Max & Melody

I

She shut the door to the twin’s room. They had grown up so fast, literally. Two years went by and both girls appeared to be eleven years old. Full blooded were-animals growth accelerated after birth and slowed during puberty when coming into their powers.

“Are they asleep?” Melody asked

“Yeah… finally…” Max sighed

They sat down in the living room, on the black leather couch. A large dark wooden coffee table stood in the center in front of a large screen television.

“Where’s Andrew?” She asked

“On a business trip; he’ll be home tomorrow.” Max replied

“Well I’ll leave you to some peace and quiet.”

Within a blink of an eye Melody flashed out of the room. She leaned back taking a deep breath in, and then blowing it out her mouth. It was amazing; she and Melody left home in Florida and never looked back. They came to town unsure of what she’d find, she met Andrew and everything felt right.

“Good evening Max.” Ash appeared sitting beside her

“Evening Ash what can I do for you?” She asked

“How are the twins?”

“Asleep and a handful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“That’s good. I sense they’ll possess great power.”

“Is there something else on your mind Ash?”

“They’ll definitely be the first rare breed in the family.”

“Just like their mother and Aunt. And Andrew knows.”

“If you need anything…”

She nodded as he flashed out of the room. Silence joined her while memories of home suddenly came back, as if someone turned on the faucet in a sink.

****

The sun had risen into a light blue sky, not one cloud could be seen. Max was sitting on the beach watching the crystal clear water meet the shore. Melody sat down next to her, handing her sister fresh squeezed lemonade.

They sat in silence listening to the ocean.

“So what do we do now Max?” Melody asked

“I don’t know sissy.” Max sighed

Melody leaned her head against Max’s arm. The memory of the week before was still fresh. It was comforting that their neighbor called the police, but after they arrived everything moved in slow motion.

Paramedics sat the girls in the back of the ambulance. They cleaned off blood from Max’s knuckles, someone was examining Melody and there weren’t any bruises.

“They got lucky. The older one put up a fight, protecting her little sister.” One paramedic commented to a police officer

“The father had a temper accelerated by alcohol. He took it out on his wife, this time he went too far.” The officer added

“Have they been cleared yet Officer Paxton?” A woman asked

She stood 5”6; dark brown hair fell over her shoulders. She wore a light blue blouse with black pencil skirt and matching heels. Her brown eyes sat behind a pair of black rimmed glasses.

“Misty it’s been a long time. What brings you here?” Officer Paxton asked

Officer Paxton was in his early thirties, 6’0, short sandy colored hair and blue eyes. He was the lead officer on the case and was making sure everything ran smoothly.

“A special case Walt; a friend of mine called in a favor.” She replied; “And from what I was told, those girls need my help.”

“Well they’re cleared, go on and introduce yourself.” Walt continued

She smiled and walked up to the girls who were sitting on the curb. Their eyes met as Misty bent down on one knee.

“Hey Max, Melody, my name is Misty. I’m from social services. I heard about what happened tonight and it must have been so scary. What you did Max was brave and shows you’re full of courage. Anyway let’s get you back to my safe house, there you can have something to eat and get your own room.”

“Let’s go...” Max whispered

Misty led them to her white Subaru Forester. They climbed in sliding across the black leather seats. Melody fell asleep on Max’s lap, as she stared out the window.

“Have you come into your powers?” Misty asked

Max gasped, but then sensed Misty was a tiger. She nodded, “I killed him. I transformed and cut his throat.”

“What about your sister?”

“Not yet, but our Mother did teach us about our kind and world.”

“That’s good. I’m taking you to a safe house that I run with my son Alex. Right now we have wolves, leopards, and bears staying with us. Everyone gets along; just treat them as you’d like to be treated. “

They pulled up to a large white house with black shutters. A white porch wrapped around with a bench in front a back. As they walked inside Misty led them up a light wooden staircase, the white hallways glowed from the small silver chandelier handing above. The walked to the end of the corridor and Misty opened the door to a large bedroom.

Two queen size beds covered with light blue sheets and white comforters stood on both sides of the room. There were two light wooden desks, bookshelves, and night tables.

“The bathroom is halfway down the hall. Lights are out by midnight. Feel free to get cleaned up and changed. Would you like anything to eat?” Misty began

“Yeah, but I’ll let Melody sleep.” Max replied

“Alright come down when you’re ready.”

She shut the door behind her as Max changed Melody into a night shirt. She tucked her into bed and went to the bathroom. The hot water made her gasp; she closed her eyes and stood beneath the silver shower head. A few minutes later she came out dressed in a blue t-shirt and gray plaid boxer shorts.

As she came downstairs, she walked into the kitchen, the white tiles felt cool under her feet. Misty was standing at the gun metal stove.

She sat down at the light gray marble island. Misty gave her a bowl of penne a la vodka.

“This is delicious.” Max grinned

“Thanks; I know it’s your favorite.” Misty replied

Both looked over to see the patio door open, Max tensed as two girls (leopards) walked in. They stood 5’7, athletic build, tan, one was blond, and the other had dark red hair. The blond wore a silver halter top, black mini skirt, and heels. The other wore a blue tube top dress and wedged sandals.

