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Trauma Stitched with Love

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Trauma stitched with Love by Rinichey by TheMystiqueStarlight

There goes a saying in the human world, that “all men are created equal.” Clearly they had never seen the monster world, otherwise they would have retracted that statement out of their declaration. In this world, monsters were created unequal, some not even being born into the world. Some were birthed naturally, some were horrible experiments gone wrong, some were from other dimensions, and some found themselves transported from the world of humans to the world of monsters upon their inevitable deaths.

Vicky was the literal term of being created. She was the most successful reanimation of all of her father’s failed attempts, and was an only child because he “didn’t want to go through that again”. Starting with the body of a child, it was trial and error for her father to unstitch and re-stitch the right body parts to keep up with her growing mind. He even still had her original corpse that he brought her to life in displayed in a glass case in the front of their foyer for people to gaze upon and take pictures at his parties.

He was a genius known through Monstropolis for his rabid creations and breakthroughs in crimes against nature. There was never a worry about money, nor social status, but there was one thing Vicky wanted the most when growing up.

And finally, she was going to get it.

She had waited all her life for this day. No more private schools, no more home schooling, and no more hours spent staring at the ceiling in complete boredom. No, she had twisted her father’s arm, quite literally, until he finally relented to her demands. And now it was all she could think about, she couldn’t even get a wink of sleep the night before.

“Are you sure about this?” Vicky could hardly hear her father’s questioning tone as she bounced up and down in her seat. She eagerly watched the car roll past neighborhoods and the occasional tree set on fire and wondered if that was just a thing in this particular area. “I hear most monsters would jump at the chance to get out of situations like this. Not beg their father to take them there.”

“Don’t try talking me out of it!” Vicky let go of the window to turn in her seat, a beaming smile on her face. “You said you would let me go and I’m going! I’ll never get this chance again if we turn around now.”

“But public education?” Her father sneered just when saying the word and gripped the steering wheel tighter. It was actually impressive how he could drive, considering he was a giant pray mantis. “You’re way too smart for this cesspool of societal rejects. The only stimulation you’re going to get here is the final bell ringing to let you out of this infestation of neanderthals and hooligans.”

“No one uses those words anymore, dad.” Vicky noticed a strand of hair threatening to mess up her picturesque face and blew it to the side. “Besides, you went to public school.”

“And that’s exactly why I’m against you going! It was awful, a waste of my time, and certainly nothing I would want to relive.” He almost growled when listing off the negatives. “It’s not a place for sophisticated and intellectual minds like us.”

“Dad, you promised.” Vicky felt an oncoming frown when her eyes caught a glimpse ahead. Her eyes widened, pressing herself back up against the window with an over exaggerated gasp. “Oh my god! There it is!”

The giant skull adorning the front of the school was a dead-giveaway from the tour she had gotten just a week before school started, but the giant football field, the outside auditorium and the huge tower off the side of the school also helped. She could feel the car slow as her father parked alongside the curb, her hand almost ripping off the car door.

“Now wait a minute!” Freedom beckoned to her through the small crack she made before her father snatched her wrist. Vicky turned around with puffed cheeks. “I get it, you’re excited to go interact with your age group and maybe it was my bad that I didn’t make any friends for you to play with. But I’m letting you know right now; if you suddenly realize you don’t want this, we can go back to home-schooling and you don’t ever have to go through this again.”

“Doubt it.” Vicky knew her father was trying to be compassionate, so she moved over to quickly kiss him on the cheek. “Don’t worry so much. I’ll be fine. I’m tougher than I look.”

“You better be.” Her father let out a hearty scoff. “I paid good money for those super-human limbs.”

The two shared a grin before Vicky gave her father as awkward of a hug that can be given in a car. A swift kick to the door was all Vicky needed to blind the car with that taste of freedom and she was hasty to climb out. “Okay bye see you after school don’t wait up for me!”

“I’ll come pick you up after school! Remember that you’re a Schmidt!”

“Yeah, yeah.” Vicky did a cutesy turn, all the while helping her backpack swing over her shoulder and slip her other arm through it. She watched her father’s car drive past her and down the road, all the while knowing her dad was peering right at her through the rear-view mirror.

She imagined most kids who grew up isolated in their family’s mansion would be scared and timid on their first day of school. But not this reanimated corpse; she felt excitement and a longing to scream at the heavens. Finally, freedom!

She almost busted a move right then and there, but something told her that she wasn’t fun enough to really pull that off. Perhaps she’d have another moment to do so. Hopefully with her new friends!

She practically skipped towards the school when a blue Frisbee zipped over her head. She eagerly watched it float away and back towards her, ready to jump up and catch it when a voice yelled behind her. “I got it I got it I got it!”

She barely had time to register what to do as the figure smashed into her. She was thankful now that her father had spent so much on her enhanced limbs when she felt the full weight of the monster crush her into the ground, followed by a few more rolls until they finally stopped.

The world was spinning in Vicky’s eyes, or maybe her eyeballs had become dislodged, she didn’t know. She hoped it wasn’t the latter; she didn’t dare give her father the smug satisfaction of having her call him before she even stepped into the school to take her home. The figure above her scampered off while she tried to gain her bearings. “Oh man, I’m so sorry! I didn’t even see you! All I could think about was catching the Frisbee!”

Oh, a simple accident! Vicky finally felt the world stop spinning, chuckling even. So this was what high school was like! “It’s all good! No need to apolo—!”

That’s when she finally got a good look at her partner in crime. She could have written the excessive amount of hair off as some big foot descendent, and the long ears could have been simply from a deer person. But the second she saw the mouth full of canines her heart stopped, her hands pulling at the grass beneath her. Dread and horror tugged at her facial features to give her a terrified look.

Her attacker seemed eager to show off the pair of pearly whites, reaching a hand down to her. “Here, let me help!”

He reached his hand out and Vicky gave a slight scream that made him pull away. She kicked at her legs to help her stand and scurried off before the monster could even call out to her. She didn’t stop running until she had burst through the front doors and down a few halls.

When she felt she had successfully gotten away, Vicky pressed herself up against a hidden nook between some lockers and made herself small, despite the looks she got from other monsters just trying to get to class. Her heart pounded at her chest and she was almost afraid it had fallen out, gasping and trying to inhale deeply. No doubt about it; that was a werewolf, and the mere thought of his sharp teeth sent a jolt of paranoia through her mind alongside a horrifying memory.

The glistening fangs, the loud snarling, and the way it ripped into her arm. No, she wasn’t there anymore; she wasn’t a little girl anymore. She didn’t have to be afraid but god she was. No one had told her anything about a werewolf here!

“You all right?” Vicky didn’t ignore the voice aimed at her and steeled herself in case the werewolf had followed her. Instead three pairs of heads peered down at her, the middle one from a black woman with a spit of fire for hair. The other two behind her looked to be a zombie and some shadow creature; she didn’t know but was making her best educated guess. “You look like you just saw death.”

“I feel like it.” Vicky let out a pitiful laugh, still clutching herself tightly. The school bell rang from above, which got her to pop her head out of her shell. “Crap, this can’t be happening.”

She buried her head and let out a tired sigh. Late to her very first class, she couldn’t wait for her father to hear about it.

“You look like you need some de-stressing.” Vicky lifted her head to see the woman extend a hand to her. Her smile was warm, just like the embers on her head. “Come on, don’t leave us hanging.”

Unlike the other hand, this one felt way more inviting, so Vicky wasn’t too hesitant on taking it. She helped herself up and moved out of her tiny, cramped hide-out while noticing dust stuck to the sides of her sweater. She probably looked even worse on the back as the hand led her down the hall. “We going to class?”

“Class?” The woman almost laughed. “Nah, that’s boring as hell. You won’t miss anything. We’re going someplace even better.”

Even better sounded promising, though skipping class was probably not something she should do. Still, if going by her father’s logic that all monsters were neanderthals, and if the neanderthals thought the class was easy, then surely for a mind like hers it would put her to sleep. Maybe skipping wasn’t so bad after all. Perhaps she’d gain some foothold into this new school life with this little escapade.

With a small smile tugging at her lips, Vicky hoped that wherever they were going was towards a better morning than the one she was already having.

Chapter Text

Vicky was expecting a cool tree house or an underwater secret lair when the woman said she was taking her somewhere better than the classroom. The stank and dank bathrooms was not what Vicky would even consider a step up from reading her textbook.

“I’m guessing you’re new around here?” Vicky poked her attention back into reality as the woman propped a chair underneath the doorknob to the bathroom. Probably to keep people from barging in, but it did make Vicky wonder how often that chair was used for that situation.

“Yeah, a total noob.” Vicky replied as she leaned her weight onto the sink behind her. “This is actually my first day at public school, too.”

“You’ve never gone to public school before?” The zombie spoke up with the rest of the group looking at her in mild bewilderment.

Vicky shrugged her shoulders. “Dad never wanted to put me in them, but I wanted to see what they’re all about.”

“Damn, talk about the privileged life.” The woman pressed herself onto the bathroom door. “I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into. This school eats innocent monsters by the bowl.”

“I think I can handle it.” There wasn’t as much resolve and confidence when Vicky delivered her line, remembering the recent events. She tried to not let her fear take over again, sprouting a pretty cheesy and fake grin.

The three of them didn’t seem to buy her act. “Right.”

Placing a hand on her hip, the woman smirked. “Well, we know what it’s like to be the new monster at school. So when we found each other we decided to band together to take on the system. You got the popular students? Well get ready for the outcasts!”

Vicky liked the sound of the outcasts as the woman placed a hand on her chest. “Name’s Amira, the veteran of the group, four years.”

“Brian.” The zombie nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders. “I got here like … two years ago.”

Vicky turned to the shadow man to hear his name, who instead just shyly looked away. Amira was the one to speak for him. “That’s Oz, but we usually call him Ozzie. He just transferred last semester.”

“Another fellow newbie. I dig it.” Vicky nodded her head at Oz, who just blushed. Vicky felt her familiar smile return, pushing herself up on the sink to sit rather awkwardly. “So, do I get an invite to this outcast group? I wanna join!”

“There’s not really a requirement to ‘join’.” Amira corrected Vicky, but soon flashed a grin. “But hell yeah you can hang with us, so long as you’re not a total freak. Jk, we accept those too.”

“Sweet!” Vicky shared in Amira’s grin. The first period hasn’t even ended yet and already Vicky had a click and monsters she figured she could associate with the term ‘friends’. “Well, my name’s Vicky! This is my first and last year at high school!”

“You’re getting in pretty late.” Brian commented. “Wish I had the option to only attend here for one year.”

“It’s not that bad.” Amira heard a few knocks come from the door outside. “Occupied!”

“But you’ve been in there for fifteen minutes!” A desperate plea came from the other side.

“Go use the woods!”

“You can’t just monopolize the bathrooms!”

“Yeah? Well guess what I’m doing right now.” Amira’s grin grew when they heard the monster whimper and trail off. Vicky listened eagerly, a little sympathetic for the monster who had to go, but she never knew the woods were an option. She might have to try that sometime.

“Do you feel better?” A new voice made Vicky turn over to Oz. She didn’t see any mouth on him, so she figured he wasn’t able to speak, but no one else had an ethereal, resonating voice. Even when staring at him she couldn’t find where his mouth was.

“Yeah, just what scared you?” Amira turned her attention away from the entrance. “It wasn’t Damien, was it? I told him not to set fire to the neighborhoods when we went to school.”

“Could have been Miranda.” Brian chipped in, leaning a hand on one of the stalls to realize too late it wasn’t locked. He stumbled into the stall but caught himself before he could give himself a swirly. “Did you see her bodyguards? Snapped a poor mummy in half when he couldn’t shuffle out of her way fast enough.”

The two names didn’t ring a bell in Vicky’s mind and shook her head. “No, even worse.”

“Worse?” Amira lifted herself up from the door, while Brian and Oz exchanged nervous glances. “You didn’t piss someone off, did you?”

“Someone put a hit on you?” Brian added in.

“Worse!” Vicky clacked her feet together. “I got tackled by a werewolf!”

“… A werewolf.” The intrigue and concern in Vicky’s new friends extinguished itself faster than she could blink. Brian slumped his shoulders while Amira went back to leaning on the door. Even Oz seemed a bit bored with her answer.

“What? They’re terrifying!”

“The only thing they are is annoying.” Amira spat, rolling her eyes. “And unhygienic, and sweaty, and dumbasses.”

“The werewolves here are pretty stupid.” Brian found more entertainment picking his ear and successfully pulling out a worm before smashing it in his hand.

Vicky would have been more entertained had she not heard a specific keyword in Brian’s sentence. “Werewolves? There are more of them?”

“Girl, the entire football team is a bunch of werewolves!” Amira threw a hand up into the air. “How did you not know that when you enrolled into this school? We’re famous for our team!”

“My family doesn’t care for sports! We skipped over that part in our tour!” Bringing her feet up, Vicky gripped the sink underneath her. Her breathing became frantic, startling the rest of the group. “More of them! An entire team of them!”

“Hey …” Oz started when Amira caught him off.

Her heels clicked on the ground when she walked over to Vicky and placed her hands on her shoulders. “Calm down. They really aren’t that frightening. They’re more bark than bite.”

“No, they’re very frightening!” Vicky sharply shook her head as she tried to hold herself. “They’ll tear into your flesh and rip you to shreds! They’ll eat your intestines and laugh while doing it!”

“Sounds like a full moon.” Brian added, shutting up when Amira glared at him and Vicky let out a frightened yelp.

“Did anything happen when that werewolf tackled you? What did they look like?”

“Well, he was very hairy, and he wore a football jacket.”

“That’s about the entire team.” Amira spoke in a very flat voice. “Anything specific?”

“Oh!” Vicky reeled when remembering the face of her attacker. “He had huge, blue eyes! And sharp teeth! Very sharp, sharp teeth …”

Vicky waited for Amira, Brian and Oz to share the same horror when recalling the monster. Instead their faces grew puzzled, with Oz speaking up. “You mean Scott?”

“Who?” Vicky blinked, finally feeling a little more comfortable to lower her legs. “I literally just got here, the only names I know are yours.”

“Well, if you did run into Scott, you got nothing to worry about.” Amira took her hands away while Brian ran a hand through his hair. “Guy’s more of a puppy than a killer.”

Vicky didn’t feel any better despite Brian’s words and the relaxed looks of her friends. Clearly they didn’t understand how dangerous these monsters could be. Only she knew just how frightening they were, how it was better to not associate with their kind at all.

Just then a loud and powerful bang crashed on the bathroom door alongside a loud roar. Oz stumbled backwards, clearly unhinged while the rest of them backed up. Amira cussed under her breath. “Shit! Crazy Martin the were-bear janitor! We’ve been in here too long!”

“Open the fucking door! Students are pissing in the halls because of you freaks!”

“Time to escape! Brian!”

“Yeah, yeah.” Brian was already at the back window, sliding it open and throwing himself out. Oz was the next to dive out, which, if Vicky was the judge of jumping out windows she’d easily give him a 9. Amira was already pushing her towards the window, whispering harshly. “Run and hide or go to class! We’ll meet you in the cafeteria for lunch!”

“Uh, okay!” Vicky whispered back, taking a little longer to crawl out of the window and make her landing. Brian and Oz were already gone and she felt Amira push her harshly when she jumped out. She watched Amira run towards the front of the bathroom, holding her hands to the side of her face. “Hey, fucker! You got beef with me?”

“Not you again!” Vicky held her breath when a very large and bear-like person chased after Amira, who was gunning for the football field. “I’m going to whoop your ass so hard you’ll be living in detention!”

“Just try and catch me, you lazy ass!”

Amira was so bold in her endeavor to help the team escape. Vicky was so impressed by her boldness; she couldn’t do that even if she wanted to. Though, in hanging out in the bathrooms instead of class, she felt just a smidge bolder than before and ran towards the school to catch her next period.

The class was mainly just going over the syllabus for the year, which Vicky had already read over twice by the time the teacher cared enough to start. By the time the lunch bell rang Vicky was more than happy to leave her seat and the dreadful syllabus behind. She was excited, however, for the stuff on the syllabus. She had never cast spells before; her father mainly just taught her how to reanimate life, where to find the best materials, and stitch together dead bodies. She always figured she’d follow in her dad’s footsteps and become the next great mad scientist, but becoming a powerful spell-caster also sounded cool.

Remembering the tour, Vicky was able to route herself through the school and towards the large cafeteria. She had just opened the doors when a large and encompassing wave of fire blasted out of the kitchen and spit into the main lunchroom. Several monsters got up in alarm and ran off, though the majority didn’t seem to mind the raging fire in the back. Vicky recoiled a bit, she wasn’t used to random attacks of fire, but if the population wasn’t freaking out, then perhaps it wasn’t all that bad.

“Vicky!” She heard her name shouted from the left, noticing a table where Oz, Brian and Amira all waited for her.

She beamed as she quickly made her way over and took the only seat available. “Hi guys!”

“Glad to see you made it.” Brian had already stabbed his fork into his unraveled brains and twirled himself a bite. “You go back to class?”

“Yeah. I didn’t know you guys learned magic!” Vicky’s eyes sparkled while she took out her lunch box and opened it to reveal her lunch. Just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of chips, which had seemed to be the overall popular choice of lunch amongst all the blogs she read the night before. If she was going to make friends she had to impress.

“I’m awful at it.” Amira rolled her eyes while sipping on a glass of something Vicky couldn’t make out. “You gotta be pretty creative to get any spell to work.”

“Ozzie’s a real natural, though.” Oz blushed at Brian’s words while scooping up some fried rice.

“Creative, huh?” Vicky lowered her sandwich after taking a bite. So this was what peanut and jelly tasted like; not bad. “I like to think I’m pretty good at that. One time I tried to make a brand new creature with goat, dolphin and zebra parts. Dad was so impressed he couldn’t speak the entire day!”

Vicky lowered her voice, thinking back. “Actually, I never saw that creation after that day. Maybe it ran off?”

“What up, bitches?” Vicky spooked at the voice that bellowed from the doors of the cafeteria. She swiveled in her chair in time to see a rather attractive ghost float in and lift her shades up off her face. “I am stoned as fuck!”

“You still want to ask her to homecoming?” Amira glanced over to Brian, who simply watched her float over to the other side of the room, where a few other monsters seemed to be hanging out. Vicky watched her integrate herself into the mix seamlessly, perhaps that was her click.

“Maybe, but I’m getting vibes that she doesn’t like me that way.”

“Wait.” Vicky slid back into her seat and towards her friends. “What’s homecoming?”

The three seemed confused before they remembered that Vicky had never gone to a school before. Amira was the one to clear up the confusion. “Homecoming is a tradition all high schools have. It’s where the school throws a party and all students, past and present, are invited to join.”

“A party?” The word made Vicky’s heart skip a beat, regaining her grin. “I want to party! When is it?”

“In a couple months, but it’s nothing too crazy to get worked up over.” Amira took a long sip of her drink. “Now prom. That’s the party to get hyped about. Homecoming is a party, sure, but prom is like the crazy after party, and it’s wild.”

“Ooooh.” Vicky could almost feel her eyes getting larger in excitement. “I have to go to both! I want to do everything at these parties!”

“Same.” Brian waggled his fork in the air, pointing directly at the ghost girl who was laughing it up with her friends. “Hopefully with Polly.”

Vicky took another glance at the monster and back over to Brian. “Well, even if you can’t, I’m sure it’ll be a blast.”

“Oh no, you don’t understand.” Vicky turned back over to Amira after she had stomped her glass on the table. “Homecoming and prom are specifically for dates! No one goes to either single and alone, that’s depressing as fuck. The purpose of the two is to be with your date, get fucked up and then, if you’re lucky, get fucked up by them.”

“Oh!” Vicky’s pale green cheeks grew bright red, almost crushing her squishy sandwich. “I never knew monsters did such things at parties. I thought everyone just drunk a bunch and then partied hard.”

“I mean, you do, but just think of the sweet, sweet booty you could get to boot.” Amira’s smile grew; all the while Vicky’s shrunk.

“It’s okay.” Vicky felt a ghastly cold hand on her shoulder to see Oz comforting her. “I’m new to this too.”

“I mean, dating would be nice.” Vicky smiled softly. She had always dreamed of dating, as it was hard to do trapped inside her house. She wanted to know what it was like to kiss and hold hands and, well, eventually get to sex. The more she thought about it the brighter her blush became. But being able to romance someone before the big dance? “How far away is prom?”

“Relax, you got awhile.” Amira waved her a hand. “Focus on homecoming. If you can get your date to go with you to that, then you got nothing to worry about for prom.”

“So … a couple months.” That was a bit of a constraint, but at least it wasn’t something insane like three weeks. Her eyes scanned the cafeteria. So many monsters, all different walks of life. How could she even choose one of them and hope for them to like her back?

Maybe it was her deer-in-headlights look that tipped Brian off, for suddenly he had taken her shoulder and angled her over to the table with the ghost girl. “If you want to score big, you have to hit that table over there.”

She eyed the six monsters that sat over on the table. One was bright pink, a fish-person if Vicky guessed right, cheering on what looked to be a demon who was arm-wrestling against—

“The werewolf!” Vicky let out a loud gasp, louder than she had even realized as her legs hopped into her seat.

He seemed to be in just as cheery of a mood as when she first saw him, high-fiving Polly across the table. Brian squeezed Vicky’s shoulder, his tone calm. “Relax. That’s Scott. He’s the friendliest monster you could ever meet.”

