“So . . is there, um . . is there a way for us to reverse this?” Logan asks. “This whole werewolf thing. Is it possible for us to not be werewolves?”
I glance at Tiffany hopefully, but get let down when she shakes her head. “No. Anything you can possibly imagine has already been tried, and failed. Whatever it is that makes us us, is permanent. I’m sorry.”
Logan sniffs and turns away. “It’s fine,” she mutters. I stare at her, knowing good and well that she is much more upset about it than she’s claiming. I almost call her out on it, but decide to just let it go since there’s people around at the moment.
“Hey, but if you want, I can help you guys learn everything now,” Tiffany says, sounding optimistic. “I can teach you how to control yourself, how to fight, how to use your powers, all that stuff. We could even start right now if you wanted. There’s only a few days until Sunday, so you don’t have very much time if you’re wanting to learn how to fight.”
“Yeah, um, that sounds great,” I say, managing a small smile. “What do you think, Logan?”
She nods, her eyes cast down. “Sounds fine.”
“Perfect!” Tiffany says. “But we can’t do it here. I want to work on your shifting and we can’t have anyone around in case they hear you. And so they won’t get hurt. Is that cool?”
I nod and stand up, along with Logan and Sarah. “What about you, Sarah?” I ask. “Are you coming?”
Sarah leans to the side so she can see around Logan to Tiffany. “If you don’t care, I wanna come.” Tiffany shrugs and says she doesn’t mind, then moves like she’s going to leave right now. She comes to a stop in front of me with a look that shows that she’s concerned about something. She’s staring downward, and, I think, she’s looking at my stomach. When she places her hand on my stomach I know for sure.
“You might want to grab something to eat before we go. You’re losing weight. I know it’s weird adjusting since your metabolism goes up, for whatever reason, when you become a werewolf. Plus, you can get up and move around, so that brings it up, too, so just try to eat more.”
“Well,” I start, “that normally would not be a problem by any means, but we’re . . we’re not exactly rich right now. Actually, we’re not even breaking even, we’re in a ton of debt. So, what I’m trying to say is, we have barely any food left and we have no money to buy more. And now we have more medical bills to pay for, too, so, as much as I hate to say it, you might have to spend your own money to eat around here.”
“Oh,” she says, backing up. “Okay then. But I still suggest you try to find something to eat because we’ll be out there awhile.”
“Will do. I’ll be out there in a second.” Logan and Tiffany head out the front door, though Sarah stays with me. She helps me put all the chairs back to where they belong and I hear her sit down at one of the chairs by the bar as I head into the kitchen. Tiffany has now reminded of the fact that I haven’t eaten in awhile, and that I am starving. Not literally, but looking at my stomach I can tell I have lost some weight. I’m sure I’ll easily gain it back once I get adjusted to having to eat so much and, well, whenever we have the money to buy food. I need to get a job as soon as I can.
I open up the fridge to find two eggs, butter, spoiled milk, and someone’s half empty drink. I sigh and throw the milk in the trash before checking the cabinets. I used up all of the pancake mix this morning, which I guess I wouldn’t have time to make anyway.
“Are you, um . .” Sarah says, then clears her throat. I glance at her and see that she’s fiddling with the bracelet on her wrist. “Are you okay? Sounds like there’s been a lot going on.”
“I mean, I’m a little stressed, but I’ll be fine,” I say. The only food items I find in the cabinets are two boxes of spaghetti, five cans of various vegetables, and an opened bag of brown rice. I sigh and settle for the banana sitting on the countertop. “And yeah, there’s a lot going on. My mind feels like a hornet’s nest trying to keep up with everything. But I’ve yet to have a mental breakdown, so we’re good for now.”
I walk over and throw the plastic wrap from my banana in the trash can under the sink, feeling Sarah’s eyes following me.
“You seem different,” she says.
“What do you mean?” I walk over and lean on the countertop in front of her, except I’m in the kitchen still instead of at the bar.
“You just . . I don’t know. You feel different. Do you have any idea what you’re going to do about this Marcus person yet?”
