I was officially a terrible person. “Thank you,” I said as I took the tray. “I didn’t know. I really appreciate it.”

He nodded, and walked off.


Hopefully some food would help with my mood. I piled my plate high with scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, and pancakes, and went toward our table.

Dastien’s laugh carried over the voices in the room, warming me. He was sitting at my table. With my new friends. He pushed out the chair between him and Shannon without standing up. That was a slick move. I couldn’t ever tell what was going on with him. He ignored me half the time, and the other half alternated between bossing me around and being so perfectly sweet.

It was beyond confusing.

Still, I couldn’t just give him what he wanted all the time. That whole claiming me thing still bugged the crap out of me. I plunked my tray down next to Chris on the opposite side of the table. The conversation stopped.

“You smell…confused…annoyed…I don’t know but I don’t like it,” Dastien said.

“That’s really creepy. And makes me feel like I need to take another shower.” I crumpled in my chair. “Normal people say, ‘You look upset.’ Just FYI.”

His smile faded. “I’ll leave.”

Shit. Now I’d kicked two puppies. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that to sound…I just…I’m going to shut up now.” I’d never had a boyfriend. Dastien was my first kiss. My first everything. Him sleeping in my bed meant something, even if he was a furball. It hurt that he’d left before I even woke up.

Was he embarrassed of me? Or ashamed? Or worse—was it only his wolf that wanted me?

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I shoved my tray to the middle of the round table and rested my head on the cool Linoleum. A warm hand settled over my back.

“Don’t touch her,” Dastien growled.

I whipped my head up. Bossypants was back with a vengeance. “Seriously? Please don’t tell me that after your days long disappearing act—which, by the way, you were painfully consistent with this morning—”

“Tessa—” Dastien started, but I held my hand up.

If we did this here and now I was totally going to cry. “Let’s talk about it later.”

No one said anything as I downed half my Diet Coke in one gulp. Maybe it would’ve been better to go for the regular Coke these days, but I’d grown accustomed to the taste. A girl needed a little something familiar when surrounded by the completely unfamiliar.

The sounds of the cafeteria as people moved around, grabbing their breakfast and chatting about last night’s attack, filled the silence at our table as I took a bite of food.

Dastien looked across the room as Mr. Dawson walked through the door. They were having some sort of unspoken conversation that involved minute changes in body language. Dastien nodded and stood up.

“Catch you later,” I said. It sounded pitiful, even to me. For once it’d be nice to be the one doing the leaving.

He walked around the table and squatted next to my chair. “I have to, mon coeur. I want to stay here with you, believe me. I need to win your trust. I’m sorry I left before you woke this morning. I’m an idiot and I didn’t know it’d hurt your feelings or else I would have stayed. But I have to go now and I hope that later you’ll give me yet another chance.” He kissed my cheek and rubbed his nose from the corner where my neck met my shoulder up to my ear. He breathed in deeply, scenting me, and I felt it all the way to my core. “Je t’aime, ma chérie.”

My heart skipped a beat. Did he just say what I think he said?

No. I must’ve misunderstood.

I wanted to hang on to him, but stubbornness was in my nature. I wouldn’t be forced into any relationships. But after last night, my resolve was weakening. Dastien was addicting, and I was hooked before I ever got to Texas.

I watched him until he was at the door. He glanced back and smiled, and then was gone.

Shannon scraped her chair against the floor as she got up.

Meredith broke the silence first. “Adrian, can you help me with my meta lab?”

“Hey, if you want help, babe, all you gotta do is ask. I love helpin’ the ladies.” He grinned.

“Don’t be such a dork.” She picked up a biscuit and chucked it at him.

He plucked it out of the air and took a bite. “Yum. Thanks.” He winked at her. It was really nice to see them flirting. Meredith always counted herself out of the whole mating-game. Which reminded me… “So, why haven’t you picked one?” I gestured to the tables of guys.

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