Elian finished his shift up at eight just like he did on every single Friday night. Only this time he had nothing to do afterward. His classes on dreams were done and he had no homework. It was summer but he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to the park or anything like that. Rae was busy doing her closing up procedures for the front door. The front door was locked and bolted with a sign hung on it telling people to please come in the back door. There were a few students from the high school were working on papers. Rockland Community College was opening up for classes in the fall. The class list was already up and Elian had been looking at the list of classes but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to take any of the classes.
Rae was on the computer looking at building plans. Elian stopped and saw that it was actually plans for the library. The plans were showing an expanding of the library actual into the old school board building next door. He hadn’t heard a thing about the library expanding. Rae zoomed out on the plans and Elian saw that it was plans for the entire college. He knew that the college coming into Belpre was a boon for the small town. The land that the college was on land that had come available after the Celebration Center had burned down several years before. After the fire the church had moved to the other side of highway.
“What are you working on?”
“Plans for the renovations of the building next door are getting ready to happen and Jess wanted me to look over what they planned to do with the library proper. I’m sure you’ve heard that the public library will be stay here and the college library will move next door when it’s finished.”
“Of course. And until that time your position will be paid by the college.”
“The Board that is handling the forming of the college wants my input in the building of the library and Jess wants me to make sure that they are not fucking up this library.”
“Why do they care about your opinion so much?”
“I have an MLS and a degree in architecture. I want to someday when I get older, I want to design libraries.” Rae opened up another file and showed him what the plans were for the outside of the RCC library as well as the connection between the two buildings. The connector was going to go at the front of each of the libraries and everything behind it that was now going to be dead space was going to be converted into an outdoor sitting area with tables. The two parking lots would be connected together as well as connected to the parking area for the college. The apartment area that was behind the college proper had been turned into more up to date apartments and were leased yearly. Once any students who were moving to the area were given a chance to lease one, then it was opened to the general population for rent. There were a few that were held empty for professors and visiting lecturers.
“It all looks so beautiful. You did really well with it all. How was it not a conflict of interest?”
“How do you mean?” Rae spun in her chair and looked at him. Her head was cocked to the side and she was looking at him blankly. Elian’s thoughts froze. He wasn’t sure what she didn’t understand.
“With you working at the library, isn’t it a conflict of interest with you designing the building since you work here?” It sounded like it would be a very large conflict of interest.
“No. I was hired in for this job to be this way. I’ve been doing my hours here and then just as many getting the library for the school set up. I have so many books in boxes in storage that will be in a room inside the school when the school opens. It will be a makeshift library until this one gets finished. We are going to try and get it done before halfway through the first semester.”
“So you are not fully employed here at all?”
“Not really. Jess knew that in the beginning. It’s why when the library was getting close to getting started, you were hired. I was always going to take over the college library. The night shift that is. I’ve always liked staying up at night. The school library will be open nearly twenty four hours a day due to the amount of interest in night classes we have had. That’s going to be mainly for the computers. Once the college library is open, this library will be going back to normal times.”
“It’s going to help save a lot of money for both places. The daily cargo for both public libraries and college libraries is the same. The libraries are going to split the delivery costs. Also the college will foot a new higher speed Internet for the library.” Rae turned when the back door opened a man and woman entered. Elian sighed and gave her a smile before he went into the back room. He knew when to retreat and he didn’t want to deal with the Jones’ that night and since he was off work, he didn’t have to. Elian didn’t want to go home so he propped his legs up on the cargo table and pulled his computer from the bag on the floor. Turning the computer on, Elian started to do some looking into the classes on the RCC site. He was interested in taking some of the computer classes that were available. He had already enrolled for the school year just in case he wanted to actually take the classes.
It was several hours later when the battery on his computer was dying that he looked up and saw there were actually people inside of the library. It was near close and Rae was shutting everything down for the night. The computers were shut down at thirty minutes before close. Since the library was closed the next day, the computers were always shut down to get a break for a day. She did a walk around to make sure that there wasn’t anything out of place or messed up inside of the library. It was rare that anyone actually messed with the books to mess with them but it did happen. Elian had spent nearly half an hour cleaning up the young adult books one night before close.
