Gabriella stood in front of her full length mirror holding a picture of her mother up to compare the difference. Her face wasn’t as pretty, her figure not as pronounced and she didn’t have that light golden glow on her skin that her entire immediate family had. Well besides her grandparents who looked just as ordinary as she did because they weren’t actually part of the family in a sense, but they weren’t ever supposed to know that and they haven’t even seen their own daughter in ten years. Gabriella would often visit them during holidays and such but she had to be mindful of what she said in front of them in case she let something slip that they weren’t meant to know. Which was pretty much everything and was a very tiring practice.
Sighing sadly Gabriella dropped the photo of her mother on her bed and tossed her light golden brown hair around trying to see what another style would look like. She hated how compared to everyone else her hair seemed to look flat and not even close to shiny, and nothing she did with it changed that for her. It was hard growing up with her family but it wouldn’t be long until she joined their ranks forever.
‘Gabby!’ her mother called out from down the stairs, ‘Can you come down here for a minute?’
Gabriella quickly wiped the heavy makeup she had slathered on her face in hopes of making herself look more beautiful than she felt and left her large room, bouncing down the flight of stairs until she came to a skidding halt in the kitchen where her mother was putting the milk carton back into the fridge. With her long red hair and bright blue eyes with a figure most men drooled over Amy was easily the most beautiful woman most people would ever see and it stabbed at Gabby like a knife having to live with her.
‘What’s up mom?’ she said as she sat down and pulled the glass of milk her mother had poured to her knowing she hadn’t really poured it for herself. She didn’t need to eat or drink if she didn’t want to and only usually did it when they were in public or had company over, which wasn’t very often.
‘Well you know you’re father is leaving for a while in a couple of days so-’ she started to say but Gabriella quickly cut her off.
‘So you are going to meet him up in one of your little worlds and have wild, crazy passionate sex for the next forty-eight hours right? I know the drill mom, this isn’t the first time one of you had to go away for a while.’
‘I didn’t raise you to talk like that young lady!’
‘I know and I am sorry,’ the youngster held her hands up in surrender, not wanting yet another lecture, ‘Before you go I wanted to ask you something. Brian’s parents are letting him have a party tonight to kick off the New World Celebrations and he invited me. Can I go?’
‘Absolutely not Gabby!’ her mother said and flashed her a stern look, ‘Look sweetie I know you really like this boy but you know it can’t last.’
‘But mom I turn eighteen in like eight months! You’re right it can’t last but don’t I deserve the chance to have an actual relationship before my entire world changes?’
Amy sighed and moved around the kitchen table to sit down next to her daughter, a sad look in her eyes as she spoke softly, ‘Baby I know it must be tough for you with everything you know but I can’t let you go to this party especially if I am not going to be there. It’s just too dangerous Gabby.’
‘Then why do we even live here? In this house, or in this town when we could live in one of the realms you guys all have access to? If you won’t let me have a real human experience what’s the point of it all?’
‘Your father and I have tried to give you the experiences we both had when we were growing up but you have to understand that you are still a mortal until your next birthday, meaning you can get hurt and die. Not to mention you can still get pregnant.’
Gabriella shot out of her seat, the glass now half empty of milk falling to the floor and shattering as a cascade of white liquid splashed all over the place, ‘I’m not going to have sex!’ she shouted louder than she had meant to.
In a flash the broken glass and milk were cleaned up as Gabriella’s mother tapped into some of her power and rocketed around the kitchen like a blur. Her hair still not settled on her shoulders she appeared right in front of her daughter, who was too used to this to be shocked, and put both her hands on her slender shoulders.
‘I didn’t say you were baby,’ she smiled, ‘but things happen, you know that as well as anyone does. Do you remember when your sister had that little pregnancy scare when she was sixteen?’
‘Yeah but Anna wasn’t pregnant!’
‘But what if she had been? The child would grow just like any mortal would and eventually die of old age, but his mother would never age. Look I know we’ve had the sex talk before but I need you to be careful until your birthday, then we don’t have to worry about it and you can do whatever you want okay?’
Gabriella turned away from her mother’s touch and walked over to the fridge to get herself something new to drink, ‘I don’t plan on having sex or getting pregnant mom, trust me. I just want to have a little fun tonight and hang out with my friends, which by the way I won’t see ever again after I turn eighteen. And it’s not like I won’t be safe, parents are going to be there and all. Besides Anna takes me to the games the others have in her realm.’
‘SHE DOES WHAT!’ Amy roared and the whole house shook, ‘That little brat! ANNA GET DOWN HERE NOW!’
Two seconds later there was a soft pop in the living room and Gabriella’s mother disappeared in a flash as she rushed into the room, her daughter right on her heels. A short and extremely attractive girl was sitting on the couch, her sandaled feet lifted up and resting on the edge of the very expensive glass coffee table. Her eyes were bright green and shimmered in the light and her hair was short and spiky with purple streaks.
‘What’s for dinner mom?’ Anna asked with a small smile, totally oblivious to the danger she was in just sitting there.
