I lifted it and it was at least ten pounds heavier than it had been a minute ago.

“Oh. You need this too.” She carefully balanced a slice of pecan pie on the edge of the tray.

“So what army am I supposed to be giving this to?”

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“No one told you?”

“No one’s told me anything. I just got here, remember?”

A smile broke across her face. “You’re going to love this.”

I was?

“Being a werewolf has its advantages. You don’t get sick. Ever. We heal fast. And because we heal so fast, we’re slow to age. But all of that, plus shifting, burns a ton of calories. Think mega calories. So, you have to eat a lot to keep up with your new metabolism.” She started scooping food onto her tray again. “Mr. D might look like he’s in his mid-thirties, but think like five times that.”

She’d just made my brain explode and had no clue that she’d done it. This was a lot to take in. I glanced down at my overflowing tray and wondered if I would even be able to carry it. “So what, I’m going to look seventeen for the next five years.”

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“Kind of. We age normally for a while, but then it slows way down once you hit your first shift.” I must’ve made a face, because she answered my question before I asked it. “Puberty.”

“Awesome.” Because puberty wasn’t hard enough already.

“Seriously,” she said. “I’m not kidding. You need to eat all of that. If you’re hungry, you get pissy. A pissy werewolf is a dangerous werewolf.”

When she decided we had enough, she looked for a table. Ignoring everyone had been easy while I got food, but once I turned, the entire cafeteria stopped eating to stare at me. Low whispers spread through the room.

Fantastic. Now if I could make it to the table without tripping, that would be good.

I followed Meredith as she wove through the tables. Most people stopped talking when I walked by them, except for one table.

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“Don’t worry, Dastien. She won’t dare approach you here.”

I spun—nearly toppling my soda. La Bitch was back.

Then I saw them. A pair of golden eyes. La Bitch’s hand covered Dastien’s as she leaned toward him.

Motherfucker. Did that asshat have a girlfriend?

The two of them together stung way more than it should’ve. We had kissed once. It wasn’t like it meant anything besides irrevocably destroying my life. Still, the urge to throw the contents of my tray in his face for turning me and then sitting there all chummy with that bitch of a girl was almost too great to ignore.

He got up without saying a word to me and walked out of the cafeteria.

Meredith looked from me to La Bitch. She cleared her throat, and stared at the ground. “Come on, Tessa. Table’s over here.”

I didn’t want to look away from the girl, but Meredith pulled on my arm, nearly upending my tray. It was either make a scene or follow Meredith.

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I stared at the doors Dastien had disappeared through. I didn’t need any more problems. I took a deep breath and followed Meredith.

We sat down where three people were already eating. “This is Chris.” Meredith pointed to a boy with wavy dirty blond hair, and sky blue eyes. “He’s our resident brooding artist.”

I set my tray down with a thunk. It was the guy from earlier who tackled me. “I think we’ve met. Kind of,” I said.

“I could never forget someone who made me fall so hard.” He gave me a wink. “Recovering okay?” His voice had a deep rasp that I hadn’t noticed before.

“This is Adrian,” she said, motioning toward the other guy.

He had brown skin and eyes so dark I couldn’t tell where the iris started. He smiled, his white teeth gleaming against the dark skin. “Hola,” he said with a thick Texas accent.

“And this is Shannon.” Shannon had flame-red hair and bright green eyes. Her cold glare made me shiver. This one didn’t think so highly of me. Maybe she should go join La Bitch’s table.

“Listen, the cliques here can be pretty rough. I mean some of them are from families with long lines of ruling alphas,” Meredith said. “You don’t want to piss anyone off until you know what’s what. Just try not to let anyone get to you. Like Imogene—”

“The girl with Dastien?”

She nodded.

“Right.” I shrugged. “Well, I’ll be nice to her if and when she’s nice to me.”

Meredith made a face, but I wasn’t backing down on this. I’m not going to go out of my way to be nice to someone who insulted me.

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