She didn’t feel any sort of friendliness when looking at him, fixated on the long teeth in his mouth. Amira even piped up when Vicky stopped breathing. “Seriously, Scott is a sweetie. Dumb as rocks, but he wouldn’t hurt a fly, and if he did he’d apologize profusely.”

“He’s also very loud.” Oz and Vicky flinched when they all saw the werewolf easily hit the demon’s hand onto the table and howl in victory. The demon seemed to jump up from his seat and scream in anger before running back into the flaming kitchen.

“Just fyi, Vicky,” Vicky heard Amira behind her. “That demon you just saw is Damien and he’s my boyfriend. So I’ll burn you alive if you even try to go after him.”

“Noted.” Though, even if Amira hadn’t told her, Damien seemed a little too extreme for Vicky. She didn’t know if she could be calm constantly around fire.

“Who’s that one?” Oz seemed to jump into the conversation when he pointed over to the purple vampire lifting his head up. He seemed annoyed to be between the werewolf and Polly.

“Ah, Liam.” Brian let go of Vicky’s shoulder. “He’s about as hipster as you can get. Pretty pretentious, but smart.”

“Smart?” That got Vicky’s ears buzzing. She always dreamed of her boyfriend being able to hold a conversation about rotting flesh with her, and she had to admit, she liked those aloof, yellow eyes of his.

“I think he writes poems in his free time?” Amira butted in. “Or something. I don’t keep tabs.”

“Hm.” Oz simply hummed in reply.

Vicky nibbled on her sandwich, eyeing the gorgon as the last member of the table. She didn’t seem to be paying attention to what was going on, more interested in her phone than the screaming monsters.

“Let me give you two a summary.” Amira moved in between Oz and Vicky, pointing out each monster with her finger. “The pink one is Miranda. She’s a princess from a fish kingdom and a psychopath. You got Damien, my boyfriend, and as you guessed he’s got a thing for arson. There’s Scott, the lovable idiot, Polly, who is down for anything and I mean anything. Liam, the hipster vampire and Vera, the cold-hearted business bitch. Despite how they act, they are the most charismatic monsters in the entire school, and everyone wants a piece of their action.”

“If you can get a date with one of them, you’re pretty much golden.” Brian leaned back in his chair, scarfing down the rest of his lunch.

“Golden, huh?” How odd of Brian to mention as Vicky took another bite of her sandwich, gazing deeply at the vampire at the table. His eyes could be called that; how she wanted to get lost in them as they discussed the proper stitching techniques. She knew just who her target was going to be for homecoming and he was going to know who Vicky Schmidt was soon enough.

But when she heard a booming laugh and her attention went to Scott, her stomach sank. This whole school was infested with his kind, and just looking at him made her freeze. Part of her wanted to flee the school as fast as possible, kiss goodbye to society and hide in her mansion until she had enough money to leave the city. But then she could kiss goodbye to the new friends she just made, a possible relationship, hijinks that all students get into, and the dances.

Maybe … she could do this. Maybe if she figured out when Liam wasn’t near Scott she could mosey her way over to him and win him over with her smarts and charms. So long as she didn’t have to interact with the werewolves, things would be fine, right? She told herself that she would be while taking a few deep breaths.

She could do this. Werewolf or no, she wasn’t going to get scared out now!

Vicky was so engrossed in her master plan that she almost didn’t feel Oz’s hand on her shoulder, nudging her that lunch was over as she tried to eat her potato chips, bag and all. The table that was once populated with the most charismatic students had all disappeared, leaving an empty, slightly-cooler-than-the-rest table behind in their wake. As Vicky left with Oz to get to class, she stared back at that table and wondered if she would be sitting there by the end of the school year.

Having fun, laughing at jokes and making out with the school’s certified hipster vampire. She couldn’t wait to make her first move.

Chapter Text

“A what?” Vicky lowered her head, touching at her spaghetti and meatballs with her fork. Her father had nearly gotten out of his seat when she had recounted the day to him. “Why didn’t they tell us werewolves went to your school?”

“Apparently we shouldn’t have skipped the sports part of our tour.” Vicky murmured, not really interested in eating.

“Well, that decides it then.” Her father politely sat down, stabbing one of the live crickets in his spaghetti. “You’re not going back to that school. I guess it didn’t work out after all.”

“Dad!” Vicky shot up from slumping in her seat, almost accidentally spearing the table. “You can’t do that!”

“You want to go back?” Her father dropped his fork, staring at her in disbelief.

“Well, duh! I just told you I made friends!” Vicky felt part of her resolve leave. “But, I am scared …”

She didn’t realize her hand had made its way towards her neck, her fingers hovering inches away like a barrier was keeping them from edging closer. Her father sighed, setting his silverware down. “I can’t risk your safety. If one of those mutts should get a hold of you …”

“Please, I don’t want to think about it.” Vicky snapped her eyes at her dad before lowering them into her food. The sauce looked thinner and redder than she remembered, swallowing. “If I just keep my distance, I should be fine, right? I’m not super pretty and I don’t like sports. That’s what jocks like, right? Pretty monsters and sports?”

She tried to smile but when her father didn’t she dropped hers. Her hands pushed herself away from the table, allowing her to stand up. “I’m not really hungry. Night, dad.”

Her father didn’t call out to her when she walked out of the dining room, up the stairs and into her bedroom. She silently closed her door behind her and gazed up at the moonlight that bathed in through the windows. A crescent moon smiled down on Vicky as if to wish her goodnight while she drew her curtains over the window and shut the light out. Hiding in darkness, just like she had been doing her entire life.

A lamp brightened her room with artificial light, and she sat wordlessly down onto her bed. Her eyes bore holes into the dresser across from her bed, where empty picture frames sat. She had bought so many to fill when her dad finally agreed to let her go to school in anticipation of all the wonderful photos she’d capture. There were a few already filled from when she was growing up, but one sat faced down. Dust lined the surface of it from inactivity, but Vicky stared hard at the hidden frame. She knew exactly what photo the frame hid and had no intention of revealing its contents.

She thought to her new friends, asking herself if she should tell them. No, she quickly answered herself. She never wanted to talk about the experience again. It brought too much trauma, too much pain that she didn’t ever want to live through twice. She would never let herself live through it twice.

A soft knock on her door was what she heard, but she didn’t move to address the audience that awaited beyond it. Her father’s voice spoke through the wood. “Promise me you’ll stay away from them and that you’ll stay home on full moon days.”

Vicky lifted her head lightly like a light had poked a tiny hole in her darkness. A relaxed, comforting smile rested on her lips as she rested her head. “I promise.”

The door silently answered back and she knew her father had heard her. She let her body fall backward and onto her pillows and breathed a tired sigh. “I promise …”

Vicky couldn’t remember when she fell asleep, only knowing when she woke up from the loud, insistent alarm telling her it was time to get out of bed. She rushed through her normal routine; brush her hair and teeth, juice up on some electricity, get dressed, eat and nag at her dad to go faster so they wouldn’t be late to school.

As they passed by the same neighborhood, not on fire this time, Vicky felt a bit upset with herself with her overall lack of enthusiasm. How she let her fears overshadow her accomplishments, her plans and her excitement in just one day, she didn’t know. What she did know was that her mind was too down in the dumps, resolving to fix that today. Today was a brand new day and a chance to introduce herself to that sweet hunk of purple vampire at her school. The thought brought back her familiar smile and a sense of relief.

“You ready?” Vicky hadn’t noticed her father stop the car until the giant skull was in view from her window.

She perked herself up, grabbing her backpack. “Never better! I’ll see you after school!”

She slapped the car shut, waving as her father drove away. She slung her backpack over her shoulders and inhaled deeply. Today was a new day and it would be better than the first one, she swore on it.

It seemed luck also wanted her to have a good day, for she noticed the local school bus stop nearby and deposit its normal slew of monsters. One of them just so happened to be Liam, who was more focused on his phone than where he was going. He wore a large sunhat, probably to keep himself from combusting into ashes. It should have clashed with his normal attire and yet he made it work.

Her heart fluttered, wondering how she should do this. She could just run up and introduce herself, but that might scare him off with her loud and boisterous voice. No, he looked like someone who didn’t like loud people, as she witnessed yesterday in the cafeteria. A more subtle approach would be in her best interest.

Thinking this in mind, Vicky jogged her way over to the slew of monsters exiting from the bus and merged her way in. She tried not to make it obvious she was speed-walking directly over to Liam, who had only lifted his head once to make sure he didn’t smack into the front doors of the school.

When she got close enough she forced her goofy smile to disappear, trying to act natural. “Another day, another boring afternoon of classes, am I right?”

“Rrrgh, another band selling out and garnering praise from the masses. There goes all the money I spent collecting their albums.” Liam muttered under his breath, not giving Vicky even a glance.

She faltered for a second, perhaps he didn’t hear her. “What band?”

“Hm?” It was then that Liam lifted his head. She could see the confusion in his mysterious eyes until they fell into irritation. “I wasn’t talking to you. Merely voicing my irritation aloud, like I am doing at this moment with you.”

Vicky felt the blow of his words in her chest; she was hoping to not start off on the wrong foot. The damage had been done, however, but perhaps she could salvage the conversation yet. She still kept up with him, who quickly shifted his gaze back to his phone in an attempt to ignore her. “I know only a handful of bands, but it never seems like anyone knows who they are online.”

“Is that so?” Liam brought his head back up, gaining some interest in the conversation. “What are their names?”

This was her time to impress. Vicky had just opened her mouth when a shrill cry bounced through the halls. “Liam! I missed the bus!”

Vicky knew that voice anywhere, turning in abject horror when Scott, who towered over most of the student population, came running straight towards them. Liam sighed loudly. “Yes, I saw. You got distracted by the old woman walking her cat twice.”

Vicky didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the conversation as she bolted from the scene. She had to push through a few monsters to get safely away but her escape was a success. Perhaps luck wasn’t on her side this time, but she would have more openings, she knew it.

Her next opening came a day later when she had to use the restroom in between classes. The chair had been removed from the bathroom, which she wasn’t surprised to see, but she was shocked to notice Liam washing his hands. So they hadn’t just crammed themselves into a gender-specific bathroom, apparently, the school had co-ed bathrooms. Vicky was all for this.

“Hey there!” Vicky caught the attention of Liam, busting out one of her signature smiles. “I never introduced myself earlier. I’m Vicky.”

“… And?” Liam stared at her with a bored expression and went back to washing his hands.

“Well, what’s yours?” Vicky already knew his name, but she didn’t want him to think she was creepy by letting him know she already knew.

“Hmph, typical. You just assume that because you say your name that I’m going to suddenly tell you mine? How cliché can you be?” Liam turned off the faucet and ripped a few paper towels out of the dispenser. “But I’ll play to your game just once. I’m Liam de Lioncourt.”

Vicky couldn’t tell if Liam really was being nice, or if he did want to tell her his name but didn’t want to make it seem like he was going against his hipster personification. She took her success where she could. “Are you going to hide in the bathrooms during class?”

“Hardly. I don’t find sitting in pungent and repulsive bathroom time-well-spent for an afternoon.” He gave her a hard, judging stare. “Were you?”

Vicky sucked in a deep breath. She thought of suggesting the two hang out in the library or auditorium when the bathroom door slammed open. “Bro, I smell like shit!”

“That’s because you landed in shit!”

Vicky had closed the door to one of the stalls quicker than she could even think of what she was doing. The faint glimpse of the football team was all she needed to know to hide, letting out a groan when she heard the doors beside her shut. Half an hour later, after listening to the jocks rattle on about things Vicky never wanted to think about again, she wasn’t surprised to creep out and find Liam gone. So much for the afternoon.

Lunch wasn’t any good throughout the week, as Scott sat right next to Liam, forcing Vicky to sit across the room with Oz and Brian. Amira was spending her lunch with Damien and Vicky had to admit, they did look pretty cute together.

When it was time for gym on Thursday Vicky noticed Liam sitting on the bleachers instead of running laps with the rest of the class. She pushed herself to get done with hers early before Coach could catch her for something else and sped over to where Liam sat.

“Hey!” Vicky wheezed in between gasping for air. Liam gave her a disturbed look as she realized too late that it wasn’t the brightest move to come over exhausted and sweaty. “Why aren’t you running?”

“Luckily, I got out of it this time.” Liam held up a small slip of paper, grinning. It was the first time ever Vicky had seen him smile, even if the intentions behind it were mischievous. “Behold! My latest masterpiece; a slip of paper detailing how fatal it would be should I perform physical activities and collapse because of an imbecilic coach not listening to it. I doubt he even read it all before benching me, which was extremely rude. But alas, my plan worked.”

“Wow, that’s so smart!” Vicky blurted out, remembering to kick herself later for such a stupid remark. She was getting her breathing under control and sat a step below him on the bleachers. “Maybe you and I could make doctor’s notes for the entire year. I’ve been told my penmanship is pretty spot on.”

“Really?” Liam leaned a little forward before regaining his posture. “Hm, but wait. Do I really want to settle for something so simple like a doctor’s note? No, it needs to be more creative, more unique than that.”

“Well, I’m sure we—” Vicky was just about to pitch her fool-proof plan when the fool came running over.

“Liam, Liam! Did you see me just now?” Scott had a handful of balls, all from various sports, amassed in a small hill in his arms.

“What are you up to this time?” Liam humored Scott, but by then Vicky was out of the picture. The doors leading out to the gym were the only indication that Vicky had vanished from the room entirely. She had found another nook for herself to hide in, clutching her beating chest. Every time she wanted to chat with Liam someone or something would go wrong. It was beginning to make Vicky bubble with anger, having enough for one week. She was done with this game.

Thankfully, her last class that day ended early, with the teacher assigning them a project and sending them to the library to get the book they needed. Vicky was a little surprised most of the monsters went straight home, but her ride wasn’t going to come any earlier and she decided to get it over with.

She had just found the right book when her eyes caught Liam over at an empty table, reading to himself. No one else around but him. Her eyes scanned the library for a solid minute. No loud yelling, no running werewolves. This could be her only chance to make an impact.

She quietly made her way over, hoping to silently sit across from him and read. She had almost gotten to her seat when Liam suddenly spoke. “I remember where I saw you. You were sitting with Amira on the first day of school, across the cafeteria, pointing at us.”

Liam lifted his head, cocking a bored eyebrow. Vicky froze where she stood, gripping her book tightly. “You noticed us?”

“I wasn’t getting any reading done.” Liam propped an elbow on the table to rest his head. “But I knew if I waited somewhere alone you’d come find me. So tell me, what gain are you trying to get by talking with me? Don’t think I don’t notice you run off after chatting for a few minutes. Is it a dare? A game to see how long you can stand by me?”

The accusation in his eyes was stern, like if she answered incorrectly he would shut her down and that’d be the end of her romantic love-life before it ever began. Vicky hastily tried to come up with a response. “No, see, I wasn’t running from you!”

“Then explain yourself.” Liam gestured for the open seat across from him. Vicky sat herself down; her idea of a lovely, quiet evening now turned interrogation.

Her eyes gazed down at the table. “I can’t really.”

“Then we’re done here.” He closed his book with a sharp thunk and pushed his seat back. He had just gotten to his feet when Vicky alarmingly stood up with him.

“I’ve got some skeletons in my closet! That’s all I can really say, but it doesn’t involve you!” Her hands hovered over her head; all rationality had been thrown out the window. If she couldn’t save this moment then she might as well not come back. “I’ve been trying to talk to you all week, but it’s been so frustrating! I just really want to get to know you better!”

Her voice had risen well beyond what the library permitted, eyes twitching when the librarian gave her a disappointed look and a warning by beating its fists together. He stared at her, dumbfounded, and she knew he was going to laugh, call her an idiot and gloriously leave her to drown in her own pathetic tears.

But instead, his cheeks sprouted a familiar pink hue. “Oh. Huh. I’m not used to monsters stalking me.”

Stalking was not the term Vicky wanted to be associated with, but Liam hadn’t left yet. He sat back down and waved a hand for her to do the same. “Well, since you’ve gone through all this trouble just to chat with me, I can’t see why I can’t humor it for a moment.”

“Thank you …” Exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed, Vicky flopped back into her seat.

“What did you want to know?” Liam pointlessly opened back up his book. “And my time is very short, so you best not waste it.”

Despite Liam’s words, they easily sat there for at least an hour just chatting. Vicky just listened to him vent about a band he had been invested in for years before switching topics to other various things. She learned that Liam lived by himself and drove, but stopped driving to school after his fourth car got wrecked in some unexplainable accident. That he loved to blog, take food pics, and stood for everything that was obscure, which Vicky could get behind. When she got onto the topic of her family she was surprised Liam had heard about her father’s work, and the two chatted about a topic Vicky could get behind; rotting corpses.

Her last laugh died when she heard the library doors open. Her heart sank when Scott came in, looking more confused than she had ever seen him. “Crap. I have to go.”

“Now? But we were just discussing the difference between theater and theatre.” Liam almost seemed to pout and for a second Vicky reconsidered her choice.

When she realized Scott was coming over she stood up, taking her book. “We can talk more about it tomorrow. I had fun, so let’s do this again!”

She took that as her cue to leave, having already checked out her book beforehand. Her heart beat wildly when she exited the library, her smile wavering on her face before she jumped up and cried. “I did it! Woo! Take that, reality!”

She couldn’t wait for tomorrow to hang out more with Liam, and soon enough the next day rolled around and Vicky once more kicked the door shut and waved her ride goodbye. She jogged her way over to the steps when she noticed Liam hiding near the doors into the school.

His eyes were on her, smiling. “Morning, Vicky.”

Vicky was not expecting this, but she loved the pleasant surprise. “Morning, Liam! Were you waiting for me?”

“Not entirely, I just happened to be standing here with no real purpose to make it seem like I was.” Vicky took that as a yes as she walked up the steps. Maybe the chat in the library had done more good than she had thought.

“Well, let’s not be late to class.”

“Just one second.” Vicky had already gotten the door for them when Liam stopped her. She turned to him idly as he looked her straight in the eye. Her heart skipped a beat. “I want you to meet me in the third-floor classroom after school. Just you and me.”

His smile was just as golden as his eyes. “Can you do that for me?”

Her hand tried to crush the door handle, her cheeks glowing bright red. It took a few seconds for her brain to rewire itself and come up with a response. “Yeah, of course!”

Liam let out a breath of relief. “Don’t be late.”

He slipped through the doors without her, but she didn’t care. All her mind could think about was her supposed date with Liam tonight and why he would want to be with her alone. A happy, wide grin spread over her face and she giggled like a child. Maybe dating wasn’t so hard after all; she could already hear Liam profess his love to her in her ears.

She could hardly pay attention in class today or hold a conversation during lunch, her mind elsewhere in the clouds. It was almost painful to wait until the end of the day, but finally, the bell rang, signifying her meet up with Liam. She had already texted her dad earlier telling her to pick her up later than normal as she rushed down the halls. She nearly tripped on the stairs when running up them, noticing the door to the classroom up ahead.

She slowed her run to a gentle walk and took a minute to pull out a mirror and check herself. She wasn’t too sweaty from her run and her hair wasn’t a mess, flashing a big smile to make sure no food was in her teeth. Her eyes then settled on the door in front of her. Just beyond it was Liam, waiting for her. What was he going to say? Why did he want to meet with her alone? These thoughts swirled through her like a shaken mixed drink, excited and nervous for what awaited her.

The closer she got to the door, a feeling of unease settled over her. What if he was going to tell her he never wanted to see her again? What if she looked ugly? Did she leave the oven on?

Physically shaking her head to get rid of the thoughts, Vicky steeled herself. Whatever waited for her inside she would face head on. It was only Liam, after all.

Twisting the handle, Vicky put forth her cutest smile, opened the door and slipped inside. Only there was no purple vampire for her waiting inside.

Scott lifted his head from a piece of paper he had been doodling on, his eyes widening. “Hey, I know you!”

It was then that Vicky heard the door lock.

Chapter Text

Vicky didn’t want to know how she looked right now; clearly, she had been played and Liam had caught on. Why he didn’t confront her about it, she didn’t know. All she did know was that she was locked in a room with the very being she had been so terrified of.

Her hand grasped the doorknob like it was her life, desperately trying to twist it to no avail. She knew how strong the doors were after having witnessed a large monster try to ditch class in the most violent of ways, only to succumb to the might of the bolted door. Another other option was the windows, but she didn’t know if her body could take a fall from the third story. Even if she managed to get over to them, there was a high chance they were reinforced to keep people in.

There was no way out.

“Hey, you’re okay!” Scott stood up, hands up in the air when he noticed how petrified Vicky was. How her breathing quickened, how her body shivered. “Sometimes I step into the wrong classroom too and it’s like ‘whoa, wrong room!’ But you just gotta remember that you can always leave the room! Sometimes I forget that but you can!”

“… What?” The random response blind-sided Vicky, enough for her to regain a few of her senses. Her hand unclenched the doorknob in the midst of her confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“You didn’t step into the wrong room?” Scott also seemed just as confused until his face lit up like a light bulb was turned on. “Oh! Are you waiting for Liam, too?”

“You could … say that …” Her eyes bore holes into the door behind her. No doubt Liam lingered nearby; he didn’t seem like someone who wouldn’t enjoy juicy eavesdropping.

“Great! We can wait together.” Her response was enough to bring Scott at ease, who gestured her over. Vicky made no move to get any closer; she was perfectly fine where she was.

When it was clear she wasn’t going to move anytime soon did Scott’s ease disperse. “Aw, do I stink again?”

