Steven had always been a shy boy, slightly withdrawn, finding more companionship with his paints and brushes and charcoal stick than he had with people.
Rather plain in appearance, not into sports, never taking part in the parties and dating that took place during Junior High and High School, never one of the “in crowd”, he more or less moved through his earlier years like a ghost, interacting only when there was no way of avoiding it.
And then he had met Brenda.
Brenda had been the most popular girl in school, wealthy, slender, petite and knock ‘em dead gorgeous. She could have had any boy in the school…and many had tried…but they had all gotten shot down one by one.
Although she had taken part in debate teams, charity fund raisers and much more during her school years, she had never run with the “wild crowd” as you would have expected for a girl like her.
Steven and Brenda had met by accident…literally…when he had stopped to help her one evening.
He had been driving home from a visit with one of his cousins who had lived across town and had picked her up, drenched to the skin, in an elegant dress and high heels, along the side of the road in the pouring down rain.
Her dress had been torn and had had blood on it, and she had been limping, weaving back and forth as she had stumbled right in front of him as he had come to the top of a small rise in the road on his way home that night.
He had nearly put his car in the ditch trying to swerve to avoid her.
He had sat, shaken and shaking, once the car had stopped. Then he had gotten out and run back to where she had collapsed lying half on and half off of the road.
He had knelt down and placed his fingers on her neck to check for a pulse, fearing he had hit her and killed her. When he found that she had a pulse and was breathing, he had picked her up and carried her back to his car.
He had then headed for the hospital, for he had noticed as he had been strapping her into the front seat that there had been blood on the front of her champagne colored fancy dress and she had had several deepening bruises on her face and also bruises on her arms…
Bruises that had looked strangely like finger marks…as if someone had held her with great force.
As he had drove, he had glanced now and then at her, concerned for her continued unconsciousness. The more he had thought about it, the more he had become certain he had not hit her.
Which had meant that something else had had to have been wrong. He had thought back to the crime and hospital drama’s he had favored, and he had slowly came to the conclusion that it was almost as if she had been in shock.
He had known she went to his school, for he had seen her there now and then, but they had never actually met or spoken. She had always seemed to be involved in some school function or other, but because he had not taken part in those things, he had never really paid her, or any of those she seemed to favor hanging with, very much attention.
He had just turned his eyes back to the road after glancing at her again when she had begun to stir.
All at once she had given a startled jerk and had started shouting and striking out wildly, “No, please, I don’t want this! Let me go! You’re hurting me! Jason, please let me go, don’t do this, you’re drunk!”
Steven’s hands had clenched the steering wheel at her words…and for just a split second what could have almost been a growl had filled the silence of the car as he heard her mention the name of his biggest tormentor at school.
For it could be none other than Jason Hargrith she was referring to, for he had been noticing that Jason had seemed to turn up, sooner or later, at nearly every function she had taken part in, so he had assumed they were a couple.
Jason Hargrith, football captain, the richest boy in their school…and also the cruelest. No one, not even the staff, were safe from his malicious pranks and cruelty.
Jason had put one of the teachers in the hospital with three broken ribs and a concussion after the teacher had given him a failing grade, causing him to be benched for half of one game season.
But it had been Steven that had seemed to be Jason’s favorite target, despite the fact that Steven had never done anything to Jason.
Steven had always gone straight to school and straight home, and he had also always tried to make sure he had been surrounded by people, even if he had not interacted with them, in between classes.
That precaution had come about after Jason and three of his cronies had cornered him in the rest room, dumped his book bag, then torn every single one of of his sketches from his sketch book.
They had torn the sketches to pieces, dropped them in a pile and then, as one, Jason and his three cronies had unzipped their pants and urinated on the only thing that had ever given him any peace, laughing and making crude and hateful statements the entire time.
It had been all he could do to maintain control, for he had not been able to afford to let anger…or any extreme emotion…take hold.
Jason and his friends had then fixed themselves up and calmly walked past him as he had stood there, literally shaking with the inner battle he was fighting.
Jason had been the last to walk past him, and he had paused to sneer into Steven’s face, “Hey, nerd…got nothing to say? Aren’t you even going to fight back?”
Steven had hung his head, his hands clenched into fists at his side, fighting to stay calm and keep his heart rate down as Jason had continued, “You damn wimp, I see you, always sitting working on those worthless scribbles. Well, I guess you’ll just have to start over, won’t you!” he had finished with a mocking laugh.
