It is not in the nature of every wolf to imprint. But for those destined to that fate, it is inevitable. After all, it is just that; fate.
:D jasper said is at it again! xD I haven't forgotten Heat, but I just couldn't ignore this idea either. Please enjoy this little twisted gem... it's worth it.
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"I think we should go see him," Issy said, placing the now beaten letter down on the oak table in the dining room. Beside her, Manasseh nodded in agreement, Ephraim voicing his agreement verbally with a solid, ‘Mhm. Me too.' As my children gave me one united stare of rebellion at my previously stated opposition of a trip to visit their grandfather, I wondered where I'd ever failed as a parent. Everything had been going so well... the end was beginning to be not-so-hazy on the horizon. Ephraim was seventeen, scarily enough behind the wheel and a full-fledged participant of the part-time work force; Manasseh was sixteen and more interested in spending the money on the girls than earning the money to spend on the girls. And as for Issy... we're just happy to have made it out of middle school alive with that one. But they were good kids, all three of them. I couldn't ask for better ones.
And then they pull a stunt like this.
"I still don't think we should," I reiterated from my seat at the head of the table. My kids groaned and my wife chuckled, laying her hand over mine.
"Don't be so stubborn, Jake," Lizzie said, the corners of her eyes crinkled with laughter at me, or maybe just with age. Her hair's gone gray, or at least it would if she'd stop dyeing it, and her face was lined with age. She didn't even really look like Lizzie anymore. She'd grown into her name, and Elizabeth Black was not a young one anymore. The years have touched my wife... and I've often wondered why they haven't touched me, even though the answer is simple.
I can stop phasing. It's not a temper thing, parenthood fixed that, but sometimes, just out of the blue, I'll phase. It's usually right when I think I've gone long enough to quit, permanently. Some freakish fluke of werewolf genetics? Maybe. Some subconscious desire to stay forever young? Possibly. Annoying? You have no idea. I'm thirty nine years old and I haven't aged once since I was sixteen and went through a killer growth spurt before sprouting fur and becoming a wolf. And there's just something wrong with that picture.
I made a not-so-polite face in Elizabeth's general direction and Issy snorted. I gave her a quick ‘dad look', silencing her giggles. "I just don't think it's a good idea. The man's about to die," I said. "Why get attached now?"
"Why not?" Ephraim countered, quickly backed up by his brother.
"Yeah," said Manasseh, "he is our grandfather after all. We should at least meet him before he goes."
I could see their point, albeit reluctantly. "I don't want any part of this."
"Daddy," said Issy in a voice I swear she reserved just for me, only when she wanted something. "We're not asking for upheaval or anything. We just want to meet or granddad."
I sighed and picked up the letter, rereading my own dad's surprisingly neat handwriting. The gist of the deal was simple; my father was an old man now. He was frail, he was sick. And his diabetes had taken a final toll on his body. My grip on the letter got stronger as I read. Billy didn't want too much, but he wanted more than I could give him. I want to see my grandchildren. All of them. I haven't seen your Ephraim since he was in diapers... My brows furrowed as I read. I looked back up, and there was Issy, blinking at me expectantly with the same big, brown eyes that still work me like they did when she was a baby. And I knew then, right then, that I'd lost.
"Fine," I consented. "We'll go."
Issy squealed and crushed me in one of her hugs, several hundred ‘Iloveyoudaddy's issuing from her mouth a second. Behind her, Ephraim and Manasseh high fived each other, immediately dispersing to do whatever it was that those boys had been up to before our little family powwow. Issy released me and I grinned at her.
"Squeeze much tighter and you're going to break your old man," I teased, leaning my chair back on two legs.
Issy giggled, flexing her muscles. "Oh yeah, man. Look at these guns," she joked, tapping what little muscle she had.
Elizabeth chuckled. "Some guns there, sweet pea," she said, picking up Billy's letter where I'd placed it on the table and sticking it to the refrigerator with a magnet. Issy stuck around for a few more minutes, idly joking with us, poking my arms and declaring her ‘guns' outstripped mine.
I flexed at once, playing her game. "You think you've got something on these? Do ya?"
Issy giggled. "Sho' nuff."
"Behave," Elizabeth interjected from the kitchen where she was finishing up dinner. I gave Issy a wide-eyed look.
"Do you hear that? Sounds like a fun sucker," I said seriously. Issy laughed at me and Elizabeth threw an uncooked piece of pasta at my head.
"Stop that," Elizabeth scolded, pouring more pasta into a pot. "And Issy? Your dad is the perfect example of why we only date Juniors and Seniors."
I bobbed my gaze between daughter and wife. "And just what is this policy I'm an example of?"
Elizabeth made a notion to Issy to be quiet, but she ignored it. "Mom said I should only date Juniors and Seniors when I'm in college, that way they'll have enough money to support me and," she made finger quotes, "'hopefully not be a bonehead like dad.'"
I exaggeratedly let my jaw drop at Elizabeth. "You called me a bonehead, Lizzie?" I asked, incredulous.
This time, Elizabeth tossed a noodle at Issy's head. "Traitor," she accused. Issy laughed, scooting her chair out from under the table and standing up.
"I'll let you two chickadees work this one out on your own time," Issy said smoothly, moving fluidly out of the room in her dancer's step. At least she had something to show for all those years of dance lessons, other than a closet of costumes and tapes and feet covered in blisters, I mean; she's once graceful kid.
"I can't believe you called me a bonehead," I said, feigning hurt, getting up myself to help her finish dinner.
Elizabeth laughed, loud and bell like. "Oh hush, you silly boy, and put those rolls in the oven, would you?"Return to Top