Priscilla by xuyuzhu

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 58

									                                          ~1~

I heard my alarm clock go off it had one of those terrible high frequency beeps that
continued on forever or until I got out of bed and slapped it off. Which I reluctantly did
after three beeps but this morning I had a spring in my step it was the last day of school
and I was excited and relieved, school was not one of my favorite places because
everyone thinks I’m weird.

I live in a small county called Greenway in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee. I
love it here. I’m only minutes from the mountains which happen to be my favorite place
to be; it’s the most beautiful place. I’ve never lived anywhere else but I couldn’t imagine
any place in the world being this beautiful and peaceful.

I live with my mom and I’m an only child, it’s been just the two of us since my father died
three years ago. His death is still very painful to think about and my mother and I don’t
talk about it. The day we buried him was the last time I heard her speak his name. She
wasn’t a cold person it’s just that they loved each other so much and life without him
was unbearable to her. They were both young and never dreamed that one would die at
such a young age; he was just forty years old. Secretly I spoke to him and I felt he
guided me when I needed answers. Joseph Lee Tillman was my dad and I loved him
very much he was a great dad and a good husband. His death was very sudden and
painful he had a back ache that wouldn’t go away and my mom insisted that he go to
the doctor which he usually never did, he wasn’t sick a day in his life. But he went and I
knew then that he was in a lot of pain the doctors sent him for CAT scans and x-rays
and within two weeks we found out he had pancreatic cancer and three months later he
was dead. His sickness sent my mom into a tail spin, she was on the computer
constantly searching for cures or new treatments that might help my dad ‘beat this
thing’, that’s how she referred to it.

My dad knew there was no hope and had secretly talked to me about it, asking me to
take care of mom and help her through this. To some people he asking me at the age of
fourteen to take care of my mom might seem a bit overwhelming but I was or at least I
felt older than my years. My parents weren’t conventional they treated me as an adult
much to the dismay of my paternal grandparents and much of Greenway. My parents
trusted me and because of that trust I never tried to do the typical teenage things such
as; sneak out of the house or even do anything without asking, because unless I would
be in danger of death my parents basically let me do what I wanted, they wanted me to
be who I was and not just clones of themselves. So when my dad died I was the one
that went to the funeral home to make all the arrangements she couldn’t get out of the
bed for two days after his death. She leaned on me during the funeral and wake, I wrote
down who brought food to the house and who gave money, sent flowers or just said a
kind word. I wrote each and every person a personal thank you note. Washed and took
back every dish that had been brought to our house; I really don’t think I grieved until a
                                          ~2~

couple days after the funeral; I was thankful though it kept me busy taking care of mom.
I didn’t have time to deal with the pain of his death……

When I finally did deal with his death and all the pain that came with it, I did it as I did
with every aspect of my life; my drawings. I love to draw and it’s what I fill my time with,
living in the mountains my dad bought me an ATV and had took me on rides since I was
six years old, I knew these mountains like I did my own back yard. My favorite place to
go was the old cemeteries that were scattered all over our mountains many of them just
had rocks as grave markers. My father told me how everyone that died and buried had
a story to be told and there was a lot of history buried in these old cemeteries; that
absolutely fascinated me. But there were some very old headstones so worn by time
that the words were very hard to read and that lead me to my next pastime I would
make rubbings of the headstones to help me read their names. I guess it wasn’t hard to
understand why my peers thought me to be weird; most seventeen year old girls were
busy with hair and make up, their boyfriend of the week and what they were going to
wear. I could care less about any of that stuff, my mom said that I marched to the beat
of my own drum and nobody knew the music. She encouraged me to be who I was and
not try to fit into what everyone else thought I should be.

I love my mom but she has never fit into this rural community and easy going life in the
mountains. My dad was the native and he met her at college, according to my
grandmother my mom raised quite a few eyebrows when dad brought her back home to
meet his family. He was the country boy and he was very handsome and many of the
local gals had tried to get him to the altar but when he left for college every heart in the
county broke—well at least that’s what my grandmother said—and when my dad
brought the big city girl back home everyone was upset. I could just imagine everyone’s
reaction to my mom; Layla was and is a modern free-spirited woman trying to fit into a
country laid-back community. The people of Greenway are good, honest, and hard
working and they are friendly but when it comes to the extraordinary or unusual they
tended to shy away, my mom was both unusual and extraordinary, I guess I am a lot
like her.

 My parents graduated from college and married three months later they were both
twenty-two. I was born nine months to the day of their wedding and that fact was a sign
to my Elvis-loving mother that I should be named Priscilla. It only made sense in her
mind; apparently Lisa Marie aka Elvis and Priscilla’s daughter was born exactly nine
months to the day of their wedding day. And to make matters worse she gave me my
dad’s name too, so I was saddled with Priscilla Joseph Tillman an unusual name in a
place with ordinary people with their ordinary names. I was marked from day one to be
an out cast.
                                          ~3~

Besides my drawings I had one other bright spot in my rather ordinary life and his name
was Seth Woods. He was my best and only friend; our fathers had been best friends
growing up and we had been playing together since our births, he was just three months
older than me. He was the all American boy; quarterback of the football team and the
star point guard of the basketball team, it was like he was touched by a sport god. Even
though everyone treated me like I was the last plague he always stood by me and
remained my friend despite all the abuse he took about it from his friends.

He was awesome and adored by all the girls at school and many of them tried to
befriend me to get close to him. They wanted to know if we were an item and when I
would say no then I was bombarded with questions about what he likes in a girlfriend. I
would tell them all the same thing, “Ask him yourself.” To be honest we never discussed
such things; boyfriends, girlfriends or any stupid thing of that nature when Seth and I
were together hanging out we discussed things we couldn’t talk about with anyone else.
What’s the meaning of life is there an afterlife; you know just stuff that most teenagers
could care less about. We were kindred spirits he could be who he was with me and I
didn’t judge him, he had a lot of pressure from his father to be just like him and at times
Seth hated him for it. I would listen for hours as he ranted on and on about his dad, he
had been very envious of my relationship with my dad, he wished his father could be
more like Joe; it hurt him as much as it did me when my dad died.

I hurried into the shower and began my usual routine; shower, comb hair and then I
would French braid it, I never wore my hair loose. Apply the only make up I owned;
mascara and lip gloss. Throw on anything that didn’t match and head out the door to my
dad’s old car and make the fifteen mile trip to school. It was June 2nd and the last day of
school it was hot and you could feel the excitement in the air. All the seniors graduated
last Saturday so the parking lot was nearly empty, I got to park in a spot that wasn’t
usually available to me; seniors had first choice on parking spots and of course they all
chose the ones closest to the school. I pulled in exactly three minutes before the tardy
bell, I had timed it the first day of classes; how much time I needed to park get out and
get in my first period class without being tardy. This way I didn’t have to worry about
people trying to talk to me not that it happened very often. I had four classes a day;
Greenway High had adopted the four block scheduling two years prior to my freshmen
year. I had four classes first semester and then when we returned from Christmas break
I had four new classes, I loved it.

Seth and I had every class together but one, we were both on the university path, we
both planned to attend college. He wanted to be a teacher and coach high school
basketball, and I wanted to major in art. I was going to be an artist. My rump had barely
touched the seat when the second bell rang. Ms. Cross began the long hour and half
class. She was my least favorite teacher, I later learned the torture I endured from her
stemmed from a crush she had on my father when they were in high school, she hated
                                           ~4~

my mother and there had been whispers that she blamed my father’s death on my
mom. She despised me and made no effort to hide that fact.

“Ok class I know that everyone is excited about their summer vacation and all of you will
be seniors next year, but I would like to hear about any exciting plans anyone has for
the summer, who would like to go first?” Her nasal voice resonated off the walls and
pierced my ears unmercifully. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a hand go up and I
knew exactly who it was.

“Shelby Greenway please share with everyone what your plans are.” Everyone knew it
would be something expensive, she was the great-great-great granddaughter of
Theodore Greenway the man for whom the county was named, and she never let
anyone forget it.

“Well, my family and I are taking a three week vacation in Europe; we are going to visit
Paris, Rome and well I don’t remember all of the places but it will be exciting.” Shelby
looked at me and smiled her blond hair in a perfect pony tail, her face flawless with a
pound of make-up; I felt sorry for her, it sounded boring to me. I wasn’t jealous of her, it
was just that she played the typical dumb blond but I knew she was smarter than that
and much more manipulative. Apparently it was her mission in life to make me as
miserable as she could.

“Wow how wonderful Shelby you are a lucky girl. Anyone else?” I raised my hand and
watched as Ms. Cross looked past me she kept looking around and finally her puckered
up face came back to me. “Yes Ms. Tillman.”

I smiled before I spoke just to irritate her. “Well Ms. Cross I plan to visit and record all
the lost and forgotten cemeteries in Greenway County.” I heard sniggers come in waves
across the classroom. I glanced around at my peers and wondered how I could possible
be of the same age as any of them they were all so superficial and immature. I stopped
on Seth’s face who was the only person not laughing, he had taken many trips with me
to the cemeteries and he appreciated them as much as I did though he would never
admit it.

“Of course Priscilla I’m sure that will be fascinating and will you be visiting your father’s
grave as well.” The sniggers stopped and I felt my face grow hot; hot with anger. My lips
drew tight and I glared at her, it was the last day of school how much trouble could I get
in if I just went up and slapped that arrogant look off her face. My feet began to move
towards her when a familiar hand reached up and grabbed my arm. It was Seth, “Don’t
Cilla it’s what she wants just ignore her, please.” Seth kept my temper in control for me
he had stopped me on numerous occasions from getting in trouble.”Fine.” I said through
clenched teeth.
                                           ~5~

I sat down and pulled my MP3 player out, I put the ear buds in and listened to my
favorite singer, Avril, she had a song for every mood I was in. I knew we must have
been sisters in another life. I watched as other students raised their hands and told of
their summer plans, I didn’t care nor was I interested. But when I saw Seth’s hand go up
I yanked out my ear buds, this was one person I did care about.

“Mr. Woods what are your plans?” She couldn’t hide the love struck look on her face
even the female teachers were enamored with Seth. He just had that effect on people. “I
am getting a full time job with my father’s law firm and I will be attending football and
basketball camp.” Poor Seth I was sure most of it was his father’s idea, I knew Seth was
not interested in law and he hated being with his father but he did love his summer
camps but usually he just attended basketball ball camp, I was surprised to learn he
would be attending both this summer. That would leave very little time for us to hang
out, and then I knew it was his father’s idea, since my father died Albert Woods hated
any time Seth spent with me. I guess he tolerated mom and me because of his
friendship with my dad and after he died there was no obligation left to his widow and
kid.

I replaced my ear buds and listened to Avril belt out my favorite song “Anything but
Ordinary” she was awesome. I laid my head down and let the words rescue me from the
boring class. I felt a nudge and I looked up to see Seth smiling at me I paused the song,
he pulled the earphones out.”Hey time to change classes.” He grinned shaking his head
and grabbed my backpack slinging it over his shoulder.

“People will talk Seth your carrying my book bag isn’t that like going-steady.” I laughed
and grabbed his arm linking my arm with his but he didn’t care we had battled dating
rumors since we entered high school. People couldn’t understand how we could be
such close friends and not have anything romantic happening. I wasn’t blind I knew how
gorgeous Seth was; his blond hair and blue eyes made him look like a Greek God, he
had chiseled features he had flawless skin and very muscular from his years of weight
lifting, his height had become freakish, he stood six foot six inches. But I just didn’t feel
any attraction for him he was like the brother I never had and besides he showed no
interest in me other than as a friend or a sister. We knew what we had and we didn’t
care what anyone else thought. Seth had even gotten a girlfriend this year;
unfortunately it was Shelby Greenway but it was bound to happen they both looked like
characters out of Greek mythology, they matched.

“Speak of the devil and it appears.” I grunted when Seth elbowed my ribs he hated that
Shelby and I didn’t get along but I told him he didn’t have to choose as long as I didn’t
have to be her friend I didn’t care if he dated her.
                                          ~6~

“Seeeth” I hated the way she dragged his name out like a southern belle. Her
appearance was my cue to disappear.”I’ll see you later Seth.” I let go of his arm. “Why
Cilla you don’t have to leave on my account.” Her exaggerated southern accent was as
annoying as fingernails on a chalk board. “Oh yes I do Shelby, I don’t want to distract
Seth from you, you need all the attention you can get.” I left with a smug look on my
face. I smiled as I headed to my next torture chamber called Chemistry.

Finally in the last class of the day and the only one Seth wasn’t in, Art III, it was my
favorite even though I was more knowledgeable about art than the teacher was. At least
I could sketch and Mr. Smith allowed me to listen to my music, it was my heaven. I
watched the second hand tick slowly and I counted down the seconds till three o’clock
and the end of hell as I knew it. When everyone jumped up and started dancing around
I knew summer had begin. Avril was singing “Tomorrow” in my ears and I thought about
my father, and I asked him to make this a special summer. I hated anything ordinary
and I was ready for something special to happen I just didn’t know what it would be.

I climbed in my dad’s old 69 Mustang; he had rebuilt the engine and was planning on
doing the body work but he got sick and died before he could finish it. So it was a primer
grey but I loved it because it was his. I put away the MP3 player and started the car and
it roared to life it had an awesome sound. I popped in Avril’s “Let Go” CD into my CD
player I installed. I was about to put it in reverse when Seth banged on my windshield.
He popped his head in through my open window and kissed me on the cheek. “Hey
gorgeous I need a ride.” I shook my head he was completely deranged. “Sure get in.” I
cranked my music knowing he would complain. “Come on Cilla do we have to listen to
her all the time.” He groaned.”Hey you’re the one that needs a ride buddy; get your butt
out if you don’t like the music.” I snapped back. “When can I DJ the music.” He asked.

“When you pay for my gas and pay my insurance, then we will talk.” I argued back.

“Can you at lest not crank it until we get out of the parking lot?” He whined. I reached up
and turned it down, poor Seth he got a lot of crap because of me and I decided to give
him a break. “There you go baby. Why didn’t you catch a ride with Shelby in her super
nice car?” He rolled his eyes I knew two weeks after he started dating Shelby he was
over it but it was expected for him to date the popular girl; she was a cheerleader and
reigning homecoming queen. His parents expected it of him and he tried to please
them.

“Please Cilla I couldn’t stand it, she is so annoying and she can’t drive!” How Seth could
live a phony life was beyond my imagination, I was raised to be who I was and do what
came natural to me, be honest with myself and everyone else. That’s why I didn’t try to
pretend that I liked Shelby, I didn’t, and I didn’t care if she knew.
                                           ~7~

“Seth you really need a life man, if you don’t like Shelby why not just dump her, you are
insane to keep up this sham. And to be honest Seth it’s kind of cruel to Shelby, she
thinks you are in love with her.” I surprised myself with that last statement, I was not a
fan of Shelby Greenway but I didn’t like being cruel to people either and everyone knew
that Seth didn’t really care about her; actually he couldn’t stand her. She was totally
clueless I’m sure it never occurred to her that a boy wouldn’t count himself among the
lucky to have her on his arm.

Seth laughed. “I am not in love with her Cilla, and I do enjoy some aspects of our
relationship.” I thought he blushed slightly, then he darted his eyes to me like he was
expecting some kind of reaction from me. What part of her he could possibly enjoy was
beyond me; she was an air head, she was cruel to people and she had no personality
whatsoever……then I stopped, I knew exactly what part he enjoyed and I felt...jealous?
No, that would mean I liked Seth, you know liked liked Seth and I didn’t, did I? I had to
admit as we got older I sometimes thought about us but then I would snap out of it, I
wouldn’t want to lose Seth as a friend by trying some ill fated love affair with him.

“Cilla? Hello earth to Cilla.” Seth’s voice jerked me back out of my ludicrous thoughts.

“What.” I said harshly.

“Hey what’s the matter? Did someone do something to you today or say something
mean; you know I will kick their ass if you want me to.” He said with a stone cold face.

Seth was getting angry he thought he had to defend me against everyone; Seth always
defended me, for as long as I could remember. One time when we were in the seventh
grade I had worn an outfit that I thought was super cool; I had distressed a pair of my
favorite jeans ripping holes and rubbing it with sandpaper until they were tattered, I wore
a pair of black fish net stockings under the jeans exposing them through each tear and
hole in the jeans. I wore a vintage t-shirt I found at our local thrift shop I layered a white
button up shirt over that and just for good measure I wore a paisley tie with the knot left
half way down my chest; I left that morning for school feeling like a runway model it was
the coolest outfit ever but when I reached school that morning everyone was staring like
I was totally naked. Being young then I did let people’s stares make me feel
uncomfortable and it hurt. But then Billy Wilson decided to make it his mission to torture
me the whole day, he called me names such as; bag lady, asked if I got my clothes from
the garbage dump, he ranted all day long and I just kept smiling despite being on the
verge of tears. At the end of the day I took all I could take and on the bus ride home I let
the tears silently fall down my face, Seth who was sitting with me asked what was
wrong and I told him how Billy had teased me all day about my outfit. Seth immediately
jumped up from the seat we were in and went four seats up to where Billy was sitting
and just started beating the crap out of him. Seth got five day suspension for that little
                                             ~8~

outburst but he told me if anyone ever said or did anything to upset me again to let him
know and he would take care of it for me. I never let him know again if it upset me when
the kids would tease me, I didn’t want him in trouble over me.

