BANGING NOISES SOUNDED JUST OUTSIDE my door. Our housekeeper Emily - I call her Em - was shouting at the same rhythm as her fists banging at my door.
"Samantha Ambrose! I know you're ready and I expect your butt to be out this door right now"
Still deciding whether to put my hair up or let it fall, I shouted back, "Sheesh, Em. Chill out! School starts at 8:30 and its only 8:10."
The banging stopped and followed by a squeak.
"Now, Emily. You know that never works."
I heard Georgia, my live-in nanny, outside the door. Throwing the hair tie at my dresser, I ran outside and met her with a hug.
"Ha, ha. Good morning to you to."
There in front of me, is the person that has been taking care of me since I was little. Georgia was originally 5 foot 2, but after the accident 5 years ago - which left her legs permanently immobilized - she's been using a wheelchair. She has wavy copper hair that shapes her face perfectly. At 32, she still looks young and beautiful, mid-twenties if it comes down to it.
"Yes, yes. Good mornings. Now Sam, get your things and go downstairs. Alex's waiting for you." I heard Emily say.
Em was standing, arms crossed, by the kitchen door. Her four foot-something looks soooo intimidating to my 5 feet. Emily has sleek black hair that she usually ties in a tight bun. Her scowl was deepening as she was waiting for my response. She walked back to the kitchen giving up, I turned back to G.
"Hey, G. What do you think? Hair up…" I put my hair up, "…or down?" I let my hair fall.
She lifted a finger to her chin as if she was thinking "Down" she grinned at me. "You better hurry; Alex is probably spazzed by now. By the way, you do know what day it is right?"
"Hmm…" I pretended to be thinking about it "Hey, Em." I called "What is it today?"
"Today is the tenth right?" she paused; "I have no idea." she teased.
"Come on Em. Think"
"Okay. Enough." G wheeled herself to the door "No more distractions. Sam you better hurry."
I ran to the door giving a final 'bye' to Em and G. When I was near the stairwell, I think I heard G say 'Happy Birthday.' No one can forget my birthday because I always say 'The tenth of the tenth' It left quite an impression on some people.
I ran down the stairs and into the parking lot. After the accident, we moved from the house and into a condo– informing my parents first of course. I reached the bottom of the stairs and through the door. A mild chill welcomed me at the parking lot saying that summer has already ended.
"Finally she arrives." I heard someone from the parking lot and only one person always greeted me like that.
"Hey, Alex." Alex was, as you may call, our designated driver. He's at least more than 6 feet with broad shoulders and a face that makes girls fall out of their way to make eye contact; luckily, I'm not one of those girls.
"So Samantha. What's your excuse today?"
No one says my full name, no one dared, but apparently, Alex was that no one and only says it when he's really pissed.
"Come on now Alexander," twisting his name a bit, "cut me some slack. So I'm a little late, so what?"
I walked past him and took my usual seat at the back. He sat at the driver's seat just after me. He started the engine and away we go.
"By the way, Alex. You don't have to pick me up after school today."
He looked at his rearview mirror at me before asking, "Why?"
"'Cuz, it's my day today and I wanna walk for a bit, you know. Get some fresh air. Some alone time, you know."
"Ok then. So, am I invited to the party?"
"Course. You're like family."
We arrived at school and I said my goodbyes then rushed off to my locker. Only a few more minutes before the bell rings. I got to my locker and spun the dials so fast that I missed the middle number and have to start all over again.
"Well, well. Who do we have here?"
Just my luck. So much for my 'good' morning. I didn't even bother turning around to know who's behind me. But I did just to be nice, and so that I can leave more quickly.
"Hello Blair" I said, smiling not-so-nicely as everyone knows that my relationship with Blair was one of the worst in the history of the school. And there she was. Who stood in front of me is a couple inches taller, an ego that can fit the whole gym and the most spoiled rotten girl in the whole school.
"So, Sam. Who's taking you to the dance?" right to the point as always. I rolled my eyes at the thought.
"Oh, Blair. So nice of you to ask." I said getting my book and closing my locker, I started to walk away then added, "but as you may know, I'm not going." I said as nicely as I can even though I don't really care if I sounded nice or not. "And besides, the dance is months away." I added.
Before I could even get five feet away from her, she said, "Well, I'm only saying that the earlier you start looking for a date, the more chance you're going to have having a real hottie beside you."
"Okay?" not really getting what she meant.
She smiled, "You know Mark Edwards right? Captain of the soccer team?" I nodded "Well, he just asked me to the dance this morning and of course, I said 'Yes'"
"Good for you" I said sarcastically and walked away again. I can hear her yelling at me, but I completely ignored her and kept on walking. What else can I do? I'm the only person she ever felt threatened by, and I don't even know why.
At lunch, I ran outside of the school enjoying the fresh air. The sun's rays were beating down like it was summer again. It's heat wiping away the cool after-summer wind. I ran across the yard to the forest beyond.
Once I reached the edge of the forest, I looked back and tried sensing for a human presence other than my own as a precaution – we're not allowed in the forest so I always sneak away to go here. The biggest presence that I sensed is of a four-legged animal.
I ran to the direction of where I've sensed the presence and ended up at the clearing, no surprise. There, I saw my one and only friend. A wolf. And not just your regular black-and-white wolf, but a golden, blue-eyed wolf.
