Authors: Nicole Bailey
“Oh yeah. And we still have to see if Dash will take us
“Already texted him while you were freaking out about
your brother going to college,” he smiled.
“I thought you wanted me to ask,” I remembered.
“I figured it would just be quicker to text him. He’s in.
He’s pretty stoked about the trip with Helene.”
“Okay. Well, Mamma, Babbo, love you. See you at the
ceremony if not sooner.” I gave them each cheek kisses.
“Uh, hello? What about me?” Luca pretended to be
offended. I went over to the couch and kissed Luca as well,
but as I bent over the back, he grabbed me and threw me on
his lap. I started to giggle as he poked me in the ribs.
“Tap! I tap out,” I cried. He released me and I walked
back over to Nick. We said goodbye and left for home to
make sure we had everything we needed for the trip.
I looked at the time and realized I hadn’t finished
packing and we still had to go to the restaurant to say
goodbye to Daniela and Aberto. I wanted to make sure we
had enough time for the two hour drive to the airport and
still be there early enough for check-in. “Relax, Bella. Dash
drives like me.”
“Oh great,” I mumbled. I was all for going fast, but the
combination of Dash and speed made me nervous.
We left for the restaurant where we said goodbye to his
parents and Robby. Daniela made sure I had her parents’
address and Aberto told her not to forget to give me his
sister’s address so we could visit his father and sister. His
sister had never been married and his mother died when he
was a young boy. She rolled her eyes and Nick whispered
to me that his mom was not a fan of his grandfather. Robby
told me to bring him something cool from Italy.
When I asked for an idea, he told me a hot Italian chick.
Daniela smacked him on the back of the head and he
When we got back to our place, I double checked my
suitcase before I added the chocolates and photo. Nick’s
bag was half the size of mine.
“I don’t need six pairs of shoes and two outfits for each
day,” he teased.
“I will have you know that there are only two pairs in
here—one dressy and some sandals. And I do not have two
outfits a day. But I wear more than one pair of pants in a
week.” I stuck my tongue out at him and he laughed.
We had some dinner and watched TV for a bit. Despite
my earlier panic, Nick reminded me that we didn’t even
need to leave for Phoenix until ten.
Dash called to say he was in the parking lot, “Heaven
forbid he should make the three flight trip up here.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed by now, Dash can be a little
lazy,” Nick said as we walked out the front door.
“So, does he run slow when he’s a wolf?” I asked. I had
never seen any of the other weres when they were in wolf
“No, he loves speed. He’s always trying to race
“That sounds like Dash,” I smiled as we walked up to
“What sounds like Dash?” he asked, opening the trunk
for our bags.
“You trying to race everyone when you’re a wolf,” I
answered. He just gave me a goofy grin and got back in the
driver’s seat of his new silver Mustang.
I hadn’t seen the car before. “Where’d you get this
beauty? Steal it?” I asked, getting in the backseat next to
“Graduation present,” he grinned.
“Wow, that’s really nice of your parents,” I said.
“They were so surprised I actually graduated that they
bought me a car.” I laughed out loud. I was a little surprised
he had graduated, too. He took his studies about as serious
as he treated everything else in life. Though, since I had
joined their group, he had stopped harassing people in the
hallways at school. He told me it was because he was afraid
of me. I thought maybe it was a sign that he was growing
Nick was right about the drive not taking as long as it
should. We were there in an hour and a half. Dash and
Helene were planning to go to the club I told them about,
but they couldn’t get in until after hours when the club
stopped serving alcohol.
“Are your parents really okay with you being gone all
night?” I asked Helene as we pulled into town. “I thought
they were still a little unsure about Dash. He doesn’t strike
me as the most responsible person.”
“Uh, sitting right here,” Dash complained. “And what
makes you think that, Sof? I will have you know that I’m
very responsible and would never let anything happen to
ma belle, Helene.” Nick and I both laughed and Dash
pretended to be offended.
“Jack told them that they didn’t have to worry because
Dash knows he would kill him if anything happened to me.
Plus, school’s out,” she smiled as she stared at Dash. I
could tell how much they really liked each other.
We planned on grabbing a quick bite to eat at the airport
before our flight, but Dash invited us to “fourth meal” with
them instead because of the extra time we had. Werewolves
tended to eat more than the average person.
“I realize it’s fast food, but can we pretty please get In
‘N Out?” I begged. “If you guys want to go on a nice date,
just go through the drive-thru for me. I’ll be your best
friend.” I batted my eyelashes at Dash from the backseat.
“Don’t ask me,” he said. “She’s the one in charge.” He
nodded at Helene.
“That really does sound great. And that leaves more
time for us to do something else,” Helene said.
“Like sight-see,” I joked.
“Actually, Camelback mountain at night has a pretty
cool view,” Nick offered.
