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She’s my best friend. I tell her everything, well I did at least. But this one thing. How could I tell her this? I can’t. That’s what I’ve decided. What would she think of me if I told her? I rule out every thought of how she would react because it wouldn’t happen. I couldn’t tell her. She’s the person I broke rules with but this one rule I couldn’t break. It meant life or death. No, I couldn’t tell her even if she would react like someone inhuman. I never thought it would come to something like this, lying to her! I’ve never even dreamt about lying to her.
“Hey Annabelle.” I said to my best friend. Her name is really Anna but for some reason I like to call her Annabelle. She used to hate it and her reaction to the name was hilarious so maybe it just stuck even though I don’t still get the same amusing reaction. “Hey Brayden.” This was unusual. She rarely used my full first name. Usually it was simply Bray, something must be wrong. “Anna, what’s wrong?” The tone in my voice was too worried, something I often did accidentally. I’m very protective of Anna and I don’t like it when she’s pained. It makes me feel pained. I usually overreact when something’s wrong with her, making too big a production which annoys the crud out of her. She’d the type of person who tries to silence her challenges and fears, keep them hidden from an audience. “Nothing Bray. I’m fine.” Now she uses the shortened version but I can still hear it in her voice. She’s too tense for it to be nothing. Her eyes show it too. Blank with worry. “Don’t lie to me. You know I see right through you.” “Well, if you can see right through me then you should already know.” She replied, her voice full of annoyance. Lately I’ve been annoying her more easily. Was it just her going through something or was it me? It has to be me, if she was going through something she wouldn’t hide it from me. She’s never hidden anything from me. But what had I done? “I can see right through you, that doesn’t make me a mind reader. Is it something I did?” I pulled her chin up with my index finger so her dark brown-almost black- eyes met mine. “Well, it’s just that… you haven’t been hanging around me as much lately and I was worried I… never mind.” Her chin dropped. She obviously didn’t want to make eye contact at the moment. She was worried about what? “What Anna? Worried about what?”
“It’s nothing. Let’s get going we don’t want to be late for the movie.” She tried to walked to my car but I stopped her with my hand. “No, it’s obviously something. Come one Annabelles, you can tell me anything.” She sighed heavily, “I was just worried that… that I was losing you too.” Her eyes killed me inside. They glistened with tears she was holding back at the thought of her mother, her best friend, leaving her with her dad. No goodbye, no anything. How could I be so stupid?! She hated talking about that. She had a very hard time a year ago when her mom left and she finally opened up to me. It still pained her to talk about it. The worst part was when her dad left about a month later leaving her by herself, that’s when my dad took her in. “Come here.” I whispered as I pulled her into a tight hug. “You could never lose me, even if you wanted to. You can’t get rid of me that easily.” She buried her face in my chest, trying to hide her tears. I held her tighter. I can’t believe I did this to her. To some this may seem like nothing, they may say it’s just a memory, the past is the past, but in truth it’s not. When she thinks about it, it becomes real to her, she relives it. She’s worked so hard to block it from her memory and I just brought it back in. She was right too, I haven’t been hanging around her as much. I thought that’s what she wanted. I thought she was getting sick of me always hanging around. I guess I was wrong. Extremely wrong. “I’m sorry.” She whispered. “Why are you apologizing for crying?” I said with a chuckle. She pulled her head back to see my face. “Because I don’t like to go all emotional on you.” “Don’t worry about it Anna. I love you all the same. You know you can cry all over my shirt anytime.” She buried her head back into my chest but this time there were no tears.
When she pulled herself away from me she looked like a mess but I would never tell her that. It was kind of funny though to see how messed up she could get in a matter or minutes. Even with her all messed up she still looked more beautiful than any other girl on the earth, though she’s herself not nearly as beautiful as she is. “Shall we?” She gestured her hand toward my blue rusted old station wagon hand me down and we both moved to the passenger side. I opened her car door for her and as she got in I realized I was more excited for this movie than any normal human being would be.
