“Erica, how many times to I have to tell you no before you realize that I’m not going to change my mind?”
Erica groaned, but kept arguing with her mother. “Mom, I’m thirteen years old! I’m tired of being stuck in the house all of the time! I have, like, no friends at ALL! And these online classes you’re having me take are SO BORING! Even the art classes! THE ART CLASSES ARE BORING!”
“Those classes are some of the most highly regarded online courses available for—”
“I. DON’T CARE!” Erica shouted. “I want to actually go to a SCHOOL school. With people in a classroom, and a teacher and clubs and people my age!”
“You know plenty of people your age, Erica. There’s Samuel, Louis, Sean, Charlotte, Taylor, and many more!”
“But I’ve known them for YEARS, Mom. I don’t have any new friends, it’s just the same people over and over and over!”
“If you’re truly interested in attending a school, there’s always the Northern Collegiate Preparatory—”
“Mom! I don’t want to go to a boarding school!”
“I met your father at that school, Erica. It’s perfectly fine.”
“But there’s schools here! In this city! Multiple schools that I can go to!”
“I promise I’ll keep my grades up and everything! I’ll be an awesome student, don’t you trust me?”
Erica stopped and looked at herself. Her skin was now covered with short, grey fur. Her hands were shifted into a hand/paw hybrid, with her claws slightly visible, and her bare feet appeared the same. Her tail hadn’t appeared, thankfully, so her skirt wasn’t ruined. A concentrated effort later, she was no longer in her human/wolf hybrid state, and now looked fully human. “Mom…” she began.
“You want to spend several hours a day, every day, every week, for years, with people who don’t have lycanthropy? When you can’t even control yourself enough to not change in a single argument with your mother?” Her mother turned her focus back to her work. “Now, I’m in the middle of preparing my arguments for the trial tomorrow, so could you please let me work?”
“I can handle it,” Erica muttered.
“Northern Collegiate is a wonderful program.”
“I don’t want to be shipped out to the middle of nowhere!”
“You’ll be around people just like you.”
“I’m tired of ‘just like me’, I want to meet people NOT like me, I’m being…being…
Erica’s mother sighed. “Fine. Fine. It’s against my better judgment, but I will try to convince your uncle to look the other way this one time. I’ll have you enrolled in a public school here.”
Erica leaped over to her mother and grabbed her into a tight hug. “Thank you, thank you, thank you THANK YOU MOM! You are, like, literally the most awesome Mom ever!”
“BUT,” her mother continued, “I will be watching you. Your family will be watching you. The Pack will be watching you. And you know what happens when someone breaks the rules.” Erica nodded, not particularly caring about whatever the Pack would want. “Furthermore, you need to be on your BEST behavior. You don’t skip out on any of the meetings. You keep your high grades. You do everything you are told to do, chores or otherwise. Understood?” Erica nodded again. “And I’m going to have to talk to your uncle once he’s back home. And if he decides not to do this, than you don’t get to raise it up any more.”
“Fine, fine, yeah. I get it, I get it,” Erica said. She hugged her Mom again and raced up to her room, eventually collapsing onto her bed in a state of bliss.
She was going to go to a school, like normal people.
She couldn’t wait.
She started to have second thoughts about this entire idea, and wondered just what she had been thinking to believe that this was going to be a good thing.
Her mother had driven her to the school herself, and parked the car at the front entrance area. “Well, go on,” she said. “First day of your life at James F. Byrnes High School.” She looked at her daughter, waiting for her to make a move. “Isn’t this what you wanted?”
“It is, it…it is, yeah,” Erica replied. “I’m just…nervous, all right? You win, I’m a little nervous.”
“I can always drive the car back home—”
“NO!” Erica shouted, surprising even herself. “No, I can…I can do this.” With a deep breath, she grabbed her backpack and opened the car door. “I’ll see you at four, Mom.”
As she stepped out of the car and towards the school, she could feel her mother watching her every movement, waiting for any excuse to rush out of the car and drag her back home. It wasn’t until Erica had entered the front doors that she felt somewhat safe from her parent’s gaze.
However, actually being inside the school presented an entirely new problem. She had never imagined that it would be so, well, big. She had visited it before, when summer break was still going, but it had been empty then. Erica had walked around the halls, making mental notes on where hallways and stairs led, but with so many people all bunched together, going in seventeen separate directions for seventeen different classes, it was starting to be overwhelming.
