Her mind fuzzed as she kissed him and breathed him in slowly. Suddenly she felt his lips leave hers, she snapped open her eyes and saw his, the size of half dollars, staring at Tess, staring at them. Marie turned back to see Derek’s shocked face mouthing “quiet” to Tess. She stuck out her hip and eyed him, rubbing her fingers and thumb together implying he’d have to pay her off. Marie watched as Derek stood and left the room, going around the kitchen. Then Tess looked at Marie, pursed her lips, and smiled.
“Are you mad?” Marie mouthed from the living room.
“No, I guess not.” Tess mouthed back.
Marie started breathing again, the last thing she wanted to was to upset Tess. Just then she saw Derek grab Tess’s wrist and yank her to another part of the house. She strained to hear what they were saying but couldn’t over the crackling bacon. She inched into the kitchen, and wondered if Mrs. Hale knew what was going on, and if someone would tell her.
“Something wrong?” Tess’s mom asked as she continued to scurry around the kitchen fixing a meal that seemed enough to feed an army.
“No, I’m fine, why?” Marie was shocked that she had picked up on her hint of worry, strange that she would notice a change.
“No reason.” Mrs. Hale shrugged and moved to stir eggs and flip bacon.
“Oh, no, just sleepy I guess.” Marie replied.
The sun coming through the windows was gradually growing brighter. The beams warmed her back and she admired Mrs. Hale’s beautiful deep brown hair. She was very pretty and stood almost as tall as Marie, eye level maybe. She hadn’t paid much attention to the details of their family last night, due to certain distractions, but now she saw how Tess and Derek looked like their mom in their own special ways. Tess looked the most obviously like her, but you could see her in Derek’s expressions. Derek, however, looked strikingly similar to his father. Same broad build, same sharp features, and the same green eyes that reminded her of the forest. She wondered how she’d gotten so lucky. Tess strolled into the room and sprang onto the stool next to her. Meanwhile, Derek walked into the living room and stretched out on the couch changing the channels to the TV. She looked inquisitively at Tess and was answered with a shrug. What did Derek say? Was Tess mad at him? Would this change his mind? She had to know.
“Hey mom, can I have some of that?” Tess asked.
“Well good morning to you too.” Her mom replied as she slid a plate full of eggs and bacon under Tess’s nose and walked away with it.
“Moooommmaa pleassse.” Tess whined in response to the teasing.
“Ok, ok, ok.” she laughed as she laid the food in front of her.
“So, how did you girls sleep? You weren’t cold were you?” questioned Mrs. Hale.
“No mom.” Tess answered.
“No, no we weren’t cold Mrs. Hale, it was fine.”
“Well good, we couldn’t have our girls turning to popsicles now could we?” Mrs. Hale laughed. Marie watched as Alex, Chloe, and Ann walked around the corner bickering and talking loudly. They grabbed a plate of food and continue into the living room where they fought over the remote until Derek snatched it from Alex. Bean, however, stuck her head around the wall, and peaked into the kitchen mischievously.
“PSST! PSSST,” said the little girl, trying to get their attention. Tess, Marie, and Mrs. Hale all stared at Bean, wondering what she was doing.
“Momma. Psst! Moooommmaa. I smell food.” She said in hushed tone.
“Well baby, that would be because I’m cooking food.” her mom deadpanned, trying not to chuckle.
“Is it for us? Can we eat it?!” She said excitedly as she hopped out from behind the wall.
“Yes, this is for you. Come and get some before it gets cold!”
“Yaaay! Yum, yum, yuuuum, yummy!” she sang as she sprung out, right in front of Mrs. Hale with both hands out stretched. She looked at Marie and Tess an shook her head.
“I swear, I do feed her.” She joked as she turned to finish cleaning up the food. Marie wished she had a sister like that- all she had was Lauren, who was always out somewhere doing something with no one she cared about. She wondered if Tess and Derek knew how lucky they really were. They walked into the living room and sat on the couch with everyone. After ten minutes of bickering they finally decided to watch Hercules on nick toons. When the movie was over Marie elbowed Tess.
