Elaine turns to look at the two men across the street. I watch as she closes her eyes and sniffs. A strand of her red hair comes loose in the wind and flutters across her small, freckled nose. I watch her hair move and marvel at the way she looks. There’s a complicated play of emotions running through my body while I watch. She’s attractive to me – very much so. But, I feel this ache deep in my soul that makes me think of some base emotion – something deeper than love. I can’t put it into words exactly but I want to take her and just go. Her and Stephen. I want to just leave and explore and ignore the world around us. It’s — it feels like life. Like they’re both a piece of me. Perhaps I just want to run away from the life I had now that I’m a woman but I feel a near panic that I can’t identify and it makes me want to run far away. It’s a completely alien feeling but it’s suddenly very strong. And then, like the wind toying with Elaine’s hair, something shifts and the feeling is gone.
Elaine’s delicate brows furrow before she takes one last deep breath. “I’m not smelling anything. I mean, it’s different now with what I can smell. Everything is way stronger but I just smell the city. Smoke and food and a lot of weird stuff. It stinks. Are you sure about them?” She turns to me and pulls her loose hair back behind her ear. I feel my loose hair playing along the back of my neck but I ignore it. Even if I like the way it feels and what it means for it to be there. Stoically ignoring it.
Elaine watches my loose hair like a cat eyeing a loose string fluttering in the air. “We should get you a scrunchie for your hair. Oh my gosh! Can I put a scrunchie in your hair?! The first scrunchie you’ve ever worn?! Wait, is it? Would it be the first scrunchie ever?” Her eyes are twinkling and she’s both extremely excited at the prospect and holding back a laugh. I figure it’s thirty seconds before she’s bouncing and clapping. Or digging through her purse to find some hair band. Do I need a purse? Should I get one? What would I use it for?
I grin at Elaine’s enthusiasm but turn back to the two young men. To my nose, the world is a complex tapestry of smells and sounds, woven together into a massive, moving piece of art. As with paintings, I see the whole and I get a sense of what’s there but some subtle smells have no definition to me. I would have to concentrate to figure out the small detail or hidden meaning and it is so far too difficult at the moment for me to distinguish anything beyond the mostly obvious, “This is a painting of two women lounging with other people around them.” Or, “This is the smell of a city with food vendors and sewage and people and cars and so much more.” I can’t and don’t want to figure out exactly what kind of poop is on the ground to my left. I just know it’s not cat or dog poop. I sigh mentally. Great. I have the super power to figure out what isn’t dog poop. Awesome.
But… there’s a certain smell coming from the two men. It’s an earthy smell mixed with a dog smell. Kind of a dog smell. Almost like a dog that’s been rolling around in something smelly and is possibly also wet but, still a dog. And there’s a slow burning anger. Some other virulent red smell is mixed in with everything else as well. Yes. Red is a smell. Or at least it is mentally now. Blood red. Hot blood red. I’m grinding my teeth from the way they smell. I can’t even say exactly how I can tell it’s coming from them. Well, I take that back. It’s mixed in with the smell of cigarette smoke and boys and… I take a quick look around… Yeah, they’re the closest people except for the ones in the store and that’s a whole other set of scents.
Overhead, a white bird (a quick look up and my eyes focus way better than they used to – it’s a pure white pigeon) is heading straight for us before a hawk swoops in and takes it with barely a pause. Its triumphant screech drills into my ear.
“No. It’s them. And they smell bad. In the sense of something wrong. Well, hell, and bad, too. I think we should just avoid them, Elaine. I don’t think it’s safe. Let’s just let them be.” A strand of my hair nearly puts my eye out as the wind shifts for a moment and I growl quietly. “Maybe I will let you put a thing on my hair. I get to pick the color, though because I’ll be damned if I wear pink.” The door to the Goodwill tinkles open and I turn towards it and then wish I hadn’t – a tsunami of perfume nearly floors me.
Elaine is less affected by the smells coming from inside the store. I’m blinking back tears while she stares mournfully up at me with puppy dog eyes. She reaches for me with both hands and paws at me, like a cat pawing at a door to be let in. “But, but, but. You’d look so pretty in a pink scrunchie! Oh my gosh, please? Please can we?” She follows me into the store, still begging.
I had never realized exactly how much clothing thrift stores have for women until I became one. A woman, not a thrift store. I was happy with my four short rows of men’s clothes. They were easy to go through. One row for t-shirts, another for blue jeans and then two rows for work clothes. Oh god. Work. I need to figure out what I’m doing there. Elaine glances at my sudden stress but I wave her away. Something to think about later.
“Elaine,” I whisper to her out of the corner of my mouth while looking around the miles of women’s clothing. “There are a fuck ton of clothes here.” As I look around at the warehouse sized area, I instinctively find the exits and my eyes dart to see where everyone is standing and what they look like. Mostly older people. No threats. Easy to get out. Large, mostly open area except for the aisles but they’re free standing racks and easy to knock over. Weird. It’s weird. My reaction. Weird and new. Elaine is looking around but she doesn’t seem to be doing the same thing – she’s just gleefully eyeing all of the clothes around her.
“I know! Isn’t it great. Come on – we’ll start with pants. And then dresses? Skirts? Can we?” I can’t look at her. I know the look she’ll be giving me. The pouty lip puppy dog eye. I can’t say no to that shit.