Steven had lifted his head and had looked directly into Jason’s eyes, and for just a heartbeat, Steven’s eyes had seemed to almost glow an eerie golden yellow, but it had happened so fast Jason had not been sure he had even seen it.
Jason’s face had gone pale and he had swallowed a little hard before giving Steven a shove, “Just stay out of my way, creep.”
Then without another word Jason turned and left the restroom.
Steven had walked over to stare down at what was left of his drawings…and he had made a vow…
No matter what…the next time he and Jason crossed paths…
Jason would not be walking away…no matter what Steven had promised his sire.
Time had passed and he had gone out of his way to make sure that he was never caught alone again, but he had almost been able to sense Jason watching, just waiting for a chance to cause him more misery.
Steven had been pulled out of his dark thoughts by Brenda’s voice, “Where am I? Where are you taking me! Stop the car, now!”
Steven had given her a glance before turning his attention back to the road. He had kept driving as he had begun to question her, “You don’t need to be afraid, you are safe now. What happened? Why were you walking this late at night in a fancy party dress, and how did you get the bruises? And where did the blood on your dress come from? Are you injured?”
Brenda, who had tried to get as far away from him as possible within the constraints of the seat belt, had slowly straightened in the seat as she had kept a wary eye on Steven.
All at once her eyes had widened a little, “Hey, I know you, you’re that guy that is always sort of sitting out of the way, sketching all of the time. You asked me what I was doing out so late, but I could ask you the same thing. It’s not like you could have been out partying or drinking, since everyone in school knows you don’t do that stuff. So why are you on this road at this hour?”
Steven had turned his head for a moment, “I was visiting a cousin and we got to talking and didn’t realize how late it had gotten. Now, please, answer my questions.”
He had paused, then had turned and looked her directly in the eyes for just a moment, “And tell me why you were screaming at Jason Hargrith to let you go just before you woke up just now, and whether that has something to do with the bruises and blood. Did he hurt you? I’m taking you to the hospital, by the way, so they can check you over.”
Brenda had turned her head to look out the window as she had begun to speak, “You’re right, you know, about it being Jason Hargrith. He has been trying ever since Junior High to get me to go out with him, but I’m not into bullies. And he is very definitely that.” she had finished with loathing and bitterness.
Now Steven had had no doubt that Jason had been behind whatever had happened to her.
And as Brenda had begun to speak, Steven had had to keep his hands firmly on the steering wheel as the rage had begun to grow with each word she had spoken,
“In answer to your question as to why I was out at this hour walking alongside the road, well, the answer to that is simply the fact that Jason kidnapped me from a birthday party I had gone to at a friend’s home.”
“I had been headed for the powder room, which was towards the back of my friend’s home, when he had grabbed me. He had been hiding in one of the bedrooms in the hallway leading to the powder room. He clamped his hand over my mouth and gripped my arm so hard I thought he was trying to break it as he held me against him and began dragging me the short distance to the kitchen and back door.”
Brenda had begun to shake so hard that Steven had felt the vibrations through the seat back. Whatever Jason had done to her, this female was absolutely terrified.
Once more Steven had had to force himself to stay calm. He had turned his head and given her what he had really hoped was a reassuring smile, trying to keep his tone free from the rage that had been, despite his best efforts, slowly building, “Well, you are safe now, and as soon as the doc’s check you over, I will take you home. But what happened? His holding you so tight explains the bruises on your arm, but not the one’s on your face, or the blood.”
Brenda’s voice had been filled with tears of shock and fear as she had responded, “He dragged me to his car and tried to force me to get in. When I fought him, he hit me, hard, and that is the last thing I remember till waking up to find myself lying in a field with my dress torn and up to my waist and him raping me. I think the pain is what woke me up, for I had never been with a boy before.”
Her voice had ended on a wail as she had broken down, clearly unable to speak for several long moments.
Steven had merely remained silent and kept driving, giving her the opportunity to continue on her own, which she had done a few moments later as she had begun to regain control, “I tried to get him off of me, scratching and even trying to bite him, but he simply started calling me a bunch of filthy names and telling me that no one, and definitely not some uppity bitch, ever said no to him. Then he hit me again, and that was the last thing I remember before waking up again, alone and in pain, with my head whirling.”
