Gideon - Book cover


Nicole Riddley

2: Double Date


There’s nothing really wrong with Kofi. I guess he could be very sweet, but I’m just not feeling it.

I was born without a wolf, unlike my two siblings. Not having a wolf means there is a big chance that I don’t have a mate like they do.

Ever since my younger sister Maya found her mate seven months ago, they’ve doubled their effort to set me up with some guys, especially Kofi. The torture is real.

“Oh, how sweet,” coos grandma. I send her a glare, but she continues, “You two would make beautiful babies together.”

Shoot me! Just shoot me now!

“Didn’t I tell you that I want at least ten grandkids?”

I know they all pity me, but I think Grandma is joining in the fun just to torture me.

Even my grandma has a boyfriend. Yep, that’s right, my grandma’s getting more action than I do. I, a twenty-two-year-old woman, am getting less action than her eighty-seven-year-old grandmother.

How sad is that?

My sister is holding hands with Abraham, talking softly and giggling. This reminds me of why I chose to move out.

Pretty soon, my mom and my dad will be whispering to each other, Kaleb and Carmen will be acting all cute.

It’s PDA central.

The only thing that could make this better is grandma bringing around her boyfriend for dinner next time and starting to act the same way.


The image of that sears my brain.

“Layla,” says Kofi, taking my hand in his. “You really do look pretty. I appreciate the effort you made to look extra pretty for me tonight.”

Oh, no…


I feel cool fingers sliding over the back of my hand and swat them away. Kofi’s hand retreats, for now, but Carmen peeks around my brother to give me the look.

That look.

It’s the look that would land me in trouble later if she reported me to my mom.

We’re in a darkened theater now, and I’m trying to concentrate on what’s happening on the screen. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is playing.

When I promised my mom that I would give Kofi a chance, that didn’t include groping or romantic hand-holding.

We’re having a double date with my brother Kaleb and his mate Carmen, of all people.

Carmen’s been in my family for over ten years now, so she is more or less like my own sister.

An annoying one most of the time.

She means well, but she’s as meddlesome as everybody else in my family.

Kofi places his arm around my shoulder and I smack it away again.

Carmen shoots me another warning glance and I huff. I don’t want to be here anyway, but since I caved, once again, the least they could do is let me enjoy the movie.

But noooo… Mr. Grabby-hands decided that he wants to be touchy-feely.

I still regret what happened this morning when I told my family that right after lunch I would be leaving to go back to the city.

I should have run right after breakfast…or snuck out before breakfast.

I saw mom slide a glance at Carmen before Carmen casually “suggested” that I should go with Kofi on a double date with her and Kaleb.

I should have known that they would join forces to get me to agree. I blame it all on my tummy.

I had stood my ground and refused to partake in their crazy match-making plan in the beginning, but then they brought out the big guns: my dad.

My dad raved about how lucky I was that a Gamma like Kofi was interested in me when so many other un-mated werewolf women were interested in him…according to Kofi himself.

My dad tried to make me feel guilty for moving out to live so far away from the pack (only half an hour away).

He recounted how his friends’ kids my age are all mated with babies, and how the babies of their babies are having babies soon

Eeekkk!! Not true!

He went on and on about how his heart and lungs and kidneys or whatever organ he could think of were going to collapse due to the stress I put him under for not being mated and taken care of.

Drama queen much?

Finally, I agreed to the date. What can I say? He’s a bit extra…and I’m a pushover.

I heard grandma snickering in the background when I gave in. I swear, that octogenarian lives for my pain.

I slump in my seat as the movie comes to an end. After countless hand slapping and endless glares from Carmen, I give in. I let Kofi hold my limp hand. He seems happy.

I give up. I don’t even know if the movie was any good.

Everybody looks happy by the time we all walk out of the movie theater. Well, everybody except for me.

Kofi places a hand on the small of my back, smiling triumphantly at my brother and Carmen.

I roll my eyes. Whatever.

