Series 11 Episode 2
There was no doubt about it – Jonah knew he was playing with fire. Disobeying Freddie’s clear instructions could have been a recipe for disaster, especially after the day he’d had. There was no way he’d get away with his plan if Freddie knew about it.
Therefore, there was one success criteria to meet for the evening to be a success: don’t get caught. As soon as Freddie and Sammi had vacated the house, Jonah made his own way out the back. All he had to do was head back the same way within a couple of hours. It was fool proof.
Jonah had spent ten minutes casually making his way into town. The meeting point was obvious – it was the same one he always used to meet with Leah. That specific bench along the outskirts of the playground was somewhere they’d spent many an hour talking. She was the person he trusted the most, after all, and the only true friend he’d made in Crystalshaw.
“I thought you weren’t going to make it,” Leah looked relieved as Jonah finally reached his destination. She looked like she’d put effort into how she looked that night – more than usual, that was. She was naturally so pretty, but make-up gave her confidence, and Jonah loved the energy it gave her.
“When have I ever let you down?” Jonah brushed off, allowing his charm to do the bulk of the work.
“How long have you got?” Leah laughed.
“Rude,” Jonah joined the joke, “Look, as much as I love this bench, we need to get out of here. Freddie, Sammi and George are all literally over there.” Jonah pointed to the bar across the road. If Sammi or his brothers were to see him, he’d be dead meat. Taking a risk was the last thing he wanted to do when he was on thin ice already.
“Grounded, right?” Leah noticed, “I told you you’d get caught. Those idiots don’t care about you. Maybe you should try listening to me once in a while?” Leah was one of those people who were always right. Somehow, her brain arrived at the best decision or the correct answer all the time, and Jonah wished he had such a skill.
“Not explicitly grounded. I was just, you know, banned from coming out tonight. As long as I’m not spotted near that bar, I’ll be fine,” Jonah reasoned, convincing himself as much as Leah.
BAM! Jonah lost his footing, crashing abruptly to the ground. He wasn’t sure what had happened; smoke immediately obscured his vision, and his senses had never felt so disorientated. His first instinct told him one thing: check Leah was okay. He wafted his hand to try and spot her among the grey cloud that engulfed them in an instant.
“Jonah?” she called out. She was right by his side, much to Jonah’s relief. He reached out and met her hand, linking together for safety, “What the hell was that?”
Jonah looked over and began to panic. The explosion had come from the place he desperately hoped it hadn’t, “My family are in there.” He didn’t know what to do.
Much to Yasmin’s delight, the date was going swimmingly. Everything she was worried about turned out to be for nothing. Harrison was the perfect gentleman – good-looking, kind, and he had a great sense of humour. It couldn’t have been going better.
That didn’t stop Yasmin feeling anxious, though. Dating wasn’t easy in the supernatural world A normal date felt like a gigantic lie when she couldn’t exactly explain the technicality that she wasn’t actually human. How could she begin to explain what a nix was? When was the right time? Would he even believe her? So much could still go wrong – no wonder dating had hardly been a priority of Yasmin’s.
That was an issue for another time, though. Yasmin was fed up with her powers being a barrier between her and her love life, and so far, ignoring the matter entirely was paying off. It had been a long time since a boy had made her feel so happy. Josh was the last guy she’d truly cared for, and she desperately wanted it to work out better than that – it couldn’t exactly be worse.
“Your friend, is he any good?” Harrison queried as Harry greeted the crowd. He seemed to effortlessly comfortable – it was something that could easily come across as arrogant, but Harrison managed to stay on just the right side of the line.
“Trust me, I’d have thought of a better night out if he wasn’t,” Yasmin chuckled, “Unless you’re expecting opera or something.”
“Expect the unexpected,” Harrison smirked cheekily. Yasmin smiled politely, but she couldn’t help thinking that he had no idea quite how unexpected things could become.
“We need to get out,” Dylan yelled out of nowhere. Yasmin was startled – what was he doing? Harry was just about to start his first song, there was no way Dylan would interrupt unless he had good reason, right?
“Dylan,” Harry whispered, moving his mouth away from the microphone, “What’s the deal?”
“There’s a bomb in here, we need to get out,” Dylan justified. Yasmin didn’t doubt Dylan for a second – this was undoubtedly important, and unquestionably terrifying. Yasmin’s heart started to race.
