Dad’s office was as manly as you can get, without it being messy and disgusting. He was a clean freak (in his office anyways, he couldn’t care less about the house) and he was super organized. His huge mahogany desk dominated the spacious room and a few leather chairs sat in front of it. Pictures of me, my brother and sister and mom covered the walls and his desk. My niece and nephew, Zack and Sophie, had a special place over his filing cabinet.
His salt and pepper hair shone brightly in the sunlight streaming in the bay windows behind him. His glasses sat low on his nose as he stared down at a few papers.
“Yes?” I said without a care and flopped onto the leather chair directly in front of him.
The silence was so think you could choke on it. His head stayed low as he stared glumly at the papers. “I…” he cleared his voice. “There’s something I need to tell you and you’re not going to like it; actually, you’re going to be pissed as hell.”
A sick feeling sank low in my gut, making me squirm against the seat. “Like what, dad?”
A slight blush hit his high cheekbones as he stared into my eyes. His brown eyes shone with regret and sadness. “Remember when you were young and you tried to run away and the sheriff dropped you off after-“
“What is it with people reminding me of my rebellion?” I demanded hotly. Frowning harshly, I muttered, “Go ahead. What does this have to do with this?”
Unfazed by the little outburst, he continued, “They happened to know who you are… because of your parents.”
“My parents? You do realize that you’re my parents, so quit talking in third person.” My resolve melted under the look he gave me… the look of defeat.
“Shyanne… I’m not your biological father. Your mom really isn’t your biological mother. Alice and Alan… well… let’s just say we’re not blood, but heart.”
Disbelief rose like a tidal wave in my heart and soul. It couldn’t be… they were my parents, I’ve seen so many pictures of when I was a baby and my mom in the hospital with me…
A shake of his head. “No, sweetheart… I’m not. Legally I am your father but I can’t claim you as my biological child. You see, after your mother had Alice, the doctors claimed that she had a one in a million chance of having another child, due to the difficulties of her pregnancy. We were devastated because we’ve always wanted a lot of kids. After about a year, my friend of about fifteen years said that a couple were pregnant with a child that was in danger. Apparently, the families were not happy with their union and threatened to kill them should they ever see each other again. Of course, love has no boundaries or knows no limitations and they ran. Nobody knew that she was pregnant and they were constantly moving. I was intrigued and said I would have to talk to your mom… needless to say, she was ecstatic because that meant another little bundle to have. We happily agreed and about a month later, a couple had knocked on our door.
“The man was as tall as a tree and built similarly. He had midnight black hair and blue eyes, his skin as dark as the dirt in the middle of summer. The woman was a bit smaller and almost complete opposite of the man. She had blonde hair that had natural reds swathed up in the golden tresses. Her skin was pale as milk with a honey tint to it. But despite being small, she had a smart and witty mouth and a quirky sense of humor. We welcomed them both and they told us all about themselves. His name was William Collin and she was Victoria Emil. Within ten minutes I could see the love that they had, that intense love that only we could ever dream of. He would jump in front of a bullet to save her and vice versa. They had full heartedly admitted that they had never wanted to give up their little baby but… it was too much danger to bring that little piece of each other into this world.” A deep sadness settled onto my father’s face. It pained him to tell me all of this but it needed to be said.
He cleared his throat a second time. “They stayed with us for the rest of the pregnancy. Then, on that foggy morning in October, we welcomed you into the world. William had practically floated through the doors with you in his arms. He had such warmth and… adoration in his eyes when he looked at you and your flaming red hair. I’d never seen him so emotional and it actually caused me to cry. He had held you in his arms like he held over a billion dollars. I’ll remember this for the rest of my life…” he mumbled to himself as he nervously shuffled papers on his desk. “He had looked up and into my eyes and I could see unshed tears in his dark eyes. He had said so quietly, that I barely missed him, ‘she is the greatest treasure I’ll ever have. Protect her as I would, for I know you will love her as she should be loved.’ Then he kissed your forehead and handed you over to your mom and walked back to your mother.” A single solitary tear rolled down his face, the exact opposite of my reaction.
I sobbed quietly as I put my head in my hands. To hear the pain and sadness that my… real dad and mom had to undergo… it literally ripped my heart and soul into tiny pieces. I felt for the people that not only brought me into this world but loved me before they even seen me. A niggling question hovered in my head. “What happened to them?”