“Perfect timing… ladies we have a new boarder tonight. Max these are Dana and Erica. Ladies this is Max, her sister Melody is asleep; you’ll meet her tomorrow.” Misty began

“It’s nice to meet you.” Erica smiled her green eyes sparkled

“Welcome to Safe Haven.” Dana added

“Thanks; it’s nice to meet you too.” Max replied

“Good night.” They said together

And the two girls walked out and upstairs. Max cleaned up her dishes, while Misty locked all the doors.

“I’m going to turn in too. Good night Max.”

“Good night Misty.”

She wondered down the hall into the living room. Artwork was spread out on the white walls. A light brown leather couch was in the center of the room. It sat in front of a big screen television that was on a black shelving unit. All the shelves were filled with video games, Nintendo WII and Xbox, and books. She picked up ‘Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul’ and put it back. The front door opened, she tensed up remembering what it always meant for years.

“Hey… didn’t think anyone was awake.” A male voice whispered

“Yeah my sister and I arrived tonight.” She replied

Her eyes widened as she met a pair of dark green ones.

He wore a white t-shirt with a cross and lined pattern on the back. His blue jeans were ripped at the knees as he slipped off his sneakers. His brown hair was tied into a small ponytail.

“I’m…” He paused

“Alex…” She whispered

“Yeah I guess my Mom mentioned me on the drive over.”

“She did; I’m Max.”

“Nice to meet you; I’m heading to bed, early day tomorrow.”

“Night…”

“Night…”

She heard him go upstairs, but then flashed into her room.

“We’re not going home are we?” Melody whispered

“No baby, we’re never going back there.” Max replied

“Good…”

Max smiled as Melody curled up beneath the covers.

II

“Sierra, Sam, breakfast is ready.” Max called

The two girls walked into the kitchen. Their bare feet slapped against the wood floor. They wore long white t-shirts that fell past their knees.

“Good morning.” They said together

“Good morning; have a seat.” Max smiled

They pulled out two bar stool chairs, climbed up, sitting at the light wooden island. Max brought over two bowls of ‘Fruit Loops’ with sliced banana on top.

“What are we doing today?” Sierra asked

Sierra had brown eyes, like her mother, and light brown hair. Samantha on the other hand, had green eyes and short black hair. They reminded Max, of her and Melody, having a strong bond since birth.

“I’m taking you to meet Ms. Myra. She’s the elder of our pride. She’s known dad, Aunt Alyssa and Dannie since they were little. She’s going to teach you all about our kind.” Max replied

“Our kind?” Samantha asked

“Yes. We’re special because we’re not like most people. I promise Ms. Myra will tell you all about us. Now let’s finish eating and we’ll get ready to leave.”

They nodded and continued to eat. An hour later, Max locked the front door and unlocked the doors to her black Avalon. The girls buckled their seatbelts as Max checked the mailbox. As she flipped through numerous bills, she saw a black envelope addressed to her, but no return address.

Weird… Alex’s scent is all over this.” She thought to herself

She shook it off and got into the car. Twenty minutes later they pulled up to the gated community of her new pride. She rolled down the window and pushed the button on the callbox.

“Identify yourself…” a male voice commanded

“Max Cortez; I’m here with my daughters to see Myra.” Max replied

The gates slowly opened and she drove to the end of the block. Myra was trimming her rose bushes which were on the side of her house. She walked over to Max and the girls as they got out of the car.

“Hello Max; you’re right on time.” Myra began

She wore a white V-neck t-shirt, jeans, with brown sandals.

“Sierra, Samantha this is Ms. Myra. She’s going to teach you all about our kind. Plus you’ll meet other kids who live here.” Max began

“It’s nice to meet you Ms. Myra.” The girls said together

“It’s nice to meet you too. Go on into the backyard through the gate; the other children are playing.” Myra suggested

Both girls hugged Max tightly and walked around towards the white picketed gate. Max waved and then sighed while reaching for her car keys.

“Is there something wrong dear?” Myra asked

“Someone from my past has come back to me. I don’t know what to do.” Max replied

“I know Andrew knows about what you and Melody went through. And I know it’s been difficult when he’s away, someone else has caught your eye?”

Max felt teats swelling in her eyes. She opened the car door and sat at the driver’s seat.

“When did it disappear?” Myra asked

“A month ago; it slowly faded away. I feel so alone, he’s become so distant. The girls sense something is wrong like I do. I just didn’t want to hurt the pride or my family.” Max sobbed

“You’ll be alright dear. Go home and clear your head, I’ll send the girls to Selena after class.”

“Thanks Myra.”

She started the car and left for home. As she walked in, she went into the backyard. The light maple patio overlooked the forest. She sat down on a black cushioned chair, holding the black envelope tightly. She held her breath as she ripped open the envelope.

My Lady Tiger; I know it’s been a long time since we parted ways. And I hope all is well with you. I arrived in town last week and was hoping to see you. Below is the address of the hotel I’m staying at, hope to see you soon.

-Alex

She stuffed the letter back into the envelope. The memories gradually came back of her and the tiger.

****

Six months passed and ‘Safe Haven’ had become home. Misty had enrolled Melody at a local high school and Max at a community college. Some of the boarders had left, new ones had moved in.

One night she was sitting at her desk reading when Erica knocked on her door.

