Twisted Tails Ch. 02byJaisen©
I'm glad everyone enjoyed the beginning of this tale. There is more fun and Frisbees in this section. I had my partner laughing tears when I wrote that bit. Please make sure to vote and comment. I love to hear from people!
Vivien sat at her computer. She was trying to decide if she should just dump the whole data base or hang on to it. All that work. All those days spent taking notes for nothing. All those false assumptions. She wondered how many more of them were false. She'd finished her last book review for the paper knowing that her heart just wasn't in it.
She knew for certain that there was at least one shifter in the world and that there were probably others. She also realized that it would do no good to say anything to anyone. The phone call the other night to her buddy proved that succinctly. Andrew was right. She could sound off to the world, and all they would do is label her crazy. It was perfect protection. Well, nearly perfect.
Then there was that second consideration. That kiss. She must have stood there in the parking lot for five minutes. He'd smelled so good. Tasted good and oh the feelings that rushed through her when he pulled her up against him. Her fantasies had been rather predictable for the last week. She shut off her computer without deleting the data base. She just couldn't do it yet. She put on her sweater, grabbed her handbag and went for a drive. She thought about heading over to the mall, but it was too late in the evening. She turned into the parking lot of the burger joint. She wasn't really hungry, but it was someplace to go.
Andrew had been smiling most of the week. Becky just shook her head at him. He had the Frisbee up on the wall above his tools. He was humming softly under his breath.
"I can't believe you shifted for her and played Frisbee in the park!" teased Becky.
"You're just jealous you didn't think of it first," he teased her back.
"That... that would be like playing catch with my grandpa!" said Becky. She was in her early twenties and thought of Andrew as an uncle or really older brother. She had a bit of trouble thinking of him as being playful or silly. "Besides, what would Luc or Ginny think?"
"What would I think about what?" Luc asked as he stuck his head into the back of the shop.
Becky screamed. Luc and Andrew laughed.
"What can I do for you Luc?" Andrew asked when the laughter died down.
"Well, I need a couple of bracelets with bells. Linsey and Elliot are all over the place and I figured it would be easier if we belled them," said Luc.
"Sounds good. I'll have something beginning of next week," said Andrew. He wrote down a few notes and saw that Luc was staring at the Frisbee.
"Andrew, where did you get that?" he asked as he picked it up and noticed the fang marks.
"Umm... I was in the park and a couple of teens were tossing it about and I just wanted to play," said Andrew trying to be nonchalant. Part of him wished the wolf hadn't bitten the toy. The other part smiled, because it showed that it really happened.
Luc looked at his friend. "There's a story here. Tell me over dinner?"
"Bingo Burger?" asked Andrew looking up at the clock.
"Sure. Tell Becky you're leaving early," said Luc.
Andrew put the Frisbee back over his desk and called out to Becky that he was leaving.
"Again?" she asked.
"Yes. With Luc," answered Andrew.
Becky waved him off, shaking her head.
"What did she mean by again? You never leave early unless it's for family," said Luc.
"I'll tell you over supper," Andrew said. They headed out the door and the two men drove their cars over to the burger shop.
When they got there, Andrew smelled something familiar. "Shit!" He walked quickly over to Luc to talk with him before they went in. Luc was on the phone to Meg, letting her know where he was and how long he'd be.
"Luc, I need to talk with you for a few minutes before we go in," said Andrew.
"Why? What's so important it can't wait for five minutes?" asked a puzzled Luc.
"It's about Vivien. She's here. She's who I was with in the park..." he started to explain to Luc.
Luc punched the side of his Subaru when Andrew explained that she worked for the papers and how she'd been stalking people she thought were shifters. Andrew grabbed Luc by the shoulders and shock him.
"Luc, be rational. She's not going to hurt your pups or Meg. I wouldn't have talked to her if I didn't trust her on some level," Andrew said still holding tight to Luc.
"And is there anything else I should know," Luc said through gritted teeth.
"Yes. I. Like. Her. I want to maybe see her and maybe date her. It's been a long time since Ginny. With Ginny and Patrick mated, I need to move on," Andrew admitted as much to Luc as to himself.
Luc took a deep breath. "Fine. You trust her. If she screws up, so help me..." he growled.
"If she screws up, you won't have to do a thing," said Andrew letting his eyes bleed a bit yellower than normal.
Luc nodded. Andrew let go of him and the two men shook their muscles loose. Both were slightly shifted and neither wanted to scare anyone inadvertently. They walked across the parking lot and into the cafe.