“I don’t know. After we got done with the adoption papers, you parents had already cleared out. They did leave you a few things behind.” Reaching down, he lifted a book and a small wooden box. The box was engraved with small intricate swirls and sharp lines. He handed them both to me. “Neither I, nor your mother, ever opened the box or book. It was clearly left for you and you only. What you will read is your mother and father’s history and lineage.”
My hands wrapped around the book, bound in ancient looking leather, I abruptly stood up and walked to the door. Before I walked out, he said, “I love you, Shyanne. So does your mother and siblings. We may not be your actual blood family, but we’re pretty damn close.”
“I love you too, dad.” With that quietly said, I booked it to my room.
Hundreds of years ago, there were extraordinary people that roamed the earth. First, you have Christopher, the King of Felines. All people that had the ability to morph/ shift into a large feline or small house cat fell under his rule. You then have Fiona, Queen of Birds. Birds of any kind also had to abide by her rule, Silver, Queen of Reptiles and Liam, King of Wolves. But, even the Kings and Queens have someone to fall under in case they get bigger heads then needed. Kade, the one that they call the King of all Kings or God of All Animals; there are people that not only had the ability to shift into an animal but multiple. But, they were a few in a million. There has been only six to have ever lived.
It was once believed that they would rule the earth, making humans bow to them in submission. But, the Kings and Queens became greedy and wanted to make Kade see that he didn’t have the power to rule them seeing as they had hundreds of followers while he had but one. Raven, Princess of Many was the only one Kade had in his arsenal. But, there were few of the followers that decided to go against their masters and joined Kade and Raven. The Kings and Queens all became outraged at such betrayal and retaliated. You see, the rulers of each race have a specific power among their followers. Each of the loyal warriors that served Kade all fell incredibly evil. Driven away from their humanity, they broke away and started massacring local villages. Many perished for they were no match against the rabid beasts.
“Kade, still the King of Kings, then hypnotized all these beasts and turned them on their masters. Then the War of Beast and Man Alike began. For several centuries, there was nothing but bloodshed. The Kings and Queens became very irate with their losses and then in turn, fought each other. Felines fought wolves for dominance and birds and reptiles fought for the top of the food chain. Kade, sensing that they had indeed turned on each other, pulled his forces back and let them do the job for themselves. He calmed the blood thirst and the hunger for human flesh in the animals but could not return to humans ever again.
“After the rulers had their fill of fighting, they separated and have yet to fight again. They have mated to each of their species and now they hide from humanity as it gets smarter and deadlier.”
Creepy as hell. “So what does this have anything to do with my mom and dad?” I asked myself with a frown.
I put the book down and rummaged through the box. There was an envelope that I had yet to gather the courage to open. It had my name written in an elegant scrawl that made my heart give a little thump.
A solitary ring, with a gold band, was threaded onto a silver necklace that had small flower pendant. I’m not a big horticulture kid so I couldn’t tell you what kind it was. The ring looked to be a wedding ring with what looked like Latin engraved on the inside. Touching the cool ring made my flesh rise with goose bumps and made me shiver slightly. “Really, really creepy.”
The email decided to barge in on my thoughts, making me frown. “What does any of this have to do with-” Before I could even ask the rhetorical question, dad’s words came back to me, my friend of fifteen years told me about a couple that were in danger… maybe that was Jason’s father.
A knock sounded on my door. My body tensed, not exactly wanting to face my mom or dad right now. “Who is it…?” I asked.
A young giggle came through the thick wood. “It’s Zack, aunt Shyanne.”
“Come on in, then.”
Not even a millisecond after I said that, the door flew open and he rushed at me, his blonde curls in complete disarray and his blue eyes bright. He flung himself at me and hugged me as hard as a five year old could. “Hey, little man. You saw me about three days ago, why so happy?”
“’Cause I missed you and we went to the zoo yesterday and got ice cream and I wanted you to be there and with Uncle Alan and grandpa and me maw and we could have fun with mommy and daddy.” His little chest rose faster after his little explanation.
Laughing lightly, I quipped, “nah, Uncle Alan and I had other things to do, little man. We’re a bunch of boring old people.”
“No! Mommy and daddy are old boring people, not you.”
“Wow. Look at what you’re teaching my son already.” D, my brother in law grumbled from the door way.
“He was bound to find out that you’re as boring as staring at a wall.” I defended.
D stood around five ten, not very tall and he looked… geeky. He was rail thin, had dark eyes and curly brown hair that looked like he licked a light socket. He was an accountant at a huge ass bank in Dayton and was quickly headed to co- CEO. He was smart as hell (not street wise) and adored my sister.
“Whatever.” He smirked, his smile revealing straight white teeth. “Alice wants to come up and speak with you.”
