Mar. 30th, 2012


Royce was having a hard time dealing with, he felt like, everything. From his new budding romance with Charlie to keeping a low-profile in a town that was growing more interested in him to Rosemary's new unsafe place of employment and the hunter she kept insisting on being in close contact with to now Crowne butting his big nose into things that were none of his damn business. He was so used to having his life the way he wanted, being the one in charge but the longer he stayed in New Hope, that control was being taken from him. The fact that Rosemary was becoming more and more independent was difficult enough to wrap his brain around. She had always been so needy of him. It was her need that was disappearing. While he was bucket and bucket loads proud of her for finally getting a job that she didn't suck at, he didn't like how the job was changing her.

Okay. It wasn't really changing her that much. He was just noticing certain things. Rosey no longer needed him to fall asleep. Before, he'd sing her lullabies to calm her down enough to close her eyes. Now, as soon as she was done at the Burger King, she came home and fell asleep without waiting for him. Without him period. He'd be left alone to stare up at the ceiling, humming lullabies to himself. She was probably tired and worked out from whatever they were having her do at the burger joint. That was it. And it was no big thing. Rosemary was far too old for silly tunes anyway. So was he. Again, it wasn't like she was having a sudden change in her personality. She still held onto his arm while they slept and still insisted he'd make her breakfast. Things hadn't changed.

But Royce couldn't shake the feeling that soon, they would.

Alexander Crowne was proof of that.

The vampire hadn't caught them in years. And now he was showing up, cards and words galore. Rosemary, of course, was far more excited about the return of their 'family friend'. Her eagerness to approach Crowne sparked up a fight between them. It had gotten mean, both sides leaving with their sides bruised. Ten years they had lasted without a fight. Was it ironic that it had also been ten years since they had seen Crowne? No, it was more like a coincidence that wasn't a coincidence at all. The vampire had always been a sensitive subject for Royce. It was more of a problem for him than it was for Rosemary. He completely understood the connection between them but he still hated the fact that there was any connection at all. Rosemary was his family. NOT Crowne's. And now that damn blood-sucker was trying to get to Charlie? First his sister and now his girlfriend? Did Crowne have any morals?

Of course not. A virtuous vampire was like a vegetarian werewolf. There was no such thing. And Crowne was as virtuous as a shark. Which was a fitting description. Sharks were all bright toothy smiles, capable of picking up the scent of blood miles away. Yes, Crowne was a shark. The one with big nose.

And now he was just being petty.

The front door of the clinic chimed as another customer came in. Today had turned out pretty busy. One lady had come in with her extremely pregnant dog and within an hour, the clinic was home to a bunch of new puppies. Even Rose- err, Abbey had been excited about the tiny balls of sherbert-colored fur. Since the lady had to take off for her own job, Charlie had agreed to keep a watch on them and kept them comfortably set up in the Doc's office (who didn't have the chance to say no since he was busy with other customers). In the middle of that, people kept pouring in. What could have been a smooth day full of brooding was turning into a welcome distraction. Crowne was still at the front of his mind but at least it was easy to forget the vampire, even if it was only a couple hours.

Between the puppies, the parakeet with a sore wing and the other handful of people coming in with their assortment of pets, there wasn't a lot of time for conversation either. Royce kept to his own work, the Doc to his and Charlie to her's. Abbey was plenty distracted the puppies, weirdly so the first time the phone rang, it went unanswered. The second and third, they all lifted their head toward the phone, each glancing to one another. By the fourth, it was the Doc that relented-

Feb. 3rd, 2012


Rosemary had a comfortable thing going on with the Doc. She kept her teeth off his shoes. He kept a bag of week-old jerky in the bottom drawer of his desk. She made sure that the back room was guarded. He made sure to keep the fangs in the front room. Sometimes she would just lay at the far end of the room where she wouldn't chew on anything and sometimes he'd lean back and toss her a french fry from his burger meal. On the days his burger meal made it to him anyhow.

That was her new thing. Her new game. Trying to catch the hamburger bag from the hamburger boy. It was fast becoming her favorite thing of the day. Seriously, every day. The Doc loved his burgers. Before, the Doc had just gone to get his burgers but she guessed he either got lazy or had too much to do at the office to take the time and instead had to have his meal delivered. It was great for her because this delivery boy was proving to be quite the fun toy.

Even if every time he saw her, she saw the familiar glint of metal.

Yeah, she knew he was a hunter. She knew that he knew that she was not a normal four-legged beastie. Hunters and werewolves were not supposed to play well together. Or play together at all. Natural enemies, they were. Not supposed to be all cozy. But goodness, how could she resist teasing the tall boy? He looked so ... so cute when he was all angry.