“No, I just realized what part of Shelby you enjoyed, and I think that’s disgusting Seth,
you’re such a guy.” I brushed off the feelings that the image of him and Shelby brought
up, it upset me to think of Seth kissing a girl but not because I was jealous, no it was
just…well I didn’t know what it was but it was definitely not jealousy.

“Yes Cilla I am a guy and guys like making out with girls, you should try it sometime,
you might like it.” He teased.

“I might just do that Seth, maybe I will make out with Jesse Hillman he looks like he
could show a girl a good time.” Jesse Hillman was the local playboy he had slept with so
many girls that he was a legend, well at least he was a legend at Greenway High,
enrollment of eight hundred. I gave Seth a wink but his face was absolutely furious.

“If I ever hear of you being within fifty feet of that pervert I will kill him and kick your ass.
Priscilla why would you event think that, he probably has some disease.” Seth’s face
was furious, he had leaned over putting his face too close to mine, I felt very
uncomfortable. Our playful exchange of banter had become very serious. “Seth calm
down I was just teasing, I would never give Jesse a second look and you know that.” I
argued. Still uncomfortable with his close proximity, I wasn’t expecting such an
emotional reaction from him; I thought we were just goofing off with each other.

“Well I would hope you wouldn’t and if you ever want to try out …you know…if you want
to make out with a guy, then it will be me.” I think Seth was as surprised as I was by
what he blurted out, I got very self-conscious and he must have felt it too because he
backed over to his side of the car and looked out the window. This was very strange,
Seth and I never talked about stuff like this and I didn’t like us starting now. The tension
in the car was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

“Cilla let’s go to the rock, ok.” He murmured.

“Sure.” I replied. The rock was a special place Seth and I had been going to since we
discovered it six years ago. We found it on a day we were exploring the mountains, we
had taken our ATV’s riding just being kids enjoying the freedom we had. The rock jutted
out like a medieval castle on a hillside, it was enormous and it had the most unusual
shape. It stuck out of the mountainside at least fifty feet and was the same in width, it
had little indentions all over it, we assumed from years of erosion from rain and wind.
We thought it was put here on earth just for us; we would play for hours on it and
pretending I was a princess and he was my knight coming to rescue me from the evil
Queen. We swore to each other that day never to tell anyone about our rock and to
                                          ~9~

make it official Seth took out his pocket knife and made a small cut on each of our
hands and told me to rub my blood with his and that made it a blood promise, if one of
us broke it then the other one would die. Comical now but then I wouldn’t have broken it
for anything I didn’t want Seth to die and he felt the same way about me.

When one of us was upset or needed to think that is where we would go, after his many
fights with his parents Seth would come here and stay for hours hiding from them, but I
always knew where to find him. When my father died I came to the rock within two
hours of his death and Seth showed up an hour later saying how my mom was looking
for me but I was crying and he just sat next to me holding me in silence for hours. It was
our special place, so he when asked me to go there I knew he either needed to talk or
just to think about something very important to him. We never spoke another word until
we reached my house.

“I’m going to change my clothes you go get our rides ready.” Seth only nodded, he was
acting very odd and it was making me on edge. I went in the house and found my
mother in her studio; designing the next master piece. My mother had a degree in
fashion design and when she married my father and moved back here to Greenway she
opened a clothing boutique, where she tried to sell her unique designs, my mother was
very talented but she had very unique taste in clothing and handbags. The locals didn’t
find her merchandise to their liking and no one ever bought anything. So she closed up
her small shop and moved her business to the World Wide Web, and there she found
her cliental, the world appreciated and bought her designs even if Greenway didn’t.

“Hey Cilla how does it feel to be out of school and be officially a senior.” My mom’s
musical voice asked.

“Freaking awesome mom.” Mom’s face fell she hated it when I said that word but it was
the only way to describe how I felt.”Priscilla Tillman I have asked you not to use that
word.” Her disapproving look only made me laugh, my mom couldn’t be angry if she
tried it just wasn’t in her nature and she was more of a friend than a mom, I loved my
mother more than anything in this life and I respected her above anyone.

“Sorry, hey Seth and I are going riding and not sure when we will be back, ok. Is that
alright?” I asked out of courtesy. My mom never cared what I did if I was with Seth she
knew he would watch out for me, she knew how people in the county treated me at
times and was very protective of me but when Seth was with me she didn’t worry.

“Please try to be back by eleven, it makes me uneasy for you to be out too late.”

“Sure mom, love you ,mean it, bye.” I heard her laugh as I climbed the stairs to my room
that was our little saying, “love you-mean it-bye”, we had an awesome relationship.
                                          ~ 10 ~

It was ninety-two degrees outside so I put on my favorite denim cut offs, cami and my
old sneakers, I grabbed a hoodie for the ride home tonight it would be cool after the sun
went down. I also grabbed my sketch pad and a couple of charcoal pencils; I never left
home with out either of them.

I went out the door and hurried around back to the garage where we kept our four-
wheelers, Seth just left his at my house so he wouldn’t have to haul his on a trailer
every time we wanted to go riding, and it was just easier this way. But Seth only had his
four-wheeler out and he was sitting on it. “I thought we could double today, you’re
always telling me to help save the planet this way we only burn half the gas and put half
of the toxic fumes into the ozone.” He smiled. I smiled back, I didn’t consider myself a
fanatical tree hugger but I did think the human race could be a bit more cautious when it
came to our natural recourses and our tendency to pollute the environment. “Ok but if
you don’t drive sensible I will jump off and walk up the mountain.” I added, he was a
maniac on his four-wheeler, I think guys are born with a gene that only allows them to
drive at stupid or idiotic speeds.

“I will be good, now get on Cilla.” He winked and put his all American smile on his face.
Against my better judgment, I climbed on behind him and wrapped my arms around his
waist and held on tight, I knew Seth too well he would try and scare me with his crazy
driving. He goosed the throttle and lifting the front tires off the ground and then just
floored it out of my drive way, he knew I hated it when he popped a wheelie. I screamed
and smacked him; hard on his shoulder causing him to holler.”Sorry I will be good.” He
said this as he dropped the front tires back on the ground but he still drove faster than I
would have. It took us only minutes to reach our turn off, and then we were on the
mountain trail that would take us to our rock.

I prefer driving myself but sitting on the back instead of driving, I was able to appreciate
the scenery much better. The brown trail twisted and turned around the mountains like a
snake, the trail used to be big enough to drive a four wheel drive truck on it but over
time with the popularity of ATV’s the trail had become smaller and the trees and brush
had taken over making it too small for anything bigger to manage the winding trail. This
is what I loved; riding in the mountains and enjoying the wind in my face and the green
lush scenery flashing by me. It felt like home. Lost in my thoughts it seemed we reached
the rock in half the time it normally would have taken us but with Seth’s driving I
shouldn’t have been surprised. Seth parked and we climbed off my butt ached from half
sitting on the metal rack he had on the rear of his ATV. I rubbed it and scowled. “Next
time I’m driving myself your rack has bruised my butt.” Seth laughed but his face was
too serious he definitely had something on his mind. He held my hand and helped me
climb the big rock until we reached the top and there it never failed to take my breath
away; the view was so gorgeous. You could see my little community from this height, I
lived about twenty miles from town, that is where Seth lived, and he hated it, he spent
                                          ~ 11 ~

most of his time at my house. The summer time always hindered the view some with all
the trees in full bloom but you could still see for miles and I had sketched this very view
many times, in every season.

Seth sat down letting his feet dangle over the edge of the rock, I was getting very
concerned now, and Seth was acting very strange. I took a sit next to him and leaned
my head on his shoulder but never broke the silence he would talk when he was ready.

“Priscilla,” he rarely used my full name,” I have something I need to talk about with you.”
His voice was very solemn. “Anything, you know that Seth.” I replied.

I never raised my head off his shoulder; I just stayed there listening to the rhythm of his
breathing. I could hear him swallow several times and I knew he was struggling to
begin; I was becoming more and more nervous it reminded me of the way my father
acted when he told me about his cancer.

“Priscilla I have something to confess to you and I don’t want it to change anything
between us, you have to promise me that you won’t act weird around me after this.” Oh
my god he was scaring me, I gulped before I answered. “Ok Seth I promise.” My voice
sounded flat. “Blood promise?” He asked. This was serious. “Yes blood promise.” We
didn’t need the real blood to seal the deal it was what we said when we wanted absolute
assurance from each other about something.

“Well….um…ok here it goes, you know how we were talking about what I enjoyed from
Shelby?”

“Yes.” My heart stopped, he was going to tell me she was pregnant. I thought I would
throw up.

“Well I haven’t, you know, I didn’t want you to think I had done that with her. I was just
teasing you, I could never “do it” with someone like her, I mean she wanted to and tried
on many occasions to get me to but I told her I thought we better not chance her getting
pregnant. But that wasn’t the real reason I turned her down.” I remained silent and
never took my head off his shoulder. I was still confused with the direction of this
serious discussion.

“Cilla when I kissed her and we would make out I had another person’s face in my head
and I need to tell you about it, but I don’t want you to think I’m weird. But I have to talk
about it with somebody and you are the only person I trust.” My heart was now racing
and a lump had formed in my throat, and I knew what he was going to say I blurted it
out for him.

“Oh my god Seth, you’re gay!” I cried out. I fell over when my prop jumped up. I looked
up at Seth and his face was…was…horrified.
                                          ~ 12 ~

“Cilla, hell I am not gay, will you please stop trying to figure out what I’m trying to say!”
He was yelling. His frustration was very obvious he shoved his hands into his pockets.
“Please just listen to me ok, this is hard enough with out you making crazy assumptions
and interrupting me.” I stood up and went to him but he backed away from me like my
touch would burn his skin. “Let’s just sit back down like we were, I think I can do this if
you’re not looking at me.”

“Ok.” I murmured.

So we were back where we started I was leaning on Seth and we were looking at the
view. He inhaled loudly and exhaled slowly.”Cilla when you said that about Jesse today
was you being serious?”

“Of course not Seth.” I answered still trying to figure out where this going.

“The thought of you…kissing another guy just makes me very angry, his hands on you
and your hands on him, I just don’t like it at all.” Every word out of his mouth sent my
heart into another gear. It went from being stopped to sixth gear, it was racing and I
could hear it pounding in my ears, I had no idea where he was going with this and I
usually could almost read his mind. I knew he was protective of me like a brother and I
knew he wanted to tell me something but he was struggling so hard, I had to bite my
tongue to keep from blurting out another assumption.

“Do you know what I am trying to say to you Cilla.” His voice was very low and I only
nodded no in response.

“Cilla I wanted Shelby to be you and I want to be Jesse.” Ok now I was totally confused.

“You want to be Jesse and you want me to be Shelby?” It made no sense at all to me. I
felt like he was speaking another language. It was all just nonsense to me.

“Yes.” He muttered.

“Seth I’m totally confused, what the heck are you saying, why would we want to be other
people.” I asked. We were now facing each other. And I had never seen him so nervous
and the anguish on his face worried me.

“You know to be so smart Cilla you can be really dumb sometimes, do I have to spell it
out to you?”

“Seth you have been talking for ten minutes and the only thing you have said is you
want to be Jesse and you want me to Shelby, you aren’t gay and I am so confused I
think I might just scream. Now just spit it out Seth.” I was becoming irritated at him, we
never had trouble talking to each other and he was pissing me off.
                                          ~ 13 ~

It happened so fast that I wasn’t sure it happened at all. Seth moved so quickly I was
looking at him and in the next second his lips were on mine and he was….kissing me
and not a brotherly kiss. Before I could respond he stopped and had moved back just
looking at me, my mouth dropped open. I tried to speak, say something but I swear I
couldn’t think of a word at all my mind was still in chaos from his kiss. “Well say
something Cilla, geez you’re making me feel uncomfortable here.” I just kept my mouth
open like an idiot and I was stunned.

“Why did you do that?” Finally I wasn’t a mute anymore.

“That’s what I was trying to say before, I’m making a mess out of it, but Cilla I think my
feelings for you have changed, When I was with Shelby I wanted her to be you, I
wanted to kiss you not her, and when you said that about Jesse today I realized I had to
tell you how I felt. I couldn’t stand you kissing him or anybody for that matter, I want to
be the one you kiss, and I think I am in love with you.” He said it matter-of-factly. “Say
something, you promised you wouldn’t act weird.”

“Seth, I…I…” I was at a lost for words I didn’t know what to think or feel,…”I’m not sure
what to say.” Then I felt fear, this changed everything, and I felt—angry—why he had to
ruin it, our friendship, he was the only friend I had and now he wanted to change the
rules, I reached up and slapped him, hard on the face. Tears sprung to my eyes and I
stood up turning my back to him.

“Priscilla why did you slap me.” I could hear the hurt in his voice. I felt him put his hands
on my shoulders but I shrugged them off and took a step away from him. He grabbed
my shoulders and spun me around to face him. “What are you thinking, I have spilled
my guts here Cilla please don’t make me feel so stupid. Do you hate me or what?”

“Yes I do.” I stated. But I really didn’t. “Why Seth? Why did you have to go and ruin
everything! You’re my friend, my rock that I lean on and we are more than… than that,
we are kindred spirits, but now you had to go and mess it up by saying that, you’re so
stupid.” It wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to but he had me so rattled I couldn’t
think straight.

“So you don’t feel the same way I do? I mean I am going crazy here Cilla, I have felt this
way all year about you and I had been too afraid to tell you, and I guess I was right to
think that, you obviously don’t feel the same way I do.” I didn’t know how to react he
wasn’t my Seth now, I mean he was always mine but now knowing he had these kind of
feelings about me, he didn’t feel like mine anymore.

“Seth I’m just shocked, we have been friends and now you want to change the rules, I
love you very much and you know I do but I’m not sure if I feel that way, I never thought
about it before, I need some time to think.” I knew that wasn’t entirely true, I had thought
                                           ~ 14 ~

about us being more than friends but I never would have told him and I definitely
wouldn’t risk our friendship. I knew I had hurt his feelings and it wasn’t what he wanted
to hear but it scared me and I didn’t want to deal with it right now. I also realized why he
insisted on doubling, he didn’t want me to take off on him, he was very smart, and I
would have done just that if my four-wheeler had been here.

“Priscilla I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to fall in love with you it just happened, I realized it
a couple of weeks after I started dating Shelby. When we would…you know...make out
and I wasn’t feeling it, I got worried, you know but I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t want
to mess around with her, but then one night I was at her house in her bedroom and we
were on her bed kissing and it was getting kind of intense but I felt like a robot, just
going through the motions, I was kissing her and thinking what the hell is wrong with
me.” He shook his head.” Really I had this one man conversation in my head, I was
trying to understand why when I had the hottest girl trying to get my clothes off, I just
wanted to leave and go home. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks, it was you, only you
Cilla, I wanted her to be you. I wanted you to be the one trying to get my clothes off.” I
blushed when he said that, he noticed and darted his eyes away from mine for a
second. Then he looked back at me with a very serious look on his. “When I realized it, I
just got up and left her lying there on the bed. I went straight to your house, I wanted to
tell you then but I chickened out.” He took a step closer and put his hand at the nape of
my neck and pulled me closer, I could feel his breath on my lips. My heart skipped a
beat.

 “I didn’t want to scare you, I was afraid you would tell me to leave and never come
back. I would rather love you from afar and have you in my life than to confess my love
and have you leave my life, I am in love with you Priscilla, and I just wanted you to know
it.” He placed his lips on mine again and this time I was prepared, he moved his hand
from the back of my neck to the small of my back and pressed my body against his. It
felt weird I had never kissed anyone before well if you didn’t count the first kiss Seth did
only minutes before. But I felt my self responding and I put my hand on his shoulder and
the other I touched his hair feeling the silkiness of it, I felt my body heating up and my
breathing was failing me, he deepened the kiss his lips and mine moving in a dance I
didn’t know. I was kissing him back, and we pulled back long enough to catch another
breath before we came back claiming each others lips again. As we kissed thoughts
were racing through my mind, could this work? Could we go from being best friends to
being….lovers? I already loved him and a good relationship needed to be based on
friendship and mutual interests, well we had all those covered but I felt my fears and
over active mind rising up with all kinds of what-if’s. But with him kissing me and our
bodies so close I really couldn’t keep my mind on the what-if’s.

