An Unexpected Hiker.

"

She nods and I take my hand away. Immediately she scrambles back and away against the rocks.

"What the hell are you?" Olivia asks wiping her mouth.

"A shifter."

"A what?"

"I can change my form into a - well you've seen it." She studies me with her eyes narrowed like I'm a freak, a dangerous freak that's going to pounce on her.

"You're a huge fucking wolf, that's what you change into."

"Yes, but you've got to promise to keep it a secret, I can't have anybody knowing about us."

"You mean there's more of you?" Christ.

"No, no, I'm the only one."

"How did this happen to you? I mean I still can't believe you're even real," she says starting to reach out a hand then dropping it half way between us.

"I'm real and so is the danger you could put me in if you told anyone. There are already people that suspect. You must promise not to tell and in exchange I'll answer your questions." And do anything else to be with you a little longer. A blush starts to rise in her cheeks and she's trying very hard to keep her eyes on my face.

"Where are your - your clothes?"

"Miles from here - unfortunately and awkwardly."

"I have a small blanket in my bag," she says hopping back up on the rocks and getting her bag. I notice her hands are shaking as she unzips it and pulls it out. "Here."

"Thanks," I say wrapping it around my shoulders and draping it over me. She relaxes visibly and her eyes wander over me now.

"You promise not to tell anyone you about me?"

"I promise. But people have seen you - my roommate, we should make up a lie." Great, but what's another to add to the pile?

"It doesn't matter," I say waving a hand, "say we met when you were out for a walk by yourself."

"Okay. You're just another hiker. So how - have you always been this way?"

"I first shifted when I was probably sixteen or so."

"Why? How do you do this?"

"I don't know really," I say holding out my arm and turning it over to look at the skin. "I just do. It comes naturally."

"Does it hurt?"

"Oh no, like a tingling feeling in all your bones and muscles, then like stretching but no it doesn't hurt." I want to touch her, to stroke her face. She studies the skin on my arm then reaches out to touch it. Her fingers are cold and soft and they tickle a bit as she runs them over my arm.

"Feels normal enough."

"You'd never suspect right?"

"This is very strange Jax. I can barely still believe it myself and I've seen you change. I almost rather believe I've gone mad and perhaps you're something from my imagination." I grab her fingers and bring them to my face.

"I told you, I'm real." This is real, what I feel for you is real and I can feel it coursing through me now more than ever. I'm glad for the blanket. Scooting closer now she's on her knees in front of me running her fingers over my face.

"Why did you scare us so much that day, I thought you were going to kill me."

"I need to be protective of my land, usually people that come that far out don't have good intentions."

"And do you usually have to scare people away?"

"No, almost never."

"I was so scared I thought you were going to eat us." You have no idea Olivia. "I don't know why, but I just felt I had to come try to find you." Music to my ears. "If only to try and make sense of this all. But now that I know for sure - well it hasn't really cleared all that much up." I take hold of her fingers again and kiss the tips before bringing them down but still keep them in mine.

"I wanted to look for you too."

"But you didn't."

"I wanted -"

"If I hadn't come here today would I have ever seen you again?" The closeness between us is broken and she pulls her hand back, bringing her knees up and wrapping her arms around them.

"I wanted to tell you the truth, but it's just so out there."

"Yeah, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it," she sighs and combs her fingers through her hair. It gives me a fresh wave of her scent and it's so good I can almost taste her. "You okay?"

"Yeah, yep I'm good. It is tricky to think about."

"So do you live out here then?" Shoul

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