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Full Moon Kisses:A Full Moon Novel(10)

By:Ellen Schreiber


"Isn't likely?" Brandon asked, rising. "One in five? What if I'm the fifth one?"
"What choice do we have?" his father asked, rising, too. "Do you want to remain in this condition forever? Eating like an animal during the day, talking to wolves, and then under a full moon turning into one? At least I am giving you a chance to be cured. It's better than what we are facing now."
Brandon turned to me. He knew what he had to do-for himself and for Nash.
"You are my son," Dr. Maddox said in a comforting voice. "I want you to be able to live a normal life."
Brandon was tormented by his condition and by the decisions he had to make. He didn't want to argue with his father, but he also didn't want to feel compelled to take it knowing there were risks. I could sense that he was thinking about that one little mouse that didn't return to normal.
"What would you do?" Brandon finally asked him.
"I'd take the serum," his father said adamantly. "As soon as the sun sets and the full moon rises." He hugged Brandon tightly.
When he finally let go, Dr. Maddox said, "I'm so tired. I'd better be off to catch some shut-eye. We'll talk more in the morning. I think I'll be able to convince you when I'm rested. Good night, Brandon. Good night, Celeste." He picked up the plate of cookies and walked upstairs.
The following day, I came back to meet Brandon at his house. His father had plans to run some experiments, and Brandon wanted me to be there with them. He said he thought maybe if I was there his father wouldn't "go all medieval on him," as he put it. We only had two weeks until the full moon, and Brandon would be taking the antidote.
Apollo, the husky, was shut inside the main house while we were in the backyard next to the garden.
"Can you call Apollo out here?" his father asked.
"I could do that before." Brandon cupped his mouth and yelled, "Apollo!"
The dog ran to the window and barked.
Dr. Maddox wasn't pleased with his son's humor. "I mean with your mind," he chided. "I just want to test out what you've told me about your abilities as a werewolf."
"Fine." Brandon headed inside and opened the door and let Apollo out. The dog scampered and raced through the garden and backyard, chasing a bird.
"Calm him down," his dad challenged. "Without calling him."
Brandon rolled his eyes, like any normal teen, but then relaxed. When the busy, playful dog caught sight of him, Brandon glared at his pet. Apollo immediately stopped running and walked over to Brandon. Once at Brandon's feet, he knelt down and then fully reclined.
"That was amazing," his father said. He looked thoughtful for a moment. "And can you tell me what kind of animals are in the vicinity?"
Brandon sighed, then reluctantly gazed around. He listened for a minute and then took in a deep breath.
"A hawk is flying this way from due south. Three sparrows are in those two trees. A family of deer is searching for food alongside that hill." Brandon pointed to an area, but I couldn't see anything through the thick brush.
Brandon's father took out his binoculars. He pointed them to the trees and then deep into the woods. "Those are sparrows. And I can see those deer now, too."
A moment later a hawk flew overhead.
Even I was impressed with Brandon's senses.
Finally, after Brandon's father had documented several of his son's unusual powers, it was time for the older Maddox to have dinner with his parents.
"Will you be staying for dinner?" his father asked.
"I have to go home," I said. "I have a major exam tomorrow, and I still need to study."
"Well, it was great seeing you," Dr. Maddox said. "I'll be leaving tomorrow."
"So soon?"
"I'm stopping in New York, then it's back to Geneva. Next time, I hope to stay longer. Maybe for good."
"That would be wonderful," I said.
"But in the meantime, I'm counting on you both to take care of things while I'm away. You have to promise me, Brandon; that serum is for you."
"But what if it doesn't work?" Brandon asked.
"Then we'll go to plan B and fix it then. But at least we'll know."
"I guess … ."
"I need you to be convinced. I know this must be hard for you. I'm counting on you to help yourself this time."
Brandon managed a smile.
"And I'm looking to you, Celeste," Dr. Maddox continued. "You will be my eyes and ears. I'm hoping he will take that serum at the next full moon."
"I understand," I said.
I wasn't sure what to do when the full moon hit-to insist that Brandon take the serum or not-but I knew it was ultimately his decision and I'd be right by his side.
"I know this isn't ideal, me being half a world away from you," Dr. Maddox went on. "You're in high school, with so many things happening to you. I'm missing it. You are growing up without me."
"I'm not," Brandon said. "You are right here with me-I have your serum."
I thought Brandon might have been convinced now to take the antidote and try it out-if not for himself, for his father and Nash.                       
       
