Tuesday, 26 February 2008
If you haven't read the first three chapters I suggest you do that first.
And now here's chapter 4. It's the longest yet and taken me a few months to finish. Enjoy.
Steve wasn't at work the next day and it tore at Iz's heart. Was he really trying to avoid her? She hadn't meant to hurt him...oh why did she let her tongue run so much!? Maybe this is for the better. If we're able to hurt each other this much, then maybe we shouldn't be around each other. That thought thoroughly depressed her. She hadn't realized it before, but since Steve's appearance in her life she was now realizing how lonely she really was. Oh sure, the single life had its perks, but what was life if all you had to look forward to was an empty apartment every evening? For the first time since becoming employed at Bradley's Books, Iz went about her work lethargically. It was an unconscious thing, because if it had been conscious she'd have scolded herself for allowing emotion to take control of her that way. Her uncle had always been a firm believer in the rational and taught her never to rely upon emotion, it couldn't result in anything positive, he said. Though now that seemed easier said than done.
Iz spent a typically quiet evening at home reading her book, which she finished in record time and hardly comprehended. Her mind was a million miles away. At 8pm Iz sat in her dark living room staring at the clock on the wall, ambivalent emotions and thoughts torturing her mind. You go there every night, you have all the right in the world to go! But what if he's there?... Are you really going to let this guy control your life even when he's not around? I wish he would be there...
"Gaaaaah! Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!" she yelled at herself, grasping her head in her hands and rocking forward. As she sat, staring at her knees and gripping her head in her hands, all thought drifted away. This is what Franky had taught her; how to siphon off emotion and tuck it neatly away where it couldn't harm her. She could think more clearly with an empty head. She could logically rationalize without emotions coursing through her. What do you want Izzy? Do you want to go to the cemetary? Do you? No. I want to take a nice big sleeping pill and fall into a coma. You don't have to worry about crazy speculation and rampant emotions when you're sleeping like the dead.
And that's exactly what she did. She took her sleeping pill and passed out until the next morning when her alarm awoke her with a start. Steve wasn't at Bradley's Books again, nor for the rest of the week. Iz tried to act nonchalant towards the whole ordeal, but eventually Bradley began to ask questions and a sheepish guilt tore into her stomach. It was her fault Steve wasn't coming to work, and she should be the one to do something about it. But what if I can't? Not without my emotions running hay-wire that is.
Against her better judgement, Iz set out one evening after work to find Steve's house. The air was crisp and cool as she walked down the sidewalk. She wouldn't have any trouble finding the place, she knew this part of the city like the back of her hand, and it wasn't fear of being lost that had her stomach tied in knots. It was the fear of what she would say, how she would approach him that bothered her. How could she explain showing up at his place after a week of avoiding him without things going so horribly wrong? You're treadin' in deep water there hun, Her uncle would've told her. He was absolutely-one-hundred-percent-correcto, but she was still walking wasn't she? Yes, she was, and she knew she had to confront Steve one way or another lest she spend the rest of her life wondering, and that was completely-one-hundred-percent out of the question, so she proceeded.
She'd gotten Steve's address from Bradley's records with the help of Linda. It wasn't the wisest choice Iz had ever made, seeing as how it gave Linda all the more ammunition to kill her with, but at the time it didn't matter much. She just needed his address and it was common knowledge that Linda kept Bradley's records for him. Iz stopped suddenly, she'd found the place. 402 East Chesterfield; she gulped. What would she say? There was no time to worry about that, she approached the door her hands clenched into fists, nails digging into her flesh. Like most of the houses in this area, Steve lived in a rundown European-style townhouse. It was two stories with a large front window expanding between both levels. There was a black iron wrought fence enclosing the front of the house, and like all the houses on this street, he didn't have a yard. Iz pushed the squeeky, rusted gate inward, brown flecks chipping off the hinges floated to the ground, and made her way up three bug infested stairs to the dark front door with the peeling paint. What are you doing here? She knocked three times and waited with bated breath. Nothing happened. She knocked again. Still no answer, she began to grow impatient. She knocked again. Answer the door, damnit! Still nothing. This time she pounded on the door with the side of her hand making a dull thudding sound, and the door creaked opened of it's own accord. She inhaled sharply,
No answer. She gently pushed the door in.
