#Chapter 174: Passing the Torch
Later that evening, the rest of the pack made their way over to our dorm for our meeting. Lori, Jessica and I prepared something for everyone to eat, although we were already beginning to run low on food what with the grocery store being deserted and all. Thankfully, Matt and the others brought along whatever they could find in their own apartments, and Enzo disappeared to his apartment briefly and returned later with a few bottles of wine that he had stashed away.
Finally, we somehow managed to put together a meal that was big enough for everyone. As we ate and chatted around the table, drinking wine, I liked to imagine that Tiffany was watching us with a smile on her face. I knew that she wouldn’t want us to mourn over her, but rather to celebrate her life and the amazing antidote she made that saved our school; and we did just that.
There was still, of course, the looming conversation that would have to happen at the end of the party; not only
about what we would do about the neighboring towns, but also the fact that Enzo would have to leave in the morning. He decided before the party to not talk about it until the end, and to just let everyone enjoy one another’s company instead. 1, however, couldn’t stop thinking about it. Every time I
looked at him, all I could picture was his face disappearing through a portal, never to be seen again. If Selena got her way with him, he could possibly never come back. None of us here knew how to open a portal, and Luke had been missing since he apparently protected Enzo from Edward in the werewolf
realm. If something happened to Enzo
and he couldn’t come back, I would
have no way of being able to go looking for him.
As the night went on, Lori and Jessica saw my discomfort and finally seemed to have enough of it. While everyone else was laughing, listening to music and playing card games, I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up from my seat on the couch to see Lori and Jessica standing behind me with concerned looks on their faces. They both nodded their heads toward my room, indicating for me to come with them.
Once we were alone, they finally asked what was wrong.
“What’s going on with you?” Lori asked, concern drawn across her face.” Are you hiding something?”
I shook my head, staring down at the ground; but they weren’t having it.” Tell the truth,” Jessica insisted, folding her arms across her chest. “Come on. You promised that there would be no more secrets when you first told us about werewolves.”
Finally, I sighed, knowing that they wouldn’t let this go… And admittedly, I needed to talk to someone.
“Enzo is going back to the werewolf realm,” I finally admitted. “Tomorrow morning.”
Both Jessica and Lori’s eyes widened.” What?” Lori half-whispered. “Why? You can’t be serious!”
I nodded. “He has to go back to find his dad. The princess my twin sister, apparently may have done something to his father and he needs to find him. And… I’m worried that he won’t come back.”
My friends were silent for a moment, processing. Then, without a word, Jessica stepped forward and wrapped her arms around me. I felt myself relax
into her, comforted by my friend’s touch. “I believe that Enzo loves you more than anything,” Jessica said quietly, stroking my hair as I sniffed and stifled my tears. “I know he’ll come back. You trust him, don’t you?”
I pulled away a bit, nodding as I wiped my tears away with my sleeve. “Yeah, I do. But…”
“But nothing,” Lori said, stepping forward and squeezing my shoulder. ” He will come back. You don’t need to worry.”
I didn’t know if my friends were right. They could have been dead wrong; for all I knew, Enzo might step into that portal and die on the other side, and I’d never see him again or even know what happened to him. And my wolf was still nonexistent, so I couldn’t even follow his scent or figure out how to open a portal no matter how hard I tried. I was powerless, just like I was at the beginning of the semester. A human But at the same time, my friends’ words were comforting and exactly what I needed to hear. Their gentle support was going to be enough to get me through this, and I was Sure of that.
At the end of the party, it finally came time to have our official meeting. Everyone was a little tipsy from the wine, but it almost felt necessary, in my eyes, in order for us to stomach what was about to come as we gathered around the living room.
Once we were all ready, Enzo stood and addressed everyone.
“Before we start, I have an announcement,” Enzo said, looking around at everyone. I could see that his body was tense as he prepared himself to announce his potentially fatal departure. “I’m sorry to say this,” he
continued, “but I’m going to be leaving tomorrow. I have to return to the werewolf realm to find my dad.”
A palpable silence fell over the room. The air felt thick and heavy, and as though making that announcement took the wind out of his sails, Enzo sat back down beside me. I reached out gently and squeezed his leg, but when he looked at me, there was only pain in my eyes.
“But while I’m gone, Matt, I want you to take charge,” Enzo finally said.
“M-Me?” Matt asked, his eyes wide.
Enzo nodded. “Your bravery and leadership played a huge role in saving not just all of us, but the campus and the town. I think we can all agree that you’re more than capable of acting in my place while I’m gone. I’m naming you as my Beta from here on out.”
Matt’s eyes widened even further. He looked around at everyone, clearly astonished as we all nodded our heads in agreement. If it weren’t for Matt helping everyone band together and taking charge when we needed it, and if it weren’t for Matt leading the Crescents away and risking his life, we wouldn’t have been able to do what he
“Um… Thank you,” Matt said, standing. “It’s an honor.”
“Thank you, Matt,” Enzo replied. They shook hands, then sat again. “Now… As for our neighboring towns…”
Now, I was the one who spoke up. “I’m going to do everything I can to replicate Tiffany’s recipe for the antidote,” I said. “We’ll need a lot of it if we’re going to cure more people.”
Enzo nodded. “That sounds like a plan. Hopefully, by the time that’s ready, I’ll be back. But, if not…” He paused, licking his lips and staring down at the floor. And suddenly, before he could say anything, Jessica chimed in.
“You will come back,” Jessica said, sounding somewhat stern. “So when you come back, we’ll discuss our next moves.”
It was a bold thing for Jessica to say, but somehow, it made sense in the moment. We couldn’t accomplish anything if there was a fear that Enzo came back; and if he didn’t come back, then we knew that Matt could help guide us along with everyone else’s input.
Enzo, much to my surprise, nodded. ” Alright,” he said, his voice sounding solemn but hopeful nonetheless.” When I come back, we’ll do whatever’s necessary to save our neighboring towns from the Crescents. In the meantime, Nina will make more of the antidote so we can be prepared.”
With that, our meeting came to an end. None of us slept that night until the wine eventually made it too difficult to resist, because we wanted to enjoy this brief moment of peace before Enzo left. And that night, as I sat beside Enzo, I could only pray that he would return safely to me.
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