|Illusions of the Leopard
Author: Lidi Millegar PM
Makenna DeLautte has held a secret she doesn't understand since her childhood. Jordan Aderi abandoned his childhood. Makenna assumes that she is tame. Jordan accepts that he is wild. All they know is that Jordan desperately feels they should be together, but Makenna has never been one to go with the flow. Everything about her screams unnatural... but he's not exactly human himself.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Chapters: 6 - Words: 23,702 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 11-23-12 - Published: 05-26-12 - id: 3026228
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hi guys! Wow, this chapter took a little while or what?! Hope you loooove it! Please remember to REVIEW REVIEW and REVIEW some more! I'm always looking forward to hearing what you guys think or want to let me know. Special thanks to, Sarah1324, Megan, Chocolate Dream, bob, casbreathemusic, Galadriel Numenesse, thehgirl13, Caramel March, and last but not least, the very literate monkeyCsaw! Please look all of them up and review their stuff (well, not bob and Megan, but thanks guys for reviewing anonimously) because they are all super awesome!
Anyway, I've found a perfect musical equation for Makenna's swerving feelings toward Jordan.
Demi Lovato's Lightweight
Glen Hansard's Take the Heartland
Yeah, both of those are extreme in their genre, so I thought that would be perfect to describe her awkward mixed emotions toward the sexy Jordan Aderi =3.
"Shit." I stated sullenly, pushing Jordan away from me. My body still longed to be so close to him, but I had to ignore it and begin on the tumultuous process of restarting my brain. It'd been fried from the time that our bodies had collided. I could tell that he was upset, and that he'd hoped he could finally pull a move on me. But why had Christina come in just then, like she had planned it all out in her head? Maybe I was being paranoid, but I seriously had a feeling that I was about to get threatened. "Shit, shit shit SHIT!" I groaned.
Jordan looked on as I roared and walked away from him, pacing in a quick-stepped circle around my discarded backpack, his thick arms crossed over his lean chest. His spicy fragrance still filled my senses, gradually calming me down. It was an extremely lucky break that no one stepped into the bathroom after that, because Jordan took it into his own hands to wrap his arms around me, which made my pulse jump again.
I took a step back from him guardedly, looking him up and down. I couldn't touch him without all of my thoughts fizzling and dying, and right now was the time that I had to keep my head straight. Jordan seemed confused that I was willingly panicking, and he shot me a look that told me so.
"No, no," I whispered to him, shaking my head vigorously as he came closer to me, like his touch could solve my problems. Something deep inside of me tried to convince me the same thing. "I can't."
I looked up at him pleadingly, staying a safe distance from him but unable to run away. "I've known you for less than two hours! I hallucinated about talking to a giant cat because I got hit in the head with some freaking rock, and now I'm imagining your damned voice in my head!" He looked around helplessly, trying to touch me but I avoided his every ploy to do so. I couldn't stand anything that wasn't normal. And I had a really great reason.
My birth had eaten up all of the life from inside of my mother. When I was conceived, and every day after, my mom took another drink of alcohol just to stay sane. She was the perfect mother that any girl would dream of until I turned about nine years old. The drinking began to affect her body in different ways. The chemical that had kept her even-headed while drinking the alcohol had worn off, and the depression that overwhelmed her with my birth, along with the mysterious disease, came back in an uncontrolled rush.
Instead of being the best Grade-A mother and wife anyone could hope for, she became an outrageous, abusive, drunk. She was now accustomed to drinking a lot each day, except now anger fueled it past what it used to be. It was horrible. Only Rhea noticed each day when I came to school with new scars. My father acted like it wasn't happening, like he wasn't stuck with a daughter who depended on a mother instead while he went off to work. She acted like a freaking picture of an angel whenever he got back, and he still had eyes only for her. He could have cared less about a scrawny thing like me.
Anyway, that's how Rhea and I met. She was the only girl that knew that I wasn't trying to be invisible. She had an Aunt who was abusive (not necessarily the level Mom had degraded to), and more or less understood my pain. We quickly became best friends, and it became somewhat almost normal to be beaten up by my mom only to go to school when innocent Rhea had a Band-Aid ready for me.
