“Where. Have. You. Been?” Logan demands as soon as I walk in the door, soaking wet. I think I may be shivering. Or maybe just shaking from what happened still. Even though what I did is still fresh in my mind, I’m not longer hysterical about it. Just calm. And Logan keeps staring at me.
“I’m sorry. I got distracted–”
“You got distracted? It’s almost eleven o’clock. Where have you been?” I don’t mean to, but in my dazed state I kind of tune her out and stare off into space. Her words go in one ear and out the other, because the only words that are sticking in my head are Elijah’s. But then he started drinking. It ruined him. With it came the beatings, the belts, the– The good news is Elijah, Kai, and Milton won’t have to deal with him. But you killed him. You should feel bad about it. He’s never going to open his eyes again. He’ll never do a lot of things. But he’ll also never hurt Elijah again, and that’s what counts, at least in my mind.
“Julia. Julia, I hear Logan saying. “What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Nothing,” I say. I shake my head, trying to clear it. “I just went to Elijah’s house and lot track of time. I’m sorry.”
She squints at me, looking unsure. “Are you sure? You don’t seem okay.”
“I’m–” She grabs my head and spins me before I can get the words out of my mouth.
“Where did this blood come from?” She lets me go and I spin back around. I figured the rain washed all of it off, but I guess it didn’t. I should’ve checked to make sure. Stupid.
“Logan, please stop,” I say. “Just stop. Please. You don’t want to know.” I go to walk around her, but she grabs my arm. My head swivels and I beat her to the punch by speaking first. “How did you do it, Logan? You walked around every day like everything was fine, but it wasn’t. How could you keep something like that from me?”
“Is that what this is about?” she asks, letting go.
“No. Yes. I don’t know.” I sigh, running my fingers through my hair. “I just don’t understand how I didn’t notice. Am I that awful of a person? I didn’t notice anything wrong with you, I didn’t notice anything wrong with Elijah–”
“Whoa, hold up,” she interrupts. “What happened to Elijah?”
I close my eyes. Shit. “That’s not important right now. Have I been ignoring you? Being selfish? Because I swear if I have then I’ll do–”
“No, Julia. God no. I was keeping it from you. It wasn’t your fault. If you ask me how, I don’t know how, I just did it. And if i had to go through it again, I probably wouldn’t be able to do it again.”
How is that, though the both of has killed someone, Logan was able to go on for weeks, months even, hiding it, and I can’t make it a few hours before giving myself away?
“Okay. I’m gonna go take a shower.” I try to leave, but Logan stops me again.
“Wait. You need to stop. Something happened, and I want to know what it is. What happened with Elijah?”
I stare at her a long time, trying to decide what to do. Should I tell her? Maybe I should, and maybe I will, but right now all I want to do is rinse off the rest of the blood and just be by myself.
“I have to take a shower,” I say. “We’ll talk afterward.” I turn and speed-walk toward the bathroom as fast as I can, trying to get away before she can ask more. She trails me, continuing to ask questions all the way there.
I grab the doorknob and shove the door open, not realizing that Tiffany is already in there. She’s looking at herself in the mirror to my left, a few feet in front of me. Her head darts toward me with her mouth open and her eyes wide. Except, they’re not the same as they were. They’re not green anymore. Nor are they blue or red. They’re yellow. As yellow as the sun, and beside the color, they’re just like mine. They quickly fade back to her natural green, but it’s too late. Logan and I both saw it.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” It jumps out of my mouth before I can stop it. Why the hell is everyone suddenly werewolves? Next thing you know Parker’s going to be coming out here with green eyes and fangs and try to bathe me in holy water or some shit.
“Who are you?” Logan asks behind me.
Tiffany raises her hands defensively. “Listen, I didn’t lie to you. Everything I said is still true, but I . . I kind of knew you were at the hospital and I was waiting for you. I already knew who you were before we met.”
“Why?” I demand. I can feel my anger making my body temperature rise.
“Julia,”Logan says. I glance back at her and she gestures my hands. When I look down, I see that my claws are out. When did that happen? I panic for a short moment, afraid that I won’t be able to control myself, but I force myself to stop thinking and close my eyes. Breathe, I tell myself. The claws retract and now I notice how close I’m standing to Tiffany. I take a step back.