“Hey you busy tonight?” She asked

“No; what’s up?” Max replied putting a bookmark into her book

“Dana and I are going out tonight. You want to join us?”

“Sure.”

She got up and followed Erica to hers and Dana’s room. Dana was standing before her mirror that hung between their beds. She wore a light blue tube top dress with silver heels.

“Where are we going?” Max asked

“Cloud nine; it’s one of our favorite spots. And tonight Alex’s band is performing.” Erica replied as she opened her closet.

“We figured you’d want to come along to support.” Dana added

“Alright; but I don’t have anything to wear.” Max sighed

“No problem.” Dana snapped her fingers

“What do you think?” Erica asked turning her around towards the mirror

Max gasped; She wore a black sequined vest, over a black tube top, silver shorts and black sandals.

“Wow, can I keep this?” Max asked

“Yeah; it’s too small on me.” Dana nodded

“Ready? Join hands.” Erica asked

Within a blink of an eye they flashed, appearing across the street from ‘Cloud nine’. Its blue and white letters looked inviting. People stood on line behind the white velvet rope. Dana, Erica, and Max crossed the street to the front of the line. A security guard, dressed in all black came out observing the crowd. He stood 6”0 muscular shaved head and had dark blue eyes. Max sensed he was a were-bear.

“Peter!” Dana shouted

“Evening ladies, who is your friend?” Peter asked turning to see the girls walking up to him

“Pete this is Max.” Erica replied

“Nice to meet you Max; go on inside, I know Alex will be surprised.”

“Thanks Pete.” Dana grinned

They walked inside and Max was stunned. Projectors hung in the four corners of the room, clouds appeared all over the walls. Fog machines blew out the mixture over the clear acrylic floor. The D.J station stood in the left corner next to an empty stage. People crowded the dance floor as the bass pulsed through the floor.

“Is this a were-animal bar?” Max asked

“Pete’s family owns this place. Most mortals don’t know and the family would like to keep it that way.” Dana whispered in Max’s ear

“Let’s dance.” Erica smiled

Dana and Erica walked onto the dance floor, Max stared at them. They moved as if they were one person. The crowd began to notice and watched, as Dana put out her hand. Max took it and joined them.

Just follow me; don’t be afraid Max… let go.” Dana whispered through her thoughts

Max nodded and let the music fill her body. By the end of the song everyone applauded, the girls bowed.

“You’re a natural girl.” Erica commented

“Thanks…” Max blushed

“It looks like the band is setting up.” Dana interrupted

They watched as the stage crew began preparing the stage, putting the drums together and plugging in the amplifiers. By ten the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered. The first chord vibrated through her, all the lights came up she watched as Alex walked up the microphone. His voice sounded so full of passion and happiness, as if he fed off the crowd’s energy.

Their eyes met, she felt her cheeks turn red. He held out his hand, she reached for his, and got pulled up on stage. The crowd cheered as Max began dancing next to him. At the end of the show, she was dancing with Erica, when a pair of hands grabbed her waist. Her eyes lit up, she recognized his scent. She leaned against him; her hands went right over his as they grinded against each other. He spun her around and she looked up into his eyes.

“Hi…” He said

“Hey you guys were amazing tonight.” She replied

“Thanks, we come here the first Saturday of each month.”

“Cool…”

A slow song came on; he pulled her closer to him, her arms wrapped around his neck.

III

We’ll leave you two alone…” Dana whispered into Max’s head

She watched Dana and Erica dancing with two mortals, who were stunned two ‘Smoking’ hot babes’ were dancing with them.

“I’m not sure if I should say this.” Alex commented

“Remember once you say it… it becomes real.” Max replied

“I know; like the saying goes… actions speak louder than words.”

He leaned his head down, she met him half way. Their lips touched, she pulled him closer to her. His tongue parted her lips and began dancing with hers. Time slowed down again as they stood in the middle of the dance floor.

Slowly he pulled back and she frowned. “We’d better get back, it’s almost midnight.” He whispered. She nodded as they walked out of ‘Cloud Nine’. They flashed into the backyard, as Dana and Erica locked the patio door behind them. He led her to the right side of the house.

“Where are we going?” Max asked

“My room…” He replied

He unlocked a side door leading her into a finished basement. ‘Scarface’, ‘Pulp Fiction’, and ‘Underworld’ posters hung on the white walls. Light oak desk stood against the north wall with a laptop and printer. Next to it was a queen size bed, covered with black sheets and dark gray comforter. A large plasma screen hung on the wall across from the bed, over a large entertainment center.

She watched as he turned on the lights, he took her by the hand and sat her down on his bed.

“So where were we?” He asked

His hands slowly pulled off her vest and tube top; she lay back as he pulled off her shorts. She smirked as she snapped her fingers and he was completely naked. They laughed as he took off her bra and panties.

“I think right here.” She replied

He picked her up, her legs wrapping around his waist. He entered her slowly; she placed kisses on neck and shoulders. As his speed increased, she dug her nails into his back. He roared a low roar, as she titled her head back, feeling her fangs extend.

They fell onto his bed; she conjured one of his many ‘Fender’ t-shirts. She nuzzled her head against his bare chest, as their eyes met.

