Solitude's Howl

Chapter VI

Crisis


The next morning found Harper buried deep under her blue duvet sleeping soundly. She jumped a bit when a sound caught her ears and she opened her eyes slowly. Darkness greeted her so she pulled her covers down and away from her head to have her room in view. The curtains were drawn and the room itself was bathed in a dull light that tried to push through cloth covered windows. She blinked tiredly, sitting up stiffly with a quiet groan.

Harper immediately hunched over, her spine too sore to hold her posture completely upright. She closed her eyes briefly as she bowed her head while listening for the sound that woke her up. Tapping from outside traveled to her ears, but that was just the light rain still going. When she couldn't hear anything more she began to lean back into the bed, with the intention of going back to sleep. But a thump hit her ears then and she raised her head to look at her room door. Two more thumps followed and she realized they were knocks coming from her living room.

Her eyes narrowed in confusion, hardly anyone ever knocked on her door. She wasn't bothered by her neighbors much. Harper remembered her car though and what had occurred the previous night. Her eyes darted to the clock on her bed stand, green lit numbers displaying 10:37 am.

The knocking came again, more insistent this time and Harper got out of bed as quickly as her achy body allowed her. She ran her fingers through her hair to tame the waves as she made her way from the small hallway to the front door. She stood on her tip toes to peek through the view hole, frowning at what she saw.

Harper had been expecting the 'tow' people to had been the one's knocking. Instead, she was presented with The Male. Why was he here? He was supposed to call around noon from what he said the night previous.

Harper jumped again when he knocked louder and blinked as she stared blankly at the door. She wasn't sure she should answer it and contemplated just leaving him out there. But perhaps it was about her car and in the end that thought won her over.

She grasped the chilled metal of the doorknob as she undid the bolt lock above it, slowly easing the door opened and looked to her guest.

The male stood and gazed down at her with a surprised smile, his expression turning amused as his eyes swept over her disheveled appearance, consisting of a black long sleeved thermal and faded brown sweats. He was dressed in a hooded leather jacket that had droplets of rain sliding down to a pair of dark washed jeans and boots. He was carrying a white bag but before she could get a close enough look, he spoke.

"Did I wake you?"

Harper tugged at her sleeve idly as she glanced at him. "What are you doing here? I thought you said you were going to call..."

"Well, I left a bit earlier since it's quite the drive here and I was expecting traffic. I forgot it was Saturday so it wasn't so bad. I had a lot of time to kill so I stopped and bought some food." Blaise held up the bag he was holding hooked at his fingers and gave her another smile. "Thought maybe I'd share while we wait for your car to show. That is if you are hungry."

Harper could only stare at the bag, the smell of the warm food wafting to her nose. She swallowed while she looked away, staring at some random spot over his shoulder. She had the suspicion that he was doing this out of pity, just like how she felt last night when he had seen the lack of food she had. She mentally sighed, darting another glance at the male.

"I'm not that hungry actually."

She saw a flash of disappointment cross his features as he replied, "Oh, alright." He looked at her for a moment, but her expression remained passive. He exhaled through his nose heavily as he ran his fingers through his dark hair. "I... alright then. I guess I'll head back to my truck. I should have called first. I'll try and get a hold of you in about an hour or so. See if the tow arrived and all."

Harper didn't reply, but watched as Blaise glanced at her again before turning and headed toward the flight of stairs. Her mouth spoke before her brain had time to scold it.

"H-hold on..."

He turned to look at her questioningly as his hand rested on the railing, foot poised to start heading down.

She tugged on her sleeve again while saying hesitantly, "Y-you could... you could wait i-inside... if you want t-to..."

His expression brightened a little and he started to approach slowly, standing before her again and said carefully, "You sure?"

Harper found his eyes and gave a tight nod, standing back to open the door more fully and waited.

He gave her a pleasant smile as he stepped inside, making his way over to the counter dividing the kitchen from the living room and set down the bag of food while Harper closed the door, lingering near it as she looked over to him.

He shoved his hands in his jacket pockets. "I didn't mean to wake you like this, I guess I expected you'd be awake."

Harper shrugged while moving away from the door into the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of water. "I'm not usually awake this early on weekends."

