"Oh, definitely.”

"I'm just saying, Sal, it ain't easy being green."

Sally snorted. "You're not green."

Jen waved her off. "It's all relative, chica."

Crina and Marianna ambled in, then Costin. Cynthia trailed in last. They were trying to break up their “together time,” so that it didn't look suspicious. It probably wasn't working since they all looked as guilty as Professor Plumb in the conservatory with the candle stick.

They ate quickly, all of them eager to finalize the plans for the next night. Jen was ready to have some alone time. She used the word alone loosely – she would quasi-be with Decebel. He'd been texting her all day, most of them the equivalent of growling her name. She hated to leave him hanging, but she'd had to do the stupid pool lessons.

Yes, she thought. You heard right. We had pool lessons, as in billiard tables. The last thing she needed was Decebel imagining her leaning over a pool table with a bunch of unmated males surrounding her…which was exactly what had happened. She would conveniently leave that little bit out tonight when she texted him.

Before Jen could leave the table, Vasile spoke up. "You all remember that tonight is another pack gathering?"

"Crap," Jen muttered and was followed by several others in their little posse muttering similar expletives.

Vasile lifted an eyebrow. "Plans?"

Jen's eyes widened and she was frozen in the stare of the Alpha. Her brain just stopped, the only thing she could hear was a little voice screaming, Busted.

"Oh, um," Sally started. "I think Jen was wanting to sit this one out, with all that's happened."

Jen looked at Sally and willed her to see the gratitude in her eyes.

"Well, I suppose I could say that you aren't feeling well," Vasile said thoughtfully. He looked back at Sally, "Am I correct in assuming that there are several other females who are wanting to sit this one out with Jen?"

Sally nodded. "Yes, Alpha. Sir."

Alina smiled at Sally's nervousness.

"Fine, then. But you are not to leave Jen's room. For anything." Vasile stared pointedly at each of girls.

"Yes, Alpha," they all said in unison.

As Jen stood to leave, she caught Costin's eye and mouthed, "Later."

He gave a slight nod.

Cynthia also nodded.

Disaster averted, Jen thought with a sigh.

Chapter 25

"Okay let's go over it one more time," Jen announced as she laid back on her bed. There was a collective groan throughout the room.

"Jen, it's nearly one in the morning," Costin complained.

"One more time, then I promise I'll let you go."

Jacque scoffed. "How kind of you, oh great one."

Jen turned her head and smiled at her. "I know, right?"

"Come on, Jen. I'm tired, cranky, and I have a hot werewolf waiting in my bed."

"Okay, at ten o'clock Crina, Marianna, and I will be..."

"In the gym," Crina supplied.

"I will make sure the spiked drinks will be on the side the guys are going to sit," Marianna explained.

"And Jacque and Sally will be..." Jen looked pointedly at the two girls.

"Making our way to the suckers' rooms," Jacque said dryly.

"Such enthusiasm, Jac. Thank you."

"Cynthia and I will be outside below the windows of the rooms waiting for the bonfire donations," Costin added.

"Great. Then..."

"Jacque will go to the gym and watch to see when the guys have thoroughly lost. Then we'll go door to door passing out the fliers," Sally continued.

"Right." Jen looked at Cynthia. "And you..."

"Will be waiting to hear from Jacque via text that the party has started, then torch the loot."

"Superb! I think we've got it, boys and girls."

"Finally," Jacque groaned as she stood up and stretched. "I'm out." She waved to Jen and headed out the door. Costin, Cynthia, Crina, and Marianna were all right behind her.

Sally stood at the foot of Jen's bed and looked down at her friend.

"You doing okay, Jen?"

Jen smiled up at Sally. "I'm better now that Decebel and I can communicate, even if it is just texts."

"And you're sure you want to go through with this?"

"I'm sure," Jen said simply.

Sally nodded once. "Okay then, Lucy. I'll see you in the morning."

"Sleep tight, Ethel."

Jennifer jumped up and went about getting ready for bed. All she wanted in that moment was to crawl under the covers and then spend time with a certain brooding werewolf.

Throwing on sweats and a long sleeved t-shirt, she hurried into the bathroom, brushed her teeth and washed her face. As she patted her face dry with a towel, she paused to look in the mirror. Something was different, but she couldn't put her finger on what it was. Her hair was as long and blonde as ever, her eyes crystal blue, skin fair and smooth, and yet there was still something. She shrugged her shoulders and tossed the towel on the counter.

As she climbed into the soft, big bed she snagged her phone from the bedside table. She propped herself up against the headboard with the many fluffy pillows that adorned the bed and hit the text message icon on her phone.

"Oh boy," she muttered as she saw text after text from Decebel. I knew it was going to be bad, she thought as her fingers began moving deftly across the small onscreen keyboard.

Jen txt: Hello?

Jen held her breath as she waited for his response. And waited, and waited. She frowned at her phone. "Okay, maybe he's asleep," she spoke into the darkness. A few more minutes went by with no response.

Feeling bereft and very empty, she snuggled down into the pillows and laid the phone beside her. She knew she should have answered his texts, but she also knew he was going to be upset and worried if he knew she was out among the other males. Could have handled that better.

Jen had just begun to drift off into a restless sleep when her phone chirped.

She looked at the screen through sleep-filled eyes. She nearly cried when she saw it was a text from Decebel. She didn't care if he yelled at her, she just needed to hear from him.

Decebel txt: Hey baby

Now she did cry. She was expecting him to rant and rave, but instead he sent her a simple “hey baby.” She could hear him in her mind, and see the half smile that would be on his lips. She sat back up and wiped her tears away before replying.

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