“Tess, lets go upstairs.” Marie said, hoping for answers. They practically ran up the stairs and into Tess’s room. The girls bounced on Tess’s bed and laid on their backs, until she sat up and grabbed Tess by the shoulders.
“What did he say? What did you say?” Marie demanded.
“Why are you asking all the questions?! I’m the one who ran in on you and my brother! Wait, what about that guy, the one you said you liked a couple weeks ago? Was that Derek?!” Tess said with accusing eyes.
“Um, yeah, I guess so.” she let out a laugh as she rubbed the back of her neck with a sheepish look on her face. “But I didn’t know it was your brother at the time.”
“Wow, so is it like you guys just kissed, or what?” She didn’t know how much to tell, she didn’t want to make trouble for Derek.
“Well, he asked me out for next Friday, but I don’t know what that means really.”
“I can tell you it means something, he hardly ever asks girls out, he must really like you. Wow.” Really?! She couldn’t believe it, he was so good looking! He could have any girl!
“Tess what did he say to you?” Marie halfway begged.
“Oh, nothing important, don’t worry, he just asked me to keep it on the down low until things are for sure.”
“For sure? What does that mean?” Oh crap, what if he just wants someone to fool around with? What if he wants it on the down low because he isn’t sure he really likes her enough?
“Nothing bad, I know my brother way better then I wish I ever did, and I know he likes you. Unfortunately that’s what sixteen years in the same house will do to a person.” Tess mumbled sarcastically.
“Oh, ok…good.” Marie said softly as she sat on Tess’s bed next to her. She looked down at her phone and allowed the anxiety to find its way to the surface.
“You really like him don’t you…”Tess asked as she leaned over and saw her face.
“Yeah, I really like him…” Marie sighed. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. The pair searched crazily for the offending device before they missed the call.
“Hey mom.” Marie said breathlessly, surprised to hear from her, sure her mother would be busy at work.
“Hey Marie, I need you to come home by noon alright? You have chores you haven’t finished.”
“Ok, are you still at work?”
“Ya, I’m sorry Marie, I don’t think I’ll get home until six or seven, can you make dinner again tonight?”
“Ya, its cool, see you when you get home…” she said, disappointed.
“Thank you, love you sweetie.” Her mom rushed.
“Lov-” Click. And like that her fairy tale was over. Oh well, even Cinderella had to go home sometime, right? She looked at her phone clock and sighed, 11:39. Might as well leave now.
“Hey, Tess can you give me a ride home?” Marie asked.
“Now?” Tess’s said a little confused.
“Ya, I have chores to finish.” She stood and picked up her bag.
“Sure, come on.” She gathered her things and they went down stairs. As they walked into the kitchen she caught Derek’s eye and couldn’t help but smile.
“Hey mom, can I give Marie a ride home?” Tess asked.
“What happened to helping me with lunch?” Her mom answered as she looked up to the girls and motioned to the food engulfing the counter.
“I can take her.” They all turned as Derek walked in and took Marie’s bag. “I don’t mind, really.”
“Well, that could work, ya ok,” Mrs. Hale said slowly, “Is that ok Marie?” Mrs. Hale asked.
“Ya that’s fine.” She said coolly, trying as hard as she could to contain her excitement.
“Lets go.” Derek said with a smile. As he walked out of the kitchen and to the front door, she walked behind him and loved the way he held himself full of confidence, the way his hips swung just the slightest bit and the way he looked in the sun. He turned his head, smiled at her, and let a little laugh slip before he turned to put her bag in the bed of a small Chevy truck and open the door for her.
“Thank you.” she said as she tried to hide her blush.
“You’re welcome.” He jogged around the front end and jumped in the drivers seat. When he started the old Chevy, the engine roared and a good layer of dust from the hood rose up and sank to the ground.
“I like the truck, is it yours?” she asked, curious if he would appreciate something so unique.
“Ya, I just bought it. You have no idea how long it look me to save up enough even for this. One day I want a really nice car, but right now this will do perfectly.” She stretched her denim covered legs out in front of herself and yawned.
“What kind?” Marie wondered out loud.
