A thorn among roses

Him a vampire - her a werewolf. Together they made up the ultimate team. But could they (and his family) overcome the difference of DNA and fight together to beat their greatest foe?

The sound of the car door slamming behind me sounded like an echo from a thousand miles away. A distant voice asked me what I was waiting for. I concentrated on the voice, letting it pull me back to reality. The voice moulded into the words of my father, trying to sooth my obvious nerves and discontent.

“You’re gonna be fine, honey, just fine. I know you can do it. I believe in you" he soothed. He pulled me into a one armed hug, keeping it short but sweet, as much aware my total lack of enthusiasm for sharing my feelings as his own.

"Thanks dad, it'll be great, I'll be fine- don't worry" I said. He seemed convinced, yet I knew he was making an unconscious effort to believe the thoroughly unconvincing lie. I had never been able to lie, my face always giving away the truth, yet my calm facade seemed to be holding for the moment and I took courage from it. I shot Richard, my father, a smile and drew my last strength together, turning to walk towards the pavement. After all that I had been through over the last two years, you would have thought my first day at a new school in a place I hated away from my best and closest friend, my mum, would have been the least of my problems. But my nerves felt like they were ripping apart my innards, trying to claw themselves out.

"Rose..." my father called to me, making me turn back towards him, the smile that had been plastered across my face a moment before vanished, wiped away by the reality of my day to come.” Are you sure you're gonna be ok? I mean, I know it must be difficult for you, moving to a whole new state and attending a whole new school, especially where I'm the principal, but-"

I cut him off, unable to hear any more of my current sorrows spoken, especially when I knew how much it pained him to say it- express his feelings so openly. I could not only smell his unease, the uncomfortable situation making him sweat just a little. “Don’t worry dad, I love it here, love the house, can't wait to start school- which we are both gonna be late to if we don't stop nattering on out here, might I add" I told him. It was a relief to see him glance at the clock on the dashboard, then take a longer look at his wrist watch.

I heard him mutter a curse under his breath, which I easily heard but chose to ignore, allowing him the privacy of his own thoughts, though I itched to know what he was thinking at that precise moment. The urge allowed my mind to border along the metaphysically thin line that ran between my human self and my recently acquired other senses, so I heard a faint echo of his thoughts, blurred and unintelligible.

He reached into the back of the car to pull out his briefcase whilst saying to me "Good luck, and don't forget to call me Principal Parker from now on, and hurry up- I don't want my new student being late on their first day, hardly a good impression" he added jokingly, smiling in what he obviously believed was a reassuring manner. I returned the smile with a grimace, turning quickly away, so he wouldn't take note of my expression.

As I reached the curb, I started the seemingly endless walk up the crowded pavement leading to Staws High School, my new personal hell. Staws High School had a devastatingly low 700 students, now 701, barely a quarter the population of my high school back home in Miami. Out of the 2670 students back at Miami High School I had been the outlaw, never quite fitting in with my peers. Even my mother, my best friend, had never been on quite the same page as me. I wondered if the world saw the same things through their eyes as I saw through my own. Sometimes I would idly try to pinpoint the cause of my social dysfunction, whether there was a glitch in my brain or an event from my childhood that had somehow affected the way I saw the world. But the cause didn't matter- just the effect. Up until 14 this effect had been a sore point for me. I liked who I was and wondered why I was different from the other kids, liking who I was and not wanting to have to change myself to fit in. But 14 had been the age when I stopped idly trying to pinpoint the area of my genetic makeup which had made me the outlaw, because at 14 the last remaining hope I had had was broken beyond repair, when the monster had bitten me.

I headed straight through the ominous double doors, letting the crowd sweep me along, until I saw the office. The various smells of food, soap, deodorant and toothpaste that wafted off of the students around me making me choke back a cough as it struck me, but finding that my nose with its heightened sense of smell quickly adapting, recognizing the familiar surroundings of a school. The individual scents of the people around me mixed and transformed into a smell like summer, only the people close at hand managing to catch my nose with their unique scents.

