Chapter 4: Transformation and the journey
Beep Beep Beep
I wake up and feel like throwing the alarm clock at the wall. It keeps beeping and I slap the top hoping I hit the snooze button. It stops beeping and I roll over on my stomach ready to continue sleeping.
“No, no, no. Up, up, up. Come on. We have to travel far today. Rise and shine.”
I look up at Rylan with blurry eyes. “I’ll rise but I won’t shine,” I say, already in a grumpy mood. I see the hint of a smile coming from my words, but he stops it midway and then he walks away.
I sigh and sit up, not ready to start a new day. “I’ll get you to smile, Rylan. One of these days.”
I smell bacon and stand, hearing my belly growl. Then I notice that he’s not wearing a shirt yet and I watch the muscles in his back move as he flips pancakes and grabs the bacon from the microwave. He’s hot and I try to stop the butterflies from flying around in my stomach.
“Uh huh. Sure you will,” he says sarcastically.
“Wow, thanks for the confidence,” I say just as sarcastic.
He almost smiled again, but he’s good at hiding it. I can see in his eyes that he wants to give in and laugh, but I can also tell that he hasn’t laughed for a while and won’t start soon.
As we eat breakfast, Rylan gets hotter and really sexy. I try not to think about it, but I can’t stop myself from looking at him every five seconds. I finally scold myself and refuse to look back at him until I’ve finished eating. I can tell that he notices me looking at him, but thankfully, he doesn't say anything and just shoves bacon in his mouth.
I shrug on my backpack before we leave the hotel room and start on the walk to the man Rylan was talking about yesterday. I breathe in the air and smell a forest nearby. I don’t know how I knew that, but it seemed like Rylan also knew it by the way his nose was in the air.
“This way,” he said, pointing towards the North. “We must go this way, into the forest.”
We walk into the forest and he suddenly stops. “You need to turn into your wolf. It will be faster for travel. You can’t go far in this forest if you’re human.”
“But I am human.”
“And you're a wolf,” he says and then turns into his wolf and starts to leap away from me, snapping in my direction when he realizes I'm not with him. His wolf was beautiful. He was a tawny brown and his guard hairs were black. He had a black nose and some black on his tail. Some spots of him were lighter than the rest of him, but it gave him personality.
I was a little surprised when he turned into his wolf. I never thought that anything like that was possible. I could feel my breath becoming shaky, but tried to hide it.
And I had to do that also?
“Um, excuse me?” I say loudly.
He turns and walks towards me, pawing at the ground. I still don't move. First of all, there's a freaking wolf in front of me that used to be a boy, and second of all, what the hell is this world? Rylan turns into his human form, completely naked, not bothering to cover himself. “Just turn into your wolf and let’s go. What’s the problem?”
“I don’t know how to turn,” I say annoyed that he couldn’t figure it out.
“Oh jeez," he says annoyed. "The first time is hard and it hurts a bit, but when you get the hang of it, you should turn without pain or much thought. So... first of all, let me explain something. Those who are born as werewolves don’t reach full ‘wolf maturity’ until they reach puberty, which is somewhere between the age of 11 and 14. When they reach that point, their body starts to change rapidly, their urges to transform start to show more and more, almost uncontrollably. You must've changed a little bit after birth because that is more common. This is not your first transformation. I can smell it on you. You have changed a few times before, so it shouldn't hurt."
"But I haven't changed for a while then, if you're right. So it might hurt. There's no way I'm changing," I say determined.
"You will be fine. You're going to have to do it or we can't go. Either change or I'll take you back to your castle and tell the guards that I found you somewhere here and I wondered where you came from and you told me that you lived in the castle."
"So now you're threatening me?" I say, anger building in my voice.
"If you changed already, I wouldn't have to, but you're really stubborn. I just do it usually, but it's easier to do it when you're angry."
"So... I have to get angry. I don't get angry very often though. It takes a lot to make me mad."
It looked like I would have to change into my wolf. I doubt that I even had a wolf, but oh well. If I didn't at least try, he was going to take my back. Somehow, in his eyes, I knew that he didn't want to take me back. I was so confused and there was a lot he wasn't telling me, but what else was I supposed to do. This was my decision now. Either go back to my boring life or do what this boy said and continue on a journey I've barely started. I didn't trust him at all and I didn't agree with anything he was saying. I certainly was not okay with me being a werewolf. I'm not sure I ever would be, but...
I'm not going back. So I better somehow change into this stupid wolf, even though I really didn't want to. I took the backpack off and tied it to my leg.
"After this journey, I'm never changing back again," I promise myself.
"WELL YOU BETTER START CHANGING INTO YOUR WOLF!" He yells at me.
"If you're trying to get me mad, it won't work," I say, a frown covering my face.
"I hope that your parents die. I hope they rot in hell! And I hope everyone you love dies with them!" he screamed in my face. Then he threw me against a tree and I was infuriated.
Nobody talks about my parents like that. And who does he think he is? I thought boys weren't supposed to hurt girls. Wasn't that a rule?
Low growls escaped from my throat and I started to turn. I felt my muscles shifting and my nails turned to claws. Fur covered my arms and legs and my clothes ripped apart into shreds. It hurt a little because I haven't done it for so long, but the wolf in me greeted me like she knew me already and was happy to be with me again. Maybe Rylan was right about me shifting before? When I was done, Rylan had already changed and was pawing at me.
I didn't know what his wolf wanted with me. I saw Rylan's eyes through this wolf and was still mad at him. I didn't want anything to do with him anymore. All of a sudden, a link connected us and I heard him in my thoughts.
How did you do this? he was saying. Wait, there's only one way you could do this. This means that you're in the same pack as me. We wouldn't be able to talk this way otherwise.
So where are we going? I ask. I don't want to talk to him, but I'm going to have to deal with it now. After all of this, I never want to talk to him again.
Some parts of my body didn't want that though and I didn't know why. I think that I have feelings for Rylan, even though I'd never admit it out loud. I want to have a relationship with him somewhere in all the hate I somehow mustered up for him. How could anyone want to be with someone so cruel?
Follow me and find out.
We ran through the forest, sometimes stopping for water and other times stopping to poop or pee. Sometimes we had to shift to our human forms and I gave him a fit about it. I tried to make the journey worse for him then what it was for me. I didn't let him see me naked and he didn't seem to care. I loved my human form a lot better than the wolf form and I would purposely him him attitude about shifting in general. Into human or wolf. I hated to shift. He wasn't opening up to me yet, but he was more kind.
After a very long time of running around and being tired, we arrived at our destination, or that's what Rylan said. So we came to this encampment and changed back to humans. A girl hugged Rylan and he asked for clothes. They were given to us and then he started walking and asked me to follow him. We walked to the center of everything where there was a tent a little bit bigger than the rest of them. There were people coming out and walking around and there was someone who stood out from everyone else. I didn't want to be scared of him, but I definitely knew that he was the boss around here.
"He's the man I was telling you about," whispered Rylan. "His name is Soren. Bow your head when he gets to us. He's the leader of my pack, or should I say our pack."
When the man got close, Rylan and I bowed our heads. Rylan slightly bowed and I leaned as far as possible, wanting him to like me. When he was close enough to touch me, he broke out a smile, looking straight at Rylan and pulled him into a hug.
"Okay, okay," Rylan said. He was smiling for the first time ever. His teeth were straight and perfect and his smile was adorable since dimples I've never seen before show up on his face. "Let me go already. This is Nerida Windsor. Nerida, meet Soren. He's my father."