Ring...ring...ring...ring...ring- my hand slammed onto the green answer button once I realized who was calling me at...7:30 in the morning?! The voice on the other line was chipper and was already starting to grate on my nerves. It’s not her...but no it’s her. Who calls this early in the morning on a Saturday?! Oh right. My friends do.
“Erin. We’ve talked about this. 10 is the earliest that I am willing to answer the phone. What is so important that this couldn’t wait?” Towards the end, a yawn filled my mouth so the last few words were pretty much nonsense.
“I didn’t understand half of what you said, but the gals are meeting up this afternoon for coffee and tea if you care to join us.” I sighed.
“I don’t have a choice do I?” She let out a small laugh.
“Of course you don’t. Meet us at the usual place at say...1:15? If convenient come, if inconvenient, come anyway.” I had to crack a smile at that. The best part of the friendships that I’ve made is that we speak mostly in quotes. We are the nerdiest group of nerds to nerd and we know it.
“I see what you did there, Sherlock. Really?”
“Everybody’s a critic. Anyways I thought I’d call you to let you get started on your day. I also wanted to tell you to check the news. Somethings going on with the Council and it’s starting to freak people out.”
“Noted. I’ll see you later.” I said cutting her off her farewell and laid back into the sheets that were all screwed up on my bed and glanced around the room. Well, more like glancing at the blobs and blurry objects that were scattered around the room from having really shitty vision. After a few minutes of just lying there, I decided enough was enough and sat up to look for my glasses. The relief was immediate for the headache that had begun to form from not wearing them for a few minutes and I got up to start getting ready. I won’t bore you with the details and bring you to the kitchen where I had to decide to actually eat breakfast this morning and watched the news. Erin was right, some stuff was going down in the Council. Apparently one of the members, a witch I think, was stealing money to run a secret operation to buy and sell people...you know what? No, not going into it. Anyways, a new member was being decided on to fill their position. Oh it would be so great to be a supernatural creature...oh! I completely forgot to mention this. Dammit self. My bad, for about 30 years or so, supernatural creatures have been coexisting with us. Elves, werewolves, fairies, tolls, giants, and anything else you can think of, including the not so nice ones. Thankfully, they aren’t that common. All the things that we thought were myths were helping with medicine, farming, technology, and so much more. I’m actually friends with a really awesome witch who also happens to be my boss at the music store and Erin, the girl I spoke to earlier is a werewolf. I’m sorry, but I’m going to be doing that a lot, rambling on and it might get annoying so please don’t kill me. I digress. A slight ping went off and by ping I meant the TARDIS sound came from my phone from an update on a story that I was currently reading and signed up for notifications. I will admit that romance stories are my guilty pleasure but I can’t help being a hopeless romantic. How else would I live vicariously through other people? I’m not the prettiest girl around or the most talented musician. Now that’s not me putting myself down...well it kind of is but the point is, is that it’s the truth. I’m also a little on the round side, I have a few zits, frizzy, curly hair that has a life of its own. I’m normal, average, nothing special and I’m used to that. It sucks, but my life isn’t supposed to be easy nor am I going to have fun all the time. I’m thankful for the friends that I have that keep me going and music to sing my worries away. I just wish I had someone to kiss them away too.
“No use whining about it.” I mumbled and my voice echoed through my empty apartment. I sighed.
“I really should stop talking to myself, but not today.” I quickly realized that it was almost time to leave and started putting things away and heading out to my car. I made it just in time to see one of my other friends pull in. Waving I entered the cafe to see Erin Macland and Tanda Kordna already seated at a table close to the counters and they happily greeted me and rather loudly too.
“Dani! How are you?” Erin shouted causing a few heads to turn towards us as I made my way to the table and sat down. I sent a glare at her, which only made her smile widen and I only shook my head. Why did I have such loud friends?
“I’m fine, how are you guys doing?” I asked.
“Same old, same old. Plotting world domination, murder, and simmering in the self-hatred I have for humanity and the world.” I simply nodded and turned to Tanda.
“I’m also good, though not quite as accomplished as some. I have started a new piece for my education’s class though and it’s for piano.” I smiled and giggled at my fellow music nerd. I jumped when a hand landed on my shoulder but sighed in relief when it was just our final member of our nerd, Amelia Baron. Now I have a really unique group of friends, who I’m pretty sure were all crime bosses in another life or some type of warlord because they have a knack for planning such things that would make other people terrified. They wouldn’t actually do anything...at least I hope so. Amelia, Tanda, and I were all dark haired (mine is fake) and Erin is the only redhead. Also the only extrovert and the tallest. She also makes the decisions for the introverts. I promise she’s great.