There was the beginning of her problem. She thought the delivery boy was more than just a fun toy to yank around. The little blondie had something that was starting to look like a tiny bit of a crush on the guy. Maybe it was because he smelled so delicious like hamburgers and adrenaline. Or was it the way his eyes narrowed just so whenever he saw her, whether she was jumping up in front of the door right when he got to it or if she was hopping off the roof of the clinic. It was a rush, getting those eyes focused on her. Too much to be normal, that she could at least recognize.

She was able to confess to Royce after a few days (maybe it was more than a few) about what was going on and that she kinda was messing around with a hunter but guiltily kept whatever soft feelings she had for hamburger boy to herself. Royce had always been super-protective over her and while it was very much appreciated, she needed room to breathe. Room for errors and her own pair of googly eyes. Royce owed her anyway. So while he went off to be all big brother and check out hamburger boy for any possible threat, Rosemary decided to get some girl advice from the only girl she really knew.

Which was why she was currently standing in front of Charlie's front door, shouting her new friend's name. "Charlie? Chaarlie! Charlie? CHAAAAARRRRLIIIEEE?!?!" Forget knocking. She was too lazy to lift her hands. Leaning her head forward, she rested against the door and listened for possible Charlie-like noises from within.


A week later and Royce was sure that the world was out conspiring against him. Life had been so simple in the past handful of years. Just him and Rosey, that was it. As soon as others got added into the mix, things started to get complicated. First, he couldn't share the fact that he and Rosemary were werewolves. That alone was a big enough problem. Next, because that wasn't enough, an old 'friend' decided to pop his bloody head in and stir the pot. Crowne was nothing but a thorn in his side. At the very least, the vampire had been keeping a low profile, not yet coming out to meet either of them since the incident with Charlie. But since one vampire wasn't enough to light a fire under his fishy, fate decided to throw in another one. Not just another one but one that was child-size and also decided to pay Charlie a visit. That visit became permanent and now the thing was living with her! Shit on a stick, that was enough to send any guy into a stressed out fit. But Royce kept his cool. A whole week went by since meeting Noah and he had yet to blow his top.

Probably had something to do with the extreme lack of sleep he had going on. Yeah, he had been keeping tabs on the vampire, watching him pretty much every second that he could get away with. Even at night, he kept a vigilant watch from the trees behind the complex. Maybe it was becoming stalker-ish but he couldn't focus on anything else until either this vampire left or died.

He had to give it to the kid though. Noah was certainly playing right into Charlie's motherly instincts. Not exactly intentionally. Sometimes, it almost seemed like the fang was embarrassed by all the attention Charlie was showering him with. Almost made the kid seem human. But Royce wasn't going to lower his guard. Not until he knew for sure. Maybe the kid was a good vampire. That would be nice. He could get some sleep that didn't involve him falling out of trees.

Noah, unfortunately, was not the icing on the cake however. No. Because life wasn't about to bake him a crap-filled cake and not put the crap frosting on it. Psh, life. It couldn't be that easy.

Rosemary had neglected until that morning to tell him about a certain incident that had been reoccurring for the past seven days. An incident involving a hunter, of all the stupid and irresponsible things. Instead of trying to avoid said hunter, Rosemary had actually started to attack the hunter. Not viciously or really very physically (unless sticking one's wolf snout up another one's sweater counted as physical) but more annoying and stupid than anything. She'd been stealing Doc's delivery boy's hamburgers. Of all the things.

So here he was, heading out to this burger joint to get a look at this so-called hunter. He'd briefly talked about it with the Doc. The old guy was both irritated by Rosemary's stupidity and the delivery boy's inability to get past her to the freaking door. In retrospect, Royce would have loved to see this in action but with everything else going on, it was too much of a liability. He had to see if this hunter was going to cause real trouble or if maybe he could just this thing on the back-burner.

Except, Rosemary hadn't told him what the guy's name was. Just what he looked like. Brown hair. Tall. Smells like hamburgers. How was he gonna identify the guy on that? It wasn't until he was at the burger place, standing in line, that Royce realized he could have asked the Doc what the guy's name was. Why was he even standing in line for a burger anyway? Oh. Right. Because he was starting to look like some creep just standing in front of the place, staring in.

Oct. 17th, 2011


The next day found Charlie sitting by herself at the desk in the shed with a book of animal anatomy that she was supposed to be reviewing in line with Doc's medical notes. But, like most things that sat at that desk, they went unnoticed as her head invariably found itself on her hands, eyes staring unfocused through the window.

