I had come home and hadn’t felt so bad about myself for once during my life as a teenager. Face no longer riddled with acne, hair no longer greasy after eight hours in my sophomore classes, pits, groin, and happy trail had a dusting of hair, and my voice no longer squeaked when I talked. My body was filling out so that I wasn’t gangly and lanky. My alto voice had settled into a range somewhere between a tenor and a bass, though I could still hit fairly high notes in the choir. Girls were starting to take notice, though that just fed my ego since I truly wasn’t interested. Settling into my looks had a profound effect on my life in general, regardless.
When I auditioned for plays, I got the lead. When I tried out in choir, I got the solos. My guitar playing was getting better. When I talked to other people in my classes or in the hallways, or just…anywhere…they wouldn’t treat me like I was invisible. I was becoming very visible. It was overwhelming but in good ways. Though, in other ways, it was disconcerting. Popular kids wanted to be my friend and unpopular kids wanted to be my friend. Other people hated me while others emulated me. I just wanted to be Robbie Wagner—but also sing and act in the school choir and plays. Everyone else had other expectations of me. I was starting to look decent, so, of course, that meant I had to behave a certain way.
It was all exciting and thrilling…and exhausting.
When I got home from school, I dropped my backpack by the door and kicked my shoes off. Oma had immediately yelled at me to not “leave my shit right out in the goddamn open where any asshole could trip over it.” I loved my Oma. She was colorful and fun and, regardless of her language, kind. She was also incredibly embarrassing. The few real friends I had loved coming over to hang out simply because of the floor show. Their parents didn’t like the new words that they came home with but that didn’t deter Oma.
Rolling my eyes, I had scooped up my bag and shoes and headed up the stairs towards my bedroom. In the upstairs hallway, I still felt the pull to walk to the end of the hallway and go sit in the room that had belonged to my parents. Somehow, I ignored the instinct, just like I always did. I wasn’t ready for that. Not yet. Inside my bedroom, I set my backpack next to my little desk I used for doing homework and then put my shoes in my closet. I didn’t need Oma getting onto me for leaving things unorganized and untidy.
Freshly laundered clothes were folded and laid out on my bed, so I took a few minutes to put those away. Oma went to the trouble of washing my clothes, the least I could do was put them away. I even ignored the movement in my peripheral vision as I put clothes in dresser drawers and hung shirts in the closet. The shadows were there from time to time, in the corners, peeking out of the closets and cubbyholes, dashing into cupboards and the pantry, slipping under pieces of furniture. It was just what life was like living in Oma’s house.
Oma didn’t like to be questioned about it, and if I gathered the courage to ask, I was told: “maybe in a few years”. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I trusted my Oma. I believed in her. I knew that she was old and wise and would take care of me, especially once my parents were gone, so I revered her word. Her word was law and her law was love. Why question such a thing?
So, I picked up after myself, did chores, did my homework, tried to be a good grandson, and I ignored the things that I never could quite lay eyes upon that scurried about the house. It was none of my business. At least not for a few more years. I could live with that. Even at night, when I could swear that something was crawling into the bed and curling up by my feet, I closed my eyes tightly, reminded myself that I could never be in danger. Oma wouldn’t have allowed that. She would protect me. So…I just shut my eyes tightly and went to sleep. After a while, I barely even noticed when something laid down against my feet as I was drifting off to sleep. It was almost as comforting as knowing that I had Oma, even though I didn’t have my parents anymore.
Oma’s house was where I felt safe.
When I awoke, the room was bright with mid-morning sunlight. My eyes scrunched up as I yawned deeply and started to move my arms. I couldn’t move my right arm, it was numb and it felt like the world was standing upon it. I started to panic as my eyes shot open but then I saw the reason for the heaviness and numbness in my arm. Lucas was still pressed against my side, his arms wrapped around me, his head on my chest, and my right arm was still stuck underneath him. Both of us were as naked as the day we were born, which made me feel like I should be embarrassed and cover myself. But then flashes of all of the things we had done to each other hours previously came back to me and I realized that being naked was the last thing that should embarrass me.
