Chapter 49

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Are you guys proud of me for actually posting repeatedly without several month intervals? I hope you enjoyed it . . . Mostly because I have writer's block again. Sorry!

F O R T Y—N I N E

      I WAS LYING to myself if I said I didn't feel bad about not telling Ryder, Jay, Cyrus, and Tyler about me going out with Julian. Nobody knew besides Selena. All they would do is try to talk me out of it and tell me it's a bad idea. That Julian was bad news.

      Maybe Julian was bad news, but so was I. I broke laws and didn't care about anybody's feelings besides my own and the seven people I cared about—Ryder, Jay, Tyler, Cyrus, Dakota, Selena, and Julian. They were the only people I considered my friends, and the feeling was strange. I went from having nobody to having more people caring about me than half the kids in my school.

      "Where would you like to go?"

      I glanced up at the brunette with a teasing smile. "Aren't you the one who's supposed to take me somewhere? This was your idea."

      He opened the car door for me. I had no clue what make or model the car was, just that it was nice, royal blue, and the black top folded down.

      It was a good thing I wore my hair up.

      As he closed the passenger door behind me, he said, "I figured we could go on a little drive wherever you like. It's a good opportunity to  better get to know each other."

      I waited for him to climb into the driver's seat and start the ignition before speaking again. "So, what? Are we just going to play a game of twenty questions?"

      He grinned. "Do you have a problem with twenty questions? I think questions are a great way to start. For instance, where would you like to go?"

      I laughed at his plot for an answer and thought for a minute. "How about the city? I haven't had much opportunity to explore outside of this tiny little town." I looked over at him. "Now, why don't you ask me a real question?"

      "Okay." He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel as he thought. "What's your favorite color?"

      I raised my eyebrows in mock surprise. "That's the best you've got?" I bit my lip. "Blue."

      "Blue is everybody's favorite color," he complained.

      "Is it your favorite color?"

      He stayed silent for a moment before, "Maybe."

      "Okay, tough guy." I stared out the window and willed nature to give me an idea. As if answering my prayers, a squirrel jumped from one tree to another above us. "What's your favorite animal?"

      I sent him a sideways glance as I waited for an answer and was not disappointed. "A hippo."

      "A hippo?"

      "A hippo," he assured me, astounded that I didn't share his love for hippos. "They're one of the most dangerous animals, but everybody underestimates them." He glanced over at me for a second. "What about you? What's your favorite?"

      I didn't have to think about my answer this time. "A wolf."

      "Again with a predictable answers," he scolded.

      I shook my head and leaned my head back to stare up at the starts. Out of the corner of my eyes I could see the upcoming city lights. We were getting close. "Not just any wolf. The omega wolf."

      "Why the omega?"

      "They follow a pack, but they're not really a part of it. They don't sleep with the rest of the pack, or even eat with the rest of the pack very often. They keep to themselves and eat last." I closed my eyes and let the cold wind slap against my face. "A lot of times they're picked on by the other pack members."

      Julian laid his hand gently against mine for a moment before returning it to the wheel. "That sounds like a very lonely existence."

      He was right, but it was how I used to feel. I never had anybody before. I was used to following everyone else silently and doing my own thing in the background. "They don't always stay alone. Eventually, they can find a new pack or become a more important part of their own. Sometimes they even find themselves becoming an alpha."

      We sat silent for a moment in awkward silence.

      Then, just when I thought it couldn't possibly get any more suffocatingly tense in here, Julian abruptly asked, "What's your favorite flower?"

      I blinked in surprise. "Tulips," I answered simply.

      He grinned. "There's a more unique answer. I expected roses."

      We argued for a good period of time about why tulips were better than roses, which Julian wholeheartedly disagreed with. He said that no matter what argument I had against why tulips were better, roses were prettier, and that was that. It wasn't until we pulled up into a shopping center parking lot that he finally gave up his stance.

      I leaned towards the passenger seat to look at him as he stepped out of the car. "What are we doing here?"

      "You'll see."

      I opened my mouth to protest, but was stopped as the door slammed shut and the brunette was marching away.

      "Well, fine then." I lifted a hand to turn on the radio, but stopped as I momentarily wondered if he was weird about people touching his car. He did technically kidnap me after me refusing to hang out with him on several occasions, so he could deal with me pushing one little button for music.

      About two songs later the driver's side door was swinging open. A box of pizza was thrusted towards my lap and three fake tulips tied together were placed in my hand.

      I stared at the tulips. "What's this?"

      "Pizza and flowers." Julian shrugged and shifted the gear into reverse to back out of the parking lot. "I forgot to ask you what your favorite food was, so I settled with pizza. It seemed like a safe bet. Also, sorry the flower's are fake."

      "It's fine," I dismissed him, still shocked about the purchases. I couldn't remember the last time anybody spent money on me for anything that wasn't legally required. "Where did you get pizza?"

      He nodded his head to the pizza place beside Walmart. "Right there."

      I shook my head with a smile. "Smartass."

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