I slept for a couple of hours. I woke up to find Layton next to me, lying down on his side, watching me sleep. I didn’t know how he didn’t get bored of just watching me sleep. It was the second time he’d done that.
“What time is it?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
My body felt a lot better than when I had gone to bed.
“It’s just past two,” Layton replied.
“Your fever went down. It’s practically gone,” he told me, softly running his hand over my forehead and on my cheeks.
He was still worried, but I could tell he was a lot more relaxed than before.
“I can tell. I don’t feel like crap anymore,” I told him.
After I placed my feet on the ground, I got up to stretch. Layton was staring at me, his gaze slowly roaming down my body. I was wearing pajama shorts and a tight tank top. Layton had seen me wearing revealing clothes before, but most of those times we were arguing or he was distracted.
I felt exposed, and the way he was staring at me, hungrily, made me blush.
“Hey!” I snapped, clapping my hands in front of his face.
I was embarrassed although Layton didn’t seem to mind the view.
“Do you know how hot you look right now?” Layton asked.
He smirked at me, and was cocking an eyebrow.
“Uh huh,” I mumbled, and turned to walk out of the room.
“You really do,” he said.
When I turned back to face him, he was looking down, lower than my back. I narrowed my eyes at him, but it only made him grin at me.
Since I had skipped lunch at school, I felt starved. I asked Layton to cook for me, but he was useless when it came to making a meal. I decided to make mac and cheese, and threw some frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave.
We were both sitting in the booth while we ate.
“How did you spend your Sunday?” I asked Layton, curious as to what he had done all day.
We had talked on the phone, for a very long time. But it had mainly consisted of me doing all the talking and Layton listening to me, only sneaking in a question when he thought I was going to hang up.
“I took care of some pack business,” he replied, eating his food with a serious face, acting like if he was doing homework.
“What does ’taking care of some pack business mean?”
I couldn’t help but wonder what Werewolves did.
Did they shift and run around chasing squirrels all day?
I brought out my wings whenever I got the chance, but it wasn’t always often. I had to be careful to hide them from view. Or I had to fly really high in the sky to become invisible, which was the only way to actually stay safe from being seen.
“Everyone in the pack has a job. Some do rounds around our territory, other work with the business side of the pack, a couple others manage the pack infirmary, and others take care of the trainings for the younger members. There are more duties, but those are some of the main ones. I usually supervise that everything is running smoothly.”
I wanted to laugh, because his duty pretty much sounded phony. But I knew he wasn’t joking, he never was.
“Is it dangerous?”
“Sometimes, when there are Rogues or strange Wolves in our area which shouldn’t be there.”
His words made me think about Liam, Zev’s cousin who had gone Rogue. He’d killed his own people and members from Layton’s pack. I frowned at the thought, but continued eating, only because I didn’t want to worry Layton any more than I already had.
Layton insisted that I slept some more so that my body could get a chance to properly recover. It was obvious he really cared. He wanted me to get better. Except I had slept too much already, and I wasn’t sleepy anymore.
After some arguing, I proposed that we should watch a movie. Layton agreed, reluctantly, but he still didn’t fight with me. I knew it was because he thought I was still feeling ill. I appreciated that he cared though.
Layton left home around seven. He didn’t want to leave, but he had to. The only reason he did leave was because I promised to call if anything happened to me.
I wasn’t ready for a meeting between my parents and him. My dad had barely accepted Zev, who was just my friend.
He wouldn’t like that I was dating anyone, even though I wasn’t sure that Layton and I were together.
I couldn’t find sleep when I went to bed. After trying to doze off for about an hour, I turned on the light and started reading a book. I had just flipped the first page when my phone went off.
It was Zev calling. I answered my phone as soon as I saw his name blinking in my screen.
“Zev!” I excitedly cried into the phone.
“I see you sound much better,” Zev replied with a chuckle.
“I slept as soon as I got home. Now I can’t sleep and I’m bored.”
“You sound hyper.”
“I think it’s because I’m just really awake.” At least that was my best guess.
“That could be it.”
“So, how was PE without me? I bet you sobbed all period long.”
I was grinning at the thought of having Zev actually sob about something. He was so tough and manly, it was funny to imagine him sobbing like a little girl.
“I think I scared some people with my uncontrollable pleas for you.” I could hear the grin in his voice and it caused me to laugh.
“Anyways Zev, what can I do for you pumpkin?”
“I wanted to check how you were doing. I see you haven’t lost your touch, which means you’re good, so I’ll let you go to sleep,” he said.
“No! Don’t hang up. Didn’t you hear that I’m bored?” I whined.
“I heard loud and clear,” Zev said, sounding amused.
“Let’s talk!” I told him, until I realized he might not want to be on the phone so late.
“Wait, never mind. If you have to go, I totally understand.”
“I don’t have to go. So, let’s talk!” Zev said, trying to imitate my cheery voice.
