"Perhaps you were expecting some surprise, for me to reveal a secret that had eluded you,
something that would change your perspective of events, shatter you to your core.
There is no great revelation, no great secret. There is only you."
Kreia from Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Chapter Six, Foxtrot
I was calmly sitting in the kitchen when the boys returned from school. This seemed to surprise everyone, not the least Jacob, but had a very good explanation. Well, possibly a couple. One: it was nice to be in real cloths again, even if "feminine hygiene products" made it somewhat less so; I read somewhere that all this uterine hassle has to do with evolution and walking upright and all that mess. I'm very curious to see what a scientist would say about my own predicament, but not enough so that I might actually want to be Dr. Horrible's lab rat. Or lab wolf. Whatever. Two: the vampires had drugged me. They told me it was Midol, but we all know what it really was. Haldol. Sweet merciful Zeus, I loved Haldol. Or Valium. Or maybe Vicadin. I certainly had the rude, misanthropic, perfect-insult-ever-time thing down pat. Maybe they were hoping to make me and addict so I'd be forced to let them study me. Or maybe they just wanted me to shut up. Who knows? They're vampires. They're not like us. Three: the miracle of chocolate.
So let me more specific, when the boys returned from school, I was sitting at the kitchen table, Jacob's birthday cake (one Esme had made) in front of me. The leeches had dolled me up all morning, much against my will at first, and then I'd given in because it was odd to look into the mirror and see a girl for once. Wearing tight jeans and a semi-sheer top. You know how long its been since I wore a pair of jeans? About as long as it's been since I had my last period. Ditto that for the bra necessarily required by the wearing of see-through tops with cool, bell-like sleeves. My hair was clean and leaf-free. I was actually even wearing make-up. Anyway, two unlit wax candles – "1" and "8" – balanced precariously at the end of the cake farthest from me, while, with a fork in one hand and a tub of Ben and Jerry's in the other, I was working my way through one side. I'd been going at it through a whole pint of Cherry Garcia and was starting in on Karamel Sutra – which roughly translated as saying a quarter of the cake was gone. The green icing letters now read Happy Birth Jaco, which I'm fairly certain was some sort of insult in one of the Indonesian languages.
"We tried to stop her," Alice said, arranging cans of Silly String on the counter. Why Silly String, I don't know, but she was arranging it. There were even the rich-peoples' version of streamers, but I don't know what you might call them. I'm just glad she didn't go with a race car theme. According to Rose, that had been an idea at some point. Which is why people who can't remember being human shouldn't plan parties.
Emmett, who must have gotten into that "Must not tell lies" part of Seminary, corrected. "No we didn't." His wife smacked him outside the head. I took another bite of cake. Devil's Food Cake bottom, chocolate icing middle, some other kind of chocolate cake on top, and more chocolate. It was like quadruple chocolate cake. I mean, come on! How do you expect a hormonal werewolf girl to say no to quadruple chocolate cake? "She threatened Alice's closet."
Scooping out some more of the ice cream, I told Jake solemnly as he leaned over my shoulder to examine the remains of his cake. "I did," I lifted the fork to his mouth, allowing him to taste some of the ice cream before I managed to inhale it all. "It's Karamel Sutra. It is so amazing, I'm almost certain I'm going to imprint on it."
"Nice to see you're feeling better," Jake said, rolling his eyes at my comment. For a moment he fought to take the carton of ice cream from me, but Ben and Jerry were my two new best friends, and I wasn't giving them up, especially not to Jake, who was the one who pushed me into their waiting arms in the first place. Stupid Alpha. Remind me to axe-murder him later.
Anyway, once he realized he couldn't take the ice cream from me, he did the next best thing, which was lift me up and, sliding onto the chair underneath me (pause a moment to think on the amazing things werewolf genes can do. Today's study topic: muscles. Drool. And continue) before settling me on his lap.
Quil, sliding into a chair opposite, groaned, "This is just disgusting."
Okay. Have I ever mentioned how the better part of werewolf supersmell, like superhearing, caries over to when we're human? I mean, yes, I could smell the dead blood leaking from me too, but it was nowhere near as bad as when I'd been wolf, and I was the one so totally stuck with the dishonourable discharge from the uterine navy, but did you see me going on about how freaking awful it was? How it would go on for possibly days and I was stuck as human cause there was no way in Bob Villa's home-ec hell I was going to phase while I was still dealing with the massacre at the Y, 'cause sure as "feminine hygiene products" are unpleasant as a human, I am almost certain they'd be worse as wolf, and wasn't willing to test that idea. Either that, or the boys would have to find a new rock to sleep at while the painters were in at ours... and then I'd have to find a way to clean up after myself... No. I was fully prepared to taunt him instead with how, one day, Claire would, in fact, grow up (however unfortunate that was for him and his Barbie fetish) and experience similar visits from Mary, Bloody Mary, but Seth got to him first.