She heard a quiet chuckle from him as she twisted the cap from the chilled bottle and brought it to her lips.

"This is early to you? It's almost eleven."

She turned to face him as she rested hip against the counter top. "I could've done with four or five more hours of sleep."

He smirked before giving the bag of food a push towards her. "Sure you're not hungry? There's plenty."

Harper gave the bag a long look and then the male, she finally relented before her stomach betrayed her. "Maybe... maybe I'll have a little."

Blaise gave a pleased smile as he started pulling the styrofoam containers out and setting them back on the counter.

"I'll be right back," she said slowly and he gave her a curious glance, "I'm going to change out of these." She tugged at her sweats.

"Alright," he replied.


Blaise watched as the girl exited the kitchen and listened to a door further into the flat close. He let out a heavy sigh as he grabbed the styrofoam containers and plates and brought them over to the small table up against the floor length kitchen window. He pulled the chair back and sat down on the chair with a worn looking cushion, resting his arms on the table surface as he threw glances at the kitchen archway leading into the hall where the girl had disappeared to. He ran a tired hand down his face before resting his elbow on the table and threaded his fingers into his dark wavy hair.

Once again, the girl was making things difficult. He'd had thought he was doing something nice... he thought she'd be appreciative with his generosity. But no, she was so... so... he didn't know what she was. He usually had no problem dealing with the opposite gender, he knew them like his favorite book. He knew what this smile meant and what that glance said. Her knew their tones and their meanings, he knew them. But this girl... this Harper... he didn't understand why he couldn't find a hold on her.

He had thought back to that night at the park, that forced outing she had called it. She had loosened up for him, she had smiled, spoke freely, laughed even. But since he picked her up last night he had seen none of that girl, he had seen a stone. A nervous stone at that. He could feel how little she wanted to do with him, and he couldn't understand what he had done wrong... what he was doing wrong.

It was an uphill battle trying to get her to ease around him and he decided then... that after he fixed her car like he promised, that he'd leave her alone, like she so desperately wanted. He wasn't going to force his presence on her any longer. It was a pity though... because he had hoped that maybe he could get to know her better. But she wasn't giving him an inch.

Blaise was brought out of his thoughts by her arrival back into the kitchen. He looked over her when she had started pulling her hair into a ponytail over her shoulder. She had changed from her sleeping clothes into some dark leggings and a grey knitted sweater that looked to be too large for her frame. She had the sleeves folded at her wrists so they wouldn't engulf her hands.

When she neared a soapy scent hit his nostrils and he had to struggle not to sneeze. He recalled the same smell last night and when he had first met her. It was almost overpowering, like now, figuring she had just sprayed her perfume on before coming back. But, there were worse smells than soap he supposed.

He saw her rub her hands together to warm them up as she sat down tentatively across from him in the only remaining chair. That was something else he noticed, the flat was freezing. He hadn't felt much difference from when he was standing outside in the frigid air to when she had let him in.

"Cold?" He said as he pushed a container towards her. They were both the same meal he had bought at a dinner, a typical breakfast of eggs, sausage, and some hash browns. He didn't know her preference so he thought it was a safe choice.

"A little, yea." she replied quietly while pulling open the containing and eyeing the food.

He watched carefully to see any sign of displeasure with the food choice but when she brought it closer to her and started stabbing at the hash browns he decided he chose right.

His eyes flickered to her face but she had her attention on her plate in front of her. They ate in silence for a few moments before she stood suddenly and went to the fridge.

"Would you like a water?"

Blaise glanced at her and nodded politely. When she brought two bottles of chilled water over he took his from her gasp. It didn't get past him how she had maneuvered her fingers so they would not make contact with his own.

It also didn't get passed him the pained wince that flickered across her face as she sat down slowly, grasping the edge of the table with her fingers while easing herself down. He remembered that she was limping slightly last night.

"You okay?"

Her eyes moved to his and he saw the pain in them even if her face didn't show it.

"Yes." was all she said.

Blaise held in his sigh.


An hour later had Blaise sitting on the couch flipping through the little channels the TV held. Harper had stayed in the kitchen under the pretense of 'cleaning'. Her nerves hadn't cooled any and her aches were flaring up because of it. Her body was not happy one bit, she couldn't sit still. Her frazzled nerves were only making it worse as well. She was reaching her limit and knew she'd have to make a trip to the forest in the next couple of days. The stress she had experienced last night and this morning was speeding up her urges.