Muttering excuse me to every person I had to cut across, I made my way towards the somewhat friendly looking door leading to the office, trying to keep as much attention away from me as was conceivably possible. Without bothering to knock, I swung through the doors, abruptly feeling tension reach greater heights in my shoulders. The secretary behind the desk looked up from the novel she was reading and gave me a friendly smile, making her eyes wrinkle at the sides. She smelt slightly musky, and I could detect that she owned two cats and a budgie. Aw. "Can I help you?" she asked.

"Hi, I'm Rosalie Thorn; I'm supposed to start today...?" I replied with uncertainty. The secretary gave me the once over, taking in my appearance. Gosh, I heard her think; they’re letting anyone in nowadays.

I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. From my rich brown hair, auburn eyes and plump red lips, you would think I had Italian heritage, but my skin was very pale, almost see through. My skin could be quite pretty, but it needed colour, and I had no colour here in the sunless state of Staws. I had always been soft, sort of slender but with an athletic figure. Being 5 foot 6 had offered me the opportune body but a tendency to lose my temper had quickly erased any prospects of having a date on Saturday night. Ok, so I may have gotten into a few fights in my old school but they weren't my fault. It wasn't due to volleyball or netball, the sports stereotypically associated with living in the sunny state of Miami, but a love of self-defence and running that I had gained my athletic body. Not to mention the ‘special abilities’ I had gained when the bastard had bitten me 2 years ago. 

The secretary didn't notice any of this though, her eyes instantly zoning in on my motorcycle jacket. Despite my father’s best efforts he had not been able to strip me of my jacket this morning, claiming it would gain me a 'reputation'. But I didn't care. My softly faded motorcycle jacket was my safety blanket, offering me protection and safety. The jacket had saved me more than a few scrapes in its time. Besides, it looked really good with my ripped jeans, black silk tee, and black ankle boots. It definitely offered me a certain jene-se-quoi, if I do say so myself. The secretary obviously did not agree.

Pursing her lips, she reached under the desk and pulled out a ready prepared folder and a pen. "If you could just fill out these forms, dear." I took the file from her and walked towards the folding chairs and table in the corner. Plopping myself in the least graffiti adorned chair, I opened the file and started filling in the documents, ignoring the dubious glances the secretary kept throwing my way and her muttered thoughts.

The door opening, letting in the bellowing sound of the students chatting before class momentarily, offered me an undeniable excuse to look away from the tedious documents.

 A boy had walked in, about my age or maybe slightly older, with bronzy red hair and skin even paler than mine, yet more solidly white- unbreakable. Something about the way he walked gave him a high society air, sort of old-worldly. He walked up to the desk.

“I believe you have someone for me to look after for today “he said, his tone making it into a question. His voice was strangely melodic, smooth like velvet. He waved his hand in a general sort of way, moving the air with his hand and sending a whiff of his scent my way. Curious, I stuck my nose a little higher and sniffed the strange fragrance emanating off of him. It smelt sweet, like honey or syrup, but also flowery, like apple blossom. I had never smelt anyone so glorious in my life, not even the last two years when my senses had been magnified. He didn’t smell human, and that was what I liked the most about him.

The secretary nodded her head at me, saying "she’s right over there" then in almost a conspiratorial way she added "good luck". I bit back a growl. The boy glanced my way, and then threw the secretary a stern look for some unfathomable reason. Turning from the secretary, he walked towards me.  

With his body now facing towards me, I was awarded the full view of his face. It was absurdly handsome, perfect angular nose, mysterious amber eyes. He was smiling a gentle disarming smile, as if trying to convince me of his innocence. He didn't look innocent. He looked dangerous, but in control, as if he had himself tamed. But I knew if he unleashed the full force of his danger factor no one could stand in his way- maybe not even me.

