Secrets of the Dead 03
Author's Note:There is mild m/f sex in this chapter, put there for a purpose. It shouldn't be considered too graphic, especially by today's standards. Also, previous warnings still apply. Pic Credit: Kay Morgan
The next three days went off much like the first. I spent my days at work and then Shasta would pick me up, and we’d spend the evening going through another coyote ritual. The only other marking I received was a tattoo of her paw print on my lower back and she was the very proud owner of a pink and blue butterfly with glittering sparks on her upper right arm. Since then, there wasn’t a time where she wore anything but sleeveless shirts or tank tops.
All morning on Friday I was nervous and excited with expectation for the weekend at Shasta’s. Due to that, I was making all sorts of mistakes and Celia had to relegate me to floor work. She realized the problem and dealt with it without saying anything, which I was thankful for. By lunchtime though, she’d had enough and told me to take off early.
I called Shasta and then grabbed my bag containing a lot more of my possessions from my apartment downstairs as I waited impatiently for her to roll up.
“Kendra,” she said as she stepped through the door.
There was only one customer in the back of the store and Celia was at the register eying us.
After our greeting, Shasta looked disappointed with me. “You need to learn patience, pet. I’m not pleased that this is interfering with your work.”
I looked down feeling my face heat up and then looked over at Celia who was mildly surprised when Shasta faced her.
“My apologies, Arbiter. I’ll make sure my mate has a better control of her emotions by Monday so it won’t interfere with her duties.”
Celia opened her mouth to say something and then closed it. It was one of the things that she wanted in the first place so how could she complain when Shasta supported her?
“I’m sorry, Aunt Celia.”
She shook her head with a mild smile. “It’s okay. I know how important this weekend is for you. Have a… good time, I guess.”
When she centered her gaze on my future mate, Celia nodded. “And you make sure she stays safe. I’m trusting you with my sister’s only child and the future of the Redferne witches. I’m too old for my own children.”
Shasta grinned playfully. “I respectfully disagree, Arbiter. There are a number of males in my train that are available for you. They would be proud to sire your children.”
Celia actually laughed at that. “I’m already thirty-two, Shasta. It’s not over the hill, but I’m past my prime.”
With a shrug Shasta approached the register with my elbow in her grasp. “If you were to choose joining our train then your body would be in its prime for another decade at least. It’s more than enough time to bear several children. At least allow me to send the available men around for your perusal to see if there is any that…” Shasta smiled with a teasing lift of her lips. “… pique your interest.”
My aunt paused at that, probably running a quick fantasy in her head, but then, just as quickly dismissed the idea.
“That’s not necessary, Shasta.”
“As you wish.” She turned to me and lightly squeezed. “Now then, let’s go and begin our life together, pet.”
When we returned to what I was now considering my home, Shasta had me go upstairs and change back into male body and wear the clothes she had laid out for me. To say I was somewhat surprised at the outfit would be true. It consisted of a pair of very small, thin, and stretchy brown boy shorts and what had to be a baby tank top that only came down to the top of my lower rib cage. It barely concealed anything, baring almost all of my slowly fading marks and my tattoo to anyone that cared to see.
As I said sometime near the beginning of my tale, I was a very average person. That is to say I exercised moderately, and ate a healthy diet, so there was a little definition to my body in terms of muscle, but not much. Since I preferred the appearance of women over men, I tended to keep my body fairly feminine looking. That didn’t mean I could pass looking like I did, though the waist length hair helped in that regard.
The community was gated off for the weekend because of the celebrations, so it wasn’t like anyone that I didn’t know would see me, but I still felt very self-conscious nonetheless. My normal mode of dress was at the very least shorts and a normal tee. Exposing so much skin was not normally in my nature, but this is what I signed up for when I started taking this whole thing seriously.
It all sounds very weird, I know. With the role reversal of gender expectations, I knew I’d be hanging on Shasta’s arm like a regular human girl would for her boyfriend. Males in the train were supposed to show off their bodies. I was just thankful for the small tee that I was wearing. If I had to go totally shirtless, my skin would probably be a splotchy red from embarrassment.
Slipping on a pair of sandals, I sat down and brushed out my waist length hair until it was free of tangles and flowed straight down my back. The only exception was a single hairclip that I wore at the crown of my head to pull the hair out of my face and above my ears to show off my earring.
When I went downstairs, Shasta sat the phone down and I could see the desire in her eyes.
“There are going to be several jealous females at the feast tonight, pet. You look absolutely scrumptious.”
I swallowed nervously. “Will the other guys be wearing something similar?”
She nodded as she approached me. “Yes, but none of them will wear it so well as you.”
Shasta palmed my butt as she kissed me deeply. She didn’t even break it off before she scooped me up and brought me over to the couch to set me down. When she finally leaned back, her hand was bushing back and forth along my hardened member as it strained against the spandex.
“Very nice,” she said as she looked in my eyes. “Did you bring your virility potion?”
I nodded. “And I’ve countered my contraceptive potion, so I hope you’re ready for motherhood sometime soon.”
Shasta grinned. “I have been ready for the last two years, pet. I just needed the proper father for our child.”
All the while she stroked me easily over the spandex, teasing me until I wanted nothing but for her to slide the shorts off and take me right there.
“Now, I need your decision as to the method of introducing you to the train. Will it be the old ways or do you want an injection of my blood?”
I’d performed a lot of research on the subject of bite versus bottle, which it was called amongst the coyotes. There was much more respect given from the older generation if it was though a bite. They respected a man that could take the pain and show the scars, while most men preferred the bottle, or rather an injection of their mate’s blood directly into a vein. Granted, there weren’t a lot of coyotes made anymore. They were mostly born naturally.
“The bite,” I whispered.
Shasta raised an eyebrow and looked at my smooth inner thighs where it was traditionally placed. “Are you sure, pet? I won’t let the attitudes of the older generation influence your decision.”
I scooted down and spread my legs in response. “Do it, Shasta; please.”
She gave me a solemn nod and worked her fingers beneath my shorts to tug them down enough to free me. Her hand stroked me lightly as I closed my eyes. A moment later I felt her mouth on the head and her tongue swirling around as she took me deeper into her mouth as I sighed.
