Chapter Thirty Four
The next day at school, I spent nearly the entire day just looking over my shoulder, so certain that Keenan was going to pop out of hiding any second. But to my surprise, I didn’t bump into him once or feel his prying eyes.
Granted, it probably had a lot to with the fact that Daniel stood by my side nearly every second of the day.
Nevertheless, he kept his distance, if it wasn’t for the multitude of gossiping going on between the entire student body at the moment, I wouldn’t have even known he was here today.
But the whispering wouldn’t let me forget, all day I had to listen to them hush about how good looking he was. I he was single, why he and Daniel didn’t get along, etc. More alarmingly, there were rumors stating that I was a two-timing whore and the sole reason Daniel and Keenan hated each other.
I don’t even know what Daniel sees in her, remember what she first looked like coming here? She was fucking ugly, there’s no way she scored Daniel and Keenan.
True, I mean, didn’t you see the way Keenan looked at her yesterday? She’s definitely hiding something.
Keenan must have a good reason for not liking her, she’s probably a snake.
Or a social climber, jumping from one cousin to the other, and everyone fell for her shit. Had us feeling sorry for her ass, can you believe that?
I sank my head down on my desk and put my earbuds in to muffle their voices, they definitely wanted me to hear what they were saying, and I knew that no matter how much I tried to explain my truth, no one would ever listen.
Of course, they said all this in the few instances where Daniel could not physically be in my class. Yet somehow he was always waiting for me outside my classroom.
My gut, however, was telling me not to get too comfortable with Keenan’s lack of appearance. That this was just the calm before the storm.
If he was silent, it was because he was plotting something.
Keenan is not one to just let things be, he might perceive me dating his cousin as a premeditated ploy to get back at him somehow. His narcissistic ego would never believe it was all truly accidental, that our feelings are genuine, that our worlds don’t revolve around him.
And there’s nothing he hates more than not having the last laugh.
Or being made a fool of, really.
No one but me seemed to understand that. No one but me seemed to understand the true length of his cruelty.
What if Keenan comes for Daniel too?
I’d have no choice but to probably break up with him, the idea alone made my heart sink.
But I don’t know what else to do, I’m tired of letting other people become burdened with my problems. He doesn’t deserve that.
Yet a huge part of me wanted so badly to hope that maybe as long as I stayed within the public eye, or with Daniel, Keenan wouldn’t find an opportunity to ambush me.
I had to remind myself that isn’t Chambers, where Keenan did as he pleased and no one would raise a finger or bat an eye. I can’t tell you how many times Keenan harassed me in front of students, teachers, and staff members alike. Not only would they not do a thing, but actively participated in covering for him.
They’d just look on like they were watching some live-action soap opera, no ounce of surprise, concern, or even pity present in their faces. I know what they were thinking, I’ve must’ve done something to deserve it.
At the time I agreed with them, but now I know better.
It’s one of the reasons Daniel amazes me. I realize I’ve never known genuine kindness like I witness Daniel give to others. The number of instances I’ve seen him joking and laughing around with people Keenan would never be caught dead hanging out with.
I can’t believe I thought Daniel could be anything like him.
On the fourth day of Keenan’s deafening absence, Daniel picked me up that morning to go to school.
He was unusually quiet and seemed to be thinking hard, instead of pulling into the school’s parking lot, he drove right past.
We don’t stop driving until we’re almost across town, pulling into the parking lot of a pretty popular restaurant.
It’s silent for a moment, and I begin to feel nervous. He looks like he wants to say something but isn’t sure how to.
I couldn’t take it anymore, “what? What’s wrong? Has something happened? Is it about Keenan?”
“No, not exactly, it’s just… I have to leave for a little while.”
I stare at him in confusion and shock.
“What? What do you mean you’re leaving?!”
“It’s only going to be for like a week.”
“A week!?” I yell, flabbergasted, “but… but… what about-”
“He’s leaving too, Angeline, I wouldn’t leave you here alone with him.”
“But where are you going?”
“My dad, randomly, decided to send Keenan on some mission to another pack. He refuses to tell me exactly what it is, and I just know they’re hiding something. Why would my father suddenly have some random urgent request that he needs Keenan to fulfill? Why not ask me? Why him?
“He’s sending him to Alpha Sawyer’s Pack of all places too. Nothing’s making sense, why would my uncle Drew just be okay with Keenan getting “better” alpha training here? That implies that my uncle Drew’s training is incompetent, no alpha would let that slide, and my dad isn’t even questioning it. What the fuck? They all have something up their sleeves, or something they’re hiding... and I’m gonna figures out what it is. I’m tired of being kept in the dark.”
“So you’re going to this guy’s pack too?”
“No. I got suspicious, so I offered to go with Keenan and Alan, but he refused. Suddenly there was something else he urgently needed me to do, he said he needed me to visit my mother’s birth pack. He gave this half-assed excuse about needing me to retrieve wolfsbane remedies like we don’t already have a full stock. Said my “journey” to and back would take me about a week, Keenan is supposed to be gone for two weeks. When I refused to go, he alpha commanded me.”
“How far is your mother’s pack from here?”
“It’s all the way in Virginia, it’ll only be a week Angeline, I promise. You’ll never be alone either, I’ll have someone with you at all times.”
