All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
“Come on, Kristi, let’s go!” My best friend, Nathan, yelled as he continued to pull me down the long, deserted hallway. We were late for first period class. Going to a private boarding school, that was simply intolerable. At Eastwhich Academy, anything that wasn’t ‘perfect’ was simply intolerable.
“Okay, I’m coming!” I said, while trying to tie my shoe one handed. It was much harder than it appeared to be in the movies. Nathan continued to tow me down the hallway, ignoring me when I tried to yank my arm away from his grasp. “Let go of my arm! I need to get my shoes tied,” I said, trying unsuccessfully to win the tug of war going on with my arm.
“You can tie your shoe when we get to class. We’re already 20 minutes late,” Nathan replied.
“And get scolded for not looking ‘presentable’? I don’t think so!” I retorted, pulling on my arm again. Nathan let go, and I immediately bent over, dropping my backpack that must have weighed more than 30 pounds with all the books packed inside, to tie my shoe and adjust my skirt. I looked up and saw Nathan fiddling with his tie. He hated wearing dressy clothes, but the school required uniforms.
Our uniforms consisted of the school colors, black and light blue. My blouse was white and had the school crest, an old goblet, sewed over my chest—my heart. My skirt was black and light blue plaid. Nathan wore a black shirt and khaki pants. His tie was striped black and light blue. Once we felt like we looked presentable, we began moving toward the dreaded classroom.
Nathan and I both had biology first period, and we both detested it. Well, not so much the class, at which we were both exceedingly good, it was the teacher we detested. I wanted to major in science when I got to college, so I had a special interest in this class. My religious beliefs were centered on scientific theories as well. As a result of this, I was atheist.
When we arrived at the classroom door, we both looked at each other. I silently prayed Ms. Abbott would be in a good mood, which was a fifty-fifty chance. Then I quickly opened the door and peered into the classroom. We were in luck; Ms. Abbott was facing the board and had her back to us. I snuck through the door and moved toward my seat. It was in the back of room, closest to the door. I sank down into my seat, grateful for not getting caught. I was in no mood to face Ms. Abbott’s wrath.
I turned and saw Nathan slip silently into his seat as well. He shot me a relieved smile, and I returned it.
Many people at Eastwhich assumed Nathan and I were dating, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. I didn’t know how to make anyone understand that Nathan and I were no more than friends, but I would love to figure out how. It would spare me all the dirty looks I receive from the girls at the school. Even though Nathan was just a freshman, he was considered one of the best looking guys in the school. He was tall, had black hair and beautiful green eyes. Basically, he was an undiscovered model in the making.
Reaching down into my backpack, I pulled out my Biology notebook and a pen. Looking up, I saw that Ms. Abbott was making a chart that explained the transformation from gorilla to man. It looked like we were beginning evolution today. Opening my book to a new page and uncapping my pen, I began to copy what Ms. Abbott was creating. Looking over at Nathan, I saw that he wasn’t taking notes.
“So as you can see, gorillas are in the Hominoid family,” Ms. Abbott said, turning from the board to face the class. “Open your books to page—well, it looks like we have two new additions to our class. Miss Rita and Mr. Cabot, welcome. I’m glad that you finally decided to grace us with your presence,” Ms. Abbott sneered. I winced inside. My luck had run out; Ms. Abbott was in her bad mood today.
“I apologize, Ms. Abbott,” Nathan replied, turning on the charm that only Nathan Cabot possessed. “We had an incident in Kristi’s dorm room.”
“Oh, and what might that incident have been?” Ms. Abbott asked.
“There was a freak spider,” I responded. “There must have been at least 11 in my room. They were all over, on my bed, desk, and even the walls.” Even the memory made me shudder. I was deathly afraid of spiders. When I had seen the swarm in my room, I locked myself into the bathroom and prayed there wasn’t a way for them to come in. After Nathan had helped me kill each one, he had laughed and mocked me for my coward ness.
“Why, may I ask, was Mr. Cabot in your dorm room, Miss Rita?” Ms. Abbott asked, smirking. It was against school policy for a girls and guys to stay overnight in the same dorm room. She thought she had caught us in a lie. Of course, Ms. Abbott wouldn’t be worried about me, because, after all, it only mattered if Nathan and I were busted. That was Ms. Abbott—she had no compassion.
“Kristi and I always meet at the cafeteria before we come to class. I was worried when she didn’t show up, and decided to check her room,” Nathan answered for me. Ms. Abbott scowled at him.
“You both know school rules. Being late for class is unacceptable. Both of you report to the principal’s office,” Ms. Abbott said. I could have sworn her voice sounded satisfied, and I was probably right. When Ms. Abbott was in a bad mood, she was really in a bad mood, and usually decided to take it out on her students.
I never knew what caused those bad moods. Sometimes I guessed that she and her boyfriend had had a major fight. Around that time, the voice in the back of my head would wonder what kind of idiot would ever be in a relationship with her. I wasted a lot of time imagining the man who was naïve enough to be with her. In fact, I couldn’t imagine anyone, man or woman, approaching her on their own free will. So, no matter how much thought I put into it, I could never figure out the mystery of Ms. Abbott’s dating life.
Sighing, I closed my notebook and pen and threw them into my bag. I slipped out of my seat and headed toward the door, hearing Nathan behind me. I could feel all thirteen pairs of my classmates’ eyes bore on my back as I exited through the door I had come through not ten minutes ago. Nathan closed the door as I slumped against the wall.
“I just love Ms. Abbott,” I grumbled. I heard Nathan’s chuckle beside me.
“Cheer up, Kristi. What’s one trip to the principal’s office going to do?” Nathan asked as he grabbed my wrist and began towing me toward the office of the principal, Mr. Sergio. I groaned, pulling my wrist from his grasp. His carefree attitude irritated me to no end. Nathan didn’t care about getting into trouble, and he most certainly didn’t care who got busted with him. He lived life on the edge. I, on the other hand, was not so carefree. I cared about getting into trouble and bringing others down with me. Life wasn’t a big game to me.
“I know where the principal’s office is, thank you very much,” I snapped as I pulled my arm away from his grip. I saw a flash of hurt cross Nathan’s features, but after a second it was gone.
He shrugged. “Fine, suit yourself,” he replied, stuffing his hands in his pockets and picking up his pace. I mentally cursed myself. Nathan was just being his joking old self, and I snapped at him. Today was just not my day. Sighing, I ran to catch up with him.
“Nathan, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you like that,” I said, practically jogging to keep up with his pace.
“It’s fine, Kristi,” he replied, keeping his eyes trained straight forward. I looked down. I hated upsetting Nathan; he usually didn’t deserve it. Even if he did, I still felt bad. He was my best friend, and I loved him for him—joking self and all. Sometimes he was just too much. We climbed the winding stairs up to the floor that held all the faculty offices.
With its gothic looking buildings, huge classroom and dorms, and winding staircases, Eastwhich Academy looked more like a castle than a school. The Academy treated their few students like royalty, too. It was an exclusive school that only accepted the brightest or the richest.
