Woooooooo! Final night of Full Moon Weekend!!! Then, you’re all cut off until… Dang it! I should just bookmark the full moon site already. *goes to check* July 19th will be the next Full Moon Weekend if I do this again. (Technically the full moon isn’t until the 22nd, so I’ll be cheating. Bwahahaha!)
So, what do you think? Full Moon Weekend: yay or nay…or you came here looking for Jack Frost jokes and stumbled onto this post? (Don’t be ashamed. Jack gets to people…and who doesn’t love a good joke?) (Freaks. Freaks don’t love a good joke.)
So, if you’ve missed previous parts:
The Cold and Lovely Moon V
“Are we there yet?”
He tossed me an aggravated look over his shoulder. Now that I knew there were repercussions to being a smartass, I wasn’t as anxious to hold back. I’d tried to catch up to him, but he always managed to walk just fast enough that I was walking behind him slightly. It was totally intentional. It was cute he thought it gave him some sort of control, and, yet, if I slowed down, he slowed down. If I sped up…well, I was basically in charge. He was like my royal escort.
“So, we’re not werewolves?”
He snorted. “Did you see a tail?”
“Well, you weren’t wearing pants at the time so, basically, yes, I saw two full moons last night, and enjoyed both so…thanks.”
“I mean an actual tail.”
“So, we’re werewolves without furry tails?”
“Have you seen pictures of the Egyptian God Anubis?”
“Yeah, tall guy, jackal head, man’s body.” If Tiberius was telling me he saw himself as a god, it all made sense again.
I slowed down.
He slowed down too.
Hah! That never would get old.
“Didn’t he have a tail?” I wouldn’t swear on my soul that he did. I’ll admit I preferred modern funky fictional creatures in my reading material. Although, I’d really thought they were fiction. If I’d known I was going to be become one of them, I’d have veered more toward myth than romance and skipped all the vampire books. Probably.
“It was decorative so, no…no tails,” he said. “Anubis was a dark beast—part man and part beast. No wolf. No jackal. It’s hard to describe something that comes along only during a full moon and doesn’t look like any known predator. Hard to describe—easy to treat like a god.”
“Are you saying you see yourself as a god?”
He threw a look over his shoulder that meant nothing to me. It was a “what do you think?” look—so it could go either way.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” I said. In either form, he was powerfully beautiful. I could see worshipping him—and then getting over myself and telling him he was an ass.
“I’m not not a god. How about that?” I’d never noticed how predatory his smile was. It was like he was stalking me inch by inch without even trying.
“Hmm. So, are vampires real?”
“I don’t know. I doubt it. If I met one, I’d probably kill it and ask questions later.”
“You’re not very tolerant, are you?”
“Of things trying to kill me? Surprisingly no.” He stopped and turned sideways, putting a finger to his lips. “Shh.”
I listened too. It was crazy how much better I could smell and hear today. It had started yesterday, I guess, but I’d just thought everyone was smellier and louder. Right now, I could smell Tiberius, and the forest, and the cotton of this t-shirt we’d stolen from someone’s campsite. Everything sounded normal—a loud sort of normal. I could hear every bee and bird for miles, but it was normal other than how everything was in surround sound stereo.
Speaking of which, I was way too aware of the sound of his breathing and my breathing, and how I was breathing faster while listening to his breathing.
Still, nothing sounded scary—to me.
I bounced up and down on my heels while waiting for Tiberius to start moving again. His arm snaked out and grabbed my bicep, holding me still.
I took a deep breath. Mmm. I couldn’t get over how good he smelled.
At least it seemed mutual. Earlier, when I’d handed his shirt back, he’d put it up to his nose and inhaled like my scent was a drug. Then, he’d shaken it off and put the shirt on. It was sexy as hell. Also, another sign I was really in control. Alpha, my ass.
His free hand grabbed my other bicep and stopped me from tapping my palm against my leg.
“What do you have? ADD? No wonder you wanted to keep running all night.”
“Hey, adult attention deficit disorder is no laughing matter.” The treadmill helped keep it under control, but it was part of why freedom had looked so damn good last night.
“Neither is getting shot with tranqs from a helicopter, and they might not opt to do a capture this time. That clearly didn’t work out well for them. They might kill us and collect blood to use on less…pissy subjects. I broke up all the vials they had of mine, but it’d be easy enough to collect more from a corpse.”
I dropped down to the ground to sit cross-legged.
He stared at me, looking confused and weirded-out.
“I can’t stand still. I can only sit still.”
He continued to stare at me like another head had busted out of my neck. It made me rub my neck. I’d spent last night running around as some freaky monster mash-up—growing an extra head could still happen. I wasn’t ruling anything out today.
“Hey, don’t judge me, you killed a bunch of people last night, I’m just sitting in the woods.”
“They’d put us in a cage.” He sounded all defensive. It was sweet.
“No, they’d put you in a cage. They’d moved me to a different cell.” My gaze traveled up him. “One with a better view.”
“And made you into a….” He gestured down at himself and then at me.
I shrugged. There was that. It’d felt awesomely powerful last night. Bolting through the woods had felt more freeing than anything I’d ever experienced before. I was agile—like I could fly across land. The longer I felt like this, the less I wanted to go back to how I was before. The fur wasn’t all on the upside, but the rest wasn’t bad. And the fur kept me warm.
There were other pros to my situation. Up until yesterday, Tiberius had kept track of how many times I’d nearly killed myself running on my treadmill. He’d carved the tally into the glass wall between us using the straight razor they’d given him to shave with. If not for the shirtless chin-ups, he would have caught hell for that.
