Kyo

NC-17 Darkpine Valley

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Curtis Archer was an early riser. He had woke up before his alarm, as he did most mornings. He lay in bed staring up at the ceiling, quite alert and content. Light poured through his window, and outside he could hear birds chirping and whistling at each other. Even with his window open a crack it was still warm, and he could smell that it had been raining overnight. There was a very particular smell to the forest after an evening of rain, followed by a morning of sunshine. Curtis had closed his eyes and was almost, peacefully, slipping into his own private world. However just then his alarm began to blast music through the room. At first the sudden assault of loud noise caused him to shoot up in bed, clasping the sides of his head. His exceptional hearing had been tuned to listen to the subtle noises of the forest outside his bedroom window, but it did not take them long to adjust to the sound of the clock radio, and with a sigh Curtis got out of his bed. 

 

He scratched behind his head and ears, groaning like a dog enjoying a good scratch. His room was typical of a young man. There was clothes all over his floor, the drawers were all half open and stuffed with clothes. His shelves and desks were littered with old papers, books, magazines, video games and probably other bits of junk. Curtis managed to find a towel on the floor and picked it up, leaving his room and taking a right and walking down the hall, making sure to be quiet as he walked past his sister's room. Isabelle didn't need to be awake for another few hours, and he didn't want to disturb her, lest she throw a shoe at him with the accuracy and fatal force of a ninja star. Instead he stepped in to the bathroom and shut the door behind him, getting into the shower. 

 

As he stood in the shower he looked into the mirror on the wall. His brown hair was sporting it's finest bed-head, but his brown eyes were alert and kean. He smirked at himself in the mirror, only to realize his teeth looked disgusting, before quickly taking his toothbrush out of the cup on the side of the sink and grabbing some toothpaste to go with it. After a few seconds of preparation he was scrubbing away at the inside of his mouth as he pushed his head under the shower-head, allowing the cold water to rush over him, causing his muscles to tense up and his skin to tighten. For a brief moment it was horrifying, but then it became rejuvenating as his body quickly acclimatized. 

 

 


 

 

Outside two large cars were pulling up outside their old house in the woods. The first was a black Nissan Navara, a pick up truck. The second was a dark blue Honda Odyssey minivan. From inside the Nissan came a family of five. The oldest was a man with silvery hair, tied back in a ponytail. Cain Archer was dressed in blue jeans and a black leather jacket. From the passenger seat came his wife, Rowan, a woman with dark hair, tall, slim but aged like her husband. From the back descended three young men. The eldest, Marcus, was tall like his mother but he was the spitting image of his father. He was thin, handsome and dressed in a similar blue jeans and leather jacket combo, with his short blonde hair swept back over his head. On his right was Connor, who was a bit shorter but far bulkier, with an extremely muscular figure. Connor's hair was short and styled in a crew cut, making him look almost military as he stood in camo shorts and a grey t-shirt. On Marcus' left was Justin, a young, attractive man who had combined a bit of his Marcus' good looks with a bit of Connor's figure to get that "pretty boy" look just right. 

 

From the Honda came a different sort. Dominic was 22 years younger than his brother, Cain. He wasn't a great deal older than Marcus. Still they looked nothing alike. Dominic's face was kindly and patient, his dark brown hair was short but needing a cut and looking a bit out of style. He was dressed in a green sweater and light blue jeans. Two children got out of the car, his son's Elijah and Jonah, identical twins both with dark brown hair. They weren't too difficult to tell apart though. Jonah walked with confidence and talked loudly, whilst Elijah was quite introverted and a bit shy. His wife, Claire, was beautiful with golden blonde hair and a great deal of confidence in her look. 

 

The two families greeted each other with smiles and chit chat. Meanwhile another man had emerged from the old house. He was older than Dominic, but younger than Cain. His light brown hair was beginning to thin and go grey, something his thin beard had done a long time ago. Samuel Archer, or just Sam to most, came outside to welcome his family. 

"Mornin' everyone. Keep it down I don't want to wake up the whole forest." Sam said softly but there was a hint of command in his voice. 

"Mornin' Uncle Sam" Marcus was the first to greet him. Sam nodded back to him in response. The group had gone a little quiet, the girls talking to each other separately as most of the men stared each other off. It was nothing personal, it was just something unique about their family. They could read each other so well through senses alone, there wasn't always need for discussion. 

 

Breaking the silence Curtis emerged from the house, now dressed in blue jeans, a pair of sneakers and a blue "Denver Broncos" t-shirt. Justin was quick to catch his eye and called him over. When the two met they bumped fists before Curtis turned to the others. He caught Sam's eye. 

"Morning dad" he said with a smile, "sleep alright last night?"

"Egh!" his dad sounded as a reply, "Enough. Now get going your keeping the boys waiting." he said before nodding towards the Nissan. Curtis nodded and him and Justin jumped into the pick-up bed in the back. Marcus got into the driver's seat with Connor riding shotgun. Dominic kissed his wife and kids goodbye before getting in the back seat with Cain and Sam. Meanwhile Claire ushered her children back into the Honda and Rowan went into the house to make sure Isabelle got up for work on time. 

 

As the Nissan drove off from the house Curtis watched as they slowly drove through the forest, making their way back to the dirt road. This entire forest belonged to his family, a fairly large reserve just at the edge of Darkpine Valley. But they weren't heading in to Darkpine, they were heading up and into the forest, heading out into the rocky's. The Archer's ran a family business, a timber yard in the hills. Whilst his father and Cain ran the business, the rest of them were out laboring, his cousins and his uncle Dominic. Justin was trying to get his attention, so Curtis stepped out of his daydreams for a moment. 

 

"You've been staring off a lot...you okay?" Justin asked him. Curtis smirked and gave a shrug. 

"Yeah I think so...my senses have been a bit strange. It's hard to stop them being over-active." Curtis replied

"Yeah that happens sometimes. It's just because there's a full moon on Friday." Justin replied. Curtis hadn't even thought about it. The full moon was a big deal for his family. Because they were much more than a family. They were a pack. Curtis, Justin, the rest of his cousins, uncles and even his sister back home were all Werewolves. They were gifted with superior strength, stamina and heightened senses. However on the full moon they would take their true forms as wolf men. The full moon drove them into a predatory frenzy and they became extremely dangerous. Sam, his father, was the Alpha. He alone was strong enough to resist his urge to kill, and he alone was strong enough to keep the pack in order, to keep them out of trouble on a full moon. 

 

Curtis could hardly believe he had forgot about it. It was something they went through on an almost monthly basis. His head had been in other places lately. By day he was working in the forest as usual. However tonight he was starting his first night class at Darkpine College. Finally his dad had allowed him to go and get an education. He had wanted to for so long. When he was young he had always wanted to get an education and travel to somewhere bigger and more exciting than this small town. This was before his first shift occurred when he was 16. When he realised how truly dangerous it was to be a werewolf. How much he truly needed to stay with his father, his Alpha, because the alternative was the death of innocent people. He, like the others, had little to no control on a full moon. Today was Monday, he had 5 days. That was still plenty of time. 

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The alarm on the night stand sounded at 9:00. The melody that played was more soothing than stirring which was probably why the girl did not rouse immediately beneath the silky blue blankets that covered her pale ivory skin. Her long platinum blonde tresses laid strewn across the sheets, sticking out from underneath the covers. They were the only visible signs that there was in fact a girl under there and not a few pillows. The walls of the small bedroom were painted a light sage green, with other colorful paintings on them of flowers and birds. Some of the paintings on the wall looked like they had been done by a child, these were located closer to the floor, but as you looked up the wall the paintings appeared to change from juvinile stick figures to beautiful masterful paintings. Around the top of the room were gorgeous peacocks and sunflowers that looked as if you could pick them off the wall they were so lifelike. The room was very tidy, there was a desk that had lots of painting materials organized on it, but besides that the room was pretty bare, just a hamper in the corner, and the bed centered under the window.

The mahogany door to the room swung open and an older woman with pixy cut platinum blonde hair that matched the sleeping beauties came strolling into the room. She was about 5'8'' and had a very thin athletic frame. She wore blue jeans and a black tanktop. Her lips were thin and curled into a sarcastic smile. She had the aura of a jokester.

"Will you look at that!" The woman said with her hands on her hips. She shook her head from side to side. "Still sleeping on the first day of class."

A second woman came in behind the first. She was almost her opposite in appearance. The second woman had long jet black hair, stood only at 5'3'' and had a slender yet very curvaceous form, her face and body showed a bit of latin heritage. The second woman's plush lips were upward in a very happy smile as she replied.

"Gosh Pen, Vivi is going to miss all the fun stuff on her first day! … How sad…"

At this last statement the sheets on the bed gave another rumble and finally the girl beneath sat up. When the blue sheet fell away it revealed the girl's long white silk night gown and her alabaster doll shaped face. Her pale complexion and hair color were similar to Pen's or also known as Penelope Clearwater, but her height and face shape were much more similar to the second woman; Verra Fredricks-Clearwater. The girl used her left hand to lazily flatten her bangs which were sticking up in odd directions. Her lips parted and her voice rang out, with a clear tired quality, "W-what time is it?"

Penelope responded to her waking daughter, "9:20." With that Vivian's eyes shot open. They were large beautiful blue-grey eyes, reminicesnt of the moon, but right now they seemed more shocked than beautiful. "Oh no!" She said as she quickly jumped out of the bed and ran to the closet.

Penelope and Verra laughed as their daughter threw her night gown and underwear into the dirty hamper and rushingly put on a clean set of white lace undergarments. Her body was very slender with cute perky curves, she stood at about the same height as Verra. Vivian then took a moments hesitation while choosing a dress, but ended up with a cute blue vintage inspired sundress that had white hemlines and mini white polka dots. Vivian then put on her light brown mary jane style merril shoes. She continued to run to the bathroom and brushed her hair before putting a little bit from each side of her face back in a small barrette. The only makeup she wore was black eyeliner and red lipstick. By now her mothers had walked back into the kitchen and were waiting for her with her breakfast ready to go in tin foil and her backpack already set on the kitchen table. Vivian came out and stood in the kitchen. She wore an expression that clearly showed her nervousness.

Vivian gave a little feminine twirl. "Do I look alright?" She asked her parents timidly.

Verra cooed out first, "You look radiant Vivian." Then Penelope with her arms crossed and back leaning against the wall spoke, "You are going to knock em dead kiddo….and just in case you don't…" Penelope handed Vivian her green backpack as she continued. "I placed a bunch of pens in there that you can hand out to your classmates, they are enchanted to help you make some friends."

Vivian looked a bit upset as she pitifully looked at her mother and took the pack. Verra however now turned her eyes and narrowed them on her partner.

"Vivi does not need that kind of help Pen!" Penelope put up her hands up as if she were ready to defend against a hit. "I just thought…you know…since friends in high school didn't go so well, a little help might not hurt…" The two continued to bicker a little, but with more comedy than anger.

Vivian snuck out while they concentrated on each other. There was a little "bye…" that squeaked out of her before she was out the front door. Her pack was on her back and her breakfast burrito wrapped in hand. On the porch sat a very elderly woman with long grey hair who sat in a rocking chair. Her eyes were closed as Vivian tried to tip toe across. No sooner had she descended on the first step though the woman sat up her bright emerald eyes looking over at Vivian.

"Aren't you going to say bye to me dolly?" The woman called over to her.

Vivian spun on her heels immediately addressing her. "Granny, I didn't want to wake you!"
The old woman slowly stood up, "Let me have a look at my big granddaughter, do a little spin for us…"
Vivian smiled and did as she asked and spun around.

"Marvelous!" The old witch said as she clapped her hands together. "Have a fun day at college Vivi."
Vivian nodded happily, "I will!"

She then made her way to her car which was a black and silver 2006 Subaru Baja. She hoped inside and started up the car. Her delicate hand went outside the window and waved to her grandmother as she pulled out of the driveway.

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Night had fallen over Darkpine Valley, the stars were out in force, in spite of the heavy cloud cover and as a result, a light shower had started, rain drops pattering off the darkened dirt road that led into the northern part of the forest surrounding the town. The road led in the direction of the mountains but about a half mile up it branched off to the left for a few hundred yards until it came to a grand house. Modern in design. The house stood secluded by much of the forest, and although much of it seemed open and airy thanks to the predominant use of glass in it's design, the glass itself had been treated with the same kind of tinted windows you might see on a limousine. As a result, it would have been next to impossible for the casual observer to see into the house without putting their face to the glass.

 

Though initially lost in the noise of the forest and it's weather, a sound escaped. A

floated from the house, permeating the rain. Inside, out of the cold and the rain, the house was well lit. Going up the stairs to the second floor, following the sound of the music, there was a series of pictures.

 

Each one held something of interest. A man with a slicked-back haircut, square-set jaw, dressed in the uniform of a WWII paratrooper. Another had a picture of three men stood at a bar counter, talking to one another, over the counter a large sign read, 'Welcome to Mississippi'. At last, the source of the music was clear, it came from a room on the left.

 

The room was spacious, one wall was tinted glass with a view of the forest. Another was given to endless rows of books, a third was covered in music CD's and vinyl's and the last was painted a soft white, with a large painting of a woman on it with black hair and sparkling copper eyes. The room itself was relatively bare, save for a large white-sheet double bed. In it, lay the owner of the house. Alexander Speirs or 'Lex' as he preferred to be known as. He was fully dressed, one leg crossed over the other. He wore a pair of black boots that ended in soft points, one rocked in time with the music. Moving up his body he wore a pair of plain black jeans that had a lot of wear on them. He wore a plain black t-shirt and over that a dark brown leather jacket.

Trails of smoke wafted about the room from the cigarette Lex held loosely between his lips. He had a handsome round face with sharp features, his snow white skin was a stark contrast against his scruffy jaw-length dark brown hair and shaped goatee. For a time, he lay there on his back, listening to the song, but as the track came to a close, Lex opened his eyes. They were the most unique colour of amber, alert and wise in some strange way.

 

He stretched and in a single movement got out of bed in an instant, moving almost too quick to follow. He walked across the room and looked out the glass wall, holding his hands behind his head as he rolled the cigarette from one corner of his mouth to the other, before taking a quick drag, lighting the end of the cigarette. Lex slowly exhaled the smoke through his nostrils and then looked down at his watch.

 

When Lex spoke, his voice was a deep, recognizably southern drawl. It was like pouring honey on a warm morning, "She's gon' be angry as a bear if yer late, boy." He muttered to himself, and walked down the stairs that led to the ground floor. He picked up a pair of car keys and closed the front door behind him, locking it. Lex approached one of his few prized possessions, a two-door 1967 Chevrolet Impala, he unlocked and opened it. Took a final drag of his cigarette and as he blew the smoke through his nose, tossed the butt expertly into a metal ashtray he kept at one side of his driveway. The still burning cigarette butt joined dozens of it's fallen comrades as Lex got into his car and shut the door. As he pulled out of his driveway he turned on the radio and pausing for a moment on a talk show;

 

"--i'm Joyce Kelly, head of the Darkpine Valley realtor's association, and don't you know i'll find the right house for you--"

"Don't let yer mouth overload yer tail, darlin'." Lex added, flashing a toothy grin. He continued to tune the radio until he found something a little more pleasing on the ears. As he listened to the

on the radio, he drove down the road towards town. If he got a move on, he wouldn't be late for his night class, and afterwards he'd find some time to study in the library. It'd be quiet this time of night.

 

He figured he could run there faster, but you never know who's watching and it'd been a few days since he'd last driven his prized possession. Besides, what's the point in being a Vampire if you're going to ignore all the comforts that a long life, and old money can buy. His grin widened at the thought of this as he focused on the song and his plans for the evening. Maybe he'd hit up a bar or two after college and grab a drink. 

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Diana Riverstone rose into a seated position on the roof of her old home, gazing absently at the sunset. She was dying to take a night run in the woods but her parents as usual warned her not to. Rolling her eyes Diana focused on another idea. Her parents could be heard arguing from inside the house, arguing about the same thing they have been for the past week; her. She had arrived back to Darkpine a week ago. She had been gone for six years and a few months and she didn’t return the way her parents planned for her to. Their wide eyes of shock had been imprinted in her mind as she stood before them, no longer the spitfire young lady she had been when she ran away. The past years had been harsh on her and they took their toll on her person. Diana had become a quiet, soft spoken person; most of her time was spent gazing out into the open or watching the people around her. Because of the past years she didn’t sleep much anymore, she had seen no point to it anymore. The night provided for ample opportunities to explore the area. Closing bright sea foam green eyes Diana focused on the sounds coming from the house.

 

I cannot believe that she truly plans on going through with this. There was her mother, doubting her daughter’s ability to make a good choice. Well you didn’t think she would stay inside the house did you? And there was her father, he didn’t quite understand her choice either but he at least was kind enough to keep an open mind. Tired of listening to them Diana slunk into her bedroom window and bounded down the stairs.

 

Her voice was gentle, similar in quality to a trickling creek. Serene, peaceful and understanding. It was a voice her parents were not accustomed to yet. Before she had left they remembered her pattern of speech being bold and confidant. Sadly the only thing that remained of her old spirit was the breadth of passion that hid behind her odd eyes.

 

“Just informing you, you and father’s arguing is not going to alter my decision. I know you simply want what is best for me but I ask that you allow me my freedom. Neither of you have need to worry, I plan on returning home after classes.†Her father held up a hand to gently silence her. “Your mother and I actually discussed that situation the previous night after you left on a small journey.†Diana cocked her head slightly amused that her parents were aware she had left during the night, but remained quiet to listen to their proposition.

 

“We thought perhaps we would move on and leave the house for you. When you returned to us last week, it was apparent that you were no longer the little girl who left. You’re a woman now, molded by your experiences of the past years. You need your space. We wouldn’t be far, just move further in the town. How would you feel about that?†Diana remained silent and peered out the kitchen window. She could see that fall was nearing as the trees surrounding her home began to change colors, faint hints of red, yellow and brown speckled in the expanse scene of green. Raindrops slid down weary branches, evidence an oncoming storm Diana would love to dance in. Her family had bought the secluded plot of land in hopes to keep her hidden from the world. Growing up she had viewed her home as a prison and now after all these years her parents offered it to her as sanctuary. They understood she needed her space. Tears welled up but she refused to let them fall. She would accept their present as gracefully as she could. Returning her focus to her parents Diana gave them a watery smile, unable to express her gratitude in words. Thankfully she didn’t have to as her mother embraced her in those loving arms Diana remembered so distinctly followed by the strength that came with her father. Her mother was the first to step back, wiping tears from her cheeks. “Now go finish getting ready before you’re late to class.â€

 

Diana wiped a single tear from her face as she hurried upstairs to continue her morning routine. Lining her eyelids with a deep amethyst kohl pencil Diana studied her reflection. Her black wavy hair was flipped over to her right side, the soft tendrils framing her face. She was dressed in a pair of faded blue jeans slung on her hips, her torso clad in a black tank top, the bottom fringed and beaded revealing her slender midriff and toned arms. Four long ragged lines ran down her left arms and the sight of them brought a devious grin to Diana’s face. Originally those lines were scars, she had been attacked when she was younger and the creature left its mark on her skin. Out of respect when the wounds healed over Diana had the claw marks inked over in memory of the creature. Both wrists sported leather cuffs, each branded with a distinct symbol. On the right cuff a dream catcher was emblazoned and on the left an eagle. Rather than continuing her perusal of her looks Diana fastened her favorite earrings; raven feathers hung from each silver cuff. Satisfied the native female went down the stairs again in search of her keys.

 

Locating them next to a brown paper sack Diana assumed her mother packed her a late night snack. She couldn’t resist the urge to peek inside as see what her mother packed. Inside the sack was an apple, grapes, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a bottle of water. Stuffing the bag inside her duffle bag Diana heard her father’s voice from outside in the back.

 

“There’s a thermos filled with hot chocolate and a cinnamon raisin bagel toasted for you.†Shaking her head the young female grabbed her “breakfastâ€, bemused at the fact she was technically eating breakfast at sundown and rushed out the door to her beat up old blue Ford Ranger. The many nights where the truck had been her bed crossed her mind and a twinge of guilt poked at her heartstrings. Her parents were too good to her; they deserved more than she gave. Blowing a kiss to her parents’ faces in the window Diana thought about how she could ever repay them, backed the truck out of the drive and was on her way to Darkpine College.

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The week leading up to a full moon always made Isabelle edgy. It was like a countdown to her doom, which brought forth reoccurring nightmares that had her waking in a cold sweat, gasping for breath. Her single, biggest fear was hurting, or killing, a human when she was in wolf form, and each dream was a blur of excruciating pain, shrill screams, and a taste of blood that lingered in her mouth when she awoke. Her only good fortune was that she rose reasonably early each morning anyway, and so her departure from the house at 5:30am to go for a run wouldn't seem particularly suspicious. 

 

An hour or so later, she was in the small workshop on the family's plot of land, which was just far enough away from the house that no one would be disturbed by the
blaring from the stereo. Her old Toyota Hilux didn't need any work, she took pride in being able to fix her own truck, but she was tampering with it anyway. The feeling of the smooth metal in her hands, always reliable, unchanging, was comforting, and the stress that her run hadn't quite shifted, eased away. Mechanical engineering was like free therapy; she understood an engine far better than she'd ever understand most people. There was something about the conflicting simplicity, yet complexity of auto mobiles that soothed her. Each part had its place, that one spot where it belonged, and that resemblance to her own position within such a family was likely one of the reasons she was so drawn to cars in the first place. She could try and change what she was, but she would never quite fit in anywhere else.

 

And why would she want to? She loved her family, there wasn't anything else on earth more precious to her, and it killed her that she kept the knowledge of her restless nights from them; she usually told them everything. But, it was for their own good. It was her burden to bear, and they didn't need anything else to worry about, especially near full moon. 

 

Throwing a spanner into her toolbox, she wiped her oily hands on an old rag and checked the time. It was her job to get to the garage early and open up, one part of the day she relished, as she could enjoy the peace before the day kicked off, and today she was going to be even earlier than usual. She'd run, she'd showered, and she was wearing fresh clothes. Kinda. Her torn black jeans were flecked with dirt, and her white tank top was blemished by small patches of oil, but that was hardly going to look out of place. The only thing she was missing was food, and that wasn't something she ever left home without; Isabelle liked to eat.

 

Her father and brother had already left for work when she returned, which meant everyone else had stopped by, and her little charade pretending she was fine could carry on as normal. She was always usually quiet near full moon, reserved and pensive, and quite often snappy and abrupt with those outside her family. To add insult to that injury, she wasn't exactly always the friendliest person on a 'normal' day, but she never wasted energy by caring. 'Charming' wasn't a word anyone had ever used to describe her personality.

