I woke up Saturday morning feeling well rested. There was an insistent knocking at my door, which had woken me up.
“Cassidy, are you awake?” My dad asked. Layton was lying next to me and he quickly got up from the bed, looking disoriented. His hair was sticking all over the place and he had small marks on his face that were left from resting his cheek on the pillow.
I quickly shooed Layton into my closet and tried fixing my hair before opening the door.
“Hey,” I said to my dad. I walked back and got into bed once again.
“Why did you lock your door,” my dad asked, looking confused.
“I didn’t even notice I had done that. I was changing out here in my room last night, and I must’ve forgotten to unlock it,” I quickly lied. My dad seemed happy with my answer and he simply shrugged it off.
“Are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, I am. Don’t forget you’re going to meet Layton’s family this afternoon. Don’t go making any plans,” I reminded him, knowing how forgetful he was sometimes.
“I haven’t forgotten. We’re ready, don’t worry,” my dad assured me.
“I’m going to leave to Layton’s house in a little while, is that okay?”
“Sure, we’ll leave later in the day,” my dad replied. “Your mom wants to clean around the house and I wanted to work on some strategy for the trainings.”
I sighed at his words and nodded at him. “I know, I know.”
“We need to try to fit in more practices, Cassidy.”
“I’ll make time for them, I promise. I don’t want to get out of shape either.”
“Since you are looking better, I’ll leave you to get ready,” he said, before leaving my room.
Once he was out and I heard him walking downstairs, I went to my closet where Layton was at.
“That was close,” I told him, sighing loudly.
He chuckled and embraced me in his arms.
“Are you really feeling better?”
I nodded my head, and pressed myself closer to him. Layton wrapped his arms around me, which was all the reassurance I needed. I had him, and that made me feel a lot better.
“My dad invited Marcus, his wife, Zeverus, and I guess Hanna as well— to come to the celebration today. You can probably talk with Zeverus there,” Layton told me.
I looked at him weirdly, wondering if he was feeling sick or something. Layton rolled his eyes and shook his head at me.
“I’m not exactly sure what I was looking to get out of that damn dinner, but I sure as hell wasn’t expecting what happened,” Layton admitted.
“I knew something like that would happen,” I told Layton.
“Zeverus isn’t my friend or anything, but that has got to suck,” he said.
“Putting up with a girl like that,” Layton said, with a dry chuckle.
“Hanna’s going through that stage where Werewolves get a bit hormonal,” I told Layton.
“I guess that excuses some parts of her being a bitch. I don’t really care about them, I just want to know you’re okay,” he told me.
“I’m okay,” I said.
In reality, I was missing Zev. I was scared that our friendship was over. When he left with Hanna, he had looked at me like he didn’t care about our friendship anymore. It had hurt me a lot.
“You’re not,” Layton told me, knowingly.
“Zev’s my best friend, Layton. I don’t want to lose him,” I said, my voice cracking as I spoke.
“But you have Tyler, and Jared,” Layton reminded me. I was about to argue with him for only mentioning people from his pack, until he finished his talking. “Hell, you even have Micah.”
His mention of Micah made me smile. I knew it must’ve taken an effort on his part to mention him. Layton practically disapproved of Micah as much as he did of Zev.
“It’s not the same thing, but thanks,” I told him, kissing his bare chest.
He was only wearing the basketball shorts, and I hadn’t realized how intimate our embrace was with how little clothing we were both wearing.
“You were kind of mean to Hanna,” I told him, scolding him lightly.
In all honesty though, I felt relieved that Layton hadn’t even tried to befriend Hanna. It made me uncomfortable to say it, but Layton was right. Hanna was a bitch, and she was mean. I couldn’t understand how Zev would be interested in a girl like that. It didn’t seem right.
“I thought she would’ve been different,” he shrugged. “Zev is really attached to you, as much as I hate to admit it. I expected the girl to be something like you.”
I frowned at that. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing bad,” Layton said, grinning down at me. “I guess I’m just wondering why Zev puts up with her shit. She isn’t his mate, so he doesn’t have that excuse.”
I had been wondering the same thing. I had nothing against Hanna, other than the fact that we didn’t get along. I assumed Zev must really love her though.
Layton put his hand under my chin and made me face him. The loving look remained in his eyes, which were swirling with a molten dark coal color.
“I love you,” he said to me, before leaning in for a kiss.
