Chapter 1 - Eleanor Taylor
As the bell rings, it is drowned out with the squeals and laughter of the young children from my class. “Enjoy your holidays,” I tell them, as they leave my class, some giving me a hug or high five, before running towards their grown-up shouting “bye Miss Taylor.”
It’s springtime, the weather is getting warmer. I love living in Oban, there is so much to see and do close by. I moved here five years ago at 18 when there was an apprentice nursery teacher post advertised, a few months before I finished school. I was due to start in the August, giving me a few months to organise where to live and pack my stuff. I remember my parents being so excited for me, I had always wanted to be a teacher, working with little children.
I previously lived in Glasgow, a little over two hours away by car, with my parents, but my excitement was short lived as a week after finding out I was successful getting the apprenticeship, my parents died in a hit and run accident, while walking home from a restaurant after celebrating their anniversary. I had no other family, that I knew of, so I sold the family home and moved my life here.
It is the beginning of the two-week Easter Holiday and I am excited to be able to relax, not having to worry about lesson plans and puking children. While chilling out, I enjoy reading romance books, maybe a bit of sexiness/erotica in there too, at twenty-three and not had much in the way of relationships, I have to get my romance fix somewhere. I also enjoy jogging and gymnastics, specifically the balance bar. When I was younger, I took part in competitions, winning a few medals.
Getting away from the girl next door image, something I don’t share much, is that I also practice mixed martial arts. It was something my parents demanded I learn from the age of eight, although they would have said they encouraged it, but it was not something I could give up, because my father would often tell me, darkly “you have to be able to protect yourself.” From what exactly, I didn’t know, as some of the styles and moves I learned are very brutal, deadly even. Much more than what you would need for a little self-defence if some greasy bloke put his hands on you.
I have two best friends and we have become close over the last five years; one is human and works at the school with me, the other is a werewolf, yes that’s right, werewolf! Over the past thirty years, supernatural species became known to humans, but have been about for thousands of years. They now have rights of their own. There is a supernatural council that oversees these groups, and we all seem to live happily together, so everyone thought.
“Eleanor,” my friend Myra called, walking over to me with a smile on her face. “Two weeks away from those little terrors, I have plenty of wine cooling in my fridge. I don’t have to worry about waking up with a hangover.” Giggling while I turn off the lights in the classroom, walking along the corridor, I remind Myra about Julia’s birthday party tomorrow. “Are you excited about tomorrow? My costume arrived this week and I can’t wait.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? They are wolves and you dressing up as Little Red Riding Hood…”
I Interrupt her speech, “you were there Myra, Julia picked it out for me, she thinks it will be hilarious. Besides, she said the pack are laid back and can handle a joke.”
Myra just gave me a look, with her eyebrow raised. “Better you than me,” she replied. As we parted, I shouted over my shoulder “the pack car, will collect us at 7pm.” “Great, I’ll be over at 4pm to get ready with you,” she acknowledged.
Julia was a member of the Argyll Moon Pack, located a short car ride away in Pennyfuir, a heavily wooded area. She had a twin brother Jacob who was the Gamma in their pack. I knew a little about werewolf culture from school, so I understood her brother was in a senior role within the pack. I had met her brother once before, briefly when he picked his sister up from my house, but other than that I didn’t know much about them, they were a fairly private pack, only coming into town for supplies. That was why Julia had arranged a pack car to collect us, she had gotten permission to allow us access to the pack for her birthday party.
As I rounded the corner, walking towards my little cottage, I spot Julia and her brother Jacob leaning against his car. Sniffing and turning her head, Julia spots me, nudging her brother. “I thought I wouldn’t see you till tomorrow,” I ask her, smiling at them both.
Tipping her head towards her brother, “Jacob thought is was best to bring your passes for getting into the pack, so that there would be no issues at the gate tomorrow night. Can we come in for a quick chat, there is a few things Jacob needs to go over.”
“Yeah, of course,” I reply opening the front door and leading them in. “Take a seat.” I offer.
“Hi, I’m Jacob, Gamma of the Argyll Moon Pack,” shaking hands with him. “Do you know what that means?” I shake my head no. “I deal with security at the pack; therefore, I will be dealing with your safety tomorrow night and that of your other friend, Myra. If anything were to happen and we need to remove you to a secure area, it will be me that does it. If any of the pack MALES,” he emphasizes, “harass you, then you come see me.”
Julia butts in “but nothing WILL happen, plus the males have been told to behave,” giving a sharp look to her brother. He handed me the Visitor ID cards, complete with photo and a six-month validation date, looking up at Julia with wide eyes, she smiles back, “I’m hoping you can visit me more often at home, the Alpha is beginning to allow us a bit more freedom.” We talk for a wee while longer, before they have to leave. I give Julia a hug and shake Jacobs hand. I can’t wait till tomorrow night.