“Hello Riley,” Mrs. Collins says to me as I walk in the door. “We’ve been waiting for you.” She gestures towards the living room. Nodding my head, I drop my back pack at the door, and head into living room, and take a seat in the arm chair by the fireplace. It isn’t lit or anything yet, because it is still nice outside. I suspect in a month or two it will be lit all day. Mrs. Collins, Emma, sits beside her husband. They both have a sad look in their eyes. I’m actually glad they are upset by this; they should have told me something sooner. I sit here waiting for someone to talk first, no one does. I blurt out, “So is it true? All of it? Even about you two? What about Jennifer? What about my mom and my dad?”
“Yes my dear, it is true.” Emma says to me.
“Don’t call me dear. I am not your dear!” I snap.
“Riley.” William says sternly, “Please try to understand our side of this. Don’t you remember yesterday when I said we would sit down in a week? I was not expecting your friend Evan to tell you.”
“Evan isn’t my friend. Today was the first time I’ve ever talked to him. I don’t even know anything about him. I’ve known you both a lot longer. I trusted you to tell me things. Don’t you think I would have maybe taken this all a lot easier if I had heard it from someone I trust and know rather than from a stranger?”
“I was going to tell you next week. You must believe that. Emma and I are faeries, well people just call us fae. I know you don’t know what that means so I will try to explain the best I can and hopefully not confuse you too much. Basically everyone of the Fae have a talent or a power if that is how you wish to call it. Emma and I we have a nature talent, which is why we can so easily grow organic crops when so many others fail without the use of pesticides. Some Fae have the ability to communicate with animals, some can control and read emotions, some have healing abilities, and the most often no talent ever becomes apparent. When there is no talent, then sometimes they go their life without even knowing they are a fae. No one really knows how it happens or why, but it does. We all just learn to deal with it.” He explains.
“But this doesn’t help me. Evan didn’t tell me I’m fae, he told me I’m a… a shape shifter.” The last part doesn’t come out strong, it sounds meek. I can’t be something that sounds so cool in books; I’m just a normal girl.
“We can’t explain that part to you though, so we will have to let Evan explain it in more detail to you. From what your mom has told us Riley, your dad had the same eyes as you. She didn’t have any idea about what he was. I’m sorry I don’t know much about him other than what your mom has told me. He was around you as a baby but then disappeared.” William says with such sadness in his voice. I can tell he wished he knew more about my past so I could know.
“So why did she leave me here? If she didn’t know what was going on then she had no reason to just leave.”
“No she didn’t know for sure but she had suspicions. Especially after what happened when you were a little girl. Do you remember what happened Riley?” Emma asks softly, trying not to upset me again no doubt.
“When I was little? I don’t remember. Does this have anything to do with that weird dream I have?”
“What dream is that Riley? You haven’t told us about your dreams.” William asks.
“I don’t know who it is in my dream. I always thought it was just some weird tv show I got attached to. A mom locks a little girl in her room. There is a big storm, the thunder was so loud, I swear I would almost wake up whenever it cracked. The little girl talks with a stuffed lion. Some man comes to visit her mom. I guess the man used to hit the little girl and she changes into a lion and hits him. That can’t be me can it?” I am shaking by the time I am finished explaining the dream I have. I look at both of them and they both seem to be in thought, trying to figure it all out.
“Yes it was you as a child. She told me about that and I think she even confused herself trying to explain how or why it happened, without sounding crazy. Although it is strange that the first time you shifted you changed into a lion. Most can’t change into something they’ve never seen before.” William explains to me.
Interrupting I say, “But I did see a lion, that is how I got the lion teddy bear. Lillian took me to the zoo a week before for my 6th birthday. I loved the lion exhibit so much and threw a huge fit for having to leave so she bought the toy lion for me as a present! I remember that because it was the only present I have ever gotten from her.”
“Even if you had seen a lion, most can’t change into something that complex, especially at the age of 5. Normally shape shifters can’t change until they are 10-12 years old.”Emma says looking very confused.
