Emily clung to the blonde boy’s hand as they stepped out of the school building and onto the winding path that lead from the high school to the student parking lot. His pale skin contrasting with her brown. Tommy resolutely turned away from her brown eyes and the begging puppy dog look she wore.
He wore a light weight hoody even though it was easily warm enough to be out in a T-shirt. He never wore short sleeves and Emily never questioned it, she knew well enough what it was like to have secrets.
“We are doing this Tommy, you need it.” Emily said
“I do not. Em you know you shouldn’t be drinking at all, the fact that you’re not legal not withstanding.” Tommy said
“WE are doing this. How long has it been since we let loose?”
“Never,” he mumbled.
She pouted and pulled on to the blonde boy’s arm, her chocolate brown eyes pleading. She shook his arm gently and placed her check on his, knowing that sooner rather than later he would crumble from her begging. He petted her curly brown hair, fondly and rolled his bright blue eyes at his own weakness. […]
“Fine, but don’t expect me to be out all night, I’m not Angel.”
“Urgh, thank god for that! You’re the one I love anyway.” She said with a coy grin.
He gave her a sceptical look but put his arm around her and led her towards her car in the student parking lot. There was a buzz of activity as everyone tried to catch up with each other after the long summer break. Groups of teens stood by their cars, already making plans to hang out. The party monsters already spewing invitations to the weekend’s ‘back to school’ bashes.
Emily and Tommy weaved their way through the crowd and no one spared them a second glance, as usual. They didn’t bother looking at the shallow high school melting pot either, they didn’t have anything the two of them wanted. The friendship they had while excessively co-dependant was all that they required to get through their sentence in high school.
“Are we waiting for your brother?” he asked.
“Nah, he told me he’s staying for try outs. Mom or dad will come and get him. Let’s get going, I’ve got to pick the twins up from their friend’s house soon.” Emily said
“What team is Endymion trying out for? He’s always been so good at every sport.” Tommy said.
Emily pulled them to a sudden stop with a gasp, they nearly collided with a group coming up behind them but Emily glared at them and they quickly moved on.
“Ohmygod no! Tommy my brother is so off limits he might as well live on the moon.” She said.
“Emily, No! I was just commenting… oh my, I can’t believe you… you think I would… Just no.” He said as he tried to hide his blush behind his hair.
“Well you are the same age, almost. Who knows- you admire him so much. He can do no wrong in your books.” She said.
“I’m a year older than him. He’s like my own kid brother- no way. But that doesn’t mean I can’t respect his prowess as an athlete.” He said.
“Prowess- someone’s been hitting the SAT vocab list.” Emily said.
“Whatever Em, let’s go.” He said, opening the driver’s door for her and gently pushing her into the seat.
He grimaced when his voice cracked towards the end, the only major sign that puberty had hit him, the gradually subtly huskiness his voice was taking on, because height wise he had not grown a bit since freshman year. He was currently the same height as Emily, at five foot five. As he closed her door and moved to the passenger side, something bumped into him and caused him to slam into the back of the car. He let out a groan of suppressed pain as he doubled over slightly but quickly straightened when he felt a shadow fall over him.
“Watch where you’re going short stuff. Some of us deserve the space we occupy and actually need it.” The guy said, flexing his muscles, easily visible in his pastel blue tank and matching plaid golf shorts.
In the distance his group of similarly dressed sycophants snickered and whispered. Emily, made a move to get out of the car but Tommy caught her eye and the look he gave her, insisted she stay put. She slowly sat back down and took her hand away from the door handle.
“Not, going to say anything Campbell? Don’t you want to impress your freak girlfriend?” He taunted.
“Is that what you’re doing right now- trying to impress someone?” Tommy said evenly, “Maybe just trying to prove a point or hide one?” he finished softly, low enough that only the other boy could hear.
His’s eyes widened at Tommy’s words and his face turned red, anger marring his handsome features.
“You little shit. I will end you.” He said.
The bully took a step forward and grabbed Tommy by the front of his shirt, lifting him up until his toes barely touched the ground. At this point, Emily could no longer keep watching. A crowd had gathered around the two boys and they were baying for blood as she stumbled out of the car. The boy pulled his fist back and crashed it into Tommy’s face. Emily gasped and started cussing at him, her hands extended into claws intending to do some damage to him, regardless of the fact that he was much larger than her.
Tommy doubled over as the bully goaded him to stand up straight, the crowd jeering along. They blocked Emily’s path from the fight. He grabbed a fist full of Tommy’s curly blond hair, making him straighten up. Tommy winced for a second but was otherwise impassive; no fear evident in his eyes or posture. The bully’s anger seemed to double and he raised his fist again but before he could aim the punch someone grabbed his wrist.
The crowd hushed at the interference of their bloodsport and Emily finally managed to push into the middle of the fray. Endymion stood glaring at the bully who was taller but not by much, his body blocked Tommy from the taller boy.
“Practise started, Coach asked me to come find you. If you want to have any hope of making captain this year, you’d better get going. Everyone knows coach is on the war path since his wife left him.” Endymion said calmly, even as all his muscles were tensed and ready to react to the slightest provocation.
The bully frowned but relaxed his posture, gave Tommy one last glare before turning away without another word. The crowd almost instantly dispersed with his departure. Only when he had crossed the whole parking lot and disappeared into the school building did Endymion visibly relax,
“There goes my chance at making the team.” Endymion muttered.
He glanced at Tommy and Emily who was fussing at the blood running down his nose.
“He ok?” He asked.
“I’m fine.” Tommy attempted to say but it came out garbled and nasally because of his bloody bleeding nose.
