Moonstruck: Awakening

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Chapter 14

A desperate need to pee woke me the next morning and no matter how much I tried to ignore it or shift position, it just wouldn’t go away. Cracking one eye open, I found the room in a dusk-like state, probably due to the curtains being closed over the windows. It didn’t feel like I’d slept the entire day and there was a halo of bright, warm light surrounding the window treatments. My stomach growled, adding to my bodies complaints, letting me know I’d already missed one meal that day. It had to be around lunchtime.

On the upside, my head didn’t hurt anymore, apart from a lingering ache in my jaw from where Douglas had hit me, so it seemed likely the concussion was gone, yay. Still, I hesitated from leaving the warm cocoon of the bed. Memories from the night before fought for a place of dominance in my head, one impossible feat after another jostling for my attention. As much as I tried, burying my head in the pillow didn’t make the images stop.

What the hell had happened to me? Looking back, it was as if someone else had been in control of my body, directing my actions. Challenging someone almost twice my body mass? That wasn’t rational, not something I felt compelled to do in the bright light of day. Especially not someone who’d already made it very clear they detested my very existence and thought the world would be a better place without me in it.

So why the hell had I done it the night before? There’d been no controlling the impulse, the urge to put Douglas in his place. It wasn’t a normal compulsion. My brain hesitated. It wasn’t a human compulsion.

It was time to face the undeniable truth - I had been fundamentally changed by the people who’d taken me. I’d seen the evidence of that change with my own eyes when my fingers lengthened to claws, but a large part of me still felt completely human. Maybe it was denial, a coping mechanism, justifying it as a unique characteristic, like being able to grow your fingernails really long. Regardless, there had still been a firm line in my head, separating the wolves from, well... me. I knew Gabe and James were different, had even been able to feel it on some instinctual level. But I’d never put myself in their group. Yeah, my body had been doing some weird things, but who was to say I hadn’t been an overly aggressive person before I’d been kidnapped and lost my memory?

Now there was no denying which group I belonged to. Part of me mourned the loss of that humanity. Things were happening to me, things I had no way to control, and the lack of control made me uncomfortable.

Unable to deny my body any longer, I threw back the covers and dragged myself to the bathroom, acting on autopilot, my mind focused on what I’d done rather than what I was doing.

I’d killed a man. I had willingly, and knowingly, killed a man. Why? Self-defense? Partly, sure. There was no doubt Douglas would’ve killed me if he’d had the chance. But I’d had him down on the ground. I could’ve ended it there, walked away and let Douglas stew in the fact that he’d been bested.

But I hadn’t. I’d made a snap decision to follow my instincts and now he was dead and I was a killer.

Ducking my head under the spray of the shower, I fought desperately to be free of those thoughts, to feel something other than a sense of righteousness for my actions. I’d murdered someone. Shouldn’t I feel remorse? Shouldn’t I be heaving in the toilet, sick to the stomach at what I’d done and fearing the repercussions of my actions?

In any other circumstance, if a person had killed another person in front of multiple witnesses, chances were extremely high that they’d be going to jail. Something told me that wasn’t going to happen to me, though. I’d seen enough of the secret society of the furry set to realize they’d want to keep this under wraps.

Admittedly, I did feel remorse for Douglas’s family, if he had any. Those unknown people who had no part in our little power struggle, but would suffer anyway from the loss of a loved one. I may not regret killing the man, but I did regret causing his family pain.

By and large, though, the most overwhelming feeling, the one that outweighed the remorse and righteousness, the disgust at my lack of guilt, was the dread. And there it was, that nauseous anxiety I’d been waiting for. Clutching my stomach, I turned off the water, stepping out of the shower and reaching blindly for a towel, burying my face in it and letting out a sob. It was a sound of anguish, not because I was horrified that I’d taken a life, or caused someone pain. No, it was pure self-pity. Because of all the things I should’ve been worrying about, feeling bad about, it wasn’t what I’d done that worried me most, it was what I might lose because of it.

Gabe, someone I’d come to care for so completely in such a brief period of time. Laura, whose steady support and friendship had helped me start to heal from the horror I’d come from. Hell, even James, the pain in the ass brother I’d never wanted. I’d come to depend on them all. What if my actions pushed them away? I’d done so much damage in so short a period, caused nothing but chaos since I’d arrived. None of them had had to help me, to completely rearrange their lives to accommodate my drama. Yes, realistically, the pack at some point would no doubt be impacted by what had been done to me, the experimenting, but probably only distantly. My arrival had turned what should be ripples in their pond into a tsunami that might just consume them all and change their way of life.