“So what movie are we watching?” I thought it best I let her decide. “Um, That one right there looked pretty good.” She pointed to a movie poster of a rated r horror film. Not one I would’ve picked out but if that’s what she wants then I suppose it’s good I remember my id. “Alright.” I walked up to the ticket counter. “2 tickets to see that movie right there.” I would’ve said the name but I realized if I attempted to pronounce that I would’ve humiliated myself so instead I decided to just point to the poster. Anna walked over to my side. “What are you doing? You’re not 2 people.” She always hated when I tried to pay for her, she thought it unfair since we weren’t on a date (as much as I wish we were) so she feels she should pay for herself. I usually let her so I don’t have to deal with the fit she puts on but today I honestly don’t care, she can kick and scream but I’ll pay for her. “Save your money, I got this one.” “Fine, but I pay for snacks.” Even this compromise was hard for her. I rolled my eyes and walked over to the snack counter, handing Anna’s to her and shoving mine in my jeans pocket. “Give me your money.” I said to her. She handed me her money with hesitation, clearly reading my next move. “Couples combo with a root beer and a mountain dew. Oh and I’ll take some sour patch kids.” I knew sour patch kids are Anna’s favorite movie candy. They have been since she was little. I pulled on my wallet and paid the $14.95 with my money. This is what she had been expecting, but wishing I wouldn’t do. Her expression was
priceless; red with anger but the eyes showed gratefulness. That’s one thing she could never hide from me. We walked in silence to the theater 6, smirk on my face the entire way. I glanced over to see her expression but it wasn’t what I expected. “Anna, I’m sorry are you mad at me?” “I really wish you wouldn’t pay for me. I have my own money.” “Anna, you know I wouldn’t pay for you if I didn’t want to or if I didn’t have the money. I know you have your own money but I enjoy ‘treating’ you at times.” “But I don’t like you paying for me!” I pursed my lips to hold back the laugh at how ridiculous she’s being. “Oh by the way, I don’t need this now.” I held out my hand to try to give back the money she’d given me for snacks. To my surprise, she accepted it. Reluctantly, but still, she held out her hand and took the money. She took her wallet from her pocket, put the money into the smallest slit and then put the rectangular piece of fabric back into her pocket. “Don’t look so surprised, I can agree with you at times.” She said with a smile. The shock must have shown in my eyes. I couldn’t help it, she never agreed with things like this. I put my arm around her shoulder and led her into the dark theater, we were a little late I guess. Oh well, the movie’s just starting we didn’t miss much. She flinched. “What?” I whispered stopping in the middle of the aisle. “You didn’t just see that, that guy just decapitated that other guy.” Horror flooded her face, I’m still wondering why she chose this movie. I’d never known her to be a horror film person. “Are you sure you want to view this movie? It’s still early I’m sure they’ll refund our tickets.” I whispered into her ear.
“No I’m not sure but I know you wanted to see this so we’re going to stay.” She pulled me to the end seat in the back row. Wow, she must really pay attention to me. I said once about 3 months ago that I wanted to see this movie. Her and I had been watching TV together and there was a commercial on this. I didn’t even remember that until she just brought it up. Now I feel really bad, she was only watching this movie because 3 months ago I had said it look interesting. I shouldn’t have let her decide. I should have just bought the tickets for that chick flick that came out last weekend, I know she really wanted to see that. It had her favorite actor in it. “Anna-” She interrupted, “Shhh… Just watch the movie.”
I tried to listen to her but I couldn’t. I couldn’t watch the movie with knowing how squeamish she is. Every time she jumped, flinched or just shifted her weight I whipped my head to make sure she was ok. I think I saw probably about 20 minutes total. I was more focused on her widening eyes and her fidgeting hands, worrying at any time she was going to barf. We were headed out to the car when it came. What I had been worrying about the entire movie. Barf. A little delayed I have to say. “Anna! Are you ok?!” The panic in my voice could not be hidden. She wiped her mouth before responding to me. “I’m sorry about your shoes.” What? I looked down. EWW. Gross. She puked all over my shoes! It’s ok, just shoes, I can wash them. “I’m not worried about my shoes. Are you ok. Do you need anything?” “No, just get me home.” She looked like she was going to barf again. “Ok.” I helped her over to the passenger side and ran back to my side. Get her home, get her home, get her home. Oh please don’t barf in my car! These seats are fabric it’ll be hard to get out!
We pulled into the driveway and I quickly ran to help her out of the car. I was to her side before she even had the door opened more than an inch. “Bray, I’m fine really.” “Let’s just get you inside. I believe that you’re fine… now anyway but I think it best if you’re inside in case your mind flashes back to one of the gruesome scenes.” I chuckled at the thought of those scenes. They were obviously fake, too fake for my enjoyment, but Anna found them to look quite real I guess. “Hey kids how was the movie?” Dad called from the living room. “It was… interesting.” I replied. “Bray, go wash your shoes.” Anna whispered into my ear. I had totally forgotten about my barf shoes. EWW. Yeah I’ll go wash those, in the yard, with gloves. “I’ll be right back dad. I need to go wash my shoes.” “Wash your shoes? Oh.” He mumbled under his breath. Wow, I can’t believe I could hear that. As I walked out to the yard to wash my shoes I heard dad and Anna talking about the movie. Strange, I feel like I can hear so much more just all of a sudden. This is too strange. I’m just paranoid I guess. I finished rinsing off my shoes and I left them outside to air dry as I walked inside to find Anna sitting on the loveseat and my dad sitting on the couch watching the Vikings vs. Packers football game on our new flat screen TV. “Why didn’t you tell me the game was on?!” This was the game I looked forward too the most this season, other than the super bowl but we don’t know who’s playing yet so… “Shhh. Flag on Packers!” Anna hissed. This was also the one she looked forward to. The Green bay Packers are her team and she’ll never forgive them for getting rid of Favre. Now Favre is on the Vikings and this is a huge game.