‘Amy just informed me that you bring her to your little gladiator matches with your brothers and sisters!’ she growled and Anna’s grin quickly dropped from her pretty little face.
‘Oh shit,’ she squeaked and Gabriella watched as both her mother and sister became nothing more than blurs, bouncing around the living room as the younger woman tried to avoid getting caught. Gabriella couldn’t help but laugh at the sight before her and she was nearly in tears when her mother finally got her arms around Anna and threw her to the ground. To any other person watching they would see what would be tantamount to abuse but Gabriella knew better. It would take a lot more than being tossed onto the floor to injure her sister and even now she was laughing so hard she could barely move while Amy stood over trying to stifle her own laughter.
‘You win!’ she cried out, ‘I won’t take her to the sparring matches ever again! Happy?’
Gabby’s mother nodded her head quickly and helped Anna back to her feet as they both adjusted their clothes, ‘If it ever happens again though not even Erin will be able to save you,’ she threatened but they all knew it was just a joke. Amy loved Anna as much as she loved her own daughter Gabriella and ever since she had found her in the streets during the attack she had cared for the little orphan.
‘So I ask this once more, what’s for dinner?’
‘Whatever you cook sweetie,’ Amy said as she moved back into the kitchen as the two sisters followed, ‘You’re going to watch over Gabby for the next few days while James and I spend some alone time elsewhere.’
‘Oh yummy! Gonna get you some sweet sweet loving?’
‘Watch it missy! I’ll only be gone for a few days, James has to relieve Erin so we can’t spend that much time cooped up alone. Think you can handle it?’
Anna sat down at the table and started to peel an orange she found in the fruit bowl, handing pieces of it to Gabriella like she was feeding an animal, ‘I can handle it. I’m looking forward to spending some time with my sister.’
‘Promise me you won’t let her go this party tonight,’ her mother said and Gabriella hung her head in defeat.
‘No problem, I’m sure there’s lots we can find around here to do. Besides the remembrance ceremonies are happening all over the world tomorrow if I am not mistaken, so we will go to the one here in town.’
‘I go to it every year!’
‘You’re damn right you do Gabby!’ her mother scolded, ‘And you know why!’
Rolling her eyes Gabriella stood up and knocked away the slice or orange her sister held out for her and started to head out of the kitchen to hide out in her little retreat, her room. Not wanting to be treated like that her mother appeared right in front of here with a stern gaze and a little smile, blocking her access to the stairs.
‘Where are you going?’
‘To my room mom! If I’m not allowed to go to the party tonight I want to call Brian and let him know. Or am I not allowed to do that either?’
‘Can I at least get a hug before I go?’ her mother asked and Gabriella nodded before quickly hugging her, the intoxicating smell of her skin lingering longer than the hug did.
‘Tell dad I’ll miss him,’ she sighed and moved past her mother and headed up to her room.
Gabriella threw herself down on her bed, her fists slamming into the soft mattress as frustration got the better of her. All she wanted was to go to one little party that was going to be chaperoned by multiple parents and her mother had forbidden it. Was it too much to ask to spend a little time having fun like a mortal? She was after all going to be one for the next eight months! Hell her parents had let Anna do whatever the hell she wanted when she was Gabriella’s age, so why was there this double standard now?
Her room had always been a place she could go to be alone whenever she had need of it and over the years she found herself spending more and more time in there. It was the one place her parents wouldn’t just teleport into whenever they wanted so she didn’t have to worry about unwanted visitors. Her sister Anna however didn’t care if it was here room and would often just appear there whenever she felt like pestering the youngster.
Some of her bad mood passing Gabriella picked up the phone and dialled Brian’s number and was surprised when he answered on the first ring. ‘Hey Gabby, I was hoping you would call!’ the boy exclaimed.
‘Why is that?’ she asked with a giggle.
‘I wanted to ask you if you were still coming to the party to try and bring your sister. Some of the guys want to meet her!’
Gabriella’s anger rose up another notch and without saying a word she slammed the phone down with a growl and threw it across the room creating a nice little dent in the far wall. Every single time she started to like a guy they would always be more interested in her mother, or sister, or one of her female ‘cousins’ than her! It was really frustrating for Gabriella and she couldn’t wait until she turned eighteen and became like them, so the boys would look at her finally.
There was a soft knock at her door and a second later Anna opened it a crack and spoke through it, ‘Dinners down on the table Gabby,’ and with a soft pop she knew that her sister had just teleported back into the kitchen. She sure was getting lazy now that she had her powers. Gabriella wiped away the few tears that were clinging to her eyelids and took a moment to regain her composure before heading back downstairs to see what horrible concoction her sister had made for her to eat.
She was mildly surprised when she entered the large kitchen and found a delectable spread put out for her of steaming hot Chinese food with authentic bowls and plates and even some pearl chopsticks. When Gabriella got closer to the table she realized this wasn’t the usual stuff you got delivered from the local buffet but actual Chinese dishes, something you couldn’t just find in the small city they lived in in Northern Canada.
‘Where did you get this from?’ she asked Anna who was standing on the opposite side of the table wearing one of her mother’s aprons.