"Steve? You home?" Blood was jumping through her veins and pounding in her temples.
No one answered her and the house seemed deserted. It was silent, too silent. She took a step forward and regretted it the minute she did. A large black dog with razor sharp white fangs lunged at her with an insatiable hunger in it's eyes. Iz screamed, losing all sense of herself, and stumbled backwards, her foot missed the edge and she plunged backward into thin air. She landed roughly on the cement, her legs lying on his stairs as her head smacked the pavement. Stars erupted before her eyes. She had to regain sense of herself, that dog was going to kill her! She tried pushing up on her elbows but that only made the blood rush to her head and the stars worse. They bloomed before her like smokey white flowers floating in mid-air. She closed her eyes tight and held her breath. Where was that blasted dog? Just then she heard the front door slam shut and lock. Iz's eyes jolted open and she clearly saw the front door, closed. What the hell?
Iz got up, this time without stars, but not without pain for all that. The back of her skull throbbed maddeningly. She'd be lucky if she didn't wind up with a concussion. She gingerly rubbed her hand through her hair and winced slightly. Conked her good, that you did. Franky wouldn've once said. Satisfied with the inspection of her throbbing head she glared at Steve's front door.
"Fine!" she yelled, "Be that way, you son-of-a-bitch. I tried to apologize, but just fucking forget it!"
Blotches of crimson had risen high on her cheeks. She was angry, and worst of all, embarassed. She'd been scared off by a dog, a dog she now assumed Steve had sicced on her. Iz stalked back out the front gate, dropped the slip of paper with his address on it, ground it into the pavement with her heel, and stormed off. Had she looked back she'd have noticed a large midnight black dog's head watching her from Steve's window with somber brown eyes.
Iz burst through her apartment door and slammed it behind her. Her face was red, but not because of anger, because of tears now. That morning's mascara ran through the tracks of her tears as she tore off her jacket, flung it into the living room to land whereever, and took off to her bedroom. She slammed that door shut as well, causing the window to rattle in it's frame. She flopped down on her bed and buried her head in her pillow. She was appalled at the emotions that tore at her heart. She hadn't felt this way since highscool. Wasn't this supposed to end then? Despite her anger, at herself and at Steve, she was crying. Why was she crying? It just didn't make sense to her! Fine, if this is the way he wants it, this is how he'll get it. I don't care; not anymore. I can ignore him, and as far as that's concerned, Bradley's probably fired him already.
Iz was wrong. Monday morning, after a peaceful, quiet weekend alone, Iz returned to Bradley's Books to find Steve standing behind the cashiers counter checking the tasks clipboard. He looked up as she walked in and they both froze, their eyes locked on one another. Everything stopped for Iz as his eyes bore into hers. Had they always been a liquid brown? Steve was the first to look away, and as he did his eyes seemed to flash a golden yellow. He moved out around the counter, walked briskly past her without another look and disappeared behind a bookshelf. Fine, she thought bitterly, be a jerk. Iz approached the same counter and furiously scanned the clipboard for her name and assignment. In frustration a sound similiar to a growl ushered from between her parted lips. Steve leaned around the corner of the bookshelf he was hiding behind to look at her. She glared back at him and he sheepishly hid again. A timid voice spoke up, a voice she recognized.
"You're working as cashier this morning."
Iz glanced down at the clipboard, and sure enough, this time she found her name scrawled in Bradley's chickenscratch. Izabell: Cashier.
"Thanks." It took everything Iz had in her to utter that one simple word.
Great, now on top of her anger at Steve, and herself for losing to her emotions, she'd have to deal with Bradley's wandering eye since his office window was conveniently located behind the cashier's counter. Overall, it was destined to be a very bad morning; Iz awaited her 10 minute coffee break anxiously.
