"Casey," Benji says after opening the door, "What are you doing?"
"Uh…" I feel at a loss for words.
"Come in. It's cold outside," he says, and I quietly walk inside while my heart still beats fast from the shock. We walk silently to the usual study area, and I get all my stuff out, but then Benji inundates me with questions.
"Did you do it? Did you talk to your parents? Did you get home safely? Have you thought about what you wanted to do?"
"Uh…" I say overwhelmed by all of his questions. "What?" I ask him one more time.
"Did you finally stand up against your dad?" he asks me.
"Wait," I put my hand up to calm him down. "I thought…" He looks at me expectantly for an answer. This whole time, I thought that he totally forgot about our whole moment in the woods. I can't help but laugh at what now seems like pointless worries.
"What's so funny?" he asks me curiously.
"Nothing," I tell him as I try to subside the giggles. "It's really stupid," I brush it off.
"No, tell me," he says with a charming smile.
"Well, I just thought that… You were acting like nothing happened this morning," I slowly explain as my cheeks flare up. Jeez, I want to crawl into a hole right now.
"I wanted to ask you in private rather than the middle of the hallway where anyone could hear," he tells me straightforward.
I explain everything that happened yesterday, and he patiently listens to me.
"I'm glad you finally stood up to your parents," he says.
"Thanks, Benji," I tell him while fidgeting with my hands nervously. But my curiosity gets the better of me. Why did he kiss me the other day?
"But, well… I just wanted to know why… Well," I try to pose the question correctly. How do I even ask him about what the kiss is about?
"What?" he asks me. Benji looks at me patiently. He really has a tendency to stare down on a person. I feel my heart beating at the speed of light, and my mouth suddenly feels super dry as I forget what I was trying to say. I can't help but just stare at him. Has he always been this good looking?
"Casey?" he calls my attention.
"Uh," I say dumbly.
"You know what? Maybe we should just get started," I say to just change the subject. God, I don't think I can ask him. It's just way too embarrassing.
We finally start looking through his notes, but I feel distracted the entire time. Usually, I am distracted because Benji's usually starts conversations to sidetrack me, but this time, it's a little different. I just can't concentrate because of him. It's like I've become more hyperaware of his presence.
And, this is how it's been going for the last couple of weeks I've been tutoring Benji. It's like whenever I touch his hand, there's an electric shock that runs through my body. Shocked by these sudden touches, I usually quickly detract my own hand. Now, I lay awake staring at the glowing bright red numbers on the alarm clock after another dream with the wolf once again. Each night, the dreams feel more realistic leaving me with less and less sleep but with more hours to think more and more about Benji.
I close the door to my locker door feeling more tired than ever. A yawn escapes my lips as I walk towards my class. As I trudge to my first class of the day, Benji jumps me from behind and yells "Casey!"
Still not recovering from my dream, I scream just as I did when the wolf attacked me. The bustling hallway falls into silence.
"Benji," I breathe as I hold my chest to catch my breath. "You scared the crap out of me."
"Wow. Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you like that," he apologizes. "You screamed like a monster just attacked you," he laughs nervously.
"Yeah… I'm just a little jumpy today," I explain to him tiredly as I walk towards my classroom.
"What happened?" he asks me concernedly.
"I just couldn't sleep last night," I yawn widely.
"That's terrible. You should try my family's recipe for curing insomnia," he says.
"Beer," he says.
"Get out," I laugh a little at his joke and walk into the classroom.
"I'm not kidding," he yells.
"We're not in Europe, Benji," I yell back. I can't help but smile at his attempt to make me feel better. I sit in my regular desk waiting for class to start when Jason takes a seat next to me rather than his usual seat. I feel the butterflies in my stomach, but they're not fluttering as hard as they used to. Strange.
As Mr. Hayne talks about the format of the A.P. exam, I let out a big and extremely unattractive yawn. I try to disguise it by covering my mouth so that Jason can't see, but the yawn is too great.
Too sleepy. None of the words that Ms. Hayne is saying is even entering my brain. The soft lull of her voice is actually making me fall asleep instead of listening. And then I reentered the Dream World.
I was right back to the scene before I woke up. I stare horrifyingly at the large very sharp teeth of the wolf. I want to scream for help, but I'm petrified by fear to make any move.
Just as I lose any glimmer of hope, the monster is attacked from the side and pushed off of my body. Free from its grasp, I crawl away from the fight in front of me. Fighting the monster wolf on equal ground is a man holding a dagger. The two tumble against the ground as they wrestle for dominance.
The man seems to have gotten the upper hand and slams his dagger into the wolf's shoulder. The wolf howls in pain and shakes the man off of his grip on the dagger.
Angered by the attack, the wolf leaps behind the man and raises his paw for the attack. "Look out!" I shout to warn the man, but it only catches the attention of the wolf.
