The crowd roared as the final seconds on the clock ticked by and the Oakridge Phoenix`s won 20-5. Cameron Hale was exhausted as he walked off the field with his brothers, Daniel Johnson and James Hale, following close behind. Cameron used to be the star quarter back, until James decided to try out for the team. Now, he was in the same social status as Daniel. Cameron and James looked similar even though Cameron was adopted. Cameron and James were both blond and blue eyed but James had the looks. His hair was a prettier golden blond where Cameron was more of a dirty blond. Even James` eyes were a prettier sapphire blue than Cameron`s blue eyes that paled in comparison to. Kennedy and Hudson had adopted Cameron, Daniel and Jason after they were abandoned by their parents. None of them were related by blood, but they all grew up together, Cameron and Jason had been adopted as infants but Daniel was adopted at eight. Jason wasn't cheering with the fans but none of the boys had expected him to be. He was probably with some girl, whom he had just met, taking her innocence. Daniel and Jason also looked alike; both with black hair and brown eyes. Jason was darker colored and more muscular then Daniel who was lean. Daniel was a good guy and Jason was... not so good. Cameron felt bad thinking about his brother like that but it was true. May Anderson, Yasmin Turner and Fiona Miller all came over in their cheerleader outfits in the school colors, orange and red, to congratulate the boys. May gravitated towards Daniel`s side and Fiona and Yasmin to Cameron`s. James went off to find Jason. Fiona was naturally tanned skin, with piercing green eyes, and long dark brown hair. May had long light blond, almost white blond, hair with pretty blue eyes similar to James` and was Caucasian. Yasmin was a southern beauty who came to Oakridge, a small town but the only one with a mall for miles, with her parents Freshmen year. She had brown hair that fell just past her shoulder blades and brown eyes that were wide with excitement. All the girls were good looking so the boys didn't mind having them by their sides. Cameron still couldn't believe how good they were playing. They were named the best football team in their state. James wandered back to them shrugging his shoulder.
"Jason will find his way back on his own. We totally killed it out here! I think we should celebrate!"
"Our parents are out of town..." Cameron hinted.
"Party at the Hale house?" James asked.
The girls all announced their agreement and Cameron and Daniel nodded. As they walked to the school parking lot, Jason trailed after them, zipping up his pants. James, Cameron and Daniel laughed.
Everyone on the football team and even most of the cheerleaders were at the home on 56 Oak Rd. Music blared from the house and beer bottles littered the front lawn evidence that the party had begun long before May`s arrival. May sighed to herself as she parked her pink convertible across the street.
"Daniel better not be drinking." She muttered to herself.
She hoped no one would ask her where she was or why she was so late getting to the party. She noticed the home behind the Hale home was dark, its grass overgrown. Nolee and Steven Chang (Steven had taken his wife's name) had been gone for years. May was a senior in high school now and they had left a few months into her eighth grade year. They should have been back long ago. They were adopting a girl from another country, and promised to return shortly so they could all meet her, but May knew it didn't take this long. Nolee and Steven had decided to adopt the girl because Steven could not have children and their house had an "empty feeling to it, without a child" they had said. May bit her lip in worry and her thoughts were interrupted when arms were slid around her waist. Daniel whispered in her ear, his breathe smelling strongly of alcohol.
"Did everything go okay? I missed you..."
May shrugged him off and whirled on him.
"Daniel! You know you are not supposed to be drinking! We have to stay alert at all times!"
"I'm just buzzed that's it. They don't have enough alcohol in this town to get me drunk, you know that."
May narrowed her eyes.
"That isn't the point. What if I was in danger? You are supposed to protect me!"
Daniel grimaced. "Just use your Powers or fly away. I will protect you baby. When the time comes, I will be there."
"You had better be, or by the Angel, I will come down from heaven and smite you!"
Daniel grimaced again. He knew she was more than capable of doing so.
"I have protected you for over 300 years. I will protect you. I swear it. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you May. I saved you that day...I swore to the Angel`s I would protect you and they gave me their mark. You are an Angel and you are my angel. Nothing will ever come between us. I will protect you, I swear it."
May felt her wings tingle underneath her skin. Daniels`s tattoos showed themselves for a fraction of a second before disappearing. May had forgotten how beautiful his tattoos were. They were inky black now, but when he had first received them, they were nothing but pure light. They hid themselves, to protect him from demons who would want to kill him. He had a sacred duty to protect May, the demons know that and prey for the sweet blood and life of an Angel. Something in her tensed and she knew there was something or someone evil in the Hale house. She tried to keep her Powers at bay, but they didn't. May ran as fast as she could from that house so no one would see. Daniel knew what was happening and followed after her. May had just gotten to a dark place between buildings when it hit her. Her wings broke free, tearing her shirt. Light radiated out of her and her weapons formed in her hands. Her hair flew wildly about her, her eyes completely white. The light dispersed as quickly as it had come and left May revealed. Her white wings were enveloped around her to hide her exposed chest, her weapons, they appeared to be blades but they were fanned and in the shape of a flower after it had been pressed between the pages of a book but made of light, extended from her hands. May breathed heavily as she met Daniel`s eyes. His tattoos were fully revealed and he guarded May.
"There is someone truly evil at that party." May`s voice rang with power as she spoke.
Daniel nodded in agreement. Two daggers made of light in his hands, his eyes completely normal; his didn't change like hers did.
"Yes, otherwise you wouldn't have transformed like that."
May sank to the ground. She whispered words in the ancient language of the Angels and her blades disappeared and her wings folded into her back and disappeared under her skin as she returned to her normal self. She was exhausted after the sudden transformation and couldn't even stand on her own. Daniel scooped her into his arms and kissed her.
"Come on May, my wife."
