Change of Plans

I’m cramming in some last minute posting today.  Here’s the next piece of Jen and Rhys’s story in the White Wolves world.  Be sure to stop by Our Write Side to check out other responses to the Master Class prompt I used here.

They stood there, not saying a word, staring out at the lake.  It reflected the azure opacity of the clear early morning sky.  Jen shivered at the thought of going with these dangerous people to rescue her son.  Yet, she had no other choice.  Not going would change something in a bad way.

Rhys sighed and shifted to face her again, “This will be dangerous.  What kind of experience do you have defending yourself?  Or with weapons?”

“None with weapons, unless you count throwing whatever is in my hand,” Jen looked down and picked at her fingers.

“You have had to defend yourself.”

Jen did not answer.

“Please.  Tell me.  I’m not trying to judge or condemn you.  I need to know what I need to give you a crash course in before we go.”

“My ex was abusive.  I did what I could to keep from getting hurt too bad.”

“How do you feel about learning to use a gun?”

Jen blinked several times as she met Rhys’s gaze, “You want me to learn to use a gun?”

“Yes.  It’s the best way I can think of to teach you to defend yourself with what little time we’ve got left.”

“I guess I don’t have much of a choice, do I?”

Rhys ran his hands through his hair and turned his back on Jen.  His move gave her a close-up of the scars crisscrossing his back.  Several scars were long, thin lines.  Others were jagged and puckered.  Along one side near his hip, a perfect bite mark marred his tanned skin.  No human left that bite mark.

“I don’t want you to think you need to do anything, Jen.  I fear for your safety and am trying to find ways to ease my concern.”

The patio door slid open interrupted any further conversation.  Kris stepped out into the bright sunlight.  His jeans and button-down shirt were so impeccable, Jen wondered if he had a magical ability to keep himself neat.  Interestingly, he went barefoot as well.

“I apologize for my interruption, but there is bad news.  They’re moving their base.  We need to go.  Now.”

Rhys pounded on the railing, “Damn it!”

“I took the liberty of having some of your pack ready our supplies.  Jen, if you are coming with us, get your things together and meet us at the door in ten minutes.”

Half way up the stairs back to her room Rhys called out, “I’ll teach you to shoot on the way.”

“I don’t have a gun.”

Rhys grinned, “I have plenty.”

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Doubts Creeping In

Getting my Master Class assignment done earlier this week.  I chose broken moon as my prompt.  What other prompt do you choose for a werewolf serial?  Anyway, here’s my response and be sure to stop by Our Write Side to see other assignments.

 Jen woke early the next morning. Not wanting to wake anyone, she went out onto her balcony to enjoy the warmth of the early morning sun. She leaned against the rail and surveyed the surrounding forest. Mountain peaks rose above the brilliant green treetops.

 Movement on a deck to Jen’s left and below her caught her eye. Rhys. He moved with an eerie grace to the rail. Jen gasped at the number of scars on his shirtless torso. His back bore the most. Jen did not know if she would have been able to touch one place on his back without touching scars. She had to admit, though, he looked stunning in torn jeans low on his hips, no shirt, and no shoes.

 Then Jen noticed Rhys fidgeting with a necklace of some sort. She watched for several seconds before realizing the chain held a broken moon pendant. Before Jen could see any other detail, Rhys slipped it back into his pocket.

 “Come down, if you would like,” Rhys called up without turning around.

 “Oh. I’m sorry,” Jen backed away a couple steps, “I’m. I.”

 “Peace. Shhh. It’s okay. I knew you were there as soon as I opened my door.”

 “How?”

 “I am a wolf,” his dry tone made her laugh.

 “Come on down here. We have a lot to talk about.”

 Jen stayed where she was for a moment. Rhys stood still. Something in his stance told Jen he was aware of everything she did, right down to the breaths she took. It unnerved her a little, yet she did like the fact he paid attention to her. Her ex never did.

 Jen took a deep breath and joined Rhys at the lower balcony rail. They didn’t speak, just stared at the trees and mountains.

