I Pray The Lord My Soul To Keep
Disclaimer: Just your average run of the mill standard disclaimer. The characters in this story come from somewhere inside my gray matter, and are not taken from any literary source or any other source whatsoever. If you're going to blame someone, blame me. But be warned I'm still paying off my student debt so I ain't rich! There are also some names and places from Werewolf The Apocalypse by White Wolf. If you are familiar with the game system then the way I use some of the terms may seem a bit odd. But, I've been told the same about myself.
Violence and Language: Well, yeah. Quite a bit of slice and dice, some may be a bit graphic. Werewolves are rather messy you know. Also, I'm afraid that both Jamie and Jenny can sometimes get quite the mouth on them...but that's something that normally isn't a problem. ;)
Sex and Subtext: Yes, finally. It's been a long time for both so I figured I'd be nice and let them play a bit. A warning, this series involves the idea that love knows no gender. So if homosexuality or bi-sexuality bothers you click the back button, delete, close, or whatever and move on.
Type: This is the third story in my Wolf's Moon series. No, it's not complete; I have grown rather attached to these characters.
Constructive comments can be sent firstname.lastname@example.org
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the lord my soul to take.
Andrew "Tall Oak" Halverson sat on the edge of his chair, fidgeting a little nervously as the small blond woman on his couch asked him questions, writing down quick notes in her pda to his answers. He knew he shouldn't be that nervous, after all the blond and her companion were guests in his home, on his turf. His six-foot, five-inch frame and burley physique made him generally impervious to physical danger from others. Especially someone like the small blond woman in front of him, who was roughly about one half his size. She and her companion had come to talk with him after he had let Ted Caffrey know that he had heard of some strange rumors about a new mage in town who was supposedly continuing the work of a group before them.
Easy enough, Ted had let him know yesterday that there were a couple of friends of his that wanted to talk to him about what he knew. That one of them was a former student of his and the other was a really good friend he had knew for years. Andrew had agreed, vaguely remembering Jenny Lyden from some wiccan gatherings and knowing the woman to be a discrete person when it came to keeping "safe places" secret. The blond woman before him radiated warmth and trust with her smile. She asked him questions, listening politely to his replies. Indeed, Andrew had no trouble with the petite blond. It was her dark haired friend Jamie who was making him skittish.
The dark haired woman's piercing pale blue eyes never wavered from his face as Jenny asked him questions. During the past half hour since the two had entered his home, the woman had only said hello, letting her blond friend handle the questions while she sat easily on the couch across from him.
Jenny's bright voice broke across his random thoughts. "I'm sorry, what was that?" Andrew asked trying to focus only on Jenny's face.
Instead it was the dark haired woman that spoke up, "Who was this woman that you talked to? Have you known her very long? Ever known her to be involved with the darker side of magic?"
"Umm, actually she's in a book discussion group that I'm in." Andrew answered, quite surprised to hear the woman speak up. "She runs a little palmistry studio over by the University. I've never known her to be involved with anything nastier than helping out with an exorcism. And she's never had that funny glow to her aura that people get when they're black a black or even brown hole." He continued, "The subject just came up when we were talking about all those deaths in the past few weeks. Melanie mentioned that when she was doing a house exorcism in the outer area of the city she had a particularly tough time. There was an extra "thing" in the house that was evil enough to give her a headache that lasted for days. In the brief amount of time though that it brushed up against her mind she caught some glimpses of stuff that looked like robed figures cutting open a giant wolf."
The 'look' the two women exchanged was not lost on him, "I was curious because she also thought that the evil she had sensed was related to that mage group that had sprung up about a month ago. Ted had mentioned them once when I visited the book store last week."
"Have you seen her since then? Ummm...when was this again, couple weeks ago?" Jenny asked.
"Yeah, when I had last talked to her it was about two weeks ago. She had done the house 'cleaning' a few days before. But I haven't talked with her since then." Andrew answered as he sat back a bit more in his seat.
"Well, thank you for the information and your time." Jamie suddenly announced, getting up from the couch as a slightly confused Jenny watched her.
"Umm, yeah. Thank you so much for meeting with us, if you hear of anything else please let us know." Jenny gave Andrew a business card and shook hands with him as she too moved to rise.
