Authors: Julia Talbot
Copyright ©2011 by Julia Talbot
First published in www.torquerepress.com, 2011
Under the Moon
By Julia Talbot
"Do you swear under the moon to protect and serve the pack, to watch over the elders and children, and to keep our secrets to your death?"
Jamie fought the urge to roll his eyes and stuck his nose deeper into his book. His roommate was a nice guy, really. The whole werewolf gaming thing was annoying as all hell, though. Really, who laid their dice and candles and shit out on a moveable altar made out of a silver platter? The assholes who came to play smoked in the bathroom, spit and peed in the yard and had no fucking idea what wolf culture was really like.
They had no idea that was why Jamie had left home.
The whole pack thing could be... limiting. Either you were an alpha or a beta and alphas needed to mate and shit. Being gay was not so much frowned on as just not very useful. It was also really unpopular to be bookish in wolf society. Athletic? Sure. Forceful? Absolutely.
Being a walking dictionary was just not a handy skill where the pack was concerned.
That would be why Jamie had gone to college and was now on his second advanced degree. He was also stuck with a very smart yet creepy roommate who studied social theory and anthro, and liked to game on the weekends. Anton thought werewolves where really a cool idea and had given up D&D in favor of berserking super-wolf beings who communed with nature like giant hippies.
Before the little granola girl Anton was waving an athame at could answer, there was a knock on the door. Anton frowned, his forehead wrinkling in a very unattractive way
"Jamie, could you get that? That's probably our last player."
Jamie pondered telling Anton no. He really should just go to his room instead of silently protesting this nonsense by sitting in the front room and sighing a lot. He finally got up and headed to the door, an unholy sort of curiosity making him go see who would be coming to play wolf.
Opening the door, Jamie found a mountain of a man standing there. The guy was tall, maybe six four, and had to weigh a muscular two-twenty. He had shoulders that blocked the dying sunlight, dark brown hair that curled wildly, and bright green eyes. He was amazing and a little intimidating.
He smelled like heaven.
Jamie tried to ignore the instant hard-on that sprang up in his pants, stepping back to let the guy in. “You here to game with Anton?"
“He invited me to come over for a beer if that's what gaming means, yeah. Maybe watch some werewolf movies.” The smile was wry, the little twist of the guy's lips making Jamie want to pant and show his belly. ENDEXCERPT
"Jamie.” He stuck out his hand instinctively, not even thinking about it until after.
"Tyler. Ty. Nice to meet you. You're the roommate?"
Ty took his hand and brushed past him, their skin touching in all sorts of places as Ty went by. Jamie's nerves jumped, his nipples going tight. Christ. He might as well just start scratching his balls and whining.
"Well, it's nice to meet you,” Ty said, squeezing his hand before letting go.
"You, too. I'll, uh, get you that beer.” He had to escape before he did something stupid. Ty almost smelled like pack, and that was just silly. There was no such thing in this part of Boulder. That was why Jamie was there, right? He'd gotten away from that, and he didn't need to get dragged back in.
When he'd pulled the beer out of the fridge and turned around, Ty was right there, making him jump near out of his skin. He hadn't heard the man follow him at all. He was slipping, living soft like the townie he was and all.
"Here.” He thrust a Coors at Ty, hoping that was okay. They had Fat Tire, too, which might be more manly or whatever.
"Thanks.” Ty watched him, eyes bright with curiosity. It made Jamie's nose want to twitch, but he controlled himself.
"Sure. So, uh, do you like werewolf stuff?"
Tyler smiled, a little toothy thing that made Jamie's leg want to thump. “I'm studying wolf conservation. I guess that makes Anton think I'm into them, yeah."
All of a sudden Jamie relaxed, smiling and feeling almost normal. That would explain why Ty smelled a little wolfy, if he worked with one of the local sanctuaries. It made perfect sense.
"Neat. I grew up where ranchers shot u— wolves. I guess that's why I study something more esoteric.” Language theory applied to wolfpacks, he guessed, but most people wouldn't know that.
Ty raised a brow, but didn't push him on that. “So, Anton is expecting me to game? As in roleplay?"
"Yeah. You didn't know?"
"Nope.” Ty's lips twisted in that little ironic grin again. “I guess I thought his interest in wolf studies and werewolves was more a general thing, not a weird roleplaying thing."
"Hey, Ty! Come say hello,” Anton called, and Ty shrugged.
"Guess I'd better go make nice. I'll let him down easy, watch a movie with him. Thanks for the beer."
"No problem.” Jamie wanted to follow and sniff Ty's butt or something equally stupid. He stayed put instead, waiting for Ty to get settled. Then he snuck through the living room to the back hall where he hopped in the shower and jacked off furiously to the memory of how Ty had smelled.
His roommate really had no idea about wolf culture, no matter how much he purported to be blessed by the full moon or whatever.
Anton had no idea at all.
Ty waited outside the coffee shop, watching Jamie move around at the fixings counter. Sugar, two packs, a tiny dribble of cream, and a little shake of cinnamon went on the top of an Americano with an extra shot.
Good thing he read lips, or he'd never have gotten Jamie's order, which he might need sometime in the future to impress the guy. Coffee shops overwhelmed him completely sometimes. He could go in and order to go, but he couldn't stay in very long. The smells just made him want to jump up on the counter and howl before tearing into the pastry case and eating everything in sight. Coffee gave him the jitters just by being in the air, he guessed.
Mmm. Pastry sounded good, actually. Something with cream cheese.
He knew it was probably stalkery to follow Jamie around, but Ty had taken one sniff of the man and been completely smitten. Jamie might not know he had the werewolf gene, a lot of folks didn't, but he smelled like family. Not like, ‘he's my brother’ family, but like ‘I'm going to pin him down and fuck his ass raw’ family.
