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Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Romance  ➡  Paranormal

Moon Rising: A Wolfland Novel

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Moon Rising

A Wolfland Novel

E.S Night

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Disclaimer

Copyright. 2016 E.S Night. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book in any form. No part of this text may be downloaded or reproduced without the written permission of the author. The uploading and distributing of this book without permission of the writer is illegal and punishable by law.

This ebook is for your personal enjoyment. The novel is a work of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual person, living or dead, or to actual events is entirely coincidental.

Visit the author’s website.

WWW.ESNIGHT.COM

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_Titles of The Wolfland Trilogy _

Moon Rising

Blood Ties

Silver Bullet (Part One)

Silver Bullet (Part Two)

_The Greyblood Chronicles _

Blessed

Gifted

Saintly

The Tales of Twenty-Three

Short Stories

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Chapter One

Desire

I had the dream again last night, the same inexplicable, lifelike dream. I can’t stand this for much longer, seeing his face and feeling him here, I need something real. I wake up and my first thought is always. “Please take me back to him!” How can you miss someone who you don’t even know? Somebody you’ve never even met! I don’t understand.

This is the twenty-third time I’ve dreamt about this man and each time I end up deeper down the rabbit hole. Although, this time was different. Last night I found out his name – Grayson Hale. I must admit it’s nice putting a name to the face that’s been haunting me, despite it being meaningless. Grayson Hale wasn’t real.Just saying his name makes this so much harder for me. Grayson – a name I must have gone over a thousand times in my head renders me useless in my existing reality.

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The dream begins like every other night. I fall asleep imagining the white wolf and how I long to hear the howls of his pack. I’m taken there. I’m flying like a bird above the ice and water as time slows down all around me. A wooden lodge captures my attention. At first glance, it’s lit with warm candles reminding me of the front of one of my mother’s Christmas cards. Some people are outside but I don’t recognise them, they’re strangers but they seem to know who I am.

My heart stops as I notice my ex boyfriend, Jackson, sitting alone on a bench outside. I watch for a few minutes as a pretty, dark-haired girl joins him and reaches out to hold his hand. I’ve somehow settled my feet on the ground. My toes can’t help but curl in the snow. Glancing down, I notice the white dress I’m wearing: it’s almost like a nightgown drowned in thin lace. I hope for a distraction, biting my bottom lip, trying hard not to let any of this upset me.

My eyes investigate the faces unknown in the crowd, but then, Jackson’s

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eyes meet mine. Without a breath, he breaks through the horde of people, trying to reach me. I turn around, my blonde hair blowing in the cold wind. From nowhere, I spot a pair of green eyes lighting up beside the bar and I cry uncontrollably. It’s strange, but I experience raw emotion surging through me and I begin to run.

I travel through the heavy snow, the dress getting caught under my feet. I stop just for a second and that’s when I hear the footsteps of something coming after me. I can’t even look back. I can only run forward. I sprint with all the energy I can muster to the other side of the snowbanks, towards the thick forest.I’m seconds away from the forest edge but when I reach the woods, I slip off the embankment and plummet down not able to stop myself.

In every dream, he rescues me, grabbing me by the waist and never letting me fall. We race through the air and I can’t focus on anything else but the pure ecstasy I’m feeling in that moment. I hit the ground in my saviour’s arms and

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like clock-work, I raise my head to see his face. He’s beautiful. He is the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. His dark brown hair falls perfectly onto his shoulders and his eyes glow bright in the shadows. He has one blue eye and one green; how unusual, I think to myself. His masculine arms tighten around me as if he knows what’s about to happen and doesn’t want to let me go. His delicate lips part for what seem like minutes as he whispers in my ear, “Grayson Hale, that’s my name. Please remember.”

Everything then fades. He moves further and further away from me and then – just like that – I wake up. It’s like the man knows me. Like I’ve known him my entire life. My mother interrupts my meaningful reflection by calling from downstairs, eager to drive me from my room. I travel to the edge of the bed, catching my blue sleeveless T-shirt on the corner of an old pine drawer. I shake the material free from the sharp wooden teeth holding my shirt hostage, falling back onto my bed in protest.

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“Abigail!” I sighed, hearing my mum’s second morning call. I lifted my head, blowing the hair from my face knowing the inevitable third squawk was coming. I tilted my head, puzzled at the fact my window was now open. I couldn’t remember opening it. I shivered, realising it was much colder outside than usual. The sky was a perfect shade of white and I’d never seen it like that before. Perhaps it was an early sign that winter was coming.

On the largest island of the Isles of Scilly, a small settlement called Hugh Town thrives under the burden of Atlantic storms. The Isles of Scilly lie twenty-eight miles’ south-west of Land’s End. The word ‘isolated’ doesn’t do this place justice. A kind of ‘love the one you’re with’ type of town. Most nights I watch the autumn storms when the winds are battering the boats in the harbour. I’m forever sunset spotting in the village, climbing up to the Garrison wall to watch the sun lay down over the islands.

It was only yesterday, before I went to

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sleep, that I spent too much time gazing through the lens of my camera. I take photographs of the green light that continues to brighten up the sky as the sun sinks down beneath the horizon. The locals like to call it a mystery. When I was younger, about six years old walking along the beach with my mum, the most brilliant green light flashed for just a few seconds as the sun disappeared. Mum likes to tell me, it’s God’s way of saying hello to us.

The Garrison wall has the best view of the green light. I must have searched a hundred places for just the right spot. The walls extend over 350 years. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, some of the wall expanded around the cliffs fearing another similar attack. The wall’s defences were still being put into military operations during the Second World War. I guess that’s what I liked about it, that it had survived all this time.

I keep myself to the outer wall at the top of Hew Hill. This section protects the town and castle, having gun batteries built

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at fixed points around the outer wall. I could talk about history all day.

“Abigail Marie Lawson!” My mum yelled. “Come down for your breakfast, you will make me late for the boat.” I fell out of bed, grabbing my dressing gown from the oak chair that my mum had refurbished last month for my birthday. I’d thrown my beautiful, handmade cushion on the floor she’d also crafted; I left it there in a silent objection to her getting me up.

I headed down the stairs unsteady on my feet. I was still reeling from the dream I’d just had. I looked around the corner of the kitchen to find mum making pancakes on the stove. I paused for a second, realising how much I looked like her. Mum’s blonde tresses of silky hair were wafting through the kitchen and her deep-set piercing blue eyes were reflecting through the bay window. She has an elf like nose that drops down from its point and her cupids bow pink lips always pout to perfection. Dimples only slightly noticeable hide under her high

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cheekbones, both complementing her snow-white complexion. My mum turned around quickly flying straight into the fridge injuring her elbow, blaming me for startling her.

“Sit down, I have to go soon.” She said moving all over the kitchen trying to put the pan in the sink. “You realise Abi that normal people don’t sleep until one in the afternoon.” My mum’s soft hands delivered my food to the table, her long, thin fingers tipped with painted and polished, ruby red nails. I nodded my head acknowledging her nice gesture and said thank you. I became extremely conscious of the fact our size was the only difference between us. She stood next to me at 5’5 and had a gorgeous slim figure; she must only weigh about 110lbs. I have to guess because there’s no way that my mum would ever tell anyone her actual weight and that includes keeping it top secret from me. God knows why – she’s perfect unlike myself. I’m more like 5’1 and have a voluptuous figure that pours into what I am told is a sought after

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hourglass shape. I’m secure in the 130lb bracket.

I sat down eager to tuck into my breakfast, hanging my legs over the wooden bench edging towards the kitchen table.

“Where’s Logan?” I dug the fork into my food, playing with the golden syrup my mum had poured on top of the pancakes.

Mum paused. “He’s in bed; he’s not going to school today.”

My humour turned to concern. “Why?”

“He’s sick and has a temperature, so he’s staying home.” She bit the edge of her mouth, aware of my irritation.

“Mum! I can’t babysit Logan, the Wheelhouse and do all of my coursework! You’re gone tonight and tomorrow for God’s sake.” I hated living in a bed and breakfast! Well, we sort of live in a B&B. Our house is our personal space, but it’s joined on to the guest section through the communal kitchen. It was my mum’s dream of running this business and my dad obliged, doing everything he could to make her happy. When we first moved in

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it was a right mess to be honest. Mum restored this elegant deep-rooted beach house through unyielding hard work and determination. I’m still in utter shock she completed it in only one year and stuck to dad’s tight budget. She loved decorating the guest bedrooms and cooking breakfast in the mornings. My mum was an amazing cook although you wouldn’t know it from the burnt pancakes steaming on my plate.

Overall, my mum’s great at her job. Most people who stay here come back time and time again just to see her. But, I repeat – I hated it! In the spring and summer, it’s fine; I have a good time with the guests and willingly do my bit to keep the place running smoothly. Despite this, in autumn and winter we have no customers. Winter’s approaching and we’ve had the odd visitor staying with us but nothing even close to what we need to keep this place afloat. For these two seasons a year, my mum withdraws and I have to witness her stressing every day. I say again – I HATE THIS PLACE!

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“Shush keep your voice down, I know it’s a lot Abi but I need you to do this for me while I go to the bank on the mainland. You understand how important it is that I get to that appointment tomorrow. I’ve explained this already, and there are no guests staying tonight. If someone asks for a room, ring Konrad. I’ve asked him to drop by and make sure you’re all right, but I can’t take your brother when he’s ill, can I?” I could sense her embarrassment and I didn’t want to press any further, but, as if I needed Konrad to check up on us.

Konrad was my mum’s younger brother, also known as my angry, weird mechanic uncle. The shaping of tears in my mum’s eyes was now visible although she tried to hide her face from my line of sight. “I’m sorry, I can handle it. You get ready, everything will be fine.” Mum brought me closer into her arms and held me against her chest. I could sense her desperation as she held me, but I remained ignorant as always to our money problems, which is the way my

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mother preferred it.

“Don’t worry about me.” She urged. “Everything will be okay. I love you, it’s just one night.” She let go of me and shifted into the hallway. I couldn’t help wondering what life would be like if dad was still here. He moved out three years ago. My parents pretend that someday they’ll get back together, they’re only separated and seem to use this as an excuse. They do anything to avoid dealing with their problems. My brother and I aren’t in the same concerning denial about our parent’s relationship. We understand that it won’t end well, we get it, it’s over; we wish they’d realise it’s finished so they can both move on and dad would stop holding his money hostage.

My dad, Henry is a top surgeon in London and lives in an amazing apartment. He’s single because he never agrees to go on dates, although he has plenty of admirers. I think he’s still waiting for mum to take him back, which is not exactly working out for him. He’s trying to

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blackmail her; it’s almost become his sadistic little hobby.

My mum has no shortage of male attention, she’s beautiful so I understand why, but she says yes to any man who is remotely good looking. Last week she went on two dates with a landscape gardener. He validates everything that’s wrong with the type of men she ends up with. Mum has him fixing our back yard at the minute so guests can sit outside. You can bet he’s only doing that so he can get laid and knowing my mum, it’ll work, if it hasn’t already.

A huge wave of anxiety came over me. I knew I’d left something at the Garrison wall last night. I’d taken my mum’s phone from the desk when mine wouldn’t turn on. Worried that I would miss the green light, I borrowed, well – stole my mum’s. Leaping from my seat and running out of the kitchen I knew I had to get it back before my mum left for the mainland. I shot upstairs in a panic and changed into some tattered jeans and a white vest top, grabbing my converse

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from off the floor.

“Where are you going?” Mum asked from her bedroom.

“I’m just nipping to the shop; I’ll be about ten minutes!” I shouted knowing I would be longer.

“Be back for three, I mean it Abi, don’t be late. I need to catch the boat at half past.”

“I won’t be, I promise I’ll be back in time.” I said in hoping I was more convincing than I felt. I hurried downstairs snatching my leather jacket off the bannister and ran out of the door.

Crap, crap, crap! I thought to myself as I stumbled down the beach heading towards the forest. If I cut through the woods and didn’t use the main road, I’d make up time. I hurried through the woodland as fast as my legs would allow. Something was making me uneasy, as if someone was watching me, staring me down. I continued up the forest path moving faster now, still believing I was being followed. I reached the clearing and could already see the phone lying there

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from last night. I moved up the hill and then climbed onto the wall, grabbing the phone. I tried and failed to switch it on, the battery was dead, but I knew mum could charge it when she got off the island.

Out of nowhere, I heard a boat coming into the harbour. My eyes met the ocean and saw a few passengers, but I couldn’t see their faces. Fear crept up on me again as I remembered mum needed to be getting back on the same boat. I needed to hurry! I looked back to the water and couldn’t catch my breath. I wanted to know who was travelling to the island but I couldn’t wait any longer. I stopped myself and hurried back down the wall to the woods and my house.

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Chapter Two

Understanding Your Limits

“Are you serious Abigail? Did you leave it until the last-minute on purpose? It’s getting bloody dark.”

“I’m sorry, don’t forget your phone.” I handed it to her, attempting to look blameless. It didn’t work.

Mum locked on my childlike eyes, hesitating before she spoke. “Come and give me a hug you, idiot.” She pulled me into her chest. “Now listen, I left Logan’s medicines on the kitchen table with a list of when he’s supposed to take them. Are you listening? Make sure he takes his codeine before he goes to bed, or he’ll be up all night in pain.”

“I have done this before mum, I know what he takes, don’t worry. It’s like what, a night and half a day. I think I can keep him alive for that long.” I laughed.

“That’s not funny, smart arse. I love you, I’ve said goodbye to Logan. I think he is on the verge of falling asleep, so just

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leave him to rest till he needs his pills.”

“All right, bye, love you.” I said, ushering my mum out the house.

“Okay, I’ll call you when I get to the hotel.” She said, closing the door behind her.

I watched from the living room window as mum walked down to the harbour in front of the house. At least I had some quiet for the rest of the day. Surprisingly, I was able to get the rest of my literature coursework finished in about three hours, although finding the rest of it in my bedroom would be a challenge.

“Abigail? Is that you?” Logan called. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. I ran upstairs to Logan’s room and opened the door. “What’s up? Do you need anything?”

“I’m fine, I’m just hungry.”

“You’re not in any pain or anything? Mum said you were sick.”

“My chest hurts, but nothing like I was making out. I didn’t want to go to school and then to the mainland. I wanted to stay here.” He explained pleased with the success of his little plan.

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“You can’t joke about these things; how will I know now when you’re not messing about? Promise me you’ll never do that again!”

“I won’t, I promise. I’m sorry – all right? It won’t happen again – just don’t tell mum.”

Logan begged. If he was any other kid, I’d understand him pretending he was ill to get out of school, hell I’d be encouraging it to annoy mum. But Logan is not your average kid.

When I was eight years old, mum and dad sat me down and told me about the surgery that Logan had to have. I found out after asking them about the scar on his chest and why he had to visit the doctor so often. When Logan was a baby, he had a medium VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) also known as a hole in his heart. The Doctor first spotted it during Logan’s first health check. Often when a baby’s born with a hole in their heart, it closes on its own after birth. The way I understand it, Logan’s hole was too big for his body to deal with and he needed surgery to

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repair it. The surgery went well, but the incision left a scar in the middle of his chest and to this day Logan is still self-conscious about it in gym class.

For years, my little brother has had to take medication to help his heart pump more effectively. The meds get rid of any extra fluids around his system. Recently, his chest has been hurting again, so the Doctor has prescribed stronger pain meds. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.

I sighed. “Come on, let’s get you something to eat.” Logan jumped out of bed with enthusiasm and put on his slippers. “I’m sorry for shouting bud, but you had me worried. Just don’t do it again, okay?”

“I, won’t, I promise, can we get pizza?”

“Yeah, anything you want.” I agreed, walking down the stairs. Just as I was about to pick up the phone, it rang. “Hello? This is the Wheelhouse; how can I help you?”

“Is this Abigail?” A gruff man’s voice answered.

“Erm, yes, sorry, who’s this?” I

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squinted at Logan, wondering who the strange caller was.

“You should leave. There are things you need to know. Please trust no one.”

“Jackson, is that you? Nice voice app you’ve got there. Stop ringing the house you’re making yourself look pathetic.” I shrieked slamming the phone down.

“Jack, again?” Logan asked, seeing the fearful expression on my face.

“Yeah, I guess. He’s beginning to be a creep – I’ll call Konrad, I bet he’ll stay with us for the night.” I said trying to sound more confident than I felt. I reached for the phone again.

“What a loser. What’s that now? Four nights in a row.” I only spent two short minutes on the phone asking Uncle Konrad to come and stay the night with us before he agreed. He wouldn’t miss an opportunity to play X-box with Logan for the evening. My uncle was the man I wanted around if something bad happened. He’s like a second dad to Logan and me, and for the last three years, he’s been our only dad.

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From what I know, Konrad had a tough childhood, he was troublesome and angry when he was younger and mum always tried to protect him. My mum is two years older than my uncle and as his older sister always felt responsible for him, she still does, even now. My mum was twenty years old when she and my uncle were coming back from a joint friend’s birthday party. They stopped for money on the way home. My uncle stayed in the car and watched my mum collect her money from the cash point; he was less than twenty feet away from her.

The way my mum described it, a man in a mask appeared from round the wall and grabbed her. He groped her and started pulling at her dress. Konrad rushed out of the car and in a rage reached for the screwdriver in his toolkit that was sitting in the back seat. Mum still to this day believes that Konrad only meant to scare him but that wasn’t what happened. My uncle plunged the screwdriver into the man’s chest with no hesitation. At least that’s what a witness

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said on their statement. They called the Police who had no choice but to take my uncle into custody. They found out later that night the man had died on the way to the hospital.

It was so unfair, Konrad’s sentence was four years in prison. It should have been much longer, but the judge showed leniency and assured our family he did the right thing. Just before the verdict, my uncle made mum promise she wouldn’t visit him in prison. He said she wasn’t accountable for his actions and that he didn’t want reminding of everything he was missing in the outside world. Mum agreed but my uncle had threatened to never talk to her again, so she had no choice. After serving his sentence, on his release from prison Konrad went straight back to the Island to see my mum. Mum said Konrad returned a different man. Apparently, he became confident and self-assured, more intelligent even.

She saw how much prison had changed him for the better. Mum said she announced her pregnancy to him as soon

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as he got back and that alone encouraged him to stay, I guess in a way, he stayed for me.

While I was waiting for Konrad to turn up, I saw how the wind was attacking our fences. I thought it wise to lock all the doors and windows. I’d just finished checking the bathroom when a sudden crash came from downstairs.

“What was that?” Logan shouted, running towards me.

“Get in your bedroom and lock the door!” I screamed, pushing him towards his room. “Stay in there until I tell you to come out.” I heard Logan locking his door. I crept down the staircase, clutching the handrail. I felt sick, like something terrible was about to happen. As I made my way down to the bottom of the stairs, I looked around the corner – this wasn’t happening. The front door was wide open. I froze in terror, I knew I had locked the door minutes before. Another noise was coming from outside the house. A shadowy figure was walking around to the kitchen window. My body wouldn’t move. I

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heard footsteps coming in through the doorway and to my relief it was Konrad.

I ran to him, giving him a huge hug. My shaking body collapsing in his arms. “Abigail, what’s the matter? Did something else happen? Abigail?” I sobbed into the left side of his suede jacket failing to answer him. Someone had been inside the house and that terrified me. After I’d calmed down a little, my uncle pulled me into the living room as he wrapped me up in a blanket.

“I’m just going to get Logan, where is he? The bedroom?”

“Yes, he’s in there; just tell him it’s okay to come out.” I explained still shaken with worry.

Logan bolted downstairs and headed towards the living room. He ran straight to me. “I have to ring the police, now are you two sure someone was in the house?” My uncle asked.

Before I could even answer, Logan spoke. “We’re certain. I heard them myself, there was a phone call and then a crash and a –”

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“Did you unlock the front door? Did you knock over the vase on the shelf?” I interrupted.

“No, I didn’t.” Konrad responded.

“Then someone was in the house.”

“Okay, I believe you Abi. I wanted to make sure – okay.” My uncle tried to justify his questions. I grabbed Logan to pull him down next to me on the sofa. I sensed his confusion, so I tried to comfort him by draping the blanket over his shoulders, holding him close. My uncle headed into the kitchen to call the police.

I still had the thought something or someone was still here, watching us. My Uncle spoke to the police which made me feel more protected somehow. I turned on the outside lights to the front porch, leaving the blanket covering Logan. I made my way to the window next to the front door, not able to shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. To my disbelief, I saw a man standing outside wearing a white mask holding his head to the right, he was almost touching his own shoulder.

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I didn’t realise that Konrad had followed me. I screamed in fear, just as my uncle charged through the door racing onto the beach to chase the man threatening our home.

He tackled the stranger to the ground yanking off his mask just as the police were pulling onto our property. It was a man I hadn’t seen before; he looked a little younger than Konrad, in his early thirties perhaps. His eyes were a steely grey gazing into mine. He wouldn’t stop looking at me. My uncle must have seen his obsession because it took three policemen to pry my uncle away from the man.

Thankfully, the police didn’t feel it was necessary to arrest my uncle for his behaviour. The officer in charge decided that Logan, and I had been through enough of an ordeal already, without our uncle getting arrested and spending the night in a cell. Konrad moved to the porch, pushing straight past me. I stayed outside to watch the police. I kept watching until the cars pulled away. Even through the

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car window the man was still staring at me, smirking as if he got what he wanted.

As the car lights were fading from the road, I looked towards the water. I noticed two men walking along the beach, entertaining themselves with the drama that had unfolded. I couldn’t see them and I didn’t care to, I wanted to make sure my uncle was okay. I stepped back inside and turned down the porch light whilst kicking my trainers off into the living room.

“We will have to go down to the police station and provide a statement.” Konrad said.

“What? They’re making us go now? Can’t it wait till morning, I’m shattered – Logan’s shattered.” I complained.

“Yeah, they said we can leave it until then. You two go on to bed – I’ll ring your mum and let her know what’s happened. I’ll sleep down here and make sure everything’s safe.”

“Thank you, good night.” Logan and I said together.

I made sure Logan was okay, but the kid seemed exhausted and he wasn’t up

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for a discussion. I stepped into my bedroom, closing the door behind me. The evening had been eventful but still, the only thing I thought about was missing the green light on the Garrison. I got changed into my blue nightdress and headed straight into bed. I lay there for a few minutes but was unable to fall asleep.

I can’t describe it, but something seemed to pull me towards the window. I got out of bed and reached for the slippers under my desk. Within a few seconds after seeing a glimpse of the moon, I opened my window as wide as it would go. The moon looked incredible tonight, so near, almost magical. A cool breeze came rushing into my room. I grabbed the dressing gown from the chair at the side of me.

All at once, a sound from outside grew louder, as if someone was tapping on something, trying to get my attention. The noise carried on for five minutes and I fought the urge to shout out hello. What if someone had answered me, how would I even react?

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Even though the moon shone brightly in the sky, I saw nothing in the back garden, everything was black. I sensed that eyes were following my every move. Despite this, I wasn’t frightened. I closed the window not wanting anything else to happen tonight and made my way back into bed glancing back at the window. I’d witnessed more than my fair share of madness for the last twenty four hours. The only thing I wanted to think about as I closed my eyes was Grayson Hale.

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Chapter Three

It’s You

“What the hell was that?” I didn’t have the dream. I think I actually dreamt of shopping with my mum on the mainland. WTF. In my mind, there were only three things to consider:

1. In what century would I ever be shopping with my mother?

2. I HATE the mainland.

3. Where the hell was my dream about Grayson Hale?

I couldn’t believe it. This was the first night in a month I didn’t see him. I worried if I would ever see him again or if this was just a fluke; perhaps the events of last night triggered some kind of breakdown in my head. Maybe tonight I’d be fine again! I wanted to test it and fall asleep again right in that moment.

“Abigail, are you awake? We need to get down to the police station.” Konrad

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yelled from outside the door.

“Yeah, I’m up. I’ll get ready and meet you downstairs.” I said, responding to his crap timing.

Why is this family so hell bent on not giving me space when I need it the most? I collapsed back on the bed avoiding that I had to get ready. I was behaving like a spoiled brat, but all I wanted to do was see Grayson and I couldn’t even get that right. After showering, I left my hair down, it goes curly when it’s left to dry on its’ own. I glanced outside at the weather and saw it was much brighter today.

I wore the white summer dress my mum bought me. I matched it with my black leather jacket and light blue converse. I looked in the mirror and for the first time in forever, I felt good about myself. I noticed the make-up on my dresser and thought I’d go for it. I applied a little foundation to my pasty white skin, some clear lip balm and then used up the rest of my mascara.

I headed down the stairs grabbing my shoulder bag from the stack of clothes left

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on my floor.

“Wow, where do you think you’re going?” My uncle said, astonished at the effort I’d put into my appearance.

“To the police station with you, why?”

“You look different, good different, but still, Logan doesn’t she look different?” He said using the only adjective he could muster.

“Yeah, you look great.” Logan spluttered through his jam on toast. They were right – I did look different. I’m more of a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl unless I’m going anywhere nice and then I’m only about dresses. It wasn’t like me to wear anything like this during the day; I don’t know what came over me but I didn’t care. It felt good.

“All right, let’s be off then.” Konrad urged, gathering his phone from his jacket pocket. I snatched a piece of toast from Logan’s plate as he shoved me towards the door, frustrated that I’d pinched it. It was only a short ride to the police station, ten minutes from our house by car.

I’m an extreme worrier; uncontrollable

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in the anxiety department. However, today that just wasn’t the case. The police station was right in the centre of Hugh Town, so everybody in town knew if something exciting was going on. Thank God, the public entrance is on the side street and not the main road. I doubt my unusual optimism would have lasted long if people were looking at me, walking into the building.

There are two huge glass doors you must walk through to enter the building; they always remind me of the sci-fi films my granny always watched. An Officer Lindley, an older man with very distinctive features was quick to greet us at the entrance. I didn’t speak to him, but he seemed polite enough and tried to put us all at ease. He asked us to follow him through reception and as we walked, he explained that the interview would be in the rear of the building.

We turned the corner of the second hallway. I noticed a restroom; I wanted to interrupt my uncle’s monologue about car engines and run straight into the toilet and

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be sick, my self-assured attitude weakened. I somehow resisted and continued moving at a sluggish pace. My uncle and the police officer were kindred spirits and belonged together isolated in a garage somewhere, far, far away from me. At the end of the hallway was a hefty floor to ceiling painting created by the children of the town. The more I focused on it, the more relaxed I seemed.

To the right of the mural was the office we would give our statements in. The officer took us in one at a time except for Logan who had to go in with a supervising adult. Logan wanted Konrad by his side. I tried not to take it personally. I wrote out the statement making sure I had it right. I then asked him to read it aloud to make sure it was perfect, I didn’t want to say anything that wasn’t true. I signed the statement saying it was an exact account of what had taken place last night and he allowed me to leave. It was then my turn to question him. The Officer wouldn’t tell me much as there was still an ongoing investigation into what happened. He did,

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however, state it seemed the stranger had a predetermined obsession; his walls covered in photographs of my family. He assured me that the man would stay in custody for several weeks as he showed signs of severe schizophrenia.

I didn’t want to hear any more after that, I needed to block this entire thing out. It made me sick when I thought about what could have happened. I thanked Lindley for his time and left the room, determined to put this all behind me. Although that would be easier said than done.

My brother and uncle had already given their written statements, so it was time to make tracks and to be honest, it was just in time. Authority figures give me hives after a while. I was glad we were leaving, even though I’d just remembered that I had to drop my coursework off today. My college was on the mainland, which meant I had to walk, get on a boat, walk to college, sit there, nod, and then wait for another boat later in the day to get back. I also knew my day wouldn’t

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finish there, I’d then have to face an interrogation by my mum.

We made it home in next to no time, I ran upstairs to get my college material together. I was almost ready when my mobile rang on the bed.

“Hello? Is this Abigail Lawson? It’s Claire Fletcher at Arrow-smith College.” My tutor explained.

“Err, yes, it is. Hi Claire, is there a problem? I’m coming in today. I’m supposed to present my coursework.” I asked waiting for Claire to clarify the reason for her phone call.

“Hi Abi, there’s no problem at all. I received your email, you’re on the right track. I thought with a renowned published author having arrived on your island yesterday, you would want to pick her brain for a few days. I’ve told her all about you and she agreed that you can take as many notes as you like. After this week, you can send me your coursework, on let’s say the 17th – Friday. It’s difficult for you to come to the mainland all the time, so just email me a copy of your

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presentation, but I can’t let you hand in your essay without utilising a valuable tool like her first.”

“Wow, well first, thank you for telling me. I mean, thank you for telling her about me. I’d love to meet her, who is she? Have I got a meeting set up or anything?”

“You are welcome. Her name is Anna Landon, the writer of Apprehension and reasoning of –”

“The mind.” I interrupted. “I can’t believe it, she’s one of my favourite authors, what is she doing here? Thank you so much Claire!”

“No problem.” Claire chuckled at my eagerness. “Yes, so no need to come into college this week, just go straight to her address from 11am to 3pm. She will expect you. She lives at 23 Clementine walk on St Mary’s island. I hope you have a great time, although I’d better be going now Abigail, good luck and I can’t wait to read your work.” She said, sounding late for something.

I couldn’t believe it! I would meet Anna

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Landon today and work with her on MY coursework. Nothing this good ever happens. I fixed my eyes on the alarm clock and crap! It was quarter past ten. I grabbed all the paperwork, attempting at the last minute to arrange my coursework into some kind of order that would impress Anna. It was a lost cause; I didn’t have the time to do it after the aftermath of last night. I didn’t want to barrage her with excuses about my lack of organisation, I only hoped that Anna would be gracious enough to not criticise my shortcomings.

Irritated by my lack of preparation I hurled my coursework into my shoulder bag and left my mobile phone in my room. Sprinting down the stairs, I informed my uncle about my meeting with the author, it was clear from his face he didn’t understand who she was, but he still congratulated me with enthusiasm and knew I needed to go. He agreed to update my mum as soon as she got home. After what transpired last night I’m sure my mum would rather I’d have stayed home,

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but I wasn’t about to contemplate missing this opportunity.

I was running late, too late. I used the shortcut through the woods again. The wind was much gentler today; a soft breeze blew through the olive painted trees. The leaves danced in the warm air, drawing them away from the late autumn ground. The picturesque scene of the woods failed to distract me from the constant paranoia that someone, something was still tracking me. Wickedness lurked deep within the trees, watching my every step or at least that’s how it felt. I reached the top of the road and I felt safer knowing the cars passing by would see me.

Hiking further up the precipitous hill, I saw what was the most beautiful house. The building was incomparable to any other I had ever seen. I saw the soaring columns at the front of the house, friezes and curved windows twenty feet high. The garden was impeccable regardless of winter descending. As I walked forward stillness echoed in the landscape, it

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brought tears to my eyes. This garden was trying to talk as if it held a profound secret and now wanted to tell someone, and that someone was me.

I approached the front steps of the house gasping at the entire peaceful environment, it seemed like a dream. I knocked at the heavy, wooden door and questioned my sanity, I knew I’d been here before. In my mind, I’d already experienced this; I’d been here thousands of times before this moment. My fear had grown too much, and I became terrified of what was behind the door, was I losing my mind? I fired up to run and got as far as the shrubs near the steps when I heard a soft tender voice speak from the porch.

“Hello? Can I help you?” The Irish voice mumbled.

I don’t know what happened, but I stood still, not knowing why I was so afraid to turn around. I found the strength from somewhere to move my body towards the door. My pulse stopped, I’m sure of it as I gazed upon the man’s face. I wished my mind would tell my mouth the

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words to say. I stared into his eyes for what felt like hours, still not moving an inch.

My lips whispered. “It’s you.” I said upset. “Grayson?” I asked mystified at the name I’d just said aloud. It wasn’t the man I had all those dreams about, it couldn’t be, this wasn’t real.

Grayson frowned confused by my behaviour. “Yes. I’m Grayson, do I know you?”

I answered him with the truth as I knew it. “I think we’re supposed to meet, my name is Abigail.”

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Chapter Four

*Impossible *

Grayson’s face was even more impressive in reality. Unbelievable. It was him. The person who had been haunting my nights with his beautiful presence, the man I had fallen head over heels in love with was standing right in front of me. He was how I pictured him, the roguish man with a rebellious untamed lock of hair and a soft Northern Irish accent.

Standing outside with him, I must confess, he made me anxious. There’s a strong sense of pain behind his eyes, it’s captivating, his stare makes you feel like he can see straight into your soul. He has the strongest eyes I have ever seen and much like in my dream; he has one green and one blue. There’s a sense of danger that completes Grayson, a flawed character with a definite arrogance and superiority complex. A person who seems to have forgotten what it’s like to have any humanity, but still there’s something

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beautiful in that. I had met him for only a few minutes, but I learned so much.

“Who is it? Is it Abigail?” Another voice through the hallway asked.

“Yeah Anna, she’s here.” Grayson said, appearing to struggle for words.

She sighed. “Hello! Welcome Abigail, why didn’t you invite her in?”

“Oh, it was my fault, I tripped on the step, I was just getting up.”

Anna’s polite expression turned to concern. “Are you all right?”

“Erm. I’m fine.” I smiled, glancing down at my shoes, trying to turn my face away from Grayson.

“Good, come with me; we have a lot of work to do, don’t we?” Anna made me feel like she was excited to be working with me. I pushed past Grayson as he stood in the doorway; it was as if he wanted me to touch him. I felt his frustration from not being able to continue our conversation. I yearned for him to talk even though the thought of it sent a chill all the way through my body.

I entered the house and my eyes

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searched the spectacular entrance hall. The space was bursting with large, brown boxes, they had after all only moved in yesterday. I couldn’t believe Anna had agreed to have me over; things must be so hectic around here.

My tutor had most likely begged Anna to do this for me. I diverted my thoughts to the panelled library. The door was wide open, giving me a remarkable view of the overflowing assembly of books. Downstairs the house had a double reception room and I could just about peer into the two oversized dining rooms. This building was colossal. The hallway alone was almost the size of my entire upstairs and that was including the B&B. Anna and Grayson sensed my admiration for the house which mush have prompted Anna’s scheming.

“After our get-together Abigail, Grayson should take you for a tour around the house?” She suggested.

He looked at me. “Yes, I can do that.”

“Sure, I’d love that, your house is beautiful.” Anna nudged me into another

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hallway, which meant that I was heading further away from Grayson. I turned my head back to see him and he was still standing in the same spot intent on following me with his eyes.

“I’m sorry about Grayson, Abigail. He is an acquired taste if you catch my drift. Socially handicapped the family call it.” She expressed, annoying the hell out of me, although her Irish accent was making listening to her a little more bearable.

“He seemed nice.” I said scrunching my face at her impoliteness. A slight snigger from around the corner echoed. Anna and I both aware that it was Grayson laughing at my inability to keep my feelings to myself.

“Come along Abi, we can work in here.” She explained, gesturing to the glasshouse attached to the living room. It was a beautiful day, so I understood why she wanted us to work in here. I was waiting for the seconds to pass, eager to have my tour with Grayson.

However, a few minutes into the session I found that Anna’s guidance was priceless,

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her opinions were amazing, and she extracted information from me like the pro she was. I stopped thinking about Grayson for like fifteen minutes, so that alone means she’s good at what she does. Her red pen took a battering too, my coursework looks like it’s taken a right old beating. Full of helpful tips I’m sure.

“Grayson!” Anna shouted as I collected my things.

He must not have kept much distance because it only took him seconds to enter the room. “Are you ready?”

I smiled. “Yes.” I turned back to Anna. “Thank you so much for helping me, I mean it. It was amazing meeting you.” I babbled.

She beamed. “No problem Abigail. You’re a joy to work with. Same time tomorrow?”

“Yes. Definitely.” I said, prompting Anna to leave the room.

We paused for a moment, both waiting for the other to speak first. Luckily for me it was Grayson. “So, how was it?” He smirked.

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“You should know? Weren’t you listening to half of it?”

“What do you mean?” He said, knowing exactly what I was talking about.

I sighed. “Oh, so that wasn’t you going into the kitchen like eight times for a glass of water?”

He smiled. “So, you were keeping tabs on me then?” That was the first genuine smile I’d seen from him and he was directing it at me.

“Don’t flatter yourself.” I moved in front of him in the hallway. I had barely reached the staircase when a voice startled me from the balcony.

“Hello. Now who would you be?” An elderly man appeared. Before Grayson had a chance to answer, I interrupted, proving my nerves.

“I’m Abigail.” I hoped that he would forgive my boldness.

“Do you have a last name Abigail?” He said snapping at me.

I cleared my throat. “It’s Lawson. Abigail Lawson sir.” I attempted to show him some respect.

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He grew more angry by my presence. “Oh dearie, please don’t call me sir, I’m an old man, but I’d prefer it if you didn’t make me feel like one.”

“I’m sorry. I think I’d better go.” I stuttered like an idiot – trying to save myself from any more awkwardness.

“Grandpa behave, I apologise for him Abigail, he’s just sharp sometimes, and he doesn’t mean to offend you.” Grayson spoke.

Something seemed to bother his granddad. “Offend her, she offended me!”

“Enough!” Grayson roared guarding me.

“No, it’s fine. I should go anyway. Erm, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I scampered out of the house, drained from the experience. I could still hear Grayson’s granddad talking about me from behind the door. I didn’t want to get into a dispute over nothing with what appeared to be a close knit family. I understood that Grayson and his family were from Northern Ireland from what Anna was saying earlier. I’ve visited

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Ireland before on a school trip when I was sixteen and there’s a certain charm that exudes from the locals. I have no clue where Grayson’s grandfather fitted into that positive stereotype, but he wasn’t being very pleasant to me.

“You would take her round the house. What is wrong with you boy!” He yelled at Grayson.

