A/N: Welcome back! I've got a couple things to get to before we get started so I can make sure the questions that have been asked lately get answered. A couple more, like how much time has passed, will also be answered right in this chapter or at the end.
For those of you who are asking how old these guys are now, the four oldest are all nine years old, the twins only barely as of this chapter, and the baby of the family is six. I wouldn't place so much importance on it at this point in the story though. The older four are just about grown so they won't be changing too much from now on.
Who remembers the little formula? They all look about twice their actual age. However, they all grow at different rates. The more vampire they've got in them, the faster they grow. So basically you can add a year to this "twice their age" rule for Swan and Asa, and subtract one for the twins.
Lastly, you may not need them, but Nessie and I sure both had our box of tissues out for this chapter!
I'd always thought that when my kids started school, I'd be attending with them. But that wouldn't have made much sense here.
To the outside world, and in private, I was Jacob's wife. Since Swan and Asa looked more like me, they'd act as my younger brother and sister. Everybody else looked like Jacob's side of the family, so we decided they could be some distant cousins, from his Mom's side. That side of his family had been very small to begin with, and there weren't any of them around on the rez anymore to disagree with our claim.
We'd be their "legal guardians" in what probably looked like an odd blended family. As far as people who saw us around but didn't know us, we'd just let them assume what they wanted. That was all we could do. The kids all knew that they shouldn't call us Mom and Dad in public. They had to use our names, which they all found hilarious.
We can't be totally in control, which is what made things a little scary sometimes, but Aunt Alice was looking out for us. In the two years we'd been here, so far, so good. If anybody knew who, or what we were, they were keeping quiet about it.
My twinnies had changed the most since we left Alaska, that was for sure. They looked about seventeen now, or maybe a small eighteen, it's hard to tell. They both wore their hair in easy to manage chin length styles, and were such lovely young ladies. While at home, they did a lot of things outdoors together. Besides that, Mollie and Seth were as close as ever.
Swan was the social butterfly of the rez, sometimes I felt like I hardly saw her anymore. But she was young, she should take the time to enjoy it. I was a little surprised that none of the boys had asked her out yet. I figured they might be a little intimidated. She had quite a presence.
Anthony loved having his drivers license, and was spending plenty of wolf quality time, doing whatever it is they do. I trusted him, so I usually just let him do as he liked.
As for the baby of the family, he was the only one who wasn't quite ready for school yet. He looked like he was barely a teenager, so he still had some growing to do. Chances were, he was going to do it pretty quickly. He grew even faster then Swan, so he'd be ready for school in a year or two.
They already knew most of the kids around here. They told everyone they didn't go to the school on the rez yet, because they were being home schooled. At this age, they had a good understanding of the fact that if we wanted to live among humans, a few fibs would have to be told. It was partially true, they had been home schooled before. But I'd let them take a break from their studies, and finish growing, since we moved here. Those four could have easily entered school as twelfth graders, and been able to keep up.
The night before the first day of school, I double checked that they had everything they needed. I knew they did, but it made me feel better. They were excited. Their excitement was infectious, and I eventually caught it. I was so glad for them that they no longer had to stay hidden like in Alaska. I remembered what it was like when you didn't exist to the outside world. They could be normal teenagers here, just what I'd always wanted for them.
Once I was satisfied that they were all ready for tomorrow, I put on my nightshirt and got into bed. Jake pouted at me as he got in with me.
"What?" I asked as he climbed on top of me, and hovered over me.
"I've been making eyes at you all night, and you haven't even noticed!" he said.
I laughed softly and reached up with both of my hands to hold his face. "Aw, I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you," I promised in a whisper as he trailed his fingertips up and down my thigh.
"Uh huh," I said, parting my legs.
He took quick advantage of the fact that I don't wear underwear to bed.
Once we both were satisfied and sweaty, we rested our heads on the same pillow and chatted.
"Just think. Once Asa starts school too, I'll have you all to myself, all day long," he said.
"After you told your dear friend's mother you'll help out at her store a couple days a week?" I teased.