Nathan fell into the richest category. I fell into the brightest category.
Mr. Sergio’s office was down at the end of the hallway, with a huge door that was intimidating on its own. As soon as I entered the room, I could tell we were in the right place. Bookcases lined the west wall, and leather-bound books sat neatly in place on them. A giant portrait of Mr. Sergio glared down at us from the wall right in front of us. Oh, and the fact that Mr. Sergio sat at the desk in front of the portrait was a pretty big tip off that we were in the correct office. He glared at both Nathan and I as we stepped through the threshold.
“So, you were late for class because a bird flew through your window, Miss Rita?” Mr. Sergio asked me.
“Yes, sir,” I replied. Instead of meeting the glare Mr. Sergio was leveling at me, I stared down at the desk.
“You won’t mind if I send someone to go check this out.” It wasn’t a question, it was a demand.
“Not at all, sir,” I said.
“Mr. Cabot, this is the final straw for you,” Mr. Sergio said, turning his gaze to Nathan. “You always find a way to be in trouble, one way or another. You will both receive detention. I will talk to your parents about your behavior,” Mr. Sergio said, with a satisfied smirk on his face as he watched Nathan. Apparently Mr. Sergio was in a bad mood as well. Nathan glared back at him.
“I highly suggest you don’t do that, sir. My parents won’t be happy,” Nathan said, sitting up straighter in his chair.
“Oh, so you think you deserve special treatment, do you?” Mr. Sergio snapped.
“No, I don’t,” Nathan mumbled, slouching in his chair once again.
“Good, I’m glad we’ve come to a decision,” Mr. Sergio replied sarcastically. Nathan glared at him, again. “You will both report to detention for the remainder of the school day.” I could feel my eyes widening. For the rest of the day?! We were only twenty minutes late for class!
“Sir—” I started, but his glare cut me off mid-sentence.
“Go!” He practically snarled at us. I jumped out of my chair and walked so fast that I was almost running out the door. I heard the door shut behind me, and turned to see Nathan.
“Well, that was fun,” he said sarcastically. I nodded and sighed.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you, Nathan,” I said. He smiled at me.
“It’s fine. I’m sorry that I overreacted,” he replied, still smiling.
“Well, I don’t mind. I’m used to it by now,” I said, pushing him playfully. He feigned a hurt look and held his heart.
“You’ve wounded me,” he teased. I snorted.
“I’m sure that you’ll get over it. It happens often,” I retorted.
“I would push you back, but I hear it’s impolite to push ladies…though I would hardly call you one,” Nathan countered, smiling at me.
“That’s right. I’m no lady and darn proud of it,” I said, putting my hands on my hips and sticking my tongue out at him. Nathan stared at me for a second, and then started laughing.
“That was a bit strange,” Nathan gasped as he tried to compose himself.
“Come on, Pretty Boy. Let’s get to detention,” I spit out the word detention, and began guiding Nathan down the hallway. The detention room was on the lowest level of the building in which academic classes were held, known at other schools as the basement. Nathan allowed me to pull him down the stairwell.
“Excuse me, but, ‘Pretty Boy’? I believe that’s the worst nickname I’ve ever had,” Nathan said. I rolled my eyes, even though he couldn’t see.
“I think it suits you, actually,” I teased. Nathan grumbled incoherently beside me.
We made our way down the stairs and to the room we would be spending until 3:20. I wondered if they would even let us out to eat lunch.
“Well, this is quite a surprise,” Ms. Aphra said looking at me.
Ms. Aphra was my favorite teacher. I had her for Art. She was never moody, unlike all the other teachers here and always had a smile on her face. She moved here last year; she had just graduated with a degree in art and art history from The Art Institute of Portland. Her classes were extremely interesting. Instead of just making her students paint, she helped us find meaning in our paintings that weren’t obvious to the untrained eye. As an added bonus, I never heard her yell at her students.
“What do you mean by that?” Nathan asked her.
“I expect trouble from you, Mr. Cabot. I’ve seen you here at least a half dozen times. Kristi, on the other hand, never gets into trouble. You, I would expect to see here, but not Kristi,” Ms. Aphra said.
“Well, I guess you can’t say that anymore,” I told her, smiling slightly.
“What happened?” She asked me. I sighed.
“We were twenty minutes late for class,” Nathan replied. Ms. Aphra snorted.
“Late to class and you get a full day of detention? This school is tougher than I ever imagined it would be,” she mused, mostly to herself. “Take a seat anywhere you want. I suggest you read a book or catch up on work, because this is going to be one long day,” she advised.
“Are we allowed to go to lunch?” I asked. Ms. Aphra raised an eyebrow.
“Hmm…well, Mr. Sergio never told me one way or another. Would you mind if I brought you lunch from the cafeteria? I don’t want to get into trouble,” Ms. Aphra asked. I saw Nathan make a face out of the corner of my eye, but before he could say anything rude, I nodded. Ms. Aphra gestured for us to take a seat. Nathan followed me as I took a seat in the back of the room, a couple of desks away from the windowless wall.
Nathan sat down next to me, took out a book from his backpack, and began reading. I took out some extra credit work I had been meaning to do in history, and began working. As I worked, I thought back to my past.
My parents had died when I was very young; I barely remember them. People who knew my parents said I got my height from both of them, my dark hair from my father, with the occasional red highlight from my mother. I was said to have inherited my bright blue eyes from both of them. Plus, my bone structure was a mix of them as well. I got my delicate nose from my mother, my strong cheekbones from my father, and my long legs from both of them. Basically, I was an even genetic mix of the two.
After my parents had died, a young couple had taken me in. I was the closest thing they had to a child of their own. My adoptive mother couldn’t have kids. I had an excellent life with them. As far as I was concerned, I was their child. I lived with them until my adoptive father had a job transfer and had to move to Switzerland. I didn’t want to move all the way to Switzerland, so my parents agreed that I could go to a boarding school. After loads of research, we found Eastwhich Academy. I was always a bright student, and was accepted to start immediately.
I knew it was horrible to be a new girl in the beginning of the year. However, I was the new girl in the middle of 8th grade. It was extremely awkward and scary to walk into the castle-like school, feeling like a freak because mostly everyone stared at you. I felt out of place, and was soon regretting the decision not to move to Switzerland with my parents.
Because I didn’t read completely through the trusty handbook that Eastwhich Academy had been so kind to give me, I didn’t know the school song. Unfortunately, I was told to sing it one day in music class. I was the talent show winner four years in a row at my school. Every year I won by singing. Every year, the judges would come up to me after my performance and try to convince me something ridicules such as going for a record deal or trying out for American Idol. I was known to have a siren’s voice. That reputation traveled with me to Eastwhich Academy. As the teacher waited eagerly to hear my voice, I stood at the front of the class, sweating bullets.
