The ground meat was simmering. Tess chopped up red pepper in a snap, but the onion got to her. She wasn't a very good cook. She knew. But Gran had lost a taste bud or two. She wasn't sure if that was a hindrance or a help. It didn't matter. She squinted hard as she cut away with the fat knife and had supper simmering in a jiffy as she added a jar of spaghetti sauce and uncooked noodles. The goulash would be ready in about thirty minutes.
"What's taking so long?" The old woman asked from the living-room who was sat in front of the TV which tuned in one channel, and even with a tuner, it was quite snowy..
"Nothing." She winced. She tried not to let her demands get to her. She knew Gran meant well, but sometimes the bitterness got the best of both of them. She preferred the quietness of the forest. "Just watch Wheel of Fortune!" Tess yelled back.
She watched the pot bubble with tomato sauce. She put a lid on it and stirred the frozen Brussels sprouts then.
"There." She smiled. It wouldn't be that awful. She went to clean up the mess she'd made on the counter, putting the left over raw veggies in the compost can. She looked out the kitchen window into the forest. It was dark. But she liked to go out into the night and watch the full moon. Still. Always, had, she supposed. Soon she had most of the mess cleaned up and supper ready to be served. Naturally, she had to serve Gran at the tin TV tray next to her knitting.
"Eat." Tess turned off the TV.
"But what about Dancing with Stars?" Her grandmother peered at her over her wire rim glasses.
"Not until you take three bites." She had medication to give Gran too.
Gran, white headed and wrinkled as a pale prune, took a bite. "Not enough salt."
"Just the way its suppose to be Gran." Tess sighed as she crossed her arms and waited for Gran to try a Brussels sprout. Naturally, Gran made a face.
Tess just smiled, and finally went to the kitchen to get her own dinner. She ate quietly by herself and listened to the stillness. She could hear the birds out. There were such sweet noises she strained to hear, but soon enough, Gran wanted the TV on. Tess did as she asked and took the leftover, and waited to see Gran take her meds.
It didn't take much to clean up then, and she grabbed her heavy sweater so she could fend the cold a bit. It wasn't quite winter yet, but it would be soon. She strolled off in the moonlight without a care in the world, leaving Gran fuming with the judges on Dancing with the stars.
Of course, she saw the bright beaming stars in the atmosphere. She whirled around and around making herself dizzy. Now this was dancing with the stars, she thought. But she stopped suddenly. A noise in the darkness startled her. She waited. After while, she knew it was nothing. But she thought of him. So fierce. Majestic. And quite beautiful. She shivered.
It had been like magic that day she'd found the wolf in the forest. She didn't think it could be. It had been ages. Well, so long, everyone said she'd forget. And maybe she had.
She'd been all of three the first time she'd met the pack. Her father had left her in forest. It wasn't for good or anything. He'd just needed a hiding place at the time. And they'd found her. Kept her warm at night. Possibly, the happiest she'd ever been.
Tears filled her eyes when she thought about that. There was so much she didn't know. She didn't want to know. But the wolves had been her friends. And she kept coming back to find them. And now she finally had. Maybe.