Andrew stood to see his guests to the door. Or rather one guest as the dark haired woman was already on the way out the door. He turned to Jenny one last time and told her he would call if he learned of anything else. Jenny smiled sweetly and said good-bye once more before heading to catch up with her companion.
Shutting the door behind them Andrew scratched his head in puzzlement at the dark haired woman's behavior. Shrugging his broad shoulders at the eccentricities of pagan folk he headed off to the kitchen to make a pot of tea.
Jenny wondered at a certain someone's eccentricities herself as she clipped her lap belt into place and settled herself into the seat of the Range Rover. As Jamie pulled out into traffic and headed off the blue eyed woman chewed her inner cheek in thought. Jenny knew enough about her friend to be able to tell that there was something troubling Jamie.
"So, that seemed helpful." Jenny ventured, "Do you think he was legit? Ted wouldn't send us to someone who wasn't, right?"
Jamie continued to gnaw lightly on her cheek as she kept her eyes on the road ahead of her, "Yeah, he was legit alright. Matter of fact I know the woman he was talking about. Thought we'd head over there now since she's working today."
Jenny's eyebrows went up in surprise, "Do you know everyone in this city?" She said half joking.
Jamie glanced at her, eyebrows drawn forward in confusion, "Uh, no...why?"
"Just curious," Jenny smiled reassuringly at her friend, "So, is this woman on the level? I mean, for a palm reader and all." The blond braced herself as they made a turn down the street that would put them on the main drag of the city's downtown district.
"Oh yeah, she's for real." Jamie assured the woman next to her, "Probably one of the few legitimate palm readers you'll ever meet. At least one who actually has a storefront business."
They drove in silence for a while as Jenny tried to figure out how to ask if there was something wrong. Jamie was still chewing on her cheek and had added a light tapping of her fingertips to the agitated display. Although they hadn't know each other for very long Jenny felt fairly comfortable around her friend. There was something about the way that Jamie was acting however that made the blond leery of asking outright.
"Hey, I know what I was going to ask you." Jamie jumped a bit in surprise and glanced at the blond beside her while they were stopped at a light. "What are you going to wear at this shindig thing on Saturday? Is it formal or what?" Jenny continued.
There was something to the blonde's tone that made Jamie wonder what she was planning. "It's a formal 'shindig', but I wasn't planning on wearing anything." Jamie said as the light turned green and she drove on.
"Oh my! That will be a sight!" Bright green eyes twinkled, "I was thinking of a nice green cocktail dress, you don't think that will be to much?"
One dark eyebrow rose, "No, you'd look nice. I meant that I'm not going. It's not my cup of tea." Jamie turned her eyes back to the road. "Uncle Jacob told you it's the Midwestern Council's annual get together, right?" At Jenny's nod Jamie continued, "Well, let's just say that I don't exactly get along with the whole 'in crowd' to well."
"Oh, that's too bad. I was hoping that I'd get to dance with someone I know." Jenny gave a little sigh. "Jessan said he doesn't dance, or rather he is very good at stepping all over his partner's feet. Jacob will probably be busy smoozing all evening so I'll just be bored. Of course there will probably be at least one good looking garou in a dress there I'll be able to ask to dance with me."
Jenny glanced at her companion wondering if she weren't laying it on a bit too thick. Jamie could be dense at times but then again there were occasions that the dark haired werewolf was surprisingly intuitive. Jenny was about to ask what exactly Jamie was thinking of when something dashing across the road caught her attention.
Jenny had barley gotten out a squeak of surprise when Jamie was slamming on the breaks of the SUV, letting out her own oath of surprise. Both women were thrown against the seatbelts as the large car screeched to a halt on the road, narrowly missing the dark creature as it scurried by.
"Jeeze! What in the hell was that?!?" Jenny asked, shaken from the suddenness of it all.
"I'm not sure," Jamie replied as she managed to get her leg muscles to un-tense and put the car in drive again. "Came out of nowhere, looked like a big black dog or something."
"Gods! That was close, we nearly hit it." Jenny had calmed a bit more as Jamie pulled the Range Rover down a side street and parked neatly.
"Hear we are." Jamie pointed to a small house with its curtains closed. "Hopefully whoever is the owner of that animal learns to put it on a leash or something so that it doesn't get hit next time."
