“I’ll scream,” Marnie said in a threatening whisper. “You know I will.”
“She’s asleep,” Marnie stated before changing her tone. “What are you? And is that why you keep disappearing?”
With Dax’s offer and Lane’s quick retreat still running through her mind, Saki didn’t feel like crawling into bed. Standing in her cramped quarters with her eyes locked on the mattress, she didn’t hear Marnie enter her bedroom behind her.
“Saki, what’s going on? Are you okay?”
Saki peered into her sister’s scared eyes and realized that if she was ever going to explain why she had done all of the things she had, it would be here and now. So retreating into the living room, she looked back giving Marnie permission to follow.
“I promise that I won’t tell anybody,” Marnie said asking permission to join her on the couch. “Are you what he is?”
“No. I’m something different,” she said looking up into her sister’s pudgy young face inviting her to sit.
Marnie sat and thought before asking her next question. “What are you?”
This was the first time that Saki had said it. She had admitted it to herself, but this was the first time she had heard the word come from her mouth. ‘Lycan’. It didn’t sound like the name of a monster. But words could be deceiving.
Marnie’s eyes drifted toward the ceiling as she searched her memory. “Is that like a werewolf?”
“We’re called Lycan,” she said with as much indignation as she could muster.
“How is that different from a werewolf?”
Saki didn’t answer because she didn’t know. Maybe there was no difference. Maybe one sounded like a killer and the other one didn’t. “It’s different,” she said with no other explanation.
“He’s an alpha. He can shift anytime he wants.”
“And you can’t?”
“Only when it’s a full moon.”
“Can I be one too?”
“You would never want to be this. No one would ever want to be this. Why would you even ask me that?”
“If you’re a Lycan, would people stop picking on you?”
“When you became a Lycan, did people stop making fun of you?”
“You don’t want this. You don’t want to be out of control like this. You don’t get to have a choice about things when you’re what I am. You just have to do what people tell you.”
“But if you can turn into that, why would you have to?”
“Because there’s always someone who’s stronger.”
The silence stretched out as Saki ran through scenarios in her mind. What were her option? What did she actually want? Did she want to be on the island when she changed? Yes, she did. But who did she want to be there with? It was the answer to that question that finally broke the silence.
“I need your help,” Saki said with humility.
With determination, Marnie asked “what do you want me to do?”
Saki stumbled on her words. “I don’t know yet. But will you help me?”
Monday was Saki’s first day at school since her caging had led to breakdown during math class. The week that she had off had done her good. And Dax’s offer helped.
Saki did everything she could to delay her entering homeroom. And as she stepped in as the bell rang, she took a quick scan of the room and saw all of its usual inhabitants. Dax’s crew were all seated together as if they needed each other to breathe, and Lane’s pack was again surrounding his desk.
As she stared forward, she noticed an unusual feeling. For some reason school had a sort of simplicity to it again. When she was back in North Carolina, everything about school was easy except the social part. But classes, homework, and tests were the easiest thing in the world to her. All she had to do was show up, pay attention and do what she was told and she got A’s. And for the first time in months, school seemed that simple again.
But with each passing moment she began to realize all the things that she had either forgotten or had never known at all. She couldn’t remember if they had covered today’s chemical reaction in her chemistry class. And they had done pig anatomy in North Carolina, and it didn’t seem to translate fully to the frog that they were currently dissecting in biology class.
Mr. Adderley had this way of humiliating his students if they didn’t know the work. Often, he would randomly call on someone to answer a question on the board. And unless the students said that they didn’t know, Mr. Adderley would have him stand there staring at the equation for minutes on end.
They were going over the math problems assigned as homework. She knew that she could have said that she hadn’t gotten the assignment, which would have been true. But in her heart, she was sure that she would know it. And if she was just given a moment to look at it, it would all come back to her.
It didn’t take long before her mind drifted off to other things. How had she gotten herself into any of this? She was a werewolf caught between two packs. She had been in love with one boy, then had betrayed him for another. She was a leaf floating on a pond going where ever the current took her. Was this who she wanted to be? Was this the only person she could be?
Saki placed the chalk on the board as if she were going to write. She didn’t. But she knew she was about to come up with her answer.
“That is correct,” Mr. Adderley said. “Does everyone see how she got that,” he continued as Saki again drifted off.
The rest of Saki’s classes passed by in a haze. She was now making plans. She didn’t know how she was going to do everything, but that would come. First she needed her accomplices. And her first one was sitting in the front seat as her mother silently drove them home.
Saki retreated to her room and waited. In a minute, Marnie joined her pulling the door to as she entered.
“Do you still wanna help me?” Saki asked from a seated position at the head of her bed.
