A nightmare took hold of Valerie’s sleep, waking her up in a cold sweat that made her let out a gut wrenching scream. A dream. Had the madman been a part of that dream as well? Breath held, she turned, her breath escaping her parted lips when she found that she lay in bed alone, warmth still left behind from the spot he had been in. Her toes were warm, she remembered she had shivered and he had unconsciously held her feet against his, immediately bringing warmth to her feet and body. Valerie’s feet were always cold at night, no matter the weather yet here she was, wiggling her toes feeling warmer than ever. It couldn’t have been a dream and, as much as she hated to admit it, she had slept much more peacefully when he held her to his chest, hands rubbing her arms until she had sighed and slumped in his arms.
Now it seemed that he had left. Would he return? Was this her chance to try and get as far away from here as possible? She swung her legs off of the bed, beginning to stand but she shrieked and scrambled back onto the bed when something wet and warm touched her foot. Breathing heavily she examined the bottom of her foot, gagging against the back of her hand when she scented it. Blood. But, she wasn’t injured. Unless… “Legend?” she whispered. A soft growl responded. Crawling to the edge of the bed, she jumped off, freezing with a small cry when she noticed the large animal sleeping inches from where she had been about to step on. A black cat lay beside it, wrapped in a pool of blood, bright red as it lay within the moonlight. Her stomach churned, she knew that cat, it belonged to a woman that lived on the third floor. Turning her head away with a grimace, she focused her attention on the leopard. It was breathing wrong, its fur a pale color while its bared fangs looked fragile. “Legend?” she breathed.
The leopard woke up with a snarl, eyes black when it leaped back into a crouched position, fur standing on end. It leaped at her, missing her by inches before it landed on the bed before jumping off and launching itself at her again. She screamed and jumped back, landing on her bottom hard. “Legend, you’re asleep!” She screamed. It lunged at her again. “Wake up!” Another lunge. It swung its claws this time, claws dragging against her cheek and drawing blood. Hand clamped over her bleeding face, she half crawled into the bathroom and kicked it shut, screaming when he clawed at the door, trying to open it but unable to much to her relief. Valerie breathed in short heavy breaths, dizzy from loss of blood, as she dragged herself into the bathtub where she curled up. She pressed her cheek against the cool side of the tub and cried.
Legend woke without a warm female in his arms. He was on the floor, teeth aching and claws bleeding with splinters stuck underneath. He was in pain, but it was fleeting compared to the panic he felt. She was…gone? How had she escaped him? He slung on his torn jeans and fisted his hands around the bed sheets. His self control was slowly slipping away, gradually fading until he could no longer contain himself. Legend tore at the sheets, hands clawing through wood, hands tearing clothes, and fangs tearing pillows until the room was layered in a thin white layer of feathers. Hands bleeding he lifted his claws, eyes widening in horror when his gaze locked on the bathroom door, claws marks were scattered over the dark red wood of the door.
He gripped the doorknob and forced it open, hearing Valerie’s shriek before several bottles collided with the side of his head. He let the bottles hit him, ignoring each one until he was able to shoot an arm out and yank her forward roughly. “What are you doing in here?” She flinched, frantically struggling against him until he shook her roughly with a growl.
“You were sleepwalking!” she cried. She was struggling too much, so he clasped her face between two large hands, stiffening when his thumb rubbed over caked blood on her cheek.
“Sleepwalking,” he breathed. She pulled her face back when his claws curled menacingly against her skin. “Did I hurt you?” he rasped. She shook her head, clamping a hand over her cheek with a blush when he glowered.
“Y-you killed a cat,” she murmured. “And then I r-ran in here,” she added. Legend clenched his jaw, he need to get back to his home, needed to get his strength back before he completely lost himself.
“Pack your things,” he commanded. She followed him into the bedroom, jaw dropping open at the disaster that was brought there.
“Where are we going?” she gasped when he began to fill her bag with undergarments. Valerie blushed, she was a very private person, yet here Legend was, filling her bag with clothing that he paused to look at in awe.
“Oregon,” he murmured. She gasped, a hand flying to her forehead. He planned to take her with him, away from her home. Away from perfect solitude.
“So what, you expect me to leave everything to fly with you to Oregon?” she asked. He frowned, looking up from her bag to cast an eyes drawn expression. She gasped. “Oh, I am not going to believe this. You’ve never been on a plane?” He grunted and shook his head before turning his attention back to her bag-why was he choosing her clothing so carefully?
