When we walk onto the courtyard, some people stop and stare at me, others whisper, but I ignore them and we go inside in time for the bell. Mr. Jeffries also gives me a weird look. I hear the K's talking about me from a few rows behind. I ignore Jeffries' lecture and listen in on them.
"I wouldn't be in school if my dad had just died, and Maddy and Rhydian back on the same day? Something weird's going on." Kay says.
"Does anyone even know how he died?" Kara adds. I stand up and look back at them, folding my arms.
"It doesn't matter how he died, it's none of your business!" I practically scream at them.
"That's enough girls!" Mr. Jeffries shouts. I sit down and squeeze Jana's hand, trying not to freak out.
"It's okay, you're allowed to be mad." She whispers, giving the K's an evil glare. My leg shakes all through form, and first and second lesson. Maybe Jana was right, maybe I shouldn't have come in. I guess it's too late now. At break we all sit in the dark room, the others talk about normal teenage stuff. It's nice to feel part of something human. When the bell rings everyone gets up to go to next lesson, except for me.
"You coming?" Jana asks, I shake my head. "Want me to stay?"
"No it's fine, you go learn." She kisses my forehead and heads out the door with the others. Now that I'm alone, I let myself cry. I haven't cried that much, it's mostly been blank faced window staring. Rhydian comes back in and I quickly gather myself.
"You're allowed to cry you know, don't be embarrassed." He sits down next to me. "I'm sorry about what I said, about you getting in the way. Nothing that happened was your fault."
"Thank you Rhydian, I'm not mad at you. I really appreciate your apology."
"I want to be your friend, I want you to be able to trust me." He looks at me.
"I do, thank you." He smiles. "Rhydian, can I ask you something?"
"Sure." He brightens up a little bit.
"You love Maddy right?" His face lights up with this smile, the kind of smile that Jana has when she looks at me. He nods. "How did you tell her? That you love her?" He laughs.
"She told me first, actually, and I said it back because, well because it's true. I really do love her. Why, do you love Jana?"
"I don't know, I think so." He mocks me with kissy faces. "Stop, help me, what do I do?"
"If you really love her you need to make sure she knows, tell her when you're alone, lay down the law. Tell her exactly how you feel." I smile at him. "Come on, Miss Parish is gonna kick off if we don't turn up." We go off to class together and I feel much better throughout the day, I ignore the whisperers and focus on talking to Jana later. The four of us say goodbye to Shannon and Tom and walk through the woods to go home, I walk with Rhydian.
"I'm gonna tell her like, now, so you and Maddy can pretty much piss off." He laughs.
"Race you Mads." He runs off and she follows. I catch up to Jana ahead of me.
"Let's just... sit for a while." I take her hand and both sit down back to back. We sort of sink down so our heads are on each others shoulders. "I want to tell you something."
"I love you too." She says out of nowhere. I turn my head to hers. She's just smiling at me.
"Stealing my thunder much? I love you too, too." We laugh as we kiss each other.
"I'm serious though, I love you, I want to spend forever with you. I couldn't live without you." She suddenly doesn't seem so happy. She sits up and hugs her knees. "What?" I crawl over to her.
"I hate it when you say stuff like that, you can't live without me? You said that about your dad, and I was scared you were gonna- gonna do something to yourself. If anything ever happened to me, where would that leave you?" She thought I was going to kill myself. "I don't want you to have nothing apart from me. I want you to be happy with everything."
"Jana, I can't help that I don't want a world without someone so perfect, so kind. I just mean I really wouldn't want to live without you." She bites her lip and looks away. I turn her head to face me. "Nothing will happen, we've gone through enough. I love you." I kiss her, and she lays back slowly. We just sort of kiss for a while, taking breaks to look at each other. She has leaves in her messy red hair, her complexion is flawless. Her eyes are the same grey as clouds around the full moon last night. Everything about her is perfect, inside and out, top to bottom, perfect. "You really love me too?"
