There was a hauntingly beautiful song, calling me. I sunk deeper into bed, mocking sleep and hoping the call would end quickly tonight. However, within minutes, the melodic voice enticed me out of bed, through my window, into the mossy, messy, murky forest beyond. The air was crisp on my skin and my breath came out as a streamy fog. I put one foot ahead of the other, traveling deeper into the night, until finally the call was surrounding me. For days the noise had been calling, but only now had I followed.

I barreled through the trees, envisioning only one thing in my near future. The Change. when my blood was pounding, it was terribly hard to control the primitive urge. My human skin itched and prickled. I knew I had to. I shed my human form.

I paced, frustrated, after the Change. The song had vanished. The calling had ended. The following silence brought a disturbing sensation, as if someone far off was watching. Before I knew what I was doing, my head shot despairingly to the moon. I howled into the night.


I woke twenty minutes into the ringing of my alarm clock, which seemed plenty early given my long night. I was on the floor, as usual. Whether I began in bed or simply collapsed from exhaustion upon entering my room, I rarely recalled. All I knew was that when I woke, my joints were tensed and my hipbone sore from laying on my side. I rolled onto my back and blinked into the morning light that laid across the carpet. The window I had carelessly crawled through last night was open. A light wind rustled the off-white curtains. My bare toes scrunched from the breeze and then caught my undivided attention. For a solid amount of time, I stared. I wished they were my only feet.

I continued with my morning inquiry by opening and closing my jaw. Silently, I cursed as it popped. My previous night was never going to be repeated. I was not going to go out. This entire week I was going to test my limits and sleep through all the nights. I rolled onto my stomach, exhaled angrily into my carpet and then rolled back to staring at the ceiling. That promise had formed in my mind many times. Though I would carefully plan and foster the idea, it never occurred. Reluctantly I inched to a sitting position.

There were three loud knocks at my door. The echo rang in my head as did the familiar sigh of aggravation outside my door.

"Kristen, you overslept your alarm. Again," she added when I didn't respond to the knocking. The door popped open and my mother appeared with a laundry basket poised on her hip. She frowned when she saw where I was. "Why are you on the floor?"

I swatted at my bedside table until I finally hit the alarm.

"No particular reason," I explained dryly, but by then she had already moved on. I sighed as I went to shut my window. For a moment I looked to the woods right beyond our backyard but my eyes flitted away before the ever returning crave began.

The phone went off, sending my mind on hyper drive. I clenched my jaw. Thanks to my mother, every time someone called, the telephone chirped. On bad days, I almost ate it. Most days, I just wanted to throw something at the sound.

No one was answering. I rushed out of my room to the phone down the hall.

"Morning." My father said, stepping between myself and the the chirping telephone. "You look tired. Didn't get much sleep last night?"

He answered the phone before I was forced to formulate an explanation.

"Hello." He spoke cheerfully for a few moments then covered the receiver with a hand. "Wendy! It's for you, dear!"

My mom appeared and took the phone from him. I began to make my way back to my room. The hallway was as far as I got.

My father's voice was stern. "Did you sneak out last night?"

I inhaled silently. "No. What would make you say that?"

We stood, watching each other for a few unbearable seconds.

"I heard you leave."

"I –"

"Don't lie to me."

"But –"

"Kristen, you need to stop sneaking out. I know my baby girl is now eighteen. I know you're soon leaving the nest. But right now you're still in our house under our rules. I don't want my daughter running around out there." He shook his head. "Please, for your mom's and my sake."

"Mom knows?" I squinted up my face at my accidental reveal.

"What are you doing out there, Kristen?"

"Nothing. I'm just…" I wound my fingers together. "I couldn't sleep."

"Last night wasn't the first time. I have heard you before." He looked in the direction Mom stood. Her attention was focused on her own conversation. "Wake me next time you can't sleep. Okay?"

I nodded in responds.

He took a deep breath and said, "Well, I'm heading off to work. Sure you don't need a ride today? Or any day for that matter? Seems we never have daughter-dad time anymore."