“Maybe. I don’t even know what size I am, Elaine. I was a size 34 before but after, well, after it happened, I went down to a 30 as a guy. When I changed and then changed back. Ugh. I suck at complaining. But, whatever it did, it made me lose weight when I went back to being a man. And, umm, a 32 long. I’m bigger as a woman so maybe 34? 36? And 33 long?” Elaine is watching me in that way people do when they’re letting you ramble on because you’re making a fool of yourself but they’re either too nice to say something or they want to see how far you’ll go.
I watch Elaine contemplate letting me continue on with my little meandering speech but she decides to step in before I make it worse. She lays a gentle hand on my arm and adopts her most pitying look. “I… I hate to be the one to tell you but…” She bites her lip and glances away. “The people that designed women’s clothing never settled on a standard. Sweetheart…” She looks back and the muscles in her face are fighting an epic battle with one side wanting to laugh at me and the other trying to pretend to sob. “You’re fucked. We’ll have to look at all the things. All of them.” Her laugher wins out and I take a non-serious swing at her but she dodges easily. She’s quite fast, even in play.
“Fine,” I growl. “Fine. We’ll look at the damn things.”
Her lips are trembling with barely repressed laughter. “Aww, are you pouting?”
“Elaine…” I start but she holds up her hands in surrender and breathes deeply to cool off. “What sense does it make not to have a standard size? An inch is an inch everywhere unless your tape measure is off.”
Elaine chortles again. “Or unless you’re a guy trying to impress a girl.”
I laugh with her this time. “Oh, shit. Tell me about it, right?” I do a mental double-take seconds after the words leave my mouth. I’m starting to sound like a woman. I was thinking about the people that lied on Craigslist but when I say it out loud, it just rolled off my tongue and I kind of did think mostly about how guys will lie to get in your pants. So far that I’ve seen in my brief stint as a woman. “Also, I need a bra desperately. Or something. A jacket. Sweatshirt. This shirt is driving me nuts with my nipples. And distracting me badly. In a good way. But badly. Everybody can see them. I can barely breathe in this shirt and they ache. Should they ache? I think you guys sucked on them too much. I’m complaining at all but I’m not a damn cow.”
My eyes wander over to the cash register as I survey and I spot an old man giving me an eye. I skim past like normal and then stop as the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. He’s not just looking at me. He’s LOOKING at me. As a guy, I’ve had people glance over at me or look at me because I was in their way or because they were talking to me. This is different. Very different. He’s not moving his head but his eyes are roaming over my entire body and now I’m keenly aware of myself. Aware of my heavy breasts against my chest, how warm it feels where the skin from my tits are touching the skin of my chest. VERY aware of how the fabric of the shirt rubs lightly against my nipples. Also aware of how that makes me feel deep inside. The very absence of my dick and this pussy between my legs still makes me want to reach a hand down my pants to touch myself. Years and years of having a dick is very hard to shake off. All of that is what the old man is looking at. My hips and tits and face. So I stare back. And wait. It takes him somewhere around 30 seconds to notice my glare and then he just turns and finishes his business. No shame or anything.
It bothers me and I can’t figure out why. If I were still a man and a woman did the same thing, I’d probably preen a bit. Perhaps. If she were attractive. If she were older and not my type, I just wouldn’t care. That can’t be it, can it? Is it because the guy is older? Elaine starts off towards a random rack and I follow while I think it over. Is it shallow? Does it matter?
What I do know is that I don’t like the way the guy looked at me. It makes me aware of who I am now. Even though I’ve been very conscious of the way this body feels, I’d forgotten that it isn’t mine. That it isn’t me. Seeing the way the old man stared brings it all back and I feel the urge to find a corner and hide. I feel vulnerable and exposed and, well, naked. I didn’t want to be reminded how I’d changed. Not yet. I was happy just being me in my own little world, aware of who I was internally but not… Oh. Is that what it’s like for women? The whole inequality thing? Listen to me, boiling it down to a simple ‘Oh, right, that inequality thing’ like it’s that simple and no big deal. But, perhaps that’s the edge of it. I was fine being me, the core of who I am and have been still there and then this old fuck leers at me and I’m suddenly reminded I’m a woman with tits and an ass and a pussy ripe for pounding. I nearly growl. Just not from him. I have my mate. My mates. They’re MINE. But now I’m reminded that I’m very much out of my element and I’m a woman. What if I changed back right now? What if it’s all some trick? Ugh.
“Elaine, this old guy-” I stop. I know what I’ll see when I look over at her. She’s excited. I look anyway and, yeah, she’s staring at my tits, too. She’s not even trying to hide it. She’s got this slightly dazed expression on her face and a blush creeping up her neck. I can smell her hunger. “Jesus. You’re both creepy. Come on, Creepy. Help me with finding clothes. I can’t breathe right with this shirt on.”
Elaine blinks at me owlishly several times and makes this little double-handed pulling motion. “You could always take it off, you know? The shirt. I wouldn’t mind helping you with that.” She’s grinning like a mischievous little weasel (still like a playful otter in my mind with her looking and acting like she does – all lean and playful) and trying to play it off like a joke but I can smell her wetness. I know she still wants me. Badly. I can almost taste her in my mouth. The taste and texture of her sweet little vagina. And I can remember the not-so-little she-wolf slinking after me with her golden eyes and red fur.
