“Hey, is there a bathroom I can use?” Kai asks, interrupting my thoughts.
I shake my head to clear it. “Yeah, um . . let me show you.” I hop up and lead him down the hallway, grateful to be away from the stares for a moment. I know what I have to do now, and I’d like to be able to think it out without seven other people staring at me. Once they leave I can work out the details, I guess.
“It’s right here,” I say, pointing to the white bathroom door.
“Thanks,” he says. I turn to go, but he grabs my arm to stop me. “Come here for a second, I need to talk to you.” He lets go of my arm and goes into the bathroom, closing it after I follow him in. He turns the water on, presumably so Tiffany and Logan won’t hear us, I guess. I raise my eyebrows and wait for him to tell me what this is about.
“Look,” he starts, “I know you’re not going to agree to this right away, but hear me out.” I can tell by the sound of his voice that whatever it is that he wants, he’s serious about it. His eyes glance up to mine. “I want to leave with Elijah.”
“No.” I shake my head. There’s no way he’s leaving with Elijah, especially right now. His voice is blunt when he replies; angry.
“Listen. I know you don’t want to be away from him, and believe me, I get that. I know he doesn’t want to leave you either, but after everything you said with your sister and Marcus, I think he needs to. Just look at what happened today. As long as he’s with you, he’s going to be in danger. You said it yourself earlier: Marcus is going to use people against you, and Elijah is one of those people. And it’s not just Marcus, Julia. Being what you are, there is going to be more people, more enemies in your future. Those people may hurt him to get to you, and I’m not going to let that happen. It’s best that we leave. I want him to come willingly if possible, because otherwise he will find ways to get back here. But I already know he’s not going to listen to me; I need you to convince him.”
“Kai, I . . I don’t know. You’re a werewolf too. Won’t things be the same if he leaves with you?”
“No,” he answers, shaking his head. “Very people know about me being a werewolf, and there’s nobody after me or my family. I have a place where we can go where no one will be after us, and since I’m an omega, I’ll be good as long as I avoid hunters and other packs. It’s going to be safe there. I’ll get a job, we’ll get a house, he’ll have a life there. He won’t have to be watched over 24/7.”
Maybe he’s right, I think, though that’s not what comes out of my mouth. “An omega?”
He furrows his brows at me. “Yes, an omega. Hence the blue eyes,” he says, gesturing to his eyes. I just stare at him and he drops his hand, rolling his eyes. “Jesus, you’ve learned nothing, have you? You need to talk to that girl out there after we leave and find some things out.”
That girl? “Tiffany?” I guess.
“Yes,” he says. He gives me a look. “I’m actually surprised that you’re letting her stay here like this. I didn’t think you’d allow her to.”
I cock my head sideways at him. “What do you mean? Do you know her?”
“Well, yeah, I know her. But anyway, that’s not the point. We’re getting off-track here. Will you talk to Elijah about us leaving?”
I sigh. “Kai, I just . . I don’t know–”
“Fine. Think about it.” He steps closer to me, getting in my face aggressively. “But if you say no and something happens to him, it’s your fault, and I’m going to blame you for it. And I will get even. Understand?”
Holding his gaze, I say, “Affirmative.” I can feel my blood starting to boil and I force myself to bite back my anger. He’s making valid points, and there's no real reason for me to be angry; I just am. My anger seems to be rising a lot lately and I need to watch myself.
“Good,” he says. He backs up, acting like nothing happened at all. He shuts off the faucet as I walk out, closing the door behind me. I head back into the living room to find Parker and Elijah standing up and talking to each other. Sarah is talking to Logan and Tiffany and from what I hear she’s asking about what all it is that we can do. I stop and stare at Elijah for a moment, thinking about what Kai told me. Maybe I should talk to him and tell him it’s okay to leave. After what happened today . . . that was a wake-up call. I don't doubt that Marcus would do something like that again without a second’s hesitation, as would others.
I feel a hand on my shoulder and flinch, but upon looking I find it’s just Kai coming from the bathroom. I scoot out of the way and he walks past me. He goes over to Elijah and talks to him in a low voice, though I can still easily hear what he’s saying. Elijah nods and then Kai glides over to Milton and tells him the same thing, then helps him to his feet. They’re leaving.
Elijah says something to Parker and I see him nod before walking over to me. “We’re gonna go now,” he confirms, as I already knew. He wraps his arms around me and pulls me into him, my head leaning against his chest. He kisses the top of my head before saying, “Thank you for what you did today. And you really should’ve told me about–about that man earlier. Marcus. We’ll figure something out, okay? We always do. Just don’t–don’t try to do this by yourself.”
“I won’t,” I whisper.
