Aiden and Dannie
White heart shaped lights hung on strings that were tied to four light blue poles. They surrounded the two rows of light wooden benches with a long piece of white fabric going down the center stopping at the altar. Guests slowly made their way to their seats, including the “Jades” and their dates Talon and Ryan.
The moon light came in through the patio doors and into the living room. Our gray leather couch leaned up against the west wall with a few black decorative pillows on each side. A dark wooden coffee table stands in front it, with a matching shelf holding the television and movie collection.
It also traveled into the kitchen and dining room. The white tiled floor glowed along with the light oak tables, chairs, gray granite counters, and silver handles on the brown cabinets.
“Dannie are you ready? Everyone has arrived.” Mom called
I came out of my room, dressed in a teal sundress, silver sandals, and carrying a bouquet of pink orchids. Mom, my twin sister Alyssa, and future sister-in laws Max and Melody were standing by the patio door.
“You look beautiful.” Mom commented
“Thank you.” I replied
Mom was the same height as me, shoulder length dark red hair, brown eyes and tan complexion. She wore a purple sundress and black sandals. My twin, dressed like me, but the only difference between us is her blue hibiscus flower tattoo on her right arm. Then I looked over at Max and Melody.
Max was wearing a white strapless dress with matching sandals. She stood 5”6, olive complexion, long black hair and brown eyes. Her sister Melody, was 5”5, blue hair, green eyes, and wore a dark blue dress with silver sandals.
“Are you ready Max?” Mom asked handing her a large bouquet of white orchids
“I’m ready.” She replied
This wasn’t your typical wedding; it was a were-tiger wedding. I looked out to see Myra, the elder of our pride standing with Andrew and our father Raul. She wore the traditional gold robe with white trim; her white hair was tied into a braid that draped over her shoulder. My brother stood 6”0, tan, average build with brown hair tied in a ponytail and brown eyes. Dad was the same height, gray patches in his black hair, and hazel eyes.
I signaled Myra we were ready, music began to play the speaker system from the house. Alyssa and I walked down the aisle first, followed by Melody. Then everyone rose as Mom escorted Max down the aisle. They stopped before Myra and bowed their heads.
“Who gives this woman away?” Myra asked
“I do.” Mom replied
“Very well Selena. Please be seated everyone.” Myra nodded to everyone. “Pride members and special guests, we are gathered here today to witness the marriage of Andrew and Max.”
While Myra continued her speech, I began to remember not everyone was accepting of any were-animal.
High school, one of the places I don’t miss, especially during my junior and senior year. When a were-animal reaches puberty we come into our ability to transform. The downside is controlling our emotions that are linked to our powers. But that’s how I met Jade.
It was the middle of my junior year; Jade and I were sitting in Mrs. Walters’s pre-algebra class. It was a typical Monday morning; sunlight came in from the three large windows in back of the six rows of desks. Mrs. Walters stood 5”7, short red hair, green eyes, fair complexion and wore long skirts and buttoned shirts; covering the entire rainbow.
“I was impressed with last week’s test scores. So enjoy the rest of the period, we’ll start the new unit tomorrow.”
The entire class suddenly broke into their respective cliques. Jade pulled her chair over and sat next to me.
“Are you ready to come into your powers?” She asked
“I guess. What was it like for you?” I replied
“Interesting; one day I was at home and thought about opening my window in the kitchen. It happened and I was shocked. But it took a lot of practice to keep it under control.”
“Yeah; I’m going to need your help. In case it happens here, I’ll need you to take me to Myra. She’ll take care of me.”
“No problem. But why do I suddenly have this feeling something is going to happen… now…”
I felt warm and noticed my hands transforming into large orange paws. Jade went over to Mrs. Walters and then back over to me. She helped me to my feet, but I lost my balance and collapsed onto the floor.
“What’s wrong with her?” Someone asked
“I need to get her home.” Jade replied
Within seconds, I roared and transformed. I stood up, staring at the shocked faces of my classmates. Jade knelt beside me, “I’m taking you home kitten.” She whispered. I nodded as we began walking towards the door.
“Freaks have to stick together I guess.” A girl laughed
“Freaks… freaks…. Freaks…” Everyone chanted
We both stopped, I growled exposing my teeth, but Jade got in front of me.
“That’s original; not like we haven’t heard that one before. Leave her alone or else…”
“Or else what, you’ll let your pet loose?”
Jade raised her hand, causing the girl to rise into the air. She hit her head on the ceiling, as we left. She laughed when we heard a loud thud. Most of the faculty stared at us while we walked through the halls, but soon we were in the parking lot. Jade opened her trunk of her escalade and I jumped in. We left school and I sat staring out the window.
My pride lived in a gated community near a farm. Jade pulled up to the steel gate and saw the callbox.
“Identify yourself…” A man’s voice commanded
“It’s Jade Hanson; I have Dannie Cortez with me and she’s come into her powers.” Jade replied slowly trying not to sound excited for me.
The gates slowly opened, Jade drove through. All of the homes were brown, white, or blue. Each was two stories high and had modern or country styled interiors.
Myra’s house was at the end of First Street. It was a restored farm house, brown exterior with white window shutters. Jade honked her horn, Myra came out wearing a white buttoned short sleeve shirt, blue jeans, and flip flops.