“Oh, Goddess that feels good.”
Shasta’s left hand kneaded my right inner thigh where she was going to place the bite as she worked me in and out of her mouth. A moment later, I opened my eyes and looked down at her.
Her eyes had gone yellow and she looked so into her inner coyote that I was afraid to say anything as I neared completion. Yes, I was that worked up that I couldn’t last for more than a minute or two under her ministrations. The sexual endorphins, that would help me blur the line between pleasure and pain, coursed throughout my body, bringing me nearer and nearer.
“I’m close, Shasta. I’m ready,” I said through pants.
Faster than I thought possible, she withdrew and her face changed to allow her teeth to sharpen and grow. My eyes widened at the look of those long canines appeared quite deadly if used in an angry way. Then she plunged them into my leg, biting past my skin and almost into the meat of my thigh as a she continued to pump at my hard member.
I gasped at the pleasure she gave me, but mostly at the pain when I finally reached my orgasm.
My voice reached a high pitched keening before Shasta pulled back and licked at the wound with her tongue until I came down off my high and the wound started to close over.
Her face had already shifted back to normal as she made her way up my body, cleaning me of my emissions until eventually reached my mouth where we shared another long kiss.
“You did so well, pet,” she said as I was cradled in her arms and she was stroking my long hair.
In fact my entire thigh was pulsing where the injury was sustained. It was almost like I could feel a piece of Shasta inside me, coursing through my veins, heating my blood.
“It will hurt until your first change, but that won’t be until later. Do you feel up to moving around?”
I snuggled deeper in her arms. “Do we have to?”
She chuckled and tilted my head up so I could see her properly. “The more active you are, the quicker the coyote moves through your body and makes the necessary changes.”
It sounded like a virus and considering how lightheaded I felt, I almost believed it was. That was where the difference between science and magic took place. One of the big reasons shifters and lycanthropes aren’t believed to be real was because their blood and saliva were like everyone else. It was their inherent magic that allowed the delivery and it was passed off though the action of the bite or through the purposeful injection of their blood into someone else. That’s why accidental changes were bull and the Arbiter punished those that did it.
“Where is your potion? I’ll retrieve it before we leave.”
Shasta shifted until I was lounging on the couch and she was free.
“In the outside pocket of my bag. I can take it now. It’ll last for twenty four hours.”
She stopped and bent down with a lascivious grin. “You’ll stay rigid for twenty four hours? Won’t that hurt after a while?”
I smiled and pulled her to me for a kiss. “It doesn’t work like that. Any attention given to my… any attention given to it will make it hard no matter how many times I have sex. If it’s being ignored then it’ll soften.”
When she brushed a lock of hair away from my face she asked, “And if I constantly give you attention?”
I narrowed my eyes. “Then I’ll stay hard even after I orgasm.”
Shasta stood quickly. “Then you must make a lot of this potion. The women of the train often complain that their men can’t keep up with them.”
I shrugged. “It’s easy to make, but the ingredients are expensive. One batch, which is enough for six doses, costs about a hundred and fifty dollars in ingredients and it can’t be taken all the time; only about once every couple of days.”
“Twenty-five dollars for a full day’s worth of constant sex?” She laughed. “Pet, you underestimate how frustrated our women are. They’d gladly pay a hundred dollars a dose for results like that. I’ll be right back.”
I took the time to pull my hot pants back up so that I was covered and then looked down and touched the bite lightly. The odd thing was that even though it looked a little raw, it wasn’t scabbed over and it wasn’t bleeding. From what I’ve seen, this was one bite that would eventually scar over and never leave me. Even tattoos fade over time, but the scar left behind from a bite like this would never fade. I was permanently marked by my lover and I was happy about it. How weird was that?
When Shasta returned, I swallowed the potion and set the vial aside as she watched.
“How soon will it take to work?”
“It’s working right now?” I said with a teasing smile. “I’m your sex slave for the next twenty four hours.”
Her eyes flashed yellow and stayed that way before she gave me a casual stroke with her hand. Immediately I responded to her touch and grew to a strained rigidness in less than thirty seconds. Shasta arranged it so I was bent to the side and the head was touching my hip bone.
“Excellent. It’s time to go.”
My eyes widened in surprise. “You want me to go out there hard like this?”
“Of course. Trust me; the men will be jealous and the women envious that you are mine and showing off your prowess like this. We are a coyote train, pet. It is part of our nature. Displaying your virility like this is considered much like a human woman displays her cleavage or a long line of leg. If you feel yourself easing off let me know and I’ll bring you back to attention.”
I nodded in understanding. There was a lot that I had to get used to and losing my predilection toward human inhibitions was my primary goal. I seriously didn’t want to embarrass Shasta in front of the train by being overly shy about showing my body, because she wasn’t the least bit shy about putting hers on display.
The only thing she wore was a solid brown string bikini top and a pair of jean cutoffs. Shasta didn’t even wear sandals.
Since I was a virgin, I’d never used the virility potion before. All I knew about was the textbook teachings. Needless to say I thought I was going to regret telling her about it.
We mounted her bike and rode out behind the community where a large private forest stood that was teaming with small wildlife. It looked as if every coyote in the area was there with tents set up, barbeque was cooking, and games were being played. It almost looked like a big company picnic if the employees were a little risqué with their wardrobe.
My tension eased off when I saw a large number of men dressed as I was. There were a bunch of men that were dressed in shorts and a bare torso as well. They were the unclaimed males or those that were too young to be claimed.
We parked and Shasta reached around to brush against me, probably assuring that I stayed in slightly embarrassing display. The constant strain didn’t really hurt as I thought it would. I just felt like I wanted to jump my lover right there. The constant teasing was going to drive me insane by day’s end if she didn’t do anything about it.
“We’ll meet my mother first and then proceed down the hierarchy. Remember to only speak to the women if they speak directly to you until after all the introductions. Then you may talk to anyone you like.”
I nodded and looked up at her. “What about the men?”
“Afterward, pet; introductions first.”
The Queen Bitch, Halona Windrunner, had the biggest tent where she was surrounded by a number of women that I assumed were the leaders of the train. They were all drinking sodas and various juices when we approached. Their eyes acknowledged Shasta and then moved over my body with obvious appreciation. It was Halona that had her eyes glued to my tented boy shorts with an arched eyebrow and her tongue at the corner of her mouth.
