The next few months were completely hectic. A. Lumie and I had to finish our schooling and get out GEDs. B. Get prepared to go to college. C. Help our dads get packed. D. Help get moved to the new home in… ugh, Midnight Hollow. But Grams explained that Midnight Hollow would be far enough outside the enemy’s circle but close enough that Dad could go into the Rag if an emergency happened. But the rivalry between MF and MH ran deep and Glados, as an athlete, especially felt annoyed.
The new home didn’t seem anything special. It wasn’t bigger–in fact, smaller–and if we were all home together then we’d have to share rooms. Though what it had that our old home didn’t: a nice big yard and a lot more of a porch. Still. I didn’t feel too pleased about the move. I had a lot of guilt over it, and Lumie continually glaring at me and saying awful things in my head certainly didn’t help.
I got my name officially changed to Zaid Danevbie which sounded a bit weird to me not continuing with the ‘Greyson’ bit. And between the move and the name change and the potion that Grams had me take… it seemed to work, as my life seemed to have a lack of murder attempts after… and then shortly after I got the weirdest e-mail from Uncle Kay.
Zaid, whatever you have done to hide yourself away keep doing it and do NOT TELL ME WHAT IT IS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Nothing else. Out of no where. I hadn’t messaged him about any of our plans and I wondered how he knew we had done something. I almost replied back, asking him about the problem and how he knew but then I stopped and looked over the e-mail again. I left it alone for a bit to think and talked to Pa about it, and he showed me an identical e-mail he had gotten. We brought Dad into the conversation and he suggested we follow the advice. After all, someone might try to get answers from him. So I merely e-mailed him back, promising him I was all right and asking him if anything had happened.
I didn’t get any replies.
Just before we all went off to college Clay, Trysh, Lumie, and I had one last get-together. We promised to keep in touch as much as possible and hang out when we were all home from college, but we all felt that sad feeling of probably losing each other. Trysh would hardly ever be coming home as her college was a few hours by flight away. Clay’s choice was closer but still a fair amount of distance. Lumie and I would be the closest to our home, being only a three hour drive away.
“To friendship,” Trysh said, raising her glass.
We all clinked our cups together, repeating, “To friendship.”
Lumie, Max, and I arrived into our new town–my sister and I both uber excited. Max… not so much. I swung by the dorms where Lumie had chosen to live, helping her get her stuff into her dorm. Her roommate gawped at me with big eyes and as soon as I left I could hear whispering. Lumie told me, psychically, not to let it get to my head since the poor girl ‘didn’t know any better’ and ‘could find a vending machine with better personality’ than me. >Thanks, sis,< I said as I left, rolling my eyes.
Neither of us were comfortable with the fact we’d be living so far apart but Max had to stay with me (one of Pa’s rules) so I had to find a house that would let me have a cat around. Lumie turned down the rented house since she wanted to experience life in the dorms. So… despite our best efforts… we’d not be staying together.
“You and me, Zaidy-boy!” Max exclaimed as we drove to the owner’s house.
“And a third,” I reminded him, as I would be putting flyers out for a roommate. No way could we afford to live in a rented house on our own. “And you’ll need to be super careful about what you say, and he can’t know you’re a shifter!”
“I know, I know,” Max sighed unhappily.
We picked up the keys and then headed to the new house which wasn’t too shabby at all. Due to time constraints I hadn’t been inside before. I had seen the rooms through virtual tour only. Now the owner gave me a quick tour, seemed suspicious about the fact my cat wasn’t around yet (I told him my dads were bringing him in later), and then left us on our own. Max and I laughed, smacking each other’s backs as we explored the house more. Three bedrooms–
“I claim the big one,” I said immediately. “You can have the smallest one.”
“Whyyyy?” Max whined. “I want the big one, I deserve the biggest one.”
“Because you don’t have much with you,” I pointed out. “Besides, you can turn into a cat and the room will be bigger. The medium room can go to our roommate.”
There were multiple bathrooms, although one just had barely enough room for the toilet and sink. One had a toilet, sink, and tub… and the one that only opened into my chosen bedroom had a toilet, sink, and shower. I had my own private bathroom. Something I never had before. Going from sharing one and a half bathrooms with two dads, a brother, and three sisters… to sharing two and a half bathrooms with one guy and a cat? Alll riiight!