"Hey, I'm Jasper Rosen, I’m going to be your student guide for the day" he said, flashing me a smile showing his perfect ultra white teeth. He looked sincere, but deep in his eyes I thought I saw a hint of amusement. I tried to read his thoughts, as I had done countless times before with other humans, but came up blank. It was as if he had a shield built inside his head, blocking me from his thoughts. I looked into his eyes, concentrating all my power and found myself awestruck by the ferocity of his gaze, as if he were trying to read my thoughts also. I mentally shook myself.

feeling that he was controlling his strength, and his gaze searched my face, looking for something- I had no idea what. His hand was cold, like it had just been withdrawn from a frozen lake, and it took all of my might not to jerk away as a bolt of what seemed like electricity shot up and down my arm as we shook hands .I gathered up the now finished documents, grabbed my bag and walked up to the secretary’s desk, handed her the file and said "thank you very much" in my iciest voice. She won’t last long, I heard the secretary think to herself. She carried on wittering to herself, mentioning something about ‘in my day...’.

I turned towards Jasper, who had no doubt seen the look as his mouth seemed to be curving up into an involuntary smile. "So... what’s first on the agenda?" I asked, hoping to distract him.

“We’ve got registration first; with Mr Borgis" he replied as we walked out of the office and got swept into the crowd of people. Well, the crowd seemed to break unconsciously around us, making a pathway for Jasper to walk through. "What number is your locker?" he seemed unaware of the effect he was having on the students around us, though more than a few shot me curious looks. I could hear a lot of thoughts and conversations happening around me all centred around what Jasper Rosen was doing hanging around ‘the new girl’. "You didn't keep the sheet?" his eyes raked my body, trying to find a nonexistent sheet of paper with all of my details on it.

“46E" I said. He shot me a questioning look "I've got a good memory” I answered with a shrug that said everything and nothing, before he could ask. He continued to glide through the corridors leading me through corridors filled with lockers, until he stopped at a completely unmarked locker. This time it was my turn to shoot him a questioning look, and his turn to answer without the need of a question.

"Its next door to mine" he answered, as he reached towards his own locker, undoing it with a casual flick of his wrist. I tried to mimic his action on my own lock, but couldn't even let it move let alone unlock. Jasper, seeing this, smiled warmly at me, making me blush deep scarlet.

"It’s a knack" he explained, "You have to use the unlocking code".

I yet again reached towards the lock, but this time I spent more time, twisting and thrusting the lock this way and that. 8 twist twist stop, R back twist stop, and so on. I hated having to appear weak, and the only way I could have achieved Jaspers casual wrist flick was to damage my locker, and I didn’t think that would go down so well. I would have to wait until the locker loosened up a bit, apply more force gradually every day until I could open it without crushing the lock. Jasper, having already taken out his books and closed his locker by this time, leaned against his locker and watched me as I opened my own. Inside had been placed the books that I would need for the year, neatly placed in a row.

 “English, German and History" he told me, just as I had been wondering what books I would need. I grabbed the books and started to pull them out, but didn't get very far. Just as the books brimmed over the edge, I felt a body slam up against me and fall back. As the books spilled over the edge and onto the floor, I gasped and turned around slowly, feeling a sharp pain in my ribs as I moved.

A group of jocks, the popular crowd, were leaning over a geeky looking boy who was sprawled on the floor gathering up his books with tears brewing in his eyes.

"You gonna cry, Brady? You want your mamma?" taunted what appeared to be the leader of the jocks. A jolt of anger coursed through me, and the colour of my peripheral vision began to sharpen. I bit back the urge to Change, knowing that the problem was easily dealt with in my weaker human form, and that the students milling in the corridors would freak if they saw me Changed.

