Madelyn Ch. 01byFaireSansa©
Thank you for your comments on the Prologue to this story. Yes, that was very short. This first Chapter is fairly short, as well. However, it is much longer than it used to be. I've attempted to make all of my chapters longer, though I really have no idea how long they'll end up once posted.
Currently, this story has 12 chapters mostly written. The last couple are being reworked a little, with more information being added as often as I can. I plan to post one per week until all of the 12 are posted. After those, I cannot say how often they'll be posted, but I will try to post at least once per month, with my actual target being twice a month, until the story is complete.
Madelyn awoke with a start. She looked around her, not knowing for a moment where she was. It all came back to her then, and she smiled faintly. She was home.
Two weeks ago, she'd received a call from her family attorney, Brian Hemming, telling her that at long last, her parents' estate had been released to her by the courts. It had been three long years since her parents died in a tragic accident on their way to another adventure, this time in the Rocky Mountains. They'd been in search of evidence of a creature local residents had spoken about. Some said there were several that lived there. Unfortunately, the fruits of their search were never revealed, as the plane they'd chartered had flown directly into a wall of rock, killing the pilot and leaving her parents so badly injured they died before anybody could reach them. All of their research materials had either been destroyed in the crash or were so badly damaged they couldn't be restored. Now, at age 19, Madelyn was alone in life, except for Brian, who'd always been there for her family.
It had taken her nearly two weeks to finish all the papers she'd already agreed to write, pack, clean the house she'd occupied for the last couple years and find a car that got good gas mileage for the trip to Oregon. Her first impulse had been to just fly up, but she changed her mind over the course of those two weeks. She knew she'd need a car but didn't want or need a large one. When she saw the little xA, she knew that was the car for her. A compact car with four doors and a hatchback, it was neither too big nor too small for her. After loading the car, she'd left the city for good two days ago and arrived at the house just yesterday evening.
When she arrived at the house, she found her room as she had left it. The white furniture stood out in a lovely contrast to the lavender-painted walls. The hardwood floor was covered with her custom rug, white with lavender flowers woven into the pattern. She had explored the entire house, finding everything as it had been left, except the kitchen and the laundry room. As Brian had told her over the phone, the kitchen had been emptied of all food, and the laundry that had been left in the hampers in the bedrooms and bathrooms of the house had been washed, dried and placed on the beds.
She got out of bed, put her robe on, and went to the kitchen to make herself some breakfast.
Passing her parents' room on her way to the kitchen, she sighed sadly, but kept moving. That was the only room in the house she hadn't yet explored since she'd returned. It was still just too painful to go in there. She would, eventually, but for now, she was content to occupy the room that had always been hers.
Pushing the thought of her parents and every other thought other than satiating her growling stomach from her mind, she got busy preparing herself a hearty breakfast, then sat down to eat. Eggs, sausage, and oatmeal disappeared in no time, and she cleaned up then ran to her room to change into shorts and a tank top. Pulling on her running shoes, she left the house to take a run through the woods.
A smile spread across her face as she moved through the trees. The forest was always one of her favorite things about this place. Her parents had owned several hundred acres up here, with the house being secluded enough that it was hidden from all roads, though it wasn't far from the Western-most boundary of the property. It was all hers now and she loved that she could run through her woods, without another person for miles.
She ran for 30 minutes solid before coming to one of her favorite places, a small opening in the trees, with a tiny grassy meadow, and a stream running through the center. She'd have arrived there sooner but chose a more circuitous route today. The call of the wilderness was one she'd felt for too long. While Madelyn knew she had forever and a day to explore her woods again, it was hard to resist staying out here for hours. Pulling off her shoes, she sat down on the pebbly shore of the stream and put her feet in the cool water.
