• -1-

    Sitting in a dark room, lit only by a single candle, Andrian waited for his orders from the elite guard. He wasn't a new recruit nor was he a high ranked hunter but even so he was often given orders. The orders were given wordlessly as he rose from his wooden stool to leave. The looks he received from others made him think that he was doing something different from what he would normally do and he shrugged the stares off as the wonder of the new recruits.

    Andrian had to return to the mortal realm now, he hadn't been there since he had failed to complete an order given to him by the lord. He had given his reasons for not doing what was needed, but the lord would have no part in it.


    The mortal world had gone on much the same way without him, however, there were a few subtle changes. Society itself being one. Apparently school was a big must and even girls were aloud to attend with equal rights to the men. Andrian sighed heavily as he reviewed his orders in his head while he cursed the relevance that school had to his particular orders.

    Apparently he'd have to play the role of student at a small high school. It was unclear as to how long he'd be there exactly, however, that wasn't the issue. The issue was being there at all. He had no desire to submerse himself in the society of mortals, and much less teenage mortals.

    “Hey! Move it, man!” a boy shouted behind him as he shoved pass him. “Don't block the whole damn hallway!” the boy called over his shoulder.

    Andrian rolled his eyes at the remark and cursed his ill fated luck. Was this not the job for a recruit who was trying to prove himself? Certainly it was not a job for him, however, regardless he was now stuck here and he had to carry out the orders he'd been given.

    “Excuse me.” a soft female voice said from behind him, and he turned to look at the girl who'd spoken. She was a small girl with auburn tresses, dark eyes, a round face, and an air of dignity about her. He had no doubt that despite her politeness this very girl could be very mean if the need arose.

    “I'm sorry.” he murmured as he moved aside to allow her to go by.

    “Thank you.” she said and flashed him one of the most beautiful smiles he'd ever seen.

    After a short moment Andrian looked at the paper that the mortal woman had given him. He stared at the class he was to go to and wondered what “Chemistry” was. Whatever it was he needed to go to in first and headed down the hallway. Quickly finding the room he walked in and tried to hide himself in the back.

    “Hello,” it was the girl that had spoken to him in the hallway. “Welcome to the school.”

    “Oh...Thanks,” he replied looking back at the front of the class.

    Mortals and their words, Andrian wasn't used to speaking so much but he guessed that he would need to get used to it since mortals couldn't speak the way he could. He had his orders and until he found his target he would need to act as mortal as he needed to.

    Francois shook her head lightly after the new kid spoke. He seemed like the tough, quiet, serious type. A type that wasn't often seen in the halls of this school and honestly she found it quite refreshing. Although she wished he'd have spoke more so they could have had a conversation.

    “Francois!” the teacher called, pointing in her direction. “Did you remember to bring in your report?”

    “Ah...No.” Francois said, flashing the teacher a smile. “I haven't had time yet with all thats going on at home.” she said as she looked down at her desk.

    The teacher didn't seem too pleased with her answer but he didn't make a big deal of it. “If you could please get it to me before the end of the week. Grades are due then and the report counts as you midterm.”

    “Yes, Mr. Hughs...” Francois said sullenly. She really didn't want to do the report so she was milking the whole home situation. She knew it was a bit risky but Mr. Hughs was an easy target. He was a pervert. Really all she had to do was smile at him and he'd do anything she'd asked . Still though she didn't want to take any serious risk. Some day a smile just might not be enough, so she was saving them.

    Andrian looked at the girl next to him, her name was as interesting as her smile had been. The teacher looked at him as he stared at Francois, a slight annoyance seemed to be rising from him.

    “Andrian! I know you are new but kindly pay attention to the class. There will be plenty of time to stare at the pretty girls in the school later,” Mr. Hughs had made his way to the back of the class where the two were sitting.

    Francois was looking back at Andrian with a slight blush on her face. Taking his gaze from her, Andrian looked up at the teacher and sighed.

    “You should pay more attention to the other corner,” as he spoke he pointed to the group of guys in the opposite corner chatting and seeming to make deals of some kind. When the teacher noticed that he immediately went to them leaving the two alone.

    “That corner of the room?” Andrian repeated to himself as the teacher walked away. He didn't see the big deal of him sitting over here, and besides Francois was the only student he'd remembered.

    “All the boys sit on that side of the room and the girls on this side.” Francois said as she nodded in the direction of the boys whom were being reprimanded for gambling. “It's been that way for a long time. Or at least as long as I've been here.”

