(‘Scent’ Excerpt Chapter 1)
It was still dark when I woke up from hearing the backdoor open in the kitchen. I sat up as I watched Aunt Susan and Derik jump to their feet.
“Declan!” His mother cried out as she threw her arms about her eldest.
I watched the family reunion through the kitchen doorway. Declan had just pulled on the spare bathrobe which always hung on the back of the kitchen door, when his mother pounced on him.
He would pull off the robe just before he changed into his shape of a European Werewolf and then he would put it on again, when he reverted back to human. Unlike the Lokoti Werewolves who could still wear jeans in their humanoid werewolf bodies, when Declan changed his form completely altered. It was because of this, he couldn’t wear any clothes since they were torn apart.
“Declan, is that blood?” Aunt Susan cried out as she pulled back to look on.
I saw his left shoulder had dried blood on it, which was rubbing off onto the white bathrobe.
“Relax Mom, it’s almost healed.” He sighed.
“What happened?” Derik asked his older brother.
“Those stupid drunks from Alma - that’s what happened!” He growled unhappily. “I’m OK, but Jack isn’t.”
Aunt Susan and Derik turned quiet as my stomach sank.
“Is Uncle Jack badly injured?” I asked from the couch.
Declan looked past his family as his eyes settled on my position in a grim look.
“Jack took two bullets to the brain, removing half of his head as another tore through his heart.” He said unhappily. “He didn’t survive.”
My eyes filled with tears as my throat tightened. Uncle Jack… is dead? I mean, he wasn’t literally my Uncle; we used the term ‘Uncle’ as a sign of affectionate respect. Being one of the pack was more than just belonging; Mum once told me that the Lokoti Werewolves were not just empathic with their mates, but also with each other. There was even a rumor that they had limited telepathic ability. It was why Dad would suddenly leave the house and run out the front door with no word where he was going, like what happened tonight.
The European Werewolf released his human brother and mother and started to walk past where I was sitting, when he stopped to look down.
“I’ll just get some clothes on and I’ll drive you home.” He said flatly.
“No.” I tearfully shook my head. “There’s no need and you’re wounded anyways. I want to walk.”
“I can drive B home.” Derik offered.
“I said I’d do it so I’ll do it!” He suddenly said angrily, startling us all. Then he left the lounge room and went into his bedroom to dress.
Neither Declan nor I said a thing, as he drove me home in his old, light blue, pick up truck. The sky was just starting to lighten with the onset of dawn and I felt cold, tired, hungry and emotional. Tearfully, I stared out the window for the short trip and couldn’t wait to get home so I could cry openly.
His vehicle chugged up the steep, dirt road as we drove past my families houses before Declan turned into the driveway of Mum and Dad’s. He pulled up in front of my veranda and left the engine running.
Just as I was about to hop out, Declan suddenly put his hand over mine. He squeezed it tightly which made me pause, as my breath caught and my heart began to race… I didn’t look at him nor did he look at me.
The heat of his hand actually began to travel up my arm and magically warm me all over, his grip was strong as it was tight. I even began to feel his thumb start to caress my palm, putting butterflies in my stomach. I sat there unmoving, not breathing and not blinking. Neither of us said a thing, leaving an eerie quietness in his truck.
Next, I felt his fingers entwine with mine, making my eyes widen as I stared ahead out of the windscreen. My butterflies grew worse, flying into a flurry; making me tremble when his fingers pressed into my palm and massaged it with his finger tips. His touch was both direct and yet tender.
Unconsciously, I started to squeeze his hand back but then my front door opened and Dad walked out. Automatically, he pulled back his hand as he still didn’t look my way.
“Go get some sleep.” He said shortly.
Finally I started breathing again, almost hyperventilating when I quickly opened my door and climbed out. I accidentally slammed the door shut, as I walked around the truck and up my veranda steps. Dad gave a nod to Declan, who quickly reversed out of our driveway to drive off back down the hill.
I collapsed into tears in my father’s waiting arms and he squeezed me tightly before leading me inside the house.