#Chapter 122: The Magic Doctor
The coffee shop was dimly lit and quiet when I arrived, but also warm and cozy: the perfect atmosphere for working on my paper. I grabbed a quick coffee to stave off the constant feeling of exhaustion from my lack of proper sleep before I set my things down at a corner table and made myself comfortable. I opened my laptop and my notebook, then got to work.
However, as I worked, I couldn’t help but notice that my gaze kept slipping over to the table where K and I sat that one day when we first met. I tried to focus on my work, but each time I would look at that table, I would have flashbacks to the night that he tried to drag me through that swirling portal in the woods. Even now, as I thought of it, I could practically feel his hands still wrapped tightly around my ankles as I clawed desperately at the forest
floor. It was as though his hands were burned there.
That event also made me think about this woman that they called ‘The Sister ‘. Was she somehow linked to my heritage? Tiffany had mentioned how my mother suddenly disappeared, cutting off all contact with the Peacekeepers out of nowhere. The more I thought about it, the more I started to think that maybe it was time to give my mom a call or even pay her a visit so I could learn more. @
Suddenly, my thoughts were broken by the sound of the bell on the cafe door tinkling as someone came in. I looked up, tearing my gaze from the empty table where K and I once sat, to see none other than James walk in.
He looked even more haggard now than before. I watched as he ordered at triple shot of espresso, which was a copious amount of caffeine; had he been sleeping at all? As he turned back around and his glum, soulless eyes met mine, that suspicion was confirmed.
James suddenly put his head down and tried to scurry past me as though he never saw me, but I wasn’t about to let him leave. I jumped up and followed him out onto the sidewalk.
“James!” I shouted. He picked up his pace, still keeping his head down. I jogged after him and grabbed him by the elbow. “James.”
“What do you want?” he snapped, turning suddenly to face me. Now that we were closer and out in the daylight, I could see even more clearly how dark the circles were under his eyes how gaunt his face looked. and
“What’s going on with you?” I blurted out. “You don’t look good at all.”
He ripped his arm away from me, narrowing his eyes at me. “I’m just stressed about school, that’s all,” he said. I frowned. “You and I both know that’s bullshit. You dropped your letter from your dad the other day. What’s this about a ‘family business’?”
James fell silent. His eyes became
wide, and his lip began to quiver.
“James,” I said, reaching out to touch his shoulder, “is someone threatening you? Whatever they’re telling you to do, you don’t need to do it. This isn’t you. I know it.”
Before I could touch his shoulder, he flinched away and shot me an angry glare. “You don’t know the first thing about me,” he snarled. “Stay out of my business.” With that, he turned on his heel and continued to storm down the sidewalk.
I tried to call after him, but he was already gone.
Sighing, I headed back into the coffee shop. Whatever was going on with my friend was completely out of character for him… And I was worried for his safety.
I couldn’t focus much more on my paper after that strange interaction with James, so I finished my coffee and headed back to campus. I was going to head home to try and get some sleep, but as I passed by the hockey arena, I noticed that the door was propped open and light was spilling out onto the sidewalk. Worried that Enzo was still drilling the team incessantly and
that it might lead to an injury, I
decided to poke my head in and check.
Surprisingly, the team wasn’t there. I quickly came to realize that Enzo was alone on the ice. He was training harder than ever, but kept repeatedly: failing at his drills and cursing loudly to himself. I watched quietly from the sidelines, shocked by his performance and his subsequent bad attitude.
Finally, he performed one last drill. I watched as he weaved back and forth between cones on the ice, keeping the puck with his stick, then tried to flick it into the net at the end.
“Fuck!” he shouted. He threw his hockey stick down with such force that it snapped in half. I watched as the two halves slid in opposite directions on the ice before I finally stepped out of the doorway and spoke up.
“Are you okay?” I called.