She sat there, listening to the sounds of the forest, for quite a while before hearing a twig break behind her. With a start and a low gasp, she froze, her heart beating faster. She waited there, mouth open slightly, hardly daring to breathe as she listened for sounds of movement behind her. Taking a deep breath, she whipped herself around and came face to face with the largest wolf she'd ever seen. Terror gripped her, and before she could get a grip on her mind and senses, she fainted.
He had trailed her for a while. He loved the way her hair bounced as she ran. Her curves were ample, yet she wasn't very heavy. She was a beauty with her blonde curls and her violet eyes had left him enraptured when he'd first seen her so many years ago. Madelyn had grown into a lovely young woman.
Today, she was heavy with the scent of sweat, but there was another scent, and that one had the man in him excited. She was ready for the taking, but he would have to be careful with her.
He'd watched her house overnight, waiting for her to go for a run. He knew she would, it was something she'd always loved. He'd noted earlier at the store she smelled much the same as he remembered, but in her absence, she'd grown into a woman...a damaged woman. The loss of her parents had devastated her. When he heard of her parents' death, he wanted to go to her, comfort her, but knew he couldn't. And then she left. The man had come for her, took her away, and then a woman came to remove some things from the house, tidy it, and lock up. When she left, nobody returned until Madelyn showed up here yesterday evening.
After running into her at the store, he'd called the pack leader. The leader was interested in this information, but was wary about allowing anyone to approach her, Connor included. The entire pack knew of Madelyn's troubles. He wanted it to be taken slowly and, much to Connor's chagrin, the Council agreed and issued strict orders to all in the pack not to approach her until they gave the word.
Today, though, Conner couldn't wait any longer to get close to her. He'd waited three years to see her again, and now that she'd returned, he had to be near, had to smell her up close, touch her, make certain he wasn't just dreaming she'd returned.
Quickly shifting, he took her into his arms, and walked over to the edge of the wood, laying her down in the soft grass. Her blonde curls spread round her head angelically. Her smell was intoxicating to him. He caressed her cheek then allowed his hand to move down her side to rest on her hip. Conner was tempted to go further, but stayed his hand. Leaning down, he kissed her lips softly then moved away to swiftly shift back to wolf. Hurrying back into the wood, he found cover just far enough in to be unseen, but still be able to watch over her as she awoke.
She woke with a start. Her whole body tingled. She sat up abruptly and looked around her. The wolf she was sure she'd seen was nowhere to be found. Getting to her feet, she realized she wasn't in the same place where she was certain she fainted. It'd been over at the stream, and now, she was at the wood's edge.
A chill ran through her body as it remembered a touch, even if she wasn't conscious of it. As she suddenly found herself strangely aroused, she gasped. Her lips tingled from a remembered kiss and she squirmed as she realized her pussy hadn't been this wet in a very long time. It scared her, yet piqued her curiosity.
She had to get home, and go into her parents' study, perhaps into their room as well. She had to find out what kind of wolf that was, and she had to find out why her parents had chosen this particular place for their home.
Conner watched as the heat spread from her loins throughout her body. He could smell her arousal and smiled as best he could in wolf form. His presence had done that to her. She was his, already, but didn't even know it. He would be certain she remained that way, but wasn't yet sure how he would finally make her his, officially.
When she finally left the meadow, he followed her to be certain she made it home without incident before settling in to watch on the house until sundown.
Before leaving, he raised his head to the sky and let out a long howl, announcing in it his intent to take the human woman for himself, and warning any other who might try to court her not to tread on what he was now claiming for himself. Leaving her house, he made his way back to pack grounds. Once there, he shifted and went to the Council chambers. As expected, they were all present, as was the Alpha of the pack. Many others in the pack were present, as well. They all turned to look at him as he entered.
"I would like to ask the Council for the right to court Madelyn Randell," he said simply.
Two of the Elders smiled, nodding gently. "We have no quarrel with this," one of the two said softly.
"So long as you take it slowly and do not frighten the poor girl," the other continued. "She's been through enough already."
Another Elder added his consent. Eventually, all Council Elders had joined the first three in consenting to his request, save one.
