Cassidie woke up the next morning with a terrible feeling in her stomach. Coming out of the shower still drying her hair, Cassidie dialed Gabriella.
“Gabriella Gonzales, what’s black?”
“Hey Gabbs, are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fangtastic. Why?”
“I… it’s… I’m…” Cassidie sighed. “Something isn’t wrong, but I can’t put my claw on it. Call Mike, Stef and Jake and tell them to meet us at the Maul. I’ll call Cat, Alex and Kate. Talk to you in a mini-monster sec.”
“Kay.” Gabriella replied.
Cassidie called Kate and Cat. Kate was busy on a mission, but Cat said that she would be at the Maul in no time. But as Cassidie dialed Alex’s number, the feeling in her stomach got worse. The phone didn’t pick up, not even voicemail, and Cassidie’s heart sank. Hanging up, Cassidie ran as fast as she could to the Maul; from the looks of her fiends when they got there, it looked like they’d done the same thing.
“Alex isn’t picking up,” she told them breathlessly.
“Neither is Jake,” Stefan added.
Something occurred to Cassidie at that moment and she asked, “What’s Jake’s last name?”
“Wolfe,” Stefan and Cat replied automatically. “Why?”
Cassidie’s eyes widened in horror and she swallowed before slowly asking, “W-O-L-F-E?”
The others nodded and Cassidie ran a finger through her hair, muttering something under her breath. “That pink-loving poodle!” she growled.
“What?” Mike inquired.
“Jake,” Cassidie snarled. “I’m going to get you.”
She turned on her heel and was about to leave when Gabriella and Cat pulled her into a seat.
“Cassi, calm down,” Cat told her.
“Yeah,” Gabriella added. “Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding…” Cassidie wasn’t paying attention; she was focusing on a figure that had just entered the food court.
“Wait,” Cassidie said, interrupting the mummy-wolf. “Isn’t that Alex’s new girlfriend?” The others turned and spotted the swamp girl. What had Alex called her? Cassidie wondered.
“Oh, yeah, Amber.” Cat said bitterly, smiling wryly in the mucky girl’s direction.
“How do you know?” Gabriella asked, curiously.
“She dated Amber for a bit.” Stefan said, his scowl signaling that the story did not end happily.
“Before I found out she was cheating on me with a guy.” Cat added, glaring venomously at the swamp girl.
“Looks like she’s cheating on Alex now.” Mike commented.
“Oh no, she’s not!” Cassidie growled dully. She stalked over to the girl and pulled her out of her seat, holding her by the collar of her dirty shirt; since Cassidie was tall, Amber’s feet were a few centimeters off the ground.
“Why are you with that vampire-mummy-fish-thing when you’re with Alex?” the purple-eyed girl demanded quietly. “Stop cheating on my best fiend!”
“I’m not cheating on her; we broke up. Put me down!”
Cassidie slowly glared at her and set her down; Amber continued talking to the girl she was with and ignored Cassidie. “If you’re not cheating on Alex, why are you with her?” Cassidie asked through gritted teeth.
“I already told you!” Amber snapped, glaring up at her. “Alex and I broke up last night after that pack of wolves came and took her.”
Cassidie’s breath caught. “What pack of wolves?” she choked.
“You know, that pack of rogues that lives in Werewolf Forest. Their leader is this big, ugly, black wolf with a beady red eye and a funny looking blue one.”
Cassidie felt like she was drowning. “S-so you just let them t-take Alex?”
“Um, yeah.” Amber said as though everyone should know that. “I was scared and besides she’s stronger and prettier than me so if they wanted to mate with her then I wasn’t going to stop them. I mean…”
Cassidie moved away and staggered a few steps, putting both hands to her head. Cat, Mike, Stefan and Gabriella all began to stand just in case she was going to pass out again. This time, however, Cassidie began growling low in her throat. It reverberated off the walls as it got louder until it exploded from her lips and she began to change.
Everyone watched as her skin melted and stretched over elongating bones. Fur began sprouting from her pores as her fingernails grew even longer and sharper than they were before. Ears poked their sharp tips through her head and a tail waved from behind her. Cassidie’s jaw lengthened just a little bit, looking more like a cat than a dog and her teeth grew longer. The transformation ended with a red ring forming around her purple iris and Cassidie roared again, just to test out her voice.
Breathing heavily, Cassidie spun on one paw and picked the cowering Amber up by her throat, standing to her full height. She must have been at least six and a half feet tall because she still towered over her friends, even Cat who was tallest. Cassidie stared calmly into Amber’s eyes as the swamp monster sputtered out threats and curses.
“You’ve just made the biggest mistake of your worthless little life.” Cassidie said dully. “No one, and I mean no one, sells out Alex and gets away with it.” She squeezed a little bit harder and watched as Amber slowly began turning red.
“Cassi?” Gabriella cautioned. Cassidie turned to her fiends and they all shivered. The red ring around her eyes had widened and the calm, collected purple had been replaced with steaming lava and boiling blood. “Y-you don’t want to hurt her.” the Latina went on.
“Yes,” Cassidie replied in that same dull voice that made her even more menacing. “I do.”
“No Cassi, you don’t.” Stefan said.
“Yeah,” Mike continued. “Remember the prophecy? You had to still have your blood innocence.”
“That was to find the book.” Cassidie reminded him. “Not after I had it.”
“Yeah, but killing Amber won’t bring back Alex.” Cat had struck a nerve. Cassidie growled and loosened her grip; Amber gasped for air and Cassidie took that moment to talk with her ancestor.
“My daughter,” Kadmina said. “I would do the same for my mate, but you must get your best fiend back before causing someone eternal harm. Let us get your Alex back first and deal with her later.”
The white wolf nodded and dropped Amber heavily. Cassidie stared into each of her friends’ eyes, conveying to them that she was completely serious.
“Come on,” she said, heading for the door.
“Where are we going Cass?” Gabriella called.
Cassidie turned her head back to them and they were shocked at the amount of hard determination in the large wolf’s eyes. “To get my best fiend back.”