Jamie and Jenny exited the car and headed up the walkway to a rather nondescript looking house. The dark haired woman tried to shake off the churning feelings that were washing over her. It wasn't just that she had almost killed an animal that bothered her so much as the fact that she was positively certain that whatever had raced across the road had appeared from nowhere, only to return to nowhere before it reached the other side.
Melanie Johnson looked up from the counter of her shop where she was reading to see the one person she never thought would come into her store again enter with a companion. The green-eyed palmist stayed where she was, leaning lightly against the counter in front of her as the woman in the black leather jacket and her friend walked towards her. Melanie raised her eyebrows in inquiry as she waited for her two visitors to speak.
"Hey Melanie." Jamie said quietly as she and Jenny walked up to the other side of the counter. "How's it going?"
Melanie gave the dark haired woman a slow knowing smile, "Pretty good, your looking cute as always."
Jamie forced her feet to not to run in the other direction and to only smile in response. "This is Jenny, my ummm....assistant." Jenny kept her face impassive at this since even she wasn't sure on the exact nature of the business side of their relationship.
"Hello Jenny, nice to meet you." The palmist extended her hand to the blond woman who smiled warmly back at her. "What brings you two by?"
"We uh, were talking with a friend of yours, Andrew Halverson. He had said that you had some problems a few weeks ago with a house cleansing." Jamie shifted a bit from one foot to the other. "Something that was possibly related to that mage group that started up a few weeks back..."
The palmist cocked her head to one side, her light brown hair shifting on her shoulders. Green eyes blinked as they regarded the blue-eyed woman in front of her. I'd forgotten just how blue those eyes could get. Melanie thought as she gazed with a certain fondness at the woman in front of her.
A small shift from the blond alerted the palmist to the odd glint in woman's eyes. Oh-oh, someone's getting jealous. Interesting, I didn't think Jamie was into dating co-workers.
"Yeah, that left a bad taste." Melanie said aloud, "I've noticed it recently, well within the past three days around campus. I can't tell if it's the same group that you guys were having problems with or not."
Jenny blinked away the unaccustomed jealousy she felt when the palmist was eyeing Jamie and said, "You know about that?"
"I heard about it from one of the bunco guys who visits me every once and a while to make sure I keep things 'legal'." Melanie answered with a small shrug. "He had said that Jamie eliminated some mage group that was causing trouble with the garou community and that that was the end of it."
Jenny tried to take in this new knowledge calmly, but couldn't keep herself from blurting out, "Wait, aren't you human?!?"
Both Jamie and Melanie turned towards Jenny in startlement. Both of Jamie's eyebrows reached up into her hairline as she regarded her friend. The palmist simply smiled wryly at the now obviously human woman.
"Yes, I'm human just like you." Melanie stated with obvious amusement. "Jamie and I know each other from way back so I learned a bit about the garou community. I also know how important this cutie is to her people, and how good she is at fixing problems. She is a big strong warrior and all."
Jenny glanced over to her friend to find that the generally quiet woman had gone positively comatose as she stood there, a deep blush traveling across her face. It was Jenny's turn to raise her eyebrows at Jamie's obvious discomfort. The blond could hardly wait to ask her friend about the exact nature of the relationship she had with the palmist.
Jamie for her part was trying desperately to will herself to either sink into the rich red carpet under her boots or for the world to suddenly cease to exist. Either one would be readily welcomed at that very minute, if not sooner. The curious looks she was getting from Jenny, along with the Cheshire cat grin that Melanie was casting her way were almost too much for the normally too tough for her fangs werewolf to take. Jamie was positive that she was going to spontaneously combust from the heat of the blush that surely was covering her entire body by now. Although, spontaneous combustion wasn't such a bad idea at the moment.
Sean O'Brady sent the multi-colored balls scattering across the pool table with a loud crack. Having failed to knock anything into a pocket in the opening break shot, Sean moved to the sidewall of the billiard room to watch his opponent take a turn. Watching the first quick shot Sean winced as his friend knocked in a striped ball, realizing suddenly that he had managed to set up the balls quite well. It would be a while till it would be his turn again.
"So," Jamie said as she circled around the table trying to decide where to begin, "Your mom kicked you of the bar tonight huh?"
