Chapter 25

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A beaming Charlotte sat beside me, her eyes which had once been vacant of any emotion when I last saw her, now glowing with content. Her body was still thin, but it did not look as unhealthy as it had once been.

“It’s so lovely here.” Charlotte was telling me. “And quiet too. Back where I lived with Harold, it was so loud with buses and cars constantly passing by.”

I frowned at her mentioning Harold. I hadn’t seen that man since I returned into the country. I hesitated in asking Charlotte if she had caught sight of him, reluctant to spoil her air of happiness.

Brad walked into the room, his forehead creasing in concentration as he tried to balance a plate with vanilla cake and two glasses of water. He handed the cake to Charlotte and me the glass of water. I refused the offer of food; I would be meeting my mother in a restaurant after I left and her boyfriend would be there as well.

I barely drank my water, too involved in the conversation that developed between Brad, Charlotte and I.

Charlotte had lived with her relative for a couple days, however when she acquired a job a great distance from where she had been staying, Brad was kind enough to allow Charlotte to stay in his home, which was fairly closer to the business she worked at.

Charlotte was quick to say that her living in this house would only be temporary, and that she would find an apartment soon. I didn’t miss the way Brad frowned at that statement, clearly displeased about the idea of her moving. The more Charlotte and I talked, and the more I glanced at Brad every now and then, it became clear that Brad liked her, but Charlotte was completely oblivious to this.

Brad was healing well from his injuries, which shouldn’t have surprised me. He is a werewolf after all. There had been a pause once the conversation had stopped. Before the silence became too awkward, I decided to blurt out,

“So have you two seen Harold recently?”

Charlotte, to my relief, didn’t look sad or upset by the question. She shook her head and I turned to Brad, who muttered out a ‘no.’ I finished off most of my water, had another chat with them for fifteen more minutes and then left.

Leo was waiting outside the door and straightened when I walked to him. “Where to next, Rebecca?” He said, striding beside me as we headed to his parked car.

It was thankfully one which wouldn’t draw much attention to it, the color was simply grey and the brand one which many people drove. If I were to be driving around in a big black SUV, I was certain that it would stick out like a sore thumb.

I gave Leo the address to the small dainty restaurant that I would be meeting my mother in as we crossed the road, the hood I wore shielding my face from any prying eyes.

It was morning, and there was little traffic. Most of the children in the country were on vacation, which means less parents hustling to get their kids off to school. Leo took full advantage of this and drove barely below the speed limit.

After Leo drove me to the restaurant, he followed me inside as well. It was fairly quiet, and I spotted my mother and a man who I couldn’t see because his back was facing me. Leo walked ahead and sat by an opposite table as I approached them. My mother stood, grasping my hand gently. Her brown eyes darted to the man before her and then to me. A sense of unease unfurled inside me, and I found myself studying the man. There was a slight darkness in the restaurant, which made it difficult for me to really see what he looked like and that, for whatever reason, annoyed me. My mother’s voice pulled me away from trying to scrutinize the man, for now.

“Rebecca, I’d like for you to meet Benjamin. Benjamin, meet Rebecca.”

I attempted a polite smile and looked down expectantly at the man. That feeling of unease increased when I saw the broad hand being offered to mine. I shook it, noticing that whilst mother and I stood, the man had chosen to remain seated. I was certain that if he had taken a stand, I would’ve been able to see his face properly because of how close we would’ve been. And, it seems, like he knew this too.

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