He shot his arm towards the sky and took a long whiff of himself, all the while Vicky disturbingly watched. He was acting so bizarre, so strange. It didn’t take a genius to know the football team was pretty stupid, but this seemed a little too much. “Ooh yeah, that’s pretty bad! I’ll have to hit the showers after Liam gets back. I want my treats first.”

“Your treats?” If she was going to be stuck in here she wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to get answers. Playing along seemed like her best option.

“Yeah! Didn’t Liam tell you?” Scott lazily sat in his seat while his tag wagged insistently. “He said if I stayed in this room for an hour he’d give me a whole box of treats! And a whole box is a whole box, bro! So of course I couldn’t resist!”

He grinned happily but all Vicky could focus on was his perfect white canines. Her hand failed to find the doorknob a few times before it reattached itself; the noise enough for Scott to focus on her actions and frown. “Anyways, sorry about earlier! I didn’t realize I stunk when I tackled you. No wonder you ran off in absolute terror! I would too if someone tackled me and they smelled as bad.”

Every word that came out of Scott’s mouth made no sense. He honestly believed she ran away from him because of his bad BO and that was the reason she still wouldn’t get close. It was almost upsetting how thick his skull was, how he could be this dumb. Yet, there was something silly about it that didn’t boil Vicky’s blood like normal stupidity would. “It’s okay. You didn’t stink.”

“You think?” Scott innocently shrugged his shoulders. “Well, my smelling is pretty honed. Maybe you can’t smell as good as I can because you’re not a werewolf.”

He seemed to laugh at that like it was a funny joke. Vicky just kept observing him, wondering how could such a monster be that dense. No one was that simplistic; it was like he was more a pet than a sentient monster with deep, emotional feelings. In fact, the more Vicky watched Scott interact, the more it reminded her of—

“Don’t be shy! You can come sit near me!” She didn’t know how she had missed Scott getting up but him closing the distance between them pumped fear directly into her mind. His massive hand reached for her body and her throat and heart constricted.

“Don’t!” Vicky pressed herself up against the door, her chest heaving when his hand was inches away from her. He recoiled the moment she yelled, allowing her to continue without it spewing from her mouth in a stream of terror. “Don’t. Please, don’t touch me.”

“I’m … sorry …” Hesitantly, Scott took his hand back and even backed away. It was enough to bring some relief and clarity back into Vicky, who focused more on calming down than trying to talk.

“Are you … scared of me?” His words broke through Vicky’s focus, enough for her to stare up at him. The cheerful look in his eyes was now somber, almost pained. It was like the situation was finally settling in his conscious.

Vicky had every intention to scream yes; that just the sight of his kind brought about a panic attack. How she never felt safe when she could see one, how she wanted them all to disappear. How idiotic he was to not even connect the dots until now when she was running halfway across the school every time she saw him. She had every intention to rip into him for all the emotional turmoil he had been causing her.

And yet …

It must have been the eyes, for she had never noticed how innocent they appeared. There was neither depth nor anything about them to give a poetic comparison to the ocean. They were just blue. Simple; like a window into the soul. There was nothing to hide, nothing she couldn’t see.

And she saw she was hurting him.

They weren’t the same black, emotionless eyes she had seen that very night long ago. No, they were completely different. They were completely different.

All at once, Vicky felt her anger drain out of her body. She felt ridiculous clinging to the doorknob for her dear life as if that would save her if she was in peril. Slowly, tenderly, her hand fell and she spoke so quietly she almost didn’t recognize her voice. “No, it’s not you …”

“It’s not?” The pain and somber look through those windows shut themselves away, now opening up to confusion, relief and what Vicky thought was hope. The hurt was nowhere to be seen and even though Vicky knew nothing about Scott, had no relation to him, that brought relief to her too.

She had never found such easy eyes to read. It was like he laid everything bare to her without even realizing it. There was something almost humbling and trusting about it.

Feeling silly for still standing at the door, Vicky used what little room was available to slip between Scott and walk into the empty classroom. The dipping sun cascaded oranges and dark yellows into the room as she took a seat, sighing heavily.

She let her hands worm together for consolidation, inhaling deeply through her nose when Scott took a seat next to her. Maybe it was because she was expecting it, but she didn’t feel as frightened as before.

He looked to her in deep contemplation, like he was attempting to read Vicky the same way she could him. Anything could come out of his mouth at this point, and with mild curiosity, Vicky waited attentively to hear what words of wisdom he would share with her.

“You know what cheers me up? Someone cheering me on!”

She had little time to think over his words when he suddenly pumped a fist in the air, shouting. “Rah, rah, hey! Bad blues go away! We don’t wanna be full of hate! We just wanna celebrate! Rah, Rah, hey! Bad blues go away!”

He bared his same Cheshire grin while lowering his arm. “Do you feel any better?”

Vicky was caught so off guard with his cheering that she only caught half of his chant. She wasn’t expecting him to randomly burst into rhyming, questioning if he made it up on the spot. It almost reminded her of something she would do to cheer up a friend, and the thought alone made her smile.

“Look, I see a smile!” It turned awkward and forced when Scott pointed at her lips, though he didn’t catch on. “I just need to chant harder!”

With that Scott set to work repeating his cheer, which should have annoyed Vicky into wanting to stab her ears out. His happy cheer, though, didn’t spur any of those painful thoughts; she even felt her genuine smile return after a few minutes. Never in her life had she met anyone so silly as her; it was almost comforting.

Yet the moment she thought that a rock settled in her stomach, stealing away her smile. Scott slowed his chanting. “You’re frowning again. Do I need to say it louder?”

“No, I’m just confused.” She gave him a wayward look, her hands squeezing one another. “I’m just a stranger. Why do you care how I feel? You don’t have to make me feel anything.”

Scott blinked hard. “Course I do! I know what it’s like to feel sad and scared. It’s not fun! And no one should feel like that. Besides, we don’t need to be strangers.”

She thought he would thrust his hand out again, only to see he learned his lesson and cautiously brought it near her. “Name’s Scott Howl! Let’s be friends!”

“Friends?” Vicky repeated without thinking, her eyes staring at his huge hand. She had never touched a werewolf before, too afraid to even think about it. Yet the way Scott had been speaking and acting and cheering so far was all inviting and cheery. Maybe her friends had a point about Scott being different.

Trembling were how her fingers felt to move away from her bubble and closer to danger. They hesitated for just a moment, almost retreating back until Vicky pushed them to make the connection. Finally, her fingers touched his hand delicately; how warm they were compared to her cold, dead skin. They were easily twice, maybe even three times the size of her hands

The fear was too great to transform her touching into a handshake, so she settled with just keeping her hand next to his. “V-Vicky. Vicky Schmidt.”

“Nice to meet you, Vicky!” Like a rabbit in a bear trap, his hand instantly wrapped around hers, causing her to stifle a scream. Scott released her hand as it darted away and back to her beating chest. “Oh, sorry. Should have warned you first.”

The sound of the door opening was all Vicky needed to hear to know that her time in prison was up. Liam strode into the room, holding a large box of meaty treats. He was the last person Vicky wanted to see right now, especially with his toothy grin. “All right, Scott. I had to run to four different stores but I found your treats.”

“Awesome, bro!” Scott nearly flung his desk behind him to get up and out of his seat, scampering over to where Liam stood. Liam let go of the box when Scott ripped it away and ripped the top off to snack on a few. “Thanks so much! You know how much I love these!”

“Not a problem. You helped serve my purpose dutifully.” Liam purposely stared straight at Vicky when speaking, who shot him a deadly look.

“Awesome! Well, let me know if you need me to sit in more empty classrooms! I’ll totally do it for more snacks.”

“Noted.” Liam lost his shit-eating grin when he sniffed the air. He recoiled in disgust, clamping his nose shut. “Scott, have you showered today?”

“Oh, right! Gotta do that.” Her glare simmered when Scott gave her his own grin, happy and delighted. “Great meeting you, Vicky! See you Monday!”

Having little energy left from the induced fear, Vicky lightly waved Scott off as he bounded out of the classroom. When he was out of sight her fear switched gears into anger, stamping her hands on the desk while standing up. “What’s your problem?”

“My problem? Please.” Liam spat back. He didn’t flinch when Vicky trudged her way over to him, trying to get eye level with the vampire. “I was just validating a hypothesis I had over your certain ‘skeletons’ and I couldn’t have hit the target straighter.”

“All right, you got me. I’m scared of werewolves!” Vicky threw her hands up into the air before dropping them ungraciously. “That doesn’t excuse you locking me in a room with one! You were being an ass!”

“Oh, look who’s calling the kettle black.” Vicky reeled back when Liam pointed a sharp finger her way. “Running off whenever Scott came into a room! He may be dumb but even he was starting to catch on to your shenanigans. I had to tell him you were simply training for a marathon just to get him to drop the issue.”

The well-manicured fingernail took another jab at Vicky, who cautiously stepped away. “You’re lucky it was I who figured your issue out first and did this because if it had been the others I assure you it would have been a much different outcome. You might not have figured this out due to your pea-sized brain but we all stick around each other for a reason. We all care, to some extent, sometimes it feels more like personal gain, for one another. Even I, who couldn’t give a shit about society and its social norms even if I wanted to, do have some sympathy for those I call friends, and that includes Scott. And I will not have you treating him like garbage in front of my face for something he probably had no participation in.”

A flare of heat rushed through Vicky’s face, feeling her hands clench into fists. The way Liam spoke and accused her said he was pissed but she didn’t want to back down. “You have no idea what I’ve gone through.”

“No, I don’t. And I don’t care to know. All I know is you’re projecting onto Scott and I won’t let you do that.” Ungraciously his finger fell to tug on his bowtie, regaining some of his composure. “So I’m warning you now. Lay off Scott and your silly game of running away. You don’t have to be his friend and you don’t need to pretend to like him. But act civil, if you can at least do that.”

With that Liam had nothing more to say. He simply walked out of the classroom and closed the door behind him, leaving Vicky to stand alone in the empty room. She stayed eerily silent until her body shook and tears pricked the corners of her eyes. When she realized this she hastily rubbed the tears away, refusing to cry. She could care less how she felt at the moment and when she left the classroom she slammed the door behind her.

If Liam had still been in the halls Vicky might have yelled at him for another round of arguing. But he wasn’t there. No one was. No one was in the hall, in the classroom, not even hiding in a locker. The school was completely empty, just how Vicky felt inside.

She checked her phone briefly to see she had a text from her dad on what time she wanted to be picked up, but simply ignored it. She wanted nothing more than to be alone.

Wandering the halls of the school, Vicky found a spot to sit and reflect outside. She had only been at the school for one week and already she was blowing her chances. She wouldn’t be surprised if Liam never wanted to talk to her again after this, wondering if he was going to tell Amira and the rest about her actions.

The surge of anger dissipated into pitiful sadness. Maybe she wasn’t ready for school. Maybe she was just kidding herself. Her past would always haunt her, would always cling onto her and suffocate her. She was foolish for thinking she could get around it, that she could get away from it even for a second.

Her lips quivered when she let out a whimper. Her dad was right; she wasn’t meant for high school.

“You’re still here?” Vicky gasped at the voice, turning her head to notice Scott behind her. His wet hair stuck to his head and he had draped his towel around his shoulders to keep his jacket from getting soaked. The box of treats he had so happily scampered away with was nowhere to be found.

Words and questions were primed on her tongue to escape, to talk, but her fear clamped her mouth shut. Like it always had, like it always did; she felt a rush of anger just thinking about her predicament.

Scott didn’t seem to register her conflicted feelings and showed off a goofy smile. “Did your ride ditch you? I’ve had that happen sometimes. In fact, did I miss the bus?”

He seemed to contemplate this for far too long before the fact hit him like a brick. “Oh shoot! I missed the bus! Guess it didn’t help that I sat in a classroom for an hour after school.”

He laughed at nothing again, and it caused Vicky’s temper to rise. She plucked at the grass beneath her. “But that’s okay; I got to see you again! Hey, maybe I can take you home. I could use a jog!”

“No, that’s okay.” Her tone was more irritated than Vicky would have liked, feeling the anger fester in her mind.

“It’s no problem at all! I can easily take you wherever you need to go!”

“No, really, I’m fine.” Hastily she turned her head away, demanding that she calmed down. Her nerves were alit with irritation, that the slightest thing could set her off. Why was she so fearful, why was she so terrible at getting over her fears, why couldn’t she control herself? These thoughts continuously repeated in her head, over and over, the thoughts maddening, bringing her closer to the edge of snapping.

And then Scott spoke. “Nah bro, I’m good!”

“Scott!” Vicky whipped her head back over to him, taking both of them off guard. “Don’t you get it? I’m terrified of you! I’m terrified of werewolves! That’s why I’ve been running away from you ever since we first met!”

She hadn’t meant to say that, to say any of that. But in doing so the anger quelled if only a little. The pain reopened in Scott’s eyes, grasping for clarification. “But Liam told me—”

“Liam lied to you! He did that because I was being a dumbass!” Tears blurred her vision, coming back at the worst possible moment. She tried to wipe them away but more continued to flow and her mouth vomited words like a waterfall. “I just thought if I stayed away that I could come to school, but I was wrong. I can’t get over my fears; I can’t stop being afraid. I didn’t want you to know but I hurt you in doing so, and I’m sorry!”

Everything she told herself to do, to stop, to shut the hell up and leave were failing. Instead, her body curled inwards and she hid her head between her legs. “I hate being afraid, I hate myself for hurting you. I want to get over this but I can’t. I can’t! I’ll always be haunted by it! I’m not strong enough to conquer it. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry …”

She choked a sob and the rest fell in place. Tears plopped onto her knees as her body shuddered, finally releasing the torrent of her built-up emotions. There was no saving this train wreck. She had never felt so disgusted with herself in her life. No doubt Scott would bare his fangs and call her out for her behavior or downright leave. She hoped for the latter, just wanting to sob in peace.

“Hey, hey. It’s okay. I’m not mad.” Of all the tones, of all the ways he could have responded, he chose to respond with forgiveness, sickening her stomach. She heard the grass rustle beside her. “I mean, I had a hunch, but I get it now. It’s not your fault.”

“Yes, it is,” Vicky spoke through her legs, her guts twisting so hard she wanted to hurl. “I chose to run away. I chose to make you feel like crap.”

“But that’s not your fault. You said you’re scared of werewolves. If I was scared of something, I’d probably run away from it too.”

She choked a few more sobs, not understanding why Scott would stay and try to calm her down after everything she said. She could hear more confusion in his voice. “I can’t really stop myself from being a werewolf. I kind of like being one too.”

“I know.” Vicky sniffled. It was better for the both of them if they stayed their separate ways so that neither of them hurt the other again. It was the only way.

“But … maybe I can help you stop being scared. Like, oh, I could be a comfort dog! A comfort wolf!”

“… What?” That prompted Vicky to raise her head. She imagined she looked about as horrible as she felt; with her swollen red eyes, her pathetic, pitiful stare and her makeup running haphazardly down her cheeks.

If she did look like a mess it didn’t bother Scott, who bared no hint of anger, spite or contempt at her. He was just the same silly and happy werewolf she had always seen him be. “Yeah, it’ll be great! You can use me to get used to werewolves and I can still be your friend! We can play fetch together, and hang out, and talk about your feelings, and play fetch, and bury bones! And if you’re scared, you can use me as your own giant stuffed wolf! You can pet me and I can give you hugs! And when you see how much fun you’re having with a werewolf you’ll stop being scared!”

“… Scott, I don’t think that’s how it works.” Vicky almost couldn’t believe what was coming out of Scott’s mouth, but he didn’t look deterred in the slightest.

“Well, we can try! There’s no harm in that! I feel really bad that something happened to make you so scared. So if I can help make you feel better, I want to! Werewolves are awesome! If you’re scared, you can’t come to our games and cheer us on! That’s the worst thing in the world!”

Vicky watched Scott throw a fist out, waiting for her to finish the fist bump. “So let’s do this! Let’s beat your fear together!”

Her eyes gazed at his awaiting fist and back up to his smiling face. She couldn’t remember a time when someone wanted to help her through her problems. When someone wanted to take the time to confront them with her. Loneliness was all she felt whenever she talked about her problems; with either people validating her fears and only emphasizing them or giving her questionable, disgusted looks and labeling her off as a racist.

But someone who wanted to help her through them? She had never known someone who wanted to put in that time and effort, who wanted to give her a hand and guide her through her fears until they didn’t bother her anymore. It was … sweet. Too sweet, sickeningly sweet, and it was enough for Vicky to feel new tears fall down her cheeks and a giggle bubble up her throat. So this was what it felt like to have a friend.

“Okay … okay, we can try.” Extending her own fist, Vicky’s heart fluttered as she delicately pounded it into Scott’s. A pact had been made.

“Yeah, awesome bro! We can do this!”

He came in to give Vicky a hug but she thankfully got her arms out to hold him back. “Wait, Scott! Don’t touch me!”

“Oh, right.” He backed away as quickly as he had come forward. “Sorry.”

When she knew Scott wasn’t going to lunge for her again her hands tangled themselves into her hair, trying to gain some comfort in stroking them. “If we’re going to do this, you have to know that I’m really scared of being touched. I start panicking if I feel trapped.”

“Okay. Gotcha,” Scott nodded his head. “We’ll just have to work you up to hugs.”

“Right,” Vicky let out another sigh that ended with a chuckle. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

“I can. Because we just said we would.” She watched as Scott flopped backward into the grass, stretching his back. “Do you want to start right now?”

“No, I want to do some research first.” She glanced over to the school. “I bet the library has a few books on overcoming fears. Would you have time after school to practice?”

“Can’t after this week,” Grasshoppers flew out of the grass when Scott rolled himself into an upright position. “Gotta start training for the season! If you got time after football practice then we can.”

“I’ll have to see if my dad will pick me up that late. But it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I can do my homework and study while you train.”

“And you can cheer me on!”

Vicky nervously laughed. “Don’t know about that. We’ll see.”

But the more they talked, the more they settled on their plan, the more hope filled Vicky. This was it, this was what she had been missing her entire life. A chance to finally take her fears by the reigns and conquer it once and for all. She almost wanted to screw research and start practice now when her phone went off. She checked it to see a few messages missed from her dad, asking what was going on and that he was waiting out front.

It dampened her mood a bit, but she knew better than to make her dad angry. “I should probably get going.”

“Let’s exchange numbers before you go.” Scott already had his phone out just as Vicky was about to put hers away. “So we can keep up with scheduling. And send funny gifs!”

“Yeah, sure.” The exchange was simple and took less than a minute; Vicky now had Scott on her phone. With a light push, she got back to her feet, picking up her backpack. “Maybe we can start tomorrow?”

“I got practice in the morning, but for sure in the afternoon!”

“Great!” She had just swung the second strap over her arm, empowerment surging through her. “I’ll let you know when I get here then.”

“Have a good night!” Vicky heard Scott cry out as she rushed off and towards the front of the building. Despite the rollercoaster she had been through that day, things were finally starting to look up. She had a plan, she had a goal. She had something to achieve and god damn she was going to overachieve the hell out of it. She could picture it now, herself standing atop of a pile of defeated and rabid werewolves, laughing jauntily. She also saw herself holding a sword, wearing a skimpy bikini and screaming at the horizon with maybe fire spurting behind her, which only made her giddy with excitement to finally realize that dream.

“There you are.” Her father spoke as Vicky ducked into the car. She shut the door with a loud snap and buckled herself in. “You never responded to my texts!”

“Sorry. I got caught up in something.” Vicky set her backpack in the back as the car slowly drove off.

She quickly checked her phone to see Scott had already sent her a message to test the number. She responded back with a quick sound off and looked up when her father spoke again. “Well, don’t you look happy.”

“I am.” Vicky felt confident in saying so. “From this point on, things are going to change, dad.”

“Really? And why’s that?”

“Hmm, let’s keep it a surprise.” Vicky shot her father a playful wink and stashed her phone away. “By the way. Can you drop me off tomorrow? I got a project I need to work on.”

Chapter Text

“Tintin!” Vicky’s voice trailed off into the darkness, her shoes crunching upon fallen leaves. Trees loosely barricaded the world around her and she was able to still hear the whimsical, classy music from the party at her house. She cupped her hands around her mouth in an attempt to sound louder. “Tintin! Where are you?”

She tried to be mindful of where she stepped; her dress too pretty as it kept getting caught on greedy branches. Her small hands worked the dress loose every time, her young voice yelling. “Come on, Tintin! We can’t play games right now!”

A low growl hummed through the haunting air. Vicky gasped, quickly spinning on her heels towards the approaching silhouette. It came from the bushes, snarling like a rabid beast. Her pupils shrunk at the mere sight of it and the unrecognizable mass of mangled bones and flesh dangling from its jaws. It splattered on the ground when it lunged for her with its glistening, bloody teeth.

She screamed a powerful scream and attempted to escape but her predator was too quick. It seized her with its massive claws and crushed her onto the ground. Her petrified eyes stared upwards into the black, soulless eyes of death. The full moon beamed down and shed light onto the beast just as its teeth sunk into her neck.

With a jolt, Vicky sat upright in bed. Her breathing was hysterical, her skin drenched in sweat. One hand clutched tightly at her heart and the other gently upon her neck, as if to check if she still had both. Cautiously, she lowered her hands to place in her lap as her breathing slowed. Her eyes flittered over to the overturned frame as if its presence alone was the cause of her nightmare.

A silent whimper wormed its way out of her throat as Vicky lowered herself back into bed. She made sure to pull her covers over her head and drew her legs up, wishing that she would not continue the memory when she fell back asleep.

