“You do realize that whatever you do will affect me as well?” I asked Layton.
He let go of me. His mood was still heavy, and he growled lowly.
“I don’t understand Zeverus or what he’s doing.”
“Zev isn’t doing anything.
“How the hell does he have a girlfriend all this time, and he can’t keep himself away from you?” Layton asked.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means that I have no interest in any other girl. All I want is you. All I think about is you. The thought of another girl— it repulses me,” Layton said, taking a seat on the couch, looking like a little kid.
I chuckled lightly, even though I knew laughing would upset him. It was hard to not find his behavior cute, even if he wanted to be friends, or whatever it was that he wanted with Hanna.
“I want to meet her,” Layton said.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I replied, remembering my previous encounter with Hanna.
“Do you think that you can be friends with Zeverus and I can’t befriend his girlfriend?”
“I’m fine with you ‘befriending’ her. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“Let me decide that for myself,” he said, with an expression that made me frown.
“Well, then go for it. I just don’t want to be involved,” I told him.
The idea of Layton meeting Hanna unnerved me, but I knew Layton would do whatever he wanted whether I approved or not.
“Let’s all get together,” Layton proposed.
“What do you mean with ‘let’s all get together’?” I asked him, hoping it wasn’t what I was thinking.
“Why don’t we go on a date?”
“Go on a date,” I repeated.
He wanted to do it to bother Zev, but it was getting to me as well. I didn’t want to hang out with Hanna, and I didn’t want to go on a double date with her and Zev either.
“What’s wrong with that?” Layton asked, looking offended.
“We have never been on a date before, Layton. This is the first time you propose for us to go on one, and you are only doing it to spite Zev,” I replied, my voice sounding flat.
Layton stayed silent, but he was staring at me. He wasn’t expected that reply from me, but it was true. He had never asked me out anywhere, other than to go meet his pack and his parents.
We were finally going out, but it was just so that he could meet another girl. The girl happened to be Zev’s mate, and she happened to hate my guts.
“I’m going to my room. You can let yourself out,” I told him.
I got up and started walking up the stairs. Layton came after me, and embraced me from behind, placing his hands tightly on my stomach.
“I didn’t mean it like that. Don’t get mad, Cassidy.”
I sighed, and allowed myself to rest against his body. Standing pressed against him felt nice.
“If you get mad, it will only make me think that you don’t want me to meet her,” Layton whispered in my ear.
The calm I had felt before dissipated, and I felt the anger taking over. He really didn’t know when to stop. I swiftly untangled his arms from around me, and turned to face him.
“You actually think I’m trying to hide her from you? Go ahead and meet her. I’m not going to be a part of that. Just remember one thing, Zev is only my friend. If you want to meet her, then do it. But if at any point you do something with her that isn’t in the friend handbook, it will not only be over between us. I will never speak to you again!” I snapped, turning around and practically running up the stairs and to my room.
Layton followed after me, but I shut the door before he caught up to me. He was asking to be let in, but I stood next to the locked door. I slowly lowered myself to the ground and sat down. Layton did the same thing on the other side of the door.
About an hour passed before I stood up from the ground. Layton was still leaning on the other side of the door. He didn’t speak, he didn’t try to get in, but he stayed there.
After what happened with Hanna at the mall, the last thing I wanted was to be fighting with Layton, but that was what we were doing.
I unlocked the door and opened it. Layton stood up from the ground. He was looking at me, but he made no attempt to talk.
“What do you hope to get from meeting her?”
“I want to see how they are together. I want to make sure she’s not his mate. I don’t trust Zeverus,” Layton replied.
“They are not mates. I’m not lying to you.”
“I know you’re not. I just wonder how he has kept a girlfriend for this long, yet he can’t keep his hands off you. We have all seen how he is with you. If he really has a girlfriend, I want to meet her. I guess I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“How exactly do you plan to do that? Even though Blue Bloods and New Elite are mending their problems, you and Zev haven’t fixed your friendship.”
