My head hurt as I woke up the next day. The previous day was a blur of undead, werewolves, and a demon woman. I wished it were all a dream. There was certainly nothing that crazy that actually could exist. Maybe the whole week had been a dream. It was just an illness spawned hallucination. The mushrooms were laced with LSD.
Then I turned my head, and he was laying there right next to me. I recognized the boy immediately, he was absolutely beautiful. However, when we had fallen into the bed the night before, exhausted and worried, he had absolutely been a girl.
“Hey beautiful, you look so lovely when you sleep,” Alex purred in a sensual voice, his breath carrying the smell of cherries.
What are you doing here?” I exclaimed, leaping out of the bed.
“Honey, did you say something?” that was the voice of my mother downstairs, she must have just gotten home from work.
I turned to Alex, “You were supposed to leave, go home, and not stay the night in my room!”
Alex shrugged, “I have no home right now. I could either sleep here or out in the street.”
“No mom, it’s fine!” I shouted back.
“Did I hear someone else up there?”
Steps started coming up the stairway. I began to panic. My mother couldn’t see me with a boy in my room. My life would be completely over if that happened. I don’t know how bad it would be, but it would be bad. I raced over to the closet. I could put Alex there until mom left. That could work. It wasn’t too roomy, but it would fit a person. I opened the door.
“Why is there a naked werewolf in my closet?”
A very naked Daniel stood in the middle of my closet. He had incredibly toned abs and a rock hard well-tanned body. He wasn’t in his werewolf form right now. I wasn’t sure if that was better or worse. With a clearer view of his body in the morning light, I could see the tattoo was on his right pectoral which featured a howling wolf. He also had a long homemade earring on his right ear. His face had a few cuts and bruises, but none of it took from his attractive features.Daniel lifted one of his hands away from covering himself and waved.
“Hey, I’m glad you’re up,” He spoke as if he wasn’t in my closet completely naked, “We need to talk.”
“Well don’t look at me, “Alex defended lazily looking out the window, “I didn’t invite him in.”
“Well, it’s a long story. See, after your friends and I fought…”
“Not right now,” I snapped, closing the door in his face.
Mom was coming to the door.I could hear her getting closer. I grabbed Alex by the arm. Where could I put him? I had to think.
“Hey, Rune’s coming,” Alex responded nonchalantly as she lazily stared out the window.
The bed, I can stick him under the bed. The door opened and my mom peeked her head in. The words she was about to say became lost as she stared at the person next to me. That was it, I was busted. I turned to Alex and froze. Alex was back into the form she was the previous night. She looked like a slightly more mature, slightly more attractive version of me.
“H…Honey? Who is this?”
“Hi, my name is Alex,” Alex grinned, holding out her hand, “I have nowhere to go and I was hoping I could stay here. I’m your husband’s illegitimate daughter.”
Mom stared at Alex, her mouth stuck hanging open. She looked at me, but at that point, my mouth was also floored. My mom turned back to Alex, then at me again. Anger began to darken her eyes. The sudden knocking from downstairs seemed to break the silence.
“Excuse me, honey, I’ll be back in a moment.”
My mom turned around and shut the door, her back stiff. I collapsed into sitting position, missing my bed and ending up on the floor. What had just happened?
“What did you just say?” I asked.
“I’m sorry, it just slipped,” Alex blushed, “I thought maybe if your mom thought I was family, I could live here and…”
I held up my hand, trying very diligently to cope with the situation. A succubus was trying to take up residence in my home. I just couldn’t handle this anymore.
“You good for nothing bastard; I knew I was right in leaving you! How many other daughters have you had on your cheating sprees without me knowing?! Your damn right I’m going to take care of this poor abandoned child! Expect a hike in your child support checks!” screamed a shrill voice from downstairs.
The door opened, and Rune walked in. The tight shirt he wore appeared fresh. He had the opportunity to take a shower since the previous night. He looked a tad uncomfortable at the screaming that was going on downstairs.
“She said that I should just come on up, and then called someone and just started shouting.”
