Jazzy here. I know, I know. Susan’s been trying to follow the rules and keep me quiet.
Susan: Jazzy, you’re a character. Characters from books aren’t real. They don’t have a life. They can’t impose their will on the author.
Me: Snort! If I’m not real, who’s been talking inside your head all this time? Besides, when have I ever been quiet? You can ask Bella, my minutes older twin. I came out kicking and screaming and haven’t stopped since.
Susan: You’re right. I give.
Jazzy: So, let’s talk heat. Yes, you heard me right. HEAT. Being a member of the animal kingdom (a werewolf) it’s something I have to deal with once a year. But to be honest, it isn’t pretty. Listen, you think PMS is bad? Ha! Being in heat is killer! (Sometimes, literally.) You can check with Bella on that one, too.
Usually she tries to take me away from my natural habitat when “my time” comes. It might only happen once annually, but even one time can be horrifyingly memorable. And if there’s one thing sister-dearest doesn’t want, it’s for anyone in our everyday life to remember me like that.
This particular time, she dragged me off to Colorado. And she didn’t tell a soul.
* * *
I waited in the car when Bella got back patting my foot in annoyance by the time she started it. “Did they have our reservation?”
“Yes.” When I shifted into blasting-words-mode,why did she speak in slo-mo?
“Full living room? Two bedrooms? Shower or tub?” Rat-a-tat tat.
“Full living room, big screen TV, shower and Jacuzzi tub. But I asked for a one bedroom, two queens.” I could have climbed Mount Everest in the time it took her to finish.
“One? One bedroom?” I screeched. “That’s ridiculous! Why would you ask for one bedroom? You knew I’d want time alone.”
Not only were her words slow, so was her smile and the light that shifted to brighten her eyes. “Of course I knew you’d want privacy, and that’s exactly why I got one bedroom. To protect you from…that.”
Anger exploded in my chest, leaving a prickle of something on my skin. Sweat or bristle, I wasn’t sure. “Who do you think you are? My keeper? My trainer? Did you bring a leash and a muzzle, too?”
Somewhere in a detached part of my mind, I noticed the sun drifting toward the western horizon, turning the snow a delicate shade of apricot while the sky darkened from blue to purple. In just minutes, the apricot would become a dramatic shade of peach, then flame to burnt orange while the sky would shift to indigo.
Bella put the car in park.
“Let’s get unloaded. Fast.” I shoved open the door and rushed to the back to grab our bags. Not bothering to wait for her, I snatched the suitcases, slammed the door with a hipshot and headed for the entrance.
Bella hurried to catch up. “Let me take something.”
“Just get the doors.” I marched on, trying to expend a bit of my scorching energy.
“This one. Room 111.”
I gave a growl of acceptance, low and deep. One, one, one. The only one. I was alone. Oh, there’d been others. My maternal grandmother, for instance. And probably her grandmother. But for now, I was the only. Lost in a world of snow.
And growing very, very hungry.
By the time we were in the room, the fur was shoving its way through my skin. Knowing how horrified Bella became during my transformations, I excused myself as if I were going to the bathroom, which was off the bedroom. As I walked into the room, I saw my salvation. A door to the outside world.
Hoping Bella wouldn’t enter anytime soon, I luxuriated in my change. Strength turned my muscles to steel. No longer did the energy surging through me hurt as if I were an overfilled beach ball. Now it belonged inside me. It made me powerful.
Before I had no choice but to drop to all fours, I opened that door then let the effect of the rising moon take me.
Exhilarated, I raised my face in adulation. With a long howl for Bella, I bounded into the night.
So you can see, being born with the werewolf gene isn’t exactly easy, but at least things don’t get boring for me or my sister. Or you either, I can practically guarantee.