Annabelle was genuinely confused. She watched as Lana lay on the soft ground, her chest heaving with every nervous breath. She didn't understand the wolf's body language. She'd been so accustomed to seeing Zade's strong, dominant body language that witnessing submissive behavior striked Annabelle as very odd. Zade tilted his head to the side curiously at the werewolf. They were normally solitary creatures, they never travelled in packs like true wolves. It simply wasn’t done. Lycans were extremely territorial beings, and even Zade, who was more controlled than many, could barely contain himself.
Another growl rippled from his snout, and Lana whimpered. He stood protectively in front of Annabelle and snarled, his teeth clearly visible, shining under the moonlight.
Annabelle raised her hand and laid it gently on Zade’s neck, and when his head whipped around as if to question her, she sighed.
“It’s not here for me,” Annabelle whispered to him, running her fingers through his fur soothingly, hoping her touch would calm him down enough to make a rational decision.
He turned his attention back to the werewolf on the ground and sent Lana an approving stare. She, in turn, rolled back to her feet, shaking her pelt free of loose dirt, her tongue lolling out of her mouth happily. Though it sickened Lana to know that Zade was mated to the human, she couldn’t help but be thankful for his acceptance. And for Annabelle’s, as well.
Zade did not approach their new companion, but Annabelle instantly took a liking to Lana. She sauntered to the werewolf with a warm grin.
“My name’s Annabelle,” she said, knowing full well that Lana could not respond, not until the morning when the moon began to wane, which wasn’t for a few more hours. “That’s Zade,” she mumbled to Lana, pointing to him as he trotted ahead of the pair, slightly disgruntled.
“He’ll be friendlier once the full moon goes away; I’m sure of it.”
And that was the end of all conversation until the sun rose. They had made it back to the condo, somehow avoiding all life in the city. Lana just followed close behind Zade, firstly so that she would not become lost and secondly so that she would not reveal their location unto others in the city. It had never felt so good to be inside the condo. Annabelle moved swiftly to the windows, locking all of them and then let the dark curtains fall over the glass, obscuring it completely. She quickly retreated to her room and fetched a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt for Lana and an outfit for Zade as well. Annabelle returned to the living room just in time to witness the two werewolves shudder back into their human forms.
It took Lana a few more minutes than Zade to become human, so Zade took that opportunity to dress. After she was transformed, she slumped to the ground, exhausted, a light sheen of sweat blanketing her olive skin. Annabelle went to throw the clothes to her, but she noticed that Lana was bleeding from a few wounds on her arms and one on her stomach. Lana shivered in the cool air while Annabelle retrieved some bandages and tended to Lana’s wounds. Zade left the room, to respect Lana’s privacy.
No words were spoken as Annabelle unwrapped gauze and pressed them carefully on the bleeding lacerations, wary not to hurt Lana too much more than necessary. A few minutes of grunts and hisses of pain, Annabelle laid the clothes on the ground and abandoned the room. Lana, with much effort, slid into the pants and shirt Annabelle had left for her.
Zade emerged again, his face scrutinizing Lana’s every detail. He took in her disheveled, uneven brown layered hair and curvy frame, her dull eyes that seemed to glaze over when he looked at her. When he heard the sound of the shower running, he began his interrogation.
“Your name,” he demanded stoically. Lana shrank away from the authoritative power in his voice.
“Lana. I’ve come to seek shelter in numbers.”
“I am only one. Annabelle is human,” he said, almost allowing a hint of regret to trickle into his tone.
“Two heads are better than one, as the humans say. I can help you.”
Zade scoffed. “Help me? Help me with what, exactly?”
“I can help you keep the human safe—”
“I can keep Annabelle safe without assistance from others,” he spat viciously, crossing his arms over his chest defensively.
“I did not mean to imply that you couldn’t.” Lana paused. “I only wish to have the company of another of my kind. I want to learn how to…control…the curse.”
Zade shook his head. “I don’t know what you will learn from me, Lana. I cannot control the curse.”
“But you control your transformations!” she whispered. “You can become the wolf at any time, and vice versa. I wish to learn that kind of control.”
Zade sighed and closed the three foot gap between them. Lana stood up from her submissive position on the ground and faced Zade. Her eyes met his and she could feel the power pooling behind his irises as if it was burned into her memory.
“You may stay. But I warn you now and nevermore, if your presence draws enemies here that could harm Annabelle in any way, I will kick you out on your own, that is, if I have enough sanity to spare your life.”
Lana absorbed his words and nodded furiously, knowing that Zade surely was not joking when it came to his human.