“Well sis, is he?” He said ignoring Tommy after a slight glance at him, which was more of his eyes moving over him, than actually turning to look at him.
“Yeah, he’ll be fine. Just needs some ice.” Emily said.
“Forget me, you still have a chance, go to try outs.” This time it came out a little less muffled.
Endy’s brows knit in confusion, “He says go, we got it here. Go kick ass and show ‘em what it means to be a Grimm.” Emily said.
He smiled brightly, boyish and almost shy.
“Thanks Tom, sis.” He said high fiving her, “I hope that doesn’t hurt too bad.” He murmured to Tommy as he turned away, not waiting for an answer.
“It doesn’t.” Tommy said softly as his nose finally stopped bleeding.
Endy just chuckled quietly in response.
Emily stood at her locker, a few lockers down from the bully whose name she always forgot, while he tormented Tommy the shortest person in junior year. Tommy was the same height as most of the freshmen and some of them were even taller than him.
Emily sighed and looked back into her locker, trying to find her physics textbook between all her notebooks. Her own fiction and poetry; library books and other novels. Then there was the black, torn punk-goth clothes adding to the impossible mess. Her mother routinely tried to purge said clothes from her closet so she had to keep her favorite ‘irreplaceable’ pieces in her car and locker. She shoved a boot to the bottom of her locker and managed to excise the book just as the bell rang and the bullies tossed poor Tommy into a garbage can almost as tall as he was.
Emily loitered in the hall by her locker, while everyone rushed to class. People were used to over looking her and no one paid her a second glance. When the coast was clear she pulled Tommy from the garbage can and helped him brush himself off, luckily it was only paper and other relatively clean classroom stuff in the trash can but it took them long enough they were late to class.
The teacher threatened them with detention, making sure to maximize their embarrassment in front of the class. Tommy stared at his feet while Emily looked the teacher in the eye, causing him to falter many times and eventually lamely send them to their seats at the back of the class.
A few minutes later the bully whose name she always forgot showed up late with a blonde girl in tow. The teacher readily supplied his name as Todd Gallagher when she greeted him enthusiastically regardless of his obvious lack of remorse at breaking the rules. Even though could never remember Todd’s name she knew this girl, there was no way she could not. This was the girl hell bent on making her life miserable, she had thus far failed but still managed to be a thorn in her side and a stone in her shoe.
Emily despised her with the flames of the nine circles of hell and didn’t even try to hide it as she glared at her while the teacher let them slide without so much an excuse. From their ruffled hair and wrinkled clothes it was obvious what had delayed them from class.
Emily rolled her eyes and surreptitiously stuck her foot out so the bully- Todd tripped over her combat boot and into his girlfriend, nearly sending the emaciated blonde toppling over. He didn’t seem to notice what it was that he had tripped over, probably because he hadn’t been looking at where he was going but rather paying close attention to the blonde’s backside. Todd began to apologize but blondie cut him off with a simpering smile as she sat down next to him and then turned to glower at Emily. A look that promised retribution.
‘Bring it on.’ Emily mouthed at her.
Tommy hated this semester’s schedule, as much as he hated to admit it, the various bullies that plagued him tended to give him wide berth when Em was by his side at the most he’d get something juvenile like being stuffed into a locker. From which Emily usually rescued him from as soon as the tormentors were gone. He had explicitly banned her from getting physically involved in any of his incidents, since the time she got suspended for knocking a tooth out from a 6 foot tall bully after severely bruising an extremely sensitive spot of his anatomy with her combat boots.
She had been adamant that she didn’t mind the punishment and would continue to defend him but he wouldn’t have it. That was one of the few times they had fought and he had come out on top, Emily proving that she too could also be weak to his cajoling and insistence as he was to hers.
Todd shoved the small blonde back against the brick wall of the old school building. The smaller boy slammed against the wall with a groan of pain but quickly regained his footing, on the defensive for the next possible attack from the tall athletic guy blocking his path. He resisted the urge to beg for Todd to stop, this was an old routine, his words wold never reach the other boy. His pain would continue to be only his own He clenched his fists and raised his chin, bravely facing anything Todd dealt him.
A fist to the gut had Tommy doubled over, blunt pain radiating from where the older boy’s fist made contact. The blows came quickly after. The pain everywhere his mind, his heart and worst of all his soul. He kept himself together by sheer will power alone. He knew this wasn’t over, not by a long shot. When the rain of blows slowed a slew of slurs and words tainted with disgust and disdain fell on his defenceless ears. Promising more of the same in the coming days.
Angel, as she called herself was a known face at school, even by the teachers. Birth name Martha Duarte, was currently engaged in some unladylike behavior. She bent back a plastic spoon taking aim to catapult potato salad mixed with dog crap to the back of Emily’s head. Angel grinned manically, glad that Todd didn’t have lunch period with her, she always had to play the good girlfriend role when he was around, live up to the name. She took aim but in the last minute some dude came crashing through the lunch yard, on his skateboard, taking the full brunt of the catapult full of offensive material. Angel gasped, her pale gray eyes, widened. Not because she was worried about what she had just done, she could get out of any fix with a well placed smile or so she thought. Rather she was preoccupied with the fact that: 1. She didn’t know this particular male specimen, and she knew literally every guy at this school who was at least 6 foot tall as they were usually on sports teams which was just her type; and 2. He was gorgeous, not boy next door cute, like her Todd but a rock star, teen Hollywood, glossy magazine gorgeous, but definitely more than high school level gorgeous.
She stood up as quickly as her wedge heels allowed, and rushed to the new guy, a false apology already on her lips. When she got to the guy, her smile faltered, it took all her will power not scowl at him. She actually thought, he was someone she didn’t know, the new hair cut and clothes paired with the fact that they hadn’t seen each other since he had hit puberty. He had picked up some new tricks, she hadn’t even been able to pick up his scent at all.
