Taming the Cat Ch. 01bykitten101©
Twenty year old Alexia Devon dropped into a crouch to avoid the whip whistling over her head. Her opponent grinned savagely and lifted his hand to deliver another strike. Alex threw herself to one side, wincing as her hip took the brunt of her weight on the hardwood floor. 22 year old Rider Stroke cut the whip low to the ground forcing her to jump again. This was only practice but neither were holding back and Alex did not want to give him the chance to mark her with the whip.
Alexia, Alex for short, usually had long dark brown hair that gleamed red in the right light. She had a long curvy body and was reasonably tall, although her two house mates still towered over her. Males of her species were in general very tall and muscular, they had to be if they were to survive in their world. As Shape shifters both her and Rider had the ability to change into Leopards, her other house mate, Jeremy Madox, shifted into a tiger.
Rider had shoulder length black hair that he wore tied back when training. He had incredible blue eyes, and moved with a grace that hid a deceptive amount of his strength. One of Alex's friends had once mentioned that he had the body of a stripper or a dancer, although to be frank Alex did not see it.
Alex lifted herself off her hands and knees, well aware that Rider seemed to be ahead in this match. She sucked in her breath as the whip lashed in front of her. Ok perhaps not just ahead, more like winning by a mile. She was forced to drop back down to hands and knees after a particularly nasty slash at her throat.
Alex lived just outside of a small town called Fern in the centre of Northern Dartmouth. Her home was an old victorian mansion built on a large estate backing onto acres of lush green forest which she lived in with Jeremy Madox and Rider Hunt. Jeremy had taken her in as a thirteen year old after her family had disowned her. Officially he was her bodyguard and her guardian, unofficially Alex thought of him as an adoptive father. Jeremy was equally close to her, to the extent that he had never told her the real reason for her exile for fear of hurting her. Alex had come up with her own theories on that.
Jeremy had been appointed by the royal family, formally her family, to make sure she caused them no embarrassment. They had gone as far as to send her overseas with him seven years ago to ensure there would be no chance of her interfering with the royal line.
The shape shifters royal Devon Family was located in Aruba and the Changers council - who were the real power behind the royal family and official rulers of Shape shifters and other non human beings - were in Dartmouth. If the human royal family ever wondered why some their Dartmouth subjects didn't seem to give them their undivided attention and worship they hadn't said anything.
Humans did not officially acknowledge the existence of the other beings on the earth, however they all knew how well humans would react to finding they were not at the top of the food chain anymore... It would be war. The Council was responsible for ensuring that did not happen, they made the rules, and punished those caught breaking them.
Rider had arrived in Dartmouth four years ago, aged 18 to be trained as Jeremy's replacement. He was banished in his own way, by lies and rumours around the court about the death of his intended mate. Alex had been prepared to accept him after her own experiences with being cast out, but he had made that impossible.
Rider was raised with the royal family, so his prejudices were made apparent within hours of arriving at the house. In private he had teased her mercilessly and called her names. When Jeremy was around he would ignore her entirely.
Alex put up with him for exactly two days until Jeremy had left for groceries. Rider had called her a barstard telling her that she was so worthless her family hadn't wanted her. Alex punched him, knocking him out cold. When Jeremy returned he found six broken windows, and the T.V room missing most of its drywall. Alexia and Rider were still fighting to the death on the front lawn.
Jeremy had taken one look at the pair, and left them to it. He had figured they were going to do it some time, and he would rather not fix the house twice. He acted as a referee in the weeks that followed stopping the fights before the injuries could get too bad, and after a month of solid fighting Alexia and Rider had settled into an uneasy truce. Much to Jeremy's everlasting relief.
The mansion resembled a war zone, so many walls were damaged - or destroyed completely - they had taken the chance to renovate and modernise a lot of the house. Jeremy had put in the gym, and built himself a large set of rooms on the first floor, well away from the younger members of the household. Alex had claimed the third floor as her own, and Rider, too wary to fight her for it took the second. They had never become close, preferring in most cases to stay out of each others way.
