Laurette smelled sweat. A wolf was chasing her through the dark forest. She felt brambles pulling at her hair and fur as she sped through the woods, trying to lose her pursuer. She had been running for what felt like hours and wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep this up.
She started to slow her pace. She heard two sets of paws begin to slow down. She turned to face her pursuer whilst slowly changing back to her human form. If she was going to die, she wouldn’t be taken from behind.
Her chest heaved as she panted. She tried to keep a brave face and stare her attacker down, but the entire time she was slowly retreating backwards into a tree trunk. She stumbled over a tree root and fell into the dirt.
Her attacker’s form started to distort in the shadow of the forest till it was the shape of a tall man. His shoulders were broad yet his frame was slim. The man traipsed towards her. As he got closer Laurette could feel her heart beating hard and fast in her chest.
When he finally reached her, he crouched down to her eye level and looked her dead in the eyes. In the darkness of the forest his eyes appeared almost a sea glass green. He looked at her with such intensity that she felt the very depths of her soul were being judged, as if in passage to the afterlife.
He growled low on his chest. Without warning he placed one of his big hands on her thigh. Laurette didn’t know why but for some reason she couldn’t fully take in all the details of the stranger’s face. When the skin met Loretta felt an inexplicable link to this stranger. The stranger’s hair fell on his face. Though she could barely see him, she felt as if she was in the presence of a god.
He brought his face to her ear and growled, “Laurette.”
A delectable shiver ran down her spine. The mood of the forest had inexplicably changed. The air in the forest had a new tension to it. A sense of anticipation.
The stranger used his broad shoulders to nudge her back down onto the forest floor. His right hand crawled up her naked thighs. Her clothes had been torn apart during the transformation into a wolf. The stranger was naked. It took all of Laurette’s self-control not to glance down below his chest.
The further up her thigh that his hand travelled the more sensitive she became. She wanted to close her legs in an attempt to protect what was left of her modesty.
Despite her initial fears she could feel herself getting wetter by the second. The stranger used his left hand to grope at her breast and nipples. The blood was slowly rushing to her clitoris and the stranger showed no sign of stopping.
The stranger was so close she could smell incense coming off his body in rapturous waves. He started kissing down her neck, leaving light nips and bites as he continued down her body. His right hand had now found her slit, fingering and lightly rubbing her lips and mound.
Laurette let out an involuntary sound of pleasure. At the sound of her desire his left hand stopped grabbing at her breast to wrap around her neck. She got increasingly light-headed as he rubbed her mound bringing her closer and closer to orgasm. She lifted her hands to wrap them in his dark luscious locks.
As she grabbed his head, almost reaching the ultimate point of pleasure, he disappeared in a wisp of smoke.
Laurette awoke with a gasp.
“Laurette?” a voice called from far away, “Laurette? Is she still on the call?”
Call? What call? Now that the voice mentioned it, something about a call did seem familiar. A fog had descended over her eyes and she was finding it hard to see. She raised her hands to her head, pain throbbed through her and she heard herself let out a groan.
“Laurette?” her manager asked again, “Is she on mute?”
No, I’m not on mute, I’m just sleeping.
The moment of clarity hit faster than skinny dipping in the Weir on christmas day.
Oh fuck, I was asleep.
Laurette’s vision was a blur. Her fingers mashed her laptop, like a drunk fumbling for his house keys.
“I’m here, I was having internet issues.” Laurette said, straightening her headphones, “Would you be able to repeat the last, er…”
How long had she been asleep? Quick, just guess.
“The last minute or so?”
Laurette’s heart was the only sound in the silence, thumping in exhilaration from the dream now fading. She wished she could say the same for the wetness between her thighs.
“I was just saying,” her manager picked back up, “how you did such a great job getting that latest update shipped on time this morning. I’ve been told the clients are thrilled.”
“Oh, it’s nothing.” Laurette smiled, and hoped no-one could see the sweat she felt forming on her forehead. The lack of sleep the night before still had it’s cold grip on her neck and she fought to shake it off and stay awake.
Her manager carried on and a chat notification came through from Nina.
