STAWP | Chapter 14

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Can you guess what Saffron's thinking? 



I follow Zara down the hall on autopilot, too distracted to try to fight the effect of POW's order. For some reason, I can't stop thinking about his son. Logan. The gorgeous, tanned, muscular Logan who is hands down the hottest guy I've ever seen. The Logan who made my heart melt the second our eyes met. I want to feel his arms around me and his lips on mine. I want to push him down on my bed and... What the hell is wrong with me? I haven't even kissed a boy before and now I want to get in bed with a guy I just met?

I need to control my wolf! From the moment I looked into Logan's eyes, she began howling for him, wanting him. She hasn't come to the surface in years, but for a few moments there, I almost lost control. Even now, she keeps trying to get my attention, howling her desire for POW's son. I shove her back down into the recesses of my mind, where she belongs, but for some reason she keeps fighting back.

I take a deep breath and fight against her, burying her deep within my psyche where she belongs—just like Dad taught me to do the summer before fourth grade.

"Saffron, if you don't want to be home schooled, you'll need to learn to control your wolf." I remember him frowning at with disgust. "What's to prevent you from shifting at school? What's to stop your wolf from taking control and doing unspeakable things? Murdering the other kids? Mating with every boy you see?"

I didn't want those terrible things to happen but I didn't want to stay home, either. When Mom home schooled me, I loved having her as my teacher, but after she died, things changed. Dad started leaving me on my own, day after day, with homework he didn't even bother to check. I was so bored, so lonely, that I studied just so I would have something to do, even when I hated every minute.

That day, I began to practice self-control—terrified of what my wolf might do at school—until I no longer heard her... until she stopped begging for others of our kind, a pack... until I stopped feeling her joy when we went for runs... until she was no longer there after I'd shifted... until, finally, I was just Saffron again and not some half-crazed wild animal.

It's so weird that she's suddenly acting up now. Why is she trying to take over? Is everything that's happened finally catching up to me? Getting sold by my Dad to a Pissed Off Wolf; then having to clean Zara's room; and being in a pack house, not knowing when, or if, I'll escape. This nightmare of a day must be shattering my self-control.

I tell myself to snap out of it. Who cares if my wolf's fixated on Logan? I don't even know the guy! I bet he's like the biggest jerk on the planet. He's POW's son, so he's probably cruel, violent, and always pissed off too. Now that I'm no longer thinking about his lips and his hot body, I'm starting to remember more details. Like the fact that he's also big and muscular. I picture POW's scowl on Logan's face and shudder.

POW almost managed to convince me he wasn't so bad with his 'you can always come to me' speech. We even shared a smile, for like half a second, and then he turned angry and started shouting. Just like Dad, smiling one minute, then pummeling me with his fists the next. No warning, no explanation. Why should I expect anything different from POW?

I realize that instead of heading to our room, Zara leads me down the opposite hall. I wonder where we're going until she opens a door and I realize I'm in heaven.

It's a large closet I've ever seen, and it's literally filled to the brim with school supplies. That's right. There are brand new backpacks, binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, you name it—in a rainbow of colors and a variety of shapes and sizes.

"Take whatever you need," Zara tells me.

I stare at all the stuff and suppress a moan. My backpack, which I haven't had the heart to throw out, is still in my locker at OPS. It's light pink, and has definitely seen better days. I've ripped it and had to sew it back together at least a dozen times before finally giving up and switching to Dad's duffel bag. My binders are also the same ones I've been using since fourth grade and they're worn and torn. They once had pictures of Disney characters on them, but I covered those up with silver duct tape.

I know I'll only be here for a day or two before I run away, but the new backpacks call to me. I pick out a green one—the color of a canopy of trees in the middle of a forest—and then stare longingly at the binders. I should take a few, if only to convince Zara I'm not planning to run away. "How many classes do we have?" I ask.

"Five," Zara tells me, and I eagerly pick a different colored binder for each class. I grab a few packs of paper, a green pencil case to match my new backpack, and some of the basics: pens, pencils, an eraser, whiteout, scissors, a calculator. I go kind of overboard, actually, but Zara did say to take whatever I needed. If I look like I'm stocking up for the rest of high school, I bet no one will expect me to run away.

When I'm done, I clutch my bag to my chest, floating in school supply heaven. Would it be horrible if I ran away with my new bag? It isn't right, but I'd pay POW back for it as soon as I get a job. I could send anonymous checks or stuff bills into an envelope or something. I've already cost him ten grand, so what's a few more dollars? I'll probably be in debt for half my life anyway, unless I can sell Dad to someone and break even.

Zara leads the way back to our room and looks around. Aside from her unmade bed, the room is spotless—floor washed, clothes folded and put away, shoes paired up in the closet, and all surfaces empty of clutter. All that really remains is making Zara's bed. She goes over and grabs one of the bed sheets, and I immediately rush to help.

"No, I got it." Zara pulls the sheets out of my grasp.

"You sure?" I hesitate.

"Alpha made me do it," she blurts out.

"Do what?" I ask, even though I'm pretty sure I know.

"Make you clean my room." She blushes. "I'm sorry, Saffron."

"It's okay. It's not your fault." It just proves that POW is onto me. He must have suspected that the whole "frightened little wolf girl" thing was an act from the start. Why else would he make Zara give the order, instead of just telling me to clean everyone's rooms? It's a good thing I didn't try to rebel. If I had, I would have been in trouble with a capital T. I sigh. I'm really going to have to step it up a notch if I want to escape.

From now on, I'm going to have to act like I'm afraid of my own shadow and do absolutely anything anyone tells me to. I can't afford to slip up, not with POW letting me go to school.

If I'm lucky, I'll be on the run before the final bell. I could try to escape at lunch, or ask to go to the bathroom during one of my classes and just disappear. If neither works, maybe I could get detention and sneak out—although that might mess up my good little Wolf girl act.

Acting like an Omega for a day or two will be annoying, sure, but there are worse things than cleaning rooms and following orders. Like the time I had to cook while recovering from seven broken bones, or the time Dad made me clean my own blood off the floor before my wounds had even closed. Compared to that, being the pack slave is a piece of cake.


All in favor of selling Dad to someone to break even? 

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