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Author's note: What inspired me to write this novel was that I kept reading about werewolves and vampires that were always trying to kill each other. I just wanted to write a story where they were on the same side for once.
The angel stood there, waiting for the nurses and doctors to leave the mother and father alone with their baby. The baby hadn’t made it, but then again the angel wouldn’t be here if it had, now would he? As soon as the doctors had all cleared the room, he made his move.
“I am very sorry for your loss,” he sang to the grieving parents.
They only nodded to him, giving all of their attention to their deceased baby boy. They had been forced to name him, and they kept saying his name over and over again.
The angel walked closer to the parents and said, “I can save him.”
This got their attention and they looked up at him, but it was a look that you gave to a joker that kept telling jokes that were more offending than amusing. They looked at his perfect face with a disgust that most people would’ve never accomplished. “Our son is dead,” the mother informed Him. “We aren’t really in the mood for your sick jokes, mister.”
She would make a good mother, he could already tell. It was then that he knew that The First Queen had made the right choice. “Oh, I do not joke with you. I am serious about me being able to help your son, Adam.”
“Don’t you dare speak his name,” raged the father. “I want you to leave, now.”
“Very well,” the angel said. “But do know that your son would’ve been great. People would’ve shouted his name from the rooftops of every corner of this very earth. Angels from Heaven would’ve sung his name and thrown celebration after celebration in his honor. Just know that you could’ve had many years of happiness with him.”
And with that, the angel turned on his heel and headed for the door. He had been thinking about how The First Queen could’ve been so stupid as to think that this child was to be the Alpha, when the father cried out.
“Wait!” The angel paused, then turned around on His heel again to face them. “Do whatever you can to save him.”
The angel smiled gloriously and walked up to the baby. As soon as he put his hands on the child, the baby’s blond hair turned deep black and his homely face became utterly beautiful. It was done.
The baby breathed in his first breath of life.
What goes through one’s mind after finding out that they’re adopted? Do they think okay, so my parents aren’t really my biological parents, but they’re still my parents, right? I mean they’ve taken care of me and have loved me more than they love anyone else, so that still makes them my parents, doesn’t it. Or do they ask themselves, how in the world did my parents end up keeping this from me my whole life and then only tell me now, how could parents, who love you, do that?
Well, I wouldn’t know. I’m still waiting for my parents to tell me that I’m adopted. And although I have waited for seventeen years, I refuse to give up hope.
Every time I ask them, they tell me that I’m not adopted and that they didn’t have time for my self-pity. But I don’t feel sorry for myself. As if I had the time for that, but honestly, life is great. I mean, I just can’t stand people who are so negative about life. Life isn’t that horrible, if you look on the bright side of things. For example, with school, everybody has a problem with it. Why? For one, everybody has to do it, so why not just get it over with, and skip the temper tantrum. Secondly, school is where you meet girls. Duh. Umm, guys can you say no-brainer. Girls are wonderful. Girls are awesome. Girls are…well, girls (in case you were wondering, yes, I like girls).
Anyway, about being adopted, I still think that I am, even though my parents still deny the obvious signs and say that I’m not. For example, everyone in my “family” has blond hair, brown eyes; I have black, almost purple, hair and eyes so blue that they almost look like silver moons. Freaking you out? That’s just the beginning. My parents are overweight and are constantly “watching their weight”; I can pig out nonstop for weeks and not gain an ounce. Also, I am very muscular (but not in a freaky-body-builder-way, but more in a track-star-way), and from just looking at me, you would never guess that all I do is read. That’s it. No sports. No extracurricular activities. Nothing. Reading is my life; my parents don’t read.
Anyway, I’m sure that I could go on forever. My point is that I am nothing like my “family”.
I pondered over all of this while I got ready for school. As I said before, school doesn’t bother me. It’s easy for me, though most things are for some reason. But don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to spend all of my time in school, which would suck. Nonetheless, I was happy that I was going to school, but I didn’t lose any sleep over the fact that we had only two weeks left of school, which meant only a week and a half before my birthday!
I put on my pants and a plain white T-shirt, and then proceeded down the stairs. When I walked into the kitchen, I found my parents making breakfast. Today, they looked happy and as if nothing could put a damper on their good mood. It must be payday today.
I took a seat at our kitchen table and started eating. The food was alright, but Dad had been the one cooking, so it wasn’t the greatest. When Mom cooked, your taste buds exploded and went for a trip down Ecstasy Lane. But, you have to take what you get, I guess.
When I was done eating the little bit of eggs and bacon that was put onto my plate, I got on my shoes, said goodbye, then walked out the door, into the warm, Wisconsin summer air. Our house isn’t the biggest house in the world, but it’s still a nice home. The house itself is a whitish color with blue shutters and a white picket fence surrounding a well-manicured garden—it’s amazing that regardless of the fact that my mother has two jobs during the day and college courses at night, she still finds the time to plant a garden. The house is two stories and is the home that my parents have raised me in since I was a baby. I was going to be sad when it came time to leave. With my high school career speeding towards an end, I had been forced to see my own home as a place that I was to never live in again. This was, by far, my biggest fear and the only thing that could get me down.
I looked down at my watch as I reached our picket fence and I realized that if I didn’t hurry I would be late for school. Yes, I walk to school (or run in this case), which isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but it is better than riding the bus. Ugh. I would drive but my dad says that he can’t afford to buy me a car—even though he did just buy a new (as in new to him) mini-van—and I couldn’t afford one myself. I think that my dad’s real issue is that he doesn’t want me to grow up and leave yet, so he figures that if I don’t have a car, I won’t be able to leave.
I arrived at school with fifteen seconds to spare. I ran to my locker, put my stuff away, and then headed to class. The bell rang and I slowed myself down and took my time to get to class. When I walked into my first hour economics class, it was the usual loud, constant humming of the students’ conversations.
Mrs. Lane, the economics teacher, was a very nice young woman—being only twenty-five—and I really liked her teaching methods, but most people didn’t like her because she’s so tense, therefore, mistaking her for an uptight snob. I say give her a break; it’s only her third week teaching (our previous teacher was on trial for the murder of a highly known call girl). We’d had substitute teachers for the past few months and for me, it was finally nice to have a sense of permanence.
I was debating on whether or not to tell her that if she, Mrs. Lane, just relaxed and talked to us as if she were talking to any other adult, then she might actually get a response out of these dead-beat, hormone-controlled adolescents, when I realized that the seat next to me had somebody in it, which was odd because we had assigned seats and nobody sat next to me.
When I looked over, I gasped at what lay before my eyes. An angel. She was beautiful. It was impossible to comprehend this much beauty. My eyes felt as if they could stare at this incomprehensible being for all of eternity and never get tired or bored of her face. I felt, not as if I were looking at one single object as I should have, but as if I were staring at everything in existence, right here, laid out in front of my face, played upon the features and contours of this young Aphrodite.
She had long, dark brown hair that flowed, miraculously, in slight curls to the small of her back. Her eyes were a deep hazel and looked as if they held every secret in the world. Around the pupil was a yellow ring that flung out in little curves and twists throughout the deep, leafy green that filled in the rest of the iris. Her lips and nose were of the same nature that all famed artists have aimed for, but they could never have perfected (this I knew personally, being an artist myself). Just underneath her eyes, she had a spray of freckles that traveled from one cheek, over her nose, and then on to the other cheek. She had a figure that was…unexplainable? Unspeakable? I had no clue. All I knew was how I felt and what I would do just to hear her voice, and if possible, I would hold her in my arms and stare in her eyes for all of eternity. Longer, if possible.
“H-hello,” I stammered, totally making myself look like a royal doofus.
She barely looked up as she answered, but when she spoke, her voice was so beautiful that it stole the breath from my very lungs. Made me hyperventilate is more like it.
Her lips were like the ones that were used as a reference when humans were created. Oh, but how they moved…
I shook my head, trying to clear it. This is weird, I thought, I mean she has me sounding like frickin’ Shakespeare just walked in the room and started talking all 1600’s…or whenever it was when good old Bill was alive.
“M-my name is A-Adam.”
Dang, she probably thought that I had a speech impairment, along with many other disabilities. I needed to calm down. I took two deep breaths to clear my thoughts. When she didn’t answer at first I thought that she wasn’t going to, but as I opened my mouth to say something else that was deeply intelligent, she decided that she was going to answer and with two words, she crushed my newly found semi-confidence.
“That’s nice,” she said, not even looking in my direction.
“Mr. Kane,” Mrs. Lane interrupted. Which is probably a good thing because with the way our conversation (if you could even call it that) was going, I would probably end up saying something dumb and then ending up getting a criminal record similar to that of a stalker.
Beat-red, I looked up at the young teacher. She looked rather miffed that I had just interrupted her riveting lecture. Reluctantly, I answered. “Yes, Mrs. Lane, how may I help you?”
“You can be quiet, and try to hook up with girls on your own time,” she scolded. Then she turned her attention from me and addressed the angel. “Darling, what is your name?”
“Ivory,” the beautiful girl answered. It was the first time that I had heard her name and it was probably around that time that I actually—fully—started liking her. You can call me an idiot, but that’s how I felt, and I don’t lie about my feelings—there’s no point in it.
“My goodness, what a beautiful name. Well, I’m glad that you are with us, and I apologize on Adam’s behalf,” Mrs. Lane said, closing her statement with a glare directed in my general direction.
“Oh, don’t worry, ma’am. I was actually rather enjoying it and found it to be quite flattering,” Ivory confessed. It was the longest thing that she had said in front of me and by the time she was done speaking I had fallen so deeply for this girl that I had hardly noticed myself swooning at every word that came out of her mouth.
Ivory looked at me then, and let a small smile play on her lips, and just before she turned, she let it burst to its full radiance and she smiled at me for half of a second before going on with her conversation with Mrs. Lane.
The rest of the morning went by in a similar fashion, except for one thing. Ivory was nowhere to be found. After first hour, I had looked for her everywhere so that I could confront this mysterious beauty that had stolen my heart away without even saying a word.
I was sitting at the lunch table with my friends Zoë, Chloe, and Matt, when I heard my name. Matt had been telling me about his date last night with his latest girlfriend, but I hadn’t heard half of what he said because I was still thinking about Ivory and was looking for her at every table that was in the lunchroom.
“Huh,” I said.
“Did you hear what I just said?” Matt asked. When I didn’t answer, he just went on with his story. “I said that my date last night was amazing. We didn’t really watch the movie that we went to, but we did work on our make-out skills.”
“Ugh, Matt, I’m your sister. Why would I care about what you do with your free time? Gross,” Chloe said.
“Yeah, as your sister and as your friend,” Zoë told Matt. “I have no interest in what you do with the girls that aren’t smart enough to realize that you’re just going to play them.”
Zoë, Chloe, and Matt are all related. Matt is the youngest and the twins—Zoë and Chloe—are a year older. They all had honey-blonde hair, brown eyes, and perfect, white teeth. All three of them were tall, slim, athletic, and were very well known around the school. The girls were very beautiful, with their long legs and beautiful hair that swept down to their mid-backs, but they didn’t date because Matt was way to protective over them and everybody knew that if they touched either one of his sisters, Matt wouldn’t hesitate to beat a few people down.
