"He totally fancied you!" Annora spluttered as we got on the bus back to my house. She had already quizzed me on every aspect of his existence and I'd repeatedly told her, all I knew about him was that his name was Jax and that he was in third year at our school.
"He does not! He doesn't even know me. He was just showing off in front of the girls in our year" She rolled her eyes at me, and looked up at Isaac, who was stood silently, his hands pressed together, staring off into the distance as though lost in thought.
"What did you think Isaac?" She asked, then waited for his reply, "Isaac? Anyone there?"
"Hmm? Sorry wasn't paying attention. What did you need?" She laughed lightly.
"Never mind. Want to come back to mine with Annora?" I asked, he'd seemed... subdued the whole day, and I wondered if there was something seriously bothering him.
"Oh, nah it's cool, I have to finish my history project and you know..." He trailed off, looking out the window, Annora met my eyes but her face was expressionless, she turned back to him and carried on chatting about school. I didn't know weather Annora thought something was wrong or not, but when Isaac got off at his stop, she tackled me about it.
"Is there something wrong with Isaac? He seems.. down"
I sighed "I don't really know, he keeps to himself nowadays" We used to be really close, back when we went to the same primary school and no one had to stress about Okans or changes or death or any of that stuff.
"Hmm, well I'll talk to Leo about it, and see if he's said anything to him." We got off the bus, and walked the five minutes to my house chatting about this and that, neither of us wanting to delve deeper into talking about anything important. Around nine, after watching our way through several entire fantasy films, and sketching out designs for our Arts project, she got up to leave.
"Thanks for coming, see you tomorrow" I shut the door and trudged back upstairs to my room. About a half hour later I heard the door open, and my mother calling up to me.
"Hi sweetie, have a good day?"
"Mmhm, yeah" I mumbed vaguely, sketching on my pad. My mother always said I was a born artist, I didn't inherit the talent from anyone, my mother can't even draw a straight line without messing up and rubbing out a million times. I've sketched for as long as I can remember, drawing tiny, scribbled messes for my mother when I was a toddler, then colouring intricately from when I could learn to hold the pencil still, and copy what came into my head, or what I saw in front of me. I draw Isaac in his Panther form, lean and powerful, in the sketch he looks... perturbed, something about his grey eyes is unsettling, I suddenly screw up the paper sighing. I seem to sigh a lot recently.
I stand and begin to pull my jumper off, to put on my pyjamas, but as I stretch I feel a sharp ripping pain along my left side. I cry out and drop to my bed, curled over my side. My mother comes in, her panicked expression increases as she sees me, and she rushes over to my side.
"Love are you ok? What happened?"
"I'm ok, it's fine" I sit up, wincing, the pain has subsided but not gone yet. "Probably just to do with, you know, my birthday coming up and all" I try to smile at her, but she still looks concerned.
"But is it normal, are you supposed to feel this way?" My mother, having never received her Okan in animal form, wouldn't know. She is a healer, a skill blessed on many. She can literally suck pain out of wounded or dying, I've seen her do it. She has a good sense of how painful something is, and how it needs to be treated. They say an Okan reflects your inner soul, and to know thats true, you only have to look at my mother. She is not a fighter, she is strong, but in a different way to those like Isaac, given strength and speed in another body. I knew I was never like her, but then again, I was never much like anyone.
"Honestly mum, it's nothing" She seemed to feel that my pain wasn't too bad, because she gave me a warming smile and left, telling me to call her if the pain got worse again. I pulled on my pyjamas and fell into bed closing my eyes and falling into darkness instantly.
Three hours later, I awake and manage to stumble to the bathroom just in time to throw up into the sink.