“No, she won’t want that,” somebody distantly said.
I could feel my body waking up, but I was too tired to move. I felt numb and my legs ached.
“I know. But he deserves it.” Layton’s authoritative voice resounded clearly around the room.
When I finally opened my eyes, I realized both Layton and Zev were in the room. My eyes roamed over my surroundings, and I noticed the place I was in looked familiar. Nate had taken me there one of the times Layton and Zev were about to fight.
I was in Zev’s room.
“Hey, you’re awake,” Zev said, coming to my side.
He was smiling down at me. It must’ve been a while since he slept. There were bags under his eyes, and he looked tired.
“I’m awake,” I said, my voice sounding croaky. My throat felt dry, and I was aching for an icy cold glass of water.
“How do you feel?” Layton asked me, sitting closer to me.
“I feel fine. It doesn’t hurt anymore,” I told them. My body wasn’t in pain anymore, and I no longer felt the bite on my shoulder.
“My pack doctor gave you some meds. The bite didn’t heal quickly, but the doctor says it will go away eventually. You won’t even scar,” Zev told me, slightly grinning.
“It was really deep,” I said, trying to see the wound. It was covered by white gauze.
I tried to pull away the coverings, but Layton’s hand stopped me from doing so. He shook his head, and offered me a half smile.
It didn’t hurt, so I was hoping it wouldn’t look bad. I automatically thought about the gashes that I had in my back. Layton must’ve caught on to what I was doing because he answered my question even before I asked it.
“The claw marks healed. That went away right after you passed out,” he said, offering me a small smile.
“How come that healed but the bite didn’t?”
“We don’t know. We both asked our pack doctors and they can’t explain it. Our best guess is that you aren’t immune to our bite. Anything else will heal fast though, like the claws did,” Zev explained.
It made sense. When Layton bit me, it didn’t heal. Those were the only times that my healing gift hadn’t worked. I was quiet for a while— thinking about what had been bugging me since the guy had bitten me.
Both Layton and Zev caught on to my expression, and immediately went serious.
“What’s wrong?” Layton asked, scooting closer to me.
“Did the guy, the one who bit me, did he claim me?” I asked them, swallowing loudly.
Zev smiled, and let out a chuckle. Layton didn’t look too happy with my question, but he cracked a small smile after.
“That’s not how claims work. I can see why you were confused. The guy bit lower on your shoulder. It’s a good distance from where a claim should be,” Zev explained, giving me a full on grin.
“Liam told me he could do it over Layton’s claim. He said that I could be his mate,” I told them, remembering Liam’s words.
As soon as I said that, Layton let out a loud animalistic growl. I shrunk back on my bed, surprised by his reaction. Zev just stared at Layton disapprovingly, but he didn’t say anything.
“We will decide what to do with that bastard later on today,” Layton said, still looking bothered.
“Could he claim me even though you already did?” I asked Layton, and my hand immediately covered the claim in my neck protectively.
“It’s possible. A claim isn’t a permanent thing, at least not for you yet. It’s a way for other Wolves to back off and know that a She-Wolf or a Legen in this case, has already been claimed,” Zev explained.
“Is there a point in being claimed? How does it even protect me? Why do I even need a claim if Liam or others might not respect it?” I asked, sounding frantic.
“The claim is stronger when…” Zev said, before quieting down. It seemed like he was at loss for words.
“You’re a human,” Layton started to say. When he noticed his words, he backtracked and started again.
“Well, you are more human than a Werewolf. It means that our bond won’t be as strong until we mate. So…” Layton said, stopping there and not finishing his sentence.
Zev looked between Layton and me. He seemed to ask Layton permission for something with his eyes because suddenly Layton nodded, and Zev continued where Layton left off.
“Since you haven’t been with Layton before, or with anyone else for that matter,” Zev said, taking a break between his words.
“Rogues never follow rules. They do their own thing, and it usually works because they work differently that a regular Wolf, even when it comes to their mate,” Zev continued, still beating around the bush.
“Which means?” I asked, trying to get him to tell me.
“Liam would have to mate with you. When you two are mating, he would have to bite you and the claim would actually stay. But the only reason he has to do that is because he’s not your mate,” Zev said.
