Chapter 23Mature

For a while following, things became silent again. It wasn’t until Bailey snuck into the kitchen, his head down and looking away, that the conversations continued.

“He’s still nervous around me when I look like this.” Alex said as Nathan reached his hand out to Bailey.

“He can’t smell you?”

“He can, but he almost bit me when I tried to get close to him first.”

“You can’t make him lay down or something?” Marcus asked.

“I’ve tried, but it didn’t quite work. He cowered from me instead of calming down.”

“I see. So, how exactly can you change back?”

Knowing that the last two times he had changed back after feeding on something live made Alex hesitant to continue. He could almost feel the sentence reach his mouth before he diverted to another train of thought. There had to be something he wasn’t considering about this, but the only conclusion he could draw was that one. “Good question. I’ve tried relaxing, running around, imagining it happening. None of those worked.”

“What about eating?” Catherine asked.

Alex felt a shiver run under his fur. “It’s possible. I’ll give it another try once I’m full.”

“Define ‘full’.” Nathan said, keeping a straight face.

“I’d say five pounds.” Nathan’s eyebrows rose hearing that. “Still, if that did work, it would have my last time.”

“Well, you’ve been a werewolf for…a month. Maybe that’s why.” Catherine said.

“True,” Alex said, relieved to get on another angle of the discussion. “and I’ve only shifted on my own twice.”

“Huh.” Marcus took a second before continuing. “Sounds to me like it’s just harder to change back.”

“I’d have to agree.” Alex said, despite thinking that wasn’t the truthful case. “Although, starting to shift feels just as tough.”

“What set it off this time, then?”

“Anger would be my guess.” Nathan said. “Kind of hard to forget those sounds you were making.”

“The growling? Yeah, that was pretty scary.”

“I don’t think it was that.” Alex said, trying to recall what he had felt then. “When I saw him, I wasn’t angry. I was worried. And was wondering if I could do something.”

Nathan and Marcus looked at each other, then over to Catherine. “So, more like self-defense?”

Alex nodded. As he did so, he relaxed his breathing for a bit. Feeling his own heart beating, he listened to the other sounds around him. With Marcus the closest to him, his pulse was the loudest. The rhythm of the thumping and swushing sounds were faster than his own, but not by much.

Catherine and Nathan’s heartbeats were quieter, but still quicker than his. Taking a few breaths through his nose, Alex couldn’t smell fear from any of them. Whether it was them adjusting or something else, he couldn’t immediately tell. It was however a good feeling to not detect those scents.

Closing his eyes and leaning on one paw, a quick image flashed through his head: Him changing back to his human form. If he could do it before the night was out, all the better.

The End

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