“Shirts. And pants. Focus, Elaine, or we’ll never get out of here.”
Women’s clothing is a chaotic and infuriating mess and it does not help that I’m six feet tall as a woman. A sturdy six feet tall. Elaine is a whirlwind of arms as she grabs things and holds them up to me. Most things are too tight in the hips or too short in the arms and legs because apparently, women should be 5 feet, 5 inches tall and about 130 pounds and God help you if you deviate from that. Unless you’re 5’5″ and 300 pounds. Then you’re good. Beyond those two sizes, it’s a snipe hunt for decent things that fit. It appears that most clothing manufacturers don’t see fit to market to six foot tall farm girl body type. And the clothing that does fit? Not cute… Whoa, wait. Ummm, mental shift… I meant not attractive. Cute is a weird I use to describe things that pretty girls do. It is not something I use to describe clothing I may or may not be interested in.
So, clothes. I like green. Light green. I will never, ever admit it to anyone else but I like the way a light (but not pastel) green top looks with my blond hair and hazel (a little more golden in the light today) eyes. Sometimes I hold up a top in the mirror and just get enthralled by the beautiful woman looking back at me. I look at her and nearly want to cry at what it feels like. That’s ME. That’s me in the mirror. With the heart shaped face, blond hair and amazing figure. Elaine stands quietly next to me when that happens. Just letting me soak it in. She knows what I’m doing and why. Or at least she can guess and I’m sure her nose is giving her clues on my emotional state.
After much pawing and pleading and puppy dog eyes, Elaine convinces me to try on a dress or two. Honestly, I thought I’d have more of an issue with a dress than I actually do. They’re pretty and they make me look amazing – especially when showing off my legs. Perhaps it’s because I still see the woman looking back at me rather than me as the woman? Or something? As we’re looking, I find a red dress that might fit me. I pull it out to look it over (it’s pretty simple) and Elaine very not-subtly glances my way and then quickly looks away when I ask what she’s looking at. Like a warrior marching off to battle, I hold the dress over my arm and march with grim determination to the small changing room. Without looking in the mirror, I strip and then pull the dress over until it’s completely on. I tug a bit around my chest to settle the fabric and then turn to look.
I picked this out. Not Elaine or anyone else. I did. I saw a red dress and thought it might look good on me and so I picked it out. It doesn’t fit perfectly but it comes close – a little tight in the waist and chest but otherwise light and comfortable. The material even feels good on my skin. I’m not quite sure about the bare arms and upper chest but, damn, I sometimes forget how buff I am. I hold out my arms and turn them, watching the muscles move under my smooth skin. My ass pushes out nicely in the dress but I wish I could walk a bit in the room to see what it does. Instead, I twirl. She does. The woman. Not me. She twirls and watches the way her hair shifts and the dress flares out slightly at the bottom. The effect is nice – especially the way it moves against the smooth skin of my legs and stomach… and my mound. Mound. Such an odd weird. Kind of erotic but kind of really not.
The dress comes off and my other clothes go back on. Elaine is waiting for me outside and I’ve already prepared my stony face. I hand her the dress with practiced disinterest. “This is okay,” I tell her. “If you think I should get it then go ahead. I might wear it if I have to.” Elaine’s eyes are twinkling again and she’s biting her lips. Red faced. “But only inside and only to show you why I think pants are better than dresses.” I pitch my voice into an imitation of regality. “Come, Elaine. Attend to me.” I sniff and swirl away, back to the racks.
To placate Elaine and keep her from pouting all day, I let her pick out one skirt and one dress – after receiving my vague approval. Both happen to be slightly different shades of green so I’m not the only one to notice how nice I look with the color. I get quiet catcalls from Elaine when I come out of the tiny dressing room while wearing the slit skirt she picked. My stony mask crumbles and I blush for her. Seriously. I can’t help it. It’s embarrassing. She even has me turn in a little circle so she can see the whole thing. My little show elicits a ‘hubba hubba’ that sounds odd coming from a small pretty girl. A small pretty adult girl.
“So,” I ask, “Should we find some bras and panties here, too?”
“Oh god, no. No no no. Never buy used underwear. It’s cheaper but so not worth it. You… right. Okay. Your… gah. Why is it hard for me to talk about this? I’ve never had to give the talk so it’s weird to me. Your vagina isn’t like a penis. It’s, umm, picky. Temperamental. It doesn’t just work all day every day. The wrong kind of fabric or detergent or, heck, a different penis can make your vagina all upset and grumpy. And then you’re dealing with a yeast infection or interesting smells and liquids and… oh.” Elaine stops mid-sentence looks down from my eyes.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Can…” She pauses again and then touches my arm. Leaning in close she lowers her voice. “Can you get pregnant?”
Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa WHOA. No. Absolutely not. No. What the fuck, no. I hadn’t… no. But… but what if I can? I’m a woman. I’m a goddamned woman and it’s not for show. I can remember the feel of my guts rearranging. I can remember the rush of emotions and wondering at hormones and other things. Oh my god. Oh my god, no. Stephen. I’ve had sex with Stephen without condoms. I can remember him fumbling for a condom that first night when he was changing into the wolf. I can remember growling at him to hurry and rubbing my sopping pussy against his furry wolf’s cock. I can remember the feeling of his cum flooding me. Loving it. Wanting it. Wanting to taste it. Even now, remembering all of this, I feel my insides loosen slightly at the memory. I feel a flush of desire at the memory of his cock filling me. At the taste of his cum in my mouth. I have no doubts. None. No doubts that I’m fully a woman inside.