May smiled weakly.
"We are not married in this life."
Daniel smiled at her.
"No but we eventually will be. I am taking you home, you need to rest."
May tried to protest.
"Yasmin and Fiona are going to wonder why I never showed."
"I am sure I will come up with some excuse. This also gives me time to look for the demon."
"Yeah, I suppose so. Please be careful..." She whispered before falling asleep in his arms.
Daniel left May in her bed and slipped out her window. He made his way down the dark streets and back to the Hale house. He slid back into the party unnoticed. Cameron was hitting on Fiona and she was actually flirting back. Daniel made his way through the party searching for the demon that had caused May and his reactions. Jason sat with a girl on the couch in front of the television. He was close to her ear and no doubt whispering something sweet to get in her pants. James was wasted and trying to throw darts at the television, thankfully missing every time. When he missed, it threw the gaggle of girls around him into fits of laughter.
Jason had just got the girl to agree to come upstairs with him when the front door was thrown open and Nolee strut through, clearly pissed off.
"ALRIGHT EVERYONE CLEAR OUT OR I AM CALLING THE COPS!" Nolee screamed.
The house cleared out in a matter of seconds. Nolee stood with her hands on her hips.
"You boys are in some serious shit." Nolee threatened.
Jason walked over to her as Cameron, James and Daniel began to clean up. James was clumsy and fell flat on his ass several times, but made slow progress. Jason slid his arm over her shoulder and led her from the house. Jason`s eyes went completely black as tendrils of black leaked from his fingers and went unnoticed into the back of her head.
"You will remember none of this. You went home and went to bed."
Nolee`s eyes went wide before returning to their normal width. She began walking back to her car. Jason smiled to himself and returned his eyes to their normal brown. He walked beside her and shut the car door for her; a pair of steel gray eyes in the back seat caught his attention. They were a pair of female eyes and he found himself lost in their depth. Their stare was unbroken until the car`s engine started and Nolee drove away. The encounter left Jason shaken for the rest of the night.
Kennedy watched the boys silently. She looked exactly like James. After all, James was her biological son. Hudson stood beside her. His dirty blond hair was in disarray and his gray eyes were looking from one boy to the next.
"We heard that you guys won the football game last night. We also heard about your 'epic' party. Care to explain? Obviously I heard them wrong, because my boys are far too responsible to do that, when we specifically forbade them to do any such thing."
Jason paid little attention to Kennedy while the others shifted nervously in their seats and apologized numerous times. Jason`s mind was still reeling about that girl; the girl with the steel gray eyes. Hudson sat down in the lazy boy and cleared his throat.
"You guys are all grounded until we say differently. This isn't what we had planned to talk to you guys about tonight."
"Yes, that is right. There is something we need to tell you guys - all of you guys."
Kennedy gave Jason a pointed look and Jason reluctantly paid attention to her. Kennedy took a deep breath before continuing.
"Each of you are special. I am being serious when I say that. Not a single person in this room is 'normal; although for us it is normal. I knew most of your parents- Daniel is the only exception, but this applies to him as well- and they were Gifted as well. Everyone of you can control something around you, or in you, just as your parents could, and their parents before them. Your ability has to do with your parents. The abilities can be fire, wind, earth, air, water, darkness,or light." Kennedy paused and closed her eyes.
She opened her hand towards them and a small flame appeared in her hand. The boys looked at her in astonishment and she smiled. Hudson called Darkness to him and held a small tendril between his fingers.
"In the next few days or weeks, you will learn what your Power is. Do not be frightened of your Power, it is a part of you. It will dictate who you become and which side you fight for, good or evil. In a few years time, your enemy could be someone in this room. You will have to kill that person. Good or evil, you are all my children and I will always love you. It will not take long for you to gain almost complete control over your Powers. You will not gain complete and utter control until you have mastered your Power when you become an adult. It takes practice to completely master your Power, so don't be discouraged if you do not get it the first time. Hudson and I will help you the best we can. I apologize, if this is a lot to take in and if it is overwhelming, but we had to wait until now to tell you because otherwise you would never believe us. In a few days time, you will find my words to be true, each of you are Gifted. At school Monday, you will notice who is Gifted and who is not."
May walked down the halls of Oakridge High alert and watchful. Anyone in this school could now be her enemy, could want to kill her. This was the week she dreaded. The week that those who were Gifted came into their Powers. She knew Daniel would do what he could to protect her but he wasn't with her all the time. She would protect herself if need be, even though it was risky and would potentially reveal what she was. In her first period class, May noted Fiona`s absence. She was one who was Gifted, but May didn't know what her Gift was. The Hale brothers were all gifted as was Yazmin. Soon, she would learn their Gifts. She and Daniel had to be careful never to reveal what they were or what their Gifts were, not until they knew what side the others were on. The constant battle between Good and Evil, Darkness and Light, was all too real for her. The bell that signaled the end of the period rang and May made her way to her locker. Before she rounded the corner a terrible chill ran through her. She stopped the tremors before they began so she didn't draw unwanted attention to herself. As she rounded the corner, the first thing she saw was Damien Hale waiting by her locker. She saw Daniel`s back stiffen down the hall and he quickly made his way to her. Damien waved to her and smiled friendly enough. She smiled back to him but she was cautious as she stopped beside him. Across the hall, Jason watched Daniel rush to May`s side. May balled her fists as more tremors, more viscous this time, racked her. A quick thought passed through her mind, sending fear throughout her, fear Daniel immediately picked up on.
Both Jason and Damien are Dark, was this an ambush? Surely they are going to kill me.
May knew that Jason was far more powerful then Damien. She tried to keep her voice even and her posture nonchalant.
"Hey Damien. What do you need?" May smiled and said cheerfully.