“Heard of those things, don’t trust them,” he grunted. Valerie sucked in a sharp breath. He’d heard of them so did that mean he’s never been on one or even seen one for that matter?
“How old are you?” she whispered. He stiffened, nails digging into the fabric of her black lace bra.
“I am twenty six. I was held captive by my enemy clan for nine years.” Valerie worked the math, but it still didn’t add up.
“Even so, you should at least know what a plane is,” she argued.
“My kind didn’t rely on such technologies, therefore, I never learned of them as a child.” Pain from the past made him clench his jaw, telling Valerie that he was done speaking.
“We leave. Now.” He took her bag in one hand and she followed-she didn’t even point out that she had originally had three bags filled with clothing.
“W-wait,” she started. He paused, turning his attention to her. She patted her tumbleweed hair with a blush and cleared her throat. “I’m not dressed for travel,” she murmured. Legend gave her a sweeping look from head to toe making her blush and shift uncomfortably. He nodded, his eyes narrowed as he walked past her to the kitchen where her jacket still was, slung over a chair. Lifting it, he walked over to her, dropping the bag by the doorway before turning to her. He pulled the jacket on her, sticking her arms through the sleeves and purposely taking his time to pull the zipper up her torso before brushing the backs of his fingers over the tops of her creamy breasts.
“Better?” he murmured. Valerie blushed-he’d never encountered a being that blushed so much-and nodded shyly up at him.
Valerie gave her suite one last lingering look before she reluctantly followed the beast out into the hallway. Much to her surprise, he led her right into the elevator, although he tensed when the doors slid shut, she even allowed him to wrap an arm tightly around her waist until they reached the lobby where she coughed into her fist and wriggled away from him. His hands clenched and unclenched, the same went with his jaw. The residents gazed at her with raised eyebrows, the women giving her venomous glares while the men freely ogled her legs. She was clad in her shorts and dark leather jacket, her creamy thin legs bare to their eyes. Legend noticed and bared his teeth at the men, pinning Valerie to his side so that his bulking figure covered her from view. Edgar watched them from the door, his eyes shining with amusement when they reached him, Valerie blushing and Legend’s eyes flickering black.
“Never thought I’d see the day you walk down here with your bag in hand, Val,” Edgar smiled, his laugh lines appearing. “So this is it. You found it?” he asked. His gaze flickered over Legend’s face and back to hers. Valerie nodded- no, she lied, to his face.
“I found it,” she whispered. She took a shaky breath and jumped into his arms, holding her dear friend tightly as she blinked back the tears in her eyes. Edgar took Legend’s hand in a firm handshake and nodded.
“Take good care of her,” he said. Legend frowned, confused, had the two shared a secret bond he was not aware of? What did he mean by it? Grasping her hand, he grunted with a nod at Edgar and took her outside, growling when she wrenched her hand from him and sauntered over to a dark black car. He was nervous when he slid into the passenger seat, his bulking shoulders hunched forward in the enclosed space.
Valerie smirked at his discomfort and dawned on a pair of sunglasses, covering her blue eyes from view. Reaching an arm to the back she dug through her poorly packed bag until she was able to snag her black baseball cap, tucking her hair until not a strand of black curls was in view. “You hide your physical traits from other humans,” Legend noted. Valerie scowled- he was the last person she wanted to talk to about her insecurity. She ignored his remark and tightened her hands around the steering wheel, the GPS told her a drive to Oregon was well over a day and a half. Could she survive a car ride with him for that long?
Half an hour later, Valerie had to slam her foot on the brakes right before Legend kicked open the door and lunged out of the car, shifting into his leopard and clawing at the dirt on the side of the road. Valerie gaped at him, surprised that he had snapped so quickly. “This is going to be a long ride,” she muttered. Legend growled lowly at her, snapping his teeth until she tossed a dark red bag to him. He shifted before she even had to time to shield her eyes. Blushing, she buried her face with her hands, but not before she got see him. “You win the attractive game, I give you that,” she muttered to herself. No wonder he walked as if the world revolved around him, he was absolutely stunning! Aside from his gorgeous blue eyes and bright blond hair, he had a body that would have any woman swoon at. Dressed in a black shirt that stretched against his muscles and worn out jeans, Legend slid back into his seat, his jaw clenched. “Uh, are you alright?” she asked.
