They wanted to play, to be children, to just be loved. They did not ask to be magic, or were’s, or anything. They just wanted to have a normal life. They wanted to fall in love, have families, and be with those they chose.
Adrienne Karahalios was just like those children who just wanted to be normal. Growing up as a were had never been easy. Her father had died before her mother could even tell him she was pregnant. Because they had only mated, but not bonded, she was spared the loss of her mother as well.
Adrienne sighed as she looked at the picture of her mother. Her mother had been gone going on ten years now. Ten years she has been living at Peltier House. Ten years she is been attempting to survive without the only family she thought she ever had.
Her mother was killed by a pack of Katagaria. She hated any and all Katagaria, unless it was the Peltiers. They were almost human in the way they cared about others. It was more of a means to an end, though, for them, so they were still animalistic in that aspect. Since Aimee Peltier was her best friend, Adrienne usually just attempted to not think about the fact that Aimee was a Katagaria. She just told herself that Aimee did not do it.
She glanced up as she heard a knock on the door. “Come in,” she said, sighing as her voice slightly cracked because of the tears she felt she was always holding back.
Osias Kallas came in. Osias was her best friend, someone she felt she could always count on. One who was always there for her. Without Osias, she did not think she could have gotten through the death of her mother at all.
“Hey, Adri.” Osias’s voice always seemed to soothe Adrienne’s nerves, and when he called her “Adri”, she just melted.
“Hi, Osias,” she replied, pain more than evident in her voice.
Osias came over and sat on the bed. “what is wrong? Thinking about your mom again?”
Adrienne nodded, tears slipping down her cheeks. Osias pulled her onto his lap and in his arms. Rocking her gently, he kissed the top of her head and murmured words of comfort. Adrienne cuddled into his chest, taking more than comfort from his hold.
“I do not know why I keep dwelling on her death. I know she is gone, but sometimes I feel like there is still someone out there, watching out for me.”
Osias reached up and captured her chin, lifting her face towards his. “I am looking out for you, Adrienne. I am always here for you if you need me.”
She kissed his cheek. “I know, and I am thankful for that, but sometimes it feels like there is still more to it than that. Like someone is still there, always, watching me, and not in a creepy, stalker way.”
Osias nodded as if he understood. But he did not really. He was more or less just agreeing to keep her happy, and let her take the comfort in the thought, even if it was most likely was not true.
Lifting her off his lap and placing her back on the bed, he asked, “Any big plans for today? Today’s the celebration of your birth. I know the Peltiers most likely have something planned, but I was wondering if I could take you out for a birthday lunch or something.”
Adrienne, as always, could not think of anything she would rather be doing. “Lunch sounds just perfect,” she told him, a smile wide across her mouth.
“Good, it is a date,” he responded, as he got up off of the bed. “I will be back in a few hours to pick you up.”
After he left the room, Adrienne flopped back on the bed and sighed. “it is a date,” she repeated out loud. A date with Osias. What more could a girl in love ask for?
She sighed again as she stood up and headed to the closet. She had to pick just the perfect outfit. Quickly flicking through her closet, she rejected everything in it. Leaving her room, she went off in search of Aimee to tell her the news and see if she would go shopping with her to find something to wear for her date with Osias.
Osias came to pick her up in exactly two hours. If he was nothing else, he was always prompt and never late. He was dressed casually in a pair of boot-cut dark-wash denim jeans that hugged in all the right areas and were loose in other areas. He wore a basic black tee shirt that hugged muscles that were still developing but showed signs of being quite impressive when he completely grew into it.
Adrienne started to worry that she might be overdressed in what she was wearing. She wore a deep purple halter top that showed off gorgeously tanned shoulders with a few freckles that were darkened from time spent in the sun. She paired the top with a short black skirt that skimmed and hugged her hips and partway down her thighs. Her delicate feet were wrapped in a pair of strappy sandals that exposed her bright pink painted toes. Her long black hair was arranged artfully around the top of her head, with curled tendrils draping her face, and a few trailing down her back and shoulders. She held her tiny little black purse in her hands nervously.
Osias whistled when he saw her. “I do feel very much under-dressed now, Gataki,” he told her with a charming smile. He gently grabbed her hand, kissing the back of it in a very gentlemanly way. She smiled prettily up at him, nervous and excited at the same time.
She mumbled a thank you as he led her out the door, towards his car. “I thought we’d take the ‘new fangled way’ of traveling,” he told her with a laugh.
She laughed nervously as she climbed into the open door that he held. When he climbed in, he started the engine and headed towards the restaurant. The drive was quiet except for the music coming from the radio.
When they got to the radio, Osias opened the door for her again, and she felt almost like a princess on a date with her Prince Charming. She smiled at him when she realized that he had brought her to Emeril’s Restaurant, one of her favorite places to eat.
She gave him a quick hug as a thank you. He kissed the top of her head and released her.