“Mother, may I present the nephew of Arbiter Celia Redferne, the son of Laura, my chosen, Kenneth Redferne.”
Two of the women moved behind me, but I kept my eyes on Halona. Shasta cocked her head and glared at the two women.
“A Redferne witch willing to lower himself to being a coyote,” the Queen said. “I never thought I’d see the day.”
I grit my teeth in response since she hadn’t directed a question toward me.
“And judging by my daughter’s teeth marks on your thigh, you’ve already taken the bite.”
“Mother,” snapped Shasta. “Kenneth is my chosen!”
Halona’s eyes shifted to her daughter and turned yellow. “You question my right to deny his acceptance?”
There were a few murmurs from the other women in the area and I could see a few of them shifted from one foot to the other. I recognized a cross between nervousness and preparation for fighting.
Shasta stepped forward and slightly in front of me. One hand covered a very sensitive place on my body. I thought it was weird to cop a feel as someone was talking to their mother. She wasn’t really doing anything, just covering me, like she was protecting her property or something.
“You have never denied any woman her chosen, so yes I’m questioning your attitude in regards to a very powerful witch and the person I love being introduced into our bloodline.”
Halona slowly stood and bristled at Shasta’s tense voice.
“You will watch your mouth, daughter. I will not tolerate that attitude in front of witnesses.”
Shasta’s muscles tightened, but I couldn’t see her face. “Do not push me on this. You know I won’t put up with it. Your time is coming to an end, Mother.
All through this I couldn’t see anything due to Shasta’s tall build, so I looked from side to side to see some of the women. They didn’t seem at all dismayed by what was going on in front of them. Several of them had already relaxed and resumed sipping at their drinks like this was all an act.
“The brevity of youth. Very well, Shasta Windrunner. I accept your chosen.”
At that point it almost sounded rehearsed. Shasta stepped to the side and I was surprised to see Halona already standing there with an amused expression on her face.
“Welcome to our train Kenneth Redferne.” She stepped in and kissed me on the lips then brushed her cheek along mine. I nearly jumped when she ran her hand along my hardness briefly. “Impressive. Most men wilt when in front of me.”
I didn’t know what that exactly said about her, but in my opinion it wasn’t a good thing.
“Shasta’s chosen well. I expect you to give her strong daughters and dutiful sons. Will you?”
Finally, I could speak. “If it’s the Goddess’s will I hope we are blessed with healthy children. It will be our duty to see that they are raised according to the train’s teachings including that of the Redferne heritage.”
She arched her eyebrow in amusement. “I see a fighter in you, Kenneth. Good. Shasta needs a strong hand and a powerful mate, not a weak-willed child.”
I bowed my head to her with respect.
“Come my sisters and meet your future Head Dog.”
The next hour and a half I must have kissed and brushed cheeks with a couple hundred people while Shasta stood behind me with her arms encircling my waist occasionally caressing me to make sure I stood at attention. The women were a little grabby at first until I heard Shasta growl, then they stayed respectful. Once it switched to the men I was amazed at how gentle and affectionate they were. It was nothing for a masculine guy to kiss another on the lips in greeting and even give the occasional pet as well.
Their community was something I always wanted to see in human society. Perhaps it was the matriarchal influence at play, but they seemed to be more accepting of sexuality and gender fluidity than anyone I’d ever met.
Some of the men were clearly effeminate and their mate overly masculine for a female, but it worked.
When I greeted the last man, I swayed noticeably and Shasta held firm to my hips.
“I’m dizzy, Shasta. It’s so hot.”
In a second I was in her arms and being brought to a lounge chair. “Lawrence, bring Kenneth something cold.”
Once I was situated she pulled my hair out of the way. Lifted my left eyelid and looked at me with concern. “You’re in the last stages of the change, pet. A little earlier than you should be. It’s not even dark yet.”
“There’s so much magic in the air,” I said weakly. And there was.
It’s difficult to describe the feeling. The closest thing that comes to mind is a convection oven, only not nearly as hot. It felt as if every molecule of air around me was saturated with magic rushing across my skin and sinking into each pore. Considering I was amidst of a couple hundred thercoyotes, and the magic of the change was coursing through my body, I should have known this was coming.
I closed my eyes and then felt a cool wet cloth pressed to my forehead and dabbed at my cheeks. Ice water trickled in my mouth and I felt better but still weak.
“He’s a strong one,” Halona said from behind me. “It’s been since my childhood that I’ve seen a coyote come into their own before moonrise. Trista, Patricia, close the sides. It’s time for Shasta to cover her mate.”
The sun went away and I heard a fan being turned on before a cool breeze rushed across my body. All the noises went away and it was just Shasta and me.
“It’s time, pet. Are you ready?”
My mind wasn’t really on what was happening. I felt feverish and drunk at the same time.
“Ready for what?”
My boy shorts were pulled down and I felt Shasta taking me inside her as she took hold of my wrists and held me down.
“This is the fun part. We get to have sex until you start to change.”
I chuckled and then groaned when she tightened around me as she pulled away and then thrust herself back down.
An eternity of pleasure went by as I lost how many times we reached climax. At first they came quick and then each time after I lost count as it took longer and longer, prolonging the pleasure. I was lost in a sea of darkness and then bright lights. I remember hearing Shasta call out for drinks at one point so we could rehydrate, but she never stopped grinding against me in all that time. I swear she had thighs and buns of steel to keep a brutal pace like that.
Eventually, she stopped and looked at me with an elated look on her face. “Pet, it’s happening. Remember to listen to me and no other when you shift. Can you do that?”
I nodded in exhaustion as Shasta rolled to the side and exhaled as she cupped herself and groaned.
Where one would think that there would be a lot of pain involved with bones shifting hair sprouting, arms and legs bending unnaturally, and a body contorting to an entirely new shape, I didn’t feel a thing. It simply happened. One moment I was a male witch and the next – well more like a few nexts as it actually took a handful of seconds– I was a coyote.
I lay there quickly panting and legs twitching. The only sound coming from my mouth was the mild whimpering of a confused canine. In front of me, Shasta was on her hands and knees grinning at me like a fool.
