Finding Home

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Kaisaan, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Warren was nervous.

    What he remembered was clear, as if he'd left her yesterday, but such was the way his people held on to memories. Such was the way their minds worked. Sometimes it was hellish and other times, like now, Warren found himself smiling at the images and sounds, smells and events that passed before his mind's eyes. Of all the years he'd lived, the five that he'd spent in constant contact with Cleo had been the best. From eleven to sixteen she'd taught him how to open up again, that to trust was not an automatic death sentence.

    He'd been loathe to leave her, but had been given little choice.

    Warren had seen her, a few times. Three Christmas' in the last nine years. The death of her brother, he'd stayed three months, but she'd hardly noticed him, not while he was there, not when he had gone. But the same had been true of everyone at that point in Cleo's life. Still, he'd kept tabs on her and had been relieved when report came that she was stabilizing.

    He knew it had changed her, though, just as time had. The werewolf knew that coming back, after such a long time, she was not going to be the person he'd left behind. Not entirely.

    What he remembered was a tomboyish girl, a young teen who loved to do anything and everything he did, though, that hadn't been much on his end. A quiet child, withdrawn and having an extreme aversion to touch, Warren had rarely ventured into the true world of an adolescent, too serious for his own good. Cleo had changed that, if even for just five years. She'd liked a challenge, but had never been a bully and she'd taken him under her wing, had pulled him off to the most hilarious of pranks, to fairs and movies, parades and parks. She'd saved his life, though, the werewolf had never told her such.

    He remembered her a child full of light and love, laughter and mischief. He remembered her a woman with many friends, always flitting about between them during the holidays. He remembered her a broken shell of the friend he'd known the last time they'd seen each other, after Jethan's death. Warren remembered Cleo as many things, but that did not tell him who she was now and he knew it.

    Hence the reason he was nervous.

    The werewolf stopped outside the museum, knowing she was here. Intel had let him know and now his nose confirmed it. He could smell her, among the hundreds, nay thousands, of scents swirling about him, he could detect hers without even trying. Apple cider and cinnamon spice. She'd always smelled that way, even as a child and it made Warren smile just a little now, his eyes on the handle he held, the carrier of the scent that was now curling around his nose.

    He sighed and brought a hand back through his dirty-blond hair, shaking his head in silent reprimand to himself before he opened the door and went in. The air-conditioning was a welcome relief after the Los Angeles heat and Warren enjoyed it for a moment before he refocused his gray eyes to finding their target. His senses all sharpened toward the one goal in his mind and it wasn't long before Warren caught Cleo's scent again.

    Like a true wolf, he started to track it.
  2. Cleo had come to the Los Angeles County Museum on a mission. She was intent of finding an inspiration for her next personal project, that and she really wanted to visit the museum for the sake of viewing the beautiful art on display. The mere sight of some of the works and projects got her mind overflowing with new works do to, outside of painting and sketching, she had taken to sculpting. After seeing Metropolis II, she had fallen in love with sculptures.

    It was not often Cleo had a free time like this. She often was flitting about between work, school, and her friends. On occasion, she would go out with coworkers usually for business or a celebration for a job well done. She did not find herself dating, despite her friend's and family's disappointment. Cleo merely did not have time for a serious relationship. Yes, she went out sometimes, but it never concluded to a mutual interest in such romantic fantasies. She often found herself awake instead of sleeping so she could do her personal projects that she would gift, sell, or keep in her apartment. Sometimes they would be pieces that she fed too much of her own emotions, and she would have to keep or scrap them. Other times, they were filled originally planned to be given to her friends. So in general, when Cleo wassn't at school, she was at work, home working on something, or hanging out and being a kid with her friends.

    It may seem that Cleo had a large amount of "close" friends, but contrary to that assumption she had a tight knit, close group of friends ranging to about 6 people at the most. It had originally been her four friends friends in high school whom she spent most, if not all, her time with. In college though, two of her friends had gotten significant others, and their partners joined the group too. Though Cleo did have a large amount of friends during her high school life and before, they slowly grew distanced like most do when chasing after different careers and goals.

    On occasion, she would visit her family, but they weren't as close as they were before. Jethan's death had distanced Cleo from others significantly. As she slipped out of the depression from losing her brother, she just wasn't the same person. She held tightly to her friends, fearing that they would someday leave her, and she shut most other people out within reason. Though she did definitely love her family, they did not agree with her line of work in comparison as to what she was going to be before.

    Back to the reason why Cleo was at the museum. She had run into a mind block in her career, too frustrated with the quality of work she was giving. Though the work was decent, Cleo and her superiors agreed that it wasn't living up to her full potential. Her higher ups and boss were kind to her, encouraging her by saying that sometimes artists lost their inspiration, and she would find hers again in due time. Cleo was not patient when concerning herself and tried to force along the process by visiting different museums across California. She wasn't going to let this moment of brain malfunction stop her from getting back the feeling into her work. She knew that sometimes artists never gained back their inspiration, and other times it changed. While Cleo didn't mind her motivation changing, she did not want it to dim and wither away.

