The Mythical Creature's Guide to Living in the Modern World (10/23)


"You're always telling me I don't have any faith. Well – don't you see? –
that's part of what makes me so indecisive. I wait to see what will happen next –
because I don't believe that anything I might decide would matter."

Johnny Wheelwright in John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany

Chapter Ten, Lambda

It was Friday night, and Seth was out running. The world seemed to have gone back to normal. I didn't end up hanging around Monster Manor all afternoon, because Jake and Seth were around, and I could tease them and race them and generally hang with them instead of Super Sparkles Barbie and her demented yarn. Especially when they'd insulted the very long, lumpy scarf I'd made in their absence. Back to normal.

So, I was catching up on sleep that night when I had the strangest dream: I was in wolf form, in a large clearing. There was a giant tree in the centre of it all, and around it were wolves of every colour. Sandy wolves like Seth, red-brown wolves like Jake, spotted wolves, zebra striped wolves, electric blue wolves – you name the colour, they were there. Some were large, some were smaller then me, and others were just cubs. They were all just standing around the tree, looking out. Looking towards me. I was standing far away, out from under the branches, but could see them all in sharp clarity. You promised us, Leah, they seemed to say.

I didn't promise you any damn thing, I said right back, a bitch even in my dreams.

But you said- they argued right back, stupid dream figments that they were.

No I didn't. Go away. I can't take care of you too. Find your own damn mothers.

But they wouldn't stop calling out my name. Leah, Leah, Leah over and over again until it sounded like one long, lilting word, . I tried to block it out, but couldn't. I ran as far as I could, but the noise still chased me.

And then, suddenly, I woke up. It took me a moment to realize what woken me, because I was curled up between the rock and another warm body, and very comfortable, despite my strange dream. I blinked tiredly, because I really did need the sleep, and then realized that the warm body I that was curled around mine was not furry like my own. No. It was distinctly fur-free, and very male.

I immediately jumped to all for paws and butted Jake with my head as hard as I could, hoping he heard my, Oh my God Jake, what on earth do you think you're doing? even though he wasn't phased. Whether he did or not, it did cause him to wake up a little and mutter, "I'm trying to sleep here, Clearwater."

Well, I wasn't having that. I phased myself, threw on the longest shirt in reach, and covered the rest of me with the sleeping bag. Then I punched him for real.

"What was that for!" he gasped, bolting upright as the wind flew out of him.

"I'm not a bloody golden retriever, that's why!"

"Surprisingly, I knew that already!"

Finding a hereto unknown level of loud, "Then why the fuck were you using me as a freaking pillow, you cock-sucking ass-raider!"

"Why were you acting pillow-ish in the first place!"

"I wasn't – that's why I'm yelling at you, you idiot!"

"I can't help where I fucking roll-over in my sleep," in the thin moonlight, his face was flushed and eyes glittering with anger. I imagined I looked the same way, with lines on my face from the bumps in the sleeping-bag's fabric and my hair sticking out every which way.

"You better if you insist on sleeping next to me naked!"

"You're the only wolf I've ever seen wearing clothing, Le-tard."

"I was fucking trying to stay dry in this shithole of a place after you decided we were going to help your stone-banging ass-wipe ex kill herself!" I poked him hard in the shoulder. I hoped it hurt. My jacket idea had worked too, no matter how stupid I had to have looked. "And don't try to change the damn subject."

"I don't even know what the God-damned subject is!"

Why didn't that surprise me? "It's you, being a naked human male using me as a pillow, dipshit!"

"I-" he began automatically, then paused. Much more softly, so soft I could barely hear him over the ringing in my ears, "I went to sleep wolf."

The poor idiot child. "Then," I said as calmly and as quietly as I could manage, which was not very, "you phased out while you were asleep."

"Yeah. Probably."

That's what he had to say? Yeah fucking probably? I took a deep, cleansing breathe. It didn't work. "I don't care why you did it, I don't care if you had a bleeding nightmare or confused me with your stuffed Cookie Monster or whatever, just don't do it ever fucking 'gain." And, with that, I flung myself back down on my sleeping bag, wrapping it tightly around me.