Heat rose to my cheeks as I thought of all of the things I’d allowed Lucas to do to my body and all of the things I’d done to him. Not that sex was shameful…but I barely knew Lucas. I had behaved like a sex-crazed, lovesick idiot with no regard for my health and well-being. I’d simply let my most basic needs overtake me and had fallen into the moment. I never did that. Even as a rock star and actor, my image, personality, behavior, everything was controlled down to each and every step that I took. I never deviated from how I wanted to present myself to the world. Because the way I presented myself to the world was truly who I was deep down. Jacob Michaels, er, Robert Wagner, well, Rob Wagner, if I had my say about things, was a good guy.
Okay. Maybe I was looking through the wrong lens at things. Having sex with someone doesn’t make a person bad, per se. People aren’t sluts and whores and players just because they enjoy sex. But…it just wasn’t me. I’d never just fallen into bed with someone whom I had only known for a week. Especially one with whom I’d never actually had a date. I laid there on the floor, my shoulder blades starting to ache against the wood floors of Lucas’ living room. However, I didn’t want to move because moving meant that Lucas would wake up and then we would talk. I wasn’t too sure that I was ready for talking, especially after everything that had transpired the night before.
Andrew had been a complete and unforgivable douchebag. He had been insufferable over dinner and had practically assaulted me in his car on the way home afterward. After punching Andrew to get him to stop trying to touch my…naughty bits…I had gotten out of the car and slammed the car door so violently that I had broken the window. When Andrew had followed me…
How was that even possible? How had I watched a human man turn into a fucking werewolf? I couldn’t even wrap my mind around the possibility that werewolves were actually a thing, even though I had seen it with my own eyes. What is visible doesn’t need evidence, but I was still doubting that I wasn’t just completely mental and had imagined the whole thing. But Lucas had plowed into Andrew with his truck, brought me back to his house, and we had had sex. A lot of sex. And here I was, laying on the floor of his living room, completely nude and wrapped up in his arms and legs. Surely that was further proof that I hadn’t imagined the night before. If I could discount my memory, I couldn’t ignore the fact that Lucas and I were, in fact, laying on his living floor completely nude.
“Good morning.” I jerked slightly at the sound of Lucas’ voice.
I looked down at my former sexual partner to see his eyes lazily opening and his mouth turning up into a content smile.
“Good morning,” I answered simply.
“Did you sleep well?” He asked.
Lucas seemed so happy. So content. Like the previous night hadn’t affected him in the slightest. Like werewolves and attempted murder—well, okay, he hadn’t been trying to kill Andrew, just fend him off—and then sex with a virtual stranger was just a normal Saturday for him. Maybe it was? I mean, how much did I know about Lucas? I only knew what he had told me—and you can never be sure about what goes on inside a person’s head unless they are willing to tell the truth. And how does one validate the truth if one isn’t a witness to the things they’re told?
“I guess so.” I nodded.
Lucas leaned up, his lips moving towards mine. Without a trace of enthusiasm, I pursed my lips and greeted his. But I didn’t close my eyes or lean into the kiss. I simply let it happen.
“Are you hungry?” Lucas asked, his lips finding my jaw, then my chest.
I allowed Lucas to plant kisses on my skin a few times before interrupting him.
“Can you stop?” I asked gently.
Lucas tilted his head to look up at me.
“Really?” I gave a nervous laugh. “I mean, come on, Lucas…”
He chewed at his lip.
“Okay.” He shrugged against me and finally raised his body enough so that I could slide my arm out from underneath him. Pins and needles ran along it. “I know what’s wrong. But…can’t we just enjoy this moment a little longer, Rob?”
I just stared at him.
“I don’t know what this moment is.” I shook my head and slid away from him, finally rising to a seat position. “I don’t know what anything is right now, Lucas.”
Lucas sat up beside me, a frown forming.
“We made love.”
It was my turn to frown.
“Is that what that was?” I asked. “I thought it was just two idiots throwing caution to the wind and doing something reckless.”
“Do you regret it?”
I chewed at my lip. Did I?
“No,” I answered honestly, I thought. “But I also feel like I should. I mean…look at us for God’s sake.”
I gestured at our naked bodies as we sat beside each other there on the floor. If two guys sitting completely naked on the floor—two guys who barely knew each other—wasn’t something to cause concern, then I didn’t know what was. Was this just a sexual encounter to get over the trauma of what had happened in an evening? Was it sex, comfort…love?
“Did you enjoy it?” Lucas looked away shyly.