"I see you at school," I replied automatically.

"These last few years, family time has become so irregular." He paused for an unbearable moment, before giving me a sad smile and leaving.

I nodded to no one in particular and made a b-line for my room. I shut my door and collapsed dramatically to the floor. One of these days my body was going to give-out. I hadn't understood how it'd survived so many years to begin with.

My eyes found the illuminating red numbers of my bedside clock. I had the right amount of time to dress, eat, and head to school. Even with the limited time, I imagined myself sinking, sinking into the carpet, vaguely aware that my wrist was starting to ache. I must of hurt myself last night. I didn't have time for worry this morning. To add to the rush, Channing was picking me up any minute. I had to scrounge up any remaining energy in order to survive the school day. I had to stop whinning. There were only so many weeks left of high school. Then I had a whole new stress; Middlebury college. I had found out last week about my early acceptance. I already had a mess of summer courses lined up. In one of them, my parents were hoping I'd discover a passion. They were afraid my under the radar status was permanent and wanted me exploring all the options. Little did they know I only had one option: Hiding.

I swung open the princess styled doors of my closet and grabbed the first pair of jeans in sight. They were sprawled across the closet floor, lingering with other clothes that hadn't seen light this past week. Hastily, I slipped the pants on. They were beyond freezing but would heat up any second with my high temperature. I scanned my hanging shirts but slammed my closet doors in frustration.

"Mom," I called out my bedroom door. "Where's that laundry basket you had this morning?"

"In the living room with the rest of the unfolded laundry!"

By the time she finished the sentence, I was in the living room, scanning the vanilla couch that had been attacked by color. The whole catalogue styled room was being swarmed with chaos. Mom came in with another load and set it on the lazy boy chair. My eyes flickered, trying to find anything decent to wear. While I scanned the clothing, Mom turned on the television; A news anchor was in the middle of describing a rain storm heading our way. As I changed into a simple v-neck shirt, she sat in a cleared section of couch and began sorting socks.

"Good-morning by the way," I announced as I moved for the kitchen. "Sorry if I was grumpy earlier. Didn't get much sleep last night."

"Don't worry about it, Sweetie." She soothed and continued with the folding. Dad was right. We never had family time anymore. It was as if I had detached from them. They looked at me differently sometimes, like they knew.

A horn blasted from outside. I rushed to the bathroom and quickly went through the necessities. Fingers thrashing through my thick brown hair, brush scrubbing teeth and a dab of gloss for my lips. Pleased with doing all this so quickly, I sauntered toward the front, grabbed my bag and reached for the door with a smile. My stomach gave a yelp of protest as I turned the knob. I had forgotten to eat. That was not good. Breakfast was my only time I could chow down without anyone noticing. By the next time I'd be alone my stomach would be screaming. I turned for the kitchen, to grab anything in sight, when another over dramatic blast came from outside.

The hum of music made it through into the house as I opened the front door.

"Does Channing want to be deaf?" my mom yelled from the living room.

"Mom!" I grumbled.

"Rhetorical question! Have a lovely day at school."

I went through the door into the front yard with a smile. Following the stone path, I made my way to the driveway. Channing honked and rolled down the window, turning down the music to yell.

"What the hell, slow poke, get your booty moving! Major news." Channing spewed gossip like a fire truck shot water. Therefore I was positive, whatever she had to say, would be announced to the neighborhood if I didn't get in the car quickly. When I reached the passengers side, Channing was sipping at her favorite pink energy drink. She placed it on a binder in between the front seats. As I opened the door, she began franticly waving her arms -it was the only way she could start a story. On my way in, she turned to begin. Her elbow hit the can of energy and it began to tip. Without thinking my hand flicked out and steadied it.

"Whoa," Amy chirped from the back seat. "Nice reflexes."

I blinked at the energy drink in my hand. Not knowing how to explain, I placed it in the cup holder below. I focused on my seatbelt, avoiding eye contact.


Amy protested as we crossed the crowded parking lot. "Senioritisis the worst. Boooored," She intoned, flipping her fake blonde hair.

