Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story - Desdemona Doran Part Two


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Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story - Desdemona Doran Part Two

  1. 1. A week or so after leaving Riverbrook, Desdemona was driving through the outskirts of the city of Springhaven. It had been a lovely city, but she knew that somewhere within its depths vampires lurked so she kept driving. There was a road sign that read “Fairport, 15 miles.” “Fairport sounds like a nice place,” she thought. “I think I’ll check it out.”
  2. 2. Fairport turned out to be pretty much exactly what she was looking for. It was part of the suburban sprawl of Springhaven, but there was more in the small town than the handful of business that had made up Riverbrook. As she walked down what appeared to be the main street, she watched the people who passed her. The nodded in a friendly way, but were too busy with their own business to stop and talk. She smiled a real smile, and the expression felt unfamiliar on her face. “I think this is where I’m going to stay.”
  3. 3. The next few months were a whirlwind of activity for Desdemona. After much consideration and a few tears, she decided to sell her car. She needed the money to help her make a start, but all of the time and energy she’d poured into it made her question her decision. At least that hard work had paid off, and she got nearly double what she’d bought the car for. The salesman had even praised her for taking such good care of it. That money had gone towards setting herself up with an apartment, paying for her first semester of online college, and some new clothes that were more suitable for her new job as a receptionist at City Hall. Between work and her online classes, Desdemona kept herself busy. She kept mostly to herself, and no one questioned her on that decision. It was a somewhat lonely existence, but Desdemona didn’t really have the time to think about that. There was too much else to think about.
  4. 4. Days began to drift together. If not for keeping track of the few TV programs that she liked to watch, she would never have known what day of the week it was. Missing the homemade meals that she’d enjoyed in Riverbrook, Desdemona started watching the Yummy Channel and trying to recreate some of the meals she saw. There were quite a few disasters at first, but eventually she had a decent number of dishes that she could make, but she couldn’t help but wish that there was someone she could share them with.
  5. 5. More time passed. Desdemona got word that she was an aunt, and she sent Lily a teddy bear for her new nephew. On nice days, she started taking her reading to the park near her apartment, and enjoyed basking in the sunshine until she remembered that it was a simple pleasure that her mother would never be able to enjoy again.
  6. 6. She started writing emails to her mother that she never sent, pouring out all the pain and heartache she still felt about being the cause of the situation that had eventually torn their family apart. Sometimes, she still could hear her mother’s voice echoing in her head. “It wasn’t your fault, Desdemona. You had no idea what they were going to do. If you had, you would never have encouraged everyone else to go, let alone go yourself.” Even now, she still couldn’t let go of that one, huge, life altering mistake.
  7. 7. She missed her siblings. Grey, who had always been there for her whenever she needed him, and Nata, who always seemed to understand things so well, she had never realized how much she relied on both of them to steady her. She missed Lily too, but Lily was happy. She was married, had a few step kids and a baby of her own now. Lily was able to live the life she’d wanted before she’d died. So why couldn’t Desdemona?
  8. 8. Desdemona thought very hard about what her sister had said at the wedding. Lily thought she deserved to be happy. But did Desdemona think that Desdemona deserved to be happy? That was the question. What would make her happy? Friends had always made her happy, but after…it happened, Desdemona questioned her ability to accurately judge character. Besides, friends led to nightmares, and she didn’t want those to come back. Granted, she could probably have found someone to help her cope with them, but she wasn’t quite sure about letting an outsider in on her family history. Trouble seemed to find Dorans without them needing to go looking for it.
  9. 9. As she looked around her apartment, something struck her. It was bland and colorless, nothing like what Desdemona’s room looked like growing up. “It’s so…generic,” she sighed. She went into the closet and rooted around in one of her boxes until she found a small wrapped package. She undid the old newspaper to reveal a picture of her with her siblings, taken on Nata’s teen birthday. She scanned the room for an appropriate place to put it before settling on the nightstand by her bed. “Well, it’s a start. After work tomorrow I’ll go shopping and see if I can find some stuff to make this place more like me. And maybe I should actually put out some of the other stuff that I’ve been lugging around with me for all this time.”