“There’s no time,” Freddie added, his voice quivering, “It’s speeding up, I can hear it. Ten seconds.”
“Behind me,” Yasmin instinctively suggested. Some customers fled out of the door in a panic, but the pack trusted her without question, even if she didn’t have time to explain her risky plan. She needed to keep them safe.
“You can’t,” Dylan warned, standing protectively by her side.
“Just watch,” Yasmin focused. She felt a rumble beneath her feet immediately, raising her hands to issue the command. Rapidly, water splashed upwards, seeping out from under the floorboards in a rush.
Yasmin’s reflexes took over. Not only did she instinctively shield her face, but the water understood the biggest and most important command. The blast knocked Yasmin and the whole pack backwards, but the water immediately extinguished any flames
“Out. Now,” Yasmin commanded. They needed to get to safety – her powers had protected them, but the building wasn’t safe. Ushering the pack out, Yasmin caught Harrison’s eye; he looked horrified. She had some explaining to do.
Rushing out into the fresh air, Freddie felt immensely relieved to be out of danger – for the time being, anyway. He didn’t know why the bomb was in the bar, or who put it there, but he didn’t care – all that mattered was that he and his friends were safe.
The first thing Freddie did was check that Sammi was okay. She was right behind him on the way out, holding his hand firmly, and though the smoke had made her cough, she seemed otherwise fine. Freddie couldn’t help worrying, though. Sammi didn’t have supernatural healing abilities like most of them – if it weren’t for Yasmin’s quick thinking, Freddie could have lost his wife. Relieved was an understatement.
George followed them out, followed by the rest of the pack: Oscar, Brett, Caroline, Ed, Jeremy, Felix, Yasmin, Harry, and Dylan. They were all okay, and that was the most important thing to Freddie.
“What the hell was that?” Brett coughed, trying to catch their breath back.
“Is everyone okay?” Dylan verified, the group congregating across the road. A series of nods and brief replies of “fine” followed, but Freddie could tell they all knew it was a miracle none of them had been hurt.
“Who would have bombed the bar?” Sammi queried, baffled.
“It could have been anyone,” Caroline mentioned, trying to soothe everyone’s worries.
“Exactly, worrying won’t solve anything. I’ll get onto the station, get deputies securing the area in no time. We’ll find out who did it, I promise,” Ed reassured.
“The night we’re all together,” Yasmin panicked regardless. Behind her stood her date – Harrison, if Freddie remembered correctly – who looked traumatised. He seemed to be keeping his distance from the pack, and Freddie could hardly blame him. His brain must have been fried.
“You think it was co-ordinated?” Jeremy was horrified by the thought, as was Freddie, but the thought had crossed his mind too.
“We don’t know that,” Dylan replied, his tone brimming with hope.
“But we know there are people out there who want us dead. My dad’s cult,” Yasmin reasoned.
“Alright, it’s been a busy night. I think we all need to head home for the time being,” Ed took charge, “I’ll keep you all updated.”
“Freddie!” a voice called over. Freddie was taken aback to see Jonah sprinting over. What was he doing there? How could he have known about the explosion? “Are you okay?”
“We’re all fine,” Freddie quickly reassured, before turning his attention back to the more pressing issue, “What are you doing here?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Jonah brushed off, “I’m just glad you’re all okay.” His friend Leah tagged behind, an awkward guilty look painted on her face. That told him all he needed to know.
“You’re meant to be at home,” Sammi backed Freddie up, as he knew she would. Parenting wasn’t easy, but they tried their best for Jonah.
“All you said was that I couldn’t come to the show,” Jonah reasoned, trying to wriggle out of trouble.
“Come on, we’ll talk at home,” Freddie decided. George made eye-contact with Freddie, checking he had everything under control. George had a full-time job, meaning he wasn’t around as much to take care of Jonah, hence why Freddie and Sammi took the bulk of the responsibility. Freddie smiled back at his older brother – he could handle Jonah, but things seemed to be spiralling downhill fast.
There really wasn’t anywhere Jono wanted to be less than that nightclub. The music was good – he could rely on that in a gay bar in London – but he wasn’t in the mood, no matter how insistent Lily was on finding him a fella.