I didn’t understand what had just happened. I needed to go home and make sense of it all. How could I be seeing him in the real world? I wanted to talk to my mum about the whole thing; she would help me try to understand what was going on. My mind was exploding with logical explanations of how all of this was possible when I heard Grayson’s sweet voice calling after me.

“Abigail, wait!”

I looked back. “Grayson, what are you doing?”

He caught up to me. “I wasn’t just going to let you leave like that. I am so sorry about him. I’m sorry just please come back.” Grayson begged.

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“I can’t! I should get home. There was a break–in yesterday at my house, my mum’s probably going insane as we speak, I need to go!” I said, trying to push him away.

Grayson pressed. “A break–in, are you serious! Who did it?”

“I don’t know! I’m sorry I have to go!” I shouted, trying to run faster so he wouldn’t follow me any further.

“Abigail! What’s wrong?” he screeched from behind me. “When you first saw me, you knew me! How did you know my name?” Grayson continued to yell at me until I moved out of sight.

I should have been moving towards him not running away in the opposite direction. Grayson’s granddad intimidated me and then it all sank in, snapping me back into reality. It wasn’t a dream any more. I was incapable of staying there for even a minute longer. How could I even have gone in that house!

That’s what I do, I run away from the things that scare me, I always have. My ex–boyfriend Jackson understood this

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better than anyone. I was with him for a long time, four years, long enough to make me think I knew what love was, anyway. Things became more serious. Four years Jackson waited for me and I’d decided that he would be the one.

In spite of my decision every time we planned for it to happen something always went wrong, like my mum would come home out of the blue or my brother would bring friends round. The number of signs telling me not to do it was ridiculous, it became a long–standing joke that my mum found hysterical. I decided that he wasn’t right for me; I’m one of those strange women out there that believes in the notion of soul mates. A crazy idea that there is one person out there made for you and only you, it’s ludicrous, trust me I get it!

I mean, everything about the phrase, soulmates is stupid. I’ve always considered what happens if the person you’re meant to be with dies, what happens then? Is there a second person you’re meant to be with? And if there is,

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does that mean the person who died was ever your soul mate to begin with? I get confused even contemplating the different reasons the term soulmates is idiotic – but still, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a plan for each of us.

I questioned whether our souls were entwined with that of another. I understood real life didn’t work out this way for most people. After my parent’s separation and witnessing heartache first–hand, I thought I’d given up on my silly fairy–tale expectation of life. That was until I had the dream about Grayson Hale.

I realised that everything I had ever hoped for was in my reach. I couldn’t comprehend the impossibility of what I’d experienced in this last month but I knew Grayson was the one for me. I was certain of that one thing – He. Was. Made. For. Me.

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Chapter Five

Imagination

I heard my mum’s voice as soon as I walked through the door. I wanted to tell her everything that had happened in the short space of time she’d been away. I hoped that she would never leave me again. I needed her to give me some advice – she usually points me down the right path.

I imagined our conversation, and it sounded ridiculous. I wanted to tell her about the whole thing with Grayson, but every sentence I rehearsed in my mind fell into the class of fiction – she would think I was making it up and who would blame her? My mum would think I was on a one-way train to crazy town, which at this point wasn’t too far from the truth. I was getting myself all hot and bothered about the whole situation and I forgot that all I needed in that moment was a big hug from her telling me everything would be okay.

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She rushed over. “Abigail! I’ve been so worried!”

“I’m all right mum.” I said realising that was a lie.

“No, you’re not. I cannot believe this happened! I’m so sorry for leaving you alone – from now on I’m never leaving this island again!” Mum pulled me into an embrace.

I tried to assure her with my head resting on her shoulder. “Don’t be silly, I’m fine.”

I never lied to my mum – but the second I saw her face, I felt the sheer shame she was harbouring for leaving us here without her. The last thing I wanted to do was add to that. Over the last 24 hours, we all had enough to deal with.

I squeezed my mum close hoping to unburden some of her suffering. I hated seeing her in tears; I even volunteered to cook a family dinner to help relieve everyone’s stress. I don’t know what I was doing – I despised cooking! I wanted to hold it together for everyone.

I was the kid, and they were the

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adults, shouldn’t they be trying to help us feel better? My teenage years should be about enjoying myself, not spent worrying about what bizarre thing might happen next. I loved meeting Grayson, but it also terrified me. I couldn’t help but think about the ordinary pressures of teenage life. Right about now I should decide what university I’m going to attend. Instead, I’m spending my time figuring out why the guy I’ve been dreaming of this past month is here, on my island. The ground beneath me was falling away. I swear I would erupt, spill everything to mum – I had to.

I wondered how she would deal with what I had to say. She treated every worry as a big problem, like any, little issue required professional help. Although, this time – the current situation might just call for outside help.

“I’m just nipping upstairs, I forgot my phone.” I wanted to see if I had any texts from anyone. I ran upstairs and unlocked the door. I decided that after the stranger broke into our house, what better time to take my safety a little more seriously. I

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grabbed my phone from the bed and backed out of the room locking the door for a second time. I headed back downstairs still keen to talk to mum.

Instead of sitting down on the sofa with her, I tried to stop myself from pacing the room. I left my phone on the arm of the couch, trying to build up the courage to talk.

“Mum, I have something to tell you.” I continued. “I’ve been having this dream – it’s about a guy, his name is Grayson. I’ve had it every night for about a month now and I can’t seem to –”

“I know honey.” She interrupted. “I read it in your diary; now please don’t be mad – I saw it today! It fell open and I –”

“You did what! You read my diary? You can’t just do that!” I shouted in a rage – still not understanding why she would invade my privacy.

“Calm down, I was putting the washing away when I got back to the house, I knocked it on the floor and it fell open. After what you’d been through the other night, I wanted to know if you were

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okay about –”

I butted in. “You would know if I was okay, if you had asked me! I can’t believe you did that. I’m going out.”

“Abigail please don’t be mad at me, I’m sorry, you’re right, I shouldn’t have read it!”

“I can’t talk to you right now mum, I need to calm down.” I grabbed a jacket from under the stairs and closed the front door behind me.

It rained as soon as I reached the end of the road. Luckily, for me, I picked the waterproof jacket, although it made no difference I wasn’t going back inside that house – jacket or no jacket. There was only one place I was safe on this island, and that was the Garrison Wall. I made my way up the mountainous stretch of land, using the main road, this time – I didn’t want to take any chances in the woods today.

I made it to the enormous clearing. I continued my journey to the stonewall attempting to re-gain my balance with every stride. I controlled my footing well

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on the slippery ground and grabbed the edge of the wall to find a sitting position. I had rested for what could have only been a few minutes when I heard footsteps walking towards me. I turned my head, trying to make out where the sound was coming from. I wanted to ring my mum and say sorry for my childish outburst; I reached into my coat pocket for my phone. OBVIOUSLY, I’d left it at home! Typical.

The branches on the ground still breaking under their feet. I angled myself towards the noise; the sound was getting much louder now. What was I seeing? Standing in front of me was a wolf only three metres away from where I was sitting. I froze in fear, debating with myself whether I should run or stay put. How had this animal got here? It’s not like we have wolves on the island, what’s it done? Bloody swam here! I focused on the water that was dripping off its white fur, I tried to distract myself from the fear I was feeling.

It looked over four feet tall; it was much bigger than the ones I’d seen on

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television. It must have weighed like 200 pounds. The animal had legs like stilts and gigantic muscles I’m sure were exceptionally strong. I had no chance of out running the wolf if it threatened me. My best chance of staying safe was to stay still and pray that it would leave me alone.

Fortunately, for me, the wolf was showing me no malice – it stood there staring at me with a strange look in its eyes. I wanted to follow my first instinct, which was to reach for the huge rock that was sitting by my side. I held the stone with both hands awaiting the wolf’s response. Suddenly, the animal retreated a few steps and crouched down.

I couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to this freak encounter than I thought. My gut told me that the wolf was male because he was so big. His eyes were most peculiar – he had one blue and one green eye. I’d have been stupid not to realise the similarity of his eyes with Grayson’s and I appeared to let my guard down a little. The wolf stood up and

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stepped towards me, his large feet acting like padded boots keeping him from sinking into the mud.

I can’t explain it but my fear faded away, just like magic. The animal continued to walk towards me, I hadn’t a clue what to do I stood there staring, but I still wasn’t scared, I should be but I wasn’t. He came closer, so near I could have touched him. His eyes were remarkable. The wolf sat on his haunches right next to me and shoved me as he repositioned himself into a resting stance. A wolf trusted me enough to come and lay down at my side. I wanted to try my luck more and reached out to stroke his fur. He glanced up, looking straight into my eyes and I knew he was telling me it was all right to touch him. We sat there for what seemed like hours, waiting for the sunset to draw near. I was experiencing the most serene feeling of peace run through me – like fate or destiny, whatever you want to call it.

A growl crept up from behind me. I spun around panicking, alerting the wolf

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at my side who had drifted off to sleep. My eyes failed to believe it – it was another wolf! I had never seen a wolf before in my entire life and now; there I was, seeing two of them in the same day – what was going on? I’ve lived here my whole life and to my knowledge, no one has ever seen one here.

This animal was different from the other, it showed its teeth and snarled as its brown eyes stared at me from further up the hill. Its dark grey fur moved as the wolf arched its back in anger. My feet had forgotten how to move and I could barely budge them to slide backwards.

The white wolf leapt over the rocks, standing in front of the other one, blocking its path. Was the wolf defending me? He circled the other animal; it was as if they were having a conversation I couldn’t hear.

The beast then dived through the air attacking my wolf; it grabbed hold of his leg biting furiously. I couldn’t take it anymore! I ripped off my jacket and swinged the heavy material at the grey

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wolf, swatting his head to force him off. Suddenly, he stopped and turned his head in my direction as I tried to back away. The ledge of the wall could only be a few steps behind me. The thought of the drop sent shivers up my spine, the fall, at least, was the height of a two-storey house, there’s no way I’d make it. The grey wolf continued to force me closer and closer to the edge. I started to lose my footing, skidding down the gravelly bank. It growled at me and bowed his head. I gulped as it looked like the wolf was turning away. I’d made a lucky escape!

I took one-step forward attempting to reach the harder ground and just like that – in a flash, my foot had collapsed into the soil causing my body to tumble over the side. The jacket I was holding, by chance, had snagged on one of the larger rocks as I’d plunged down. I was hanging on by a thread. My feet were just touching the rocks, giving me some traction. All those years at gymnastics had paid off, I was holding my weight well, but I wouldn’t be able to do it for much longer! I was

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slipping. I couldn’t see anything but the rocks and I refused to look down. Both wolves howled as if they were screaming for help. I held on for a few more minutes gripping the material for dear life.

Then out of nowhere, the material began to stretch upwards – I was being pulled up! I squealed in terror. The jacket crawled little by little up the rocks trailing pebbles as it ascended. I was almost at the top, safe.

As I reached the hilltop, I wrapped my leg over the wall. I couldn’t see from the white hood that lined my waterproof, it covered my face. I stuck to the wall, clinging – not wanting to move an inch. When I caught my breath, I reached out for the person who had saved me.

I shouted. “Hello? Thank you! Who is that? Please be careful, there are wolves around.”

There was no response. Not a sound, not even from the wolves. Now I had calmed down, I reached up to remove the hood from over my head. No one was there! A sense of dread came over me.

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Had I imagined everything? I glanced down and saw the fresh blood that had sprayed onto the rocks from the wolf attack. It happened! I needed to get home and at last tell my mum everything. Something was happening on this island, something extraordinary and I wanted to figure out what it was.

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Chapter Six

*My Apologies *

Mum was waiting for me in the kitchen when I got back. I couldn’t believe I’d been out for over three hours. I looked straight into the bay window at the front of the house. I could see her pacing back and forth on the tiles, the fear she was feeling for me was evident on her face. I regret how I acted towards her; she was only trying to make sure I was okay. I moved to the front porch dragging my feet.

Without warning, the porch light turned on and my front door creaked open. “Abigail!” Mum shouted. I draped my arms around her shoulders and held her close.

“Come in now! You must be freezing – where did you go?”

I lied. “I’m okay; I was at the library, English course work and that.”

She sighed. “I thought you might have gone to those walls of yours, my heart has

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been beating non-stop – Konrad’s gone out looking for you.”

“No, I didn’t, I’m fine. I’m sorry I panicked you both, I didn’t realise what the time was.” I replied with half a truth.

Lying never used to be easy for me. In these past few days, I’ve told more lies than I care to even think about. What had happened? I never used to be dishonest with my mum and now I have difficulty keeping up with all the white lies spurting from my mouth. It was about time I told her what was going on.

I dragged my mum to the living room and signalled her to sit down. She lowered herself, scared of what I was about to say. I bet half of her was thinking I was pregnant, isn’t that what every parent thinks when their child decides they need to have a serious talk? No, I might crazy but no pregnancy here. I spoke for at least thirty minutes. I hoped the calmer I remained the more willing she would be to buy what I was selling. My mum’s face looked vacant. I lost her around the time I spoke the words, “The

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man from my dreams has moved onto our island.“ As soon as that phrase came out, alarm bells went off.

When I started this little speech, I didn’t realise the full extent of my desire to tell my mum the truth and nothing but the truth. It was like I couldn’t stop telling her things. God, damn it! I told her about the wall as in my clumsy inability to stay on it. The best plan I had was to avoid eye contact with her. She looked downright terrified. Perhaps telling my mum about my accident wasn’t the best idea when all things considered.

Afterwards she sat there glaring at me. I’m sure I could have belted out into song and she would still sit in that same spot gawking in my direction. “You fell off a wall?” She questioned.

The story I told her was about wolves and a man coming out of one of my dreams for God’s sake – but no! She went straight in for the kill about falling off the bloody wall!

“Yes, but its fine, someone pulled me up! Which is more of the point?”

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My backchat seemed to only anger her even more. “Oh, I’m sorry. My daughter nearly killing herself takes precedence over anything else you have to tell me! And a wolf attacked you? We have none on the island.”

“Yes! I fell off the wall and Yes! I was stupid for even going up there in this weather, but you’re missing the whole point, like how did the wolves get here? How is Grayson here? Does any of this interest you at all?” I needed her advice and support.

“Abigail, what do you want me to say. I’ve not seen any of it!” In truth, this hurt me; she didn’t trust that what I was saying was real.

“So, what you mean is – you don’t believe any of this happened?”

Mum reached for my hand. “That’s not what I said Abi. What if I go up to the wall with you in the morning and see if we can find the wolves or maybe I should meet Grayson for myself?”

“I would, but I have to go to see Anna tomorrow, she’s helping me with my

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coursework.” I explained.

My mum nodded her head. “Yeah, Konrad brought me back up to speed. Did you enjoy it today?”

My mum was growing impatient with the whole ‘fantasy talk’ but changing the subject this early in our conversation was just plain rude.

“I learnt a lot. I’m going to bed; it’s been a long day.” I muttered.

“Now? It’s still early! Abigail, you’ve only just bombarded me with all of this, can you not give me a little time to wrap my head around it?”

“Sure, take as long as you need, but I’m going to bed, see you in the morning.” I said, walking out of the living room.

I heard my mum sighing from outside the door, but I didn’t have the energy to make her feel better right now. I wanted someone to talk to, someone to tell me what to do next, but I guess it was all on me. I climbed up the stairs, feeling sorry for myself. I noticed that my bedroom door was open.

“Mum, have you been in my

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bedroom?” I shouted, holding onto the railing.

I could hear her moving downstairs. “No, why?”

“Nothing, my bedroom door’s just open. I know I locked it before – has Logan been in there for something?”

“No Abi, no one’s been in your room, I have the only key and I haven’t been in there since.”

“Well I locked it! Now it’s open! See, this is the stuff I’ve tried telling you about.” My mum marched towards me.

“Abigail, come on. Maybe you forgot to lock it – it’s a new thing – you – locking your door. You just forgot.” Mum said, moving past me on the stairs. She was eager to check my room and put my paranoia to rest.

My mum searched the room and to my surprise, it didn’t look like anything was out-of-place. “No! I locked it! What’s the point in us even having this conversation. You used to believe everything I said!” I yelled slamming the door – I tried to lock the door from inside

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my bedroom.

“Don’t you lock that door! If there’s a fire, I won’t be able to get to you, unlock it! Now!” She shrieked.

I unlocked the door. “Fine!” My mum was still standing outside my bedroom.

“Try to get some sleep Abi, you’ve been through a lot these past few days, we can talk about all of this in the morning. And – I do believe you baby; I don’t know what you expect me to do about it.” She whispered. I heard my mum retreat down the stairs.

I looked around my room thinking to myself – could I – please have one normal day when everything made sense. I closed the thin curtains and peeled off my clothes excited to get into my comfortable bed. I noticed that one side of the curtain was caught underneath the radiator. I manoeuvred it around the heater – breaking the material free. A message written on white lined paper flew into the air. In the process of grabbing the note, I burnt my leg. I felt my thigh stinging with pain but I didn’t care – I wanted to read

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what it said.

Abigail Lawson,

For your own sake, please, I urge you to leave the Hales alone!

If you continue to communicate with them, it will force us to take further action.

What the hell? Who would do this? This wasn’t Jackson messing with me; he would never do this. I bet it has something to do with that man who was harassing me!

“Mum!” I howled. “Come here!” I glanced back at the note wondering what the symbol meant.

My mum ran into my room. “What is it?”

I pressed the note into her hands. “Read this, I found it near the window.” I watched her eyes chase the letters as she read it.

“I need to call the police Abi and you

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need to ring the Hales.” She planned.

“The note says NOT to communicate with the Hales.” I pointed out – not considering what that meant for Grayson and me.

“You need to ring them, now Abi! And tell them what’s happening. Someone has been in our house. Ring them.” I bowed my head in agreement and looked for my phone to call them.

“I’ll go ring the police.” Mum said leaving the room. I searched for Anna’s number on my phone and then out of nowhere, the mobile rang – this was not a great time for a number not to have caller ID. I didn’t want to answer it, what if it was the person from the note? My mum walked back towards the room.

“Answer it, Abi or I will.” I pressed the answer button and held the phone to my ear.

I coughed clearing my throat. “Hello?”

“Hello? Abi is that you? It’s Grayson.”

I let go of my breath. “Grayson! Oh God, Grayson, I’m so glad it’s you, I was just about to call Anna.”

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“That’s kind of weird.” He laughed.

I needed him to focus. “Someone has left a note in my bedroom threatening me if I don’t stay away from you. Do you have any idea who sent this?”

He was quick to reply. “What? No! They broke into your room? Does it say anything else on the note?”

“Yeah, I guess. It has this weird symbol on it – it’s like three thin triangles inside a huge circle, oh and it has three small dots above the triangles. Do you know it?” I glanced at my mum looking for some comfort.

There was a slight pause on Grayson’s end. “It’s the three rays of light.”

I sighed. “What does it mean? How do you even know?”

I heard Grayson’s tone change. “I don’t know why someone would use that symbol to threaten you. In Ireland, we use it, as a symbol for creative artistry, I mean, it is nothing bad. People like – poets and musicians, they wear it around their necks as a blessing or muse for their work. It’s

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nothing.”

“Well this note is not nothing. I don’t get it – why would someone put that symbol on here? Are you sure that’s what it means?”

“I’m sure Abigail, wait – my dad wants to speak with you.” The phone fell silent for a few minutes. I stared at mum trying to read what she was thinking.

“He’s gone to get his dad.” I whispered. My mum nodded and then moved to the other side of the room sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Hello?” A gruff voice spoke.

“Hi, my name’s Abi.” I pressed the speaker-phone button, so that mum could listen to the conversation.

“Hi Abigail. It’s Grayson’s dad – Kaleb. I understand you received a note today?” He said quite matter-of-factly.

I wanted an answer. “Yes, I did, has Grayson told you about the symbol?”

“Yes, and he’s right. It’s the symbol for artists in Ireland, that’s all. It’s best to still ring the police, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much sweetheart – I’m sure it was a

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prank. I will hopefully meet you tomorrow Abigail when you come for your session with Anna.” He expressed.

“Erm, yes, I’ll probably be there.”

“Goodbye.” The dial tone interrupted Mr Hale – did he hang up on me?

Mum scoffed, shaking her head. “Well, that was odd! I will go downstairs and ring the police – oh and don’t even think about going over to their house tomorrow. He knows who left that note that’s for sure.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do, he was hiding something.” My mum mumbled, it seemed I wasn’t the only one who was paranoid any more.

Nothing would stop me from returning to that house tomorrow and that included my mum. I wanted answers, and I wanted them now! I hated that I was a pawn in someone else’s plan – not knowing what their intention was. This was all getting a little weird, and I didn’t understand where it was all going to end. Why would someone leave me a note with an Irish symbol on it, a symbol that didn’t even make sense? Perhaps, it was Grayson’s

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granddad; he doesn’t like me. I’m being stupid, there’s no way an old man broke into my room, but that didn’t prevent me from wondering who did?

“Abigail, I’ll call Konrad after I’ve talked to the police and tell him you’re home, but I’m going to ask him if he’ll come and stay with us for a while – you okay with that? With all the stuff that’s been happening around here, we would all feel safer if he was in the house.” Mum asked already knowing my answer.

“That’s a great idea mum.” In that, second I asked for something I haven’t asked for since I was about six years old. “Mum can I please sleep in your bed tonight? I don’t want to be alone in this room.”

“You can honey.” My mum turned away to walk back downstairs. I was shattered, drained – even my appetite had gone and nothing can keep me away from my food. I made my way to mum’s bedroom and lifted the thick, satin duvet cover. I made myself comfortable, I’d forgotten how big this bed was – I don’t

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know how my mum sleeps in it all by herself, she must get lonely.

I edged my back further down the bed resting my head against the deep mattress. My plan was to wait up for her to see what the police had said, but as soon as my head hit the pillow, I couldn’t help but drift off to sleep.

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Chapter Seven

Interrogation

The sun was beaming down, bright on my face. I yawned and stretched every single muscle in my body as the light flickered stirring me awake. I don’t think I’ve slept that well in forever, but still – my mind had abandoned the thought of Grayson Hale. I hadn’t dreamt about him for two nights now and it was probably a good thing. I was mad at him and his family – how could they not tell me the truth when someone was intimidating me.

I glanced at the alarm clock, crap! It was nearly ten! Mum didn’t wake me up; she didn’t want me going to the Hales. I needed to get over there and find out for myself what was going on. Now all I had to do was come up with a good excuse to explain why I was leaving the house at the exact time my lesson with Anna was about to start. My mum wasn’t stupid and I don’t think it would help my cause any to pretend that she was.

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I jumped out of bed running straight into my bedroom grabbing the first thing out of my wardrobe, which was a pair of black jeans and a grey shirt with the number twenty-three splashed across the front. I snatched my converse and a bulky cardigan from the pile of clothes left on the floor. I needed to remember to tidy that mess up. I got dressed and made my way downstairs trying to avoid my mum as much as I could. The only idea I could come up with was to stay away from her and write her a note once I was downstairs.

I made it as far as the hallway when a voice from the kitchen shouted. “Where do you think, you’re going?”

“I’m late! I should go to the library. My lesson still starts at 11, I messaged my tutor last night explaining everything and she’s got me a lesson with another teacher on the island, so I don’t need to go all the way to the mainland.” I explained, impressing myself with how good that lie was.

“Who’s the teacher?” My mum asked

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grilling me.

“I can’t remember what the text said mum, it’s a guy teacher from the high school – so can I go please? Where’s Konrad? I thought you asked him to come over last night?” I tried to change the subject.

Mum walked closer towards me. “I did, he’s helping a friend move today or something – I don’t know, he’s always off doing something.” She smiled at me. “And yeah, okay, you can go. Keep your phone with you, the police will call today.”

“Do they not want me to go in again?” I edged backwards; I feared if she came any closer she’d see straight through my lie.

“No, they will come around to the house in an hour or two to take the note and have a little chat with me, so I’ll just give them your number and they can talk to you while you’re out.”

“Okay, thank you. I’ll be back for four.” I headed out of the front door.

I took about thirty minutes to reach the Hale’s house – that’s a massive record for

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me; last time I took ages. It was as if I was being driven mad by my curiosity, I needed to find out what this family was hiding. I arrived at their front door and knocked forcefully ensuring someone in the house heard me. There was a short pause and then I heard heavy footsteps striding towards the entrance. The door opened revealing Grayson standing in the hallway.

“Abigail? I didn’t think you would come today after last night.” He seemed troubled.

I pierced my lips. “Yes, well, I’m here. Where’s Anna or better yet Kaleb?”

“There’s no one in, everyone’s at work and Anna had an emergency so she’s not here either. If you turned up, she asked me to apologise to you on her behalf. But, it’s just me in the house.”

“Bollocks! Anna had an emergency, did she? What kind? Did some of her books fall off a shelf at the library? I have questions I need answering Grayson! What is your family hiding?” I yelled, pushing myself into the house.

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“Abigail! You can’t just walk into someone else’s home!” Grayson shouted, following me up the stairs.

“You’re hiding something, I know you are. It all started with that stupid dream about you and then someone broke into my house! Then there are wolves on the island, I fall down a ditch and someone pulls me up. I get home last night and my door is wide open when I am 100% positive I locked it! And - I get ready for bed and find a note on my windowsill warning me to cut all ties with you! So, no Grayson, you know something you’re not telling me and I’ve had enough of it!” I ranted, catching my breath.

I grasped hold of the first door handle and pushed it down, Grayson paced behind me. “You saw me in a what?” He asked, deep in his own thoughts.

The door groaned open allowing me to see inside the room. I glimpsed at a painting, a grey wolf surrounded by snowfall. Grayson grabbed my hand and pulled the door, closing it back.

I scoffed. “What’s that on the wall?”

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“Are you always like this? Pushy – bossy – argumentative.” Grayson was flirting with me, driving my back towards the wall with his arms pressed at both sides.

I swallowed. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“What am I doing? You have just broken into my house and accused me and my family of threatening you why would we do that?” He was trying to confuse me.

“I don’t know, maybe you’re a bunch of freaks.” I held eye contact with him not wanting to back down.

Grayson looked hurt by my comment.

“At least get to know me before you make any judgements, I mean I’ve only met you once and even that was a short introduction.”

“Well it feels like I’ve known you a lot longer.” I was letting my guard down.

Grayson was trying to charm me with his smile. “Will you let me take you for breakfast? You’ve come all this way.” I hesitated and looked into his eyes, hoping

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to sense his true intentions. “Okay, how about this – If you let me take you to breakfast, I will answer all your questions, wait – no – you can talk so I will narrow it down to like – three questions and I’ll tell the absolute truth?”

I cleared my throat. “Okay, deal.”

Grayson led me out of the house and locked the door, his key was huge – it was like a key to a ship – who were these people?

“So where are you taking me for breakfast, then?” I continued to walk off the driveway.

He looked puzzled. “Where are, you going?”

“Erm to breakfast.” I didn’t understand what he was getting at.

There it was again that damn smile. “Well, you can, walk but I think I will drive.”

Grayson pressed a small button on his keys and the garage door lifted. I couldn’t believe it! Grayson’s car was a black Dodge Viper. A crazy expensive American produced car that offers 640 horsepower – it would settle most races on the road. It

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was the king of American auto-mobile extravagance. Growing up around a mechanic my whole life, you learn a lot about cars and dream of the cars you want to drive. This was one of mine. My uncle Konrad would die if he saw this in real life; I had to get Grayson to show it to him at some point.

He could see the disbelief on my face. “So, you like it then?”

“Are you kidding? It’s the most amazing car I’ve ever seen, this is yours? What does your family do for a living Grayson?” I was still in shock, not being able to look away from the car.

“Are you using that as one of your questions?” He challenged.

I was dithering at his response, but replied. “No, I’m not, so are we going for breakfast or what?” I stumbled into the car. Grayson smirked at my playfulness and joined me.

We drove around for about fifteen minutes, he appeared to be concentrating on the road and by concentrating, I mean the boy was deadly silent. I couldn’t help

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feel awkward. I noticed a silver ring on Grayson’s right hand as he gripped the steering wheel. I tried to move closer to it, without him noticing to read the tiny writing engraved on top of the ring. I was surprised to see a small cross and the Lord’s Prayer carved into the silver. I smiled to myself having found out he was religious – I don’t know why that turned me on – but I’m ashamed to say, it did.

We came to a fork in the road leading Grayson to veer off to the left. I’d never even been down here before, where was he taking me?

Suddenly, we arrived just above the beautiful Porthmellon beach. I’d been here before. Grayson was taking me to the Speros cafe. I always come here with my mum and Logan, talk about going the long way round. Grayson had travelled double the length of what it should have taken to get here. Although, I didn’t feel like putting him down. It was a nice gesture, even if he went the wrong way.

I liked it here. Speros overlooks the harbour, its lively atmosphere flows on the

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cafe floor. Their home cooked food here is amazing. Mum always orders one of their gourmet burgers for lunch. She gets them delivered to the bed-and-breakfast when she’s too lazy to cook. There’s always something going on around this part of town and I love eating here in the summer with Logan. We eat ice-cream out on the decking, taking in the views of the surfers out on the water. I’ve always wanted to learn to surf like Logan, but since I was a little kid, I’ve had this persistent fear of the ocean. Despite my phobia, this is one of my favourite spots on the island. If I didn’t love the Garrison Walls as much as I do, I’d come here to photograph the sunset. Grayson led me out onto the deck and we found a table. We sat for the first few minutes, both not knowing what to say.

It was important that I broke the ice this time. “So, I guess my first question is – do you know who sent me the note?”

“No, I have an idea who it was – but I’m not sure.” He confessed.

I sighed. “Who do you think it is?”

“You don’t need to worry about that

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anymore; my family has handled the situation.” He added.

“What! That’s not answering my question you’re dodging it! And how can your family have sorted it? I only told you about it last night.”

“Was that your third question? I’ve told you – all you need to know is my family are handling it. Now you have one left, do you want to waste it?” He asked influencing my next question.

I was uncertain of my next move, I decided just to be honest and ask a question that’s been circling in my mind ever since he moved here.

“Before I met you at your house, had you ever seen me somewhere else?” I feared his response.

“Yes.” He answered.

I wanted to push the issue further. “Well, where have you seen me?”

“Your questions have finished, now it’s my turn.” He intended to get a rise out of me.

“No! You need to answer me, I’m out on my own here, strange things have

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happened, and I can’t talk to anyone about it.”

“I saw you in a dream, okay. I was out in the woods and it was snowing – you appeared out of nowhere and said your name – there! Are you happy? I also – you know what, never mind, I’ve answered your question.”

“You didn’t look surprised to see me at your door, I was barely keeping it together, you didn’t even flinch and you were going to say something else – what was it?”

He moved his chair, scraping it against the decking. “Abigail, can we drop this now, I’ve told you all I can at the minute. There are explanations to what you’re asking me about – but I can’t tell you anything yet. Now can you please let me ask you a question now?” He pushed.

“Yes.” I snapped.

Grayson continued to pull his chair closer to mine; my body reacting to the touch of his hand. “Will you please do me the honour of going on a date with me?”

There were, so many questions left

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unanswered, but, I trusted him. The only answer I could muster from my mouth was, “Yes.”

Grayson grinned thrilled with my answer. “Good, I’m glad. We should get breakfast, I bet you’re starving.”

My stomach had been rumbling all morning. The young waitress came over to us; Tammy Fletcher – we were both in the same year at high school. Tammy was the IT girl at school, you know the type – the one that the guys wanted to sleep with and the girls wanted to be. I didn’t get it, yes, she looked amazing, but that was all she had. Tammy looked straight at me, flicking her black, raven hair to the side of her face as she stepped towards us. Her coffee coloured eyes looked beautiful in the daylight and don’t even get me started on her olive-skinned, slender frame being forced in my face. Tammy’s body was the product of spending too many nights in the gym – I didn’t like the gym. I’d rather spend time at home watching Netflix with my mum and brother, that’s why she looks incredible and I look about ten pounds

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away from my goal weight. I was worried that Grayson would take one look at her and not understand why he was wasting his time, sitting with me.

“Hi Abigail, I’ve not seen you down here for a while, you make your mum collect your burgers for lunch huh?”

Tammy giggled expecting Grayson to join in. “Who’s your new friend?” She said, trying to get his attention.

Before I could respond, Grayson intervened and looked up from his menu. “Why don’t you try doing your job and take our order? Or is that too demanding for you?”

Tammy was astounded at his attitude and protectiveness over me as was I. She shrugged and headed off into the bar. “You didn’t need to do that.”

“Yes, I did.” He gazed straight into my eyes. “Although, we shouldn’t eat here now unless we want her to spit in our food.” I giggled.

“There’s a burger truck down at the beach – we can eat there, it’s almost dinner time, anyway.”

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Grayson lifted out my chair and led me down the small steps to the beach. I decided I was better off barefoot and not getting my trainers full of sand. I felt the cool sand squish between my toes. The water’s edge was clearer now and I could almost see the fish dancing in the shallow water. A few fishing boats were already out on the sea reeling in their catch.

He bought my lunch for me even though I insisted to pay for myself, he wouldn’t have any of it – I could tell he was old school and knew how to treat a girl well. He spotted a green blanket from outside the window on the food truck and paid the guy forty pounds to borrow it so we could sit on the beach. I had to laugh at his boldness, I wished I was more like him – I also wished I had his money, I thought chuckling to myself.

Grayson thought it was a great day for a picnic on the beach. We sat on the sand for hours talking about frivolous stuff although everything was about me. The sun got a little stronger, but fortunately, I could feel the breeze from the waves

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helping me cool down. I tried asking him so many questions about his life before the move – but I got nothing, he would always flip the question back over – it became irritating. Although I managed to get some information about his family, Grayson explained how he’d moved here with his mum, dad, granddad and four siblings.

He had three brothers – Isaac, who was the oldest, somehow, he had already acquired a job at the police station on the island and was starting in two weeks – it seemed Kaleb had the connections to get anything he wanted. Aidan – who was married to Anna, she couldn’t stop talking about her husband in our session together. Colton was Grayson’s younger brother; he seemed to be his favourite family member judging from the way Gray’s eyes brightened up when he was speaking about him. Lastly, there was Ella, his baby sister. She was the same age as Logan and, a bit of a loose cannon. I got little out of Grayson about his parents, they were off-limits and this

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made him change the subject again. He appeared to be interested in what I had to say, Grayson listened to my likes and dislikes – as if he was taking notes in his head.

Gray reached for my hand to pull me up and headed off further down the beach to pick shells and I followed him. I was getting the feeling I would follow him anywhere. I looked back at his car and saw he’d parked it in a shady spot under some trees. Grayson had singled out about four different shells he carried in his pocket. I had found nothing pleasant. I saw a few tiny crabs scuttling around a dead bird. So far, shell picking was not my thing. Mum made me and Logan do it all the time when we were little kids and I thought it was boring then and I hadn’t changed my mind. The only thing making it tolerable now was watching Grayson seeming so happy. I hadn’t seen him like this yet, like a child at Christmas, he was enjoying himself and I liked him this way.

I found something that took my interest. I saw a huge piece of driftwood

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being carried into the bay by the waves. I wasn’t sure – it was so far away, but I could have sworn I saw red stains smeared on its’ side. I ran towards it – Grayson hadn’t seen it until I dashed right out in front of him; he then ran behind me.

As soon as I made it to the log, I shouted in panic to Grayson. “Is that blood?” He looked confused, but not horrified.

“It’s probably from a shark or a dolphin or something, come on, it’s time to go, anyway.” He said holding me back. I took one more step towards the driftwood and Grayson’s hand came from around my waist stopping me. “Let’s go.” He insisted.

I didn’t understand why Grayson was acting like this. “That’s too much blood! Shouldn’t we tell someone about it?”

“No, just keep away from it, we need to go.” Grayson led me back to the cafe.

He was acting strange again; the same way he acted when I asked him about the note. I now knew he wasn’t doing anything to hurt me, but he certainly

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wasn’t telling me everything either.

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Chapter Eight

[*Over-Thinking *]

I can’t believe I’ve spent all day on the beach with Grayson Hale. I’d agreed to a date with the man I’ve been dreaming about now for a month, this was insane! We settled on tomorrow, which worked out well for me because I wanted to visit the Garrison Wall tonight. Grayson decided that he wanted our date to be a surprise and in all honesty, I preferred it that way – I love surprises! I was excited to see what he would come up with.

He was in a rush to get me home, Grayson said he had to pick up his sister from high school. Whether that was true, I don’t know. It sounded like an excuse so I didn’t bother to ask him any more questions. I could have just been over thinking the whole thing on the beach. Perhaps he didn’t want me near the driftwood, like a safety thing – I already know how protective he can be.

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Grayson ended up dropping me off down the road, away from my house. I couldn’t let him pull up on the driveway, my mum would freak out. That reminds me, I still needed to tell my mum what Gray said about his family handling the situation. A part of me wanted to make something up just so my mum and Grayson could have a clean slate, even if I had doubts about him myself.

My uncle was working on my mum’s car as I walked on the driveway. “Hey, you okay?” I asked, making him jump.

Konrad turned around.

“I’m fine, are you? Kathryn said you got a note.”

“Yeah, I did, I’m supposed to talk to the police later, did they come round and talk to mum?” My uncle removed his gloves and closed the bonnet of mum’s car.

“No. No one’s been here – Kathryn!” Mum rushed out of the house, giving Konrad an evil stare for shouting near the bed-and-breakfast.

“What is it Konrad? Hi sweetheart

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how was your lesson?”

I coughed. “It was fine, the teacher was all right.”

“Have the police been round this morning?” Konrad asked, directing his question at mum.

She hesitated for a second. “I wanted to talk to Abi about that, the police rang. They found out who had left the note – it was Jackson. They asked if we wanted to press charges, but I thought I’d better leave that decision to you.”

“Jackson?” I asked, shocked. “Why would he do that? No, it’s a mistake.”

Konrad scoffed. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this? You didn’t see what she was like when that nutter broke into the house; I need to be told about these things.”