"Excuse me?" I said, barely aware of the silence that had fallen over the entire corridor, but suddenly electrically aware of Jaspers protective stance beside me, his mouth half open as if he had just been about to reprimand the jocks just as I was doing now. But only a small area of my brain focused on this matter, making it feel trivial, as the rage brewed up inside of me and I glared at the leading jock. I saw in the reflection of his eyes my eyes flicker black for a millisecond, as I let the him see for an instant the reality of danger. He looked surprised, vulnerable as if he had unexpectedly been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, but then a defiant mask replaced the look and what could only be called a leering look plastered his features. He had chosen to ignore his primal instincts, choosing instead to rely upon his teenage urges and the confidence it awarded him. Stupid boy.

He sauntered over to me, his friends’ cat calling behind him. He put one hand up over my shoulder so I was pinned between the locker behind me and his body. He leaned over me and brushed a lock of my hair behind my shoulder. My personal elastic band, which had been stretched to its limits already due to the whole brand new school thing and then being smashed into a locker, snapped. I reached up, grabbed him by his shirt collar with both hands and spun around, still holding on to his shirt collar, and slammed him into the locker on the other side of my own. To say he looked shocked was an understatement, and I revelled in his expression.

"Excuse me" I said again, I usually found that being exceptionally polite to people I threaten made it harder for them to come up with a reply and took me more seriously. That and the use of physical force.  "Firstly, you push someone less fortunate than yourself into me, causing me physical pain" I growled, making it sound like a human growl and tightening my hands around his collar ever so much, making my hands push into his larynx and him turn a satisfying shade of red, "But you then have the audacity to swagger over here and perversely try to seduce me?" hands a little tighter.

His body twisted, obviously fed up of being told off, and his fist came flying towards my head. I was fully prepared to duck and roll with the punch, one hand already loosening its hold and halfway shaped into a fist of my own. But the fist suddenly stopped a few inches from my head, a hand twisting it into what looked like, and I knew from personal experience was, a very painful position. My eyes following the hands up to the elbow, then shoulder, then face, I found myself watching as Jasper, with a very dangerous smile upon his glorious face, fanglike teeth glinting in the harsh glare of the fluorescent lights of the corridor, leaned towards the Jock, with the fist he held now pinned behind the jocks back in yet another uncomfortable position. The Jock didn’t try to squirm, Jaspers fist making it difficult to do without sending more screams of pain up and down his arm. Oh god, I heard the Jock think, dumb broads gone and gotten chummy with Rosen. The rest is unrepeatable due to a colourful range of expletives mainly aimed at either myself, Jasper and pain. His pain was therefore something very satisfying to hear about, it being hard enough to hurt quite badly, but not enough to cause a lasting injury other than injured pride. I wondered how Jasper knew how to apply exactly the right pressure upon his arm. But this was unimportant considering the current events that were taking place around me.

Jaspers face was different somehow, and as he took over the task of punishing the Jock, I scrutinized it, trying to pinpoint the alteration. "I may be mistaken, but it looked to me, Michael, like you just went to hit Rose" his voice was low and dangerous yet still in control, as if the anger hadn't yet set in, "now, that wasn't very smart was it? because she was just trying to establish why you were sexually harassing her- something I was fully prepared to punish you for myself before she stepped in- and bullying Melvin over there" his head thrust in the general direction of the geek, now standing with a group of similar looking geeky friends, astonished. "Now please present me with one reason why I shouldn't reprimand you myself".

Michael whimpered.

Just behind him one of his friends had snuck up and was preparing to ‘reprimand’ Jasper himself, with two of his other friends starting to follow his lead. I could hear all three of them thinking protective thoughts for their leader and, stupidly, they inadvertently told me exactly what they planned to do, which was to ignore me as I was only a girl and that, by their idea of heroic bravery, would somehow impress me. Why they would want to impress me I didn’t know, my appearance only altering when I underwent my Change.

The new arrival leaned back, his hand bawling up into a fist, making a very juvenile mistake by clenching his thumb under instead of on top of the clenched fingers. Stepping around Jasper and Michael, I sunk my fist into the jocks gut, greatly enjoying the way he gasped and sunk to the floor grabbing his stomach. His two friends let out a cry of shock and outrage, and then rushed me. Dropping to the floor, I swung my leg around, making the faster of the two come crashing to the floor on top of his friend. That left just one.

