Moonsilver Transfusion Chapter 10

Chapter 10

A blessed hunt washed the encounter with Joy from my mind. Secret got her deer heart and a rabbit’s that she caught while Victoria and I dined. When sunrise threatened, we retreated back to the house and slept most of the day away. Only once evening approached did I finally feel human enough to return to two legs. Which was good, because I really needed to log some paid hours on a bus. Hopefully Cliff could make some room for me on the schedule this week, otherwise wolf me might have to get a delivery gig. The thought made human me chuckle and wolf me growl; she really didn’t appreciate capitalism. In theory, hunting saved on the grocery bill, but the demands of our supernatural metabolism is not small. A good-sized deer would probably feed a normal pack of five to seven wolves for a day or two. Meanwhile Victoria and I devoured one in a single night, then raided the fridge for a bag of pulled pork sometime in the afternoon. Between rent and groceries, I should spend every hour that I had fingers working for at least a week.

Victoria had taken Secret with her to retrieve my car and read some fortunes in the early afternoon. I wondered how much longer it would be before the city connected Madam Vizithu with Victoria Quintine and the Black Wolf. I worried she’d be a target for Slade, or worse, and fretted about it as I showered. While it's not entirely necessary, since shedding my fur seemed to take most of the dirt with it, showering makes me feel more human.

I found Cindy, dressed in her paramedic uniform, waiting for me outside the bathroom. “Thought I heard two feet instead of four paws padding around up here.” Her fox ears twitched for emphasis before her eyes dipped down over my body. “Feet attached to some nicer legs than I remember,” she added with a flirtatious wink.

“Thanks,” I smiled back, resisting the urge to cover up with my towel, not like she hadn’t seen every inch of me before. After spending an extended time as a wolf, I sometimes forgot about clothing entirely. I haven’t walked out the door stark naked yet, but it’d been a close thing. “But, my plate’s a little full right now. Besides, it's probably not a good idea to date one's landlord,” I said, throwing my towel over my shoulder as I moved down the hallway toward Vicky’s and my bedroom.

My foxy housemate rolled her eyes, “I’m just being appreciative. Jebus, you bi-gals think everybody’s out to jump your bones.”

I paused at my door, and looked back at her. She watched me back with a playful expression, her two fox tails swishing behind her legs. Returning her wink I said, “It's only fair; we’re out to jump everybody, whether they’ve got a bone or not.” Then slipped through the door feeling surprised at myself. Cindy and I hadn’t verbally played like this since before all this had begun. I hadn’t even realized that I was bi at the time. Kissing Queen Mab had been my first clue. Initially I thought I had an exception for supernaturally beautiful women, but then Victoria happened. After a single night with her, my claim to straightness got itself a pair of cement shoes and jumped into the Willamette River.

“You need a shift tonight?” Cindy called through the door as I opened my bureau to hunt for a uniform I hadn’t shredded. I’d been getting better at it, but it's hard to remember to take off your pants when you need to rip open a car to stop a patient from bleeding out.

“If you want to get paid back for the half ton of food Victoria ate, then, yeah,” I half shouted back, making a note to order more pants if I had the funds.

“Figured; that's why I penciled you in with me tonight. Figured we could do a few runs together before that man of yours permanently chains my tails to a desk,” Cindy said.

“Had that good of a time filling in while Cliff was in the hospital?” I asked as I pulled on one of my last remaining pairs of work slacks. I wondered if maybe I could pay somebody to replace the outer seams with velcro or something.

“When I say penciled you in, I mean it literally. Sophie left without giving me the admin password to the admin software,” she said.

“Well, that was catty,” I laughed; just having my shoes left to put on, I opened the door.

“I think it was a simple oversight,” Cindy said seriously. “She was in a huge hurry to get out of town. She’s one of those people that once she makes a decision she wants it all done in a snap. Cliff’s had a day to sort it out now.”

“He just got out of the hospital!” I nearly yelped. “What’d he do? Run back to work right after we dropped him off?”

“Like you’re any different,” she laughed, “You climb a mountain, quest through the dream, coordinate peace between the Summer Court and the city, nurse Victoria back from the dead, and get twisted up with some sort of screaming spirit of Mill Park. Just listing all that makes me tired. You sure you want a shift today?”

“That depends if you want rent sometime this decade,” I huffed. “And don’t you try to turn this on me! Cliff can afford to take a few days off. He owns the business and his family owns houses and stuff.”