    She loved being an artist, and she adored having a job that allowed her to what she enjoyed. Most people hated their jobs, Cleo loved hers. Though it was not a high paying or popular job, she genuinely relished in getting to do her line of work. Sometimes the assignments were not a particular thing Cleo was interested, but despite that she would work her hardest and most of the time come home with a smile on her face. It was a part of her personality, Cleo found the best in things so she could look forward to the next day and the next.
  3. Oh, she dyed her hair.

    It was the first thing that came to his mind upon finding his goal and Warren tilted his head in a very canine gesture, both curiosity and question in the motion, though, his friend saw it not. She hadn't seen him at all yet, too absorbed in her work, in the paintings before her. It made him smile to himself, noting that this personality trait, at least, had not changed. She could still lose herself in any kind of project, becoming oblivious to the world if she wished. It was something he'd loved as a young teen. It had given him opportunities to study her with the wolf-like fascination and intensity that gave most humans a chill down their back.

    Especially if it came from a child.

    Now it just scared people s**tless when he did it and usually that was Warren's goal.

    Cleo, though, even when she'd caught him doing it once or twice, had never seemed scared, had never commented, just as she'd never tried to make him talk about his past, why he was passed around between foster parents for the five years they'd gone to school together. She never pressured him about speaking of where he'd come from, what had happened to his family or what had happened to him to make him the way he was.

    Cleo was just....good that way.

    The werewolf found himself desperately hoping that was still true, after all this time, as he approached his friend. She was studying a piece intensively, brows furrowed in concentration under her mop of black, curly hair, brown eyes moving over the details of the painting, trying to capture every aspect of it, no doubt applying it to ideas already swimming in her head. Some things, it seemed, did not change and the werewolf found himself chuckling as he leaned against the wall beside the art, arms crossing over a white shirt - his jacket had been abandoned in the heat - and his semi-torn jeans only adding further testament to the height that had him towering over the much smaller Cleo.

    "Stare any harder, C.B. and it's going to burst into flames." he teased.
  4. Cleo was so enraptured in her own little world that she did not notice the man leaning beside the piece of fine art. Nor did her brain process that he had addressed her at all, since she was not expecting company or familiar faces. It had taken quite a while for her to realize he was speaking to her, and that he was, indeed, a friendly face. Her own mouth dropped in shock, and if her overly large sunglasses didn't cover her eyes, someone would have been able to see her chocolate colored eyes widen to an impressive size.

    Dropping her purse to the floor, she seemingly flew across the floor, threw her arms around him, and hugged as tightly as she could. Tears spotted the sides of her eyes, but her glasses thankfully covered them up. She had missed the lil bugger tons since he had left, the occasional visit was always too short, and when he had stayed for her brother's funeral, she hadn't spent any time with him despite his efforts. In truth, she had been a very terrible friend.

    He was no longer the skinny boy who seemed almost scared of anything. He was a giant, grown man now who towered over her. That did not stop her from abruptly punching him in the gut right after she was done hugging him. Cleo, despite becoming more mellow as she grew, was with her best friend as a child. The boy who got into trouble with her as often as they got away. The boy who had flipped from home to home, but was always by her side. She was half tempted to headbutt him too in addition to the gut punch, but she couldn't merely because of their height difference.

    "Warren, you lazy, arrogant, insensitive, tall, ragtag, rebellious, handsome punk! I missed you tons," she started in a mock angry voice, but it soon ended in the truth. "You don't visit nearly as often as I want, and we haven't talked in ages," she exclaimed in a fit.

    Though the not talking was partially her fault since she had pushed him away after Jethan's death, which she felt immensely guilty for. Also Cleo never visited Warren, it was always the other way around. It wasn't something Cleo liked, but she never had the time or money, and when she did Warren was always too busy. She was never one to question him, seeing as he often did not want to answer. Nor did she ever seriously pressured him on purpose, with the exception of a few times when they were younger. But you couldn't hold that against someone because kids are kids, and it happens.
  5. Her welcome made him laugh, a deep sound that rumbled in his chest, almost growl-like in nature. Warren hugged Cleo back and didn't so much as flinch at her punch, knowing it was coming with a honed instinct she could not possibly understand and neither hurt nor alarmed by the action. He'd had far, far worse and Cleo's intent was not to truly hurt him. He'd been on the receiving end of those intents, he knew the difference very keenly. Her punch had been little more than a love-tap.

    Still, he faked the 'oomph' of air that escaped and then grinned at her, reaching out even as she started her tirade to ruffle her hair, messing every single strand up and loving it immensely. Especially since he could see everything behind those sunglasses. He simple couldn't let on that he had that kind of eyesight. He was human as far as Cleo was concerned and for her own safety, it had to remain that way.

    "Good to see you, too, Cleo. The phone does go both ways, you know."

