I woke up in a room I didn’t recognize.
When I tried to sit up, someone put their hand on my shoulder and made me lie back down. I followed the hand and came face to face with a worried looking Zev.
“Are you okay?” He asked, looking everywhere in my body and finally settling his gaze in my eyes.
“I’m fine. Where am I?”
“You’re in my room.”
I looked around and noticed that it was a typical guy room, with Zev’s scent all over the place.
“How long was I out?” I asked, placing my hand over my head.
The pain I felt before blacking out was gone and my body didn’t hurt. If there had been an injury, it had healed on its own. I was worried that someone might have noticed I healed too quickly and found it suspicious.
If Zev or any of the guys saw my healing gift, they would surely freak out.
“It’s midday. You’ve been asleep a little over three hours.”
I tried sitting up again, but Zev stopped me before I did.
“Cass, you shouldn’t get up. Nate told me you banged your head pretty hard against the ground.”
The concern was palpable in his expression and in the way he spoke. I felt guilty for making him worry about me. I had gotten hurt, but I was completely healed now. The only marks that always remained were the bruises. The bruising was the only thing that healed regularly, like a human did.
“I’m fine,” I said, smiling reassuringly.
When I moved around to sit down, I felt a light ache in my stomach. When I picked up my shirt, I noticed the hand prints on the sides of my waist and over my stomach.
Nick. I groaned.
He had been holding my waist roughly, even more when we landed on the ground.
While I was moving around, I felt a tingling in my shoulder. More fingerprints were marked on the skin of my shoulder, those belonged to Zev.
Zev was staring at my bruises with a guilty expression.
“That was me,” he mumbled, reaching out to touch my shoulder.
He ran his hand softly over my bruised skin. A solemn expression took over his face when I cringed from his touch.
“I’m really sorry Cass. I didn’t think I had pressed down so hard,” he said, pulling his hand back.
“It’s cool, don’t worry about it,” I smiled.
“Who did those?” Zev asked, pointing at my stomach, which was still exposed. “It wasn’t me, was it?”
“It was Nick,” I said, grumpily. “He was trying to stop Nate from taking me and got a little carried away with his hold. When he fell, he was grabbing on to me for dear life,” I told Zev with a chuckle.
Zev just frowned at my words.
“I shouldn’t have lost control. I’m sorry I let him hurt you,” Zev apologized, looking away from me.
“Zev, it wasn’t your fault. You weren’t even there when Nick did this,” I told him.
I didn’t think it was right for Zev to blame himself for what Nick had done.
“I’m sorry I didn’t stay. I should have stayed with you.”
“Fine, you should have. I’ll forgive you on one condition,” I told him with a cheeky grin.
“I already know what you want,” Zev said, resuming his frown.
“How do you know? Are you psychic?” I asked, smirking at him.
“Fine, what do you want?”
“I want to know what happened back there.”
“Layton and I lost control.”
“Yeah, I pretty much guessed that when you guys were dragged away,” I said, feeling a shiver run through my body when I thought back to what had happened.
“We would have fought in front of everyone if we hadn’t left.”
Zev was hiding something. I could feel it I just didn’t know what it was.
“What happened after you left? Did you and Layton fight?”
“We didn’t see each other. Micah brought me here to calm me down. Layton really got to me,” Zev said through gritted teeth.
“About twenty minutes later, Nate walked in with you unconscious in his arms. I got scared when I saw you. I just wanted you to wake up. I have been watching you sleep since then.”
We smiled at other, until my stomach made a show of growling loudly. Zev laughed at me and I couldn’t stop the warmth crept into my face.
I shoved him away, but it only served to make him laugh harder.
According to Zev, I was sick so he needed to take care of me. Since he couldn’t really cook, he chose grilled cheese sandwiches, which I ended up making.
After I finished, we settled in the kitchen, eating the grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles and chips.
We had been in the kitchen for a while when a worried looking Jonas walked in.
“He’s here,” he simply said.
Zev tensed up at his words, and he got up from the stool.
“He wants to take her home,” Jonas continued.
It must have been Layton. He would be the only one behaving like that, even if the entire thing was his fault.
I was walking a step behind Zev, but he was holding my hand. His house, which would more appropriately be described as a mansion, was making me feel nervous.
It was so bare and empty, only having the necessities. The cleanliness of the house was unsettling me.
I very much preferred his room, which showed some kind of mess. The posters on the walls, the clothes scattered on the ground, and books piled on the floor had given his room a homey feel. It was a big contrast to the rest of the house, or at least the parts we were walking through.
Knowing that Layton was outside, it was making things more difficult for me.
When we arrived outside, more guys poured out from behind Zev’s house and from the woods that were surrounding us.
Layton stood in the front yard. He looked his usual intimidating self, with his arms at his sides, his hands in fists, and he was clenching his jaw.
About fifteen to twenty guys stood behind him, while Jared and Tyler were flanking each of his sides.
The scene in front of me made me hide behind Zev. I felt shy for some reason, having Layton and Zev looking at each other confrontationally. I really did not want it to turn into a fight.
