American Werewolves by Melissa Pederson - HTML preview
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“I heard there’s going to be two werewolves at school this semester,” Carmen says, turning on the blinker to turn into the school parking lot.
I shrug, fixing my hair in the mirror. “They’ve probably been at school with us since kindergarten. Its only this year that werewolves have to register with the CFSS.” The Committee for the Safety of Students. I’ve never really given it much thought, mostly because I’ve never known a supernatural being personally. I don’t plan on it either.
Carmen turns quickly right in front of another car, which stops on it’s breaks and honks. “I was here first, idiot!” she yells through my window, her silver hoop earrings swaying as she shakes her head.
“Can’t you be a little more careful when you drive?”
Carmen just looks at me. “Nope.”
She pulls the Tempo into an empty parking spot near the front, where kids and teachers are already buzzing around the doors. “Hopefully some freshman didn’t steal our table.” She grabs her backpack, her dark eyes scanning the area.
“We had it last semester, didn’t we? Plus, we stole it when we were freshmen,” I laugh, slamming the door.
“That’s not the point. Come on, I see Adam and Deon.”
We head over to the fountain where Adam and Deon are, sitting with a guy I’ve never seen before. He has blue highlights in his black hair and he’s wearing an ACDC t-shirt over a white long sleeve tee. He looks like he really doesn’t want to be here.
“Hey guys,” Adam says, shifting his black baseball cap on his head. His brown hair flips out from under it, which I think is kinda cute. “This is Anker. He’s new this year,” he nods at the blue/black haired guy, “And Anker, this is Carmen and Tess,” he looks at me with his crooked smile.
“What grade are you in?” Carmen asks immediately; she made it clear back in June that she wasn’t gonna be “frolicking” with any freshmen her senior year.
“Junior,” Anker says, not looking at her. Yep, he was angry. Carmen nods just as the first bell rings. Anker gets up and walks away without a word.
“What’s his problem?” I ask Adam, waving goodbye to Carmen.
Adam shrugs and holds the door open for me. “I think he’s mad because he had to switch schools. What do you have first?” he pulls a crumpled piece of paper out of his jeans pocket.
I look down at my schedule and scowl. “AP Biology.”
“ I have painting 1. Wanna trade? I can’t paint shit.”
And I can? “No. I gotta go up to C hall so I’ll see you at lunch. We can see if we can guess who the werewolves are,” I joke, but I see something flash across his blue eyes that I can’t put my finger on. He looks so tanned. I’m almost jealous.
“Yeah, sure. See you later,” he says quickly, distracted. He disappears into the crowd, leaving me staring after him.
I went through the day like I was in a daze, occasionally seeing Adam or Carmen in the hall and trying to keep up with all the AP classes my step-dad signed me up for. I’m going to punch him the day I graduate. Just four and half months to go.
I stop at my locker, waiting until the last minute to enter McAllister’s classroom. My brother Ben caused a lot of trouble in his class so I’m pretty sure he’ll hate me. Hope won’t change anything but I still hope anyway.
I jump, nearly dropping my math book on my foot. “Deon, you scared me,” I accuse when I see Deons’ familiar honey brown hair sticking out of his hood.
“Sorry. Just thought I’d say hi,” he pretends to be offended. Me, Deon, Adam and Carmen have been friends since we all got put at the same table in Mrs. Hadley’s 3rd grade class. I still haven’t figured him out.
I straighten, “Hi.”
A group of people walk by and Deon steps out of the way, leaning against the lockers. I’ve always wondered what people think of him, having never taking his hood off and all.
I slam my locker. “You have history next?”
He frowns. “Yeah. With McAllister. So does Adam and Carmen.”
My day just got a whole lot better.
We enter the classroom right when the bell rings and sit at the back table by Adam and Carmen. Adam raises his eyebrows at me but doesn’t say anything.
“Tess! You’ll never believe what happened…” Carmen babbles on but I space her out without meaning to. Anker just entered the classroom, and the moment his eyes lock on mine I feel cold all over. He looks away after a moment and hands a late pass to the bald man whom I’m sure is McAllister. The cold dissipates as soon as he looks away.