As the moon lost its reign to the sun, Vicky pushed open the classroom doors where she and Scott were going to meet up for the afternoon. She had brought her backpack, stuffed with new items she packed earlier that day that would help the two of them with their objective. This classroom didn’t bring back any happy memories but neither of them could decide on a location aside from this.

Scott had already beaten her to the room first and even did some remodeling. Most of the desks were pushed up against one another to form a make-shift table, and several chairs were plopped around it. Vicky could have sworn the desks had been bolted down as Scott waved her over. “Sup, bro! Did you just get here?”

“Nah, I holed myself up in the library before now.” Vicky took a seat across from Scott, sliding her backpack to the side.

“You should have come over to say hi!” Scott feigned the tiniest of pouts. “I could have used some cheering on today. Coach got on us for letting the summer break soften us up.”

Vicky could imagine all the predatory eyes on her if she stepped into the gym; her stomach churning at just the thought. “Maaaybe another time.”

Unlatching the top, she easily retrieved the two books she had rented out. Scott had managed to grab one before she could stop him, squinting his eyes and going slow. “‘Overcoming Your Fears: How to Live Your Life Free of Terror.’ Bro, this is just what we need!”

“Yeah, I picked it up for this occasion.” Vicky extended a hand for the book but dropped it when Scott gave her a quizzical stare and attempted to high-five her. She dodged his hand in time. “I haven’t read it all the way through, but the important thing it emphasizes is to not rush head first into conquering my fears. It could make my trauma even worse.”

“But that’s how I solve most of my problems.” Scott flipped through the book, but it was apparent how fast he turned the pages that he wasn’t actively trying to read it. “Or I beg. Either way, the problem goes away!”

“Well, this has to be dealt with differently.” Vicky turned to the other book she had brought, skimming the pages until she found the right passage. “First, I have to identify the fear, which we’ve done.”

“And need to fix!” He nodded his head eagerly; tail wagging in sync with his head bops.

A smile blossomed on Vicky’s face at the silliness. “Right. Second, I need to understand why I’m afraid of it.”

“Is it because we’re big?” Scott suggested, checking himself out. “Or maybe because we like to hide our bones where no one can find them? Or maybe because we run super fast! Or we’re soft and cuddly and awesome at football!”

Vicky playfully shook her head, trying to relieve the tension forming in her shoulders. “I don’t really want to talk about it. But I do get why I’m afraid.”

Her hands raised the book up, creating a barrier between the two. “The third and fourth step is to take action and gradually work towards overcoming the fear.”

“Great!” Scott yipped. “How do we do that?”

“I don’t know!” With a forced smile, Vicky slammed her book shut. Her figure slumped on the desk, resting her head. “Everything I think of makes me freak out …”

Laying her head down calmed Vicky, even made her a bit sleepy. She had failed to fall back asleep that morning so her energy levels were dangerously low, even after her quick juice of electricity. Perhaps a nap would ease her frustration.

Her mind snapped awake when she felt Scott take her hand. She sat up like she had sat upon a pin, yanking on her hand which was caught in Scott’s fingers. “Scott! Not cool!”

“Sorry!” His hand opened up to allow her hand to rush back to its owner. “I wanted to see if your hand was still cold.”

“What?” Vicky gently gripped the hand that was touched and quell her beating heart.

“Your hand!” Scott restated. “It was icy yesterday. You should probably wear some mittens to keep them from getting so cold.”

“Oh.” Her fixation with her hand vanished. “Scott, I’m a corpse. My body can’t regulate its body temperature.”

“You mean you’re undead?” Eyes squinted, Vicky felt the full gaze of Scott upon her. “Well, you are pretty pale and you got stitches all over your body. But you aren’t missing chunks of your body like Brian is and he doesn’t have those bolt thingies.”

“Brian is a zombie. He was probably brought to life by magic.” His eyes let up as Vicky placed her hands on the table. “I was brought to life through calculated planning, precision, and lots of electricity! But I am still a corpse, though, technically not a zombie.”

“I didn’t know there were different types of undead!” Vicky flinched when Scott entered her personal bubble for the second time, his tail continuing to wag behind him. “I only knew about ghosts and zombies, but now I know about electric zombies!”

He offered his hand. “Can I see it again? Please?”

Vicky would have corrected him about the term but his eager stare cut through her train of thought. Hesitantly, she held out her hand for Scott to hold. She expected his grip to be iron like the rest, but his fingers held her loosely. His fingers brushed over her skin; dry and rough, yet oddly comforting. They were still just as warm as they were yesterday, if not warmer. No one had ever held her hand in such a way, feeling a small blush powder her cheeks.

“You’re so soft.” Scott absentmindedly commented as he took one of her fingers and lightly squeezed it. “And squishy.”

The giggle escaped her lips without a thought, nervous and light. “Thanks.”

She didn’t know how long she had let Scott touch her hand but didn’t mind until his hand traveled farther up her arm. The comforting feeling zapped away as fast as Vicky withdrew her arm. “Okay, that’s enough.”

“I never knew corpses were soft.” Even when Vicky drew back Scott leaned forward. “I should touch Brian to see if he’s also soft!”

The idea alone sent Vicky’s mind into overdrive. Brian gazing softly into Scott’s eyes as the werewolf worked his shirt up over his head, drawing his hands down his chest. Her faint glow burst into a bright shade of red, her mind unfocused and somewhat aroused by the picture.

“Vicky?”

“Er—uh, y-yeah …” Vicky blinked several times to try and wake herself up. “You should totally do that. And let me watch. For research purposes.”

She took a few breaths to settle down; it was back to work. “Anyways, that was a lot better than I thought. I didn’t tense up as much when you touched my hand.”

When she glanced over to for validation he had his head buried in the book he took. Literally. Vicky hadn’t even noticed him open it in the first place. “Scott?”

With a sudden loud gasp, Scott shot up from the pages. “Vicky! Look here! Right here!”

The book was then shoved into Vicky’s face, which she did not appreciate in the slightest. She wrestled with Scott for a moment to push it back enough to read the passage. “’Studies have also shown that exercise can help lower the adrenaline and release endorphins to help your mood when it comes to traumatic stress.’”

“Do you know what this means?” Scott nearly threw the book to the side, but thankfully two fingers kept it from barreling into the door. “We gotta get you up and moving! 5-mile jog, let’s go!”

“Huh?” But it was all Vicky could say before his massive hand wrapped around her small one. The surge of panic jolted through Vicky again, but not quite as bad thanks to their earlier exercise. It was enough to throw her thoughts out of order and enough time for Scott to pull her out of her seat and out of the classroom. “W-Wait! Scott! I don’t want to jog!”

“But the book says it’ll help! And exercise is always good!” Scott called out behind his shoulder while Vicky struggled to keep up.

“Can’t we do this another day?”

“Nope! The book says so! Let’s jog, let’s run, and let’s get sweaty!” Scott was grinning from ear to ear, she had never seen him so excited before. His excitement was contagious, feeling a smile purse her lips and wipe away her earlier hesitation.

Her feet tried to keep up, pushing herself to jog faster. “Hell yeah, let’s do this! Let’s get super sweaty!”

Just as she was ready for the workout of her life Scott pushed past the gym doors and into the locker room. Her energy and excitement slowed when their run turned into a walk. “Why are we here?”

He led her over to what she assumed was the closet and opened it. Between the football helmets, the hockey sticks and baseball bats was a cardboard box labeled ‘Jim Clothez’ that Scott picked up. “To get dressed, bro! You’re nuts if you think you can work out in that!”

He then pointed to her long-sleeved sweater and jeans. “Gotta wear clothes that breathe!”

Into her hands, he delivered a small shirt and short shorts. She gave them a quizzical stare while he picked out a size for himself. “Isn’t this stealing?”

“Nah, Coach is totally cool with us taking them!” He slung his own pair over his arm. “He constantly has to order more whenever we go wolf and tear our gym clothes. He loves it so much, he cries whenever we go wolf! At least, he’s crying whenever I remember turning back.”

Vicky didn’t think the Coach was crying tears of joy in that situation, but Scott probably knew the Coach better than she did. And free clothes were free clothes, which were always great. “Sweet! I’ll get dressed then.”

“Same!” Vicky was about to turn and head off to the female locker room just as Scott pulled his shirt over his head. Vicky nearly dropped her clothes, her mouth falling open. “Sc-Scott, oh my god!”

“What?” Scott lowered his arms, his shirt taught between the two. It covered up most of his exposed chest but she could still see parts of his six-pack, his toned pecs and the hair that tried to cover it all. “I gotta get dressed too. In fact, you can’t dress here! This is the guy’s locker room. You need to go over to the girl’s locker room.”

Vicky didn’t fight Scott as he pushed her down the hall and over to the door that divided the two locker rooms. With one stroke he had opened the door and scooted Vicky to the other side. “I’ll be waiting in the gym when you’re done!”

“… Okay.” Was all Vicky would mutter, her eyes still trained on his muscled body before he closed the door and left her alone.

Her mind felt completely shaken, her cheeks so hot someone could fry an egg on them. She always found smarts to be attractive but damn, Vicky couldn’t ignore a Greek god’s body.

Her thoughts turned back to her previous picture, of Brian and Scott touching each other, exploring one another’s bodies. It was a delightful image when she suddenly saw herself in Brian’s position, her hands tracing over his skin, fingers tangled in all the hair. A tight, constricting feeling shot through her body, her thighs squeezing together as she tightly wrung out her gym clothes. She hastily began to think of other things to calm herself down. The last thing she needed to be was hot and bothered while trying to work out.

After thinking of Principal Giant Spider in a speedo she was completely calmed— if not extremely disgusted— and changed into her new gym clothes. Like Scott said he was waiting for her in the main gym, which was completely deserted save for them. Looks like the rest of the players and the Coach seemed to have left, which Vicky had no complaints about.

She ignored the incoming thoughts of Scott’s chest when walking over, keeping her eyes on his face. Scott eyed her up and down when she came over, something Vicky hadn’t seen him do before. “You look great!”

“I feel sweaty already.” She flashed a cheesy smile, hoping that her clothes would still be in the locker she stashed them in when they returned. “So, what now?”

“Now? Now we jog!” He gestured her to follow, already bounding away.

Vicky was caught off guard until she kicked herself to jog after him. “Hey, wait up!”

“Nope! Gotta keep up!” Vicky had already seen Scott run during gym, but apparently, he had been holding back. She had to push herself to even try to keep up.

Scott didn’t just limit himself to the gym. Pushing through the exit doors, Vicky left the polished gym floors onto the grass outside the school and to the springy rubber mat of the track. She was already heaving before they even made the first lap. “Scott! … oh god. Please … just slow down! This … this isn’t making me feel … any better!”

“We just started!” But Scott did coming running back to her, so that helped slow her run into a needed jog. He flawlessly spun on his heels, jogging backward. “Come on! We’re going to outrun your fears!”

Literally?” Vicky shot Scott a dumbfounded stare, wondering if this was what Scott actually thought the book meant.

“Of course! Your fears can’t catch you if you’re faster! That’s why people say that!”

She pondered for a second if there was an end to Scott’s pure idiocy and how he had lasted all the way to high school. And yet despite his imbecilic nature, it didn’t turn her away. If only it was just that easy, it would make her train every day with Scott. Her legs were burning with a nice, hot sensation while she worked on her breathing. “Okay! Let’s do it! Let’s … let’s outrun them!”

“Yeah!” Vicky nearly lost her gait watching Scott leap into the air. He landed gracefully on his feet, keeping his stride like he hadn’t just bounded off the ground and almost several feet into the air. He pumped a fist to get her attention. “Repeat after me! I’m not afraid!”

“I’m … I’m not afraid!” Vicky wheezed through deep breaths, her primary focus was not to lose Scott.

“I’m totally over my fears!”

“I’m totally over … over my fears!”

“Louder!”

“I’m totally over my fears!” Vicky shouted while pushing herself dangerously close to her limits. The pleasant burn from working out was now heating up into an uncomfortable, stinging burn. Her legs wobbled with every step, watching Scott get farther and farther away with each step. “Scott! I have to rest! I can’t go on!”

She didn’t even wait for his reply before falling to her knees. Her chest heaved, her legs taking the full brunt of the strain and gelled like pudding. Scott came running over, kneeling close. “Maybe you pushed yourself too hard. Did you stretch?”

“Stretch?” Vicky had heard that term, but she always believed she was limber enough to skip it.

Scott’s eyebrows nearly shot off his head. “You should always stretch before exercising, bro! Do you want to tear your muscles?”

The next moment Scott was coming too close for comfort, arms wide open. “I’ll take you in.”

“No! Don’t touch!” Vicky batted his hands away, which only sent her falling onto the track. Her legs did not appreciate the sudden change in stance and she hissed in mild pain. “Just go get me some water. I’ll be fine after a break.”

He hesitated on her words for a brief moment before slowly rising to his feet. “All right. You stay here and rest.”

She watched him sprint off towards the school, giving her some room to breathe. A long sigh escaped her lips, questioning why she was doing this. Why he was doing this. His behavior made no sense to her; he acted more like a family pet than a murderous hunter of the forest. Maybe she was completely wrong about wolves; maybe they were all super friendly and likable like Scott.

By then said werewolf had already come back with water bottles in arms. He eagerly offered one to her while taking his seat. “Here you are!”

“Thanks.” She gingerly took the bottle, careful to not touch his hand and gulped down half of the bottle on the spot. The coolness of the water was already refreshing against the beating sun.

Scott took his own drink before setting his bottle down. “So? Do you feel any better?”

“Not really, just sweaty.” One of the sensations Vicky hated the most. Being cold sucked, but at least she didn’t sweat. “I don’t think this is what the book had in mind.”

“But it said to exercise!” Scott leaned his hands back to prop himself up. “But maybe I did push you too hard. I keep forgetting most monsters aren’t werewolves. I’ll go slower next time.”

“That would really help me.” Vicky didn’t think she could do another day of this. Considering how often Scott forgot not to touch her she doubted that the next time they exercised he wouldn’t pull the same stunt.

Taking another drink from her water, she stared at Scott until he noticed her. “Why aren’t you more aggressive, Scott?”

The question was out of left field and it showed on Scott’s face. He set his water bottle down. “What do you mean?”

“I mean …” She sat criss-cross, resting her bottle on her legs. “Aren’t wolves supposed to be territorial and attack anything that isn’t their own?”

“Eh, that’s kind of hard to answer.” From the creases in his face to the way he fiddled with his bottle, it was clear how awkward and uncomfortable the subject was to him. “I mean, we can be those things, but they aren’t what define us. My cousins do that a lot, but I don’t like to be aggressive. I like being nice and happy, which means other monsters will be nice and happy back to me!”

Vicky let out a light chuckle when his tail wagged along with his mood. “You’re more like a dog, Scott.”

His tail ceased its wagging, giving a small pout. “Hey, I’m a wolf. There can be friendly wolves.”

“Well, you’re the first one I’ve ever met.” Vicky smiled for a brief moment when an idea popped into her head. She sat straight up. “Wait, what am I doing?”

“Talking to me?” Scott felt the need to answer.

“Well, yeah, that!” Vicky still shook her head to Scott’s answer. “I mean, why aren’t I looking into werewolves? How could I be so stupid? My fears are based on one experience, but there’s a world of information out there about werewolves! If I could learn a bunch of crap about your kind, then maybe with solid facts I can kick this fear once and for all!”

“Wow, that’s so smart!” Scott’s tail resumed its happy wag. “Can I help?”

“Of course, you’re going to be the subject of my research!”

“Awesome!” He pumped his fists back into the air, prompting another smile from Vicky. “And we can continue our exercise routine?”

“Sure, why not.” Vicky felt generous after realizing the error of her ways. Finally, progress. Things were beginning to look up.

“Hey, bro! There you are!”

Like rain on her parade, Vicky tensed at the unfamiliar voice. Her head turned to notice the entire football team running over to them. Even if her legs were gelatinous she wasn’t going to stick around and was already crawling onto her feet to make her getaway.

Her feet barely touched the ground when Scott’s hand grabbed her wrist. She jerked back, tugging on her hand forcefully in a hurried, tense voice. “Scott oh my god give me my hand please Scott don’t do this to me.”

“Hey, bros!” If Scott had heard her he was clearly ignoring her. His other hand waved them over, trapping Vicky with him.

Her fears crawled through her body like a swarm of ants when she realized she had no escape and she ducked behind Scott for coverage. If she couldn’t get out of this situation she wasn’t going to leave herself open.

The pack of werewolves surrounded the two. Vicky tried to keep herself from hyperventilating, feeling Scott’s hand gently squeeze her own.

Unlike Scott, almost all of the football team didn’t seem to share his idea for appearing human. Most resembled humanoid wolves, save for one other who looked about as human as Scott. He was front and center of the pack. “You never came to lunch, dog! They were serving hot dogs in the cafeteria!”

“I missed the hot dogs?” Vicky couldn’t see, but just from Scott’s tone of voice, he took it about as well as someone would hearing their mom got shot. “Aw man! I love the cafeteria hot dogs!”

“Exactly! What was so important you missed hot dog Saturday?”

It was then that Vicky felt the pull of Scott’s arm. She resisted but she was barely a match for his strength, being forced into the spotlight. “Bros, I want you to meet Vicky! She’s my new friend!”

She tried not to scream in horror or cling onto Scott when the pack closed in on her. They sniffed her from head to toe before pulling away. “Dog, you reek of fear! What, you scared of us?”

“Oh, she’s just terrified of all werewolves!” Scott happily replied, making Vicky want to go crawl somewhere and die. “But I’m helping her through it!”

“Scared, huh?” Vicky pressed herself up against Scott when the supposed leader came closer. His eyes glinted with mischief as he grinned a mouth full of sharp teeth. “Just like we like our meals. Right, dogs?”

The rest of the pack chuckled in agreement. Vicky felt the entirety of her fear resting in her throat, waiting for the smallest of replies so it could jump out and deafen everyone around her. Again, she felt Scott squeeze her wrist, pulling her away from such thoughts. “She wants to know all about us. So could you help her out?”

“Oh sure, Scott, with pleasure.” The pack slowly withdrew, the leader still grinning. “We’ll teach her a lot about werewolves.”

“Great! Thanks so much!” Scott matched the leader with his own grin.

Vicky was sure the pack was going to do something to her then, with Scott blissfully watching without a care in the world. Instead, they withdrew when the leader nudged his head. “Anyways, we practiced, we ate, let’s go home, Scott. We’re going to dig such deep holes; no one is going to find our bones when we’re done!”

“Bury bones and dig holes? Sign me up, I’m there!” And just like that, it was over. Scott let her wrist fall as he went around her to join the rest of the football team, who were whooping and hollering over where they were going to put their bones. One thing she noted was his tail as he mixed into the crowd. It wasn’t wagging like usual when he was happy; instead, it was tucked between his legs.

When the pack was visibly gone did Vicky cover her mouth with her hands and let out a loud scream. She did this a few more times before running around in circles, trying to get rid of all the energy from her flight response going wild during the conversation. She made it all the way back over to where she and Scott sat, noticing the water bottles.

She kicked one in anger, only to grace its side and flop to the ground. “Thanks a lot, Scott! Thanks! Thanks for telling the entire team about my problems! It’s not like I had enough trouble with just one werewolf!”

With a final scream, she dropped onto the grass, giving zero shits. She gave every passing cloud a death glare until she buried her head in her hands and groaned. This is not what she wanted, this was the last thing in the world she wanted to happen but the damage had been done. She was now to expect the rest of the football team to ‘help’ her in her endeavor. If Scott came trotting back she’d kick him in the rear for this.

Letting her hands fall to her side, Vicky held up the wrist Scott had tightly held earlier. She couldn’t explain it, but somehow his grip seemed to calm her just the tiniest bit when the wolf pack came over. If he hadn’t done that Vicky probably would have broken down crying or tried to escape with her legs and arms flailing everywhere like a giant inflatable tube-man.

But something about that grip, the way he snatched her and held her hinted at something else. Scott could be brain dead at times but it didn’t seem like one of those moments. He wanted to keep her there with him and she didn’t believe it was just because he wanted to introduce her to the pack.

Giving her hand one final stare, she let out a defeated sigh and let her hand flop into the grass. She was exhausted, overworked and stressed out of her mind. The only thing she wanted to do now was forget about the rest of the day and just nap. With the clouds occasionally passing over the sun, the soft grass and her exhaustion, Vicky achieved just that.

Chapter Text

Since that moment with Scott on the track, Vicky had been in overdrive. She read her way through both books she had picked up from the library by the end of Sunday and began her studies on wolves that night. She scoured the internet, compiling every piece of information she could find into a notebook and leaving herself room to catalog notes when it came time to sit Scott down and go over them. She had never felt more ready in her life to brutally slaughter her inner demons.

A sudden announcement took the class by storm Monday morning. Apparently, it was a tradition at Spooky High School for the senior class to put on a play for the rest of the school and that they were to report to the auditorium for the first half of the day.

This was how Vicky found herself wiggling into her knight costume in the girl’s dressing room. There was no audition, no practice, not even a prompt of what the class was going to put on. They just had a grouchy slime monster give them one look before announcing their role, shoving them a costume and then sending them to the back. Vicky couldn’t complain too much, she was born to slay dragons, or at the very least, metaphorical ones.

“How do they expect me to wear this?” Vicky had just strapped on her helmet and waltzed her way out of the dressing room when she heard the shrill cry.

Miranda was not in costume yet, simply holding hers out in disgust. An innocent baker’s uniform dangled from her fingers. “Don’t they realize that I’m a princess? Where is the elegant dress? The abundance of jewels? My mandatory serfs to cater to my every whim?”

