Mhm, I love Patrica Briggs' stories.... here is my take on them....
The night was still young when I sat down on a bench in the park. Surprisingly enough, it was still mildly warm even though it was mid-November in Northern Michigan. Not that I was complaining, but it was nice that I wouldn't freeze while I waited for my friend Sydney to meet up with me. I laid back and let myself relax, breathing in the scents all around, from the sap of the pine trees to the fresh water bay. No one else was in the park and I was content to just watch the stars as I waited. I was still warm from the blood I had drunken earlier, the rose tint surely still upon my cheeks. I let my lungs fill with the cool air, enjoying the expansion of my rib cage. Unlike other vampires, I kept up a human façade. Though not just for fitting in with the general populace. No, I still relished the scents on the wind and all the senses I had. The only thing I missed from time to time was the steady thump-thump of my heartbeat.
I started thinking on what my trip to Montana and, eventually, Washington would be like. I was making the trip out to Aspen Creek to see the Marrok, Bran Cornick, while Sydney was heading to the Columbia Basin to meet up with her twin brother Warren. Personally I'd never met Warren, I actually haven't met any werewolves aside from the Marrok and his son Samuel, and the few in Europe, and even that was a long time ago. Mostly I stayed in Europe, too deep in Seethe issues to ever have time off to myself. But Sydney said that he was a nice guy and that even though they hadn't seen each other in decades, they still talked on the phone from time to time. I suppose he has a Southern twang, just like his sister, and must look a little like her too. She was shorter than me, around 5'2" with a subtle hourglass figure. She had champagne colored hair in ringlets that she loved to wear loose. And, true to her cowgirl nature, she always wore a cowgirl hat and boots. She also had a strange liking of denim that I just didn't understand.
While I was thinking of the trip, I closed my eyes and just sort of let myself drift off in the sounds of the night. I started feeling strange, my hairs on my neck standing up, as if someone was watching me. Instantly I opened my eyes, and staring down at me was a pair of blue crystalline ones. I startled for a moment before recognizing Sydney and calming down. She had a mischievous grin on and was chewing gum.
"Hiya Middy! How are you?"
I sighed and smiled softly, "I'm okay, Sydney. You just startled me."
She smiled gaily, hands on her jean-clad hips, "Well I saw ya just layin' there on the bench and you weren't movin' so I sorta freaked out. Sorry."
This time I chuckled and sat up, "Nothing to be sorry about, sweetcakes." I got up and stretched. Though Sydney wasn't that old, only around a century, I'd known her for most of it. When she was just a turned wolf, I had stumbled across her. I knew that as soon as the Marrok found out about a female werewolf off alone, he would take her in, and she had intrigued me, so I whisked her away to France for about 40 years until she decided she'd go back to America. She had managed to keep away from any other wolves, secretly proud at being the only female Lone Wolf. Ever. In that time I made sure to visit her as often as possible and she did the same to me. I suppose you could call us best friends, if not sisters of the heart.
I clasped her hands in mine, immediately feeling them start to warm up, and held tight despite Sydney's displeasure.
"Holy cow, how long you been out here, Middy?! You're freezin'!"
"Awhile," I murmured vaguely.
Sydney seemed annoyed, but I knew she was just worried. I gave her a soft smile, "Really, I'm quite all right. I was just enjoying the cool night air."
She shrugged and started tugging me back towards the parking lot, "Well I'm all packed up. I can't wait to see Warren again!" She looked back, her eyes glittering in the moonlight.
"I'm sure. It's been a long time."
"You bet it has!" She practically danced towards my car. Not seeing any other car in the lot, I figured she had just walked with her duffle bag to her, and when we got to my Jeep Cherokee I could see that she had already thrown her bag in the back seat.
Once we got settled inside and I was warming myself up she looked at me.
"So. What're we goin' to see the Marrok for?"
