One of my friends from the pack, Wayne, was dating her friend, and that was how I met Julia. I only saw her a couple of times. Nothing at all happened between us. She had a human boyfriend—who hadn’t liked me one bit, paranoid that I wanted his girl. A couple of weeks after I last saw Julia, she was raped.
Because the evidence is all there! Rachelle’s got claw marks on her back, a bruised and swollen jaw, and the youths claim you left to pursue her. Then there are the text messages, the times you yelled at her, and the way you’re constantly angry—Wouldn’t you be angry if false accusations were being slung at you, and no one believed a word you had to say?
He pinched the bridge of his nose. Why would she falsely accuse you of all these things?Personally, I’m thinking it’s to make you and the entire pack hate me, to leave me isolated and unhappy. But I’m open to the explanation that she grew up on a diet of paint chips and glue.I could never hate you. He released a tired sigh. I care about you, Ally, and I always will. But Rachelle’s my mate, and I can’t let you target her like this. Regardless of what you think, I really don’t want to ask you to step down from your position. But right now, the pack doesn’t feel like they can trust you.
Which meant they didn’t trust a word she said, and so any visions she claimed to have wouldn’t be trusted either. There was literally no place for her here. Get me a transfer.A transfer? He looked genuinely shocked. Um, why?
Yes, get me a place in another pack. Leaving did feel a little too close to fleeing, and her pride balked at that. But it was better to leave than to entertain Rachelle with her misery any longer. Of course, Ally could go back to her childhood pack. Her foster uncles would welcome her with open arms. But it wasn’t a safe place for her; it would make her life more complicated and dangerous than it already was.
Zeke seemed to struggle with words for a moment. That’s not necessary. I know everyone’s upset with you right now, but their anger will cool. Things will be back to normal within a month.Life isn’t fair, I said. It’s taken me a while to get that. It’s always going to disappoint you in some way or another. You’ll make plans, and it’ll push you in another direction. You will love people, and they’ll be taken away no matter how hard you fight to keep them. You’ll try for something and won’t get it. You don’t have to find meaning in it; you don’t have to try to change things. You just have to accept the things that are out of your hands and try to take care of yourself. That’s your job.
He nodded. I waited until he had taken a deep breath and seemed a little more composed before I stood and ruffled his unruly hair. I was sure he’d groan or bat my hand away; instead, he caught it with his own.Ruby… His face was drawn. Not sad exactly, just…tired, I thought. If you can’t change anything, then what’s the point of it?
I wrapped my fingers around his and gave his hand a steady squeeze. I don’t know. But when I figure that out, you’ll be the first to know.I NEVER THOUGHT I’D BE SO HAPPY to see California’s uneven, fractured mess of a freeway system as we headed toward the glowing high-rises of downtown Los Angeles. The ride was bumpy as all get-out, and the familiar stench of gasoline was working its magic through the car vents, smothering even the unnerving new-car smell clinging to the leather seats. It didn’t matter much to any of us, though.