And how did I repay them? By killing one of their pack, someone they might have known their entire lives. I could understand if they wanted nothing further to do with me. Dragging in a shaky breath, I struggled to push the thoughts aside, ignoring the questions of what I’d do if they decided to cast me out, forcing myself to focus on the present.

Ultimately, what was done, was done. There was no changing my actions of the night before and I could do nothing more than go out and deal with the fallout.

After I dressed, I left my room and wandered through the house, looking for everyone. I found Laura in the kitchen, washing dishes. I almost lost my nerve, my stomach clenching further. I fought the urge to turn and leave, to slink out of the house and never face them, never know what their reactions would be. Reject them before they rejected me. But that was cowardice, something that would be unforgivable on top of what I’d already done.

“Hey,” I said softly, pausing just inside the door.

At the sound of my voice, she turned from the sink. Catching sight of me, she hurried over to gently take my chin between her thumb and index, tilting my head slightly to the side, intently examining my face for signs of the previous night’s injury.

“How are you feeling, any headaches?” she asked briskly. I shook my head - as much as I was able while she was holding my chin - to indicate no.

“Nausea? Vomiting?”

Another shake from me.

“Slurred speech? Dizziness?”

“Nope,” I said softly.

“Good,” she said, sharply nodding her head. In a sudden move, she dropped her hand from my face and pulled me into a bear hug that stopped just short of cutting my air off.

“Don’t ever do that again. Seriously, I mean it. You’re not allowed to die on us,” she said, her words muffled, her face buried in my neck. I let out a breath I hadn’t known I’d been holding and hugged her back, eternally grateful that she seemed happy I was alive.

“It wasn’t exactly planned,” I attempted to joke and Laura pulled back, shooing me over to the table, acting more like a sixty-year-old grandmother than a young, single woman in her twenties.

“Go, I’ll make you some lunch.”

Taking my customary seat, I watched Laura breaking eggs into a glass bowl, then adding cheese and tomatoes and peppers to make an omelet. The normalcy of her actions were both surreal and at the same time calming. But she was just one person, I still had to face Gabe.

“So, where is everyone?”

Laura answered without turning. “James is off somewhere doing pack business and Gabe took Meryl back to her place to grab some clothes since it looks like she’ll be staying here for a little while.”

The news that Meryl would be staying with us made me wince. Any more long-term guests and Gabe would have to build an additional wing onto the house.

But the mention of her name had me reaching out, without thought or planning, searching for that golden thread I’d felt the night before. It was still there, a little weaker today, whether because she was in human form or because she was further away, I didn’t know, but for a brief moment, I thought I’d caught a glimpse of her in the car with Gabe. She looked up as though she could see me and I felt her anxiety through our connection. Sending a soothing thought down the line, I blinked and was once again back in the kitchen. Laura continued cooking at the stove, apparently not noticing my little mental side trip. A small shiver shook my body and I had to actively control my breathing, not wanting to alert her to how freaked out I suddenly was by my new abilities.

Laura’s cell started to ring and she dug into her back pocket to pull it out.

“Hello?” She glanced over at me and raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, she’s here. She just got up and I’m making her something to eat.” There was a pause as the other person spoke. Another surprised glance at me, then back to the eggs. “No, she’s all good. I did a rundown of the symptoms Sam said to look out for and she’s clear. Not even a bruise.” After a few more, non-committal noises, Laura pulled the phone away from her ear and ended the call.

“That was Gabe. He was just checking in. They just left Meryl’s so they should be back in about thirty minutes.”

“Cool,” I said, nodding my head, both glad for the little extra time it gave me before I faced Gabe, and anxious that he was so far away when I really needed to be held by him. God, I was a walking contradiction. What I needed was a distraction.

“So, what’s the deal with Meryl?” I asked in an overly casual manner, tracing an imaginary line in the table as if I were simply making idle conversation. Laura wasn’t fooled if the knowing glance she shot me over her shoulder was anything to go by.

“Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing,” she said, pouring the batter into the pan.

“Yeah, but I asked first,” was my witty and mature response.

Across the room, I could see Laura’s eyes roll as she shook her head at my words. Shrugging, she gave in.