“I’m sorry, you were working on the car, and I was just going to tell you both together – later. I’m sorry.” She grabbed my uncle’s hand to apologise. “Abigail, the police said Grayson’s dad, Kaleb found out it was Jackson. Jack had seen you heading through the woods to the Hale

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house and saw you with Grayson outside. He’s confessed to doing it. Although, he refused to say why he used the symbol.” Mum said, believing Kaleb. “How nice was it of Kaleb to find out all of that for you? He sensed how scared you were on the phone, I had completely misjudged him.”

“What will happen to Jackson now?” This was all crap, but I played along with the Hale’s ridiculous scheme to find out answers.

“Well, that depends on you; do you want to press charges?” Mum questioned.

My uncle looked concerned. “Are you sure it was Jackson? The note said stay away from the Hales – it was one of them. What if someone in their family doesn’t like that this Grayson boy likes Abigail?”

“I’m not pressing charges – but fine, I guess it was him. For Jackson to do this, he’s hurting enough as it is, so let’s leave it and move on.” I felt sick at my own words, I knew Jack hadn’t done this but I needed to find out why Kaleb would lie about it. Whoever sent me that message must have something on the Hales; why

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else would they try to cover this up? My plan was to continue spending time with Grayson and then he would explain it all. In the meantime, I wanted to confirm my suspicions that Kaleb had Jackson lie to the police and how they made him do it.

“I think you’re rushing to conclusions Abigail, what evidence is there to say Jackson did it?” My uncle sustained.

“Let’s leave it alone. I want to forget all of this, okay.” I headed back into the house. I hurried into the small bathroom downstairs, locking the door behind me. I snatched my mobile phone from my jeans pocket and pressed Jackson’s number into the keypad, waiting for him to answer. The phone went straight to voicemail. He can’t answer, he’s at the bloody police station, I realised. I looked up their phone number and called them.

“Hello? St Mary’s Police station.” An officer spoke.

Relieved that a female had answered the phone I replied with enthusiasm. “Hi, I wonder if you could help me, my name is Abigail Lawson, I’m –”

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“Oh, hello Abigail, you’re quite the talk of the police station at the minute, how are you?”

“I’m fine; I’m not pressing charges against Jackson Ashcroft, so you can let him go.”

She sighed. “Can I ask why Abigail?”

“He’s a friend, he’s going through some stuff, and so can you please just let him go.”

“We can, but I’ll need you to come down to the station and sign some documents for us.” I could hear the officer was confused by my decision.

I inhaled loudly. “Okay, I’ll be down there within the hour.” I wanted to avoid going down to the station, I hadn’t seen Jackson since we split up and I didn’t intend to see him either.

I heard a car pulling up near the driveway. Peeking out of the bathroom window, I could see that it was Grayson. I rushed to the doorway curious to know why he was at my house. As I got to the door uncle Konrad was just coming back inside. At least, my mum’s feelings of

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killing Grayson have passed since she’s fallen hook line and sinker for Kaleb’s nonsense.

I found it hard to breathe seeing Logan get out of his car. Grayson had just given my brother a lift home from school. I didn’t know whether to thank him or kill him.

I was baffled. “Grayson, what are you doing?”

“My sister Ella knows your brother; they have been inseparable this afternoon in class. So, when my sister said his full name I knew it was your brother, she asked if we could give Logan a lift home – I hope that’s not a problem, although now, I’m seeing that it is.” He smiled.

“No, it’s not a problem – this time Grayson. Thank you for bringing him home.” Mum intervened. I assumed her Stepford wife’s routine was for my benefit, ensuring she didn’t scare him off. “Grayson, would you and your sister like to stay for tea?” Mum smirked in my direction.

“Yes! I mean, yes, please.” Ella

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yelled who had a big crush on my brother.

Grayson looked at me. “Thank you for the generous offer Mrs Lawson, but we should get home, another night I promise.”

“Bye Logan, can I hang with you tomorrow?” Ella spoke.

Grayson grinned at me, amused at our sibling’s fondness for one another. “Mum, can I?” Logan asked.

“Well it’s Saturday tomorrow Logan, you’ve got football till two but after that it’s fine – that is if Grayson’s mum and dad don’t have a problem with it.” Mum considered everyone’s feelings.

“I’m sure it will be fine, I’ll drop her off about three, if that’s okay?” Grayson shared.

“Sure, that’s great.” Mum smiled, probably because she could see that I was finally getting over Jackson. As much as I wanted to stick around for this little play we were performing on our driveway, I needed to get to the police station and get them to release Jack.

“Konrad, can you please give me a

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lift to the police station?” I shouted from outside.

“That depends – are you going to tell the police Jackson didn’t do it?” He asked, yelling back at me from the kitchen window.

“I’m not pressing charges, I’ve told you, so it doesn’t even matter. I have to get down there to sign a few things and then they’ll let him out.”

Mum sighed. “Konrad please give her a lift.”

“Nope, not if she’s making out like he’s done it with no solid proof.” Konrad explained, being more annoying than usual.

“Konrad – the boys admitted to doing it.” Mum shrieked.

He scoffed. “That means nothing; he was obviously paid off by those rich –”

Before Konrad finished his inappropriate rant, mum interrupted him. “Oh, be like that then Konrad, you’re being stupid! Baby, I can’t give you a lift, the engines shot, that’s why he’s working on it, SLOWLY I might add.” Mum said

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trying to get a rise out of her brother.

“I can give you a lift?” Grayson offered.

I paused. “Don’t you need to get home?”

He smirked. “I think I can manage taking you to the police station.”

“Thank you, yes I’d love that. Thank you.” I said, repeating myself like an absolute idiot.

Grayson dropped me off at the Police station, no questions asked. It would have been easy for him to question me about my relationship with Jackson, but he didn’t. Which made the over thinker in me believe one of two things.

⦁He didn’t care who Jackson was because he didn’t like me like that.

OR

⦁He was already aware of Jackson, and he wasn’t worried about it.

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Chapter Nine

I Don’t Kiss & Tell

I made my way through to the reception desk of the station. A middle-aged woman with red hair seemed in charge so I directed my attention to her.

“Hi, I’m Abigail Lawson, I have to sign something for Jackson Ashcroft’s release.” I said, fixated on what Jack must have gone through today.

“Ah yes, the young woman that doesn’t want to press any charges.” She said belittling me. “You need to sign these and we will bring him through, are you sure you want to be here when we let him out?”

“I’m fine.” I snapped, signing the papers. I handed the documents to her over the desk. “Here.”

“Okay, one minute.” The officer said leaving her post. I waited for about twenty minutes and then the red-haired woman appeared again.

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“Come through Jackson please.” She spoke, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Jack appeared from one of the back rooms. I hadn’t seen him for so long and he looked different, good different.

“You understand that you are cautioned – but you’re free to go, let nothing like this happen again Jackson.” The officer advised him.

He glanced at me. “I won’t!” Jackson stormed out of the police station and I had no choice but to follow him. “Jack, please talk to me.” I begged on the side of the street.

“There’s nothing to talk about.” He continued up the road.

“Why did you do it?” I asked hoping for an honest response.

He sneered. “I’m jealous.” Jack laughed at his own words.

“I didn’t mean that, why did you confess to something you obviously didn’t do? Did Kaleb make you do it?” I caught him up.

This must have struck a nerve with

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Jackson because he turned around to face me. “Hey, Kaleb is all right. He asked me to do him a favour, and I did.”

“Why would you do him a favour? – You don’t even know him Jack! Did he give you money?” I probed.

“I’m not supposed to be talking to you, but I was compensated for my efforts, you don’t need to worry about me – I’m not your problem any more, remember.”

“Jackson, wait – I have to ask, why did you keep ringing my house? Did you think we would get back together?”

“What are you talking about; I never called your house. This is the first time we’ve spoken since our break up, and now if you don’t mind, I should be going.” Jackson snapped. “Oh, and as for the getting back together – I couldn’t think of anything worse. I have a new girlfriend now. I guess you didn’t hear. I think she just might be the love of my life.” He said before stepping forward into the road. That boy always knew what to say to hurt me.

“Jack, hold on –” I was ignored as he

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switched to the other pavement. I continued to watch him walk up the road and disappear into a walkway. He called me why was he pretending he hadn’t? On the bright side, I now had my proof that Kaleb made Jackson take the fall for the note – the only question left was why?

I pulled the phone from my coat pocket and it was nearly four. I needed to get home and have tea if I would catch the sunset for six.

Arriving back home, mum’s car wasn’t there; I guessed Konrad must have got the engine going. I entered the house searching around for her.

“Mum! Where are you?” Two seconds later, I heard someone fiddling around through the garage door. “Hello?” I whispered, this couldn’t be happening again, could it?

My mum burst through the door of kitchen. “Bloody hell, you scared me. Why were you in the garage?” I shouted.

“Oh, I’m looking for some papers for the car, your uncle had to take it in to the shop, it’s ruined, there’s loads of rust in

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the gas tank – it’s like someone’s poured a lot of bleach into it.” She said running around trying to find her coat.

“Well did someone pour bleach in the tank?”

“I’m sure it’s nothing Abi, I said it’s like someone’s poured bleach in the tank, anyway I’ve got to go to Konrad’s house. Logan’s with him so there’s just you in tonight, you okay getting something to eat?”

“Yes, I’m okay,” I assured her, not wanting to tell her I was planning my trip to the Garrison Walls again – I lied and said I’d order a pizza and watch a film on my own. “What time will you be back?”

“Probably about nine, okay! See you later.” She said shuffling out of the door.

That worked out well for me – I needed to get ready! I gathered my thicker jacket from upstairs in mum’s wardrobe, tied my hair up in a scruffy knot and grabbed my camera off the computer desk. I felt suspicious of everything and everyone. Before leaving the house, I made certain all the windows and doors

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were locked.

I walked away from my driveway, looking back continuously, my mind struggling with paranoia. I hiked up the pike steering off the main route. The long-standing path to the Garrison Walls led into the forest – I didn’t feel like treading through the woods tonight. I made sure I kept in the open where passers-by could still see me.

I’m afraid to admit how much the last few days had affected me; I still thought I was being followed. I made it to the glade; I knew I was only a few footsteps now away from the Garrison.

I tottered up the stone steps, taking in the view from the edge of the wall – it was breath-taking. I loved this time of night; I set up my camera on the tripod, balancing it on top of the smooth part of the wall. For once, I was early, and had about fifteen minutes to wait for the sunset. I thought twice about throwing my leg over the side of the wall, frightened that I’d fall again. I resisted the urge to sit on the edge this time and instead made myself

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comfortable leaning against one of the boulders.

I noticed the bushes behind me were juddering. What was it this time? I just want one night to be how I pictured it in my head.

“Abigail?” A voice hushed from outside the trees. The muscular silhouette of a man came into view – it was Grayson.

“What are you doing here?” My cheeks were blushing.

He stepped towards me. “I fancied a walk.”

“And you coincidently walked to my spot? I thought you had to get home and see your family?” I questioned, suggesting he’d been dishonest before.

“Your spot?” He grinned, making his way to the wall. “You’re right, I didn’t have to go home, and I just sensed you didn’t want me to have dinner with your family.” He said, forcing me to apologise.

“It wasn’t what you think. It’s just I wanted to come here tonight, the last couple of times I was here, haven’t gone the way I planned.” I hoped that Grayson

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would understand.

“So why do you like coming here so much?” Grayson smiled as he approached me.

I coughed. “Something tells me you already know the reason, but you asked so I’ll tell you. I guess it’s my favourite place on the whole island.”

Grayson moved even closer. “Why’s that?”

I struggled to catch my breath as he touched my arm with his. “Erm, when I was fifteen my parents would argue a hell of a lot – the house just got unbearable so I’d just walk around hoping they would calm down by the time I got back. On one of my walks, I found this place. I thought it was magical, corny I know.” I smirked. “Afterwards, I would come up here whenever I needed to gain a little perspective on things.” My truthfulness shocked me; I let no one in.

“I can see why you would choose this place.” He looked towards the sunset.

I couldn’t help but smile at him. “So – how did you find me Gray?”

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He smirked. “Gray? You call me Gray.”

“I didn’t mean – it’s just what I – erm.” I sighed, not knowing what to say.

“I like that you call me Gray, nobody else does.” He nudged me with his elbow. “Erm. So, yeah – I was – going for a walk.”

“Oh, sorry.” I laughed, embarrassed that I accused him of being a stalker.

“I did – however, see you at the bottom of the hill and then got curious, so I followed you, so I’m sorry.” He grinned.

“Okay, stalker, can you hand me that bag from behind you please?” I teased him.

“Yeah sure.” Grayson tried to snoop in the bag as he passed it over. “So – what are we doing here then?”

“Well, you will be annoying me, while I will be taking photographs of the sunset.” I laughed.

“That’s cool; I didn’t know you were into photography.” He said, trying not to bite at my playful remarks.

“Yeah, my dad bought the camera for me as a – ‘sorry mum and I got divorced’ – kind of present. After that, it’s not left my

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hands. What about you? Do you have anything like this? A hobby or something?” I urged him to tell me anything real about himself.

“Erm, I like painting, I had a studio back at our old house, so yeah, I guess that would be my method of escape.”

Grayson intrigued me more and more. I never expected him to tell me anything straightforward because he’s always avoiding my questions; it was nice to hear something truthful about him. “And – then there’s you, you’re my hobby for now. I have to admit painting doesn’t really compare.”

He shocked me, causing me to move back from behind my lens. I was fixated on Grayson’s face; I’d forgotten all about my camera. I couldn’t explain the pure magnetism we had together; I could see that we both felt it.

Grayson little by little, approached me; he looked like he would kiss me. I panicked it was as if I’d forgotten how to kiss and I’m a good kisser! I hoped.

The green light flickered, distracting

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us from what we wanted. Grayson shifted his head towards me and smiled, relaxing my nerves.

He moved in, his eyes were closing, as his lips reached mine – we shared the most wonderful kiss I have ever experienced in my life. It was electric. Everyone in the entire world should be able to experience that feeling at least once in their lifetime. I knew without a doubt I had found the man I belonged with and he was already mine.

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Chapter Ten

[*There’s No Rest for the Wicked *]

The kiss was incredible! Not to mention it happened in my favourite place in the world. Grayson persuaded me to sit with him on top of the wall; I must have sat there for over an hour. As the night drew closer, and the sun set, he insisted on taking me home. Gray walked me to my front door and gave me another kiss to end the most perfect evening. I hesitated, opening the door. I just wanted to stay with him and I knew he felt it too.

“I had an incredible night, thank you for walking me home.”

“It’s no problem; I wanted to get you home safe. So, I’ll see you tomorrow for our date?” He smiled.

I laughed. “Yes, you will, when should I be expecting you again?”

“Can you be ready for three in the afternoon, that’s when I’m supposed to be

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dropping Ella off at yours?”

“I can be ready for three.” I kissed his lips and then rushed inside. Breathing became more difficult, I was so excited for tomorrow. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would wear for our date, about seventy different outfits flashed through my mind.

“Abigail is that you?” Mum called, walking around the corner into the hallway.

“Yes! Hiya – what are you doing back? I thought you were only coming back later?” I tried to buy myself some time, knowing now I had to come up with an excuse explaining where I’d been.

“The cars wrecked, totalled. So, I came home and drown myself in wine.”

“What! Konrad can’t fix it? He can fix anything. I’m sorry mum, does he know whether the damage was intentional or not?” I chose my words carefully.

“What do you mean Abi? No-one did anything to the car, not everything is out to get you, Jesus!” She stormed off into the living room.

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I thought it was best to leave her alone with her wine for the rest of the night. I marched through into the kitchen to grab some water from the fridge. I guess mum had thought I’d gone upstairs because minutes later my name was mentioned in her phone conversation. I listened in to her discussion, she was rambling about something, but I couldn’t quite make anything out. I tiptoed and walked towards the stairs where her voice was much clearer.

“No Konrad I didn’t tell her.” She whispered. “Because I don’t want to worry her, she’s already on pins about everything. What good would it do if I enabled her anymore? She doesn’t need to know about the car. Are you coming back here after you’ve been to the police station? Good, I’m glad.” She ended the call.

So now, we were both lying to keep each other safe. Usually, I would have barged straight through into the living room and demand she tells me what happened to the car – but not this time. I

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was sick of worrying about everything! I had just had the most amazing night of my entire life and nothing would ruin this for me.

I moved up the stairs into my bedroom, thanking God for the door still being locked. I unlocked it, but I was still worried about someone being in my room. I couldn’t see anything out of place, so I got undressed and headed for a shower. The water felt so good hammering down all over my body as if I was washing away all the anxiety that had built up over the last few days. I thought I heard something in the hallway. I turned the shower off and stepped out of the bath, pulling the shower curtain away.

I grabbed a grey towel from the shelf on my right and turned to the mirror. In disbelief, I jerked backwards and slid on the floor hitting the edge of the sink as I fell. I heard something crack followed by an excruciating pain. I screamed in agony, which alerted my mum downstairs. She barged through the door, breaking the towel rail as she stepped down to hold

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me.

“Oh Abigail! What happened? Can you move?” She cried, trying to lift me. I yelled out in pain.

“I can’t move! I think I’ve hurt my back or ribs, I’m not sure, it’s all hurting at the minute, but I can’t breathe very well.” Mum decided that we needed an ambulance.

She hurried onto the landing and grabbed the phone off the cabinet. I could see her fingers shaking as she was trying to control her nerves. I was losing consciousness and I floated away – breaking free from the pain.

Eventually, things came back into focus. I was still bleary and confused, but I was more responsive. I soon realised that I was in a hospital bed with a plastic tube inserted into my arm. I looked up and saw a drip above my head. As I reached the glass of water on the table the bruising on my back became more apparent. I’d hurt my ribs as the slightest movement made it impossible for me to catch my breath.There was a commotion

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from outside the room; someone had closed the blinds so I couldn’t see what was happening. Why was I in a room all on my own? I wasn’t in a ward. It was a nice space, how could my mum afford this? She must have asked dad that’s the only explanation.

“She’s awake!” Someone said from the corridor, triggering seven people to rush through the door.

I was still woozy and had to work hard to focus my eyes. In shock, I was drawn to Grayson standing right in front of me, my mum fixed next to him. Logan looked worried at the side of me, my brother reaching out for my hand. I recognised Anna; she positioned herself behind Grayson. She seemed upset by my accident. There were two other people at the back of the room, but I hadn’t seen them before. There was a young man, perhaps a little older than me with long brown hair and kind blue eyes. I liked that he looked concerned about me. The other was an attractive older man, about mum’s age; his bright green eyes were staring at

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me. His dark brown beard made me giggle nervously, I felt comforted by his presence.

I had just about wrapped my head around who was in my room when a nurse came in asking me lots of questions in a high-pitched voice. “Hello Abigail, oh my – you have a lot of visitors, don’t you? Now don’t worry, we will take good care of you here. Now – do you remember what happened?”

I looked at my mum. “Erm I fell in the bathroom.”

“Yes, you did – you’ve broken your rib in two places, this is what’s making it hard to breathe at the minute, but that will get better in a few days.” The nurse continued.

“How long do I need to stay here for?” I hated hospitals with a passion.

Mum interrupted sensing my anger. “Don’t worry about that Abigail for now; we need you to rest.”

“I don’t want to stay here; can’t I stay at home?”

Mum sighed. “Well, Mr Hale has made

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it possible for you to stay in hospital and get the best care available better than you recovering at home.”

“What! If I’ve broken my ribs, I should be able to go home, remember my friend Jenny, she broke her ribs in gymnastics when she was nine and she could recover at home.” I said making my case.

“It’s true, someone with your injuries can recover at home, but Mr Hale and your mum have agreed that it would be better for you to stay here and rest.” The nurse insisted.

“Well, Mr Hale is not my dad and I’m 19 years old, I should be able to decide for myself.” I grunted, moving in pain.

“Abigail please.” Grayson spoke, preventing me from biting his head off too.

“Excuse me guys, can I have a moment with my daughter please, alone.” Mum nudged them all out of the room. I wouldn’t even look her in the eyes, my head drifted to the left side of the room staring out of the window. “Abigail, you’re mad at me for making you stay here, but you know why? I think you need some

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rest and while you’re here – you are safe. Did you not think I saw the mirror? A message written by someone while you were in the shower. Stay away from him! That’s what they put right? Enough to scare someone into slipping on the bathroom floor – don’t you think? Now I know how you feel about Grayson, I see the way you are – when you’re talking about him. So I’m not even going to steer you away from him but, you can stay here in the hospital for me while you recover. In the meantime, all of us can try to figure out who’s doing this to you.”

I scoffed. “Fine, but how long are we talking here?”

“The doctors say about four weeks, then your ribs will still be tender for a while but they will have healed and then you can come home.” Mum comforted me.

“Okay. I’ll stay.” Hating the words, I said aloud. I was silent for a few minutes taking it all in when it dawned on me that my uncle was missing. “Hey! Where’s Konrad?”

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“Oh, he’s gone getting your clothes and some other things you’ll need, you will want a lot of stuff if you’re staying here for a while.”

“I can’t believe I have to stay here.”

“Do you want to see Grayson?” Mum asked, knowing I couldn’t resist grinning when she said his name.

“Shouldn’t Logan come in first?” I tried to do the right thing, but knowing in my heart the only face I wanted to see in that moment was Grayson’s.

“Don’t worry; I’ll pull some strings outside.” Mum laughed.

I smiled as I watched her leave the room, waiting for Gray to return. My mum was working her magic with my brother outside because it took a few minutes before Grayson opened the door.

My heart warmed when his face appeared. “Well hello.” He said, trying to make me laugh. “I won’t ask if you’re okay because I know you’re not.” He kissed me on the cheek.

“I won’t get my date now.” I mumbled beneath my breath.

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“Seriously, after what you’ve been through tonight, the only thing you’re bothered about is our date?” Making me question my priorities, he didn’t change my mind.

I cleared my throat. “Is that bad?”

“No, not for me – I guess, I’m flattered. So how did your fall happen?” Grayson changed the subject.

“I slipped and fell; didn’t my mum tell you that?”

“And is that all?” Grayson looked at me in a way he knew what had happened and he just wanted me to admit it to him.

I kept quiet for a few seconds debating whether I should tell him the truth or not. “Someone wrote something on my mirror – stay away from him, it shocked me and I slipped.”

He pulled away from me. “What! I’m so sorry Abi.”

“You don’t need to apologise Gray, I just need to know what’s going on.”

“I’ll deal with it.” He said, rising from the bed.

Grayson was irritating me. “I don’t

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want you to deal with it; I want you to tell me who’s doing this?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t.” He headed towards the door, pushing down the handle. “I’ll come in later when everyone’s gone, if the nurses let me.”

“Don’t bother.” I was sick of his games. I turned my head back to the window, ignoring his words.

“Abigail, please don’t.” He spoke. I maintained my silence and waited for him to leave the room. “I’m sorry.” Grayson sighed, opening the door and disappearing into the corridor.

I whimpered into my pillow, I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t just tell me the truth? After a few minutes, my mum re-entered the room, knowing something was wrong. “Kaleb’s made it so I can stay with you tonight. He’s arranged for someone to watch over you from outside the room while you’re in hospital too.”

I turned to face her. “What! Are you for real? I’m being guarded now?”

“Abigail, he insists and to be honest it’s not a bad idea. Someone is trying to mess

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with you. Now – I will take as much help from these people as I can get to protect you.” Mum was upset by the situation, no use arguing with her in a mood like this.

“Fine, are you telling the police about the mirror?”

“There’s no point, we have no proof and Kaleb says he’s handling it, anyway.”

“If I have to hear one more time that the Hales are handling it! I will scream. Mum can I get some rest please, I’m shattered.” She kissed me on the forehead and told me she’d be back later. I hated her babysitting me. When she left the room, I tried to fight the need for sleep. Despite my efforts, the temptation of dozing off was too great, and I drifted away, completely dead to the world.

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Chapter Eleven

Hospital Tea Break

The pain from my ribs stirred me awake. Before I could even think straight, my mum leapt up from behind the bed.

“What’s wrong?” She looked concerned.

“Do you know how long you’ve been asleep for?”I glanced around the room, searching for a clock.

“No, it can’t have been that long.”

She sighed. “Abi, it’s ten past six at night.”

“What! I’ve slept a whole day? What drugs have they got me on?”

Mum came closer. “Just painkillers – but we couldn’t wake you up. The doctor just said to leave you be, it’s nothing serious, but you didn’t half scare me.”

I noticed my lack of visitors. “Where is everyone?”

“They’ve been and gone baby. Like I said you’ve been asleep the entire day. Grayson came first thing in the morning

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and then Konrad and Logan came after him, a few of Grayson’s family came up in the afternoon to meet you. I called your dad last night, he should be here about eleven and I’ve arranged for him to stay with you tonight instead of me, that okay?”

“Dad’s coming? – Really?” I mocked his impending arrival.

“You be nice, he got on the first train down here when he found out, he’s dropped everything to be with you.”

“What does he want – a medal? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do for your kids?” I was angry at her defensiveness over him.

“I’m not getting into another argument with –” A loud knock on the door stopped her. Mum opened it to check who it was, smiling with enthusiasm she moved out-of-the-It was Grayson standing there in the hallway with a metal trolley covered in a red tablecloth.

“What are you doing?” I smirked, trying to still be mad at him.

“Well, you’re upset that we can’t go on our date, so I thought I’d bring the date to

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you.” He smiled.

I avoided eye contact with him. “What would you have done if I’d have still been asleep?”

“This dinner has been on standby since four, your mum just texted me saying you’re awake and I heated it up.” Grayson laughed.

I tried to move up the bed. “I’m impressed, thank you. Wait – since four? Mum said you came to see me in the morning.”

“I’ve not left since we spoke last night.” He stared at me.

Mum sighed. “It’s true. I didn’t want to tell you that so he didn’t come across all needy.”

“Yeah, thanks for that Mrs Lawson.” Grayson grinned.

“So, you’ve not showered or anything and you want me to date you.”

“If you’ll have me. Yes.” He smiled making me forget our argument last night. God damn – that he’s Irish, that accent gets me every time.

I nodded giving in to his charm. “So,

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who helped you cook? Mum?” I turned to her.

“This is all him Abi.” She said, heading towards the door. “I’ll leave you two alone.” She winked closing the door behind her.

Grayson unveiled all his hard work, serving up a three-course meal. It was apparent that my mum must have influenced his menu choices. Everything he cooked was Italian, my favourite. There were crimson roses and a beautiful champagne flute he’d placed on my side table. I couldn’t believe the amount of effort he’d put into this. My ex Jackson’s idea of romance was a pizza on a Friday night, which I had to pay for.

It appeared that Grayson was popular with the nurses. He’d persuaded them to let us play a few country songs in my room. I could tell by his face it wasn’t his favourite music in the world, but I loved that he’d thought about what I liked. He continued to be a gentleman all-night; attentive and charming, hilarious; I couldn’t stop laughing. The door opened,

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it was a nurse making her presence known.

“Hello Abigail, can I bring these through please.” She said, holding four pink, helium balloons in the shape of a love heart.

“Seriously?” I laughed.

“It’s our first date. I wanted to leave an impression.” He laughed.

“Grayson, I think I’m –” He interrupted my confession. He sighed, waiting for the nurse to leave. “Abigail, don’t. If you’re thinking of saying anything big tonight, I really don’t want this to be how you say it.”

“I was going to say, I think I’m in love with the food.” I spoke, embarrassed by his honesty.

“I’m sorry, I just didn’t want – you know what, let’s just eat – I’ll shut up.” He continued digging into his food. That’s not what I was going to say at all, I wanted to tell him I was falling for him. Grayson’s reaction confused me and I wondered if he felt like I did? I let my insecurities go for the sake of the evening and tried to

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enjoy myself. After dessert, he helped the nurses clear the dishes out of the room and spent almost ten minutes thanking them for driving the evening.

When he came back, there was only one thing on my mind. “Come here.”

Grayson walked to the side of the bed. “Yes, what can I help you with?” He smiled.

“Kiss me.” I insisted, leading his lips to meet mine. I stroked the back of his head as we kissed, causing my back to slope down the bed. My ribs were in terrible pain, but I hid it well from him. I hesitated for a second, knowing what I really wanted. “Get on here I want you to hold me.”

“What if I hurt you?”

“Please.” I said, holding his hand, gesturing him to get on the bed.

He kicked his shoes off and climbed around me. “Okay, two minutes and then I get off.” Grayson’s arm was beneath my head and his other around my waist, I was safe. I could sense myself sinking deeper into a trance like state, my eyes were now

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feeling much heavier. “Abigail, I’m falling in love with you.” Grayson whispered in my ear.

He stole my moment and then just blurted it out. I was too tired to yell at him, so I squeezed Grayson’s hand letting him know I’d heard his beautiful admission – he already knew I felt the same.

I woke up at the sound of the door creaking open. I noticed that Grayson had disappeared. I saw my dad’s silhouette standing there in the corridor.

“Hello Sweet pea.” He mumbled pacing towards me.

I pulled him into an embrace. “Hi Dad.”

“I see you’re still clumsy.” Dad whispered, trying to be funny.

“Yep, I am – you didn’t need to come all this way for me, I’ll have healed in a few weeks.”

“Wolves couldn’t keep me away Abigail. Mum said you’re going through some stuff, do you want to talk about it?” I tried not to think about how strange his choice of words was considering what’s

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happened.

“No, mum can tell you all about it, I’m exhausted.”

“Okay, I’m staying here tonight; I’ll be on the couch if you need anything.” He said attempting to act how he thinks a dad should. “Abigail, I know I’ve not been around for you and Logan, but I’m here now and I’m not going anywhere.”

I turned to look at him. “What do you mean? Not going anywhere.”

“I’ve taken a leave of absence from my job and I’m not leaving you. Not until I’m sure you’re okay.”

“And then you’ll disappear again and head back to London, yeah?” I turned my head to the side.

“Abigail, I’m trying here, you don’t –” I interrupted his verbal monologue that would have lasted about an hour.

“I’m not interested dad, I need rest – you can talk AT me tomorrow.” I said unsympathetic to his stupid life decisions.

Dad must have taken the hint because he took his duffel bag off my bed and made himself comfortable on the

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leather couch at the back of the room. My dad’s place was with his family regardless of his and mum’s childish arguments and I wished that he could see that.

The five weeks in hospital, flew past. It ended up being a five-week stay because there was a complication with my back, nothing serious, but it took a bit longer for me to feel normal again. Grayson came to visit me every single day as did mum, Konrad and dad and with no shortage of arguments from either of them. Logan came most days after school and told me all about Ella. I continued to help him with his homework from my hospital bed, mum’s not good at that kind of stuff and he out-right refused to ask dad for any help.

Even Anna dropped by once a week to give me a two-hour session on my coursework. I was given a lengthy extension due to my accident. Four weeks into my stay, Anna offered to hand my last assignment in for me. That was it, the last of my college essays. I was officially an adult, an adult with no university choices

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or job prospects, but an adult nonetheless. Everything was happening so fast, I’d forgotten all about applying for any universities. Claire, my tutor, stopped me from applying with the rest of my classmates; she thought it was better to hold off until I got my extra credit work in. She was right; it would have improved my chances of getting into a better school although I’m sure she didn’t mean to wait this long.

If I’m honest with myself it’s no one’s fault but mine, I don’t know when it happened but I think over these past few weeks I’ve prepared myself for taking a year off. I’d help my mum with the bed-and-breakfast and look at universities in the spring of next year. I don’t feel like I can leave my family yet and on top of that, there’s Grayson. I might as well address the elephant in the room, something strange is happening and I want to find out what it is.

It surprised me that nothing out of the ordinary happened while I was away from home. The doctors were about to release

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me and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I feel bad about all the grief I gave my mum. I hated staying in hospital, but now I’m afraid to leave. Nothing has happened here, what if I go back to my normal life and it starts again? No! You know what – I’ve had enough of feeling sorry for myself. I want to think positive, the person doing this probably thought they’d gone too far when I got hurt, perhaps this was the end of it. Maybe things were looking up after all.

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Chapter Twelve

Two Sides of a Coin

Mum had at last agreed to take me home. The first thing I wanted to do when I got back was to take a long nap in my bed, I could hear it calling my name. Dad drove us all home from the hospital, well – all of us except Konrad that is. My uncle refused to go anywhere with him and, besides that, Konrad had his own life to live; he wasn’t even living at our house any more. I didn’t realise how deep my uncle’s hatred for my dad went, but when I think about it, Konrad was the one who had to pick up the pieces after my parent’s marriage went south.

Dad was doing everything in his power to make me feel comfortable, I think he was still nursing his own guilt for the way he had treated us the last few years. I could see that he was trying his best, but no number of magazines or cookie dough ice cream would change our relationship overnight.

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I’d just walked through the door when the phone rang. “Henry, can you get that please?” Mum asked him whilst carrying my bags to the kitchen table.

“Hello?” I could see the frustration on his face. Dad sighed. “Abigail, it’s for you, now remember what the doctor said don’t push yourself too hard, he said not that much excitement.”

Don’t excite myself – what was he on about? I reached for the phone out of my dad’s hand and still he was hell-bent on staring me down. “Hello?”

“Abigail?” A voice said all wound up. I squealed like a brainless kid, screaming at an ear-splitting pitch.

“Riley!” I yelled down the phone.

“You okay, blondie?” I couldn’t believe I was hearing her voice.

“Hey! I thought you were in Tokyo with your dad?” “I came back when I heard about your accident; your mum wanted it to be a surprise, but I couldn’t hold my water any longer.” She never could keep a secret for long.

I laughed. “So where are you now?”

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“I’m waiting for the air bus to take me to our God forsaken island.” Riley sniggered.

“Oh, my God, so you’re like – an hour away?” I screeched in excitement.

“Yep, so can you tell that handsome uncle of yours, that I could do with a ride once I’ve landed please?”

“Konrad’s at his house, but my dad’s here though, he can come and get you. I can’t wait to see you!” I expressed hanging up the phone. “Dad – can you please pick up Riley from the air bus terminal?” I tried to be as polite as possible.

He smiled. “When did I become your taxi service? What time? Now?” I looked up the times of the air-bus using my phone and saw that the next ride over to the island was in fifteen minutes.

“She’ll be about an hour and a half if the planes on time, but she’ll ring me when it lands.”

“Okay, I’ll be there.” Dad said, attempting to prove his newfound reliability.

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I turned to the kitchen trying to catch mum’s attention. “Mum, I can’t believe you kept this from me? You sneaky –”

“Erm watch the next word out of your mouth, I wanted it to be a surprise for you, but I should have known Riles couldn’t keep it to herself.” She grinned.

“I’m glad she told me, thank you for organising it, I’ve missed her.” I was getting quite upset. Mum came over to hug me.

“It’s okay, you know I understand – why don’t you take a little nap before she gets here so you’re not too tired, I bet you hardly slept last night.”

“Yeah, you’re right, I didn’t sleep. Can you wake me up in like an hour?” I asked, standing at the bottom of the stairs.

She touched my shoulder hinting me to go upstairs. “Yes, now go on.”

I entered my bedroom, still in fear that someone had it in for me. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary – maybe I had it right before, perhaps this was it. I’d reached my limit of feeling scared all the time; I no longer cared who it was. I had a

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new boyfriend and now my best friend was coming back to the island. I lifted the blanket from the top of my chair and wrapped it around my shoulders, getting into bed. My ribs had healed in hospital, but I was still cautious about wearing my body out, afraid of damaging it again. I fell right to sleep, my mind still exhausted from my stay in hospital.

“Wake up Tabbie!” A voice uttered from over my head.

I opened my eyes to see Riley smiling above me. I reached out, grabbing her waist and ended up pulling her onto the bed, ignoring my back pain. I couldn’t believe she was here; obviously telling my mum to wake me was ignored. At that point, I was too overwhelmed to even care! Riley has been my best friend forever. I know people throw that term around all the time at my age, but she was, we are meant to be friends for life.

My mum and dad were born on the Isles, they grew up together being childhood sweethearts and Riley’s parents were the same. The four of them caused

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quite a stir on the island, back when they were teenagers. I remember listening to my parent’s memories and thinking how romantic it all sounded – the four of them against the world. Their close friendship continued into their late twenties and both families had grown roots of their own, settling on the same street as each other. Our mums ended up getting pregnant about the same time, Riley is in fact six months older than me and she doesn’t like me to forget it either. Riley still calls me Tabbie because when we were babies Riley couldn’t say Abi, so she called me Tabbie instead. We are inseparable. I have always been in awe of her. In school, everyone wanted to be around Riley. Despite her being popular, I was never jealous – I was just glad she chose to hang out with me.

It’s difficult to put into words how she makes me feel. When we were in primary school, we had the nickname heads and tales. I always thought of us in that way – she was the opposite of me but we needed each other. My mum always loved

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to joke when we were little – that every blonde needed a brunette and Riley was mine.

It wasn’t until the accident that everything changed. Our parents were still close when Riley and I had just turned fourteen. One Friday night, her parents, Tom and Diane, came over to our house to get takeout, so excited about something. They wanted to explain how they had won a free, luxury trip to Scotland for five nights. Riley’s dad was forever entering foolish competitions but this time it seemed to have paid off.

They saved the most amazing news until last, the trip was for four adults and they were staying at the most beautiful five-star castle in the highlands. I still remember Riley’s mum showing me the brochure. My mum and dad never got to go on a honeymoon so they were ecstatic and accepted their grand invitation. My grandma, dad’s mum, who now lives in London took us kids with no questions asked. Gran was just thankful to spend time with Riley and us. On the third night,

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our parents called to check up on everyone, just as they had the previous two evenings. You’d think we could sense that something bad would happen but none of us did. Logan was even too busy playing with his video game to say good night to them. To be fair to him though none of us seemed bothered by their phone call. With hindsight, we should have paid more attention to them.

