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A Willow In Wolf's Clothing

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Summary: Willow transfers to Washington University at St. Louis to get away from things that go bump in the night. Too bad for her that things go bump in the night in St. Louis too. Willow/Richard

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Willow-Centered > Pairing: RichardCarolFR153138,754103599,5253 Jan 0328 Jan 03Yes

An Evening with Auntie

Chapter 1


Willow tiredly trudged up to the front door of her aunt's house.

Her first day of classes at the university was over for the

afternoon. She had survived. She was so drained. She was hopeful

that maybe she would be so tired that sleep would not elude her this

night.


She shifted the book bag on her back as she searched her pockets for

the key to the front door. `Eureka.' She thought to herself

as she triumphantly discovered the key. She unlocked the door and

entered the front hallway. The house was as quiet as a tomb.

Auntie was still at work. Unfortunately, Auntie was in the

psychiatric field like Willow's parents. Fortunately for Willow,

Auntie didn't have the all-encompassing desire to treat Willow

like some sort of escaped lab rat.


Willow wandered into the living room. She dropped her book bag onto

the floor with a thud. She kicked off her penny loafers and wiggled

her toes. She sighed. `Hmmm a small little nap before Auntie

gets home sounds very nice.' She tiredly sprawled onto the

couch. She reached up to the back of the couch and pulled down the

afghan that lay there. She was soon fast asleep.


Willow awoke with a start when she heard the jingling of house

keys. She may be miles from Sunnydale but old reflexes die

hard. "Willow, honey, I'm home," Auntie called out. The

door was closed with a slam. "I'm in the living room,"

Willow responded.


Willow could hear the click clack of Auntie's high heel shoes on

the wooden floor of the front hallway. Auntie came into the room

with a wide smile on her face. She was just a tad taller than

Willow. She wore little make up. Her features were close enough to

Willow's to mark her as a relative. Her long auburn hair was

upswept upon her head for her professional look. She looked every

inch the professional that she was.


"So, how was your first day of classes," questioned Auntie.

She kicked off her high heel shoes and wiggled her toes. She

reached up and undid the bun to release her auburn colored locks.

Willow sighed again. She wished that she could look as elegant as

her aunt. Some days she felt like she was the ugly duckling in a

family of beautiful swans.


"It was fine," mumbled Willow. She hung her head. She tried

to muster up excitement for retelling of her day's activities.

Auntie gave her sharp look. "No mopey Willow, now," Auntie

exclaimed. "Let's get changed and go out to eat. You can

recount me with your tales of college life over dinner. Now, go

upstairs and get refreshed. We'll go to that café that's

near the campus," Auntie declared.


Willow gave a wry smile to her aunt. It was hard to be depressed

around Auntie. Willow got up from the couch and went and picked up

her book bag. She headed for the stairs. She stopped at the foot

of the stairs and turned around to face her aunt. "Thanks for

everything Auntie," Willow softly called out. Auntie gave her a

small sad smile. She walked over to Willow and gave the shorter

redhead a hug. "It will get better Willow. Trust me,"

Auntie whispered. "Are you sure?" queried Willow.

Auntie's smile widened again. "Of course," she declared,

"We Lowenstein women always survive. It's in the genes."


Willow gave her aunt a watery smile and turned back to the stairs.

She stood up straighter and wiped the tears that were starting to

form from her eyes. She climbed the stairs to her bedroom. If

Auntie could be strong than so could Willow, Auntie had lost her

husband Stanley a few years ago to cancer. She understood the pain

of loss that Willow was struggling with daily. If Auntie believed

that Willow could weather this storm, then Willow probably would.


Willow opened the door to the guest bedroom. It was done in soft

pastels. The room was nice enough. A bookcase took up the entire

wall opposite to the door. Willow had filled it up with her widely

diverse collection of books. She had even brought her spell

books, in case she got up the nerve to begin practicing her

witchcraft with regularity. She still did her morning relaxation

meditation to center herself and give her extra stability to make it

through the day. She had yet to get the nerve up to try anything

beyond that. She knew she should. Giles had told her that the

magic was a part of her now and she couldn't be expected to give

that up like it was some vice similar to smoking.


Her aunt had told her to redo the room to suit her likes and needs.

This was to be Willow's sanctuary from the harsh world. Willow

hadn't decided what she would do with the decorating scheme. So,

she was leaving it like it was until she got up the energy to care

about such things.


Willow placed her book bag on the desk near the window. She walked

over to her closet and pulled out a pair of jeans and green silky

tank top. It was still summer in St. Louis and that meant hot and

muggy until fall would arrive and give the city a nice bit of cool

relief. She couldn't wait. She wasn't used to all this

humidity yet.


She gathered up all her things and headed to the bathroom. A shower

was just what she needed to perk up her wilting frame. The bathroom

was just down the hallway from her bedroom. She looked and saw that

Auntie's door was closed. She could hear Auntie's shower

running.


She went into the other bathroom and shut the door. She placed her

clothes on the bathroom counter and turned on the shower. She

looked at her tired reflection and grimaced. She looked like death

warmed over. She should know since she was from Sunnydale. That

thought put a small smile on her face. She undressed and stepped

into the refreshing shower.


Willow got dressed and put on some very light makeup in an attempt

to put some life into her face and cover those dark circles. She

looked slightly better but there was nothing physically she could do

to cover her haunted look. So, she shrugged her shoulders and

exited the bathroom. She met her aunt in the hallway. Auntie was

wearing jeans and looking years younger than what she actually was.


"Ready to go, Willow," Auntie enquired. Willow nodded and

down the stairs they tromped. Auntie picked up her purse that was

set on the little table in the hallway. She opened the door and

ushered Willow out into the muggy St. Louis night.


It was a short drive to the café near the campus. Auntie's

house was near the university. That was a nice convenience to

Willow if she continued with her near brushes with tardiness. She

hoped that wasn't a habit she had acquired. They parked down the

street and walked the few feet to the café.


Willow looked up at the sign above the café that Auntie had

picked. It was a neon sign in the shape of a crescent moon with the

words Lunatic Café done in blue. Willow pondered the strange name

as she followed her aunt into the restaurant. The restaurant looked

like a lot of places that catered to a college crowd. The place was

packed and soft roar of conversation rolled over Willow. She felt

nervous for some reason. She figured that it was just because of

all that humanity packed into one place making her feel slightly

claustrophobic. She didn't understand the reason why her skin

crawled. She felt prickly all over and slightly out of sorts.


She plastered a smile on her face for her aunt. "Interesting

place, Auntie," she declared. They followed the hostess to a

table and sat down for dinner and some quality aunt/niece time.
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