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Series 3 Episode 1

Staying late at school always drained Noah. The amount of revision he had to do for his end-of-year exams was off the scale, and he was making as much use of the school library as he could.

Only a few other students were around this late, and it was eerily quiet beyond the hoovers used by the cleaners.

His focus of the night was English. He hated it more than any other subject – the ins and outs of Shakespeare couldn’t have been less interesting if they tried. What’s more was that he was dyslexic – reading regular English words was a challenge, let alone Shakespearean crap.

He slammed his textbook shut. That was enough for one night. He didn’t know nor care about Romeo & Juliet. It was highly unrealistic anyway. Nobody had love stories that went like theirs. Not that he had much experience in the love department anyway. He’d briefly had both boyfriends and girlfriends, but nothing substantial.

He shoved all of his equipment into her bag and rushed out of the library. He couldn’t wait to feel the comfort of his bed. Perhaps he would stop off and grab some snacks to reward himself on the way home.

He speed-walked through the eerily dark corridors, with the exit in sight, when a young girl stepped out of the shadows. She looked much too young to be in high school, her straight dark hair tied into pigtail plaits, and her eyes were closed.

“Hey, are you lost?” Noah put on his kindest voice. He wanted to get home soon, but he couldn’t ignore a young kid like that. There was no response, she simply opened her eyes. Nothing but blackness filled the entire eye – no pupil or any other detail was present.

A terrified Noah allowed his reflexes to take over, sprinting in the opposite direction, anxious for his life…

Walking to school was always something Dylan loved. It was a little bit of “me,” time every day, where he would listen to Jono’s playlist through his earphones. The playlist was pretty incredible. It was packed with summer tunes – “Happy Now” by Zedd and Elley Duhé, and “Talk” by Why Don’t We being two of his favourites.

However, things had been a little different for the past three months. Dylan now walked into school with Josh, his new foster brother. Caroline had fostered him, with some persuading from Dylan, when the authorities were planning to relocate him down town, meaning a new family, a new school and new people to get to know.

Despite their history, Dylan had grown fond of Josh – he was brave and resilient, and a vital member of his pack. In addition, he made Jono happy, which would win anyone brownie points in Dylan’s eyes.

That said, it was making private time with Jono almost impossible round at Dylan’s house. They usually hung out in Jono’s treehouse instead now – somewhere they certainly wouldn’t be disturbed.

“I’m sure I interrupted a private moment between them the other day,” Josh revealed.

“No way, I don’t need to hear this, she’s my mom,” Dylan blocked his ears. That was another difference about home life – Sheriff Taylor had recently moved in. He made Dylan’s mum happy, but having Josh made their romance much more tolerable. He wasn’t the third wheel, and had someone his own age that he could bitch with for the first time in his life. Also, the Sheriff was insisting that Dylan called him by his first name, Ed, instead of his title. It was difficult to train himself out of that habit, but it made sense.

“Tongues and all,” Josh continued.

“Please stop,” Dylan awkwardly laughed. He didn’t need those mental images. They finally approached the school, and joined their bench, where Jono and Lily were already perched.

“Morning,” Jono greeted with a beaming smile, planting a kiss on Dylan’s lips, “How’s my favourite person?”

“Good thank you,” Lily interjected, winking.

“Unbelievable,” Jono laughed, “Sensibly though, Dyl, how are things?”

“Not bad. Not sure I’ve had any peace and quiet in weeks though,” Dylan half joked. His house was now a hive of activity – which was both good and bad. He still hadn’t spoken to his mum about his secret – although things had gone quiet since Mr. Forsyth was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Sheriff had rounded as many of the other hunters up as he could, so Dylan prayed they were safe.

However, Drew hadn’t wasted any time in letting Dylan know that a new alpha was big news. In one way or another, word would get out, and someone, or something, would notice.

For now, though, he wanted to enjoy the normality. Although, normality for Dylan currently involved revising for exams without Yasmin’s help. He almost hoped something would come and distract him.