“You will get us to Oregon swiftly if you do not wish for my claws to be aimed at you next, human,” he bit out. She slumped back against her seat, dumbfounded. He truly believes I’m human? Perhaps she could that to her advantage. He was, after all, only keeping himself from attacking her because he believed she would die from an attack. It was partly true, but she’d rather not take any chances. Legend was growling lowly, or so, she thought it was his growling until he shifted in his seat uncomfortably. “Um, are you hungry?” she asked him shyly. She frowned, she didn’t care if he starved to death, but if hunger was what had made him attack her in sleep she wasn’t going to risk it. She slammed a foot on the accelerator, not slowing down until she parked outside of a small burger restaurant. Unbuckling herself, she opened her door and moved to step out when his hand grabbed her wrist, yanking her back inside. She yelped and yanked her hand back from him.
“Listen, if hunger makes you cranky, then I’m not going to risk another attack from you,” she hissed. He furrowed his eyebrows and gnashed his teeth. What was wrong with her? She should be cooperating not provoking him! She was delicate, afraid of pain. If he attacked…..she didn’t think she’d be able to mentally heal from it.
“If I feel that you are planning something, then-“ He trailed off with a vicious growl, yanking her to his chest when his hackles rose. He’d sensed something, had smelled danger, but it was fleeting, could have been nothing. Nonetheless he got out of the car, gently putting her back on her feet and slamming the door shut. “Go on,” he commanded. Eyes narrowed she obediently led him into the restaurant. All eyes immediately landed on Legend. The women looked at him as if he were a model, which he could pass as, while the men looked at him, muttering that he looked cool with his worn out jeans and tight shirt, she believed that Legend had just started a new trend.
“May I help you?” A pretty young woman stood behind the cashier, black hair pulled back in a messy bun that actually made her look much more attractive. Valerie still wore her cap.
“Uh, I’d like six burgers please,” she murmured. The woman nodded and scribbled her order on a small red notepad.
“Will that be all, sir?” Valerie almost stumbled backwards. Sir! She honestly believed that Valerie was a man? Her lower lip quivered. The embarrassment! She’d never felt so humiliated in her entire life. Two young girls giggled from behind her, making Valerie struggle to keep from crying.
“Yes,” she choked out. The woman left to retrieve her order, leaving Valerie to deal with the two young females behind her.
“Um, sir?” The two giggled as one spoke, her voice indicating that she clearly knew that Valerie was not a male.
“Kid, didn’t your mother teach you not to talk to strangers?” Valerie asked. Legend raised his eyebrows at her bitterness. His teeth had gnashed when the two females had giggled at her discomfort, he tensed to display his claws and give them a scare if not attack. The females sputtered, one of them knocking Valerie’s cap off of her before the two blanched at Legend’s glare and walked away.
Getting their order- the woman returning wide eyed when she saw Valerie without her cap- they left the restaurant, the two of them silent until they sat in the car, Legend ravenously eating the burgers while Valerie nibbled on her lower lip, stomach churning with discomfort. Legend paused from his love affair with his meal when she started the car, looking over her shoulder before she drove back into the road. “Why aren’t you eating?” he asked.
“Not hungry,” she murmured. When was the last time I had eaten a decent meal? Three, four days ago? She sighed and frowned ahead as she drove. Her insecurity had gotten worse lately, making it impossible for her to eat without consequences. She needed to stay weak, keep herself from hurting anyone. But she was so hungry, and the road was beginning to blur-how long could she last before she collapsed from fatigue? That woman had thought she was a man….was that why the thought of being stuck with her made this leopard angry? She fought a quivering lip, and failed miserably. Her body was feminine……she’d gotten enough looks to prove it. Her breasts were quite small though, and her facial features were plain, not a hint of makeup on it. Perhaps that is why everyone always openly stared at her? They could not tell if she was female or male? Oh, the embarrassment! How could she not have noticed before?
Valerie didn’t see she had gotten on the wrong lane until Legend swiftly turned the wheel in her hands, the car barely missing the oncoming truck. Shocked, Valerie pulled over onto the side of the road and pressed her forehead to the wheel, breaths heavy as her heart hammered in her chest-she was sure he could hear it from where he sat. “Sorry,” she breathed through clenched teeth.
“I’m fine.” Before she could protest once more, he sliced the seatbelt from her and scooped her up, trading seats with her so that she now sat in the passenger’s seat. He expertly drove as if he’d been doing it for years.