“Jade what’s wrong child?” She asked
“Dannie came into her powers at school.”
“Oh my; where is she?”
The trunk opened and I walked out around to Myra. She knelt down next to me patting the top of my head.
“Dannie I need you to clear your mind. Focus on changing back to your human form.”
I focused on the image of me. Slowly I stood on my hind legs; I felt my feet on the blacktop driveway. The wind had picked up, blowing my hair in every direction. Myra and Jade suddenly gasped when I changed back.
“What?” I asked feeling a little confused
“We’d better get you inside dear.” Myra smiled
My eyes widened, I was naked. Jade handed me a large Linkin Park t-shirt she kept in her car. She gave me a hug and left to go home. Myra and I walked inside and into her living room. The sun’s rays lit up the light blue walls and white bookshelves on the far left and right. There was an off-white couch facing a light wooden fireplace. We sat down as I buried my head into my hands.
“It must have been horrid to be exposed like that.” She whispered
“You have no idea. They called me and Jade freaks.” I replied
“No you’re not. You both have a unique gift, Dannie. I remember when I came into my powers, I was at a park. People ran from me. Trust me I know how you feel.”
“Wow; but what happens now?”
“I’ll teach you control. This way you’ll transform when you want to and conjure clothing.”
Myra snapped her fingers and within a blink of an eye, I was wearing a pair of black shorts and white t-shirt.
“Thanks Myra. I thought I’d be more prepared for when this happened.”
“Have you forgotten what I taught you? Expect the unexpected. No one has control of when they come into their powers.
“Come you have a lot to learn.”
I spent the next two weeks after school, learning about my new powers. Besides transforming into our animal form, we can conjure clothing and teleport from place to place. It took me months to perfect my abilities, but by graduation of 2004, I was a master.
After the huge high school ceremony, there was a huge celebration within the pride. It was a block party with food, drinks, and music. I was talking with Myra when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
“Congratulations Dannie!” Jade shrieked and hugged me tightly
“Thanks; I’m glad you could make it.” I replied
We continued to talk and enjoy the rest of the day. It felt amazing to be free and start college in the fall with a clean slate.
“Now it is tradition within our pride that Andrew and Max bind their blood to become one. Both of you hold your hands out palms up.” Myra continued
Andrew and Max did as they were told. Myra carefully made a small cut in their palms with her dagger.
“Repeat after me; my blood, your blood… our blood.”
“My blood… your blood… our blood…” They said in unison
Everyone watched as a two red hearts intertwined formed on their right wrists. Myra then put the dagger down.
“Now you are bonded to each other. Pride members and special guests, I give you Andrew and Max Cortez! You may kiss your bride.”
He took her into his arms and kissed her lips gently, while everyone applauded. The backyard was transformed into the reception area, black tables covered with white table cloths and white chairs. Vicky was the ‘Mix Mistress’ for the night and everyone soon filled the dance floor.
“So are Andrew and Max going to live here, after their honeymoon?” Jade H. asked
“I’m not sure. They’ve been discussing it, but I have a feeling they won’t. Max loves to travel.”
“Someone’s here Dannie, looking for you.” Jade interrupted
“What’s his name girl?” Jade H. asked
“Aiden; cover for me, I’ll be five minutes.”
“Go…” they said in unison
I flashed to the other side of the gate. He stood underneath the street lamp light.
“I was wondering where you were.” I began
His blue eyes lit up as I walked up to him. I felt his muscular arms wrap around me, as my head snuggled into his chest. He wore a short sleeve gray t-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers.
“How did you know I was here?” He asked
“Jade and Jade…” I replied
I looked up at him. His face was thin and chiseled, while his blond hair was tied into a ponytail.
“They really are powerful.” He laughed
“Yeah; nothing gets passed them. And what timing you have, showing up during my brother’s wedding.”
“Don’t you think I should meet your pride?”
My heart stopped as I left his arms, my jaw almost dropped. He looked at me, as if I had grown another head.
“I… I… I…. don’t know. You’d be the first mortal I’d bring home to meet the family.”
I paused and realized what just flew out of my mouth, like having a conversation with a friend. My cheeks suddenly turned red. He took me into his arms again, kissing the top of my head.
“We’ve been together for almost a year. I thought it’d be time I met them. “
“I need to get back. I just need some time ok?”
He cupped my face in his hand and leaned in kissing me gently. “Thank you.” I said and flashed back to the party. I landed right between the Jades and noticed Talon and Ryan were talking with my father.
“So Aiden, when were you planning on telling us about him?” Jade H. asked
The fall of ’04 I had started college. It felt amazing to start over, in a sense; no one knew who I was or what I was. The campus was small and all the academic buildings, including the library were all in walking distance of each other.
I was sitting outside the King Library, there was a small wooded area behind Amp Theater styled steps I sat on. Sunlight peaked through the leaves while I read ‘Othello’ for one of my classes.
“Hey Dannie…” A female voice called
I looked up to see another member of my pride, Lilly. She was my height, fair complexion, long red hair and brown eyes; she wore black flats, blue jeans, and gray sweater over a black camisole.