Rider flicked the whip behind himself in preparation for a nasty overhand lash, designed to bring the full weight of the whip down onto Alex's back. Jeremy Madox, a big grey haired man in his late forties, entered the room. "Freeze!" He bellowed. Alex was able to stop with no problems, Rider was not so fortunate, and was only able to lighten the blow as it connected with her shoulder.
Her arms and legs gave out from below her and Alex was left with her body pressed to the floor rigid with pain "This had better be good" she groaned.
"Rider, you know better than to train with Alex, you two don't know when to stop. Last time she was limping for a week." Jeremy growled.
Rider coiled his whip, and cautiously came closer. He was cautious because while most cats welcomed body contact and craved touch, Alex had broken him forcefully of the habit when he had first arrived. He had been accustomed to sleeping in big nests while young but, after several painfully unsuccessful attempts at getting close to Alex, had realised that she had missed out on that particular experience after being banished.
"You'll live Red, its not too bad." He said taking a step closer to inspect the welt on her shoulder.
"Back off Rider." Alexia said tensing and moving to stand again.
"Alexia you're late again. Your bike is out the front, wear a helmet and don't drive like a maniac." Jeremy said. "Also don't get in any fights, don't get arrested, and don't for the love of god talk those girls into doing anything stupid." Jeremy had learnt through experience to be specific when speaking to Alex.
"Thanks, I'll be good. See ya" Alex yelled running for the stairs to change.
Alex left the house in low cut leather pants, a tight faded green tee and a leather jacket to keep the chill away on her bike. She'd left her hair out, curling wildly down her back. After roaring out of the gate (she like to keep Jeremy on his toes) she stayed near the speed limit and was only 1/4 of an hour late meeting Jo and Hannah, who were well and truly accustomed to her habitual lateness.
Later that night Alex twined her body round the nearest pole, using her curves to their full advantage and batting her eyelashes to make her friends laugh. They had been out to celebrate Jo and Hannah getting into university, and after visiting the towns only two pubs and dancing till closing they were heading back to the restaurant they had started at to pick up their cars.
Alexia greatly regretted not being able to move away to college with her friends. The three girls had been almost inseparable since Alex had met them shortly after arriving for the first detention of her life, on her first day at her new school. With her admittedly short temper they were the only humans Alexia was truly friendly with, and she was not looking forward to life after they moved away.
"So are you excited about leaving tomorrow? Are you going to be living near each other??" Alex asked wistfully. "Yeah I can't wait, I'll miss my Mum though." Jo confessed. "We're pretty sure we're rooming together. Are you sure you can't come? There is still time, you'd get in with no trouble with your academic record." Alex grinned noting that she hadn't just left it at school record. "You were a little hellion through most of school, but you topped all of your classes by miles, universities expect geniuses to be a little misbehaved." Hannah grinned at her. "Its an expression of your intelligence..."
Alex laughed "Please! you're telling me that dying the school pool green and adding five litres of dishwashing detergent as a protest to being forced to participate in school swimming was an expression of intelligence!" Hannah interrupted Alex's laughter "In my opinion the intelligent bit was waiting until half the school was already in the pool before adding the dye and detergent."
Alex grinned remembering the look on Mr Lambton's face when he realised he had to tell an angry hall full of parents that their kids would be green for a week. She also remembered Jeremy coming to pick her up from school. She had sat silently the whole time growing steadily more concerned that Jeremy was going to disown her for her bad behaviour as he sat silently through the Principal's tirade. He hadn't looked at Alex once until they were in the car and had driven a block from the school.
She was near tears when Jeremy had pulled over, all ready to beg for his forgiveness when he began to chuckle. The chuckle had quickly grown into roars of laughter, and it was a good ten minutes before Jeremy had been composed enough to dive the rest of the way home. It was one of the only times she had seen the usually gruff Jeremy roar with laughter and even now she still had the occasional giggle about it.
"Thanks guys I'd love to come, but its really not my thing. I'm studying psychology and criminology through correspondence though and that's enough for now." Truthfully Alex would have loved to go to University, but in her circumstances it just wouldn't be possible.
Alexia left her friends at their cars and stopped into the now closed restaurant to pick up her motorbike helmet from the restaurants owner Marcus, whom she had know for several years.
