Pipe Dreams Ch. 05byCia81©
Unable to keep her eyes open, Lina fell asleep almost as soon as she climbed into Kane's bed. It was different from the bed in her dreams but just as comfortable. She had lingered in the shower, afraid to go to sleep and wary of the memories that might surface in her dreams but she couldn't help but relax when she was surrounded by the strong scent of Kane the bedding held. She woke up the next morning curled up under the heavy comforter, cuddling a pillow to her. Her dreams had been... interesting, to say the least, but held no memories other than ones featuring the kisses that she and Kane had shared.
Her clothes were folded on a chair near the bed and Lina eyed them curiously. It looked like the unlocked door had been an invitation for someone to come in, even if it wasn't Kane. She slid out of the bed and padded over to the chair. The clothes were clean. Someone must have done that for her while she slept. She smiled and thanked the person in her mind, making a note to ask Kane who had done it so that she could pass along her appreciation in person.
She took another shower and then got dressed. The only thing she couldn't find was a brush. She did find a comb to use. She was sitting on the bed struggling with some of the knots in her long hair when there was a knock on the door.
Kane walked in dressed only in a pair of plaid lounge pants. "Good morning."
Lina froze, her hands stopping mid-stroke. She stared at his chest, struck again by how muscular and chiseled he looked. She suddenly realized what she was doing and looked away. Her cheeks had to be bright red with how hot her skin felt.
"Oh," she mumbled, "um, good morning." She looked down, focusing on the struggle to pull the comb through the handful of hair she held in her fist.
He crossed the room and bent down over her, kissing the top of her head. "Having trouble?"
His casual touching should have bothered here but it didn't. Not in the way she expected at least. She squeezed her thighs together, trying to ease the ache brought on by the simple greeting and his warm scent filling her. "Just trying to get the tangles out. My hair is really fine so I have to use a brush usually. It's a bit harder with a comb."
He took the comb from her limp fingers. "Here, let me try." He crawled up on the bed, sitting behind her. Picking up a handful of hair, he gently began to comb at the bottom and work his way up to his hand. She could see him in a mirror on the wall, a small smile on his face.
Lina was acutely aware of him so close behind her and the gentle movements of his hands.
"So, did you sleep well last night?" he asked casually.
Lina blushed. "Yes," her voice came out in a squeak. She cleared her throat, embarrassed. "Did you?"
"Well, the couch is comfortable," he said. "I did come in to get some pants to sleep in but you were so buried under the covers I couldn't see more than the top of your head. I hope I didn't wake you." He didn't mention the fact that she left the door unlocked and she decided not to either.
Lina shook her head. "Ow!"
"Sorry," Kane leaned forward and kissed the spot where the hair pulled when Lina moved. "I didn't mean to hurt you. Does that feel better?"
Lina laughed nervously. "Yeah, um, thanks. My fault anyway. It's just been a really long time since anyone brushed my hair."
Kane set down the comb, already done working out the knots. He ran his fingers through the damp strands that slid through his fingers and fell to lie smoothly against her back.
"Why? Your hair is beautiful and so soft. How could anyone not want to touch and play with it?" he asked.
A pleasurable sensation from his caress made her shiver. She shrugged.
"Well I enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me." He pushed her hair aside and dropped a kiss on her shoulder, nuzzling her as he gave her a hug from behind. He growled quietly, squeezing her in his arms.
"Are all of your kind this touchy?" she asked, leaning back into him. She didn't know why she felt so comfortable with him but she decided she wasn't going to question it. She resolved to just enjoy herself. Things would work themselves out.
"Am I bothering you? I thought since you know what I am and seemed okay with it yesterday. I just. . . ." He tried to pull away.
Lina felt bad, grabbing his arms and holding them to her stomach so he couldn't step back away from her. "No! It's not that. Jeez, I'm always saying things the wrong way around you. It's just, I noticed that Carrie's husband spent a lot of time touching her yesterday and today you are touching me a lot more than you have any other time. I was curious."
"Oh." Kane moved back on the bed, pulling her with him. "Our kind is definitely a lot more physical than most humans, I guess. We enjoy touching close friends and family. It's not as taboo as it is for most humans; we touch for comfort or to share scents. Things like that affirm the bond between members of the same pack."
