Chapter 13 - Graduation
There comes a time in your 18 years of existence when you feel like all the pains you went through, the hell that was high school you faced, became worth it, and that time is what I call high school graduation. Every single student in Hillside High was clad in dark blue robes with bright golden borders, the school's colours. Elena and Asher, the head girl and the head boy of our school (not much of a surprise, really) made their last school speech. This was not the last time I will be associated to this school though. Like I had said to Xavi a few days ago, I was accepted in the cheerleading squad, and we will perform during the basketball and football match in fall. Not to mention the Fall Dance, the last important event in my high school life. I know what you're thinking, isn't graduation the last event? In our school, it's kind of different. The senior year always welcomes the new students with such events. We, as the senior cheerleading squad, pick the upcoming squad members, and this is done before the games, so by the time the games begin, both squads, the new and the old, will perform. And of course, what other way to say goodbye to our class mates than a dance?
"We will begin to hand over the report cards and certificates to the students of merit. They have achieved excellent scores in their final examination and SAT's and have received scholarships from Ivy League Universities and other famous Universities." Mr Fisher, my class teacher, announced.
"He is one fine young man who has given an outstanding performance in his studies, sports and extracurriculars. Our school head boy and captain of the basketball team, Asher Austin Anderson has shown remarkable leadership qualities. He also receives a proficiency in the subjects: AP Economics, AP Geography, Business Management, Psychology and AP Biology. Asher, please step up and take your report card, certificates and your Student of The Year trophy."
"She is a brilliant student with a cheerful nature and always has a smile on her face. She is hard-working and she has achieved a proficiency in the subjects: AP English Language, AP English Literature, AP Geography and AP Economics. She has also been awarded $2000 for achieving first place in the All State Swimming Competition. She has not only been studious, but has shown excellent performance in sports and other extracurricular activities. She is, Danielle Zara Anderson, ladies and gentlemen. Danielle, please step up and take your report card, cheque, trophy and certificates."
I carefully climbed the stairs that led to the stage in my high heels (courtesy of Sasha) and received my well-deserved reward. I turned to face the camera men and the audience and found my parents looking extremely proud of their four children.
"Next, we have the Captain of the Chess team, member of the Student Committee, member of the Hillside High Basketball team and intelligent young man Jaden Rob Anderson. He has achieved a proficiency in the subjects: AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP Biology, AP Mathematics, AP Economics and AP Geography. Jaden, you are one of the meritorious toppers of the year. Congratulations, please step up and take your report card, certificates and trophy."
Jaden was such a smartass! He was always the genius in the family. It's a miracle how he's amazing in sports and studies. The pack was pretty good in balancing both of them, but Jaden was a champion. My mom was crying (awww) and my Dad was just like "Kate, its okay, the time had to come." Parents were just too sweet.
"A Member of the basketball team, Champion of the Hillside High Marathon for 4 consecutive years and an energetic individual, Xavier Daniel Anderson has received a proficiency in the subjects: AP Economics, AP Geography, AP Accounting and Finance, AP History, Psychology. Xavier, please step up and take your report card, certificates and trophy."
It was amusing actually, that all the people whose names were in that list were members of my pack. We were always different, but in a good way. One by one, every single member of the pack was called and the evening continued with a lot of happiness and applause. After that, everything was like a blur. My surroundings consisted of weeping girls, goodbyes, teary-eyed teachers and people thanking the staff. Principal Thompson wished all of us the very best in life, and after years of happiness mixed with slight torture, we were finally done with high school, academically, at least. I would definitely need some more time to grasp the situation. The rest of the night passed by quickly. Like any other normal high school, we had a graduation after-party in one of the hottest clubs in town. I had caught Aidan dancing with Adrienne. She actually had a genuine smile on her face, not one her pouts or sultry smiles. I hoped that both of them would last, considering her reputation and all, and Aidan was a good guy, so I hoped he didn't get his heart broken.
"Let's go out and get some fresh air." Jax had shouted over the loud music.