Putting up his things, Elian got the backroom ready to close it down for the rest of the weekend. Rae rarely ever brought anything with her inside the library that wasn’t college library things that she kept a folder that seemed to live in her hand. She must have already done the walk around to make sure that no patrons were hiding in the stacks to
“Do you not what to go home?” Rae asked as she looked around the library one last time before she moved to set the alarm. It was a habit of Rae’s to constantly look round when she was leaving to make sure that she wasn’t forgetting a thing. Her eyes would rove over the patron copier to make sure it was shut off. Next was the chandelier then the foyer lights. Last were the cash register and all three staff computers. Elian moved to the shut door that led out and waited for her to turn on the alarm. Just as the first squawk happened, Elian opened the door and waited for Rae to step up. As he shut the door, Rae turned off all the light except for the ones used to see into the library at night. Elian had always thought it odd that lights were left on but Jess had told him that it was used so that the cops could drive by and see inside to make sure that no one was inside. Elian figured it was left over from before the library had an alarm.
“No. I’m just restless I guess. I’ve not been able to sit at home for long periods of time right now.”
“We can go to Hardees’s. Get food and sit on the deck and eat.” She leaned towards him with her eyes glowing. Elian thought about it for a few seconds. He was hungry and eating out with Rae was better than eating alone. He gave a small nod and Rae acted like she wanted to reach out and touch him. He thought that odd. Rae never touched anyone. She tried her hardest to make sure she never touched patrons when she was taking their card from them or handing their items to them. Watching the war on her face, Elian decided to put her out of her misery. He turned to head out the final door, pulling his keys from his pocket as he did. Rae stepped out just behind him and moved back to let him shut and dead bolt the door.
“Want to walk?” Elian asked. He hadn’t brought his car and looking out the staff parking, he saw that she hadn’t as well. “I guess we kind of have to.”
“Yes. I had a friend drop me off. I planned on staying a while and working on things but changed my mind because I am so hungry.” Rae started walking and Elian took a few longer steps to catch up to her.
“How are you going to get home?”
“I live not far from the library.”
“Me, too.” Silence followed Elian’s statement. He felt a shifting under his skin and choose not to point out his house when they passed it several minutes later. He felt there was something there that was stopping him from telling her his address. Jess knew where he lived but no one else did. He hadn’t even told his parents his address. He was slightly shocked at that. It hadn’t dawned on him that he was being so secret about it. He wasn’t actively trying to keep it a secret but there is was a secret still.
The two ordered food at the drive through, even though they didn’t have a car. The inside closed down at eleven and opened back up around five a.m. The lady at the window smiled at Rae and didn’t even give them an odd look for walking up to the window instead of driving.
“So I’ve heard you talking about thinking about taking a few classes at RCC?” Rae asked as she leaned against the to-go window. Elian copied the same pose and sighed.
“I have been. There are some things with computers that I never got to take classes on at college due to my actual degrees. RCC is offering some of them with the incentive of adding more as the school develops.”
“I’ve not been that interested in going back to college at all. You seem like you like to learn though and that is nice.”
Elian wasn’t sure what to say to that.
Elian rubbed at his nose and looked around. There was a smell in the air that he had never quite smelled before. It was almost like sugar, burnt sugar. He was a little worried that the smell seemed to be following him that was odd. He thought at first it had been Bath & Body Works. He was now on the far side of the mall opposite the store. He’d gone shopping for new running shoes and was picking up some new running shorts as well. He had a huge closet in the master bedroom and he found that he didn’t have enough clothes to even fill half the closet. He was slowly getting more clothes. He had enough work clothes now to work two weeks without having to wear the same outfit. He wanted to get more but it would come slowly over time. He had summer clothes; next up was fall and then winter then spring.
