Gold meets blue
Gold meets blue
Fate in a tumbler-dryer
Standing there, eye to eye with the very being she had tried so hard to avoid. She thought deep and hard. What had she done wrong? Why was it her? Yet it seemed the questions were drowning in the solid edge of darkness of his pupils. They demanded submission whereas the golden glowing iris’ required the truth.
A silent conversation of rushed words and emotions happened between his golden and her blue eyes. She was left overwhelmed and completely breathless.
She had never thought herself as a meek little thing. But right there she wanted nothing more than pull her tail between her legs and run like the wolf she was. To never look back. Instinct proved to be stronger as she was rooted to the spot. All the while a force as strong and old as time itself took place. Its bittersweet whisper told all she needed to know.
The time was upon her. No matter how undesirable.
She barely recognized what happened around her as an undercurrent of thoughts took her back to what had led her here...
It was a bitter cold wind which stroke along Ember’s legs and back. But more so was the truth carried within it. It was a daunting prospect, but an empty pocket and a hungry stomach drove her further into town. She needed this commission. It was that or she would have to find an alternative – perhaps a barmaid for a time... in a very far and isolated town.
She almost cringed when she imaged the stale and heavy smell within such an establishment. When the evening became old and people had been sitting on the same stools for hours on end, sweating. Mixed with the sweet odor of nonstop flowing alcohol and it was a potent cocktail for a pounding headache.
With renew determine she speeded up. The sidewalk was pretty much deserted. People had sought the warmth inside instead of the frozen winter weather. It was both a blessing and a curse. It was refreshing not to be surrounded by strangers, but at the same time she stood out like a sore thumb. The street was all but empty.
The wind was taunting her as it caressed her, to turn hard handed as it ruffled her. It kept its assault, but it was not the handling that was ragging. It was what infused the air. A strong smell that made the small hairs stand on end all over her body.
It was trouble in the purest form for one such as Ember.
A heavy dominant odor saturated the wind. It was both sharp yet soft at the edges. The smell a masculine musk masking strength and a powerful will. For friends and family, it was a warm welcome. For strangers and disputers, it was a deadly challenge.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Ember already had an appointment. Her reputation at stake. She would have turned around the moment she recognized what that smell meant. The car had covered most of the scent. The engine had a tendency of doing that. It was only after she had retrieved her room-key. Braced against the harsh icy wind to go to her appointment, the bite of the smell hit her. And it told her exactly what she had stepped into. She had almost staggered.
While it was an intimidating situation. Especially for one of the ”fairer” sex and her “delicate” position. She righted her spine and walked on. It was barmy to do so. But Ember was not one who covered. To do so when nothing but the smell of a certain promise surrounded her, almost made her grind her teeth.
As it was, Ember could take no more being in the stifling car. Having been sitting down for hours. Her very being was one were useless stillness for longer periods of time made her restless. Being trapped in the car was very much every essence of that. So, though it was a bit of a reckless decision, Ember decided to walk to her appointment. She wanted to get blood into her legs. Ergo the car was parked close to her rented room.
Later, Ember would see the faults in this plan – the whole plan. From the part where she had rented the room. To sitting down and unpacked a few of her things while eating a bit of food. To go against her better judgment and walked into town.
She should have taken her things and gotten the heck out of there while she still had the chance. She should have.
But she didn’t.
The longer Ember walked, the more skittish she became. She tried to tell herself to relax. To look at ease, like she belonged. Everything to make as few as possible notice her. And that was all very well, but the deepest instincts in her was telling failure was more or less imminent. It did so in the form of perspiring palms. Ears catching every loud as light sounds. Eyes searching every nook and cranny. Nevertheless, she still continued.
But time was against her now. Ember doubted very much that she would even be able to sleep at the motel. Though she definitely needed to get some proper sleep in a bed – which was why she had rented the room in the first place. But the air current was not a one-way informant. As she now knew that she had stepped onto pack land; they too would soon know that a stranger had arrived.
And not just a stranger, but a lone female wolf. A mature female wolf – with no mate. She could have simply drenched fresh blood down her front and yelled lamb for the taking. There were enough big bad wolves who would jump for that opportunity. Ember cursed herself for the situation she had put herself in, but she could blame nobody but herself.
She stiffened for a moment. Looking over her shoulder she searched the area. Her oversensitive ears had caught a sound, but she saw nothing. She sighted deep and began walking again. This time faster.
The smell of a stranger would alert the pack. The smell of a female wolf? Ember gulped. It would have the bachelor males come running. A swarm of bees towards fresh pollen. A whole lot of unwanted attention. Attention which surely could bring seeking eyes Ember was trying for all in the world to hide from.