“Kenneth, it’s done. You’re beautiful, my dearest pet.”
She ran her hand across my head and down the length of my body even along a new appendage, my tail! When she let go I felt it thumping against the ground. Then I took in all my improved senses.
My eyesight sharpened a little, but the most noticeable difference was my sense of smell. The world had come alive right inside my nose. Hundreds of things that I wasn’t familiar with held my interest, but the most intense scent was Shasta and our lovemaking. It was everywhere.
“Stand for me, Kenneth.”
It took me a second to understand what she was saying, but I got it right with a little difficulty. Standing on four legs is much different than two. I just thought I’d tell you that so you’d know.
“Don’t try to overthink it. Just let your body do what I tell you,” she said. “It already knows how to move.”
Looking up at her, I licked her face several times and she laughed.
“There you go. That’s the spirit.”
I watched as she backed up a step and then shifted into her light colored coyote shape. Shasta yipped at me and I instinctively sat and lowered my muzzle. She opened her mouth and covered mine with hers. I knew this was a form of coyote dominance. If I accepted that she was stronger and a better fighter than I was then I was supposed to stay still until she released me.
When she did, I stood back up and we brushed up against one another several times while I explored all of the scents that marked her body. It was exhilarating. At one point she knocked me to the ground and rolled over me several times as I playfully kicked at her, then she let me up and we licked each other’s muzzles until Shasta reverted back to her human form.
“Come, Kenneth. It’s time you met your train. Remember to listen to me only.”
I barked once and stayed very close to her side as we left the large tent and a whole new world opened up to me. Everyone was much taller, of course, and all their attention was on me. From my right, a blackish male trotted up and sniffed at my nose for a moment. I rightfully sniffed back, immediately recognized Miwok’s scent and happily barked at him. He yipped a couple of times and then bumped me forward.
Cheers rang up through the crowd as Shasta escorted me past them all so they could get a good look at my coat and markings. There was one male that held a video camera and another that was taking pictures of me as we passed.
When we reached the edge of the crowd, Shasta stopped and knelt down.
“Okay, now, I want you to concentrate on what you look like. Set it in your mind and think about changing back to your human form. Don’t worry about your clothes. They’ll come back. Just concentrate on your body.”
I sat down and lowered my head doing as she instructed. It took a good half minute before I got it down and found myself sitting on the ground as normal as I ever was.
There were a few whistles and some lighthearted clapping as Shasta scooted closer and kissed me.
She brought forth the piercing kit and Shasta withdrew the needle and a different ring with a dangling platinum paw print hanging from it. I moved my hair out of the way and waited patiently as she gave me the mating ring in the daith position at the front of my ear.
“Now you are officially my mate.”
I grinned happily and wrapped my arms around her neck to give her a deep kiss.
“Cripes, Kenny, isn’t two hours of straight sex enough?” Miwok said with amazement. “You’re still hard as a rock!”
I looked at Shasta. “Two hours?”
She nodded and brushed her nose against mine. “If I’m not pregnant after a pint of the stuff you shot into me, I don’t know what will do it, but I’m willing to head to bed if there’s more in there.”
Glancing at Miwok, I smiled. “I’m off to do my husbandly duty. Call me tomorrow if you want my secret.”
Carolyn slid her arm around her mate’s waist. “He’ll be calling you. In fact a lot of the men will be calling you.”
The next morning I awoke on top of Shasta, mostly anyway. She was on her back and I was cradled nicely under her chin.
I smiled against her. “Morning, mate. Feeling up for more?”
She chuckled and it felt good to hear from my position. “I hate to say it, but I’m really sore. I don’t think I’ll be able to do anything until later.”
“I brought a healing balm for that. I’ve read reports about the virility potion. I thought I’d be prepared.”
We showered and Shasta treated me like I was a precious jewel as she washed every inch of me and then took care of my hair as well. Having grown it to waist length, it quickly became her pride and joy. In fact, she loved it when I went overly feminine even with my male body. My cologne got tossed out and replaced with light perfume. The clothes she liked to see me in were bright colored and made out of either extremely soft or silky material. Well, that or leather. Shasta was a big fan of all types of leather. I got to wear the suede or calfskin and she had the tougher stuff.
My footwear was mostly boots with at least a three inch heel on them. Since they didn’t make men’s boots that way, I was treated to a shopping trip that included at least a dozen pair of women’s styles. The salesman gave us an odd look, but in the end a sale was a sale and he made almost a thousand dollars off Shasta that day.
When we weren’t celebrating our union, I was running around the house making it my own, taking control of the traditional duties of a housewife. It was a complete rush. I was so incredibly happy with my life that I wanted to call everyone and annoy them like so many of my older friends did when they got married, but I resisted.
My joy only quieted when Monday morning came around and Shasta dropped me off at the magic shop.
“I’m going to miss you today,” I said with a pout.
Shasta was sitting astride her bike palming my suede covered butt like she owned it, which she did, at least in my mind.
“Do your duty to your aunt, pet. I’ll be here at four to pick you up.”
With a grin I kissed her. “I’ve got a nice dinner planned for us tonight so no big snacking this afternoon.”
She shook her head in amusement. “You are the perfect mate. Mother had nothing to ever be worried about.”
After that, Shasta squeezed my butt and kissed me one more time before sending me off to work.
Celia gave me a really odd look when I went into the office and started to count out the money for the till.
“What?” I said, wondering if I had something on my face.
“You’re not a girl today.” Leaning over a little to take in my outfit she sat back up. “But you’re dressed like one.”
I frowned at her. “You want me to go put on some makeup?”
Her breasts bounced a little with amusement as she chuckled. “Well, your brows are thin enough. You could probably pull it off.”
I was kidding, but what the heck. “If it won’t bother you I’ll do it.”
“Honey, our store is in the middle of the gay, lesbian, and transgender community. There isn’t a whole heck of a lot that will shock me anymore. If it’ll make you feel better, go right ahead.”
“Okay, I’ll get the register set up first. Did we get that shipment of applewood this weekend?”
“All right,” she said as she stood up. “I know you better than that. Show me.”
“What?” I said innocently.