My warning only startled the man instead of warning him. The wolf lowers his mighty claw to slash the man. Greatly injured the attack, the man falls to the ground on his knees as blood seeps from his wound. The monster has won. The wolf slowly walks over to me without the same grace he had before because of his injured shoulder. There's no way to stop the monster. I'm going to die.
"CASEY!" someone yells my name, and I wake from the terrible dream with a gasp. I look across to see that I'm back in my English classroom, and everyone is staring at me. I look up to see Mr. Hayne looking down on me concernedly.
"Casey, are you okay?" she asks me. "Do you need to go to the nurse?"
I can feel sweat falling despite the cold temperature in the room. "Fine," I breathe out. "I'm fine," I catch my breath and smile as if nothing is wrong. "I'm sorry for the disruption."
"You sure?" she asks me disbelievingly.
"I'm fine," I tell her louder and adamantly. I return back to my notes and stare at the blank notebook page right in front of me to show that I'm ready to listen to whatever is left in class. Mr. Hayne slowly continues the rest of the lesson. I glance over to Jason to see that he has a slight triumphant smirk on his lips. I wonder if he did well on a quiz or something.
Luckily, the bell rings to signal the end of class, and I rush out of the classroom. I can't believe I just fell asleep in class. I go through the rest of my classes with the same haze.
Just as I finally rush out of my last class before lunch, Benji pops out saying "Casey!"
"Oh my god!" I scream in surprise and hold my chest to catch my breath.
Every time he manages to scare the living daylights out of me. I don't even know how he manages to do it.
"Wow, you seem a lot jumpier than usual," he laughs.
It's cause I haven't had enough sleep because of the stupid dream. "Who wouldn't be scared if they have someone jumping randomly in front of them?" I ask him slightly agitated.
"Are you not feeling good?" he asks me and puts his forehead on mine. Startled by the sudden contact, I push him away from me and cover my blushing cheeks.
"What are you doing?" I ask him.
"Maybe you should just go home and rest," he says ignoring my shock.
"No, I just need to finish the day," I tell him and continue walking to my next class.
"No," he grabs my arms and stops me from continuing on. "Please tell me what's going on," he pleads with those big innocently brown eyes.
"Benji, I really need to get to class," I tell him but I know that he's already got me. I could never resist those eyes ever since the first day we met.
"Please," he asks me one more time.
"Fine," I sigh. "I promise I'll tell you during lunch, okay?"
He happily accepts my answer and follows me as we walk to the cafeteria for lunch. Instead of sitting with my friends, I sit with Benji where there are a couple of empty seats.
"So, what's going on?" he asks me straight to the point.
"Well, I don't think you're going to believe me," I start off. How the hell am I going to explain my dream?
He gives me a pointed look telling me to fess up what's on my mind.
"I've… been having this strange dream lately," I explain to him slowly.
"Yes," he says to urge me to go on further.
"I've had this strange dream with this giant wolf," I notice that he flinches. "It was a huge and terrible looking beast that was chasing me across a forest." I go on to explain more of the dream in detail to him and the strange battle between the man and the wolf. "And, yeah. Because of the dreams, I haven't been able to get any sleep," I finish.
Benji gets a pensive look on his face that is really different from his usual playfulness.
"Benji," I wave my hand over his face to get his attention, but he doesn't seem to notice. "Benji?" I ask him.
"I have to go," he says still absorbed with his own thoughts. He walks out of the cafeteria quickly and into the hallway.
What's his problem? I'm the one who's having problems sleeping. I get up from my seat and walk to the table to sit with the rest of my friends.
Benji thinks hard on the dreams that are haunting Casey during the night. From what he could gather, her dreams are definitely not normal. In fact, they seem to be caused by someone else. As he walks through the hallway he passes the one person he does not want to see.
Although they walk past each other, Benji has a strange feeling that Jason is behind the whole thing. "Using magic on humans?"
"Magic? What are you talking about?" Jason asks innocently.
"Cut the bullshit," Benji says and bares his teeth in a threatening gesture.
"Now, is that any way a dog should be acting?" Jason says revealing his true colors.
"You're a young hunter as well. Using magic onto another human?"
"How are you so sure it's me?" Jason asks. "What if it's that witch you're living with?"
"Don't point fingers at others. I know your clan is able to use the magic of the witches."
"Magic? I have no idea what you're talking about," Jason feigns ignorance.
"Stop the dream spell you have on Casey," Benji snarls.
"Or what? You'll come after me? Attack me with your accursed fangs? You know I'm just waiting for the chance for you to mess up," Jason angrily explodes.
"Stop the dreams hunter, or you're going to regret it," Benji says through his teeth. Even though he wanted to attack Jason after all of his taunts, he knew better than to create a reason for the hunters to go after his race.
"Make me," Jason sneers and walks away before Benji could say any other response.
Benji clenches his fists in frustration as Jason gets the last word.