So many questions spun through Graham’s mind, the first one being, “Does it hurt, the… transformation?”
“The shift. It did the first time. I thought I was being torn apart. That's why Dom took me deep into the forest. I didn’t know what was happening. I suppose, no I know that he didn’t explain because he was certain I’d think he was crazy and run away, and then I’d have had to face it on my own. He helped me through it and then shifted too.” Quade’s eyes glowed as he remembered. “The freedom, Graham. There’s nothing like it. It took me a while to understand my new body, but when I got the hang of it we raced, we explored. Everything was new and sharp, the smells, the sounds, the power. I can’t describe it and do it justice.”
“Do you kill and eat when you’re the wolf?”
“Yes. Does that idea disgust you?”
Graham thought about that and then shook his head. “Not really I guess. It’s what wolves do. But—okay, even when you’re the wolf do you think like a human?”
Quade nodded. “It’s a combination of… feelings and words is the best way to explain it. Dom and I communicated mind to mind in our wolf forms and it was like normal speech overlaid with what we were sensing about our surroundings at the time. If we were hungry and hunting we would talk but underneath we could feel the animal we were after and the wolf part of us responded to the need to find and kill it—and that was communicated too. Does that make sense?”
“I think so.” Graham smiled weakly. “So if you could do it with me, the mind talking, I’d also know what it felt like to attack and kill a deer or whatever when you were doing it.”
“Could we mind talk?”
“That’s a good question and I don’t have the answer. As far as I’m aware, Dom never did it with a human but… Hell, I don’t know. Maybe there’d have to be a strong connection between the human and the werewolf for it to happen.’
“That makes sense. Another question, do you have to shift when there’s a full moon. I mean I gather that’s not a requirement for shifting since you did it today and it’s only quarter moon I think. But is it automatic come full moon?”
“'When the wolfbane blooms and the moon is pure and bright’?” Quade chuckled. “No, I don’t turn into a ravening beast unable to control my urges. However the desire to shift is very strong then. I want to feel the freedom, to race the wind and hunt and be the essential wolf that’s part of me now.”
Graham frowned. “You make being a werewolf sound almost like it’s a good thing.”
“Hardly a good thing but something I’ve come to accept and live with, and I suppose you could say embrace for what it is. I certainly have no choice in the matter now, so I might as well make the best of it.”
“I can see that,” Graham replied with a nod. “It’s hardly a far stretch to think the man who bit you was a werewolf, and from the way you described what happened he must have been Dom’s… pack leader?”
“The alpha of the pack that Dom belonged to once, before he decided he needed to go off on his own.”
“That didn’t sit well with the alpha.”
“Not at all. It seems you don’t just walk away, even if you’re an omega—which Dom was—and thus the scapegoat. The one the others bullied. At least you didn't in the werewolf pack he belonged to. With real wolves, an omega often strikes out on their own with no repercussions, as long as they remain on their own.”
Graham leaned his head back on the sofa, closing his eyes as he thought about all that he’d learned from Quade. Finally he opened them, saying, “That’s who your hiding from.”
Quade nodded. “However Dom managed to work it, his Alpha doesn’t know about this place. It was Dom’s safe place and now it’s mine.” He smiled tightly. “Although I didn’t know I would need it to be until just recently. I thought when Dom… died that would be the end of it. But by then, staying here and secretive was so well ingrained in me that now I do it instinctively. Other than short trips out to buy food and necessities, my only contact with the outside world is by computer.”
“That’s sad. Wait, if you leave to shop it means the Alpha could find you and follow you back. It’s not as if there were a lot of ways to drive to and from here.”
“Who says I drive,” Quade replied with a grin.
“Well I can’t quite see you toting home a weeks worth of necessities on foot.”
“There are a couple of perks to being a werewolf. One of them is that I can, for lack of a better word, teleport from place to place as long as I can picture my destination.”
“Whoa! Seriously? That would sure cut down on travel expenses. How far away can you go?”
“I haven’t really tested it other than going into one of the nearest towns to shop. Dom said there really wasn’t any limit to the distance, although since it does sap our strength it could be necessary to do it with a couple of rest stops, if I decided to visit Europe or Asia or somewhere that far away.”
“Makes sense. Are you an alpha, or do you even know?”
Quade grinned. “Oh baby, I’ve always been an alpha.”
“I’m not your ‘baby’. That ended a long time ago,” Graham said with a growl.
Quade looked at him, various emotions crossing his face in an instant’s time. “That could change again,” he said softly.
“Because you’re lonely and need a fuck buddy. I don’t think so. I’m not willing to go back to that role again. Not with you.” Graham said it, but he wasn’t totally sure he believed it, when their gazes locked and he felt the pull of emotions he’d thought were long dead.