I winced; events were spiraling out of my control once again.
“She let you in my room without supervision?”
“She said you were with your…. Sister,” Rune glanced at Alex and frowned, “I don’t know what is going on, but I suspect it is your fault, Alex.”
Alex looked down, for once seeming regretful of what she had done, “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping on the streets again.”
The act was so completely pitiful that even my heart went out to her, even though it was undoubtedly going to cause me a ton of trouble. Rune didn’t seem so easily swayed.
“You can’t stay here; that’s not going to happen,” Rune snapped angrily.
“What’s it to you?” I spoke up before I could stop myself.
It was stupid. I was just fed up with all these guys thinking they could push me around and tell me what to do. I didn’t want Alex to stay here, but something about his tone of voice irritated me all the same.
Rune turned to me, “It’s not that I don’t trust you. I just don’t trust them. It’s enough that we have to deal with this succubus, but the werewolf is about ten times worse.”
A sudden sneeze came from the closet and everyone froze. Alex wore an almost mischievous smile as the blood seemed to drain from my face. Rune turned to the closet wearing a serious look. He took two quick steps to the closet and opened it. Just as my fear suggested, Daniel hadn’t been some kind of obscure hallucination. At least he was wearing pants now, which was an impressive feat considering the size of the closet.
“What the hell are you doing half naked in her closet?” Rune snapped.
Daniel took a step smoothly out of my closet. He was wearing tight dark jeans. A hole higher up on his hip suggested that he hadn’t managed to slip underwear on while he was getting dressed in my closet. Why does he keep taking off his clothing? His deep earthy maple leaf scent wafted out of the closet.
“Sorry again, my mate, it was easier to find you in werewolf form. I barely managed to get in the closet before the creature with you caught me. After that, I thought it’d be better to watch you. We can’t be trusting that type.”
Alex looked wounded, but even I wondered how much I could trust her. It almost seemed endearing that he was looking out for my safety. I mean, if you ignore the stalking and the fact that he tried to imprison me last night. Did he mate in werewolf form or human form? The idle thought just came. Why was that important? Either form, he wasn’t going to mate with me!
“We talked about this last night,” Rune snapped, “After we gave you some strong persuasive arguments.”
Daniel winced, feeling at a bruise on his left temple, “Yes, I remember your persuasive arguments. I remember I’m not going to attack any more of Jane’s friends. Even though you all smell wrong and evil. It doesn’t mean I trust any of you more than before, and I’m going to keep her safe one way or another.”
“I’m very confused. What is going on?” I confessed.
Daniel moved up to me, grabbing my two hands in his considerably larger warm ones and pulling me up to a standing position, “I’m sorry, I should have explained myself to you sooner. You see, I’ve been tracking my mate for some time now.”
“I’m sorry, what? Your mate?”
“Werewolves have a single soul mate, someone they are destined to be with their whole lives. You find this mate by smell. I caught onto the scent of mine a while ago in the park. Their scent was all over the park and I’ve spent months looking for them.”
“What does this have to do with me?” I asked, fearing the answer.
Daniel lowered his head and looked up at me in an almost submissive pose.
“No,” I gasped.
“My heart is yours, my love, forever and always. I will be with you until the end of time itself.”
Rune suddenly had a coughing fit. I looked over at him. He was on the other side of the room and was glancing in one of my drawers.
“Do you mind?” I snapped.
Rune closed the door, shrugging as if he hadn’t done anything wrong. The last thing I needed were these boys to look in the wrong drawer. There were a couple of toys in some of them that I didn’t want to have to explain.
“So you see,” Daniel continued, “You really don’t need those other guys. We are soul mates, meant to be together for all eternity. I can keep you protected.”
“You tore Stephan in half!”
Daniel’s eyebrows rose, “The dead one? My mate’s scent is all over that forest. I was keeping it safe. Deadwalkers are about as dangerous as anything can be.”
“And they said you were killing animals!”