“I don’t know a lot. She’s a runaway from another pack, but she won’t say where. She came to Gabe asking for asylum and since she’s over the legal age to be on her own, Gabe said yes.” She flipped the omelet and faced me, crossing her arms as she leaned back against the bench behind her, a serious expression on her face. “He made the appropriate inquiries throughout the other packs, just to make sure there wasn’t someone of her description that was wanted for a crime or anything, without using her name of course. Nothing came back, so it was all good. She’s been with us for about a year but basically keeps to herself. My understanding is that she’s about as low on the pack’s totem pole as you can get, but I’ve never seen any indication it bothers her.” With that Laura turned back to the stove, grabbed the spatula and slid a perfectly cooked omelet onto a plate, grabbed a knife and fork and brought it all over to me, placing the plate in front of me.

“Okay, your turn.”

Taking a massive bite of the mouth-watering food, I hunched over my plate. “Can’t talk. Eating,” I managed to get out around the food currently shoved in my mouth. Yup, it was gross and immature, but what was she gonna do?

“Right,” drawled Laura, but didn’t push me, at least until I finished my breakfast.

We’d fallen into a conversation about some other, inconsequential subject as I finished my breakfast and lost track of time, so it was a surprise when Gabe and Meryl came in through the kitchen door. Gabe stalked towards me with a determined stride and I stood up, pushing my chair back and turning to face him, waiting for his fury to erupt. My breath left me in a whoosh as he gathered me up tightly in his arms and bent me backward, giving me the most carnal kiss I’d ever had. Seriously, my toes literally curled in response.

Relief fought with desire and I lost myself in the kiss, entwined around him, absorbing his strength, feeling like I was home. No matter how everyone else reacted, Gabe had accepted me, still wanted me and that would be enough to see me through. Finally, some throat clearing and Laura’s pointed “get a room guys” broke through our lust and we pulled back.

“You and I are going to be having words later,” he rumbled. I flinched, not looking forward to that conversation. But I was looking forward to what would happen afterward.

Nodding, I pulled back and looked at my golden wolf. I really had to stop calling her that because she was neither golden, nor mine, but I tended to remember my impression of people more easily than their actual name.

“Hi,” I said, stepping back from Gabe. “It’s a bit late, but we were never formally introduced. I’m Emma.”

The girl gave me a shy smile, but hung back, seeming unsure of the proper response. Wanting to put her at ease, I sat down and patted the chair to my right, inviting her to sit next to me. Her fleeting smile turned into a grin and she edged around Gabe with a wary look, then darted behind me to plop into the offered chair. Scooting as close to me as social convention allowed, she put one elbow on the table, resting her chin in her hand and sighed.

“I’m Meryl. I’m glad you’re okay,” she said in her soft lilting voice. Everything about this girl screamed ‘wounded dove.’ I just wanted to pull her close and protect her.

“Yeah, so am I. Hey, I’m sorry for messing with you last night.” I hesitated, unsure of my words. How exactly does one apologize for what could be considered mentally violating someone and taking away their free will?

“No,” she said forcefully. “Don’t be. It’s great. I mean it was a little scary at first, but now it’s great. I’m very happy it happened. Totally.” The look of adoration on her face set off alarm bells in my head and I had the feeling I was missing something rather big. That couldn’t be good. Crap. Gabe took his seat at the head of the table to my right and Laura sat as well.

Gabe looked at me, a supportive smile crossing his face. “I filled Meryl in on the basics of how you came to be here with us and what you’re dealing with. She’s told me what’s happening from her end. Given everything, I figured it was probably best to have her close by for a little while, till we can figure out a strategy.”

My heart dropped. “Shit. Does that mean what happened last night isn’t normal werewolf stuff?”

Gabe shook his head. “Completely unprecedented.” God, I was really not fond of hearing that again.

“Fuck,” I muttered to myself. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Meryl’s flinch, her expression stricken. Did that sound like a rejection of her? Completely disgusted with my insensitivity, I struggled to make her understand.

Laying my hand on her arm, I was quick to explain. “Meryl, no, that didn’t come out right.”

The look she gave me spoke volumes about her disbelief. “Yeah, I can tell how thrilled you are to be linked to me.” Her sarcasm was strong and it gave me hope to see a bit of fighting spirit in her.

I sighed, unable to lie to her. “Look, I’ve got no idea what the hell I’m doing here. It seems like I’m just going from one situation to another where I act without thinking, do something weird and then we have to clean up the mess. Just once I’d like to do something normal.”