Her annoyance doubled when she noticed Emily already there at his side, looking starry eyed, Angel felt her claws come out. Emily never gave any guys the time of day! What was going on here? In freshman year Emily had been the most popular girl in school for all of ten seconds until guys found out she wouldn’t put out and girls found out they could use that fact to their advantage. Angel had been one of those girls and had pulled herself from sidekick to ‘the shit’ real quick. She wasn’t about to be second best to Emily ever again.
“Is this what they call ‘hazing’ over here?” He said in an accent Emily couldn’t place.
“I am so sorry! I so did not mean to do that.” She said
He ignored her and the crocodile tears in her eyes.
“What exactly, to pelt him with what smells like yesterday's potato salad and dog crap?” Emily said.
The boy lips moved open and closed silently as, if not sure what to make of the two of them, he then looked at his shirt in disgust, not sure how to go about cleaning it, Emily handed him a wad of tissues from her bag. Angel’s sweet face twisted into a sour expression her fingers bending into claws, she hid them behind her back and bit back the caustic words on the tip of her tongue.
“I could lend you a shirt if want?” Emily ventured.
“Your shirt?” He said dubiously. Emily could almost recognize the accent but it was just out of reach.
She led him back to the school building, leaving Angel in her wake. Emily 1-Martha 0, she thought triumphantly. Back at her locker she rummaged through the clutter, and eventually found the oversized shirt that usually she moped around in at home on her bad days, of which they were many, but this particular shirt was special. Even though she and Martha would never again be what they once were, this shirt was the last remnant of the simpler, more innocent times. So she had to keep it safe from her mother’s compulsive ‘cleaning’, stuffing it in between her school junk. She pulled it out and fluffed it causing the material to make a sharp snap. The shirt was a triple XL and a full sized dress when she wore it, it would more than suffice for the new guy, whose name she didn’t remember, or maybe he hadn’t told her. What was up with her and names? When she pulled out the black oversized band T, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“Here you go.” She said.
“Thanks.” he said and tossed his board on to the ground and skated over to the bathroom.
She assumed to wash the smell of what could only be compared to newborn hell spawn vomit. She had to admit she was glad to see him leave, it was rank.
“Not supposed to do that indoors,” she said absently.
“Rules were made to be broken, no?” He said without turning around.
After a few minutes of waiting she started to get impatient. What was up with foreign model boy? She got up from her place on the floor and fluffed her almost too short skirt that had teacher wanting to get out a ruler and measure the amount of leg she was showing, and stalked over to the boys bathroom, she was almost 100% sure it’d be empty at this time, but she was willing to risk it. She burst into to bathroom and stopped for a second, the sight was too shocking, too mystifying, entirely too much. New boy was at the sinks with his pale nose wrinkled in disgust, he was shirtless and the sight almost, rendered her beyond words. How could someone look so skinny with clothes on? And then ‘Bam!’ shirt off and it’s frigging Baywatch, well minus the tan. New boy was the poster child for pasty, pretty rare for the coastal city where they lived.
“What’s up with the face?” She asked.
“Smells...” he said absently.
“Huh?” Emily asked“The smell won’t go away. What did that wench concoct that smells this foul? Her powers of evil are quite prodigious!” He grumbled.
“Wench? Prodigious?” Emily said and snorted but covered it with a cough.
She painfully dragged her eyes away from the Greek godlike body and rummaged through her bag.
“Aha! Here, take this.” She said.
“What is this? Berry Boo...” He said with a raised brow.
“Dude, its shower gel. We have gym today. Well, juniors do, but you’re a senior right?” she said in a rush, trying hide her embarrassment.
His face lit up as he popped the cap and the smell of berries filled the bathroom. The smell straight from The Underworld’s Fields of Eternal Punishment could not resist against it. Just as Newboy pulled Emily’s shirt over his head, two loud people burst into the bathroom. They all froze, staring at Newboy’s amazing muscles. It was none other than Todd and Angel.
“What the hell are you doing in here?” Todd broke the silence, “I’ve been looking for you all day. I was late to class because of you and then you ditch me for the rest of the day?”
“I thought you were late because of Angel?” Emily blurted, even though she knew he wasn’t talking to her.
“Why Angel?” He said blankly, looking at her genuinely confused.
Angel looked panicked for a second and uncharacteristically elbowed Todd in the side, making him wince. ‘Those boney elbows have got to hurt.’ Emily thought. His eyes widened as he realized what he had implied. New boy slowly put the shirt on and frowned at Todd, looking like there were a few choice words he wanted to say to him.
“Yeah... This is none of my business, so I’m going to-” Emily rushed out of the room before she finished the sentence. She only stopped running when she reached her car in the parking lot. Right now she was sure of one thing, taking the rest of day off was a good idea.
“What are we going to do about your friend?” The pale boy demanded coldly.
“She isn’t my friend,” Angel flinched at his harsh tone, “but don’t worry, she doesn’t know anything.”
“You have better make sure of exactly what she does or doesn’t knows, Martha!”
“Don’t worry about it Sebastian, I’ll take care of Emily.”
Bile rose to her throat, Sebastian had always been hard on her, it wouldn’t do to make him mad, more than he already was. Of course it had to be Emily to get her in trouble when Sebastian had been ignoring her, the way she liked it, since he’d arrived. Now he was going to be on her case, things would likely continue to go wrong. Her cousin always found something to get mad about. He was in line to be the next head of their clan, so he was raised to be an authoritarian, but she thought he was more of a sadist than anything else.