I didn’t remember when it happened but we were now lying on the rock; we were on our
sides and our arms wrapped around each other and we hadn’t stopped kissing, I was so
                                         ~ 15 ~

confused, I knew I should stop it but I had never kissed and this was very new to me
and I was enjoying it, but I felt his hand slid down my side and he cupped it under my
bottom pulling me on top of him as he rolled on to his back. It was the reality check I
needed.

I jumped up and off him in one swift move. “I think you need to take me home.” I didn’t
meet his eyes. “Cilla what is it, did I do something wrong?” He voice was desperate
sounding. I looked up and his face was flushed and his lips red and swollen from our
long kissing session. His clothes looked wrinkled and in disarray. I looked down at my
own appearance and my cami was pushed up showing my stomach and somehow the
button to my shorts had come undone. I quickly pulled my shirt down and button my
shorts. I had to get out of here, I felt like I was suffocating I couldn’t breath.

“Just take me home Seth or I will start walking!” I was yelling but I didn’t mean to I just
had to get away—away from Seth. He took a step forward but I took two steps back, I
didn’t want him to touch me. “Ok Cilla, I’ll take you home.” He climbed on his four-
wheeler and I grabbed my hoodie pulling it on, the sun was almost behind the mountain
and it was getting cool. I climbed on behind him but this time I didn’t wrap my arms
around his waist instead I held on to the metal rack I didn’t want my body touching his.

The ride home took forever it seemed, and not once did I allow our bodies to touch, I
kept a safe distance from him and I was now completely sitting on the metal rack and I
knew my butt would be bruised. I just wanted to get home and away from Seth so I
could think clearly. He had thrown me for a loop and I wasn’t sure of the out come. Seth
pulled into my driveway and circled behind the house to put the four-wheeler up. I
jumped off before he could come to a complete stop. I heard him call my name but I
ignored him and ran into the house and went straight to my room.

I felt the tears stinging my eyes and I wanted to throw something, scream anything to
get all these screwed up emotions out of my head. I knew what I needed, I needed Avril,
she had a song that fit my mood and it was my therapy, she was my own personal
therapist. I grabbed my MP3 player shoved the buds in my ears and turned the volume
all the way up:”Tomorrow” was playing, perfect. She always knew what to say to help
me through my problems. I silently sung along with Avril feeling the deep emotions she
sung about. I also played the scene with Seth over and over in my head it was so out of
left field that I felt my world had been jerked out from under me. My rock my one source
of stability and my best friend had turned on me, I didn’t like change, I wanted
everything to keep on going the way it was. My what-if list was long and flashing before
my eyes, what if our love affair didn’t last long, would we still be friends? What if it did
last, did I want to marry Seth? I never really thought about marriage, I just wanted to go
to college and I always assumed I would meet someone there. There wasn’t a boy in
                                          ~ 16 ~

Greenway that gave me a second look and I wasn’t interested in any of them Seth was
the only guy that I even liked to be around.

 My father’s death had sent me spiraling into an endless fall and it was Seth that kept
me from losing control and completely freaking out, and now what did I do, my rock had
sent me down that same terrible path and I didn’t know how to get my bearings straight
again. I felt a hand touch my arm and it scared the crap out of me, my eyes flew open
expecting to see my mom but it was Seth’s steel blue eyes instead. I pulled the buds out
of my ears, “What are you doing, trying to give me a heart attack?” I got off the bed and
threw my player on my desk I wasn’t prepared to see him so soon, I assumed he would
go home.

“Cilla I can’t leave things like this, you hating me we have to talk about this.” I felt
smothered in my room he was closing in on my little bit of sanity that I had, I couldn’t
deal with him right now. “Seth please I think you need to go home, I can’t do this.” I
wiped the tears that had slipped down my cheeks. I didn’t want him to see me crying. I
turned to face him and my heart melted he was my Seth, my best friend, but yet I could
see the longing in his eyes and I felt betrayed by him, I felt conspired against. I knew he
didn’t mean to hurt me but he did and I didn’t trust him, I didn’t trust myself, it was too
easy being with him.

“Listen I know I totally screwed everything up, I’m not stupid but Cilla I’m not going to be
around you much this summer and I didn’t want my feelings….I was afraid you might
meet someone while I am busy this summer and I just wanted you to know how I felt
about you, just in case you might feel the same way.” I wanted to comfort him, that’s
what we did, I’d comfort him and vice versa but now everything was different, if I went to
hug him would he try and kiss me again? Would I kiss him back? I squeezed my eyes
shut I felt torn now, I felt like I had Seth my friend and Seth….this walking raging
hormone that wanted to get me in bed; it was very strange.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, “Seth I don’t hate you, but I don’t know how to
feel and I don’t want to talk about it, I’ve never thought about…us…that…way before, I
need to think, I need time….alone, if you can give me that, I will call you when I’m ready
to talk, is this ok, can you accept that?” I felt light headed, my room was swaying a little
and I wanted him out of my room. He had professed feelings that I had secretly thought
about and having them out in the open made me feel vulnerable. Seth had spent
thousands of hours in my room, he had even spent the night sleeping on my floor, we
just had that kind of relationship but now I felt smothered with him in here, he was too
close.

“Yes I can accept that but I want you to promise me that you will call me, don’t shut me
out. I will be leaving for camp in the morning and I will be gone for ten days, I won’t call
                                         ~ 17 ~

you, I will give you this time to think about…us and when I get home I will call you. Ok?”
I knew Seth better than I did myself but at this very moment he was a complete stranger
to me.

“That’s fine just don’t call me or text me or e-mail me, ok, just let me think.” My voice
was failing I sounded out of breath. Then I quit breathing, Seth came across the room in
two large steps and he was inches from me, he lifted my chin up so I was looking up
into his eyes. He smiled my favorite smile the one I had grown used to over the years
and I smiled back. “I want to hug you bye Cilla and that’s it—unless you want something
else?” He smirked. He knew what I knew, that I had totally responded to his last kiss
and he was hoping for a repeat performance, well that was NOT going to happen.

“A hug would be fine, but anything other than your arms will be broken off if it comes
near me.” I laughed and so did he, at least we could still laugh together. He put his arms
around my neck and mine went around his waist he rested his chin on top of my head
and it felt good. We stood there motionless, neither of us willing to break the embrace, I
think we both knew it would never be the same between us again, it felt like a good-bye
hug, and not the good kind but the kind when it felt as if you would never see that
person again. Finally I made the move first, I released my hold on his waist and it took a
few more seconds for him to let me go, he let his head drop and put his lips near my
ear, “I really do love you Priscilla.” He kissed my cheek quickly and literally ran out of
my room. I stood there frozen, then I felt the floor give way and I fell into a black hole.
                                           ~ 18 ~

                                         Chapter 2



It wasn’t until I felt my mom shaking me and hollering my name that I realized I fainted; I
had never fainted before. “Mom quit yelling I am awake, I’m fine.” My arms ached from
her grasp; she was shaking the crap out of me.

“Priscilla oh sweetie what happened? Seth came running down the stairs and left
without telling me bye and then I hear this huge loud thump, I didn’t know what was
happening.” My poor mother was so dramatic, I’m sure I scared another ten years off
her life when she came up here to find me passed out on the floor.

“I fainted mom no big deal ok let’s just forget it.” I stood up and the room swayed slightly
causing me to stumble, mom caught my arm and led me to the bed sitting me down and
then she grabbed my cell phone, I grabbed it before she could dial any numbers.”Just
who are you calling mom?” She squatted down so she was eye level with me she
placed her hand on my forehead, “I am going to call the doctor and see if she can come
out here and check you out.” I jerked back from her touch and rolled over getting up off
the bed on the opposite side from her. “Absolutely not, mom, I am fine you are not going
to call Dr. Dale, I just had a fight with Seth and it left me feeling a little woozy, I am fine,
now. I’m going to take a shower and go to bed, good night.”

Mom’s mouth fell open and her hands went straight to her hips, good lord not that,
“Fight? You and Seth had a fight? What about?” I had always been truthful with my
mom and I didn’t think I needed to change that now, but I never thought about her
asking questions she never pried into my private business. “Mom that is between Seth
and I, it‘s nothing really just a different view on a situation, that’s all.” It wasn’t
technically a lie I just left out info she didn’t need to know about.

“Priscilla Joseph Tillman”, I was shocked I hadn’t heard her use my middle name since
dad died, “you and Seth have been friends for seventeen years and I know that you two
have never ever had a fight, now what has happened and this time I want the whole
truth.” I had not seen my mom so…forceful before it was kind of nice; she really seemed
like a mom at the moment. Prying into my business, I debated for about three seconds
on whether I should confess all. But now that Seth was the problem I needed someone
to talk to about it and mom was the next best thing to Seth.

“Ok but I don’t want your advice or opinions unless I ask for them, can you handle that?”
I wasn’t being mean or disrespectful to my mother I just needed to lay the rules down
before I confided in her. “Yes I can do that.” She answered sincerely.
                                           ~ 19 ~

“Seth told me that he is in love with me and he kissed me today, twice. I told him I
needed time to think and he’s not supposed to call me, I will let him know when I am
ready to talk to him again.” I smiled real big. “Wow mom that was great thanks for
listening and good night.” I leaned over and placed a kiss on her cheek and jumped up
to go to the bathroom, my mom was quicker she jumped in front of me and blocked my
doorway. “Not so fast young lady, I feel I have missed out on a few details. When and
where did all this happen, and what did you say?”

“Mom I really don’t want to talk about it right now.” Her look stopped me from protesting
any further. “The first kiss happened so fast I didn’t have time to react and then he told
me he has been in love with me for the whole school year. He apologized for it and then
he wanted to know how I felt.” She raised her hand up and motioned for more. “I
slapped him in the face and then the next kiss, I kissed him back, I mean we kind of
really kissed, you know, and then I stopped it and demanded that he bring me home.” I
twirled around and grabbed something to sleep in and headed to the shower.

“Wait! You slapped him and then you kissed him back, are you crazy Priscilla. Why
aren’t you happy about his? Seth has been you friend for your whole life he knows you
better than anyone else. He accepts you for who you are, what is the problem?” Well I
didn’t have to wonder anymore what mom would think about it, she was obviously
thrilled. That irritated me even more. Was there something wrong with me?

“Mom please don’t put any pressure on me about this, I told Seth I would think about it
and I will.” She opened her mouth and I placed my hand over it before it could spout
anymore of her ideas and thoughts.

I walked past her and ran to the bathroom, I turned on the water and let the tub fill up. I
went to vanity and brushed my teeth, took down my hair and combed the tangles out. I
stared at the quirky and unusual looking girl in the mirror. I wasn’t the kind of girl that
obsessed about my looks but I always thought my eyes were way to large and my
mouth seemed just a bit too wide for my face and then there was my hair. My hair hung
nearly to my waist and I never cut it off for a couple of reasons; firstly my dad loved my
long hair and secondly if I cut it I would have to take the time to actually fix it by keeping
it long I just washed it and braided it, it was simpler. I wasn’t what I would call a beautiful
person but when I entered high school I had a few boys approach me for dates and they
flirted with me but I never gave them a second glance, I was there to learn and get good
grades, I wanted to go to college and boys was something I didn’t need, a distraction. I
never felt comfortable around boys except for Seth and I didn’t really think of him as a
boy just my Seth, my friend. Well this afternoon certainly changed all that he was
definitely a boy to me now, I thought about the kiss and my lips still tingled a little from it.
                                          ~ 20 ~

But what did he see in me, I knew I wasn’t beautiful, I wasn’t ugly but I was no Shelby
Greenway, my hair color was that crappie blond, dishwater blond some people would
say and I had green eyes, now I liked my eyes because they were the exact same color
as my dads but maybe Seth hit his head one too many times in football and had brain
damage that would certainly explain his behavior today. I didn’t have low self esteem
but I just accepted me for who I was and I was honest with myself, I was very plain and
there was absolutely nothing extraordinary about me or my life. I wanted something to
happen, I loved Seth but as a friend. I always knew that when I met the man I would
love forever it would hit me like a bolt of lighting, he wouldn’t have to tell me about it and
I certainly wouldn’t have to think about it either. No I already knew I wasn’t in love with
Seth, I’m sure it wasn’t going to be easy to tell him and I knew it would change our
relationship forever but I couldn’t lie to him. He deserved the truth.

I climbed in the tub and let the hot water sooth my troubles away, when it came to
bubble baths I was all girl. I would be eighteen in three months, and by then I would
already have started my senior year in high school, adult hood was knocking on my
door and I was a bit scared. I enjoyed my childhood I didn’t want to hurry and grow up
like other teenagers did, maybe because most teenagers felt smothered by their parents
but I didn’t I had freedom I was more scared about the unknown about being on my
own. By Seth confessing his feelings to me today it only confirmed my worst fears
things would change but I never dreamed that Seth and I wouldn’t always be best
friends that was the one thing I knew would never change I would always have that but
now I realized that nothing was certain. I tried to forget about my disastrous afternoon
with Seth, I still couldn’t believe what he told me today, I thought of the girls at school
who would give their cell phones away to have Seth say that he loved them but I wasn’t
one of them and I felt very guilty. Seth would be good to me that I was sure of and I
probably could take the safe route and stay with him as long as we lived and have a
happy life but I wanted more; I wanted a guy that was extraordinarily different, someone
very different than any guy in Greenway County. Right? An old saying came to mind,
“be careful what you wish for” but was I wishing for something I would regret?

I sighed loudly, I would never have that guy, and I was too ordinary and plain to attract
anything but. But Seth was definitely not the guy for me, right, I wanted to scream he
had me doubting myself, I didn’t trust my own mind now. I got out of the bath and
dressed for bed, climbing in the bed my butt ached, I was very sore from my ride but
summer officially started tomorrow and I was going to sleep in and hope for a great time
even if Seth had ruined it and he wasn’t even going to be around much, I had no idea
what I was going to do. There had not been a day since we were babies that we didn’t
see or talk to each other, my future was uncertain and instead of fear I was beginning to
get excited, who knows maybe I will meet someone new and begin a new chapter in my
life.
                                         ~ 21 ~

I opened my eyes and smiled the bright sunlight poured into my room, yeah, time to
start a new summer and I knew exactly what I wanted to do first. I glanced at my
tormenter on my desk and stuck my tongue out at it, the clock said eleven forty-two,
wow I couldn’t believe I slept that late, I was even more in shock that mom let me sleep
in. I got up and went down stairs to the kitchen mom left me a note on the counter telling
me where she was and how long she would be gone; she went to Knoxville to a fabric
store and would be back around seven pm, she took Sally with her call her cell if I
needed anything; to the point. I smiled I was alone and I had all day to do what I
wanted. I was very excited, I went and got my CD’s and put all three Avril CD’s in
mom’s stereo and turned the volume to max. I grabbed my favorite chocolate cereal and
made myself a huge bowl; I sat on the counter and ate. No one here to tell me to get
down and sit at the table, I felt giddy and silly. I sang at the top of my lungs to all the
songs I threw my bowl in the sink and danced around the house, tidy up a bit before I
headed out for the day. I completely locked away yesterday’s events, I wasn’t going to
think about Seth or the kiss or his stupid confession, to quote a southern belle “I’ll think
about that tomorrow.”

I packed a cooler with water and sodas, threw some candy bars in for a snack. Grabbed
my sketch pad and all the accessories, my camera, and a blanket to lie on, I might just
nap while I was there. I glanced around touching my pockets checking to see if I had
everything I needed for the day, I had my watch on, and cell phone in my pocket I was
ready to rock and roll. I jumped on my four-wheeler and headed out to the old Hickory
Cemetery; I couldn’t wait to get there and check it out, it was my favorite.

It was bit of a ride; it took almost twenty minutes to get to the cemetery. I eased through
the woods on the old worn out trail, it was hard to navigate because not many people
use it, so I had to go much slower to avoid being hit in the face with an overgrown limb. I
then saw it, it was so odd to be in a thick overgrown forest and then you ease into an
open area in the mountains that didn’t have any trees. There was an old man from town
that came up once a week to keep the grass cut, it looked beautiful and peaceful, I
figured it must be seventy-five feet one way and maybe forty the other, it wasn’t very big
but it had the oldest headstones; that I knew of in the county. I parked along the edge
careful not to make any marks on the grass. I decided I would count the headstones
and rock markers, I was curious how many graves were here.