As soon as Bradley released her for her coffee break Iz took off. She had to contain herself to keep from runnning out of the building screaming, "I'm free! I'm free!" Iz marched into Betsy's Coffee Shop, while pulling her wallet from her back pocket. As she opened it she was confronted by a giant black hole. She'd forgotten to draw cash from the ATM this morning! "Damnit!" She hissed under her breath. She didn't know it, but Steve had followed her in. He approached the counter,
"Two coffees, black, please."
Iz glared at him from behind, shoving her wallet back into her pocket and crossed her arms in front of her chest. Steve paid for the coffees, took one in each hand and turned to face her. He was met with a disapproving frown. Timidly he stretched out one hand with a coffee in it. Iz reacted instinctively. She swatted it away with her hand. The lid broke off and hot coffee spilled everywhere. All down the front of Steve. The hot liquid burned his forearm and stained his shirt. Controlled by her unjustified rage, Iz didn't bother to stop and see if he was okay. She stalked from the store fuming. Steve charged out after her. He didn't seem to be phased by fresh steaming coffee dripping all down the front of him. He grabbed her by the elbow and spun her around to face him. Iz gasped in surprise.
"Let go of me!" she shouted.
"No, not until you listen to me. I'm sorry."
Iz yanked her elbow free from his grasp and merely glared at him. Steve sighed and stared at his shoes.
"I mean it, I'm sorry. I just couldn't see anyone at the moment."
"You sicced your dog on me! You never said anything about owning a dog!"
Steve looked up at her sheepishly, almost like he was hiding something. "Again, I'm sorry. I didn't sic him on you...he's just...uncontrollable sometimes."
"That's an understatement" Iz grumbled, her anger subsiding as she noticed the extent of the damage she'd done. The coffee had burned his skin quite badly and guilt began to sink in.
"Doesn't that hurt?" She asked, noticing his tolerance for pain.
Steve glanced at his arm and shrugged. "It's nothing, really. I'll be fine."
"You're arm is burned and it's okay?" Iz questioned skeptically. "I threw a cup of coffee in your face, I don't know how that's okay."
"I deserved it, really, I did." Steve replied, shrugging yet again. He seemed quite uncomfortable with the situation.
A corner of her mouth turned down, "No, you didn't, and it's not okay. I'm sorry too."
"It's nothing." He replied nonchalantly, shaking it off.
Iz ground her teeth together in response, Steve noticed and glanced at her nervously, expecting her to sound off. When she didn't a slight smile curved the corners of his lips.
"What are you smiling about?" She questioned angrily.
"You're cute when you're angry."
Iz blushed and at the same time her new found anger boiled beneath the surface of her skin. Why could he be so irritating and yet so charming all at the same time?
"I want to make things up to you, how can I do that?" Steve implored, a look of genuine sincerity on his face.
Iz was taken aback. "I-I...I don't know." she replied stiffly. She wasn't entirely sure she wanted him making up for it, she was beginning to enjoy being angry with him, it was better than chasing after him like a wounded animal.
Steve frowned, then his eyes brightened as an idea struck him. "Will you meet me in the cemetary tonight?" He asked eagerly.
Iz raised an eyebrow then reculctantly agreed.
"Great!" Steve said, and without thinking leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. Both of them froze and turned a delicate shade of maroon.
Steve cleared his throat, "right then, well, we should be getting back..." Iz mumbled in agreement and together, awkwardly, they returned to work.