"Are you kidding?" Channing demanded. "I'm loving senior year."

"Yeah. Me too," Amy mumbled. "I was only joking before."

"Mmm-hmm." Channing smiled at Amy. "Hey can you run and get my math book from my locker? Thanks a bunch."

Amy took off without another word.

"So, this new guy," Channing said, scanning passing students. "He has to be somewhere around here."

That had been Channing's morning news. Our high school had taken hold of a new student. A new male, and one who was apparently about to be pounced upon by Channing. I rolled my eyes yet again at the absurdity of someone hauling their life to this minute, dainty town, in the middle of no where, and then disposing their child in a new school half way through the year.

"…in the office," she continued. "We should so go. You know, show him around. After all, I am the head of the Welcoming Committee."

"We don't have a Welcoming Committee."

"Well for this, we need one because I'm telling you, Kristen, this guy is incredible."

And that was all that truly mattered for Channing. If your appearance was above standard, she'd snatch you right up, otherwise you had no chance. She continued scanning as we walked up the steps into the building.

"He and his dad moved in last weekend," She babbled. "I saw them at the grocery store saturday. They were in a separate checkout line or I would have talked to them." Channing flicked her hand. "It doesn't matter because I'll find him today," she concluded as we entered the building.

The smell of hundreds of anxious students assaulted me. I hustled after Channing, who already purposely strolled for the front office. I cursed silently at myself, the moon, and how easy it was to sway my mentality with just a delicious scent. My pace slowed until I stopped once more in the busy hallway. I couldn't manage myself –my other self. My eyebrows knitted together. It was control I needed. Control over myself and all the additions to my being. If only I had help. If only I had –I sucked in a silent breath through my gritted teeth and touched my emptied chest.

Someone touched my shoulder. "Are you alright Miss. Fletcher?"

I looked up, only to find the handsome Mr. Nolan. His expression was questioning. I stared dumbly until I realized he was waiting for a response.

"I'll manage," I retorted.

"Good." He gave me a pat on the back. "See you third period."

"Why do you do that?" Channing asked after he had gone and I had taken a steady pace beside her.

I couldn't help but to gulp, I prayed it wasn't loud. "What?"

"Always get Mr. Nolan's attention?" She kept her eyes ahead; chin high and long legs strolling.

"He was only asking if I was feeling well," I pointed out. I shouldn't have.

"I'm not jealous of the attention." She swore with a jutted chin. "I'm not jealous."

Of course Channing was jealous. Mr. Nolan was the new, admired history teacher and everyone wanted his attention. He had taken over for Mrs. Tate when a family emergency occurred, taking her out of state. She decided to remain with family and Mr. Nolan remained with us.

I dropped the subject and followed Channing, blind as to where we were going.

"Didn't we pass the turn to the front office? I thought we were scanning there for the new guy?"

"I'm going to my locker first." We turned another corridor, filled with senior lockers. "Want to look good, just in case I accidentally run into Mr. New."

Chatter echoed along the busy hall. I tried tuning-out the banter of others, but no matter how quiet they whispered, I heard. Conversations found me crystal clear. Some spoke of classes, homework, weekend plans, us walking pass, but most were discussing the new Senior. I tried listening for a name but the search came up empty.

And then the enhancement sporadically left, leaving me human again.

I needed control.

Amy was fumbling with Channing's locker as we approached.

I whispered to Channing, "Why did you send her to get your books if we were coming here anyway?"

Channing offered a snide look. "You're too nice, Kristen. Too soft. I don't know where you'd be right now if it wasn't for me."

I clenched my jaw. I hated being called soft. If everybody knew. If they only knew… "I'm not soft," I mumbled as we reached Amy.

"Sorry, I'm having trouble with your locker, Channing. I thought I knew the combo."

Channing ignored Amy's plea and continued laying the criticism on me. "You're so innocent that you don't even know it."