 

Making a quick sausage and bacon sandwich, she tore off a big chunk, and instead of sitting down, she headed back outside and got into her truck, sandwich in hand. No point hanging around if everyone else had departed, and she could be just as alone at the garage than she could at home. Might as well get some work done with it. 

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Curtis pulled up into the parking lot at Darkpine College in his dark blue Jeep Wrangler TJ, a beat up old pile of junk. Thankfully it was still running, mostly due to his sister's intervention. Isabelle wasn't like most girls but Curtis liked that about her. He'd never spent a lot of time with the opposite sex and, growing up in a predominantly male family, Isabelle was a breath of fresh air at times. He felt closer to her than anyone else in his family. Perhaps because they were siblings, or just that they were close to each other's age. Maybe it was because he could always count on her to be honest with him. Little sister's seemed to have a way of being truthful to the point of cruelty when it came to their big brothers. Curtis felt that this was a good thing though. Isabelle was always there to bring him back down to earth. Sometimes he wondered if she felt the same. Was he a good brother? He felt he was but in truth he couldn't think of a particular reason why. 

 

Curtis got out of the car and shut the door behind him, locking it with the key in the door like some kind of animal. Even in this small town he felt like he was the only one that didn't have central locking. Still he couldn't complain too much. He could afford some technological marvels, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 he had taken out of his pocket. He placed the jack to his headphones into the phone and fixed the buds into his ears. After a quick skim through a spotify playlist, and adjusting the volume to the lowest possible setting, due to his heightened hearing, he found a song and was on his way. He walked through the parking lot and towards the large open courtyard outside of Darkpine College. 

 

Even in the evening the courtyard was filled with students, most of them leaving from their day classes, or perhaps off to the library to get in a few hours of studying. With his hearing distracted by the music, his other senses kicked in to keep him aware. This was common in any human, but with a werewolf the feeling was quite intense. Most notable was his sense of smell. A cacophony of smells hit his nostrils and with each scent he learned something of his environment. For example the girl who had just passed him was on her period. And the boy she was holding hands with had a scent of sickness, which was a hard thing to explain to someone. He could smell the mucus and grime left on hands when people sneezed. However not all smells were unpleasant. Perfume was sometimes nice, but often overpowering. It masked a scent that Curtis was quite fond of. Pheromones.  

 

His mind felt incredibly sharp when his senses were overreacting. His keen eyes were constantly shifting focus as he turned his attention to the various pretty girls that were passing him. When girls were attracted to him he could smell it, and like when female dogs are in heat, Curtis was driven crazy by it. More precisely the wolf inside him was driven crazy. His human part was what held it at bay. After all there was never a justification for intensely sniffing at a girls hair, especially when you're a complete stranger. However at times it really was hard to control. 

 

He had caught the scent before his eyes had moved to catch a glimpse. She was a vision in a blue dress with white polka dots. She was alone and minding her own business, walking about 30 feet in front of him. Nobody paid her any attention and for the life of him he could not understand why. Her platinum hair was long and smooth, Even from so far away he could pick up so much from this young girl. At first he could smell the familiar scent of the leaves in the woodland where he lived, no doubt she must have lived in the same area. But she also smelled sweet, like flowers. There was another smell as well that he couldn't quite place. His feet were moving double time now. When his instincts intensified like this, his logical thinking was pushed to the back. He was drawn to this girl. As he approached she turned her head slightly and he caught a glimpse of her face. Her eyes, a beautiful blueish gray that reminded him of the full moon that was fast approaching. Suddenly sound flooded into his left ear as the music faded. A young, pale-looking man in a brown leather jacket had pulled out his earbud as he passed by him. 

 

"Don't bite off more'an ye can chew, boy." the man said in a noticeably southern accent. Everything began to shift into focus once more. He stopped dead as the man gave him a brief look before turning and walking off. Now stood in the courtyard, alone and thinking about the vents that had just happened. He wasn't sure what was alarming him the most. He had found himself attracted to girls like that before, but never so intensely. Then there was that man. His actions were not particularly of concern. What did concern Curtis was the sensation he had felt when the man spoke to him. Occasionally, a werewolf's sense would work with each other, creating an additional sense, a feeling that was difficult to describe. Whilst Curtis had never had any desire to hurt anyone, a natural part of his instinct told him that people, in general, were of no threat to him. That man, however, was a predator. Curtis eyed him as he disappeared into the building. The only predators Curtis knew were his family, his pack. But that man was no brother of his. What's more the girl had gone, and he didn't know where she had went. 

 

 


 

 

"In this General Philosophy course we will study 8 topics." said the middle aged Professor, who was stood addressing a large lecture theatre of students. "All of those topics are quite central in Epistemology and Metaphysics. Epistemology, of course, being the theory of knowledge and Metaphysics which studies the nature of being and the world we live in. More importantly, in a way, General Philosophy illustrates to you how philosophy is done. So the importance isn't just the particular topics, it's understanding the discipline of philosophy, how it works..."

 

Curtis was barely listening. He was focused on the blonde once more. She was sitting 3 rows down from him and slightly to the left. Unlike himself, she was sat taking notes and appeared to be listening quite intently. He was curious about her now. His senses had balanced out and he was no longer caught up in the moment. Yet still this girl seemed distracting to him. She didn't appear to stand out very much but to him she might as well have had a big, flashing light on her head. He pulled his phone from his pocket, flicking through the apps out of boredom. He found himself on facebook, looking through the module's discussion group that had been created by their professor. All of the students in the class had been asked to join the group. He filtered through the list of members, trying to put her face to a name. Finally he had found it. Vivian Clearwater. Clearwater? He had heard that name before. He couldn't place where from though. 

 

His thumb hovered over the friend request button. However he bottled it at the last second, closing the app and trying to focus once more on the lecture. The Professor was now talking about Aristotle and Curtis was well and truly lost. He pulled out his notebook as if simply having it in front of him would help him understand. In the end he just ended up scribbling on the first page, drawing crude illustrations and poor attempts at graffiti style writing. 

 

After over an hour in the lecture theatre Curtis had given up and was slumped over the desk in front of him, staring down at the Professor, but no words were managing to reach his ears. He was insanely bored. If only he had paid attention to the introduction he might have gotten somewhere. Now he was just pretending to listen. He was saved, albeit only momentarily, as his phone vibrated in his pocket. It was a text from Danny who was an old friend of his from high school. More like acquaintances really. It read:

 

Party 2nite @ carrowhill. the usual. B.Y.O.B

 

Curtis smirked. Finally some good news. Carrow Hill was a large clearing in the forest on the other side of town from his house. These days it was often a place where the younger residents had parties. It was a little different from the usual party affair. For one it was outside. Normally a couple of campfires would be lit and a few people brought guitars. Danny normally brought a set of speakers that he hooked up to a generator in the back of his truck. People would bring their own food and drinks and get together, socialize, get drunk and dance around in the field. A party on Carrow Hill hadn't been thrown in months.

 

People began standing up around Curtis. He was confused for a moment and then he realised class was over. He stood up with the rest of the sutdents and began to file out of the room. He got out into the hall and began texting his sister. She didn't like to miss a party. He forwarded Danny's text to her followed by a smiley emoticon. As he got out into the courtyard again he was thinking about going down to the liquor store when he spotted the blonde girl, Vivian. Something came over him and he approached her, tapping her gently on her shoulder. She looked round at him and he smiled awkwardly. 

 

"Hey...Vivian, right?" he asked with hesitation, "Um...this might seem a little...out of the blue but a bunch of people are going up to Carrow Hill tonight to have a little party. I was wondering if you'd like to go? Y'know...if you're not busy..."

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Vivian drove her car down the bright forest road. The morning sun came through the trees shining inside the car and refreshingly woke her up from her morning daze. Vivian rolled down the windows and let the air sweep through her long hair, the feeling was sensational as her hair danced in the wind. She then turned on the radio and the  music combined with the morning air and sun began to take her nerves away. Vivian's house was only a couple minutes outside of the town of Darkpine Valley. It was located on the same side of the forest that the werewolf pack was, but her family home was considerably closer to town than them. Her family had to be on this side of the town incase something ever happened to Vivian's mother, Penelope. Her mother had very odd relationship with a werewolf by the name of Samuel Archer. The distance between their homes was close enough so that Samuel could get to Penelope quickly, in case of emergency, but far enough away that he could have his pack avoid the Clearwater home at all times. 

 

Trees flew by the window one by one as Vivian sang along to the music, her voice was pretty yet haunting to some extent. She was in auto pilot as she drove and in her mind she had visions of past experiences, It was normal for her to daydream and endure flashbacks. Vivian didn't know Samuel very well, there had only been a couple times where she had actually seen him. These were all times after her mother had been in some sort of danger. Despite Samuel's instinct to protect Penelope, when they spoke to each other there seemed to be a lot of resentment on both sides. They might have gotten along better at one time, but that must have been long ago, before Vivian was born. The few times Vivian had met Samuel there was a clear notion that he did not like her, even when she was an innocent child he would ignore her and pretend she wasn't there. Vivian was very scared of him from the beginning. She could remember standing behind her mother, Verra, clutching the back of her leg, as Penelope and Samuel bickered over Vivian. His voice boomed out clear as day saying that Vivian was not a responsibility his son should have to bare. Penelope retorted that she didn't need a puppy to protect her little girl anyways. However in the end Grandma Elenor had come over and put both of them in their place, she mentioned someone named Issac and how the Clearwater witches needed the protection of wolves. Vivian couldn't remember all of the details now. Her mothers had explained later that one of Samuel's sons would eventually be Vivian's protector and that was why he was so particularly displeased with their daughter's existence. Vivian had hated the idea of that, even at a young age she had no desire to be a burden on anyone. As a complication of all this, her parents had made sure she stayed out of danger most of her life. Vivian was a very quiet girl who kept to herself so she had never been in any life threatening situations. Her parents kept an eye on her with the help of the coven at all times, as if she were made out of glass. There had been an incident in high school, but Vivian had unknowingly taken care of that quickly, and to her knowledge whatever wolf was bonded to her had not been there. Vivian was under the impression that whom ever he was, he didn't even know she existed, and she preferred it that way. 

 

Vivian snapped back to the present as she pulled her car into the Darkpine College parking lot. It was pretty crowded, but she managed to find a spot near the back of the lot. Luckily she wasn't one of the students that had to park on the grass field next door. Vivian looked at the clock on her phone that read 10:15. She had 15 minutes to get to her first class, which was a three hour painting course. Now that the wind and fresh forrest were gone, her nerves had returned. Vivian got out of the car with her backpack and unwrapped her breakfast burrito. She scarfed it down as she walked to class unaware of how unladylike she was being. It was a comical sight to say the least, this very cute girl is a nice dress, make up and hair done, messily eating a burrito. A group of students walked by her and laughed at her as she had remnants of burrito on her face and her lipstick had smudged. Her pale cheeks flushed red and she darted to the closest bathroom. Vivian observed herself in the mirror and embarrassment hit her like a brick wall. She quickly cleaned her face and then reapplied her lipstick. She was now late. She ran to her class and as the door swung open she met the eyes of every student, a look of horror on her. The teacher asked her to find a seat and she did so quite quickly. 

 

This class went by too fast for her taste, even though it was three hours Vivian wanted to paint all day. Painting was her favorite past time besides gardening. The students were instructed to paint a still life of fruit that was in a bowl in the middle of the circle of students. Vivian had started by painting the fruit, but it was really the background of the piece that she was interested in. She gave the fruit auras of color that spread from the fruit of origin and combined with the ones next to it, then blended together around the background of the canvas in a beautiful rainbow of texture. The teacher had walked behind everyone nodding, when he came to her, he said nothing, but a smile formed across his face. He then continued to the other students assessing where everyone was skill wise. After class he had not given anyone commentary. The teacher simply gave them an assignment which was to draw a couple pages in their sketch books, anything they wanted, but that the drawings had to somehow represent themselves. That these drawings would be used as introductions of themselves to the rest of the class next time they met. When her painting class was dismissed, her clock read 1:35pm. 

 

Vivian stood outside the painting classroom and took a crumpled up piece of paper out of her bag. This was her schedule. She had been so excited about her first class she had forgotten to see what else she had that day.

 

10:30 am - 1:30 pm MWF Painting I

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm MWF World History I

7:00pm - 8:30 pm  MWF Philosophy

 

9:00am - 10:30 am T TH  Horticulture Elective

1:00pm - 3:00pm T TH Art History I

7:00 pm - 10:00pm T TH Chemistry I & Lab

 

Vivian sighed as she stared at the night classes on the schedule. She had registered late and therefore the classes for a lot of the freshmen requirements were filled up in the day time. She had been forced to take a couple of night classes if she planned to finish those requirements in two semesters. She made a mental note that next time she would be one of the first to register. Currently, this was the time in which she could take a lunch break, but after remembering her issue with the burrito this morning she decided to wait until dinner time for food. Instead of eating she sat down on a bench outside and took out her sketch book. The flowers next to the bench reminded her of the ones in her garden back home. The pretty colors and scents of flowers always made her feel comfortable and at ease. She opened her sketch book her eyes darting all over the new blank pages…what should I draw to represent myself? She chewed her plush bottom lip as she thought, but then why bother thinking of what she should be drawing, this was supposed to represent her. So, the best way to do that was for the drawings to be organic and not thought out before hand. Vivian also took out her phone, which worked as her ipod and plugged in her light blue skull candy headphones. These then went onto her head like a headband and she turned the  music on her phone to play. She sketched what immediately came to mind while she made a mental note to try and connect everything together. The pencil began to form a bird, similar to the shape of a blue jay, his feathers were ruffled and some fell off the bottom of his wings, as the feathers flowed down to the bottom of the page they turned into flowers. Vivian flipped to the second page, now lost in the drawing. This happened to her sometimes when she painted, almost like a trance. When she finally stopped and looked at what she had drawn she was a bit puzzled. The second page had flowers at the top, that seemed to turn to liquid and pool at the right side of the page. The liquid she had drawn continued from the right side of the second page onto the left side of the third page. There was a dark wolf drawn in the center of the third page and the liquid seemed to be almost raining across from left to right, but the wolf stood normal, vertical on the page.  Vivian tilted her head to the side in a confused manner, wolves were not apart of her normal drawing routine. However before she could think on this any longer the alarm on her phone sounded. She quickly put her sketch book away as it was time to get to her next class. 

 

The middle of her day was all a blur. Vivian was simply going through the motions. Now at 5:00pm She was walking to a large group meeting for art club. She had seen a poster around campus and thought it couldn't hurt to listen in. She was 15 minutes early. As Vivian stood waiting for the meeting room to clear out so the Art Club discussion could start she felt a tingling sensation. It was as if something very important was happening. In a moment like this time slows down so that later, when you know the importance of these moments, you can recall every second and embrace every emotion. Something here was different,  there was a presence or feeling like something bewitching was occurring. Vivian couldn't quite put her finger on it, but witches had a sixth sense about these things. When magic is conjured or other supernatural entities are about, there is a sensation in a witch's body, an elevated feeling of awareness. 

 

At first she felt like there were eyes on her. Vivian's eyes met a pair of particularly feral looking dark brown eyes that belonged to none other than Curtis Archer. She had the feeling he was the one who had been looking at her, but now he was concentrating on someone else. She paused, not realizing it might look as if she were staring at him. There was a confusing amount of thoughts working their way through her mind in a very short period of time, which caused all sorts of confusion for her. Firstly, he seemed very familiar to her. She didn't know at the time, but she probably felt this way because he was Samuel's son. Secondly, he was very handsome. Then something about his eyes made her own orbs dart down to the ground. They were almost too intense for her to look at. For some reason she could feel blood rushing to her pale cheeks which must mean they were growing to be rosy red. On a girl that was constantly mistaken for albino, a blush was incredibly obvious. The other club finally got out and the people rushing past her blocked Vivian from Curtis's view, she quickly made her way inside. 

 

She couldn't understand why she was so nervous, all she knew was that the butterflies fluttering in her stomach had no intention of calming down. Her eyes went across the room meeting with others, her moon-like orbs searching for a place to sit. Vivian finally sat down in the second row from the front all the way on the left side of the room. Close enough to the front to be attentive, but far enough to the side that she could sneak out if she was disinterested. Vivian simply now kept to herself taking out a notebook to possibly jot down notes. She waited for the meeting to begin. The nervousness emanating from her was almost tangible, she thought everyone could feel it too, but that idea was preposterous. The club meeting went by par usual, Vivian kept to herself, took some notes. Nothing of notice. After Art Club she headed to her first night class, Philosophy. She took a seat, as she was early once again. A couple minutes went by and she had set up her desk, ready to pay attention. However, she was caught off guard by that sensation again. She looked around and saw Curtis walk into the class room. Her immediate reaction was to quickly turn back around and sink into her chair. Through out the class she could feel eyes on her, but she shook that off. There was no way he would notice her three rows down. Even though she should just turn around to confirm this, she couldn't bring herself to do it. So instead she mockingly thought how silly she was to herself and focused on the teacher. She took notes like a good student and when it was time to leave she simply packed up everything and bee-lined for the door out. She was in the courtyard when she felt a tap on her shoulder.

 

Vivian gave a quiet little "Eep!" After she had turned around and saw it was Curtis.

 

At first she was incredibly nervous, but after he spoke she realized he seemed a little out of his comfort zone too. She relaxed as he asked her to go to the party, she had never really been invited to go to these things in high school. Her parents had mentioned that she should try to make friends this time around and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to indulge. She parted her lips to quickly respond yes, but held herself back as to not look too pathetic.

 

"ehm..um, sure." She said with a timid smile. "Sounds fun."

 

Vivian looked down at the ground and then back up at him. She clutched her philosophy book to her chest as she inquired, "You seem to have me at a disadvantage…you know my name, but I don't know yours."

 

She ended it with a little smirk as she waited. 

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"You seem to have me at a disadvantage…you know my name, but I don't know yours." she said. Curtis smirked, he could feel his apprehension fading slightly. Confidence was troublesome when you were wolf. Once you get just a little bit it just grows and grows. 

"I'm Curtis" he replied before gently taking hold of her arm and leading her through the courtyard. As he headed towards the car park he had a thought. Did she drive here? "Hey, do you have a car?" he asked. Vivian just gave a little nod.

"...and I think I know how to get to Carrow Hill..." Curtis looked a little dejected. 

"Well we could take my Jeep and I could drop you off here after?" he suggested, "Or maybe you could drive us and give me a ride back later?"

"You can drive." She gave a little laugh, "I've never actually been to a party there before, so you are probably the better choice for driving."

"Alright. Awesome!" He replied enthusiastically before showing her to his car. He opened the door for her and went around to get into the drivers seat. 

 

As he drove out of the car park they were both quite silent. Curtis racked his brain for something to say but he was coming up with blanks. The best he could come up with was to talk about how little he knew her. "I've never seen you around town before. Did you go to Darkpine High?"

"Yea, I graduated last year, I don't really stay in town most days though." came her response. Last year? Curtis thought to himself. She's only 19? He wasn't sure how he felt about that. Isabelle was going to be at this party. She was not going to let him get away with this without some serious teasing. 

"I uh...I graduated...a few years ago..." Curtis said a little nervously, "Like...6 years ago."

 

Vivian looked over, "Oh, well that explains why I didn't recognize you from school. Phew." She had a more relaxed expression on her face now. Her phone went off and she quickly texted. After a couple replies she looked back over to him. "It looks like my parents are going to....um, pick up my car..." It almost sounded as if she was asking instead of telling. "Would you mind dropping me off at home? It's not far from town."

"Uh, sure!" Curtis said with a smile on his face. There goes that confidence again, soaring upwards. He knew it could lead to trouble, but he also didn't care. He turned the car up into a dirt road, the path only lit by the headlights of his car. He slowed down a bit, taking care as he went through the dark forest area. After a few moments some light could be seen ahead of them. People had already arrived in Carrow Hill. 

 

As the car pulled up the distant sound of music could be heard. Most likely coming from Danny's speakers. Curtis parked the car a bit away from the crowd and got out, helping Vivian out at her side. They walked together up the hill to join the rest of the people there. There was a good 20 to 25 people already, and it looked like there would be more arriving shortly. Curtis turned to Vivian and gave her a little smile, shaking his shoulders from side to side to the beat of the music. Her eyes were dazzling in the flickering light of the campfire nearby. 

 

"Whoo!" came a call as one of the revelers burst from the group and interrupted Vivian and Curtis' little moment. Curtis shook his head but smiled politely. 

"Danny...how's it going?" he said to the young man. 

"Curtis! Dude!" came the reply, "Tonight is going to be the bomb! Who's the chick?"

"This is Vivian." Curtis replied, inwardly wishing that Danny would just leave. He turned to Vivian and gave her an awkward look, hoping she'd forgive him for his friend's bluntness. 

"Cool!" Danny said with a wide grin before thrusting a cold beer into each of their hands and disappearing back into the crowd of people, cheering and whooping. Curtis immediately took the bottle from Vivian's hand and handed both of the beers to another couple of party-goers. 

"Sorry" he said with a shrug, "I'm not a prude or anything but I don't want to be the guy that drops you off home drunk from your first college party. Y'know?"

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His last class of the night was over, and Lex was studying in the library. He didn't take many classes because of time restraints, after all, one of the unfortunate nuisances of being a vampire was the short window of time that he was safe to go outside compared with the regular population. So he did a mixture of study, the occasional class and a lot of self-education using the college's library. It might have sounded strange to say it aloud, given what he was, it even made him laugh on occasion when saying it out loud, but he wanted to be a doctor. But that meant getting a few semesters of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology. It was a daunting task but he knew that whatever happened, he'd have plenty of time to see it done. Thinking about it, he could arguably become one of the most skilled doctors in history. He wondered if any historical scientific figures had been vampires...

Lex caught himself daydreaming - or nightdreaming, he corrected himself. Anyway, all of that aside, he also volunteered for work education assisting at the Darkpine medical teaching hospital a couple of nights a week. His schedule was often tight. He looked at his watch, and realised with a toothy smile that he actually had a remarkable amount of time, the night was just beginning. He knew the party on Carrow Hill would have started around 11pm, but before he joined in the festivities, he'd get a quick drink. He closed the book he had been reading 'Advanced Biology' and left the library. It was almost half-past now, the party would probably be in full swing. The air was still moist but the rain had abated, for the moment. He decided to go for a walk and left his car in the college parking lot.