  10. 10. With her apartment decorated to be a bit more colorful, Desdemona felt slightly more at home. She was still as lonely as ever, but at least she wasn’t coming home to a beige apartment any longer. The pictures she put out of her family helped too, though it did make her long for days gone by, even more than she already did. For some reason, there were many picture of her with those she had considered to be friends, the ones who had betrayed her by killing her sister. In a fit of rage, she’d taken all those pictures and burned them in a barbeque pit in the park. It was unexpectedly cathartic, and Desdemona wished she had done it sooner.
  11. 11. On her way back from the park, she found herself walking down an unfamiliar street. A sign in one of the windows caught her eye. It was advertising a special promotion at the animal shelter, where adoption fees were being waived for older pets. After pulling out her phone (since the incident where her car had unexpectedly broken down Desdemona never went anywhere without her cell) and realized that the shelter was only a block from where she was, Desdemona made a quick decision. Human companionship might not be something that she was capable of at the moment, but that didn’t mean she had to be alone. Maybe she could introduce a furry little friend into her life to help fill that hole.
  12. 12. At the shelter, she was greeted by one of the volunteers. Desdemona explained why she was there, and got asked a ton of questions about her living situation, work hours, and what she was looking for. “After everything you’ve told me, I think a cat would be the best option for you. They’re a bit more independent than dogs, and you don’t need to worry about running home during the middle of the day to walk them or risk coming home to a spoiled carpet.” “Okay,” Desdemona agreed. “Who do you suggest?” The volunteer smiled. “I think I have just the little guy for you. Follow me.”
  13. 13. They walked past a row of cages to a small penned-off area, which Desdemona was guided to enter. “I’m going to go get him, and you can interact with him in here to see if he fits. Give me a second.” Desdemona sat down on the chair, and a moment later the volunteer returned carrying a black cat. As he set the cat down, Desdemona could see the he had vivid yellow-green eyes that seemed to glow even in the daylight. “This is Shadow. He’s about three years old by our judgment.”
  14. 14. Desdemona picked up one of the cat treats and presented it to the cat, who had jumped up on the table. “Come here, Shadow. I have something for you.” Shadow took a few timid steps towards her, and cautiously took the treat from her hand. He then pressed his head into her still outstretched hand and purred. “I think he likes you,” the volunteer smiled. “I think so too,” she said, scratching behind Shadow’s ear. “Is there a reason that he’s still here? He seems very sweet.”
  15. 15. The volunteer sighed. “Well, he’s a fully grown cat, and most people seem to want kittens. Plus, a lot of people are suspicious about black cats. They think they’re bad luck or something. How could such a sweet boy bring anyone bad luck?” “I have no idea,” Desdemona replied. She sat down on the floor, and Shadow climbed into her lap and continued his purring. “I guess this means you’d like to come home with me, huh boy?” The volunteer smiled. “I’ll get you the paperwork to fill out. I’m glad to see him going to a good home after being here for so long.”
  16. 16. That night, as Desdemona prepared supper, she kept one eye on Shadow who was busy exploring his new home. She laughed at his antics as he played with the catnip mouse she had run out to buy while they got Shadow ready to go home with her. She’d only had to scold him once about scratching her furniture, and he’d already proven that he was quite the champ in regards to using his litter box. While she watched TV, Shadow sat with her, purring away. “You know you’re lucky, don’t you boy?” she cooed as she scratched the especially soft fur at the nape of his neck. “I’m glad you’re here too.”
  17. 17. Shadow turned out to be a very apt name for her new friend, as he followed her around the small apartment just like one. He was always waiting for her when she got home from work, doing a little dance where he weaved between her legs as she walked the short distance between the front door and the fridge to get his food. In the evenings and during the weekend when she was busy at the computer with her schoolwork, he would sit in her lap, and occasionally hop up onto the keyboard when he felt she needed a break.
  18. 18. Even though things were better now that she had someone to take care of, Desdemona wasn’t sure that she could honestly say she was happy. She was content; that was certain. She had a good job that allowed her to support herself. School online was going well, and she figured with another year or so of hard work and she’d have her degree. That was something to be proud of. It was only in the area of her social life that Desdemona felt anything was missing. Other than Shadow, she didn’t really have any friends, and he didn’t really count because he was a cat. She talked to her coworkers about trivial things like the latest episode of “Kitchen Disasters” on the Yummy Channel or how their boss was being a real jerk, but she never saw them outside of the usual nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday grind. Would she have liked to have friends that she could hang out with after work or see a movie with on the weekends? Absolutely. But Desdemona was still leery of friends, as allowing herself to get close to people inevitably led to a return of her nightmares. Since she hadn’t had a single nightmare since arriving in Fairport, she wasn’t going to do anything that would jeopardize that streak. If that meant that her cat was her only friend, it was a sacrifice that Desdemona would have to make.