Not even close to an hour later, Valerie shot a hand to cover her mouth before gasping out, “Oh, god, pull over.” Car skidding to a stop she fumbled with the seatbelt before she stumbled out of the car, falling to her knees before she leaned forward and retched horribly. Stomach empty, she pulled her knees to her chest when she felt her stomach tighten painfully. Legend pulled her back into her seat, leaning her against her seat so that she could press her forehead to the cold glass of the window.
“When is the last time you ate?”
“Why do you care?” she said weakly. He growled and roughly grasped her chin in his hand before turning her face to his. “Four days ago,” she sighed. He stiffened, allowing her to lean forward in her seat, pressing her forehead to the dashboard. As an immortal Legend could survive without a meal for numerous amounts of days, when he had found her he had been on his thirty first day, but he’d seen and noticed that humans ate multiple times a day or else they collapsed. “I’m so sleepy,” she whispered dazedly.
“Keep those eyes open, human,” he snarled. Did he dare stop at a motel for the night? She had tended to his need after all, even if it was for her own benefit. She was going to make him wait to reach his home, torturing him more than she already was. Cursing her he scooped her up in his arms when he found a small motel, slamming down her credit card in the front desk before snatching the key and card from the dazed manager and striding outside toward the small complex that held their room. Fumbling with the keys, Legend snarled and kicked open the door ignoring the sound of wood splitting, and took her straight into the dark kitchen. Setting her on the counter a little harder than he should have, he grasped her shoulders while he sniffed the air. “What will give you energy, human?” he rasped. She weakly hopped off of the countertop, stumbling before she stood on her toes to reach the top of the fridge. When she couldn’t grab the bread that sat on top, Legend scooped her up with one arm and grabbed the bread with his other.
Legend didn’t care if the human died of fatigue, but he couldn’t let her die when she had willingly helped him. Even when Legend tore open the bag and brought a torn piece of the bread to her lips, she refused with a turn of her head. “You need to eat,” he barked. Her stomach churned painfully in response. “Eat, damn you!” he snarled. When she still refused he tossed her to her back, straddling her while his hand roughly grasped her chin in his hand. She struggled, kicking until he released her with a snarl. Have to force her to eat something. Water. If he could get her to take in enough water then that should suffice until he could make her eat. Never taking his eyes from her, he slammed open cabinets until he found a glass and filled it with water from the kitchen tap. She hadn’t moved from her position. Growling with frustration he tilted the cup into his mouth, roughly holding her chin before claiming her lips. She slammed her feet against the bed, desperately trying to scuttle back from him, but he held her still, not relaxing until she reluctantly swallowed, slumping against the bed, exhausted.
He didn’t remove his mouth from hers. Instead he gave her lower lip a small stroke of his tongue, his hands shooting to her waist as he slanted his head, forcing her to accept his rough kisses. Valerie was panting, much to her embarrassment, by the time he broke away from the kiss but only to lower his lips to her neck where he dragged his tongue. “S-stop this,” she breathed. His growl sent a shiver down her spine.
“Nothing in this world can stop me,” he rasped against skin. He was losing control, her taste maddening him until he didn’t think he could take it any longer. He needed to mark her, give her his claim. She was prepared, she wasn’t struggling, did that mean she desired him as well? As if to test his theory, he shot a hand underneath her shirt until he cupped her breast. They were small, not what he usually desired, but they fit so perfectly in his hand that he couldn’t help but groan against her before he licked at her neck. There, that was where she would carry his mark.
When his teeth buried themselves in her skin, she let out a horrible shriek and immediately began to struggle against him. He growled with disapproval and wrapped an arm around her waist, pressing her chest to his before he groaned and suckled her mark. No! Don’t change! Fight it! FIGHT IT! Valerie felt her body go numb, though she felt pleasure from the warmth he gave her. It wasn’t until he began to buck his hips did she realize she had to stop him before he hurt her. His claw was already dragging up the front of her shirt, his hands fisting around the material to part the torn halves when she pulled her knees to her chest, pressing her feet to his chest before sending him flying across the room. He tried to get to his feet and fell back against the wall, realizing she had dislocated his shoulder. Valerie had scrambled into the kitchen when he popped it back in, his teeth bared. She dared fight him? Knowing he could break her with one movement? He approached her, his claws already extended, when she yelped and slammed open a kitchen drawer, shooting up a blade and pressing it against her neck.
Legend froze, his breath leaving him. “Put the blade down!” he barked. She shook her head. The blade’s too close to her neck, if she hurts herself….
