“Hey, the girls are back,” yelled my jackass boyfriend over the noise at the club to his equally ignorant wingman. Mateo and Eric were hitting on some clubsluts at another table, just to dance since they shared Cynthia. Our introverted housemate opted out of the clubhopping night, instead taking advantage of the quiet back home for her idea of a perfect Friday, curled up in a bunch of pillows reading.
I guess wingman isn’t the correct term for Swami anymore since Viola walked up to him at a convention last week and claimed him. Now that was a scene. Swami looking slightly out of place as always in the predominately white sci-fi gathering and up comes this Hispanic-African American woman dressed as Storm, pulling it off way better than Hallie Berry. People turned to stare at her as she passed, her sheer presence godlike. She grabbed Swami by his pointed Tuvok ears, growled “Mine”, lifted him on his tip-toes, and kissed him until his eyes crossed.
Honestly, the woman should not be left alone. Very, very direct – six foot three, not counting the leather boots she had been wearing, and intimidating as hell. The rest of the pack closed rank and pulled over to the side of the hall – my boyfriend, Ethan, scanned the crowd for her crew. No one followed.
Viola was a lone wolf. She still hasn’t told us her story, but unless Swami is holding her, the crazy gleam lives in her ice-blue eyes.
I slapped Ethan on the bicep while Viola circled the table to lean into Swami’s back, her head, thanks to the six-inch spikes, resting on top of his. “Not a girl,” I snarled.
“Okay,” he laughed, raising his hands then nodding at the table. “Got you a drink, not-a-girl.”
Honestly if Ethan wasn’t so damn cute I would dump him.
That and he knows my drink preferences. A pink hurricane sat on the sticky surface. I nicked it and took a long sip out of the straw. Shifting my shoulders, I prepared to forgive him when he opened up his mouth again.
“You and Viola have a good time?” He yelled. “Really, why do you girls need to go in pairs anyway?”
I shouldn’t. Pack leader, alpha male. Nope. Just nope. Annnnd lost the argument with myself.
I returned the glass to the table, tilted my head so my black hair slid like a waterfall over my shoulder, put out my left hand, and crocked a finger on my right hand to invite him to come with me. My flirty smile sealed the deal. The club being too crowded for him to smell me.
The idiot put his hand in mind. I dragged him through the crowd to a side door opening onto a much less noisy balcony. Dragged being a relative term – he and Viola shared a height class and he had about half again on her for muscle mass. I have my mom’s slight Asian build with just enough height from my pop to reach Ethan’s shoulders if I wore spikes, which I don’t, and Ethan didn’t wear motorcycle boots, which he does.
Finding a dark corner on the balcony was easy, finding one unoccupied took a little more work. Once successful Ethan lifted me onto the wrought iron table, placed his hands either side of me and leaned in – to find my hand in the middle of his chest pushing back. “I thought you wanted to know why ‘girls’ go to the bathroom in pairs.” My tone chilled the area enough to frost his beer goggles.
“Um, yeah, I guess.” He stood up and scratched the back of his head.
“So we don’t get assaulted.”
His cocky perpetual half-smile shifting into a frown. “What?”
I stared at him hard. My black eyes unblinking. And waited for the brain to override his party hormones. Eventually, his blond eyebrows drew together until a little crinkle indicating he was actually thinking appeared between them. His stern thinking expression made my heart skip and my lips plump out until I bit them.
His eyes dropped to my lips. We have the damnest time completing arguments because him thinking turns me on, and unlike most werewolves, let alone human males, he thinks when angry instead of blowing up. Unlike me. Now in our third year together he is able to push past it, making him that much hotter to my very screwed up emotional wiring. His nostrils flared as he smelled me getting wet.
I nodded, trying to renew my anger from the club. I am not a girl. I am twenty-two. I am not a girl. “Yes, assaulted.”
His half-smile made a weak return. “Not so you can have a conversation while standing in line?”
“No, you mutt.” I jammed a finger into his chest.
His face twitched, falling into his thinking expression. “You always said that.”
“Yeah. That is one of the lines we women have agreed to tell men about the bathroom thing.”
“Ah, so you are breaking the woman secrecy barrier.” He raised his eyebrows.
“I thought it was time.” Part of me wanted to laugh, but the rest of me realized the conversation was one of the most serious we ever had. Because I really was breaking secret barriers. Women just don’t talk about this stuff. We say we go in pairs because of the long lines. And the long lines are because it takes longer to move all the stuff around – pantyhose takes ten times longer to get back into place than whipping it out and stuffing it back in after shaking. So we are telling the truth, but not the real truth. Not the truth we avoid telling ourselves most days. “I am walking through a club with a bunch of slightly drunk males and going to go down a darkened hallway. I am not stupid enough to do that alone.”