Freddie hadn’t felt the same for a while. School was never the same without Yasmin being around. They weren’t dating for long, but as soon as Freddie thought he’d found something good, he lost it.

He understood her reasons for leaving, and quite frankly, he knew he’d do the same in her situation, but it didn’t make it any less difficult. Yasmin told him they could keep in touch – long-distance relationships can and have worked – but she was so busy with her new school that they were talking less and less. It was as good as over.

He skulked into first lesson – maths, one of his favourites – but he wasn’t prepared to learn. Mr. Larsen was already harping on about integration, but the questions on the board made little sense. Jono sat next to him, as always, and had completed the first six of ten questions.

“Come on dude. You can’t dwell forever,” Jono knew the problem instantly and tried to encourage Freddie. He knew what Jono was saying was true, but it was easier said than done.

“It’s just shit. We’re barely even talking. It’s been three months now, and you’d think we’d have some sort of routine or arrangement, but nope,” Freddie vented. He wasn’t very good at talking about his feelings normally, but Jono was the perfect person to open up to.

“You’ll work it out. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be,” Jono optimistically reminded, “As the great Bebe Rexha once said.” He giggled at his own joke. Freddie let a small smile slip out too. He couldn’t resist Jono’s hysterically bad jokes.

“Anything to share with the class, Mr. Chadwick and Mr. Ruben?” Mr. Larsen interrupted.

“No sir,” Jono replied sheepishly.

Freddie avoided eye contact, choosing to peak out of the classroom door instead. He saw something unusual through the little window – a young girl, who must have been seven or eight years old, walking through the corridor. She was only in sight for a few seconds thanks to the tiny window.

Freddie blinked, unsure if his mind was playing tricks on him. Nothing was there. Maybe he was just tired.

He glanced around the classroom – nobody else seemed to have taken notice; just bored by the integration questions. Must have been nothing.

Enjoying the peace and tranquillity behind the main school building, Dylan was waiting on Jono so they could spend some time on their own at lunchtime. Jono’s birthday was approaching, so Dylan was hoping to suss out some gift ideas. He hated gift buying. The end result of bringing joy to someone he loved was always great, but finding that special something was difficult work. Nobody seemed to be specific when questioned over what they’d like, either. Yasmin was always irritatingly vague. Thankfully, Caroline had a better gift-buying eye and excelled in helping him find nice surprise.

“Here you are,” Drew popped out from around the corner. Dylan was startled, not expecting him.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Dylan abruptly questioned.

“Looking for you,” Drew replied, “And thanks for such a warm warning, dear alpha.”

“Careful, you’re almost developing a sense of humour,” Dylan calmed down.

“You’d be lucky,” Drew remarked, “Look, you know how I’ve said about keeping alert?”

“I don’t need another pep talk,” Dylan sighed.

“Shut up and let me finish, dimwit,” Drew sank back to his old ways. Dylan almost laughed as he was scolded. It had been a while since Drew spoke to him like that, “I just found this stuck to the bunker door.”

Dylan took what looked like a regular post-it-note off Drew’s finger and read it. In thick black pen, it read “the children are coming.”

“What the heck does that mean? Who wrote it?” Dylan was dumbfounded.

“I don’t know, but I think we have every reason to be on red alert,” Drew suggested. As he spoke, Dylan heard a rustle nearby.

“Did you hear that?” Dylan whispered.

“Hear what?” Drew looked baffled. It rustled again.

“That,” Dylan replied. Drew nodded, and scanned the area. Dylan tried to follow his ears, walking towards an alleyway between two parts of the building, generally used to store trash.

Peeping cautiously around the corner, Dylan braced himself. What was there? One of these supposed children?

He focused, and saw a young lad crouched down. He had soft, auburn hair, shaggy and unkept but stylish. Dylan recognised him even without seeing his face.