“What’s Misty going to say about us?” She asked

“She’ll be alright with it. My ex-girlfriend was a mortal. Let’s just say she wasn’t too pleased with me, especially when I brought her here.” Alex replied

“Oh, she prefers to keep it within the were-community. Reminds me of my father, no mortal was ever good enough for his little girl. He literally would beat it into me and Melody.”

“Don’t worry my lady tiger. No one will ever lay a hand on you.”

She hugged him tightly until she heard crying, “Max…” Melody’s voice echoed in her head. Immediately she jumped up, conjuring a pair of shorts and t-shirt and flashed into their room. Melody was lying on the floor, her purple t-shirt was soaked with sweat, Max knelt beside her sister watching her hands turn into paws.

Misty appeared in the doorway, just as Melody transformed into a white tiger. She roared, but then sat down as Misty stood stunned.

“I thought your breed didn’t exist…” She whispered

“We do. Mel, I need you to calm down. Focus on an image of yourself, dressed in your nightshirt.” Max replied turning back to her sister

Gradually Melody shifted back, standing wearing her black ‘Love’ t-shirt. She hugged Max tightly and then ran into Misty’s arms.

“Congratulations. You did great.” Max commented

“Thanks. “

“Remember just a snap of your fingers can get you dressed. Trust me I’ve had a few incidents when I was your age.” Misty commented

“So how old are you?” Max asked

“Older than you think…”

Max and Melody laughed.

“I’m going to bed.” Melody yawned and crawled under the covers.

“Good night…” Max and Misty said together

After Max shut their bedroom door behind her, Misty smiled.

“Don’t worry I’m not mad about you and Alex. You two make a cute couple, just be careful… I’m very protective of my son.” She commented and walked down the other end to her bedroom. Max flashed back to Alex, who slipped on a pair of blue plaid pajama bottoms.

“Everything ok?” He asked

“Yeah; my sister came into her powers. And your mom knows about us.” She

He lay down next to her, and took her into his arms squeezing tightly.

“She told you to be careful…” He whispered

“Yeah, she’s very protective of you.” Max laughed

*****

“Hello… anyone home?” Andrew called walking into the living room

He walked up to the patio door, seeing Max leaning against the railing. She was staring at the sun slowly setting beneath the horizon, the sky filled with colors of blue, purple and orange.

“Hey…” He began stepping out on the patio

“Hi…welcome home. The girls are staying with your mother for the night.” She replied

He wore a pair of black shoes, blue jeans, and blue buttoned shirt.

“I guess we should talk.” He commented

“Alright…” She replied

They sat down in the living room across from each other. There was a long silence before Max stared into his eyes.

“What happened to us?” She asked

“I don’t know…” He replied; “We met, dated, got married, and had two beautiful girls. And somewhere in between all that, the love died.”

“Maybe we rushed into this too fast. I don’t regret having Sierra and Samantha, I think they were the best thing that happened to us. You’re right the love died.”

“I’ll be at my parents. And I’ll come back for my things tomorrow.”

“Alright… Andrew…”

“Don’t… its better this way.”

He left as she sat down on the couch. Elsewhere Melody had left a vintage clothes shop when she picked up a familiar scent.

“Hey kiddo long time no see…” A deep voice began

“Alex!” She screamed

She turned to see him, dressed in a pair of blue jeans, light brown biker boots, and black t-shirt. She leaped into arms squeezing tightly.

“It’s been too long. What are you doing here?” She asked

“I came to see Max.” He replied

“Does she know you’re here?”

“She does, but I’m not sure if she wants to see me.”

“You broke her heart that night. It wasn’t until she met Andrew that she opened up again. Wait… you want her back…”

He didn’t reply, but she gasped hearing her cell phone ring. “Don’t move mister.” She growled. He nodded as she answered the call.

“Hey Dannie…slow down. I will meet up with you, the Jades, and Vicky later. Speaking of my sister I’d better go, I suggest you stay for a while; I have a feeling she’ll come around again. “

“Thanks Mel.”

That night ‘The Jades’, Vicky, Dannie, and Melody met at Max’s house. As they walked inside, there was a large pile of boxes stacked up labeled from ‘bedroom’ to ‘office’.

“Max where are you?” Melody called

“Right here…” Max replied

She came out of her bedroom, dressed in pair of blue jeans ripped at the knees and purple t-shirt. The girls gasped to see she died her hair a deep red.

“We thought you might like some company.” Jade H commented

“Or help trashing his things and the name of a divorce lawyer from Ryan’s firm.” Jade S added

“Thanks girls. Ash stopped by with a moving company and packed up all his things.” Max replied

“I like the new look.” Melody continued

“So what are we doing tonight?” Max asked

“We brought some food from the lounge along with….” Jade S paused

“Bottles of our finest wine...” Jade H finished her sister’s sentence

“I brought some homemade lotions, perfumes, and crystals to keep out negative energy.” Vicky added

“Dannie and I brought some of your favorite movies. Just know we’re all here for you if you need anything.” Melody smiled

IV

The next morning Melody and Max drove to Myra’s house. As they walked into the backyard, a large black glass top table with matching chairs stood in the middle of the yard.

Myra appeared sitting at the head of the table. Andrew appeared on Myra’s left, along with Selena, Raul, Dannie, and Alyssa. Max and Melody sat across from them, as Myra flashed a pitcher of lemonade and glasses.

