Finished Chapter One and want to keep reading? By all means…
Chapter 2 Scene 1
“Do you want to talk about it?” Robert asked after we’d driven most of the way back to Wolf Landing without speaking. “Perhaps I shouldn’t pry,” he added. “But you haven’t complained once about my choice of music. Either you’ve become an appreciator of the Southern twang at long last or you have something seriously weighty on your mind.”
Despite my best intentions to brush his concern aside, I couldn’t help smiling at the human’s astute observations. Trust Robert to pick up on my internal struggle after only a few hours in my company when I’d managed to hide my lupine issues from every single member of my pack…including my mate…for weeks on end.
“It’s no big deal,” I said, then gave up on my attempt at minimizing worry. “Well, I guess it is a big deal, to me at least. My wolf is getting too big for her britches and she keeps trying to force me to do things I don’t want to do.”
Robert’s eyebrows twitched in response, but he didn’t pull over and push me from the car the way I thought he might have done. And when I sniffed at the air, I noted that there wasn’t even a hint of alarm in his scent.
Instead, my partner merely let the quiet rumble of the road roll between us for a moment before prodding gently. “What sort of things?” he prompted.
“Things like shifting in public. Things like going off to hunt butterflies when we have important pack duties to attend to.”
Things like gnawing on a corpse’s bloody arm…but I didn’t think that final failing was particularly helpful to mention in mixed company. Or, well, in any kind of company for that matter.
“And that’s unusual?” Robert asked. “I mean, I thought your wolf and human sides were allies, two minds sharing the same body. Surely sometimes even the best partners disagree?”
I expected my wolf to offer her own answer to Robert’s question. After all, she didn’t think we shared the same body. She thought our animal half possessed a perfectly functional body of its own, thank you very much, and one we should have spent quite a bit more time inhabiting.
But my inner animal’s hyperactivity earlier in the day must have worn her down because she remained resolutely silent. In fact, when I squeezed my eyes shut in an effort to focus on our shared inner space, I couldn’t even find my lupine partner at first glance. Only after I dug deep into our communal consciousness did I finally discover my previously unruly wolf curled up into a ball, a vague whisper of a whine emanating from her muzzle with each exhale.
Are you okay? I asked, nudging at the wolf’s comatose form the way a child might poke at the hole where a baby tooth had recently been located.
Sleepy, my animal half responded after a long moment.
Well, that was a relief. Her tone was sluggish, but at least she was no longer begging to transform at all the wrong moments. Maybe our partnership was looking up after all.
And then Robert’s voice brought me out of my worries with an abrupt change of subject. “Whose birthday is it?” he asked, an amused smile flickering across his usually solemn face.
By this point, we were winding along the gravel drive that separated the gated entrance of our new pack lands from the various buildings located therein. And when I gazed out at the view, I broke into a grin ten times wider than the one my companion currently sported.
Because Wolf Landing’s driveway was lined with paper streamers and helium balloons, a huge banner above the doorway of the community building lending a festive air even though I couldn’t read the words from our current vantage point. Meanwhile, the entire clan had assembled on the front lawn, a motley assortment of wolves and two-leggers united by the broad smiles stretching across all of their faces.
“It’s nobody’s birthday,” I answered, my wolf’s disobedience earlier in the day abruptly forgotten. “Except for Wolf Landing’s. It looks like our request to be granted probationary pack status went through without a hitch.”