“Hey Lily what’s up?” I asked
“Just finished with class and was heading over to the café for a caffeine fix. Do you want to come?” She replied.
“Sure. I could use something to keep me awake for math class.”
We both got up and walked over to the student center’s café. It was small, there were five dark brown high top tables leaning up against the windows looking out at the campus. There was a small section of refrigerators filled with soda, juices, energy drinks that were along the back wall. Across from the tables, there was Aiden preparing a frozen mixture.
“Hey Aiden how are you?” Lily called
“Hey Lily, good, give me one minute.”
He poured the frozen mixture into a clear cup, topped it with whipped cream and handed it to Jade H.
“Hey girl what’s up?” She asked
She had changed a lot since high school; she went from semi-prep to full out Goth. She was wearing a pair of black slacks, black t-shirt with a white skull, and matching combat boots.
“Hey not much, you remember my friend Lily right?” I replied
“Yeah, it’s good to see you again. Anyway I have to get to class, see you later.”
Jade left, Lily and I turned to Aiden who was ready to take our orders.
“So what can I get for you ladies?” He asked
“We’ll have two hot mocha lattes please.” Lily replied
He began preparing our drinks.
“So are you two done with classes for the day?” He asked
“No…” We said together
“Neither am I. I have history later tonight. “He sighed
“Well, we’d better get going, don’t want to be late.” Lily said looking at her watch
“Bye Aiden.” I said
He waved as we left. From that I didn’t stop thinking about him.
By spring of ’08, Aiden and I had become good friends and he came to the opening of ‘The Circle’. Jade and Jade were so excited by the turn out of wizards, witches, fairies, and were-animals. It was also my debut on the job. I was nervous, but impressed with what the ‘Jades’ wanted to do.
As everyone walked in, Jade, Jade, and I stood before the crowd.
“Welcome everyone to the Circle. This a safe place, no one will be judged whether you’re mortal or supernatural.” Jade H began
“So please enjoy and if you need anything…” Jade paused
“Don’t hesitate to ask…” Jade H finished her sentence like always.
Jade H stepped behind the bar, while Jade and I went and started taking orders at the couches. An hour later business became steady and Aiden sat down at the bar.
“Hey glad you could make it.” I said placing a small napkin in front of him
“Yeah this place is definitely different from any bar I’ve seen.” He replied
“At least here no supernatural being will be judged here. Not a lot of places were accepting of us. So what can I get for you?”
“Yes. I am a were-tiger; the Jades are telepathic with psychic abilities. Most of the people here are supernatural beings.”
“Wow; can I get a Coors please?”
I laughed and went into the cooler to get a bottle. As I set it down I used my claw to pop the lid off. He looked amazed as he took a sip.
“Enjoy and give a holler if you want another.” I said and began to walk away he reached over and grabbed my arm.
“Dannie wait, would you want to go out with me this Saturday?”
It took me a second to realize 1. This wasn’t a dream and 2. I saw the seriousness and curiosity in his eyes.
“Sure. What time?”
“I’ll pick you up around seven?”
“Ok; anyway I’d better get back to work.”
I felt my cheeks turning red as I went over to the last section of couches to take the orders of some witches. By last call I saw Jade H talking to Ash; he was helpful in bringing some of our customers out tonight. As I walked behind the bar, I put my tray underneath and saw Ash and the Jades sitting at the first section of couches.
“Dannie come sit with us.” Jade H called
I walked over and sat down next to Ash, while the Jades sat next to each other.
“We did amazing tonight.” Jade H commented
“From what I heard, I think they’ll come back.” Jade continued
“Hopefully; this place could be a refuge for some.” I added
“Not every supernatural being is ready to come out. But I have a feeling word will travel like wild fire and more will come.” Ash interrupted
“He’s got a…” Jade H paused
“Good point; some are just trying to live normal lives. But I agree with Ash, more will be coming.” Jade finished her “sister’s” sentence.
“Well then; I bid you ladies a good night.” Ash said
He got to his feet and we all hugged him before he flashed out of the bar. Jade H then had the keys in her hand and we locked up.
“Hey you two, text me when you get home.” Jade H called as she got into her car
“We will.” Jade and I said together
Once I drove through the gate, I sent a message to Jade as promised. It felt good to be home, as I walked into my room. The light purple walls lit up from the moonlight outside, as I closed the white blinds. I went over to my white night table and turned on my black lamp. There was a desk and dresser across from the door, with some photos from high school and college. As I fell onto the dark purple comforter and sheets covering my queen size bed, I couldn’t stop thinking about Aiden.
I had a feeling he saw past what I was and only saw the girl who wanted to be normal.
By Saturday night I stood before the full length mirror hanging on my door. I was wearing a black V-neck t-shirt, blue jeans, and black flats.
“Dannie…” Alyssa called knocking on my door
I opened the door and saw she was wearing black slacks and long sleeve blue t-shirt.
“Wow you look great where are you going?” She asked
“I’m meeting up with Aiden for dinner.” I replied
“Have fun; can I borrow your boots?”
“Yeah; just make sure they’re back in my closet by tomorrow.”
“Yeah… yeah… yeah…”
She walked in and went into my closet, grabbed my black heeled boots. I followed her out of my room, shutting the door behind me. Mom and dad were watching a movie as I heard the phone ring.
