Samar Kisses A Girl

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In My Mother Runs with Wolves, the story is about Maddie, not Samar. Samar is just a friend. A friend who likes Maddie a little too much. A friend who longs to have a story of her own. This Valentine's Day, she will.

This story was contributed by Zoe Blessing.

Ever feel like a side character in your own life? I mean, it's my life, right? It should be about me, Samar Tucker, the mixed-race girl with issues. But those issues pale when compared to the outlandish drama that is my best friend's life.

Maddie is... more complicated than I am. She's embroiled in a world where people can turn into wolves, and these other people are trying to hunt them, and is it any wonder I feel like a side character? I don't fit in that world anywhere.

Which might be why I'm on this flight to Atlanta. I need to feel normal again, like the world hasn't gone crazy with stalkers and werewolves. My grandmother is celebrating her seventieth birthday this weekend, so Dad wanted to fly in to show some love. Given that it's also Valentine's Day weekend, I don't need any further excuse to stick around in California. I don't need all the pink-infused, romantic garbage reminding me of that time I misread the signals and tried to kiss Maddie.

Ugh. The sooner I forget that, the better.

After exiting the plane, we look for Uncle Anthony. Instead, I spot Alicia Keys holding a cardboard sign with TUCKER scrawled in black marker.

Okay, no, that isn't really Alicia Keys. I mean, why would a huge pop star be our chauffeur? And why would we have a chauffeur at all?

"Dad, where's Uncle Anthony?" I ask.

His brow furrows as he checks his phone. "Apparently he's unable to come, so he sent Jayla."

"Jayla? Who's Jayla?" My eyes wander back to the pop singer lookalike. "He's not dating underage girls now, is he?"

Dad spies the sign and raises his eyebrows. "I certainly hope not."

We approach the girl. Her eyes light up when she sees us. "You're here! Awesome." She lets the sign drop to her side. "I'm Jayla." She holds her hand out.

Dad shakes her hand even though we've never heard anything about her before.

"Davis and Samar, right?" She moves over to shake my hand. "You have such pretty hair! Just like the photos they showed me."

Just like the photos who showed you?

"Th-thanks," I stammer, still confused about what's going on. Plus this girl is pretty. Perfectly braided cornrows line her head and dangle down past her warm brown shoulders. The red tank top she wears proclaims SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND and sports a little cupid flying above the letters.

Most interesting of all, though, are her eyes. They're light brown, almost golden. A lot like Maddie's eyes.

Nope, nope, nope, I chastise myself. I will not remind myself of the silly crush I had on my best friend. Also, I will not wonder if she's a wolf.

"Any bags to claim?" she asks.

Dad shakes his head no.

She points at him. "Smart traveler. Come on, my chariot awaits."

Dad and I exchange glances as we follow. Who is she? I mouth.

He shrugs.

I follow Dad's lead and refrain from asking questions, which allows me time to admire her well-rounded backside.

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