Author’s Note: It’s damn short but brimming with information. I would like to use this note to mention that Garth may possibly be my most favourite home-made fictional character ever. ;)
Lark coming in a close second.
The house was entirely too stuffy. Too loud, too full of many differing scents. It was doing my head in. So I stepped outside for a while. The night was cool and, while I could still smell a variety of people, there was nothing better than breathing in fresh air. I was struggling. I was in trouble.
“You want to tell me what’s up your butt?”
I glanced over to Garth quickly. I must be tired. I hadn’t smelled that he was close and, of course, I hadn’t heard him pad over. He was a cat through and through. I breathed deeply and growled lowly in the back of my throat. He smelled like her. Dammit, I was in big trouble.
“That. That’s what I mean. You’ve been on edge since the end of the game. Mate, as much as you love your other shape, you are not an actual wolf. You’re letting your animalistic side show through.”
I sat down on the porch steps and pushed my hair back. “Maybe that’s what makes me, me.”
He sighed and leaned against the post at the top of the stairs, his arms folded. “Okay, then do you mind telling me why you practically mowed me down back there and claimed the kid? Because, while you like to claim ignorance, you know that my tastes run different to your very obvious ones and I’m no threat to you.”
“Yeah, I’ve been pretending I didn’t know about your orientation. I wasn’t sure if you were keeping your tastes secret for a particular reason, I didn’t want to make you feel like you were giving off a gay vibe just because I’d picked it up.”
He winced. “Well I don’t like shouting it off the rooftops when everything’s working just fine keeping it under wraps. But don’t change the subject, idiot.”
I sighed, rolling my shoulders irritably. “I’m in trouble, Garth.”
“No need to tell me that.”
I shook my head. “No, it’s bad. Inside the house, all I can smell is her. I’m lucky that she hasn’t gone in my room or I wouldn’t sleep. But still, it’s weaving into my brain, taking hold and it’s making me insane. I can only think about her and it’s making me want to do some pretty stupid things. I keep getting urges… I nipped her lip before the game today.” I felt like a tool admitting it out loud.
Laughter exploded out of Garth, sounding choked as if he were trying to keep it in. “You… ha, you what?”
I snarled lowly.
“Okay, I’m sorry. You have to admit it sounds kind of funny though.”
I glared at him.
“No? Not funny?” He straightened his face. “And after you did that, it noticeably made you into a snarly little kid, right?”
I clenched my hands into fists. “I want to do worse now,” my voice came out sounding strangled. I pushed back fantasies that had been popping up since this afternoon. “I know… I know I’m not a wolf for real but you know… after that time I spent with the wild group for research… I picked up a few traits different from the other shifters.”
“Yeah, it’s not hard to see that.” Garth pushed off the post. “The way I see it, you’ve got two choices.”
I looked up at him hopefully. I would never admit it out loud but Garth was a wise guy.
“You can either avoid her for a length of time to see if it dies down… or you can go through with these urges.”
I made a choked sound as I tried to laugh, scoff and swallow at the same time. “If you knew what I was thinking you would simply tell me I had only one option. Garth, don’t even tempt me to let go. Don’t even give a hint of encouragement.” My body shuddered and my mouth went dry. If only I’d known her longer. If only she knew more about me so she could either accept or reject me. Or maybe it was her innocence and unawareness that drew me in even more.
Garth tucked his hands into his pockets and slowly lowered down to crouch on the balls of his feet. He looked like he was seriously considering what I was saying. I wish he could just come up with an amazing answer that would make everyone feel better.
“In the end, Lark, nothing I say can sway you right now. You know your rights and wrongs, you’re a pretty protective guy so I doubt you’d hurt her, purposely or not. And, seeing as I’ve never seen you like this before, I think, deep down, you already know what choice you’re going to make.”
He stood back up and looked out onto the street. “I’m going to tell everyone to piss off,” he announced and walked back inside.
I sat there for a moment longer, my stomach churning. My body wanted to go two ways at once. But as I heard people head my way I stood up and walked back inside to say goodbye to most of the guests. I’d sleep on it tonight.