Beef-ore: chapter 3

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As always, I'm open for feedback, critique, comments, questions, etc. All content for this series copyright to musicalewolfcat


Chapter 3: A New Job, and a new Boss

Another couple weeks went by, and she got busier than usual. Midterms were coming up! Not being a school fanatic, she certainly wasn't looking forward to ... then again, who does? She found as much time as she would allow herself (when she could focus) to study, as most of the classes she was taking were ones she failed or almost did in the past, and one she heard wasn't easy. For the first half of the semester she didn't do too bad, but it was still a lot of pressure on her, mostly because she didn't want to repeat any of the classes.

She got used to constant stress, so it didn't have much affect at work, which she actually enjoyed more. Being able to do something, and having something she could rely on for a consistent job. Remembering that helped her to relax at times while she was working. The only thing that interfered, however, was the thought of what happened that one night whenever she would look out at the park. She didn't know what it was about it, but the memories of it started coming back harder and clearer.

"Alright Pete, I'm going on my break now."

"It's a little early in your shift, but sure. Just make sure you're back before the lunch rush, alright," Pete gently exclaimed.

"Yeah, you know we usually don't get much traffic on Wednesdays, right."

"Quit playin 'em mind tricks on me. Just go ahead and take your break, you've looked tense lately. If you need to go home let me know."

"Yes sir, thanks. Be back later."

Kelly grabbed some French fries she made for herself (like she usually did on her breaks before she got up and went out wherever) and scurried over to the park. She just wanted to see what the fuss was about, though also felt that it might even help her to relax; a calm day in the park, even if it was just for her work break then.

It might have been a bit of the hype, but right as she walked into the park, she felt she wasn't alone. She could see a couple other people jogging and playing with their dogs a good distance away, but that wasn't it. It felt closer. She quickly turned around, but saw nothing.

"I am so out of it it's not even funny," she said to herself.

After a short walk deeper inside and a nice relaxing break sitting calming down, she finished up the last of her fries and was thinking about heading back. It was about time for her to get back to work anyway.

Suddenly an urge came to her;

"Why am I supposed to be here? What is it? What's been happening and who's there?" she said somewhat loudly, which she didn't normally do, being the usual quiet one. She obviously felt some degree of awkwardness and embarrassment, like someone would think she's crazy. Luckily, it didn't seem at first that anyone noticed. The couples she saw earlier left already. She began to walk back to work, expecting to hear an answer right away, but it stayed quiet.

A couple days later it played out almost the same, though it was initially more crowded, though not too much, but she Kelly couldn't hold herself back from exclaiming the same thing again. This time, she could feel the anxiety and anger begin to heat her up. Kelly couldn't take it anymore. She started heading back to the shop, but right before she got out of the park...

"You know, I don't think those fries are doing much good for you if you're already stressing your body out how you've been." a strange voice seemed to come out of nowhere.

Before the voice could finish their thought, a startled Kelly, feeling ready to punch somebody, turned around only to find the strange woman from before. She looked fairly young, not much older herself, and not much taller either. She was quite pretty too. Just her attitude and the tone of her voice made her think of a very content artist. She seemed friendly, but Kelly didn't want any of it.

"That's IT!" Kelly angrily shouted as she started to run back to the pizza shop.

"Whoa girl, wait!"

Kelly only made it a short distance before turning around and charging back toward the woman.

"Hold it, girl! I- WHOA!" the stranger could only say before just barely moving out of the way to try to avoid the annoyed Kelly charging at her, before she grabbed Kelly's back and stopped her.

"Calm down, alright, what's your problem?" she said.

"You know why... who... what are you doin, huh? Get off of me and explain yourself already!" Kelly demanded.

"I'm just an artist! I was going to ask if you can pose for me while I make a portrait!"

"Reeeeally?"

"Yes, I wanted to sort of try out a new style that I saw of an old ____ painting, as well as test a couple things with a more modern traditional-style. I found a great spot but felt that something that can givea sense of expression with the environment can sort of give it a different intended feel to it."

"Then why couldn't you just say that in the first place? And what's with you trying to creep around with me all the time?!"

