He dropped my hands. “I’ve never been so cleanly pushed out before.” He clapped once. “Ach, mein Gott! I can’t wait to see what she can do in a few years.” He nodded to Donovan.

“Teresa Elizabeth McCaide, you’ve been pardoned,” Donovan said.

“Good. Because I didn’t do anything in the first place.” I muttered the last bit under my breath, but from the smirk on Sebastian’s face, he heard me.

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“Dastien Brys Laurent,” Donovan said.

He stood straight. “Yes, sir.”

“You’re not to leave Cedar Ridge until you have this matter well settled. She’ll make you work for it.” Donovan winked.

Dastien’s eyes flashed to gold. “She’ll be mine.” The words sent a shiver down my spine.

I opened my mouth, hopefully with a snarky comment, but nothing came out. I was paralyzed under Dastien’s gaze.

“We’ll have a word with you in private now, Dastien.” Donovan’s words drew my attention. “It’s been lovely meeting you, Teresa. You’ll want to go eat now. Your wolf is perilously close to slipping free and from what I’ve heard, you’re not wanting to let her out yet.”

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I couldn’t feel it, but I wasn’t going to argue with him. I barely stopped myself from running out the door.

When I got to the cafeteria, it was mostly cleared out—except for the guys. I spotted Meredith at the usual table with the gang, and waved before grabbing a tray. The boys surrounded me.

“Can I help you?” I said, a little more harshly than I meant to, but they were really invading my space. That wasn’t something I ever enjoyed.

Gabriel from Were history class stepped forward. “It’s you we want help. Can I carry your tray for you?”

He’d been a jerk to me in class and now he wanted to help me. Why? Because he thought I’d turned down Dastien? Yeah. That was so not going to work for me. “Thanks, but I’m fine.”

The guys formed a wall when I tried to go to the table. Why were they being so weird? “Excuse me,” I said, trying to get them to move out of my way.

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“You didn’t get enough red meat. You’ll need more.” Gabriel chimed in again.

A redhead that I didn’t recognize from any of my classes stepped forward. “Allow me.” He started to pile more food on my plate.

“Okay, I think that’s good. I’m going to go sit down now.”

They cleared a path for me. By the time I got to the usual table, Meredith was laughing so hard tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Laugh it up, roomie.” I dropped my tray onto the table, rattling the silverware. “What the hell is going on? Where are all the girls?”

She kept on laughing. I shot her what I hoped was a mean look. She put her hand on her chest and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I had to wait and see your face. Word got around about how you refused Dastien in class, and well, you’re fresh meat now.” She started cracking up again.

Refused Dastien? “What?” I gave Chris a pleading look.

“When you got between me and Dastien, you turned him down and opened yourself up to new claims.” He took a bite of his roast beef. “The girls are pissed.” He said the last word in a high pitch squeal. He was enjoying this. The bastard.

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“Let me get this straight. All the girls hate me now and the guys want to see if they have a shot?”

“Yep,” he said.

“Great. Just great.” How did I always manage to get myself into the worst situations? “But you’re not mad?” I said to Meredith.

“It’s too funny to get mad over. Plus, I happen to think you’ll end up with Dastien.”

Chris frowned. “You don’t know that.”

I pushed my tray away and put my head down on the table.

Someone tapped my shoulder. “You should really eat, Tessa.”

I swirled in my chair to see Gabriel standing behind me. I gave him my best scowl and he took a step back. “How come they’re not like this with you?” I said to Meredith.

“Long story.”

I waited for her to say something else, but she stayed quiet.

The guys backed off after I started eating. I found that eating slowly was key. If I ate too fast, then I’d feel full, but it wouldn’t last for more than a few minutes. It took me forever to actually fill up, but hopefully that would be enough to keep myself from Hulking out for now.

Meredith and I walked to the dorms together after dinner. The air had cooled. The cicadas’ song soothed me as we strolled. By the time we got to the dorm, the girls were already huddled around the TV watching the news.

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