The closer she came to the inner center of the town the more people were outside. All trying to keep themselves warm. Ember’s jeans was at this point clinging to her legs, the cold having taking ahold of her skin and muscles. She pulled her rather light jacket closer still and looked around. Her blue eyes lit up when she saw the sign up ahead: Corron’s Photography - Capturing the Moment. She was ready to sigh in relief but dared not to – not yet anyway.
The plan was simple; go in, get a deal, get out and then pack her stuff and get out of there. No paid money was worth the trouble that was undoubtedly soon coming her way. If she didn’t act. She would have to sleep in her car... again.
She stopped in front of the glass door of the shop, took a deep calming breath and opened it. Trying to look as professional as possible with an eminent threat was difficult. Walking to the counter she saw the back of an older man bending behind the desk - and very much smelled. She grimaced a little by the odor of stale beer and cigars. Up close the smell was almost too much. Being used to humans, she fought to keep a straight face.
Ember cleared her throat when nothing happened. It took a long moment before the middle-aged man reacted. When he finally stretched his back and turned around, he found a young lady standing at the counter in front of him. A young lady with hair like crimson flames and deep blue eyes. A gentle smile looking a little forced, greeted him.
He coughed, smiled while wiping his hands on his trousers and made an effort to look professional. He had barely opened his mouth and Ember already knew that this was not going to go quite as she wanted.
She was right; little over half an hour later and she was ready to forget whatever she had sought out to do. If it wasn’t for the very fact that her laptop had decided that life was overrated. And going out with a bang was the way to end it, she wouldn’t even have had to come here in the first place.
She could have sent the remaining pictures. Talked over the phone and hope the result would be positive. But alas here she was, talking to a Steph. Who wasn’t even the one she was supposed to talk to. But a half-timer working dimwit who could not understand the simplest task of writing a note, that she had been there and deliver the USB to his employer!
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
“Will you just take the USB and write the note?!” She nearly hissed.
“Yeah, yeah, give me a moment woman, yeesh.” He finally gave in. Expiration radiating in his small watery eyes. Finally finding out that she was not going to let his “he had an emergency. Come back later”-explanation push her out the door, leaving him to do who knows what.
She huffed, taking a heavy breath and tried not grinding her teeth. She was not going to react to him being degrading.
As she was about to put down the USB on the desk - something she was beginning to be apprehensive about; not trusting Steph one iota - the front door behind her opened. A little bell chimed this time too, announcing a new customer. Out the corner of her eye she saw a younger guy.
“Steph,” greeted the newcomer with an easy smile. Then he halted in his steps. His nostrils flared for a moment. Bewilderment widen his eyes. He stood completely still now. She knew why.
Without thought her spine straightened in tension. Her lungs expanded to its full capacity as she took in his smell once more, as if she wasn’t sure she was correct the first time around. Analyzing it didn’t change the outcome. She knew. Dammit she knew. It was too late.
She had hoped for more time before she would stumble upon them. At least it was only one - and a young one at that. Bracing herself she gradually turned around so she could have him in her full vision.
He was a scrawny boy with reddish brown hair and light eyes. He dressed fairly simple as werewolves tended to do - easier to get rid of the clothes when shifting to wolf-form. His hair was reaching some centimeters below his ears. He looked very much like the young wolf that he was. A growing boy, where everything was either too big or too thin for his frame.
“Why Adam, I almost thought you had forgotten about old me - not cool enough to hang out with anymore, eh?” Every bit of Steph’s concentration was on the absentminded youngster. Even moving along the counter to get closer. Completely ignorant to the sudden tense atmosphere between the two customers.
The youngster, Adam, had to tear his attention away from Ember before he could walk the remaining distance. He blinked a couple of times before he appeared to know what to answer. But that didn’t fool Ember - she knew she had his full attention.
With very slow movements, Ember began to distance herself from the newcomer. They needed more space between them. If she had withers in this form, they would have begun to raise to posture. The youngster didn’t miss this.
Werewolves on another’s territory could mean anything. Mostly trouble. Since this Adam didn’t know Ember, he could not know if she would jump on him and tear his throat out or not. Not that Ember wasn’t in the same position. But Ember did not fear the juvenile. No, she feared something far more, and it was not her life this moment. She feared the consequences that was going to unfold now. She knew her presence in this area was to be announced as soon as this guy could get the news rolling.
Just my luck.
The air sizzled with tenseness to which only the two werewolves could feel. Messages were being tossed back and forth between them. Not with words. With energy and whatever little body language their stiff bodies were capable of. Which by wolf standard was a lot.
Who the hell are you? Friend or foe? What are you doing here? This is our territory!
She could almost hear all the questions his smell, stiff shoulders and squinting eyes spoke for him. He was alert but also curious about this female stranger. The curiosity almost being the most dreaded respond.
Okay. Time to go!