Nathan came to my rescue that day, and no matter how he did it, I viewed him as my knight in shining armor. He pulled the fire alarm. By the time everyone figured out it was a false alarm, class had ended. I thanked him, and he offered to help me memorize the school song. It came in handy the next day when the teacher asked me to sing again. When I asked him later why he helped me, he replied that he couldn’t bear to see anyone with that deer in the headlights look. We became good friends right then.
Sighing, I pulled myself out of my reminiscence and glanced at the clock. I had been staring off into space for an hour. I glanced over at Nathan, and saw him staring right back.
“What?” I asked. Nathan smirked.
“You’ve had that spaced look on your face since we sat down. What’s on your mind?” He asked me. I shrugged, and Nathan chuckled. “Is it something embarrassing? I promise I can keep a secret,” He said, crossing his heart.
Smiling, I shook my head. “You know you can never keep secrets. Besides, I’m not thinking about anything secret. I was just thinking about my parents; wondering what they’re doing. You know, the usual,” I replied. Nathan raised an eyebrow, but didn’t push further on the topic. I assumed he wanted to hear something interesting, not me thinking about my parents. Nathan slouched in his seat and picked up his book.
“You might want to do something to occupy yourself, because this is going to be a long day,” he said, his eyes never leaving the page of his book. I sighed and began working on my history extra credit again, only to be pulled back into my past.
Oh yes, this was going to be one long, tough day.
I sat with Nathan in the cafeteria the next day. Detention had been long and boring. By the end of the day, Nathan and I had given up on being quiet and had started throwing things at each other. Nathan threw balled up pieces of paper, and I threw sharp objects at him—but never at his face. No matter how badly Nathan annoyed me, I would never try to hurt him.
“I can officially say I have learned my lesson,” Nathan said, picking at the food on his plate.
“Right,” I said sarcastically, “you never learn your lesson, Nathan. That’s one of the reasons all the teachers hate you.”
“Whatever,” Nathan narrowed his eyes at me. I smiled to myself; Nathan only said ‘whatever’ when he couldn’t think of a good comeback. The ‘whatever’ moments came very rarely.
“Okay, I surrender. No more sarcasm—well, no more sarcasm until you finish telling me what lesson you’ve learned,” I said, holding my hands up in defeat. Nathan smirked.
“Thank you. As I was saying before I was so rudely distracted, I have learned my lesson never to break the rules. I hate making Ms. Abbott angry on her off days,” Nathan said.
“Why do you think she has so many off days? Could she be in the middle of doing…lady things?” I stuttered; Nathan smirked.
“That’s probably the reason. If you really want to know, I’m sure you could go ask her,” he said, smirk still in place.
“The day I do that is the day the sky turns green,” I said, shuttering at the thought of asking Ms. Abbott why she was so moody. Nathan laughed at my expression.
“Okay, new topic,” I said, glaring at him. Nathan continued laughing. I picked up a piece of lettuce from my sandwich to throw at him, but he held up his hands in surrender. His laughter died down slowly.
“All right, new topic,” he agreed.
“Parents’ Day is coming up; you know how much I love that day,” I said sarcastically. Nathan raised his eyebrow. “Hey, I promised not to use sarcasm while you were telling me your learned lesson, not after,” I defended myself while Nathan chuckled and shook his head.
“Yes, you seemed to enjoy it so much last year,” he agreed dryly. I could tell he was remembering the same thing I was.
Last year my parents had promised to come and visit me. All the contact we had had was exchanged by letters and phone calls. I was so excited; Nathan even made fun of me. Even though Parents’ Day was about the parents being shown the school they paid vast amounts for their kids to attend, I was excited. However, on day my parents had called, telling me they were sorry, but couldn’t make it because they had to be out of town that day.
I was so upset. After waiting months to see them in person, they couldn’t come. I just stayed in my dorm room that day and moped. Nathan tried to cheer me up a couple of times, but eventually gave up when I kicked him out of my dorm room. Nobody likes someone with a bright sunshiny—well, in Nathan’s case, sarcastic mood when you’re down, so I did what anyone else would have. I screamed at him until he left.
“Are your parents coming this year?” He asked.
I shook my head. “Nope, they have to be in…I think it was Taiwan this time for business.” Nathan gave me a sympathetic look.
“Well, you can hang with me and my parents this year. I’m sure that they wouldn’t mind,” he offered.
“Are you sure? I wouldn’t want to impose,” I said carefully. I would’ve loved to hang out with Nathan, but I had never met his parents.
Nathan didn’t talk about them much, but I got the feeling they didn’t like the idea of him dating. Even though we weren’t dating, I was pretty sure they would get the wrong idea. Everyone else on the campus had.
“Yeah, I’m sure. I don’t want to leave you alone again and have a repeat of last year, so this is the next best option. Besides, I’ve told my parents about you, and they’re very interested. I think they would demand to meet you this year, even if you weren’t hanging around with me,” Nathan said. I raised an eyebrow.
“How many lies have you fed them to make them so ‘interested’ to meet me?” I asked him.
“I just told them how I met you; they both laughed. I’ve also told them that you refuse to be a part of my big pranks, which they also liked,” Nathan said.
“I don’t know anyone who would want to be a part of your pranks,” I told him. He just smiled mischievously.
“Whatever you say, Kristi. So, are you in? Are you going to meet the folks when they come?” Nathan asked me. I shrugged.
“That’s the best offer I’ve gotten so far. Yeah, I’ll come with you,” I replied and Nathan smiled gratefully.
“Thank you. You have no idea what a relief it is. If you’re with me, maybe my parents won’t full out yell at me after they get the call from Mr. Sergio,” Nathan said. I rolled my eyes.
“So the part you were saying before, about them ‘demanding to meet me’. Was that just some big lie to get me to agree to stick with you for the day?” I asked.
“No, it wasn’t a lie. I’m just saying that you should remember what Mr. Sergio said about making a call to my parents. I can promise you that they aren’t going to be happy. After all, I’m supposed to live up to their legacy.” His tone had turned sour by the time he stopped talking. I remembered what Mr. Sergio had said about Nathan not getting any ‘special treatment’ because his parents wouldn’t be happy. That was an odd thing for Nathan to say to Mr. Sergio, but he was Nathan after all.
I wanted to ask Nathan about it, but I asked a different question instead. “What do your parents do?” Nathan seemed to snap out of his trance as I spoke. It was like he was remembering that he wasn’t the only one here.
“My father is a lawyer, and my mother organizes charity events,” he replied. Ah, so that was what the lives of the rich were like. A nice job that paid a truck load of money and a job that paid nothing.
“Do your parents want you to be a lawyer?” I asked. Nathan looked uncomfortable, but he nodded and sighed.
“Yeah, and I don’t want to be one. It’s a lot to live up to, you know?” He asked me. No, I didn’t know. My parents encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be. I had never lived under the pressure to live up to someone else’s achievement, but I wasn’t going to tell Nathan that.
“Yeah, I’m really sorry I even brought it up,” I said. Nathan smiled at me.
“No, it’s cool. You didn’t know,” he said.