When a ring blared through the room she flinched at the volume and frowned irritably as she looked across the dividing counter into the living room where the phone was lighting up.

"Could be them," Blaise' voice followed after the second ring. And she realized that he was talking about the tow. Harper glanced his way as he rested on the couch with his arm thrown across the back as he kept his attention on the TV. She found it strange how at ease he seemed in her home, they were anything but familiar with each other. This being her home, and she was the one who was on edge.

But she stopped her thoughts while she moved to grab the handset off of the coffee table. Her lips turned into a small frown when she took in the number. Linora was calling and Harper knew what that meant. The woman only called when she wanted something from Harper. She was a bit of nuisance in Harper's opinion. But the Were put that on her elderly status.

But she turned from Blaise's gaze and padded over to lean against the sliding door that led to the small balcony, staring out at the dew covered glass while answering quietly.

"Hello?"

"Harper? It's Linora."

Harper's eyes drifted skyward while she took in a small breath as she maintained a passive tone. "Hi, Linora."

"Are you busy, dear? Is this a bad time?"

She dropped her eyes to the wet balcony floor, her brows pinched together slightly as she wondered what the woman wanted.

"N-not really... well... kinda–"

"Oh, I do hate to trouble you on your day off. But well, you see, remember how I told you my daughter was over last night?"

"...Yes"

"Well her two youngest have caught the flu and I couldn't have them leaving in the cold. So they've stayed with me while she went to work..."

Harper brought her hand up to her head she pushed her fingers through her hair as her frown deepened. She knew where this was going.

"...It's looking like I'm stuck at home with these two. Normally I'd keep the shop closed but with that sell yesterday I'm reluctant to do it. You wouldn't mind opening up until I'm able to come in would you?"

"Well I..." She glanced sidelong at the couch and could see Blaise doing the same to her with a curious look.

She heard the woman huff, in annoyance most like.

"Harper dear, I don't ask of you many things."

Harper's brows narrowed as she pulled the handset from her ear to glare a dirty glare at it.

She put it back against her ear and answered slowly, "It's not that I don't want to...it's just that I can't." That wasn't true, she really didn't want to go sit in the shop, but well... she couldn't exactly say that.

"What do you mean you can't?"

Harper brought the phone away again and dropped it to her side, her head fell back while she stared at the ceiling and a drawn out sigh left her lips.

A quiet chuckle came from her left and she dared a glance at the male, his eyes were on the TV but the show was about car parts and she didn't really see the humor in those. As if feeling her gaze he turned and quirked a dark brow.

The look sent a flutter in her chest and she instantly turned to fully face the glass door to shield her blush... that didn't exist... because... Weres didn't blush...

The yapping at her side had her raising the phone again.

"...you there? Harper? Harper!"

"Yes... sorry..."

"Now what's this about you can't?"

"I can't leave my home, my car is broken," Harper explained.

"Broken? How can it be broken? You just made the delivery last night and you said it went fine." Linora asked not too pleasantly.

Harper felt her lips curling in a sneer at the memory. "The delivery did, not the drive back. I tried to tell you bu–"

"You did nothing of the sort." Linora replied stubbornly and Harper's eyes widened.

"Yes I did, Linora..."

"I specifically remember you saying the delivery went well. I think I would remember you saying your car broke down."

"You wouldn't remember because you would hardly let me get a word in."

"Now Harper, that is not true–"

"Why would I lie?" Harper asked in exasperation, her short temper was surely rising as the conversation continued.

The line was silent, and after a few seconds Linora replied, "I don't know Harper, your attitude hasn't been too pleasant this whole week. Don't think I haven't noticed. And I have been very lenient with you. There is no reason for you to go on and insult me."

Harper held in her growl as her finger clenched around the phone. "I'm not trying to insult you, Linora. I'm just trying to tell you what happened. My car broke down on the drive home, I called to tell you but you–"

"I don't remember you telling me," The woman insisted.

"Because you kept cutting me off!" Harper snapped. "Just like you are now."