Celia glared at me. “Honey, ever since you’ve lived with me you’ve always had an intense desire to show off every little thing you’ve ever learned. Let’s see your coyote.”
I licked my lips and leaned back. “Are you sure? The last I heard, you weren’t all that excited about me going through with it.”
She leaned on my desk and crossed her arms. “Are you happy?”
All I did was smile.
“Fine. Then I’m happy too. Now show off how beautiful you are.”
Pushing back from the desk I stood and then concentrated on my form. I’d been practicing it all weekend so I had the shift down to an almost instinctual movement. In a few seconds I was standing there wagging my tail at Celia as I looked up at her.
Her eyes opened wide and she crouched down, cautiously holding a hand out, palm up.
I took in her scent and rubbed my muzzle on her hand for a moment until the shock had passed for her. Then I leaned into her hand as she scratched behind my ears and ran her hand along my back.
“Okay, I’m impressed. You’re beautiful. Now go get your makeup on.”
She opened the door for me and I trotted off downstairs until I was in front of my apartment door before changing back. I didn’t go overboard with the makeup, only concentrating on widening my eyes and adding some neutral lipstick. Afterward, I put some powder on to lessen the shine of my skin and then I went back upstairs.
“That looks nice on you,” she said when I was inspected. “You should do this more often.”
Celia held me by the shoulders. “It’s good that you’re getting comfortable with your male side, Kenny, even if it’s more female than most.”
“Shasta likes it.”
She pointed at me. “The important thing is that you like it.”
Surprisingly enough my feet weren’t killing me by the end of my shift. Wearing Michael Michael Kors Berkshire boots with four inch heels was problematic when I first put them on, but they were very comfortable and they had the added advantage of bringing me up in height so I didn’t feel so short standing next to Shasta.
“Good afternoon, Arbiter,” I heard my mate say from across the store. It was a few seconds later that I caught her scent and felt myself get excited.
Just the sound of her voice was enough to make me want her.
“Call me Celia. We’re family now.”
Shasta seemed pleased at that. “I’d be delighted to; thank you.”
Finishing up with the facing before the next shift came in, I made my way over and greeted my mate.
“Hello, pet. I’m supposed to remind you to pick up the ingredients you need.”
I bounced. “Oh, right. Thanks. I’d have a lot of coyotes ticked off if I forgot. Be right back.”
Even in human form my hearing was quite acute due to the coyote’s senses. I just had to make sure I was facing the right way since I couldn’t rotate my ears. I made sure to do just that when I pulled the ingredients from the restock supplies. That way I didn’t disturb the displays.
“I’ve never seen Kenny this content,” said Celia
“Your nephew is an amazing man. The train is lucky to have him, and I’m even luckier.”
There was a lengthy pause and then my aunt asked, “Is there any reason he’s dressing up in girl’s clothes.”
“I admit it is my influence. It’s one of the reasons I chose to pursue him… his penchant to blur the lines between male and female. Among the train I’m known for my… eccentricities. I prefer more feminine men. Since Kenneth enjoys both sides, I’ve encouraged him to explore.”
“You do not approve?”
I took my time under one table so that I could hear better.
“There are people out there that would hurt him when they realize he is a man underneath the clothes. As feminine as he appears makeup doesn’t hide the fact that he is a man.”
“Hmph. Before they set one hand on him it would be snapped off at the wrist. Kenneth can take care of himself here, especially with your presence. Otherwise he will be with me and nobody would dare touch him while I have anything to say on the matter.”
I moved over and retrieved a new cauldron, taking my time to make sure the bottom with thick enough.
“You could always end his Arbiter training. We both know his base form would switch to female and you won’t have to worry about it. We also know he’s ready. The only thing he lacks is experience in the job.”
“I fear for his safety. I won’t be there to protect him and I promised his mother, before she died, that I would.”
“I understand. If it would make you feel any better, I will always be by his side. If for some reason I’m not then I will make sure the train’s best fighters are with him.”
Celia sighed. “Understand something, Shasta Windrunner. If my nephew dies because…”
“You needn’t worry, Arbiter. My life without my mate wouldn’t be worth living. I’d be dead within a month.”
I thought the conversation had taken a turn for the worse and decided to end it by approaching the counter. Celia’s eyes were welled up and slightly red. They shifted between Shasta and me several times before she turned.
“Kenny, come with me. Shasta, I’ll have to ask you to stay here.”
She nodded and leaned against the counter as one of the afternoon girls came in. I followed my aunt downstairs to the antiquities room.
“You don’t have to do this, Aunt Celia.”
She looked over her shoulder at me strangely.
“I could hear every word that you two said.” Pointing at my ear I said, “Coyote hearing.”
She rolled her eyes and continued down the hall. “Well then I don’t have to explain. Now you know why I’ve been holding you back. I’m aware you passed all the tests and you are more familiar with the laws than I was when I became an Arbiter the day I turned eighteen. Besides, I could use the help. Our territory is too big for only one Arbiter.”
When we arrived at the antiquities room she opened her hands out and spun around. “So who’s it to be? Georgina? Lillian? Those are your two favorites, I know.” She looked at me with narrowed eyes. “Not my mother. I don’t think I could take knowing what she’d look like in a lesbian relationship.”
I held back a laugh and started looking around. Everyone had their good points and I almost picked Lillian because she looked so much like me, but I stopped in front of Anne Redferne’s torque.
“Do you think I could see…”
As I said once before, nobody was supposed to wear the torque in honor of our progenitor, but I’d always been curious as to what she looked like.
Celia made a fist and pumped it. “I knew you were going to ask at some point.”
She looked at me seriously as I waited there nervously. “Since you’re not using her for playing around, I think any Redferne witch would be proud to have you wear their likeness. Let’s see what the old lady looks like, shall we?”
Celia retrieved her key ring and opened the display case up. I slid out of my tight clothes and boots just in case she was larger than my male body. I’d really hate to destroy the clothes Shasta just got me.
Carefully, and with great reverence I took the torque off the velvet setting and slid it around my neck.
“How’s it look?” I asked.
“Ridiculous. Nobody wears torques nowadays. Get on with it.”
Celia was playing with me, I knew that. Without further ado I sent a pulse of magic through the neck piece and felt myself grow taller and fill out in all the right places.