I silently sat right by her on the loveseat suddenly enthralled in the game. I’m not sure if it was because of how into the football game Anna was or if I was actually interested. We all silently watched the game, there was the occasional shout of approval or disapproval at a touchdown, interception, flag, etc. but other than that nobody spoke a word. The TV seemed to blare, or at least it did to me. I soon lost my interest in the game and just pretended to be watching it. I don’t usually lose my interest in football but I’m distracted today for some reason. I wonder what’s running through Anna’s mind right now other than football. There must be something. I wish I could read her mind. No, what I wish for even more than that is that she love me the way I love her. I really don’t think it’ll ever happen but a guy can always dream right? I love her more than anyone else ever could. Even if she never loves me this way I’ll never stop loving her. I’ll always be here for her. I’ll always protect her. I’ll always keep trying. Never give up. She may someday love me in return. She’ll realize I’m right for her someday. She has to. I don’t know how much longer I can bare to be just friends. I love her more than I do my own life. I don’t know how I managed to drift asleep, or even when for that matter, but I awoke to the sound of Anna’s voice. “Bray? Bray? Brayden! Wake up! You missed the end of the game!” She was shaking me furiously. “How did it end?” I mumbled. “Vikings won. Favre deserved it.” She muttered some profanity under her breath. I chuckled. “What?” “I’ve never heard you swear before. It’s kind of amusing.” “That wasn’t meant for you to hear.”
My smile faded as I realized I was the only one who did hear it. Weird yet again. Maybe I’m just getting better hearing, or people are talking louder trying to play a trick on my mind. “Sorry. Don’t talk so loud and I won’t hear you.” I laughed again, trying to keep my mood light. “Ok, well let’s get you to bed.” “But I’m not tired now. I was out for the entire second half, I could be awake for hours more.” “Well I’m tired so you can stay up as late as you want just don’t wake me up.” “Goodnight kids, don’t argue too long.” Dad said to us, already half way up the stairs. “Hey dad’s going to bed. You want to head to your room and talk?” “There’s seriously more you haven’t told me?” She teased. “Not much but I’m sure there’s something you want to talk about. You always find something.” “I’m sure I can think of something.” She took my hand and led me down our narrow hall to her room. She took my hand? This is weird. Maybe I’m dreaming. “Annabelle?” “Yeah?” “Could you pinch me I think I’m dreaming?” “Er… sure?” Her words came out as a question rather than a statement. I felt a tight tug on my left arm. No I wasn’t dreaming. That actually hurt. “Why did you think you were dreaming?” She asked, curiosity filled her voice.
“You’re holding my hand.” We both glanced down at the dark hand intertwined with the fair skinned hand that looked oh-so fragile. “Right, I’m sorry.” She let go of my hand. “No don’t be, it was just surprising.” I picked her small hand back up and placed it carefully into my large grisly hand. She smiled. She led me past her room and right into mine, which was about half the size of hers and a total disaster. “Why are we in here? I thought we were going into your large, neat room? There’s no place to even walk in here.” “I thought maybe we could talk in here tonight.” “Why? What wrong with your room?” “What’s wrong with yours?!” She replied, annoyed now. “Look down! You’re stepping on underwear!” “EW, gross. You know you really should clean up in here.” “Yes I should, but until then we should talk in your room.” “Hey fire up your laptop! There’s a new song I want you to hear.” “Quit trying to distract me. Why can’t we talk in your room?” “Because I just don’t want to tonight.” She looked down, as if trying to block out a thought without success. “What’s wrong?” “It’s nothing. Look can we just talk in here tonight?” “Sure. But will you tell me why? The real reason?” Now the curiosity was in my voice. “No.” She sighed. I could tell she wanted to tell me but her mind was telling her not to. “Please?” I asked in a soft, calm voice, trying to be persuasive.
She sighed, debating whether to follow her head or her heart on this matter. “I got a letter from my mom today. It’s still on my bed. I can’t move it, but I also can’t bear to see it.” “Did you read it?” “Yes.” She choked on the small word, fighting back the inevitable tears. I pulled her into a tight hug and I was right of the inevitable. The tears started streaming down her cheeks like a waterfall, well not necessarily down her cheeks since most of them soaked into my shirt. “It’s ok honey.” I stroked her hair gently, trying to comfort her. “I’m sorry.” “Again tonight! What’s with you apologizing for crying?” I lowered myself to be able to meet her dark brown eyes. “I just feel bad, you having to deal with all these tears. I’m not being very fair to you. I’m acting like only my problems matter! I shouldn’t do that I need to be here for you too!” “Anna, I’m not going through what you are. You have a right to be like this. And don’t worry, you may not realize it but you are here for me. Whenever I need you, you’re always here. Do you want to talk about the letter, get it off your mind?” I knew how she would answer this but I also knew how I wished she would answer it. “No.” “Are you sure?” “Yes I’m sure. But you can read it if you want to.” “I’d feel bad about reading your personal mail Annabelle.” “You can read it. Maybe after I’m asleep though, I really don’t want to watch you reading it.” “Ok. Come here.” I pulled her into another tight hug. I wish there was something I could do to help her.