We got out and sat on the couches next to the entrance, reserved for the people who were too drunk to even stand much less get a ride back home. It was empty in the road outside, as we had reserved the entire area for ourselves that night. Hillside High was a school for the overly rich, after all. I was seated on his lap and we were hugging each other to keep warm in the cold air outside. I felt a presence looming over us, and when I looked up I found a shadow flying around us in circles. We jumped off the couch and stared at it for a second, not knowing what to do. The shadow soon settled on the couch, and like melted wax turning into a candle, it soon began to form a shape, a shape of a human.
"It must be a very memorable evening for both of you children."
What the hell? How on earth a shadow becomes a freaking human? In movies, especially in sci-fi ones, when odd situation occurs, the hero and the heroine get over it quickly and face the weird creature and save themselves and the world in the end, with surprising calmness and sudden burst of energy and determination. I, however, knew I was definitely on the verge of insanity. I was werewolf, and I should probably get used to all the supernatural occurrences being a supernatural creature myself, but heck, one does not simply materialize just like that. For a long time no one said a word, but somehow Jax found his tongue.
"Who, no wait, WHAT are you?" Jax questioned the person.
The person was a female, to be more specific. She looked like she was in her late forties. Her lips were blood red in colour (it definitely looked like Revlon's bright red lip colour) and she had sharp features. Her irises were the faintest silver in colour, almost blending in with the rest of her eyeball. Her pupils were like black slits, and she looked extremely scary. Her long milky white hair had red tips and she was dressed in a long black dress with a black cloak to complete her ensemble. If I didn't know any better, she looked just like a.. Witch.
"Are you a witch?" I asked, before I could stop myself.
"Give the girl a prize! Yes I'm a witch, Princess Anderson." She replied with a grin on her face.
"How do you know my name?" I asked curiously.
"Look, I don't have time for all your questions, Princess. Witches like me can't teleport for too long, so I'd like to keep this short. So let's start with a couple of questions. Why do you think Zafar didn't treat you like shit? Why was the whole kidnapping ordeal such a calm situation? Any girl would have been scared to death being kidnapped, yet you adjusted so well, Why? Why was he more concerned about your well-being when there were other girls who were daughters of powerful Alpha's? Why you? Got any answers to all of that?
I just stood there dumbly. A woman whom I have never met in my life suddenly shows up in front of me asking me questions. Oh, I had an eventful life, really. Trying to ignore the stupidity of the whole situation, I realized that those questions were on my mind too, ever since I returned home. I was kidnapped for God's sake, why was it so... simple? Tyler had drugged me, kidnapped me, told me I was gonna die in a ritual and yet I could offer sarcastic replies and didn't really hate him. The most evil creature in America's supernatural world had completely nasty intentions towards me, flirted with me, tried to use me for his 'needs', but didn't do anything just because I said no? Why was I so calm? I mean, I even made breakfast and chatted with the girls like we were having a sleepover at someone's place instead of being kidnapped. Why was Zafar so sure I wasn't weak enough to die in the ritual? I had too many questions in my mind, yet till now, I never could answer them. What's weirder, is that this witch seemed to know the exact questions that troubled me.
"Let me guess, you don't know. Oh well, I kinda knew you didn't, that's what I'm here for. You're no ordinary wolf. You're the only eight generation Anderson chick, but you were the fourth kid, so it would seem that you have the least strength compared to your brothers. You're wrong though, you may not be physically the strongest, and yet you're strong enough mentally to survive the ritual. You have a gift. A gift passed on by your ancestors, which goes only to you. You have a knack to think properly and handle a seemingly crazy and deadly situation with a lot of calmness, which others may not have. Zafar knew this, and he also knew that in a few years, something big will happen, and that you would be one of the major causes, therefore you wouldn't die now. I won't tell you the gift you possess, and neither will I tell you what incident will occur that is gonna bring you to the spotlight, even if I know it, as you'll find that out yourself. What I can tell you is that, as I implied before, you're different than any other wolf. Many mishaps will take place and you will be forced to make tough decisions in the future. But you'll survive, thanks to your pack's support. Someone will lose their life. The person won't be from your pack, but will affect you just as badly. Zafar was a dick, I knew it ever since I cursed that bastard, but you kicked his ass. This whole thing is nothing compared to what's gonna happen in the future of course, but you were brave enough for an eighteen year old, almost killing yourself like that. Anyway, just so you know, I got your back, Princess. I gotta go now, so just think about whatever I said. No use to worry now, since it's gonna happen after a few years, but just know it. See ya!"