Depressingly, Jono had found himself scrolling through Dylan’s Instagram. Though messaging each other was off limits, they still followed each other and were always the first to like each other’s posts. Dylan didn’t upload much to his account, but he’d built up a collection of photos over their seven years apart. He still looked just as gorgeous as he did before – his dark waves were almost touching his waist, but otherwise, it looked like no time had passed at all. Jono wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to get over Dylan.
“Hey,” a guy approached, standing at the foot of the booth. He was tall, complete with a tight buzzcut atop a face with a smug grin and a six-pack visible behind a tight green V-neck t-shirt. He wasn’t Jono’s type at all, and he couldn’t have been further away from Dylan.
“Hi,” Jono raised a smile, but it took a lot of effort to be so polite, “Not to be rude, but I’m not really interested, sorry bro.”
“You sure? You’re looking lonely over here,” he continued, not getting the extremely obvious hint. Jono was feeling more and more uncomfortable. He wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be there. He needed to get out.
“I’m sorry, excuse me,” Jono stood up and went to slide out of the booth, but the guy was blocking the way. In a panic, Jono pushed him, barging through in a rush, but he lost his footing. The next thing Jono knew, he was on the floor, his elbow scraping the side of the table as he fell.
“Move,” Lily barked, immediately rushing to Jono’s defence.
“I…I…” the guy stuttered, attempting to distance himself.
“I suggest you get out of my sight,” Lily said without even looking him in the eye. Her attention was solely on Jono, helping him sit up, “Are you okay?”
“I’m bleeding,” Jono noticed, seeing the graze on his elbow. It was throbbing with pain, almost out-beating the music that was still blaring loudly.
“It’ll heal, don’t worry,” Lily reminded casually, “Come on, we need to talk.”
“What happened?” Jono panicked. Whenever anyone said they needed to talk, it was never for a good reason.
“Dad’s in hospital,” Lily answered, “And he’s in a bad way.”
Jono was stunned. He couldn’t find the words. His day was going from bad to worse, and all he could think of was one thing.
He wanted to go home.
Deflated, Dylan couldn’t relax. He had been desperately looking forward to Harry’s gig that night; it had been the one incentive motivating him to get through the stress of work. He was ready for a night supporting his man and seeing his friends, and that had been snatched abruptly from him out of nowhere.
For a change, Dylan had decided that home was the best place to be that night. As much as he loved the flat, there was no safer place than his family home, safe in the knowledge that his mum and Ed were nearby.
That said, Dylan couldn’t help feeling nostalgic. The house used to be so busy – after Jono departed, it felt like everyone else flocked away too. Josh moved out a couple of months later, and after two more years of college, Freddie used his dad’s inheritance to buy him and Sammi a house – his old house, no less. The newly extended Drummond household suddenly became too big.
It must have been so exciting for a seven-year-old, though. Libby had a whole house to roam around – not only did she have her own bedroom, but Josh’s room doubled as her playroom, while Freddie’s room also served as Ed’s office. Dylan’s room was left untouched – he’d only moved out a few months back, after all, and most of his stuff was still there; the flat didn’t have much room.
Moving out hadn’t been easy – Dylan wasn’t good with change, and though getting a flat with Harry was something he desperately wanted to do, it was still a big shift. Leaving the house he’d spent almost ten years in brought a sense of unease, but despite a few days of homesickness, Dylan was so pleased he’d made the leap. The idea of a new life with Harry was the dream that kept him going.
Harry was just as downhearted as Dylan, if not more so. It was supposed to be his big night, and it ended in chaos. He’d barely spoken a word since they got home. It wasn’t like him to be so down – he was usually Dylan’s ray of sunshine.
“Time for bed?” Dylan queried, hoping to make some sort of conversation.
“I’ve put fresh sheets on your bed,” Caroline informed. Dylan appreciated every bit of effort Caroline put in when he stayed the night at home. She made it feel like a night at a hotel, refusing every offer of assistance for the washing up or any other chores. It was obvious she loved having him around – she missed him just as much as he missed her.
“I don’t think I could sleep right now,” Harry sighed, “We could have died tonight, at my show.”
“Don’t you dare,” Dylan immediately defended, “You are not to blame. How could you have known what was going to happen?”
“Everyone was there,” Harry continued. He was obviously carrying all of the guilt, when he deserved none of it.
