Feb. 21st, 2014


And it begins

Noah was, as usual, the first to notice.

He was sitting at the dining table, pretending to read from the book Charlie had leant him while she prepared her dinner. Something with chicken and butter. Yet again he wished such food still appealed to him so that his normal diet wouldn't repulse her.

As far as he could tell, she seemed calm today- fewer nervous glances and flinches when he drew near her. Noah was even pleased to hear soft humming under her breath as she chopped up something- mushrooms?- that she tossed in with the chicken. Humming was definitely a good sign that she was slowly accepting the fact that he was a vampire.

As if sensing his thoughts, Charlie glanced back at him. Of course his eyes were already back on the book, resuming his fake reading of it. He made sure to look up just once, as if he hadn't noticed her watching him, and offered her a shy smile. The smile she returned was just as shy, but definitely real, and it warmed his unbeating heart to see it. Maybe things really could go back to the way they were between them.

They maintained their comfortable silence, each watching the other while trying not to be too obvious about it. It was in the silence, though, that Noah heard that soft footfall.

When Charlie glanced again, she was surprised to see him staring out the window, tense and unnaturally still. His eyes were an icy yellow, not at all like his usual golden caramel, reminding her of a small lion holding absolutely still before his prey. The thought made her shiver before she could remind herself not to. She knew her subconscious fear of Noah's true identity made him sad which only made her feel fearful and guilty.

Charlie made her hands turn off the stove, noting absently that they were shaking. With her back still to him, she quietly asked, "Noah, is something wrong?"

A beat of silence- Noah debating whether or not to tell her the truth- and to her irritation, Charlie found her heartbeat beating a little faster. She needed to get a grip. Noah either sensed her rising alarm or heard her rising heartbeat, because he suddenly looked back at her and frowned, concerned.

Shut up, she told her heart. "What is it?" she asked again more firmly.

Noah sighed, and against his better judgement, told her the truth. "The other vampire- Alexander Crowne- is outside."

Charlie stopped breathing altogether. Alarmed, Noah rose to his feet- as always, mindful of moving slowly around her- and went to her side. She didn't react at all to his proximity, which frightened him even more, and with only a slight hesitation, he rested a gentle hand on her arm. "Charlie, please don't be frightened," he whispered. "I'm not very big, but I am strong, and-" he rose his voice for the benefit of the audience outside- "I won't let him hurt you."

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-

Mar. 28th, 2012


People had a knack for showing up just when she needed them. Well, they were showing up now. But Xander had always had perfect timing. It was like in his blood or something. When she first met him, it had been fate almost, the way he swooped in. He had been the rescue she had been dying for.

Rosemary knew full well how her brother felt about the vampire. It wasn't that he hated the vampire ... not exactly. Or at least, didn't hate him enough to want him dead. Royce just didn't want to have anything to do with Crowne. There wasn't enough distance the Royce could put between him and the crafty fang. Before they had even become friends (yes, there had been such a time that she hadn't known the King's boy), there had been deep resentment for the vampire. Rosemary only knew part of the story herself, only the part that Royce had told her and Xander had been stoically mum on the subject, but what she knew she could understand.

Alexander Crowne was not to be trusted. That was the one rule Royce had when they first became friends. He was insistent on Crowne's dark nature, sure that his manipulations were endless. For the longest time, she took him at his word. But it was hard to not trust the man who had saved her life. Whatever his past sins, whatever wrongs he had committed, he had at least never treated her with anything less than gentle affection. It was redeeming enough in her eyes. But not her friend's. Royce had been pissed that Crowne had approached Charlie for a second time. Immediately after he found out, they fought.

She insisted that he had been nice to Charlie. He insisted that it was only because the fang had a dark ulterior motive. She argued that they give Crowne a chance, to hear what he had to say. He argued back, saying that there was no trusting a fang. Especially not Crowne. When the shouting was done, emotions were high and hearts bruised. Royce still refused to go anywhere near Crowne so it was up to Rosemary to see what the vampire wanted from them. Clearly he was trying to get a hold of them. Why he was using Charlie, she didn't know. Why he didn't just approach them confused her. He obviously knew where they were, probably knew the exact apartment so why the game? Royce didn't care. But she did.

So off she had gone. Charlie had passed on the address that Crowne had left and so it was easy to find him. Quite the nice part of the town. The nicest actually. His 'house' was more like a mansion, large and grand. So much more than any of the other houses on the same block. Crowne had never been humble with his finances.