There really wasn’t a lot that shirtless chin-ups couldn’t make up for.
I was a lot more coordinated today. It was cool.
I’m not saying I’d be sending out Christmas cards to the white coats, especially not the dead ones, but I wasn’t keen to slaughter them all.
Tiberius had decided I made absolutely no sense at all and was scanning around listening again. Unexpectedly, he crouched down and made eye contact, serious eye contact—like he was moments away from hypnotizing me. “Anytime you trap a wild thing, you should accept the eventuality that, one, it will try to escape and, two, it will try to kill you when it does.”
Ahh, he was feeling guilty because he’d never viewed killing the scientists as a bad thing. “You know I have a rather slack opinion on the worth of morons, but, for the record, I have a very similar policy on guys who blame things on PMS. If you bring up PMS, you’ve taken your life into your own hands, and I’ll gut you faster than a serial-killing butcher they’ve let off death-row to pick up litter.”
“Noted,” he said, fighting a smile. He stood up and scanned around with his head cocked.
“So, was last night it, then, or tonight also?” I asked—as quietly as I could.
He raised his eyebrows without looking at me.
“How long does a full moon last?”
“Technically? One minute. The moon is one hundred percent full for about one minute.”
I picked up a dandelion and twirled it in my fingers. Sometimes, he was less charming than he thought.
He must have read my total underwhelment accurately because he cleared his throat and said, “We hit full strength when the moon is ninety-seven percent full. I could have changed the last few nights if I felt like it, but I wouldn’t have had the strength to get us out of there until last night when the moon hit ninety-seven percent full. From waxing to waning at that percentage, we can’t fight the change at night. When it’s in its Gibbous phase, which lasts about two weeks, most full dark beasts can change at will or when challenged, but we won’t be at full-strength. It’ll take you a lifetime to reach that point—where you can change for two weeks. Each moon will bring you closer. The beast in your bloodstream will take over a little more.” He looked down at me. “And that’s what they did to you when they shot you full of my blood.”
I shrugged and held out a hand to tick things off. “Initially, I was a bit freaked, but, first off, I’m totally not clumsy anymore.”
“I’d noticed that.” He’d gone back to scanning around us.
“Shut up. It comes from being half legs. It’s why these jeans are capris. The trade-off for long legs is being able to control them.”
“I’d noticed that too.”
I glanced up at him. “Which part?”
Looking down, his gaze slid across my legs, and he grinned. Heat licked up my veins, and my heartbeat picked up its pace.
“Both.” He went back to searching the woods.
I thought of telling him to shut up, but I wasn’t sure I wanted him to, so I moved on. “Second, I have talons and fangs so, eventually, I’ll be able to kill you in your sleep if you cross me.”
“Is that the goal?”
“Shut up. Third, prison wasn’t all that exciting. They seemed to think that the key to rehabilitating me to become a worthwhile member of society was surrounding me with criminals and then making us all smarter. In two years, I think I now know more about the law than my lawyer did, and I can hot-wire anything older than this millennium.” I tilted my head. “Well, theoretically. I’m not sure how it’ll translate into practical knowledge.”
“Well, the justice system has failed us all then is what you’re saying…it prepared you for a new life of crime.”
“Basically.” I wrinkled my nose at that word. It brought back memories of earlier. “Anyway,” I said, shaking it off. “So, I’m not as broken up about being a creature anymore.”
“Then, there’s me.” He was still panning his gaze through the forest.
“What about you?”
“Fourth, you found yourself mated to me. I can see why you wouldn’t be opposed.”
I leaned forward to hit him, but he grabbed my wrist and met my gaze.
I scowled at him. There should be repercussions for him too if he was being a jerk.
“Woman, we don’t have time for that.”
I wanted to slap the smug look off his face. Instead, I yanked my wrist from his grasp and rubbed at the skin. He might always be too tight, too aggressive, too…untamed. “Are you really never planning on calling me by name?”
What an ass. This was probably another dominance game. If he called me by name, he’d be indulging my silly needs too much. This might not work—him, me, us. I still might run away from him the second we weren’t in danger. It could be fun in the short term, but was it really so much to ask to be called by your name?
“I’m going to have to kill you in your sleep,” I muttered.
A half smile crossed his mouth.
“So, you never answered—how many nights will I turn?”
“Three. Probably. Next time you might be able to force a change for an extra day or two.”
“So, three nights of running around and then having to steal clothing in the morning?”
This time, his smile was wide and cocky. “No one said we had to wear clothes.”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh piss off, Tiberius. I’m not having sex with you until you feel like I merit being called by name.”
The smile dropped from his mouth. “Don’t try to dictate to me how I will and will not behave.”
“Oh, I’m not. I’m just not going to make the beast with two backs with a guy who might not know my name. A girl has to have standards.”
“I know your name.”
I raised my eyebrows and waited expectantly. Wow. I’d expected him to put up more of a fight. Kind of disappointing.
He reached out his hand, and I took it…still waiting. “Come on, woman. We’ve got some ground to cover.” He yanked me to my feet, and without waiting to see if I’d follow, he turned and stalked through the trees.
“I’m so going to kill you in your sleep.”
I’d said it quietly, but he turned and said, walking backward, “I knew you weren’t easy.” And then he waited for me to start walking before we went back to playing our weird game of red light/green light.
Copyright © 2013 by Wendy Sparrow