I let him hold my hand when we reach the concession stand. It’s not like I’m going to be mated to him tomorrow.


“Hey, Carmen!” somebody yells from the crowd of people lining up to buy the tickets and snacks.

“Oh, my gosh! You guys. What are you doing here?” Carmen yells back excitedly, running to hug her friends. I resist the temptation to roll my eyes…again. They’re here to watch a movie, obviously. Duh! I bet the last time they saw each other was this morning.

This movie theater is in a small town, a neutral zone, just outside the pack’s territory. There are many humans and younger werewolves, both from our pack and the neighboring pack, who come here to hang out for dinner, movies, or clubbing.

“Hi, Kofi!” says one of the women there.

“Hey, Kofi!” says another.

Wow, he really is popular with the ladies.

He’s looking at them with a big smile on his face, but when he notices me watching, his smile turns sheepish with a hint of guilt. He awkwardly scratches the back of his close-shaven head.

Well, he is very attractive with his smooth, dark brown skin, tall build, charming personality, thin mustache and goatee, and that big smile. As I said, there’s nothing wrong with him.

He just doesn’t do it for me.

No spark at all on my part. Maybe I’m the one who’s broken.

“Kofi’s on a date with Layla tonight,” says Carmen proudly as if I’ve achieved something. The smile on one lady’s face dims considerably.

“I need to go home now,” I remind them. “I have a class tomorrow.” I do have a class tomorrow but not until noon.

They don’t need to know that, though.

“Yeah, err…I’d better take Layla home,” Kofi says. “See you later, Kaleb, girls.”

“You drive my sister home safely, Kofi.” Kaleb flashes him a warning look.

“Yeah, for sure, man,” Kofi replies while I give Carmen and Kaleb a goodbye hug.

“I really had a great time tonight, Layla,” says Kofi after he stops the car in front of my house.

Oh, I’m sure he did.

He had been talking non-stop in the car, mostly about himself. I didn’t really mind it, actually. It gave me time to think of all the things I have to do tomorrow and plan the day after that.

All I had to do was just say the proper response while he was talking, like: “uh-huh,” “oh, really,” “wow,” “ok,” “interesting.”

“You are such a great listener, Layla.” His teeth glow white in the dark. I wonder what teeth whitener he’s used.


“The other girls sure don’t measure up to you,” he says

“Oh, really?” I reply, still only half listening.

“I like someone who’s not easy. Someone classy but shy, and plays hard to get, ya know?” He’s looking at me meaningfully. “I know, beneath all that ice queen act, you do like me.”

Wait. What?

“You can just quit the act now. You’ve got my attention, girl. I know you’re attracted to me as much as I’m attracted to you. You’re the one for me.”

Say what? Oh God, that sounds like a super bad, cheesy song.

I want to tell him off, but then again, I can’t, for fear of my mom’s wrath. So I end up staring at him worriedly while chewing on my bottom lip, thinking of what to say.

I have to handle this delicately. If I do it wrong, I’ll be getting phone calls from my mom all night tonight. She’s relentless.

Delicately, right.

“Uh, Kofi… I’m not shy, and I’m not playing hard to get,” I tell him. “I do like you.”

His smile widens.

“What I mean to say is, I don’t dislike you. But I don’t like you like…like like you, you know. I—”

Suddenly, he swoops in.


I turn my face just in time so that his lips smash on my cheek. His hand comes up to grip my chin and turn my face his way, but I smack his forehead, his chest, and everywhere else that my hands can reach.

“Ow—Layla. Ow! Ow!” he yelps.

“Behave yourself, Kofi!” I scold him. I wipe my cheek and scramble out of the car very quickly, like my ass was on fire.

“Oh, come on, Layla. Don’t be like that,” he says.

“Don’t you ‘come on, Layla’ me!” I yell at the window before I stomp into the tiny driveway. “Sheesh! What has the world come to?”

I continue to grumble as I push the key forcefully into the lock.

Now I’m pissed. So pissed!

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