“Thank you all for coming. We’re here to discuss the divorce of Andrew and Max Cortez. As head of the pride it saddens me to do this, but sometimes love fades. Both Andrew and Max have chosen to go their separate ways, may you find happiness in your future. Max do you have anything to say?” Myra began

She nodded taking off her sunglasses and putting them on top of her head. Her hands shook as she straightened her black sundress.

“To start I am deeply sorry that it’s ending this way. After Melody and I left a broken home and lived in a safe house it wasn’t an easy transition. When we left the safe house and came here, Andrew opened my heart to love. Over time the love faded, even after the girls were born the spark was gone.

I would like to have you all involved in their lives. I also understand that I’m no longer apart of this pride.”

“You’ll always be welcomed into our home Max.” Selena commented

“Thank you.” Max and Melody said together

“Andrew do you have anything to say?” Myra asked

“I’m also sorry our marriage fell apart. I feel we rushed into this and I’d like to support our girls until their eighteenth birthday.” He paused “I’ll be moving to Manhattan; I received a promotion at work. I’ll make sure my apartment is livable with Myra’s approval.” Andrew continued

“Then you’ll alternate weekends and take care of the girls. This meeting is adjourned.” Myra nodded

Max and Melody got up and walked out to Melody’s car.

“Are you okay?” Melody asked

“Yeah; I need to get home, the girls should be home from their friend Roxy’s house.”

She hugged Melody tightly and flashed sitting on the steps of the house. A white Honda S.U.V pulled up the driveway and stopped. Sierra and Samantha got out waving to their friend. They both wore black sneakers, jean shorts, and blue tank tops.

“Hey girls did you have fun?” Max asked

“Yeah, we went fishing and swimming.” Samantha replied

“Sounds like fun. Did you have lunch?”

“Yeah; Mrs. Harris made sandwiches with chips and drinks.” Sierra continued

“Good; let’s head inside, go get cleaned up and I’m going to make myself lunch.”

That night she had gotten invited to ‘The Circle Lounge: Luau Party’. Alyssa agreed to watch the girls. She stood before her full length mirror turning back and forth. She wore a white tube top dress with a black floral pattern going down the skirt that went down to her feet. Her hair was loose and wavy from letting it air dry.

“Wow…sexy mama…” Alyssa commented

“Thank you… it feels good to get out.” Max smiled

She sat down at her mahogany vanity, applying light make-up and black eye liner.

“I know the feeling. Max… I…”

“I’m sorry too. It’s better this way.”

“I understand. Are you going to be out late?”

“Yeah; you’re more than welcome to crash here. The guest room is made up.”

“Thanks… now go have fun.”

She slipped on her silver slave sandals and flashed to the lounge. As she walked inside, a hibiscus flower border lined the entire bar area. There were small candles on each table; she looked up to see Jade H, Dannie and Vicky behind the bar.

“Hey Max… welcome… take a stool.” Jade H began

Jade wore a black halter sundress and matching slave sandals. Vicky and Dannie both wore matching white t-shirts with blue hibiscus flowers on the front and shorts.

“Hey Jade thanks for the invite.” Max replied

“Welcome to the summer luau party…” Vicky continued sliding a menu to Max

“Our drink specials include Mai Tai, Bahamas Mama, Lynchburg Lemonades, and our entire beer list as well; Plus half priced appetizers and entrees.” Dannie added

“Have fun and we’ll all sit at that first couch a little later.” Jade smiled

Vicky had begun setting up her D.J station as Max came up next to her sipping on a Mai Tai.

“It must be hard having two jobs.” Max commented

“I dabble and everyone seems to like it.” Vicky replied

She had plugged in her laptop and turned it on. Max observed and then sat down at the bar, she felt someone was watching her. Suddenly a familiar scent entered her nose and she gasped.

“Good evening Lady Tiger…” He began

A chill ran up her spine as she slowly turned in her seat to see Alex. He wore a pair of black flip flops, blue jeans, and black t-shirt.

“Alex…” She whispered

“It’s been a long time.” He continued

“Two years, no phone call, e-mail, or text message…”

“I’m so sorry about that.”

“Sure you are…. Just like when you broke my heart… left me and Melody to travel alone.”

“Max… I…”

She got to her feet and began walking toward the door, when he grabbed her by the arm. Gradually she turned and roared exposing her fangs.

“Leave me alone…”

Within a blink of an eye she flashed back to her house. Alyssa was sitting on the couch as Max walked into her bedroom.

“You’re home early, what’s wrong?” Alyssa asked

Max came out of the bathroom, wearing a gray t-shirt. She crawled into bed, turning off the lights.

“Max…” Alyssa called

“Go away…” Max growled

Tears fell onto her blue sheets as she remembered. They had been together for a year and she convinced him to leave with her and Melody.

****

They loaded up Alex’s black Honda Element with their luggage, blankets, and pillows. He shut the trunk and turned to see Melody and Max coming out of the house.

“Are you sure you want to come with us?” Melody asked

“Yeah; I’ve spent the last twenty-six years here. I want to see what’s outside of Orlando.” Alex replied “That and I’ll go wherever you go my lady tiger.” He smiled at Max.