"I just saw you one day, the day of that accident up the road, and thought you reminded me of someone. Either way, I thought you were very beautiful and just HAD to paint a portrait of you. I wanted to come up and ask you, but was too nervous to, especially when it looked like you had other things on your mind you needed to get to. I hope you're not that upset at me, though. I can pay you thirty dollars... that's what I have in my pocket right now, at least."

"Well... sorry for flipping out on you... n' stuff. Um, I have to work anyway, so I'm sorry about th-"

"Oh, no worries, I understand. Would you mind if maybe I can just get a good picture at least? I have my camera with me. It'll only take a minute and I'll still pay you twenty."

"Nah, it's fine, AS LONG AS it's in plain view of others AND I can keep my clothes on!"

"Deal!"

Kelly got up and followed the woman into the park. She kept a good distance behind her, just in case, but was willing enough to help her carry some of her things in a bag for her while she carried an easel with a canvas and a couple of brushes tied on.

"FOOFY how much stuff do you carry with you?" Kelly asked holding the bag with both hands.

"Well if you open it up honey you'll see a couple dozen various paints, a couple jars of water, some mixing supplies, and a couple other tools that I use."

"What happened to just eight colors, a couple a' brushes, a glass of water, and a piece of paper?"

"Hehe, I guess I like this better, sorry." The woman replied smiling.

"Where is this place anyway?"

"Oh, it's just a little farther ahead. It's just a little area of trees with a little rest in the walkway with a good view of the pond, and..."

Her voice trailed off as Kelly suddenly got flashbacks of whatever that night was. She remembered hiding in the area she mentioned... running over to the pond... running back and... chasing a deer away.

"Um, excuse me," Kelly started, "How did you figure THIS was the spot you wanted?"

"I don't know." She responded. "I just came back this way a couple of weeks ago and just saw it, but never got around to it. Something just drove me over this way. It's usually off of where I usually go to paint when I'm out of the studio 'cause I just find it really relaxing."

"Yeah, I'd say so." Kelly said with a little bit of annoyance and discomfort in her voice. "What drove you over to that one particular spot?"

"Well, I'm really fascinated by animals, you see. That day when I was down here I saw a really cute one and just followed it."

"What was it, like a deer?"

"Hehe, nah, it was cute like you, I'd say (giggling), but I just got a glimpse of it."

Now the weirdness started to peak Kelly's attention.

"Here we go." The lady said as she set her supplies down in front of a bench facing out into an open part of the park, with a good view of the pond. Kelly started to feel uneasy, but there were people over by the pond who could easily see them if they turned.

"sigh FINALLY we're HERE!" Kelly exclaimed, setting the bag of paint down.

"Come one, it cant be THAT bad. You can just sit over there." She pointed at a seat across from her.

Kelly let out a small groan in reply. The other woman reached into her purse.

"You better be getting out just a camera!" Kelly exclaimed.

"Reach into the bag you just set down and take out that sculpting tool in there if you think I'm reaching for something else."

Kelly sat there, but kept that bag in good view while the other woman got out her camera.

"Okay, would you mind if I took a few so I can analyze ahead of time which works best?"

"It's fine." Kelly replied plainly. "Oh, um, sorry. Real quickly before you do. Sorry, I kinda like some animals myself a little and the curiosity's getting to me..."

The woman nodded, sitting there patiently.

"Wh-w-what did it look like?"

She seemed to sense something in Kelly's voice.

"Oh, um, I can't tell exactly tell. I only got a decent look until they saw me and I had to run away before I scared it. But I know what you mean... I- um, it kind of reminded me of you."

Kelly got chills just blowing throughout her whole body within a split second. Her nerves all shot to life at once, almost completely freezing her in place.

"Are you okay girl?"

"Oh, yeah. It's nothin'. I was just thinkin of somthin'" Kelly said trying to play it off.

"Doesn't look like nothin'" The lady answered.

"No, yeah, it's just... somethin'"

"Everything sounds like something, girl. Come on."

"No, it's stupid."

"No it's not"

"Yes it is!"

"No it's not. I sense something with you, girl. Is it about that?"

"No, it's just- wait... what?!" Kelly shot into focus of the situation. The weird, slightly uneasy expression on the strange woman's face made all too clear that something was up.

"What do you want?!"

