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Je m’appelle…" Catrine’s mouth formed the words smoothly; they slipped from her lips like a caress.

Venus tried to repeat it, but she knew she wasn’t as graceful. Her multiple fangs got in the way. Still, for Catrine she would try.

Je… m’appelle…” She hesitated, worrying at her lower lip. Finally she said, “Je… m’appelle… Catrine.”

The white cat laughed gaily, shaking her head in a way that made her lavender curls bounce around her shoulders.

Non.” She reached her hand out, laying it gently on Venus’ knee. “I am Catrine. You are Venus. For which I am very, very grateful. Try again?”

Venus found learning French difficult, but when Catrine asked her in that sultry accent, she was helpless to argue. She braced her hand on the trunk of her favorite tree, where she and Catrine came to study every day, and took a calming breath.

Je m’appelle Venus.”

"Fantastique!" Catrine leaned in, brushing her lips softly against Venus’. And when that was the reward, who wouldn’t want to learn French? “Now you will be able to introduce yourself to my family.”

Venus smiled, happy, and returned the kiss with a bit more enthusiasm.

"That’s the idea."


Izzy sat in the back of the biteology classroom, watching the gorgon ghoul’s snakes slither over one another, sliding sinuously over the ghoul’s neck and then back up into her pony tail. The gorgon was new to Monster High; Toralei had said to be nice to her because she was Deuce’s cousin and it would annoy Cleo de Nile to no end.

Toralei did live to make Cleo stomp her foot and squeal, “Oh my Ra!”

Izzy didn’t care so much, because she was indifferent to Cleo, but it was easier to keep Toralei happy. The gorgon ghoul was hard to approach for some reason, however. She exuded a quiet confidence that didn’t leave much for Izzy to get a talon in. And something about her pricked at Izzy. Izzy told herself it was because she’d enjoyed being the only scaled ghoul at school, and she didn’t like being usurped by some new ghoul. The gorgon might have snakes, but Izzy had wings- and fire.

Still, she couldn’t take her eyes off of her.

Finally the bell rang. With a sour twist of her lips, Izzy gathered her books slowly, waiting for the gorgon ghoul to exit the classroom before her. She followed, a few steps behind, going into the bathroom behind the new ghoul when she pushed through the door. Two sinks away, she pulled out her lip gloss fiddling with it, watching the gorgon from the corner of her eye. The snake-haired ghoul rummaged through her handbag, sighing as she apparently didn’t find whatever she was looking for. Her snakes lifted and hissed.

Izzy noticed that the gorgon was scratching at her arm. Understanding- and sympathy- hit. She rummaged in her own purse.

“It’s Sthena, isn’t it?” she asked ask she dug in the cluttered depths, cutting her eyes slightly toward the gorgon, who nodded, and looked at Izzy quizzically.

Izzy’s hand found the vial she was looking for, and she poured some of the creme inside out into her palm. Gesturing toward the area on Sthena’s arm that had clearly been bothering her earlier, she asked, “May I?”

“Okay,” the gorgon said, skepticism clear in her voice. But her eyes widened behind her tinted glasses, and she let out a relieved hiss as Izzy spread the creme on her forearm.

“My mom said it’s the best for us ghouls with scales,” Izzy explained. “The AC in this school is a bitch for us, you know?”

Sthena laughed, and Izzy dared to meet her eyes, which were safely obscured behind the greenish lenses. Oh. The creme had been applied, but suddenly Izzy didn’t want to let go- and the gorgon wasn’t making her.

Well. Toralei had said to be nice, hadn’t she?

Izzy smiled, her hooked fangs pulling back from her freshly glossed lips. When Sthena returned the look, Izzy dropped her hand to catch the other ghoul’s.

“Got any plans for lunch?”

January 2017

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