“If you can hang out with him, I think it’s possible. We can all go out to dinner. It’ll be you and me, and Zev and that girl. Tomorrow, after school, around seven in the afternoon,” he firmly said, deciding for himself.
“Not tomorrow, Friday. It gives me time to prepare and time for Zev to think about it,” I reluctantly agreed.
“I’ll agree to this, only because I know you’re wrong in whatever it is that you’re thinking.”
I knew he wasn’t telling me all of it, but I still went along with him. The double date thing with Zev sounded like a complete rip off.
I woke up the next day feeling well rested, but completely nervous. Layton wanted to sleep over, but after our argument, I told him to go home.
When I arrived at school, the first bell had already rung. I walked to my locker, not worrying about being late. Micah was there, waiting for me.
“Here, let me help you,” he said, shoving my stuff in my locker and getting the books I needed for the day.
“Thanks,” I said, walking side by side with him to my first period class.
“Wait, how did it go yesterday? Did you get in trouble?” I asked Micah, worriedly.
He seemed fine, but I didn’t know how a Wolf would act if he had been kicked out of his pack. I was hoping that Zev hadn’t done anything. I would’ve been disappointed in him if he had kicked Micah out of the pack.
“Nothing happened. When I got home, Hanna had already told Zev about meeting you and how I ‘disrespected’ her,” Micah calmly said, putting air quotes around the word disrespected. He looked funny doing that.
“What happened after?”
“Zev called me up and I had to meet with him. He didn’t exactly believe her, so I was mainly there to prove that everything she said was basically a lie. And, well, I told him what happened.”
“Did he get mad at you?”
“Nope, but if I were you, I’d watch out with Hanna. She can be a bit unstable. I guess steering clear from her, at least until she’s her normal self again, would probably be best,” Micah told me.
I nodded at him, and felt thankful that he didn’t get into any trouble because of me. Had Hanna’s words about kicking Micah out of his pack come true, I would’ve done something. My best solution and one that I was proud of, was to bring Micah to Layton’s pack.
It made me smile when I realized that he and Layton would knock heads a lot. They didn’t really get along, despite the fact that the packs were fixing their problems.
“You don’t look too good. Did you sleep last night,” Micah commented.
“I did. I’m just distracted,” I replied, and it was somewhat the truth.
“But you’re feeling okay?” Micah asked, running his hand over my cheek.
I smiled at him and nodded. “I’m good. Is Zev here yet?”
“Yeah, I think he’s going to be late though. Why?” Micah asked.
“I sort of need to talk to him, nothing too major,” I lied.
He raised an eyebrow, but otherwise, didn’t make any other comment.
The three classes I had before lunch passed by in a blur. In English, I had Micah fuzzing over me all period long. He thought I looked sick and he wanted me to go home. Thanks to a lot of persuasion from Nate and me, Micah finally relented when I told him I was just feeling lazy.
During Art, Jared kept pestering me about my date with Layton, Zev, and Hanna. Apparently, Layton had already shared the news and they were all curious about it. I wasn’t looking forward to asking Zev about the date on Friday.
When I came out of Art, Layton was waiting for me outside of class.
“I’m eating with Zev,” I told him as soon as I reached him.
Jared, Tyler, and Nick had been walking right behind me. When I said those words to Layton, they all shut up and looked between Layton and me.
“No, you’re not.”
“I’m going to ask him about this Friday.”
“Do that during PE. You’re having lunch with me,” Layton stated.
The guys stood around us, but they were trying to looking elsewhere. I narrowed my eyes at Layton, not really amused by his behavior. I didn’t want to call him out in front of the guys, so I went along with him.
He grabbed my hand and started dragging me to the cafeteria. I quickly texted Zev when I got the chance letting him know that I was eating with Layton, in case he had been waiting for me next to my locker.
“What do you want to eat?” Layton asked me as we stood near the lunch line.
“A burger with some fries,” I replied.