“You alright?” Erica’s had snapped over to where the voice was coming from, and saw a young man looking right at her. “You’ve kinda got a ‘deer in headlights’ look going on.”
It took Erica a few seconds to speak. “Yeah!” she finally said, in a bit of a too-loud voice. “Yeah, I mean, it’s just so, well, you know, different,” she blathered, “and really big, and lots of people and there’s…classes and stuff? So, I was just, uhm….Hi. I’m Erica.” Emotionally, she felt like an idiot. The first person to talk to her, and she entered raving lunatic mode.
“Hey, Erica. I’m Brandon. Let me guess, you just moved here?”
“What?” Apparently, Brandon wasn’t put off by her temporary verbal diarrhea. “Oh, no! No, it’s just, well, new school year, you know?” She laughed nervously. “I just, well, I guess I don’t know where a lot of stuff, uhm, IS.”
“Well, what’s your schedule say? My older brother goes to this school, so, maybe I could help you out?” Erica smiled nervously and pulled off her backpack, unzipping it and pulling out one of the several binders for her classes, each one colored differently. “Wow, that’s…a lot of binders.”
“Yeah, well, different class, different binder, you know?” Keep embarrassing yourself, Erica. Just keep it up, you’ll probably change right in the middle of the school. “Ah, here it is!”
“Let me…oh, you’ve got Mr. Daniels’s math class too! Awesome, I can show you where it is, come on.” Brandon walked over to the stairs while Erica zipped back up her backpack.
Apparently, her first start to the school year was not as bad as she, or her family, had envisioned it.
After fourth period was lunch, and Erica wandered around the cafeteria, tray full of food, trying to find a place to sit. Every table already seemed to be occupied with groups of people, and she didn’t want to just suddenly barge into them and make a faux pas.
“Yo, Erica! You can sit here, if you want!” Towards her left she saw Brandon wave his arm to get her attention. He was sitting with two other guys and some girl. Erica smiled and happily walked over to the table, taking the seat next to the other girl and putting down her tray and backpack. “Liking your first day so far?”
“The History class I had was really boring,” she said. “It’s like, I already knew everything he was teaching. And his voice just droned on and on and on!”
“Let me guess,” the girl said. “You had Doc Railes?” Erica nodded. “He’s older than dirt. Literally, there’s probably dirt at this school that hadn’t even existed when he was hired. I don’t blame you.”
“So this is the new girl you were talking about, Brandon?” one of the guys asked.
“You didn’t have to say it like that,” Brandon mumbled.
“Hey, you started talking about her, then you called her over, I think I can say a lot just based off of that.” The teenager smiled at Erica. “The name’s Tom, by the way.”
“Alex,” the other guy said.
“And I’m Lucy,” the other girl said. “So, where’d you move from, Erica?”
“Uh, I didn’t move from anywhere. I’ve lived here my whole life.”
“So…home-schooled?” Lucy asked.
“Well, kind of. Basically, I guess,” Erica admitted. “So, how do you all know each other?”
“We played baseball together,” Brandon said. “You’re looking at three extremely talented players right here.”
“And this one’s all mine,” Lucy said, scooting closer to Alex and grabbing his hand.
“Cut it out, Lucy,” he said in a resigned voice. “You’re making things creepy.”
“Well, uhm…thanks for letting me eat here, guys.”
“Hey, no problem,” Brandon said. “So what other classes do you have?”
Erica pulled out her History binder and flipped through the pages, trying to find her schedule. “Uhm…fifth period I have some math class, sixth is English…I don’t know what seventh is, it just says—”
“Woah, woah, woah, back up a second!” Lucy flipped a few pages back and stopped at some of the notes Erica had taken. In the top section, she had drawn a wolf howling at the moon. “Did you seriously draw this?”
“Oh, that?” Erica asked, flustered and shutting her binder immediately. “It’s, it’s, it’s nothing, just a, you know, quick sketch I did, anyone could have—HEY!”
Brandon swiped the binder and opened it up, eventually finding the page in question. “You drew this? Erica, this is seriously awesome!”
Even though it made her proud to hear people praising her work, she didn’t feel comfortable having people focus on her drawing of a wolf. “It’s nothings, seriously guys, I did it in a few minutes, give it back!” She snatched up the binder and put it back in her backpack, hoping to turn her focus on eating her lunch.
“If you did that in a few minutes, I really want to see what you can do with some time,” Brandon continued. “That looked really cool!”
