A heavily dressed girl was chomping down a bag of Cheetos and pushing it down her throat with a can of Dr. Pepper while the bell rang loudly and students clambered onto going to their next class. 

“C’mon, Keila! You don’t wanna be late for Stufford’s class, do you?” a boy with a dark, messy hair said as he pushed the girl towards the nearest trash bin to have her finish up her lunch, 

“Hang on,” the girl said in a soft melodic voice. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and putting bits of cheese powder on her fingerless gloves, Keila dropped the empty bag of Cheetos and can of Dr. Pepper into the trash bin. As soon as she did, her friend, Seth, quickly grabbed her hand and rushed to the classroom which door was labeled Language in bold letters.

As the two got inside, a man with short, brown, curly hair and a protruding stomach yet skinny body, dressed in a white long-sleeved polo and tweed, olive green jacket and a pair of khaki pants was already writing on the board. The class was quiet except for the bell which was still ringing. The two quickly found their usual seats near the window and when the bell stopped, the professor’s chalk broke as if on cue. Turning around, the tall man eyed the class for a good ten seconds, tops, before clearing his throat and formally starting the class, “for the next four weeks, we will be studying…” pausing dramatically as he moved aside to show what he had written on the board, “…basic French.”

The man continued to blabber about the history of France and where and how their language originated, when Seth looked at the desk behind his. It was empty. Keila and Seth looked at each other and both shrugged as they looked back up front only to have their eyes burnt as they saw their teacher’s whole body moving along while he’s writing on the board and this, of course, gathered a couple of sniggers and giggles from the freshman class. Just then, a soft rap on the glass window made Seth look outside and he was almost surprised to see a boy with a pair of bright blue eyes and a handsome smirk stuck to his face looking back at him. Seth looked back at Stufford first before standing up to open the window. When he did, the boy from the other side quickly and agilely climbed up and entered the room, closing the window quietly behind him and proceeding to his seat with Seth beating him to sit around two seconds earlier.

Keila took a quick whiff in the air and immediately smelled the hint of smoke the moment Dylan came in. She couldn’t help but throw a dirty look at the boy who simply smiled innocently back at her. Rolling her eyes, Keila turned her back from the boy who now has a smug look on his face as he pretended to focus on whatever Stufford was saying and writing on the board.

Their professor spun around in a rapid motion that it probably made him dizzy since he quickly placed a hand on his table but his eyes immediately darted towards Dylan’s direction, “well, Mr. Klein, thank you for gracing us with your presence,” Stufford said in a politely sarcastic manner. 

The boy smiled at his teacher and replied calmly, “the pleasure’s all mine…sir,” 

Stufford’s eyes narrowed a bit and he placed both his hands on top of his table, leaning in a little closer as if to pounce on his student, “see me after class, detention’s clearly not working for you,” he said in a slightly menacing way but with the half-moon glasses and nerdy outfit, it sounded just funny and weird.

“Ready your cameras guys, looks like someone’s gonna thrust some… rule in me,” Dylan said with a wink and a soft chuckle which made the class laugh except for Keila and the girl who sat beside her with bright red & orange hair who was secretly putting MnM’s in her mouth. 

Seth was one of the boys who laughed loudly and reached a palm at Dylan who clapped his own on it, “you’re so gonna get it this time,” Seth said in between his laugh. 

Stufford slammed his right fist on the table and his face was starting to be red and the veins on his neck started show slightly, “1000 words on the history of French Literature and I don’t want anything that came from the Internet! The library is there for a reason. Deadline: tomorrow.” Now this made the class groan and the laughter immediately died down and the room was quiet again. Stufford looked around the room and he released his tight grip and let out a breath. His face was still red from either anger or embarrassment but it didn’t stop him from looking back at Dylan, “anymore smart remarks, Mr. Klein?” The boy put on his poker face and didn’t show any emotion which made Stufford scoff and straighten his jacket and continued, “Now, as I was saying…”

As soon as the bell rang, Keila stood up and went to Dylan’s seat and punched him on the arm, “thanks, Mr. Smarty Pants,” Dylan merely smirked as he stood up and looked down at Keila who was around two inches shorter than he is, “you’re welcome, stick-in-the-mud. God, it’s not like you won’t be able to do it in a snap anyway,” the boy replied as he looked at her with a slight hint of disgust.

