Steel Against Skin
Disclaimer: I own all of the characters in this, so no stealing. I will
send the dragons after you will pitchforks and their stinky fire breath.
I was pulled out of English to receive a call from my father. I sat
in the office until they could find the line that they had put him on, and
when I took the call, I started to wish that I hadn't come to school at
" Granny Maria's dead." Were the first words out of his mouth after I
said hello to him.
I froze, sinking into the chair until you could only see my head over
the back of it. My hand gripped the phone so hard that I thought the
plastic would break, but it didn't, even when my grip got tighter. " Are
you sure?" I asked, voice trembling. " Granny Maria has 'died' a whole
bunch of times, how do you know she isn't going to wake up this time?"
Granny Maria was my mother's mother, another water elemental. In
fact, she was one of the worst kinds, she was Queen.
" How is Mama?" I asked, not bothering to wait for an answer from him
about Granny Maria.
" She's doing well, except that she wasn't expecting this to happen
to her for another hundred years or so." He sighed heavily and I winced. "
I would have waited until you got home to hear about it, but it got onto
the news, that was how your mother found out, turning on the morning
updates. There won't be a news crew when you get home, but it'll be so that
your mother has to go away for a few weeks to get things settled at the
house and get her title officiated and everything."
I nodded, even though I knew he couldn't see me. " Mom didn't want to
be Queen so soon." I whispered, so that none of the secretaries heard me
talking. " And I sure as hell don't want to be Princess!"
" I know, I know." He sighed again. " Do you want to come home right
" Yes! I want to go home right now, and I don't want to have to walk.
I'm tired, too many things are happening to me today..." It was my turn to
sigh. " Would you come and pick me up?"
" Yes I will. I'll be there in a few minutes." He hung up, and I
waited until he called back. " Sorry, I almost forgot."
I handed the phone to a secretary to let him tell her that he was
picking me up and went to get everything out of my locker. And I meant
everything. My books, my decorations, they all went into my backpack. My
little bits of papers and my mirror. it would all be redone for my mourning
period, because I had loved Granny Maria. I took my coat, a slim long dark
blue duster that Granny Maria had gotten for me for my last birthday.
Sliding it on, I felt as if she was hugging me, and knowing my crafty
grandmother, she had known that her death was upon her and done something
to it, a charm or something. Putting my backpack on, I tromped down the
stairs and went to the front by the doors, waiting for my father.
" Shana." It was not my father, he would be in a car in the front of
the school, but Kris again. " I'm sorry."
" Stop snooping." I muttered, crossing my arms. " But thanks anyway."
He came up behind me so quick, one of those typical shapeshifter
things with the superspeed. His arms slipped around mine, settling softly
over my arms, even though he was a bit taller than I was, so it was at an
odd angle. He rested his head on top of mine and his hands wrapped
themselves over mine, twining his fingers with mine and squeezing gently.
" Kris, please don't."
" Please Shana, it's been so long since I've had anyone to grieve
with." His voice was soft and his breath was warm against my ear.
" Just because we were playmates long ago, don't you dare go and
think that you can take liberties with my grief." I said, choking back
I wanted to cry, I really did, but not with him. He was damn near a
stranger to me, and he had time to deal with his pain, but mine was fresh.
It almost felt as if he was taking advantage of me, but truth be told, he
" I know you won't cry with me around." He said, laying his head on
my shoulder, bending over me now as if sheltering me from some storm. "
Maybe that's why I'm here."
" Or maybe you're just being a typical leopard." I said quietly. "
You all have this strange fascination with touching people."
" Every lycanthrope does, it isn't just the leopards. It's kind of
how we build up a pard or pack, with a thousand little touches, little
trusts and kindnesses." I could smell the mint on his breath, and I knew
somehow that he was trying to get me into a position to kiss me. And it
wouldn't be a mere leopard comfort either.
" Kris," I whispered, turning around. " I have to go, my father's
I was glad that he had come when he had, but also a little regretful.
It would have been my first kiss, and Kris was incredibly attractive, but
then again, I didn't think I had any true feelings for him past friendship.
If Jessica were here, she would have said that the only way to find out
would be to kiss him and see if anything happened, but I didn't want to
take that chance.
" Kris, get in the car!" My father called from the open passenger
" Your parents want you."
I did not question him coming with us because I knew that everything
would be explained at home, but I still couldn't help but wonder why the
Nimir Ra and Nimir Raj of the leopards were at my house. I wisely kept my
mouth shut until we got home.
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