Linora remained quiet and then spoke slowly, "Whatever it is that has you acting so rude, I urge you to fix it and fix it soon. I've done nothing wrong to you and I don't deserve to be treated as such. I asked a simple favor and all you had to do was say you couldn't. I would have understood. Good bye, Harper."

The line went dead and Harper brought it to her face to stare at it while letting out a humorless guffaw in disbelief. She did say she couldn't come in, yet that wasn't enough for the lady.

Her expression curved into a snarl as she threw the phone into the kitchen and watched as it smashed against the back of the table chair. The device lay in pieces on the linoleum floor.

"Stupid, delusional, human woman." She whispered in her rage.

Movement caught her attention then and she looked up when she saw Blaise pass by her to crouch by the chair, picking up the broken handset and the trail of electrical guts that had spilled out.

"Aw shucks, now I can't call you." He whined in a surprisingly playful tone as he shot a wink her way. "Darn it."

Harper, for the first time in days, felt her lips twitching in amusement. He seemed to noticed her held back smile and he chuckled as he stood. He dangled the handset in front of her as his mocked gravely, "No really, now I can't call you."

Harper took it from him and tossed it on the counter. "I have two more in the box the phone came in."

She disappeared into her room and went straight for her closet where she kept it, digging out a new handset and the instructions before returning to her living room where Blaise had once again seated himself on the couch.


He watched while she stared at the instructions with a look of concentration as she set the new handset up. He had been quietly eavesdropping on her phone call, mostly because he was intrigued at the sudden new emotion she was showing. The past few encounters with her he'd only seen her nervous and stand offish. But anger, that was a bit different, and for a little while she seemed more normal, less stony.

He also beamed inwardly when he saw her crack a smile, like she had on the forced outing. She was slowly easing around him since he had first shown up on her doorstep the hour previous. The girl was a block of ice, but if he was patient, he saw that eventually she would thaw with the right coercion.

"So," he began, "who was the strange, delusional, human woman you were talking to?"

Her head swiveled to him in blatant surprise and he smirked. He he had heard her whisper that was not meant for his ears to hear, but he did. Uncertainty flitted over her features for a few brief seconds.

He found it a bit odd really... she threw around the word human again, like she had that night in front of the park. Spat it out actually, in a way that gave him the feeling she thought herself separate from them. Normally he'd find that a bit suspicious, but like before, he brushed it off as a weird quirk. He didn't fall any deeper into those thoughts.

"My boss..." she had said before going back to the instructions. She huffed a humorless laugh then and continued in a grumble. "Probably gunna fire me now... the hag..."

Blaise snorted in amusement. She darted a glance at him and his expression made her lips tug at the corners. She quickly looked away before he could see, but he saw, and he grinned to himself.

His eyes drifted back to the TV as the girl messed with the phone some more. He physically felt the tense unwelcoming feeling leave the room as time passed by and the girl visibly and unconsciously relaxed in his presence.

After a few moments of comfortable silence a ring blasted through the flat and the girl shrieked in fright, the phone flying from her hands and landing on the coffee table with a smack.

Blaise too had winced abruptly at the ringing volume. He looked to the girl and noticed her spine had curved as she hunched over her knees with her elbows digging into her thighs. Her head was bowed, her hands pressed firmly over her ears and her eyes squeezed shut in a pained looking grimace as the ringing kept on.

His brows furrowed at her form but they twitched irritably once the phone blared again. When she showed no of moving to retrieve it he grabbed the handset and checked the number to see if it was the tow company.

It was and he quickly answered it. Blaise ended the call after he spoke with the driver and messed with a few buttons to lower the ringing volume of the phone. His green eyes drifted back to the girl while he set it back on the dock. Her shoulders had slumped and she was rubbing her temples with the tips of her fingers digging into her skin.

"Tow's here..." he said quietly.

Harper nodded after a moment and looked up. It struck him briefly to see the amount of pain that hung in her grey eyes.

"I fixed the volume. Shouldn't be so loud next time." Blaise watched her carefully. "You okay?"

"Fine..." Harper murmured as she stood, her knees shook at the movement as did her arm when she used the armrest of the cushy chair for support.

Weak, was the word that raced through his mind while he watched her. She looked weak. But he didn't say anything for fear of overstepping boundaries. So he stayed silent as she muttered something about pulling her shoes on before he stood to follow her outside.