“Yeah, a few deer and rabbits. Hunters do the same thing. Plus, I don’t even use guns. Is it really a big deal? I sell the meat to a local butcher.”
I fell back on my bed, shaking my head, this was just too crazy. This guy loved me? He barely knew me.
Daniel sighed, “I was worried too when I first smelled your scent. I thought you might be someone I wouldn’t like. I thought my life would be over. That’s why I stayed away so long. Then I saw all those other ones around you, all dangerous men, and I just couldn’t help myself. But I have to tell you one thing. When I laid my eyes on you last night, I knew it wouldn’t be an issue. You are perfect and beautiful just the way you are. Together, you and I can…”
“Alright, that’s enough Romeo,” Rune snapped, “You’ve had your piece, now get the hell out.”
“I don’t know,” Alex piped in, “I think it’s kind of sweet.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Daniel snapped angrily, “She is my mate, not yours, and I will never leave her.”
I shook my head. I needed some time to think about this. It was just too much too early in the morning. Another insanely attractive man thinking he knew what was best for me. Why couldn’t this happen to someone else? Someone like Samantha. Let her get sandwiched between a bunch of guys. Actually, I think that was the plot of her next fan fiction; I shivered visibly.
“I need some room,” I stated, “I’ve got to deal with my mom right now; we can deal with this later.”
All three of them glanced over at me as if surprised I had spoken. That didn’t help my humor at all.
“Well you heard her,” Alex barked, “She needs some space. Get out of here you two boys.”
“She meant you too,” Rune responded.
“We’re family,” Alex grinned, “We need to stick together.”
“You only look like her sister, that doesn’t make you anything,” Daniel interjected.
“All three of you! Out now!” I snapped.
Once again, all three of them glanced at me. Rune seemed annoyed, Alex hurt, and Daniel ashamed. Daniel slid open the window, blew me a kiss, and then leaped out. Rune and Alex left through my door. As the door closed behind them, I collapsed into my pillow. What was happening to my normal life?
It was about thirty minutes later before I worked up the willpower to open my door and leave my room. I worked my way down the stairs, and as I did I could hear talking.
“Of course, sweetie Alex. You can stay here. We have a spare guest room, and you can stay there. Anything you need to help you get on your feet,” my mom said in a surprisingly chipper voice.
“Thank you so much, Mrs. Averygail; I really appreciate it.”
I hit the bottom of the stairs to find my mom, Rune, and Alex sitting around the table. All three of them turned to look up at me.
“Oh Jane, I was just about to call you down. Alex is going to be staying with us for the meantime. Since it is Saturday, I was thinking you two could spend some quality sisterly time together. I gave her some of your clothes out of the clean laundry since you guys seem to be about the same size; I hope you don’t mind.”
My eyes snapped on Alex. She was, in fact, wearing a pink tank top and white jacket with a pair of my skinny jeans. It was one of my favorite pairs of clothing. I tightened my fist for a second, and then let it go. If that was the worst outcome of this event, I would consider myself lucky. At least, she wasn’t borrowing my underwear. Or maybe she was. I suspiciously tried to look through her shirt to see if there was a visible bra or not. Then, I let out a breath and gave up. Neither option seemed better. Either she was free-birding it in my sexy jeans or I had a pair of panties I needed to burn.
“Also, you never told me you had such a handsome boyfriend,” mom continued.
“Oh no, he’s not…” I started.
“Actually, that reminds me,” Rune interrupted me, “The reason I actually came this morning. Stephan asked you to meet him at the mall today. I’d normally not pass that message on, but he asked me to come too. You’re invited as well, Alex.”
“Oh, that would be perfect!” Mom spoke up, “You can pick her up some clothing while you’re there! It’d be a nice safe group thing. You don’t go out with friends enough anymore. And frankly, I was starting to worry about your relationship with that Samantha girl.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh nothing,” mom turned her head, “It’s just that she left some interesting… literature lying around the last time she was here.”
“Oh? Did you want me to return it to her?”
“No, no, It’s… I have it in a safe spot,” mom said slowly, refusing to make eye contact.