I couldn't tell you just how I felt when I saw Bran again after so many years. Definitely a trippy experience, but then, the strange bond between us always was. Sydney was looking around Bran's living room, trying to appear interested in the details of the Marrok's home, but I knew she was really just trying to figure out what our encounter meant.
"Middy, you never told me you actually knew the Marrok…"
"That I didn't," I said blithely, looking out the window and into the snowy exterior.
Sydney huffed, annoyed that she didn't get the answer she wanted, "Why not?"
I shrugged, "Not like there was a reason to."
"There wasn't a reason not to either."
I looked back at her, my red eyes glittering in the firelight. It was enough of a warning to her that she was treading in dangerous territory. My past wasn't one to really bring up in the presence of others, much less in an unfamiliar place.
Sydney hated the silence and hated me being angry with her even more, "Okay, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to tread up old stuff. I just thought it might have been nice to know that you two already knew each other. I mean, hello! Middy, you're a vampire! We're werewolves! We're not exactly known for getting along. And you? You're basically the Regina of Vamps."
I barked out a laugh at that, "Oh please. I am not. I'm just high on the chain. That just means that I don't have to bow down. That especially means to Marsillia." I sent a heated glare in Sydney's direction at that.
She raised her hands in surrender, "Hey I didn't say anything 'bout that…"
"You were thinking it."
"Okay, maybe I was, but it's just because we're going to the Tri-Cities in a while and I don't want unnecessary trouble 'cause you decide to duke it out with an old rival."
"We were hardly rivals. She's just a psychopath with a fetish for wolf blood."
Sydney's face showed her disgusted, "Oh, okay that is just nasty."
"Uh, yeah. Why do you think she's stuck out here in the middle of nowhere?" I thought back on her trial, really brought up the memory, and in a fit of extreme amusement, let out a cackle. "Ooh, but she was stupid. Still is."
Sydney quirked a brow, "Midnight Marion Salvatoir, you got yourself a sick sense of humor, you know that?"
I laid down on the couch, across from Sydney, "Ugh, don't use my full name, Miss Sydney Claire Ardownia, unless you want me to retaliate. And my sense of humor is sick? Why? Because I find someone else's stupidity and misfortune funny? Most of America does."
Sydney put her hands on her crossed knees, leaning forward off of the plush backing of the lazy boy. "Do I?"
I sat up, "Yes, you do! Don't lie. It's not fair when you know I can't."
Her lips curled up wickedly, "But that's what makes it fun, hun."
"Oh don't start rhyming, not now. Not ever, actually."
Sydney looked the other way, her chin jutting out, "For being a few centuries old, you sure don't have a lot of patience."
"I'm more than 'a few centuries old'' and you know it. Besides, I'm tired, hungry and I'm not allowed to rectify either of those things at the moment."
Silence reigned as I lay back down, slowly eyeing the room. The decorations were plush, but well made and comfortable. Dark wood and glittered in the light of the fire. It was so warm here that I just wanted to fall asleep. Lack of blood tended to make me sleepy, instead of violent and agitated like other vampires. I also felt extremely cold, but I knew I couldn't ask Sydney for a donation while I was in Bran's home. Sighing, I picked up a giant pillow and blanket from the couch and walked over to the rug in front of the fire, set them down and started to undress. Once I got to my cami, Sydney started freaking out.
"What the hell are you doing, strippin' in the Marrok's house!?"
Feeling a little devilish, I said something that would shut her up for awhile, "It's not like it's the first time I've done it." I waited for an outraged reply, but got nothing and I let a smile slide across my lips. Settling down in my jeans and cami, I folded my two shirts, socks and boots to one side before snuggling down on the pillow in front of the fire. It felt so good and warm that it almost felt like I had fed, if not for the hollow feeling in my gut. Soon the soft crackling and light surrounding me slid me into a sweet sleep before I could think to stay awake in wait for Bran.
Oh well, I thought, he can wake me up when he wants to.
