“You do realize that I’m not going to allow that to happen. If you hurt Logan, then I am going to kill you and I don’t care how close of friends you were with my dad. I will tear your heart out faster than you can say Rice-A-Roni.”
I can feel practically myself getting worked up, but I hold back, though at this point I don’t really need to. Yes, yes, you do need to. Remember what Sarah said; you can turn this situation around. There’s still a chance that you can convince him.
He shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter what you think. I have to do this, and I will convince you later to join my pack and work with me. For now, I have to do this.” He looks away after saying it, and seems to be in deep thought about something. What now, what now? What can I say now? Is there anything left I can convince him with?
“My father,” I say, regaining his attention. “How did you know my father? I know you two knew each other. You used to be friends and you were in the police force together. But that doesn’t explain why you would want me to research my family just to find that out. What else was I supposed to be looking for?”
Looking at Marcus, I can almost sense the moment when the tension that we’ve been building up slips away. He sighs, and it seems I’ve found something that he’s willing to talk about. Not that I want to talk to him. But I have to find something he can talk about, find someway that could lead to me making a breakthrough. Whatever gets Logan and I out of this mess. And it could lead to information that I didn’t know about before.
“I didn’t plan to tell you this yet, but you’re here now, so I might as well. What I wanted you to find wasn’t me and him being friends really, it was proof of him being-being a werewolf.”
“What?” I shoot to my feet. He did not just say that. He did not just say that. He did not just say that.
“Your father was a werewolf, Julia.” Okay, he did just say that.
“That-that’s not possible,” I say, pointing a shaky finger at him. He stays in the chair, but keeps talking from there.
“He was, Julia. We were best friends when he was still alive. We always said if something happened to one of us, the other would take care of our kids and teach them everything when the time came. Well, if they turned out to carry the werewolf gene, that is. That’s why I’m here now. I’m doing what your father wanted. I’m going to train you like he would’ve wanted. I-”
“Wait,” I say, putting my hand out. My head feels like it’s been spinning for hours, but even with that I can understand that what he’s saying is not making any sense. “You bit me and Logan. That’s the reason we shifted. Not because my dad was one.”
His eyes almost seem to soften while looking at me, though I know I’m imagining it. Pity plasters his face and I want to smack it off of him.
“I never bit Logan. Nobody bit Logan. She turned on her own. And you and Logan have the same genes. Which means you would’ve turned eventually too. You were just taking too long. After what Logan had done, I knew what I had to do to her, and I wanted to be able to get things started with you already. So I hurried it up for you.”
“So you’re telling me that no matter what, I was already going to turn into a werewolf. I never even had a choice.”
“Correct.” I spent so much time thinking about what I would’ve chose if I had a choice in the matter. So much time wondering how different things would’ve been if Marcus hadn’t bitten me. But if what he’s telling me is true, then in the end it didn’t matter. I was always going to turn anyway, and it wouldn’t happened just like Logan’s did. Slow, and I would be unaware and confused by what was happening.
“If you’re telling me the truth, and you claim you and my dad made a pact to take care of the other’s kids if they shifted, then why didn’t you take care of Logan when she shifted? You were supposed to; you told my dad you would. And now you’re trying to kill her. This is not what my dad would want.”
“I didn’t know when Logan shifted. Actually, I didn’t know if you two would shift at all, because it just depends on which genes you take, and I didn’t know when it would happen. All I knew is that it usually happened between the ages of fifteen and twenty, so every few months I would send someone to track you both for a while to see if anything’s turned up. Usually nothing did, until the last time...but then it was too late. Logan already turned, and..and the damage was already done.”
My cheeks are burning with heat and I’m so close to running around while screaming at him, but I hold back. I have one chance here. One chance to see if I can change his mind. And if that doesn’t do it, then I can go off on him. Because there is no other possible way I can convince him if I can’t get through to him this time.