“Just know that if I go down for this, I’m taking you with me. You think I’m bad wait until you have to face father.”
She gasped, a look of pure horror on her face. She gripped the golden pentagram hanging from a long chain on her throat tightly and said a quick prayer to ward off misfortune.
“Don’t even play around with that. Mind your words Sebastian! Don’t ever mention him again.”
Sebastian actually looked admonished and bit his lip and looked nervously around the dim room where they were meeting. It was one of the oldest rooms in the house and was too familiar for comfort. It reminded him of the house he’d wanted to escape- where he’d grown up.
Emily tossed around in bed, waking up before her alarm clock rung, the sun had still not risen and the room was dark. She sighed as she wondered how she could get out of going to school today. She honestly didn’t care one way or another about Todd and New guy or what may or may not be going on between them. But she knew that they’d be all over her trying to get her to keep quiet a secret she had no intention of sharing in the first place. Todd was the bully not her. She sighed and pulled her pillow over her wild bed head, trying to sneak in a few more minutes of sleep. She knew as soon as her family got up, she’d not have a choice in the matter. They were noisy as hell, she was just glad that by freshman year her sister had gone away to college meaning she had the room and adjoining the bathroom to herself. Her younger siblings shared the one down the hall. It was chaos every single morning.
She knew she wasn’t going to shut off her brain anytime soon so decided to go for a jog instead at least she’d have something to take her mind off it and remove the edge on her restlessness. She tossed her sweats on and as an after thought went to the bathroom and took a bottle of pills from the medicine cabinet over the sink. She tossed them down and went downstairs as loudly as could. She could wake them all up for a change.
When she came back sweaty and somewhat less tense, her family was crowding the kitchen, her parents trying to get the twins to finish eat their cereal at a speed other than catatonic. Her elder of her younger brothers, Endymion, was perched at the counter badgering everyone about how he needed to get to school early for morning soccer practice and how the twins always made him late. This was his usual argument for the morning, hoping to wear their parents down into getting him a car but his grades were too low right now and his parents wouldn’t even think about it until his next report card, though that didn’t stop him from whining. He thought he was the shit because he was already a soccer star at school during his freshman year. Now that she thought about it, Todd played on that team... He was the captain!
Holy shit! Emily was beginning to understand just how big this secret she’d unwittingly stumbled upon really was. It involved the Queen Bee, the Soccer Captain and a very gorgeous but unknown element.
She quickly greeted her family on her way upstairs, as her mom told her where to find her breakfast and she rushed her kids and husband out of the house. Emily was glad she no longer was a part of the chaotic morning rush of the Grimm household. Her high school started class at 8:30 instead of 7:30, for juniors and seniors so she could take her time. Life should be great, she thought but she’d been feeling off, more and more often. If she hadn’t decided to give Tommy a ride to school everyday, to spare him from the school bus bullies, she wouldn’t even make it to school most days, or at least not on time. Her phone buzzed and her own pep personified was on the line. He worked better than any Xanax, she thought as she smiled at the dorky picture that popped up underneath his name.
“What up sweet thang?” She said as she answered the phone.
She could practically hear Tommy blush on the other end of the line.
“Morning Em. How are you today? You didn’t come online last night, was a little worried.”
“I’m fine Tommy, just got back from a jog, that’s what functional people do, right?”
He laughed goodnaturedly, but Emily knew the only person who dreaded going to school more than her was Tommy but he always put on a brave face.
“Wednesday’s my favorite day, you know. We have all our classes together.” She said.
“Me too! Anyway, I’m going to get ready for school, you do the same. I happen to have a perfect attendance record to keep up.” Tommy replied.
“Right, Mr. Vice Prez.”
“God, don’t mention that, it was totally a joke. As usual”
“Joke or not we campaigned and we won! You’ve earned it Prez.”
“Whatevs. Laters... babe” He said the last part almost imperceptibly softly.
“See you soon handsome.”
Emily was sitting in front her vanity straightening her hair when her cell rang again. She sighed and put down the straightening iron. She looked at the screen and tossed it across the room to land on her bed. The picture that appeared was probably the only bad picture left of Angel in the universe; she had her mouth opened and was asleep in the back seat of Emily’s parents’ car. They had been on their way back from a concert, that Emily’s sister had taken them to during freshman year. It was a bitter sweet picture but she kept it because she knew Angel would be apoplectic if she ever laid eyes on it.
Emily turned back to straightening her hair, and ignored the phone ringing; she liked the song that was the ringtone anyway. Her dyed jet black hair was cut to chin length and she usually didn’t straight iron it, but today was one of those days where she felt she needed the reassurance of knowing she looked her best. She had chosen, her favorite dark purple mini dress with a leather corset bodice with skull embossed into it; holey black stockings and black patent leather Maryjane heels that made her look a lot taller than her average five foot five. She lined her eyes in black and purple liner, painted her lips in a pale pastel purple lipstick before grabbing her keys and rushing to her car.
She was at Tommy’s house when she realized her phone was still on her bed. She groaned and checked the time, she didn’t have enough time to go back and get it. She got out of her car to get Tom out since she didn’t have her cell to him. He answered the door bell right away and smiled as soon as he saw her. She pulled him into a hug. She loved hugging him, it was a consistent thing since freshman year, he hadn’t grown an iota of an inch, so every-time she hugged him felt like the last time and so on. It was selfish but she didn’t mind at all that he was short. At five foot five he was exactly the same height as her now, but she was hopping to sneak in at least one more inch by her seventeenth birthday. Tommy was the youngest person in junior year so he still had more time than everyone else to catch up, with a growth spurt.