Girl, you crazy.
Lurette typed in a reply quickly.
Oh god, did everyone see me asleep?
Loads of people. Should I tell them you were dreaming about a tall dark wolf ravishing you
I will destroy you in this physical plane.
Nina sent a gif of a baby falling backwards laughing.
You sure you don’t want to fight in your dreams instead? That sounds more your forté.
Laurette bristed at the winky face emoji that followed the challenge.
It was the bullshit deadline this morning and I’ve worked nights every day for the last week to get it working. I’m dead inside.
Aw hun, you’d better get time off. The website looks amazing, by the way. You did such a great job!
It’s practically held together by paperclips and tape!
Nina sent a hug emoji. Laurette was mid-message when she heard her name again.
“...Laurette, I know you’ll be excited to hear this.”
“Ah, my internet glitched again. Sorry, could you repeat that?”
Her manager chuckled, “Your internet is on the fritz isn’t it? Still, that should all change once you get to London.”
Laurette started to fake a laugh only to find the sound caught as her throat contracted.
Once you get to London.
“London?” Laurette asked quietly, to keep her voice from squeaking.
“That’s right, London. The client was so thrilled with the website that they’ve immediately pitched us three new projects. You did such an amazing job, I’d like to bring you onto the team full time.”
Her heart thumped. A deep thunderous rumble that throbbed blood through her and pounded the tired veins in her temple. Her manager’s voice faded as time lengthened and her eyes tunnel visioned.
London. I’m going to London.
A fly hung in the air, its wings a blur. It hauled its body against the unyielding glass of her bedroom window and bounced back, frustrated. For a moment Laurette wondered what the fly wanted so badly outside. Did it know what was out there? Did it even know what it wanted? Or did it just know it’s place was outside? She felt a pang of jealousy. Laurette flicked the latch and the fly sensed its chance and zipped out.
I’m going to London. I’m leaving the Weir.
The moment the meeting ended Laurette flopped onto her bed. Sleep hung in the edge of her mind. Thoughts of the future, her future, lay heavy in her head.
The sun cast a sharp diagonal light across her bedroom. Her eyes traced the worn cracks in the wooden ceiling, the same ones that had greeted her every morning since she had first arrived in the cloister. Her eyes traced the lines downwards and fell upon the man who watched her from the shelf. Laurette had been afraid he would start to fade over time but his eyes were still sharp, she knew he was still watching, it comforted her.
Well dad, did you hear? I’m leaving the cloister. What do you think of that? Did you ever think I’d make it?
He didn’t reply. It’s not like he was alive when they had moved to the cloister in the first place. Usually Laurette did her best impression of how she remembered his voice, just to hear what she thought he would have said, or what she wanted him to say. But now, Laurette heard nothing. What would he have thought?
The scent of frying bacon reached her and her eyes widened. Sleep and existential decisions could wait until after breakfast.
Laurette zigged-zagged as deftly as she could between the heavily garmented abbesses. She caused a small consternation when she leapt the banister on the staircase and almost landed on top of poor old Abbess Dreedy.
Laurette came to a halt in front of the serving counter.
“Miss Laurette!” Abbess Pott exclaimed when she turned around, “I thought I felt a whirlwind of impatient hunger. First again, I see. You know the rules, breakfast isn’t served until nine and not a moment before.” She wagged a greasy spatula at the clock.
Laurette stamped her foot, “But that’s not fair, I can tell it’s ready now. It’s crying out to be eaten! How could you be so cruel and keep me from fulfilling it’s destiny?”
Abbess Pott shook her head and turned back to tend to the food, “Destiny comes for all of us in the right time, Miss Laurette. Not a moment too soon, not a moment too late. Don’t you think so?”
“Of course.” Laurette reluctantly agreed, feeling her stomach tighten.
London would mean no more Abbess Pott, or Abbess Dreedy, or Abbess-
“Miss Laurette, might I have a word?” Abbess asked quietly into her ear.
