I spent the rest of the week hanging out with the guys. I avoided being in the same room with Layton and Zev together. My nerves wouldn’t be able to handle another confrontation between the pair. My classes were going really well, even though Layton was still following me around everywhere.
By Thursday, I had made friends with Liz and Maya from my History class. They were my only two girl friends in the school, so it felt like a big accomplishment.
I ate lunch with Layton and his friends on Wednesday and Thursday. Even when I tried to walk away, Jared and Nick insisted that I eat with them. Layton had been quiet, like he usually was, but he was friendlier than before.
Zev was absent to school those two days. I worried at first, because Micah and Nate didn’t want to tell me where he was. By Thursday afternoon, I had let it go. Zev seemed like the type of person who didn’t care about missing school.
Before I knew it, Friday came along. I had been looking forward to the weekend and I really wanted a break from school.
I had sneaked in a call to my friends from back home the day the before. I ended the call feeling depressed. I was homesick and I missed the life I had in the city. It seemed unfair that I had to give up my life because I couldn’t afford to accidentally expose myself.
I got two training sessions during the week. Even though I didn’t give my dad any specifics, I warned him that I was getting rusty. My words were enough to worry him, I couldn’t risk being unprepared.
I arrived to school twenty minutes before the bell. Since it was still early, I managed to grab a space near campus, and that was enough to cheer me up. I was surprised when I saw Zev’s car swiftly park in the empty space next to me.
I couldn’t help but grin when he stepped out of his car. It hit me that I had really missed him those two days he’d been gone.
After locking his car, he made his way towards me.
“Where the heck have you been?” I asked, punching his arm playfully.
He gave me a mischievous grin that told me he had been up to no good.
“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me,” Zev said, his grin growing wider if possible.
I squinted my eyes and looked at him suspiciously. Zev chuckled, probably at my expression, and shook his head.
I was really curious to know what he had been up to, so I went for ‘Plan B’. I pouted my lower lip and crossed my arms, giving him my best pleading look.
“Aww… you look so cute,” he said, pinching my cheeks.
The chuckle that escaped my lips ruined the serious face I was trying to keep, so I shoved him away. Zev wasn’t even affected by my push.
“Fine, don’t tell me. I guess I won’t tell you what you missed in PE,” I said.
Nothing happened in PE, as usual, but he didn’t need to know that.
“C’mon. You’re not going to tell me about all the exciting things we did in PE?” Zev asked sarcastically.
“Whatever,” I retorted.
I began walking away from him, pretending to be mad so that he would tell me where he’d been.
“Princess, don’t be mad at me. If you want, I’ll tell you where I was.”
We were walking towards the school entrance. Layton and his friends were sitting around the double-doors. Layton was a few steps apart, but he was looking as intimidating as ever. Whenever people passed by, Nick and Jackson would make jokes.
In the short time that I had been in the school, I learned that the guys were not so nice with other people. I was actually curious to know why they didn’t pick on me as well.
I kept complaining that Layton was mean to me, but he wasn’t entirely. He just liked to follow me around… and tell me what to do.
But after the first two days, he had significantly calmed down.
“Cass, please don’t be mad at me,” Zev said.
When I turned to look at him, he was smiling teasingly. He wasn’t taking it seriously. I wanted to laugh at his expression, but I wasn’t ready to give in just yet.
“You hurt my feelings Zev. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you,” I told him, trying my hardest not to break out laughing.
“I’m sorry that I hurt you princess. I didn’t mean to, you know that,” Zev said, grinning like an idiot.
“What did you do to her?” Layton growled.
I hadn’t realized he was a few steps away from us.
“Back off Layton,” I warned him.
I had to take a step in front of him. He didn’t budge when I tried to shove him away.
“Tell me what he did to you!” He snapped.
His behavior was confusing at times. Whenever he got angry, he really knew how to take it up a notch. I had no idea how he managed to make his eyes go to such a dark color.
“Zev didn’t do anything. We were playing around,” I replied, hoping that would calm him down.
Zev was just standing there, with an amused expression on his face. It was obvious he found the situation entertaining. When he caught me looking, the grin spread on his lips and he winked at me.
I was distracted by Zev, which made it easier for Layton to get me out of the way.
Once I wasn’t blocking his way, Layton gave Zev a hard shove, making him stumble a few steps back. Zev’s grin was wiped from his lips and he turned to scowl at Layton.