“Elaine. Elaine, holy shit. I never even… holy shit, Elaine!” My own whisper is fierce and loud to my ears. “I can’t get pregnant! I mean, I probably can but no. I’m not ready for that. I can’t!” She’s patting my arm and looking around to see if anyone is listening.
“It’s okay. It’s okay. Look, it’s easy. We’ll just use condoms and I’ll see if I can get some extra birth control. It’s tricky because there are different kinds but you can’t just buy them in the store. And we’ll just wait until it kicks in and then… No, hey, it’s okay. Hey.”
My body is in a cold sweat. Birth control. Me. On. Birth. Control. So I don’t get pregnant. What. The. Fuck. Birth control. I can’t. I can’t breathe. I can’t. I sit. Hard. Against the wall. A thousand million thoughts circle around in my brain. Pregnancy. Birth control. Cum. Babies. Nursing babies. Being a mom. Children. BIRTH CONTROL. Elaine is stroking my hair and talking to me in a very obvious “You’re a small scared child” voice but I’m alternating between sweating and having cold sweats. My heart is in my throat and I feel sick to my stomach. My ears are ringing. What if I’m already pregnant? What if there’s a baby right now? Stephen’s baby? Am I going to throw up? Here? Right here in the store? Oh my god. How could I be so stupid? How could I be so fucking… oh. Great. I’m crying. Now I’m crying. Jesus wept. Fat hot tears rolling down my cheeks while Elaine pets my hair. I don’t know how long I’m down on the ground crying but I hear Elaine tell several people that I’m okay and I just need a moment. And, eventually, it passes. Something else kicks in and now I’m just sniffling and rubbing at my eyes. I have to fix this.
“Okay,” I say. My voice is a bit shaky. “I’ll just get a pregnancy test and we’ll use condoms and, yeah. Birth control. Okay. This is okay. I am okay. I’ll be okay.” Elaine’s eyes obviously see the lie but I’ve got nothing else. I’ll deal with what comes and just roll with it. That’s all I can do. “I’m sorry for crying. I feel stupid.”
“Shhh, it’s okay. It’s a big huge deal suddenly. Let’s just check out and go. Maybe we can grab some food, too? I’m starving. And we’ll talk. I’ll tell you all about the stroppy vagina and how easy it is to muck it up. Oh! And then we can go to Macy’s and grab some panties. Yes? Panties? Can I watch you try them on?”
I laugh and feel better. The worry and stress loom large in the back of my skull and my stomach is full of acid but, well, hell, a week ago I was just a guy living out my life. I will take all of these issues in stride if it means I stay like this. Any day of the week. I’d bear the pain of the change from man to woman every single day if that’s what it took. “Wait, ‘stroppy’? What the hell does that mean? What’s a stroppy vagina?”
Elaine makes an ambiguous hand motion. “Stroppy. You know. Cranky. I read it once and I love the way it sounds. Try it! Stroppy. It sounds English and fancy so I use it when I can. And I think it works perfectly fine with vaginas. Wait until you’ve had a yeast infection for no good reason and then you’ll see what I mean. Effin’ stroppy. Is a thing. Stroppy.” More vague hand motions follow her faux accent (English? Cockney?) when she says the word.
“Oh my god! Stop with the stroppy! My vagina is magical and so far from stroppy that it’s… it’s… fuck. Magical. There. I hear ‘stroppy’ and think of like, I don’t know, thick white goopy stuff. I don’t want to even think about it.”
“Well, there is that, too. Sometimes. Kind of. You’ll see. Vaginas are amazing things but they move in mysterious ways. I mean, not really move but they’re odd. And mysterious. And stroppy. But also kind of awesome.”
I storm off while Elaine giggles quietly and makes her little wavy hand motion that is apparently needed to accentuate the stroppiness of said vaginas. Freaking women.
Here’s something new – when I go to check out, I purposefully pick the register with the old skinny woman rather than the younger scrawny boy. Part of me wants to pick the boy’s register just to see if he stares and to stare right back but the larger part doesn’t want to deal with it. Unfortunately, I have to deal with an entirely different kind of harassment with the lady. Behind her stained white counter with an old style register, the lady stands in what looks like a potato sack painted with flowers. She has her hair pulled back fairly tightly and her half-circle glasses sit on the tip of her nose with a chain barely holding the glasses in place. She smells like old woman, mold, stale old forgotten sex, bad breath and prunes. Oh, and something that makes me angry. I’m guessing by the way she’s frowning (she has about 15 million forehead wrinkles), pursing her lips and looking between myself and Elaine that she thinks we’re lovers. And she doesn’t approve. Oh, I get it. Tall, strong lady, smaller lady. Stereotypical. Right in this case but for the wrong reasons. She stares a bit more and then slowly, very slowly checks us out. Not like, checks us out checks us out but scans our items. Slowly.