They had been to a show that night and were driving back to their hotel. Tom had never been much of a drinker so he was the one who was lumbered with the driving duties all holiday. We were told later that a red van crashed into the left-hand side of their car. The police said Diane hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt and because of this, was thrown out of the car through the windscreen. Tom crawled his way out of the car to where Diane lay and just held her. He managed to make a disoriented phone call to the emergency services before falling unconscious. My mum and dad both recall being pulled out of the car by three men before being

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knocked out by shock.

When they arrived at the hospital, my parents wanted to thank them for their heroism but the ambulance team reported no one was at the crash site when they arrived. Riley’s dad had escaped with a broken arm and a fractured shoulder blade and my parents had suffered only minor injuries in the wreck. Tragically, Diane had already passed away when the paramedics got on the scene; she died wrapped in Tom’s arms. Her last words were of her daughter, ‘little dove.’ That was her own special name for Riley.

Still to this day, Tom insists his wife was wearing her seatbelt when they crashed. Riley thinks it’s how her dad chose to deal with it, to believe Diane hadn’t made a mistake.

After her death, everything fell apart for a while. Tom became a workaholic and seemed to push everyone away; he hardly talked to my parents for months on end. He sold his house eight months later and moved himself and Riley out of the country to start a new life. I was

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devastated when they moved, it felt like I’d lost a sister – but at the same time, I understood why she had to go. My mum couldn’t bear living on the same street any more without Diane there after all she was mum’s Riley. That’s about the time when the bed-and-breakfast idea popped into her head and dad wanted to help her get past her grief. My mum never recovered from Diane’s death and continued to push my dad away. She became cold and distant, putting everything she had into her business and dad became her punching bag. Their relationship died along with Diane.

Riley still travels around the world with her dad’s job. He’s a renowned journalist and author. He seems better now from what Riley has said on the phone. She tolerates her dad’s drifting personality but lately when speaking to her on video chat she has become lonely and lost. I hated being so far away from her knowing there was nothing I could do and she was hurting so much. Riley comes to stay with us in the summer for

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the whole of her six-week vacation. Mum even surprised her last year with her own room decorated in bright bottle green, Riley’s favourite colour. I think mum prefers it when she’s here, Riley is the spitting image of her mother. I bet mum feels closer to Diane when she’s here. I wasn’t expecting Riley at all until the end of June but, after mum blabbed to her about me being in hospital, she must have jumped on the first plane back home. I was glad she was back, she always confessed to feeling her mum’s spirit on the island, that’s why Riley seems to come alive again when she comes here.

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Chapter Thirteen

Dating for Dummies

“So, what have I missed then? I mean, other than you being a clumsy idiot?” It seemed Riley hadn’t changed – the girl has no filter. I could always depend on her to say what was on her mind.

“You’re not funny.” I said, patting her on the head. “You didn’t have to come back you know?”

“Yes, I did, we have a code – if one of us ends up in hospital the other one has to come and visit them.”

I laughed. “We have never, ever said anything like that to each other and we don’t have a code.”

Riley started tapping me on the shoulders. “Well we should have a code and that should definitely be in it, so come on then – what have I missed? You’ve not texted me in like a week, I’m having withdrawals. Your mum mentioned a guy on the phone, do you have a boyfriend you haven’t told me about?”

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“His name is Grayson Hale, he moved here about a month and a half ago.” I hoped to squash her curiosity.

Riley looked confused by my secrecy. “Why didn’t you tell me about him?”

“It was new, I didn’t want to jinx it and say I’ve got a boyfriend.” I lied through my teeth. I didn’t tell Riley about Grayson for the same reason I didn’t mention that I was in hospital. I didn’t want to talk about everything else that has gone on. Riley would have freaked out and come back to the island. I didn’t want to be the reason she stopped living her life.

“Jinx it? Really? You’re so weird. You know I’m going to have to vet this guy, right? Need to make sure he’s good enough for you.” Riley smiled as she fooled around with my hair.

“Yes, I do.” I said laughing trying to put her hands down to the side.

“Now for the important question – is he cute? AND if he is, does he have any brothers?” She acted serious.

“He is amazing looking and yes from what he’s said he has three brothers.”

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“Three brothers! Seems I’ve dropped on little one.” She shouted in my ear.

“Yes, and you’ve not heard the best part – they’re Irish!” I laughed.

Riley jumped up. “No fricking way! I love a good accent. Are any of them single?”

“I think Isaac is 26 – but Grayson made him sound out of bounds. He dropped by with Gray when I was in the hospital, but he seemed a miserable bugger to be honest. Aidan is Anna’s husband – so keep your mitts off and Colton who is our age is adorable and he’s hilarious – he kept bringing me gifts in the hospital.” I smirked.

Riley beamed. “So, you suggest Colton for my next conquest then?”

“I suggest none of Grayson’s brothers for you, I know what you’re like, leave them alone.” I spoke pushing Riles further to side of me.

“What do you mean – you know what I’m like?” She seemed irritated.

Riley was emotionally unavailable, she hasn’t had a real relationship – ever

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in her entire life. She lost her virginity when she was sixteen to the most popular guy in school; he wanted a relationship with her and then out of nowhere she put a stop to their little fling. I think after Diane died she was too scared of falling in love, I think she couldn’t face losing anyone else. I thought she would have grown out of that by now but, her phobia of commitment has worsened over the years. I didn’t want Riley anywhere near Colton; it would be like feeding a spider monkey to a lion.

“Stop acting offended, you know it bugs me. All I’m saying is that Colton’s a nice guy and you are – well a fly-by-night kind of girl. He’s more of a relationship type of person and you’re just not.” I tried to be polite but, I was falling flat on my face.

“Well maybe I’ve just not met the right man yet and who the hell says, fly-by-night? You mean slag, say what you mean blonde. Have you ever thought for just one second that this Colton might be the right one?” She spoke, rising from the

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bed.

“Fine! I’ll see if he’s interested in going on a date with you, okay? But please don’t be stupid with his feelings, I can tell he’s all heart and I don’t want him being just another one on your list.” I feared for Colton’s future mental state.

“I won’t! You have nothing to worry about – I promise. I won’t ruin anything for you and Grayson.” She made clear.

All this catching up was making me hungry. “Thank you, now, what time is it?”

“It’s just gone half twelve, why?” Riley helped me off the bed.

I pushed her out-of-the-way. “Good, it’s dinner time – I’m hungry.”

I spent all afternoon catching up with Riley; we did each other’s hair and make-up whilst stuffing pizza down our throats. She attacked my wardrobe, trying to find an outfit for me to wear for when Grayson came by later. This quality time spent with her, gave me a chance to fill Riley in about what’s been happening on the island. She handled the information well but, that’s probably because she didn’t

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believe me, I don’t think I would have if it were the other way around.

We heard the doorbell ring. “Is that Grayson?” Riley asked excited to meet him. He didn’t give me a time to expect him, he said he would see me later but, he hadn’t texted me all day.

“Abigail, Grayson’s here!” Mum shouted from the hallway. I was so keyed up for him and Riley to meet. I could hear Grayson and mum whispering to one another as I came out of my room. Riley and I ran downstairs eager to see him; he stood in the doorway holding flowers, dressed to perfection as usual.

“So, this is Grayson? I’ve heard a lot about you. I’m Riley – her best friend.” She smiled, impressed by Grayson’s appearance.

“Hi Riley, it’s nice to meet you. I didn’t know you were here. I’m sorry if I’m intruding.” He looked at me.

“Well you would have known Riley was here, if you had checked your phone I’ve been texting you all day.” I spoke, irritated by his ignorance.

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“I’m sorry, I left my phone at home and I’ve been getting things ready for tonight.” Grayson said, making me regret my sly, little dig.

“Go! The man has planned a date for you. You’ve been stuck in the hospital for over a month – go have some fun. Oh, and Abigail – his accent is amazing!” Riley started pushing me out of the door.

“What about you?” I felt bad about leaving her alone.

Mum put her arm around Riley’s shoulder. “She’ll be fine with us honey, we will keep her busy. Have a good time.”

“Yeah, I’ll chill with Kathryn and Logan – don’t worry about me but if I’m asleep when you get in, wake me up, I want all the juicy gossip.” She winked at Grayson. “Now get out of here you crazy kids, I’ll see you later.” Riley laughed, shutting the front door.

Grayson handed me the beautiful flowers while we were outside, I couldn’t help but kiss him, wrapping my arms around his neck. I had waited all day to do that.

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“She seems like a handful.” Grayson said walking off the porch.

I sighed. “You have no idea.”

“So where are we going?” I asked, watching Grayson open the car door for me.

He smiled. “You’ll see, you’ll love it.”

Grayson was right I did love it. We arrived at a restaurant after driving for only ten minutes and Grayson didn’t even get lost this time. He’d made a reservation at Juliet’s garden. He must have remembered me telling him that this was the place my parents had their first date when they were teenagers. I had never eaten here before because it was slightly out of my price range.

My parents continued to come here every year for their anniversary, it felt bittersweet but, it was a beautiful gesture. The restaurant’s view of the harbour was stunning at this time of night; you could even see the other islands in the distance. The waiter led us out to the terrace, it was a warm evening and Grayson insisted that we sit outside. He had made an

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impression on the staff. They treated me like a princess, there were roses and glasses of champagne everywhere I looked. He’d ordered almost every single dish on the menu.

I tucked into the ploughman’s crab, it tasted amazing. Grayson’s appetite must have been in full force because he ate almost everything on the table. After we had finished eating, there was no point in arguing over the bill with him because he was just going to win. We sipped on champagne all night and I could feel myself getting a little tipsy.

Grayson seemed nervous; it wasn’t something I’d seen before in him. “I’ve got you a present, I saw it in the jewellery shop in town and I thought of you.” He brought out a small, black case from his jacket pocket.

“You’ve got me a gift? You’ve done so much for me tonight already.”

Grayson opened the leather box; it was a silver necklace with a wolf charm fastened onto it. I stared straight into his brilliant eyes and there was only one thing

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that came into my mind.

“I’m in love with you.” I spoke, breaking eye contact with him.

Grayson pulled my face back to look at him. “I love you too.” He confessed kissing me. Grayson held my hand, pulling me up into a standing position. I heard music coming from inside the restaurant and saw two members of staff smiling at Grayson. The other customers were encouraging me to dance with him. He pulled me in to his chest and moved my arm carefully around his shoulder.

“Tell me if it hurts.” “I will.” I said, reaching out to hold his right hand.

We danced to the most wonderful Irish ballad that Grayson had paid the musician to play. Two other couples came and danced with us outside, I was glad because I didn’t much care for the attention we were getting. When the song ended, Grayson kissed me on the cheek and left a cheque for a substantial amount of money to the restaurant owners. My eyes lit up at the number he’d put down as he led me out of the side gate,

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thanking the staff as we walked out of the restaurant.

“I have one more thing left to show you.” He shared building up my curiosity. Grayson had done so much for me already, what was he going to do? Lasso the moon? I shuddered to think. We headed back to his car and set off to my next surprise.

Grayson parked the car right near the Garrison Wall. I hadn’t noticed that he had opened my side door; I was too busy looking at the view. He picked me up in his arms and carried me the short distance to my usual spot. It was a night picnic with candles, champagne and strawberries. I couldn’t catch my breath; he’d done all of this for me. Grayson placed me on the blanket he’d filled with rose petals laid out on the ground. I knew we were spending the night here when I saw the tent he’d pitched up next to the wall.

“So, this is what you were whispering with mum about?” I smiled at him.

He nodded. “Yes, I was asking for

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permission from your mum.”

“Are you trying to seduce me Grayson Hale?” I reached for his hand.

“I knew you would say something like that.” He laughed. “I wanted us to spend the night together in your favourite place, that’s all; I’m not expecting anything – that’s not why I did this for you.”

I believed him; I must admit it’s a strange feeling having a man I could trust. “I know, it’s okay – it’s beautiful. This has been by far the best night of my life, thank you for doing this for me.” I pulled him closer. We cuddled for hours, watching the sun go down over the horizon. It became a lot chillier leading us to move into the tent. I kissed him passionately hopefully giving him the idea to take things further; I didn’t even care about my stupid injuries any more. I wanted him.

“I love you.” I was longing for him to touch me. Desire was fuelling our feelings of lust, but I was so nervous, my body couldn’t stop trembling.

“I love you too.” Grayson said, pulling me closer whilst his mouth opened over

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mine.

He must have been able to feel my body shaking under his touch. “Are you okay? We don’t need to do this. I don’t want to rush you.”

“No, I want to do this, I love you, I’m just nervous I guess, okay – a lot nervous.” I panicked.

He smiled, trying to put me at ease. "There’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s just two people showing how much they love each other, but if you’re not ready, we don’t need to, and I don’t care Abigail. I didn’t do all of this because I wanted us to -" His words resonated in my mind, I saw in his eyes he was being honest with me. It didn’t make a difference to him at all if we went through with it or not. I knew he was the one I was supposed to be with, it made it feel right. Everything was perfect; I mean the guy had made every effort to impress me.

“No, I want you, I want this.” I pushed my lips closer to his. Grayson’s hands shivered as he rushed over me, caressing my skin and pulling my hips tightly

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towards his. I could tell he was just as petrified as I was. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders.

“Wait, I need to tell you something. You need to know before we -” Grayson stopped himself. Why was he doing this now? There was nothing any more that he could tell me that would make me not want to be with him.

“Nothing else matters, just this – okay? I don’t care about any of it any more, I’m done interrogating you. I love you and trust you – that’s it.” I said, stroking his hair.

“Okay.” Grayson exhaled; letting go of whatever it was he thought he needed to tell me. “I need you to let me know if it’s too painful or anything.”

“It will be fine; I’m a lot tougher than I look.” I kissed him, drawing his chest nearer to mine.

My body felt electrified, pressing against Grayson’s skin was mind-blowing as he kissed my neck. My lips found his once again, passionately, falling deeper in love with each other.

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Chapter Fourteen

Coming Clean

I woke up, still wrapped in Grayson’s arms. I could feel the cool breeze pressing against my skin. He was still asleep. I could never understand why anyone would want to watch someone sleep before, but I did now, I could watch Grayson for hours.

I got dressed, trying not to disturb him as I crept outside. The sunrise seemed particularly beautiful this morning. Suddenly, the tent moved, I heard Grayson shuffling his feet.

“Abigail?” He whispered, walking towards me. “Oh, wow.” Grayson drew his attention to the sunrise.

I smiled at his reaction; it was as if he hadn’t seen one before. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

“You’re beautiful.” Grayson enclosed his arms around my chest.

“Last night, was -” I spoke, leading him to interrupt me.

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Grayson seemed unsure of himself. “It was wonderful, but Abigail there’s something I need to tell you. I should have told you last night before –” He explained.

“What you’re about to say – will it make me happier than I am now, or will it make me unhappy?” I joked.

He looked so serious. “I don’t know, less happy.”

“Then I don’t want to hear it, this minute – right now is just so perfect, I want nothing to ruin it.” I held his hands, moving them around my waist.

Grayson hesitated, bothered by something. “Okay – what if I tell you tonight after you come and meet my family for dinner?” I turned around to face him.

“You want me to meet your whole family? Didn’t I meet everyone when I was in hospital?” I laughed.

“Yes, but you’re my girlfriend now and I want them to meet you properly.”

I had the biggest grin on my face. “You’ve not called me your girlfriend before.”

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“Well you are – aren’t you?” Grayson smiled.

“Yes, I am – I like hearing you say it for the first time, that’s all and I’ll have dinner with your family if it means that much to you.” I pulled his arms tighter around me.

“Thank you.” He kissed me.

Grayson told Isaac that we would be out of here by eleven. He’d arranged some deal with his brother for us to stay the night without being caught – although, I’m sure Isaac didn’t sign off on our other activities. We got our stuff together and headed for the car. Grayson dropped me off at home, leading him to kiss me again.

“I’ll pick you up at five, that okay?” He asked.

I beamed. “Yes, I’ll be ready, see you later.”

“Abi, I love you.”

“I love you.” I smiled, walking inside the house. I knew as soon as the door slammed shut Riley and mum would interrogate me. The game twenty questions has nothing on these two – try a

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thousand questions.

I heard a voice from upstairs echoing throughout the house.“She’s back!” Riley shouted causing me to enter the living room. Logan was playing with the laptop on the couch, unnerving me with his smile. I heard Riley and my mum running down the stairs. Even Konrad had fallen victim to his curiosity and appeared through the garage door into the kitchen.

“Hey kid, how was your date?” Konrad bellowed, walking closer.

“How did it go?” Mum asked as I sat next to Logan; I had a feeling this line of questioning would go on for a while.

I coughed. “It was perfect – everything was faultless. He’s taking me for a meal with his family tonight, will you be okay Riley?” I asked, feeling awful about leaving her for two nights in a row.

“I’m fine, I want a date with that Colton guy – get it sorted and I’ll forgive you.” She pressured me.

“I will, I’ll take the opportunity of the meal to set your date up.” I reached for Riley’s hand.

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I sat there for a good hour explaining to them all about my date. I left the sex part out whilst Konrad and my brother where in the room. I couldn’t wait to tell Riley all about it, she is forever telling me about her sexual encounters with different men and now I’d had one of my own. Funnily, though, I thought I’d feel different somehow, changed maybe – but I didn’t. I felt no more of a woman than I did before. The only thing that had changed was my love for Grayson Hale. I don’t think it would be possible for me to love him any more than I did right now.

There was a knock on the door. We heard someone’s footsteps walking into the hallway.

“Hello?” Mum said politely, thinking it was a potential tourist needing a place to stay.

“Hiya, it’s only me.” A voice spoke from around the corner – it was my dad.

I hadn’t seen him since that day we left the hospital – in truth; I think mum probably asked him to give Logan and me some well-needed space.

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I walked over to him. “Hi dad.”

“How are the ribs doing?” He looked down at my waist.

I smiled. “I’m feeling a lot a better now.”

He came in for a hug. “Good, I’m glad.”

“Konrad.” My dad spoke, acknowledging my uncle’s presence.

“Arsehole.” Konrad muttered, leaving the room.

“Logan, are you okay?” Dad asked.

My brother continued to reject dad and ignore him. Logan had a hard time when dad left to live in London. I know he’s never forgiven him for leaving us. Konrad’s influence on Logan seems to have been rubbing off on him.

“Kathryn, can I talk to you for a minute?” Dad asked.

“What about Henry? Anything you’ve got to say can be said around this lot.” Mum appeared to be giving dad a hard time.

He hesitated. “Fine, I need a room here.”

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“Why? I thought you were staying at the Claremont?” Mum sighed.

“I want to be near Abi and Logan, the Claremont is at the other end of the island, and I can’t expect the kids to go all the way up there.”

“That’s a first – you wanting to be near us.” Logan said under his breath still playing on his computer game.

“Finally! It speaks.” Riley shouted trying to see the funny side of the situation.

“Mum – he’s right just let him stay here, I want him to stay.” I defended dad. I felt sorry for the guy, everyone in the house was against him and you have to admit he had some balls coming back into mum’s territory.

“Okay.” Mum agreed grudgingly. “Come on, I’ll get a room ready.” She signalled him to walk with her.

Riley dragged me up the stairs by my arm, wanting to know the more explicit details from my date last night. She pulled me into the bedroom and threw me on the bed.

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“What happened last night with Grayson?” I grunted in pain.

“You know my ribs have only just about healed, right?”

“I’m sorry, I’m just so happy for you!” She smiled, rubbing my back.

“It was the most amazing night I’ve ever had Riles, it was perfect, he was perfect.”

“You know what I mean Abi, did you?” Riley implied not so subtlety.

“Yes, we did and like I said it was perfect.” I insisted flinging my head on the bed.

“Oh, my God! You lost your virginity!” She tried to whisper.

“SSSHHHH! You know whispering doesn’t count if you do it, loudly right?” I made clear, jumping up.

“I still can’t believe it! So, how was it? And stop with the – it was perfect crap – no one’s first time is perfect. It’s painful and awkward and generally not good for anybody.” Riley’s little rant led me to think her first time wasn’t how she had previously portrayed it.

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“Riles, believe this when I say it to you, it was awesome. I’m in love with him and I told you before he asked me to meet the parents.”

“Oh no! I mean – it’s great you love him and everything but I’ve just remembered I was going to ask you to come and sing at the Brae tonight, it’s karaoke, please! I’ve not seen you sing in like forever.” She pleaded grabbing my hand.

“And – there’s a reason for that, I’m not singing, but you can. I’ll go with Grayson to his parent’s house for something to eat and I’ll be back in town for half past nine to meet you, I promise.”

Riley grinned. “Sounds like a plan! So, what time is Grayson picking you up?”

“Erm… he said five – I’m so nervous, what if they don’t like me?”

“They would be idiots not to fall in love with you.” Riley touched my shoulder.

I felt myself panicking again. “No, I’m talking about if they really don’t like me. Gray’s granddad already doesn’t like me, what if the rest of them don’t?”

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“Okay, you need to chill. Just try to have a great time and be yourself. You’ll be fine and they will love you.” Riley ruled.

“I’ll try.” I smiled.

“Come on you have to get ready, it’s nearly one! We only have four hours; I think I’ll start on your hair.” Riley yanked me to the dressing table.

I thought I’d take things slow and try to stay calm about the whole thing – maybe take a nap, but no! Riley used up three of my hours messing with my hair, fixing my make-up and squeezing me into a size eight dress – which F.Y.I is too small for me! I stood there looking in the full-length mirror in complete fear of the dress Riley had picked out. It was tight and purple – two things I hated. The dress was a Christmas present from two years ago, from my aunt Linda, who never speaks and doesn’t have a clue what my dress size is! I don’t even know how it was still my wardrobe. It wasn’t the ‘girl next door’ type of outfit Riley was talking about before.

“Riles, I love the hair and make-up –

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but this dress, isn’t me. It’s sunny out, so I’m just going to wear this blue dress with my cardigan I think. I’ll keep it smart casual I guess.” I said, pointing to the dress I preferred to wear.

“Yeah, no problem. That dress is more you – would you mind then if I borrowed the purple one for tonight?” Riley made me think I’d just been played.

I laughed. “If you wanted to borrow the dress, you could have just asked you didn’t need to make me wear it first.”

“Meh! Where would be the fun in that?” I threw pillows at her off my bed. I was play fighting with Riles when the doorbell rang.

“He’s early, what time is it?” I rushed to put the blue dress over my head.

“It’s twenty past four.” Riles said, running out of the room. I could hear Riley downstairs answering the door. I got a move on, gathered my handbag and shoes from the floor, and headed to the landing. Breathing in, I took a second to calm myself and then stepped down the stairs, seeing Grayson in the hallway.

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“Wow, Abigail you look beautiful.” He smiled.

Riles grinned. “Doesn’t she! I did her hair and make-up – if I’d have left her to do it on her own she would have looked like a -”

“Riles!” I snapped, wanting her to shut up.

“Well you did an amazing job Riley, she looks stunning.” Grayson couldn’t stop staring at me.

“Did I get the time wrong?” I sighed.

“Erm no, I just have something to do first before we go to my parent’s house, I did text you but when you didn’t answer me, I took a chance and came around early, anyway.”

“It’s fine.” I smirked at him, hearing two sets of footsteps heading into the hallway.

“Hello Grayson.” My dad spoke.

“Hi Mr Lawson – Mrs Lawson.” Grayson nodded at both my parents.

“Well this is awkward.” Riles jumped in.

“I’m going to meet Grayson’s parents properly tonight.” I said out of consideration for dad, letting him know

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what was going on.

My dad seemed irritated by the situation. “Okay.”

“You two have a good time.” Mum said as Grayson led me out of the house.

“Hey! If Grayson’s parents get to sit down with you tonight – why don’t we all have a family dinner tomorrow night? We can get to know Grayson.” Dad called after us, trying to make an effort with my new boyfriend.

“Maybe – because we aren’t a family.” Logan muttered, walking through to the kitchen.

“Erm – I’d love that Mr Lawson, tomorrow is great.” Grayson said, trying to make my dad feel less uncomfortable.

“Don’t forget Abi! Half nine.” Riley yelled from the door.

“I won’t.”

As Grayson and I pulled away from the driveway, my family watched on. I couldn’t help but wonder was Grayson’s family going to be as messed up as mine – Nah, isn’t possible!

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Chapter Fifteen

Please, Pass the Salt

“So where are we going first then?” I sensed that something was bothering Grayson, and that was bothering me.

“Nowhere, I need to talk to you before we go in the house.” He mumbled looking straight ahead.

I sighed. “Are you okay? You seem different.”

“I’m fine, it’s just my parents. I’m anxious about how this will go.” Grayson still refused to look at me, keeping his eyes firmly on the road.

“Why? I won’t embarrass you or anything.” “No, I’m not worried about you Abigail – it’s my family. You know what – I’m just being stupid, it’ll be fine.” Grayson replied, causing me to feel even worse about this evening.

“I don’t get it – what did you want to tell me?” Grayson pulled the car over to the side of the road and turned off the ignition. “What are you doing?” I asked, expecting

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him to explain himself.

Grayson just sat there in silence, staring at the water in the distance. We were only about five minutes away from his house; something was grating on him. I grabbed his hand from the steering wheel.

“Gray you wanted to do this, it’s okay to be scared but something else is bothering you. You can tell me, you know you can – I love you.”

“Let’s do this; you deserve to know the truth.” He puzzled me even more.

“What does that mean?” I pressed as Grayson started the car again.

He drove us the rest of the way to his house and pulled into the driveway, the wheels displacing the gravel. Grayson still wasn’t speaking, and this made me uneasy, he came around to my side of the car and opened the door. His face was peculiar; he looked as if someone had told him the world would end. Gray grabbed my hand, lifted it to his mouth and kissed it looking into my eyes.

“Grayson what’s wrong?”

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“Abi I –” He was just about to speak when we heard a voice coming from the front door.

“Oh good, you’re here!” A woman stormed towards us.

“Hi mum.” Grayson hugged her.

“You must be Abigail, I’ve heard a lot about you. Sorry I wasn’t able to make it to the hospital – I’ve been so busy with work for the last month. I’m Maria, please come in sweetheart.” She spoke strangely as if she wasn’t happy to see me at all. Maria linked my arm pulling me away from Grayson’s touch.

I kept glancing back at Grayson as his mum led me into the house. God! They were wealthy – period. I still wasn’t sure of how Gray’s family made their money, from what I’ve seen already, they seemed to have several businesses. I’m sure Anna’s prolific writing career also helped a lot around here. All his immediate family were standing around the reception area, eating nibbles awaiting our arrival. Some faces I already recognised.

There were seven people in total I

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could see – Kaleb was standing in the corner of the hallway talking to Isaac and Aidan, Anna’s husband whose idea of acknowledging my entrance was a nod of his head. Anna was busy fiddling with something in the living room. As I looked closer, she was helping Ella clean a stain out of her dress. Colton was the only one that seemed happy about my arrival as he stood there smiling. I could feel myself choking inside as Maria let go of my arm. Grayson must have seen this and quickly grabbed my waist, keeping me steady. I had never been around people with this kind of money before and it made me somewhat nervous. How was I supposed to fit in?

As I was considering my next move Anna came out of the living room, marched over to us and hugged me. “Abigail, it’s nice to see you again – don’t let them get to you, I know all of this can seem intimidating.” She confessed, having been through the same experience.

Anna then walked up three steps of

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their grand staircase and tapped on her wine glass with a knife, harnessing the family’s attention.

“Everyone, this is Abigail Lawson, I hope that you will show her the same kindness you shared with me all those years ago, when I first met you all. She’s a brilliant writer - magical with a pen. Abi is a -” Anna wanted to break the ice on my behalf.

It was clear she had more to say but got interrupted by the butler standing in the doorway.

“Dinner will be served in twenty minutes’ ma-am.” He looked at Maria.

“Thank you, Eric, why don’t we all sit down in the living room and wait in there. It will give us a chance to get to know Abigail a little better.” Maria spoke, trying to hide her true feelings. What could I have possibly done already to make the mother of my boyfriend hate me, I’ve barely opened my mouth for the few minutes I’ve been inside?

“Come this way Abigail.” Maria grabbed my arm so tightly; it was as if she

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was deliberately trying to hurt me.

I sat quietly on one of the chairs Maria had led me to, Grayson was quick to take his place, sitting on the arm of my chair – he wasn’t for a second letting me face any of this alone. Everything felt odd, this wasn’t a normal get together, this was something else. I thought half of the room was reluctantly pleased to see me and the other half were trying their hardest not to murder me right in front of everybody.

Grayson reached for my hand leading his mother to begin my interrogation.

“So, Abigail, tell us about yourself? What do you want in the future?” Maria asked.

The room was silent, everyone was eager to hear my responses to her forward questions.

“Erm, I want to be a writer, so university, eventually. I’m taking a year out to help my family before any more schooling.” For the first time in my life, I doubted myself. It was frightening how quickly they made me feel insecure.

“And then? What will you do after

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university?” Maria continued.

“I guess, I would have practised writing for three years by then. Hopefully I’ll be able to get something published or maybe write freelance stuff – I’m not sure yet.” I was afraid of their reactions.

“What about a family – do you want one?” She asked leading me to believe there was more to this question than I understood.

“Mum! Stop it.” Grayson leapt in.

I didn’t want her to think she had got to me. “Yes, I want a family, if you mean children – I want them.”

“That’s a shame then isn’t it Grayson.” She scoffed.

Kaleb intervened. “I think that’s enough talk for a little while, don’t you Maria.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t stop Maria’s tirade – she was hell-bent on getting to the heart of the situation. “No, it’s not. The food isn’t even ready yet. Abigail, do you see yourself with Grayson for the rest of your life?” She continued to disrespect me.

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Anna appeared angry at Maria’s behaviour. “How can she possibly answer that?”

“Well I don’t know Anna; maybe because I want to be certain that the person my son is ruining our entire family for is dedicated to at least returning his love for a long period.” She yelled as her voice went louder and louder.

“I don’t understand what’s happening – Grayson?” I said turning around to face him.

Isaac interrupted. “Of course, you don’t understand because he hasn’t told you anything. You two are just running around town in a bloody daydream – none of you understand the ramifications this has on any of us. This relationship can’t happen and I for one am sick of pretending it can. I don’t know why we haven’t handled this already!”

“What are you all talking about? Handled this how!” I screamed.

“So, you haven’t told her anything, have you? Well, that’s a good start. We might not need to do anything rash if you

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agree to end this now.” Maria stared at Grayson.

Grayson’s face was getting redder and redder. “Stop! This needs to stop. It’s my life and I decide what happens in it. You all can’t dictate orders like they are supposed to mean something and you sure as hell can’t talk to Abigail like this. The next person who opens their mouth towards this woman will get their throat ripped out. Am I clear?” I’ve never heard Grayson speak that way before and to his own family – what the hell was going on?

Isaac lunged forward as if he meant to hurt his brother but Kaleb stopped him before they did something both would regret.

“Never talk to us like that again.” Kaleb ordered Grayson.

“Then none of you dare speak again, we love each other, I love her more than anything in this world; it’s about time you all start to make your peace with that.”

“It’s not only us you’re hurting son, you’re hurting Abigail. She has a right to know what she’s got herself into.” Kaleb

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insisted.

Maria sighed. “No. He will not tell her anything. It’s too much of a risk.”

Isaac sniggered. “Oh, what risk mother? We know we can sort it even if he tells her. We should at least see what the girl has to say first with all the information. If nothing, it’ll be a good laugh.”

I couldn’t understand what they were all saying, but that didn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face.

“Abigail, will you come with me please?” Grayson reached for me.

I lifted my hand away from his and stormed out of the living room with Grayson trailing behind me. I opened the front door and jumped down the steps, raring to get away from the house.

“What the hell was that in there?” I yelled, still not believing what was said.

“Abigail, calm down for a second and I’ll explain everything.” Grayson tried to speak calmly but my blood was boiling and I couldn’t control my anger any longer.

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“Your mum! Is she always that awful? She was pure poison in there. And you – you’ll rip their throat out, who even says things like that to their family Grayson? Ella was in there for God’s sake.” I shouted, feeling a rush of nausea come over me.

“Are you okay?” Grayson carefully sat me down near a tree.

I held my head in my hands. “No, I’m not! I feel sick, confused and hurt because of you – because of them.”

Grayson crouched down to the ground sitting in front of me. “I have a lot to talk about, look, please just sit there and don’t say anything until I’ve finished. When I explain everything, you will be scared, but, I need to tell you. There is no reason to be frightened of me, please just remember that no matter what.”

“Just tell me, I’m sick of this entire thing Gray. You’ve been hiding stuff from me from the very first time we met. I thought I didn’t need to know what you were keeping from me because I love you but this thing with your family– I need to

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hear it, so just go on.”

He coughed. “I don’t even know where to start – I’m different from other people Abigail, my whole family is.”

“Go on?” I pleaded.

“Please don’t run away from me. Promise me that.”

“I promise, now just tell me, you’re making it worse.” I shook my head irritated by his continuous stalling.

“I don’t even know how to say it, every way I can think of just sounds stupid. Abigail I’m a wolf.” He spoke, making me laugh out loud.

I could see how serious Grayson was, but that only made it more funny. “Abigail, I know this is hard to believe but I am – I mean, I can turn into one. Please don’t run, I’m not crazy, that day you went to the Garrison Wall, and you saw the wolf, that was me.”

He spoke, bringing me back down to earth. I sat there, mouth wide open, processing what he had just told me. “Please say something.” He begged.

“You had the same eyes.” I

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whispered, as a few things made sense in my head.

“Yes, my eyes don’t change. When you saw me as a wolf I thought you might – on some level subconsciously know it was me.” He confessed.

“I don’t know what I thought; I put it down to a strange coincidence. I feel like any second you’re going to turn around and say you’re joking with me. How did this happen to you Grayson?” I invited him to tell me more.

“It’s a long story.” He sighed.

I stared at him. “Then try to shorten it.”

“My family are descendants of the first wolf, his name was Hale. Hale was the first ever man in Ireland to be turned into a wolf. He spent seven years this way with his wife Ula by his side.”

I tried to keep up with his story. “What? His wife was a wolf too?”

“Yes, in 1182 they both got turned by a group called the Lasair, a band of witches, led by a man called Elian. Hale had been betrayed by his own brother,

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William who had helped the Lasair. William had become obsessed by magic and allowed it to rule him, he thought the Lasair could teach him more. I feel like I’m giving you a history lesson here.” He acknowledged.

“I don’t care, I want to know everything.” I waited for him to tell me the rest.

“My ancestors, the Anam tribe and the Lasair were at war and their enemies won. They threatened the kids of my clan’s village if Hale didn’t accept their curse. Hale had no choice but to leave his clan and a truce was made between the two groups, which meant no one else would suffer. Hale and Ula were in their last year of being wolves, they were hoping to return to their tribe when Ula got injured by some hunters and eventually died; Hale was never heard of again.”

I could see that this story bothered him but I needed to know more. “So, Hale had a family – children?”

“Yes, he had a few children but his eldest was Cona – he had apparently

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taken over, leading the clan when Hale was forced to leave.”

I moved my leg into a more comfortable position. “So, what happened to the clan after Hale didn’t return?”

“It’s always been rumoured in my family that Hale was murdered by the Lasair, something had to have happened to stop him from returning to Cona and the others, but William never admitted to it. After the seven years, the Lasair came back to the Anam tribe, this time led by Hale’s brother William. They had obviously come back to rub my people’s faces in it that Hale had been defeated and to tell them of Ula’s death. This time the Lasair had developed their craft and had become a complete coven of powerful witches. They saw that throughout the years our tribe had multiplied and grown stronger, the Lasair were threatened by this and put a different curse on our people – this time the tribe were sent to live permanently as wolves in the forest. Over the years, the Lasair moved away from Ireland and left

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the wolves alone. Seven years later, the tribe unexpectedly turned back into human form forcing them to live two separate lives; from then on they could shift into a wolf on command.”

“So, everyone turned back and I presume because you’re here, made families with children, and how does that even work?” I probed.

“The Lasair did not understand that the wolf line had survived intact. It was a mistake one they now want to rectify. The tribe had to learn about their powers together, secretly never letting the humans become aware of their existence. Our people created families, all creating different bloodlines. When two wolves had children, that child would stay human until they were thirteen when they would change into a wolf for the very first time. From then on, they could shift when they wanted to – like me, they can learn to control it.” He spoke, captivating me.

“So, there must be human and wolf pairings, right? So, their children would be half wolf and half human. Like if we had

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kids – not trying to scare you, I’m just using it as an analogy I guess.”

“That’s the thing; we can never have children Abigail. That’s what my parents were trying to point out. Of course, our people tried to have relationships with humans in the past, you can’t choose who you fall in love with but when the pregnancy resulted in a pairing between a human and a wolf – the mother would always die in childbirth. Even if the mother was a wolf, and the man was human, the female would always die and so would the baby. We also have a counsel that reports to each individual family of wolves and notifies them of any danger or threat that might be coming. Rafe my granddad used to be one of those council members. When the counsel figured all this out, they made a rule that would keep our breed progressing but that would cause no further fatalities. They enforced a rule stating that once a wolf reaches eighteen years old, they are promised to another wolf from a different clan. The pair could try to bond for a couple of years but

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ultimately, they would have to marry. I am part of Hale’s bloodline so I’m considered royalty, royalty by wolf standards anyway; we are instructed by the counsel in Ireland to keep moving around the world because we are afraid of the Lasair group finding us again.”

“Why would they find you again?” I tried to forget that I’d heard the part about predetermined marriage.

