Chapter 2 I am going to be the luna queen
I followed Evan from the river down toward campus and met him by the football field, where he was packing up his stuff. He motioned for me to follow him.
I opened my mouth to say something, but he turned and yelled to his team that he wanted them to show up early for the next practice. Evan was the team captain, and he loved to show off, bossing the other guys around whenever he had a chance, especially if there was any kind of audience there to watch.
He stayed a few steps ahead of me as we walked home.
Evan was like that sometimes. Ignoring me. Too cool.
But I have to admit that overall, he’s been a good brother to me. I know he has a good heart. He’s always been embarrassed to be the fat girl’s big brother, especially since he’s always been popular.
But he’s been there for me when I needed him. And he does nice things to surprise me, remind me he cares. Like buying my favorite chocolates for me and sneaking them into my bag when I’m not looking.
I had to hurry to keep up with Evan, but found that I actually felt very light-footed, and the quick pace was easy. I couldn’t help but notice that my hips felt sexier, too, as they swayed with each step. I remembered what Lily said about my becoming more beautiful — it still seemed like a fantasy, but I couldn’t deny I felt different in my body today.
Could this really be all because I had sex with that werewolf last night?
The wolf inside me roused at the mere thought of him. My heart started pounding, and not because I was walking fast. Lily didn’t speak to me in my mind, but I felt her in my body, and I remembered the smell of that incredible man.
The glow of his piercing green eyes.
Even in that awful condition, with bruises on his face and his body nearly torn to pieces, he was the most handsome man I’d ever seen.
Evan’s mom cooked us dinner, a big meal of meat, potatoes, and vegetable stew, which I really needed after the night I’d had. Tina was a great cook, so I didn’t mind living at home with her and Peter, my adoptive parents, while starting my freshman year.
“Are you alright, Yena?”
Tina was looking at me with concern in her eyes.
“Oh,” I said, clearing my throat. “Yeah, just hungry. The… camping trip was pretty tiring.”
She nodded. I was relieved she didn’t keep pushing, asking about any changes she might have noticed in me.
When my mother died, she left me with Tina, who was her best friend. I grew up with her family, and they treated me well. I was so grateful when she told me she and Peter would pay for my education, and I enrolled at the Werewolf Noble Academy a year behind Evan.
I was already used to being an outsider before I started at WNA. I’d always been picked on for being fat, and I learned a long time ago I couldn’t let it affect me. The noble werewolves at school looked down on me in a new way, though, and if this weekend was any indication, they were more savage bullies than I had expected.
I glanced at Peter. He was staring absently at his plate while gnawing on a big piece of meat, paying no attention to any of us at all. He’d been working a lot of late nights recently, and it seemed like something at work might’ve been troubling him.
I ate fast and escaped upstairs to my room.
My thoughts kept floating back to the stranger.
I wondered if I would ever see him again.
I was heading into the elevator in the Arts building when I heard a familiar voice behind me.
“Well, well, well,” the voice said.
I turned around. It was Caryn, one of the girls that had stranded me on the mountain.
I pushed the button, but she stepped into the elevator behind me before the door closed.
“If it isn’t Big Yena,” Caryn continued. “Looks like you survived that big hike down the mountain. That’s almost impressive.”
She bared her perfect white teeth in a cruel and self-satisfied grin.
Her two lackeys crowded into the elevator and flanked her on both sides. I couldn’t think of anything to say.
“What’s wrong, big girl? Lose your voice up there on the mountain?”
Caryn giggled at her own stup*d joke, then looked to the other girls for validation. They laughed on cue. The elevator door started to slide closed.
Someone stuck their foot against the door and it halted to a stop with a metallic thud.
“Just leave her alone, okay?”
It was Susan, my one and only friend on this campus. I had never been happier to see her.
Caryn turned to Susan and quipped, “Oh, here to save your fat friend?”
“Yena’s my friend, period,” Susan said. “And I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with tormenting her, but seriously, get a life.”
Susan shoved past the girls, grabbed my wrist and pulled me out of the elevator.
The door rolled closed, leaving the girls inside.
“Come on,” Susan said, and we ducked into the first-floor library.
We found an empty reading room and sat at a big wooden table. She told me she’d heard about what the girls did to me on the mountain and asked if I was okay.
I told her about my night.
About the wolf. And the man he turned into.
Her jaw nearly hit the floor when I told her about the sex.
“Honestly,” she said, “I am so jealous. He sounds hot!”
I shook my head and laughed. “It sounds crazy, but I almost want to thank those stup*d wh*res who left me in the woods. Because that night turned out to be the most amazing thing that’s ever happened in my whole life.”
Susan squeezed my hand.
“Okay,” she said, “this doesn’t really compare with your thing, but I have some news too and I can’t hold it in any longer.”
“What?” I asked.
“They just announced that Prince Nolan is coming here next week to choose his future Luna!” She squealed with excitement.
“Wow,” I said. Susan had told me more than a few times about her dream to marry Nolan, the eldest prince in the Lycan royal family. That would mean someday she’d be Luna Queen.
“You have to help me,” she pleaded, her eyes wide.
“Help you? How?”
“Make me a dress. He’s coming to the Full Moon Ball here on campus, and he’s going to make his selection at the dance. And… well, you know my parents probably couldn’t give me money for a dress, at least not one that would be good enough to catch his attention.”
“Of course,” I said. Susan and her family came from a noble werewolf lineage, but she confided in me recently that their beautiful mansion was just about all her parents had in the world. They had noble titles, and enjoyed the social life of the aristocracy, but privately were pretty much broke.
“Make it red,” she added with a smile. “Blood red.”
“Sure,” I said. “I’d do anything for you, you know that.”
“On that note,” she replied, “there’s just one other thing. I was hoping that maybe you could come with me?”
“Oh.” I was a little surprised. “Why? You know I’m not really interested in all that.”
Marrying a prince really wasn’t the life I was looking for. I wanted a career in fashion — maybe even to be famous for my designs someday. But Susan had been obsessed with Prince Nolan ever since she saw him once at a royal dinner.
“First of all,” she said, “how could anyone not be interested in Prince Nolan? I swear to the Goddess, he is absolutely perfect.”
I raised an eyebrow at her.
Being handsome was just part of a prince’s job description. I couldn’t really imagine this one being anything spectacular.
“When you see him, you’ll know what I mean,” she continued. “And please, just come to support me. I’ll be so nervous.”
“Okay,” I conceded with a sigh. “But I thought you had to be a virgin to be eligible for the selection party? And… remember that other thing we were just talking about?”
“Who cares?” she asked, shrugging her shoulders. “If you don’t tell anyone, no one will know.”
She winked at me and smiled.
“Don’t promise her.” At this moment, I heard Lily say to me.
“She’s my best friend, and I should support her unconditionally, whether she wants to marry Prince Nolan or whoever.” I frowned, resentful that Lily was trying to interfere with me.
“Well, just satisfy her! You will regret not listening to my advice, hum.” Lily said angrily.
Maybe Lily will be my best friend, but for now, Susan is my best friend. I firmly believe.