I kissed him back. As soon as my lips brushed against his, I felt the electricity igniting between us. He wrapped his arms around me, raising me from the ground and leaving my legs dangling in the air.
I chuckled in between the kiss and it made him pull away. He looked at me for a second, before laughing along with me.
“I love you back,” I said to him, wrapping my arms tighter around his neck and kissing him once again.
I waited in Layton’s room for the celebration to start. I had showered and changed into a navy blue dress with some white flats. My hair was straightened down, only decorated with a diamond encrusted pin that had a pair of wings.
John and Beth, Layton’s parents, had given me the pin as a gift. The wings symbolized what I was— a Legen. I thought it was really nice of them. It was a very thoughtful gift.
Even though Beth insisted on waiting with me in Layton’s room until the celebration started, Layton made her leave, saying we had some things to talk about.
Layton was barely taking a shower, since he had been out and about, preparing the things for the party.
Earlier, John had asked me if he could tell the pack about me. He wanted to share that I was a Legen and for them to know about my gifts.
His question made me think a lot. I wanted to be useful. My gifts would help the pack. I was strong, not as strong as a Wolf, but my gifts gave me a great advantage. I could be a strong Luna for them.
Quite a few Werewolves got to see my wings the day Layton and Zev were fighting against Liam and the Rogues. Most of them didn’t know what to make of what they saw. It was never really clear to them what I was exactly.
Layton came out of the shower only wearing a pair of jeans. I stared at his tall figure as he walked around, in search of the dark gray shirt he had chosen to wear.
“Hey,” Layton said, with a smirk on his face while I stared at him. I quickly looked away, finding interest in the couch he had full of clothes.
“Hey,” I quickly replied.
When he was done getting ready, we both walked downstairs. It was almost four in the afternoon. I was to be presented at five. The rest of the afternoon was when the party would really begin.
I walked outside holding Layton’s hand. He looked full of confidence as he walked around, welcoming people and talking about how the pack was doing.
Layton had a very strong presence. It wasn’t just that he was attractive, or tall and well built. It was more than that. Layton exuded power. Even though I wasn’t a Werewolf, I could feel the power he projected as we walked around.
I met more people than I could remember. Everyone was friendly and trying to get my attention. I imagined the pack being big, but it really was huge. Layton told me there were about three hundred Wolves of all ages in his pack— Blue Bloods Pack.
John proudly told me that his was the third biggest pack in the US. I asked how many Wolves were in Marcus’ pack. Layton told me that with the new additions— meaning Liam and a few Rogues who had decided to stay, there were about two hundred and sixty Wolves in New Elite.
I was excited when Layton said that after my addition, no Wolf would stand in the pack’s way. I smiled happily, because he was counting me as a strong pack member alongside him.
When Marcus and Maya appeared, everyone stayed quiet. Layton’s dad quickly took over the stage, gaining everyone’s attention on him.
“The last time we had a meeting, I thought it would be the last one I gave as an Alpha. Since Layton has found his mate, we thought it would be a great idea for everyone to meet Cassidy, and get to know who your new Luna will be as of next month. Cassidy, could you come up to the stage,” John said into the microphone.
I looked at Layton for help. He was looking down at me. I could see pride in his eyes. I hadn’t really done anything to deserve that, but I tried smiling at him.
Layton walked with me up the stage. My legs felt weak, but Layton was carrying most of my weight. I was nervous, wondering if the pack would reject me because I wasn’t one of them.
“Hello everyone,” Layton said, waving at the crowd who had gathered next to the stage.
When I looked at some of the faces, I noticed they were all looking at me curiously. It helped calm my nerves, knowing they were probably feeling like I was.
“This is Cassidy, my mate,” Layton said. He was smiling down at me.
“Hello,” I nervously said into the microphone. My voice sounded low. If it weren’t for the speakers, I probably wouldn’t have been heard amongst the crowd.
Many people cheered and muttered several forms of ‘hello’, back at me. I looked at them, and let out a chuckle.
“I didn’t know I would be put in the spotlight so early in the day. Thanks John,” I told Layton’s dad, giving him a teasing smile. Most people in the crowd laughed, while others smiled.
“I don’t really have much to say.” I started speaking, feeling my face heat up because my mind was blank. I looked up at Layton. He was giving me an encouraging look. My nerves were getting the best of me, but I tried to put them aside.
I sighed deeply, thinking ‘here goes nothing’.
