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by beetle
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Romance/Love · #1995468
A dinner with people Noah's never met becomes a life or death situation.
Word count: 1,000
Notes/Warnings: None.
Summary: Written for the prompt(s): “Your hair looks great, really.

“Your hair looks great. Really.”

Despite Jason’s reassurances, I continued to futz with my freshly-cut hair as we stood on his parents’ doorstep. Jason’s hand was hovering near the knocker, but hadn’t yet touched it. So I took one last opportunity to confirm that I looked and smelled fine.

“Are you sure? I mean, this cologne is new—I’ve never worn it before. Did I use too much? Do I smell weird?” I asked, and Jason turned away from the door to pull me into his arms for a slow, knee-buckling kiss.

“You smell good enough to eat. Look good enough to eat, too,” he breathed on my lips, his big hands clenching possessively and promisingly on my waist. “And if you’re an especially brave boy, tonight. . . .”

I laughed as he left the rest of that sentence to my imagination. I could never stay tense in Jason’s arms—not truly.

Well. Most of the time. Tonight was the first time I was going to meet his family. I was justifiably nervous, despite having reassurances from my boyfriend that his parents were neither homophobic or racist or species-ist or any of that garbage.

“And I look alright, right?” I whispered worriedly, glancing down at my new black blazer, button-down blue shirt, and pressed khakis, then back up at my boyfriend, who was watching me bemusedly. “I mean, I’m not too dressed-up, am I? You did say it was gonna be a pretty informal dinner. . . .”

“Baby, will you stop?” Jason caressed my face, his fingers lingering near my mouth. His dark eyes were steady and hypnotic. “You look amazing, you smell like the best thing ever, and my folks are gonna love you. Not as much as I do, but then, that’d be impossible.”

I practically melted, of course. Jason had a way of doing that to me, and had from almost day one.

“I just wanna make a good impression on them.” I pouted, and received another sweet, gentle kiss for it. One that turned not-so-sweet and gentle as the seconds passed, and Jason’s big hands wandered from my waist, around to my ass. I stood on my tiptoes—Jason was tall . . . nearly seven feet, and my five feet ten inches just didn’t quite measure up—and wrapped my arms around his neck, a startled giggle escaping into the kiss as his hands slid back to my waist and he picked me up as easily as I’d pick up a toddler.

Thinking: What the hell? I wrapped my legs around his thighs and let him push me up against the door with a solid thunk, the knocker digging into my back.

“I love it when you manhandle me, Dr. Andrews,” I murmured as he kissed his way to my neck, sniffing and nipping at my skin. I broke out in goosebumps and moaned softly.

“And I love manhandling you. I love you.” Jason worried a hickey into my neck—carefully, always carefully. No matter how caught up we got in necking and foreplay, he made certain never to draw blood, or so much as break skin. There was simply no way of knowing if I’d survive the pathogens in his saliva . . . according to Jason, so many romances between our races had ended in death because one of the lovers got carried away or because they both assumed the uninfected partner was strong enough to survive the pathogens that spread from even just a single bite, without fail.

And I, well . . . let’s just say that a guy with asthma, and who was only one year in remission from his second battle with leukemia, was hardly anyone’s idea of a strong candidate for surviving the virus. . . .

Suddenly, the knocker wasn’t pressing into my back anymore and a rush of air cooled my damp back as Jason and I fell backwards into the foyer. I gasped as a flash of pain blazed in my neck, like a line of fire, when we tumbled past Jason’s dad and into the well-lit space. But Jason, ever graceful and quick, caught us before we could go tail-over-tea-kettle, clutching me as tightly as I was clutching him, with my arms and legs.

Then I was letting Jason go—as quickly as he put me down—and straightening my clothes and hair as I turned to face . . . Jason’s family.

They were all there, looking as they did in the many photos and albums Jason had shown me. All his many brothers and sisters. I grinned nervously and held out my hand as, to a person, their nostrils flared. I hoped like hell I hadn’t overdone it with the cologne.

“Hello,” I said injecting as much fake-confidence as I could into my cracking voice. “I’m—”

“Noah Petrosky,” Mrs. Andrews said lowly, gravely, stepping forward from her big brood of children and frowning, even as her nostrils continued to flare. “It’s, of course, lovely to meet you, dear, but—” Mrs. Andrews drifted closer to me, her expression worried. She’d paled considerably in the few seconds since she’d said my name. “—you’re . . . bleeding. . . .”

“I beg pardon?” I could all but feel Jason tense next to me. Mrs. Andrews reached out and touched my neck lightly, just under my ear. It stung and I gasped again, flinching away from her. She withdrew her hand and the tips of her first two fingers were covered in blood.

My blood.

Instantly horrified, I recalled the flash of pain as Jason and I had tumbled into the house, and turned to him to see the same horror reflected on his handsome, dark face.

“Well,” Mrs. Andrew said the foyer started to spin slowly, but nauseatingly. My neck was on fire, and Jason caught me as strength left me so suddenly, I fell forward. As he scooped me up in his arms—again, as if I weighed nothing—I heard Mrs. Andrews’ voice as if from the other end of a long, echo chamber:

“If you survive this, Noah Petrosky . . . welcome to the Pack.”


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