"Only a couple," he said, squeezing me tightly. "Other than that, it's just me and you."
Pencils, pens, notebooks, calculator, folders...okay, I think I've got everything.
Oh, wait. Maybe I should get dressed. Yes, comfy as they are, I doubt anybody at school will be impressed by my pajama pants and bra.
As I was walking over to my closet, somebody knocked on my door. "Mollie?" Anthony said.
"You can come in."
He poked his head in the door.
"Geeze, Mollie! Put some clothes on!" he said, closing his eyes.
"Oh, who cares," I said, but threw on the first shirt I saw lying semi clean on the floor. "You can look now."
He cautiously poked his head back in my room.
"We should leave in 20 minutes." He then added with a grin, "I told Swan ten."
"Good!" Hopefully she wouldn't make us late.
I pulled on a pair of snug fitting jeans, and a black t-shirt with a big purple star on the front. For shoes, I decided to wear my purple Converse high tops to match.
As I was sitting on the side of my bed, lacing them up, my phone went off.
"Ooo a text!"
I was excited to see it was from Seth.
Good morning! Hopefully ur up by now. Are u all ready?
I typed back, and told him yes, almost.
Have an awesome first day, wish i could go with u. i wanna hear about it later!
I wrote back and thanked him, and said I'd call him tonight.
I'll be waiting, i love you kiddo
I of course told him that I loved him too. I really did. Probably more then he knew.
He's so funny, and kind hearted. He's the kind of sweet person who will do anything for somebody who is important to him. It also doesn't hurt that he's the hottest guy in La Push, without question. Xandra didn't agree with me. She said he is cute, but it's not like he's Adam Levine from Maroon 5. Who the Hell cares about Adam Levine anyway?
If Seth was a rock star, I'd definitely be throwing my panties at him.
I know it's not gonna happen, at least not today. He's a grown ass man. So not today, but someday. Maybe soon, he'll say he loves me without adding "kiddo" after it. I just feel like he's the one for me.
I had tried to have a dream about the first day of school, technically I did, but it was about before we left. I didn't need my gift to tell me that Mom was going to cry, and take thousands of pictures. She even got out the video camera. Eventually, we pried her off of us, and she let us leave in Dad's crappy old car. I sat up front with my brother, the twins sat in the back.
The school had three buildings on the property. One for the youngest kids, in grades six and under. I smiled at that one, knowing that's where Caroline and my other cousins were. Caroline is like a sister to me. Right now, like a little sister, but she'll catch up to me in a few years.
In between was the one for grades six, seven, and eight. I knew a decent amount of kids in that one.
Last was ours, grades nine through twelve. My sisters were starting grade nine today, Anthony and I were starting grade ten.
Of course, in the five minute drive to school, it had started to rain. I'd teased Mom yesterday, and reminded her that we were going to be gone for seven hours, not seven days, and that we probably didn't need all this crap in our book bags. But I was sure glad I had this umbrella now, especially since I'd straightened my hair. A few drops, and I'd be curly again. I do like my curls, but I'm saving that look for tomorrow.
I opened my pink and purple polka dot umbrella with the car door open, and hurried towards the door once I was under it. My siblings were right behind me. Before we separated, we agreed to meet back at the car after the last bell.
My schedule and locker info had been mailed to the house, along with a map of the school. I had it all memorized for weeks, but I leaned against a wall and took one more look at it just for good measure.
My first class of the day was gym, how awful is that? Holding back when we could easily kick the ass of any of these students, in any sport, wasn't going to be fun for any of us. After that was American Indian Studies, which sounded interesting. After that, Math and Biology, far less interesting. Lunch would be next, that was sure to be horrid. The school cafeteria had one chance. I had a feeling I might start packing my lunch tomorrow. After lunch was Art, which I hoped would be easy, and fun. Last was English, which I speak quite well, so I'm fine with that.
"Swan!" I heard as I was putting my papers into my purse. In my head I thought, yay! Somebody I know! It was Claire, somebody who actually knew the real me. She was in twelfth grade, so she was almost done, this was her last year.
