Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
“Like I said, how do we stop this?” I asked, knowing there had to be an out.
“As long as we don’t have sex—” he began. I whirled around. “I mean the real deal, not dreamwalking.”
“And,” I prodded.
“And, if we don’t it isn’t a done deal until then.” His eyes swept over me and I shivered.
“Don’t get any ideas,” I said.
“Ideas, I have a lot of ideas because I can’t be sure. What I saw in there is how you see yourself.” I wanted to slap him again, but voices came from behind us.
Turning, we watched Luke and Maggie walk through the door of the house. I stood. Upon seeing me, Maggie ran over the bridge and ended in my arms. “I’m human,” she said, her words choking on her relief.
Congratulations didn’t seem appropriate, so I said, “I’m so happy for you.” Getting a mouthful of red hair, I pushed it away from my mouth though she still squeezed the life out of me. “Maggs, I can’t breathe.”
Releasing me, she smiled before turning on Flynn and hugging him. Taken aback by Maggie’s emotion, Flynn was distracted. I turned to see Luke standing so close. I hugged him, needing to be close. I felt my heart breaking. I had to tell Luke about what happened. I just didn’t think that telling him while stuck on this island was a good idea. I would tell him when we got back home.
“Are you okay?” Luke asked, always worried about everyone else except himself.
Squeezing him tighter and enjoying his clean scent, I said, “Now that you’re here.”
Howls broke through the night. All four of us looked at each other before racing over to the cliff that overlooked the beach. Skidding to a stop at the edge of the drop, I watched in horror as two beasts on four legs came at each other in rage.
They looked more or less like wolves, a little bigger maybe, but it’s not like I encountered wolves on a daily basis, I wasn’t totally sure. One thing I knew was that it must be Brent and … “Doug?” I asked to no one in particular.
“He changed,” Maggie said solemnly. A quick glance at her said it all. She was completely heart broken.
“They look like they are going to kill each other,” I said. Luke and Flynn got to their feet. “No, you can’t go down there.”
“I can’t let them hurt each other either,” Luke said.
I looked at Flynn but spoke to Luke, who stood behind me, I said, “You can’t save everyone.”
Flynn looked away from me. Just as they were about to make their way to the trail that led to the beach below, Sara and Tom appeared in the middle of the two weres who were circling each other.
Tom took control as Sara disappeared. It was a mesmerizing thing to watch. He spoke but we couldn’t hear what he was saying.
“What’s up guys?” Sara said giving everyone a little jolt with her appearance. Flynn came over and wrapped an arm around her.
“Do you know what’s going on?” Maggie asked her.
“We’ve been tracking them and I guess they finally found you.”
Maggie looked surprised to hear this. Sara continued, “It’s an alpha male thing. They want to claim their prize.” She winked. Maggie looked disgusted.
“Well, I’m going down there to stop this bull crap,” Maggie said with finality. Her posture was stiff and ramrod straight, a solid wall of determination. Funny thing was when I looked down, Tom was looking up at us as if he heard that. And he shook his head. Maggie saw it too. Then his lips moved but he was too far away to hear him.
“He says for you not to come down there.” We all looked at Luke who walked back over to us. He’d heard. “He says he has it under control.”
“Hmm, Angel Boy, what talent you have,” Sara said.
Rolling my eyes, I tried very hard to ignore the fact that she was flirting with my boyfriend in front of me. Who was I to cast stones this night? I had a lot to answer for myself.
“As if I would choose the victor just because,” Maggie said while wiggling her hands in the air obviously aggravated by the situation.
The two wolves paused and looked up before growling at each other again. Obviously their hearing was just as good as Tom’s. Tom spoke. Luke relayed the message. “He said for someone to get Maggie to leave because this fight has to happen. He said he will make sure they don’t kill each other.”
Flynn took Maggie by the arm. “Let’s go sweetheart.”
Her face first looked furious. Then she looked back down to see Tom moving from between the two, and her wrath morphed into fear. “Okay, take me away,” she said.
After they left, Sara, Luke and I remained to watch. It was pretty obvious who Brent was. He was the larger of the two brown wolves snapping fangs at each other. I closed my eyes for a second knowing how this would all end.
“This is pretty fascinating stuff. Don’t you think?” Sara said out loud.
“Not really,” I said moving closer to Luke who took me into his embrace. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the violence. I heard the growls, the yelps, and the snaps. I buried my face in Luke’s chest. After a long while everything went silent. I opened my eyes to see bundles of fur with one mouth around what appeared to be the other’s throat. With them tangled so, it was hard to tell the victor.
“I don’t believe it,” Sara said and looked rather pleased.
“What?” I asked, giving into her need for attention.
“The little one won.”
Luke took control after that. Commanding as if he was born to, he sent Sara to get robes because apparently Tom was going to force them to change. This was some feat. The beasts within them would be moon called and unable to change themselves until dawn. For Tom to do it, he must be able to wield great power. To me, he asked if I would go take care of Maggie and send Flynn to help him in case Tom needed help getting the two guys in line.
