It took her about a week to get back into the swing of things; helping out on the farm, taking her horse for a ride, and after Izzy felt good in her skin, she and Dr. Beck, the vet, signed her up for college while she kept working for him. While she had had the money for vet school, a mysterious benefactor had already paid for her entire course. She knew it had been Klaus, and she wasn’t happy with it.
So when she was on a farm with the vet and dealing with several bloated cows, she had the farmer film her on her phone as she put a trocar into the cow’s rumen. The cow was held by some farm hands and she made an incision into the cow’s skin otherwise the hide would be too thick for her to push the trocar in. She jammed it into the cow, causing the cow to trash around for a bit before pulling out the plug.
The gas that came out of the cow was sickening, it came out so fast and hard that her phone picked it up as well. “Pfew! I do love the smell of a cow’s rumen in the morning!” Izzy grinned as she took her phone and sent it off to Klaus before moving on to the next cow.
“What are you doing?” Jim, the farmhand who was assisting her, asked. She and Jim had grown up together, their parents often traded cows with each other or even bulls.
“Ah, you know how we can now add smells to our videos? I just sent it to someone who deserves it,” she grinned as she cleaned her hands. “I’m quite sure he’ll appreciate it,” she added as she looked at the next cow and got slightly worried. She knew that Dr. Beck had had a few cows helped already, but there were more sick cows, and she was wondering how this could have happened. “So, the cows, did they all get sick at the same time?”
Jim nodded. “Sadly. We also had to euthanize a few because they wouldn’t get up. That’s why y’all are here, to make sure the remaining cows will live.”
“Can I have a look at the feed?” Izzy asked before following Jim to the food supply. She opened the first bag and grabbed a hand to smell it. “Does this smell like mold to you?”
“I don’t smell anything,” Jim shrugged as Izzy opened the second bag that smelled the same too. “What are you doing?”
“This is the same feed as we have at our farm, and this doesn’t smell like it at all,” she moved another one and saw a hole in the bag. “Mice.” She quickly grabbed a handful of feed and ran to Dr. Beck. “Could you smell something for me, doc?” Izzy asked as the vet was arm deep in a cow. She held the feed in front of his nose. “Doesn’t smell good, does it?”
Dr. Beck’s head snapped to the farmer. “You’ve been feeding your cows food that’s off? That should have been destroyed? What’s going on, Bill?” he asked as he withdrew his arm from the cow and got rid of the super long glove. “What else is there?”
Bill then seemed to fall apart, his confident façade breaking. “We’re having money issues so we’ve been buying our usual brand at a third of the price… in bulk…”
“You’re killing your animals!”
“I know! And I wish I could help them but…”
“Why didn’t you ask for help, Bill?” Izzy asked as she gently rubbed Bill’s back. “You know very well that my parents would have helped you out.”
“It’s pride, Iz. Pride is holding me back. We’re so close to losing our farm… We made some bad investments and we don’t have all the means…” Izzy pulled the farmer into her arms and rubbed his back.
“Don’t worry, Bill, we’re going to help you to get back on your feet. Dr. Beck is going to check out the other cows and I’m going to call my parents to bring some feed. Then Jim and I are going to burn the bad feed, alright?”
“Bless you and your big heart, sweetheart,” Bill sighed relieved. “I promise, we’ll change our ways and-”
“I know,” she smiled at him as she let him go and motioned for Jim to follow her to get the feed out and burn it in the field. Izzy then shot a text message to her mother about this situation and got the reply that they were on their way.
By the end of the day, all the cows were in recovery and enjoying their nice new food and clean stables that Izzy and Jim had sterilized as well, and Izzy was beat. As always, Dr. Beck drove her home, and he was giving her the riot act, that sometimes, farmers don’t make it and that she should stop feeling so deeply. “But if the farmers are in trouble, you get sick animals, and aren’t we supposed to look out for the animals?”
“Once they’re back in full health, we might have to find a different solution because Bill always makes mistakes, always has been and he gets repeatedly helped. Although this time, it was worse than ever,” Dr. Beck said as he stopped the car in front of her house. “Get some rest, I’m back at 5 am to pick you up.”
“That’s early, what are we going to do?”
“While you have the freedom to learn in the field with me, others don’t have the same pleasure. We’re going to drive to College Station tomorrow because I have a few guest lectures to give, and you’re going to attend a day of normal school to see where you’re at with your studies.”
“I’ll bring the sandwiches and coffee,” Izzy smiled at him as she got out of the truck. “See you tomorrow!” She watched the vet drive away and got out of her boots before getting inside the house. “I’m home!”
“Dinner’s in the microwave, bunny!” her mother called out. “Your daddy and I are having some fun!”
“I didn’t want to know that!” she called back as she walked into the kitchen and heated up her meal. It was then that she received a text message from Klaus.
“Did you have to do that?!”
“Well, you paid for my education, I suppose it’s nice to show you what I do with it.”
“Welcome to my world :-)”
“Why on Earth would you send this to me? It’s absolutely disgusting and the smell lingers!”
“You paid for it!”