Enzo must have been so absorbed in his drills that he hadn’t even noticed me standing there, and he jumped when I spoke. “Don’t sneak up on people like that,” he growled, hastily skating around to pick up his broken hockey stick and the cones before he skated over to the rink exit and threw them onto the floor.
“Sorry,” I said, walking up to him and watching as he hobbled over to the bench and sank down with defeat. Have you been training this hard all day?”
He shrugged. “I’ve got another match tomorrow, and my skills are slipping. I’d still be practicing if I didn’t just break my stick.”
I was silent for a moment. I bit my lip, fumbling with the strap on my bag. before speaking again.
“Why do you think your skills are slipping?”
Enzo didn’t answer right away. He glanced up at me with slightly glowing red eyes, then shook his head. “It’s nothing. It’s just my back.”
I remembered how scarred his back had been from Edward’s beatings. He must have lost mobility from it; when we showered together that one night, he had needed help taking off his shirt and washing himself.
“You still haven’t been able to heal?” I asked.
He shook his head. “A little bit here and there, but not much. Whatever Edward gave me to weaken my wolf was potent.”
1 frowned for a moment, but then suddenly I had an idea.
“Take your shirt off,” I said.
Enzo frowned up at me. “What?” he asked, giving me an incredulous look.
I dropped my bag on the ground. “As
your doctor, I’m ordering you to take
your shirt off.”
Enzo hesitated, but finally complied. He reached up to take his shirt off, but seemed to be having trouble just as I suspected. Without giving it a second thought, I reached out and helped him.
Tears came to my eyes as I looked at his back. I’d almost forgotten how scarred he was. My wounds were fully healed with only three thin, white lines where Edward had slashed my stomach with his claws, but Enzo’s back was covered in long, pinkish white scars that raised up from the rest of his skin like a topographic map.
“I don’t like you seeing me like this, he murmured, hanging his head.
I shook my head and blinked the tears away. “It’s not that bad.”
He chuckled wryly. “You’re lying.”
There was a long, palpable silence between us. I just wanted to reach out and wrap my arms around him, but I knew that it would only end in more heartbreak… So, I did the next best thing, and I reached out instead to place my hands flat on his back.
“What are you doing?” he asked, flinching slightly beneath my touch and tensing his back.
“Just relax,” I said, shutting my eyes. I think I can help you.”
Enzo fell silent. He didn’t flinch away as I pressed my palms harder against his skin. I began to breathe deeply. focusing all of my energy on the point at which my hands and his back met, and as I did, I searched for my wolf’s presence and borrowed some of her power.
As I did this, I felt a tingling that began in my chest and slowly flowed down my arms and into my hands. I wasn’t sure exactly, but as I felt Enzo’s tight back relax, I knew it was working Finally, after several minutes of this, I opened my eyes and stepped away.
I almost screamed with joy. The scars were still there, but they were much less prominent now. Without a word, 1. laughed and ran over to the supply closet. I flung the doors open and grabbed a spare hockey stick off of the rack, then ran back to Enzo and shoved it in his face.
“Go on,” I said. “Try again.”
Enzo looked at me with wide eyes, but
then hesitantly took the stick out of my hand. I ran over to the rink railing and gripped it tightly as he skated back out to the center, lining himself up on the opposite side of the rink with the stick in his hand and the puck in front of him.
“Go on! Skate!” I shouted.
For a brief moment, a smirk spread
across Enzo’s face. Then, he skated.
I watched in awe as he weaved around flawlessly on the ice, swerving back and forth and doubling back, all while skillfully keeping the puck controlled with his stick. Then, with a final flourish, he flicked the puck toward me. It slid past me with a whirring sound before landing perfectly in the net.
I couldn’t help but jump for joy. A wild yell escaped my throat, and through my tears of happiness, I saw Enzo’s form skating rapidly toward me. He practically slammed into the railing, then reached over and grabbed me,
pulling me over to his side and spinning around on the ice while he held me in his arms.
We laughed together and spun until we got dizzy.