 Rhys broke the companionable silence by shifting to face Jen.

 “You know you don’t have to go with. You could stay here where it’s safe. We’ll bring your son back to you.”

 “I know.”

 “Then why?”

 Jen sighed and tried to find the words. Tried to understand her choice herself.

 “I have never really done anything to fight for something. If I can’t fight for my son, who or what will I ever fight for?”

                                                                                   

A Secret Revealed

Once again I am cutting it down to the wire to get my Master Class assignment in.  I chose Shameful Musings this week, which led to a big character reveal that even I had not been aware of until this scene happened.  Be sure to swing by Our Write Side to see other responses to the prompt.

 

Emma and the wolves planned late into the night.  As they headed to their rooms to sleep, Kris stopped Rhys.  Emma looked bac, caught Kris’s eye, nodded, and left the room.

“What are you doing with this woman?” Kris held onto Rhys’s arm.

Rhys pulled away and turned his back on Kris, “My job.”

“Bull.  You wouldn’t bring her here.  Wouldn’t be turning your back on me now if that’s all you’re doing.”

Rhys paced around the room as Kris stood watching him.  The silence spun out into tension humming through the room.

Growling, Kris stepped in front of Rhys, “This is about Sarah, isn’t it?  About what happened.”

Rhys turned and punched the wall.  Had it been sheetrock, he would have put a hole through it.

“Rhys.  You need to let go of those shameful musings.  What happened was not your fault.”

“How do you know?  How is it not my fault?”

“Do you really want to hash this out now?”

Rhys stepped around Kris to resume his pacing.  He clenched and unclenched his fists, the effort not to destroy everything around him evident in the trembling of his taut muscles.

“Fine,” Kris sighed, “We’ll do this now.  I was there, Rhys.  I saw what happened.  You stood no chance of saving Sarah.  She let go of the bridge.  She chose to be right there that night.  Sarah could have stayed back or moved out of the way.  She didn’t.  Then she chose to let go.”

Rhys started punching the nearest wall at the way Kris emphasized each word of the last sentence.  Kris grabbed Rhys’s arms to keep him from injuring himself.

“Rhys. Stop.”

Rhys snarled and fought Kris’s restraint for a moment, then sagged between Kris and the wall, “Why?  Why would she do that?  What did I do?  Was I that awful?”

Kris guided Rhys to the floor and let go.  Rhys buried his tear-streaked face in his hands.  His shoulders shook with silent tears.

“You did nothing but love Sarah.  None of this was your fault.  She could not accept what you offered her – a place to belong.  You have got to make some peace with this or we are screwed trying to help Jen and her son.  It was not your fault.”

Rhys did not answer.  Kris sat with him.  This time the silence stayed companionable.  Rhys was not certain how long they sat there, but he eventually wiped his face and looked up half expecting to see contempt scrawled across Kris’s face.  Instead, Kris’s face held a reflection of Rhys’s pain.  Pain and understanding.

“What do I do now?” Rhys’s voice felt thick and soft even to his own ears.

“Live, my friend.  Live.  We both understood Sarah was not adjusting to this life.  Her choices were hers alone.  Cherish her memories and live rather than just existing as you have for so long now.  Stop chasing death and embrace the life you still live.”

 

Master Class Badge

Master Class: Plans are Made

I’m squeaking my Master Class assignment in just under the wire.  Of the prompts offered, midnight wordlings flowed into the story better than I expected.  This is the next piece in the White Wolves serial.  Be sure to scroll back for any missed parts and stop by Our Write Side to see other great assignments.

Jen nodded, “What must I do?  Cullen is all that matters.  I’ll do whatever I need to do.”

“Good,” Emma smiled, “Rest tonight.  Let the midnight wordlings downstairs do the planning.  I’ll make sure they know you will continue on this road with us.”

“Emma?”

“Yes, hon?”

“What would have happened had I said no?”

“We would have gone, anyway.  Your son is a rarity in our world.  Children like your son, when they survive, almost always grow up to be the strongest alphas and we need more alphas like he will be.”