“Hey Noah, is everything alright?” Dylan called out, concerned for his classmate.

Unusually, the bench was quiet at lunchtime. Lily was sat there with George, but nobody else had joined them. Normally, it was much too small to accommodate everybody and they often spilled over onto the adjacent bench as well, but the sole bench felt unusually big for a change.

However, it was nice to have a moment just with George. She still hadn’t gotten totally used to him being her boyfriend, and they had been together for three months. That said, they had been friends for much longer, and that always felt like the default. While many people might see that as a negative, Lily saw it as a benefit – her history of relationships was a state, but none of them had the friendship foundations like she had with George. A little change was doing the world of good.

“I got a couple of vouchers for the cinema, anything you wanna see later?” George offered.

“I don’t mind, as long as I’m with you,” Lily enjoyed being soppy and romantic from time to time.

“Cute, but doesn’t solve my dilemma,” George jested. Lily giggled.

“I don’t care, honestly. You choose,” Lily replied. It had been ages since her last cinema trip so she was looking forward to it. She was hoping for a more positive experience than the last one, when Josh tried to slit her throat. Not her finest moment.

Her phone buzzed. Probably another meme sent by Jono in the group chat. She unlocked her phone and saw a text from a private number.

“I’m coming.”

How strange. Probably a wrong number, someone trying to let their friend know they were on their way.

Then the phone buzzed again and another text came through.

“Coming for you, Lily Chadwick.”

Alright, that was creepy.

“Hey, look at this,” she held the conversation out to George, who was also glancing at his phone. He skim-read the screen.

“Okay, that’s pretty terrifying. Look at this,” George held his phone out in return. An almost identical conversation displayed in his text app, only replacing Lily’s name with his own.

“We gotta tell Dylan,” Lily decided, officially spooked out.

Sitting down next to Noah, Dylan was feeling intrigued. He could sense his fear – not the fear you experience when you forget your homework, either. Something had obviously spooked him on a high level. He was shaken, his head buried in his hands.

Drew watched on, as did Jono who had finally arrived. Looked like Dylan’s gift-buying idea was shelved for the time being.

“What’s happened, Noah? Talk to me,” Dylan gently encouraged.

“You wouldn’t believe me,” Noah muttered, keeping his head down.

“You’d be surprised at what I’d believe,” Dylan added. He was trying to channel his inner Yasmin, judiciously considering every single word.

“There was this girl, last night, in the school corridor. She was like, seven years old,” Noah revealed, “Her eyes, oh my god.”

“What about her eyes?” Dylan urged. The fact he was talking about a child concerned him after the note Drew found.

“They were black. The whole way across, pitch black,” he revealed. Noah didn’t look up once, still refusing to make eye contact. However, the fear in his voice spoke volumes.

“It’s okay. She’s not here anymore. You’re safe,” Dylan comforted.

“She didn’t say anything, but the eyes, they were like black holes. Sucking me in,” Noah continued, his voice getting shakier and shakier.

“Where did she go?” Drew interjected.

“I don’t know. She’s still out there,” Noah looked up, his tears leading a trail down his cheek. Dylan hugged him, trying to calm his eyes. He made eye contact with Jono, his concerned look matching Dylan’s.

Watching on, Jono felt rather concerned. Perhaps Noah’s eyes were playing tricks on him – he knew he always stayed late at school, he could have been tired.

That said, he looked genuinely horrified. Something really bad must have happened to provoke a reaction like that. Maybe there was some truth to it.

“What do you think it is?” Jono whispered to Drew.

“Search me. I’m no expert,” Drew replied as honestly as he could. Jono sighed. He knew he’d have to do some research.

His phone buzzed. He glanced at the message preview on the lock screen. He heard Dylan’s ringtone sound too, then Drew’s.

“I think someone’s trying to send us a message,” Jono noted, reading the disturbing text: “Coming for you, Jono Chadwick.”