    “How long have you been here?” Andrian asked as he turned his attention back to her.

    “Since the end of my freshmen year. We moved here from Massachusetts.” she said with a small shrug. “It's a little strange seeing as how the history here in the south from what is different from what I'd learned up north.”

    “How so?”

    “Well the civil war is taught differently here. I wasn't alive during the civil war so I can't say who is truly accurate, however, I have read journals and other historical articles so I'm sure the north won.”

    “I see.” Andrian said not quite listening to what she was saying but watching her. Her mannerisms were much different from what he was accustomed to and he found her fascinating.

    “You all right?” Francois asked as she waved a hand in front of his face.

    Andrian blinked his eyes twice, lazily and smiled at her. “I'm sorry but did you say something?”

    “After the whole history thing, no. But you were staring at me...” She said as a soft pink blush crept into her cheeks.

    “I'll sit where I want anyway,” he said relaxing in the chair and watching the teacher return to his lecture. Francois was more interesting than this Chemistry stuff but he didn't want Mr. Hughs coming back.

    “I would like a seat by a window, but the boys get the window side,” she pouted slightly wishing she was brave enough to take on of those seats. Andrian didn't know what was so special about those seats, most of the guys on that side seemed to be sleeping.

    The class went on with the two just watching the teacher talk and write on the board, Andrian didn't take any notes he didn't need to. Once the bell rang, Francois looked at Andrian, he was confused but looked at her.

    “What class do you have next?” She asked with a sweet smile on her face.

    “Oh....” he said looking at his paper, and Francois snatched it up, giggling lightly.

    “We have almost all the same classes,” she said as she took out hers and pointed at the ones that were different. “See, just Math, History, and English are different.”

    He was slightly confused by the way that she had reacted to his having classes with her and took his paper back. “Then we have Gym now.”

    “Yeah...” Francois said as she folded up her schedule and put it into her binder. “My favorite period of the day,” she continued sarcastically as the bell rang and she slipped out of her chair.

    “So you don't like this class?” Andrian said becoming slightly confused by her tone.

    “Don't like would be an understatement. More like loath.” Francois said, elaborating her feelings on gym. “You'll see soon enough why I hate gym.”

    “Okay....”Andrian said as he got up and followed her out the door, down the hall and to the gym. The room was large and spacious with six hoops distributed throughout it, and strange lines drawn on the waxed wood floor. “So this is the gym...”

    “Yeah, nifty isn't it?” Francois said, rolling her eyes. “See you soon I need to change.” she said as she ran off to his right toward another door to change.

    Andrian watched her go perplexed and at a loss for what he was supposed to do. He looked around the room and noticed a few boys from his first class lining up on the opposite side of the gym so he walked over and joined them, waiting for Francois to join him. Soon enough he spotted her coming out the same door she'd gone in, wearing a pair of jogging pants and a t-shirt. He smiled as she trotted toward him.

    “Whats up?” Francois asked once she reached him.

    “Whats up?” he repeated and cocked his head slightly at a loss for what the saying meant.

    “Are you all right?”

    “I'm well.”

    “Are you sure?”


    “Okay then..” Francois said and shrugged her shoulders just as the gym instructor came out and blew his whistle.

    “Okay, class! Single file line!” the man bellowed as his voice echoed throughout the room. “Today we are playing volleyball, but first as usual we are running laps so when I blow my whistle you will run until I blow it again.” he said, finishing up and put his lips to the whistle and blew.

    Francois looked at Andrian and gave him a playful shove as she took off after the rest of the pack of students, running her lap. He followed her quickly gaining but he was careful not to run too fast because he could quickly out distance her, and that''s not something he wanted to do at the moment. He wanted to stay by her.

    The whistle blew again, signifying the end of the laps and they returned to the line as a couple of people brought out the nets and set them up. “Good job!” the man said, smiling proudly. “Once they've finished our teams can be picked and we'll be all set.” he said just as the two who were setting up the nets finished and came to his side. “All right I guess we can start!” he said enthusiastically and left the boys to choosing their team.

    Soon they were divided into two teams and miraculously Andrian and Francois were on the same team. Andrian was pleased with the out come and he was sure Francois was too but she looked a little flustered for some reason. He ignored it though just in case he'd misinterpreted and played the game. It was a fairly easy game and their team seemed to be winning.

    He watched as the ball was served and it came to their side, then was hit back to the other side again. It went back and forth for a few moments until someone started to annoy Francois and before she could turn around the ball struck her on the side of the face, knocking her flat on her butt.