At 5pm they both left Bradley's and went their separate ways. ["you'll meet me in the cemetary then at eight?" Steve asked and an slightly irritated Iz replied, "yes, yes!"] Steve walked home with a slight spring in his step, which went completely unnoticed by Iz who was still fuming slightly as her head still ached. Iz got to her apartment at 5:30. She'd chosen to walk home rather than take a taxi. She needed time to sort things out, and the walk home had given her that. She would meet Steve in the cemetary, then kindly, or as kindly as she could, she would tell him that she didn't want to see him anymore. Things are too complicated already, I can't take anymore. She didn't know what she'd do about work, she supposed she might as well start looking for a new job, then she'd give Bradley her two weeks notice. She didn't like the idea of leaving the book store, but the idea of never having to see Bradley again was almost too good to pass up. Iz went to the bathroom, opened up the medicine cabinet behind the mirror and took out the ibprofen. The back of her skull had begun throbbing on the way home from work and it had only gotten worse the closer to home she got. It's stress, that's all, and as soon as you get rid of Steve it'll all go away. This thought didn't cheer her up any, on the contrary, there was a sinking sensation in her stomach. Oh get over it! she growled angrily to herself and went about throwing together a sandwhich for dinner.
15 minutes later she was sitting at her kitchen table with half a sandwhich eaten and her stomach doing flips. She pushed the paper plate away and laid her head on the table, cradled in her arms. Go take a sleeping pill, curl up in bed, and fall into a nice long coma. Then you can tell him tomorrow at work. No, she couldn't do that. She wasn't going to be rude, but she really had no desire to go see him. He's planning something and I don't want to know what it is, she moaned inside her head. She lifted her head and glanced at the clock: 5:45. She had at least two hours until she had to meet him at the cemetary. Glancing at her unfinished sandwhich, which the sight of made her stomach turn, she decided what she'd do. Iz got up, grabbed the paper plate and tossed it in the trash, then flopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. She had eaten dinner in the dark and the sudden brightness from the TV made her squint. Mindlessly staring at the television screen as she flipped through nameless channels thoughts raced around inside her head.
There was definitely something strange about Steve. He'd never said a word to anybody, let alone her in the six months she'd worked at Bradley's, then out of the blue he's suddenly wanting to meet her in the cemetary at night. It was her place, and she hadn't been there in over a week. Poor Franky's all alone out there with only dead people for company. She frowned at the TV, she was being silly, Franky himself was dead; what did it matter if she visited him or not? Her stomach turned, it did matter, he was her uncle, her beloved uncle, the only person who'd ever understood her. Iz shut off the TV. It popped and a tiny white dot appeared in the center of the screen. Iz stared at it as all thoughts bled away. How long she remained like that, she didn't know, but when she finally broke from her trance night had fallen. All around her the room was dark. She glanced at the clock: 8:35. She continued to stare at it, as if contemplating it's meaning and existance. She grew dimly aware that she'd left Steve waiting in the cemetary for thirty-five minutes now. Iz slowly got up from the couch, donned her favorite light jacket, and headed for the cemetary only after locking the door behind her.
The night was chilly and a light breeze rustled through the trees. Iz walked down the sidewalk to the cemetary without paying attention to where she was going, her feet carried her there of their own accord. She watched the cracks in the cement as she walked, hands jammed in her pockets, and no thoughts running around inside her head. She reached the cemetary in record time, hopped the brick fence, and proceeded to the hill upon which Franky's grave rested. Halfway up the hill she stopped suddenly and looked up. Steve was waiting at the top of the hill, looking concerned. She climbed the rest of the hill and stared at him.
"I was beginning to think you weren't coming." He said solemnly.
"Sorry, I lost track of time." Iz replied nonchalantly.
Steve sensed something wasn't quite right. His brow furrowed, "you okay?"
"Dandy," Iz replied blandly, turning her gaze to her uncle's grave.
Steve watched in her in silence for a moment, not liking what he saw, before he spoke. "I wanted to explain what happened the other day when you came to my house." He began, but Iz cut him off with a dark glare.
"Look, I don't care about that. In fact, I don't care about anything anymore, okay? I was content with my life before you came along and screwed it all up. So why don't we go back to that? I think it's for the best."
Steve was looking at her with a mixture of pity, guilt, and sorrow. He composed himself quickly. "Is that what you really want?" He asked, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't hide the hint of pain in his voice.
Bitterly Iz replied, "Yes."
Steve dropped his gaze to his shoes. "I'm sorry, really I am." He whispered.
"It doesn't matter." Iz returned coldly, she just wanted him to go so she could be alone with her dead uncle's grave.
