Magic of the Moonlight

TEN - wild thing


I didn't want to be apart from Brandon, but I had to keep my needs separate from his - my desire to confess to my friends that I was in love with him and my longing to be with him as a werewolf had to take a backseat to his need to be cured.
Ivy, Abby, and the gang were coming over, and I hoped it would keep my mind occupied and not focused on whatever Brandon's father needed to do to keep him safe and find an antidote. My parents agreed to go out to another movie so I could have my friends over.
I felt so awkward waiting for the gang to arrive. We didn't have a media room with a fifty-inch big-screen TV, leather theater chairs, or a popcorn machine. Instead, we'd be watching TV in our small family room. It was going to be cozy, to say the least.
Ivy and Abby arrived together with a stack of movies, and Jake, Dylan, and Nash showed up with drinks and chips.
"We weren't sure what to watch, so we brought a few choices," Abby said.
"Since it is a full moon," Ivy said cheekily, "I thought we'd watch An American Werewolf in London."
Jake howled, and Dylan joined him.
I loved the movie and had watched it several times on Halloweens past - but tonight it wasn't going to distract me from the day's events, just remind me of Brandon.
"You know what they say about a full moon! People act crazy," Ivy said.
"When should I start?" Jake said, making some growling noises. He nuzzled up to Ivy, sending her into giggles.
Dylan tugged Abby's belt and pulled her to him for a quick kiss. "Is that crazy enough for you?" he asked.
Nash looked to me for signs of what kind of affection to show. He wasn't about to make a move in front of everyone - as he wasn't sure how I'd respond.
We all flopped onto the couches, and Nash ended up next to me. I couldn't help but inhale his sexy body-wash scent. He scooted so close to me I thought he was going to wind up in my lap. For a moment I was lost in the world that had once been. The sixsome, together.
Champ suddenly began barking incessantly by the back door.
"What the . . . ?" Jake said, pointing to the family room window.
"What? A ghost?" Abby said.
"You have to see this," Jake said.
We all gathered around the window to find two beady eyes staring up at us.
"It's a dog," Abby said. "Calm down."
Just then the animal howled a deep howl.
"It's a wolf!" Dylan said.
Ivy and Abby screamed.
"Lock the door!" Nash said, stepping away from the window.
"It's already locked," I said.
"Make sure," he demanded.
"Turn the lights on," Ivy said. "Maybe that will scare it away."
"We are safe, guys," I said. Even though I put on a brave face, I was nervous. What was a wolf doing howling outside my window? Was this a lone, misguided wolf? Or was this one trying to signal to me that Brandon was in trouble?"
Ivy continued to scream, and Abby threw sofa pillows against the window.
"Shoo!" she said.
"Stop that," I said. "You'll break something."
"He's staring straight at you, Celeste," Ivy exclaimed.
"Maybe it's Brandon," Jake teased.
Jake and Dylan pressed their heads against the window. Jake made faces at the wild canine while Dylan tapped the glass.
I, too, pressed my face to the glass to see if I could see more wolves or Brandon.
Just then another howl was heard from somewhere in the backyard. The wolf's ears perked up, and he barked at me a few times. Then he turned around and disappeared.
"That was creepy!" Ivy said. "I don't want to watch that movie now."
"It's gone," I said. "It's okay."
"But what if it comes back?" Ivy said.
"I don't think it will," I said.
"Yes," Dylan confirmed. "It went off into the woods. Whatever it wanted, it doesn't want it anymore."
But the fun mood was broken. "I only brought scary movies," Ivy said, soured by the unwanted visitor.
"We can't go home now," Abby said.
We sat for a while longer, but I was distracted by the wolf, and so, it seemed, were the others. The gathering was spoiled; we couldn't lose ourselves in watching a scary movie.
"Maybe we should reschedule this," I said.
"We are being rude - " Ivy said.
"No you're not," I told her. "We'll do it again at your house - in your awesome media room."
Eventually my friends agreed to end the evening early.
"We can't leave Celeste home with a wolf running around," Abby said.
"My parents will be home soon," I said. "I'll be okay. Besides, I'm safe in a house."
"Yes, I guess so," Abby said.
"There is something about you," Ivy said. "You attract wolves."
