Chapter 51: Not Wolves
Corrie, Edie, and Corrie’s father sat on the rock in the stream for a long time, talking about their lives. Actually, Corrie didn’t manage to get much information out of her father, but she did get his cell phone number and a promise never to sneak up on her on campus again. He didn’t get the full story on her college experience out of her, either, but he did manage to persuade her to talk about something she hadn’t planned on explaining. “He seemed sweet in high school,” she sighed. “And he is sweet, I guess. He just wants something I don’t want, and he’s determined to get it, no matter how much I tell him it’s not happening.”
Her dad hunched his shoulders and bared his teeth, his eyebrows drawn down in anger. (She wondered how much of that “not having wolf instincts” was true.) “I’ll stop him.”
“You don’t have to do anything. Really. I don’t want you to. Look… well, you know the school teaches magic, right?”
“Some girls put a spell on him so he can’t get within twenty feet of me. I want to ask them to take it off, but I won’t do that until I’ve figured out how to deal with him. But I don’t want you to attack him, either.”
He sighed. “Fine, if you promise me you’ll stay safe.”
“I promise.” That was an easy one to make.
“You don’t have to worry,” Edie added. “She’s learning magic, too, and she’s got a bunch of friends around her who won’t let her get hurt either. I don’t know if Corrie has the best sense of when she’s going to get herself in trouble, but as long as she keeps us around, we can let her know. Right, Corrie?” She poked her.
Corrie laughed weakly, grabbing at Edie’s hand so she couldn’t poke her again. “Right, I guess so. And I really will do my best not to get in trouble.” She thought it was ironic that Edie was complaining about her staying safe, when she was the one dating a faerie, but this wasn’t the time to start that argument again.
“I’m glad to hear you have good friends.” Corrie’s dad smiled. “You might not be a werewolf, but you still have a pack, and that’s good enough for me.”
“I’m glad to hear it.”
“We should head back now, I suppose. I don’t know if they’re done but Charlie can probably take you back even if they’re not. He’s a cub, nobody cares that much if he’s around or not.”
“Poor Charlie.” Corrie grinned and stood up, pulling Edie up with her. The three of them walked back to the stream’s bank and headed through the trees again.
“Maybe sometime we can get together at a more normal time of day,” Corrie suggested to her father as they walked. “I mean, it’s not like I’m usually in bed at this time, but walking through the woods in the middle of the night is kind of weird.”
“Of course. I’ll call you, or you can call me. I’ll take you out to dinner.”
“That would be great.”
“I don’t really want to go back to campus,” Edie sighed. “It’s so nice out here.”
“Really? You’re not freezing?” Corrie was cold after sitting on that rock for however long it had been, despite her warm jacket. Edie being comfortable worried her. Of course, after Leila’s claim that Edie wasn’t human, half the stuff Edie said seemed to worry her.
“No. Though I am kind of hungry. You didn’t bring any snacks, did you?”
“Sorry, didn’t think of it. We have food in our room though.”
“You just want me to go back to campus with you.”
“Well, I don’t want to go back alone! Besides, you don’t really want to stay out here.”
“We’re all going to go home,” said Corrie’s dad. “I don’t think it’s safe to stay in the woods alone, especially for a human.”
“No… you’re right, of course. I just wish we could stay longer. It’s so quiet and peaceful here. Well, I’ll be out at the orchard with Leila again tomorrow. Maybe we’ll go into the woods again.”
“You went into the woods with her?” Corrie asked.
“Well, yeah, a bunch of times. She’s kind of obsessed with trees.” Edie laughed. “She actually taught me to climb trees. I never would have thought I could manage that.”
Corrie grinned. “We should go tree-climbing together. This is probably the right time of year for it, too, with all the leaves changing colors.”
Her dad shook his head. “Climbing trees. I haven’t done that since I was a kid. Not something wolves are particularly good at.”
“Well, it’s a good thing we’re not wolves, then,” Corrie teased.
“Aww, are you sure about that?”
Corrie jumped back, startled. Someone had popped out from behind a tree in front of them.