And just as quickly she showed up, she disappeared. I was positive that Jax was thinking "What the fuck just happened?", as that was the same thought in my brain. All that we could hear was the rustling of leaves and the faint thump of the loud rap music that was blaring from inside the club and the occasional laughter.
I was different? Special? How? I never had sudden power bursts or all that magical stuff like on TV where the person realizes 'Shit, I have magical powers'. I was a normal werewolf (okay there's not much normalcy in that) who lives with her pack and has never done anything bad to anyone, especially with the help of a 'gift' that I have. I'm just a freaking swimmer slash cheerleader slash virgin female wolf. So what was all that hoopla Ms. Witch said? Wait a second, she said something about cursing Zafar and him being a dick.. OH MY GOD. She was Zelda, one of the most powerful witches. Shit, now she will definitely not lie to me, am I really special?
"I'm special?" I asked Jax.
"To me you are, but in the romantic way. Dani, are you seriously gonna believe a woman who is clearly out of her mind? She was probably playing with you." He answered.
"Jovi, she was Zelda."
"Who the heck- Oh. Zelda. Oh. Shit." His face was screwed up now, a.k.a his thinking face. "What do you think your gift is?"
"Oh well, if I knew, I would be practicing it now wouldn't I?" I retorted.
"Let's just get back in, get this party over with, get back home, and discuss this with Alan and Kate." Jax finally said.
"I doubt Mom and Daddy are gonna answer any different, because if I was so gifted and all, they would have told me ages ago. But you're right, let's just get back to the party, I want to temporarily forget what just happened, and pretend that I'm having the best graduation after-party ever." I said slowly, as if trying to convince myself.
That night I lay in my bed, thinking about the day's events. Tyler showed up at graduation, the first time I've seen him in three weeks, after the ritual had taken place. He had no idea how he ended up there, with many bruises and cuts when he should be in Argentina enjoying his summer. Andrea explained everything to him and he didn't react well. He had blown up and accused us of meddling with his normal life with 'our supernatural shit'. We were really hurt, especially me, and I wasn't really in the best of health. My brothers and the others wanted to break his neck, but the girls and I managed to convince them to refrain from doing it. He came today, however. He apologized profusely and told us he didn't mind having supernatural best friends. It was a happy ending, maybe not for my brothers, but for the girls and I of course.
Graduation was awesome, as well as the party afterward. Of course, there was the bizarre encounter. I was kidnapped, but I acted like it was nothing. Maybe I do have a knack to be calm in such situations, now that I think about it. When I was 13, our class had a field trip to Mexico. We were in the appointed bus and were on the way to a hotel, when a couple of men stopped the bus and threatened us to give them all our money, jewellery, and all our expensive valuables. Everybody was shit scared, other than our pack of course -who were busy trying to protect the girls and I-, and many had already given them huge wads of cash just to be safe. I, however, with bravery I never knew I had, got up from my seat, walked daringly to the man whom I assumed was the leader, and had a talk with him. I still remembered it very well in fact.
"Perdone, Umm Sir, I'm aware that we are your hostages and that we must give you everything we have, but did it ever occur to you that even if you managed to get us slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the city, that we have police escort? They might have already reached in fact, and the engine noise that we are hearing could be their car? It seems like all of you are professional, and you would very much like to escape right now without getting arrested and sent to jail for the next 20 years, so it would be better if you leave us just the way we are, no bruises, no wounds, with all our cash in our hands, and obviously no corpse. It will be a loss for you sadly, but would you rather be in jail for murder and theft? So could you order your men to do as I say, por favor?"