“It was a coincidence,” Dylan insisted. He knew in his head that there was a possibility it was a co-ordinated attack, but that still wouldn’t have made it Harry’s fault.
“I guess,” Harry begrudgingly accepted, “I just couldn’t live with myself if I thought I could have gotten you killed.”
“Even if you were to blame, I’m still here, right?” Dylan cuddled up to Harry. He was too cute for his own good.
“Dylan!” an excitable voice gleefully exclaimed as Libby sprinted in. She leapt into Dylan’s arms as if she’d not seen him for a month, settling in the middle of him and Harry. The truth was that it had been just over twenty-four hours since he’d seen his little sister – Dylan picked her up from school most days, with Caroline and Ed both working and Dylan’s freelancing allowing a flexible schedule. Regretfully, he hadn’t been able to pick her up that day due to his tight deadline, but Dylan loved playing such a big role in his sister’s life.
“Hey gorgeous,” Dylan embraced the hug, “Why aren’t you sleeping? It’s super late.”
“I heard your voice,” Libby answered, “Are you staying?”
“We both are, just for tonight,” Dylan answered as Libby twirled her tiny, precious fingers around the tips of his hair.
“Can I show you Rufus?” Libby questioned keenly. Her attention shifted rapidly as new thoughts appeared in her head.
“Who’s Rufus?” Dylan was confused.
“Toy dog,” Caroline replied with a beaming smile.
“Ah, a new friend,” Dylan remained enthusiastic, “Come on, you can show me before bed. Let’s get you upstairs.” Dylan met eyes with Harry as he sat up; he was smiling, and that put Dylan’s mind at ease. Desperately, he hoped they could move forward.
There was no way Jeremy was going to get to sleep easily that night. Enclosed spaces weren’t his favourite places at the best of times, but enclosed spaces with the exit blocked by fire and collapsing ceilings? It was basically his worst nightmare, and he couldn’t pretend he wasn’t feeling unnerved by the entire situation.
In an instant, his positive state of mind had collapsed like a game of Jenga. The honeymoon was over and reality had abruptly slapped him in the face. Jeremy longed to be back in Spain, living his best life on the beach every single day with Felix by his side. He’d never felt so calm and balanced before.
Jeremy couldn’t even attempt to sleep, though. The night was going from bad to worse, and he was driving Felix and Sammi to the hospital. Aunt Helen had called to say that Uncle Steve was in a very bad way, and with Jono and Lily hundreds of miles away, it was up to Jeremy and Sammi to be there for them both.
“He’ll be okay, I’m sure,” Felix encouraged, as Jeremy anxiously led the way through the hospital, unable to control the fast pace of his legs. With everything going on, he couldn’t find any peace in his mind.
“We don’t know that,” Jeremy stressed. He was feeling the pressure. The logical part of his brain knew that Steve could die, and both of his kids were an entire ocean away. The worst part was that Jono wasn’t allowed to come anywhere near Crystalshaw – he might never see his dad again, and that broke Jeremy’s heart.
“Aunt Helen,” Sammi observed as they approached the waiting area. She looked completely bereft, as if her whole world had collapsed. It put things into perspective for Jeremy; he never doubted how much Felix meant to him, but the thought of something tearing them apart terrified him.
“He’s in surgery,” Helen updated them immediately, “The doctors are being so vague.”
“Have you spoken to Lily?” Sammi wondered.
“She’s getting on the first plane back,” Helen answered, “And bringing Jono. He needs to be here.”
“He can’t,” Jeremy was worried. They were all aware of what would happen if Jono returned to Crystalshaw.
“No, he can come back for a short while,” Helen immediately stopped him in his tracks, “I don’t care about what some tree is dictating when I’m not convinced my husband will make it through the night.”
Jeremy couldn’t find the words to reply because she was right. The supernatural world carried far too much weight over humanity, but he couldn’t help fearing the worst. Things were going to get bad again, and quickly.
No matter how she tried to frame it in her mind, Yasmin couldn’t help feeling like a resounding failure. What was meant to be her big night had become an avalanche of disasters, and undoubtedly, it was all her fault.
Of course, the explosion was out of Yasmin’s control, but that hadn’t caused Harrison to scuttle off. Controlling the movement of water with her hands isn’t exactly something you’d expect to see on a first date, and explaining the situation would only have made things worse. Another opportunity blown.