I started on the left with pencil and paper in hand and began the long task of counting.
When I reached thirty I was surprised I didn’t really expect anymore than twenty-five, my
estimation was way off. Ten minutes later I finished on the opposite end; forty-two, wow
that was more than I thought. I drew a diagram of the cemetery and set out
documenting each and every grave; their names, death dates. That’s when I heard
something move in the woods, it caused me to turn quickly I strained to see but nothing
appeared out of the ordinary, I turned back to my paper to finish my project. I jerked my
                                          ~ 22 ~

head around another loud noise came from the woods and I thought I heard moaning.
That peaked my interest I laid my paper and pencil down and went to the edge of the
grass to where I thought I heard the noise coming from.

I thought of my mom and how she would have a fit if she knew how secluded this place
was, no one for miles and I didn’t have cell phone service either, but I didn’t have any
fear I found this place very peaceful. But the noise had me a bit concerned, not from
some perverted human but it could be a wild animal, I had nothing to defend myself
with, I spotted a falling branch and I picked it up; I could get a few good hits in with this
large stick. I stepped into the edge of the woods I listened but I couldn’t hear anything
but birds and my own labored breathing my heart was picking up and causing my
breathing to accelerate, I was more scared than I thought. “Cilla you are hearing things.”
I chimed to myself. I started to drop my weapon and go back to what I was doing but the
loud moan stopped me dead in my tracks. The hair on the back of my neck stood on
end; that was definitely not my imagination.

“Hello?” I wanted to clamp my hand over my mouth, why the heck did I do that, it could
be some idiot luring me for the kill. I strained to look deeper into the thick woods but I
couldn’t see any movement. I held my breath listening after about a minute I thought I
was losing my mind; my imagination was playing tricks on me. I took a much needed
breath and decided I was an idiot, “I’m crazy.” Again I froze the moaning was coming
again and with it some movement I could hear the rustling of old dead leaves and limbs
cracking under some kind of pressure.

I couldn’t help it; I was moving toward the sounds, like some kind of death wish, there
was an invisible force pulling me towards the sounds. Then as I made my way forward
the moving seem to pick up and I could hear someone or something grunting and
moaning, my interest was peaked, I had to find the source of this.

“He…..hello? Is someone there?” I was barely speaking above a whisper. I turned my
ear toward the direction of the movement; waiting and listening, then again I heard it.

“Hey I have a gun and I am not afraid to use it, now show yourself!” I hollered that last
part I wanted to sound confident but my voice was shaky and I was scared to death. I
thought of mom and Seth. Seth would be so upset with me if he knew how foolish and
reckless I was being he said I didn’t have the good sense god gave a goose when it
came to my own self preservation. I was just too curious not to investigate. Curiosity
killed the cat went through my mind as I inched closer.

I knew I was closer the sounds were much louder now and I froze again I saw some
movement ahead, maybe ten feet from where I was standing. I leaned over peering, to
trying to figure out what I was seeing. I heard another moan and the form was moving I
could clearly see something was there. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, now
                                          ~ 23 ~

or never; I said to myself, and I just held the stick tighter bringing it over my shoulder
ready to strike whatever was there.

I took three big steps and I was there looking down but I wasn’t sure what I was seeing,
there were leaves and debris covering something but there was a large shape there. I
took my stick and jabbed the form very hard and I heard another grunt, my heart was
now beating so fast I could barely hear anything of above the pounding in my ears.
Once again I poked the shape and then it moved, I still couldn’t make out what it was; I
squatted down to take a better look and then I saw eyes, two large deep chocolate
brown eyes, the scream that came out of my mouth echoed around the woods.

I fell on my butt and let out another loud scream. The form was now rising up, it looked
to be eight feet tall, I tried to get away, I was doing a backwards crabwalk and getting no
where fast, the form took a step towards me. It moved quickly and was standing directly
over me, it was covered in mud, dirt and leaves I couldn’t tell who or what it was. It just
stood there looking down at me; I thought of big-foot and every childhood monster
talked about, the only thing I could make out was two large brown eyes. Then it
hunched down and turned its head to one side, just like it was trying to figure out who I
was. Finally I spoke, “Please don’t hurt me.” I begged. Then it stretched out a claw I
assumed, I wasn’t sure, I felt its claw touch my arm, then I fell into a black hole; again.

I heard sounds, birds chirping, I could hear movement again, then I felt something cold
touch my face, it stroked my cheek sending chills down my body. I didn’t want to open
my eyes. Then another stroke to the cheek and more chills, I finally opened my eyes
and I was staring into those huge chocolate brown eyes. But this time there was a face,
a human face. I jerked up into a sitting position and this man was just squatting and
staring back at me. I jumped up to run but he was very quick he grabbed my arm and
wouldn’t let me leave I started screaming but his hand clamped over my mouth I could
taste dirt, his other arm wrapped around my body and held me close to his, my heart
was jumping out of my chest, I was going to die. “Shhh!, I’m not going to hurt you.” I
went motionless he spoke and his voice sounded smooth and gentle, I realized that this
man was no man at all, he was much younger I could tell.

He loosened his grip and took his hand from my mouth, “Please don’t scream again.” I
shook my head no in response. “I am going to release you, but please don’t run, I will
only catch you again, ok?” His voice and hot breath was only inches from my right ear. I
nodded yes. He let go and I stumbled forward, I caught myself on a little tree to keep
from falling over. I turned slowly around to face this person, and what I found shocked
me. He wasn’t from Greenway I was sure of that, he was very tall but not eight feet,
more like six probably. He had washed some of the dirt that covered his body and was
wearing a shirt and pants. I could clearly see him, and he had a young face, his hair
was long touching his shoulders and parted in the middle, he had each side behind his
                                           ~ 24 ~

ears. His skin appeared to be olive colored but he still had a lot of dried dirt I wasn’t sure
exactly the shade of his skin. His hair color matched his eyes chocolate brown. He
was…. beautiful.

I stood there dumb struck, he was looking at me, his eyes penetrating into my soul, and
it felt that way. I felt naked in front of him. We stood there staring at each other silently, I
wasn’t sure what to say and then I thought introductions might be the proper thing to do
so I stuck out my hand, “Hi, I am Priscilla Joseph Tillman, but everyone calls me Cilla.” I
spoke so fast that it came out as one long word. My hand hung in the air he made no
attempt to shake it, I suddenly felt very foolish and jerked it back down. He turned his
head to the side again and it reminded me of a puppy, how they tilt their heads from
side to side when you make funny noises.

“You know that’s very rude, you shouldn’t stare.” I blurted it out before I could stop
myself.

“You’re staring too.” He replied. I took a step forward adjusting my weight and he took a
step back, like I was going to touch him. It caused me to gasp, it felt insulting.

“I wasn’t going to...to touch you, aw, I’m leaving and you can go to….where ever it is
that you come from!” I didn’t mean to yell but he made me feel irritated and I felt insulted
by his lack of manners. I took two steps to leave and he held his hand up to stop me
and I did.

“Wait, don’t go, I’m not…….” Before he could finish he groaned and grabbed his side
and fell flat on his face. I stood there stunned, I hesitated and then I dropped to my
knees and rolled him over on his back it took some effort he felt like he weighed two
hundred pounds. He was out cold. I stared debating on what to do, and then I decided
to raise his shirt and look at his side, maybe he was hurt. Every move I made I did very
slowly, I touched his shirt and paused to see if he would open his dark eyes, then I
slowly raised his shirt and I paused again still nothing. I looked down and saw nothing
and then I leaned over his stomach to get a look at the other side and there it was; the
source of his moaning he had a huge gash in his side, it looked infected, it was actually
very large in size and appeared to be rather deep.

It was full of dirt and dried leaves, it was very ghastly. It needed to be cleaned and I was
sure he would need some antibiotics to heal the infection. I thought of the bottles of
water in my cooler and I ran to get all three of them, I was afraid when I returned he
would be gone, but I was back and he hadn’t moved an inch. This time I got on the side
of his injury and I opened a bottle of water and poured a little letting it run down over the
gash. I needed something to wipe it with, I pulled my t-shirt off, I always wore a cami
under my shirts. I wet my shirt and began to rub the gash trying to remove some of the
dirt that had embedded into it. Still he hadn’t moved. I needed tweezers so I could
                                         ~ 25 ~

extract some of the dirt that seems to be lodged into his wound. I thought I could run
home and get a pair of tweezers and other supplies to clean him up a bit but I knew he
would be gone. I sat there, thinking on what I should do. I tried one more time with
water, I poured it over the wound and took my shirt rubbing it, I was getting frustrated
nothing would come out of the nasty looking gash. I huffed loudly.

“Crap, why won’t the junk move.” I spoke to myself. The boy moved and I fell back on
my butt again. He moved his head from side to side moaning and his hand went to his
side touching the gash. I instantly grabbed his wrist, “No don’t touch it you will make it
worse.” He didn’t appear to be fully conscious, he looked feverish and I felt of his
forehead and he was burning up, he was very hot with fever, what the heck am I going
to do. I needed to get him to a doctor but how? I couldn’t lift him this way he was too
heavy.

“Hey, hey can you hear me? I need to get you on my four-wheeler, but I will need your
help.” His eyes fluttered but never fully opened. I leaned next to his ear. “Hey guy, boy,
hey I need you to wake up and help me.” I whispered. I poked his shoulder and then I
nudged it, nothing this guy was dead to the world. Then he grabbed me and threw me
onto my back and straddled me on my stomach. His eyes looked like wild and then he
realized it was me, he blinked several times. “I’m sorry…I thought…” He couldn’t speak
he was so sick. But he was conscious so I had to strike before he fainted again.

“Listen you need some help, medicine, I can take you to a doctor in town, but I need you
to help me get you to my four-wheeler, ok.” I waited for him to acknowledge my request.

“No, I can’t go to a doctor but I will let you help me.” He answered.

“ME! I am not a doctor I wouldn’t know what to do, I don’t have anything here to help
you. I could go to my house and get a few things but…..hey why don’t I take you home
with me. I could help you there.” My idea caught me off guard, my mom would kill me,
she would never let him stay, she hated it when I brought home stray animals, I didn’t
think a stray boy would be any better.

He looked puzzled and he was thinking I could see that in his eyes. “I don’t know it
might not be a good idea. I will wait you bring the stuff here.” He groaned again and
doubled over in pain, his forehead now rested on my shoulder he hadn’t got off of me
yet. My skin burned beneath it he had a high fever. He was shivering and trembling. I
whispered in his ear that was only inches from my face. “Let me take you home and
take care of you, please.” He lifted his head and stared into my eyes, his big beautiful
brown eyes, I held my breath, and my heart skipped a beat. I could feel his hot breath
on my mouth; I thought he was going to kiss me, his lips only an inch or so from mine. I
felt…excited.
                                           ~ 26 ~

“Ok.” He said, then he got off of me and I felt cold, his body heat had warmed me up
and now without him I felt very cold. I stood up next to him and he towered over my five
foot two inch frame, he put his arm over my shoulder and leaned on me he weight was
excruciating but I tried not to show it. My four-wheeler was only twenty feet from where I
found him but it took three or four minutes to get him there and on the back of my four-
wheeler. He was getting sicker by the minute he looked far worse than he did only
minutes earlier.

“Now just lean against me ok, and I will try to go slow and not jar you too much but if
you need to stop and rest just say something, ok?” He was already leaning on me as
soon as I got on. “Thank you.” He murmured. It felt good to have his warmth on me
again it was hot outside but his body against mine felt….good. I glanced at my watch, it
was four o’clock exactly, that meant I had plenty of time to get home and figure out
where to hide him before mom got home. I just hoped I didn’t pass anyone on the way.

It took twice as long to get home than it normally would because I went very slow
avoiding all the bumps and dips in the road as best as I could. But still he moaned with
every bump I did hit, he was leaning on me more and more, I thought he had even
passed out a couple of times. He wrapped his long arms around me. I was excited, this
felt like an adventure, what a way to start the summer. While everyone else would hang
out at the pool or going on marathon mall trips, I had a gorgeous mysterious boy to take
home and nurture back to health, I thought I was the luckiest girl in Greenway. My
instincts should have been to run and not look back but I didn’t think or work like a
normal person would, I was different and I didn’t need anyone to tell me that. I didn’t fit
in anywhere but that was ok too, if fitting in meant that I would be a robot like the girls at
school than I’d rather be different.

It was almost five o’clock when I reached my driveway and thankfully I didn’t see a soul.
I raced around the house to hide us from anyone that might pass by my house. I pulled
into the garage and shut the door quickly, thank goodness for automatic garage door
openers. His weight was killing my back, “Hey are you awake.” He exhaled slowly.
“Yes.” He answered. “Ok I am going to get up now, don’t fall off.” I said.

I eased off and tried to help hold him up. He could barely hold any of his weight now, I
was getting worried he looked terrible and very pale. I put his long arm around my neck
and he swung his leg over and slid off. I nearly dropped him but I strained to get him on
his feet. We made it through the door and I locked it back. We got to the back door and I
let him lean against the house while I unlocked the door. We got through that door too
and I took him and sat him at the kitchen table.”Stay here and let me get a few things
done and I will be back to get you.” I told him. He laid his head on the table while I
locked the door. I hurried to check for messages, good lord there was four, and I knew
they would all be from mom.
                                          ~ 27 ~

I patiently waited to listen to them. The first three was her asking me to call as soon as I
got home and the last one was asking me where the heck I was and her franticly
insisting that I call.

I picked up the phone and dialed her cell phone. “Hello.” Mom’s voice sounded frantic.

“Mom hey what’s up?” I tried to be casual.

“Where have you been Cilla, I have called all day.”

“Mom I went to Hickory Cemetery, I told you that , didn’t I?” I heard her sigh heavily.

“I forgot. Well I wanted to ask you if you care if I stayed over here with Sally, she wants
to go on to Sevierville and go to some shops over there. So she suggested that we get
a room and save a trip back home.” I thought there must be a fairy godmother, and she
was dropping her magic on me, perfect I wouldn’t have to hide my new…friend.

“Yes! I mean great mom, you have fun and I will be fine don’t worry about me.” I
sounded a bit too excited.

“Are you sure Cilla, I hate to leave you all alone.” She sounded worried but I knew she
was excited to be having fun she had very little of that in her life since dad died and
Sally was the only friend she had.

“Mom stay and have fun, I will be fine don’t worry about me and I will call you later and
say good night. I love you.” I added.

“Ok sweetie I love you too, bye.” I sighed with relief. I didn’t feel so panicked now that I
knew she wouldn’t be coming home. I turned to look at the boy in my house. I should
feel fear but again I didn’t have normal instincts. He hadn’t moved his head still lying on
the table. I went over and took a sit next to him and he raised his head up and I was
shocked how sick he looked. “Listen that was my mom and she won’t be home tonight,
so we don’t have to worry about anyone coming here.” I bit my lip pondering on what to
do first, he needed a good hot bath.

“Ok first I think you should take a shower and clean up and I will get the first aid kit and
try and fix you up.” I felt anxious.

“A shower would be great.” His voice was sounding weak. I helped him up and his feet
now scooted across the floor, I looked down his feet were bare, how odd he had no
shoes on. I hadn’t noticed before. To keep from having to climb the stairs I took him to
my mom’s bathroom. I sit him on the toilet while I got the shower going and I got out two
towels and a wash cloth. I didn’t know what else he would need, and then I remembered
my dad’s toiletry bag was in the linen closet, mom hadn’t been able to go through his
stuff yet. All his clothes were still hung in the closet and folded neatly in the drawers.
                                          ~ 28 ~

I grabbed it and unzipped it dumping everything on to the vanity top; seeing his stuff and
smelling the aftershave and cologne brought up painful memories. I took a deep breath
and cleared my head. “Listen there is some guy stuff on the counter use whatever you
need and of course there is shampoo and soap in the shower, so I guess I will go.” I
turned to leave but spun around. “Do you need any help getting…undressed and in the
shower? I mean I can close my eyes, I wouldn’t look.” I felt my face burn hot, I was
blushing.

He smiled; I sucked in my breath he had a huge beautiful smile, “I think I can manage.”
He replied. I felt stupid for suggesting it. I hurried out of the room and shut the door but I
couldn’t leave, I put my ear to the door listening to what he was doing. I could hear him
moving around and grunting I knew he must be in a lot of pain. I didn’t hear him
approach the door; I just tumbled into the room when he yanked the door open. He
caught me before I could fall to the floor. I was totally mortified; he must think I am some
kind of freakish pervert. I slowly raised my head and I was face to face with him. We just
stared at each other, I was too embarrassed to speak and I didn’t know what he was
thinking. He held me close and I made no effort to free myself from his arms, he felt
good. I shook my head and realized I needed to back up he was too close.
“Um…I…was…just...did you need something?” I would just pretend he didn’t catch me
trying to spy on him.

“Yes…a toothbrush.” He requested with amusement I thought. I just continued to stare;
he had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen.

“Toothbrush?” His raised his eyebrows.

