??A Howl In The Night??
?Authoress Gift ?
I blink, wondering if I had heard him right. “Thirty-two years?” I squeak, my voice barely above a whisper. Even now, as we casually walk down the hallway, people are staring at him, gossiping about the new senior that is sizzling hot.
“Yeah. I was born fifty-five years ago, March 4, 1955, to be exact, and you are not eligible to go to school until you are five. So, that makes about thirty-two years since I last went. I only completed high school, and didn’t go to college,” he says plainly. My eyes widen with surprise as I absorb his words.
“So you are fifty-five years old,” I say dubiously. Somehow, that is hard to believe. He looks like a normal eighteen year old… an incredibly hot one, I must admit.
“Not really,” he says softly, looking at the floor as he emits these next words, “a werewolf has no beginning and no end. We are born out of death, and death we shall remain.”
I cross my arms, trying to disguise the fact that I am confused. It is hard for me to understand, the meaning behind his statement. “What do you mean… no beginning and no end?” I question, my voice filled with curiosity.
“I’ll tell you later,” he shrugs, “it will take a little while to explain, and we don’t have the time.” His carelessness signifies that it is not a huge deal, so I relax a little. Then I stiffen once more as I realize that I am warming up to him. It is like I am constantly waging a war against an undeniable attraction, and the deathly feeling is taking the lead.
However, I will not let it win. I will not fall in love with Xavier.
“Fine,” I say as we finally reach the double doors. He steps in front of me, swinging the door open. He shoots me a beautiful smile, holding it so I can enter the lunchroom. I marvel at how much of a gentleman he is, at how respectful and old-fashioned he behaves.
Oh yeah. He was born fifty-five years ago.
The lunchroom houses tables for four, two, and eight. They are scattered within the room, with a buffet on the kitchen side. On the opposite end, there is a stage. A rather lackluster room overall, matching the insipid rest of the school.
We walk to the long line, surrounded by girls as they swarm around the blue-haired idiot. Cries and calls erupt, all directed towards Xavier. I, expressionless, grab a napkin and tray, placing it on the buffet so I can get my daily helping of tasteless mush. Xavier follows my actions, wincing in disgust as he surveys the selection of what the school likes to call “food”.
“This is another reason why I haven’t gone to school,” he mutters as he stacks the slushy mess onto his tray. I look at the tray, avoiding his gaze.
“I deal with it every day,” I sigh as I bring the tray to the cashier. Robotically, I punch in my pin number and pay for the food. Every month, the orphanage gives me twenty dollars for my cafeteria account. Lunch, however, is one dollar, leaving me to go without lunch for a couple of days.
Xavier pulls out a tender green bill, handing it to the old and withered cashier. She takes it, her eyelashes fluttering as she shoots Xavier a flirty smile, and examines the thin piece of paper. Suddenly, her eyes widen and she waves the bill at him. “A hundred dollar bill?” she asks, surprised.
He waves her off, “keep the change.”
Her eyes are nearly bulging out of her skull. “But lunch is a dollar…” she says, incredulous.
“Oh really?” he asks as he looks at the horror splurging on his tray, “I thought it would be less. This looks absolutely disgusting.” Laughs explode around the lunchroom, all attention focused on the beautiful man. The funny thing about it is, Xavier is totally serious when he is talking to the cashier. He means the upmost respect.
Even I can’t prevent a laugh from bubbling forth.
“Take it,” he says to her, rather disappointingly, “use the money to improve your food so the students will actually eat it.” With a last, disdaining glance, he walks to my side. Cheers ensue, the whole student body agreeing with his words. “Come on, Mona,” he demands, authority oozing from him. He leads the way to a table for two in the corner of the lunchroom, oblivious to the awed glances sticking to him like glue.
He pulls out the rusty chair, it squeaking as it complied with his will. I stand, waiting for him to sit down, I awkwardly lingered by his side. He gestures towards the chair, realization coming upon me as I find out that he actually wants me to sit down. Blushingly I obey his command, flattered that a boy would actually do that for me.
Xavier huffs to the other chair. Glancing at me, he asks quietly, “why is everyone looking at us?”
“Because you just voiced their opinion,” I whisper back.
“I’m surprised no one else has,” he snorts as he surveys the food before him, “this is gross.”
I take my spoon, dipping it into the food, raising it to my lips. With a forced swallow, I gag down the bit of food, sighing with relief as it graces my dreadfully empty stomach. No matter how disgusting the food is, I need to choke it down.
Xavier watches me as I eat, a grimace decorating his face. “Why are you eating that?” he asks, pure disgust in his features. I shrug, though the truth is that this is almost all I get to eat every day. If I tell Xavier that, he will have a fist.
He tilts his head slightly as he surveys me, watching me scarf down the catastrophe. “You have to eat it, don’t you?” he guesses correctly as I savor every piece, each bit making the horrible feeling in my stomach lighten.
I nod my head, taking a swig of my milk with tender fingers. After another silence, I finally finish my lunch, feeling like a pig for gobbling it down so fast. “Can… I have your milk, Xavier?” I question, looking pointedly at his unopened carton.
