Two men stepped out of the car. Their power tingled along my skin making me stumble. I kept on walking to the dorm, but couldn’t stop myself from sneaking a peek at them again.

“Very sorry, lass. We didn’t see ya,” one shouted to me. He wasn’t very tall, but he commanded attention. The two shared a word, and then glanced at me before they walked toward the faculty building.

I tried to shake off the feeling that I should know who they were, but couldn’t quite manage it. I looked back one last time before picking up my pace.

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Chapter Twenty-One

Once I was in my room, I went straight for my cell. The tiny screen said nineteen missed calls. Oops. I flipped it open and pushed the number one button. Home. It didn’t even finish ringing before she answered.

“Finally! Teresa Elizabeth McCaide. You called your brother but not me! And you tried to run away. What is going on over there?”

“Sorry.” My voice cracked.

She took a deep breath. “Oh, baby. What happened?”

“Nothing. I’m totally, one hundred percent, a-okay.” The wobble in my voice told my mother what she needed to know—that I was one hundred percent lying.

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“Oh, Tess—”

“Mom. This isn’t the place for me. There has to be somewhere else. Axel said something about the cousins?”

She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, baby. The cousins can help, but they can’t teach you what you need to know right now. If there’s a chance that you can get a handle on your wolf without your cousins’ help, then you have to try.”

She was clearly mistaken. My emotions were all over the place, and I didn’t feel one bit like myself. “There’s no controlling this. I get so angry, and then—it’s just bad. I’m afraid of what I’ve become.”

Dad said something in the background. There was a rustle before I heard his voice. “Princess. I’ve talked to your mother’s family, and your brother is right—they could help, but I don’t think it’s the best place for you right now. We’ve kept you away from them for a reason. Right now you have some freedom, even if it doesn’t feel like it. If you got to them in the state that you’re in right now, I’m worried for what they’ll do to you. If there were another place, a better one, then I’d tell you. But Michael is there for you. He’s a good guy. You can trust him.”

“I thought you were mad at him.”

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“I was, but I also am your father and have to put aside any anger to figure out what’s best for you now.” He paused. “You know I wouldn’t leave you somewhere without going over every option. Right?”

I sighed. “Yeah. I know that.” But what was up with the cousins? I thought we moved here to be closer to them.

“Listen, Michael wants me to give it time, but I need to see you for myself. I negotiated him down. We’re coming for a visit in two days. Can you hang until then?”

“Sure,” I said, and hoped it wasn’t total bull. Soft taps came from my door. “I gotta go. Someone’s here.”

“I love you, kiddo. We all do.”

“Love you, too.” I ended the call and plugged my phone in to charge. I was stalling and I knew it. I didn’t want to know who was on the other side of the door.

“Tessa,” Meredith’s voice came from outside. Three more knocks. “Tess? It’s me. Can I come in?”

“Is it just you?”

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“Yes.”

I was relieved it was only her and disappointed at the same time. We were going to have to stop running away from each other at some point. “It’s open.”

She stopped at the foot of my bed and shoved her hands in her pockets. “I heard class didn’t go so well.”

I half-laughed. “You could say that.”

“Well, at least you got me out of Meta.”

“How?”

“Mr. Dawson pulled me. He’s worried about you.”

I guessed now was as good a time as any for that apology that I owed her. Taking responsibility for your actions was part of growing up, but that didn’t make it easy. “About earlier…I’m sorry I snapped at you.”

She held up a hand. “Don’t even worry about that. We all snap sometimes and I was way out of line. I don’t know what happened between you and Dastien, but you can trust me. I won’t tell anyone. I swear.” She shrugged one shoulder. “I know it’s none of my business, but you might feel better if you talked to someone about it.”

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