“Ahh, yea….in the top drawer over there, are extra ones. New ones.” I stammered out.
He stood there not moving and I realized he was waiting for me to leave. I was waiting
for my feet to move but they didn’t seem to want to. I blinked and finally I was thinking
clearly and I left in a hurry tripping over my own feet. He shut the door and I took a deep
breath. “Get a grip.” I whispered.

I went to the cabinet in the kitchen where mom kept the first aid kit and got it down and
sat down at the table. I opened it and plundered through it trying to determine what I
would need; I found peroxide, alcohol, triple antibiotic cream, and some gauze and tape.
I went and opened the junk drawer and looked for tweezers, I knew I had seen them in
there before. Frustrated I yanked the drawer open farther dumping everything in it on
the floor. I cursed under my breath. Well there they was, at least I accomplished
something. I took them over and placed them on the table next to my other stuff. I went
back and began picking up all the junk that was all over the floor, throwing it back into
the drawer. I was making so much noise I didn’t hear my guest come into the kitchen.
                                          ~ 29 ~

He cleared his throat, my head jerked up at the unexpected sound and I nearly fainted;
again. There stood my guest in a towel, he had it wrapped around his waist, dear lord I
had quit breathing he was gorgeous and very….. naked. I just gawked at him, his body
was perfect, his muscles very defined, he had a six-pack, the kind every teenage boy
longed for and his face was beautiful I had never seen a beautiful boy before but
handsome didn’t do him justice. He was clean now and I could see his face, wow was
my only thought.

“Yea, yes….what.” Could I sound anymore stupid but he left me feeling a bit
overwhelmed.

“I hate to ask but I need some clothes. Mine are dirty.” He didn’t look uncomfortable at
all, he looked so natural standing there practically naked. I was very uncomfortable, I
seen naked chests before at school, when the guys at school would play basketball
outside they would remove their shirts, but none of them looked like this, and not in my
house alone with me.

“Sure, umm….yea, come with me and I will get you some.” I walked around the other
side of the table to avoid being too close to him. I wanted to run out the door and keep
running. This is not who I am, I don’t get tongue-tied around a cute guy. I don’t gawk at
them the way Shelby Greenway and her little immature friends did when Seth or
another good-looking guy went by. But here I was blushing and making a complete fool
of myself just because this stranger happened to be….the most gorgeous guy I had
ever seen. I could feel my heart race every time he was close by and seeing him in that
towel just stopped my heart completely.

I went to my father’s closet and rummaged through his clothes trying to find something
suitable for a young guy. I found an old pair of his sweat pants and his old college t-
shirt, I turned to hand them to him but he looked a bit disappointed in my choice.

“Sorry but you are a lot larger than my dad and I don’t think his jeans would fit.”

“No this is fine….actually this will be perfect, thank you very much for all your kindness.”
He seemed to concentrate on every word that came out of his mouth, he spoke very
slowly. I noticed beads of sweat had popped out on his forehead and looked a little faint.

“Are you ok?” He moved to the bed and sat down and dropped his head down rested it
in his hands. “No I don’t feel very well.” I got on my knees and peered up at him his
eyes were shut I felt his face and his fever must have went up he was burning up.

“Just put on the sweats I need to look at your side before you put a shirt on.” He nodded
in agreement. “I will wait in the kitchen.”
                                            ~ 30 ~

I sat at the table and he entered the kitchen just a few seconds behind me. I jumped up
and had him take my seat. I tried to look at his side but it was difficult at this angle, I
needed him to lie down, I hesitated before I suggested it.

“Do you think you could climb the stairs? It would be easier if you were lying down I
could get a better look.” I kept looking all over the kitchen I wanted to look anywhere but
in his eyes and his most awesome chest. “Yea I think I can.” His speech was slower and
his breathing had become labored. He was trying to hide how much pain he was really
in.

I lead the way and he followed a bit slow, his movements became very hesitant, I could
tell his side was hurting more. I took him to my room and I cringed when I saw what a
mess it was in. I hurried and shoved everything off my bed and pulled back the sheet
and thin blanket. When he turned to lie down I saw he was bleeding and it looked
painful. He sat down very slow and then I helped him raise his legs up on the bed. The
gash began on the front just below his rib cage and curled around to his back. “I think
you need to get on your side.” I said. And he rolled over which put him facing me, he
smelled good, he was so clean now and I could see how much worse his gash really
was, most of the dirt and debris had come out in the shower but there was still a bit
more that needed to be extracted.

I had grabbed all my stuff before we came up, I reached for the tweezers first. “Now this
may hurt a little but I will try to be very careful. I need to get the rest of the dirt out of it
before I continue.” He looked at me with an anxious expression. “It’ll be ok just do what
you need to, I can handle it.” He closed his eyes. That helped my concentration more,
his eyes were very distracting. I took a deep breath and leaned in very close so I could
grab the debris and not flesh. I took the tweezers and pinch down on what appeared to
be a small splinter and I yanked it out. I gasped and he yelled out and his hand clamped
down on my shoulder. I looked at what I pulled out and couldn’t believe it, it was at least
three or four inches long. My eyes darted to his and I could see the pain there. “I’m
sorry I didn’t mean to scare you it just hurt more than I expected.” His face was twisted
in pain. “Don’t worry, I didn’t know it would be that deep I thought it was little, I will be
more careful.” I assured him.

He never flinched again after that but it took only a few minutes to clean it up and I
finished washing it with peroxide and then the alcohol I put a small amount of the
antibiotic cream on the gauze and covered it and taped it down good and tight. I let out
a huge sigh. I was done. He opened his eyes and had a look of relief as well.

“It probably needed stitches but I guessed that was out of the question?”

“Yes, I don’t think it would be a good idea, they would ask too many questions.” He
replied.
                                         ~ 31 ~

“Speaking of questions I have a few, first what is your name?” I went and pulled my
desk chair over and sat next to the bed; waiting patiently for my answer.

“My name isn’t important, the less you know about me the better it will be.” His face
became severe. He might be the most gorgeous guy I had seen but he was also a bit
rude. This brought out my own anger. “Excuse me, I have gone out of my way to help
you and I don’t even get a name. I think that’s the rudest thing I have ever heard.”

“I’m sorry I don’t mean to be impolite it’s just that……I’m not prepared to answer
questions right at this moment. I’m in a lot of pain and I would like to sleep some and
then I will be on my way.” He tried to sound nice but I could still detect a bit of
antagonism in his voice, I didn’t know what I had done to make him irritated but I sure
wasn’t going to sit here and take it.

“Well by all means sleep, don’t let me get in your way.” I yanked the covers over him
and jerked my chair out and put it back. My temper was boiling over; he had to be the
most ungrateful person ever. I looked at him lying in my bed and I wanted to dump him
right out on his rude butt. I took a deep breath I started to give another piece of my mind
but I decided to just leave.

I sat outside on the porch pouting, and stewing in my anger. I expected all kinds of
gratitude; I didn’t expect such hostility. He was definitely being hostile to me after I
asked his name. I wondered why? Was he a fugitive running from the law, or maybe a
serial killer trying to hide out in the mountains? I sat there with my arms crossed letting
my imagination run away. I watched the sun set over the mountain and it was still very
light out; the moon was three quarters full. I listened to our distant neighbors; I could
scarcely make out the laughter of the Miller kids playing outside, the laughter brought
back memories of me and Seth, I felt a pain shoot through my heart, it was the first time
I had even thought about him since I met, whoever he is. I felt a twinge of guilt, the day
was almost gone and I hadn’t spoke to Seth at all, and I missed him, at this moment I
wanted to call him and share this big event, but I couldn’t do it. Firstly he would have a
cow and yell at me for bringing a complete stranger home, and secondly I felt guilty for
having an attraction to the idiot that lay in my bed, I felt as if I was cheating on Seth
which was totally absurd. Yet the guilt was there and I didn’t want to deal with it plus
according to “I can’t tell you my name” he would be leaving soon, so it really didn’t
matter. I hated this, I wished I had never brought him home, what was I thinking?

The creaking of the screen door caused me to jump I turned to see him standing there
with my dads clothes on, the t-shirt was tightly stretched over his muscular body, it had
been loose on my dad, he wasn’t a big man. It caught me by surprise when the tears
flooded in and I quickly turned back around and wiped my eyes. I didn’t want him to see
me being a girl, and emotional.
                                           ~ 32 ~

“Are you crying?” His voice was now very soft and gentle.

“No.” Seeing my dad’s clothes on him brought back a flood of memories too painful to
deal with. The stupid tears just kept coming and rolling down my cheeks I tried to wipe
them away but they were coming too fast.

“Yes you are, I’m sorry if I did something to upset you.” The concern in his voice only
made me cry harder. I heard him move and I jumped out of the seat and kept my back
to him. He darted right and I turned left but then he moved to the left before I could
change direction, I was now looking into his eyes and mine were flooded with tears. I
didn’t move and neither did he, we just stood there he looked helpless and I was a
crying mess. He lifted his hand up hesitating and then he took his finger and wiped
away a tear that was rolling down my cheek. The gesture was surprising and I didn’t
know what to do, I dropped my eyes to his chest and looked at the college t-shirt and I
remembered the last time I saw my dad wearing it. He had it on when he told me about
his cancer.

“What can I do to help you?” The desperation in his voice was obvious. He was
concerned about me.

“Nothing I will be fine it’s not you, really.” I didn’t even convince myself with that pitiful
attempt. It was him and it was also me missing my dad. I didn’t like to be emotional in
front of people, I never cried in front of anyone expect Seth, my mom has never seen
me cry not even at my dad’s funeral, that was too private and only Seth could console
me. He had been there for me through everything. Now he was gone and I was left with
this split personality serial killer, nice one minute and rude the next. I took a long deep
breath and tried to get my self under control.

“I think we should go inside I wouldn’t want anyone to see you here.” I went in the house
and he was right behind me. I wanted to get this over with; if he was going to leave then
I wanted it to be now. I felt excited today something intriguing happening to me but I
knew it would never last my life was ordinary and boring.

He grabbed my arm and spun me around and he leaned over to peer up at my face
which was hanging down. “You must tell me why you are crying.” I was a private person
and I didn’t share my emotions or feelings with anyone; except Seth, of course. But I felt
the words bunch into my mouth ready to spew all kinds of things to this stranger, I
wanted to share with him how my dad’s death has affected me. I tried to keep my mouth
shut but the words pushed out against my will.

“It’s the clothes you are wearing, my dad’s, that was his college t-shirt, it brings up
painful memories.” I took a breath and exhaled slowly my voice and breath was
quivering. “My dad died three years ago and I didn’t think seeing his clothes would
                                           ~ 33 ~

cause me to start crying, I just miss him so much. I’m sorry you don’t want to hear about
all my past emotional things.” I crossed my arms because I felt exposed standing in
front of him blubbering about my dad’s death.

“I’m very sorry to hear about your father, I know how that feels, I lost my family recently,
I miss them too.” His admission of his own lost made me feel connected to him in a way
I hadn’t expected. I placed my hand on his shoulder I wanted to comfort him, I lost one
parent and he said he lost his family, his pain must be worse than mine.

The silence between us was not uncomfortable we stood facing each other and it was
like our minds were connected I could feel his pain, I saw flashes in my head, of a family
being slaughtered, I flinched the images were very powerful and real, its like I could see
his family being murdered. I couldn’t tear my eyes from his and I was becoming scared,
what were these images in my head? Why did they feel so real? Then I saw him, I saw
how he got his injury, I saw an animal attack him slashing at his side with a claw? I
jerked my hand back and the images disappeared. I felt exhausted.

“Are you ok?” He reached his hand out but jerked it back, like he was afraid to touch
me. “Yea I’m fine.”I answered hesitantly.

“So when are you leaving, are you sure that’s a good idea? I want to look at your injury
again.” I tried to hide the desperation in my voice. I wondered if he could tell how much I
wanted him to stay; I wanted to know more about him. I pushed what I saw and felt
when I was touching him aside, I obviously was hallucinating.

“I think it would be best for me to leave, I don’t want to bring any misery into your life, I
tend to have trouble follow me.” He gave a half grin and my heart fluttered. I wanted to
quit staring at him; I wanted to have my brain back but instead since the moment I met
him my brain turned to,” Oh my god he is so hot” I felt stupid.

“You look like trouble, but hey I can handle trouble, sounds better than my boring life.” I
replied.

 He scoffed and shook his head. “You don’t look like a boring person at all and I don’t
think trouble follows you. You bring it home on the back of your riding machine.” His
phrasing was odd. Riding machine? How weird.

 “I am going to leave but I would appreciate it if you wanted to check out my wound
again.” He pulled my dad’s shirt off and threw it on the couch and I sucked in my breath
when I was staring at his bare tan chest, again. Would I ever not drool when he was half
naked? I hesitantly approached his bandage, I would have to touch him and now he
was wide awake and not unconscious, no he was very much alive and breathing and
beautiful. My hands were trembling as I lifted the tape off his skin it pulled his skin out a
                                         ~ 34 ~

little but released it. I slowly pulled the bandage away and I gasped, I forgot about my
fears of his nakedness and I placed my hand on his side, where his huge gash had
been. It was gone nothing there but beautiful skin, not even a faint red mark or anything,
nothing to indicate he had been injured.

“How? Where? What happened?” I couldn’t get more than one word questions out, I
was totally in shock. I looked at him and his eyes darted down to where his injury had
been, his eyes widen. “I have to go” He turned to leave but I ran in front of him blocking
the door with my body. “No! You are going to tell me what…what is going on, no one
can heal like that.” I held my ground I wasn’t going to budge from that spot until he
answered my questions. I saw annoyance in his face and then confusion; I think he
might be as shocked as I was that he was completely healed.

”I don’t know, well I do know but I can’t tell you. I can’t involve you in my life.” He
reached out his hands and placed them on my shoulders I could feel his strength, I
knew he could pick me up and toss me aside with no problem. He squeezed and then
released me. He was struggling with something, maybe he was debating on whether to
kill me or not. I didn’t know and I didn’t care I wanted answers. “Please let me leave.”
His shoulders slumped, his voice whispering.

We stood there staring at each other neither one moving. His hands were still on my
shoulders, I don’t know why but I reached my hand up and placed it on the side of his
face. His face was now cool, his fever was gone. His skin was so smooth; we never
took our eyes off of each other. I felt as if my heart was breaking, I literally had pain in
my heart and it reminded me of how I felt when my father died. I felt his hands squeeze
my shoulders and then he pulled me to him and my arms went around his chest, his
arms around my waist. We held each other and I could feel his pain. I saw the images of
a family being slaughtered it was as if I was seeing it through his eyes and I could feel
his pain. I saw what attacked him I saw a large animal it was on its hind legs walking
like a human would. Then the images left.

“Please tell me your name.” I whispered against his chest. I felt him take a deep breath
and his heart was beating very fast much faster than I thought humanly possible.

“Ethan, my name is Ethan.” His voice trembled. We didn’t move I looked up at him and
he reluctantly lowered his head so I could look into his eyes. “Please stay Ethan, I can’t
explain it but I want you here with me and I want to help you.” As I spoke the request my
mind tried to rationalize why I wanted him to stay, my heart answered, because he was
the most exciting person I was certain I had ever met and I wanted to know more about
him and I felt connected to him. He needed help and I wanted to be his savior.

He gently pushed me back. “I don’t think this is a very smart idea, you don’t know me, I
might be very dangerous. How can you be so trusting, how can you trust me?” It was a
                                       ~ 35 ~

rational question and observation. “I know myself Ethan, and I trust my instincts, you
might be dangerous but not to me, I am in no danger from you. Please we have all night
to talk my mom will not be back until late tomorrow night.” He scowled at me and shook
his head, he was conflicted. He didn’t answer me with words but he did walk over and
sit on the couch, I closed the front door.
                                          ~ 36 ~

                                         Chapter 3



I offered him something to eat, that’s what you did with guests and he accepted. I fixed
the only thing I knew how to fix, grilled cheese sandwiches and I heated up some
chicken noodle soup.”I know it isn’t much but it’s hot.” He smiled, my heart fluttered.
“It’s perfect, I am not particular.” We ate in silence but I was making a mental list of
questions I needed answered. He inhaled his food and I barely touched mine, since
bringing him home I hadn’t event thought of food. I hated to break the peace with a
question but I was going to burst if I didn’t get some answers.

“How did you heal so fast, the truth please? I am not an air head nor am I an idiot so
please don’t insult me with a lie.” I tried to curb my bluntness but I was always up front
with everyone and I wanted the same from him. He scooted his chair back from the
table and smirked at me. “You must be the strangest person I have ever met.” The smile
never left in fact it appeared to grow larger. I sighed, he had dimples. Then I let what he
said register with the part of my brain that wasn’t dissolved into jelly at the mere sight of
him, I was insulted, of course.