“I’m starting to regret that. Perhaps I need my head examined.”
“Likely. When are you going to do that?”
“When you come back to the family.”
Izzy was quiet then as she got her food out of the microwave and sat down at the table to eat it with a nice cold beer. How was he so sure she’d return? She was living her own life, and things were getting interesting with Jim. Jim was tall, dark and handsome and his sense of humor matched hers. Even today, while hard at work, she couldn’t help but wish that Jim would ask her out some time. “You’re not an animal. I only treat animals.”
“Ah, but I am.”
Fucker. She decided to ignore him for the rest of the evening and after finishing her food, she grabbed her sketch pad and took her beer with her to the porch to draw a little to wind down until it was time to go to bed.
For her 19th birthday, Jim took her out to dinner and some drinks while meeting up with their other friends. She and Jim had been dating for about a month now and he was even better than she’d ever imagined. There were bonus points because her dad didn’t like Jim much but he couldn’t give her a clear reason as to why. Was it his motorcycle? No. Was it the way that he dressed? No. The way he spoke? No. His personality? No. Then what? He didn’t know.
She was pleasantly buzzed as Jim drove her back home in her car. “I had a great time,” she smiled at him. “Best birthday party ever.”
“Yeah?” Jim smiled at her. “Did I score boyfriend points?”
“Yes,” Izzy giggled. “Extra bonus points for bringing me home drunk.”
“You rebel!” Jim laughed.
“You can come up to my room with me, my parents are asleep.”
Jim took his eyes briefly off the road to look at her and Izzy was looking at him with a big goofy smile on her face. It was then when the car hit something and he had to fight hard to keep the car on the road and stopped the car. “Are you alright?” He asked spooked.
Izzy nodded as she looked in the rearview mirror. “Fuck, it’s a wolf!” she said as she quickly stumbled out of the car and got the first aid kit and a blanket. “Call Dr. Beck for me? Tell him we’re coming to the clinic with an injured wolf.”
“It’s just a wolf,” Jim huffed. “Wolves are pests. They destroy livestock and shit. Leave it to die.”
“Jerk,” Izzy said as she kneeled down next to the dazed wolf. Oh, she knew that she was in danger now, wolves were wild animals and predators. She was sitting close to it right now to see how badly he was hurt. “Call Dr. Beck!” She then turned on her flashlight and looked at the wolf, there was some blood coming out of his mouth and upon closer inspection, she could see that he had bit down on his own tongue during the collision.
She had never touched a wolf before, and this wolf felt fluffy, like a bigger version of a German Shepherd. She put the blanket over the wolf’s head to keep him calm and started to use her hands to check his body for fractures. Izzy could feel some broken ribs and his legs on the front were not in good shape either.
When the wolf started to move, Izzy shushed him and kept the blanket over his head. “Can you get me another blanket? We’ll lift the wolf up into the truck and drive him to the Doc.”
“Are you serious? I’m not going to share a car with a wild animal!”
“Then you’re staying behind, this animal needs help,” Izzy said as she snatched the blanket out of Jim’s hands and gently moved the wolf onto the blanket, surprised to feel that his ribs didn’t feel as cracked as they were previously. “Huh,” she said as she put her first aid kit in the blanket with the wolf and started to drag it towards the car. “A little help here? He’s at least 80 pounds.”
Jim sighed as he helped her lift the wolf into the truck. “I’ll drive, you just make sure that that thing stays down until we get to the clinic. This whole caring for all animals needs to stop, Izzy. You’re lucky that this wolf is still dazed from the collision but it could come to and attack us both.”
“Not just human doctors have an oath, you know.”
“You’re not a vet, yet!”
Izzy settled in the backseat with the wolf’s head in her lap and she looked in her kit for a sedative for when she was going to need it. “Just drive,” she said as she pulled out a syringe and got some sedative in it just in case. “Silly little wolf,” she said softly as she felt the wolf slightly move. “Big lights mean stay away from the road. You’re lucky we hit you so we can get you the help you need,” she whispered as she kept feeling his ribs, and then his front paws. “However…” she lifted the blanket off the wolf’s head and saw his bright eyes, focused and looking at her. “What are you?” she whispered even quieter as she eyed Jim who was angrily driving towards the clinic before looking back at the wolf.
“This is not how I had imagined ending your birthday, you know,” Jim said from the front seat.
“No one ever gets to see a wolf up close unless they’re hurt or dead, and you’re thinking about other things?” Izzy countered as she looked back at the wolf, he seemed to be smiling now. “Yeah, I think you can call Dr. Beck and tell him not to bother, I think the wolf is about to come to his senses and he needs to get out of the car now.”
Jim sighed deeply as he put the car on the side of the road and Izzy got out of the car before opening the door wide enough for the wolf to jump out of there. “Whoever you are, this isn’t funny,” she muttered under her breath. “I have had enough of the supernatural for a lifetime. Leave.”
The wolf let out a snort and got out of the car before jumping up against her to lick her face and let out a growl when Jim got too close.
