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Race Against Time

I woke with a gasp, heart hammering in my chest with a sense of urgency. I needed to run, now!

‘Thomas!’ I yelled at him mentally. ‘What? Are you okay? What happened?’ I snorted at how worried he sounded. ‘If I’m not back by breakfast take my bag with you, I’m going on a run.’ I threw back the covers and leaped up, ripping my pj’s off as I went.

‘You’re going for a run?’ I heard skepticism in his voice. ‘Yeah, I need to.’ I shoved my binder in my bag. ‘At 6 in the morning? We leave in an hour.’ Naked in the light of the rising sun I opened my window. ‘Thomas, I just need to go.’

Not waiting for his reply I leapt from my window into the big leaf maple outside my window and climbed down. I shifted and took off running, passing a few wolves who were on patrol. They nodded to me in respect and I nodded back hardly slowing. I didn’t know where I was going I just knew it was important.

Trees flew by without registering. The border passed with the jump of a river and I found myself veering west towards the mountains. Panic began to grow in my chest as if I were not running fast enough. What was happening?

As I ran the passing of time seemed to slow, birds looped gracefully overhead in slow motion as I ran full tilt towards a sparkling dot quickly growing into a still blue lake. Only it wasn’t completely still. On the far side of the shimmering water something was splashing frantically, and someone was holding it under.

“Stop please!” My head snapped to the tree line and I growled as I ran, speeding up, pushing my body to its limit. Gabriel was tied to a tree, watching helpless as someone held Fenus under water. The splashes grew slower as I grew closer. No! “Please!” Gabriel was crying now and that made me furious. Deep withing me a tremor began to build, evolving into something powerful. So close! Without pausing, I took that tremor and pushed it at the red headed girl hurting my mate. She screamed, a shrill piercing scream of pain and stumbled away through the water. I clamped my jaws on Fenus’ scruff and began pulling his limp body to shore. ‘Stay with me, come on.’

“Fenus!” Gabriel was sobbing half with relief half with terror. I had never learned cpr, so I was going to have to wing it. I hauled him onto the grass and angled his head down hill then pounced on his chest. Nothing. I repeated the action twice more before a stream of water poured out of Fenus’ mouth. Yes! I pounced one more and he jolted partially upright retching water. I could have cried, instead I settled for laying down beside him and nuzzling his jaw.

“I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life.” Gabriel cried sagging in his bonds. Once I was sure Fenus was breathing properly I stood and shifted. “What happened here?” I asked walking over to untie Gabriel from the small oak tree ignoring him staring at my naked body.

“She came out of nowhere, tied me to this tree, the rope has silver in it so I couldn’t break free, and hey I just rhymed.” Gabriel smiled slightly hysterical as the ropes dropped from around his arms and chest.

“She started trying to drown Fenus, I don’t know how she did it.” He waited till I came around the tree before pulling me to his chest in a bone crushing hug. “I was so scared. I couldn’t do anything. I thought I was going to lose him. Then you showed up like a guardian angel and saved Fenus.” I returned his hug snuggling to his chest but yelped and jerked away when he pinched my butt. “Hey! Is that any way to thank your savior?” Gabriel grinned at me. “No but this is.” Before I could ask what he meant he pressed his lips gently to mine. “That is how I would thank you saving us.” I blinked at him and smiled. “I’ll gave to save you more often then.” Gabriel chuckled then glanced at his watch. “Ah crap! We’re going to be late for school!”

“Fenus can you run now?” The large black wolf nodded and stood, shaking his wet pelt. “Go home and rest, I’ll take Gabriel to get his bag and then to school.”

“What about your stuff we don’t have enough time.” Gabriel was fidgeting nervously. “I told Thomas to take my stuff with him, we wont be late.” I shifted and pressed my side to Fenus’, rubbing my face on his neck. He leaned lightly against me dripping wet. “Its a long run, I’m surprised you made it here in the time you did.” I snorted and crouched waiting for Gabriel to get on my back. When I was satisfied he was settled I stood and with a yip to Fenus took off sprinting for Gabriel’s cabin.