"Did you girls have fun?" He asked grinning "What am I saying of course you did, the real question is did you make anyone cry tonight?"
Alex laughed, "No I managed to restrain myself. Thanks for letting me leave this here, drop me a call sometime if you need a back up waitress" she said as she left. It was a long standing joke with them as Alex had worked for him a few years ago. She held the dubious record of being the only person he had ever hired and then fired in the same week.
Alex rubbed her shoulder as she walked through the dark car park, the mark from earlier was beginning to throb again. Its only 3 am and I'm shattered she thought. Caught in her own thoughts she did not hear the man behind her until it was too late. Big hands grabbed her from behind. Surprised she let the man drag her back against himself. His stale scent reached her as he began to drag her further into the parking lot, heading for an alley on their left.
She bared her teeth, trying not to loose her temper "I think you had better let me go fat arse." Alexia growled, tightening her hand around her motorbike helmet.
"Honey we're going to have some fun. Just you relax and let Tim take care o' you" The fat man drawled.
Alexia relaxed her body, the only sign of her growing rage in her clenched jaw and the white knuckles of her hand around her bike helmet. She held herself in check until Tim had moved far enough into the shadows and pulled her further back against his swollen belly. As his hand moved towards her breast Alexia grinned and swung the helmet.
Rider watched her emerge from the alley from where he had propped himself against her bike. Its unbelievable that Jeremy lets her leave the house without his protection he thought as she walked towards him wiping the other mans blood off her cheek.
Alex, busy trying to remove the blood, only noticed Rider when he shifted his weight off her bike. She scrunched her nose up as his scent reached her "Been out rutting again Rider? This one needs to relax on the perfume a bit I think."
Rider raised an eyebrow and looked down at her with his dark blue eyes "You didn't even realise that guy was there until he grabbed you, an he was moving with all the stealth of a bloody rhino."
Alex frowned and swiped at her face again "You didn't think to maybe say something, you are meant to be my bloody bodyguard. What are you doing here anyway?"
"I didn't do anything because you got all pissy last time I tried to do my job. I need a lift, mine left without me." He noticed Alex's amused grin and grabbed her cheek, licking his thumb and rubbed the last of the mark off her face.
"Missed a bit." Rider leaned forwards and smelt the alcohol on her lips in an oddly intimate move.
Alex's eyes widened and she twisted free of his hands "personal space dog-breath, respect it." Rider held out his hand "you've been drinking, and you're tired, I'll drive."
After only a small squabble over the keys Alex relented and let him drive her home. To make the trip more enjoyable for herself she kept up a running commentary on his driving faults, reminding him every few minutes that she had only had the two drinks and was more than happy to take over. The night ended with Rider slamming the door and nearly getting himself bitten by Jeremy who had been sleeping on the stairs in his cat form, a large shaggy tiger. Most cats do not like to be woken up by force and he was no exception.
A week later Alex gritted her teeth, and delivered another set of punches to the boxing bag tap, tap, Thwack. She regularly used fighting as an escape from her frustrations, taking solace in the satisfying sounds and exhausting workout. In fact she thought, there wasn't much that beating the shit out of something couldn't make me feel better about. She grimaced and turned the stereo up a little more as the screams of Rider's latest conquest reached her sensitive ears. Not that the woman was in pain, probably far from it at Alex's guess.
The music on the stereo lulled as the screams of Rider's woman reached a climax, and the dissolved into giggles that grated over Alex. She gave the boxing bag a roundhouse kick that sent it swinging jangling the chain. With any luck Rider was done, and Alex would be able to return to her room and study, she stepped aside as the boxing bag flew back towards her, and delivered a solid body-shot sending it jangling in another direction.
Music started again, and so did the sounds from the woman. It was unbelievable. She had been going a good forty minutes already, and there was no sign of them stopping. By all rights Alexia should not have had to hear them. With four stories including the attic and many rooms Alex had chosen the first floor gym to escape the noise, the gym being the furthest room from Rider's on the second floor overlooking the forest.