“Okay, so newer new topic,” I said, causing Nathan to chuckle.
“Hmm…let’s see…” He mused. He opened his mouth to say something when someone calling his name cut him off.
“Nathan! Over here.” We both turned to see Amanda Jacobina jogging over to us. Amanda was a part of Nathan’s group: rich and richer. She was tall, but shorter than my five foot nine, had long, dirty blond hair, and dark brown eyes. She had a pretty face, high cheekbones and full lips.
“Yes, Amanda?” Nathan asked once she was in front of us.
“Could I talk to you in private, Nathan?” Amanda asked, shooting a disgusted glance my way.
Amanda was spoiled. All the money she had made her a stuck up person. We hadn’t exactly seen eye to eye the from first time I met her.
“Anything you want to say to me, you can say in front of my friend, Amanda,” Nathan replied in a cool tone. Shooting another look at me, Amanda sighed and continued.
“I was wondering if your parents are coming for Parents’ Day,” she stated, but the way she said it made me think her words had a double meaning.
“The last time I checked, yes, they are coming. Is that all, Amanda?” Nathan asked, still using that cool tone. Amanda nodded. “Well, then I suggest you leave. Kristi and I were having a pleasant conversation.”
Amanda shot me one last look before turned and walking back to her posse of friends. Once she was out of hearing range, Nathan heaved a sigh.
“I’m guessing you like her as much as I do,” I said. Nathan smiled and nodded.
“Yeah, I like her about as much as I like Mr. Sergio,” he agreed.
Hearing the bell ring, Nathan and I threw our lunches into the trash, shoved our things into our backpacks, and headed our separate ways. We didn’t have any classes together after lunch.
As I was walking into my class, someone grabbed my arm and pulled me around the corner of the hallway. I was so surprised I didn’t have time to make a noise. I looked into the face of the person who had grabbed me and was faced with Amanda. Wait, Amanda?
“Amanda? What do you want?” I asked her. She scowled at me.
“I want you to stay away from Nathan. He’s stressed enough, and he doesn’t need you adding to it,” she said. I raised an eyebrow. She sounded like some jealous girlfriend.
“Wait; don’t tell me you like Nathan. If you do, I’m not standing in your way for him. We’re just friends,” I tried to explain to her. Her grip on my upper arm tightened so much that it was painful. From the look in Amanda’s eyes, though, it looked like she had much, much more strength where it came from. I yelped out in pain.
“Just stay away from him,” she repeated, before she released me and walked down the hallway.
I rubbed the arm she had grabbed. It looked like it was going to bruise, badly. I groaned quietly. Now I would have to explain to Nathan that preppy, girly Amanda had bruised me. I would never be able to escape his mocking. Sighing, I turned and headed back to my classroom.
As it turned out, Nathan didn’t mock me. He met me halfway to my dorm and immediately zeroed in on my arm.
“What happened to you?” He asked as he held my arm closer to his face to get a better look. I could already feel myself blushing.
“Uh…well, you see, I had a run-in with Amanda,” I stuttered, hanging my head and waited for the mocking to begin. Nathan surprised me, however, and didn’t start laughing.
“When did she do this?” He asked, and his voice was filled with anger. Taking a glance up at his face, I noticed he looked angry, too.
“After we left lunch, before I got to class,” I said. Nathan’s face was angry, really angry.
“I think I’ll go discuss this with her,” he said, releasing my arm and turning toward his dorm, which was across campus from mine. His pace was quick, and his back was ridged. He was seriously angry. I wasn’t sure if I should go after him when he was that livid, so I let him go. Instead, I turned and headed to my dorm.
My dorm was smaller than Nathan’s. While his appeared big and pricy, mine was smaller and quaint. If I could bet on it, I would bet that his room was bigger than mine, also. Well, that could’ve been because he didn’t have a roommate, thanks to his parents, and had the whole room. However, he did have three huge windows, while I only had two small ones.
As I walked up the stairs I once again was grateful that I didn’t have a room on the fifth floor like I had had last year. First, it was a hassle to walk up five flights of stairs everyday—even though Nathan had pointed out that it got me in top shape. Secondly, I was afraid of heights and, even though I had a great view, I hardly ever looked out of my window because of my phobia. Finally, that floor was so loud. Sometimes, I felt like I could barley hear myself think, let alone study. I swear I had pounding headaches everyday because of the noise.
I opened my door and saw my roommate, Sophie, studying at her desk. Sophie was an exchange student from Jamaica. She had chocolate colored skin, shiny, dark hair and dark eyes. When Sophie first transferred here, she had seemed nice, but there was nothing special about her. Then, I started noticed the look she had in her eyes. It was as if she knew everything. Whenever I looked into them, I felt like she had seen so much in the world. Like me, she was in the smartest grouping at Eastwhich Academy. Actually, everyone in this dorm was in that category. Eastwhich must have separated the smartest and the richest into different buildings. It was as if we lived in the times when the “separate but equal” laws were still used.
“Hey, Sophie,” I greeted her as I shut and locked the door. Sophie turned and smiled at me.
“Hey, Kristi—oh my God! What happened to you?” She asked me as she rushed forward to look at my arm. I winced as she probed it lightly.
“Nothing, Amanda was just a little angry today. I guess she forgot to take her medication,” I joked as Sophie stared at me wide eyed.
“Amanda? As in, Amanda Jacobina? Kristi, unless Amanda works out everyday, she couldn’t have done this,” Sophie said, looking doubtfully at me.
“Well, Amanda must work out everyday because she did this,” I replied, pulling my arm from her grasp.
“Kristi, did something happen between you and Nathan?” Sophie asked me. I could feel my eyes widening.
“What?! Sophie, how could you say that?” I asked her, shocked. Sophie shrugged.
“That bruise looks like something a guy could easily inflict, not Amanda,” she replied, studying me closely.
“This was not Nathan. Amanda did it,” I said, staring into her eyes the entire tine to prove I wasn’t lying. Sophie could tell when I was lying when my eyes darted around everywhere.
“Alright, I believe you. You may want to cover that up, it looks pretty bad,” Sophie said, giving me one more worried look before she went back to her work. I went into the bathroom—unlike other boarding schools, our school put bathrooms in each dorm room—and shut the door. I walked up to the mirror and held my arm up in the light, gasping at what I saw.
The place on my upper arm where Amanda had squeezed me was so bruised it looked as if I had taken black marker and drawn the bruises there. As I stared at it, the bruise began to throb.
Sophie was right; it looked like a muscular man had done this to me, not someone like Amanda. How could a girl her size have that much strength? I didn’t think I even possessed that much strength.
I headed over to the counter and did the only thing I could think to do, I covered it up with some makeup.
Nathan had called that night and apologized for running off so quickly. He had asked if I was still up for meeting his parents, and I told him yes. So, here I stood, next to Nathan, who was once again fiddling with his tie. He seemed even more nervous than I, which made me even more nervous than I already was.