Sean smiled ruefully at the comment. His mother had indeed kicked him out, telling him to take the night off for once and to "go have some fun". At a loss for ideas, Sean had called up Jamie to see what she was up to. It had been a while since they had been able to just hang out. The erstwhile bar tender had always been beyond dutiful when it came to taking care of the Irish pub O'Connor's that Jamie had inherited from her father. With the recent death of his younger brother Brian, the normally cheerful older O'Brady had only been going through the motions of his job. Katherine O'Brady, Sean and Brian's mother, could tell that Brain's death was weighing heavily on her oldest and was determined to get Sean to let go a bit and relax. Hence, in true Irish motherly fashion she told Sean to "get out and have yourself some fun before I put my foot to yer backside."
"Yeah, she was quite insistent." Sean said aloud as he watched Jamie knock in yet another striped ball.
"Good, you needed a night out." Jamie paused as she considered the table in front of her. She had two striped balls left and they were stuck behind a bunch of solid colored balls. "I know it's been hard on you and your mom since Brian..." Jamie trailed off, having finally spoken of the one thing they had been avoiding since Sean had come over.
Sean gave a soft smile, "It's okay Jamie, I'm just glad you got those fuckers."
Jamie nodded slowly as a half smile pulled the corner of her mouth upwards. The ice broken, so to speak, she and Sean could feel comfortable around each other again. Jamie really missed the big guy, who she hadn't seen since Brian's wake as she found herself unconsciously avoiding the pub.
There was still some guilt there about being unable to prevent Sean's brother's death in the first place. Jamie was certain that that guilt would stay with her for a very long time, if not the rest of her life. Ever since she was very little, Jamie had felt a deep responsibility for her clan and friends well being. Walter McConnor had felt the same burden of responsibility when he was alive. For where his older brother was the leader of their clan, Walter was the clan's warrior champion while he was alive. Now, Jamie held that honor. Or curse.
Jamie wondered if things were easy enough right now between them that she could broach the subject of Saturday's party. Sean was one of her oldest friends and would surely have some ideas about where she could get a good-looking dress. The big guy had had quite a few girl friends over the years so he should have some idea of what women wore to those types of things.
"So, you ready for Saturday?" Jamie asked after she made the opening break shot and stood back to take another drink of her pop.
"I have to pickup my tux Friday morning," Sean said as he racked up the balls. "They are going to be delivering fifty kegs of Guinness and sixty kegs of Harp along with the usual whiskey and all Friday afternoon."
"You got the extra people to help you out with the bar and all?" Jamie asked as she took a drink of her pop.
Sean uncapped his water bottle and took a pull as well before answering, "Yeah, I think it was a smart idea just closing down the pub for that evening. It would have been too much otherwise."
Jamie nodded and chalked up the tip of her stick as she casually said, "Should be interesting little get together. I've got to pick up a dress sometime this week or I'll be going naked."
It was times like these that if her life was a television show she was sure that she would be hearing the gentle sound of crickets on the night breeze. Then again, Jamie was fairly certain that she could hear the faint echo of a laugh track most of the time as well. As the muscular man in front of her stared at her blankly with his mouth hanging open, Jamie jiggled the blue cube of chalk in her hand, idly wondering if she could make it into the gaping whole in one try.
Sean was glad that he wasn't taking a shot at that moment or he would have surely put a hole in the table's cloth.
"You're...you said...you're going to go?" Sean breathed in wonder.
"Yeah." Came the monosyllable answer.
"Like for security, right?" The big man leaned on the table and it groaned under his muscular weight.
"No." another monosyllable answer.
Sean puzzled, his brow furrowing. "To drive your uncle and cousin?"
"No." This time Sean thought he heard a quiet growl.
"Ummm....you mean you're going to be...uh...wearing a dress?" Sean ventured, unable to stop himself.
"No, I was thinking of a burlap sack. Of course I'm wearing a dress!" The string of words upset Sean from his precarious seating and he fell off the edge of the table onto the floor. It was as if another being had taken over and was using his body with the intent on getting him pummeled.
