Gary hadn’t seen Suzy in the morning and when he came home he stood at her door for a moment, thinking about knocking. He held op his fist, paused, leaned closer with his ear near the door for a while, then stepped back when he heard nothing. After watching the door for a moment he sighed, moved back to his door muttering ‘Coward.’ and went inside.
He was conscious during the transformation again, although unable to prevent himself from slipping out of the apartment and darting off to the park like before, and regained control a little later. With a deep sigh he sat up and looked around for a sign of the wolf. He thought she was nowhere to be seen until he saw the top half of her head sticking out over a bush, staring at him with her ears flat on her head.
“Oh shit, there we go again.” he thought, but she didn’t move. He looked around once more to make sure nobody else was watching him, then looked at her again. One ear twitched so he knew she was real and not some decoy head as if it was a kid’s cartoon about a wolf chasing his prey.
Thinking it was the best opportunity to get out of the park without getting hurt or making a fool of himself, he started to move towards the street. She kept her eyes on him, moving further behind the bushes when he passed them from a little distance. At the sidewalk he stopped and looked back at her. She looked from him to the alley he used to go home unseen, then back at him, biting her lip and twitching her flat ears.
He looked at the alley, back at her, then sighed. He hadn’t exactly shown her his best side in the last couple of nights and felt bad about it, even if she wanted to eat him.
‘E-ehm.’ he said, cleared his throat and put his hands together. ‘I ju-ust wanted to sa-ay, so-orry about la-ast ni-ight. Di-idn’t mea-ean to.., you kno-ow.’
She twitched her ears while glancing down for a moment.
‘A-and touching your,’ he said holding up his hands. ‘well, tha-at.’
She looked away.
‘It wa-as an a-accide-ent, hone-estly! I’m no-ot the kind of gu-uy to do tha-at on purpo-ose! I ju-ust don’t ha-ave the guts to do-o tha-at. And it’s ba-ad to do tha-at a-anywa-ay!’
She glanced at him, her ears lifting up halfway.
He gestured at the alley. ‘I’d be-etter go now.’ he said. ‘I a-also hope I di-idn’t hurt you a lo-ot whe-en you atta-acked me and I hit you with my-y ho-orns.’ He touched one horn for a moment, then moved towards the alley while keeping his eyes on her.
She opened her mouth a little, then closed it and looked down while he disappeared into the alley. Gary hurried to the safety of his home but was uncomfortable with leaving like that, feeling like something was expected of him.
Gary’s confused mood was lifted when he saw Suzy in the morning again. ‘Good morning.’ he said, smiling a little.
‘Good morning.’ she said, closing her door.
He cleared his throat. ‘Missed you yesterday.’ he said with a soft chuckle.
She smiled a little. ‘Yeah, I didn’t feel well for some reason, decided to take a day off.’
‘Oh? You’re feeling okay now though?’
She nodded. ‘It was nothing serious. Just a little off.’ she said on the way down. ‘Maybe I ate something that disagreed with me.’
‘I hate it too when food can’t win in a discussion with me and makes me sick instead.’ he said.
She chuckled. ‘Some food’s just sore losers.’
They paused outside again, looking up at the sky as it drizzled. ‘I heard there might be rain tonight.’ Suzy said.
‘That would be nice.’ Gary said. ‘I like to fall asleep with the sound of rain.’
‘Yeah, me too.’ she said. ‘Anyway, have a good day at work.’
‘You too.’ he said and walked a few steps backwards. ‘And try to avoid food that can’t come up with good arguments.’
‘I will.’ she said with a little grin. ‘See you later.’
Gary turned around and smiled, thinking today would be a good day.
The transformation in the evening felt different. It went on as before, but this time Gary felt more in control. There was still the urge to go to the park, but he could stop himself from going with a little willpower. He thought about staying at home, but a voice in the back of his head wanted to know if the wolf was there, if she was okay.
‘Da-amn it.’ he muttered and gave in.
He waited at the corner of the alley, looking at the park for a sign of her. He saw nothing and took a walk through the park to see if she might be on the other side.
He reached the centre with the playground for kids when he spotted her, peeking from behind a bush again.
‘Ehm, hi-i?’ he said, holding up his hand in greeting.
She looked at him, away, then back at him again, her ears moving forward and back.
‘I-i don’t mea-ean you a-any ha-arm.’ he said. ‘So plea-ease don’t try-y to ea-eat me, oka-ay? I-i’d rather be-e friends.’
She looked away for a moment again, then up at the sky. Rain started to come down and a flurry of flashes shot through the clouds.
‘Ah!’ Gary said, looking up. ‘Forgo-ot about tha-at!’
The rain came down hard while lightning and thunder started the rock and roll concert with light show. Gary saw the wolf looking around quickly with her ears flat, then noticed the small hut on a low hill at the playground. ‘He-ere!’ he called out to her, pointing at the hut. ‘We-e can ta-ake she-elter the-ere!’
She hesitated for a moment while he moved towards the hut, then followed him as he beckoned her. Gary crawled inside and sat back when she crawled in quickly, her fur soaking wet. She sat back in one corner, clutching her tail in front of her. Gary shook himself a little, the rain hadn’t soaked his thick coat yet.
The rain played it’s drum solo hard on the wooden roof of the hut while the lightning lit up the entire area. He watched her looking around, her ears flat against her head. ‘We’ll be oka-ay he-ere.’ he said, giving her a gentle smile. ‘A-and whe-en it comes do-own this ha-ard, it usua-ally ends qui-ickly.’
She nodded once quickly and he tried to focus on the spectacle outside, but his attention kept going back to her. She had a very dark coat, brown black and a larger tail than he could remember from nature documentaries. Her blue eyes lit up with each flash and he thought they looked lovely. Huddled back in the corner, she didn’t look dangerous at all and he wondered who she was.
He cleared his throat and concentrated on his speech. ‘I’m Gary.’ he said.
She looked at him, outside when lightning flashed again, then back at him.
‘Gary.’ he said, placing a hand against his chest. ‘Do you understa-and?’
She gave him a slow nod.
She looked away, then down and shook her head once.
‘You don’t know?’
She shook her head again.
The rain changed to a light shower and both lightning and thunder moved away. Gary stuck his head out of a window. ‘Looks like it’s o-over.’ he said and pulled back. He gave her a gentle smile. ‘Told you it would pa-ass qui-ickly.’
She gave him a nod, looked outside, then crawled out of the hut, looking back once before hurrying off into the night. Gary sat back again. “That was interesting.” he thought.