Their lunch had just been brought out, and she was preparing to take a bite, when Osias handed her a small box, wrapped prettily, with a gay little bow on the top. She quickly and carefully opened it up. Inside the box was a jeweler’s box, the size of a ring box. Adrienne gasped, but not wanting to get her hopes up, carefully opened it. Inside was not the ring that she was hoping for, but instead, a gorgeous panther pendant, small and dainty. The tip of the tail was a black pearl. The eyes were blue topaz chips, flashing an ice blue, almost matching her eyes perfectly. It was hanging on a delicate white gold chain, which is what Adrienne preferred.
“Osias,” she gasped. “it is beautiful.” She refused to let him see that she was a wee bit disappointed that it had not been what she was expecting. It really was beautiful, there was no doubt about that, but she had been hoping for something a little more. Something with a little more meaning.
Osias smiled. He didn’t notice the disappointment in her voice at all. He was just happy to see that she liked the gift. He had spent a lot of time wondering and planning, and choosing what to get her.
“Would you like me to help you put it on?” he asked her.
Adrienne nodded. Osias stood and came to stand behind her. He carefully took the chain and pendant out of the box, and placed it around her neck. After fastening it, he tenderly slid his fingers along the back of her neck, causing goose bumps to rise where he touched, and along on her arms. She shivered visibly as he sat down.
The lunch went fast, and they headed back to the car. He held the door for her again, smiling as she carefully slid in, trying not to flash anything. He smiled at her as he climbed in on his side and drove her home, back to the Peltier House.
When they arrived back at the house, Adrienne brought her up to her room. She pressed her lips to his, awkwardly and clumsily. she had never been with anyone. She had only wanted Osias since she started to develop feelings like that.
He gently and carefully led her to the bed, laying her down on it, and following her down. Kissing his way down her neck, he slowly undid the knot holding her top together. As he touched her bare breasts, she moaned. He gently slid his hands down her waist, dragging her top along for the ride. When he reached the fastening on her skirt, he bent down and undid it with his teeth. She gasped out loud, and sighed, grabbing at his hair.
“Osias, please,” she moaned.
He crawled back up her, and looked her in the eyes. “Yes, Gataki,” he purred.
“Osias, I love you,” she gasped out, young, in love, and thinking that was the only thing left to say.
Instead, Osias jumped off the bed and backed away. He flashed her clothes on, thankful for the first time that he was able to use magic to put clothes on as well as take them off. He dropped into a chair near the door and put his head in his hands.
“Oh god, Adri, no you do not. You just think you do because I am a friend.”
Adrienne lifted herself off the bed, extremely hurt and angry. She wanted to hurt him, hurt him badly. She ripped the chain off her neck, and threw it at him.
“you are right. I most likely do not. If I did, you sure as hell just made me never want to be around you again.”
She stalked over to him, and he looked up at her. “you are an arrogant son of a bitch, aren’t you? You just thought you’d get some sex after a nice birthday present. Well, sorry, bastard, I do not work that way. Sorry I repulse you so much that you will only sleep with me if I do not talk.”
Osias stood up, his impressive height making her look up, as she had not reached her full height quite yet. “No, Adri, it is because you do not repulse me, in fact I crave you, that I won’t sleep with you.”
He shook his head. None of this was sounding right. He backed away and picked up the broken chain and pendant. He sighed when he saw the damage that had been done to the custom-made chain.
“You what? You crave me, yet you jump out of the bed when I say that I love you. Why? Why would you do that? Who does that? Who says something like that?”
Osias shrugged his shoulders. “I do not know, Adri, okay, I just do not know. I refuse to ruin our friendship. I refuse to take that chance.”
“You refuse to take the chance? What the hell, Osias? You refuse to take the chance that we could be mates, chosen to be together by the Fates? You refuse to take the chance that we could be together, for now and forever? You refuse to take the chance on us?”
She looked at him, tears shimmering in her eyes, pain evident in her voice as she told him, “Leave, leave now. Just leave. do not consider coming back. I never want to see your face again. I never want to hear from you. I never want to know what you are doing. I just want you to disappear forever.”
Osias sighed, reached out for her, and when she stepped away, dropped his hands, and headed out the door.
“I am sorry, Adri,” he softly said, as he gently closed the door.
Adrienne flung herself on the bed, and cried. She cried so hard that her eyes ached, her chest hurt, her soul screamed. Aimee came into the room as soon as she realized something was wrong and just held her as she cried.
Adrienne was inconsolable for a week, and then one day, just appeared to have moved on and forgot about Osias. She never mentioned his name. She ignored anyone who mentioned him. She cut off all contact with his family, including his sister who was like a sister to him.
Aimee and Nicolette worried over Adrienne, knowing that the impression she gave was a false one. She was lying to herself and everyone around her. That was, until the box arrived.
It was a tiny little box. Barely six inches by six inches. A plain boring brown box, with no decorations, no distinguishing marks. It was post-marked from New Orleans from two days prior. There was no return address, just her name and the address for Sanctuary. She opened it up, and the emotions flew like a hot summer rain in Florida.
Adrienne collapsed on the floor in a dead faint. She was almost listless, lifeless for another week. This time, it took longer for her to recover. She wore the pendant and chain like it was a lifeline. No one but her understood what it meant. It was Osias’s gift. She believed it was a chance for them, something that would make them whole again, one day, some day. A chance at happiness, no matter how fleeting.