Author's note: I wrote this novel to tie into more novels I plan to write (this is book 2 or 3ish). I hope for... Show full author's note »
ZionThe deep purple glob slides down my canvas, slowly heading for the bottom.
“You know? I bet it would look even prettier if you were to use your brush,” his warm breath tickles my ear.
I quickly bring the brush up, blending the bright paint with the rich twighlight blue sky. The dark color of the scenery contrasted with bright subjects; a large full moon and a salt white wolf. Her attention is elsewhere, but the viewer can still see the passion and fire dancing in her eyes. Her canine lips are slightly curled up, obviously amused.
“When your teacher said ‘self portrait,’ I don’t believe this is what he was implying,” Daniel’s thick British accent hangs heavily in his words.
He places his head closer to my own and breathes deeply, taking in my scent. It was an Alpha Male thing to do; make my scent permanent in his mind. Though it annoyed the human part of me to no end, the Wolf loved that I was his. I couldn’t help the sigh of pleasure as he nuzzled his face into my neck; another Alpha thing.
Dang, I hated the Wolf at the moment.
Returning to the conversation I commented, “You know I can’t draw a self portrait; or any human form for that matter. Just the animal I know is inside every being.”
“Well, then it is fortunate you were able to convince you very human instructor to allow you to draw your ‘animal spirit,’” he said with a small chuckle in his tone. “However, it is a shame that not even I can get those beautiful eyes right.”
I laugh at him and think about what I should use for my unique eyes. They were a misty silver blue with bright silver splashes and a thin silver outline. I grabbed my usual mixture of light blue and silver as Daniel hands me a container with just water.
“Lighten the background; it seems to dark for a full moon…”
I harrumph as I turn around quickly, placing my brush on the easel as I turn. I come face to neck with the now upright Daniel. His beauty takes my breath away and I place it on another file in my memory.
His naturally layered hair is charcoal black except the tips, which were neon green this month. His honey colored skin still held on to a natural tan, though it was the middle of winter and I couldn’t help grimace that I was still a very stubborn pale. I took a deep breath and met his perfectly unique eyes. The emerald green was accompanied by golden sprinkles and gold inside rim.
Huskily he said, “You’re staring… again.”
I grin because he is obviously staring as well, and our grins turn to beams as he gently places a ringlet of my hair behind my ear. Without realizing it, we were both leaning into each other, however, I picked up his scent right as our lips were about to meet. I gently push back and cry out, “You ran without me!” The musk of pine and decaying leaves washed off his body like heavy cologne.
That earned me a lopsided grin that was all wolf. “Do you want to go running with me? I can go for a third round…”
Raising a delicate eyebrow, I replied, “Third time?”
It wasn’t harmful for Daniel to Shift again, but it seemed he wanted to lose himself to the Wolf, which was dangerous. At first, it seemed that Daniel was simply getting used to his pelt, and wanted to try it on more often. When we were younger, Daniel would refuse to Shift for months at a time because he didn’t want the older wolves picking his brain.
However, the issue became moot when we were declared Alphas, with the ability to block out all the prodding minds of those who were of a lower status; meaning we could get still get inside each other’s minds.
I knew he would resent the concern that filled my voice, but I spoke the words anyway, “Are you sure you want to Shift again? Remember what happened to Jocelyn…”
“Jocelyn was a weak Alpha who couldn’t handle the death of her five hundred and sixty year old mate- err- husband,” Daniel retorted, a lecturing quality in his voice.
Wares, unlike the rest of the supernatural order, could only live to be about four hundred and fifty years old. Jocelyn’s husband, Frank, was a very rare exception.
My concern drifted away as Daniel took my small hand in his large one, and led me out of the small green room. We stepped onto the small pathway that Sara had been hard at work on for the past week, the stones in the perfect positions to be on flat ground and not too far away. She had also made sure to make a beautiful garden that followed the path at every turn and wrapped snuggly around the mansion. The soil was full of brightly colored blooms; there were enough blossoms to start a flower shop. I gently let my fingers touch the soft petals, brushing them slightly to the side. A butterfly quickly glides into my field of vision, then onto a lilly.
“Do you like the garden, Elise? I made sure to plant the Fallopia aubertii under your window, so you can see it at night,” Sara says as she points to the vine. It is a beautiful plant that has the most gorgeous silver flowers in the summer.
“It’s perfect, Sara, and thank you so much. I love it!” I say as I smile at the thirteen year old girl.
