"When in human form, a werewolf may show signs of increased aggression or periods of unprovoked rage."
-The Werewolf Handbook by Dr. Robert Curran
The newspaper in my hands folded backwards, crinkling loudly. My eyebrows twitched, annoyed. With a snap of my wrists, the newspaper stood stiff once again.
Leaning back into the cheap chair I sat on in my sun-lit kitchen, I reached for my glass of water on the small plastic table. My eyes scanned over the wanted ads, looking for a job in my age range. Not many places in my small Montana logging town hired teenagers.
"Jayda, the bus will be coming soon." Dad said, walking into the cold kitchen with slippers on his feet and a yawn. He kissed the top of my head before heading behind me to the sink to get water from the faucet.
I looked down at the watch on my wrist, ahead by three minutes and continually falling off because the catch was broken. Although the bus wouldn't arrive for at least ten minutes, the walk down the private drive way we lived down took eight if I jogged.
"Thanks, Dad." I turned in my seat to smile at my father. "I wouldn't have noticed until it was too late."
"I thought so. And I wanted my newspaper back." He snatched it from my hands with an easy smile on his face.
With a groan, I stood up. My blue back pack sat on the table, along with a brown sack holding lunch.
"Have a good day, Daddy," I said, throwing my bag onto my back and holding onto my lunch.
"You, too, Pumpkin."
I left the small house, locking the door behind me. My dad and I had moved to the town three years earlier, where he bought the house we were currently living in. It was a two-bedroom cottage back in the woods. The place was supposed to be a groundskeeper's home for the mansion a few miles down the road, but the family sold this small plot for a small price. It was still a bit of a fixer-upper, and my dad was no handyman, but as long as the roof wasn't caving in over my head and the floors weren't breaking under my feet, life would continue on inside 1346 Moonshine Street.
The driveway was about half a mile long, and if you weren't looking for it, it was easily missed. The road was gravel, and led straight up to my house. I walked along the side of it, trees lining the small one-car road. Large branches littered the ground from years of not being cleaned up.
The bus was early that day, but the driver was kind and waited for me to run up. I sat down in the front, a seat that I usually sat in, and alone for most of the journey. My closest friend, Svelte, got on at the last stop of the morning and first stop after school. I was fine with that. I pulled out a book from my bag, which took up the other seat, and read while the bus filled up with other kids while waiting for my Russian friend. Per normal, it was a quiet morning. Everyone was still half asleep, and it was Monday.
I was one of the first stops in the morning, and the last after school. I didn't mind as it gave me time to get a small amount of homework done or read a book. It took about twenty-five minutes after I got on for us to arrive at school, so it was plenty of time to read a chapter or two and let Svelte and I talk for a few minutes before school started.
At twenty minutes till school started, Svelte boarded the bus along with other young teenagers who lived in her private housing addition. Unlike most of the parents there, Svelte's wanted her to make her own way in the world and refused to just buy her a car. Svelte worked at their bodyguard business headquarters, answering the phone and passing out mail. Sure, she received a paycheck every week that could feed a small family for a month, but at least she was working.
"Good morning, Jay." Svelte greeted with a warm smile, her dark eyes not fully focused. "How was your weekend?"
I shrugged, looking away. "Same old, same old. Yours?"
"A new mal'chik started last week, and, friend, he is fine." The glossy-haired teen threw her head back into the seat, crossing her arms.
"All the men who work at Nikodim Security are fine." I grinned. Having been her friend for three years, I picked up a few Russian words. Her entire family spoke it, including English.
"Most of them are old." My friend contested.
"Well, they were hot once."
"That they were." Svelte smirked, the look sending shivers down my spine.
Svelte had a dangerous beauty. Her face was all dark angles and her brown eyes sharp from years of defensive training. Her body was toned, extremely fit and sturdy. Although I knew she would never hurt me, I couldn't shake the thought that she could if she wanted to. The only reason the striking girl did not have a boyfriend yet was because of her family's business. Who wanted to date the girl whose parents could send an army of highly trained martial artists after you? That, and she was intimidating. Svelte could kick any boy's ass, no problem, and not many males were enthralled at the thought of their girlfriend being stronger than they were.
The rest of the ride, we talked about the math homework assigned to us over the weekend. I put my book back into my bag, knowing that we would be arriving soon.