Past me would stand patiently and semi-embarrassed. But I don’t like the judgment. I don’t like the way she’s thinking about me and my mate. I don’t like the way she’s mentally treating us like shit. I can imagine the crap going through her mind and I don’t like it. At all. So, I hook my arm around Elaine and feel her startle for a moment before she snuggles closer. Her heart is beating fast in time to my anger.
“Hey sweetheart,” I tell her. “Rather than getting something to eat, why don’t we just go home?” I watch the lady the entire time. She hesitates and I see her mouth move in something that looks suspiciously like she’s mouthing the word ‘slut.’ My lips go back in a snarl mixed with a grin and I tighten my hold on Elaine. I feel her fingers dig into my side in response. “And then, maybe I can eat you out instead. What do you say, beautiful?”
Before Elaine can answer, the old lady simply drops our clothes and walks off. She opens a small ‘Employees Only’ door and I hear the muted buzz of some angry, low conversation from inside. I can almost pick out words but I don’t need to – the lady’s tone is very angry. After a bit, a dour middle-aged man with a paunch walks out of the room and heads towards our register. Without an apology or explanation, the man picks up the clothes on the counter and continues ringing up the purchases. He never looks up the entire time. With the last item (my dress… MY dress… weird) scanned, the man takes Elaine’s card, runs it and hands her the receipt. The man tells the counter in front of us to have a nice day but I assume he’s talking to us rather than the counter because I’m nice like that.
I grab the bag of clothes and we leave. I’m actually excited to try everything on again. Oh crap. Okay. I’m excited to try on the dress and skirt for Stephen. There. I admit it. I want to wear the dress with whatever bra and panties we find so I can look like a proper, actual woman for my man. For my mate. My other mate. Jesus. Did I seriously think ‘my man’ like it was no big deal? Now I’m thinking of that thick penis of his and it’s alternating between his human dick and that knotted wolf’s cock and, dear god, I want them both. Badly. Suddenly. I inexplicably suddenly want to feel his cock spreading open my pussy lips. I almost gasp at the sudden need of it.
I put my hand on my chest, between my breasts as I refocus. And then a sudden shouted “HEY!” brings me entirely back into the present. The two men from earlier are closer. They were just walking down the street but the older one is stopped and looking our way. I feel the wind at my back. Taking my scent towards the two men. They’re about three hundred feet away and there’s nobody else around the area. A single car passes in the distance two streets away.
The older man drops to his hands and feet and runs. Clothing tears away from his body to expose fur growing through the gaps. He doubles and triples in size while I watch. In an instant. Clawed feet tear through his Converse sneakers and I catch a glimpse of his dick before black fur grows to hide it away. His friend reaches and yells for him before throwing down his jacket and running, his own change tearing his clothes apart.
So fast. I’ve never seen anything in real life move so fast. I see small sparks where his claws strike the concrete. My heart rate is spiked and I hear Elaine scream behind me.
There has been a few times in my years on this planet where I’ve been actually afraid for my own life. As a teenager, I panicked while swimming in a large lake and almost drowned. When I was a child, I stepped out in the street to chase a ball and I watched as a speeding car came within two inches of hitting me. Both times I was terrified. Not in the sense of being scared while watching a horror movie. No. I mean actually terrified. I felt the black gulf opening before me and had a taste of what it would mean to die. Both times.
This thing coming towards us with a clear intent to kill is another one of those times. I’m terrified. I can taste my own death and it’s a mixture of bile and blood and oblivion. I am a human. I am six feet tall and probably much stronger than a normal woman my size but I am nothing compared to the drooling, raving beast that is barreling my way.
I don’t want to die.
And then I remember. I remember what my uncle told me when he pulled me from the edge of the river – it is how you handle your fear that is the clear difference between bravery and cowardice. I think he got that from somewhere else and I’m very much paraphrasing it but I’ve never forgotten the basic meaning. I repeat it to myself sometimes when facing a challenge.
I don’t want to die. I really, really don’t. But, more than my own life, I don’t want Elaine to die. I changed her and she changed me. She had worked her way into my life and my heart and the thought of her being harmed or killed does this thing to me. This thing where I feel a mini panic attack and my heart skips a beat or two. And I feel the wolf in the back of my mind growling at the possible loss of her mate.
I sprint towards the werewolf and I feel how strong I am. Even as a pure human, I am incredibly strong and light on my feet. Elaine yells for me but all I can hear is my own breathing and the thud of my feet on the ground as I tackle the creature. Well, no, not tackle. It’s immensely strong and it slams into me. We roll together and I try to get my arms and legs around its body so it can’t strike me. For one glorious moment, I have it. I have my arms under its armpits and it’s growling and snapping at me uselessly. And then it flexes and breaks my hold. I fall away and immediately feel a burning pain along the side of my stomach. I didn’t see its claws move but I see my blood fling away from the tips of the thing’s black claws. I think I scream. Or yell. It hurts bad. The sun goes black and I feel rough skin against my face. Rough padding. And claws. And then I want to throw up. My ears are ringing and my head hurts. Oh. Okay. He’s slammed my head- I black out for a moment as the side of my head hits the concrete again.
Thoughts are hard. I want to sleep and throw up and cry. And then I feel the boiling rage. The wolf is coming. Finally coming. I feel a surge of adrenaline and a little tell-tale burning sensation that lets me know I’m changing. Too late. A few more kisses from the concrete and I’ll be dead. Too late to change.
