Tags: #romance, #urban fantasy, #paranormal romance, #short story, #werewolf, #shape shifter, #new adult
Self-Published By: Heather
Printed By: Create
Edited by: Precision
Cover Designed by: Book
Copyright © 2014 Heather
When I was younger I never
thought I would go away for school. As I drove my old and junky Geo
further than it had ever gone, it started to sink in. I shook with
excitement as I grasped my steering wheel with both my
! The car jerked as extra smoke burst out of the tailpipe and
into the air.
I will make it there.
Convincing myself wasn’t as hard as convincing
Jared, my boyfriend.
“You OK up there, cutie? I
told you, you should’ve just ridden with me.” Jared’s voice came
rolling over the two-way radio in an I-told-you-so kind of
I reached one hand to grab
the radio. “Hey, my car and I are doing great up here. Plus, I need
the car at school so I can get places when you’re not around.”
Smiling, I looked up in the rearview mirror to see his expression,
but the distance between us was too great. “Let’s get off at the
next exit. I’m almost on E.”
“Sounds good.” Static
muffled the response, but not too badly.
Jared was a bit
overprotective, but he wasn’t nearly as bad as my father. In fact,
I think the only reason Jared felt he needed to be more attentive
was because of my father’s overprotective nature.
“You stay behind her the
whole way there, and don’t you dare let a car get in between you
two. When you get there, you make for darn sure she gets to her
apartment without getting lost. You understand me, young
The way my dad spoke to Jared, just
a couple of hours ago, almost made me laugh.
As the exit came nearer I
started to slow. Jared stayed close behind as I brought my car to a
stop. When we turned I noticed we weren’t the only two that got off
the freeway. Besides Jared’s silver Toyota Tacoma, there was also a
white SUV. This looked like a small town, but was still obviously
much bigger than my hometown of Pagoda, Colorado. We pulled into
the well-maintained six-pump gas station, and I went to one pump
while Jared went to another. The amount of gallons that my Geo held
was minimal compared to Jared’s Tacoma, so I happily skipped over
to him when I was done.
“We’re halfway there,” I
told him with anticipation. “Can you believe we are doing this?” My
arms darted in the air, relishing this new freedom. Jared took
advantage of this gesture and wrapped his arms around me, picking
me up and spinning with me. He gently put my feet back on the
ground and then tilted me back into our signature slow dip that won
Jared and me first place in the state competition dance.
Jared is short and small
for a guy, only 5'8”, but makes a good dance partner for my 5'2”.
We both decided to try to get into the same school so we could be
together, and of course continue being dance partners.
Before Jared rose me back
up in a standing position, I noticed the white SUV idling in front
of the doors of the gas station. I thought it was odd that they
weren’t getting gas, so I turned to get a better look at the
“They didn’t even get
gas,” I whispered to Jared, my eyes darting back to the white SUV.
Jared looked up briefly to see what I meant as he waited for his
“Well, maybe they just had
to use the restroom.” He shrugged it off. “Ready to hit the
I squinted at the SUV.
Something didn’t feel right. “They have to get out of their car to
use the restroom.” I put my hands on my hips.
Jared spun me in a circle
and pulled me into his chest. He took me into a basic waltz step
and danced me back to my car, then opened the door for me to slide
“I’ll follow close behind
I could only nod,
speechless as always when he used that soft tone. He was such a
sweetie, with his scruffy brown hair and deep blue eyes. Once again
Jared whisked me off my feet and put me back into my comfort
We left the freeway again
as we approached my dorm at school.
I picked up my radio
quickly to respond. “Yup.”
“I’ll follow you to your
dorm to get you settled, and then I’ll head to mine.” His voice was
filled with excitement.
“That’s fine. You know,
you don’t really have to babysit me so closely. I mean I know this
is my first time away from home, and my dad threatened you and all,
but I am a big girl.”
“I know. You’re the
strongest person I’ve ever met, but at least for today, let me
honor your father’s wishes.” Static, then a pause went through the
“Of course.” I pulled into
the parking lot filled with other cars and students. I took a deep
breath and stepped out of my Geo. The fresh breeze captured my
senses, and it felt so right to be here, to start this new chapter
As we approached the
dorms, I noticed a male figure in the parking lot amongst a large
number of girls frantically passing back and forth. He wore a black
sweatshirt and had his hands in his pockets as he slowly scanned
the area. Our eyes locked for just a second as he turned my
direction, but he pulled his arms out of his pockets and darted
behind a large black truck. He appeared startled, and I couldn’t
help notice my heart skip a beat.
I felt a warm hand on the
center of my back. “Whatcha looking at?” A large welcoming smile
spread across Jared’s face.
After a slight shiver I
was able to respond. “Oh . . . nothing . . . let’s go check out the
rooms.” It felt silly to mention anything to Jared.