I started to walk away from him, but he tightened his hold on my hand.
“Stand here with me,” he said.
I raised my eyebrow, wondering if he was actually serious. He never made me wait in line while he bought our food.
“Because I want you near me,” he replied, wrapping his arm around my waist. He gave my waist a gentle squeeze and smiled at me, kissing my forehead. I didn’t understand why he was behaving like that, but it was better than when he was moody.
When I looked around the cafeteria, I noticed that Zev and the guys were sitting on one of the tables on the opposite side of where Layton and his friends usually sat. Zev was looking at me and he grinned when he saw that I noticed him. I chuckled and waved. The other guys started noticing I was there and slowly they all turned to smile or wave at me.
Layton turned to look at the group of guys and I heard him grunt. I was looking to the front, waiting for the slow line to move. Suddenly, Layton moved me to be in front of him, keeping his hand on my waist. His other hand was softly placed on the side of my face.
I was surprised when Layton leaned down and kissed me. His lips moved softly against mine, and he waited for me to reply. Out of instinct, I moved my lips against his.
After a few moments, I felt breathless and Layton pulled away from me. Once again he moved me next to him, with his arm still tightly wrapped around me.
He turned to face Zev who had been looking at us. I blushed, feeling embarrassed that Zev had seen us kissing. Layton kept his stare on him. After a while, Zev got up and left the cafeteria, looking upset.
“What just happened?”
“I just kissed you. I’m not sure what’s up with your friend,” Layton replied, shrugging.
I looked at him suspiciously, knowing something else had happened. His face remained stoic, which only made it harder for me to guess what was running through his mind.
“Did you know all along that Zeverus had a girlfriend?” Tyler asked me while we worked on a lab during Science class.
“He told me about Hanna right after I found out Werewolves existed,” I replied.
“Why didn’t you tell Layton, or me?”
“I don’t know. I guess I thought you guys either knew or were just not interested. No one ever really asked about it,” I replied, honestly.
“That’s the reason Layton is so suspicious about everything. He wonders why you hid that from him.”
“I didn’t mean to hide it. Did Layton tell you what he wants to do?”
“He wants to meet her,” Tyler said, frowning.
“Yes, he does, but why?”
“I think you can guess why.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said.
“Why not?” Tyler asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“I met Hanna. She hates me.”
“She does?” Tyler asked, sounding confused. “Why?”
“I guess she thinks that I want to take Zev away from her or something. I really have no idea.”
Tyler chuckled, raising both of his eyebrows suggestively.
“You do see how this is so twistedly hilarious, right?” A grin was playing on his face. He seemed amused.
“Care to explain?”
“You and Zeverus caused that reaction on Layton first. Now you two are also doing the same thing to his girlfriend. You two have quite a friendship,” Tyler finished saying, returning his gaze to the lab sheet in front of him.
“I don’t-” I started to say. After giving his words some thought, they made sense.
“Zev and I are just friends,” I stated.
“Did he get that memo?”
“Zeverus, does he know that you two are just friends?”
“Of course he knows!”
“Cassidy, Tyler, keep it down,” our teacher warned, even though I had been the one who yelled.
“All I’m saying is that Layton has a point. Zeverus has a girlfriend. Why is he so attached to you?” Tyler said in a hushed tone.
“We’re just friends,” I insisted. “Aren’t you my friend?”
“Yes, but you’re my Luna. I have that perfectly clear. When you and Layton take over the pack, I will become your third in command. I will probably end up as your guard,” he explained.
“It usually happens like that. I know my role in the pack. I know who you are, and how important you are to us. I consider you my best friend, but most importantly, you are my Luna,” he said.
His voice had been very low— I had barely caught all of his words. Tyler sounded really dedicated to the pack. But he still had things between Zev and me wrong. We were just friends.
Layton, Tyler, and I walked to gym for our last class. I didn’t wait around outside with Layton this time. Instead, as soon as we reached the girls locker rooms, I made my way inside.