“Oh, something nice, I’m not really sure yet though. What about you? If you could have any car, what would it be?”
“A corvette. I love corvettes.” she answered.
“What about places, what’s your favorite place?” he asked. She looked over at him, and thought about what place made her happiest.
“I would have to say San Diego, I went a couple years ago and loved it. I love the beach, and the people, the ocean, its all so beautiful. I’ve wanted to go back, but I haven’t had the chance.” She made a mental note to try and go sometime this summer.
“That’s cool, I love the beach, we used to go a lot when I was little. We still go in the summer sometimes.” Marie noticed herself scooting closer to him and decided it was so she could hear better. They came to a stop light and he turned and looked at her.
“Are you cold? Here you can have this.” He said as he started taking off his jacket.
“No, its ok. Thank you though.” Just then the light turned green.
“Hey, what do you wanna do on Friday? How’s a movie?” he asked.
“That would be awesome, thanks, how bout six?”
“It’s a date.” He replied with a warm smile. They pulled up to her house she hopped out of the truck and grabbed her bag from the back.
“I coulda done that.” Derek said, walking around to the side of the truck and leaning his back on it.
“Oh, I forgot.” Marie said, feeling a little embarrassed. “Your mom did a good job teaching you how to treat a lady.” She told him as she slid close enough for their arms to touch.
He reached down and grabbed Marie’s hand, melting the skin where they touched, and brought it to his face. “Well, you see, she told me if I ever wanted to get to know someone better, to act like a gentleman, and they’d want to know me too.” He kissed her hand and smiled.
“See yyou at school…” she managed, as she tried desperately to remember how to breathe. He grinned and walked back to the drivers side, and like that, he was gone.
Marie felt like lightning had struck her, melting the souls of her converse to the concrete. She trudged to the door, clinging to that moment with all of her will. She unlocked the door and threw her bag on the floor before she leaned on the wall and slip to ground and let out and enormous sigh of happiness.
He pressed her hand to his lips before he smiled and walked back to his car. He laughed as he drove away, and he couldn’t believe he was actually pulling this off. He pulled into the driveway with and enormous grin and walked into the house feeling like he was miles high.
“Well, well, well.” Laughed Mrs. Hale as he walked into the kitchen. “Look who’s all smiley.”
“Shut up mom…” he said sheepishly.
“Hmmmm.” she said as he walked out.
He went up to his room, sprawled himself on his bed and let his imagination loose. Knock. Knock. Knock. Derek rolled off his bed and walked to the door.
“Hey.” he said to his dad.
“Hey wanna go with me on a run?”
“Yeah, sure, couple a minutes.” Derek said.
“Ok, I’ll be outside.”
Derek changed into some running shorts and a work out shirt and walked down stairs and out to the porch. He jogged over to his dad and they started on their way. He ran behind his dad for about three miles, trying to catch up, before they stopped by a creek. His dad chuckled and laced his fingers together around the back of his head.
“Almost 45 and I still beat you.” his dad teased.
“Pshhh. I so let you win. I could win if I wanted.” he scoffed. He walked over to some rocks by the creek bed and sat down.
“So who is this girl your mom was trying to tell me about?”
“God, does anyone not know my business?! You cant hide anything in this house.”
“Well it is full of werewolves, I’m not surprised… So?”
“It’s Tess’s friend. The one who slept over last night…” he confessed. “I mean, I liked her before that, but I kinda made a move today, I asked her on a date for next Friday. I don’t know what it is about her, I just feel this pull, like I’m just so happy around her, for no reason, she just brightens the room and I can‘t help but…feel like I’m falling for her.”
“Hmm, interesting…” He said as he nodded his head and got some water. “You be careful ok? I trust you… wait no I don’t, just be careful.”
“Don’t worry dad, I wont get anyone pregnant.”
“Well, I wasn’t worried about that, but now that you say so-”
“Dad, it will be ok. I’m being a gentleman, no one’s heart will be broken, and no one will get pregnant, I promise.”
“Ohhhh kaaay.” his dad laughed.
“I bet I can beat you to the house.” taunted Derek.
