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Full Moon Kisses:A Full Moon Novel(6)

By:Ellen Schreiber

Brandon continued to stare at the wolves, and they backed up slowly. Eventually they relaxed and knelt as if obeying a command.
Brandon remained in front of the child, who was stirring awake, while keeping the restrained wolves at bay. Several zookeepers hurried into the enclosure with long, metal prods and tranquilizer guns. But the wolves were already calm and lying down. One zookeeper quickly led Brandon and the boy out of the enclosure.
Nash was as white as a ghost. "I can't believe what just happened. That could have been me," he said. "Perhaps it should have been … ."
"You could have fallen into the enclosure?" Jake asked.
But I knew what Nash meant. However, he didn't jump into the enclosure. In fact, he didn't even move-until now.
We hurried to that side of the enclosure and waited impatiently for Brandon and the boy to come out.
A few moments later a side door opened, and the boy, along with a zookeeper and Brandon, appeared.
The mother raced to her son and held him, clinging to him with all her might, as a few paramedics and zookeepers came to check the boy out. He had several cuts and bruises but, apart from that and being traumatized, he seemed all right.
The boy began to cry as his mother fussed over him.
"You saved my son's life," she cried when she saw Brandon. "You are a hero."
Brandon blushed.
"I don't know how to thank you. You just stood there in front of those wolves. I can't imagine what you were thinking … but I am so happy you did. I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you."
"You don't have to," Brandon said. "I'm just happy he's all right."
"Tommy, this young man helped you. Can you say thank you?"
The boy was visibly shaken and clung to his mother. He was too upset and shy to speak.
"It's okay," Brandon said.
"Thank you so much again," the mother gushed.
Brandon smiled as the paramedics attended to the boy, and we began to walk away from the wolf habitat.
"I should have filmed it!" Jake said. "It would have gone viral."
I held on to Brandon, who was breathing heavily. Brandon acted calm, as if he didn't recognize his own heroic actions.
"So what are we going to see now?" he asked.
"How about we have lunch?" Ivy asked. "My heart is pounding, and I need to sit down."
"Me, too," I said.
I squeezed Brandon's hand tightly as we walked over to the outdoor café, sat at the picnic tables, and began ordering.
Abby and Dylan finally caught up with us and ordered, too. "So what was all the big excitement we saw over by the wolf habitat?" Abby asked.
"Didn't you hear?" Jake said to Dylan. "Brandon saved a kid!"
"He was going to be attacked by a pack of wolves," Ivy said.
"They weren't going to attack," Brandon said.
"Uh, tell that to the kid's mom!" Ivy said.
My friends were very taken with Brandon's heroics and kept complimenting him.
Nash appeared jealous, as the attention from his friends and schoolmates was centered on Brandon.
A few moments later, the waitress returned with our meals.
As Nash and Brandon ate several sandwiches, my friends continued to gloat over his bravery.
"You can build up an appetite being a superhero," Abby said about Brandon's eating.
Even Jake and Dylan were impressed by the handsome Westsider. "You really have guts," Dylan said. "You wouldn't catch me dead in a wolf enclosure."
"Ha! You'd probably be dead if you jumped in there! Brandon must be a wolf whisperer," Jake joked.
"Yes, it was amazing what you did," Abby said.
Brandon was too close to the event to bask in the glory of being a hero. I think he was still stunned at what had happened. Or maybe it was like nothing at all to him. That he jumped over the fence and saved the boy was like eating lunch in the cafeteria. Something normal and everyday. He did seem overwhelmed with the attention, however.
Brandon and Nash finished their meals quickly.
"We'll get your dessert for you," Ivy said. "You relax." She got up from the table.
"Uh … that's okay." He tried to stop them. "I can get it."
But Abby waved him off. "You sit. Let someone do something for you now."
"Yeah," Jake said. "We need you to catch your breath in case a kid falls into the lion's den next."
Jake and Dylan followed the girls and met them at the ice-cream stand.
"That is so nice of them," Brandon said sincerely. He was so touched by my friends' generosity. "But really, I can get my dessert. I'm all right."
"I know, but it might be a good idea for you to unwind for a minute." I caressed his back and smoothed out his shirt, which had bunched up a little when he was jumping into the enclosure.