“And it’s not like you’re going to be copying from me and doing nothing again,”

“Not true. I copy from Seth,”

“Who copies…?” Seth then gives a confused and hurt look at his best friend and Keila quickly corrects herself, “…whom I help do his homework.” 

Dylan chuckles lightly as he continues to walk towards the door, “and in evidently, you help me do my homework too, so thank you,” he replies with a small bow with his last two words.

The pale yet very handsome boy winked at Keila and turned around as he made his way towards the door, “don’t make me beg, baby,” 

Keila rolled her eyes and grabbed Zoey’s arm who was clearly confused and wasn’t following everything that just happened, “c’mon Zoey, let’s get to class,” Keila said with a hint of annoyance still in her voice, “see you later, Seth,” waving a hand up in the air without looking back.

The last bell finally rang and every single classroom door burst open and the students rushed out, all eager to get out of the hell hole. The once quiet and serenely haunting hallway of the school began to be filled with the sea of boys and girls of different levels. From the frisky little freshmen up to the superior seniors, all were just dying to get out and finally break free from their teachers and the dizzying lectures.

A certain young brunette clad in all-black attire like it’s someone’s funeral was making her way through the crowd, trying to make it alive to her locker. She could already see Seth by his locker which was just right next to hers. Keila smirked and zigzagged through the bodies of students until she got herself standing behind her best friend. The slightly petite girl put her hands up and tiptoed to reach for Seth’s eyes, covering them with her cold fingers. At the instant touch of coldness on his face, Seth’s shoulders went up as an instinctive reaction even if he knew it was Keila being the adorable and playful girl that she is. “Guess who?” Keila asked in a sing-song voice which made the boy chuckle lightly and answer back in the same sing-song tone Keila used, 

“Are there any clues?” The girl giggled and tightened her hands on his eyes. 

“Just your favorite girl in the entire universe,” she replied back with a ‘duh’ tone to her voice and a small laugh like bells softly ringing. 

Seth loves it when Keila laughs. Her soft voice is melodic and a bit shy but it’s one of the most distinctive things about her. The boy took the soft yet cold, seemingly freezing hands from his eyes and turned around, not letting go of her right hand with his left.

Keila, probably the most beautiful yet incredibly shy girl that Seth has ever met, was always dressed in black or dark colored clothes. What’s more is that almost every inch of her body is covered while other girls make sure that almost every inch of their bodies is seen. Even so, Seth doesn’t really care about gender. He’s not the hipster kind, or whatever people call it, who tells everybody he’s bisexual or pansexual or whatsoever. He’s actually quite unaware of it. He doesn’t really tell everybody that he thinks of girls and guys as equal sexes. He doesn’t see that much of a difference. People are people and that’s that. So even if he does think that Keila is beautiful and that she’s his best friend, he doesn’t have those romantic feelings for her. Seth can barely distinguish his own feelings. He doesn’t know what the emotions that flow through him are or what he feels towards someone. Still, he treats Keila like his own sister. He doesn’t have siblings so he pours out his sisterly love to Keila.

On the other hand, Keila, thinks that Seth is the most childlike guy she has ever met. She loves him very dearly, as her best friend, or so she thinks. Recently, she has been feeling some sort of electricity whenever they touch or when Seth’s face is very near her own, she would feel her cheeks burn up and she doesn’t know why. Keila, young as she is, doesn’t know what it feels like to be in love which is basically why the symptoms of it are really new to her and unclear. She shakes them off, thinking to herself it’s nothing or making a logical or scientific excuse for everything like one of them must be having too many negative electrons on their body which is why she feels something electric when they touch.