Forcing myself to sound calm, I say, “I can understand that. You made a mistake. You meant to be there for her but you weren’t and she changes before you could help her. But that doesn’t mean you have to kill her. You told my dad you would help us, teach us, train us. So do it. You don’t have to kill Logan over this. You can forgive her, and teach her everything you meant to do in the first place. Right along with me. It’s what my dad wanted you to do, is it not?”
At this point, Marcus has drifted to the edge of his chair, his hands wrapped around the cushion by his legs. I can tell by the tension in his shoulders that something has him worked up.
“Julia I want to, but I...I just can’t.” Something snaps inside me when he says that. I see now that there’s nothing I can do to change his mind. Nothing. I’ve been wasting my time.
“WHY FUCKING CAN’T YOU!” I scream at him. Every part of me that wanted to talk him out of it, convince him, save not only my sister but also him from me, is gone. I want to rip his lungs out.
Marcus jumps to his feet, screaming right back at me. The fire in his eyes is back and brighter than ever.
“BECAUSE SHE KILLED MY DAUGHTER!”
I feel like the breath is knocked out of me. Actually I think I've stopped breathing completely. No. That's impossible, I think. But it it possible. I stand stock-still, unable to fully comprehend what he said so quickly. I’m not sure he does either for he has to repeat it, timed between his heavy breathing.
“She killed my daughter,” he breathes. “And I can’t just get over it, just forgive her. I have to get justice for my daughter. My beautiful, innocent daughter. She’s the only one of my girls not to get the werewolf gene, and I was grateful for it. At least until Logan killed her. Then I wished she had the strength to fight back.”
“I-I-” The absolute distraught in his voice and face..I just..I know how he feels. I try to come up with something to say, defend Logan, but I can’t. There’s nothing I can say.
Marcus, only a few feet away now and still breathing out of control, says, “I think it’s time you leave. We’re done here.”
Knowing that I've done all I can do should fill me with some sense of satisfaction, but it doesn't. Not getting the answer I wanted makes me feel like I'm only half-finished. I'd stay and probably continue to fight with Marcus all day if I had to, but after what just happened, I don't want to. I want to get out of here as fast as possible. I grab my bag off the ground and hustle toward the exit, but turn around to say one last thing.
“You know, it’s tragic that happened to your daughter, but if every time someone killed someone else, and we got ‘justice’ for it by killing them, it would never end. There would be no more people.”
I turn to go while hearing him say, “Don’t pretend you don’t plan to kill me if I kill Logan.”
I ignore the comment and keep walking, through the hallway and out the front door, but honestly, it hits me. Because it’s true. I absolutely will kill him if he kills Logan, and I understand why he’d want to do the same. But the difference, is that Logan killed his daughter on accident. He would be killing her on purpose.
Should that even matter, I think. Before I can get into too deep of a discussion with myself, Parker meets up with me and begins the questions.
“Are you okay?” he asks as soon as I get the door closed. “I heard yelling, and you were in there a while.” I put my backpack on my back while treading down the stairs, Parker hurrying to keep up with me.
“I’m fine,” I say. I wipe my face with my hands, sighing, and then shake it off. I knew before I came here that the outcome probably wasn’t going to be good. “It just got really intense in there.”
I keep walking once I reach the end of Marcus’s yard, turning left and walking back down the sidewalk where we came from.
“So...how did it go?”
“Well, I, uh...found out some more information. But I couldn’t convince Marcus. I tried everything. He’s going to kill Logan if we don’t do something to stop it.”
“What are you going to do?” Parker asks from my right.
“I...I’m not sure,” I lie. I don’t need him involved in this. I don’t want him to know about what I plan to do. He’ll try to stop me, or help me, and he’ll tell Logan about it so she can prevent me from doing it.
Parker seems to pick up on my signals that I don’t want to talk about it because he changes the subject. “Where are we going anyway?”
“I’m going home,” I say. “I need to just sit down and think for a second.”
“Oh. Do you want me there or should I go now?” I absolutely want you here, Parker. But I have too many things to do and zero time to spend with you. And who knows when something could happen and put him in danger.
