This stale classroom is the last place I want to be on this beautiful day, but unfortunately, here I am. The teacher is droning on about material to review for the upcoming final, but it’s hard for me to concentrate on my notes with Maci looking back at me over her shoulder. “What,” I finally ask in a harsh whisper. I already know this girl is trying to gossip, and by the smirk on her face, my instincts are right. “See that guy sitting at the desk in the back,” she asked, attempting to point inconspicuously, “I think he likes you. The dude hasn’t stopped staring.” I instantly lose interest. “Well, he can keep looking because I’m not interested,” I laugh humorously as I blatantly look his way. “This class needs to end now,” I think to myself as I focus back on my notes.
A vibration shakes my desk, and I quickly catch my phone before it tumbles off the edge. My eyes instantly light up as I see Amelia’s name flash across the screen. She and I have been best friends for years. In elementary school, my sister Marley and I were very fortunate her family took us in after my parents passed away. Since then, she has been a major part of my life.
I sneaked a peek at the teacher, hoping he didn’t notice the disturbance, and opened the message. “Hey, Bestie! Can you meet me for coffee after class? I have something I want to ask you,’ she wrote, and already my day was a thousand times better. “Of course! I’ll see you then,” I quickly responded under my desk. Maci must have noticed I was in a better mood because we began to chat away quietly.
Time flew by as the bell rang for dismissal. “Make sure you all study for the final next week,” Mr. Davis called out as the class rushed for the door. Maci and I were the last to pack our things, but he didn’t seem to mind. “Have a good weekend and be safe,” he said with a smile as he began looking through papers. “You too,” we both replied, walking out the door and into the bustling hallway. “I’ll call you later,” I promised Maci as we both went our separate ways. I was buzzing with excitement as I headed for the doors to the parking lot. “Hey, Chloe,” a strange voice calls out to me. I turned around with a fake smile on my face, which fell instantly when I saw it was the boy from class.
I quickly looked him over and was not impressed with what I saw. “Do I know you,” I asked in confusion while crossing my arms. He shifted awkwardly under my gaze. “Well, no. Not officially anyway. I’m William,” he smiled, extending his hand. I shook it briefly before pulling away. “Do you need something,” I asked, hoping this would end quickly. I could feel my phone going crazy in my bag. “I’m coming, Amelia. I swear,” I thought to myself as William gathered his courage.
He cleared his throat as I struggled to keep my patience. “I was wondering if you would like to get
coffee with me some time,” he asks with hope in his eyes. Then, as if he could tell I was about to turn him down, he raised his hands in defense. “It can just be as friends if that helps with your decision,” he bargained, flashing me a warm smile and I cringed, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. “Okay,” I agree, smiling in return, “But as friends. We can go next week after finals. I’m sure everyone would like to celebrate together,” I suggest. I couldn’t help but notice William’s hope disappearing with my answer.
“Yeah, okay then. It’s a plan,” he says, giving me a small smirk before turning back down the hall. I could feel his eyes on me as I walked out the doors, so I turned to give him a final wave.
I shook away the lingering awkwardness as I headed to my pride and joy, my father’s 1969 Camaro. He left it to Marley and me in his will, but she was kind enough to let me keep it. She knew it had a special place in my heart. When I was a kid, my Dad and I rebuilt it together as one of his projects. I turn the engine over, and it immediately purrs to life. “She’s still got it,” I smirk, pulling out of the school heading for the coffee shop.
Once in town, I took the closest parking spot I could find. Since I was late, I wasted no time in turning the engine off and grabbing my belongings. I saw Amelia as soon as I stepped in. She was preoccupied with ordering our drinks, so I took the opportunity to sneak beside her, ignoring all the strange looks I was getting. “Hey, sexy bitch,” I whispered lowly in her ear. She instantly spun around in surprise, and I couldn’t hold back my laughter. “Oh my god! You scared me,” she declared but quickly joined in with my laughing fit.
When we finally relaxed, the barista called Amelia’s name. “So, how was class,” Amelia questioned while grabbing our coffees from the counter. “The usual,” I shrugged, walking to the empty table near the window. “A guy from class asked me for coffee,” I confessed, spinning my cup in my hand and avoiding Amelia’s eyes as she sat across from me. “Let me guess. You turned him down,” she asked, lifting her brow. “No,” I defended, “I agreed to meet him next week after finals, but only as friends. He’s not my type,” I shrugged it off. I couldn’t help it if I weren’t attracted to him. If it clicks, I’ll know. “Oh, c’mon Chloe! You need to live a little,” Amelia says, grabbing my arm. I just roll my eyes in response.
