For most children (and especially to their mothers), the first day of school (if it can be so called at the tender age of 4) is full of surprises and scary ideas. As a mother of four and having already gone through it twice, Talia Hale thought she knew that to expect when coming to pick Derek off.
He came hand in hand with the teacher, and while there was a kind smile in Mrs. Stilinski’s face, she immediately knew he had gotten into some sort of trouble in class.
“What did you do?” Talia asked him as soon as they were close enough – she’d have liked to put her hands in her hips for an effect, but young Cora was occupying her left arm and hip, and only using one of them wasn’t quite the same.
“They’re silly” the little boy replied, sullen and frowning “I wasn’t going to hurt them!”.
And while this was a typical child’s response, it didn’t do much to clarify the situation or ease Talia’s concerns.
Mrs. Stilinski grinned, amused, before explaining.
“Derek decided to play werewolf with the Greenberg twins – they got a bit scared.”
“Derek!” The woman all but barked, pale with furry and worry. “How many times are we having this conversation?” she asked, putting all her authority as a mother and an Alpha behind it.
The boy flinched, looking apologetic, but the teacher didn’t seem to think the situation warranted such harsh reprimand. Of course – she had no idea it was more than a child’s wild imagination and, luckily, most werechildren under the age of ten couldn’t do anything apart shining their eyes golden. A fine thing that it would have been to have Derek springing claws on his playmates on his first day of school and spilling decades of family secrecy.
“I talked to him about how we should always stop playing when our friends are no longer enjoying it” continued the younger woman, oblivious to the real reason for distress in the situation. “Derek has promised not to do so again.”
Her son nodded, trying to smile sweetly but failing to move her. It made an impression in Cora, though, and the six-month baby tried to reach for her brother on the ground.
“I’m so sorry” she told the teacher, shaking her head. “None of his siblings…”
“It’s alright” guaranteed the woman. “Things like this happen often – last year we had this kid, Langford, that insisted he was an alien made of sweets” – the woman smiled, clearly fond of the memory. “Although I’d say that werewolf may be scarier.”
Talia allowed herself to giggle along, before the woman turned serious again.
“I also wanted to talk to you about something, since you didn’t come to our PTA meeting before the year start…”
“I’m sorry” apologized Talia, changing Cora to the other side. “I didn’t mean to, but they are four and when one gets sick…”
“The rest soon follows” agreed the teacher. “I understand. Now, I just wanted to warn you that I’ll be with the class only until Easter – perhaps for late March, but no longer than that.”
The mother frowned for a moment, wondering the reason before she was relaxed enough to pick up on the tell-tale signs of pregnancy.
“Oh. Congratulations!” she managed, and Mrs. Stilinski smile was full of happiness. Beacon Hills was a small town and it was public knowledge that the Stilinskis had been trying for a child for years without success – they had even been advised by the Whittemore’s to get medical help (not that it had done them much good, but they seemed happy with the child they had adopted a couple months ago). “Is it a boy or a girl?”
“I don’t know yet” she confessed, still beaming. “I’m not sure I want to – and it doesn’t matter to me.”
“I want a boy” piped up Derek, smiling at them. “So we can be friends and play together.”
“He’ll be Cora’s age” pointed out Talia, still smiling. “So it’s more likely that he’ll be her friend, not yours.”
“Or boyfriend” teased Mrs. Stilinski, smiling at the baby. “She’s gorgeous, I don’t think he would be able to resist it.”
“Then I’ll hit him” said Derek, solemnly.
“Derek!” said his mother, exasperated.
“It’s what uncle Peter does with aunt Maggie’s boyfriend” he said, frowning.
“Uncle Peter is an idiot” replied Talia, rolling her eyes. “Come on – let’s go, Derek, let Mrs. Stilinski go home. She has better things to do than to hear you threatening her unborn son.”
“Unborn?” echoed Derek, confused, while the teacher smiled and patted him in the head.
“See you tomorrow, Derek” she said, nicely. “And try not to turn the other children into werewolves, okay?”
“Bye, Mrs. Stilinski” he said, ears burning with shame, and Talia could only smile.
It was time she taught her son the importance of secrecy.