For that night, Yasmin didn’t really want to be on her own. No matter what, she knew she had an open invitation to stay over at Oscar and Brett’s at any time – living alone could be daunting sometimes and her college roommates always made for the most reassuring company. She knew they wouldn’t ask her to talk, or probe for more information; they’d allow her to open up as and when she felt comfortable. Nobody else was better at that than Brett and Oscar were.
“Coffee?” Brett offered, a huge, welcoming smile on their face.
“Sure, thanks,” Yasmin nodded, trying to make herself as comfortable as possible on their sofa. Oscar was sprawled out next to her, while Cody had taken the armchair beside. He looked a little uncomfortable; Yasmin hadn’t ever had much to do with Cody, and though Oscar had forgiven him, others in the pack certainly hadn’t and he chose to keep his distance. How Yasmin felt, she wasn’t sure, though she hadn’t particularly gotten to know him to be able to make a judgement. Everyone deserved a fair shot, even if Harrison evidently didn’t think so.
“There will be other guys,” Oscar tried to reassure her. Though she knew Oscar meant well, it was a line Yasmin had heard far too many times before to truly believe, as much as her heart wanted to.
“Yeah, more of them who will run off as they discover what I really am,” Yasmin sighed.
“Humans suck,” Oscar concurred.
“Excuse me?” Brett chuckled from the tiny kitchen area.
“Okay, most humans suck,” Oscar corrected, “You’ve got an advantage, you knew what I was before we started dating.”
“In terms of being a werewolf, sure, but I wish I knew how terrible you were at washing up after yourself,” Brett continued to tease. Yasmin smiled, her concerns lifting like the biggest sense of relief.
“If he can’t love you for who you are, then he’s not worth any of your time,” Oscar encouraged. Yasmin knew he was right – there was no way she was going to settle for anything less than the best.
“He must be blind if he doesn’t want you,” Cody spoke up for the first time since she’d arrived. Yasmin blushed – a compliment never went amiss, especially from someone she didn’t really know.
WHAM! The window sharply slammed shut. Yasmin jumped out of her comfortable posture. The wind wasn’t that strong earlier that night – it was a clear evening, so how had the wind picked up so dramatically?
Nevertheless, after sharing a baffled glance with the others, Yasmin settled back down. She caught eyes with Cody, who smiled at her for the first time. Maybe Oscar was right after all – perhaps Cody wasn’t all that bad?
Unable to sit still, Freddie wasn’t sure what to do. His instructions had been crystal clear, and it was indisputable that Jonah had disobeyed him. Freddie always tried his best to be fair and reasonable with his younger brother – after all, that was always George’s tactic during his own teenage years – but Jonah pushed things to the limits.
Freddie couldn’t help blaming himself. Obviously, Jonah had good manners, and he was extremely protective of those he loved. He had so many good qualities, undoubtedly instilled in him by their dad. Things had changed in recent months though. He’d become resistant, and he was getting into more trouble at school. Had Freddie done something wrong? Being a parent to a teenager wasn’t easy, especially when Freddie wasn’t much older himself.
The truth was that it couldn’t have come at a worse time for Freddie. His job had folded – he’d grown extremely comfortable at the tech company, but the business had closed and alternatives in Crystalshaw were few and far between. The best he could find was a repair shop in town, but it was below his ability and a step down from what he was used to. At least it was going to keep some money flowing in.
“I suppose I’m grounded for eternity,” Jonah sighed, slumping on the sofa.
“What good would that do?” Freddie sat beside him, opting for a calmer approach, “You’d be pissed at me, then I’d be pissed at you, and we’d hate each other. There’s no way I’m letting us drift apart, but something’s changed, dude. What’s the deal with you lately?”
For once, Jonah didn’t immediately argue back. He took a moment, considering his words carefully. Freddie’s gentle approach was already paying off.
“I feel like I’m missing out on a secret,” Jonah admitted. Freddie’s heart skipped a beat. Jonah was completely correct – he, George and Sammi had decided to keep him out of everything supernatural. It had impacted all their lives irreversibly, particularly at high school, and Jonah didn’t need a distraction on his plate during his studies. They wanted to shield him for as long as possible.
“Why?” Freddie swerved any admission.