I wince when the sun suddenly blooms into view. A red blur flies over me and then vanishes. The pain in my head winks out and I roll onto my stomach. I’m growling and I feel my canines scratch against my other teeth as they grow.
Elaine. Elaine is there with the other werewolf. My beautiful mate – my beautiful red she-wolf has her fangs into the other wolf’s shoulder and she has a grip on his left wrist as she suddenly slams him down to the ground. He pushes and she moves back, faster than he can follow. Elaine’s red and dotted-white muzzle is a mix of crimson blood and black fur. She’s growling at the man (wolf) on the ground and I see her body tensing for another leap. The werewolf on the ground has his right paw against his shoulder as it makes a hacking-cough noise to spatter blood on the ground. It staggers to its feet and crouches, ears back. Elaine jumps but is taken mid-flight by the second werewolf. This one is smaller than the first but still black-furred. And still larger than Elaine. Elaine and this new wolf land hard and slide along the ground. I wince at the trail of blood and fur they leave behind. He hit her so hard.
My nails are growing out and I can see the fair skin on my forearm darkening with a growth of fur. I’m trying to force the change to happen faster but I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s always just happened before. Elaine and the new werewolf are up and facing each other. The first wolf is on its knees and trying to stand with shaky legs. Elaine growls, stalking slowly towards the second wolf. She’s got her arms down to her sides and her red tail is held nearly straight out behind her. She’s sleek and small compared to the two males but still taller than I am as a human. She’s the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen. I wince as my spine cracks under the strain of muscles growing. Come on! Come on, you stupid wolf! My shirt splits and I feel my freed breasts touch the hot concrete.
The second wolf is walking backwards while Elaine follows. Her slow dance ends when the second werewolf reaches the first. The smaller wolf growls low and crouches beside his fallen comrade. And then, he grabs the first one by the back of the neck and pushes him down, hard. The first one yelps and growls but stays where he is – prostrate on the ground. The second wolf touches the ground with his free palm and lowers his head. Slowly, he picks the first wolf up and they stand. With his head still down, the second wolf makes an odd nod to Elaine and then pulls his friend away. They back away and then turn to run. The first stumbles once or twice before vanishing out of sight.
My change has stopped. I didn’t ask it to do it but I watch my claws pull back into my body and I know it’s reversing. Elaine pads over to me and butts her head gently against mine. I reach up and carefully touch the side of her muzzle, pushing it against my face and then rubbing against her back and forth. I smell the blood on her and feel the stickiness of it mixed with her fur. When she pulls away, her long thick tongue laps at my face to clean it off. I stand and immediately topple over. My side hurts badly and I can’t decide which way is up. Elaine catches me and easily holds me up. Her thick red fur is soft against my breasts and, right now, I just want her to fold me up and hold me tight. My head is still swimming. We have to get out of here. Even as empty as this area is, someone could drive past.
We’re further onto the street than we were a moment ago so I look for the nearest alley and point. It takes a moment for Elaine to understand but she eventually does and then we walk towards the space between two old buildings. Well, Elaine walks on the pads of her feet and I get gently dragged with her. Once we’re deep in the alley, I push away from Elaine and sit back against the wall. She whines and lies down on my lap. Jesus, she’s heavy. And soft. And warm. And hugely comforting. The fur on the tips of her ears tickle my breasts but I ignore them and stroke her muscular back. She’s careful with her claws and I’m thankful for it. Her thick tail is tucked between her legs and she has her eyes closed while her husky breathing slows. My side hurts less and my head is starting to even out. The hearing in my left ear is gone but I think I can hear a faint whining sound with it so I hope it’s not too long before that’s fixed.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I bury my face in the fur of Elaine’s shoulder and cry. Tears of relief and frustration and terror. I almost died. Elaine could’ve died. And I couldn’t do anything about it. She changed where I couldn’t. My body heaves as I cry in quiet restraint. Elaine changes under me. Slowly. Painfully, it seems as she whines with every cracking sound. I hold her tightly, letting my concern and love for her wash away the terror and shame I feel from not being able to protect her. I feel her muscles shift and contract, bones moving in horrifying ways. I wonder that I don’t remember the changes so well but I’m thankful that I don’t because it’s terrible to watch.
Where does the fur go exactly when it pulls back? How do our bodies know what is the werewolf and what is human? Is it some virus? A science thing? Magic? Is the hair just under the surface of the skin? No, that’s nonsense. We’d feel it. It just pulls back and goes away. Just like Elaine’s tail pulls back into her body, fur vanishing with every tug on the base of her spine. Muscles shrink under the heavy sheen of her sweaty body. She’s gasping and whining and kneading at my body for comfort. It hurts but I take it because I know she’s in more pain. Plus, the faint red lines her claws leave seem to vanish quickly. Fast healing. I’m like a sexy Wolverine. With tits.
Eventually I’m able to pull Elaine into my lap to hold her. Her face is the last to change back and she whimpers with each crack of her skull and jaw. Her body is slick in sweat and she feels like she’s burning from fever. It’s a strange sight to see a small woman with a hairless wolf’s muzzle but I still find her beautiful. Mostly. Mostly beautiful. I’m sure I look just as odd so I’m not going to start judging.