“Y-you have no idea what you’ve done,” she whispered in a shaking voice. Her hand was shaking, had he frightened her with his beastly ways? He cursed himself. He should have known she wouldn’t understand his needs or his ways.
“I know you don’t want to die,” he said. He was growing nervous, why wouldn’t she put the damn blade down?
“What do you know?” she shrieked. “I’m a shy person, private, but y-you! You’ve forced me into something that isn’t me, something I didn’t want!”
“Didn’t want?” he growled. “Were you not just moaning in my ear?” Valerie let out a gasp, then tightened her hand around the blade handle.
“More reason to want to leave your presence,” she hissed. His eyes widened. She was….serious? Was she stronger than he’d anticipated? He didn’t have time to think before blood began to trail down the side of her neck-she didn’t even flinch from the pain.
“Put the blade down,” he started, “and I won’t touch again.” Lies, all lies, but he wasn’t about to let her take what he’s been waiting for his entire life. She knew he was lying, gave him an expression his words deserved before she slammed the knife onto the counter. He moved toward her and she jumped back with a hiss, snapping her teeth at him. She gasped and covered her mouth with a hand at the same time his eyes widened in confusion. She slowly backed away from him, her eyes wide, until she reached the bathroom and rushed inside, slamming the door in his face. He could have forced open the door, but for some reason he didn’t. She knew it wasn’t for any consideration towards her and that only made her feel all the more bitter towards him. He’d stopped her as if he actually cared, the bastard. Valerie stumbled toward the sink and looked into the mirror. The bastard had done it. He’d changed her. Thirteen years of fighting it and he had unleashed all that she feared with one bite. She raised her forearm to her face and sniffed it. Her scent was the same, but would he notice the sudden changes to her physical appearance?
Hurriedly stepping into the hot cascade of water, she quickly washed away the feeling of his hands on her before stepping out, quickly drying her hair. Clad in a towel, she stepped out, gasping when she almost crashed into him. How long had he been standing there? His jaw was clenched, eyes black and focused on her. It wasn’t until he turned his back to her and walked to the king sized bed that she noticed the bathroom’s door handle was broken. The bastard had peeked at her! Infuriated and embarrassed, she slackened her jaw when he blocked her path to her bag, raising his hand to show he had already chosen her sleepwear. “Put this on,” he rasped. She took it from him, blushing that he had chosen a black thong and a baby blue transparent night gown. He gave her nothing to cover her breasts.
“Turn around,” she commanded. She blinked, had her voice always sounded so….husky? He complied, turning, but when she let the towel drop to her feet, he didn’t stop turning until he was back to facing her. She glowered quickly wriggling into her sleepwear, while he watched, his eyes making every movement seem sensual.
“Silk,” he rasped and tugged on the strap that lay on her shoulder.
When Valerie woke, Legend shook beside her, his body drenched in sweat as he writhed as if in great pain. “Legend?” She pressed a hand to his chest. Big mistake. His claws shot up, aimed at her neck but she hissed and clamped her teeth onto his hand. He woke with a howl and seized her neck with one hand, pulling her forward so that she was looking into black mirrored eyes. “Legend….wake up!” she gasped, struggling to break his grip. When the darkness in his eyes faded, he let go of her with a bellow. She coughed, holding her bruised throat in her hands.
“Foolish human!” he bellowed pulling her to his chest before adding lower, “Never wake one as I in the middle of unconsciousness.” She shook, shaken from his reflex. “Foolish human,” he repeated with a sigh. “Rest.” He eased her back into the bed and pulled the sheet to her neck. “I will not sleep near you.” Confused she watched him walk into the bathroom and pressed her face into her pillow when he closed the door. He stayed there door the rest of the night, his leopard clawing at the door at one point.
Legend’s howls continued for hours, making it impossible for her to sleep as she listened, flinching when the sound of his claws scratching wood sounded. His howls returned, so loud she didn’t hear the figure that approached her until a hand was clamped over her mouth. Pressing his nose to her neck, the intruder trailed a claw up her arm, delicately lifting the strap of her nightgown. She didn’t dare move, not even when his claw sliced the strap, the side of the nightgown exposing her breast. “Legend has been busy,” he growled. He pawed at her breast, loosening his hand and giving her the chance to bite down on it. Howling, he wrapped a hand around her neck. She only had time to scream once before he slammed her down on the bed, straddling her.