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Full Moon Kisses:A Full Moon Novel(7)

By:Ellen Schreiber


When we reached the sign for the manatees, Brandon and I slowed down.
"I think we'll hang back," I said to the others.
"You're not afraid of wolves but you are of manatees?" Jake prodded.
"We're not afraid," I retorted. "Just want to see other parts of the zoo, too."
"Yeah, me, too," Nash said. "I'll hang with them." He stuck next to Brandon and me, and we accepted his company. I felt for him. He was going through the same thing Brandon was going through.
"That's okay," Ivy said. "We'll catch up to you."
"All right," Abby said. "But these guys are acting so weird today."
"We'll be able to see them from here," I said.
"Do you have telescopic vision, too?" Dylan teased.
"Leave them alone," Ivy scolded. She linked arms with Jake and pulled him toward the manatee attraction.
"I thought I only had to worry about the full moon," Nash said to me when the others were out of earshot. "I wasn't expecting this, too."
"Neither was I," I said.
Brandon was silent.
"But you were?" Nash asked Brandon.
Brandon shrugged his shoulders.
"You know. Tell me. It's happened to you longer."
"I've sensed things during the day, too, since this has happened. Yes."
"Like the time at school when the wolves appeared outside our classroom?" Nash said, piecing the events together.
"Yes," Brandon said.
"And the time you saved me from the wolf attack?" Nash continued.
Brandon nodded.
"But elephants and lions?" Nash asked with a laugh.
"I haven't come across them in the woods," Brandon said lightly.
"Animals sense other animals," I added.
"I'm an animal?" Nash said to me. His voice was angry, as if I had hurt him.
"I didn't mean-" I began.
"But, yes," Brandon interjected, putting his hand on my shoulder. "They sense us."
Nash sat on the bench. He was deflated by the reality of his lycan situation. "I just want to be normal. Be myself again. That's all."
I sat by him. "I know. This is hard on us all."
"But you aren't the one changing," he challenged me.
"You are right. It just hurts me to see you both deal with this."
"I'm sorry," Nash said. "I shouldn't have snapped at you. We really need to come up with a plan," he continued. "I can't deal with this every day. We have to get this thing fixed."
"I know," I said.
Just then our friends caught up to us. Nash, Brandon, and I chose to hang back several yards away from the rest of the exhibits, viewing the animals and making our notes from afar. It seemed to work, and the animals behaved normally. We didn't have much time for private conversation as Ivy and Abby returned quickly each time as if they felt like they were missing something by not hanging back with us. I held hands with Brandon as we walked through the park, checking the remaining animals off our list. Before I knew it, it was almost two o'clock, time to meet our bus. We headed to the front of the park and as we waited by the entrance for the other students, Ivy, Abby, and I ducked into the gift shop.
Abby and I got a few zoo key-chain keepsakes for us and our beaux.
Ivy came out with a plush wolf and handed it to Brandon.
"Here," she said. "Something to remember today by."
"Thanks, Ivy," Brandon said. "That's really nice of you." He seemed truly touched by my best friend's generosity, and so was I.
Nash scowled again and quickly boarded the bus.
"Maybe next time we should stick with the botanical gardens," Dylan said.
"But Nash might frighten the Venus flytraps," Jake teased.
The pair laughed as we all settled in our seats, and our teacher took another head count.
"Students," the teacher said in a serious voice, "I'm sure I don't have to tell you that no one is ever encouraged to engage in dangerous activities on school-sponsored field trips. And today could have become a very tragic day because of the potentially dangerous actions of one of our students," she admonished. "But that said, I'm rather proud to say that we have a hero on this bus, and his name is Brandon Maddox."
Cheers and clapping erupted from the students on board. Brandon blushed from all the attention as Nash gave him a knowing glance.                       
       