Five minutes after she’s fully human again, Elaine’s eyes flutter open. “H… hey you…” She whispers. Her voice is weak but she smiles and I hug her tightly.
I’m about to cry again. I feel them at the corner of my eyes. The tears. “Oh god, Elaine. You were so incredible. I…”
The petite woman in my lap leans over and vomits violently. Blood and food and black fur and some pinkish, greyish thing that looks like skin and muscle spew out of her mouth. She’s shaking and in a full body cold sweat. “I… I… That… I remember… I remember some of it… Is that… Is that fur? Mine?”
“No, honey. Not yours. The other one. You saved us. You should’ve seen it. You saved us.” I hold her head to my shoulder and find myself rocking slowly. My voice is low and quiet while I talk. Her human body is soft against my chest. I’m very, very aware that she’s naked and my tits are out. In any other situation, we’d be breaking things around us as we fucked like rabid wolves. I see the light bit of red bush she has around her pussy and her small breasts are squished against my larger ones. She’s naked and sexy as hell but thoughts of making out and fucking are so far from my mind that they might as well be nonexistent.
“I’m… I’m sorry for throwing up. ‘s gross. Sorry. Mouth tastes bad.”
“We’ll get you cleaned up. Come on. Let’s get home before someone sees us. Come here with me.” The world is where it’s supposed to be when I stand up and I pick Elaine up with me. She’s so light in my arms now and she’s still out of it enough that she doesn’t bat an eye at being carried. I peek around the corner and wait while an older man walks across the street to the thrift store. After another few minutes, I run for my car. My keys are still thankfully in my pants so I’m able to unlock the door and carefully put Elaine in the passenger seat. I almost jump into the driver’s side before remembering her clothes and purse. It takes a moment to find them but I do – torn clothing covered in light red fur. Her purse has a hole in it – probably a claw – and it looks like her cell phone is broken. I take all back with me to the car.
Elaine is out of it. She tosses and turns in her seat, mumbling to herself. I get a huge amount of double and triple looks on the drive home – truck drivers riding higher than my car. Naked pretty red-headed girl in the driver seat and Amazonian large-breasted woman in the driver’s side. My shirt is in tatters from my near transformation and my breasts show through. After the second guy in the truck whistles and honks, I get mad and just rip the shirt off the rest of the way. Fuck them. If they want to look, they can look at all of me. I just wish I had something to cover Elaine. She’s shivering and sweating, tossing and turning as if in the middle of a bad dream.
When I finally make it home nobody is around and I make a mad dash to the door, tits swinging in the breeze. I thought going commando as a guy was odd but being in the open air with my breasts not covered is really, really odd. I kind of like it. A lot. It just feels different. Natural? If I weren’t distracted by everything right now I’m sure I’d have thoughts of sex outdoors. In the woods. Or a park. Against a tree. With Stephen’s dick pressed against my hot opening. Moaning and pressing back on him. Wanting to feel him filling me up. Wanting to feel his hard knot against my pussy, threatening to open me wide until we’re connected and locked in – fuck. There I did it anyway.
Shirt. Shirt. Shirt. Gotta find a shirt. I grab a loose top, struggle to get it on and then rush back out. And then back in again to grab a towel. And out again. I wave like a crazy person at a passing car. I don’t even know them but I’m in that hyper “I’m not doing anything wrong!” mode where I overcompensate.
Elaine is smacking her lips and sitting up, blinking and looking at everything. She grins weakly at me when I wrap her in a towel. She hooks her arm around my neck and kisses my cheek while I carry her inside, cradled in my arms.
“Aren’t we supposed to get married before you carry me up the stairs and into your home?” Her voice is quiet but happy and I relax a lot more. If she can joke then she’s better. “Can I get some water, please? I’m really thirsty. And a toothbrush. God. I would murder someone for a toothbrush right now.”
I set her down gently on the bed before grabbing water from the tap. I have to refill the cup twice. When she’s finishing the third cup, I hear a key in the door followed by the door opening. Stephen’s voice calls out “Hello, I’m-” The door crashes closed and Stephen is in the bedroom in less than five seconds. He’s gone to his home at some point earlier in the day and dressed himself in a black Polo shirt and brown slacks with a brown simple belt. He looks dangerous. He’s breathing hard and I can smell his anger. His eyes are flashing golden and his canine teeth are far sharper than they should be. He stands at the door opening and closing his large hands. Hands that held me down. Hands that held my hips as he mounted his mate.
“What happened?” His voice is flat and gravely; nearly a growl. “Something happened. Tell me. I smell the blood and the other smells. Wolves. I smell wolves and pain.”
As I watch, he grows a five o’clock shadow and his eyes turn solid gold.
I remember the last time I saw Stephen. Him awkward and hesitant, very much not his normal confident self. Standing near the door. Wanting something. Needing something. I was mad. For a stupid reason. Not stupid at the time – a man calling me sweetheart was not what I wanted to hear right then.
Now? It’s been a morning and that’s a fact. I feel a tug again. This man – I’ve thought of him a lot this morning. I can see and smell his concern. His anger. I know he’d do whatever he needed to do to protect us. Just as I would. Just as I did. As I tried to do. Their lives before mine. I don’t know whether it’s the wolf and her pack instinct or my own love for the two but I would die if it meant saving them.