Steve looked up at her, "It does matter. I haven't been entirely honest with you."
Iz ground her teeth together. "Can we not do this? I said it doesn't matter and it doesn't, so let's just go our separate ways, okay?"
Steve carried on, ignoring her last statement. "There's something I need to tell you...something I've never told anyone else..."
"I don't want to know!" Iz shouted in his face, flushed with anger herself.
Steve took a step backward, startled by her sudden rush of emotions. He fumbled for words but found none. Iz was embarassed by her outburst. She turned away from him and mumbled an apology. Steve stepped forward and placed a hand on her shoulder.
"I think you do want to know, more than you realize." Gently he turned her around to face him; she stared into his eyes sheepishly as he continued to speak. "I'm sorry about the other day, truly I am, but you see - you caught me off guard the other day. I'm not used to people just showing up at my house unannounced." He grinned ruefully. "In fact, I think you're the first person to ever do so. The point is this, you already know my secret even though you don't consciously know it."
Iz stared at him perplexed. What the hell was he talking about? He read her confusion in her face and chuckled.
"This is going to sound insane to you at first, but I'm hoping you don't run away screaming long enough for me to show you. I'm a werewolf." He finished at last.
Silence greeted his final statement.
"You're a what?" Iz questioned unbelievably, assuming she must've heard him wrong.
"A werewolf." Steve replied calmly, watching her work through the information.
Her mouth became a thin line and her eyes narrowed, "Enough with the bullshit, okay?" she stated annoyed.
"It's not bullshit, if you come back to my place -" But Iz cut him off again.
"No, I'm not going anywhere with you. I don't know what the fuck this is all about, but I've had enough." And Iz turned to go, but Steve already had her by the elbow.
"Let me go." She retorted angrily, trying to break his grip, but he clung on.
"No. I need you to believe me, Iz. I wasn't kidding when I said I knew you were different from everybody else, maybe even better."
Iz flushed at the memory of the day she'd first talked to him. Warmth spread through her body at the memory. "I don't know what you're on, but it's not convincing me." She said, still trying to get away.
"Listen to me," he said, gripping her other elbow and pulling her close enough she couldn't avoid his gaze. "I'm telling you the truth, because what could I possibly gain by lying to you?" Iz started to protest, but he silenced her. "Nothing. I'd gain nothing, and I need you to believe me, Iz; I really need you to believe me." His tone was sincere enough, but she dared not believe a word he said. It just couldn't be true! But as she stared into his eyes, what she saw confirmed that there was indeed something strange about him - werewolf or not - she did want to know, more than she had previously realized. For a breif second his liquid brown eyes flashed a golden-fire yellow, and this time she knew she wasn't just seeing things. Her jaw dropped as reality sunk in. She didn't quite believe he was a werewolf - I mean honestly! - but she did believe he was telling the truth.
"Alright, I believe you." she said finally, breaking the silence that had descended upon them.
Steve grinned, flashing perfect pearly whites. "Do you remember the last time we met here?" he asked.
Iz grimaced at the memory. "Yes," she replied curiously.
He chuckled again, "And do you remember what you asked me?" he questioned tauntingly, a certain knowing gleam in his eye.
Iz wracked her brain to remember. And down the tunnel of her thoughts floated her own voice, "You're in a strange mood tonight. Does the full moon affect you like that?" She stared at him dumbfounded. Steve grinned.
"You remember, don't you?"
Iz nodded, barely able to believe what she was hearing. It just couldn't be true, it defied all logic!
"I know, its nuts, at first anyway, but eventually you get used to it."
Iz barely heard him. Did he really expect her to believe that he was a...a werewolf? Impossible! He was crazy, absured, and belonged in a nuthouse, yet all the while she felt herself leaning towards the possiblity of it being the truth. He seemed sane enough, and sincere when he said it. But it just wasn't possible! Werewolves, vampires, demons and angels didn't exist! They couldn't exist, someone would've spilled the beans ages ago. Then another thought occured to her; anyone claiming to be a werewolf or an angel would've been laughed at and locked up. No one would ever believe it, even if it was true. Startled by this thought Iz unconsciously stepped backwards several paces. Steve had let go of her, and watched curiously as she stepped away, almost afraid she might be ready to run.