“Our power was given to us by Hale and for some reason the Lasair can sense it if they get close enough. Throughout the years, they have systematically picked off, one by one, the wolves that were found to be of Hale’s bloodline, leaving only my family in existence. When I was three years old, my uncle and his whole family were massacred, my dad told them to come with us but he didn’t listen and they were killed. That could easily happen to us. The other wolves not created by Hale’s blood are safe as long as my family aren’t captured. If we were ever caught, the Lasair would then use the information we possessed to gain access to all the

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wolves’ locations, which would end our breed once and for all. We have barely escaped from them in the past. Their magic is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, they’re unstoppable and that’s why we run. Every time we move to a new location, the counsel uses one of its witches to cloak us from the Lasair. It’s never the same witch twice and their spell usually gives us a few years before we must repeat the cycle. It’s only when the Lasair get close enough to us, that they can even detect we are still alive.”

“They use a witch to help you hide? How do they know they can be trusted?” I was confused, so all witches weren’t bad?

“They use witches that aren’t members of the Lasair. Not every person with magic is bad Abigail.” He laughed.

“Grayson, who was the other wolf? The one that practically pushed me off the cliff that day I saw you?”

He looked down at his feet. “Isaac. He didn’t mean to hurt you. He was just angry with me for befriending you. My brother over heard a conversation I had

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with Colton about us. Isaac helped me save you that day. I assure you he meant no harm. Not really.”

I nodded. “Okay.” I said, biting my lip. “What did your brother mean in there? He said something about, you know we can handle it if you tell me all of this. What does that mean? Will he hurt me?”

Grayson moved closer. “No one will ever hurt you. Not any more, not now you know everything. We can make you forget everything I’ve told you, that’s what he meant. If you choose that, I’ll respect it.”

“How can you do that? A spell or something.”

He coughed. “Yeah, something like that.”

I paused for a moment. “I’m not going to choose that. I don’t want to forget you.” As my brain was dealing with everything I’d just heard there was only one thing I wanted to know. “So, we couldn’t ever have children?” I whispered.

“Nothing prevents you from getting pregnant but you wouldn’t be able to keep it.” Grayson added sensitively.

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“Because I’d die, right?” I lashed out at him.

“Abigail, I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, believe me, I wanted to. There just wasn’t a good time or a place to explain this to you.”

“Sooner? Like before I was in love with you, yeah that would have been nice.” I shouted in a rage. “And when you got me this necklace, it wasn’t because you listened to my story about the wolf – it was because you were the damn wolf!” I hissed. “Who was the one sending me notes, the intruder, my mum’s car, the blood on the beach?”

He sighed. “My family seem to believe it was Faelyn, the girl I was promised to when I was eighteen. She’s just a stupid girl Abigail, messing with you.”

I hesitated. “Wait, it can’t have been her! I hadn’t even met you when the guy got into my house and what’s the deal with the symbol?”

“That’s where the other half of our power comes in, the curse also gave

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some of us other gifts. Faelyn can see fragments of the future and my family can influence others. We can’t control the power unless we focus. I still have trouble with it, we call it compulsion. We guessed that Faelyn had a vision of us being together and followed us here to scare you away. Kaleb sorted it; she must have returned to Ireland because when he called she was there, obviously guessing she would be caught. Faelyn’s been put on house arrest so she can’t get to you now. We still don’t know why she used that symbol; it’s probably just another one of her games that only she understands.” He relieved me of some of my worry.

“House arrest really? I’m guessing your compulsion can’t work on the Lasair then?”

“It can’t work on any person with supernatural gifts.” He tried to touch my hand, but I quickly moved it away.

“So, why have you even bothered to keep Faelyn away? Your family clearly don’t care about what happens to me.”

“Please just give them time Abigail; it

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will be better now you know everything, but you’re right they stopped Faelyn initially because her actions could potentially lead the humans to us. My dad just couldn’t allow that to happen. Look, we don’t go around telling humans we are wolves. I’ve told you because I love you. My parents don’t understand why I’ve risked our existence for you. Do you not get that?”

“So basically, I’m a hindrance to your family and they would never accept us as a couple, regardless. It wouldn’t matter if I were fine about not having children, which I’m not by the way. That’s what you mean, isn’t it? That compulsion crap, you could make me do anything you want, make me forget anything you didn’t want me to remember. For all I know I won’t even remember this conversation in the morning! Right, I need you to leave me alone for a while. I can’t even believe this is happening. I thought we were happy and now that’s all just gone.” I cried, getting myself all worked up.

“It’s not gone, it’s just different and

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we could adopt if that’s what you wanted further down the line, I need to be with you.” He appealed.

“Erm, I have one more question, answer it honestly so help me God! Seriously have you ever used that compulsion stuff on me?” I asked boldly.

“No, I don’t really do it – I have trouble with it, I told you.” He irritated me even more.

“But you’ve tried it, right?” I shouted pushing him out-of-the-way.

“No! I’ve not even tried.” As he touched my wrist.

“I need to be alone, I’m sorry. I won’t tell anyone, you have nothing to worry about with me but I can’t be around you at the minute.” I sobbed crying into my cardigan sleeve.

I ran off, leaving Grayson’s property, heading straight into the woods for a quick getaway. Then I remembered that my boyfriend was now a werewolf and could easily catch me if he wanted to. I continued to run home, realising he wasn’t chasing after me. Although, I don’t

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think he was fully respecting the space I’d asked for because I was sure I could feel someone watching me. I knew it was Grayson ensuring I arrived home safely. Unfortunately, that only made me love him more.

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Chapter Sixteen

Boys Will Be Boys

It was six when I got home, too early to meet Riley in town. For someone who had only been out of the house for just over an hour, I sure looked exhausted. I kept replaying what had just happened in my head, Grayson’s words still resonating in my mind. What made it worse was there was no one I could talk to about all this, no one to help me understand– there was only him.

There’s a saying I’ve always liked, I might love you but I don’t have to like you right now. This was the way I felt about Grayson. Everything I thought I knew about the world was wrong, werewolves and witches exist and I’m supposed to just shut up and accept it? It’s not as if I was looking for proof. I mean – there were too many coincidences happening on the island for Grayson not to be telling the truth, but still – it was a lot to take in.

Suddenly his odd behaviour these

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past few weeks was making sense as it all sank in.

I stood in front of the house, away from anyone’s line of sight, not ready to go in yet. I couldn’t move or speak, I was afraid of what might come out even if I talked. I had no clue what I would tell my mum or Riley. It was all too much and I could feel myself losing my grip on reality. My innocence had been snatched away from me. I was now a party to a secret that had been closely guarded for the past eight hundred years. How on earth was I supposed to deal with this information by myself?

I decided to man up and go into the house. I obviously knew of the fact that my tear soaked, probably by now black eyes, would draw questions from my family.

“Baby, what are you doing back?” Mum asked me from halfway up the stairs.

As soon as she uttered the words, I could feel myself almost split open inside. I had absolutely no control over my

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emotions and immediately erupted, blubbering in front of everyone, I had completely lost the plot. My snivelling and sobbing alerted my whole family who came rushing in from various rooms in the house. I noticed that my dad wasn’t there, which was probably for the best. I thought I’d bottled up my feelings well up to now, well, at least good enough to get me to my bedroom without causing a scene. Evidently, I was wrong – I couldn’t manage it. I fell in to my mum’s arms weeping, clinging to her in a way I hadn’t done for a long, long time. I’d experienced nothing like this before; my heart felt like it was breaking, hammering uncontrollably inside of me.

“Give us some space, now!” Mum yelled to the rest of the family. They moved into the living room wanting to know what was wrong. Uncle Konrad closed the door behind them so it was harder for my brother and Riley to hear what I was saying to mum.

“It was awful, his family were so hateful.” I muttered in-between blowing

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my nose on mum’s shirt.

“What did they say to you?” I remained silent, attempting to think about what lie I would tell her next. I hated Grayson for forcing me to lie so that his secrets remain hidden.

“It must have been bad for you to end up like this, what did they do, and what did they say?” Mum continued trying her best to get an answer out of me.

She grabbed my hands and looked at me, trying to calm me down so I could answer her questions.

“They didn’t accept me and Grayson together, they could see we were serious about each other and they didn’t like it. I’m not the girl they want with their son.” I struggled to tell her part of the truth. They say when you lie you should keep some level of truth in it, that way it’s easier to remember the lies you’ve told, hopefully it would work.

“What! A girl like you? You mean respectable, polite and intelligent – these aren’t the things they want in their son’s girlfriend? What did Grayson say; he

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opened his mouth to stick up for you didn’t he?” I would have been blind not to see that my mum was getting angrier at each answer I gave her.

I sighed. “He stuck up for me, he did everything right – his family were just terrible. Anna and Colton were fine and little Ella, but the rest of them; it was like they were out for blood.” I rehashed the incident in my head.

“I’m so sorry you had to go through that sweetheart, it’s taking all of my strength not to go over there and give them something to talk about! How dare they? Who do they think they are? So, we have little money – so what! If they were going to treat you like this what was the point of them even thinking of helping us out at the hospital? Did you tell them about your dad? He has money, is that not good enough for them? It looks to me darling you have made a lucky escape.” Mum hardly breathed at all during her rant.

I cried again. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.”

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“I can’t have you treated like that Abigail, no matter how great Grayson is, you understand?” Mum hugged me.

“I know, but I love him.” I let my head fall softly onto mum’s shoulder.

Mum looked up to the ceiling frustrated. “Okay, how about this? Why don’t you give everything a chance to settle for a while and have a good time with Riley tonight? You need some cheering up, I will not let you mope around here because of a few idiots who can’t recognise how amazing you are.”

The door of the living room opened, my brother and Riley were standing under the archway. “We will have an awesome time I promise you Abi, let’s go! Let’s go right now. I’ll get you a drink and we can have a sing.” Riley shouted, hearing every word I said, eaves dropping from behind the door.

“You all heard everything, didn’t you?” Their silence made me laugh which then made everyone else start giggling.

“I’m sorry Abigail; I tried to get them away from the door.” Uncle Konrad

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attempted to look innocent but was failing miserably. “And they’re disgusting, let no one make you feel worthless – don’t give them another thought Abi and as for Grayson, I think you should keep away from him, anyway.” He continued.

I felt a heavy sickness come over me. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.”

“Yeah, it sucks Abi although I’m still allowed to like Ella, though right? I mean I’m in the same boat, they probably don’t like me either.” Logan spoke.

“Yes, you can still like her, I’m sure Grayson and Ella can think for themselves.” I added, whilst Konrad helped drag me and mum up off the floor. Riley impatiently pulled me in for a hug although her hugs have always been a form of strangulation.

“Right let’s go, I’m ready – you’re ready, I’ll sort your eyes when we get outside, to the Mermaid!” She yelled readily grasping my hand pulling me towards the front door.

“Look after her Riley and have a good

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time girls! I’d say don’t be home too late but that would only fall on deaf ears, so go on, get gone.” Mum laughed.

I held my arms out for a cuddle. “And I could say we won’t be home late, but that would be a lie, so I’ll just say thank you.” I let go of mum as Riley continued to nudge us out of the door.

I don’t know how my family did it in under an hour, but I was feeling like myself again. The walk to the Mermaid Inn was a long one, but it gave me a chance to explain everything to Riley, obviously leaving out the part that, my boyfriend and his family are werewolves. We arrived at the bar, I hadn’t been here for at least seven months, I hated coming without Riley – it’s kind of our place. The Inn is right at the entrance to St Mary’s harbour and it definitely likes to show off its’ maritime past, the bar is like the social centre of the island and we loved it here! The only big difference now was we could drink a hell of a lot more because we are at the right age. I remember when we used to sneak in vodka in a water bottle

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and drink it in the toilet; it would go all over Riley’s purse, so we rarely got to drink much alcohol.

I was hoping we could eat in the bistro first, I never got to eat that meal at Grayson’s house and I was starving. Riley must have had the same idea as me because she led us right into the restaurant which overlooked the old quay. I’d forgotten that you could see the other islands from here. Sitting down in the restaurant made me feel much more relaxed, I couldn’t wait to forget what had happened just hours ago, at least for tonight anyway.

There were three young guys I’d never seen before, sat just a few tables ahead of us, Riley was already flirting with them from what I could see in her body language. They were all gorgeous but even after everything that happened today, there was only one man still on my mind. The friendly staff took our order right away and thank God because I was thinking I’d eat Riley soon if I didn’t get something in my stomach. I ordered the

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Merman beef burger, I was so hungry. The waitress and Riley looked at me strangely and I knew what they were both thinking, especially after Riley had chosen a measly chicken salad to eat, but I didn’t care – I wanted comfort food and I wanted it now.

“I can’t believe you ordered that when those guys are sat there.” Riley honestly admitted.

I scoffed. “Why would I care what they think? I have a boyfriend and I’m upset – this girl eats when she’s upset.”

After about ten minutes our food came, I dove straight into my burger, destroying it with huge bites – washing it down with sugary coke. Riley glanced up at me from her meal, looking at me as if I was possessed.

“What has gotten into you? You normally eat slowly.” Riley had confusion written all over her face. She was right, I do normally eat slowly, like an ant in fact – the day’s events were obviously catching up to me.

I instantly felt my stomach reject the

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food. “I know – I’ve just never felt like this about a guy before its making me insane. Oh no, I need the bathroom – I don’t feel so good, I think I’ll be sick.” I rushed out of my seat towards the toilets.

“I’m honestly surprised it’s not coming out of the other end after what you’ve just inhaled.” Riley shouted, as I hustled to find the toilet.

She was right, I ate too much – I was in the bathroom for about fifteen minutes throwing my guts up. Luckily, I always carried a tiny bottle of mouthwash in my bag; I use it when I run out of chewing gum. I still felt dreadful though; I think it was my body’s way of telling me to deal with what Grayson had told me instead of running away from it. I was fixing my hair in the mirror when the bathroom door flew open; it was one of the men sat near our table.

“You’ve been in here a while haven’t you? We kind of guessed you were seeing if one of us would follow you in here.” He slowly approached me.

“No, I’ve been sick, you idiot! Get out

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of my way.” I yelled, trying to get passed him.

The guy wasn’t letting me leave; he pushed me to the bathroom wall and touched my face. “Come on; don’t be like that, I know you were flirting with us back there.”

I attempted to push him off me. “No! I wasn’t!”

Suddenly, the door was thrown off its hinges, crashing into the wall. “Abigail!” A voice roared from the corridor. It was Grayson; he threw the man aside, punching him in the face. Riley and the manager, Philip came dashing in behind Gray to see what all the commotion was about.

Not wanting Grayson to get into any trouble, I yelled. “It was that guy, he came at me – Grayson stopped him.”

“Oh, my God, I’ll call the police!” Philip spoke.

I cried. “No! It’s okay, I’ve had my fair share of drama today, and please I don’t want to talk to the police, please just make it so he can’t come in here again.

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That’s enough, he was just drunk.”

“Hey! You hit me.” The guy shouted as he awoke on the floor.

Philip pierced his lips. “You’re lucky that’s all he did, it’s time for you to leave – never think of coming back in here again.” The man was escorted out of the bar and the staff couldn’t apologise enough for what happened. Grayson paid for a new door for the bathroom, I think he doubled the amount of money just because we caused such a scene.

“Now that idiots gone, do you not want to sing a song before we go?” Riley asked gently.

“You sing?” Grayson asked me looking surprised.

“Aww that would be nice Abigail, you have such a lovely voice, I’ve not heard you sing in ages. Please sing in here, I know you’re thinking you want to go to the Brae but I’m sure these regulars would love to hear you sing in here again.” Philip said, overhearing our conversation. I’d known Phil from being a kid, singing all over the island with my dad. I used to

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think singing was what I would do for the rest of my life; it was something my dad always shared with me. When my parents separated, and he moved, I changed my whole life plan and began writing, I guess literature then became my dream.

“I don’t think so, I don’t really sing anymore.” I insisted, hoping that they would all drop it.

“Please.” Grayson added. Grayson had just rescued my ass from that guy; I knew I owed him one – even if he ignored my request for some space.

“Fine, one song.” I walked up to the stage.

I reached for the microphone and I could feel the fear trembling inside me, I’d not performed in front of an audience for years, I didn’t even know if I was any good any more. I told Phil to play I Waited for You, I loved that song, and I always used to sing it to myself after my dad left.

I stood there waiting impatiently for the music to start. I couldn’t cope with looking at the other customers in the bar so my eyes roamed around the room. I

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was drawn to the local artefacts coated on the walls. There was a name board taken from a wrecked fishing vessel I hadn’t noticed before and postcards plastered all over it on from visitors all around the world, I wanted to read each one of them. Although, they would probably say the same thing, that our island was heaven on earth.

As the song kicked in, I sang, feeling myself come back to life with every word. I could hear Riley whispering to Grayson whilst they moved closer towards the stage.

_My days are filled with your smile, _

[_In the mirror, I just can’t look away. _]

_You follow me around. _

[_When did I stop feeling? _]

How can my heart no longer break?

_When you left, you took me with you, _

[_Now there’s nothing left to take. _]

_I waited too long for you, _

You made it impossible to fly,

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You broke what dreams I had

_And you left them in the sky. _

_I waited for you. I waited for you. _

_My life is defined by you here, _

When a door closes, nothing opens.

“How did you know where she was? You stormed straight past me into the women’s toilets, how did you know she was in there?” Riley demanded.

“I guessed.” Grayson snapped.

“Sure – of course you guessed?” Riley understood she wasn’t going to get any answers out of him. “You know this is a big deal, right? She hasn’t performed for years because of her dad and now to sing because you asked her to – that’s big. You’re changing her Grayson, I just thought you should know that.”

He smiled. “No – she’s changing me.”

“I thought this relationship was a bit of a joke, it’s been nearly two months and you’ve already said you love each other. I’ve got to tell you I didn’t believe in it.” Riley sighed.

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“Believe in what?” Grayson asked her, not breaking eye contact with me.

“True love. That’s what’s this is, right? If it’s worth anything to you, I give my blessing to you both. It’s different somehow, what you two have, it’s as if you’re connected or something. She moves, you move and vice versa. It’s strange but lovely to watch. Hell, if she’s happy, I’m happy but you need to sort your family out before I go and kill them.” That was the most vulnerable I’d seen my best friend act in years.

“It means a lot you approve of us, I mean it, thank you and I will – sort them out.” Grayson smiled, finally turning to face Riley.

[_When did I stop feeling? _]

How can my heart no longer break?

_When you left, you took me with you, _

[_Now there’s nothing left to take. _]

_I waited too long for you, _

_You made it impossible to fly, _

You broke what dreams I had

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_And you left them in the sky. _

_I waited for you. I waited for you. _

[_I’ll find a way without you, _]

You shouldn’t think of me again,

[_I will always remember – that, _]

I waited for you. I waited for you.

When the song ended, everyone cheered and made me feel welcome again. Most of the people were locals, and they knew I could sing, I just hadn’t done it for a while.

Grayson had a way about him that brought the best out of me, mum’s been trying to get me to sing like that for the past three years and I never would, he asks me and I’m up there in two seconds. It scared me how much I wanted to please him.

Grayson came to the stage and offered his hand. “You were incredible; I didn’t know you could sing like that.” He helped me down from the steps. “I’m proud of you, seriously that was amazing.” Grayson kissed my cheek.

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This man was everything I’d ever dreamt of in my entire life and Riley hit it spot on – it was as if we were connected. I don’t think I could walk away from this even if I tried, I knew he would always pull me back.

After everything that had happened today I didn’t feel like drinking or staying late, I wanted to go home. Grayson made sure Riley, and I got home safe and walked us all the way to our front door.

Riley spoke. “Bye Grayson, it was nice meeting you properly tonight.”

“You too Riley.” Grayson smiled, as she headed inside, closing the door behind her. “I can see why she’s your best friend, she’s protective – I like that.” He added.

“Yes, she is, I love her. Did you compel me to get on stage?” I asked, thinking again about my need to please him.

“What? No and I won’t that was all you. Is there anything else you need to ask me, I thought there might be a few more questions?”

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“Gray honestly I have a thousand questions to ask you.” I admitted, looking down at the ground.

He laughed. “Like what? I’ll answer anything.”

“I don’t know, erm, are any of the things real that I already think I know like – silver bullets, wolfs bane, the moon for God’s sake, I feel like I don’t know anything anymore.”

Grayson sniggered, lifting my spirits slightly. “Well, you said the moon, right? Somehow, we are connected to it, it heightens our powers, we get easily aggravated I suppose but everything you’ve seen in the movies and read in books when people change into wolves because it’s a full moon, it’s not real. I can change anytime I want to.”

“Does it hurt?” I asked the question, not wanting to know the answer.

“The transformation? It used to when I was kid and it all kicked in but no it doesn’t now, it’s fine.” He smiled, knowing I still loved him. “Do you need to see?”

“You turn? No. I don’t mean that in a

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bad way. I just – erm – need time with this. I believe you. Obviously. I saw the wolf – I mean you – with my own eyes. I don’t need to see it.”

“That’s okay. Let’s just carry on. You said silver bullets and wolfs-bane – silver bullets – not so much. I mean they hurt, but they won’t kill us. Quicksilver on the other hand can kill us if it gets in our heart.” He continued.

I was confused. “What’s quicksilver?”

“Mercury, it hurts like hell and it takes days to recover, sometimes weeks depending how bad it is. If it gets in our heart, we’re as good as dead.”

“It can kill you? I’m guessing the Lasair know that.” I was terrified of something being able to kill him.

“Yep, as they’ve proved in the past but we can heal from almost anything. When I told you the story about Ula, whatever second spell the Lasair later enchanted on my people enhanced us. They ironically made us better.” I could tell from Grayson’s face he wanted to change the subject. “Erm, wolfs-bane, it can hurt us,

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but often we can fight it, quicksilver is the deadliest thing to us. Other than that, you will be pleased to know we are pretty much indestructible.” He grinned, although he was not settling my nerves any.

“Can you live a long-time? A longer than normal lifespan or something?”

“Nope. I will grow old just as you will and I don’t need blood to survive either, or have fangs.” He joked, I realised that I was talking about a completely different legendary creature.

“Do they exist?” I asked, not caring how ridiculous I sounded.

“Blood sucking vamps, I have no idea but as far as I know, we have never come across them. Sorry to end your dreams of running off with one.” He made me laugh and once again, I was taken with his eyes, but reality set in. This was real-life, this was no fairy-tale, and I needed to be smart.

“Grayson, look, thank you for before, I don’t know what would have happened if you didn’t – but you need to know I meant

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what I said before, I need space to think all of this through. I need time to myself to figure it out, I’m sorry – I should go inside.” I half-heartedly explained. It was less than four hours ago that Grayson had dropped this bombshell on me and I needed some distance from him to piece everything together and think about what I wanted my future to look like.

Grayson hesitated for a second before speaking. “I’ll give you the space you’re asking for, please just know I love you and if you want to ask me anything else, anything at all, just call me, please.”

I moved towards him and kissed him on the forehead. “I love you.” I reached for the handle.

“Bye.” Grayson replied just before I closed the door. I stood there leaning against it with my head pressing on the wood, knowing that was the single worst thing I had ever needed to do in my life so far. I could feel the pain rushing through me again as I whimpered, shedding my tears all over the floor.

I thought about how a life with

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Grayson might work out for me, no children of our own, his and my family divided – secrets which would no doubt lead to ever more secrets. All I was sure of was that there was a war going on between my head and my heart. I really didn’t know which side would emerge victorious.

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Chapter Seventeen

Bad Dog

It’s been eight days since I last spoke with Grayson – no messages, calls or emails. He even passed on the written methods of correspondence, which would have suited him more, to be honest, than using all the technical crap, the man could barely even text.

He was respecting my wishes and letting me come to him in my own time; I got it, but that didn’t mean I didn’t miss him. The first day I didn’t speak to Grayson, Riley had to pull me out of bed and even when I did get up, I spent my time watching romantic comedies all day, stuffing my face with anything fatty or sugary I could get my hands on – it wasn’t a pretty time.

I’d had over a week to process my feelings and decide what my next course of action was going to be. I knew I wanted him, of that; I was in no doubt whatsoever. My emotions had settled, and I really didn’t care any more about what he was

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or what he could turn himself into. I couldn’t care less about his stupid family including the bitch that was trying to intimidate me – he wasn’t bothered by any of it, so why should I be? I thought about the situation; I felt that Grayson was even right about the children thing, if it came to it, we could adopt and I’d be happy with that if we had each other, I planned to tell him everything today.

I snatched my dressing gown off the bed and wrapped it around my body noticing that Riley had already got up – that was new; she slept in my bed last night. I couldn’t hear anybody, not a sound; the whole house was silent. It’s like a stampede of elephants in our house on a weekend. Mum and Konrad are always yelling about something and Logan and his friends are usually stamping around in his room making a total mess, but today everything was quiet, something was wrong.

I opened my door fearing that something was amiss. The faint sound of chatter was coming from outside my

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house. Peering down from the landing window I found my family stood with others from our neighbourhood. What was going on? I trampled over the morning newspaper, hurrying down the stairs. I was brought to a complete standstill by the image that stared out at me from the front page.

Splashed across the front cover was a picture of a wolf. I picked up the paper eager to read what had happened, had Grayson been found out? I read the first sentence of the article carefully, falling to my knees in disbelief. My legs were unable to support my weight, and I came crashing down, taking a seat on the stairs as I continued reading.

At approximately 11:00p.m, on Saturday evening the body of Michelle Briar, aged 29 was discovered next to the Garrison, surrounding Star Castle.

St Mary’s Police Department initially investigated the death and concluded that this was not the result of a criminal act. It has been stated by the police that Ms.

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Briar suffered multiple injuries due to an animal mauling. The physical evidence drawn from the body and witness testimony have led investigators to end this case. It is believed the killing was caused by a pack of wolves.

Over the past few weeks, a few islanders have noticed the wolves’ presence settling in the nearby woodland of St Marys. It remains a mystery how the animals have arrived here in the first place; it certainly is the number one question on everyone’s mind presently. Reports of their appearance have differed in consistency but generally the beasts are described as rather like a large dog with a wide chest. Some islanders have even commented on the pack’s fur, it is said that their colour is grey and their backs are streaked with white.

An officer from St Mary’s Police had this to say: “UK Environmental Health Officers have ordered traps to be positioned in the forested areas where it is believed the wolves have been previously spotted in earlier weeks. If we

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find any of them living in the woods, we won’t hesitate in killing them – we can’t let this happen again.”

A programme to legally euthanize any wolves found in the immediate vicinity has been put in place. This arrangement is regrettable by the environmentalists but due to public safety concerns, it is deemed there is no other possible option. Investigations into the biological factors that brought the wolves to this island will be conducted after they have been captured and humanely destroyed.

A member of the Wild Animals Strategy Committee said: “I don’t understand how this has happened; I can’t fathom how the wolves have even got on the island let alone kill someone, it doesn’t make any sense.”

This attack will come as a shock to the residents of St Marys and no doubt be the catalyst of much fear among the people of Hugh Town.

Officials say at least six wolves attacked Briar, a young restaurant owner who had only moved to the island two

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years ago. Eyewitnesses jogging near the edge of town had seen Briar only an hour before her death. They believe she continued her nightly jog up to the Garrison Walls where the wolves sadly set on her. Although, there are no bystanders who saw the animals attack Michelle Briar, officers are certain that the wolves are to blame. It is believed that her small frame and physical movement could have made her an ideal target for the attack. On Sunday morning, there are rumoured plans to track down and exterminate the wolves responsible for the killing.

Conservationists have argued that they have no idea what could have triggered the attack on Briar. They disagree with how officials have chosen to handle the situation, advising them that the attack was probably a fluke arising from hunger, instinct and confusion. They proceeded to say, “The only way that wolves could have made it on to the island is by human interference, it is the fault of the person or group that put them

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here in the first place, not the fault of the wolves.”

Officials are warning people not to venture into the wooded areas of the island. I expect this killing will infect the islanders like a disease and frighten a few people into staying in their homes until the wolves have been permanently stopped. The forest that once offered a sense of protection for its residents now provokes a feeling of terror. There’s one thing for certain, at this moment, there are still wolves out there and I don’t think St Mary’s will be the same for anyone for a long-time.

Written by: Stephen Harris

No! I didn’t just read that – I must be dreaming. I tried to pinch my arm to wake myself up; after all, I had been known to have very realistic dreams. I must have squeezed the skin on my arm ten times before I knew I was wide-awake. I didn’t have time to experience the worry that was agonising me; I rushed upstairs to my bedroom and got dressed quickly, I

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couldn’t stop thinking of Grayson! I cried as I pulled up my jeans attempting to work through my anxiety. The only section of the article that held my attention was the order to kill the wolves this morning – it was now dinnertime – I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to him.

I threw myself downstairs and launched out of the front door running to my mum. There were so many of our neighbours outside conversing about last night’s scandal.

“Have they found any of the wolves yet?” I screamed at mum.

“No, not yet from what we have heard, take it you read the newspaper then?” She locked eyes with me.

Listening to her answer prompted me to continue running straight past her. “Where are you going?” I heard my mum crying out in the distance, shrieking my name but I couldn’t stop running. Nothing could stop me from reaching Grayson’s house and I mean nothing. There was a feeling inside me that heightened my senses and ability – I didn’t even know I

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could sprint that fast, I was frightening myself.

I stayed out of the woodland, keeping to the path that bordered the forest. I didn’t want to bring about any more suspicion that would lead people to the Hales and potentially to me. I glanced to the side and saw the shadows of four men sauntering through the trees, without warning they started to jog but I couldn’t see what they were following. I turned my direction into the woods, chasing after them. I’m not a fearless person, I’m afraid of roller coasters for God’s sake but the smallest chance of Grayson being harmed infuriated me, feeding my reckless behaviour. I still couldn’t make out what they were pursuing, which caused me to run even faster, how was I doing this? The men seemed oblivious to my heavy stomping at the back of them; they looked too enthralled at what they were tracking.

The men continued with their wolf hunt. They were charging through the forest and I was struggling to keep up. Out of nowhere, the men suddenly disappeared;

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it was as if the earth had swallowed them all up. As I came closer, I could see a gigantic trench in the middle of the ground. I was trailing shortly after them unable to stop my feet from moving, it was as if my legs were possessed.

A figure powerfully pushed me to the ground from the right-hand side. My head hit the solid dirt beneath me. Someone was holding me tightly, lifting me to their chest. I caught a brief glimpse of my rescuer before I was out for the count. I half expected it to be Grayson, but it wasn’t. The man crouched down cradling me; was a striking, blonde vision with bright blue eyes. He looked a few years older than I did and I was certain I’d seen him before. I could feel the man’s thumb caressing my cheek as I fell silently unconscious in his arms.

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Chapter Eighteen

Birthright

“Abigail! Wake up, come on.” I heard a familiar voice shout just above my head.

I attempted to regain my bearings.

“Where am I?”

“You’re at my house – it’s Grayson.” He spoke softly causing my emotions to stir.

“What am I doing here?” I opened my eyes wider to see his face.

Grayson gently lifted my head, causing me to sit up on the couch. “You took a nasty hit on your head. What were you doing in the woods?” He was obviously angry with me.

“I was coming to you, to check you were all right. I heard about the attack and I was afraid that you were –” Grayson interrupted me.

He was getting even more frustrated. “I’m fine, you should have called me. You went running in the woods Abigail, everyone was told to keep out of there.”

“I stuck to the path but then I saw four

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men in the forest and they started running. I was afraid that they’d found one of you so I went after them. Then they just fell – they fell down a ditch out of nowhere and I couldn’t stop myself. Then somebody rammed into me before I got to the hole. I know how this sounds, but it’s the truth.” I described, not wanting him to think I was a complete idiot.

“Wait! – What! Who saved you?” Grayson demanded.

“I don’t know who he was – he was blonde and as pale as me with blue eyes. That’s all I remember.” I wanted to change the subject and fast. “Where’s your family?” I half expected them all to be huddled around me like last time.

“They left the island; they were on the first boat this morning.” He blurted out, appearing uneasy at my question.

“Gray, you need to tell me – did your family do this?” I whispered, maybe if I said it quietly it wouldn’t sound as insulting.

“What! No! Of course, we didn’t. My family believes there’s a mutt on the

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island that followed us here somehow– a lone wolf without a pack, they tend to follow their own rules and don’t give a damn about our code or hiding our identity from humans.”

I reached for his hand hoping that he would forgive me for even asking about his family’s potential involvement. “I’m sorry Gray; I shouldn’t have even asked you that. What code?” I continued, persistently asking him questions.

“We have a code that every one of our kind must follow, if they ignore the boundaries they get rejected from their pack.”

“What does the code say?” I asked impatiently wanting to know more.

“It’s basically a list of rules that we have to follow to stay with our clan – it’s been used for hundreds of years to keep our kind under control. Not killing humans is at the very top of that list. You kill a human and you die. It’s that simple. We can’t have mutts drawing attention to us.”

“Is not dating humans in the code?” I don’t know why I even asked, I already

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knew what the answer would be.

“There is something like that, yes.” Grayson admitted, touching my hand.

“So, if we continued to see each other, you would be cast off from your family, or worse! Grayson I won’t let that happen to you, there’s no –”

Grayson stopped me. “No, that will not happen. I will take my query to the counsel and show them how this will work. They wouldn’t dare send a member of the Hale clan away and never, ever will they hurt me, not when there’s only my family left in existence to carry on the Hale bloodline.” He added, calming my fears.

“But isn’t that more of a reason for them to make you take a wife they selected for you, to carry on that bloodline?”

“I have siblings; there are enough of them to successfully carry on Hale’s legacy. I refuse to give you up Abigail, there’s nothing for you to worry about – I’m not going anywhere.”

I could tell that he was becoming a

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little sensitive to the issue. “So why have your family gone?”

“They’ve gone to Ireland to meet with the counsel about the girl. Isaac and Colton are still here though. Isaac’s working on the investigation – keeping an eye on everything from that end and Colton just didn’t want to go. My family went because they need face-to-face authorisation from the counsel to kill the ‘mutt’. They enjoy murdering humans and they don’t stop until someone stops them.” He clarified, sensing my principles on killing.

I held his hand tighter, making him realise that I approved of what he had to do. “I understand. You haven’t told me much about the counsel – do they decide everything for you?” I needed to know more about what I’d gotten myself into.

“No – well sort of. Remember when I told you about the first wolf – well his son, Cona began the first counsel after Hale went missing hundreds of years ago. He vowed that the wolves would never be alone and without the wisdom of their

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elders. There are ten members always in the counsel and they are always selected based on their responsibility showed in the clan. In my family, Rafe was an elder – then he stepped down when he turned seventy and came to live with us. My dad would have been one if we could have stayed in Ireland, it’s said the leading member of the counsel is always a Hale, but that rule ended when the Lasair targeted wolves from the Hale bloodline.”

I could tell that this story bothered him and that his heritage was important. I sensed his fury towards the Lasair for their cruelty in slaughtering his clan but I also knew that they were preventing him from taking his rightful place as leader one day. Grayson remained silent for about ten minutes after his detailed account, I didn’t want to press him any more for information, and I thought he’d already shared enough, when he suddenly spoke again.

“We saw it, you know? I saw the woman get killed. It came like a vision on Saturday night, but this time was different.

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I normally see an event as if I’m witnessing it, a fly on the wall. I didn’t think it was worth mentioning before because we hardly even have them, I think I’ve only had four of them in my lifetime. This one was strange – it was clear, I didn’t even see the wolf, it was as if I was the one doing it. My whole family had the same foresight, but when we got there, she was already dead.” He spoke, reliving the traumatic event in his mind.

“I’m so sorry Gray; no one should have had to see that.” I brought his head closer to my chest. “The newspaper said it was more than six wolves though, not just one.” I said, trying to make sense of what happened.

“It’s because a werewolf isn’t a normal wolf, its’ bites are more vicious and powerful. Its strength is incomparable to any other animal alive. So – to a human investigating the death, one werewolf attack could look as if a pack of wolves had done it; to be honest, it looked like the ‘mutt’ was taking it easy, it could have been a lot worse, like I said they enjoy

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killing. This was different, if he was trying to murder her it would have been horrifying, she probably just saw him and reacted, it wasn’t a pleasure killing.”

I sighed. “Okay that’s it, I’ve had enough of hearing about the murder for now and it’s making me feel sick. So, how did I get here, you never said?”

“I had another vision, I saw you lying there in the woods and I came and got you.”

“You said you’ve only had four visions in your whole life, why are they coming to you more frequently?”

“That’s another question my family are going to ask the counsel, see if they know anything about what’s going on with us.”

“Okay that doesn’t worry me at all.” I scoffed. “Did you see the guy? Or the men? They fell down that hole Grayson – please tell me you got them out of there.” I cried fearing that they hadn’t been rescued.

“Abi, I didn’t see any hole or men anywhere, it was just you lying on the ground.”

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“What! But it happened.” I said, squinting my eyes trying to remember more about the last hour.

“I believe you, look, there are crazy things happening at the minute and I can’t explain them any better than you can. I hope when my family get back they have more information about what’s going on.” Grayson said sensitively, moving in for a kiss.

“I’m sorry that I haven’t talked to you for a week, I was just processing it all.” I moved down the couch so he could kiss me.

“I know. I know you love me so I had nothing to worry about.” He answered arrogantly leading me to move my face away from him.

“I love you Abigail Lawson.” He smiled.

“I love you.” I spoke, touching his lips with mine.

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Chapter Nineteen

Double Date

Grayson took me home so I could rest and tell my mum what had happened. Whilst I was in the car, I touched the back of my head to see if the cut had gotten any worse. I searched for the wound, but I couldn’t find anything. My head was fine, it didn’t even hurt any more. I put it down to Grayson overreacting about my safety as per usual.

He parked his car outside my house, a visual demonstration to my family we’d made up. Grayson could tell that I was nervous about getting out of the car.

“You okay? I’m sure your mum won’t mind us being together.” He tried to relieve my nerves.

I grabbed his hand on his lap ensuring that he knew I wasn’t uncomfortable about our relationship. “It’s not that at all. I don’t know what to say when I go back in there. The last time I saw my mum was this morning when I ran off and ignored

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her to find you.” I laughed.