The guys got their belongings while the girls hugged me good-bye. Nash leaned in to kiss me but I stepped back awkwardly and reached for the front door instead. I did care for Nash and still thought he was attractive. I didn't wish anything but good things for him. But I didn't want to encourage him to think I felt more deeply for him than I did or was planning on a reunion. Though I still felt compassion for my first crush and former boyfriend, I didn't have the kind of feelings for him that I had for Brandon - that unbridled passion and heavenly feeling that was true love.
They all were on the lookout as they exited my house and ran safely to their cars.
As my friends drove off, Champ began to bark again by the back door.
I heard a tap at my window. I was afraid to see the wolf back again, this time all alone in my house. I gingerly pulled a curtain back and looked out into the backyard. At first I saw nothing, but then I could make out a figure standing at the trunk of a tree a few yards away.
Gray eyes gazed back, but they were at the height of someone standing on two legs.
I raced outside and plowed into Brandon's embrace.
"I'm so happy to see you," I said.
"Me too," he said. Then he hesitated. "Nash was here."
"He's just my friend."
"But he wants to get back with you. I see it all the time."
"We are just friends. That's all."
"But I want to be your friend. I want to hang out with you and your best friends. What good am I now, standing outside in the woods, hungry like a wolf?"
I held his hand and caressed it. "I want us to be together, too," I said. "Did your father see you tonight?"
"Yes. He couldn't get what he needed. I wouldn't let him. I can't help myself when I'm like this. I guess it's just animal instinct, but at the moment that he comes at me with a needle, he's not my father and I'm not his son. He's someone I don't trust and feel is going to hurt me."
"Oh . . ." I said, disappointed for him.
"But . . . I think I might be better if you are there - "
"Why?" I asked.
"There is something I see when I look into your eyes - sweetness and goodness - in whatever form I'm in. I get this overwhelming sense that you are . . ."
I waited to hear what he might say.
". . . there to help me. Not threatening, I guess. Maybe I sense love."
I beamed with pride.
"From my father I sense fear and confusion. And it only makes me angry."
"But how can I be there when your dad doesn't want me around your house - around you - on a full moon?"
"He's like me; he wants to protect you."
"I know, but I don't need protecting. I only need you."
"Will you come back with me?"
He nodded.
"Of course." I liked being needed by Brandon. I felt like I could somehow repay him for my fault in all of this. He had saved me and because of that suffered this lycan affliction. I'd do anything for him.
"But I have to ask you one thing: Are you afraid of me?"
"No," I reassured him. "Maybe I should be, but I'm not."
He breathed a sigh of relief. "I can't lose you. You are the only one who makes me feel sane." He leaned in and hugged me. "Remember what I said that night we kissed, under the full moon?"
I smiled widely.
"I love you, Celeste," he said again.
"I love you, too," I said. It was as natural as if I'd been saying it to him for years.
I stared up at him. I was dying for a kiss, the kind that took my breath away, made me dizzy, and felt like I was in heaven. He was magnetic, spellbinding, hypnotic. I was drawn to him like I'd never been drawn to any other guy. He stared back at me with his wolfish gray eyes. He leaned down and kissed me so intensely I thought the ground would shake under my feet. I fell into his arms.
I held him tightly under the tree in my backyard. I wasn't about to leave him again.
I couldn't abandon him. Not now. Not ever.
When the night wore on and our kisses continued, Brandon told me it was time to go.
I agreed to meet him at the hilltop behind his house, and he withdrew into the woods. I was anxious when I drove to the Westside, wondering if Dr. Maddox's plan would work. I parked by Brandon's guesthouse and raced up the hilltop before his father could spot me.
Apollo, Brandon's grandparents' husky, was barking in the main house, and I knew that the sound of my car driving in wouldn't go unnoticed.
I was trying to find Brandon on the hilltop when I heard my name being called in the woods behind me.
"Celeste," Dr. Maddox hollered. "Celeste."
The sound got closer, and Dr. Maddox reached me before I could find Brandon.
"Brandon wants you to help him," I said. "He wants you to do the tests, but I have to be with him. It's the only way he'll be able to do it."
"But that's impossible. I will have to tranquilize him first in order to take the blood samples. You see what he's like. He didn't come home last night - or today. I don't even know where he is. He could be anywhere - doing anything."
