“Rise and shine. Breakfast is ready.” Thea softly shakes the bed.

I yawn widely and stretch on the soft bed for a few seconds before sitting up. That felt nice. Odd, but nice.

“Wow. I don’t remember the last time I slept in a bed this soft and comfy. I could get used to this.” I climb out of bed and follow Thea downstairs. The smell of fresh toast fills the air and Thea and I double our speed.

“Morning Thea. Morning Onda.” Joey greets while West just grunts.

Everyone takes their seats and starts eating as Joey serves orange juice into everyone’s cup.

“So do you guys always cook or how does it work?” I ask, referring to Joey and West.

“We rotate it week by week. The boys cook for a week then I cook for the next week. Today’s Saturday so my week starts tomorrow. And since you’re here, you get to help. I finally have a kitchen assistant.” Thea says excitedly.

We finish breakfast quickly. Thea and I remain at the table while the boys clean up.

“We have a few things to do today so I don’t think training will be possible today. We’ll move it to tomorrow. And don’t think I’m going to cancel it.” Thea says, leaving to have her bath.

“What things?” West asks.

“Our new friend here needs to fit in and we’re going to help her.” That’s all she says.

I look to the guys, slightly confused.

“What is she talking about?” I finally air my confusion.

“You’ll see.”


The car ride is quiet, until I build up enough courage to break the silence.

“If you don’t mind me asking, where exactly are we going?”

At the exact same moment, the car comes to a stop in front of a rundown building covered in graffiti. Joey gets out of the car and answers me.

“Remember what we said about you fitting in, well that’s what we’re trying to do. Good luck.” He slams the door and I stare at his retreating figure as the car zooms off again.

“What is he going to do there?” I ask another question.

“Do you always ask so many questions?” West snaps.

“And are you always this grumpy?” I say back.

“He’s going to get you an identity. That’s the first step to fitting in.” Thea answers my question with her eyes still on the road.

I nod and wait a few seconds before asking another question.

“And where are we going?” West sighs while Thea gives me a small smile.

“To get you some clothes, you can’t borrow my stuff forever.”

After a few minutes of more silence, we finally reach our destination and everyone gets out of the car. The large building had the words ‘CITY MALL’ plastered on it in big red letters.

Thea walks in first, West and I follow. The 4-storey building is packed with people on every floor, in every store. I soak in as much of the sight as I can, I’ve never been to a mall before, too busy running.

“We’re gonna get a few things that you need and wait for Joey before we leave, he’ll come meet us here.” Thea announces before walking deeper into the complex.

Shopping isn’t as bad as I imagined it would be. For the first half-hour, we move from store to store picking out things Thea and I thought I would look good in, emptying Thea’s wallet, or wallets. Thea walks around with three wallets. One is pink and I’m convinced that the other two are for the boys.

“I’ve never been to a store to shop for clothes before.” I blurt excitedly. I thought having to walk around the huge building would be a hassle but I’m guessing it’s because it’s my first time, I’m actually having fun.

“Seriously? Where were you living? The woods?” West scoffs.

“Yeah actually, I was.” I answer, matching his tone.

Going deeper into the mall, we take longer than they did in the first few stores, with Thea trying to decide what my ‘style’ is. She’s very meticulous with the clothes she picks, asking me to try them on in every colour available. I start to get tired after a few dozen trips to the changing room.

Thea finally pays for everything and we move on to the last store of the day, a shoe store. As soon as we enter, I race into the store, pick two pairs of boots, a pair of sneakers, and race to the checkout counter to pay before Thea starts her intense shopping session again.

“I guess that should be all for today. If you need anything we can just come back another time. For now let’s get something to eat while we wait for Joey. I’m starving.” Thea says, getting tired herself.

“Thank you for everything. I really couldn’t thank you enough.” I say.

“It’s nothing really. You’re one of us so you should be treated like it.”

The three of us take the escalator a floor down and head straight for the food court. Thea walks into her favourite fast food restaurant while West and I just follow behind her. She orders for the three of us and orders Joey’s meal to-go. We find an empty table and enjoy the food.

“I’m not gonna lie, this is the first burger I’m having in almost 10 years.” I manage to say between bites.

“Seriously? That’s a little sad.” West says as he munches on his fries.

“Yeah my mom was never a fan of fast food so we rarely ate it and when she left, I couldn’t really afford it so I never bought it either.”

Thea just nods in response, slowly and silently taking bites out of the burger, looking around occasionally as if searching for someone.

“Everything okay Thea? You look like you’re looking for someone. More like spying on them even.” When she doesn’t respond, I turn around to find what she’s staring at. I spot two girls on the other end of the food court, staring back and whispering to each other.

“Let’s go.” Thea abruptly stands up and grabs our bags. West silently stands with her.

“Go? But I’m not done eating.” I whine.

“I’m not going to repeat myself.”

“Fine.” I wipe my hands and grab the bag containing Joey’s food. West collects the rest of our bags and we move quickly.

We head for the escalator and in the midst of the rush, I bump into two people on the way. I almost drop Joey’s food but Thea catches me.

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” I apologize before looking up to face them. Two tall guys, one blonde, one brunette.

“Of course you weren’t freak.” The blonde says. The two girls that were staring at us at the food court catch up with us and stand behind the guys.

“And who’s the fresh meat, sorry I mean new girl? Hi, I’m Ethan.” The brunette says and Thea snarls at him. West stays silent, but the look on his face says he’s pissed.

“Don’t you have anything better to do on a Saturday?” Thea asks but they ignore her.

“And you. You seem to be having a good time. It’s not gonna last, you can trust me on that.” The brunette says to West.

They finally leave, each bumping shoulders with us making us stumble back.

Thea seethes all the way to the car and as soon as she slams the driver’s door shut, she lets out the scream she’d been holding, startling me.

“Who were those guys?” I ask but no one answers.

“West, call Joey. Tell him to just meet us at home.” Thea says.

The car roars to life and we zoom off, leaving a trail of dust behind us.

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