Animal Instincts Ch. 03byKeme©
I've been a bit slower at getting this chapter out, due partly to a bout of bad health and not wanting to a repeat of what happened with the last chapter. That brings me to my second point of address; I realised too late (due to my own silliness) that I left behind some errors in the last chapter which may have confused some of you.
By this I'm referring to the mix up of names with a couple of characters. I had originally intended for the characters to be named as follows Nathaniel (Jackson), Jackson (Nathan), Chloe (Brook) and Brook (Chloe). However between starting to write chapter 2 and doing the final edit to chapter 1, I decided to swap them around and despite heavily editing chapter 2 I missed a couple of mentions of their previous names, thank-you to all the readers who took the time to let me know.
I apologise if this has caused any confusion to anyone following my story -- rest assured that I don't plan to change any more of the names of the characters introduced thus far.
Meanwhile I wanted to get a little more creative (adventurous?) with chapter 3. Rather than just giving you all the same old thing as other stories in this genre. I wanted to try and see if I could push the boundaries a bit more. Sadly I fear that I may just end up shooting myself in the foot while I attempt to breathe life into my ideas.
Oh and since a couple of readers have pointed out that the change of POV was sometimes hard to decipher I will - from here out - be using an * to break the text when the POV changes between characters in the same scene, I will continue to use the ~ ~ for when the scene or group changes. Please let me know if this makes it easier or harder to follow.
But without further ado - Here it is!
The mammoth smoky black canine restlessly paced the track - the sleek outline of muscles tensing and relaxing rhythmically with each stride, leaving behind indents from paws the size of saucers well imprinted into the soft carpet - from the window to the closet door, around the bed to his man's side, back to the window again. He was as nervous and as agitated as James was at the turn of events; he had personally thrilled that the woman had so eagerly allowed James to bring her to their home, even more so as James seduced her. But what happened after that was inconceivable.
Skye - as his man had called her -- had been writhing beneath them, lost in bliss when suddenly her entire body coiled as tight as a spring and the horrible convulsing had started. Her thrashing had inadvertently broken James' nose, smothering them both with blood, but that had healed in the long hours since.
Returning to James' side, Ka'tah dropped his broad head to rest against the arm of the chair, a low whine escaping his chest. He could feel James' despair filtering through their connection; after she had first slipped into unconsciousness she had at least made twitching movements every so often, however it had now been hours since even her eyes had fluttered. Something was very, very wrong.
James sat slumped in the chair, the constant bouncing of his knee and the incessant drumming of fingers on the arm rest and the desperate way he clutched the soft blue dress belying his anxiety for the woman tucked up in his bed. It was twelve hours ago that she had had her eyes open and had been moaning her pleasure underneath him; now she lay unconscious, her face drawn and slightly pale. How could things have gone from utter perfection to this, disaster?
"I don't like this Ka'tah, why won't she wake up?" The beast lifted his huge head and eyed the outline of the small woman.
I know no more than you see James, as far as I can tell there is nothing physically wrong with her
James nodded wearily he knew better than to question the judgement of his familiar, standing awkwardly he groaned as he stretched the stiffness from his limbs; he had barely moved an inch from the moment this nightmare had begun. Hell he hadn't so much as left her side for a single moment, instead he and Ka'tah had cleaned her up and settled her as comfortably as best they could then began their long wait.
He felt Ka'tah making a gentle reminder to run once the situation had improved -- whenever that would be. Draping the crumpled blue cloth he had been clutching across the foot board of the bed. "I need to make some calls, call me if anything changes."
With a soft huff Ka'tah shook himself as he shifted; his size decreasing dramatically, as with one last wiggle he took on his favourite wolf form, before bouncing lightly up onto the end of the bed. Settling himself to keep watch, his nose nuzzled into the folds of soft fabric of the dress -- the delicate fragrance of her scent teasing his nostrils and placating their wrought nerves.