Ah, room number 22. I
pushed the door open and was greeted by a handful of
“Hi, I’m Melissa, the RA.”
She was my complete opposite. Blond, shoulder-length hair, blue
eyes, pale skin, and a good head taller than me. “If you need
anything, let me know and I’ll be happy to see if I can help.
Gretchen, Leah, Sunny, and Tracy are our four roommates. Sunny and
Tracy have already picked a room together so yours will be the
first one on the left.” She pulled me into a hug and smiled wide,
but then looked over my shoulder to look at Jared. “Also, the dorm
locks at midnight, so no boys after that. Oh, I almost forgot,
what’s your name?”
“Leah Hawk.” Melissa’s
outgoing personality put me in a state of
“Leah. So I guess that
means Gretchen when she comes will be sharing a room with you. But
enough of my jibber jabbering. Go get settled and we’ll talk more
“Yes, thank you. It was
good to meet—”
But before I could finish
my sentence she was already bouncing away.
I looked back at Jared and
shrugged my shoulders as I gave him a look that told him I liked
her already. He silently laughed, and we went to check out where I
would be spending my sleeping hours.
The next few hours we
unloaded my car, filled my new room with my personal stuff, and
called my family. Jared left me to unpack while he investigated his
Our day ended with the two
of us going out for pizza and sharing a gentle kiss good-bye at
midnight as the dorms were getting locked up.
Instant butterflies filled
me as I heard my alarm go off. This was it: the day I started my
courses. I heard rustling across from me, so I sat up quickly,
surprised to hear the extra noise. I realized it was just my
“Gretchen?” I whispered.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” I hadn’t even met her yet;
she’d been fast asleep when I’d gotten back the night
“Ummm . . . It’s OK. I
need to get up too . . . but in a minute.” Her sleepiness made it
that much harder for me to feel motivated, but this was the first
day, and nerves would not let me sleep any longer even if I
I pushed away the covers
and headed to the bathroom. Our room was in a very plain, two-story
building with whites, beiges, and browns surrounding everything.
The one thing I loved was the balcony. It wrapped around the whole
building twice, once for each level. Each room held six girls,
three bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. For us,
though, we only had five girls because we lived with the RA and she
had her own room.
Class started early, one
right after another. Unlike Jared I liked the mornings and felt I
was able to get much more accomplished when I started early. After
showering and pulling my long, dark hair back in a ponytail, I went
back to my room. Gretchen was up typing on her laptop.
“Hi! My name is Leah.”
With my hands full of shower items, I gave her the most welcoming
smile I could.
“I’m Gretchen. Sorry I was
unsocial a bit ago.” She raised her hands to her face, pushing back
her brown hair and rubbing her eyes to gesture her
I waved her apology off.
Gretchen and I talked and
got to know each other for a while before I had to get to
With my red backpack swung
over my shoulder, I walked with confidence to my first class. As I
walked, my phone vibrated in my pocket. Knowing it was Jared, I
excitedly pulled it out.
“Thinking of you. Have a
good morning. Love you.” My head stayed low to read his words, but
I should have been watching where I was going.
An impact made me stumble and almost fall back on my butt. My
phone went flying and my bag skidded along the cement
“I’m so sorry! I’m late,
but I should’ve been more careful.” His words faded as he walked
past me, his hand up in apology. His large body didn’t waver
compared to my petite frame. He just went ahead like nothing
happened. Without being able to tell if I hurt physically or just
hurt in embarrassment, I looked up to see if anyone else saw the
There he was, leaning
against the exterior of the dorm building. The same male figure
that I’d seen outside my dorm the day before. Today he still wore a
black sweatshirt, but this time he didn’t look as relaxed. His
demeanor sent a chill down my spine and tingles down to my
fingertips. His fists were tight, his body arched. He looked angry,
which scared me. I quickly gathered up my things, trying to ignore
his piercing stare, but fear climbed and I couldn’t go fast enough.
After gathering my things I hurried away to my destination, but not
before glancing once more in his direction. He was gone.
Classes came and went, but
I couldn’t get this mystery guy out of my head.
Was it all a coincidence that I saw him twice? He must be a
student here, right? What was he doing? Should I be afraid of him?
Who was he?
Then I thought one last
. Was he the one in the white SUV
at the gas station? . . . No way, that can’t be. Why would I even
think that? Stupid. Sometimes I am more like my father than I
I pulled my phone out of
my pocket to call Jared.
“Hello, cutie. How was
“It was good for the most
part; I’m just heading back to my room now. How was
“What do you mean?” Jared
knew me better than anyone on the planet. We grew up together. We
were longtime friends before we even became official. Growing up
together in a town with a population of no more than two hundred
people meant you knew everybody.
“I can hear it in your
voice. Something is bothering you. What is it?”