    Warren gave her a look, one brow raised, pointed and then erased it with another smile, looking her over once more. "Well, you've hardly grown. Still as skinny as ever. I assume you're still painting." The werewolf looked around for a moment before bringing his attention back to Cleo. To her, it might simply appear as if he'd been thinking of something, but in reality Warren was scanning, looking for danger, attuning his senses to his environment so he missed nothing.

    Finding nothing, he brought his gray eyes back to his friend, once more the diligent human simply wishing to catch up. Not the werewolf always on alert for the next attack, though, that tension never truly left him. It hadn't even as a child and adults had said it was due to trauma. Somewhat true, but now that he was older, people assumed he was either just high-strung or someone come back from the army. The truth was far more interesting, but Warren couldn't share that. He wouldn't have even if he could have anyway.

    "So, where are you working now? You live here, or just visiting for the art?"
  6. Cleo was not stupid, she knew he faked his pain. She had a sad amount of upper body strength, and Warren was fairly fit. If anything, her punch probably felt as though someone was poking him. A mere annoyance to him, but she was happy that he went as far as to humor her silliness. She pouted in annoyance as he ruffled her hair like a small child. Since her hair was short, it didn't really matter much concerning style. She could shake it back into place, or simply run a hand through it. She didn't mind the messy hair though, willingly suffering it if it meant she got to see Warren. Hell, if he showed up at least once a week only to mess with her hair, she would take it.

    Getting back to reality, Cleo twitched at the comment about calling him. She had always been reluctant on calling Warren. She never wanted to bother him, and in all honesty, she wasn't quite sure if he was mad at her or not for her attitude when he had shown up for Jethan's funeral. He had been the greatest friend ever and a huge support figure for her, and she hadn't spoke to him. She had moments where she would pick up the phone, dial the number, but not actually start the call. Other times, she had contemplated texting him just to ask how he was doing, but soon chickened out.

    Her face squished up after hearing what he had asked, a habit she had since she was younger when she thought about something. What he said had reminded her the reason why she was here in the first place. Mumbling with her nose wrinkled in distaste, "I work at a small studio here in LA, but I live on the other end of town. I came here to see the art and gain inspiration for my next project." Though she had recently found some inspiration through these works, it now evaded her mind, bringing her back to square one. "Work is fun, but I haven't been into it as much as of late," she explained.

    Putting her hands on her hips, she threatened halfheartedly, "And if you were calling me short and scrawny, you may want to reconsider when I pin you to the ground and give you a noogie like old times." Though she highly doubted she could take overpower the man standing in front of her, she would try if need be. Cleo was the slightest bit sensitive when taller people called her short. She had never been tall in comparison to others her whole life, but then again she was never truly short since there were plenty of girls shorter then herself. "Plus not all of us can be giants like you," she grumbled, staring up at him and sliding her hands off her hips.

    Cleo was half tempted to poke him just to make sure he was real, but decided since he hadn't disappeared when she had jumped him earlier, she was probably safe. She found it hard to believe her childhood best friend was standing before her. She twisted a ring that hung on middle finger, contemplating . "What is he doing here? I don't recall him being a extremely large fan of art," she questioned herself.

    She asked quietly, taking jobs and living spaces as a safe subject since he asked her. If he decided not to answer or evade the question, she would let it go. Trying to force something out of Warren was like trying to light a candle with just a pickle, pretty much impossible. "How bout you, Warren. What brings you to the wonderful city of LA?"
  7. Warren grinned at her threat, holding his hands up in a surrendering gesture and shaking his head, assuring that he meant no such things...when they both knew he sort of did. It was a running joke and it made the werewolf almost feel like no time had passed at all. It was nice and it helped him not immediately tense up and clam up at Cleo's next question. The truth....was not something he could fully tell her and he hated giving his friend half-truths. He'd been doing that his whole life, to everyone. Warren didn't like to lie, but the way he stretched the truth, led people to believe the wrong thing even without outright saying it and avoided questions was just as bad in his way of thinking.

    Unfortunately, it couldn't be helped.

    So he told a half-truth now, glad that at least the half he was telling her about WAS genuine. "Isn't wanting to see you enough?" He said it as a tease, jesting, but skillfully led that remark into being vague with his next one, a hand brushing back through his hair. It was a habit from when he was child, having followed him through teenage years and into adulthood. It meant he was nervous, agitated. "I'm just here for some work is all, C.B. My boss has me doing some security work for a family. That's all."

    Warren had never truly specified where he worked or who had hired him, letting people assume it was the police, or the army, a private company - basically, their own conclusions, and before this point, Cleo had never truly had the time (or perhaps the right opportunity) - to truly ask him what it was he did. It had just never been brought up and the werewolf tried to avoid more detailed answers now, pushing away from the wall and starting to slowly walk, knowing the human would follow.

    "So how are your family? It's been a long time since I've seen any of them. Oh, and Tanya had her baby, didn't she? Boy or girl? What's the kid's name?"

