Someone was lightly knocking on my door. I felt too sleepy to move, let alone get up from my bed.
“Cassidy!” My dad called, because the door to my room was still locked from the previous night.
“Coming,” I said, begrudgingly.
Slowly and weakly, I made my way towards the door.
“How are you feeling pumpkin?” My dad asked, making his way into my room.
He had a tray with food. When I turned to look out the window, I noticed the sky was clear but the light bothered me.
“What time is it?”
I stretched myself, before lazily sitting down on my bed. A yawn escaped my lips and I noticed my dad was looking at me strangely.
“It’s seven. Did you have a rough night?”
“Uh, not really,” I replied, running a hand through my hair nervously.
“You went to bed early, but you look dead tired,” my dad said, sounding worried.
He walked closer to me and felt my forehead.
“You don’t have a fever,” he commented distractedly, while pressing both of his hands on either sides of my face.
“I’m fine, I probably overslept,” I lied, trying to cover up the fact that I had been out most of the night with Liam.
“Do you want to go to school?” My dad asked, his usual smile returning after I told him I had overslept.
I groaned on the inside, hating the idea of leaving my bed. In those moments, my pillow was my best friend and I had no interest in abandoning it. However, in order to keep up my cover, I had to sacrifice my precious sleep.
“Yeah, I should probably go. If I miss it, I’ll regret it later anyways,” I said, taking a bite from the slice of toast.
“That’s my little trooper, always looking at the bright side of things,” my dad replied, making fun of me.
By the time I arrived at school, there were about ten minutes before the bell. School was something I had not missed. I cursed myself for being unconscious during the weekend instead of a school day. For that though, I could only blame Liam.
I walked to my locker and found Micah and Zev standing next to it.
“I thought you might come,” Zev said as he wrapped an arm around my shoulders.
Micah opened my locker and shoved my things in there, getting only the books I needed before lunch.
“Micah, have I reminded you lately how awesome you are?”
Micah chuckled and shook his head at me.
“No, but thanks for noticing,” Micah said with a smile, as he shut my locker.
“Well, you are. And tone it down boy. I’m the only one who can be cool around here,” I told him, crossing my arms and trying to put on a serious face.
Zev started laughing at us while Micah flicked my nose.
“Yeah, keep telling yourself that,” Zev said, making fun of me.
The moment the halls started to clear up, I knew it meant one of two things. Either the bell was about to ring or Layton was trolling around.
When I caught on to his scent, I figured it was Layton.
He appeared at the end of the hallway with Jared and Nick at his sides. When his eyes landed on me, his features softened. I glared at him, still remembering the argument from the previous day.
There were only a few minutes left before the bell, but Layton still made his way towards us.
“We’re skipping first period, let’s go,” he ordered.
He stood in front of me, his arms at his sides. The way his features were hardened and cold made him look even more imposing.
If his tone caused emotions in me and made me want to bow down to him, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it did to the Wolves in his pack.
“I’m going to class,” I replied, breaking my gaze from his.
I began walking away in the opposite direction. Zev let his arm fall from my shoulder, but he and Micah continued to stand on either side of me.
“Don’t even dare,” Layton threatened in a low voice.
“Dare what? Speak my mind?” I asked, remembering his words from the previous day.
“Don’t you dare walk away from me,” he threatened.
I shook my head and took a step to leave. I had to stop midway when I realized Zev was getting closer to Layton.
“Or what?” Zev asked, glaring at Layton.
“This doesn’t concern you, Zeverus. I’m talking to my mate. You and your,” Layton paused as he gave Micah a once over, “other pack member, can find your way to class.”
Micah stood next to Zev, while Jared and Nick were at Layton’s flanks. It surprised me that the other guys from their packs hadn’t noticed the confrontation.
Since the bell had already rung, I assumed they had gone to class. Most people passing by would turn to look. Once they noticed who was involved in the stand-off, they would hurriedly walk away.
I was once again forced to choose to leave with one in order to prevent a fight.
“Why do you want to skip class?” I asked Layton, trying to keep my voice steady.
“We need to talk about what happened yesterday,” Layton spoke to me softly.
I almost laughed at how funny he looked. He was trying to keep his voice down when there were three Werewolves around with enhanced hearing.
“What happened yesterday?” Zev asked, a frown forming on his face.
“I’ll tell you later,” I told him, waving my hand, showing it was something unimportant.
At the same time that Zev said “oh, okay,” Layton said “no, you won’t.”
“Right,” I said, looking at Layton.
“Let’s go,” Layton ordered, trying to get a hold of my hand.
“We’ll talk after school.”
“You’re not mad?” Layton looked surprised when he asked that.
“Not really,” I shrugged.
A smile tugged on the corner of his lips, that was, until I finished speaking.
“I don’t really care,” I said.
By the time I arrived at class, it was really late. I was glad that the teacher only joked about my tardiness. I wasn’t ready to give an excuse which I clearly didn’t have.