“What if he was, and Layton had already mated with me?” I curiously asked.
Layton stayed quiet while Zev explained. He was looking beyond furious, but he didn’t add any comments.
“A Wolf can claim his mate any time. It doesn’t matter if she’s claimed, she’s mated with another Wolf, or she doesn’t want the bite — it will still stick. There’s nothing stronger than a mate bond,” Zev finished.
“How did you guys find me?” I asked, trying to change the subject.
On the inside, I was freaking out. I really loved Liam— as a friend. I couldn’t believe he planned to do that in order to stake his claim. The thought of Layton ever being with another girl killed me. I didn’t want to imagine how he was feeling if another guy tried anything with me.
After I asked that question, Zev stayed quiet and he got a guilty expression on his face. It was Layton who spoke, because Zev was looking away from me.
“Zeverus’ girlfriend overheard Liam planning to run away with you,” Layton said, clenching his teeth.
“I’m sorry about that,” Zev said, his eyes moving over to Layton. Layton shook his head, and seemed to be trying to get his Wolf under control.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Layton replied. Zev looked at Layton completely surprised. I couldn’t help but share the same look.
“What are you two on about?” I asked. It was the first time I saw Layton and Zev together, actually being nice with each other.
“Hanna knew that Liam was planning take you,” Zev said, looking down.
“Oh,” I mumbled, not knowing what to say or how to react.
Hanna knew. Hanna knew and she hadn’t done anything.
“She’s gone, Cassidy. I sent her away,” Zev told me, reaching out to hold my hand.
I nodded at him in reply. I wasn’t up for asking questions. I didn’t think my voice would actually work if I spoke up.
When I looked at Layton, he was looking at me with a defeated expression.
“You’re fine, it’s all that matters for now,” Layton said. He brought me closer to his chest, and wrapped his arm around my shoulders.
My parents were waiting for me at my house. They were getting everything ready for when Layton took me home.
Layton said I had been out for the rest of the night. It was almost ten in the morning when I finally woke up. My parents had been at Zev’s house the previous night, but my mom was out of control and the pack doctor had to sedate her. My dad had to take her home.
I wanted to ask about Hanna, but I didn’t know how Zev would react. Marcus and Maya were there. They asked how I was doing, and both of them apologized immensely for what Liam had done. I could tell they were embarrassed. The apologetic look didn’t go away. Not only was Liam their nephew, but he belonged to the pack.
I kept telling them that it was okay. I made sure to keep Liam out of the conversation as much as I could. Layton and Zev were at my sides at all times, and I knew what they thought of him. But I wasn’t mad at Liam, at least not enough to condemn him for what had happened.
We stayed in Zev’s house for a few hours after I woke up. The pack doctor checked on me several times. Zev said that the doctor had basically stuck around his house since I had arrived.
The only instructions he gave me were that I had to keep the bite clean, and I was to either visit him or Peter, Layton’s pack doctor, in two days.
Zev, Micah, and Nate walked with me outside before I left. Layton was standing next to the car, waiting for me to climb in.
“You freaked me out, Cass,” Micah said, getting closer to hug me.
I hugged him back, letting his scent hit me. He always smelled good. I was about to make a comment when I noticed him smirking down at me. I simply rolled my eyes, and moved over to hug Nate.
“I’m glad you’re okay,” he said, before releasing me.
I didn’t want to keep Layton waiting too much in the car. I was surprised he wasn’t mad because I was around the guys.
Zev was the last one to approach me. He gave one look at Micah and Nate, and they both walked away, waving at me before leaving.
“I never really thought Hanna would do this. But I’m glad she spoke up. We wouldn’t have found you otherwise,” Zev said, sounding embarrassed.
“It’s not your fault, and it’s cool. I’m here now,” I told him. He reached for my hand, and swiftly embraced me, putting his arms around my waist.
Zeverus nestled his head in my neck, and pressed me closer to his chest. I was glad that he was there. The day at the restaurant— I thought it was the last time we would talk.
“I’m sorry,” Zev whispered in my ear, kissing my cheek in the process.
I didn’t notice when Layton came to our side, but I suddenly felt him standing right behind me. He cleared his throat loudly and tugged on my arm, pulling me away from Zev.