 

As he strolled down the street, considering where he'd go, Lex found himself sinking into his thoughts. So, now he knew. Lex had smelt supernatural blood before, but it wasn't like it was the first time, there was almost always a few supernaturals in a community. Though, in comparison, there seemed to be more than he was accustomed to. But, now he knew. He had been close enough to recognize what they were. Two of them, at least. A were and a witch. He wasn't sure what to make of it, other than how good they smelled to him. Oh, vampires mostly fed on humans, and at a push, they could exist on animals for a day or two, but to a vampire, supernatural blood, though varying from person to person and of course, species, had a sweeter, almost syrupy taste to it. It was almost like a drug. He lingered on this thought for a moment but then got angry with himself for having lost himself in his past and soldiered on without thinking about it further.

'Dixie's Bar', read the sign. Lex hadn't been in Dixie's before, but from the

coming from inside, it sounded like a place he could enjoy. He took a step up to enter and walked into a large room, bustling with people, most of them in their thirties or older. A lot of them had seen better days. The air was thick with cheap cigarette smoke, but Lex didn't care.

 

He crossed the room and headed directly for the bar counter. As he approached he saw the barmaid was a middle-aged woman with dyed blonde hair tied back into a ponytail, and a cigarette hanging loosely from her mouth, she was distracted for a few seconds as Lex leant onto the counter, nodding to the drunks either side of him.
"Evenin' sugar, if you want a drink you're gonna have to show me some ID, okay?"
Lex reached into his pocket and she held out her hand, but he pulled out a packet of his cigarettes instead. With a single tap off the counter he knocked one partially out of the packet and pulled it out with his mouth before replacing the pack in his brown leather jacket. He tapped his jacket a couple of times and then leant further over the counter, "Would ye, darlin'?" He said, in the smoothest of tones.

 

The barmaid paused and then leant in, taking the cigarette from her mouth and holding it out for him, as he touched his unlit cigarette to hers and sparked it, he exhaled, letting a light cloud of smoke waft over the barmaid's face. Lex then leant back and took a proper drag of his cigarette, tapping it against the counter and exhaling. 

The woman's expression had changed, it had become more docile somehow. A perk of being a vampire, a combination of eye contact and the chemicals in their breath allowed them to subtly subvert a person's mind, tweaking it enough to their benefit. 
"Mrs, ye don't need t'see any ID." He added, dropping a little of the excess charm.
"I don't need to..." She replied, half-heartedly.

One of the drunks next to Lex laughed and smacked his drinking buddy on the shoulder, then when his attention was on him waved his hand from left to right and said with an air of mystery (and alcohol), "These ain't the droids yer lookin' for." Both of them erupted into fits of laughter and when Lex joined in both of them fell silent, immediately perturbed by something they couldn't put their finger on. His laugh had been almost mocking, like a hyena circling an injured buffalo.

 

A bottle of beer landed on the counter, which Lex paid for and then turned his back on the barmaid. He scanned the room as the

switched, his keen eyes looking across the crowded room, though it was smell he was now relying on. Just a few feet away he saw a girl talking to an older man, she was slim and attractive with dirty blonde hair and a filled out red tank top. Lex looked at his beer bottle for a moment, sniffed the air and then crossed the room.
"Evenin'", he said to her, smiling.

 

"Hey, y'alright?" She nodded to him, smiling back. "Like your accent, where you from?"
"Got ye a drink, beautiful." He handed his beer bottle over and she took it, emptying half of it before looking at him again. In the seconds that it took her to drink, Lex watched her neck pulsate with each gulp. "Miss'sippi," he replied.
"You not got one yourself?" She asked, with a lop-sided grin.
"I don't drink beer." Lex replied, flashing a wicked smile in return.

 

 


 

 

"Oh god!" The woman muttered as Lex ran a long tongue up the side of her neck and pressed her against the brick wall of the alley just outside Dixie's Bar. "You've got a condom right?" She asked fervently.
"No." Lex replied, kissing her on the neck again.
An alarm went off in her head, "Well hang on--" she put one hand on his chest, "My body is a temple, and you don't enter the temple without your robe."

 

She stood upright but as she turned to leave Lex held his hand out and took hers in his and after a moment of surprise, spoke to her sincerely.

"Well, shut my mouth... Darlin', I wouldn't enter yer temple if Christ hisself was playin' bass." As the woman tried to process what had just been said to her, Lex leant in and blew on her face, which quickly went vacant. "Much obliged." He said, with an air of finality.

Taking her left arm and holding it up, Lex took one hand and pressed his thumb to a vein. Then, using his nail, which ended in a deadly sharp point and was as hard as steel, he pierced the skin and the vein underneath with a quick press. The woman let out a little gasp but her eyes were still completely glazed over.

 

Blood immediately began to trickle from the wound but before a single drop could fall Lex's tongue lapped the blood trail up with a single lick and kissed the opening in her skin, sucking from the wound. After a few full mouthfuls, Lex licked the wound, healing it and then walked out of the alley. As Lex left he checked his watch as one of the drunks that had spoken in the bar earlier stumbled out and warily waved to him, he nodded back. 

As he crossed the street he could hear the woman leave the alley, slightly uneasy on her feet. "What just happened?" She asked, straightening out her hair and looking around with an air of confusion on her face. Lex heard a 'wow'-like whistle from the drunk who launched into another round of hysterics.

 

 


 

 

"Hey," Lex nodded to one of the college students as he joined the party on Carrow Hill. The

was loud enough to be heard from miles away, at least for him, but that was alright. Everyone here was having a great time, and it made him feel all the better for it.

"Hey man," the man in his mid twenties replied, he had short spiky hair and heavy muscles, maybe a football player.
"Y'all got the party in full swing?" Lex asked, looking around.

 

"Yeah man, yeah, we've got everything, you want booze, you maybe want something stronger?" The man asked, turning to Lex with a tone in his voice that implied something a little 'under the radar'. 
"I'm fine, thank ya. Go hog wild, boy. Woo!!" Lex shouted with a tone of amusement in his voice, walking off.
The football player frowned and shivered, "Pale-ass creepy mothafucka..." he muttered, taking another swig from his beer before re-joining the party.

Lex looked around for a few minutes, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the party, he felt much better for having fed. Though his method of feeding was far less... he thought for a moment, 'final'? Though it didn't end in the same fashion, it did mean that he had to feed more often. Fresh blood coursing through him, the party was exactly the right environment for him, he started bouncing his head to the music and within seconds he was enveloped by the throng of dancers.

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Deep violet tipped fingers wrapped around a small towel that had been tossed aside earlier. Diana had only been in one class and she was already drenched from it. Wiping the sweat from her face and neck she remembered she still had another class after this. Glancing at the screen on her phone, Diana realized it was only 8:30 and her Literature class didn’t start until 9. Great, at least I’ve got a good half hour. Gives me time to take a quick shower. Exchanging the towel for the apple from earlier Diana slung her duffle bag over her shoulder and exited the dance room, wondering where the locker rooms were. Unsure if she would have been able to find them Diana asked one of the other students that was leaving the dance room. The other girl seemed surprised that Diana could speak but Diana wasn’t shocked. She had remained silent the entire class, simply following the combinations that the instructor provided. The moment of surprise didn’t last longer however and the other female explained where Diana could locate the locker rooms. With a quick flash of teeth Diana smiled and spun on her heel, eager to rinse the evidence of her dance class off.

 

Finding the locker room was not difficult; it was exactly where it was explained to be. Tossing the apple core into the trash bin by the door Diana slipped the tank top she had changed into over her head and into the pile of clothes bundled in her duffle bag. The nude tights and green hot shorts were next to be removed. After removing her undergarments Diana stood under the spray of cold water and let out a squeal. She was not expecting the water to be cold; she had turned the nozzle to the warmest setting. But the water did not grow any warmer leaving Diana to grimace as she hurriedly rinsed herself off. Drying up and putting her regular clothes on did little to warm her up. She should have figured the college wouldn’t have warm water. Shaking her head Diana undid the ponytail she he tied up before class and her hair came down, falling back into place easily. Grabbing her phone Diana looked at the time again. 8:50. Shit she was going to be late if she didn’t hurry. Rushing out of the locker room Diana made her way across the campus to where her next class was assigned to be. 

 

Slightly out of breath Diana leaned against one of the walls when she arrived. She could hear her blood pounding in her ears, her lungs tighter than normal as she forced air into them. Then she felt it, a strong wave of slight confusion but just as quickly as it hit her it was gone. Piercing grey eyes searched for the cause. The only thing that would allow Diana to feel an emotion was an animal but as far as she could tell there wasn’t one. Now the only confusion she felt was her own. Deciding to pay no mind to it Diana slipped into the classroom and took one of the back seats, retrieving a notebook and a pen from her duffle bag to take notes. The professor began his class explaining that literature was an art form that needed to be appreciated. Diana rolled her eyes and rested her chin in the palm of her hand, a bored expression crossing her features. Instead of taking notes though Diana touched the ballpoint to the paper and began to scribble. First it started with a petite flower in the corner of the page and then it grew to clouds at the top drizzling rain and it continued to morph before her. When the instructor finally dismissed class Diana truly saw what she had drawn. Staring back at her were soulless eyes rimmed with unrest. She had only seen those eyes once before, back when she was a runaway, a wanderer. Every time she passed a window or a mirror those deep empty eyes glared back at her. She didn’t believe herself to be without a soul, she just tried to be more guarded around people but those eyes told a different story.

 

Closing the notebook Diana hid the honesty she had placed upon that paper and shoved it in her bag, looking at her phone for the time. It was half past ten already, her classes were done for the day now it was time to head home. Meandering towards her truck Diana lightly listened in on the conversations happening around her. Most people were chatting away about their summers and vacation, and then she heard the words Carrow Hill. A slight smirk tugged at the corners of her lips in remembrance. Carrow Hill was the town’s party spot. Almost everyone who has lived in Darkpine knew of Carrow Hill. Then again it didn’t help that Carrow Hill was far from where her house was. She remembered on several occasions sitting on the roof and listening to the music that was carried by the wind from Carrow Hill. Contemplating the idea Diana shook her head and decided she would just head home and stay there.

 

The drive was silent as Diana’s mind worked over time. In just a short amount of time so many things have happened and she was unsure how to perceive the events. She had been so preoccupied that she was surprised how soon she made it home, even more surprised when she saw something large on the porch. Shining her headlights on the object Diana slide down from her truck and went to inspect. Sitting on the porch was a large cooler with a note scrawled in her father’s handwriting.

 

We went out for a late dinner and movie. There’s about fifty long necks in the cooler. We heard some commotion earlier and figured something was happening at that clearing not far from the house. Go have fun. Love you.

 

Staring at the note trying to imagine her father getting two large cases of beer Diana was just dumbfounded. Normally Diana would have argued but since all the lights were out, she wasn’t really given much of a choice. Hauling the cooler into the bed of the truck Diana snaked one from under the lid and popped the top. Pressing the bottle to her lips she took a gulp, allowing her eyes to close. If she was really going to join the people at Carrow Hill she was going to need a beer or two. Downing the rest of the bitter liquid Diana got back into the truck and drove the short distance to the party. With the windows down her delicate ears picked up the music and dread began to flood her veins. If she truly planned on going through with this she was going to need more than just a beer. Slowing her truck to a stop and pushing the gear in park, she jerked her thumb towards the trunk indicating she brought drinks to a few of the guys that came towards the vehicle. The sounds of whooping and hollering filled her ears as the cooler was opened and Diana slid out again accepting a beer from one of the guys. Chugging the alcohol down, she made her way closer to the campfires swaying to the loud music pounding all around her. Accepting another Diana finally began to feel the buzz kick in and her body loosened up some more. If I’m going to be here might as well do something I enjoy. And with that thought Diana danced along with several other college students, releasing herself to her inhibitions.

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Curtis immediately took the bottle from Vivian's hand and handed both of the beers to another couple of party-goers. 

"Sorry" he said with a shrug, "I'm not a prude or anything but I don't want to be the guy that drops you off home drunk from your first college party. Y'know?"

 

Vivian smiled and replied, "I'm not much of a drinker anyways. So no worries." 

 

Vivian was a little nervous again. She moved her long hair to her left side shoulder and was fidgeting, running her hands through her hair like a brush. She took a deep breath in and stopped messing with it. Vivian flicked her hair back behind her. Her eyes grazed over, looking at everyone partying and dancing, and then back at Curtis. His charm and confidence was something she found herself drawn to, she wished she had confidence like that. That smile on his made her feel like she was melting. 

 

The next song started and Vivian bit her bottom lip a little as she welled up some courage deep inside of her. She took his hand with both of hers and gently pulled him towards the music and people. She then let go with her left hand, still holding his with her right, while she turned around to lead him through. As they walked into the crowd she would look back at him with those shimmering eyes, a little mischief hidden behind them. They finally found the middle of the dancing people, and she began to sway to the beat. The more she moved the more relaxed she became. Vivian's smile grew and grew until she was laughing as she twirled and danced. Her dress fluttered up causing people around her to clear a circle. She lost herself in the music, her head moving with her body shaking her hair from side to side. At first there was a significant amount of room between the two of them, but now her eyes were looking up into Curtis's and she timidly inched a little closer. She gave a sheepish innocent smile, and her cheeks began to blush. Vivian was proud about how adventurous she was being. Her arms moved above her head, wrists together as if bound,  and her elbows slightly bent. The beat dropped and her movements became an exotic slither, showing a seductive side to her that she didn't even know she had. Her body once again began to rhythmically move. The top half of her body would go to one side as her cute behind would sway the opposite.  Slowly she began to turn around led by a sauntering motion in her hips, until her back was to Curtis. Her face looked back at him over her shoulder with another cute smile, before facing away again shyly. Vivian slowly brought her body back against his body as she continued to dance. She let her hands run down his arms until their fingers intertwined. This was a bold move for her, but once her hands were on him she felt this overwhelming desire for him to hold her. She succumbed to this urge and placed his arms around her. Curtis made her feel so safe, almost safer than she felt at home. Vivian closed her eyes and swayed to the beat as her head leaned back against him. She was more comfortable now, than she was in her own skin most times. Vivian cuddled against Curtis like a kitten her face conveying the pure ease she felt. Naturally Vivian trusted most people, it was a flaw of hers, unless she had a prior reason not to, she believed everyone was trustworthy. However, this was a stronger feeling than she had ever had before. 

 

For a while she let herself be happy like this, but her senses shook her up soon after. This sudden security scared her a little, and even though she didn't really want to, she opened his arms from her body and twirled away a little. Curtis' grip tightened as if he didn't want to let go but eventually it loosened and he gave in. Vivian still maintained a light grasp on his hand as she moved away. They continued to dance as the song played. There was more tension now, which was entirely her fault. She couldn't believe how comfortable she had been before. Her face was now cherry colored from embarrassment. Vivian looked down at the ground, then back up at Curtis, she almost spoke, but then looked down at the ground again. She continued to dance a little, but not like she had been before. Her hand moved a strand of hair back behind her ear as her mind raced for something to say to break the awkwardness she had created. 

 

With out looking up at him she said, "Well that was fun…." 

 

Her eyes wandered back up as she sought confirmation from him that he was enjoying time with her too. When the song had ended another song quickly replaced it. Vivian tried to concentrate on Curtis, but she felt something strange, something cold. She automatically started looking around curiously. It might have seemed like she was ignoring Curtis, but the feeling wasn't like the tingling she got from him, which worried her. Vivian had been around supernaturals before, werewolves and other witches, so the warm tingling she felt around Curtis wasn't too unusual. She hadn't realized yet, that this might mean he was not human though. This new feeling, she had never felt before. Her mother,Verra, had once told her about something similar that happened to her. Cold sensations to witches normally meant undead creatures were near by. It wasn't like these sensations were incredibly obvious to her, just little changes that slightly effected her. Vivian seemed distant, but looked back up at Curtis. 

 

"Is it really cold out or is it just me?"  She tried to play it off as normal, but she wasn't sure he would buy it. 

 

"Not really" Curtis replied. "Although I tend to run a little hotter than most. Family trait." He added with a soft smile. Despite his apparent ignorance he too was looking around, as if trying to find something within the crowd of people.

 

There was a bit of commotion near a truck that had just showed up, as some of the party goers ran over to greet newcomer and more importantly, the beer she had brought. As the new girl, Diana, made her way into the party dancing, Vivian's senses went a little haywire. Where as before it was a slight notion, now she was sure there were non-humans around, and not just one, but a couple at least. Vivian thought to herself, she should probably leave… her parents would not want her to stay there without knowing what was around her. However, her eyes went back to Curtis and the idea of leaving was just awful. So it would come to magic. Vivian figured a quick little spell that would let her know who and what she was dealing with could fix the situation. It wasn't anything too difficult, a simple identification spell that was specifically designed for night time use. It called upon fireflies, and after the incantation fireflies would swarm above any supernaturals in the area, different colors meant different creatures. Red meant animal based supernaturals, these creatures were werewolves, shape-shifters, and kitsunes. Green meant elemental and magic users, which included fae, sprites, witches, and demi gods. Blue was the color she would be afraid of seeing, blue meant creatures of the undead; necromancers, demons, and worst of all, vampires. Now, the complicated part of all of this, was how she could perform the spell and not let Curtis know. Vivian scrunched up her face as she thought of an excuse that might sound believable. Before she could think of anything though her phone went off. It was a text from her mom, Penelope. 

 

- hope U R having a Gr8 time!!! <3 the best MOM -

 

Vivian gave a little laugh and then realized this could be a good excuse. She looked back up at Curtis and tried to fake a worried tone. 

 

"I am so sorry, I have to call my Mom. I will be right back okay?" 

 

Before he could respond she ran off and stood a little ways away behind a tree. She put the phone up to her ear as if she were talking on it, but there was no one on the line. She looked back to make sure Curtis wasn't staring her way before she put the phone in her pocket. She then quickly took the barrette that was holding up a little bit of her hair and brought it in front of her. Her hair fell down and she shook it out so it looked nice and presentable before continuing. Vivian took a breath in before she pricked her left index finger with the sharp point of the barrette.  She winced as the point went through and a little bit of blood trickled out. Vivian used her blood to make a pentagram on the palm of her right hand. After she was done drawing the symbol, she cupped her hands and spoke into them at only the tone of a whisper;

 

"Goddess within, Goddess without, 

Ease my doubt, and use your might.

Reveal your children on this night, 

Present them now with nature's light, 

So that I may avoid their sight. 

As I will it, so mote it be."

 

A small shimmering yellow light came from between her hands, first it simply healed her cut, but then after a few seconds the blood in her hands disappeared and turned into fireflies. They came out of the yellow light, and flew up high circling all of Carrow Hill. Vivian walked back over to Curtis in a daze, her eyes were up looking at all the fireflies she had created. She twirled around until she was right next to him and fell into him a little. She looked up at him with a smile and clearly very pleased with herself.

 

"Sorry about that…I was just watching them…" She pointed up at the swarms of light high above them. 

 

Vivian used her magic sparingly, which was a rare trait in a witch. However, in times like this, as the fireflies soared above her and the music boomed, she wished she used magic more often. Sometimes her gifts brought so much beauty to the world, it was almost like when she painted or gardened. That was what magic was for, at least in her mind. The fireflies now were starting to change colors. Vivian payed close attention as she saw most of them turn green. This was normal, a lot of children from the coven were here including herself. There were a couple red lights, which also didn't surprise her since she knew about the werewolves in Darkpine Valley. She looked back to Curtis with a smile as she felt more at ease. There had been no blue, yet at least. She hadn't really planned on watching where the fireflies flew, there was a green glow above them as she wrapped her arms around Curtis's waist, but it was the sudden red light that was added to the glow that surprised her. Her expression turned from joyous to confused as she looked up at the green and red fireflies that flew around them. They looked a lot like moving Christmas lights. Suddenly it dawned on her and her mouth dropped open a little as her gaze came back to Curtis. 

 

"You're…you're…" But before she could speak this realization out loud there was a cloud of blue that sparked her attention from somewhere off to her right. 

 

Vivian gave a little gasp and whipped around searching for where the fireflies had gone. There were some red ones above the girl, Diana, who had recently shown up. They were illuminating the area in which she danced. Vivian also saw sporadic green lights in the crowd, but it was the couple of blue fireflies that made a little circle around Lex that caused her to panic. He seemed to be just enjoying himself in the crowd, but to Vivian it was presumed that he was hunting. 

 

Her heart began to race as a sudden flashback swept over her. Vivian was about thirteen years old, she played with a silver cross on a chain around her neck, as she sat at the breakfast table. Her mother Verra sat next to her. 

 

Vivian curiously looked over and questioned her, "Mommy, why do I have to wear this?" 

 

Verra looked as if this comment struck a nerve. Her eyes grew very sad and she let out a sigh that meant this was a long explanation. 

 

"Because I love you, and I want you to be protected." 

 

Vivian was confused even more. "How can a silly silver cross protect me?" 

 

Thirteen is that age when everything your parents give you is stupid, and you clearly know way more about life than they could ever know. So, even though Vivian was usually a kind and respectful child, there was a tiny bit of attitude in her tone. 

 

Vivian continued, "I don't want to wear it." 

 

She took it off and threw it on the table. With this, tears began to stream down her mother's face and Verra simply stood up and left the kitchen. Penelope who had been watching from the door let her love walk away. When she was gone and out of earshot, Penelope came into the kitchen and grabbed the necklace off the table. She walked behind Vivian and placed it back around her neck. 

 

"I said I DON'T WANT - !" 

 

Before Vivian could finish Penelope cut in much louder, "I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WANT I AM YOUR MOTHER AND YOU WILL DO AS I SAY!" 

 

This immediately made Vivian shut her mouth. Her wide eyes looked at her mother as if the fear of God had just been put in her. Penelope shook her head from side to side and took a seat next to Vivian. 

 

"Honey, the cross is to protect you from dangerous supernatural creatures… while a lot of them react negatively to silver, the ones your mother and I are most concerned about, are vampires."

 

Later Vivian had been told about her mother's past. While Penelope had grown up in Darkpine Valley her whole life, her mother Verra had originally grown up in upstate California near Mendocino County. Her coven up there had been murdered by a particularly vicious vampire. Apparently,  supernatural blood was very sweet to vampires and they made it a habit of hunting down covens and draining them dry. Verra and her mother, Grandma Bessy, were the only survivors. Vivian's Grandma Bessy had died when she was five, so she couldn't really remember her much. 