“I know you are wondering why I brought you here and the answer to that is on its way here.” She seemed to start vibrating in her seat as we all watched her smile grow wider at our confusion.
“It’s not your time of the month is it?” I asked, causing her to send a glare at me and also making the others laugh.
“If it was, you would be the first to go. For your information, it’s a man.” We all stopped laughing and stared at her.
“What do you mean?” Tanda ask and for some reason I knew exactly what she was talking about and it made my heart sink.
“Guys...I found my soulmate!” She squealed just the doorbell signaled, letting us know someone had entered and her attention quickly shifted to the person that entered. The redhead shot up from her seat and rushed towards the man standing there and leapt into his arms. I had to admit he was attractive and rather tall, well in comparison to me that is. Soft looking, light brown hair and a big grin that seemed to draw people in. They came over and she introduced him to us. She and Samson had met one day in the park and it was love at first sight, as most soulmate bonds go. The bond is so powerful, that no one really knows how or why it works. Ancient texts that date back centuries describe that in the forming of the world, all creatures had one soul but something happened and the soul split into two. Now they wait to find the other half to complete the circle. At least that’s I’ve heard. I will admit that it pains to see them together. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to death and I’m so happy that she found the one person meant for her, but that’s something that I want too. Forgive me if that sounds whiny or bitchy but, I’ve dreamt of falling in love since I was a little girl and to have that kind of bond with someone...was something that I wanted desperately. I want someone who will love me for who I am and also because...you know what, it doesn’t matter right now. I will be happy for her because she deserves it and I need to stop being selfish.
We stayed for a few hours just talking and laughing and getting to know this new person in our circle. He was funny and looked like he really loved Erin which made me glad. Finally, however, the introvert in me decided that it was time to leave and I got ready to go.
“Sorry guys, but I have to get going, I have church tomorrow and work so I’m going to go and get some homework done and then get some sleep. I’ll see you in class on Monday.” They all gave their goodbyes and I went to the counter to get one more coffee before I left. Normally I just got tea because it was cheaper and I’m a poor college student, but I decided to splurge and get a strong Americano. With a little bit of relaxing powder thrown in. The best part of mythical creatures working places where food and drink is available, is that they give the option of putting potions and tonics for those who need it. The girl behind the counter smiled at me in what I assumed to be sympathy, when handing me my cup.
“I put a little bit of Happiness in there for you since you looked like you needed it. Free of charge.” I smiled and nodded in thanks and decided to ask what she was since she had her true form hidden.
“Oh, I’m a pixie! My name is Marion!” That explained how she knew I was feeling. Most of the fairy-like beings were empaths, were able to sense emotion from most creatures. Even animals, which I find rather interesting.
“Well, thank you Marion. Maybe I’ll see you around again.” My words seemed to affect her because she seemed about ready to jump me over the counter.
“Really?! You’d be my first real friend! Well, human friend.” I nodded and smiled, ready to leave but she halted me.
“I know it hurts, but your time is coming soon, don’t worry.” She spoke in such a serious tone that I found it hard to believe that it was the same girl. I wanted to ask her what she meant but she was distracted by another customer and I decided to come back another time and headed back home. I feel like something is going to happen and her words seemed to give me hope for some reason, but for what I’m not sure. I guess I’ll have to find out.
Have you ever had that burning question deep inside you that just screamed to find an answer? It can be really simple like, “Why did I decide to eat nacho, when I don’t like nachos.” They can also be really hard to ask but really easy to answer. My question of the day, is why do I have to be an adult? I’m not good at it and it’s hard. I often times make horrible decisions because people pressure me into make something of my life and I have severe self-confidence issues that won’t allow me to tell them to back off. I’m not a complete people pleasure but I want everyone to come out of this shithole called life in one piece. I don’t like responsibility when it has been thrust upon me and I have to magically know what to do with it. I can barely make a phone without have a near panic attack and people expect me to advance in my chosen field? Right. Bitter Dani is very bitter. What’s worse, is that I seem to ask myself this quite a bit, especially when I happen to be doing something important like being at work or in class. Like now for instance.
