“Come on, Anna. One more game.”
Anna glanced at the TV screen. The silver “Continue?” floated in the middle of the screen.
Shelley grinned at her. She playfully punched Anna in the shoulder. “Come on, Anna. You’re not scared am I gonna beat you this time, are ya? I mean, I know I’m getting good at the eight-way run for Raphael, but…”
Anna grasped her arm. She bit back her fangs. She gazed at the bowl of Cheeto puffs on the coffee table, the turkey legs, the gravy, the stuffing, the rice pilaf…
“You know,” Anna whispered. “Don’t you?”
Shelley straightened. “Know what?”
“You know I’m a werewolf. And my pack kicked me out.”
Shelley muted the television with a flick of her remote. Rubbed her forehead with the back of her knuckles. “Anna.”
“And you want me to stay here with you, even though there’s a good chance I could kill you.”
“Ann–” Shelley tossed the controller on the love seat across from them. “Anna, stop. You’re not going to kill me.”
Rage simmered in Anna’s gut. A low growl pooled in the back of her throat. “You don’t know that, Shell.”
“Yes, I do. And you know how I know? Because you haven’t killed anybody.”
“Not ever.” Shelley took Anna’s hands in her grip. “Not as long as you’re with me. If you turn into a werewolf, Anna, I will grab my frying pan from the kitchen and hit you on the head with it to knock you out. I will do an eight-way-run combo on you and drag you back to the couch and put a blanket on you so you can sleep. And if you have a lump on your head after, I’ll put an ice pack on it.” Shelley blinked away a few tears. “And if anybody tries to shoot you down with a silver bullet, I’ll make sure they get me first.”
Anna’s rage simmered and bubbled over into confusion. “Shelley, this can’t work. You’re human. I’m not.”
“I know that. But that’s not going to stop me from becoming strong enough to take care of you. Heck, I already go to the gym. I’ll go to it more. Get an unlimited pass. I’ll run with you when you go werewolf. I’ll go on my bike, if I have to. I’ll go on long trails with you. I’ll throw Friendsgiving all the time. I’ll do it, Anna.”
New tears wet Anna’s eyes. She closed them, unable to gaze at her friend the same way again.
“Please, Anna. Stay with me. Tonight, at least.”
Shelley’s warm hand stroked Anna’s cheek. The touch quelled the wolf in her. Somewhat. She’d known that touch before. The same touch of her brother. Her mother. Her father. Before they found out what she was. The same warmth turned to ice. The same love turned to hate and fear.
Would Shelley do the same?
She couldn’t say. She wouldn’t say.
She smirked, eyes still closed. “A frying pan to my head?”
Shelley chuckled. “What? Kirby uses it.”
“You aren’t Kirby.”
“Nope. Got me there.”
“Yeah.” Anna smiled.
Shelley smiled back. “Yeah.”
The TV screen buzzed with static and pixels.
Anna wrapped her hands around Shelley’s. Blush colored both their cheeks, their foreheads pressed together.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Or Friendsgiving. Or Selfsgiving. Whichever you prefer. More content coming your way next week!