I sat on the edge of my bed, disbelief clouding my mind.
How could Morgan say that? About Danny?
Maybe he's lying.
That was it. He was trying to flirt with me by lying about Danny.
I fell asleep, wanting to start over.
I searched for Danny in the hallway, trying to think.
Morgan was standing three feet away, watching me. I hated him, hated myself for trusting him.
I turned around suddenly.
“Danny. Where have you been?”
I ran into his arms, making sure Morgan could see us.
“What's wrong, Amelia? What's going on with you?”
“Nothing,” I lied. “Nothing is wrong.”
Danny looked down at me.
I kissed him, looking at Morgan as I did.
Morgan turned away bitterly.
Spanish was easy. We got to do whatever we wanted. I opened the chat session with Morgan.
Your little plan failed, Morgan. Danny still loves me, and I still love him.
I told you that you wouldn't believe me, Amelia. But you didn't care.
Morgan, come on. Danny couldn't be a shape shifter. There's no way.
Amelia, sometimes the impossible can happen.
How do you know?
Because my entire world depends on it.
I rolled my eyes.
In what way does your world depend on it?
I'm a hunter. I hunt fugitives, like shape shifters who commit crimes. And Danny is the most wanted criminal in the entire Midnight Utopia.
And what crime did Danny commit, Morgan?
Morgan's response stopped my heart. Cold.
He killed a girl. She didn't want to go out with him, and he lost control. She was dead in a second.
The room spun. Everyone's voices seemed so far away. I felt like I was going to pass out.
You're lying, Morgan.
Amelia, if you can't come to terms with the truth, then why are you talking to me?
Morgan, I want to believe you. I do, but how could Danny be a shape shifter? He would have told me.
But did he?
No! Because he's not one.
Has Danny lied to you before?
Yeah, but that's life.
Well, how do you know he isn't lying now, Amelia?
Those were the last words Morgan said to me. He didn't say a word to me until Friday. So I decided to talk to him first.
“What do you want?”
His voice was full of hatred, and something else. Something I couldn't place.
“What do you want from me, Amelia? I'm busy.”
The pain became clear. Morgan was in pain because of me.
I couldn't stand there any longer. I tried to leave, but Morgan held me back.
“Take another walk with me. Tonight, at eight.”
When I got home, I went to my room and got my pocketknife, just in case something went wrong. I made sure my phone was on, put on my red sweatshirt and sneakers, and walked out the door.
I was ready to face anything.
“Danny is one of the more classic shape shifters. He can't choose his form like the younger ones can.”
“So how old is he? For real?”
“Well, the younger ones don't get their abilities until thirteen. Danny is sixteen, so he got his at eleven.”
Morgan looked down at me, his green eyes shining with the light of the moon.
“You still don't believe me, do you?”
I looked at the creek, watching it move.
“I think I do. I'm not sure.”
Morgan looked exasperated.
“Why, Amelia? I've told you everything I can, I've tried over and over to convince you that I'm telling the truth, and I've avoided telling you that I-” He stopped.
I whipped my head toward his face.
“What haven't you told me, Morgan?”
He looked away.
“Morgan, come on.”
He turned to look at me.
“I think that I love you, Amelia.”
I blinked. “What?”
Morgan took a deep breath. “I think that maybe I'm in love with you. But it's against the code. Shapeshifters and mortals can't be together. Midnight Utopia forbids it.”
I was in shock. Everything that had happened with Morgan, pushing Danny to the ground, telling me everything he knew, trying to protect me. It all made sense.
“Amelia? Is something wrong?”
I took a breath. “I'm fine, I'm fine.”
He stood up, grabbing my hand. My eyes were blurred with tears.
“How could this happen? It's not possible.”
Morgan pulled me closer, wrapping his arms around me. I couldn't stop shaking.
“It's going to be fine. Don't worry. I'll be here.”
I looked up, into those trusting, gentle eyes.
I took a breath before I spoke.
“I love you.”
Morgan and I stayed in each others arms for as long as we could.
I walked home, thinking about how I felt. I loved Danny. I knew I still loved him. But I didn't trust him. I trusted Morgan. And I loved him. What was I supposed to do?
I knew what I was supposed to do.
I had to break up with Danny.
“Amelia, don't do this to me. I love you.”
Danny was heartbroken.
“I'm sorry, Danny. I just can't do this anymore.”
I forced myself to look at him. Such a mistake.
“Amelia, I can't figure out what you're trying to say, so just say it.”
His caramel eyes were glistening. I hated myself for doing this.
“It's over, Danny. I'm sorry.”
Danny blinked. Then his face twisted into a mask of rage.
I couldn't move.
“You are not breaking up with me, Amelia. I won't let you,” he snarled as he reached for me.
They say the eyes are windows to the soul. I saw Danny's soul clearly right then. It was full of pain, confusion, and rage. Danny's entire soul was black.
Because of me.
I blinked, coming back to reality. Standing right in front of me, claws embedded in my hair, was a tawny-gold lion. It spoke in a harsh, half-human voice:
“What a selfish, conceited girl you are. I did everything I could to try and be the perfect boyfriend. What do I get for it? A broken heart.”
I stared into the lion's eyes, trying to be calm. Then I thought of all the good times we had been through.
I was frozen in hatred.
“Danny. How could I have been so stupid and blind to your love? You deserve to hate me.”
“I don't hate you, Amelia.”
There it was. A confession.
Danny changed back just as Morgan came around the corner.
“Get away from her. Now!”
I stepped away from Danny and looked at Morgan.
“Morgan, wait. Listen to me,” I pleaded, trying to get him to calm down.
Then Morgan transformed. Into a panther.
I was staring into the gleaming crimson eyes of a panther.
It was a showdown.
The tawny lion and night-black panther circled each other, snarling.
I took a deep breath before talking.
“Danny, Morgan, listen to me. I don't care what you guys are. I love you both.”
“She's saying that because she's afraid.”
“No. She's saying it because she loves me.” This was going nowhere.I looked around until I found a jagged stone.The lion saw the stone in my hand.The panther saw it too.
“Don't even try it, Amelia.”
I didn't listen.
I forced the stone into my heart.
Amelia, what are you doing here?
Amelia, what have you done? Why are you here?
Of course. When Danny and Morgan were in animal form, their human selves went here.
Amelia, you need to go back. You can't die. Not yet.
Amelia, my love, listen to me. I was stupid and judgmental. I'm so sorry.
I could hear Danny crying. Morgan was just looking at me, watching.
I can't go back. If I do, it will just get worse for all of us.
We can deal with that.
I made my decision.
Take me back. Please, just take me back. I'll be good.
Close your eyes, Amelia. Close your eyes and count to three.
I did what Morgan said. When I opened my eyes, Danny was crying. Morgan was staring at the wall.
“Danny? Why are you crying?”
His sobs stopped. He turned, wiping his eyes as he did.
I focused on Morgan's face. He was in shock.