Max blushed and hugged him tightly before they got into his car. Misty appeared standing on the porch. She tied her blue robe closed as tears rolled down her face.

When Max and Alex told her they wanted to leave, she didn’t speak to anyone for days. “Please be careful…” she whispered through her thoughts. The car engine purred as they pulled away from ‘Safe Haven’.

Three days later they arrived in Myrtle Beach. Max was sitting on the beach watching Melody chat with some mortal boys. Alex appeared beside her, handing her a sandwich and soda.

“Did you find a place to stay tonight?” She asked

“I did; there is a bungalow colony at the end of the boardwalk. We got the last two bedroom one they had.”

“When is check-in?”

“Eight…”

She smiled as she laid her head on his lap. He began running his fingers through her hair. She sighed as she curled up next to him.

“My lady tiger, where are we going?”

“Here… these two sisters opened a bar serving both the human and mortal communities. At least there we wouldn’t have to hide.”

“It sounds too good to be true.”

“Please… I have a feeling it’ll be great.”

“Alright…”

She sat up and kissed his lips gently. He pulled her on top of him.

“Get a room…” Melody groaned

They laughed as Melody rejoined her friends.

“Heads up!” Someone shouted

Melody turned to catch a football. A boy ran up to her, wearing a black t-shirt and red swim trunks. He was her height (5”6), spiked brown hair, green eyes and tan complexion.

“Sweet catch…” He commented

“Thanks.” She blushed

She handed him the football and smiled.

“You play?” He asked

“No, but I have quick reflexes.” She replied

“I’m Hunter.”

“Melody…”

They shook hands and started walking up the beach.

“You’re new in town?”

“No, just passing through with my sister and boyfriend. What about you?”

“I’m just visiting with family; I’m leaving tomorrow for home.”

“Where’s home?”

“New York…”

“Cool…”

They sat down by some rocks as waves slowly came onto the shore. She gasped realizing he was a shifter, and suddenly tensed. It brought back memories of her father “enforcing” his rules to never date an outside to their kind. But then she realized she was free from him and could date whoever she wanted. A huge smile spread across her face, Hunter looked over at her looking concerned.

“Melody… are you okay?” He asked

“Yeah… I’m fine. I'm just getting used to living by my own rules.”

VI

“Mom… you awake?” Sierra knocked on her mother’s bedroom door

“Let her sleep… tigress.” Melody whispered

Sierra turned to see her Aunt wearing a purple sundress and black flip flops. Her blue hair was tied back with a clip.

“What’s wrong with her?” Sierra asked

“She ran into an ex-boyfriend. He broke her heart and she shut down not trusting anyone but me. It wasn’t until she met your father that she opened her heart to another.” Melody replied

“Poor Mom…”Samantha appeared beside her sister

“She just needs some time. Why don’t we go hit up the beach?” Melody continued

“Sure.” They said together

“Go pack a bag and we’ll stop at the store for sandwiches and snacks.”

Melody went into Max’s bedroom. Max was curled up beneath the sheets crying. Melody sat at the foot of the bed.

“I’m taking the girls to the beach. We’re only a call away.” She whispered

“Alright… have fun.” Max replied

An hour later she got out of bed and showered. She put on a black tank top, shorts, and black flip flops. She went out onto the patio to see Ash sitting on the railing along with a young girl about the twin’s age. The girl had pale skin and wore a black short sleeve dress with matching sandals. Her crystal eyes glowed in the sunlight, while her blond hair was tied into pigtails.

“Ash…” She began

“I just came to see how you were holding up. Myra told me she performed the divorce.” He replied

“It hurts, but we agreed that both of us rushed into this. We don’t love each other anymore. Who is your friend?”

“This is Amber. Amber this is my friend Max.”

Max held out her hand, Amber clung close to Ash for protection.

“It’s ok, I won’t hurt you.” Max whispered

“Tiger lady is very strong…” Amber commented

“She is; her daughters and sister are a rare were-breed.” Ash continued

“She’s a demon?” Max asked

“Pure demon… not bad… Ash is teaching me to behave.” Amber nodded

“It’s a long story…” Ash sighed

Max nodded and smiled at Amber.

“Anyway we’d better get going. I just wanted to make sure you’re alright.” Ash smiled

“I’m holding up ok. I just need some time.” Max replied

“You’ll be ok…” Amber chimed in

Within a blink of an eye they disappeared, leaving Max alone. She sat down on one of the patio chairs and thought back to the night Alex broke her heart.

****

They had stopped at a rest stop at a rest stop in Delaware. Melody went to the bathroom, while Alex and Max sat in the car in silence. They had gotten into an argument and stopped speaking for a good three hours.

“Why did you agree to come with us? I knew you were against going up to that lounge after leaving Myrtle Beach.” Max asked

“I wanted to be with you wherever you went.” He replied

“And now?”

“Now we’re just arguing. I’ll take you to the lounge, but afterwards I feel we should go our separate ways.”

“You don’t have to bother driving us.”

Max got out of the car and walked around to the back. Melody ran up to her, “What’s going on?” she asked.

“We’re going to the lounge alone. Alex isn’t coming with us. Just take what you can carry in your backpack.” Max replied

“Max calm down and get back in the car.” Alex suggested

“No…Melody let’s go.”