The beatings went on and escalated until my Dad became my hero again and noticed what was going on in his house while he was at his job. He had come to my rescue about two years ago. Neither of us had heard from my mother since.
All of a sudden, Jordan launched himself at me, closing me in to another one of the walls, a growl rising up from a hollow in the center of his chest. I felt it rumble the floor of the room, vibrating through me and causing my arms to shake.
His eyes showed me no mercy as they tried to appeal to me, hands propped up on the bathroom behind me, so depressingly near, yet he refrained from touching me. That still made me fell defenseless; being this close to him made my insides melt. I shook with the tension of our body heat mingling together in between us, and my knees felt weak. I would've collapsed if I wasn't trying to avoid the Jordan that was all around me.
"You will come with me, and I will try to explain everything to you," Jordan hissed in my ear slowly, muscles bunched as he held himself over me. His nose delicately skimmed my cheekbone, and I think I almost whimpered. Get a hold of yourself! I yelled in my head, attempting to crawl backwards up the wall to get away from him. My nails gouged out a layer of paint, but they didn't get me anywhere. Heavy breaths began to escape from my mouth. He was still too close! I couldn't understand anything that was happening! Everything was muddled. All that made sense was I should be frightened of this behavior, but I wasn't. Something made me numb.
"I'm not going anywhere with you! Sick bastard!" I panted, putting my hands on his chest, like I couldn't seem to resist. An electric current rocketed through me, warming me, drawing me closer to him, chest against chest, both heaving with the pressure that filled the room. Our bodies hummed in unison- so he felt it too? I tossed him off of me as quick as I could even though it tore me apart, escaping to the far side of the room, where his presence didn't overwhelm me as much.
Was I hallucinating from the shock or were Jordan's ears becoming slimmer and pointier on the side of his head? I could begin to see the tips coming out from beneath the shaggy blonde hair. His green orbs flashed at me angrily as he looked me up and down, appraising me. It looked like he couldn't hold something back anymore and was now furious at me for making him loose it in a bathroom. Abruptly, he turned heel and walked a few more paces away jerkily, like he could barely remember how. He scooped up my backpack faster than my eyes could follow, which made my jaw drop.
The protests died on my lips as his head whipped back around. Thin white fangs protruded from between his lips, looking dangerous and glinting in the fluorescent lighting. His nose had lengthened and become sharper, more angular. Feline eyes glowed at me, and a muffled gravelly voice hissed at me, "Hop on, princess, before I Change fully into a cat and rip you to shreds." His ears became even sharper, and his hair, unkempt from our previous encounter, began spreading down his tense shoulders. It all seemed like a mirage, created to keep me very, unerringly quiet. From across the room, I heard his bones popping as he groaned, face contorted into familiar inhuman features, set in a grimace.
"There's someplace that I want to show you," Jordan grabbed my upper arm roughly before I could say anything, and slung me over his shoulder. He got down on his hands and knees, pelt twitching. I barely had time to snatch my backpack up from the ground and try to open my mouth before he interrupted me.
"What the fuck are you doing on the…"
"What I really want you to understand is…" As he realized that we were talking on at the same time, his fist slammed into the ground and it made the room jerk. My body paralyzed as I saw the claws elongating out from his cuticles, making the skin of his hands unusually thick like the pads of a paw. All that I could think was, How the hell do I get out of here?!, but it was as if I was glued to the spot. He was shaping up to be a beautiful, ethereal nightmare that screwed my life and pulled at my heartstrings- and I could say that without knowing him a full day yet!