“Yeah,” Marnie replied excitedly. “What do I do?”
“I want you to deliver a message to someone.”
“Who? Is it that shifter?” She asked with building excitement.
“No. And stay away from him. He’s dangerous. Do you hear me?”
“Yeah. So who do you want me to deliver it to?”
Saki looked up from her letter. She wondered if she should mention Dax. She then wondered what would happen if Dax got a hold of the letter. She read it again.
“No. You know what? I don’t want anything written down. I want you to go to the Humane Society, ask for Lane. Don’t give the message to anyone else. And I want you to tell him I’m sorry and that I would like to see him. Tell him it’s important. Can you remember that?”
“Go to the Humane Society, ask for Lane, no one else, tell him that you’re sorry and that you need to talk to him because it’s important.”
“Yes.” Saki’s eyes drifted upwards in thought before she spoke again. “I am going to walk to the Fish Fry. I want you to wait 15 minutes and then leave. And if you see Dax…”
“The alpha, right?”
“Yeah. If you see him or anything that looks like a wolf, I want you to just walk away. Forget everything I told you, and just walk away. Anywhere else. Just don’t go to the Humane Society. You understand?”
Marnie bubbled with excitement. “I understand.”
“I won’t be back until later tonight. But you can’t tell anyone else what you’re doing.”
Saki left the house and immediately wondered who was watching her. She had to believe that someone was. Dax could be anywhere. And with so many trees and areas of bush around them, she knew that he would follow her and never have to step out in the sunlight.
The Fish Fry was as busy as it always was. All of the outdoor seating for the restaurants were full. And on each of the tables were bottles of Kalik beer.
Saki walked down to where she had first met Dax. Sitting on the edge of the pier she began to wonder how different her life would be because of that one decision she made. She had only gone out that night as an attempt to get back at her mother for hitting her. It was her desire for vengeance that had led to her first meeting Dax. Sure, she would have met Dax in school eventually. But it was the fact that she was bleeding that made their meeting inevitable.
Saki continued to stare at the horizon as darkness fell. The large field lights that lit the area was slowly turning the ocean midnight blue. And just as a familiar scent entered her consciousness, she turned around to an unexpected site.
“Dax says that you’re now a part of our pack.”
“Yeah. I guess I am.”
“I’m Gully.” He then turned and pointed to the boys behind him all of which she recognized from their homeroom. “That’s Patrick, Mark and Frank.”
“Hi,” Saki acknowledged to a few weak hellos in reply.
“You want to hang with us?”
“Sure,” she said stepping toward the group.
“So, where you from?”
“Here,” Saki replied.
“I thought you went to school in the states?”
“I did. In North Carolina.”
Gully smiled. “How is that? I bet that was really weird.”
“In the beginning, I guess. But you get used to it.”
“Did you miss it here?”
“Sometimes,” Saki answered honestly. “But I didn’t always like here either.”
“Which elementary school did you go to?”
“Kingsway. What about you?”
“Lyford Cay Primary.”
“Why did you change to SAC?” Saki asked about the school they both now attended.
“Because my parents didn’t want me attending St. Andrew’s. They thought I would get a better education at SAC.”
“When you started going to SAC, did you think it was weird?” Saki asked devilishly.
Gully looked at her with a smirk. “Yeah, a little at first I guess. But you get used to it.”
Saki was surprised to learn that Gully wasn’t such a bad guy after all. They had all tried to kill her and Lane, but maybe there was more to them than that. Maybe they weren’t the monsters that she had believed them to be.
“Listen, it’s getting late. My mom said she’d kill me if I stay out long.”
“That’s cool. Do you want a ride back home?”
“No, that’s okay. I just live up there,” she said pointing up the hill toward her home.
“Okay, that’s cool. Then we’ll see you tomorrow at school.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you at school.”
As she thought about it, she got the same impression of Gully that she had gotten of Dax when they had first met. Dax didn’t come across to her has this stuck-up hot guy. He had depth and dimensions. Dax was a full person.
When Saki entered her house, everyone else was at the dinner table eating. Without a word Saki joined them and dished up her food giving only a brief glance toward Marnie. Everyone was quiet and she got the impression that they hadn’t been quiet a moment before. She felt something coming, and she buried her head in the food as it approached.
“You know,” her mother began, “I’ve been cutting you some slack because of everything that’s been going on. I know you’ve been having a hard time adjusting, and you gained friends that may or may not be good for you. But as long as you live in this house, you will respect the rules. Don’t come strolling in here and dish up like you own the place. You didn’t buy it, you didn’t cook it, so don’t act like you did. Do you understand what I’m sayin’?”