 

Vivian came back to where she was. Her heart beat increased significantly, it was as if her fight or flight response was kicking in. She looked around at all the people and even though she wanted to run, she couldn't just leave all these people here with this monster. Forgetting about her situation with Curtis she began to walk back into the crowd of people. Instinctively she reached for her necklace. When there was nothing there to hold she cursed at herself under her breath. Vivian forgot that she had taken off the silver cross before going into school. It was in the car that her parents had conjured back to the house. Vivian wasn't skilled enough to conjure something to her without it being within eye sight, so that idea was out of the question.  She didn't really have a plan as she walked toward the blue fireflies. This was all just happening so fast. Vivian, finally, was only a few paces away from him, and her face and body were now frozen. She looked like a deer caught in headlights. The only way to tell for sure if he was a vampire, was to brush against him and see if his skin was cold. Demons inhabited bodies and necromancer were similar to witches so both of them would be warm like a regular human, but a vampire would be cold to the touch. Vivian shook off her nerves and tried to sway to the beat, but she was sure the nervous pounding of her heart was evident. She slowly made her way closer and finally attempted to squeeze by a dancing Lex and another girl. As her skin grazed his, she noted the deathly cold temperature. He was a vampire. Vivian immediately grabbed Lex's arm, which caused cold chills to run down her spine. To be honest she had no idea what on earth she was doing. 

 

She leaned in and spoke in a stern voice, "You need to leave. Now. I know what you are and I won't let you hurt anyone here." 

 

Her eyes showed all of her courage, but the fact was that he could attack her at any moment, and Vivian couldn't really do anything about it. She had just cast a spell, and even if she could bring forth some strong magic, she didn't know any spells that would help against a Vampire. This whole show was one big giant bluff. Vivian had completely forgotten about Curtis now, she wasn't even sure if he had even followed her into the crowd. All of her attention was on Lex.  She made a point not to look into his eyes.

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The party was in full swing now, everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves and Lex had to admit, for a change, he was starting to enjoy himself as well. The atmosphere was electric and the

was infectious. He danced among the throng of party goers, allowing himself a degree of freedom. He was usually reserved and found it difficult to drop his guard, a long life had taught him that danger comes whether you are on the battlefield, or in a girl's bed.

 

As he danced however, and the beat rose only to quickly explode in a harrying assault of electric drops, something caught his attention. For a moment he wasn't sure what it was. Whatever had sparked his attention drew him from the moment, and though he continued to dance, it was now only for show.

 

As Lex snaked around his current dance partner, a young girl with dark chocolate skin and slick, well-styled hair, he eyed his surroundings. However, before his eyes could focus on what had pulled him from the moment, his ears identified the warning sound that he had detected, perhaps, only subconsciously. Despite the near-deafening music and the constant chatter of the people around him, he heard someone speaking an incantation. He knew that there were supernaturals all around him, he could smell them, sense them, but he hadn't expected a witch to cast a spell, here of all places.

 

A group of fireflies danced into the air from the area he had heard the incantation. Lex's face tensed, his jaw tightening as he watched the fireflies spread out over the party. Whatever that was, he didn't like the look of it. He stopped trying to search for the user of the magic, and returned to dancing.

 

"Everything okay?" His dance partner asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Ever'thin's fine, darlin'," he replied, grinning. But as she took a step closer and resumed dancing, his smile faded. Lex knew something was happening but he wasn't sure what yet, he could hear the buzzing hum of the fireflies approaching and readied for some kind of hell to break out any moment, just as the track was changing.

 

He watched as the group of fireflies centred over him and turn a deep blue. Lex released a short growl that passed off as a grumble in the midst of all the other noise. He didn't know what that meant, but given that it had singled him out, it couldn't be good. He waited and heard a series of footsteps approaching him, he prepared himself but he was uncertain of what it meant. The footsteps coming towards him sounded deliberate, but light. There was little weight to them. He could smell her from the crowd now, and knew the witch was approaching.

Lex couldn't stop himself, he smirked. "Well, alrigh'," he muttered to himself. As the girl came past him, brushing his arm, he knew what she was doing. As she took his arm in her hand tightly, though he hardly felt it, the girl he was dancing with immediately stopped and threw her arms up.

"The hell?!" She snarled, but both Lex and the girl were ignoring her, "Bitch..." She muttered, walking off.
 

"You need to leave. Now. I know what you are and I won't let you hurt anyone here." 

 

While the music hammered on, Lex took the girl's hand and effortlessly removed it from his arm, without applying any force to it. Then it was as though he disappeared and in an instant, he was behind her, still dancing.
"Oh, do go on!" Lex whispered into her ear, laughing mockingly. Then his voice became a little more serious, but a little more soothing at the same time, "Relax, darlin'," He muttered, taking a step closer to her and putting one hand over her belly, bringing her into the dance with him.

 

That laugh made Vivian's brief moment of confidence and bravery trickle away and as he pulled her closer she felt a sickness come over her now realizing she could be in a lot of danger. Though his words were calming, she had been warned about a vampire's charm and replied, "Y-you should let go of me, my family comprises a very... powerful coven here..." Her voice was very shaky and as she tried to pull away, her body gave a nervous quiver revealing just how uneasy and scared she was.

 

Lex tutted and though she tried to separate herself from him, he only needed to gently press on her stomach for her to remain where she was, "I don' make a habit of threat'nin people, y'understan', but..." The palm that was rested on her stomach tensed, so that his steel-hard nails pressed against her body, "Ever' dog should have a few feas..." In an instant, Lex was facing her again, "It's rude t'pry." He added finally. Lex withdrew from her and turned, starting to walk away, but he heard a second set of footsteps rapidly approaching him from behind, and turned around with a lop-sided grin on his face.

 

Curtis was striding towards Lex with purpose, a considerable swagger in his step as he closed on him and threw a punch at his face. Lex's instant reaction was to avoid the punch, he watched as it swept through the air towards him, but to Lex, it was hardly moving. He almost drew himself to one side to avoid it but at the last moment he grinned and reconsidered. He started to pull his face back before Curtis' knuckles had as much as connected with his cheek. He felt the young man's fist connect and fell backwards just as the

was changing, the momentary silence between tracks and Curtis' display of aggression was all the party needed to turn on the two men. Lex, flat on his back, holding the back of his hand against his cheek to fake pain and suppressing a grin, looked up at Curtis, waiting for him to speak.

 

"Apologise." Curtis snapped, clearly attempting to control his temper which was bubbling furiously just below the surface. "Apologise and then leave." Lex lay on the floor for a few more seconds, thinking. When he was done, he got to his feet as slowly as he could and then stood there for a moment, looking from Curtis to Vivian.

 

"Well, boy," Lex said, rubbing his jaw to follow up with the act, "Looks like ye caught me with my pants down." He focused his gaze on Vivian, catching her eye and locking it with his own stare, "I'm sorely sorry for bein' airish, Miss... My apologies." He bowed his head slightly, as though he might have tipped a hat.

 

Vivian was in a bit of shock from what just happened as she looked between Lex and Curtis. "I um.. I guess no harm done then..."
Lex nodded and then he was gone. The people at the party looked to one another and back at the spot that Lex had been, and for a moment there was a general murmur and confusion, as though they'd all blinked at once and missed him leaving, but the tunes of the party quickly pulled them to their senses and they forgot all about it.

 

 


 

 

The music from the party was still thumping in the distance as Lex walked down the road back towards his car, he smiled to himself. Well, that was easy, he thought. Scared the witch, let the werewolf have his moment, maybe now things could go back to normal. He paused as he came to his car, thinking back. Hadn't there been another presence? He closed his eyes and thought back. He had smelt something else there, something alien to him that he'd never smelled before. Lex was an old soul, he'd seen many supernaturals in his life time, but there was something there at the party he'd never met before. Why hadn't he focused on that? He shrugged it off, no doubt, sooner or later their paths would cross again.

Lex reached past the phone in his pocket and pulled out his car keys but as he pushed them into the door of his Impala, his phone went off, he reached for it as he pulled the car door open, held the phone up to his ear and before he could speak, a voice came from the speaker. It began as a low growl and rose into a deep, gruff voice.

 

"Hello... Alexander..." Lex stood beside his car, motionless. The phone slipped from his hand and plummeted towards the ground, smashing against the concrete, he was stood frozen in fear for what seemed like an eternity until at last his instinct to run overwhelmed him and he almost fled into the night. But he knew, for the time being, it would be safer to take the roads in a car. He pulled himself in, shut the door and started the engine. The Impala roared to life and sped out of the town at breakneck speed.

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Isabelle heard about the party before she received the text from her brother. Being in the centre of town meant that the garage was a hub for gossip and the goings on in Darkpine, and while she wasn't a big fan of idle chit chat, she heard it all anyway. Like how Mrs Miller's cat had died, Tom from the bakery had gotten engaged, and Shelia, one of the town's main gossips, had had one of her garden ornaments stolen. It was all meaningless crap she really didn't give a fuck about, she just did her job with it all as background noise. Besides, she couldn't deny that the workshop's positioning didn't have its perks; she'd gotten a few good lays out of it. The only downside being that a few of the guys had wanted something serious, and she wasn't interested. She preferred it when they just stared at her ass when she was bent over a car and asked her out, instead of any awkward or corny flirting, and she definitely liked no strings. 

 

Besides, it wasn't like she could take them home anyway; her family would rip them to shreds.

 

"What's the damage?"

 

"You need a new fuel pump."

 

She wiped the back of her hand across her forehead, smearing some oil across her skin and thinking nothing of it. You couldn't work on cars and not expect to get dirty.

 

"And what will that cost me?"

 

"Couple hundred."

 

The customer, who was fat, balding and smelt like a mixture of fried oil and cheese, looked over her shoulder at her boss, as though she had made some kind of mistake. Wiping her oily hands on an already oily rag, she raised an eyebrow, waiting for the guy to look back at her face, having been given confirmation from Andy behind her. 

 

"Ohhh, so you realise the little girl was right? She wasn't trying to screw you over? Good for you! Now, do you want me to fix it or not?"

 

He nodded numbly, undoubtedly shocked, and she shook her head slightly before walking away. Sometimes she wondered how she didn't get fired, but it was like Andy found it amusing. A theory which was supported by the sight of him chuckling, and with a wry smile, she got back to work. 

 

The rest of the day was uneventful, and the restlessness came creeping back when she got home. The party would actually be a blessing in disguise, a distraction from the approaching full moon, and she planned on getting thoroughly intoxicated.

 

Four more days.

 

--------

 

The party was already in full swing when she arrived, having hitched a ride with some friends, and her bottles of vodka and Jagermeister were well received, naturally. She'd caught a glimpse of her brother, but he'd been with a girl, so she stayed away, leaving him to 'charm' her. Curtis' history with girls wasn't particularly impressive. Actually, it wasn't impressive at all, and while her protective instincts told her to fly straight in there, the rest of her told her to hold back. This could be it for him, and she wouldn't ruin it by basically being herself.

 

Unfortunately, as the night progressed, it appeared that he was very good at ruining it all by himself. She heard the commotion before she saw it, turning around just as he landed the punch, and watching the guy hit the ground. She downed her shot, chucking the glass onto the floor and approached her sibling just as the pale male vanished. He'd apologised for some reason, she knew that much, but everything else was unknown.

 

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?"

 

She'd grabbed her brother's arm, and slapped him on the side of the head, furious all of a sudden. She'd watched it happen, but she hadn't known why she walked over; her brother could handle himself. It was an obvious answer though, he'd made a show of himself, he'd brought down the atmosphere of the party when everyone was trying to have a good time, and he'd tarred their family name. They kept order in the town, they protected it, and that protection shouldn't be needed against one of their own; or at least, other people shouldn't be made to feel like that. 

 

"You're lucky he didn't sock you back, you idiot. Everyone was having a good time until you decided to be the Incredible Hulk. What did he even do anyway?"

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The last few moments had been a bit of a blur. When Vivian had returned she had seemed fine at first, however she very quickly became distracted. Curtis had his own distractions as well. The man he had seen before, who had tapped him on the shoulder earlier in the evening, was now dancing in the crowd not too far away from them. Curtis was wary, he knew nothing of this man except that he was a predator. Whether that was a danger or not remained to be seen. However Vivian was becoming increasingly more anxious. 

 

"You're…you're…" she began as she looked at him. However she trailed off as her gaze went elsewhere. Suddenly she was walking away from him. 

"Vivian..." he called to her, "Hey Vivian...where are you-" she was gone. It was like she couldn't hear him. Perhaps she needed a moment to herself. Was it something he had done? He knew he didn't have much experience with girls but he had thought the night was going well. He sighed to himself and considered whether going after her was an option. However as he waited his keen ears picked up a conversation that was not meant for him. 

 

"You need to leave. Now. I know what you are and I won't let you hurt anyone here."  Vivian had said. Curtis turned and immediately picked her out of the crowd, following her voice and her scent. She was stood with the pale man. She knows what he is? Curtis wondered to himself. Did she know the man? She couldn't possibly have had the same sensation that he had. He could hear the man mocking her, judging by his tone he did not seem afraid or concerned. The next few words from Vivian's lips sent chills through his body. 

 

"Y-you should let go of me, my family comprises a very... powerful coven here..." he heard her say. Coven?...She's a witch? Suddenly pieces were adding up in his head. The man's pale complexion, his scent, his predatory aura. Curtis knew of the local coven only by conversation within the pack. He had heard of why their number was so few. How they had been slaughtered by...

 

"Vampires..." Curtis muttered to himself, "...he's a vampire."

 

His head was swimming. He was no longer listening to the conversation. Curtis was wrapped within his own head. Vivian was a witch. He felt betrayed that she hadn't told him. Then again he had his own secrets, he knew the importance of keeping them. Yet still it hurt. Why was he hurting? Why was he angry. It felt foreign, like it wasn't coming from him. Then, suddenly, it came bursting into the foreground, coursing through him. He was moving now, headed straight for the vampire. He didn't fully understand why but he had to move. As he closed on the vampire his first thought was a bloodthirsty one. He wanted to rip out his throat. For a brief moment he was positive that he would do so. He controlled himself enough though, managing to settle for a punch to the man's jaw, sending him sprawling to the floor. The crowd were staring now. The vampire looked up at him from the ground. 

 

"Apologise." He snapped. It was all he could manage to say. He was seething. His nostrils flared, his chest beating rapidly, visibly pulsing up and down with every breath. Control yourself! he warned himself. "Apologise and then leave." he continued. He was glaring at the vampire. Hoping he would take the advice. He didn't know much about them at all, but apparently Curtis was stronger than him. Hopefully the vampire was smart enough not to make a scene. Slowly he began to get up off the ground. 

 

"Well, boy," he said as he rubbed his jaw, "Looks like ye caught me with my pants down." He then turned to look at Vivian.  "I'm sorely sorry for bein' airish, Miss... My apologies." Curtis turned to Vivian to gauge her reaction. She looked frightened. Of who though? The vampire? Or him? 

 "I um.. I guess no harm done then..." she said finally. The vampire responded with a nod, and then he left. The people in the crowd seemed confused at what they had seen, but Curtis had caught it all to clear. He had never seen anything move that quickly. Had he let Curtis hit him? Before he could get an answer, however, a familiar scent caught his nose. He heard the footsteps, and he knew what was coming. Shit!

 

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" 

 

The slap caught him off guard. Normally something like that wouldn't hurt him at all, not from any normal girl. His sister, however, was not a normal girl. It had been a while since they had fought but he had to admit, her slap had gotten stronger since the last time. His ears were ringing and his face stung. The confusion had brought his temper to a head. For a moment he was tempted to hit her right back but he held it together. When he opened his eyes again Isabelle was glaring at him. 

 

"You're lucky he didn't sock you back, you idiot. Everyone was having a good time until you decided to be the Incredible Hulk. What did he even do anyway?"

 

"Later, Iz" Curtis replied irritably as he rubbed his cheek tenderly. His gaze shifted to Vivian. He couldn't look at her quite the same way. He was suspicious. She looked like she wanted to say something. Right now he didn't want to hear it. "Vivian...can you wait here?" he asked, trying his best to hide his anger, "I need to speak with my sister. Alone." She looked like she wanted to leave now. She would have to wait.

Vivian just gave a little nod,"Sure, of course."

 

"Thanks." Curtis said in a gruff tone that suggested he wasn't really thankful at all. He motioned for Isabelle to follow him and they walked off together, away from the crowd and the party, and into the forest. Perhaps some people might have had an issue with creeping into the forest at night. To Curtis it was comforting. The forest was his home, he felt much more at ease within it. However right now he felt nothing but anger boiling inside him. As soon as he felt they were out of earshot he turned to his sister, Isabelle. 

 

"Do you have any idea what the..." he began, "...what the fuck is going on tonight?" he asked finally. He exhaled deeply, rolling his eyes and staring up into the dark night through the trees. His emotions always ran high when the full moon was getting closer. Not like this though. He just couldn't settle down. 

"what the fuck are you talking about?" came his sister's reply. 

"What did you see?" Curtis asked, but he immediately shook his head. "Nevermind. Look, that guy. He's a vampire!"

"The guy you hit?" 

"Yeah. But that's not why I hit him."

"Oh, so you had some other reason that's worse than being a vampire?"

"I don't care what he is. We're werewolves, there's a lot of bad shit written about us too y'know" Curtis replied before turning away from his sister. He was clenching his fists. He wanted to scream. "He threatened Vivian. At least I think he did."

 

"Who the hell is Vivian? That chick you came with? And what do you mean, 'you think he did'? Nice work dipshit, you could have started all of this over nothing." Isabelle ranted at him. Curtis paused for a moment. She was seriously pissing him off but he didn't want to yell at her. This wasn't her fault. 

"Izzy...please!" He said with a tone of exasperation. "I don't know what happened! I just...I knew somehow. She was in trouble. It just made me so mad. I'm still mad! I have literally...never been this angry over something so stupid!"

"Stupid? Getting this worked up over a girl you barely know is stupid. Hitting a normal guy in the face is stupid. But hitting a vampire just because 'you think' he insulted some girl? What the fuck, Curtis? You've got more sense than that."

 

"Apparently not" Curtis replied. "Look...she doesn't have her car. I need to take her home. Just don't tell dad, okay?"

"I don't need to tell dad. Because you're going to. You're a big boy, Curtis, face up to your mistakes. Even if they're completely misguided, immature and fucking idiotic." Curtis actually managed to force a smile. His little sister giving him grown up advice? Up until now she was normally the one getting in trouble. He stepped forward and gave her a hug, not something they did very often, but as he did he could feel the anger slowly starting to ebb away. His little sister was a pain in the ass but she was the only person he could be himself with. There were no secrets between them. Actually, there was one. He had refrained from telling her that Vivian was a witch. She'd had enough surprises for tonight. He resolved to tell her tomorrow. 

"Okay" he said finally, "C'mon I'll walk you back to the party before I go..."

 

 


 

 

Curtis finally returned to Vivian, having left his sister to enjoy the rest of the party. He felt calmer now, but he felt uneasy around Vivian. Both of them knew that they had some explaining to do. This wasn't really the place to do it though. 

"So I take it you want to go home now, right?" he asked her

"I think that might be for the best. I normally have very boring days, I think tonight has just been a little bit too much excitement for me." She gave a weak laugh. She quickly added. "I really had a great time though, despite what happened."

"I did too" Curtis replied. "Come on then. I'll take you home."

 

The pair walked back to Curtis' car in silence. When they got in he turned the engine on and as the engine fired up so too did the radio. Curtis turned to look at her briefly before pulling out of the spot and driving down the road. She really was a beautiful girl. However right now he didn't like looking at her. She was trying to look like everything was fine but he could tell that it wasn't. She wasn't happy, and for some reason, neither was he. He sighed, trying to think of how to begin what he had to say. After a moment of sighing and mumbling he finally managed to speak up. 

 

"Look." He began, "I heard what you said. I know you're...you're a witch." He briefly glanced across to look at her before turning back to the road.

Her facial expression dropped and she responded. "...and I know you aren't human either...those fireflies above you meant animal based supernatural...so I am assuming you're a werewolf?" Curtis nodded in response. 

"I was just about to tell you..." Curtis replied, "I figured it's only fair...if I know your secret then you know mine. Right?"

"Yea, you don't have to worry I won't say anything. Are um.. are you apart of the Archer Pack? My mom is friends...well...she knows Sam."

"Sam's my dad" Curtis replied with a nod, "...but he's never mentioned witches much before...I mean I knew there was a coven in Darkpine but..."

Vivian's eyes lit up and she took a small step away from Curtis. "Sam is your DAD?!" She placed her face in her hands trying to think. "Ok...ok..." She thought for a moment and put her hands down. "He really has never mentioned witches before? Because there is this bond between him and my mother..." Vivan soon realized that might sound wrong and she threw up her hands shaking them across each other. "Not in a romantic sense - my mom is a lesbian - I mean...yea. They have this weird cursed bond."

 

Curtis hit the breaks on the car as he pulled over into the dirt. Vivian had stopped talking and he turned around to face her properly. 

"Okay. Slow down." he said, looking a little stressed out by all the new information. "Did you say curse? Because...I really hope you didn't say curse."

She threw her hands in the air with a huff. "Well it's a curse for you guys, but not really for us. Um... I really think your Dad should explain it."

Curtis shook his head. He could feel his temper rising again. His night had been completely flipped on it's head. 

"You...no...hang on!" Curtis was at a loss for words. He stopped and sighed again, trying to keep calm. "You can't do that. I have already been in a punch up with a vampire tonight! This is just too much! I mean I just wanted to have have some fun with a cute girl and- Uh..." Curtis paused again. He looked around his car. Anywhere but at Vivian. 

 

Her face flushed red. "You think I'm cute?" The smile that spread across her face was already there and try as she might she couldn't make it go away. As if those last couple words had erased everything she had just been talking about. Curtis simply stared at her. Was she for real? Was that what she had taken from that? He couldn't think straight. Perhaps Vivian was right. His dather obviously had some explaining to do. 

"Uh...yeah. Yeah you're cute." He said with a half smile. "Look...let me just get you home first. Can you show me where you live?"

 

After another 10 minutes or so of driving they finally arrived outside of Vivian's house. It was incredibly close to his own family's reserve. How had he not noticed the path leading to it before? He pulled into her drive and paused momentarily. What do you say in a moment like this? Surely in the history of dates this one took the cake. Curtis furrowed his brow a moment before turning back to Vivian. He found himself struggling to be mad at her. Whatever was going on, it seemed like it was their parents that were to blame. He wanted to talk about it more but he wanted to hear it from his dad. 