“Sorry, Matt, but I have to agree with the girls. As a person that has been your best friend for the past sixteen years I must say that I really do not want to hear about what you do with your girlfriends.”
“Yeah, whatever guys. But what’s up with you, dude? You’ve been acting like night-of-the-living-dead all day,” Matt told me.
“Sorry, I didn’t even realize that I was acting differently. It’s just that…well, there’s this girl in my first hour and—”
“Whoa, hold on a sec,” Zoë interrupted. “Are you saying that you like this girl?”
“Yes,” I answered, although the word like couldn’t even cover a third of what I felt for her. Just thinking about Ivory had my head swimming and spinning in circles.
“So,” Chloe said. “What’s her name?”
“Ivory.” Saying her name was even worse than thinking about her.
The twins looked at each other with a quick glance then turned to look at me. “She’s out of your league,” Zoë said; “You’re wasting your time,” Chloe said.
“I know but how can somebody ignore that much beauty? I’m sure she’ll get picked up by one of the other, more outgoing guys but for some reason I can’t get her out of my head. Every time I do something it makes me think of her, like: if I’m reading, I wonder if she likes reading too; or, if I see a flower out in the courtyard, I wonder if she likes flowers and if so, what kind she would like?”
“You know, Adam, that has got to be the most ridiculous thing that you have ever said,” Matt blurted out. “You’re lucky I’m your friend, otherwise, there would be nothin’ stopping me from telling the whole school what you just said.”
“Matt, will you shut the hell up already? What Adam just said has got to be the most beautiful thing that I have ever heard and I just think that you’re mad because he wants to go after the one girl that you can’t have. And you know that he has more to offer than you ever will,” Zoë blamed.
“What do you mean, the one girl that he can’t have?” I asked, a little too loudly. A few of the teachers looked over at us just to make sure that there wasn’t some type of huge fight going on. Once the teachers saw that nothing was going on they turned and went about their business.
“Calm down,” Matt hissed. “She’s in my third hour AP Bio class and well, I asked her if she would like to go out sometime. Don’t worry though, she said no. She said that I wasn’t her type and that she just wasn’t interested in me in that kind of way. The Twins, sadly, were there to see my downfall and will not let it go.”
“That’s right,” Zoë said.
“Yep, and we’re never gonna to let you forget it,” Chloe teased.
The bell rang then and everybody got up to get ready for their next class. I said goodbye to my friends and went to do the same as everybody else. I was a little excited because next hour was my AP English class and we were watching the 1960’s version of Romeo and Juliet, and I absolutely (and secretly) loved Romeo and Juliet (shh, don’t tell anyone).
But, oddly, I couldn’t focus on the beautifully written lines that were being spoken aloud by the actors on the screen. All that my mind could focus on were the lines of Ivory’s face and the sway of her hair. I kept picturing that beautifully, radiant smile in my mind over and over again. This was all very nerve racking for me because the only thing that I had ever felt for a girl before this was lust and, though lust is a very powerful emotion, it was not even one millionth of what I felt for this absolute stranger. Lust was a mere shack next to the mansion that this feeling amounted to. I kept going through every logical possibility that could explain my feelings and make me feel like a rational being again. But every time I did this, the only thing that came to my mind was, yet again, the curve of her lips and the complexity of her eyes.
The rest of the day went by in a similar fashion, except for one thing. My feelings deepened. It got so bad that I got in trouble for not paying attention—twice. The problem was that my mind just refused to give her up and stop thinking about her. She was just so… mysterious? Wonderful? Enticing? No, these words were all too simple to explain such a complex being. But, yet they still managed to explain her perfectly.
By the time school was over I had started to believe that she had been a figment of my imagination. I had looked everywhere for her, but every attempt turned out to be less promising than the last. I am seriously going crazy, I thought.
As I walked home, cutting through Mrs. Levingston’s lawn, I tried to think of everything besides her. This turned out to be impossible because, yet again, everything that I passed had me wondering: Could this be her house? Or, what is her family like? Even, does she have little brothers or sisters?
When I finally reached my house, I was so angry with myself that I went straight to my room. My room is quite plain with its white walls and white carpeting. The furniture was all black (which wasn’t very much, only a bed and a recliner), but none of this was the best, and personally, my favorite part of the room. My favorite thing in my room was the seven-foot tall bookshelf that held over two hundred books. I had read every single one of them at least once (some even up to thirteen times). When I was younger, I would go upstairs to my room, slam the door, march over to the bookshelf, then grab a book whenever I was upset or angry. Sooner or later, my parents—who found out that this is what I did whenever I was upset or angry—would come to ask what was wrong, and would gladly listen to what was bothering me. This time was no exception.
There was a light knock on my door, followed by my mother’s concerned voice.
“Are you okay, sweetheart?”
“Yes, Mother, I’m fine,” I answered
“I don’t believe you, Adam. I think that something is bothering you, but you’re too proud to tell me what it is.”
I got up and unlocked the door, leaving the door closed; I went and sat back down in my recliner. My mother came in and walked straight to my bed, where she then plopped herself down and looked at me with ready eyes. This was her way of telling me that she was ready to listen and that I could start at any time.
“Mom, it’s nothing really—just the same old confusing teenage stuff.”
“I’m not leaving until you tell me what is bothering you,” she answered.
“Okay. I’m worried about moving out and where I’m going to go college.” I didn’t like lying to my mom, but for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her that I was a complete mess over some complete stranger. I was losing my mind and everyone around me could see it. So, now not only was I losing my mind, but now I was doing it publicly. Which made it a million times worse.
My mother left then, after giving me the same speech that she always does whenever I get butterflies about the whole college thing.
I followed my mom down the stairs and into the kitchen. Silently, we both worked on making dinner at the little island in the middle of our kitchen. We were making steak for my dad because he had been begging my mom to make it for weeks and she wanted to make him happy.
When my dad got home he walked straight into the kitchen and belted out “STEAK!” then he practically ran to my mom, kissed her on the cheek, then ran upstairs to get changed. He normally didn’t act that way but from the look on my mother’s face, she loved it when he did. My dad came back down the stairs with his steak-eating-clothes on, which had been stained from the meat of previous dinners, and were extra stretchy and left lots of room for his already plump belly to grow.
After dinner, which had been louder than usual due to my father’s loud mmm-ing and ahh-ing, we all said goodnight, then went to get ready for bed. I stayed up for another hour or so, reading, then I shut off the light and went to bed.
My dreams that night were…different. First they started off as normal and had just been about previous things that had happened earlier this week. But then the dreams changed and it was about the things that had happened earlier that day. I dreamed that I was in class and Ivory was next to me, along with Matt and a few other people that I didn’t know. I turned to tell Ivory how I felt about her—glad that I finally caught up to her and didn’t want to waste my chance—but no words would come out of my mouth. Ivory was waiting for me to tell her how I felt, but when she realized that I couldn’t say anything, she turned to Matt, grabbed his hand and walked out of the room. Before I could even think about it, the words were out of my mouth.
“I like you, Ivory.”
But, even though she wasn’t even a foot away from me, she seemed as if she hadn’t heard me and just kept walking away. I got up and ran after them, but oddly, I was crouched on all fours like a dog and was running at speeds faster than I had ever gone in my life. But I didn’t even stop to think about it, I couldn’t. As I ran faster and faster, it never seemed to be enough and I was always two seconds behind them. Then finally, they stopped, I sped towards them, and when I finally reached them, I launched off my legs and attacked Matt.
I shot up out of bed, sweating profusely. I looked at the clock next to my bed and saw that I had only been sleeping for forty-five minutes. I lay back down, heart beating a million times per second, and tried to get some sleep. It was hours before I actually fell asleep, but when I did, it was a dreamless sleep and was continuous the whole night.
I woke up the next morning, sad to find out that it was Saturday, for I was looking forward to seeing Ivory that day. I got up out of bed, went downstairs, and made myself breakfast.
I had the house to myself because my dad just got a promotion that made it so that he had to work Saturdays, and my mom was volunteering at the Goodwill down the road. Normally, I was lonely on Saturdays and didn’t look forward to them, but today I enjoyed being alone. It allowed me to think.
But after a while, I got really bored and decided to call Zoe, Chloe, and Matt to see if they wanted to hang out. Zoe picked up the phone and said, “Hello.”
“Hey, Zoe, it’s Adam. Do you wanna hang out or something? I’m home alone and it’s kinda boring.”
“Yeah,” she said through the receiver. “Umm, but it’ll be just me. Chloe has dance lessons and Matt is on another date. You still wanna go?”
“Of course, I do,” I answered. “What time can you be here?”
It was silent as she thought about it. “About five minutes. Is that okay?”
“It’s wonderful,” I said with a smile.
“Okay, I’ll see you then.”
After I hang up the phone, I looked around and realized that the house was a mess. I did my best to clean up everything that I could before she got here, but only three minutes after hanging up, the doorbell rang. I ran to answer it, let Zoe in, then hurried to clean the rest of it up. When I was finished cleaning up, I went to join Zoe on the couch.
“Hey, what’s up?” she said. “You look kinda down.”
I thought about it. “No, not down, just bored.”
“Good, ‘cause I got a great day planned for us.”
“Ooh,” I said, interested. “Where we going?”
“It’s a surprise…” Then she grabbed my hand and, with a huge smile on her face, she dragged me outside. There, in the driveway, sat her yellow beat up sedan. We hopped inside. Finally, after a couple minutes of trying to get the car started, Zoe pulled out of the driveway and headed down the street.
After twenty minutes of driving, I was starting to get a little nervous. “When are you gonna tell me where we’re going?”
“I’m not, Adam. Do you not understand the word surprise?”
“Oh, just shut up and tell me where we’re going already,” I demanded.
“I’m sorry, Adam, but I can’t do that,” she said, grinning mischievously. And when I grew sulky and crossed my arms over my chest, she only smiled wider and harder. “You’re just gonna have to wait.”
“Fine,” I sulked. “When are we gonna get there?”
Zoe breathed heavily. “In about five minutes.”
I didn’t say anything. I just sat there and sulked in the passenger seat of her car. It wasn’t that I wasn’t having fun; it was just that I didn’t like surprises. And the horrible thing is that Zoe knew this too, she was only doing this to get on my nerves.
Seven minutes later, we pulled up to an empty field that was bordered by hundreds of trees. It was almost dark now, being that it was just after seven, and the stars were bright in the heavens above. I got out of the car and lay on the hood of the car. Zoe came around after me and lay next to me.
“Okay,” I allowed. “This was totally worth it.”
“I know, right.” Zoe said. “I used to come here with my dad, before…”
About a year ago, Zoe’s dad died in a car wreck. I remember when she came to school after it happened, her eyes had rings around them and her hair looked like she hadn’t done it that morning. Out of her and her other two siblings, she had been closest to her dad. She had opened up to me after it happened and had told me that he had caused the accident—he had been drinking. Now every time she went to a party, she would refuse every drink that came her way.
“You miss him a lot, don’t you?” I asked. It was a stupid question because even an idiot could see the pain in her eyes.
“Yeah, I do.”
I could tell that she didn’t want to talk about it, and I wouldn’t push her. I changed the subject. “So…you got a boyfriend?”
