character. He doesn’t judge me based on rumors. He doesn’t judge me based on my DNA. He took the chance to know me and he wants to be with me. He deserves that happiness that you and your wife have. He was only protecting me when he killed those wolves,” I explained.
He rubbed his forehead and sighed. “Damnit, Hood, why do you have to be right?”
I smiled a bit. “Because love wins. You know what it’s like to love and to protect the one you love. You understand what Phillip is going through.”
Sheriff Rockefer took Jason and I to Phillip’s cell. He unlocked it and opened the door. “You’re free to go.”
Phillip looked at all of us, confusion etched on his beautiful face. “Free? Why?”
Sheriff Rockefer pointed to me. “This girl here gives a damn about you. She saved your life. I’d say keep her.”
Phillip stood up and took a few steps before finally leaving the cell.
I walked ahead, feeling something poke me as I walked by the wall. Who the hell left sharp nails out? This station was a hazard.
The sheriff walked back to his desk and the three of us left the station, getting to the edge of town. “Go on, we’ll be home soon,” I told my brother.
Jason walked into the forest and went home. I looked at Phillip and grabbed his hands. “I know you’re struggling.”
“Why did you save me after what I said?”
“Because no matter how mad I get, I’m not a killer. I can’t let you take the death penalty for me. You saved my life many times. I’m sure you will again. I had to step up and save yours. That’s what mates do. We save each other. I just ask one thing of you.” I squeezed his hands.
He nodded a lot. “Anything.”
“Can you trust me? I know that I’m not exactly the best mate ever but I’m trying to understand your culture. I want to know you. I want you to trust that I care about you. If we are going to make this work, you need to stop thinking of me as just a friend. I’m supposed to be your mate and I’m trying hard to act like one.”
Taking a deep breath, he paused for a moment. He looked at the ground and back up at me. “Yes. I’ll trust you and believe you. You care about me. You saved my life and you didn’t even have to.”
I smiled and kissed his hands. “Good. Put those words into action. I want this to work. I really do. You sucked really bad for a while. You hurt me. But part of relationships means having to trust each other and grow. We need to talk it out like adults. We need to understand that there will be bumps and fights but we have to learn to get through them. And I want to ask one more thing.”
Phillip nodded. “Go ahead, I agree.”
“I want to ask you to be honest. Did you sleep with Whitney?”
He laughed and shook his head. “She might have a good body but I’m not like that.”
“I hope so. I don’t want you to be that guy. I want you as you are.” I let go of one of his hands and walked with him through the forest. “So now you know those two are planning to kill us. What’s your plan?”
“I don’t have one.”
I looked at him. “You don’t have a plan? We better make one and fast. Now that you’ve turned against them, they’re bound to speed up theirs.” I coughed a bit.
Phillip and I made it back to his cabin. I grabbed some ingredients and started frying up a pan of meat. “So... How does it feel? Being wrong?” I cocked an eyebrow and formed a smirk.
“Awful,” he chuckled. “But I guess it’s not so bad. I still have you.”
“Get used to it. I’ll be more right than wrong.” I chuckled and coughed a bit more.
“We’ll see.” He came over, watching me make the food. “That looks amazing.”
I looked at him. “I thought so. I know how to cook meat. Being half of a werewolf twin has its perks. I love meat and I know how to season it just right.”
“It’s weird how you and your brother have been different species all this time yet you are twins. I guess it makes sense. You are fraternal twins after all.” He helped me with the meat.
I laughed. “I would hope so. I don’t want you to assume I’m hiding a penis under here. I’m a woman.”
He shook his head, smiling at me with his gorgeous blue eyes. I wanted to get lost in them every time we made eye contact.
I turned my head away and started coughing into my arm. It turned into a harsh cough and I couldn’t seem to stop.
I fell to the ground, finding it harder to breathe. My throat was closing on me and I felt arms flip me onto my back. I couldn’t breathe and my skin was breaking out.
Jason ran over, shoving an EpiPen into my arm. My throat opened back up and I began gasping for air, grabbing onto my cloak.
Phillip’s face was filled with fear. “What just happened? Is she going to be okay?”
Jason nodded. “She’ll be okay for now. Shani’s allergic to peanuts. She had an allergic reaction.”
“How? Did she eat them?”
I shook my head, coughing just a bit more. “No. Someone exposed me to peanuts and I know who would do this. Whitney and Sawyer had already started their mission to kill us.”