Maverick raises an eyebrow. "Actually it's not my fault, I wasn't really going to drop them- I was just teasing you, and then you made me drop them." He says with a sly grin. I roll my eyes, then push him towards the river bank.
"If I lose my keys only a week after getting them, my parents will murder me. Plus, I don't really feel like diving down there," I gesture to the river as I push his chest. "Despite how enticing it is. So, have fun!" I give him a final shove, and he just grins at me.
"If you want me to take my clothes off, all you have to do is ask." He beams and I gasp, shaking my head as he reaches down to the hem of his shorts.
"NO! I-I mean, can't you just wear them?" I stutter, and he chuckles.
"I was kidding, calm down." He says with another sly grin, and I roll my eyes.
"Just get my keys... Please?" I ask, and he smiles again before disappearing into the water.
Five seconds. Ten seconds. Fifteen. Twenty- how long is he going to take? Is he dead?! Oh god. I'm going to have to report a dead body when I just moved here. I start to feel anxious so I get down on all fours, leaning over the edge of the river. The sun has begun to set which reflects off the surface, Disabling me from seeing into the water.
"Maverick??" I say as my breathing begins to pick up speed. Holy shit. He's dead. It's my fault- My thoughts are cut off as his head breaks the surface, flashing a smile at me as I let out a sigh of relief. His dark hair hangs limp on his face. Just then I notice pressure on my wrists, and a quick glance confirms my suspicion that he is, infact, holding them. My head snaps up to meet his gaze, his grin suspicious. Oh no.
"Nonono-" I start as he pulls me into the water. I open my eyes to see- plants line the edges of the river, and a little group of shimmering minnows dart away from me. It's tranquil, serene. Hands are placed on my waist and suddenly my face is above the water again. Maverick beams at me, his face only inches from mine. My breath catches in my throat a little.
"Trying to kill me, are you?" I ask teasingly, and his grin widens.
"Nah, just trying to see if you were maybe a mermaid too. Apparently not." He says jokingly, and I roll my eyes. His gaze flickers to my lips as we tread water, and I feel the heat rise in my cheeks again. Alright, Kennedy, you just met this boy today. You didn't kiss Colin until your third date.
But this feels so right.
But what makes me think he'd want to kiss me? Just because I have this insane attraction to him, doesn't mean it's mutual...
"This is starting to feel like some cliche chick-flick." I say with a smile, half-serious. He chuckles, a low sound melodious to my ears. "Did you uh..." I ask, not wanting to ruin the moment; if there even was one.
"Did I get your keys?" He asks with a smile, "But of course." Maverick answers and it's just then that I realize his hands are still on my waist.
"Thanks, you're a lifesaver." I say, and he grins again.
"I'd say so, seeing that I'm holding both of us above water right now." He says cheekily, and I roll my eyes again. I look up and realize the sun is setting faster than I thought. My parents are going to be furious-
Almost as if reading my thoughts, my phone starts to ring on the shore, Spirit In The Sky filling the silence. "Shit, that's my mum. She'll be worried sick- I stormed out earlier." I say, scrambling to climb up the ledge. Maverick's hands find my waist again, and he hoists me up. "Thanks," I say quickly before racing over to my phone.
"Kennedy? Where are you??" My mum says, her tone anxious.
"I'm uh- I went for a walk in the woods. Surprised they have signal out here actually-"
"It's getting dark, and you're out in the woods alone?? What are you thinking??" She says, and I pause.
"Well, see, I uh, I'm not exactly alone, so I'm fine. I'll be back soon, I promise." I say, and she stays silent for a second.
"You're not alone? Who on earth are you with? We live in the middle of nowhere!"
"A friend, mum, he was just taking a stroll in the woods. He's in a couple of my classes. It's fine." I respond.
"He's not a pshyco rapist-murderer mum. Don't worry." I hear Maverick snicker behind me.
"Just get back soon, and safe, alright? Your father is... angry that you're not back yet." She says, and I sigh.
"He's always angry at me, mum." I say, before ending the call. I turn to Maverick, finding him sopping wet, water droplets rolling down his chest. I look down at myself and groan. My sundress clings to my skin, my patterned bra visible underneath.
"Zebra, eh?" Maverick grins, and I fold my arms over my chest.
"Shut up." I grumble.
"Do you even know how to get home?" He asks, raising an eyebrow. I open my mouth then close it as I turn around, looking at the trees.
"Uh... Not exactly." I say sheepishly, and he nods to the right.
"This way, come on." He says and I gather my phone and keys, following behind him. "It's a good thing I found you out here, no?" He says with a triumphant smirk, and I let out a huff.
"Definitely... How did you find me anyways?" I ask as we walk though the foliage. He waits a second to respond.
"I was out for a run when I heard you howl. You're lucky it was just me instead of..." He trails off. The trees are more widely spaced now, and I walk beside him.
"Instead of...? Wait. Wait. Wait. Your friends- the ones that hate me- they're lycans too, aren't they?" I ask, looking up at him. He presses his lips into a line and nods.
"We're a pack, yeah." My head is drowning in all of the stuff I've recently come to learn.
"Why do they hate me?" I ask, and he frowns at me sympathetically.
"They think you're a rogue.. A wolf who isn't in a pack that tries to sabotage other packs. Most lycans when they enter a new area, will try to join the local pack right away. But since you haven't... They're suspicious." he says.
"But I'm not... I didn't even know what I was until now, let alone what I'm supposed to do!"
"They don't know that. I can try and convince them otherwise, but it'll probably be better if you confront them at some point."
I let out a sigh, stopping and leaning back against a tree, closing my eyes to soothe my pounding, over-worked brain. Maverick stops, coming back to stand in front of me.
"Are you alright, Ken?" He asks, my heart palipitating as my name leaves his mouth.
"No..." I say. "Can you imagine leaving all you've ever known to come to a new place to find out you're not even human, and that everybody hates you?" I say quietly. His hand touches my cheek softly, sweeping a stray strand of hair away and my eyes snap open at the tingles caused by his touch.
"I don't hate you," he says, "I could never hate you." He says the last part incredibly quiet, and I have to strain to hear it. His face is close to mine, his hot breath tickling my cheek. Crickets chirp and birds sing in the trees above, but I can't hear it. All I can hear is his breath, the beating of my heart, and my inner wolf screaming at me.
His hand lingers on my cheek, and I push aside all negative thoughts about kissing Maverick. He leans his face down to mine, and a fire ignites inside me. I close my eyes and he presses his lips against mine softly, lifting his other hand to my cheek. I move my lips with his, reaching up and wrapping my arms around his neck.
Nothing else matters. Right now, it's just Maverick and I, our lips in sync. We are connected; something inside me feels complete.
He tugs at my bottom lip and suddenly the contact is gone, the fire inside me still blazing. My eyes flutter open, and he looks down at me through thick lashes.
"It's getting late, better for you to not be out when the patrols start." He says, and I nod, unraveling my arms from his neck.
I don't say anything. I don't know what to say- 'hey, that was the most amazing feeling I've ever experienced, want to do it again sometime?' So we walk in silence. His hand brushes mine, and then he entwines our fingers together.
Soon, we pass though the trees and end up beside the barn in my backyard.
"Do you need a ride home or anything? I mean I totally would invite you in, but my dad is going to be pretty pissed so..." I ask, turning to him and he smiles.
"No, it's only about a five minute run. But thanks." He leans in, pressing a gentle kiss to my forehead.
"I'll see you tomorrow?" I say as I start towards my house. He grins, his smile lighting up the shadows.
"Don't get too excited."