"Welcome to the crap hole!" she said enthusiastically.
I laughed. "It's not that bad."
"Give it a minute. Do you know where your locker is? Because this school is soooooooooooo huge!" she said sarcastically.
"I'm over by room ten."
"I'm going to fifteen, I'll help you find it."
I could have found it on my own, but it was sweet of her to offer.
Once I got the rickety thing opened, Claire went off to her first class. My naked locker certainly needed some decoration. I looked around at the other opened lockers and saw mirrors, photos, streamers, and even Christmas lights.
I've got some shopping to do!
Lunch time. The best part of the day.
Well, we'll see how the food here is. It smells okay.
"What smells like shit?" Swan said, joining me at the end of the lunch line.
"I think if we steer clear of the meat, we'll be okay," I said.
The scowl on her face was to be expected. It's not like the only thing she eats is meat, but she's the same way as Mom. They like other things, but nothing hits the spot like some red meat, especially if it's undercooked.
While we were waiting I grabbed some random stuff off a cart of snacks and added it to my tray.
"Hey Swan, they have Fritos," I said.
That perked her up a little.
The twins joined us in line, even though we were no longer at the back of it.
"You guys can't cut in front of like, ten people," I said.
"Who cares?" Xandra replied.
Sure enough, somebody yelled from behind us in the line, "Hey! No cutting!"
"Apparently someone does," Swan said.
"Okay, okay, we're going," Mollie said, and they shuffled to the back of the line.
The mashed potatoes looked safe, so did the bread with a pat of butter on the side. After careful consideration, I managed to fill my plate.
When we left the lunch line carrying our trays, I realized that we were about to face the biggest social obstacle of our lives so far: where to sit in the cafeteria. At least I wouldn't end up eating lunch alone. I was fairly certain Swan would never ditch me.
I was relieved when a perfect solution stood up and waved to us from across the flurry of activity.
We took seats at her small table, that seemed to be reserved for children of the pack. I immediately felt comforted, and right at home. It was just her, Dove, Marla and Cole. He'd probably be joining us in the pack soon. If you want to be technical about it, Claire wasn't really a pack kid. But since she was an imprint, she'd been around it since she was two. The others fathers had been part of Dad's original pack. They, like Uncle Paul, had not phased in years. They wanted to grow old together and have slow, peaceful lives with their imprints and children.
I saw it as a good thing that I'd never been in a pack with Uncle Paul. It was bad enough that once in a while, I got mercifully brief, yet horrifying glimpses into my parents...personal life. I didn't need to see his and Aunt Rachel's, too.
Swan literally nudged me out of my thoughts. "Hey, there they are," she said, pointing out the twins. "Stand up, you're taller."
"Yeah, but not on purpose," I said, rising from my seat and waving them over.
"So you guys always eat together?" Swan asked as we all started on our food.
"Mmm hmm," Cole answered, his mouth full of greasy pizza.
I decided I liked this arrangement.
I'd already seen a lot of Swan today, since we were in the same grade, but I'd hardly seen Mollie and Xandra at all, so I asked them how the day had been so far.
"Mollie already got in trouble!" Xandra announced gleefully.
"Shut up!" Mollie told her.
"For what?" Swan asked with interest.
Mollie just scowled.
"Go ahead," Xandra prodded. "Might as well tell it before I do."
"Oh, fine," Mollie huffed. "I got my phone taken away. For texting."
"Who?" I asked needlessly.
"I'll give you a clue," Xandra said. "It was Seth."
"So what?" Mollie said with a shrug.
"Her phone is in the office and she can't have it back until the end of the day, so we'll be taking a little detour before we meet you at the car," Xandra said.
"Fuck you, Xandra," Mollie muttered.
"No thanks, that's Seth's job," she quickly retorted.
Mollie's face turned several shades of red as the table erupted in laughter. She nearly shoved Xandra out of her chair and onto the floor, but Xandra held on to the table, causing it to scrape loudly across the floor. That, and the raucous laughter attracted the attention of one of the teachers on lunch room duty.
