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The crunch of the chip in my mouth sounded through my ears, continuing until I swallowed the food. I stared at Phillip, watching him eat his food. “Jason says you’re judging me for being a slut or whatever.”

Phillip choked, coughing and swallowing before he responded, “What?”

“You’re a virgin and virgins always judge people who’ve slept with people. I don’t believe him but I want you to confirm it so I can prove him wrong.” I munched on my food some more.

He put his food down and looked at me. “I mean... It depends.”

I eyed him. “On what?”

“May I ask how many men you’ve been with?”

“Only a couple.”

“A couple? Two?”

“Well, three but yeah.” I shrugged.

“Dates? Good times? What were they for?”

I crossed my arms. “Why does this matter? Was my brother right?”

He took a sip of his water. “I’m asking because you never know the person you’re having sex with if you just met them. Multiple people and now you’re at higher risk of STDs. I don’t care about your sex life that much honestly. The only thing I worry about is STDs. I just want to make sure everyone is safe because those are nasty.”

I laughed. “Why would it matter if I have those? It’s not like we are ever going to have sex.”

Phillip didn’t respond.

I stopped laughing, covering my mouth. “Oh, shit... You want to have sex with me.”

He cleared his throat, shaking his head. “I understand if you’ve had sex before. I can’t control your past. I can only express my concern that I want you to be safe from STDs.”

I ate another chip. “Will you feel better if I get tested?”

He scratched his neck. “Will you feel better if you do? It’s never wrong to get tested, right? Especially if you’re sexually active.”

“I’ve been with a few guys but I’m not active. My last time was two years ago.” I laughed a bit. “But sure, I’ll get tested and we will all feel better. Is that it? Do you judge me for having been with three men?”

Phillip looked at his food and shook his head. “It’s not my place to tell you what to do with your body. I know that people will only date those who have experience but you don’t have to follow that. There are also men who will date you even if you don’t have experience. I don’t believe in testing people in their sex life. As I said the other day, the sex can be amazing but that won’t tell you if you should be together forever. Sex doesn’t make the relationship.”

“Where is this going?”

He shrugged. “I was aiming to say that the fun in marriage and a honeymoon is exploring that world together. You know what you like with other men. I don’t know what I like at all. Your experience bears no part on the man you marry, and it’s the same with me. I think it’s fun to learn and grow in our sex life. I’m already a virgin and I’m probably going to be terrible until I learn what to do. I don’t care if she doesn’t have experience because it won’t matter on our honeymoon. As long as she is clean from STDs, we will be happy. We will explore what we like to do with each other. That’s the beauty of honeymoons. That was their intention.”

“Okay, so you don’t judge me. I mean, it’s established that you want to get naked with me and do sexual things.” I laughed.

His face turned a tomato red and I patted his hand. “Hey, Philly, it’s okay. You’re a man. You wonder what it would be like and I’m the only girl who talks to you. It comes as no surprise as to why you want to have sex with me.”

“Can we please stop talking about this? I might think you look nice but I am still sticking to my values. I want to know a girl before sex. Besides, you’ve made it clear that you’re not into a man like me.” He started eating again, trying to keep his gaze anywhere but on me.

I didn’t know how to make this go a better direction. I got up from my seat and took my chips with me as I left the shop. I wasn’t really sure as to where I was going but the answer was obvious when I ended up at the clinic.

I went inside and waited, filling out the damn paperwork as usual.

They called me back and did their usual with the tests, but it was no secret when they were being awfully rude to me. I was used to this treatment from the townspeople.

I left the clinic with my results, walking back to the shop. I put the paper down on the counter and pushed it towards Phillip. “I’m free of STDs.”

He glanced at it and looked at me. “What does this matter? We know where this stands.”

I took the paper back, crossing my arms. “Because who knows where we could end up? Nobody can predict their future. We could end up dating a few months from now and we could end up having sex in a year or two. Let’s live in the now. Let’s not worry about the negatives of our future. Let’s hope for the positives. I’m not saying I like you romantically yet but it could happen. Give it time. Maybe I’ll come to my senses and realize you’re a better choice than anyone else. Nice guys don’t finish last.”

Phillip’s eyes lit up after I finished my words. I meant them, too. Maybe I would like him for the way he was. He was better for me than anyone else. Only time could tell. If I controlled my feelings, I would fix them to like Phillip right now. Unfortunately, I couldn’t control that. I had to wait.

I smiled at him. “Hurry and get off. We’re going to float the river today and I don’t want to miss it.”

I walked back to my cabin while he finished up his shift. I changed into some swim shorts and a top. The only problem I had with bikini tops was that some made my breasts shrink in size. I was a D cup and yet I didn’t look like it with these bikini tops.