           



       
FOUR

father knows best

When we walked through the hallways before first bell the next day, I noticed students eyeing Brandon as if he were the school quarterback.
"Word must be spreading about the zoo," I said. "You are getting stares."
As we approached a few upperclassmen, one of the seniors caught sight of Brandon.
"Hey, dude-" he said, high-fiving my boyfriend as they passed.
Brandon turned to me as shocked as I was.
When we got to class, I heard Abby talking to the girl seated next to her.
"It's like he's communicating with them," Abby said.
"He did that same stare when a wolf pack showed up at school," Ivy said.
"We saw that happen," Abby said.
"We were right there," Ivy went on.
"There he is!" Abby said, now noticing us.
Brandon turned red. He sat in his chair in the back of the room and busied himself with his notebooks.
Later in the day, on our way to lunch, a few girls from the Eastside were hanging around us as if they wanted to talk to him.
One girl pushed the other into Brandon.
"Excuse me," she said, embarrassed while her awaiting friends giggled. She gazed up at Brandon with crush-girl eyes. Then she scurried back to her friends.
"You touched him," one girl said as they continued to giggle. "Now you can't wash that arm for a week."
They all squealed to themselves and made their way to class.
"So now you have groupies," I said. I did think it was sweet that the girls thought Brandon was a dreamboat-just like I had always thought he was.
Brandon didn't boast, but the students hung on his every word as if they were meeting a celebrity.
Following that, a few freshman boys approached Brandon.
"Can I take a picture with you?" one asked.
Brandon was taken aback by the question. "Uh, yeah, I guess."
The boy quickly stood at his side and made a peace-sign gesture as his friend snapped a picture of them together.
"Now it's my turn," the other said.
"Okay … " Brandon did the same. I watched as my boyfriend was being treated like he was on the red carpet of a movie premiere.
When we finally got to lunch, the rest of our group was already eating.
Two freshmen came up to Brandon. "We heard what you did. That was major cool. Could you sign this?"
He handed Brandon a notebook.
Brandon quickly scribbled his name.
"This is getting crazy," Brandon said. "I'm not a hero."
"Uh, yes, you are," Ivy said.
"Well, I just want to be like everyone else," Brandon said.
"Then don't jump in cages and talk to wolves," Jake teased.
When another kid came up, Dylan rolled his eyes. "Dude-he's eating," Dylan said. "Give the man some space. He'll be signing autographs in the theater during fifth bell."
"Okay, I'll see you then." The boy seemed pleased and went back to his table, and Dylan and Jake laughed.
Nash couldn't help but scowl. He tried to hide his disdain for the attention Brandon was receiving by bringing up other subjects.
"We have some tough games coming up. We're going to have to really hustle to beat Huntington Saturday."
But Ivy and Abby weren't keen to talk about games they weren't playing.
"The Werewolf Fest is only three weeks away," Abby said. "I can't wait to go!"
"Me, too," Ivy said. "It's going to be so much fun!"
Nash turned to my friends. "What's so great about werewolves?" he asked.
"Well, it seems like you like them," Ivy shot back. "You and Brandon were the ones who dressed up like them at the dance."
"Oh yeah," he said. "But that wasn't so much fun after all."
"Well, you had us all fooled. We thought for a while you might be the Legend's Run werewolf reincarnated," Jake said.
We all laughed. If they only knew, I thought. If they only knew.
I was leaving my last class and heading to my locker when I saw Heidi Rosen talking to Brandon by his. I quickly hurried over, as she was twisting her hair in major flirt mode. She had her hand on his forearm and then, when she caught sight of me, she smiled sweetly at him and turned and walked away.
"What was Heidi doing talking to you?" I asked.
"She said she heard about what happened yesterday at the zoo. And that she only wished she had been there to see it."
"Weird. She never talks to us."
"Then she invited me to her party this weekend."
I was shocked and hurt. A streak of jealousy scorched through my veins. I didn't like another girl inviting my boyfriend to her party when she was clearly not inviting me, too.
"Are you going to go?" I asked nervously.
"Uh … no. I told her I had plans."
I breathed a sigh of relief.
"It's really strange. Not only has becoming a lycan changed my behavior but the behavior of the other kids, too."
"I know. But you deserve fame and fortune."
"I don't," he said. "Not really. Anyone would have done the same thing in my situation."

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