Crescent Moon (Chapter 24)
"Diana?" Cassandra grabbed my forearm as Marie scurried away to intercept her daughter-in-law, and squeezed hard.
I wasn't. Not really. I wanted to sit down, maybe lie down, or stand up, maybe throw up. What I did was drag Cassandra away from the Favreaus' and back to her place. Luckily, it wasn't a long trip.
Once inside the cool, shadowed interior, I sat at her kitchen table and put my head between my knees.
"Don't faint on me," she snapped.
"I donor faint."
"You're doing a damn good imitation." She sat, too. "The wolf at the window?"
Slowly I lifted my head and nodded.
I'd told her my dream, that I'd seen a wolf with human eyes, but I hadn't mentioned whose eyes they were. From the expression on her face, she already knew.
"When you saw the wolf, where was Adam?"
"In bed with me." I took a deep breath, let it out slowly. "Must have been a dream after all."
"Or a premonition."
"I don't have premonitions."
Cassandra went silent. Still a little woozy, I was having a hard time assimilating the information, having no luck at all interpreting it
"You dreamed of a wolf with human eyes before we knew that werewolves have them." She glanced in my direction. "Human eyes, I mean."
"Probably just a coincidence."
"A coincidence is running into someone right after you thought about them. What you described to me is not a coincidence."
"What is it then?"
"Damn, you're helpful."
She didn't rise to the bait. Why I was baiting her, I wasn't sure. Right now, she was the only friend I had, the only person I trusted. I tried to make amends by making excuses.
"Maybe I read something about werewolves in the past and my subconscious remembered. I read a lot of bizzaro stuff."
"My husband never mentioned it, though."
Cassandra cast me a sharp glance. "He saw one?"
"So he said."
Out on the moors, D-baby. A man became a wolf and then ran beneath the full moon.
"I'm thinking he didn't get close enough to see the eyes." Until that last night anyway.
"There's one thing that bugs me," Cassandra murmured
Thrilled to leave the memory of Simon and his death behind, I jumped on the comment "Just one?"
She didn't bother to acknowledge my attempt at levity. "Why is it a wolf?"
"Or maybe I should ask, how is it a wolf?"
"Cassandra, what are you talking about?"
"Marie Favreau said wolves make wolves."
"If we can believe her. If she isn't crazy."
"Do you think she is?"
"If she is, I am." I rubbed my forehead. "I don't feel crazy."
"Crazy people never do."
"Har-har. Could we get back to the topic at hand, which I'm still not clear on?"
'If it takes a wolf to make a wolf, where did the first wolf come from?"
"Is that a riddle?"
Cassandra ignored me again. She was getting very good at it "No wolves in Louisiana. That's what got you here in the first place."
"There were wolves once. Red wolves."
"Is this a red wolf?"
I shook my head. "Too big, too black, too timber wolfy."
"Which brings us back to the curse."
"According to you," I murmured, "man became beast with no biting involved."
"But why a wolf? Why not an alligator, or a snake, or a leopard for that matter?"
I had a bad feeling. Without asking permission, I headed for Cassandra's office, started clicking away on her computer before she even got there.
"What are you thinking, Diana?" she asked.
"Names have power," I muttered.
Seconds later I saw how much.
" 'Ruelle,'" I read." 'French for "famous wolf."'"
Cassandra drew in a quick, sharp breath.
"That's why the curse created a wolf."
"We don't know for sure – " she began.
"Maybe not" I stood and started for the door. "But I plan to find out"
No wonder he'd said there wasn't a loup-garou. No wonder he'd volunteered to be my guide. No wonder he'd distracted me with the sex of a lifetime.
What better way to make sure I never found what I'd come to find? If I was looking forward, I wasn't seeing what was right under me – had been right under me more than a few times.
"Wait" Cassandra called. "You need to take a weapon."
"I don't suppose you have any silver bullets handy."
"No, but – " She hurried into the shop, murmuring to Lazarus when he hissed. As I stepped through the beads hanging in the doorway, she slapped her knife into my palm. "Silver, through and through."
The idea of shoving a knife into Adam –
"Believe me, Diana, if he grows fangs and a tail, you can."
"What if he doesn't?" I glanced at the window. "It's daytime."
"Touch him with the thing. See if he smokes."
"Terrific," I muttered. "He's going to think I'm insane."
"Good. If this is insane, then he isn't the loup-garou."
And we had a whole new set of problems. Because if Adam wasn't, who was?
Cassandra bit her lip. "Maybe I should go, too."
"So he can kill both of us?"
"He isn't going to kill you."
"If he wanted you dead, you'd be dead already."
"You could take Detective Sullivan along. He wants to talk to Ruelle anyway."
I considered the notion, men put it away. "Adam isn't going to tell me the truth if I bring a cop. Besides, he hasn't hurt me. He might hurt Sullivan."
"You have to let me know you're all right Tell me what happened, what he said."
"By – " She glanced at her watch. "Seven o'clock."
"In the morning?"
If I was wrong about Adam, I might have to make it up to him. Considering the accusation, that could take a while.