I'm standing outside of my house on the long driveway, across the street from the snow covered woods. The silence of Diente is relaxing so early in the morning, but it's also a bit disconcerting. Not a sound coming from any birds, or surrounding houses. Not even squirrels are making any burrowing noises.
"What's up?" Davis appears behind me in a t-shirt. His mouth is full with the toast that he'd buttered inside. "You still freaking out about yesterday?"
I'd come back home before anyone else and changed out of my wolf form quickly. I invited the white wolf onto our premises, but still, something irked me about the situation. There's just something off. "A bit," I study his t-shirt and Batman's Joker smiles crookedly back at me. "Do you absolutely have no disregard for the other families around here?"
"It's not cold out here," he finishes off his toast. "Besides, they wouldn't care."
"I'm sure they'll find it weird that a teenage guy is out in the freezing cold jacket-less."
He pauses to think and his face changes from joking to serious. "Jason will take care of it," we're silent for a moment and I turn back to the forest. "You'll see, it's nothing." I hear his feet crunching in the new snow as he walks back towards our house. Closing my eyes and smelling the new morning, I'm hoping that my brother is right.
"So, you're the brave soul who eats the macaroni and cheese here," I turn around quickly and meet Sean's smiling face.
"Err," I laugh and turn back before grabbing my tray of food. "Yeah, it's not that bad. Despite popular belief, eating fatty foods isn't all that bad for you."
He smirks and steps in line beside me, ordering a slice of the Hawaiian pizza on the pizza rack. "So, this school isn't so bad." I try to avoid looking at him, but I listen for any uncomfortable inflections in his voice. "A little weird, I will admit, but the teachers are pretty good and some of the people are pretty welcoming."
Because you're too human to see the truth, I can't help but think.
"But it feels like they all have secrets," he looks at me conspiringly. "Did you know that the other day I heard some of those creepy girls chanting something over a younger boy?"
I frown and scratch my arm. A nervous action. How'd he come across this?
"I know that every school has it's oddities," he smiles sheepishly at me. "But it's like this school is purposely hiding it all from me in particular.
"I'm sure you're just being paranoid," I laugh to make it sound joky but he shakes his head.
"No," he says in a low whisper, "sometimes I feel like they see me and run off or hide. I have no idea why, but they do."
"You know, when I first came here," he adds, paying for his drink, pizza and my macaroni and cheese (which I didn't even notice he was doing until he handed over a crisp twenty-dollar bill), "I thought I was going to hate it. I mean, I love that it's separated from public schools, but I've always found NPS to be a little... creepy."
I jut my chin towards the lunch lady and smile appreciatingly at Sean. "Thanks for the lunch, you shouldn't have."
"It's no problem," his face breaks in a huge grin, showcasing his perfectly white teeth. "Maybe, later, if you're free we can--"
"MC," Jason calls me from across the cafeteria and I can hear the low jeer of the witches around us.
I look up at Sean and smile apologetically. "I'm sorry," I start to walk backwards towards my table, not taking my eyes off Sean, before tripping over a purse on the floor. Suddenly the whole cafeteria gasps and Sean is by my side, holding me up inches from the ground. His green eyes dig into me, trying to convey a silent message.
"Ugh," a shrill voice says beside us. "That's my purse you stupid wolf!"
I bite my lip and put my hands on his shoulders. He pulls me back up on my feet and I can't help but stare at a tiny, pearly scar on his chin that I hadn't seen before. In a quick second he is back to his cheery self, but I can't shake the serious look on his face from my mind.
"My apologies," he says quietly to the witch beside us. She eyes him up and down, trying to place him. "I'm sure that no harm came to your bag."
The witch smiles, deciding that he isn't a threat. "Never mind, you're excuse this one time," she turns to me and gives me a warning look. "Stay away from us wolf."
I flinch. A human shouldn't be hearing these things. But then again, I'm not even sure that Sean is human. I feel a hand on my back and I jump slightly. The situation had taken away my attention, leaving the rest of the world momentarily muted.
"Hey," Jason says in his pack master voice. His glare reaches the witch and for some reason, Sean. "Are you all right?" He puts my face in his hands, checking for any abnormalities.
I smile and brush away his hands. "I didn't fall remember?" I look around Jason at Sean, who is warily staring at Jason's back. "Sean caught me."
Sean looks up at me and smiles, picking up his tray on the floor. "No worries," he nods at Jason and ignores the witch, who is obviously primping her hair and lipstick for Sean's benefit. "Take care of her."
A knot catches in my throat as I watch Sean walk away out of the cafeteria. Jason puts his arm around my waist and presses me against him. I can hear the rumble in his throat, but before I can stop him he growls, "I will."
Even the witches show anxiety as Jason pulls me away towards our table, putting the incident behind him.