“You okay, baby?” Masato soothed as he tugged me close to him.
The funeral was over, and everyone around carried a heavy load as they left. Thankfully they’d held the funeral out in the open, so Emmett, Alicia, and I were able to attend.
Ten days had passed, but still, I felt the burden of the loss, we all did.
“I guess. I hope this was a one-off.” I tried to remain hopeful that it was just some freak accident, but I couldn’t shake the dark feeling that it was only the start.
“Me too.” I felt his silent sigh as he pressed a kiss to my temple; I knew he shared the same freight as I did about the attack. “Want to go for a milkshake at your favorite place? Then we can go home and curl up with your favorite film?”
“I’d like that. Emmett and Alicia are going to look around now the police are finished. Zach’s going with them. It’s daylight, but obviously with the pack that’s near, better safe than sorry.”
“Yeah, Emmett mentioned. They’re going to see if Zach can cast something that will trigger an alarm if they step out of bounds, too.”
“Should be doable.” I agreed. “Between our magic and modern technology, we should be able to set up some monitoring.”
“They want to do it for the wolves, too, but that’s trickier. Come on, let’s get you that milkshake. One large mint chocolate chip with extra mint.”
“Good afternoon, class.” Mrs. Atkinson walked in. “We have found your new history teacher who will be here in a moment. I know we’re all still very sad about Mr. Walton, and we shall be for a while. However, I’d like to ask you to hold the same level of respect for Ms. Jameson as you did for him. She went to great lengths to make it possible to be his cover for the rest of the year and comes from an outstanding historical background.”
Just as Mrs. Atkinson finished speaking, the door opened, and a lady strolled in.
She had long flowing blonde hair that fell in smooth waves. Her eyes were a blend of green and blue hues as she turned to the class with a smile. She had subtle smile lines and wrinkles beginning to form on her face — a button nose and thin pink lips.
She stood a little taller than Mrs. Atkinson, who was around five foot six and had a slim, but she had a strong-looking figure under her smart, black wrap dress.
“Good afternoon, class. I am Ms. Jameson, and I will be endeavoring to do my best to fill Mr. Walton’s shoes as best I can to see you through to your end of school exams. I embrace questions, and I will help you all anyway I can. When there aren’t classes, my door is unrestricted, should you ever want to speak to me privately.”
Something about her tone made me grimace. It sounded sweet yet stern, however to me, it seemed fake. It was the sort of sweetness people had in their pitch when they were trying to hide their genuine sound, or emotions, sickly sweet.
“Thank you, Ms. Atkinson.”
“You’re very welcome, good luck.” Ms. Atkinson smiled and left the room.
“Now, I shall tell you a little about me.” Ms. Jameson started, and I had to close my eyes, so she didn’t see my eyes roll, “I have been residing over in Alaska, teaching history to underprivileged children for the past ten years. It was a friend of mine who lives here who had informed me of Mr. Walton’s passing. I, myself, lost a friend to an animal attack a few years back so I can sympathize with all of you. My family has a rich background dating back to the late fourteen hundreds. However, I’m here to get you through your exams, so, with that said, shall we pick up where you left off last class? Please open your books to page one seven three.”
The whole class remained still for a minute, analyzing the new professor before ripples of people began to open their books.
My eyes met hers as I looked up from my book, and a shiver ran down my spine. There was something about her eyes that told me, the days of fun history classes with Mr. Walton were long over.
“Alarms are set,” Zach confirmed as he returned with Emmett. “We coupled something Emmett created at work with a spell to enhance and detect only Vampire movements. As for surveillance, again, Emmett whipped up some tiny inferred camera’s which I set up high and concealed with a spell.”
“The alarm will trigger soon as they pass the two-mile marker from town from all angles.” Emmett began to explain, “If they get too close, we’ll head out, watch, make sure no one’s in the forest. We’ll get them out if there is. Although with what happened, no one’s going near it right now.”
“Good.” Alicia acknowledged, “There’s a high chance it was a one-off, Mr. Walton was just out there at the wrong time. That area of the forest is very much under cover of the trees. A Vampire wouldn’t be able to stay out, but in the twilight sun, they’d be able to long enough to grab, feed, and get back inside before, poof.”
Alicia held up her hand in a closed fist and flicked it out with the word poof lazily.
“Are you coming hunting tonight, Hallie?” Emmett asked as he took a seat next to me.
“Can you take me out tomorrow? I’m okay for today, and I’m exhausted. Masato and I were going to grab a movie with Mahala and Bryan before coming home and sleeping for a week.”
“Of course. I can wait till tomorrow, honey?” Emmett looked up to Alicia, who nodded.
“Yeah, I’m good to wait until tomorrow as well.”
“If you need to feed-”
“Hallie, it’s okay.” Alicia interrupted as she looked at me with a reassuring smile. “In all honesty, I’m quite sleepy myself and not in many moods to hunt. If we track tired, we get sloppy, and we put ourselves at risk. I’m not hungry enough for a day to make much difference.”
“Same.” Emmett patted my hand before kissing my temple, “Go have a good night with Masato and your friends.”
“What are you doing tonight, Zach?” I looked over at Zach with a questioning look.
“Oh, Eric invited me to watch a football game.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle, “From threatening to smash him into the ground, to best buddies.”
“Well, there’s nothing like the threat of violence to bond two people. After all, if I recall, we were wrestling with each other before we even knew each other’s names. I’m also pretty sure you and Alicia had a little grapple.” Emmett laughed amused. “Now look, we’re all pals.”
“Please don’t remind me of how you pounced and tackled my brother.” I rolled my eyes at Emmett as my head shook.
“What were we supposed to think? You’d snuck off, Masato came to find you but couldn’t. He got us because he was worried about you, and I’m picking up your scent a good half mile into the forest. Then I see you’re with a strange guy who was about to touch you. Sorry, I went protective dad mode, can’t indict a guy for that.”
“To be fair, I probably should have been more tactful with the whole thing.” Zach shrugged, “But I needed you alone, and you were always with these two or Masato, and I thought they were just human. I was going to approach you that Thursday before Eric jumped out at you.”
“Well, what’s life without an eventful family reunion, hey?” Alicia laughed. “What time are you heading out with Masato?”
“Once he’s home from work, had a shower and got changed. So, in about an hour or so.”
“All right, go study a little before you do so, please. Your exams will come up pretty quick. You too, Zach.”
Zach rolled his eyes, “Yes, Mom."
“Oi, I may not be your real mother, and you’ve only been around for a couple of weeks, but I will whoop your ass.”
I sighed exasperatedly as I stood up, grabbing Zach’s arm, “Come on, before you two end up in a stalemate.”
“She’s so much bossier now. I blame you, Alicia!” Zach exclaimed as I hauled him out of the dining room.
“A blame I take willingly. Now study!”