“You sure can run!” Gabriel commented as we flew through throught woods. I barked at him as we neared his cabin and he readied himself to jump. Go! I slid to a halt, digging my claws into the ground by the portch.

“Five seconds!” Gabriel was running inside. Four. Three. Two. One. He was back and leaping from the porch onto my back, book-bag securely on his back. I was sprinting again, running for the high school. We can make it, I know we can. Trees zipped by in a blur and the smell of asphalt began to assault my nose.

“Ten minutes!” Gabriel called. So close! We burst out of the forest and sailed over the first road, my claws clicking on the concrete sidewalk. We rounded a corner, skidding around people as saw the high school. We were going to make it! I had to slow down to avoid careening into students.

Exhausted and out of breath I trotted up the stairs and collapsed beside Thomas. ‘So tired, can’t breathe.’ I could hear my friends talking but I couldn’t make out their words through the pounding of the blood in my ears.

‘Kendra?’ Thomas’ thought projection sliced through the fog enveloping my brain. ‘Can you hear me?’ I huffed but nodded. ‘You okay? What happened?’ Rather than answer I showed him this morning’s adventure. ‘That’s an impossible run for anyone, let alone you! You must be starving, here I brought your breakfast with me, you’ve still got enough time to eat and shift... You don’t have clothes.’ Keeping my eyes closed I took a deep breath and hauled my exhausted body to my feet. My legs wobbled like jelly and threatened to drop me. “She’s not going to... is she? Kendra you’re crazy! You can hardly stand! A shift would kill you!”

Who was yelling at me? Peri. My head was down and I was still breathing hard but I opened my eyes and glared defiantly at him. Who was he to tell me what I could and could not do! ‘That’s it, use your anger.’ How dare that red head hurt Fenus and make Gabriel cry! I brought my head up slowly. How dare she touch what is mine! A low growl built in my chest and I pushed my rage into shifting. It was slow and painful but the pain gave me strength. I felt many eyes on me and the thought that the whole school was about to see me naked floated through the haze. No. Somehow I finished my shift and fell against Gabriel completely limp. “Girl do you have bees in your brain?” Raven snapped at me. “You scared the hell out of me, seriously I could be a nun now.” I chuckled at her outburst.

“Food. Gimme.” I waved a hand at Thomas but he didn’t move. Actually no one was moving with the exception of Raven, and they were all staring at me. “Okay I know I’m sexy, but sheesh guys, someone give me a shirt or something!” Gabriel cleared his throat from behind me. “Kendra, you shifted into clothes.”

“Say what now?” I looked down at myself and true to his word, I was wearing an ankle length silver silk dress and matching ballet flats. “I didn’t even think that was possible.” John murmured.

“What don’t you guys get clothes to?” Raven asked. “No usually we shift back naked. What to see?” John grinned at his mate and pulled her to his chest. “Eew... no!”

That pulled the group out of their stupor. We laughed for a bit but then my stomach growled. “Food still hot?” I asked. “Yeah, here.” Thomas handed me two paper plates taped together. “Eggs, hash browns, sausages, and waffles.” I grinned at him and tore open the package. “You’re the best!” I began cramming food into my mouth eating like I was starved, which in a way I was.

“I thought I was the best.” Gabriel pouted playfully from behind me.

By third period the story of my run and shift into clothes had circulated the entire school. Girls gave me heated glares while their boyfriends started at me lustfully. “Hey babe, you free this weekend cause you and I...”

“No actually I’m not free.” I hurried through the crowded halls trying to get to choir. “Hey sugar, be my gal?”

“No, I have a mate.” Were there always this many people in here? Hot bodies pressed into me from all sides making it feel like I was wading through molasses.

“Hey sweetheart...”

“You bitch...”