           



       
FIVE

mr. worthington

Brandon had nearly two weeks to wait before he could take the serum and discover how it would affect him. Never mind it could possibly turn him into a werewolf full-time; what if it didn't work at all? What did we know about the serum anyway? Even with Dr. Maddox's reassurance, the anxiety of the unknown was palpable to us both.
And how was I supposed to make sure that Brandon was the one who took it first? It really wasn't my decision, and I felt that Brandon might not want to be cured as much as Nash. But I'd made a promise, and I'd have to keep it.
I tried to hide my anxiety the next day by hanging out with Brandon at his house. But as soon as my mind became unfocused, that was the first thing my thoughts went back to.
Nash sent me texts about how he needed me to help find him a cure-that he was feeling more agitated with the impending full moon. Brandon was obviously anxious, too, chopping wood that didn't need to be chopped and building things in his backyard that didn't need to be built. In his spare moments, I saw his mind wander, and I knew what it was contemplating: a life forever as a werewolf.
To ease our minds, I thought it might be a good idea to get insight on their lycan plight by getting more information on the whole Legend's Run folklore from the only living resource we knew-ninety-year-old Mr. Worthington. Brandon and I hadn't been to visit him in a few weeks, and I thought he might be happy to have us. And I decided bringing Nash along might help us all.
Later that day, I called Nash and convinced him to meet Brandon and me in the parking lot outside the Pine Tree Village Retirement Community. Nash knew that I had been volunteering here for some time, but when we were dating he always had an excuse not to join me. I think he felt awkward around elderly people-maybe he didn't know how to speak to them or felt sorry for them because they seemed lonely. To me, they were like anyone else, just older. And their stories and lives were that much richer for their years of experience.
I headed in first, with Brandon following me and Nash last in our pack. Brandon stood beside me, and Nash hung back in the foyer while I asked the receptionist for Mr. Worthington. Usually the friendly senior citizen was out in the lobby making small talk or taking a quick nap, but this time he wasn't in sight.
I tried not to worry-but I only felt good when I saw him well, at his age. Every time I didn't see him made me afraid I'd never see him again.
However, my concern eased as the receptionist assured me that he was just finishing a group activity. We could smell chicken baking in the kitchens. Dinner came early at Pine Tree Village.
"I'm getting hungry," Brandon said.
"I'm getting sick," Nash said. "I'd hate to live here."
"Shh!" I said. "You're being rude."
"Where is the old man?" Nash said. "I think I've aged a few years already waiting for him."
Nash's impatience was one of the reasons I didn't totally click with him. I knew he was only hiding his fear-in this case, fear of becoming old and being alone. But Brandon was naturally caring and nurturing. He took care of his grandparents and seemed really pleased when he met Mr. Worthington and found out he was his maternal great-grandfather.
Nash was texting when Mr. Worthington came out from the dining room and into the lobby. The chipper senior citizen was pleasantly surprised to see me and my entourage.
Mr. Worthington was wearing a brown cardigan and khakis. He walked slowly toward us.
"Hello, Celeste, it is wonderful to see you."
"We just stopped by to say hello," I said.
Mr. Worthington extended his hand to my boyfriend. "Brandon," he said. "It's good to see you again."
"And this is our friend, Nash," I said, introducing them.
"It's nice to meet you," Mr. Worthington said. "You can call me Charles."
Nash extended his hand. "I'm pleased to meet you, too."
"Your boyfriends seem to be multiplying," Mr. Worthington said to me with a wink.
I blushed and tried to cover my embarrassment with a soft giggle.
"What brings you here?" Mr. Worthington finally asked.
"We'd like to know more about the Legend's Run werewolf," I replied.

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