"When I look at you, I get all weird inside, I get butterflies. And when you smile, I can't help but smile too. I want to be at your side all the time, and protect you from everything. If that's not love, I don't know what is." We get home, laughing, smiling, only to be brought down by Maddy's parents sat at the kitchen table with Mr. Jeffries and some other human.
"What's going on?" I ask.
"Sit down, Carys." Mr. Jeffries says. "Jana, why don't you go upstairs with Maddy and Rhydian?" She just looks at me and lets go of my hand. I try to cling to it but she gets away and goes upstairs. I stand in the living room, staring at the table of adults. "This is Stacey Friar, Rhydian's social worker."
"Why is she here?" I fold my arms and I stare at Maddy's parents.
"Sit down." Stacey says, I just look at her. I sit down. "Now Carys, you've been staying here with the Smiths since your dad died, do you have any family, or god parents you can stay with?" She says, flipping through a big folder.
"No." Technically my family are the Smiths, being a pack means being a family, it means more than family.
"Right, okay, then unfortunately I'm going to have to take you to a care home."
"No, that won't be necessary, she can stay here. It's no bother to us." Daniel says.
"It's not exactly legal, she needs to be with proper guardians, you can look into fostering her further down the line."
"We can foster her now." Emma says.
"Please stop talking about me like I'm not here, don't I get any say in where I go. I'm almost 16, why can't I just stay here until then so I can get my own place?"
"We can talk about that, but for now you'll have to come with me." She stands up closing her folder and picking up her bag.
"Now? Can't I say goodbye to my friends, and get my stuff?" I stand up too. I don't have any intention to leave with her.
"Of course, I can come back in an hour or two, I do have another case to get to. Thank you for your time." She shakes all of our hands and leaves.
"Why did she come here?" I turn to the others, still sat at the table.
"Mr. Jeffries was concerned for your well being." Emma says.
"I'm fine here, I was doing well. I felt so much better and you've all brought me back to square one. I'm losing everything." I run off upstairs to where they'll all sat in Maddy's room, I'm crying. Jana stands up and hugs me. "That woman is taking me to a care home, I have to go, I have to go to the wild, I can't stay here to be taken to a home." They all just look at me. "I'm not going there."
"You can't go into the wild on your own Carys, it's not safe without a pack." Rhydian says. "Trust me, I've been out there alone."
"Then I'll find the pack, they'll help me, like they helped my dad."
"Carys, you're not thinking straight." Why aren't they helping me? Do they want me to go into care? I run down stairs to my room, I hear Jana sigh and follow me. I start packing a bag of things to take with me. "You can't go out there alone."
"Then come with me." I drop what I'm doing. "You said you want to be at my side forever, that won't happen if I'm taken into care, there isn't a care home around here. They'll take me into the city, I don't want to live in the city, it smells awful, the people are rude." She looks at me with sorrow in her eyes. "I'm not going there. I won't be out in the wild forever, I'll come back when I turn 16, I'll get a job and my own place and we can finish school together, it's only a few months away." I take both her hands. "Come with me."
"I can't, you can't either, you said yourself you wanted to finish." She looks right into my eyes.
"I have to, they won't keep me in Bradlington High, it'll be some school in the city. I won't see you."
"I'll come see you, and you can come see me." I drop her hands and continue packing.
"I don't want to see you once a week. Jana, we can be together, no drama. When we first met you taught me to take risks, take this one with me." A tear runs down her cheek. I kiss her.
"I can't. I'm sorry." I ignore her, and pick up my back pack. "Carys." I can hear the pain in her voice. I go out into the living room. They're all there.
"I'm not being taken away, if I'm going anywhere it's my choice. I hate goodbyes, so I'm just gonna go, no drama, thank you all for looking out for me." I look back at my bedroom, Jana is standing there. She's a mess. "Please." She whispers. I can't be weak. I run out of the back door. I stop in the garden and look back at the house. Jana stands in the window. I walk off into the distance. I keep telling myself that it's all going to be fine, it'll be okay. But I know the truth. I won't be my strong self without Jana, I wasn't myself until I met her.