  19. 19. Fairport didn’t seem to have the same draw to the supernatural community that Kingston, but Desdemona still did her best to make sure she was home before the sun set. She figured it was best not to take that chance. So after work every night she would go straight home and lock herself in her apartment until the sun came up the next morning. One day, she ended up having to stay late at work. She’d not really wanted to, but it was overtime and she had a tuition bill coming up that she’d been worried about paying. Thus, it was just getting dark by the time she walked out of city hall. Even though it wasn’t really cold, she wrapped her coat tightly around herself and marched at a brisk pace towards home.
  20. 20. She was near the park where she’d first seen the advertisement that led her to Shadow when she saw her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the vampire stalking across the park. She forced her feet to keep moving, but the vampire was quicker. Before Desdemona could blink, the vampire was blocking her path, studying her intently with her blood-red eyes.
  21. 21. “You there, girl,” the vampire spoke. Desdemona desperately tried to unlock her muscles, but they would not obey. “Tell you father that he is not welcome here. This is my territory.” Her statement shocked Desdemona out of her stupor. “Excuse me?” she managed to stammer out.
  22. 22. The vampire stepped closer until her face was inches from Desdemona’s. “Your father is a vampire, yes?” “How did you know that?” The vampire rolled her eyes. “We can tell these things. Tell him not to encroach on my territory.” “I haven’t seen him in years. He’s not here.” The vampire cocked her head to the side and looked at Desdemona as though she were seeing right through her. “If you are lying to me, I will find out.” “I’m not lying.” “For your sake, I hope that is the truth.”
  23. 23. She’s threatening me, Desdemona thought. Just because she thinks my dad might try to steal her territory or something. Desdemona opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a man’s voice from somewhere to her right. “There you are, honey!”
  24. 24. Both Desdemona and the vampire turned to see a man hurrying towards them. He walked right to her side and wrapped a strong arm around her shoulder. “I was worried when you didn’t come home right away.” She should have been terrified, with a strange man holding her close and a vampire a breath away from her, but strangely she could feel herself relaxing into his side. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you.”
  25. 25. He squeezed her shoulder before turning to face the vampire. “Do you need something else?” “No,” she spat. “Just remember my warning.” The vampire turned into a bat with a puff of smoke and flew away.
  26. 26. Desdemona released a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. Her legs suddenly felt very wobbly and with the help of the strange man she found her way to a bench where she sat down and put her head between her knees. After a few moments of taking deep, slow breaths, she felt as though she could raise her head without fear of passing out. Remembering her savior, she turned to face where he’d been standing. “I want to thank you…”
  27. 27. Her sentence trailed off when she realized that she was alone. The man had vanished. “What the…” she asked as she got up and looked around for any sign of her savior. There was none. “Did I imagine him?” she asked aloud. “No, he was real. I know he was.”
  28. 28. The clock tower on city hall struck eight, and it brought Desdemona back into the moment. Before another vampire or something else worse found her, she turned and hurried back to her apartment. She was vigilant as she walked, her head pivoting in every direction as her eyes scanned her path, watching for another unwanted encounter or any sign of her knight in shining armor. She found neither by the time she reached her building, so she hurried up the stairs and into her apartment. Still feeling a bit unsteady from her encounter and the sudden realization that she’d not yet eaten dinner, she went to the fridge and began to root around for something quick to make.
  29. 29. Shadow heard the fridge open, and he pranced over to rub against her legs. Wanting some comfort, she scooped him up and buried her face in his soft fur. Shadow, who normally loved such attention from his mistress, began to twist and claw at her. “Hey!” she shouted as one of his claws scratched her arm. “What gives?” Desdemona quickly put Shadow down, and he turned and hissed at her before running off to hide under her bed. “What was that all about?” she asked as she put the leftover spaghetti into the microwave. Shadow didn’t reply, nor did he come out for his dinner when she put it down for him. “Whatever,” she told him as she put her dish in the sink.