“Hello… please tell him I’ll be right out. Thank you Joe.” I smiled and hung up
“Where are you off to tonight my love?” Mom asked
“Aiden and I are going out to dinner. “ I replied
“Have fun.” Dad said
I flashed out of the house and to the other side of the gate. He was sitting in his white Toyota. As I got in he hugged me and soon we were on the road.
“So where are we going tonight?” I asked
“A restaurant downtown…” He replied
“Hmmm… there are so many possibilities…”
He laughed and I felt my cheeks turning red. We entered the historic part of town, passing vintage clothing stores, real estate and lawyer’s offices and some restaurants. He parked and came around to get me. I looked up to see we were outside of Luna’s; I had never been and was impressed.
As we walked inside, the dim candle light lit up the polished wooden floor and deep red walls. The tables were covered with black table clothes and chairs with spiral back designs. A middle aged man was standing at the hostess stand, dressed in a dark navy suit with white shirt underneath.
“Good evening, can I help you?” He asked
“Yes; I’m Mr. Walsh I had called for a reservation for two.” Aiden replied
“Of course Mr. Walsh, please follow me.”
He led us to the back of the restaurant to a small private room. After we were seated, he handed us menus. Our server took our orders and we talked, while we waited for our appetizer.
“Are you sure about this place?” I asked
“Don’t worry about it.” He reassured me; “Tell me more about your pride…”
My nerves suddenly kicked in, but I took a deep breath and decided to let my guard down.
“We are a very close knit family and take care of each other. Myra is our wise woman; she teaches us about our powers and what to expect around the time we come into them. She also helps in the birthing process and weddings.” I began
“Are were-weddings different from the traditional human wedding?”
“The groom picks his best man, regardless supernatural being or not; he’s welcomed into the pride for the night. Along with the other groomsmen, the bride also has a maid of honor and bridesmaids. But instead of rings, Myra uses a sacred dagger to bind the bride and groom’s blood or life force into one. They get a tattoo of two hearts intertwined on their right wrist.”
“Wow that’s a lot of work for one woman.”
“Yeah, but she’s amazing. She helped me accept my powers and learn to control them.”
Our food arrived and we continued talking enjoying each other’s company. Afterwards we ended up walking around downtown, looking at the historical landmarks. By midnight we were sitting in his car outside the gates of my home.
“This was a great night. Thank you for taking me out.” I commented
“Yeah it was fun. We should do it again and you’re welcome.” He replied
“Better get inside… good night.”
My eyes met his; I felt his hand against the back of my neck. Slowly he pulled me forward and we kissed. I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer to me. He began to kiss my neck; I moaned and felt my fangs grow, while I ran one nail down his back. Soon I pulled back pressing my forehead against his.
“Good night…” I whispered and flashed out of his car and into my house.
The ceremony ended and we watched Andrew and Max leave in a limousine for their honeymoon in Hawaii. I was sitting outside on the front lawn, when Jade and Jade sat down on either side of me.
“What am I going to do?” I asked burying my head into my hands
“First of all, who knows about you two?” Jade H asked
“Just Mom, Alyssa, and Myra, no one else knows about us.” I replied
“So what’s stopping you from bringing him here to meet your family?” Jade asked
“What…” They said together
“He’s never been accepting of mortals. When he worked for the construction company, someone found out he was a were-tiger and exposed him. My dad’s boss fired him, it took him almost a year, until he started his own company; he only hires supernatural beings.” I continued
“Wow that’s really tough. What did Myra say about bringing him here?” Jade H asked
“She said I could infect him, making him one of us. Then she would teach and train him to be a part of the pride. But I’m not sure he’d be willing to become an animal.” I sighed
“Talk to him about it….” Jade smiled
“I don’t know sister. I have a feeling he’ll come here… but a mortal”
“Now that you mention it, you might be right. We…”
“Usually are right...”
“Thanks for listening to me. I’m going over there tonight.”
Talon and Ryan appeared and they got into Jade H’s car and left. I went inside and pulled out my blue duffle bag from my closet. Soon it was filled with a days’ worth of clothes; something was telling me to go to him. As I came out of the house, I saw dad lighting up a cigar.
“Hey sweetie where are you off to?” He asked
“I’m spending the night at Jade H’s house. I’ll see you later.” I replied
I got into my silver mustang; Alyssa now drove the Nissan Cube, and left the pride for Aiden’s. He lived near the shore, about fifteen minutes from the nearest beach. It was a small brown ranch, black shutters on the windows. As I got out my car, I walked up to the white door and rang the doorbell. He opened the door and looked surprised to see me, as I leaped into his arms. I squeezed him tightly as he twirled me around.
“What are you doing here?” He asked putting me down
The overhead light lit up the white tiles that ran from the entrance to through the kitchen. He led me down the small hallway and into the kitchen. I sat down at the black granite top island; the counters matched the gray stove and fridge, while the cabinets were also black.
“I want you to meet my pride. I just don’t know how. And I just wanted to be here tonight with you.”