‘Remember that little place in Beijing I took you too the day I got my powers?’ she asked and Gabriella nodded, ‘Well I got it from there, only took a few minutes really. Do you like?’
‘Of course I do Anna! Thank you so much!’
Gabriella ran over and hugged her sister tightly then sat down at the table and grabbed a set of chopsticks, pulling various pieces of food into a china bowl and tossing them hungrily into her mouth. To her surprise Anna sat down and grabbed herself something to eat as well, gingerly eating it and savouring every flavour. Gabriella knew eating was a very different thing for her sister as she didn’t actually have to eat, but her taste buds were so sensitive that good food was amplified and almost became a religious experience for the immortals.
The two girls ate in silence for a few minutes savouring the great food before them. Anna looked like she wanted to say something as she kept looking over at Gabriella with an odd glint in her eyes, but every time she opened her mouth she quickly stuffed it with food.
‘Is there something on your mind?’ she finally asked her sister when she had had enough of the odd glances.
‘Well I was just thinking that today is a partial birthday for you.’
‘What in the world is a partial birthday? You do realize I don’t turn eighteen for another eight and a half months right?’
‘That’s why it is only a partial birthday silly,’ she teased as she tossed some chicken bones back into the pile of food, ‘It was eighteen years ago tonight that you were conceived!’
‘Eww! That’s more than I ever needed to know!’ she squealed and Anna laughed at her.
‘Just listen to me for a second Gabby. You’re the miracle baby! By total chance you happened to get born when it should have been impossible! Don’t you think you deserve to do something fun on the night that happened?’
Suddenly it dawned on her what her sister was up to and she asked, ‘What did you have in mind?’
‘Well I promised Amy I wouldn’t take you to that local party but she never made me promise to take you to another one,’ she answered with a sly grin, ‘and I know of this really great one happening in London right now. You in?’
Gabriella pretended to mull it over for a few minutes when in reality she had made up her mind the second she heard the offer, she just liked to make her sister sweat. ‘Sounds good to me, but if mom finds out you are taking full blame for it!’
‘Deal! Now go get your cutest outfit on!’
Gabriella quickly wolfed down what was left in her bowl and rushed upstairs leaving the dishes and food storage to the much speedier Anna while she scoured her closet for clothes that would make her look both older and sexier at the same time. It was a hard task as she never really cared what kind of clothes she bought because she knew when she turned eighteen she would just be able to think about what she wanted to wear and it would appear on her body out of thin air. It would definitely save on closet space that was for sure.
She managed to find a pair of blue skinny jeans and pink silk top with extra material at the front of the neck that hung down low in layers and showed off her ample cleavage, one of the parts of her body that she was actually proud of. Her breasts were even larger than Anna’s and she knew once she became an immortal they would look one hundred times better than they already did. Putting on a bit of lipstick and eye shadow she looked at herself in the mirror and was happy enough with what she saw.
Anna appeared in her room a moment later and Gabriella couldn’t help but stare at her with her mouth hanging open, she really was a picture of pure beauty and the clothes she chose to wear accentuated that. She had on a tight black sequined tank top that hugged every one of her curves and really showed off her gravity defying chest. Her jean mini skirt was a lot shorter than Gabriella would ever be allowed to get away with and hung just below her ass cheeks, giving a great view but hiding the really good spots to tease anyone who looked at her.
‘Ready?’ she asked with a smile and Gabriella nodded, grabbing onto her shoulder as she felt herself pulled halfway across the world and landing in the middle of an empty stall in the ladies room.
Anna grabbed her by the hand and led her out of the bathroom into a packed dance club in the heart of London, hundreds of people at the bar or sitting at small tables or even dancing. It was pretty dark in the club and Gabriella could barely see, especially when the multi-colored lights shone right in her eyes and momentarily blinded her. Anna brought her to a small couch near the edge of the dance floor where two men were sitting, but when they saw the beautiful woman approaching they quickly got up and offered them the couch while they went and looked for another place to sit down.
The club was very hot and Gabby could already feel sweat start to build up on her forehead, wishing she was already like her sister that way the heat didn’t bother her and she wouldn’t have to worry about driving guys away by sweating like a pig. Anna said that she was going to get them a couple of drinks loudly so she could be heard over the booming music and disappeared into the crowd leaving Gabriella to fend for herself in this foreign place. Thankfully her older sister wasn’t gone for long and quickly returned carrying two shot glasses of clear liquid and a couple of wine coolers, handing one of each to her before taking her seat.
‘Can you even get drunk?’ Gabriella asked, a question that she had always wanted answered but thought better of asking her parents.
‘I sure can, it just takes like ten times the amount it would for you,’ she said and they held their shot glasses up and tapped them together before tossing the booze down their throats. Gabriella coughed as the vodka seared at her throat and had to wipe away the tears that were forming on the edges of her eyes as Anna laughed at her, ‘Okay, well it would take a hundred times more than it does for you I guess.’