“He’s got all the same classes as me,” Adam mutters with discontent. He sees me looking at me and tightens his jaw. I think he didn’t want anyone to hear him.
Anker sits down at our table. And just by observing I see Deon throw Adam a warning look and Adam nods. I start to wonder if they know something about Anker when McAllister speaks, his voice louder than it should be. Carmen gives me the evil eye for not paying attention to her and looks at McAllister. I forget what I was wondering.
“Welcome to second semester AP World History. I’m Mr. McAllister. First off, I need to do a seating chart-” there was a chorus of boos from everyone in the class, including Carmen, “Now, not an assigned seating chart. I just want you to tell me your names so I can write them on a chart. No need to freak out.” He smiles, and I realize he’s younger than I thought he was. Maybe like 30? I should ask Ben.
He starts going to tables, writing on a sheet of paper.
“Didn’t Ben have him?” Carmen brushes her fingers through her dark curly hair.
I nod. “For world history his sophomore year.”
“Your brother is crazy. He was probably McAllister’s least favorite student, right?” Adam asks, leaning back on two legs of his chair. I’d like to know how he does it.
“By far the least favorite. He-” I was about to tell a story of something Ben did in his class but McAllister appeared at our table.
“Names?” he asks, pen ready to write. He looks at each of us.
“Tess…McKay.” I hesitate on my last name. McAllister grimaces but doesn’t say anything. He looks at Anker who looks back at him with a burning stare.
“Anker Creed,” he says coolly. McAllister writes his name down and goes to the next table.
“Interesting name,” I say to him, just trying to be nice and start a conversation.
He glances at me. “Really? I thought it was too,” he sneers.
Adam throws him a look and Anker sighs heavily, “It’s Danish,” he says, trying to hold back some insult that was probably about to come out of his mouth. “You know, like the doughnut.” He starts tapping his pencil against his denim clad knee rapidly.
“So you’re named after a doughnut?” Carmen leans across the table to look at him, her charm bracelet clanking against the wooden table top.
He cocks a brow at her and looks away.
Adam and Deon are staring at each other, some unknown words flowing between them. They’ve done that more in the last couple years.
McAllister starts talking at the front of the class but none of us are really listening, except for maybe Adam who we rely on to tell us what’s going on his class.
Carmen catches my eye and sneaks me a little piece of paper. I smile an unfold it.
Is it just me, or is something weird going on between the 3 of them? I’m getting the oddest feeling.
I look up at her but she’s busy drawing on the front of her blue binder. I take a pen out the side pocket of my backpack and write back.
It’s me too. Text later??
I throw the note at her and she reads it. She nods.
Some kid wearing a Mario tee sets five papers on the table and goes to the next. I think his name is Matt.
McAllister opens the blinds and sunlight streams in through the high arched windows that this part of the school has. It’s the older part of Benson High School where all the old windows are and all the old, smelly lockers that squeak when you open them. I blink in the sudden brightness and somebody turns off the lights.
Deon is the first to grab a paper. “Make a mini poster on any major event in history. Must have color, a picture, a summary, and works cited. Due tomorrow. It’s a partner assignment,” he explains.
“Excellent,” Adam takes a paper. “Wanna work together?” he looks up at me, practically pleading with his crystal blue eyes.
I take a paper also. “Sure.”
“My place or your place?” he asks, and Anker narrows his eyes at him. I think maybe he’s a little different.
“Your place. Both my mom and Dwayne will be home tonight. You won’t want to be there. I don’t want to be there.”
Adam nods, understanding. That’s one of the things I love about him. He’s so understanding and never really makes me explain anything. He minds my business. And I try to mind his. Not as much though, unfortunately. I’m too curious.
“I’ll text you when you can come over. I got some…stuff to take care of after school,” he says the last part looking at Anker. He doesn’t know I see him.
“Yeah, you do,” Anker says, glancing at Deon then back at Adam.
“Ok,” I agree reluctantly, wondering what Dwayne, my step-dad, was gonna accuse me of today when I got home.
Anker doesn’t speak for the rest of period.