"You okay Iz?" his tone was concerned as was the look on his face.
"I'm fine, really." She replied breathlessly. It could be possible, it really could, but it was still insane.
Steve stayed rooted to the spot, afraid any sudden movement might cause her alarm. "I know it's tough to accept, but I can prove it."
His words finally reached her ears. "P-prove it?" she stammered.
"Well, not right here." He said gazing around at the cemetary. "Can't run the risk of being seen by anyone else, but if you came back to my place..."
An idea flashed across her mind's eye momentarily; this could all be a plot to get her back to his place where no one could hear her scream...but she shook her head. That seemed far more unlikely than the werewolf story.
"Alright," she agreed timidly, but not without curiosity for all that.
"I'll lead the way." Steve said and headed for the cemetary wall. Iz followed him dazed.
Once over the wall another thought occured to her.
"What about your dog?"
Steve chuckled, "haven't you been listening? That wasn't a dog, that was me." He watched her reaction from the corner of his eye.
"That was...you?" she spluttered, a hint of her anger returning. "You attacked me!"
"I didn't mean to!" Steve replied quickly, bracing for her attack. "I told you, you caught me off guard, and I only wanted to scare you off, never hurt you."
Iz clicked her tongue. "You certainly scared me alright, and caused a good deal of damage to my poor noggin....what?" she added, for she noticed Steve attempting to suppress a laugh.
"You always talk like that?"
"Sure do," Iz replied stiffly. "Got it from my uncle Franky, he was always like that."
"You two were close." It was more of a statement than a question.
Iz nodded in reply. "Very, he understood me better than my parents combined when I was a kid. Died when I was just six years old."
Silence filled the gap after this statement for several paces then Steve spoke.
"So how badly did I hurt your noggin?" He was smiling, but Iz hit him on the shoulder anyway.
"You make fun of me you make fun of my uncle, and that's unforgivable." She shot him a dark look, but broke into a grin at the look on his face. Together they began laughing. Iz had no idea what was so funny, but it felt good to be laughing. She felt as if she'd been living in a stranger's body for the last couple hours, and she was just now getting a glimpse of herself again.
Before she knew it they had reached Steve's house. The memory of the last time she'd visited floated in the forefront of her mind. Steve seemed to have read her thoughts because he sheepishly mumbled "sorry" for the upteenth time. She waved it off and he led the way inside. Having not fully crossed the threshold on her first visit, she was anxious and a bit nervous about stepping foot inside. The sight that greeted her was startling. Before he closed the door and cast the room in total darkness, Iz glanced a queen sized bed pushed against the far wall, unmade, and a small kitchen to her immediate left.
"Sorry, I know its dark." Steve's voice floated out of the darkness as he stumbled around. Finally a light flickered on over head and she could see again.
The light was dim and hazy, but illuminated the room enough. It definitely appeared to belong to a bachelor. Everything needed a scrub-down and the quilt on the bed appeared to have holes in it.
"I guess I need to do a bit of cleaning...never really noticed that before..." Steve's voice trailed off, he was blushing. Iz grinned satisfactorilly.
"It's okay, apparently you never expected to have company."
Steve grinned. "No, actually I didn't."
"Why's the bed down here? Don't you sleep upstairs?" Iz asked suddenly.
Steve shrugged, "I don't really own enough to need a second floor."
Iz silently agreed with that. She didn't see a couch or a TV anywhere. There was however a cage with little white mice running in a metal wheel on the right wall next to a tall bookcase. The bookcase was jam-packed with a whole assortment of thick books.
"I can see why you work at Bradley's now." She said motioning towards the bookshelf.
"Yeah, it's nice getting a discount." He replied winking at her.
Iz gazed around the room, there was only one window; the large two-story that jutted out into the yard and filled the entire front wall. Steve moved over to the window and sat down on the cushioned bench tucked under the window sill.