Gabriella quickly took a long swig from her wine cooler and instantly preferred the taste of that more than the shot and would have to remember to tell Anna to only bring her these from now on. It might have been too late though as the room around her started to spin slightly and she quickly realized she was already pretty tipsy. Her parents had never let her try alcohol before and there was never any kept at the house, couple that with the fact that she wasn’t really allowed out of the house after nine in the evening meant she had never had a drink in her entire life.
‘You okay there sweetie?’ Anna asked when she noticed Gabriella teetering on the edge of the couch and pulled her back gently so she was resting on her sister’s shoulder.
‘I think I want some more,’ she replied, speaking a little louder and faster than she normally would have. She held up her empty bottle and looked at it with sadness now that she had just finished it, wanting to feel better than she already did.
Before Anna could say anything or go off and get another one a very handsome man with the strong British chin approached them and spoke directly to Anna, not even giving Gabriella a second glance, ‘I was wondering if I could buy you a drink,’ he said with a confident smile and his eyes danced over the older woman’s delectable body.
‘Only if you get one for my date too,’ she replied and nodded towards Gabriella who was concentrating intently on what she had just heard.
‘Your date?’ the man asked a little perplexed himself.
‘Yeah, this is our first date,’ Anna giggled and gently wrapped her powerful arm around the youngster, ‘I’ve been asking her out for a few months but she said she was only interested in men. She finally caved and agreed to come out with me tonight.’
The man’s smile faded slightly and he quickly nodded before rushing off to the bar, already resigned to the fate that he had already offered to buy her a drink and also knowing he stood no chance what so ever at getting in her pants. He returned a few minutes later and handed the girls a shot each and then stalked back to his pack of guy friends that were huddled at the very edge of the dance floor, throwing furtive glances back in their direction.
‘Why did you do that?’ Gabriella found herself asking.
‘Say I was your girlfriend!’
‘First of all that guy looked like a douche bag, and second of all now you will be the talk of the club tonight!’ she smiled and brushed Gabriella’s long hair out of her face.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Look at them Gabby, they are trying to figure out why I am with you. Don’t get me wrong you are a very beautiful woman but I see the way you look at me and your mother sometimes, with envy in your eyes. Whenever we hang out the guys always pay more attention to me, well tonight is all about you. Just look at them all over there. Who are they looking at?’
Gabriella lifted her head and found the small group of men had suddenly grown and at least a dozen of them were talking quietly amongst themselves and looking over at them. Still not totally convinced she moved away from Anna for a second and was surprised when the men shifted their gaze and followed her with almost hungry eyes.
‘Okay that might be a little too much attention for me,’ she giggled and quickly drank the shot the man had brought her, the searing not as bad as the first one.
‘Let’s fix that then,’ Anna said and quickly planted a soft kiss on her lips before moving away, leaving Gabriella to stare at her as her face turned bright red. ‘Oh don’t give me that look!’ she laughed, ‘It’s not like we are actually related!’
Gabriella found herself at a loss for words so she quickly glanced back at the group of men and found most of them had looked away from her and had dejected looks on their faces. Still a few looked on with half smiles but she quickly squashed those as she snuggled into Anna’s side and planted a small kiss on her cheek, giggling when the men finally lost interest and went after easier prey. She really had to hand to Anna; the girl really knew how to make her feel better and Gabriella would always treasure that about her adopted sister.
As the night wore on the drinks became easier and easier to drink and it wasn’t long before Gabriella was three sheets to the wind and beyond caring about anything around her. She had Anna’s warm body pressed up against her, the sweet smell of her skin in her nose and had the attention of every guy in the building, even if they had given up on trying to hit on her she knew she was still on their minds. Other women who were seeking a safe haven from the hungry looking men who followed them around like lost puppies quickly found their way over to the large couch they shared and integrated themselves into the group when they realized the men seemed to avoid that location.
With great company and great drinks Gabriella enjoyed the night immensely and was a little put out when the barman called last call and Anna quickly went and grabbed them one more wine cooler before they would stop selling them. When one of the women that was sitting with them offered to keep the party going at her place Gabriella was all for it, wanting to soak up as much of this as she could but Anna quickly rejected the offer saying she needed to get Gabriella to bed considering what tomorrow was. So they finished their last drinks, hugged everyone good night and made plans to do it again next week they headed back to the bathroom and hid in a stall half a second before Anna teleported them home.
Thankfully Anna had put them back into Gabriella’s room so she didn’t have to tackle the stairs in her inebriated state, meaning they wouldn’t have to make a trip to the emergency room in the middle of the night and her mother would never have to hear about what they had gotten up to. With no fear of being nude in front of the immortal Gabriella clumsily stripped from her clothes and crashed down on her bed not even bothering to get under the covers.
‘Do you sleep at all anymore?’ she asked when Anna had been about to leave the room.
‘When I get bored enough I suppose, why?’ she asked from the doorway.
‘Sleep in my bed tonight? I don’t want to be alone right now,’ she replied softly as she was already falling asleep. For a few minutes she lay alone in her bed but just as she was about to pass out she felt the mattress shift and felt Anna’s arm wrap around her waist.
