“Honey, are you sure this is the right place?” Mrs. Topps asked her daughter. The three-person family stood in front of a Chinese restaurant. A neon red sign came on as dusk fell around them; it read: “Donna Chang’s”. “We don’t like Chinese food,” she reminded Andrea.
“You and dad don’t like it,” the teenage girl said with a visible eyeroll. “I love it. But we’re here because this is where my new friend likes to hang out.”
“Is she Chinese?” The older woman asked.
“She’s a werewolf,” Andrea replied with a shrug.
“From China?” the mother asked with a concerned tone.
“Dad?” Andrea turned around to ask her father for help. He smiled and reached up to pat his daughter on the head.
“I think your mother’s allowed to give you a hard time if you’re making up stories about werewolves, vampires, and dragons. It’s all in good fun,” he said with a smile. Andrea sighed, but she knew there was no sense arguing. She’d be able to prove she was telling the truth within the next few minutes.
“C’mon,” Andrea led her parent into the restaurant. Despite it being a Friday evening, the restaurant was mostly empty. A single teenage girl sat at a large table; she turned toward the door when the tinny bell over the door signaled new customers. She recognized Andrea and ran over to the trio with a large smile on her face.
“Hey Andy!” she said. When she reached the family the two teenagers greeted each other with a hug.
“Justice, these are my parents,” Andrea gestured at the adults behind her, then turned toward them. “Mom, dad. This is Justice.”
“Hi!” Justice shook the hands of each parent.
“Justice is a werewolf,” Andrea said. “Show them!” she grinned. Justice nodded and stood up straighter. She took several deep breaths, then grunted as if she was straining. She shut her eyes and clenched her teeth. Her head changed shape as dark black fur pushed out of her skin on her forehead. The fur continued to grow out down her face, neck and under her shirt down her arms. Her face became an elongated snout with a black nose and purple glowing eyes.
During the girl’s transformation, Martha Topps stepped next to her daughter while Arnold stepped in front of them. Within a few short moments, the fair-skinned girl was replaced by a black-furred humanoid wolf.
“What do you want?” Arnold asked; his voice trembled with fear. The fur began to recede back into the girl’s skin; her snout grew shorter.
“Orange beef,” the girl, now Justice again, said with a smile. She turned and walked back to the table. Andrea stepped around her dad and followed her friend. Mr. and Mrs. Topps stood in shock watching their daughter chat animatedly with the wolfgirl.
“Table for two?” A sudden, bright voice said behind them. Both parents jumped; Arnold jumped higher. They turned and saw a dark-skinned waitress smiling at them. Her name tag said: Britt.
“She’s a werewolf!” Arnold hissed a whisper at the waitress while pointing at Justice.
“The owner and the cook are dragons,” Britt shrugged. “That’s the kind of place this is.” Arnold looked at his daughter; she was smiling. He did not see that often around the house.
“Is she in any danger?” He asked Britt.
“My daughter,” Arnold nodded at the table with the two girls. “The one that’s not a werewolf.”
“OH! You’re Andrea’s parents? Nice to meet you!” Britt greeted them both with a handshake. She looked at the table and nodded.
“Justice is trying to get her to join roller derby. Andrea’s in danger of having too much fun.” Britt smiled and waved as she headed back to the kitchen. The couple obviously did not need her help to find a table.
“Roller derby? Oh no. I’ve seen those women on TV, they’re so violent,” Martha whispered in her husband’s ear as they walked to the table.
“Guess what!? Justice said I could try out for her roller derby team!” Andrea said as her parents sat down. Arnold nodded.
“We’ll go cheer you on,” he said. He glanced at Martha and she nodded. Both of them knew not to mention their worries to Andrea.