"I am not." I was not having a good morning and this was getting old. Just because I didn't boss people around the way she did, didn't mean I was innocent. I was not innocent. Innocent would be the way I followed Channing around two years ago before-

Caroline bounced to us, auburn curls bobbing, disrupting Channing's next slew of insults. "I totally saw Him. Completely and utterly model material."

"And he's going to be mine." Channing glared around at the three of us. "I mean it, mine." She stomped off to her first period class. I did not want to be there the day Channing discovered the universe didn't circle around her.

As the first bell of the day sounded, I dashed to my locker. I desperately scanned the shelves, trying to find anything to eat. I needed something, anything. Somehow, I had left a half eaten granola bar. My hands shook as I tore away the wrapper. I chewed, swallowed, checked around me, checked my mini mirror, and moved for class, books in hand.

My stomach yelled at me all during first period. I sat with my right hand scribbling notes during the lecture and my other hand clutching my stomach. I was going to have to skip my fifth period class and go to lunch two. Lunch one wasn't going to be enough. Unless I wanted to be stared at and back handed by Channing. If one of us did something strange obviously all of us were coo coo.

By the time third period came around, I had forgotten the hype about the new student.

"We're supposed to be on the look out," Caroline chirped on our way to Mr. Nolan's history class.

"For what?"

Caroline scrutinized me for a bare moment. It was an odd look to see on her face. I usually didn't imagine Caroline as the thinking type. "For Channing's new guy."

So he was Channing's new guy. She had claimed him and as far as more than half the school's concerned, whatever Channing wanted, she got.

"Forgot about that. Sorry. He hasn't been in any of my classes. I would have noticed if he was." Well at least I hoped I would have noticed. I dreaded days when I forgot to eat breakfast. Or any meal for that matter. They were painful and I almost always zoned out on anything else.

I was in a desperate, hunger-filled sweat by the time I found my seat. I could have eaten the basket ball in my previous class if no one would have been looking. Or maybe the bunny I had seen at the courts edge. It had darted away as soon as it sensed me. What a fun pursuit that would have been. I bit the inside of my cheeks, feeling nauseous from the ridiculous thought.

Mr. Nolan was up front, erasing the previous class's notes from the whiteboard. Ever since he'd made his first appearance earlier this year as the new history teacher, no one had ceased fawning over him.

"I've caught our language arts teacher staring at his backside on several occasions," Caroline suddenly said from the desk to my left. Her eyes wandered over Mr. Nolan.

I nodded, which I assumed was her desired response, and rested my head in my hands, trying to think of anything beside food.

Caroline tossed a mini eraser at my head, oddly chastising my zoning off. "Stay here," she said and pointed to the front of the room.

Mr. Nolan launched into his lecture, I felt as if I was the only person in class who wasn't enraptured by his powerful presence.


Later, en-route to the cafeteria, Caroline and I met with the rest of the group.

"So I found out he has Lunch two," Channing moaned. "I'm thinking of skipping next period and coming to find him."

"Don't!" I snapped my hand over my mouth and three pairs of eyes turned to me.

"What's your problem?" Amy asked.

"I –" don't want you three to know I'm coming back to chow-down on food. No that wouldn't fly by them. "Don't you have a test next period?" It was a guess. I only had a slim chance of being right.

"Your Dad's giving out a test today?" Channing asked. "Is it a pop quiz? Although he's a pretty cool guy, math is completely boring. And I can never remember to call him Mr. Fletcher. Rick always comes out of my mouth." She shrugged, an annoyingly graceful gesture. "Anyways, I didn't listen at all yesterday."

"Ah… he said something about a quiz. I'm not positive it's for your class but…"

"Damn." She clicked her manicured nails. "Kristen."


"You stay here during next lunch and look for him. Find him and sit down."

"Ohh! That's a great idea, Channing." Caroline clapped her hands together.

"You can sit with him," Channing continued, "and talk about me."

Well at least it would give me a chance to eat again. "Sure," I agreed.

"Fabulous," Channing said. "Let's go eat."

Thank god because my stomach was boiling with hunger.