Without meaning to, her mind drifted over Burbank, and the two bedroom ranch house, and the little room in the attic.

If nothing else, that was the one thing she truly regretted leaving- the one thing she couldn't take with her. She loved that room, and the closeness of it, and the way the wind rattled in the rafters during storms. At one point, she wanted to move her bed in there to make that her official bedroom, but there was no way she could maneuver a mattress, let alone any other sort of furniture, up the pull-down stairs and through the small space reserved for people and rats. But she still spent most of her time up there, reading and thinking and dreaming. Dreaming of what living a different life would be like.

Well, her life in New Hope was certainly different. Her apartment in Forest Creek had nothing on the house in Burbank, let alone her mother's penthouse in LA. Charlie loved her job, but it felt a little unusual to be in the middle of November and not studying for a midterm. Of course she had gotten her GED before she left, but breaking a habit after 10 years of practice was still a little new. No more family to live with, no more father to take care of. Yes, it was different.

But, at the same time, this was the first time she had only herself to worry about- no one else. The freedom of this was too new to become normal just yet, so she still reveled in it. And the half-dozen or so of cats that roomed with her weren't family, but as far as she was concerned, that was a good thing. Family, to her, meant people demanding all of her attention and energy and concern, and giving very very little in return. Not that the cats really gave much of any of these things back, but at least they left her treats of dead mice and birds. In their own way, they were showing their appreciation.

Charlie heard a crash and a muffled curse from across the parking lot. Doc's office was always a mess- it was probably another stack of papers and books that fell to the floor. Again, she figured, smiling to herself.

And, probably the most important difference between her three lives...

Her life now didn't feel empty.

There were people in it. People that didn't demand so much of herself that there was hardly anything left. People that gave generously of themselves. So much so that rather than feeling empty, she felt full and happy.

Like Doc. He was grumpy, grouchy and stubborn, but she had seen harsh and uncaring enough to know that he was actually very gentle and thoughtful, wearing his grumpiness like armor to keep people from seeing the softness underneath. He worried about her, probably more than any employer rightfully should over any employee, but it felt nice, and she only gave token complaints. He also understood her fascination about his work, and after putting up a front of irritation, was happy to show her and teach her what he knew.

Speaking of teaching... Charlie looked down at the discarded book in front of her. Its pages looked back, disapproving of her lack of dedication to its words. In a minute. I'm on a roll now.

Let's see, who else was there? There was Dayle and Tanya, of course, charming people that she liked to spend time with occasionally. People that made her feel like a 17-year-old girl for once, and take enjoyment from things like going to the mall, eating junk food, and scoping out boys. Not that she ever payed much attention to the latter activity, of course. Not when there was her attractive and friendly co-worker to think about.

Royce. She remembered yesterday, suddenly crystal clear. She told him that she liked him. He didn't run and he didn't laugh. He kissed her. He liked her. The possibilities to come from this simple truth made her head spin in wonderfully dizzying ways. Royce made her feel happy in a way she hadn't expected, let alone imagined. He was a little quiet and a little shy, but opened up to become warm and radiant with just a small smile. Friendly, protective and caring, he had unwittingly become her knight, embodying everything she had left California to find. Simple happiness, satisfaction, and a feeling of being cared for.

He doesn't know it, but... I owe him a lot, she realized. Just for... for being there.

And, of course, the only way she knew to accomplish this was to cook. Besides drawing, there wasn't much else she could do. And with a comfortable amount of money in her savings, she figured she could splurge for the occasion. Pork? Pork chops? No, Royce will eat a lot more than I can afford, so it has to be something filling. Potatoes. Those are filling. A stew? A stew with pork. Or lamb, if I can find it on sale. Stew doesn't need a whole lot of meat. And I can make something for dessert, too. Cupcakes? Brownies? No, those are too ordinary. What else can I make? Cakes, pies, donuts, tarts. What about donuts? Little ones, filled with jam or cream or something. Topped in chocolate? I can do that. They don't take a lot of stuff to make, and if I make tons, he and Rosemary can take some home and I'll actually have a few for myself. Will that work, then? Stew, donuts... I'll get some of that nice bread, too. Sourdough or french or one of those. Those aren't very expensive. Is that all good? Sounds like it is...

There was pleasure in planning meals, something she's always enjoyed, but it's especially fun knowing you're feeding two people who express their gratitude by shoveling the food down their throats as fast as possible.