They stood outside while the tow truck maneuvered her jeep into a slot under the car port. Harper hugged her middle while Blaise spoke to the man after. He handed the money she had given over to the guy before giving a brief nod. He stood back when the truck started moving again in preparation to leave. His hands were tucked in his jacket pockets when he finally walked over to her, a calm smile tugging at his mouth.

Her grey eyes darted to the ground. Her hands shifted in her over-sized sleeves. She had unfolded them to engulf her hands and shield them from the wet chill. Normally she'd have gloves on, but her few pairs were buried under a pile of laundry she had yet to do.

When she dared a look at him, a fat drop of cold water that had collected from the edge of the car port had splashed on her nose, causing her to flinch in surprise. Blaise then grinned a toothy grin and Harper spun from him in embarrassment as she wiped her face furiously with her large sleeve. Her cheeks flushed in her abashed state and the coolness from the water left her because of it.

She swore it was developing into a skin issue. Who blushes? Certainly not her. Nuh uh... no way... She should have just stared him down, but then doubted it would do anything to intimidate him. The male exuded confidence and that irked her. Who was he to be confident around her? She should have been the self-assured one. She was the superior of the two. She was stronger and she was better. He was human, a weakling, and had nothing to be confident about in her presence.

Yet it was Harper who was nervous, timid even. That in itself was an embarrassment to her and she was sure should she still had been with her Pack, she would have been punished for it.

It's because I need to Form, she told herself. Her weak body was affecting her mentally, making her feel on edge in her human form. It was an assurance that she truly didn't belong in that world of cemented forests, but in the woodland ones she so yearned for.

"You alright, Harper? You aren't drowning are you?" He stepped around her. "If so, I know CPR and I'm not afraid to use it."

Harper fought her lips as they twitched in an urge to curl in a snarl at his teasing tone.

Blaise held up his hands in appease anyway and waved them a little in front of his chest. "Kidding, kidding. I don't know CPR anyway."

Her blank stare seemed to make him uneasy and he coughed into a fist. "Right... so. Timing belt! Let's get that fixed, yea?"

"Yea." She nodded then and her eyes brightened a bit, anxious to have her car working properly again.


Sometime later found Blaise doubled over the side of her Jeep, his arms were shoulder deep in the engine, struggling to tighten a bolt with a wrench. The work was tedious because it was steadily becoming chillier as time flew by and his fingers were frozen. He had ended up pulling on some work gloves to try and keep his hands warm, which made things more awkward since he was dealing with some small pieces and he'd already fumbled some bolts onto the ground.

Harper had freaked when he had removed one of the front tires, thinking he was ruining her car further until he assured it was 'alright and necessary'. She didn't actually 'freak out' but she had a definite undertone of anxiety and fear in her voice. That was as far as she went with her emotions though and he was surprised he wasn't surprised anymore. Stone, he had told himself again.

A quick glance over his shoulder showed him the girl sitting on the tire that laid flat on its side with her elbows on her thighs and her cheeks resting in her palms. Her expression was bored. The project was taking longer than he anticipated as some unexpected issues were propping up.

It wasn't until he fumbled the wrench and cursed when it slipped through the parts before clattering onto the pavement below that he straightened from his hunched position with a sigh. He pulled the rough grease stained gloves off and tossed them into his silver toolbox near his feet. Stretching his back, he turned to the girl who noticed his gaze a few seconds later.

Her eyes perked up. "Finished?"

Blaise rolled his shoulders with a small grimace. "Ah, no..."

"No?" Harper's brows furrowed and she slumped a little.

"Look, Harper..." He started, but at that moment both had their attention on a large SUV that was pulling into the parking slot a few over. The windows rattled with the volume of the bass thumping inside.

Blaise watched with disinterest when the doors popped open a few people jumped out. As soon as the doors opened the loud music echoed annoyingly in the car port and Blaise felt his features shifting to a small scowl.

The sound cut off when the car did and they all slammed the doors, laughing and joking from whatever conversations that continued from within the vehicle followed them outside. Blaise flickered a look to Harper, watching her face forward again, a tense set to her jaw.