“Thanks,” Erica said, still focused on eating her food as fast as possible. Once she had finished as much as she could stomach, she got up. “Well, nice meeting you all! Later!” She grabbed her backpack and tray, and walked over to the tray return area.
Her second meeting with Brandon, she decided, could have gone better. But it also could have gone a lot worse.
It certainly didn’t mean she wanted to not see him again.
“Happy sixteenth, E!”
“Thanks for inviting me over, Lucy.” Erica stepped into Lucy’s house with Brandon, who had driven her over. “But I already told you, I didn’t want to do anything really special. It’s just a birthday, I haven’t really even done anything.”
“No, it’s your SIXTEENTH birthday. That’s, like, the first major milestone in your life! Get your license, get a car, go ANYWHERE, how is that not special?”
“Is there a reason you invited us over here?” Brandon asked. “Because I’m really curious why I got dragged into this.”
“Mostly because you, unlike E here, already have a license, and live closest to her. And you two are such a couple.”
Erica and Brandon spoke up at the same time. “We’re not a couple.” Lucy let their silence after their simultaneous declaration speak for itself.
“Anyway, come on. Alex and Tom are already here.” Lucy closed the door behind them and escorted them to the living room, where there was a giant television in front of a couch and some chairs. “Though I’m surprised that you actually WERE able to make it. I thought that you said your art contest thing was maximum priority.”
“Well, my parents are under the impression that this is going to be a ‘study group’. So as long as I’m home by midnight, I can hang out.” Erica couldn’t help but smile. Her parents and extended family didn’t approve of her hanging out with her school friends, so they tried almost every excuse they could think of in order to limit her free time. But even they couldn’t contest the upcoming mid-semester testing would require some studying, and heaven forbid any of them actually show up and stay at their place. She had to lie about exactly how hard the testing would be, but there was no way tonight wouldn’t be worth it.
Lucy nodded in approval. “Way to go, E! Showing off a bit of your bad side for once!”
Tom and Alex got up, wishing Erica a happy birthday. Alex then walked over to Lucy and kissed her briefly on the lips. “Man, come on,” Tom said. “Can the four of you not rub in the fact that you’re dating each other tonight? Starting to make me feel depressed.”
“I’m not dating Brandon,” Erica protested.
“SURE you’re not,” Tom replied.
“Guys, hang on for a second,” Lucy said. She cleared her throat and began to speak. “Well guys, thanks for coming over for a little impromptu celebration of E here finally being allowed to terrorize the road!”
“Seriously, Lucy. You don’t have to do anything special. I’m happy to just hang out with my friends.”
“Oh, it won’t be anything special,” Lucy said, making her way to the kitchen and pulling out several cases of beer. “We are going to hang out, watch some awesomely crappy movies, and get drunk! How is that special?”
Erica wasn’t so sure. “Uhm, Lucy, your parents are going to freak out if they catch us drinking.”
“Good thing they’re up in New York for the week, then! AND I can easily replace this stuff. Come on, you’re already lying to your parents about tonight. Live for the danger, E. LIVE FOR THE DANGER!”
Erica still looked unconvinced. “If she doesn’t want to drink, you can’t make her,” Brandon said firmly.
Lucy sighed. “All right, all right. You want some soda or juice or whatever, E?”
Erica remained silent. She looked at Lucy, glanced back over at Brandon, and sighed. “Fuck it,” she muttered, and grabbed one of the cans of beer.
“YOU ROCK E!!!” Lucy passed some cans over to Tom and Alex. “Brandon?”
“I’ve got to drive tonight, thanks.”
“E, you have a wonderfully responsive man. Don’t lose him.”
“Will you stop teasing her?”
“That’s just the sort of thing a concerned boyfriend would say.” Erica couldn’t help but laugh at that. She popped the tab of the can and took a quick sip, trying out the flavor and finding it wasn’t entirely disgusting.
The five of them eventually decided on a movie to riff on, with the continued objective of “everyone drinks when something incredibly stupid happens in the film”. By the time they had reached the halfway point in the movie, they had all paused, laughed, and talked for three hours.
“See…see…hold ona shec,” Lucy slurred. “We gotta….shop. STOP. Stop dis. I am…am WAAAAAY too drunk.”
“Agreed so SO so sosososo much,” Alex replied.
Tom nodded in agreement, then wobbled to his feet and excused himself, making a slow, slightly staggering walk to the bathroom.