We spent the day getting things moved in and then going to the stores to buy other things we’d need. Toiletries, cleaning supplies, food, cooking supplies, linen, and cat stuff (including a huge cat tree that took ages to get loaded into the tiny car). It took a while getting everything set up and cleaned. Especially since Max didn’t help me with much other than setting up his cat tree and then he took a nap for three hours straight. By the end of the first day, we still had a ton of work ahead of us but I felt super happy with how things were going.
I called Pa and Dad, then Vilkas, and then I spent a good half hour talking telepathically to Lumie who informed her her roommate had developed a crush on me and that I better not try anything.
>I won’t try anything,< I promised my sister as I stretched out on my bed. The bedclothes and blanket had just come out of dryer so they all smelled fresh and clean. >I’m not interested in dating quite yet.<
>Hah, this is college!< Lumie laughed. >You think all these hormonally charged young adults come here for an education? Some do, but not all. You should date. It’s half of what campus life is about!<
Once we were done talking I went downstairs and stayed up till three in the morning eating popcorn and playing video games with Max. We both crashed on the sofa, waking up only in the morning when someone called me. I fumbled around for my phone, wiping my eyes of sleep and my mouth of drool. Unknown caller.
“Ullo?” I groaned, rolling my eyes at the clock. Seven in the morning?! This unknown caller better have a damn good reason for phoning me.
“Is this Zaid?” asked a grouchy voice.
Suddenly my suspicious nature took over. “Who is this?” I asked, trying to sound all cool and calm, while I mentally tried to figure out how my enemies found me already.
“My name’s Noah,” said the voice in a very put-out way. “I’m calling cause I saw your flyer for a roommate?”
Oh. Duhhhhhhhhhhh. “Yeah. Uh, yeah,” I said, rubbing my eyes some more. “Yeah.”
“Is the room still available?”
“Yeah,” I said again, probably sounding stupid. “Um, feel free to come in whenever–okay no, uh, give me an hour or two. I’m not a morning person.”
A pause and then, “I’m normally still asleep at this hour. Forced myself to get up to make the call, hoping to get it before anyone else. All right, see ya. One pm okay?”
“Yeah, cool, see ya.” We both hung up and I had the feeling that didn’t go as professionally as it should have gone but ah well. I flopped back down onto the couch and slept for another few hours before dragging my butt to get a shower and fix breakfast.
By the time Noah arrived, Max and I were ready. We were both away he could very well be someone out to kill me so I made sure to wear my dagger boots and Max had his sword hidden close at hand. At a little after one, he arrived with a few loud knocks at the door. “Hey, you must be Noah,” I said, swinging the door open and getting a good look at my possible roommate. Definitely not what I had expected.
“Noah Singer,” he said, offering his hand.
“Zaid Danevbie. And this is Max Penstone,” I said, shaking Noah’s hand and indicating Max who had to be talked out of going by Max Fluffy while here (his cover story would be he had a local job instead of college classes). “Come on in. I’ll give you a quick tour and, uh, we’ll go from there I guess.”
We went around the house as quickly as we could and he didn’t even seem to mind having the medium bedroom at all. Once we went back downstairs he said rather gloomily, “Well the price is fair and the house seems great. Guess it’s up to you both then– whether I stay or not.”
I held up a finger and dragged Max off to the side. “Well?” I whispered.
“He’s not a supernatural,” Max whispered back. “So he probably won’t attempt to kill you. Then again, he might just be a normal person sent by a supernatural…”
I glanced back at Noah. “Eh. Seems all right to me. And if he does, well, we can take’m out, right?” Max nodded and I returned to Noah. “Cool, so it’s a deal then?” I asked.
Noah seemed surprised. “Wh–what? Really? You’re letting me stay?”
My eyes narrowed slightly. “Should we… not…?”
“No! I mean, yes. I mean.” He shook his head with a slight laugh. “Sorry, the last three places I tried all turned me down for no reason. I tend to, uh, get the short end of the stick often so I’m just glad that I finally have a place to stay and don’t need to worry about the dorms. Hey, thanks!”
We shook hands happily. “Hey, I know all about getting the short end of the stick,” I laughed. “I tend to get those plenty in my life.”