I let out a small chuckle, and turned to face Layton. He had been staring at Zev, and his arm was possessively wrapped around my waist.
“Bye,” I told Zev, waving at him.
Once I got in the car, I waved at Zev once again. He stood in the same place while Layton and I drove away. The guilty look in his eyes didn’t go away.
We drove in silence for a while. Layton was holding my hand, looking concentrated on the road ahead of us.
I felt like if I had just left the hospital. The bite on my shoulder didn’t hurt, but it bothered me whenever I moved around too much. I hadn’t been allowed to see it. The gauze was covering it. Whenever I tried to take it away, Layton or Zev had distracted me with something else.
Even though the doctor assured me that it would completely go away, I was worried. He said that the teeth had sunk in deep, but it didn’t really damage my skin. He couldn’t explain why I bled as much as I did.
I simply added that to the long list of mysteries that came along with being a Legen.
“How are you really feeling?” Layton asked, giving me a side glance.
“I’m fine. I have a lot of questions,” I told him.
“I know, but let’s just see your parents first and then I’ll explain everything,” Layton told me, bringing my hand to his lips and kissing the outside of it.
Right after Layton parked his car outside in the driveway, my dad ran out to meet us.
“You’re awake,” my dad said, opening the car door and getting me out.
He embraced me in a tight hug that caused a sharp pain to run through my body. Layton came to my side and loosened my dad’s hold on me.
“Sorry,” my dad apologized sheepishly.
“I feel like everyone’s out to get you,” he said, gently wrapping his arm around my shoulders, and walking us inside the house.
It was already getting late and the sun was no longer out. I liked how the afternoon looked. The colors in the sky, with the nice fresh weather created a happy mood.
“It was just Liam, but he’ll be taken care of,” Layton replied to my dad.
“Where’s mom?” I asked, changing the subject.
“She’s asleep. I had to call Layton’s pack doctor and he came to see her a while ago. The doctor said she won’t wake up for a few more hours.”
“I’m sorry for worrying you guys,” I said, giving my dad a small smile.
He shook his head at me, and kissed my forehead. “This wasn’t your fault. Are you hungry?”
Layton was carrying his duffel bag, which was full of my clothes and other things he had kept while we were at Zev’s house.
“No, I just want to lie down,” I said, still feeling tired.
“You haven’t eaten. You should be hungry,” Layton commented, frowning at me.
“I’ll make you something and bring it up to you. You can go ahead and rest. Are you staying with us?” My dad asked Layton, not seeming to mind his presence.
“If you don’t mind sir, I’d like to stay,” Layton replied to my dad.
My dad nodded and started making his way toward the kitchen.
“Do you want me to carry you upstairs?” Layton offered.
I chuckled at him, shaking my head in reply.
“Layton, my legs work. I’m just tired,” I told him.
“I’m just saying I could carry you if you’d like,” Layton said, shrugging.
“Well, that’s true. You should carry me,” I said playfully, almost in an order. Layton narrowed his eyes at me, but still did as I said.
I chuckled at him, which only made his frown deepen.
“You don’t like getting ordered around?” I teased.
“I guess you are feeling better,” he grumbled out.
Layton walked us upstairs faster than I’d been walking, even though he was carrying me with him. It didn’t seem like my weight had any effect on him.
Once we reached my room, he gently placed me in the bed. He was being very careful with me. While I got comfortable in the bed, Layton began to unpack the duffel bag.
“So…. Are you going to tell me what happened?” I asked Layton. “Liam said you were blaming Zev for my disappearance.”
Layton stayed quiet for a moment, probably choosing his words carefully. He took a deep breath, before finally speaking.
“You two had gotten in that argument at the restaurant. I had never really seen Zeverus mad at you. I thought he took you,” Layton said, keeping his steady gaze on me.
“Did you do anything?” I nervously asked him.
“I went with some pack members to confront him. Some people from my pack had seen him at the gathering. He was invited, so I didn’t think anything of it. When we got there, he didn’t even know you were gone. I could tell he wasn’t lying, but I was still angry,” Layton confessed.
He had been standing by the edge of the bed. When I noticed his eyes were darkening, I grabbed his hand and pulled him to sit on the bed with me.
“We started going at each other. No one got in to stop us.”
