Hello, this is it. The last of Charlie and Natalia’s relationship that isn’t in the trilogy. In the trilogy, there is more to their story, but not a lot. The trilogy is more about Natalia and Vincent. But there are elements. I decided not to have Rebecca or Vincent too jealous of Charlie and Natalia, as I don’t understand jealousy. I have felt if very rarely in my life, for that I am glad. The people in the trilogy are who they are meant to be with, and no ill issues arise from their previous relationships. Don’t you wish life was like that?
On a better note: the edits for book 2 & 3 are back in my hands. Book 2 needs cover work done and I need to finish reviewing book 3. Hoping to have those out to you very, very soon. Thank you for your continued reads. Have a great one!
From Charlie and Natalia:
He slunk home to Natalia two days later, and she was beside herself with anger and fear. She clung to him, yelling profanities and swearing to kill him herself. He collapsed in her arms and they fell to the floor. Neither was able to speak for a long time.
When they finally spoke, Natalia was first. “You were the only disappearance this month.”
He heaved a huge sigh of relief, and tried to catch his breath. Weight lifted from his chest. “Oh, thank god.”
“What happened, Charlie? Where were you?” She sounded frightened.
They were leaning against the hallway wall, close to the door. “When I woke up I felt lost. The Marin hills have become my second home.” He paused, then looked Natalia in the eyes. “I haven’t dreamt in three months. It’s like a part of me is missing, Nat. I can’t take it anymore.”
“You’re thinking about going back.” She sounded pissed.
“I have to Nat, it’s a part of my existence.”
“You’re going to risk your life for a dream?” Her voice cracked. She heard her voice, knew how she sounded and pulled back into herself. She closed her eyes and listened to her inner voice, blocking out all else, including Charlie. He was saying something to her in an irritated voice. She heard the hate there and felt her anger dissipate. There was no use for these emotions, especially since he wasn’t hers. She stopped his words with a soft kiss.
Charlie stopped mid-sentence to accept her kiss. They parted and he looked into her face. He saw that she had come to a decision, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to know what it was.
She placed a hand on his cheek. “I don’t want you dead, but I’m not going to lose you to my own stupidity. If I tell you not to go and you go, it’ll cause problems. You’re my lover and my friend, but we have no true hold on each other. We knew it would end one day, but I think I forgot for a while.” She stood, held out her hands to him. “Come on, let’s get you something to eat.”
“What the hell was that? What do you mean, end one day?” He felt his world crumbling away bits at a time.
“I mean I’m not going to fight with you. There’s no point. You’re still your own man, and I’m still my own woman.” She closed her eyes and took a shaky breath. “I don’t want you to go back to the Park, but I’m not going to argue with you about it. I care about you Charlie, but in the end,” she opened her eyes and gave him a sad look. “I’m not your wolf. If you need to find her in your dreams until you find her in human form, I won’t stop you.”
The words were buzzing in his ear. His head was spinning with hunger, anger and confusion. He felt her slipping away faster then ever before. She was walking away now, down the darkened hall to the kitchen. His sight narrowed and she seemed to be falling away from him. He tried to stand, but not having the strength, he crawled on hands and knees. He was breathing heavy, trying to sort all her words out. They were coming back in a maze. He reached the entryway to the kitchen and used the door jam to stand.
Staring into the over bright kitchen, he saw Natalia standing by the sink. He noticed for the first time that she was wearing her robe. His sexual frustration got the better of him and he tried to stumble over to her. Chasing creatures down and ripping their flesh apart usually helped to subdue some of his animal needs, but it ignited others. Just another part of the horrid frustration that came with being a werewolf.
Hearing his progress across the kitchen, Natalia looked over at Charlie, concerned. She saw the look in his eye and her own breath became heavy. He had looked at her this way before on many occasions, and it always made her wet. The look in her eye matched his as she untied the terry cloth robe and let it slide to the floor.
Keeping eye contact, he paced toward her, trying to calm down. It was no use. He grabbed her roughly, clawing her back with his jagged nails. She cried out from the pain, but forgot it when he jammed his tongue down her throat. His tastes ran rougher around the full moon, which meant she was expecting it.
