Before we begin, I have to bring this to attention: I HAVE LOST MY BETA READER'S EMAIL. G, if you're still reading this and have time, I still need you!

Chapter 7

"Cross-species romance is always risky—but then again, werewolves aren't exactly known for playing it safe."

-How to be a Werewolf, by Serena Valentino

"Go on a date with me."

I snorted, my cheeks turning red. Even though the stupid boy was joking, my heart clambered around in its cage, banging on the bars that kept it contained. And my cheeks heated up with every advance he pressed on me.

"Avery, it's not nice to tease a girl like that." I admonished, resisting the urge to waggle my finger. He wasn't a child, although thinking about him as one of my younger brothers did calm my heart a bit.

Avery stared me down with his golden gaze, the heated look saying: I'm not teasing. He crossed his arms and leaned back on his car. My classmate had dropped me off at my house after work for the fourth day in a row, and each day he winked and flirted and nibbled my lips. If he didn't stop soon, my heart was going to combust.

"Jay, it's Friday tomorrow. Let me take you out for a movie, or something. We could do whatever you want." He winked suggestively. "Anything you want."

"Uh," I breathed harshly. "I have work on Saturday, too. I don't want to stay out too late."

Avery dropped his arrogant act and pursed his lips. "Jayda Lane, I am taking you out tomorrow. We can get ice cream in town."

I tched. "Bossy…" He opened his mouth to retort, but I stopped him, saying, "Fine. But you're paying."

The smug look came back, 1000 times stronger. "Knew I would win."

"Win?" I asked innocently. "Oh, well, we can't have you winning. I guess I just won't be able to go tomorrow. Family stuff, you know. I'm sure you understand."

Avery gave a gentle smack to my forehead. "Nice try, kiddo. You're still stuck with me tomorrow. I didn't know you had a competitive streak."

I grinned at him. "You don't know a lot of things about me."

"We'll just have to change that, won't we?"

"Good night, Avery."

He leaned down, stopping a few centimeters before his lips touched mine. I could feel the heat roll off his body, and I shivered, my eyes fixed on the curve of his thin lips. He waited until my eyes snapped up to his inquisitively before ducking and pressing his mouth to mine, and he waited only a few seconds before moving lips against mine, forcing me to respond.

Well, he wasn't forcing me exactly.

Avery pulled away, and we were both breathless. He rested his forehead on mine and waited until we both caught our breath.



I paused, closing my eyes. "Promise me that you aren't kidding?"

"Kiddo, I would promise you the world if I could." I opened my eyes to find his already staring at me intently, no hint of the usual door he shut to keep me and others out. "I could never play with your feelings."

I smiled and dropped my eyes to my hands. Nothing like a boy admitting to being serious about his feelings.

"I think your dad is watching us."

I groaned. Nothing like a boy ruining a moment.

"Alright, I'll go deal with the boss behind the curtain. You make sure that ice cream parlor has the best damn ice cream for miles."

"Anything for you."

I chuckled, but his eyes said he wasn't kidding.

"Thanks for the ride home, Avery."

The boy got into his jeep and turned the vehicle on. I turned away from it and headed into the house. It was already dark outside, the weather harshly cold for mid September. My house was like a beacon in the night, the living room windows alight. From the outside, it was easy to see the silhouette of a scrawny man peeking through the thin curtains.

When I opened the door, I heard Avery pull out of the driveway. My dad jumped from his position, and busied himself with 'fixing' the blinds.

"Hey, Dad, whatcha doin'?"

He looked over at me with an uneasy smile. "Oh, these blinds were uneven."

I shot him a look. "Uh huh."

"Who—Who's that boy?"

"So you were spying on me."

Dad's green eyes widened a fraction before he sputtered, "No!"

I laughed. "His name's Avery. I'm going out with him tomorrow. If that's okay with you."

I moved towards my room, not expecting an answer.

"It's not okay with me!"

I stopped and turned around, a worried smile on my face. "Are you okay, Daddy?"

My old man wrung his hands together. He was still wearing his button up shirt and had a tie loosened around his neck. "I don't know anything about this boy and you want me to let him take you places?"

"Hold on," I said, hurrying to drop my bag into my bedroom before returning to the living room. I sat down on the couch and pat the seat next to me. My dad looked at it before coming to sit on it, looking uncomfortable. "What do want to know?"

"Oh, uh," he said, brows furrowed, "what's his name?"

"Avery Hudson," I answered, amused.

"Where did you meet him?" He asked slowly. "How old is he?"

"I met him at school. He's a senior, and in my history class. We worked on a project together. He's 18."

Dad nodded. Then, he said quickly, "Do we need to have The Talk?"

"Um, no. I got it down, thanks. Mom…had it with me before." I squirmed in my seat, just as, if not more, uncomfortable than my dad was feeling.