"I've never been comfortable with a lot of touch," Lina said with a shrug, "but I like it with you. It's like how I feel about you gets stronger every time we are close. Maybe your pack has the right idea."
Kane nodded, stroking her hair. "That's the bond. The pheromones our bodies emit affect you as well, so while you don't have an inner wolf driving you to claim or accept me as your mate, your natural desire for me would be more focused when we are close. It helps draw our mates to us."
Lina stiffened; his body was making some sort of chemical to make her feel this way? "What? Are you telling me that because you think I'm your mate you are emitting smelly pheromone to make me want you, to take away my choice? That, "she was almost spluttering in agitation, "that's so wrong!"
"No! No, you always have a choice. All our pheromones do is help us recognize our mates by the strong pull we feel for them. They don't actually control us or you. You feel more at ease with me sooner than you might with a regular human and your attraction might be stronger when we are together than what you feel away from my presence but the pheromones can't affect you if you weren't already attracted to me as a mate." He rubbed her arms and shoulders, trying to ease the stiffness. "I told you last night, I won't force anything on you. I promise that I would never hurt you like that."
Lina had tears in her eyes. She could hear the pain in his voice when she accused him of manipulating her, and had to acknowledge the absolutely sincerity when he made his promise. She knew he would keep it; his word meant more than anything to him. In the months she had known him he never went back on a business deal or tried to cheat a client. In fact, he was the most honest person she had ever met. . . About everything but being a werewolf, that is.
"I believe you," she whispered. She relaxed, sighing as she leaned back against him. Turning her head, she kissed his cheek. "Thank you. The thought of having my choices taken from me terrifies me. I can't live like that again, with some guy ordering me around and expecting me to obey him all the time."
Kane snorted, "Well, I'm the Alpha of a werewolf pack. I am used to ordering people around and being obeyed. An Alpha is naturally dominant, so it is in my nature, but I don't want to control you. That's not what I want in a mate. I want someone who will talk with me, stand up to me when I'm wrong and challenge my decisions, someone who is my equal." He squeezed her.
"I definitely want that someone to be you."
Lina flushed. God, he sounded so perfect, what he said he wanted from her is what she always dreamed of having in a relationship with a man. A man who was her equal, a partner to walk through life with. She couldn't say anything though, afraid that they were moving a bit too fast. She needed time to really get to know Kane, the one she'd met last night here in his home. The werewolf.
He hugged her one more time and then pulled back. "I guess I had better get a shower. Carson should be able to shift back by now, and Max has been on guard duty all night. I'm sure he is eager to get home and rest," he said grimly.
Lina's stomach growled. Kane's chuckle made her blush.
"First, we'll get you some breakfast. I smell eggs cooking so someone is probably up. Sorry, I wanted to have a breakfast with just the two of us but our meeting ran late and some of the pack stayed the night."
"It's okay," Lina said, "we'll have other chances for breakfast. Maybe even breakfast in bed one day." Lina bit her lip, a bit embarrassed but she wanted him. He could probably tell anyway with that nose he had.
Kane grinned at her with a wink. He padded over to the closet, taking out some jeans from a shelf and pulling a black polo shirt off a hanger. She looked away when he pulled a pair of underwear out of the dresser.
"Later today we'll run back to your place and get you some new clothes. Angela cleaned your outfit from yesterday; she said that you wouldn't want to run around in just my t-shirt all day."
"She was right. That would be weird, to let people see me in just your shirt, even if it is long enough to be a dress on me."
Kane looked over his shoulder where Lina was busy braiding her hair. "True. Only I should get to see you like that, relaxed with your hair down and ready for bed." He grinned and Lina could practically see the lust on his face.
"Go take your shower!" Lina laughed. "I'm still hungry."
After breakfast they went downstairs to the safe room. Lina went with Kane, though he was reluctant to have her there when he spoke to the errant werewolf. Talking to Carson didn't get them much. His mind was... damaged. He had a hard time focusing until Kane captured his eyes and then allowed his power filled the room. Lina could even feel it as he ordered Carson to tell him about the drugs he took, and where he got them. The man was finally able to say a name. Even a werewolf couldn't heal that much damage in a single night. His street dealer was the only name they were able to get from him, the rest was just broken pleas for more of the drug as the poor guy shook and sweated from the last dose he took.