We sat down on my bed, her head still buried in my chest. It felt like we sat in that position for quite a while, both of my arms wound tightly around her, her body snuggled closely to mine, before she started to snore. It was a comfort to hear her snore, it made me know she was still there, in my arms. I can’t believe she actually fell asleep though. I wonder if I move, will it wake her? Maybe I’ll wait a few more minutes before I disrupt her position. The minutes passed, I tried to force myself to sleep but I couldn’t. I too badly wanted to read that letter. I wonder what it said. It’s been almost a year since her mom talked to her, and that was when she left, took herself out of Anna’s life. What was it like, for Anna, to have her mom contact her after so long. It surely was not easy at all. She’d put all her effort in blocking out her mom and now her mom’s trying to wedge herself back into existence. After about 10 minutes I carefully laid her on my bed, head resting on my pillow, and swiftly moved to her room. One her bed was the letter, laying there so peacefully.
Dear Anna, I want to let you know that I love you, baby. I didn’t leave because of you and I’m sorry of the pain it caused you. Although I am sorry, you need to know, I can’t come back. You should know that I’m doing great, I met someone. His name is Jackson and he’s a really great guy. Maybe someday you’ll get to meet him. Again, I love you so very much. Love, MOM
Wow, great. Just bring up the abandonment. And how impersonal! Typed! She couldn’t even handwrite a nice letter to her daughter!
She met someone? How could she say these things to Anna, doesn’t she have the slightest clue of how this would’ve affected her. This wasn’t fair to Anna. With 3 swift strides I was back in my room where Anna was snoring. Wow, I must’ve hit my growth spurt finally. Only 3 strides? Oh well, I’m tired I’ll worry about my height tomorrow. I slumped down on the floor beside my bed and silently drifted asleep.
When I woke up Anna was already awake. She was leaning over the edge of the bed staring at me intently, I wondered what she was really looking at. Did I have a zit or something? “What? Do I have something on my face?” I asked suddenly extremely subconscious. “No, no, you just look different.” “Different how?” “I don’t know. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up for an hour now, how late did you stay up?” “About an hour later than you. You fell asleep in my arms so I decided when I got up to- well I decided that you could have my bed for the night.” “I know you were about to say when you got up to read the letter. It’s ok. I expected it, I told you, you could. So was the floor comfy?” “Mm, it was hard but comfy enough.” I chuckled. “Well, as long as you slept well. I don’t want to be mean and make you have a bad night’s rest.” I smiled. “Don’t worry about me. I slept just fine. Now I’m fully energized for the day ahead of us. What would you like to do today miss?” “Hmm, up to you sir.” “Well, I desperately need to fix the garage door. But I guess that can wait.” “No, no. I’ll help. Let’s go. Sooner we can get that done sooner we can have fun.” I took her hand, just like she did with me yesterday, and led her out to the garage. My tools were waiting by the door, I suspect this was dad’s hint
to me to get this done today. He was getting pretty sick of having to lift the door before swinging it open every day. “Hmm, looks like Conroy was trying to tell you to get this done.” She laughed. “Sure does. Good thing we’re getting it done, don’t want to get pa upset.”
“Well, we’re finally done.” I said as we both slumped against the garage wall. “Finally.” She agreed. We’ve been working out here for hours. We finished the door after about an hour, having fixed it for my dad and touched up the paint for Anna’s sake, it wan bugging her. After the door Anna said she was strangely entertained with fixing up the garage so she decided it could use some cleaning. I agreed, reluctantly,
and we cleaned, scrubbed, this garage for another 3 hours. I’m exhausted. And I need a shower, badly. “Alright, let’s go to your room now. I think we could clean it up a bit! I mean look at how well we did in here, your room will be a piece of cake!” Not more! Was she trying to kill me? “Come on, it’ll be fun!” She grabbed my hand and tugged hard on my arm. I was unmoving. She tugged again, this time I moved just to keep her from hurting herself. We walked into the house, into my room and started cleaning. I’ve never cleaned so much in my life! “EWWW!!!! Gross!!!!!” Anna yelled. I flitted to her side, “What is it Annabelle?” “This is absolutely disgusting.” She held up a sandwich made of last months roast beef. I have to agree with her, that is pretty gross. “Ewww, throw it in here.” I held up the big black garbage bag that had already many other gross things in it. After all this animosity I’m sure Anna will never try to help me clean my room again, or, even worse, she’ll make me periodically do it. The idea of her weekly rummaging through my room made me nervous. I didn’t mind her in my room, that wasn’t what worried me, but the fact she’d catalogue everything she’d come across made me edgy. I never tried to hide anything from her and I don’t think there’s anything in here I don’t want her to see but what if there is something? Oh well, if she finds something I haven’t told her about then, well, she’ll know. “What the heck is this?! Bray! This is my diary!” Uh-oh. That wasn’t something I expected. Wait, when had I stolen her diary? I’ve never felt the urge to read it, that’s personal. “I’ve been looking for it everywhere! I must’ve left it in here last week! Wow, it sure got buried quickly.” She brushed the dust off of it. Relief, I hadn’t stolen it and she’s not accusing me of stealing it. She had me worried for a second. We worked in silence for a few minutes. Those few minutes felt like forever. I wonder what Anna’s thinking right now.
