I’m not going to bother locking myself in the cage. I know that he’ll spot me in there if I do. Instead, I travel up to the spare bedroom and await the change. If this bedroom gets messed up, it really won’t bother me. I lay down on the bed and allow myself to drift asleep. The sleep should help ease me into my wolf state.
I wake many hours later to the setting sun outside my window. I pad to the window and place my front paws on the sill, taking in the beauty of the sunset. Below me, I can see James’ car. Someone is with him – an older man. It looks like it could be his father. They are pulling a swing up to the front porch. I hear various tools working to hang the swing on the front porch. I wait until the tools stop to pad down the stairs. I stop at the screen door, wishing I had installed a doggie door years ago.
I make a low bark of frustration before sitting down and looking out the window. James is at his car, about to get in. He suddenly turns and heads up the driveway to the house. I can hear him shouting to his friend that he left the front door open. He stops in his tracks at the front door.
“You just couldn’t wait, could you?” He asks, opening the door. I walk up to him and let out a low whine. He reaches down to pet the top of my head. “Wait here.”
I watch as he runs back to his truck. He whispers something to his companion and they both start back up the drive. The other man approaches, holding his hand out in front of him. He’s allowing me to get familiar with his scent, much like you would a dog. I gingerly sniff the air and his hand. It has a scent familiar to James, suggesting that I was right about the relations between the two men. I place my head under his hand and allow him to pet me.
James heads away from me. He stops a few yards from the river and motions for me to join him and sit beside him. His arm loosely droops around my shoulders and I enjoy the feel of his human arm on my wolf back. His companion has a camera in his hand, ready to take a picture. James smiles and I give the best grin I can without baring my teeth. Wolves look vicious when their teeth are bared. The camera flashes once. His friend takes two photos – one with and one without the flash.
* * * * *
James stays with me all weekend, sleeping in the guest bed, me curled at his feet. It is too hot to sleep beside him like I want to. He keeps me fed and talks to me, trying to make out the meaning of my responses. Eventually, I nudge him out of the room, knowing that I will phase soon. I can smell food cooking downstairs as I drift to sleep.
I wake to the smell of bacon and eggs and travel down the stairs to find James standing at my stove. When I first woke, I feared it had all been a dream. Things can be a bit hazy when you recall them from your wolf memory. But here he is – standing in my kitchen making me breakfast. I look out the window and can see the swing hanging from the porch roof. I instantly recognize it as the swing from the old house.
“Why don’t you go outside and take a look at it?” James asks from behind me. “I’ll be out there in a moment.”
I make my way out to the front porch. The swing seems to fit in perfectly – as though it has been there for years. As I watch James walk through the door, I realize that he is much like the swing that I was sitting on. He’s new to my life, but he seems like he has been here for years. It is so natural for me to watch him bringing breakfast through the door. He sits down beside me and spreads the food between us.
“John, would you want to move in?” I ask him suddenly. For once in my life, I’m seizing the moment and it felt nice.
“Under one condition.” His smile spreads across his face. He has something up his sleeve.
“What?” I ask between bites.
“You marry me.” He says simply.
“The sooner the better.” He replies, pulling me close to him. I lean in to kiss him, sealing the deal.
* * * * *
We set the date for one month later in the backyard of my house. The moon is barely visible in the sky and the stars twinkle around us. All of my friends and his family are present at the wedding. His father gives us a framed photo for a gift. It is my favorite gift of them all. The photograph shows a happy man with his arms dangled around the wolf he loves.
When I climb into bed with James, I find the perfect place for my photograph. I set in on my bedside table. That way, James and his love for me will be the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night before I drift off to sleep. I’m a werewolf married to a human – that’s rarer than you would think – and for me, every moment is like a fairy tale.
* * * * *
Howling by Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.