“Just don’t let it be awkward dude. You have a choice to let it be or not.” Bart and Trevor were walking to first period. It was the first day of the new semester and students were in a hurry to get to their classes before facing the wrath of their professors. The hallways were full of students hugging and greeting each other. Bart and Trevor did their best to avoid getting ran over by screaming girls who acted like they hadn’t seen each other in months.
“I guess dude. It’s just weird, I don’t know what to say or not to say around her right now. I don’t want to make things more uncomfortable than they are.” Trevor had been nervous about returning to life at Ethelwine after what happened between Rena and himself. Though she seemed to be acting normal, it was Trevor who was consumed by awkwardness.
Bart went silent for a moment as they passed by the rush of students. “All I know is that Rena is a very straightforward person. You told her how you felt and she was honest about how she felt. She’s not the kind of person to let that disrupt one of her closest friendships.”
Trevor sighed and was about to reply when something caught his eye. It was Sor walking down the hall holding hands with Kaiden?
“Ummmm..” Trevor couldn’t really think of anything to say. Bart followed his friend’s dumbfounded gaze and his mouth fell open staring at the two walking in their direction. Rena and Hope stood near the door of their first period classroom waiting for their friends to get there. “I’m telling you Hopey, she’s acting strange. She got back to the dorm last night and said nothing about where she was especially if she was supposed to work on a ‘project’. No matter how much I pried I couldn’t get anything out of her. And then she was up really late texting God knows who.”
Hope pursed her lips in thought “Maybe she has a lot of personal things going on?”
Rena shrugged leaning against the wall crossing her arms “She was gone before I woke up this morning too. It’s just so weird and not like her.”
“I’m sure she’ll tell us when she’s ready-“ She caught sight of her boyfriend and brother making their way towards them except their eyes were on something else “Oh hey look it’s Bart and Trev. What are they looking at?”
Hope’s gaze follows theirs and her eyes widened at the sight “Uh Rena, I think I might know why Sor’s been acting odd.”
Rena turned her head only for her jaw to drop in surprise, “Oh. My. God.”
Sor and Kaiden we holding hands walking towards them. Holding. Hands. Were they together now? When did this happen?
“Well then, what are you lot staring at?” Ali and Garrett came strolling from the opposite end of the hallway. He rose a brow at their shocked expression
All Rena could do was point to where the perpetrators were coming from. Ali turned, as his expression changed from amusement to disbelief.
“What the hell.”
“Hey guys!” Kaiden greets as the couple approached the group, Sor face was bright red seeing her friend’s stunned expressions.
“Uh hey, Kaiden.” Rena replies still in shock, staring at their joined hands “Sor, what’s going on?”
Sor gave a shy smile “Well, Kaiden and I are together now.”
“When did this all happen?” Hope asks curiously, last she heard, Sor wasn’t really interested in Kaiden. What changed?
“It started at the dance I guess.” Kaiden grinned and squeezed her hand
“Then we talked all winter break. One thing lead to another and here we are.” She says with a blush.
“Awww that’s great! Can’t wait to see how it ends.” The sarcastic enthusiasm went over their heads, but still evoked an elbow to the ribs from Rena. “I guess I better get going.” Kaiden says glancing down at his phone he turned to Sor with a grin, “I’ll see you after class?”
Sor smiled “Yeah.” He leaned down and pecked her cheek causing her to turn bright red. Ali eyes narrowed at the sight and clenched his fists.
He faced the group once more “See you guys!” With that he began to walk in the opposite direction.
Sor looked at her friends expectantly “Alright, whatever you guys have to say, let it out.” The group stood there for a second.
Before anyone could say anything there was a voice behind them. “Sorry I’m late class.” Mr. Parkinson walked up and stuck his key into the locked classroom door. “I had some last minute things I had to take care of. The good news is, I am back to my regular teaching duties.” He opened the door and gave his students a smile as they filed into the room.
Sor pulled Rena back slightly as the students entered the classroom leaving the two out in the hall, “I’m sorry for keeping that from you Rena.” She apologized knowing she probably hurt her friend’s feelings keeping this from her, they told each other everything after all.
“You probably had a good reason.” Rena gave her a smile “ But you know you can tell me anything Sor. You didn’t have to hide this from me.”
She looked away sheepishly, fiddling with her fingers “I know but I couldn’t risk anyone finding out while everything was still so new, especially Bart and Ali, they already don’t like Kaiden as it is.”