A second passed and Keila felt another surge of electricity as Seth was holding her hand. “Hey you lovebirds,” a familiar voice called out that made Keila remove her hand from Seth’s. The two of them turned to look towards where the voice came from and Keila, probably for the first time, has never been thankful enough that Dylan appeared. “When you two are done being lovey-dovey, Seth, you and I are going to Vlad’s,” Dylan said as he placed a strong hand on Seth’s shoulder which made the boy quiver slightly on his feet. 

Vlad was this sneaky and shady tattoo guy that Keila often sees at the pizza joint where Devin works. Just the plain aura of him spells bad news. With a grunt, Keila rolled her bright brown eyes and opened her locker, “Seth and I are going to do our homework, Dylan. He won’t be going with you, won’t you Seth?” she snapped at the boy who is now wearing his famous smirk while she waited for her best friend’s reply expectantly. 

“What about me?” someone mumbled from behind Keila’s open locker door. 

Keila closed it partially to see Zoey with a mouthful of Doritos and a huge smile appeared on her face, “of course you’re coming with us, silly!” she said endearingly as she pinched Zoey’s full, rosy cheeks.

“I kinda promised Dylan I’ll come with him to Vlad’s,” Seth suddenly mumbled as he chewed on his lip, a habit he couldn’t get rid of. Keila’s mouth opened to argue but she couldn’t seem to speak. No sound came out and she closed her mouth before she could be caught gaping. Dylan was already grinning with a triumphant look on his face and Keila couldn’t make Seth break a promise that he made. 

“Fine, go ahead, then,” she said with a nonchalant tone in her voice as she turned to her locker and started collecting the books she needed for studying tonight. 

Seth couldn’t look at Keila but he knew he had to come with Dylan. He can make up for that homework later anyway. “C’mon, big boy,” Dylan said as he spun around and started walking towards the exit while Seth finally looked at Keila who was pretending not to care and to be focused on fixing her things, 

“call you later, Kei,” he said as he started walking off to follow Dylan, “bye Zoey!” he called out as he turned around and ran to catch up with the dark haired boy.

Keila sighed when Seth finally stepped out of the building, “he’ll come around,” Zoey said, “I’m sure he’ll even buy you a soda or a burger. I like burgers. Let’s have some right now,” Zoey said in her dazed manner. 

Keila couldn’t help but smile and as she closed her locker, she linked arms with her blonde friend and started to walk towards the exit doors, “then let’s go grab some.”

Audrey fumbled inside her shoulder bag while walking down towards the parking lot, “I can’t find my keys! I’m sure I put them in here!” she grumbled when Devin grabbed her arm and pulled her towards him that made Audrey look up in surprise.

“Watch it!” Devin yelled out after the speeding bikes that almost hit Audrey. She wasn’t paying too much attention to her surroundings and now, all she could see is Devin’s amazing jawline, bright strong eyes and his smell! That clean and musky scent that he has that makes her want to bury her face in between his head and shoulders and just take in his distinctly heavenly scent.

“Are you okay, Auds?” Devin asked as he looked down at his best friend whose blue eyes seem dazed, “Auds?” and with that, Audrey blink a couple of times and regained her sanity. She should really stop doing that.

“Yes… Yes, I’m fine. Thanks, Dev,” the blonde girl replied as she quickly stood firmly and exhaled then went back to searching for her car keys in her bag.  If she’s not careful, Devin might suspect something’s up and doesn’t want any kind of confrontation right now. Relationships should be at the bottom of her priorities, in fact, it shouldn’t be a priority of hers at all. Her feelings for Devin are more of brotherly and the best friend kind of love and not romantic. Yes. That’s most definitely it.

“Hi Keila,” Devin called out that made Audrey look up and her blue eyes fell upon that very familiar girl dressed all in black from head to toe and was leaning on Audrey’s yellow Volvo. Keila, her younger sister, lives with her in an apartment in uptown Baltimore while their parents are back in Germany, managing their family business. 