"The notes from first period, I fell asleep, I was wondering if I could borrow yours."
Daniel leaned against her locker behind her and gave them a small nod. May reshuffled her binders in her arms until she came across the right one. She pulled out the spiral bound notebook and handed it to Damien. He smiled at her.
He smiled at her once more before taking off. May shook herself internally. Daniels mind brushed against hers and she let him in. His voice spoke gently but urgently in her mind.
May, are you alright? Did you feel that?
May didn't answer right away.
Yes, I will be okay. Jason...it is him. All along it was him. I am not concerned that much with Damien.
Neither am I, he is the lesser of two evils, but we should still be careful around him.
I agree. I will see you later.
Please be extra careful.
Fiona stared at the charred and scorched walls of her bedroom. Yasmin stood beside her in awe.
" Yaz, did that really just happen?"
Fiona`s voice broke as she spoke. Yasmin could only nod.
"You lit your room up like an inferno." Yasmin`s voice was weak when she spoke.
"You put it out!" Fiona said amazed.
Yasmin only shrugged.
"I saw the fire then I - I just knew I needed to put it out, I wasn't thinking it just-"
"Happened?" Fiona provided for her.
Fiona couldn't grasp what had just happened. They both stared at their hands. Fiona`s wasn't even harmed from the flames that had just shot out of her hands. Not a drop of water had fallen on Yasmin from the water that came pouring out of her hands and on to the fire that Fiona had accidentally set. They stared at each other, shocked. Fiona sunk to the floor.
"I am so not going to school today, especially after what just happened. How do I explain this to my parents?" Fiona was on the verge of tears as she swept her hand in front of her to indicate the room. "If I told them they would never believe me. Do you think May and the Hale brothers are like us?"
"I don`t know Fi. I didn't even know I could do that until just now."
Fiona hugged her knees into her chest.
"Yaz, I'm scared."
Kennedy Hale pulled in front of her small restaurant several hours earlier then she normally did. She was surprised to find someone waiting on her. Her restaurant, K`s Place, was a popular hangout for the local teens so she assumed it was a teen who was late for school and hoping to get in and out.
"I don`t open for a little while longer, but I can make you something quick so you can get on your way to school."
When no reply came from the person, Kennedy grew suspicious. The woman pulled down her hood and turned to face Kennedy. Kennedy reeled back as if she had been slapped. She quickly regained her composure. Madison Grey, a ghost from Kennedy`s past, stood before her. Madison looked the same as she had all those years ago, dark skinned and a mass of brown curls. Her brown eyes that were flecked with gold, watched Kennedy as she quickly made her way to Madison.
"What did you see, prescient?" Kennedy asked her. "It must not be good."
Madison shook her head, sending her curls flying.
"I told you to kill the boy." Madison hissed. "You have no idea what you have set in motion!"
Kennedy felt her own anger grow.
"How could I have killed a baby, only hours old, for what he had yet to do?"
"He is anything but innocent. You should have killed him for what he will do, for the destruction and death he will cause! I tried to warn you Kennedy. I tried to tell you but you did not listen. You can still fix this, I have called the others, and we can still stop this."
Kennedy gave a cold laugh.
"The others? Madison you are stuck in the past! We are not part of the Organization anymore! Elizabeth dropped Cameron on my doorstep and fled. I haven`t seen her since. Fireia has Fiona to care for. We have all moved on Madison! Everyone but you."
"No. I have had contact with Dark Angel - "
"She isn't Dark Angel anymore! Madison listen to yourself! She stopped being called that after we all left the organization. After what Blaine did to her can you blame her? It is over Madison. It has been for years."
Madison shook her head.
" Does Serenity know that?" Madison said with a cruel smile.
" Madison, you are over the line!"
"What, about Detra? Do either of them know that it is over? All along we were hunting the King and Queen of the Underworld and they had possession over you and Hudson`s bodies. Does James know that is why he has Darkness; that his father could be the ruler of the Underworld?"
Kennedy slapped Madison.
"Don't you dare! Neither of us knew we shared bodies with them! Hudson is James` father."
"Oh? How sure are you of that? How do you explain James` Darkness?"
This time Kennedy smirked,
"They left pieces of themselves behind after we separated bodies. I can control Fire and Hudson can control Darkness. You would know this had you been around more often."
Madison`s eyes narrowed.
"Is that why you couldn't kill Jason; because part of his mother still remained in you?"
Kennedy wheeled around to leave.
"Kennedy? Why did you take all those kids in?"
"If I had just given Cameron to an adoptive family they wouldn't have understood him when he came into his ability, they would have killed him. Elizabeth told me that she had to give him up because if Blaine ever found out she had gotten pregnant, he would have killed her. She asked me to give him the name Cameron. Blaine left Elizabeth weeks before she found out about her pregnancy; no one knew where he was; but you do. Don't you Madison? He was in your bed! Serenity came to me hours after Jason had been born and begged me to take care of him. She said he could not remain in their care because, even as a baby, he would try to consume all their Power and that would kill them. She said that if I didn't want him, she would find him somewhere else to go. I knew she meant she would take him back with her and both her and the baby would have died. If that happened, I knew Detra would stop at nothing to destroy this earth. I took him in because he was just a baby. She was already weakening and as a mother myself at the time and maybe because I knew her very intimately from the body sharing, I knew she truly cared for the boy. I had never seen her so weak Madison. I decided to take him in.
I found Daniel wondering the streets when he was eight years old. I did everything I could to find his parents, but to no avail. So I adopted him. I took all those boys in because it was for the good of all or because it was the right thing to do. If Blaine was with Elizabeth instead of in your bed, I wouldn't have had to take Cameron in. He would have grown up with his real parents. I don't regret taking any one of those boys in. I was going to kill Jason that night, I had the knife against his throat, but how could I punish a baby for who his parents were or for something he had yet to do. I knew the consequences of my decision but it felt right. I would be no different than Detra himself had I killed that boy. Killing him would have made Serenity set the world on fire."