“Just say you got a text from me saying I had an accident or something, make something up.” He smiled.

“That’s actually a great idea.” I leaned over to kiss his cheek.

“Not to make myself sound like the needy boyfriend or anything but when am I seeing you again? Like you said we haven’t seen each other for days.” He pressed, encouraging me to make a plan.

“Well, I don’t know if Colton would be interested but I was supposed to tell you that Riley wants a double date type thing. If you’re not into it, it doesn’t matter – I can make an excuse.”

“That sounds quite fun, so yeah – why not? It’ll be good to get everyone’s minds off what’s been happening. I’ll pick you both up at six; we can have a meal at my house.”

“That sounds perfect.” I said opening the car door. “I’ll see you then, love you.” I said getting out of the car.

“Love you.” I heard Grayson say as I walked towards my house. As soon as I

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entered the hallway, I saw Riley sitting on the couch in the living room.

“Where the hell have you been? Your mum’s gone ballistic – call much?” Riley shouted leading me to panic.

“Is that her?” I heard my mum yell from upstairs.

“You’re so in trouble.” Riley laughed, knowing now I was safe.

“For your sake, you better hope not, I’ve just got us a double date with Grayson and Colton tonight.” I heard my mum plod down the stairs.

“What! You and Grayson made up? That’s great – Colton! Seriously, I am so in love with you right now.” Riley said, excited at having a social life again.

The look on my mum’s face wasn’t pretty. “Where have you been?”

“Listen, let me explain, I had a text from Grayson’s brother this morning saying that there had been an accident and Gray had hurt his head falling off a ladder. I panicked and then saw the newspaper, it was all a bit overwhelming to be honest – I’m sorry I ignored you, it

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was wrong.” I spoke, masking my deceit.

Mum’s expression moved from angry to concerned, causing me to think I’d gotten away with it. “It’s okay; just let me know next time something like this happens, how’s Grayson now and what was he doing on a ladder?” She asked, prompting me to think on my feet.

“His mum bought some hanging baskets and wanted them putting up, so Grayson volunteered to do it, but then he slipped. He’s okay now though, the emergency doctor has checked him out at home. If it’s okay with you, I’m going to go over there later with Riley.” I continued, impressing myself with my new ability to lie.

“It’s fine, I’m just going to call Konrad and tell him not to worry, just don’t let that family treat you like dirt again.” Mum rushed off into the kitchen.

“None of that was true, was it?” Riley whispered.

“Nope.” I snapped.

“You’re not going to tell me where you’ve been are you?” She asked looking

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for answers.

“Nope.” I repeated.

“Normally I would take offence and make you tell me, but I have a date with Colton tonight so you have lucked out. Now can we please get ready? I need to do my tan and my nails – there are just not enough hours in the day.” Riley stomped up the stairs.

“You realise you have like – three hours.” I said, following her.

Riley rushed into the bathroom ahead of me; I could hear her turning on the shower and I knew she’d be half an hour in there. I walked to my wardrobe, worrying about what to wear. There was a red summer dress hanging at the side, after twenty minutes of indecisiveness, I chose that – I remembered that red is Grayson’s favourite colour. I snatched my converse from the shelf and added a little make-up to my face. When Riley came out of the bathroom, she came over and pulled out my ponytail releasing my blonde curls – I guess I was wearing my hair down tonight.

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I had to admit getting ready with Riley was a breath of fresh air; it gave me the sense of normalcy I was craving. Surprisingly, we were both ready for six and waited for Grayson’s car downstairs. Riley appeared to be troubled about the date – I’d never seen her like this before, maybe it was because it was a blind date between her and Colton but, lucky for her Colton was amazing looking.

Grayson arrived promptly as always and escorted us both to the car; I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of him being such a gentleman. The car ride over to his house was rather amusing. Riley couldn’t stop herself from asking Gray inappropriate questions. Much to his relief we reached his house ten minutes later, Colton must have heard the car in the driveway because he came outside to meet us.

“Hey guys.” Colton walked over. “Hi Riley, welcome.” He said gently, peaking her interest straight away.

“Let’s go inside.” Grayson urged us all into the house.

Both men led us to the balcony of the

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conservatory; they had set up a quaint table filled with scented candles and roses. Colton pulled out Riley’s chair, gesturing for her to sit down. I could tell that she’d never been treated this way before and I could see by her face she didn’t know how to handle it. Colt sat across from her and pulled out a white rose from underneath the table, he’d had this all planned to perfection.

He gazed at Riley as she sipped her champagne; she noticed his obvious glances and smiled, blushing with nervousness. They barely even noticed that Gray, and I were with them. Conversation at last was flowing and the food that Gray and Colton had prepared was delicious. When dinner was served, they shared their food off each other’s plate, I didn’t understand if it was cute or disgusting but I went along with it. I continued to refill my champagne glass, irritated that Grayson, and I were practically babysitting the pair of them. The dessert was a chocolate sundae with cream; Riley took a huge bite and got

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some on her lip. Colton reached out to her lips and moved his thumb over her mouth, boldly removing the cream away from her lip-gloss.

Grayson must have felt as uncomfortable as I did because he quickly interfered with their romantic moment. “Okay then, Colt why don’t you take Riley to the living room and get to know each other better in there.”

Colt and Riley were past the stage of tipsy now as they continued to giggle and stumble their way into the lounge.

“I’m sorry about my brother; please come upstairs with me?” Gray put forward, wanting to get as far away as he could from the two of them.

“I’m sorry about my friend and yes, I’d like that.” I laughed.

Grayson led me up to his room; I was almost worried to see it. Amazingly, it was the room I had once barged into weeks before.

He opened the door and my eyes jumped to the wolf painting above Grayson’s bed, it was beautiful. His

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bedroom was immaculate, not like mine – after a bad week, you’d be lucky to see the floor in my bedroom. His room was stylish, sleek with striking gloss in black and red. There was a bookshelf that covered one side of the wall and a huge easel that settled in the corner of the room.

“This is amazing.” I said, walking further into his room.

Playfully he edged me towards the bed. “Thank you.”

“Oh – so this was your plan all along, was it? To get rid of them and then bring me up here.” I smiled.

“No, although it has worked out that way and I do want to kiss you right now.” He grinned, pushing both of us onto the bed.

We spent what felt like hours continuously kissing and talking about our future together, forgetting about Riley’s and Colton’s company downstairs. I thought about how Grayson is the love of my life as our touch grew more passionate.

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Chapter Twenty

Carnage

I woke up early; it was only half seven in the morning. My mind fixated on the young woman’s murder, I couldn’t think of anything else. I glanced at Grayson’s side of the bed; he was still sound asleep. He was well adjusted for handling these types of situations. I grabbed Gray’s shirt from the floor, deciding to let him sleep in. His family were coming back today, but I was keen to make us a romantic breakfast before they arrived home, perhaps that would distract my brain long enough from thinking about that poor girl.

I made my way to kitchen worried about waking Grayson. I half-expected Riley and Colt to be passed out on the couch, but no one was downstairs. I’m sure they spent the rest of the night on the beach or God forbid the B&B – nothing is off limits when Riley’s concerned. Although just to make sure, I had plans to ring her after breakfast. I was fifteen

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minutes into my amateur attempt at cooking when I heard the front door burst open. Someone came charging in to the house, I could hear them treading heavily towards the kitchen. The aroma from the sausages sweltering in the pan must have alerted them to my presence.

I could see a figure hurrying around the corner; I was relieved when I saw that it was Isaac. I pulled down the white shirt preventing Grayson’s brother from seeing my underwear; this was not how I planned my morning. I could see from the look on his face that something was wrong, and I was afraid to even ask.

“What’s the matter?” I said, hearing Grayson hurrying down the stairs.

“Did you see it?” Isaac spoke.

Grayson looked at me. “See what?”

Isaac sighed. “There have been four more murders Grayson, did you get a vision?”

“What! Four more people have been killed?” I was in complete shock.

“Shut up Abigail!” Isaac yelled at me.

“Don’t you dare! No, I didn’t get a

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vision – did you?” Grayson defended me.

“No, someone’s controlling our powers. There’s a reason we weren’t able to save the girl, our vision came too late. Now, there are four more murders and we didn’t see them! I tried ringing mum and dad but I can’t get hold of any of them, I’m worried – God knows what the humans are planning to do now and they’re getting more and more suspicious of me. They have asked me to take a few days off work, because I’m new and apparently, it’s a lot to deal with – but it’s not anything to do with that, they don’t trust me. Why should they? The murders only started when we got here, it’s only a matter of time before we get found out – we have to leave.” Isaac insisted, visibly shaken from the past few hours.

Grayson tried to settle his brother’s nerves. “Calm down! The family should be back in three hours, I got a text last night off Aidan, and if they aren’t back in time, then we can worry. What happened to the four people that were killed?”

“A lot, they were ripped apart

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Grayson. There were four men searching the woods yesterday morning near our house. One of the family members reported them missing about seven in the evening when they hadn’t returned home all day. We found them within two hours in the forest and so far, fortunately the news hasn’t broken out in town.”

“Wait! You found them? What did you see?” Grayson asked, prompting Isaac to take a seat across from me.

“Yeah, I found them with two other officers. When I first got there, I knew the land was stained. I could sense the evil almost immediately before I even saw the bodies. The men had been slaughtered and then their bodies were staged. They were scattered in pieces over the rocks. The cause of death for every man was having his throat bloody torn out!” Isaac was clearly disturbed with the imagery he was forced to witness.

“I’m sorry Isaac.” Grayson walked towards his brother.

“The remains have been sent to the hospital on the island so they can

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examine the bodies, then they’ll be shipped over to the mainland. The families of the victims have to assist in the investigation; the chief said they would have to get the dental records of the men so they can identify them.” Isaac was suffering.

“You don’t have to tell us any more, that’s enough.” Grayson insisted, consoling his sibling.

Isaac, however, could not stop talking. “Mr Potter’s head was the first thing I saw lying on the ground; I’d seen him a few times at his wife’s flower shop helping her get the stock out of the van. Mr Deacon’s upper torso had been bitten twice and a bite on his left thigh was so deep you could see the bone. I hadn’t seen him before but apparently, he was a keen angler on the island and retired when his wife died. Mr Norris was a bus driver; he heard about the murder of Michelle and wanted to help, he even booked a shift off work so he could search the woods – his right hand was mauled where he’d attempted to defend himself. It looked as

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if Mr Timmins was killed last from the lacerations on his face and hands, he had bravely tried to help his friends fight the wolf off. He was forty-seven years old, his daughter had just turned nineteen two weeks ago. The investigators will have to use DNA to determine what type of animal did this but, of course, they won’t find anything – because this is no wolf. I don’t believe one of our kind is capable of any of this, not even a mutt.” Isaac spoke, with tears falling from his eyes.

Grayson hesitated, choosing his words carefully. “You know mutts can do this Isaac, you’ve seen it before. They lose their packs and they go crazy, it’s nothing new but we need to stop it.”

“You didn’t see it! It wasn’t a wolf, I’ve seen mutt killings – this wasn’t one of them! Lone wolves are frantic and unpredictable. They run off soon after they have killed someone. The medical examiner said the murderer was on the scene for at least two hours scrupulously playing with the bodies. What ‘mutt’ do you know does that? The more the bodies

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are investigated the more they will conclude that either wolves killed the men, and a human staged the whole thing or that a human is responsible for the deaths and is making it look like the wolves have done it – either way, our family is screwed!” Isaac jumped up, kicking over his stool.

I looked up at Isaac, scared to speak to him. “Is that what they are saying? That a person is to blame.”

Isaac sighed. “Before I left the station – that was pretty much the consensus on all the officer’s minds. You should ask yourself this, the injuries that the men suffered were horrific, they were being killed off one at a time, they were screaming at the top of their lungs. Why did no one hear them? There are plenty of houses around, ours included – but no one heard anything. I think we need to wrap our heads around the fact we may have been found.”

“Wait! I need to tell you something. I saw the four men you’re on about yesterday morning. They were running

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after something in the woods but I couldn’t see what they were chasing and then they fell. It was as if the ground swallowed them up. I was running after them but then couldn’t stop myself; it was as if I was cursed or something. A guy ended up pushing me out of the way.” I explained, glancing back at Grayson for approval.

“Did you know about this? Why didn’t you tell me about it when I told you the four men had been murdered? What did the man look like Abigail?” Isaac waited impatiently for my response.

“I told Grayson, he was the one that brought me back from the woods. He said there wasn’t any hole, and he didn’t see the men – I thought I’d just hit my head running or something.”

“I’m right here Abigail I can talk for myself.” Grayson snapped at me.

Isaac smirked at his brother. “What did the man who rescued you look like Abigail?”

I stared at Isaac. “He was blonde, blue eyed – a bit older than me.” My description

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struck a nerve because Isaac seemed extremely sketchy about my answer.

“Did you tell Grayson what he looked like?” He fixed his eyes on his brother.

Grayson sensed Isaac’s anger. “She told me.”

Isaac scoffed. “And that description doesn’t remind you of anyone?” He raised his hands to his head, outraged at Grayson’s relaxed attitude.

“I would have told dad when he got back; there was no need to scare anyone if I wasn’t sure about what Abigail saw.” Grayson defended himself.

“What are you two on about? So, you know who saved me?” I stood up, knowing Grayson was keeping something from me – again.

“Saved you? He probably caused the damn thing –” Isaac yelled.

Grayson interrupted. “You remember when I told you about the Lasair, the person you described sounds a lot like the leader’s son – Leopold.”

“Leopold.” I muttered, quietly to myself. Something told me that this wasn’t the

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first time I’d said that name before.

Isaac glanced into the hallway. “Where the hell is Colton?”

“He’s with Riley – Abigail’s best friend. I’ll give him a call now.” Grayson said, reaching for the phone.

“Of course, he is. You should keep an eye on him.” Isaac sighed.

“He’s a year younger than me, he can look after himself.” Grayson mumbled, unfazed by his brother’s criticism.

“Tell him to come home now.” Isaac seemed to take his big brother role more seriously today.

I couldn’t listen to the rest of their childish conversation. In my mind, I only saw the man in the woods, his face flashing inside my head. It was as if he was protecting me. I couldn’t believe he would harm anyone, with every fibre of my being; I believed this Leopold hadn’t murdered anyone.

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Chapter Twenty-One

[*It’s Time *]

The phone in the kitchen rang, pulling me back to reality. Grayson got to it first, irritating Isaac as he raised the phone to his ear.

“Hello.” Grayson smirked at his brother.

Isaac turned on the speaker-phone enabling us all to listen in on the call. Grayson was too interested in who was on the other line to care about us eavesdropping.

“Grayson? Are all of you at home?” the voice said worryingly.

“Mum? Yeah – Isaac is here, you’re on speaker-phone. Colt is out at the minute, what have the counsel said?” Grayson asked, leaning his elbow on the breakfast bar.

“They have determined that it’s too difficult a situation for us to handle on our own. Considering what happened

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yesterday morning, they have decided to send two council members back with us to take care of it, they want to investigate it for themselves and then decide. We always knew this could happen.” Maria sighed.

“You mean you’ve heard about the other four murders already?” Isaac jumped in.

“We saw it; all of us had the same vision.” She explained causing Grayson’s posture to rise.

Grayson glanced at Isaac. “What! Why didn’t you ring one of us, we could have done something? Neither of us got any vision, what’s going on?”

“It wouldn’t have made any difference son, our vision was too late – we saw the time on one of the men’s watches when they were being attacked, it said 1:13pm. Collectively, we only got our vision about eight last night; it didn’t matter anymore because they were already dead.”

“It’s not a mutt.” Isaac muttered under his breath.

Maria hesitated. “What was that?”

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“I said it’s not a mutt! We all know what this is, but everyone’s just too scared to admit it to themselves. Abigail saw Leopold.”

“It is one possibility, a notion we have already discussed with the counsel. Why do you think two of them are coming back with us Isaac? None of us are running from the fact it could be the Lasair, we’re not stupid. Are you sure she saw him?”

“No, we are not sure.” Grayson stated, looking at his brother.

“Then please find your brother and just stay inside until we get back. You know what to do with your phones if it is them. We’ve been held up here, we should arrive tonight before ten.”

Isaac nodded to his brother. “Okay, I’m just glad you’re on the same page as me. See you soon – be safe.”

“I Love you.” Maria said, hanging up the phone.

Isaac’s mobile hummed through his pocket. He reached down to his pants to grab the phone. “It’s a text.” He stared at the screen.

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“Who from?” Grayson asked eager for new information.

Isaac looked up. “It’s a mass circulation text; I think it’s been sent to everyone on the island. Town Meeting! St Mary’s Police Department will hold a public involvement meeting this evening to discuss the tragedies that have happened on our island over the past couple of days. The meeting will be held 5:30 to 7pm in the High School sports hall, Hugh Town, St Marys. Representatives from the Animal Wildlife Association will be available to discuss strategic safety plans and answer any questions, as will the police department, we hope to see you all there.” He spoke, reading the text aloud.

“Oh, God they’re going to tell everyone about the four murders at the meeting?” Grayson jumped in.

I was confused. “Why is that a bad thing, I’m sure their families have already started telling people, anyway?”

“Abigail, one murder is unfortunate. Five murders in total is a massacre on a

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small island like this – people will panic.” Isaac said pulling his head back. “This is bad, this meeting will be a brawl. How could the station not tell me about this? It’s such a bad idea.”

After listening to Isaac I knew I had to find Riley. I moved around the kitchen in a fluster trying to find my phone. Grayson noticed what I was searching for and he spotted it first on the windowsill. He threw my phone down the sink and hit the waste disposal button on the side of counter – in seconds my mobile was obliterated. I stared down at the sink, my hands placed firmly against the cold, granite edge. I looked up to see Grayson’s face staring right back at me.

“What did you do that for?” I screamed, shoving him out-of-the-way.

“I’m sorry Abigail, but it’s a precaution – you can’t use any phone. If it is the Lasair doing all of this, then you can bet they have listened in to all our phone calls, anything to do with technology, they will have seen and heard. We can’t risk giving them a bigger advantage than they

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already have. No more phones or computers, okay?” I sat down, trying to deal with what Grayson had just said.

“Okay, here’s the plan – I’ll go find Colton and Riley. I’ll bring him back here and tell Riley to go back to Abigail’s house. Grayson, you take Abi home and then come straight back here so we can figure out how we will handle the town meeting.” Isaac ordered, he sounded exactly like my grouchy gymnastic coach all those years ago.

“Wait, do I not get a say in any of this? I want to go to the town meeting too – can’t I help you?” I stood up, hoping to show my loyalty to Grayson’s family.

“Fine, we’ll pick you and Riley up at five, we need to get there early.” Isaac rushed off into the hallway.

“Your brother is definitely something.” I glanced up at Grayson.

“Come on I’ll take you home.” He said, putting his arm around my waist.

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Chapter Twenty-Two

Building Bridges

Grayson dropped me off back at home. I could see he hated the fact I was away from him at a time like this. Twenty minutes later Isaac showed up at my door and urged Riley out of his car. He rammed her body through the door, livid with her behaviour. Riles was still drunk from the craziness of last night – I wondered where she’d been for all of this time.

“She’ll be fine, just let her sleep it off – be ready for five.” Isaac repeated, thinking I was incapable of remembering such a complicated instruction.

“I heard you before, we’ll be ready.” I responded hoping to patronise him. Isaac helped me carry Riley to the couch in the living room. Thankfully, my mum was nowhere to be seen or she might have given him a well-deserved telling off for his earlier attitude towards me.

“Okay, see you in a bit.” He snapped, leaving my house.

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Moments later I heard footsteps backtrack through the entrance of the hallway. “I just wanted to let you know, I don’t dislike you or anything.” Isaac said, reappearing from outside the lounge.

I was taken aback by his unexpected declaration of guilt. “Well you could have fooled me.”

“It’s just – Grayson’s abilities are so much more developed than anyone I’ve ever seen before and you worry me, I think he’d give everything up for you.”

“I don’t want him to give anything up for me; I want him to have everything he’s ever dreamt of. Understand though, I’m not going anywhere, I love him and we want a chance.” I couldn’t believe it; I had finally made Isaac smile.

“I get it – I think. I’m sorry for how I’ve treated you and it won’t happen again.” He nodded, showing his approval of our relationship, before he left my house.

I heard my mum’s high heels clicking down the corridor; I knew I would get in trouble for Riley’s idiocy.

Mum came charging into the living

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room, she saw Riley’s hand hanging off the couch from the hallway. “Rough night?” She asked, realising how ill Riley was.

“I have no idea, I’m fine but Riley couldn’t handle her drink – she left with Colton last night, I thought she would have come back here.”

“She did. They both came back here, and I was having a drink with your dad in the kitchen, so we asked them if they wanted a game of cards with us – they didn’t understand that we were trying to sober them up.” Mum laughed.

“So how did she end up outside again?”

“Well when it got late, we asked Colton to leave – which he did and then I took Riley up to her bedroom. I didn’t count on Riles sneaking out, I finished clearing up and then went to check on her again and she was gone. Konrad’s been out looking for her since dawn, I’m just glad she’s home.”

“I’m sorry she drank so much mum.” I apologised on Riley’s behalf.

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“It’s fine, I’ll text Konrad now. Oh, did you hear about the town meeting?” I crossed my arms, uncomfortable with her question.

“Yeah, I’m going later with Grayson.” I wanted more than anything to tell my mum about the other four murders.

“Good! You can tell me what happens. I’m going out to that restaurant, Adeline’s tonight, it’s always booked up and tonight it’s not because everyone is at that meeting.” She confessed, grinning like a school girl.

“Wait! What, have you got a date or something?” I was confused at her timing with everything that’s been going on.

“I wanted to tell you with your dad, but you’ve been with Grayson these past few days and I didn’t want to ruin it. Your father is taking me on a date.”

“What!” Logan yelled, sneakily listening in on our conversation.

“Oh Logan, I’m sorry darling – I wanted to tell you, but I knew how you would take it.” Mum tried to comfort him.

“Logan, if mum wants to date dad

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again and see where it all goes – that’s up to them. Don’t be like Grayson’s family, judging them before we know how it will end. They’re both different people now, it’s been over three years – can you please just give dad a chance.” I said realising that dad was silently hovering behind my brother.

Seeing how unfairly the Hales had treated me for loving their son, I was not about to do the same thing to my dad. I realised that – yes, he’d made some horrendous mistakes but everyone deserves a second chance.

Logan hesitated. “Fine, I’ll give it a shot.”

“That’s good to hear son.” Dad said, moving past Logan in the doorway.

“Thank you both for being so understanding.” Mum showed off her excitement.

Logan and I looked at our parents flirting with one another, there was a part of me that couldn’t believe it was happening, but I was glad. I hadn’t seen my mum this happy in years and now with

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my brother on board, we had the makings of a happy family.

“Logan, do you want to go fishing tomorrow?” Dad braced himself for his son’s rejection.

“Sure.” Logan said quickly. “I’ll go fishing if I can go with Abigail to the town meeting tonight and not get stuck with a babysitter.”

“Abi, are you fine with that?” Dad asked me, his eyes pleading me to say yes.

I sighed. “Well it doesn’t look like Riley is coming now, so yeah – he can come with me and Grayson on the condition you drive to the restaurant tonight and not walk. I don’t want you walking anywhere.”

“Of course, Abigail, what’s wrong darling – you worried about the wolves? It was just a fluke honey.” Mum assured me. I tried to smile back at her, but I already knew the horrible truth.

“Good, our plans are sorted then. How about we play one of your old board games in the kitchen till we have to get ready? We can let Riley sleep off her

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embarrassment in here.” Dad was in high spirits. I really didn’t want to ruin their date, but I had to tell them.

“I heard that.” Riley slurred, before falling back to sleep.

“Sounds weirdly good.” Logan answered, smirking at Dad.

“Wait – I need to tell you something first. When I was at Grayson’s before, his brother told me there had been another four murders on the island, that’s why you can’t walk anywhere tonight.” I spoke.

“What! Who? I haven’t heard anything.” Mum cried out in fear.

“Mr Potter, Deacon, Norris and Timmins, they were searching the forest for the wolves yesterday and they were found murdered in the woods in the afternoon by Grayson’s brother and some more officers.” I sat down.

“I used to fish with Mr Deacon when I was a kid, I can’t believe he’s dead – I’m so sorry but I think we should go to that meeting Kathryn and see what they say.” My dad suggested.

Mum nodded her head. “I agree, Abi

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you can still go with Grayson, just be careful please – you get in the car and go to the meeting that’s it and we will meet you there.”

“What about me? Can I still please go with Abigail?” Logan asked, his eyes were begging mum.

“No I want you with us, I’ll ring Konrad and tell him what’s happened and we can pick him up on the way to the school.”

Logan scoffed. “Please, I’m not a baby, I’m thirteen! I think I can manage getting in and out of a car. Please, you’ll see me there, anyway.”

“Just let him Kat, Abigail’s not stupid.” Dad said, jumping in on the conversation.

“Fine, but Abigail – you watch him, okay?” She didn’t want to disagree with my dad.

I smiled. “He will be fine, I’ll take care of him – I promise.” After all, the safest place for my brother at the minute was with two werewolves’ hell bent on protecting us.

“Thank you.” Logan looked excited about hearing the gruesome details of the

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murders. I spent the next seven hours playing Monopoly and watching television with my family. They were all hoping to forget what I’d just told them. I was trying to get ready in-between family time and eating my whole weight in chocolate. I couldn’t stop eating sugar. I saw that Riley was still fast asleep on the couch, there was no way on earth she was coming with us, I could only hope that Isaac wouldn’t give me grief about bringing my little brother along.

Logan and I were both ready on time waiting as Isaac pulled in the driveway. Grayson, being a gentleman, walked straight to our door to escort us to the car.

“Is Logan coming with us?” He asked me, looking puzzled.

“Yeah, is that okay? My mum and dad are going a bit later to the meeting, they need to pick my uncle up first and Logan wanted to come with me, so I’m looking after him.”

“Abigail, please be careful.” My mother yelled from the hallway.

“I will, I’ll see you there.” I said, trying

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to calm mum down.

“Yeah, it’s fine. Hello Mrs Lawson – Mr Lawson.” Grayson looked back at my parents. He probably only said it was okay because my mum and dad were perched behind us listening to our every word.

Logan threw himself into the car, claiming shotgun at speed, excited to be out of the house. I climbed into the car after him expecting Isaac to moan about my brother’s presence.

“Where’s Colton?” I asked wondering if he felt as bad as Riley did.

“I need him at home, but don’t worry about him – he’s fine.” Isaac said sharply. “You must be Logan; it’s nice to meet you properly.” I guess he really was attempting to be nice to me.

“Yeah, you’re Ella’s brother aren’t you – Isaac.” Logan asked.

“I certainly am, let’s go, shall we? Put your seatbelt on Logan.” Isaac continued to be polite. Grayson’s face was a picture, he couldn’t believe how well his brother was behaving, and he turned to look at me, grinning as he grabbed my hand in

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the back seat.

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Chapter Twenty-Three

Difference of Opinion

We arrived at the High School. I’d not been inside for at least three years. There were so many people entering the doors of the sports hall, I’d never seen the town come together like this before. Isaac tried to compose himself, but I could see in his eyes he was worried. Grayson’s brother led the way to the entrance. I looked up into the crowd and caught a fleeting glimpse of the faces of people waiting for the meeting to start.

They seemed scared about the whole thing and who could blame them. I’m sure they wanted this all to end – me included. I turned my head to look back at the growing number of people waiting to get through the doors. I wondered how they were all going to fit in here.

Eventually, we made it through the entrance and I could see that the gym was different now from when I was here. The hall was much bigger than the old

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one. Someone must have spent a fortune on the new equipment. I remembered my little brother last summer going on and on about how thrilled he was about having the new space for his basketball team, now I see he wasn’t exaggerating.

I could see Head Master Thorne standing in the corner at the top of the hall, going over his cue cards in his head. I didn’t even understand why that tongue-tied idiot was speaking in the first place. The four of us stuck together like glue, I tightly gripped Logan’s T-shirt from the back, afraid of losing him in the crowd. Luckily, we’d arrived early so there were still seats available in the front. We watchfully sat down and inspected the people in the hall. I was aware of the possibility that members of the Lasair were positioning themselves here.

The gathering of people in the gymnasium was overwhelming, most of them – I’d known my whole life; others seemed to be either prying tourists enjoying the commotion or reporters afraid of missing the next big story.

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Moving my head, I glanced over to the far right of the wall; I saw a man in his fifties glaring straight ahead, folding his arms. He seemed to be engrossed with the disturbance on top of the podium; the police were arguing about something and everyone could see that it was getting heated.

“Can you hear what the police are saying?” I turned to ask Grayson.

“Yes. How did you know I could hear them?” He smiled.

“Dogs have good hearing, don’t they? So, I just thought you’d have super hearing or something.” I realised that I’d insulted him, big time.

“We aren’t dogs Abigail.” Isaac smirked at his brother.

“I didn’t mean that.” I rolled my eyes. “Keep your voices down.” I urged, frightened of Logan overhearing our discussion.

“They’re talking about whether they should go into the extremities of what happened to the four men. They’re disagreeing, that’s all, and it’s nothing we

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don’t know.” Grayson lowered his voice to my ear. Isaac bowed forward, hearing something that concerned him.

“Did you hear that?”

“Yes, so Abigail was right.” Grayson spoke, looking at his brother.

“I was right about what?” I was tormented with the fact I couldn’t hear the police.

Grayson twisted his head to the side and shifted in my direction, his forehead pressed against the side of my face. “One of them let slip – all the men’s bodies had multiple broken bones, suggesting they’d fallen from a great height.” He confirmed that what I saw in the woods yesterday was real.

“So – I saw them fall in the forest. How did they not tell you about this Isaac?”

Isaac scanned the room as if he was looking for someone. “I don’t know, I couldn’t have known that from just seeing their bodies, I mean they were a total mess as it was. I’ve no clue why they would leave that out of the initial autopsy

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report. It didn’t even make sense in the bloody conversation they were having; the officer just blurted it out – almost like he’d been forced.”

“What do you mean – someone forced him?” I spoke.

“They’re here, they have to be – they’ll be watching us now, controlling stuff.” Isaac scared me. We knew there was a chance that the Lasair would be here, but thinking it and knowing it are two different things.

Logan pushed forward. “What are you three whispering about? I’m getting sick of it – I’m here, you know?”

“I’m sorry bud, it’s nothing, it’s about to start now.” I spoke indicating for us to watch the stage.

“We can’t stay here, it was a stupid idea – let’s go!” Isaac was freaking me out.

“What’s Isaac saying?” Logan asked, puzzled at our behaviour.

“Nothing Logan, he’s just being impatient – he wants the meeting to start.” Grayson tried to put my brother at ease.

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“Isaac, can we at least stay for the first speech – I want to know what they say. Even if they are here, they will hardly make a scene at a town meeting.” I said quickly.

He sighed. “Fine, we stay for ten minutes and then we go.”

The headmaster paced forward on the stage reaching the podium. “Thank you for coming this evening, we know how terrifying it is now to even step outside your homes.” He shuffled through his cards. I glanced around my shoulder to see my mum and dad walking in through the doors; I waved to them signalling my parents to come over. There wasn’t any seating left available; half of the people in the hall had to stand. Grayson and Isaac noticed their arrival and graciously gave up their seats for my parents, whilst the brothers stood at the side of our row watching the stage closely.

“What have we missed?” Mum asked, shuffling around in her seat.

I smiled. “Nothing, it’s just started.”

The Headmaster was clearly anxious

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by the amount of people listening to him. “I just want to say, that although the events from these past few days are devastating to our Isles, we will get through this and we will see those vicious animals stopped.” The police chief sensed the Headmasters’ nervousness and headed towards the podium to end his baffling talk.

“Thank you, Headmaster for your words of comfort. I am Police Chief Johnson; I am the one that initiated this meeting today in response to another unfortunate incident on the island. I felt it was necessary to let you all know we have had four more killings.” Johnson led the crowd to murmur and exhale noisily at his frank approach.

“I know – I know, what you are feeling because I am feeling it. The men that have been murdered are Mr Timmins, Mr Deacon, Mr Norris and Mr Potter, there will be funerals held for each man accordingly but as of now, I have no more news on that. It is devastating; five members of our close-knit community

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have now fallen prey to these killers. This is an ongoing investigation so we can’t put forward all our information to you. The new information that has arisen from further examination is that we are dealing with something else entirely. We have reason to believe there could be human involvement but, we cannot tell you anymore. We can only ask you to remain watchful and stay on your guard and if any of you see anything strange, please inform us. I understand all of you want to know more, but this is a peculiar case and we are working day and night to find the killers. We just thought you all should be told in person that’s all I can tell you at the minute. Wildlife specialist Christina Yen will now speak to you on safety precautions and then we will open the floor to any questions you may have.” Johnson spoke, choosing to shy away from the gory details of the murders.

I shifted my gaze to right side of the sports hall again and saw the same man as before sniggering to himself as he watched the police chief come down from

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the stage. He uncrossed his arms and turned to look straight at me, I scrambled over mum and dad to tell Isaac and Grayson.

“I don’t know how I know but I’m sure he’s one of them.” I whispered to the brothers, pointing at the man at the other side of the room.

Grayson was confused by my insistence. “How can you be sure?”

“Just trust me, he is!” I assured him.

Grayson and Isaac rushed through the hall, barging through the crowd to get to the man. I saw the stranger smile at me before pushing through the side door in the gym as the brothers chased after him. No one even noticed the disturbance; everyone was too occupied paying attention to the safety instructions.

“Mum I have to go, I’ll ring you – I’m sorry.” I said, distressed.

“Why? What? Abigail!” She shouted as I darted off after Grayson.

I dived through the side door of the gym noticing that all the lights in the corridor had been turned off. I couldn’t

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see or hear anything, this part of the building was new, and I didn’t have a clue where I was. Suddenly, a faint light flickered through the shadows; someone was in here with me.

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Chapter Twenty-Four

The Arrival

Standing in the darkness was sending my imagination into overdrive. I tiptoed towards the light, breathing heavily with every step I took. I could still hear the faint sounds of the crowd next door; their voices were comforting me.

I presumed that Grayson was far ahead of me by now; I don’t know why I even continued in my pursuit, other than everything in my body told me to go after him. The light was helping me; it led me to another hallway. I could see an emergency door exit open, leading outside. I took a moment to look around, but I couldn’t see anything that could have caused the light. Out of the corner of my eye, I glanced down to find a small piece of mirror on the floor, this could have been used to reflect the light my way, but who did it? There was another room leading from the right side of the corridor, I wondered if my helper had run in there.

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“Hello?” I spoke, afraid that someone would answer me back. There was only silence, if somebody was hiding in there, they didn’t want me finding them. I rushed through the corridor to the emergency exit, grateful for the daylight that now surrounded me. Stood in the sea of cars parked next to the school was Grayson resting against a lamppost.

I ran towards him. “Why are you still here? Where’s Isaac?”

“He’s gone after that man, we think you were right, he’s Lasair. How did you know before we did Abigail? We surveyed that whole place, we couldn’t detect them – but you did – how?” Grayson said edgier, I couldn’t understand if he was complimenting my instinct or implying something more insidious.

“What are you getting at Grayson? I noticed him, I thought he was strange, that’s it.” I was angered by his subtle accusation.

“But – that’s not it, is it? I could tell that it wasn’t instinct, you knew he was Lasair and I want to know how?” He

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yelled at me, grabbing my arm.

“I don’t know! I just did! What the hell has gotten into you?” I attempted to shake him off.

“Tell me how you knew and I’ll let go!” He petrified me.

All at once, a car came speeding around the corner of the school and was heading straight towards us, it was Grayson’s car. It skidded to a standstill as the car doors opened. “Get away from him Abigail!” I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was Grayson and Isaac.

“How are there two of you?” Isaac pulled me around to the back of the car.

“Now, now wolf – bad dog!” The doppelgänger scoffed. The man slowly began to morph back into another form.

“Joseph. Nice trick with the car.” Grayson whispered, recognising the man’s face.

“I’m flattered you remember me and yes it was, you can thank my son for that. I only wanted a little alone time with your girlfriend here.”

“Don’t talk about her.” Grayson

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comanded.

“Whatever you say. It’s been a long-time boys. The last time I saw you was at your uncle’s funeral.” Joseph said, challenging Grayson’s willpower to risk a confrontation outside the sports hall.

Grayson’s eyes grew brighter; I could see that he was struggling to keep his wolf at bay. “I remember all of you, where’s your brother? Isn’t he usually the one doing all the stalking and impersonating?”

“He’s otherwise engaged in another activity now.” Joseph, said, chuckling to himself.

“How did you find us here?” Isaac interrupted.

“We always find your kind, eventually; you must have known it was only a matter of time Isaac. Child, what are you doing bothering yourself with these futile creatures? It seems beneath you Abigail.” Joseph was now directing his awfulness at me.

“How do you know my name?” I said, moving Isaac’s arm away from me.

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“I know most things about you Abigail, although I do take a particular interest in a girl my son seems to be fond of, he’s quite besotted by you. You remember Leopold, don’t you?” Joseph laughed. “I’m feeling generous today so I’ll make you an offer princess, you can either side with these beasts and almost certainly die or you can come with me now and I promise nothing will happen to you or that darling family of yours.”

The meeting seemed to be finishing as people were already making their way out into the car park. I knew there was nothing that the brothers could do to Joseph whilst we were all in public; they would have to let him go.

“I’ve heard all about you! What you’ve done in the past and I’d rather die than ever take your side in anything!” I roared, staring Joseph down. “And you can tell that son of yours to keep away from me.”

“That can most likely be arranged my girl. Well, as fun as this little meeting of yours has been, I had better be going.” Joseph headed into the crowd of people,

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a few seconds later he was gone.

“Let’s go home, we can wait for the family to come back.” Isaac instructed.

