The radio is playing an old Beatles song as Sean drives us to school. He insisted ten minutes ago that he take me, instead of me taking my own car. The morning had been weird enough without him showing up. My parents had both already left and Davis wasn't talking to me because of my fight with Jason. He's always respected Jason.
After Sean shifted in front of me on Saturday night, we had become inseparable. We'd stayed up for hours after he'd confided in me, in silence. Nothing needed to be said for a while, the details still had to kick in. At first I wondered how I could have missed something so obvious, but then I just slowly let myself accept it.
The car's tires splash over a puddle of slush, sending it everywhere around us. In his low car, the effect is nearly beautiful. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, this is my first school day without a pack. Nervously, I pass my hand over my long, French braid, feeling all the kinks and loose hairs. Sean tightens his grip on the steering wheel and looks over at me. His luminous green eyes are brilliant against the forest green polo that he is wearing under his thin leather jacket. Dishevelled black hair hangs seductively around his thin, angular face as he gives me a concerned look.
"You all right?" he asks, occasionally looking at the road. I can see that his fingers are starting to go white from holding the wheel so tightly, it's amazing that he hasn't broken it yet.
I nod solemnly, looking away.
"Meredith," he says and I flinch. Hearing my real name gives me a feeling of being truly awake and in my reality, like someone pouring a bucket of cold water on my head. "You have to be able to talk to me."
"What can I say?" I respond quietly, tears springing to my eyes. Why am I so damn emotional? "That I'm fine? Well, I'm not."
"They wouldn't help you," Sean says, automatically guessing what I am thinking. I look over at him and he isn't staring at me any more, instead his undivided attention is now on the road. "So you left. People have left packs for much less."
I clench my hands into fists and my vision blurs with my tears. "I did so much for them, yet this is what they give me." I shake my head, hating everything that I am thinking: the truth. "They're worried about their own safety, but what about those poor people getting killed in the city? Do they not need our protection too? God, Sean," I tighten my fists, feeling my fingers draw blood from my palms, "my cousin, she..."
"I know," Sean glances over and quickly opens my hands. "Meredith calm down. Don't do something like this before school, or else the Vamps will be on you."
I smirk. "Let them try."
By the time we reach the school, the wounds on my hands have already healed. I grab my backpack from the back of the car and follow Sean out of the parking lot. There are rows of Mercedes Benzes, Audis, Cadillacs, Mitsubishis, and Toyotas all glinting in greens, reds, and blues in the early winter morning. There are students everywhere, since the home room bell hasn't rung yet. A group of witches and warlocks stand in a loose circle, chanting a spell that makes a bag in the centre of the group float. There are vampires casually strolling in the shadows of the school towards the entrance. I always marvelled at how wrong stories of vampires and the sun were when I first learned that they exist.
There are a few other creatures, loners of their kind, either sitting on their cars or making a quick escape towards the school. A guy with slightly smoky skin and wild, green, tangled hair looks over at us as we pass, his eyes are a bright red and his mouth is slightly drawn. He points at me and starts speaking in another language, widening his lips and smacking his tongue. I squirm away from him and Sean holds me. Suddenly, his voice changes to English, but it still sounds cryptic.
"I know you," he says, "you are the daughter of time, of death; the healer of both. You were never meant for more than one more and for less than any extras. I know you, you enslave the wrongs of hunger, the impatience of time--I know you!" With that he sits quietly once more, twiddling his fingers and muttering to himself, "I know you," repeatedly.
Sean holds me tightly as we walk towards the school, snow crunching beneath our feet. The school's other werewolves are standing around the entrance, as if waiting for someone. Their coats are all drawn open and their eyes scan every one who passes. I can feel their eyes on me and just as Sean begins to tighten his grip on my shoulder, Jason appears from one of the werewolf groups.
"MC," I flinch at his voice, it makes me recoil with anger. "We need to talk."
A growl emanates from Sean's throat and I look up at him and shake my head. He slowly lets go and I look over at Jason, who is watching our exchange with wide eyes. "No, we don't."
Jason snarls and walks closer to me, his speed making him too close for comfort. "You are of our pack," he examines my face, "if I say we need to talk, we do."
I stare straight at him, taking in his familiar brown eyes and cheekbones, and smelling his recognizable scent. My lips quiver and I take a step back. I can hear the frustration from the surrounding werewolves as I disrespect one of the dominating wolf's wishes. "No," I carefully reach a hand back and Sean grips it gently. "I am not in your pack. You have no dominion over me."
Instantly, Jason's eyes soften. "MC," he says quietly, reaching for my face, but Sean yanks me closer to him. In a blur of cold wind and snow, I am quickly put behind him, away from Jason's touch. "This does not concern you, human."
Sean laughs, his voice hollow and angry. "Human?" He looks up and howls loudly, the noise reverberating through my body. "I am as much human as you are true wolf."
Jason growls and launches at Sean, who with his hand easily pushes me away to safety. I scream, but after the snow settles down and the other wolves back up, Sean is clearly visible as he holds Jason down by his neck. "You will stay away from her," Sean snarls, holding Jason down tightly. "She is not yours any more."
Jason smiles, struggling under Sean's strength. "Neither is she yours."
Sean laughs roughly. "Do you truly think she loves you?" he cocks his head. "Oh wait, you love her don't you?"
I stare wide-eyed at Jason and his gaze meets mine. "I do," he finally admits. "So help me God, if anything happens to her--"
Sean angrily lets go of Jason and quickly moves away from him. "Trust me, I won't let anything happen."
Jason gets up slowly, rubbing his neck--all the while staring at me. "Tell me one thing," he says, turning back to Sean. "How did you mask who you are?"
"That's for me to know," Sean says bitterly, before grabbing me by the waist. His hand feels warm and protective. "This is our pack," he motions to me and himself, glaring at every wolf around us. "This is all we need."
With that we walk past the groups of werewolves, Sean's breath slowly speeding up--releasing his repressed nerves.