"I know your reasons for doing what you did, but it would have been easier had you killed him. Whether he lives or dies now, it doesn't change our fate but it might give us an advantage. Had he never been born we could have been saved. Jason will meet his Queen on earth; she will be nothing, a human neither Light nor Dark. She will choose Dark because of their love and together they will have the son that destroys not just the earth but the universe. I have seen it happen. The Angels have even sent their own kind here to try and stop it. The Organization was built to stop people like us from going Dark and killing the ones that were. If you don't believe me then maybe you will believe the evidence around you. We joined the Organization to destroy Darkness, including Detra and Serenity. We were shut down before we could. Even the Angels are taking steps to prevent the destruction of everything we know. You need to stop Jason from finding his Queen Kennedy, please.; not for me, not for the universe, but so your boys have somewhere to live!"
Kennedy pursed her lips.
"I understand and I will do my best. Thank you Madison."
Kennedy turned to the glass door of her shop and placed the key in the lock. She heard Madison`s steps as she retreated down the sidewalk.
It was a warm Saturday morning and May was woken up by her sister`s yelling.
"I don`t care Michael just get out!"
Her sister slammed her bedroom door so hard it shook the entire house.
"April come on, will you please give me a chance to explain?"
Michael pounded on the door April had just slammed in his face. May groaned and rolled out of bed. She quickly worked on making herself presentable before opening her bedroom door and peering down the hall toward her sister`s room. Michael stood in his boxers angrily beating on the door. Michael turned toward her and sighed. May was always surprised by how cute he actually was without all his heavy makeup. Black hair framed a strong jaw and slightly hung over his dimmed blue eyes. April opened her door just enough so she could stand in its opening. April was wearing one of Michael`s shirts, her black hair was messy and her purple streak was tucked behind her ear. Her and May were polar opposites. April was Goth and May was more prep. April`s mascara and eyeliner ran down her cheeks. Her dark brown eyes still swam with tears.
"I told you to leave." She said venomously at Michael as she wiped angrily at her ruined make up.
"And I told you I was sorry. Can we please talk about this?" Michael asked exasperated.
April shook her head. "This isn`t the first time Michael; I am tired of it."
"I know babe and I am sorry. I really am. Please just..."
Michael pushed the door with his hand; April didn't really put up much of a fight this time. Michael took April into his arms and kissed her fiercely on the lips. May slipped down the hall in the opposite direction into the main area of their small home. May walked into their tiny kitchen and began making pancakes. May had set out three place settings although she knew Michael probably wasn`t staying for breakfast. Sure enough, he came into the kitchen, fully dressed, bid May goodbye and left. May heard her sister`s footsteps as she came into the kitchen and slumped into a chair at the small kitchen table.
"He stayed last night?" May said it more then asked it.
April shrugged, "Yea so? He stays almost every night."
"April you have got to stop this behavior; you`re going to end up pregnant."
April scoffed. "So you`re gonna lecture me like mom would?"
May whirled around.
"Yeah April I am! Mom is dead so someone has to!"
"You know, it is your fault dad left mom."
May was stunned by what April had just said.
"I was five years old, how was it my fault?"
April smiled cruelly.
"He would have stayed but he couldn`t support you, me and mom."
"I suppose it is my fault that mom died in that plane crash my freshmen year too huh?"
April closed her eyes and fought back tears.
"Sorry. I shouldn't have lashed out like that. All I have is you and Michael and I don`t want to lose either of you, I'm sorry."
April looked down at her cell phone in her hands. She smiled without any real reason to. The time glared back at her and she jerked in surprise.
"I made you late for work."
May smiled at her sister as she set the plates of pancakes on the table.
"It is ok April. Kennedy will understand why I am late. It is the first time I have been late so I shouldn`t get into too much trouble. We have been by ourselves since mom died and I just want to look after you, keep you safe. I shouldn`t have yelled like that."
They ate their pancakes in silence and April washed the dishes as May prepared for work. May drove down the streets making her way downtown. It was busy inside K`s Place the tables were filled with teenagers and adults alike. Damien and James were trying to manage the tables themselves; May felt a sting of guilt. She rushed into the back door, trying to hurry to help James and Damien. Kennedy was busy at the grill preparing food and Daniel was at the sink washing dishes. The tension in Daniel`s shoulders dissipated at her arrival.
He must have been worried about my safety she thought.
She gave a reassuring smile in his direction. She slipped on her uniform and walked to Kennedy`s side by the grill.
"I am really sorry that I am late Kennedy. April and Michael had a fight..."
Kennedy turned to her and smiled.
"It is alright. You`ve never been late before and I understand your reasoning; don`t worry about it."
May returned her smile.
"Thanks so much Kennedy - I mean boss."
Kennedy grinned wider.
"You can call me Kennedy, it's alright."
May nodded and ducked out the door into the restaurant. She saw Yasmin, Fiona and a girl she didn`t know sitting at one of her tables. She waved to them and made her way over.
"Hey May! We are going to the mall later, you wanna come with us?"
" Yea! Of course!"
Fiona gestured to the new girl.
"This is Jade, she is Nolee and Steven`s adopted daughter."
May smiled at the girl as she took every detail in. Her hair was black and flowing well behind her, her skin was tanned from the sun and her eyes were a very crisp, steel gray; her eyes darted back and forth, alert and watchful. Her lips were full and plump but she didn`t smile at May. Her makeup was light, just eye shadow, mascara and lipstick, She was an exotic beauty that would have every guy in Oakridge watching her every move. May could sense the girl wasn`t Gifted but she looked like she could more than handle herself in a fight nonetheless. She wore a one shoulder dark purple shirt that flattered her large chest and May could make out skin tight jeans under the table.