Luc placed their order and paid for it while Andrew scanned the crowd. He could smell Vivien, but couldn't see her. A man stood up and there she was. "Be right back," he said to Luc and moved towards Vivien before she saw him. He came up behind her and then slid into the seat in front of her.
"Hello Vivien," he said with a smile.
"Oh Jesus! You startled me!" she gasped.
"We came in for dinner and I realized you were here and came over to say hello," said Andrew. "I've been meaning to get ahold of you and realized I never got your phone number. You haven't been in for ice cream lately either."
"We? Who? Um...Oh, no I haven't. Okay," said Vivien. "Once again, great conversation here girlfriend!" she berated herself.
"Andrew, can you scoot over, I've got our food," said Luc as he tried to squeeze in next to Andrew. Andrew scooted over and smiled as Luc sat down in front of Vivien.
"Vivien, this is Luc Moreau. Luc, this is Vivien Sopris. She's the woman I've been telling you about. The one with the Frisbee," said Andrew. He understood the power play and was okay with it for now.
"Nice to meet you Vivien. Always good to meet someone who's taken Andrew's interest," Luc said with a smile and just a touch of sub-vocals.
"Nnice to meet you Luc," said Vivien. "Oh Shit! Oh Shit!"
"I hope you don't mind that we joined your table," said Luc. He could smell the panic and wasn't too unhappy about that. He knew that Andrew might take it out on him later, but it was worth testing the woman.
"No, I... um. No. Not at all," she said. She took a deep breath and promised herself to make Andrew pay for this later. After she found out just how serious he was about seeing her.
"I wanted to meet the woman who caught Andrew's attentions," said Luc.
"Luc's family and ours have been friends for years," said Andrew around bites of burger.
"Oh. I didn't know that," said Vivien. "What the hell is going on?"
"Andrew told me how you two met and your trip to the park," said Luc.
"Yyes, Did you show him your trophy?" asked Vivien who felt like crawling under the table to get away from Luc.
"Trophy? Oh! The Frisbee," said Luc. "Yes, I saw it. I realized I've never played Frisbee shifted either."
The thought of super serious Luc playing Frisbee made Vivien snicker. His tone had changed in a flash and she couldn't help herself. Then she laughed. "Oh no! Not you too!" she giggled.
Andrew nodded. Luc smiled. The tension at the table lightened ever so slightly.
"Am... am I going to have to go to the park again?" she asked. "Or just buy you your own Frisbee?"
Andrew and Luc looked at each other. Each man tilted their heads to one side and then Luc nodded. Vivien looked at the two men trying to figure out what just happened. She had been certain that Luc didn't like her when they sat down. She had that whole feeling of being growled at without the growl. Then something had changed.
"Um... guys?" Vivien said as the silence got a little intense.
"Vivien, what are you doing on Saturday?" Luc asked.
"I... Laundry I guess," she answered a little unsure of where this was going.
"Well, we're having a picnic up at Jeff's ranch. I figure if you're going to be seeing Andrew, you might as well meet some of the family. Would you like to come?" Luc asked.
"Umm..." she stuttered. "Yes, I'd be delighted." "Andrew, you are so going to have to explain yourself!"
"Good," said Luc and dug into his food.
Luc said his goodbyes soon after his food was gone and left Andrew and Vivien to talk. Partially so that Andrew wouldn't try to thump him for playing dominance games and partially because he couldn't wait to call Meg from the car and let her know that Andrew had a girlfriend.
"What in the hell was that all about?" Vivien whispered at Andrew after the door shut behind Luc.
"He dropped by the shop today and asked me out to dinner. We love this place, and I didn't know you were here until I got out of the car and scented you. So, I had to tell Luc all about things in less than five minutes in the parking lot," said Andrew.
"Okay. Fine. Now what in the hell was it that made me feel like I should roll over and show my belly every time he spoke for at least the first fifteen minutes?" she asked.
"Subvocals. It's what all Alphas, family heads, parents use on anyone they are in charge of or think they should dominate. He was still a little angry when we came in," said Andrew.
"Oh? He's pissy because you told someone?" asked Vivien wishing she could use sub-vocals.
"He's angry because he's the family head. CEO of Alpha Wolf Tech, and has two pups to protect after a long hassling court case which involved a paper you work for. Yes, he was questioning my judgment. He was also testing you. Seeing if you were a loony," said Andrew with more than a touch of sub-vocals.