"Just 'cause you can't spent every waking moment with Claire, it doesn't mean you should begrudge Leah and Jake their happiness." God I love my brother. And since when did they start teaching words like "begrudge" at the Rez school? I must have been asleep during that class... But I will not get angry. I took another bite of cake. Anger is bad for the blood-pressure and makes these things worse... and I loved Esme right now. I'm so going to have to work on being nicer to her if she's going to keep baking cakes like this.
"I thought you said we were 'disgusting,'" Jake commented through a mouthful of cake stolen from me during my moment of anger, "and to stop looking at your sister 'that way'. Are there any forks around here, or are the rest of us expected to eat with our hands?"
"Only when you're in wolf form! It's just creepy seeing you to bat eyes at each other, or whatever you want to call it, when your wolves!"
I ignored him, though admitted to myself he might have had a point, and pointed with my fork at Alice, who looked to be fuming. "I think we're ruining Ali-heimer's idea of a perfect wolfy birthday party. I mean, we've not even sung 'Happy Birthday' or opened presents yet, and we've already started arguing."
Emmett waved it off. "Ali has a thing about birthday parties," and, amazingly, he moved from his perch by the window (I think he was admiring his own sparkle) and got the boys forks himself. He handed one each to Quil and Jake, who started fighting with me over the cake, and then gestured wildly with the remainder at Seth, whom he seemed to delight in teasing with the eating utensil. "Now, pup," he said, Seth's eyes following the fork madly, making me nearly choke on my beauteous ice cream. Luckily, Rosalie seemed to decide it was time to break out more. I really do think these vamps get too much fun from watching us eat. I mean, really, it's all they ever seem to do around us, either this or challenge us to The Game of Life. But it was Chocolate Therapy ice cream, and Super Fudge Chunk and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. They could have ate in front of us and I'd have been happy at the moment.
No, wait, I take that back. I'd probably have thrown up if they tried that. I mean, yuck!
Emmett continued, and it grew harder and harder to ignore him. "You can always tell when an the Alpha pair are about to mate in a wolf pack, because of the way they bond." Gesturing in my and Jake's direction, "Notice, they start touching each other and behave in a 'flirty' manner. They might also touch each other while walking, mutually groom, or mouth each other's muzzles..."
"You're embarrassing the hormonal shape-shifter, dear."
We didn't need you to tell us that, Rapunzel. Just look at my face: it's Bella-red. It's a freaking wonder I've enough blood left to blush too.
"When mating season begins, you'll note too that the male will start to sniff the female's genital-" and at this point I lost it (wouldn't anyone if Emmett started talking about your boyfriend putting his nose into your groin in front of your little brother?) and, taking my half-empty carton of Karamel Sutra, I threw it at Emmett. Once I realized what I had done – it was some point around the time it splattered upon the Dead Vet and my brother – I felt a keen and all-encompassing sorrow overtake me for the loss of my imprint-worthy frozen dairy product.
"I killed it," I managed, voice tight, leaning my head back on Jake's shoulder. I was actually trying not to cry, I was that upset. Over ice cream.
He took the hand that was circled about my waste and patted me awkwardly on the back. "There, there," he said, not quite sure what the proper thing to say was. Hell if I knew. Period hormones plus werewolf hormones seemed to be equalling "hand over the tranquillizers" at the moment. Then, seeming to hit upon something, he fed me a forkful of cake.
"Wow," was all Quil could say. Wisely, 'cause if he'd said more I would have beat him. Or drowned him in tears. One or the other.
Emmett, however, was looking down at himself, drenched in, "a core of soft caramel encircled by chocolate and caramel ice creams and fudge chips," and, curiously, dipped his forefinger into one of the larger blobs before sticking it in his mouth. I watched curiously, as did my packmates; Alice and Rose wrinkled their noses. "Personally," he said, sticking out his tongue, "I don't see the attraction."
Almost lazily, "Oh, go fuck yourself, you clown-fearing, pudding-popping meat-bag. Now somebody pass me the Chocolate Therapy before people start getting hurt."