“So how do you know that? Did you and Beth go park
up there or something?” I asked with a hint of jealousy.
“No comment,” was all Nick would say.
“Ooh, busted,” Dash added.
“Shut up, Dash,” Nick growled.
“Fine, whatever. As long as you take me there
sometime,” I said.
“It’s a date,” Nick smiled at me.
We drove to the In ‘N Out closest to the airport and
went inside. Dash ordered his food animal style and the guy
in line behind us asked, “What’s that? I don’t see that on
“Dude! Haven’t you ever eaten here? It’s on the secret
menu,” Dash answered.
“I’m just passing through town and keep hearing all
about this place. Thought I would finally check it out,” the
“Well, get it animal style. That’s the way to go,” Dash
It was nearly impossible to find seats together even at
the late hour, but I saw a family about to leave and snagged
their booth before anyone else could. While we ate, we told
Dash and Helene about our travel plans. Dash gave me the
names of his family in France if we wanted to visit them
when we went up North to see Nick’s family. They lived
just on the French side of the Alps where Nick’s family
We said our goodbyes at the airport curb drop-off and
Nick and I went to the check-in desk. I had everything I
wanted for the long flight in an oversized handbag and we
checked both of our suitcases so we wouldn’t have to worry
about stowing them on the plane. I had Nonna’s book in my
purse, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to take it out on
the plane without it looking odd.
“If the flight attendant even noticed it, I’m sure she
would just assume it was some sort of old book. It’s not
like she’s going to think, ‘Oh my gosh, that girl has a spell
book’,” Nick offered.
“Yeah, I guess. Maybe if I’ve already seen the in-flight
We hung out at the airport for a couple of hours because
of a delay, so we didn’t end up leaving until 2 am. About
two hours into the flight, I fell asleep and woke up nearly
halfway to New York where we would switch planes.
“Enjoy your little siesta?” Nick asked me.
I yawned and stretched my legs out as I answered, “Uh
huh. Did I miss anything exciting?”
“Just the pilot announcing that there is a crack in the
engine, but we will make it anyway,” he quoted from one
of my favorite movies with a straight face.
“You can’t fool me. I know that movie by heart. What
time is it anyway? Are we almost there yet?”
“Just about halfway, but then we have a four hour
layover in New York. With the last minute travel plans, it
was all they had available,” he answered.
“Ah crap, what are we supposed to do for four hours?
It’s not really long enough to go do anything fun,” I
“Well now you can talk to me,” he smiled.
I laced my arm through his and rested my head on his
shoulder. “That sounds nice. What do you wanna talk
“What are we going to do in Italy? Besides visit family
I mean,” Nick answered.
“Well, Mamma gave me a list of stuff to do. My
grandparents live in the old side of town up on the hill, but
we’ll have a car so we can easily go wherever we want.”
“What’s some of the stuff on her list?” he asked.
“Definitely the beach. Apparently there’s one with
beautiful, turquoise water. And I’m not really into Botanical
Gardens, but they have a great one there I guess. We
definitely have to see the castle.”
“I’ve actually always wanted to see a real castle,” Nick
“Plus, there’s a really cool market with lots of different
stuff. Not just like a food market. And we can figure out
when we want to go up north to see your family. Speaking
of which, are they going to accept me? You never told me if
they’re okay with all of this,” I asked, feeling a little
nervous about meeting his extended family.
“Oh crap, that already doesn’t sound good.”
“Well, Babbo’s mamma died when he was a teenager so
it’s just Nonno and he’s super old and stubborn, so I don’t
know how he feels about it. Babbo said he tried talking to
him about it, but he’s really mad I didn’t marry a were
girl.” I frowned. “But he lives with my aunt and she’s on
board. She hasn’t ever gotten married and I think she’s just
excited to see her nephew happy.”
“Do you think it’s still okay to see them? Or is your
Nonno going to cuss me out in Italian when I walk in?”
Nick laughed, “I’m sure he’ll fall in love with you.”
“And what about your mamma’s family?” I asked,
hoping they would be more receptive.
“All of my aunts are scattered around the world so we
won’t see them, but two of them married humans so my
grandparents are cool with it,” he whispered. If anyone
heard us referring to someone as “marrying a human” they
might look at us like we were creepy.
“You never mentioned your aunts being married to
humans. How many of them are there?”
“Mamma has three sisters.”
“So how does that work since you can’t be bitten in and
we live longer than humans?” I asked. In Mexico, Nick told
me that you could only be born a were. It wasn’t like the
movies where you could be bitten and turned. And though
witches and wolves didn’t live forever like folklore, we did
age slower and live longer than humans did.
“My uncles just know that they’re in it for as long as
possible and someday my aunts will be alone. It’s kind of
sad, but when you find someone you love, it doesn’t
matter,” Nick answered. “What about witches? Do they
ever marry humans?”