Ty could hardly wait.
Anton had tried to take up all of his attention the other night and Jamie had snuck off, but Ty had been able to smell the man, even over the candles and incense and beer. Over the running water and soap smell from the bathroom. Ty could have told Anton the very moment that Jamie came.
He almost had, just to see the look on the weirdo's face. If Anton had blathered on about the moon and some worm/wyrm thing for another moment, Ty might have hit him with a rock. Hard. He'd been so focused on Jamie that it had saved Anton's face.
Still, Anton was the reason Ty had met hot little Jamie, the beta wolf, so Ty had erred on the side of polite disinterest to Anton's games rather than outright hostility.
Now he just needed to wait for Jamie to come out of the coffee shop so he could get the hunt back on track. He wanted that ass, wanted to do all sorts of nasty things to it.
Jamie patted some girl on the shoulder on the way out the door, making Ty growl a little. Anton had told him Jamie was queer. Ty knew Jamie had been jacking off to him the other night. He'd better not swing both ways, damn it. Ty wanted that fine little ass all to himself.
The girl just waved, though, saying something about class, so Ty relaxed. When Jamie came out, sipping his coffee, Ty crossed the patio and fell into step next to the man.
Jamie jumped, staring at him over the rims of his little wire glasses. “Oh, hey. Ty, right?"
"Yep. How's it going?"
"Good.” Jamie sipped his coffee again, then again, like it was liquid courage or something. “How did gaming go with Anton?"
"Well, I didn't kill him.” Ty grinned. “We watched movies, and he and that little gal played some. How do you live with that, man?"
Jamie laughed. “Oh, he's weird and all, but harmless. How goes wolf biology?"
"Pretty good. You like wolves?” He watched Jamie carefully for a reaction. If the guy didn't know he had the gene, he might be scared of wolves, not knowing why he was drawn to them.
What he got was hunched shoulders and a pinched frown. “I don't dislike them, as a rule. I just don't want to be out in the boonies running with them or anything."
Ah. Ty bit back a chuckle. This one probably knew exactly what he was and was trying to run away, which explained his dulled senses and lack of recognition Jamie had for another of his kind. Too cute.
"I like them. They have a great social structure. Everyone has a thing they do."
Jamie snorted. “They're as closed-minded as any small town, and a little grumpy if someone falls out of line with what the alpha wants for them.” Jamie blinked, then shrugged. “Or so I've read."
"Uh-huh. You read a lot?"
Jamie's mouth took on a mulish straightness. “I do. Is that a problem?"
"No.” He put a hand on Jamie's back, letting the man feel the heat of his palm. “I'm just making conversation. I like you and want to get to know you. I'm not judging."
Jamie relaxed, tense muscles loosening. “Sorry. I get a little sideways about things sometimes. My family is very tight-knit and disapproving. I always feel like people are pushing."
"So, do you not like coffee?"
It was Ty's turn to blink. “Huh?'
"I saw you. Waiting outside. I forgot when I saw Mandy, which was why you surprised me. But you were waiting for me, right? Why not inside?"
"Oh.” Wow, the kid wasn't as unaware as Ty had thought. “It's a little like catnip to me. Coffee. Overwhelms me."
"I used to be like that.” Jamie was grinning again now, looking relaxed. Touchy little bastard. “I got over it once I moved to Boulder, you know? Coffee is a thing here."
"I know. Does it seem stalkery? Me waiting out here?"
"I don't know. Are you stalking me?” One eyebrow rose almost to Jamie's hairline.
"It seemed easier than trying to get to know you by gaming with Anton. I don't like to use people like that, and more sessions might just get him killed."
"Anything is easier than that.” Jamie stopped at a little park table, the kind with the attached benches. “I have a few minutes if you want to talk."
Talk. Lord. “Sure.” They sat, and Ty was pleased that the table was small enough to really be close, even sitting across the way. He was a big guy.
"Cool. So, why wolves?"
"I feel a kinship.” Man, he couldn't believe that Jamie hadn't caught on yet. “Why Anton?"
"As a roommate you mean?” At his nod, Jamie shrugged. “He answered my ad first. It's a good location. I didn't know he was a werewolf fan until we moved in together. That might have been a deal breaker otherwise."
"I bet.” Anton would make Ty want to kick his ass out in about three hours. “What do you do for fun?"
"Coffee. Movies. I read.” Jamie gave him a wry grin. “I'm dull. What about you?"
"I like to have sex."
Jamie choked on his coffee, and Ty bit back a bark of laughter. God, he loved to get a rise out of people. Those sharp cheeks went a dull red. “Do you dance naked under the moon, too?"
"Occasionally. I gotta admit, though, that I don't do the whole Gaia and the wyrm thing. I don't get it."
"Good.” Jamie eyed him, chewing that lovely little lower lip for a moment. “Do you have sex with men?"
"I do. That's my very favorite thing.” It was, too. Better than bacon, even.
"Is that why you're stalking me?"
"Not to put too fine a point on it, yes.” Might as well be up front. There was something about Jamie, about the way he moved, the way he smelled, that made Ty want to rut with him. Made him want to climb on top of that lean body and spread Jamie's legs and just hump.
"Neat.” Those cheeks were flaming now, but he had to give Jamie credit. The kid wasn't backing down. “I don't think anyone has ever come on so directly."
"You like it?"
"I like you, what I've seen.” Jamie was back to chewing that lip. “Do you have a roommate?"
"Nope. Wanna go to my place?"
Jamie stood, the coffee cup going into the trash, the lid and sleeve into recycling. “I do."
"Cool.” That was the best possible result, and Ty was glad that Jamie might be unaware of Ty's true nature, but he knew what he wanted.
That always made for better fucking.