The Better to Bite(7)

By: Cynthia Eden



The guy yelped a bit, but calmed down when he saw me.

“Mrs. Parker’s room…” The location immediately clicked in my mind, and I pointed back behind us. East yard, my ass. “Go back, turn left at the stairs, and it’s the first room you’ll see.”

His eyes widened.

“And you really might want to stop by the office and grab a school map.” So you don’t get punked every class change.

His Adam’s apple bobbed, and he nodded quickly. “Th-thank you—”

I offered my hand. “I’m Anna.”

His fingers—cool and stronger than I’d anticipated—closed around mine. “James. James Colter.”

Great. Did this count as making friends? Helping a lost freshman?

James scampered away. I turned back and found Troy glaring at me. Ah…making friends, making enemies…only four minutes of the day down.

I brushed by Troy.

“I was only havin’ some fun,” he muttered.

“So was I.” I didn’t glance back at him. Sometimes, you could just smell a jerk. I hurried forward. My homeroom was just ahead and—

Bright blue eyes met mine. I stumbled a little. There was no mistaking that gaze.

Or him. My “hero” strolled down the hall, a few guys surrounding him. He had a shirt on today, because, well, he’d have to wear one at school…a black shirt and faded jeans. His hair was pushed back, his voice rumbled and—

And yes, he totally walked right past me without saying a word. But one of the guys with him—a guy with truly bleached blond hair, like almost white hair—let out a long, wolf whistle.

Perfect. My day was off to a kick-ass start.

The bell rang just as I slipped inside the classroom.

***

I survived the morning. Figured that I’d have two classes with Troy, and since teachers love to assign seats to students based on alphabetical order, Troy (who is Troy Long, tight end for the Haven Hornets football team, yeah, go Hornets—or something) sat behind me in both classes.

Hello, hell.

I also had a class with my not-so-heroic hero. Turned out that my catcher’s name was Rafe Channing. No, we didn’t sit close to each other, and, yes, he continued his lovely trend of acting like he’d never seen me before in his life.

Some boys were just born charmers.

When lunchtime finally arrived, my stomach had knotted with hunger. I hadn't eaten breakfast—I usually never do—so I was ready to eat.

But I also knew the lunch time drill, and since I hadn’t exactly made a bosom buddy during the day, I had no idea where I was supposed to sit.

The juniors and seniors had the “privilege” of eating behind the school on non-rainy days. There were plenty of picnic-type tables out there, and by the time I came out with my tray of ambiguous goodness, the tables had already started to fill.

So where was I supposed to go?

“Hi,” a soft voice said from behind me.

I glanced back, being sure to put my fake, I’m-happy-to-be-here smile on my face.

Another girl smiled tentatively back at me. That girl—she’d been in my chemistry class. Blonde, with big, light blue eyes, she’d blushed every time Mr. Kennedy called her name.

“You can sit with me, if you want,” she said. “I’m Jenny, Jenny Hollow.”

“Thanks.” My smile felt genuine then. “I’m Anna.”

“I know.” She inclined her head to the right, to the closest, empty table. “You’re the only new girl in the junior class. Most folks here know who you are.”

We sat down at the table. I wanted to scarf my food—disgusting as it looked—but I could pretend to be a lady. So I just took a deep gulp of my soda.

“You’re really from Chicago?” Jenny asked as she scooped up a fry. I thought it was a fry anyway. “That is so cool.”

Parts of it were cool. The killers and the blood-not so much.

I scooped up some food.

“Bet coming here was a major disappointment for you.” Her wide eyes watched me. “I mean, everyone I know wants to get out of Haven.” She shook her head. “Folks don’t want to stay here forever.”

That’s because those folks didn’t know what waited outside the town. And it was a pretty town. Nestled right inside the mountains. Surrounded by all those green—and wolf-filled—woods.

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