Jasper, having dealt with Michael by imitating my fist-in-gut method, grabbed the last of the musketeers and kicked the back of his knees, hitting it just right and sending him sprawling on top of his fellow comrades.

The corridor was silent around us as we looked at each other then back down at the pile of bodies fumbling to right themselves. An opening door made us jump as a teacher came out of a door halfway down the corridor, called out by the unnatural quietness. He took one look at the recovering Jocks and Jasper and I, then commanded to the corridor in general "Get to class".

I threw the Michael and his three friends my most dazzling smile, and then bent down to recover my fallen books. Standing up, I realized Jasper was smiling at me again, studying my face for the answer to an unspoken question. There was nothing but silence from this exceptional boy. Why? I knew neither question nor answer, and my inability to know what he was thinking sent a spam of fury through my body, hating my weakness. But I found it impossible to stay cross at myself as Jasper stood in front of me, looking too perfect to be human, smiling at me. He had a nice smile, I noticed, sort of crooked and showing a hint of teeth, though not enough to be able to discern the individual shape of each tooth. Returning the smile, I followed his lead as he turned to start walking back down the corridor, carefully stepping over the leg of Michael, who was shooting us furious glares as we walked away.

“That was quite something" Jasper said. He pushed open a door to the left and held it open for me. I wondered briefly if I had shown too much of my true self, maybe I should have played the damsel in distress. I diminished this thought almost immediately, knowing myself too well to think I could ever play the weak girl. I walked under the eave, replying "Well, I have an unnatural talent for surviving. Besides, jocks like that shouldn't get away with stuff like that, getting their kicks from bullying the weak. Anyway, they really hurt my ribs".

Turning from him, I noticed that the room was half filled with students, sitting in awed silence, no doubt due to the entrance of the delectable Mr Rosen, and staring at me. Blushing, I walked up to the front desk where the teacher sat, his feet up on the desk reading a newspaper, staring at me with a disbelieving look. "Um, hi, Mr Borgis, I'm Rosalie Dorn" I stuck out my hand. Mr Borgis looked from me to my hand, then finally back up to my face. He studied me for a brief second, then slipped his calloused hand into mine and I firmly shook it.

"Good morning, Rosalie, if you would just like to go and sit by the window over there beside Mr Rosen" he pointed towards where Jasper had settled himself, watching the show with a relaxed smile on his charming features. I grabbed my books and shot my new tutor a smile before walking towards Jasper. He pulled out the chair from where he sat as I placed my books on the table. Sliding into the seat I took in my new surroundings.

Mr Borgis must have been a history teacher, because the walls were adorned with historical posters and timelines. the class was now more or less full, with a few late comers slipping in as the bell, with a strangled nasal sound, proclaimed that registration was about to begin. They were all chattering away again, some not making any attempt to hide their curiosity in the new comer, i.e. me. Wanting to avoid the attention I turned to look out of the window, seeing nothing but the student parking lot and the forest that lay beside it. I could clearly see the assortment of mangled rusty cars and trucks, the average car expected of a teenager living in such a desolate town as Staws. One car, a shiny black BMW, stuck out like a sore thumb.

I concentrated on raking through the assortment of

A sharp remark from Mr Borgis brought my mind back to reality. "Right then, you lovely lot, we have a new student this term. Her names Rosalie Dorn and I would appreciate it if you would make her feel welcome. Jasper's has been kind enough to accept his duty as student guide, and so far they have managed to survive", the class looked bewildered at this, but as Mr Borgis looked at me I felt a sinking feeling in the base of my stomach. So, I thought, Mr Borgis had been the one to come out of his room. Yippee.

"Now then, I want to have an unblemished record this year. That means no fighting, ditching class or anything else you lovely lot can think of. Be good" he said sternly, as the bell for the end of registration rang, "Now get to class". He turned around to start writing on the blackboard behind him, dismissing us.