“You fought with him?” I asked, incredulously. I didn’t think it would get to that point.
“I was angry. My Wolf was seeing red. I wanted blood,” Layton shrugged, but his body had grown tense.
“What did you do?”
“We didn’t hurt each other, if that’s what you’re thinking. We were in the middle of brawling when Hanna rushed out of the house. At first, we didn’t really pay attention to her. She kept yelling and growling at us. It was annoying me. I thought she was throwing a tantrum.”
“She told you then?”
Layton laughed at my question, and that made me frown. I didn’t find it funny. When he noticed my reaction, he reached over and pressed his lips against mine. I was startled by the kiss, but I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed him closer to me.
“I love you,” Layton whispered, letting out a deep sigh. “No, she didn’t tell me anything.”
Layton stayed quiet for a few seconds. I wanted to know what was going through his mind, but it seemed like he was in real deep thought.
“When I zeroed in on her, I remembered that the She-Wolf had plenty of reasons to hate you. I was about to attack her when Zeverus stepped in. His girlfriend went crazy. I guess she got scared. Everyone went silent while Hanna started spilling everything she knew. By the time she finished, all of the guys from both packs were ready to kill her.”
My eyes widened at his words. I didn’t think it had been such a big thing.
“I thought Zeverus was going to kill her. When I tried to attack her, he stopped me. I was more worried about finding you, so I got the guys ready and we went looking for you. Zev took off with the girl. He caught up to us a little before we located the house Liam had you in.”
“Where is she?”
“I have no idea. Zeverus only told me he sent her away. I wanted to lock her up, but he doesn’t want to tell me where she is. He was angry. I should probably be thankful that he took our side.”
“Zeverus is a good guy,” I told Layton, placing my hand on the side of his face.
“I’m sure he did all that because he loves you too,” Layton growled out.
I rolled my eyes at him. “He’s my best friend. Of course he loves me.”
“You are so blind,” was all Layton said, but he wrapped both of his arms tightly around my back. “But you are mine, and that is all I need to know.”
I laughed at him, and took the opportunity to climb on his lap.
“I’m sorry if I worried you.”
“At first, I assumed you had run away with him,” Layton said, sounding very guilty.
I pulled away from his chest, and glared at him. I didn’t think something like that would ever cross his mind.
“I considered Liam my friend, that’s it,” I said, snappily.
“I don’t mean him. I’m talking about Zeverus. I thought Zeverus might have taken you. But for a moment, I thought you might have left with him.”
When he said that, Layton only pressed me tighter to his chest. He was hugging me too tight, but I didn’t complain. I knew that being really close to me was calming him and his Wolf down.
“I would never leave you,” I whispered, before softly kissing his lips.
“How did you find me?” I asked him curiously after I pulled away.
“It took some time. Liam took you far enough from both packs.”
“You looked out of it when you entered the room,” I told him, replaying how hesitant Layton was about getting near me. It scared me because all I had wanted to do was be near him.
“I was expecting the worse. I didn’t know if he had done anything to you. If Liam had hurt you, or forcefully mated with you,” Layton said, swallowing loudly. “It would’ve been my fault. I’m your mate, about to be an Alpha. I’m supposed to protect you.”
“This wasn’t your fault, Layton. Don’t think like that, please. Liam didn’t hurt me. It was the guy who was laying down, dead in the ground. Liam defended me from him. From him and the guy that you killed,” I told him.
“Liam wouldn’t have had to defend you if he hadn’t taken you!” Layton growled, getting up from the bed.
He started pacing around the room. The light shake from his body told me that he was getting mad. I wanted to reach out to him, but I wasn’t sure if he wanted me to. He looked really worked up. I could faintly see Layton’s claws extracting, and his eyes had grown dark.
“I don’t want you to hurt Liam,” I quietly told him.
Layton was about to answer when my dad walked into the room. He smiled at me, carrying a tray in his hands.
“I didn’t make anything complicated, but I know you’ll like it,” my dad said.
He had made turkey sandwiches with some mac and cheese. I smiled at the odd combination because my dad knew those were my favorites.
“Thanks dad,” I said to him, offering my best smile.
He seemed content with my response, and smiled back at me.