I had spoken in fluent Spanish (another advantage of being in a pack: you must know many languages to converse with other packs outside United States), so he was definitely surprised at first. He overcame it and laughed at me instead.
"Why should I believe you?! You're just a useless, rich child who I can kill right now with no hesitation." As if to prove what he just said, he came forward and placed his gun on my jaw, the cool metal sending weird sort of tingles down my spine.
My brothers were furious, and they were only a step away from killing the man, just waiting to hear a complaint from me.
"Sir, I admire your guts. Your wife and children must be suffering at home, worried sick about you while here you are, robbing rich people. I'm very sorry for what I'm about to do, but I think that it's the only way to make you realize that nobody messes with my family and friends."
Before he could even react, I kneed him in the private area, kicked the gun out of his hands, and aimed it on him instead. My brothers, as well as Seth and Lucas, now no longer waiting for me to say anything, had the rest of the men on choke hold. The other pack members tried to calm the others down.
"What kind of girl are you?" The man asked, his voice full of awe.
"The kind that can't stand any form of crime and injustice to innocent people. I'm sorry, but what's your name, Sir?"
He kept on staring, jaw open. He looked like a kid in a large candy store, as if a girl who kneed him was the most beautiful woman he had ever met.
"Okay Diego, so I hope this finally makes you realize that staying here would be bad for you and that you and the rest of your men should escape while having the chance. My brothers and friends will take our money back from your partners and you will leave us alone after this. Do I make myself clear?"
"I can't believe I'm taking orders from a kid, but yes. This isn't over though kid, we will have our revenge."
"Oh I sure hope so. It was nice meeting you Diego."
With that, Diego and his men left, leaving me to realize, that I, a 5'8" thirteen year old teenager, just talked a dangerous criminal into letting his hostages go.
*** End of Flashback***
Did that sound like a scene from a superficial action movie? Like I was a femme fatale? Because I had plenty of such situations in my life. It made me realize that yes, part of whatever Zelda said was true. I remember the other thing she said, about the major event that I will be responsible of, sort of. If this kidnapping thing is nothing compared to it, then how bad will it be? Who will die? It's not going to be anyone from my pack, but it will affect me just as badly? Oh My God, is it Tyler? I hope not. I gripped the edge of my blue blanket tighter, refusing to believe that someone will die because of me. I wasn't comfortable with the fact that in a few years, I may be the reason of someone's death. And to think I don't even know the person! Zelda had warned me to not dwell upon the subject too much though. I realize she is right. By overthinking it, I would unconsciously try to prevent it, which isn't the way of nature. Everything happens for a reason. Even if it costs somebody their life, it had to happen, and how much we try, there's no denying that it was fate, it was meant to be. I believed that we control our lives, that fate was just another term used to coin situations that we didn't predict, but I knew that sometimes, how much a person tries and avoids a mishap, it happens anyway because it was meant to happen. Take my dad, for example. Did he not try his best to keep me safe? Had he not provided extra security for me? But what was the result to all his efforts? I got kidnapped anyway, right near my brothers. This was because my kidnapping was necessary, the ritual was necessary, my sacrifice was necessary, Zafar's death was necessary. I decided that I will have to keep this bit of information in the back of my mind. I will not focus too much on it, but I will always be aware of it. When the time came, I will try my very best to avoid the person's death, heck I'll even kill myself if it saves him/her, but I will do anything and everything. For now I'll let it go, when the time comes, I figure I will know it. Besides, I had my pack's support, like Zelda had said. One must let go of the past, live the present, and keep the future a mystery, and not predict it, my mother used to say. I would always shrug this useful piece of advice, too curious about what lies ahead of me, wanting to grow up quickly. Now I realized the power of the advice and decided it is the best advice I could listen to. With that as the last thought on my mind, I closed my eyes and went to sleep.