When they got back upstairs, Kane called a meeting with his betas. Carrie was in the library reading and putting her swollen feet up so Kane took Lina to spend some time with her when he tracked down Mike to pass along the message.
Lina reached up and pulled Kane into a hug. She could feel how upset he was; his muscles were tense. He squeezed her hard and then dipped his head down and gave her a kiss. It was soft and she sighed as she leaned into him, letting him hold her up as they embraced.
The kissed ended too soon but then Lina remembered Carrie was in the room, and she blushed a little. She didn't object when Kane took a step back but she did miss the feel of his body against hers.
"I promise we'll go get you some clothes when I'm done, enough to last until Maggie gets home from her break."
Lina nodded. Kane just automatically assumed that she would want to stay with him more than a single night, but since she did, Lina didn't argue. She knew that if she said she wasn't comfortable with it that he would make other arrangements. He wasn't going to ignore her wishes; he would listen to her if she was uncomfortable.
He just wasn't used to asking people for what he decided should happen. Lina could see it causing trouble in the future but decided to pick her battles. This one wasn't one she cared to win anyway. He was a dominant male and she wasn't sure she wanted to test her will against his yet. Her dreams the night before had been even more vivid with Kane's scent surrounding her in his bed. As scary as it might be in real life, in a dream she was comfortable letting him dominate and take her.
"Hi," Carrie said quietly. She was searching Lina's face, her hands cradling her stomach.
"Hi, Carrie. How are you feeling today?" Lina sat down in the chair opposite her.
"Not bad. The baby is turning somersaults though." She winced as a small bump arced across her stomach under her shirt.
"Oh wow!" Lina said. "I've never seen anything like that."
"Never been around a pregnant woman before?"
Lina shook her head.
"You can feel it if you want to," offered Carrie. Lina nodded. She bent forward, resting her hands on Carrie's hard stomach. She didn't feel anything for a minute but suddenly there was a quick shove against her hand and then two more right after that.
Carrie grunted a little. "Ugh, I think we're going to have a boxer. Mike couldn't be more thrilled." She grinned and shook her head. "Men."
Lina smiled at her and then looked down nervously. "Umm are you . . . well, are you a. . . ." She couldn't think of how to say it.
"Am I a werewolf?" Carrie finished for her. Lina nodded.
"Yes, I am. I wasn't always one though, not like Kane or my baby will be. I was just a boring librarian when Mike found me. He changed me after we fell in love though I wasn't sure about the whole mate thing. I made him date me for a while first. I wanted to have kids and werewolf babies are too hard on human women, our blood isn't quite compatible. Even if it was, a human body can't handle the pregnancy since the babies are so much stronger in the womb than a human baby. We can't shift when we're pregnant but being a werewolf means we heal faster too."
"What? You mean... I would have to..."
Carrie looked stricken. "Oh no! Kane didn't tell you that yet?" She groaned when Lina shook her head. "He's probably trying not to flood you with too much at once. He would have told you, I know it. There's just so much going on."
Lina tried to calm down. Kane had said that he would never force anything on her. He wouldn't make her become a werewolf any more than he would force her to become his mate. She held on to that belief, it was the only thing keeping her from freaking out. She was trying to stay calm but it was a lot to be told in a very short amount of time.
"It's okay Carrie. This is just a lot to take in. Plus with Pipe Dream showing back up again..."
Carrie tilted her head. "Did your dad really come up with that stuff?"
Lina looked down, ashamed. "You heard?"
"We could all hear you last night. Werewolf hearing is very acute."
Lina nodded but put the warning about werewolf hearing in the back of her mind. "My dad was not a good man. I had hoped that stuff would have disappeared when he blew up our house. The way Rat died was... horrible," she whispered.
Carrie rubbed her stomach and looked sad. "I'm sorry; I don't want to bring up bad memories. It's just... what happens to one in the pack affects us all. We can feel each other, in a way, like there is something wrong when everything should be right. Mike was down in the safe room earlier; he said Carson is still really hurt. What if he never gets better?"