I paused and tilted my head as I replayed my words. “Okay, as normal as you can get when it comes to werewolves, and have someone be able to explain to me what I’ve done and why I did it. I’ve got no fucking clue what I’m doing here. The last thing I want to do is pull some mystical shit and cause you to have a brain aneurysm or something.”

Looking her directly in the eyes, I willed her to believe me. “I’m not happy that I may have bound us together without knowing it and without your consent. But I am happy I’ve met someone else I might be able to develop a friendship with. There are not too many people around here and not everyone is guaranteed to be able to accept a freak like me.”

Meryl grabbed my hand with both of hers and smiled. “You’re not a freak.” The conviction in her voice strangely made me feel a bit better, even if I didn’t completely believe her.

Turning back to Gabe, with Meryl still holding my hand, I took a deep breath and asked the question I dreaded.

“Okay then. What happens now? What are the repercussions from last night?”

Gabe sighed and scrubbed his hair with his hand. “God, I’m not really sure. Nothing’ll be official within the pack until tomorrow night when we have the meeting, but for now, they seem to be split into two schools of thought. We’ll get to that in a minute, but first I need to know what the hell happened last night. What were you doing outside? I told the everyone to stay away from the house,” he said, with a pointed look at the girl who was suddenly trying to hide behind my shoulder. Seeing her reaction, I glared at Gabe for scaring her.

He raised an eyebrow at my glower but continued without comment. “Maybe you can explain to me how the hell I go from a regular full moon, dealing with some petty disputes and refereeing some arguments, same old, same old, to suddenly being able to feel you in my head? I come running, only to come home and find a dead guy on my lawn and you moments away from going down for the count yourself?” His voice had gone from calm to angry as he spoke, and I wanted to scrunch down in my seat.

Before I could answer, the back door opened and James let himself him. “Sorry Mom, sorry Dad, am I late for the meeting?”

Gabe and I both gave him unimpressed looks, which James completely ignored. As he settled himself next to Laura, it gave me a chance to regroup. James’ arrival seemed to show that, as far as everyone was concerned, it was business as usual with the group. Looked like I wasn’t going to be kicked out just yet, which had me heaving an internal sigh of relief. God knows what I would’ve done if they decided they’d had enough of me. Time would tell if any grudges were being held, but for now, the three most important people in my life were treating me the same as before I’d murdered one of their pack mates, so I would count that as a win.

The unspoken interaction between James and Meryl drew my attention. James looked over at the girl curiously, noting our joined hands on the table and Meryl did her best to unobtrusively sink into my shoulder, avoiding eye contact.

His curiosity was understandable. Even I found the sudden, deep connection to the girl a little odd. Up until the night before, I’d only really been touchy-feely with Gabe, and that was pretty much because he was touchy feely with me. But I’d developed an almost maternal, protective feeling towards my golden wolf, and that bond meant I wasn’t too impressed with whatever James was doing to intimidate the girl.

“This is new,” he remarked.

“Yup,” I said, raising an eyebrow, daring him to make a thing of it.

“Actually, Em, we really need to talk about this,” Gabe cut in softly as he broached what could potentially be a touchy subject.

“I don’t know,” I burst out, my words tumbling out in a jumble. “I don’t know what happened or what I did. Last night after you left, I was restless, I couldn’t settle, so I went out to the deck to get some fresh air. After I while I could feel the wolves out there, just inside the tree line. It’s like they were this presence there, challenging me. I was looking out and this wolf came into the clearing. Before I know it, I’m jumping over the balcony like a freaking superhero and I’m going down to confront this wolf. When I get closer, I recognize his scent, for god’s sake, which you may be used too, but it’s fucking weird for those of us not born into the furry club! Then I realize that in my head I can see these connections between myself and the wolves and fuck, I guess instinct just took over. I started tugging on the golden cord that was connected to Meryl and she came to me. Then I looked over to this other wolf I could feel, only his connection felt like a rough hemp rope and he fought me when I tugged, but he came, then Douglas got mad and I looked at him and he was like razor wire and suddenly I just had to make him acknowledge me, so I used that connection to make him kneel and he was nearly there, but then he changed back and the connection was weaker. Next thing I know, I feel you,” gesturing to Gabe, “and while I was distracted the bastard hit me. Then we’re fighting and he’s strangling me and it was either let him kill me or kill him instead.”