“What the heck?” Drew was just as baffled.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” Dylan stood up and lent Noah a hand.

“What are we doing with him?” Drew bluntly queried.

“He’s coming with us. He knows more about this kid than any of us,” Dylan decided.

“I’m quite happy for it to stay that way,” Jono remarked, feeling uneasy about everything that had happened in the preceding ten minutes.

Walking out of the main school building and towards the bench, Freddie had just picked up his lunch from the canteen. Josh was by his side, just like old times when they were joint at the hip. Maybe he wasn’t faking it the first time after all? Either way, he had nothing to hide now, and it meant a lot to Freddie to know he had his friend back. The old gang of him, Josh and Jono was back on.

As they got nearer to the bench, Freddie saw his brother’s worried facial expression. George wasn’t much of a worrier. He dealt with issues head on, and didn’t allow himself to worry about the inevitable. When he looked concerned, it was never without reason.

“What’s up? Why the long face?” Freddie tried to sound light-hearted as he approached.

“Have you looked at your phone yet?” George nudged.

“Huh?” Freddie was baffled. He shot Josh a confused look, as if he were an emoji. George remained serious. Freddie dug his phone out of his pocket. It had been on silent all day, like every school day – he’d had it confiscated by Mrs. Johnson once before for ringing in class, he was keen not to repeat it.

He saw a couple of texts had come through from an unknown number. Both of which creeped Freddie the fuck out.

“Alright, whose practical joke is that?” Freddie was sceptical of its sincerity.

“It’s pretty amateur, no?” Josh added.
“I goddamn wish it was a joke,” Lily sighed. George’s face remained deadly serious. This was no joke.

“Who the fuck would do this?” Freddie’s bemusement turned to worry.

“Someone who knows about us,” Freddie spun round as he heard Dylan speak. Drew and Jono were with him. Strangely, Noah from their year group had joined them too.

“Who?” Lily pondered.

“I don’t know. We need to go somewhere to talk,” Dylan suggested.

All of a sudden, everyone’s phones buzzed at the same time. A chorus of ringtones and vibrations sounded. Freddie’s heart sank with concern. He opened up the message on his own phone – “There is nowhere safe to talk. I can hear you everywhere.”

Freddie saw the anger building in Dylan’s face. He understood it too. Nobody should be allowed to feel like that.

He glanced around. Nobody was acting shifty, but it was hard to tell when most of the school were outside.

“What do we do?” Lily asked desperately.

“Act normal. Watch what you say, don’t give them anything. When they least expect it, we’re coming for their ass. Let’s show them who’s boss,” Dylan replied. Freddie wanted to applaud. If he could take one positive from this, it was that they were all in it together.

The rest of the night was uneasy for Dylan. He felt like he was being watched in his every move. Even in his bedroom, with his curtains shut, he didn’t feel safe. What if there was a microphone planted in there? Something filming him? It was startling to say the least. It felt almost like Big Brother, except it wasn’t voluntary and he wouldn’t win $500,000 for winning it.

To make matters worse, they had to figure out the deal with a strange and spooky kid. There was no guarantee she was anything out of the ordinary – perhaps she was a missing child who spooked Noah in some dodgy lighting. It was something to mention to Ed – as Sheriff, he surely knew any missing child case. He ushered him into the kitchen to get some intel.

“What’s the big secret?” Ed queried.

“Do you know of any missing child reports recently?” Dylan probed.

“We got a few, anything more specific,” Ed looked baffled.

“A young girl, maybe seven or eight years old. Brunette,” Dylan kept it vague. He had no idea who might have been listening.

“Don’t think so. Why do you ask? Am I allowed to know?” Ed questioned. He and Dylan had agreed to keep the werewolf secret safe, on the basis that Ed didn’t know the details. He didn’t want to have to lie to Caroline about Dylan’s whereabouts on any occasion, which was fair enough in Dylan’s eyes.

“Maybe. Need to know only,” Dylan kept his lips sealed.