"Ah, Leah," he said in that way he had of making me feel kinda guilty about yelling at him. He probably didn't mean to – but, as afore stated, I didn't care. I only wanted him not to do it again. Because he had been warm and I'd been comfortable and him doing things like that after saying things like he had the other day and the fact that he was distinctly not unpleasant to look at made things very awkward for me. And confusing. I mean, first things first, he's Jake. I've known him since he was born. So maybe I don't exactly remember that far back, but that just goes to show I don't have any memories where Jake wasn't around in some form or another. Second thing, Rebecca and Rachel were the closest things I had left to friends, and dating (or doing anything else) with their younger brother seemed creepy. And soap-opera-y. And the third's right there: Jake's younger then me. Still in high school. Ergo, jail bait. So even if I was considering anything with my beloved Alpha (which I'm not), that's another reason why I shouldn't (not that I would). Fourth, err... I had a fourth, where did it go? Here, reason reason reason... Oh well. Fourth can be... that boys are icky, rude, never put the seat down, expect you to make dinner for them, and inevitably end up breaking your heart. Really. I saw a Dr. Phil at the leeches' the other day where the wife found out that her house was in foreclosure in the newspaper, her husband having gambled it away on line. And sent in tax returns saying he'd made 15 million dollars to the IRS, and tried to pay them off with mail orders he'd printed off his computer. For real. That's what guys do to you. They expect you to cook and clean and slave away for them, and then they ruin your credit and break your heart. Which reminds me of the real four I'd been thinking of, but I've already made one up so I guess it can be five now: imprinting. Big thing to forget. If anything were to happen (which it won't), imprinting could ruin it all. Again. And fool me once... And during this wonderful mental conversation I'm having with myself, he continues cheekily, "you know you liked it."

I had, but he wasn't to know that. So, sitting up again, I scooted over a few inches, and plopped my head as hard as it would go on his (quite well-defined) chest. "See if you like this, jerk." And then I yawned.

Being a guy, if I was suffocating him, he wouldn't say it. He just wrapped an arm around me and said, "See, I knew you had a thing for me."

"In your dreams."

"I wish. I'd kill for dreams like that." I elbowed him and, resigned not to let him out annoy me, let myself start drifting off again. After a moment, during which I hoped I was winning, he decided to go non sequitur on my ass and say, "Quil and Embry are in my English class."

"I'm sorry." I wasn't really. As I've tried unsuccessfully to ignore, he was not your average wolf-man, and I was enjoying a little too much (I blamed it on hormones, which hadn't had relief since I invited Emily to visit and she decided to borrow both my favourite shirt and my boyfriend. She's not returned either yet).

"You should be."

"I am – just being around them has already lowed your IQ three points. And, at your level, you really can't afford to loose that many."

He did the I'm-trying-to-be-serious-here thing again. Little Jake's actually growing up... tear... "No, I mean Sam's pack apparently thinks you were being serious the other day."

Oh. Well. That's not good. "Of all the times in the world to start taking me seriously, they chose then?" Sam was, apparently, a bigger idiot then I thought. I'd no idea that was even possible.

"Oh, yes. They were asking me before class – quite loudly, I might add – how on earth I managed to get you to let me touch you, how Seth was doing with it, and – my favourite – whether you insulted me during sex too."

I shook my head. This only resulted in be being able to smell Jake better, all pine and musk and male. Must shut off brain. Must sleep. For the love of all things werewolf, I must stop thinking. "Oh, really?"

"Yes, and as a result the whole Senior class has come to believe we're dating."

"Stupid seventeen-year-olds." And then, now curious, "What on earth did you say to Quil and Embry to make people think that?"

"I told them it was none of their damn business," then he yawned himself.

"The whole Rez will know about it by next week," I groaned. Me and my big mouth... And the Rez with nothing more exciting going on then high school drama. It would have been god-damn hilarious though if it'd happened to anybody but me.

"I know. Isn't it great?" I didn't see what was so great about it myself, but he told me. "Dad has to give up trying to set me up now."

"Whoop-de-do for you." Then, "Knowing your luck, he'll either see through it, or decide I'm not good enough for you."

"Nah. He likes you."

Does he now? "Since when?"

He shrugged and yawned again, "Since always? Anyway... night Leah."

"Don't you dare fall asleep without letting go of me Jacob Black." But he did. "Wake up you idiot and let go of me!" But he didn't.

And that was how I ended up spending the night in Jake's arms.

Chapter Eleven.