I caught a glimpse of my parent’s silhouettes coming through the metal door; mum spotted me and rushed over to make sure everything was fine. I had just made a scene in there.

“What the hell happened? Why did you run off? – You scared me half to death?”

“It was me, Mrs Lawson, I was going to be sick, so she was just rushing after me, but I’m fine now.” Grayson smiled at my mum.

“Okay, as long as you’re all right, I guess. I’m not surprised to be honest; it almost got a little too much for me in there. Where are you going now?”

“I’m going back to Grayson’s house, his family have really warmed up to me now, is that okay?” I noticed mum’s apprehensive face.

“Oh really? Have they now.” Mum almost shouted, still angry at how Grayson’s family treated me.

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“It would be fine Abigail but I was just going to ask you if you could watch Logan for us, I was hoping me and your mum could salvage some of the date that I’d planned.” Dad guilt tripped me into doing a favour for him.

“Logan can come over to our house, if it’s not a problem with you? I’m sure he’d like to see Ella, anyway. I can even drop him back off at home at nine if that’s okay.” Isaac blurted out. I was still struggling with the idea that Isaac was now being nice.

“Aww yes! Please mum.” Logan pleaded moving towards us, as if standing nearer to Isaac would convince mum to let him come with us.

Mum sighed. “I guess that would be okay, but please no later than nine.”

“No later than nine, got it.” Isaac assured her.

“Okay, well have a good time, Abigail watch him – please.” She told me.

I smiled. “I will, bye guys.”

“Right, let’s go.” Isaac shouted, as we all climbed into Gray’s car.

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We were in the car twenty minutes before we reached the Hale manor; the traffic from the town meeting was horrendous on our small, meandering roads. As Isaac pulled up to the house, we all noticed another car in the driveway, the family were already home. We didn’t expect them till much later. Kaleb must have heard the car pull in because he was outside as we arrived. We all got out of the car as he came rushing towards us. Grayson straight away hugged his dad. Kaleb then hugged Isaac and held his face as a sign of respect. I was anxious to know how Kaleb would react to mine and Logan’s presence at his home, even though if the man said one wrong thing to Logan – werewolf or not, I’d take him.

“Abigail – Logan, it’s nice to see you. I suspect you’ve all had a good time while we have been gone, no?” He asked.

“It’s been fine.” I snapped, thinking Kaleb was mocking us.

Kaleb sensed my resentment towards him and shifted closer. “I meant nothing by that Abigail, guys can you leave us for

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a second, please get Logan something to drink.” I didn’t understand what Kaleb had to talk about; I wasn’t going anywhere, so any stupid attempts to persuade me away from Grayson would only be ignored. Grayson was unwilling to leave me with his father and hovered at the top of the drive.

“Grayson go inside please, I won’t say anything bad to her.” Kaleb assured him causing Grayson to reluctantly step inside the house. “I’m sorry for how myself and my family reacted to your relationship with my son, we were animals that night and that’s not how I want you to think of us. I understand if my apology means nothing to you Abigail because we were beyond awful to you, but from my personal perspective, I am truly sorry for letting them act that way.”

“I accept your apology; does your wife feel the same way as you?” I was still angry at Maria’s appalling behaviour.

“Unfortunately, Maria has not moved on her stance, but you can leave her to me. I must warn you right now about more

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pressing matters. I know Grayson has told you all about us and what we are and I understand how much he loves you. Having said that there are two members of the counsel, McKentire and Connell, they are inside this house and they will not approve of you and my son together, you must prepare yourself for their opinion.” He cautioned me.

“I can deal with it.” I told him.

“I’m sure you will, although there is one more thing Abigail, Faelyn is also here. When the counsel heard about your relationship with Grayson, they schemed to bring her back with us, but that has nothing to do with this family, not even Maria had her hand in that. We now know the Lasair were intimidating you – not Faelyn, but make no mistake she is a wolf and she has a bite, don’t let your guard down around her.”

“Let’s go inside.” I urged him, seeing how this time he was being protective of me.

Kaleb linked my arm kindly as we wandered into the house together;

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everyone was seated comfortably in the large reception room. I could see my brother staying close to young Ella and an attractive girl around my age staring right back at me from her chair, I knew it was Faelyn. I noticed immediately that Colton was sitting on one of the tables with his mother, thank God; Colton was safe. Anna and Aidan waved happy to see me with Grayson again. I hadn’t been in this room often and only now did I realise how beautiful it was, glass windows were positioned across the entire wall leading out into the back garden.

I could even see the sun setting from where I was stood. Grayson saw my arrival and rushed over to grab my hand, leading Kaleb to leave us.

“Are you okay? What did he say?” Grayson spoke, afraid that his father had upset me.

“It was great actually, he was warning me. He told me about the counsel – what to expect and about Faelyn being here and your family not having any part in it. I think Kaleb was just trying to protect me,

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even before when I’d just first met your family.” I now understood his father’s actions.

“That’s good then.” Grayson kissed my forehead. “Please come with me.” He pulled me over to the windows. “I need to ask you something Abigail, it can’t wait any longer and I’ve wanted to do this since the very first moment I met you. I had a speech planned and everything and now I’m just messing it up. What I mean is, because of the Lasair I don’t know how this will end for us, but I want you to know -” Grayson was rudely interrupted by an old man stumbling to his feet.

“So, this is the girl you have chosen Grayson, this is her?” The man asked, visibly livid with my boyfriend, pointing straight at me as if I was an animal in a cage.

Another man, a lot younger than the first suddenly made his presence known by rising from his chair next to the bar. “I don’t understand how you could all let this happen in the first place – they can’t even have children. Realistically a wolf and

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human can never be, it is in our code and you are supposed to be the legacy of the Hale clan. You are a disgrace to his name. We have kept this secret for hundreds of years – do you really think a human can be trusted? This is exactly the reason why we don’t reveal ourselves. We will have to use compulsion.” His venomous words caused me to squeeze Grayson’s hand tighter.

“A human and a what?” Logan asked, his mouth opened in disbelief.

“Ella, please take Logan into the kitchen.” Maria instructed.

“What are they talking about Abigail?” Logan stopped Ella from escorting him outside.

“Ah, so you haven’t told your brother Abigail?” McKentire laughed at the situation.

“Please don’t.” I begged him.

Logan looked at me. “What’s going on Abigail?”

“It’s just all a big misunderstanding Logan, that’s all.” Anna answered, trying to help me cover up the truth.

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“Never mind the boy; Grayson made this mess, he can compel them both to forget later. So, is this her Grayson? Answer me.” Connell questioned him, leading my brother to sit down and listen to the rest of the conversation.

“Grayson? I thought that was hard for you to do?” I looked at him.

“Hard to do? I don’t know who told you that child but we can compel people quite easily. Grayson here is one of the best. You’ll soon find out how good he is when he compels you to forget all of this. I bet he didn’t tell you it hurts either, did he? It’s painless for us but agony for humans.” Connell continued.

Grayson moved in front of me. “No one will touch her.”

I sighed. “You lied. That’s what Isaac meant when he said you were powerful. What else can you do Gray?”

“If I’d have told you the whole truth about it, you would have felt certain I’d used it on you. So, I said I was bad at it, I couldn’t have you thinking you only loved me because I made you. Yes, McKentire –

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Connell, this is my girlfriend and I insist you use her name to address her, it’s Abigail and as for a disgrace, you two are an embarrassment.” Grayson defended me.

“Grayson, you can’t talk to him like that.” Maria was scared for her son.

“Oh, shut up Maria, if he talks to Abigail like that, what does he expect?” Kaleb shouted, making his stance on our relationship known.

“Well – Kaleb, I would never have thought you would endorse such a relationship, your father must be so proud, maybe it was for the best you didn’t succeed your father in taking his place on the counsel after all.” McKentire sneered.

Rafe suddenly reached out for my hand. “His father couldn’t possibly be more proud of him than he is in this very moment you arrogant bastard. I thought exactly like you when I first met her but seeing their love presented to me in a series of visions, I was persuaded to look the other way. They love each other as much as I loved my wife Mary, and that’s

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all that matters now.” Rafe was trying to make amends. Although, I was shocked that he’d seen his grandson and me together in his visions, I could only hope he’d seen the PG version of our relationship.

“We all agree with Grayson and Abigail’s relationship, its old-fashioned to not consider their feelings in all of this.” Aidan proclaimed, choosing his side.

“I can’t believe what I am hearing, Grayson you are promised to Faelyn we all agreed that she was the right match for you when you were eighteen, she’s waited for you for three years.” Connell interfered, his words still meaning nothing to Grayson.

“Abigail is my soul mate, she’s the one I belong with, I truly am sorry Faelyn but I’ve made my decision.” I could see Faelyn was devastated by Gray’s admission, I couldn’t possibly know how she felt. When I first saw her at the back of the room, I couldn’t comprehend how Grayson could choose me over her.

“Do you all approve of their

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relationship? Raise your hand, who agrees with Grayson and Abigail’s association.” Connell ordered the group. To my amazement, everyone but Maria and Faelyn raised their hands to support us. Somehow, Logan even found the strength inside himself to raise his hand, even after hearing our confusing discussion; maybe he was already suspicious from Ella’s behaviour. His hand didn’t matter to the counsel, but it meant everything to me. Maria locked on Grayson’s face and had no choice but to also raise her hand in acceptance.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. We will assist you Rafe in finding another hide out for you and your family based on your enviable successes on the counsel, but after that your family will be officially exiled – what a waste of the Hale bloodline. Oh, and whether you like it or not, there will be more of us come and visit you. We won’t allow any human to know about us, you must understand that.” McKentire declared.

There was an eerie silence

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resonating through the reception room, each of us distraught by the council’s decision, I couldn’t believe his family were all finally behind our relationship. They were all willing to sacrifice so much for us. Despite this, all I could think about in that instant was telling my brother everything and helping him come to terms with what he’d just heard, unfortunately there was no time for that.

Out of nowhere, figures surfaced from the trees surrounding the Hale’s back garden. Through the enormous glass windows, we could see there were six large bodied men approaching the house. The family and I, all frozen in shock, could make out a few faces slowly emerging from the woodland; the person leading the pack was no other than Joseph, leader of the Lasair.

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Chapter Twenty-Five

Hostility

The tribe of men advanced swiftly towards the house, I thought to myself, this is it; this is how I’m going to die. I’d become acquainted with death from a very young age, at one point I’d been to six funerals within a year, Riley’s mum included. It felt as if someone had just pressed a button to kill the surrounding people. When I was fourteen, a small part of me believed I was some sort of jinx, taking everyone down and looking back at the past few months, maybe I still was.

“Abigail, take Ella and Logan upstairs!” Grayson commanded. I loathed the idea of leaving him to fight the Lasair without me, but what else could I do? I was only human. I grabbed Ella and Logan’s hands to pull them upstairs but immediately our feet were immobilised, we couldn’t move! Our feet were stuck firmly to the ground; I looked back at the Hale’s attempting to seal off the doors.

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Joseph was staring at me through the window; I knew he was the one preventing us from moving.

“Abigail, what’s going on? I can’t move my feet.” Logan cried, clutching at my hand.

“Grayson!” I yelled, leading him to sprint over to Ella. He tried to lift his sister but she wouldn’t budge, Joseph was casting a spell on us. Whatever ominous plan he had, I was sure he wanted me to be part of it.

“Let them go Joseph!” Grayson screamed, storming over to the windows.

“Fine, but if they try to leave again. I will kill your little sister.” Joseph uttered through the glass.

“Come out to play dogs.” A young man said, edging closer towards the door. Straight away, we were released from our dormant pose. I could see Leopold, the man who had once saved me; he was hiding behind his father. His guilty conscience was probably working overtime seeing my face again. Unexpectedly, the Lasair began retreating

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from the house, allowing the Hales the space they needed to move outside.

“We need to go out there.” Isaac spoke.

“Ella, Abigail and Logan please stay inside. Dad you’re too important to risk. You stay here.” Kaleb instructed.

Rafe jumped in. “There’s no way I’m letting my family go out there without me.”

“Thank you.” Kaleb said, showing his respect to all of them. “Okay, we stick together, there are only six of them. Do as I say.”

“They have their power. We have nothing.” Faelyn eventually spoke.

“Don’t be such a child Faelyn. We can’t defeat them, but we can chase them off for now.” Anna showed her disdain for her.

“We don’t need any spells, we have family and our strength, that will be enough, you know what we are capable of!” Kaleb assured them, cautiously opening the glass door.

The Hale clan paced outside, they stood in a row across the decking floor, I

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guess to intimidate the Lasair who were now standing below them on the grass.

“Conan.” Grayson muttered, ogling the terrifying young man who had spoken earlier. I could still hear everything they were saying from inside the house, the glass windows must have been remarkably thin.

“Grayson, I wish I could say it’s good to see you. It’s a shame; you’re not going to let the humans play with us?” Conan looked intently at us through the glass doors.

“Keep away from them.” Grayson snarled.

“Grayson, stay cool.” Aidan instructed him.

“Breathe dog; I have no intention of harming your sweet little human. My brother, Leopold, on the other hand must have some delightful plans in store for her, which I’m sure she’s likely to enjoy.” Conan spoke, leading Leopold to glance my way. He suddenly winked at me, almost telling me that this was all going to be okay. Who the hell was this man?

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“I can’t hear anything, Ella what are they saying?” Logan whispered.

“You mean, you can’t hear them?” I asked my brother, looking at him puzzled.

“No, can you?” He gazed up at me.

“Yes, clearly.” I wondered why my brother couldn’t hear them.

“Well, what are they saying then?” Logan continued.

“Nothing good.” Ella answered quickly. “It’s probably for the best you don’t know.” The three of us watched on as we impatiently waited for someone to make the first move.

“Say that to me again.” Grayson said to Conan.

“Conan! Not now!” Joseph yelled to his son, I could tell he wasn’t used to being the one in control.

“Grayson!” Kaleb shouted, attempting to control his son.

“What’s wrong dog, your hearing gone? I said my brother will rip Abigail apart, but in a good way.” Conan repeated, leading Grayson to change into his wolf in a rage.

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He soared through the air, jumping powerfully off the wooden planks. The Lasair prepared themselves for a struggle as Grayson descended on Conan. In response to Gray’s hasty transformation, the Hale clan had no choice but to change into their wolves and strike first at the Lasair.

The string of them nose-dived immediately into the coven, challenging them to fight back. Suddenly, Faelyn ran off into the woods leading on from the garden dodging the Lasair with every stride, her loyalty to the Hales had been broken and she had no intention of fighting with them. Anna was aware of Faelyn’s cowardice and instantly took after her in a bid to make her stay and fight bolstering the clan’s numbers.

During the first moments of conflict, Grayson sank his teeth into Conan’s shoulder causing him to fall flat on his back. Maria focused on one of the younger members of the Lasair who couldn’t have been any older than eighteen. She mercilessly chewed at his

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hand, ripping it to shreds. The young man could use his power and hurl her through the air. Luckily, she landed on her feet and proceeded to help Rafe and Aidan concentrate on their defence.

Colton loosened his muscles making his presence known, I could see his fur standing on end in a strong line all the way down his back to his thick neck, I don’t know how he did it but he made himself look even more menacing, I guess that was the point. I was so glad Riley wasn’t here to see this. Suddenly, a larger man attacked Colton furiously from the side ramming him straight into the outside table. Kaleb saw this and rushed to protect his son hurdling over everyone and gnawing at the back of the man.

The two counsel members were circling Joseph, licking their lips in anticipation. I knew something wasn’t right, Joseph seemed too relaxed, calm even in response to the counsel’s antagonism. Without warning Joseph, separated his arms to each side tossing the wolves off his tribe. His power was

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extraordinary and formidable; he wanted the wolves to think they had a chance, but he was toying with them. Joseph’s power sent the wolves straight to the ground.

I noticed that Maria had fallen on a metal pipe that was now spiking up from the soil causing a bleed in her abdomen. Ella saw her mum’s injuries and transformed into a wolf before my eyes, heading towards the exit. She charged mightily through the door, shattering the glass into thousands of pieces.

“Ella! No!” Logan squealed, swiftly chasing after her. I reached out my hand quickly to grasp Logan’s T-shirt but he was too fast for me. In a frenzy, I pursued my brother outside.

Ella licked her mum’s wounds, fearing that something was seriously wrong. Grayson turned back into his human form and darted towards his mother.

“We need to take the pipe out so she can heal!” he shouted. Grayson released the metal pipe from Maria’s side, causing her to turn back into her earthly self. I figured that their emotions were linked to

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their power when they felt an emotional intensity like pain or anger; it seemed to trigger their transformation. I spotted a blanket on one of the benches on the decking and hurried to fetch it. As Grayson nursed his injured mother, Conan dragged him back over to where he was stood. I moved back down the steps to cover Maria.

“Hold the material on her here Logan, press hard.” I instructed my brother, whilst I attempted to hide the rest of Maria’s naked body from the cold. I twisted my head to see what was happening to the rest of the Hale clan. The wolves and the Lasair were wrestling in combat; there was no sign of the fight stopping. Ella continuously stared at her mother’s body, watching as she struggled to breathe. Suddenly, Ella turned and jumped onto Joseph’s back, crunching into his neck.

“Ella!” I yelled, as Joseph’s hand moved to the side causing Ella’s young body to launch through the air and smash straight into a tree. Ella looked up at the branches they seemed to move hastily to

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the side. All three of us noticed there was a break in the trunk and the tree was not far from plummeting to the ground. I could see in Maria’s face the horror and devastation she felt being unable to rescue her daughter. I knew Grayson said his family were pretty much indestructible but from where I was standing; it didn’t look that way to me. To save Ella’s life, I stampeded over to the tree and somehow picked her up in time.

The wolves could hear the snapping of the trunk seconds before the Lasair and used this to their advantage, just before the trunk fell the wolves tried to position the Lasair right under the heavy branches. As the tree fell to the ground, the wolves pushed the Lasair right under it trapping them within the dark, heavy wood as they scurried away from any danger.

Logan looked at me ecstatically, knowing we had won. “You did it, they’re gone!” Logan shouted, leading the wolves to change back into their human bodies. We could see two members of the Lasair flattened by the tree, but Kaleb wanted to

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make sure they were all dead.

“Wait, where’s granddad?” Colton cried, searching the garden for Rafe.

“I’m here, my legs got stuck.” Rafe explained, lying beneath a branch. Aidan pulled him out and led him to a wooden bench near the fence so he could heal.

“Oh no – Maria!” Kaleb hollered, dashing over to where she lay.

“I’ll be okay, its healing Kaleb, don’t worry.” Maria told him sternly. After a few minutes with her husband, Maria regained a healthy breathing pattern.

“Healing?” Logan asked Maria.

She smiled. “Yes, we can heal ourselves exceptionally well.”

“Good to know.” Logan arched his brows still in complete shock.

“Although, our power doesn’t stop the pain. Thank you, Abigail, for helping Ella.” Maria smiled at me.

“You’re welcome.” I nodded.

Abruptly, the tree moved, lifting gradually in the air, it was Joseph. We could see that Leopold had survived, clutching one of the branches on the

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ground with another man who hadn’t made it. Conan was barely hanging on; his neck was pumping out blood.

“Miss me?” Joseph said sarcastically throwing the huge tree backwards further into the garden. All at once, Joseph generated a mammoth fire separating us from them. He pulled the two members of the counsel into the fire using his power and impeding us so we couldn’t help them, we could only sit and watch them burn.

“No! Please don’t!” Rafe begged him to stop. Joseph ignored our appeals for mercy and laughed at our misery. I cried, hearing their haunting screams as I covered my brother’s and Ella’s eyes from the horror.

“Who’s next? Perhaps that little brat!” Joseph pointed to Ella. Before, I could do anything; Logan jumped in front of her and was thrown high into the air being hurled directly at the house wall. Colton quickly changed back into his wolf form and jumped to my brothers’ rescue, catching one of Logan’s legs with his

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teeth. Logan fell to the floor with Colton below him preventing any serious injury to my brother’s head. Colt distorted back into his human self and picked up Logan, bringing him to me, Colton’s hands were covered in blood.

“Thank you, Colt!” I spoke, repeating those words a thousand times. “Wait! Why is there so much blood?” I shouted hysterically.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen to him, I –” Joseph muttered quietly, shocked by Logan’s gallantry to save Ella.

“Abi, I think my leg’s hurt.” Logan murmured before falling unconscious. In a fright, I looked down to check my brother’s leg, he was losing so much blood. Logan had a severe bite mark from where Colton had caught him; I needed to get him to the hospital.

“I’m so sorry Abigail; it was the only way I could get to him in time.” Colton proclaimed out of guilt, holding pressure on Logan’s leg.

I stood, carefully passing my brother over to Colton as he kneeled. I darted

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over to the fire in a rage. “You bastard! If he dies you’re dead, do you hear me you are dead! I will kill you myself!” I yelled viciously as Grayson picked me up from the waist, dragging me back from the fire.

“Stay away from him Abigail!” Leopold yelled, giving me that strange look again as though he was protecting me.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen to your brother, you shouldn’t even be here Abigail. I’m under strict instructions not to harm you or Logan but at the moment with you talking to me like this you’re making it extremely difficult for me to keep that promise.” Joseph spoke.

“Orders from who? What are you talking about?” I screamed at Joseph, frantically wanting some answers.

“Father, enough!” Leopold interrupted, causing Joseph’s head to turn around. “Do you even care that your son is dying here, we have to go!” Joseph hesitantly nodded to Leopold and then directed his attention back to us.

“I guess it’s your lucky day mutts, I trust this won’t be the last time we see

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each other, and my brother hasn’t even played with you all yet.” Joseph muttered, chilling my bones with every word. Suddenly, they were all gone leaving only a cloud of smoke trailing off into the sky. I couldn’t believe how powerful they were, and that there had only been six of them.

I couldn’t help but think it was only by fluke we had survived. “I need to get Logan to the hospital now!” I said, fearing for my brother’s life.

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Chapter Twenty-Six

The Unexpected

“We can take the car! It’ll be quicker than waiting for an ambulance.” Kaleb shouted, rushing up the decking stairs towards the house.

Anna came back through the forest yelling at the top of her voice. “I couldn’t find the little bitch, she lost me.” She quickly realised that my brother was injured. “Oh no, Logan!”

“One of us needs to take him! We can get there faster!” Isaac screamed in panic.

Immediately Grayson picked up my brother from the ground and raced through the back garden heading straight into the woods without saying a word to any of us. I’d seen nothing like it before; he shot off like a bullet, so fast I barely saw him leave.

“Grayson!” I yelled after him, feeling Kaleb’s hand on my shoulder. Maria sprang up, proving that her injuries for the most part had healed.

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“It’s okay Abigail, he will get him to the hospital faster than we ever could in a car, I promise, please don’t worry.” Maria assured me as I gazed off into the forest. “Right! Everyone to Kaleb’s car, it’ll fit us all in. Abigail, ring your mum and dad on the way.” She instructed whilst pressing my back, edging me away from the garden.

“What happened?” Anna asked me, reaching for my hand.

“Colton saved him from Joseph but he accidentally bit his leg, he was bleeding so badly.” I explained bursting out into tears leading Anna and Aidan to console me.

The ride over to the hospital felt like a nightmare, mum had trusted me to look after Logan and then I bring him into this mess. I should have kept him away from the Hales!

Hell, I should have stayed away from the Hales, what was I even thinking, getting involved with these people, knowing what they were capable of. I sat there in the car for five minutes staring at

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my phone, feeling Maria’s beady eyes watching me from the passenger mirror, the truth was – I really didn’t want to ring my family. I had no idea on how to explain what had just happened to my brother. Ella rested her head on my shoulder, weeping softly beside me. She reminded me of Logan, nothing else mattered but him. I found the courage to dial my mum’s number and impatiently waited for her to answer.

“Mum! There’s been an accident, it’s Logan, he’s been bitten! I’m on the way to the hospital with the Hales to meet him now!” I yelled down the phone to her.

“What! Was it a wolf? Why aren’t you with him now?” She asked frantically.

“Mum, I’ll explain everything to you when we get to the hospital, I can’t right now.” I screamed, still in shock.

“Okay, I’ll grab Konrad, your dad and I will meet you down there!” Mum spoke, hanging up the phone.

“I’m dead! How could I let this happen?” I muttered under my breath. I was shaking, I couldn’t stop shaking.

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“You couldn’t know Abigail.” Ella said kindly, trying to make me feel better, she only made me feel worse.

I did know this was going to happen, as soon as Grayson told me about the Lasair, I had a choice to make and I chose to only care about myself and what I wanted. As I sat there silently reflecting on the decisions that had led me to this point, I suddenly realised that things weren’t quite adding up. I glanced back at my phone; I’d saved the symbol of the three rays of light as my screen-saver, hoping that it would stick in my mind so I could figure out what it meant. My thumb scrolled the screen sideways, making the symbol clearer. My eyes were drawn to the small word in the corner of the image, ‘The Awen’.

How could I have missed that? Grayson kept on calling it the three rays of light, it never dawned on me it could have also been called something else. Everything sank in. The Lasair were after me even before I had met Grayson, that first night I was alone with my brother, the

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intruder in my house was sent by the witches, but why? Something Joseph had said kept eating away at me. “I’m under strict instructions not to harm you or Logan.” Instructions from who? Snapshots of what had happened flashed quickly in my mind, the note that had been left on the windowsill, mum’s car that had been completely sabotaged, the writing on the mirror and all that stuff with Jackson! I finally knew who was doing all of this, how could I not have seen it?

“Oh, my God!” I screamed in the car. “Get me there faster – Logan’s in danger!”

“What?” Isaac looked back at me.

I needed to put pressure on Kaleb. “We need to go faster!”

“What’s wrong Abigail?” I was worrying Maria.

I cried deeply into my hand, wiping my tears away with the sleeve of my cardigan, praying to God that I was wrong about my suspicions.

“I think I know who’s been doing everything; I just hope it’s not true.” I sat sobbing in the back seat so hard I was

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struggling to breathe. A few minutes later we arrived at the hospital, I raced inside and located the reception desk. “I’m looking for my brother; he should have just been brought in by my boyfriend, Logan James Lawson.”

“Let me just find his name – one minute.” The receptionist said searching through her records on the computer. “Yes, I’ve found it. I’m sorry but your brother is in intensive care now. Just wait here and I’ll get a doctor to come and see you.”

The words intensive care kept on playing round and round in my head like lyrics to a song that wouldn’t go away. Everyone knows intensive care means critically ill. My sweet younger brother who has nothing to do with any of this. I pictured Logan in my mind needing constant medical attention just to keep his body functioning. He already had a bad heart, anything like this could bring on a heart attack or something else just as bad. He’s probably frightened, wondering where we are. I couldn’t stop thinking

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about him lying on his bed, struggling to breathe and fighting for his life. I didn’t understand why he had to be intensive care and not surgery; he should be having surgery right now!

I stood there with the Hales for what must have been only a few minutes but it felt like a lifetime. I saw my mum and dad walking in through the automatic doors, my uncle Konrad trailing not far behind them. I glanced at my parents’ faces filled with sadness and fear. I couldn’t look at them any longer as they approached us. My eyes however remained fixated on my uncle as he walked through the doors.

Konrad noticed the Hale clan stood at the side of me, he stopped dead in his tracks. My uncle had done so well up to now at keeping his distance, it suddenly hit me in the car that Konrad had never been in the same room as any of the Hales. He had never even met Grayson; he’d always make some excuse to leave like he did when he dropped Logan off at home, Konrad dashed off back into the house as I was going outside to greet

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them. In the hospital, he made sure, he visited me when the Hales weren’t there. He had planned it all perfectly; I had to give it to him.

My uncle had always talked about them, offering what I thought at the time was his protective opinion over my welfare but really, he was manoeuvring me around like a chess piece. Konrad was the person Joseph kept talking about, the real leader of the Lasair.

The intruder at my house was obviously a warning of the things to come; he was trying to plant a seed that very first night so I’d link it to the arrival of the Hales the next day. It would have worked if I hadn’t had the dream about Grayson for a month prior to his appearance. The driftwood covered in blood that was conjured up as I was having my first real meeting with Grayson. Konrad must have wrecked my mum’s car too, pretending he couldn’t fix it, I knew it was odd because my uncle has always had a way of ‘magically’ fixing things.

He’s the one that left the note on my

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windowsill and my mirror, although I’m sure, he never meant for me to slip and fall in the bathroom. I wonder why he didn’t see that in his stupid crystal ball! Even though my stint in hospital must have worked out well for him considering I was out-of-the-way for a while or maybe he thought he’d taken it too far when I’d got hurt. After all, the threats stopped as soon as I got home from the hospital, perhaps he still cared about us in his own way, despite everything. I should have seen it earlier.

The biggest clue of all was that bloody symbol he used on the note to sign his name. I found myself seeing one of my earlier memories as a child. I was about fourteen and because Logan was ill at the time, he was understandably always getting the attention. My uncle took me out along the beach, to get away from it all. We spotted these little craft stalls selling trinkets and souvenirs for the tourists. On one of the stalls, there was a woman claiming to be a psychic. I begged my uncle to let me have my cards read,

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he was reluctant to let it happen, but eventually he gave in. The fortune-teller was stating the obvious until she got to the part about me loving to sing. I remember smiling back at Konrad thinking she was the real deal, she told me I was an Awen, that I was someone’s big inspiration, a girl born to do something very special with her life. She never showed me a symbol, and I never thought to look it up afterwards. My uncle told me I was his inspiration; we were always closer after that, I suppose that’s why he used it. I had forgotten all about that memory until now.

My uncle was trying to keep us safe ordering the Lasair not to touch me or my brother in the fight with the Hales, but still – I hated him, how could he do this to our family, to my mum for God’s sake and how could I not have seen it sooner. Konrad sent a fleeting look my way, seeing my tear soaked eyes left in the wake of his actions. For a second I saw the Uncle that had always been there for me; the one person I could always

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depend on. In an instant, all of that faded away revealing a monster that had been hiding underneath my bed, all along, without me realising it.

He realised I knew who he really was. Konrad looked at me one last time; his eyes were unchanging. I half expected him to transform somehow, but he didn’t, he still looked like the same man I had trusted from the first day I was brought into this world. A few people were entering the building, blocking Konrad from my view. By the time, they had rushed through the doors, my uncle had already disappeared.

“Dad, is that?” Colton trembled.

I knew they all recognised him. “That was my uncle Konrad; he was the one doing everything all along.”

“He’s your uncle? How is that even possible?” Maria spoke.

“His real name is William, Abigail, and he was never your uncle, you’re not Lasair. You can’t even be related. Your grandparents will have adopted him.” Rafe answered, troubling me even more.

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Konrad had never even been my real uncle; I wonder if mum knew he was adopted.

“William was hiding with you, right under our noses.” Kaleb felt defeated. My mum and dad stopped our conversation as they reached us at the reception desk.

My mum was hysterical. “Where’s Logan?”

“I was just about to come and get you all, everyone can come upstairs to the intensive care unit but only family can see him for now, the rest of you should sit in the waiting room.” The doctor instructed. None of us spoke to each other all the way to the second floor, most likely out of respect for the doctor escorting us. Mum probably wanted to tell me off in the waiting room alone, away from the polite staff that were helping her son. Instead, she grabbed my hand, holding it tightly for the entire ride in the elevator. She must have been worried; mum hadn’t even noticed that Uncle Konrad was no longer with her.

The elevator doors opened, revealing

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Grayson pacing through the floor of the waiting room. “Grayson, how is he?” My mum asked, coming out of the lift.

“They’re not telling me anything because I’m not family, he was just covered in blood, and he wouldn’t wake up.” Grayson was in a daze, holding his hands to his head.

“Please wait here.” The doctor said, rushing through to intensive care.

“What happened to my son?” Dad asked, fearful of what we would tell him.

“He was bitten by a wolf.” Colton tried his best to give them a fraction of the truth.

“I don’t understand, how?” Mum wiped away the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand.

“We were eating in the garden, Ella and Logan were playing near the back of the house where our garden leads on to the woods and it came out of nowhere. We got it off him really quickly, but it had already bitten his leg.” Maria described, showing how good a liar she was. If I didn’t dislike her as much as I do, I would

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have been impressed.

“In the garden? It’s freezing out! Oh! Never mind it’s my own fault; I should never have let him go.” Mum cried into dad’s chest.

“It’s not your fault, it’s not anyone’s fault, the only one to blame is that damn wolf.” Dad muttered, causing Colton to sit down. Guilt was lying heavily on his heart. I could see that he was hurting badly as I caught his eyes with mine; I smiled back at him softly hopefully assuring him I didn’t blame him, not one bit.

The same doctor, as before headed back towards us, seeming concerned. “Okay, so here’s what’s happened so far. When Logan first came in, his bite injury was our priority, it hadn’t hit an artery despite all the blood you were seeing so we could stitch that up. However, we are aware of his medical history and unfortunately, when Logan went into shock it put a tremendous amount of pressure on his heart which caused a blood clot to form. Now the clot isn’t big enough to block the blood flow completely

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through his coronary artery. Currently we are giving him thrombolytic medicines, called clot busters to hopefully dissolve the clot. We have given him a light sedative to help his body relax and prevent him from more stress. This means he will be unable to talk to you right now, but you are more than welcome to talk to him as he can hear your voices, I’m sure he would like that – please just family though.” The doctor explained.

I’m normally not any good with all the technical mumbo jumbo that medical professionals come out with, it usually seems like they try to confuse you so you don’t understand what’s going on. This doctor was different; he was trying to be as clear as he possibly could. I knew then my brother was in good hands.

Mum and dad hurried into Logan’s ward, I moved towards Grayson as he stood up and gave me a hug knowing this was the worst thing I’d ever had to do in my life. I smiled at his family before walking to the ward behind mum and dad; I knew the Hales could probably hear

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what we were saying, anyway.

“Oh baby, what’s happened to you?” Mum said gently, I could hear her from outside the door. I breathed in heavily and walked into Logan’s room. Seeing him lying there knocked the wind out of my sails. I’d seen the kid in hospital before but this was different, now he had to struggle to survive. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling, he looked so helpless.

“Hi son, it’s dad – I don’t think we have long with you before they kick us out of here so I’m just going to tell you what I couldn’t say to you before. I’m sorry that I’ve not been a good dad to you and Abigail. I was managing my pain of losing your mum and my dear friend and it just became easier to become someone else rather than stay and fight for the things that I really needed in my life. I made you pay for my mistakes. You and your sister are the best things I’ve ever done in my whole life, I love you more than anything and I want to make the last three years up to you, so you have to be okay, do you hear me? You have to fight Logan.” Dad

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spoke before crying out in pain. Mum pulled dad close to her chest to console him, she was trying to hold us all together.

Mum stroked her son’s hair. “Logan, my sweet boy – You are everything I’ve ever wanted in a son, you’re the most perfect thing on the planet. I remember when you were three, and you accidentally fell into Abigail’s pool and scared me half to death. Your sister rescued you within seconds, you’ve always looked out for each other and that’s why you can’t leave her yet because one of you doesn’t belong without the other, right? I have two children. Our family for the last three years has been this mechanical monster, handling things strongly together as we went along. I guess what I’m trying to say – badly I might add, is that I can’t do any of this without you; I don’t belong here without you, so you need to get better for us. I want us to be a whole family again with your dad and we will be the best bloody family anyone has ever seen, but I need you Logan. I’ve never loved

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anything as much as I love you and your sister, so please come back to me. I can’t lose you. I won’t survive it.” Mum moved her head towards my dad’s shoulder.

I guessed it was my turn to say something, but I had no clue what to say, after all, it was my fault. I gathered my thoughts and just spoke. “Hi Logan – it’s Abigail, but you probably already knew that. I love you so much – you’re the best brother I could have ever wished for – the truth is besides Riley you’re my best friend and that’s why I need you now to fight, more than anything else in the world because you can’t leave me here alone. I don’t want to be alone!” I screamed out, falling to my knees in agonising pain. Mum and dad had to lift me outside and hand me to Grayson; I could feel his arms carrying me all the way to my seat. I sat there for ten minutes holding Grayson’s hand before nurses edged my parents out of my brother’s room. Mum came straight over and touched my face; I gently moved towards her hand.

“You should ring Riley and tell her to

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get down here.” Mum said causing me to get the phone out of my pocket.

Suddenly, an alarm came on, deafening everyone in the waiting area. Two nurses and a doctor went rushing into Logan’s room, they shouted for the other members of staff to help them. In those moments, I felt little of anything, you’d think I’d have felt sheer horror or devastation but I didn’t, I was numb and I could only watch as they tried vigorously to save my brother’s life. I heard the doctor shout out the word de-fib and we all knew my brother was dying. A nurse came out, moved us away from the window, and tried to escort us all to one of the private rooms. My mum and dad were kicking and screaming to stay with Logan, so much so it took three attendees to push us all into one room; all we had to do then was wait.

Fifteen minutes later, one of the senior doctors came to see us all in the family room; his expression was enough to convince me that my brother had just died.

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“I’m so sorry; there was nothing else we could do.” The doctor spoke compassionately, leading us all to cry out in agony, even the Hales who had only known my brother a short while were inconsolable. Ella fell into her mother’s arms, screaming that she didn’t even get to say goodbye to him. My parents fell to the ground suffering, Kaleb and Maria tried to comfort them. I collapsed into the door handle, unable to catch my breath; Aidan caught me and handed me over to Grayson. He held my head devotedly as I glanced down to see my mum and dad still on the ground in total despair. I still couldn’t believe it; for the first time in my life I was without any sensation, I felt anaesthetized.

My brother was dead.

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Chapter Twenty-Seven

Redemption

The doctor continued to give us all a detailed analysis of what had happened to Logan, in uncomplicated terms, he’d suffered a cardiac arrest – his heart just gave up. He explained that he would not issue my brother’s Death Certificate as he wanted to conduct a post mortem, I guessed that would happen, after all he was bitten by a wolf. He described how Logan would be moved downstairs to the hospital mortuary if any of us wanted to say our last goodbyes to him.