“What are you fumbling about in your bag?” Keila asked as the two got closer and Audrey sighed in exasperation and defeat, “I can’t find my keys!” while Keila looked at Devin and he shrugged at her. Clearly, this happened more than once. Actually, it happens a lot. The brunette rolled her eyes and reached for the pocket of Audrey’s jeans. Audrey followed her sister’s hand and watched as Keila pull out her car keys which was hooked on one of the belt straps of her jeans. The blond girl gave her sister a small oops grin while Keila dangled the keys in front of Audrey’s face. 

“Alright, alright! I’m a little fazed!” grabbing the keys and going over to the driver’s seat while Keila and Devin exchanged knowing looks and hidden smiles.

Audrey was about to get inside the car when someone called, or rather, screeched out her name, “Audreykins!” it made every single hair on her body stand up and she hunched her shoulders in reflex. Of course, she knew very well who called her that. Turning her head back towards the school building, she saw Brooke, Heather and the Hayes twins walking towards their direction with Brooke waving frantically at them. Audrey paused and put an elbow on top of her car and smiled at her friends. Sometimes, she’s just amazed at how six of them manage to be friends at all. 

“Don’t tell me you’re leaving without saying goodbye!” Brooke said as she hugged Audrey as if they won’t be seeing each other for a very long time. Audrey chuckled and opened her mouth to say that of course she wasn’t going to do that but was stopped when Brooke’s bone crushing hug almost cut off her oxygen intake. The rest of them rolled their eyes except for Ryder whose eyes are looking somewhere else. Brooke finally released her blonde friend and forced herself to hide her cough while Devin and Rick snorted which gained them both an eye glare from Heather.

“Hey Dev,” Rick suddenly spoke up, “are you coming with us?” he asked that seemed to have gained back Ryder’s attention. Devin took in a deep breath and placed a hand inside the pocket of his jeans while he thought about it but dropped his shoulders and shook his head, “nah, got work today.” Ryder clucked his tongue once and shook his head, “too bad.” The raven haired boy just shrugged.

Every one gave their waves and goodbyes. The twins entered their black Jeep while Heather got inside Brooke’s Porsche since Heather’s place is just a couple of blocks away from the Van Alen mansion.

Audrey got inside her car and put her key in the ignition. When she looked beside her, Devin was getting inside the passenger seat, “and just what do you think you’re doing?” Devin gave her a huge grin like a child that made Audrey roll her eyes and laugh, “you’re one spoiled brat, y’know that?” she said as she started her car and waited for Keila to close her door.

“I’m not Brooke!” Devin said raising his hands as if surrendering and the two of them laughed again before their laughter was drowned by the voice of Cameron Muncey. Keila watched the two and hid a small smile by lowering her head and letting her dark brown hair cover her face. She just loves how these two have no idea that they’re in love with each other and not just the best friend type of love that they say they have. As the two in front of her started to sing to the lyrics of the song, Keila pulled out her BlackBerry and started to compose a message for Seth.

call me when ur home. stufford. hwk.

Keila pressed send and sighed as she pulled back her head and closed her eyes, immediately drifting off to sleep despite the loud music and the joint voices of Audrey and Devin.

Devin looked outside the car windows as Audrey slowed down her car to halt in front of a small two-story house with faded yellow paint and gray roof which made it look so bleak and dreary. “Thanks, Auds,” Devin said as he released his seat belt and reached over to his best friend and gave her a light kiss on the cheek, “see ya tomorrow,” he added before pushing the door open and getting out. 

For a moment, Audrey thought her heart stopped when Devin kissed her cheek. She’s used to that. Devin does that every time but why the hell does she feel light in her stomach? Keila’s soft moan from her sleep made Audrey forget about what she felt and she rolled down her window and looked at Devin, “tell Auntie Pepper I said hi, okay?” Devin smiled and nodded before Audrey rolled her windows back up and drove away. 

“You’re so pathetic,” Keila drawled as she crossed over to the passenger seat which made Audrey slow down the car in surprise. Keila adjusted the volume just a little higher and put on her seatbelt. 

“What are you talking about?” Audrey asked pretending not to know which made her sister roll her eyes. 