Zoe laughed. “Very subtle, Adam. And to answer your question, no, I don’t have a boyfriend. There’s only one guy that I like…”
I looked down at her. It was no secret that Zoe had feelings for me, but out of respect to Matt I had never taken her out. I rubbed my hand over my forehead, trying to knead out the stress.
“Relax, Adam. I know that you have a thing for that new girl Ivory. I’m sorry I said anything.”
“Nah, it’s okay. I like you too, Zoe, but Matt is my best friend…”
Zoe looked genuinely pissed. “I can never have anything I want with him around. He’s forever scaring off the things that make me happy.”
“I know,” I said. “But even if he didn’t do that, I think that it would be too weird for us to go out. You’re my friend, Zoe, and I don’t want to ruin that between us.”
Zoe nodded. “Well, Ivory would be lucky to have you. You’re a really good guy, Adam.”
I blushed. “Thanks, Zoe.”
After that, we only spoke of lighter issues, like school and annoying teachers. We must’ve sat there for hours, just talking, but after a while we began to yawn and mumble our words. After ten minutes of that, we decided it was time to go.
When we pulled into my drive way, just behind my parents’ cars, I thanked Zoe before getting out and told her that I’d see her on Monday. I watched her drive off, then turned and walked up to my front door. Inside, my parents were asleep—it was well after eleven—and I was planning on doing the same, but then I saw the book I had set on the edge of the couch and picked it up. It was another couple of hours before I put the book down again and went up to bed.
That night I had the same dream that I did the night before. Again, it took me a long time to get back to sleep. But, when I did, again, I slept a dreamless sleep that lasted the rest of the night.
The next day was uneventful and boring. I read the whole day, only coming out of my room to eat and go to the bathroom. Of course, when I went to bed, the nightmare came. But, this time the difference was significant.
Like the previous nights, I chased after Ivory and Matt on all fours, and everything that had happened before I started chasing them was exactly the same. Now, unlike the previous nights, instead of just attacking Matt, I saw myself attach to his neck and tear through the arteries and tendons, the ligaments and muscles that made up the anatomy of his neck. But, the worst part was watching him choke to death, and finally, when I was sure that he was dead, all I could feel was a sick pride in what I had just done.
Again, I shot up and looked at the clock. Also unlike the last dream, this dream had lasted for three hours. I looked around the room, dazed from sleep; I sat there for a long time, thinking about my dream and the sickness of it. I probably could’ve stayed there all night, but my mouth was dry, and I couldn’t take the sandpaper-feel of my tongue for another second, so I got up to get a drink.
As I walked through the living room, I saw a swift, white blur that passed through my front yard. I walked to the window to see if it was still visible, but I couldn’t see anything. I went over to the kitchen, got a drink, then went up to my room. I lay back down, shut my eyes, and finally, I fell asleep thinking about how much the white blur had resembled a dog.
I woke up on Monday, filled with more energy than I’d had all weekend. I went through my morning routine in a daze, thinking about only one person…Ivory.
When I got to school—ten minutes early—my nerves were beyond the calming point. I hadn’t realized how much I had needed to see her. I walked into my first hour class, immediately noticing the figure in the seat next to mine. She was even more beautiful than I remembered.
I walked over to my seat, and sat down. I turned to look at her, but she didn’t look back. I tried to say something, just one word even, but my mouth failed me, and I turned, swiftly, to face the front of the class. But, even though I faced the front (and no matter how stalker-ish this may sound), I studied her out of the corner of my eye.
Class was about to start when Ivory looked up at me, and she smiled as if she knew that I was looking at her, then said, “Good morning, Adam.”
Shocked, I turned slowly and looked at Ivory with wide eyes. “Good morning, Ivory,” I answered. She smiled and, with the tips of her fingers, she brushed her hair out of her face and placed it behind her ear.
“Look, about last Friday,” she started, looking down at her feet. “I’m sorry that I was kinda rude and—”
“Don’t worry about it,” I told her. “If I were you, I wouldn’t have talked to me either. I probably looked liked the biggest dork in the world.”
She laughed, which sent my emotions into overdrive. This is killing me, I thought. I’m not properly equipped to deal with this much emotion, I’m just a guy. “Yeah, you were kinda dorky, but…it was kinda cute, too.”
I blushed, much to my dismay, and tried to hide the fact that I was blushing, but she was quick and her eyes missed nothing. She laughed victoriously. “Did I make you blush, Adam?”
In answer, I asked, “So, how was your weekend, Ivory?”
She laughed, which in turn, made me smile. “I’ll take that as a yes,” She assumed. After a few seconds, she answered my question. “Umm…my weekend? It was…boring, lonely, and completely uneventful.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Didn’t you have anybody to hang out with?” I wondered. I wanted to know every little detail about her life. What made this beautiful goddess who she is today?
“Yeah, my parents were at home, but they were busy this weekend, and I don’t have any brothers or sisters, so…I was completely alone, and the boredom was almost too much to handle. Since the move my only friends have been my books,” she revealed. Then she looked down, embarrassed. “And now I’m the one that looks like the biggest dork in the world, don’t I?”
I laughed lightly and answered. “Nah, I don’t think that you look like a dork.”
“You don’t?” asked Ivory.
I shook my head. “Nope, as a matter of fact, I think that you look…not beautiful, because such a simple word would never be enough to explain your complexity, but a word even more powerful—one that isn’t even yet known to man. Besides, I like a girl that reads. I think it’s cute and intriguing. I like a girl who’s knowledgeable and intelligent, and any other guy who is in their right mind would, too.”
“Thanks,” she said, turning a beautiful pink. She looked up at me from under her eyelashes with her bright, hazel eyes and smiled. She had perfect teeth, which didn’t surprise me because no other part of her had failed, or had come short of, being perfect.
“Did I just make you blush, Ivory?” I asked sarcastically. She smiled even brighter, until it reached her eyes. Umm…
Just then, after forcing myself to think about something else so that I could act normal again, I remembered where we were and looked to see why we weren’t being punished for talking and not paying attention. Apparently, Mrs. Lane was sick, because we had a substitute teacher. The substitute had told us that we could talk quietly amongst ourselves, but I had been so captivated by Ivory that I hadn’t even known that there was anybody else in the room. Realizing that I didn’t care about anybody but her, I turned back to Ivory and started talking to her again.
“So tell me about your family.”
Her eyes brightened as she thought about her family. “They’re amazing—a little corky—but still amazing. They’re really outspoken and if you do something that they don’t like, be ready to be told.”
I laughed because my parents were the exact opposite. If you did something that they didn’t like, they wouldn’t care and they’d just walk away. I could tell from the way that she talked about her parents that she really loved them.
“And you’re family?” Ivory asked.
“My family?” I repeated. “Uhh, well they’re my family.”
Ivory laughed. “Are they that bad?”
“No, they’re just…weird. But I think that’s why I love them so much, they don’t ever try to be what they aren’t.”The look in Ivory’s eyes was amazed. It was like she didn’t expect me to feel that way for my family—God knows that most teenagers don’t.
We talked on for the rest of the hour, and were taken by surprise when the bell rang. I got up out of seat and started to walk away, but Ivory grabbed my arm and asked me to hold on.
“So, umm…,” she started. “Look, this might sound weird, but I was wondering if—since I don’t know anybody here—it would be okay if I sat with you at lunch?”
“Yeah, of course. We would love to have you.”
“Great. Well, I’ll see you at lunch. Bye, Adam,” She said, walking away. She smiled at me with her usual, slow smile that brightened just as she turned to leave. Every time she smiled in that way, my reaction deepened (you thought I said something else at first, didn’t you—something that sounds really close to reaction—you’re nasty).
Before lunch, all I could do was think about the things that she had told me about herself. We had mainly talked about the books that we liked and disliked, but there were other things that we had talked about as well. Such as, the fact that she was born in Cairo, Egypt and had lived there for the first two years of her life; or how her parents, who were Egyptologists, were taking a few years off so that Ivory could graduate from high school and start college.
When it was finally time for lunch, I walked (okay, you caught me…I ran) to the lunchroom. When I got to my seat in the lunchroom, I started to look around to see if I could find Ivory.
“Looking for me?” somebody asked from behind me.
I turned, and saw that it had been Ivory who had spoken. I welcomed her with a smile, which she took as her cue to sit down. When she sat down, she did it just as gracefully as she walked, even though the design of the seat forced her to swing her legs over the bench of the table to sit down. I looked at her, and broadened my smile when I saw that she was nervous about meeting my friends. When she saw my smile, the tension in her shoulders eased a little, but when I took my hand and ran it down the length of her arm, she froze and the tension in her shoulders not only returned, but worsened, as well.
“I’m sorry,” I told her. “I didn’t mean to overstep or anything. It’s just that…you looked…well, tense.”
She looked at me and smiled, but when she didn’t answer, I figured that I should ask her why she was so tense.
“Because,” she told me. “I’m really shy when it comes to meeting new people…well, besides you. With you I’m not shy at all, in fact, I’m quite the opposite.”
“Really?” I asked smugly.
“Yeah,” she continued. “You make me feel…as if I could tell you anything and I wouldn’t receive an ounce of judgment from you.”
“Well, that’s good.”
She only smiled. “Just to let you know—you didn’t overstep or anything; it’s just that it felt really good and warm when you touched my arm, and I wasn’t ready for the reaction that it had on my body. Here, feel my arm—you gave me goose bumps.”
She grabbed my hand and, slowly, slid it down the side of her arm. I couldn’t tell you whether there was actually goose bumps or not, because when my skin touched her, goose bumps of my own sprung up, but these went up and down my spine. I shivered, and when I noticed that Ivory had done the same, I looked at her with curious, but questioning, eyes and, with only her eyes, she told me that she was feeling the same thing that I was and she, too, was confused. I reached up and with the back of my hand, stroked the curve of her cheek. She closed her eyes and let her lips part slightly. My hand gently made its way to her beautifully, full lips and with my thumb, I ever so lightly, let the tip of my thumb brush the left side of her bottom lip, pulling it down just a little. I then, with the palm of my hand, traced the line of her jaw back, and finally, ended with my thumb extended up to reach just below her cheekbone and all of my other fingers cradling her neck, the tips buried in her soft, dark brown hair. The goose bumps on her face and neck became more and more prominent and she shivered again, before starting to move forward…
Somebody from the table cleared their throat, loudly and purposefully. I looked around the table, trying to find the person that it belonged to. I had my eyes on Zoë, who seemed to find the white walls of the cafeteria oddly enticing, but instead of going back to Ivory, I figured that we could finish where we left off later. I introduced Ivory to Zoë, Chloe, and Matt. The girls seemed to be happy to meet her and were, in fact, drilling her with questions about how she liked our school, and when they were done with that they started to ask more personal questions. Matt on the other hand looked…awkward.
“What’s up, Matt?” I asked. I felt a little awkward because, whenever I thought about Matt, I couldn’t help but to think of the dream, in which I caused his untimely demise.
“Nothin’,” he snapped, then realizing that he’d lost his cool, he relaxed. “Sorry, I just think that you two are moving a little too fast and that you guys should slow down. I saw you, man. I saw the look in your eyes, and I saw that you wanted to kiss her. You have no idea who this girl is, and as a friend I’m just tryin’ to look out for you.”
