It was another fortnight before Ylva saw Franklin again. She was in her human form and had gone into town with a couple of friends. She caught sight of him out of the corner of her eye and did a double take. He was on his own walking through the town square.
He looked utterly gorgeous. His dark hair hung untidily in his eyes and he kept pushing it back whilst he chatted on his mobile phone to someone. He was laughing about something and her heart skipped a beat as she watched him.
He disappeared into the book shop.
“I really need some new books for school next term.” She quickly improvised. “I’ll catch up with you guys.” She shot off, leaving her bewildered mates behind.
“We’ll be in the Queens Centre in the food hall.” Her best friend, Orianna, called after her.
Ylva waved her hand in acknowledgement and carried on.
She arrived at the book store a little out of breath and fleetingly wondering just what the hell she was thinking of.
She spotted him over by the autobiographies.
Taking a deep breath, she tried to sound as though she was completely surprised to see him. “Franklin?” She asked.
He whirled around and his eyes settled on her. He looked surprised to see her, but then the smile that broke out over his face was unmistakably one of pure delight.
“Ylva!” he exclaimed. “Hi – where did you come from?” he looked behind her, clearly wondering if she was alone or with other members of the Pack.
“I’m in town with a couple of girlfriends from college.” She explained hurriedly.
“College?” Franklin’s smile faded a little. “Oh, I thought…how old are you then?”
“I’m seventeen.” She said. Her smile faltering a little as it registered with her the reason he was asking. “Why, how old are you?”
“I’m sixteen – I’m in my last year at school though.” He reddened.
“Oh.” She tried not to sound disappointed. “You look older.” She smiled up at him.
Franklin grinned. “Thanks – is it alright to say that you look younger?”
She grinned at him. “Sure.”
“Have you got to run, or can I buy you a coffee?”
“Coffee would be fantastic – there’s a cafe on the third floor.”
“Cool – let’s go.” Franklin put his hand out automatically. Ylva looked at his offered hand for a split second before she took a deep breath and thought, what the hell? She grabbed his hand in hers and grinned up at him. This was turning out to be the best day...
“So what are you studying at college?” Franklin asked as he passed her a cappuccino.
“Oh, thanks.” She took the cup and smiled. “Um, Psychology, Sociology and Politics.”
Franklin looked at her impressed. “Wow – are you planning on University too then?”
She nodded. “Yeah – I’m not sure where yet – the pack elders don’t like us to go far – for obvious reasons – we can be a danger to ourselves in strange places.”
Franklin nodded. “Yeah, I guess.” He murmured looking at her.
“What?” Ylva asked.
Franklin shook his head. “Sorry – I’m just really curious as to what it’s like growing up where everyone is a werewolf.”
“Not everyone is.” She said. “There are some half-breeds amongst us.”
“Really?” Franklin frowned, that didn’t sound quite right – his mother was convinced that humans were about as welcome as a plague of rats... “How’s that then?”
Ylva shrugged. “People don’t always fall for someone in the same village as them, do they? I mean – you wouldn’t necessarily expect to marry someone you go to school with – it’s the same in Bernside. Sometimes ordinary people fall in love with the werewolves and their offspring don’t always carry the gene.”
“Yeah, that makes perfect sense – it was just something my mother said.” He frowned.
“Your mother,” Ylva faltered slightly but then taking a deep breath she continued, “Franklin, can I aske you something?”
“Is her name Stella?”
Franklin raised an eyebrow. “Yeah it is – why?”
“She ran off with a human that she had been forbidden to pursue.”
“Yeah, I did know that – she told me that much at least – and she also said she was not welcome to return – she might have also mentioned to me that I should stay away from you.” He gave her a crooked grin.
Ylva sighed. “Yup, I was told to stay away from you too.” She grinned at him ruefully. “We’re not doing so very well on that are we?”
Franklin grinned back, taking a sip of his drink. “Guess not.”
“So, have you got a girlfriend?” Ylva could have cut her own tongue out of mouth for that question – where the hell did that come from?
Franklin turned red again. “Um, actually yeah I do – her name’s Janey.”