She beams in pride and skips away, humming an odd tune. Daniel nudges my hand and we continue on toward the clearing where we normally Shift. As we neared, I could smell the sharp scent of pine and freshly cut grass. I turn to see Randy mowing the lawn, carefully avoiding Sara and her garden stones. He smiles and waves as he cuts off the engine.
“Hey, y’all goin’ runnin’?” Randy’s heavy accent was quite comical. We tried telling him that there is a ‘g’ at the end of most of his “in’s”.
“Yes, would you like to go with us?” I ask politely. I knew he would refuse; the only wolves who enjoyed running with the Alphas were the two toddlers, Logan and Lila.
“Nah, I’m warnin’ y’all to stay away from the lake, its duck season an’ there’s hunters,” he look off toward the house and then down to Sara who was dead heading roses.
“Thank you for the warning, Randy. We’ll stay away,” Daniel says as he nods, dismissing Randy. Randy also nods then jogs over to Sara, who gives him another job.
I hear the sound of bones crunching and a large thump as Daniel’s paws hit the grass. I turn to look at his Wolf. His gleaming black pelt was layered like his hair, and his brilliant green eyes gazed up at me.
*Are you gonna Shift? Or just stand there admiring me?* he asks jokingly.
I shake my head and grab his extra large t-shirt. I shrug it on over my own clothes and then look at him. He knows that I want him to turn around to give me some privacy, but he just sits there and watches. Shaking my head again, I wiggle out of my clothes while keeping his shirt on to cover my naked body.
After that I prepare for the Shift. I allow my mind and body to submit to the Wolf inside of me. She slowly and gracefully takes my body and melds it inside her own, then her mind becomes my own, and there isn’t a difference between her and I, it is just me as the Wolf. I look down and see Daniel’s shirt puffed out above my thick pelt and I know I am grinning as best a wolf can.
Daniel saunters over, then carefully grabs the top of the shirt collar in between his teeth and pulls it off as a wriggle out. *Why do you put that on? We are going to be mates for four hundred and fifty years! And I still haven’t gotten to even go through the Mating Ritual with you!* Daniel whines as he drops the shirt by his other clothes.
I roll my eyes. Daniel has been insisting we go through the Mating Ritual for the past two years, but I think, I being only fifteen, that I am too young. It involves a lot of intimacy and romance and I wasn’t prepared to give it to him quite yet. I had also made him promise to give me a wedding first, that way we would be a couple to humans and Weres.
*Hey, Salt! What up, Pepper?* the Seconds greeted us. They were also mates, but they wouldn’t be Alphas unless something happened to either Daniel or I.
Both of them were beach blonde wolves, almost identical in color. They were as bright as a burnt out light bulb. Sasha, the girl, was significantly smaller then Sam, the guy. They also had nicknamed us based on our pelt colors, which was just simple minded.
I however, hated being called Salt, since I was their Alpha and wanted a little more respect from the Seconds. I growl and reply, *Call me that again and I will make those blonde coats very red.*
Daniel bumps my hip, saying, *Aw, lighten up… Salt.*
I huff and pointedly look back at the trail I would run in my skin.
*No, no, stay Elise, please!* He quickly drops down to his stomach and looks up at me with his emerald eyes. Then he whimpers, just slightly.
*I* invented *that look*, I laugh as I jump on top of him.
He quickly jumps out from under me and nips my tail playfully. We begin horse playing, yipping at each other silly things that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. *Race ya!* He barks as he lowers himself to his chest with his butt and tail in the air.
I agree my darting onto the well hidden path that we run in our pelts.
Though I am the fastest runner in the school, Daniel is much faster then I in our pelts. It doesn’t take but a moment for him to be on my heels; with his head down, ears back, and tongue sticking out. I start laughing as he huffs at my tail.
“Hello your Majesty and Royal Wickedness.”
I immediately drop to my stomach as Daniel soars over my body then covers it with his own. The sound of that voice makes my heart stop and my old scars seem to light on fire.
“No need to be overprotective Pepper, I won’t harm Elise,” he said with true malice in his eyes.
Daniel growled low and menacingly at the man. *Zion, Shift now.*
Zion pulled his human lips back and made a human growling sound, “I am not of your pack, Daniel. I never will be.”