“Says the werewolf with an aunt on the city council. At least till the next election.” Cindy half shrugged.

I glowered at her, but she had me dead to rights. Aunt Sheryl had already attempted to set me up once. There was no reason I couldn’t pick up the phone and try to find a deal I could accept. I liked being an EMT, dammit, even if I occasionally wanted to eat a difficult patient. I didn’t want to be a professional werewolf.

“Just sayin’, Cliff isn’t the only one who has resources he doesn’t like to tap.” Her tails wagged slowly. “Unless you want to start trading in favors…”

“Absolutely not!” I gasped. “You’re not a fey, Cindy.”

She looked away and studied her long red nails, cheeks coloring. “Just kidding.”

But it hadn’t been a joke. We stewed in silence, weighed down with unasked questions. I decided to ask one.

“Cindy, I know you love Rey, but is becoming her what you really want?”

“It’s not like that!” Her head snapped up, pupils narrowing to glowing slits as her tails floofed out behind her. “It’s none of your business!”

I didn’t look away from her eyes, but stared her down. “Yes it is! You’re my friend, Cindy, and I don’t want you getting taken advantage of by Rey. Love doesn’t protect you from being hurt. We both know that.”

“What do you know? Rey is everything I’ve always wanted to be, effortlessly beautiful, clever and resourceful. Why wouldn’t I want to embody every aspect she was.” She spoke through fanged teeth, the red glow of Rey’s heart shining through the fabric of her shirt.

“Don’t forget, Rey was also selfish and cruel. She used you against me, she would have sold me down the river if it wasn’t for you standing with me during the Dead Night. Cindy, your love made Rey good, without that she was just another hungry fey.”

“Don’t you slander my wife!” She roared at me and growling swelled from the hallway behind her. A half dozen fox kits appeared at her feet, each baring oversized fangs within their tiny heads.

I held my ground, not like I had anywhere to go other than through a window. “She told you precisely what she was, Cindy. Warned you. Don’t forget that.”

“And I made my choice. Just like you did when you ran away to the moon. If you can’t respect that, then it's time for you to find another place to live.”

 I sagged a little but I couldn’t just drop it. “Trading in favors is entrapment, Cindy. It's not something you would do, even as a joke.” She continued to stare daggers at me. I continued on, “It’s okay that you're changing, Cindy; we all are. But the old you wasn’t some weak shell to discard. Cinderella Maverick had a heart big enough to invite a clearly dangerous werewolf to live with her, brave enough to pick up a detested gun for her friend’s sake, and tackles huge projects like renovating an entire house without blinking. Maybe you weren’t everything you wanted to be, but you were pretty amazing before. Maybe it is selfish. I just hope you're not discarding all those things that make you an incredible person. None of those qualities are things you can get from Rey’s heart.”

Cindy’s anger cooled to a smolder, her nearly bared teeth disappeared behind a scowl and the small foxes slunk back into the shadows. “I get it. You don’t trust Rey.”

“No, I don’t. I trust you, but when you start talking about favors, I don’t know who I’m actually talking to,” I said, my voice trembled with emotions.

Her eyes drifted toward the corner of the room. “Sometimes I’m not sure, either.” Then those eyes came back to mine with almost a laser intensity. “We’re taking separate cars to work. I might be a few minutes late. If you value our friendship, don’t follow me.”

I gulped. “Alright, I promise.” As soon as I spoke the word, I felt the oath ring around my soul. I was half expecting it. I wondered how much fey you needed in you for promises to become unbreakable bonds. Whatever it was, Cindy had reached it.

Her face softened slightly and spoke with the tone of a disappointed mother. “I made you dinner and several snacks.”

“Cindy, you don’t need to do-”

“I did. So eat it. Without me, your whole pack would starve. I hope Cliff knows how to cook by the time he moves in, or I’m going to have to quit my job to cook enough for you all. See you at work.” She spun on her heel and walked briskly back down the hallway, leaving me confused as I watched her go.   

I stayed put until I heard the front door slam and sighed. Me and my big mouth. Just when the gulf between us healed, I had to go stick my fingers in Cindy’s no go zones. Still, it looked like I’d gotten through on some level. Not that she’d tell me if I jostled something loose. Both Rey and Cindy had a secretive nature. Whoever Cindy was now, that part had definitely transferred. I tried not to think about where the hell she could have gone as I finished my own pre-work prep and started the commute.

Hopefully we could get through the work shift without another fight…


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