He looked relieved. "Okay, good."

With my new job, I was working late and hadn't spent much time with my father lately. We caught up on what was going on in each other's lives, he told me about his new job, I shared news about my successes and failures in school, before parting ways for bed.

The next day, school was a blur. Svelte complained about her job on the bus. It seemed there was a pushy intern in the main office she wasn't a fan of, and I told her to kick his butt with her mad ninja skills, or tell one of her older brothers who would do it gladly for the only girl in a group of five. I didn't tell her about the date I was going on, my best friend still not a big fan of the boy. I decided, that if it went well, or even terrible, I would call her the next day about it.

Avery and I had given our presentation two days before in our history class, and it went smoothly. He still teased me because I mispronounced a word during our presentation, but I gave it back to him full force. Élie picked me up per normal, I took the kids to the park and forced Nico to play Cops and Robbers with me and Niall. Worn out, I set them in front of a movie before Mrs. Dabney came home and relieved me of my duties. Avery picked me up.

I had taken care that morning to pack girly clothes in my bag. Although I had a sweaty afternoon, I redid my braid, washed my face and applied some mascara and eye liner, and changed my clothes while the kids watched the movie. I wore a black knee-length pencil skirt, paired with a tucked in white blouse. I hate to toot my own horn, but I didn't look half bad for my first date with Avery Hudson.

I was pleased that I put in the effort, because Avery looked even better than I did. He stood outside the Dabney's house, a few feet away from the steps, with a bouquet of daisies. The handsome boy wore plain dark pants and a button down shirt with the first few buttons undone. His dark hair was tousled perfectly, and when he saw me, a smile lit his face, not the signature smirk I was used to.

"If you smile like that every time I dress up, I might just dress up every day." I said, then blushed.

"You like my smile?" Avery asked, holding his hand out for me to come down the steps.

I went willingly and slipped his hand into mine. "I like you smiling when you see me."

Avery handed me the bouquet. "I hope you like these. I thought about getting you roses, but you didn't seem the type."

I beamed at the flowers, and pressed the petals to my nose. "You were right. These are perfect, Avery. Thank you."

He opened the door for me, sweeping his arm grandly for me to enter the vehicle. I did so with a smile, and buckled, while Avery got in the other side.

"I don't think I told you that you look beautiful tonight."

I couldn't stop the flames that consumed my cheeks. "No, you didn't."

I could see the jerk smirk out of the corner of my eye, but before I had a chance to say anything, he was pulling out of the Dabney's driveway. The awkwardness of the first date had me by the guts and the ride was silent. Avery must have been feeling the pressure, too, because he didn't say anything more until we got to the ice cream parlor.

"I made sure they had the best ice cream for miles." He promised.

"Good. I would be so disappointed if you bought be crappy ice cream on our first date." I joked, getting out of the car.

I looked up at the little shop. It was attached to the others on the street, the brick strip mall being the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights for the local teenage population. A faded sign dubbed the little store Hudson Ice Scream Shop. I raised my eyebrows.

"Avery, do you own this place?"

Avery looked up at the shop name, then turned a nervous smile towards me. "Well, my family does. It was originally opened ten years ago for a halloween treat, but it was so popular that my dad decided to keep it open and never renamed it."

Through the window, I saw that several kids from school were sharing ice cream and shakes in quaint red vinyl booths. "Huh," was all I said. It must have been nice to have enough money to open a restaurant for just one month, then have it be so profitable that it was decided to keep it open.

Avery opened the door to the shop for me, and we entered. I stopped, a line at the counter, and brushed some hair out of my face. When I looked back up, I saw several pairs of curious eyes looking between me and the golden (eyed) boy of Lunawood. I glanced up at my date to notice him red in the face, staring straight ahead at the counter. When I looked back at the crowd, they had all turned away and were talking animatedly, but they were obviously trying hard not to stare.

The people in front of us ordered, and we stepped up to the counter.

"What can I get for you, Avery?" A girl batted her eyelashes.

"Lilliana, I have a guest," Avery glared at the girl, and she flinched, lowering her eyes.

"Y-yes, what can I get for you, Ma'am?"

I pinched Avery in the side, frowning at him. I noticed that he was a little more than rude to people who worked under him. He just dazzled me with a smile.

"Do you want to share something?" He asked, putting his arm around me and pulling me close to his side.

"Pfft, share ice cream? Avery, I think you might be wooing the wrong girl."

I looked over the choices, the several flavors of ice cream gleamed from behind the glass.

"What do you recommend?" I asked the girl, Lilliana.

"The chunky chocolate is good," she answered quietly after looking over the tubs before her.

"Can I get that in a shake?"


Her coworker jumped in for Avery, who ordered the same double chocolate ice cream I did, only in a waffle cone instead of 'watered down with milk', as my date so eloquently commented.