“Nathan, why are you so nervous?” I asked him in a panicked tone. Nathan grimaced.
“It’s nothing, Kristi. Sometimes I don’t enjoy my parents’ visits as much as I should,” Nathan replied as he sighed. I raised an eyebrow and was about to push for more information, when Nathan smiled suddenly and waved. Following his line of sight, I saw his parents.
His mother had long, dark, wavy hair and Nathan’s green eyes. From a distance, she appeared to be tall, maybe a little shorter than I. Nathan’s father had dark hair and hazel eyes. He also appeared to be tall, taller than Nathan’s six foot two. They appeared to be in their early thirties, or late twenties. I made a mental note to later ask Nathan what they did to look so young.
“Mom, Dad, it’s so good to see you,” Nathan said as he pulled both of his parents into a hug. They smiled and embraced him back.
“It’s wonderful to see you again, too. We’ve missed you, honey,” Nathan’s mother said, smiling so that it lit up her whole face. Nathan’s father looked equally as happy.
“So, where is this girl you’ve been telling us about?” Nathan’s father asked his son. Nathan turned toward me, grabbing my upper arm instinctively. When I flinched, however, he released my arm. Thankfully, none of the cover-up I had applied came off.
“This,” Nathan began, “is my friend, Kristi Rita. Kristi, these are my parents.” I smiled at his parents shyly, and they returned the smiles.
“It’s a pleasure, Kristi. Nathan has told us much about you, as my husband already said,” his mother said, shaking my hand.
“No, the pleasure is all mine. Thank you for letting me intrude on your time with Nathan,” I replied. Mrs. Cabot laughed.
“She’s a keeper, Nathan. I like her,” she declared. I blushed, causing his father to laugh, too. So they had gotten the wrong impression of Nathan and me, even though Nathan had introduced me as his ‘friend’.
“So, my dear, are you of فمبري inheritance?” Mr. Cabot asked me. I gave them a confused look and shot one at Nathan as well.
“No, Dad, she isn’t,” Nathan replied, raising an eyebrow. I saw his parents’ smiles lessen a fraction, but I could’ve been imagining things.
“She’s not of فمبري inheritance, Nathan?” His mother asked lowly. Her face looked like a mask, her smile was still there, but her eyes weren’t warm anymore. They were cold.
“No, Mother, she isn’t. Is that a problem?” Nathan asked. His mother looked like she was going to say something, but his father beat her to it.
“No, it’s no problem at all,” he said, quickly, shooting a glance in my direction.
“Nathan, may I talk to you, please?” Mrs. Cabot asked Nathan. He grimaced but nodded. She led him away, inside the deserted cafeteria. I couldn’t tell what she was saying, but there seemed to be shouting going on. I hesitantly turned back to Mr. Cabot. He was watching his wife and son with a guarded expression.
“If you don’t mind my asking, sir, what’s…that inheritance you were asking about?” I asked. I wasn’t even going to try to repeat what Mr. and Mrs. Cabot had pronounced so flawlessly. Mr. Cabot shot a glance at me.
“People whose families have been at this school for generations have had family who have been فمبري. It’s just a part of their family history,” He explained to me rather awkwardly.
I nodded as if I understood, but I truly didn’t understand anything. Not why it mattered so much to have that kind of inheritance. I certainly didn’t understand why not having it would cause Nathan’s mother to yell at him.
“Where are you from, Kristi?” Mr. Cabot asked me. I glanced over and saw him studying me.
“I was born in Forks, Washington. When I was two years old, my parents were killed in an accident, and I was adopted by a couple in Lansing, Michigan,” I replied, not wanting to bore him with my history.
“I’m very sorry for your loss,” Mr. Cabot said sincerely. I shrugged.
“It was hard at first, but I’ve grown up most of my life without my parents—well, my biological parents. It doesn’t exactly get easier, but I suppose I adjusted over time,” I said, meeting his gaze. Mr. Cabot nodded.
“Why did you come to Eastwhich Academy?” He asked me.
“My parents were relocated out of the country. I didn’t want to move with them, so we researched and found Eastwhich Academy,” I replied.
“It sounds like you’ve had a very different life than any other student here,” Mr. Cabot commented. I shrugged again.
“I think my wife has had enough time with Nathan,” Mr. Cabot said as he began to weave through the crowd. Not knowing what else to do, I followed him. When we arrived at the cafeteria, Mr. Cabot held the door open for me and slipped through after I entered.
“—know what she is, Mother!” We had caught Nathan in the middle of yelling at Mrs. Cabot. “I’ve known all along, and accepted it, as you should!”
“Accept it? Accept it?! Nathan Boden Cabot—” His mother was yelling until his father cleared his throat. Both of their heads whipped toward us at the same time. Nathan looked tired and angry. His mother just looked angry.
“I think it’s time we should be going, Kristi,” Nathan said, as he walked up, grabbed my hand, and led me toward the door.
“Don’t think we’re finished with this conversation, young man!” Mrs. Cabot snapped before the door shut, creating a barrier between his parents and us.
Nathan continued to drag me across the campus, into his dorm and up the stairs to his room. When he closed his door, he slouched against it, sighing. He rubbed his fingers against his temples. I waited until he opened his eyes and looked at me. Once he did, he sighed again and sat down on the bed. I grabbed the seat at his desk and brought it toward him, sitting down once I was a few feet in front of him.
“Do you want to tell me what happened, or should I just sit here and be a friend?” I asked him after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence. Nathan groaned and fell back on his bed.
“Friend it is,” I answered myself. Nathan closed his eyes and breathed deeply.
“I hate them,” he whispered, mostly to himself. I got out of the chair and sat on the bed next to him.
“You know you don’t really mean that,” I said quietly.
“Don’t I?” He countered. “You know what, you’re extremely lucky to have had your parents die. I would trade places with you in a heartbeat.”
“Nathan,” I whispered, “I wouldn’t call losing my parents before I was old enough to remember them ‘lucky’. You have no idea how lucky you are to have them both alive and well.” Nathan laughed a cold, bleak laugh.
“I wish I could be you. You have it so easy,” he said, closing his eyes again. That was all I could take, the last straw. I stood up and moved away from the bed, away from him.
“I don’t have it easy, Nathan. You do. You think you have it hard because mommy yells at you? Well, at least you see your parents long enough to have them yell at you. You think you have it hard because your parents want you to follow them in their footsteps, and have enough money to send you to the moon and back?” I asked him in a deadly cool voice. Nathan turned to glare at me, and when he turned, I had never seen this part of Nathan before. His whole face had turned cold, flat.
“You have no idea what you’re saying,” he replied in a voice that barely contained his anger.
“I don’t? Then explain to me what I’ve missed,” I said, staring him down. He continued to glare at me. I smirked and shook my head. “Because all rich people have such hard lives,” I hissed before I darted out of his dorm room. I could feel the tears stinging in my eyes, so I ran. I burst out of his dorm and sprinted across campus until I got to my room. Sophie wasn’t inside, and I was grateful. I didn’t want to have to explain why I was crying. I collapsed on my bed and cried.