When Gabriella woke up in the morning with a horrible taste in her mouth she could barely recall everything that had happened the night before. She remembered being extremely happy and having about ten drinks too many, getting up in the middle of the night on multiple occasions and rushing to the bathroom as those drinks decided they wanted to make a reappearance, but anything other than that was nothing more than a blurry haze. Her head pounded and even the smallest amount of light felt like she was being stabbed in the eyes by hundreds of tiny daggers, but she knew it was well worth it for the night she had.
‘Morning sleepy head,’ Anna said softly from beside the bed and Gabriella rolled over to find her standing there in pure black clothes holding a freshly brewed Tim Horton’s coffee out towards her.
Gabriella waved hello and quickly took the coffee from her sister and drank nearly half of it in one gulp, the burning hot liquid filling her entire body with warmth as some of the haziness behind her eyes lifted. ‘What time is it?’ she croaked, her throat swollen and extremely sore from throwing up so much that night.
‘Almost ten,’ Anna answered and thankfully she kept her voice to nothing more than a whisper, ‘You have to get out of bed and get cleaned up, I’ve laid out some nice clothes for you to wear to the ceremony today.’
With a soft smile and no more words Anna left Gabriella to do her thing, which was a lot harder than she ever remembered it being. Showering was rough when her legs didn’t want to work properly and she had to hold onto the wall most of the time so she didn’t fall and crack her head open, and when she got dressed in the black clothes Anna had picked out of her she looked in the mirror and was disgusted with what she saw. Her face was too pale and she had big black bags under her blue eyes making her look about ten years older than she really was. She applied as much makeup as she dared and left her room to meet up with Anna in the living room as she was watching television.
For the entirety of September seventh every television station on the air would show nothing but footage from the Black Week that had happened eighteen years ago today. The day was a world holiday that kicked off a week long remembrance for when the demon portals had opened and a huge chunk of the world’s population had been killed off in a matter of days. Gabriella knew why it was important to remember what happened but she hated that every station played the footage for an entire day; she didn’t like missing her shows. Both her parents would give her hell whenever she brought that up and she knew it hurt Anna as well, she had been six when it happened and lost both her parents in the first days of the attack. If it hadn’t been for her mother Anna might have died on those streets like billions of others.
‘You ready?’ Anna asked when Gabriella came into the living room, looking at the screen and seeing a picture every person had seen at least a million times; a woman clutching onto her recently born child as dragon soared high above them, ready to deliver death.
‘As I’ll ever be. I would like to state that if I get sick during the ceremony I am not to be held responsible.’
‘Duly noted,’ Anna laughed and got up from the couch, stretching her arms and legs in a very sensual manner, ‘Let’s get on the road, I want good seats!’
They hopped into their mother’s car and drove the nearly empty streets until they got closer to the Civic Center and the streets were quickly packed as every person in the city attended the ceremony. It wasn’t mandatory for people to go but all across the world people took the time to remember what had happened and pay their respects to everyone that had lost their lives.
Anna managed to find a parking spot in the middle of the large parking lot and they quickly walked towards the large multipurpose building, large grey clouds hanging high above them threatening to open up at any minute and cover the city in rain. They made their way inside and filed through the aisles of folding metal chairs placed in neat rows along the floor and found a couple of seats together a few rows back from the front. Gabriella sat down and looked around the room trying to spot anyone she might know but there were just too many faces in the crowd and she quickly gave up. Considering this was a very big deal of Anna it was probably better if she didn’t go off and talk with friends from school.
Within a half an hour the room had filled with nearly eight thousand people sitting in the chairs and a couple hundred more standing along the walls and between the rows, all of their attention now firmly placed on the small stage at the far end of the hall where a small group of city officials were gathering. A couple of camera men moved back and forth along the stage, their large cameras feeding onto massive television screens that were set up at various other locations in the city including the soccer field and hockey rink where the rest of the city had gathered to watch the proceedings. Gabriella preferred to be at the other locations because you didn’t feel out of place talking to your neighbours while everything was being set up, but here the crowd was pulled into a hushed silence as the enormity of the day fell on them.
One by one the officials took their seats on the stage and the lights lowered as a large projection screen lowered behind them signalling the start of the ceremony. Images of destroyed cities and massive fires burning everything in their path filled the screen as the first speaker of the day moved towards the small podium covered in light from a spot light as he pulled a stack of papers from his pocket and unfolded them on the podium.
‘I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for coming out today to pay your respects to the billions lost in the Dark Week. It was eighteen years ago today that the world as we knew it then ended in fire and smoke that reached across the globe and threatened to annihilate everything. In one weeks’ time a third of the world’s population died horrible deaths as nearly every major city fell against the other worldly invaders. We are gathered here today to remember those that are no longer with us and the events that led to their passing. Most of us watched the attacks on the television, safe in our own homes in small cities and towns, but a few of us present today had the misfortune of being there in person as the world crumbled around them.’