I turned and took him into my arms. Our eyes met and he leaned in and kissed my lips gently. My hands wrapped around his neck as he lifted me into the air, my legs went around his waist. Suddenly he pinned me against the dark gray wall. His hands slowly slipped off my bridesmaid dress and began kissing my neck, while squeezing my breast. I pulled him closer to me and ripped his shirt in half with my claws. My hands began caressing his muscular chest, and then began fiddling with his pants.
He then carried me into his bedroom. The white walls were covered in movie posters and photos of us. His king size bed stood in the center of the room, covered with black sheets and comforter. Across from it was a large mirror attached to a dark wooden dresser. He tackled me onto the bed as I slipped his pants and boxer shorts off.
His hand massaged my breast as I felt his fingers enter me. I spread my legs wider as he sucked on my other breast. My hands then grabbed his hard member and began stroking it slow. He moaned as our lips met again, our tongues exploring the other’s mouth.
“Aiden… I love you…” I whispered
“I love you too…” He replied
He entered me; I sat up, my legs still around his waist. I leaned back as he kissed my neck and breasts, while my hands massaged his back. His speed increased and my hips kept up with his pace until we both climaxed. We held each other, but he laid me down and went into his bathroom. I heard the water running as I sat at the edge of the bed. He appeared in the doorway signaling me to come inside. The black marble tiles glowed in the dim lights; I caught my reflection in the large mirror and saw him sitting in the Jacuzzi sized tub. I walked up to the two small steps and the water felt amazing.
He grabbed the shampoo and began washing my hair.
“Does your pride have something against mortals?” He asked
“Most of them are friends with mortals, except my dad.” I paused
“It was during my freshman year of high school. He worked for the general contractor of Stark and Richards. Everything was good for nine months, until one co-worker found out he was a were-tiger. Dad was exposed and fired. He was depressed for a year, until he started his own construction business and hired only supernatural beings. I’m afraid he’ll get over protective of me and Alyssa, never allowing us to date who we want.”
His hands were washing my body with a soapy washcloth, when he turned me around. He rinsed me off and then hugged me.
“What about Max and Melody? Are they mortal?” He asked
“No. They are full blooded were-tigers, but traveled a lot. They didn’t belong to a pride.” I replied
He drained the tub and handed me a towel. As I dried off, he brought me my duffle bag and I changed into my gray lounge pants and white t-shirt. Soon we were in bed cuddling together, my head resting against his chest.
“Are you going home tomorrow?” He asked
“No. I’m going straight to work and then staying with you. If that’s ok…”
“Yeah it’s fine, but sooner or later you’ll have to go home.”
“I know, but I also want to figure out how I’m going to introduce you to my father.”
“We’ll figure something out.”
I must have fallen asleep, but I did feel him kiss the top of my head, “Good night Dannie” he whispered. By the next day I woke up to see he was gone, but I found a note on top of his pillow.
“Good morning Kitten, I had head out to work and will be back late tonight. Help yourself to anything you want. I’ll see you tonight. –Aiden”
I got up and changed into a blue t-shirt, jeans, and black flats. While I was scrambling eggs, my cell phone rang. I saw Jade’s number and picked up.
“Hey Jade what’s up?” I asked
“Hey Dannie; not much getting ready for another busy night. Anyway would you mind coming in at four to cover Jade’s shift?” She replied
“Yeah, but why is something wrong?”
“Everything is fine…”
“Come on Jade, what’s going on?”
“Talon made Jade last night.”
“What! Oh my god, I knew she loved him, but I never thought she’d want to spend eternity with him.”
“They’re madly in love Dannie. And she wouldn’t do this for anyone, you know that.”
“Yeah I do. I’ll see you at four then.”
I walked into the lounge and saw Jade behind the bar, her tray full of Ying Lings and Cosmopolitans.
“Hey I’m so glad you’re here.” She smiled as the tray rose into the air
“Hey, I’m happy I could help. What’s the plan until Jade wakes up?” I asked
“Keep an eye on the bar. You and she will alternate the middle and last section of couch. I already have the first.”
At six, Jade H walked in. Her skin looked like a porcelain doll, she wore a short sleeve black ‘Avenge Sevenfold’ t-shirt, jeans, and her boots.
“Hey Jade.” I said
“Hey sweetie how are you?” She asked as she tied her hair into pigtails
“I’m ok; just trying to figure how to bring Aiden home to meet the family.”
“Did you two talk about your options?”
“Yeah; you and Jade were right he wants to go as a mortal.”
“Good for him. If you need my help don’t hesitate to ask.”
She smiled as I saw Talon walk in and sat down at the bar. After closing I went home and walked in to see dad sitting at the kitchen table his hands folded.
“Hey Daddy what’s up?” I asked
“Who’s Aiden Dannie?” He growled
“He’s my boyfriend. We’ve been together for almost a year and he’s a mortal.”
At that moment, I saw the anger forming on his face, but I knew that I had to stand my ground.
“A mortal! Does he know what you are?! How can you trust a mortal?”
“He knows what I am and accepts me. He loves me for the person I am, not because I’m a tiger.”
“Just wait Dannie he’ll expose you, you can’t trust him. “
“I can trust him! He hasn’t exposed me and he never will.”
“I forbid you from seeing him Dannie.”