Nathan and I never fought. We were always laughing and teasing, never hissing and glaring. We were never even angry at each other for more than an hour. Everything was different now. I wasn’t even sure if Nathan and my friendship could survive this one. I screamed into my pillow, beating it with my fist. After some time of crying, I pulled myself together. Parents’ Day was still going on, but I didn’t want to go out ever again. Instead, I cleaned the dorm room. Well, my side. Sophie’s was always perfectly organized and tidy. It would’ve bugged anyone else to live with a neat freak, but not me. Sophie was like a sister to me, and vice versa. We accepted each other’s faults unconditionally.
After I cleaned up, I took a nice long, hot shower. Even with all the time I took blow drying my hair, I knew I would have to face Nathan eventually. I had two scenarios in my head. One, he would forgive me and we would laugh our butts off thinking about this later. Two, he would kick me out of his dorm room and we would never speak again.
By the time I got out of the bathroom, it was dark outside and Parents’ Day was over. Sophie wasn’t back yet, which was a good thing. I didn’t want to talk with her or anyone yet. I wasn’t ready.
Sighing, I made my decision. I would go to Nathan’s dorm room with movies. His room was the only one with a TV in it. How he had managed that, I will never figure out. But he did. I grabbed two random movies and headed across campus. I replayed the two scenarios over and over in my head, and tried to think of comebacks for whichever scenario would really happen.
When I walked into the dorm, no one was downstairs. They were probably at a party—that’s usually where you could find any rich kid at this time of night. I walked up the stairwell, marveling how quiet it was. It must have been a really big party for the whole dorm to have been there. When I arrived at Nathan’s door, I took a steadying, calming breath. I slowly eased the door open and stopped dead. The videotapes clattered to the floor as they slipped from my grasp. There, in the middle of the room, was Nathan. He was holding Sophie, and her neck was tipped back so he could get more access to it. It looked like he was kissing her.
Until he turned around.
Whatever turned around wasn’t Nathan. It looked like Nathan, but his eyes were blood red. They matched the blood running down his chin. Nathan was a monster. He wasn’t human.
“Kristi,” he breathed as soon as he saw me. His eyes changed back to the color of Nathan’s, but the blood stayed where it was, no matter how hard I blinked and tried to tell myself it wasn’t real. He took a step toward me, still holding Sophie, and I took a step backward. This continued until I was in the hallway, my back against that wall. Sophie groaned in his arms, and he looked down at her. Gently, he laid her on the ground and wiped the blood from his mouth.
“What are you?” I whispered, trying to get as far into the wall, away from him, as I could. Nathan slowly stood up and reached a hand toward me. I recoiled from him and he brought his hand down, an anguished expression on his face.
“What are you?” I repeated, louder this time. Nathan sighed, looked down at Sophie, and back up at me.
“If we’re going to discuss this, let’s do it in my room,” he pleaded with me.
“No! I’m not going to go anywhere with you!” I shrieked. Nathan sighed again, and looked down at Sophie, avoiding eye contact with me.
“For Sophie’s sake, let’s go to my room,” He said quietly. I looked down at Sophie; blood was trickling down from the two…fang marks on her neck.
After a lot of coaxing on Nathan’s part, I agreed to talk in his room with him. He picked up Sophie and carried her into the room, gently laying her on the bed. I sat at his desk, as far away from him as I could manage. He took a cloth and pressed it to her neck wounds. Almost instantly, the cloth turned from white to red.
“I’m guessing you want me to start from the beginning,” Nathan stated. He wouldn’t look at me; he kept his eyes trained on Sophie.
“The beginning would be nice,” I agreed in a cool voice. Nathan sighed and finally looked up at me.
“My family has had connections to Eastwhich Academy for many, many centuries. Even when this property wasn’t a school, we had connections. فمبري is an Arabic word. It means ‘vampire’,” Nathan started.
“Wait a minute,” I interrupted, “if you’re a vampire, then how can you go out into sunlight and eat…human food?” I had to pause a bit at the ‘human food’ part, because I still couldn’t accept that Nathan was anything but human. Was it even possible to be a vampire? Or, was Nathan pulling a big time prank on me? It would be so like Nathan to do that sort of thing.
“If you don’t interrupt me, you’ll find out why,” Nathan replied, smiling at me. I didn’t have it in me to smile back at him, though. He seemed to understand that, and his smile faltered a little, but he continued with his explanation.
“My family…well, all of the people with فمبري inheritance, have the ability to eat ‘human food’ and go out into the sun because of, this may sound crazy, evolution. A long, long time ago, and I’m now talking about centuries ago, a vampire died. She wanted to feel the sun’s warmth, and experience stepping into the light for the very first time…I guess she was a little delusional to forget that sunlight burned her,” Nathan added, almost thoughtfully, “but the stories never mention that. So, she stepped into the sunlight, and was burned to death.
“This vampire had a young child, about 19 months old. Once her mother died, she was raised by a different family, a human family. She adapted to her surroundings, and soon, she was able to eat human food and stand in the sunlight without being burned. It took some time, but, when vampires at young age are separated from their parents, they adapt to their own surroundings. Her descendents are all over the school; I am one of them. Every vampire who can withstand the sunlight and eat ‘human food’ and enjoy it is a descendent of that vampire,” Nathan finished, gazing intently at me, assessing my reaction closely.
“If you enjoy human food so much, then why do you suck blood?” I asked coolly, keeping my face blank of emotion.
“I said that I enjoyed it, not that I was sustained by it. Human blood is the only thing that I really hunger for, and it’s the only thing that satisfies me,” Nathan explained. I raised an eyebrow.
“Okay, where is it?” I asked. Nathan’s eyebrows furrowed as he looked at me with a confused expression.
“Where’s what?” He asked me while I glared at him.
“Where’s the punch line? Where’s the part that you say, ‘I can’t believe you fell for that, Kristi’?” I asked him. Nathan looked at me for a second, and then stood up. As he approached me, I flinched back into the chair I was sitting on. Nathan’s expression turned hurt, and he sat back down on his bed, next to Sophie.
“Better?” He asked me as he lifted the cloth from Sophie’s neck. I gasped at the sight. The fang marks were gone; Sophie’s neck was fine.
“This is real, Kristi,” Nathan murmured as he picked Sophie up. “I’m not going to come out with a punch line. This is who—or what I am.”
“How did you do that?” I asked, shocked. Nathan gave me a funny look.
“Did you think I was going to let her die?” Nathan asked. When I didn’t answer, he sighed. “I may be a vampire, but I’m no murderer, Kristi. There’s a special coating on my…fangs, so when I bite someone, their healing process is sped up. After that, they’ll sleep for about a half-hour before they wake up. Sophie will be fine, and she won’t remember a thing that happened.”
“But I will,” I whispered almost inaudibly. Nathan seemed to hear it, though, and nodded his head.
