Disclaimer: I do not own the Shiver series.

Beneath His Paws

I could feel the sweat as it dripped down my back. I didn't feel the heat, however, just the moisture. I gave the crowd a signature Cole look before leaving the stage and their cheers behind. I hadn't crashed yet. That was a good thing. I was not going to crash. Victor would give me something to keep me going.

I pulled off my sweaty shirt once I was in the safety of my dressing room. I could still hear Victor out in the hall, high off some crap he'd found. I wasn't on the same stuff. Mine was a pill or something. I didn't really remember. It was just a dull memory. I knew I'd taken something, but didn't remember what it'd been.

The dressing room door opened. I turned, half aware that I was half naked. A blond, curly haired girl stood in the doorway. She brushed her bangs from her eyes. I tried to focus on her face, but was starting to swim.

"Cole," she said and walked over to me, taking my hands. I blinked.

"Hey, Katie," I said and then I heard this weird buzzing noise.

Cole groaned and rolled over, slapping his hand onto the snooze button and tried to go back to sleep, but Sam was making too much noise downstairs. Cole pulled his pillow and covers over his head, but he still couldn't block it out. Maybe he shouldn't of had that drink…

Cole kicked off the covers and walked downstairs, still in the shorts and t-shirt he wore to bed, barefoot, and sat down in the kitchen. He glared at Sam all the more he could, but probably looked like he needed glasses or something because his eyes hadn't adjusted to the light yet.

"Can you be any louder?" he asked as Sam put the skillet on the stove. He put his head on his arms, still thinking that bed was sounding even better by the minute. "Some of us were trying to sleep."

"I wasn't," Sam replied in a monotone voice. Cole sighed. Would he just get over that chick?

"She'll be back when it gets warm in a few months, Sam," Cole said as he suppressed a yawn. Sam didn't reply. "You need to get over her, dude. Pining isn't going to bring her back. I got over Victor." He almost choked on the words, but Sam didn't catch it. He still missed his friend, and, knowing it was his fault he was gone, it just made it that much worse.

"I know."

"Then cheer up," Cole said and stood. He took the orange juice from the fridge.

"How do you expect me to cheer up when she's gone?" Sam asked, turning. "She's not going to be the same, Cole. You just don't get it." Cole stood there as Sam snatched up his keys and left. Cole stood there until he heard Sam pull out of the driveway.

"You know that it's not good for that skillet to stay on the stove, right?" a voice asked. Cole didn't jump, he just retrieved the eggs from the fridge. "What is this? Be mad at Isabel day?"

"I'm not mad."

"Then speak."

"I'm not a dog, either."

"Technically, you are," Isabel said and hip bumped him out of the way as she took the eggs. "I don't think you want egg shell in your eggs."

Cole leaned against the counter next to her, their arms brushing each other every so often as he drank his orange juice and Isabel made the eggs. It amazed him that she even knew how to make them. He watched her as she made them and then, after the stove was off, wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her to him.

She arched an eyebrow at him before pressing her lips to his. He needed to feel her lips on his. All the crap that'd been happening was really making him ache for her. He didn't want to ache for her, though. She was her and he was him. She deserved better than him, but, yet, she didn't seem to mind. Both of their lives were messed up, but they'd found each other.

If only they would admit they liked each other. He tightened his grip on her, not possessively, but so she couldn't move. He didn't, for some reason, want to lose her. He wanted to hold her in his arms, but more than that, he wanted her lips on his. He needed her, like all the drugs he took, he craved her. He was addicted to her.

"Cole, I have to get to school," she said as she pulled away. His body immediately wanted her, but he kept the emotion off her face. "I'll see you later." He watched her go. And, again, he was left alone. This just sucked.

He turned and walked towards the door. Wolf. He needed another way to take care of his addiction. He pulled off his shirt. He had to get to his…happy place and fast. He stepped outside into the frigid air. He would have stripped more, but anyone passing might…report him. He couldn't deal with that-

He felt to his knees, his thoughts interrupted by the familiar feel of the change. It felt good to him. A chance to escape reality. He needed that. He felt his stomach twist and out came his supper. Good thing he hadn't ate those eggs…although that was a waste of eggs and time…all well, Sam could have them later.

All of his thoughts were lost as the change took over him. He needed to get away from everything. With Sam sulking and Isabel wanting to do whatever she wanted to do, everything was getting on his nerves.

He felt everything slip away as he dashed to the woods. He heard the calls of the other wolves, but he just kept running. The ground felt good beneath his paws. That's the most important thing to him at the time.