Chapter 2 - This Gift
Both Ayla and Ivan are eighteen now.
“Focus, Ayla. You can’t lose concentration.” I hear my dad murmur, his voice firm.
Two months after we shifted and realized that we are hybrids, Ivan and I also received our vampire gifts. Ivan received the gift of power mimicry where he can use another person’s powers like they are his own. I received the gift of teleportation which I have not yet mastered, much to my disappointment. It’s like I’m taking baby steps when it comes to the amount of distance I can travel. When I first teleported, I could only manage to move to the middle of the training center.
Now that we’ve graduated from high school, Ivan and I have more free time to train to get our vampire and werewolf to work in harmony – which is easier said than done. One day we’re working on that and the next, we train to control our gifts and learn how to use them properly. And the week continues with us switching between the two trainings daily.
We don’t do any training to protect ourselves in a fight. Mom put a temporary stop to that the day Ivan and I lost control when we let our emotions get the better of us during a hand to hand combat training session. So, dad is training us to achieve a balance between our beasts and our gifts before we can move on to learning how to fight.
I concentrate harder, imagining a tunnel that I’m running through. The training warehouse that I’m in starts to blur, a blue portal appearing in front of me. Electric blue and silver light floods the room, wind whipping through my hair. I think of the back garden and immediately see it, my mom standing there waiting for me. Taking a deep breath, I force myself to focus harder and jump through. I land on the soft grass, my shocked expression matching my mother’s.
“You did it, darling!” She yells excitedly, hugging me. “I’m so proud of you!”
“Thanks, mom.” I grin, kissing her cheek.
“Well done, princess.” I turn to see my dad walking up to us, a smile on his face. “We’ll keep increasing the distance gradually before getting you to teleport to longer, but you’re doing great.”
I thank him, feeling both relieved and happy to finally be getting a handle on how to control my gift. That feeling is suddenly overtaken by shock when Ivan appears out of nowhere and smacks straight into me. I groan in pain as we land on the grass, his weight crushing me to death. He grins excitedly, hollering in my ear before my dad picks him up and throws him over his shoulder with a loud growl.
“What did I tell you about copying your sister’s powers while she’s learning boy?!” He yells, marching towards the training center.
“That was awesome!” He shouts, arms in the air.
“Twenty laps around the territory, now!” Dad puts him down, crossing his arms with a stern look.
“What?! No! Dad, please!” Ivan begs, frowning up at him.
"Now, Ivan!” Dad snarls, pointing at the treeline.
“Love you, honey!” She yells from beside me, blowing him a kiss.
He growls in response, fists clenched as he stomps into the forest with a frustrated look. Dad shouts from behind, saying that he ordered him to run not pout. I giggle, turning and heading back into the house with my mom. I would love a warm, bubble bath right now to soothe my aching muscles. Dad had me training from six in the morning and it’s two in the afternoon now.
But my hopes of spending my evening relaxing are crushed when we enter to find the kitchen trashed, food everywhere and staining the furniture and walls. Misha and Mikhail look up with wide eyes, their hands covered in peanut butter and jam. They grin up at us, lips smeared with chocolate spread.
“Misha! Mikhail! What is the meaning of this?!” Mom snaps at them, sighing when their eyes fill with tears. “Look at this mess!”
“I’ll clean it up, go give them a bath.” I tell mom before taking out a packet of wipes and a cleaning spray.
“Thank you, Ayla. You’re the best.” She sighs tiredly, kissing my cheek before guiding the two monsters out of the room by their little hands.
Although she has five of us running about and tiring her out, she doesn’t look a day over twenty-five. My mom is stunning with her jet-black hair, stormy grey eyes, full lips and the lightest freckles smattering her nose and cheeks. She’s the best mother I could have ever asked for, always there for me when I need her and I do everything I can to show her how much I appreciate her.
Her and dad make the cutest couple, still in love like it’s the first time. Dad has green eyes, the same as Ivan and I, dark brown hair and sharp features that make him look extremely intimidating to others. But to me, he’s like a teddy bear. He’s the best dad, always taking care of his family and putting us first. Plus he gives the best cuddles whenever I’m upset, but I would never tell mom that.
Sighing, I wipe the chunks of food from the furniture, walls and floors. Both are only eleven yet they’ve destroyed the place in mere minutes! It takes me a good hour or two to scrub everything clean and tidy the kitchen, stepping back to look at my work in satisfaction. Washing my hands, I dry them before making my way out to the living room.