“Miss Sullivan, would you care to share your opinion of the answer with the class?” My thoughts immediately shot to the present moment where I was in my Ethics class that I didn’t particularly care about. Okay I don’t mind it, but I’d rather be playing piano or something productive and I can’t follow anything he says anyways. He just yammered on and on and asked really difficult questions. Not that I would ever tell anybody that.
“Uh, can you repeat the question?” I asked, hoping I didn’t sound as dumb as I’m sure I thought I did. Instead of answering me, Mr. Heder gave me the I-expected-more-from-you look and followed it with a disappointed sigh that just made you want to lower yourself into your seat. I’ve had worse guilt trips, but it still made me feel like crap.
“Please pay attention, miss Sullivan. In any case, class is almost over but before you leave, I need you to hand in the short essay that I assigned last week. Leave them on the corner of my desk on your way out and have a good day. Miss Sullivan, I need to speak with you.” Eyes seemed to glance over at me as one by one, students left in a jumbled, single file line. I waited and walked up to where Mr. Heder was standing by the podium, hands folded on the dark wood. He didn’t say anything for a few minutes, just watched me.
“How are you doing, Danielle?” I was confused. I thought he would complain or lecture me about not paying attention but nope, he’s asking how I’m doing. I will be honest when I say I was stumped with an answer.
“I-I’m fine, I guess. I’ve been really tired lately so I apologize if I haven’t been here mentally the last few classes.”
“Do you know what’s causing this?” Ugh. Stop asking me questions please, you’re not going to like what happens!
“I think it’s because I’m stressed that it’s getting to finals and then I start my senior year next year and everything is just starting to get too much and no matter how hard I try; I can’t keep on top of everything. It’s really starting to get to me, you know?” This. This is what happens when I bottle things up and then someone asks me what’s on my mind. Word vomit.
“I see.” He didn’t even seem fazed...bastard. What, does every student come and have mental and emotional breakdowns to him? Ugh. Anyway, he continued on am suggesting that I just take it easy and focus on the now. Yeah, because I’m apparently not doing that. With that, I turned to leave when I forgot to turn in my essay and got it out of my bag. I handed it to him since the pile had already been collected.
“Ah, thank you.” I nodded and then left to go to my next class...which happened to be on the complete other end of campus. It was choir, one of my favorite classes because I just love anything that has to do with music. Plus, a lot of my friends were in choir with me. Well, except for Erin. While supernatural creatures live among us, most attend schools designed specifically for them. Some do decide to go to human schools and colleges, but it’s not that common. The governments are working on that. Well I won’t bore you with the details of choir but just know that we totally rocked all of our songs so far and only got one guilt trip! It’s a new record.
So choir is done and now I have a two-hour break before my final class, which I happen to have a test in. Oh boy! Please note that was extreme sarcasm. It’s sometimes hard to tell in writing, but it is indeed there. Regardless, I studied the night before and by now, the information is crammed inside my head, ready to be thrown onto paper. I really hope that’s the case. If not, I’m screwed. Dammit self, think positively.... well I can’t do that anymore. I need a distraction because I’m starting to get anxious.
Ping. Yay, distraction!
“Hello?” I asked hesitantly.
“Danielle, is that you? It’s me, Marion.” Oh the server from the cafe.
“Yeah I remember I gave you my number. What’s up?” I could literally hear the smile in her voice when she replied, as if she didn’t get asked that often. Poor thing.
“I’m doing well, thank you for asking! I was actually calling to see if you wanted to meet for coffee at the Holiday Cafe.” I looked at my watch. It was just turning noon. My test wasn’t for another two hours. Sit here and panic or go talk to a friend...I have made my decision.
“Yeah that sounds fun! I’ll see you in 15 minutes?”
“Totally, I’ll me you there! Bye!”
“By-she hung up.” Well, I’d better go and meet up with her. She’s pretty cool and I enjoy her peppiness, even though I hate it at the same time. Pixies are known to be bubbly and happy and since they’re empaths, they can help everyone one else around them with their emotions and even create potions and tonics. I know I explained that already, but I just find it really cool. So forgive me if I drive a little bit faster to get their sooner. I arrived at the Holiday Cafe in a record 10 minutes to see the parking lot nearly full and I groaned rather loudly. It’s going to be busy but you know what, I’m not going to worry about that right now. Thankfully, I managed to find a parking spot in the nick of time. Ha! Take that slowpoke. Just kidding, I’m so sorry. I feel like such an awful person. I got out and walked towards only to be stopped by a monstrous hug from a rather tiny person.