Tommy was an extremely cute kid, with his wild golden blonde curls and aquamarine eyes, which was probably one of the reasons he got bullied as much he did. All the girls were either interested in being his friend or even dating him but he was too cripplingly shy for his own good so nothing ever came of it. Despite his height, he was an eye catching boy, who was better looking than many of the taller guys at school. Thus the reason behind their hate.
“To what do I owe the honor?” He asked.
“Don’t even ask, I forgot my cell at home. Queen Bitch jinxed me I swear,” She huffed.
“I’m afraid to even ask.”
Angel stood by Emily’s locker, which was conveniently located near, Todd’s one but Todd was nowhere to be seen. He must be currently suffering the wrath of Sebastian or would he like that? She shuddered at the thought and wondered if the whole beard girlfriend was a good idea, it wasn’t supposed to be permanent just until the soccer season was over, and people’s focus would be less on Todd, who was tired of pretend girlfriends he actually had to fool especially with Sebastian coming here, that would be guaranteed blood shed. She was just tired of it all, especially the fact at the end of the day she didn’t have an actual boyfriend by anyone’s standard.
Todd was at the best a friend and at the least probably secretly hated her like everyone else. Sucks, to be them she thought, as if I give a flying fudge what they think. She flipped her blonde hair, extensions and frowned as she saw Sebastian come down the hall, his skateboard under arm. She resisted the urge to sneer, could he even use that thing. Last time he had come to visit he sounded like a Victorian novel, now he was a skaterboy. How the mighty have fallen. He passed her at Emily’s locker and stopped and leaned against Todd’s.
‘Where the human?’ She projected the thought to Sebastian.
‘Todd’s running away’ He seemed amused with the idea.
‘That takes guts in a strange, round about sorta of way.’ She
‘Damn, I need to feed what do I do without him?’ He
‘Statistics say 1in3. Or was it 1in4?’ She
Sebastian frowned and then looked conflicted,
‘Trouble in paradise?’ She
‘His fixation with football.’ He
‘We call it soccer.’ She
‘Whatever! He won’t let me feed before a game or early morning practice and bunch of other exceptions and limitations… etcetera, etcetera.’ He
‘Can you spell whipped?’ She
‘It’s Angel, thanks very much.’ she was cut off from replying when she spotted Emily. She stood extra straight and sneered, not a pretty expression but one that got the message across. Emily ignored her and opened her locker, while her nerdy friend who had the misfortune of having the locker right next to Todd’s passed her with a look of distrust and some fear. Angel saw Sebastian’s eye light up at the sight of the little boy,
‘Not him!’ she chided, ‘want to kill him? Cuz that’s what you’d do- you eat like a porker.’
‘Truth hurts’ She
She turned to Emily and forced a neutral expression onto her face. “I’m here to make peace Emily, not for my own sake but for Todd and Sebastian.”
“Sebastian’s the new boy? What accent is that, by the way?”
“European- Something. I forget. He’s lived in so many different ones, he was born in Romania though. But trust me when I say I really need you to keep this quiet for them. Sebastian’s my cousin, you know. I don’t want anything bad to happen to him, especially when he just got here.”
“Honestly Martha, The last thing I want to do is to spill another person’s secrets. Just leave me alone as usual, you don’t have to worry about me saying anything. I swear it. Let Todd and new boy- Sebastian know it too.”
“So we’re cool?” Angel asked.
“As cool as we ever will be. I won’t use this against you, that’s not my style.” Emily replied.
She nodded and grudgingly thanked Emily before walking over to Seb who was listening to the short boy talk animatedly, while a small smile played on his lips. ‘Poor little rabbit, playing in the jaws of the wolf’ Angel thought. She caught Emily’s eye for a second and she could tell they agreed ‘those two could not become friends’. She dragged Seb off without a word, they were even now. She was tired of walking on eggshells with him.
“It’s fixed- done! Now go, get out of my hair, go find Todd. You can forge a note saying you were sick if any teacher’s an asshole, they sometimes are to new students. Go!” She said with a not so gentle shove towards the guy’s bathroom.
He could jump from the window, it was only the first floor, and land behind the school building and leave without attracting attention. Speaking of feeding, now that she was getting closer and closer to eighteen, she was needing to do it more and more often. It was such a bother, she just wanted to be a regular popular girl. The undead bullshit was such a bore, but she guessed having perpetually good skin was nothing to laugh at. Soon she’d need a permanent donor like Todd was to Seb but she couldn’t imagine any of the idiots at this school doing it for her. She just needed to hold out till she got college she knew she’d meet a bunch of awesome people there.
When Angel got home that day, she found Seb looking as if he wanted illuminate the whole city. He was smiling from ear to ear as he sat on the couch, playing video games. His dark hair was damp and he had it uncharacteristically, combed away from his face. She was annoyed by how much they resembled each other when he did that. She just wanted him out of her hair, somehow his problems were never just his own. She was always dragged into them too, willingly or not. Were things so bad halfway across the world, where he was raised as a prince and had both his mom and dad around? She was raised by her single mother, who was never around, she was too busy running away from her past and that included the child that her duty and rank forced her to bear and the husband she always wanted but could never have at her side.
It might be normal among their kind to do the whole polygamous marriage thing but average teens did not know how to explain, brother-cousin to people. Her mother and Sebastian’s mother were nonidentical twins, both wed to the same man, the leader of the clan. She chose the simplest explanation, he was just her cousin to her. She never thought of him as her brother but she knew that the little tug she got in her gut when he was in trouble and the tiny spark of happiness in her usually cold heart when they were reunited were signs that they did have a strong bond regardless of what she let her conscious mind believe.
“Where’d you go? What’s got you spaced out?” Sebastian asked.
“Since when do you say ‘spaced out’?” Angel asked.
