Chapter 17

There was a knot in my stomach during the ride back home from Adam's hometown. I was sad to be leaving. Leeny and Ray were so much fun to be around. I fully understood why Adam said that Ray and Leeny were better suited. The days we spent there were full of teasing, fun, laughter and a small very minuscule amount of making out. Yes, just small amounts (lie).

I learned a lot about Adam's past. I learnt from Leeny that Adam had a obsessive need to master any instrument that he could find, but the piano was where his true passion was. I surprisingly learned a lot about Chad too. He was closer to Jordan and Quentin than the others in the Alpha pack. He had a brother. His parents were actually very wealthy, they just didn't show it. According to Chad, Justin and John usually just follow anything and everything Nathan tells them to do. During the entire trip Carlos was content with listening to everyone and pitching in when directly asked a question or felt he had useful input in the conversation.

The way to describe the days spent there is like a campfire. You know when everyone's at the campfire and everyone just asks each other questions whilst having fun? It was a bit like that, except there was no campfire or camping.

"So what are you doing for Christmas Casey?" Belle asked me. Hannah and Belle were over at my house. It was a strictly girls day. Juan, Hannah and Belle had grilled Carlos and I for details on the trip the second we got back. They were all surprised at how nice Chad was.

"The usual. Lukas and his family are staying over for a few days and over Christmas." I loved it when Aranina's son, Lukas visited. He had twin daughters, India and China, who were just two small bundles of happiness and cuteness. It was a definite plus for Aranina to see her son again. Even though she calls me her surrogate daughter, I knew she missed her son. He lived, literally, thousands of miles away in Portugal, their native.

"Oh! I'm missing out on India and China?" Hannah wailed. She was travelling to Seattle with her family to visit her grandparents. "Why is it I have no baby cousins or relatives?"

"Because nobody in your family wants to give up their youth and freedom just yet," I answered her solemnly.

"I say that one time and it sticks with me forever," Hannah grumbled referring to a similar comment she made to the reply I gave her a while back about having kids. Belle giggled.

"What about you? What are you doing?" I asked Belle.

"Oh the same ole' thing, staying here and having a big dinner. Except this time Hunter's family is joining us."

"What what?" I choked out. "Say that again?"

Belle sighed. "My parents insisted beyond insisted that they come over for dinner. So they are. Well, they're coming over for lunch and then we're going over to theirs on Boxing Day for dinner."

"Wow, dinner with the family already, this is serious!" I breathed.

"And it's during Christmas. You know they mean business when it's over an important time in the year," Hannah added.

"Birthdays, July 4th celebrations, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years," I rattled off.

"It's going to be horrible!" Belle wailed. "They're going to hate me. Hunter's such a good guy. His mom's a doctor and his dad's a professor at college. He's an only child so they're bound to be overly protective of him! They're going to hate me!"

"No they're not!" I went over to Belle and put an arm around her. "They're going to love you. They'd be silly not to."

I looked at Hannah. I looked at her and then at Belle. 'Say something,' I mouthed.

"You're right, they might hate you," Hannah said bluntly.

Oh great.

"What?" Belle cried.

"Yeah come on, his mom's a doctor; they're the most serious types of people you can find, aside from lawyers and his dad's a professor? Well it's no wonder Hunter's so into the books! It'll be hard to impress them."

"No it won't! Who cares what their professions are? I'm a great girl. Hunter's lucky to have me! They'd be lucky to have me part of their lives!" Belle sat up straight puffing her chest out.

I looked at Hannah and nodded impressively. Reverse psychology, clever. Hannah winked back.

I paced up and down my room. Juan, Carlos and Hannah were staring at me as if I were nuts. I probably was a little nuts at that moment.

I stopped pacing and dropped down on my knees. "You have to help me," I begged them.

"No," Juan smirked. "You have to do this all by yourself."

"But…but…" I spluttered. "I need help!"

"Casey, it's not that hard…all you have to do is think about what he likes and buy him something," Hannah spoke calmly. She even patted my shoulder.

"This is our first Christmas present exchange. I don't even know…Oh Lord!" I cried dropping backwards onto the floor. I started muttering to myself manically.

"Should we…" Carlos started but trailed off uncertainly.

"No just let her vent this one out," Hannah said. I sat up.

"I don't even know what religion he is!"