My aunt frowned. “Of course you’re gorgeous. I hope you know that I’m using this when I go out to the club next time.”
She was playing with me. I knew she’d never do something so crass. Celia had a very healthy respect for our ancestors.
Moving over to the full length mirror I set up in there when I first started my inventory of all my ancestors, I gazed at the likeness of Anne Redferne. She was a little taller than my male self, with middle of the back length brown hair, blue eyes, and a tall forehead. It was a wonder how she lived so long with the body she had. Beautiful women didn’t last very long in those days. She had a trim waist, nice child bearing hips and very full breasts that had to be close to a D-cup. Georgina was a little bigger, so I knew how to deal with large breasts.
Her legs were very attractive. In short, I really liked the choice and I was very sure Shasta would like it as well. She liked tall women.
“This is the one.”
“Are you sure?” Celia asked. “You can’t change your base again for another ten years. So, now’s the time to do it.”
“No,” I shook my head. “This is the one I want. This is me.”
She was already out the door. “Get your clothes and come on.”
By the time I gathered up my stuff and made it to her apartment, Celia was unlocking a small fireproof box and withdrawing a glass vial with a tea colored liquid inside.
“I made this right before your eighteenth birthday because I thought you were going to come up with some master-built reason for letting you earn your badge.”
I groaned at my lost opportunity. “I was trying to not be all nagging and everything. I thought I wasn’t doing something right!”
“Well now you know.” She passed the vial off to me. “Just swig away and you’re locked in that body for the next ten years, Kenny.”
I took it and held it up to the light. “I can still temporarily switch back to my male body right?”
“Your male self becomes part of the antiquities room until you pass on. Then it’ll go into storage with all the husbands and sons of the Redferne women.”
I nodded and then pulled the stopper, tossing back the mixture and swallowing as I waited for something to happen. There wasn’t any telltale tingle or rush I got sometimes as a potion passes my lips.
“I don’t think it worked,” I said.
“Take the torque off.”
I slipped Anne Redferne’s torque off my neck and gently set it on the table. When I let go I didn’t feel myself revert back to my male body. I smiled wide and laughed.
“I’m a girl!”
“Congratulations. Now go get an appropriate top to wear so I can take your picture for the official stuff.”
Another thirty minutes went by as Celia set up my Arbiter’s ID and badge through the Witches Council, then set up the change of name documentation and all the ID that went with it. Officially I was now Viola Anne Redferne. Since I was no longer able to revert to Kenny as my base, I thought it best if I changed Kendra’s name as well. I’d been saving that particular Shakespearian name for a special occasion; my rebirth.
When I was finished, I put on my leather cuff and sent a pulse of magic though it, reverting to my male form and then put my regular clothes back on before heading upstairs to grab my Arbiter’s belt with my knives and wand.
Shasta was waiting patiently for me. When she sensed me approaching she spun around and looked at me curiously, then she saw my new badge.
“I assumed you would be wearing your permanent female form.”
I smiled naughtily. “It’s a surprise. The sooner you get me home and get me naked, the sooner you find out.”
A quick kiss later and I was being escorted out of Redferne’s.
Once the garage door was closed, Shasta opened the door for me and I started stripping off my clothes, handing them to her as we ventured upstairs. We hadn’t even made it to the bedroom when I caught wind of her arousal. It’s really difficult to hide that from me these days. It makes initiating sex that much easier knowing your partner wants you as much as you want them.
I kicked off my boots and shimmied out of the tight suede pants and panties. Holding out my wrist, as the cuff was the only remaining thing I was wearing I smiled.
“Care to do the honors?”
She took ahold of my wrist and pulled my arms to my side as she moved in to kiss me. “Man or woman, Kenneth, you are mine. Never forget this.”
I nodded as I saw the heat in her eyes. “And you’re mine.”
“As it should be.”
I heard the distinct snap of the cuff being opened and then it fell away and I changed.
My height rose two inches, my hair shortened slightly and darkened at the same time. I knew the bones around my eyes narrowed and my blue eyes lightened. My lips filled out and my breasts formed just under those of my lover.
“I don’t recognize her. You’ve never used her before, that I’ve seen, but I approve… very much so.”
The chance to speak was gone, because our lips were sealed together and I was backed up against the bed and laid down under Shasta’s gentle caresses. Then just as our first time together in my male form, she secured my wrists in the cuffs attached to the bed and claimed me as she explored my very sensitive female body.
The following two weeks were wholly unremarkable except for getting used to our average daily routine. I would be dropped off most mornings at the magic shop and when I got home I’d spend the evening making dinner and developing a schedule for cleaning and general upkeep of the house. The Brownies still hadn’t found me as of yet.
Shasta, being an architect, worked at home for the most part, and conveniently could set her own hours.
On my days off, I spent time doing laundry and other wifely duties. It may seem like I’m overworked, but it was something that I loved to do for my mate. At the end of the day I actually felt like I accomplished something worthwhile because Shasta was always very appreciative.
My first duty as an Arbiter had me wind up settling a dispute over a therianthrope Panther and a Werecougar Romeo and Juliet scene. Celia was in Dallas putting down a vampire war that was about to erupt over territory so that left me entering the Arbiter’s room by myself as judge and jury.
The two leaders, John Monkton of the Panthers and Shazara M’bawa of the cougars sat staring at each other from opposite ends of the table. I didn’t recognize either of the young ones as I sat down, but the male was sporting several fresh scars down his face and neck that I assumed was from a cougar.
“John and Shazara I recognize,” I said as I looked at the female first. “Who are you two?”
The young male leaned his arms on the table. “I’m Dennis and this is my future mate Wendy.”
Shazara’s eyes flashed gold and he growled. “She will not be your mate!”
My wand was in my hand and I magically banished the cougar back into his chair. His butt hit it hard and the chair slid back to the wall rather forcefully with a loud thump. It was my intention to just push him down into the chair, but I guess in eagerness to prove myself I pushed a little extra juice through my wand.
“You will not speak unless I ask you a question. Any further outbursts and I’ll revert to Arbiter Celia Redferne’s example and we can get someone else in here to represent the cougars.”