Rena rolled her eyes “Don’t worry about those two idiots, they’ll get over it. Now I forgive you but since you hid that from me, your best friend, you owe me allllll the details. I want to know everything.” Rena looped her arm around Sor’s with a cheeky grin.
It was Sor’s turn to roll her eyes as she failed to hide her laugh “Okay fine. I tell you everything later. Let’s get in there before Parkinson marks us late.”
The class all took their seats. “There’s a lot less students here than before break.” Hope told Bart quietly as they looked over the classroom. She was right, at least a dozen regular students weren’t here.
“I heard that a lot of parents didn’t let their children come back because of all of the attacks.” Hope and Bart took seats next to each other.
“Now I know I’ve been gone a while, but I will be resuming my post here.” Mr. Parkinson has set his briefcase on his desk and turned to lean on it towards the class. “As Professor Mort informed you all, I was doing what I could in tracking down the thing attacking our students here.”
The class shifted uneasily.
“The vampire.” Bart stated bluntly “Did you get it?”
Mr. Parkinson studied him, as if reading everything Bart knew right out of his head. “Unfortunately no. We haven’t had an attack since November, and itis very possible that the beast has moved on. That being said, I am a well accomplished hunter, but vampires are not a specialty of mine. The school has brought in someone a little more experienced in this particular area. They will see to make sure that the beast is for sure gone and if not, see to the extermination of it.”
The class became filled with murmuring. “So we’re supposed to just sit back for the next couple weeks and hope this random person knows what he’s doing?” Ian spoke loudly from the other side of the room and the class got quiet again..
“Why hasn’t anyone caught it and killed it? I was able to deal with it no problem.”
Bart scoffed. “Deal it with it by falling 50 feet in the air? What about that cast you wore for weeks? Oh wait, or were you just wearing it to get attention?”
A loud half choking half laughing noise came from Ali’s throat as he struggled to keep a drink of water in his mouth. There were a few giggles that echoed through the classroom.
Ian glared at Bart. “Sorry Winchester, not all of us keep a group of Losers around to fight our battles for us like you.” His eyes shot daggers at Rena.
Bart’s fist clenched but Hope,put her hand on his shoulder.
“That’s enough.” Mr. Parkinson’s voice was stern and full of authority. Instantly the room went quiet and all eyes went towards him. “We are doing what we can to keep this campus safe. And I believe that Mr. Dalca is more than capable of handling the current situation that we are in.” He said this as if it was the end of the subject. “Now, if you will turn your books to page 189, we will begin.”
The eyes of the group all turned on Sor at the name of “Mr. Dalca”, But she looked just as surprised as any of them.
Sor paced the living room of the basement in a panic, nervously biting her fingernails “My dad is coming here. My dad is coming to Ethelwine. Oh god my DAD IS COMING TO ETHELWINE.”
“What’s the big deal? Shouldn’t you be excited to see him for a couple of weeks?” Rena asks lounging on the couch looking bored, remote in her hand as she flipped through channels on the tv.
“The big deal is that my dad is very protective over me. He’s not going to take it lightly that I didn’t tell him about the attacks. he’s going to be watching my every move while he’s here.” Sor replies still pacing running a hand through her hair.
“Your moves, or Kaidens moves?” Bart raised his eyebrow at Sor.
Sor looked at Bart sheepishly her cheeks turning red “Well the thing is...I uh haven’t exactly told my dad about Kaiden yet.”
“You mean to tell us that you haven’t mentioned your stiff, air headed, American boyfriend to your Pap? Bean, I’m shocked.” Ali pretended to clutch the imaginary pearls around his neck.
Hope’s eyes focused on Ali and her eyebrow raised. “Why do you say ‘American’ as if it’s an insult O’Malley?”
Bart ignored her question. “Why haven’t you told him Sor?”
Sor narrowed her eyes at Ali for his comments before looking at Bart “I haven’t really had a chance to tell him . This is still a new thing between Kaiden and I okay? Like yesterday new!”
“Yesssterday?” Ali said in feigned disbelief
“I don’t buy it.”
“Garret doesn’t buy it! And I don’t either!”
“There’s more to it than that. Nothing gets that close in a day.”
“Wrong adage, Ali.” Garrett was not amused by his friend piggybacking on his conversation.
Sor rolled her eyes “Like I told you, we’ve gotten close since the dance. Why does it matter to you anyways?” She crossed her arms glaring at Ali
“Because I don’t like him! He’s bland and stupid and I don’t want him around!” The conversation was a few small steps away from being a full blown shouting match. The air was tense.