Again. Again I feel the sudden urge to run. To take them both and leave. I feel my heart in my throat and I have an intense feeling of… wrongness. Not with them but with the world. I have a mini dream of packing the car and driving until we reach the ocean. They would go if I asked. I know they would. They would drop everything and just… go. For me. The feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach is a near physical sensation but I push it away.
I have taken this man and woman and remade them. They are mine. They look to me and I will provide for them. God help me, I love them both.
And, in my own head, never to be said aloud, I will admit a truth. For a brief moment earlier in the day, during the crying fit that I had, I felt a warmness at the idea of being a mother. At being a mother to Stephen’s child. In all the thoughts whirling and swirling around as I cried and panicked, I saw myself with a big belly and even heavier breasts. I lived a short life in my head where I was cranky and demanded weird foods. I saw the birth of my child and a small baby reaching for me. Calling me ‘mama.’ I couldn’t not see it after thinking about being pregnant. I lived this life in brief seconds and it made me feel happy for a fleeting moment. Stephen’s child. And Elaine, Stephen and I would raise him or her and perhaps Elaine would be pregnant as well. And would that be so terrible? No, I’m not ready for that right now but I saw, in my mind’s eye, the way Stephen would grin and hold our baby up high.
And now he stands before me, furious and waiting.
I go to him. I know what he waited for this morning. What he awkwardly wanted before he left. I kiss him. Without hesitating. Without wondering whether I’m a man or a woman. This is my mate. This is my man. He is worried and stressed and I will calm him. Because I love him. Because I want him to relax. Because I don’t want him to worry. Mostly, because I love him. He is surprised – very surprised. But, his arms wrap around me and I can feel his anger fade as our tongues meet. I feel a sense of completion. We’re all here. I pull back and feel Stephen’s arms tighten briefly before he lets me go. I press my forehead against his (we’re nearly the same height) and then rub my cheek on his cheek. His beard is scratchy but feels good against my smooth, soft skin.
I whisper to him as we rub cheeks. “Welcome home, love.” The word feels alien on my tongue. I’ve never in my life called someone ‘love.’ I’ve used ‘sweetheart’ and such but, to me, ‘love’ is a term a woman uses. Of course, well, I’m a woman. And I’m probably generalizing and being sexist or something. “Lie down with us and we’ll tell you what happened. We’re okay. Just lie with us.” I strip naked and, after a moment, Stephen also strips.
I want him but, more than that, Elaine needs us. And, honestly? I need both of them and their touch right now. I lead him to the bed and pull him down to the side of Elaine. I lie on the other side of her and we hug her close, our hands touching and twining together as I tell him what happened. His hand grips mine painfully towards the end but he stays calm. Mostly calm.
“What do we do,” he asks. “Will it happen again? What should we do?” We’re whispering, stroking Elaine’s body and each other.
“I don’t know. It’s a big city and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s more of us. More like us. I mean, if we exist then it follows that we can’t be the only ones. But-” I stop. There’s a scratching at the window near the bed. A squirrel is standing at the window, slowly scratching up and down against the glass. A small white tube is tied around its waist. I sit up on my elbows, breasts falling across my chest. “What the fuck is that squirrel doing? Is everyone else seeing this?”
Stephen nods and Elaine’s eyes sparkle. “Oh my gosh! Can we keep it? Can we let it in?!”
The squirrel continues to slowly scratch up and down over and over. What the hell, right? It’s a squirrel. We can handle a squirrel, right? Unless it gets loose and the wolves decide they want to chase and play. That can’t happen, right? The window sticks sometimes but I’m pretty damn strong these days so I pop it open. The squirrel’s paw drops and it just stands there, staring straight at me. The tube around its waist looks like a small piece of paper so I grab it. As soon as I take it off of the little thing, the squirrel blinks rapidly, screeches and runs away. I hear Elaine’s “awwwww!” behind me but I’m reading the note and not paying attention.
“Just when I thought things couldn’t get any stranger,” I tell both of them. I clear my throat with an overly dramatic ‘ahem.’ “Dear Sir or Madame. Heh.” I look at both of them. “The ‘heh’ is actually written down on the paper.” They frown so I continue reading. “Your presence is requested in one hour at St. John’s Park. Please find me on a bench facing the duck pond. I like the ducks. Bring your two friends. Questions will be answered if you wish to ask.” I look at Stephen and Elaine. They’re both sitting up, staring. Waiting for me.
I’ve wondered about that. Why? Why do they look to me. Stephen is older and wiser and smarter. Elaine… okay, Elaine is just fucking adorable but she’s also got a good bit of common sense. But more that I want to snuggle the fuck out of her. If I were smart, I’d just give over to Stephen and let him handle everything. I just… I don’t think I can. I don’t think I want to do that. I’m not sure the wolf would let me. I feel it in the back of my brain. Sitting. Watching. I know that since this all started, I’ve been way more aggressive than I used to be. Like with the cashier, I feel like pushing and challenging people. I like being in charge. I just don’t understand it. Not yet. Besides, I can always get Stephen’s opinion if I need it.
So, fine, it’s up to me. A hypnotized squirrel just tracked me down and handed me a note. What else can I do?
I look at the note and then back to them. “I guess we’re going out.”