I take a sip of my coffee, ignoring her comment when I catch a blinding light over the rim of my cup. Amelia is looking at me with a smile you could see from several miles away, bright and cheesy. “What are you up to?” I ask skeptically. This smile of hers was never a good sign. “I know that look,” I whisper, leaning over the table. “You are up to something,” I tone thick with suspicion, but her smile doesn’t falter. “Okay! My family has been invited to the Aberdeen ball tomorrow night,” she squeals in excitement. “Oh my god! That’s amazing,” I say with relief. “I thought you were going to make me do something crazy like you always do,” I mumble while relaxing into my chair with a smile. I take another sip from my coffee cup. “I’m glad you can finally go. You have been talking about this ever since you were a little kid.”
In seconds, my smile falls as I watch Amelia’s lips form in a mischievous grin. “Why are you looking at me like that?” I ask worriedly. “Well,” she hesitates, “You’re coming too.” My eyes grow wide with shock. “What?” I ask in disbelief. “This is a werewolf event, and I’m human. I don’t think they will like me being there,” I quietly argue, but it didn’t seem to get through to her. “It’s not that big of a deal,” Amelia dismisses with a wave of her hand, “We don’t mind humans, as long as they don’t gossip that we exist. The pack knows you’re my best friend,” she stated as her features morphed into her infamous pout.
“I need you with me, Chloe. Please say you’ll come,” Amelia asked, fluttering her eyelashes. She knew this was my weakness, and I knew I didn’t have a choice. “Of course, I’ll go with you,” I said, grabbing her hand in defeat. “What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t? I’ll always be there for you,” I smile, meaning every word. “Yay,” Amelia exclaims, rushing to my side of the table.
I try not to complain when she pulls me into a hug. She was always the affectionate type, but Amelia was squeezing me a little tighter than normal. I could tell something was bothering her. I pull away, catching sight of her face. “What’s wrong?” I asked, searching for her expression. “I’m so nervous, Chloe,” She whispers. I tilt my head confused. “Why would you be nervous?” I ask, and she gives me a deadpanned look. I guess it was a stupid question. “It’s the biggest party of the year for my pack. This is one of the best chances I have at finding my mate,” she claims, resting her head on my shoulder for comfort. I rub her back with a chuckle. “Amelia, everything will be okay. I promise,” I reassure her. “What would I do without you?” she chuckles softly, pulling back from my shoulder to cup my face in her hands. I couldn’t help but groan in protest when she started to squeeze my cheeks together. “Well, you wouldn’t have anyone to go with you to the ball now, would you?” I tease in a muffled voice. She only laughs, releasing my face, and stands. “Let’s get out of here. We have dresses to pick out,” she says, wrapping her arm around my shoulder as we walk out.
I took a deep breath of fresh air as we stepped out of the shop. The sun was beginning to set behind the clouds, but the air was heavy with humidity. “Do you want to ride with me?” Amelia asks, pulling her keys out of her bag. “Sure. I’ll leave my car here, and you can drop me off later,” I suggest and start walking over to Amelia’s Mercedes. She unlocks it with her key fob making the horn sound and orange lights shine bright. “These new-fangled cars have so much technology. I’m glad my car doesn’t honk at me when I try to open it. I guess I’m old fashioned,” I shrug as we both climb into the car. I look at Amelia with a smirk as she starts the car with a button. “What?” she asks me with her eyebrows raised. “Oh, come on. You need to get with the times and get a new car,” she tells me with a teasing grin. “Nah, I’m good,” I respond, holding up my keys. “Whatever you say,” she says, shaking her head while pulling out onto the street.
Amelia takes us to a small boutique with a full window display of gorgeous wedding gowns. When we enter the shop, the bell chimes and a friendly older woman comes to greet us as if on cue. “Hi, there girls,” she says with a warm smile, “Is there anything I can help you with?” I couldn’t help but return her smile with my own. “Hi! Do you have any dresses for a ball,” I ask nicely and watch her face light up. “Yes, we do. They are in the back-right corner of the store,” she explains, pointing us in the right direction. “Thank you,” I say gratefully.
I walk to the back of the store with Amelia on my heels. We look through several racks as the sound of bustling fabric, and squeaky hangers fill the room. Finally, as if it’s calling my name, I pull a beautiful black dress from the rack. “Amelia,” I call, raising the dress in the air. “What do you think of this one,” I ask, holding it to my body as I strike a few poses. “Oh, wow, nice modeling Chloe,” she laughs. “That one is gorgeous, though! Go try it on,” she orders, pointing to the dressing room.