“Keep walking, whore...”

“I’d tap that...”

“Her ass...”

Faces began to blur, my breath came in short gasps. “Kendra!” Who was calling me? I couldn’t... I can’t...

“Kendra can you hear me?” I opened my eyes to Raven’s worried face and a circle of people. “What happened?” I don’t remember falling...

“I think you blacked out. Back off bozo!” She yelled over my shoulder. The majority of the circle was male, and their eyes we’re full of lust. Several of them were whispering “mate.”

‘As the first female werewolf we have a certain primal pull towards unmated males, you could have pretty much chosen your mate if we hadn’t met Fenus and Gabriel.’ Silver commented dryly.

“Can you stand? We’re gonna be late if we don’t get going. And you might start a riot by the looks of things.” Raven helped me to my feet and help the circle back with glares as I grabbed my bag. “Thank you for coming to my rescue.” She smiled and snorted. “That’s what friends are for. C’mon chickie, let’s go.”

The crowded hall was much easier to traverse with Raven. Arms linked we made it to class just before the bell and took our seats in the soprano section. I hadn’t noticed her yesterday but there was a very pretty ginger sitting behind me who smelled weird and vaguely familiar. I didn’t trust her smile, it seemed fake.

We started with warm ups, doing scales and arpeggios, and then do re mi. “So we’re going to start looking through songs to sing for our concert.” Ms. Fealo started to hand out packets. “I thought you girls would like this one.” I looked at the packet that was put in my hands. Paradise by Coldplay. Good song. I had heard it once or twice while being held prisoner.

Friday came like a blessing from the Moon Goddess just in time to keep me from stabbing the cheerleaders to death with a pencil. “Goddess that was brutal.” I groaned stretching after weights. “The weights weren’t that bad.” John said placidly.

“No the whole week. You’ve done this your whole life? This school thing?” Yanking out the ponytail tie I shook my head to make my hair fall down straight. “Yeah, its really not so bad.” He chuckled and fist bumped me then headed toward the guys locker room then turned back to talk to me. “Hey you’re coming to the game tonight right? Thomas would love to have you there and I’m sure Ray would be happy to have a friend to sit with.”

I completely forgot about the first game of the season. There was also apparently a dance that night. “Sure wouldn’t miss it.” I said with a smile. “Awesome, game starts at seven.” That gave me time to find something appropriate to wear. I cracked my neck on the way to the shower and sighed.

‘Run?’ Silver asked. I smiled despite myself and replied. ‘You know me so well.’ She laughed but it felt like I was laughing. ‘I am you.’ Dismissing the creepy chills running down my back I stripped and turned the shower on. ‘The full moon is tomorrow.’ Oh yeah I forgot about that. I washed myself free of sweat and dried off.

‘Hey Thomas I’m going to run home. Let Gabriel know kay?’ I got dressed and grabbed my backpack walking toward the edge of town instead of the parking lot. ‘He’s not happy but okay. We’ll meet you at home. Be safe. Gabe says he loves you.’ Aww... ‘Tell him I love him to.’ At the tree line I shifted and shook myself then took off at a dead sprint for home. Halfway there however I had a different plan. I veered west for the border and into no man’s land.

A joyous howl tore itself from my throat and was echoed. Fenus met me in a small clearing by a creek. He barked happily and bumped my flank then licked my muzzle. I rubbed my head against his, telling him how glad I was to see him without words. As much as I loved Gabriel I had always felt closer to Fenus.

He struck a playful stance bouncing lightly, barking at me. With a wolfy grin I copied his stance then pounced on him. We tumbled over each other growling and snarling, nipping at each other careful not to do any damage. When we tired ourselves out, we rested enjoying each other’s company. Sadly, I had to go home and get ready for the football game soon.