While they were busy shooting daggers at each other, I was tugging on Layton’s shirt. I had him for class first period, so I figured it was easier to drag him away.
Zev was usually the calm one, so I knew he would back off once Layton walked away.
I had not been expecting for Zev to grab my shoulders and roughly place me behind him. I didn’t know if Zev realized the strong grip he had on my skin, but he left my shoulders aching once he released me.
Some students stopped to watch, while Layton and Zev’s groups stood behind their respective friends.
“Give Cassidy back.” Layton’s growl was louder, more threatening than it had been before.
Zev looked furious as well. It was the first time I saw one of the confrontations affect him so much. He was usually calm and collected.
“No,” Zev steadily replied.
I felt power emanating from both of them, and I couldn’t tell who looked stronger. They were about the same height and they had similar builds, except Layton somehow seemed more dangerous.
I didn’t miss the tremble that took over their bodies during their staring match. I was surprised when Micah and a guy named Jonas forcefully dragged Zev away. In a matter of seconds, they had grabbed Zev and taken him towards the woods.
The shock of it all was what left me stunned in place. Zev’s shaking had been so out of control, I had never seen anyone so angry.
I took my words back when I turned to face Layton. He was much worse than Zev. Jared and Tyler were trying to convince him to go to the woods as well.
I didn’t know what to do and the entire scene had left me confused. So, I decided to follow them.
I was about to enter the woods, when Nick stopped me.
“Go to school,” he said in a tone that sounded like an order.
Despite the tough look he was trying to pull off, I could feel the anxiety dripping from his body.
I hardly paid his words any attention and walked around him instead.
“I told you to go back to school. You can’t be here.” His harsh tone was a contradiction to how playful he usually was.
“I don’t care. I want to see them. Why did you guys drag them to the woods? Why were they shaking so much? Is Layton okay?”
I hated that they were being so secretive. I wanted to know what was going on, especially because I had been the cause of it.
“They don’t want you here. Leave!” Nick snapped.
I laughed at his order, but his words had stung. I was pretending like it hadn’t affected me only because I really wanted to get to Layton. After the way Nick was treating me, I could no longer consider him a friend.
“Fine, then I’ll go and see Zev,” I said, sidestepping him when he got in front of me.
“No you’re not. Go away Cass, I’m serious,” he said through gritted teeth.
I felt hurt by the way he was treating me. Despite how much I wanted to insult him back, I didn’t know what to say.
“I’ll take you to Zev,” someone said from beside me.
When I turned to face the owner of the voice, I found Nate, smiling at me. I quickly made my way over to him, wanting to create some distance between Nick and me.
“You can’t go with him.” Nick grabbed my arm and yanked me back towards his body.
“I can do whatever I want,” I snapped, with the same tone he’d been using with me.
I tried getting out of his hold, but Nick just held on to me tighter. The more force I put in releasing myself, the tighter his hold on my waist and arm was.
“Let her go before I kick your ass,” Nate threatened.
“You’re not strong enough, pup,” Nick replied with a bitter tone.
Nate closed the distance between us and shoved Nick away, while trying to keep me on my feet. When Nick lost his balance, he tugged me along with him.
Nick’s body ended up over me after we landed in a heap on the ground. My entire body ached from the force of the fall, but it was slamming my head roughly on the ground that really hurt.
I was groaning in pain, and I didn’t know how to make it stop. My head felt like it had been repeatedly smashed against something. I did feel when Nick moved away, because his body was no longer weighing over me.
Nate was by my side soon after. He kept talking to me, but I didn’t understand what he was saying. Everything was too blurred, and my head was in so much pain.
I closed my eyes for a few seconds, or at least it felt like seconds. When I opened my eyes, I was being lifted in the air. Nate was looking down at me, his eyes full of concern.
“You can’t take her, you know that,” I faintly heard Nick said.
“I’m taking her. If you stop me, I’m going to tell your Alpha that you almost got his mate killed,” Nate told Nick in a hard voice.
I was confused by their conversation, but I wasn’t even sure it was real.
“It was an accident. I fell because you pushed me.” Nick’s voice sounded defensive and guilty.
“You were hurting her,” Nate replied.
I felt Nate’s pace pick up, and the trees surrounding us were becoming a blur.
The throbbing in my head doubled, and the scenery blurring past us wasn’t helping. The last thing I heard before passing out was Nick murmur, “Layton’s gonna kill me”.