“It’s called acting, Miranda.” Liam had already gotten dressed as well, stepping over to her side. Vicky’s heart stopped cold, remembering how tense and angry he was when she last saw him. He eyed her just once before looking back over to Miranda. “The time when one can shed their pretenses and ideals to take on a role they were destined, or foolishly cast, to be.”

“The only role I’m destined to play is a princess, Liam,” Miranda said curtly before sneering. “How is my prince supposed to find and save me if I’m dressed as a baker? I don’t even look good in peasant brown! I will not tolerate this!”

Miranda was the center of attention, but Vicky couldn’t stop staring at Liam. She had to find a moment alone to talk to him, to try and patch up what happened before the weekend.

As if to answer her prayers Oz gallantly strode over, his cape whirling behind him from the musketeer outfit he was given. He even gave himself a mustache, which Vicky had to admit was adorable. “Don’t you see, Miranda? You’re not a baker. You’re uh … the princess of baking! They just mixed up your costume and gave you a regular baker’s outfit.”

Oz glanced at Liam confidently, as if to ask for his approval. Vicky wondered when Oz had become friends with Liam but Miranda’s sudden and sharp gasp took them all by surprise. “A princess? Of baking? Why that sounds positively delightful! Of course, they should have never given me this ugly attire by mistake. I nearly had someone’s assassination planned over it!”

She threw it to the side like a used up tissue. Oz nearly backed up when Miranda came towards him and snatched his hand. It didn’t help when her bodyguards were suddenly behind Oz, in case he tried to run. “Come, we must rectify this situation! Let’s find that foolish director and help remind him of what I should be wearing!”

“Bu-But!” Oz turned desperately back towards Liam as if pleading to him to get him out of his situation. When Liam scrunched his eyebrows in a questioning way and didn’t move to help him Oz adopted a wide and thoroughly screwed expression. Vicky felt some sympathy towards Oz’s cause and would have traded with him but she needed this moment more than ever.

“Don’t forget all the jewels!” Vicky knew by the hard glare Oz shot her that she’d have to owe him one for this as Miranda dragged him away.

“Well, I see you haven’t changed your tune.” The deep and cold tone belonged to only one person. Vicky didn’t need to turn around to know Liam had come over, but she did so anyway.

“Liam, I’m so sorry. You were right about everything you said.”

“Sorry? Why are you apologizing to me?” Vicky was taken aback by Liam’s words. He boorishly glanced around the stage. “I was merely telling you how I felt about the situation. Don’t apologize like you somehow wounded me and that I was so dejected I cried into my lavish pillows all night.”

What Vicky thought was going to be a tender, heart-filled moment died then and there. Her mood soured, puffing her cheeks out. “Well, I can take it back if you want.”

“Take it back if you feel that rejected over it. But I will take your compliment about me being entirely right.” He pulled on his jacket, his smug grin returning.

The condescending tone, the haughty nature, down to him locking her in a room with Scott just to prove his hypothesis correct. Vicky wondered how she ever thought dating this loser was the ideal relationship. She would have slapped down her helmet, strode off with what little dignity she had left and ended her route with him if Liam hadn’t continued to speak. “Besides, you seemed to have fixed the situation on your own. Scott wouldn’t shut up about him helping you and how happy he is to enlighten you to the love of werewolves. I had to silence my phone just to sleep.”

“Oh god, really?” Vicky felt the heat of embarrassment wash over her. First the Wolfpack, now Liam. She didn’t want to know how many other monsters Scott blabbed to at this point.

Liam nodded his head. “There’s not a lot Scott won’t get excited over, but he seems grossly engaged in this. You’re making him happy and … I appreciate that.”

The way he tried to hide his glowing cheeks, the slight crack in his façade to show a gentler, lovable dork. It reminded Vicky why she was going after him, reinvigorating her to try again. She moved closer to Liam and swung her arms behind her back for maximum cutesiness. “Well, if there’s anything else I can help you with …”

“Now that you mention it …” A rush of excitement beat through Vicky’s chest at the proposal. She started to lean closer when she was stopped by the hand Liam held out. His dead-panned stare didn’t help. “Give me 10 dollars.”

“Excuse you?” She lifted herself back up, her arms falling out from behind her.

“You told Scott I lied to him. Do you know how dejected he was about that? I told him I’d buy him four boxes of those treats he likes, but because you’re the one who told him it only makes sense that you pay for them.”

His stared hardened, flexing his fingers for Vicky to pay up. “I shouldn’t have to pay for that! It was your fault you lied to him!”

“I was making him feel better over the train wreck you laid at his feet! You didn’t even have to tell him I lied, that wasn’t your call!”

“Hey, bros!” Liam and Vicky snapped their mouths shut the moment they heard Scott’s voice.

Vicky stiffened her back like a pole had been shoved through her spine while Liam recomposed himself. At first, Vicky didn’t know where Scott was aside from the giant tree that came at them. Then it hit her like a brick; the tree was Scott. “How do you like my costume? I’m a tree!”

“It suits you.” Liam sized Scott up, from the giant paper foliage sprouting around his head to the inappropriately placed bird right near his crotch. “You couldn’t have been picked for a more perfect role.”

“Right? I piss on them all the time, so I know how a tree acts!” He grinned his usual carefree grin and once more Vicky’s eyes were on his teeth. Fear should have overtaken her senses, only she felt a small prick of nervousness instead. Perhaps it was because she saw no malicious intent with his goofy grin or the fact that she’d been hanging around him more often. Either way, the teeth weren’t so scary to her, which made her feel accomplished.

Just as Liam had eyed Scott, he was doing the same back at them. She felt Scott’s gaze linger on her longer than Liam, his grin stretching. “Awesome knight costume, Vicky!”

“Thanks!” She grabbed the hilt of her cardboard sword but failed in unsheathing it when it got caught. When she finally got it unstuck she hoisted it towards the ceiling. “Men, get me my steed! We must make haste to save the princess!”

“Yeah! Let’s do it!” Scott chimed in.

“What’s this about saving the princess?” Vicky glanced over in time to see Damien and Amira stroll over. Like the rest, they were already in costume, with Damien wearing his own barbaric armor and Amira dressed like, well, Vicky couldn’t exactly tell. Judging by the skull belt she wasn’t a good guy.

“Hey, Damien!” Scott moved closer to Vicky to allow them into the circle. “Vicky’s going to save the princess!”

“Hah, tough shit she ain’t.” Damien sprouted a wicked smirk. “I’m stealing that princess and if she’s got a problem with that she can fight me to the death for her!”

Vicky would have participated in the playful banter had she not been beaten to a pulp by Damien last week for just being in his way. She zipped her lips shut to not instigate another round.

Scott, on the other hand, seemed in agreement. “Yeah, fight to the death!”

“Fuck yeah!” Damien hyped over Scott’s hype, which multiplied the amount of hype in the room to hype squared.

Vicky tried to make herself smaller as a hand slipped onto her shoulder. Amira gave her a playful wink. “That’s enough, boys. You’re scaring the lamb.”

“Lamb?” Vicky took slight insult to the nickname, puffing her cheeks out in defiance. Amira didn’t look sorry even with her pouting.

Damien’s smile only transformed into a grin. “Well then, guess it sucks to be you, cuz you’re not getting out of a fight with me!”

“Lamb?” Scott spaced out for a moment. “Oh man, lamb sounds so good right now. Or beef, or pork, or chicken, or rabbit, or squirrel! I want meat!”

“Too bad I don’t have those snacks yet.” Vicky uncomfortably felt Liam’s elbow in her side. “I should have them by the end of the day, though.”

“Snacks? Where? I want them!” It was easy to tell Scotty was getting antsy with his eyes darting everywhere. Vicky took this moment to begrudgingly scour her pocket and hand whatever money she found into Liam’s hand. He gave her a cool smile while she sported a fiery frown.

“Chill, Scott. Lunch isn’t until later.” Damien seemed to have lost all interest in Vicky, the hype dying down. “Besides, don’t you carry emergency rations on you or something?”

“Oh, you’re right!” Scott reached a hand into his tree costume, digging around until he produced a large bag of Scott Snacks. Vicky didn’t want to know where he kept that as she watched him shovel a few good handfuls in his mouth. Bits of varying sizes flew out of his mouth as he attempted to eat and talk at the same time. “Fhankz Gemium! Ur a wife zafer!”

Vicky made sure to step out of the line of fire as Scott devoured the bag in just a few bites. She now understood just how fast Scott could wolf down his food. Soon after the director went around and made sure all the costumes fit, which actually added up to the director giving everyone a mean glare and telling them to get out.

After that was another class and lunch, where Vicky purposefully went over to where Oz was sitting. His eyes were over to the table Liam sat at with Vera, who were probably discussing how cool they were. His gaze and attitude curdled like spoiled milk when Vicky sympathetically sat down next to him.

She plucked the extra muffin she swiped from the cafeteria onto his plate. “Sorry about earlier.”

Oz eyed the muffin for a moment before his shoulders dropped and he sighed. “It’s fine.”

He accepted Vicky’s gift, giving it another glance before his eyes shifted back over to Liam. Vicky picked up on the nonverbal cues. “Wasn’t able to sit over there, huh?”

“No, not cool enough.” Dejectedly he plopped the muffin onto his tray. “I thought if I bribed Vera she’d let me in, but I didn’t have enough money to pay. That didn’t stop her from taking what I did have and sending me off.”

“I know that empty feeling.” Vicky stabbed her meatloaf extra hard just thinking about her lost money.

She brought her fork up to resentfully eat her food when Oz’s sudden outburst made her drop her fork. He threw his head into his hands, startling even a few of his little ‘friends’ to summon and wail. “Why am I so bad at this? Why can’t I just know what to say?”

“Whoa, Ozzie, it’s okay!” She scooted herself a little closer and placed a hand on his shoulder to try and calm him down. A fierce blow of fear rippled up Vicky’s arm, enough to give her goose bumps on her goose bumps and her hand darted away. She gave Oz a quizzical stare, flexing her fingers as the sudden fear melted away.

“I’m not used to putting myself out there.” Oz didn’t seem to notice Vicky’s episode as he laid his head on the table. “What am I going to do? I just keep messing up …”

“So what if you made a few mistakes? It’s not the end of the world.” Deciding to stay away from Oz’s freaky powers, Vicky kept her distance and pat the air above his shoulder. “We still got plenty of time before homecoming. Who are you going after?”

“Uh …” Oz lifted his head, exposing his blush just as it faded away. “Well, who are you going after?”

“Oh, no one really.” Her eyes lingered over Liam. “Just the hot purple trash across the cafeteria.”

You’re going after Liam?” There was more shock than intrigue in Oz’s question.

“Duh. He’s smart, I’m smart. We’d make a great couple.” Vicky pulled her gaze back onto Oz. “Who are you interested in?”

“Um …” He shied away from Vicky as if her answer made him clam up even more.

Their attention was diverted away from the situation when Brian set his tray down and fell into his seat. “Any reason I should be asking you why Scott felt me up this morning?”

“What?” The news shocked her enough to slam her hands on the table. “He actually did it?”

Brian cocked his eyebrow. “Yeah … said he wanted to feel how soft I was. He seemed pretty disappointed by the end of it. I don’t know what he was expecting.”

Vicky didn’t know whether to feel embarrassed or disappointed. She decided to go with both, letting her blush spread and slump her shoulders. There went her steamy fantasies. “Aw come on! Can’t a corpse catch a break?”

“Too bad you weren’t there to see your yaoi prompts come to life.” Brian sarcastically replied as he dipped his spoon into his pudding. “Next time, let me know about your plans before you have some random monster feel me up. So I can say no before it happens.”

“Sounds like you two are getting pretty chummy.” The muffin on Oz’s tray had disappeared, leaving nothing but a wrapper left. Someday Vicky would catch him in the act of eating or just opening his mouth. “Are you over your fears?”

“Hardly.” They could all hear Scott’s laughter alongside Polly’s, who was levitating a few chairs around their table. “He’s trying to help me through them, though.”

“That’s Scott for you. Always eager to help.” Brian’s spoon dejectedly hit the bottom of his pudding cup, filling the zombie with mild grief before carelessly tossing the cup aside. “So, you interested in him?”

“Like, dating?” Her eyes went back over to him and the radiating happiness that swirled around him. She felt something flutter inside of her, though she attributed it to her hunger. “Please! Scott’s nice, but I could never date him. He’s too simpleminded.”

“Ditto.” As Brian moved onto his actual lunch, Vicky gave him a wayward smile.

“So, any luck with Polly?”

Brian didn’t reply at first, simply staring into the distance before letting out a guttural groan and laying his head on the table. Oz decided to do the same, both sharing a pitiful groan. Vicky didn’t want to feel left out, so she joined the both of them for a full orchestra of groans and whimpers. They eventually shared a laugh over it and finished their lunches. A few minutes later their laughter changed into abrupt screaming when UFOs crash landed inside the cafeteria.

After one epic space odyssey, complete with a sci-fi pinup of Brian and Vicky decked out in slick, advanced piloting suits and Oz awkwardly clinging to their legs in a revealing slave outfit, Vicky left her space adventures behind to make sure her locker wasn’t crushed in the ensuing attack on the entire school. Upon inspecting that it was free of alien assaults, she slammed her door shut and was greeted by a wide smile and razor-sharp teeth. “Boo!”

Her natural response was to scream her head off, nearly tripping over Juan the Small Magical Latino Cat in her pursuit to get away. Standing beside her locker was the same werewolf that Scott talked to yesterday along with a few stray members of the team. They laughed their heads off as Vicky felt her cheeks grow hot. “Holy crap, that was too easy! What’s the matter, you scared of the big, bad wolf?”

They snickered some more at their hilarious joke. She knew Scott telling the entire football team was just going to make things worse and she didn’t feel so keen to stamp her foot and engage them. With a curt turn, she briskly walked off, hairs rising when she heard them follow. “Aw, come off now. We just want to ‘help’ you get over your fears.”

“I don’t want your help.” She continued walking off; shoulders tense at the various ‘boos’ hollered at her. She didn’t turn back to give them any reason she was interested, thankful they didn’t pursue her.

The day went on normally from there. Someone had summoned demons from a nightmare dimension outdoors during a massive rave, the library was set on fire and a giant Kraken was unleashed into the pool by the afternoon; normal like always.

Today was Scott’s first afterschool practice, which meant Vicky had to wait a little longer before she could pull Scott aside to begin her research. She didn’t mind, using her time to get the rest of her school work done and laze about. She was in a heated battle with Oz on who could send the funniest memes when she heard loud stomps coming down the hall. She pocketed her phone, using what little time she had to steady her nerves and not bolt into a run when Scott ran towards her. “Sup, Vicky!”

“Sup, Scott. How was practice?”

“Great!” He plopped himself on the long, stone bench Vicky sat on. “We ran, threw balls and we even struck a cool pose! What did you do?”

“Just some homework.” Her hands were already digging through her backpack, retrieving her journal. With a careless flip, she tapped her pen on the open page. “You ready?”

“Course I am, bro!”

“Sweet!” Vicky skimmed the facts she wrote down. “Okay … so from what I read, wolves are very territorial and don’t like to share their areas with other wolf packs. Is that true?”

“Hm …” Curiously, Scott scratched his beard, his face scrunching even harder with each passing second. “Don’t know! My mom could probably answer that question.”

“Your mom?” Vicky continued to tap her pen on the paper without a clear answer to write down.

“Yeah, she knows everything.” He placed his elbows on his knees. “And she’s super nice, too! Not when she’s angry though. She gets super mean when she’s angry.”

“I’ll just keep that open.” The pen traveled farther down the paper. “Okay, next question: do you have a hierarchy in your family?”

“Hierarchy?” His face twisted into even more confusion. “Is that some sort of weird Uncle?”

Vicky nearly forgot who she was talking to. Big words would have to be skipped altogether if she was going to get anything from Scott. “It’s like roles in the family. Someone is the leader, and then you have positions below that, and so forth.”

“Oh, oh! I know this!” He sat straight up, wigging in his seat. “Yeah, we have those!”

“Great!” Vicky moved her pen to the first line. “What can you tell me?”

“Uh … hm …” The enthusiasm in Vicky’s features turned into irritation the longer Scott kept her waiting. He continued to scratch his chin before it devolved into him scratching his entire head and occasionally his chest.

“Well?” Vicky was more than impatient when Scott paid more attention to the lockers than her.

“You know what? I’m too hungry to do this!” Scott surmised with another oddly placed laugh.

Her pen nearly fell out of her fingers. “What? But we just started!”

“Usually I go home and have a snack after practice. But since we’re here, I can’t do that!”

“So what, we just stop?” She couldn’t believe this; so much for her attempt to understand werewolves better.

“No way! We can still do this but let’s go somewhere to eat!” He jumped out of his seat to reveal his wagging tail. “I know a great place we can go!”

Vicky didn’t have to know Scott well to know he was easily distracted. One step into a local restaurant and she might as well kiss her interview goodbye. “I won’t be that long. Come on, just half an hour?”

Scott didn’t seem eager to back off. “Aren’t you hungry?”

Vicky had gotten her mouth open when her stomach answered for her. Maybe she shouldn’t have given Oz her extra muffin, it sounded like she needed it more.

The damage had already been done, Vicky faintly blushing the bigger Scott’s grin got. “That settles it! You need some food, I need some food. It’s food time!”

“W-wait!” He nearly pulled her into him when he took her hand, sending that familiar buzz of fear through her body. Like most days the fear wasn’t quite as bad when she knew it was Scott who was holding onto her.

She snatched her backpack just in time as Scott bounded off with her hesitantly in tow.

Chapter Text

Vicky had never stepped inside a restaurant that wasn’t five stars. Her father was never one to stop at the nearest fast food joint when she was a child, no matter how hard she whined or pulled on his limbs. She always had to dress her best whenever they went out, sitting on cushiony chairs and ordering the most expensive food off the menu. She was thankful her father wasn’t the type to get offended if she used the wrong fork or placed her elbows on the table; her father wasn’t a stereotypical rich monster. Though, he did like to remind her of how he never got to live like she did growing up and that she should be happy they could afford such nice places.

So for her first outing to a hole in a wall, Vicky didn’t know what to expect. A small pub was where Scott had dragged them, which sat on the outskirts of town and in the complete opposite direction of home. The first thing that stuck out to Vicky was how old the building was; from the wearing brick walls to the small holes in the canopy above the door to a few shingles missing from the roof. A worn and sun-faded sign hung atop the pub, announcing, ‘Auntie Bebe’s Pub and Grill’. Scott held the door for Vicky as she stepped inside to hearty laughter and massive cheers.

The black and white tiles were faintly sticky and dirty under her shoes as she glanced into the tiny pub. Booths lined the wall where the entrance was and beside all the windows, while a bar occupied the other half of the restaurant. Several monsters were already seated and getting drunk, watching a game going on the TV and shouting many cuss words Vicky knew and some she could only assume they made up in their drunken state. Every inch of the wall that wasn’t covered in sports flags had picture frames hung up, showcasing black and white photos of happy patrons all the way to more modern and colorful moments in time.

“Come on, let’s grab a booth.” Vicky was confused when Scott gently pushed past her and took a seat in one of the booths. She had never been to a restaurant that didn’t ask for a reservation and someone to seat them, the concept foreign.

As she slid herself into the booth across from Scott her eyes flickered between several photos on their wall. There was a group of young adult monsters, all raising a frosty mug to the camera with bright smiles. Another picture depicted an elderly couple comprised of a gargoyle and frogman as they gazed lovingly into the eyes of each other. She saw a young woman with a bright smile and long hair laughing at the hairy man with the arm around her shoulder, flashing a toothy grin to the camera and a clawed middle finger. Vicky gazed longer at this particular photo, not able to find any horns, scales or anything that would indicate she was a monster. Names scribbled in different colored ink sat at the bottom of the photo; Gloria and Richard.

“What do you think?” Her attention was pulled away from the photo. Scott was also eyeing the same one, only he wasn’t wearing his same, signature smile. His eyes looked lost and uncomfortable for a moment until he shifted them back over to her, trying to salvage that smile.

“It’s … really different.” Her fingers ran over the beaten and chipped table. “I’ve never been to a place like this.”

“What? No way, bro!” There was his usual spike of energy that Vicky had come to associate with Scott. He seemed almost too shocked at her response. “Then you’re in for a treat. Auntie Bebe’s is the best place in the world!”

“Do I hear a Howl over here?” Their attention diverted to the waitress who strolled over to their table. She was definitely getting up there in age, from the many creases in her face to the hints of white in her tightly wound hair. The were-rabbit had a tired but calm smile on her face and a name tag that sported the name the establishment was named after. “I thought I heard one of you yapping! Where’s the rest of the rascals, huh?”

“Hi, Auntie Bebe!” He threw her a cheery grin. It was apparent that the two went way back. “Huh, you know, I don’t know! I left after practice to hang with Vicky …”

“Vicky, huh?” It was then that Vicky felt the waitress’s eyes on her. “Well, aren’t you a cutie. Where did you find her?”

A faint blush stole Vicky’s cheeks at the compliment. “I met her at school! I’m helping her with her fears.”

“Aw, aren’t you such a sweetie. You got a big heart, Scott.” The old woman’s attention turned to Vicky. “It’s always nice to see a fresh face in here than the sausage fest I usually get. Let Auntie Bebe take care of you, child. I’ll get some hearty food in that small figure and keep you nice and full.”

A menu was smacked down in front of Vicky, courtesy of Bebe. “Now, what can I get you two?”