"I have watched Madelyn Randell since the time she was an infant. She has grown into a lovely young woman," the Elder said. Pausing, he bowed his head a moment and sighed. Then, giving his head a slight shake, he looked into Conner's eyes and continued, "She is smart and capable and not to be deceived. If you do court her, as it was foreseen, you must be candid with her. Do not hide yourself, or any part of yourself, from her, once you've gained her trust. I know her well. She will not accept you if you do."
"Yes, Elder," Conner responded. "She will only know truth from me."
After assuring the Council of his intentions, and swearing to see to it she was safe, Conner shifted back to his wolf and made his way through the forest to her house once more. He would never lie to her, yet he wasn't sure how he would introduce his wolf to her. Hopefully it wouldn't drive her away. Only time would tell.
In the safety of her home, Madelyn lit some logs in the fireplace, even though it wasn't exactly cold out. The sight and sound of a fire had always soothed her, though, and she had plenty of firewood so didn't mind having an off-season fire every now and then. Once the fire was blazing, she curled up on the couch with a big mug of hot chocolate. She sat staring into the flames till well after she'd finished the chocolate, reflecting on the evenings happenings after having left the clearing.
She'd heard the howl at sunset, and knew it wasn't a coincidence. In the morning, her search of her parents' room would begin. The search of their study had led her just about nowhere. There were books on dogs, wolves, and coyotes. None of those showed her much of anything useful, even the books on wolves. But, in a turn of what some might call luck, she found one of her parents' notebooks in the study. It talked of larger than usual wolves. The notes said this wolf has no fear of humans, and is often aggressive toward them. It also mentioned that this particular type of wolf is a shape shifter. It went from human form to wolf, as well as forms in between which were unknown to any who researched this subject.
As she read this, the hair on the back of her neck rose. Not long after she'd begun reading about this kind of wolf being a shape shifter, she heard that long howl. The sound spoke to her. She didn't know how, but she knew this wolf wanted something. She did not know what he wanted, though. That fact scared her, but, to her surprise, she again found herself mysteriously aroused when she heard the eerie sound of that lone wolf's howl. It made her feel very feminine, gave her the desire to be hunted and caught. It both thrilled her and terrified her at the same time.
The flames seemed to take on the forms of wolves. The fire wolves scampered through the coals, playing with one another. Her eyes drooped sleepily and before they closed, she thought she saw a familiar wolf there in the flames. In her dreamlike state, she thought she watched the flame form approach slowly, then transform from flame to a solid body. Her brain didn't register it as being anything more than a dream, but it was more real than she realized, only he was never composed of flames. That is what he wanted her to see. As he approached, whispering soothing words, her eyelids closed and she drifted off to sleep.
He stood before her, slowly shifting from wolf to man, and took the sleeping form of his woman into his arms. He carried her through the house to her parents' bedroom, laying her gently on their bed. Moving from the room, he closed the window he'd entered the house through, and then returned to lay down beside her and pulled her close.
"You are mine" he whispered to her before falling to sleep beside her, one arm holding her firmly against him.
Madelyn woke the next morning with a start. Her dreams had been filled with wolves, one in particular, who told her she was his. In her dreams, she slept in his arms and he held her tight before they made passionate love.
She sat up, looking around, surprised to find herself on her parents' bed. She didn't remember coming in here and lying down. It troubled her that this happened again. First, she fainted in the clearing and woke to find herself moved from the side of the creek to the edge of the wood. Now, she was certain she'd fallen asleep in the living room, on the couch in front of the fireplace, but she awoke in her parents' bed instead.
Shaking her head, she wondered if she was starting to sleepwalk, or if it really was something deeper than she understood.
Resolving to not worry too much on that right now, she looked around and found the bedroom was much the same as she remembered it, only their smell was long gone. It saddened her that their smell no longer lingered here.