I tried to shush everybody as I watched him striding over out of the corner of my eye. He came up behind the twins and startled them as he tapped his finger on the table between them. In tandem, their heads turned up towards him.
"Calm down, ladies. I'd honestly hate to have to send either of you to eat lunch in the office on the first day."
They looked down again, acting as remorseful as possible. As he walked away from our table, Mollie muttered too low for him to hear.
"At least I'd be in the same room as my phone."
Nothing could have surprised me less, hearing that she'd gotten in trouble for texting Seth. I knew exactly what was going on there, but I was just about the only one. But as Dad reminded me, this wasn't my secret to tell.
I'd been barely old enough to remember, but I was there when it happened. I knew something was going on the first time Seth held my sister, I just didn't understand it then. She had been just over three weeks old at the time. It was during the big party my parents threw so that everybody could meet Mollie and Xandra. They had been too fragile before then. They'd been born way to early, and they were more human then the rest of us.
Seth had only thought about those three weeks before he finally met Mollie once while he and I were both phased. He'd known he was going to imprint on one of my sisters before they'd even been born. Being away from her when she wasn't well enough for visitors was so painful for him, I couldn't even stand him thinking of it. I felt what he felt, and it was indescribably excruciating. It was a relief when he'd quickly pushed it out of his mind.
When it came to my youngest sister, Seth's train of thought had definitely changed.
Seth thought she was old enough, and ready to date.
He had his reasons, I'd seen them. Part of it was out of his own guilt. He felt he had taken part of Mom's youth away from her by making her a mother so young. I'd always known I hadn't exactly been conceived on purpose. Nobody had ever actually told me that, but the fact that I was in my parents wedding pictures was a pretty good clue. Nobody made a big deal about it because ultimately, who cares? However he still didn't want the same thing to happen to Mollie. He wanted her to be young and free from the responsibilities of a baby and a husband a little while longer.
He felt bad the time I heard him thinking that, but explained it to me once we were alone and human again.
"The day we found out about you was the best day of my life. Even better then the day I married your mom. Because I knew that would happen someday, but you, you were a different story."
Personally, I didn't see why it would be so bad. My parents were happy, it sure seemed like Mom's life had turned out okay.
"It's just that your Mom really wasn't that much older then Mollie was when you were born. Can you picture your sister married with a baby right now?" he'd asked me once after a pack run where Seth just couldn't help himself from thinking of her.
"Geeze, Dad. Just because they start dating doesn't mean that...well..." I stuttered awkwardly, and started over. "That can be prevented. I mean, I doubt they'd get married right away."
"I know," he said, even though he looked like that thought had just occurred to him.
"They could just, you know, date."
"Right," he said thoughtfully.
I looked over at Claire across the lunch table as she gushed to Swan about the romantic weekend she'd just spent with Quil. She sure looked happy.
There was only one class left in the day, and Mollie was still pissed off at me about lunch.
"Come on, I said I was sorry, Mol," I said, chasing her down the hall to our last class of the day.
"And I said, you embarrassed me!"
I really was sorry. But it was kind of funny at the time. I guess Mom is right and I should think before I speak. Mollie usually wasn't embarrassed so easily, except when it came to Seth, the freaking love of her life.
"I'll make you a deal," I said.
"No deals, get away from me before I beat your ass!"
"Come on. If you forgive me, I'll do your chores for the rest of the week," I said.
"I don't care about chores!"
"Okay, okay. No more Seth comments," I said.
She finally let me catch up to her, and I watched her face as she considered my offer.
"Ever?" she said.
"Fine, but also, you can't tell Mom I got my phone taken away," she said.
So apparently, I was forgiven.
In our American Indian Studies class, we took seats next to each other in the back of the room. As soon as we did, we saw Marla enter through the door. We waved her over to sit with us.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentleman," our teacher said after the bell had rung. She was probably one of the youngest teachers we had. She looked not much older then thirty. Her black hair was in a very impressive thick braid that was so long I bet she could have sat on it. If not, pretty close. "Welcome to ninth grade American Indian Studies. I'm Miss Fox. Is everybody in the right place?" Her question was met with many nods. "Good. Congratulations, you guys have just about made it through your first day of high school. Give yourselves a hand!"
