“You guys came early,” I commented, my eyes on Zev.
I didn’t even want to turn to face Hanna. Layton wrapped his arm around my waist, and he pressed me against his side. Layton and I arrived early, but Zev and Hanna still made it before us.
Zev let out a small laugh, and he motioned for us to take a seat. Both Hanna and Layton were quiet. They were still staring at each other, and it bothered me.
We took a seat opposite of them. I sat in front of Zev while Layton took the seat in front of Hanna.
“So this is your girlfriend?” Layton asked Zev, while he turned to look at Hanna.
“Hanna, this is Layton,” he introduced them.
Hanna smiled at Layton, keeping her gaze on him. Layton responded with a slight nod and then drifted his attention back to Zev. I couldn’t help but notice Hanna kept her eyes on Layton. The way she was eyeing him was unsettling me.
“When Cassidy told me you had a girlfriend, I didn’t believe her. I guess I had to see it to believe it,” Layton told Zev.
Before anyone else could say something, the waitress came to take our order.
After she left our tension filled table, I wondered if there was a way to make the waitress interrupt us more often. It seemed like the mood around us relaxed when there was someone else around.
“When Cassidy proposed we all go on a double date, I knew there was an ulterior motive for that,” Zev told Layton, almost sarcastically.
I felt guilty for tricking him into coming. Instead of turning up to face him, I looked down at the empty plate in front of me.
Zev reached out and took my hand in his. His thumb ran circles over my skin, and it made me look up at him. I smiled at the gesture.
“It’s cool, Cass. I know it was his idea,” Zev said.
Layton growled and snatched my hand from Zev’s hold, at the same time that Hanna reached for Zev. She tried to growl, but one sharp look from Zev shut her up. It was strange to see Zev acting aggressive, especially towards her.
“I can’t believe you’re touching her while I’m here!” Hanna snapped, sounding bitter.
“Hanna, I just touched her hand. I wasn’t doing anything else,” Zev told her.
“Only because I’m here and her mate is right there,” Hanna said, crossing her arms. “If we weren’t here, who knows what you and this— girl would be doing!”
Zev rolled his eyes and shook his head, but remained quiet otherwise. Layton on the other hand, growled at Hanna. His grayish blue eyes shifted to black, and I noticed his claws extracting.
“Watch what you say about my mate, Wolf,” Layton told Hanna threateningly.
Thankfully, the waitress came with our drinks. We all quieted down while she was there. Layton was shooting daggers at Hanna, and Hanna had pressed herself to Zev’s side. Zev was shaking his head at Layton, but when he turned towards me, he smiled.
“I’m sorry,” I said to him, feeling really bad that I’d set up the entire date. It had been Layton’s idea, but I had gone along with it.
“What exactly are you looking to get out of this, Layton?” Zev asked.
“Nothing really, but I will receive the Alpha title in less than a month. You will get it the weekend after. It seems like you have this Wolf living like your partner, so I wanted to meet your temporary Luna,” Layton replied, putting an emphasis on the word ‘temporary’.
Hanna growled lowly, but Zev growled even louder and made her shut up. It really was impressive the type of control he had over her, but at the same time, it made me feel slightly bad.
Layton had never treated me like that. If he said something that I didn’t like, we argued until we settled on something. If he growled, I snapped back at him. Hanna was so submissive to Zev, it was scary.
“I am not his temporary Luna,” Hanna said through gritted teeth.
Zev was looking at Layton suspiciously. It didn’t seem like he believed Layton’s explanation for his reason on setting up the dinner.
Neither of us talked for a while, and an awkward thick silence settled around us. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, hoping someone would say something.
“So, do you guys come here often?” I asked, trying to break the silence with small talk.
“Not really, we never go out,” Hanna replied, looking at me distastefully.
“We go out sometimes, but we’ve never been here before,” Zev added.
I looked up to see he was frowning at Hanna. Layton kept his eyes focused between Zev and Hanna, but he was glaring at them for the most part.