“Alright. Just make sure you stay safe,” Ed was very good at looking out for Dylan and Josh. Sure, he was more of a father figure in Josh’s eyes, as he’d never really had someone like that, and Dylan kept his dad close to his heart. He knew he’d never forget him, but equally, he knew his dad would approve of someone as kind-hearted as Ed to keep an eye on him and his mum.

The night had been rough for Jono, too. He had planned to spend it revising, but he couldn’t focus at all. Lily was struggling too – they had barely sad a word to one another, too scared for what other people would hear.

He knew he had to think of a way for them to communicate securely. Their phones were too risky – if this person had their phone numbers, god knows what else they could be in possession of, considering technology these days.

Now he was alone in the school newsroom. Feeling paranoid, he had stuck a tiny piece of blu-tack over the laptop’s webcam. He was hoping that he could crack on with some work for the newspaper.

He was sorting through a list of all of the exam dates, organising it by year group, while Dylan was supposed to be working on study skills now that Yasmin wasn’t around. He couldn’t deny the impact Yasmin had on Dylan, and he seemed to be a little bit lost without her.

As he daydreamed, Jono glanced at the door, jumping back in fright when he saw what was visible through the window in the centre. A little girl was peering through, albeit with her eyes closed. She reached her hand out to push the door handle down. Jono jumped out of the chair and picked it up to arm himself as the door bashed open.

The girl stood in the doorway, blocking any chance of an exit. Jono looked at the window behind, but it couldn’t open far enough for him to escape. He took a good look, making mental notes. Whether they would make any sense later was another matter, his brain felt like jelly.

“What are you?” Jono asked. The girl didn’t reply, but her eyelids twitched. Those black-hole eyes were about to come into view. Jono primed the chair, ready to fight back if necessary.

“Jono?” Dylan’s dulcet tones filled his eardrums. He blinked, catching Dylan in the doorway, but no sign of the girl, “What are you doing?”

“Err,” Jono put the chair down and collapsed back onto it. He was baffled. Where had she gone?

“You saw her, didn’t you?” Dylan presumed.

“She just vanished. As soon as I heard you,” Jono described. Dylan pulled him in for a hug. Jono had never appreciated it so much, he was absolutely horrified.

Spending a lesson in the library, Lily was looking around in all directions. It was such a huge open space, which meant any number of people could have been watching her. George was next to her, browsing chemistry revision topics on the computer. She knew he was worried, but he was doing an impressive job of not showing it.

“How are you so calm?” Lily interrogated.

“Like Dylan said. Keep going. Maybe they’ll get bored?” George looked on the bright side. Perhaps it was true, but Lily wasn’t so sure. They knew about werewolves. Why they were doing it was the bigger question.

Nevertheless, George and Dylan were right. They had to push on and keep going. Lily opened google and began to browse revision sites when an email popped through. She didn’t recognise the address, but it said all she needed to know: She instantly clicked on the message.

“I won’t get bored. Not ever,” Lily read the email aloud to George.

“Okay, they can hear us. Maybe I should give them a little piece of my mind,” George threatened.

“How will that solve anything?” Lily scolded. She stood up and turned around to the rest of the class, “Whoever keeps sending me messages, the joke’s over.”

The class all shared the same baffled expression, as if she’d gone crazy. Lily sat back down sheepishly. Someone was playing a horrible game, and she knew she had to find out who.

Sitting on the step just outside the main entrance to the school, Dylan was calming Jono down. A bit of fresh air never went amiss, and he knew Jono wouldn’t leave his side if the tables were turned.

“I saw her, I promise, she was there as clear as day,” Jono panicked.

“I know, I believe you,” Dylan rubbed his hand gently up and down Jono’s back, consoling him as best as he could.

“I panicked so bad. What is she? I felt terrified the second I saw her,” Jono confessed.