    She blinked a couple of times and then looked back at the girl who'd been speaking to her murderously. It was apparent that she blamed this girl for what had happened.

    Andrian had no idea what was going on, these mortals sure have changed since he was last here. Going to Francois side, he knelt down to help her up.

    “Are you hurt?” He asked looking at her face where she got hit.

    “I'm fine.”she said. He didn't seem very convinced by her words but looked back at the other girl. She seemed to be laughing at Francois and he didn't think is was very funny.

    “Come over by me,” he said softly and led her to where he had been standing. The game continued as he kept in pace with the game. It wasn't like the games he had played before in his world but it seemed enjoyable all the same.

    Francois seemed to start enjoying herself a bit more playing next to Andrian, even though she thought it was a bit strange the way he was treating her. Every time the ball had came close to hitting her Andrian quickly hit it back to the other side, a few times actually hitting someone in the other team. It was hard for him to hold back, but refreshing all the same. After a few games, the instructor blew his whistle and told the class the winner and dismissed them.

    “We don't have the next couple of classes together but I will meet you at the cafeteria later,” she smiled and went back to the room she had changed at before leaving Andrian alone again.

    “You're a weird guy,” suddenly a rough voiced person was standing behind him. It was one of the guys that was on his team. Andrian didn't know what to say to him and waited for him to say more. “No one else has gotten close to Francois and yet you come and already you're her friend.”

    Andrian shrugged and left the gym without a word, heading to the Math classroom.

    After Francois had changed she headed to English where she'd be sitting beside the evil Bow; the girl who'd been the reason she'd been hit. She hated Bow with a passion. Since she'd moved here Bow had made her life a living hell. She'd constantly say things to her that weren't very nice and like today concoct some scheme to get her hurt.

    Francois sighed heavily as she took her seat and pulled out her notebook as she looked up at the white board. Todays lesson was already on the board with complete notes, assignments, vocabulary, and homework. It was obvious that Ms. Leszli was out today because this was definitely not her style. Ms. Leszli was a young teacher by teacher standards but her method of teaching was one of hands on and direction. She abhorred teaching out of the book, oftentimes saying that students didn't learn anything that way.

    Francois liked Ms. Leszli . She was the only person in this school that she felt comfortable around, or had been until Andrian showed up. A small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she recalled how he'd protected her today, and even shut up Bow. She was feeling invincible as she copied down her notes but as with most things it didn't last.

    “Fran who's your dreamy friend? He got a girlfriend yet?” Bow asked as she dragged her desk closer to Francois'.

    “I don't know and my name is not Fran! It's Francois.”

    “So he's free?” Bow asked, ignoring Francois' outburst.

    Francois turned to Bow and gave her a very dirty look. “Like I said I don't know, and I'm sure he wouldn't be interested in the likes of you!” she snapped.

    “Touchy aren't we. Franny? What you think he's all yours just because you seen him first? Hardly! We'll see if he's interested in me!” Bow snapped as she pulled her desk away with a loud grinding sound.


    Andrian had a lonely last couple of periods seeing as he didn't have them with Francois, no one had spoken with him aside from the few people calling him weird and asking if he was going with her. He didn't understand what it meant and just shrugged it off, mortals were weirder than before. He made his way to the cafeteria looking for Francois the whole time. He wanted to ask her what some of the thing had meant that were said to him today.

    “Hey Andrian,” Bow said in a soft voice as she tried to lure him over to her. He looked at her with a bit of a curious look.


    “So, how are you liking the school so far?” She said as she started to get closer to him and Andrian backed away.

    “It's alright, have you seen Francois?” He asked and to his surprise Bow frowned and walked away with a low grumble.


    “Hey, Andrian!” Francois called from down the hall, and ran up to him, smiling.

    “Bow is weird,” he said lowly looking at where she had stormed off too. “How were your classes?”he asked speaking to her like she was the only one there, and Francois seemed to like that.

    Francois smiled at him and shook her head. “Bow is interested in you. She asked if you were seeing anyone.” she said as a blush crept into her cheeks.

    Andrian noticed the blush and reached out touching her warm cheek. It was very soft and against his knuckles and he liked it. “Interested?”

    Francois moved her head to the side and his hand fell from her face. He didn't understand why she'd done it but she looked very unnerved. “Yeah.” Francois said in a thin whisper. “She wanted to go out with you.”