    He hoped that giving Cleo questions to answer would distract her from any questions she might have. Questions he wasn't sure how to answer yet.
    #7 Kaisaan, Aug 15, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  8. Cleo took note not to talk about work, seeing as it always was a touchy subject with her friend. She only wished he wasn't getting into something illegal because she knew she was so broke that she probably wouldn't be able to pay bail, so that would leave her with trying to break him out or just wait. Breaking him out and waiting were not her most favored options though, so she stuck with wishing that he didn't get caught or his job was legal. Cleo was a worry wart like that. She couldn't help it, when it came to Warren she was protective.

    She continued halfheartedly, the happiness of new life fading slightly from her voice, "Uncle Jimmy got out of jail last week. No one knows where he went though, which is bothersome. Mom and Dad are good, or so they tell me. We talk maybe every other month. It just hasn't been the same, and they just don't understand me anymore." She didn't want to dwell on it, so she continued on in her mind to a different thing.

    She stared up at him, before she seemingly spaced out a bit, thinking of Tanya and her kid. It had been a troublesome time, Tanya was one of the couples in their group of friends. When she had told Jared, he wasn't happy about having a kid in college. Tanya had refused to give of her precious baby, and they broke up for some time. Tanya had moved in with Cleo, and Cleo had taken care of her. Their breakup had split the group apart, each of the wary to pick a side. Cleo had told Jared she was not choosing a side, just helping out a friend who had needed her support. Eventually two months in to the pregnancy, Jared realized he was being a a** and got back together with Tanya. Of course it wasn't that simple, and they fought like cats and dogs, but as soon as their baby was born, Jared fell in love.

    Smiling fondly of the child Cleo had come to consider her own, she sigh happily, "Tanya had a boy. He's such a cutie with those big puffy baby cheeks and his hazel eyes just like his father. Jared absolutely adores him, and they named him Donnie Leo White. You want to see a picture of him? I have a trillion on my phone, some of me taking them and other of Tanya sending them to me." She picked up her purse that she dropped earlier, motioning to her phone.
  9. Relief swept through the werewolf when she didn't ask, didn't even try to ask what he so badly did not want to answer. Same old Cleo that way and Warren was grateful for it as he payed closed attention to her words, but more to her body language. It could tell him far more about his friend, about how she'd changed and how she felt. It was like reading a book to him, her scent and gestures the words on the page, clear as day. He knew immediately that her family was not a good topic to have picked and made a note not to do it again in the near-future. There had been struggle there after Jethan's death and apparently it had not entirely been resolved.

    Warren was more than adept at understanding that.

    In the same way he could deduce her feelings for her family, the werewolf understood instantly the maternal fondness Cleo carried for this child that had been born. It made a smile curl at his lips, just a shadow of it on his face as he listened and then leaned over Cleo's shoulder when she produced her phone.

    A simple nod told her was interested in seeing Donnie and Warren chuckled at the first picture, smile spreading. The boy did indeed have Jared's eyes, but he had his mother's nose and dark curly hair. "He's beautiful." Gray eyes looked down into brown, fond and gentle as his fingers found some of Cleo's hair, giving it a playful tug. "And you're very fond of him, I see. You're Aunt Cleo, yes?"

    He liked the sound of that, liked how relaxed and happy, content Cleo got when talking about the little boy. He knew the feeling of being an Uncle, of having a child look up at you in adoration, to want to protect that innocence, to dote on it. He'd been much, much younger when Daniel had been born, but he'd loved his nephew no less for his youth. He only wished he'd gotten to see Rosa and Anna in the same way he'd interacted with their brother.

    But the past was better left untouched, that Warren knew rather well and instead he focused on the now, looking back at the pictures on the phone. "You having one of your own any time soon? Any special guy in your life yet?"
  10. He tugged her hair, something she wasn't expecting which made her jump a bit. It didn't hurt, but she gave him a scolding look anyway, and poked him as hard as she could. Cleo stared upon the child she held dear to her heart. "I'm his god mother actually. I would give my life for that sweetheart, but I imagine I would probably be called Auntie Cleo. Or Auntie Bandit if he likes that. Jared and Tanya like to tease and call me that."

    Cleo had only wished Jethan was alive so she could be a real aunt. Though that wasn't the only reason she wished Jethan to be alive, it was another she added to her list. It was a long list that she had made up, mainly so she wouldn't forget her brother. He had died young, and he never got to live his full life. He was sweet on a girl in college, but he died before he could convince her to marry him. Jethan's death broke more then one heart, Cleo knew that. His girlfriend almost took it nearly as hard as she did.

    Cleo wrapped her arms around herself and smiled, "Maybe one day. Kids are great, but I don't think I could worry about having them yet." She continued, almost slightly forlorn, "No special men in my life, unfortunately. Just haven't met the right one, I suppose. I never have the time to spend to date seriously though,and I am still young so it's not like I am missing something big yet."

    Cleo played with one of her rings, twisting it around and thinking. She had dated a bit, but it was never serious. After seeing how Tanya loved Donnie, she was more inclined to want children, but she knew that at this time she couldn't support a family. Nor did she have a good enough man to make a family with. Yes, there were some great guys, but Cleo never felt a connection with them. She was not one to lead another person on, and she wasn't going to get attached when they only saw her as a friend.