“Why?” I repeat, staring at her with what I hope is a determined look.
“I just . . I know a lot of . . . information that could help you,” she says, her eyes moving around the room as she searches for the right words.
“What kind of information?” I ask.
“A lot. About . . about what everything’s like. I–”
“What everything’s like as a werewolf?” I interrupt.
“So . . so you can teach us everything we need to know?” This could definitely work. If she knows as much as she says, then she can teach us a lot. How to control it, maybe even how to get rid of it if it doesn’t work out.
“Yes, I can help. That’s why I came.”
“Umm, Julia,” Logan says. I look at her, my eyebrows raised. She points down the hall, like, follow me. She heads down the hallway and I follow her, through the living room and into the kitchen. She stands with her back facing me.
“What is it, Logan?”
She turns around. “You’re too trusting. This girl she–she–”
“She can hear us,” I say.
I point to my ear and mouth it to her again. I glide over a few steps to the sink, turning on the water. It rushes down the drain loudly. “Maybe that’ll drown out the sounds of us talking. Now what were you saying?”
“She already lied to us about how we met. She was waiting for us. And her heart was racing the entire time she was talking, as if she was afraid of getting caught–”
“Well, I was standing really close to her,” I say, “and I kind of . . you know.” I kind of got angry and started to shift. Again.
“Still, did you hear her story? It’s kind of outlandish. I mean, why would she wait for us outside the hospital, and why wouldn’t she just come up to us and talk to us? More importantly, how did she know we were there?”
“Yes, I know it’s weird. But she can help us, Logan. She has information that we need and she can help us.” Logan sighs and I can see her pushing her tongue against the sides of her mouth, like she’s agitated. I put my hands on my waist and continue. “Look, I know I can be too trusting so that can be your job. Make sure that we don’t tell her too much. She can help us, and you can make sure we don’t go too far with it. Okay? She already lied to me, Logan. I’m not going to blindly trust her. But . . we can use her.”
She looks at me out of the corner of her eyes. “You made this decision way too fast.” I hold our stare, waiting for an answer. She sighs and turns away, reluctantly giving in. “Fine. But the second she does something suspicious this is over.” I nod, agreeing. “All right, then,” she adds, reaching across the sink. “Hopefully she didn’t hear everything we just said.”
“And Julia?” Logan says before I walk away. I turn back and look at her. Her eyes soften. “I’m sorry about bothering you, but I still want to know what happened. Whatever it is, you can tell me. I won’t be angry. But you don’t have to say it right now if you don’t want to.”
I don’t have anything to say so I don’t anything at all. I just walk away when she’s done. In the back of my mind, I’m still thinking that Tiffany could be spying on us, but I choose to ignore it. I know we need the help and if she can give that to us, then I don’t really care what her intentions are. As long as we keep our eyes open and make sure she’s not trying to learn too much information or kill us or anything else, we’ll be fine. At least I hope so. Logan’s right. I make decision way too fast.
We head back into the bathroom, where I find it empty. I briefly panic, thinking we lost her, but realize she’s in my room across the hall.
“Do you need me to leave?” Tiffany asks as we walk in. She’s sitting at the edge of my bed in the clothing I gave her, staring at a picture I have on my wooden nightstand.
“No. You can stay for now, as long as you don’t lie to us again, and as long as you’re willing to help us,” I say.
“Yeah absolutely,” she says, smiling. “I’m sorry I lied, I was just worried that I would freak you out if I just sprung it on you.”
“It’s okay, just . . don’t do it again. I still want to talk to you, but right now I feel disgusting and I need to shower.”
She nods and I quickly grab some clothes and head into the bathroom. The warm water cleanses me of blood, though I’m unable to enjoy it. Not when the sound of Marshall’s spine breaking keeps bouncing around in my head.
Logan comes in and is taking off her makeup as I get dressed. I’m drying my hair off and I can see her glancing at me out of the corner of her eyes like she wants to say something.
“What?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “Nothing, it’s just . . what you said. You have me all worried about Elijah now.”
I sigh. “I guess I should tell you what happened. You might as well sit down,” I say, placing myself on the edge of the tub. Logan does as I suggested and closes the toilet lid, perching herself on top after.
