Chapter Two

Years later…

“Ryan, you’re going to be late for school!”

Ryan Kruger flew the stairs with his backpack on his shoulder to meet his parents around the dining. With his gaze on his mum, he grabbed his scattered books laying on the dining table and put them into his bag.

“Good morning mum,” Ryan finally said when his mum met his gaze.

“Morning sweetheart,” she replied handing him a brown paper bag. “I saw you already. Why leave your books on the dining table? Anything could have happened to them. They could have gotten wet or had food spill on them.”

“I know and I’m sorry mum,” Ryan walked over to his mum to place a kiss on her cheek. “Sorry.”

“You,” she playfully pointed an accusing finger at him then spotted her husband. “Alistair, your son is becoming just as cunning as you. Look at him trying to bribe me with a kiss.”

“Did it work?” Alistair asked cheerfully as he made his way into the living room.

“Unfortunately, it did,” she shook her head and handed her husband his lunch.

“I thought him well then,” he smiled, getting up to place a kiss on his wife’s lips.

“I’m almost eighteen for heaven’s sake!” Ryan interrupted his parents from almost making out. “Aren’t you both tired of this stage already?”

“When you fall in love, you’ll understand,” Alistair smirked at his son. “For now, focus on your studies and anticipate that time.”

“Oh, lord,” Ryan got up and grabbed his backpack. “I can’t with you two. The only thing I’m to go gain if I stay here any longer is being utterly grossed out and late for school. Bye, I’m off to school. Enjoy your make out session.”

Sophia laughed and pulled Alistair away from her. “Come on, that’s enough. You’ll be late for work. Bye, Ryan. Have a nice day at school!”

“I will,” he said his final goodbyes and slammed the door to show that he was gone.

In about twenty minutes, Ryan got to school. He parked his car, grabbed his backpack and stepped out feeling as confident as ever.

He was Ryan Kruger. He was the smart, athletic and good-looking senior. Popular was an understatement for what he was. Literally every single student of Crawstar High knew and loved him.

He knew who he owed his good looks- both his parents were extremely good looking and if anything, seemed to not age. As for being book smart, he just considered himself lucky as studying just came extremely easily to him. He was naturally athletic and thus excelled in every sport he laid his hands on. Knowing he’d do very well in it, he joined the basketball team and in a short period of time, became the ace of the team.


Ryan paused his stroll down the hallways to turn in the direction of his name. Standing few meters away from him was his girlfriend.

Yvonne. Yvonne Warwick. He smiled as he watched her walk towards him. How was it that she looked more beautiful every single day? Dressed in just an oversized hoodie he immediately recognized as his and skinny ripped jeans, he could swear she was the prettiest thing he had laid his eyes on all day. She was tall, had warm fair skin, pink lips and dyed blonde hair that was tied up in a ponytail that morning.

Who said first loves never came true? Ryan could remember himself staring at Yvonne in class right from when they were in elementary school. She had always being pretty and popular and had never failed to catch his attention.

They started off as friends in elementary school. He still remembered what prompted their first conversation vividly. It was the day of a test and she had lost her favourite lucky pencil. That was the day he became her knight in shining armour- showing up in front of her with the lucky pencil he found on his way to class. Her toothed grin was second to none as she excitedly collected the pencil, thanked him and suggested they became friends. From then, they’d share each other’s lunches and he’d always make sure to pack extra apples as apples were her favourite.

It took him until summer camp in junior high before he could muster the courage to confess his feelings to her. He told her how he truly felt, she kissed him in response and they became a couple ever since.

“Hey babe,” he leaned forward to give her a quick hug. “Thought you said you weren’t going to be able to make it to school today?”

“That was the plan,” Yvonne replied as they resumed walking. “But then the dentist suddenly cancelled my appointment.”

“Oh, too bad,” he pat her shoulder. “So no dentist visits. You’re in school, you’re available."

“Yeah?” she stared at him suspiciously.

“So after school,” he joined in her in suspicious stares. “Do you want to come over?”

She leaned her hand on his shoulder and looked at him more closely. “I feel like there’s more to your ‘coming over’.”

“I want you to meet my parents,” he replied her. “At least my mum. It’s been about four years since we’ve been together and I’m yet to introduce you to my parents.”

“I know and I want to meet them too but,” she put her hands around his neck. “Today won’t be able to work.”


“Cause my dentist cancelled my morning appointment and postponed it to afternoon.”

“Oh,” Ryan’s face turned sour.

“I’m serious babe!” Yvonne tugged. “I only decided to come this morning cause I missed you. You can come with me on my way to the dentist later if you don’t believe me.”