“No. I’m going to continue seeing him; I’ll be at Jade’s house…”
I went into my room and grabbed some clothes, stuffing them into my bag. I drove off and arrived at her house in twenty minutes. Her house stood in the middle of the woods. The red bricks shinned in the moon light. Black curtains covered each window, while smoke escaped from the roof.
She opened her white screen door, dressed in a pair of blue pajama bottoms and gray sweatshirt.
“What’s wrong?” She asked
“Dad knows about Aiden. I just needed to get out, but who knows how long it’ll be before we talk or I bring Aiden to the pride.” I replied
“Come in, you can crash here tonight.” She smiled
As I walked in, her house looked very similar to Jade H’s house. It was funny to know they had the same tastes in furniture. We went into her living room as two cups of coffee came into our hands.
“So what are you going to do?” She asked
“I’m not sure. But if I go home, I won’t speak to him.” I replied
“I have a feeling, when you bring him to the pride your dad will come around. Anyway let me get you a blanket and pillow.”
I stayed there for a week, but I finally went home. My dad and I didn’t acknowledge each other and it made things awkward between Mom, Alyssa, Andrew, Max and Melody.
Three months passed and we still hadn’t spoken to each other. Andrew and Max had purchased a new house downtown, Mom, Alyssa, and I met up with them to help move in. The house was beautiful, its dark wood glowed in the sunlight, while a black porch wrapped around it. Each room was decorated with mahogany furniture, black leather couches and love seats; most of the walls were painted a dark brown. I was sitting on the porch when Max came outside and handed me a cup of water.
“Have you two made up yet?” She asked
“No. I understand why he doesn’t trust mortals, but he shouldn’t impress that on me and Alyssa.” I replied
“He shouldn’t, but you should try to patch things up. Besides I was a drifter and didn’t open up to anyone except your brother. It took some time, but I learned. “
“Yeah; Anyway I’d better get to work.”
I gave her a hug and then drove off to the lounge. As I walked in Jade was behind the bar, serving Ash, Drake and his latest catch for the evening.
“Hey Jade here yet?” I asked
“Should be coming in…. now…” Jade replied
Jade and Talon walked in holding hands. She clocked in and then went behind the bar, taking orders. I went over to the middle section of couches and took drink orders from some witches. An hour passed and we stopped to hear some shouting coming from outside. I saw a girl, a fairy being harassed by two were-panthers. She stood about Jade H’s height, dark pink hair, tan complexion, and wore a sundress with flip flops. Both Jades went outside to help, I was about to go, but saw the two panther’s sore through the air. Jade walked in with the girl as Jade H threatened the panthers.
As Jade H walked back in, we all applauded. She took a bow and then went into the office to make sure the girl was ok. After a few minutes, we welcomed Vicky from Washington D.C to the lounge.
“You ok?” I asked handing her a Smirnoff Ice
“Yeah; those sisters are powerful.” She replied taking a sip
“I’m Dannie by the way.”
“I’m Vicky; it’s nice to meet you.”
The rest of the night went pretty well. I snuck outside and called Aiden.
“Hey beautiful…” He said
“Hey. I think it’s time you came and met my family. Do you think you could come over tomorrow night?” I replied
“Sure. Are you and your dad talking again?”
“No. But I want to show him that he can trust mortals again.”
“Then I will see you tomorrow.”
I hung up and walked back inside. Everything looked good, but I was nervous about bringing Aiden home. Then I thought, “I have to do this for dad…” By closing time everything was cleaned up and I came home to a quiet house. Everyone was asleep and I began to plan for tomorrow.
My cell phone rang, at first I thought I was dreaming, but then I opened my eyes to see I wasn’t. I reached over and saw Jade’s number flash across the screen.
“Hello….” I yawned
“Dannie, I’m sorry for calling so late. Talon and Jade broke up this morning.” She began
“What! I’ll kill him!” I growled
“No kitten; I just want you to keep an eye on her and the house. Vicky is going to deliver the mail, but in case Talon shows up at the house, scare him off.”
“Alright; how is she?”
“Vicky and I brought her home. She went to sleep. I can feel her heart breaking; she gave up everything for him.”
“I know she’ll be ok. She just needs time. I’ll see you at work.”
By the next morning, I woke up early to see dad leaving for work. As I came into the kitchen, mom was at the stove making pancakes.
“Morning Dannie…” She said
“Morning; Mom I’m bringing Aiden here to meet dad and the pride.” I replied
“Dannie are you sure?”
“I’m sure. It’s time dad and I patched things up.”
“Good. What time are you bringing him here?”
“Seven; but I have to go check on Jade H before I got get him. Talon broke up with her last night.”
“Oh poor Jade. I hope she’s ok.”
She served me a short stack and joined me. After I ate I showered and changed into a pair of skinny jeans, purple plaid top, and my black flats. I came out into the living room to see Alyssa loading the dishwasher.
“Hey so mom tells me Aiden’s coming to dinner?” She said
“Yeah; I can’t go on without talking to dad and he needs to see Aiden can be trusted.” I replied
“Has he tried to talk to you about mortals?”
“No. Because I believe we’re both good judges of character and if we’re not we have our friends to back us up.”
“Anyway I’m going to check on Jade H. I’ll be back soon.”
