As the days passed, I felt like I'd settled into a pattern. I'd work all day at home on earning the equivalent of a high school diploma. I was still very wary around the house- my wolf was still playing games with me. Sally was adamant on naming her before, but she'd taken notice on how I didn't like her and had quit asking about it. Some days I did other things, but I'd really thrown myself into earning this diploma. When I had my period, I insisted on staying in the woods in wolf form in order to blow off as much steam as possible. My wolf hated that I did that, but I still had enough control to keep her from running home and doing horrible, unspeakable things to Josh. It made me feel very safe to know that Josh and I were transforming in two different locations. However, I was very, very unhappy with him. Josh was seeing a nurse at the hospital who was a normal, human being.
As a werewolf, it wasn't a viable option for him to be dating humans. He was a monster, uncontrollable and deadly. I knew that he was doing it because he longed for a connection, a relationship, but I'd shut down the idea that I deserved happiness with someone a long time ago. Maybe it was because I'd been a werewolf for most of my life and Josh was still fairly new, but I still loathed him slightly for his ideas about interacting with normal humans. He and Aidan were so worried about letting me leave the house to interact in society and then they go and flirt with humans, have relationships with humans. Their hypocritical nature made me want to scream. I could recall the exact conversation I'd had with Josh when I first found out. It had started with Josh pressuring me to go and hang out in the woods on a night where I wasn't PMSing or expecting to turn into a wolf. I'd been working on my GED like every other night.
"How's the progress with your wolf coming?" He asked as I drummed my pencil on the table, trying to understand the question being asked to me. I stopped drumming. He knew that I hated talking about it and yet he was bringing it up? Why?
"It's fine," I said shortly, going back to my question about hyperbolas.
"You're spending a lot of time on that diploma," Josh interrupted again, sounding nervous.
"I kind of need it to get a job." I said, letting my words get a bit sarcastic as I spoke. My inner wolf pushed at my insides as if to get closer to Josh and I moved away slightly, trying not to grit my teeth and swear out loud.
"I think you should practice with your wolf more often. I think it would help. Tonight is supposed to be pretty clear- and warm." Josh had suggested, awkwardly rubbing his neck. I slowly put down my pencil and looked at him, realizing now that he was very nervous and awkward, more so than usual, and had on a nicer shirt- was he going out?. Then I realized that he wanted something from me.
"Can I help you, Josh?" I asked, trying to ignore how my wolf got all excited when I said his name, as if my wolf was an excited little tween.
"He wants you to leave so that he can have a date with his girlfriend in the house tonight." Sally said, appearing behind me on the couch. "What? I'm getting to the point while you stand there looking like an idiot." Sally defended herself as Josh shot her a disgruntled look.
"Sorry, did you say date? Girlfriend? Since when?" I demanded, not moving an inch. Josh blushed slightly.
"Since this afternoon when I asked her over for dinner." He said, looking proud of himself. I just looked at him in disbelief, trying to grasp it. He was reaching out to humans, getting into relationships with humans? Was he crazy?
"Is she human?" I asked, voice sharper than I'd intended. Josh rubbed his neck faster, looking at the floor. "You're dating a human?" I raised my voice as my tone turned furious. "Josh, are you insane?" I demanded, glaring at him.
"Lauren, it's just a date," Sally said, sounding slightly surprised. I whirled to glare at her.
"No, it's not just a date, Sally. What if it goes somewhere? What if you two get serious and she starts to notice that you start acting weird every month? What if you hurther, Josh, or worse yet- kill her?" I asked, standing up, putting my hands on my bony hips.
"I'm careful, Lauren. I won't let it get like that." Josh said defensively. I gaped at him, feeling true anger for the first time in a long time, anger that had gotten me in trouble on the streets.
"Josh, you are a werewolf." I said very clearly, hearing the acid in my tone. "You can't get into a relationship with a human- it's not safe! Period!" I said angrily, working very hard not to swear at him.
"Lauren, I interact with humans on a daily basis- I can't just ignore them! I have human needs just like them. I'm safe, I'm responsible, and I'm careful." Josh said, sounding like he was rehearsing an argument he'd had with himself.
"If you do let it go farther, if the relationship lasts- what will you do? You can't just tell her over dinner sometime! What if she tells people? What if she doesn't accept you?! It's a stupid idea Josh, and I think you're insane." I said harshly, going into the foyer and getting my coat. "If you want me out of the house to have your date tonight, fine," I said in the entry as I jerked on my coat, easily ignoring the hurt 'puppy-dog' look on Josh's face, "but if you hurt this girl, or any other girl, I'll make you pay for it." I swore, before storming out the door and into the street, heading for my woods.
Since that argument I'd been cooler to Josh than I ever had before. Aidan and Sally had tried to talk to me about it, but I was steadfast in my opinion. Relationships with non-monsters didn't work, they never had and they never would. I didn't ask about his dates, and Josh didn't tell, even though I started to be able to smell her in the house after she came over. It didn't help that my other personality also despised the idea of Josh dating someone. My inner wolf was incredibly jealous about the idea of Josh seeing someone, and often times pushed me to be a bit bitchier than I usually would have. Josh's decision to continue to see this girl pushed a wedge between us until we were only saying a few words to each other per week. Somewhere deep inside I wanted to try and talk to Josh again to see if I could get some sense into him, but I knew that I'd get too angry with him and it would only end up in a fight.