"Are you going to get mine, too?" I heard Nash ask after Ivy.
"When you save a kid's life, maybe," Abby shot back. They were already ordering Brandon's sundae.
Nash muttered under his breath and turned back to us. He saw me smoothing out Brandon's shirt. I could see a loneliness in his eyes. He was a werewolf, too. But he wasn't the one to face the wolves, and I think he felt like the odd lycan out.
As our friends were taking care of our desserts, we were approached by a few zoo administrators.
"I'm Kevin," a lean man in a khaki zoo uniform said. "Are you the guy who jumped into the wolf habitat?"
I was eager to share Brandon's heroism, and I beamed proudly. But he inched back as if unsettled. "Uh … only if I'm not in trouble."
"Yes, normally that would be a criminal act. But in this case, we can't really cite you since you saved a boy-and the wolves as well."
Now Brandon was the one beaming. He wasn't going to be in trouble, and he felt good about bringing a peaceful end to the incident.
"I'll need to get some information from you." Kevin sat down at our table with the other administrator, and I sat close as Brandon answered questions for the zoo's incident report.
After a few minutes, Brandon had completed the man's queries.
"I think that's all for now," Kevin said. "We'll call you if we have anything further."
"All right," Brandon agreed.
"But one more thing," Kevin said. "Can I ask what made you do that? Just jump into the enclosure? Wolves don't normally confront people. But in this situation? Who knows."
"I don't know. I didn't think about why," Brandon answered. "Just that I had to."
Kevin shook his head. "But to have just stood there so calmly in front of a pack of wolves. Most people won't stand in front of a pack of barking dogs. And you couldn't have known what would happen to the kid-or you."
"He knows more than you think," I said to Kevin.
"Well, we know he's brave and agile. That's for sure," Kevin said.
I smiled proudly at the compliments about my boyfriend.
Kevin gathered his things and rose. "We are happy to have had you here. And hopefully your next visit will be a lot less eventful." He handed Brandon a book of free tickets to the zoo.
He shook Brandon's hand and left just as our friends came back to our tables with ice cream.
A few other students started coming into the outdoor café and had noticed the zoo administrator with us. They kept peering over and began whispering. As more students came in and joined them, they began to gossip and all began eyeing us. I assumed that word was spreading about Brandon's heroic deeds in the wolf enclosure.
Nash came back with a triple cone-twice as much ice cream as Dylan and Jake had. Ivy handed Brandon a banana split sundae.
"We know how you like to eat," she remarked.
"Thank you so much," he said. "I really appreciate it."
Nash and Brandon tore into their supersized desserts. We all watched in awe.
"Abby was right. Being a hero must build up an appetite," Ivy said to Brandon.
"And doing nothing must build up yours," Jake teased Nash.
Nash scowled. It was a strong jab, and I think it really hurt him.
"That's okay," Brandon said. "He wasn't in the area when it happened. Otherwise he would have done the same thing."
Nash brightened. He sat up straight and a smile came over his face. He was really pleased with Brandon's coming to his defense.
We continued to eat, and I felt exhilarated sitting next to a once-again hero.
When we all finished and were discarding our trash, I wondered if it was such a good idea to go back through the park. We'd only completed half of our required checklist, but I didn't see how we'd be able to hang out in front of each exhibit without Brandon and Nash disturbing the animals with their presence.
Brandon must have felt the same thing as he sidled up to me when we left the café. "Maybe we shouldn't go right up to the habitats," he said. "We can get an idea of what the animals are doing from a distance. Don't you think?"
I nodded. "Yes, I think it might be best to give them-and you-some distance."
"Well, we have half of the park left," Jake said to our group. "Mainly sea animals, so I hope no one falls into the shark pool. That would be gruesome."
"Do you know how to swim, Brandon?" Dylan teased.
Brandon laughed off the joke and seemed to be in good spirits, but I know he was concerned about the animals' reactions. He'd drawn enough attention for one morning, and we didn't want any more coming our way. It was hard enough to explain the earlier events, and I wasn't sure how much longer we could keep hiding it.
On our way to the rest of the park, we walked by the area that led to the cat house attractions; we could hear the roar of a lion. I wasn't sure if it was disturbed by Brandon's and Nash's presence or if it was giving my boyfriend kudos for his bravery.