A surge of anxiety flew through my blood. “About..?”
A small flash of sympathy passed over his eyes before he shifted his gaze to his loafers. “Well… your parents mentioned the fact that they told you their little secret.”
Zack stared at his father much like I did, but his stare was filled with confusing and mine filled with anger. “What are you talking about, daddy?”
“Shush.” Bopping him lightly, I pointed to my door. “Go out and say hi to Gracie.” Happily and totally forgetting the odd words his father had said, he hopped up and jumped out my door.
“Please, please, PLEASE don’t tell me you knew.”
Before he could answer, I heard a soft voice. “No, but I did. I filled him in on the way here.”
Alice stood in my door way, her five foot stature making her look like a child. Her pixie features were shadowed with regret and sadness.
Jumping up, I scowled at my older sibling. “You knew and never told me? After all of those secrets I spilled to you and the secrets I kept for you… Didn’t you think I deserved to know?”
Her blue eyes flashed. “Of course I thought so! Mom and dad threatened me if I ever told you.”
Before I could really rip into my older sister, my phone started belting out. Waving my hand at her to shut her up, I walked over and seen Jason’s name flash across my screen.
“Hello?” I asked casually but with an air of suspiciousness.
“Hey, Shyanne… It’s Jason.”
No duh, I muttered inside my head. “Oh. Hey, Jason,”
Alice and D both looked up with curious glances. D looked away from me to my sister and mouthed, who’s Jason?
“I just wanted to call and ask how you were doing… did you talk with your father yet?” he asked lightly.
“How did you know…? How the hell do you fit in this little situation I have? Are you like, a long lost cousin of mine or what?” My breathing started to accelerate and my hands went so clammy my phone felt like a slimy catfish.
Pregnant silence swelled and then he murmured, “No, Shyanne. I’m kind of your fiancée or...whatever you want to call it.”
My mind swirled for a minute. The word fiancée repeated over and over, making my stomach churn. It wasn’t the fact that I didn’t like him or anything, it just made me mad that my choices for a husband were taken away like that.
“What the hell do you mean my fiancée? I barely even know you, you whack-job!” I barked, turning my back to D and Alice’s stunned silence.
“I know, I know; our fathers’ decided that we should be betrothed, in case anything bad happened to you or your family. We moved here around fifteen years ago when your brother was born; your adopted parents had too many other responsibilities, other than you, and we thought you needed the extra protection.”
“That doesn’t make it any better!” Stomping my foot just like my niece I scowled out my window.
Alice came up behind me, gripped my arm in a vise-like grip and yanked on it, spinning me around to look at her. Her blue eyes were wide with suspicion and wariness. “Who are you talking to?”
“Nobody,” I said quietly, shrugging her arm off of me. “Go smooch with weirdo over there.”
“But, there is nobody to smooch over here,” Jason said with a chuckle. “Except my brother and he ain’t exactly the prettiest face; you better not be mooching over there either, missy.”
“Stop being a three year old with his toys; I could kiss anyone I wanted to, so back off.”
D stood up and pulled Alice away as she ranted. “Tell whoever that is to back off!”
My eyebrows almost touched as I looked at her. “Get outta here; I’ll be down in a minute, alright?”
Closing my door, I listened as Jason shuffled some papers or something on the other end. “Hello?”
“Oh, sorry; thought your sister was still calling me a rat bastard or something.”
Giving a little snort, I sat in my plush computer chair. “She didn’t say that she’s just protective of me; she has been like that for a long time.”
“That’s good; I’d be the same with my little sister too. Anyways… please don’t be upset with me. Whether you like it or not, I am your fiancée and won’t leave you alone. Why don’t we get to know each other first before we try to call it anything else?” He sounded unsure of himself, which made his image in my mind a whole lot cuter.
Biting my lip, I thought about his offer. It wouldn’t be all that bad, right? Spend time with a total cute guy, who might be my one and only. Get to know him, open up to someone other than Shaniqua and Michael.
“That sounds awesome, actually. Can we do it tomorrow, around seven?” I asked, nervousness bubbling up in my stomach. Why do I always get nervous when I talk about going on dates?
“Sure; I’ll pick you up at your house around 6:45.” He sounded relieved and gave a little sigh.
A grin split my lips and I said. “Okay; see you tomorrow.”
“Night, Shyanne; sweet dreams,” he said then I heard a click.
An unbelievable surge of happiness flowed through my veins, making me feel giddy and I practically floated down the stairs, where my sister stood at the bottom, her foot tapping.