  30. 30. Realizing that she was a little achy from being so tense, she decided a hot shower was in order. It turned out to be an excellent idea. She lit a scented candle that was supposed to help with relaxation, and let the hot spray work its magic on her tight muscles. After the shower, she put on her favorite pajamas and curled up in bed.
  31. 31. The next morning, she awake to the sound of a cat purring next to her ear. She stretched and reached up to pet Shadow, who began to purr louder. “Oh, you like me today?” she teased. “Decided I’m not so bad after all?” Shadow did not reply, of course, but he did lick her hand. “I’m glad,” she said as she got up and began to start her day.
  32. 32. Several months later, Desdemona was sitting at her desk playing solitaire to pass the time between answering the phone and directing visitors, reflecting. She was still in Fairport, and it was the longest she’d stayed in one place since leaving her siblings. She’d slowly been making was she referred to as close acquaintances, as she didn’t open up enough to anyone to consider them friends. They’d go out for a drink after work, or meet up on a Saturday to see a movie, but nothing more personal than that. So far, the nightmares hadn’t come back, but Desdemona didn’t want to push her luck and allow anyone to get too close. Her online classes were also going very well, and she was more than halfway through her degree. Shadow was his usual affectionate self, waiting for Desdemona when she got home from work and always wanting to snuggle. There had been no repeat of his bizarre behavior from the night of her encounter with the vampire.
  33. 33. Thinking about that night, Desdemona’s mind went back to the unknown man who had stepped in and helped save her. She’d not seen him again, and she had kept her eyes out for him. She thought that was very odd, as Fairport wasn’t that big and there were plenty of people that she repeatedly saw as she went about her business. She really wished she knew his name or something about him, other than the fact that he was very brave and very cute. Where did that come from? she wondered. You haven’t thought twice about any man since…well since. What does that mean? Does it mean that I might actually be ready to rejoin the real world and have friends and boyfriends? “Excuse me?”
  34. 34. Desdemona looked up, and had to blink. The mystery man was standing in front of her, as if her thinking about him had willed him into existence. “May I help you?” she asked. “Yeah, I need to pay my taxes?” “Oh,” she said, somewhat surprised that he hadn’t acknowledged that they kind of knew each other. “Down that hall, third door on the left.” “Thanks,” he said and briskly went in the direction she was pointing.
  35. 35. As she watched him walk away, Desdemona was puzzled. It was clearly the same guy; there was no way that she would ever forget that face as long as she lived. And yet, no sign of recognition whatsoever. Did he really not remember? Or was it something else? She sat up straighter in her chair, her attention focused on the hallway where he’d disappeared. There was only one way out of the building from where he was, and that was right past her desk. When he went past her again, she was going to ask him why he’d pretended they didn’t know each other.
  36. 36. About fifteen minutes later, he came out of the hallway and headed past Desdemona’s desk. She took a deep breath to help her gather up her courage, and spoke. “Did you take care of everything you needed to?” He skidded to a halt, and turned to look at her. “Yeah,” he said slowly. “That’s good. I’m Desdemona, by the way. I didn’t have a chance to introduce myself that night.” “Yeah,” he said again. “I’m Jimmy.”
  37. 37. Desdemona smiled. “Nice to meet you. I wish you’d have stuck around so I could have thanked you then.” “Yeah. I had somewhere I needed to be.” “Oh, of course. Well, I’m glad I got to meet you now and to thank you for helping me out. I guess you didn’t recognize me when you came in.” “No, I recognized you. I just figured…well, if it were me I wouldn’t have wanted to have been reminded of that night.” “Oh. I get that. Well, I was wondering if maybe I could buy you a drink to thank you?”
  38. 38. “Uh, I don’t think that would be a good idea. Thanks though. I…I need to go.” With that, Jimmy bolted out the door, leaving Desdemona with her mouth hanging open in confusion. “What the hell?” she asked. “Well, screw him!”
  39. 39. A few hours later, Desdemona arrived home, mentally and physically exhausted. She went into the fridge to pull out Shadow’s dinner, but when she placed it out for him he hissed at her. “You too?!? I don’t need this, Shadow! I had a shitty day.” Shadow just hissed at her again, and bolted towards the bedroom, probably to hide underneath her bed. “I don’t know what your problem is, but I don’t have the energy to deal with it right now. I’m going out, and I suggest you get your panties unbunched by the time I get back.”