    “Go out with me?” He asked softly placing his knuckles back against her cheek. It was more of a question directed at her than something that needed to be explained to him. He knew what that meant and he did like her.

    At first she didn't know how to reply, she just looked at his gentle curious looking face. What was she supposed to say to that? She just met him this morning. “I...” She started to speak and Andrian just smiled.

    “You don't need to answer,” he softly said and led her into the cafeteria where Bow was staring at him and giving Francois a rather aggravated look.

    He let Francois lead him through the line to get food then to a table where they sat alone. She didn't say much just kept blushing every time she looked at him.

    Andrian thought Francois blushes were cute, and knew that she liked him but what he couldn't understand was why she hadn't agreed to go with him yet. He had showed he was interested in her and she was interested in him what more was there? He took a deep breath and looked down at his food, thinking.

    How could he make Francois love him? He already knew from what the boy had said earlier that he had an advantage over the others, but still there was that fear that someone else would get there first. As much as he hated to admit it too he wouldn't stand by and allow some other to take her.

    He was far too selfish to allow something like that to happen, and not to mention in the short time he'd known her he was sure he was falling in love with her. Love was something he'd not experience in a long time and was something he hadn't had a good experience with. Hence the reason why he had to make her love him.

    He was sure that she would come to love him, and he could keep protecting her and even keep the others away from her. Love wasn't part of the order he had received but then again he had kept to his orders just to the point of getting it completed. What difference did it make to the lord if he fell in love with a mortal he wasn't really supposed to get close to?

    “You gonna eat that?” Francois snapped him out of his thoughts as she pointed to his dessert.

    “Oh, no you can have it,” he said sweetly, handing it to her with a soft smile. She was cute to him , especially the way she had pointed at his dessert with her fork in her mouth.

    The rest of the lunch period Andrian watched Francois eat her food. All the while listening to the conversations the other students were having while enjoying their meals. One of the voices that stood out was Bow's, she kept talking about how attractive Andrian was and how she was going to make him hers. No matter what Francois said.

    After lunch Francois had to go to her locker and exchange her books. Andrian followed her, keeping close in case that other boy showed up. Earlier when they'd spoken he hadn't realized what the boy had mean, but as the day progressed he began to understand. The boy had been upset with him because the boy liked Francois and she hadn't shown any interest in him.

    Although this information gave Andrian a sort of comfort that she wouldn't fall to anyone so easily it still made him leery, knowing that there were others who sought after her affections.

    “What are you thinking about?” Francois asked as she was pulling out a book from the top shelf of her locker.

    “Nothing really.” Andrian lied as he watched her with a smile, thinking at the moment how cute she looked on her tips toes, stretched. “Here, let me help you.” he said as he reached from behind her and grabbed the book.

    “Thanks.” Francois said and smiled at him, making him wish she'd just agree to be his already.

    Andrian was a little upset by the fact that he didn't have all the same classes with her, he felt that would give the other boys a chance to get close to her and he didn't want that. He wished that he had the next class with her but sadly he did not.

    “See you for last class,” he said sweetly, touching her cheek slightly and walking off after she said "yeah."

    When he got to the classroom he noticed the only open seat was next to Bow, taking the seat he kept his eyes forward. Bow on the other hand kept looking at him and grinning.

    “So, Andrian are you going out with Franny?” She asked with a rather disgusted look on her face.

    “Her name is Francois,” he said lowly, trying not to let his annoyance out. He couldn't lash out at mortals, they were weak and he was much too powerful for them.

    “Well I heard that she doesn't actually like you,” she said with a shocked tone in her voice.

    “That's not true,” he frowned and stopped listening to her for the rest of the class even though she had come up with some lies to tell him about her.

    Despite the fact Andrian knew Bow had been lying when she'd said that Francois didn't like him it had been like a knife had been stabbed deep into his breast, and pulled out to leave a poisonous fear. All through class he thought about the possibility of Francois not liking him and he became sullen and angry. He thought up schemes to steal her away and take her back to his realm for safe keeping, and then disregarded them for some reason or another.

    Soon enough though the bell rang and he was saved from Bow's diabolical scheming as well as his cancerous thoughts. It was last period and he'd be able to see Francois. Andrian was sure that seeing her would wipe away all of his fears, but still he held onto the idea of bringing her back to his home.

