Keeper

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Chapter 11

“Where’d Cassi go?” Alex wondered aloud.

The five of them turned to find their blonde friend nowhere in sight. “Maybe she went home?” Mike suggested.

“Yeah, but…”

“Alex, shouldn’t you be heading to your date?”

Alex heard the slight edge in Gabriella’s voice and turned to her. “Yeah, I guess so.”

Alex waved to her friends and began padding toward Medium Raw, the restaurant she was meeting the swamp girl, Amber, at. As the purple-furred girl walked to the restaurant, she thought about Cassidie and Gabriella.

Cassi’s my best friend; I thought she would be the first to congratulate me. And what was up with Gabby? Did she have a crush on me? Alex shook herself with a sigh. Maybe Amber can take my mind off of Cassi for a bit.

Entering the restaurant, Alex stood on two paws and walked to the table the hostess pointed her to. Sitting down across from Amber, Alex smiled at her shyly.

“Hey Alex,” the girl’s voice sounded like she had water at the back of her throat.

“Hi, Amber,” Alex replied conversationally. “What are you having?”

“A slice of swamp rat pizza with a side of muddy potatoes and a muckberry smoothie. You?”

“Um, the Raw Steak Supreme with zombie fries and a wolfsbane shake.”

“Killer.” Amber flagged down a vampire waitress and they filled their orders. While waiting for their food, Alex and Amber talked about their school classes. “I plan on taking swimming and psychopathy.” Amber told the fur-covered girl as the waitress came back. “

“I want to take vocal screeching and history of magic.” Alex replied.

“I’ve won three swimming awards and a swimming trophy. What’s your favorite hobby Alex?”

Alex chewed on her steak thoughtfully and said, “Singing. I A-positively love singing.”

“Then why don’t you sing?” Amber asked curiously.

“I don’t know…”

“Sing for me, Alex.”

“What?” Alex looked over at the swamp girl in surprise.

“Sing for me,” Amber repeated calmly. “I want to hear your voice.”

Alex stared at her for a moment and blinked. “No.” she said flatly.

“Please?”

“No. I don’t sing for anyone.”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Just this once?”

“No.”

“Come on, I won’t ask again after this.”

Alex glared at her, sighed and stood. She was lucky because the band that had been up there had just finished performing. “Hey cats,” she called as she climbed up. The werewolves all looked at her appraisingly. “Do you mind doing me a favor?”

The lead guitarist shrugged and a few minutes later, everything was set. The band was ready and Alex took the mike. Raising a red paw, Alex counted down and the song began.

Tortured, you’ve made me see so clearly. When I’m with you, baby, nothing could ever be compared…” Alex sighed as Amber disappeared and Cassidie took her place.

A million bats are screeching, I can hear the werewolf howling when you speak to me. Your heart is all I see.” Now the entire restaurant was changing. People were put into fancy dresses and suits and a sparkling dance floor spanned out in front of her.

I can feel your magic swirling. I can see it baby, mixing, together again with mine…” As she was singing, Alex saw Cassidie and herself, as a human, dancing in the center of the dance floor. She was in a flowing, midnight blue gown and Cassidie wore a beautiful, deep purple suit.

Explosions behind my eyes and I love our fingers entwined when your hands are touching mine…” Alex watched as Cassidie twirled her around the floor before pulling her close. The longing was incredible and Alex felt it fill her stomach heavily.

Side-by side walking in the cemetery …” The dancing scene was getting more intense and it made Alex squirm slightly.

Keeping you close like an onyx pendant. Cause you,” Cassidie caressed her cheek.

and your love,” The blonde girl leaned closer.

Set my heart aflame.” Alex held the mike away from her mouth as she moaned slightly before continuing the song. I want Cassi to kiss me like that. The red-pawed girl whimpered inwardly.

Your heart, your heart, your heart is all I ever need (all I ever need).” A cheer went up as the couples and families applauded her performance. Alex bowed and jumped offstage, sliding back into her seat.

“Alex!” Amber squealed. “That was so killer. Why hasn’t anyone ever heard you sing before? You’re A-positively gruesome.” Alex blushed slightly and thanked her, finishing her meal.

“Are you finished?” she asked, indicating the other girl’s empty plate.

“Yeah,” Amber said, putting her silverware on it.

“Kay, come on, let’s go.” They paid for their food, left the waitress a tip and headed out. Alex sniffed the air and caught the faint scent of chocolate. She smiled and turned to her date.

“Hop on,” she commanded, dropping to all fours. Amber blinked at her for a moment before cautiously climbing onto Alex’s back. Alex took off jogging toward the chocolate and Amber started up conversation.

“So babe,” Alex shuddered involuntarily at the pet name, but Amber didn’t seem to notice. “Why did you choose that particular song tonight?” the swamp monster played in Alex’s fur, massaging the skin beneath and making Alex sigh.

“It was a favorite of an old friend from the other side.” Well, it wasn’t technically a lie. Alex knew it was Cassidie’s favorite song by some chick that named herself Sabrina Gonzalez to avoid detection by puffball authorities and who, if Alex was really honest, bore a striking resemblance to herself. Amber hummed thoughtfully as her claws dug deeper. Alex purred softly and sniffed the air, before veering to the right and spotting a small ice cream stand near the street.

“We’re here,” Alex said. “What do you want?”

“I’ll have the chocolate cockroach sundae.” Amber told her.

Alex nodded and approached the stand. “Could I get a double bloodberry cone with sprinkles and a chocolate cockroach sundae?”

The vendor nodded and reached beneath the stand to retrieve the items. Alex handed him the money and handed the ice scream up to Amber. Hurrying to a park nearby, Alex slid Amber onto a bench and they sat down.

“So, like, you were born on the other side, right?” Amber asked.

“Yeah.” Alex replied, licking her cone to test out the taste.

“Do they allow this sort of relationship over there?”

Alex’s eyes widened as she remembered the first time she had tested that out. She and Cassidie had been playing in an alleyway, chasing a butterfly just before Cassidie’s eighth birthday. The butterfly had landed in Cassidie’s hair and Alex had jumped on her to get it. The two had toppled to the ground and Alex stared into Cassidie’s eyes. Even then, Alex had felt some sort of pull towards her best friend, though she had no idea what it could have been. Neither of them had moved as they stared into each other’s eyes and so that’s the position they were in when Alex’s parents had found them. They had pulled the two apart immediately and explained the concept of illegal relationships. Alex had looked on in confusion, though Cassidie’s expression looked thoughtful.

Ever since then, Alex had gotten the tingles whenever she was around Cassidie and it wasn’t until they were eleven that she realized what it must have been, because that was when the two had begun practicing witchcraft together to heighten their senses and knowledge.

“No, over there, it’s against the law for two members of the same gender to date.” Alex bit into her cone and let it melt in her mouth for a while before swallowing it.

“Alex,” Alex turned to the green-skinned girl. “You have a little bit of bloodberry on your nose. Here…”

Alex held still as Amber wiped the red liquid from her nose and tasted it. Then, Amber’s lips met her own and Alex fell into the kiss, not wanting to think about anything else.

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