Ethan shuddered a moment. His eyes flashed left to right as he processed the danger. The innate danger every woman faces in a simple trip to a public bathroom. Pulling me forward on the table he kissed the top of my head and rested his forehead on mine. “Thank you.”
I snuggled into him. I guess I will keep the jackass a little longer.
We fell into bed that night exhausted, Mateo finally pulling us away from the noise, scents, and dancing to get home to his woman. Alcoholism runs on the American Indian side of his family, so he never drinks and is our designated driver making clubbing only somewhat fun for him. Being the babysitter for a werewolf pack out for a good time during new moon week has severe downsides. Better than the weeks closer to full moon; at least the boys didn’t punch anyone this time.
Viola hasn’t been around long enough, but I bet she is a puncher too.
Cynthia, Mateo, and Eric woke us around dawn. We really need to soundproof their room. A thump shook some dust off the ceiling.
And pad it. Their room needed padding.
Ethan and I were wrapped around each other, and he petted my back and waist-length hair while we tried to ignore our exuberant packmates.
“I was wondering.” His bass voice rumbled through his deep chest tickling my ear.
“ummm” I responded, debating whether to move and start petting him back, a bit lower than acceptable in polite company. The moving was the biggest impediment, though Mr. Happy was working on becoming bigger.
“Why would you fear being assaulted?” Ethan kissed the top of my head.
I rolled to the side a little to rest mostly on the bed so I could look him in the eye, leg drawing across a very happy Mr. Happy. Well, good morning to you too. My leg and womanly bits decided not to join the rest of me on the bed.
Sorry, woman bits, serious conversation first. Annnd, woman bits get even more moist as my eyes focus on his stern thinking expression.
I bite my lip, swallow, and then force words out before morning sex or coffee. “Habit, I guess.”
I then shook my head, thinking harder. Yes it hurts without my caffeine fix. Let this be a lesson to women everywhere, do not hook up with guys who do not need caffeine. Morning people and night people do not mix. Or all day people. Ethan never turns off. Part of why he is the alpha of our group. He was alpha even before the attack.
I reminded myself not to lie to him or to me and started again. “And reality as well.”
“What? You are a werewolf for crying out loud!” The whisper shout could have been heard by werewolf ears outside the house, but not by anyone else. As an extra precaution, the house we bought last year was on five acres. We are a noisy lot and neighbors did not need to know about the adjustment to our human DNA we had experienced.
“How much do you press?” I stroked my hand across his muscular chest, making Mr. Happy twitch and jump against my leg.
“Now? Oh, I guess about 600 pounds, more during a full moon.” He shrugged. “I haven’t really bothered since … well, since. I was doing about 200 in school before.”
“So three times stronger than before” I looked up into his green-gray eyes.
“About,” he agreed.
“Well, I lifted too.”
He laughed, shaking the bed. “Because the high school required it as part of gym class.”
I poked his check with a finger, and his laughter stopped instantly. Oh god, don’t look at my breasts. Don’t look.
His serious eyes dropped to where my small breasts provided just enough lift from my body to make the erect nipples really stand out. I prevented my hand from moving into a caress, reminding it and other body parts, we are still having a serious discussion here.
I inhaled deeply. “I pressed about fifty pounds. And unlike you I’ve tested it at a gym since just for giggles. Also three times stronger, one hundred fifty pounds, more than I weigh.”
“I still can’t lift you.” I pointed out. “I still can’t bench press what a healthy high school male can unless it is the full moon.”
The crinkle appeared between his eyes.
“So, yeah, a human male your size can still assault me even though I am three times stronger than he expects.”
“Yeah.” My turn to shrug, and my eyes may sprung a small leak. “The Old Man said we continue to get stronger slowly, so maybe someday. But I don’t think I am ever going to stop being cautious.”
Ethan lifted a hand, his thumb caressing my cheek and lips. “Anita.” He kissed me gently.
I had dated Eric, back before, and then Mateo immediately following the attack before the first full moon and shift when the mating heat reshuffled our allegiances and linked the beta crowd as a single unit. Some days I wished Ethan and I could experience the mating heat, I’ve been thinking about it more since Swami found Viola.
On the other hand, good old-fashion love, respect, and understanding is pretty awesome too.
So is wild monkey sex. When we start padding the bedrooms, ours will need to be on the list.
(words 1,892; first published 10/29/2017)