“I understand, Matt. You’re right—I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“You weren’t,” Matt said simply.
“I should probably slow it down and try to get to know her first. I don’t want to mess this up; she’s…wonderful.”
“I agree,” Matt answered robotically.
“Thanks, Matt,” I said sarcastically. Really he had been no help at all, but as long as he thought that he had been then he would shut up.
“Yeah, no problem.”
I turned to Ivory and lightly touched her hand to get her attention. She turned to look at me, and as she did so, I realized that her beauty and grace not only showed in her looks, but in her personality as well. When I looked into her eyes, I saw beauty both inside and out.
She reached up to touch my face, but suddenly she changed her mind, and put her hand back down on her lap. I looked down into her eyes with a question in my own, and she answered with one, simple word. “Slowly.” I understood completely, and told her that I felt the same way, and that maybe we were going just a little fast.
“I want to get to know you, Ivory. I don’t want to mess anything up with you, so I ask you one question, will you please, with a cherry on top and two on the side, come to sit with us tomorrow?” I asked her, hoping that she would accept.
“Umm…let me think about it,” she answered. “Okay, I thought about it. Of course, I will. I couldn’t stop thinking about you all weekend, and after our first hour, my heart was going berserk. Call it teenage infatuation, but the whole day I thought of nothing but you’re face, which has been etched into my memory. But if you’re away for more than a second, the image of you becomes like an old, worn out picture that has been stared at too much and soon becomes blurred. For some reason, my brain always forgets the image of those that I would like to see most in the world.”
“Well,” I said, adopting a heavy southern accent. “I guess that I’m just gonna have to never leave your side then, Ma’am.”
“Promise?” she asked.
“I’ll try my best.”
The next three days went by in a similar fashion. We talked and laughed, and then we would talk some more. Over the next three days, I learned what she liked, which included: the idea of kissing in the rain, the color green, every book under the sun that was fiction, and well…me; I also learned her dislikes, which included: hypocrites, the color red, every book under the sun that wasn’t fiction, and people that complained. Everything that she told me always made me eager to hear more and not once did we have an awkward moment where there was nothing for us to say. We were always inspired by each other’s words, which we were only at a loss for when we looked into each other’s eyes. Together, we were inseparable and the people around us were nothing but mere images painted on a canvas.
The only thing that we did not do was touch each other again. Not even lightly on the hand. We were as careful as could be not to touch each other, because we knew that if did, we wouldn’t have the self-control that it would take to stop. But, this did not hold the relationship back. In fact, if I were to say anything at all, I would say that it did nothing but help our relationship. However, this is all not to say that I didn’t want to just simply run my fingers across her skin again, and to feel the wonderful warmth underneath my fingertips once more. I thought about this daily, and more than once, I found myself daydreaming of the softness of her skin. But, nonetheless, I controlled myself, and did not touch Ivory at all.
But, we were not as inconspicuous as we thought we were. The whole school was talking about us, and didn’t go to any length at all to hide this fact. A freshman girl told us about this that Wednesday, while Ivory and I were talking about dream vacation spots, and we had both agreed on either Greece or Egypt.
“Hey,” she said, flamboyantly. “My name is Katie. I heard that you two were going out.”
“Uhh…” I said intelligently. The girl’s boldness took me off guard—I definitely hadn’t been expecting that.
“Well,” Katie continued as if I had never even spoken. “For my exam in journalism I have to write a newspaper article about two people that have just started dating and the effect that it has had on their personal lives.”
“So…” Ivory asked.
“So, since you guys are the school’s newest couple, I was wondering if it would be okay if I did an interview, and then, maybe, took a couple pictures? Would that be okay with you guys?”
“Who told you that we were going out,” I asked, finally gathering my composure.
“Well, surely, you didn’t think that people wouldn’t notice the fact that you two haven’t looked at anything besides each other’s eyes all week,” she said impatiently. “The whole school knows, and you guys are like the latest Romeo and Juliet—but I hope you guys don’t kill yourselves—that would be just downright horrible. But, as I was saying, you guys are a really big deal right now. So, what do you say? Can I have an interview with you guys?”
“Well, Ivory, what do you say? Yes or no?” I asked my alleged girlfriend.
“Yes, I would most certainly love to give an interview,” Ivory answered in a sweet voice. “This girl here needs our help, and I would be more than happy to help her in any way that I can.”
So, the girl proceeded with her interview and by Friday morning, it was published. There was no doubt in my mind that the whole school now thought that Ivory and I were dating. However, I wasn’t angry with the people that had butted into my own personal life; instead, I was proud and excited that people thought I was dating Ivory. Even Ivory had said that she, too, liked the students thinking that she was with me.
We had talked everyday of that week, and on Friday I got up the nerve and asked Ivory if she’d like to go on a date.
“Well, to tell you the truth…I thought you’d never ask,” she answered after I had finally gotten the words out right. “When would like to go out?”
“When would be good for you?” I asked.
She looked up me with a smile. “Would tonight be okay?”
“Yeah that works out perfectly. So…I’ll pick you up at eight?”
“Make it seven and I’m in.”
“Okay? Why seven?” I wondered.
“Because, I don’t think that I can’t wait until eight to see you. It’s already killing me that I have to wait until seven.”
At this, I smiled uncontrollably, which in turn made her blush. After, that we talked for the remainder of lunch, and when the bell rang we said goodbye, and after getting Ivory’s address, I headed to my next class backwards so that I could see her face for just a second longer.
I practically skipped with joy all the way from the school, to the front door of my house. I walked in, and instantly ran to find my dad. When I finally found him, planted on the couch watching a documentary about the history of man, I sat down next to him and asked him if I could borrow the car for my date.
“Well, normally I would say no, but since it’s almost your birthday…” he answered.
“Please, Dad?” I begged.
“Oh, go ahead and take it, but, you have to promise me that you’ll drive carefully and that you’ll be home by eleven.”
“I promise, Dad. Thanks a lot.”
“So, do you know where you’re taken her tonight?” my dad asked.
“Yep. I’m taking her for a romantic walk on the beach.” I smiled, knowing immediately that my father would approve.
“Yeah,” my father answered, completely enthused. “That’s my boy.”
He reached up and gave me a high-five, which then earned us a “you two are idiots” from my mother. “But you’re my idiots,” she continued. I smiled at my mom, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
After thanking my dad, I turned and walked to my room to get ready. I chose a long sleeve, skin-tight shirt (I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to show off as much as I could). I hopped in the shower, hoping that the hot water would calm my nerves.
When I got out, disappointed that the water had done nothing for my erratic nerves, I put on my shirt and jeans, then went downstairs to finish getting ready. By the time I got down the stairs, my mother looked more nervous than I did and was fretting over everything.
“Mom,” I protested impatiently at my mother, who had been trying to fix my hair for the past fifteen minutes, to no avail. “Please stop! I’m going to be fine. You’re more worried than I am, and all you have to do is stay home and wait for me to get back.”
“Be quiet,” my mother chided, not without affection. “I’m almost done. And just so that you know, I’m not worried—”
“Don’t lie to me, Mom. Your hands are shaking worse than mine.”
“They are not shaking.”
“Okay, Mom, if you say so.”
Finally, at six-forty, I left. I hopped in the car, turned it on, and then drove away—catching a glimpse of my parents waving from the doorway.
I followed the directions that Ivory had given to me and within five minutes, I was outside of her house. The home—which had been painted a baby blue with white shutters—was extremely beautiful. The trees that surrounded the house, as they did every other home, gave the home a feeling of serenity and calm. It made me feel…happy.
I had to shake my head to clear it. I walked up to the house and knocked on the door. It was answered by a tall, broad-shouldered man with a goatee and short cropped hair that was a shade darker than Ivory’s. The smile on his face was genuine and caring, which gave me a feel of welcome. My nerves eased a little, allowing me to breathe.
“Hello,” the man boomed in a deep, but gentle voice. “You must be Adam. I’m John, Ivory’s dad. Please, come in.”
I followed John into the house and my mouth dropped at the beauty of the inside. The walls were all white, but the artwork that covered them was nothing short of amazing. There was everything from paintings of The Fall of the Damned, to illustrations of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. John noticed my admiration for the artwork.
“My wife drew a lot of these,” John bragged. “She has to be the most talented artist I’ve ever seen.”
“Honey, stop. You’re gonna make me blush in front of our guest.” From around a corner in the living room where we had been standing came a young woman with dark brown hair that had been cut to resemble a pixie. If my mouth had been able to drop any further it would have hit the floor. What was with all the beautiful people in this family?
John’s wife walked over to him, gave him a quick kiss, then turned to face me. “Hello, I’m Alissa, Ivory’s mother—as you may have already figured out. I hope my husband has been nice to you, sometimes he can be a little…overprotective of Ivory.”
“I was good,” John promised, flashing me a quick wink. “I swear. I didn’t want to ruin the occasion. It’s not every day that your daughter goes on her first date.” Then realizing that he may have unintentionally said something that could embarrass Ivory, John made me swear that I would never tell her that he had told me that.
“Too late, Dad. I already heard what you said,” Ivory’s voice sent chills down my spine, just as it always did. I turned towards the voice and my breath caught in my throat. She looked…perfect. She wore her normal T-shirt and blue jeans, but her hair, which was neatly done, flowed in its perfection. Gracefully, she walked over and tucked herself underneath my arm. My world spun at her touch. She looked into my eyes and just smiled. “You look…gorgeous,” I told her, getting a mumbled “so do you” in return. After what seemed to be an eternity, she tore her gaze from mine and turned to glare at her father.
“Just wait till I get home,” Ivory threatened. But John had already started his retreat to the other room, mumbling about how he was willing to bet that by the time she got home, she would have forgotten the whole thing.
Ivory turned to me and told me that she was almost done and that she just had to fix one more thing. After she disappeared into a room behind me, I started to feel a little awkward standing there in the middle of their living room. I turned to talk to Alissa, who was now sitting in a recliner reading Romeo and Juliet.
“That’s my favorite book,” I told her. “Romeo and Juliet, I mean. ‘See how she leans her hand upon her cheek. Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek.’ Every time I read that part it sends shivers up my spine.”
I turned to the voice to see that Ivory had returned. Her mouth was turned up at the corners, forming one of my favorite smiles of hers. She walked towards me and, again, tucked her body into mine.
“As are you,” I answered. She didn’t need to finish the sentence for me to know what she meant.
I turned to say goodbye to Alissa, before we walked out of the door. I had made an impression on her, I could tell that, but whether it was good or bad was a mystery to me. However, I did see a hint of admiration in her eyes, so hopefully the impression was a good one.
I opened the car door for Ivory, then walked over to the driver’s side and hopped in. After I started the car, I reached over and turned off the radio.
I looked over at Ivory, who had been smiling at me since we had gotten into the car. Growing insecure, I asked her why she was smiling at me.
“My parents love you. I could tell by their faces that all I’m gonna hear about for the next month is you. But, that doesn’t sound too bad to me.”
Hearing her say this made my stomach feel full of butterflies, and made the corner of my mouth turn up into a smile.