“I’m strange? I’m strange? Excuse me; you are the one that was camouflaged with mud
and leaves hiding in the woods with an enormous wound on your side, which I like to
add has miraculously healed completely in just a couple of hours. I think if anyone in
this room is strange…….” I would have finished shrieking like a mad woman but his
laughter totally interrupted my tirade. “What the hell is so funny?” My anger had just
changed into fury.

“I’m sorry but you are just so animated when you are angry. And what you said about
me is true but I want to add despite all that is strange about me you brought me home
with you and put me in your bed and when I was willing to leave, you practically begged
me to stay.” He had the smuggest look of satisfaction on his face, I wanted to reach
over and smack it right off. Then I realized that he avoided answering my question by
distracting me. How clever.

“How did you heal so fast and who are you, or should I say what are you? Please don’t
change the subject I won’t fall for it again.” I put a self-satisfied look on my face this
time. His face became very severe. “Ok but if I tell you….you will want me to leave but I
won’t be able to.” I wasn’t sure what he meant but I was becoming panicky for the first
time.

“Ok, I still want to know.” I wasn’t as sure as my voice sounded.

“Let me ask you a question first.” He softly said.
                                          ~ 37 ~

“No! You haven’t answered mine.” I shrieked.

“Please your answer will determine how I answer yours. When you were touching me
did you see or feel anything?” I wanted to lie and say no, I wanted to believe that I was
hallucinating but his question confirmed it, I wasn’t. “Yes I saw a family being killed and I
saw what attacked you. I felt all of it too; I could feel your pain.” He shut his eyes and
dropped his head. “It’s not possible.” He murmured.

“What’s not possible, you aren’t making any sense and you still haven’t answered my
question.” I was becoming infuriated; he had a way of not answering me and distracting
me with other things.

“Ok, hang on let me think about this for a minute.” His face had an assortment of
emotions but basically he looked confused. I sat there watching him, it was like he was
talking to himself, his lips were moving but I couldn’t hear anything he was saying.
“Priscilla, I come from a family that is very different than most, we are sentinels.” He
hesitated before continued. “It was placed on my family generations ago to protect
humans.” He looked at me before he continued. “We… I am a….well I think you would
refer to me as a werewolf.” My mouth dropped open. But I knew he was telling the truth,
I could feel it.

“My family has been watching this area for quite some time and a couple of weeks ago
we trailed a renegade shifter that had come into this area. That is what killed my family;
my parents and my brother, it nearly got me but I am stronger and faster, but it
managed to slash my side before I killed it. We are strongest and heal the fastest when
the moon is full and we were attacked at the first quarter moon. So I had to conceal
myself and wait till the full moon was closer, tonight the moon is almost full, and that’s
why I healed so much faster, I feel much stronger.” He said it so easily and truthfully
that I didn’t doubt a word he said.

“But I thought werewolves were just a legend, I believe you, but it’s just hard to imagine
that things like that really exist.” I debated whether to ask the next question but I figured
why not. “Why did you ask if I could see and feel anything? Why does it matter?”

 “We are human, as you can see I am human now, we just can transform when it’s
necessary. I am not an animal. In our kind we have ways of finding our…partners….I
mean the person that we are meant to be with. It’s not an accidental thing, when we find
that person we are connected to them mentally and emotionally.” He got frustrated and
groaned. “I’m not explaining this correctly. When you touched me I felt what you were
feeling and I could see your memories, what you have experienced. And you could see
and feel the same for me.” I nodded, not really sure where he was going with this. He
scooted over closer to me, he touched my hand. “Close your eyes Priscilla.” I did as he
asked. “Now focus and release your mind to me.” My eyes closed, I could feel
                                          ~ 38 ~

something, I saw the Hickory Cemetery, I was seeing us, when I found him, but I was
seeing it from his viewpoint, and I was feeling what he felt, the pain he was in. Then I
felt….emotions his emotions his grief from the loss of his family and the anger he felt at
the animal that killed them. Then I saw myself, as I gazed down on him in the woods,
and when I touched him…I felt what he did when I touched him. I snatched my hand
away. My eyes opened he was staring at me, looking at me like….oh my god…he thinks
it’s me, he thinks I am his…..mate.”No.” I said. He tilted his head to the side. “Yes.” He
said.

“No, I mean that is crazy, we don’t even know each other, how can we….I mean how
can you be sure.” I was stammering. “I know because of the connection we have, it
doesn’t exist apart from with the person we are destined to be with, it’s just I didn’t know
it was possible with a human, I mean a normal human. I’m just as surprised as you.”

The words he spoke were like a haze to me, I was still trying to comprehend all of it, at
one time. He released my hand but pulled me closer to him, he was going to kiss me. I
watched as he came closer and closer, I could feel his hot breath on my face and it
smelled so sweet. He pressed his lips to mine, I expected the fierceness that Seth had
kissed me with, but Ethan’s lips were feather light on mine. I reacted……like an insane
person. My heart raced to a fevered pace, I could feel my body shiver, I had feelings I
didn’t even know existed, and it was so powerful. The kiss deepened, I ran my fingers
through his long silky hair, I felt his hands on my hips. strong images were flashing
through my head; I could see where it was leading. I pulled back out of breath. “What
was that? I saw….images….what are you doing to me?” I said breathless. Ethan’s
breath was as labored as mine. His chest was rising up and down fast. “That’s what I
mean, that couldn’t be possible if we were not destined to be together. What we just
experienced is normal for my kind, but I don’t understand why it’s happening with you.”
He was as blown away as I was by what happened.

“I need to think, just give me a minute.” I gasped, in twenty four hours I went from never
been kissed to being thoroughly kissed by two different guys, my best friend and
a…werewolf. I will probably need therapy, where was Avril when I needed her. This is
absolutely the craziest thing ever…..I didn’t conclude the thought because Ethan asked
a question I never expected. “Who is Seth?” I was shocked when he asked. “When I
was in your mind a boy named Seth came in waves through your thoughts and feelings.
Is he your brother?” His voice sounded hopeful.”No I am an only child, um, Seth is my
best friend we have grown up together.” I felt so guilty, Seth would never understand
this, I didn’t understand this.

“Do you kiss all your best friends?” He asked with a bit of harshness.
                                           ~ 39 ~

“He is the only friend I have and I don’t like you reading my mind, that’s impolite.” I
hoped I had distracted him from his original question. From his expression I didn’t think
so.

“What is he to you? I saw how you kissed him, which appears to be more than
friendship.” Oh I really didn’t like his tone at all. “Now let me tell you something Ethan,
Seth has been my friend since we were born and I don’t appreciate the way you are
referring to him, and you don’t own me and I don’t have to answer to you.” There was
no way I was going to clarify anything about me and Seth to him, a stranger, meant to
be or not.

He jumped up and paced two or three times and turned back to me, obviously frustrated
with me. “You don’t understand, you can not be kissing another guy and belong to me
too. I don’t understand everything but we are destined to be and I can’t have this.” He
spoke with such authority, that it irritated me to my essence.

“Again let me tell you something buddy, I don’t take kindly to being told what to do and
certainly who I can or can’t kiss. We have known each other less than twenty- four
hours and I am sorry if I am not a werewolf and know all the ‘rules’!” I was on my feet
with my hands on my hips. “And I don’t BELONG to anyone!” He looked defeated. “I’m
sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that I had a right to anything, it’s just so confusing to me.”

“Let’s slow down a minute, I think first thing first is to talk and no more touching, I don’t
like you in my head and to be honest your mind is a bit….overwhelming.” It sounded
perfectly reasonable to me.

 By the look on his face I think it insulted him. “You know this is wrong, I think I should
really leave, maybe in my weakened state, our lives crossed paths and something got
messed up. There is no way this will work and to be honest it can’t work, you are human
and I am not completely human.” His face was uncompromising.

“Wait just a minute, you can’t just dump all this on me and leave.” I shrieked.

“If you was from my world you would understand everything, it can’t work you were
insulted by every word I said. But in my world when the two that are destined to be
together find each other it’s a joyful time, she would know that she can’t be with another.
She definitely wouldn’t be kissing someone other than me.” His resentment was just
under the surface.

“I understand Ethan, I really do but you have to understand too, I kissed Seth before I
even met you and in my world you might kiss several people before you met ‘the-one-
meant-for-you’.” It was like we spoke two different languages. What he said made
                                           ~ 40 ~

perfect sense to him and I understood what I said but to each other it was just
nonsense.

We stood there for what seem like an eternity but I’m sure only minutes passed. “Come
on let’s just go to my room and talk, we need to figure this out.” He nodded in
agreement and we were about to go up the stairs when the phone rang. I groaned “I bet
that’s mom I forgot to call her.” I rushed to the phone prepared to hear her shrieking on
the other end but after I said hello it was a familiar deep voice on the other end.

“Hi.” Seth’s voice caught me completely off guard.

“Seth what do you want?” I was irritated; he was not supposed to call me. I saw Ethan’s
expression change to anger he came over and stood next to me. I could feel his hot
breath on my shoulder.

“I know but I can’t sleep and I am really sucking here at camp because I can’t think
about anything but you. I have to know if we are still friends and the day didn’t seem
right without hearing your voice.” My anger faded as he confessed all his worries and
they equally matched mine, I had the same fears about him.

“I know Seth, yes we are still friends and I missed hearing your voice too.” Ethan huffed
so loudly that it made me cover the phone I was afraid Seth would hear him. Too late.

“Cilla? Is someone there with you?” He said with a bit of uncertainty.

I scoffed, “Of course not, don’t be silly I am here by myself, mom is in Knoxville with
Sally.” I hated lying to Seth. I felt a bit suffocated between Seth giving me the third
degree and Ethan breathing down my neck I couldn’t think straight. I tried to shove
Ethan back a little and give myself some room to breathe but he didn’t budge.

“I heard someone Cilla, who do you have there with you? Is it a….guy?” I heard the
ache in his voice.

“Seth come on give me break, I am alone.” It happened too quickly for me to do
anything but stand there in shock. Ethan grabbed the phone, “This is Ethan and I am
here with Priscilla and I will be with her for a long time, I think it would be best for you
not to call here again.” Ethan slammed the phone down. I stood there like an idiot with
my mouth hanging open and then the phone rang again. I grabbed it before Ethan.

“Hello, Seth?” I barley spoke above a whisper.

“Priscilla, you lied to me! You said you were alone and just who the hell was that?” The
accusations he made only pushed the knife in deeper. I felt such pain I never ever had
lied to Seth in my life and he knew that. I struggled to keep my voice from cracking,
“Seth I’m sorry I just …..I didn’t want to hurt you. I’m sorry.” It was a pitiful apology.
                                         ~ 41 ~

“Have you been seeing this guy in secret? How long have you known him and who is
he, I don’t know any Ethan.” I wanted to go and hide, I hadn’t planned on telling anyone
about Ethan and now Seth knew. I didn’t know how I was going to explain this.

“Listen I have to go but when you get home next week I will explain everything to you,
ok?” There was stillness on his end and then the line went dead. I just stood there
holding the phone in my hand. I felt Ethan take the phone out of my hand and lay it
down. But I stood frozen I was so upset and hurt, and guilty. My best friend that I lied to
hated me now. I felt the hopelessness wash over me like a waterfall coming over me too
fast, and the floor disappeared, I crumbled to the floor; sobbing. I felt Ethan’s strong
arms lift me off the floor and I didn’t care enough to complain I just held to him tightly.
He carried me up stairs and took me to my room and laid me on my bed and covered
me up with a blanket. And I sobbed so hard, the grief I felt ran as deep as it did when
my dad died. I knew I had just lost my best friend. I should be angry at Ethan but I
wasn’t, I only had myself to blame it all weighted on my shoulders, I went over every
blunder I had made in the last twenty-four hours. I should have handled Seth better
when he confessed his feelings for me, and I should have left Ethan where I found him,
and mostly I should never have lied to Seth. I broke an unspoken rule between us. The
truth was something we always shared, complete honesty with each other and I crushed
it all with one lie. Seventeen years of life and history destroyed beyond repair; I
guessed.

I felt the bed shift and I felt Ethan beside me he laid on top of the covers but he
snuggled up against my back and laid his head against mine and stroked my arm with
his hand. “I’m sorry Priscilla I guess I shouldn’t have done that, I didn’t mean to make
you suffer, I just have a terrible time with my impulses. Please don’t cry.” The pleading
in his voice was undeniable, he was truly regretful for what he did and I did appreciate
the regret but it wasn’t really his fault. I couldn’t answer him. He never spoke another
word just caressed my arm and then he would stroke my hair anything I figured to sooth
me. Ultimately it worked and I began to be very sleepy and I had exhausted myself
crying. I felt my eye lids grow heavy and sleep was taking over, my last conscious
thought was on Seth’s face and the pain he must be going through.

I dreamed the oddest dream, I was standing in the cemetery and the sun was so vivid I
had to strain to see anything and it was then that I spotted a young boy playing. He was
laughing and running around he couldn’t have been more than eight or nine, I followed
him around watching him have fun but then he disappeared into the bulky wooded area.
I followed trying to keep up with him and then it was dark and I was lost deep in the
woods. I heard crying and I followed the sounds and I came to a tiny clearing and there
was the little boy but his back was turned to me and he was crying. I came up behind
him and touched his shoulder, “Are you ok?” I asked but he wouldn’t answer.
                                           ~ 42 ~

“Little boy do you need some help?” Again he wouldn’t answer or turn around. I pulled
on his shoulder forcing him to turn, when I got a look at his face I was mortified, his eyes
were bright yellow and his mouth was jutted like a dog’s muzzle and he had razor-sharp
teeth, he growled and snapped at me and I screamed.

I woke up screaming and Ethan was there beside me and had his long arms enfolded
tightly around me. “It’s ok, it was just a dream.” His voice was soothing it had a calming
result on me. My breathing was almost back to ordinary. My heart however felt like it
would explode out of my chest. I glanced at the clock it was two-thirty in the morning.

“I had a terrible dream, it was a boy playing in the sun and then we were in the woods
and it was dark and I tried to help him but…..and then I turned him around and his eyes
were yellow and his mouth…..oh my his teeth…his teeth were like fangs and he tried to
bite me.” I was whispering I had never felt such panic before. Ethan’s grasp on me
loosened. I looked at him and his face was very distressing. “It wasn’t your dream
Priscilla, that was my dream I was having that dream and you just connected with it, I
guess because I was touching you while you slept.”

“It was you? The little boy was you?”

“Yes.” He dropped his head. “I was dreaming about the first time I shape-shifted, I was
very scared. I didn’t know what was happening to me. It was mother that found me in
the woods that night it was her that turned me around.” I could see the scared little boy
from the dream on his face now. I wanted to reassure him; I put my arms around him.
Images began flashing in my head and they were bright and hot I jerked back.

I got off the bed and sat in my desk chair. He looked very lonely sitting on my bed. “It’s
kind of a pain isn’t it?” He asked.

“I’m sorry Ethan it is …..I just can’t get use to seeing and feeling what you do, is it
always like that?”

“Eventually you will become skilled at to closing your mind off and on like a switch, only
seeing what’s in my mind when you desire to.”

“I see, listen I don’t where this is going but we have a lot to talk about. The first thing we
have to discuss is Seth.” At the mention of his name I saw Ethan’s back go straight and
rigid. He looked as if he was sulking. I wanted to snicker he looked like a ten year old
right about now.

“What you did last night was unacceptable. Seth and I are best friends and nothing
more, well that’s all it was until Seth told me just two days ago that he was in love with
me. I was completely shocked.” Ethan never moved or looked my way as I talked but I
knew he was hanging on every word I said. “Ethan I have to have Seth in my life, you
                                          ~ 43 ~

have to understand that and if you can’t then I think you should leave now.” Now I had
his attention.

“I can’t leave Priscilla, you are my life now, I have finally found you and I won’t just walk
away. I can’t, I mean it’s not physically possible for me to leave you.” He informed me.

“Of course you can leave, just get up and walk out the door that simple.”

“I told you before, if I tell you then I wouldn’t be able to leave, this is what I don’t
comprehend. In my world when you find each other then you are inseparable for life.
We mate for life there isn’t even a desire to leave each other.”

“For life.” I repeated with difficulty.

“Yes for life but you don’t even know if you want me to stay for the rest of the night and I
can’t tolerate the thought of leaving you at all and this Seth person is a thorn in my side.
You care more for him than you do me and that just isn’t right.” He said it as if it should
make perfect sense to me. It didn’t.

I studied on what he said for a minute and I still couldn’t get my mind wrapped around
the logic of what he was saying. Ethan is somebody I want to know more about and I
did feel a connection with him but I couldn’t leave Seth out of my life. Regardless of
Seth confessing that terrible declaration of love for me, I still loved him and wanted him
around me there was no way at all that I could endure the rest of my life without him. He
was my other half I wasn’t whole if he wasn’t around. I didn’t think I could ever get Ethan
to understand this. I was very awake now and I wanted to talk.