“Behave, that’s my boyfriend. Now leave,” she said as she pushed the wolf away from her. “Go prank other people if that’s your thing.” The wolf snapped at Jim again, this time coming close to his manhood and Izzy nudged the wolf away with her knee before getting back in the car, her buzz gone, ruined by a stupid supernatural wolf.
Her mood gone, too. Even though she’d been drunk, she had wanted Jim to be with her, in her bed, but his behavior had ruined it for her. But he’d been right. Had this been a regular wolf, she would have had to leave it on the side of the road. “Sorry, you were right,” she said softly. “This could have ended up badly.”
“Tomorrow’s newspaper; beloved community members found dead in their car, cause of death: animal attack.”
“It’s not funny.”
“Damn right, it’s not,” Jim spat at her. “Next time you’ll just listen to me, okay? Your heart is bigger than your brain, apparently.”
“Not tonight,” he said as he pushed the pedal to the floor and drove himself home. He didn’t say anything after getting out of the car so Izzy scooted over and drove herself home, slamming the door as she closed it and threw her shoes across the hallway.
“Sorry!” she called out before stomping her way up the stairs to her room and slamming her door shut too.
“Sorry!” she said again as she fell on her bed. Her birthday had been fun, until the wolf ran in front of the car for shits and giggles. And Jim had been an asshole, but right. She needed to use her brains more and not her heart.
She felt lucky that it was the weekend because the next morning she woke up with a hangover despite having had sobered up after the wolf got run over. It was lunch time that she finally managed to get out of her room, take a shower and get dressed before walking into the kitchen. “Sorry I missed work this morning,” she said as she greeted her parents and poured herself a coffee.
“You had a birthday party last night, bunny, you never have to work the day after,” her father smiled at her. “How are you feeling?”
“Like I was hit by a truck… oh! We hit a wolf last night on the way home. I think it was a supernatural wolf because he was really friendly and healed super fast,” she said as she took a sip of her coffee and looked at her parents. Their smiles were gone. “What?”
“Sit down, bunny,” her mother pointed at the empty chair at the table. “We received some news early this morning from Mr. Hale.”
“What’s going on?”
“They found Jim dead early this morning,” her mother said carefully. “A suspected animal attack.”
Izzy blinked then. “What? No, that’s impossible and not right,” she said as she took her phone out to call Jim, but her dad showed her the newspaper. Beloved member of our community found dead, cause of death: animal attack. There was a picture of Jim attached to it and a whole article about Jim and his life.
Her chest tightened with every word that she read, all good and uplifting and it wanted to make her cry.
There was an addendum to the article that made her angry though. “He’ll have a funeral according to the laws and customs of the Volturi Club?!” she slammed her hand on the table. “He was a Volturi?!” Izzy looked at her father and narrowed her eyes at him. “Is that why you didn’t like him?! Why didn’t you tell me?!”
“Bunny, it’s just a club.”
“No, you don’t believe that,” she huffed as she got to her feet and backed off from her parents. “Are you Volturi? How many Volturi are living in our town? You thought it would be safe for me here?!” She yelled at them.
“No!” Izzy then remembered that she never went into details about New Orleans because she didn’t want to scare her parents. “I’m not safe,” she said as she ran up the stairs and started to pack her bag, and she was followed by her parents. “For all your knowledge and knowing things, you really have a blindspot, daddy. And that’s okay. But now that I know that Jim was Volturi, he might know who I am and he must have told someone about me. So, I’m leaving.”
“What about school?”
“There are plenty of vet schools around the country I could transfer to,” she said as she put her clothes in her bag. “Or maybe I’ll just quit all together but that would be a waste of money so yeah, I’ll continue somewhere else.”
Charlotte stopped Izzy from what she was doing and held her tightly. “Take a deep breath, bunny, you’re panicking for nothing.”
“For nothing?!” she squeaked. “Jim’s a dead Volturi. His dad still lives here, no doubt he’s Volturi. And maybe there’s a handful more, but do you know what they do? They’re on the search for immortality and fifty years ago they got really close to get just that but she destroyed them all,” she wrestled herself out of her mother’s hold and kicked against her bed. “For fuck’s sake, even at home I can’t escape her!”
Peter looked at his daughter, almost as if something clicked inside his mind. “Oh, of course,” he let out a groan. “Bunny, you need to calm down, I’ll take care of this.”
“Trust me,” he said as he placed his hands on her shoulders and smiled at her. “Don’t leave. Calm down. I’ll make sure this place is free from the Volturi.”
“How!” she asked again.
“Like how we made this farm free for you to be yourself with without the little trinket of yours. Trust me. I would never let anything happen to you. Calm down,” he said as he kissed the top of her head. “I’ll handle this. I promise.”
Izzy let out a breath and nodded. “Thank you.” She wasn’t sure how her father was going to fix this, and how long it was going to take, but he always came through. For everything. When her parents left her room, she started to unpack again and was wondering if she should tell Klaus about the Volturi in town. Likely not. It was pretty much a bad idea.
Her dad was a social worker and a farmer, how on Earth was he going to fix this?