It was a well-known threat across the southwest. No shifter, were, or therianthrope wanted to lose their testicles because their temper overrode their sense of propriety. Granted, I was a brand new and untested Arbiter, but the way the cougar was almost blasted back against the wall it didn’t seem like something Shazara felt needed exploring. Besides, the more aggressive supernaturals only respond to strength and the ability to back up the threats that are issued.
Once I had cowed him enough to behave I continued.
“So, on one side we have Panthers and the other side we have Cougars. You may be closely related, but there is a definite difference between the two. Dennis, Panthers allow inclusion from any species, Cougars don’t. It’s that simple. Wendy, your choice is plain and you should have made it before it came to this.”
The girl looked down at the table, shamefaced.
“Either declare yourself rogue from your family, in which case their law doesn’t apply to you, or break off the relationship with Dennis. Which is it?”
Tensions were already high in the room. I expected another outburst, but it didn’t come.
“I’m sorry, Dennis,” she said.
The young Panther was already turning red in the face with anger, but his eyes were on me for forcing the issue. Instead of saying anything, he got up and left the room.
“So, are we all clear and amicable again?” I asked.
Shazara gave a sharp nod and John returned the gesture.
“One more thing, Wendy,” I said as I leaned forward. “I know for a fact that Shazara teaches his Cougars properly. If I find out that you’re jerking the chains of men outside your pride and then using me to break up with them then you and I are going to have words.”
The guilt on her face was all I needed to see. Wendy was never serious about her fooling around with the Cougar. She knew it, I knew it, and now Shazara knew it.
Exciting; wasn’t it?
The life of an Arbiter was much like this, like a lame and unexciting episode of Law and Order. It wasn’t always the fun stuff like what Celia was off doing, the job that I was looking forward to; putting down master vampires that had taken their power a little too far. I was warned about wishing for excitement, but seriously would it be so wrong to want just a tiny itsy teeny weenie bit?
Once three o’clock rolled around, Leo decided to grace the store and me again with his presence. With all the changes in my life over the last couple of weeks I had almost forgotten about him.
“Well, look who the cat dragged in.”
He looked at me oddly. That’s when I remembered that I was in my base form of Viola and he’d never met her.
“It’s me, Leo, Kenny.”
He blinked and then really looked at me from the hips up since I was still behind the counter.
“Holy… crap!” He tried to keep his voice down since there were a handful of girls several isles over in the incense section. “You look…”
I smiled my thanks and instinctively brushed the hair covering my left ear. It had become second nature when talking to anyone to flash my mate’s earrings. Most of the time I just had my hair pinned up on that side, but I wanted it down for that day.
“Long time no see. I thought you’d forgotten about me,” I said as he ducked his head. “It was kind of odd, especially since you took my virginity.”
I actually gave it to him, but he didn’t seem like he wanted to argue semantics.
Leo’s face was starting to flame up with embarrassment, but I waved him off. “Don’t worry about it. I’m kidding.”
I wasn’t really, but I wasn’t one to openly hold a grudge for too long either.
“I’m sorry,” he said before looking up at me. “I was just… embarrassed about everything.”
Ah. His behavior began making a lot more sense at that tidbit of information. Confronting one’s desire and having it come true was one thing, but for that desire to be taboo in the human world; that was a different matter.
After giving the girls cooing over the lavender incense a glance, I leaned in closer to Leo. “Come to grips with your feminine side?”
The motion of him nibbling on the inside of his lower lip let me know I’d struck the proverbial nail.
While he was trying to figure out what to say, I noticed a few changes about Leo’s appearance. His eyebrows were very neat. It wasn’t that he had a unibrow or anything, but most guys don’t really take care of their face like girls do. His eyebrows were separated nicely and there weren’t any stray hairs to be found. Leo’s pores were clean and the tiny bit of acne that he’d had on his forehead had almost faded away. His lips looked fuller, but I could tell exactly how he’d accomplish that. The final thing I noticed was that while he’d already had both his earlobes pierced like virtually everyone I knew, boy or girl, he had some rather feminine looking hoops hanging from them.
Most guys, when they wear hoops, choose the tiny ones that hug their lobes. These were a good inch wide. Seeing that and the backpack he had slung on his shoulder and I knew what he was there for.
“Yeah, I guess.” He looked to the side and kept watch on the girls. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“I get off at four and I’ll only have about thirty minutes until my ride gets here.” After pausing to see his strained reaction I amended my statement. “I said I’d help you when you wanted to change. I’m not taking it back, Leo.”
The appreciative smile he returned seemed genuine. “Thanks. Really. I just… I want to learn. I mean just because you can turn me into…” he looked back at the girls and then whispered. “… a girl, doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing.”
I held back a chuckle. “Honey, it takes a long time to figure that one out. What’s your plan?”
“Mom and Dad are taking Shelia to my Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. I’m staying by myself for the week.”
My eyebrows rose at that. “How’d you manage pulling that off?”
Leo’s face went pink again. “I told them I’d ask you if I could hang out… you know, um, with you.”
Before I had the chance to say anything else, he went on a speed-fest trying to get everything out so I wouldn’t say no.
“It’s the only way they’ll let me stay by myself, and I won’t be in the way. I could help out around here for free, cleaning or whatever. Then maybe we can hang out and you could tell me what I’m doing wrong. I really want to try being a girl for the entire time they’re gone, but I’d be too afraid of a neighbor seeing me. They all knew my Aunt Annabeth before… um…”
He shut his eyes trying to get a hold of himself. “I’m sorry. I just really want this so bad. I’ll do anything, Kenn… uh…”
“Viola,” he said. “Right.”
Fingering a stray bit of hair behind my ear I saw that the girls were headed up toward the counter. “Give me a sec.”
Leo saw where I was looking and stepped quietly to the side so I could ring up the items. The two girls that were loading up with incense dug in their purses while a third, a blonde one, trotted up with a bundle of sage.
“This is supposed to get rid of evil spirits, yeah?”
Goddess, save me from ignorant teenagers. “Not exactly. It cleanses negativity from the air. There’s a ritual that you…”
“’Cause I have a really important test coming up and my stupid brother won’t quit annoying me so I can study.”
I blinked. “The sage won’t get rid of your brother. You might try a tazer or some pepper spray.”