It had been a quiet day in the clinic; the only even of any interest being two very flustered mothers each dragging their bedraggled and scuffed offspring into the waiting room with a fractured jaw and a sprained wrist, after patching the two boys up and arranging follow up visits the following morning with their mothers rounds with the less hostile patients continued.
Rachael Martin moved methodically working her way around the cages lining the surgery walls -- a slender creamy-gold feline with feathered black ear tips and darker gold and black rosettes down its sides gracefully following at her heels -- checking on the various animals in her care.
Bending down to a large ground level cage, she inspected the latest edition to the clinic, a small creature -- no larger than a small dog with a bear-like appearance she had learnt was called a Fisher. He had been brought in by a local ranger, although sporting some minor injuries the largest concern was how desperately malnourished and underweight it appeared.
Even as skilled as she was, the poor wretch just didn't seem to respond to any of the treatments she tried; if there was no sign of improvement soon her hand would be forced to euthanize the sorry thing, something she had strong views about and only turned to as a very last resort.
"What do you make of him Indra?" The feline edged closer to the enclosure lowering her broad head below her shoulders, muscles and whiskers twitching as she scented the creature balled up on the other side of the bars.
It is a pathetic thing, all I smell is fear. It's not even worth eating.
Rachael frowned slightly at Indra's comment, while absently running her fingers through her beasts' soft fur. She loved Indra more than life itself, there were no words to describe her appearance she was beyond beautiful; but the coldness of her personality was something else. At times Rachael wondered if she had a caring bone in her body, but then she would recall how strongly Indra had pushed her to fight for her place within the pack, not to mention that of her boys.
Your phone is ringing
"Oh" Rachael quickly snapped out of her distraction and crossed to her desk, as Indra sat to bathe herself, checking the call id she wondered briefly why the Alpha was calling her.
"Afternoon James what can I do for you?"
"Hi Rachael, sorry to bother you but is there any chance you could swing past the Manor?"
"Sure, when would you prefer?" Rachael wondered at the obvious tiredness in James voice, but didn't get a chance to question it further.
"It's kind of urgent. I have a bit of a situation." Rachael's eyes widened in surprise, Indra paused mid-lick to watch her; that James had a situation of any kind meant bad news. A nudge at her thigh, found Indra with her medical bag gripped between her incisors; Rachael tossed in a few more supplies then zipped it closed, "I'm on my way."
Twenty minutes later she pulled her car -- a sleek black Cadillac SRX - to a stop in the driveway of her Alphas residence. Although she had abandoned her physical form, Rachael could feel Indra's curiosity strongly through their bond and couldn't help quickly baiting her beast, 'curiosity kills cats Indra,' no sooner had her thought left her did she felt the cat prickle with annoyance.
Rather than wasting time with your ridiculous comments shouldn't you be seeing what James wants?
"Yeah, yeah, come on sour puss," she grabbed her carry bag and stepped from the car; Indra sprang from the car as soon as the door was open, lightly padding across the light grey gravel towards the entrance, tail flicking as she waited for Rachael to open the front door.
Making her way into the spacious kitchen Rachael paused; Indra instinctively leaping up onto the nearest bench top dropping into a defensive crouch, as the unmistakable warning growl reverberated in the air, Ka'tah stalked a few paces into the room hackles raised and ears flattened against his skull.
"Ugh, James?" Rachael dropped her eyes away from the agitated wolf before her, keeping her gaze on his paws. She had never seen Ka'tah so worked up before and immediately her nerves were on edge, if the wolf was this high strung then what of the master?
Moments later Ka'tah gave a low huff, before disappearing back around the corner from which he had appeared; Rachael looked quickly at her cat and gulped as she saw and felt that Indra had also grown more concerned at their unsettling greeting. Stepping into the hall she kept her fingers buried in the cat's fur as they made their way to whatever mystery lay before them.
"Looks like she's coming to" Skye sucked in a breath, and found herself wracked in a mild coughing fit. She felt utterly exhausted.