"Why, what religion could he be?" Juan asked all curious.

"His mum's half Pakistani. His dad's American though…so he's probably Christian right? Not that Christmas is nowadays only celebrated by Christians," I shrugged.

"And don't get me started on the whole theory that Jesus wasn't even born on Christmas day," Carlos added with a nod.

We all nodded.

"Well…why don't you ask him?" Hannah asked.

"What if he's doesn't celebrate it religiously but is getting me a present anyway, or what if he is celebrating it religiously but doesn't get me anything or what if he-" I stopped my ramble when I saw Hannah taking out her cellphone. I frowned. "What are you doing?"

"Calling Chad of course," she replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"You have his number?" I asked. "I don't have his number. None of us have his number."

Hannah moved the speaker away from her mouth to retort back, "Well while you were canoodling Adam and you two muffin heads were arguing about goodness knows what and Belle was off cosy with Hunter during lunch, Chad and I had a very interesting conversation."

"About?" Carlos asked grinning.

"A lot of things. What does it matter? Point is- Hey Chad, it's me Hannah. Yeah, yeah, they are," she laughed. I raised my eyebrows at Carlos and Juan. "Casey here is going insane about whether to get Adam a present or not since she doesn't know whether he celebrates Christmas." She paused. "Yeah…okay…I'll tell her. Thanks, bye. You too."

"There was a 'you too'," Juan teased. "Did he say I love you?" He made weird kissing noises. Carlos and I laughed while Hannah rolled her eyes and put her phone away.

"Anyway," Hannah said pointedly. "You should definitely get him a present. He's got you the perfect gift apparently."

"No!" I cried. "No, I don't want a perfect gift. I want a silly, small frivolous thing that I can call cute and carry around in my purse!"

"You want a Chihuahua?" Juan asked looking very confused. I laughed. He boy honestly looked confused.

"No, I just don't want him to give me the 'perfect' gift and me get him an 'okay' rated gift."

"I'm sure whatever you get him he'll like it," Carlos said softly to me.

"Aren't you supposed to tell me to not care?" I asked him suspiciously.

"I can only be dark and twisty for so long. I'm becoming more sarcastic but nice but a little harsh with a little bit of a gentleman but not so much cheesy and cute but more joke-y and funny."

The rest of us was silent and we just stared at Carlos.

"I'm changing," Carlos grumbled after seeing our faces. The lights in our brains flicked on.

"Let's talk about me now!" Juan said clapping his hands. We all laughed and turned to him and listened whilst he launched into story about an incident that occurred in a grocery store.

"What are you getting Hunter?" I asked Belle over the phone later that night. She had spent the afternoon with Hunter and had called me to go over the details of the two dinners.

"Oh!" she squealed over the phone. She sounded so excited. "I have the perfect gift. Hunter's family, well the males in his family, are really into sailing and so is Hunter. They go every summer so I got him this antique ship in a bottle."

"I've seen those before. They're really pretty." I paused. "Why can't Adam be into anything like that? He'd be easy to buy for then!"

"Well he's into music isn't he?"

"Yes but that's probably what he's expecting me to get him. I want to get him something he'd probably never think I'd get him."

"Okay this is how I thought about what to get Hunter," Belle said. "Think about anything and everything that's personal to him, write them down, circle two of them and combine them into something."

"What were your two?" I asked.

"Family and boats. His family loves boats as does he," Belle replied cheerfully. "It's a win-win!"

"You suck."

"I rule," Belle sung.

Once we hung up I pulled out a piece of paper and started jotting down everything I could think of that was related to Adam. Two things stuck out from the page more than any others. I smiled to myself.

I thought of the perfect gift.

"Casey?" Chad whispered from his bedroom window.

"Why are you whispering, it's not the middle of the night!" I replied back crossing my arms.

"Oh. Wait there I'll come down." I grinned up at him. I waited for a few moments before Chad opened his door. "Couldn't you have knocked?"

"I didn't know who'd be home," I replied timidly.


"I don't have your number."

"Hannah does."

"She's half way to Seattle. She's not picking up, she's probably in a no service zone."

"The phonebook?"

"You're not in it. Now stop asking me questions, this is all I could think of."

"Do you want to come in?" he asked.

"Oh…um…okay? I won't be long." I followed him inside.

