Wince and Wonder
A/N: Wow, thanks for all those reviews. I really didn't expect such a respone to one measly little drabble. It has been remarked upon that Elisabeth is not Buffy's name. Her name is Buffy. I'll be happily ignoring canon on this one, just like I did with Richard's job.
+Wince and Wonder
Richard spent the next week trying to find out as much as he could about Summers and her mysterious friends. By Sunday afternoon, the girl had become a dead end. Her file was only two pages thick. She was eighteen. Her name was Elisabeth Summers. She took only the mandatory classes and had not joined any clubs. She had gotten detention exactly six times for disrespecting a teacher before poor Miss Meyers had figured out that the girl really didn’t give a damn either way. She had been an emancipated minor before coming of age. No family whatsoever. At least that explained her run down appearance. She probably didn’t have much money to spend on clothes. Richard didn’t know any teenager living on their own who did. But that was it.
Jay, the weretiger wasn’t much better a trail. He was the only male tiger in town, one of two if one counted Christine, his female counterpart and a rather ruthless lawyer. Tigers were loners and the males known for suppressing the women and forcing them into unwanted marriages. Most of them were hereditary shifters, meaning they got their beast from a curse, not an infection. Jay was twenty three had had sworn an oath before the Shifter Coalition that he would not get within a hundred feet of Christine with evil intent, nor sell out her whereabouts to other tigers. Only then had he been allowed to move into St. Louis. So far, he’d kept his promise admirably. Actually, he tended to keep away from other shifters altogether, content to keep his own company.
So far, everyone had figured it was because he was young and a budding alpha. Getting involved with other weres would have meant a load of dominance fights. Now, Richard wasn’t so sure. And again, that was it.
It did nothing to appease the nagging feeling the werewolf got from watching a teenaged human get into a car with three older males, one of them a shape shifter. It didn’t seem right.
So, exactly a week later on Friday, he was standing in the same spot he’d stood eight days earlier, watching Summers holding up the wall. At least she wasn’t smoking this time.
And, as he had before, he walked over to her, stopping just out of reach. This time though, he watched her watch him. He had a predator inside of him and he’d be damned it he couldn’t stare down a slip of a girl his wolf registered only as bait.
She finally caved after almost five minutes. “So,” she wondered out loud, “Is this supposed to become our special bonding time or do you make a habit of stalking your students ins general?”
“I wouldn’t call it stalking. You’re on school grounds. I work here. That’s all.”
“So you stared at me for the past fifteen minutes because it’s your job?”
Damn. How had she noticed him through the throngs of students?
“The boy who picked you up last week is you boyfriend?” Yeah, so it was clumsy.
Surprisingly though, she shrugged and answered, “Just a bunch of mates.”
She had a funny way of speaking, Richard noticed not for the first time. Some of the phrases and terms she used were decidedly British, despite her American pronunciation. Maybe he should ask Requiem or one of the other London vampires to try and find something out about her because she’d obviously spent time in Great Britain.
She was looking at him expectantly as he came out of his thoughts so he said the first thing hat came to mind. “How’s your project going?”
She was the only student in her class to work on her own, for obvious reasons. She shrugged, giving him a look that said, ‘What do you think?’
She’d yet to get anything but straight A’s and one or two B+ in his or any other of her classes. Yet he’d never seen with her nose in a book. It was mildly infuriating.
And then, just as suddenly as she had the week before, she grabbed her bag and slipped past him, down to the curb where the same convertible was waiting for her. Only this time, all three of the boys were leaning against it, watching her arrival.
“Gonna introduce us to your honey?” One of them, short, blonde and decidedly too feminine asked.
She snorted as she shot her pack at him. He caught it and threw it behind him into the car. She spoke a lot quieter than her friend but Richard wasn’t a supernatural predator for nothing. “A teacher, Chris.”
Then she moved to give Jay a quick one armed hug. Chris pouted but made no move otherwise. The third guy did, though. He was not as much tall as simply much
. Every inch of his smooth black skin rippled with muscle as he stepped past Chris to stand behind Summers, Elisabeth, Richard amended mentally. He couldn’t call her Summers forever, even in his head. Not if he intended to figure her out.
He pulled her out of Jay’s arms, hugging her to his chest instead as he rumbled something into her ear, just low enough to not be heard from were the Ulfric stood. She laughed and he released her. Then, and only then, did Chris step forward and sling a companionable arm around her shoulders.
The reaction was instantaneous. Elisabeth winced and pulled away sharply, glaring at him while the black guy smacked him upside the head none too gently. Jay meanwhile looked around to check if anyone had seen the girl’s reaction. His gaze settled on Richard for a moment before he barked, In the car, Chris!”
Chris rushed to obey as Jay turned to Elisabeth, “You, too.”
For a long moment she looked as if she wanted to protest, to argue with him, but then her eyes flickered to Richard’s position for just a second before she nodded defeat and slipped into the car on the passenger seat. Jay got behind the wheel and a moment later they were gone, leaving Richard to wonder what the hell he’d just witnessed.