“I’m picking it up. From Todd” he said with a grin.
“So you fed?” She asked.
“In a manner of speaking.” He said with an even bigger grin.
“Ew, no do not. Not another word.”
She shuddered and turned to leave the room. She left the room to the sound of Sebastian laughing at her reaction.
“I thought Americans were supposed to be the open minded ones.” He said to her retreating back.
She tossed her hair and nonchalantly flipped him off. He followed her up the stair and into her bedroom. He didn’t bat an eye as she began to change out of her clothes and into a skimpy night gown and thigh high cotton socks. Sebastian flopped down her bed and grabbed her embarrassing stuffed animal and inspected it curiously. Lifting its ears and limbs up. She snatched it back and hugged it to her small breasts.
“Leave him alone” She snapped.
“What is he?” He asked.
“What do you want?!” She said the pitch of her voice rising in annoyance.
“Just to talk, to ask you somethings.” He said casually running his hand through his hair, “Who is Emily to you?”
“Nothing and no one.” She said through her teeth.
“I’ve seen her pictures around the house.” Sebastian countered.
She came over to the bed and sat down putting her feet up on her brother’s lap. He picked up one of her sock clad feet and massaged it. They sat in silence for a while, Angel stared at her long legs in her stripy thigh high socks trying to avoid thinking about anything. And hugged the stuffed toy tighter.
“Any tighter and his inside will come out.” He said as he gently pulled her arms apart, “What if I said, I’m interested in Emily?” He asked casually.
“Well, I’d ask when you switched-” Angel began to say.
“Not that way, but there’s something about her... I have a feeling about her, we should keep an eye on her.” Sebastian said pensively.
“You still aren’t eighteen, you haven’t inherited the super secret powers...How would you know?” She said in a bratty tone.
He sighed and tugged at her side pony tail gently but insistently. “You’d feel it too and more, if you weren’t so self involved little sister.” he said softly, pensively. “Oh and if you stopped trying to be so bloody human, feeding would help your dismal mood.”
“And who would you suggest I do that with? Like I said, none of us have any powers yet, not like I could make them forget. And I’m not going to do something stupid like kill them to get rid of the evidence.” Angel replied.
“What’s the big deal, humans kill humans by the score daily.” He said.
“Whatever Hannibal Lector.” She said.
“That’s Doctor Lector to you, peasant.” Sebastian said.
She gasped and began pummeling him with a pillow. “Who.Are.You.Calling.A.Peasent?” She said between breaths.
He defended his face from the blows as she climbed on top of him to keep him from running. She heard his muffled laughter from underneath his arms. A light knock from the open door froze them both in place.
“Am I interrupting something?” A familiar voice said from the doorway.
“Todd!” The siblings said in unison, breathless.
Todd looked moderately awkward, as he stood at the threshold, he looked out of place in his long dark hooded coat. It was open and Angel saw that there was a dagger hanging from his belt. She frowned, something was up, She’d only seen Todd this serious once before. She scrambled off the bed, and straightened her clothes.
“What is it Todd? What’s wrong?” She blurted.
“There was a sighting of your mother, Angel.” Todd replied
“Oh Goddess.” She breathed.
“There’s more” he said with a frown, “A group of Grimm were seen in the same area. They weren’t from around here and it looks like they’re tracking her.”
“When was this?” Sebastian demanded.
“Tonight, a few hours ago, I wasn’t out on patrol but the news came to me quickly. My dad wanted to be the one to tell you but I managed to convince him to let me come here.” Todd said.
“Sebastian, we need to go out and look for her.” Angel begged.
Sebastian turned his head sharply in the direction of the window, and his face became serious, looking fierce and regal. He stalked passed them and walked into the hall. They caught up with him at the top of the staircase, Angel put a hand on his shoulder trying to get any hint of a reading off him but his hostility was making it difficult to pick up on any of his individual thoughts. Todd glanced at him almost longingly but passed and walked down the stairs, giving them space. Sebastian was still for a long time as if listening to something in the distance. Soon Angel began to hear something, too, the sound of animal growls but too loud and deep to be an animal. And cries of pain and fear. The sound of metal shrieking as it was shred, and then silence.
She held her breath and squeezed Sebastian’s arm tightly. She began to count her breaths to keep from hyperventilating, when she had just about lost count of the there were frantic knocks at the front door. Sebastian flinched slightly, but moved down the stairs, faster than any human could. She followed behind, her sock clad feet slapping against the cold marble floor. Todd and Sebastian had been exchanging quiet words and fell silent by the time she hit the bottom step. Before any of them could stop her she wrenched the door open. Her eyes widened, her first thought was ‘so much blood. How would any one survive after dripping all of that?’
Emily and Tommy stood at her door step, they were both drenched in blood. She couldn’t tell who it all belong to. The sheer volume was confusing her senses. Tommy leaned heavily on Emily for support, he seemed to be more injured than her. His head lolled back and forth, he was barely conscious, his pale hair stained crimson with the compelling liquid. All of them froze for a second just staring at each other, Emily’s eyes narrowed slightly at the sight of Todd and Sebastian.
“Oh my goddess Emily!” Angel cried.
She rushed forward and began to help her carry Tommy inside.
“We had a car crash near here, I didn’t know where else to go.” Emily explained.
Sebastian stepped forward, effectively blocking the way, his fangs were extended and his eyes glowed molten silver, “She’s not welcome here. Can’t you tell what she is?”
Angel replied by barring her fangs in turn. Tommy spoke up, apparently more conscious of what was going on than they had noticed.
“Wait. She doesn’t know, but she killed the thing that attacked us, it was a shifter, one of the oath breakers allied with the Grimm.”