“I could say the same about you,” I informed her. “You’re my favorite person to hear, think, and talk about. I never get sick of hearing your name, and every time I do, it’s like hearing it for the very first time again. For the past week, all I could think about was your smile…your laugh.”
She smiled, reaching out to run her fingers down my arm. “I understand completely. I have only known you for a week but, already, you mean a lot to me—I don’t know what I would do if…I could never see you again.”
I smiled, but remained quiet until we pulled into the public parking lot at the beach. “We’re here,” I announced, stepping out of the car and walking over to her side to open the door for her. She flashed me a smile, full of affection and admiration. Uhh… What?
“Come on,” I said, shaking my head out of the daze. “I…uhh. I want to show you something.”
I grabbed her hand, using every cell of my body to think about something other than the feel of her skin—I needed to concentrate. We walked, hand-in-hand, down the beach. The water was cold against our feet, but we barely even noticed it because the heat that coursed throughout the rest of our bodies was too strong to feel anything else. It took all of my focus to remember where I was going.
After about ten minutes of walking, we arrived at the place that I wanted to show her. It was a small cliff, which, if you were standing at the right spot at the right time, you could see the sun plummet beneath the waters of the lake. We walked up the path that led to the summit and when we reached it, I turned to face Ivory.
“You know, my mom and dad used to take me here every weekend when I was a little boy. They don’t anymore—they keep saying that they’re too old to make the trip. But I still come here occasionally. It used be my favorite place to come, the peace and serenity here always captivated me.”
“It’s beautiful. I’ve always felt at home in the nature, kinda like it was made for my comfort and joy. Do you ever feel like that?”
“Every time I come out here,” I answered.
She turned to watch the sunset, joy flashing across her face. She leaned her head against my chest and wrapped her arms around me, sighing. I rested my chin on the top of her head and enclosed her in my arms. We stood there for a very long time, just watching the sun go down. But when the sun was completely gone, and moonlight rained down on us, we stayed just as we were. The joy of having each other in our arms blocked out all rational thoughts.
The fingers of her right hand moved in tiny circles on my chest, her left arm still wrapped behind my back. I gently grabbed a hold of her right hand in my left, forcing us into a dancing position. “Do you dance?” I asked. She shook her head, fear flashing in her eyes.
“Don’t be scared, sweetheart. I’ll teach you how.”
I gave her instructions, which she followed flawlessly—even adding in her own moves periodically. She looked…unreal as she twirled around and came back to me. With every turn and every step, her smile widened. We danced for a few minutes before I started to lead her towards the car. Still dancing, we made our way down the path that led to the beach. We stopped at the sand of the beach. She looked up at me, smile gleaming.
“Why are you leading me towards the car?” she asked, still smiling.
Dang, she caught me. “Because, it’s late. I don’t want your parents to get mad at me after I just made such a good impression.”
She hung her head and started to walk towards the car. I grabbed her hand and spun her around to face me. I reached up and cradled her face with my right hand, squeezing her body against mine with my left arm. Her breathing hitched and she caught her bottom lip between her teeth. I pulled her closer, brushing my lips against hers. A whine escaped from her lips—need taking over. She reached up and touched the side of my face with her fingertips. She was driving me crazy. I pulled her closer for a second time, kissing her longer and deeper than the first time. She tasted like a warm sunny day—good and soft.
We kissed for what seemed to be hours, before Ivory said that she should be getting home. After one more kiss, I leaned down and scooped her up in my arms. She screamed as I picked her up, but her scream turned into a laugh. She was light, which made it easy for me to walk her to the car. I looked down at her while I made my way to the car, admiration and affection in my eyes. Through the light that was emitted from the streetlights in the parking lot, I saw her cheeks turn a deep red. I laughed and she hit me in chest, “shut up,” she said lovingly.
When we got to the car I set her down and opened the door for her, then I walked over to my side and got in. When I sat down, Ivory slid closer to me and grabbed my arm, wrapping it around her. She rested her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes. We didn’t talk. We didn’t need to. Periodically she would press her lips to my neck, and whisper that she adored me or that she cared about me, but that was it. And we were perfectly content with not talking—there was no awkwardness at all.
The night seemed to last for days, but the ride home went by faster than either of us wanted it to. When I pulled into her driveway, I got out and opened the door for her, holding her hand as she stepped out. We walked up to her front door where she reached up on her toes to give me quick kiss. My cheeks grew hot and my breath hitched, then picked up again ten times as fast. I reached down and gave her another kiss. Her cheeks grew pink and her breath hitched, then picked up again ten times as fast. We both laughed. “Goodnight, Ivory. Sleep well,” I whispered.
“Goodnight, Adam. Sleep tight.”
She smiled and turned, walking into her house. I stood there for a second, dazed from the night that had to have been the longest night in my life. Finally, I turned and walked to the car—my smile growing bigger than it had been all night.
The whole way home I sang off-tune to every song that played on the radio. When I got home, I turned off the car and ran inside the house. I wasn’t even all the way in the door before my parents came running, demanding to know what happened. I just smiled and walked into the kitchen, looking for a snack. But, unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let it go. So, I turned to them and said, “I don’t kiss and tell…oops, I guess I just did. Anyway…it was good. We had fun.”
My dad reached over my mom and gave me a high five. “Nice,” he said, earning a glare from my mother.
“Don’t encourage him, David,” my mother chided. “Don’t put it in his head that it’s okay to go around, kissing random girls.”
“Ivory wasn’t random, Ma. I got to know her before I kissed her. Look, would it make you happy if I told you that she’s going to college?”
“Yeah, Sarah. What if he told you that she was going to college, huh?” my dad asked my mom. He was always taking my side whenever there was a disagreement. For some reason, it always lightened the mood.
My mom seemed to be thinking it over. “What college?”
“She’s going to the University of Wisconsin,” I told her.
My mom smiled. She was a big fan of college and thought that anybody who had ever gone to college was a good person. Even if they were a serial killer, if they got a degree from any type of college, they were automatically a good person in her book. But I still loved her.
“Look guys,” I said. “I’m extremely tired. Today has been, without a doubt, the longest day of my life. I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Love you, and goodnight.”
“Love you, and goodnight,” they said in unison.
I smiled, which I seemed to be doing a lot lately. If I had to blame anybody, it would definitely be Ivory. I got ready for bed in a daze, going over the day in my head—trying to remember every detail so that I would never forget it. I hopped into bed and closed my eyes, trying to think of something other than my day so that I could sleep. But it was impossible—everything that I thought about reminded me of Ivory. So I just lay there and thought about my day, going over every detail.
After about the sixth time of reviewing the date, I fell asleep. I didn’t dream of anything. Just darkness. But it was okay with me, the nightmares had been really messing me up. Finally, I got some peace.
For the two weeks that followed the end of school, everything went really good. Ivory and I went out almost every night, and if we weren’t out on a date, we were at each other’s house hanging out with each other’s families.
I was walking home from Ivory’s house—because my dad wouldn’t let me use the car unless I was going out on a date—when it happened. It had been three weeks since my first date with Ivory and just as long since my birthday and I was just starting to get used to the fact that I was legally an adult. I didn’t have a curfew anymore!
Enjoying my new freedom, I decided to take the long way home (I know what you’re thinking—he’s a rebel). But, unfortunately my happiness was short-lived. I had only been walking for a few minutes before the aches started to course through my body. At first, they were subtle little pains, somewhat similar to those that you experience after weightlifting. But after a few minutes of this, the aches turned into the most excruciating pain that I had ever felt in my life. The pain got to be too much; I was forced to stop walking and fall to my knees in the dirt of the trail that led to my house.
Doubling over in pain, I felt my bones, muscles, ligaments, and cartilage popping and twisting, elongating the shape of my body. Then, with a burst of ice that cooled the white hot pain, my body was covered in a heavy layer of something that caught the frigid wind but did not let it penetrate to my skin. Curious, I walked over to a nearby body of water, catching my reflection. Horrified, I closed my eyes, then looked again. Before I could even look back down at my reflection again—which had shown the shape of a wolf—another wave of torment coursed throughout my body, unrelenting in the fact that it was putting me through my own personal hell. What the hell was happening to me? Was I dying?
Immediately, I ruled out the dying part. If I were allowed to die then the pain would have already killed me, but instead, as the white-hot pain intensified, so did my strength and my ability to withstand the pain. I screamed, but instead of the bone-chilling noise that usually came out, a growl that was deep and menacing tore through my throat.
A light came from the sky, bright and beautiful. It stopped in front of me and spoke to me in the voice of a woman.
“Adam Kane, my precious child. My love, my life, and my everything. You have been chosen to be the next Alpha of the wolves who roam the night. I give you this gift of enlightenment, hoping that you use it for the good of our kingdom. May your reign be great and full of wonder.”
And with that, the light was gone, taking the tormenting pain that had wreaked havoc on my body with it. I would like to tell you that I had stayed conscious long enough to realize what had just been bestowed upon me, but unfortunately, I cannot. I only stayed long enough to see the earth racing up to connect with my face.
I woke up in my bed, the sun beating down on my face. I stayed in bed for a long time, replaying the horrible dream that I’d had repeatedly in my head. Finally, I sat up and looked around my room. To my surprise, everything looked unusually clear and defined. The colors were enticingly entertaining, being that all of them had a clarity that I must have been oblivious to before this.
I put my hands down on the bed to help launch myself out of it, but what my hands felt were not the soft sheets that had covered my bed the previous day; the sheets that were now on my bed looked as if they belonged to a piranha. They had been ripped to shreds by something immensely sharp. A soft breeze interrupted my thoughts. I looked over to where the breeze came from and was, again, shocked at the sight. My window had been shattered and glass had been strewn everywhere. The sight of the broken glass brought back memories of the previous night.
I didn’t know how long I had been out, but when I came through, I was spread out across the forest floor. Getting up proved to be very difficult, but after a few minutes I finally stood up straight. I looked down at the ground and noticed that my clothes had been ripped from my body. I looked up, remembering the light that had come from the sky, but all I could see were the stars that poked through the canopy of trees.
I started walking, but I was too disoriented to know where I was going. I had to stop for a minute, fearing that I might lose the last thing that I ate. A few minutes passed before I felt ready enough to start walking again, but instead of doing so, I sat on the bracken-covered ground. Remembering what had happened before I had passed out; I closed my eyes and concentrated on my entire body at once. I felt a tug in the pit of my stomach and, without thinking I pulled against the tug.
There was not as much pain as the time before, but that is not to say that it still wasn’t there. It hurt enough to make me cringe but after a few seconds the pain left and was replaced by a different feeling…
I walked over to the pond that I had looked in earlier and, again, looked at what was being reflected off the water. My new shape was a lithe one, with taught muscles that were made for running and jumping. The wolf in the reflection was the very image of power itself. Completely overtaken by joy, I ran through the forest, shifting between shapes. Human. Wolf. Then human again. Every time the shift occurred it became less of a painful event and turned into a feeling closer to that of pleasure. I had never before felt so completely free in my life before. I ran for what seemed to be hours, thinking of only freedom and happiness.
Within minutes, I had reached my house and in mid-stride, I leaped into the air as wolf and sailed through my window as a human. Not caring about the mess I had made, I flopped down on my bed and fell fast asleep.