“I hope that everyone can see me as one of your own. I know I’m not a Werewolf, but that doesn’t mean I’m weak. If you all give me the chance, I can prove it to everyone. I want to be everything that is expected of a Luna, and even more if that’s possible. I only ask to be welcomed into your pack. I will give the best of me to keep this pack strong,” I told them, taking a breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
Cheers and claps erupted from the crowd. It was more than I expected, which made me very happy. They seemed to have accepted me.
Layton wrapped his arm around my waist, squeezing it and looking at everyone with a grin on his face.
As I looked around, I spotted Zev toward the back of the crowd. There were a lot of people gathered, but I knew it was him. Hanna wasn’t with him.
Layton and I made our way down the stage as John took over. He gave a speech and offered an apology for everything that had happened over the years with his pack and Marcus’. I wanted to listen in on what he was saying, but I was too focused on finding Zev.
“He’s here,” I told Layton.
“Yes, and I want to talk to him.”
Layton looked at me for a little while, but nodded his head soon after.
“Where did you see him?”
“He was over there, towards the back,” I told Layton.
I pointed in the direction where I had seen him. We walked around, trying to find Zev where I had last seen him. By the time we reached the spot, he was already gone.
“I’ll go get my phone and text him. Is that okay?” I asked Layton.
“Where is it at?”
“I left it in your room. My dress didn’t have pockets.”
“Go, but don’t take long,” he told me. I was about to walk away, but Layton grabbed my hand and swiftly brought me back in front of him.
He placed a soft kiss on my lips. When he pulled away, he was smirking at me. I rolled my eyes, but still felt breathless from the kiss.
While I made my way into Layton’s house, I kept getting stopped a lot. Most people wanted to meet their future Luna. Before that meeting, I had never paid much attention to Werewolves and their customs. It was there when I noticed how much the pack members respected and devoted themselves to their Alphas. Even though they didn’t know me, they looked at me like if I was royalty.
Before I made it inside, I got to meet Zev’s parents. If I didn’t know who Layton and Zev’s parents were, I would’ve sworn they ended up with the wrong kid. While Layton was serious most of the time, his parents were friendly and his mom was bubbly. Zev was usually funny and in a great mood, but his parents were serious and collected.
I didn’t mind because both of them were happy that I was really close with Zev. Maya, Zev’s mom, told me about Zev getting into a lot of trouble when he was younger. He only got worse after he met Hanna. When I came along, they stopped hearing complaints. Marcus was glad because he said an Alpha needed to be responsible, and Zev was getting better at that every day.
Finally, when I made it inside the house, I was already feeling helpless. I wanted to text Zev and ask him where he was so that we could talk. The more time that passed, the more I kept thinking he had probably already left.
When I reached Layton’s room, I heard someone shuffling things inside. I opened the door to find a guy facing the other direction. I immediately recognized him, and his scent was all over the room.
“What are you doing here?”
“Oh, you know, just looking around,” he replied.
I looked at him curiously, wondering why he didn’t go to the party. Marcus and Maya were downstairs, mingling with the pack.
“Looking around for what?”
“Can I tell you something that really gets on my nerves?” He asked me, taking a seat on the shoulder of the couch.
“What?” I asked.
I automatically felt on alert when he got up and made his way towards me. There was a dangerous look in his eyes, which reminded me a lot of the day we met.
“You’d think that leaving the pack and then coming back would earn me a better title,” he said, finally standing in front of me.
I took a step back, but I was already next to the door.
“But it turns out, things don’t change. The Alpha is the same, or probably worse now that my cousin will take over. The pack is the same. You know what did change?” He asked, placing both of his hands on the door, one on each side of my head.
He was encasing me in the wall, standing really close to me. I could feel his minty breath blowing across my face, but it wasn’t reassuring. The dark look in his eyes didn’t help. His usually hazel eyes had grown dark, and I even noticed his canines making an appearance.
His Wolf was dangerously close from surfacing, and I seemed to be his target.
“The people have changed. See, when I left, you weren’t around. And now that I see you, I can’t help but want you to myself,” Liam said, leaning down to kiss me.
I moved my head to the side, and his mouth landed on my neck. He didn’t waste the opportunity though. He kissed my shoulders, and I felt his teeth grazing my skin.
“My claim could replace this one. I would be a better partner,” Liam whispered huskily, trailing his lips over my skin.