“Danielle, it’s so good to see you again!” I nearly screamed from the sudden contact but I managed to hug back, albeit awkwardly.
“Same here. I like what you did with your hair. It was blue before wasn’t it?”
“Oh yeah, but that was weeks ago! The blue was cool, but I think this shade of violet is so much cooler.”
“Yeah, it’s so much more...vibrant.”
“Ha-ha. I suppose. Anyways, what are you going to order?” From this far away, my eyesight could barely make out the letters and that’s with my glasses on. I shrugged.
“Eh, I haven’t decided yet. Besides the line is rather slow so I have time.” Soon enough though, it was our turn and we got our orders and sat down. I looked around the room and marveled at the amount of people that could fit in a small space like this. It wasn’t this fully last time.
“It’s lunch break and most of them are supernatural beings.” Marion’s voice reached my ears and I gave her a confused look and followed to where she was nodding at the table nearby. “They are werewolves and they actually go to the school that I go to.”
“Oh. I see it now. They’re a lot hairier than most I’ve seen.” She took a sip from her mocha.
“It’s a life choice.” Yeah that made sense. Erin wasn’t really hairy. She had long red hair for sure, but she wasn’t covered, unlike the ones sitting next to us. Well they weren’t as bad as dwarves, so that’s something.
“I have a confession to make.” I raised and brow and smiled as she fiddled with her cup.
“I didn’t just invite you to hang out. I wanted to introduce you to a friend of mine. He’s really cool and I thought you might get along well together.”
“Why didn’t you just tell me this?”
“I didn’t know if you would want to. All I know is that I wanted my best friend and my new human friend to meet and get to know each other so we can all be friends together.” She looked close to tears and I felt as if she didn’t have a lot of friends and wanted to keep the ones she had. I guess I had no choice. I would have to be...ugh, social with a stranger. The idea did not appeal to me, but for Marion, I would try to be cool with it. Besides, what was the worst thing that could happen.
“Well, tell me about his friend of yours. I want to know a little about him before I meet him.” Her eyes lit up.
“You seriously want to meet him? You’re not going to run away?”
“Why would I? He’s not a murder is he?” She let out a hearty laugh.
“No, but he can be pretty intense since he’s a dragon.” I nearly spit out my drink all over the table at that comment.
“You’re telling me he’s a dragon?” I demanded causing her to appear a little taken aback by my sudden movement. She nodded.
“Yeah. He goes to the same school as I do. For magical folk.”
“No. He’s a dragon?”
“He is, is that okay?”
“Yes, it’s awesome!” I got a little excited but you can’t really blame me. Dragons are the coolest. They fly, breathe fire, and can be as sexy as hell. In any of their forms. The only thing is I’ve never met one because they live in the bigger cities that accommodate their full size forms. My grandmother told me stories of when she was a kid (and when magical beings still hid themselves) and her father reading to her the myths and I fell in love with all of it. The magic, the mystery, the almost limitless power that can be used to create and destroy. It’s fantastic.
“Dani? Earth to Dani?” I shook my head of the thoughts and focused back to the conversation.
“Sorry. Wait, did you just call me Dani?” She grew concerned.
“I’m sorry. Am I not supposed to?” I laughed.
“No, you can. I actually prefer it. When someone says my full name Danielle Briara Sullivan, my conditioned response is to find a hiding spot. Also, you don’t have to act like I’m going to start hating you when you open your mouth. You’re my friend. You have entered into my inner council and I don’t abandon friends or dislike them for what they want to share with me. If something I say bothers you, please let me know. I really hate it when I’m annoying.” I actually hate everything about myself, but let’s just keep that safe and tucked away into my prison- brain. Keep it in my brain.
“I know and thank you. Empaths, pixie’s especially, are really set on making other people around them feel comfortable and when they’re not, it’s a reflection on us. We care about others, even strangers and very rarely do we get angry. It’s just...who we are.” She paused as if to think about what she wanted to say. “Can I ask you a personal question?”
“Are you single?”
“Painfully. Why do you ask?” She got a glazed look in her eyes and that means she was in a completely different world at the moment and I waited for her to come back. Hell, I’m like that 96% of the time and I hate it when people interrupt me when I don’t want to pay attention. After a moment she came back and her face almost lit up with mirth.