Mollie and I grinned at each other across the aisle and bumped fists.
"Take a look around, do you like where you're sitting?" she asked. Again, her question was met with nods. "Very good, those will be your seats then." She took role and got all our names down in her seating chart. She was the only teacher so far today who hadn't made some goofy comment about us being twins. I swear, the next person who asks me if we are twins, I am going to say no, she's my clone.
I decided I liked Miss Fox.
"I've got good news for you guys, my class is not boring! We are going to learn all about our Quileute culture, traditions, language, history, all of it. You guys are the next generation." Miss Fox closed her eyes passionately as she spoke. "It's so important that these things don't die out. It's up to you, it's your responsibility to keep them alive, and pass them on to your children, and theirs."
She told us that there would be a couple phrases in Quileute on each test we took this year. It didn't seem as daunting if we were only going to learn this new language a few words at a time. Surely we can handle that.
Miss Fox said she was going to go easy on us, and ended the lesson early. I chatted with Marla while my sister doodled in her notebook.
"What are you doing over there?" Marla asked her, leaning over.
"Nothing!" Mollie quickly slammed her notebook shut, but I'd already seen what she was writing, despite the tiny handwriting she was using to try and keep her doodles secret. She glared at me, knowing I'd been able to read it.
The whole page was filled with her and Seth's names combined.
Mollie Hope Clearwater
Mollie Hope Black Clearwater
Mrs. Mollie Clearwater
Mr. and Mrs. Seth and Mollie Clearwater
She looked so embarrassed that she'd gotten busted. True to my word, I looked away and didn't say a thing. I didn't want to hurt her feelings again.
After we'd been dismissed by the bell, I reminded her at our lockers that we had to stop at the office.
"Trust me, I didn't forget."
Once she had that thing back, Mollie Magic Fingers was at it again, the whole way to the car.
I saw Swan lean over to pound on the horn, as Anthony tried to push her away.
"You can't do that to a car somebody else is driving, Swan!" Anthony said.
"Well, you aren't driving it, so it's fine," she said. "Come on, Mollie. Look up and get going, I wanna go home!"
Mollie ignored her.
"Relax, Swan," I said when we reached the car. "We've wasted countless hours of our lives that we'll never get back waiting for you."
In the afternoon Dad asked Momma if she wanted to watch a movie. She didn't like the one he wanted to watch, and she said I needed to be a little older for that one.
When I was out of the room, she told Dad that there was too much, "s-e-x" in this movie. She must think I can't hear, also that I can't spell.
I liked my siblings being in school. It was quiet. Nobody running around letting doors slam behind them, no music playing, nobody talking on the phone or in the kitchen invading the fridge. I took advantage of their absence, and checked out the fridge. Ooo salami. Don't mind if I do.
I stood at the fridge with the door open and ate a few slices of salami, and some cheese. After that, I decided to go play with my plants.
"Momma?" I said, walking into the living room. She was on the couch with Dad, reading a magazine as he watched his movie. "Will you come outside with me?"
"Sure," she said. She gave Dad a pat on the leg and stood up. "What did you have in mind for today?" she asked as we headed outside.
"I was thinking of rearranging some stuff," I said.
She brought her magazine and a lawn chair over to the garden, I brought my bag of tools with my name on the side that I'd gotten for Christmas. I don't use very many tools though, I think the plants like it better when I use my hands.
I dug up some orange flowers, and some blue ones, and moved them to a small open space in the garden. I decided to make a star today. I used some blue hydrangeas to make the outline, then inside that I put a layer of orange ones. Blue, orange, blue, orange, then blue in the middle. Once I had all the flowers in the right place, I wanted to play around with their colors. I looked at them and thought about how I wanted them to change, until they did. The outside flowers were the lighter ones, they got brighter moving inward.