“Yeah, well I’ve had a really bad run of luck through my life,” he said.
I snorted. “Mine’s been reeeallly crappy. Like, seriously crappy.”
“How many times were you shoved in lockers at school?” he challenged. “I was, a lot.”
“I wasn’t shoved into lockers but I was treated like I was a psycho and a liar because I had a stalker and nobody believed me, not even the police, so everyone started calling me Private Lie,” I said, gripping his hand a bit as he gripped back.
“Try having to be sewn into the school mascot suit and unable to even take the head off and then going to the hospital because of heatstroke,” Noah said, eyes studying me very closely now. “Got a bruise, too. From falling off the stage. From fainting.”
I snorted. “Overheating, really? That could happen to anyone. I was on the basketball team and then got into a fight with a couple other members because they were saying things about my sister. So three against one–and I was the one suspended off the team.”
“Big whoop, my first date–I tried to kiss her and she headbutted me and ran off.”
“My first girlfriend dumped me because everyone in the school hated me.”
“You were hated? Try being put in a locker for a full double period and not being let out!”
“Yeah that’s nothing! Try having a bunch of supe–“
“OKAY!” Max said loudly, clapping his hands. “Okay! Break it up you two! Feathers down, dominance display over.”
Noah and I released our hands but continued to sorta glare at one another. Yeah shoved in a locker for a couple hours totally did not compare with having over a dozen of attempts on your life. If I could speak freely, I knew I’d win that one. Hmph. But I had to listen to Max and back down. We changed the topic to his moving in and from there went onto our degrees.
“I’m going into technology,” he explained as we sprawled on the couches.
“I’m mostly a general studies but heavy with the physical education,” I said.
Noah raised an eyebrow, eyeing me suspiciously. “You’re a jock, aren’t you? You said you were on the basketball team–“
“Watcher, no!” I exclaimed. “No. I was only on the team for a short while. No, definitely not a jock. I’m more into martial arts and things like archery.”
“Martial arts?” he asked, his other eyebrow raising to join the first. “Seriously?”
“Yep. Wanna see my belts?”
So we went upstairs and I got my belts out of my dresser. We chatted awhile about sim fu and then he told me a lot about computers and stuff, most of which went way over my head but it seemed pretty interesting and it’d be great to have someone around the house who knew about computers. Max trailed after us looking rather bored by everything and when Noah left, Max began complaining.
“You said he’d be fine,” I said as I fixed our dinner. Plain tuna for him, tuna with mac and cheese for me. “What is it about him you don’t like?”
Max pouted. “I dunno. I don’t even know why we need a third person living in here. S’better with just me and you.”
He then turned into a cat and began weaving his way around my ankles as I tried to cook. Turning into a cat meant he had something big on his mind he didn’t want to share. A habit that rrreeallllyyy annoyed me but I couldn’t really do anything about it except try not to trip over him.
He finally turned back human when I put dinner on the table. I tried getting him to talk to me but he continually changed the subject, refusing to answer. I spent the evening getting things cleaned up and thinking about what had happened to maybe pinpoint the problem. The only thing I came up with was the possibility Max felt jealous. Which could very well be the problem, since he’s a cat.
Max and I had really become close friends and sometimes when I spent more time with Clay than I did with Max, Max began insulting Clay lightly. Nothing bad but still in an annoying manner. But that’s what some cats did, you give someone or something else attention and they get all huffy about it. I just hoped Max didn’t cause too much trouble with Noah over this.
That night I received a very weird e-mail from Uncle Kay, which took me by surprise due to the fact he had not messaged me in the couple of weeks since the super weird one about not telling him anything. I had sent him about eight e-mails with no response until now.
I apologize if I seemed off in my previous message. I had not been feeling well. I hope everything is going well with you, and if you ever need to talk about anything you know I am here for you. I know you have a lot of people there you can talk to. Your Dad, your Father… and of course your twin Illuminata, though sometimes you probably cannot see each other so you can’t always talk to her. But if you need me, I am here.
Love, Uncle Kay.