So I headed into the house. Not seeing or hearing anyone downstairs, I went upstairs and found Flynn closing Maggie’s door to her solitary room. “There you are. Luke needs you downstairs.”
“What did you tell him?” he asked getting in my face. I felt small next to him
“No, I’m not crazy. He would kill you.”
“You think that doll face. Golden boy has his light, but who do you think is the better fighter? And Luke would never kill me no matter how much I deserve it.” His glacier eyes held mine steady. “But what about you? Would you kill me by doing nothing to save me?”
“You know that’s not true,” I said defiantly.
“Yeah, that’s right. I remember now. When you thought I was dying and I told you how I felt, you kissed me.”
“I did not,” I spat. Cocking a brow he stared at me. “I was just trying to give you my life force, my power. I wasn’t kissing you.”
“That wasn’t how it felt when you gave yourself to me tonight and you thought it was real.”
“I don’t have time for this. There is nothing between us. Never was, never will be.”
Striding away, I headed into Maggie’s room and closed the door behind me. I shook with unleashed fury. Then I composed myself and went to Maggie who lay still, eyes open staring at the ceiling. We both were dealing with our demons tonight. So I just lay there with her until a knock came at our door.
Thinking it was Luke, I called out “Come in.” But it was Doug who opened the door, in human form, though he looked different.
“Mag pie,” he said. Maggie sat up. “I won,” he said triumphantly. Maggie gasped. Of course, I’d been caught up in my own head. I hadn’t told her. “Now we can be together.”
Shutting her mouth, Maggie looked at him and his posture. Something was off. Doug didn’t look much like himself in that moment. Then it hit me.
“So what will it be,” he declared haughtily.
“I can’t choose you,” Maggie said. “I still love him.”
Doug’s expression darkened. “Fine, whatever. There are other fish in the sea.” And with that, he left closing the door firmly behind him.
“I love Brent,” Maggie reiterated absently.
“I know Maggs,” I said. “But Doug isn’t himself. You remember how Brent was in the early days. He will come back to himself.”
“I don’t care. Maybe it took this, that Doug seems okay being what he is to free me from my guilt.” Getting to her feet, she added, “I have to go to him.”
I stood and reached for her. “Be careful.”
She ran down the hall and stopped at the landing. I followed her out of curiosity. “Let’s go party,” Doug said. Tom was there, so were Sara and Flynn.
“Sounds like a plan my man,” Flynn said, knocking fist with Doug.
Luke stood amongst them and held up the keys. Flynn snatched them and out the door they went without a backwards glance.
When the door shut with finality, it didn’t bring silence. Maggie had shot off as if her on life depended on it. I hadn’t expected such a response from her. She seemed so determined to punish Brent by shutting him out before, yet, there she went. We didn’t even know if he was here. He hadn’t gone out with the rest, but maybe he was licking his wounds somewhere else.
My eyes drifted back to Luke. Our gaze locked like magnets. When he rose off the floor and drifted up slowly and fluidly to land by my side, my heart rose with all my emotions. “Alone,” he said, and his eyes flicked to the hall where our rooms were. I gave him my hand and followed him with steady feet.
In his room, the door closed with my back pressed it to it. The pressure of his lips took me to another universe. Was this really it? He’d been so adamant about not going all the way. His thumbs hooked in my waist band, sliding around to the small of my back. He tugged me close and the rest of his fingers splayed on my bottom firmly.
There was no mistaking his intentions. I could feel them. “Wait,” I said a little breathlessly. Following my wishes, he bit his bottom lip and let me go. Taking a step back, we stood there panting. He looked down at the ground before pushing blonde curls from his forehead holding them away while he turned.
“I thought this is what you wanted.” His voice was controlled but I sensed there was a bit of anger, no maybe disappointment underneath the calm tones. This wasn’t my Luke. He never would pressure me to do anything, which made it important that we stop. The last thing I wanted was have my first time be with anybody but our true selves, not my beast or his. Add to that, I’d dreamwalked with his best friend. He would hate me when he found out if after that, I’d done the deed with him.
“I’m sorry,” I said. I reached for the door turning away from him. This whole situation was just so messed up.
A palm over my head pushed the door back closed. “Don’t go. We don’t have to do anything. Just stay with me.” He held my chin then caress my cheek. “God, you have to know how much I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Later, I woke with a start. Luke was still sleeping. When I heard the noise again, I crawled out of bed and out of Luke’s arms. I crept to the door, opening it a crack to peek out. Nothing. I stepped in the hall and heard faint murmurs. Quietly, I walked to the landing. Barely, I was able to make out Sara and Flynn standing just below me.
I saw one of her hands cup his cheek. “Drunk again,” she said. “Is she really worth it?”
“Yes,” he said, sounding very zombie like.
“I guess you got your fill tonight. I saw you with several girls.”
“Yes,” he said, without any emotion.
What the hell was going on? “You feel up to taking care of me tonight.”
“Yes,” he answered.
“Good boy,” she said patting his cheek. “Let’s go upstairs.”