“Okay,” I say, anxiously rubbing my hands. “I guess–I guess I’ll just start from the beginning. All right, well, when I left here, I really was just gonna go for a run, but I ended up at Elijah’s house. I wasn’t going to stay long, but Kai, and Elijah’s dad, Marshall, was there.”
“Kai was there? When did he he back?” Logan asks.
“I think just today. But . . I really stayed because of Marshall. I–I saw some . . bruises on Elijah. And Marshall just seemed so . . aggressive. So I really worried about them, and decided to stay. And then all hell broke loose. To make it short, let’s just say Marshall had a meltdown, and decided to kill me. Elijah stopped in front of me to block him and he knocked Elijah to the ground. When he did that, something just–just came over me, something clicked, and I stepped forward, grabbed his neck, and just . .” I trail off, but I show the motion with my hands and Logan knows what I mean.
Logan’s eyes soften and she almost looks kind of sad, but she doesn’t say anything; just waiting for me to talk, I guess.
“I freaked out about it, but . . not because I felt bad or–or guilty or anything. I didn’t enjoy it either, but . . there was just . . nothing. I felt so empty. I never thought it would feel that way. It scared me.”
Logan’s eyes go to the floor and she nods. “I know the feeling.” She pauses, then adds, “What happened after that?”
“Elijah and I went to calm down and talk and stuff, and–and when we gone, Kai took Marshall’s body. He left a note saying he’d take care of it. So, he must be covering it up, getting rid of it. Of him.”
Logan nods. “Well, hopefully he does a good job. Anyway, you were just protecting Elijah, right? “
“Well, yeah, but–”
“But nothing. It was self-defense. Don’t let it hinder you from going on.”
“To be honest, even though I keep thinking about it, and I know I should feel bad . . I don’t. It’s kind of scary, but I can’t help thinking that he deserved it, and that I saved Elijah. I don’t think it makes me feel bad so much as worry that I’ll lose control again and do it to someone else. Someone who doesn’t deserve it. But anyway, you’re one to talk. You’re still stuck on what you did.”
“That was different,” she says.
“Listen, Jules,” Logan interrupts. “I’m trying now, but I’m not going to be forgiving myself for what I did anytime soon.” She stands up and makes her way toward the door.
“Logan,” I say, my voice having a vague whine to it. I get up and reach for her arm, making her stop and slowly turn back around. “I understand. But remember what I said, okay? I’m here. I’m going to protect you.”
She glances between my eyes, then her mouth gradually pulls into a smile. She starts to laugh and I have to smile too.
“Thank you, Julia. I will do the same for you. No matter what.”
“You stole my line,” I say.
“Yeah, well, not everybody’s as good with words as you are. I use your quotes plenty and claim them as mine all the time. But don’t tell anybody I said that.”
“Okay,” I laugh, letting her leave. At least she’s doing well enough to laugh at me, I guess. I turn to the mirror, relieved that all the blood is off of my face and hair now. My eyes look puffy, like I have either been crying too much or need more sleep. What shocks me about them though, isn’t the puffiness, it’s just . . the eyes. They look different to me. They’re still the same color, but . . I don’t know; they almost look . . . vicious. Maybe it’s just in my head.
I attempt to make them glow green, that way they would have a reason to look that way, but with no luck. My emotions seem to be what triggers it, and though I could probably do it by thinking of the events that have transpired today, I choose not to. I’m not sure if I can control it yet, so I better not risk it.
Everything with Marshall seems so distant now. It feels like I’ve been watching someone else’s life happen instead of my own.
I shake my head to clear it, finish what I was doing, and head across the hall into my room. Tiffany is still there, except she has fallen asleep in my bed. I could wake her up, but maybe I should just let her sleep.
“Is she asleep?” Logan asks, walking up behind me.
“Yeah. Maybe we should just let her sleep. It’s late and I’m sure she has a ton to tell us, so maybe it would be better to wait until tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Logan says. “I’m actually pretty tired myself so I think I’ll go to bed now. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” I reply as she leaves. I’m not exactly tired, but I decide to lay down and try to anyway. I let Tiffany stay in my bed and lay down on the black and white carpeting on the floor, wrapping myself in a blanket. I lay there replaying today’s events until my eyes eventually begin to droop and I fall asleep.