"You?!? In a dress?!?! How's that going to happen? Hell isn't going to freeze over that night is it? I don't remember them saying anything about that on the weather. Then again our local weather sucks, but that's beside the point. You can't wear a dress! The tides will shift, oceans will swell, meteors will shower the earth in a rain of fire..." Jamie narrowed her eyes at him in warning, "My mom was talking about a sale at Macy's this week."
Artemis strode regally across the floor of the bedroom, her head cocking slightly as she heard something outside the window. With a decisive thought, she moved quickly to the other side of the room and leapt onto the windowsill. It would have been a graceful and perfectly timed leap if she hadn't suddenly been startled by her own reflection in the pane.
Jenny looked up as she heard the thump of a soft body not quite hitting the windowsill and saw the fluffy tabby cat shake her head sharply after landing on the floor. The blond woman almost shot the warm tea she had been sipping out her nose at the cat's antics. Unable to restrain herself, Jenny giggled at Arti's rather ungraceful behavior, having to put down her pen and journal she had been writing in.
"That was not one of your best ideas sweetheart." Jenny said fondly as the tabby gave her a look that said 'bitch' and stalked away to go groom herself on the divan.
Still smiling a bit, Jenny picked up her pen again and turned back to the journal in front of her. With Jamie and Sean engaged in 'macho bonding time' downstairs, she had the time after dinner completely to herself. With recent events, Jenny had not been able to get the time to do some writing so she was enjoying the peace of mind the simple recording of her thoughts brought her. The cup of warm tea was also helping her to relax from the days events as she eased back into the pillows propped up against the headboard and opened the book up again.
Jenny had been writing in a journal since the end of her fifth grade year. Through her teenage years, she had felt compelled to put down into words why she felt different from other girls her own age. While other girls, her friends included, were gawking over the football team, she was going to every girl's basketball game possible.
She hadn't had many close friends growing up. Her one best friend since kindergarten, Kevin Harris, had been a boy. They had been as close as siblings and had even gone to the senior prom together. It wasn't until the end high school that he had told her that he was gay. It hadn't mattered to Jenny, though Kevin had been worried that it would ruin their friendship and had been hiding it from her for two years.
They went off to the same university to study computers together, but in their junior year Kevin had come down with a bad cold that wouldn't go away. After much coaxing, Jenny had finally gotten him to go to the University's clinic, telling him that it had probably turned into bronchitis.
Kevin had agreed after one particular coaxing, well actually harping session from her over breakfast in their dorm cafeteria. Jenny had not seen him again till later that night, having come home late from working in the computer labs to find him laying on her bed staring up at the ceiling. She could recall the scene vividly.
Something about the room disturbed Jenny as she took her coat off and placed it over her chair along with her book bag. Kevin hadn't seen to even acknowledge her presence, as he lay perfectly still starring with slightly red-rimed eyes. Jenny swallowed as she moved to sit carefully at the foot of the bed, her eyes all the while on her friend. For a long moment she tried to bring herself to say something, taking in a lung full of air each time only to let it out in a rush of nervousness. She wanted for all the world to just lean over and shake her friend, or for the phone to ring, or something so that the horrible tableau would end. Finally Kevin spoke up, his voice harsh with grief "They say I have AIDS."
With those words, Jenny had felt as if her whole world were disintegrating. Even years later, the pain and rage she felt while Kevin had quickly wasted away to nothing was still there, albeit in with several layers of numbness. She had felt so powerless at the time to be able to do nothing more than go with to doctor appointments, sit and wait with him during countless tests, help figure out the myriad of pills and dosage schedules that in the end hadn't even slowed the disease that acted as a wrecking ball on Kevin's immune cells.
In the end, all that she could do was hold him while he yelled and cried. To make jokes about the lower and lower quality of dorm food when he vomited. To watch the sunset from the roof of their classroom building and talk about their dreams. To make all the funeral arrangements when he died because his family had disowned him during their first year of college for being gay.
Years and lots of entries in her journals later, Jenny realized that it was all she really needed to do. Simply being there when he needed a friend the most was the most important thing she could have done. Thinking back now, Jenny realized that while certainly making her stronger her friendship with Kevin had made her all the more aware at how important friendships really are. Ever since Kevin's death, Jenny had cherished those friendships she made all the more.