Moving like the wind on my tiptoes, I took time to open Luke’s door as quietly as possible, closing it with the same amount of care not to make noise. Trying to measure my breath, I listened at the door. Finally, I heard their steps go past. Sucking in a deep breath, I wondered what the hell that was all about. It didn’t sound good. At the same time, she hadn’t really said anything bad.
I crawled back into bed with Luke. I shivered under the cold sheets and snuggled up against his warmth. Even in sleep, he drew me near and lulled me back into slumber.
When I woke, Luke was sitting up on the opposite side of the bed with his head in his hands. I watched for a moment, before I said, “Morning.”
He looked back and gave me a weary smile. I pushed to a sitting positing. I told him about what I saw last night even though I didn't want to burden him.
“It sounded like he was drunk,” he said in response to the tale I shared with him. “Look don’t worry. Flynn can take care of himself. I’m headed to the shower if you want to join me,” he said, with a wink.
I watched him walk into the bathroom and close the door. I headed to my room to get ready. I languidly took my time, enjoying the last of the days before we headed back home. It was kind of peaceful. No one had yet tried to kill me.
Funny enough, it was us girls who were last to make it to the kitchen. The guys all got quiet when we walked in. With six chairs, Sara took the last one. Luke took my hand pulling me onto his lap. Apparently Tom had made breakfast and they saved us some. The guys just watched us.
“What’s up with you guys?” Sara asked, pouring a mug of coffee. Taking the sugar, she added some while stirring.
“Yeah, you all are a bit too quiet,” Maggie said, sitting in Brent’s lap. I noticed he looked extremely happy, yet Maggie looked a bit sleepy if you asked me. I glanced over at Doug who didn’t seem a bit bothered by Maggie’s choice.
“Nothing,” Flynn said, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms behind his head. His chair leaned back on two legs and he was balanced only by his arms on the window behind him. “You girls go ahead and dig in. It’s not like we didn’t do all the work.”
Disarmed I said, “I’ve cooked most of the food for all of you. So thanks for breakfast.”
Flynn looked at Luke over my shoulder and said, “Don’t thank me.” Then he looked over at Tom.
I put some eggs and a piece of toast on my plate and poured some juice that was in a carafe on the table. Maggie and Sara also got plates. Maggie poured coffee. I was chewing my food while Maggie and Sara were digging in too before it hit me. Some sort of hot pepper had been cooked with the eggs and my mouth went from a slow burn to a five alarm fire in seconds. I stood fanning my mouth like that would help. The boys started to laugh. I couldn’t see Luke but if he was laughing he’d have hell to pay. Maggie and Sara were equally alarmed. Maggie’s face was turning red and sweat formed on her brow. Of course we grabbed our drinks and drank deep. Mistake number two. My orange juice was spiked with vinegar and I would find out later that the “sugar” for the coffee was really salt.
The three of us spit out food and drink all over the table. Guys weren’t grossed out easily and were on the floor dying with laugher. I turned to see Luke trying his best not to laugh. But I had more important things to do. I headed to get us bottles of water where we rinsed our mouths and spit in the sink, leaving the mess.
By the time the laughter died, we stood glaring at them. Tom shrugged. Luke said, “I was sworn to secrecy. But you guys did punk us.”
“Punk,” I said. “Facebook.” Maggie and Sara nodded, neither pleased.
“You wouldn’t?” Brent said.
“Of course she would,” Sara said. “Hoes before assholes.”
Although I didn’t like her terms, I agreed with her. “Come on ladies.” Sara had a plan and half an hour later, we came down the stairs dressed to kill. Well, dressed isn’t the word. We all put on our best bikini. In the foyer, we were headed out the door with the keys in my hand, when the boys joined us.
“Where are you going?” Luke asked. One by one, we turned. I was a little more shy about this, but wanted to get Luke back. And one by one, the boys’ jaws dropped. We looked good. Even I could admit that.
“Breakfast,” Sara said, snidely.
Brent said, “Dressed like that?”
“What’s the problem?” Maggie said. “This is an island. The restaurant is on the beach. And if you wanted us to stay, I guess you wouldn’t have given us that food.”
“But,” Brent said. Luke’s eyes narrowed on me. He wasn’t pleased.
Flynn smirked. “Damn, I guess that didn’t go as planned. But thanks for the view. I give it a ten, a seven and an eight.”
I looked at my cohorts. “Who is what?”
“That’s for me to know,” Flynn said with a wink.
Then the boys started calling out numbers. I knew what they were trying to do. They were messing with our egos. “Let’s go,” Sara said. Agreeing, we left.
Down at the beach, while eating breakfast, we got enough compliments to stop the lingering doubt about how we looked. “Boys are so immature,” Maggie said.
And that’s how we spent the day. We stayed to get some sun and let the boys stew a bit longer. It was dusk when we decided to leave after eating a very late lunch or early dinner whatever you want to call it.
When we walked in, the boys were nowhere to be found. Maggie set out to find Brent and I headed upstairs to find Luke while Sara claimed she was leaving for a while. We took that to mean she was popping off the island.