Jasper stood and waited for me to gather up my books. I noticed that more than a few of the female population of the class were shooting me jealous glances. I smiled to myself, making Jasper look puzzled, unaware of the looks he was receiving. He was the best looking boy in our class, undoubtedly the whole school as far as I was aware. And he was spending the whole day with me.

Shooting him a mock puzzled look in return that only made him frown even more from confusion I started walking towards the door. With a little shake of his head and an unnameable expression, he quickly caught up with me, placing himself slightly ahead so he could open the door for me. Once again, I found myself noticing the envious looks I was receiving from the entire female population now gathered in the corridors and making their way to their next class. Blushing deeply, I placed myself slightly behind Jasper so he wouldn’t see my embarrassment.

The lessons leading up to lunch passed in a blur of embarrassment and puzzlement. Yes puzzlement. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to shift the feeling that there was more to Jasper than he was letting on. Of course, there was my little secret too but I figured that I was concealing that well enough. Only the curious glances that he sometimes gave me sometimes made me wonder if he could see through my carefully constructed facade. Despite my obvious inability at lying, years of practice had enabled me to hone this particular secret so the lies were believable even to my own ears.

 

Chapter two

 

Walking into the din of the cafeteria was just like when I had first walked into registration, but much louder. Everyone was talking and thinking about the new girl, and when Jasper and I walked in the place erupted with new fuel. Something about his family, but I didn’t concentrate on it. Jasper led the way, weaving his way along the back of the wall until he came to a long aisle along which a few of the cheerleaders were ‘strutting’. “This is the catwalk” Jasper said to me in a low voice, cautiously not taking his gaze away from a table in the far corner. He walked forward along the ‘catwalk’ and I followed his lead. As we walked, the noise gradually decreased until you could hear a pin drop. All heads swivelled to watch us as we made our way along the Catwalk, each minds surveying our every mood. I felt my blood pool in my cheeks as a blush rapidly set in. Every way I looked I saw critical eyes, and I felt clumsy and embarrassed.

Unexpectedly, I found my foot catch on the edge of a chair, and I stumbled forward, my arms flailing for something- anything- to stop me from landing in a broken heap upon the floor. My hand caught onto something hard and icy cold. Steadying myself I looked up into the surprised heart breathtakingly beautiful face of Jasper. Our eyes locked, and once again I felt a jolt of electricity flow between myself and the muscular arm of Prince Charming, aka Jasper.

I heard a snicker behind me, and instantly dropped my hand from Jaspers arm. “I’m sorry” I muttered, “got my foot caught on the damn chair” I explained. The snicker behind me built in decibels and company behind me, and I recognized the leading vocals as none other than the delightful jock Michaels. Turning, I fought to control the anger that coursed through me yet again due to that malicious voice. But before I even faced him, he suddenly broke off with a strangled sound. Jasper stood before him, and was murmuring something that looked to be extremely unpleasant if the look upon Michaels face was anything to go by. I didn’t need anyone to fight my battles.

Sauntering over to the table, I fixed a pleasant expression onto my face, not an easy feat when you considered how much I really wanted to hit him. “How you doing there, Mikey” I said pleasantly, but allowing an undercurrent of menace to seep through. Jasper just kept on looked up at me, annoyed that I’d interrupted him. But I really didn’t care by this point. Like I said, I don’t need anyone to fight my battles.

He looked up at me, and grinned. He seemed to gain confidence as he weighed up the odds. Two of us and the rest of the student population for him. I could take ‘em. “Decided to reconsider my offer from before didja? Why don’t you ditch the overprotective boyfriend and come for a spin with me later?” he asked me leeringly.

Well, that was it. My fist came around so fast and with such physical force that I had to slow it down as it curved around my body, knowing that if I used the amount of force preliminarily intended that his human head would not survive the impact. Three inches from his head, a hand took the impact and grabbed on to my fist, not letting me withdraw my fist for a second attempt.

