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I moved my fingers across her face, gently pushing her hair back behind her ear so I could see that her eyes were shut.

Her mouth was slightly parted, her breathing even and calm. I pulled a blanket over her body and sat down next to her, simply reflecting upon our previous conversation.

I’d learned so much about her, after all. Her favorite book? The Hunger Games. She thought it was formed from creative ideas, and Ava admired Katniss’s spirit. As a young girl, her love for music had caused her to begin to write poetry.

When she was in seventh grade, her parents had recently stopped paying her any attention, and some boys started bullying her in school. She revealed to me that she’d been contemplating on what to do with her life- on whether or not to end it herself.

I’d told her, “I’m happy you chose otherwise.”

That was when she explained that her love for poetry had saved herself, and she’d even won awards- without the knowledge of her mother and step-father, of course. They wouldn’t have approved, she’d claimed.

She also told me that her iPhone, which she’d lost when she found Roman, was her most precious, expensive item.

Which, I thought, explains the old ratty t-shirt and jeans. I immediately hated myself for thinking such a thing, as she looked gorgeous in anything. Especially nothing, I’d bet, my mind hinted. I shooed the thoughts away, a blush creeping up the back of my neck.

I headed out in the hall to find Victoria once more.

I walked right into her. She’d been waiting outside my room. “Victo-“

“Oh, Ja-“

“Sorry, could you just, um, undress Ava for me? I don’t think she’d want me… Her clothes are still a bit damp and…” I began, stumbling over my words.

Victoria rested her hand on my arm, her touch soothing. “It’s not a problem.” She pulled her long blonde hair back into a ponytail, revealing her doll-like face. She smiled, her red lips revealing pearly white teeth- the same color as her skin.

“Thank you. Just feel free to go right in once you-“ I began, cutting myself off. “Wait, what can she wear? It’s not as if she has a wardrobe here.”

She smiled and shook her head. “Don’t worry about it. I have some extra clothes that should fit her just fine.”

I nodded and thanked her.


   A knock sounded at the door, causing me to stir in my sleep. Alert, I jumped out of the bed, the covers falling off. The cold stung my skin slightly, which meant it must’ve been well below freezing outside.


        “Roman?” someone called from outside. “Damn it, open up.” I recognized Jace’s voice. I hurried over to open the door, and cold air swept into the room.


          “Holy ****, Jace! It’s freezing.”

               He rolled his eyes and mumbled, “Well, put on some pants, would you? We may be werewolves, but we can still be cold.”


I shrugged, grabbing a pair of sweats from my dresser and pulling them on. I spared a glance at the clock, groaning when I saw the time. “Seriously, Jace? It’s five a.m. Even Joseph used to let us sleep another half hour! What could be so important-“



               “Oh. Right,” I whispered, shame washing over me. I was embarrassed for my complete stupidity. I hated myself for bringing her here, and liking that she was here. I hated myself for completing a full Shift in a park I had believed to be deserted, just because the town was near-empty. I hated myself for wanting her to be Natalie, and I hated myself for thinking Ava was beautiful- because she wasn’t Natalie, and I was only supposed to be thinking that Natalie was beautiful… Right?

               “Hello? Hel-lo?” Jace said, waving his hand in front of my face. I stumbled backwards, nearly tripping over my own feet. I steadied myself. “Did you hear a word I just said?” he asked. I shook my head, dazed. He sighed. “Ava is going to be waking up soon. I think someone has some explaining to do, Roman.” He narrowed his eyes, as by “someone” he wa obviously referring to me.

               “Alright, alright. Stop giving me that look. I’ll go and speak with her right now,” I decided, not the least bit ready to face the girl.


               I knocked on the door before heading into Jace’s room, cautiousness in every step. “Ava?” I whispered.

               She groaned in her sleep. I flicked the bedside lamp on before resting my hand on her shoulder. Her thick, gorgeous brown hair was fanned out behind her head, on the sheet-covered pillow beneath.

I kissed the tips of my fingers and put them up against her lips. Her breath was warm and steady under my skin. I shivered, adrenaline coursing through me.

               She gasped, and I pulled my hands back just in time. Her eyelids fluttered open, and she flinched in surprise.

She gathered the top of the covers and pulled them up, covering her whole body from my view. She whispered, “What the **** are you doing here?”

               “I want to ask for your trust,” I requested, holding my breath as I await her answer.

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