Lunawood High School was small and brick, much like the rest of the quaint town. The building was nestled between a drop-off cliff, less than a mile away, and acres of protected woods. Tall trident maples, paper bark maples, and Japanese maples surrounded the school, along with other types of deciduous trees. In the fall, leaves colored the ground like a fresh painting and left the forest looking like an eerie painting.
The bus pulled into the school and sputtered to a stop. I clenched my teeth, trying hard to not think about how unsafe and life-threatening it sounded, and rushed off the bus, following Svelte. I paused slightly before moving out of the way of the kids streaming off the bus. A fight was going on.
A giant human circle was cheering and jeering at the two males inside the ring. Curiosity got the better of me, and I joined quickly, Svelte calmly following. Normally, I was just nosy and wanted to see who was fighting before leaving, going upon my merry way. Svelte and I would gossip during lunch, conversation flowing easily between us as we both had the same train of thoughts.
I pushed my way to the front of the crowd so I could see, my shortness never being a positive.
One of the fighters was a senior that I knew: Avery Hudson. He was a hard person not to know. His family owned the town, literally. Over half the parents of the kids in the school worked for his father, owner of the logging company which kept the town alive. The other half worked in shops and businesses on Main Street, all the buildings also owned by Mr. Hudson. His older sisters, Lyric and Harmony, set school records that were still unbeaten and were legend for their SAT scores and college admissions to the Ivy Leagues. He himself was popular among a majority of the student body, reason unknown.
I was slightly taken aback by seeing the older teen. Two years ago, Avery Hudson beat up a student the second day of school and was sent to a reform school hundreds of miles away. Avery, a sophomore at the time, broke the senior's nose, arm, and fractured the teen's skull, leaving the much larger boy broken before even any of the teachers could rip Avery away from the senior's battered body. Even after that, Avery was rumored to have threatened to kill the other teen as he was dragged off by Mr. Stoker.
Currently, I watched the two fight, my eyes trained on Avery. It was nearing the middle of the semester, fall full in motion as leaves fell from trees around town. Since that first day of school two years ago, Avery Hudson had not appeared in Lunawood High. I didn't know much about the reform school, but I did know that, even during summer vacation, not a hair on his head had been seen in town.
Currently, in his baggy unzipped forest green jacket and dark jeans with hanging chains, Avery Hudson made a wide punch towards the other guy, a senior by the name of Sam, who blocked it and delivered a swift jab to Avery's stomach. Avery tensed and took a step back. He jabbed, right hand, then left, at his opponent, too quick for the boy to respond. Avery hit Sam's left jaw and right eye, sending him to the ground.
The crowd cheered, and Avery raised his fists in the air with a sickeningly victorious smile, white teeth in stark contrast to his darkly tanned skin. The dark haired boy was obviously pumped up by the crowd. A gust of wind pushed my hair into my face, blocking my view, and I pushed back the long brown locks.
Avery Hudson had frozen when my eyes found him again, his smile gone. His golden eyes, which I could see from my spot fifteen feet away, were wide. He whipped towards my general direction, and inhaled quickly. The golden orbs swept over the people, and as if instinctively, Svelte pulled me behind her at the same time I moved to hide.
Before his eyes could reach me, the teen on the ground swept Avery's legs out from under him, and Avery fell to the ground. With a growl, he launched himself on top of the younger teen and started punching him in the face, snarling, face twisted with anger.
"Okay, break it up, people! Get to class, now!"
Mr. Stoker, the principal, was pushing kids out of the way to get to the bloody junior and still-punching senior.
"Yes, let us leave. That boy is nothing but bad news." Svelte grabbed my arm and pulled me along with her.
Fear of being put in detention dispersed the crowd, although Svelte was several steps ahead of the slower masses. I followed because Svelte was right, and it would be a long walk home if I missed the bus because of detention.
Before walking through the glass double doors into the school building, I turned my head to see what had become of the fight. My eyes locked on the tallest figure.
Avery was searching the crowd with his eyes, face bloody. With a shiver, I realized that it wasn't his own blood. Sam was still on the ground, clenching his nose, and Mr. Stoker was shaking his finger at Avery. I clenched my hand, holding on to Svelte's, and she squeezed warmly back, turning to see what the matter was. I was about to turn back around to face my friend when the dangerous teen's eyes locked onto mine.