I turn to see a small closet size room with a curtain. After closing the drape behind me, I hang the dress up and remove my clothes, placing them neatly on my bag. As I remove the dress from the hanger, I am careful to put one foot in at a time and slip it over my hips. The silk runs smoothly over my skin as I settle it around my shoulders. I take my time admiring myself in the mirror. The dress is backless, resting just above the curve of my ass, and the front displays the perfect amount of cleavage.
Once I finish checking myself out, I step outside of the dressing room. “Hey,” I whispered, attempting to get Amelia’s attention. She turns towards me, and her eyes light up. “Chloe, you look amazing! You are going to turn so many heads. All the wolves are going to go crazy for you,” she gushes. “Aww, Amelia, that’s so sweet,” I blush, then notice Amelia has a dress in her hands. “What did you find?” I ask curiously.
Amelia holds the short grey dress against her perfect figure. At six feet tall, it fell just above her knee. “Wow, you’re going to look so good in that one,” I say, giving her a thumbs up. “Let me take this off and change,” I say and head back into the dressing room. Once I finish changing, we walk to the front to pay
for our dresses. “You girls are going to look gorgeous at this ball,” the older woman says. “Thank you,” we say at the same time and laugh. “You’re a dork,” Amelia says, then turns to the woman at the counter to hand her the money for her dress.
When she’s done, I hand my dress to the clerk, and she rings it up. The woman tells me the total, and I reach for my bag to pull out my wallet when Amelia stops me. “Wait, I’ve got this since I invited you,” she insists and hands over the money to the clerk. “Thanks, Amelia,” I say, giving her a grateful look. She wraps her arms around me, pulling me into a hug. After handing Amelia her change, the woman handed us our bags. “Have fun, girls,” she calls after us as we open the door. “Goodbye,” We call back as we both turned to look at her one last time.
We get in Amelia’s car, and she pulls out of the parking, heading back towards the coffee shop. The thought of coffee brings back the event that happened after school today. “Amelia,” I mutter, gazing out the window. “Yeah,” she answers, not taking her eyes off the road. “Do you think I should have coffee with the guy from class? He gives me a bad feeling,” I admit, putting my phone in my bag. “Honestly, if he makes you feel uncomfortable, I wouldn’t go. I was joking at the coffee shop, Chloe. If you don’t want to date right now, don’t push yourself,” she says, glancing over at me. She gave me a reassuring smile, which I returned, before looking back out the window. She always understood me.
Amelia parked next to my car at the coffee shop. When I hopped out of her car and walked to my door, I heard her window roll down behind me. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she yells. “Okay, love you,” I shout back, opening my door. I wave as she drives off before taking a seat. I took a moment to scroll through my phone before starting my car, but after a few minutes, it was time to head home.
I finally left the coffee shop and headed for my apartment building. I loved hearing the sound of my car as it echoed through the parking garage. It was music to my ears. I’m sure my neighbors hate me, though, because it sounds like a train and caused multiple car alarms to go off. I park in my designated spot and step out while covering my ears from the blaring alarms. I rush to grab my dress from the back seat and head inside.
I trudge up the usual three flights of stairs to get to my apartment and rejoice as I unlock my door and walk in. “Home sweet home,” I call out, stretching my arms after the climb. I head straight to my room and hang my dress up in my closet before throwing my bag on the bed. I begin to strip as I head to the bathroom and carelessly throw my clothes into the hamper. I am so exhausted I waste no time pampering myself and get out as fast as I could, taking a moment to enjoy the comforting fabric around me as I dry off and walk back into my room. I could hear my bed calling my name and sent my pillows a longing glance.
I skim through my panty drawer and slip on a cute white pair with black polka dots. I then search through my closest, finding a pair of soft shorts and a tank top before heading to bed. As I sink into my soft mattress, I began rifling through my bag for my laptop and phone. I send Amelia a quick text letting her know I made it home, knowing all too well she’d come to find me if I didn’t. When I settled in against my headboard, Mr. Davis’s voice rang in my head, reminding us to study, so I begrudgingly opened my laptop since I’ll have no time tomorrow.
Suddenly, my phone begins to vibrate, displaying an unknown number. I never answer robocalls, “Stupid telemarketers,” I say aloud and quickly clear the screen sending it to voicemail. Thinking nothing of it, I put the phone down again, but it vibrates again, this time as a text from the same unknown caller. “Hey, beautiful. Why didn’t you pick up,” it read, and I’m instantly creeped out. “Who is this?” I responded, and in seconds, my phone dings. “For me to know and for you to find out.”