“So tell me about yourself, everything I really want to know.” I moved back to the bed
but I sat cross-legged at the foot of the bed and Ethan must have understood the
gesture ‘cause he sat at the head of the bed, not touching me at all.

“Well generations ago there were evil people who were already shape shifters, they
could take the shape of any creature they wanted to but they hated everything good
especially humans. They would pursue and devour anyone they could. They would wipe
out entire villages in a single night. They seem to be unstoppable, but my people called
upon the spirits to grant us the capability to shape shift so that we can stop this evil
clan. My ancestors vowed to be guardians of the humans. As long as time stood every
generation would stand guard and until this day we have.” He paused looking to see if I
was grasping everything, I supposed. “We have a large clan and there are enough of us
for two persons to meet as life mates and reproduce continuing our task. There is no in-
breeding, in case you was wondering.” He gave a sheepish smirk. “Each couple is only
able to produce two off spring. Now my family has been killed and I am the only one that
remains, I have a grandfather but I haven’t seen him in many years but I think because
                                          ~ 44 ~

of recent events that I must go and seek his guidance.” He looked off as if he was
thinking about something.

“How many are there….like you?” It was strange to know that there was this whole
underground society that I or no one else were aware of.

“Our numbers are too many to count, but we do die off, we have to or there would be
too many of us, it has to stay in balance.”

“So you are not immortal.”

“No we aren’t vampires, we can’t live forever that would be unbearable, don’t you think.”
He seemed annoyed at me for the suggestion.

“I’m sorry I was just wondering.” I muttered.

“Vampires aren’t real Priscilla, we are real and we have human vulnerabilities but we
have strengths beyond your imagination.” His smile stretched across his face.

“How long do you live?” My curiosity sparked.

“It’s different but I don’t think anyone has lived past the age of three hundred years.”

My sparked curiosity now a raging fire, “Do you age? I mean do you get old and
wrinkled?” I thought of a three hundred year old human and they would look terrible I
thought.

He laughed, “No, I mean we mature till we are…..,” He seem to think about how he
would answer. “We all look like we are about twenty five and then we stop, we never
look old.”

“Oh, and your…offspring…is it just like with humans, I mean the pregnancy and
childhood?” Reality and fantasy had just merged for me and I accepted as if it was
always that way.

“Yes. We are very human to a certain point. Our women carry the baby for nine months
and give birth just as any human would. And the baby grows normal until….until they
shift and then our growth is accelerated. I was nine when I changed the first time and
that was only a year ago, and you see what I look like now. I will continue to physically
grow for another year and then that’s it. But I will look like I am in my twenties.”

“You mean you’re only ten years old, oh my, I kissed a ten year old?” I thought I would
be sick.

“Priscilla do I really look or act like a ten year old to you? I said we are human to a
certain point. When you change for the first time then in the next year you mature and
                                          ~ 45 ~

grow at a rapid rate, I feel and think as any guy would as a teenager.” He said this with
absolute authority. “And in the next year to come I will continue to mature into an adult, I
am a teenager by all accounts that’s why I have trouble with my impulses, I will learn to
control that in the next year.”

I really didn’t want bring the subject up but I had to know. “So explain to me about
this…life partner or whatever it is…thing.”

“Well, according to what I was told, when a male and female are born they are destined
to be together. You don’t know who they are but you will when you meet them because
of the connection. The first time you meet them you instantly share thoughts and
feelings when you touch, that’s why I was so confused by you, in the woods when you
touched me I felt your fear and I saw your thoughts. But I was never told that it could
happen between my kind and yours.” He thought before he continued. “You have
doubts about me, about us. Then there is the problem of your friend, Seth, because we
are destined from birth to be with someone we don’t have….friends like that, we are
pure until we meet them and then it’s just you and your mate for life.”

“Ethan I am not….your kind, and I do have a Seth, in my world you may date many
people before you meet your life mate,” I put quotations on his term. “And not everyone
is pure until your mate shows up.” This caught his attention, his eyes jerked up and he
looked very uncomfortable, no he looked angry.

“You mean you’re not pure? You and this Seth have….mated?” He choked on the last
word. I was insulted.

“No!” I screeched. “I haven’t ever been with Seth like that, you idiot. I haven’t been with
anyone.” My voice reached an octave I had never reached before. Relief flooded his
face. “Oh, I thought you meant you…. that would have been hard for me to accept.”

“And don’t use the word mated it makes it sound animalistic, actually just don’t mention
it at all.” I was very annoyed with him, he seem to bring out the worst in me. “I’m sorry.”
He sighed. “I can’t keep from making you angry; I don’t understand this at all.”

“Why do you think we have a connection?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” He simply replied.

We sat in silence for a couple of minutes each of us pondering on what the other had
said. I glanced at the clock, OMG, it’s four o’clock, I hadn’t realized we had talked for
such a lengthy time.

“Listen it’s really late and I need some sleep, my mom will back tomorrow probably late
but still she will be coming home and I have to decide what to do with you.” Then
                                          ~ 46 ~

another painful thought come to mind. “And Seth will be back next week me and you will
have to come to some kind of compromise. But for now let’s just sleep.” I frowned for a
second, “Do you sleep?” I asked.

“Priscilla we aren’t vampires’ yes I sleep, actually, I usually sleep extremely sound.” He
replied.

I crawled up the bed and pulled the covers over me and before I had a chance to tell
Ethan to sleep down stairs he laid down next to me, on top of the covers. I started to
protest to tell him not to sleep in my bed but something stopped me. It was the scared
little boy’s face I saw in my dream. I just thought he might be scared and wanted
someone close by. I never said a word I just let the sleep take over my new weird
reality.

When I began to wake up I felt like I had been drugged, I felt so tired and I had difficulty
opening my eyes. I felt a large heavy object lying across my body. I peeked over the
covers and I saw Ethan sleeping like the dead and his arm was thrown across my body.
I didn’t feel any of his emotions or thoughts, I sighed with relief. I looked at the time and
it was really late in the day, almost noon. I really needed to get up and get dressed but I
wanted to sleep some more and I hated to disturb Ethan he looked very sweet. I really
needed to get a grip, he was one messed up guy, I smiled, and I loved every bit of it. I
slowly reached over and grabbed my cell phone off of the night table after every move I
would peek at Ethan and he wasn’t so much as twitching. I quickly dialed my mom; I
was hoping she wouldn’t be too upset with me for not calling last night.

“Hello Priscilla.” Yep, she was annoyed with me.

“Hi mom how’s it going?” I asked casually.

“What happened to my phone call last night, if I didn’t trust you so much and know that
we live in the dullest county in the US, I might have been worried?” Her sarcasm was
elevating to my level.

“I’m soooo sorry mom, I just was so tired I went to bed actually I am still in bed, but I
love you and when do you think you will be home?”

“We are still shopping and having a wonderful time…um…actually Sally wants to kidnap
me while we are here, she wants to stay until Monday morning. What do you think about
that?” I could hear hopefulness in her voice. And I knew for sure that I had a fairy
godmother watching out for me.

“That is fantastic mom, please stay and have a good time I’m not going to do anything
but lie around the house and enjoy my first few days of summer.”
                                           ~ 47 ~

“If you are sure, then I will stay. I have to admit Cilla this has been like a shot in the arm
for me. I love you sweetie and I will see you on Monday.”

“Ok Monday and I love you too.” I closed my phone and let out a huge sigh of relief, two
more days to figure out what to do with the wolf boy. I closed my eyes and drifted back
to sleep; hoping for sweet dreams, I wasn’t aware that a nightmare was heading to my
house.

I heard my name being called and I didn’t want to wake out of this perfect dream I was
having but……”Priscilla Tillman!” The familiar voice yelled.

I yelled before I had my eyes open. “What!” Then I heard the saddest voice ever.

“Cilla what are you doing, what have you done?” The pain I heard in Seth’s voice was
so deep I felt it all the way to my soul. My eyes jerked open and there standing over my
bed was Seth’s six foot six frame but his face was so racked with pain and then I saw
where his eyes darted to, Ethan was still in the bed with me and sometime during our
marathon sleep he had got under the covers with me. I could only imagine what it
looked like to Seth. I sat up quickly and jumped out of bed; Seth covered his eyes and
turned his back.

“Seth I can explain….” He interrupted me before I could go any farther.

“Just put some clothes on and get that guy out of your bed before I break his freaking
neck!” His voice was so full of anger that I flinched at every word he said.

“Seth I am not naked.” He spun around and he had the blankest look in his eyes, I
reached out to him and he jerked back and made a disgusted face. “No don’t touch me
but I swear to you Cilla if he doesn’t get out of this bed now, I will yank him out myself.
Is he drunk and passed out?” I looked to Ethan and he had not moved an inch, I
couldn’t believe it Seth and I had both yelled and Ethan didn’t move and then I had an
uneasy feeling; what if he was dead, some kind of delayed reaction to his injury.

“Stop yelling Seth.” I huffed. I felt so awkward and guilty but I had to wake Ethan or I
knew with out a doubt that Seth would kill him at least attempt to but I was more afraid
that Ethan would turn into a wolf and rip Seth to shreds. I climbed back on the bed and
shook Ethan trying to wake him up, but he never moved. “Ethan wake up.” I raised my
voice and gave him a big shake. I saw Ethan’s eyes open and a big smile came across
his face and in one swift move he wrapped his arms around me and kissed me, hard.

The gasp that escaped Seth’s mouth was loud and the roar I heard out of Ethan’s
mouth was even louder. Time seem to stand still Seth leapt on the bed and jerked
Ethan’s arms off me and pushed me off the bed and I hit the floor with a loud thud,
Ethan grabbed Seth and threw him off the bed and jump up and landed with a foot on
                                          ~ 48 ~

each side of Seth and then they went at it like two wild animals. I saw fists flying and
bodies’ were being thrown here and there, my room was being destroyed by both of
them and I just stood there like an idiot. Then I heard it; a deep growl came form Ethan I
knew it was him it sounded just like a…wolf. I panicked I launched myself at both of
them and I screamed at the top of my lungs. “STOP!!!!”

Seth and Ethan both stopped dead in their tracks. Ethan looked at me and I was right
he was preparing to change into a werewolf and kill Seth, I could see it in his eyes.

“Please both of you stop this….” I was interrupted.

“What ….why was this person in your bed Priscilla?” Seth asked through clenched
teeth.

“Listen we all need to calm down, especially you Ethan, Seth will you please come
down stairs with me and I will explain everything to you.” I paused and then added,
“Why are you here? You are suppose to be at camp.”

“Yes I am but after I heard lover boy over here in the back ground I thought maybe I
should come home early before you made a huge mistake. I guess I was right.” He had
a condescending tone in his voice, like he was my father. Seth was breathing hard “I
didn’t mean to interrupt your love nest, just couldn’t wait until you had me and your mom
gone for the night to jump into bed with the first creep that comes along. I thought you
were better than that Priscilla.” I snapped, I went over and slapped him on his smug
face. “How dare you Seth. What I do or don’t do is none of your business.” I had a
moment of déjà vu, I had spoken these very words to Ethan last night about his over
reaction to Seth, and this was going to be a disaster trying to have both in my life.

Tears were in Seth’s eyes but I knew it wasn’t from my pitiful slap; he was hurt because
he thought I had slept with Ethan and I felt the knife twist just a little. We all three just
stood there staring at each other, well actually Seth was staring at me and Ethan was
staring at me and my eyes was darting back and forth between the two. It was Ethan
that broke the silence.

“I think I will let the two of you talk, Priscilla I will be down stairs in the kitchen if you
need me.” He glanced at Seth and then he just had to do it, he came over and placed a
kiss on my cheek before he left the room; marking his territory I presumed. Oh my room
was destroyed, my chair was broke and shelf knocked over, CD’s were thrown all over. I
wanted to cry.

“I’m sorry about your room.” He muttered. “How could you Cilla, after what I told you,
how you could jump into bed with a guy; a stranger no less.” He spoke with a broken
heart I had no doubts about that.
                                            ~ 49 ~

“Seth firstly I did not have sex with Ethan last night or any other night, but it really isn’t
your business, I know we are best friends ,at least I hope will still are, but you can’t
barge in my room and start yelling and making threats.” My voice wavered.

My mind raced quickly for an explanation any explanation that could explain where
Ethan came from, my eyes were zipping all over the room and then they landed on the
perfect….. lie.

“I know him Seth, I met him on the internet, I have been chatting with him for several
months.” Seth cocked his eyebrow up and I knew he found that hard to believe. “Really
I didn’t tell you or anyone about it because I know what a stigma there is on internet
dating.” I couldn’t keep looking him straight in the eyes and lie at the same time, so I
began to clean up my room as I finished the horrific tale I was feeding Seth. “He is a
great guy and I think if you would give him a chance you would like him too.” Seth
huffed loudly and muttered something like, “Not likely.”

“So that’s it you talked to this guy for a few months on the internet and you invite him to
your house when no one was home? Cilla do you know how utterly dangerous that is?” I
started to answer but Seth wasn’t finish he spoke before I could. “Are
you….in….love..with….him?” He choked on every word of the question. I really didn’t
know how to answer. “I’m not sure Seth, I like him and I want to get to know him better.”
My heart was pounding faster I was destroying the one person that I loved most in this
world, I loved my dad beyond words and my love for my mom was beyond measure but
the love I have for Seth was beyond anything I had ever read about in books or seen in
a movie, I really didn’t think there was a term for the love and kind of relationship we
have.

I had never heard Seth yell at me before and I certainly had never caused the pain on
his face that I now saw, they say your life passes before you just before death. I didn’t
know about that but my life with Seth was coming in large waves each one crashing
over me and I was drowning in all of them, it felt like death. My heart was ripping in two;
I literally could feel my heart coming apart down the middle. I reached for him and he
stepped back from me, I curled my arms around myself to help ease the pain I was
feeling. “Seth please don’t do this don’t turn your back on me, you’re my only friend and
I can’t stand the thought of not having you in my life.” I pleaded with him.

He took a breath and exhaled it very slowly, “Then you should have thought of me
before you decided to sneak around behind my back.” It was the final pull but it wasn’t
my heart that was breaking it was my soul; it was being ripped from my body and your
body can’t live without a soul. I felt scared, scared of my life without him in it, I lost all
pride and dignity and I ran to him wrapping my arms around his waist and crying,
begging him to forgive me. He felt like a statue in my arms he didn’t move he made no
                                          ~ 50 ~

attempt to hug me back. I looked up I wanted to see his eyes but he kept staring straight
ahead, I grabbed his face and pulled it till he was looking at me and tears were
streaming down his face, the same has mine. “Please Seth, I love you, you know that, I
didn’t mean to hurt you….I… didn’t……,” I stretched up on my toes and pulled his face
closer I did what I thought I should do and what I thought he wanted me to, something
to prove my love for him, I kissed him, at first he didn’t attempt to kiss me back, his lips
were unmoving but I persisted and I felt his arms go around me and he kissed me back.
It felt—wrong. But I was desperate and I would just about do anything to keep Seth in
my life and prove to him I loved him, I just didn’t love him like this. I broke the kiss
waiting to see the results.

“Cilla what are you trying to do to me?” He asked with a defeated voice. I was about to
speak when I heard Ethan’s voice behind me.

“Yes Priscilla what are you doing?” I felt Seth’s arms drop and I felt empty again. I
turned to face Ethan. “Ethan.” I gasped.

“Priscilla I warned you, you can’t belong to me and kiss other people, I won’t allow it.”
His voice sounded different deeper and I noticed his hands were trembling and I knew
he was close to changing, he had trouble controlling impulses he had told me before.

“Cilla doesn’t belong to anyone, and she kissed me and I kissed her back and I will do it
again anytime I damn well please.” Seth argued. I watched Ethan’s chest rise and fall
rapidly. I had to do something fast I couldn’t let Seth get hurt. I went over to Ethan and
placed my hand on his arm I wanted him to read my mind. “Please Ethan don’t hurt him
he is my friend, it would hurt me beyond words if you lose control and hurt him.” I
thought. I immediately heard Ethan’s reply in my mind. “Then you need to get rid of him
now, I can’t hold on much longer.” I looked up and nodded to Ethan. I closed my eyes
and took a deep breath before I turned to face Seth and do the hardest thing I have ever
had to do.

“Seth I think it would be best if you left, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have kissed you, it was
stupid of me. I was just trying to keep you as a friend but I have Ethan in my life now
and I can’t pretend anymore, Seth I am not in love with you not the way you want me to
be.” My voice sounded convincing and the hurt in Seth’s eyes confirmed my acting skills
he believed me.