“So, what do you think about the letter?” She asked hesitantly as if she’s not really sure if she wants to be talking about this. “Honest opinion?” “Yes.” She gulped. “I think it was incredibly rude and I can’t believe she sent it to you. I hate to see it hurting you like that. She should’ve known.” She looked down. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said it so harshly.” “No no, you’re right. I just thought maybe I was overreacting. I’m glad that you agree with me, now I know I’m not completely crazy.” She forced a laugh out. “Oh you’re still crazy.” I smiled as she play punched my shoulder. “Dang Bray, you’ve grown like a foot in the past 2 days! I had to reach up to punch your shoulder!” So I wasn’t the only one who noticed my growth spurt. “Yeah, I know, weird huh?” “Very.” “Well, I think we’re done with cleaning. This room is cleaner than it ever has been!” “I agree. I mean it’s not perfect, but it’ll do. I can actually see the floor! It’s a miracle!” “I know it is! I would say thank you but I’m actually kind of missing the messiness. This carpet is not very pretty!” “That’ll be our next project. I’ve got some money saved up. Maybe tomorrow we can check out some carpets, you’re pretty handy I’m sure you could install it yourself.” I laughed. She thinks quite a lot of me doesn’t she? “Maybe.” I said with a smile. “What time is it?” “Um, it’s about,” I looked at my watch, “5 pm miss.”
“Wow, we’ve been working all day! I’m hungry want to go grab some dinner? Your dad’s not home from fishing yet so looks like we’re on our own for a while.” “Sure. We deserve a treat.” We hopped into my small car and I drove us to McDonalds. Not necessarily gourmet but it’s not like we’re rich. I got my favorite, 10 piece chicken nuggets with honey mustard and she got something she’d never had before: the 3 piece chicken selects. I told her she would like them and she did. When we got back home my dad was waiting for us by the door. “Where have you been? I got home from fishing and you two weren’t here!” There was an edge of panic in his voice that worried even me. “We went to McDonalds. Annabelle and I worked hard today.” “Next time leave me a note.” “Okay dad. Sorry to frighten you.” “It’s fine.” His words were sharp. “Hey Anna, will you go out to the car? I left my coat in there.” I did leave my coat in there but that wasn’t the reason I sent her out. Something was wrong and I want to find out but she doesn’t do well with these things. Not when she’s already stressed. As she walked out of the house she turned to look at me, I meant to be subtle but I guess she guessed why I sent her out. Her eyes told me that she knew. She wasn’t mad though. I think she understood I didn’t want to frighten her. Once she was safely out of hearing range I asked. “Dad, what’s going on?” “Nothing.” His voice was softer now, like he was trying to calm down but the panic was still evident in his voice. “Well then what’s not wrong?” “The legends are coming true.” He sighed deeply and turned to face me. “You mean the legends you told me about?” “Yes. Have you noticed your growth spurt and your muscle build up?” He smirked, I guess he was happy about this aspect.
“Yeah. Wait, I’m not a part of this am I?” “It’s in your blood.” Anna walked through the door with my jacket over her arm and she noticed the panic expression on my face now. I stormed out the room. How could this happen to me?! Not with Anna in the house! She can’t know. But there’s no way to stop this. Maybe dad’s mistaken. I mean I have been working out more lately. And it’s inevitable that I’ll get taller! He must be mistaken! Those are just silly legends our elders use to scare us. Once I entered my room I heard Anna and dad talking. “What’s wrong?” “It’s complicated Anna. Do you want to spend the night at Maili’s house tonight?” “Why?” “I don’t think Bray will be around much tonight and if he is he might be a little bitter.” “Oh well. I’ll stay here. Just in case he needs me.” “Anna, that’s not a good idea.” “I don’t want to stay with Maili. Her parents fight too much. I’m not in the mood for fighting and makeovers tonight. I’ll stay here no matter how unpleasant it might be.” “Alright.” I wouldn’t make it unpleasant for Anna. Or I’ll try not to at least. Uh-oh. Footsteps. She’s coming to my room. I bet you money she’s coming for the explanation I can’t give her. “Bray can I come in, please?” She whispered through the door. I opened the door while trying to put a smile on my face. “Wipe that smile off I see right through it.” I guess it wasn’t a very convincing smile. She walked into my room and plopped down on my bed kicking her shoes of onto the rubber mat she’d given me for my shoes. “What’s wrong Bray?” She pleaded.
