Part 2

Katie paused for a moment, lost in her thoughts, before dashing to answer the doorbell.

She pulled the door with so much force the knocker rebounded and made her best friend yelp in surprise.

"What's gotten into you?" Haley cried with a frown. "Calm down your biceps, Super Girl."

"Sorry... I had too much coffee," Katie admitted. She'd drank an entire pot while waiting for the boys to arrive—a decision she'd regretted once trapped inside the closet without a toilet. "In fact... I need a wee. Be right back!"

After speeding to the toilet, she returned to find Haley in the kitchen fixing herself a drink. The smell of cheap instant coffee filled her nose.

Haley turned and looked up sheepishly as Katie entered. "You said coffee so..."

"So you had to have coffee," she finished with a smile. "It's okay. You can make yourself at home here."

Haley was usually the host and always appeared awkward when in Katie's home—probably because of who she shared it with. As she rusted through the cupboards, searching for sugar, Haley stared out of the window.

"Is that him?" She nodded in the direction of Devlin. "Your soul mate?"

"Hmm." Katie nodded before pulling the smaller girl away from the window. "Don't be so obvious. He'll hear you."

"Nobody's hearing is good enough to hear through these windows," Haley protested. "Not even Theon."

As if on cue, Theon and Devlin both turned to stare in at the pair of girls. Their faces suggested they had heard or were at least making fun of Katie for her little stunt earlier. Her cheeks reddened at the thought.

'Please don't tell him about my silly crush,' she prayed.

"Let's go and pester them," Haley suggested with a devilish grin. She loved to pester people, though they rarely found her company as much of a bother as she seemed to assume. People tended to like Haley. The kind and thoughtful girl, though not as beautiful as Katie, had always been far more popular.

She plopped a few sugar cubes into her cup, gave it a quick stir and linked arms with Katie, pulling her into the garden.

Although it was already October, the weather remained unseasonably warm, and the withering leaves clung to the branches of the trees for the time being. This was a shame for Katie, who loved everything about Autumn. The smells, the colours and that feeling of crisp cold that would creep in as Christmas neared.

She watched as Haley comforted Kenny, unsure what to do or say. Devlin made her feel so nervous she was barely able to function.

'My heart is beating so fast,' she thought. 'I bet Theon can hear it. He hears everything.'

Remembering the advice her friends had given her, she listed things she could see, taste, smell, and taste. 

'Is it five things I can see or four?' she questioned, doing her best to recall the advice. It worked either way, distracting her from the ridiculously hot guy standing a few feet away.

For things she could smell, she opened her lungs and took a deep breath. The smell of the earth beneath her feet, teeming with worms and bugs. Rotting apples that had fallen from the tree and been crushed into the paving slabs. And something else. Something familiar. A perfume.


She looked at Haley, lips curled up and eyes wide. 

"No. Not Jade," Haley whispered.

The petite redhead breezed into the garden without bothering to knock—a faux par Theon was always grilling her for. It was as if she lived to annoy him.

"So... are you coming out to celebrate my Jason's win?" she asked with a smile so wide and fake you could spot it from space.

"Oh... erm..." Katie motioned toward her cousin, who had not won the election, hoping her dense friend would take the hint.

"Oh, come on." Jade tutted. "It's not like there was really any need to vote. Everyone knew Jason would take the victory. Our pack has always had a Goldman in charge. That's just tradition."

The way she said the word 'victory,' was so arrogant and uppity. As if her brother had done anything special aside from being born with the correct surname. Katie wasn't exactly Theon's biggest fan or supporter, but he was still her only family. He'd supported her since the death of their parents and never left her wanting.

Jade, on the other hand, was a fair-weather friend at best. An interloper. She had interjected herself in the friendship group with the haughty entitlement only Goldman's possessed.

"Yet we all know I could take it back if I contested. A battle to the death!" Theon clapped his hands together. "Now that could be fun."

"Oh, would it now?" Jade scoffed. "But then you'd actually have to lead."

Theon shrugged and fell silent. He was capable of leading his small group of 6—but an entire village? Katie knew he wasn't up for it. It wasn't something that he'd ever shown interest in before today, first getting angry at Adam, now Jade.

After a moment of awkward silence, Devlin stepped forward. 

"So?" he asked. 

"Leading isn't an easy job. There's a lot involved—" Jade argued, flapping her arms. She made the face Katie hated--one where she screwed up her nose in annoyance that someone she didn't deem worth was speaking to her.

'How dare she make that face at him!' Katie screamed internally.

"We'd help you." Devlin turned to Theon, holing his head up high. "You deserve to lead. You are the strongest. That was the first tradition before modern-day politics took over. The strongest rules. Jason, though strong, is most definitely not more formidable than Theon."

He turned back to Jade and looked down his nose at her with sheer disgust as if she were worthless—nothing. If Katie hadn't already loved him, that moment would have swayed her. Nobody had the nerve to question or put down a Goldman. Nobody but Devlin, apparently. She'd put up with the girl for years, not wanting to offend her social better and upset the 'order of things.'

Jade's eyes narrowed as she stared down Devlin, but she turned to Theon when the new guy refused to bite. "You aren't serious."

"We'd support you one hundred per cent. You are our leader, and we believe in you," Devlin went on, eyes becoming more intense. Instead of teasing him for 'simping' over his alpha as they normally would in situations like this, the others in the pack stepped up and nodded, their enthusiasm matching Devlin’s. Something about the situation struck Katie as odd.

"I'll think about it." Theon loomed over Jade and grinned widely, showing his monstrous teeth in their full glory. "Come on lads. Let's go hunting."

As they piled out of the gate, knocking past Jade in turn, her mouth gaped wider with each bump.

"What the bloody hell?" she cried. "He can't do this!"

Katie and Haley exchanged glances and shrugged. 

"I think he was teasing you but... I'm not sure," she said, unsure what to tell her so-called friend.

"I'd apologise for gloating though, just in case," Haley suggested.

"Ugh." Jade screwed up her face. "Me? Apologise to a Kilgrayne?"

She looked at Katie, blinked a couple of times and flushed slightly. "Sorry, uh, no offence to you Katie. You can't help being related to him."

'Why do you even want to be my friend?' Katie wondered. 'Why not hang out with the others in your caste?'

Jade's eyes misted over as she stared over at the fields, watching Theon and the others running toward the woods. "I'm sure he won't do it. It would be crazy..."

Katie almost laughed out loud. 'Crazy? You clearly don't know my cousin as well as you think you do.'

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