Lina reached over and patted Carrie's arm. "Kane seemed to think he just needed more time. He'll be okay. I trust Kane, you should too."
Carrie took a deep breath and sighed. "You're right." She brightened a little, settling in a different position in her chair. "So, anything you want to know about werewolves? I had a million questions before I became one."
Lina cocked her head, considering. "Well. . . ."
Carrie settled back in her chair. "Go ahead, you can ask me anything."
"Is what Kane says true? The whole pheromones thing? Did you have that with Mike?"
"Oh yeah," Maggie laughed. "It made tumbling in the sack so much more fun. Their scent... it revs you up. Though Mike is a beta, not an alpha, so I'm not sure if the power level would be quite the same."
"Alphas are really different then?"
Carrie nodded. "Yes, though I've only met one besides Kane. A few members of a pack traveling through stopped to pay their respects and get permission to be in our territory. The human family of the Alpha's mate had moved to our area. It was pretty intense for a little while but Kane's a good leader and had a lot of control over his wolf.
"Alphas have the ability to do a half shift to the hybrid form, and they can command members of the pack. Just like real wolves, there is a hierarchy among our kind. Alpha's lead and protect the pack, Betas enforce his orders, and the regular pack members obey them all. Most of the time Kane doesn't have to order anyone, he usually reasons with the pack and we make decisions together. He's the core of the bond that makes us a pack. As I said, he's a good leader."
"And you all have lives outside the pack? Among humans? That's allowed?"
"Of course! Quite a few of us work for Jacy Industries but that's not required. As long as we can keep our secret and stay within the territory Kane allows the members to live, their lives as normal as possible. Most of us don't live in the city though."
"Oh no, there's just not enough room. Even here," she waved her hand around indicate the property, "it's enough room to visit but a whole pack of wolves running around and howling would attract attention. We have a town near a big forest about an hour from here that is almost all werewolves, or humans that know about us."
Lina knew that was where Kane has started the Okwa'ho program. She hadn't realized until that moment just how much sense that actually made for a werewolf as a business.
The property around the house in the city looked huge to Lina but then she had always lived in cities. Wolves probably needed a lot more room to run. Plus if they were howling every month at the same time. . . She could see Carrie's point.
"So you all become furry every full moon, huh?"
Carrie chuckled, "Oh no. Well, I mean, we can; we don't have to. Our changes aren't tied to the moon like the myths say. It's just a good time to hunt so more of us would change during the full moon back when times were more primitive."
"Hunting?" Lina swallowed hard. "What do you hunt?"
"Deer, elk, small game animals. Pretty much whatever is in the woods that we can catch to eat."
"You, um, you eat it raw?" Lina tried not to show how gross she thought that was.
Carrie burst out laughing so she obviously didn't do a good job. "Oh, you're great. I haven't laughed this much in ages," she gasped out, holding her stomach as she spoke between giggles
Lina made a face. "Laugh it up. It just sounds so gross!"
Wiping her eyes, Carrie apologized. "Sorry, sorry. I understand your objections. I had them before Mike changed me but the wolf is part of us. The way you feel, and the way you see the world around you changes. It's hard to explain to someone who is wholly human. The legends and stories about werewolf kind are so varied; it creates a lot of expectations in some. Honestly... we're just us a bit more furry with better instincts. We have this other side but we live, love, have families just like regular humans. If anything, because of the pack bonds we are closer and more devoted to each other than most people, but we're not animals."
"What about... umm... the baby?" Lina was staring Carrie's stomach but she could see the baby moving and a sudden thought of the movement being from paws or a snout was freaking her out a little.
Carried smiled tenderly. "That was something I asked Mike too. I didn't want to have a litter of puppies, but it's not like that. Our wolves are part of us but like I said before, we aren't animals we're human too. I have a baby in there, not a puppy. Werewolves don't start changing until they hit puberty." Her hands stroked her stomach, caressing the bulge of her growing baby.
Lina blushed. "Sorry. I didn't mean to get too personal."
"It's fine. There are a lot of things to think about before you become a werewolf, your entire life changes. If I can help you let me know, even if it's just to talk. Having someone to ask about all of this is a huge help since you can't tell your friends or family."