William looks equally confused then says “I think you should talk more with Evan and his parents. They will be able to figure it out more than we can. There are other things that you can do too, but I think Evan will tell you about that. Lillian left you here because she thought maybe you could find out more or just forget altogether if she wasn’t around. She did what she thought was best for you. Your dad as I said before only saw you as a baby. We’ve never met him, and I’m sorry your mom didn’t even leave a picture of him or anything. I don’t think she even has one. She could only tell us that you reminded her of him.”
“So now what do I do? I can’t just keep living my life like I’m not a freak. I don’t even have a best friend anymore. How do you both do it? How can you be what you are and not have anyone know? Are you ashamed of being fae? What about Jennifer? She is the most popular girl at school, how?” I ask.
“Well that is simple, she doesn’t even know. She has no special talent or one that we know of yet. She isn’t interested in much other than boys. You think we don’t notice, but we do. We just let her live an uncomplicated life. It is better if she didn’t find out, unless her ability becomes apparent. Most people aren’t okay with the supernatural. Some hunt us, others idolize us, and some people just prefer to ignore all the signs. The people who know about our family being fae are themselves fae or something else. We are very close with Evan’s parents Alexander and Avery. We also don’t think of ourselves as freaks either and we do not for one second think that way of you. If people don’t accept you then that is their problem Riley.” William says then asks “Wait a minute. What do you mean you lost your best friend? Did something happen with Oliver?”
I can feel the tears starting to burn in my eyes, trying to hold them back I take a deep breath and say “He called me a freak today when I told him what Evan told me before lunch. I haven’t talked with him since. I don’t know if I can. He thinks I am a freak, he might have always thought that. I just don’t know what to do about that.” My breath hitches then one tear falls from my eye, it leaves a small trail where it rolls down the right side of my face. Looking away so they don’t see how weak I am I wipe it away hopefully without being too obvious.
“I think you should call him back Riley. Let him explain.” Emma says with sympathy in her voice. “I had a friend who said the same thing when he found out. Then a week later he found out about himself. Everything turned out okay in the end.” She finished with a smile on her face, and reached out and held William’s hand and gave it a light squeeze.
“You are talking about the two of you? If you haven’t noticed Oliver isn’t that interested in girls. He is gay, so it isn’t going to turn out the same way for us as it did the two of you. No offense or anything.” I say, but inside I am glad to know sometimes these things can work out for the better. “What else is there? Besides fae and shape shifters?” I ask trying to take their mind off of the fact I just ousted Oliver, no matter how mad I am at him I can’t let it get out to his dad.
“Everything you read about in old tales is true.” Emma says with softness, “One day you’ll see. As for now I think you should read the letter Evan gave to you.”
“Wait how do you know about that?” I ask raising my eyebrow.
“I told you we are friends with Evan’s parents. They called William right before you showed up at the car lot, to tell him what Evan said to you and that he gave you a letter to explain a few things. You took off without him explaining things, thankfully he had written a letter just encase that happened. If you don’t want to talk to him in person, the least you could do is read what he wrote to you.” Emma says to me looking very soft.
“We will leave you to make your mind up on your own. Do as you wish Riley, the decision is completely yours. To forget this day ever happened or embrace it.” William says. Then he and Emma stand with such a grace I never noticed before, but is very apparent now. I wonder if they were always this graceful or if I only notice it now that I know what they are.
“Wait!” I call out just before they are out of the room, then meekly ask without looking directly at their faces, “Do you still want me here? Even if I want to forget everything and live my life like none of this ever happened?”
“We would never turn you away Riley. You can stay even if you decide to hide it and forget everything.” William says as he turns to face me.
Emma walks over and gives me a hug which she has never done before and whispers in my ear “You would be wise to not forget this. You are destined for great things. You will save many lives.” As she pulls away she brushes my bangs from my eyes and leaves her hand on my cheek a moment longer. A smile warms on her face even though her eyes are still so sad then goes to join her husband. I can tell that there is something more she isn’t telling me. I just don’t know what.
I sit there in the living room a few minutes longer, before I distantly hear them leaving the house. A few more minutes pass before I decide to stand and retrieve my backpack and head to my bedroom.