“Well it’s a good thing you're not the one dating him isn’t it!?” Sor replied angrily, her glare never wavering.
“NO ONE ELSE wants to, bean!! He has nothing to offer!!!”
“What has Kaiden ever done to you?! You’re acting like a total ass right now!” Sor exclaimed. Rena’s eyes widened, she had never seen Sor this angry before.
“HE...” Ali paused and then sighed in exhaustion. “I just don’t like him. Do I need a reason for that?”
Bart’s eyes were wide watching the two go back and forth like a tennis match. Hope squeezes his arm and brought him back to reality.
She was giving him an expecting look as if he was supposed to stop this. He sighed. “Guys Stop it. There’s no need to fight.”
They both glared at him. “Okay look, how about this. Ali this is obviously your house but this is a home to each of us. So, how about we make an agreement between all 7 of us that when we date someone they’re not allowed to come down here until it has become a serious relationship.” He looked at all of them. Does that sound fair?”
Ali stopped long enough to hear his friends suggestion. “I think that sounds delightful.” He rubbed that area right between his eyebrows, just above the bridge of his round nose.
“Fine whatever. I was never going to bring him down here anyway.” Sor says looking away from Ali. “I’m going to get something to drink.” She quietly left the room.
Rena glared at Ali once Sor was gone “What the hell was that O’Malley. We’re supposed to be happy for her.” Her voice was now in a harsh whisper.
Ali shrugged, clearly trying to prove he was too cool to care about it. “Well I’m not.”
Garrett fiddled with a few tokens from a dark magic set of his. “What do you think her fathers like? She seemed genuinely nervous about him being here.”
“Well he’s a super well known vampire hunter. So I’m super excited to meet him. Maybe he can give me some cool advice.” Bart said trying to keep the subject off of Kaiden. He didn’t want another alternation that just occurred to happen again.
“From what Sor’s told me he’s pretty strict.” Rena shrugs leaning back on the couch “And not the friendliest guy around.”
“Oh please. You know how many free meals I used to charm my way into?” Bart said with a smirk on his face. Hope rolled her eyes but let out a quiet laugh.
The stories were true, and his legend was no fabrication. Dalca had been a part of some of the greatest hunts in magical history even despite his relatively young age. Sure, he was getting to the twilight of his career, but some instincts never leave you.
“I’ve heard before that he once successfully hunted a Jersey Devil. Even kept the skull!” Garrett said with the enthusiasm of a schoolboy. “So hardcore, yeah?”
“That skull is sitting above our fireplace.” Sor says joining the group sitting on the couch once again next to Rena smiling at her friends and pointedly ignoring Ali “Papa has even kept its voice box, he could recreate it’s famous blood-curdling scream if he wanted to.”
“Screams?” Hope asked nervously. “Why would he want that?”
“Don’t worry Hope. It’s more of a trophy than anything. My father has never used that thing.” Sor offered her a reassuring smile. “So Papa just called me and let me know he’d be getting here tomorrow. You’ll all be able to meet him before class. Just a little warning, he doesn’t really like people and can be a tad grouchy. It would be wise to keep your sarcasm to a minimum” She warns giving Bart a pointed look.
“Why do you look at me? I am lovely person!”
“I feel like I might get on with him.” Ali leaned back into his seat. “I have exceptional people skills, I’m told.” His comment was a sarcastic reference to the scene that occurred earlier. He never looked in Sor’s direction.
Bart stared dumbfounded at Sor and then looked at Ali, and then back to Sor. “You’re joking right?”
Sor rose an eyebrow looking very seriously at the blonde boy “No?”
“Yo-. I c-“ Bart didn’t even know what to say. He looked at Hope imploring for help.
She was trying not to laugh. “You do tend to blurt stuff out Bart.”
Bart pointed towards Ali. “This guy has a mouth as big as a Neptune’s Flytrap and I’M the most sarcastic?” The group seemed to be amused.
“I mean, Ali is definitely louder.” Trevor said after taking a drink of root beer. “So it may seem like he’s the sarcastic one but you’re more subtle about it.”
Bart was about to reply but there were footsteps on the stairs. Mr. O’Malley emerged in the basement. He seemed quite flustered and in a frenzy. The group stared at him in concern. “Are you lot Alright hm? All of you here?”
His voice was startled. He did a silent count looking at the group.
“We’re fine Mr. O’Malley, why?” Hope answered him.
“There’s been another attack.”