Suddenly, with me observing only out of sheer horror, Jordan began to Change. Muscles bubbled underneath the skin as clothes were replaced with a spotted pelt, muzzle elongating from his face, eyes becoming more feral than before. His ears rose to the top of his skull, and his spine stretched as it gained new lengths, whipping out as a tail from his body, bones covered by a silky layer of tawny brown, black, and spots of white. His shoulders roiled as I gripped him tighter, as my breath began to go whooshing out of my system. I couldn't even register that I was hyperventilating then. I was too dumbstruck by the impossible scene in front of me. His shoulders slimmed out considerably, but delivered their strength back to stocky legs that curled into large, flat paws. My knees pressed together against a lithe ribcage as I was drawn to place my hand on the top of his head.
The feeling was a little too natural- like I was used to riding on top of some man-boy-leopard-thing! I felt outraged, yet I couldn't stop my ministrations following the pattern of Jordan's fur.
Do you believe me now?
With a shriek that could shatter all of the glass off of the Empire State Building, I leapt off of his back and slammed into the ground. I still hadn't expected that anyone could enter my head. It was freaky! Unlucky for me, my head hit the edge of the sink on the way down, and that was when I realized that I was breathless. I could no longer inhale, and I felt like I needed to puke again.
For the fucking second time, I fell into a deep, mind-shattering darkness. Only this time, luminous eyes followed into my dreams.
. . .
When I came-to A-FREAKING-GAIN, my head registered no pain whatsoever. I felt uncharacteristically calm after my second freak-out in the bathroom today. However, I really didn't want to get up yet. I curled up onto my side, snuggling into something warm, firm, and soft. An unpleasant sensation filled me, and I waved it off until I recognized it as a hand prodding me gently.
Opening my eyes slowly, I was blinded when all that I could see was sunlight. I blinked it away reluctantly, holding a hand up to shade my face, hoping I would be able to visualize something soon. My hand was caught on something though, something large and warm that seemed unenthusiastic in the proposition of letting me go. Exasperated, I tugged it out eventually, earning an angry grunt from the thing I was securely tucked into.
Clearing the blur from my eyes, I saw that I was curled up into Jordan's luxurious human chest. One of his arms was wrapped around the crown of my shoulder, the other resting on his stomach. I'm sure that I was holding hands with him, probably resting on his thin stomach. His shirt was conveniently missing. Through the fog of waking up, I was able to think, Like I didn't see that one coming. It seemed like something that he would do to me.
He was propped up against a mossy green tree, and the sun's rays were dappling through the outstretched branches, draping us in a lime green light. A layer of beautiful, thick grass was what we were laying on, and tiny dandelions spotted the woods surrounding us. The heavy oak branches draped in lichen and sprouting new springtime growths were intertwined with each other, covering us in an elegant canopy.
For a second I was confused. I didn't know any forest that was near the school, did I? Was I dreaming about snuggling with Jordan in a bountiful forest while that monster in the girl's restroom demolishes my body? At the smug look he shot me, I decided that what I thought was doubtful.
"Are ya finally awake, Makenna?" Jordan's voice rang out in the tranquil silence of the grove of trees, causing a flock of birds to erupt in flight, a ruckus of a noise that startled me more than his voice did. Face flushing a bright beet red, I tried to scramble away from him, but I didn't get far because he stubbornly wouldn't let me go. I squirmed next to him uncomfortably, trying to escape. When he wouldn't let me on his own, I sighed and resigned, flipping over so I was also sitting against the cool bark of the tree, hand reuniting with his of its own accord.
"How the heck did I get here?" I disregarded his neutral question, airily looking around at the scenery instead, even though I was really trying to wrap my mind around what had happened in the bathroom.
Jordan let out a boisterous laugh. "So no, 'Good afternoon, babe!' from you, is there?" I flashed him the most pissed off look that I could manage, but it was tough drawing my eyes away from the nice scenery around me. In a place like this, it would be hard to have any negative feelings, even with Jordan here. It magnified the emphasis of the rightness I felt near him, and I was frighteningly calm that I liked being near this new boy. Instead, I let out a harrumph. His face then became deathly serious, and he brushed off my hand, standing up slowly only to look down at me. "I brought you here so I could tell you about everything about me. We don't come from this universe, Makenna."
