"Do you love me?" he asked, his rapid breath deep and husky against her skin. He pulled away from her and stared down into her eyes.
She could tell he was straining against the urge to bite her, could see the desire and love in his eyes. Her stomach plummeted and flip-flopped.
"Truthfully?" she asked and he nodded. Her brow furrowed as she tried to think of a way to reply. "Truthfully," she started and paused, the furrow in her brow growing even deeper as she tried to phrase her words right. "I don't know," she said finally.
His breath caught in his throat and for a moment his eyes pained; she knew he loved her. She gently pushed him off her and sat up, crossing her legs and looking at the ground. She caught her breath faster than he ever did. Was it because he was male? Was it because of what she was?
The answer evaded her as she glared at the soft cream of the shag carpet. "Anne?" he said and his voice sounded broken and afraid.
She cringed; she hadn't meant him any pain. She reached out to him but her hand froze as a cast of light from the candle illuminated her pale skin and jerked away from it as if it were a feral demon ready to attack her. In truth, she knew she was the feral demon – at least to his kind.
"Luke, I'm sorry. I don't know really. I might or I might not. So far, I have been having trouble adjusting to this new life. I mean, I have my family and I'm sure I love them. I have friends – more now than ever – and I'm sure I love them. I'd die for them as I would die for you or for anyone for that matter. And isn't that what love is supposed to be? Isn't that what tells you whether you are in love or not?"
She shook her head. "That is what confuses me, why I am still undecided and unsure." She stopped and spared him a glance before she looked away again. She couldn't look at him; she couldn't turn away.
His golden eyes snared hers as she looked at him again. It was his gold eyes that had made her like him first. Those amber moons that perked her desire for life and caressed her even from across the room.
She looked him over. He wasn't gorgeous in any sense of the word, he wasn't popular and he even smelled sometimes (usually right after a kill). His kisses were often wet and sticky when he'd had the forbidden candy she'd bribe him with. He often held her and she felt swallowed and imprisoned rather than equal but that was because he was her first for everything since no one wanted a tall, pale, slightly chubby girl with almost no breasts on her chest, glasses that soon turned into green contacts, braces that were soon taken off, and sharpie doodles dancing down her right arm since she was left handed.
It was her doodles that had attracted him to her. She rarely participated with her friends and family in anything, and although she talked to them all the time and was seemingly interested in their conversations and arguments, her head was always in the clouds somewhere, dreaming of another world and waiting for the images to flow from her mind to her hand to the paper or canvas or book she held in her hand. She would hardly pay attention in class because of her photographic memory and would draw endlessly instead. Anne never really cared what anyone thought of her, but when Luke (with his golden wolf eyes) picked up a drawing that had slipped from her hands as she was packing her back pack and handed it back to her, she knew she wanted him like she hadn't wanted anyone else.
Of course she still hung out with her friends and family, but now Luke was a part of the group too and he brought a few friends, all of them with golden wolf eyes. Family, he called them and that they were – family.
"What about that confuses you?" he asked softly. His fingers traced an image on the crook of his hand that she had been drawing when he had toppled her and kissed her and asked her if she loved him. It was a brown wolf with its head raised in glory, singing to the blue moon, which was hidden with the black outline of a bat. The outlines were simple but the intent of the message was clear.
She sighed and ran a hand through her already-ruffled hair. "The fact that I'd die for you and Randy and Taylor and Becky and Ruth and Charles and the stranger out there on the street corners. It's why I am joining the military, why I feel so strongly against injustice. I would die for anyone: the drunk, the killer, the family, the friends, the rapist, the bartender – anyone! Because of that I don't know if I am really feeling love for you or deep friendship or just confusing my feelings for you for the desire of the flesh mine and your kind always try to resist."
She shook her head again, her brown hair falling into her face; she pushed it away without a care.
Suddenly, Luke smiled. "Oh Anna, that's what really matters."
She was confused. "What?"
"You are searching, aren't you?"
She nodded, too confused to say much.
He laughed and reached across the empty space that separated them, pulling her hard against his chest like a lover long lost and departed who had finally returned home where he belonged. She clung to him desperately as he rained kisses on her mouth, her chin, her cheeks, her nose, her forehead.