I wake up to the sound of my alarm going off on my nightstand. It’s even louder than usual because of my hearing. I don’t know how it’s possible, but somehow it doesn’t wake Tiffany up. She sleeps through the entire thing. I have to stumble over and shut the alarm off myself, then shake Tiffany awake.
When I see that she’s groggily getting up, I leave her alone and go wake up Logan. Thirty minutes later and we’re all ready to go, so I start to cook us breakfast before Tiffany has to leave for school. I wish I could’ve slept more last night. I feel tired now, and I’m sure I look pretty bad too.
“Thank you,” Tiffany says as I give her a plate to put the pancakes I made on. I go to set beside Logan at the bar between the kitchen and the living room when someone knocks on the door. I set my plate down and walk over, swinging the door open without checking to see who it is first.
A man stands on my porch, his hands in the pockets of his slacks. A man with near-black eyes and a crooked smile that I recognize immediately. He is the one who was in my hospital room, who dragged me out of the truck after the wreck, who left me the strange note. Marcus.
“What–what are you doing here?” I stutter, my heart racing.
His mouth draws into a huge smile, his white teeth practically reflecting the sunlight outside. “Julia or Logan?”
I furrow my brows at him. I need to sound confident and strong. No stuttering, and my heart rate needs to slow down because I know he can hear it. He knows I’m scared, but I’m not going to let him see it. I clench my jaws, stand up straight, and force myself to sound confident. “Julia. Now what are you doing here?”
I can see Logan stiffen out of the corner of my eye, probably hearing the tension in my voice.
“I’m here to talk to you. I’m coming in,” he says, his voice sounding gruff, like the throaty sound of a dog growling.
I step closer, making sure to block the doorway. “No, you’re not,” I say firmly.
He cocks his head at me, and as much as I can feel my nerves buzzing underneath my skin, I continue to stand still and stare him down.
His voice deepens and has an odd ring to it the next time he speaks. “Step out of the way.”
I open my mouth to tell him no, but the words get lodged in my throat. Why can’t I get them out? What’s just as odd, is that my feet actually start moving, and I step out of his way. Try as I might not to, they do it anyway, and he steps inside. What’s going on? Why can’t I stop? And why can’t I speak?
He shuts the door and Logan shoots to her feet, her eyes wide and staring at him. Marcus’s eyes go from me to her, and a look of anger passes over his face. His eyes harden and glow red, his jaw clenches, and I notice his fists ball up. I don’t know why, but he seems to be angry at Logan. He’s going to do something, I’m sure of it. All I know is I have to protect her.
“Logan, get back,” I say, now able to speak. I guess I just couldn’t tell him no. Is this–is this how Luke felt?
Logan doesn’t move so I step in front of her, now only a few inches away from from Marcus. Close enough that I can feel his breath as he exhales.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I spit, driven from my need to protect Logan. He draws his eyes away from Logan and down to me, but doesn’t say anything.
“Are you going to say anything?” Silence draws out as his red eyes continue to peer into mine. Shut up now, Julia. “Are you mute or something? I’d appreciate it–”
His arm moves at lightening speed and I have no time to react as he grabs my throat, cutting off my next words. His glowing eyes stay locked on mine as he lifts me off the ground, my feet dangling and kicking in the air. I claw at his hands around my neck–literally–and scratch myself in the process of trying to pry him off. However, he refuses to budge and my want for air escalates into a need for air. My body grows and hot and my begins to ache something terrible. Marcus’s eyes begin to move across my field of vision from me getting dizzy. You’re an idiot, Julia. Learn to keep your mouth shut.
I can feel myself growing weaker and I know I’m to faint soon. I kick out once more with my feet, a final attempt at getting him off, with no luck. My arms fall to my sides and my vision dims. I can’t faint, I can’t faint, what about Logan? But there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.
A second before I pass out, Marcus’s arm swings back and he spins his body to the side, chunking me into a wall in the process. A loud cracking sound reverberates through the house and I fall onto the floor between the kitchen and the living room.