And they stopped their roaming. I stumbled, nearly stopping altogether, but not removing my eyes. Avery moved to walk towards me, but Mr. Stoker grabbed onto his thick bicep and pulled him towards the front doors of the school.
The look was broken and I couldn't help but feel like something was lost. With a shake of my head, I locked the feelings and thoughts inside. I was not a love-lost girl who thought that eyes locked for mere seconds could cause such a hurt look in the violent senior.
I took a deep breath, and continued to walk through the halls. Right after first block was the worst. The hallway to my next class contained the senior lockers. Most of them didn't bother me. Some acted like they were too good to even look at me, scum on the bottoms of their shoes. Others just thought I was another childish junior. The worst, though, were the pathetic ones.
It was hard to think of them that way, but it was true. Who bullied others to make themselves feel better? Kortney Smith. Whose life was so boring that they had to gossip and lie about others? Bingo - Kortney Smith. Who tried to make my life miserable? Pathetic Kortney Smith.
Sure, the whispers and snarky remarks hurt, but I rolled them off my back. After three years, the best the girl could come up with was the nickname 'Baby'. I was above her and her pettiness. What didn't kill you made you stronger, and all that jazz.
But they still hurt.
"What's Baby doing here?" Kortney said, using a high pitched voice that you would use to talk to an infant. "The daycare is down the road. I think someone got loose!"
Her posse laughed, but I didn't see the humor in her taunting.
With a strong will, I ignored the words and walked to history. She would be gone in the next year, graduated and out of the lives of the people she bullied.
Rumor was Avery Hudson had been suspended for three days. The other boy was suspended for five. Sam, a junior, was the one to throw the first punch, so his punishment was heavier even though he got his ass handed to him. But still, it was rumored to be Avery's first day back in school.
"Jay, what are you having for lunch?"
Svelte pulled me out of my thoughts on the rumors. I pulled my brown paper bag out of my blue back pack.
"A sandwich." I smiled, pulling out the cheese on bread I'd packed myself.
Svelte wrinkled her nose, eying my 'lunch' warily. "Jay that is not lunch. That...is a snack." she abjectly said.
"Is not." I argued. "I've just started to gain weight, and need to watch my figure." I lied smoothly, running my hands over my flat stomach.
"Here," Svelte pulled a plastic bag out of her lunch and handed it to me. "Some broccoli will do you good. They have negative calories. But you do need to eat more. You're exhibiting signs of malnutrition. You've lost plenty of weight these past few weeks."
She narrowed her eyes at me. "You are not starving yourself?"
"What? No!" I protested, taking a small bite of the cheese and bread. I was far too hungry to starve myself. "I gained back some of the weight that I lost over the weekend. I pigged out, Svelte. Too much unhealthy food."
"Uh-huh. This is what you always say. Why do you lie to me?" Svelte stabbed at my direction with her finger. "We are friends, of the best kind. I do not lie to you."
Feeling guilty, I put my sandwich down. Instead, I twiddled my fingers together, trying to think of what to say.
"Thank you for not lying to me, Svelte. I appreciate all that you do for me. I couldn't ask for a better friend." I looked up, into her eyes. "I'm just embarrassed, and don't want you to know."
Svelte sighed. "I understand. There are some things that I do not want to tell you either. I am sorry for pushing it." She patted my shoulder. "I do not have to work after school today. Would you like to come over? We could do our math homework and hang out."
I perked up. "I'd love to!"
Svelte smiled. "Now, we eat!"
She handed me her iPhone, and I gave her a grateful smile. I didn't have my own cellphone, and Svelte was always letting me borrow hers. With it, I dialed my home phone number and left a message on the answering machine.
"Dad, I won't be home until late. I'll be going over to Svelte's after school. We'll do homework together and hang out. I love you."
I hung her phone up and handed it back to her.
I hurried through the rest of the day. Svelte's house was warm and welcoming. I'd spent the night there only a handful of times, because she worked most weekends, but went over after school as often as I was invited. We would sometimes watch movies in the theater that had been redesigned in the past year, or swim in her indoor pool, or just gossip up in her large, teenage paradise of a room.