“No need for that,” Ryan smiled at her. “It’s fine. I trust you so of course I believe you.”

“Thanks babe,” Yvonne smiled in return. “But you’ll come along, won’t you? I’ll be lonely and honestly the dentists are kinda scary.”

Ryan slid his hands around her waist. “Sure, I’ll come along.”


“What are you smiling at?”

Ryan temporarily looked up from his phone to meet his parents staring at as he walked into the house. Quickly, he hit the power button off his phone to avoid any more staring at the goofy pictures of Yvonne he took at the dentists.

“Nothing?” he replied in a tone that made it obvious he was hiding something. “You both are home early today.”

“No we’re not,” his mum replied, getting up to meet him. She ran a quite large grocery store around the neighbourhood. From what he could remember, it was not always as big as it currently was. Slowly as he grew up, the business started thriving and thus her store grew larger. “It’s past seven pm already. It’s you who got back home late.”

“Oh,” Ryan muttered, suddenly remembering how long they spent at the dentists cause his girlfriend was being an absolute baby. “Right.”

“So how was school today?” his mum was finally in front of him.


“And your body?”

“Uh, I feel okay.”

“Sure?” she peered at him. “Do you feel funny in any way? No strange changes? Anything?”

“I’m fine mum,” Ryan stopped her as she was about to place her hand to check his pulse. “I’m totally okay. Which brings me to my question, mum, is everything okay?”

“Wh-What do you mean?”

“I mean,” Ryan began then sighed. “For an actual unusual while now you keep on asking me if I’m fine. It’s the same pattern of questions every time. If I’m feeling sick or funny or noticing some unusual changes in my body. I mean, I’m perfectly fine but the way you keep on asking makes me wonder if I’m actually supposed to be fine.”

Alistair and Sophia exchanged nervous glances.

“Come on, Ryan,” his dad stepped in, laughing lightly. “It’s nothing like that. Of course you’re meant to be fine. Your mum’s just being over-protective. You know? I mean look at the weather these days. It’s real cold and you don’t even dress warm enough. That’s enough reason for her to be worried. Plus you’re a high school senior. High school can be scary too, right?”

“You both are the ones being scary,” he said and shook his head playfully. “Anyways, I’m fine but pretty much exhausted so I’ll be upstairs freshening up. Do call me when dinner is ready. Thanks in advance.”

And with that he bid his parents a temporary goodbye and fled the stairs on his way to his room.

“Was I being too obvious?” Sofia asked her husband as soon as Ryan was out of sight.

“No no,” he replied, putting his arm protectively around her. “You were just watching out for him.”

“I’m scared,” Sofia sighed. “Don’t you think it’s strange? He’s taking way too long to shift.”

Alistair knew what Sofia was talking about. Ryan was going to be eighteen in a few days and still hadn’t shifted. When they decided to relocate to live among humans, they didn’t think a day would come when their son would have to shift and reveal his true identity to the world.

“Do you think it’s a side effect from living among humans for too long?” Sofia asked. “I shifted for the first time when I was fourteen. You shifted when you were thirteen. This isn’t normal.”

Their fear began when Ryan clocked twelve. Normally, most of them shifted at the age of thirteen and they expected Ryan to be no exception. Another peculiar feature of members of the Kruger family was shifting on their birthdays. So when every other kids were excitedly throwing birthday parties to officially mark being a teenager, Ryan was locked up with his parents as they hoped he’d shift. Alas, his thirteenth birthday came and went and Ryan still didn’t shift. He clocked fourteen and still didn’t shift. Fifteen, sixteen and even on his seventeenth birthday, he didn’t shift.

“I know,” Alistair replied her. Thinking about it sometimes gave him sleepless nights. He couldn’t understand what was going on and couldn’t give Sofia a satisfying reply. “I guess he’s just taking longer than usual.”

“What if he never shifts?”

“That’s… impossible,” Alistair said, unsure himself. He was a full blooded wolf so there was no way he skipped the gene. “He’s just taking longer than usual.”

“I’ll believe so,” Sofia’s voice was obviously filled with worry. “He’ll be eighteen in a few days. Hopefully he’ll shift then.”

Alistair squeezed her hands. “Are you ready?”

Sofia knew exactly what he was talking about and exhaled in response. Was she ready to tell him the truth? That his life had been a lie? That the human world he had gotten so comfortable in wasn’t where he truly belonged? Was she ready? She seriously doubted it but then said, “Yes, I am.”

“Alright then,” Alistair also exhaled. “We’ve come a long way together. We’ll get through this too.”

“Mhm Mhm,” she smiled at him in response.

Like Ryan was waiting for them to finish their conversation before entering, he appeared in front of them as they were about to leave the living room.

