Part 6: A New Beginning

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Dr. Cummings gave me two gowns so I wouldn't flash anyone on the plane. He tried to hide his snicker of amusement, but I saw the look that passed between he and Evan. I ignored it, put my gowns on, and stomped off toward the main entrance.

The driver didn't blink, but the pilot openly grinned at my attire. I sighed and settled in for the flight. It was a pretty snazzy little plane. Large, leather captains chairs (that swiveled!) in a elegant bone color, a small round cherry table bolted in to the floor on one side, and plush navy blue carpeting set off the inlaid wood accents on the walls and the hand-blown glass light fixtures. I buckled in and thanked Evan for the blanket he tucked around me. I don't remember much after that until Evan shook me awake as we were getting ready to land.

"I called ahead. One of my pack will be waiting at my house with some clothes for you. We can go out shopping tomorrow if you like, but you seem pretty beat. Let's get you home and settled in for the day, okay?"

When the pilot opened the cabin door, a brisk wind whistled through my gown. I couldn't help the shiver that ran through me. The pilot handed me the blanket, I'd left on my seat.

"Here, take this. It's too nippy out for you to be out there without proper clothes."

I thanked him and grinned ruefully as Evan wound the blanket tightly around me. I wasn't expecting him to pick me up, but the next thing I knew we were out the door and Evan was sprinting across the pavement to the waiting car. A short ride later and we were in Evan's SUV heading for my new home.

It felt so weird to think of it as my new home. I had no idea where I was going, what it would look like, or what to expect. Evan was silent as he drove and I found myself reluctant to break the silence. So much had happened so fast that if I thought about it too long I started to panic. What was I going to do now? I couldn't be an accountant, the papers I signed expressly forbid it. I could go to college for something else, but I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. It was all so sudden and permanent. I found myself wishing I could call Caleb and talk it over with him, but I knew I would never be able to.

Bad enough to have to start over. Worse to be doing it completely alone.

Though, I did have Evan. Sort of. He seemed like a decent man. Sort of serious, quiet, but not somber. He'd laughed with me a few times, joked a bit here and there. I wondered what his house was like and if I'd be comfortable there. Would we get along or would we drive each other nuts? Why had he volunteered to take me home with him? Did he feel sorry for me or was it more obligation because he'd turned me into a wolf? It was all too much to worry about so I tried to tune it out and look at the countryside.

We were on a little two lane road that twisted and turned through tree-covered mountains. The trees towered over us, taller than any I'd ever seen before. The pines were so odd, they grew straight up with almost no branches until the upper half sprouted out like a Christmas tree. The further we went, the more remote it became. As we drove, the trees began to arch up over the road until it looked like we were driving through a tunnel of leaves. It was incredibly beautiful but very different from the somewhat urban area where I used to live.

It wasn't more than a couple of hours before we pulled up outside a rather modern home. It was sided in cedar gone silver gray with age and there seemed to be windows everywhere. There wasn't another house in sight, so the windows weren't covered at all. The house was perched on the side of a mountain with trees surrounding it on three sides. The fourth side faced off the edge of a cliff with a breathtaking drop down the mountainside to the Pacific Ocean. There was an oversize deck with a dozen or so Adirondack chairs placed so that people could watch the ocean while chatting. I stepped out of the SUV and took a deep breath of chilly air that was full of the scent of brine. I could just barely hear the waves of the ocean far below us. It was utterly peaceful and I knew that while it wouldn't be easy, this refuge would help me find my place in this new life of mine.

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