He pulls back, forcing me to look him in the eye. “I’m serious, Juliana. I know you. We’re all here for you and Logan, and we’ll help. All you have to do is ask one of us, okay? Keep me updated on what’s going on so I’m not standing around all day stressing about whether or not you’re okay. All right?”
I clench my jaw, nodding. “Okay. I won’t do everything along, I promise.” I don’t want to let him leave yet so I pull him in for another hug as he lets out at a relieved sigh.
“Thank you,” he murmurs. I take a deep breath, breathing in his newly defined smell. Like sugar and nutmeg masked by the smell of laundry detergent and cologne. I never noticed it before, but since earlier I can smell it underneath all the other layers of smells. I try to memorize the scent because . . what Kai said is true. I need to make the most out of my time with him.
I don’t want to think about it right now, but here I am, thinking about it. Elijah isn’t safe with me; he never will be. I know it’s going to kill me to convince him to leave, but what other choice do I have? He could stay here and I could try to protect him, but would it be enough? It wasn’t enough today. I’d rather have him be somewhere far away where he’s alive and safe than have him here with me and be in danger. He’ll get past me; I know he can. I know it’s going to hurt; it’s going to break his heart along with mine, but it would be worth it. He’ll–he’ll fall in love with someone else one day and I’ll be nothing more than a distant memory. He doesn’t need me. And, even though I don’t feel like it, I can move on past him, too, one day. I can. I will.
“I’m sorry about today,” I say. “I know you wanted us to just get away for a little while and have fun and get to know each other, but then stupid Marcus had to show up. I’m sorry for what he put you through. I should have told you guys about him earlier and maybe this wouldn't have happened.”
“Ahh, it’s not your fault,” he says. “To be honest I don’t remember most of it anyway, and I came out fine.” That actually makes me worry me more. I don’t even want to think about the things Elijah has been through with his dad, but . . it’s obvious he’s not over it. I know it’s only been a day since I killed Marshall, but even then, time isn’t just going to erase everything that has happened to him growing up. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Elijah with his shirt off before. Considering he has seen me with mine off, yet has been too uncomfortable to take off his own, I have to wonder why that is. As much as I hate to admit it, Marcus did say something that makes sense: maybe I should talk to him about seeing a therapist. In fact, maybe all three of them should. Well, I doubt anyone will ever convince Kai to go see someone, but Milton and Elijah at least.
I open my mouth to suggest this to him, but I don’t get anything out before Kai speaks up.
“Elijah.” I let him go and he turns to look at Kai standing by the entrance to the kitchen. “Let’s go.” He waves him over.
“Okay,” Elijah says, then turns back to me. He kisses me on the mouth in one swift movement, tells me he loves me, and then heads over to Kai, who I see rolling his eyes so far up I’m worried that they may get lost in his skull.
“Hey, Milton,” I say, walking over to him. I bend over and spread my arms out wide. “Can I finally have a hug?” He shakes his head and sticks out his fist. I sigh, then give him the fist-bump. I’d like to think that I’ll get a hug out of him eventually, but I kind of doubt that I will. Especially if they leave within a few days.
Milton shoves the red Game Boy into his jacket pocket before going over to Kai and Elijah. Kai gives me a look across the room and, though he doesn’t say anything, I know what he means. Remember what I said, his expression tells me. Elijah gives me a small smile and wave before closing the door behind them on the way out.
My chest tightens, but I tell myself to calm down. It’s only temporary. I still have time to make a decision before Sunday, and I will see him again. I’m thinking about this too much.
“So,” I say, walking back over to where everyone has taken a seat at. “What now?”
“Well,” Parker starts. He takes a look at the watch on his wrist. “I really have to get to work soon. I can stay if you need me, but if not I need to go.” He looks up at me and I can see myself reflected in his amber-colored eyes.
“No, no, go ahead,” I say. He stands up and I grab him up in a hug, which he reluctantly gives back. I let go quickly since I know that all this touchy-feely stuff is really not his thing. I also know that he probably has a lot of thinking to do where I’m concerned after today. I know he says he accepts me, but I also know that he’s gonna need some time to think on it. If he was just immediately okay with both Logan and me killing someone, then there’s something wrong with him. I’m sure both he and Sarah are having some doubtful thoughts about us though they won’t speak them aloud.
“Okay, sorry for the hug, I love you, Parker, and please be safe,” I ramble after pulling back. “I’ll talk to you whenever I can on what’s happening.”
“All right, thanks,” he says. He drifts toward the door. “Bye,” he waves. Sarah, Logan, and I echo a goodbye and then I go back to them.
“Tiffany?” I ask. She glances up at me. “I think now would be a good time for you to tell us everything you know.”