“Oh, dad’s just overreacting as always. It’s annoying.” I walked over and sat on the bed next to her. “Wow. You feel warm. You’re not even touching me but I feel the heat coming off of your body. Bend down, I think you have a fever!” She place her pale hand on my forehead and quickly yanked it away. “Are you feeling ok? You definitely have a fever.” This was never going to work with her in the house. I can’t change without her noticing! She already can tell something’s up. “Oh I’m fine. I think you’re just cold.” Her forehead creased in confusion, then she just shrugged. “Maybe.” That maybe did not sound convinced at all but I think she was just deciding to go along with it instead of arguing. “Still hiding from your room?” I asked. “Yeah, but if you want me out I’ll leave no worries. I need to face it sooner or later and you need your personal space, I understand, I wouldn’t want someone camping out in my room over a letter-” “Stop rambling. You can stay in here. It’s no problem Annabelle. I enjoy the company.” I interrupted. A smile spread across her face with relief. “Okay, thank you.” She jumped up and gave me a big hug. I would never turn her away, although her being in here probably won’t be a good idea if I’m changing like this. She’s not dumb and she’s heard the legends. She thought they were all bull but she’s still heard them. Anna’s not allowed to know the truth. I should turn her away now, tell her to go to Maili’s for a few weeks; I can’t though. I love her too much. She deserves better than to be turned away. Spit it out. It’ll be safest for her. “Annabelle, maybe you should go stay with Maili.” I saw pain spread across her face. “You don’t want me here?” she whispered. “NO! NO! That’s not what I meant! No! I just thought- never mind, don’t go!”
That’s not what I meant at all! I didn’t mean to hurt her like that. Well, it is what I meant in a way. I don’t want her here but that’s for her own good. It’s really not very safe for her to be around me if this legend will come true with me. But, then again, I don’t want her to go. I want her to never leave. I love having her around, so if it weren’t for the safety issue I would never even suggest she go stay with Maili. “Okay. But if you do get sick of me, just tell me, I can leave.” There was still a little bit of pain spread across her face, though she was trying hard to hide it. “Annabelles, I’ll never get sick of you. You’re my best friend and you can stay here as long as you want, and, honestly, I hope that’s forever.” I said with a chuckle. She smiled, not fully convinced of the truth in my words but a little relieved. She just got an open invitation to be my friend forever, and that I’ll always be here whenever she needs me and I think she liked the thought of that. “Want to watch a movie?” She gestured to the TV at the bookshelf by the end of my bed. “Sure.” I let her pick out the movie, she picked out Gone With the Wind- her favorite classic- and she barely made it through half the movie before she was asleep, again in my arms. I didn’t move today. I fell asleep right there beside her, drifting into a deep sleep despite her loud snoring.
When I woke up, though I had slept soundly, I did not feel refreshed. Anna was still asleep next to me. I slept fine- except for the dream. My mind raced through the possibilities of the werewolf/shape shifting occurring to me. This is the worst legend (in my opinion) of our tribe and, of course, it’s the one to come true. I wish I could get the image of me being a wolf out of my head. I don’t like this idea at all. Although, the speed and the strength might be kind of cool. It was a few minutes before I realized Anna was sweating. I quickly, but carefully, pulled my arm out from under her. I’m too warm to be so close to her, she could have a heat stroke. I chuckled to myself. Since when had I been the hot one?
“Where’s Anna?” I asked dad. “She’s at Maili’s. I told her to go. She’s spending tonight and tomorrow night over there.” “Why?” “Because. You’re changing Brayden, I wanted her to stay over there until, well, until you’re done changing.” “But-” “No buts, I think I know what’s best right now.” “When can she come back?” “In a couple days. I trust you’ll have enough self-control by then. But we can’t let her know about all this change, you’ll have to keep it very hidden.” “Dad, I never keep anything Anna.” “You know the rules. You can’t tell her.” “She’s smart she’ll figure it out.” I snapped. “Well, then she finds out. But until that time comes she has to be oblivious.” I stormed to my room. He was right. I knew the rules, I can’t tell her. I wonder what she’s doing right now. I’m worried. She didn’t want to go to Maili’s house, I know that for a fact. Yesterday I promised her she could stay however long she wanted and now my dad tells her she can’t be here right now, but what’s worse is there’s no explanation we can give her. Unless we lie. Lie to Anna? I won’t do it. My dad can fly solo on that one, I will not lie to my best friend, the one I love so dearly. Right now I wish I still had my mom. I wish she hadn’t been murdered, I wish they’d found the person who did it to her. I miss my mom. She would
really be able to help me right now. She’d give me the million dollar advice that wouldn’t always work but would at least make me feel better. It’s been hard without my mom. Her and I were very close, like Anna and her mom were, but the biggest difference is my mom didn’t choose to leave. She was trying to save me from the bullet. She died a hero. Not just because she risked her life for me but because she was my mom. She was the best mom anyone could ever have. After she died, it was really hard on my dad and I. Mom and dad had one of the best relationships you could find now a days. They were so happy because they truly loved each other. My dad was the hero after that though. Alright, I’m done thinking about that. I don’t like bringing that back up. I felt tears well up inside of my eyes as I glanced at the picture of my mom by my bed. I choked them back down, the last thing I need to be doing right now is crying. I remember, though, after my mother’s death. Anna was always here, this was before she was abandoned. She was here every day, here to comfort me. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know if I could’ve made it through it. I remember one time she came with dinner she’d made us. She tried making baked potatoes and roast. They were horrible. Ha ha. She tried so hard though so we choked it down but all we tasted was burnt! She apologized after she tasted it herself and said she’d never force us to eat her cooking again but I told her she could force it down our throats any day. It was true. I enjoyed it, it may have tasted gross, but it was the thought that counted. She tried to help us and that’s what I appreciated. I felt the smile spread across my face as I thought about that time, replaying it over and over again in my head as I looked at the other picture by my bed. Anna and I, Anna on my back, by the tree big smiles on our faces. That was taken when we were 15 years old, two years ago.