Brenda had paused once more as she had turned her head to look out the window at the nighttime landscape. Then she had turned back to Steven, and her voice had been thoughtful, “I think he might have thought he killed me, it is the only reason I can think of for him to just leave me there like that. I had barely made it up onto the road when bright lights blinded me. I don’t remember anything beyond that.”
Steven had kept his eyes on the road, afraid to look and let her see the rage he had been fighting to keep control of.
One thing he had known for certain…Jason Hargrith had been about to learn you didn’t go around mistreating females. They were to be cherished and protected…not abused.
Steven had taken Brenda to the hospital and waited patiently while they checked her over. When she had been finished, he had taken her home…
And during that entire time of waiting…he had been planning.
Brenda, when it was brought up that the police would have to be brought into the matter, due to the fact that the doctors had confirmed that she had indeed been raped, immediately insisted that they be left out of it, for she was deathly afraid of her parent’s reaction.
After all, they had kicked her older sister out without a penny and nothing but the clothes on her back when they had found out she had been sleeping with her boyfriend out of wedlock, let alone that he was not in their social standing or set.
Brenda finally convinced the hospital not to call the authorities, and Steven took her home.
Time had passed and both Brenda and Steven had returned to school. Although Brenda had not been aware of it, Steven had begun to watch over her.
Then had come the day that she had asked him if he would like to go to a movie with her, and it had not been long after that that they began to spend more and more time together…
A fact that had not gone unnoticed by Jason.
But he had been never able to get either of them alone, so he had had to bide his time in frustration, his rage and jealousy growing with each passing day…
And with each time he had seen Steven and Brenda together.
And then had come the night, about a month before graduation, when Steven had shared a very special secret with Brenda…
And a little something else.
The night of graduation, Steven had finally struck.
He had made sure that Jason had been able to get himself and Brenda alone as they had been walking on their way from his home, where she had come to go to the school with him since the weather had been so pleasant, which was only about a mile away.
Steven had known for some time that Jason had taken to stalking him, but he had pretended to be oblivious to that fact.
He had not want to tip his hand too soon.
As Steven and Brenda had walked hand in hand on the path through the large wooded area between Steven’s home and the school, they had both appeared to be just two young lovers out for a stroll in the woods.
But appearances, it is often said, can sometimes be deceiving.
All at once Jason had lunged out of some bushes and had attacked them. He had come at Steven and hit him hard enough to knock him down, where Steven had lain, still and silent.
Jason had then grabbed Brenda’s arm and begun screaming at her…
And then he had slapped her hard enough to spin her off of her feet and knock her to the ground, where she had landed on all fours, her magnificent blond hair covering her face.
Jason’s voice had been harsh and cruel as he had continued to scream at her, “You little slut! How dare you turn me down and then sully yourself by running with the likes of that worthless bastard! I have looks, money and power, what does he have? Nothing! That is what!”
And as he had shrieked those last words, he had kicked Brenda in the side, causing her to fall with her back to him, curled up in a fetal position as she had tried to protect herself from possible further violence.
Her voice, though, when it had come, had been as calm and as chilling as ice, “You really, really shouldn’t have done that, Jason. I think it is about time you learn that you can’t simply go around taking what you want without regards to other people’s feelings…AND I’M GOING TO BE THE ONE TO TEACH YOU!”
The last sight Jason Hargrith had ever seen had been the form that had suddenly leaped at him from where his supposedly helpless and cowed victim had lain…the last sensation he had ever experienced had been that of the razor sharp teeth as they had ripped his throat out.
He had never even had time to scream.
He had not seen as that form shifted to go over and reach with outstretched fingers to where Steven was lying…had never seen as they both began to shift and change till…where a young man and woman had once stood now had stood two magnificent huge wolves.
The smaller of the two reached out and licked the larger one’s muzzle, then they had both turned as one, neither even once even glancing at the stilled body of their tormentor as they had disappeared into the woods.
Several months later Steven sat in one of the easy chairs in the den, sketching the beautiful blond female wolf who lay nursing her five newborn cubs.
The female glanced up at him, adoration in her amber gaze, watching him as he sketched.
And as Steven sketched the look in those eyes with smooth flowing strokes, he thought to himself, “I can’t draw love, but I know it when I see it.”
And he was content.