Saffron

The way everyone keeps staring at me reminds me of something, but it takes me a few seconds to figure it out. A few months ago, back at OPS, this girl Debbie's supposed friends decided to mess with her. We were all at our lockers after class when everyone just started pointing at Debbie, whispering to each other, and laughing. At first, she kept asking her friends if she had something stuck in her teeth or her hair, which made all the kids crack up. Then she started checking her clothes and even made sure her jeans were zipped, which just made everyone laugh harder. After that, she completely freaked out and ran to the girl's bathroom like there was a pack of rabid wolves on her heels. A few of her friends followed, still laughing hysterically. Then, two minutes later, Debbie was out of the bathroom, laughing about how everyone 'got her good.' Honestly, I just don't get some kids.

Unlike Debbie, I never found pranks amusing. Being the only rogue at OPS made me every bully's target. They let up around grade six, but before that it was pretty bad. The pack wolves would trip me, push me around, make fun of me, and stick post-it notes with embarrassing messages on my back. You know, stupid stuff like 'kick me for charity' or 'I'll dance for a quarter." Considering how poor we were, that last one really hurt.

I usually just ignored the pranks, but some of the wolves were way worse. They'd throw food at me or shove me inside lockers, and one time they stole my clothes while I was in the shower after gym class. Good thing Anna had an extra t-shirt and Jen, who's closer to me in size, lent me her gym shorts.

There was also one time in grade six when two older wolf girls tried to stick my head in the toilet. I got in more than a few good punches, which got me suspended, but they still managed to get my hair wet. I ran all the way home, got straight in the shower, and used up half a bottle of shampoo before I felt clean again.

I don't know if the prank Logan and Zara are playing is a Debbie-like initiation, or if I'll end up hanging upside down with my head in the toilet, but neither sounds very pleasant.

I honestly can't believe either one of them would do this to me! Especially Logan! Especially Zara! How could Logan do this to me after what we shared last night? And I really thought Zara was the wolf friend I always dreamed of. Well, screw her! Screw both of them! I'm so getting out of here. I'll find a disguise and sneak out the back. Then, I'll never have to see them again.

I want to yell at Logan and Zara—tell them exactly what I think of them for betraying me and then storm out of class—but I know I can't. It's not just because I'm at school, either. This could go one of two ways. I could keep up the pushover Omega act, let them get away with whatever prank they're planning, and then make a run for it; or I could stand up for myself, work off some of my anger, and ruin everything. Yeah, I'll probably land a couple of really painful blows, but I won't win in a fight, not against any one pack wolf, let alone a dozen. I'll end up beaten and broken and then POW would lock me up in the dungeon and my life would be over.

The thought of fighting reminds me of last night's dream and how I was attacked by a bunch of wolves while Dad watched. Suddenly, it seems less like a nightmare and more like a premonition. My subconscious telling me I can't trust anyone here, not even Logan.

It stings, knowing that he played me. I thought what we shared last night meant something, but I guess I was wrong. It's no wonder he's been acting so into me one moment and then distant and indifferent the next. I can't believe I totally fell for his act, but I can't let him get away with it. I just can't. I should tell him exactly what I think of him. He's a jerk and I hate him.

I dig my nails into the palms of my hands and try to calm down. I fight the urge to yell, scream, or fight, knowing my future depends on it. Sometimes, when I'm upset, instinct tells me to do something which I'll totally regret later. Like standing up to Logan and ending up in a dungeon.

I guess what it all comes down to is what I care about more. Pride or escape. The answer is pretty obvious.

I look down at my lap and let my lower lip quiver. Maybe if they think they've already won, they'll leave me alone. Of course, there's also the chance that knowing they can get to me will just encourage them, but it's worth a shot.

"Oh, Sofie." Zara moves closer and puts her arm around me. Maybe she doesn't really want to be a part of the prank but someone pressured her into it? Or maybe that's just what I want to believe, and this just part of it.

I look around the room and wait to see where this prank will go. The worst possible thing that could happen is that Logan will tell everyone—in great detail—what we did during the make-out session in the bathroom. They'll all laugh at me while I'm forced to sit here and take it, heartbroken and embarrassed. Of course, if I wasn't pretending to be an Omega, I'd laugh and say the kiss was so awful it's not worth mentioning—basically lie my ass off—or maybe hit him or something. Since I need to keep up my act, I'll be forced to cry and make a fool of myself.

"Hey, it's okay." Logan takes my hand, and even though I know that it's just part of an act—part of some stupid prank—my pulse races and I never want him to let go. My traitorous heart breaks at the thought of his betrayal and suddenly, faking tears isn't all that difficult. I can't believe I'm such a loser!

"Mr. Hanks," Logan speaks up so the whole class can hear and I hold my breath, waiting for the next blow. "Sofie's not feeling well. I'm going to take her to the nurse."

I look up at Logan, trying to hide my surprise. Then Mr. Hanks gives his permission, and next thing I know Logan's grabbing my hand and pulling me out of the classroom.

The minute we're in the hall, Logan wraps his arms around me and hugs me tightly. Then he pulls back to look at me and presses his lips against mine. The kiss is soft and sweet, almost loving, not at all like the passionate encounter from last night. I automatically pull Logan closer and kiss him back before I remember that none of this is real. Logan doesn't care about me; he's just messing around, or worse. Do the others know exactly what we're doing out here? Are they laughing at how well he can play me? Maybe he made a bet that he can get my panties, or take my virginity or something. Suddenly, I can't stand the thought of kissing—or even being anywhere near him.

I push Logan away—with way too much force for an Omega—and he has the gall to look hurt. "I should go to the nurse." I look at him in disgust.

"You were upset." Logan gives me the sad puppy dog eyes. He pulls off the look really well, and it makes my heart melt. Then my brain reminds me it's all just a game to him, which feels like being doused with a bucket of cold water.

I want to shove him again, but I'm supposed to be a poor little Omega wolf and not the type of girl who stands up to the Alpha's son. Playing up the role, I look at the floor and shuffle my feet. "I really don't want to get in trouble," I whisper. "What if Mr. Hanks checks up on us?"

"He won't," Logan tells me, taking my hand and leading me down the hall.

He laces his fingers through mine, and even though I know it's a game, I can't help but revel in his touch. It's disgusting. I'm disgusting! I try to steel my emotions, to distance myself from the things that my body feels each time I'm with him, but having my hand in his still sends my pulse racing.

Logan opens a door and pulls me inside. Too late, I realize this isn't the nurse's office. It's the janitor's closet.

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