“Ugh,” one of the brunettes said. “Candy, just hook him up with that freshman he’s always drooling over. That’ll keep him busy.”
The blonde, Candy, frowned and passed the sage to Leo. “Put this up for me… Oh, nice earrings, sweetie. Got yourself a hunk to look pretty for?”
Leo’s face went pinched. I gathered up the incense and set it to the side.
“Y’all can leave now,” I said with finality.
One of the brunette’s was standing there with a twenty in her hand. “What? What about our incense?”
I glared at her. “When you and your friends can behave in this store then you can return.”
She shot an annoyed look at the blonde. “Candy, apologize.”
“Whatever,” she returned. “There are a dozen places we can buy this crap.”
That seemed to have set off the girl with the cash. “This is my mother’s favorite store and if you get me banned and she finds out, I’ll tell Jessica Thompson about you blowing her boyfriend last weekend.”
Candy sucked in a breath. “You promised!”
Her face went an unpleasant shade of puce for a few moments before she turned to Leo again. “I’m sorry.”
Leo looked at me and shrugged.
I sighed and gave Candy a withering glare before turning back to the brunette. “That’s $11.27.”
“Thanks. I’m sorry about her.”
I nodded and bagged up her purchases. “Tell your mom I said hi.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” Leo said as the girls left.
I shrugged and grabbed the sage from his hand. “We don’t put up with that sort of stuff around here. You’d think that homophobes would shop somewhere else than the heart of the gay community.”
Taking Leo’s hand I led him to the girl’s restroom. “Go change and then we need to talk.”
Reaching up I touched the earring and sent a pulse of magic through it. His height dropped drastically, along with his jeans. In a few seconds, Leo was sporting light brown shoulder length hair, the cutest button nose, and bright green eyes. Her breasts popped out but weren’t too obtrusive. The girl he turned into looked nothing like him or his sister. I’d only seen his mother once before, and I recognized a few shared traits, but that was it.
Leo reached up and touched her hair with a smile. She sighed and smiled brightly for the first time since I’d seen her that afternoon.
“Thanks, K… Viola. I’ll try to hurry.”
Shaking my head, I held the door open. “We’ve got about forty minutes. Take your time and try to do a good job. Then I’ll see what we have to work with.”
When Celia showed up for the evening shift I went and retrieved Leo from the restroom. When I opened the door, she jumped and nearly poked her eye out with a pencil.
It was worse than I thought. She looked like a twelve year old playing in her mother’s makeup. I just stood there trying not to look at her with pity.
“Grab your stuff. I’ll work on you downstairs.”
“I look awful, don’t I?” She looked at herself in the mirror and frowned, but it appeared to be more of a pout, cute in itself.
When we got there I shoved her into the bathroom with a jar of cold cream. “Get rid of all that and come back out. We’ve got less than thirty minutes so try to be quick, please.”
While she was doing that, I pulled out my cell and called Shasta. Her voice sent delightful shivers down my spine.
“Hello, pet. I should be there on time.”
“Hi, baby. Um… I have a little problem.”
Gone was her seductive voice and in its place was one that I’ve come to know as her no nonsense demeanor.
“Leo’s here and he committed me to let him stay over for the week. It’s a gender change thing that his parents don’t know about. They’re out of town until after Thanksgiving.”
“Hmm,” was all she said.
“Would you mind if he – well, she now – if she stayed at our place?”
A few seconds passed before she came back. “This Leo, it is the one that you dated a few weeks back?”
“And does she know about your current status?”
I grimaced. “I’m about to tell her, but I wanted to get your okay before I committed to her staying.”
“Pet, as long as she fully understands that you are my mate then I have no problem with your friend visiting.”
With a relieved sigh, I smiled. “Thanks, Shasta. When you get here, we’ll be down in my apartment. Just come on down.”
By the time I set the phone in my purse, Leo was back with a fresh face. I pointed to my makeup table and said. “Sit. We have to talk while I get you ready. Where did you get the clothes, by the way?”
She plopped down on the stool with her feet at awkward angles. “I had to buy them at Target, and I was guessing at the sizes that’s why they’re stretchy.
It was a set of pink leggings with a matching cami. I feared for what else was in her backpack as I got to work.
“Look, my ride… I don’t really live here anymore,” I said as I touched up a few blemishes.
“Sort of. You know how I told you about all the supernatural things being real?”
“Uh-huh,” she said as I started working on her eyebrows.
“Well, I’m involved with one of them.”
Leo’s eyes darted to me. “You’re dating?”
I smirked. “More than that actually. The local Therianthrope Coyotes? Well, I’m mated to the next leader of the train. That’s who is coming to pick me up.”
“Thrope. They’re kind of like werecoyotes but their change isn’t dictated by the full moon. They look human, but they can turn into coyotes at the drop of a hat.”
She looked confused. “I thought… no, we didn’t have anything, did we?”
I shook my head. “I knew it when you told me about why you stopped to talk that night. I moved on.”
Pausing, I held up my hands and gave her a conciliatory smile. “It’s much better this way, besides Shasta makes me very happy.”
Awareness came over her face. “You’re mated? Does this mean I can’t…”
“Shasta says it’s okay. I called to check.”
When I swapped pencils and moved on to her eyes, I continued. “Anyway, you’ll be staying with us, but I thought I’d give you the lowdown on the community.”
“Do you live in the woods? I don’t know if I’m ready for camping.”
I smacked her on top of her head. “Don’t be a speciesist. We live in a two story house in a gated community. What you need to know is that they’re all thercoyotes. So you might see some things you’ll have to keep private.”
By the time I’d made it to the lipstick pencil, Leo kept checking herself out in the mirror so much I had to turn her around.
“Be still or I’m going to mess up your lips.”
I heard the door open in the outer room and immediately perked up.
I dropped the lipstick on the table and ran to the living room to find my mate closing the door before I almost jumped in her arms. We kissed deeply and Shasta’s hand was on my butt, kneading the flesh. It may sound silly, but I could never get enough of her. Every kiss we shared and every pet she gave me was just like the first.
By the time I finished relishing in seeing her again, I’d dropped back down and grabbed her hand.
“Come meet Leo.”
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