Jen furrowed her brow as she searched for words.  Emma laughed.

“Don’t worry about it, hon, he’s got plenty of time to be a little boy.  Rest.  Kris, Rhys, and Morgan have things under control.  I’ll referee just in case and come get you when we need you.”

Emma left Jen perched on the bed in the room she woke up in just a short time earlier.  The talk on the balcony had helped.  Jen missed the door to the balcony when she first scanned the room.  The view the balcony gave of the surrounding forest amazed her.  She went back out to absorb more of the cool peace the trees offered her.  Even the moon’s silvery light seemed to wash away her tears and uncertainties.  Everything still felt surreal to her, but some semblance of comfort and belonging existed in it all.  Something about these people, this world, seemed right.

 

Emma settled herself back next to Kris.  Morgan prowled the room.  Had he been in his wolf form, his hackles would have been raised and upper lip curled.

“What did I miss?” Emma asked with a pointed look at Morgan.

“He still thinks we ought to leave Jen here when we go for her son,” Kris slung one arm around Emma and pulled her into him.

“I don’t think we need to worry about Jen as much as you worry we do.”

Rhys arched an eyebrow at Kris before shifting his attention to Emma, “Why is that?”

“You didn’t hear the determination in her voice when she agreed to come with us.  That little boy is about the only thing in the world she has right now unless I’m mistaken.  Besides, she’s followed her conviction about him being alive so far, which has brought her this far.”

“She is too soft for this world,” Morgan’s words slurred from the heavy snarl in his voice.

“Jen doesn’t understand her own strength yet.”

Kris and Emma exchanged quick glances at the vehemence in Rhys’s voice.  They remembered what happened to the last woman Rhys cared about.

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Fantastic Realities

Our Write Side’s Master Class had another set of fun, challenging prompts this week.  I chose fantastic realities, which ended up the title of this piece of the White Wolves story kind of by accident.  And, as usual, please stop by Our Write Side via the link above or the badge below to check out other assignments.

 Jen sat in her chair looking at them. Tension built until Jen felt as if they would explode with the pressure. Rhys and Kris exchanged looks that were full of meaning, though Jen did not understand it. Kris sighed.

 “Morgan is correct. At least for the most part. Once a part of this world, one tends to not have as much contact with yours anymore. The two worlds just are not very compatible,” Kris stared at his hands as he spoke.

 “And you’re saying this applies to me now, too, aren’t you?” her voice sounded slow and overly even even to her.

 The silence drawing out spoke volumes. Emma finally stood up and knelt in front of Jen. She took one of Jen’s hands and held it for a few more seconds. Jen prayed Emma would not speak. Would not make those words into fantastic realities. Terrifying realities. She closed her eyes, trying to keep from crying as Emma’s first words came anyway.

 “I’m afraid, hon, that it does. Your son will be a shifter. A natural-born shifter. He will never fit into your world. Not truly.”

 “I don’t want this,” Jen whispered as tears fell in silent streams down her face.

 “Oh hon,” Emma shifted to where she could put her arms around Jen.

 Once the tears started, Jen could not stop them. Her body shook against Emma’s warm comfort. The men were blurry, fidgeting shapes to her tear-filled eyes. After several minutes, Emma pulled Jen to her feet and walked her out of the room. Jen could not see well where they were going. The cool evening air that greeted her felt wonderful against her tear streaked face.

 “Jen, hon, I understand. I was not born into the magical world either. I fell into it when my sister disappeared four years ago and I went looking for her. It took me a while to come to terms with it, too. Now, I know Morgan scared you some with his maudlin words, but there are some amazing things about this world as well.”

 “Like what?” Jen’s voice shook and croaked a little from crying.

 Emma smiled, “Like what we can do, and will do, to get your son back.”

 Jen froze. Emma nodded.

 “Really?” Jen forgot to cringe at the pathetic tone in her voice she hated.

 “Yes. Cullen is alive. And we will get him back. It won’t be easy, though. Will you join us?”