“Ok, but I want to speak with Ethan alone before I go.” I wanted to protest but Ethan
answered. “That would fine, Priscilla go down stairs, we will be down in a minute.” Ethan
had to push me out the door but I went down stairs and waited. I was prepared to run
upstairs at the first sound of trouble, if I heard one thump or anything I would be up
there but silence was all I heard, I didn’t like it all. Then I heard feet on the stairs and I
could make out two people coming down, a huge sigh of relief came from me. Seth was
                                         ~ 51 ~

first and he never looked my way he just went out the door slamming it as he went. I
jumped at the thud. Then I saw Ethan, beautiful Ethan he looked like a warrior coming
down. My heart skipped a beat.

“What happened? What did he want to talk about?” I asked.

“Apparently I have been challenged, Seth has vowed to fight for you and he said that he
had seventeen years of history with you and he wouldn’t go down without a fight. I told
him that we were destined to be together and he didn’t have a chance.” The ease that
Ethan spoke with upped my fears.

“Ethan you have to promise me you will not ever hurt Seth, I mean it, if you so much as
put a scratch on him I will never forgive you.”

“Priscilla I can’t make a promise, you are my destiny and I will not let anyone take that
away from me. But, I will not kill him as long as he behaves himself.” He assured me. I
didn’t feel any assurance at all, actually my life was like a roller coaster at the moment
and I was hanging on by my fingernails. Up, down, round and round, I wanted off this
ride, I felt sick, truly physically sick. I needed space, I needed to think, I needed Seth,
my Seth not the one that just walked out the door. I wanted my Seth that I had before
my life turned upside down before he confessed his love and kissed me, before I found
a magical creature hiding out in the woods, that also confessed his love for me, well
actually he didn’t confess love he confessed destiny. That’s what was bothering me,
Ethan hadn’t falling in love with me, he just believed in some crazy predestination of two
people, I had an idea, and I thought it might just keep both guys from ripping each
other’s heads off, they would be too busy trying to pursue me and less time to hate each
other.

“Ethan I am going to set up a meeting; Seth, you and me. I have an idea.” I yanked my
cell phone out before I gave him a chance to oppose. I quickly text Seth and asked him
to meet me at the rock, he answered instantly, yes he’d be there.

“I’m going to take a shower and when I get out I’ll be ready to leave.” I turned on my
heels and headed to the upstairs bathroom.
                                         ~ 52 ~

                                       Chapter 4

I heard Seth pull in and go to the garage getting his four-wheeler out and start it up. He
raced up his motor, for my sake I supposed. I stuck my head out the window. “Seth go
on ahead and I will be about fifteen minutes behind you.” He gave me the thumbs up
and put a huge smile on his face, maybe this would all work out. I sent him on ahead
because I didn’t want him to know I was bringing Ethan with me, underhanded and
sneaky came to mind but I had to do whatever was necessary. I couldn’t lose Seth and I
wasn’t ready for Ethan to be gone from my life either.

I was dressed and standing in front of the mirror braiding my hair when Ethan came up
behind me, he wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me on the neck and
sniffed my hair. Goose bumps ran all the way down my arm and leg. I couldn’t
remember how to braid.

“You smell delicious and you are the most beautiful person I have ever seen, I feel so
lucky to have found you, Priscilla.” He breathed my name and I melted, mentally Ethan
had just gained points in a game he wasn’t aware that he was playing in. I tried to
concentrate on braiding my hair but having Ethan so close behind me whispering in my
ear and breathing his hot breath on my neck left me completely useless. “Priscilla,” he
traced his finger down my arm, I shivered,” Yes.” I whispered my reply. “May I kiss you,
you’re driving me crazy standing here looking so irresistible.” He asked as he continued
his soft assault on my neck, how was I suppose to think clearly? How was this fair?

I laid my head back against him and gave up, I was no match for him at all my will
power and common sense just disappeared. I dropped my hands out of my half braided
hair and Ethan reached up and slowly took down the rest of my hair and then combed it
out with his fingers. I sighed; it felt very good and relaxing. Then he turned me to face
him and his large hand went under my chin and he dropped his head down lightly
placing his lips on mine, it was gentle and soft not demanding at all. He placed his
hands lightly on my shoulders and slid them down the length of my arms, I shivered
again, his hands rested on my hips and I could feel him gently squeezing them. I tried to
be good, I tried to control myself but it only took a minute for my body to betray me and
react to his touch. I locked my arms around his neck and I increased the intensity of our
kiss, I could feel him holding back, so I became more aggressive I knotted my fingers in
his long hair and pulled his lips harder to mine. Then I felt him give in and his hands
were more aggressive they left my hips and wrapped tight around my waist, then I had
trouble keeping up with him on the demand of the kiss, I felt my mind swirling and my
breathing was coming fast, I didn’t hear anything but the sounds of our kiss and our
breathing, I felt him lift me up easily and I was cradled in his arms but not once did his
lips leave mine. We were moving but I wasn’t sure where we were going, I really didn’t
care.
                                         ~ 53 ~

Reality was just some kind of myth to me now, I was in a fantasy, the kind where there
are werewolves and longevity, lives spanning centuries not decades. I wondered what
Avril song would be appropriate for my life now? Possibly “My World” I thought, I
always thought it would be cool to have a soundtrack playing in the background of my
life, like a movie, mine would have to be all Avril plus because of my mom I would throw
little Elvis in. The craziest things were running rampant in my mind as I was lost in
Ethan’s arms and kisses. I had my eyes closed as Ethan set my feet back down and
reality came rushing back. “I think we should leave, Seth will be waiting.” I heard words
but I didn’t comprehend them. “Who?” I asked.

My eyes opened and I was staring into deep dark eyes that I was mesmerized by.
“Seth.” Ethan said. Then I realized where I was and what I was doing. I looked around
and I wondered when we came outside. “Yes, Seth, yes….” I couldn’t speak properly, I
felt like Ethan had cast some kind of spell on me and I was just a puppet controlled by
him. “Let’s go.” I replied breathless. I offered for him to drive but he declined, so I
climbed on with him right up against my back, I hoped I wouldn’t lose my concentration
and wreck us. The ride was slow, I was in no hurry to face Seth and I dreaded to see his
face when he saw that I had brought Ethan with me but more than that he would be
upset that I shared our place with another person. I replayed the last hour in my head
from the time Seth busted into my room until Ethan had made me crazy with his kisses,
a thought came to mind and I stopped abruptly. “Ethan, why am I not seeing and feeling
your mind anymore?” I hadn’t realized until now. “I have closed my mind off to you, I
know how it upsets you and I didn’t want to upset you so until you’re ready, you will not
have to put up with my mind anymore.” He explained easily. “Ok, thank you, it’s much
better this way.” I assumed that he couldn’t read my mind either but I didn’t ask; later I
would realize that I should have.

I saw Seth’s four-wheeler before I saw him, he came running down to meet me but
when he saw Ethan was with me he went straight to get on his ride, I blocked it with
mine. “Stay here.” I ordered Ethan. “Seth wait.” I begged. “How could you Cilla, how
could you bring him here….to our rock, our place!” Seth said through clenched teeth.

I grabbed his arm and tugged him and he got off his ride and I dragged him up to the
rock. “Please I can explain, give me just a few minutes of your time please.” I thought he
was going to say no but he looked defeated and agreed. We climbed the rock and took
our familiar sit on the edge of the rock. “Seth we have to work this out, you are being
unreasonable,” he started to say something but I held my hand up to stop him, “let me
finish. When you began dating Shelby, a person I couldn’t stand I might add, I didn’t quit
being your friend and it’s not fair that when I have someone else in my life that you insist
on making me choose. That is a double standard Seth and you know it.”
                                           ~ 54 ~

“Cilla I know what you say is the truth but I just didn’t think, ever, that you would find
anyone else. Not that you couldn’t but you never seemed interested in anyone before. I
took for granted that I would be the only guy in your life, I’m so jealous, it’s really eating
me alive. Since I called last night and knew you had a guy with you, I thought I would
tear my room apart at camp, I really went insane I think.” I placed my hand on his
shoulder but I didn’t interrupt him. “I don’t think I can handle it, you didn’t have the same
feelings for me when I dated Shelby, if you knew that you were in love with me, don’t
you think you would have been jealous and angry that I was with her. I know that I love
you, that hasn’t changed but I love you enough and I am your friend so I will behave but
I still can’t believe you brought him here.” I understood exactly what he meant and I
appreciated his truthfulness but I still had a dilemma and I wanted to handle it the best I
could. “Ethan can you come here.” I yelled and Seth jumped up and took a stance
across the rock several feet away from me. Ethan climbed the rock with ease and he
took his stance right next to me but I pushed over and made him stand next to Seth
neither one very happy.

“Ok, now I need to have both of you listen to me very carefully.” They looked at each
other and then both nodded to me. “I don’t know what terrible deed I have done in my
past to have such chaos in my life now but Seth you are and have been my best and
only friend and I want you to always remain in my life, you know how important you are
to me.” He nodded with a satisfied look on his face. Ethan looked kind of sad. “And
Ethan you have become a nice addition to my life”, Now Ethan looked pleased and Seth
looked sad, “noticed I said addition, and not subtraction. Ethan you are entering an
equation were two people already have an established relationship, you will have to
learn to live with Seth or without me.” I thought Seth’s face would break from the smile
that stretched across his face and Ethan looked like he could kill. “And Seth I know that
Ethan’s presence has caught you off guard but he is important to me and you will have
to learn to live with him in my life or live without me.” If I wasn’t nearly ready to cry and
the seriousness of the situation I would have laughed, when I repeated the same
ultimatum to Seth, his face fell and Ethan took on the idiotic large smile on his face.
Guys could be utterly juveniles. “So you both have claimed to love me and want to have
a future with me and I care a lot for both of you but I can’t have you two at each others
throats all the time. Seth I love you but my love is not the same as yours and I care for
you Ethan but I can’t say I am in love with you either. I am very confused so here are
the rules.” They both shifted uncomfortably on their feet but I had their full attention now.

“I can’t choose right now, so I challenge both of you to court me, and I mean old fashion
courting. We will do this right or not at all. Seth forget our friendship it’s not a factor now,
you changed that and Ethan I don’t care what destiny you think you have with me I don’t
share your same views on destiny so forget that too. I am available for dates and I look
forward to your phone calls.” I smiled completely satisfied with my amazing resolution.
                                           ~ 55 ~

They both looked completely shell shocked both tried to talk at the same time. “You
can’t be serious Cilla.” Seth complained. “This is completely crazy.” Ethan added.

“Well it’s my decision guys take it or leave it.” I stood my ground and crossed my arms.

“Fine.” Seth agreed. “Fine.” Ethan echoed.

“Let’s leave, I’m tired.” I felt so much better to have control back, I was not going to let
these two have the upper hand. They both followed me off the rocks muttering to
themselves or each other I wasn’t sure, I didn’t care I felt light as a feather but I wasn’t
done just yet. I climbed on my ride and Ethan started to climb on behind me but I held
my hand up. “No, I think you can ride back down with Seth, it really wouldn’t be fair, you
both will have equal time alone with me.”

“Absolutely not.” Ethan bellowed.

“He can walk.” Seth chimed in.

“Guys I forgot to tell you, you two have to learn to get along with each other or I will not
date either one of you and there is no time like the present.” I started my four-wheeler
and quickly backed up and left before either could say another word. I was nervous I
didn’t want them to kill each other actually I was more worried about Ethan turning wolf
and killing Seth but I knew they both cared about me and neither would chance me
hating them just to satisfy some kind of a testosterone instinct to take out the
competition. I would get home fast and wait on both of them to return. I had to believe
that.

I pulled in and parked my four-wheeler and went to sit on the porch. When I heard
Seth’s four-wheeler I strained until I saw both of them on it, I hadn’t realized till that point
that I had been holding my breath, a huge sigh escaped my lips. They both looked
absolutely furious, Ethan was practically hanging off the back end to keep from touching
Seth. I just sat back and propped my feet up on the small wicker table and waited for
them to come chew me out.

I could hear them arguing before they reached the porch. “You have her brain washed;
she is much too smart to get involved with an idiot like you!” I heard Seth yell.

“Priscilla is my destiny and we are going to be together!” Ethan argued back. Whew I
will have to tell him to calm down on the whole destiny thing, nobody believes in that
crap. They continued to call each other names and argue all the way to the porch but
when they saw me they both hushed and tried to look innocent, they didn’t succeed.

“Guys, please I heard the two of you arguing, actually I’m sure half my neighbors did
too. Now I know this is a strange situation but it’s the only one that is fair to both of you.”
                                         ~ 56 ~

And to keep me from having to choose right away, I thought to myself. They both just
stood there with their arms crossed and neither one looked happy. “Seth I think you
should go back to camp before your dad finds out you left, and Ethan I am going to call
in to town and get you a room at the motel.” Both of their mouths dropped open at either
suggestion.

“Fine, but he better not stay here another night, Cilla people will talk and you don’t want
that.” Seth said.

“Well they talk about me anyways but no, he will not be here another night.” I agreed.



Seth hesitated a few seconds and finally stomped off the porch and left in his car. I
watched him until he was completely out of sight. I turned back around to tell Ethan that
I would find him a nice hotel but his face stopped me cold in my thoughts.

Ethan was trembling rapidly and his tanned skin was turning a grayish color right before
my eyes, “Ethan?” I murmured and I took a step towards him but he held his hand up
quickly to stop me.

“Don’t….it’s… full moon….I…can’t stop….” Ethan’s voice which before was soft and
warm, now quivered and hollow, I looked up and could see that the moon was large and
completely round and I was scared but eager too I took another step closer to him, I
wanted to help him if I could.

Ethan backed up from me his body now appearing to morph into something slowly.
“Ethan is there anything I can do?” I placed my hand on his shoulder and yanked it back
shocked by how hot his skin was, hotter than humanly possible.

Ethan’s head rolled back and his mouth opened like he wanted to speak but nothing
came out except an inhuman sound. It reminded me of the sounds a dog would make if
it was in pain and I inched closer to him trying to understand the sounds hoping maybe
he could tell me what was happening to him. Again I reached up and readied myself for
the heat his skin would have and I placed my hand on his chest and the high
temperature of his skin almost burned me through the shirt he was wearing. I could feel
movement under my hand like his insides were changing form his chest swelling out
under my touch. I placed my other hand on his chest and that’s when his head sprung
back forward and I saw what he was becoming…..

Ethan’s face was unrecognizable now; his chocolate brown eyes were now golden
yellow with black slits running through them his face was not human. Where is mouth
had once been now a wolf’s snout instead, slightly shorter than a normal wolf’s would
be but full of razor sharp teeth. I stood frozen watching the metamorphosis that was
                                          ~ 57 ~

happening before my eyes. Knowing I should be afraid but more fascinated than
frightened. Sometime during this change I had moved away from Ethan and now I was
leaned against the railing as if I needed it to hold me up during this life changing event.

Ethan’s body was being reformed in everyway possible and as he grew in height and
mass the clothes gave way to the strain ripping into bit pieces and floating through the
air landing randomly on the porch. I felt a little bit of sorrow as I watched my dad’s
clothes destroyed but it was only a flitting thought my mind was focused only on the
transformation. Ethan’s howls of pain tore at my heart; he dropped to his hands and
knees flinging his massive head back and howled loudly causing goose bumps to cover
my skin.

I watched as he panted loudly and rapidly staying completely still as if he couldn’t move.

“Ethan?” I stepped forward and quicker than I was able to comprehend he whipped his
head up snarling and curling his lip up bearing his teeth at me. A low rumble resonated
from his chest and I yanked my hand back that hung in the air.

“Ethan…it’s me Cilla, please I won’t hurt you.” The words would have seemed crazy to
anyone watching but I felt the need to reassure him that he was safe.

I tried to find any sense that he understood me but his golden eyes only glared at me. I
decided to try once again to touch him and I moved and raised my hand at the same
time and he flinched back but I continued on I stretched my finger out and lightly placed
it on his nose and he sniffed and puffed out noisily.

“Can you understand what I am saying?” I asked.

Ethan growled and then his upper lip covered his sharp teeth and he dropped his head
and whined. I dropped to my knees and raised his head up his soft fur gathering
between my fingers. “Ethan…if you understand me close your eyes.” I held my breath
and waited and then miraculously Ethan’s eyes closed for a few seconds and then
opened back up. I sighed loudly and wrapped my arms around his soft fury neck,
“Thank God! Oh Ethan are you okay, are you in any pain?”

Ethan pulled himself out of my embrace and lowered his head and whined softly. I
wasn’t sure if that meant he was in pain or not. I reached out to him again but he
growled slightly and backed away further.

“Please Ethan, don’t back away from me. I’m not scared of you.” I wanted to reassure
him that I didn’t feel threathened.
~ 58 ~

								
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