Fur vs Skin

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4.

Only a true wolf will fall in love with the moon.❞


I blacked out.

After just watching a vicious beast shift into a man before my eyes, I didn’t blame my body nor my mind for shutting down after just witnessing something like that. I promptly return to reality feeling warm and sated, my eyes fluttering open to an oak wood ceiling; the air felt incredibly warm beside the blistering coldness that had attacked the surface of my skin, with a hostile desire to merge within my bones and freeze me to death.

I inhaled deeply, the smell burning of wood drifting into the air, the sound of fire crackling and popping in another room had me turning my head against the pillow and towards the open bedroom door, gazing out into a small hallway that stretched down a staircase that leads to the first level.

My gaze moves away from the door and around the room I lay within, a couple of green plants hung from hooks on the ceiling that goes along with the dark brown planks the walls were made of, a dresser off to the side of the bed, near the window, and the bed in the middle of the room. Despite the raging storm outside, slamming against the window and howling into the sky: I felt safe.

I slowly rise up, breathing calmly as I hang my head and run my hands down my face, everything coming back to me. A part of me didn’t want to believe that everything I witnessed was real, yet the other part somehow expected it and understood more than the other; and that only caused more confusion to settle within the pit of my stomach.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was also being watched, eyes analyzing every aspect my body has to offer, the hairs on my body prickled at attention as if to brush away the feel of eyes that hovered over my skin. Something brings me to look in the corner of the room off to the far left, away from the door— my heart was in my mouth.

Dark eyes stared deep into mine from the corner, unwavering and hard, I’m not sure how I missed his huge form when I was scanning the room a few minutes ago. We stared at each other, my reason being that I didn’t know how he would react. The longer I stared, the sooner I began to recognize him as the beast that turned into a man.

And that made fear grip my heart as if they were reins to a horse.

He was bare from the waist up, his bottom half-covered with pants —like what Marcus and the other man were wearing earlier. His muscles and torso were visible for my eyes to feast on, to observe every feature with an unmasked look of want: just like he’s doing with me. I didn’t know whether to make the first move or wait for him to that instead.

The thump of footsteps on the stairs finally broke my gaze away from his and the heavy pressure of emotion that was conjuring in the pits of my core. Thoughts boggling my brain, I turn to the figure that had quietly made its descend up the stares. Marcus’s mop of dark locks appears as he ascends towards the room, a tray with food in his hands.

He seemed surprised when his gaze collided with mine. “Ah, I didn’t realize you’ll be up this soon,” he says as he sets the tray down on the bedside table.

“How are you feeling?”

“Um, fine—okay, I guess,” I shrink away from him a little when he reaches forward and touches a spot on the back of my head.

The pressure from his fingers immediately causes me to wince as pain shoots from the back of my skull— at the same time, an animalistic growl fills the confinements of the room, shuddering at the walls as it resonates loudly. My gaze snaps over to the corner, where the bare-chested male resided, still crouched in his positions; his eyes glaring holes at the side of Marcus’s face with his top lip curled over his teeth.

The aggression coming from him was surprising and quite hair-raising. Marcus ignores him either way and steps away from me.

“As expected, no bleeding or swelling, just soreness. The way you landed on that rock earlier, any regular human would have woken up with a splitting headache— seeing as you’re not fully human,” he breaks off as he reaches for the tray.

“Hungry?”

I blink up at him as he sets the tray on my lap, the smell of the food making my stomach growl and rumble in hunger but I ignore it, my thoughts too overbearing.

“What. . .” I pause, breathless, “All that was real. .? He really—” I pause, swallowing thickly, the words stuck in my throat as my mouth fails to form around the letters.

Marcus sighs and lowers himself to sit at the end of the bed, his weight causing it to dip. He reaches and sets the tray to the side of me knowing that food was far from my mind.

“Yes, everything that has happened was real along with everything I’ve told you before; all of it is true.”

My heart stutters in my chest, my eyes betraying me as they glance towards the corner, where Arsen had his gaze on me — potent and dark. I could spot specs of yellow glowing around his irises, adding to the primal look he gave off. With a deep breath and confused thoughts, I face back towards Marcus, trying to disguise my face from showing the tiny ball of fear that planted itself in my chest, watered with each questioning thought, saving it for another time.

He scratches his head, the muscles in his shoulder flexing as his face sutured with regret. “It wasn’t a good idea on my part to expose you just yet.”

After a beat, he suddenly leans in and holds my eyes, genuine kindness shining through them still with the twinge of regret beneath the surface. They bore into mine, almost as if he was searching for something.

“I can assure you that neither I nor the male in the corner will do any harm to you,” he affirms.

With that, I relax a bit at his words, the lingering effect of them putting me at ease and my head a little calmer than before. Seeing that my features relaxed before his eyes, he himself relaxes, slouching in his point on the bed and regarding me with soft eyes rather than caution.