He had been inside of the clothing stores and bought all the clothes he was letting himself buy. He was now moving to an entire store made for kitchen equipment. There were a few things he was finding that he was missing to cook some of the dishes that he wanted to cook. He rounded the corner to start heading up an isle when he saw her. She looked to be around five and a half feet with a pair of legs that seemed to go on forever. Her hair was short and nearly white blonde. It was tussled so that it looked like she didn’t care but Elian could tell that it was supposed to look that way and it had probably taken way too much time to get it to look like that. She was dressed in a flowing shirt and a short skirt. The air conditioning kicked on and the smell of burnt sugar wafted over his face. He inhaled and started to move to her.
“Hi,” Elian said as he stopped at a respectable distance. She turned and gave him a small smile. She turned away and then about three seconds later turned back to him.
“My name is Elian.”
“Marie.” She turned fully towards him and held out her hand. Elian took the hand and instead of shaking it, he leaned over and brought the hand to his mouth. He placed a kiss on the back of the hand and then looked up into her eyes. Her whole face was lit up. Elian let go of her hand gently and took a step back to give her distance. “You are a very fancy man.”
“Thank you.” Elian felt like his heart was ready to explode, it was beating so hard. He couldn’t breathe. She was the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen. She had only a little bit of makeup on and for her it worked so well. Elian hated girls who wore too much makeup. It masked their own beauty too much. Marie enhanced her beauty just perfectly. “Would you be willing to join me for dinner?”
“I would love to join you. I just need to make my purchases.” Marie turned from him and Elian followed her up to the register and waited for her to buy her things before he bought his own. She waited for him right beside the register and when he turned, he took her small bag to carry it for her. They exited the mall and while Elian was parked near the entrance. Marie pointed to a distance far from the door.
“Where do you want to eat?” Elian asked.
“I really like Olive Garden but I like the steak places in town as well.”
“Texas Roadhouse is way too loud. I want to be able to talk. It’s been a while since I have eaten Olive Garden. I’d be fine there.”
“I’ll meet you there.” Marie leaned over and kissed his cheek before she started to move off to her car, grabbing her bag from his as she went.
Elian arrived first and got seated because it seemed like it was right before the busy time. Elian ordered a glass of water and waited for his date. After a few minutes a hostess showed Marie to the table. Elian stood as she moved to sit. He knew the mechanics of a date. He had seen enough of his schoolmates out on them during high school and college. This was the first time that he ever really wanted to go on a date with anyone.
“I tried to hurry so that you wouldn’t have to wait long and decide to take a runner.”
“Never,” Elian said with a laugh. Marie gave him a smile and reached across the table to hold hands with him. As her hand moved, the smell of her lotion or perfume wafted up to his nose. It was the smell of burnt sugar. He wondered why she wore such and odd smell but when he looked up into her eyes, he lost all train of thought.
“I feel so strange. I feel a connection to you. We only just me but I feel like I have known you for years. I feel like I am walking on air.”
“I know what you mean. I feel like my heart is going to burst, it’s beating so hard.”
Marie shifted in her seat so that she was leaning back. Her hand pulled back from Elian’s and he felt like a light had gone out a little. His stomach felt empty but not like he was hungry but like there was just nothing in that area of his body. He felt his hand reach out on its own to try and grab her hand back. Marie tossed her hair and crossed her arms across her chest. Her eyes were locked on the table where Elian’s hand was. Elian jerked his hand back into his lap and grabbed his water with his other hand to take a drink. He wasn’t sure what the look on her face was but he wanted to make sure it was never there again.
“So what do you do?” Marie asked.
Before Elian could answer, the waitress arrived and Marie gave her drink and her food order to her. Elian ordered the Mixed Grill entrée. He knew that he liked it and he found that he wasn’t that hungry all of a sudden. He took another sip of the water before he looked up at Marie. “I am a librarian at the Belpre Library. What about you?”
“I actually am a teacher at Parkersburg High School.”
“Teacher?” Elian asked and Marie nodded. Elian liked the sound of that. He leaned back like Marie was in her chair and tried to adopt a relaxed pose. He wasn’t sure what was making him act spazzy but he wanted to stop it. He didn’t want to scare Marie off. He didn’t know what was so special about her but he wanted to stay around her for a very long time. She was special to him and that was enough.