The crowd glanced around the room picking out the people the man was talking about, mostly older people who had received brutal wounds during the invasion and were missing limbs or severely disfigured. A few of the people around Gabriella looked towards Anna who they knew had been in the streets of New York as a young child, and as their gaze hit her she shifted uncomfortably in her seat as Gabriella realized she was being dragged back into her memories of those horrible days before her mother had found her being attacked by a demon and saved her from certain death.
‘Before we continue let’s have a minute of silence to honour those that lost their lives and those that survived. Please stand,’ the man said and all at once the large crowd got to their feet, folded their hands in front of them and hung their heads as they paid their respect.
What had once been a British Commonwealth tradition on Remembrance Day, the minute of silence was now done across the entire world as everyone took time out of their lives to pay their respects. Whether you went to the ceremonies or sat in your living room and watched the major events of your country Gabriella was sure there wasn’t a single person who didn’t stop what they were doing at that exact moment and take a minute of silence. It was a very surreal feeling knowing that all across the globe not a single person spoke or made any kind of noise what so ever and Gabriella was moved by it.
After a full and exact sixty seconds the silence was broken by the sound of bagpipes, drums, and horns as the military contingency entered the hall and slowly marched towards the stage carrying large national and international flags that they placed in metal holders on the edges of the stage. When the music stopped the men and women of the military snapped to attention, their heavy boots smacking hard on the ground as the sound reverberated throughout the large room like a whip. The crowd took their seats once more and a heavy looking man walked up the podium to give his speech.
Gabriella tried her hardest to pay full attention to the proceedings but it was a losing battle as her teenage mind filled up with things that didn’t really matter. She really wanted to seem interested for Anna’s sake so she kept her eyes glued to the stage as various men and women came up the podium and delivered speeches for nearly an hour. It was getting close to the time when the ceremonies would be coming to an end and the parade of military, veterans, cadets and boy scouts would move through the city when Anna elbowed her hard in the ribs bringing her attention back from the silly little day dreams she had been having.
‘What?’ she whispered when she caught Anna staring at her.
‘You’re going to want to watch this,’ she hissed back and pointed up to the large screen that had no stopped showing still images of the devastation.
‘Before we conclude the ceremonies we have something new we would like to show you today. Before we do that though I have to say that the images you are about to see are very gruesome and anyone with small children should make their way to the exits now,’ a small woman who was the mayor said into the microphone, and when no one moved towards the doors she continued, ‘We have all heard the stories of the brave men and women who appeared in Tokyo on the last day of the invasion and fought the invaders pushing them back into their portals and closing them. However the videos the Japanese military acquired during the battle were sealed as classified and were never made available to the public. An unknown source sent these videos to my office in the hopes that we would show them so everyone could see what our saviours sacrificed for us. I’m probably going to get in big trouble for showing this too you but I believe you have the right to see what happened in those final moments that changed our world forever.’
A large lump was starting to form in Gabriella’s throat and she quickly looked at her sister only to be pointed back to the screen where a video was showing. She had heard the stories from kids at school and even gotten some of the details from her mother and father but she had never actually been told more than other people knew and it always frustrated her. Both of her parents and her ‘aunt’ Erin had been there that day fighting to save the world but she was always told she would learn everything when she was old enough, basically meaning when she was one of them completely.
The video that was playing was very shaky and you could hear people yelling back and forth in Japanese as guns and tanks fired on a black tidal wave of demons charging at them. As the crowd watched in rapt silence four imposing men and women dropped out of the sky, their golden armour sparkling and went to work cutting down any demon before them. The video had obviously been edited as it quickly jumped over the part where the military opened fire on the immortals not knowing they were on their side, one of the few things Gabriella had learned from her father.
Gabriella had seen her brothers and sisters play fighting from time to time, her mortal eyes unable to keep up with their insanely quick movements but they really had nothing on what she was watching now on the massive screen. All she could make out from the shaky video was severed demon limbs flying through the air as golden blurs tore them to shreds and pushed them closer and closer to their gateway. It was truly awe inspiring and Gabriella couldn’t help but feel pride as she watched the two blurs she knew were her parents work perfectly together in a dazzling display of carnage.
The image quickly moved forward once again and an audible gasp rippled through the people gathered as Gabriella watched in tears as Ares the Betrayer arrived and killed three of the immortals in a matter of seconds. It was almost too hard to watch but she knew she had to, she wanted so badly to see what had happened that had made things the way they were now. The fight between Erin, her father, and Ares was incredible from what she could actually follow and she knew the end was coming. Her mother had just wounded Andromeda and was yelling out at Ares with words the video didn’t pick up and Gabriella realized she had never heard about this part, she was never told her mother had bested one of the strongest immortals and brought her to her knees.
It became quickly apparent why she had never heard about it before when Ares charged at his wife meaning to impale her on his the tip of his spear, but her mother knocked her out of the way and took the spear instead. While others gasped softly to themselves Gabriella couldn’t help but cry out when she saw her mother being tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage and Anna had to put a hand over her mouth as people were starting to look at them funny.