“You and Sammi always go silent when I enter the room, like you’re talking about something I shouldn’t know about,” Jonah continued, “I’m seventeen, Freddie, I don’t want to be left in the dark.”
“We’re just worried about you,” Freddie side-stepped. He didn’t want to lie to Jonah, so avoidance was the best tactic, “Your grades are slipping, and Keisha can’t be lenient with your behaviour for much longer. I want the best for you, dude. We all had rough starts, but if I can graduate, then so can you, trust me.”
Jonah nodded, accepting Freddie’s advice. It was the biggest breakthrough Freddie had had in months, and finally, he felt like he’d made some progress. Now, he could focus on tomorrow: the start of his new job. Freddie felt nervous, but it was time to think about the future.
Jolting awake, Harry was panicking. His breathing was fast, like he’d just finished a marathon, and his forehead was soaked in sweat. Depressingly, it was a sensation he’d felt before, notably earlier that night – more than once. Harry had given up counting exactly how many times his sleep had been interrupted.
Sleepless nights weren’t new to Harry in general, though. He’d had too many to keep track of over the years – anxiety had a lot to answer for. His teenage years were the worst, and high school was an experience he preferred not to think about. Music had been the perfect distraction and being able to build a career doing something he loved had been incredibly helpful for coping with his inner demons.
Things had been better with Dylan, too. He’d pulled him back from the brink – metaphorically and literally – and quite where he’d be without him, Harry wasn’t sure. Somehow, Dylan always knew the best words to use to soothe his worries. It was second-to-none; Dylan was unlike anyone else he’d ever met.
This was his worst night in a long time, though, and Harry knew why. No matter how much Dylan tried to convince him otherwise, Harry couldn’t help feeling responsible in part for what happened that night. The whole pack was there because of him, and he’d never have forgiven himself if even one person had been hurt. His friends meant everything to him, and he knew they were everything to Dylan too.
Thankfully, Harry’s sudden jolt hadn’t stirred Dylan, who was still fast asleep, the comfort of his old bed and familiarity of his mum’s house providing just the comfort he needed. Watching him sleep helped Harry calm himself down. It was a welcome reminder of just how lucky he was to have someone so gracious and kind, and good-looking too, even if he’d once doubted Dylan’s commitment due to the ongoing Jono situation. It was a strangely unique scenario, but Dylan had quickly made his love explicitly clear, and Harry trusted that.
Taking a sip of water, Harry tried to relax again. Whether he’d manage much more sleep, he wasn’t sure, but he was certain of one thing: he never felt safer than when Dylan was by his side.
Collapsed against a wall outside the club, Jono felt his whole world collapsing in on him. His mind was racing and his head was spinning, and he couldn’t process what Lily had told him. Too much was happening. He needed fresh air.
Lily had ushered him out of the club in a rush, and Jono couldn’t have been more relieved to be out of there. It was loud, claustrophobic and full of weirdos who couldn’t take no for an answer. That was before he found out his dad was dying.
Jono couldn’t help panicking. He’d not seen his parents in months, and the last he knew, his dad was fine. What had gone wrong? He was hundreds of miles away, and he’d never felt more cut off from Crystalshaw. He wanted to go home, to the one place on the planet he couldn’t go.
“Deep breaths,” Lily gently reminded, crouching by his side, “We’re okay, we’re safe.”
“Dad’s not,” Jono continued to spiral. Despite a patchy relationship with his parents, distance had brought them surprisingly close – closer than ever. They’d never devoted so much time and attention to both of their kids before. It was the one upside of the entire London move.
“We can get a flight tonight, we’ll make it,” Lily reassured, blatantly trying to keep both Jono and herself calm.
“I can’t,” Jono stressed, “I can’t get that close to Dylan. It will kill everyone, Lily. All werewolves, including you.”
“Not for a day it won’t,” Lily reminded, “It wasn’t immediate before, and the Nemeton’s been dormant since. I’ll let Dylan know and he can prepare, just in case.”
“No,” Jono insisted, “He can’t know. This doesn’t need to hurt both of us. It’s best he doesn’t know, I’ll come and go quickly and he doesn’t have to worry.”
“Okay,” Lily agreed, “We’ll grab what we need from yours and then head to the airport.”
“Right,” Jono nodded, inhaling deeply, “I’m coming back to Crystalshaw.”