“What do you think about the soulmate principle?” I opened my mouth and then shut it since I couldn’t find the words to describe how cool I thought it was. Or how completely lonely I am and have a desire for a strong male companion that lets me cuddle and keeps me warm at night. Someone who loves it when I geek out and is in awe of my piano skills and has a love/hate relationship with BBC the same way I do. Yeah I totally want that.
“You know; I think it’s really neat.” Did my voice just crack? Embarrassing.
“You’re lying.” Ladies and gentlemen...I tried, I really did try. I tried to hold it in but I couldn’t. I made Marion sit through ten minutes of the past five or six years of my life. I’m 21 in case you were wondering. Also really could at summing things up.
“I had a feeling you were a hopeless romantic.” She said with a smile and my cheeks reddened. I’m not ashamed, I just find it both awkward and endearing. I want romance, but I realize I don’t know the first thing about love and I told Marion this too.
“Yeah I’m the same way.”
“You haven’t found your soulmate yet?” She shook her head.
“I know it’s silly, but I’m waiting for him to find me. I’m not the best at taking the initiative and... I don’t know. I don’t want to wait forever.” I raised my cup to my lips.
“You know, a reason why it’s taking so long is that your prince charming is actually stuck in a tree and needs you to go rescue him.” She burst out laughing and I had to join in because it was rather funny imaging a grown up man stuck in a tree. I think it was in a comic I saw once and it just kind of stuck with me. It’s wonderful.
“Humans have it too.” She stopped laughing sooner I did, but that made me sober up pretty damn fast.
“Really?” She nodded.
“Yeah, although it’s not as strong a bond and for some reason you don’t feel it as strongly as the People do. Although the bonds between a magical being and a human are quite strong. Almost to the same level.”
“Ok first, The People and second of all, humans can be with you guys??”
“Oh that’s just one of the names us magical beings use to refer to ourselves and as a whole and yes it’s possible, although rare.”
“How come I’ve never heard of this?”
“Well to be honest, you’re very breakable. It’s not impossible, but it can be difficult to kill us but for you, a flick of a wrist or wand and goodbye human. It’s not a flaw or anything, I just think that’s how you were made. Some of us speculate that in the ancient writings, the Sun and the Moon made each of the races for love of the other. They also made gifts for themselves but humans were something special. They were made for both the night and day. The Sun would observe during the day and the moon would protect and nurture them while they slept. Scholars wonder if somehow the different species were meant to protect you from the evils that slipped out of the darkness. Sadly, most of the People hate or find you annoying.”
“Thanks.” I deadpanned but still clearly hanging onto every word.
“Anyways,” she continued, “if a member of the People is bound to a human, they usually do their best to hide them away out of fear for their safety. Mates and soulmates especially, are a sure fire way to get under our skin. It’s really not the best idea to threaten or harm them for they will get pissed and you will die.”
“Huh. Can I ask you something?”
“Why are we talking about this?” She shrugged and glanced outside.
“Future reference.” She was staring at something and I wanted to turn to see since we were next to the window but apparently my stubbornness decided to kick in and I was resolute to staring into the bottom of my now empty tea cup. All of a sudden I started to get this tingly sensation and my stomach started to do flips. I looked in horror at my cup. Was I drugged?
“Did you know that some magical folk have the gift of foresight. Normally witches are able to do it through meditation and spells, but fairies and pixies get it naturally. No one knows how or why, but it’s rather useful.” She looked at me with an expression I have never seen before and I can’t begin to describe it. It’s like happiness, sorrow, guilt, fear, and hope all rolled up into one. It honestly gave me chills. A shadow passed by the window and we both turned our heads to see the newcomer that had entered the rather packed cafe. He was tall. Like really tall. Well, taller than me but according to my friend Erin, everybody was taller than me and I’m above average height at 5′9.“He had lightly tanned skin and simple clothing that consisted of jeans, a solid green shirt that...fit him rather well and totally out of my league. His hair was a shade of brown that I can’t name but I couldn’t see his eyes since he was scanning the room but boy did I notice when our eyes met. Everybody noticed however when he let out a fierce growl that drowned out every other noise in the room and made his way over to us. It was in that moment I knew my life had changed. It was also in that moment that I realized that Marion probably set this up...the devil. Bless her soul.