"Have any fours?"
Most of the days at the governor's house in Ohio were boring. I, like Estrella, had no interest for the card games the boys played. Unlike Estrella, I did not spend my time going out to the market and buying lavish things. I simply stood and stared outside a lot, wishing that I could once again be a normal human.
In an instant, Armel slammed down his cards and stood up from the table, brown hair hanging in his eyes. I turned to look at him. Even Colum seemed confused for once.
"I cannot stand pretending that everything will be okay," the brunette remarked, trembling slightly and not looking up. Perhaps he was afraid to show his tears. "Colum, you cannot get ready to leave and act so nonchalantly about the matter!"
Colum had told us that he was needed in the army and that he had to leave soon. With his increased strength and speed, he would surely defeat many of the Confederate soldiers alone. I knew this because I had remained with these fellows for slightly over two turns of the full moon, allowing me to see the monstrous form of Colum. He was far huger than I could ever have imagined; the governor was probably twice the size I was in my monster form.
"I will be fine." Colum fixed Armel with that soft smile he always had ready. "Besides, you have always wanted to be governor, anyway. You will take over while I am gone."
"And I am fine with that," answered Armel, who, like I, looked to Colum as something of an older brother. "What I am not fine with is your risk of being killed. Have you not read the papers? Did you not see the article of how a Confederate shot a wolf with a silver bullet? A silver bullet," he repeated slower, sitting back down in the old wicker chair. "It was just a regular wolf, too. It shows you that they know about us. Not just that, but they are looking, too."
"I will be fine," Colum repeated once more. It was hard for me to believe that a man as gentle as he - whose name even meant "dove" - would be involving himself in a war. Then again, he always liked to brag about how much he cared for humans and wanted to help them. The redhead looked back at his cards. "It would be better for you to stop worrying now. You will either scare Brigitte or make a fool of yourself by making her seem more manlier than you."
Upon being given a job and a place in the governor's house, I had been permitted to keep my pants. Colum was nice enough to explain to me that Estrella did not do much fieldwork so she was able to wear the pretty skirts and dresses that most women werewolves could not.
"Of course," Armel muttered, not looking up from his own cards. "My apologies, Brigitte."
At that moment, Estrella raced into the room, looking somewhat distraught. "Are you sure that you wish to do this?" she asked, brown eyes fixed on Colum.
The redhead stood up and nodded solemnly. "Of course I am. Is the lieutenant outside?" He walked toward her, waiting for an answer.
Estrella nodded slowly, unsure of whether to lie or speak the truth. "I will miss you," she murmured, wrapping her arms around him in a hug.
Colum kissed the top of her head. Beyond, Armel made a face, looking disgusted with the gesture of affection, but only teasingly. He had warmed up a lot as I grew to know him even longer. "I will be back before you realize that I am gone!" he replied with a loving smile. Colum always had a smile ready for anyone that needed it. Saying goodbye to the rest of us, the governor left his title as well as us inside.