I stared blankly at him, not really hearing anything that he'd said. Here, with him, I felt mute. My brain was vapid when I touched him, unsubstantial, thoughts devoid of any real depth. It was all raw magnetism that flew me to my feet, eyes narrowing at him.
"I know you aren't human." I said to him, blue eyes searching his face angrily, looking for a hint of trickery. He made me so mad. It seemed that he wanted to be an open book in front of me. There were no feelings that he wanted to shield, and that scared me. That just wasn't a natural thing to do. The admiration towards me was clear on his face. Jordan didn't seem too worried that I would run away on him. On the other hand, I was more than worried that I would bolt from this gorgeous predator before I could stop myself.
My shapeshifter snorted. "Is it that obvious?" he shook his head, chuckling softly. Jordan reached out sluggishly, toward my hand. He held it like he was afraid to break me, but looked at me like I was a revered object. "Anyway," he paused and led me a few paces in another direction, "there's a place that I have to take you to tell you all of this."
I was filled with a banal halcyon peace, like I would go along with anything that he said to me. The inside of me rebelled, and if it ever got out of this trance, I'd probably go psycho on him. I don't know if I was depending on it coming out, or waiting for some other part of me to block it out. "Is it far?" was all that I could ask.
His grip on my hand tightened and he pulled me forward. I practically floated after him.
"No," he said simply.
Jordan led me through the grassy forest at a pace I was comfortable with, telling me when to turn in the green maze, until we found an area he seemed satisfied with. It was a small, oval-shaped field half-open to the sky. Shafts of light beamed in at an angle, sending the dust motes right into my eyes. Arches of interlocked maple trees surrounded the grove, and a massive Oak tree towered over the other foliage. Covered by moss, it was hard to discern the bark from the leaves. The sight was really amazing- now I knew why Jordan wanted me here. He had a guess that it would most likely keep me quiet while he was explaining those "things" to me.
Dammit. That made sense.
The roots of the huge tree spread out wide, knotting into gnarly ridges the closer you got to the trunk. Jordan sat down, motioning for me to do the same. I plopped down into a dip between two roots, covered with the soft grasses. This place would be comfortable if we had to stay awhile. I would wait if an explanation was behind all of this… stuff that happened today.
He cleared his throat carefully, making sure that I was paying attention. Hand bunched in the grass, I asked him, "First of all," I took in a breath of the sweet scent of the crushed grass that had stained my palms, "Where are we? And how did you get me here?"
"I thought that the answer to the second question would be self-evident." He smirked at me, pointing behind him. I blushed furiously. So he'd carried me on his back all the way out here? I must really be this guy's foible. Besides his possessive anger issues. Well, that was even directed towards me. Maybe it was all about me, in his head. I wonder what could've made him this way… "And to the second, we are in the Grove of Tehkaryu, the past ShadowMaster."
I tried to open my mouth, but he silenced me with a look.
"Please ask the questions later. This is going to be a bit difficult for you to process." Obediently, and very unlike myself, I snapped my mouth closed. Jordan's green eyes glowed here, I noticed suddenly. They matched the color of the leaves of the tree that grew high above us, which was spectacular but strange. I held in the ShadowMaster query though, which made him nod in approval.
"I know that this won't make sense, but you saw in the bathroom. I don't come from the place that you call Earth. I come from an alternate plane called the ShadowLands. Those two planes, Earth and the ShadowLands, overlap each other directly. Something, though, causes the two to only interact at certain lines that intersect perfectly, small ruins that we call portals." Jordan rolled his eyes at me, before quickly melting into the form of a huge cat once again.
For some reason, I didn't freak out like the last time. His transition from human to beast was flawless and fast. I wondered if I'd caused him to change differently the first time or if he'd forced a slow process on his own. He seemed really in control of this animal, and I had to be impressed that it wouldn't have free rein.
One of the portals was on your roof, he continued in my mind, making me stir. With a whirl, he reverted back to the blonde boy I was becoming more used to, throwing me a wink. "But I think I totaled it by pouncing through your window. After a while, a portal can become broken, and the lines of our worlds will shift until they find a place to line up over again.
