“I’ve been trying to get her to be more like a wolf,” Dastien said when he noticed my confusion. “She should be able to smell people’s emotions. Especially lies.” He said the last looking at Teresa.
I glanced between them. “You can smell a lie?”
“Dastien can. Me… I rely more on hunches. But I’m getting better at it.” She paused. “Nice deflection. I’ll ask you about the sleep stuff later. If I don’t eat soon, I might die.”
“Cherie. You’re not going to die.”
“You tell that to my stomach.”
They bantered back and forth almost faster than I could keep up with. Their auras glowed brighter as they walked. Meshing together. Bouncing off each other. I could see the deeper connection that their bond provided. That little bit of green envy eased its way back up my spine, and I headed to grab some fruit before the feeling could take over. I was happy for my cousin. Not jealous. Happy.
By the time I found the table, people were staring again. I didn’t mind speaking to people or being friendly, but some of the stares felt more than a bit hostile. That, I didn’t like at all.
I sat down next to Cosette, who was already exchanging not-so-subtle smiles with a table of Cazadores across the room. At least someone was enjoying the attention. “Anyone else feeling like you’re living in a glass bowl?”
Teresa sat on my other side. She had four plates filled with food balanced on her tray with one giant glass of orange juice. “I’ve been stared at most my life. Before people didn’t like me or thought I was a weirdo. Now everyone’s more interested in a friendly way. Mostly.” She paused and looked around. “They’re curious. Just don’t let it get to you.” As she spoke—still glancing around the room, a wave of golden energy passed from her to the gathered wolves. Everyone starting moving—going about the day—in an answering ripple.
“Thank you.” The list of things I owed her for was growing by the second. I wasn’t sure how I’d ever pay her back. Especially after what Luciana had done to her…
“I don’t like the stares,” Elsa said. She was so petite that even with her striking brown eyes and dark brown pixie cut she usually managed to get overlooked. But she liked it that way. “It’s impossible to stay hidden.”
A few more wolves sat down at our table—all of them Teresa’s friends. I liked Christopher the best of the boys. He was really fun and easy going. Talking to him was effortless.
Adrian sat down next to Christopher, and I nearly groaned. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, but he was so desperate to learn from us that it made it hard to talk about anything but magic. I liked to think I was more than just a bruja. More than just the sum of my abilities.
Admitting that even just to myself felt rude. Here I was, taking protection and hospitality from the wolves, and then begrudging them for wanting to learn more about me. It was the lack of sleep. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to start being openly cranky. Not acceptable.
Meredith was hilarious. I wished I had the guts to dye my hair fun colors. I’d met her a while ago, before Luciana shut down all relations between the young wolves and coven members. I’d always wondered what happened to her, so getting to know her again was nice.
Christopher threw a biscuit at Teresa, shocking me out of my reverie.
She caught it and looked at it almost like she was surprised it was in her hand. “Don’t throw food at me.”
“I just find it funny. All you witches think it’s such an adjustment being here.”
She threw the biscuit back at him a little harder. “Shut up. It was a hell of an adjustment and they’ve all gone through some rough things to get here. Don’t be an asshole.”
I felt my cheeks heating at her language.
“I think you’re embarrassing your cousin, cherie.”
“Sorry,” she said to me.
“No. It’s nothing.” I cleared my throat and handed Cosette a bowl of fruit. In exchange, she slid half the omelet across to me. I took a bite and nearly moaned. It was delicious, filled with asparagus, avocado, onion, and cream cheese. Not a combination I would’ve ever picked, but it was great. “Now this is amazing.” I drank a sip of coffee—which was brewed to perfection—and energy started coming back to me. I was going to have to carry around a cup of this all day to stay awake and alert.
“Knew you’d like it,” Cosette said.
“It’s a perfect omelet.”