“Janey? That’s a nice name – have you been seeing her for long?” There I go again – somebody stop me!
“A few months – yeah.” He was beginning to look uncomfortable.
“I’m sorry – I have a terrible knack for asking inappropriate questions!” Ylva smiled at him.
“Nah, it’s okay. Janey’s great. She’s really pretty and smart and everything.”
“But?” She held her breath – please tell me there’s a but. She thought.
Franklin looked confused. “There isn’t a ‘but’.” He said looking completely nonplussed.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Ylva looked heartily embarrassed.
“Don’t be. I’m not being a good boyfriend. I keep thinking about someone else.” He swirled the remains of his frothy milk around in his cup as he spoke, his eyes averted from hers.
When he finally looked up at her, Ylva’s heart skipped a beat. He was most definitely interested in her and she just knew that it was she he was talking about.
“Is she a werewolf?” Ylva asked.
“Who – my girlfriend or the girl I can’t stop thinking about?” He went very red.
“Your girlfriend.” Breathed Ylva, leaning closer towards him across the table.
“No, she’s a psychic witch.”
“Oh dear God.” Ylva slumped back in her seat and felt the colour drain from her face. “I really shouldn’t be interfering. I’d better go.”
She stood up.
Franklin looked up at her, his face a picture of complete and utter confusion. “What are you on about?”
“I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t even be talking to you, never mind running out on my mates just to be with you. We’re not supposed to be hanging out together.”
“Why not?” Franklin asked, looking completely bewildered, “– what’s so wrong in it?”
Ylva swallowed uncomfortably. “I really like you Franklin – and not only because you rescued me. I really like you anyway. I have done for a while. But we really should stay away from each other though if our families aren’t comfortable.”
Franklin nodded, looking completely miserable about the whole thing. “I guess.” He mumbled.
Ylva got up and gazed at him for a moment as a feeling of utter disappointment flooded through her knowing that she had to leave. Feeling as confused and upset as Frank also seemed to be, she left the cafe, deciding that she needed someone to talk to that was older, wiser and more importantly, usually on her side no matter what...
Janey was sitting in her bedroom trying her best to keep her mind on her Science homework. It was only revision, so she wasn’t concentrating particularly well and found her mind wandering into Franklin’s.
He hadn’t wanted to come around this morning, saying he had some shopping to do in town.
With it being the Christmas holidays the week after next, she didn’t want to pry into his thoughts for fear of finding out what he was buying her for Christmas, but she was so paranoid about him and that girl from the woods, she simply couldn’t help it.
She let her mind drift and suddenly she was hearing a conversation that she really had no business listening to at all...
“So, have you got a girlfriend?”
Janey waited, holding her breath for the answer.
“Um, actually yeah I do – her name’s Janey.” He sounded cagey. Janey frowned. Now why would he sound like that?
“Janey? That’s a nice name – have you been seeing her for long?”
She’s a bit nosey isn’t she? Janey bristled.
“A few months – yeah.”
Janey grimaced at his answer, but at least he wasn’t denying having a girlfriend, that was something at least...
“I’m sorry – I have a terrible knack for asking inappropriate questions!”
Damn right you do!
“Nah, it’s okay. Janey’s great. She’s really pretty and smart and everything.”
Janey allowed herself a small smile at that.
Janey’s jaw dropped. What a cheek! What does she mean ‘But’?
“There isn’t a ‘but’.”
Janey heaved a sigh of relief. He really sounded confused by her questions – and who wouldn’t – she’s trying to put words in his mouth!
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
And so you should be! Though Janey. His reply however had her feeling completely deflated.
“Don’t be. I’m not being a good boyfriend. I keep thinking about someone else.”
She tuned out of his mind. Her heart was beating fast in her chest and she had gone hot all over. He kept thinking about her.
Janey felt her eyes growing hot with tears. She knew he was interested in Ylva in the same way that he used to be interested in her. She was losing him. She knew it. She just didn’t know quite what to do about it.
She decided to do what she always did when she needed to clear her head. She went down the stairs and got the dog ready for a long walk...