"Stop growling at me! Did I pass? Is that why I got invited to that picnic? Or is it a way to make me disappear?" asked Vivien trying to make the goosebumps on her arms go down.
"Sorry about the sub-vocals. And yes you passed. You got invited to that picnic because he trusts me and is willing to give you a chance. And while he's the leader of this family, I'm the spiritual leader. He has to trust my judgment sometimes too," said Andrew.
Vivien sat there just a little shell shocked. She took a sip of her drink and thought for a moment. Then it dawned on her just exactly what this meant. "You... you want to date me?" she asked.
"Yes. I didn't have your number. While I could have called your work or 'nosed' you out, I wanted to see you. You knew where to find me, but I wasn't so privileged," he said taking her hand in his and kissing her fingertips.
Vivien blushed to the roots of her fiery red hair.
Out in the parking lot, they exchanged phone numbers and addresses. Andrew got directions to her house and told her he'd be there by 9am on Saturday.
"What should I bring?" she asked trying to figure out what kind of food she should make.
"Well, anything except chocolate. Salads, chips, casseroles or any kind of thing you'd like," said Andrew as he wrapped his arms around her. He was happy when she didn't flinch. While not small, she fit under his chin nicely. He kissed the top of her head.
"Ohhkay," she said softly as she inhaled his scent as she wrapped her own arms around him.
"Oh, and we have to stop at the sports shop," Andrew added.
"What for?" Vivien asked.
"For Frisbees of course!" he said.
Saturday came far too quickly. Vivien almost called twice to cancel. After Luc's reception at Bingo Burger, she wasn't certain that she could cope. She'd been up at 6am, making the taco salad for the picnic. She put twice the meat in it she normally did. Then she took a quick shower and dressed in a pair of jeans, a tanktop and a light shirt to go over it. She put her hat and the two bags of chips next to the fridge. Then she paced. She wrote lists, organized her handbag for the third time and was about to start cleaning her living room when the doorbell rang. Vivien glanced at the clock on her way to the door. It was 8:45am.
"Hello," said Andrew as he walked through her door.
"Hi. You're early," she said.
"Yes, I thought I'd get here with plenty of time. You have a nice house," he said looking around. He took in the books on the bookshelf, the various knick-knacks, the small pile of books on the floor and her laptop on a desk.
"Thanks. I'll just get the salad from the fridge," she said turning towards the kitchen. She headed to the kitchen and realized that Andrew was just behind her.
"Need anything carried?" he asked.
"You could grab the chips and my hat," she said.
"Alright." Andrew took a moment to look around the kitchen too. Clean, tidy except for the dishes in the drying rack. He grabbed the chips and followed Vivien out.
She picked up her handbag and after Andrew exited, she locked her house and headed towards her car.
"Vivien, come with me today. I'm driving," Andrew said.
"Oh. Yes. Okay," she said. "Duh!"
They got into the car and Andrew headed out. As they passed a Sports Now! store, Andrew pulled in and parked.
"Of course! They'll break the ice," said Andrew.
Vivien nodded. She followed him into the store and they found the display of cheap Frisbees. She figured that they'd get three or four. Andrew picked up twenty.
"Do you think you have enough?" she asked sarcastically.
"Well, I'm not sure. Do you think we should get thirty?" he asked in all seriousness.
"What? How many people will be there?" she asked.
"Oh, somewhere between forty and ninety," he said.
"Oooh, maybe thirty then," she said a bit stunned. She grabbed ten more. The check out guy thought they were nuts until she explained that they were going to a big family reunion. He nodded and threw in some tennis balls in multiple colors for free. Andrew paid and they headed out of the store.
"Tennis balls?" he asked.
"Yeah. Those should be a riot too," said Vivien wondering just what she had gotten herself into.
They were almost out of the city when Andrew turned to Vivien as they sat at a stoplight. "Do you have any questions?"
"Tons!" she said.
"Okay, ask," he said.
"Well, is there any kind of etiquette I should be aware of?" she asked.
"Yeah. Dos and don'ts. Don't bring chocolate, Don't piss off Luc, bow?" she listed.
"Vivien, just act normal. Be yourself. Not pissing off Luc would be a good thing. However, your bigger problem will be Ginny," he said.
"Ginny? Which one is she?"
"She's my former fiancé, one time lover and sort of second in command, although there are days I think she and Meg are the real bosses. Long grey hair with ginger tips, curvy figure, and a temper. Patrick is her mate. Big tall guy, dark hair, dark eyes, walks like he has a six-gun on his hip," Andrew said.
