Dead and Loving It (Page 11)

“No more time to write today-we're breaking in a new chef. He's used to catering large office functions, so he should be able to keep Janet satisfied.

“I suppose I'll give up this journal very soon. I realize now I wrote in it as a way to stave off my loneliness. No need for such distracting tricks any longer.

“Must go-my bride has just playfully tossed a marble bust at my head to get my attention. I think I'll chase her down and spank her.”

There’s No Such Thing As A Werewolf

By MaryJanice Davidson

CHAPTER ONE

As any werewolf knows, smells and emotions and even raised voices have colors and texture. And as any blind werewolf knows—not that there were any besides him, to the best of his knowledge—you could take those smells, emotions, and conversations and do a pretty good job of seeing. Not a great job, comparably speaking, but enough to get around. Enough to have a solid sense of the world.

.

“But I can’t be pregnant,” Mrs. Dane was saying. “There’s just no way.”

“There’s at least one way.”

“But I’m infertile! The clinic said!”

“Accidents happen,” he said cheerfully. He knew she was stunned, but pleased. And as soon as the shock wore off, she’d be ecstatic. He could have told her that her fallopian tubes had managed to unblock themselves over the years, but that would raise awkward questions. After all, he was just her G.P. He wasn’t treating her for infertility.

“I’d say you’re…” Thirty-nine and a half days along “…about six weeks pregnant. I’m going to write you a scrip for some pre-natal vitamins, and I want you to take two a day. And the usual blandishments, of course, ease off on alcohol, don’t smoke, blah-blah-blah. You know all this.” Mrs. Dane was an OB nurse.

“Yeah, but…I never thought I’d need it.”

He heard her weight shift as she slid off the table, and thus was ready for it when she flung her chubby arms around him in a strangler’s grip. “Thanks so much!” she whispered fiercely. “Thank you!”

“Mrs. Dane, I didn’t do anything.” He gently extricated himself from her grip. “Go home and thank your husband.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Now she was brighter in his mind’s eye, glowing with embarrassment. “I read somewhere that blind people don’t like it when their balance is thrown off.”

..

“Don’t worry about it. You couldn’t throw off my balance.” Not without a truck. “Don’t forget to fill this on the way home,” he added. He could write perfectly well, which was to say his prescriptions didn’t look any less legible than a seeing doctor’s.

“Right. Right!” She darted around him, nearly careened into the closed door, and left without her clothes. The gown flapped once as the door closed behind her.

“I don’t think they’ll let you in the pharmacy dressed like that,” he called after her.

“I’m just saying you should think about it,” his nurse, Barb Robinson, argued. “I hate the thought of you going home to an empty house every night. And it would—you know. Be helpful.”

“Put a harness around a dog and expect it to lead me around all day?” He tried not to sound as aghast as he felt. “That’s awful!”

“Drake, be reasonable. You get around fine, but you’re not a kid anymore.”

“Meaning, since I’m looking at the big four-oh, it’s time to check out nursing home brochures?”

Barb’s scent shifted—it had been lemony and intense before, because while she was embarrassed to broach the subject, she was also determined. Now, as she got annoyed, it intensified until she damned near smelled like mouthwash.

“Very funny,” she snapped. “Pride’s one thing. Your safety is another. For crying out loud, you don’t even use your cane most of the time.”

“Will it get you off my back if I start lugging the stick around?”

“Yes,” she said promptly.

Oh, for God’s sake . “Fine. You may now refer to me as Dr. Stick.”

“It’s just that I don’t want you to get hurt, is all,” she persisted. “You bugged me about moving to a safer neighborhood.”

“Repeatedly?”

“Oh, hush up. And you’d better get going—isn’t tonight another one of your big nights out?”

You could say that. “It is indeed.”

“Well…maybe you should take it easy. You look kind of worn out today.”

“I was up late,” he said shortly. “Give me the damned cane.”

He heard her rummaging around beneath the counter, and then she tapped the floor in front of him. He snatched it out of her hand. “There, satisfied?”

“For now.”

“Also, you’re fired.”

“Ha!”

“Maybe next time.” He obediently started tapping his way to the front door, though he knew perfectly well it was eight feet, nine inches away. “See you Monday.”