Laurette jumped, her hackles raised. Most of the abbesses kept a firm grasp on any wolf traits since showing unhuman signs was not only bad for secrecy but also considered plain bad manners. Not Abbess Cairn. She appeared where she wanted to with such speed that Laurette couldn’t be sure how long she had been there. There had been moments growing up when Laurette had cursed and found Abbess Cairn standing there, where previously there had been no-one to hear her spit profanity.
“Miss Laurette, I realise that I might not be able to call you that for much longer.” Abbess Cairn said from across the dining table.
“Oh, why’s that?” Laurette had flashbacks to Abbess Cairn’s perfectly untimely appearances in the past, was it possible she knew? She couldn’t. Right?
“Don’t play dumb.” Abbess Cairn snapped seriously, “I don’t have time for games. This is serious.”
Laurette felt a shiver travel her spine, her mouth was dry, “I...I was going to mention it soon.”
“Soon? Today? Tomorrow? In a week’s time? Miss Laurette, you’ve been left to your devices for far too long and I believe it’s time for you to face your future.”
“Yes, your future. One week from now.”
“Your birthday, Miss Laurette.” Abbess Pott called from the kitchen, “Your twenty first year on this planet and the twelfth birthday cake I’ll have made for you.”
“Yes, your coming of age.” Abbess Cairn said, “When you officially join us as an abbess in the covenant of Viseis. Have you had any thought as to your communion speech?”
Laurette couldn’t get a straight word out, only a few squarks of “I” and “er”.
Abbess Cairn waved away her attempts, “You’ve been here long enough, you should know better.”
“Twelve cakes!” Abbess Pott shouted.
“Yes, twelve years. And what do you have to show for it?”
“I have...been thinking about it.” Laurette scrambled to get a hold on reality. She had one foot in the cloister and the banks of the Weir, the other stood a hundred miles away, on pavement slabs under the shadow of Saint Paul’s cathedral.
“Thinking about it? Or have you instead been putting unnecessary time into that computer hobby of yours?”
Laurette had tried multiple ways of explaining web development to many of the abbesses with little success. Most of them still referred to it as her “computer hobby” and asked her to help fix the cloister printer when it jammed.
“Well, it doesn’t matter now. If you’re to live the rest of your life as one of us, you might as well start to act like one of us. We have a charge for you.”
“A charge, for me?” Her head was spinning, who could the abbesses possibly want her to look after?
The heavy iron knocker pounded against the cloister doors.
“Yes, and an important one at that.” Abbess Cairn
“Don’t keep them waiting.” called Abbess Pott from the kitchen.
Laurette couldn’t believe it, Abbess Pott was in on this too? How many others had kept this secret?
Laurette stifled the grumble and stalked down the hallway towards the cloistered door. It was built of heavy dark wood, not meant to let anyone in who wasn’t invited. Laurette heaved the door open.
She opened the door only to see the stranger from her dream standing in front of her. The figure was none other than Alik Amaruki, the alpha of the pack. Laurette hadn’t ever seen the young alpha in person. She’d heard the news when he was appointed, even the abbesses’ disinterest in life outside the cloister couldn’t keep that from reaching her, but she had never seen his face.
The wave of emotion that rippled through her was more than just surprise, it was recognition. She knew in an unshakable way that the man standing in front of her was the stranger from her dreams. The stranger, her alpha.
Laurette felt a sense of foreboding as this revelation fell upon her. This was the haunting figure that had pursued her almost every night this week in her dreams and sleeping moments. Who somehow managed to make her feel like something other than the virgin she was every night.
Laurette was by no means a small woman, She stood around five foot seven of sloe coloured skin with broad hips and was one of the tallest women in the pack, and certainly one of the biggest female wolves. However this man, her alpha, her stranger, managed to tower above her.
His silky black hair was swept back with a single strand dangling on his face. The sea glass green eyes from her dreams stared down at her as she opened the door wide. They didn’t look intimidating and seductive as they did in her dream, instead they were open wide in an attempt to look friendly and hopeful.
She thought this man too beautiful, sexy and elusive to have such a daft look on his face. His nose was so straight it always looked disciplined, reminding her of the possibility of another side of his personality that only she had witnessed in her dreams.
Laurette couldn’t help but stare.