As his relationship with his girlfriend, Nora, continued to improve, our friendship steadily decreased until I was hardly in the house when he was. I had Aidan turn in my GED requirements and get me the stupid little diploma that he insisted on framing and putting on the bookshelf for the whole household to see. Now that I had the paperwork, I instantly applied for work until I was finally accepted at a shitty little convenience store. I worked there part time and spent the rest of my time mostly in the woods. I trimmed back the time I spent at home considerably until Sally had to come and find me in the woods to talk. I knew that she and Aidan were really worried, and that Josh may have been worried too, but every moment I spent around them my inner wolf had something nasty to say about them. She didn't like Sally because she'd been too 'independent' of a woman in her past life, and She hated Aidan because he was 'weak' enough to kill other beings to live. Her arrogance and hatred made me want to scream.
One night, I returned home unexpectedly. I really didn't want too, but I could tell that it was going to rain- eliminating the idea of me sleeping out in the woods that night. As I came in the door, unzipping my coat, I smelled her…and then something else. "Lauren? What are you doing home?" Sally asked, appearing from nowhere, looking shocked. Before I could answer, Aidan came around the corner.
"We're having dinner tonight. If you can handle it and be nice, stay. If not, go." He said in an undertone, setting a high ultimatum. I ignored him. I could sense something wrong with Josh's girlfriend. Something was there, something was different, something was wrong. Inside me, my inner wolf wailed with distress.
What's wrong? Tell me what's wrong with Nora. I demanded of her, somehow realizing that She new what was going on here. Hysteria rose up my throat as a million possibilities raced through my mind. What my wolf said, however, was the last thing I could have possibly imagined.
He already mated! My wolf wailed in distress, dreams of mating with Josh crushed. It took me a moment to understand what she was saying. When I did, I felt my spine start to shake as incredible anger flashed down my nerves. Josh had gotten Nora pregnant. PREGNANT. Red hot stars flashed in front of my eyes and a growl built in my throat.
"Lauren, calm down." Aidan hissed, taking me by the shoulders as the trembling rose in severity. "Go, go," he insisted, pushing me out the door. On wobbly legs I was running, running through the streets of Boston until I made it to my forest. In the pouring rain I managed to strip off before bursting out of my skin so fast I thought I was going to die.
My wolf was inconsolable. Her grief was so deep that she took over and then I was running and running, my anger fueling her when she got tired. Trees were slashed. The ground was torn up. Thunder was the only sound that masked her howls and snarls of grief, agony and rejection. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I was risking injuring myself or falling ill from running and slashing and rolling through the forest, but I was too angry to care. The more primal instincts of my body took over as emotion drowned out all sense of reason. I had no idea how far I went before I finally got her to slow down and stop. I was almost at the edge of the forest- that meant I'd run almost seven acres, leaving a trail of destruction in my wake. My wolf was trembling and not responding to my questions, so I left her alone. With that off my plate, I slowly got myself to change back.
My body was so tired that I instantly slumped onto the muddy forest floor. I was covered in filth, bruises and cuts, but I didn't care. Now that I was 'me' again, I was incredibly furious with Josh, but so much that I was bursting out of my skin to become a werewolf. I'd warned him that if he messed up with a human that I'd fuck him up, and I was more than willing to follow through on that threat. It made me very sad that Josh, someone I trusted, would do something this awful. Bitter disappointment almost made me cry, but I hardly ever cried for a reason. Stop being a little bitch. I told myself sharply, trying to stand up with the aid of a tree I'd almost cut in half with my fury.
It was extremely late by the time I'd walked out of the forest and found the closest house. I stole clothing, figuring it wasn't worth walking all the way back through the acres upon acres of forest that I had ran through just to find my own garments. I was cold, angry, and extremely sore, but I climbed a tree so that I could sulk and sleep in relative safety. As I stared up at the stars, trying to fall asleep, I felt pang after pang of despair. I felt as if the fresh start I had made with Aidan, Josh and Sally was completely destroyed. If it came down to it, I knew that Aidan and Sally would side with Josh and I'd be out on my own again, but I couldn't bring myself to forgive Josh. I'd tried to warn him, and now look at the mess he was in.
He'd gotten the bitch pregnant.
Panic loomed in my chest for him. What would the baby be like? Would the child be a werewolf too? If it was, Josh would have to tell Nora. What if she rejected him, told on him? What if Josh hurt Nora- what if the baby hurt Nora? What would happen to the child- who would take care of it, and how could anyone teach someone from such an early age to be so controlled, so careful? It was hard for me to control myself, and I was barely an adult. Telling a toddler to suck it up and stop being a little bitch really wasn't an option- and yet that is what someone would have to do if they were going to keep that child and the world safe from each other.
"Fuck," I groaned under my breath, popping sore joints and pressing the baggy clothes I'd stolen to still bleeding cuts, trying to keep my nerve and not give in to my emotion again. There was only so much forest to destroy- and giving in to myself had always been a dangerous, destructive process, if how I'd first learned to transform at will was any example. I made myself a promise not to let it happen again- the toll on the environment around me, my friends, and my body was too steep.
Despite my lingering anger, I knew that Josh, Aidan and Sally wouldn't try to find me until tomorrow, when the rain had stopped and Nora was gone. I wanted to go apeshit on him now, and it was taxing my patience to make me wait until daylight. How could he do that? My inner wolf thought weakly, bitterly. For a moment, I almost agreed with her until I realized we were thinking about different things. She was referencing the fact that Josh had fucked someone besides me/us/her. I was referencing the fact that he'd fucked a human being and got her pregnant.
Shut up and grow a pair. I snapped at her. Her comment had only made me angrier at Josh for his unparalleled stupidity. I spent the rest of the night being rained on as I burned hotter and hotter with anger that would only be released with a possibly bloody confrontation with Josh.