As Channing, Caroline, and Amy hit the salad bar, I lingered to the sandwich line. I ordered the sandwich innocently, but put absolutely anything the lunch lady could cram into it. I began to type in my account number, paused, threw in a protein bar and a Gatorade, finished the code and then impatiently waited to be handed over my food.

I eagerly waded through the crowded cafeteria to the center, where our table was. I lunged at my empty chair next to Channing and rapidly unwrapped the sandwich.

"Jeeze, Kristen, a little hungry?" Amy scolded. Her salad bowl wasn't even opened yet.

I paused with my mouth full. "I forgot –" I swallowed and had to control myself not to rip off another bite, "-breakfast this morning." I tried to make my next bite delicate but failed.

"Looks like you forgot dinner last night too." Channing giggled. The rest of the crowded table joined in.

My metabolism couldn't handle eating at a lunch table full of people who only ate what Channing did. A salad and two crackers. Everyday. I hated being analyzed daily because I ate too much. My appetite needed to be… controlled. After I finished my sandwich, I picked slowly at my protein bar, making it look less conspicuous.

The bell rang for the end of lunch. Nobody stood until Channing did, then they all stood in one heap and migrated toward their next class. I remained at the table, cleared pieces of left over junk and exited after most of the space had cleared. Next lunch didn't start for a few more minutes, no need to linger unless I wanted to get caught. And I would have to go to another lunch line. Darn, I really liked that sandwich. Maybe I could ask one of Channing's minions to do it. No, I wasn't going to completely surrender to Channing's ways.

I waited in the bathroom until I heard chatter fill the halls. Lunch two. I did one check in the mirror and exited into a frenzied hallway. Lunch two was the biggest lunch out of the three lunch periods. Tons of people. It was a medium sized school but I swore half the students were assigned this lunch. I crammed myself through the door and scanned the once again crowded cafeteria.

So I'm looking for… what the hell did he look like? Model, hot, muscular… what kind of descriptions were those? What did they matter?

Giving up on the scanning, I stooped to the All American food line. A hamburger. That sounded magnificent. I listened to the whispered conversation in process a few people up. Any detail about the new student would supply Channing's need. Who knew, she probably had all the information she could get. All she needed was to meet him. The poor guy. Thrown into a school, not knowing what troublesome girls were hunting him.

The line moved slowly, taking most of the forty-five minutes. But when I got my Hamburger it was completely worth it. Again, I almost forgot about looking for Mr. New until I heard some girls' giggled conversations. He had just past. I desperately looked around. Brunette. That's what they were saying. Tall. I scanned. Tall, brunette and…. There! Just leaving the cafeteria. Damn. I glanced longingly at my hamburger. My hunger or Channing's hunger? Both options were heavy but… What Channing never knew couldn't hurt her. I scrounged up an empty chair. It was at a table full of underclassman who watched me eat for the entire fifteen minutes until the bell rang.

I exited the cafeteria to find Channing jumping toward me. "There you are! Great news!"

"Good because I have bad news." I bit my lip. "I couldn't find him."

Her smile never faltered. "That's totally fine because guess my discovery!"

Amy joined in. "Actually I discov–" But Channing cut her off with a malicious blink.

"What did you find out?" I asked, too satisfied by a full stomach to really care who discovered the good news.

"He's going to be in my next class!"

"Congratulations?" That was harsh on my part but this whole big deal about Mr. New was going to be Channing's garbage in a few days time.

"Don't be so down. Maybe he has a distant cousin you could date."

I laughed at that and, with muted strength, jabbed Channing in the side.

"Ow." And then she laughed, nudging me back. I forced my falter in balance.

We were friends, just depended on the mood.

Channing and Amy, being trailed by random underlings, walked off in the direction of the second story B wing. I left for the D wing with my American Literature book in hand.


"The Tralfamadorians adore Billy Pilgrim in Slaughter House Five. No matter how he looked on earth, he was beautiful on Tralfamador." Mrs. Hawthorne continued to lecture Sam, our schools quarterback, on the necessities of understanding our reading. "He may be a loser, as you like to put it, on Earth but among the aliens he's free to be his best." She had been going on for the last ten minutes when Caroline leaned to me.