How freaking weird. I started to write a reply to him that pointed out I could talk to Lumie whenever I wanted to, when I stopped. He knew perfectly well Lumie and I had psychic powers. And he knew I called Pa ‘Pa’ and Dad ‘Dad’, not Dad and Father. I erased my message and started to type one out asking if he felt okay. Then I stopped, thinking back to the other e-mail I got. It had come two days after my name change, without any warning whatsoever. How did he know I did something? He didn’t even know I had plans to do anything. But pretty much right after the plan happened… he knew?
I sat back, frowning at the laptop screen. I could see clearly now that the message about my ‘Dad and Father’ and Lumie were in there as a warning something wasn’t right. Is he being watched? I wondered. We hadn’t seem in him years. Just e-mail messages. We all thought his sister had been carting him around trying to find a healer… but what if for some reason… my enemy, whoever that was… kept an eye on him? But why Uncle Kay?
I shook my head which now ached from trying to figure this out. It had been made clear a couple years ago that investigating things wasn’t my forte. I just hoped sending a fake message that only he could understand would be okay.
Thanks for the e-mail, we’ve been so worried about you! And of course I’ll talk to you. Who else would I talk to? In your other message you mentioned me doing something to hide myself. Well. The thing is, we’ve all moved. Overseas. We thought about going somewhere tropical because you know how much Vilkas loves to swim. But then we realized lol he wouldn’t be with us. So instead we went to Italy. Monte Vista! Magnefico! Have you ever been? It’s molto bello here! See? I’m picking up the language! I met this gorgeous Italian chick lol, I won’t be telling you everything though if you know what I mean wink wink nudge nudge. Sometimes I’m really glad nobody can see in my head LOL!!!!! that’d be so awkward.
Anyway, gotta go. Miss ya, Uncle Kay, glad to be hearing from ya again and I know your previous message said not to tell you but how could I not tell you?
Love always, Zaid.
There. He knew Vilkas didn’t like to swim and of course the psychic thing and all the excitement and lols. I just hoped it would work… except, if someone spying on Uncle Kay’s e-mail was the problem then we had a much bigger problem than I ever expected. Please just let Uncle Kay be safe, I thought, trying my best not to worry too much… I just needed to call Pa and inform him about everything that just happened, including the cover story.
When Noah moved in the next day he got to meet Mr. Fluffy the Third who wound his way around Noah’s ankle and scratched lightly at his pants. Noah just laughed and rubbed Max’s belly in a way that seemed to surprise Max.
“He’s normally not a people cat,” I said, watching as Max stuck his head out in a happy way. “So we won’t be seeing a lot of him.”
“Aww, hope to see plenty though,” Noah said, straightening up with a grin on his face. I couldn’t help but grin back, excited to make a new friend and have a roommate that didn’t share my family or turned into a cat.
We took a break from moving in to go to the meet’n’greet thing, blasting music on the way there. We went into the building, trying to act like we weren’t nervous at all about the whole thing. There were loads of other students milling around, most of them around my age but some were older. A few looked like they might be teachers.
“Sweeeet! Free candy bars,” Noah said, taking one from the smiling young woman. He tossed the bar to me then picked up another as I inspected the label which mostly advertised about the college. We took our other freebie things then wandered upstairs, biting into the rather disgusting candy bars. We made identical faces then tossed the rest of the candy bars out in a trash bin. “Tastes like fungus,” Noah gagged. “Except fungi taste better.”
I snickered. “Tastes like old feet.”
“Oh Watcher, you’re disgusting,” he said but he laughed. “Hey, look’t all the chicks!”
My eyes wandered around the room appreciatively. Lots of lovely young ladies, some wearing very little. There were a few cute guys too though I guess that didn’t matter (right? Just because some guys were cute didn’t mean anything). One girl wearing a bikini top and open jacket played ping-pong… her chest bouncing as she moved… “You know, Noah, I think college is gonna be a very, uh, gorgeous experience.”
“I’m gonna have to agree with you on that one, Zaid,” he replied.
We grinned at one another then moved forward to try and meet some of the gals. Unfortunately despite our winning smiles and best charm, most the girls just rolled their eyes at us and none stuck around much longer after introductions. Soon we grew tired of trying and failing, and plopped down in some seats to commiserate.
“I don’t understand,” Noah said, resting his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands. “I’m gorgeous, girls should be flocking to me.”