“I’ll have the usual.” Vicky didn’t even open the menu yet as Scott placed his order.

“The usual, the usual. I should just hand you your order the next time I see you walk in.” The conversation continued behind Vicky’s menu, who stared in awe over everything presented to her. There were hamburgers, sandwiches, fried foods, slabs of meats; the stuff of dreams if they were also smothered in hot grease.

“How about you, child?” Vicky slowly lowered her menu down to the table, her eyes the size of dinner plates.

Her voice was barely a whisper, tantalizing. “I want one of everything …”

Bebe simply laughed. “You must be starved! How about we start with something more affordable, huh?”

But Vicky was having none of that. Her hand was already in her pocket, pulling out her wallet, slipping out her father’s credit card and slamming it down on the table. Bebe seemed a little shaken at her dramatic gesture, her grin widening with each word. “One! Of! Everything!”

She knew she was going to get quite a fight when her father saw the bill, but Vicky knew this would be worth it. Bebe gave her a doe-eyed stare until another laugh bellowed out. “I like this girl, Scott! She’s got a bigger stomach than you and that’s saying something.”

“I’ll pay for him as well.” What was another order to the massive list of debt she had dug herself in?

“Really? You sure?” Scott seemed slightly resistant to the idea until Vicky held up a hand.

“Yeah, it’s no problem!” Not yet at least, but it was worth the smile she got from Scott in return.

Bebe let loose a low whistle and nudged Scott in the arm. “I wouldn’t let go of this one, Scott. Definitely a keeper.”

Vicky giggled at the compliments, though, a small rock settled at the base of her stomach. It was easy enough for someone to look at the two and figure they might be dating, but she could always diffuse the situation if it got too out of hands. For now, she didn’t feel the need to correct anyone.

With their orders placed, Bebe left their table to go deal with a few other rowdy customers. Vicky could already feel her mouth salivating at the sweet, sweet thought of all those deep-fried foods and questioned if a corpse like her could even get heartburn.

Again, she found Scott’s attention elsewhere, his eyes fixated on the photo on the wall of the odd monster and the hairy young man. “… Should sit elsewhere …” She could barely hear under his breath.

“Scott?” His silence was something she wasn’t used to and it frightened her a bit. He snapped his attention away from the photo and back to Vicky.

“Sorry. Got lost in thought.”

Vicky’s eyes flickered back over to the photo. Something about it told her that if she pressed Scott on it he wouldn’t want to divulge any information and her first priority wasn’t to scrounge up drama. “We can sit somewhere else if you want.”

Scott had to think for a moment, another red flag to Vicky. “Nah, I’m good. You wanted to quiz me, right?”

Vicky had nearly forgotten the entire reason they met up in the first place, a little disappointed in herself that she let her excitement blind her like that. “Right! Thanks for reminding me.”

The journal rested neatly open on the counter as Vicky clicked her pen. “So, hierarchy.” She even beat Scott to the punch when he tried to question her. “It means what roles does your family have?”

“Right, right.” Scott scratched his head and Vicky feared he would do the same thing he did back at school. Instead, to her relief, what came out of his mouth wasn’t a dead end. “Every wolf pack has an Alpha, and their job is to watch over the pack and make sure things are safe and give orders if there’s danger. My mom’s the current Alpha of our pack.”

“Your mom?” She wasn’t expecting that sort of news, scribbling down what Scott had just said.

“Yeah, she’s great! She keeps all of us safe and we have the best family events! Like football and game night and barbeques and football and tax evasion and football!” Scott had found his upbeat attitude, which relieved Vicky into relaxing.

“She sounds like a badass.” Vicky off-handedly commented as she skimmed through her notes. “I also read up that there can be two Alphas at once if they’re a couple.”

“Yeah, but sometimes we don’t have an Alpha male and an Alpha female.” Her hands hurried as they wrote down more of what Scott was saying. So his father was also an Alpha if his mom was.

She scribbled a few more notes just when loud thunks shook her away. Several tall glasses of beer had created a barrier between her and Scott. “Here you are, sweetie.”

Bebe gave her a cocky stare. “You said one of everything, right?”

Indeed, those were her words. Aside from a select glass of wine, Vicky had never touched other alcohol or seen it in the house. Bebe’s stare was almost challenging, driving her to keep her word and snatched a glass. She chugged a few gulps before she coughed up the rest.

“Settle down, girl!” Bebe placed several napkins on the table along with a pitcher of water. “I’ll only charge you what you can get down. Sound good?”

“Fine. Keep the food coming, though.” Vicky cradled her glass, taking another sip when Bebe left.

Scott never took his eyes off of the drinks. “Can you drink this much beer?”

“Nope!” Was her chirpy reply as she took another sip. “But you’re welcome to have some.”

“Really? Sweet, free beer!” He took the nearest glass, raising it. “To being an awesome bro!”

Vicky could toast to that, watching Scott down the entire glass in a few gulps while she struggled to get half of hers down.

From then time seemed to slip away. The two conversed about werewolf nature while wolfing down whatever food came out of the kitchen. Vicky officially found love in French fries while Scott’s usual consisted of a raw T-bone steak and a mountain of bacon and gravy-covered French fries with, of course, a pickle on the side. Maybe it was the beer that made it so funny, for when Scott jumped for joy after he found a bone in his cut she couldn’t help but laugh. She learned about Scott’s favorite hidey holes for his bones, what animals he was and wasn’t okay with and even an adventure he had in finding some giant forest animals that wanted to make him their king, but he declined as he didn’t feel worthy enough to rule over them.

By the time Vicky checked her phone, it was well past eight, the sun was setting and her cheeks and stomach glowed with warmth. Scott didn’t look to be as intoxicated as her, lowering his frothy glass. “You okay, bro?”

“What?” Vicky slurred, her hands failing to grasp her glass. “I’m fine! Never better! Another beer and more fries!”

Her hands finally curled around the glass at the same time Scott pinched the top. He easily pulled it out of her hands, resulting in her scowling. “Hey! That’s mine.”

“Nah, I think you’re done.” To emphasize his point he pushed the rest away from Vicky’s grip, who merely opened and closed her fingers until she solely fixated on that. “Have you ever gotten drunk before?”

“Nnnnnope!” A giggle escaped her lips. “But I feel great! The world is my oyster! Give me my beer!”

Again she attempted to snatch the drinks, shooting dirty glares at Bebe who came around and picked up the filled glasses. She gave Vicky a sympathetic smile. “Maybe I should have done this before you got drunk off your ass.”

“Done? Done what?” The world felt like it was spinning as she blinked out of sync.

Bebe picked up the old camera attached to her apron. “Why, take your picture! We make sure to snap photos of every new customer!”

“Oh, picture time!” Vicky could hardly register what was going on; only that Scott now sat in the same booth as her. Her head landed on something warm and cozy and she felt an arm slip around her shoulders. It was soothing, calming her. Her eyes fixated on the camera in front of her. “Say cheese!”

A loud snap granted her permission to open her eyes, watching the newly made photo slip out the front. Bebe snatched it and waved it a few times for it to dry, then smacked it on the table with several colorful pens. “Now just sign your name and we’ll have your photo hung up before the pub closes.”

It was a lot harder for her to sign when her hand coordination was out of whack, but Vicky managed to pull off a cutesy signature in bright blue. Scott had simply written his name out in red, bold letters.

Bebe took the photo before Vicky could really get a good look at it. “All right, thank you dears. Now, the bill.”

Even when she held the paper to her face it was hard to exactly comprehend the numbers. All she knew was there were three digits and didn’t care when she handed Bebe her father’s card. With several to go boxes wrapped in plastic bags, Vicky stumbled out of the pub and almost landed face-first in the pavement.

A hand caught her before she could fall too far. “Gotcha.”

“Thanks.” Once balance was achieved, Vicky walked out from underneath the canopy, feeling several drops of water hit her nose. She recoiled slightly, now aware of the slight drizzle of rain washing the world. How she hadn’t noticed it earlier was beyond her and made her realize how intoxicated she was. “Aw come on.”

Scott eyed the rain for a moment, a bulb going off in his head. “Wait! I got an idea!”

The next thing Vicky knew her bags were taken out of her hands and replaced with Scott’s football jacket. She had to stare at it for a long second before up to Scott in confusion. He mimicked putting it over his head, which she sheepishly did, holding it just a few inches over hers. The rain stood no chance against the jacket, but now Scott was vulnerable to the rain himself. “But what about—“

“It’s not a problem. I like rain!” His grin was enough to put aside her slight concern. She stepped back out into the rain with Scott following alongside her.

“Thank you …” The words were soft and quiet, giving Scott a tender smile as he returned it.

“It’s getting pretty late. You want a lift home?”

The idea made her snort, imagining her father’s gaping stare at the sight of Scott on their doorstep. “God no. My father would flip his shit. We can just walk back to school.”

“Is he also afraid of werewolves?”

“Yeah,” Vicky cast her eyes down to the row of flowers outside a flower shop. “I think he hates them more than he fears them. It’s probably best you don’t meet him.”

Her feet clumsily stepped through puddles, almost tripping over her own feet. The same hand caught her, only this time it was also holding one of her plastic bags. “Here, maybe this’ll help.”

She was guided closer to Scott, his arm almost hesitating as it slipped around her waist and pulled her beside him. Vicky felt her cheeks glow and her stomach form a small knot, his body warm against hers. She kept her head down to hide her embarrassment, unable to see the pink in Scott’s cheeks. “It does. Thanks.”

“… no problem.” They tried again to walk, Vicky finding it much easier with Scott to ground her and keep her balanced. Her heart fluttered with every step. She knew she should have been afraid and overreacting to Scott holding her so close. Yet she felt no fear, probably from the copious amounts of alcohol she ingested. It was … nice.

“Man, the full moon is getting close.” All at once, her warm, fuzzy feelings came crashing down. Vicky looked up at Scott, who was staring directly up at the almost full moon.

Her heart skipped a beat. “Do you know when it’ll come?”

“Mm … I’d say tomorrow.” He looked back down to her. “We got like an internal clock about it. We always know when the full moon comes.”

“Oh.” Tomorrow. She would have to tell her dad about it when she got home, feeling her organs twist together.

“It’s always so hard to remember what happens those nights.” Scott scratched the back of his head. “But I always feel great and full afterwards! Waking up in a field with my bros, covered in blood, practically na—!”

“Scott!” He froze at his name. Vicky was gripping Scott’s jacket hard enough to strangle it. “Please, don’t say those things around me. For once just think about what you’re going to say before saying it.”

She had half a complacent mind to shove his jacket into his face and walk back to school by herself. Scott had done some dumb things but that was taking the cake. His arm squeezed her closer to him for just a few seconds. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

It was enough to calm her down, breathing out a sigh. “Thank you.”

They walked in silence from then on, Vicky just listening to the rain patter on anything it could land on. The way Scott held her, helping her walk, down to his warm body and her full stomach left her fighting to stay awake. Her steps became sluggish and her eyelids fluttered every few seconds.

“Vicky? You okay?” She heard Scott’s voice, but it sounded so distant. Her hands drew his jacket down onto her head and rested it on his side, trying to get closer to that comforting warmth.

“Tintin …” She murmured just as sleep overtook her.

She experienced bliss and peace for just a moment until a loud voice snapped her awake. “Vicky!”

“Huh, what?” Her first thoughts were of the school in her vision, how she was resting sideways on the ground and the cold wetness soaking her clothes. She sat herself up, realizing she was in front of Spooky High with her plastic bags nestled close to where she had slept.

A pair of green insect arms wrapped around her, her father kneeling next to her. “Oh god, I’m not too late. Did he hurt you? What did he do to you?”

“What?” She felt the need to repeat the word again, pushing her father off of her as best as she could. “What the hell are you talking about? Why am I here?”

Her father gave her a wide stare, then drew in close to sniff her. He recoiled. “Oh my god, it’s worse than I thought! He drugged you!”

What?” Two times should have been enough to get her point across, but apparently, it wasn’t. “Dad, just tell me what you saw! Clearly, I’m confused!”

He let go of her. “Well, after you blatantly ignored my texts, I figured you were just busy with school work and that you’d text me when you were done. I got your text and came to pick you up when I found,” If he had a visible nose it would have shriveled in disgust, “one of those damned wolves sitting near you! And you were laying on the concrete, out cold! He must have seen me coming because he bolted before I could get a good look at him. Filthy inbred dog!”

Scott’s name almost jumped off her tongue but she bit it before she could give her father any identification. Her primary focus was her phone, checking her messages. She had sent a text to her dad almost fifteen minutes ago, asking him to pick her up. A text she didn’t remember sending.

Her father’s voice prattled on in the background. “I knew this was a horrible idea! I knew I should have just kept you home! Look at what that thing almost did to you. Horny mutts don’t know how to keep their hands to themselves! If he laid a hand on you, I swear to god—!”

“Dad, just shut up!” All this noise was not helping the headache that was forming in the back of her head. She racked her brain to try and put together what happened. She must have blacked out or fallen asleep on Scott, who more than likely carried her back to school, contacted her dad and waited with her.

A guttural groan escaped Vicky’s lips. How embarrassing was that? Falling asleep on her friend after getting pissed drunk. She had the strong urge to just lie back down on the concrete and try to forget about that, but part of her didn’t want to. Scott had no place to do any of that, and yet he did just to make sure she’d get home safely. It made her throat dry up and her heart flutter the same way it did when she thought about Scott these days.

He was a simpleminded fool but a kind and compassionate one.

Now, to deal with this simpleminded fool. Lying was especially harder when her mind wasn’t completely there, but no way in hell was she letting her dad take her away from school again. “Dad, I went out with some friends to get a beer. I must have passed out when I came back to school.”

“You did what?” She used his confusion to help herself to her feet, still wobbly but better than earlier.

“I also used your card to buy all of this fried food.” Hands gesturing to the plastic bags, she wasn’t surprised when his face contorted into anger.

“Vicky 13 Schmidt!”

“Yeah, yeah, spare me the lecture.” She physically flinched at the full name as she picked up her bags and opened the car door, setting the food in the back and falling into her seat. “I’m super drunk right now and just want to sleep.”

“You are not being spared a lecture!” She winced at the car door being slammed, her father giving her a nasty glare. “Grounded! For three weeks!”

“Dad!”

“No! If you need to do your project you can do it at the mansion, but I’m not letting you do this again!” She rolled her eyes as he started the car giving everything they passed a bored and frustrated stare. There went her afternoons with Scott. “You haven’t been lingering around the wolves, have you?”

She pushed herself further into her seat, glaring. “No.”

“Then let’s hope this is just a rare occurrence.”

Vicky ignored her father, continuing to stare outside until her attention shifted to the moon above. The sun had almost set, giving the moon a more unearthly glow. Her heart sank. “Dad … the full moon is tomorrow.”

He didn’t answer her, but she could tell he heard her. They drove in eerie silence, from the tighter, more anxious grip her father took to Vicky biting her own lip to try and get her mind off of more troubling thoughts. After they got home— and after Vicky puked in their bushes— she went straight to bed without needing to be told twice. The next day was Vicky enduring her first and hopefully last hangover while texting friends that she wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t going to come to school tomorrow. Scott seemed especially worried when she lied to him. She felt she didn’t have to tell Scott her reasons for not coming to school. Yesterday should have been enough indication.

That day was like every other day during the full moon. Vicky would just browse her phone for hours, switching rooms every hour or so to make it feel fresh or sit in her room and fiddle with her sewing machine, making stuffed animals with no rhyme or reason. Her father would stay in his lab, tinkering with random objects or cleaning obsessively every nook and cranny until his lab sparkled and shined when the lights were turned on.

Busy work to try and get their minds off of the past.

It was the only day of the month Vicky tossed and turned trying to sleep, her nerves eating her alive whenever she heard a faint howl throughout the night. Even with the blinds closed and her back against the window, she could still feel the hot, intense light of the full moon shining down upon her. Targeting her. Making her prey to anything that wanted to find her.

It was well past midnight when Vicky felt the familiar tug of sleep. Her thoughts drifted away, relieving her of her fears when a loud bump awoke her. She stayed perfectly still, ears attentive when she heard the same loud bump. It came from outside, just beneath her window, where the front door was. The third bump caused her nails to dig into her pillow.

Something was trying to get in.

Half of her wanted to scream at just the ghastly thought, while the other half kept her quiet and deathly still. She could hear the beast outside growl and a sudden, scratching sound at the door. If that creature got in … that was how far her mind allowed her to go. She bit her lips, not even caring when she felt a prick of pain and the warm, coppery taste of blood trickle into her mouth.

Eventually, the sounds faded along with the clacks of claws on the ground. She panicked, it must be trying the other doors, yet she didn’t hear another bump. She heard nothing but the restlessness of crickets outside and another quiet howl somewhere.

It seemed the creature was gone. That didn’t bring any peace to Vicky’s mind. Better yet, she wouldn’t allow her to sleep the rest of the night. Her nerves helped keep her awake, sitting on her bed and waiting. When the sun streamed weak rays of light into her window did she finally allow herself to leave her room, to tip-toe down the steps and go towards the front door. She made sure to peep through the window to make sure nothing was waiting for her, seeing nothing. With shaking hands, she opened the door.

A large puddle of something drenched the doorstep that she wasn’t able to identify. The stench alone was foul and repugnant which didn’t help with the accompaniment of her puke. But her attention was stolen by the door, garnering a loud gasp.

Large claw marks misshaped the wood and left it pitiful; the claw marks of a wolf.

Chapter Text

“Scott!” The jock seemed to lose track of everything he was doing when Vicky called out to him.

Her legs shook the closer she got as he closed his locker, smiling like always. “Oh, hey Vicky! Are you feeling any better?”

“Scott, did you come to my house last night?” She stared him down, her tone flat and serious, ready to blow if needed.

His friendly façade blew away, suddenly faltering for words. “Uh … I can’t remember.”

“Well remember!” Vicky yelled, promptly garnering attention from many others around them.

Scott gave her a wide-eyed stare, panic rising. “Uh, um, let’s see … I went to school and I hung out with Damien and Liam, and uh, I had meatloaf for lunch, and I saw a squirrel and chased it, and then the sun started to set and …”

He racked his brain for an answer until the strain was too much. His shoulders drooped, whimpering. “I’m really sorry, Vicky. I can’t remember anything after dusk. Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong?”

“Forget it! Just fucking forget it!”

Scott flinched at the barking. “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not okay, Scott!” The gall he had to even ask if she was fine was enough to set her off. “I didn’t get any sleep last night because a werewolf came to our house and tried to get in! It pissed on our doorstep and tore into our door!”

“What?” The news alarmed Scott, shaking his head. “Wait, wait. You mean to tell me one of the pack came to your house?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying! I don’t know how to make that any clearer!” The anger was enough to make Vicky see red, but she capped it just before she could start screeching like a madman. Her hands slapped into her face, pushing her back into the lockers and forcing herself to calm her voice. “I thought it might have been you, but you don’t remember.”

“You said they pissed on your door?” Vicky lowered her hands, dragging them slowly while glancing at Scott. “Whoever did it was marking your house, telling others to stay away.”

“Great, just what I need.” Vicky went back to sulking in her hands. They never had a problem with wolves until she came to school. Her heart would cut a hole out of her chest and run if a wolf was now stalking their premises.

Scott’s cheery tone was not helping her sudden gloom. “Hey, no, this is good!

“What’s so good about this?” She lowered her hands again, not in the mood for some stupid, convoluted reason this was now positive.

It seemed more evident he was going that way when he poked his nose. “Wolves have a great sense of smell! If you take me to it I can figure out who marked your house and we can go politely ask them to leave!”

“That’s … not a bad idea.” Aside from the ‘politely ask’, which Vicky would leave for Scott. She felt her spirits rise, maybe they could get rid of their wolf problem quicker and easier than she thought.

Then a constant popped back into her mind, blowing away that rising spirit like a balloon. “Except … my dad almost never leaves the house.”

“About him,” Scott rested his elbow on a random locker, beaming. “Was I a good boy? I waited with you until your dad arrived and I left because you told me he hates werewolves. But does he like them now? Did I do good?”

Vicky didn’t know if she had the heart to tell Scott that her father thought he was a rapist. Her father’s petrified look was still fresh in her mind, how his body quaked at the damage to the door. She decided to spare some of Scott’s feelings. “Not really, no.”

“What?” His ears pinned themselves to the sides of his head, garnering a look that almost resembled a kicked puppy. “But … but I waited with you and made sure nothing bad happened. I didn’t even chase that horde of badgers partying in their limousine, even though I really wanted to …”

His last sentence made no sense; however, they did live in a world full of monsters. Vicky couldn’t stop herself from patting Scott’s shoulder. “Don’t read too much into it. My dad’s a very stubborn praying mantis. We’ll just have to get you over when he’s not around.”

“Are you sure?” He perked up lightly to the pat. “I mean, maybe I should just talk with him. Give him a big hug and let him know how friendly we are!”

“God no, he’d shoot you in the face.” The mortified look on Scott’s face was more than justified. “I’m not even joking. He keeps a shotgun in his room.”

“If you really want to get rid of a nasty problem, I suggest a Ruger LC380 .380 ACP pistol,” Liam interjected, having wormed himself into the conversation as Damien stood beside him. He cocked a nasty smile. “Just get rid of the safety, it makes using it that much more fun.”

“Screw guns in general.” Damien gave Scott a rough but firm pat. “You know what you need Scott? A knife. A large, bloodthirsty knife, with blood already on it! The victim will be pissing his pants when he catches you with something like that.”

“I don’t really nee—” Poor Scott was cut off before he could even explain the situation.