“No thank you” I said in my iciest voice, loving the way Michael squirmed and cringed away from my fist. I looked expectantly up at Jasper, who responded by dropping the hand that held my fist and stepping back. With a smile at Michael, I turned and walked the rest of the way along the catwalk, the adrenaline rush providing enough confidence to make me ignore the shocked gazes of my peers. Slowly, the chatter level rose again to an even higher volume than when we had first entered the room. The subject on everyone’s minds was what had just happened, so I zoned it out, not wanting to hear how my new companions in education interpreted the exchange.

Stooping to pick up a tray, I found jasper already holding one for me. His gaze was roving my face, searching for the answer to a hidden question. I matched his expression unconsciously, trying to find the answers to my own internal questions. Why did he defend me? Did he know my secret? And why did I have the nagging feeling that he had his own hidden secret?

“What would you like, dear?” the cafeteria attendant asked me, pulling me back to reality. I turned to survey the food in front of me. Pizza, meatballs, the usual assortment of junk that you found in every self respecting high school up and down the country. My stomach made a grumbling sound, alerting me to my hunger. Jasper hid a snicker behind me, trying to conceal it with a cough. I threw him a swift glare, then turned back to the important matter of food.

After paying for my hot slice of second rate pizza, apple, and bottle of lemonade, I waited for Jasper to pay for his own, finding that he had chosen a bagel, apple and bottle of lemonade also. A thought suddenly struck me that made me feel a shiver run up and down my back. Where would I sit? Surely jasper must want to sit with his own friends, and probably wanted to have some time away from me after I’ve been weighing me down all day. He walked up to me as these thoughts hit me, smiling a pleasant smile. The smile slipped from his face as he took in my expression.

“What’s the matter?” he asked in a gentle voice.

“Well, surely you want to sit with your own friends for lunch. I mean, you’ve been burdened with me all day and I don’t want you to feel like you have to sit with me, just because I’m the new girl...” my voice trailed off as he let out a burst of enchanting laughter, making his eyes shine.

“Is that all?” he asked, still laughing his magical laugh, “I like your company, Rose, and don’t worry, they won’t bite” his voice grew unexpectedly sombre as he said the last part. I didn’t understand, but knowing that there was more than one thing I didn’t understand about Jasper, I just added to my internal list.

He turned, beckoning me with a casual tilt of his head towards the table in the far corner he had been looking at when we first started up the catwalk. I followed him for what seemed like the umpteenth time that day. I grew more and more nervous as I concentrated upon the table we were headed for, noticing four heads sat around the table, 2 boys and 2 girls.

Of the two boys, one had thick black hair and green eyes. He was muscular, in the sense that if he went t the gym, he would use weights to warm up, but then go onto running for an hour. He was tall, certainly the tallest of the five friends, including Jasper. The other had strawberry blond hair and blue eyes, with an easy grin on his face lighting up his face with a childlike innocence. He was brawny looking, as if he were a serious weight lifter. I wouldn’t have liked to take him on in a fight. I mean, I may be competitive but I’m not irrational.

The two girls were opposites. One, sitting next to the one with the striking green eyes, was thin in the extreme with wild brilliant red hair in spikes creating a halo effect around her heart shaped face, with rich auburn eyes. She was smiling warmly at me as we approached. The other, however, not only was the contrast in appearance but also attitude. She had a beautiful figure, tall, with gorgeously thick dark blond hair flowing to the centre of her back. She should have been the icon for every female in the room, young and old. From the side view of her face I caught a glimpse of the same strikingly green eyes as the black haired boy, making me believe they could have been twins.

They were all absurdly attractive, Jasper included. They all had pale skin, almost translucent, paler than even my own skin. They each had a flowery fragrance, and I was willing to bet they were all part of the same family, maybe cousins.  

