Can't Change Her Stripes
Alek was staring intensely at the top of the stairs and Valentina and Jasmine were shifting restlessly beside her. Chloe looked up and felt…sickness. He was a boy, her age, and he felt terribly ill.
He carefully placed one foot in front of the other and Dawn left Mr. Harris to go to him as she said, “Jordy, you should be sleeping.”
He smiled a little as he said, “Not even I can sleep through a party, Dawn.” He looked up, eyes immediately landing on Chloe. “Besides, we have guests.”
Jordy was calm, calmer than any other person in the room. Dawn wrapped her arm around his waist when he reached her and led him closer.
“Abomination,” Valentina said hatefully and Chloe felt a shock down to her soul. She knew the woman had certain prejudices but still, that seemed a bit extreme. “You are unnatural and you don’t belong in this world.”
The boy, Jordy, radiated humor even as his eyes tinted amber. “You’re welcome to try to take me on.”
Valentine took a step towards him and a woman’s voice said from behind them, “Touch the kid and I’ll rip out your spine.”
Cold shivered down Chloe’s back at the dark merriment in her tone and she twisted, needing to see this woman. Her hands were loose at her waist, a familiar Scooby Doo t-shirt and a polite grin making her appear harmless but every instinct Chloe had was screaming, ‘Predator!’
She was battling her fight or flight response when Mr. Harris gently said, a little chiding, “That’s enough
. This is a party.”
Valentine looked at him, then at Jordy and asked, “The moon has risen. Why hasn’t he shifted?”
“I control my beast,” Jordy said before Mr. Harris could open his mouth. The amber was gone from his eyes, the power that had been rising faded away, leaving simply a sick boy. “We came to an accord. We only shift when we both want to.”
Paul shifted into her and said giddily, “He’s a werewolf
Chloe’s brain warped a little. For some reason, she hadn’t considered that there would be more than Mai and Jackals in the world.
“We’re leaving,” Valentina announced suddenly, seemingly perturbed.
Alek squeezed her wrist but Chloe didn’t feel like arguing. She was in the room with a werewolf and something that was even more of a predator than him, her instincts and her empathy were battling it out, and she just couldn’t seem to find her footing. She twisted her wrist until he loosened his grasp, then took his hand and started to follow Valentina, Jasmine, Amy, and Paul out the door.
“Chloe.” Xander Harris’s voice stopped her on the threshold. She looked back at him. “You might want to think about who it is you’re supposed to be uniting. Just the Mai? Or the Mai and everyone else.” He studied her solemnly, then said, “You have my number if you ever need help. And you know where we are.”
Chloe let Alek drag her out the door, yet more unanswered questions cluttering her brain.