“I assumed that you would have known about what we spoke about. I apologize.”

My head a little quieter than before, I internally give this man a little bit of my trust, seeing that if he wished to harm me, he would have done it long before moving me to a different location. Somewhere deep within, he wouldn’t have gotten the chance due to the fact we weren’t the only ones that occupied the room: I refuse to cast a look toward the corner, giving Marcus my full attention.

“Known about what?” I finally voice out, after what felt like forever in the throes of my mind. “About what you were?”

He shrugs, “Kind of. It’s a little bit of both and mostly about what you are, as I said earlier, you aren’t completely human.”

The side of my head begins to throb with the awakening existence of a headache, I wince, shaking my head in disbelief, as if to shake away his words. “What do you mean? I’m not understanding. I am human.”

Marcus shakes his head, “I hate to break it to you, but you’re not. Not completely; you’re like me. I can smell it. Somewhere deep in you, there’s a beast that is waiting to come out.”

I silence myself from speaking any further, dropping my head in my hands, holding in a groan. I didn’t want to argue, my head was already swimming with the reality that the two men before me are able to shift into some type of beast: lycan as he calls it..

After a second he begins to speak again. “I’m not going to venture further into the topic,” he says softly, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there but for now let’s focus on getting you back to health.”

“Okay,” I sigh, lifting my head. “All right.”

“Good!” he rises to his feet, “There are some clothes in the bathroom for you to take a shower and all the utilities you need.”

I throw the covers back from bare legs, expecting cool air to brush against them but was only met with warm air as I stand from the bed, a bit unsteady on my feet; Marcus holds his hands out as if to catch if I do go tumbling- I manage just fine.

With my eyes focused on the ground, I walk out of the room then turn down the narrow-looking hallway, taking a pick between two doors, I open the second door on the right which leads to the bathroom.

× × ×

Steam follows me out as I exit the bathroom in nothing but a women’s t-shirt and jogger pants while holding my dirty clothes in my arms. With my skin scrubbed raw to rid my body from the previous events, shining red with the evidence of my shower; unfortunately they were not washed from my mind. The stinging reminder in my side anchored me to the realm of the living. I away from the threshold of the bathroom and move towards the room near the stairs, stopping in my tracks at the door when I spot Arsen, still squatting in the corner of the room, his eyes focused on me.

I wanted nothing but to turn right back around, but I stood frozen outside the threshold, staring back at him. I would have expected fear to coil deep in my veins the longer I stared, but nothing, the air between us was zapping with bolts of energy: his sudden movement caught me by surprise as he stood to his full height, taking slow steps towards me until he was in front of me.

My eyes were almost bulging out of my head as he stood a few inches away from me, his head almost bumping the top of the doorway. I felt the heat from his body radiating off him, his closeness knocking all remaining breath from my lungs, his took their place in my lungs and filled me to the brim- his smell ranging from fresh pine cones to the smell of the forest floor.

My gaze trailed a slow path up his bare chest, his muscles standing out at attention, protruding and showing their worth as I meet his gaze. Up close, his eyes were hazel with flecks of yellow-gold swimming within them, bringing attention to his facial features, his structure was too precise, too clean and sharp; ruggedly even. He looked dangerous and rough, yet that added to his beauty.

He was beautiful. Too beautiful.

His presence was almost willing me to do something, that something being to wrap my arms around him and drown in his being. His eyes scrutinize my face, his body leaning down towards me as if to get a better look, I don’t miss the small movement of his nostrils flaring.

“Amelia? Are you out of the shower yet?”

Marcus’s voice cuts through the haze, zapping at my awareness as I take a step back, I breathe out harshly before turning my eyes away from him, my cheeks hot. I turn away from him and bound down the stairs with my clothes still in my arms.

The ground level was a bit spacious for it to be a cabin, the stairs directly lined with the front door that kept the winter’s fury out, not too far from it was the sitting area, a fireplace in the middle of the room; installed into the wall. A small television was settled in the middle of it as a couple of sofas were angles bear the fire, the glow of it giving the cabin a homey feeling.

“I see the clothes fit you well.”

My attention was brought away from the living area and to the other side, a modern-looking kitchen greeting my eyes, Marcus’s form standing at the counter. I look down at myself, looking over the clothes he gave me, they were a little tight but I could live with it.

“I didn’t know your size, you and my mate are about to same,” he says when I move closer.

I shuffle towards a bar chair and slowly sit down while setting my clothes beside me.

“. . Mate?”

A gentle grin slides across his face, a shimmer of mirth and something else shining in his eyes. “I have a lot to tell you.”

At that moment the heavy sound of footsteps coming down the stairs peaked my awareness and I couldn’t stop my body’s reaction to tensing and the way my pulse picked up speed. His presence was like an elephant was in the room, known but unacknowledged.

I barely knew this man and I was acting like a juvenile with a crush.

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