I sighed; it seemed like my normal friends weren’t much better than my abnormal ones. I turned back to Alex. She gave me an absolutely innocent smile and shrugged. I fought the growl that wanted to escape my throat. She wasn’t wearing a bra. I swear to god if she turned into a boy while wearing my clothing there would be hell to pay.
Two hours later, I was walking through the mall. Rune had left earlier and claimed he’d meet us there in the food court. That left me alone with Alex once again. She still looked like me at this point, which caused me to wonder why she could maintain the form now and not earlier. We had stopped at three stores before now. Occasionally I forgot what she was. For a bit, it actually felt like going shopping with the girls.
We each had a few bags of clothing. I had even picked out a cute little purple top for myself. Alex filled it out better than I did, I jealously thought, but I wouldn’t let that stop me. We were on our way to the food court, figuring it was about time to meet the boys there. Alex had informed me that we had to leave the boys waiting for just a little. I decided to take her word on it.
The newest hot boy musician’s hit song was playing over the mall sound speakers. It was called ‘Jane’s Dilemma’ by a guy named Demetrius. Samantha hadn’t let me live that one down. It was about a girl named Jane who had to choose between several men. In the end, she chose Demetrius, of course. Alex seemed to really like the song, though, humming the lyrics to herself. She said it reminded her of her younger days. She was surprisingly worldly and easy to talk to when she wasn’t trying to have sex with me. Finally, I mustered up the courage to ask her what I really wanted to know about.
“I figured once Daniel left you would have turned back into a guy?”
Alex shrugged, “Being a succubus is a funny thing. You assume we always turn into someone’s greatest sexual desire, but that’s not it. We turn into their greatest desire. Sometimes, that means we’re not what you’d expect.”
I raised my eyebrows in confusion, but Alex didn’t say anything more. I decided to change the conversation.
“You knew Daniel; you said he was going to kill you. Can he be trusted? What did he do with you?”
Alex blushed, “Nothing bad if that is what you were thinking.”
“I just… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry,” I replied.
“No, it’s fine. I was being melodramatic before. Back in the cave, I was making things worse than they were. It’s not simply my appearance that changes towards people’s desires, but also a bit of my personality. He had found me a few weeks prior. He had actually saved me from making a really big mistake. For the most part, he used me to try to guess what his mate, I guess that would be you, looked like.”
“So he was trying to make you look like me? So that’s why you look the way you do now?”
Alex smiled politely, then went on, “Well, to be honest, most of the time his inner wolf was battling with his ideas of a woman. Half the time I ended up looking like a female wolf in heat.”
Despite myself, I laughed. Alex joined with me. For a few brief moments, it actually felt like having a sister. I shut the feeling down quickly. She was an imposter invading my home; I couldn’t forget that.
“Hey!” Stephan shouted, waving his hands.
Stephan, Andrew, Rune, and even Daniel were sitting around a table in the dining area of the mall. That looked like our stop. It almost took my breath away as I looked at each of the boys in front of me. Rune looked agitated to be there. His moppy red hair was gelled up; his shirt was slightly less frumpled than it otherwise might be, tight against his well-toned muscular body.
Andrew wore clean, light colors, a pastel blue shirt, and light jeans. He gave me a golden smile as I came near. Daniel was wearing clothing for once, a leather jacket covering a sleeveless white shirt and black jeans. He seemed almost uncomfortable with all those clothes on. Stephan was by far the nicest dressed, his button up green shirt and brown casual slacks over his unusually pale skin.
I had barely sat down when Rune spoke up, “So you got us all here, what do you want?”
“Actually,” Stephan began, “I was kind of hoping for more of this.”
“What?” I asked.
“Well you see, last night when we were hunting Daniel, I was thinking to myself that this is actually kind of fun.”
“It’s fun hunting me?” Daniel interjected with a frown.
“No, not that, I meant it was fun being around people. For most of my life, I’ve always been a bit of a loner. Never had a lot of friends. Last night, it was actually kind of nice to be with friends.”