“I can put the cans away,” Erica said, putting down her own can and picking up the unused containers.
“How in da HELL are you standing?” Lucy asked, sprawling out over the couch and moving next to Alex.
“I guess she can handle beer better than you three,” Brandon guessed.
“No, no, no, shut up Brandon. This is, this is just crazy unfair,” Lucy continued. “You may be the…the…birthday gurl, but you had jusasmuch beer as I, I, I did.”
Erica did feel perfectly fine. A small buzz from all of the alcohol, feeling a bit looser and giddier, but nowhere near the level of drunkenness that Lucy was. “Just lucky, I guess.”
“But COM’ON! Wha’s your secret?! Yoga? It’s yoga, isn’t it?”
Erica laughed that off. “No, stupid, it’s probably just me being a werewolf.”
Immediately everyone shut up. Erica herself froze up in sudden terror of what she had said. Why had she said that?! Was she actually drunk? What if her parents found out? What should she do?
“Being a what now?” Brandon asked.
Think, think, THINK OF SOMETHING YOU STUPID IDIOT! A plan soon formed in her mind. She slammed the refrigerator door shut and strutted out into the living room in a relaxed fashion, as Brandon, Alex, and Lucy watched her. “You heard me. I’m a werewolf. I can turn into a giant wolf, go hunting in the moonlight, have super strength, super hearing, super smell, AND I CAN DRINK A FULL KEG WITHOUT GETTING DRUNK!” she yelled bombastically. “BOW BEFORE ME, MERE MORTALS, FOR I AM IMMUNE TO YOUR PETTY BREWS!”
She stopped and waited, hoping that her sudden and over-the-top behavior would convince them to leave it as a joke. No one said anything. Erica waited a bit longer. Still, no one spoke up.
Finally, Lucy couldn’t contain herself anymore. She burst out in gut-wrenching laughter, falling down from the couch and rolling around on the floor. “Oh my GOD, E! That was hilarious!” She kept laughing so hard that she had to stop for a few seconds so that she could breathe properly. Eventually Alex and Brandon couldn’t help themselves and joined in. Even Erica chuckled at the scene before her.
“Well then, Wolf Girl,” Brandon finally said when he had stopped laughing, “you certainly have a better sense of humor than I thought.”
“ ‘Wolf Girl’? Really?” Erica asked as she sat down next to Brandon. “That the best you could come up with?”
“Ohmigawd we need to make Wolf Girl a thing with you. I DECREE IT A THING! ALL HEAR ME, FOR WOLF GIRL IS A THING!” Lucy laughed as she tried to get up, but couldn’t. “I think the night is officially over. I can’t get up. That was THE funniest thing, Erica. Like, outta NOWHERE!”
Brandon escorted Erica back out to his car while Alex went to check on Tom and make sure he hadn’t locked himself in the bathroom. “That was honestly kind of awesome, E. Seriously, you’ve never done anything like that before.”
Erica shrugged, trying to move on from the moment. “Maybe I’m drunker than I look.”
“Maybe,” Brandon admitted. When they got to his car, Brandon stopped, with a thoughtful look on his face.
“Brandon? Something wrong?”
“It’s just…you’re really awesome, you know that?”
“You’re just saying that.”
“I mean it, you are. I mean, you’ve got awesome art skills, you clearly have an absurdly awesome sense of humor, and you’re, well…”
“I’m what? Come on, spit it out.”
Brandon mumbled something to himself that Erica couldn’t hear. “Speak up, Branny, I don’t actually have super hearing, remember?”
“You’re actually kind of hot,” he mumbled a bit louder. Erica stopped what she was doing and paid full attention to him. “And I’ve been trying to figure out what to say, and I don’t want it to be awkward, since we’ve known each other and been friends for two years now, and I don’t want to say anything stupid, but I…like you. I really like you. And…yeah.”
Erica didn’t know what to say. “You…you like me?”
Brandon nodded his head, looking down at the ground. “Like…REALLY like me?” He nodded again.
Eventually, Erica figured out what her response to Brandon’s declaration was. “Happy Birthday to me,” she said. She moved up close to him, and they started to kiss.
“Wow,” Brandon finally said. “Happy Birthday, Wolf Girl.”
Erica sighed, bringing in Brandon for a close and loving hug. She probably couldn’t be any happier than she was in this moment.
