I almost laughed. What if I didn’t think he deserved any attention? Did Mr. D just give me leave to ignore the lecture? Nice.
“Thank you so much, Michael, for that introduction. I hope that in the next three hours you will come to learn a bit about vampires and the vampire threat. We’ll also discuss relations with humans and the future of werewolves in this world. I do hope I have your undivided attention.”
I snorted, and Mr. Dawson winked at me as he walked back to his spot against the wall.
The first hour of the lecture was spent talking about vampires and their abilities. Then the plans they had to keep us protected during the night when the vampires would be out.
But slowly what he was talking about changed. It was little comments here and there sprinkled in, but as I recalled each one, they added up to all the ways that werewolves were the best species on the planet. We had a merciful five-minute break and then it was back to the lecture.
The second hour turned my stomach. If there was any doubt that I disliked the man, it quickly disappeared. Mr. Hoel droned on about how humans were the weaker species and differences between the two. Throughout the course of that hour, I found myself grinding my teeth.
I’d heard this before—Caucasians versus African Americans, women versus men—same bullshit arguments. Anything but equality was just a load of crap. It made one half-white, half-Mexican, part-werewolf, part-bruja woman want to scream. I didn’t fit into any nice little box in Los Angeles, and I sure didn’t fit into any of Mr. Hoel’s boxes now that I added a hefty dose of werewolf into the mix. I had a good feeling that I was a “lesser citizen” in his eyes. Mustering up the ability to give a shit about that was exceedingly hard. This was some Hilter youth bullshit that Mr. Hoel was trying to pull, and I sincerely hoped I wasn’t the only one seeing through his line of crap.
The third hour was brutal. Halfway though I was jonesing to hit something. Or maybe just a specific someone. Too many of my classmates were nodding or clapping to his conclusions. Didn’t they see how wrong this was?
When the time came for questions, I made sure mine was the first hand up.
I stood from my chair when he nodded at me. “I get that going to school here means that I have to listen to you wax poetically about how much better werewolves are than humans, but don’t you think that you’re being a little racist? Or maybe more appropriately species-ist? And what good would it do to really show up the humans? You want to start a species war in a world that is already ravaged by injustice. You talk about honor among wolves, but I don’t see any honor in what you’re implying.”
I expected the open mouths and gasps from my classmates, but what I didn’t expect was the clapping and cheering from the back of the room. I pulled out the sides of my invisible skirt and curtseyed before sitting down.
“I wouldn’t expect you to understand,” Mr. Hoel said. His words were clipped. “A former human would have little hope of grasping at the complexities of what we covered today and will cover in any future lectures.”
I cleared my throat. “It’s a good thing that being new isn’t the same thing as being ignorant. I’m grasping your complexities quite well, I just happen to vehemently disagree with them. And I have to say your vitriol on the human condition really gets under my skin.”
“I don’t understand—”
“What? Were my words too big for you? Which ones, and I’ll try to explain.”
Meredith elbowed me. “Oh my God! Stop,” she mumbled.
Mr. Hoel strode down the aisle toward me, but Mr. Dawson stepped between us. “Class dismissed. Everyone clear out.” Mr. Dawson’s order echoed in the silent gym. I wanted to stay and argue with the ignoramus but Adrian grabbed one arm and Meredith the other. They dragged me out of the gym.
“Do you have a death wish?” Meredith whispered. “You already know the Hoels have it out for you. Why’d you do that?”
I shrugged out of their grasp and continued walking to our dorm. “No one was contradicting him. I couldn’t just sit there and let him think that we all agreed with that bullshit.”
“Well, it was dumb,” Adrian said. “He’s a powerful enemy for anyone to have, but especially so for a recently bitten girl.”
“Standing up against prejudice is never ever dumb.”
He sighed. “That’s not what I meant.”
“Sure.” I shrugged. “And look, it’s not like he wasn’t already my enemy. The only thing that changed is that everyone knows it. That could save my butt.”