Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I grin a little, but only inside. Okay, let's see how far this goes….

"What, the shirt? Got it at your local Wal-Mart, I think… I was a little drunk at the time, and I may have paid about twice what it was worth." I shrug. "Just an ordinary chambray shirt, hon - they're a dime a dozen, so to speak."

Her eyes flash with impatience, but she tries again. Using her fingers, she outlines on her own body the places she can see Wolf's ears peeking through.  I look over at Alise and drop an eyelid in a slow wink. "Does she want to try it on? I mean, no problem, if that's what she wants, but..." and I leave it hanging.

Alise smiles. "I think perhaps, Erik, you will have to ask her to show you."

I take a deep breath. What started as a joke has just become deadly serious. I can get her to talk or drive her farther away.

I meet Star's eyes with mine, trying to open up to her, let her see inside to the man I am. My voice is soft and level. "Star... hon, I'm sorry, really I am. I'm afraid we only have two choices here. You can tell me what you want, or you can show me what you want."

I hold out a hand and she shrinks back. I continue, unruffled. "It's okay, Star. I won't hurt you. I'll never hurt you, and anyone who wants to hurt you will have to come through me first."

Her eyes are changing color so fast, it's like a kaleidoscope. Damn, I hope I haven't scared her away...!

I draw my hand back a little, maybe a foot. "Star...?" Then I take a deep breath and wait.

She slowly reaches out. It seems to take hours before the tips of her fingers touch my hand. My fingers curl upward slightly, just the lightest touch on the palm of her hand. It becomes a caress as I pull farther back, making her move forward.

I'm still as a statue, waiting.

Her fingers are still touching my hand when she speaks. Her voice is as soft as dandelion fluff, or Tiger's fur.  "W...what is it?  Not the shirt... on your chest?"

I keep my eyes on hers, my voice soft. "Would you like to see?"

Her eyes flicker from red to orange to yellow, over and over. I don't move, don't unlock my eyes from hers. This choice has to come from her.

Finally she nods, her eyes going yellow and staying there. I continue to hold her hand, and my other hand carefully, slowly unbuttons my shirt, opens it for her. She's looking right into Wolf's blue eyes when it happens, and she gives a little gasp.

She's frozen in place, clearly wanting to touch Wolf, clearly not wanting this more intimate touch. Then I hear Wolf's mental voice, speaking to her. It would be a pleasure, little sister, but I must forbear for now. The human with the cubs fears my kind, and I must not frighten her.

Star leans forward and the tips of her fingers graze Wolf. She caresses his ears, then leans back. Her fingers touch mine, gentle as thistledown, then she pulls her hand back. Her eyes have never left mine, and now she speaks again. "Thank you."

My head is whirling, my blood is racing. I can still feel her fingers touching mine, and somehow it has more meaning than any woman I've ever clasped to lips or loins in seven hundred years. Oh, Erik, you've got it bad, you damn fool….

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