 

"Vivian...um...what happens now?" Curtis asked, "I mean I know we have a class together but what..." He was struggling to say it. He didn't really know if he wanted to hear her answer. "Do you want to chalk this up to, like, a bad decision? Or do you think we could maybe, y'know, be friends? I mean it's not like we're sworn enemies are we? Wait, are we?"

"No, no its nothing like that... we're not enemies." She looked up at the night sky and thought for a moment. "I mean, I don't really think our parents get along very well, but we don't have to be like them." She looked back over at him. She took a deep breath in as she considered telling him what she knew. "...I think...possibly...you might be my protector. ...When my grandmother Elenor came to Darkpine Valley, she met a werewolf named Issac. She was afraid to be alone here, so she cast a spell on him that made him her protector and now, that spell is passed down through our blood lines." Vivian opened the car door and scooted out. She shut the door and looked over at him, "I don't think tonight was a bad decision." she looked a bit upset as she began to head inside. 

 

For a moment Curtis felt like calling out to her but he didn't. It was late, and he wanted to go home. By now his father would be asleep. He would have to discuss it with him in the morning. He wanted Isabelle to be there as well. If his dad had been hiding something from him then she deserved to know too. Plus, he thought as he pulled the car out of the drive way, her fiery attitude was excellent back up when she was on your side. Curtis drove further up the road, making the very short journey back to his house. He'd have to get up early tomorrow if he was going to catch his dad before they had work. 

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Vivian heard Curtis's car start up and drive away as soon as she had reached the door to her home. There was no look over her shoulder, no anything. She was emotionally exhausted and happy to have this night over. Her first date of college was an epic fail. She flung the door open with a bit of a commotion and then quickly tried to be quiet. It wasn't her parents fault her night had gone so horribly wrong, so she shouldn't wake them up this late at night. Vivian tip-toed across the entryway and through her dimly lit kitchen. She stopped at the kitchen sink to pour herself a glass of water. Her hand gently turned the faucet and the cool liquid rushed out filling up the glass. Was the glass half empty now or half full? Most definitely half empty. She angrily turned off the faucet and made her way to her room. Vivian set the glass on her bed stand and  removed her dress and under garments throwing them into her dirty laundry hamper.

 

Her closet doors were made of mirrors, she stood in front of them while examining her nude form. She looked human. There wasn't anything different about her that she could see. Just a pale girl, with blonde hair, and large grey eyes. A sigh escaped her lips, so why couldn't she just have had a normal human date. After a while of picking apart all of her flaws, now more depressed than before, she opened her closet doors and took out a pair of red lace shorts and a matching red lace tanktop. She put the sleep ware on and walked down the hall to the bathroom. She washed her face, removing the makeup, and then wet a hand towel with extremely hot water, as hot as she could stand. She held this on her face and breathed in. The steam went deep into her lungs and she began to feel a relaxing sensation spread over her. She then put the hand towel down and proceeded to brush her teeth. When she was done Vivian looked into the bathroom mirror, now doing the same examination she had done previously with her body, but this time she focused on her face. Staring at yourself is a hard thing to do, she felt an over whelming urge to smash the mirror, but she had more restraint then that. Instead of taking any violent action she simply felt hot tears flow down her cheeks. She felt them, before she noticed them in the mirror. She couldn't look at herself anymore now.

 

Vivian abruptly turned and left the bathroom. She climbed up into her bed and pulled the covers over her. She stared up at her ceiling for a while, finally allowing herself to ponder on the nights events. She didn't know what would happen tomorrow. She wasn't sure about her Tuesday and Thursday classes, but she would have to face Curtis eventually on Wednesday. The idea of seeing him again made her want to throw up. She had royally messed things up, well, it wasn't all her fault, but if she had just left before seeking out what supernaturals were there...she could have maybe faked being sick and they would have had a nice drive to her house, it might have even ended with a kiss. Vivian had mixed feeling about that now. There was no way anything would happen with Curtis after this. The options he had given her at the end of the night were either they could be friends or pretend the night had been a mistake. This now made her angry. When he had said it she had simply been upset, but now anger started to bubble up. She had tried so hard to be more social, she danced, she made conversation, even when she had gone after that vampire she was simply trying to protect people. She made a couple noises of frustration as she turned over now laying on her stomach. She clenched her eyes shut. 

 

Vivian tried not to dwell on the night, she didn't want to think about the awful way it ended and she especially did not want to think about how much fun she had been having in the begining. She didn't want to think about how comfortable she had felt with Curits, or his smile, or the way his skin felt...All of this energy being put into not thinking about him, was flustering her. She resigned to the fact that she needed to get over him and everything. 

 

Vivian eventually drifted off to sleep.

 

She was now sitting in class, everything was normal or so she thought. She wore a long white lace dress, which for some reason seemed normal to her. Her hair was down and curled, her face done up as if she were going to be heading out to a dance or event. The class was dismissed and she stood up out of her chair, she looked around, but her books were missing. When she glanced back up to ask if anyone had seen her things Curtis was there. Just standing in front of her, staring at her. 

 

The scenery changed. Now they were outside, it was night time, the dark sky was above them with stars shimmering down. Vivian stood in a field of tall grass a haze of blue light cast over everything. Curtis still stood a couple feet away from her, just staring, his eyes devoid of emotion. Vivian then heard someone call out behind her. She turned and time seemed to be in slow motion, her hair swept past frozen in time. When she finally saw who was behind her, shock overtook her. It was her mother Verra drenched in blood. Vivian tried to scream, but nothing escaped her lips, she grasped her throat not understanding why her voice had gone as her eyes stared at her bloody mother in fear. 

 

"He's coming." Verra said in a ghost like whisper. "There is no where you can hide."

 

When she was done speaking her body melted into a river of blood that washed over the grass stopping at Vivian's feet. She was horrified as she turned back around to where Curtis was. He still looked quite emotionless as he walked towards her. He was right in front of her now as his hands roughly pushed her backwards. She had expected to fall, but instead her body hit a tree that had materialized behind her. She confusingly looked back at it and when she turned around the field had turned to forest and Curtis had her pinned to the tree. His face wasn't blank anymore, those fierce eyes she had seen at school were back and a little cocky smirk. His face was merely inches from hers and Vivian could swear she felt his breath on her skin. Her head tilted to the side, she didn't know why she did that, but as Curtis leaned in she thought she felt his lips graze her neck. Through the tree line she could see the moon rise up quickly into the night sky. It was large...and full. Suddenly Vivian heard growling as Curtis began to transform in front of her. Vivian immediately turned and ran. She was moving so quickly through the woods, trees flying by on either side of her. She looked back frantically to see if he was chasing her, but no one was there. As she went to face forward again everything went pitch black. Total darkness, she couldn't see anything, she couldn't feel anything.

 

There was a voice in the darkness though...

 

"Hello... Alexander..."

 

Vivian had no idea whose voice it was, but she felt frozen, ice cold. Then a laugh so evil erupted. 

 

 

Vivian awoke in a cold sweat immediately sitting up in bed with a frightened yell. The alarm on her night stand had not even gone off yet. The door to her room was almost broken down as Penelope and Verra rushed in. 

 

" What happened!?" Penelope said as if she were ready for a battle, her hands were glowing with purple flame as she glared around the room. Verra swept past her and ran to Vivian on the bed. "Honey are you alright? We heard a scream."

 

"A scream?...I screamed?" Vivian questioned just gaining her breath. She calmed herself down. "No, I'm fine really...just a nightmare. Um, but you should probably know what happened last night."

 

Vivian proceeded to tell her parents about the events of the night before, not leaving a single detail out. When she was done the consensus was that Vivian would stay home for the day. She was not to go to her Tuesday classes. Penelope on the other hand wanted to have words with a certain werewolf. 

 

Penelope stood in her kitchen, with her phone pressed to her face. There was anger raging in her that was out of control. As soon as the person on the other line answered her voice rang out clear as day.

 

"YOU TELL THAT KID OF YOURS TO KEEP HIS GRUBBY PAWS OFF MY DAUGHTER!"

 

She then hung up the phone before she could hear his responce. Penelope didn't care if he was a nice boy, and even though she was appreciative that he had protected Vivian from a vampire, what she felt raging through her was that she did not want her daughter to date a werewolf and of all people, not Samuel's son. Her and Sam had a very stressed relationship built on years of resentment that really had nothing to do with them. She was just upset by the situation. Upset Vivian had to go through this, upset her daughter had been that close to a vampire, upset by everything, and she chose to take it out on Sam. People always cope better when they have someone they can hate. 

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Diana allowed the music seep into her soul, drugging her mind almost with its hypnotic beats. Her body swayed in time with the sounds, somehow managing to get pressed up against one of the male partygoers. Her hips grinding against his sensuously, his hands grasping her at the point where they connected. Alcohol burned inside of her blood and she could smell in on his breath as he pulled her closer, holding her tighter. She knew what was most likely coming next but she wasn’t going to stress out about it. Her arms encircled around his neck even though warning bells went off in her head. Their lips were only a hairs breadth away when she noticed a faint light dancing around her. Her head reared back to watch the floating object and her dance partner became thoroughly irritated ditching her to find another female to ensnare in his grasp. Bright grey eyes focused on the flittering objects realizing slowly that they were just fireflies. Or so she thought until the ones around shifted to a shade of red. Diana couldn’t remember if she had ever seen a firefly blink a red color before. Casting her gaze around Diana noticed there were several other red fireflies buzzing around and finally blue ones. Rubbing at her eyes Diana focused on the tiny bugs to make sure she wasn’t imagining things. Nope they were most definitely blue.

 

Taking that as a cue she had too much to drink Diana weaved through the other dancers making her way to her car. She had almost made it without any distraction until her ears picked up the sound of impact. Whirling around she received the glorious scene of one pale student sprawled out on the floor another standing over him, his chest heaving with anger. She knew the guy standing. Something Archer; he had been one year her senior while they were in school. Shaking her head Diana spun back around and slid into her truck. Damn bastard was probably pawing at Archer’s girl. Idiot. Taking a quick glance into the bed of the truck Diana found the cooler she had brought open and empty. Satisfied a slender hand gripped the gear shift and slid it into reverse then into drive as she had successfully pulled out of the mess of cars. Thankfully she didn’t live far from Carrow Hill so Diana didn’t have to worry about being questioned about driving possibly drunk.

 

 Pulling into her driveway Diana stared at the house rethinking the conversation from earlier with her parents. They had offered the house to her which gave her the solitude she craved at times but thinking more deeply on the subject Diana wasn’t sure she really wanted solitude anymore. She had been on her own for the past few years she felt she had enough loneliness to last the next few years. The alcohol was beginning to get to her and she really needed to clear her mind. Only one way to do it. Walking into the house Diana found her parents in the kitchen talking not exactly waiting up for her but in a sense still making sure she can home. It had been several years since she had resorted to this particular method but she needed this moment.

 

“Um dad; do you think perhaps we could go for a quick run?†Her father looked at her perplexed until he finally realized what she meant by run. Nodding the older man stood up, giving his wife a tender kiss on her forehead bidding her good night. Diana’s mother nodded feeling more comfortable that Diana would be with her father and kissed her daughter goodnight before retreating to the master bedroom. Her father grabbed his car keys from the kitchen table and the two proceeded to her father’s vehicle. Waiting until they were out of the drive way Diana stared out the window contemplating what she was going to do. Her father’s soft voice came to her ears almost through a haze, he sounded so far away.

 

“Are you sure you want to do this?†Diana nodded slowly remaining silent as she studied the trees that they passed.†You don’t have to if you’re unsure.†Diana faced her father with shockingly glazed over eyes. “I want to, I need to.†Her father just bobbed in response and returned his focus to the road ahead of him. “Diana I know you went out a couple of nights ago so I shouldn’t…†Diana cut him off quickly. “I didn’t change that night. I wanted to but I was too afraid. I haven’t changed since the night I left you and mom.†Her voice was devoid of any emotion as she stared down at her hands. Shooting a questioning glance at his daughter the older man was unsure whether to immediately stop the car or keep going.

 

When Diana spoke again her voice remained hollow. “That’s the reason I asked for you to come, I need someone to be there just in case.†His heart ached for her, he wished you knew what she dealt with in the time she was gone; but when she came back she had closed herself off making communicating difficult. “Diana, do you remember what you said to me the first time you changed?†A heavy sigh escaped past her lips and her voice trembled slightly.

 

“I said it hurt, I know. That’s why I spent so many years perfecting the change so I could go through without feeling pain. The feeling of bones joining and separating was a feeling I never wanted to experience again. After that night though, I wanted to be normal, human even. Coming back home though, I’m reminded it’s who I am; it’s not something I can ever run away from. Which is another reason I wanted to come out tonight with you. I’m not ready to be alone again just yet. Several years of it at a young inexperienced age, I wasn’t ready for it. I don’t know what I’m trying to say anymore.†A warm hand was placed on her shoulder, reassuring her it was alright.

 

The vehicle pulled off onto the side of the road and both father and daughter slipped out. They were a good ways away from the house but Diana knew the way. She had studied the route the entire drive here. Nodding at her father Diana crouched down, placing her hands in the dirt beneath her, feeling the soft welcoming feel of it. Her father slid back into the car and turned the radio on, the country station he was playing echoing in the night sky. “Ready?†Diana stared in front of her not quite seeing anything as her eyes began to glow around the edges. Taking that as his cue her father drove off ahead of her, the music fading with him. Closing her eyes Diana endured the pain of her tailbone lengthening and splitting into multiple bones, her shoulders and hips growing smaller along with the rest of her body, her thumbs separating from her hands repositioning further back. She released her head and screamed but the sound came out as growl and hiss. Bright orbs of grey shone, reflecting the light of the waning moon. Her ears perked as she listened for the sound of her father car, he wasn’t far away. Satisfied with the painful change a lean bobcat prowled out of the shadows of the trees, black pupils expanded to adjust to the dim light. And the chase began. Crouching down on its haunches the bobcat prepared to pounce and hunt down the vehicle, taking flight seconds later, silently chasing the car.

 

Several hours later, the same bobcat crept inside a house through an open window, maintaining its silent tread. Pawing at the carpet the large cat made it way up the stairs, determined to find its prey. Upon sighting it the creature pounced on the bed, curled up in the center, a voice calling out from the shadows. “Good night Diana. Sweet dreams darling.â€

 

“Good night Dad. See you in the morning.†Nestled in the same spot as the feline from just moments ago Diana lay, exhausted beyond belief, her body ached from the running and shifting. She needed her rest up if she planned on making it to classes tomorrow. Her grey eyes closed and she drifted into a heavy sleep, pleased to feel like she belonged once again.

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The 1967 chevrolet Impala careened down the dirt road, kicking up great plumes of dust. The highbeam headlights shone onto the road, illuminating everything. Music blasted from the radio as Lex drove the car as fast as he could, coaxing every ounce of speed from the classic car. He couldn't think, he could barely focus on his driving. It took everything just to fight his instinct to run, and to stop himself from driving the car into a tree. The car finally slid around the tight bend leading up to his home and with one final burst of speed it roared up his driveway. The growl eventually dying while he kept the engine ticking over.

 

What do I do?! He thought, frantically. If I leave now, he'll only follow me and probably catch me when my guard is down. If I stay, I could be putting everyone at risk. But, they're supernaturals, he would likely kill them before moving on. Lex shook his head, killing the car's engine - and the music with it - then pocketed the key once he'd locked the door.

 

The path up to his house felt like it went on forever, Lex kept hearing things and looking behind him, convinced that he was being watched, but he knew what he was like. He would wait, allow Lex time to consider what was coming, without giving him any sense of when it would happen or how. He would play this game of cat and mouse, the way he always did. Without a doubt, this man was dangerous. Lex opened his front door and walked inside. As he closed the door he smelt something familiar, he felt like his skin was crawling and as he locked the front door he turned around his face tightened.

His smell was everywhere. 

Cautiously, very slowly, Lex stalked through his house. Room by room he went, until he had cleared the entire ground floor. There was no signs of disturbance. He walked up the stairs without a sound and did the same for the second floor, but again, he could find no signs that anything had been tampered with. Lex let his shoulders relax, he knew he had been here but he wasn't yet sure why. But he was concerned however. Concerned with how quickly he had been found.

Walking down the stairs, Lex sat upon the second to last step and rested his head on one hand and found himself thinking back to his days in the second world war. A time, he knew, that this man had been closer to him than at any other time in his life. And how that had changed because of a single act that Lex would never forget for the rest of his days.

 

 


 

 

1944, Belgium. The radio crackled as it played a relaxing big band song. The music was turned down low, as the Germans had already dug in at the town of Bastogne, and Easy Company of the 101st airborne had to be careful not to give their position away. All the men in the company, including Captain Alexander Speirs, had been forced to dig holes to mask their presence. Light discipline had to be observed. The Germans had already set up mortars. The men could speak, but they were told to whisper.

Sitting in the corner of his foxhole, Lex pretended to rub his hands together and breathe on them to keep warm. He had been a vampire for a very long time, but such things were necessary to keep up appearances. The other men were suffering terribly from the cold.

 

Lex's eyes narrowed as he saw a shape approach from the darkness and put his hand to his rifle, but as he lifted it he was able to identify the soldier in question. Joseph Toye.
"Nearly blew yer god-damn head off, Joe." Lex muttered, pulling himself back into his huddled position and pulling his helmet down over his eyes.
"Ah sorry, Captain." Joe Toye pulled himself down into the foxhole, flashing a glance at the other man in the foxhole with Lex and himself, "What's he doing?"

"Sleepin'," Lex replied, in his distinctly southern drawl.

"You want me to wake him, Sir?" Joe asked, nodding at William Guarnere.
"Nope," Lex sighed, "Let 'im sleep, while he can... 'fore Jerry starts droppin' shells again."
"Right." Joe Toye crouched low into the foxhole, shivering. "You ain't cold, Sir?"
"Freezin', Staff Sergeant." Lied Lex, "You gon' let me get some sleep, too?"
"Oh yeah, sorry Sir." Joe Toye nestled down but within seconds all hell broke loose.

A shrieking whistle echoed through the sky and every soldier in the company braced himself as the sound lowered. Even as it descended, several more whistling cries flew through the night.
"MORTARS!!" One man yelled, he didn't catch the voice. Suddenly the darkness of the night was lit up by flares, illuminating the snow and the rock hard, frozen dirt. A deafening explosion went off just a few feet to the right of Lex's head, he was dazed by the noise and the light as a thick splatter of blood smacked him in the right side of his face.

"JESUS CHRIST!!" William Guarnere screamed, picking up his rifle, "ALREADY?!" He barked over the noise, neither of the other two soldiers responded, as they cowered in the foxhole, hoping not to get hit. The radio was still playing and it cast an eerie, almost comical tune to the fight, but the men were terrified to laugh. Lex dared not raise his head out of the hole he'd dug, there were some things that vampires could take without much issue, but he was willing to bet that if a mortar landed on his head, he wasn't going to heal through it. But he wasn't afraid, as such. His eyes glistened as brightly as the fresh blood on his cheek. He cleaned off a forefinger in the snow and wiped it down across the bloody side of his face and sucked on it, humming to the tune on the radio.

"ARE YOU FUCKIN' KIDDIN' ME, SIR?!" William Guarnere couldn't have seen him wipe the blood off and consume it, but he heard Lex humming the tune. "AS IF IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH, JOE!!" Joe Toye started laughing, nervously. "WE GOTTA LISTEN TO THIS SOUTHERN SCHMUCK SING BING CROSBY!!!"
All three of the soldiers started laughing, there was something about that moment that forced all three of them into hysterical laughter, even as the mortars were falling all around them. They heard screaming, however, and all the laughter died in an instant. The mortars were still falling but it was starting to abate, it had seemed like forever.

"WHO'S HIT?!" Lex screamed over the sound of the mortar fire.
"STAFF SERGEANT DAVID WEBSTER, SIR!!" A voice cried back, "HE'S HIT PRETTY BAD SIR, I DON'T THINK HE'S GONNA MAKE IT!!!"
Lex grit his teeth, David was his friend. He looked from Joe Toye to William 'Wild Bill' Guarnere and then made up his mind, "Alright..." He muttered. "I'M COMING!!" He screamed back.
"THE HELL YOU ARE, SIR!!!" Joe Toye yelled, grabbing him by the arm.
"SIT YER ASS DOWN, JOE. I'M A CAPTAIN REMEMBER - I OUTRANK YOU!!"
William Guarnere looked from Joe Toye to Lex and the two men shared a knowing glance.

 

Lex turned and grabbed the edge of his foxhole, "DON' SHIT IN MY FOXHOLE, GENTLEMEN. I SWEAR T'GOD." The two soldiers laughed and looked on as Captain Alexander Speirs pulled himself out of the foxhole as a mortar dropped ten feet to his right, sending snow, dirt and deadly debris flying everywhere, but the man barely flinched.
"HOLY SHIT!!" Joe Toye grabbed onto his helmet, the two of them looked at each other unashamedly amazed by the sight of their Captain sprinting across ground under fire from mortars.

The attack was almost over by the time Lex had arrived at the casualty scene, nobody would get out of their foxholes but it seemed that Staff Sergeant David Webster had been caught coming back from the command tent, he never made it to his hole. Lex collapsed to the hard ground and crouched over the broken body of his friend, "David, are you alright?!" He barked, looking over the man's wounds. 
David looked up at Lex but it was like he was looking through him. David was peppered with shrapnel, chunks of metal stuck out of his chest and a large hole was missing from his right arm. One of the soldiers risked peaking out as the mortar fire ceased.

"Is Staff Sergeant Webster alright, Sir?!" He asked.
"Ye stay in yer god-damn foxhole, Private!!" Lex snapped back at him, the man's head immediately disappeared back inside the hole, faster than a gopher. 
"It's gon' be alright, David. I'm here." Lex started pulling the chunks of shrapnel from the man's body, with each pull the man convulsed and screwed his face up in the most extreme way imaginable. He was experiencing pain the likes of which he'd never known in his life, but he was remarkably clear-headed, and Lex knew why.
"I feel like shit, Lex." David muttered, blood spluttering out from his mouth as he spoke.
"Ye be quiet, now." Lex replied, pulling another piece of metal from his comrade's chest. "Ye gonna be fine, David. Just sit still..." Lex pulled a final large shard of shrapnel from a space between David's ribs.

