STAWP | Chapter 24

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I wake up to find myself in the large clearing where Logan and I stopped during our run. I'm lying on my back next to Logan and the two of us are staring up at the sky. The sun warms my face and the wind caresses me, leaving me feeling completely at peace. I turn my head to the side to smile at Logan, only to find that he's now on top of me and is leaning down for a kiss. My eyes drift shut, but several seconds pass and still I don't feel his lips.

My gut tells me something's wrong and I open my eyes to find Logan crouched over me. His human face is contorted in anger, lips pulled back to reveal sharp canines. He transforms into a wolf before my eyes, growling and poised to attack.

I shove him off me and begin to run. Logan gives chase and more wolves appear, until there are at least a dozen of them pursuing me. I push forward, feet pumping, and heart racing with terror.

I run for what seems like ages before I leave the canopy of trees. Up ahead, I spot my house and somehow know that if I can just make it through the front door, I'll be okay.

I throw open the gate, which is no longer broken, and run down grass that is freshly mowed for the first time in years. My brain tells me that somethings wrong, but all I can do is keep running... up the front steps, through the front door, and into the house where I'll be safe.

Inside, I hear voices coming from the living room, one male one female. I run toward them, towards my parents, and stop in the doorway. I find Mom, in one of her floral dresses, with her long brown hair braided just like in the one picture I have of her. She's sitting with her feet tucked under her and her fingers are wrapped around a steaming mug of apple cider. Dad is sitting next to her, mesmerized, like she's the center of the universe. He's wearing jeans and a tight black t-shirt and his thick black hair in need of a cut.

"Mom! Dad!" I shout, running towards them, but the couch stays just out of reach. I run and run, but I can't seem to get close.

I'm still running when Mom fades away, and Dad morphs into the overweight, balding man he is today. He raises his hand, points the remote at me, and clicks.

Suddenly, we're transported back to the clearing. Dad is still on the couch, remote in hand, but now we're surrounded by a dozen growling wolves, all foaming at the mouth. One is Logan, the large, white wolf, and I instinctively know the other white wolf next to him is POW. They slowly advance, hunches lowered, and ready themselves for the kill.

I beg Dad to do something, but he just sits there, staring at me. He pushes a button on the remote and I grab his shoulder and begin to shake.

"Help me," I beg as the wolves draw closer, "please!"

Dad just sits there. I shake him again, desperate now, and the wolves pounce. One of them latches onto my arm, shaking it, and I scream.

"Sofie! Wake up!" Zara's voice breaks through my dream. Her hand is on my shoulder and she shakes me awake.

I bolt upright in bed, my heart racing, and Zara jumps back with a gasp. She's wearing the same pink plaid pyjama shorts and black tank top she wore to bed last night, and her hair is all mussed. The room is brightly lit, though a glance out the window shows that it's still dark outside.

"Do you always do that?" Zara asks.

"Did I wake you?" I know I screamed in my dream, so maybe...

"What? No!"

"Then why..."

"It's five thirty."

"I slept through the whole day?" I cry. I missed school, and my chance to escape, and...

"In the morning!" Zara sounds exasperated. "You know, kitchen duty?"

"Oh, right." I know I'm supposed to cook breakfast, but I didn't realize I'd have to be up before sunrise. It's still dark out, and I bet everyone except us is still in bed, sleeping. I suppose someone has to be up to make breakfast, and who better than the pack slave?

I clear away the last of the dream fog and suddenly remember last night's very real make out session with Logan. My cheeks flame. Zara, thankfully, is too busy yawning and rubbing sleep from her eyes to notice.

When I got in last night, I was sure Zara would be able to tell what Logan and I had done just by looking at me. I was all flushed and jittery with excitement and I couldn't stop thinking about each kiss and each touch Logan and I shared. I thought it was so obvious it might as well have been written on my forehead.

When I entered our room, I was so embarrassed. I'd never done those things with a boy before, wasn't even sure I was ready to do those things. I wouldn't even look at Zara, but she hardly noticed. The moment I had the door closed, she started talking about Jasper and how wonderful their time together had been.

I could have told her about Logan, too. I had plenty of opportunities between Zara mooning over Jasper, but it didn't feel right. It's not that I don't like Zara or that I don't trust her. I'm just not used to sharing personal stuff with anyone, not even Anna and Jen. I've never told them I'm a wolf, never shared how lonely I feel, and never revealed any of the awful things that have happened at home over the years. I got used to keeping a part of myself hidden and I can't imagine baring myself to someone like that.

Suddenly, a possibility hits me. Even though I plan to keep what happened between Logan and me a secret, he might tell people. What if he starts going around school bragging about hooking up with the new girl? Or worse, what if he tells them every embarrassing detail, like how he was in the room while I was showering and that we made out on the bathroom floor?

I may only be here for a few more days, and I shouldn't care what people think, but I don't want everyone at school staring at me and talking about me. I know it's weird, but I think I actually prefer hard work or a few broken bones to getting made fun of.

I remind myself that I have stuff to do today other than think about Logan and worry about school, so I drag myself out of bed. Back home, I could sleep in until seven and still have enough time to make breakfast. This thirty thing is so not normal. It's no wonder Zara kept apologizing about it yesterday!

I head over to the closet and try to decide what to wear. If I pick any of Zara's stuff, it might piss Logan off again. He didn't have a problem with my pyjamas, but he might freak out if I decide wear something pretty.

I really want Logan to like me and I can't bear the thought of him telling me to go upstairs and change. What if he does it in front of Zara and POW and everyone? On the other hand, I don't want to wear my old, ugly clothes either, not when I finally have better options. Plus, if I do run away today, it makes more sense if I'm wearing something nice that will last me a couple of years.

In the end, I choose a pair of black leggings, paired with black flats and a long gray sweater. It's comfortable enough to wear every day, but I still look nice.

If Logan tells me to change, I'll obey like a good, submissive Omega. Hopefully, though, I'll be stuck in the kitchen and won't see him until I get to school. By then, there'll be nothing he can do. Plus, he apologized last time, so maybe he changed his mind. I mean, we did make out on the bathroom floor. That has to mean something, right?

"You look hot," Zara mumbles. She's sitting cross-legged on her bed, stifling yawn after yawn until she looks like she's about to pass out.

"Thanks. Now go back to bed," I tell her. "I got the kitchen thing."

"I'd feel guilty. I'm going to stay up. That's what a good friend would do."

"There's no point in both of us being up. You can still get some sleep, right?"

"An hour and a half," Zara says wishfully. "Breakfast's at seven."

"Then sleep," I order.

Zara looks like she's about to protest then changes her mind and climbs back into bed. She mumbles something that sounds like "I owe you," and her eyes drift close as she falls asleep.

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