It only got worse though when her father, the immortal known as Gabrielle fought The Betrayer with rage and defeated him, kicking the spear away and preparing to deliver the final blow. He hesitated though and in an instant Ares’s spear reappeared in his hand and he drove it straight through her father and tossed him aside as he jumped back into the Nexus point and escaped. The entire room grew extremely quiet and Gabriella tried not to cry as she watched her father on the screen slowly die as gold blood oozed from multiple wounds. But a miracle happened and he suddenly got to his feet, his wounds completely healed as all three of the remaining immortals embraced and a second later teleported away as the screen went black and the mayor walked back up to the podium with tears in her eyes.
‘This is the only footage that was ever captured of these brave men and women who bled and gave their lives for us. To this day they remain anonymous and have never revealed who or what they were. But thanks to them the people of the world were able to rise back up from the brink of extinction, no longer separated by race, creed or religion we are now untied with the same goal! The goal to keep moving on and keep living! Whether they are the angels some claim them to be or if they are the super heroes that children say they are we know one thing for sure, they are our saviours and we owe everything to them!’
The crowd erupted in applause as they all got to their feet at once and cheered at a still image that had appeared on the screen of the three remaining immortals embracing. Gabriella was lifted to a standing position by Anna and she made herself clap like the others knowing they didn’t need people wondering why she was acting so strangely. A few moments’ later people started to leave and Anna half dragged Gabriella through the crowd and out into the parking lot that was now covered in bright sunlight as the clouds had been chased away. They were half way to the car when a tall skinny blonde boy ran up and intercepted them, a goofy grin on his face as he stared at Anna.
‘Hey Gabby,’ he said without even looking at her, ‘It’s good to see you again Anna. How’s the big city?’ he asked only knowing the cover story as to why the eldest of the Morrison children was no longer living at home.
‘What do you want?’ Gabriella snapped having had enough of his crap.
‘Whoa, are you okay Gabs?’ he asked when he noticed she was softly sobbing and Anna gently put an arm around her.
‘Answer her question first pipsqueak,’ Anna said with an icy edge to her words that seemed to cut deep into Brian as his grin faltered and he averted his gaze.
‘Well… I was just wondering if you guys wanted to come by for the barbeque my parents are having tonight.’
Gabriella felt her sadness start to evaporate as anger started to pump through her body and she had to grind her teeth together to stop herself from lashing out at him with harsh words. The only reason this boy was asking her to come over was he hoped Anna would come as well in the hopes he could ask her out or something. With her immortal senses Anna could tell what her younger sister was feeling and quickly stepped in before she could do something she might regret.
‘Look here you little runt,’ she growled, ‘My sister and I want nothing to do with you so get out of here! Do you really think either one of us would be interested in some little high school kid?’
While Brian tried to gather some of his dignity back Anna turned on her heel and grabbed Gabriella by the hand and together they got in the car and entered the long line as everyone tried to leave the parking lot all at once. After a few minutes of inching forward over and over again they pulled onto the road and headed back home.
‘What was that all about?’ Gabriella asked as they turned onto a side street.
‘It’s nothing you wouldn’t have said yourself Gabby, I just beat you too it,’ Anna giggled, ‘You shouldn’t let yourself feel bad because of guys like that, all they care about is themselves.’
‘Well if you haven’t noticed none of the guys in the family are actually interested in me.’
Anna sighed softly and pulled the car to the side of the road and threw it in neutral before turning to face Gabriella, ‘They are all really good men but to be honest they seem to have taken their destiny a little too seriously and it’s all they really care about. Besides Francis I don’t think any one of them has actually been on a date.’
‘Well Lucy is lucky at least to be married to Francis. But all I am saying is that there are only a handful of people we can actually have a future with and not a single one of them wants to do anything besides training for when the demons come back. How am I supposed to have the human experience if I can’t even have a guy like me? How do you deal with it?’
‘This might surprise you but I haven’t been with a guy since I turned eighteen,’ Anna admitted, ‘It’s just not worth it really. It kind of takes the fun out of sex when you have to make sure you don’t crush the guy you are sleeping with in the heat of the moment.’
‘All the more reason why I want to get it out of the way before I turn eighteen! Do you even realize you are the only person I have ever kissed?’
‘Damn it, I didn’t know that. Look I’m sorry about last night then, if I had known I wouldn’t have done that. Sucks your first kiss went to your sister.’
As Anna pulled the car back onto the road Gabriella wanted to tell her that it was okay she had taken her first kiss but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She barely remembered the kiss to be honest, and what she did remember was only that it felt good but that could have been the copious amounts of alcohol she had in her blood at the time. She was confused about the whole ordeal because first of all Anna was her sister. Sure, they weren’t related by blood or anything like that but it still felt a little weird considering they had grown up in the same house. Secondly Gabriella had always found herself attracted to men over women, but then again the women in her family were some of the most gorgeous people on the planet and it was hard not to notice them, especially when nudity wasn’t a big deal for them and they liked to walk around naked most of the time when they were in their realms. She just didn’t know what to think anymore.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful as Anna plopped herself in front of the television and watched the nonstop coverage of the Black Week while Gabriella got some much needed food into her stomach. Her hangover had pretty much gone away and she only suffered from a few lingering symptoms like sensitivity to loud sounds and a sore throat that quickly became the bane of her existence when she tried to eat and found the pain doubled whenever she swallowed.