"It's nice to meet you Jade. Welcome to Oakridge."
Jade said nothing but gave a quick nod.
Jason cursed under his breath as he almost hit the car that was in his space. He went around the parking lot twice before he finally found a place to park. He was already running behind that morning and this only made him late to school. He kept his head bent against the wind as he walked up the side walk to the school. He looked up in time to narrowly avoid running into a girl. She spun quickly to face him. The familiarity of her nearly toppled him over. He struggled to keep a look of shock off his face. He opened his mouth to apologize but didn`t know what to say so he just shut it. She gave a small smile that made his heart beat just a little faster. He fought with himself internally. He forced his eyes to look just at her face when he spoke. He tried to keep his voice nonchalant.
"I'm sorry, I wasn`t paying much attention to where I was going. Are you new here?"
He already knew the answer, a girl like her wouldn`t have sunk below his radar.
She smiled wider and her captivating steel gray eyes shined. He felt his hands sweat. What was going on with him? Why was he acting like such a fool?
"Yes I am. I'm Jade and it's OK."
"I'm Jason -"
She nodded. "Yes I know who you are. I was warned about you."
Jason must have looked confused because she just laughed. His knees shook and he gritted his teeth. She turned to walk away but he grabbed hold of her arm. Jason watched as her body went rigid.
Oh sh- he thought before he was in the air and landed sharply on his back.
All the air rushed from him and he stared up at her in shock. Her eyes had gone hard and her lips a thin line.
"Never touch me." Her voice matched the coldness in her eyes.
He felt himself nod numbly. She gave him a sharp nod and turned and walked away. He struggled to his hands and knees and watched her go. He ran his hand through his hair.
" Damn." He whispered to himself as he stood up and brushed himself off.
His body screamed in protest as he began to walk towards the doors of the school.
Jade was surprised she had managed to make it through the school day without ripping someone`s arm from their socket or sending a pencil through their eyes. It seemed all everyone did was touch other people. They were always constantly touching, whether it was being elbow to elbow in the halls or hugging each other. She did not like to be touched as she had made quite clear to Jason. The way people stared at her made her want to stab their eyes out. There were too many people here and too many places were an enemy could hide. It made her uneasy. She was used to the vast emptiness of the deserts in the middle-east. She was used to the life of plundering villages and towns, to obtain items necessary for their survival such as food and water, and fighting those that would deny her and her family those supplies, often fighting them to the death as they were in just as desperate need for those supplies as they were. That she could handle, but not this. People here were too trusting, too open. She was used to her small `family` of five, including herself. They had left their tribe when they were ten years old and had been on their own, as was tradition. She had a tattoo, scars and her clothing still. She had not left willingly. She was happy where she had been, promised to wed a man she knew she could trust, and her life had always had excitement. She wondered what happened to the rest of her family. Amazon was the only other girl in the group besides herself. Kody, her betrothed, was the leader of the group. It was odd no longer having her trusted family around her. They had always protected each other, especially in battle. She thought about the face masks with their insignia on it, meant to identify those who were like her and her family, and to keep the sand out. Hers was hidden away under the folds of her mattress. She longed to go back to the life she had always known, but knew she never could. That would lead people to them, and she would never betray her family in such a way. Besides, they would see her as tainted and probably would not let her travel with them again and without them, she would die in the desert. She still carried the daggers that Kody had made for her; in fact, they were on her person at the moment. She never went anywhere without them. She missed her old family and loved them in ways she could never love her current one. Her `parents` were fooling themselves if they ever believed she would come to love them. She tolerates them, and even that wasn`t constant, but she will never love them. She wanted to remain apart from the people here, but that was not so. She had been welcomed into this society with open arms and May had integrated her into it. She didn`t hate the girl for It, she understood why she did it. It was part of their nature. She was still uncomfortable around her and the other girls, she had found so many vulnerable places she could expose, so she didn`t feel completely safe with them. Her thoughts were interrupted as she got to the place where she had parked her car and noticed Jason was leaning against her car, smiling at her.
"You can park here for the remainder of the week, but I would like my parking space back after that."
Jade ignored him and walked past him to the driver side door. She yanked on the handle but he held the door closed. Irritated, she tried to push his hand off the door but it didn't budge. She turned to him, clearly annoyed.
"Move out of my way."
"I want my space back."
"There is one right beside me." She said, gesturing to the unclaimed parking space behind him. He shook his head.
"That`s not my space, this is, and I would like it back."
"No. It`s my space now."
"Alright, I see how it is."
His eyes searched hers for a break in her resolve but her eyes showed no hint of it. He smiled and walked away. Jade shook her head and got in her car and drove out of the parking lot. Jason watched her until she disappeared from view.
May had not even known she fell asleep at her desk until his voice called to her.
"Quaeso ad me, angelus" I ask that you come to me, Angel.
May became more alert almost instantly.
"Est momenti?" Is it important?
"si is eram non maximus , vos would non exsisto accersitus super" If it was not important, you would not be called upon.
May groaned and rose from her desk, Daniel stood leaning against the frame into the classroom, she was one of the last ones in the school.
"Why didn't you wake me?" she asked him as he intertwined his hand with hers.
"You were already talking with Adriel." He said, shrugging.
The school principal Mr. Campbell, a graying, balding man of fifty, halted the couple. Daniel dropped May`s hand.
"Your sister is in detention again today." He didn't sound surprised, neither was May, her sister was always getting into trouble.
"For what this time?" She didn't try to keep the experasation out of her voice.