The torrent of words finally stopped and I sucked in a ragged lung full of air, pretty sure I hadn’t taken a breath in the marathon of words I’d just unleashed. Everyone in the room was staring at me like I’d grown an extra head and I could feel my face heating up.

“I’m getting really sick of being the mutant around here,” I huffed out, drawing my hand back from Meryl, to cross my arms defensively across my chest, hugging myself, desperately trying to ignore the wounded look on the girls face at my withdrawal.

“No one’s calling you a mutant, Em.” Gabe’s voice was a tad defensive.

“Maybe not to my face. But you’re all thinking it really loudly.” I retorted and suddenly everyone else had somewhere else they had to look.

James tried to soothe my temper, his tone conciliatory. “Emma, you’re a complete departure from the norm from the rest of us, so everything about you is a learning curve. Your abilities are so different from ours, it’s going to take a bit for us to assimilate.”

“Okay,” I said, sighing, trying not to be too defensive. “But I don’t understand why I’m so different? Did the experiment fail or what? How can I be like you, but not?”

Laura leaned forward. “You know, I’ve got a theory on that.”

Now everyone was staring at her. “Well,” I prompted when she didn’t continue. “Share with the class.”

“Okay, it’s like this. Clayton was trying to isolate certain abilities, the cream of the crop so to speak, and transfer them without any of what he deemed to be the less desirable attributes. Such as shifting to wolf form. He wants all the benefits of being a wolf, without the downside of actually having to change to access them, yeah?”

Gabe and James nodded in agreement, so Laura continued. “Emma has gained all these new abilities, enhanced healing, strength, and senses. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume that her aggression and dominance factor has also increased from what it was before.”

Everyone looked at me and I shrugged. How the hell did I know? Maybe I was a complete asshole before, but I had to believe I hadn’t gone around disemboweling people just because they didn’t kneel in front of me.

Laura continued, laying out her theory. “So, what you have is essentially an alpha personality with none of the natural weapons a normal werewolf would have to establish the place in the pack her nature demands. She can’t change to wolf, doesn’t have the teeth or the size to really stand a fair chance against another wolf. All the benefits she gained are worth nothing without the ability to back up her threat.”

Gabe nodded, agreeing with his sister’s assessment. “I can agree with all that. But she does have weapons, her hands shift.”

“Exactly,” Laura crowed as if Gabe had proved her point. Looking around at the blank faces surrounding her, she sighed and spoke as if she were explaining to a bunch of morons.

“I’m guessing here that Clayton spliced some werewolf DNA into Emma’s, changing her, forcing her up the evolutionary ladder. But what is evolution famous for? Adapting. What if, by isolating those specific, desired traits and nothing else, Clayton has forced those abilities to adapt? They can’t change her completely to wolf, the missing pieces prevent that. So they have to change what they can, what’s purely necessary. Hence the partial shift.” She made a little swipe with her fingers in the air, mimicking claws.

The room settled into silence as we all absorbed her words. It did make a certain kind of sense, but I still got the impression that there was a puzzle piece we were missing.

“I wonder who the donor was?” James words, said in such an offhand, musing tone, stilled everyone in the room. The silence was so thick it was almost oppressive and my brain whirled with the question he asked.

“What do you mean?” Laura’s tone was cautious, as if she didn’t want to misconstrue what James was asking.

“Well. We’re theorizing Clayton spliced some of our DNA into Emma’s, right?” Laura nodded her agreement, but no one else dared move. Not that the lack of movement would stop James words from exploding through the room with the force of a nuclear bomb.

“It’s not like you can make that shit up from scratch. It had to come from somewhere. Or more specifically, someone.” His casual tone of voice indicated that he was just thinking aloud, voicing the words as they came to him, reasoning it through as he spoke.

But his words set my brain racing and I was already coming to some pretty distasteful conclusions. From the tight expression on Gabe’s face, he was also following the logic. James continued, oblivious to the fact he seemed to be the last one to truly understand what was going on.

“Must’ve been someone strong,” he said, looking over at me with a fair amount of misplaced pride. “You’re a fighter, Emma, damned strong too, considering. If we’re guessing the DNA changed, adapted to the new host, then whoever donated the DNA must’ve been pretty powerful as well.”

It was getting too painful to hear; James was taking way too long to get to the same page as everyone else in the room.

“Considering my end of the experiment, something tells me whoever’s DNA was used, it’s a good chance it wasn’t ‘donated’.” I kept my voice low, for what reason I couldn’t say, just seemed like the thing to do, but I watched James’ eyes widen as realization finally sunk in.

