It was a good job that I was braced against the front door the way I was for I had no inkling as to what was to happen next. The impact as Jo pounced on me from behind nearly winded me. Wrapping her arms around my shoulders and thighs around my hips, she rode me piggyback. I hadn't heard a thing as she had approached. Her velvet muzzle brushed past my ear, electrifying my skin there. The power of her touch seemed to earth down my spine. The chill of her nose touched my cheek. Her long tongue wrapped around my jaw, chin, and touched my lips. She licked me under the chin, then ran the tip of a fang along my jawline. I couldn't help taking a gasp of breath.
"I got our shopping sorted"
The doorbell rang, overly loud as we were both right next to it. I felt Jo cringe against the noise, then just as quickly she was gone. Pausing to get my mind in gear I opened the door. Two Indian gentlemen stood before me. The father, I guessed, wearing a light grey summer suit that seemed a little incongruous with his burden: a fruit box piled high with foil packages and topped with further layers of foil coated paper bags. The son was better dressed for the job, his t-shirt embroidered with the logo of my local curry house. He carried a case of export larger, and two knotted carrier bags of popadoms.
"Set meal for twelve, here you go sir, enjoy your meal." He offered the box to me, and I staggered through to the kitchen with it, setting it on the table. Jo was waiting there, bright eyed and certainly pleased with herself. I made another trip with the beer, and returned to the door with my wallet.
"Not necessary sir, everything is already paid for on your credit card. As one of our valued customers, we'd like to offer you this discount card for your future purchases." I took the proffered card, black with "Maharaja's" in ornate gold type, and thanked him profusely. I could already hear the distinctive sound of breaking popadoms from the kitchen.
"My first curry while I can truly savour all the fragrances and flavours! Even this rice is heavenly. Cardamom, and somewhere there's aniseed. Thank you!" With this she embraced me again, digging popadom shrapnel into my neck.
"I haven't done anything."
"You've allowed me to enjoy this experience, and for that I am grateful."
"Well, we'd best do things properly. Let me put all these in the oven to keep warm, the beer in the fridge to keep cool, the ice cream in the freezer so it doesn't melt, and we'll take the popadoms through with these sauces." I emptied the styrofoam cups into bowls, one was mint yoghurt, the other mango chutney.
It's traditional, of course, to start an Indian meal with an unreasonable number of popadoms, but the two stacks before us went well beyond that. I counted twenty in one stack, but the other was already succumbing to Jo's appetite as best as she could manage. She'd bring a large chunk laden with chutney to her mouth, but those impressive canine teeth of hers would always fracture the brittle bread before she could close her mouth. This was going to be a messy meal, with green and orange streaks down her front already. But it wasn't dulling her enjoyment in the least.
"Let me get the appetizers."
"Not necessary, I'm already drooling!" came the reply, but of course I knew she was joking. The carrier bag of salad leaves covered the charger I'd unearthed from the bottom of my cupboard. Cartons, foil and styrene, yielded the many delicacies that weighed down the plate. I had thought of carrying it through balanced on one hand, but that wasn't to be.
Jo took an onion bahjee first, biting through the crisp outer to the juicy slightly caramelised onion inside. Grinning, she tossed the next one in the air, catching it easily in her mouth, and swallowing. The next four she juggled briefly, before consuming three in quick succession. The one that caught me in the face I didn't expect. I stood no chance of catching it in my mouth; it was just too big to have fitted in. Jo started on the pekoras as I poured a couple of cans of lager into tall glasses.
I ate a pakora or two and one of the shami kebabs, but the bulk of that platter was always going to be Jo's. She took it onto her lap, and hurriedly set to work, draining her glass in one go.
"Another lager please!"
I might have been getting a little used to her, well, capacity for food, but I wasn't quite ready to see a whole kebab engulfed in that long muzzle, the skewer drawn out between her teeth like a miniature sword swallower. Catching my reaction she made the next more of a performance, tilting her head well back before lowering the speared meat and vegetables to their fate then withdrawing the skewer with a flourish. The Amazing Disappearing Kebab Trick had many encores, until the platter was emptied. I also wasn't prepared for her capacity for beer. She'd drained eight cans before I was part way through my second.
"Next!" she called, offering me the empty charger. I took it into the kitchen. I built a ring of pilau rice around the pate and filled the centre with the delicately flavoured chicken korma, reserving a little for my own plate. This, a serving spoon, and the first of the monstrous naans I set beside her.
"Heavenly!" she declared after several minutes of silence. It wasn't long before the naan was being used to soak up the last of the richly creamy sauce from first the plate, and then some of the more enthusiastic dribbles down her front. A chicken birijani followed along with a bowl of vegetable masala, a mound of curried potatoes, and the greasy paratha bread. Each large spoonful vying to be more flavourful than the last in her opinion.
As we moved onto the spicier dishes, a lamb tikka, and then a beef speciality which I always enjoyed for it's measured warmth, Jo consumed more and more lager and started on the sweet peshwari naan with it's mellowing coconut and fruit. "I can't," she panted, "sweat," and after a dozen more rapid breaths, "in this condition. Beer!"
The ring pull on the next and penultimate can of the 24 failed, leaving only a tiny opening. "I'll get a screwdriver, or a can opener, or something." I said.
"No need. Watch this." She took the can from me, and holding it up, punctured the bottom with one large fang. She then raised the can, allowing the stream of beer to arc into her open maw. In a few seconds it was gone.
"Come here!" she called. "Bring that last can. Special werewolf bonding ceremony. Very, very important."
I moved the coffee table aside, and knelt before her. I do believe that after about eight litres of lager she was feeling fairly tipsy.
"No, come closer!" she indicated. Jo levered herself up on the arm of the sofa, which creaked, parting her knees so I could kneel between them. Holding me close with her left arm, she demanded that I pay attention. A swift shake of the can, then a deft bite with upper and lower canines and there were two jets of beer, one each. We both laughed so hard I don't think either of us drunk much of that last can. Our subsequent beer soaked embrace was blissful. What a wonderful creature she was.
"Dessert?" I offered. Jo batted her eyelids, so I fetched the first of four Vienetta's from the freezer. We shared it, sat close side by side, but the earlier urgency of her appetite was sated. I think the last one presented her with a bit of a challenge, but she refused to be beaten.
"And now, I think a shower is in order." She announced, standing suddenly. "Oh my," glancing down at her vastly distended belly, "I slosh!"
While she showered I cleared away the last of the plates, and the clatter of empty beer cans. Lit the gas fire, dragged the mattress in front of it and dimmed the lights.
When Jo came back down she was wearing my bath robe, but it wouldn't close across her swollen belly. She gave up, threw it off, and handed me a slicker brush before stretching out on the mattress. "Brush me!" she commanded. And I did. I carefully worked over every inch of her body from the velvet around her nose to the long tufts of fur between her toes, and every luxurious curve in between. She arched and rolled, sighing with deep enjoyment. I ran the brush and my fingers through her fur and hair, enjoying the texture over her soft body, then the line of her jaw and the tautness of the skin over her belly.