“I don’t know. I really wish I did. It’d make life a bit easier,” Dylan sighed. The unknown terrified him more than anything. At least he’d be able to prepare himself if he knew what he was up against.

“Do you think we can stop it?” Jono wondered.

“I think we can try. That’s all we can do,” Dylan admitted.

“There’s gotta be a reason for it though. Things don’t just exist to scare the shit out of teenagers,” Jono reasoned. He had a point. The girl must have wanted something. Then a lightbulb sparked up in Dylan’s head. Maybe they weren’t without help after all?

“I think I know someone who could have an idea,” Dylan considered. As he finished the sentence, he noticed Jono sobbing discreetly. Impulsively, Dylan pulled him in for a hug. He hated seeing Jono upset, and making Jono happy may as well have been part of his DNA. He whispered softly in his ear, “It’s okay. I’m here for you.” A tear slipped from Dylan’s own eye. He felt at a loss.

“Come on. We’ve got a job to do,” Dylan decisively motivated. Sulking wouldn’t solve anything. He had to be proactive.

It was unlike Drew to be startled by anything. He was made of strong stuff and ensured he stayed one step ahead of everything, so it took a lot to bring him down. God knew how many hunters had tried.

However, even he was jumping at every phone vibration. Freddie and Josh sat opposite him in biology, and they looked even more anxious than he did.

Drew preferred it when his enemy showed itself, as opposed to hiding behind a screen and being cowardly. If somebody had a problem, he’d rather be told face-to-face. He had basketball practice after school, but somehow, this situation was killing his enthusiasm. If motivating himself, as the team captain, was tough, how could he motivate a whole team?

“Are we awake, Mr. Marsden?” he heard Mrs. Johnson bark. As helpful as she had been, he still couldn’t stomach her lessons. Drew nodded begrudgingly. As he did so, Dylan and Jono burst through the door.

“Boys, why are we late?” Mrs. Johnson immediately interrogated.

“Miss, there’s a fight in the corridor,” Jono announced. Drew rolled his eyes as he heard pens clink onto the table and chairs scrape against the floor all over the classroom. Everyone wanted to see the fight. Typical humans. None of them had even seen a real fight. He caught Dylan winking at him. There wasn’t a fight. They wanted a confidential chat with her.

“Sit down,” Mrs. Johnson commanded to the entire class, an order that was received with disappointed groans and muttering. She marched out of the room after Jono and Dylan. Drew wanted to be involved, but if even one person ran outside, the rest would follow, desperate to see the non-existent fight. He had to set the precedent.

“So, where’s the fight?” Mrs. Johnson wondered, looking around the empty corridors. Dylan knew telling a white lie to Mrs. Johnson was a risky tactic, but he hoped she would understand their reasons.

“Err, there isn’t one,” Jono owned up, “We just needed you on your own.”

“I’m trying to take a class, you need to learn the concept of the right time and the right place,” Mrs. Johnson reprimanded, “That’s a class you’re both meant to be in, by the way.”

“I don’t mean to be rude but this is a little more important than plant cells,” Jono apologised in a roundabout way.

While Jono spoke, Dylan scribbled a sentence on a whiteboard he had borrowed from maths. He held it up to her when finished, watching Mrs. Johnson read the note: “Don’t say anything aloud. We need help about a kid with black eyes.”

Mrs. Johnson grabbed the whiteboard and pen out of Dylan’s hands, rubbed it out and wrote a response: “I assume there’s something more going on here. I have no idea I’m afraid.” The back and forth continued:

“OK. We’re desperate, it’s haunting the school.”

“I’ll keep an eye out. What’s with the secrecy?”

“Long story. Someone’s onto us.”

“Stay alert and look after yourself. Now get in my classroom.” Dylan giggled, taking the whiteboard back and regretfully skulking back inside the class. On the bright side, he’d killed a bit of lesson time, but still no closer to solving the mystery.