“Fuck!” His exclamation was all the more powerful for how quiet it was, expelled on a soft puff of breath, let loose in shock, no more than a whisper.

Chances were if there was someone with DNA that powerful, that person was being held against their will, just as I had been. And if Clayton still had that person, his experiments would continue, starting over with someone new, now that he no longer had me.

Gabe’s low voice slashed through the shocked silence, commanding in its intensity. “I want a head count, both of our people and as many other packs as you can contact, but be discreet, we don’t want a panic. Someone’s missing and we need to find out who. Hell, maybe we’ll be lucky and be able to figure out who the fucking bastard working for Clayton is, but for now, focus on finding anyone who hasn’t checked in lately.”

James and Laura pushed away from the table, reaching for their phones, intent on getting the info Gabe needed. I glanced over at Meryl, who was observing the scene with wide eyes and it occurred to me she probably had no idea what was going on.

“You okay? I know this probably confusing for you,” I asked the girl quietly.

“Yeah,” she answered back in a soft tone. “The alpha explained that someone took you and made you different. I don’t need to know, just as long as you’re okay now.”

“Yeah,” I laughed humorlessly. “Okay is probably about as far away from where I’m at. But it’ll work out.”

“Em,” Gabe called, grabbing my attention.

“Yeah?”

“You said last night you can sense the others in the pack, that there’s some kind of connection?”

Nodding, I tried to figure out the best way to describe it. “It’s like there’s a line running from me, out to someone else. I can’t see it with my eyes, it’s in my head, but so far, everyone’s different.”

“Okay,” he nodded to show he understood. “Can you still see them?”

I looked at Meryl, who was by far the clearest and easiest to pick up. Closing my eyes for a second, I could see that sparkling golden thread. With my eyes still closed, I shifted back to Gabe and again saw that diamond bright connection between us. I softly caressed it and heard Gabe draw in a breath.

Concentrating harder, I reached out with my mind, ‘feeling’ for others. There was a cord leading me towards the living room and I guessed it connected with James. His connection was a swirling energy, tightly contained spirals, almost like a glass tube with swirling mercury in it. I gave an experimental tug, just a tiny little pull and received a yank in return. Clearly, James did not like to be corralled. I was about to stop looking since I was pretty sure there were no other Lycans around when I noticed something else.

Furrowing my brow, I really concentrated, trying to bring it into focus. This link was a lot like Meryl’s in nature, only purple instead of gold. However it was so pale, it was almost invisible. I tried to get a mental hold of it but it was as elusive as air, intangible and I couldn’t quite catch it. It was only when Laura walked back into the kitchen, making me open my eyes to see who it was, that I figured out who the thread belonged to.

“Huh,” I said, looking at the other woman.

“What?” Laura paused mid-step, waiting to see why I was watching her with such an odd expression.

“Nothing,” I said. It was strange but I suppose not entirely surprising that I got a faint reading from Laura. She had wolf DNA and there by the grace of an extra chromosome goes she.

Facing Gabe, I finally answered his question.

“Those of you in the house, I can sense. I’m not really comfortable trying to reach out to other wolves, not until we know what it is and what it means.”

“That’s probably a good call. On that note, I want you to say the first answer that pops into your head for the next question, okay?”

A little dubious about where this was going, I none the less agreed. “Alright,” I answered, drawing the word out a little.

“Who is Meryl?”

“Mine.” The automatic and emphatic response that came from my mouth had my eyes widening a little at the fierce possessiveness in the words. What the hell was up with that? It didn’t matter that it felt right, how could I claim some random teenager that I barely knew and had apparently somehow mystically coerced into doing something she wasn’t comfortable doing? It was wrong and I whipped my head around, an apology on my lips, only to find the girl beaming at me. Seriously. Beaming. A freaking spotlight couldn’t have been brighter than that girl’s expression.

Eyes still wide, I looked back at Gabe and I could feel the panicked expression on my face. It plainly shouted ‘what the fuck?’ and I was seriously hoping he had some kind of answer for this one.

Gabe, taking in the expression on Meryl’s face, turned back to me with a chagrined expression.

“Congratulations,” he said, though his tone indicated it wasn’t such happy news. “I’m pretty sure you just started your own pack.”

Well, shit.




Authors Note:

Emma and Gabe's story concludes in Moonstruck: Reckoning

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