I try to hold back the tears, “when are you leaving?”
“We both leave tonight.”
“D-do you have to go?” Daniel’s face immediately softens as he takes my face in his hands.
“I’ll talk to my dad, see if he can lift the alpha command.”
“No, no, it’s okay, I’m just being dramatic. I can hold out for a week, I’ll just miss you terribly is all.”
“I’m gonna miss you like crazy too,” he says, kissing me softly.
Breaking away he reaches into his pocket to pull something out. He places a small device in the palm of my hand.
“What is this?” I ask curiously.
“It’s a cell phone, you do know how to use it right?”
“Okay, show me then.”
Sure, I never had a phone of my own but that doesn’t mean I’m completely ignorant of cell phones. Besides, how hard could it possibly be?
I showed him the basics that I knew.
“Okay, as long as you know how to call and text me, then we’re good. I also added a bunch of our friends’ contacts, they got your number too. Play around with it, download any apps you want.”
“Daniel, thank you, but I can’t accept this.”
“And why not?”
“Because it’s a lot of money! And I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m using you for money or material things.”
“Of course I know that Angeline, I didn’t get you this phone because I felt I had to, I did it because I wanted to. Most importantly, I did it for my own peace of mind, I want to know that you’re safe at all times. Especially right now that I’m gonna be gone for a week, don’t hesitate to let me know if anyone bothers you, anyone, at all. Promise me.”
“Okay, I promise.”
“Say you’ll accept the phone.”
“Fine! I’ll accept the phone… for now, but I promise you, I’m paying back every penny!”
“Stop being so ridiculous, I wouldn’t accept it even if you did.”
I’ll find a way.
“Let’s grab some breakfast before we go.”
That night Daniel texted me, letting me know he did get his dad to lift the alpha command, but that he still had to go. He also let me know Keenan and Alan left that night as well.
Did they really? I texted back.
Yes, I made sure he left pack territory, and his scent isn’t anywhere either. He’s long gone, trust me, I would know.
Okay, I trust you, when do you have to leave?
I could’ve gone tonight but I wanted to say goodbye to you first, I leave tomorrow morning instead, I’ll pick you up as usual.
I’m gonna miss you so bad, I typed but then ended up deleting the message. I didn’t want to sound like some clingy simp, even if I definitely was.
I realize that this would be the first real-time I’ll be without my best friend since I met him.
I hope it’s the only time.
The next morning I see Daniel waiting for me in front of my house. I’m struck once again with how amazing he looks, as usual, he wore a white long sleeve turtleneck, his golden blond hair styled but still looking natural, his usually light brown eyes appearing darker. He was wearing his glasses today, and I instantly melted.
I love it when he wears his glasses.
How can someone this good looking be mine? It makes no sense.
He smiles my favorite smile as he sees me walking toward him, engulfing me in his arms, I let out a sigh of contentment.
I love being crushed by him.
We spent the short car ride as we always did before, grooving and singing to Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton. Daniel, unsurprisingly, had a really beautiful voice.
God, I haven’t felt this carefree since before Keenan had to show up and burst my bubble.
We park in our usual spot and watch everyone else mingle or hustle into the school building, trying to stall this moment for as long as possible.
“Here, before I forget, “ he says, opening up the glove compartment. He hands me a… pepper spray?
Not just any pepper spray but bear pepper spray.
“What do I need bear pepper spray for?”
“Because regular pepper spray won’t work on us, and if you do spray this, makes sure you’re not stuck in the room, or else you’d be spraying yourself too.”
“Um… okay?” I said skeptically.
“You should probably get going now,” he said reluctantly, “I don’t want you to be late.”
“Oh, okay, true,” but before he could kick me out of his car, I pounce on him, hugging him as tightly as my nonexistent strength will let me.
I yelp in surprise as he pulls me into his lap, he smiles as he stares at my face, a mischievous glint in his eye.
Why do I have to be so embarrassing? My face must be beet red and I feel so flustered. I can’t even meet his eyes.
I peak at him from under my lashes, my arms still placed around his neck, he’s still staring at me with his smug heart racing smile.
I know what he wants me to do, what he’s waiting for.
So I do it.
Pulling his face down to mine, I kiss him with all the passion, all the desire I feel for him.
He deepens the kiss, and I lose myself almost completely in his essence.
Ignoring the fact that we’re making out for all to see. I feel his chest vibrate as I bite down gently on his lip.
I let out a small moan as he swirls his tongue in my mouth.
The sound of a loud car horn jolts me away and I let out a scream.
Daniel bellows a loud laugh, throwing his head back. My face burns in embarrassment and I feel mortified.
I stupidly leaned on the car horn and now everyone is now looking at us.
Immediately I clumsily jump off of Daniel’s lap and try to right myself, all the while Daniel still chuckles to himself.
“Trey will be picking you up from home, school, and work this whole week. Someone will be escorting you places at all times so don’t worry.”
God, I feel like such a drama queen.
“Well if Keenan isn’t gonna be here maybe all this isn’t necessary.”
“Yes but three of Keenan’s pack members are still here in town, I’m not leaving it to chance.”
“Please just trust me, Angeline.”
I heave a long sigh, reluctantly giving in.