So, here we are at the end of my NaStyRoMo attempt. J Before you all disappear back to your lives I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this. It’s been such a pleasure to write, and I certainly hope that it was a pleasure to read. This was my attempt at Romance, but, lol, needless to say – I’m not terribly good at it. I tell a story, with different aspects of life woven into it. Thank you for baring with me, for sharing with me and for allowing me to read your things in return (you NaSty Nine you). I hope most of you will return on the odd occasion to see what I’m up to. 😉
If you want to read more of my stories – the only place I can direct you to is Fan Fiction.net. My page is: www.fanfiction.net/~alyssc01 There’s something for everybody there and – if you want to read more f/f stories in particulary, I’d point you towards the two – The Touch of Green Fire and it’s sequel, The Healer’s Touch. Even if you are not familiar with the cartoon, the story (I’ve been told) is pretty self explanatory.
Thank you again. Without anymore delay – I present to you the last part of Bitten.
Bitten – Finale
Into the Future…
Antonio was waiting in the truck, but he had turned up the music and was paging through a magazine, his way to give them privacy as they said their farewell. Technically, they had already done so the night before and the morning when they got up, using their time together to speak about what had happened, but more importantly, to be together in a way that only lovers could. Vaughn felt sad to be leaving, but she knew that for the moment, she had to return to her life in town, settle her things, think about life and then make a decision as to how she was going to live with her new found outlook on the world.
She was also going to have to leave town for a while, reinstate contact with the family she had neglected ever since moving here and see the doctor Francis had recommended to try and have her scarring reduced. Like Francis, she didn’t want to send the wrong message. It was hard, and exhilarating, and frightening, but Vaughn knew that for the first time, she had to take some responsibility.
She looked at Francis as she stood at the bottom of the steps on her porch, her arms crossed over her chest even though her face seemed calm and serene.
“You never told me why you’re here,” she said, sensing Vaughn’s thoughts. “What you’re doing in this one horse town.”
Vaughn smiled and shifted, refraining from scratching at her healing wound. “I guess, like everybody, I was running,” she said lightly as she bend down and spread her hands, inviting Romulus to a farewell hug. He came over with his wolf-like smile and pushed his body against her. ‘I’ll protect her,’ he said to which Vaughn hugged him gratefully.
“Thank you,” she said softly. “I appreciate it.” She rubbed his back, mindful of his healing wounds, then stood up to look at Francis again. “But I think the difference between me and everybody else as that I was running towards something. Not away.”
Francis raised an eyebrow and smiled, curious about her words. “And, what were you running towards?”
Vaughn’s answer was in her smile. ‘You.’
Francis blinked surprised then dropped her gaze, embarrassed but clearly pleased. “And I’ve been waiting,” she said softly. “As I will wait again.”
Unable to help herself, not caring what Antonio read in the gesture, she leaned forward and carefully hugged her lover. “I’m coming back,” she said. “As I told you, in order to do that though, I have to leave a bit. I need to put things back into perspective. So much has changed Francis and this last change certainly pulled the mat out from under me. I need distance from the forest to think about this, distance from the wolves. I’m not sure what my thoughts and needs are at this stage. Before I decide to do anything, I have to figure that out. But,” she held her more tightly, “I am coming back.”
Francis nodded, briefly burying her head in Vaughn’s neck. “I know,” she said. “As I told you, I have hope. You haven’t even howled with us yet.”
Vaughn smiled at her and nodded. “When I’m ready,” she whispered. “I want to make sure that it’s my need instead of Athena’s.” She paused then whispered. “I love you, you are the single most amazing thing that’s happened to me. Thank you for everything.”
Francis nodded again as she pulled away, her cheeks coloured slightly. “I should be thanking you,” she said and smiled, reaching down to squeeze her hand. “I already have.”
There was nothing else that they could say to each other. Vaughn smiled at her lover and took a step back, bowing slightly to acknowledge her, making Francis smile. Then, she turned around and walked to Antonio’s truck, only looking back when she opened the door and checked to see if Francis was still standing by her cottage. She was, with Romulus pressed tightly against her side. When Vaughn looked at her, she smiled and returned the small bow that she had given her, before turning around and walking back into her cottage.
She didn’t look back.
Fighting tears suddenly, Vaughn slipped into the truck next to Antonio and quietly closed the door. She heard him put his magazine down and start up the truck, a sound so alien to her suddenly it almost frightened her.
“Feeling better?” Antonio queried with a smile as he looked around and started backing down the natural driveway to a spot they used to turn around. “You still look a bit pale.”
Vaughn nodded as she fastened her seatbelt, mindful not to show how stiff she was in her shoulder. “I just need some rest,” she said. “She took good care of me.”
Antonio chuckled and glanced in his rear view mirror. “Well, you’re going to need it,” he said. “John’s given a month’s notice. He’ll be moving to the city. He came to me and said that this life is just not for him.”
She could hardly contain her surprise. “Really?” she queried then added hesitantly. “What set it off?”
Antonio shrugged. “Dunno,” he replied. “Sometimes, people just need to move on to greener pastures. It would mean more work for you. If you want to come back of course.”
She had to laugh. “Why does everybody think I’m leaving?” she queried. “As we told you on the radio, I just want to take a few more days’ leave to go and sort some things out. I’m coming back then, I’ll definitively be back by the time that John leaves.”
Antonio smiled at her. “Just checking,” he said then blinked and hit the breaks, painfully jolting Vaughn’s shoulder. “Would you look at that.”
Vaughn blinked and turned to see what he was looking at, the hair on the back of her neck rising. Athena the she-wolf had moved into the road behind them and was staring at them, her golden eyes shining in the sun. When their gazes met, she lifted her head and howled, a clear sound that told Vaughn all that she needed to know.
“I wonder what she’s doing,” Antonio stated, unaware of her reaction.
Vaughn swallowed and took a steadying breath, allowing the wolf’s emotion to wash over her. “She’s saying good bye,” she whispered. “In her way. And, telling us what she feels. Sharing her emotion. That’s why they howl you know, to reach out and get in touch.”
Her boss turned to look at her. “And did you howl?” he queried, though he didn’t seem surprised, making her smile. “I suspect that Francis does it sometimes.”
She shrugged and glanced back to Athena. The wolf’s howl trailed of and, when she grew silent, she quietly slipped back into the forest.
“No,” she said. “But, I will one day. Soon.”