I took my time getting changed. I was dreading going into gym. I had to ask Zev about the date on Friday, and something told me he was going to say no.
Zev spotted me as soon as I entered the gym. He greeted me with a lazy grin, and waved me over. I turned to give Layton the stink eye, before climbing up the bleachers to reach Zev. It was Layton’s fault that I was put in that position.
“Do you have any plans this Friday?” I blurted out to Zev right after taking a seat next to him.
“Hmm… I have something, but if you want to hang out, I can cancel,” Zev shrugged.
“Well, I had another thing in mind,” I said, nervously. My face felt warm, my hands felt sweaty, and I could feel my heart pounding fast inside my chest.
“Is something wrong?”
“I was just thinking that maybe you and Hanna could come to dinner with Layton and me this Friday,” I said, looking down at my hands that rested on my knees.
“Like a double date?” Zev asked, chuckling.
“Well, yeah, a little bit. Wouldn’t it be good? That way you two can get together and maybe work some things out before next month,” I told him, wishing that something like that really happened.
“Whose idea was it?”
“Mine,” I quickly answered.
“I’ll think about it. But, honestly, it doesn’t sound like a great idea,” he said.
“We could try it out. I just wish you and Layton wouldn’t dislike each other so much,” I admitted.
Even though the double date wasn’t my idea, I meant my words. I wanted for Layton and Zev to get along. John and Marcus were fixing things between each other. Although there was tension between the packs, now they were at least allowed to talk to each other.
“Are you okay?” Zev asked me, looking somewhat worried.
“It looks like something’s bothering you.”
“No, it’s just this date thing. I mean, I’m asking you right now about it, but I’m already thinking it might be a bad idea,” I replied, remembering Micah’s words from earlier. He had told me to steer clear from Hanna, and I was practically setting myself up to meet with her.
“I heard what happened with Hanna,” Zev said, lowering his voice.
“It’s fine.” My heart started beating faster as I said that. I feared that Zev would tell me that Hanna didn’t want me near him, and we could no longer be friends. I would understand where she was coming from, but that didn’t make me feel any better.
“I’m sorry for what she said. She shouldn’t have done that. She doesn’t have the authority to threaten you or Micah.”
I felt a stare on me, which made me look around in the gym to find whose it was. Layton was staring directly at us. From how intense he looked, I knew he was listening in.
“Is Micah safe? Will you ever kick him out if Hanna asks you too?”
“No, that’s not going to happen,” Zev assured me.
“Promise,” I asked, wanting another assurance that Micah was safe. It wasn’t fair that because of me, he would jeopardize his position in the pack.
“I’ll do better. I’ll pinky promise,” Zev said, grinning. I laughed along with him, but still held out my pinky for him to take.
After having an easy Thursday, Friday was a huge contrast to it. Layton was in a great mood. I hardly recognized him with how much he kept smiling, grinning, or laughing about anything. It was almost like someone had switched him up.
The day went by in a flash. I wasn’t looking forward to the dinner with Zev and Hanna. The slower I wanted time to pass by, the faster it went.
The place we chose to dine in was a mix between casual and fancy. It was closer to the city and in a place where both Zev and Layton compromised to meet.
When Layton and I arrived at the restaurant, Zev and Hanna were already there. Layton walked next to me, his hand on the small of my back. His confidence was radiating off him in waves. In that moment, I wanted to feel as confident as he did.
I didn’t want to lose my friendship with Zev. I felt like the dinner we were about to have was going to define us. If Hanna hated me, there was no way Zev would continue being my friend.
The thought of not having Zev in my life made me feel strange, almost incomplete.
I also felt wary about Layton and his reason behind the dinner. I knew he wanted to meet Hanna, for whatever reason. It wouldn’t exactly fix things for either him or Zev if he met her.
When we arrived at the table, Zev got up and offered me a warm smile. It helped calm my nerves, but I still felt about to pass out.
Layton stood next to me, staring down at Hanna, while narrowing his eyes at her.