The rest of the day passed slowly but I was glad Anna wasn’t here. I didn’t feel so good. I still don’t feel so good. Dad said it’s just because I’m changing. About an hour ago I got so mad at my dad my first change happened. I ruined a perfectly good shirt and pair of jeans. I also broke our front door. I’ll fix it for dad tomorrow. This was the change dad’s been waiting for. This means if I can keep it under control Anna can come back soon. I’ve phased once. Now we know what happens. I just need to control my anger and we should all be fine.
According dad though it’s much harder said than done to keep my anger under control. I hope he’s wrong about something and I hope that something is this. I want to be able to keep it under control. I can keep it under control. I wonder if I can force myself to phase, if I can learn how to do that maybe I can learn how not to do it when I get upset. I walked out of my room ran right through the living room, the kitchen and out the front door. “Be back soon dad, have a pair of clothes ready for me please!” I yelled back.
I came back after a couple hours, and sure enough, dad had my clothes on the kitchen table with a note. Brayden, Out fishing, call me! I want to know how your wild day went. Love you kid. ~DAD
I dialed dad’s cell phone number into our ancient phone and he picked up after 3 rings. “Bray, son, how was your day?” “Great dad. I think I’ve got in under control.” I heard him sigh into the phone. “Brayden, this has nothing to do with you wanting Anna back does it?” “What’s wrong with wanting her back?” “Well, maybe you’re rushing things, you can’t be sure that you have it under control. I want you to go talk to Brogan. He was the first to change, he’s the only other one right now. He can help you.” “Dad, you know him and I don’t get along.” “Set aside your differences for just a few minutes and talk with him. Maybe even phase with him so you can be sure you’ve got it.” “Fine.”
I shut the phone and I got dressed. If he was going to make me go talk to Brogan then I’ll do it, but then he better let Anna come back soon. I started to climb into my car but I realized it’ll be faster just to run. I shut the car door and bolted. This speed is amazing. It’s faster when I’m in wolf form but still even when I’m in human for I can go faster than my car! The wind hitting my face cleared my head a little by the time I reached Brogan’s house. My dad must’ve called him because when I arrived he was standing in his yard shirtless. “Hi Brayden, your dad called me and told me you were coming!” “Hi, yes, against my will if you were wondering.” “Bray, we’re of one pack now, no need to be hostile.” One pack? You’ve got to be kidding me! I have to be in a pack with him?! “What does being in the same pack mean?” “It means we’re a team. We protect La Pach together now.” “How often do we have to associate?” “Everyday.” I gulped. Everyday I have to hang out with him. This is going to be a nightmare. What do we have to protect from anyway? La Pach is the safest city in California. Maybe that’s just because it’s the least populated though. But still, no danger is here. “Brayden? Relax. We’ll find some way to stay civil, and it won’t be just you and I for very long. I’m pretty sure some others will change too.” “Fine. Can I go home now?” “Your father thought maybe I could help you with phasing. He wants to make sure you can control it before he brings your friend home.” Ugh! If I didn’t love Anna so much I wouldn’t be here right now! But I have to do this for Anna. I want her home and I know she wants to come home too.
I spent two hours more with Brogan. He taught me how to phase by command and he gave me some tips as how to control my anger better. I can control it. I’m running back to my house, now in wolf form. Brogan’s not so bad. He made an effort to be nice to me and he even called my dad when we were done and he told him he thinks it’s safe for Anna to be back around. My dad agreed, it’s funny how Brogan is like a hero to dad even though he’s 22 years younger than him, and Anna will be coming back tomorrow morning. Dad also said though that the only way he’ll allow Anna to come back is if I agree to being in Brogan’s pack and him and I both phase at least 3 times a week to check out the perimeter (make sure everything’s safe) until more people join. Then it’s up to Brogan (he’s the “Alpha”) to decide how often we meet. I’m not very excited about that stipulation but if that means I get Annabelle back then I’ll do it. I’m pathetic aren’t I? I’ll do anything for her. You’re not pathetic Bray, you’re just in love. Woah, what was that? Oh, right, this is Brogan, I forgot to tell you when we’re both in wolf form we can hear each other’s thoughts. Oh. Umm… ok I guess I’ll have to be careful what I think from now on. I must as well, but don’t worry anything we hear from each other stays between us, your thoughts will never be shared, it’s another one of the rules. He replied. Ok. Well, thanks for telling me. I need to remind you, do not tell Anna about this whole thing, that’s another rule that you must not disregard. Don’t worry Brogan, I’m not planning to scare her with what I am. I phased back to human before he could respond to that. Mind reading. Yippee. Now I can’t keep any of my thoughts to myself.