A blond male came around the driver's side and the group started to make their way for the apartment building. Blaise watched as the blond threw his keys up in the air, catching them with ease when they dropped and looked his way. The male's eyes swept to Harper, causing him to stop when he noticed her.

He started walking over. "'Sup, Harper."

Blaise saw when she drifted her eyes skyward in a eye roll before she glanced over at the new male.

"...Hello, Kenny," she mumbled.

Kenny looked between Harper and Blaise then flickered his gaze to her propped hood. "What's going on? Car troubles?"

Harper nodded slowly.

"Huh, that sucks."

Blaise stared at the male indifferently, but he was throwing discreet glances the girl's way, watching for any change in her demeanor. All he noticed was her lack of interest and that secretly pleased him.

When she didn't respond Kenny continued, "Hey, so, I'm throwing a Halloween party next Friday. You're invited of course. Think you'll make it this time?"

A brief flash of alarm went across her grey eyes, but after a few seconds she cleared her throat as she shook her head slowly. "I don't think so, uh...I'm... um... gunna be busy..."

Kenny looked a little annoyed at that. "You always say that."

"Well I a-am!" Harper defended, her eyes narrowing a bit.

"What're you gunna be busy with?"

Blaise felt the scowl making its way back on his face. The new male was irking him, and his prying even more so. Though he'd only known Harper a little while, he didn't like this male or how he was speaking to her.

"...um..." she suddenly said, her eyes darting from side to side as she struggled to come up with a viable excuse. "...u-um..."

"She's gunna be with me," Blaise cut in. Harper shot a look his way, her eyes swirling with confusion, but he continued. "Uh... Trick-or-treating."

She blinked in surprise and he crossed his arms as he leaned back into the side of the car. Kenny looked at him for the first time, a frown pulling a little at his lips as his eyes swept over Blaise.

"Trick-or-treating, huh? Who you gunna be?"

Smirk still in place, he pointed to himself. "I'm gunna be Dora the Explorer." He then jutted a thumb Harper's way. "Harper's got Boots covered."

Harper only stared at him before turning her head away to the side. He grinned when he saw her jowls crease. She was hiding her smile.

When he looked back to Kenny, the male was still frowning at him. So Blaise's expression sobered with a hard gaze. "Problem?" he said lowly.

Kenny took a moment before shaking his head with a humorless huff. He turned to leave. "I'll see you around, Harper. Invite's still open, so think about it."

Blaise slid his gaze to the girl, she was back to sitting with her chin in her palm as she stared at the floor with the tip of her boot pushing a small rock around.

"So," he began, "what are you really going to be doing on Halloween?"

Harper shrugged without looking his way. "Nothing... I don't celebrate it..."

"Seriously? No pigging out on candy?"

"I don't eat candy."

Blaise just shook his head in shock. "Christ, you're difficult," he mumbled under his breath, too quiet for the girl to hear. But he felt a glare and glanced up to see Harper directing a narrowed look his way. Guess she really does have good hearing, he thought.

"So... you were saying something about my car before he came over," she prodded impatiently.

"Was I?" He rubbed the back of his neck while moving back towards the hood of the car. "Oh... right... Look Harper, it's gunna take a little more time than I originally thought."


As soon as his words hit her ears she felt her anxiety building. "What do you mean?"

Blaise started gathering the pile of bolts on the pavement, glancing at her while he spoke. "Well, I misdiagnosed the problem. It's still the timing belt, only it didn't jump, it actually burnt out because your bearings are shot."

Harper had no idea what he was saying or what his words meant, it was all babble to her. He seemed to take in the lost expression she held and went on to elaborate a little more slowly.

"To make it short, the car needs a new belt and the bearings need replacement otherwise you're going to run the engine to hell. It's already in bad shape as it is. When's the last time you got this serviced?"

She started tugging at her sleeve nervously. "I... well... never. It's never broken down before..."

"Usually getting your car serviced regularly prevents it from breaking down since they'd catch this issue early on. This probably wouldn't have happened then."

"Well I didn't know that!" She snapped suddenly and Blaise blinked in surprise. Harper shook her head to calm herself down. She didn't know... she wasn't left with much knowledge about... well anything really. Everything she had learned about how their society worked and how to function within it had been learnt by experience. She had been completely lost when her grandmother had died and left her alone. She had needed guidance but she received none, for there was no one there to ask. Even after the four years on her own, she was still learning, still trying to figure things out.