  40. 40. After storming out of her apartment, she walked. Her anger of Jimmy’s rejection and Shadow’s strange behavior fueled her, and she soon found herself in a part of town that was unfamiliar. She’d walked to the outskirts of Fairport, away from the bay, and was near the woods that edged the settlement. It was quiet, which is what she needed, and there was something about the smell of the woods that calmed her. As she got further and further away from the center of town, she realized that she was cold. In her fit of rage, she hadn’t bothered to grab a sweater or jacket or even her phone. She quickened her pace, hoping that it would help her warm up a bit, but it didn’t.
  41. 41. She was just about to turn around and head back towards town when she saw a glow in the distance. It looked like light coming from a window. Deciding to try her luck, Desdemona headed towards it. She figured she could ask them to use their phone to call a cab to get back into town, and maybe warm up a little in the process. She turned down a winding path that veered away from the road in the direction of the light. Once the main road was out of sight, the path opened up to a small clearing with a small cabin in the middle. The glow that she’d seen was coming from a window by what appeared to be the front door. Blowing on her cold hands to warm them, she headed towards it.
  42. 42. As she neared the door, she heard strange noises coming from inside the cabin. There were thumps, grunts, and something that almost sounded like growling. Whatever it was, it didn’t sound very happy, so Desdemona decided to peek through the window before she knocked. It was dim inside the cabin, but there was enough light coming from the lit fireplace that was emitting the glow to see. At first, it appeared that no one was there, but then something moved out of the shadows into the glow, and Desdemona gasped.
  43. 43. It was a creature as big as a person, but it was covered in fur. Its hair was wild and standing up all over the place, and it moved around with a strange lope. The face was still shaped like it belonged to a person, but it had an odd canine quality about it as well. The noise of her gasp caused the creature to look at her, and Desdemona could see that its eyes were a golden hue. They were also familiar, though she knew that she’d never seen anyone with eyes that color before. But it was the clothes it wore that made her realize what, or rather who, was standing on the other side of the glass.
  44. 44. “J…Jimmy,” she stammered. The creature looked at her, and it almost seemed sad. It nodded once. She screamed, turned and ran. As ran away, she heard howling, like the creature was wailing. It was a pitiful sound, and even though it tugged at her heartstrings she kept running.
  45. 45. She ran and ran and ran until it felt like her lungs were going to burst and her legs burned with exertion. Despite the pain, she didn’t stop running until she was on the inside of her apartment door, and that door was locked, bolted, chained and a chair was propped against the doorknob. Once the door was secure, she went to the windows and pulled the shades, turning off any lights in the room as she did so. Still, it didn’t feel like enough. She went into the bathroom, shut and locked the door, and then sank down to the floor where she leaned against the bathtub. She sat there until exhaustion overtook her, and she fell asleep on the floor of her bathroom.
  46. 46. She slept, but it was fitful. Surprisingly, the old nightmare that had haunted her for so long did not return. It was replaced instead by ones where she was chased by vampires, witches, and a werewolf.
  47. 47. The next morning she awoke to the noise of banging. She got up slowly from the floor, every bone and muscle in her body aching from her sprint home and then sleeping on the floor. As she rolled her neck around slowly trying to get the kinks out, she heard the banging again. She got up, groaning as she heard the cracking of her back. “I’m coming, I’m coming,” she muttered.
  48. 48. She stretched herself out as she headed for her door, and stood on her tiptoes to look through the peephole. On the other side, rubbing the back of his neck, was Jimmy. “Desdemona, can we talk? Please? I…I need to explain.” She leaned her head against the door. She wasn’t sure how comfortable she was letting him into her apartment, not after what she’d seen.
  49. 49. On the other side of the door, she could hear a sigh. “Look, I get it if you don’t want to be alone with me. Let me buy you a coffee, and we can sit in the park and talk or something. Please?” It was Desdemona’s turn to sigh. She opened the door. “I’ll meet you downstairs in half an hour.” “Thank you. How do you take your coffee?” “Black. And make it a big one; it was a rough night.” She then shut and locked the door again. As she walked towards the bathroom, she could almost hear the smile in Jimmy’s reply. “You’re not the only one.”