I gave a snort. “I dunno, girls are weird. They’re all… foreign. To me.” You know, for someone who spent most his life being able to see into a girl’s head, I still didn’t really understand them. Then again, I didn’t understand most guys either. Maybe I just didn’t understand people… hmm…
“Maybe you should bust our some of your sim fu moves,” Noah teased.
I stuck my tongue out. “Oi. Sim fu is serious business, not a party trick.” I paused then bit my bottom lip. “Though it would be a pretty cool thing to do. HEY! We should throw a party sometime! How many freshmen here actually live in a house with a yard?”
Noah sat up straight. “Whoa, that’d be perfect. I think I could get us a kegger, too.”
>You? Throw a party?< Lumie cut into my thoughts with a laugh. >That I HAVE to see! You bring drunk off your ass would be great too. Invite me so I can laugh at you.<
>Buzz off,< I thought bitterly, narrowing my eyes as I searched for my sister since I knew she had come into the building. Soon she came up the stairs and I gave her a wave.
“Whoa, you know that hot chick?” Noah asked as Lumie waved back
My hand whirled around and smacked up upside the back of his head. “That chick is my sister,” I snarled and Noah rubbed the spot I smacked, looking a bit anxious. “I’ll introduce you two…”
We got up and went over. Lumie and Noah shook hands and while the three of us talked, Lumie and I talked privately in my head. >I wish I could move in with you, dorm life is weird. I have to share a bathroom with so many people!<
>You’re the one wanting to experience dorm life,< I reminded her as Noah chattered about something or other. >I invited you to move in with me and Max, but nope.<
>I thought it’d be like in the movies,< she pouted. >The bathrooms suck. Totally gonna use your bathroom sometimes. No arguing. Or else, I’ll tell all the girls what a loser you really are.<
>Some sister you are.< I put up my barriers to block out her annoyingness, and returned my full attention to the conversation.
That night Noah and I stayed up super late munching on cold pizza and planning our party. We figured a good time would be in early October, just before it gets really cold. By then we’d know (some of) our classmates and the party would be a big blast. Max sulked around for a while before retreating to his room, and then Mr. Fluffy made an appearance, jumping up onto my lap and demanding attention while we worked. I scratched behind his ears, giving him the lovings he wanted.
At around two or two-thirty, I sleepily carried Max upstairs and put him in his room only to have him follow me into mine. I decided just to ignore him as he hopped onto my bed and made himself comfortable. “Fine, fine,” I muttered, stripping to my boxers and plopping down. I let my hand rest across his back, slowly petting him until I fell into a deep sleep.
I had several nightmares, mostly of monsters trying to kill or capture me. Then I had a nightmare of some big, horrible, furry thing pinning me down and pressing down onto my face. I couldn’t breathe and woke up in fear only to find the nightmare had come true–Max had sometime in the night flopped across my head to sleep and was now on my face, batting at my cheeks and meowing. I pushed him off with an aggravated noise.
“Today’s your last free day,” he pointed out as he became human. “Tomorrow you start classes. And I won’t be able to be with you.”
“I’ll be fine,” I muttered as I hunted through my dressers for something to wear. I figured Noah wouldn’t exactly be pleased with me wandering around the house in my boxers but as it turned out he was still sound asleep and remained so until nearly noon.
Noah and I went into town and had lunch at a coffee shop, admiring the view of the ladies walking by. We goaded each other into trying to talk to someone and I triumphantly got a girl’s number. “Hah,” I said when I waved the digits at him.
Noah glowered. “She obviously has poor taste if she prefers you over me.”
My victory was cut short that night when I called only to find the number she had given me belonged to a Chinese food delivery place. It didn’t turn out so bad, though, as after Noah laughed at me for about fifty years we went ahead and ordered some food from there and it turned out to be completely delicious. We stayed up super late again, playing video games and enjoying each other’s company then I a hundred percent regretted it when my alarm went off in the morning after only three hours of sleep.
Time for true college life, I thought as I got headed for my first class.
Noah Singer is from the gameplay of Angelblue007. He received the loser trait so we kept joking about our loser babies becoming friends… and now they are! 😀 Also thanks to Monets-Pixels for building the house they move into in Midnight Hollow. Sorry I didn’t show more of it in this chapter.