They handed us our desserts and Avery paid, although I'm sure he didn't need to. We found a seat in the back, which was nicer than I though. The little round table was low-lighted and it obstructed the view from the rest of the parlor, giving it a private feel.

"So," Avery said, licking his ice cream, "tell me about yourself."

"My name is Jayda Lane, but I will insist that you call me Jay. I am a junior at Lunawood High School in the small town of Lunawood. I babysit after school and on Saturdays for a fair wage in order to earn my keep," I joked.

Avery laughed and I sucked heaven's fruit up through the straw of my cup. I wasn't normally a double chocolate kinda gal, but the flavors didn't conflict with one another and the chocolate chunks were small enough to fit up my straw but large enough for me to chew on them.

"What's there to know about Avery?"

Avery thought for a moment. "I'm an Aries, I love long walks in the woods, I have two older sisters and two parents, I'm a senior at Lunawood High School in the amazing town of Lunawood, and I'm currently on a date with the cutest girl in the school."

I blushed and looked down at my cup, swirling the plastic straw around the the dark liquid. Usually I would have protested, but when a boy tells you that you're the cutest girl in school with no hidden agenda, you accept it.

"Tell me about your family," I inquired.

The golden eyed boy took a large bite of waffle cone while he formed a description of his family. He swallowed and answered, "My sisters are Lyric and Harmony. Lyric is good at sports and Harmony is the brains of the family. I guess you could say I'm the screwup." He grinned, but the smile didn't reach his eyes. "Lyric is at Harvard and Harmony is at Oxford, both are studying law. My mom is a doctor at the local hospital, and she works the night shift six times a week, so we don't see her often. My dad…" he paused, "is an entrepreneur. He owns and operates several businesses, such as this one," he displayed his hand around the ice cream shop. "I get along well with my family, I guess. We each have our differences."

I cocked my head, trying to come up with a question. "Hm. What's your least favorite thing about each family member?"

Avery looked startled, and gave a small laugh. "Trying to see if you should abandon ship, huh?"

"No, that's not what I was doing," I frowned. "Just trying to get to know you better."

"Well," he started off quickly, "my dad is extremely controlling. My mom is a workaholic so we don't have a parent buffer. Lyric is extremely nosy, and Harmony is very closed off to everyone. I could come up with lists miles long about what I don't like about my family." He sighed.

I snorted, "Who couldn't?"

"Oh, really? You look like you have such a good relationship with your dad."

I shifted in my seat. "I really respect him, and he trusts me, that's all. He's more of a hands-off parenting technique kinda guy. Although," I tapped my chin, "he does leave the toilet seat up all the time."

Avery laughed out loud, and I bet a few people looked over our way, but he didn't notice and I couldn't see, so moot point.

"What about your mom?"

I gazed at the boy for a second before looking down at my hands, resting near my drink. "My mom likes money more than her kids."

Avery was silent, and I peeked up at him. He was regarding me silently. Good job, Jay. Way to make a first date even more awkward.

"Why do you say that?" He asked, leaning forward and focusing all of his attention on me.

I waved my hand. "I guess I'm still a bit bitter. But let's not talk about that right now."

Avery nodded and backed off, but I could see his frown and the way his eyes begged me to tell him more. My gut still wasn't 100% sure on the boy yet, so I kept my secrets under lock and key still.

"So, babysitting. What's that like?" Avery asked, obviously changing the topic. I sent him a grateful smile.

"It's exhausting." I said truthfully. "I love kids, I truly do. But, man, they take a lot of energy. The two that I'm watching now have more energy than most, so I go home everyday and fall into bed." I chuckled.

"You seem good with kids, and you really care for them. Thinking of turning that into a career?"

I shook my head. "I wouldn't know what to do. If anything, I want to protect kids. I think that it is one's duty to protect children. Under a certain age, they need someone to speak for them because they can't."

Avery nodded and ate a bite of his chocolate ice cream, biting into the few choco chunks he had.

"What do you want to do when you grow up, Avery?" I asked in a teasing tone.

He rolled his golden eyes. "I want to own a business."

With eyebrows raised, I asked, "Like your father?"

"No, I do not want to be like my father. I just want to own one successful business."

"What kind of business?"

"I don't know, a shipping company grabs my interests, though. But there's several types. I could open a pharmaceutical plant or a research company."

"Have you made a pro-con list yet?" I joked.

"No, I only do those when I'm deciding on which color to wear," he deadpanned.

I laughed, and finished my shake. Avery had eaten the rest of his cone already, so we got ready to leave.

"I guess I should get you home. You actually have to work tomorrow. What kind of monster makes you work on Saturday?"

"Werewolves." I joked, remembering the wolf statue in Avery's driveway.