Daniel exposed his own teeth and growled, *Shift or I will send my pack to tear you to shreds!*
Zion seems calm as he considers this, “Your pack of nine? The smallest pack this side of the state? Unlikely. You know as well as I do, Daniel, that I do not travel alone and will not leave without exposing you for who you truly are; a beast.”
Daniel doesn’t make a sound, and Zion silently shifts into his shaggy black Wolf, his clothes lying in a neat pile by his side. I look at a twig in Daniel’s fur, and then at his ear, then at anything that distracts me from my burning scars.
*Please, Elise. I know what he told you about what I did, and it isn’t true. I wasn’t the one who hurt you, you must believe that!* Zion begged in his heavy English accent, looking only at me; there was true pain in his eyes.
I finally let myself try to remember what happened the night I almost lost my life.
      
*I was sitting in my pelt, watching the sunset in the clearing. I hear a twig snap. I think for a moment that it might be Randy, who would also come and watch. I turn my head slightly and see a beautiful black wolf in my peripheral vision.
Since Zion and Daniel were the same age, they were battling over who would rule the pack at my side. I had strong feelings for Daniel that I never could explain even then, but I also felt an irresistible pull to Zion. It was as if a string was connected to the two of us, and with Daniel, I felt a burning passion. I couldn’t tell if it was negative or positive, however.*
Hello, which of you is it; Daniel or Zion? *I asked. I hadn’t grown used to their different scents yet, so I had to either ask them who was who or look at their eyes.
Daniel’s eyes were vivid green with gold. Zion’s eyes were a deep blue, with a black burst and black ring on the outside. In their skins it was easier to tell them apart. Daniel had layered black hair and the build of a high school quarterback. Zion had shaggy black hair and the build of one of the P90X or Insanity guys.
When the wolf didn’t answer I turned around to look at them. However, right as I was looking at his face, he closed his eyes and attacked me. Our Alpha, Jocelyn, was at her husband’s bedside and not paying any attention to her pack.
I try to defend myself against the attacker, but since all male werewolves are larger than the females, I quickly find I am fighting a losing battle. I make a desperate call to any of the Pack members to help me before the loss of blood makes me pass out.*
     
When I awoke a few hours later, both Daniel and Zion were fighting in the room over who had hurt me. I never quite understood how the Pack had decided it was Zion, but since I didn't see my attacker’s eyes, I couldn’t argue.
*So you don’t remember. Daniel, you lying bastard! Tell her the truth! Tell her how it was you who decided that since the possibility of you losing Alpha was so great, attacking and hurting her was your only option!* Zion fiercely growls.
I carefully hide behind Daniel, but put a little space between us. I wonder if it might be true. I still felt a passion for Daniel, and I still didn’t know if it was love or just something negative; yet, standing so close to Zion, I feel that pull again.
Zion turns to look at me, and I know he feels it, too.
Daniel growls, low and harsh, *Go, now!*
He takes a quick step back, pushing into me and forcing me to take step back. Daniel continues doing this until we are in our familiar clearing. He shift quickly and dresses in a matter of moments, then ha barks at Sara and Randy to grab my clothes and bring it all inside. They follow his orders to the dot, and then Sara comes back out and places two year old Lila on my back. The young werewolf squeals and holds on to the scruff of my neck.
“What happened? I smelt a foreign wolf, then y’all were back and he was angry and now I am scared,” Sara whispers in my ear as we walk in the house, I still being in wolf form.
*Zion was the wolf. Daniel is mad because… Well it’s Daniel. He is always kinda peeved,* I reply carefully climbing the stairs to my room where Daniel and Randy were arguing.
“How the hell did you miss him? *He was right there*! You should stop flirting with Sara and do your job! I will kick you out of the pack so fast your head will spin, and I will make sure you never see Sara again!” Daniel yells at Randy, who looks so mad he might explode.
“*My* job? You were two feet away from him! I couldn't smell him because I was in human form and taking care of Logan, *not* anywhere near Sara! Besides, it ain’t your decision whether or not I see her again! She decides that for herself, as she so obviously understands!” Daniel yells back, his accent so heavy it is difficult to understand what he is saying.
*Stop*, I growl. Both of them look at me, then Lila, and then Sara, who is standing in a submissive position with her head down and arms behind her back.
Randy storms over to Lila; practically ripping her off my neck, then grabs Sara’s hand, leading them both away from the room.
I quickly shift behind the dressing screen in the room, when Daniel says, “That could’ve gone better.”
“Ya think?” I ask as I cross my arms, stepping out from behind the screen.