The door to Orin's room opened for what was the tenth time that night as Erica and Herb peeked around it. Just as it had been the nine previous times, the scene in the bedroom was the same; Orin lay in his bed in what seemed like a restless sleep and Nola sat slumped over in the chair next to the bed. At some point during the night, she had leaned forward enough so that the top half of her body now rested on the bed, somewhere near Orin's legs. Both were undisturbed by the constant check ups that Erica and Herb were doing.

"Do you think they're going to sleep through the week?" Erica asked. She was impatient to see the curse broken now that she knew how much the two were into each other. Honestly, they had been taking way too long to make their feelings known.

"Who knows," Herb said with a shrug. "They both went through quite an ordeal this evening. I'm surprised they aren't more messed up right now." He noted that even though they were speaking in normal tones, Orin and Nola slept right on through the important discussion.

"Well, they better hurry up," Erica said. "They just need to kiss already." Herb looked at her and laughed.

"When they finally do kiss, you're definitely not going to be there watching them," he said. "Don't be creepy." As he said this, he stepped away from the doorway and pulled Erica along with him. "It's probably time to let them rest undisturbed." Erica let out a huff of annoyance but followed him anyway, closing the door after her.

Orin woke up just as the door clicked closed. His entire body ached from the fight and the scene in the kitchen. Trying to shift into a better position just resulted in more pain shooting from every part of his body. A groan escaped his mouth by accident as the exhaustion and pain hit him at the same time. He was not having a good day. Or a good week. As much as he knew having Nola around was good, she sure did cause him a lot of trouble and pain.

Again, he winced as he tried to remembered what had happened after the wolves had intruded. All he could was an intense feeling of rage and fear as he had watched the wolves lunge for Nola and then him pulling them away from her. After that, his memory was blank except for an incredibly strange dream he'd had. He had no idea how he ended up in his own bed when the last place he recalled being in was the back courtyard. As he shifted in his bed as he tried to remember more, his leg hit something solid. Pushing himself into a sitting position, he saw a sleeping figure slumped over in the chair beside the bed with the front half of their body laying on the bed. Nola.

It was clear that she hadn't moved from that spot since he had been placed in the bed. Her clothes were still disheveled from running from the wolves and there were pieces of leaves in her hair from climbing the tree. Orin smiled at her, forgetting the pain in his body and reached out to touch her cheek. She jerked awake as soon as he touched, her eyes snapping open. A look of confusion crossed her face as she tried to remember where she was. And then she looked up at him and the confusion cleared away. She moved her hand to cover his where it still lay on her cheek.

"Orin," she yelped. "You're alive." He let out a little laugh and held a finger to his lips signaling her to be quiet. He knew that Herb and Erica were lurking around somewhere. "I thought you were a goner," she said in a quieter voice.

"Obviously not," he said with a grin. He never smiled this much, it was Nola's doing. "You can't get rid of me that easily."

"I don't want to get rid of you," Nola said with a shake of her head. Orin raised an eyebrow, encouraging her to go on. "You've grown on me. I think I'd be devastated if you died." She removed his hand from her cheek, slipping her fingers between his and giving his hand a squeeze. "You've grown on me a lot." Blushing, she broke eye contact with him and looked down at her feet, letting go of his hand.

Orin could feel her slipping away from him and building up walls to keep him out. He knew he had to act quickly. He moved his hand to tilt her chin up to look at him again while sliding his other arm around her waist and pulled her onto the bed. Nola let out a small sound surprise as she hit the bed didn't protest. Orin smiled contentedly and kept his arm around her; as soon as she was touching him, he could no longer feel the pain from his injuries. Pulling her even closer, he pressed his lips against hers gently, asking for her permission. She responded by wrapping her arms around his neck and deepening the kiss.

"You're definitely growing on me too," he whispered when they finally pulled away from each other. "And I have no problem with that."

Derek watched Atra nervously from where she sat in front of her mirror where mere moments before it had shown Nola and Orin. Derek figured Atra would be furious at the new relationship developments between them. Instead, she sat there with a small smile on her face and then she started laughing. Derek knew for certain that she was losing it. Swiveling around on her stool to look at him, she gestured at the mirror.

"I send you and your little wolf pack to kill this girl and all it resulted in is them getting cuddly," she snapped. "Did I not make myself clear enough? I wanted death."

"And you got death," Derek replied calmly. "Five of my wolves are dead thanks to your lover boy. I have grieving families to deal with."

"That's not my problem," Atra said with a shrug. "You were supposed to make sure she died. I can't be held responsible for any casualties that occurred because of it."

With a growl, Derek lunged at her. She caught him by the throat and slammed him into the wall. She stepped closer to him until her face was inches from his, ignoring the way he was gasping for breath.

"Watch out, puppy boy. You don't want to get on my bad side," she whispered so that he had to lean closer to hear her. "Now get out of my sight before I decide to hurt you." She dropped him to the floor and stepped over him as he gasped for breath, walking out of the room.

"I guess the saying is right," she muttered. "If you want something done right you have to do it yourself."

Well, I'm back. Slowly but surely finishing this story. So sorry for the long wait. As you know, I've been having a hard time with continuing this story. The explanation is copied and pasted below:

Hello to my wonderful readers!

This is a special note to all of you. At the moment, I am having extreme creating difficulties with this story. Considering that I started this particular story three years ago, my writing style has changed quite a bit from when I first began. I have been struggling to write in the same way but at times I feel restricted. That would be why you have seen my post other stories before I have updated this one. Thank you for standing by this story as I take ages to update. That really means a lot to me.

This isn't a note telling you that I am going to stop working on this story. It's just a thank you to all of my loyal readers and a promise that I will start updating again at some point. If you could just hang tight for a bit longer, you will be greatly rewarded. At this time, I have about 300 words done for the next chapter and am slowly and surely working on it. I will hopefully get it done soon and then the story will run smoother. I'm just getting stuck on this chapter and this story and this writing style. It's put me in a kind of writing funk that I'm just now getting out of.

You readers are so wonderful. I feel lucky to have such a following on this story and so many great reviews. Thank you for sticking with it for 3 years. Yikes! If you have missed my writing and are impatiently waiting for this story to continue, I would recommend reading one of my other stories or a story in my favorites. Like I said, you all are wonderful and deserve the very best.

Thanks and happy reading,