Nightshade Page 80

“What’s going on?” Ansel’s confusion heightened as he watched their exchange.

Dax cracked his knuckles. “Ren taught that cub a lesson. Shay’s been panting over Calla ever since he got here.”

Ansel cast a worried glance at me. “What happened?”

“Ren found out that Shay asked me to Blood Moon, and he didn’t take the news very well.” I lowered my voice. “He slammed Shay across a lab station and I had to pull him off.”

Dax and Fey erupted into laughter. Cosette paled, inching her chair closer to Sabine, who put her arm around the younger girl.

“Shay asked you to the formal?” Bryn murmured. “What did you say?”

“She said no, of course!” Sabine glared at her and then at me. “What an obstinate, foolish boy. Calla, how did this happen? I warned you. Did you keep leading him on?”

“Sabine, you were there when Logan ordered me to spend time with Shay! I didn’t want any of this. He asked and I explained to him that I was already going with Ren.”

Sabine rested a spiteful stare on me. Cosette watched her reaction and then imitated it. I slumped in my chair.

Ansel slowly turned an apple in his hands, looking at it but clearly not seeing it. Fey and Dax had abandoned their laughing fit in order to debate the terms of Mason’s original bet.

“I still think you owe him the other ten.” Neville was flipping a guitar pick in the air like a coin. “You definitely implied that limbs would be lost when Ren took Shay on.”

“I knew I could count on you.” Mason wrapped his arm around Neville’s shoulders.

“Knock it off.” Dax bared his teeth at them. “The bet was ten.”

“What if we put them in a room together again without Calla there to interfere and then saw if Shay could keep his arms?” Fey rested her fingers on Dax’s biceps. “Maybe you’d like the sight of him bloodied up so much you’d just give Mason the extra ten dollars.”

“What is wrong with you?” I brought my fist down on the table, nearly tipping it over. “Don’t you realize how serious this is? Ren attacked Shay in the middle of class and now he’s left school. He could get into serious trouble with Logan for this!”

“Yes,” a silky voice said from behind me. “He could.”

I slowly turned to face our master. Logan’s smile sliced through me, cutting my gut into ribbons.

“Calla.” He turned slightly, beckoning someone to stand beside him.

I gripped the sides of my chair when Shay stepped forward.

“I was quite concerned to hear about the incident in your class this morning,” Logan said. “As you can imagine, word reached me very quickly since Shay’s uncle is a good friend of my father’s.”

I nodded, tightening my hold on the chair. The wood creaked in protest.

“According to Shay, the fault is solely his. Apparently he insulted you in such a way as to provoke Ren to defend your honor?” Logan tilted his head at me. “Nurse Flynn reported something similar about an argument between Shay and yourself that would have contributed to this . . . unpleasantness.”

Shay’s attempt to cover for Ren surprised me, but I nodded, masking my feelings. “Yes, that’s what happened.”

“I see.” Logan nodded at Shay with an expectant glance.

Shay cleared his throat. “Calla, I’m so sorry that I lost my temper this morning. I was out of line. I don’t blame Ren at all for coming after me when he heard about it. I hope you can forgive me.”

Logan smiled, turning his eyes on me.

I barely glanced at Shay. “Thank you. It’s fine.”

Our young master’s gaze moved over the rest of the wolves. “Quarrels between friends are so unfortunate and best quickly forgotten. It’s been so heartening to see you welcome Shay. Let’s not change a good thing. I’m certain Ren will find it in his heart to forgive him, as should all of you.”

The pack’s murmured agreement was barely audible.

Logan’s cold smile reappeared. “Very good. I’ll leave you to your reconciliations, then.” His eyes lingered on Mason for a moment before he turned away.

“Do you want to sit down?” I asked Shay.

“Not today,” he said. “Another day, I hope.” He put his hands on the table and leaned forward, looking at my packmates.

“I realize this is a bad time, but I do want you to know that I’m sorry. I understand that by provoking Ren, I placed each of you in a really tough position. You’ve become my friends, and jeopardizing that friendship is the last thing I want. I’ll be back here tomorrow, if you don’t object.”

There was no answer from the group, but I gave a brief nod.

“Thanks.” Shay walked away and I put my forehead down on the table.

“That was decent of him. Maybe he’s not such a cub after all,” Dax grunted. He and Fey had begun to arm wrestle. “So long as he knows his place, I don’t mind him being around.”

Fey gritted her teeth. “I’d still like to see them fight.”

Neville and Mason had turned away, whispering quietly to each other.

Sabine’s narrowed eyes burrowed into me. “He seems to understand an awful lot about how our relationship to Logan works. More than he is supposed to . . .”

I had opened my mouth to fend off her speculation when Ansel’s nervous response cut in.

“I don’t think that’s a big surprise, considering he sits with us every day. He’s probably just picked up on the group dynamic. He’s a smart guy.”

He didn’t look at Sabine as he spoke and he tried to give a casual shrug, but the movement was more of an awkward jerk. His fingernails tore into the skin of his apple.

I frowned at him for a moment but then looked at Dax. My mind was back in chem class, remembering the defeat in Ren’s eyes before he left. “I’m worried about Ren. He left a note saying he wouldn’t be around today or tomorrow. I have no idea where he’s gone.”

Dax glanced in my direction. The moment he was distracted, Fey slammed his arm to the table.

Dax rubbed his elbow, unfazed. “I’ll track him down, make sure he hasn’t killed off the entire deer herd. It should be fine. The guy has a bad temper but usually doesn’t stay pissed off for that long.”

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