We ended up talking until I felt asleep with him still on the phone.
I was standing alone, in the middle of the woods.
Everything was deadly silent. In the distance, I heard light thuds making their way towards me. I didn’t know where they were coming from, but I looked everywhere. I was scared of talking and attracting the attention of whatever was there.
I took a few steps deeps into the trees. Just then, I heard a loud dangerous growl. I didn’t want to turn around, but I felt scared, panicky even. When I finally turned around, I saw as a Wolf jumped in the air to attack me.
My white wings fluttered out on their own accord and fully wrapped around my body. I was trying to protect myself from the Wolf. I closed my eyes and waited for the Wolf to attack.
It never did.
I unwrapped my wings from my body slowly, taking my time. I was scared of what I’d see.
When I finally opened my eyes, I was standing alone in another part of the woods. My wings retracted inside my back. I wanted to fly, but I couldn’t manage to bring my wings back out.
I could feel heat emanating from me, my forehead was sweating, and the white dress I was wearing stuck to my body in a very uncomfortable way. I took a long shaky breath, and closed my eyes once again. I was trying to calm my erratic beating heart, but nothing was helping.
When I opened my eyes, I was surrounded by a ring of fire. My hands felt warm, and when I looked at them, I realized they were a bright red, orange color. In just seconds, my body started igniting in fire, starting with my hands, and ending in my feet.
The fire felt hot, but for some reason, it wasn’t burning me.
I sat up abruptly in my bed, and looked around the dark room I was in. I was back in my house, in my room. It was early morning, but the strange dream had woken me up.
I was drenched in sweat and my clothes were sticking to me. The phone was still in my hands from when I talked to Zev the previous night. I held it closer to me, trying to find a way not to feel so alone.
I woke up the next morning with my phone still in my hands. I didn’t even feel like I had been sick the day before. The crazy dream was still playing in my mind, but there was no way for me to explain it.
I arrived at school to find Layton standing in the parking lot, waiting for me. I parked in front of where he stood. His arms were crossed, and there was a blank expression on his face.
“Hey,” I said, waving at him slowly.
Layton replied by nodding at me.
When I started walking away, Layton reached out and stopped me.
“Is something wrong?” I asked, tugging on my arm.
There was no point in trying to pry my hand away, because he had a strong grip on me.
“Okay, what’s up?” I asked, rolling my eyes at him.
I had a bad feeling that he was going to send me back home out of paranoia that I was sick.
“I’ll walk with you to class,” he told me, in his usual serious voice.
I cocked an eyebrow at him, but was forced to follow after him because he was holding my hand with a deadly grip.
Soon enough, he interlaced our hands, and loosened his hold, but not loose enough where I could slip my hand away.
All the way to the main campus, people kept staring at us and giving us strange looks. My heightened senses let me hear all the whispering and murmuring going on about Layton and me.
Our first stop was my locker. Layton didn’t release my hand when we reached my locker and it was really hard to open it using just one hand. As best as I could, I exchanged books, and notes.
Layton’s grip on my hand tightened drastically while I was looking for a pen in my bag. I was about to tell him he was hurting me, when I looked up and saw Zev passing by.
I didn’t get a chance to call him over or talk to him, because just as I was about to open my mouth, Layton pushed me against the lockers. He kissed me, intensely, while running his hands over my waist and on my lower back. He was acting like if we weren’t in school and everyone wasn’t staring at us.
“Why did you do that?” I asked, breathlessly, when I managed to push him away.
“What? I just kissed you,” Layton answered, trying and failing to sound casual.
“Did it have anything to do with Zev passing by?” I asked, even though I knew the answer to that.
“Why would I care about him? I felt like kissing you so I did,” Layton defensively replied.
“Yeah, right,” I said, rolling my eyes at him.
I left him standing there and headed to class. He followed me shortly after, and took my hand, softer than he’d done before.
I wasn’t sure if we were together, but we had moved on to holding hands in public and making out next to lockers.
All morning long, everyone asked me if Layton and I were going out. I didn’t have an answer. It was understandable why people were getting that impression. It seemed like Layton wanted to make a statement when he pushed me next to the lockers.
But Layton hadn’t directly asked me to be his girlfriend.
I went to drop my things off in my locker after the bell for lunch rang. Zev was leaning next to it, talking with Micah and Jonas.
“Hey stranger,” Zev said, moving from my locker so that I could open it.
“Hi cupcake,” I waved at Zev, smirking when he shook his head after I called him ‘cupcake’.
“Hey Micah, Jonas,” I said, nodding at them.
I had to admit that other than Tyler and Jared, it was easier for me to talk with Zev’s friends.
“So you and Layton, huh,” Jonas asked.
I stopped opening my locker and turn to look at him.
“What about?” I asked.
“You’re together?” Micah asked.
I smiled at him, Zev, and Jonas. They were all looking at me knowingly.