"So do you think Channing has already manipulated this new guy into a date?"

I glanced over at her.

She backpedaled her words. "I didn't mean it like that. I didn't mean manipulate."

I swallowed the urge to laugh. "No I didn't think that." Channing definitely was manipulative, no doubt about that, but that hadn't been what I was thinking. "I just thought it was funny how we've been talking about someone all day and don't even know his name. I haven't even seen him."

"That sucks for you. You are definitely missing out. The only reason Channing claimed him so fast was because she knew he'd probably fall for you. I mean come on. You're like way prettier than Channing. She's so fake. All the time." Caroline slapped a hand over her mouth and her eyes looked like they were going to pop out. "Oh my God don't tell Channing I said that. She would completely shun me."

"Caroline? Kristen? Would you like to say something to the class?" Mrs. Hawthorne darted her eyes between Caroline and I. Caroline gulped. "No? Well then, would you please zip your lips for the remaining five minutes?" She relocated her attention to the class. "Now for tonight's reading." She went to the whiteboard and began scribbling page numbers.

I whispered to Caroline. "I won't tell. Sometimes Channing can be a bitch."

Caroline looked appalled at my confession. I suddenly wasn't so sure she wouldn't run and leak our confessions to Channing. The bell rang and we emerged from class. We skimmed past clusters of students chatting, trying to find Channing and apparently Mr. New. We were supposed to meet on the first floor lounge where the wall sized windows showcased the courtyard and fields out back.

I saw sun shinning in and knew we were close to the lounge. I usually tried to avoid the lounge. It was too sunny and showed too much nature; two things I loved. If I stayed there for more than five minutes I would get off track and loiter there for the entire day.

"Do you smell that?" The scent was delicious and I couldn't place the whereabouts.

Caroline swiveled impatiently, keeping her forward momentum. "Smells like a normal school hallway to me." She squeaked. "I cannot wait to officially meet him."

"Sure." All I wanted to do was get this over with. Meet the new boy, smile, act like Channing was the best person and then go to seventh period, then home and… not to the forest. I had promised myself. God that promise was never going to last.

"Hey, I see Amy," Caroline said.

I saw her too. She waved us over and pointed to a crowd of people standing in the center of the lounge. The sunlight pooled over them. Apparently Channing was on the other side with… I couldn't quite make out the name. There was too much chatter going around even for my ears to decipher babble from facts.

The scent kept nudging and pulling at my senses. It was warm and familiar.

"Come on." Amy pulled Caroline and they went ahead, Amy peered back to me. "Everything you could imagine, times ten. No times a hundred! I swear I was completely surprised. And he's nice –if not quiet. The perfect package."

A few people cleared out of the way and I saw Channing. She smiled and dragged out her new man.

He was indescribable. Over six feet of dangerous perfection. His hand flinched away from Channing's when he spotted me. A luminous smile spread, showcasing sparkly white teeth. Muted freckles danced across his nose. He wore faded blue jeans and a dark v-neck. His blue eyes held a certain glint that made the center of my chest hollow out. For only my eyes to see, his head minutely cocked to the side and his nostrils ever slightly flared. His smile blazed right as the sun shifted and caught his dark chocolate hair at just the right angle. It all somehow added to his angelic-dropped-from-heaven appeal. Not that this specific person really needed any help from the sun. No, Mother Nature had already given Avery Wilde more than enough. I turned and ran. Ran as fast as my legs would let me. Only vaguely aware that my heart had taken on a thunderous roar and realizing that no matter how far I ran, it wasn't going to be enough.


A/N: Hello FictionPress world. It's been awhile but it's time to return to writing! I've refocused my energy on editing this thing out so I can move onto the sequel with a focused mind. So yes I've posted this story before, but am fleshing it out even more! I also wanted to post it in the supernatural section rather than the young adult to see what kind of feedback (if any) it'd get here. So in conclusion thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest as it rolls out!