When he pulled away, their breathing was slow to return and she noticed that her claws dug into his flesh. She detached herself from him and pulled away, shielding herself from him for a moment. "I'm sorry," she said and bit her lip to stop herself from biting him; the urge was strong within her. The reaction was always the same when she was with him.
Anyone who had watched them would wonder how she couldn't know whether or not she loved him; he knew she did and anyone watching them would know she did. She just hadn't discovered it for herself yet.
He laughed again. "Babe, you sure have a way of leading a man on to desire!"
Her cheeks flushed warmly and he laughed as he pulled her to him again. This time he did not stop himself as he sank his teeth deep within her neck. The pleasure of the bite took away any pain she might have felt and even as her life force fell down her breast, she felt her teeth and claws lengthen dangerously.
Luke didn't pull away fast enough and her teeth caught his shoulder as he pulled away with a lazy smile stained red. She felt heat between her thighs as he licked his lips suggestively and grinned at her.
It was too much to endure but she resisted and pulled away from him. "Aw, babe, get back over here."
Anne could not resist him, did not want to resist him. She flew to him like a bat out of hell, her eyes blazing with the hunger and need mirrored in his own.
They kissed and scratched and bit, lapping at the blood they spilled on one another, parting of shirts, laughing giddily like school children sharing a condemned secret. Neither heard the knock on the door or the tentative squeal of the door opening. They were lost in oblivion.
"Luke?" someone whispered fiercely. He was tall and lanky, certainly good looking with shoulder length, wavy blond hair with uneven brown highlights and golden wolf eyes.
"Anne?" another stern but uncertain voice called out. This young man was closer to the teenagers' ages with a mustache just starting to appear above his upper lip and his eyes glowing the same fuchsia as his sister's.
"You must stop. The breeds can't mix. There'll be poison to pay with."
They were too late. The wolf and the bat sat on the floor tangled in one another's arms, the wolf stretched out half dressed with the bat sitting on his lap with her legs folded underneath her on either side of him, blood flowing from a thousand wounds, her eyes glowing red and his glowing orange. Each was half-human and half-shifted, not a part of either race.
The two who had walked in stared at the ones they had once called family; there was something unearthly feral about them now and they were no longer family. The laws had been broken.
"Oh no," the first one whispered shaking blond locks into his eyes and blowing them away with a deep sigh.
"We're in trouble sis," the other said, anguish apparent in his rose eyes.
"Get out you two!" Anne hissed. "Go home Randy."
Luke growled at the blond-haired man. "This is none of your concern, Charles!"
"It's everyone's business. You two know the laws. Never mix the species: 'mingle, not mix.' That's the first law between us. 'Never draw blood of either species;' that's the second law. We thought it was a game between you two, which is why we let it continue for so long. You were never interested in girls, Luke."
"And you never got dates, Anne," Randy added.
Charles nodded. "But this can't continue. Our species must remain separate; our laws must be upheld."
Luke pulled Anne tighter against him and she noticed how rock-hard his chest was against her breasts. "Too bad," Luke snarled.
Charles's face remained stoic and Randy's fell into the despair of the situation. He reached in his coat pocket slowly, hesitating even now, and pulled out something about a foot long, an inch thick, and unimaginably sharp.
"I'm sorry Anne," her brother said and stabbed her with the stake without a second thought.
She writhed and screamed, changing to a bat and back within a matter of seconds. Luke snarled as he scrambled to his feet and charged their family members with a bellow of rage. Anne shuddered and collapsed in a jumble on the rug.
Charles didn't miss a beat as he drew a nine-millimeter and shot Luke once in the chest. The silver projectile slammed into his chest and ripped through his heart only an inch from the barrel of the handgun. Some legends were true.
"We're truly sorry. This is the laws of our kinds and you disobeyed them knowing you'd be slaughter for it. Goodbye."
Luke stared at Charles in disbelief and stumbled backwards before he fell to his knees as Charles swung the door open and departed their company.
Randy was slower to leave and watched the wolf die miserably, his salmon eyes grieved beyond compare. One thing was completely fatal for a bat – a wooden stake. One thing was completely fatal for a wolf – a silver bullet. Randy let a tear fall for the fallen couple and walked out, closing the door firmly behind him.