White halls, white tile floors, pep rally signs, that unrelenting mix of stereotypical groups that are normal even for supernatural schools, and all of The Chicken Soup for The Teenage Soul books my mother has gifted me over the last few weeks as summer break neared its end wasn't enough to prepare me for this.
Years of homeschooling in the comfort of my home was down the drain because of one bullshit test the alpha requested, which landed me in my senior year in this private hell of a high school where my brother and every other ranking member in this pack attends.
My mother has always bragged about how brilliant I am, but I thought it was just something she liked to say because she is my mom. It turns out she was right. The test placed me here, skipping my junior and freshman years entirely.
I sighed as I navigated the crowd winding in and out of broad shoulders and clouds of perfume. The sickeningly sweet scent hung heavy in the back of my throat, making me crunch my nose up, and the sweat in my palms reminded me I had no business here.
242…242… I repeated the locker number over and over as I searched every row I passed. Anger stomped me when the shining numbers caught my eye.
"Hey, Harls. You okay?" My brother asked, ruffling my hair up even worse. I hadn't realized I had been standing there staring at my locker on the top row until he walked up.
"No. I want to go home." I pouted, scuffing my worn Converse on the tile floor.
"Ah, come on. Give it a chance." He said, leaning on the locker and looking down at me.
"Den… I do not belong here. I can't even reach my locker." Tears welled up in my eyes, not really in sadness but anger. I do not want this.
I have been homeschooled for a reason, and even though Alpha Grimm contributes my homeschooling to me being weird, it made me see how full of s**t he really is. He despises me and wants to make me miserable for some reason, and my parents let him because my father is his beta, and my brother is next in line.
I can feel my wolf fighting for dominance, raging a storm against my emotions. She wants to run; I want to hide.
Denny let out a long breath as my eyes darkened.
"Not here, Harls. Get it together until we get home." Den shook my shoulders.
It has to be kept a big secret that my wolf has surfaced. It's odd for a wolf to surface before eighteen; mine appeared six years ago. My parents and Denny are the only ones who know, and I listened when they all said it was best to hide her away. They claimed they knew what was best for me, and who am I to disagree? After all, Alpha Grimm's twin sons, the successors to his throne, won't even have their wolves until eighteen, and my parents know what hell that could mean for me.
He turned to me to face my locker as he opened it. "What do you need?"
I know he is trying to be helpful, which I appreciate, but I will have to change this.
"AP Calc," I grumbled. His eyes burned through me with a mixture of confusion and fear.
"What are you?" he laughed. His joke was light, but it was a valid question with only one answer.
"A f*****g freak," I replied as he handed me the materials for my first class.
"Harley, you are far from a freak. On the contrary, you are brilliant and special, and nothing is wrong with that." He replied, squeezing my shoulder.
I don't know what I would do without him.
"I may not be out of my first period when yours ends, but I can ask Atlas or Axel to help you until we can get your locker changed… or get you a step stool." He chuckled as my heart bottomed out.
"NO!" I said all too quickly. "I can figure it out.
"Do not bother them." I haven't been able to be around the twins for years without my heart racing and my mouth drying out. Not to mention the frenzy they create in my wolf, and I am already struggling with controlling her. They muddle my brain and make my hands shake, and I don't need that on top of everything else.
I turned on Den before he could argue, making my way to my first class. I have studied the layout of this place for weeks and know exactly how to get where I need to be quickly. I took a deep breath at the door, trying to center myself before stepping in, hopefully calming myself and my wolf, who was scratching at my brain, begging for acknowledgment.
I dug my nails into my palms, took a deep breath, and held it until my lungs burned. One… Two… Three. I stepped in. My entire body froze when I saw both twins and only one empty seat beside Axel. f**k!
Atlas was wearing some blonde around his waist, using her mouth like an oxygen tank, and Axel's eyes were burning into me with suspicion.
I shuffled to the back, lightly dropping into the desk that swallowed my four-foot-eight frame.
"I think you may be lost, little bird." Axel whispered, using my childhood nickname.
"I wish." I grumbled, pulling my materials out of my bag, an energy drink and the cleaning cloth for my glasses. His dark chuckle sent a delicious tingle down my spine, making my stomach flip as he settled back in his seat, preparing his things.
I managed to get through the first period without awkward introductions or interruptions. At dismissal, I gathered my things, stopping at the bathroom. A bunch of girls stood there fixing their makeup and gossiping as I entered the stall and peed.
"I think he'll f**k me this weekend." One of them said, giggling.
"I thought you were f*****g that one guy who offered to get you a nose job?" the other asked curiously. Her question set off the blonde.
"SHH!" her agitation was evident.