    She grinned from ear to ear, "So Warren, how about you? Meet any ladies? Or can they just not hold you down?" Cleo wasn't blind, she knew Warren was attractive. It was obvious women would be interested in him, and it made her happy to think he would settle down eventually. He was her best friend even if they weren't always in contact, and she wanted the best for him.
  11. Her answer caused a weight Warren had not been truly aware he'd had to lift from his chest, making breathing a bit easier and the werewolf had to scoff at himself. He was careful to not let Cleo become aware of the self-contempt in his gaze. Idiot. He was supposed to be happy if she found someone to make her happy, to share her life with. He was supposed to want that for her, not desire what he couldn't have.

    It was part of the reason he'd left in the first place at sixteen.

    Warren had realized, in the midst of all the other changes he'd been going through, that he'd been starting to look at Cleo differently. He'd known better, had left for her own good and for her safety. It didn't mean he'd stopped thinking about her, though, even if he'd now trained himself thoroughly in what he could and could not have in the nine years they'd been apart.

    She was human. He was werewolf. It wouldn't work and she...had never looked at him that way anyway - at least not as far as he knew and he knew he shouldn't spend any time trying to find out. Cleo was his friend. It was all she could ever be, all she might ever want to be and Warren knew he'd rather have her as a friend than not have her at all.

    So he smiled and ruffled her hair again, affection and a softness in his voice that he never displayed for anyone but her, even after all this time. "You'll find someone, Cleo, and I'll make sure the guy understands just how lucky he is." He winked at her, pushing aside any feelings but those of fondness and loyalty as he draped an arm around her shoulder as they continued to walk.

    Her question made him falter in his step and tense, though, the answer not coming immediately as his mind swept back to six months ago.

    "The curse of the Guardian Wolf; to never find a mate."

    The red-haired she-wolf circled him, taunting, cruel; furious that she'd lost her true prey and very willing indeed to take it out on him. A week of doing so had not satisfied her, however, and Warren knew nothing short of his death would do so. But she wasn't going to make it quick for him. She hurt with words just as much as she did with physical abuse and would continue to do so until he succumbed to the blackness that sucked him in over and over again and didn't come out. "Who would have you? No she-wolf. We know better." a smirk crossed her face as her claws raked down his back and Warren bit back a whimper and then grit his fangs against a strangled scream as she dragged those same claws back up through the cuts she'd already made. The pain was unbearable, but he'd had far worse and wouldn't give her the satisfaction of hearing him cry out.

    She didn't seem to care today as she carried on her one-sided conversation, as if they were old friends having nothing more than a chat.

    "The humans?" A chuckle. "No, you can't take a mate from among them, can you? The first time you disappear, it will destroy everything, won't it? And the other races won't take werewolves. Animals they calls us." Blue eyes smiled into his pain-glazed gray and the she-wolf caressed his face, leaving his own blood smeared across his cheek before he jerked away with a snarl, chains rattling.

    She smiled once more. "No, little wolf, you are alone and you will always be alone."

    The words resounded in his head just as the phantom pain spread across his back and Warren did his best to shake both off before he smiled a bit at Cleo, shaking his head. "No one interested. Work doesn't lend much time for a social life."
  12. Cleo tried really hard not to frown, and somehow she succeeded. He looked sad, and it sent small pangs in her heart to know her best friend hadn't found someone to spend his life with. She desperately wanted to make him smile, so she poked him once more in the side and banged her head into his chest. She couldn't find the words to comfort Warren as much as she wanted to, she could never find the right words.

    She was a terribly bad friend, so she did the only other thing she could do. Stay in his presence and just be there. Avoid the topic and move on. It was how Cleo had worked psychologically, she pushed and pushed things away till she blew up in a mess of emotions. Though she assumed Warren was somehow the same, she had never seen him blow up in a fit of emotions. Yes, she had seen him mad. She had seen him sad, but he usually kept it in so well that if she hadn't know him for the amount of time she had, she wouldn't have noticed.

    Some days, her heart would break for him because their relationship as friends was fairly one sided. He was always looking out for her, he was always being her best friend, and he always made time for her. When they talked, it was usually about her and what was going on with her life. If she asked anything, he usually vaguely answered and redirected another question at her. She knew that Warren knew mostly everything about her, but she was restricted to the tidbits he fed her.

    She teased halfheartedly, "Well that's good for me, that way I don't have to share you, I suppose."

    Despite her teasing, her heart still hurt terribly for her friend. Whereas she wanted a guy to share her life with, she knew Warren needed someone to share himself with. It wasn't just a want for him, in her eyes. He needed that person who he could tell anything to. He needed someone who would be able to support him, who fully understood him.

    She thought to herself falling far off track and practically into another random world she was known to visit when extremely tired or drunk, "Since I can't be that person, then I will find him someone who he could talk to. Or else I will be forever alone with him, we could have a billion of cats, and make a living off a cat breeding farm or something."