Finally, the waitress along with another server brought our orders. The food smelled delicious, but I knew there was no way I would enjoy the meal as much as I wanted.
“So, are you excited about starting school next semester?” I asked Hanna.
She stared at me and narrowed her eyes. I didn’t look away from her. I was trying to be polite. She didn’t like me and I certainly didn’t like her, but for the sake of keeping Layton and Zev from fighting, I was trying to make it work.
The dinner was a mistake, of course. The least she could’ve done was make it more bearable for all of us.
“How do you know that I’m starting school next semester?” She asked, turning to look at Zev with an accusing expression.
Micah had been the one who told me. I was wondering if maybe I should’ve kept my mouth shut up about it.
“I told her. It’s not a big deal. It’s not like we’re keeping it a secret,” Zev replied.
Hanna was about to argue back. One stare from Zev, and she shut her mouth. All the while, Layton was looking cautiously between Zev and Hanna. It seemed like he was paying attention to their behavior.
I decided to stop with the questions. It was clear Hanna didn’t want to be my friend, and I didn’t blame her. But I wasn’t about to put up with anything from her. If I barely put up with Layton and his attitude, I was not going to add Hanna to my list.
“Are you ready for tomorrow?” Zev asked me curiously.
“I’m nervous, but I hope everything goes fine,” I replied.
I could feel the nerves building up in my stomach. Thinking about being presented to Layton’s pack had been another thing that took part of my thoughts.
“You shouldn’t be, they’re going to love you,” Layton replied, taking my hand in his. He was looking at me lovingly. I smiled up at him, and rested my forehead against his shoulder.
“Thanks,” I whispered, giving his hand a squeeze.
“It’s true,” Zev added, giving me a teasing smile.
“Of course they will love you, doesn’t everyone?” Hanna added, sarcastically.
Both Zev and Layton snapped their heads in her direction. Zev was frowning at her. They didn’t have to say anything for me to know they were communicating through their mind link. Layton was simply scowling at her.
The warmth that coated my face after Hanna’s comment was slowly fading away. Layton caressed my cheek with the outside of his hand. I felt all the comfort I needed with his touch. I hoped that Layton realized the dinner was a bad idea.
“Why don’t you wait to present her to your pack anyways? It’s not like she’s going to run away with someone else,” Hanna asked Layton, and her eyes drifted towards Zev.
“Hanna!” Zev snapped.
Layton growled lowly at her comment, and I squeezed his hand reassuringly. He turned to face me and gave me a forced smile.
“I don’t have a reason to wait. Cassidy’s my mate, and most of my pack already met her. Unlike other Alphas, I want everybody to know that Cassidy is mine,” Layton told Hanna.
While Hanna narrowed her eyes at Layton, Zev seemed like he had had enough.
“I’m going the bathroom,” I said, getting up from the table.
I was hoping Hanna wouldn’t tag along. I couldn’t wait for that dinner to be over. It was going worse than I had expected. Once I made it into the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror.
My face was tinted in a light pink color. I doubted my blush was going to leave during the night, especially with everything that Hanna kept saying.
I grabbed a napkin and wet it under the faucet. I ran it over my face a couple of times, hoping the warmth would go away.
While I was busy trying to cool off, my phone vibrated in my pocket. It was a text message from Liam.
‘How’s the reunion? Hahaha!’ The text from Liam read. I couldn’t help but laugh. At least he had a sense of humor.
’I’m still alive. I think I deserve some credit for that.’ I quickly replied, knowing I had to return to the table soon.
Right after replying, my phone vibrated again.
‘Good luck, don’t let her get to you.’
I didn’t reply anything back, but I felt like I really needed all the luck I could get.
When I neared our table, the three of them seemed to be in a heated argument.
“Do you really think I don’t know what’s going on between you and her?” Hanna asked Zev.
While Zev was telling Layton, “It’s not because of that. Hanna and I are together, so what happens between her and me is none of your business.