“Sie könnten, um sie zu täuschen, aber Sie können mich nicht täuschen,” you might be able to fool them but you can’t fool me Keila replied as she bobbed her head slightly to the beat of the music.

Audrey scoffed and ignored her sister’s comment and just continued to drive. Even so, Keila’s remark made her thinking. Recently, she had been feeling weird around Devin. Whenever they hold hands or when he puts his arm around her or just whenever their skins touch, she feels all tingly and electrified. Why is that? What does it mean? Devin and Audrey have been friends since middle school and they’ve grown so close and they do stuff like that all the time. 

The ring of Keila’s phone snapped Audrey back to reality and realized she almost missed to turn to their street. 

“What??” Keila screeched out to her phone’s receiver. Keila’s voice might be soft and melodic and seem really sweet and cute but growing up with her, Audrey knows what emotion Keila feels when she’s talking. And besides, it was quite obvious that she was angry. Audrey took one glance at her sister and forced herself not to laugh since Keila looked so mad, she might as well have smoke coming out of her nostrils.

“What’s wrong?” Audrey asked as she drove to the parking entrance of their condominium.

Keila sighed and calmed down immediately, “it’s Seth. He says he won’t be able to come over tonight. We have this essay to write,” she said as she sighed heavily again which was in sync with the car engine dying down. 

“entspannen, sis. ließ ihn von seinen Fehlern lernen,” relax, sis. Let him learn by his mistake, Audrey comforted before opening her door and gathering her bag and phone. Keila grabbed her bag from the back seat before getting out of the car as well and closing the door. 

“Ja, ich glaube du hast Recht.” yeah, I guess you’re right.

Audrey extended her arm and placed it around her sister’s shoulders. The two walked over to the elevator and Audrey pushed the up button and looked down at her sister again and gave her a small smile, “jetzt lassen Sie mich sehen dein Lächeln,” now, let me see your smile. 

Keila gave her sister a small smile which grew into a small grin, “danke” thanks, she replied as the bell rang and the elevator door swooshed open and the Krause sisters entered the elevator. Keila pushed the button labeled 24 and the door closed. The two girls looked at their reflections and both their eyes turned sapphire blue for a brief moment and Keila smirked at her sister’s reflection. Audrey rolled her eyes and shook her head once.

The door swooshed open and 

Keila groaned, “Why? You used to love it when we go running!” throwing her knapsack on the white velvet plush sofa and plopping down on it.

“I still do but this is America, Kei,” Audrey replied as she put her bag on one of the stools on the kitchen bar counter before opening the fridge and pulling out a small tub of plain yoghurt and blueberries, “we’re not at our vineyard in Germany! We would be risking so much,” she continued to reason out as she plopped two huge chunks of yoghurt on a small bowl, “do you want some?”

Keila huffed and crossed her arms and legs, shaking her head once and looking out to the French windows, “that’s why we have to find a safe place soon, how many times do I have to tell you that?” 

“And how many times do I have to tell you that I don’t have time for that?” Audrey said as her voice turned a little louder, closing the fridge door a little too hard. She sighed heavily and went to the couch opposite Keila, “look, I know it’s hard. You have no idea how strong my urges are especially that I’m eighteen now, you know what the means,” Audrey explained as calmly as she could.

Keila was still gazing hard at something outside the window but she sighed and looked at her sister, “I’m sorry, it’s just that… It’s been such a long time since we’ve shifted; I think I forgot how to fly,” Keila said as they both met each other’s eyes and after brief moment, they both chuckled. 

“I think I forgot how to walk on all fours as well,” Audrey admitted before putting a spoonful of yoghurt in her mouth. 

The two fell silent for a minute, both in deep thought and just as Audrey finished, she put down her bowl on the coffee table and stood up, stretching out her hand at Keila who looked up at her, confused, “do you want to run or what?” Keila grinned and took her sister’s hand, stood up and they both went inside their rooms.