“Sure. Why not?” he replies, drawing humor from the fact that I actually want his food. The corner of his mouth turns up as he shoves his whole tray towards me, my eyes lighting up as I realize that I just might have enough to eat today. I start in on this new bit of food, focusing on the warmth it will give in my stomach, not the nasty taste it offers.
I feel despicable. I even had to ask the wolfboy for food.
“Thank you,” I tilt my head slightly, knowing that I seem like a starving animal. The pull for food, however, is more powerful than any other force, and that is the one driving me right now.
“Does that… orphanage not give you any food?” he probes, a little angrily. I just stare at him, unwilling to tell him the answer. A furious light is in his eyes, anger in his tone. “Mona,” he says firmly, “don’t eat that.” He grabs both trays, standing up and putting them in the disposal. As he troops back over to me, dozens of hungry eyes follow him, annoying me immensely for some strange reason.
I can feel tons of stares on my own back as well. Many whispers erupt around me, probably along the lines of “the loser shouldn’t be sitting by that hot guy,” or “let’s bet to see how long it will be before he ditches her.” Subconsciously, I slump a little, hoping their gazes will eventually leave me. But they linger, stirring up my discomfort and their jeers.
Xavier passes me and disappears through the doors, leaving me stranded on our island for two. I suddenly realize that I now feel terribly lonely, more than I could have anticipated. Is this how I usually feel when I’m eating in the lunchroom alone? Two days ago, before all this stuff happened, feels almost like a distant memory.
After a couple of agonizing minutes, Xavier enters the lunchroom again carrying two trays of steaming hot steak. He walks to my side, placing one tray in front of me and one in front of his seat. My mouth hits my knees as I examine the food. Steak is my favorite type of food—a delicacy that I developed a taste for in childhood—and this one looks especially delicious.
“Thank you so much,” I say gushingly, breaking out into a smile. I take the silver knife beside the steak and dig in, wondering just how he managed to get this yummy food.
He just stares at me as I gobble down the delicious meat, a tiny smile on his face. “Don’t thank me,” he says quietly, “just be happy.”
“Oh, I am,” I reassure him as I delve my fork deeper into the delicious entree.
“Obviously the way to your heart is through food,” Xavier laughingly comments. In a moment of vulnerability, I laugh with him, my voice carrying across the room.
Then I remember that I am not supposed to even smile in Xavier’s presence.
However, I have no time to wipe off my grin, for the biggest fish in the sea is swimming our way. In other words, Sidney Richards, two of her girls following behind her as backup. I don’t even know their names, nor does most of the school’s population. They are just known as Sidney’s girls, only good for fake laughs and compliments. Just what Sidney needs.
She troops over to us from her royal throne, flipping her blonde hair back from her face every few seconds, confidently strutting in her five-inch tall golden pumps. With a skirt about five inches above the dress code requirements and a blouse with a bit too many buttons undone, she has successfully secured the stares of every boy in school.
Finally reaching our table, she cast Xavier a smile not unlike the one she used a couple of hours ago. “Hey,” she tries to make her voice smooth and sweet, “I’m Sidney, and these are two of my girls.” I almost laugh when I notice that even Sidney doesn’t say their names.
Xavier takes another bite of his delicious steak, and then looks up into Sidney’s most-likely-modified face. “You probably know my name,” he says plainly, clearly uninterested.
Sidney looks surprised, but she quickly recovers, reaching to the end of her now mini-skirt and fingering it, trying to draw his attention to her bronzed thighs that are muscular, yet slender. He doesn’t notice her efforts, looking to the ceiling, then back at his delectable steak. “Do you want to sit with us?” she offers quickly, “away from this reject?” I wince at the word reject, at the way she doesn’t even look at me, as if I am worth nothing. Away in the background, I see three spots left open, one for Sidney and two for her girls.
“There’s no spots,” he tries to evade a direct answer, but that doesn’t stop Sidney. With a snap of her fingers, an a-list jock is immediately dismissed, degraded to a b status. Now there is Ian, two other jocks, and one of her girls sitting at the table.
“For you,” she tells him, a seductive expression gracing her features, “there is always a spot.”
“I decline,” he says abruptly, digging back into his meat. Sidney just stands, her mouth in a perfectly lip-glossed “o”.
“B-but-t,” she stutters, “no one ever declines!” Her words are forced, cheerfulness evaporating. I see a sliver of doubt enter her, a drop of low esteem slipping into her bloodstream.
“Well,” he says after wiping his mouth with a napkin, “I am not no one. I can do whatever the crap I want. And right now, I don’t want to sit at your table.”
Her eyes widen, her voice strained. The whole lunchroom is staring at us, and I suddenly feel as if we are under a spotlight, unable to escape from it. “So you are just going to sit with this loser?” she finally casts a hate filled glare at my form. Abruptly, I start to shiver as I am turned to ice by her gaze. I can tell, at that moment, that she wants me completely and utterly dead.
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