The flawless blond had her back turned away from me, facing the wall as if she were refusing to acknowledge my existence. What had I done to her? I hadn’t even met her. Hurt, I tried to hear her thoughts. Nothing. I focused all of my power on her. I felt a struggle between myself and her mind, and she turned to glare at me, a mixture of shock and anger on her face. Did she know?

All of this passed in a manner of seconds, and by the time Jasper and I had reached their table, my nerves had reached their limits. I lingered slightly behind and Jasper, noticing this with a slight smile shaping his glorious features, he slid out the chair besides where he placed his tray of food for me to sit encouragingly.

Stepping forward, I placed my tray unsteadily onto the surface and sat onto the chair Jasper had offered me. I was seated between Jasper and the short pixie-like girl with the feral red hair. Beside her was sat the green eyed boy, then opposite me was the brawny boy, still grinning, and then the stunning blond, with Jasper finishing the circle. All eyes were upon me, besides the stubborn beauty, and I felt self conscious and afraid. But underneath that I felt a stirring in the bottom of my stomach, telling me of a slight change in the atmosphere, the flow of energy around the table. Something or someone at that table was not human or at the very least average.

 Jasper turned to me, smiling slightly at the conjoined obvious discontent and awkwardness that was felt about the table. “So, how did you come to be at Staws High School? Your fathers the principal, right?”

I fidgeted with my bottle of lemonade, feeling ridiculously intimidated and out of place. Then I thought, who are they to make me feel inferior? I have strength, speed, impeccable hearing? So what if they seem able to overcome my ability to read minds? They probably just have really thick skulls, but that does not make them better than you. So I took a deep breath, and lifted my gaze from my nervous fingers, the sight of which made me feel angry at myself, to meet the eyes of the curious and handsome boy who had asked me the question.

“My mum was given the opportunity to go to Alaska to take over the conservation efforts to ensure the survival of the two subspecies of wolves there. Her research and funding does not provide space for a daughter, though of course Suzie, my mother, denies it. So I sent myself to come and live with Ric, my father and now principal.” I said this with a hard edge to my voice, getting it all out there so I could head off all possible questions.

Looking away from the piercing eyes of Jasper to his siblings, I realized that we had not yet been introduced and they already knew my life story. “I’m Rose, Rosalie Thorn by the way...” I said.

“Oh, I’m sorry, how rude of me. This is Elena” Jasper gestured towards the girl next to me with the wild red hair” her husband Alec (the boy with the emerald green eyes) his twin Georgina (the stunning blonde) and her husband Felix (the strawberry blonde boy). Felix and Elena are my brother and sister.”

All innocent enough words, yet I had the feeling it was a mini speech, delivered by a skilled actor. But why lie about such a trivial thing?

I tried yet again to penetrate their thoughts. This is as easy as it sounds. I simply reached inside myself and let out my power. It feels like unclenching a fist, releasing the pressure upon a tightly stretched elastic band. I let loose my power and let it smoothly flow out from myself to seek around the table and open the Rosen’s mind. But there was nothing. Frustrated, I increased the power putting my whole effort into it, and found I could brush their auras, and I played my power over them, seeing how far I could push them, flex them.

Everyone around the table let out a whoosh of air, and looked at me in shock. The disbelieving astonishment on their faces made me clench my metaphorical fist hard and fast, my power flinging back at me like a wall of steel, and the slap of it brought my own hiss of air, though of pain not shock.

“How did you do that?” gasped Elena. The others nodded their agreement with her, and I turned to look at Jasper who was staring at me with even more intensity than the others.

Just then the bell rang, making us all jump and a flurry of movement to erupt around us as they packed up and went off to class.

 “Do what?” I asked, desperately trying to sound puzzled. I looked down at my hands, the nervous twitching of my fingers as they played with the bottle cap.

“What are you?” gasped Jasper.

“What are you?” I glanced up at him, and was captivated by his golden glaze. I blinked, and looked away. Looking around the table, I took in the strange family in one last speculative glance before jumping up and running off to class - Jasper could meet me there.

The End

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