As soon as I see Mikhail running naked across the living room with a gleeful laugh, I turn right back into the kitchen. Now that, is not something I ever wanted to see. Chuckling, I hear my mom banning him from his favorite things as I take the back stairs up to my bedroom. Running myself a bath, I strip and slip into the tub filled to the brim with bubbles, the hot water greeting my skin. I pick up a book that I have been reading for a while, picking up where I left off.
Eventually, my mom knocks on the door and tells me the Ferndales are coming over for dinner. Uncle Indigo and Aunt Vanessa are the Beta Male and Female in the Renascence pack that my parents lead. They have three kids; Knox being the same age as us with Freya being Valentina’s age and Elsie is ten-years old. All of them inherited Uncle Indigo’s platinum blonde hair, but only Knox has his indigo colored eyes. The rest have their mother’s dark brown eyes.
Changing into a cozy jumpsuit, I slip a white pair of converses on before leaving my hair open to dry. I see Ivan step out of his room at the same time as me, both smirking at each other before making our way downstairs. Valentina runs past us, screaming Freya’s name in joy and we watch as both hug each other tightly. Misha and Mikhail are already sitting in their seats with Elsie between them, the three chattering away about some new cartoon.
I lock eyes with Knox Ferndale, who watches Ivan and I step off the stairs. He greets us with a smile, fist bumping my brother with a grin. Knox and Ivan have always been very close, they did almost everything together. And when I was growing up around them, I always wanted to play with them too. But they never let me in and I would mostly find myself alone. I found it hard to make friends, even to this day. I’m shy and a little awkward at times, the complete opposite from the girls in our pack and in school. But my mom always tells me that I have her sassy side, which tends to surprise some people.
Knox always used to be so annoyed whenever I would tag along with Ivan and bully me a little, until my brother caught on when we were fifteen and broke his nose. They patched up their friendship but I never went near him again, until he caught me alone in school and apologized for the way he treated me when we were younger.
Soon after, he would try to talk to me, walk me to class, or buy me lunch. I didn’t like it, especially when everyone started rumors about how we’re dating based off his actions. I was content with being left alone, I didn’t like him like that.
Eventually, he confessed that he liked me and wanted to take me out on a date. I, on the other hand, wanted to wait for my mate and refused, explaining to him that I didn’t share the same feelings. I only saw him as another one of my brother’s friends, nothing more and nothing less. He took it hard and became angry, hooked up with the queen bitch of the school who found out and made my life hell.
The icing on the cake was when my dad marched into the school and almost strangled Knox for causing this, Ivan and I had to drag him out with the help of the dozen warriors around the school. I don’t know how my father finds out every little detail about what’s going on in our lives, but he did and he was livid. But that wasn’t the worst of it. When Ivan found out everything, he wanted to murder him. I pleaded with him to not retaliate, reassuring him that I’m fine. He agreed but cut off all ties with Knox and it was only when we returned for senior year that they started talking again.
Ivan and I had done a lot of growing over that year; mentally, physically and emotionally. Although we’re twins, we became much closer and now knew each other like the back of our hands. We know what we want out of life, and that includes who we want in it. So when we went back to high school, I stayed away from all the drama and Ivan was always general with Knox – still is.
Because of who we are and what we are, both Ivan and I have become very private and only let the people we trust wholeheartedly into our lives. Our gifts must not be revealed to anyone other than people that would never manipulate us, the same goes for revealing our beasts or their names.
“Ayla, darling! How are you?” Aunt Vanessa greets me with a warm smile, hugging me tightly.
“I’m good, how are you? You look lovely as always.” I wink, watching her blush and wave me off.
She is positively glowing in her third month of pregnancy and looks very excited and happy to have another addition to the family. Taking a seat between Uncle Indigo and Mikhail, I greet him with a small smile and he kisses my temple in response. He had been furious with Knox for what he did, and with me for not coming to him. But eventually, everyone let go and moved on, myself included.
As the cooks and maids bring out the several dishes, we pile our plates high and dig in. The conversation flows easily and I find myself looking around the room. With Uncle Indigo immersed in a conversation with my parents and Mikhail interested in talking about how cool fire breathing dragons are, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to. Shrugging, I take out a book and start reading as I eat my dinner.
Reading about a handsome prince vying for the affections of a young maiden is much more interesting anyway.