#Chapter 41: The Calm Before the Storm
I was just sitting down to watch a movie and drown my sorrows in a bowl of popcorn when my door suddenly burst open.
“What the fuck?!” I shouted, jumping up from my couch and spilling popcorn everywhere.
My eyes widened as I saw Luke come in, his skull exposed, carrying a limp Nina in his arms. He ran over to the couch and shoved me out of the way, laying her down while I stood there in complete shock.
“What did you do?!” I said.
“I saved her from getting sexually assaulted,” Luke said, stepping away so I could crouch down to Nina and feel her forehead. She was clammy and delirious, mumbling nonsense under
“Who did this and where is the
fucker?” I growled, looking up at Luke,
who was covering his skull again.
“Some asshole from the club,” he replied, sounding just as angry as I was. “Don’t worry. I got him in the back of my car. Well, not my car, technically. A car that just happened to be unlocked with the keys inside.”
He pulled a set of keys out of his pocket and jingled them.
I stood and rubbed my forehead with my hand, sighing. “You can’t just steal cars,” I replied. “But… Thank you. Can you get him somewhere secluded? I won’t let some asshole who drugs girls, especially Nina, walk around as a free man.”
Luke nodded and walked back toward the door, taking one last glance over his shoulder at Nina before pulling his hood up and darting out of my apartment.
“Ugh…” Nina groaned, holding her stomach like she was about to puke. I cursed under my breath and ran over to the kitchen to grab a trash bag, but by the time I returned it was too late. She had already vomited all over herself, my couch, and the floor.
“Shit…” I whispered, turning her on her side in case she puked again and running for a damp towel to clean up the mess. When I returned, she was fast asleep again.
I wiped up the mess, holding my nose, then decided that I couldn’t let Nina just lay there with crusted vomit all over her and gently slid her shirt off over her head. I wiped her down with a clean, wet towel and soap and then put one of my shirts on her.
under any other circumstances, I would’ve found her to be incredibly cute in one of my shirts. She was so small that it was like a dress on her, and I was able to remove her dirty skirt as well without violating her privacy any further than it already had been tonight and tossed her clothes, along with the vomit-covered towels, straight into the washing machine..
While I was doing all of this, I fumed about the asshole who had done this to my Nina. How could anyone do this to her? I just wanted to hold her and protect her.
Once I finished cleaning her up and getting her into a clean shirt, she was starting to seem better already. She was still sleeping, but the color had already come back into her face and she stopped sweating, which was surprising. Didn’t drugs like this make people sick for hours? Then again, Nina was proving more and more every day to be out of the ordinary. Seeing her heal so quickly made me wonder if she was even human at all. Could she be a hybrid? They were fairly common in the human world, but most people had no idea about their hybridism since it was extremely rare for one to have any sort of supernatural powers.
Deciding that now was not the time to agonize over whether Nina was human or not, I let out a deep sigh and scooped her small body up in my arms. I walked over to my bedroom and laid her down in the bed, pulling the covers up to her chin and placing a trash can, a glass of water, and her cell phone on the nightstand.
I looked down at her for a few moments, watching her sleep peacefully.
I hated myself for letting her get hurt.
If I hadn’t been such a fuck-up that
pushed her away and ruined our
chances of being together, I could’ve been there and none of this would have happened.
It was too late now, though. The damage had been done, and I had been such an asshole. I had to make things right for her. If she wanted to just be friends, we would be friends. I couldn’t push her anymore like I had been. I needed to be there for her. I needed to protect her.
I decided that it was best if I just let her rest for now, so I tucked her in and headed back to the living room, leaving the door cracked just in case she needed me.
When I sat down on the couch, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I opened it to two texts: one from Luke, telling me that he had the asshole who hurt Nina tied up in an abandoned barn with a spell on him to keep him asleep, and one from Lewis. There was a picture attached to the text from Lewis. I raised an eyebrow and opened it.
The text read: “Been doing some more digging. Found this. The pattern looks familiar… I can’t find anything else on the girl, though. Sorry I can’t be of more help.”
The image that was attached to it was a picture of an old, yellowed photograph with burnt edges. The burn marks destroyed most of the image, except for the figure of what appeared to be someone holding a baby swaddled in a blanket. I squinted and looked closer; the figure’s face was burned away, so I couldn’t make out who it was … But Lewis was right. The pattern on the blanket was familiar.
It was a burgundy colored blanket, with little golden rabbits on it that looked like something out of a storybook that my mom used to read to me when I was a kid. It was a folk taleabout a rabbit and a wolf putting aside their differences and becoming friends, but it was only something I had ever heard in the werewolf world. As far as I knew, humans didn’t know this story.
How, though? If this was Nina in the picture, or someone related to her, then how would a human family be in possession of a blanket with a werewolf pattern on it?
Before I had enough time to think about the strange picture, my phone suddenly started blaring. It was a typhoon warning. It looked like a bad one, too, judging from the weather report that popped up when I opened the warning.
I sighed and stuck my phone back in my pocket, hitting play on the scary movie that I had been planning on watching tonight as the wind began to howl and rain started to beat against the sides of the building. It made for a