  50. 50. A quick shower later and Desdemona was standing outside her building, looking around for Jimmy. He was leaning against the corner of the building, two large cups of coffee in hand. She approached him, and he handed one to her. Gesturing with the hand that still held his coffee, they began walking down the street.
  51. 51. They got to a park, and they sat down on a bench near a fountain. Desdemona took a deep breath, inhaling the aroma of her coffee before taking a large sip. “You wanted to talk,” she said, looking at Jimmy. “Talk.” “I feel like I owe you an explanation of what you saw last night.” “You don’t owe me anything.” “I suppose not,” he agreed. “But I would like to tell you how I got to be that way, if you want to listen.” “Didn’t I just tell you to talk?” “Okay,” he said, taking a deep breath. “This is what happened.”
  52. 52. “I was working as a natural scientist, studying the wolves in a remote area, far away from anyone else. It was hard work, but it was fascinating. Wolves really are interesting creatures, once you understand them. One night, I came across a wolf that was different from the other wolves I’d seen. It was all black, and it had yellow eyes that seemed to glow. I thought my eyes were playing a trick on me, so I followed it. That was, quite possibly, the stupidest thing I’d ever done.”
  53. 53. “The strange wolf went deeper into the woods, until it stopped as if it knew that I was following it. I stopped too, and it turned to look at me. I swear it cocked its head to the side as if it were asking me a question. I put my hand out, trying to show it I meant no harm. The wolf then trotted up to me, and sniffed my hand. Then, it bit me. I screamed, and the wolf ran off. I hurried back to my camp and got my hand cleaned up the best I could. It didn’t really hurt, which I thought was strange.”
  54. 54. “The next night was the full moon, and as the sun went down I started to feel strange. When the moon rose, I transformed for the first time. It was terrifying. As soon as it was over, I felt a burst of energy but I was also hungrier than I had ever been in my life. I knew who I was, but I seemed incapable of acting like myself. I was meaner, more hyper, and I couldn’t care less about the messes I made when I was transformed. I spent the whole night pacing around my camp, my true self doing battle with the creature I’d become to keep away from anyone who might discover my secret. When the moon set, I transformed back. I felt like myself again, but I was suddenly exhausted. I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until it was late in the day.”
  55. 55. “After two more full moon cycles of transformations, I realized that there was no way I could keep living my life the way I had. If anyone knew my secret, I’d have been shunned or worse, locked in a lab while other scientist performed experiments on me. I faked a family emergency, quit my job, and moved into the cabin that my family had used as a vacation home. It was in a deserted area near enough to civilization that I could take care of my basic needs but far enough away that I wouldn’t run into anyone. I had a few renovations made, such as reinforced doors and stronger glass on the windows. The guy who did it must have thought I was paranoid about keeping creatures out. If he only knew that the creature I was worried about was me, and that the renovations were to keep me in. Since then, I’ve lived a pretty solitary existence, only coming into town to work odd jobs here and there to give me money for food and the like. No one else in the world knows my secret.”
  56. 56. “Except you,” he finished. “Except me. I’m not going to tell anyone, you know.” “I didn’t think you would.” “What makes you say that?” “If you were going to, you would have already.”
  57. 57. They sat quietly for a while, sipping their coffees. “I’m sure you have a lot of questions,” he prompted. “Fire away.” “How did you know where I lived?” she blurted out, causing Jimmy to laugh. “Of all the things you could ask…that’s what you want to know?” Desdemona blushed. “Well, I’m curious. I know I never told you, and I’m guessing you didn’t run after me last night.” “I…I was able to follow your scent. It’s a werewolf thing. Senses like smell and hearing are heightened. Now I have a question for you. Has your cat been acting funny?”
  58. 58. “How did you know…wait, you could smell Shadow. And yes, he has acted funny a couple of times. I have no idea why though.” “Oh, I think I know. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that he acted up the night you ran into the vampire, and the day you saw me at city hall.” “Yes! How…can he smell you on me?” He nodded. “Cats are very perceptive, and they don’t trust us. There was a stray hanging around the cabin that I tried to feed, but it just hissed at me and ran away.” “That is exactly what Shadow did to me. Well, the hissing part anyway. He hid under the bed after that.”