“And wasting your time. A quick bullet to the head will do much more in little time.” Liam was practically rolling his eyes at Damien’s response.

“Yeah? Well, guns are lame and clichéd.” Damien shot Liam a dirty look. “Every loser uses a gun! Real warriors know how to wield a knife!”

Vicky watched the look of horror shoot through Liam’s gaze. He physically flinched. “Gah, you’re—you’re right! How often do you see the protagonist in a movie or book wielding a gun? It’s everywhere, it’s too modern, it’s … it’s mainstream!”

“See? Exactly! Which is why you also need a knife!” Damien grinned eagerly. “Let’s all get knives and tear into some noobs!”

“What are you boys dawdling on about?” Her personal bubble felt violated when Vera and Miranda came over. She scooted closer to Scott to try and find some breathing room but only made her situation worse as the lockers trapped her in.

“Vicky and Scott need to kill someone, so we’re all going to get knives and fuck them up!” Damien proclaimed, unbeknownst to the sweat that started to fall of Vicky and Scott’s faces.

“Uh—” Vicky and Scott caught themselves speaking at the same time, giving each a bewildered look until Vera took the spotlight.

“Ugh, barbaric. You don’t need knives to get rid of a problem.” Vera found her own, twisted smile, allowing one of her snakes to coil around her hand and stroke its chin with a finger. “Now poison? That’s the way to murder someone. A little shot or sprinkle into their mixed drink and you don’t have to leave your seat and find some dingy alleyway to make quick work of your victim. Or have a slew of vultures at your disposal; that works just as well.”

“Lame.” Damien lost his grin. “Where’s the fun of feeling their hot blood bathing your skin if you don’t even get up close and personal?”

Liam practically squirmed at the idea, something Vicky kept in mind for future reference in case she really needed to turn him on. Vera shot Damien a sad, bored look. “It’s called, ‘getting away with murder’.”

“More like, ‘being a pussy’.” Damien nudged Scott. “Am I right, big guy?”

“Actually, I—”

Miranda’s gasp took Scott and the rest of the group off guard. She looked to and fro with the most shocked expression. “What? You have to murder your victims yourselves?”

“That’s the best part.” Damien gestured a sly hand. “What do you do, Miranda?”

“Why I tell my serfs who I want dead and they do it for me!” She spoke nonchalantly like she was ordering a coffee from the barista. “To think, my own friends have to get their hands dirty to kill someone! What a world this is!”

Voices began overlapping one another, with Vera and Damien getting into a shouting match over which method was superior, eventually devolving into sexually stereotypical mindsets and the masculinity problem. Liam tapped his feet uncoordinatedly on the ground, checking his man-bun and trying to calm down from the powerful fantasy Damien left him stunned in and Miranda was sporadically interjecting every once in a while with, ‘serfs!’

Vicky thought this was how she was going to spend her morning, cornered into the lockers with Scott when Polly floated over. “Guys, guys!”

Everyone shut up to let Polly speak, who had draped herself over Liam’s shoulders. “I don’t know what the fuck you guys are talking about …”

She snapped her fingers, winking. “But dick pics. Dick pics aaaall the way~”

The conversation—now a full-blown argument— only got worse until Crazy Martin the Were-Bear Janitor came barreling down the halls for them after they failed to go to class. Vicky was almost thankful she was chased by a rabid janitor; it got her away from the chaos but landed her back in class. Halfway through the lecture, she got a text from Scott, checking it under her desk.

Talked with the team, they don’t remember going to your place. Says they’ll keep an eye out!

Vicky groaned at the text, remembering the scare the leader gave her. She should have told Scott not to tell them anything but she really didn’t get the chance before they were chased off to class. For sure tonight, until Vicky remembered she was grounded for three weeks. That was going to put a pin in her plans, enough that it made her contemplate staying after school anyways and take what may come from her father’s anger. Then again, she didn’t want to be grounded for a month.

Texting Scott her situation, Vicky went on with the rest of the day until school ended. She was walking out of her last class when a familiar gruff voice froze her stiff. “Vicky, was it? Heard you got wolf problems.”

Her natural response was to turn towards the leader but she held herself back. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her frightened look even if they could smell it.

“I’m going home.” Was all she would give them before walking off. She hoped this time would play out the same, with her leaving in an encore of boos.

Vicky wasn’t so lucky.

“Hey, hey, no need to be cold.” Their footsteps were right behind her, her hairs standing on end at the sensation of a million eyes on her back. “We just want to talk.”

“Stay away from me.” Vicky didn’t turn her head back or stop for them. She quickened her stride only to jerk to a halt when the leader was suddenly in front of her. He smashed his hand into the locker enough to dent it, keeping her from running off.

“Now that’s not a very nice thing to say to someone who’s being nice.” He purposefully showed off his smile, leaning his head closer to hers. She could smell raw meat on his breath. “We don’t have to be enemies! You get along fine with Scott but he’s been keeping you to himself. Maybe we want to play with you too.”

The implications were enough to send her into a small frenzy. She was amazed and mortified with herself when she slapped his hand down. “Scott and I aren’t doing anything!”

The leader snarled, rubbing his hand as Vicky had to forcefully push down her will to scream. “Course we know that! You think we’d move in on one of our pack’s girls? But you’re not taken yet …”

His hand snatched her chin, squeezing her cheeks, his fingernails almost piercing her skin. “You’re pretty cute for a corpse, if not feisty. How’s about you come to practice and cheer for me? I’ll even make up for my behavior with a kiss.”

“Kiss! Kiss!” The others cried out. Her nightmares were coming to life, panic overtaking every part of her body. She pushed the leader back enough for him to let go, allowing her an escape route that she took. Thunderous stomps came rushing towards her, laughing and howling. “Wait up! We won’t bite much!”

She skidded around the corner, shoving the nearby trash can over as she continued her mad run. Her heart pounded furiously against her chest, the only thought in her mind telling her to run and never stop. She didn’t want to be caught, lest her mind shut down and have her pass out in such a vulnerable state.

She had just reached another corner when she felt her hair violently tugged at, pulling her back. “Got you!”

“No!” Her scalp stung at the pulling, hands outreached for anything that she could grab, anything that could save her. In the last second before she could be pinned by the other arm a new one stole her wrist, yanking her away.

She found herself behind Scott.

“What are you doing?” Scott’s tone was deadly serious, something she had never heard come from him. There was no joking, no happy tones present in his usual goofy voice. It was demanding and stern, like the thunder before a storm.

Vicky tried to make herself as small as possible behind Scott. The other wolves had circled around them, eyeing her greedily with various smirks. Instinctively she grasped onto Scott, who she felt bristle. It was enough to calm her down for the moment.

“Just having some fun, dog.” She could hear the leader respond arrogantly and full of cockiness. “You should have seen her face! She totally thought we were going to kiss her!”

“You think that’s funny? She’s terrified!”

“We weren’t going to do anything bad, just give her a few noogies and send her off! We just wanted to rile her up a little! What’s wrong with that? She ain’t yours.”

Vicky almost wanted to come out of hiding and challenge the leader again, but things were escalating and she was more concerned about a brawl ensuing. When Scott responded again the edge in his voice was gone, disappointed and heart-broken. “I didn’t tell you bros about her problem so you could make fun of her. Can’t you just lay off?”

“Or what? You going to do something about it?” Vicky jerked when Scott was shoved back. Her breath hitched, feeling Scott back up again. “Huh, Scott? You going to tell me what to do?”

This was it. The instigation for a fight. Any second now she would hear Scott snarling and dive into the leader for a full-on brawl. With all the wolves around them, they also might get into the fight, leaving her no chance of escape. But instead of a snarl, she heard a low whimper. She felt his tail brush in front of her, taking its position between his legs. A position she had read up on when betas were submitting to an Alpha.

“Josh, please,” Scott begged, all traces of his stern and serious tone gone. Now he sounded like a wounded dog, pleading before his leader.

“That’s what I thought. You stay in line, you got that?” The leader, Josh, was firm in his words. “Let’s just go to practice. My fun’s been ruined, anyways.”

The sea of wolves parted, eager to follow behind Josh who led them down the hall. Vicky felt Scott’s hand gently pushing her off him as he took a few steps forward.

“Scott?” Vicky quietly muttered, too afraid to raise her voice and garner Josh’s attention again.

Scott simply stared at the ground like a whipped mutt, opening his mouth to speak.

“Scott, let’s go!”

He bristled at the command, eyeing Josh who waited for him. He gave one last, solemn glance to Vicky before rushing over to join the pack and Vicky watched them disappear.

So, that was the situation. Vicky didn’t know whether to feel defeated, disappointed or exhausted, but her mind was determined to smash all three together and inject it into her body. Maybe that three-week break would be good after all.

Shoes clicking on the tile, Vicky left the nearly deserted school and climbed down the steps of the front. Her father’s car wasn’t anywhere to be found, checking her phone to see if he would be late.

Car broke down. Won’t make it till later.

The last thing Vicky was going to do was wait and allow the wolf pack to tease her again. Her mind reeled at the bad luck, throwing her hands up into the air with a defeated screech. This was not her day and she wasn’t going to just sit here and take it.

Only when she began calculating how long it’d take her to walk home did she realize the bus hadn’t left yet. It certainly didn’t come around to her secluded mansion in the forest, but she didn’t care about that. She saw Liam staring at his phone in one of the windows. And that loser had a car.

“Wait!” Her feet were running before she even knew what her plan was, the bus revving its engines and slowly closing its doors. She stuck an arm out in between the doors, keeping it from sealing her only chance of getting home but also crushing her arm in the most painful way.

Thankfully, the driver opened the door, but only after she was screaming and hitting the door for a good several seconds. They flashed each other a stink eye as she hobbled up the steps onto the bus. None of the monsters recognized her and she didn’t care, plopping herself conveniently in the seat Liam was in.

“Taken,” Liam replied as if he was more than used to doing this. When Vicky didn’t move he boorishly glared at her, then slammed himself onto the window when he realized who it was. “What the—are you stalking me again?”

“Yep, now give me a ride home!” The bus finally began moving, trapping the two inside. Liam removed himself from the window and shot her a more than annoyed glare.

“You got on this bus just so that you could follow me back to my place, get into my car and I waste my precious time taking you back to your house?”

“Basically.” She half-heartedly shrugged her shoulders, moving her backpack out from behind her and into her lap.

Liam continued to glare at her while settling back into his seat. “And what if I say no?”

“Then I will follow you to the ends of the world.” She purposefully leaned forward, taking the vampire off guard. His back pressed itself onto the window as she continued to move closer. “I will scour every inch, every crevice until I find you again. I won’t rest until I have you in my sights and in my grasp. I’ll keep you close in my arms, making you beg for a release and I’ll say …”

She paused when she realized how bright red Liam’s face was. He stared at her in awe and Vicky noticed how close their faces were. It would be all too easy to go a few more inches and smooch that awe-struck look off his face. But Vicky didn’t want to rock his world just yet and held herself back, smirking, her words bone-chilling. “Give me a fucking ride home.”

His look was priceless. Liam blinked hard for several seconds while Vicky tried to hold back from bursting into laughter. His eyes darted above them, Vicky following his gaze to find half the bus cramped around each other with their Smartphones out and in their personal space. “Well?” Came a random voice and it was enough to split the tension.

Liam cleared his throat, pushing Vicky off him as he adjusted himself in his seat. “Yes, well … you’ve made a pretty convincing reason. I guess I have no choice.”

The crowd groaned in disappointment at the lack of a make-out, but Vicky had gotten just what she wanted. Just as all the monsters were moving back to their seats Vicky took her chance and planted a quick kiss on Liam’s cheek. His hand instantly covered where her lips kissed, his face furiously blushing as she simply winked in return. “Thanks.”

Left alone, Liam buried himself back into his apps and phone. Vicky wasn’t expecting an immediate response; in fact, she was surprised she had done that. She didn’t regret it and focused on her own phone until the bus came to Liam’s stop.

Liam lived in the heart of downtown. Several monsters got off with them and headed farther down the street, towards the shadier part of the city. But Liam guided them just a few blocks down, where the more ritzy and clean apartments were. Vicky angled her head up to try and see the top of the apartment complex Liam lived in; how asymmetrical and odd the building was. Each floor jutted out farther than the last with different windows for every room.

“So, Mr. artsy fartsy lives in an artsy fartsy apartment.” Vicky followed Liam to the parking garage that came with the place, the cool shade relieving from the blistering sun. “I thought you went against clichés.”

“If I were to really go against everything I would have put an investment down on a cardboard box and salvaged my wardrobe from the local dumpster.” Liam gave her a sly turn, trying to locate his keys in his pants. “But even I’m not that insane. There’s a huge difference between going against the mainstream and living a miserable life as a homeless, unhygienic monstrosity.”

“Touché.” Once they found Liam’s car—which happened to be a lot nicer than Vicky was expecting—she slipped into the passenger’s seat. Liam started his car with a quick press of a button.

“Now, where am I taking you exactly?” “Here,” Vicky was already putting the address into Google maps, making sure she set it somewhere that Liam could see it clearly.

In a matter of minutes, they were out of the garage and back onto the road, with Vicky swinging her feet back and forth whilst staring at all the bells and whistles in Liam’s car. “Just how much money do you have?”

“Enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life, if I really want to.” Liam coolly smiled as it then disappeared. “But that got boring after a few years, so I’ll probably challenge myself to go into an even shittier apartment down the road. For now, I’m not too bored with my place just yet.”

Vicky gave Liam a quizzical stare. “How do you have so much dough?”

“When you’re as old as I am you can amass quite a fortune.” He glanced at her for a second. “How else do you think I have the time to go to high school and not have a job, yet also be able to pay all my bills? It’s not like I’m obligated to go to school for educational purposes that would then make me an optional romantic interest for any new, incoming monsters. That would be ridiculous.”

“So you just come to high school for fun?”

Liam flexed his fingers over the steering wheel, half-shrugging. “’Fun’ isn’t the word I’d use. Isn’t that what you’re doing? How’s that working out?”

She felt her mood dampen, returning the shrug. “I mean, it’s okay. I got grounded and the football team is harassing me.”

“Please, they harass everyone. You’re not special.” Liam rolled his eyes. “That’s what you get from werewolves, though. A bunch of imbeciles whose dicks are bigger than their brains.”

“Scott’s not like that.” Vicky found herself muttering.

“No, he isn’t. But he’s still an idiot.” When Vicky didn’t respond he gave her another glance with a long, exaggerated sigh. “You want the team to leave you alone? Just don’t let them get to you. Big words usually scare them off or mentions of STD’s.”

“Really?” Vicky brought her head up while Liam nodded his.

“Nothing scares them more than philosophical questions of life or the joys of Instagram filters.” She watched him smirk. “I’m surprised you haven’t run screaming from the school at this point. I haven’t decided yet if it’s because you’re willing to push past your fears or you’re too stubborn to quit.”

Vicky softly smiled at the compliment. “Can I take both?”

“Fine, but just this once.” Liam smiled back at her, catching her off guard. Usually, it was glares, annoying stares, and mild panic attacks. Now here he was, a genuine smile on his face.

By then his car had already pulled up to her driveway where he parked it. Vicky took her backpack into her hands and opened the door. “Well, thanks for the ride home.”

“Next time you can help pay for gas.” He said with a teasing tone, making her smile back.

“Sure, how about I just hand you my wallet from now on.” She got one foot out before Liam stopped her.

“Wait.” She turned to face him, watching his cheeks turn lightly pink. “About that kiss …”

Her own cheeks took on the same hue. She couldn’t tell if his was genuine interest or complete embarrassment. “Was I too bold?”

His eyes shifted away and for a brief moment Vicky felt her heart tighten, believing she had overstepped her boundaries. It was then that she felt a cold hand slip over hers and his lips kiss her cheek.

Her free hand moved to cover where he kissed her, her cheeks growing hotter. Liam moved away, his eyes focused on her and his voice shaky. “Only if you think that was …”

Whatever they did next would decide everything. Her fingers intertwined with his, moving back in to share with him her first kiss when Liam’s phone went off. He pulled away and took his hand back, leaving Vicky feeling lonely. He checked his phone before letting out a sigh. “Finally, the maintenance workers are going to fix my refrigerator. Not like I put in that call weeks ago. I need to be there when they arrive, lest they walk into my apartment with their horrendously dirty shoes.”

“Oh. Yeah, you shouldn’t miss that.” Vicky helped herself out of Liam’s car, her hand on his door. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

He lightly blushed again. “Yeah. See you tomorrow.”

With that Vicky shut his door, watching him back up and leave her property. While she felt a little bitter at the missed opportunity, her heart was soaring.

Liam kissed her.

Liam kissed her.

Even if it wasn’t the hot, mouth-to-mouth she dreamed of, he still left her with a warm sensation on her cheek, butterflies in her stomach and a memory she would cherish forever.

This was the best day of her life.

~

It was a short drive for Liam back to his apartment. He walked down the halls of his floor, pulling out his keycard only to notice Scott sitting across from his place. He perked up when he saw him. “Hey, Liam!”

Liam let out a guttural groan, ignoring Scott and unlocking his door. “Nope, I’ve done enough today. Come back tomorrow.”

“But bro!” Scott scampered to his feet, holding out a plastic bag. “I even bought some snacks for us!”

“For the last time, Scott,” Liam practically hissed through his fangs. “I don’t eat food! You wasted your money.”

Door open, Liam was ready to crawl through the crack and shut Scott out. A large hand gripped the door before he could do just that, the cheeriness in Scott’s voice gone. “I really need your help, Liam. Please?”

Had it been anyone else Liam would have had no problem restating his decision and slamming the door on their faces. It was rare, though, when Scott sounded this sad. Knowing he’d regret it later if he didn’t, Liam let out a long sigh and turned to face Scott. “Fine. What is it?”

Scott didn’t let up on the door, peering down upon the vampire. “It’s about Vicky.”

Chapter Text

Ever since Liam had kissed her and shown genuine affection towards her, Vicky was on cloud nine. She happily hummed to herself while eating dinner, she danced the craziest and funkiest moves while vacuuming her room and bopped to her own beat as she stitched a small plush Liam well into the night. When she perfected the small doll she gave it an extra hug and a small kiss before going to bed.

Her father was fascinated with her abundance of energy and smiles as she wiggled in her seat. “I haven’t seen you this happy since I perfected the cooking time on those frozen pizza bites you always liked on the electric table.”

“Things are really looking up, dad.” Vicky knocked her feet together, her smile permanent on her face. “Who knows, you might be sharing me with someone soon.”

“Is that so?” Her father gave her a knowing smile. “Well, I’m interested in meeting him. If I had known you were being dropped off yesterday I would have been outside waiting to thank him.”

Thank god her father wasn’t outside yesterday or Liam might not have been so bold to kiss her. “I’ll introduce him next time, okay?”

After being dropped off, Vicky hurried into the school and next to Liam’s locker. She figured after their intimacy yesterday it wasn’t so creepy for her to do this now and maybe they could walk to class together. It was almost hard to contain her excitement waiting for that suave, bow-tie wearing, man-bun accessorizing and incredibly sexy vampire.

“Oh, hey Vicky.”

Vicky bristled at the lack of a tone. She turned around, wondering what was wrong. “Hey, Sc—!”

Her next words were lost to her forever, for she had stared into the abyss and it stared back with a man-bun. Scott was behind her only he was dressed exactly like Liam. From the bow-tie to the suspenders down to the man-bun and the phone permanently glued to his fingers.

Her jaw went slack and her eyes bulged out of their sockets. “Sc-Scott?”

“Yeah, that’s me, I guess.” He merely glanced at her before resuming his activities online.

“Wh-What the hell are you doing?” Vicky had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating, wondering if she had even woken up this morning or if she was still in bed.

Scott physically flinched at her accusation as if her words physically cut him. Hesitation leaked into his tone. “I, uh—”

“Ripping apart the chains of society is what he’s doing!” Liam swung out from behind Scott, to the surprise and not surprise of Vicky. He placed an elbow on Scott, beaming madly. “Behold, my latest masterpiece! I finally got through Scott’s thick skull of how maddening clichés, tropes and ‘what’s hip’ are. No more is Scott the stereotypical jock! Now,” Liam twirled back a foot, extending his arms out towards Scott. “He is Scott, the hipster!”

Liam pulled himself back together, wiping a metaphorical tear from his eye. “Truly, my work knows no boundaries.”

“Bu-But!” Vicky felt her own hands extend towards Scott but not to glorify him. Liam had a quirky way of living his life but she didn’t know it extended this far. “You can’t just do that to him!”

“You make it sound like I hypnotized him, which I find offensive.” Liam frowned at Vicky before regaining his grin. “Go on! Marvel at our new and improved Scott!”

Scott eyed Vicky as if waiting for her approval. Instead, he got a horrified if not disturbed look back. “Is this what you want, Scott?”

His eyes darted away, clearing his throat. “I mean, being mainstream was cool and all for a while, but I just don’t feel it anymore. Now my soul is uh … grey like the … washing machine?”

Liam sympathetically pat his arm. “We’ll work on that.”

Vicky tightened her hold on her backpack. Scott looked utterly ridiculous and even confused but he was wearing the clothes of his volition. “Well … okay then. I, uh, accept your new lifestyle … I guess.”

Liam smile grew. “Excellent. I’ll leave you two alone then!”

“What?” Before Vicky could turn her head Liam had dissolved into what should have been a bat but nothing was there. Unease came over her, contemplating if she really shut the door to her dad’s car or if her having a plush of Liam in her room was creepy and disturbing.