"She skipped her first two classes of the day, the teacher doing rounds found her in a car with Mr. Varona….doing something very inappropriate…"
May sighed and folded her arms across her chest.
"She was having sex with him?! Oh for crying out loud April!"
"We could have suspended her, and we will if she does this again."
"Okay, I understand; I will make sure April does too. Thank you for being so kind Mr. Campbell!"
He nodded, making his bald spot even worse.
"Keep your sister out of trouble. I don't want to see April drop out. I know things have been hard since your mothers passing, but my sympathy only goes so far."
May smiled at him.
"I will, Mr. Campbell. Thank you so much for not suspending her!"
He returned her smile and walked off. May shook her head.
"I swear she is trying to get pregnant!" She hissed.
Daniel pulled her in for a hug and she sunk into him.
"We can deal with her later."
"I will deal with her later."
Daniel laughed, she felt his body shake with it and heard it rumble deep in his chest.
"That's fair." He breathed
May took his hand and continued down the school halls and out the door.
Daniel replayed the conversation with the Angel over and over in his head. The Dark One had met the girl that would become his Queen. Daniel turned his headlights off as he turned onto his street. His tan Malibu seemed loud to him in the quiet night. He dreaded going home. His parents would ask him where he had been. He couldn't say what he had really been doing and he couldn't say he had been with May, they would think he had done something he had not with her. Daniel sighed and tapped his steering wheel trying to come up with a believable excuse. Things would be so much easier if he could tell his parents about what him and May were, or even say they were dating. Daniel knew that couldn't happen. They would want to meet her parents, though technically she was never 'born' and so didn't have parents, the ones she was given to on earth both died, so May and her sister had been supporting themselves. Either way, there were no parents of hers to meet. Daniel knew that would raise questions. May didn't want to draw attention. Daniel slowed his car down to a crawl as he slid his phone from his pants pocket and quickly sent a message.
Was with May, cover for me?
He stared at the screen, waiting for the response.
Damien`s response had been slow but Daniel was thankful for a positive response. He pulled into the driveway next to Jason`s black Chevy Charger. Cameron`s green pickup truck sat behind Jason`s car and James` silver Mustang was behind Daniel. He was careful not to scratch anyone's car. Kennedy and Hudson`s cars were in the double car garage. Daniel walked up to the front door; he could see the living room light on. Daniel took a deep, shaky breath as he pulled the latch down on the door and opened it. Kennedy and Hudson sat together on the closest couch to the door, watching the news. Two couches sat under the large window facing the street, another couch sat facing across from Daniel, Hudson`s usual lazy boy sat at an angle next to the couch Hudson and Kennedy occupied, facing the television. Daniel walked past the living room entrance, past the stairs, the dining room, and into the kitchen. He looped his messenger bag over one of the dining room chairs as he passed it, and set his sights on the fridge. Inside the fridge, was a plate heaping high with homemade spaghetti. He pulled it out and shut the door. Kennedy stood with her arms crossed in the doorway.
"Where were you?"
Daniel met her accusing eyes with ease, after setting his plate of food in the microwave, punching in a minute.
"Damien`s. We did our homework, played video games and wrestled a bit. I wasn't paying attention to the time. Sorry, mom. I will do extra chores around the house if you want." He offered.
Kennedy flipped through his binders, his homework was all completed. Kennedy nodded her approval. Hudson smiled at Daniel, trying to ease the tension.
"Did you beat him in wrestling?"
"Yeah I did!"
"That's my boy!"
Hudson used to wrestle professionally until he quit after Kennedy found out she was pregnant with James. She quit her job as a nurse to devote her time to James. She later opened K`s Place, her restaurant. Kennedy watched Daniel a moment, before waving him off.
"Get to bed. You have school tomorrow."
Daniel nodded and gathered up his things and headed up the stairs. He opened the door to the bedroom he shared with Cameron. All his brothers were in the small room, all grinning at him.
"Spill." They all said in unison.
Daniel shook his head.
"I was at Damien`s-"
"Bullshit!" Jason called.
"Alright, alright." Daniel held up his hands in surrender, grinning. "I was with May."
"Nice!" James gave him a high-five.
"I bet she has a nice body too!" Cameron laughed as Daniel threw a punch at him.
"So…? Did you?" Jason asked and the boys settled down to listen to Daniel.
"Nah. We just hung out." Daniel shrugged it off.
"He was DENIED!"
The boys laughed again and Daniel threw mock punches at them.
"BOYS! BED! NOW!"
Kennedy hollered up the stairs, her anger plain in her voice. Jason and Cameron threw one last punch at Daniel before departing the room, closing the door back behind them. James rested a hand on Daniel`s shoulder, he locked gazes with Daniel.
"Is everything OK?" His voice wasn't playful or judgmental; almost as if James knew there was something more going on.
There`s no way he could though, right? He asked himself as he felt May`s mind brush against his.
I don't think he knows exactly what's going on, but he knows it's something more then you're telling.
He`s not asking for specifics, just if everything`s OK.
Its not. Mays response scared him a little.
Do I tell him that?
Daniel smiled at James, but shook his head.
"No, but I hope it will get better."
Concern lined James` face as he searched Daniel`s eyes for more, but his eyes didn't give him away. James nodded.
"I'm here for you brother; if you ever need me, or want to talk, I'm here."
Daniel nodded, gripping James` shoulder like he was his.
"Yea, I know. Thanks, brother."
James gave Daniel a small smile before releasing his grip and turning away. The two beds in the room sat sideways to the door, the only window in the room between them, the beds facing the two closets. Daniel`s bed had dark gray bedding and James` had blue. Each bed had a table beside it with a light and a clock. A table with a TV and gaming system sat against the wall with the door. Across the hall was the Master Suite, and second bathroom. Next door, was Jason and Cameron`s room; set up identical except Cameron`s bedding was green and Jason`s was black. Downstairs was the half bath. James climbed into his bed, flicking off his light. Daniel closed the window blinds and pulled the curtain tight before climbing into his own bed.