Sebastian looked at Tommy suspiciously and the small blonde gingerly pulled his arm off from around Emily’s neck and pulled his blood soaked sweater sleeves up revealing his wrists. Sebastian looked at it and growled, “You...”
“What was I supposed to say?” He gritted out through the pain, but smiled weakly. “Hi, welcome to Carmel High, oh by the way I’m part of an ancient blood line of shape shifters…”
Emily was so confused she was literally dizzy from it. She stared at Tommy’s wrists for a long time and just as she looked away, something flicker in her peripheral vision. She turned back sharply and gasped. His wrists, had golden symbols moving up and down them like blood flowing just beneath the surface. She could make out some of the symbols, they would form and dissipate into the more solid golden streams. There were also animals, creatures made of gold; prancing and slithering down her friend’s slim limbs.
“What, what is that?” She croaked.
“Well that fucking proves it, if she can see it.” Todd said with anger ringing his voice.
He pulled the dagger from his belt and glanced to Sebastian for confirmation. Sebastian sighed and shook his head. He looked thoughtful but conflicted.
“We need to find out more about this. We don’t have a choice but no one can know of this.”
He moved out of the way and began his making his way back into the house.
“Take them to the old Annex. Try not to bleed everywhere-especially her.” he said pointing at Emily.
Todd sighed and sheathed his blade, and began to help Tommy walk when Angel led them away from the front door. There was a path that was hidden by undergrowth. Angel gracefully navigated the terrain and Emily stumbled behind. She watched Angels back and wondered when this girl had become a total stranger. The extremely thin limbs, the blonde hair and waist length hair extensions, all belong to this girl that she didn’t know at all but at the moment when she had fought to have Sebastian let them say she saw a glimpse of her. The girls she used to be, her fiery best friend. When she was beautiful inside as well as out. To Angel’s surprise, Sebastian met them at the gate to the annex. He had a large first aid kit under his arm and had changed to dressed in similar clothes to Todd, what Angel called combat chic. A long coat over a charcoal long sleeve shirt and dark khaki pants and classic timberland boots in brown while Todd wore all black, a long sleeve thermal t-shirt and jeans and combat boots. Sebastian had no visible weapons but she could sense the enchanted blade concealed in his boot.
He was the child they both doted on even, they lived the fact that he had an affinity for both sides of his Lamia heritage, magic and his vampire instincts. While she had not magic what so ever and was struggling to reconcile with the fact that she was changing, becoming less and less like the humans she was raised around and as one of them. She shuddered at the thought of the knife, their mothers had made that blade specifically for him. So far there didn’t seem to be anything the dagger couldn’t kill but she knew it was made especially to shed the blood of one thing and one thing alone. The creatures whose blood they couldn’t spill with their bare hands The Grimm.
Sebastian was all business, his face stony and distant but he gave Todd’s arm a discreet squeeze as he walked past him. Inside the small cabin, she could tell Sebastian had been there for a while. The front room had a table covered with white sheet, a mini small pillow resting at one end. Further into the room was a small sitting room. The furniture moved to the walls to make space for a claw foot tub full of steaming water, looking like something straight out of a fairy tail.
“Dump her in the tub” He told Todd briskly as he took Tommy from him and easily picked up the short boy in a bridle lift.
Tommy gave a startled cry and began to protest but Sebastian hushed him and dropped him on to the table. He frowned and hummed in consternation.
“This is not going to be fun” He gently began to peel back the bloody clothes uncovering more and more of the wounds.
His eyes began to glow metallic silver but his face remained stoic as he assessed the wounds. He called out terse instructions to Angel to hand him implements and antiseptics to clean the wounds.
“Magic can seal the wounds but it would take a circle to cleanse an infection and restore the loss blood. So I’ve got to clean all the wounds the old fashioned way first.”
Tommy gritted his teeth and nodded.
“This is all her fault, it’s why you couldn’t shift.”
“Self control’s-” he wheezed. “Not so great. Eating your best friend is the quickest way to end a friendship.” He said with a strained breathless laugh.
“Okay, don’t talk so much, save your strength.”
Todd unceremonious lifted Emily over his shoulder, she shrieked and kicked but he dumped her into the tub without a word. He then proceeded to clean the blood from the floor with a mop. He didn’t look at Sebastian and he dint attempt to make conversation. Angel went to Emily’s side and was about to help her out.
“Don’t! Touch her” Sebastian snapped and Angel.
“What is this?” Emily cried out from the bath.
“What did you do?” Tommy growled trying to get up.
“Heel Rex. It’s just a bath, it’ll help her healing, not that she needs it. But... She won’t be able to get out of it until I say so. She’s lucky I heated it up.” He grumbled, “Now lie the fuck down. I need to pull the claws out or you won’t be able to heal.”
He looked over his shoulder and caught Emily glaring at him. On the surface she was a slim, cute Goth girl. Now her makeup was smeared in the steam and water of the bath. In the low candle light her brown skin glistened from the water and her wet h. Her eyes however told a different story, staring at the chocolate colored pools he was drawn in, as he watched them turn pure black and his skin prickle and goosebumps rise on his skin. The dark in her eyes swirled slowly, but almost imperceptibly seemed to building up, until one day it could suck him in easily. How could he have missed it? The signs were there. She was defiantly Grimm and what was worse she was one of the Lost. The Lost were the descendants of the Royal Grimm families of old. The families had banded together to form an organized genocide against the Lamia. To prevent it The Lamia, The Steins and even the Lupos, who were supposed to be neutral, had no choice but to annihilate the lines. Only the youngest children and the women of the line were allowed to live, scattered to winds without their heritage or there names. The greatest names of the Grimm erased. Angel sure knew how to pick ‘me.