Nate was sitting at our usual spot and I hurriedly made my way to my desk.
“It feels good to be back,” Nate said, as I took a seat in the desk next to his.
“Sure…” I said, outstretching the word for added sarcasm.
“Even though we were only absent Thursday and Friday, it felt like more,” Nate replied, staring off into space.
I thought about it for a moment, and agreed with him.
“So, how’d it go with the dictator yesterday?” Nate asked me.
The teacher had given us a handout to work on, but most of the students were on their own conversations. Hardly anyone was discussing the worksheet.
“The dictator?” I asked Nate, as I took out a pencil from my book bag.
“Well, he’s a dick and has a tator brain. I assumed you knew I was talking about Layton,” Nate replied with a grin.
I started cracking up. The teacher noticed we were getting rowdy and looked ready to scowl us, but Layton walked into the room just as we were about to get scolded.
Seeing him made me laugh even harder. When Nate turned to the door and noticed Layton, he started laughing along with me.
“Nate, Cassidy, settle down or I’m going to separate you two,” the teacher warned us.
She was walking towards Layton, asking him why he was so late. I was relieved the same thing hadn’t happened to me.
I tried to stop laughing, but couldn’t. Trying not to laugh was only making it worse and my eyes were getting watery from holding it in.
“Cucumbers, pineapple, potato chips, hot sauce, pancakes, honey mustard, cheese burgers,” Nate started naming.
I stopped laughing and stared at him weirdly.
“What are you doing?” I asked, while scrunching up my nose.
“Saying random things shuts people up, or makes them stop laughing,” he replied, shrugging.
“You are so weird,” I said, although I did chuckle at his randomness.
Layton sat down on my other side, which was his usual seat.
He kept staring at me, and I tried really hard not to glace his way. While he angled his body in my direction, I simply turned to face Nate.
“You didn’t tell me how it went with tator,” Nate said with a teasing smile.
I laughed at his name for Layton, but still slapped his arm.
“Stop that,” I told him.
“What? I’m not doing anything,” he shrugged, innocently.
“Whatever, it went fine,” I replied.
I started working on the handout, which wasn’t all that hard. Nate asked if he could burrow my paper to ‘compare’ answers. I had already noticed that he had not done any of the problems. Layton worked on his sheet quietly, even though he was never one to be talking.
Five minutes before the bell, the teacher picked up the work and gave us free time. Mostly everyone had given themselves free time since class had started, but the teacher wasn’t aware of that.
As soon as the bell rang, I got up and headed for the door. Nate was next to me and Layton caught up to us.
“I’ll walk you to your next class,” Layton stated.
I shrugged my shoulders without saying anything back. Although Layton was practically pressed to my side, he didn’t try to start up a conversation.
“I’ll see you next period,” Nate said, waving at me.
Layton walked me to my English class. He didn’t say anything, but when I turned to look at him, he looked bothered. After that, I just kept my eyes to the front.
When I got out of English, Layton was waiting for me outside of class.
I was surprised when Layton reached out and took a hold of my hand. He dragged me into the empty class in the History hall. I didn’t want to be late for Art, but I also didn’t feel like arguing with him while every student that passed by kept staring at us.
Layton shut the door after us and trapped me in the wall, placing both his hands on the side of my head.
“I don’t want you to be mad at me,” Layton said, his usual demanding voice softening after each word.
“I’m not mad,” I admitted, looking up into his eyes.
“Then why are you acting like this?” Layton asked, while sliding one of his hands down and wrapping his arm around my waist.
The tingling sensation started as soon as he touched me. It was hard not to let it cloud my judgment. I could feel myself giving in to him just from his touch.
“Acting how?” I asked him, my voice sounding breathless.
“I don’t know, different,” he said.
I could hear the frustration in his voice and the way his arm tightened around me.
“Oh, well, I’m sorry,” I apologized, shrugging my shoulders.
“Why are you sorry? See that, stop what you’re doing!” Layton said, moving away from me.
“Then, I’m not… sorry?” I said, making it sound like a question.
Layton turned to look at me. His eyes were dark and he looked pissed off. I didn’t open my mouth, or even move from where I stood.
“Why are you behaving like this, Cassidy?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Layton. I’m not doing anything.”
“Yes you are.”
“Alright, then tell me what I’m doing.”
Layton glared at me, but he didn’t argue back. I knew what he meant though. I usually argued with him, fought to speak my mind. In those moments though, it wasn’t what I wanted. I just wanted some peace, and I wasn’t sure I would ever get that with Layton.
“Can I go to class?” I asked him after a while of silence. Layton narrowed his eyes at me. He stared at me for a long time, before sighing and dropping his gaze.
“Come on, I’ll walk you.”
The halls were silent, and I was late to class once again.
When I entered, the guys didn’t say anything. Layton walked in with me, gave the teacher a harsh look, and then walked me to my seat.
The class stood still until Layton left the room. It was impressive how much he affected everyone, even the humans.