There was a loud pounding on Erica’s bedroom door. “I’m a little busy with something!” she shouted, her eyes concentrated on the drawing tablet in front of her. This was the first piece she had ever done for a paid commission online, and she wanted to get it perfect. It may have only been for five dollars, but it would be the start of her professional art career.
The door opened anyway, and she turned and saw her mother and uncle enter her room. “Mom! Uncle David, what are you doing?”
David had a letter clenched in his hand. “You mind explaining what the hell this is?”
Erica carefully pried the envelope from her uncle’s fingers. The return address was clear as day: D.C. Walker Institute of the Arts. She reached into the already open envelope and pulled out the papers, reading them quickly. The moment she got to the third line, she squealed with glee. “I got accepted! I GOT ACCEPTED!” She jumped up and hugged her mother. “I’m actually going! They accepted me!”
“Erica, this is serious,” her mother replied. She took the letter from Erica’s hands and pointed to a different part of the letter. “Why did you apply for Early Decision?”
“Because it’s my first choice and they’re the best arts school in America?”
“You told me you wanted to go to Hefstader University!” her mother protested.
“Well, looks like I can’t go there, huh? Oh well.” Erica smiled. “Nothing we can do about it, is there? And when did this letter come in, huh? Shouldn’t I have gotten it the second it arrived?”
“Erica, this college is all the way in Seattle! On the other side of the country! The rest of the members of The Pack that are your age are all going to local colleges, wasn’t that—”
“Well, too bad, Mom. This is Early Decision. I’m literally not allowed to go anywhere else, it’s against the rules.”
David stepped in closer to Erica, and began to get in her face. “As Pack Leader, I don’t particularly like you travelling so far for college.”
“How many ways can I tell you it’s out of your hands, Uncle? Because it is.”
David straightened up. “Are you challenging my authority?”
It’s a loaded question and everyone in the room knew it. Erica responded as best as she possibly could. “I’m only stating facts. Mom’s a lawyer; she can probably find the rules or whatever that say I have to attend.” A wide smile appeared on her face. “You know, it must suck, seeing something you don’t like happen, but not have any power to change it.”
The doorbell rang. “And that’s my cue to leave,” Erica said. She grabbed her jacket and moved quickly out of the room.
“Erica? Erica! Where do you think you’re going?” her mother asked.
“Out with my friends,” she responded. “I don’t have any homework left to do, AND it’s Friday. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll take my leave.” She gave a mocking salute to her Uncle and walked down the stairs. When she opened the door, Brandon was waiting. They were about to head on out for their movie date before David arrived and pulled the two of them back in.
“Now you listen here, I have put up with your nonsense long enough!” he shouted.
“Hey, who the hell—”
“Stay out of this, kid,” David growled. Brandon shut his mouth and cautiously
backed towards the door. “Erica, who the hell is this?”
“He’s my boyfriend. We’re going out on a date.”
Brandon looked shocked. “Oh, so NOW we can tell your family we’re dating?”
“I wanted to save it for the perfect opportunity,” Erica replied. And judging by the shocked expressions on both her mother’s and David’s faces, this was it.
“You…you two are…ERICA!” her mother shouted. “I…I can’t believe that you would, would DO this! I thought you knew better!”
“Oh, I do know better, Mom. I know a lot better than I did when I was just a kid. Come on, Brandon, let’s go.”
Brandon, however, stayed rooted to the spot. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Brandon, drop it.”
“No, no, hang on a second.” He took a few steps forward towards Erica’s mother. “Ma’am, I don’t know what you seem to think of me, but I can assure you, for the past two years I have been nothing but an awesome boyfriend to your daughter.”
“TWO YEARS?!” her mother shouted.
“And she is an amazing woman!” Brandon continued. “She’s intelligent, and beautiful, and awesome, and smart, and everything you could want in a girl! I treat her nicely, I’ve been considerate to her. Hell, I’ve even put up with what I thought was her own paranoia about being introduced to you! Well, clearly I was wrong. Mrs. Desmond, I’d appreciate it if you weren’t so hostile when you don’t even know me.” He turned back around to face Erica. “Let’s go, Wolf Girl.”
The second those last words left his mouth, time seemed to freeze solid for Erica. Her heart didn’t seem to beat. She couldn’t breathe. Her body refused to move. Everyone remained completely still, save for Brandon, who looked confused with the shocked expressions on everyone’s faces.
David closed the door and locked it. “Kiddo,” he growled, “you have no idea how much trouble you’re in.”