“I don’t give a damn about you and her,” Layton growled at Zev.
Then he turned to look at Hanna. “You better watch the way you talk to and about Cassidy, because I’m not one to put up with bullshit, especially from you or anyone in your pack,” Layton threatened her.
“Aren’t you going to say anything to him? Look at the way he just spoke to me!” Hanna whined.
“Layton, can you please tone it down?” Zev told Layton. It seemed like he was exhausted.
“But he is right, Hanna. What you said about Cassidy was uncalled for. I won’t put up with things like that either,” he finished telling Hanna.
I had been looking at them from a few tables over, but I could hear everything they were saying. I was sure some people around our table were able to hear them too.
As I approached the table, they all remained quiet. I took a seat casually, pretending I hadn’t heard all that had been said.
“This is your fault. We were all much better before you got here. I wish you would just-” Hanna was saying before Layton interrupted.
“Watch your next words, because they could be your last,” he threatened her, narrowing his eyes and using his Alpha tone. I thought it would have no effect at all on her, but she whimpered and lowered her gaze.
“Layton!” Zev snapped.
No one said anything after that. My heart was practically beating out of my chest at the tension that was felt in the table.
“I haven’t done anything to you, Hanna. I don’t even know why you hate me,” I told her.
I took my seat next to Layton, and placed my hand over his. His hands were in fists. I was trying to make him calm down.
“You are trying to take Zev away from me!” Hanna growled.
“Hanna!” Zev growled at her.
“No I’m not. I have Layton. He’s my mate, and he’s all I want,” I assured her.
“You’re lying. Ever since you arrived, Zev hasn’t been himself. It’s your fault!”
Hanna looked like she was about to attack me. When she tried to reach over the table, Layton roughly shoved her back. Hanna whimpered in complain, and she was holding her hand. Zev was growling threateningly at Layton.
“I’m really sorry about all this. She’s right, it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have proposed this,” I told Zev, knowing nothing I said would make it up to him.
I simply didn’t want them going at each other in the middle of the restaurant.
Zev’s gaze turned towards me, but his eyes showed no emotion. Zev took a hold of Hanna’s hand, and helped her get up. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, and I wasn’t fending any better.
I hadn’t realized Layton had tucked me under his arm until I felt him whispering something at me. My eyes were blurry from the tears waiting to spill.
“I think it’s better if we leave,” Zev said, even though he was already standing up and looking ahead at the door.
“Zev…” I started to say.
He shook his head at me, and put up his hand, stopping anything else I was about to say.
Before they left, Hanna turned around and smirked at me. Layton saw it too, and he growled after her. Hanna moaned out, and pressed herself to Zev’s side. Zev hadn’t even noticed any of it.
I got up, and remained standing next to the table as I watched Zev and Hanna leave the restaurant.
Layton tightened his hold on me, and pressed me against his chest. I snuggled against him, but remained quiet. Layton placed some money on the table, probably to pay the bill.
He walked me to the car without a word, but he was carrying most of my weight in his arms.
All the way to my house, I simply stared out the window. My eyes were glassy and some tears ran down my cheeks. I didn’t bother to clean them up. Whenever Layton noticed a tear, he would reach over and softly run his thumb over my cheeks, clearing them up.
He drove in silence, and even respected most of the speed limits.
We arrived at my house at around at eight fifteen. My parents’ car was outside, and I was glad they were home.
Layton walked me to the door, keeping his arm safely wrapped around my waist.
“I’m going to go drop off my car, but I’ll be back right after, okay?” Layton said. He was standing in front of me, one of his arms around my waist and the other under my chin.
Slowly he leaned down, and brushed his lips over mine. I kissed him back, finding comfort in his touch. Layton made me feel warm, and my body calmed down when he held me. It was exactly what I needed after what happened with Zev.
“Hey, you’re home,” my mom excitedly said when I passed by the living room.
“Yeah, I went out with some friends,” I told her, offering her a forced smile.