“Do you need anything else? When you’re mom wakes up, she’s going to be fussing over you a lot,” my dad said, already looking apologetic. I chuckled, knowing my mom would be drowning me with questions.
“Layton explained everything that happened while you were asleep. I talked to his parents too. I’m sure they want to see you as well. Both of them were really worried about you,” my dad said, looking at me with a sad smile.
“We’ll go and visit them tomorrow,” Layton spoke up.
Another one of my weekends had gone by without getting to enjoy it.
“We have school tomorrow,” I reminded him.
“We’re not going. I don’t think you should be there if you’re still feeling sick,” Layton said, gently running his hand over my neck. My dad nodded in agreement.
“I am not missing school. As much as I dislike going, I hate having to catch up,” I told the two.
“We’ll see how you’re feeling,” Layton replied, in a tone that told me it was the end of the conversation. Once again, my dad nodded, agreeing with him.
It was strange that my dad was letting Layton make decisions like that for me. He wasn’t even adding any input.
My dad stayed to talk with us for a little while. He had made me four sandwiches, and a plateful of macaroni. I had only eaten half of one when he was there. As soon as the door shut and he had left, I turned to face Layton.
“Why is my dad being so— chill?” I asked, still confused about it.
“We mended things. He got a bigger picture about Werewolves. Apparently, there was a lot we left out the last time we explained things to him. Your dad and mine— they talked a lot. They really got along. I think he trusts me now that he knows more about what I am,” Layton explained, shrugging.
“Oh, well that makes sense, sort of,” I told him, chuckling.
“You want some?” I asked, pushing the tray with sandwiches to him.
“Aren’t you going to eat?”
“I am, but not all of it,” I said, pointing at the food.
Layton left downstairs to get a coke, and when he came back, he ended up finishing most of the food. It was good to see him eat. He had been stressing out too much over me.
It was late at night when my mom finally woke up. She didn’t want to leave my room. After explaining everything that had happened while Liam had me— or at least the parts I remembered— she significantly calmed down.
I wanted Layton to sleepover with my parents knowing. Layton told me there was no way he was going to leave either way. My mom wouldn’t mind, but convincing my dad was going to be a problem.
While my mom was asking Layton and me what we wanted for dinner, my dad suggested that Layton should sleep over.
I stared at him in shock, while Layton agreed to stay. My dad had definitely made a huge change in the way he treated Layton. He really did trust him.
It was around eleven at night when Layton and I finally settled down to sleep. I was lying down on his chest, with one of his arms wrapped around me. He was being careful not to hurt me. If it hadn’t been for how much I insisted that he held me, I didn’t think Layton would have tried to touch me.
“Please don’t do anything to Liam,” I whispered.
“He needs to get punished for what he did,” Layton replied, his voice sounding forced.
“I know, but I don’t want you to kill him,” I told him, softly.
“The moment I saw you today, covered in blood, in Zeverus’ arms— I swear I don’t know what stopped me from killing Liam. My Wolf wanted to spill blood. Tyler and Jared got inside my head. They both kept telling me to stay with you because you were hurt. I wanted to be with you, but my Wolf was angry.”
He was staring up at the ceiling, but I could feel the light growls emanating from his chest. His hand was slowly sliding up and down my back, and I cuddled myself closer to his chest.
“I’m okay now. Liam didn’t hurt me.”
“If I hadn’t found you, he would’ve,” Layton told me, bitterly.
“No, he wouldn’t.”
“Yes, he would. It doesn’t mean he would do it on purpose. But if he wanted to claim you and you didn’t want him— he would’ve taken you by force,” Layton growled.
His heart started beating faster. I didn’t have to look into his eyes to know they were a darker shade from their usual lively blue color.
I didn’t have anything to say to that. Layton knew more about Wolves than I did.
Before Zev told me how Liam planned to reclaim me, I thought all he would do was bite over Layton’s mark. I didn’t think he would try to mate with me.
“Please, just don’t hurt him,” I told Layton, sitting up beside him. I put more of my weight over him, while I caressed the side of his face.
“Let’s go to sleep,” Layton said, bringing me down and claiming my lips. I kissed him softly, savoring his lips and his taste.
I wasn’t finished talking about Liam, but for now, I knew Layton wouldn’t talk about it anymore.