“Oh, what are you going to do, hit me?” Brandon asked, mockingly.
“David, please, he doesn’t know, it’s just a joke, you need to understand, it’s just—”
Erica stopped, silenced by the hard slap across her face David gave her. “You shut your mouth,” he said. Brandon yelled as he charged at David, only to be casually picked up and pinned to the ground in a body slam. “Sis!” he yelled. “Call up the rest of The Pack. Emergency meeting. NOW!”
“What the hell, man?” Brandon struggled to get up from David’s grasp. “Get off me! Let me go!”
“Oh no, no no no. You’re not going anywhere.” He pulled out the knife he carried with him everywhere and held it against Brandon’s throat. “See, a few of my friends and family are going to want to meet you, especially since you’ve left SUCH an impression with my niece.”
“Uncle David, please, just let him go, it was just a nickname!”
“You open your mouth one more time, and I’ll slit his throat here and now!” her uncle barked, keeping his eyes on Brandon’s terrified face. He leaned in closer so that he could whisper to him. “You get that? You understand how out of your depth you are here? You’re not leaving this house—”
Erica lunged at her uncle, changing into a wolf as she did so and tackling him off her boyfriend. Brandon scurried back as quickly as he could, entirely confused about everything. “Wha—what—how—how—what…?”
“Brandon, RUN!” Erica shouted as she kept her uncle’s attention. Brandon’s mind decided to forgo any questions he had about what was happening and ran to the door, unlocking it and moving as fast as he could to his car. Erica, still in wolf form, hurried after him. He turned around to open his car door and saw her running towards him. Screaming in surprise and fear, he jumped back, while Erica leaped into the car and settled into the passenger seat, where she changed back into her human form.
“Get in!” she shouted. Brandon hopped in as fast as he could, locked the doors, and drove like he was trying to outrun the Devil.
“What the actual fuck just happened?!” he screamed.
“That’s pretty much everything you need to know,” Erica said, finishing up her summary of everything about her family, lycanthropy, and any of Brandon’s other questions.
Brandon struggled to find the right words. “So…so you’re actually, like, you’re really…a werewolf?”
“And your family is all werewolves?”
Brandon paced back and forth. The gas station they had stopped at was several hours outside of town, a long enough distance that Erica felt comfortable to stop temporarily. “So, I mean, what happens now?”
“I don’t know,” Erica admitted. “We can’t go back. They’ll kill us just to make an example for the rest of The Pack.”
“Oh, really? So where do we go instead? Erica, I’ve got almost no money on me, and I don’t think you do either. Where will we live, huh? What about school? What about my entire LIFE? My family, all my friends, what about them?”
“They’ll be watched,” Erica explained. “They’ll be looked over, but they won’t be bothered if they think they don’t know the truth.”
“You really know how to comfort someone,” he muttered darkly.
“Brandon,” Erica began, before stopping. “You…you might be able to run. I can handle myself out in the wild, I can hunt.”
“No way am I leaving you alone for those animals to find and kill you! No, we need to stick together, we can figure something out.” He pulled out his cell phone. “I need to call Tom, Alex, and Lucy. Let them know what’s happening.”
“DON’T! You want to drag them into this too?”
“You want to leave them hanging? You want to leave them for dead?”
“You think Lucy can hide the fact that she knows? What do you think will happen if my Uncle finds her?”
Brandon sighed and put away the phone. “So? What do we do now?”
“I don’t know,” Erica said again. “I’ve never heard of something like this happening before.”
Brandon breathed in and out a few times before he said anything. “OK. OK. We can do this. We’re intelligent. You know how they think, so we can stay one step ahead of them. We just need to get somewhere safe. Out of the way. Where they won’t find us.”
“Just a second ago you were freaking out about not knowing what to do!”
“You think I’m still not?” He walked back over and grasped Erica’s shoulders with his hands, looking straight into her eyes. “Erica, this is all my fault.”
“No. Stop. It is. After everything you’ve said, that’s clear. So I’ll…I’ll figure something out. WE will figure something out.”
“How can you say that? How can you be so confident? We might not even last three days before they find us!”
Brandon simply smiled sadly. “Because you’re my Wolf Girl. And I love you. And I trust you to know that I will do everything in my power to make sure you can stay safe.”
Erica returned the smile, and its feeling. “I always hated that nickname,” she admitted.
The two shared a kiss, one that lingered in case it was one of their last.