I walked through the door to find Anna sitting at the kitchen table by more of my clothes drinking some juice. “Bray get some clothes on!” She yelled as she threw the stack of clothes at me. The imprinting. The moment I looked into her eyes (however brief that was) I realized that part was true too! I just imprinted on Anna! That’s probably the best part of this whole thing. I wonder when she feels it too. I ran into the bathroom and quickly put them on. That must have a been a sight for her! I came back out while she was still drinking, now with her iPod in. I could hear the music very clearly, although I could tell she didn’t have it up that loud. Dad said great hearing comes with this. Doesn’t surprise me, I mean wolves do have great hearing. “I’m dressed Anna.” She pulled out the headphones and turned to me. She was eying me up and down and it was making me a little nervous. I’m not used to people staring at me. This is just like what I woke up to yesterday. “What?” I asked. “Wow, Bray, you look different.” “You said that already.” “No, I mean you look even more different. You’ve got a 6 pack! And you’re at least 2 inches taller! I turn my head and you grow!” “Well, I’m a teenager. I can tell you now.” “What?” “I can tell you what you couldn’t before, you just have to answer one question for me first.” I tried not to let the excitement show through in my voice. “Ok, what’s the question.” “Did you feel anything different when you saw me just a minute ago?” “Well, yeah I did. I didn’t want to say anything though.” I smiled.
“Me too. I can tell you everything now..”
For the next couple hours I talked about the legends, really it was just a refresher course since she’d already heard them all. I told her about all the changes; my new strength, my new speed, my new ability to change into a wolf, my new sense of smell, my new improved hearing, everything. She took it quite well too. I was expecting more fear, her body to go into shock, her to call me crazy and cuss me out, something along those lines but actually she just listened intently and she seemed to believe every word I said. In the end I actually showed her and that’s when things got a little tricky. The second she started to get a little panicky I quickly changed back to human form, not caring about the clothing issue. She clutched the air around her trying to find something to keep her steady. Her body wavered a little when her hand couldn’t find anything and I caught her before she hit the ground. “Are you ok?” I asked. “I’m fine. Thank you though. I think that would’ve been a pretty painful fall.” I lifted her up and brought her into the living room, I laid her onto the couch. Her face was still a little blank but she looked as if she was grabbing ahold of reality again. “Do you need anything? I’m sure that was bit of a surprise there.” “Water?” “Ok, coming right up.” I sped to the kitchen and grabbed her a water bottle from the bottom of the fridge. “Wow that was quick.” “Yeah, Annabelles, remember speed comes with it.” “Oh yeah, that’s right. Wow, so much to take in. So you’re a, uh, werewolf?” “Yes I am.” “Ok, well I don’t really know what to say to that.”
“That’s ok Anna. I know it’s a lot to handle, you don’t have to say anything. I’m just so happy you know now. I hated the fact that I had to hide it from you.” “I would’ve hated it too if I were in your place. So, what, is it genetic or something?” “Yeah. My great-great-great grandfather was, you know, a werewolf.” “Oh. I didn’t know that.” “Yeah. So, uh, how are you handling all this information?” “Pretty well. It’s not too much. It’s just weird.” No too much? Maybe she is insane. She just found out her best friend’s a werewolf, if I were her that’d be way more than too much. I wouldn’t have only been unsteadied I would’ve fainted. Well, at least we know one thing, she’s not weak.
The next few days with Brogan were not as torturous as I had anticipated them to be. No they weren’t pleasant either but Jarrett, 17, just joined the pack. He phased for the first time today under much council. He’s a very lighthearted person so getting him angry was not the way to make him phase, it was near impossible. So we had to teach him how to turn into a wolf on purpose. It was difficult but we met the challenge. Brogan was very surprised that I was the first one to imprint and he said he was happy for me. I’m not sure whether it was sincere or not but it did seem sincere so I thanked him. I was hoping the imprinting wouldn’t be true, I didn’t want to fall out of love with Anna but now that I’ve imprinted on her I’m actually quite glad that it is true. Now we can both love each other happily. A deep howl broke my into my thoughts and I suddenly started to panic. I’m here, on the couch, watching a movie with Anna and now I’m being called. Well, called isn’t necessarily the correct word, summoned best suits this occasion. “Sorry honey, I have to go. Brogan’s calling me.” “It’s ok. Just hurry back!”
I ran out of the door already pulling my shorts off by the time I hit the woods. I turned wolf mid-spring and I automatically heard Brogan and Jarrett’s screaming thoughts. Brayden! Emergency! Jarrett yelled at me. What is it?
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