“You guys are still here?” he asked, plopping in the seat next to them. “I’m pretty sure it’s been almost thirty minutes since I left.”

“Has it?” Alistair asked his son rhetorically. “I doubt it. You’re just exaggerating.”

“Okay okay,” Ryan obviously wasn’t interested in stalling. “I have something I want to talk to you both about.”

“Oh? Is it something serious?” They both shifted.

“Nope not at all,” he rubbed his palms together. “As you both know I’ll be eighteen in a few days so well I want to throw a birthday party here.”


“What?” He looked taken aback by their reply in unison. “No?”

“Son, you can’t have a birthday party here,” Alistair said in a calmer tone. “How do I put this. You should-“

“Stay indoors all day?” Ryan cut him off before he could finish. “You can’t seriously be thinking about that again, can you?”


“What exactly do you both have against me celebrating my birthdays like a normal person?” he interrupted his mum. “You never let me go anywhere on my birthday. Whenever I try to go anywhere or invite anyone over, you immediately reject it. Why?”

“It’s not like that-“

“Then what?” Ryan yanked his arm away before his mum was able to hold him. “What is it? Now that I think about it, you guys have been acting this way for a while now. Are you hiding something from me? Earlier too. Am I always supposed to be sick or something when it’s my birthday? Birthday fever?”

“Come on, Ryan,” Alistair laughed nervously. “What are you talking about? What could we possibly be hiding from you? Yeah we admit, we’ve been a little selfish. It’s just that we really love birthdays and just love to celebrate it with the family that’s all. Just us.”

“Just the family?” there was a hint of disbelief in Ryan’s voice. “If you both love the concept of family so much how am I the only child? Or why do I not have any uncles or aunts or maybe cousin to invite to my family birthday party every year.”


“Forget it, just kidding,” Ryan quickly added in a joking tone. He had gotten used to it just being them. Sometimes we wondered how it’ll have been if he had other relatives but seeing how his parents’ mood changed whenever he mentioned it, he never stalled on the topic.

“Seriously though,” Ryan pleaded. “I’ll be eighteen and I just want to have a normal little birthday party. Come on.”

They were silent.

Ryan ran his hands through his hair and sighed. He was tired and they didn’t seem like they had any intention on changing their minds. Deep down he was curious about their actual reason but knowing his parents well enough, he just decided to let them be. Birthdays with them was fun after all so he could just as well celebrate it with them again as he always did. “You guys- Anyways, fine. You want to celebrate my birthday with just the family on that day, right? Fine. I’ll be throwing a party the following day then? How’s that?”

“Ryan,” Sofia couldn’t think of anyway to explain it to him. After a while, she finally continued. “Fine, you can throw the party the following day.”

“But,” Ryan wasn’t done. “It won’t be just us on my birthday.”

“Who else then?” they exchanged quick glances.

“Yvonne,” Ryan replied, eyes fixed on them. “My girlfriend.”

Thanks to Ryan’s eyes glued on them, he was able to get their unfiltered reaction. His mum blinked and immediately looked at his dad. They looked at each other uncomfortably for a while before turning to face him. Their eyes met and Sofia immediately looked away, her eyes roaming the living room.

“You have a girlfriend?” Alistair finally spoke up.

“Yes,” Ryan affirmed. “I do.”

“That’s…” Alistair was being careful with his choice of words. “Interesting to know. Great.”

“I guess?”

“How long have you guys been together?” Sofia asked her son after a while. As she waited for his response, she got up and grabbed a glass of water for herself to drink.

“Since junior high,” Ryan replied. “About four years now.”

Sofia choked on her water. “Fo-Four years?”

“I know right?” Ryan let out a very awkward chuckle. He was beginning to have mixed emotions and couldn’t exactly tell what was running through his parents mind. “Is there a problem?”

“No not at all,” Sofia smiled. Her smile doing nothing but increasing the fear in Ryan’s chest. “Just didn’t know you’ve been dating a hu- someone for so long. We just didn’t expect it. That’s all.”


“Yeah,” Sofia nudged her husband as she smiled. He quickly reacted to her nudge and joined her in smiling. “It’s all good though. Honestly can’t wait to meet her!”

“Me too!” Ryan’s voice was suddenly excited. “I can’t wait for you guys to meet! I bet you’ll love her. She’s the prettiest. And has the cutest smile. She’s so caring and sweet and has the softest spot when it comes to animals. There’s this thing she does-“

Sofia and Alistair exchanged glances as they watched their son ramble on about his girlfriend. They didn’t need to speak to know their thoughts were in unison. He was obviously in love with her. His girlfriend.

His human girlfriend.

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