“Not really. I mean, there are some, but it doesn’t
“Is it like with us where the spouses are sworn to
“Yeah, they have to take a blood oath. It’s pretty
serious. If they break the oath, bad stuff happens,” I
shivered at the thought. Blood magic was nothing you
wanted to mess around with.
“Yikes. No thanks,” Nick squirmed.
“What’s wrong? Not a fan of blood? You did okay with
“Yeah, but that was nothing and it didn’t matter because
I was bonding myself to you, so I wouldn’t have cared what
I had to do.” He kissed me softly.
“Exactly. The humans that marry witches don’t really
care about the oath. They’re already permanently bonding
themselves to someone. There’s no way to get out of that.”
We were sitting in business class and our two seats
were together, but across the aisle there was an older guy
who opened his eyes and gave us the stink eye. “Some of
us are trying to sleep you know. I have a business meeting
tomorrow.” At that, he closed his eyes and lay back in his
“Oops,” I whispered. “We should probably use our
inside voices so we don’t piss off Professor Grumpypants
over there.” Nick stifled a laugh.
We decided we should probably just watch a movie so
the businessman next to us didn’t yell at us again. It was an
action movie I hadn’t seen yet and it was pretty good.
After we landed in New York, we walked across the
entire airport to where the international flights left from,
grabbed a cinnamon roll for breakfast and sat down in the
chairs by our gate. I fell asleep again while Nick watched
the news on one of the overhead televisions.
Once I woke up, we went into the semi-nice restaurant
to eat some lunch before our 2 pm flight. It already felt like
it had been forever since we left Phoenix. “I hope Dash got
Helene home safely,” I said.
I decided to call him rather than text. I could tell by his
gruff voice that I had woken him up. He told me they
stayed at the dance club until it closed at 4:30 a.m., went
out to breakfast, watched the sunrise at Camelback
mountain, and then drove back home.
After we hung up, I told Nick about their night out. We
were both still surprised how serious Dash was about
“He’s always been that guy that had a girl of the
moment,” Nick said.
“I’m actually amazed anyone ever dated him with the
way he acted at school,” I added.
“There were a few girls from the other pack who only
saw him outside of school. A couple of college girls he met
at a frat party that he crashed one night.”
“Seriously? College girls?” I was stunned.
“He might be immature, but the girls always fell for
him,” Nick shrugged.
“Well, I guess he is kinda easy on the eyes,” I smiled.
“Hey!” Nick frowned.
“Oh, I’m kidding. Well, what I mean is that all of you
weres are cuter than the average guy. But you are definitely
the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.”
“Now you’re just making stuff up.” I laughed at his
Once we were settled into our cushy seats and the plane
took off, flight attendant Brittany walked by to check on us
and noticed our wedding band tattoos. “Beautiful,” she
said. “Are you guys married? You look like babies.”
“Uh, yeah. Headed on our honeymoon,” I answered,
annoyed. After asking us if we needed anything more, she
left. “Hi, my name is Brittany,” I said in my most
obnoxious valley girl voice.
“Shh, she’s going to hear you,” Nick put his hand over
“I don’t care, she’s annoying. And we do not look like
babies. She seriously can’t be that much older than us,” I
grumbled. Nick laughed. “By the way, have you slept yet?
You probably should if you haven’t already.”
“I rested my eyes while you had your head on my
shoulder. I’m good really. I’m used to patrolling at night
anyway,” he answered.
About halfway into our flight, Nick’s head fell over
onto my shoulder and I could hear him softly snoring. He
usually didn’t snore, so he must have been more tired than
he admitted. He patrolled at night several times a week and
though he claimed he didn’t need that much sleep, I figured
he probably should be getting more.
I was a night owl and sometimes kept him awake
talking after he got in from the woods. I realized I shouldn’t
do that anymore. The wolves usually took turns, but since
Nick was pack leader he felt like he should be out there a
The sun was rising when we landed and I had to nudge
Nick to wake up. “Whoa, how long was I out? I can’t
believe I slept like that,” Nick asked.
“It’s my fault,” I said as I stood up. “I keep you up even
after you’ve been out late.”
Nick took my hand as he stood up and said, “Ah, Bella
Sofia, I love staying up late talking to you. You’re my best
friend. Don’t ever feel bad about keeping me up.”
I smiled. “I’m really your best friend? Not Rene or
Dash?” Before he could answer, I said, “Okay, so probably
“No, definitely too obnoxious. And Rene is my second,
not my best friend.” As we got to the door to exit the plane,
Brittany was standing there to wish everyone happy travels.
“By Brittany!” I said in my valley girl voice. Nick
started laughing hard as we stepped into the tunnel.