I went into my room, grabbed my car keys and my bag and headed out. I parked on a side street and walked up the long driveway. My eyes widened to see a black hummer parked in front of Jade’s, the door opened and I hid on the side of the house. I heard the door open and saw Jade with Drake.
She was wearing a pair of grey pajama bottoms and black t-shirt. They hugged and he kissed the top of her head. I watched her go back into the house as he pulled out of the driveway, I immediately flashed back to my car and transformed. As he turned the corner I jumped onto the roof and roared.
He got out and looked up to see me. I transformed back, conjuring what I was wearing.
“What are you doing here?” I growled
“I was going to ask you the same question…” He replied with a smirk
“I’m just checking up on my friend. What the hell are you doing here Drake?”
“Easy tiger… I was also making sure she was ok.”
“Why do I get the impression it was more?”
“She’s my friend…”
“Friend with benefits… back off or I’ll tell Jade and Vicky you’ve been here. Then you’d have to deal with the three of us.”
He got back into his car and I flashed into mine. As he pulled away, I began to understand, Jade and Drake had history. But I wasn’t going to worry about it, I knew Jade would come to her senses. I started my car and headed towards Aiden’s house.
I saw him standing outside, dressed in black t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. As I pulled up he got in and I hugged him tightly.
“Are you ready?” I asked
“Yeah… I’m ready.” He replied
We drove in silence, until we pulled up to the gate. I put in the secret code and waited for the gate to open. As I we stopped in front of the house, I noticed Myra’s V.W. bug in the driveway. We got out and walked inside to see Dad, Mom, Alyssa, and Myra sitting in the living room.
“Hello everyone.” I said
“Hello Dannie.” Mom and Alyssa replied
“Myra what are you doing here?” I asked
“She’ll be joining us for dinner tonight.” Dad said
“Oh ok. Everyone this is Aiden. Aiden, this is my father Raul. You already met Alyssa and my mother Selene, and this is Myra the wise woman of the pride.”
“It’s nice to meet you sir.” Aiden smiled extending his hand to dad
Dad nodded to him.
“If everyone could move into the kitchen, dinner is ready.” Mom said
We all took our seats, with Dad and Myra at the ends of the table. Mom had prepared dad’s favorite meal; fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. As we began to eat there was a long silence.
“So Aiden I’m sure Dannie has told you all about the pride?” Myra asked
“She has and I like the idea of a community working together.” He replied
“How is school going Aiden?” Mom asked
“It’s been a good semester. I’m majoring in business to take over my father’s company. He owns a small publishing house.”
The conversation continued, but Dad didn’t say a word, he just observed Aiden. He watched him like a predator hunting its prey. By the end of dinner, he asked Aiden to step out into the backyard for a talk. I watched them go out as Myra handed mom her dish.
“I hope he doesn’t hurt him.” I commented
“He won’t Dannie. I had consulted my tarot cards and everything will be ok.” Myra reassured me
I couldn’t help but ease drop on the conversation.
“For years I despised mortals. I had lost all trust in them after starting my construction company. When Dannie told me she was dating you, I was angry and scared for her. This pride is our family, we look out for own. “Dad began
“And I don’t want to take her away from her family. I can say when she told me she was a were-tiger, I was shocked. I knew witches, wizards, fairies, and were-animals existed; I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with her. Dannie is an amazing woman; she’s funny, smart, and caring.” Aiden replied; “I love your daughter sir, and I know she loves me. I would never expose her the way you were, some mortals aren’t ready to accept that supernatural beings exist. Just know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt her, sir.”
I stopped listening and then saw Dad turn to Aiden, placing a hand on his shoulder. My jaw almost dropped when he hugged him and then came back inside. Dad was smiling and I got up and ran into his arms, “Thank you daddy.” I whispered.
“Aiden welcome to our home and pride.” Dad said
Myra looked at me with that “I told you so…” look on her face. The rest of the night we talked, but I took Aiden on a tour of the pride. I mostly pointed out homes of doctors, lawyers, and dentist, but then we arrived back at my house to see Myra waiting for us.
“Do you want to know why I said everything would be ok?” She asked
“Now you have me really curious.” I replied
“Come and I’ll explain.”
We got into her car and drove to her house. She led us into the living room and we sat down on the couch, while she grabbed a dining room chair.
“Dannie when you came into your powers, I had a vision that night. I saw you two meet and fall in love, but I also saw your father and his anger. But I knew that you would stand up for what you believed in. It’s what I always admired in you Dannie. I’m so sorry for not saying anything sooner, but I did not want to say anything that would change the future.”
He took my hand into his, our eyes met and we kissed.
“So this was meant to be?” I asked
“Yes child; you two were made for each other.”
“Thank you Myra.”
I flashed us back to my house. Mom and Dad were watching a movie, while I heard Alyssa in her room.
“This was a great night, but I need to get home.” Aiden commented
“Ok; besides I have to check on Jade on my way back.” I replied
“Are you leaving Aiden?” Mom asked
“Yeah, I promised I help my dad paint his home office.” Aiden replied
Mom and Dad got up, mom hugged Aiden, and dad shook his hand. I told them I was going to check on Jade then come straight home. As we got into my car, Aiden was still in shock that Myra had foreseen this happening. Occasionally he would look over at me and smile; I took his hand into mine and kissed his knuckles.