    "Let's go get fat and stuff ourselves with ice cream," she asked, trying to change the subject with more promising thoughts. "It's been a while since I last splurged, so my treat. I think we both need it so we can throw each other a pity party. Maybe a few drinks too. Popcorn loaded with butter, drinks. Candy and drinks. And more drinks and ice cream. Damn, that sounds good," she started out quite loudly, but soon her voice slowed to a low mumble about drinks, ice cream, and cats. Cleo may have officially lost her mind.
  13. Cleo's actions were enough, more than enough. to make the werewolf come out of his memories, to smile down at her.

    What Cleo could not know, perhaps might never know because he could not tell her what he truly was in nature, was that physical actions, body language made up more than half of his language. He was a wolf. Oh, he had the intelligence of a human - as that is what humans would measure intelligence by; themselves - but in everything that mattered, he was a wild canine and wolves communicated with teeth and tails, with shoulders and fur, with ears and body. Yips, barks, whines, whimpers, howls, snarls, growls, they were there, too, but body language always came first. So he'd never needed words with Cleo.

    He simply couldn't explain that to her. He couldn't let her know that he understood them far better than he did verbal affirmation. As it was, her actions were enough to ease the tension out of his body and the werewolf chuckled at her words, shaking his head even as he wanted nothing more than to agree with her. He didn't, knowing he couldn't, but against his better judgement, he kept his arm slung around her shoulders as they walked, sensing that somehow she was hurting just from his answer alone.

    Warren didn't like it and was therefore relieved when she started to babble in the way Cleo had often done as a child when excited about something. Now, however, it made him stop and blink at her, his grin spreading for an entirely different reason; in pure mirth as he listened.

    Cats? What in the world?

    With a laugh, Warren took her hand and abruptly spun her, automatically steadying her when she stumbled in surprise. "Cleo, my love, I think you have been on your own too long." He tapped her nose, entirely teasing. "You're starting to sound a bit loony." A thoughtful look crossed his face. "Though, the ice cream does sound good."

    Gray eyes narrowed after a moment, though, something involuntarily wild flashing in his gaze. It was probably something Cleo would have seen before, but as children it would have been easier to ignore, dismiss, forget. In a young werewolf it could have been passed off as mischief, something very human. Seeing it in an adult werewolf was something else entirely. It more than often sent a chill down the spine and made the hairs on people's arms raise, their weak instincts sensing danger, but unable to reason it out. In Warren, the looks passed quickly, and his words almost sounded playful, but in truth, he couldn't have been more serious.

    "No cats, though."

    Gah, he hated the creatures!
  14. The spinning motion brought her back to this world, her eyes blinking as she held on to Warren, or maybe it was Warren to held on to her, so she didn't fall on her butt. Slipping back into the conversation, Cleo pursed her lips when he said the word "loony". It was something she got often, and though it didn't particularly offend her, it reminded her of the fact that she really wouldn't have made it out to be a lawyer with her habit to ramble. It had been a habit since she was a child, a habit she couldn't seem to shake. Thankfully, most of the people who knew her were aware of it, so whenever she slipped off of her rocker they often brought her back before she got too lost. Warren was no exception to that, it seemed.

    "There is a ice cream shop just a block from here," she stated in a 'matter of fact' tone. "We can walk there, if you want."

    Cleo was prone to walking around, mainly because she often didn't go very far from her home. This time though, she had brought her car to the museum. Mainly because she wasn't sure how long she was going to stay, and she didn't want to get stuck walking late at night. The walking late at night didn't bother her, but she didn't feel the urge to taser or pepper spray someone at the moment, so she decided to drive her car. She hadn't noticed the quick expression that flew over his face because she was checking out exhibits and paintings as they walked and talked.

    "Oh!" she exclaimed. "I remember you don't like cats. And well, they don't like you very much either." She paused and shuddered, "But dogs are a no go for me. I don't think I could mentally handle one." She continued in a quiet voice, "So raising domestic animal farms are probably a no for us."

    Cleo, in a simple way to put it, was absolutely TERRIFIED of dogs. Any breed, size, gender, and age.

    Cleo didn't know when she had developed cynophobia, she just remembered that one day she was walking as a child, and the mere sight of a german shepherd made her freeze up in horror. She couldn't move, think, or even process what to do. She had even stopped breathing until the thing was out of sight, and even then she high tailed it in the opposite direction despite the fact that her home was in the direction the dog was going. As an adult, she had worked on it. Going to therapy after her mourning phase of Jethan's death, and her cynophobia was brought up. She could now be in a dogs presence, but if the thing touched her, she would be terrified beyond belief and the same fear would have its hold on her like all those years ago.
  15. "Sounds good."

    In fact, ice cream sounded very, very good all the sudden and Warren didn't know if it was because it had been such a long time since he'd had it or if it was the simple fact that he was spending time with Cleo and it was what she wanted to do. Either way, it was agreeable to him and walking had never bothered the werewolf at all. In fact, Warren would rather walk or run than do anything else. He didn't own a car, but a motorcycle for the simple reason that he couldn't stand being entrapped in a vehicle. He could tolerate it if the windows were rolled down, but not for long and only for certain reasons, certain people. It made him incredibly jumpy and snappy, though, and always had.