I grinned and called "Hey! Miss me?"
He only grunted –and yes, I checked if it's a boy or a girl – because I do it every day, no reason for him to miss me.
I sat, feeling the warm ground under me. He walked toward me after I sat down, as always. When he got to me, I felt the coarse top layer and the soft fur under it. And also, as always, I just couldn't keep myself from hugging him like I did 5 years ago.
I met him a week after the accident when I heard that G's alright and that it was only her legs that has been affected by the lightning.
The moment the bell rang from the school – the school is both elementary through high school- I ran outside to the forest knowing that it was the only place that I could think in peace and no one will come and go. It was my little paradise. I sat hunkered down, my head rested at my knees, tears welling down my cheeks. My first time crying since the accident, it might've been relief that G was okay.
I heard a rustling by the bushes to my left and lit a small fire by my palm ready to attack, I kept the fire hidden in the case that it's human - so they won't ask questions of how I'm doing it. A figure strode from the bushes, a huge golden wolf with sparkling blue eyes. I tensed, ready to burn it the second it attacks, but it didn't move. Just stood there, hunch lowered to the ground studying me. Once or twice I noticed him sniffing, not wanting to get any closer, maybe wondering what I'm hiding.
We just sat there looking at each other, a few minutes past and, I guess, tired of the little game, the wolf stood on all fours and walked away. I extinguished the fire and restarted my thinking. What went wrong? What did I do? The usual stuff that I kept on asking myself for the past week not knowing of how, and why, the lightning was coming towards me.
I felt something cold and wet by my right cheek. I turned and, for a moment, I only saw two blue orbs in front of me, and it moved and I remembered the wolf and I stood up so fast that I lost my balanced and landed hard on my rear. A sound came from the wolf that took me a moment to recognize as a laugh. He laughed at me. A wolf laughed at me. I tried rising again and the wolf quickly closed the gap between us with only two steps, then I saw it reaching for me with its muzzle and I just looked at it still rising until its teeth got my shirt and tugged me down to sit again. Puzzled, I did just that and sat down again. Still cautious of what's going to happen next.
I tried reaching for the wolf then checked myself and stopped. What was I doing? I can't seriously want to befriend a wolf. I pulled my hand back, it was almost at my side when the wolf came closer and placed the top of its head by my palm letting me feel its fur. I patted it, hesitant at first, then, realizing that it's not going to hurt me, I patted him more – now realizing that it's a boy. I played with him for a bit, forgetting my worries.
The wolf was on his back with me tickling his tummy when I heard the bell ring. Lunch was over. I stood up and as I did, the wolf did the same, blocking my path to school, not wanting for me to go.
I crouched down meeting him at eye level, "I'll be back tomorrow at lunch again," I smiled "okay?"
He only stared at me, eyes narrowing, shifting his head side to side as if thinking. He dipped his muzzle in what I think is a nod and moved aside to let me pass. I walked towards him, smiled and petted him by the head and left.
I looked back again and said, "I'll be back tomorrow. Promise." and with that, I ran back to school not wanting to be late for my next class.
Now back to the present, I let go of him and he only stared at me waiting for me to talk first.
"So what game today?" I asked "I brought a ball. Fetch?" and as usual, he growled at me. "Ha, ha. I guess that's a 'no'. So, hide-and-seek or tag?" He dipped his muzzle twice for tag. "So who's it first?" He ran as if answering my question. With me though, I take the skies instead of the ground.
I counted to ten then flew up - that's right, flew. With the ground so dark, I easily spotted him running through the trees so fast that he was a yellow blur. I zipped past him through the forest and descended on a nearby tree that he'll pass soon enough. I climbed down a few branches, low enough that I can jump on him and high enough that he won't see me- or even smell me. I waited a few seconds when I saw him, golden fur dancing between the trees as he ran. I positioned myself and waited for him to be on the right spot, and when he did, I jumped landing on his back so hard that he yelped and we both fell on the ground.
"You're it." I said, still lying down on my back, grinning at him.
He just looked at me and back to his front paws. They were red.
"Oh my gosh!" I said, sitting up to get a better view of his front paws "I-I'm so sorry." I stammered hurrying to his side.
I put my hand out, palm up, water from thin air started circling just above my palm. I put the water just above his wound trying to heal it. A minute passed and the wound closed and I waved my hand over the blood and the remaining blood left the fur and was near a nearby bush.
I stood up still apologizing until he finally snapped at me telling me to quit apologizing and to go on with the game.
"Can't get enough exercise, huh? Is that why you want me here?" He only grunted and whipped past me.
I stayed where I was waiting for him to come back. Sure enough he did, with a rabbit between his teeth. Apparently, he only left to catch his lunch. He stopped at least five steps away from me and laid down his catch on the ground, resting by his belly, he started eating the rabbit.
"Can't you at least cook it first?" he looked at me skeptically "I'm just saying. I know you need to hunt and all but what if I just buy you dog food?" I smiled, meaning it as a joke, but doesn't have the same effect on him. He just looked at me, eyes narrowing, meaning that he didn't get it at all. A dog with no sense of humor this one is.
I heard the bell ring, it was so quiet and so far away that you think that I only imagined it but he only grunted and motioned that I could leave.
"I'll come back later after school. That okay?" he nodded and resumed his eating.