The vampire was more than surprised when he opened his door and saw her dirty blonde self. Not that she was there but that she was there without her male counterpart. Yeah, she had snuck behind Royce's back but only to find out what Crowne was up to. Xander loved to play games and sometimes, one had to play and entertain him if they wanted to get anything worthwhile out of him. Except, she was rusty and had forgotten the rules of the game. Xander was as sweet as ever, of course, but getting a straight answer out of him was like trying to fit a square into a circle. Impossible and frustrating. The only helpful thing that came out of her visit with the vampire was that he managed to help her out with her little job problem.

Papers. She had a bunch of them. All of them were fabricated, of course but were real enough to pass her new boss' inspection. O'Connelly was a kind man who barely gave her so-called papers a second-glance before once again claiming that the job was her's. A uniform and hat was tossed her way and before she could let out a hooplah of joy, she was sent off to wipe up a ketsup spill.

Alexander Crowne to the rescue. But if score were being taken, Royce had come to her rescue far more times than Crowne.

Working at the Golden Burger was a lot more work than Rosemary had anticipated. She was determined to prove herself however and took every task without question. Except maybe the time when Caleb had her clean up the bathrooms. It was a disgusting first for the blonde. Never had she ever been asked to clean a bathroom and she had hoped to get through her entire life without ever having to do so. She had started to protest but one eyebrow quirk from Hamburger Boy got her to shut up, suit up and clean up. That damn bathroom freakin' sparkled when she was done with it. The make-shift hazmat suit she had made for the occasion was torn up and dirty but there was enough paper and plastic bags to make another one. Other than that, Rosemary was sure that she had been doing a good job. She was sure of it because she was doing everything asked of her. Not a burger touched her mouth. Not even one little burnt fry. Pfft, she hadn't broken anything either. And she was getting pretty good with the mop too! She must have been doing a real good job if O'Connelly was sending her out with Caleb to help with the deliveries. It sounded like a great idea, just another way to prove her self-control and redeem herself in her co-worker's eyes.

If only there was a day to deliver the food on foot.

Rosemary stared at Caleb's truck from inside the Golden Burger, her stomach starting to knot. She had never been in a car before and she wasn't looking forward to having to be in one. Hearing Caleb behind her with the food hot and packed up, she turned and swallowed nervously. "Are you sure we can't just walk?"

Mar. 27th, 2012


Touching Royce had been a mistake.

"Dammit, why did I do that?" Charlie asked herself several days later. "Why? Like some... perverted girlfriend that goes touching her boyfriends in places, private places, that they probably don't want to be touched!" Even though he didn't stop her. Even though he seemed like he enjoyed the contact, when he smiled down at her and in gentle words that he liked it. Maybe Royce was just okay with physical affection. He was like that with Rosemary, wasn't he? Maybe it just isn't a big deal to him.

Maybe it's just not a big deal when she touches him.

"Stop it! Stop it right now!" she growled at herself before her mind could jump away from her. Again.

It was why she barely slept the last few nights- her very consciousness was always captured by images of Royce, of the places she touched, and of the places still left unexplored. She tossed and turned all night, tortured and teased by the pictures she couldn't erase. The last thing she wanted was for Royce to find out exactly how much of a pervert his girlfriend was. She had to control herself. What had I been thinking anyway, touching him like that? That's not like me! I'm not some... voyueristic creep that sits there and man-handles people!

But what if you are? What if having a boyfriend is making you finally see a part of yourself you never knew existed?

No! she shrieked. No, I'm not like that! I'm not! I'm not like her, I'm nothing like...

Was that really what was bothering her? That her behavior was lining up rather closely to that of Madeline Spenser's? It would make sense, what with the panic she felt as soon as Royce left that night, and the reason why she let Noah go to sleep on the couch without saying goodnight. She had been ashamed of her behavior, alarmed that it seemed so natural to touch him, to explore, that she never questioned it until he was no longer there to muddle with her mind. She felt guilty for what, in her mind, felt like a seduction, one she should have known Royce would have been helpless to resist.

But he didn't mind, did he? He liked it. Liked you touching him. He told you so himself. Surely it can't be so bad if he's enjoying it with you?

But still... it felt... wrong, somehow. She felt guilt, so that implied wrong doing of some sort. It shouldn't be good. It was bad.

