Zev spent the afternoon telling me stories about the time when he and Layton were kids. I listened intently, absorbing every word he said.
“I always thought our packs would merge once we took over as Alphas,” Zev said.
“You did?” I questioned, trying to consider the possibility.
“It made sense back then. Layton and I, we were brothers,” Zev said, a sad tone taking over his voice.
After that, he told me more about shifting. He even mentioned why most of them had skipped a year of school.
“It happens when we turn sixteen,” he said. “Our Wolf acts up and starts going wild.”
The Wolf inside of them matured when they turned sixteen. It had happened before that a Wolf overpowered the human side, so they needed to thread carefully during that period. The rebellion usually lasted a few months, but they were kept under watch for longer, just as a precaution.
Zev smiled at me knowingly when I mentioned mates.
“He told you, huh?”
“Layton said I was his mate,” I replied, feeling the heat rising in my neck and cheeks.
I was embarrassed to talk about boys. I felt even more embarrassed talking about boys, with a boy who happened to be Zev.
“It’s true,” Zev said. His eyes roamed around my face, like he was searching for something.
“I needed confirmation,” I admitted.
“Are you okay with it?” Zev questioned.
“At first, but now I have a lot to think about.”
“Why?” He asked.
“Layton is complicated.” That was putting it easy.
“Trust me, Layton’s not that bad. He might be with some people, but he won’t be that way with you. A Wolf could never hurt his mate,” Zev said.
His words put me at ease, but I couldn’t let go of some reservations I still had towards Layton.
“Layton doesn’t like that I’m not a Werewolf. He said Alphas are supposed to be the strongest, and well, I’m me,” I told Zev, wanting to have a second opinion.
I didn’t want to make a mistake by staying with Layton if I wasn’t important to him, or if he had been willing to give up on me because he thought I was weak.
“He said that?” Zev asked, sounding irritated.
“Well, he didn’t say it with those words. But he implied it.”
“Layton won’t be able to stay away from you, no matter how hard he tries.”
“You make it seem like he only wants to be with me because I’m his mate,” I flatly stated, not liking at all how Zev had phrased that comment. Zev laughed at my words, running his hand over my cheek softly.
“Layton cares a lot about you. He might even love you already. He just has a weird way of thinking some times. But don’t think that just because you two are mates you have to be with him.” Zev told me.
“What’s up?” He asked. We had been in my room for a while and he was looking through one of my photo albums.
“Do you have a mate?” I asked him.
He grinned at me widely, before fuzzing up my hair. I slapped his hand away, but it only made him laugh out loud.
“No, I don’t,” he replied, smiling happily.
“You sound too smug about it. Shouldn’t you be upset that you don’t?” I asked.
“I’m not looking for my mate. I’m perfectly fine just how I am, and now I have you,” he said, while wrapping his arms around my shoulders and squeezing me against him.
“You use your abnormal Wolf force against me,” I groaned out.
“It’s not my fault you’re a wimp,” Zev said.
“But really, you don’t want a mate?” I asked.
“I have a girlfriend, does that count?” He asked.
“Hmm…” I said, thinking over his words.
“Well, that’s the equivalent of a mate in the human world so I think it counts,” I replied with a shrug.
“Cool,” Zev said, and he continued to flip through my photo album.
“Does Layton know?” I interrupted the silence about five minutes later.
“I doubt it. Layton and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms. Our packs aren’t allowed to talk amongst each other.”
“That sucks,” I said.
“Not really, I’m used it. Besides, Hanna is just my girlfriend.”
“Zev,” I scolded, looking at him disapprovingly.
“What?” He asked, sounding confused by my tone.
“She’s still your girlfriend. You make it seem like it’s no big deal.”
“Well, I don’t know, I guess. Why do you ask anyways?”
I rolled my eyes and shook my head at him.
“I know this will sound very dumb, but Layton is sort of jealous of you. He doesn’t like that we’re friends. That or he can’t stand seeing people happy,” I grinned.