It angered her that she needed help, that she was so helpless with such common knowledge. She supposed she was lucky them that the car hadn't given her trouble the years previous, and since it didn't she never felt the need to do anything about it. The car worked and that was all she cared about.

"I'm...I'm sorry... I didn't mean to snap," she murmured, lifting her eyes to his.

Blaise gave a nod. "No problem."

He was watching her carefully though, she noticed.

She swallowed before asking quietly, "So, how much longer will it take? Another couple of hours you think?"

She saw a slight wince make its way over his features and he gave a shake of his head. "No..." he answered apologetically, "Ah... more like a couple of days at the least."

Her heart stopped and her stomach dropped. Days... But... but that was impossible, she needed it to start working today! She didn't have days!

"What?" Harper whispered in disbelief, she stared at him unblinking.

Blaise regarded her cautiously when he saw her mood shifting.

"I know I said today, but I thought I was just going to refit the belt. I need to take the bearings out, get new ones, refit them.. it's more time consuming and I can't do it all today. The days are getting shorter and I won't have enough light, you know? But don't worry I can probably come back either Tuesday or Wednesday if I can manage to take the day off of work."

She could hear her heart pumping in-between her ears as she took in his words. The word panicking didn't even come close to how she was feeling. She was feeling sick in her stomach at the thought of waiting that much longer. She wouldn't be able to last four more days, she was already reaching her limit. Her body was in too much pain to push it further. She could barely handle the flight of stairs leading down to the lot!

Her mind started sifting from thought to thought of how bad it would be if she prolonged her Forming further. Fear was racing in her veins, making her shiver as she stared unseeing at the pavement. She'd never been in a situation as that one, she'd never felt so out of control. She needed her car! What was she going to do? There was not a forest that would conceal her as safely as the ones that she usually frequented. She couldn't Form just anywhere! And the moon... the full moon was approaching the coming week and it would just make everything so much worse.

A touch to her knee had tore her from her thoughts so quickly that she flinched with a small whimper that whistled at the end. The sound itself was more animalistic than she normally sounded. The fear was already beginning to shift her demeanor.

Her steel colored eyes lifted from the pavement to the male who was now crouched in front of her, he removed his hand quickly at her reaction and he was staring at her oddly. But after a moment he shook his head like he was shaking away his thoughts and the look disappeared.

"Are you alright?"

She drew in a deep breath and wrapped her hands around her middle. "Please make my car work today..."

His expression dropped and he leaned back a little at her tone. "Harper... I would if I had the ti–"

"Tomorrow then!" she said quickly, but he only shook his head.

"I have to work tomorrow and there's too much that I need to do. I can't get out of it, but I'm sure by Tues–"

"I'll pay you... I-I'll give you my whole paycheck if you can just get it to run again."

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, speaking hesitantly, "It's not the money, I don't need the money. It's just that I can't–"

She wasn't listening to his excuses, all she kept hearing was can't and she was becoming more and more aggravated.

"Then put it back together!"

He furrowed his brows in confusion.

"Put it all back to how it was." She gestured to the car as she stood. She gave a kick to the tire she was sitting on and winced at the pang that shot up her shin.

"Harper, even if I put everything back you can't drive it."

"I'll decide what I do." She frowned darkly.

He stood then and stared at her. "What's wrong? Why do you need it to work so badly today?"

"Because it's how I get around obviously!"

"You could just take the bus until then though..." Blaise suggested gently.

She knew he was confused by her sudden anger, she could see it in his eyes and how he was treading carefully when he spoke. But her anxiety had built and mounted, she was in no mood for pleasantries, and her mouth was running accordingly. In the back of her mind she realized she should calm down, but as a Were, their temperament played a large role in their attitude. Rational thought would be shoved behind by the instinct of survival and familiarity.

It was a big reason why she always had to mellow herself down when she would become too angry. But fear, fear was a little different, she had less control when she was in a panic and the Were inside her took over.

"Are you insane?!" Harper asked hysterically, her arms waving around. "Like I'm going to willingly sit in that rolling tin can with them and all their filth!"