"The ShadowLands are governed by different sets of rules. One rule is to try not to murder every creature that gets in your way. The second would be to not cross the ShadowMaster while he is forgoing his will. The last is, if you are a ShadowCat, don't let the lust for your partner overtake you. You might know the ShadowCats better as shapeshifters. Or were-cats." He pointed at himself using his thumb, not able to suppress the cocky grin from spreading over his face.
"I'm one of the more powerful solitary ShadowCats that you would see ever, when you are ready to be taken into my lands. You are the key to me getting out of here, anyway."
I felt my face go slack as my insides boiled. How could I get him back into his imaginary fucking universe? Hopefully, I stared up at him with persuasive wide eyes. "Is there any way to send you back there now?"
Jordan regarded me with a new level of respect. "So the Grove doesn't curb your tongue entirely then, huh?" Propping himself up with his hands on his knees, he sneered at me evenly. "Funny as fuck, princess. Too bad I have to help you Ascend, then?"
I snorted at him. The spell that had captivated me into following him was no longer there. I was myself, not myself hidden behind some giant cat. I would be free to run as I pleased, but I wanted to find the answer to all of this madness. "Ascend to what? I haven't stooped as low as you yet."
He drew himself up to his full height, eying me like I was a piece of prey he thought he could play with. Hell no he didn't just look at me like that. Taking two broad steps toward where I stood, he looked down at me doubtfully, a crease forming where his mouth turned down. "As low as me? You think that I want to be on Earth with you?" I gulped. His chest was equal with my head, but I had no urge to push it away. All thoughts flew out of my mind as I studied the way the sunlight danced off of his smooth skin, and watched as it moved when he motioned his hand off to the side.
"How… how did I make you come here exactly?" I tried not to let my voice tremble but it just wouldn't work when he was near. My eyes traced his face hungrily, and I saw his jaw clench painfully as he saw me do so. He backed off, though I didn't really want him too.
"If you really want to know then," Jordan's voice seemed to have become a little huskier, and I saw his Adam's apple bob as he addressed me. "Just wait until I make you grow up."
That knocked me out of my reverie for sure. "I haven't grown up? I haven't grown up?! No, you listen to me were-cat! If I didn't have to grow up when I was nine years old, then I would still have a mother and father who would even look at me!" I stalked towards him, all nine years of pent-up rage beginning to tear me apart at the seams. "It's been a shitty two years since my Mom moved out and my Dad checked out from home permanently! All he does now is work, work, work. I am forced to do everything for myself! Do you hear me, Jordan?! Everything.
"I learned how to clean, cook, and sew since my Mom started beating me almost to death! I've been my own mother! Do you know what that's like?"
I saw his mouth open, eyes almost black with bitterness, but I didn't let him continue. "Of course you don't." I continued, turning around and ranting at a tree instead because I felt hot tears sting my eyes. I was full of more shame and resentment than any one creature should ever be. "You're mister freaking-assed perfect all of the time."
I realized that I was done when I heard myself gasp for air. When I could breathe again, I noticed a clicking noise coming from behind me, and slowly twisted my body back around. Jordan was ogling at me in amazement.
"What?" I snapped, crossing my arms around my chest, sensing as his gaze aroused a herd of goosebumps to parade down my arms, making a shiver run down my spine.
He let out a stiff laugh, awkward and full of more meaning than I thought one person could urge into a laugh.
"Nine years, nine months," he mused, shaking his head. "The unattainable is mine?"
"What is yours, Jordan?" I asked, voice becoming more soft as I approached him warily, afraid he would affect me like he did before. "What are you talking about?"
His head snapped back up to me, and he seemed worried.
"What I'm trying to say is," he paused, voice laden with emotions unknown, "Makenna." He approached me, catching me in his arms, making me almost delirious with pleasure. He held me against him softly, grabbing my chin with tender fingers, making us meet eye to eye. Squeezing me against him, I detected a hint of conceited self-assurance in his tone.
"You are not human."
Oh how I love writing cliffhangers. =D