But you love him. There's no more falling, now. You're head over heels. This is just-

And if he finds out? If he realizes that she's been in love with him all this time? What if he doesn't want to be tied down so quickly, what if he doesn't want to be that serious?

What if I only know how to love the way my mother did?

There was a part of her that was sure she knew the answers to these questions. That Royce loved her, that he genuinely cared enough, that this wasn't just some fling. That she wasn't some replica of her mother. Or her father, for that matter.

But she couldn't know, wouldn't know. She was never sure. And the uncertainty left her terrified. She wanted to tell him, needed to tell him, but she was scared. Scared that he would come to the same conclusions she had. That she was the product of her parents, a person incapable of feeling or expressing any sort of real love. That she secretly didn't deserve it.

"Stop it. That's enough."

"What's enough?"

Charlie jumped up with a squeak, and spun around in her stool to find Doc standing in the doorway of the shed, staring at her as if she had grown a second head. Undoubtedly due to the fact that he caught her speaking to herself...

"Oh, sorry, thinking about this medication prescription," she replied, lying breezily. She lifted the prescription pad off the table to show him. "Twelve pounds means 100 milligrams of Myterol, right?"

"120 milligrams," he corrected, dropping another stack of notes for prescriptions on her desk. "Ten for each pound."

"Right, sorry."

"You can apologize when you get it right," Doc replied not unkindly. "Take care of this stack, clean up the shed, then head home. I'm making a few house calls. Lock up the shop when you're done."

"Will do." She waited until Doc disappeared from the doorway and, looking through the window, as he ambled back up to the back door before she dropped the pad and stretched. "Worrying about things like love and boyfriends is tiring business, Cap'n," she told the red-tailed hawk in the corner. His head was covered in a hood and he was clearly asleep, but she felt comforted having spoken to him anyway. "You stay here and guard the fort. I'm going to go grab a cup of water from the cooler in Doc's office."

With a single easy move, she jumped off the stool, rolled her shoulders, and yawned as she opened the door-

-and came face to face with Alexander Crowne.

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.

Nov. 30th, 2011


Come the short hours before dusk, Rosemary was attempting to solve her new dilemma.

Royce was on his date. Charlie was part of that date. There went everyone she knew. What in the world was she going to do by herself? She had already slept as much as she could. And then took a nice jog through the back woods, chased a couple squirrels and even tried staring up at the waning clouds as they passed. Which was actually difficult since they were mostly long and wispy and hard to tell apart from each other so really what she ended up doing was just staring at stupid clouds.

And all of that only took a couple hours. There was still the rest of the night to do something. No doubt Royce would soak up as much alone time with Charlie as she would allow him to. She had already planned on crashing their date later if she got too lonely. But she would honestly try to hold out as long as she could. Royce was her best friend (kind of her only friend until Charlie, who she guessed was now her friend) and she wanted him to be happy. After everything he had done for her, he deserved it.

She just wished doing the right thing for someone didn't cause her to be so bored.

Royce had suggested she go into town, maybe make some new friends, but she didn't like that idea at all. Mostly because she wasn't very good at meeting people. Not in her human form, anyhow. As a wolf, it was easy to act nonchalant. She could do whatever she wanted (mostly whatever) and no one cared. Except for other wolves. That was another reason she didn't like going into town. Too many other beasties roaming around. To be fair, she had been approached by a couple of them but they had all been so chatty about joining their pack.

No, she had done that before. Being part of a pack might have meant more security from the fangs and the humans but there was no right to protection from the inside. Nope, she was just fine and dandy with her own pack of two. Even if it was crushingly lonely when that two became one, even for only a night.

There was no helping it now. With her two friends out of the picture, there really was only one person left in town that she could find some company in. Whether that person was fond of her company or not, that didn't matter. So Rosemary jogged her way over to the clinic, taking her usual path through the woods. It was still light out so it couldn't have been that late in the afternoon. Rosey wasn't hip with clocks and such. When it was bright out, it was day. When it was dark out, it was night. Simple. Things like 'time' had no meaning. That was Royce's job.

It would be weird going to the clinic without Charlie or Royce there and just the Doc. Rosey often let the two of them do their work while she hung out with the old man. He tolerated her as long as she didn't make a mess or bother the other animals or bother his customers and really, as long as she didn't move or make a sound or do anything at all, he was fine with her. It wasn't much of company but it was all she had at the moment. At the end of the woods, she poked her head out and checked the dusty road for cars. Not seeing any, she popped out from the trees and casually made her way across.

