“Beast?” She rose up to rest on her elbows. “You’re going to shift?”
There was a mixture of terror and excitement in her eyes that made him want to tease her, but he resisted the urge. “No. My beast is always within me, even when I’m in human form. There’s no need to shift.”
“What a relief. I’m not sure I’m ready to see your animal yet.” She paused, averting her eyes. “Mind if I ask what your second nature is?”
“Second nature. So proper.” He smirked. “I’m a lion.” He spoke with ease because unlike the rest of the world, he didn’t see the animal side of him as a curse or an experiment gone wrong. To him, it was a blessing, something he was proud of. Though times were tough right now, things would get better. He’d see to it.
“I wasn’t sure how to word this…this…ability.” Seeming nervous, she bit her bottom lip. “I’m not even sure ability is the right word.”
“Shifting is a magical thing, and even though the world thinks I should be ashamed of it, I’m not. My lion is as much a part of me as my internal organs. The human society that we live in just doesn’t accept those who are different, but we’re here just like everyone else, and we want to live in peace.”
“That almost sounded like a public relations statement.”
“I just want you to understand who my siblings and I are. We’re no danger to you or any other human. We’re always in control of our animal, no matter what form we may take. That’s what Hathaway Medical and the rest of the government organizations don’t understand. We shouldn’t be experimented on, nor should any other human.” He hated that he sounded like he was lecturing her, but if he was going to take her back to Forever Creek, she need to understand his kind. He didn’t want any surprises later that would send her running. Once she knew their location, if she got spooked and ran off, she’d be a liability.
“But the government doesn’t classify you as human.” With that statement, she wasn’t able to meet his gaze.
“What about you? Do you think I’m human?” Silence thickened the air until he wasn’t sure she’d answer.
“You look human enough to me.” She reached out and laid her hand on his chest. “You feel human, too. That’s all that matters to me.”
He placed his hand over hers. “This is just one side of me, kind of like a coin. Will you still feel the same way when you see my lion?”