I grabbed my tube and walked down to the river where I met up with Phillip. I smiled when I saw him, stopping before I caught up to him. “Holy shit, Philly.”

He looked at me. “What?”

“You are so white. Did you bring a lot of sunscreen?”

He frowned and looked at his skin. “Maybe I want to tan. Because being so white sucks.”

I got over to him and looked at him, putting my arm next to his. My skin looked darker when I compared it to how white he was. “Why does being white suck?”

“Because everyone wants you to tan. They expect you to tan if you’re as white as me. The pack always tells me to be like the rest of them.” He put his tube in the water, holding onto it.

“The pack?”

“Uh...” He quickly walked out into the current. He was running from me.

I got in and followed him to the middle. We both sit in our tubes, holding our oars for steering. I shivered. “This is so cold. I was not prepared for this.” I looked at Phillip.

He chuckled. “I think it feels amazing.”

We continued down the river, keeping ourselves in certain spots to avoid bad areas. Bad areas include deep waters with fast currents. Those were dangerous. They also included areas where branches stuck out and undertoes most likely waited.

“This is marvelous.” I smirked, looking at Phillip. He shook his head, laughing at my silly joke.

We went down a tiny waterfall, and I bobbed a bit, shaking my tube. Phillip looked at the bridge coming up. I yawned, wondering how I could be so tired at a time like this.

I looked up at the bridge and widened my eyes. “Shit.”

Phillip followed my gaze to the black wolf that snarled at me from the bridge. I continued steering myself to the shore and Phillip followed. “Shani, where are you going?”

“Anywhere that wolf isn’t! Let me guess, you don’t see him? I have news for you, Philly. I’m a werewolf. The wolves hate me for some damn reason and I need to go somewhere safe. You don’t believe me. I get it.” I took my tube, getting out on the river bank. I started walking and Phillip followed in my footsteps.

“Shani, stop.”

I stopped, looking at him. “What?”

He sighed, rubbing his eyes.

I heard a growl and turned, seeing the same wolf now threatening me. “Come and fight me, you piece of shit.”

“Shani!” Phillip yelled at me.

The wolf came out me and I screamed when another wolf pushed me out of the way, biting into the neck of the black one. This wolf was pure white.

The two wolves fought, growling and biting each other’s bodies. The black one yelped and ran off, barely making it with the limp. The white one had blood-stained fur, looking back my way.

I held my chest, feeling the pounding of my heart. I looked back to show Phillip what happened in front of our eyes but he wasn’t there. He actually ran off. He left me here, in danger.

I turned back around, screaming as Phillip stood right in front of me, covering his naked bits with his hands. His white skin had blood marks all over, and he even had an injury in his side.

Phillip grabbed his glasses from the ground, putting them back on his face. He looked at me, keeping a neutral expression. “You’re not the werewolf, Shani. I am.”

Unable to say anything, Phillip led us back to his home, a place where he put clothes on and cleaned himself up. He sat down on the ottoman in front of me as I sat on his couch. I couldn’t speak. What could I say?

He cleared his throat. “The wolves are after you because I’m a werewolf. You’re just a human. I’m sorry. I wish I could take it back but they know things that you don’t. I know I’m pretty odd for a werewolf but I was just born with this wolf side to me and I can’t stop it.” He grabbed my hand, warming it up to comfort me.

“What do they know that I don’t?”

Phillip rubbed his neck, not looking me in the eye. “They know that you’re my mate.”

“Excuse me?”

“Wolves have mates. Even regular wolves. Normally we are paired with another werewolf but I didn’t get that. I got you. I know you still don’t feel that way and I have to respect that. But you have to know that they’re after you because a human and a werewolf are not supposed to be mated.” He exhaled a breath he had been holding.

“So they want me dead because I’m a human mated to a werewolf,” I repeated, trying to understand this logic.

“Yes. we live in a day and age where it’s still forbidden for a human and werewolf to be mates. They don’t want anything to potentially infect our pure breed and...a human like you could do that.” He gestured to me.

I narrowed my eyes. “Infect the pure breed? What kind of bullshit is that? They sound so hateful.”

“They are.”

I asked, “And the police, how do they know about the werewolves?”

He continued, “It’s a small town. Everyone knows about the werewolves. Only new residents don’t know until they do. That’s why the town hates outsiders. Outsiders are a threat to our town and our people. You are a threat to the race of the werewolves.”

“All this time the town hated me because I’m a human mated to a werewolf. It’s no wonder they assume I’m killing your kind. They wouldn’t dare accuse another werewolf. The humans are always the bad guys.”

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