Madelyn sat on their bed, reminiscing on stormy nights spent between them in that very bed, and watching them packing to leave for that last trip while she was perched on the corner of this bed. Mother had packed their clothing. Daddy packed their equipment. She'd sat here chatting happily about how fun it'd be to go with them. They never had taken her with them, even though she'd begged them to many times. A tear slipped from one eye as she relived their rejection of her suggestion again.
Sighing, she stood and went to the bathroom to splash cool water on her face. Regaining her composure, she started searching the room.
The closet still held much of their clothing. Daddy's suits were still within the garment bags. Mother's wedding dress, wrapped in blue tissue, sat in its' box on a shelf. Her shoes lined up along the floor of her side of the large walk-in closet. Daddy's shoes were all in the cabinet on his side of the closet. She mulled for a few minutes over the thought of packing some of this stuff away for the children she may have one day to see, and sending the rest away. Right now, though, she knew she could put that thought aside. She had more important things to do.
She searched the cabinets of the closet, finding only more clothing, some jewelry, and Mother's perfume bottle collection. Daddy's baseball cards remained in their boxes on the top shelf of his side.
Under the bed, however, she found several binders. One of them in particular was labeled "Werewolves of Oregon" and this one she took with her as she left the room.
As she settled with a cup of fresh coffee and a bowl of oatmeal, she thumbed through the pages of the binder. It contained clippings from newspapers detailing eyewitness accounts of the local wolves from the past century. It also contained stories the local Native Americans told of the wolves of these mountains. All mentioned larger than usual wolves, howls that spoke to them, and disappearances of humans that led people to believe the stories might be true, and that those humans were victims of the werewolves.
Putting down the binder, she retrieved the phone and dialed Brian's phone number.
"Hemming and Associates," a pleasant female voice answered on the other end.
"Hi. Cindy?" Madelyn said. "Is Brian there?"
"Um, no, Mr. Hemming is not here," the voice on the other end said hesitantly. "He has, um, gone to Oregon to visit friends for the week."
"Oh. Well, do you know where in Oregon he went?" she asked the woman.
"No, he only said Oregon, and that he'd be gone a week. May I take a message and have him call you when he returns?"
"Yes, please. Please tell him Madelyn Randell in Oregon called to speak with him. It's about my property here and some questions I have about what my parents knew about the history of it." She hoped she hadn't said too much, but didn't want to be too cryptic to Brian.
"Of course, Miss Randell - I'll be certain he gets the message the minute he steps into, or calls, the office."
"Oh, and Miss Randell, Mr. Hemming asked that if you called, I was to tell you he has three prospective buyers of your house in San Francisco. One is a couple who like the house, but are asking a $50,000 price reduction, so they may carpet the entire house. The second is a student, like you were, and she is asking to waive inspections so she can move in as soon as possible."
"Ok...and the third?"
"The third has an offer of $30,000 less than the asking price on the table. He has no demands, but the offer will expire the day Mr. Hemming returns to the office." The secretary paused. "Mr. Hemming was going to accept the third offer without consulting you, Miss Randell."
"That's fine. I trust Brian's judgment." Madelyn was sure she left the poor woman flabbergasted, but that's ok. "Thank you ... goodbye," she said before hanging up the phone.
Brian was in Oregon?
'I wonder why he would come here and not say anything to me about taking a trip all this way,' she thought to herself.
Shaking her head, she let out a soft sigh and took her bowl to the sink, cleaned up her mess, and went to get dressed for another run. There was no sense in holing herself up, when she had always known she was safe here. Perhaps they were why she was safe? She didn't know, but if they were going to harm her, she figured they'd be able to get inside the house to harm her, no matter what she did to keep them from gaining entry.
She pulled her tank top over her head as she came down the stairs, and stopped in the kitchen to grab a sport bottle then filled it with ice and water.
On the way out, she pulled the door closed, then took off down the path she knew so well. About halfway to her destination, she felt another presence, and she stopped running to stare into the woods around her.