 

 


 

 

Lex blinked, shaking his head for a moment. He checked his watch and swore. He'd been sat lost in his thoughts for almost an hour. He stood up and remained there for an age. Unsure of what to do now. He turned and headed into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, it was stacked with a lot of long shelf life items that gave an illusion of regular eating habits. However, when Lex reached in, he pushed aside a fake slide at the back, revealing bag after bag of donated blood. 

A few contacts in the local hospital, people who didn't understand the reason for his wanting the blood but that he paid very well for it. On the odd occasion they asked, he gave them a different story every time. The last time he'd claimed it was for painting. In fact, that was the last time they asked. Whatever it was, they were sure they didn't want to know - and just wanted to keep getting paid. Lex pulled a bag of blood out, stuck a nail in the top to create a small hole and drank from it until the entire bag was gone. It took perhaps two, to three seconds. Once he'd thrown the bag into his trash he started to feel a little better.
His mind felt calmer now, a little more focused. He still had plenty of reserve, which he wouldn't normally drink, but he hadn't had enough from that woman earlier and he didn't want to go out looking for another meal. He'd 'eat in' tonight, he thought. Smiling at the thought as a way to calm himself. Licking up a stray drop of blood that had started to run down his chin, Lex turned and started to walk upstairs. He wasn't sure what to do, or how to act, if he should go or stay, but whatever he was going to do, he had to make a decision and soon.

Walking up the stairs, Lex almost missed it. His brain seemed to register the change, even when his eyes did not. For a moment he paused, frowning. And then took a couple of steps back. And turned to look at the wall. He stared in horror at the frame of the picture of the three army paratroopers. While the glass and frame seemed untouched, and even still had a measure of dust on the frame, the picture itself was quite different. Lex looked at the man on the far right, David Webster. He had been left well alone. He looked over, scanning the image of William Guarnere. A thick line was scratched through the middle of the man's neck. In a stupor, Lex turned his head further to the last man in the picture. Himself.

The eyes had been scratched from the picture. And dozens of little scratches had been torn out of his body and neck until his image was almost in ribbons. Lex backed away from it the way he had once laughed at vampire's in silly films backing away from a holy symbol. His back hit the bannister on the stairs and he stayed there, eyes fixated on the ruined picture, fangs bared in a vicious snarl. There was a time when he thought of David Webster as his friend, but now, he saw only a true monster. And now this monster was coming for him. He wished he had never saved his life that night.

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Curtis awoke to an assault of sounds. He flinched and cupped his ears, sitting upright in his bed and cowering from his alarm that was blasting incredibly loud music. After a brief moment he slammed his hand down on top of the alarm and stopped the noise. His ears were ringing and he felt confused and dizzy. He was almost always awake before his alarm rang. As his senses adjusted he looked around his room. It was morning. 6am to be precise. He couldn't believe he had slept in. He'd wanted to talk to his dad but he'd have to get ready for work. He stood up and got out of his bed, only for his door to open. 

 

Sam Archer popped his head round the door. He was dressed in light blue jeans and a red flannel shirt. His grey hair was thinning and the stubbled beard on his face looked a little longer than usual. Curtis' first impression of his father was that he looked tired. Then he realised that he looked troubled. He was thinking about something, and it was causing him some angst. 

"Come down stairs when you have a minute" His father said to him. 

"What about work?" Curtis asked

"We're taking a day off." Sam said in response. "Now hurry up. Your sister is pissed off I've kept her waiting."

 

Curtis got dressed. He put on a pair of dark blue jeans, a white vest and a short sleeved checkered shirt with a hood. He looked in the mirror at his short brown hair that was standing up on it's ends. He quickly groomed himself, taking a bit of styling wax and using it to tame the hair, at least now the mess looked deliberate and controlled. He finally left his room and went downstairs into the living room. His sister, Isabelle, was sitting on the sofa looking none too happy about being asked to stay in and wait. His father, Sam, was through in the kitchen making himself a cup of coffee. 

 

"What's going on?" Curtis asked Isabelle as he moved past her to go into the kitchen. 

"I have no idea" Isabelle replied. Curtis walked into the kitchen and stepped past his father, opening the fridge and grabbing a bottle of water from it. He twisted the lid off and took a sip before heading back into the living room and sitting down on the sofa next to his sister. Finally Sam came into the living room and sat down on the armchair opposite them. He took a sip from his cup of coffee and sat for a moment, contemplating what to do. Finally he cleared his throat and spoke. 

 

"What happened last night?" Sam asked, and before he could get a reply he added, "and don't bullshit me. I got a call from Penelope Clearwater. I know something is up."

"Fuck!" Curtis spat, his expression becoming quickly one of frustration. "Are you kidding me? It's all true then? The Clearwaters are witches?"

"Mind your language under my roof, son!" Sam growled. Curtis stood up off the sofa, he couldn't sit still. 

"Fuck you!" he cursed at his father, "I get the first date I've had in months and it turns out she put a curse on me. And you knew about it!"

"Sit down..." Sam growled. 

"A date? THAT'S what you're worried about?" Isabelle added. 

 

Curtis turned round and stared at her. He looked angry, but once again it was not directed at her. It was directed at his father this time. 

"Iz...it's not about that. He's been lying to me! Lying to us!" Curtis yelled, pointing at Sam. His father was beginning to look incredibly fowl tempered. 

"Sit down, Curtis..." he said again, his tone quiet but full of warning. 

"Not until you tell me what the fuck is going on!" Curtis yelled at him. 

"Sit the fuck down! Now!" Sam roared, his voice echoing around the whole house, literally growling like an animal. Curtis was tempted to bark back at him. He was boiling with rage. He wanted to scream, but he could not. There was an inherent respect within the pack for his father. The Alpha werewolf had a command over the other's. Ultimately his word was the final one. Curtis slumped back on to the sofa. He stared at his father. His old eyes gave him away. He looked physically angry, but he could see guilt in his old man's eyes. 

 

"Well?" Curtis probed after a particularly uncomfortable silence. Sam looked uneasy but he began to explain. 

"It started with your grandfather, my father" Sam explained, "When he first moved to Darkpine Valley, he came across a young girl. As young as she was she was dangerous. She cast a spell on your grandpa Isaac. She cursed him to serve at her side like a dog on a leash. I don't know the ins and outs of it but whenever she got herself into trouble, Isaac went to her. He protected her from all sorts. In the end he lived with it until his dying day. Meanwhile that old bitch is still alive and kicking. She lives with her daughter, Penelope."

 

"So how does this affect me?" Curtis asked, "Why do I have to deal with this. Isn't it over?"

"No." Sam replied, shaking his head. "The curse passes on through the witches in the coven. When a witch is born the closest male werewolf, in terms of age, is bound to that witch. Until death. I was unfortunate enough to be bound to Penelope. Everyone else in the pack was fine. That was until they had Vivian. When I found out I lost it. You were the youngest boy in our pack. I couldn't bear to have that happen to my son!"

"So you lied about it?" Curtis snarled, "Did you think it'd just go away?"

"No, son" his father replied, "I just wanted you to have a normal life. I knew this day would come, but I wanted you to be happy until then and just be like every other boy."

 

"You are fucking shitting me, right?" Curtis cried, he was getting angry again. "I'm a fucking werewolf! What's normal about that? If you'd told me I could have prepared for it. I could have gotten used to it. Izzy c'mon back me up here! Can you believe this shit?"

"Curtis, calm down, and don't try and get me to take sides. This isn't about backing you up, because no one here is against you. Dad was just doing what he thought was right. You're just understandably angry, because this is a shock."

"What!?" Curtis exploded, standing out of the chair again. "You!? You're being the impartial one here? If this affected you, you'd have clawed his fuckin' eyes out by now!"

"Yeah, but it doesn't affect me. So sit down and shut up." she replied

 

"Fuck you, too..." Curtis said, glaring at his sister and then turning to his dad. He shook his head. "I'm out. Stay the hell away from me. Both of you!"

With that Curtis turned around and went for the door. He didn't wait for anyone to protest, he opened it and stepped out, slamming it shut behind him. He went off down the dirt road at a run. He wasn't taking his car. He needed to run right now. Adrenaline was coursing through his veins. His heart was beating rapidly. As he began to sprint he picked up incredible speed. The house was beginning to get out of sight as he shot through the forest, dodging around the trees and leaping over ditches in the ground. As his speed peaked he had began to lean forward. For a few brief moments he had begun to bound on his hands and feet, cutting serious distance, before he stopped as quickly as he had started. With an expert leap he cleared the fence that bordered his pack's reserve. He began to go down the road at a jog. Regardless of how angry he was, he couldn't show off like that in the town. A werewolf's speed wasn't inhuman, but it was Olympic level fast. He didn't know where he was going. Anywhere but home would do. 

 

 


 

 

10am had rolled around. Curtis hadn't turned up yet. Samuel Archer was walking through the forest. He had left Isabelle to do her own thing a while back. The rest of the pack were out at the timber yard. Sam hadn't taken a day off in a long time. However Curtis was not his only problem today. His son had no mentioned anything about encountering a vampire. He didn't have the nose of an Alpha though. He could smell it on Curtis' clothes. It was faint but it was there. Sam didn't like trouble, and he didn't particularly care much about vampires. However there were those he did know, who did tend to get mixed up with them, and that could mean trouble for him, and his son.  Sam had came to a house and was walking up to the front door. As he approached it a woman answered it, as if she had expected him to arrive. She didn't look pleased to see him. 

 

"Good mornin', Penelope" Sam said to the woman, "I think you and I need to have a little talk."

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A haunting voice echoed through the woods around the Clearwater home. Vivian sat under a large oak tree about a quarter of a mile away from her house, singing softly. Far enough to be by herself, but close enough so that if she were needed by her parents she could be home quickly. Her parents had suggested that she stay home from school today given what happened the night before, and Vivian could not have agreed more. Hanging from the oak tree was an old swing her mother, Verra, had made for her when she was a little girl. The rope that held the wooden seat was discolored and aged, but it still held strong. Vivian sat on the swing now slowly moving back and forth, lost in her own thoughts. Her long blonde hair fell down and flowed behind her and then back in front as she swung. She wore a long, over sized, short sleeved, forest green shirt with a white spaghetti strapped tank top underneath. The large shirt fell off on her left side revealing her delicate shoulder. Underneath she wore distressed jean shorts for bottoms and black sandals on her feet. At the base of the oak tree were tons of different types of flowers, all of whom resided there because Vivian had planted them. She loved to find beautiful areas in the woods and decorate them with her gardening. That way, if anyone happened upon them it was as if you had found a secret garden. The clearing around the oak tree smelled of fresh wild flowers and the scent was soothing to Vivian. This was her place of solace over the years. She came here whenever she was distraught. She couldn't hide here forever though. Vivian stood up from the swing and looked over at a cleared patch of dirt where she planned to put the newest addition to her flower patch. She sat down on her knees in front of the patch. She used her hands to dig up the dirt a little bit and then planted a couple seeds. Vivian covered the seeds with loose dirt, the cold damp dirt felt so nice on her skin. She then closed her eyes and rested her hands over the soil. She stopped singing and conjured up a spell which she used frequently. 

 

"Green Man and Goddess hear my plea,

perfect love, I give to thee. 

Sprout and thrive with life anew,

Milk and honey flow through you. 

Maiden, Green Man, dance & play,

Twirl and laugh here everyday.

Bring lush growth and green this spot, 

enrich this land, beauty this plot.

As I say, so mote it be."

 

Vivian's hands glowed a bright green and flowers began to spring up where she had just buried the seeds. There were a couple stalky looking white and purple flowers. Vivian stood up and gathered her things from underneath the tree, a simple black leather backpack. She took out her phone and put her earphones in to listen to music while she was walking back to her house.

 

Vivian smiled as she thought about the flowers she had just planted, they had a very fitting name. She usually planted after important events in her life, all the flowers beneath the oak tree told a story. The particular group she had just grown were called lupine flowers, also known as wolf flowers. This group of wolf flowers represented the beginning of her bond with Curtis. Vivian  brushed the dirt off her hands as she walked along the path. There was a nice breeze that came through the trees and she breathed in deep. Maybe all of this wasn't going to be so awful. Hopefully with some time and space Curtis wouldn't hate being bonded to her so much. Vivian knew it was easy for her to accept, she had known her whole life about the situation, but he had just found out. Curtis had every right to be confused and angry, she just hoped that those feelings weren't completely directed towards her forever. Vivian's emotions on the subject kept flip-flopping and it had hardly even been 24 hours yet. It was hard to have emotions without speaking to the other person involved. What on earth was she going to do, what would she say next time they saw each other. Vivian kicked the ground as she walked. Why on earth had her grandmother done this in the first place? All it seemed to do was cause issues for people, then again, if her mother Penelope hadn't had Sam's protection she would probably have died by now. Everything was so complex, sometimes Vivian wished she could give up all her gifts just for one day of a normal life. She had thought college would give her a normal routine, but this had just blown up everything.

 

As she approached the house Vivian could see a man walk inside, it was far away, but she was pretty sure it was Mr. Archer, Curtis's dad and Archer Pack Alpha.

 

Penelope glared over at Sam after she had opened the door. She didn't verbally invite him inside but she opened the door all the way and stood to the side so he could enter.

 

"You know you didn't have to come over... I said everything I wanted to tell you on the phone." This was coated in sarcasm.

 

"Oh really?" Sam replied, a tone of sarcasm in his voice, "Because I thought vampires sniffing round your daughter is something I need to know about. And so does my son. Your mother saw to that."

 

"Well..." Penelope looked up at the ceiling clearly caught by logic. "Yea, there was that."

She rested her back against the kitchen cabinets her arms folded over.

" I just know what Vivian told me... If you need details you'll have to speak to her."

 

"I don't want anything to do with a bunch of fangers" Sam assured her, "I'm just here to make things clear. Your family started this. You know we can't keep them apart. But the full moon is on friday. Vivian needs to stay out of trouble until then. If Curtis falls from the pack he'll hurt plenty who don't deserve it."

 

"FANGERS?!" Penelope threw her hands up angrily.

"She was at the party WITH YOUR SON, he brought her to a party where there was a VAMPIRE! The only person putting her in danger is your dumb kid! Don't worry, as long as she doesn't hang around him anymore there shouldn't be any trouble!"

Penelope held the door open now, "I think its time for you to leave. Get your rude furry ass out of my house!"

 

Vivian was on the other side of the door, about to walk inside. She had heard the last little bit as her mother tried to kick Sam out. Vivian realized this was a bad time, but she was wondering if Curtis had calmed down at all from the previous night.

 

"Um...excuse me Mr. Archer..."

 

"What?" Sam growled, less at Vivian but more at her mother.

 

"I um..." Vivian looked extremely nervous. "I was wondering if Curtis was feeling any better this morning..."

 

"Worse." Sam replied bluntly, "Leave him be. He'll come around. He doesn't have a choice. You two are going to see a lot of each other, regardless of what either of you..." Sam stopped and turned to stare at Penelope, "...or what your mother might think. I'm sure she'd love to see the back of me but that's not how this works." he explained and then directed his next comment back to Penelope. "My wife knew all too well about that, if you'll recall."

 

Penelope's anger died down as she responded quietly. "You know that wasn't intentional Sam..."

 

Regardless of it being her fault or not Penelope still felt guilty about the fact that Sam had not been by Emily's side when she passed away. Vivian simply hung her head and moved out of his way as she quietly replied. 

 

"If you could just let him know that I will be switching the class we have together. So that way, he only has to see me when you know, he has too... I would really appreciate that."

 

"He's not talking to me right now either..." Sam admitted. "I don't even know where he is. I won't lie, he might want to confront you about this."

 

"Oh.. okay." Vivian piped out and immediately made her way inside to her room.

 

Vivian put her earphones back in and played some music quickly. The idea of seeing Curtis face to face made Vivian's stomach turn and she visibly looked like a wreck. At first she was just laying on the bed, but once again she felt stir crazy, she had finally mellowed out, and now she was upset again. Hormones were awful and confusing. She stood back up and went to the back door of the house. Vivian sprinted a couple paces outside as if she were in desperate need for air. She now stood out in her backyard with her eyes closed trying to calm herself down just as it started to rain. There were a couple droplets that landed on her nose and another on her hand. Her reaction was to tilt her face upward just as it began to rain a bit heavier.

 

Back inside, Penelope came to the door. She seemed a bit more reasonable now as she talked to Sam.

"I can have the coven handle the vampire if that's how you want the situation dealt with."

 

"Keep him away from your daughter" Sam warned, "Vamps are tougher than a beta. Curtis would die protecting your daughter, and then she'd just get killed any way. If you're any kind of smart you'll make sure the attention is on you. Since you're the only Witch in this coven with an Alpha protecting her."

 

Sam turned and went to take his leave. He stopped though and turned around briefly.

"He's not mad at her you know. He's mad at everyone else..." he said before turning round and heading off back into the forest.

 

Penelope just leaned against her door and sighed as Sam walked away. She looked up at the sky as a storm set in and closed the door after watching Sam disappear into the woods.Vivian still stood in the backyard, she too was looking up at the sky, the rain fell down blanketing her in cold water, but she didn't mind. The feeling was so refreshing. Nature fixed everything, always.

 

Penelope sat inside at the kitchen table brooding. Once again she would be the bait, because unlike everyone else Penelope had a very powerful watchdog. She knew all too well about how dangerous vampire's were. Her wife's coven had been destroyed by a particularly nasty one years ago. Verra walked up behind Penelope as she sat and ran her hands over her wife's shoulders.

 

"How'd your talk go?" Verra asked.

She had been aware that Sam was here, but always gave the two space. 

 

"It went." Penelope replied. "Where is Vivian?" 

 

"In the backyard I think…"

 

"Alright, I just want to keep her with in sight for the rest of today, at least for today."

 

Verra simply nodded at Pen's words and replied, "Ok I'll go get her."

She then left Penelope in the kitchen while she walked to the back of the house and opened the back door.

 

"Vivi! Come inside, or you'll catch a cold Honey!"

 

Vivian looked back at her mom with a smile. "Alright, coming"

She gave one more glance up at the sky as thunder struck across and took a deep breath in.

 

"Everything is going to be ok. I just wish it felt more like it." Vivian then made her way back inside the house. 

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It had been a long night for Lex. One of those nights where everything just seemed to go wrong. At least a handful of people knew what he was, granted they were supernaturals themselves, but that gave him little comfort. So there was a coven of witches in Darkpine. A pack of werewolves. There was that other strange supernatural smell he had recognized as well. That played on his mind almost as much as his realisation that David Webster, a vampire from his past, had been in Darkpine. Had even been inside his house while it was vacant. Too many thoughts spiralled around his mind. 

Vampires considered themselves noble creatures, proud and strong. Constantly testing the boundaries of their abilities. It was the most common cause of death. Humans were a nuisance to them, even when they came as experienced hunters they were not considered a threat. Werewolves were another story. Any vampire that had been blooded for a century or more could easily kill any werewolf they pleased, however, it was in the knowledge that as a whole, vampires were solitary creatures. Meeting only occasionally and that in itself, often ended in death.

They liked to test themselves. The vampire clan considered weakness to be the lowest of all traits. So while any member of the clan would help another, and indeed, were quite close, not unlike an extended pack, they also did not accept a vampire's weakness. Should one be found to be weak, they were usually killed. It was in this advantage in numbers that vampires tended not to mix with werewolves.

 

That and the fact that they could travel in the daylight, which vampires struggled to do for any length of time. Within minutes the sunlight would badly damage a vampire's sensitive nocturnal vision, blinding them for a number of days. They could survive a few hours in the daylight, but they would be weak, and in agony. 

This was one of the ways in which vampires tested themselves. Some might choose to face the sun and force themselves to approach it they would an enemy, pushing against it's fatal rays. Other vampires choose to live in the wild, and would fight off dangerous animals like cougars or bears. Some would actively hunt out other vampires and challenge them to duels of various sorts. And there was one way in which any vampire wishing to become what they called a 'vampire general' had to experience and pass, in order to claim that title and the responsibilities that came with it. 

 

The vampire generals were more or less, military police. In times of war or other such issues, they would lead groups of vampires into battle. But in times of peace, which surprisingly was more often than not, they were officers of vampire law. Making sure that no vampire was doing harm to the clan, as the clan came before any individual. 

 

As long as a vampire was within the law, was fit and strong, they had nothing to fear from the generals. In turn, the ones that led the vampire generals were known as the 'vampire princes'. There could only be three at any given time, and one could only become a prince through a number of factors. Firstly, a potential vampire would need to be voted as being worthy of becoming a prince, this happened rarely, as it implied that one of the other princes were no longer capable. Furthermore, the vampire in question would have to fight and kill the previous prince.

 

Too much had happened in one night, Lex thought. He walked downstairs and into the living room where he spent much of his time. Another great bookcase stood in front of one wall, much like the one upstairs. Lex walked up to it and started looking through the titles, he felt tired. He needed to sleep. He reached up and selected the book in question he wanted, and pulled.

 

Suddenly the entire bookcase slid to one side, revealing a panic room. The walls were made of titanium, it was an expensive piece of kit, but when its your life you pay the cost - with your money or your life.

He typed in the code to his panic room, let it scan his eye and then walked in, as he started to undress he crossed the small room. For a miniature fortress it was surprisingly comfortable. There was a lot of literature on the walls, along with music CD's and vinyl's. Another framed picture of the woman upstairs had been placed upon a bedside table. Though the table was not beside a bed at all, but a coffin. As Lex pulled his jeans off, standing in a pair of black boxers, he hung his jeans and shirt off a chair and moved towards a speaker system, selecting a track.

Though Lex liked many kinds of music there was only one he found himself able to fall asleep to these days. German opera. But in particular, he enjoyed 'Der Freischutz' by Carl Maria Von Weber. Der Freischutz translated in German (for Lex was fluent in it) as 'The Freeshooter', this made him smile for a reason only he could know. As the music began, he closed the panic room door behind him. The singer's voice rose and rose in a dramatic call, it was moving and had a tragic note to it. He continued to call out, assisted by the beautiful music, and then he was answered by a second. The duo parried and merged their voices perfectly and for a few moments Lex was caught in the song. 

He closed his eyes, a shiver ran down his spine as he stepped forwards and placed a hand on the side of his coffin as though steadying himself. Something stirred inside him. He brought a hand up to his face and brushed aside a tear of blood before it could roll down his cheek. He wiped it away and licked his skin to remove the blood. Now was not the time to think of such things. He climbed into his coffin and listened as a chorus of singers began. He grabbed the door to his coffin and sighed, drawing the door closed as he did his eyes.