“I’m not even sure,” I replied, honestly.
“It’s the big news today. ‘Layton finally got a girlfriend and it’s Cassidy, the new girl’. I’ve been hearing it in the halls and in my classes all morning,” Micah said, opening my locker.
“It might be because Layton started making out with you in front of everyone,” Zev said. “Or it could’ve been that you two have been holding hands all day.”
“It could be,” I shrugged and grinned when Zev shook his head at me.
“Be careful with him,” he said.
“I thought you said I was safe him, since I’m his mate and all,” I questioned.
“That doesn’t mean I completely approve,” Zev said.
I noticed the edge in his voice, and how his hazel eyes had turned darker.
“I’ll be careful,” I assured him.
I really meant it though. I liked Layton, a lot. I liked him more than I thought I could ever like anyone. But the feeling still scared me, and it confused me at times.
We kept talking until Layton texted me, asking where I was.
Zev and the guys left to the diner and I made my way to the cafeteria. I wanted to accompany them to the diner, but I was aware that today of all days, Layton would burst a vein if I left with them.
Layton was at the usual table with Jared, Tyler, Drew, Jackson, David, Nick, and a few other guys I didn’t recognize. I assumed they were Wolves as well. Layton had told me he didn’t really hang out with humans, except for me, only because I was his mate.
There were about ten people in front of me in the lunch line, and it was moving really slow. I hardly noticed when Layton appeared by my side, until his hard stare caught my attention.
“What do you want?” He asked.
“Umm…. You’re the one that came over here. I didn’t call you.”
“I meant what do you want to eat?” Layton asked.
I shook my head and rolled my eyes at the way he was acting. Layton just chuckled, which made me narrow my eyes at him. Something was up. He usually got annoyed when I rolled my eyes at him.
“I want pizza and a Dr. Pepper,” I told him and made my way towards the table.
I didn’t want to stay and witness Layton bullying his way to the front of the line.
“Hey Cass,” Jared greeted when I arrived at the table.
I pulled out a chair and took a seat next to Tyler.
“Hey,” I waved, and started saying individual ‘hello’s’ to the rest of the guys.
The guys carried on their conversations and I settled for listening in. Tyler stayed quiet as well, like he usually did when he was with a crowd. He never really talked much if everyone was around.
Nick was trying to get my attention. He kept smiling at me and giving me lingering looks. I was still mad at him, but the anger was quickly fading away. Ever since Layton and Zev explained what they were, I understood Nick’s need to protect their secret.
That day, Layton had shifted into his Wolf because he had lost control. Those types of things, they couldn’t be witnessed by any human. I knew that now.
Layton came back with my pizza, a Dr. Pepper, and some food for him. Drew and Tyler were on either side of me, so I assumed Layton would sit next to Nick.
“Move,” Layton ordered Drew.
Drew picked up his stuff and his food, and went to sit next to Nick. I frowned at Layton but he just shrugged, like if his actions were normal. Other than that, lunch flew by smoothly.
“So…. You and Layton are together now?” Tyler asked.
History had been boring, as usual, but Tyler made up for it when I reached Science.
“I’m not sure. We’re going to talk about that after school,” I replied.
“You are?” Tyler asked, frowning.
“Uh, yeah?” I asked, wondering why Tyler seemed bothered by my comment.
“Did Layton say you would talk?”
“Not really, I just thought it was a good time for us to talk about his behavior, as of today.”
Tyler looked around the room conspicuously, even though no one was looking at us, and pressed closer to me.
“There’s a pack meeting today,” Tyler whispered in my ear. “It’s sort of important. Layton’s birthday is a little over a month away.”
“So?” I asked, shrugging my shoulders.
Couldn’t Layton just come and talk to me quickly, and then go have his little meeting with his friends?
“Cass, the entire pack will be there. This is the last meeting with our current Alpha, John, Layton’s dad. Layton will already be Alpha in the next meeting we have.” Tyler sounded excited, while I just nodded my head, pretending to understand what he was going on about.
“Uh, you’re right. I’ll just talk to Layton… tomorrow?” My voice sounded unsure, but Tyler was nodding, so I assumed I said the right thing.
“It’s probably better. Unless…”
The teacher was passing out a handout. There were a few multiple choice questions, some definitions to do, and two short essay responses on it. I waited for Tyler to carry on his sentence, motioning with my hands that I was waiting.
“Unless you want to be introduced to the pack. It would be a great moment for them to get to know you. The only ones who know up to now that Layton found his mate are the Wolves that go to school, Layton’s parents, and our parents. That’s not counting Zeverus’ pack.”
It sounded like a lot of people knew.
“Nah, it’s cool. I’ll talk to Layton tomorrow or something,” I said, already feeling nervous.
If I wasn’t ready to introduce Layton to my parents, I was definitely sure I wasn’t ready to meet his parents or his pack.