"Skye! Skye can you hear me?" she tried to open her eyes, but found herself blinded by bright light.
Ugh... Who turned on the light?
"Shit, the blinds..." She heard the soft thud of footstep, a soft whirling hum then footsteps again "Skye, can you hear me
James... why does he sound so upset? Oh god my head is pounding
"Skye try to open your eyes if you can," she squirmed under the weight of the covers, and slowly tried again to open her eyes. Black spots and stars making it impossible to focus on anything more than James where he sat on the edge of the bed wearing clothes she didn't recognise. Gingerly she tried to sit up but a sharp pain flared somewhere behind her eyes and she collapsed back against the soft pillows.
Son of a...
"Here see if she can drink this" she tried to struggle as she felt a cup pressed to her lips, but James held it to her mouth firmly until she gulped weakly at the cool liquid. Why did her throat feel so parched, and her mouth feel like sandpaper?
She wondered briefly at the new voice she had heard, it clearly belonged to a woman, why was there another woman in James' house? Who was she? Why didn't she seem concerned that Skye was currently in James' bed -- naked? Her thoughts whorled around and round, panic edging its way forward with each one.
Oh god, he has a wife! And we... oh god no, no, no!
James shifted his weight on the bed swiftly pulling her in all her naked glory, forward and into his lap before she could even blink; supporting her shoulders he gently traced his fingers in soothing strokes against her cheek. He seemed to sense her panic rising, her breathing coming in ragged gasps as her head spun. She winced as his fingers gripped her chin painfully, dragging her focus back to his eyes
Oh! They look like wet moss...
He smiled as he continued to talk to her, telling her to take deep breaths, to stay calm; that they needed her to stay awake.
"Skye, this is Doctor Martin."
"Hello Skye, can you open your eyes fully for me?" Skye grimaced as the dull light from the room pierced her eyes, she tried to ask them what was going on but her voice was hoarse and cracked; James pressed the cup to her mouth again and she eagerly took another mouthful.
"Are you able to tilt your head up Skye? I have some eye drops I'm going to put in your eyes."
She nodded slowly raising her chin and tilting her head back against James' arm, the doctor made quick work of placing a few droplets into each of her sensitive eyes, before instructing her to close them again and roll them around a few times.
Rachael stood back and watched as the young woman before her did as she said, she pulled a wad of cotton wool out of her bag and tore it into two tufts and handing each to the woman when she reopened them a few moments later. Slowly tidying her things and gathering the rubbish, Rachael curiously noted the way James watched and held her. His eyes never left her face, his lips slightly pulling into a small smile, the way his fingers shook as he brushed hair out of her face.
Taking a deep breath she mentally prepared herself for what was to come, Rachael arranged herself in the chair beside the bed. She watched as the young woman began to noticeably relax as James wrapped her up in his arms, her head resting against his chest, "Skye I know this may be difficult for you, but in order to treat you I need to ask you some questions. I need to know what happened. Can you tell me what you remember?"
"I remember being at the club, with my friends" her voice was barely above a whisper but Rachael had no problem hearing her and nodded for her to continue, "We were dancing, some guy grabbed my wrist, it hurt-" she held out her left wrist and Rachael quickly examined it but could find no evidence of injury, glancing at James for confirmation of the story, she noted he was frowning deeply.
"There should be bruising, I was there when it happened and I looked at it afterwards. She iced it but there should still at least be bruising" Rachael again rolled the slender wrist between her fingers feeling the bones and soft tissues for any malformation, but again found nothing. Grabbing a small notepad and pen from her bag she began to make notes.
"No only her wrist was injured" James replied.
"What else do you remember Skye?"
"Well after that James took me to the bar, that nice barman got me some ice, what was his name again?"
"Myles" James supplied, Rachael nodded and continued to make notes as she listened to James and Skye retrace the previous evening's goings on. Once they had finished she re-read over her notes; there was nothing to suggest any cause as to why Skye had ended up in a relative comatose state, something wasn't adding up. Rachael guessed either Skye didn't remember or she was reluctant to talk about it; instinct told her that the issue was more likely the later.