"Night." James muffled in response.
Daniel clicked off his light, sending the room into complete darkness.
Goodnight my beautiful May. Sweet Dreams my angel. I love you.
Daniel could see her smile in his mind`s eye. Her lying in her pink and white bed, as comfortable as a cloud, dressed in a practically see through pink slip; her room pink with white trim.
Goodnight my sweet Daniel, sweet dreams. I love you more.
Daniel felt himself smile into the darkness. He wished she was lying beside him. He wanted to hold her close, protect her and caress her. He couldn't wait for sleep to take him, so he could dream about his soul mate.
He was running; his feet pounding on the dirt road, sending dust flying. The dust choked his breath away, strangling his lungs, making them ache inside his chest. Still, he would not stop. He had seen a twinkle of light in night sky. A small brilliant flash, he knew it had to be her; the girl he had been speaking to in his mind for so long, since he could remember, she had always been there. Now, for the first time, he was going to meet her. She had requested that he bring with him a gown. He had stolen a simple white gown of his sisters. He held it clenched in his fist as he ran. He watched her fall, closer and closer to the earth. Daniel knew he had to catch her. He turned to face a long dark alley between the wooden structures. He watched her hit every wall, she bounced from one wall, to another. She hit again and again, her body cracking, her wings bending in unnatural angles, until her broken body came to rest on the ground. Blood and white feathers, long and short, covered the walls and ground. Even as he watched her fall, even as she lay on the ground, he did not stop running. He knelt beside her, and gently laid her head in his lap. She stretched her hand out to rest it on his cheek. She smiled,
"You came." She whispered, blood trickling from her mouth.
"I told you I would, Ma`am."
She let her hand fall from his face. Her white blonde hair was bloodied and matted around her. He covered her naked body with the gown, his eyes never leaving her face. Her blue eyes were brilliant, the color of the sky on a sunny summer day. Her skin was white as porcelain, soft and perfectly smooth. A small beauty mark by her right eye was the only interruption in her flawless skin.
"You never told me you were an Angel, Ma`am."
"You never asked." Her soft pink lips barely moved.
"May I ask your name, Ma`am?"
"Don't you recognize my voice? My name is May."
"Pleasure to meet you, Ma`am. I'm Daniel."
"We have already met!"
"Not in person we haven't, not until now."
"Where are you taking me, Daniel?" She asked as he scooped her up, ever so gently, into his arms and began walking to the end of the alley.
"I'm taking you back to my home, so I can fix you up, Ma`am; If that's alright with you of course." He added quickly.
May laughed, a beautiful glorious sound.
"Why would you do that? How do you know I'm not one of the bad ones?"
It was Daniel`s turn to smile.
"You are far too beautiful to be evil. Even if you were, I still couldn't leave you out here to die."
May closed her eyes, her smile never leaving her face.
Daniel woke from his dream, his own thoughts interrupting the memory.
After centuries of searching, it had been him she waiting for. While she slept, he had dressed her wounds and had even cut fabric out of the gown for her wings. She woke up days later, nearly healed but her wings were still sore. He had vowed to protect her, not knowing the weight of that promise. He had sworn it to her, then the flash of light had blinded him, the searing pain had crippled him. The tattoos and swirls it left behind, black as ink. In the eyes of heaven, he had become her Guardian. For many lifetimes he had been beside her. When they reached fifteen, he found her again. Fifteen, was the magic number for her, when her Angelic powers could no longer be concealed and she relied on him for protection. In every life, he had found her, and he will continue to do so. She was sent to earth to find and destroy the Dark One; to stop the destruction of the earth. In every lifetime he married her. In every lifetime they tried to start a family but to no avail. He knew she could not have roots on earth until her mission was complete, but when it was, she would be called back to Heaven and he would be made to forget about her and live out the rest of his life like he had never known her, like he would have if he had never met her. He would live a normal life, die and that would be it. He would always feel incomplete and never know why. He would wander the earth trying to find his soul mate, never knowing the truth. He hoped when her mission was complete, they would allow her to stay with him. May talked about giving up her wings, choosing him and a human life, but he did not want her to do that.
Jade sat inside K`s Place, in the corner table, closest to the side door, but furthest from any windows and the main entrance. She drank her coffee slowly, savoring the taste of it. Back home, coffee was extremely hard to come by and was more of a luxury item. Here, it abundant; she could have as much as she wanted, as long as she had the money to pay for it. She knew people who would kill for the cup in her hands. She suppressed the thought. Her waitress, a pretty young girl who was skin and bones and screamed drug addict, handed Jade another drink and a black rose. Jade felt her hands tingle, wanting to fly to the blade tucked in her boot.
"I didn't order another drink." Jade said flatly as she pushed the drink back towards the girl.
Jade searched the room slowly. The girl, Miranda, smiled at Jade.
"A young man bought it for you-"
"I don't want it."
Miranda turned to point at the table across the room, it was empty.
"He must've left…." She said puzzled, slowly dropping her hand.
Jade handed the girl a five dollar bill, just enough for her drink. Jade never tipped. She took the drink, and rose, with her to the trash can by the door and dumped both in the bin. Jade walked out the glass doors, ducking her head as she passed Fiona and Yasmin heading inside.
