Drake gave a sigh as he pulled the keys out of the ignition, "What the hell have you talked me into?"
Austin, excited, jumped out of the open window without bothering to use the door, "Come on, man! This will be great! I've always wanted to see a real live giant wolf!"
Rolling his eyes, Drake smirked and lead the way into the twenty story tall, silver building. Approaching the front desk, they were met with the receptionist. She was young, about a year or so older than the two of them, with nicely tanned skin and deep brown hair and eyes. She wore a form fitting navy blue suit, Italian heels, and strawberry earrings that looked like they were bought at a Family Dollar.
"Hello," she said with a dazzling smile, "can I help you gentlemen?"
"Yes," Drake pulled out his I.D., "my name is-"
"Drake Lupin," she exclaimed, smirking, "as I live and breathe."
Frowning, Drake raised a quizzical eyebrow, "Do I know you?"
"Oh come on, Wolf Boy," she giggled, "don't tell me you've forgotten me already."
A smile erupted onto his face; there was only one girl who called him Wolf Boy.
"Kelsey Davidson! You crazy bitch! How have you been?"
Austin watched in confusion as Kelsey came around her desk to give Drake a hug. He cleared his throat loudly.
"Oh," the blonde said, "Kelsey, this is my best friend Austin O' Niel. Austin, this gorgeous piece of ass is Kelsey Davidson. She went to high school with me."
"And let me tell you," she chuckled, "you won't find anyone who loves a wolf more than his ex-girlfriend than this guy."
Drake blushed, "You're not still mad about that, are you?"
"Cancelling all our dates so you could go to court to fight your dad for custody over a dog...uh, yeah."
An awkward silence fell over the group.
"I take it you're here to check up on your mutt?"
Drake frowned. Now he remembered why he broke up with Kelsey. She had always demanded way too much of his time, to the point where she kept him up all night because she wanted to talk. Not only that, but she hated dogs or anything related to them. That had included Cleopatra. She had always been more of a cat person.
"Yeah. I'm showing Austin some of my dad's work. He's not down in the lab, is he?"
Kelsey shook her head, "He got called into a conference about an hour ago. Something tells me that they'll be a while."
She lead them down the hall.
"So what's dad been up to lately?"
"Well, he's recently acquired new animals to test on," she opened a sliding, bulletproof glass door with an access card, "he's trying to find a cure for blood cancer now."
"Blood cancer," Austin finally spoke, "didn't they just discover that a month ago?"
The brunette nodded, "Dr. Lupin gave all his new animals the cure for bone and brain cancer, so that way they were genetically equal to Cleopatra."
Going through another door, the boys found themselves hit by a wall of noise. Hundreds of cages lined the wall, filled with all sorts of animals. Walking by, Drake stared at the multiple tigers, bears, hyenas, deer, horses, cats, chimpanzees, crocodiles, and many others.
"It's like Noah's Ark in here," Austin said, observing a cage with two brightly colored toucans, "Did all the animals test positive for the cures?"
Kelsey nodded, unlocking yet another door at the back of the hall, "And here is where our star pupils stay."
The room was very large and circular in shape. Separated into four sections, each had a different habitat inside. The one closest to them was safari in appearance and housed a large lion with a black mane. Thanks to the bone cancer serum, he was now three sizes larger than that of a normal male lion. He glared at Austin as he ventured near the bars. Suddenly, with a roar, he leaped forward and made a swipe with his claws. Austin cried out in surprise as Kelsey pulled him back.
"Careful," she giggled, "Grimm isn't as cuddly as he looks. He arrived here shortly after Cleopatra. His I.Q. increased dramatically after being given the serums."
Next to Grimm's cage was a snowy habitat behind glass. Drake glanced into a small cave in the corner, surprised to find not one, but two animals inside. A pair of white foxes the size of rottweilers lay curled around one another.
"That's Trixie and Joker," Kelsey said, appearing next to him, "the twins. We have to be careful when we feed them. They're fast, and they've begun to show signs of strategic intelligence; far above that of a normal snow fox. Or any animal for that matter. Trixie's the leader of the two, but she can't match her brother in speed."
The next habitat was filled with replica oak trees and dirt for the ground. Austin, tapping Drake's shoulder, pointed upwards at a large barn owl. The bird could have easily beaten a bald eagle in size, and he gazed at his visitors with a calculating glance before swooping to a lower branch. The boys watched in fascination as it brought a small notebook and a pencil from a hole in the tree. Flipping it open, the bird began to write.
"What's he doing?"
Kelsey smirked, "Cataloging. He writes down how many humans come into the Star Room, what gender, as well as the time. Solomon is our oldest animal. It seems that by combining the serums, we've doubled their lifespans."
Drake smirked, "What's with the "we", little miss "Hi, how can I help you?"? Last I checked, you're just a secretary."
She pouted, "I'm still a part of this company! A very important part, I might add."
The boys chuckled, "Oh yes. whatever would my dad do without his morning coffee!"
Throwing her bottom lip out, Kelsey crossed her arms and turned away. Still giggling, drake turned towards the last habitat; a lush forest much like Solomon's, but with pines instead of oaks. There was an elevated rock in the corner with a flat top, a hollow log, and a tire that had been torn to shreds months ago. However, there was no wolf.
Still pouting, Kelsey turned to the cage and shrugged, "Probably getting prepped for her next injections. They're performing the first of the tests tomorrow."
Before anyone could say anything else, the back of the wolf habitat opened and the giant animal loped in. She circled her cage a few times, not noticing her guests, before climbing to the top of her rock and laying down.
Then, her eyes met with Drake's. He froze, his blue eyes melting into hers. Suddenly, her tail began to wag furiously as she leaped down to the bars. Giving little barks of excitement, she eagerly licked the hands and face that reached through to her.
In the six years they had been apart, Cleopatra never forgot Drake.
"Wow," Austin cautiously crept forward, "when you said she was big, I thought you were exaggerating. But she's HUGE, dude!"
Taking notice of the new human, Cleopatra began to snarl and bark. Baring her fangs, she raised her head to its full level. Being the wolf genius that he was, Austin instantly lowered his and looked away. After a few moments, Cleopatra was satisfied and returned to Drake.
"What was that all about," Kelsey asked, "I've never seen her act like that. I mean, she raises her head all the time, but she never stops growling at her keepers."
Austin nodded, "Probably because they weren't lowering their heads. You see, by raising the head, the wolf is demonstrating dominance. By lowering and looking away, you submit and accept the fact that they are the alpha. Cleopatra did it to not only prove her dominance, but to also establish her territory."
Kelsey stared at him blankly, "Wow. And I thought Drake was the wolf nut."
The boys laughed as Cleopatra continued to nuzzle Drake's cheek, her tail fanning the air.
The sound of the door opening caught their attention, and they all turned to see a tall man with graying hair that was a little on the long side. He had on a blue dress shirt, black pants and shoes, and a lab coat.
Cleopatra began to growl deep in her throat as Drake stood up, "Hey dad."