Epilogue

Two hours later, the gang was hanging out in the chapel. Penhall was removing his gun and shoulder holster to store in his locker—and complaining up a storm. "I've always known Hanson was lucky, but this is ridiculous! I mean he's been here for a few months and ended up being bitten by a kid who happens to be a werewolf and he survived! On top of that, he's brought down a major 'wolf dealer and a homicidal lupine. He's going to end up with a gold star on his report card—again! Are we going to let him get away with that?" Doug slammed his locker door shut and slid down the pole. He landed—and saw Tom standing there with Hoffs and Ioki. "Oh."

Hanson said, "Funny, I thought you were scared of me, Doug." He smirked, and Penhall could have sworn Tom's canines were a little sharper than normal. Doug shrugged it off and replied, "As long as you don't go homicidal on us during the full moon, Hanson."

The smirk on Tom's face faded and his expression grew moody. "Don't mention the full moon. John said it doesn't affect us, but right now I'm not sure if he was telling the truth or not."'

"How is our friendly 'wolf dealer doing anyway?" Harry asked.

"He's all healed," Tom said. "I don't think he was happy that I left the pack, but I'm pretty sure he understands why." He shuddered. "I'm just glad this case is over; I don't want to run into that pack again."

Judy had been silently leaning against her desk, but now she strode over to Hanson and rested her chin on his shoulder: "I wonder how many more people in this city are actually werewolves."

Harry's queasy expression mirrored exactly how Doug felt. Personally, having just one werewolf around was enough for him, even if that 'wolf was his best friend. Penhall muttered, "I don't want to find out."

"Well, good night, guys." On that cheerful note, Judy walked out, giving Tom's cheek a light tap with her index finger as she passed him. "See you later."

Doug couldn't help noticing the way Hanson's chocolate-brown eyes darkened and, not for the first time, he wondered when the nature of the relationship between those two had changed. Then Judy was gone, and the three guys were left standing in the middle of the chapel. Doug's eyes found Tom's and their gazes locked.

"Well," said Harry, obviously sensing the awkward tension, "I'd better be heading home, too. See you tomorrow." Ioki left, and neither Hanson nor Penhall broke the silence until they were sure he was gone.

Doug said, mimicking a popular show, "Hanson, you got some 'splainin' to do."

Tom rolled his eyes. "Didn't we go over this already? I'm not giving you the bite either, so don't eve think about it."

"Don't worry, man. You sure changed my mind about that. Besides, I'm not talking about the werewolf stuff."

Tom blinked in surprise. "So what are you talking about?"

"Judy, man! When exactly did you two become all buddy-buddy?"

Hanson's eyes turned cold, and this time Doug definitely saw gold spinning though those dark orbs. The lupine said stiffly, "What's it to you?" Tom felt the 'wolf shadow pricking at the back of his mind for the second time that night, itching for control, but he forced it down. He refused to rely on that side of himself to solve all his problems.

Doug shifted his weight from one leg to the other, suddenly uneasy. Tom could smell it on him, and saliva pooled in his mouth. Sick with himself he glanced away, trying hard to overcome the beast that was now snarling, clawing for supremacy. If any other male laid a hand on Judy . . . Shocked at the animalistic way he was thinking—and suddenly realizing the source of Doug's discomfort—he let the hard look in his eyes fade as he said quietly, "You're sweet on Judy, aren't you?"

He could hear Doug's heartbeat quicken. "What gave you that idea?"

"I can hear your heartbeat, smell your uneasiness. Mostly, I've just noticed the odd looks you've been giving us."

"I was just wondering exactly when the two of you started sleeping together."

"That's not any of your business!" Tom snapped. A growl rose in his throat, but he forced it down. "If you're thinking she's into me just because I'm lupine—"

"I didn't say that!" Doug protested.

Tom's eyes were as cold as ice. "You didn't have to." Before Doug could say anything more, Tom turned his back on his friend and walked out of the chapel down to the small parking lot. Once he was in his '68 Mustang, he pulled out and began driving on autopilot to a very familiar apartment. He'd turned on the radio, and noticed it was halfway through the love theme from Footloose. It had never been one of his favorite movies, but the music was good.

The next thing he knew, he was standing in front of Judy's apartment door, one fist rapping hard on the wood. It opened and there she was, clearly still awake. "Yes, Hanson?"

He swallowed, voice husky when he asked, "Can I come in?"

She smiled and opened the door further. It had barely shut before his arms were around her, her mouth on his, everything about her filling his senses. And somewhere in the back of his mind, he could hear the lyrics to a song he'd just heard: And in your arms salvation's not so far away. It's getting closer, closer every day . . . As long as he had her, everything would be okay. It had to be.


Not so sure about the ending, but . . . *shrugs* Anyway, thoughts?