“Actually I do,” I say, resting my head on my chin. “But I’m not ready to mention that yet, so I’ll just tell you what I think as like, a backup plan I guess. Marcus is going to have us meet in that clearing, right? So I figured that, just in case my original plan doesn’t work, you and someone else could be there waiting to make sure . . you know, make sure Logan doesn’t get killed. Will you do that? It’s okay if you say no.”
“No, I’ll do it,” she say. She adjusts her glasses. “But I’m not exactly . . talented, in any helpful way, so I’m not sure what you want me to do.”
I pause and look away for a second, thinking about my answer. “I want you to start a fire.”
“Seriously, that’s all I want you to do. I think that whoever else I get to help us can be up in the trees with a gun, so they can shoot from there if things go wrong, and you can just drop a match and light a fire as a distraction. Then, while all that’s happening, maybe Logan and I can slip away. Just go there the earlier in the day and you can set up the gasoline and stuff. I guess just wrap it around the clearing in a circle but leave a place for us to get away at. And as soon as you drop that match, run as fast and far as you possibly can, okay? I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“O-okay then,” she stutters. She laughs a little. “This is all so crazy. But I’ll be there. Who are you thinking about having in the trees with a gun?”
I sigh. “I have an idea, but I don’t know if I want to ask him yet. So for now we’ll just pretend that I don’t have one.” I pull myself off the countertop.
“Hey, Julia,” she says, looking down. I stop and look at her. “We all . . we know you, okay?”
“Um . . okay, what is that supposed to mean?”
“I mean, that we know you. So we know that this–this thing with Marcus–you can handle it. I don’t know if anything has changed since you got .. got turned into a werewolf–I feel crazy just saying this–but I know that you used to be great at staying calm when you needed to. Sure, you got angry plenty of times, but if the situation really called for it you could stop yourself and calm down. And you’ve always been good at negotiating. So negotiate. Stay calm and negotiate with him, Jules. Things seem bad right now, but you can make them work in your favor.”
I smile. “Thanks, Sarah. You ready?”
She nods and hops off the chair. I can feel her eyes on me as I walk around the bar and out the door, locking it behind us.
“Is that all you’re getting to eat?” Tiffany asks as I slide into the backseat of Logan’s jeep. Sarah hops in beside me while Logan and Tiffany sit in the front.
“It’s all I could find unless you want to wait an hour for me to cook some freaking spaghetti,” I say. Logan backs out of the garage, down the driveway, and pulls into the street before pulling away. I wonder where Tiffany’s taking us.
“Really?” Tiffany asks, an eyebrow raised.
“Pretty much. Just some eggs, rice, spaghetti, and a few cans of vegetables left. Don’t worry about it. I’ll figure out how to get us some food soon.” She stares at me for a moment, then grunts and turns around, which I take as an okay.
I scarf down my banana, thinking about what Sarah said. She’s right about the anger thing. Although I’ve always seemed to have had a lot of it, I was good at controlling it. But now I’ve just been letting myself fly off the handle and saying whatever I feel like. If I keep reacting like that, I’m liable to get someone killed. Get Logan killed. I need to keep a level head now more than ever.
Things seem bad right now, but you can make them work in your favor. Maybe she’s right. I do still plan on killing Marcus if it comes to it, but I’ll at least try to negotiate with him. The few times I’ve met him he’s made me furious, but I don’t really want to kill him. Only if I have to. Which means that if I’m going to spin things in my favor like she said, or at least manage to work out a deal, I need a plan. And a backup plan. And a backup plan to the backup plan. Right now would be the perfect time to figure it out: no one’s speaking and I have nothing to do until we get where we’re going, which means I can focus.
Marcus claims he’s giving us until midnight on Sunday, which, I guess is technically Monday morning, but that’s besides the point. We already know that he’ll send someone, probably more than one, to escort us there, which means that everything I plan needs to happen before that day.
