“Now, I want you to lay here and take it easy,” Logan instructed Katey as she made her way to one of the sofas. As soon as they arrived back at the house, Logan consolidated the meat from the container and the sandwiches into the bowl from the night before that was still brimming with deer, squirrel, and rabbit meat. “Keep eating. Darren said to have the exams finished by tonight. I’m going to be in the kitchen if you need me.”
Katey slowly lowered herself to the sofa to lie on her side, her body still sore and strained from her episode. She fingered the edge of the meat bowl and then reached inside to take a small handful. The meat felt slimy in her fingers and she shuddered. How could something so disturbing be so good for her?
She raised her eyes and watched Logan pull out the two exam packets, leaving one on a small end table by the arm of the sofa and taking the other into the breakfast nook for him to work on. She thought she could almost hear his stomach rumble as he snatched up the untouched sandwich that remained in his lunchbox. Katey rolled over and sighed, staring up at the ceiling as she slid pinches of the meat between her lips, chewing slowly.
“Did you ever get like that?” she asked.
Logan paused, the lead of his pencil just a little above the paper of his exam. “What do you think yesterday was?”
“No, I mean when you first changed.”
He was silent for a moment, remembering the days he had spent wandering in the woods with no food and refusing to eat anything but berries. The insatiable hunger had frightened him into preferring starvation as opposed to debasing himself. In the end, the berries weren’t enough to curb the hunger. “Yeah, I did the same thing,” he said softly, almost regretfully, and then took a huge bite out of his meat sandwich.
Katey felt herself smile a bit. “Then I don’t feel so bad.”
Logan exhaled deeply and began filling in his answers. “I’m sure everyone has done it at some point just to test their limits.”
“I didn’t do it for that.”
He stopped again and looked up toward the living room. He couldn’t see her face, but could sense her uneasiness about confessing what she felt. “Then why?”
Katey’s face wrinkled with painful disdain. “I couldn’t stand the idea that I’d resorted to eating raw meat like an animal.”
Logan didn’t know whether to take comfort in the fact that they were alike in so many ways, or to feel another pang of remorse for what he had done to her. “News flash. You are an animal now. Half of you, anyway.”
“I’m figuring that out now.” Katey took a moment to feel the entity inside her. It was dormant, quiet, and sleeping. She remembered how it felt to have it rear its ugly head in the throes of hunger and rage.
“Is it ever going to get easier?” she asked.
Logan’s pencil stopped again and he leaned back in his chair. “You just need to stay on top of the eating thing. Make sure that you eat more than enough at each meal. If you ever start feeling that dizziness again, that’s a sign you need to eat and you better listen to it.” He couldn’t count the times that it had happened to himself. And every time, it terrified him beyond words could say. There were periods where he pushed his limits, but he never wanted to feel that hungry, that sense of total loss of his humanity. The day before, when his heart had run away without his sense, was the first time he had broken through the glass ceiling of his control.
Katey rolled over onto her stomach and looked toward the kitchen, feeling the unrest building in her core, shared by both herself and Logan. “Are we okay?” she suddenly asked.
He peered curiously in her direction. “What do you mean?”
She didn’t know how to explain why she asked that question. When he hugged her that morning, Katey thought they were finally in the clear, free of the previous night’s drama. But he had turned cold again with the appearance of this dominant attitude toward teaching her. All she could read off of him was a solid determination and the brick wall he had built between them. “You were so upset last night, I thought we weren’t okay… I mean, that you didn’t want… Are you just done with me now?” she asked, growing flustered by her lack of articulation.
Logan stood up from the dinette table and leaned against the doorframe separating the living room and kitchen. He couldn’t help but see her as beautiful, even as a loup-garou and a hot mess as a result of the episode. The way her slightly tangled hair fell around her face, her eyes glimmering brightly, still a little red with restrained tears. He couldn’t help but love her. Didn’t she see that?
“Done with you? You talk like you’re just something to throw away.”
Katey looked away sheepishly. “That’s just how it seemed… Like you didn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore.”
“I’ll never do that to you.” Logan was beginning to realize just what Dustin meant about how she could mistake his bottling up as hatred toward her and he remembered the words she had spoken in confidence to Darren that morning. She was afraid of losing him just as much as he was afraid of losing her. “I was unreasonably upset last night. I figured you would have hated me for what I did.”
Katey sat up and wildly shook her head. “No! I could never be mad at you. I wanted this. How could I be mad at you for that?”
Logan found hope in her confession and caught himself in a soft smile. “I don’t know, I just thought you would be because I pressured you into it.”
“I wasn’t pressured. I wanted this.” She felt as if she couldn’t say that enough. Yes, the decision was pushed on her out of nowhere after everyone had assured her to take her time, but in her heart, she knew this was right. Despite the drama and the rocky start, Katey now knew that being loup-garou was what she needed. The two locked gazes and mirrored each other’s subtle smile. “But, we’re better now?”
Logan gave her a comforting nod. “Yeah, we’re fine.”
Joy and relief bloomed in her chest. She didn’t want to be on bad terms with him for much longer. The whirlwind of emotional whiplash was more than enough. Logan turned back into the kitchen and continued his exam while Katey reached over to the end table to take up her own, a bit of peace settled over her heart. The air was finally clear and she could breathe once more.