“Yes, you will,” he agreed, “and we will talk about this later. Right now, I need to get Sophie back to her dorm.” With that, he adjusted Sophie so that one of his arms was supporting her, while the other opened the door. He held the door open for me, and I inched forward, flinching away from him when I exited through the threshold—the closest I got to him.
We walked in silence to my dorm; I was concentrating on keeping as far away from him I could manage. Once we were in my room, Nathan set Sophie down on her bed. She sighed and curled up while I watched her enviously. The very thing I had thought was fictional, and never in my wildest dreams had imagined was real, was standing in my room, a couple of yards away from me.
Nathan stared at me for a moment. When he made another move toward me, I flinched away. His expression once again turned hurt, and he took a few steps backward. He looked away, down at the floor.
“That argument I was having with my mother this morning was about you. When she realized you weren’t a vampire, she tried to convince me that you would never accept me for what I am. I disagreed with her and said you would understand what I was no matter what, because I was your friend. Please don’t prove my mother right,” Nathan whispered. He didn’t give me a chance to answer, because he was out the door in the next second.
The second the door clicked shut, I sank down on the ground and held my knees to my chest. Was having an emotional breakdown? I had seen so many impossible things happen today, that my mind seemed to have shut down. The only thing I could think of was Nathan and the blood running down his mouth.
This was crazy! Was I becoming irrational? I had just seen my best friend, apparently a vampire, sucking the blood of my roommate. What were the scientific theories for that? I felt sick and woozy. Before I passed out on the floor, I went to my bed. Even though I tried to sleep, my mind was whizzing in a thousand directions.
What if Nathan had sucked all of Sophie’s blood? What would he do then? Did it happen often? Did his parents know about him being a vampire? Then, it clicked. Nathan had said he was arguing with his mother about my not being a vampire. So, at least his mother knew. For all I knew, she was a vampire as well. I knew nothing about his father, but I assumed he knew what they were talking about when he cleared his throat to interrupt their argument.
Something else clicked together in my mind. When Nathan’s father was explaining the فمبري to me, he had said, “People whose families have been at this school for generations have had ancestors who were فمبري. It’s just a part of their family history.” That meant that Nathan wasn’t the only vampire attending the school. If I had to bet who else was a vampire at Eastwhich, Amanda would be at the top of my list.
I gasped when realization hit me on the head, but snapped my mouth shut when Sophie groaned again and rolled over. I didn’t want to talk to her tonight; the image of the blood dripping down her throat was too vivid. As silently as I could, I tiptoed to my desk, grabbed my cell phone, and tiptoed into the bathroom. Once inside, I shut the door and locked it. I needed to call someone, anyone. Eventually, I decided to call my parents. If Nathan tried to suck my blood, but he drained me instead, I wanted to tell my parents I loved them one last time. It was lunchtime around there, and my mother picked up on the third ring.
“Kristi? Is everything all right?” she asked with a panicked tone in her voice. I smiled. Mom always overreacted about everything. I had fallen off my bike when I was little, and she almost had a heart attack. I hadn’t even scraped anything; I just had a nasty bruise.
“Yeah, Mom, everything’s fine,” I replied.
“Well, I’m glad. Your father and I miss you terribly. We both felt horrible when we couldn’t make your Parents’ Day, again,” Mom said, her voice turning sad. I sighed.
“Really Mom, it’s fine,” I said. I heard a murmuring in the background. “Who’s that?” I asked
“It’s your father. He would like to speak with you. Do you mind if I put him on?” Mom asked.
“No, not at all,” I said. I heard rustling and then my dad’s booming voice.
“Hello, Kristi. It’s so good to talk to you. I miss you so much!” Dad said. “Between you and me, your mother isn’t any fun,” he stage whispered. I heard a slapping noise in the background and my mother grumbling at him. I giggled.
“I miss you too, Dad,” I said, smiling.
“Is there a reason you called, honey?” Dad asked. My smile disappeared almost instantly.
“I just wanted to call you guys. I haven’t talked with you in a while,” I said.
“Well, you know you can call whenever you like. We’ll always be here for you,” Dad replied.
“I know, Dad…Listen Dad, I have to get to bed. I’m exhausted, but I’ll talk to you soon, alright?” I said.
“Alright, we’ll be seeing you,” Dad said.
Before he could disconnect the phone call, I said, “Dad, there’s one more thing.”
“Yes, Kristi, what is it?” Dad asked. The curiosity was evident in his voice.
“I love you,” I said.
“Well, I love you too, Kristi,” Dad said, the bewilderment thick in his voice.
“Give Mom my love,” I said before snapping the phone shut.
I exited the bathroom and checked on Sophie. She was still out cold. I didn’t even bother to change into my pajamas; I took of my shoes and crawled into bed.
That was the first night I had ever had a nightmare my whole life.
Sophie was fine in the morning. Like Nathan had said, she didn’t remember a thing and felt fine. I kept shooting her worried glances, though.
I avoided Nathan like a plague. When I saw him in the cafeteria waiting for me, I stuck close to Sophie and ate breakfast with her. Nathan didn’t eat; I saw him exit the cafeteria halfway through breakfast. In all of my classes with him, I pretended like he wasn’t there.
As I was sitting with Sophie at lunch, Nathan came to our table.
“Sophie, would you mind terribly if I borrowed Kristi for a second?” he asked her, turning on all of his charm.
“No…not at all,” Sophie breathed. I shot her a look, but got up and followed Nathan. He led me out of the cafeteria and to a bench out of sight of any windows. I sat down on the bench, but he remained standing. He began to pace.
“What are you doing, Kristi?” he asked me, turning his green eyes on me.
“I’m surviving,” I snapped at him. Nathan flinched, but he composed himself. I instantly felt terrible. I hated hurting Nathan, but I wasn’t going to take it back.
“You don’t need to keep away from me to survive,” he murmured, looking at the ground instead of meeting my gaze. I didn’t answer him, and an uncomfortable silence hung over us.
“How many of you are there?” I asked. Nathan glanced at me.
“How many vampires are in the school?” When I nodded, he replied, “About half of the student body and almost every teacher.”
“Wait, what?!” I asked in a panicked voice. All of those vampires in one school…
“You heard me,” Nathan replied, his gaze intense.
“What students? What teachers?” I asked,
“All of the students that live in my dorm,” Nathan said. All of the rich people, I automatically corrected in my mind. “The only teacher that isn’t a vampire is Miss Aphra. The reason why the teachers are all so moody is because they’re hungry. They don’t feed as regularly as us.”
“How much blood do you need to drink to satisfy yourself?” I asked him.
“About once every week,” Nathan said. I could feel myself pale. All of those vampires fed once a week?
“How many times have they fed on me? How many times have you?” I asked. Nathan looked away from me again.
“I fed off you once,” he admitted. “The night I helped you memorize the school song, I fed off you. But that’s all, I swear to you,” he said.
“And how many times have others fed off me?” I asked him in a cold voice. Nathan’s head whipped toward me. I saw the desperation in his look.