“Woah, we’re not friends,” Rune leaned back.
“I think we can be friends,” I interjected, causing Rune to quiet up. Did I really want these people as friends? It was too late now; the words were out.
“Well, that got me thinking, why don’t we form a school club? Then we’d have real, legitimate reasons to hang out more,” Stephan declared.
Andrew rose an eyebrow, “What kind of club?”
“Well, I was thinking something along the lines of an assistance club. Detectives of sorts. We can solve problems around the high school, help people in need.”
“You know,” I spoke up, “That actually sounds like it might be fun.” I actually believed that, to my surprise.
“I’m in,” Daniel spoke up, glancing over at me.
“Me too,” Alex smiled.
Andrew nodded, “If you all insist on doing this, I want to make sure Jane stays safe, I’m in.”
Everyone turned to Rune. “Well don’t look at me. There is not a chance in hell I’m joining your little Scooby-Doo gang.”
“That’s fine,” Stephan shrugged, “I’m sure Andrew will be happy taking care of Jane as he spends every day with her while you do something else. Brood probably.”
Rune looked over at Andrew who smiled devilishly, then back to Stephan, “Fine! You win, I’ll join your club.”
“Excellent, I have the forms right here, everyone needs to sign.”
As the paper’s got handed from person to person for their signature, Andrew looked up, “There is more to this, though, isn’t there? You already have a mystery that you need us to solve, don’t you?”
Stephan looked down sheepishly, “It looks like you caught me red-handed.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“The reason I’m here. As you may remember, I came here hunting after several missing persons. I originally had assumed Daniel over here was the culprit. After last night, my lead went dead.”
“Missing Persons? Really?” Daniel spoke up suddenly, “That sounds similar to me.”
“What do you mean?” Stephan asked.
“Well, as you know I’ve been here a while. I must say, the original reason I came was not to search out my mate. It was more a side distraction,” Daniel gave me an apologetic look, “you see, I was originally sent by my alpha, which is the head of my pack to you non-werewolf folk, to locate a cousin pack that went missing recently. A small, three-wolf pack just vanished off the face of the earth.”
“Rune, I saw a look on your face, do you have something you can add to this?” Stephan turned.
Rune looked away, but his face looked more thoughtful than angry for the moment. After a few seconds of silence, he sighed and threw up his hands.
“I suppose it’s no secret that I’m not usually here on Earth. A few low-leveled acquaintances of mine went missing too, around this area. That’s why I came to town. ”
“I always wondered why you showed up,” Andrew shook his head in wonder.
“What about you Andrew, why are you here?” Alex piped in.
“I was assigned here years ago. The place has been relatively quiet, until Rune showed up, that is.”
“Yeah, but aren’t you way too high ranked and overqualified to be watching over this small town?” Rune responded.
“I never really asked. I just followed orders,” Andrew shook his head.
“So,” Stephan leaned back, “Missing people, missing packs, and missing demons; on top of that a misdirected angel. There is definitely something going on.”
“You think they’re connected?” Andrew spoke up, “Do you have any ideas?”
“Just one, we can check it out tonight if you want. We better start planning.”
“You guys are losing me, what are you? What do you mean not usually on Earth? Andrew? Rune?” I demanded.
Everyone froze, the pair only now suddenly realizing that they had been speaking so openly in front of me. Rune relaxed first, sitting back and chuckling to himself.
“Well, we might as well tell her Andreatis. I guess the simplest way to spill it would be to say that I am a demon.”
Alex snorted, “Not just a demon. Succubae like me are low-level demons. He’s an Archdemon, one of the highest levels of hell demon around. In any other circumstances, a lowly succubus wouldn’t even be allowed to be associated with his likeness. Of course, neither would a mere mortal human like you…”
“That’s enough,” Rune snapped, his voice suddenly full of an authority I never imagined he had.
“What does that make you?” I asked, looking at Andrew.
He smiled at me, “I am the Archangel Andreatis.”