It's time for the conclusion of Taylor's wolf shifter story, For You Only!
I'm so excited!
I mean, I got the read the entire thing!
For You Only
It took several hours for him to finally awaken. I sat on the stool I'd sat on after my new pack nearly took his life. I wrung my hands together, my palms clammy.
I had nearly taken his life.
My wolf memories were fuzzy, distorted, and shadowed with the alpha's commands. Akela had been only a speck in my vision. It would've been so easy to give in and deliver the final bite, but I didn’t. I had recovered control with the help of Akela’s words. He had saved me.
“Maya?” His voice was raspy, but I’d know it anywhere. Anywhen.
I looked up and saw his eyes.
He smiled faintly.
We lapsed into silence, my thoughts swirling. What could I possibly say? “I'm sorry I almost killed you?”
“Hey.” Akela's voice slipped through the shadows, his face lit by the moon. “You okay?”
I looked away again, guilt rising. He could sense it, just like he sensed all my other emotions, the way I sensed his now. I never realized each emotion had a unique scent. There was the sweet, almost fruity scent of anxiety. The sharp scent of stress. The musky scent of nervousness. And guilt? The scent of guilt was complicated, both overpowering and delicate. It stood out amongst the others.
“It wasn't your fault.” I didn’t look at him.
I heard him inhale through his nose. The rustling of sheets told me that he was trying to sit up. “It wasn't yours either.”
Slowly, I turned my head. His hands were fists against the mattress. “You saved my life, Akela.”
He shook his head. “No.”
No? Didn’t he come to save me? Wasn’t it his voice that brought me back to myself?
“No,” he said again. “You saved mine.”
I didn't get it. I narrowed my eyes. What did he mean? Didn’t his words pull me out of the alpha's control?
“You saved yourself, Maya. You made that choice to fight back, not him.”
The realization hit me with the force of a thunderclap. He was right. It wasn't Akela or the alpha who made that choice for me.
I made the choice. When faced with slave or Maya, I chose Maya.
Slowly, the wolves began to howl. I smiled. “You wanna meet them?”
His eyebrows drew closer to each other. “Meet who?”
I looked out the window. “Our new pack.”
We went outside to greet them. It was too cold to stay human, and the pack stayed in their wolf forms with no clothes in sight. They nosed Akela's hands and bowed to both of us.
“What are they doing?” asked Akela.
He wasn't familiar with this or any other forms of pack behavior, having been a loner all his life. While he was unconscious, I'd learned as much as I could from the pack’s memories in the hours after becoming their new alpha. Luckily, I could snatch some of Akela's clothes from his closet once I'd shifted back to human.
“They're showing their respect.“
He stared wide-eyed.
“You don't have to face the world alone anymore,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder. “You have us now.” I looked across the sea of wolves, twenty in total, ears pricked, feet dancing with excitement. They wanted to welcome him, not only as a human but as a wolf, too. They wanted him to shift. And they wanted me to shift with him, but I was nervous. During my first shift, I'd felt nothing but pain, the wolf inside tearing me open into another form. Would it be like that again?
I felt Akela's eyes on me with the rest of the pack. All of them could smell my hesitation. Akela clutched my fingers into his own. “It won't hurt this time,” he said. “I promise, Maya. Just breathe.”
I closed my eyes. There was no pain. There was no struggle, no fight to tame the wolf that was now me. It was effortless. Best, I knew that I was still me. I was always me!
Time to run.
We bounded through the trees. We jostled each other playfully, yipping and snapping. We leaped over branches tangled in the underbrush. We moved as one.
Even with the scent of the pines in my nostrils, the sensation of snow in my fur, the sounds of my pack running behind me, and my best friend at my side, only one thought stood out in my mind. It was a thought that shimmered and glistened, a thought that cast a light that shone as bright as the sun.
“I. Am. Maya.”