They looked very nice. I was pleased with myself.
"Check it out, Mom," I said.
She looked up from her magazine. "That's lovely! I like that one, sweetie," she said. "That's a nice color combination."
"I think so too."
Mom pulled out her cell phone and looked at it. "Oh! School is letting out! I wanted to make a snack for A.J. and your sisters."
"Good, we've gotta be quick though. Vampire quick!"
We ran inside to the kitchen, and got out some cheese and crackers.
"Let's use some pepper jack cheese, too," I suggested. Mollie and Xandra like to eat spicy stuff.
"Excellent idea, go for it," Mom said.
We used cheddar, the pepper jack, muenster, and my favorite, provolone.
Right as I heard the car coming into the driveway, Momma was putting the big tray on the dining room table.
All of the sudden, the house got very loud again. The front door opened, and there were four thumps on the floor. Mom stayed at the dinning room table with me as I started on the crackers and called out.
"Put your back packs in your rooms please, I don't want them all over the hallway!"
There were some groans, then lots of running up the stairs. Anthony was the first one to come into the dining room.
"What's up buddy?" he said, patting me on the back.
He grabbed a handful of crackers with cheese before sitting down. "Thank God, I am starving!" he said, and kissed Mom on the cheek.
Dad came in, then my sisters came to sit at the table too.
"I wanna hear all about it," Dad said.
"Yeah, how was it?" Mom added.
"Lunch sucked," Swan said.
"Do they give you a lot of things to pick from?" I asked.
"Not really," Xandra said, reaching across the table for some more cheese, leaving the crackers alone.
"Is that offer to pack our lunches still open, Mom?" Anthony said. He batted his eyelashes at her. "The most beautiful Mommy in the world."
She laughed. "I suppose it is still open, yes. How about you girls, do you want to bring your lunch, too?"
"Yes!" they all said.
"I'll pack your lunches, but don't complain if it's not what you wanted. Special requests must be submitted in writing, on the fridge, the night before," she said.
"Works for me," Mollie said, pulling out her phone.
"Mollie, put it away," Mom said. No phones, books or laptops are allowed at the dining room table.
"But we aren't having dinner, it's just a snack," she protested.
Dad and Mom looked sideways at each other.
"You heard your Mom," Dad said.
"I just wanna know if Seth can come over tonight," Mollie said.
"Not if you don't put your phone away like Mom asked you to," Dad said.
"Then how am I supposed to tell him if he can come over or not!"
"If you would finish your snack instead of arguing, you'd be done by now," Mom said. "Then you'd be up from the table and allowed to be on your phone!"
Mollie gave both Mom and Dad a really nasty look as she shoved a bunch of crackers in her mouth. She didn't even chew them. She looked more like she just wanted to make a mess, rather then eat them. She got up and stomped away, getting her phone back out of her pocket.
"What a pig," Swan muttered, looking at the mess of crumbs Mollie had left all over the table and the floor.
"Shut your pie hole, Swan," Xandra said loudly. "Leave her alone."
"Everybody just stop!" Mom said. She got up from the table and sighed. Dad followed her out of the room, and nobody said anything else about it.
A/N: Lot's going on here! So, do you think Mollie is really ready? She'll be letting us know soon enough.
I owe a serious thanks to a faithful reviewer who spotted a huge oops I made in the last chapter. Her letting me know soon after it was posted allowed me to fix it before, I hope, a ton of people read the chapter. If you didn't catch it...good! lol ;) So yes, if something major seems wacky I do want to know about it. I know I do sometimes make what I call time line boo boos, sadly by the time they are caught they usually can't be fixed. Honestly, those often aren't worth mentioning.
On the subject of time, if you ever find yourself wondering how much time has passed, you can check by looking at the month at the top of each chapter. That's why it's there. ;)
Those of you who are super smart, may notice that there is a very special event coming up in a few months. AGU time, that is.
Thanks for reading, and for your wonderful reviews that help me keep my shit together, and bring little rays of sunshine into my mostly dull life lol
Til next time, be safe ;)