Ember turned towards Steph and placed the USB on the counter. “Make sure to give the note and the USB. I will be waiting for news.” With that she turned around in a manner not to startle the young wolf before heading for the door. With a last glance over her shoulder before she was out the door, she saw what she had been dreading. The young guy was pulling a phone out of his pocket.
Her clock was ticking now. Bullocks. What kind of luck did she have to accidently arrive to one of the few places a werewolf pack had territory? She was not sure that even if Steph - or hopefully his employer - called, she would be able to come. Working as a barmaid was looking more and more promising.
The door had scarcely closed behind her before she busted into a sprint down the street. While it felt good, the reason behind did not. The surroundings were a blur as she kept going. Never stopping. Never looking back. Being a werewolf, travelling a lot, she was in great shape, but even then she felt how her lungs hungered for air. The frigid air burned her nose and shocked her lungs. Her muscles strained and warmed. The blood pumped through them and her feet hit the asphalt in a furious tattoo.
It was a fight to keep steady on the glazed and icy parts of the sidewalk, but with determined Ember stayed on her feet. A few times she slipped enough to bring her so much out of balance, she thought for sure she was going to kiss the asphalt. But she didn’t.
With a red nose and cheeks, she almost cried out with relief when she finally saw that old neon sign that made out Motel. Never had her old car seemed so much like a blessing parked there all dirty and rusty. The last stretch to her door was gone in a second. Only needing her stuff and then she was out of there.
After unlocking the door, she flung it open and slammed it behind her. She took a moment to draw a long breath. She sniffed the air and smelled no unwelcomed scents. Her bag was on a stool in the corner; her clothes mostly inside. Ember hadn’t unpacked much of her things since she knew that she was not staying long. But the small amount of clothes that were hanging on the armrest seemed too much.
Okay Ember, think! Breathe! You have about ten minutes before they arrive. You have done this before - you can do it again.
Ember was about to burst into action, when a sudden pull froze her to the spot. Like two equally strong forces pulling in each direction. Petrified, her mind was screaming to get a move on. Her body refused to move as much as a muscle.
As though her body was getting overwhelmed of another. It felt like it collapsed inside itself. Then the most peculiar thing happened. Something within started sending out a call with such longing it bordered on painful. Her chest could have crumbled in on itself as a vacuum of swirling mass of everything and nothing took hold. Her throat was dry and her eyes felt bright and bothered. A light sheen of perspiration covered her brow. A tumult of feelings were battling inside her and she didn’t even know why.
A raw gasp escaped her when she heard the unmistakable sound of a car pull up. Time was up.
The realization made her jump. Startled, she ran to the nearest window where she looked out at the parking lot. An older, dirty, dark green Land Rover was parked outside. Three people were emerging from it. She didn’t need theirs scents to know what they were. Like the curtain was on fire she let go and looked around. In seconds they would be upon her. Her smell would lead them straight to her.
How they had found her so quickly did not occupy her that instant. She took her car key and glanced only at her backpack in passing. She would have to leave it behind. She had yet to put all her stuff in it and she did not have the time. She grabbed her camera pulling the strap over her head, securing the camera around her neck. Trying to find a window that she could squish out of, she looked desperately around.
A knock broke through the stillness of the room as she located her escape.
Silently she opened the window and scrambled out. The rough outlay of the windowsill gave her soft skin a few abrasions, as she glided out and down the wall. If she was lucky, she could get a good head start and trick them. She would need to run around the building while they were in her room. Get to her car and drive the hell out of there.
Sounded simple enough...
What would be a failure before she even tried, would be to jump out and head towards the open forest behind the motel. Turn to her wolf-form and run. Not only would the snow slow her down. People might see her transform - she would rather get caught by them then risk that. They would also track her faster and reach her before she had even run a hundred meters.
The car was her best option.
There were three more knocks. Then some mumbling - probably to her about opening the door - and then the sad excuse for a door got kicked in. Ember was almost at the corner of the motel by then. Pressing her back against the rough wall of the building, she turned slightly around the corner to take stock of the situation. There were four motel rooms between the strangers and her. She glanced at where her car was. She would have to sprint.
Now or never!
A last deep breath and she kick started the run to which would lead her to escape. She made sure her key was at hand and ready to unlock the car - being of the older kind, she had to unlock it the old fashion way.
Yelling cut through the air as she reached the car. Heavy footsteps thundered on the ground. As she was about to insert the key, a pull took over her body. Strong enough to make her double over. The air around her pressed in on her. Her lungs gasp for breath. A small voice in the back of her head whispered...
Incomprehensible, the voice was more akin to a feeling. It left her with an indigestible sense she was making a big mistake. It was a shortcoming feeling though. The adrenaline rushing in her blood snapped her out of it. For some reason she found herself glancing over her shoulder for a moment.