On the bus, we sat in our normal seat, me against the window and her next to the pathway. My bag was full of books that I required for homework that night. It was nearing midterms, and a hefty amount of the teachers assigned projects during the two weeks before. For history, a research project over any topic we'd covered so far, including a poster board and two-page essay. For English, we had to read The Great Gatsby and profile one of the characters, including writing a short story that explained a part of their character.
"Ugh, I will have no free time until next year." Svelte groaned her messenger bag also full of books. "If I do not call, please forgive me." she joked.
I laughed. "Okay, but if you find me at the library, half-dead, blame my history teacher."
She chortled, adjusting her heavy bag.
"Jay, I need a boyfriend."
"Yes. He would carry my bag for me." Svelte nodded. "He would follow me around school just to carry my bag."
"Well, my boyfriend would offer to carry me around the school." I winked at her. "He'll be whipped."
She laughed, startling some of the teens nearby. Although Svelte was a beauty, her laugh was deep and raspy, reminding me of a man's instead of a teenager girls. I supposed it was her Russian background, as her entire family, from her grandmother to her nine year old brother, laughed with the same gruff undertone.
"That he will be. I will do it for you. You are too weak, too small, to do it yourself."
"I am not." I scowled.
"Jay, I have been trained in martial arts and defense since I could walk. You were not. I believe that, yes, you are small and weak." she rubbed my head affectionately. "Do not worry. I will protect you until your knight shows up for the job."
"Gee, I feel so much safer." I clasped my hands together and looked at Svelte with doe eyes. "Gosh, Svelte, what would I do without you?"
She laughed. "Come on, girl. This is my stop." She said as the bus slowed.
It was late by the time I got home. Svelte's step-mother, Felicity, had insisted I stay for dinner. With the smell of pineapple-glazed ham wafting through the house, I agreed without much of a fight. The Nikodim clan was an interesting one. Svelte had two older brothers and a younger half-brother. The family was entertaining and easy-going.
I walked home, and it took me forty-five minutes. The walk was good for me, though, because I hadn't stretched my legs in a while. I was exhausted easily as of late from the lack of nutrition. Dinner at the Nikodim's never left my belly empty.
"Hey, Dad!" I called into the house, pausing by the door to take my shoes off.
Dad called out a greeting from his bedroom, probably already in or getting ready for bed. I walked through the living room, ready to drop dead asleep, but continued on to the door to my room. Inside, I dropped the blue back pack next to my desk and flicked the light switch on. I tossed my bed a longing look, but turned away bitterly. I still had some homework to finish.
My bedroom was rather plain. The walls were white, my twin bed tucked away in the corner, a mismatching dresser and bedside table, both having large lamps sitting on them, and a small desk near the door. A large window at the end of my bed let me see out into the forest, and I shut the dark blue curtains. Just thinking of something or someone watching me without my knowledge sent shivers down my spine.
I plopped down on the wooden chair at my desk. The glowing numbers of the clock told me it was just after nine. I guessed that I wouldn't finish homework until after ten, which wasn't too late, but I was asleep at the wheel. I pulled out my science book and notes, turning to the page with the homework questions.
I worked in silence, crickets chirping outside my window and the occasional shuffle of something moving out in the trees. When I first moved here, the sound kept me awake for hours into the night. Now, it didn't bother me so much. A mouse or small animal usually made those sounds, and I kept a flashlight in my night stand just in case.
I rubbed at my eyes often. I paused halfway through my homework for a bathroom break, and also had a few sips of water. By the time I finished putting away my books and getting ready for bed, it was after ten thirty. I crawled into bed, pulling a thin quilt on top of me. A few minutes after my head laid on the pillow, I was asleep.
Happy Holidays! I hope you enjoyed this, and if you did, please review! I want to thank everyone who took the time to read this, because it makes my day when people like my stories:) This is a rewrite of my story, Wolfy Instincts, so if you're following because you know that story, then welcome back! If you're new, please don't be shy; I try and respond to all my reviews:)
Updating won't be regular, but I hope it will be about once a month. So far, I've written a few chapters ahead, so I'll post the next chapter soon.
The quote at the beginning of this chapter is in fact from a real book that I own, so no stealing intended, but it is not my quote. All the quotes that I will be starting off my chapters with will not be owned or said by me, and I will give credit.
Again, thanks for reading! I hope you liked this present:)