I spent over an hour in the chapel room, contemplating whether to see my brother one last time. I could see the disappointment written all over my mum’s face because I wasn’t going with her, but she didn’t have the energy to fight with me. I persuaded Grayson to go with them to support Ella who hadn’t stopped crying since she heard the news. The past few months were persistently playing through

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my head as I stared at the blank TV screen ahead of me. I slowly held my fists to my mouth, forcing out a silent scream, attempting to release some of my anger, it didn’t work. How can someone be able to feel so much pain but feel so numb at the same time? It was as if I was slipping away gradually out of existence.

I steadily pulled my legs up on the seat, positioning myself in the foetal position, hugging my knees. I heard the wooden door creak open, much to my annoyance; it was Grayson staring back at me with pity in his eyes.

“Abigail, I need you to listen – what happened to Logan is not your fault, none of it is. You need to come down to the mortuary with me, it’s important that you say goodbye baby – please.” Grayson whispered, doing his best to encourage me out of the room.

“Did you ring Riley like I told you to do?” I spoke, taking Grayson by surprise.

“Yes, I did but there was no answer – did you hear what I said Abigail?”

“Yes, I heard Grayson! I don’t think I

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can do that right now.” I moved my head away from his hand.

“Okay, well I will get your parents to eat something or at least make them have a drink. I’ll be at the cafeteria upstairs, Ella’s still down there saying goodbye with my dad if you change your mind.” He kissed the back of my head. I could sense he was lingering outside for a few more minutes, waiting for me but I didn’t want to go out whilst he was stood there.

I turned my head around so I could see the door; I couldn’t see anyone through the narrow window. I shifted my legs back down to the floor, my limbs felt as heavy as rocks, each movement harder than the next. I walked towards the door and checked that Grayson wasn’t outside. I wanted to do it on my own. I cautiously edged out of the doorway; two nurses smiled at me in sympathy, everyone on that floor knew I was the girl whose brother had just died.

I had no clue where I was going, I figured that the hospital mortuary had to be down in the basement somewhere, so

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I staggered to the elevator barely being able to breathe. In the lift, there was a sign, stating the mortuary was on level B, which was just above the car park. As I pressed the key to take me down there, I couldn’t help imagining how Logan would look. I’ve only seen one dead body in my whole life and that was my grandma, my mum’s mum. I remember her looking like some sort of wax doll, she didn’t seem real, my grandma’s body seemed to have lost any connection to her soul, and she was a shell, a vessel without a life force. I learned in my heart that day that God existed and that her soul had reached some higher plain, I felt it.

The elevator opened, the air was colder down here. I could feel the chill hitting my face as I stepped out of the lift. Silently, I crept down the corridor, seeing Kaleb and Ella standing outside a huge glass window, at least then I knew I was in the right place.

“Abigail, I’m so sorry for your loss.” Kaleb walked towards me. He gave me a soothing hug as I glanced through the

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window to look at my brother.

“Why is there no staff down here?” I asked, releasing his body.

“I’ve got a lot of strings around here Abigail, they’re on a break.” In other words, he compelled them all to leave us alone.

“Of course.” I looked through the glass.

I thought I’d cry, lose it radically, but I didn’t. I watched him, pressing my hands against the glass to feel closer to him. There wasn’t a word created yet in the dictionary to describe how I felt. I couldn’t understand how I was supposed to get through any of this and carry on living. I wanted the world to stop spinning. As harsh, as it sounds I needed everyone to just stop what they were doing, just stop rushing about, because my brother was dead!

Ella was still crying wildly expressing her grief for Logan, I walked over to her, hugging her from behind. She turned around to face me still holding my body. I rested my head-on top of hers for over ten

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minutes, touching her head with my right hand. Funnily enough it was easier to console someone else than directly dealing with my loss.

“Come on Ella, let Abigail say goodbye on her own, we’ll be at the cafe if you need us Abi.” Kaleb explained, as Ella reluctantly released me from her grip. They moved to the elevator, looking back at me as they walked down the hallway. As soon as I heard the elevator climb, I knew then I was alone. I could smell the stench of chemicals they must use to preserve the bodies, it was almost enough to make me sick. My brother was lying on a stainless-steel table, the industrial tiles on the walls and floors made it seem so impersonal.

The more that I stared at my brother; the more that I felt sick, my stomach felt unbearable. I crouched down to ease my abdomen; my body was reacting to the pain of losing Logan. After a few minutes, it eased, and I stood up again inhaling slowly. As I looked back through the window to where Logan was, I noticed

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something strange was happening to his leg. I moved my head closer to the glass to see what was happening to my brother. His veins turned black as if a poison was forcefully running through him. I couldn’t move; I was absorbed by what was happening to his body, the black toxin moved faster, making its way to Logan’s heart. I should have called out for someone, but I couldn’t speak and something inside me was telling me not to, so I watched. I progressed to the glass door as it beeped loudly activating itself. I reached for the handle and it opened with no difficulty.

I ran to my brother’s body, I don’t know why but I held his hand almost as if I was wishing him back to life. The venom was now surrounding his heart, I kept looking towards the glass window afraid of one of the staff coming back from wherever Kaleb had sent them and I didn’t know how long his power would work for. Without warning, Logan gasped for air causing me to shoot back into one of the metal tables at the side of the room.

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“Oh, my God, Logan!” I screamed. His eyes snapped open, revealing gold iris’s that were eagerly searching around the room. Logan’s eyes locked on to mine, sending me a soft smile my way.

“Abi, where are we?” His eyes were unnerving me as he spoke. I couldn’t believe I was talking to my brother again after what had just happened only hours before.

“You don’t remember anything?” I asked, still in total disbelief.

“No, why? What happened? Why are you crying?” The blackness in his veins faded away.

Logan’s body changed. His skin was turning a dark greyish colour and then instantly it would disappear. Logan lifted himself up off the table. He raised his hand up to his mouth, feeling some discomfort in his jaw, he opened his lips displaying his teeth. I jumped back in a fright. We both looked at each other as Logan touched his huge canine teeth that were now emerging from his gums. His finger nails became longer, almost like

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they were changing into claws, then all at once they’d become normal again. There was no question about it, my brother was transforming into a wolf.

We needed to move fast. I searched all the cabinets for any clothing that Logan could wear. I found some green overalls stuffed inside and threw them at him urging him to put them on. I hunted for a way out of there without using the elevator, I couldn’t risk anyone seeing Logan alive and there wasn’t time to call any of the Hales. After Logan, had dressed, he leapt off the table and sniffed peculiarly through the corridor; he noticed a row of metal lockers. He turned his head to the side glaring at them, almost as a dog does when they find something interesting. Logan pushed them further down the wall uncovering a door that must have been used as fire escape at some point.

He grabbed my hand and led me towards the door; I didn’t even have time to comprehend the newfound strength he’d just used. Logan warily opened it; it

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looked like the stairs were heading towards the car park in the basement. We ran down the steps, thankfully, we were right and arrived straight in the middle of the car park. I heard voices coming towards us; I noticed there was a ticket machine right next to us. Logan in a hurry picked me up and dragged me behind one of the cars; I noticed how much his body had changed. My brother’s muscles were now prominent and strong, he looked like Logan but completely different, it was so weird. As we waited for them to leave, Logan had his own ideas of how to get us out of here. He broke in to one of the smaller cars although he had to wait until his claws appeared again to do anything; he didn’t seem fazed by any of this, which worried me.

I manoeuvred myself into the driver’s seat and waited for Logan to get in the car. I had no idea how to hot wire a car and neither did my brother, which was clear to see. Bizarrely, the car just started on its own, just like the door in the mortuary when it activated. Perhaps,

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Logan had some sort of power that enabled electricity or something; we both glanced at each other fascinated with the car. Whilst Logan was looking at me, I could see that his ears were becoming more pointed and a canine snout appeared on his face, his transformation was happening faster, I needed to get him to Grayson’s house and then I could call them home to help us.

Suddenly, it hit me I hadn’t even passed my driving test yet, I kept on putting it off every time my driving instructor signed me up for the God damn thing, you wouldn’t even believe the excuses I used. I glanced over to the side mirror to see another person walking towards the ticket machine; I knew I had no choice but to drive the car. Everything was fine for the ten minutes we were on the road and then out of nowhere Logan choked heavily, winding down his window to catch his breath. He was touching his throat, I couldn’t understand him. I heard the word water, so I pulled up to the nearest supermarket.

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“I won’t be a minute; I’ll get you some!” I shouted at Logan, whilst getting out of the car in a panic. The automatic, glass doors slid open allowing me to run over to the fridge doors. I grabbed a basket from the end of one of the aisles and filled it to brim with water bottles; I guessed dehydration must be one of the side effects when a human transforms. I needed Grayson, who was I kidding? I had no clue what I was doing with Logan, none whatsoever.

My mobile phone vibrated in my pocket; it could have been one of them ringing from the hospital so I answered it, putting my basket on the floor. “Hello?” I said, no one answered. There was someone on the other line but they wouldn’t say anything. No doubt, it was the Lasair intimidating me again, but I hadn’t time for it, I picked up the basket and headed towards the till. Luckily, there was a person to pack my bags for me whilst I kept my eye on Logan. I collected the two bags, all filled with water, two huge chocolate bars and a packet of

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sweets I’d thrown in and headed back to the car. I ran back and handed a water bottle straight to Logan and he guzzled it down in a hurry eager for the next.

I got back into the car and dropped the bags on Logan’s side, so the water was easy enough for him to reach. I continued driving to the Hale mansion, worrying with every minute that went past about my brother’s rapid alterations. As soon as we reached the driveway, I somehow knew Logan would be fine.

Whilst still in the car I contacted Grayson, holding the phone up to my ear. “Grayson, it’s me – you all need to come home now! Bring my mum and dad, Logan’s not dead.” I yelled to him as Logan looked at me confusingly.

“What are you talking about Abigail?” Judging from his question, I knew the hospital hadn’t found out that my brother was gone yet. Kaleb’s power must be strong, I thought pinching myself back into reality.

“He turned in the mortuary whilst he was on the table, he’s transforming into

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one of you Grayson – it’s happening right now! He keeps changing and then stopping, is that normal?” I worried for my brother.

“Abigail, that’s impossible, our kind doesn’t change like that – it’s a myth! We can’t transform through biting or scratching.”

“Well you should tell my brother that because he is on the verge of turning into a black wolf.” I was getting annoyed with Grayson’s attitude.

“What did you say? A black wolf! What colour are his eyes when they turn?”

I sighed. “They keep changing to a bright gold colour, why? Is that bad?”

“We’ll be right there Abigail don’t move, in the meantime try to keep him hydrated, his first time will be bad. There’s a key under the red stone in the front garden, let yourself in and just make sure he keeps drinking.” Grayson ordered hanging up the phone.

I put the phone down to my knee; Logan was still staring at me. “What’s happening?”

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“You’re turning Logan. What’s the last thing you remember?” I didn’t want to scare him.

“I remember more now, I was in the garden and those men were attacking us. The Hales, they all turned into wolves and those men – they were – witches or something. The older one tried to hurt Ella and then he attacked me. Colton, he saved me.” Logan looked as if he was in a kind of daydream.

“That’s right, but he accidentally bit you Logan, he couldn’t catch you quick enough any other way and then you fell unconscious and your heart stopped in hospital, you died. Now you’re transforming into one of them. We’ll know more about it when the Hale’s explain it to us.” I tried to help my brother understand.

“So, mum and dad, they think I’m dead?”

“Well, I’m hoping on the journey over here, Grayson is trying to tell them you’re not dead, so it won’t be as much of a shock to them when they see you here.” I touched Logan’s shoulder.

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“Of course, it will be a shock Abigail; I was dead for God’s sake – what a stupid thing to say. Now what rock did he say, the red one?” Logan jumped out of the car heading towards the front garden.

“You mean, you heard our conversation?”

“Yep, I guess it must be a new perk from being a wolf.” He smiled confidently; I was amazed at how well he was handling all of this.

“You’re not a wolf yet; we need to know more about this.”

“Well I will be, I can feel it happening to me.” Logan confessed opening the door with the key.

“And that’s exactly what I’m afraid of.” I admitted closing the front door behind us.

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Chapter Twenty-Eight

Transformation

I was forcing water down my brother’s throat when I heard a car pull into the driveway.

“Stay here.” I instructed Logan, unaware of what Grayson had told my parents whilst they were travelling over here. I ran to the hallway to greet them when Grayson caught my shoulders stopping me from going any further.

“Where is he?” Mum questioned me, pushing herself through the door. My dad followed her, frightened of seeing Logan alive. Obviously, Grayson had told them a lot in their fifteen-minute car ride.

“He’s in the kitchen, it’s through there.” I said, pointing along the corridor.

“What did you tell them?” I asked Grayson quietly, letting him kiss my cheek.

“I told them what I told you and I’ve got to say they’re coping with it a lot better than you did.” He laughed, as we waited

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for the rest of his family to get out of the car.

We heard my parents scream out in joy, elated by Logan’s presence.

“Hi Abi, I’m so happy for your family.” Anna cried, hugging me as she entered the house along with Aidan.

“Well isn’t this something kid.” Rafe said smiling at me, pinching the bottom of my chin with enthusiasm. Maria said nothing, she just pulled me close to her chest, embracing me in front of everyone – this was a first.

“I’m glad he survived Abigail.” Isaac squeezed me, his hug was far too firm, and it almost made me wish for the old Isaac to come back, almost.

“I’m so sorry.” Colton said, shoving everyone out-of-the-way to console me.

I grinned. “It’s fine Colt, he’s fine.”

“Well – that’s not exactly true.” Kaleb uttered whilst walking through the entrance.

I scoffed. “What do you mean?”

Kaleb edged towards the living room. “Get your parents and Logan Abigail, I

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think it’s time we all had a talk.” He seemed more troubled than usual.

Everyone made their way through to the lounge, I insisted on my parents and Logan moving to the next room so they could ask any questions they had, I’m sure there were many. We sat there for a few minutes, Kaleb hesitantly waiting for us to be comfortable. Grayson tugged me close onto his seat, making me laugh by pulling me off the arm of his chair.

“Kathryn – Henry, I’m sure you have many questions you want to ask us about what we told you in the car.” Kaleb spoke quickly. “But what I need to say right this minute, concerns just Logan. It’s important you know in our pack’s history of transformation none of our kind have ever turned anyone by blood transference, it’s a complete myth in our culture.”

“So, what does that mean for Logan, why’s he the first one? Not that I’m complaining, whatever you have done for him has brought him back to us.” Mum responded, smiling at dad.

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“That’s what I’m trying to say, we didn’t try to make this happen, it just did. There’s a legend that’s been circling our breed since I can remember, the fable of the black wolf. Now from Logan’s back and forth erratic transformation, I can see that his skin is changing to a darker colour, there’s a chance that Logan is the guardian.” Kaleb announced, raising even more questions in our minds.

“Can we all stop talking about me as if I’m not even here please, what’s a guardian?” Logan was getting irritated.

“I apologise Logan.” Kaleb said, allowing Rafe to interrupt.

“There’s not a chance Kaleb, he is the guardian – the first wolf to be transformed not from birth but from a blood rebirth will be the guardian, how much clearer does our history have to be -”

“What the hell is a guardian!” Dad shouted, surprisingly pulling a sense of order back into the discussion.

After a few seconds of complete silence brought about from dad’s outburst, Rafe finally explained. “The guardian is

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created to protect the last king of our kind. The last king is supposedly going to end the war with the Lasair indefinitely, it’s Logan’s job to make sure that happens by protecting him.”

“I’ve never even heard of the guardian.” Colton spoke.

“I taught you boys all about it when you were younger, do you ever listen Colt?” Kaleb said, confronting Colton’s laziness.

“I’m sorry – can we get back on track here, who is the last king he needs to protect?” Mum jumped in before anyone else could.

“Was there ever a first king?” I asked.

“We don’t know Abigail; the last king is just a legend from our kind. It’s just what it’s always been called.” Rafe answered me.

“He’s not been born yet, although judging from Logan’s age, we now suspect the king will be born within the next twenty years or so, which gives us a slight time frame. Until then Logan can learn from us, we can teach him to control his power and his changes.” Kaleb

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assured my mum of Logan’s welfare.

“Wait – erm, that’s great and all, but you said yourself that’s in at least twenty years from now so can we possibly focus on the question I have now which is – when will I turn into a wolf? Because this transforming stuff is stupid, my body can’t decide what it’s doing!” Logan yelled, upset with his body’s rate of change.

“We don’t know Logan, I wish we could answer you but you’re the first to transform this way so we have nothing to compare it to, it’s just going to be a waiting game I’m afraid.” Kaleb spoke softly trying not to anger my brother any more.

“Are you kidding? No, that’s not good enough!” Logan screamed, his testosterone was running through the roof.

Logan’s hair was growing; black fur emerged from his skin. His bones drastically changed shape, extending and lengthening his limbs. My brother’s transformation was nothing like the Hales, they could shape shift easily into their

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counterparts, but Logan’s change was horrifying to watch. As he cried out in pain, Rafe and Isaac ushered my parents and Ella out of the room, fearful of their actions whilst Logan was suffering. I wanted to be with him when he transformed, he needed to know I was there. His bones were breaking in place, rupturing his skin as they moved across his body; I wondered when this awfulness would end. Logan’s eyes were the last thing to shift; a bright yellow glow seemed to stem from his pupils. Finally, he collapsed on the wooden floor exhausted.

He was now a wolf. I ran straight over to him holding his body, eager to comfort him. He was much bigger than the Hales and I couldn’t help but think – as he got older, how much larger would he grow? There was no doubt in my mind he was now the guardian in which the Hale’s had just discussed.

Logan turned his beastly head towards me gazing into my eyes, he was still my brother. He immediately licked my face, seeing the funny side of his situation.

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“Logan, stop it!” I cried, laughing reacting to his tongue pressing heavily against my skin. He continued licking my face, tickling me all over my neck playfully; my parents must have heard my chuckling because moments later they opened the door.

“Logan.” Mum whispered, in shock from her son’s appearance. He turned around to see mum and scuttled towards the door in excitement, causing her to back away in fright. My brother realised his brazen approach had scared our parents and slowly laid down in front of them hoping to soften their fear. My dad reached out his hand to touch Logan, he moved his head into dad’s palm showing them that everything was okay.

Mum must have sensed Logan’s feelings because she knelt to comfort him, stroking his beautiful fur. “How long will this last?” She asked, staring at Kaleb.

“We don’t know, I have no idea. Usually a wolf’s first change is harder to come out of and they’re like this for around three days.” He explained.

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“Three days, seriously?” Dad cried.

Isaac paced towards Logan. “Hold on, let me try something.”

“What are you doing son?” Kaleb asked him confused by Isaac’s actions.

“I think I have an idea, I’ve sort of been working on something.” He held the front of Logan’s head. “Logan, listen. Look me straight in the eyes.” Isaac continued talking about nothing, lulling my brother into a false sense of security. As he spoke, Isaac carefully released his belt from his pants, holding the gold buckle in his right hand. Suddenly, Isaac jabbed Logan’s paw with the point of the buckle drawing blood, forcing my brother to howl.

“What are you doing, are you crazy!” Dad yelled in a rage.

Isaac opened the black cross around his neck, it was a locket with a dried-out plant inside. “Give me a minute.”

Logan growled at Isaac. “Hold on Logan, I promise this will work.” He pressed the plant on my brother’s wound.

“Is that what I think it is? What are you doing?” Grayson screamed at him,

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knowing something we didn’t. Isaac removed the plant causing my brother to crumble to the floor, lying on his side.

“What have you done?” Maria rushed to Logan’s body.

“Just wait – for God’s sake, trust me.” Isaac declared, leading Kaleb to stop Maria.

Logan changed again, but this time his wolf form was fading, bringing him back to us. The reversal was quick and painless; my brother woke up a few minutes later hugging Isaac, causing him to fall back on the floor in laughter.

“You’re welcome kid.” Isaac laughed.

“What was that?” Logan asked him with a smile.

Isaac grinned. “Wolf’s bane, I’ve been practising with it for a while now, trying to control my powers on a different level. It seems to work for me when I’ve pushed myself too much; I thought it would work for you.”

“What do you mean practising?” Kaleb continued.

“What do you mean pushing yourself

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too much?” Maria asked bemused at her son’s secrecy.

“I think we are capable of more and I’m trying things out, it’s safe what I’m doing.” Isaac justified.

“Yeah, it sounds like it when you need wolf’s bane to bring yourself back.” Colton uttered sarcastically mocking his brother’s behaviour.

“Will you train me?” Logan said, directing his question to Isaac.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, I’m not sure your parents would like that.” He looked down at the floor.

“I think it’s a good idea, he needs to learn, right? Logan’s different from the rest of you, it might be good to push him a little more.” Dad answered, causing everyone to look at him.

“Really?” Logan asked, gazing at mum.

Mum sighed. “Erm if your dad thinks it’s a good idea, then why not? I want to be here when he practices though, got it?”

“Yes, definitely.” Isaac smiled back at Logan.

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“We’ll all be there; I want to see more of Isaac’s suggestions.” Kaleb expressed, proud of his son’s initiative.

“Can we get something to eat now?” Logan asked out of nowhere, concentrating on his stomach’s cry for food. His forwardness made everyone laugh, releasing some of the tension from the room.

“Of course, what do you fancy Logan? – For once I don’t think it would hurt if we all ordered something to eat.” Maria said kindly, trying to make an effort with my family.

“Pizza! Please.” Logan shouted grinning at Ella.

“Pizza it is then.” Maria walked towards the hallway to get the phone.

“Kathryn and Henry, I think considering what’s happened with the Lasair and Logan it would be best if you could stay here for tonight, maybe even a few days so we can alert the counsel to what’s happened. I need clarification from them for me to know what to do next.” Kaleb explained.

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My parents looked at each other and smiled. “Of course, we’ll stay here, it’s probably for the best till we can figure this out, it’s not like I have any more guests at the B&B, anyway.” Mum described.

“How are we going to explain what happened to Logan? Eventually they will realise he’s missing from the hospital.” Dad asked.

“I’ve been thinking about that. Perhaps with the help of Isaac and Grayson we can use compulsion to our advantage. Don’t worry about any of that, we will sort it. I’m so sorry all of this happened to you.” Kaleb expressed showing his compassion.

“I think all of this was supposed to happen Kaleb, I blame none of you – I’m just glad my son’s okay.” Mum said, touched by Kaleb’s sincere apology. I was pleased that Grayson’s parents and mine seemed to hit it off but something was still raging inside of me, bursting to come out.

“Wait! Before we try to make sense of all of this, I really need to tell you and Grayson something.” I gazed at my

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parents, realising that I had to say something to them.

“What is it Abigail?” Grayson stroked my hand to comfort me.

“It’s about Konrad.” I said, seeing my mum’s eyes brighten. “Mum, did you know he was adopted?”

My mum was silent for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts. “How do you know that?”

“So, you knew?”

“Abigail what is this about?” She was irritated by my interrogation.

“He’s one of them, I’m sure Grayson told you all about them in the car over here, he’s part of the Lasair, oh no wait! He is the Lasair, he’s the leader – he’s been playing us all along.” I cried.

“No, he’s not, that’s not possible.” She said seeming so sure of herself.

“Well he is, did you not wonder why he didn’t stick around tonight when he dropped you off?” I wondered if I was taking this conversation too far. Although I couldn’t help it! How could she not know something was wrong with him, how could

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I not know?

“I don’t know where he went Abigail, but I’m sure there’s –”

“No there’s not a good explanation, the only explanation, is that he’s Lasair, and he figured out I knew, so he walked away, that’s it.” I was fixating all my anger on mum.

“Is that true?” She asked, looking at everyone in the room.

“She’s telling the truth Kathryn, he was clever; I bet he talked about us all the time and joined in conversations about Grayson with Abigail and your family, but he was never actually in the same room with any of us, was he? He knew if we saw him, we could identify him and we did just that in the hospital as you and Henry came to meet us, he saw us and left. His real name is William.” Kaleb encouraged mum to believe him.

“I can’t believe it, he’s always protected me, and he went to prison because he protected me.”

“He wasn’t in jail.” Isaac intervened.

“What?” Dad spoke.

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Isaac moved closer to my dad. “William was never in jail, when we were waiting for you in the cafeteria; I made some calls to see if I could get any more information about him using his alias Konrad Burke. He never went to prison; in fact, there was no record of a hearing, a court date – nothing. William just disappeared off the radar for a few years and then reappeared when he contacted you again.”

“That’s not true, I was there, and I had to give a testimony. Konrad went to prison; I was in the courtroom when he got sentenced.” Mum was shaking with fear.

“There’s not any record of any of it Mrs Lawson.” Isaac said honestly.

“You didn’t visit him in prison, did you?” Maria expressed quietly not wanting to overwhelm my mum, which was too late for that.

“No, he said he didn’t want me reminding him of the things he was missing.” Mum’s tears were falling from her eyes.

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“So, that means that the Lasair found him and set it up like a real court case or they covered it up and made it look like the incident never happened, which is more likely. You said he was missing for a few years? That’s more than enough time to remind him of whom he is and mould him back into their leader.” Kaleb described.

“What do you mean remind him of who he is?” Mum spoke wanting to know everything.

Kaleb licked his lips in awkwardness. “Your brother was never really your brother; we originate from the first wolf, Hale. The Lasair as they stand now originate from Hale’s brother, William. William found a way hundreds of years ago, to reincarnate himself so he can keep coming back here each time he dies. The Lasair then find him through magic, when he turns eighteen usually, and then train him to remember his true nature. This must be so much to take in, I’m sorry that your family have been dragged into this new world of ours, but it sounds like

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you were always meant to be a part of it.” Kaleb stared at my parents.

As my dad wiped away the tears from mum’s eyes, I could tell that she was feeling a little better. I knew it would be a long-time before the severity of the situation sank into my parent’s minds but, something told me things between the Lasair and us were about to reach a whole different level of bad.

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Chapter Twenty-Nine

The Order

Four days passed with no word from the counsel or the Lasair. Kaleb had tried several times to reach the order, but to no avail. It made me feel sick to my stomach, the not knowing of it all; thinking we could be attacked by the Lasair, it didn’t bear thinking about. Although our nerves were tense, the four days seemed to pass easily, sleeping in the same bed with Grayson made it all seem tolerable somehow. Mum refused to cope with her grief about losing her brother; she dealt with her feelings by acting like a sixteen-year-old, infatuated again with my dad, it was cute actually. They didn’t even give me a hard time about sleeping with Grayson, which I appreciated.

Everyone appeared to be getting on well; Logan and Ella were inseparable, much to Isaac’s frustration because he was determined to make my brother the best guardian that the world had ever

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seen, although technically he was the only one ever seen. The compulsion that Kaleb had Grayson use on the locals worked a treat. My brother was now free to do whatever he wanted. We caught Riley up to speed about everything, she was quite depressed when we told her about everything she’d missed, I don’t think she’ll be drinking again. Colton’s been following her around like a little puppy since she got here, she also moved in upstairs and is currently playing hard to get, something I have never seen her do before, so that alone means she must like him.

The plan when we first moved in with the Hales was that it would only be for a few days whilst we contacted the counsel to direct our next move, but there had been no sign of them getting in touch with us. I’m wondering if this has become a more permanent solution. Maria distracted me with the smell of bacon and eggs wafting through the entire house. I held my large coffee with two hands as I watched the morning light shine through

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the hallway.“Good morning beautiful.” Grayson said, sneaking up on me.

“Good morning.” I spoke, as his hands found the ties of my dressing gown.

I turned to face him. “No, stop it.”

“I love you.” He pulled me into a kiss.

“I love you.” I spoke, hanging my arms over his shoulders. Anna and Aidan must have smelled Maria’s breakfast as well because they ran down the stairs.

“Good morning you two.” Aidan announced grinning at our intimate conversation.

“Good morning.” We said smiling at each other.

“Come and get some breakfast, you need to keep your strength up to feed those hormones of yours.” Anna muttered.

Everyone seemed to have found their way to the kitchen. In the outside world, it was usually technology that brought people closer together, in the Hale’s case – it was breakfast. Maria, considering our frosty start had completely changed her mind about me, I could see it; I think she was glad I made Grayson so happy and

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there was no denying that the woman could cook up a storm. The best thing about her food is she always cooks everything from scratch and makes enough to feed the entire island. I didn’t realise that humans that turn into wolves eat thirty meals a day; I’ve even started to gain a little weight from Maria’s continuous mealtime routine.

We all sat down to eat when we heard a thud coming from the hallway. We all seemingly looked to Kaleb, encouraging him to take a look. Everyone waited for him to inspect the corridor; he came sauntering back into the kitchen calmly with a brown envelope.

“Well open it then, it could be from the counsel.” Maria ordered. Kaleb ripped the top of the paper and tipped it upside down revealing a USB that just fell into his hand.

“That’s it a USB stick?” Riley spoke, visibly disappointed that there wasn’t any threat or danger stemming from the envelope.

“Let’s see what’s on it, everyone in the

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living room!” Colton shouted, causing everyone to dash through to the lounge.

“Kaleb, don’t you think we should watch it first before you show the kids.” Mum asked him politely.

“I think I’m done keeping things from everyone in this house, we handle whatever it is as a family – no more secrets and now our family includes you.” Kaleb led us to follow him into the living room. He pushed the USB into the enormous television in the front room, leading Maria to press select on the remote.

An older man appeared on the television, I hadn’t seen him before now but he was dressed similarly to McKentire and Connell; I knew then it was what we had been waiting for, it was the counsel sending us a message.

Hale clan – I hope some of you remember me, my name is Kallen, current leader of the counsel. We have received all your messages explaining the events from the last few months and we were all

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devastated in Ireland to hear the dreadful news about our friends McKentire and Connell. I’m sorry we haven’t been able to contact you any sooner than this, I also apologise for the way we have had to contact you. It is necessary for you to come back to Ireland. The Lasair have threatened our kind for the very last time, we will take no more of it. Two members of the counsel have been murdered and they will not have died in vain, we will make sure of that. It is time for you all to come back, re-join our family and come out of the darkness from where you have been forced to hide to save the lives of others. I will not stand for the kin of the first wolf to be intimidated any longer; you will fight by our side. We have declared war on the Lasair, their reign of terror ends now. For hundreds of years the Lasair have endangered the wolves, controlling them with the fear of extinction and we have followed their order. I now stand before you and pledge the promise of war; no more will you suffer at their hands. We have been, mistakenly taken

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for fragile people, we are peaceful but we are not weak! If they dare strike us, then we shall fight back. If we do not attack now, then we risk further conflict down the line – do we want our children and grandchildren to fight this battle or do you want to handle this? I choose to meet the danger now and take whatever consequences that may bring. At least we will know that we stood for freedom and not inaction brought on from our fear. The future is what we choose, not what they choose for us. We have a duty to you as your leading counsel and we will not let you hide away in the shadows any longer! The next thing you will see is the conflict the Lasair have caused in our many lands; different clans from all over the earth are standing to join us in this fight for victory.

Swiftly, the video changed to clips of people from different parts of the world angered by the Lasair’s actions, it was clear to see that the wolves were after blood and they did not intend to let the

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witches get away with murdering anyone else. I couldn’t watch the hideous videos of the Lasair any longer; I felt my body rejecting the bacon I’d just scoffed down forcing me to sprint to the bathroom. I couldn’t even contemplate going to war with the witches, I started to believe it was the thought of fighting that was making me sick and not my breakfast.

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Chapter Thirty

Positive Thinking

What was going on with me? I sat there on the bathroom floor for about ten minutes waiting to be sick, still hearing the voices of tension echoing all the way upstairs. I thought to myself that I would be fine if the room would just stop spinning for a second.

I wondered if I was like my mum and suffered from low blood sugar, her sickness always improved whenever she’d eat chocolate, too bad I had none and God forbid Maria see a chocolate bar anywhere in the house, she’d snatch it straight out of your hands, I needed chocolate! I need chocolate, I need chocolate, and I couldn’t get the need for it out of my head!

I remembered Logan had chocolate in one of the bags I’d put in from the supermarket that day. I stood up, balancing myself using the door and headed towards Logan’s room. I spotted

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the white plastic bag underneath his bed and tipped it upside down. I fell silent. There was a pregnancy test box lying there on his bed that had fallen out. How had that got in there? Someone had put this in the bag. The test got me thinking about my last period, with everything that was going on, I didn’t realise that I was late. I held my hand up to my mouth, I couldn’t be pregnant. I just couldn’t, could I? I walked back into the bathroom with the test. It felt like it was dragging my arm down to the floor. I attempted to open the top of the box but my hands wouldn’t stop shaking. I tossed the instructions in the bath, it was one of those new ones that stated in a word if you were pregnant or not, I don’t think, even I could screw that up, wee on the stick and read the word and that’s exactly what I did.

My legs began to shake waiting for the results. I took a glimpse at the test and noticed a word fixed in the screen, the word staring up at me was ‘positive’.

At this point it would be easy to assume that I wasn’t pregnant, it could

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just be a false positive, and all I’d need was another test, but this wasn’t like that – I think I already knew. This wasn’t a normal pregnancy, I tried to deny what I’ve been feeling for days now, but in my heart, I was sure that something was the matter with me, but it was always easier to lay it on someone else.

Every time Konrad would speak I felt sick, I think the baby was trying to warn me. I presumed it was Logan’s power compatible with electricity or something, but it wasn’t, it was me all along. The baby wanted me to get to Logan, so it activated the door and it started the car at the hospital for us to escape. The baby had already done so much for me and I wouldn’t be able to keep it. Grayson’s words suddenly re-entered my mind in a flash – “We won’t ever be able to have children – the mother and child always die in child birth”. The cruel fact of the matter was that I wouldn’t ever be able to meet my baby.

Out of nowhere I heard footsteps heading up the stairs; I wasn’t ready yet to

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face anyone, so I stayed silent waiting for them to go into another room.

“Abigail?” Grayson spoke softly; he was trying to find me. I heard him enter our bedroom, so I tiptoed down the stairs, creeping towards the back door of the kitchen. Everyone was still so enthralled by the video; they didn’t even notice me walking past the hallway. I stepped outside the door, feeling the early morning breeze against my face. I stood there for a minute, just breathing, trying to figure out everything in my head.

I stepped over to the shallow fence, resting my elbows on top of the wood. The harbour looked spectacular from here, it was almost enough to make me forget for a second I was carrying a child I couldn’t keep. All at once, my emotions clashed causing me to sob hysterically; after everything, I wasn’t allowed to keep this baby? Hadn’t I been through enough already?

I stopped crying long enough to take a deep breath; I was attempting to focus on the beautiful view that surrounded me.

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The bedroom doors from the balcony opened, it was Grayson.

“Hey, I’ve been looking for you; where did you go?” He smiled down at me.

“Just to the bathroom, I’m fine.” I said, hiding the fact I was dying inside.

“Okay, just wait there, I’ll be down in a minute.” He spoke, closing the doors behind him.

I turned back around to the harbour, feeling the desire to touch my stomach. Suddenly, a vision invaded my brain, a clear, lucid vision emerging from the darkness.

I was in a white room. It appeared to be like a hospital but I don’t think it was one. I heard noises everywhere, people were talking but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I saw myself holding my baby, we were both alive and well – I looked so happy. I’ve never seen myself look so happy before in my life.

Without warning I was thrown out of the premonition, I knew my baby had given that beautiful gift to me. It was undeniable. I’d keep this child and nothing

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in this world would stop me. I smiled across the harbour contented, appreciating the gift in knowing everything was going to be okay.

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Thank you!

If you are reading this, you have finished Moon Rising. This novel is the first of a trilogy. I want to thank you for downloading this book. I’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts in a review or use my contact information on my website. I will message you back as quickly as possible.

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I am currently writing another Y/A series called [*_The Greyblood Chronicles_ – *]which I hope to be ready for you soon.

[_A little about that – _]Sully is a college student in Massachusetts, soon to be a graduate. Twelve years ago, she was left traumatised. Two days before Christmas Eve, Sully awoke to find her family absent in their beds. After a vigorous police investigation, she was left devastated when the bodies of her parents and little brother were found buried in a nearby forest, next to Hollow lake. Following the days after the murders, the little girl would always be known as the Hollow Survivor.

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Moon Rising: A Wolfland Novel

Moon Rising is the first book in the Wolfland trilogy, a series of paranormal romance novels. The following titles are Blood Ties and Silver Bullet. In the fall of 2016, Abigail Lawson is experiencing a string of recurring dreams. The dream begins like every other night. She falls asleep imagining the white wolf and how she longs to hear the howls of his pack. On the twenty-third night, her dream becomes much clearer and the wolf suddenly transforms into a man, a man who gives her his name – Grayson Hale. When Grayson and his strange family suddenly move to Abigail’s peaceful Scilly Isles, I'm afraid her life will never be the same again. When she is repeatedly threatened by an unknown enemy and the bodies start to pile up, Abigail’s small town becomes a place of fear and hostility. But, she still can't help being captivated by one young man in particular. Grayson is both compelling and dark, with his mesmerising eyes, one green and one blue, his Irish charm and superhuman nature. Up until now he has managed to keep his secret hidden, but Abigail is determined to uncover his true identity. The closer Abigail gets to the Hales, the more she is putting herself and her own family in danger. How far will she go to keep her dream of love alive? If you share my passion of all things supernatural, including werewolves, witches and vampires (YES. The Wolfland trilogy has vampires! The second novel has arguably the best character yet). The readers who enjoy love triangles, romantic angst and enviable fantasy worlds have inspired this story completely. I hope you enjoy.

  • Author: E.S Night
  • Published: 2017-02-10 16:22:16
  • Words: 68516
Moon Rising: A Wolfland Novel Moon Rising: A Wolfland Novel