“Come on, Kraig. It’s me, Deke. You know me. You blooded me just a few hours ago, remember? Listen to my voice. Feel me. All you have to do is take my hand. That’s it. I’ll help you with the rest.” I stuck my arm under the bed and then pulled back hastily when Kraig hissed.
My mistake. He wasn’t ready yet. “Do you remember that time when we were about ten? Well, Park and I were ten. You were still single digits and tiny as can be. Park and I were playing keep away, and you got so mad. That throw I flubbed? I knew you’d get the ball. I didn’t expect you to get under the porch though.
I resisted the urge to rub my ass. “Man, your mom didn’t even wait for our dads. She skinned our butts for being mean to you, for letting you get dirty in your new school clothes, and then a few more just to make sure we’d never forget.”
“’Member that,” Kraig said hoarsely.
“Yeah? What else do you remember? Anything good?” I slid my hand just under the edge of the bed.
“Going down to the creek.”
“Oh, I loved that. Don’t seem to have as much time for it anymore, but maybe we can plan out a picnic.”
Kraig inched forward. “Really?”
“Yep. But we can’t do that under the bed. Can I help you out of there?” I held my breath and turned my hand over, inviting his touch instead of trying to grab him.
“I’m sorry,” he said. His voice broke.
“Nothing to be sorry for. Let’s get you out, and I’ll get you a glass of water. I bet you’re thirsty.”
Hate radiated through me, and I wished I could slash that doctor’s throat again when Kraig got to his feet. He was hunched over, like he was trying to make himself smaller, and he refused to look at me. Shivers wracked him.
“How about a shower?” I suggested.
That wasn’t my first thought, but I wouldn’t turn down any opportunity to get naked and wet with Kraig. “Sure. Then I have some lunch for us.”
“You didn’t eat?”
“I wanted to wait for you.”
Kraig stared up at me. “Alphas don’t do that.”
“Maybe other alphas don’t.” I shrugged. “I do. Besides, you need to eat. I ordered roast beef sandwiches, your favorite.”
“Probably just warm now, but we can go down and heat them up.”
The burst of energy was gone by the time Kraig was clean. I scrubbed him dry and then ran a towel over myself. “Back in bed. I’ll bring lunch in here.”
“What about crumbs?”
“I’ll risk it.” I slid the tray with our sandwiches on the bed and then went back for the milk and juice. “Here.” I handed him a plate with a thick sandwich of homemade bread piled high with warm roast beef with some carrots on the side—definitely his mom’s doing. “Eat as much as you can. We’ll find a way to flush the carrots.”
“You gotta wrap them up in toilet paper like a ball, but not so big you clog the toilet. That’s bad.”
I chuckled. “I’m guessing that’s personal experience talking? I never heard that story.”
“The next day all she served me was carrots. I still hate the things.”
Gross. “I don’t blame you.” I waited for Kraig to try his sandwich before I picked up my sandwich and took a big bite. The juice from the spiced meat had soaked into the thick, dense slices of bread. “So good,” I moaned.
I polished off my sandwich and a little more than half of Kraig’s. He’d eat more once he was used to eating regular meals again. The carrots went into the garbage can, and I pulled out several tissues to cover them. I’d have to take that out before my subterfuge was discovered.
Kraig was already falling back asleep. I began to stand up to put the tray away, and he snagged my arm. “Stay?” I hesitated. “I don’t want to dream again. You keep the darkness away.”
My heart clenched. “Anything you need,” I promised him. I put the tray down on the floor and crawled back in the bed. It wasn’t cold so I pulled the lighter blanket up from the foot of the bed. I curled around Kraig, surrounding his cool skin with my warmth.
He crashed hard, but I dozed, aware of the quiet noises as some of the streak moved around the house and grounds outside. Nothing sounded out of the place, so I sighed and nuzzled my cheek against the soft fuzz of Kraig’s hair.
My doze had deepened to a hard sleep that left me disoriented when my phone rang. I’d left it on the nightstand, so I had to roll away from Kraig to get it. “What?”
“Alpha, we have a problem.”
I sat up and cleared my throat. “What is it, Park?” I expected him to say I was monopolizing his brother, or that his mom was inbound like a full steam ahead maternal locomotive.”
“I wasn’t just running wild when I was out in the backwoods,” Park said. “I established our boundaries, and then realized there’s a neutral zone to our south. A trail runs through it, and I met a few unaffiliated werekin as they traveled past us.”
“One of them just showed up on my doorstep.”
“Tiger werekin?” Not many werekin would violate our borders unless they were equally as strong.
“Nope. His herd left him behind when they headed to the wilds. He’s been wandering, and he’s heard some things....”
I ran a hand over my head. “What aren’t you telling me, Park?”
“He’s a human werekin, and he’s not been treated well. You’re a little much, especially right now.”
Park was angling for something, and it wasn’t like him not to just say it. “What do you want me to do, Park?”
Want some more flash fiction? Check out these other updates!