I dropped him off and headed over to Jade’s house. As I pulled up I saw her leaving the house, probably to hunt for her dinner.
“Hey Dannie…” She said knocking on my passenger window
I jumped, but I got out of my car as she came over to the driver’s side.
“Hey Jade how are you feeling?” I asked
“I’m doing better, still hurts sometimes, but no so much anymore. I know you, Vicky, and my sister have been taking care of things around here. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. “
I was tempted to ask her about running into Drake, but she already knew I wanted to ask.
“So you want to why Drake stopped by here last night?” She asked
“Yeah, I thought you two were done… after what happened with you and Jade.” I replied feeling my cheeks turn red
“He did come to see if I was ok. But it did lead to more and honestly I felt better, knowing he still cared. But don’t worry after you threatened him, he disappeared again. He’ll probably be back at the bar sometime.”
“I’m sorry, but it through me off when I saw him here.”
“It’s ok; you were just being protective, like I protect my children. Anyway I’m going to hunt for some dinner and meet up with Ash. Thanks for stopping by.”
And within a blink of an eye she was gone. I got back into my car and drove home.
After that night, two months passed and the lounge went under renovation to serve food. That night the ‘Jades’ interviewed possible candidates, while Vicky and I took care of the bar and couches. I also heard about Talon contacting Jade H to meet up again and talk. At first I was shocked, because the last time I saw him, he was dating a mortal college student named Kylie.
Vicky had just finished serving a pack of werewolves when she came over to the register to start their tab.
“Did you read his letter?” I asked
“She let me read it. And I have to say it sounds sincere. I didn’t sense any lie in what he wrote.” She replied
“If they get back together, he better not hurt her again.”
“He’ll have to deal with us, if he does.”
We laughed as Jade H came out of the kitchen and went outside. Jade came up beside us “She’s calling him.” She whispered. A few minutes later she walked back in and the three of us crowded around her.
“I called him and we’re meeting up tonight.” She said
We hugged her tightly, and then she and Jade left to get her ready to meet up with Talon.
“Are our new chefs starting tonight?” I asked
“Tomorrow night…” Jade H replied
“They went to order food.” Jade added.
As they left, Aiden walked in and took a seat at the bar. I walked up to him and placed a bottle of Coors in front of him.
“Hey beautiful…” He smiled
“Hey you, first one is on me.” I replied
“Thanks. Do you think we could go into the office to talk?”
“Yeah; Vicky I’m going to be a few minutes.”
“Don’t worry I got things under control.” She smiled
I led him into the Jade’s office and shut the door behind me.
“So what’s going on?” I asked
“Dannie I love you. And I’m glad that I’ve been accepted into the pride, I got you this for our one year anniversary.” He began reaching into his pocket
He opened the small gray box to reveal a silver ring, with two hearts intertwined. It looked like the tattoo Andrew and Max received at their wedding. He slipped it onto my right hand, tears welded up in my eyes.
“Aiden it’s beautiful…” I whispered
“I love you Dannie… happy anniversary.”
I hugged him tightly and we headed back out to the bar. Vicky had just finished cleaning the middle section of couches as Ash and Drake walked in. They took their seats at the bar; Aiden joined them as I went behind the bar.
“Evening Ash, Drake what can I get you?” I asked
“Martini… please… Dannie…” Drake smiled
“I’ll have a six ounce Guinness please.” Ash added
“No problem I’ll be right back.”
I filled up Ash’s beer to the rim and slid it down to him and then I noticed Vicky had started to make Drake’s martini.
“Oh Ash, Drake this is my boyfriend Aiden. Aiden these are my friends Ash and Drake.” I said as I started their separate tabs.
“It’s nice to meet you both.” Aiden extended his hand
“Same here…” They said together
“Where’s Jade?” Ash asked
“She’s meeting up with Talon tonight.” Vicky replied
“Do you think they’ll get back together?” I asked
“Dannie you know I can’t tell you. But I know that Talon has missed her a lot after he and Kylie broke up.” Ash laughed
Hours passed and we had just finished cleaning up when Talon and Jade walked in. They held their hands up and we applauded. Jade held her hand out, bringing a bottle of wine and glasses. Drake said good night to us, while the rest of us sat at the first section of couches.
“This has been one rollercoaster of a ride hasn’t it Jade?” Ash asked
“It has been…” Jade H replied
“One we’d ride over and over again.” Jade added
“Not without me I hope…” A voice echoed
Ryan appeared beside Jade and hugged her tightly.
“Nice entrance… “Jade said with a smirk
“Thank you, I aim to please.” He replied
We laughed as Jade gave Ryan a beer. By three in the morning, Aiden and I had driven me back to my house.
“Stay here, I have your anniversary present inside.” I flashed out of his car and into my room
Within a blink of an eye, I came back handing him a small black box. His eyes lit up to see a silver ring.
“This is great, thank you.” He said kissing me on the cheek
“Look on the inside…” I replied
He angled the ring and saw two hearts intertwined on the inside. He hugged me and then I said “I guess great minds think alike…”