Remembering this forced me to stay in bed. I was too shocked to even move a muscle. Again, it took a breeze from the busted window to pull me out of my reverie. I got up from my bed, careful not to step on any glass, and walked over to get some clothes on. When I was dressed, I headed downstairs to get something to help me clean up the mess.
I walked down the stairs in a daze, thinking about the insanity of what I was trying to prove in my head. I was a…werewolf? Are you serious? By the time I reached the bottom of the staircase, I had convinced myself that I was insane and that I needed to be institutionalized. But that was, of course, to be proven a false assumption.
I had just walked into the living room when my mother came around the corner, holding a jar of cherries.
“Oh, thank goodness you’re up,” my mother said. “I’m having a bit of trouble opening this jar, could you do it for me, sweetheart?”
Putting on a façade of happiness, I took the jar from my mother with a smile on my face. I grabbed a hold of the top and twisted…
The jar shattered. In my left hand, there was a crumpled piece of metal that had molded to the shape of the inside if my hand. In my right hand, there were shards of glass, long and sharp—leaving a long gash across the length of my hand.
My mother gave out a little gasp before rushing to my side, checking my left hand first for injury. When she found the left hand had been unscathed in the ordeal, she told me to open my closed right hand for her inspection. I shook my head, but my hand started bleeding profusely, dripping onto the floor and starting to form a small puddle. Roughly, my mother grabbed my wrist and flipped my hand over for her to see the damage. I hissed at the pain that shot through my hand from her roughness.
I opened my hand for her, growing a little curious to see the destruction for myself. The cut was nasty, to say the least. My mother looked up at me and gave me a look that said that she really didn’t want to make a trip to the hospital today. I gave her my most apologetic smile as she walked out of the room, going to search for something to stop the blood flow. Growing nauseous, I looked up at the ceiling, trying not to smell the thick scent of iron that rolled off my blood.
When my mother returned, she put an old rag on my hand and told me to apply pressure. Again, I hissed at the pain that was induced when I applied the pressure. I held the rag on my hand for about ten minutes before my mother lifted the rag to see if the blood had stopped.
My mother let out a gasp, dropping the rag on the floor as she backed away. “It’s happened,” she muttered, a shaking hand covering her mouth. She looked up at me as if I were a leper, the tears welling at the rims of her eyes. I looked down to see what had shocked her so much, but when I looked down at the cut, I saw nothing. Literally. Nothing was there. The horrific gash that had carved my hand like a Halloween pumpkin had vanished. At least it appeared to be completely gone at first glance, but if you looked hard enough, you could see a long, white scar where the cut had been.
I looked up at my mother for…I didn’t really know what I was looking for—I just wanted to understand what was happening. My mother was speechless besides muttering the word “no” repeatedly. A single tear rolled down her face.
I reached up to get her attention. She backed away from my touch, suddenly shaken out of her comatose-like state. Then, she realized what she had done. Sad that she had caused me pain, my mother turned and headed for her room. After she was gone, I walked over to the couch and sat down.
I was aware that my mom was calling my dad and that she was telling him that he needed to come home immediately, but I couldn’t tell you what she said after that. I was still in shock from all of the things that happened to me in the last twelve hours. Twelve hours ago I was Adam, the guy who had the most wonderful girlfriend in the world and was stressing over what college he was going to attend; now, I was Adam, the guy who had supernatural abilities including turning into an oversized wolf and was supposed to run an entire kingdom. My mind was working overtime, trying to figure out a rational explanation for all of the stuff that was happening to me.
I sat on the couch until the pangs of hunger grew to be too much to ignore. I got up, leaping over the bloody mess on the floor, and walked into the kitchen. I made myself a quick sandwich, then walked over to the table to eat. I barely tasted the food and ate in quick, greedy bites. When I was finished I went back and sat down on the couch, thinking about how I was I going to tell Ivory about this. She was going to think that I was insane and would probably never talk to me again.
The door opened and my father’s face walked in behind it. He looked as if he had aged twenty years, his face worn and tired. He flashed me a weary smile before heading to the back room where my mom was. I could her break into a sob as my dad walked in, her chest shaking rapidly as each sob broke to the surface. My dad walked over and wrapped his arms around her, crying silently with her. They did this for a long time before they started to talk. I only listened to the first three words before my exhaustion finally caught up with me.
Before my eyelids even connected with each other, I was fast asleep. In my dream, I was holding Ivory in my arms, kissing her neck, her shoulders, her lips. I paused, thinking about what happened. She turned to look at me.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
“Ivory, my love, I need to tell you something. It’s…not easy for me to say it, but I need to let you know,” I answered, growing increasingly nervous with every word.
“What is it, Adam,” she asked, concern obviously being her primary emotion at the moment. “You can tell me anything. I promise I’ll understand.”
“Promise,” she said, flashing me a smile that warmed me to my core.
I gathered a little confidence from her smile and her promise. I got up and walked over to stand in front of her. When she asked me what I was doing, I told her that it was easier for me to show her than tell her. I looked down at her, whispered that I loved her, then shifted.
The look of horror on her face told me that she was not expecting this. But then again, who would be crazy enough to think that this was even possible? She was scared. I shifted back to my human form, not at all embarrassed by my nudity. I looked her in the eyes, but she looked away.
“I understand,” was all that I said, then I turned and walked away. I got about ten feet away before I was tackled and taken to the ground. Before I could open my eyes to face my attacker, kisses rained down on my face. I looked at Ivory—who was smiling from ear to ear—and gently, I grabbed her face with both hands and pulled her in for a kiss.
When I finally let Ivory up for air, she said the one thing that could’ve ever completely taken away every ounce of fear that I’d ever had.
I woke up on the couch, my neck sore from laying on it wrong. I reached back and cradled my neck, rolling it in my hand. I sat up, stretching, and listened for my parents’ voices. They were in the kitchen, sitting at either end of the table talking to each other quietly. I went into the kitchen and joined my parents at the table. My dad was the first one to talk.
“Son,” my dad sighed heavily. “Your mother and I love you more than anything else in the world, and I hope that you’ll realize that our love for you is the reason why we have waited so long to tell you the truth about who you really are. I’m going to tell you a story, and it would be easier for me if you would hold your comments and questions until the end of the story.
“The story begins four thousand years ago in ancient Egypt. There was an extraordinarily beautiful, Hebrew woman that lived in a little town just on the outskirts of Thebes. Every man in the kingdom sought her hand in marriage, including people from the royal family, but she was a strong believer in true love and was waiting for the right person for her. When she was seventeen—which was almost middle aged back then— she and her longtime best friend got married.
“About six months after the wedding, the woman became pregnant. She and her husband were excited to add someone new to their family. However, they did not know how important their child would be. One month after finding out that she was pregnant—a man who claimed to know her child’s future visited the woman.
“‘Your child is to become a very powerful being in the world,’ the man told the woman. ‘She will have abilities that will surpass anything that has ever been seen before on the planet and on her seventeenth birthday, she will be granted control over her abilities to the fullest.’
“The man then turned and walked out the door without another word. The woman, frightened by the man’s mysterious appearance, went to her husband. He told his wife that she mustn’t worry about what people tell her and that she should forget about him completely. Doing as her husband says, the woman does not think about the mysterious man again and eight months later, she gave birth to her child.
“The girl that was born on that hot summer morning was named Azael, after the angel. As a child, Azael became extremely unpopular with the people of Egypt. Her bright blue eyes prevented her from ever making friends—the people were afraid of her blue eyes because they had only seen brown eyes before. But Azael didn’t care; she knew that she was different from the beginning. As Azael grew, so did her intelligence, strength, and beauty. By the time she was five, she had the speed and stamina of somebody four times her age. At the age of ten, she surpassed her all of her scholars, succeeding at everything she attempted. However, Azael’s real calling was archery. She was able to sling the bow faster the strongest man in the city, and then she would shoot her arrows with such accuracy that she was forbidden to handle a bow ever again. However, it did not stop her, every day Azael would go out into the ruins in the dessert and practice, becoming nothing if not deadly with the bow.
“But despite all of her greatness, she was still rejected by everybody around her. In fact, she was threatened everyday by people her own age—told that she was going to be beaten or killed. Azael was not worried about it, thinking that they would never act upon their threats. But she was wrong.
“She was walking home from the ruins when she was ambushed by a mob of people. The moon, covered by an array of wispy clouds, was only half full that night. Azael was happier than usual—her birthday had been the day before and she was overtaken with happiness that she was seventeen. Her parents would be sending her away to Assyria and Azael was itching to leave the little town that had caused her to feel so unwanted. The ambush came up from behind her, one of the men coming up and hitting her on the head with something thick and heavy. Dazed, Azael turned to face her attackers, crouching into a ready position.
“Another man approached, raising his fist for the blow that he was going to give to Azael. He swung, but she was not there. Azael attacked from instinct, only half realizing that she was in the shape of a wolf. Her teeth and claws ripped through the human flesh, muscles, and ligaments. Blood covered the streets. Azael was unrelenting; each bite was for every time that they had made fun of her or had said something mean to her. She must’ve killed twenty people—fourteen men, six women—in five minutes. Logic seized the rest of the mob and prevented them from attacking. Azael was exhausted, her white pelt covered in blood.
“Azael blacked out, exertion finally taking over her body. When she came to, she noticed the crowd of villagers that surrounded her. She was on her knees—naked and covered in blood—with restraints tying her hands behind her back. She looked through the crowd and saw her parents, tears streaming down their faces. She tried to get up and tell them that everything was going to be okay, but when she tried, a big, beefy hand came down and landed a blow across the side of her face. Head spinning, she felt fresh blood flow down her forehead and into her eyes. She tried to blink it out.
“The big hand came down again. Then again. A third time. When the blows finally stopped, Azael swooned forward, hitting her face on the stone ground in front of her. Somebody lifted her back up by her hair, forcing her to look at them. It was the pharaoh.
“The pharaoh lifted her all the way up, setting her on her feet. He pushed her up against the wall, cracking her skull on the wall. He turned around and yelled something to the crowd. The crowd cheered loud and true, bloodlust taking over them. When the pharaoh turned back to face Azael, he drew his sword and pointed it at her heart. He drew back, then with all the force that he could muster—he shoved the sword into Azael. She screamed as she felt the sword break through her sternum, shredding through her heart, then, finally, exiting through her back. The pain intensified as the pharaoh twisted his sword before pulling it free. Azael fell to her knees, blinded from the pain that throbbed through her already tortured body. A black cloud covered her eyes, and for the second time that day—she blacked out.”
My dad paused and rubbed the stress out of his eyes. He sighed heavily before continuing. “For the next three days she drifted in and out of consciousness, barely aware of her surroundings. On the fourth day, she awoke, spread out on the floor of the same ruins where she had practiced her archery. She got up, but when her chest screamed in protest, she sat back down. She looked down at her body to inspect her wounds, but instead of her naked body, she found clothing wrapped around her body. Someone had clothed her. It was then that she heard the sounds of someone approaching. Jumping to her feet—ignoring the protests of her wounded chest—she shifted to her wolf form, ready to attack.
“When the person came around the corner, Azael was shocked to see who it was. The queen. She approached Azael slowly, palms up, saying that she was not there to harm her.