Alex was situated in a large room almost directly above Rider's. It had fantastic views and huge windows stretching right across the right hand side facing the forest. On occasion she had used those windows to escape down the building via a series of ledges including Rider's window.
Hell today she would have taken that rout and gone for a run, the only thing holding her back was the rain. Alex had been terrified of storms for as long as she could remember, it was so bad she wouldn't sleep during storm season for nights on end. She usually sat up all night watching movies until sheer exhaustion made her fall asleep, or the storm stopped. Occasionally when the storms were really bad Rider would join her. She hadn't yet been able to figure out if it was for his benefit or for hers.
The female's screams began again raking at Alex's admittedly short temper. She left the gym, shedding her boxing wraps as she went. Storming through the house she took the stairs two at a time intending on confronting Rider. And possibly ripping his female's voice box out.
Jeremy stopped her on the stairs. "Leave him Red. You're just going to end up fighting again, and I will ground the both of you if I have to."
"Jeremy! He's out of line, I don't mind him bringing his sluts here, but I don't want to have to hear it. Its not fair - I'd never do it to him, and its disgusting." Alex vented her frustration at him. Jeremy looked angrily down at her from under his shaggy grey eyebrows. "Yes Alex but I don't want to have to patch you two up again. If you fight do it without claws, and you can fix your own wounds if you go up there and start it again." Jeremy had acted as referee and doctor on countless occasions before and was not interested in doing so again.
Alex watched feeling guilty as he turned and walked away to his rooms, leaving her on he stairs to make up her own mind. The woman in Rider's room squealed and she heard Rider's throaty laugh rumbling through his door. Her anger intensified and she continued up the stairs telling herself that she wasn't going to fight.
She pounded on the thick door smiling in satisfaction when the noises stopped. Rider swung open the door wearing nothing but a towel. Alex narrowed her eyes at him. She had seen him undressed before but had made a point of not looking put of politeness. Now being so close she couldn't help but notice that his body although naturally slim he was surprisingly toned. It shouldn't have been that much of a surprise, he did work out regularly.
Alex had to work to ignore the sexy scattering of dark hair leading from his belly button to the towel. She didn't want to think about where that trail went. Instead she dragged her gaze up over his sweaty body, noticing a couple of her scars marring his belly and watching the movement of his broad shoulders as he shifted to lean casually against the door.
Her attention moved to his face and she took in his angular chin, his strong sensual mouth finally settling on his remarkably blue eyes. He grinned down at her and shook his black hair out of his eyes. "You like what you see?"
"Would you mind muzzling your slut, I would like to be able to get some work done." She dug her nails into her hand, focusing on her anger to block out whatever it was that was daring her to look lower. "Would you like to join in Alex? I know you're a little inexperienced, but I could make it good..." Rider knew he shouldn't but couldn't help grinning in a way that he knew would get under her skin. He made a point of licking his lips and looked down at her slim figure displayed rather well under her sweaty workout gear. He loved getting her angry, he could almost taste her mood when she got like this.
"You pig!" Alex was feeling very out of her depth. In her distress she grabbed the first thought that entered her head "Like I'd be interested in fucking you. I'd rather be suspected of killing my intended Mate... Oh wait that happened to you... Well Rider, I've been dying to ask, did you do it?"
She saw his eyes widen before he stepped out of his room slamming his door and backing her against the wall. He leaned in, putting a hand either side of her body and moved his face to within an inch of hers. All she could see were his angry eyes.
"No Princess, I didn't kill Shayla. But you already knew that you nasty tempered bitch. Hey at least I had a mate, you, darling will probably be stuck in this run down old mansion with Jeremy, and after he's gone, me for the rest of your life. And its because your mother muddied the royal line by screwing the enemy and having you. How does it feel to know that you will be stuck here with me -" He lowered himself closer to her tilting his head so that his nose grazed her ear and dropping his voice "- because your family can't bear to look at you, because you represent their shame and their utter disgust at your mother spreading her legs for the enemy and inviting them back into the council to destroy four hundred years of peace. How does that feel? To know that every Changer under the council hates you." He lowered his voice again dropping it to just a whispering rumble "Even Jeremy..."