Shutting the front door behind him, Dylan was glad to be home. Although the confines of his house were less safe than usual, he still felt a lot more at ease within those walls than he did outside. He had his mum to protect him, as well as Ed and Josh. Although Ed was at work, he was looking forward to enjoying his “mom time,”, now with added Josh.

“How are my two favourite boys in the world?” Caroline beamed as they both strolled into the living room and flung their bags onto the floor.

“Shattered,” Dylan replied, collapsing onto the sofa.
“You’re too young to be tired, where’s all that energy?” Caroline teased.

“Used on Jono probably,” Josh lowered the tone. Oh dear. A downside to having a brother of sorts was the lack of privacy. Even his sex life wasn’t immune.

“Hey, watch that tongue,” Caroline kept up the stern mum act, but was visibly tickled. Another downside: he was the butt of all jokes.

“I’ll get some drinks, want anything, Caroline?” Josh offered.

“Oh, go on, I’ll have a coffee please,” Caroline smiled. She acted like Josh had talked her into it, but she never said no to a coffee.

“Just a coke for me please,” Dylan added. Josh gave a thumbs-up and casually sauntered out of the room.

“How are you finding things? You know, with everything changing,” Caroline whispered, “I know change isn’t your forte.”

“It’s good,” Dylan whispered back, being well aware that Josh could listen in if he wanted to, “I think I’m more used to it now, especially considering how long I pestered you to foster Josh.”

“Fair,” Caroline chuckled, “I was wondering what you thought about making this a more permanent arrangement?”

“You mean, adopting Josh?” Dylan kept his voice as quiet as possible.

“If he wants that. If you want that. Ed and I have talked through it,” Caroline detailed.

“Sure, I’d love it,” Dylan felt excited to have an actual brother at last. He always wanted one when he was younger. It was a no brainer. He and Josh were closer than ever.

Just as he gave his approval, Josh ambled back in with a tray of drinks and the biscuit tin.

“Ready?” Caroline snapped out of secretive mode within a split second. Josh looked oblivious, thankfully.

“Yup,” Josh grinned, slumping down on the other side of Caroline. At least Dylan had something to be positive about.

The mood was less calm and jovial at Freddie’s house. George was out at work, so he was home alone – the last thing he wanted to be. He was afraid to do anything – even looking out of the windows in case he saw her there. In fact, he was trying his best not to take his eyes off the TV even for a second. He hadn’t eaten dinner, and was quite happy not going into the kitchen, at least until George was around. At least he’d have a numbers advantage then.

Heck, he hadn’t even seen this girl face-to-face, yet somehow, her mere presence outside the maths classroom was enough to send chills down his spine. Nothing normal could do that.

That said, he was hardly “normal,” himself. He had to keep his identity a secret to most people, and even that was at risk of exposure. Why did he have no control over his life? Maybe it was time to take control back. Brave the kitchen.

He psyched himself up, thinking about what Yasmin would do. She wouldn’t let her life be dictated by anyone else. He strolled into the kitchen, putting on a confident façade to hide his terror.

He approached the fridge, picked up his plate, turned around, and immediately dropped it. It smashed as soon as it collided with the floor, shards decorating the laminate flooring. She was there. Facing him, in his kitchen. Her eyes were closed, but he didn’t have to see the eyes to be able to picture what they looked like.

“Please don’t hurt me,” Freddie begged. His fear was rising as she stepped closer, and closer, and closer, until…

“Freddie?” came a voice from the door. The voice rang a bell in Freddie’s mind, but he couldn’t place it. His mind was already doing overtime. The girl froze, as if she had been paused by a remote control.

“Anyone home?” the voice sounded again. It was female. It sounded like…could it be? Surely not. The lock on the door clicked open, “Sorry, the door was open. Have you missed me?”

A startled Freddie watched as the girl faded away as if she were never there, just as Yasmin walked in. Never had he felt such a mix of emotions in one minute, leaving him staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed at his favourite person in the world.

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