“I bet you can’t!” And they both took off, running at full speed and dodging around trees to get to the house before the other. Not even breaking a sweat Mr. Hale bounded on the porch making a loud thump.
“I told you I could beat you!” he scoffed.
“What ever! I just…got a cramp. Hey, can Josh come over?” Derek asked.
“I don’t see why not.”
“Cool, thanks.” he replied as he jumped up the stairs. He got out his phone and texted Josh that he could come over. Ten minutes later the door swung open and Josh walked in.
“Hey guys!” Josh said as he walked through the kitchen.
“Hey Josh!” The kids yelled in unison.
“Hey man, long time no see, what its been a whole week since you’ve been over here?” Derek joked with a smile. He loved that his parents allowed his best friend to practically live at their house and didn’t have a probable sharing their secret with him.
“I know right, a whole six days since I’ve harassed any one here.” Josh said as grabbed Bean and tickled her in his arms. She giggled and squirmed and Josh put her back on the couch. The two boys snickered and walked into the front room and up the stairs. They walked into his room and Josh sat on the computer chair and spun in a couple circles before coming to a stop.
“Hey man, did you guys ever find out what was up with that spiral in the woods?” Josh asked.
“No, my dad thinks it might have something to do with one of the other packs, he doesn’t know of anything that would provoke something like that though.” he replied. He thought about telling him that he thought it might have something to do with Kate, but decided against it.
“Weird. So where’s your sister? And have her and Dylan broken up yet?” Derek could hear the thumping of Tess’s light foot steps as Josh finished his sentence.
“I can hear you Josh! And me and Dylan are great! Your face may not be so great when I tell Dylan!” Tess threatened from the other room.
“Just kidding, I was just kidding!” Josh yelled to Tess. Josh turned Derek, “Seriously though?” Josh mouthed. He got off the bed and shoved his friend.
“So, uh, guess who has a date for Friday?” Derek half way bragged.
“You’re mom?” Josh scoffed.
“Shut up, no its me.”
“Oh really? Ok Romeo who is this date you have? Is she hot?”
“Yeah, she is… her name is Marie. She’s actually that girl, the one I noticed when we first got back from Christmas break. But she’s more then hot, she has depth too, that’s more then we can say for half the girls at our school.” the boys laughed together.
“That’s cool, what are you guys going to do?”
“See a movie. Lets go down stairs and eat lunch.” Derek suggested. “I’m starving…” his stomach growled and they went down stairs and strolled into the kitchen where Mrs. Hale was passing out burgers.
“Thanks mom.” Derek said as be began piling in the massive burger.
“Thanks mom.” Josh said as he ate his normal sized burger.
“No problem boys, where would I be if I wasn’t constantly feeding teenagers?”
“Bored.” They said at the same time through a mouthful of meat.
“Hey Marie!” Marie’s mom yelled as she stumbled through the door.
“Dinner’s ready, I ate already though, and so did Lauren.”
“Oh, its ok. I, uh, have a date…” her mom said at she shuffled through the kitchen and to her room with Marie trailing behind her.
“Wow, really?” Marie said, confused.
“Ya, with a guy I met down at my work, he‘s a sheriff.” Marie followed her mom into her closet and her mom changed into something more casual.
“Cool, I uh, have date too, next Friday… with Tess’s older brother.” She walked over to the mirror and tucked her hair behind her ears and caught her mom looking at her. “What.”
“Nothing…so how did that happen?” her mom asked.
“Um, actually he just asked. It was weird, it just happened.” she explained to her mom.
“That’s really nice sweetie, I hope you have a great time.” Ding dong. Her mom swiped on a few last brushes of mascara and Marie followed her to the door.
“Hi. Come in and meet my daughters. I’ll go get my youngest. ” Her mom said to a relatively good looking man who could be in his mid to late forties as he stepped in the door. He looked at Marie with a warm smile and shook her hand.
“I’m Marie, my younger sister is Lauren.” She smiled back at him, he seemed nice enough, and wouldn’t mind him around if things got serious.
“It’s very nice to meet you Marie, I’m Sheriff Stalinski.”