“Like it wasn’t strange already?” Sally asked.
“Well...okay, strange-er. Just as he was about to walk up the path, he suddenly turned and looked straight at me, as if he could sense I was watching him! Like, he looked right in my eyes. I literally couldn’t move. It was like I was mesmerized by him or something. And then we entered the world of 'what the hell.' As he was staring at me, I heard a voice in my head and it said 'at last, my Jacquelyn.' Then, as he turned to go in the house, I heard the voice again. It said, 'soon'.”
Jacque stared expectantly at her two best friends, waiting for them to tell her she’d finally jumped off the deep end. But they just sat there, staring back at her.
“Well?” Jacque asked.
Finally, Jen stirred. Taking a deep breath in, she looked down at her empty hot chocolate mug and said, “We’re gonna need more hot chocolate.”
“Agreed,” Sally and Jacque replied at the same time.
Once Jen had returned with three fresh mugs of hot chocolate and Oreo cookies, she said, “So, let me see if I’m catching what you’re throwing. Hottie exchange student drives up in a limo, steps out, rocks your world, looks into your eyes, and speaks to you in your head? Am I getting the gist of it here?”
Jacque nodded her head, sheepishly looking at the floor. “I mean, I guess it was his voice in my head. It could've been a long lost dead relative who decided to speak to me the moment that hottie looked into my eyes.”
Jen and Sally both gave Jacque their “get a larger spoon if your going to shovel it in that big” look.
“What?” Jacque asked. “I’m just saying,” she said, throwing her hands up in the air in frustration. Flopping back onto the floor, she groaned loudly and covered her eyes with the back of her hand. “Am I going crazy, ya’ll?”
“No, sweetie. You've been gone a long time now, we just didn’t want you to know that we knew,” Sally said with humor.
“Seriously, I know it sounds crazy. But I promise I heard a voice – a beautiful, deep, masculine voice in my head, and it knew my name! That is crazy, jacked up, 'put her in a straight jacket', totally insane!” Jacque looked at them both with fear in her eyes. She truly did wonder if she had finally cracked.
There was after all, people in her family of questionable sanity, her mother being one of them. Jacque loved her mom and they had a good relationship, but she wasn’t always in touch with reality. Jacque’s father wasn’t in the picture and never had been. He had bailed as soon as he found out her mom was pregnant. Thankfully, she had two best friends who kept her feet firmly on the ground, which was why she was so fervently seeking their thoughts on this matter.
Sally finally spoke up. “I don’t think you're crazy, Jac. Really, you’re not. There has to be some sort of explanation. We’ll figure it out, we always do.”
“Yeah,” Jen added. “It’s two weeks 'til school starts. From now until then we are on scout detail.”
Sally nodded her agreement.
The three were quiet for a few minutes, each pondering ways to “run into” the new exchange student without seeming too obvious. Jen was lying on the floor, looking up at the ceiling fan when she said, “We need to find a way to introduce ourselves to him so that we can each get a good look and see if Sally or I hear a voice in our head.”
“My mom was planning on taking over a good ol' Southern meal for him since he isn’t from here. We could ask if we could go over with her. Or would that be too lame?” Jacque asked.
“No, I think that’s perfect,” Jen stated.
By midnight they had come up with a somewhat weak game plan, the whole of it revolving around going with Jacque’s mom to give the new exchange student some fried chicken, taters, and corn on the cob. Seriously, how lame can you get? Jacque thought as she lay on her bedroom floor. Jen and Sally had fallen asleep on the other side of her room each with a blanket wrapped around them.
Jacque sat up and looked around her room. This was a place she felt safe and comfortable: the twin-size bed with the new green bed spread her mom had bought her for her birthday, the stained-glass lamp with absolutely no theme whatsoever that sat on her small wood desk. She, Sally, and Jen had carved various things on the desk's surface. She looked at her dresser mirror, which had pictures lining both sides, mostly of Jen, Sally and her in various places and poses.
A few hours ago I was just another seventeen year old getting ready to start her senior year. I was so normal, she thought.
She had three homecoming mums hanging on the wall next to her bed, and on the other side was the window seat she had occupied tonight, where her life had changed in a way she wasn’t sure of yet. Jacque lay back down on her back and watched her ceiling fan go around in a circle, the motor lulling her to sleep. Her last thought as she drifted off was of a full moon, whatever that meant.
As his limo pulled up to the house where Fane would stay, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. Not necessarily in a bad way, he just felt unsettled, restless, and tense.
Well, it could've been because he was more than a thousand miles away from home. He knew absolutely no one, it was his senior year in high school, and he was going to be spending it in a country he had never been to before.
“Yes I imagine that might make a person tense,” Fane said to himself. He looked at the house and noticed it was quite large – two stories with a wrap-around porch. It actually looked like a house you might see out in the country, not in a suburb. The yard was nicely manicured with short green grass. There was a tall, full tree to the right of the walkway with a quaint bench underneath. On the porch there were two rocking chairs and a porch swing, and between the chairs was a little table with a potted plant. Overall, it was a charming home. A home in which a person would feel comfortable – a normal home.
Fane hoped this was the case because 'normal' was not usually a part of his vocabulary. He was, after all, from a family of werewolves. Specifically Grey wolves (Canis lupus). Not only that, he just happened to be the son of the Pack's current Alpha. His name, Fane Lupei, literally meant “Crown Wolf.” How fitting for the Prince of the Romanian Greys.
What could possibly be normal about your family being able to change into wolves, or being a prince of those wolves yourself? Nothing in that scenario could ever be normal.