“Not going to happen. If we don’t have proof, bringing him in will rip us apart. We’re already divided, nearly evenly.” Donovan’s Irish lilt came through the door. “We cannot afford to be wrong. If ya—”
I took a step closer to the door. The board squeaked.
“Wait. We have a visitor.” The door swung open to reveal Mr. Dawson’s angry glare. “Is there something I can help you with?”
Yes. I want you to continue talking so I can finish eavesdropping. But I couldn’t say that. “Uuuh… I want to go to the movies with Chris and Adrian.”
“You’ve got superb timing, my dear. Talk to her, Michael.” Sebastian clapped Mr. Dawson on the back as he walked out the door with Donovan. “I think you need to calm down a bit before we continue this.”
Well that didn’t go as planned. “I’ll be with the guys. I won’t hurt anyone.”
Mr. Dawson stepped into his tiny kitchen. “Would you like a cup of tea?” he asked, but he didn’t wait for my answer. His movements were jerky as he opened a cupboard and filled a dented metal kettle.
I took a seat in his breakfast nook. I didn’t think of Mr. Dawson as a tea type. More like coffee or beer. He slammed the kettle onto the stove and switched the gas on.
No wonder the damned thing was dented.
He set a mug and tea bag in front of me. When the kettle whistled, he joined me at the table and poured the water.
I cleared my throat. “So I was right about Mr. Hoel? He’s planning something big, right?”
“You’re more trouble than I thought.” I opened my mouth to ask another question but he shook his head. “You’ve got more than enough on your plate with everything else going on. I’m handling this.” He took a sip of his tea. “Or trying to,” he said under his breath.
I crossed my arms. “I can handle it.”
“I’m sure you could, pup.”
I’d have to figure out more about Mr. Hoel when Meredith got back from her shopping exposition. Which brought me back to why I was there to see Mr. Dawson in the first place. “Why can’t I leave campus?”
“Because you won’t be ready to be around humans until you’ve embraced your wolf.”
He held up a hand. “Don’t make promises that you might not be able to keep. It’s going to be a hard transition—”
“It is hard. Nothing ‘going to be’ about it.”
His mouth curved into a smile. “It is hard. I know you don’t want to hear it, but this will—”
“Take time,” I finished for him. I was exhausted from how many times I’d heard that lately. “I could just take my car and hit the road.”
He lifted an eyebrow.
Right. Probably a bad idea. Especially now that I’d brought it up. “How long till I can do normal stuff?”
“That’s entirely up to you. It could be tomorrow. It could be a year from now. I’d love to give you a firm date, but I can’t.”
Fan-freaking-tastic. “Is there anything I can do to change your mind? I’m only asking for a couple of hours off campus. And I’d be with Adrian and Chris. They wouldn’t let—”
“This is totally unfair.” I rolled my eyes at my own cliché. I should be ashamed of myself. I sounded like a petulant teen.
His smile deepened, showing his teeth. “Every werewolf has gone through the same restrictions. That’s why they come to this school.”
That made me feel mildly better. “How long does it usually take? Give me a ballpark here.”
He shrugged. “You’re at one with your wolf when you’re at one with your wolf.”
Great. That wasn’t vague at all. “A girl could get mighty bored on campus 24-7. I can’t be held responsible for what I might do.”
He chuckled. “There’s plenty of studying for you to catch up on.”
I gave him an even stare. I finally had friends to go out and do stuff with, and I wasn’t about to waste my time twiddling my thumbs around campus.
“Here’s the deal. You do some learning and try to adjust to the wolf today, and if you’ve improved at all, we’ll see what we can do about tomorrow.”
“An off-campus surprise?”
“Not sure. We’ll have to see.” Mr. Dawson went to the small wooden bookcase and pulled a thin hardback from the middle shelf. “Read this. I’ll be back in a bit and we’ll talk about whatever you have questions about. Okay?”