One guy, big bodied, black jacket, dark haired, and grey eyes. A stern expression on his face, was running towards her from the front door. Another was running from the corner of the building where she had been hiding. Their expressions told Ember of their determination to get to her before it was too late.
A strangled sound escaped her mouth in close to fright. She fumbled further with the key.
She wrenched the door open, for it to be slammed shut. Before she knew what was up or down, she was turned around. Her back pressed up against her car. Her breath was hard, shallow and fast. Then she recalled bitterly there had been three and not two men. The third was now standing way too close for comfort and looked at her with wild eyes. Something a hunt did to most werewolves.
Both of their chests were working a push and pull motion. Their lungs gobbled air down without feeling it. It was the only sound between them. Ember’s blue eyes dilated when they clashed with those of the man in front of her. They were golden. And they were burning like molten lava. Strong and steady. They demanded submission and respect.
It was so clear. This was the Alpha who had come to see this new wolf intruding on his territory. Yet something was off. It was always a tense situation meeting a new Alpha. But this time it was not merely establishing ranks - finding out if the stranger was friend or foe.
There was something here so much bigger than the world around them. The silence surrounding them felt fragile yet heavy. Whatever weird pull her body had been experiencing seemed to subside. Breathing was once more a thing her lungs could efficiently do.
Because she was where she was supposed to be, a whisper purred.
Air was minty fresh in her nose, almost to the point of burning. Every sound, sight and smell seemed intensified. The sudden connection between them was like threads flying through the air. Each sparked when joining the other. Building to a near fusion that would weld them together in the most raw and fragile place within them. She felt it prickle and tingle inside of her. The want to tie the final, everlasting knot and give him the most vulnerable piece of herself; her soul name.
No, it couldn’t be...
She had never really believed that she would be able to find him. But right there before her he stood. Every fiber of her being whispered bittersweetly in her ears what he was. What he meant to her. Her soulmate.
And here she had just been trying not to be courted and mated at all, and now this.
Her tongue was almost making knots on itself, as his soul name was beginning to form at the tip. The reactions she had earlier made more sense now. In a weird kind of way her soul had known. Sensed her soulmate was near and reaching.
He looked as surprised, but not enough to hide the triumph swirling in the gold. His chest seemed to grow bigger as the realization settled within him. Fear and panic arose within Ember. This could not happen. She could not know his soul name nor give hers. That was not possible.
The sun hadn’t moved an inch. The seasons hadn’t changed and her death bed wasn’t looming over her. Yet it felt like a lifetime had passed. Her back was pressed so hard against the car that if it could it would have swallowed her whole. She almost wished it would.
She began to shake her head in rejection. He looked confused for a moment until he finally felt it. She was retreating within herself. Her soul getting cut away from his. The fragile bond that had yet to settle between them was being ripped apart. It was followed by pain in plentiful.
“Don’t!” Was the only thing he got over his lips as her soul name faded. He gripped her arms in desperation. If it wasn’t for the sudden pain, she would have felt the tingle and gentle warming of his touch. Alas her being was concentrating on the force of which she coerced upon them.
Heartbrokenness etched into her features. The icy feeling of being utterly isolated swamped her as the tender threads split. Faintly she observed his arms lose strength as they moved away from her. They were now pressed against the car on each side of her. He wasn’t looking at her anymore. His eyes unseeing, blank.
Breaking something inside of her to pieces, she knew now was the time. When he barely knew how to react to the whole situation, now was the time to run.
It had to be one of the hardest things she had ever done, but she did it. She broke loose from his arms and sprinted away while her soul was howling and crying within. Hurting from pain expressed as cold blades. It hurt. It made her breathless, and tears had fought their way to the forefront and almost slid down her cheeks. She had not given one thought to the other two werewolves who had come along. They simply stood and looked on in astonishment as two mates found each other. Then in utmost apprehension when they were not fully united as they should have been.
How she had done it, she was not sure. She just knew that the longing souls were still seeking each other. She needed to get as far away as possible and never see him again if she was going to live on mateless. Even now she was not sure if it would even work, but she had to try. Her plan was simple in thought. The only thing was; two were in this situation and he was not so inclined to let it slide it seemed.
Mere seconds after she had run off, he had collected his thoughts and set after her. She did not see it coming. One moment she was free, the next she was yet again in his arms. But this time in close contact as he wrapped them around her in a tight grip. His arms were strong and warm, his chest hard, but they were little more than a barrier at that point. Knowing she would never have the strength to break free. She wrestled harder against the cage of warmth and commitment.
"No! Let me be!” She growled.
She fought against him. She felt the pull again. Felt how the threads were fighting against her mind’s desperate desire for independence. His arms didn’t lack strength this time she subconsciously thought. As though he knew her, knew that no matter what he said she would not stop fighting, he said nothing. But did something else.
Alarmed she saw what he was thinking and reacted according.