#Chapter 33: The Meetup
The next day, I ran home after my classes and changed into the most nondescript outfit I could come up with for my meeting with K: a plain black hoodie, baggy black jeans, a plain black hat that I tucked my hair into, sunglasses, and a surgical mask.
“Geez,” Lori said from the couch as I stepped out of my room. “Trying to hide from the paparazzi?”
I realized how ridiculous I probably looked, but I had already prepared an excuse in the event of being seen like this.
“I have to go to Planned Parenthood,” I said.
Lori’s eyes widened. “You’re not… pregnant, are you?” she whispered.
I shook my head. “No, just a regular checkup. But last time I went there were these crazy religious people outside who were ranting about how I was going to hell even though I was just there to get treated for a UTI, so I like to play it safe from now on.”
“That’s fair,” Lori replied, returning to her book.
Satisfied with my excuse, I left the dorms and headed toward town.
K and I planned to meet up at a local coffee shop. He said he would be wearing a red t-shirt. I stepped into the coffee shop and looked around nervously, my palms sweating while all of the worst possible scenarios played through my head. What if he didn’t show up, then jumped me while I was on my way home? What if he stalked me home, snuck into my dorm, and killed me? Even with Luke there to protect me, I didn’t know what this guy was capable of. For all I knew, he could Chapter 3 The Matu have already been stalking me and knew about Luke. Maybe he even had experience fighting talking skeletons.
I suddenly felt incredibly stupid for doing this and considered turning around and going home, but when I saw a middle-aged man with a beard sitting at a corner table, looking sad as he held his to-go cup of coffee, I didn’t feel so afraid anymore. I knew you couldn’t judge a book by its cover, but something told me that he wasn’t dangerous.
Taking a deep breath, I walked over to the table. He looked up from his coffee and looked me up and down, seeming a bit amused by my hair tucked into my hat and my face fully covered.
“You must be N,” he said, gesturing for me to sit down. “I’m not gonna stalk you, you know. You don’t need to hide your whole face like that. If anything, you’re drawing attention.
echopte 12 The stup
I looked around to see that other people in the coffee shop were giving me strange looks, probably wondering if 1 was going to rob the place. Feeling embarrassed, I took off my sunglasses and mask, and freed my braids from my hat.
“Much better,” K said, holding out his hand for me to shake it. His hand was large and calloused as though he had been a manual laborer his entire life, but his grip was gentle when I shook it. When we finished shaking hands, he gestured for the waiter to bring me a cup of coffee.
“Now,” he said, leaning back in his chair and taking a sip of his coffee, you believe they’re real, huh?”
I nodded, unsure whether I should tell him about Enzo or not. He did claim to be a werewolf hunter in his forum post, and I didn’t exactly want Enzo killed. I just wanted information. Even if Enzo
was dangerous, I didn’t want to be involved in any killing.
“I think so,” I said, “but I’m not entirely sure. I was hoping you could give me some information.”
K paused while the waiter poured my coffee, then spoke again when the waiter walked away.
“I’ve got plenty of information,” he said. “Where do you want me to start?”
I bit my lip and fiddled with my coffee cup as I thought. “From the beginning, I guess,” I replied. “When did you know for sure that they’re real, and how do you know?”
K ran his hand along his beard,
stroking it. “My wife and infant daughter were killed by one,” he said.
My eyes widened. “I’m so sorry.”
“It happened a long time ago,” he replied. “Not that I don’t still grieve for #Chopter 13 The Meetup
them every day.”
“Why were they killed?”
“You see, Lycans — werewolves — have this concept that they refer to as a ‘mate’. Like real wolves, only the bond is more powerful. They claim to all have one fated mate, their one true love, someone whose wolf is bound to theirs.
When they find this person, they
become obsessed. It’s sick.”
“A werewolf claimed your wife as its mate?” I asked.
K nodded. “Yep. Except, she was human. Which only goes to show that the whole concept is bullshit. When she refused that monster’s advances, things got ugly.”
I was silent for a few moments. I began to wonder if that was why Enzo was so obsessed with me; did he think I was his “mate”? Would he kill me if I kept refusing his feelings? Chapter 33 The Mentup
“Is there any way a werewo- a Lycan, J
mean- can break a bond with a
“Not without the help of a witch,” K responded, taking another gulp of his coffee. “If I had known that thirty years ago, my wife and daughter would still be alive today.”
If Enzo did think I was his mate, then maybe a witch could help me get away from him.
“Do you know where I can find a witch?” I blurted out.
K shot me a knowing glance. “You got a Lycan problem, huh?” he said. I hesitantly nodded, still fiddling with my coffee cup. K looked around to make sure no one was looking before he reached into his shirt and pulled out a necklace.
Attached to the thin leather strap was a
large, yellowed canine tooth; far bigger #chopter 32 the in
than anything I had ever seen, aside from saber-toothed tiger skulls that I had seen in museums before. My eyes widened as I realized that this tooth belonged to a Lycan.
“A witch can break your bond, but I can make sure that… that thing doesn’t hurt anyone else,” he whispered, leaning across the table.
I leaned away, my eyes wide. “What if….
they’re not all dangerous?” I said.
K scoffed. “No such thing. They’re all
monsters; I’ve hunted enough of ’em to
know that for a fact.”
He noticed my hesitation and tucked the tooth back into his shirt, leaning back in his chair once more. “Listen, I know how these animals tick. They’ll lure you in, using their supernatural abilities to make you think that it’s safe, that they’re just like everybody
else, that they truly care for you. Then,
at the slightest hint of resistance, they’ll kill you in the blink of an eye”
I stood suddenly from the table, nearly toppling over my chair as I pushed it back. “I don’t want to kill anybody,” 1 said.
Klooked up at me, not moving from his seat, and shrugged “It’s either the life of one, or the lives of many,” he said. ” You know how to find me when you’re ready to make the right decision.”
As if we were just having a casual conversation this whole time, K pulled out a newspaper and pencil and started doing the crossword. I stood there in shock for a few seconds, then hurried out of the cafe with my heart racing
Was everything that K said true? Was Enzo truly a monster who was only manipulating me?
I started walking down the street to head back to campus, chewing my
fingernails as I considered everything that K had just told me.
But then, like clockwork, I heard the sound of a motorcycle and looked up to see Enzo driving toward me
He pulled up next to me and flipped up
the visor on his helmet with a playful smile that made my knees weak.
“Wanna go for a ride?” he asked.
I considered saying yes, my heart skipping a beat as I thought about being alone with Enzo on the beach… laying a blanket down on the sand and undressing each other, not caring if someone caught us.
But I couldn’t, not after he had sex with Lisa… and especially not after what K just told me.
I shook my head and backed away. “I can’t,” I said. “I have a paper to work on. I’ll see you around.” Before Enzo had the chance to respond, I scurried away.
I could feel his eyes on my back as I ran off, and although I couldn’t see his face, I knew that he was suspicious of me.
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