Max transformed into her tiger form, with the backpack strapped to her back. Melody followed and suddenly they ran off into the woods. Tears fell from her eyes while they ran; Alex stood by his car stunned and sank to the ground.

It was that night she swore she wouldn’t any boy enter her heart again.

So what’s the plan sissy?” Melody asked through her thoughts

Find a bus station, clean up, and take a bus to that lounge.” Max replied

Are we starting over again?

Yeah where no one will know us. At least we won’t have to hide what we are.

That’s a relief I hated hiding.

On the inside she smiled as they ran off to find the nearest bus station. The following night they arrived in town and went straight to ‘The Circle Lounge’. The ‘Jades’ were behind the bar, as they girls walked in and sat down.

“Welcome to the Circle Lounge. What’s your poison?” Jade S asked

“Two chocolate shakes please.” Max replied

“Coming right up; we had a feeling you’d be coming around here. We didn’t think it’d be tonight.” Jade H commented

The blender started on its own, as Max and Melody gasped.

“You knew we were coming?” Melody asked

“They’re telepaths sissy. “ Max whispered

“We’re Jade Smith and Jade Hanson…” Jade S paused

“We’re better known as the Jades and owners of this fine lounge.” Jade H continued

“I’m Max and this is my sister Melody. I heard about this place in the newspapers…We…” Max began

“Came looking for help. Well you came to the right place. Where are you from?” Jade S asked

“Florida…” Max and Melody replied together

“Here are your shakes. Stay as long as you like, I’ll call Ash.” Jade H smiled

An hour later Ash arrived and took Max into the ‘Jade’s’ office.

“Jade H tells me you’re from Florida.” Ash commented

“Yeah, my sister and I got removed from a broken home. Our father was abusive, more so when he got drunk. After leaving there we lived at Safe Haven.” Max replied

“I’ve known Misty for a couple of years. She’s made that place very neutral and safe for any supernatural being.”

“She was sweet. Melody, her son Alex, and I left there a few days ago to travel. Alex and I parted ways, leaving me and Melody to come here alone. Can you help us start over again?”

“I can help you start over. Welcome to your new home.”

“Thank you Ash.”

By the end of the week, the girls moved into an apartment in town. Max started working at a travel agency, while Melody began working at a hair salon.

VII

Another year passed and things around Max’s house settled down. Sierra and Samantha were back at school, while Max went back to work at the agency. It felt good to be back. She was getting ready to close up for lunch, filing away some delivery receipts when a familiar scent brushed against her nose. She was bent over and smiled.

“Enjoying the view?” She asked

“Very much so… my lady tiger…” He laughed

“So what can I do for you?”

“I thought you might want to grab some lunch. We can catch up, unless you have other plans.”

“No, I don’t have any other plans. And I’d like that; c’mon I have to lock up.”

They left and walked down to a small café and sat within the enclosed garden. The hostess handed them menus and a server stopped by and took their drink orders.

“What brings you back into town or did you stick around, after running into my sister?” She asked

“I stuck around and met the Jades that night after the luau party. They were helpful and I moved into an apartment down by the shore. It felt nice not to hide, you were right…”

“That is music to my ears.”

He laughed as their server returned and took their food orders. An hour later they walked back to the office.

“So you don’t feel attached to your former pride anymore?” He asked

“Not really; I still talk to Dannie and Alyssa, but I feel weird going there to pick up my girls from my former in-laws house.” She replied

“That stinks. “

She nodded as her hand put the key into the lock and opened the door.

“Thanks for lunch Alex.” She smiled and walked inside

“You’re welcome.”

As she sat down at her desk, she looked up to see he was still standing outside. She got up as he walked in and they met half way. He picked her up and spun her around, their eyes met and slowly their lips touched. It was as if, someone lit a match, a fire ignited, he took her into the back store room.

She pushed him up against the wall, ripping his shirt off with her claws. Her lips met his again; his hands pulled up her black pencil skirt and slipped off her white panties. She unbuttoned his jeans, pushing them and his boxer shorts off. In one move he picked her up, legs wrapped around his waist, her back against the wall.

He entered her and she ran her claws up and down his spine. His speed increased as she placed kisses on his neck and shoulders. They both roared as they climaxed, and she felt a burning on her wrist. He nuzzled against her neck as she looked at her right wrist. “The mark is back…” she thought to herself.

“Max…” Alex whispered

“What… oh my god…” She gasped

Her eyes lit up to see the same mark on his wrist.

“Guess we were meant for each other…” He commented

“It took us a long time to realize it.” She replied

She conjured her cell phone and called her boss, saying she wasn’t feeling good and going home to rest. They flashed back to her house; it would be a couple of hours before the girls came home. She led him into her bathroom, the white tiles lit up beneath the light along with the matching gray marble vanity and large tub.

The running water broke the silence, as she sprinkled in some of Vicky’s lavender bubble bath. She led him into the tub as steam rose from the hot water.

“This is nice…” He whispered

She leaned back against him, as his arms wrapped around her.

“It is and this feels right, you know?” She replied

“I know my lady tiger.”

He kissed the top of her head. The girls walked in as they saw her mother talking with a man out on the patio.