His brows pinched and his eyes narrowed. "Who?"

"Them," she sneered.

Blaise only shook his head as he gazed at her uncertainly. He had tensed up but she didn't care. "Harper, I don't understand wh–"

"You don't understand." she glared at him and then pointed to her temple for emphasis. "Because you are simple," she tapped her head twice, "Up here, just like the rest of them."

Blaise looked offended but he also looked completely confused as well.

She gripped her hair and tugged as her face scrunched up.

He started slowly, "Look, I don't know what your problem is–"

"My problem is I need my car fixed."

"And I said I can't do it today..."

"Then you can leave."

He stared at her, hesitant and tensed. She could feel it, while he pinned his gaze on her, searching for the answer to her demeanor shift.

"Harper..."

"Go."

"I came here to help you when I didn't have to. Just like I didn't have to last night. And this is how you repay me? By acting like a bitch?"

She flinched at his words and the tone he suddenly took on, and her grey eyes swiveled to his green, which were angry, an emotion she'd yet to see on him.

But Blaise continued, holding her offended stare defiantly. "Yea," He huffed a humorless laugh. "You know I thought you had issues before, but I overlooked them, right? Thinking it's just 'cause you're shy and crap. But honestly... this is really not worth my time. I tried, Harper, more than I usually do for a pretty girl. But man, I'm starting to see why you're all alone with no one to help you. I mean... Why bother if this is how you show gratitude?"

His words would have offended her had she been someone else, something else, human. But as it was, she was above humans and what they thought so his words simply flew past her. He had no idea of what he was talking about anyway. She was alone because she made it that way. She was alone because she had no one of her kind to cling to.

The look in his eyes had her narrowing her own. For a brief second, she saw something familiar in the green of his irises, in the expanse of his pupils. But it was gone after a second, and he blinked and then blinked a few more times before shaking his head, seemingly coming out of a daze. Or so she assumed.

He immediately looked to her and this time his eyes were rueful and a little shocked.

"Hey wait," Blaise stammered and winced, "I-I... wow I didn't mean that..."

Harper glanced at the mess that was her car her heart fluttered a little with apprehension. But she just sighed and took a few steps back.

"You can go. Don't worry about putting it back together. I'll figure it out."

His eyes widened in alarm and he stuttered. "N-no I didn't mean what I said. I'll fix it, Harper–"

She shook her head, taking a few more retreating steps. "I don't want you to fix it. You can go."

Harper turned then, ignoring his expression and made for the many stairs. The day was growing dark and the with the sun setting, the cold came full force. The male didn't follow her and for that she was glad. A part of her felt she should have said sorry, because he did help her when he wasn't obligated to. But she squashed that feeling and focused on getting to the third floor so she could lock herself in her home.

Once she reached her door, she let herself in. After it was closed and locked completely she immediately went for her armchair. But instead of collapsing on it like her body desired, she began pushing it towards the door, her feet sliding on the carpet in her endeavor. She made to do the same with the couch and it normally would have been a simple task. Her achy limbs and bones made it a struggle.

Harper moved around the small living room, pushing things closer against the walls to have a clear space in the center. She closed the curtains and turned all the lights off while she walked into the bathroom to retrieve a small washcloth.

When she reappeared in the dark living room she glanced around and stopped the shivers that went up her spine. Harper walked up to the T.V. and turned it on, raising the volume higher than she ever dared before to where she had shut her eyes briefly and winced.

She walked into the center of the cleared living room, a frown etched on her face as she began removing her clothing. Harper then sat down on her heels, fiddling with the washcloth still in her hands. She swallowed hard after a glance to the door.

Tentatively, she placed the cloth to her opened mouth, slowly stuffing the material further inside. Her teeth immediately clenched it and she shifted her breathing to her nose.

Her head bowed forward and her eyes slid closed after one last look to the barricaded door. She ignored the disgusted, sinking feeling in her gut at the prospect of what she was doing and focused on her bones which had already began to tremble in anticipation.

Harper raised a hand to the cloth once again, pushing it further inside her mouth. Hopefully the T.V. would drown any sounds she made, and the cloth would muffle her wails of pain that were sure to come.


Author's Note: I'd love some feedback for this :)

Thanks for Reading!

Sombrette