“Honestly, Parker, I would love to have you come with me. But I’m not going to be there very long before I have to go do something else. So I guess just go back to school. Actually, I might be showing up there later. I need to meet up with Luke to ask him about that plan I told you about earlier. And...I think I might have a talk with Mr. Griffith while I’m there.”
“Why Mr. Griffith?” he asks. I go on to tell him everything that Logan told me about him, basically that he’s a werewolf. What I don’t mention is that I want to talk to him to see where his position is on Marcus and Logan. Along with the rest of the pack. If a lot of them don’t agree with it, then maybe we can come together and get something done. Maybe not. But it doesn’t hurt to find out.
We continue to walk together for a while, occasionally discussing random, unimportant things like we normally would. But for the most part it’s quiet.
We eventually come to a point where we have to break off from each other, so I can go home and he can go to school.
“Well, I guess we have to say goodbye for now,” I say, stopping at the intersection. Parker stops and turns to look at me. I need to say something to him. I don’t know if I’ll see him again before everything goes down, and who knows what’ll happen because of that. Feeling uncomfortable, I step forward, close enough to smell the scent of fabric softener wafting from his clothes. He notices that I’ve closed the distance between us but doesn’t step back from it either. I feel awkward trying to say this to him, but knowing his personality, the fact that he’s almost never serious, always joking, he’s probably way more uncomfortable than I am. I’ve learned over the years that he has a hard time expressing his emotions, though every once in a while you’ll see him be serious. But rarely does that happen.
“Look,” I start, fiddling with my hands as I speak. “I know things are kind of weird between us now after this whole ordeal. We were supposed to be the ones finding werewolves, not me and Logan becoming one, and-and killing people, accident or not. But it happened. And you’re still here. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few days. I don’t know if we might have to leave, or-or if we stay and something...happens, but I want you to know that I love you, and I’m so glad we got to be friends through the years. We’ve had some really great times together, and I’m always going to treasure that. I love you, Parker.”
God, that was so hard to get out.
I wonder if he’s going to shake it off with a joke or something, which I’d actually be fine with, but he doesn’t. As soon as I get all that out he grabs me and pulls me into a tight hug. I manage to wrap my arms around his waist.
“I love you, too, Julia. I know we never say it to each other, in fact I think this is the first time we’ve ever said it to each other, but I’m saying it now in case something does happen.” I feel so relieved to hear that from him, but the fact that he feels this is serious enough to make him also be serious scares me to death.
We hold on to each other for a long time, and eventually he has to be the one to pull away, wiping his eyes like he was crying. He grabs my hands and holds them in his as he talks to me. “Gosh, this feels too much like a goodbye. Julia, I know I’ve seemed a little weird about all this and I’m sorry. Finding out that you killed Elijah’s dad, even in his defense, was really shocking. But in the end I’m glad you did it. Finding out about Logan was equally as shocking, and I’m still not sure how I feel about that.
But I accept you completely, Jules, and if there’s anything I can do to help with everything, I’m here. Things look terrible right now, and I don’t want this to be the last time I see you. It can’t be. I want you to do whatever you have to do to, okay?”
I can’t get any words out, so I just bob my head up and down in response. He gets my point though.
“Okay, good. Please be careful, Jules. I love you.” He walks toward the crosswalk, our hands still holding until the last second. We quickly give one last squeeze and let go, as he drops onto the street from the curb and crosses the road. I stand and watch as he fades away, hands in his jacket’s pockets. His shoulder’s seem tense from this point of view, either from the cold or the conversation we just had.
Tears stream down my face as I question if this might just be the last time I see him. That thought gives me more motivation to do what I need to do, and I’m not ready for this to be the last time I see him. I’m not gonna let it be. Which means I absolutely cannot fail in my plans, or I could end up dead from Marcus’s blind rage if he finds out I tried to kill him but didn’t complete it. I have to kill him. I don’t know what it’s going to do to my mind, but I know that it needs to be done, not just for Logan and me, but for everyone else in the pack, too. I’m doing this for the good of everyone.