    Kind of like Cleo with dogs.

    The reminder made him flinch, something he hoped she didn't notice. Her reaction almost hurt, though, he knew she didn't meant it toward him. She couldn't possibly know that she WAS talking about him. The thought that she'd be terrified of him if she knew....all the more reason to make sure she never found out.

    If a golden retriever could make her freeze up, seeing a wolf - and one nearly twice the size of a normal sized wolf - would do irrevocable damage to his friend and that was the last thing Warren wanted. He wanted to keep Cleo safe and happy above anything else, even above his own needs. But still, knowing that what he truly was would scare her, harm sat like acid within him and he pushed it down deep to keep it from showing as they walked.

    "Well, that settles it then; we must continue our boring, drab existence and forgo the dream of a grand farm." He flashed her a smile, blond hair catching the light, turning the darker strands a vivid gold. "So, what kind of ice cream do you want?" Probably the lamest question ever, but it was better than lingering on this topic and for the moment, he wasn't sure what kind of topics might not be....'okay' right now.

    It had been so long since they'd been together. Warren didn't want this to end on any bad notes, especially since he knew this next job was going to be just as unpleasant as the former ones he'd taken.
  16. Cleo felt the slight jerk of movement, but since he kept walking and talking, she assumed he was fine. By the time she went to stare at him to make sure he was okay, he had schooled the grimace off his face so she was unaware. Maybe he tripped on his own feet, or stepped on a rock someone brought in by their own shoes. It was a mildly logical assumption since people merely did not flinch at talk of ice cream.

    As they slipped out of the museum the hot Los Angeles sun beat down on them, Cleo was glad she had worn her jean shorts, flip flops, and cream t-shirt in comparison to the skinny jeans, high tops, and flannel shirt she was going to wear earlier. The glares from other girls also added to heat Cleo was feeling. It was easy to see that a lot of girls were jealous at the moment, but she assumed they would laugh if they knew that Cleo and Warren were only friends.

    It hadn't even taken her a second to answer his question, "Mint chocolate chip, without a doubt."

    Mint chocolate chip was Cleo absolute favorite. She never liked the ice cream trucks because they usually never held it, and she would have to go buy tubs of ice cream at a local grocery store instead of having cool popsicles or ice cream bars like the other kids. It was annoying and inconvenient, but Cleo would do just about anything to get her hands on ice cream in this heat.

    Her eyes behind her glasses shined with child-like glee at the concept of ice cream. When Tanya was over, she couldn't have ice cream around or the pregnant woman would have a minor fit and tell Cleo she was trying to get her fat. It had become a habit to avoid ice cream mainly for that reason, and she hadn't bought a single bit since the pregnant woman left her apartment.

    She nudged Warren, "What about you? What are you going to get?"

    Cleo assumed the topic of ice cream was safe, mainly because she couldn't see how it wouldn't be. That was, unless a giant ice cream monster attacked Warren and scarred him for life. But then again that could be safely discharged since there was nothing on the news, and her friend was not scared of the topic. Unless that was why he jerked forward. Her thoughts paused, and she once again dragged herself out of the pit that contained all her crazy thoughts. She mentally chastised herself, lecturing herself that giant ice cream monsters were not real and that Warren could have easily put a blow dryer to them if he was actually attacked.
  17. Ah, he should have known. Always with the mint chocolate chip. He swore Cleo would do ANYTHING for that flavor of ice cream. The thought amused him as he pictured her standing on her head in a clown costume. Yes, he could see her doing that for mint chocolate chip. A grin spread across his face and Warren finally relaxed back to his 'normal' state again, which in reality wasn't very relaxed at all, but it was normal for him and he'd not known any different since he was eight. Even Cleo had never seen him act differently, so for all she knew, he was completely at ease right now.

    For the most part, Warren was in every HUMAN way that mattered. His canine side was anything but relaxed and it hadn't rested even a day since he'd been...separated from his pack. A lone wolf was never allowed to relax.

    "Anything with lots and lots of chocolate." was the firm reply. Warren LOVED chocolate. As a canine, it was poisonous to him. In his human form, he could eat it every once in a while and when he did get to eat it, he consumed it with relish. The light of happiness in his eyes was far more genuine now as he looked down into the shielded eyes of his human friend, seeing her expression clearly past the lenses and enjoying the shared delight in her gaze.

    "Race you."

    Oh, it was childish and downright silly, but Warren had never been above things like that. Not with Cleo. Not with the girl who'd taught him that such things were not bad, were essential to truly LIVING. He'd never forgotten the lessons and now the werewolf released the petite, dark-haired woman and took off with a laugh, knowing he was semi-cheating and not caring at all.