I dreamed I was running. Running through a forest, the sounds of wildlife echoing in the trees while the moon shone down on me. At first it was a calm, relaxed dream, where I just ran for the fun, enjoying the night air. But then it started to change, I started feeling like someone was watching me, stalking me. It grew and grew until I was no longer jogging joyfully but fearfully sprinting. The woods seemed to darken, the moon disappear.
And the whole time I kept hearing a voice saying 'Wake up!'
'Wake up, wake up, wake up, WAKE UP!'
I bolted upwards, my hair flying around me as Sydney scuttled back away fromme. My heart was pounding and everything seemed to pulse around me as if it were alive. The words from my dream seemed to echo, leaving me on edge. Things started to slow down ever so slightly, then. Things stopped moving and my heart slowed down. Looking around I saw Sydney was kneeling beside me.
Syd looked confused, "That's what I want to know. I just came over to wake you up because you kept scootin' closer to the fire and I was afraid you'd get burned. But I couldn't wake you up so then I started to pull you away, and then you... Woke up?"
I looked around, trying to ignore the soft ache in my chest from my earlier panic. The fire had started to get smaller and the room was warmer in general so I must have been sleeping for a while. I looked back at Sydney, "How long was I out?"
She pursed her lips and looked back at the clock on Bran's wall, "Mhm… Probably around 3 hours."
I startled, "3 hours?! What have you been doing? Did Bran come?"
Sydney shook her head, her expression saddening a little, "Nope. I haven't even heard anyone in the house since we got here, actually. Maybe he's still with Charles?" She shrugged her hands. "And to answer your other question, I've been reading. Wasn't much else I could do and I didn't think that the Marrok would want a random wolf going through his house." At that she cracked a little smile.
That was strange. Bran had said that he would be over soon and that the door was unlocked so we could make ourselves at home. But no one was here. Not even Leah. Especially not Leah. Quickly getting to my feet I started getting dressed while Sydney stared at me from the floor.
"What's up? We goin' someplace?"
I helped her to her feet and started lacing up my boots, "Something's off. I don't know if Bran just got tied up in something or what, but it obviously involves the whole pack, because even Leah isn't here." I looked up at Syd, "You sure you didn't hear anyone in here aside from us?"
She shook her head; her honey curls bouncing, "Nope. Haven't heard a car in a while either."
Making an agitated noise, I tugged on my gloves and wrapped my scarf around my neck. The excess 3 hours, despite being in a mode that required no energy, didn't help my lack of blood issue. Buttoning my coat, I turned around as Sydney pulled on her cowgirl boots, sliding her denim jacket on, before tying her own scarf and putting on her cowgirl hat, the beads clinking together in the quiet room. I nodded towards her, and we made our way out of the house, and into my Jeep. It wasn't too far into winter that driving should be that much of a hassle, but I checked to make sure the snow chains were snuggly in place. Hopping into the driver's seat, I turned the ignition and started to pull out of Bran's driveway before Sydney was even all the way in her seat.
"Ah! In a hurry, much?"
I threw her a look and started down the road, slowly building up speed. I wanted to be able to stop quickly if I needed to. We cruised down the streets of the town before I got annoyed and drove to the edge of town, circling around to where Asil and Charles' houses were. Before I even got a mile down the way, I saw the mass amount of cars parked in front of Charles house. Screeching to a stop, I threw the Jeep in park and turned it off. Hopping out of the cab, I started towards the front door, my boots crunching in the snow. Sydney walked up beside me, her breath turning to ice crystals in mid-air.
I got up to the door and without a moment's pause, knocked thrice. There was an immediate stilling in the house, voices reduced to whispers as I heard someone walk towards the door on the other side.
Without warning, it was thrown open and the face of the Marrok's wife was staring straight back at me, a dark look in her eyes.
Ohemeffgee! A cliff hanger! Oh, what to do!?!? Ahahah... REVIEW!