“‘Easy, Azael, I’m here to help you. I promise I won’t hurt you…but it would make it easier for me if you shifted back so that I could hear your voice.’
“Azael growled, but after a moment of thinking it over, she shifted back and faced her queen. Due to the lack of knowing the proper etiquette, Azael did the only thing that she knew thought was appropriate—bow in submission. The queen told her that it was not necessary for her to bow—she was only a queen in the palace. Azael nodded and sat down on the makeshift bed that the queen had set up for her on top of a thick slab of stone.
“‘You’re going to have to leave when you feel better—head northeast until you hit the wild forest there. You will be accompanied by someone on your journey; she will help in more ways than you may think. Her name is Sahdir. She was one of your attackers the other night; you transferred your virus into her through your venom. She is like you.’
“When the queen said Sahdir’s name, a girl of about twelve came around one of the pillars in the ruins. She was pretty, but that may have just been because of the change. Azael, who was planning to reject this girl for what she did to her, immediately grew soft and nurturing.
“‘Hello,’ the little girl said—her voice petite and beautiful. ‘I’m really sorry about the other day, my dad told me that I had to do it, and if I didn’t, he was going to beat me. He’s always hated me for being born with blue eyes—he used to say that they were witch’s eyes. But, I hope that you can forgive me for what I did, I felt terrible afterward—but then again that might’ve just been from the venom.’
“‘Of course I can forgive you, honey,” Azael answered, knowing how it felt to be an outcast just because you were different. ‘It wasn’t your fault. I would be more than delighted if you came with me.’
“And so it was. When Azael was completely healed, she and Sahdir left Egypt and headed northeast. They traveled for weeks, only stopping to sleep and eat. Finally, four weeks after leaving, they reached the forests—today it is known as Europe—which the queen spoke of. The land was a complete mystery to them, but they started building their kingdom regardless. For the next eight hundred years, Azael and Sahdir ruled the Werewolf kingdom, making both allies and enemies.
“Now, this part is very important Adam, so listen up. The allies of the werewolves are vampires, fairies, dryads, elves, and angels. The enemies of the werewolves are sorcerers, pixies, naiads, nephilim, and demons. Remember that.
“Now, one last thing about Azael. Azael only ruled for eight hundred and twenty years before the First Naiad Queen assassinated her, so never speak of naiads unless you have to—trust me when I say that we found that out the hard way. Now, do you have any questions?”
YES! Why wouldn’t I have questions? My head was reeling from just his last sentence, not to mention the rest of the story. But, I didn’t want to disappoint my dad so I asked him the easiest question first.
“How do you know all of this?”
“Well, when you were born you were…still-born. An Angel came to us the night that you were born and told us that he could save you. At first, we thought he was crazy, but then we changed our minds. It was the most wonderful thing in the world when you took your first breath…And well, after that we kinda wanted to know what our son was going to be someday, what he was going to be a part of. So, we asked the angel who confronted us if he knew where we could find out more information. He led us to a huge palace where we were introduced to the current Alpha, Ella. She told us everything that we know. Oh, that reminds me, every one thousand years a new Alpha is chosen—after Azael was Sanign, then Ames, and for the last thousand years Ella has ruled.”
My dad ended with a huge smile on his face as if he hadn’t just told me that he knows Werewolf royalty on a first name basis. I couldn’t take it anymore; I had to get away. I told my parents that I needed a minute to think. They said that it was completely understandable and that they were going to call the local pack tomorrow morning. Without understanding a word they said, I smiled and walked up to my room.
It was a long time before I finally fell asleep. But when I did, I dreamt that I was in dessert. Sand stretched as far as I could see in every direction. My heart started to pick up its pace, fear and adrenaline mixing through my veins. The sun was setting and the sky was turning a deep purple. My fear heightened. It would be impossible to find my way in the middle of the day, but in the dark…
“Do not be alarmed, my son.”
I turned around to face the voice that had spoken from behind me. A woman stood there in the sand, her black hair swaying in a breeze that was nonexistent. She wore a white robe, her body visible through the thin fabric. Her skin was a creamy white color, contrasting nicely with her dark hair. She had blue eyes, the same color as mine, and was about a head shorter than me. But none of this meant anything to me. What meant the most was the woman’s identity. It was Azael. The First Werewolf.
I felt an immense closeness to her, as if she was my long lost mother and she was here to take care of me. She reached up and cradled my face. “My son. You have the look of a true wolf. You’re beauty is greater than I could have ever hoped for. But I must get to business, I have called you here for a reason,” her voice was like music to my ears. I needed to hear her speak again, and when she did—she had my complete and undivided attention.
“You are different than all of the others that have been born with this blessing—or curse, depending on how you look at it. You were dead before you became a wolf, which means that you have both the spirit life, and death, inside of you. And you have been chosen. You will bring the wolves to a new glory, and you will control over the lands with absolute power, bringing peace to the Eleven Kingdoms. The question is though, how will you use that power? For good, or evil? Both paths will have outcomes and rewards that the other will not.”
She paused, allowing me to ask any questions that I might have. I had a million, but I went with the one that had to do with what she had just told me.
“I’m confused,” I told her. “How am I meant for anything great? I can barely keep things straight enough as it is, let alone run a whole…race.”
“Trust me,” Azael said, nodding as if she understood my confusion. “Not only will I be here to guide you, but so will the other wolf Kings and Queens. Sanign, Ames, and Ella will all assist me in giving you…assistance. You will bare this mark as proof of loyalty to me, and as proof that you have been chosen as my true child.” —as she said this, she ran her delicate fingers across the top of my back, leaving a burning sensation—“I love you, Adam. As I do all of my other children. Now go my son. An adventure worthy of the greatest wolves awaits you, as well as a new family. We will speak again soon.”
And with a smile full of love and admiration, she started to disappear. “Wait—,” I yelled. But she was gone…
I woke with a jolt. Sweat covered my body, drenching the new sheets that covered my bed. A dull light came through my broken window from the setting sun. In a few minutes, the sun would be gone and, once again, day would turn into night.
I got up and ran my fingers through my hair, looking for some clothes to wear. A ray of light caught off the broken glass that was still strewn across the floor, making waves of light dance across the walls. Awestruck, I sat and watched with the clarity that only the paranormal possessed. I watched until the sun was too low for the light to catch on the glass anymore. I turned and walked to the door, but just as I was reaching for the doorknob, a noise came from the far side of my room.
The noise had been quiet, just the subtle exhale of somebody’s breath, but I still heard it. I shifted and curled my lip, growls ripping through my throat. The intruder came out from behind the drapes that were next to the window. The darkness prevented me from seeing the details of the intruder, but I could tell that it was a woman.
“Easy there, buddy, I’m like you. I won’t hurt you, I just wanted to see what the big fuss was about,” her voice was soft and cautious, letting me know that she meant no harm.
I shifted back. I wanted to talk to her—find out what she was talking about. “What the hell are talking about?” I asked, rather rudely. But I didn’t care; who did she think she was coming into my territory? Did I just say territory? What was this world coming to…
“I’m talking about the insane amount of pure power coming from your room. I’m surprised it’s not filled to the rim with every paranormal being in the world. I could sense your power from forty miles away. You’re pretty impressive.”
“Thanks,” I said, letting smug smile spread across my face. “Wait a minute, who are you?”
She stepped into the moonlight, allowing me to see her face. She was pretty, but of course she was. I had only heard of two—now three—werewolves, but it seemed that they all tended to be beautiful. She had dark black hair and a pasty complexion that was similar to mine. In all, she could have been my twin—if her eyes were the same color as mine. Instead, her eyes were a dark brown.
“My name is Selene,” she said in a voice that was to wise for her age. “Who are you?”
“I’m Adam. But if you’re like me, why aren’t your eyes blue like Azael’s and Sahdir’s?”
“Uhh…because only those who are born werewolves have blue eyes and Sahdir’s eyes were blue because that’s how she was born. Didn’t your creator stick around long enough to tell you the basics?”
“Wow, they didn’t stay at all did they? Man. If Ella knew about this…”
She continued ranting, not realizing that I wasn’t paying attention. I was still shocked that this girl was in my room. She was interesting, I’ll give her that, but she had still come into my room and she didn’t exactly show herself by choice. She was rather forced out of it when she noticed that I had heard her. Why was she here? My dad had told me that werewolves had a lot of enemies—was she one of them? She took a step closer while she was talking.
Before I realized what happened, I was on all fours, growling at Selene. She took ten steps back and growled at me, still in her human form. Realizing what I did, I shifted back. The whole thing didn’t even last a complete second, but Selene still got the idea that I didn’t trust her.
“Look,” she said, palms facing me. “If you don’t believe me I’ll just shift and show you that I’m like you. Do you want me to do that?”
When I nodded, she shifted. Her coat was a deep red, which I found odd because all the wolves that I had heard about were all black or white. But, nonetheless, Selene was still a magnificent creature. She was massive—the muscles on her body were taught and defined. She shifted back.
I was a little embarrassed at seeing her naked, but she seemed to be over it. Still, it made me uncomfortable. I walked over to my dresser and pulled out a long sleeve shirt and jeans and handed them to her. She dressed in front of me, not at all caring that I could see every inch of her body.
“You’ll get used to the nudity soon enough,” she told me, noticing my stare. “And don’t you have a girlfriend. Why are you looking at me like that?”
“How did you know that I had a girlfriend?”
“The pictures that are all over your room. The girl is way too young to be your mother so I figured that she was your girlfriend. But you never answered my question, isn’t it “taboo” to look at another girl when you already have one?”
“Trust me, I wasn’t staring because I was interested. I was staring because I was wondering how you seemed so nonchalant about being naked in front of a complete stranger. I don’t think that I could do it,” I confessed.
“Really? Because it looks like a totally different story from where I’m standing.”
I looked down and sure enough—I was completely naked. I balked and ran into my closet. After I turned the light on and found some pants, I walked backed out to face a laughing Selene.
“You must be very young,” she said proudly, as if she were happy that she got that particular reaction from me. “Under a week old, I would say—still embarrassed by your own body. And you can barely control your shift. But it’s okay—I’ll help teach you everything that you need to know.”
“Speaking of age,” I said, picking out only one sentence from her entire monologue. “How old are you?”
“Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to ask a woman how old she is?” she scolded me in a mockingly, angry tone.
I looked down at my feet, ashamed. My mom had told me that—a lot. “Sorry,” I muttered, still looking down, face flushed.
“Don’t worry about it. I wish I could tell you my exact age, but they didn’t really mark time very well, they didn’t really start doing the whole BC and AD thing until after Jesus was born. All I do know is that I was alive during the reign of Cleopatra VII—my mother, in case you were wondering—and that it had almost been forty years before the birth of Jesus.”
Shocked, I couldn’t think of anything to say. This girl was (forgive me, mom) old! But she didn’t look a day over fifteen. When she realized that I didn’t have anything to say, she continued.
“Yeah, I was changed during the reign Sanign. She was a great leader, very strong and powerful. But at the same time, she was gentle and loving. Now Ames…he was one hunk of a man, extremely well-built and strong. He had to have had the biggest arms that I have ever seen and—”
She stopped there, and I was wondering why she wasn’t talking about Ella. When I asked her she shh-ed me, putting her finger to her lips. She seemed to be listening for something. She turned to me, and motioned for me to not say a word. She put her ear up to the wall. She only listened for a second before turning towards me again.