 

 


 

 

Something rang in the back of his mind. Though he didn't open his eyes, Lex frowned. What was that noise? How long had he been asleep? He groggily looked at his watch - 2pm. He'd only had five hours sleep, having gone to coffin late, kept awake by his thoughts. Probably less than that, given how long he'd been kept awake by his mind.

 

The ringing was coming from the bell in his panic room that alerted him to when someone had rung the doorbell. It was troublesome at times, but important to answer the door during the day whenever possible. He sighed and realised that the reason he hadn't first heard the bell was the opera. It was still playing.

Lex opened his coffin and stepped out, getting dressed quickly. He walked across the room and straightened himself out, pushing some of his dark, shaggy hair out of his face. He walked over to the far wall of the panic room and pressed a button. Part of the wall slid up to show a series of monitors which quickly hummed to life.

For a moment Lex accepted what he saw as Curtis stood in front of his front door, but that wasn't quite right, he rubbed his eyes and looked again. He saw another man, similar in appearance to Curtis, but he was older and had lighter hair. 
"Who's this then, hrmm?" Lex muttered, turning his music off. He stepped out of the panic room, making sure to close it behind him, it would be completely hidden from sight, sound and smell once he'd closed the door. He turned and walked towards the front door, wondering what the people outside wanted, but he was ready for anything, despite the time.

The sun would be near it's peak at this time of the day, but Lex had chosen this home for a reason. Shaded by the forest, very little sunlight managed to penetrate, and so even during the day, it wasn't as harsh as being stood directly under sunlight. Lex placed his hand on the doorknob and paused for a moment, thinking. Then he opened the door and examined the man in front of him.
"Who the hell're you?" Lex muttered. He scanned behind this man to the ones waiting behind and then back to the man in question.

 

"We," Sam replied, "Are the Archers. I'm pretty sure you can work out the rest."
"Mmm..." Lex replied. He straightened up, ironing out his slouch, he stopped blinking and dropped everything that he had trained himself to use as a façade, all the little habits, ticks and even his breathing. He stood before the werewolves, mask unveiled. "What're ye wantin' exactly?"

"Do you know much about this town?" Sam asked him, "These two behind me are my brothers. Cain and Dominic. My name's Sam. We've lived here our whole lives. We just thought we'd welcome you to the neighbourhood."

"Ain't that the berries!" Lex exclaimed, face contorting into a lop-sided grin. "Why don't ch'all come in so?" He stood back from the door, opened it wide and stepped to one side with a grin.

 

As Sam went to enter his brothers followed him. Dominic looked at him with concern. Cain on the other hand had his eyes fixed on Lex. They entered the house and waited by the door for Lex to guide them any further.

 

Lex put his hand on Cain's shoulder and pushed him forwards so he could close the door behind them, "Now then," he paused, walking backwards while watching them. "What can I get y'all?" He opened his fridge, "You want a beer?" He smiled at them.
"No thank you," Cain responded with a cold, false smile. "It makes me violent." Sam flashed Cain a warning look. Immediately Cain fell silent.

 

"Oh that's okay," Lex replied, taking two beers from the fridge anyway. He stuck a nail under the caps and flicked them off without effort, passing one to Sam, who took it without a word. "Y'know what makes me violent?" Lex asked. He took his left forefinger and jabbed it into his thumb, piercing it. He placed the dripping wound over the top of the bottle and let the blood start to drip into the beer, when he caught Dominic's eye he grinned, "Oh, it aids with the digesjun'," he smiled, the last word crawling out in a thick tone.
After a few seconds Lex lifted his thumb and licked it, the wound healed almost immediately and after giving his bottle a gentle wiggle, took a swig. He swallowed the beer and spoke, "Werewolves what think that they can make threats and expect t'leave this house in one piece."

 

"Nobody is threatening you." Sam responded, "My brother likes to run his mouth but make no mistake here. I am in charge of this pack."
"I see," Lex replied, cocking his head to one side and looking at Cain for a few seconds, amused. Then he turned back to Sam and studied him, "Yer Curtis' daddy, ain't yeh?"

"I am." Sam said with a nod. "From what I understand you two must have met last night. I'd like to know exactly what happened."
Lex took another swig of his beer and tapped his forefinger claw off the bottle, making it ring as he thought, "Well, I went to a party, had a drink..." He paused and swigged from the bottle. "Yer boy was there, an' a witch... then she cast a spell that was tryin' to identify me, y'understand?" He paused, looking at Sam, before continuing, "So I was jus' havin' a friendly discussion 'bout manners, then yer boy came over all riled up." Lex took another long gulp of beer. "Then he hit me." He said at last, the silence in the room was palpable.

"He...hit you?" Sam parroted. he couldn't quite believe it. Not that he wasn't confident in his boy but vampires, at least from the little he knew, were on another level.
"Well, no, I s'pose not..." Lex looked into his empty beer bottle, "I let 'im to save face." Lex balanced the bottle on a single finger and in a display of speed the bottle had suddenly vanished before them, as though he'd wished it out of existence.

 

Sam was silent for a moment. He had watched what had happened and was struggling to believe it. After a moment he nodded. "Well I'm glad that restraint was shown..." Sam said quietly. His words seemed hesitant, like he was choosing them carefully. However he showed no sign of fear. He was calm, his heartbeat normal and his head clear. He looked at Lex in the eyes. "My boy... he didn't know what he was doing. There's some history between us and the witches. We don't bother anybody who doesn't bother us. The exception being Vivian and Penelope Clearwater. I'll make this clear. If you threaten them you threaten me and my boy. And if you threaten us... well..." Sam motioned to his brothers. "Well then you threaten all of us."
 
Lex nodded slowly, he didn't want to take this further, but he felt Sam had made his point, and now, he had decided. He had to make his own. "Well, my thoughts on threats in this house stand." The moment the last word escaped his lips, Lex vanished and there was a dull thud. A second later Sam turned around as he heard the noise, behind him Lex was stood in front of a wall. Cain and Dominic were held two feet up from the ground pressed against it. Each one held aloft by the neck, Lex's claws pressed against their throats. Though his arms were occupied Lex seemed unperturbed by Sam's presence.
"I do not tolerate threats in my home." Lex replied, quite calmly. "I invited ye in and offered ye my hospitality, I choose to give yer son the freedom of speech and action one might give a naive child and I even overlooked a witch casting magic upon me, but make no mistake, Sam Archer..." Lex squeezed on the two werewolves' throats and they choked and kicked and grasped at his hands.

"... I will not tolerate further threats." After a few seconds Lex pulled his hands away and the two men dropped to the floor. "Now, lemme make myself clear..." He straightened out his shirt, tugging it down. "I have a great degree of respect for werewolves." Lex paused, stepping back to allow Cain and Dominic room to stand, "Y'all are young an' headstrong, and i'm sure ye don't know much about vampires, but lemme tell you a little about us." Lex paused, eyeing them carefully. All three of them were tense, ready to pounce, but Lex continued, "We consider ourselves wolf-kin, and if we live a good life, we become wolves in paradise, and spend eternity in the hunting grounds. As far as we're concerned, yer distant cousins. We respect ye, some might even be in awe of ye, as yer so much closer to wolf than us - but think on this..."

Lex crossed the room slowly and opened his front door, "... I've lived for four life times, to me, you're just a child and when children misbehave they get disciplined. As for the witches? I don't give two shits. But t'us, they're meddlesome creatures that like to play with other races when they see fit - we believe its why we can't go out in the sun - tell me, Sam Archer - what'd they do t'you?" Seeing Sam's face Lex nodded, "Mm-hmm, I thought so," he brought a hand up to imply it was time to leave, "If you want us to become friends in the future, next time, you come alone an' with some beers." Lex paused, "I like german beer." Then he paused again, "Consider it an invitation, and a second chance at friendship." He waited by the door.

"You misunderstand." Sam replied, nodding for his brothers to make their leave. They sheepishly complied whilst Sam followed them out. He stopped by the door and looked directly at Lex. "We're not here to make friends, vampire. We're not here to make enemies. We're here to let you know that there are forces outside your, or my control. Trust me that if I had wanted to make an enemy out of you, I wouldn't have brought my betas with me." And with that Sam left.
For a few seconds Lex watched them leave, he sighed, that had gone better than he had hoped. He squinted at what little light shone through the trees but stepped outside for a moment regardless, "Sam!!" Lex called out, watching the man turn back to face him. He almost didn't say it, but he felt committed now, "You tell Verra Clearwater to be careful! Tell her Webster is comin'. She'll understand." He started turning back into his house, ready to return to sleep, but then remembered one last thought. "An' tell her old hag of a mother t'stay the fuck away from me or i'll snap her neck!!" Lex slammed the door behind him.
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A high pitched buzzing was cutting through the air, however, the sound of music playing was filled in the back round, playing loudly in an attempt to drown out the buzzing noise. The room smelled of sweat, antiseptic, and ink. The walls were red, and the floor was decorated with black and white tiles. The red walls were littered with posters, artwork, pictures of tattoos on people's bodies. Among them were health and safety posters and a few framed certificates of qualification. Curtis caught a look at himself in the mirror that was across the room to the left of him. He was shirtless and straddling a chair, leaning over the back of it. Behind him a woman in her late twenties was drawing on his back. Well, no, not drawing. She was going over the top of his back with a tattoo machine. She had been at it for about 2 and a half hours now and she was nearing completion. The symbol was what looked like two crescents on either side of a circle. 

 

"How does it look?" Curtis asked the girl. He hadn't spoken much during the session. The girl didn't acknowledge him for a moment. She was busy poking him with sharp needles. After a moment she lifted her head and brushed away her purple bangs, tucking them back into her otherwise black hair. 

"It's looking good. You're healing really well." The girl replied, "Actually...insanely well, I've never seen anyone start to scab over this quickly."

"Really?" Curtis replied with a smirk. "I've never gotten one before. I just felt like it. Had a bad day, needed to take my mind off of it."

"I'm not your therapist, sweetie" The tattoo artist replied softly before going back to inking his upper back. "Any particular reason for the triple crescent?"

"I just liked the look of it." Curtis replied. "Pretty cool, huh?"

"Nah" she replied bluntly, "I get a lot of preppy boys like you coming in for tattoos to piss off their mom. I don't see why you'd brand yourself with a symbol if you don't know what it means. I mean don't get me wrong but you don't look like you're a wiccan to me."

 

"Wiccan?" Curtis repeated, tensing up at the word. "What like witches?"

"Yeah" the artist replied, "This symbol is wiccan. Or pagan, really. It represents the phases of the moon."

"Oh...right" Curtis mumbled. He suddenly didn't feel so sure about the tattoo. I guess it was a little late for that. He sighed and looked back at himself in the mirror. Where was he going to go after this? He still didn't want to go home. The afternoon was slowly passing by but there wasn't very much to do in Darkpine on a week night. What if he went to see Vivian? He wasn't so sure that was a good idea. He didn't really know how he felt about the whole situation yet. It wasn't her fault, from what he understood at least. All he knew at the moment was that he wished he'd been told years ago. Maybe it wouldn't have felt so unfair if people had just been honest with him. He needed to let off some steam. 

 

 


 

 

Curtis leant against the bar. He motioned for the barman to line him up another five shots. As the barman poured the track changed. Curtis sunk the shots down his throat one after the other. This was his third round of Jägermeister, 5 shots per round. He had vaguely recalled something the tattoo artist had said about not drinking for at least 24 hours just to be safe. oops he thought to himself. The burning in his throat quickly faded. The prickling on his back was gone as well, his tattoo had already healed. Curtis turned around and looked out at the bar. It was pretty empty with the exception of a few dead beats that had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon. 

 

His senses were a mess. The music was overpowering his hearing, the stench of stale sweat and alcohol filled the room, as well as a lingering stench of urine that was wafting out from their bathroom. His eyesight was hazy, he'd drank a little too much too quickly. He took a swig from the corona he'd been chasing between shots. Compared to the Jäegermeister it was quite refreshing. As he took a second swig someone bumped into his back and knocked him aginst the bar lightly, causing him to spill some of his drink. 

"Watch it!" he slurred

"Get over it, loser" came the reply. The offender was walking out of the bar to join his cronies to have a smoke. 

 

Loser? Who the fuck does this guy think he is? Curtis thought to himself. Actually he was barely thinking it all. He sunk the rest of his corona and got up. He left his shirt on the bar stool, wearing only his white vest. He began stumbling out of the bar. He felt something vibrating and he felt his pockets. Finally he pulled out his phone and brought it to his ear. 

"Izzy! Hey gimme a minute I gotta go rip some guy's throat out, byeee"! He said quickly, before pushing the phone back into his pocket. Curtis had left the building. Only a wolf remained within his body, pushing his drunken shell across the bar and outside. 

 

The music had faded and despite the cool breeze Curtis still felt hot, and angry. One of the assholes was playing music on his phone while the sat around and sparked their cigarettes. He swaggered up to him and tapped one of them on the shoulder. The guy turned round and Curtis immediately swiped the cigarette from his mouth. He put it to his own mouth and inhaled, all the while staring at the jerk who had shoved him. 

"What the fuck is your problem buddy!?" snarled the one he'd taken a cigarette from. He was wearing a red trucker cap. The one on the right had a beanie on. The other had long hair in a ponytail. Curtis responded by blowing smoke in trucker hat's face. 

 

Suddenly Curtis was pushed backwards. He stumbled, his balance was a mess. Trucker cap advanced on him, swinging a punch but he swerved and avoided it. His mind was addled but his instincts were in overdrive. He could feel his aggression bubbling inside of him. This is what he had wanted all day. A fight. Trucker cap swung a right hook at him and he ducked, swinging a punch at his rib, just under his outstretched arm. He felt the crack as his fist impacted. He'd broken his rib. 

 

As trucker cap fell back on his ass, clutching his chest, Curtis went to take another draw of the cigarette. As he put it to his lips he felt a welcome feeling of warm euphoria. The adrenaline was pumping in his body, combined with the alcohol, he had a moment where he felt like shivers were running up his spine. His mind drifted for a moment. He thought of Vivian. He lips. Her neck. He pictured her naked. A smile spread across his face. Then he fell to the floor as a fist collided with his jaw. 

 

Suddenly the world around him was rushing. His head felt heavy. The rage inside wasn't bubbling any more, it was straight up exploding out of him. He felt a kick into his back and the pain rippled through him. Another foot hit his front. Over and over he felt the two others stamping on him and kicking him in the chest and back. Suddenly reflex took over. His arm shot out and grabbed an incoming foot, He yanked on it and the offender toppled backwards, crashing on the ground. The other backed off as Curtis got up. His chest was beating up and down. He clocked the nearest jerk across the jaw, sending him backwards and falling on top of a car. Then he dropped down on his knees, on top of the one he had tripped. He sent a fist into his face and saw blood spray from his nose. He raised his fist again to strike when he heard footsteps, before someone grabbed him and pulled him from the man. The woman had incredible strength. 

"Now, now, Curtis, don't ruin your pretty little hands on some nobody's face." Isabelle said to him as she started dragging him back into the bar. 

"Uh...yeah...Hi Iz..." he mumbled sheepishly. 

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A faint grey light filtered in through wooden blinds, creeping slowly to cover the sleeping figure nestled in the center of the queen sized bed. The scent of ham being cooked wafted up the stairs and wrapped around a sensitive nose. A smile lazily tugged at the corners of Diana’s full lips as the delightful scent was inhaled. How she had truly missed mornings such as these. Harsh memories flooded back, reminding her the many times she had gone entire days without food, or the days where she had to resort to eating what she may have found around. Shoving her darker memories back into the shadows where they belonged, Diana could hear a soft voice singing from downstairs. The voice was light, delicate, and feminine; only possibility is that her mother was the one doing the cooking. Befuddled slightly Diana glanced out her window to see her father out in the front yard, staring off into the wooded area. Tossing a pair of hot shorts and an oversized cable knit sweater over the black satin and lace underwear set she was wearing Diana shoved part of a toothbrush in her mouth glancing at the image that reflected back at her in the bathroom mirror. Her grey eyes appeared warmer and her face had a softness to it. The harsh reality of being alone for so long was starting to fade away. She was beginning to recognize the face that stared into her soul again. Pulling her eyes away to bend over and spit toothpaste out Diana thought about last night events. Here mind had been fully cleared from last night’s run so perhaps she could register things more easily.

 

First, there had been oddly colored fireflies circling around several individuals last night. The one that hung over her head had been glowing red. She hadn’t imagined it; the flies were a bright red as though they were identifying her. But identifying how? It wasn’t like she was the only one marked with red there were others and a single soul had been marked in blue. What did the colors represent and why had they only targeted several people at the party. Her brows furrowed closer together as she recalled the guy Archer had decked had been the guy that the blue glowing bugs hovered around. There had to be a connection. Freshly cleaned teeth gnawed at her bottom lip as she grew more frustrated. Nothing was making any sense to her at the moment. Determined not to let her mind remain in the dark Diana bounded down the stairs, snagging a slice of ham from the kitchen table before giving her mother a peck on her cheek and racing out the door. Her father was still staring out into the trees, his face set in a deep frown. His arms were crossed over his broad chest, his legs separated in wide defensive stance. Confused Diana crept up behind him, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder, her voice quiet lest she startle him. “Is something wrong?†His wise eyes glanced sideways at her before gesturing into the trees then the sky.

 

“There’s something in the air. I may not be gifted like you are Di but I can feel it. Smell the wind, feel the tension coming from the woods. Can you not sense it?†Diana shot her father a questioning look but closed her eyes leaning her head back to angle her nose into the air taking a deep breath. The scent of dirt, grass, and trees tickled her senses but refusing to lull into the gentleness of it Diana focused harder on the scents the lay underneath. At first there was the usual smell of other animals but something had mixed with it. Singling out the oddity, Diana took a deeper inhale her eyes snapping open at the realization. Her skin tingled when a chill passed through her blood. Crouching down Diana placed her palms into the soil feeling the energy given off by the foliage. Her father’s voice pierced through her cloud of confusion bringing a jolt with it.

 

“You can feel it can’t you?†Her voice came out as a whisper, the sound strangled in her throat. “There are others? More like me?†Shrugging a shoulder her father turned to face her. “I wouldn’t say like you but you can tell that not everything is as it seems. I noticed the change in atmosphere yesterday after you came home. At first I thought it was you but when you had fallen asleep I could still feel tension in the air. Perhaps you should go out and see for yourself. You spend so much time studying people; maybe it could help you.†Diana nodded, brushing dirt from her hands. Her father had a point and if it could possibly bring her closer to others such as herself, then the outcome could be positive. Frowning Diana studied her father realizing something.

 

 â€œHey Dad, why did you choose to come to Darkpine when you learned I was cursed?†He just glanced back into the trees. “You’ve known haven’t you? That’s why you brought us here? Why not say anything?†Turning to face her again her father blew out. “I never knew anything, I just assumed. I also assumed you would find out on your own, but when you left so soon after high school, I had just figured I had been wrong this entire time. But then last night you came home and just the way the confusion showed on your face I realized perhaps I was not.†Diana huffed and called out over her shoulder while flouncing back inside. “That was not confusion, that was contemplation of the living arrangement and I may change my mind again if you’re going to act like that.†Turning to look back at her father she noticed the smirk on his face and smiled in response. It was good indeed to be back home.

 

Stepping into the kitchen Diana grabbed another slice and trudged up the stairs thinking about what her father had brought to her attention. If there were others in Darkpine, were they friendly or loners such as herself? Even more so what were they? Gnawing at her bottom lip again Diana glanced out her window. The sky was a clear pale blue but there was a darkness that lingered far off in the distance. Perhaps a storm was coming soon, possibly this week. Taking into consideration a possible storm Diana figured she could change without being paranoid of other people. Remembering about people Diana thought about last night’s party while she struggled to pull jeans over her shorts. Could any of them be different? Now that she thought of it though she didn’t even know what other supernatural creatures could be around. Only one place she could probably get the information she needed. Snatching her keys from her dresser Diana decided she would hit the library at the college. She had plenty of time until her classes started and it was only a little before noon. Plenty of time to do some research.

 

About an hour later Diana was sitting in one of the couches provided by the college in the library, a stack of books piled at her feet. The titles ranged from Mythological beings to Folkloric legends and even an old records book of Darkpine. Picking the first one Diana set a notebook on the arm of the chair, pen in hand and flipped to a random page. There was a single word bolded in the center of the page, most likely marking the beginning of the chapter. Vampires. An unlady like snort sounded from her as she stared down at the page. Surely there was no truth behind vampires. They were created to scary little ones into bed at night. Believing to appear ridiculous Diana set the book down, still opened to that particular page and grabbed another book. At least the next subject seemed more believable. She was skin walker for goodness sakes. She had the ability to transform into animals; werewolves seemed like a plausible possibility. Jotting down some notes Diana continued to investigate what may reside in her small town. With a little bit of luck she may be able to identify who could possibly be what. Giddy at the thought Diana allowed her mind to wander off into its own world paying no mind to the current world that surrounded her, imagining the different types of beings she could come across.

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To say that the morning hadn't gone well would be a gross understatement. In fact, the past twenty-four hours had been relatively shitty all around, and to make matters even worse, her father had forbidden her from leaving the house when she woke, so her frustrations hadn't been released by her usual run. Instead, she'd learnt some history she would have been happier not knowing, and a furious sibling who probably, at that moment, hated her. She would have liked to have said that it couldn't get any worse, but she was wise enough not to tempt fate. 

 

"Fuckin' bullshit."

 

She muttered the words under her breath as she moved around her brother's truck, picking up a spider wrench from the side and bending down to loosen the nuts on one of his wheels. She'd noticed the slight droning sound the previous evening, as well as the blown headlight, but this wasn't an act of redemption; she often fixed his truck without even asking. God knows how many times it would have died without her intervention. Right now though, she was in her workshop to help him out just as much as she was there just to keep herself busy. She wanted to go after him, to try and comfort him, but she knew he needed space just then. He was raging, he would be inconsolable, and so it was best to just wait until he had turned down to a simmer. 

 

Music was blaring from her stereo, but she didn't really hear it. It just destroyed the silence around her; her attempt at destroying her thoughts in the same way. Unfortunately, it wasn't working. She was worried, she was frustrated, and she was fretting, something she just didn't do. Her hand slipped from the wrench, her hand smashing into the metal of the wheel hub, and she swore again, catching the sight of blood but continuing her task with renewed vigour. She couldn't control this situation, but she could control mechanics, and she was going to change her brother's wheel bearing, blood and bruising be damned. He didn't even have to thank her for it. 