An half an hour later, the two were walking at the end of the hiking trail in the forest of Ravine dressed in sweats and flip flops. The forest is closed to pedestrians simply because there are wild animals in it. Crocodiles, wolves & snakes can be found in the forest. Everything is untamed and most of the forest is untouched. Hunting is strictly forbidden since the forest is the only place left for the animals to live freely. Little do most people know, some of the animals in the forest are actually humans.

The Krause sisters carefully hopped across the wired fence and looked around before running deep into the forest. 

“I think it’s safe now,” Audrey said as she scanned their surroundings and seemed to start smelling the air. Keila started to strip herself from her clothes and hanged it on the lowest tree branch she could reach. Audrey followed her sister’s lead. 

As soon as the two were bare naked in the middle of the forest, Audrey’s eyes flashed blue again then to auburn brown color. The shape of her eyes started to change from slightly round to a shape of an almond and reddish brown fur started to appear on her face and every inch of her body. Her hands and feet became small paws, her nose became black and a little pointed, whiskers sticking out beside it, her ears became furry and pointed, and lastly, a furry tail popped out from behind her. 

Keila eyed the small fox in front of her with a raised eyebrow, “look who’s excited?” she teased as she placed her hands on her hip and her eyes flashed blue before it turned to a yellowish brown color and became more rounded. Her mouth became a small yet sharp beak and her pale skin turned into speckled brown feathers, her arms became wings and her feet became claws. 

The owl shuffled its wings and flapped it hard as if exercising it. Dust and leaves flew all around the fox and it growled at the owl before making a sneezing noise. The owl hooted and bowed its head low a couple of times. 

Audrey the fox snorted to herself and started to walk away and deeper into the forest, swishing her furry tail happily back and forth. Keila the owl flapped her wings once more and this time finally taking flight. She wobbled a couple of times before finally getting her balance and hovered over her sister. 

Time for some action! Keila thought as she hooted loudly at her sister who looked up and nodded. Audrey didn’t need to know owl language to understand her sister’s hoot. She knew exactly what it meant and she shuffled her small furry body before leaping out agilely deeper into the forest, maneuvering through the big roots and fallen trees. She almost forgot how invigorating it felt to change into a fox and run free into the wild forest.

Just above Audrey, Keila flapped her wings stealthily yet swiftly across the tree branches and vines. It was just like back in their vineyard at Germany. She and Audrey would shift and run all across their wide hacienda. During summers, their cousins would also join them in shifting and playing. Heck, even their parents, uncles and aunts also shift when they want and join them. It was one of the things that Keila misses the most.

The Krause family is purebred shape shifters known to have existed at around 63 B.C. Their ancestors were keen on keeping their family line pure so a shifter marrying a human is frowned upon although two centuries ago, half-breeds have already been accepted. Even so, the sisters’ blood line has been preserved. Some of their cousins are half-breeds and they don’t mind. They welcomed them with open arms. Shifters and shifters, especially ones with Krause blood in them.

About an hour later, the brown speckled owl landed on the tree branch where there were clothes hanging on it. Keila looked around first before jumping down and turning herself back into her human form and started dress up. The reddish brown fox came back while Keila was almost done dressing up. Audrey returned back into her human form and immediately started to dress up.

“Looks like someone had a good time,” Keila chided, leaning onto the tree and crossing her arms on her chest, “I saw you nibbling at the wild berries,”

Audrey pulled her sweater over her head and looked at her sister, “what? I can’t help it! They were so dee-lish!”

“You were near the swamp,”


“So?? Hello??” Keila stomped her foot angrily and pointed at her sister, “fox,” then pointed her thumb over her shoulder, “swamp. Crocodiles; do the math,” 

“Fine, I got a little carried away. Besides, I can take care of myself. You know how fast I can run.”

“You can’t always just count on that,”

“Okay… I won’t go near the swamp again.”

Keila looked at her sister hard in the eyes.

“I promise.”

“You better.”

Audrey smiled softly and went over to give her sister a warm hug, “thanks, Kei. Now how does a good cup of coffee sound?”