She still did not have many close friends, Ted and Dianne being two of the longest running ones since Kevin. Now, with all that had happened, Jenny had noticed that her very small circle of friends had grown quite quickly. Jessan, Jacob, and the rather audacious dark haired Jamie were truly good and caring people, or rather garou. Jenny harbored no naive thoughts about the three garou when it came to possible bloodshed. But she was certain that none of them would harm another living being without good reason.
From what Jenny had been able to discern, Jacob was a just and level headed clan leader who tried to do the best he could for those he believed to fall under his protection. He also had a sharp sense of humor and was a kind and giving nature.
Jessan was the epitome of a younger brother, whose some times outrageous comments and pranks were used to hide his very caring nature. As for Jamie, Jenny had heard many rumors and other interesting tidbits about her friend from the various members of the community she had met.
Some said that the somewhat aloof woman could be quite a hard ass, and that there was just no pleasing her. Others said that she was harsh and quick to anger and that the last place you wanted to be was on the receiving end of that anger. Still others, and Jenny had blushed when she heard these comments, told of her near legendary sexual appetites. That there was just no keeping up with the woman when she...well you know.
There were also some others who would comment on her prowess as a warrior, a woman to be reckoned with who repeatedly won acclaim for her clan at yearly competitions. Yet every last one of them, from those who were terrified of the dark haired woman, to those who had a grudge of some sort or other, each and every one of them were in some form of awe of Jamie.
Now, after having known the blue-eyed woman Jenny could see something in her that few others had. While Jamie was quick to anger, and would often nearly flay someone alive for their transgression, she always had a very good reason for being angry. The stupidity of a clan member for putting their clan in jeopardy, or the brash and uncalled for behavior of a member of another clan towards a member of the Children of Gaia were just two such incidences that Jenny had witnessed her friend handle over the past weeks.
The ferocious quickness and efficiency that Jamie had displayed with both her own clan member and the other clan member had startled Jenny at first. There was always a quiet fury boiling beneath the surface of the dark haired woman, but since the incident with the mages last week Jenny knew one thing for certain. Jamie would never harm her, no matter how enraged she became.
In her mind's eye Jenny could vividly recall the carnage as Jamie in crinos form almost reveled in her attack upon the mages. When the great head of the black beast had swung around to see her, Jenny had nearly fainted as the icy cold flood of total fear hit her.
The huge beast had raced across the floor, its claws scraping and chipping the cement floor as it went. Jenny had squeezed her eyes shut in helplessness before the beast had reached her, only to open them a bit later when the impact never came. The warm and slightly moist breath of the beast blew across her face as the large red eyes stared at her unblinking. As its nostrils quivered, taking in her scent, Jenny could see the bits of blood and gore still clinging to the jet-black fur on the beast's shoulders and head. Then, suddenly the large insane eyes blinked once, twice, and the red eyes were replaced by ice blue ones. The next instant Jamie was standing before her with those same incredibly blue eyes searching her face and asking if she was okay.
Jenny shook her head a bit to clear it of the past's images and focus on the journal's pages in front of her. She had been amazed to not be taken out in the same fit of rage that had driven her friend to completely destroy the other humans. However, given all that she knew about the woman and all that she sensed from her Jenny knew that her near escape from death was no accident.
Somewhere inside her frenzied induced mind, Jamie had recognized her as 'friend' and stilled the beast before it could harm her. And now...now I hope that she realizes that I'd like to more than just a friend, Jenny thought, abandoning her journal again and chewing on the end of her pen. I thought...I thought that she might feel something more from the way she was acting at the cabin but...Jenny sighed and glanced down at her journal as she scribbled a few more lines out.
Maybe she's just looking for a 'quick roll in the hay' and nothing more. Maybe I'm just making something out of nothing and this almost painful draw that I feel towards her is nothing more that sexual attraction. I'm just too hopelessly romantic for my own good.
With that Jenny capped her pen, closed her journal and set it on the nightstand and slid under the covers. Settling a bit she shifted her feet to find a warm spot under the covers while Arti hopped up and proceeded to make a little nest to sleep in from the covers at the foot of the bed.
Hundreds of scenarios chased themselves around in her mind as the arranged the covers a bit more around her. As she reached up and turned off the light on the nightstand, Jenny wished her mind to stop chattering so that she could get some rest.Part 2
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