A Real Howl
Yeast. Yeast and stale peppermint. Those were the smells that drifted up from the cracked window ledge. Paint peeled like old skin. Smoke and breath kissed the glass with tepid contempt as she flicked her cig, ash dripping into the teacup that reeked of last night’s beverages.
She stared with unseeing eyes through the glass. Would Suki remember her admission or had it died in a whorl of alcohol infused brain cells? She’d passed out shortly afterwards in a combination of drink and fear, curled in a drool stained patch on the floor.
Heather flicked her cigarette again. The jumper hugged to her sides but fell loose at the arms, leaving her shoulders bare to the cold air. She ought to put some jeans on, too, or something. Another inhale of nicotine. She’d carried Suki to her bed, sobered up and spent the night worrying.
Lilac stains smudged her eyes. Somehow, telling Suki had made her more on edge and watchful than ever. The whole night had been a mission of guarding the flat window, dogged determination in her mind. She should have kept her mouth shut.
Smoke spiralled upwards in a sentient twirl. She sniffed the air, a kaleidoscope of peppermint and plaque, and stubbed the cigarette into the remnants of beer that dressed the teacup in dregs. Hands reached for hips as she turned, wary eyes finding the slouched figure in the doorframe.
Suki hid in the dingy yellow light of the hall space. Was she dressed ready to walk out for good or to run if something happened? Her hand raised to brush the curls from her eyes, face painted in the sickly hues of a hangover dawn, peppermint scent expounding from her actions.
Heather crossed her arms over her chest, switching her balance to one foot and rolling the other against the floor. She would let Suki lead this one. “So…”
Breath stalled in the other girl’s chest. Her bag slung down near the door as she stepped into the grey light. “I figure we need to talk about this, Heth.”
She wasn’t running, then.
“So…” Another couple of hesitant inhales, rocking on her feet and dominating the space, she tried to build her confidence. Heather watched, not taking part. She wasn’t going to force her into a more submissive role. This wasn’t a scrap. “So this is true, then, yeah?”
She nodded. Peppermint and plaque infused fear made an almost intoxicating scent. Her lip twitched, but she stayed still, wishing she hadn’t stubbed out her cig. Nicotine always helped with the other cravings.
“And… And how did you expect me to react to that?”
Heather shrugged. It was better than she expected.
“Is there… Does this mean anything special needs to change?”
Relief finally pooled into Heather’s stomach. Acceptance was much better than reject. “Leave me alone for a couple of nights a month?” She tried a wry smile with the words. “Werewolf PMS isn’t much fun.”
Suki’s frame relaxed a little, reluctant grin surfacing. “A real howl, I bet.”
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