I whined sadly at Fenus indicating that I didn’t want to leave him. He licked my muzzle in comfort and nudged me away telling me it was okay that I had to leave. I stuck my nose into the fur of his shoulder breathing in his scent. Goddess I loved how he smelled, I couldn’t get enough. With a sigh I finally detached myself from my mate and headed home leaving a piece of my heart with him.

It was close to five when I got back to the house. I shifted into my human form focusing on wearing the dress I had shifted into this morning and my back pack. Surprisingly they came, the silk flowing down my body while the backpack expanded out of an acorn sized blob. Cool. I grinned and quickly scaled the tree outside my window jumping into my room. I landed silently and shed my back pack onto my bed then went to my closet to change. The minimal cold wouldn’t bother me so I didn’t bother with a jacket. I put on a blue shirt with butterflies and black jeans calling it good.

“Kendra you in there?” My dad knocked on my door gently. “Yeah dad, come on in.” He opened the door with a huge smile. “I love being able to walk down the hall and have you answer. For so long my heart was an empty room with walls of the deepest blue.” Crossing my room he plopped down on my bed. I wrinkled my nose at him then smiled.

“I forgot how much you like to quote songs.” I crawled onto my bed and leaned against his side. “I’ve missed you sweetheart.” His arm wrapped around me and he kissed the top of my head. “I missed you too dad.” He held me for a while rocking me gently then broke the silence. “You’re going to the dance after the game I assume.” I nodded and looked up at him through my lashes worried he’d say no.

“Be safe and have fun okay?” I grinned and hugged him tight. “Thanks dad.” He chuckled hugging me back. “Did you tell Gabriel yet? I’m sure he’ll want to dance with you.” I blushed and scooted away. “I don’t actually know how to dance.” I admitted softly. “Most of the time you just move with the music but I can teach you to waltz if you’d like.” I smiled and leaped off the bed holding my hands out for my dad to take. He took my hands letting me pull him to his feet.

“Okay, this hand goes here, the other rests on my shoulder. Good, alright now follow my feet. Left out set, bring the right to follow then slide it up. Good. Step up with the left to meet the right. Slide the right out and step, bring the left to follow then down. Finally bring your right down to meet your left. Good job. Long long short. Long long short.” We danced in a small square and my dad started humming a song. Soon I found us spinning slowly as we danced. “And if Gabriel gets daring.” I was about to ask what he meant but he lifted our clasped hands above my head and spun me gently. I yelped when he leaned me down into a dip. “And that’s the waltz.” He said cheerily pulling me up.

“Thanks dad.” I hugged him and looked at the clock on my bedside table, 6:00. ‘You ready to go?’ Thomas asked. ‘Yep, are you?’ My father left my room and I grabbed a pair of socks dashing down the hall and stairs to grab my shoes. “We’re bringing Skye. Can you keep an eye on him?” Thomas looked slightly worried holding his mate to his side. “Sure no problem. Raven and I will take good care of you Mew.” I smiled up at them and then gasped. “No way!” I shot to my feet and turned Thomas’ head to the side and then Skye’s. “You guys mated!” Mew blushed bright red and hid behind Thomas. On the side of their necks were matching bite marks. “Aww...!” Thomas mumbled something then pulled Skye put the door with him.

“Wait for me!” I scampered after them and plopped into the car texting Gabriel. -Game tonight and dance, you free?- Minutes later my phone made a popping noise. -I’m always free for you- I grinned and my thumbs danced over the screen. -See you at seven? dance is closer to ten- Pop. -Wouldn’t miss it-

I decided to text Raven because I had no clue where she would be sitting. -where should I meet you?- I watched the trees pass by as we drove waiting for a reply. Pop. -by the band, my friend Casey plays- That’s cool, I love band kids they’re awesome! -ok see you there-

Shoving my phone in my pocket I poked Mew in the shoulder. “Turn on the radio would ya?” He grinned at me and fiddled with the dial before settling on a song we liked. “Singing radiohead at the top of our lungs, while the boombox plays we’re falling in love.” We sang along all the way to the high school.

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