But right now she felt off-kilter from her interaction with Gully. She was so sure of her new world when she had left the house, but now things didn’t seem quite as clear. And with her world slowly shifting beneath her feet, she chose not to make this one of tonight’s battles. “Yes ma’am,” she said hoping the conversation would end.
Once Maddie and their mother went to bed, Saki turned to Marnie to find out Lane’s response. The entire night Marnie had looked like she was holding back a secret, and it was killing Saki not to find out what it was.
“So, what happened?”
“I waited to leave like you said. And I checked to see if anyone was following me but I didn’t see anyone. There was a woman behind the desk.”
“Hillary?” Saki interjected.
“I don’t know her name. But she called Lane and I think he recognized me because he asked me to come with him to the kitchen. Did you know that there was a kitchen back there?”
“Yeah. He lives there.”
“Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Anyway, he took me back there and I gave him your message. I told him exactly what you told me.”
“And what did he say?” She asked with her heart thumping.
“Nothing. He just said ‘okay’ and that’s it.”
“Nothing at all?”
“No. He just looked kind of mad and then walked me out.”
“I’m sorry,” Marnie offered. “Did I do something wrong?”
“Do you want me to give him another message tomorrow?”
“I don’t know yet. I’ll see.”
The next day at school Saki again tried to enter homeroom as late as possible. Scanning the room she met the eyes of Gully who waved her over. Not knowing what to do, her eyes darted over to Lane. His mouth hung open watching her. But knowing she couldn’t refuse Gully’s invitation, she headed toward him.
“Move Mark,” Gully said freeing up the seat behind him.
“Hey Frank,” Mark said a little louder than a whisper. “Did you finish your math homework?”
“Buyah, let me check it out.”
“No. You should have done your own homework.”
“Don’t be so stingy, dread.”
“No. Do your own work.”
Mark looked over at the work on Saki’s desk. “I guess you know how to do my math problems.”
“Of course she does,” Gully interjected. “She’s in Pure Math. But that doesn’t mean that she’s gonna do your work either. Just shut up and do your own work. You don’t see she’s tryin’ ta work.”
“What are you doing after school?”
“I don’t know. Why?” Saki asked sure that his question had to do with Dax.
“You want to hang out?”
Saki wasn’t sure what was happening. He was being very nice to her. Was it possible that he liked her in a romantic sense? Didn’t he know that she was Dax’s? “At the Fish Fry?”
“Yeah, we could pick you up from there.”
‘We,’ she repeated in her mind. This wasn’t a date. This was some sort of pack event. “Yeah, okay.” She knew that this would give her the alibi she needed to deliver one more message to Lane.
“Cool.” Gully smiled and then turned back around.
At the end of the day the boys invited her over to sit with them in the grass between the upper and lower school. Saki apologized saying that she had to wait for her mother with her sisters but that she would see them soon. That seemed to satisfy them but she couldn’t help but wonder what she had gotten herself into.
Again sitting in her bedroom she gave Marnie a message. “Tell him that I’m doing what I have to do, and that I have a plan. Then ask him if we can meet tomorrow at nine at our usual place.”
Saki was at the Fish Fry for only 10 minutes when Gully’s familiar white sedan arrived. It was the same car that she would see parked in the school parking lot.
“Get in,” he beckoned from the driver seat.
Driving along the shoreline, the car passed all of the hotels toward the expensive houses past the airport. It was only a 15 minute drive, but on this island it constituted a massive ZIP Code change. Taking a quick left into one of the expensive neighborhoods, their cars snaked back around to the three-story house that stood on the cliff face overlooking the ocean. The house was huge and beautiful.
“It’s chicken salad. Do you want one?” Gully asked.
“Wolfenstein?” Mark asked the group.
“Sure,” Gully said still looking at Saki and the sandwiches.
Saki took one and traced Gully as he returned to the fridge. “There’s soda and juice. If you want any just help yourself.” Gully then crossed the room, took a game controller and parked himself in front of the TV.
“Hello,” the grinning woman said in a distinctly Jamaican accent.
“Hi,” she said not knowing how to react.
“Would you like something to drink? Gully, don’t you know to offer your guests something to drink,” the woman scolded.
“I told her she could help herself,” he yelled back never taking his eyes off of the screen.
“That is no way to treat a young lady. You’ve got to do better than that.”
“Offer her something to drink then.”
“Gully, this is your guest.”
“Geraldine, don’t you see were playing a game.”
“You’re just rude. Do you hear me?” She asked sucking her teeth in disgust. “What would you like to drink?”
“I’m fine thanks,” Saki replied.
Not accepting no for an answer, the Jamaican woman continued. “We have soda, orange juice, milk, apple juice and water.”