But if it does come to that point somehow, what will you do then? If we end up in that clearing with all of Marcus’s pack, we’re going to be outnumbered badly. And that’s if Tiffany sides with us. I have my doubts that she would. We need help. Fighting isn’t much of an option though. A distraction–like the fire–would work much better. Marcus says we’ll be meeting at the heart-rock, which is common knowledge for everyone in Eastcliff. Everyone knows where it’s at, so no worries about directing Sarah or anyone else there.
I despise the idea of setting the woods on fire, but if it saves our lives then I guess it’s worth it. Sarah has that part covered. The problem is, is that Marcus could easily decide to finish the job quickly before running off. So we’ll need something that would be able to stop him. Like bullets. Luke.
I don’t want Luke’s help, but there’s no one else I know that can properly shoot a gun, and with accuracy. Plus, he did offer his help. Several times. He’s the only one with the resources and skills to do this for us. My chest still tightens up and my hands clench whenever I think of him now, but I may have to swallow my feelings and ask for his help, which I’m already dreading.
So that’s that. If we end up there, Sarah will light the fire, forcing us to flee, and Luke will be in the trees to shoot at anyone who attacks us, if it happens. Hopefully, none of this will be needed and it will turn out to just be precautions after all. But just in case.
Now that I have that part worked out, I need to think about Marcus. From what I’ve seen, he is completely unwavering on his plans to kill Logan and keep me. Which, still confuses me, especially with the last part, but since my mom has told me that they were all good friends, it makes a little bit more sense. Just a little. If it’s all true like she says, then Marcus and my dad were good friends, which means he would want to protect my dad’s family. So that explains why he wants to have me in his pack and train me, but it doesn’t explain Logan. Also, it seems he could and would easily hurt me if I made him angry enough. Which makes the two of us terrible correspondents, considering my own temper.
You’re going off the rails here, Jules. You’re supposed to be making a plan, not trying to figure out his character.
The point is, is that he is hell-bent on killing Logan, which leaves us two options: we either run or we kill him. I kill him. Right now, that seems to be the most viable option, as much as I’m opposed to it. If we run, there’s a chance that he could track us down, no matter where we go. I don’t want to take chances; I want guarantees. And who’s to say Mom won’t still be in the hospital if we decided to leave? We can’t leave her, won’t leave her, and I’d rather not leave my friends here either.
So now I’m truly left with only the option of negotiating with him, or killing him. Could I kill him? I killed Marshall. I wanted to kill that minion of his at the warehouse. I’ll do what I have to do. Yes. Yes, I am capable of killing Marcus. Although, I know that it’s easier said than done, and who knows how the murder of two people is going to affect me in the end. But that doesn't matter; I’ll do it anyway, if I have to. For Logan.
So, I’ll find out where he lives, and try to get his phone number, too, that way I can call him and set up a time for us to be able to talk. I’ll do everything I can to try to change his mind, but if not, I’ll come back later–at night–and try to kill him while he’s asleep. For now, he has an advantage over me: he can practically control my entire body, and probably my mind, too. I need a way to prevent that from happening. That’s the only thing missing. I should also probably get something that could weaken him, because I’m nowhere near strong enough to beat him in a fight right now. Not strong enough to kill him.
My god, am I really deciding on how to kill a man right now? Am I really going to go through with this?
I have to. Now, I have a plan on reserve for if something goes wrong with Marcus and I, and I have an idea of how to kill him. Poison. I know from the research I underwent before that wolfsbane is poisonous to werewolves. I need to find some. If I do, it’s possible that I could not only use it against him, but maybe even kill him with it. Though I don’t need to depend on that because it seems doubtful at the moment. It doesn’t even grow in this area, but maybe I can find some in a garden or greenhouse or somewhere else. If not, I’ll drive somewhere else to get some if I have to. We’ll find a way. It's slowly starting to come together, piece by piece.
I’m, of course, still holding out hope that I can persuade him not to kill Logan before it comes to this. That’s all I’m asking for. But if he doesn’t yield to my warnings and listen to the options I give him, he’s dead in my book. I can do this. I can, I tell myself. I have the plans, and now I just need to follow through with them.
I can handle this.