Just then Brandon emerged from the shadows.
Brandon appeared as magnificent as he had just a short time ago. His hair was fiercely wild, and his face was laced with a handsome goatee matching his dark locks. He wore a skeptical expression and a pair of jeans. His sharp fangs glowed in the moonlight.
"Brandon!" his father gasped.
Dr. Maddox moved in front of me, blocking me from view.
Brandon growled.
"It's okay - " I said. "He's not going to hurt me - or you. Brandon needs your help, Dr. Maddox, but the only way for you to get close to him with your needle is if I am here, too." I turned to Brandon. "It's okay, Brandon. You said if I was here, it will be okay."
But Brandon wasn't appeased. He shifted uneasily, backing away toward the trees.
Then I heard Dr. Meadows's words in my head - Beware of a bite under a full moon. Maybe this did mean me - or Brandon's father. And maybe it meant now.
Brandon must have noticed the fear in my face. His eyes softened as if he felt sad for me.
He reached out his hand. I took it and stepped toward him. I hugged him and caressed his long locks as his father quickly scrambled around the tree on the opposite side of Brandon.
While I continued to hold Brandon, his father crept up behind him and pushed the syringe into Brandon's arm in an attempt to tranquilize him.
Brandon jerked angrily, and I fell from his embrace. He yelled out a fiery howl.
I was startled. Apparently we all were.
The needle was still stuck in his arm, but the tranquilizer hadn't been injected. Brandon turned to his father with an angry stare, and Dr. Maddox, ghost white, stared back at his son. Dr. Maddox didn't say a word, the tension in the woods as thick as the brush itself.
As Brandon continued to glare at his father, I quietly rose to my feet behind him. I quickly pushed the plunger in, then grabbed the empty syringe and withdrew it from his arm in an instant.
He whipped around to me with a maddened look. I was afraid, and the needle shook in my hand. But when we locked eyes, his mood once again softened and his tense body relaxed.
Dr. Maddox took the syringe from my shaking hand and packed it away in his bag, and we watched as Brandon stormed off. We heard him shuffling through the brush, but he soon stopped.
We cautiously crept after Brandon and found him still standing, panting heavily by a tree.
"Stay back," his father said to me.
Just then Brandon's legs wavered. He stumbled as he tried to stay upright. His eyelids started to droop, and he fought to stay standing and awake.
He grabbed the tree for support but began to lose the battle. The tranquilizer had taken over, and he was clawing at the tree as he continued to stumble. He reached out to me again, but by the time I got to him, he was already lying on the ground.
"No - " his father said. "It might be a trick."
"He wouldn't do that!" I said.
I took his hand, which was limp in mine. His eyes were closed, and he lay fast asleep. Brandon was beautiful, lying there in the woods like a sleeping prince. I continued to hold his hand, and I brushed his hair away from his face and caressed his cheek. He was warm and sweaty from his battle with us and the medication.
"I need to take a blood sample now," his father said. "I'm not sure how long the tranquilizer will last."
"I'm going to stay here with him," I replied.
"I can't let you do that," he said. "It's not safe."
"It's safe now," I said, still stroking Brandon's cheek.
His father gave up fighting me and withdrew a needle from his bag. He wiped Brandon's forearm with an alcohol swab. "Wow - it's really easy to find a vein now," he said.
He quickly stuck the needle into Brandon, who didn't even flinch. Dr. Maddox placed the samples in a plastic bag and sealed them away in his medical bag.
"I'll walk you to your car," he said.
"I told you, I want to stay here with him," I countered. Brandon was so handsome lying next to me. I wanted to stay with him all night until he awoke.
"I'm going to watch him to make sure he's all right," he said. "From a distance. I don't know when he'll wake up and what mood he'll be in, but I can only imagine. There's nothing for you to do here."
I knew I wouldn't be able to convince Dr. Maddox to let me stay, and I did feel secure knowing someone, especially a scientist, would be observing him.
Dr. Maddox patted my shoulder and guided me away from the sleeping werewolf. I felt bad for Brandon that his heroism had come to this.
"He may be angry tomorrow," Dr. Maddox said when we reached my car.
"I think I will be, too," I mumbled.