When I looked behind me, I noticed that there was also a large group of guys standing behind Zev and me. Even if I tried, I didn’t think I would be able to stop a fight that big. Gifts or not, all of the guys standing around were built like a statue.
“I came to pick her up,” Layton stated.
“You’re trespassing,” Zev replied.
“I’m crossed your boundary lines and no one stopped me.”
“Do you know what happens to trespassers?” Zev asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I’m taking Cassidy with me,” Layton retorted, his voice becoming more aggressive.
“What if she doesn’t want to go with you?”
“I don’t care. She’s coming with me.” Layton looked at me as he said that. He motioned with his hand for me to go to him.
It was probably crazy, but I wanted to go with him. Ever since Nick stopped me from chasing after Layton, I had been worried about him. I was glad he was okay, even if he was being an arrogant jerk, acting like he owned me.
“You can’t take her,” Zev told Layton.
“Cassidy, come here,” Layton said, narrowing his eyes at me.
“You can stay here Cass, I’ll take you home later on,” Zev told me in a soft voice.
“I’m taking her home. Get over here Cassidy,” Layton growled, but he was looking at Zev.
“Don’t talk to her like that!” Zev snapped, glaring at Layton.
“It’s okay Zev. I’m going with Layton.”
Zev looked taken aback by my words, and he was frowning at me.
“You don’t have to go with Layton,” he said in a pleading tone.
“I know, but I need to talk to him.” It was easier to make him understand something.
If Layton was there to get me, he wouldn’t just leave. I knew him enough to know he wasn’t going to back down, especially if it involved Zev.
“I’ll call you later,” I told him.
Zev searched my face for a few moments, the frown on his forehead not letting up. I sighed in relief when he finally smiled at me. He didn’t look happy about my decision, but at least he was letting me go.
Layton’s tense body relaxed as soon as I was standing next to him.
The guys that came along with him started making their way back to the woods, walking ahead of Layton and me.
It was a ten minute walk before we reached Layton’s car. He opened the door for me, but he didn’t speak.
I decided that I wasn’t going to be the one breaking the silence. If he didn’t talk, neither would I.
We drove for about fifteen minutes in silence before Layton said anything.
“Why did you go with Nate?”
I shrugged at him. The bump in my head was healed, but that didn’t mean I had forgotten what Layton had done.
“Instead of coming with me, you left with Zeverus.” Layton sounded disappointed.
I was staring out the window, watching the light rainfall. The woods looked beautiful around me, especially with the sprinkle of rain.
Layton had the AC on and it was getting cold inside the car. A shiver ran through my body and it caught Layton’s attention. Even frowning, he looked so handsome.
“Are you cold?” He asked, switching the AC to the heater.
“It’s drizzling outside,” I stated, tracing the raindrops through the inside of the window.
“You like it?”
“I never liked the rain before. Here in the woods, it looks nice,” I admitted.
“It does,” he agreed.
Layton didn’t ask for directions to my house, but he knew where I lived.
I assumed he planned on staying when he followed me to the front door. It was barely two in the afternoon, so my parents weren’t home yet.
I heard Layton’s footsteps following me to the living room.
“Are you going to answer me?”
“What?” I took a seat on one of the couches and Layton sat on the coffee table, right in front of me.
“Why did you leave with them?”
“Nate took me,” I replied.
I leaned my head on the back of the couch, hoping to organize my jumbled up thoughts.
“Do you think I left willingly?”
“That’s what it looked like,” he replied.
“So what if I left with Nate? What’s it to you?” I asked.
“I already told you to stay away from Zeverus,” Layton growled.
He got up from the coffee table and shoved it away.
“Why what?” He asked.
“Why do you keep ordering me to stay away from Zev? I don’t understand what you get out of this.”
I held my head in my hands, feeling confused by the whole thing. Layton’s behavior just proved that he and Zev were definitely hiding something from me.
“You obviously don’t. Every chance you get, you jump in Zeverus’ arms!” He yelled.
I was mad at him for thinking that. I hated that he kept ordering me around. Most of all, I was angry that his words hurt me. I didn’t understand why I cared so much about Layton or what he thought of me.
“Nate took me to Zev.”
“I know that. I picked you up from his house,” Layton said through gritted teeth.
“Nick told me that you didn’t want me there. He was forcing me to leave,” I said, bitterly.
“Nick made you go away?” Layton asked, looking puzzled.
“I tried to go after you but Nick wouldn’t let me. You didn’t look okay so I wanted to make sure you were fine. Then Nate came and he told me he would take me with Zev.”
“You happily jumped at the chance to go find that bastard.” His eyes were turning a dark shade of blue.
“That isn’t what happened!” I snapped at him, hating the accusing voice he was using towards me.
“Nick grabbed me roughly and Nate was telling him to let me go.”
I took a deep breath. Nick’s words were still very present in my mind. Whether it was to make me go away or not, he had insulted me. I wasn’t going to forgive that.
“Did Nick do something to you?” Layton asked.