Yasmin was a few inches shorter then Fiona. Fiona was tall for her almost eighteen years. Yasmin couldn't believe they had just started their senior year; the summer seemed to have flown by. Fiona sat at their usual table in the center of the large floor to ceiling window that looked out onto the street. Yasmin noticed a girl around their age sitting alone at a table, sipping Coke from a glass, flipping through a Government class textbook. OakRidge was a small town, she hadn't noticed the girl in any of the government classes. She was another exotic beauty, tanned skin, dark brown hair that fell long, braided down her back. She wore a white t-shirt and light colored jeans. Underneath the jeans, a pair of gold sandals snuck out. Yasmin brought her sandals to Fiona`s attention.
"Ooooh! Those are really cute!" Fiona cooed in admiration.
Fiona walked to the girls table, smiling. The girl looked up and gave a shy smile back.
"I love your shoes!" Fiona complimented her and gestured to the girl's feet. The girl blushed at the compliment.
"Th….thanks." she stammered, nervous. "They are from Romania, my home."
"My family comes from Brazil."
The girl smiled, happier she wasn't the only foreign person here.
"My name is Nea."
Fiona held out her hand.
"Fiona, and this is my southern friend, Yasmin." She gestured to Yasmin and Yasmin smiled at the girl.
"Nice to meet you, Nea. Your family move here?"
Nea nodded, "Yes. My mother, and my sister, Nila, all live here. We fled here to get away from the wars in our home country."
Fiona nodded, she had heard about the wars on the news.
"Have you started school here yet?"
The girl shook her head.
"I start next week." She gestured to the textbook she had been reading. "I'm trying to catch up right now."
"You're a senior?"
Nea frowned, not understanding.
"In highschool." Yasmin clarified for her.
Understanding dawned on her face and she nodded again. May walked in through the doors and saw her friends talking to another girl. Nea averted her eyes, becoming shy again as May joined them.
"Hi. Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."
Fiona shook her head,
"You didn't. May, this is Nea. She came here from Romania."
May beamed at the girl.
"I'm from the Netherlands, that's not far from Romania."
Nea nodded. " The war has spread to there, too."
May shifted her weight, unsure of what to say.
"Well Nea, Yasmin, Fiona and I are going to the mall to do some shopping. Would you like to come with us? We could show you all around our little town."
Nea tucked her hair behind her ear and grinned.
"I would love that!"
May walked beside the girls, all carrying bags of clothes. Daniel snuck up behind them to wrap his arms around May and give her a quick kiss. Fiona raised a questioning eyebrow.
"When did this happen?" She asked, gesturing to the two of them.
"Yea really!" Yasmin seconded.
May blushed, her cheeks turning a light pink. James, Cameron and Jason rounded the corner, saving them from having to answer the question. James` eyes went wide for a fraction of a second before he regained his composure. May noticed his reaction and knew that he found the new girl attractive, and by the bulge in Cameron`s pants, he did too. May knew it would be easy setting the new girl up with one of them. She was going to be chased like Jade was. Although, Jade seemed to be handling herself pretty well, she blew every guy off and she drop kicked any guy who was dumb enough to touch her. Jade was just the kind of girl you didn't mess with. Her toned body screamed lethality. Her hands had small calluses from labor. Nea seemed to be the opposite, like she had never known a day of real labor. May noticed James and Nea standing a little off to the side of the group, engrossed in their own conversation. Jason noticed May and Daniel immediately and grinned at his brother.
"You want to tell me again that nothing happened."
May smiled at Jason.
"He isn't lucky enough to be able to get that far with me."
Cameron burst into laughter, and Daniel did a double take. Jason chuckled, shaking his head.
"That was cruel, May."
May threw him a half smile.
"At least Daniel has a shot. Jason, I wouldn't sleep with your ugly ass if my life depended on it!"
Jason faked like her words had actually stabbed him. Daniel chuckled at May and shook his head. May caught James removing his hand from Nea`s arm, a unmistakable huge blush on Nea`s face, as James turned to leave.
There is definitely some mutual attraction there! She thought excitedly.
May excused herself from the group to wander over to Nea. The girl had her arms folded against her chest, but she was smiling down at her phone. She held it out for May to see.
"He put his name and number in my phone." She said excitedly, blushing again.
Jade walked into her room to find a black rose resting on her pillow. She immediately checked the window, it was still locked. The door frame had not been messed with. None of her belongings had been tampered with and everything was accounted for. She was baffled. Jade picked up the rose and examined it. The rose and stem were completely black. She felt the prick of its thorns as it drew blood. She set the rose back on her pillow and licked the blood off. Jade ripped the flower from its stem and snapped the stem in two. She cursed under her breath as the thorns dug into her flesh as she clamped the ruined rose in her hand. She tossed into the small trash can beside her bedside table. Her room was sparsely furnished; a full bed with black covers decorated with dark purple vines going in every direction, a bedside table, and a trash can. The one window in her room overlooked the driveway and the street. The window had a draw blind, and black out curtains that matched her bedspread. The walls of her bedroom were white and plain, as was everything else in her room. She didn't get attached to items or feel any need to decorate, this place was only temporary. The less she had to dispose of that hinted at her existence, the better. She hated this place; almost everywhere was cramped and loud, people always wanted to talk, there were few places to hide from enemies. She was exposed and she didn't have allies. Jade didn't understand this culture, they always ate, always had food around them, they were victims of their society. Most hated their lives, but pretended to be happy when they needed to be. Most had more then they needed, but still they were unhappy, still they desired to acquire something else. They envied those who had more than them, hatred, envy, and crime tainted them. Possessions and desires were their driving force. Jade was used to the vast emptiness, the silence, of the harsh, unforgiving desert around her; interrupted only by the sparse towns that dotted the lands. She was used to true survival; having to fight those in the towns to the death for the very limited resources needed to sustain life, food and water. Jade sat on her bed and let herself fall backwards unto the soft pillows resting at the top of her bed.