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We Only Rarely Tear Each Others Faces Off

Pages 14 through 32 inclusive. Total pages: 19

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Malaya meets up with Elias in front of the coffee shop. Elias asks her why she texted him to meet him outside, and telling him her father is running the shop, she explains she doesn't want her father asking awkward questions. Malaya doesn't want to get her father's hopes up thinking she might be dating, and if he found out Elias was a werewolf he might be afraid Elias would eat her face off. Elias assures her that he is gay so they won't be dating, and he comes from a peaceable, family-oriented pack who only rarely tear each others faces off[1]. Elias asks where they are going, so Malaya informs him they are walking towards the university where Malaya's brother Vincent takes classes. When Elias asks why she isn't taking classes, Malaya explains she'd like to, but she's worried about all the people and stress, and she might lose control and hurt someone. Elias is confused since working at the coffee shop and dealing with customers seems just as stressful. Malaya explains that behind the counter at the coffee shop is her territory, and she feels safe, same as at her home. She's comfortable and in control there and at home. Everywhere else is overwhelming to her. She can spend a few minutes on campus to meet Vincent though. Elias is still confused and he tells her he needs to know more about how she was bitten[2].

Starting from the day she was bitten, she tells her story. When she was five years old, she had gone camping with her parents at a place outside of town. After running off into the woods chasing a squirrel, Malaya saw a gigantic black dog. She just stood there, staring at the big dog's glowing eyes. With no provocation, the dog ran at her and bit her on the arm. She started to scream, but it stared at her, and she felt like she couldn't move[3]. The sound of her parents calling for her broke the wolf's spell, and she smacked the wolf in the face. It ran off into the woods. Her parents found her, bleeding from the bite on her arm and crying. They decided immediately to rush her to the hospital[4]. They raced to the hospital and pulled up to the building. Just as they were about to get out of the car, Malaya showed them that her arm was all better. It had already healed. All that was left was the blood, the bite marks were gone[5]. Malaya's father said they couldn't walk in with a kid covered in blood and say a dog bit her in the woods if there aren't any bite marks. Her mother angrily replied that she was bit, they seen it. Confused and worried about what the hospital staff would think, her parents argued, worried they were bad parents, but decided instead to take Malaya home and keep a close eye on her. Confused and worried herself, Malaya looked at her healed skin in befuddlement[6].

Everything was fine until the next full moon. Malaya was irritable all day, destroying her toys and refusing to eat her lunch. By the afternoon, she couldn't stop growling when she was upset. She began to transform when it started to get dark outside[7]. Malaya's mother went to check on her and young Malaya tried to attack her. Fortunately, her mother was faster and got the bedroom door closed in time[8]. Hanging on for all she was worth, Maria kept the bedroom door closed while her daughter tried to scratch her way through the wood. At first, the whole werewolf thing was hard on her parents. They had to lock her in her room and barricade the door each month, sleeping at the door to be close to her. Her father joked about all the noise she made each full moon[9]. After that first night, things got a little better. Her parents homeschooled her and made sure to spend full moons together with her playing board games and reading books. Malaya would get furry but was able to control herself. Back in the here and now, Elias explains that she had a pack, and a pack keeps her grounded. Once her wolf side saw that her parents were there to protect her, the wolf calmed down[10].

Getting back to her story, she said it was not long after she was bitten that Vincent came along. It was pretty obvious Malaya didn't like him: she was jealous. Her parents kept them apart when he was little, but as he got bigger, they were less cautious. One day, when he was a toddler, she got mad at him once when he hit her with a wooden block, and she began to transform[11]. She ran at Vincent and scratched his left side below his ribs. He began wailing from the unexpected pain while she looked on in remorse. To this day, he has the scar from where her claws slashed him[12]. She immediately felt remorse and ran upstairs to her room. She sat on the bedroom floor, staring at her brother's blood on her hands. Later that evening, her father tried to comfort the guilt-ridden child, cleaning the blood from her hands and cuddling her in his arms[13]. Vincent forgave her and they became closer as they grew up. Vincent became protective of Malaya, even though he could still be an asshole.

Once more back in the present, Elias asks Malaya what she would do if she wasn't all closed up, worrying about hurting her family or someone else. She explains that she'd try to be a normal person[14]. Malaya says her brother would be arriving soon and asks if Elias would her to drop him off somewhere. She admits Vincent would be doing the driving since she didn't drive. He graciously declines, saying he would rather do some exploring around town. Mal apologizes for the story taking so long and monopolizing the time, and apologizes again for dumping the story on him in the first place. Eli just shrugs it off, saying he needed the information to better help her. Mal proclaims that her brother has arrived as a handsome young man approaches the pair. Elias is surprised that her "little brother" is an adult. She offers that he's 'only' twenty years old. Eli owns up to being twenty-two. Malaya says she thought he was older[15]. Malaya formally introduces the two men, and Vincent stares at Eli while Eli tries out a friendly "Hey" in response to Vincent's stolid "Hello". Speaking in Tagalog[16], Vincent asks about Eli, and Mal explains that Elias is another werewolf and tells Vincent he's being rude. Vincent is concerned that Elias is dangerous, displaying his concern by silently staring Malaya down. Malaya tells Elias she'll see him later, and that her brother wants to get her home before Eli claws her to death. Elias is understanding, saying that fear of strange werewolves is a legitimate worry.

Malaya and Vincent head for home[17]. Vincent tries to tell Malaya to stay away from Elias because he's dangerous, and Malaya sasses back, asking if it's true because he says so. He responds by saying Eli might drag her down into a werewolf harem. She tells him that's not even a thing. She continues the debate by pointing out that Eli is the only werewolf she knows, and he can give her answers about werewolf harems. Vincent doggedly plays the "He's dangerous" card again, and Malaya turns on him, saying she's dangerous too, and she needs answers[18]. Malaya states she will deal with Elias if he turns out to be bad news, but for now, he's her only option. They reach an impasse, each staring at the other. Vincent blinks first, turns and says they should just go home. An off-screen crow sounds off as the siblings walk beneath a tree. Malaya spots a crow that appears to be watching them, and the bird becomes flustered, cawing and fluttering its wings[19].

Elias calls Marin and greets her humorously. She treats his greeting brusquely and asks about "her". Grumping that she's "all business", Eli reports that he doesn't believe Malaya has anything to do with the bodies that turned up, that she only has a basic knowledge of werewolves, and that her pack is human. He finishes his report, saying "She doesn't know what she doesn't know." Marin seem to feel this is good news, then she says they can't leave her unprotected if there's some whack job on the loose. Elias explains he's working on that, and then he proclaims that her brother is hot. Like Vulcan hot. Marisa appears and kisses Marin on the side of her head, just in time to explain what being Vulcan hot means. Eli chides Marin over the phone that she needs to watch more TV. She tells him that she won't and he can't make her. Marin asks if he's coming back soon, and he tells her they've got a lot to discuss and he'll be her way soon[20].

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