Shifted

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Chapter 24

"W-What?” I blurted out, gaping at Bennett like a fish.

I knew that wasn’t exactly a smartass comeback, however, I was too shocked to comprehend.

“You’ve heard me, Gemma. You can come to the pack house and sleep in one of the guest rooms, or I can stay here, but I’m not letting you out of my sight. Not until that fucker is caught,” he growled, his self-control hanging on by a thread.

I shouldn’t argue, but the thought of sleeping with Bennett was a temptation I wasn’t ready to survive. I mean, the wolf-being was already giving me a hell whenever he was near. If he was near in the same room or the same bed... How would that end?

No, no, no. It was a bad idea.

“I appreciate your concern, but I would rather sleep on my own.”

That was a lie, and, considering Bennett had been teaching me not so long ago how to detect it, he knew it.

Stupid werewolves’ stupid sense of smell.

“Not an option, Matthews. Not this time. I can sleep on the floor or in the wolf form if that’ll make you feel better, but you’re staying with me so I can keep you safe.”

There was no arguing. I felt the command caressing my skin and the wolf-being howling her consent.

Well, crap. I couldn’t even think of a last-minute excuse for my mum. So Bennett had to stay and hide.

I sighed, remembering why we had this discussion in the first place. I shuddered, hugging myself tentatively.

“I thought you were going to look for Keely...” It sounded a bit like an accusation.

“I would have probably joined the search party if you chose to stay at the pack house. But, seeing how this is not the case, my wolf won’t let me leave you. Besides, as horrible as it may sound, your safety is much more important to me than hers. And da knows what he’s doing. With Emmie there, they’ll be alright. They don’t need me, really.”

“This is all fucked up,” I sniffed, wiping the unshed tears from my eyes.

Bennett hugged me, wrapping me in his familiar scent. He placed his chin on the top of my head.

“It’s not your fault. None of this is your fault,” he said, correctly reading the emotions that were twisting my insides and making me feel so bad for Keely. I couldn’t stand the fact that somebody would hurt another person for me. It made me go crazy with guilt.

“What can I do, Zack? How can I help...?”

“You’re helping by staying away from the psycho,” Bennett interrupted me firmly, taking me aback by his sudden anger. “You’re not ready to face him. He’s cunning, he knows his way around stuff, probably has more brain than muscle, which makes him even more dangerous. He’s been watching you for fuck knows how long, and we had no idea...” He snarled, trembling slightly.

My hand moved on its own as it started to draw slow circles on his back.

“I’m safe. We’re safe,” the wolf-being/I soothed, glancing up at Bennett’s clenched jaw and fury contorting his handsome features. Zack looked terrifying when he was angry, but I wasn’t scared. Not when he gazed at me with those cyan blue eyes - full of emotions I was slowly beginning to unpuzzle.

Bennett sighed and reigned in some of his scalding rage.

“Okay, I’m good,” he remarked, his smile a bit self-deprecating. “I’ll better check on Jackson. Be right back. Leave your window open," he winked, and I shook my head, watching him leave the garage.


*

I had to learn how to defend myself, I decided while climbing up the stairs. I was no stranger to the pitch brawls, but they were generally stopped before any real damage was done. Soooo, Bennett was partially right when he pointed out I was no fighter. And, frankly, it was fucking sad. If worse came to worse, I would rather kick the psycho’s ass or die trying than wait for others to save me. Hence, I needed somebody to teach me at least basic moves. Maybe Bennett could do it? Or Emmie would be up to it?

I sighed, bumping into mum on my way.

“What’s with the long face, honey? You didn’t like the gift?” She asked, frowning.

"Nay, it was okay,” I lied through my teeth, fake-smiling.

“So it wasn’t from somebody you wished it would be, then." Mum had no idea. “I thought it was from Bennetts’ boy. He seemed quite into you last time he came by...”

Wow, Emmie’s cousin managed to woo my mum. Miracles did happen.

“No, it wasn’t from him,” I mumbled and faked a yawn. I had become a queen of faking, lately. “Mum, I’m tired. I think I’ll turn in for the night.”

“Okay, sweety,” she said, looking a bit worried. She kissed me on the forehead, and I hugged her, in need of her motherly love. “Have a good night.”

“You too,” I said back quietly, reluctantly letting her go.

I walked into my room, locked the doors behind me, and headed straight for the window. Bennett poked in his head a second later, almost giving me a heart attack. I yipped.

“Jesus, a little notice wouldn’t hurt, you know,” I whispered-yelled while he gracefully slid into my room.

“Sorry, Matthews, I thought you finally learnt how to use your nose,” he teased, closing the window behind him.

He was still half-naked, only in the green sweatpants, so I had to make a conscious effort not to ogle him. Obviously, with the way he lazily crossed his arms over his chest to give them even more bulk, he knew that. And my hormones were basically waving a red flag in front of him with the way my body reacted to his idiotic flexing. Perfect. This situation couldn’t get any more awkward.

I cleared my throat.

“Has Jackosn found anything?”

“Nope, I haven’t either,” He answered, looking at me heatedly.

I gulped, distracting myself from my lustful thoughts by skimming my room. With Bennett standing here, I felt a bit conscious about my little kingdom - its rather girly, mauve walls, white metal-framed bed, pictures of me, my friends and family littering the walls, and clothes lying everywhere but in the huge white wooden wardrobe.

“I wasn’t expecting guests. Let me tidy up,” I changed the topic, embarrassed, hastily grabbing stuff from the floor and literally throwing it back to the closet. “Bathroom is over there, by the way,” I waved towards the doors by the window, focusing my attention on the task at hand.

Bennett nodded but otherwise made no move. Only his eyes were watching me struggle to get the room a little bit more presentable.

I wasn’t even sure why I made an effort. Technically, Bennett wasn’t my boyfriend. I didn’t know what he was. We kissed once. I had been told he was my mate (and some part of me agreed with that), but it wasn’t like it was official. I didn’t even know what this whole ‘mate’ thing indicated, besides, that it was something equal to marriage in werewolves’ world.

Well, it would make my life a tad less difficult, if I finally stopped being ignorant about a lot of stuff. I needed a werewolves’ crash course.

Hell, I needed a crash course on a lot of things.

I threw the last piece of clothes on the shelf and shut the doors. I turned around, noticing that Bennett was, in fact, still observing me.

“Are you done?” He asked, raising his brow.

I nodded.

“Great,” he approached me.

And then he kissed me.

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