  59. 59. Jimmy chuckled at that. “What else?” he prompted. “Well, does it happen every night? Or do you get a break?” “It happens three nights a month. The day before, of, and after the full moon. The rest of the time I don’t transform, but I have noticed that I’m grouchier after moonrise on the nights where I don’t transform.” “It sounds like it sucks.” “It does, actually.”
  60. 60. Desdemona took another swig of her coffee, not sure what to say now. Jimmy did the same, and then tossed his empty cup into the nearby trashcan. “I’ve given you a lot to think about. I think I’ll leave you now, give you a chance to process everything.” “You don’t need to do that,” she protested. “I think it’s for the best. Can I have your number so I can call you later?”
  61. 61. “I’m not sure about that.” “Why not?” “I just…I have a history with supernatural beings. A bad one. One that I don’t like to talk about. I appreciate you telling me everything, but…” “But you’re not sure you can be friends with a werewolf.” “When you say it like that…” “How should I say it then? Because I can’t think of a way to make it sound good. You have a history with supernaturals, vampires at least, and you don’t want people to judge you for that. And yet you’ve already decided that I can’t be trusted because I’m a werewolf. You could at least take the time to get to know me before you pass judgment.” “Jimmy…it’s not just because you’re a werewolf…if you knew all of it…” “No, Desdemona,” he spat. “I get it. I just thought that I could trust you. I guess I was wrong.”
  62. 62. Jimmy got up and walked away quickly. Desdemona wanted to do something to stop him, but she didn’t think she could move. She simply watched until his figure vanished in the distance, and then she got up and tossed the now-cold remnants of her coffee in the trash. She didn’t really want to go back to her apartment, but she didn’t have anywhere else to go. With one last glance in the direction where Jimmy had gone, she headed home.
  63. 63. After letting herself back into her apartment, Desdemona headed straight for the shower. Even though she’d had one before leaving the house just a few hours ago, she knew that Shadow would be able to smell Jimmy’s werewolf scent unless she cleaned up. Once she was clean, she went back into the main room of her apartment and looked around. Seeing that yesterday’s newspaper was still sitting on the table, she got up and tossed it into the recycling bin. Then she saw some coffee splatters on the counter, and she got out the cleaning supplies and gave the kitchen a good scrubbing. Since she had the cleaners out, she figured it wouldn’t hurt to clean the bathroom, so she set herself to scrubbing the toilet, tub, and sink until they gleamed.
  64. 64. Two hours later, and every surface in her apartment had either been scrubbed or dusted, every dish washed and put away, every sheet and towel had been washed and folded, the floors had been vacuumed or mopped, and all the trash and recycling had been taken out. Her place was spotless, which was good, but it meant that there was nothing left for Desdemona to do. In an effort to keep her mind from drifting to Jimmy and everything she’d learned the night before and that morning, she picked up one of the dozen or so magazines that were stacked neatly on the desk and started to flip through it.
  65. 65. That worked to distract her for about a half hour, but then thoughts of her conversation with Jimmy crept back into her head. She threw the magazine down in frustration. Noticing that her lap was now free, Shadow jumped up. “What do you think, boy?” she asked him as she stroked his chin. “Did I do the right thing?” Shadow looked at her, his eyes seeming to ask her to elaborate. “I mean, I think I can trust him. After all, he told me a pretty big secret, and he did help me out with that vampire even though he had no reason to.” Shadow purred in agreement.
  66. 66. “The thing is, it’s been so long since I’ve trusted anyone that I don’t know how to any more. Besides, I’m not sure I’m really that good at judging people. I thought that Cory and Flynn and Dexter were my friends, and look what they did.” Shadow snuggled closer, as if he knew how much talking about her past upset her, and she stroked his head. “They were my friends, and I thought I could trust them, and they killed my sister. My gut is telling me I can trust Jimmy, but…my gut told me I could trust them too. Biggest mistake of my life.”
  67. 67. She shifted her position so she was lying down on the couch. Shadow moved so that he was curled up next to her chest. She yawned; it had been a long day and night, and sleeping on the bathroom floor had not helped matters. “What do I do, Shadow? Do I trust my gut and risk making the same mistake again? Or do I just push him away? It’s worked before, and it should keep the nightmares away.” Shadow looked at her with his big, brilliant eyes, and she scratched between them. “It might work, Shadow, but I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m really tired of being alone.”