The rest of the date flew by in a rush with Elian doing whatever he could to make Marie laugh and smile. He loved the sound of her laugh and found that she was even more beautiful when she was doing it.
Elian arrived at home after his first date with Marie. He had enjoyed the meal and the conversation with her. He had never had a girlfriend before but he was sure that the date had gone well. As he entered the house he found that he had left a light on in the living room. The journal that he usually took so much care in hiding was sitting on the end table by his chair. He picked it up and sat down to read another entry. He was enjoying reading it a section at a time. With the time jumps between entries, it made the reading more realistic.
Dmitry became the solace for all of my wounds. Fights with my parents, fights with others of my kind. Bad days with news of the deaths of friends. The world was changing around me and I wasn’t sure that I liked the changes. Humans were spreading around the world more and more and our lands were shrinking. It was harder to keep the crazies from the rest of the humans. I know that there is coming a time in the future where humans as a whole will know of us. There will be a time where we will no longer be able to hide.
The Darkan heir was the greatest friend that I had and we would forever be twined together. We aged at different paces. He aged quickly where I was slow. There was still a kindred feeling that we share. I find my life happier with him in it than without him in it. His first changed happened when he was twenty-two. His father decided it was time. It was then I caught up to him. He stayed at twenty two where I aged. I stopped visibly aging looking like I was twenty four years old. It was a nice age.
There was a shadow forming on our friendship, no matter how hard I tried to fix things. The werewolves are getting restless and worried that Dmitry was never going to find a mate. I am not ready to settle down at all and he wanted me to settle for him. His father paraded eligible females human and wolf alike in front of him but none caught his eye.
I know that wolves and vampires have wed before but it’s not been done in several hundred years. Even with the longevity of the wolves, many still don’t live past five hundred. Their fighting ways get the best of them in the end.
Dmitry’s father is getting worried for him. There is something that is driving him to do things that no one understands. The more I am around him the more I am getting worried as well. There is something coming and I don’t know if the Ancients can survive it.
Elian closed the book and moved to the upper floor, shutting off all the lights as he did so. He needed a good night’s sleep for work the next day. He had a lot of shifting shelves to do and he needed to make sure he slept well enough. He had another date with Marie set for Thursday. He wanted it to go wonderfully. He wanted to be with her for the rest of his life and he was going to do whatever was needed to make sure that happened.
When I go to the mall to try and pick up some new clothes near close, I am expecting the smell of the humans, it was not all that I smelled though. I have tried to find the young unchanged wolf and I have failed. I have never failed at anything before. I always try and finish my shopping quickly. I hate the people who shop at the mall. If it wasn’t for the small kitschy store dead center in the mall, I would never enter the mall. The shop carries all the clothes that I love to wear.
I’ve exited the store when the smell of humans assailed my nose and I almost missed the smell of water and crushed leaves. I stop and start to look around but there is no one that catches my eye. I inhale again and a new smell triggers memories I long wish that I could suppress. I hate how I acted in my wild youth. It needed to be done but that time in my life is over. The smell of rotten milk and earth enters my nose and I have to fight the urge to crouch and hiss at the people around me to scare them away so I can hunt. I have to curb that impulse so that I don’t scare the humans around me.
The trace of the smell leads out of the mall and into a now empty parking spot. I trace the smell of the wolf to the same ending. I have been searching for over two hundred years for the people who committed the atrocities on the Ancient families. The family line was thought to have been wiped out years before but it seems that someone along the way survived and is trying to finish what they started years before.
The horrible wolves think that they will be able to kill the young wolf with no problem but I have news for them. There are things in the world that the wolves will not be ready for. The wolves were never ready for Raven Shadow all those years ago and they will not be ready for her again. If they haven’t picked up on me by now, they never will. I would have been attacked by now to take care of me if they knew I was here.
When I arrived at my house, I noticed something in the smell. I closed my eyes and recalled the smell. Underneath the smell of rotten milk, there was the smell of sugar. I knew their plan.