"So, wha'd'ya think?" He was looking at her anxiously.
Iz smiled, "I like it. It fits you."
Steve cracked an identical grin. They remained that way for several long, silent minutes, staring at one another with identical smiles on their faces. Then Steve rose and walked over to where Iz stood by the doorway. A sudden flood of nervousness spread down her spine as he stood before her, their eyes still locked.
"I believe you wanted proof." He whispered.
Iz nodded. "Yes," she whispered in reply.
"Do you trust me then?"
Staring into his eyes that were now vacilating between brown and yellow, it was hard for her not to trust him. She was lost for words and simply nodded. He brushed her cheek with his thumb, sending more chills down her spine, then stepped back and began removing his clothes. Iz was struck dumb for a moment.
"What are you doing?" she blurted out before she could stop herself. Steve's shirt was halfway over his head. He pulled it off with a grin on his face.
"Don't worry, you won't see anything you didn't want to see already, but I'm not ruining the few clothes I do have." With that he unbuttoned his jeans and removed them. Iz only had a moments hesitation to take in the fact that he was standing before her in his boxers when the changes began. Steve grunted and fell forward onto his knees; Iz jumped back in surprise. His muscles contracted as his arms and legs lengthened and sprouted fur. His nails curved into sharp claws and his nose grew into the snout of a wolf. Steve's grunts became whimpers as the transformation continued. Shaggy black fur grew from every pore and his boxers ripped at the seams and floated to the floor as a fluffy tail sprouted from his back. Once the transformation was complete a docile, full grown wolf stood before Iz with shining yellow eyes. It rose up on all fours and Iz was astounded to see it was as tall as she was. The wolf, that had only moments ago been Steve, sat on it's hind haunches and watched her. She couldn't think of him as Steve anymore; not with all that fur. The wolf never blinked, but watched her reaction closely.
Iz's heart was hammering in her chest. She couldn't believe she had just witnessed one of her co-workers turning into a wolf. This is insane! I have to be dreaming, she thought. Steve seemed to have sensed her thoughts because he whined.
"Bizarre..." Iz muttered, not realizing she had spoken.
Steve, the wolf, barked which startled Iz. He whimpered and lowered his head in apology. He's just like a dog, she thought, and felt foolish for freaking out the other day. Steve once more rose to all fours and slowly approached Iz. Adrenaline was surging through her veins, making her shake slightly. Steve gently brushed her hand with his nose; Iz received a wet shock, but slid her hand up his muzzle and into his fur. He closed his eyes and made a sound in his throat of contentment. Iz was surprised by how soft his thick fur was; she scratched behind his ear and marveled at how strange the situation was. She couldn't grasp it, just moments ago a full grown man had stood before her, and now she was petting a full-grown, if not morphodite, wolf.
"I don't believe this." She said more to herself than anything.
The wolf licked her hand in response. Iz stared into his golden-fire eyes and was reminded of a night in the cemetary when she'd seen the exact same eyes watching her from out of the dark. She gasped in surprise and Steve tipped his head.
"It was you...you were the one watching me that night in the cemetary when I thought I saw a cat!"
The wolf grinned, parting his lips to expose perfect pearly white incisors, and his tongue lolled out the side.
"How long have you been stalking me?" Iz inquired teasingly.
The wolf turned around and Iz noted how gracefully he moved for such a large creature. He moved towards the cushioned bench underneath the window sill, which Iz now realized was a trunk, popped open the lid with his nose and stuck his head inside. When he emerged he had a fresh pair of boxers between his teeth. Steve picked up his T-shirt and jeans as well and proceeded to a door on the opposite wall Iz hadn't noticed at first. He looked back at her once before closing the bathroom door with his back leg. Iz waited paitently, listening to the sounds of de-transformation which sounded just as painful as the transformation; with the exception that this time whimpers became grunts. Next thing she knew Steve was standing in the bathroom doorway fully dressed and staring at her. Both were lost for words.