Yes, I'm alive and *insert wild gasp* I updated! (I swear, pigs must be endowed with the ability to fly now.) And yes, I changed the title, and I believe it's going to stay that way. Maybe as I get farther along I'll actually come up with a proper summary. ;) Oodles and schmoodles of thanks to Guest, Moon Sage, Alexithimia, DefineVintage, misslonely, and Lerene! I used to be kind of annoyed with authors who thanked/replied to their reviewers in the story updates cause it took up my reading space, but bear with me. I can see where they (the authors) were coming from now. Reviews are my motivation for updating; no joke I only updated because of you guys. Well, obviously, if no one takes an interest in your story, then what's the point of writing? Anywhoo, I'm done rambling, on to chapter uno! (Oh, also don't be disappointed where it starts; trust me, I know where I'm going with this... I think, eh heh heh)

My eyes were glued to the ticking metal sliver of the round, paperweight clock on my desk. It seemed to hesitantly plod its steady way around the time face, unheeding the anxious rhythm my toe was tapping on the cold, marble floor. The instant the little hand ticked on the twelve, indicating that it was five o'clock, I shot up out of my chair; slinging my purse and suit jacket over my shoulder, and slipping a manila folder of papers under my arm as I rounded my desk and made a beeline for the door. My little space outside the usually-absentee boss's office was rather untidy: papers sliding off their haphazard stacks, post-it notes everywhere, cluttered knick-knacks... if I was a normal employee, I certainly wouldn't get away with it. I nonchalantly breezed past the cubicles of coworkers who were still wrapping up. Having connections certainly had its perks, and I showed no shame in taking complete advantage of them. I hated the job – not that I really worked at it, anyway. I had been pretty much forced into the position by my father.

I turned down the hallway toward the elevator, suddenly colliding with a firm, male chest.

"Rynna," he purred next to my ear. "Not that I mind, but you really should watch where you're going."

My nose curled, and the pegs on my antennae -caught back with my dark hair and concealed in a sleek French twist – twitched in spite of my tightly-held control. He was wearing far too much cologne, but then, most of the humans did, which was another contribution to the environment setting me on edge. Also, this particular human was known for his office shenanigans and playboy tendencies, and I was not in the mood to put up with it.

I nodded curtly, with a reply that was just barely acceptable. "Mr. Hollis." Abruptly disengaging myself from his grasp, I continued toward the elevator.

"Bitch," I heard him mutter as he turned away.

"I heard that, asshole," I called back as I pressed the down arrow button. "Though quite frankly, I'd rather be known as a bitch than another panty-dropping whore who gets down for you the moment you speak." I looked back and quirked a mocking eyebrow at his dumbfounded stupor before the doors opened and I stepped into the small, confining space. I may not be human, but I work in their world and I damned-well know the lingo.

There was a friendly-looking young male already inside. I could immediately tell that he was a Shifter; there were a few supernaturals in the building aside from me. Though it was a bit difficult with my antennae being pinned down, I delicately sensed the air... he was only a Domesticate. It was almost like a game; figuring out what exactly a supernatural was once you'd crossed paths with them; however, from the friendly, easily-distracted, almost playful aura this one was giving off, it was really too easy.

I inclined my head gracefully in his direction. "Spaniel." His head whipped back toward me from the floor-level buttons which he'd been perusing as the elevator descended.

He smiled cheerfully. "Why yes, and you are..."

He sniffed the air with a slightly puzzled look furrowing his brow; his eyes widened before he visibly cowered a bit before squeaking out, "Morpher!"

I tsked a bit at his lower-being slang. "It's quite all right, little one, I won't bite... hard."

Just to amuse my inner sprite – she seemed to have taken full possession of me – I clicked my teeth at him, smirking a bit at his whimper. He was out of the elevator like a shot the second the doors opened, while I followed more leisurely, chuckling at his expense.