“Somebody is in your house,” she said. “Somebody not human.”
Mom. Dad. I turned and kicked the door out of my way, blowing it to pieces. I ran out into the hallway and jumping over the guardrail instead of taking the stairs. I headed for my parent’s room. I reached their door in seconds and ran right through the door, not caring about the wood that splintered and drove into my skin.
The sight of my parents, beaten and slain, left me weak at the knees. I heard Selene say something but my mind was too numb to understand what she said. She walked out of the room and when she came back, she was dragging a person behind her. The man had greasy, blond hair, gray eyes, and was wearing all black for the occasion. My anger rose.
“He’s a pixie assassin,” Selene informed me. “He must be destroyed.”
At first, I was appalled, but after another glance at my parents, I was ready to do it. I grabbed the pixie’s head and, with a gut-trembling growl, gave it one swift jerk. His neck gave a satisfying crunch, twisting so that when he fell onto his stomach, his face was looking up at the ceiling. His body started hissing, then poofed into an acrid smelling gas. I covered my nose to protect it from the disgusting smell.
“I’ll give you some time alone,” Selene said, turning to walk out of the room.
I walked over to the side of my parent’s bed. I was there for about a minute before I noticed the rise and fall of my mother’s chest. I ran to her side, grabbing her hand when I reached her. Weakly, she opened her eyes and looked at me. I don’t know how I knew what to do, but I knew that I had to change her.
I concentrated on my shift. I only thought about shift my fingertips, making it so that my fingernails would grow long and poisonous. With an exciting burst of power, my fingers elongated into long—black—fur-covered claws, which I then used to cut my mother. I hated every second that I was causing her pain, but I knew that I needed to do this.
“Just hang in there, Ma,” I whispered in her ear. I was just finishing up when she spoke to me, her voice barely audible.
“G-go,” my mother rasped. “B-be great, my son. Remember, I l-love you, and I trust that you will always make the right de-decision.” And with that, her hand went limp in mine.
I tried to wake her up by screaming her name at the top of my lungs, but I knew she was dead. Finally, after I realized that there was nothing more that I could do, I reached up and closed her eyes. I gave her one last kiss on her forehead, and then I walked out the door and joined Selene.
“Come on. We have to go,” Selene said, not without affection.
“Where?” I asked.
“To meet the others.”
Then everything went black.
I knew that I had blacked out, but the weird thing was that nothing happened while I was out. No visits from Azael, no dreams about killing Matt, no dreams at all. Nothing. The only thing that I saw was Ivory’s face. Her perfect and glorious face. I was so overjoyed that I could barely control myself. And when I was forced to come back to the real world, a deep chagrin spread over me as I realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to see her ever again.
I sat up and looked around. I was on a bed in a room with floor-to-ceiling windows that covered an entire side of the wall. The room reminded me of a hospital with its white walls and white sheet—even the flowers next to my bed were white, sitting erect and proud inside of a white vase. I got out of bed and walked around, looking for somebody to tell me where I was.
I didn’t have to look far. Just outside of the room, sat Selene and two other people I had never seen before. Selene jumped out of her seat, relief visible in her eyes. She tapped the other two on the shoulder to let them know that I was awake.
“Adam,” Selene cheered, running at me at full speed. “I was so worried about you. I mean, one second you were standing there and you looked fine, but the next second your eyes rolled into the back of your head and you just fell on the spot. Oh, thank Azael you’re okay.”
I was a little shocked by Selene’s response. I knew who she was, but I didn’t know that I knew her well enough for her to be worried about my health. But, I didn’t have much time to think it over because the other two were approaching, both wearing serious looks on their faces as if I had broken the rules or something. The first, a man whose muscles were the size of fully grown elephants, walked up to me, bowed, and then introduced himself.
“Hello, Adam. My name is Raisa; I am ze head of security for Werewolf royalty. It is a pleasure to finally meet ze next Alpha that vill lead our lands for ze next one thousand years,” the man had a heavy accent that made him hard to understand, so it took me a while to understand him. He sounded more like Dracula then he did a Werewolf.
He waited for me to say something but I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled and turned to the second person. This person, a woman, wore a deep blue robe that contrasted nicely against her black hair and matched her blue eyes. She walked in front of Raisa and introduced herself.
“Hello, Adam. I am Ella,” the current Alpha took me by surprise, but not with her perfectly spoken English. Ella took me by surprise with her double-edged voice. Every word that she spoke, she demanded the attention of my entire being. Alarmed, my back stiffened.
Selene noticed and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Ease up,” she whispered. “It’s just the Authority of the Alpha—she uses it on everybody. It’ll take some getting used to, but you can do it. Soon you’ll be Alpha and you’ll never have to go through it ever again. Relax.”
I did as Selene said and relaxed. I forced myself to smile and answered Ella’s introduction. “Hello, Ella. It’s nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you, but trust me when I say that none of it has done you justice.”
Immediately, Ella warmed. She must not have felt the need to use the authority thing again, because the weird double voice thing stopped. Ella walked into the room, motioning us all to follow her. When she got to the bed, she sat down, patting the spot next to her. “Take a seat.”
I did as I was told and sat next to her. I looked at her, smiling from ear to ear. She smiled back but she didn’t say anything. Since she had stopped talking, I took the silence as a time to ask questions of my own.
“So, umm…how did you know who I was?” I asked, hoping that I wasn’t breaking any rules by talking to her.
She didn’t seem to mind at all, but instead she smiled encouragingly and answered my question. “Well, I am not an idiot,” she answered in perfect English. “You have the smell of a Wolf—and a powerful one at that. Oh yes, and not to mention the tattoo that Azael gave to you. She only gives them out to those of whom she has chosen—so that means she has only given out…one. You are the only one that has ever been chosen by Azael.”
Not knowing what Ella was talking about—a look of confusion was forced to spread over my face. She understood immediately and sent Raisa in search of two mirrors. When he came back, he handed one of the mirrors to Ella, and the other one to me. I positioned the mirror so that I could see the tattoo through the mirror that Ella was holding behind my back, and gasped at the beauty that Ella had been talking about.
The tattoo was an extremely intricate, immensely detailed, winged upside down five-pointed star. The image was indeed magnificent. In fact, it was hard for me to look away, and the thought that the tattoo was a gift from Azael made it even harder. After about five minutes of staring at the tattoo, Ella gave a small chuckle and lowered her mirror.
“Enough of this minor chit-chat,” Ella announced, which I found odd because nobody was even talking, but to each their own, I guess…
“Adam,” she continued. “You are destined for greatness as the Alpha of this kingdom. Therefore, we must give you the tools to help achieve that greatness. Your training starts at six o’clock tonight—which is in…four hours. Somebody will come to your room to get you.” Then she turned to Selene and spoke to her. “Selene, my dear child, would be so kind as to assist Adam to his room and make him feel as comfortable as possible?”
She waited for Selene to answer. “Yes, my Queen,” Selene said. “I’d love to.”
“Thank you,” said Ella in her sweetest voice.
Ella got up and walked out of the room with Raisa trailing behind her faster than her own shadow. Selene got up, grabbed my arm, and pulled me out of the room. The halls were amazing. Everything was delicate and looked like they were older than Azael herself. Selene must have taken me through thirty different halls before I realized that this place was flipping massive. It was beyond huge.
“This is the palace where all the Werewolves in the state live,” Selene told me when I asked why this place was so big. She didn’t say anything else until we reached a huge hall with a set of twenty-foot double doors at the end. “Here we are. This is your room.”
She walked me up to the doors and told me to open them. At first, I didn’t think that I could do it, but I still tried. Much to my surprise, the big ebony doors opened with ease. I looked at my room and gasped. The room was huge—ten times the size of my room at home.
Thinking of home made me think of my parents. Immediately I felt guilty for being happy about having a new home. A tear rolled down my face. I felt Selene’s hand on my shoulder—soft and soothing. “Don’t waste your future by worrying about your past,” Selene stated. She was a very wise person, despite her small frame and petite features that made her seem childish. Just like they say, looks can be deceiving. Selene took me into my room, and showed me around.
The room had two showers, a walk-in-closet, and a triple king-sized bed. The room was so big that it had to have pillars to keep the ceiling from caving in. I walked down the steps at the entryway, ran across the floor, and then jumped onto the massive bed. The blankets and sheets on the bed were all Egyptian cotton. Mmm. The bed was wrapped in thick drapes that obscured all light. Another mmm.
“Wow,” Selene gasped. “I’ve never been in one of the Royal rooms before. I’ve heard stories, but this is insane. Adam, feel the carpet. I heard that it feels like clouds underneath your feet.”
I got up and felt the carpet. Oh. Wow. “Selene, you have to come and feel this. It’s the most amazing thing that I have ever felt, well besides…”
Again, I started thinking about the past. But this time it was about Ivory. Damn, did I miss her. Her skin was by far the most amazing thing that I had ever felt—I lied, the carpet was the second-most amazing thing that I had ever felt. I shook my head, pulling myself back to reality. Selene’s attention was totally captivated by the sensation of the carpet, so she didn’t notice that I had been somewhere else.
“How long will you stay?” I asked, enjoying her company.
“Oh, well I can go if you want me to. It’s okay. I’ll…uhh, see you later,” she hung her head and turned for the door, misunderstanding my question.
“No, no, that’s not what I meant. Selene, I would love it if you stayed.”
Her head immediately snapped up, a smile spreading across her face. She ran over and jumped on my bed. Even though Selene was extremely wise and almost as old as Azael, she still knew how to have fun. This got me thinking.
“Hey, Selene. Can I ask you something?” I asked, trying to sound nonchalant. “Do the Alpha’s have like a second-in-command or anything like that?”
“Of course they do. You have to choose two people to help you rule the kingdom when you become the Alpha—there’s a huge ritual and everything for it. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I was thinking that maybe you could be my second-in-command. You’re really the only person that I trust and I was hoping that you would help me run the kingdom.”
Selene turned and looked at me, her mouth almost touching the floor. “I’m sorry, but I can’t accept something like that. I’m not smart enough to run this kingdom. It’s huge. Not only do we support the Werewolves but we also support all five of our main allies. We’re talking about almost a million supernatural beings.”
“See, Selene. This is why I need you. You know things that I have never even heard of. You’re extremely intelligent and I need you. You can help me bring our kingdom to greatness. Please, Selene.”
She put up her index finger, telling me to hold on for a second. I waited for maybe fifteen seconds before she cocked her to the side and said: “I’ll think about it.”
I was about to protest when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the many servants that roamed the palace passing my room. I jumped up and ran to catch her. I was at the end of the hallway in seconds.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Could you do me a favor? Could you move all of Selene’s things into the room closest to mine?”
At first, the woman looked as if she were about to tell me to do it myself, but after I turned around—still shirtless—she saw my tattoo. She muttered a “right away, your majesty”, and then headed out the door. I turned to Selene, who was looking at me like I was the craziest person in the world.
“You might wanna go help her find your room. Meet me back here by five-fifty. We got some learnin’ to do.”