“Girls come outside for a second.” Max called

“Hey mom what’s up?” Sierra asked

“Sierra, Sam, this is my friend Alex. Alex these are my daughters Sierra and Samantha.” Max began

“It’s nice to meet you both.” Alex smiled extending his hand

“You too…” The girls replied together

“We’ll leave you two alone, homework awaits us.” Samantha continued

She led Sierra inside and into their room. Max and Alex smiled as they were left alone.

“You think they suspect anything?” Alex asked

“They know something is up. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so calm and happy.”

“I’d better go. I’ll call you later.”

He got to his feet; she hugged him tightly as he flashed to go home. She stayed outside and let the sun warm her skin.

“Hey… good to see you’re alive. What have you been up to?” Melody asked appearing sitting on the railing.

Her purple hair was tied into pigtails, while she wore a black t-shirt, jeans, and black flats.

“I’m still alive… Alex and I are imprinted.” Max replied holding up her right wrist

“Whoa… back up sister… what the hell happened?” Melody gasped

“He came by the agency, we had lunch, and one thing led to another.”

“I had a feeling your paths would cross again. Have the girls met him?”

“They have and I know they sense something is up.”

“Something for the good and will last eternity…”

“Don’t get all mushy on me…”

Melody laughed, “Sorry it’s just nice to see you back in love again. Anyway enough about you, Hunter is coming into town for a visit.”

“You’ve kept in touch all this time?”

“Well… dating for the past six months.”

“That explains all the trips to New York. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Since our lovely father enforced his rules on us, it was hard to start making my own. When I met Hunter, it hit me that I was free and no longer had to hide. So we’ve been taking things slowly and now this weekend he’s coming here. I thought you, me, Alex, and him could go to the lounge. I think Hunter would like hanging out there.”

“Sounds good, want to stay for dinner?”

“Sure what are we having?”

“Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and corn on the cob.”

“I’ll stay and help get things started.”

VIII

She stepped out of the shower and opened the bathroom door to let out the steam. The blue tiles felt cool beneath her feet as she stood in front of the mirror, white towel wrapped around her small body. It surprised Max, to hear her little sister was dating someone. In the past, she was just ‘one of the guys’ and now she was someone’s girlfriend.

The apartment was a lot quieter without Max around, but she adjusted well. She moved into Max’s room and turned her old room into an office. As she walked into her closet, her hand brushed over the numerous outfits.

She picked out a jean skirt and dark pink t-shirt. As she slipped on her black sandals, the doorbell rang. As she looked threw the peep hole, she smiled to see Hunter. He wore a pair of blue jeans and white buttoned shirt with a black line pattern.

“Hey right on time.” She smiled

“Hey you; how are you?” He asked taking her into his arms

“I’m fine, how are you?”

“Great. I’m looking forward to finally meeting your sister and her boyfriend?”

“Yeah… it’s a long story. To make it shorter, she met Alex at Safe Haven; we lived there after being removed from a broken home. He left with us to come here, but they broke up, Max and I came here together. Over the year they reconnected and imprinted.”

“Imprinted?”

“It’s a mark of two hearts intertwined that appears on your right wrist. Either when you find your soul mate or during a wedding ceremony performed by a pack elder.”

“Whoa; must have taken them a long time.”

“It did. I know she’s happy now and my nieces like him.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yeah just need my purse.”

She snapped her fingers and her black wristlet appeared in her hand. They left in his pick-up truck and Melody directed him to the ‘Circle Lounge’. As they walked inside Max and Alex were seated in the section of couches across from Aiden. Dannie and Jade H were behind the bar, while Vicky and Jade S were taking orders.

“Hey everyone...” Melody began taking Hunter by the hand to the couches

“Hey we were wondering when you going to show up.” Max replied hugging her sister tightly; “Hunter it’s nice to see you again. You’d better take good care of her.” She whispered into his ear

“It’s nice to see you too Max. Don’t worry I’m taking good care of her.”

“Anyway, Hunter this is Max’s boyfriend Alex and that is Aiden, Dannie’s boyfriend. She’s behind the bar wearing the purple plaid shirt.”

Hunter shook hands with Alex and then sat down beside Melody.

“Hey all welcome to Circle Lounge. What can I get for you this evening?” Jade S asked

“Alex and I are going to share your famous wings. And we’ll have two twisted T’s.” Max replied

“I’ll have a burger and fries; Plus a strawberry margarita.” Melody added

“And what about you Hunter? It’s nice to meet you, I’m Jade.” Jade S asked

“I’ll have a burger and fries; and a Ying Ling.” Hunter replied

“I’ll be right back with your drinks.” Jade S smiled

Hunter leaned in towards Alex and Max.

“What kind of place is this?” He asked

“A bar that serves both supernatural and mortal communities; The Jades are telepaths with psychic powers, Dannie is a were-tiger, Vicky is a fairy.” Melody replied

“Whoa... this place is awesome.”

“I knew you’d like it.” Melody commented

Two hours later and the group came together, bigger than ever.

“My children, it warms my heart to see you all together, happy.” Jade H commented

“It’s amazing how we grew over the years…” Jade S paused

“Looking out for each other, now I think someone has...”

“Something to say…”

The Jades looked over at Alex who had gotten down on one knee in front of Max. Tears formed in her eyes as he took out a small black box, opening it to reveal a small diamond ring.

“Max will you marry me?”

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