He pulled his head away and groped her, squeezing one butt cheek and one breast firmly. He snarled at her and her eyes went wide. The sound was far from human, but it excited her. Nearly growling, he turned her around and pushed her into the counter. The Formica chilled her, making her think of their experiments with the ice. Charlie pressed into her, hard, and her hands went to the wall above the sink for balance. She heard his jeans unzip and felt them fall as the coarse fabric brushed past her legs.
He guided himself in and cried out as her muscles tightened around him. His hands grabbed her lower arms for balance as he relentlessly stroked in and out of her. The confusion was still eating at his mind, but she was now in full focus. He had not slept well in three months, and in his nearly unconscious state, dream melded with reality and he suddenly knew why he hadn’t found his wolf.
Because she didn’t know she was one.
A cry ripped from his throat and his control snapped. He turned Blitzkrieg, stuffed his arm into her mouth to stop her screams, threw his snout down to her right shoulder and bit down hard. He could feel her scream trying to escape through his sinewy arm, but wouldn’t let it. She flailed a tiny bit, then stopped and became stock-still. The realization of what he had done gripped his human brain when he tasted her warm blood on his tongue. The salty copper slammed him back into human form. He let her go violently and threw himself away from her into the kitchen table, which skidded back and hit the far cabinets hard. Charlie fell to the floor. Natalia sank to her knees as she screamed and cried.
He stared in horror at the blood running down her shoulder, back and arm. He turned his head to the side and threw up.
Natalia huddled close to the cabinets, eyes shut tight, refusing to look at Charlie. When she did open them, she saw black. The abyss that had threatened to swallow her on two other occasions was before her again. It threatened to chew her up and consume her existence. She closed her eyes again, carefully, and started to breathe slowly. She had gotten through worse situations; she could handle this.
Slowly, feeling seeped back into her conscience and she realized how much her shoulder hurt. Tears came to her eyes as she tenderly touched the bite area. She opened her eyes and saw her hand was bloody. She stood, focused on cleaning up the wound. She grabbed at the robe and held it in front of her, trying not to get blood on the white cloth. Natalia took a few steps and stood over Charlie, who was curled into a ball, pants still gathered at his ankles. There was a puddle of bile to his right, but at least he was in human form. She prodded him with her foot.
“Get up Charlie, I need your help.” Her voice was hard and determined. He did not move. Her voice grew louder. “Charlie! Get up and help me!” Still no movement, so she kicked his legs. “GET UP, DAMMIT! FACE ME!”
He uncurled, somehow missing the puddle. He slowly sat up, pulling his pants on, but his head was down. He was avoiding looking at her. “I’m sor-”
“DON’T! Don’t insult me by trying to apologize. You’ve wanted to do this for a while. Now get up and help me clean the bite! I won’t be able to reach all of it.”
He looked up at her and saw the set determination on her face. He had seen it once before, when she had faced him down in the alley. He had thought of it as her ‘ready’ look. Ready to face everything that came along, no matter the odds. He wasn’t going to fight it, especially when she was right.
Charlie hung his head again and tried to get up. He stumbled and she held her left hand out to him. He looked up into her face, trying to read around her ready look. He couldn’t, so he took her hand and allowed her to help him up. Once he was standing, she turned and headed to the bathroom. He followed like whipped dog.
She already had the rubbing alcohol out and was reaching for gauze wrap. He took it out of the medicine cabinet for her and told her to sit on the edge of the tub. She complied. He took a washcloth, wet it and carefully wiped away the blood drying on her torso and arm. Next, he took the alcohol and, with a nod from her, held the plastic bottle over the wound and carefully let the liquid trickle over the bite. She cringed, but that was it.
He sopped up the excess liquid with a clean washcloth and started wrapping her shoulder. He had to go under her arm to get to all of it, but at least it worked. Their eyes never met, and other than instructions, they didn’t say anything. It wasn’t until they were sitting in the living room, he on the couch and her on the window seat, that she said anything.
He stared at her open mouthed for a moment, then simply shook his head.
“Did you think I was her?”
“Do you honestly think I am? Or were you simply afraid of losing me?”
He hung his head. “…losing you…”
“So you did the one thing that was certain to drive me away? You know I need to be human, Charlie.”