“Liam, what are you doing?” I asked him, nervously. My heart was pounding fast against my chest, and I felt breathless.
This wasn’t supposed be happening. Liam was my friend. He wasn’t supposed to be acting that way, touching me like that.
“I told you the day I met you. Just because things are good between you and me, doesn’t mean I will forget all that both packs did to me,” Liam said.
He was looking straight into my eyes. I didn’t know what to do. I could easily take him out, but I didn’t want to do that. He had been my friend. I trusted him.
“I thought you had forgiven them. Marcus welcomed you into the pack. Zev loves having you back. Everyone is finally getting along, Liam. Don’t do this,” I pleaded.
He smiled at me. He smiled a genuine smile, and it made me see that there was a good side to him. He didn’t have to be the bad guy.
“Don’t you see? I’m not the same. They just accepted me back because I shifted. If I came back with a vendetta against them, and I would’ve been a human, they would have kicked me out of the pack. They probably would’ve killed me too,” Liam said.
His words were bitter and coated in anger. I knew Liam had gotten hurt during his time in New Elite. He hadn’t shifted. While the other boys got a Wolf at thirteen, his had been delayed. But that wasn’t an excuse to be hurting people, at least not to me.
“No they wouldn’t. Things have changed. When Layton and Zev take over, things will get even better. They’re great leaders,” I told him, moving one of my hands and resting it against his cheek, willing him to listen to me.
“You don’t understand, Cassidy. It hasn’t happened to you yet. I lost everything when they condemned me for who I was. They turned me into what I am. You weren’t here. You didn’t see all the things they said to me because I was not like them!” Liam yelled. He slammed one of his hands on the door loudly and I heard it crack.
I closed my eyes out of instinct, thinking he was going to hit me.
“You could have something here,” I told him.
I placed both my hands on either side of his face, and made him look at me. Liam’s eyes were rimmed in red and I could see the hurt in them.
“I already have something out there waiting for me,” Liam replied.
“You do?” I asked, feeling confused by his comment.
“I made a life outside this hellhole, Cassidy. I have a family out there.”
“You have something else?”
My questions sounded stupid, but his words made no sense to me. I assumed Liam had been alone all the time he’d been away. Of course it made sense that he had made friends.
“I do. The most important person in my world is waiting for me out there. I’m only sticking around in this place for one reason,” Liam stated, looking at me intently.
“You need to give them a chance,” I said, trying to get the attention away from me.
I didn’t want Liam to fight Layton or Zev. I didn’t want him to keep holding the grudge that had been with him all those years. But I also didn’t want his attention to be on me.
“You’re different,” Liam said to me after a while.
Liam pulled away from me, and headed for the window. He ran a hand through his hair, which was already sticking up all over the place.
“You’re just like me, if not a lot better. You’re special. You won’t fit in here with them. What they did to me, they will do to you,” he continued.
I frowned at his words, but stayed in place while Liam walked back to me.
“We can leave. We can get out of here. Just you and me,” Liam said, putting both of his hands on either the side of my neck.
His thumbs were softly running over my cheek soothingly, but his touch did nothing to calm me down.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, my voice showing the panic I was feeling. “Why are you doing this?”
“The moment I saw, when I first talked to you, I knew you were special. I can’t believe you’re that bastard’s mate. But that doesn’t mean you have to be with him. You could come with me,” Liam continued saying.
I stared at him in shock, not knowing what do or what to say.
“Cassidy, I love you,” Liam confessed.
The shock I was feeling must’ve showed in the expression I was making.
“Liam, I— you don’t love me,” I said, my voice sounding anxious.
“I do. Even I can’t believe it. But I know that I do.”
“Liam, I don’t feel the same way,” I told him honestly.
“You don’t right now, because of the hold Layton has on you. I can get rid of the mark. I can bite over it. You’re not a Werewolf, your body won’t reject my claim,” he said, his voice sounding desperate.
“I can’t. You can’t do this. Why are you saying all this?” I asked him, pulling myself away from him.
“Because it’s the truth,” he said.
“I need to go find Layton,” I quickly told Liam, walking to leave out of the room.
“I won’t let you leave,” Liam growled through gritted teeth.
“You won’t stop me,” I replied, opening the door to Layton’s room.
Just as I was about to step out, I felt a pain in the back of my head. The last thing I remembered was Liam looking down at me and softly kissing my lips, before everything faded into darkness.