The Wild: An ending... and a beginning

It was the crackling of a fire that finally woke Carmen Henderson, the warmth o her face and a reddish glow just beyond her closed eyes. The redhead opened her eyes, trying to gather jumbled thoughts back together while she sat up... then stiffened as memory rushed back.

"You're awake," Diana said tentatively as she emerged from the woods, the glossy black haired young woman returning to the campsite with a load of small branches. She set them down by the fire, giving Carmen some space as she sat across fro her, the flames flickering between them. "Are you all right?" she asked.

"What happened?" Carmen asked, her voice breaking as memories of impossibilities raced across her mind.

Diana hesitated, taking a twig and then absent mindedly poking at the fire with it. "You met my mother out there in the woods," she deliberately didn't meet Carmen's eyes, "I guess the shock was too much for you."

"I..." Carmen blinked, "I almost expected you to tell me I imagined it."

Diana smiled grimly, "I was tempted, believe me."

Carmen put her chin on her knees, wrapping her arms around her legs as she softly asked, "So why didn't you?"

Diana stirred the flames slightly before laying a few more twigs on the golden coals. "I didn't want to lie to you," she finally said, "I like you too much for that."

A blush colored Carmen's cheeks and she looked away from Diana shyly. "Thank you," she murmured softly.

"If you think you're going to be all right," Diana said reluctantly, "then I think I should go."

"What?" Carmen looked alarmed, "But why?"

Diana stood up jerkily, the firelight putting her face into shadow as she looked away. "What I've told you," she said, looking like she was ready to bolt, "it's all so strange and bizarre... I don't want to force my strangeness on you."

Carmen spoke up before Diana could walk away from her, "Yes, it is strange.. but I don't want you to go." Diana looked back curiously as Carmen continued a bit nervously, "I think I like you too much to do that, too."

Diana studied her a moment, trying to read her sincerity, then with a wry smile Diana sat back down again, this time a bit closer. "Thank you," she smiled in a sudden, self-mocking sort of way, "I didn't really want to sleep in a bush again, anyway."

"You sleep where?!" Carmen blurted.

Diana actually chuckled softly as she explained, "Considering my parentage, most animals tend to just leave me alone."

Blushing faintly Carmen admitted, "I hadn't thought about it." She looked at Diana curiously, "But isn't it uncomfortable?"

"Somewhat," Diana chuckled as she continued thoughtfully, "I try to do it more to... understand my mother and her people."

"Not my style," Carmen admitted. She looked towards her tent and vehicle, "This is about as rough as I like to get."

"I do like the comforts of civilization, too," Diana conceded impishly, "my apartment in the city has all the conveniences." She looked up into the night sky, the stars twinkling overhead, "Mother wouldn't approve, I suspect."

"Hmm," Carmen nodded, gazing at Diana's face. 'She's so beautiful,' she thought, her pulse beating loudly in her ears. "What do your adoptive parents think?" Carmen asked, more focused on the shape of her lips than her actual answer.

"I've never told them about the wolf thing," Diana admitted, "they're nice people, but I think they wouldn't be able to cope." She studied Carmen a moment, "You know, except for the fainting you're handling this well."

"I fainted," Carmen echoed, blushing. "God," she laughed and covered her face with her hands, "I'll never live that down." Mock mournfully she added with a dramatic sigh, "If this gets out my street credibility is shot."

Diana laughed softly, "Don't worry, I'll keep it our little secret." A moment's pause and she added impishly, "Besides, I thought it was cute."

"Oh, cute is it?" Carmen laughed, her cheeks flushed. Behind the amusement she could feel the thread of attraction between them once again, and it was a good feeling. "Watch it," she warned, "or I'll make you sleep outside the tent."

That made Diana snicker softly, "Gee, thanks."

"There's only one problem with you staying over," Diana looked up at her as Carmen continued, "there's only one sleeping bag."

Diana studied her face a moment, "So I guess we'd have to share?"

"Yup," Carmen said, glad to see the slow smile spreading across Diana's face.

Diana reached out to lay her hand on Carmen's, "I can't think of anyone I'd rather be sharing a sleeping bag with."

"You say the sweetest things," and Carmen gave into the temptation and bent over to press her lips to Diana's. It began as a chaste kiss, a soft brushing of flesh, then Diana gently grasped her shoulders and pulled her close. With increasing passion they continued, mouths opening so that tongues could wetly duel.

Finally pulling apart Diana panted softly, "This isn't the best place to be doing this."

Carmen pulled herself to her feet on visibly shaky legs then offered Diana her hand, "Then let's go in the tent, huh? Otherwise, I'm going to take you right out here."

"I wanted to that first night we shared hot-dogs," Diana admitted as they crossed the camp, only taking a moment to make sure the fire was safely hemmed in by it's ring of stones.

"I knew you only wanted me for my hot-dog," Carmen joked as she pushed the flap of the tent aside, getting a snort of laughter from Diana.

"Trust me," Diana purred as she tugged Carmen towards the sleeping bag, "I'd want you with or without the hot-dogs."

"You really are sweet," Carmen chuckled, flipping open the bag to that it spread out over the floor of the tent. She knelt, reaching up to tug Diana down beside her where they joined together in another intense kiss.

"No, I'm the big bad wolf," Diana gave her a grin as she slid down, kissing her neck the down to the junction of her neck, "and I'm going to eat you all up."

"I'm not going to make any jokes," Carmen laughed softly, then gasped as Diana slid down to her aching breasts.

"I don't know about joking," Diana bit just once, gently, "but we're going to have a good time tonight."

"Is that a promise?" Carmen asked breathlessly.

"More like a guarantee."

0o0o0

Carmen couldn't explain what woke her, but she found herself alone on the sleeping bag, her body still sated from the night's activities. "Diana?" she murmured drowsily, but there was no reply. Opening up her eyes she was disappointed to see that she was all alone, then her eyes widened when she saw the note resting beside her.

"I'm sorry," it began in elegant script, "but I lied to you yesterday. I am a were, like my mother, I just choose to split my time between a human life in the city and here as a wolf. I didn't want to scare you, and I was too attracted to you to dare tell you the truth."

Carmen looked at the note, fighting back a few tears as she murmured, "The way I felt last night, I'd never be scared of you."

The note continued, "I couldn't continue to lie to you, and I was too frightened to stay once you knew the truth. If you can forgive me my deception I've left my business card here, in hopes that you'll contact me. If not, I will always treasure this night. Love, Diana."

Scrambling around Carmen found the card, noting with some amusement that in her city life Diana was a professor in biology, specializing in land predators. On the back her home and pager numbers were written, both in the same lovely print as the note. Without thinking too much she put the card and note in her wallet then began to dress, right before packing up her camp.

"Yes I'll contact you," Carmen murmured as she climbed into the cab of her truck. A fond smile teased her lips, "I still owe you for last night, Diana."

The end