“Who is she?” I hear whispers of awe and shock.
West hands me back my dagger and I imagine as a bracelet. I hear gasps of shock. “Alter?”
I continue to follow Arny feeling strange with all eyes on me. West’s grip tightens slightly. “It’s ok.” he says. I smile.
“I know. It’s just strange.” I say leaning against him.
“Is your leg better?” He asks.
I nod. “Yeah. I just feel weird now. I mean my hands, my ears, the glowing, and the gold.”
He smiles. “And the tail.” I look and notice my tail.
’And tail.” I say. We continue walking until we reach a door. It opens and we walk inside. The first person I see is my dad when we walk in. He’s looking at West then scans me and keeps looking.
“Where’s Anne?” He asks as he continues looking around.
I smile. “I’m right here.” His eyes go back to me and he shakes his head.
“You can’t be. Your taller, glowing gold , have golden wings, a tail, feline ears, and feline paw like hands. My daughter looks like me with white wings and she’s smaller.” he says with disbelief.
I walk up to him. “You can’t recognize me? So it’s because I don’t look like a scared little girl anymore? Is that it? I’ve finally grown up. Become who I’m supposed to be. I’ve embraced the destiny I was given. I’m still me. Just not the me who let myself get pushed around. Not the me who was defenseless to protect her family. ”
Tears form in his eyes. “My baby girl. All grown up.”
I smile and hug him. “Not quite I still have a little ways to go.”
I hear footsteps and look up to see Jesus walking toward us. He smiles. “You have finally embraced what you are destined to do. This means that you no longer need training. You are very powerful, for father knew you could handle the power without corruption. He has complete trust in you. Now this is not to say that you don’t have a choice. You can decide to not be the alter. Father has always given a choice. “
I nod. “I want to be. I have personally been with him. I know how he is. How he thinks. It has to be me. It can’t be anyone else.”
He nods. “You know a side not many have seen. You’ve seen his weakness. You are his weakness. He may not show it for a while now but he does have a heart.”
West moves next to me. “Her? How is she his weakness?”
Jesus look at him with sympathy. “He has fallen for her. His heart has softened for her. It still is. He is hurt. He doesn’t know how to react.”
West wraps an arm protectively around me. I lightly push him. “West I can take care of myself.”
He looks at me with anger. “You mean how you took care of yourself the last couple times?”
I glare. “Shut up. You have no clue what it’s like. To not be able to even look at the one you love without turning into a monster. I got myself caught trying to get out the anger I had towards him. You know what happened when he picked me up and took me into the cave?” I ask.
He doesn’t answer. “I. Gave. Up. Because I had almost hurt you and any torture beyond that would be nothing. My leg was nothing that pain in my leg kept me alert. Kept me from giving up on you. I was going to do whatever it took to make it up to you. To stop the fear I had saw in your eyes. It was burned in me. I thought. I deserve this.” I turn and walk out.
I clench my fist my head pounds and I fall to the ground. I feel my bones shift and crack familiarly. A feeling of comfort goes through me as I finish my shift. My cougar is mad as well. She’s been with me she knows the pain we both felt. I leap into the air and fly to the forest. I land on the ground and fold my wings. I sit down and listen to the rustling of the leaves.
I hear wing flaps but ignore them. My tail sways back and forth as I look out into the forest. I hear footsteps.
“Anne. I’m sorry. I have no clue what you went through. It was insensitive of me but Anne, I don’t want to lose you. I can’t.” I hear him sit next to me. “Elizabeth was my first soulmate and I failed her. When I thought she had become evil I left. I turned my back on her when she needed me most. She had no training and no way to protect herself. My heart broke once I felt our bond was gone and realised my mistake. I realised it too late.”
I keep looking in to the forest. I shift back. “You still should not right out judge me as weak.” I pull up the dress revealing the scars on my back. “I have been through more than you would ever know. Once my father faked his death my mother became hard. I’ve been through torture. Physical and emotional. I am more than ready to fight a guy who craves power.” I pull down the dress.
West puts a hand on my shoulder. “Does your father know about it?”
I shake my head. “It would break his heart.”
He turns me to face him. “Your father need to know. I know it’s none of my business but he should know.”
“I will not do that to him. It would devastate him.” I say looking away.
I hear footsteps. “Devastate who?” My dad asks.
I look at him. “No one.”
He sits next to me. “Tell me.”
I shake my head. “I was just talking to West. It’s no one.”
He raises an eyebrow. “It doesn’t seem like no one.” He says.
I sigh. “It’s you. If I tell you you will be devastated. I can’t do that to you.” I say looking into the forest.
“Sweety i’m an adult. I’ve been alive longer than your grandfather. Even your great grandfather. I think I can handle what you need to tell me.” He says.
I look to West and he nods. “He is right. He needs to know.”
I sigh. “Mom hasn’t been very nice since you left.”
He nods. “You told me.” I raise my dress exposing my back, showing my scars. He looks at my back and puts a hand to his mouth.
“She has hurt me both physically and mentally. She says I am too much like you. That no one will like me because i’m an ugly girl. When Derek was trying to take me because of her debt she did nothing she just looked at them. She had no emotion on her face. Jim was the only one who stood up and tried to stop them. They ended up taking me anyway.” I say putting my dress back down.
He doesn’t say anything for a while.
“I’m sorry. If I had known….”
I look at him and smile. “It’s ok. I’m just happy to know your alive and that you didn’t really die.”
He hugs me.
I hug him back. “I should probably go check on Jim.”
He smiles. “I think it’s time for me to see Jim as well. It’s been so long. He must have many questions.” He gets up and helps me up.
I let my wings disappear and I no longer glow. I watch my hands go back to normal and feel my ears go back as well. I grab his hand and we head to Derek’s mansion.