    Andrian met Francois in front of the Art room and gave her a hug. It was strange for him to react to seeing anyone that way, but the minute he saw her he couldn't hold it in. Francois blushed at the fact that they were in the middle of the hall and he just picked her up in a hug. Bow's plot had melted out of his mind and he was smiling softly at Francois.

    “I'm glad to see you too,” she coughed out when he put her back onto the floor.

    “Sorry, “ he blushed lightly, embarrassed at himself for doing that. He opened the door to the classroom for her as he followed her in and sat with her.

    The teacher came in and handed out large sheets of paper and told the class to dig deep into their minds and draw what they come up with. Andrian had already started right after the teacher stopped talking. He rarely got the chance to draw anything and he enjoyed the activity. Francois looked at his paper as he drew what looked like a person.

    She smiled at his picture, wondering who he was drawing and turned to her own picture. Normally she liked to draw and was really good at it but today sitting next Andrian she found her hand wavering. She didn't know what to draw and the fact that Andrian did actually made her a little jealous.

    How was it that he could keep his cool so easily and walk around so unaffected by everyone else around him. Not to mention he was weird. He didn't seem to know any of their fellow students lingo, and hadn't realized Bow's infatuation with him. Then again he had noticed her own interest. Why though...

    Francois sighed heavily and rested her head on her knuckles as she gazed out the art room window. It was snowing outside. The snow was light and powdery as it drifted down from the gray sky, dusting the earth in a glimmering white.

    As the time passed, Andrian continued to draw. He wasn't sure why he had the urge to draw the picture but he knew it was going to be wonderful when he was finished. Things seemed so much simpler in the mortal world now, he was starting to enjoy himself.

    His gaze moved to Francois, the way she looked with her face to the window was captivating to him. She looked so pure, like an angel with the dim light of the snowy afternoon. He didn't want to but he had to pull his eyes away from her to finish the drawing. Just a few more finishing touches and he was done.

    “Francois,” he said softly sliding the drawing closer to her. He looked around the room at what the rest of the class was doing as he waited for Francois to see the drawing.

    Her jaw dropped as she saw herself, smiling sweetly with the snow falling behind her. Andrian had captured her face perfectly. She was at a loss for words and Andrian looked back at her and gave a soft smile.

    “I hope you like it,” it was like he was asking her out once again, but this time with a gift.

    Francois swallowed hard and licked her lips. “It's very beautiful but I can't take this from you. It should go in your portfolio.” She said as she pushed the picture back in his direction. She knew it had been another attempt for him to ask her out, however, she wasn't ready for a relationship. Too much was going on in her life.

    Her grandfather had died recently thus leaving her in the care of her fiendish uncle, school was almost over and it was her senior year, the tenth anniversary of her deceased parents was approaching, and she still had colleges to apply to. So many things and so little time. Where would she find time to throw a boyfriend into the mix? No where, that's where.
    Francois sighed heavily as she thought reeled within her head, frowning deeply. Why did Andrian have to come into her life now? Why couldn't he have come earlier when she would have been more than happy to share his companionship. Now though she was so used to being alone that his mere presence made her very uneasy. Sure, part of it was do to the fact he was gorgeous and that she did have a sort of crush on Andrian, but she couldn't act on those feelings.

    He didn't mind that she pushed the picture back, it was silly of him to think she would want a drawing of herself. Andrian got up from the table and brought his paper to the teacher whose jaw dropped. Without a word to him the teacher got up and placed it on the board, telling the class it was the best piece of art she'd seen. Andrian wasn't embarrassed as he walked back to his seat.

    “I didn't think she'd like it that much,” he said lightly as he looked at the drawing from his seat.

    Francois started to blush as the other students looked from the picture to her and started to whisper. Several of the girls in the class looked at Francois with a mix of jealousy and envy, they seemed to have had their eye on Andrian as well. Soon enough though the bell rang to let the students know it was the end of the day.

    Andrian was met with a slight problem of not exactly having a place in the mortal world to stay and he wasn't allowed back to his world till he was done with his orders. He wouldn't let that bother him too much as he left the classroom with Francois.

    Art class had been very interesting Francois thought as she gathered the books she needed out of her locker, and stuffed them in her book bag. As much as she hated it she'd have to do her chemistry report even with the technicality of her uncle.

    She rolled her eyes as she thought of him and slammed the door to her locker unnecessarily hard. Fortunately it was some ways from the school to her house so she'd have the drive home to prepare for whatever shenanigans he threw her way. Honestly why they placed her in the care of that man she'd never know. It was more like she was taking care of him.