    He'd make sure he didn't lose her and maybe he'd even let her win the race.
  18. Cleo chuckled as he mentioned chocolate. As a child, he would always go for the more chocolaty things, often eating himself sick of it. It made her happy that her friend was almost excited about this as she was. It was not often he was seemingly excited about something, and it warmed her heart intensely that he had something to look forward to.

    Cleo stood gaping for a moment before she too took off after him. Cleo was not a runner, that's to say. Yes, she was fairly fit, and she could run fairly fast, but she was in flip flops. They were not made to be running shoes, so everyone could her the flapping noise they made as she tried to catch her friend who had gotten a head start.

    "Warren," she hissed, trying to hide her amusement. "You cheater! You got a head start! And your legs are longer! And you are a sheet of muscle! Give a girl a break." Though if she found out he gave her the race, she would litter him with punches and kicks.

    As much as she complained, she couldn't help the grin that slipped out. Pumping her arms up and down, and running to catch up, she huffed and puffed trying hard not to break out laughing. The people they passed smiled in amusement, while others rolled their eyes at the childish adults. Cleo didn't care though, this moment wasn't about them, it was about her and her friend.

    Deciding the flip flops were more of a hindrance than a help, she paused for the slightest second and took them off. Bounding forward on the hot cement, she squeaked, but kept running like mad. She just wasn't quite sure as to why he didn't seem to be getting farther away from her even though she had stopped for a moment. Then it clicked and she huffed angrily, pushing herself harder.

    She yelled, "Warren, I swear to god, if you aren't even trying," she paused considering her words. Her first threat that came to mind was castrating him, but she abruptly changed it due to the fact that there were children. So she huffed another threat, "I shall throw something at you! Something heavy! And painful!"
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  19. The werewolf heard her easily, very easily with the kind of hearing he possessed, and promptly burst into laughter at her threat, looking back over his shoulder briefly to flash Cleo a truly cheeky grin before he purposely put on a burst of speed, leaving her far behind - and yet not even reaching anywhere NEAR the speed he could go as a supernatural creature - and reaching the ice cream shop first.

    The blond male then proceeded to lean against the building, arms crossed over his chest as he waited for the human to catch up. And when she did, his gray eyes danced with the same laughter he'd voiced earlier but knew better than to give into now. "There, I tried." The smile widened. "And won."

    He knew the last part would most-likely earn him a hit from Cleo, but Warren didn't mind. Chances were she was going to smack him anyway or would before the day was out, and the truth was that he liked the reasons behind the actions - the affection and teasing of such gestures. It reminded him of the nips his brother used to give him when they'd run together. It caused both nostalgia and happiness when Cleo created a similar feeling of acceptance within him and Warren didn't mind that.

    "Jeez, you've gotten slow." he teased, poking in the stomach as she'd done to him not a few minutes before. "What have you been doing? Getting all soft? I'll have to race you for ice cream more often, get you back into shape!" The werewolf moved away swiftly to avoid anymore smacks or headbutts - as Cleo was still prone to those as she'd shown - for his words and instead pushed the door to the shop open, the bell ringing against the glass.

    Holding it open for Cleo, he gently pushed her in and followed behind, subtly inhaling the scent of mild, cream, ice and all the various flavors of ice cream in the place. His nose and then his feet took him right to the chocolate as if he'd been drawn by a magnet.
  20. Sucking in air, Cleo bent over and let out a sigh of air. She gave Warren the stink eye, but could not seriously keep it up and she broke into a fit of giggles. Cleo smacked the hand that poked her playfully, giving him a quick reminder that she did not forget that poke even after he ushered her inside. Her track of mind got lost as she saw the light fluffy green of the chocolate chip mint ice cream.

    Cleo, on most occasions was not poetic. It was only when she felt extremely silly that she would slip into deep meaningful verses that either touched people's hearts or made them break in a fit of hearty laughter. But when it came to mint ice cream, it was better then a midday at the beach where the sun graced your skin with gentle kisses and the waves lapped at your feet in the loving caress that paled in comparison to a touch of a lover. Thankfully, she did not say such a thing out loud because she knew she was not a good poet, and she would have turned the brightest shade of pink that her pale skin allowed her to.

    In her state of poetic admiration of a cool treat, she ALMOST forgot the fact that he called her soft. Almost. He received another thwack on the arm, a swift but halfhearted punch. Grumbling, "First you say I am skinny and short, and now you call me soft and out of shape. You really can't choose the nice medium, can you?" Her voice turned into a snicker though as she teased while addressing him by his last name, "You test my nerves, Forester."

    She nudged him out of the way, mainly so she could go first, and ordered her favorite thing in the whole entire ice cream world with extra chocolate chips. Her steps were light and happy. One because she was getting ice cream, something she hadn't ate in forever. Two, because she was with her best friend also. Two of her favorite things, today would most likely be bliss.

    After ordering the largest amount of ice cream she could get in a cone, which was quite a large amount, she grinned from ear to ear. Slipping up her sunglasses to above her forehead, one could see her eyes crinkle at the sides in delight. She dug through her purse for her wallet and some cash and waited for Warren, whom she cut in line, at the register so she could pay.