“And think about the dog!” she yelled after him.

“Not likely,” he muttered under his breath.

CHAPTER TWO

The small gang—two boys and one girl, not one of them out of their teens— followed him off the subway. Typical thugs; they needed reinforcements to rob a blind man. He led them down Milk Street and let them get close.

“Just so you know,” he said, turning, “in about half an hour the moon will be up. So this is a very, very bad idea. I mean—” They rushed him, and his stick caught the first one in the throat. “—it’s a bad idea in general. There are only about a thousand—” His elbow clocked down on the skull of the second. “— more respectable ways to make a living.”

He hesitated with the girl, and nearly got his cheek sliced open for his trouble. He pulled his head back, heard the whisper of steel slide past his face, then grabbed her wrist and pulled, checking his force at the last moment. She flew past him and smacked into the brick wall, then flopped to the ground like a puppet with her strings cut. “Seriously,” he told the dazed, semi-conscious youths. “You should think about it. And what are you up to?”

“Nothing,” the other werewolf said cheerfully. “Just came down to see if you needed a hand. Christ, when was the last time these three had a bath?”

“About two weeks ago.”

“How’s it going, Drake?”

“It’s going like it always does,” he said carefully. He had known Wade when they were younger, but it paid to be careful around Pack.

He held out his hand and felt it engulfed by the younger man, who smelled like wood smoke and fried trout. Drake was a large man, but Wade had three inches and twenty pounds on him. If he wasn’t such a pussycat, he’d be terrifying. “Still keeping to your place in the country?”

“Sure. This city is f*****g rank, man. I only came in to stock up. The day got away from me.”

“Try not to eat any of the populace.”

“Yuck! Have you seen what they eat? I wouldn’t chew a monkey on a bet.”

“That’s not nice,” Drake said mildly.

“Yeah, yeah, pardon my un-f*****g PC behavior. Humans, okay, and never mind what they originated from. No, really! They should be proud to be shaved apes.”

“Tsk.”

“Hey, I’m glad I ran into you. You should head out to the Cape, say hi to the boss and Moira and those guys. Did you hear Moira got hitched?”

“I did, yes. To a monkey, right?”

“Yeah, well…” Wade stretched; Drake could hear his tendons creaking and lengthening. Their change was very close. Luckily, adolescence was far behind them both; they would stay well in control. “The new alpha gal, Jeannie, she heard about…uh…she noticed that none of the Pack…uh…”

“Was cursed with a devastating handicap?” he asked pleasantly. He tapped his cane for emphasis.

Wade coughed. “Anyway, she hit the f*****g roof when Michael told her the score, and they pissed and moaned about it for, like, a damn month, during which time our fearless leader was so not getting laid, and finally Michael said it wasn’t an automatic, it would be up to the parents, and they both had to agree.”

Drake was silent. For the Pack, this was forward thinking indeed. Handicaps were so rare they were nearly unheard of, and when a Pack member was born blind, or deaf, or whatever, it had been tradition since time out of mind that the sire killed the cub. The dam was usually too weak from whelping, but was almost always in agreement.

His

sire, however, had died in Challenge before his birth, and his mother had wanted him. Had hidden him away at the time so the well-meaning Pack leader, Michael’s father, couldn’t find him and kill him. Had raised him defiantly and heartlessly—absolutely no quarter given, or asked.

Drake had eventually left the Pack on his own, made his way to Boston, made a life among humans. Here, at least, he could hold his own. Humans didn’t care about Challenges. They didn’t even know about them.

“Well, maybe I will pay them a visit,” he lied. “It’s been a long time.” Michael hadn’t even been pack leader when he’d left…Moira had been a precocious brat, one of the few who’d tried to talk him out of leaving.

No. Done was done.

“A long time?” Wade was saying. “Yeah, like about twenty years. It’s a little different now. Michael’s a modern dude. No one will f**k with you.”

“Thanks for passing on the news. But I didn’t leave because I was afraid of

being f****d with.”

“You did win all your Challenges,” Wade admitted.

“I left because I was never allowed to be myself.”

“You think you’re allowed that here? In Monkey Central?”

He shrugged. Loneliness was such a central factor of his life, he barely

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