If I've posted this one before, forgive me. Perhaps those who did not see it before (if I did post it before), will find it amusing, and if not somewhat intriguing.
Absently, I threw some fluffy white kernels on the floor for Dante, who snapped them up with his tongue as though he were starving to death, and then looked expectantly up at me for more. He had wolfed down his share of spaghetti earlier, and didn't complain that the sauce had come out of a jar — something he would never have served were he human, as he's part Italian. I was convinced that he'd had plenty to eat — for a dog. I quickly reminded myself he'd gone through a lot in the past forty-eight hours, and I didn't blame him for being overly hungry.
Earlier, when I'd arrived, Jena and Tera both had thrown their arms around Dante as soon as they saw him. From all the excitement generated by “the dog,” I was certain that it would be difficult to get them to bed. But they had gone obediently up to bed about an hour after dinner, and I'd read from one of their story books while Dante lay on the floor beside us with his head between his paws. It wasn't long before the girls had dozed off.
Dante made one of his soft “woof” sounds, startling me, when I quit throwing him popcorn.
“It's gone,” I said. “See? You ate more than me.” I tipped the empty bowl toward him, and he stuck his head into it, and licked it. I yanked it away from him and set it on the table. He stuck his head in and licked the bowl again.
“No!” I jumped up and grabbed the bowl before he knocked it off the table, and took it into the kitchen, placing it in the sink. Dante followed me the whole way, tail wagging, then followed me back out. He jumped up on the couch with me and knocked me back. I half-giggled and half-grumbled at him for it. He was in a playful mood, and I had to tussle with him some before he settled down. He was a heavy dog, probably a sturdy, solid eighty pounds of muscle. I tried to push him off, but he would have none of it, so I lay there with a large, black dog sprawled half-way on top of me, wondering how this would look if Randy and Constance came through the door just then. At least he hadn't tried to hump me. He was still a gentleman, even in dog-form.
Then he became uncharacteristically still. I studied him. He looked as if he were going to be sick.
“Oh, God. Don't be sick all over me,” I said, desperately trying to push him off.
With a loud whimper, his body made a sudden jerk.
“Dante, what's wrong?” I tried to keep my voice down. The open oak stairs weren't far from where I sat, and the girls might hear us. I didn't want them to come down wondering what was happening, and then see something they shouldn't.
Dante made another heart-wrenching sound, and then something happened. Right in front of me—and on top of me—he shifted. The bones in his body moved with an awful bone crunching sound that made me grit my teeth. I felt his body elongate, then his head reshaped itself, and I actually saw his dog form change, the entire molecular restructuring happening right before my eyes. The next thing I knew I was drenched in something warm and liquid-y. I didn't understand it. My brain thought blood, but I looked and saw that it was clear, warm, gelatinous liquid. Ewww, yuck!
The jaguar's eyes glinted, they were a beautiful green with dilated pupils. With his large paws on my chest — much larger than the dog's — he stared down at me and made a loud purring. I saw his long tail whip around behind him. A moment later, he made another more vicious sound, and I saw a flash of huge, dagger-like teeth. Oh, crap. I hoped he wasn't hungry. My heart thudded inside my chest. I held my breath as he dipped his head toward me.
Stiffening, I snapped my eyes closed and felt a big, raspy tongue lick up my neck and over my face, again and again. Then, he licked lower, to my chest and arms. I looked to find that he was actually cleaning the viscous liquid off me. Relief flooded me.
“Good kitty,” I said, my voice shaking. I hoped he didn't sense that he'd scared the pee out of me. They say animals know when you're frightened of them. I didn't want the jaguar to become too interested in me.
Very, very slowly, I brought my hand up to his head. He didn't seem to mind that I touched him as I smoothed my hand over his beautiful, soft fur. This was the first time I'd ever seen him up close and personal as his chosen animal. His coat wasn't totally black. I could see some iridescent purple coloring as spots, over his body. The bright green eyes contrasted like jewels against black velvet. He was a gorgeous animal. I thought that if I were a lady jaguar I'd be into him. I admonished myself for the devilish ideas that evolved from that one little innocent thought. I never knew what exactly we'd done that first night I had shifted into my Were-animal, and he'd turned into a wolf. For all I knew, we had a fantastic time, werewolf-style.
His tongue slid over my face, not as wetly as a dog's tongue, it felt like a soft version of a rasp. In fact, I thought he'd taken some skin with it from the way it had felt. Nothing like getting exfoliated by a jaguar.
“Damn it, Dante, get off me. You're heavy!” He was. I thought he must weigh in at two hundred pounds of cat easily. If he were a wild cat, he'd have chowed down on me right there in my brother's living room.
Then, something happened, and I saw the cat throw its head back and let out a loud, primal screech. Stunned, I pressed myself back, beyond imagining what more terrifying might occur at this point.
Again, I felt his body shift. The icky bone crunching, sliding sounds associated with his shifting filled my ears. Once again, the warm liquid coated me. While my feminine side was worried about cleaning up the yuck, my more logical side wondered what animal he had shifted into, and worried it would eat me because it would undoubtedly be hungry after shifting so many times in such a short time.
I heard a gasping above me, felt strands of silk touching my skin at my neck and face. I realized I had shut my eyes and now opened them to look up into Dante's face. The silk had been his beautiful long black hair, only, it was wet with the slime.
I pulled in a sharp sound of marvel. “Oh, my God! You're back!” I shrieked, grasping his face in my hands. I wanted to pull him into a fierce hug, but first things first.
I was suddenly aware that I had a naked man on top of me — his eyes tightly closed and his face pulled into a grimace as though still feeling the effects of shifting — but a naked man. No matter what, an animal on top of me would have been a whole lot easier to explain away — naked man, not so easy. I feared that one, or both girls could be spying on us right at that moment, and I strained my neck to scan the stairs. I didn't see any little pair of hands on the open railings, no little faces peering out at us. I eased out a sigh of relief — we were okay, for now.
Dante lifted himself up on elbows and knees, and looked down at himself as though checking to make sure all his equipment was intact. It was, I assure you, and he was awfully glad to be with me, and that one detail was not lost on me, believe me.
“Oh, hell,” he groaned as his body sagged back down, and his head rested on my shoulder. I was awash with the shifting goo again.