“Never! I swear, no one else has ever fed off you,” he said.
“Why, is my blood not tasty enough for them?” my voice was still cold.
“No, I won’t let them,” Nathan said. I raised an eyebrow.
“Why would they listen to you?” I asked. Nathan sighed.
“Remember when I was telling you about living up to their legacy? In the vampire community, there are…ranks. My parents are second in command. So, I’ll be second in command whenever I get married,” he grimaced when he said the married part and shot a look at me.
“So who’s in command?” I asked. Nathan studied me for a second.
“I’ll take you to meet them tonight, if you would like to. I promise they won’t suck your blood,” he said, watching me closely. As much as I didn’t want to go meet another vampire—it made me feel like Little Red Riding Hood going to meet the Big Bad Wolf, I wanted to understand how being a vampire worked. Who could answer my questions better than the leader? So, against my better judgment, I agreed to go with him tonight.
Nathan met me at my dorm room after school ended. I followed him into his dorm. I shot him a confused look, but he ignored it and headed into the kitchen. We came toward a door that I had always assumed held extra food in it, like the one in my dorm did. Apparently not. Nathan took a key from his pocket and unlocked the door. I raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. Instead of a room of stashed food, like I had expected, there was a staircase. I couldn’t see where it led, though. It was too dark. Nathan reached around the doorframe and turned on the lights. We walked down the staircase and down a long hallway, where I saw another door. Nathan took out another key and unlocked it.
We entered a room that was filled with rows of chairs. There must have been enough to seat half of the school—so about enough to seat all the vampires at the school. All of the seats faced a platform. The room was empty, except for the two people sitting on the platform, heads together, murmuring quietly.
“Mom?! Dad?!” I gasped.
“Hello, Kristi,” Mom said.
“You—you’re vampires?! You’re the leaders of this coven?!” I screeched. Dad nodded. Both of my parents’ faces were calm and collected.
“You knew they were vampires and you didn’t tell me?” I asked, whirling toward Nathan.
“He wasn’t allowed to tell you, Kristi,” Dad said. Nathan didn’t meet my gaze; he stared at the carpet instead.
“Why not?” I asked. I was beginning to feel lightheaded. I was having another emotional overload, but this one was extreme.
“We wanted to tell you in our own time, when you were ready. However, that plan was ruined when you caught Nathan feeding,” Dad replied.
“Kristi, are you alright? You’re looking a bit woozy,” Mom said, rising from her seat on the platform and coming toward me. I flinched away from her, and sank down on the chair closest to me. I rested my elbows on my knees and my face in my hands.
I took a few deep breaths and lifted my face. Mom’s face was a couple of inches from mine. I yelped and fell backwards in the chair. She hadn’t made any noises when she moved, and I hadn’t expected her there.
“Kristi!” Mom exclaimed as she pulled me up. She had grabbed onto the part Amanda had bruised, so I winced and yanked my arm away from her. Dad and Nathan were at my side in a flash.
“Are you okay?” Nathan demanded. I nodded and rubbed my arm. My parents stared at Nathan for a second.
“Amanda go a little rough with her the other day,” Nathan explained quietly. He gently grabbed my arm and brushed the makeup I had applied off. I heard my parents gasp as they stared at my arm.
“I’m fine,” I reassured them. I sank back down into the chair again and rubbed my temples.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Dad asked as his hands roamed my head for an injury and traced over my bruises.
“I’m fine,” I assured them again. They didn’t look convinced, but took a few steps back to give me breathing space.
“Why would you adopt me, or any human for that matter?” I asked my parents. They exchanged glances before looking back at me.
“Your mother really can’t have kids. We can’t exactly adopt a vampire child. The only kind of vampire we would ever think to adopt is one from our own coven. Otherwise, the child would be a normal vampire. It was no use to adopt from our own coven since no one had died, and the children weren’t in need of parents,” Dad explained. “So we adopted you. We were supposed to take our time looking for a child, a girl, but we fell in love with you instantly.”
“Why would you need to take your time adopting a human girl?” I asked. Again, my parents exchanged glances.
“We’ll tell you later, honey. I’m not sure if you’re ready,” Mom said. “How about we answer some of your other questions?”
“Where have you really been this whole time? Because right now, I really doubt it was Taiwan,” I said. Dad grinned.
“You’re just as perceptive as ever,” he commented. “We were traveling the world, looking for vampire covens like our own. Nathan told you how our ancestor adapted to her environment. We have not been able to find any vampires like us, but we’re trying,” Dad explained.
“How exactly were vampires created?” I asked.
“No one is sure. Some, who believe in evolution, claim we evolve and adapted, but no one can come up with a reason to have had to evolve into a parasitic human. Others, who believe in creation, claim we were created by a higher power. No one can disown that theory, but no one can understand why a higher power would create something like a vampire,” Dad tried to explain.
“Did you ever feed on me?” I asked them. They both shook their heads.
“We also made sure no one would feed off of you after Nathan did. Nathan may have given the order that no one feed off of you, but we reinforced it,” Mom said.
“How old are you?” I asked.
“Your mother and I are 200 years old this year,” Dad replied. I could feel my eyes widen. “After a vampire turns 20, their aging slows down to a rate where, appearance wise, they look like they age one year every three decades,” Dad explained. So that’s why they always looked too young to be the parents of a teenager.
“You look better, the color is coming back to your cheeks,” Nathan commented. I nodded and stood up, stretching my legs.
“I am feeling better,” I agreed. “But…I still don’t understand. Well, I understand what you explained to me, I just don’t understand why you had to adopt a girl.” Mom sighed.
“Your father and I are in command of this coven, as you know. We have always trusted Nathan’s family, the second in command, with our lives. They have proved themselves very loyal many times.
“About a century ago, we made a pact with them. When they decided to have a baby, and it was a boy, we would marry our daughter off to them. The two families would join forces. Of course, it wasn’t until a few decades later we found out about my birth defect.
“Once the Cabots decided to have a child, and it was a son, knew our time was up to try and have a child. Instead, we adopted you. Everything we did from there was leading up to this moment.
“We convinced you to transfer to Eastwhich Academy, and put you in most of Nathan’s classes. At the time of course, Nathan did not know you were his destined bride. That is why he drank from you that night—he didn’t realize who you were. After we told him you were to be married, he protected you from all the other vampires looking for a meal,” Mom explained. What little color had come back to my face drained away.
I looked over at Nathan with wide eyes, and he returned my gaze, his own calm and collected. He already knew that we were betrothed and he didn’t have any objections.
“What?” I whispered.
I felt my knees buckle under me. Everything was spinning, and I couldn’t see my parents or Nathan anymore. Before I could collapse, however, I felt two strong arms wrap around my waist, holding me up against a hard chest. I looked up, and my eyes met two green ones. Nathan. I tried to pull away from him, but he held me. I was trapped.
“How?! How could you agree to this?!” I demanded. I realized I was close to tears, but not because I was sad.