Still, happy that she had a plan, happy that she had Royce and Rosemary to enjoy it, and just happy in general, she finally pulled the book closer and lowered her head to read.

Oct. 13th, 2011


Charlie woke up the next morning groggy and grumpy. Her comforter lay on the floor next to her pillows where she had kicked them off last night, and as her feet swung around, they had to dig through the layer the materials had made in order to find the floor. It felt stuffy in her room, despite the chill she knew would be waiting for her outside, and glanced back at the bed, half-tempted to bury herself back in them.

Nah, Royce doesn't work today, so I guess I have to come in.

The prepping before a work day was, as usual, blissfully short. Working among animals and all the sounds and smells and other unpleasant things they made meant that her normal uniform consisted of $.99 shirts and the one pair of grubby jeans she owned. And now that she was beginning to make a habit of cooking for more than herself (and she learned her lesson this time), breakfast was as easy as taking a slice of meatloaf from the fridge and popping it in the microwave with two slices of bread going in the toaster. With some ketchup and cheese, she had a sandwich, and less than five minutes later, she was locking her door and walking toward town.

Biting into the meatloaf reminded her of dinner the night before- uneventful, for the most part. Royce still had his mind on Crowne, even as he was shoveling food into his mouth as fast as he could. Almost as soon as he and Rosemary finished eating, they both said thank you (well, Royce did for both of them), and were off to patrol again. Not that she felt it was really necessary anymore- she wasn't scared anymore. Her conversation with Rosemary had neatly distracted her from any thoughts of stalkers.

That was it Charlie thought triumphantly. That was why I couldn't sleep last night. I was talking about Madeline, and I kept thinking about it throughout dinner and up to when I went to bed. Perhaps it was a good thing after all that Royce had been so preoccupied. The last thing she needed was more questions.

A pause at the traffic light, crossing of the street and down three doors had Charlie at the clinic with minutes to spare before the place officially opened. Taped to the door was a note in Doc's scribbly writing: "Making a house call at the Fitzgibbons Farm on Winchester Ave. Should be back by noon. Stay out of trouble." No signature, but none was necessary. Charlie rolled her eyes at the last comment, but pulled the note off the glass and unlocked the door.

Neither Doc or Royce around, with the office to herself?

Sounded like the start of a rather peaceful day.

Oct. 5th, 2011


It was late in the afternoon when they woke up. The dinner Charlie had cooked up had more than filled them up and then the hunt afterwards put them over the edge of blissful fullness. They had barely been able to crawl through their back window without falling asleep. As it was, they ended up sleeping on the floor where they landed. It took the setting warm sun to wake them up and by then, it was time to go see Charlie again at the clinic for a walk home. He took a quick shower but Rosey couldn't be bothered to even move until the minute he was walking out the door and only then did she bother opening her eyes. Not that it mattered much since she was going in her wolf form. He thought she could use another bath but he thought he'd bring that up at another time.

The walk to the clinic took some time so they took a short-cut through one of the over-grown fields. "I'm still full." Royce groaned. But he did it with a smile and a lazy stretch of his arms. Rosey barked in agreement behind him. Wait, behind him? He turned and looked over his shoulder for her. Catching the sight of a tan shaggy rump sticking out of the weeds, he raised an eyebrow and stopped. "Rosey, what are you doing?"

The rump sank down out of sight and a small wolf-head popped up instead. Her head turned toward him and he laughed at her mouth full of dandelions. What on earth? He was still laughing as she hopped back over to the semi-path that went through the field. "Oh, you shouldn't have, Rosey." Royce held out his hand to take the flowers but then frowned when she turned her head and bounded ahead.

They're not for you, duh!

"What?" He stood there, frozen for a moment. Was she really picking flowers for Charlie? This looked promising. Rosey had never actually had a girl who was a friend. Wouldn't that be interesting? The two of them becoming friends? Having girl talks and giggling through all hours of the night? Better Charlie than him. He was done with debates on whether boxers or panties were more comfortable.

Seriously. Done. As much as Rosey did her best to be one of the guys, there was no hiding that she was totally one of the girls. And Charlie was a girl so it all worked out.

When they got to the clinic, Royce walked in casually, head and spirits high. "Hello, Charlie?" He called out for her, not remembering to keep the door open for Rosey until he heard her slam into it. "Woops, sorry, Rosey." He apologized quietly as he went to open the door for her again. She glared at him over her squished dandelions but walked in quickly, lest he forget again and shut the door on her tail.

Jan. 31st, 2011


Jul. 5th, 2009


Rub dub, put the wolfie in the tub... )