The most terrifying difference between the normal Grimm and the Lost were that the Lost’s blood was infinitely more deadly and that it was said to draw in Lamia like no human’s blood could. Sebastian did felt a week draw towards her, and her blood had an intriguing under note but nothing like what he’d been taught. She was still growing into her powers like he and Angel were. It was the perfect time to kill her, he thought. He could imagine the sour look of jealousy on his cousin faces. They wouldn’t ever again be able to contest him as clan leader just because his mother was half human.
Sebastian got to work pulling out claws and teeth from a creature he was having trouble identifying. When he had pulled out all the claws out of the boys flesh, he began to clean the wounds, as he worked he could see the wounds begin to heal. That was a good sign. When he was done he took a moment to look at the claws,
“What did the creature that did this look like? He asked Emily.
“I don’t know, it was dark.”
“Don’t fuck around. Just tell me what it looked like.”
“I told you, I didn’t really see it!” Her voice bounced off the walls and they locked eyes,
“What does it matter, just heal him already.” Angel spat.
“So bloody easy to say.” He said narrowing his eyes at angel. He turned to Emily and spoke without actually looking at her, “Once you get all the blood off you can go. I need...space. I need you all out.”
He sighed and pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes.
“Todd take her to your place. Everyone is still out on patrol, right?”
“And when they get back?”
“Say, you rescued her. They won’t realize what she is. Just keep an eye on her- please.” He stared at Todd with pleading eyes.
He could tell Todd didn’t want to be part of this. Now that the Grimm had been spotted Todd’s father would be on his case more than usual. Now was not the time to screw up, but Sebastian was sure that they would need the Lupo’s gratitude especially if the oath breakers were working with the Grimm. He began to pace, he had practiced this countless times and had healed many willing and unwilling volunteers with consistent results but still this was the first time it was out of an elders supervision, so out of control. He needed it back, he needed it back. He stalked out of the room. The cold outside was welcomed. He stared up at the stars and tried to ground himself, find his center. Push all external influences out. A cool breeze blew though his hair, and he took a deep breath followed by another. Foot falls behind him, made him open his eyes.
“I don’t mean to cause you trouble, but she really can’t stay here. I need to talk to her but I’m sure she wants me to help her friend so she won’t give you a hard time. Will you forgive me for being so pushy?” Sebastian spoke without looking away from the starry night.
“I’m not mad. Just tired of this. Confused.” He paused for a while but Sebastian was silent, “I’m going to get going. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He turned away before he could reply. Sebastian wrinkled his nose at his behavior but brushed it off and head back to the cabin.
The room was dim with only the white and silver candles had been arranged around the table in a semi circle around the table Tommy lay on. Angel had changed into a short white shift dress with a braided gold belt. Her golden pentagram hung in front of dress. She and Sebastian stood at opposite ends of the table, he at the head and her by Tommy’s feet. The boy was half conscious and would groan and mumble. Sebastian went around the table clockwise and tied down each of his limbs with rope braided with enchanted silver and gold. When each limb was tied down the gold markings on Tommy’s skin glowed brighter and flowing away from the ropes and towards the center of his body. Before they started Sebastian looked at Angel across the table and smiled at her reassuringly, she felt her eyes prickle and sniffed. He hadn’t smiled at her like that since they were kids, and she followed him everywhere when they were allowed together. For one moment her big brother was back.
She took a deep breath and looked away, putting her hands on Tommy’s bare ankles. Well all of him was bare as he lay on the old but sturdy table. Angel was surprised that despite beginning pretty short the Shifter wasn’t under developed. She would have chuckled at the thought but she knew Sebastian wouldn’t approve. She had sometimes wondered if there was something going on between Tommy and Emily. He was definitely a good candidate for Angel to take on as a permanent feeding partner despite the fact that he reached about her shoulders. And she could probably lift him easily but Lupo were said to be resilient and their blood was indistinguishable from a human’s. She would defiantly talk to him about it, she doubted he would even be able to turn her down, he had all of no spine.
Angel had watched this be done countless times, many of them by her own brother. She never stopped being amazed by the power that flowed through him but it never stopped reminding her that she was empty. She didn’t illuminate the room the way he did. She didn’t inspire loyalty or obedience, people could ignore her. She had to push those thoughts aside or risk messing up the ritual. Her palms were on Tommy’s bare ankles and Sebastian mirrored the action, his hands on Tommy’s shoulders. She focused on white light and saw it radiating out from his feet up his body, she focused all her energy on the image and knew that her brother was doing the same. His voice could be heard murmuring chants under his breath.
The lights she visualized flowed from Tommy’s head down and up from his toes, and met at his heart, Angel felt heat building up in her own chest at first a comfortable warmth, then it grew hotter still. She resisted the urge to groan in pain. The heat grew more until it was almost unbearable and then Tommy let out a bloody curdling yowl, a sound a wounded animal would make. She held his feet down even though he was bound, as he tossed and growled and howled. His wounds began to steam as they knit and wove back together, the wounds healing and the screams increasing in volume. Sebastian did the same, holding down Tommy’s upper body as he continued to rage. Her arms were numb and heavy when the boy finally went still. The ropes disintegrated in to dust and blown away by a disembodied breeze. Tommy took deep slow breaths. He raised his arms to covering most of his face under his fore arms but the soft sound of his muffled sobbing could still be heard.
On Jelly like legs she went outside walked as far she could get. And fell down to the ground and puked her guts out. She pulled her self up and away from the mess, to center of the clearing and collapsed onto the dry leaves. Her chest heaved with labored breaths as she lay on her back on the ground. She clawed at the soil at her sides her eyes prickling her with unshed tears.