“You don’t remember?” I asked cautiously. “No, no, don’t sit up.” I gently pushed on his shoulders.
“What am I supposed to remember?" Kraig asked as he looked around. “Wait, how did I get back here? I fell asleep at my parents’ house.” Kraig frowned and worked his jaw. He reached up and pressed against the bruise on the side of his face. “Ow. What’s going on?"
“I brought you back here. You were unconscious because I knocked you out." Just saying the words was hard enough. The look on Kraig’s face as he stared at me in shock was even worse. “I’m sorry, but I had to do it. Something was wrong, and you are acting like you were feral."
Kraig’s eyes widened. “Did I do that your face?”
Reluctantly, I nodded. “But I know you didn’t do it on purpose. Whatever was going on, whatever happened while you were asleep, was not your fault.”
He pushed my hands away and started to sit up. I didn’t want to force him to stay down when he clearly didn’t want to be prone anymore, so instead I helped him find his balance on the edge of the bed facing me.
“Why are you still down there?” Kraig fisted his hands and pushed him against his thighs. He held himself stiffly leaning away from me. “Maybe you shouldn’t be so close to me.”
“Don’t worry about me; I can take care of myself. I’m just sorry that I had to hurt you. That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do, you have to believe that.” It stung that he didn’t want me to touch him, but I didn’t move. I stared up at him from my position on the floor. “I promise that we’ll find out what that bastard did do you.”
Kraig shook his head. “How? How are you going to do that? You have a business, the streak, and now this…? You’re only one man, Deke. As your mate I should be helping you, but I’m making things worse.”
“Nothing else matters more than you right now. And I’m not doing this by myself. Park is taking care of Ritch, I sent the doctor’s files to my uncle, and he’ll be coming here on Friday to go over them with us. While you were unconscious I also called for the medic from the lion pride. He didn’t know what was going on with you either, but he took some blood samples.”
“How long have I been out?” Kraig glanced at the clock. “I just wanted to rest for a little while before lunch.”
“Looks like we missed another meal.”
“Not like I’m not used to it.” Kraig shrugged.
“Well you’re not gonna be used to it here. Let’s go get a snack, something light, and then we can watch some TV and relax on the couch.” We needed some downtime without any drama.
Kraig clearly took the attack on me far more seriously than I did. When he got the chance he sat on the other end of the couch. At night he lay on his side facing away from me. But as soon as he relaxed, the mating bond kicked in and he was reaching for me. I wasn’t afraid of him, but he already had so many things on his mind. Just the shock of being freed from captivity for more than two years, combined with his change status in the streak, was enough to overwhelm him.
I tried to keep us stress free for a few days. We ate meals and frequent snacks together, watched TV, and soaked in the tub as much as possible. Whenever Kraig fell asleep, I caught up on work and made phone calls. Before I knew it Friday had arrived, and Uncle Radford was due to show up after dinner.
Lydia came by with a dish of baked ziti, with lots of Italian sausage, and some homemade garlic bread. She was still spoiling us making as many of Kraig’s favorite dishes as possible. Henry had not come back to law over which was probably a good thing. I was still angry at his interference.
The last dish was in the dishwasher, and I was just about to start it, when the sound of tires in the driveway caught my attention. I shut the door and press the start button then wiped my hands on a towel. I saw Uncle Radford step out of his car clutching his briefcase.
“Hello,” I said. I had to wonder what mood he was going to show. Aggrieved professional? Annoyed uncle? Respectful streak member speaking to his alpha?
Uncle Radford scurried up the steps and onto the porch. He looked around. “Are you alone?” he whispered.
It was like he was afraid. He certainly wasn’t acting like he normally did. “Kraig’s dozing by the fireplace, but no one else is here.”
He let out a relieved sigh and stepped inside the house. “Good. There’s something you need to know immediately, but you need to stay calm.”
“Tell me,” I growled.
“I’m not a medical doctor,” Uncle Radford said. “But that lion medic you told to get in touch with me provided some very disturbing information when we discussed Kraig’s bloodwork. You don’t know half as much as you think you do.”
“Is there something wrong with Kraig? Is he… sick?” That was my greatest fear.
“No.” Uncle Radford shook his head rapidly back and forth. “He was given something.”
“What do you mean given something?”
“The lab reports I found showed a cyclical pattern. Kraig’s bloodwork changed after he changed. Something about the animal souls actually makes us different down to a cellular level. Kraig’s DNA is unlike anything I’ve ever seen; it fluctuates wildly. I think, and this is just a theory, that something he was given suppressed his tiger soul so that his cheetah soul became dominant. That’s why he attacked you, because he didn’t recognize you. His cheetah is not your mate.”
*gasps* What could that mean to the story?!! Muahahahahaha!
How about some more flash from other Briefers?