“Did you two talk things through?” Jared asked me when the buzz started up in the class.
It had taken a few minutes after Layton left for the students to feel comfortable enough to continue their chatter.
“Yeah,” I mumbled.
“So things are good between you two?” Nick asked.
Jared and Tyler looked up when Nick asked that question. I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t want to lie to them, but I wanted to talk things out with Layton first.
“We talked,” I admitted, because that part was true.
“But you fixed things, right?” Jared pressed.
I remained silent. When I felt their burning stares on me, I looked down at the desk.
“Cass?” Tyler called.
Tyler rarely spoke in front of the other guys, so I was surprised he was the one who called me. It meant he really wanted to know how things went.
“Layton and I talked, but we didn’t get to finish our conversation. I didn’t want to skip class,” I said, again, not entirely lying to them.
“What did this talk consist of?” Jared asked.
“We didn’t fight, if that’s what you’re wondering,” I quietly admitted.
“That’s good. Layton told us what he did. I’m sorry he said those things. You know he didn’t mean that crap he said. He’s just worried about Zeverus and all the attention he puts on you. Once he realizes you and Zeverus are just friends, Layton will calm down,” Jared said, placing a hand over mine and nodding at me reassuringly.
“I know,” I replied, giving in to a small smile.
I was sure the conversation would go back to Layton. He was their Alpha after all. Tyler had become more of my friend than Layton’s, but Jared and Nick were loyal to their pack and future Alpha.
When the bell rang, I knew Layton would be waiting for me outside the door.
“Are you coming with us to lunch?” Jared asked.
“I guess, but I need to drop off my stuff at my locker first.”
“We’ll walk you,” Nick offered.
Layton walked beside me, and the guys followed a few steps behind. I didn’t need all of them to follow after me, but something told me it had been the intention. It was the first time Layton had picked me up from Art.
Once we reached my locker, I practically felt a problem starting. Zev, Micah, Nate, Leo, and Jonas were standing around my locker, more than likely waiting for me.
“Hey guys,” I said as we got closer.
Micah, as usual, started opening my locker for me. Layton and his pack stood there, quietly staring at Zev and his guys. I was sure everyone around could feel the tension in the air. Even the students passing by would stare nervously between Layton and Zev.
“You’re staying to eat with Layton?” Zev asked me, coolly.
“Yeah,” I replied, with a small nod.
“Do you smell that?” Zev suddenly asked, just as he had started to walk away.
Both his guys and Layton’s friends began scanning the area, looking at every one of the students like if they were threats. I heard a few growls from the guys, which was when I started to worry.
The halls were almost deserted, and people were scurrying away faster when they caught on to the look in Layton, Zev, and the rest of the guys’ faces.
I sniffed the air, trying to get a sense of the scent Zev was talking about.
It took me a second to hear the whistling coming down another hall. When he turned the corner and came into view, I started grinning like crazy.
Liam looked happy and cheery, while the guys standing around me were all looking serious and defensive.
“Did someone die?” Liam asked, just as he started nearing us.
I giggled at his words, which was something that surprised even me. Every single one of the guys turned to look at me weirdly. I blushed and turned my gaze towards Liam.
“I was thinking that too,” I said aloud, trying to remove the attention from me.
“Hey, you’re here,” Liam said, poking my shoulder.
“I had to come,” I admitted, rolling my eyes and wondering if my bed missed me as much as I missed it.
“After last night, I’d thought you would be dead tired,” Liam said.
I was about to tell him I hadn’t been interested in school, and I was indeed, tired. Loud growls coming from behind me halted my words.
Both Layton and Zev were both staring at Liam with a killer look and they were the ones growling. I frowned at the pair, but turned back to face Liam.
“I am dead tired, but I didn’t want my dad to get suspicious. So here I am,” I replied.
“Whoa, you’ve been here since the morning?” Liam asked me, looking shocked.
“Yup,” I replied.
“I left your house like at five in the morning. I just woke up like an hour ago, but I’m still fucking sleepy. How the hell are you up?” Liam asked, grinning widely at me while shaking his head.
Just as Liam finished saying that, I was moved out of the way by Layton, who pushed me into Zev’s arms for some reason. I had been what separated Liam from the rest of the guys.
With me out of the way, Layton had a clear view of Liam. In just seconds, Layton had pushed Liam full force, which landed him on the ground roughly.
“What the hell dude?” Liam yelled at Layton, his voice a full on growl.
“One chance, I will give you one chance to tell me why the fuck you were in my mate’s house in the middle of the night,” Layton threatened Liam.
While Liam had a confused expression on his face, Layton seemed ready to rip him to shreds.
Zev lightly pushed me into Micah’s arms, and he moved to stand right next to Layton. Both of them crossed their arms and were staring down at Liam with a deadly look.
One by one, the guys started moving behind their Alphas. Their target was Liam and every single one of them seemed ready to attack him.