"Nothing! To paint!"

"What?! A bull, cow, monster-thing?"

"You're not THAT weird?"

Kelly paused, knowing that that lady knew something, and there wasn't much Kelly could do, so she might as well say what she wanted, as she felt there wasn't any use running from her. "Why... why then?"

"I know." The lady said plainly.

"What?"

"About you! You seem clever enough, but too stressed with yourself as it is, so I figured you'd want just a straight answer."

"YOU did this to me?!"

"Wha- NO! Of course not? How?"

"You tell me!"

"I HEARD you, so I followed you out in the park, and when I saw what your true problem was, I just stuck around. That way, if anything went wrong, I could help."

"With what?!"

"Well, if you went crazy and tried to hurt yourself, or someone else-"

"Why? Am I an experiment or something?"

"No- sigh, you're so pathetic! You're a were, dum dum!"

"A WHAT?!"

"A WERE! You know, a were cow-thing, like a were-wolf?"

"Oh, you mean those things in kids books?"

"No, the real thing!"

"How can you prove that?"

"Well, like I said, I had to run away before I freaked YOU out and you did."

"What does THAT mean? Where were you?"

"You chased me away!"

"When?"

"That night! Who else was there?"

Kelly paused briefly, recalling what happened that night.

"I didn't see anyone else there! The only other thing around was the stupid deer that I chased away."

"Yeah, and by the way, I'm not that stupid!"

"I'm confused! Practice your mind stuff somewhere else, on someone else!"

The young woman grabbed Kelly tightly.

"Hey! If you want someone to help you deal with this, why don't you try someone who actually understands it HERSELF, as a were deeeeer MYSELF, who was there with you, and is probably the only one you've met who can help you make sense of it?! Before you do something stupid!"

"Let me GO!"

"Not till you calm down girl."

"PUT ME DOWN!" Kelly shouted.

"NO, LISTEN-"

"HEEEELPP- mmmffff!"

"ALRIGHT! You want this fixed?"

Kelly nodded, now full of true fear.

"Okay!" She let go of Kelly. "Now-"

"Better not try anything funny, I could go back to the shop and grab a knife before you-"

"There's a sculpting knife in the bag in front of you, now shut up!"

"What?"

"I said shut up. Now listen!"

The woman looked around and turned back to Kelly.

"You have to listen to me with this, okay?"

"Okay." She replied with small tears, yet still full of anger.

"Now listen! I'm going to sound real demeaning, but it looks like the only way for you to listen. Now, you're a were-whatever, and not a 'monster.' Get that through your head, no matter how it feels. I'm a were, too. A deer. Trust me in that, there would be no reason for me to hurt you, or even want to. Even though I'm not exactly the same, I'm still able to help you through this as best I can, but you have to trust me. Okay? I don't know how many others of us you know, or how many of your friends will understand and not call you crazy, or be accepting once they DO find out. Get it?"

Kelly nodded.

"Also, this will take some time-" She paused, observing the instant grief in Kelly's eyes after just those words. "Please listen or else you'll make it worse!"

She could see the aggravation in Kelly's face, mixed with fear and confusion.

"Now, listen to everything I say... and you can only make this better... but you can't get rid of it." She said carefully, clenching her teeth as if she didn't want to speak of it in the first place.

Kelly just stood there, her chills returning, almost making her shudder. The woman grabbed her and gave her what seemed like a very tight comfort hug.

"Now-" she continued.

"Now" Kelly instantly mocked, figuring there's always something else.

"Now, do you want that thing to happen again?"

"No."

"Then calm down... and-"

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Kelly shouted, as if she just woke out of a sleep.

"Just trying to HELP!"

"I don't need you to! I gotta work."

Kelly turned around walking quickly back to the pizza shop.

"KELLY! PLEASE!"

She stopped instantly. She walked back toward her, stopping a good distance away in the case she needed to run.

"How do you know my name?"

"You want a straight answer?"

"Yes!"

"Calm down and I'll tell ya."

Kelly growled to herself.

"No one you should be concerned about fighting at the moment; I'm just your friend, I'm Laura, nice to meet you, and I know your name because I followed you back to the pizza shop. I saw your friend you were walking with the next day and asked about you, said I was in your first class and wanted to see if we could get together to study for the exams, but I didn't know your name and was too afraid to even talk to you. Kacey, I think... she's nice..."