“Is that Cassidy?” I heard my dad call out from the kitchen.
“It’s me, dad!” I yelled back.
“Where were you honey? We came early today,” my dad said, looking up from cutting some carrots.
“Remember I told you I was going out. I was feeling a bit tired, so I came back home,” I told him, going over to kiss his cheek.
“Are you okay? Does your head hurt?” My dad asked, wiping his hand on a cloth and feeling my forehead.
I laughed at his behavior and pushed his hand away.
“Dad, I don’t need to have fever to be sick,” I said to him, thinking about the other hundred times I’d told him that before.
“I know. I’m just checking. Are you hungry?” He asked me. On cue, my stomach growled loudly, causing my dad to chuckle.
“I guess that answers it,” he said.
“I’m going to make some hot pockets and then I’m going upstairs. I just want to go to sleep,” I told him, honestly.
“Well, I hope you feel better hon. I don’t want you to get sick,” my dad said, smiling and returning to cutting vegetables.
My mom walked in to help my dad while I was leaning against the kitchen counter.
I stuck around for almost an hour downstairs with my parents. I had really missed them, and I liked the happy mood in the atmosphere. They were both in a cheery mood.
My dad had the radio playing in the background so it made everything feel lighter. He and my mom would suddenly start dancing when a song they both liked started playing.
When my parents started getting cuddly with each other, I thought it was time for me leave. I quickly warmed up the hot pockets in the microwave and grabbed a coke from the fridge. When I left upstairs, my mom and dad had already started their flirting.
Layton was in my room. Seeing him had contrasting effects. I wanted to be near him, but at the same time, seeing him made me remember what had happened during the dinner. I was at least happy that he had behaved himself.
I locked the door to my room after I entered. If my mom went to my room, she would know that Layton was there. I didn’t want to risk my dad being the one who checked on me later in the night.
“You want some?” I asked Layton, as I took a seat in one of the bean bags on the floor. I was resting my back on my couch, but didn’t want to sit on the hard floor.
He shook his head and sat down next to me, but on the floor.
“Aren’t you hungry? We didn’t even eat anything,” I told him. All four of us had left our plates untouched. It made me feel bad for the food that had gone to waste.
“I’ll survive,” he said, turning to face the front. I laughed and took a bite from one of the hot pockets. It was hot, so I was playing it around my mouth, trying to cool it down a bit.
Layton turned to face me and started laughing, probably at the dumb faces I was making.
As soon as I was able to chew it right, I started laughing along with him.
“I’ll go get some for you,” I told Layton, getting up from the bean bag. He held out his hand, stopping me from moving.
“It’s fine, I’ll eat tomorrow,” he told me.
“It’s cool, I can go get them. You do like hot pockets, right?” I asked him.
He chuckled, but nodded his head.
My dad was surprised to see me making more food. He said it was probably because I was feeling sick, so my body was asking for more to ‘recuperate’. I agreed with his idea, not wanting him to question me anymore.
Before leaving, my mom gave me a knowing look and winked. I blushed, and continued on my way upstairs feeling slightly embarrassed that my mom knew Layton was in the room with me.
“I grabbed you a coke, I hope that’s good,” I told him, giving him the plate and the drink.
We ate side by side for a while, neither of us commenting on what had happened. After I was done, I went to change into my pajamas. When I came out of the bathroom, Layton was only in basketball shorts. I assumed he’d been wearing them under his jeans.
I got into bed, and he got in after me. Tears started falling and I knew it was because of what had happened that afternoon with Zev.
Layton held me closer, while my body shook with sobs that I let out. He sat up in the bed, bringing me with him. I sat in his lap, snuggling against his chest. Layton had his arms around me, while my hands covered my face, trying to stop the tears.
“It’s gonna be alright,” Layton whispered in my ear, running one of his hands through my hair.
I didn’t reply anything back. I was trying to calm down, but the soft sobs kept shaking through my body. Layton only held me tighter, while whispering sweet nothings against my ear.