Chapter Thirty-Six — Spending the Night

Alpha Spirit by Katica Locke

His warm arms around me, the hard edge of the cast pressing into my back, his bare skin against me, hot from the fire and damp from the rain, the intoxicating scent of sweat and aftershave and just a hint of his wolf, the wild, musky scent surrounding me…I stiffened – in more ways than one – and pulled away from him.

“What is wrong with you?” I asked, my face burning as I turned away to hide the sudden bulge in the front of my jeans.

“Sorry,” Marcus said, his words clipped, not quite hiding the anger behind them. “I was just glad you’re all right. I didn’t realize–”

“That I’m gay?” I said, exasperated. “I don’t know how much plainer I can say it. I wish it didn’t bother me as much as it doesn’t bother you. That’s great, really – I love it that you don’t care – but don’t you get it? I’m sexually attracted to you, so to have you running around shirtless and hugging me, I…I got a hard-on.” My erection vanished, of course, as the blood rushed up to my face.

“Really?” Marcus asked. “That’s all it took?”

“That’s all?” I repeated. “I’d like to see you not get a bit of wood if a girl you liked took her shirt off and rubbed her chest against you.”

“I wasn’t rubbing against you,” Marcus said with a tight chuckle, his dark skin reddening as he glanced away, “but I get your point. Sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I was just really glad that you’re okay.”

“It’s all right,” I said, feeling like a shit for pitching a big gay fit. It didn’t help any that he picked up his T-shirt, the material still dark and wet across the shoulders, and pulled it on.

“So, I bet you’re hungry,” he said after a moment, picking the skillet up off the hearth.

“I just ate–” I stopped as my stomach growled, an empty, echoing pit inside me. “Actually, you’re right.”

“I told you, shifting takes a lot of energy,” Marcus said. He got a paper towel from the back counter, wiped off the skillet, and placed it back on the stove. “I hope more sausage and eggs is okay – that’s all I brought. There’s a lot of canned and freeze dried food in the pantry, though.” He gestured to the big cupboard in the corner of the kitchen. “I could find something else.”

“Wasn’t there a McDonald’s in that little town at the junction?” I asked. “We could grab something on our way back.”

Marcus frowned. “Sorry, we can’t.”

“C’mon,” I said. “We better get going if we want to make it back before school gets out. It’ll be my treat.”

“Um…Cody, I don’t know how to tell you this…”

“What? I can’t buy you lunch?” I asked, scowling. I just knew this was going to happen. “Telling you that I was attracted to you was the last straw, wasn’t it? That’s why you put your shirt on, because you can’t stand to have the queer staring at you. Fine, let’s just go back to town and we don’t ever have to speak to each other again.”

“Oh, my God,” Marcus said. “You are the stereotypical Drama Queen. I tell you there’s a problem and you jump down my throat thinking I don’t want to be your friend anymore. Well, it’s not going to happen. I have no problem letting you buy me lunch. You can buy me dinner and flowers if you want. I’d let you take me to the damned prom if you asked me.”

“Like hell you would,” I snapped. I was not a Drama Queen. Maybe I was still a little emotional and unbalanced after shifting, but I was not a Drama Queen.

“Try me,” Marcus said, lifting his chin, a defiant look in his eyes, like he was just daring me to. My heart pounded. There was no way I was going to make that kind of a fool out of myself.

I took a step back and looked away. “Fine, if that’s not the problem, then what is?”

“The two hundred year old fir that blew down across the road,” Marcus said, gesturing wildly to somewhere beyond the walls of the cabin.

I felt like he had punched me in the gut. “The what?” I asked, staring at him.

“The tree,” he said, taking a step toward me. “The big-ass tree that the wind knocked down, that is lying across the only road between here and the highway.”

I shook my head. What he was saying couldn’t be true. But I knew it was. I’d heard the tree fall, the ground shaking thud that scared the birds from the trees. “No. No, that’s- that can’t– There has to be another road, another way.”

“Sorry, but there isn’t,” Marcus said. “The forest is too dense to drive through, the trees too close together.”

“What about the lake shore?” I asked. “We could drive on the sand…”

He shook his head. “There’s a river a quarter-mile in one direction and a bluff half a mile in the other. We’re stuck.”

His words seemed to echo inside my head. I stepped back, my knees buckling and dumping me into one of the chairs. “Stuck? For how long?”

“I called one of the guys,” Marcus said. “He has a chainsaw and can clear the road, but he’s working today. He won’t get off until almost midnight. He said he’d be up first thing in the morning.”

“In the morning?” I sounded like a parrot. I glanced around the small, one-room cabin, at the bare, dusty floor and the hard, wooden furniture, and then to the big bed against the far wall. The only bed. “You mean…we have to spend the night together?”

“I’m afraid so,” Marcus said, also looking at the bed. “I hope you don’t snore.”

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Posted January 15, 2016 by katicalocke

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