Something occurred to Charlie and some of his pain broke away. “Why Nat? Why do you need to be human?”
“TO FIND MY MOTHER’S KILLER!”
He was undaunted by her anger, and his voice was calm. “When was the last time you tried to find him?”
The question stopped her cold. When was the last time she tried to find Donald? She had no clue. “You still shouldn’t have tried to change me Charlie. I wasn’t ready.”
He shook his head, knowing he had hit a nerve. He wanted to pursue it, but didn’t have the energy. He didn’t want to fight her; he wanted to be in bed, loving her. Except he had blown it, and knew it. “So where do we go from here?”
She turned on the seat to face him. She stared at him for a few minutes before realizing that her shell was cracking. She didn’t want to be angry anymore. She wanted to erase the past half hour, but she couldn’t. She wasn’t willing to go back. “I’m still hurt and angry. I want time to myself. You’re going to leave. You will not call me or contact me in any way. I will get a hold of you after the next full moon. I’ll let you know then what’s going on.”
He went to her and knelt in front of her, placing his head on her knees. “Please Nat, I know what I did was wrong, but don’t make me go.”
She stood and he followed her to the front door. She took his head in her hands and gave him a deep, soft kiss. He gently hugged her to him, mindful of her hurt shoulder. She returned the hug, but let go before the embrace became too intense. He let go reluctantly.
“Charlie. You betrayed me. There’s no coming back from that.”
He started to speak, thought better of it, shrugged and plodded on, knowing he was using a poor excuse. “You know I won’t do it again.”
She tensed with anger, saw his sheepish grin and sagged as the anger left. “Charlie,” she sighed heavily. She wanted to say something more, but she didn’t know what to say. The simple fact remained; she didn’t want him to leave, but all her fears had been realized when he had bitten her. She took a deep breath. “Werewolves are unpredictable, even in human form.” She looked in his eyes. “I’m afraid of you now, Charlie.”
He hung his head again. He understood. “You’ll contact me after the full moon. Right. Ok. Bye.” He turned and left, unable to face her anymore.
She watched him leave, hoping she would see him after the full moon, hoping that the hunters had stopped.
He woke on the beach in Marin County. It had been a glorious full moon, filled with dreams of his lady. She had been yelling the whole time, but he had grinned through it all. Everything else was a blur.
Charlie sat up and turned quickly to the side when he heard something land in the sand next to him. It was a backpack. He spun himself around and relaxed noticeably when he saw Natalia sitting with her legs drawn up to her chin. She was wearing a tan trench coat, and hiking boots. He couldn’t see anything else, but knew she was not naked under the coat. The look on her face said everything.
“How’d you find me?”
“You’ve described this place enough, Charlie, it wasn’t that hard.”
Charlie knelt in the sand and opened the backpack. There was a pair of underwear on top of the pile of clothes. “When you said you’d contact me, I didn’t think…”
“I thought it best. I’ve done a lot of thinking Charlie, and wanted to talk to you about my decision.”
He pulled on the underwear, the t-shirt, then sat in the sand. “Can you just tell me if you’re a werewolf?” He looked at her with sadness and hope.
“If I were a werewolf, we’d be having sex right now.”
Her frankness floored him, as it always had. “Seriously?”
“If I were a wolf, I could take you on; I wouldn’t be afraid of you.”
“And because you’re not?”
“I can’t have you in my life anymore, and you need to find your lady wolf.” She watched as he put on his jeans, surprised at her restraint. “I have your clothing in my car.”
“So that’s it?”
“It has to be.” She stood when he did and walked with him to her car. She had apparently called Dan, who was leaning against his car, his arms crossed. Dan said nothing and got in his car when the two appeared. Charlie grabbed the two bags of clothing, placed them in Dan’s car, then turned back to Natalia, who was now leaning against her car. He hesitated, then touched her cheek. She closed her eyes at his touch and brought her hand to his. She opened her eyes and let him see the pain and sadness she was feeling. He pulled her to him and kissed her. Her arms went around his neck. They held each other for a moment then she pulled away. She gave him a blank look, turned and climbed into her car. His heart ached as she sped away, as did hers. Both wondered if they would ever see each other again; both doubted they would.