Flashes of the things we had done sent a shiver down my spine. The smell of Lucas’ skin was stuck in my nose, I could taste him at the back of my throat. Sure, it was pleasant and enticing…but it also concerned the hell out of me. It made me want to do more things that were against my nature. Right then. Right there.
“Yes,” I replied evenly. “I enjoyed it.”
“Do you want some breakfast?”
“I want to go home.” I shrugged. “I need to get away from here. For now.”
I thought about that.
“I just want to go back to Oma’s.” I rose to my feet and shuffled over to the pile of clothes our sexual encounter had formed. “I need to…I don’t know…clear my head or something.”
I bent down and sorted through the clothes until I found my underwear and pants and pulled them on quickly, though I tried to not look as self-conscious as I felt at that moment. Lucas rose to his feet and joined me at the pile of clothes and he pulled on his underwear as well. My eyes rose to take him in and my mind screamed out that he looked nearly as amazing in his underwear as he did nude. I wanted to pull him into me, feel his bare skin against my bare skin once more, press my mouth to his. Devour him.
Shivering, a shaking off of thoughts, I reached down and snatched up my shirt and pulled it on over my head. Lucas mimicked me as I went through the motions. In silence, occasionally exchanging awkward glances, we dressed, covering up the evidence of the previous night. Of course, feelings, memories, and thoughts can’t be covered up with something like a shirt, so the awkwardness continued as Lucas found his keys and we left his house. The sun was climbing into the sky, even though it was chilly, and the brightness of the sun made me feel a lot safer after the night I’d had.
I climbed into the passenger seat of Lucas’ truck as he jumped into the driver’s seat, his eyes darting over to me. Doing my best to ignore the questioning look, I just fastened my seatbelt and tried to ignore the scent of sex and regret coming off of my clothes. My tongue and teeth felt furry and I knew that my hair had to look absolutely tragic. I just wanted to get back to Oma’s house, where all of my fresh, clean clothes were, get a shower, get redressed…and then…I didn’t know.
“Are you sure you want to leave?” Lucas asked softly. “Right now?”
I turned my head to look at him, to consider what it truly was that I felt and wanted. Lucas’ eyes did not meet mine, instead, they were fixed on a point somewhere past the windshield.
“What did you mean when you said Oma is a witch?” I asked.
Lucas turned to me.
“You’re more concerned about that than your date being a werewolf?” His eyebrow raised precipitously.
I motioned toward the sky. “Sun’s out. I figure that one can wait for a few hours. And a lot of things have me concerned right now, Lucas.”
“I meant she’s a witch.” He shrugged. “But I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell her I told you that.”
There were a lot of things I could say to that.
“I must be going out of my fucking mind right now.” I sighed and turned my head back to look straight ahead again.
“You’re not crazy, Rob.”
“I’m not exactly in a good headspace.”
“I promise that you’re not crazy.” He reiterated. “I know this is all a lot to take in all of the sudden…even for someone like you.”
“I think I’m in shock.”
“That would be understandable.”
“Andrew is a werewolf,” I said it as though we weren’t fully aware of the fact yet. “You hit him with your truck. Oma is a witch. And we just fucked like a couple of horny teenagers.”
“Fucked?” Lucas frowned.
“What is wrong with me?” I shook my head. “I mean…what is really wrong with me? I came back to Point Worth to…rest and eat and be with my grandmother. And…I managed to fuck that all up within the course of fewer than two weeks. I mean, that’s gotta be a record, right?”
“How did you fuck it all up, Rob?” Lucas turned, kicking his knee up onto the bench seat between us. “How is anything fucked up—and even if it was—how is that your fault?”
“I don’t have an answer for that.” I shrugged, my hands falling limply into my lap. “I just…I feel what I feel, okay?”
Lucas stared at me as I sat there, wallowing in self-pity.
“Did you really fuck me, Rob?” Lucas asked lowly. “Is that what you thought we were doing when we…did what we did? Because that wasn’t how I felt about it at all. It was the best sex of my life, sure, but it just felt right to me. It didn’t feel like fucking, Rob. It felt like…home.”
I turned my face to him again.
“Do you want to do it again?” I asked.
So, we got back out of his truck, went back into Lucas’ house, and repeated the previous night’s activities. Except we didn’t repeat them on the living room floor. We used the actual bed.