I couldn’t help but think about how moody Layton could get at times. My grin turned into a frown when I saw the intense look in Zev’s eyes.
“Layton has a right to be jealous. When I saw you for the first time, I went over to your table because I felt a pull towards you.”
“Oh,” I said, feeling lame because Zev had just confessed something big.
“Hanna and I were already together by then, but she wasn’t my mate. Since I felt attracted to you, I thought you were my mate.”
I stayed quiet for a while, absorbing his words.
“My attraction grew even more after I touched you. I could practically swear you were my mate. I could feel the connection between us, the electricity that mates supposedly feel when they meet.”
I knew what he was talking about. That was how I felt whenever Layton and I touched.
“When I saw you with Layton, I realized that you weren’t my mate, you were his. I didn’t understand why I felt that way, I still do. You’re too easy to talk to, you know that?”
He laughed at his own words, and I gave in to a smile. Zev was trying to lighten up the mood, even though he had left me confused with his words.
“I know you’re not my mate, but every time I’m around you, it just feels right.”
“What about Hanna?”
“It’s different with her.
“What do you mean?”
“With you, I have all the feelings a Wolf should have for his mate, except I know you don’t belong to me. My Wolf reminds me that you’re not ours, but he still wants to be around you all the time.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything. I want for us to be friends. I feel threatened by Layton because I know he has the power to keep you away from me, but I hope that doesn’t happen,” Zev said, taking my hand in his.
“Don’t fear, Cassidy’s here,” I said in an overly cheery voice.
“I’m scared of you right now,” Zev told me playfully.
“Hey, I’m serious. You don’t have to worry about anything. You’re my BFF. Besides, there’s no way I would let Layton tell me what to do.”
It was almost eight at night when I was waving at Zev from my front door. We’d been talking some more, and he had cleared up other things about Wolves.
I spent the rest of the night in the living room with my parents. Their new work schedule had left them very little time, and I was really missing them. I was with them almost two hours, before they popped in a movie.
My mom started cozying up with my dad, which was my cue to go up to my room and lock the door. I didn’t want to imagine what they would be doing later on. It was always their routine.
I felt a presence in my dark room right after I shut the door. My body knew it was him even before I did. I flipped on the light switch, even though I already knew it was Layton.
He was standing next to my bed, looking at me murderously. Unlike last night, he was actually wearing a full set of clothes, which meant he had gotten to my house the regular way.
I gave myself a few moments to take in his appearance. I didn’t think I would ever get used to how attractive he was.
“Would you like to explain why Zeverus’ scent is all over your room?” Layton growled.
The power he was imposing almost made me back down from his stare, but I didn’t allow myself to go through with it.
“Well…” I was trying to think of the best way to explain myself without sounding suspicious.
“Why is his scent in your room?” Layton snapped. I was scared that my parents would hear him.
“My parents are downstairs Layton. You have to keep it down,” I hissed.
“You reek of him.” He was speaking through gritted teeth.
“What were you two doing? His scent is all over you,” Layton growled. He walked in my direction but didn’t try to touch me.
“Zev wanted to make sure you hadn’t killed me. We hung out for a little while and then he left.”
“I told you not to see him. That was my only rule. And that doesn’t explain why his scent is all over you.” Layton was accusing me again, even though we weren’t even together.
“Layton, you don’t make rules that I follow. I do what I want, when I want.” I crossed my arms on my chest and glared at him.
“The hell you do. No mate of mine will be running around with the enemy doing God knows what,” Layton said, in a low steady voice that sounded more threatening than when he growled at me.
“Well then I guess you can get yourself a new mate, because this one will not put up with your crap. Now get the hell out of my room,” I told him, pointing towards the window.
Layton didn’t move from where he stood. Instead, he narrowed his eyes at me. I could almost feel like he was going to shift into his Wolf right there, in the middle of my room.