A few of her friends from school called but she mostly ignored them figuring they were just wondering why she wasn’t at the barbeque Brian’s parents were hosting, and she didn’t really want to deal with it. She really liked most of her friends but knew she wouldn’t know them for much longer, not only was this their last year in high school but even before classes were out for the summer she would have to leave school behind in May and get to her real life. She would have to remember to ask Anna what exactly it was they did most of the day because she honestly had no clue, did they just sit around waiting the entire time or did they do other things?
As she walked back into the living room with a bowl of hot soup, hoping it would help her throat, she found Anna quietly crying as she watched the television when the station was showing footage from the first few hours of the attack in New York. Gabriella quickly moved to her sister and placed the bowl down on the table before cuddling up to her and wiping away a few tears that had clung to her rosy cheeks.
‘I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you,’ she said softly.
‘I don’t even remember what my real parents looked like,’ she cried and grabbed Gabriella in a big bear hug that nearly cracked the mortals ribs.
‘It’s okay,’ she replied and patted the beautiful woman on the back, ‘Maybe we should turn the TV off for a bit.’
‘Did I ever tell you how long I was on my own before your mom came and saved me?’ she asked between sobs and Gabriella shook her head, ‘Four days. I was out there on the streets for four whole days on my own just trying to find a safe place to hide. I saw hundreds of people fleeing the city but I was too afraid to show myself thinking they were just monsters wearing human bodies or something. I fed myself on garbage and drank whatever water I could find collected in the gutters thinking at any moment one of the demons were going to get me.’
‘Wow that is horrible,’ Gabriella said as she started to cry now herself.
‘And then one of them did find me and it chased me across like ten blocks, just toying with me. I was so scared I remember crying out for my mom and dad but they could never come and help me again, I was utterly alone. Then your mom appeared and killed the thing with her bare hands with almost no effort and when she pulled me up into her arms I knew I would always be safe with her. She was my guardian angel and brought me somewhere the demons could never reach me at and then left to go save the world like it was something she did every day.
‘You remind me of her so much, did you know that? You have both your parents’ strength Gabby and when you become an immortal you will be the brightest one of us all. I truly believe that.’
Without warning Gabriella’s emotions took over and she felt herself leaning towards Anna, her lips seeking the ones she had tasted last night like they were the only thing in the world that mattered in that moment. Anna seemed to be caught totally off guard as their lips met and tried meekly to fight her off, but after a few seconds of half-heartedly trying her lips softened and even began to move against her own. Now the kiss wasn’t exactly soft in anyway, or even a fair event as Anna’s lips were like two solid walls crushing into Gabriella’s but with no pain and all she could do was try and match the movement of her partner.
Blood was rushing into Gabriella’s head and she started to get a little dizzy as the heat in the room seemed to explode around her and she could swear a bead of sweat was forming on her brow. A hard wet tongue was soon striking at her lips looking for an opening and for the first time since she initiated the kiss she began to get a little shy about it all, locking her lips in place like a vice. Anna quickly felt the shift in moods and pulled back from the kiss looking almost as flushed as Gabriella felt, a shocked look on her face.
‘I really shouldn’t have done that!’ she berated herself but Gabriella quickly put her hand on her mouth and shook her head.
‘You didn’t do anything; I’m the one that started it. I’m so sorry!’
As Anna was opening her mouth to say something back the little confidence Gabriella still had left her and she jumped off the couch and ran towards the stairs hoping to escape into her room, not really sure what else she should do. Three steps from the top she came to a crashing halt when Anna suddenly appeared and blocked the way, scaring Gabriella so badly she almost toppled back down the stairs as her knees started to buckle.
‘Holy shit! Was it really necessary to scare me like that?’ she demanded.
‘Sorry,’ Anna apologized softly, ‘Can we just keep what happened between us though? I’m pretty sure your mother would flay me alive if she knew what happened, and I really don’t want you to get in trouble either sweetie.’
‘I won’t tell anyone,’ Gabriella replied, ‘I promise. You’re right though, I never should have done that, I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean come on; you’re way out of my league.’ She tried to laugh off the awkwardness that seemed to be hanging over them like a thick fog but all she managed to do was make herself feel worse.
‘Don’t do that to yourself Gabby,’ Anna scolded, ‘I’d be lucky to have you in my life like that and so would a million other people okay. You’re smart, funny, attractive, kind, and honest. You’re a real once in a life time catch sweetie.’
‘Really?’ she asked with her heart in her throat.
‘Yes really! Now go put something nice on, I want to take you somewhere nice to eat.’
A second later Anna disappeared and Gabriella rushed up the few steps left and into her room looking for something nice she could wear. It had been a long time since she had actually gone out to eat and she hoped it wouldn’t be in the city they lived in but somewhere exotic and hard to find. Having a sister who was an immortal did have some benefits.