"And who have you taken the pleasure of torturing today, Rynn?" A voice from my right, one of my personal Salamander guards, asked dryly as he fell in step with me. I turned my head briefly to identify him. It was Kormathus, or Kor, as I called him. We had this interesting, strictly protected/protector relationship, and in public, we'd never admit to being friends; but in sticky situations, each of us had the other's back.

I grimaced as we made for the exit. "Oh, nothing to lose your tail about; it was only a pup of a Domesticate. I suppose it was a bit... indelicate of me to toy with him."

"Damn straight, Rynn. You have to put away these larva-like tendencies. How the hell is your father supposed to build alliances through you when you're constantly ruffling fur and feathers everywhere you go?"

My setae rankled at his words, but smoothed out at my knowledge that Kor wasn't usually this harsh; normally he'd just laugh it up with me and let me off with a playful warning. Obviously, something had put him on edge.

"What's wrong?" I demanded softly as we left the building and he waited on the walkway for my limo.

"Aedan Townsend is coming in next week," he explained tersely, watching the busy roadway impatiently.

I mumbled absently, tucking an errant strand of blue-black hair behind my subtly elongated ear. "Eh, is that all that's bothering you? Gathered that through the grapevine."

Kor's face darkened; my lightness at what he was taking so seriously apparently did not amuse him. Just then the limousine pulled up, and he grabbed my wrist and brought me rather roughly to the back door, which he jerked open. "Get in," he growled unnecessarily, practically shoving me in at the hip before getting in himself. "The Barrier," he called up to the driver, before turning on me with a fierce expression. "Rynn, I don't think you understand."

"Well you could have simply told me that instead of going all lightning-lizard-reactionary on me," I retorted sharply, raising an eyebrow as I smoothed my skirt and righted myself.

"Look, he's the son of the owner of the company-"

"Spoiled daddy's boy."

"- Said to be ruthless in business -"

"Arrogant prick."

"-also a magnet for the ladies -"

"Womanizing bastard. Are you quite finished yet?"

"...and what's more, he's also a..."

"Shifter. I know!" I interrupted with exasperation. As he opened his mouth yet again, I hastily continued. "He's a high-standing wolf, I've scented it in his office, even though he hasn't been in since I started work two weeks ago." And though I'd probably never openly admit it – especially in consideration of what Kor had just told me – Townsend's scent was a most intriguing, intoxicating one, indeed.

There was complete silence in the vehicle for a moment. Kor gave me a look of mocking surprise. "What? Already done telling me what you already know?"

"Oh, and I suppose there's something I left out, do enlighten me, please," I scoffed, knowing full well that I had covered all bases.

His smirk grew. "Oh, my dear, dear Rynn-Rynn, so confident, but you really can be quite a nymph sometimes."

Inwardly rolling my eyes, I merely quirked an eyebrow, waiting.

"Aedan Townsend is an Alpha."

Well, that's all for now, folks! And congratulations to me for updating! *pats self on back* Time for a celebratory bowl of chocolate moose tracks ice cream! Well. No, actually, cause it's erm, past midnight. But whatever. I'll save me-self some brownie points for later. Gawd, now I'm hungry...

Anyway, you know what to do ;D The little (cough cough) box down there... type like you're making sweet love to your keyboard and leave me a review? Pwease? :3

Also, I'm sure you have questions. Don't worry, at some point they shall be answered! But again, this story is sort of writing itself as I go, so. I'm not quite sure myself what's around the bend ahead. (Sexy Aedan is a must, though ;) And I hope you like the character names so far, I always have a hard time with deciding the perfect names. If you have any suggestions, I will consider them for more characters coming later! :D Cause right now, what you see is all I've got, lol.

Oh... *cringes*... And I hope you enjoyed it, and that it wasn't gawd-awful. Tell me if it was and I'll take some measure of correctionary action... just now as I was typing it, I didn't like it quite as much as when I wrote it. *sigh*

Okay, I'll shut up now.

Review, bitches!