STAWP | Chapter 16

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Saffron

I try to clear my head and repeat Zara's question over and over until it sinks in. Will I miss my old school?

"A little," I admit. "It's definitely weird thinking I'm never going back to OPS."

I'll definitely miss being on the debate team. It was the one extracurricular that Anna, Jen and I had together. I guess Jen will probably get elected as the new class president, since it was a really close call between the two of us. The school will probably have to find someone else to help the two ninth graders I tutor with math.

I sigh. More than anything, I'll miss my friends. They'll probably freak out when I don't show up to school. As soon as I can get online, I'll email them some excuse. Would they believe I was staying with cousins? I bet if I tell them child protective services got involved, they'd totally buy it. I've never said anything about the physical fights with Dad, but they know we're dirt poor and Dad's never around. Honestly, if I was a regular human, I would have called Children's Aid years ago.

"You'll like Mapleton High." Zara sighs, her sad tone contradicting her words. Her school can't be that bad, can it?

Zara doesn't elaborate and before I realize what I'm doing, I go back to imagining Logan on my bed. Now he's leaning over me and trailing kisses down my body. My breathing speeds up and I can feel my pulse racing.

"Was it really lonely?" Zara interrupts my train of thought before I can really embarrass myself.

What's happening to me? Suddenly, I think of another possibility. I mean, it's unlikely, since I'm a rogue, but what if Logan's my mate? I can't stop thinking about him and I want to do things with him that I would never do with any other guy. Is that what finding your mate feels like?

"What?" I ask, my mind still processing the possibility.

"Living without a pack?" Zara asks.

"It was fine." I shrug. "Hey, can I ask you a question?" I roll over onto my side to face her.

"Sure." Zara leans forward and looks at me expectantly.

"How do you know when you find your mate?" I ask. All Dad's ever told me was that it rarely happens to rogues. He met Mom before he got kicked out of his pack and I remember Mom telling me that when she first saw Dad—the old Dad who didn't drink, smoke, yell or hit anyone—they looked at each other and "just knew".

With Logan, I'm not sure what I know. When our eyes met, I was definitely attracted to him, but I didn't just know, know. Or did I?

"You just know," Zara echoes Mom's words.

"But how?"

"You look into each other's eyes, your wolf tells you that you've found your mate, his wolf tells him the same, and then you fall in love at first sight." Zara sighs wistfully.

"Oh," I reply. My wolf didn't tell me I found my mate when I looked at Logan, but she did want him. What if that's what she meant and I was too busy gawking at him to pay attention?

I'm actually tempted to ask my wolf if it's true, but I can't risk letting her out long enough to find out. If I lose control and she takes over, she might blow my whole Omega cover. Plus, what if she attacks Zara or Nicki? Or throws herself at Logan? I don't want to sleep with a guy I just met. I barely know him, and I'm pretty sure I'm not in love with him. Meeting him just turned me into a total slut for some reason.

"You didn't know?" Zara asks curiously. "About mates?" she adds at my blank look.

"I've, um, never talked to any other wolves before. Well, except my dad."

"Yah, I wouldn't want to talk to my dad about mates either." Zara giggles, but then turns inexplicably sad. I want to ask her if she's okay but we just met and I don't want to push.

We sit silently for several minutes, both of us lost in thought. I alternate between feeling depressed because Dad sold me like a piece of property and confused over my feelings for Logan. Zara, meanwhile, looks kind of wistful. Like a kid looking through a window of a candy store. I debate with myself whether or not to ask her about it when someone knocks on the door.

"Come in," Zara calls.

I sit up just as Logan walks into our room. The moment our eyes meet I want to run to him. I need to be in his arms, to feel his kisses, to touch his sexy, muscular body. Could he be the one?

"What are you wearing?" Logan growls, giving me the once-over. I take in his glare, so identical to POW's, and it takes a second for what he's saying to register.

Is there something wrong with my clothes? I look down at myself and then at Zara for help, but she's gaping at Logan.

"I liked what you were wearing before," Logan tells me.

"Oh," I whisper, fighting back tears. He's not attracted to me. Whatever I feel for him is one-sided, and even thought we just met, it hurts.

"Alpha sent me to take you on a run," Logan adds, staring down at his feet. Now he won't even look at me! Do Zara's clothes look that bad?

I know I'm a lot more muscular than she is, and have a bit of extra weight, but it's not like I have chunks of fat sticking out or anything. Zara would have said something if the outfit looked awful, wouldn't she?

I glance at my roommate again, but she still looks mesmerized by Logan. Is she attracted to him too? I feel tears well up at the thought but I force myself not to cry. The sooner I can get this run over with, the better, I think, climbing off the bed.

I start toward Logan, but he shakes his head, stopping me in my tracks.

"Change into to what you were wearing before. I'll wait in the hall." He slams the door, and I feel my heart shatter into a million pieces.

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