Although I said it as a joke, Avery reacted oddly. He jerked to look at me, golden eyes hard as they sent me a question I couldn't decipher. I just smiled to let him know I was joking.

"I don't actually believe in werewolves, Avery. That would be crazy."

"Crazy, huh?" He murmured, finally dragging his gaze away from me. His behavior didn't worry, but I did notice. I took his hand and squeezed it, and he shot me a devious smile.

"You know what would be crazy?" I asked, Avery leading us out of the ice cream shop. "If you didn't give me a good night kiss."

We exited the building, and Avery pulled into his chest and away from the door. I wrapped my arms around his torso and he draped his on my shoulders, pulling me flush to his warm chest.

"Crazy, huh?" He silkily repeated in a whisper.

The handsome boy dipped his head low, and I reached up on my tiptoes to meet his incoming lips. Our faces smashed against one another, and we ensued in some a fantastic make-out session in front of the ice cream shop.

Once he pulled away, breathless, I giggled and rubbed my face into his lower chest.


"Oh, nothing," I sighed. "Just craziness."


Avery dropped me off at my house afterwords. We held hands in the car, his large one enveloping mine like a heated blanket. We got out of the car, and the mammoth leaned down to give me a kiss, but his cell phone rang. He cursed, recognizing the ringtone, and pulled away.

"I'm sorry, Jay, but I have to take this," he said stopping abruptly. The others words he was going to say died on his lips.

"I can wait," I smiled at him, taking a step away to give him privacy.

He answered his phone with a short, "Hudson speaking."

I turned my attention on the woods around us. The tall trees blocked out most of the night sky except the strip above my tree-free house. The stars sparkled brightly, different from where I lived before. City lights dim the burning stars so barely anything can gleam through the darkness. Here, even my own lit house could do nothing to drown the brightness of the twinkling balls.

Although I was trying hard not to, I could hear some of the words Avery was saying. I had no idea who it was on the other line, but I ruled out a family member because of the way he greeted the call.

"No, I'm not-"… "Yes, Sir, I will."… "Tonight?" At this, he peeked over at me, but I wondered over to a tree and was gazing upwards and pretended not to notice. He turned away, and I couldn't hear the rest of his conversation.

When he hung up and turned back around, his face was taunt and he looked at me with distance in his eyes. It looked like he was putting up a wall.

"Who was that?" I asked.

"No one. Look, I have to go. I'll see you at school on Monday." He said, giving me a short nod before getting into his car and tearing off, tires kicking up the gravel in the driveway.

Luckily, none of the rocks came up and hit me. Some came precariously close, and I flinched away. Avery looked too angry to notice as he pushed his car away from my house—and me.

Trying my best not to feel hurt, I stood outside until his taillights disappeared. When the red lights turned off the driveway, I turned and walked into the house, arms chilled from the cold night. My dad was sitting on the couch, watching a late news station.

"Hey, Pumpkin. How was the date?"

"It was fine, Daddy. How was work?"

My dad launched into a funny story about coffee and tripping, and I laughed where I was supposed to, but the story went in one ear and out the other. His words didn't fill the pit at the bottom of my stomach. I told him I was tired and was going to bed because I had work tomorrow.

In bed, I tossed and turned. I analyzed our date, tiredness seeping into my bones but my brain keeping it at bay. The boy was really affectionate, but that phone call put him out of his comfort zone. Avery had been an utter gentleman until he left. The person on the other line must have said something important, because he took off pretty fast. And he wouldn't tell me who it was. Maybe it was a girl.

I shook off the thoughts plaguing my mind. He had seemed so genuine, so interested in me. But he wasn't telling me something, and that's okay.

We each have our own secrets.

Thanks for reading!

*Guys, am I doing the date thing okay? I've only been on one, so I don't know (foreveralone)*

Hope everyone is doing well! Bet none of you thought you'd see a new chapter so soon, huh? Leave me some lovings for getting this one done so quickly, yeah? I'd hate for something to happen to Avery if I don't get a lot of reviews...(no, I am not above threatening my own characters for reviews! Lol, jk, jk. But do leave me some love.)

This chapter is again unbeta-ed. I accidentally deleted my beta's email, and couldn't find her FP contact info in my hundreds of messages on here...I feel terrible! Hopefully she's still reading this.

In other news, I will be starting college in a week and a half! Any survivors got tips for a freshman? I'll be living in the dorms, so tell me if there's something you should have brought with you but didn't! I know there's hundreds of lists, but you can never be too careful. If you're going to a certain college in Indiana, we might be classmates .O. !

Anonymous review:

Purple-wolf-howl: You are right about switching the metals. Makes you wonder if the necklace was really broken...haha. Hope this update was soon enough for you!

Special thanks to dream-beautiful, purple-wolf-howl, Freya the Goddess, missmiley03, and The Cheetah for reviewing last chapter! I'm glad people are still reading this.