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NATALIE LIES SPRAWLED out on her bed, staring at the fan on her ceiling that was cycling slowly

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NATALIE LIES SPRAWLED out on her bed, staring at the fan on her ceiling that was cycling slowly.

"So, you kissed Landon?"

"Mhm," Hope answers, "It was like a goodbye thing. You know? No feelings, just a farewell."

The council voted that Landon couldn't stay, so Hope walked Landon to the bus stop and the two shared a kiss, one that Hope wasn't giving Natalie much detail on.

"Yeah sure," Natalie says rolling over on her side. Hope was spinning in her desk chair and stopped when she saw Natalie looking at her.

"So what are we doing for your birthday?" Hope asks and Natalie chuckles.

"I never do anything on my actual birthday. There's no point when Lizzie is having a party the next day."

Hope laughs as she spins again in the chair, "Well I want to give you a super awesome birthday gift. What is your happiest memory?"

"Weird question," Natalie says sitting up, "But I think my happiest memory would be when I was eight. I had been living with my aunt for a year and I found an old guitar, and she offered to teach me. I sucked, but we had a bunch of fun."

Hope smiles fondly, "That sounds great."

"Your turn," Natalie says, "Happiest memory?"

Hope spins thoughtfully in the chair, "I have two. The first would be painting with my dad. I was seven and it was the first thing that we ever did together. The second would be my Aunt Freya's wedding. My mom was gone, but it was the first time in forever when my whole family had been together for something happy."

"I don't even remember my parents," Natalie says with a sigh, "I mean I remember what they looked like, I can look at pictures and remind myself, but I don't remember what they sound like, what they acted like, outside of hating themselves."

"You never talked about what happened to them," Hope says.

"It's not something I like to bring up," Natalie says, "Not even Josie and Lizzie know."

"Well if you ever want to talk about it, I'm here. I have a lot of experience in being an orphan," Hope jokes and Natalie smiles weakly at her. Maybe she would feel better after telling someone and if there was a perfect person to tell, it was Hope. 

"They're the reason I triggered my werewolf curse so early," Natalie says, "My aunt didn't even know I was a hybrid until the full moon. I had my first and last transition."


"I made my peace with it," she says, "It was ten years ago."

Hope sighs, "Well, I'm gonna give you the best birthday present ever. Is it okay if I give it to you tomorrow?"

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