Cars parked out front was not unusual. By now, she had come to recognize most of them. A lot of people came to the Doc, for whatever their needs were, so again, it wasn't unusual to see someone walking up to the front door. It was normal if there was something in their hands, like a wallet or some kind of little tasty animal (that she wasn't allowed to eat) but when there was a bag that smelled an awful lot like those burgers the Doc usually went out to get, that was something new.

She automatically went into stalk mode, head low and paws silent in the dirt. No, she wasn't after the person. She was after the burger-smelling bag in their hands. There wasn't much in her stomach other than junk food. Royce had someone cooking for him tonight, otherwise he would have been in the same boat as her. She could have gone into town, she guessed, and gotten her own food but why bother when they were delivering it right to her door?

Okay. Technically not her door but hey, she was claiming that bag. She came a little closer and then stopped five feet behind the human (definitely human), raising her head for another sniff. Oh yeah. There was a burger in that bag alright. Burger, fries and juicy juicy greasey goodness in between. Now that she had confirmation of the contents, her next problem was getting the human to drop the bag. Easy. The human still had his back to her so the element of surprise was on her side.

She waited a moment for good measure and then let out a sharp, quick bark.

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. 12th, 2011


She had long ago stopped caring about Alex. At some point, dating a vampire lost its appeal. Especially when said vampire never aged. Never changed. Never grew hair. Maybe she'd like a little stubble. Just a little for a week. Of course, that was petty for a deal breaker. Things had been much more than that. Alex had a thing about not ever clarifying them as an official couple. Or unofficial either. He had been all about the sweet nothings in her ear but like every other guy on the planet, he had a problem with commitment.

And a problem with the fact that she was a werewolf. They weren't supposed to play in the same kiddy pool. That had been a big part of the appeal when they first met and a big part of why they stopped seeing each other. It hadn't been like they even been 'dating' (not dating, whatever Alex wanted to call it) for very long. In comparison, celebrity relationships had last longer.

Okay, that was an exaggeration. The point she was trying to make here was that Alex hadn't been life-or-death important to her or anything. They had a thing. Now they didn't. Maybe she cried afterwards and maybe there were some things that she was still holding onto but really, she was over that old bag. She gladly would have forgotten about the vampire, pretended she had never met him but Royce had a uncharacteristically violent different solution.

Wanting to kill someone and actually doing it were two so different things. It was the difference between Royce and Alex. When it came down to it, Rosey knew that her brother would always defend her but it wasn't in him to be a killer. Not in her either. As boast she might about being tough, taking a life was too big. Rage could carry them so far but Royce had always been able to see the line and keep clear of it. It was a solid, safe quality that she had always admired in her friend. She could see the line. Sometimes, she wanted to see how close she could get to it. She never planned on actually crossing it but when one flirts with fire, one gets burned. Then, Mr. Burned will follow ones all over the country.

Speaking of which, she could smell Charlie's cooking from across the apartment complex. Royce had sent her head, determined to scope out the area for Alex first. Ever since finding out that the vampire had found them in New Hope, Royce had been exceptionally paranoid. He had kept up appearances in front of Charlie, not wanting to (what was the word she used?) spook her further but he was an open book to Rosemary.

She lifted her nose up, the smell of town heavy on the downwind. It was taco day somewhere. Damn, she was salivating at the thought of mexican food. Then again, she was sure that Charlie would whip up something spectacular and scrumptious. The little blonde walked from the manager's office (they had to pay rent) and back over to Charlie's apartment where the smell of food grew stronger and stronger. Hopping the stairs three at a time, she was at Charlie's door in record time. She didn't bother tucking in her tie-dye shirt or straighten out her hair. The fact that she was dressed and showered was enough. Who the hell was she trying to impress? Royce was the one trying to get all Disney with this girl.

Charlie was nice. Maybe nice enough for Royce. Probably nice enough. But nice wouldn't cut it down the road when Charlie would find out what they were. Humans didn't take well to the supernatural. It was too bad. Charlie was a good cook. Make a nice housewife for Royce. And perfect cook for Rosemary too.

'Cause if there was one thing Rosemary never did for herself, it was cook.

Rappa rappa rappa! went her knuckles against Charlie's front door.

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... )