“She said she didn’t want anything,” Gully replied still not looking up.
“Don’t listen to him. What can I get you?”
The truth was that she was thirsty. But because she kept expecting for Dax to arrive at any moment, she didn’t dare move. “Apple juice, please.”
“You’ve got to treat your guests better than this,” she chastised one more time.
“Bye, Geraldine,” Gully said more as a command.
Gully continued his game until the last of his lives were dead. Getting up, he walked back over to Saki. “Did you want to play?”
“No, that’s okay. Is Dax coming over?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
As the night went on, she began to get the impression that they didn’t want anything with her. They had really just invited her to hang out. In a way, it was kind of nice. Weird, but nice. They really were a pack. They seemed to just like being with each other, even though together they acted like a bunch of juveniles.
The night, as a whole, was bizarre. The more she learned about this new world, the less she understood.
“He said that you should come by at nine and that he was looking forward to talking to you,” Marnie said excitedly.
Saki rolled over and stared at the twin’s closed door. Keeping an eye on it for movement, she slowly slid her fingers between her legs and pressed against the engorged flesh. She wanted her hand to be Lane’s hand. And when she traced her fingertips along the entrance of her opening, her breath hitched.
Feeling the need to bend her legs, she pressed her palm harder against her clit. Imagining Lane’s strong embrace, she moved her free hand to her young breast and massaged.
“Ohhh,” she whispered sure that no one could hear.
Instead she wiggled left and right and held her breath as her orgasm overtook her. Saki lost herself. She could focus on nothing but the intensity between her legs. She needed to feel Lane again. And if she could, she would tomorrow.
Saki didn’t bother to look over at Lane and his pack. The less attention she drew to her connection to him, the better it was for everyone. During homeroom, during lunch, and gym class, she didn’t dare look at him once.
Saki’s eight periods of class seemed to drag on forever. She paid attention where she could, but for the most part it was all just a blur. She had a feeling that all of this was going to come back to her at some point, but she couldn’t help it now.
“Do you wanna hang out tonight?” Gully asked enthusiastically.
“Sure, but I have to be home by 8:00. My mom’s been freaking out about me coming home late for dinner.”
“That’s cool. My dad’s been complaining about everyone hanging out so late anyway. So, should I pick you up from your place?”
“No, the Fish Fry is fine.”
“Okay. See you then.”
Gully drove up to the Fish Fry at the same time he did the day before. Saki got into the car and again pushed Frank aside. Waiting for them at Gully’s house were tuna sandwiches. And to avoid what had happened the day before with Geraldine, she was sure to pour herself her own glass of apple juice.
“Gross man, come on,” Gully objected.
“What? You know you do it,” Mark retaliated.
“Ahhh, gross,” Frank protested.
“What did you eat?” Patrick said while taking one of his hands off of the control to cover his nose.
“It’s natural,” Mark retorted.
“Ain’t nothing about that smell is natural,” Frank replied.
Saki had never really hung out with boys before. After all, until moving back to the island, boys found her to be invisible. And it turned out that when they weren’t trying to impress you, boys were pretty gross. She couldn’t imagine Lane acting this way. For that matter, she couldn’t imagine Dax acting this way either.
The family room’s large red Spanish tiles ended at the three stairs that descended to the main living room. There was no TV here. This had to be more of an adult space. And outside the large wall of sliding glass doors, was a huge balcony which she really wanted to enter.
The view was breathtaking. It didn’t look like the postcard views of the Bahamas. They could never capture the true beauty that Bahamian’s saw on a regular basis. The green leaves of blowing trees, the jagged reef rocks, and the glistening water that shifted from dark to light with pools of white sand in between, had to be one of the most exquisite sights imaginable.
“Hey,” Frank said planting himself next to her at the railing.
“Sorry about that. Mark ain’t use.”
“I have little sisters. You don’t know how bad they can get.”
“I have a little sister to. But she acts like little miss Princess.”
“Well, you could have one of mine if you want to know what little sisters are really like. I have twins and I don’t need two of them.”
“What do Gully’s parents do?” Saki asked unable to hold in the question any longer.
“His parents are separated, but he lives with his dad who owns the Toyota dealership.”
“Yeah, he’s pretty cool. Sometimes he pays for us to go out for dinner and stuff.”
“So does Dax come with you when you guys go?”
“He used to. But he doesn’t come by much anymore. Ever since…” Frank looked at her frozen in the middle of his thought.
“Ever since what?” She asked anxiously.
“Ever since he met you.”
“Well, you know. Ever since he became a true alpha.”
“Do you mean, since he could shift whatever he wanted to?”