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Chapter 0465

Abby

Reaching my room, Karl opens the door for me, his movements gentle and caring despite the uncomfortable encounter we justhad. | stumble inside, the familiarity of my old bedroom bringing an unexpected sense of relief. He helps me to the edge of thebed, and | sit there, swaying slightly, still processing his words from earlier.

“You need to get ready for bed,” Karl says softly, his voice filled with concern.

It's clear that he thinks | drank too much tonight, and | don’t blame him. | did drink far too much; maybe | was trying to push awaythe uncomfortable feelings associated with our almost-hookup in the alley, or maybe it was something else.

| nod, my movements sluggish as | lean down and attempt to untie my shoes. It’s a futile effort, though, as my fingers are clumsyfrom the alcohol.

With a sigh, Karl wordlessly kneels down to assist me, his hands deftly untying the laces.

“Thanks,” | mutter as | watch him, my mind still racing with thoughts surrounding him. Even in my drunken state, | want him. | canfeel the undeniable pull of my wolf, and with my inhibitions lowered, | hardly resist.

But then, my mind wanders back to thoughts of what our casual hookups could lead to. Karl’s words keep floating through mymind: he had said that I'd regret it, just like | always do.novelbin

Is it true? Do | always regret it?Are we setting ourselves up for pain? For something more serious that neither of us is ready to admit?

Once my shoes are off, Karl stands up and hesitates for a moment.”"Do you need anything else?” he asks, his eyes searchingmine.

| shake my head, unable to voice the turmoil of my thoughts, although | don’t know if it’s the alcohol that’s tying my tongue up inknots or if it's something else. “No, I'll manage. Thanks, Karl,”| reply, my voice barely above a whisper. 𝑛𝑣.

He nods, lingering for a second longer before finally turning to leave. “Goodnight, Abby. Sleep well,” he says, closing the doorbehind him.

Once I’m finally alone in my room, | change into my pajamas, my movements slow and clumsy. The room spins slightly as |finally crawl into bed, the softness of the sheets a stark contrast to the chaos in my mind.

“He rejected us,” my wolf says, just as foggy as | am from the alcohol. “He doesn’t want us.”

| let out a soft scoff under my breath. “That’s not true,” | mutter out loud, my voice slurring. “He did us a favor just now. God, I’membarrassing myself tonight.”

My wolf sighs in the back of my mind. “It’s not like it used to be. Remember when you two couldn't keep your hands off of eachother after a night out like this? You'd be all over each other until you sobered up, and then some.”

Her words make me blush. It’s true; Karl and | used to be inseparable when we would go out. But things are different now.

“We're not together anymore,” | whisper. “Not like that, at least. And maybe... maybe this whole hooking up thing isn’t healthy foreither of us.”

My wolf whines, but says nothing. She’s not stupid; | know she understands the emotional danger that Karl and | are puttingourselves in by committing to casual hookups, and both my wolf and | are frankly too inebriated to dwell too much on it right now.

My room falls back into silence, one that’s punctuated only by the occasional creak of the house or the odd car that drives past.It's so much more quiet here than the city, and | can’t quite figure out if I'm glad to have some peace and quiet or if | miss thenoise.

Lying in the dark, | continue to stare at the ceiling, my thoughts a jumbled mess as sleep eludes me. What if we hurt each other?What if this casual relationship evolves into something neither of us is prepared for? The questions swirl in my head,unanswered and unsettling.

As | lay there, | let out a soft sigh. Maybe this is a discussion that needs to be had with Karl. After all, if we’re going to keep upthe facade of a fake relationship, things are naturally going to be even more complicated.

Part of me wants to just say to hell with the fake aspect of the relationship, and see what happens. But at the same time, | don’tknow if that’s a good idea. He’s already broken my heart once. Maybe I’m just being a fool by giving him the chance to break itagain.

Finally, my eyelids begin to grow heavy and my thoughts become scattered. | know I'll feel better and my mind will be clearerafter some rest, so | don’t fight it.

But then, as I’m finally about to drift off to sleep, a faint light catches my attention.

Headlights shine through my window, casting eerie shadows across the room. They linger longer than a car that would be drivingby on the road.

I sit up, my curiosity piqued. “What's that?” | mutter.

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