"Oh shit. Bitchy-poo and TDD," Vivien said under her breath.
"Um... I had nicknames for everyone. His was TDD; Tall, Dark and Dangerous," she said.
"And Ginny was 'Bitchy-poo' I take it because you saw her in one of her better moods?"
"Yes. Oh please don't tell them about those!" said Vivien.
"No, but I want to hear the rest of them."
"Um, that might be a problem as I don't know their real names," she said.
"Ah. Okay, let's play twenty names... Mine?"
"Silversmith, and Becky's was Gothchick. Your boss is Baldy," said Vivien.
"Okay, Luc and Meg?"
"AWT for Alpha Wolf Tech and Classy," said Vivien. "Then there was Mountain and Midget."
Andrew laughed. "Oh... George may laugh, but Angie will kill you."
"Oh shit, I'm sorry, but I had to have nicknames!"
"It's okay. Just don't use them. Anyone else?" he asked.
"Swish, because he looked so metrosexual. And then there were the two cowboys. Cowboy 2 was always with Wolf Girl. then there was Lanky and his son, and Bitch 1 and 2," she finished.
"Okay, that sounds like Kevin, who is gay, Cal my cousin, Peter and his wife Lisa, Sandy and his son Jesse and the last two.... Blonde and brunette?"
"Yes. Bottle blonde," she said.
"Marie and Ysabel. You got most of the immediate family. Not bad. At least you'll know most of the people who won't be happy that you work for the newspaper," said Andrew.
"Well, that may not be an issue for much longer. I got a notice yesterday. Unless I can come up with some interesting articles, I'm done at the paper," she said with a sigh.
"Oh? I'm sorry," he said.
"It's okay. I've been worried about it for a while, but I don't have one of the juicy editorial jobs," she said.
"Alright. Well, stay by me, and don't be surprised if people are hostile. The papers caused a lot of grief and some of us are not well behaved," said Andrew. "And for that I am sorry in advance. On the other hand, we have Frisbees." He smiled at her and patted her hand in reassurance.
"What do you mean he's bringing a reporter to the picnic?" growled Ginny.
"She isn't coming as a reporter. She's his date!" Luc growled back. He'd been arguing with people all week over this. First they were all smiles that Andrew had finally decided to date. The minute that they learned she worked for one of the newspapers, they were ready to hit things.
"I still don't like it!" said Ginny.
"Don't like that he's dating? Or dating a person who might have been part of the trouble?" asked Luc. He'd figured that Ginny was behind most of the fuss.
"You know which it is!" Ginny growled.
"Oh, okay. You're mad because Andrew is finally dating? Finally found shomeone who makesh him happy after yhou left?" said Luc. He was losing his cool and his jaw was shifting.
"Enough you two!" Patrick said wading into the shouting match. "You, shift back and settle down," he said to Luc. "And you just shut up and give the poor woman a chance! Otherwise, I will take you over my knee and blister your furry ass!" he growled using sub-vocals at Ginny. Ginny flinched.
Luc took a deep breath. He looked around and saw that his immediate family as well as Ginny's were standing far too close. He also saw Meg standing there with the babies on her hips and she was not happy. Whether it was him, Ginny or Andrew's date that had caused that look, he didn't know. What he did know is that he had to say something before Andrew and Vivien arrived.
"Attention! Everyone listen up! I need to talk to you and I NEED you to listen. For once, I am pulling rank! As Family Head, I request that you listen. As many of you may have heard, Andrew has a date with him today. As odd as that may seem, this is a good thing! Her name is Vivien Sopris. She works for one of the newspapers that was part of the lawsuit not too long ago. She was NOT one of the reporters. She was NOT part of the legal suit," he said taking a deep breath. "However, she was curious. Curious enough to start putting things together, just like people have from time to time. And like from time to time, one of us has taken an interest in a human." Luc looked around as he caught his breath. Most people were settling down. Meg was beginning to smile.
"Now, I EXPECT you to treat her with the same grace you would anyone. You didn't treat Meg or Angie in a nasty fashion. You gave them a chance. I expect you to do the same for her. I've met her and she'll be okay given a chance. Besides, Andrew has promised that they'd bring a surprise. And if you spoil that with nasty behavior, I'm going to be REALLY PISSED," he growled with enough sub-vocals to make chests rumble all around him.
Meg walked over to him as the crowd dissipated. She handed him Elliot and then hugged him.