#Chapter 80: The Lodge
The next week went by in a blur. I was so busy with midterms and catching up on classwork that I hardly even noticed that the leaves had almost entirely disappeared from the trees, and the days had already gotten shorter. By the time midterms were over, it was cold enough outside to have to wear a thick jacket and a beanie everywhere I went.
Enzo and I didn’t see each other at all, which thankfully ended the rumors floating around campus about our ‘ relationship’ even though it hurt to not see him after our fateful kiss in the rain. It also seemed as though Enzo must have started telling people that we weren’t together, which helped the situation. It felt nice to not be stared at and talked about everywhere we went, although there were still those who
shot me angry glares –such as Lisa and her friends.
Soon, it was time for the Half-Moon Tournament to begin. The campus began to stir with excitement at the prospect of a new tournament to fawn over, and the first match was set to be played a few towns over. I didn’t intend on going after everything that happened, just wanting to focus on school, but I was unfortunately forced to go after Tiffany conveniently fell ‘ill’ just one day before the match.
“I’m so sorry,” she said over the phone, her voice sounding nasally and congested. “I would go if I wasn’t so sick.”
“It’s fine,” I replied as cheerfully as I could while simultaneously holding in a deep, heavy sigh. “I’ll go and make sure that no one gets hurt.”
As we filed onto the bus that would take us to the match, I could feel the mixture of tension and excitement in the air Enzo’s teammates had no idea
that they were participating in something so important, to them, it was just a new tournament to replace the old one. They were confused about the sudden switch, but didn’t seem to ask too many questions.
As the team bus pulled away from the campus and began to make its way to our destination, however, it seemed that there were tensions throughout the team regarding something that had nothing to do with the Half-Moon Tournament
“I wish Justin was here,” someone said suddenly, about an hour into the trip, taking the rest of us by surprise. I felt my face get hot as I pretended to be too absorbed in my book at the back of the bus to listen
“Me, too,” someone else said. “Our team feels unbalanced without him ”
Does anyone even know where ne went?” Matt chimed in. “He was just here one day, then gone the next…”
“He went home to stay with his parents,” Enzo spoke up in a stern tone of voice. He was seated at the front of the bus, as far away from me as he
could get. It admittedly hurt for him to be so distant when we were supposed to be friends, but maybe it would be better this way. If he was supposed to marry someone else, I didn’t blame him for wanting to give himself time to sort out his feelings.
One of the players who I had rarely ever spoken to, seeing as how he was the quietest one his name was Bryce — suddenly spoke up for the first time on that trip, not even turning to face Enzo or anyone else from his seat.
“Convenient timing,” he said. There was a hint of resentment in his voice
“Oh?” Enzo said curiously “How so?” Bryce shrugged, slowly turning his head to face Enzo and I. “I just think it’s funny that Justin gets kicked off the team and disappears, and then all of a sudden you’re kissing his ex girlfriend at a huge hockey game,” he said.
I subconsciously dropped my book into my lap, not caring that I just lost my place where I was reading. There was a palpable silence on the bus as Bryce’s words sunk in. I felt a lump rise in my throat as I stared out the window.
“That’s bullshit and you know it,” Enzo snarled, standing from his seat and walking over to where Bryce sat. Those two things have nothing to do with one another ”
Bryce merely shrugged again. “I’m just saying,” he replied. “It’s an interesting coincidence But hey. What do I know?”
Enzo glared down at Bryce for several long moments before suddenly whirling around to face the rest of the team. I could see the anger written across his face. “Does anyone else have anything they want to say?” he said.
He was met with silence.
“Good,” he growled. “Whatever has happened between Nina and I is between us. If anyone else has a problem with it, you can come to me. I’ll set you straight and teach you not to gossip.”
Without another word, Enzo sat back down in his seat. I watched over the top of the seat in front of me as he turned his head to look out the window. No one brought up Justin or my past relationship with Enzo for the remainder of the bus trip.
We finally arrived at the place we would be staying for the duration of the match. As we got off the team bus, all of us were equally as surprised at the state of the place.
It was located out in the woods, which would have been completely fine if not for the fact that it was an old, run- down lodge that appeared as though it hadn’t been used or cleaned in years. The windows were caked with dust and Enzo had to use his body weight to force open the decrepit old door to reveal an equally dusty, dingy interior. Cobwebs lined the vaulted ceilings of the once-beautiful old lodge while the furniture sat covered in dirty white sheets that exploded with plumes of dust when we pulled them away.
“This is gross,” Matt said, walking over to the built-in bar at the back wall and running his fingers along the dusty surface “I thought you said this team was known for their money, Enzo.”
“They were,” Enzo replied darkly as he flicked the light switches to find that there was no electricity
“You don’t think they did this on purpose to throw us off our game, did you?” someone else chimed in.
I flicked on my phone flashlight to illuminate the area in front of me as I climbed the curved stairway, imagining how beautiful this place probably once was. It was possible that the team was trying to throw them off their game the sake of the Half-Moon for
Tournament, but something about the state of disarray of the place led me to believe otherwise. If this team was known for their funding, why would their lodge appear as though it hadn’t been kept up properly in years?
The team’s voices faded as I slowly walked along the narrow hallway upstairs, opening each door that I passed to reveal bedrooms that were all equally dusty with their furniture covered with those same dirty white sheets. At the end of the hallway, there was a set of double doors — and when I opened them, sunlight came streaming into the hallway, practically blinding me after standing in the darkness
I walked out onto a small balcony, my mouth dropping open as I looked out at the stunning view below. All around us, there was nothing but a wide expanse of tall pine trees. There was a small lake below with a rowboat pulled up onto the shore and a dock that looked like it would be perfect to jump off of if the weather was warmer
Just as I was about to turn to call for everyone to come and look at the view, however, something caught my eye
It was faint, but the way that my body instantly broke out in goosebumps told me all I needed to know
Way out in the forest staring at me Way out in the forest, staring at me from the shadows, was the outline of a massive wolf’s head. At the center of it, two glowing yellow eyes peered out at me.
This was no ordinary wolf.
it was a werewolf.
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