"My brother's home but he's cool. He's home from college. My parents are out. They're cool too but they're not here."

I nodded.

"Who is it?" a male voiced called from the front room. I turned my head and saw a beautiful, no perfectly faced and voiced, man. He grinned when he saw me.

"Is that your brother?" I asked Chad. He nodded.

"Don't mind his flirting. He has a girlfriend and she has a boyfriend," he said the last part loudly so his brother could hear.

"No harm in appreciating the female species. I'm sure you're appreciating this," he said pointing to his body.

"He's an ego maniac, don't mind him. Leave Jared," Chad warned his brother. Jared lifted his hands in defeat and backed away.

"Nice to meet you is all," Jared said. He kept backing away and bumped into the couch almost falling over. He regained footing and asked, "What's your name?"

"Casey," I replied laughing. Chad took me by the arm and pulled me to the dining room. Chad's house was of average size. His parents business folks, so far as I heard, but didn't splash their cash around.

"You tone down your wealth too?" I asked him curiously looking around his house.

"Yeah, my parents don't really like showing off their wealth," he replied following my gaze.

"Lucky. Mine are the complete opposite. Rich and never around."

"I wish mine were around more," Chad said quietly. I looked at him sadly. He noticed this and as if horrified at himself for showing his vulnerable side, shook his head. "So why the spontaneous visit?"

"Oh right, yeah. I need you to do something for me…"

"Hi Adam!" Chad and I chorused. We were standing outside his front door with very large smiles on our faces.

"Okay what do you want? And if it's to see what your gifts are then it's a no-no."

"Don't be silly!" I replied barging past him into his house. "Is anyone home?"

"No, it's just me."

"Great! We can talk. Hours of talking!" I squealed.

"Okay this is just too creepy," Adam replied with a laugh. "What's going on? And why are you here?"

"Why do you ask? Can't I visit a friend?" Chad replied sounding a little hurt.

"You know what, come in, make yourselves at home. Whatever you're here to do, do it. You won't find your presents anyway."

"I have a present too? Oh you shouldn't have!" Chad cried impersonating a little girl's voice.

"You're right, I shouldn't have," Adam replied. I pulled Adam by his arm to the front room.

"Look we just came over because we were bored and everyone's busy and I don't talk to any of the other Alphas apart from Chad and you," I sighed.

"So we're your last option?" Adam asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh! Don't be silly of course you're my first. That's why I'm here."

"With Chad. No offence Chad, but you asked Chad to tag along with you which means you obviously called him first," Adam replied sounding hurt. He clutched his chest and howled. Yes, howled. Like a werewolf.

"Oh please!" I slapped him on his shoulder. "I thought you'd want another male around you since we're going to be watching 'When Harry Met Sally'."

"You what?"

"Me nothing. We something." I grinned happily at the two of them. Chad, who was only here because I needed a favour off him, didn't look too happy. I decided that since we were up to no good, we'd try and pretend as if we weren't up to no good. Clever really.

"I need to use the bathroom," Chad announced.

"Upstairs you'll see it, doors open. Don't clog it up," Adam joked.

"Oh that's okay, I went before we came," Chad joked back. At least I thought he was joking.

"So why are you here?" Adam asked.

"We're here because we're bored, like I said…" I trailed off uncertainly because Adam put each hand on my face and cupped it. He looked me right in the eyes.

"Are you lying?" he asked slowly. If he was trying to hypnotise me to tell the truth, it wasn't working. If he was trying to blind me with his beauty, then that was working.

"No," I sounded muffled since my cheeks were squashed in his hands.

"Okay…you better not be lying."

By the time Chad came down Adam and I were already cosy on the couch and the DVD had started. The only reason Adam had the movie was because his mum was a sucker for romance.

"Great. Not only do I have to watch a cheesy movie but I have to put up with you two?" Chad asked in disgust.

I laughed. Adam just pecked my forehead. I locked eyes with Chad, he inclined his head slightly.

The deed was done. Now, movie time!

If I haven't replied back to any of your reviews that you've left recently, it's because I'm just finishing off my exams. Know that I've read them and appreciate them. So thank you!

I most probably won't be able to reply to any reviews left for this chapter since I'm jetting off into the sun. But I do hope you like this chapter, have a great summer all!! :)