His knuckled were turning white with how tight his hands were in fists.
“Nate took me to Zev because I passed out. They were both trying to get me. Nick wouldn’t let me go and he was grabbing me roughly. Nick and Nate were struggling with each other, and Nick lost his balance. He pulled me down with him and I banged my head on the ground.”
Layton closed his eyes, looking like he was trying to calm down.
“You know the rest of the story because I woke up just before you showed up with your mob of guys.”
“Are you okay?” Layton asked, closing the distance between us.
He tried to kneel in front of me, but I moved away from him and walked over to the glass sliding doors facing outside.
“I’m okay, no thanks to you.”
“Nick didn’t tell me that. He just told me Nate had you.”
“Well that just shows what a great friend he is- note the sarcasm.”
“I’m sorry,” Layton apologized.
He didn’t try to get any closer, and a guilty look was creeping over his face.
“It’s easy to say sorry after you accused me.”
Layton took a seat on the couch, a defeated expression on his face. He ran his hand through his short hair a few times, he looked tired.
I wanted to make him feel better somehow, but I wasn’t sure he deserved it. I always had to stop his fights with Zev, even though I still didn’t know why they hated each other.
“I’m sorry,” he repeated.
I looked away from him and focused on the glass doors. It was still drizzling outside, and the sky was dark. It was the middle of the day, yet it looked like it was late in the afternoon.
“I’m okay,” I said after minutes of silence.
“You got hurt because of me,” he said.
“But I’m okay now. Don’t try to take my spotlight away.” I smiled and it earned me a chuckle from his part.
“I shouldn’t have left you. When I saw you with Zeverus, I lost it. Then Zeverus said he had hurt you…”
“I’ll say, if my bruises are any proof,” I told him, shaking my head.
Layton stiffened at my words.
“Weren’t you listening to me?”
“What bruises?’ He repeated.
I sighed, but still picked up my shirt, just enough to show him Nick’s hand prints on my stomach. They were slowly shifting from a dark shade of read to a blue purple color.
“Who did that to you? Was it that bastard?” Layton growled.
“It was Nick,” I told him, giggling.
He looked surprise. I was sure he thought I would say it had been Zev.
“Nick did that to you?”
My shirt had fallen back down, but he picked it up and started stroking my flat stomach. When his fingers came into contact with the skin in my stomach, the shocks between us made me shiver. I held back a moan, and felt embarrassed about the thoughts I was having.
Layton was looking at me intently, before his eyes lowered to my lips. He kept caressing my stomach, sliding his hand teasingly over my skin.
My heartbeat picked up, but I knew it wasn’t the right time to be getting romantic with Layton, not after everything that happened.
I was supposed to have a perfect Friday, and it had been ruined. I forced myself to step back from me.
“He did. That’s why he and Nate fought,” I finally replied.
“That asshole, he’ll be in deep shit once I see him.”
I vaguely remembered Nick saying that Layton was going to kill him, either because he had hurt me or because I was leaving with Nate.
“Why do they follow you around? They always do what you say.”
“I’ll explain that to you later,” Layton said, resting his forehead against mine.
“Right now, I have to go and murder Nick.” Layton’s tone became hard and I almost wanted to laugh at how fast his expression changed.
“Don’t do anything. I’m okay and I’m not talking with Nick anymore.”
“He hurt you.” Layton’s voice sounded forced, like he was trying to keep himself in control and he was having a hard time with it.
“You hurt me too,” I told him softly. “And you had the nerve of going to pick me up at Zev’s house, even though Nate saved me from one of your friends. You’re shameless.”
“I said I was sorry,” he said, nestling his head in my neck and wrapping his arms tightly around me, resting his hands on my lower back.
I sighed, but didn’t pull away from him. I was still mad, even though he was softening me with his words and the way he was being. I loved that he cared, even if I didn’t understand why.
“Wanna watch a movie?” I asked him.
Layton was quiet for a moment, and he pulled away to look into my eyes. After a while, he finally nodded his head.
“Watching movies always makes me feel better,” I happily told him.
I hadn’t had a movie night since we moved. We had only been in town for a week, but it felt like a lot more.
“I don’t remember the last time I watched a movie,” Layton admitted, with a sheepish smile.
A light blush was creeping onto his face, and he looked embarrassed.
“That is so you,” I said, grinning at him
He released me and crossed his hands over his chest.
“What is that supposed to mean?” He asked, frowning at me.
“Not watching movies. What do you even do with your time?”
He shrugged, which only made me curious to know what Layton did all day when he got home from school.
“The TV room is over there.” I pointed down the hall.
“I’ll go grab some snacks,” I told him.
I was still hungry, so I got all sorts of things- chips, popcorn, cookies, candy, pickles, and a few cans of soda. When I walked inside the TV room, Layton was sitting down on a round couch.
His arm went around my waist as soon as I took a seat next to him. I was tired of fighting my feelings for him, at least for the day. I leaned against his body, and allowed myself to enjoy the movie with Layton pressed to my side.
At least my Friday wasn’t completely ruined.