"James can I have a word with you in private?" Rachael forced back a shudder and silently thanked whatever deity was about that Skye couldn't see the chilling gaze he levelled on her at the moment, as his head whipped up from scenting the pretty bundle in his arms. Rachael dropped her eyes away before adding "It will only take a moment, I promise."
"I'll be right back" James whispered against her hair as he settled her back into the pillows and blankets; he was surprised by how right it had felt having her perched on his lap, now he felt a slight emptiness at not having her wrapped up in his embrace.
"Okay" tracing his fingers along her cheek his heart melted as she smiled up at him, reluctantly he turned to follow Rachael out of the room.
It was two in the afternoon when Natalie sat at her favourite table at the coffee shop, with her caramel latte and blueberry muffin. She was enjoying the peace and quiet munching on her muffin, her thoughts drifting to the previous day. She felt a proud buzz, in the knowledge that she was the only member of her family to actually graduate from university.
But there were other stronger feelings shadowing her thoughts, and taking a deep breath she closed her weary eyes and saw his face dance before her eyes for the umpteenth time since she had left the club.
"Nathaniel" she groaned into her glass as she sipped her coffee, just the sound of his name rolling off her tongue sent the very same fluttery sensations his fingers summoned from her as he had brushed against her skin as they danced. She barely knew the guy yet she couldn't help the reaction, which came every time she heard his name - the short trip to the coffee shop had been evidence to that, she swore that every guy with a name similar to his was in the city today. Every shout, holler, greeting or just random mention of one of those other people had left the same tingle in her stomach until she realised that it wasn't her Nathaniel they were talking about.
Natalie sat her glass on the table as she very ungracefully choked on her mouthful, her Nathaniel? Oh god where did that come from? He was in no way hers, not in the least. He hadn't even seemed interested enough to ask for her number, and she wasn't in the habit of asking. Which meant that she had gone home -- alone -- and now had no way to get into contact with him. She mentally kicked herself for that oversight, but silently resigned herself to the fact that she would likely never see him again.
It was truly depressing because Nathaniel Howlett was every woman's ideal wet dream; what with his sparkly hazel eyes, that easy smile, those firm yet gentle hands with their long fingers and oh god that hard sexy body and the delicious way he had eagerly pressed it up against hers all night as they rocked on the dance floor. He was the living incarnation of Lust.
She shifted awkwardly in her chair, vaguely remembering that she hadn't seen hide nor hair of either Sydney or Skye when she had finally extricated herself from Nathaniel and grabbed a cab home.
Taking out her phone she quickly sent a text to the other pair;
Within a few moments Sydney replied to say she was already on her way and was about five minutes away. A short time later she skipped up to the table and plonked herself down in the opposite chair grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Natalie was about to greet her when they were interrupted by the chime of Sydney's phone, glancing toward the window she watched as a couple walked down the alley outside as Sydney responded to the text message with a flurry.
"So did you have fun last night?"
"Huh" Natalie quickly snapped back to find Sydney staring at her with that same grin, what was with her today?
"Last night? Did you have fun?" Natalie continued to watch as again Sydney's phone chimed to the sound of multiple incoming messages and her friend glanced at them briefly, before digging through her bag for her purse, "coffee?"
"Yeah sure, latte please" checking her phone for messages.
Skye returned with a tray laden with fresh coffees and soft fluffy croissants, indicating that Natalie should help herself. Natalie grabbed a warm pastry and began to pull it apart as again Sydney's phone chimed. "You seem popular today."
"Yeah, Daniel is so sweet" Sydney beamed even more brightly as she quickly tapped back a message. The name seemed to hold a ring of familiarity to Natalie, although it took her a few minutes to place the face that went with the name.
"Daniel, he's the security guy from Dusk right?" Sydney nodded as she sucked excess jam from her fingers, "you didn't go home with him last night, did you?"