"KACE... (growling to herself then calming down), *sigh* Whadda ya want?"

The stranger sat on a guardrail that outlined the park, on a spot next to the area they were in before. "First, for you to sit down and get the knot out of your panties. And second, to give you what you asked, an answer."

"I'm callin' the cops."

"HOLD IT, KELLY!" she said, stopping the now more frightened girl right in her tracks. "Don't worry, I'll leave you alone if you want, but you have to listen to me."

"You've BEEN saying that, and nothing else!"

"Because you won't listen before you go on your little tantrums; AND because I can't answer them here." She said much quieter.

"Just answer me girl-"

"Laura. Laura Brown."

"Laura... first of all, what do I do?"

"Well right NOW you don't do anything but calm the heck down. Then..." She trailed off reaching back at her purse, pulling out a piece of paper and a pen and writing on it. "Here, if anything else comes up, just say you're sick if anyone's around and leave either to the bathroom or out any route AWAY from anyone else's sight, even if it's on the roof. Then call me if you can... if you can use a phone, or just wait for it to wear off. You shouldn't have any permanent ones yet-"

Before she could finish, Kelly held onto that last word... yet!

"I know what you're thinking, that's why I'm here. As I was going to say before, if it's in the middle of the night again or something, or on any free day you have, there's my address, too. If I'm not there, you'll know where I'll be... I don't get out elsewhere very much."

Kelly's mind wandered. If any of this was actually true, Laura was right, there weren't any others she could think of who she think of that she could trust besides God, and maybe He gave Laura to her. On top of that, she didn't understand any of it, so she couldn't think of much else she could do that she hasn't thought of already (mostly involving running away and living half homeless and half in the wild, or killing herself).

Otherwise, if this Laura woman was surely crazy, the best thing she could do was humor her, for Laura's benefit, or if she wouldn't take no for an answer. She thought mostly the first part, though, which helped to comfort her and cool her down. Then Kelly suddenly remembered, she had to get back to work!

"Okay, thanks. I'll let you know."

"Great!"

"Listen, I really have to get back to work before I lose my job or they send someone out lookin for me to make sure I don't go takin a nap or something."

"I understand. Don't worry. Just keep me in mind."

"IIIII don't know if I want to." She said half nervous, showing a smile smile to the creepy woman. "OH, your painting-!"

"Oh, It's okay, I can always get someone else, maybe a puppy even... or a deer." Laura chukled.

"Okay, see you around."

"Bye, Kelly!"

With that, she headed back to the pizza shop, her mind relaxed, and got back to work; though, no matter how relaxed she was about that woman, she was more anxious recalling that one vivid night. It was too vivid to be a dream, but too crazy to be anything but, to Kelly. Either way, she got off work and went home, walking briskly with her eyes open for Laura. She just wanted to get home and go straight up to bed, but thought it would be somewhat difficult to.

As she walked in the door, she could sense that Kacey had something very amusing to say, as always; but this time, for multiple reasons, Kelly didn't want to hear it.

"Who gave your happiness a wedgie?" Kacey asked as Kelly almost stormed through the house.

"You just talk too much." Kelly replied while heading to her room.

She was pondering what to make of Laura. She had different feelings toward her and what she said, but couldn't get out of her mind, what if she really wasn't crazy after all. As she relived those now memories of that night she changed, and all the other things that happened, even with the deer; it started to make more sense. She couldn't let go of it. Normally she wouldn't trust strangers, especially one as interesting and inquisitive as Laura; but she wanted to hear her out at least. She seemed nice, and could probably explain everything to Kelly more than... well, anyone right now, as much as it peaked her curiosity. She thought she could at least let her explain herself, that's it. What's the worst that could happen from that?

"Aww, when's ever the best time to think that question?"

As restless as her mind was, she just sorted her mind out till she could hear her earworm singing along with the music playing in her head, helping her to distract herself enough to get some sleep. It's those kinds of times where she appreciated her hyperactive earworm. She needed the sleep, because the following day, Kelly had to go to school. It was time for her midterms....

Chapter 4 coming soon!