 

Several hours later, she'd done everything she possibly could to the truck, and finally gone on her usual run through the forest. Her father was absent when she got back to the house, and Curtis still hadn't returned, which wasn't a surprise. It meant she showered and ate lunch surrounded by the silence she'd been avoiding all day. She felt like a caged animal, one who paced constantly and couldn't rest, and it wasn't long before she left the house again. Instead of taking her own truck into town, she walked, searching for comfort from the familiarity of the trees around her, but she finding none. It was at that point that she snapped, pulling her phone from her pocket and calling her brother.

 

"Izzy! Hey gimme a minute I gotta go rip some guy's throat out, byeee!"

 

"No, wait! Curtis-"

 

He was gone, he'd hung up. She snapped the phone shut.

 

"Shit."

 

He'd sounded drunk, which meant he had to be at a bar somewhere. Not exactly hard places to find, but searching all of them could take time, and Curtis didn't need charges of assault added to his growing pile of bullshit. She needed to find him quickly. Running a hand through her dirty blonde hair, she set off at a run, and for once, luck was on her side. It wasn't hard to spot him, attempting to kick the shit out of some guys, and she saw the spray of blood just as she grabbed his arm.

 

"Now, now, Curtis, don't ruin your pretty little hands on some nobody's face."

 

He actually looked sheepish. Sheepish, not angry. At least, not angry at her. The alcohol was no doubt to blame for that though. 

 

"Two corona's and three shots."

 

She'd managed to get him back inside the bar, giving her order to the barman, and looking her brother over. He looked wasted, and definitely more scruffy than usual, but he seemed to be fine in all other aspects. Or as close to fine as he could be.

 

"Three shots of what?"

 

The barman was just doing his job, but his question irritated her.

 

"Surprise me."

 

She threw the comment over her shoulder, leaning forward to wipe some of the blood spray from Curtis' face. Now that she was here, she wasn't sure she knew what to say. Apologise? Not likely, She'd meant what she'd said back at home, and she'd say it again, she just would have tried to be a bit nicer about it. They were both in shock, and one of the best ways to cope with that? Alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol.

 

The two beers were placed on the bar, followed by three shot glasses, and Izzy didn't hesitate before knocking them back, one after the other. Vodka, Sambuca, Jagermeister. She had some catching up to do if she wanted to get to Curtis' level, and she pushed the glasses back across the bar, silently asking for more. 

 

"So, if you're intent on drowning your sorrows, how about some company?"

 

"You've got some serious catch up to do, sis" Curtis warned mockingly.

 

"Way ahead of you, bro."

 

Three more shots were before her, and she knocked them back in the same way, liking that she'd gotten a slightly different variety this time. Nothing like mixing your drinks to really get you fucked.

 

"My question is, when does this start to get interesting?"

 

"I think it got a little interesting around shot eight or nine?" Curtis replied, squinting as he tried to remember.

 

"But can you remember anything?"

 

"Remember what?"

 

"That's good enough for me. Cheers."

 

The less he remembered about, well, anything was good. It meant they could drink and hang out as they'd done in the past, likely cause some minor trouble and possibly be sick in the most undesirable places ever. 

 

Just like old times.

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Curtis' memory of the next few hours was a bit of a blur It came to him in flashes whenever he tried to recall. All the while a particular song kept playing over and over in his head. He was grateful for Izzy's company. As siblings they had always been close. It wasn't a typical relationship though. Izzy was the one always getting her hands dirty. She rarely wasted an opportunity to show she could give as good as the men in the family. She was loud and outspoken and, most important as he was reminded tonight, she could out-drink him quite easily.  Still her company was much appreciated. The alcohol that was slowly poisoning his liver was giving him a warm and fuzzy feeling. Any animosity he had felt for her this morning had all but melted away. 

 

They spent another half an hour or so at the bar necking drinks. Isabelle was ordering twice as much as him, only natural if she was going to match him at this point. She was competitive so there was no way she was going to let her big brother drink more than her. It didn't take her that long to get in the party mood though. Before long she had left the bar and decided to dance with some other drunk idiot. Curtis wasn't keen on his sister gyrating on men she didn't know, but at the same time he was confident that there wasn't a man in this town who could take advantage of her. If they tried she would have tore them to shreds. Imagining her doing so was enough to keep him from performing the over-protective brother routine. Instead he just drank some more. For a moment he considered that he was supposed to be at college, but that only made him laugh. 

 

By the time they had dragged their backsides from the bar it was dark out. He couldn't remember quite where they had been walking. He remembered a cuddle at some point. Had Izzy cuddled him? Maybe it was someone else. He wasn't entirely sure, but his sister did not hug him very often. They stumbled further up the road, necking the last of the beers they had taken out of the bar. However as they walked further up the road, things were beginning to become clear again. The one downside to being a werewolf was that you healed quickly. That included inebriation. As long as they kept drinking it was fine, but now that they were walking, and out of booze, he could feel reality settling back in again. He still couldn't remember if it was Izzy that had hugged him, but he put his arm around her as they walked, and gave her a short squeeze. Then he caught the eye of another girl passing by them. She had dark hair, and dark skin for that matter. It was the smell that had caught his attention. She smelled like she had been all over the place. A huge cacophony of rich scents, like leaves, dirt, wet moss. Also flowers, perfume perhaps. Humans normally had distinct smells that could tell you where they had been. This girl, however, smelled more like an animal. He shook his head. He was still drunk. Best not to worry about it. 

 

 


 

 

Sam had a phone pressed against his ear. He was stood in his living room. Sitting down on the sofa were his brothers, Cain and Dominic. Sam nodded ads he listened to the woman on the other end. "Uhuh..." he said, "...No, I don't think he'll cause any trouble. He's a mean son of a bitch but he's shown restraint on several occasions now." he said to Penelope. She was concerned but for once her was struggling to find fault in her. She had every right in this case. "Yeah...he definitely said 'Webster'. Uhuh...okay. Keep Verra with you. That way I'll know if there's trouble. Okay...bye" Sam put the phone down and turned to his brothers. Cain was eyeing him with a looking of contempt. 

 

"Why are you bothering to help those witches?" Cain asked him, "What's it to us if a vampire rips Verra's throat out?"

"Because it's our job to keep this town quiet!" Sam snarled back at him, "Besides...do you think he'd stop with Verra? Penelope and Vivian too...and you know what that means for us. If they get caught by surprise I won't...I won't be able to make it in time."

"He's right" Dominic said with a nod. He looked tired. Despite everything that was happening today Dominic was also a father of rather exctiable twin boys. He constantly looked tired these days. "I know you can't wait for Marcus to step up, Cain, but please don't be wishing our brother dead just yet."

 

"You know that's not what I meant." Cain grumped. The men got up and left the living room. They gave each other brief hugs in the hall. More like pats on the back. Men being men and all that. They exited out the front door and on to the porch. Cain and Dominic lingered for a moment. Dominic gave Sam a soft smile, he looked a little concerned. 

"You heard anything from Curtis yet?" he asked

"Nope." Sam replied, "I'll track him if he's not back by tomorrow. He needs time to get it off his chest."

"I don't think that will be necessary" Cain said as he pointed out into the distance. 

 

Stumbling up towards the house, arm in arm, were Curtis and Isabelle. The three brothers walked down the path to greet them. As Curtis stopped to look at Sam there was a brief and awkward pause. Neither of them spoke. They only stared at one another. 

"You talking to me yet?" Sam finally asked him. Curtis swayed from side to side. He pondered on it for a moment, and then he smiled softly. 

"You're forgiven" He said as he gave his dad a brief hug. Then he held up his hand. "Only...only if you can forgive me!" he added. Sam raised his brow and folded his arms. 

"What have you done?" he asked. 

 

Curtis pulled his shirt and his vest off from over his head, turning his back on his dad and revealing his tattoo. Sam didn't speak, but his nostrils were flaring. Dominic had straight up burst out laughing. Isabelle was clapping. Curtis smirked, turning back to face his father. Sam rubbed his nose, still not saying anything. Finally it was Curtis' uncle, Cain, who broke the silence. 

"Chip off the old block!" Cain said with a smile, patting his nephew on the shoulder. "I distinctly remember dad having a similar expression when you came home with girl's name tattooed on your wrist!" Cain nodded at his brother. Sam rubbed his wrist instinctively in response. On the inside of his wrist was the word 'Emily'. Sam finally nodded and gave a soft smile, before adding "Now if you don't mind I need a word with my boy."

 

Cain and Dominic took their leave, and Curtis gave Isabelle another quick hug before she went into the house. He then walked with his dad over to the porch and they sat together on the step. They looked out into the woods together and just sat in silence, listening to the crickets playing their song. Sam rubbed the back of his neck, trying to think of what to say. Curtis could feel the warm embrace of inebriation leaving him. Sitting with his father as he rapidly sobered he realised that in the grand scheme of things, little had changed since yesterday. Everything was going to be okay. 

 

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you." Sam said. "Your grandpa Isaac, when I was a little boy, he introduced me to this little girl around my age. He told me I had to protect her, look out for her. She was a nice girl, and there was a time when we got on famously. Isaac believed that his children should not suffer from the sins of their father. Or their mother in this case. He had hoped that Penelope and I could work through that. But when we were about 13 your mother came along." Sam smiled as he reminisced about his wife. "When Emily came into my life there wasn't much else that mattered. It wasn't long before I got tired of running to defend Penelope. She was a nuisance to me, I wanted to spend time with Emily. There were times when I said some pretty horrible things to Penelope. I don't think she ever forgave me for it. And then when you were born I was so proud. But 5 years later Penelope had Vivian, which she had every right to do. I was angry though. She knew what would happen. She inflicted this on you and for that I never forgave her."

 

"I still think I should have known" Curtis interrupted. "Maybe me and Vivian could have been friends. Like you and Penelope, hm?"

"Son...when your mother got sick..." Sam continued. Curtis felt a pit in his stomach. He always felt it when there was talk of his mother. He didn't really remember her. But he could remember her smell. It was incredibly familiar to him. Just the memory of that scent was enough to make him feel quite sad. "...There was some trouble in town back then. I won't bore you with the details but there was a man that I knew quite well. We did not get on, if you catch my drift. He kidnapped Penelope. He knew of our bond, and he threatened her to draw me out. A score was settled between him and I that day. However...while I was gone...your mother passed. I never got to be with her. It was then that I decided that you didn't need to know. I was all you and Isabelle had left. I wanted to keep it that way, I guess I hoped that if you didn't know then maybe it'd just go away."

 

"I get it." Curtis said with a nod. "It doesn't matter though. I know now, right? I guess all that's left to do is get on with it. We'll see each other at college tomorrow. We can talk it out, maybe see if we can deal with it better than you did."

"Oh..." Sam looked a little uneasy. "I'm sorry but...I was round there earlier. Vivian asked me to let you know...she's going to switch her classes around. You won't need to see her until...well until you have to."

"What?" Curtis replied. His father's words had sobered him. He didn't want Vivian to make allowances for him. If they started compromising their lives for one another already than it was bound to go downhill. He shook his head. It was all so stupid. Everybody was making a big deal of this. It didn't have to be that way. He stood up. 

"I gotta go" he said briefly. Sam didn't respond. He just let his son go. 

 

 


 

 

As Curtis ran through the woods he felt a rush building inside him. As he ran it began to rain. At first it was just drizzle, only a few drops managing to breach the trees. He could smell the dampness in the air. The chill was bracing. He thought about last night. He remembered dancing with Vivian, how she had held herself so close to him. He could feel her heartbeat, she felt safe around him. He liked that. The feeling of protecting someone felt good to him. He'd looked into her grey-blue eyes and felt connected. When he thought about it now, he realised that he already knew. At that moment on Carrow Hill he knew that it was his job to protect that spark that he could see in her eyes. He would never let it go out. 

 

As he breached the woods and went out on to the road the rain was lashing down. Very quickly his hair and jeans were soaked through. It was only now that he realised he was still shirtless. But he was gunning it now, sprinting through the rain, the water bouncing off the ground with each footstep. As he ran down the dark road he arced a corner. Light's blinded him. The car came at him but he leapt, hitting the bonnet and rolling to the side as the car stopped. He rolled to the side as the woman who was driving opened her window. She had long, blonde hair, styled in a bob. She looked to be in her thirties, fairly attractive, with quite a sharp nose. 

"S-sorry!" Curtis blurted out before running off. The woman just stared at him as he disappeared into the dark. 

 

Finally Curtis came off the road and up into the forest again, following the path up to Vivian's house. As he came into her drive he moved past her car. She was in. He came to her door but before he could knock it opened. He looked at the woman who answered and at first he thought it was Vivian. However this woman was older. Her eyes were exactly the same though. However Vivian had never looked at him with such a disapproving glare. She did not speak, she seemed to be a bit lost for words. Curtis suddenly felt very aware that he wasn't wearing a shirt. He looked at Penelope Clearwater in the eye, and he tried to find the courage he had only had a moment ago. 

 

"Look...Mr's Clearwater..." Curtis began, he was shivering now from the cold. "Tell Vivian not to switch classes. Please." he looked at her anxiously. Penelope looked taken aback by this, but her scowl did not soften. "I don't want to end up like...like my dad and you." Curtis continued, "Just tell her it's okay. Promise me you'll tell her that me and her...we're okay. And then I'll go..."

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Vivian's mothers had asked her to give them some privacy early that evening. This was odd since there were hardly any topics that were not full disclosure in the Clearwater house, but Vivian had done as they asked regardless and without complain. She spent most of her time inside talking with her grandmother Elenore about certain spells. There was a full moon coming soon and the coven always held special ceremonies on nights like that. This next festival, Vivian would be apart of the summoning group, this was considered a great honor. She wanted to make her family proud so she would have to practice. When her grandmother eventually went to bed Vivian retired to her room and recited her incantations over and over. Though, after about thirty minutes or so this became boring and she decided to do something else. Vivian was in her room listening to music drawing in her sketchbook, when she swore she could hear a very familiar voice from outside of her room. It was faint, but defiantly there. She got up from her bed and walked over opening the door. Her mother stood in the entry way of their home talking to none other than Curtis Archer. Vivian's eyes widened, as if they weren't already naturally large enough, and all the blood ran from her face. She felt like a deer caught in headlights. When the feeling in her fingers finally came back she slammed the door closed and rested her back against the cold wood. The feeling was nice and cooling down her quickly rising temperature. She had not been expecting to see him anytime soon. Her eyes grazed down at what she was wearing. A baggy, yet short, black long sleeve shirt that drifted off to the side revealing her shoulder and ended right above her belly button. The shirt had white lines drawing out the shape of Hecate's Wheel, a Pegan symbol that represented the three forms of the mother goddess, maiden, mother, and crone. For bottoms she had on baggy green and black plaid pajama pants, her feet bare. Her long blonde hair was up in a messy bun on top of her head, only her bangs falling down around her forehead and cheeks. No, she had defiantly not been expecting to see Curtis. She slid down the door slowly until her butt reached the ground. Vivian could hear Penelope through the door. 

 

"I am sure you mean well, but I don't think this is a good idea…"

 

 Vivian didn't have time to get dressed if she wanted to fix what was happening. She stood back up and opened the door. Penelope stood blocking Curtis from Vivian's view. Her mother was wearing a pair of jeans and a simple red teeshirt, also barefoot. Her short pixie cut platinum blonde hair was all a mess. She had probably been taking a nap on the couch when she felt the presence of someone approaching. Penelope now looked back at Vivian with those similar grey-blue eyes. Vivian ignored the warning glare from her mother and continued to walk over to the front door. 

 

"MOM! I think I am capable of making my own decisions, THANKS."   Vivian nudged Penelope a little as she tried to get her away from the door. She looked back at Curtis with a sheepish smile and raised up her left hand. 

 

"Um, just uh, give us a sec!"

 

Penelope clearly did not want to go anywhere. 

"Vivi this is a bad idea-!"

 

The two struggled a little bit, clearly restraining themselves from full out cat fight because someone was watching. However, Verra swiftly came to the rescue. She emerged from their bedroom wearing a light blue silk nightgown and a white robe wrapped around her, fuzzy pink slippers on her feet. Verra grabbed Penelope from behind and slowly started to saunter her backwards as if they were dancing. There were only a couple visible signs of Verra sticking out from behind Penelope; her full dark wavy hair and the sides of her hips. Unfortunately, Penelope continued to protest.

 

"Verra! What are you doing! Let me go! This -- he---" 

 

Verra cut her off. "Pen let our daughter make her own choices." 

 

"But this is different! Its not some stupid kid! He's a werewolf! What happens when he imprints on someone else! She will be crushed!" 

 

"Honey, she isn't thirteen. She's an adult." 

Verra opened the door to their bedroom and flung Penelope inside. She then looked back at Curtis and Vivian with a cheerful smile. 

 

They heard Penelope exclaim from inside the room, "Barely an adult!" Verra continued speaking as if she couldn't hear her spouse.

 

"Vivian don't be rude invite him in. Oh and if you go in your room please keep the door open. Thanks Sweetie!" 

She then shut the door to her and Penelope's bedroom, clearly trying to contain Penelope.

 

Vivian finally let out a breath feeling much more relaxed that Penelope was being subdued. She loved her mother, but Pen had a lot of opinions that she never kept to herself. Finally her eyes rested on Curtis. He was shirtless and covered in water. Vivian had not processed this immediately because she had been arguing with her Mom, but now she was made completely aware. It was a very spectacular sight. The music coming from Vivian's bedroom brought her out of her daze.Vivian realized she had been staring at him without saying anything and her face flushed up red. She talked quickly to compensate.

 

"I am so so so so sorry about that! You'll have to excuse her she's um, well…witchy."

 

Vivian smiled, that was her polite way of calling her mom a bitch sometimes. She quickly ran away for a second and came back, she stood in the door way holding a towel that had just come out of the dryer. "Do you want to come in? Just grabbed this out of the dryer so its nice and warm"

 

"Uh, yeah" Curtis said with a nod, taking a step forward and taking the towel. He paused for a moment as they stood close together, both holding the towel. Then he smirked bashfully and took a step back, taking the towel from her and shaking it over his head, drying his hair.

 

Vivian moved behind him to close the door. When she turned around she noticed the tattoo on his back. Her eyes got wide a bit. "Wow you guys really take your protecting..thing..seriously huh?" The triple moon symbol represented the phases of the moon in wiccan culture. It was a frequently used symbol for full moon festivals and other various special 'holidays' for witches. It was also used when casting spells such as nocturnal sight, summoning creatures, or brightening the stars in a moonless sky.

 

"Huh?" Curtis turned around to see what she meant. He tilted his neck trying to look at his own back. "Oh that? I was kinda...in a bad mood earlier. It's pretty lame, huh?"

 

"Lame? No no no, I love that symbol. I use it in some of my favorite spells." Vivian had assumed Curtis knew it was a coven symbol. "I actually have a necklace somewhere in my room that has a pendant with the triple moon on it..."

 

"Oh..." Curtis replied, looking embarased. "I'll be honest...I just thought it looked cool. I didn't even know it was wiccan until the tattoo lady said...that's not, uh, bad...is it?"

 

 Vivian giggled a little. and held her hands up in front of her mouth as if her laughter was a secret. 

 

She then replied, "It's not bad, just worked out coincidently well." 

 

Vivian turned around while gesturing for Curtis to follow, and they walked back the short distance to her room. Vivian looked around, her room was almost too neat, it seemed boring, there were the paintings she had done on the wall, but that didn't matter at the moment. There were more important things on her mind. She turned back around to face him and took a deep breath in before they began talking about why he was at her home in the first place. 

 

"So… when you first came to the door... you said we we're okay? So you're feeling better? Cause your Dad said you were worse...and I was kind of worried."

 

"I was pretty angry this morning" Curtis nodded, "n-not at you! It's just my family. I was mad about all the lying. We're cool now. I mean, well, we've always been cool, y'know?" Curtis smirked, scratching the back of his head awkwardly.

 

Vivian was much more comfortable now that she was able to talk to him. She took a couple paces forward so they were quite close. She didn't want him to feel angry with his Dad, and she could sympathize with why Sam hadn't told him. 

 

"I can understand them not wanting you to know, I've sort of been terrified my whole life about it. Well because our parents don't really seem to get along...and I didn't want someone to hate me that much...I never meant to be a burden on anyone. " 

 

Vivian then looked at the ground a bit nervously. "But, you seem really nice...so, that's neat." 

 

 "It's not your fault." Curtis replied. He placed his hand under her chin and gently tilted her head up to meet his eyes. "Don't ever think you're a burden on me. I don't think that."

 

Her face turned cherry red as she looked up into Curtis's eyes. That was one of the sweetest things he could have possibly said to her and Vivian was stammering as she desperately tried not to say something stupid.  She then realized it was hard for her to say anything at all. He was so handsome and kind, it took all of her energy not to just melt. 

 

All she could muster was a little, "ok."

 

Vivian's eyes then darted to her window as the rain began to dissipate, then back to Curtis. She was feeling so nervous she couldn't help but stupidly ruin this perfect moment. She spoke but it was more of a very quiet mumble. 

 

"I..um...I think-it-might-'ve-stopped..ehem.. raining..."

 

Curtis smirked. "Yeah...so it has. I guess I better get going." he said as he handed the towel back to her. "I'll see you tomorrow?"

 

Vivian stood there holding the towel as he began to head back out of her room and to the front door.

"Uh-huh" Was all she said and then gave Curtis a little wave good bye as he proceeded to leave. 

 

There was crying coming from her parents room, but Vivian didn't know why, this only distracted her for a second before she could hear the song change in her room. As soon as Curtis was out of her sight she closed the door and had a giddy grin on her face. This was her little girly moment that she would allow herself. Vivian practically skipped to her room and shut the door. She jumped onto her bed, up and down like a little kid before she finally fell onto her back and stared up at the cieling. She was now closing her eyes and listening to the music. All of the stress she had been feeling today was gone, everything was okay. Curtis wasn't mad at her, he even seemed to be okay with the situation they were in. For the first time all day Vivian was excited about school tomorrow. She got back off her bed and skiddadled over to her closet. She wanted to pick out a nice outfit for tomorrow to make up for being seen in pajama's tonight. After a couple minutes of searching she pulled out a pair of skinny jeans and a very nice looking blue corset. The corset was very well crafted and beautiful. This would be sure to turn heads.  Vivian smiled to herself and laid the clothing out on her desk so she would remember to wear it in the morning. She then jumped back into bed and cuddled into her soft blanket. It was hard to fall asleep when she was this happy, but eventually she drifted off. 

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