As the feeling of unease passed the two were left to awkwardly stare at one another with silence so long Vicky felt very uncomfortable. “So … hipster, huh?”

“I felt it was time for a change,” Scott replied in a monotone voice. “To tear away from uh … um …” He faltered for a moment, scratching the back of his neck. “What does Liam always say?”

As Scott struggled to remember Liam’s words, she felt the guilt weigh heavy on her shoulders. “I’m sorry about yesterday and getting you in trouble.” Her teeth met with her lips. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that.”

“Meh, I don’t care.” Vicky let go of her bottom lip as Scott paid more attention to his phone than the conversation. “It’s whatever.”

It’s exactly what Liam would have said to her, more or less, and she would have brushed it off at this point. Coming from Scott, however, hit her in the stomach, her shoulders feeling even heavier. “Oh.”

She saw him move from the corner of her eye as she now stared at the floor. “Sorry for bringing it up. I should go to class.”

She didn’t stick around to hear what Scott had to say if anything. She didn’t know why she was taking his words to heart, maybe because the Scott she had come to know wouldn’t act so distanced and self-centered. So far this new Scott wasn’t making any good first impressions.

It bothered her so much that she ditched her second class to hunt for Liam. He was the reason Scott was like that and she was going to find out why this even happened in the first place. She had gotten word that Liam was hiding in the library, making her way towards that sector of the school when she heard a voice shout behind her. “Vicky? Vicky, wait!”

Oz came running over from the other side of the hall, panting and trying to catch his breath when he stopped near her. She had told Amira, Brian and Oz in the group chat about Liam’s kiss the night before and he was the only one not to reply. She thought he had been busy but the alarmed look on his face left her confused. “Oz? What’s wrong?”

“I …” He wheezed out, the little phobias on his skin swaying back and forth while letting out tiny wails. Vicky took note of the crumpled paper in Oz’s hand as he shot his head up, frightening Vicky. “You’re going to see Liam, right?”

“Yeah. There’s something I need to talk to him about.”

She yelped when Oz grabbed her arms, lightly shaking her. “Pl-please, let me have a moment with him!”

Oz’s frantic words took Vicky out of her problem and into his. “What? Why? Are you okay?”

He immediately let go of her arms, trying to stand upright. “S-Sorry, it’s just … I never get any time with Liam alone. Every time he’s with someone or he’s hanging out with you and—”

His hands crinkled the paper in his hands, enough to snap him out of his hysteria and attempt to smooth it out. His voice was small and timid. “This is my last chance. If this doesn’t work I-I’ll give up, just, please … give me this afternoon with Liam. I promise I won’t ask again.”

Vicky had more concerning matters than Oz’s social skills, yet there was so much desperation and fright in his eyes that it was alarming and concerning. Thanks to their intimacy yesterday, Vicky figured she’d see Liam sometime today, probably to talk about where to go next. She didn’t really need to see him now. Knowing this, she backed down, stuffing her hands in her jeans. “Sure Ozzie. He’s yours.”

His response was delayed, so when his brain finally caught up he let out a breathy chuckle. “Thank you … thank you!”

He even moved in to hug her, which she gladly accepted. He let go after a few seconds, smoothing out his hair and his paper a few times. His eyes were beaming when he gazed at her. “Well … wish me luck.”

“Nah, you don’t need luck.” Vicky shot him a finger pistol, sticking a tongue out. “You got this. Go be your best.”

She didn’t think his eyes could smile more, but she was fine to be proven wrong. His phobias chirped excitedly. “Y-Yeah! Yeah! I will! Thank you!”

With one final wave Oz was off, racing back down the halls towards the entrance to the library. Vicky saw him off until the library door closed. She hoped whatever Oz needed to do would go smoothly, then she could have her time with Liam.

The next time she would have seen the vampire would have been lunch and she was fully prepared to slam her meal down right next to him and sit down for a talk. Upon walking into the cafeteria to do just that an interesting sight awaited her. There sat Oz, inching Liam’s mashed potatoes with a spoon into a perfect mound as Liam was getting his phone ready for the shot of the day. They eyed one another as Oz moved his hands out of the way, Liam taking the shot and then sharing his pic with Oz. The way Liam held himself up was a bit different than how he always acted around her. His shoulders were looser, his smile more natural, his eyes gentler.

Guess Oz really lucked out with whatever he did. A twinge of jealousy made itself known to her, but she quickly brushed it off. Oz probably just wanted to be friends with Liam, that’s all. Not wanting to ruin Oz’s play date, Vicky sat herself over with Amira and Brian, who were more interested in devouring their food than playing with it.

“Sup, sup!” Vicky chirped.

“How’s it hanging, Vicky?” Amira pulled out a seat next to her, which Vicky eagerly took. “I thought you’d be sitting with Liam from now on.”

“I don’t know what’s going on with him right now,” Vicky admitted. “Besides, Oz wants some time alone with him. I can share.”

“You’re already fighting?” Brian stopped eating for a moment as Vicky gave him a lopsided smile.

“Not a fight, per say. Have you seen Scott?”

“No?” Brian cocked an eyebrow as if asking if he wanted to know and took a sip of his drink. It soon found itself on Vicky’s face and her food when Scott slammed his tray down on the table with them. “Holy shit!”

A plume of fire rose up from Amira’s head, who was trying to hide her mouth behind her fingers. “What the fuck?”

“I guess I’ll sit here, to step away from the normal cliché of sitting with my inner circle of friends.” Scott took his seat next to Vicky, who was slowly scooting hers closer to Amira. Her eyes bore holes into both of them as if to say, ‘see? See???’

“What the fuck, Scott!” They weren’t the only monsters freaked out. In a flash the rest of the football team was huddled around their table, staring upon Scott as if he’d just burned his football jacket and renounced pissing on trees.

“He’s snapped! He’s gone insane!” One of the random wolves—whose name doesn’t matter—shouted from the back.

“This is your fault, Josh!” Another wolf pointed a sharp finger at Josh, who nearly bit it off.

“I didn’t fucking make him do this!”

“He was fine yesterday until you harassed his girl! Now he’s—he’s gone full nerd!”

Vicky bit her French fry with more grit at the mention of being Scott’s ‘girl’. Scott seemed equally uncomfortable with the phrase, recomposing himself. “Bros, please. I’m trying to artist-artistical … take pictures of my food.”

It didn’t even look like Scott knew how to find the camera, let alone post a food pic. Another wolf pointed to his food. “See? He’s speaking nonsense! He’s not even wolfing down his lunch!”

“You’re the Alpha. Fix this!” Josh nearly bit the head off of the wolf that pushed him, snarling back at the pack. He then turned his attention to Scott, getting eye level.

“Scott, stop this nonsense! I’m not losing a good player to books and glasses!” Josh barked.

Vicky didn’t want any part of this and her nerves wouldn’t let her settle down and eat her unseemly, unhealthy food. She lowered one of her hands underneath the table and let out a gasp when another hand took it. She was ready to tell the wolf that took it to buzz off when she realized it was Scott holding her hand like every time the other wolves were around. He didn’t look at her, he didn’t say anything, a nervous look was overtaking his features.

He was scared just like her.

“Leave me alone, bros.” Like yesterday, Scott’s tone grew quiet. “I’ve found my mousse, okay?”

“Excuse me?” Josh practically slammed his hands on the table, teeth bared at Scott when a milk carton hit the side of his face.

He whipped his head over to Amira, who had an apple in her hand as her next projectile. “I want to eat my food in fucking peace, so take your brawls elsewhere!”

“I think Scott’s on to something.” The attention turned to Vera, who had snaked her way over and into the chaos. She rested both hands on Scott’s shoulders, her snakes keeping the other wolves from coming any closer. “It was bound to happen, eventually. Hipster culture is like the plague. It comes and infects everyone with horrifying, grotesque results and some are completely lost to it forever, but then cures are made and it dies down until the next plague comes to outdo it.”

She pressed her face close to Scott’s, an act that made Vicky feel that twinge of jealousy again. She couldn’t place why. “Think; you’re the star player of the football team. Imagine how much money I could make promoting you as the latest fashion trend and coming out with a line that’ll make every monster at this high school starved for your clothes.” Her nails dug into his shoulders, something that Vicky assumed wasn’t pleasant. “It’s too tempting to resist!”

“So, I look good?” A small sense of hope twinkled in Scott’s eyes.

It immediately died when Vera rolled her eyes. “Absolutely not. You could never pull this look off. But imagine how many other fashion brain-dead monsters will think you do and want to copy your style.”

“I thought being a hipster meant being uncool and confusing.” Scott scratched his head, seemingly lost from the moment Vera came over to the table.

She gave him a contempt smile, patting his shoulder. “It is, darling. Now, let’s talk business.”

Pulling back on his shoulders, Vera was able to get Scott out of his seat and to follow her. Their hands lifted up from the table, Vicky unsure why she held on so tightly before their fingers slipped apart. The football team chased after them but she didn’t know what happened after that.

Since that day Vicky hadn’t seen nor heard from Scott. He was always with Vera out promoting their new clothing line or out for appointments. Whenever Vicky did see Scott in the halls he looked miserable, even heart-broken. Vicky would have turned to Liam for companionship but now he was being occupied by Oz on a regular basis. Every time she tried to get him alone Oz was there or he was occupied with other things. She kicked herself every moment she missed her chance that she never got his phone number, maybe then Liam would give her the time of day. And the longer time bridged the gap between their kiss, the more reluctant Vicky became about their relationship entirely. If Liam really did care about her, then why would he avoid her this much? What did this say about their relationship from then on? Even when she tried to reach out to Oz he seemed more closed off and distant, sometimes never replying back.

How did she end up in this mess?

By the time Vicky felt hopeless her three-week grounding had been lifted. Homecoming was only two weeks away and Vicky had no idea what her plans were. She had to get Liam alone but he suddenly disappeared entirely from school to her dismay.

When Vicky walked into school that morning she was greeted by the apocalypse Vera had infested the school with over the course of said three-weeks. Bow-ties were in, buns for every gender and suspenders were being sold from different monsters all around school. She was one of the few to not partake in the new fashion trend, which garnered her odd stares and petty laughs. In all honesty, as she witnessed the school fall into obscurity and food pics, Vicky came to a conclusion.

Hipsters were fucking annoying.

“You should see how little subscribers I have on my Instagram.” Vicky heard Damien speak to the rest at his table as she was finding a spot for lunch.

Miranda glanced over from her phone to check out Damien’s, scoffing. Even with her fake glasses and cute bow, Miranda wasn’t going to give up her crown. “Please. I’m so unpopular my serfs are creating accounts, subscribing to my work and then unsubscribing from me.”

“I’m so unpopular I listen to Shit Plaster Monkey Squad.” Polly chimed in, who was using half of the table as her personal bed.

“Uh, I do too!” Damien agreed as Polly snickered.

“Hah, fat chance you do. They don’t even exist!”

“That’s so obscure …”

Vicky shook her head, about to walk off when Amira beckoned her back over. “Ey, pull up a seat.”

“Ugh, but she’s so mainstream.” Damien gave her a light glare as Amira kept coaxing her over, eventually sitting next to her. Brian looked like he could care less about the entire situation with his bow-tie untied, while Vera was counting her fat stacks off to the side. Like Vicky, she was the only other monster not dressed head to toe in obscure clothing brands and reeking of cologne. “Only uncool and boring monsters are allowed here.”

“So you’re saying you’re uncool and boring?” Vicky asked while watching Amira slide a hand over Damien’s shoulder. “In fact, why even do this if you think it sucks?”

He smiled at his girlfriend for a second before looking back over to Vicky like she was brain dead. “Duh, noob. Because it’s fucking stupid! Well, we think it is. We’re only doing it to make fun of Liam.”

“God, remember when he ran from the school screaming like someone cut his legs off?” Polly giggled, rolling to her other side. “Poor vampire is probably having an existential crisis right now.”

“He did what?” That was new news to her, but that explained his sudden absence from the school.

“I haven’t seen him in like, over a week.” Miranda took her eyes off of her phone with a small pout. “Maybe this joke is going a little too far. What if he decided to shave his head and go into,” her hand met her lips. “Goth!”

“Don’t be a noob, Miranda. Liam isn’t that pathetic.”

Vicky wouldn’t put it past Liam, however. Half-way during lunch, she excused herself to go to the bathroom, which was code for ‘going-out-to-find-Liam’. He was more than likely not at school yet she found herself on the second floor, listening in to two monsters talk. Scott was back in school at the moment, talking to someone who wore long jeans and a purple hoodie, their face hidden. “You have to stop this madness. Isn’t my life ruined enough?”

“I can’t, bro! I’m like a spokesperson now for my own line of clothing! And you said she likes this kind of stuff!”

“So the three weeks she’s been ignoring you tells you it’s working?”

“Uh …”

“Liam?” Scott and the hooded person spooked when Vicky announced herself. Scott had bounded off in the opposite direction while the hooded monster backed up.

“Stay away from me! Don’t look at the mess I’ve become!”

“Liam.” Her worry oozed into impatience at his overdramatic tone. In a fit of defiance he ripped his hood off, Vicky surprised to see his man-bun gone. Now his hair was loose and free and eyes were slightly wild.

“Look at me, look at what I’ve become! My beautiful hipster lifestyle has come to a crashing end now that everyone has embraced it! I wanted to be a hipster because everyone hated it, but now … now it’s mainstream! Do you see how ironic reality has become? I’ve become mainstream just to get away from the new mainstream which I guess is now obscure? Regardless, I hate this!”

He looked like he was going to implode upon himself or just dissipate into another puff of smoke. Either way, Vicky couldn’t help but gently smile. “Hey, it’s not the end of the world. I think you still look just as cute as when you had your bow-tie and suspenders.”

Liam seemed to slightly blush at that, easing some of her worries. He still liked her and she still liked him. She shouldn’t have been worrying so much. He tried to mask his blush, Vicky giggling. “Aw, you don’t have to hide from me. In fact, I think this is just the moment we need.”

“We do?”

“Yeah! You know, to talk about us?” She sidled closer to him, taking his hand. A little guidance over to a nearby bench or empty classroom and Vicky would finally have Liam all to herself.

Instead, he took his hand away, noticing his blush from earlier was replaced by a cold stare, catching her off guard. “You know what? You’re right, we do need to talk about how this is all your fault!”

“Huh?” Vicky didn’t understand the sudden change in demeanor, her hands changing into loose fists. “My fault? How is all this my fault? You were the one who turned Scott into that mess!”

“I only turned him into that because of you!”

“What?” Vicky lowered her hands, more confused than upset. “What are you talking about? I didn’t ask for Scott to be a hipster.”

“You mean—?” Liam appeared just as if not more confused, racking his brain for an answer. He stood straight up, shaking his hands and head at the same time. “No, you can’t be this stupid.”

“Just spit it out, Liam!” Vicky was starting to become irritated when it was cut by Liam’s sharp gaze.

“You want answers? Go find Scott and tell him to get out of my life choices! I’m done with this circus.”

Rudely pushing past Vicky, Liam grumbled his way down the hall, pulling his hood back up to hide. She stood there, slightly dazed at what had just happened. Liam had been so cold and aggressive, much like when they first met. Then again, she did catch him in a bad mood, but something told her that wasn’t the entire reason for him being such an ass. Maybe there was a bigger problem at play. “Liam, wait!”

He spooked again when she chased after him yet he only changed into a puff of smoke when she got too close. She coughed and tried to clear the air after running into the smoke, leaving her alone in the hall. Something was very wrong and until Liam wanted to talk to her she assumed she wasn’t going to get an answer. Not now, at least.

With a much heavier heart she turned to go back down the hall Scott scurried off in. After scouring the school for half an hour, ditching class and singing her heart out so that the choir police would let her through, Vicky finally found Scott on the third floor, hiding in one of the many small nooks the school had. His ears twitched and he sat up when he noticed her presence, his eyes telling her everything. Apprehension, nervousness, down to the fight or flight on whether or not to stay. “Oh, uh, it’s just you, Vicky.”

“Scott,” He leaned away when Vicky sat right next to him, setting her backpack down. “You can drop the act, now. Liam told me you were doing this for me.”

His eyes widened then shut as his arms pulled her very close to him. “This has been the worst three weeks of my life! Every monster I talk to just wants to talk about clothes or hairstyles and I’ve been so busy I always get home late, and no one ever wants to play fetch with me or talk about exercise! They won’t even let me pee on any trees when we’re out at a photo shoot! I don’t know how Liam does this every day!”

His mouth was right next to her ear, so she heard every whimper that came from his lips. Vicky would have been more compassionate to his cause if he wasn’t squishing her ribcage, her ‘pats’ on his shoulder her only effort to try and get out of his hold. “It-It’s okay, Scott! Augh, please let go of me!”

When he released her Vicky took copious amounts of air, hoping to refill her lungs while her chest ached. Scott still whimpered, his ears drooping. “I just thought if I did this you’d like me more but now you only hate me.”

“Like you?” He looked to her again for reassurance while her mind was elsewhere. Her chest lightly fluttered at the idea of Scott liking her until her brain came up with a more logical solution. Of course, it made sense. Scott must have known her and Liam kissed, so he wanted to dress up like Liam in an effort to make himself friendlier which would downplay her own fears. That was actually really smart of Scott to think of, Vicky reminding herself not to underestimate Scott anymore. He had his moments of brilliance.

Finally understanding the situation, Vicky shook her head, letting him know through her friendly smile she wasn’t upset. “I don’t hate you, Scott. I think it’s sweet you did this.”

“Really?” His ears slowly perked as he let Vicky slip off the fake glasses on his head, fold them up and set them on the bench.

“Yeah, but hipster life is more of Liam’s thing. It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of lifestyle.” Her eyes smiled as she looked at him. “I like you for who you are. The happy-go-lucky werewolf who’s always smiling and cheering monsters up. You don’t have to change yourself for me because I already like who you are.”

It had been weeks since Vicky had seen Scott smile and the one he gave her was worth that wait. He pulled her back in for another hug and she was ready to tap out when his voice was in her ears. “I like you too.”

A small fire lit her stomach, her cheeks rosy. Her fear fluttered away like leaves on the wind, and she found herself returning the hug, letting herself get lost in it for just a moment.

“Could you pet me?” Vicky opened her eyes, not knowing she had closed them to begin with when Scott spoke. He let her go, smiling insecurely. “Whenever I’m really nervous or scared or really happy my mom would always pet me to make me feel better.”

“So anytime then.” Vicky chided, causing Scott to lightly blush.

“Yeah. I still feel really bad about all this, so … could you pet me? To let me know it’s fine? Is that okay?”

An odd request this should have been, but Vicky would be lying if she hadn’t thought of petting Scott before. The werewolf acted like a new puppy all the time which made it even harder to resist the idea of running a hand through his hair or scratching behind his ears. “Sure, I can do that.”

“Really? Yay!” The next moment Scott settled half of himself in Vicky’s lap with the rest of him lying along the bench. Vicky held her arms up at the sudden intrusion of personal space while Scott beamed. “Okay, you can pet me! Don’t be shy!”

Now that he was lying in her lap Vicky felt her resolve blow away. Scott wasn’t an animal, he was a monster and she was basically going to be touching him all over. If she had done this with any other monster it would look more like a pet fetish or something two lovers would do with one another.

But no one was around and Vicky craved the pets. She started slow, running her hand through Scott’s hair, amazed at how soft it was. She would have died inside if his hair was greasy and disgusting, so thankfully that was not the predicament Vicky found herself in.

Scott’s tail started to thump the more she ran her hand over him. He closed his eyes and she felt his body relax. Her hands grew bold enough to tug what little hair was in his man-bun and release it, slipping the hair band around her wrist.

“Your hands are so nice.” Scott murmured, physically shuddering when she scratched behind his ears.

“I’ve had practice.” She kept her eyes on him, her own body relaxing alongside his. It brought back happier times, times when things weren’t so scary, when she could do this all the time with—

She stopped herself before she could dredge up the past. Right now, she wanted to feel happy, to feel safe, and as she continued to pet Scott she felt just that.

Chapter Text

Cleaning up the mess Scott made was easier than Vicky could have imagined. Taking on the role as his PR Agent, Vicky spent the next few days cleaning up Scott’s reputation and ushering him back into society as his lovable jock self. It took sweat, tears, and a lot of sequins to eventually get the public to accept Scott’s newest fashion trend—which was basically his old attire— and things went back to normal. Liam came back to school in his normal attire which was begrudged by all. He never looked so happy to be scorned and outcast from society.

Vera wasn’t even upset about them bringing down her hipster empire because she got to sell back everyone’s clothes as ‘new and improved’, making her double the money. She didn’t give Vicky cut of the profit, however, for her contributions. Not that Vicky was really asking; to ask for money from Vera was to ask to be in debt for life.

Since her grounding had been lifted, Vicky went back to hanging with Scott after practice. They’d go on a quick jog around the track and end the day with more questions, usually with Scott laying in her lap as she pets him. Before Vicky knew it homecoming was just a week away, spending her Friday afternoon with Scott. They both lied outside in the grass, resting from their earlier workout when Scott sat up. “Hey, Vicky?”

“Hm?” She opened one eye, too content with her warm surroundings to get up. “What’s up?”

“Now that things are settling down, I was wondering if you wanted to hangout this weekend.” There was a faint look of insecurity on his face, which was unusual for someone who acted first and never asked questions.

Vicky blinked once, letting herself fall back into the cozy grass. “Don’t we usually do that?”

“I thought we could do something else than questions. Like the time you got drunk at Auntie Bebe’s!”

Vicky sat back up, her first hang-over ringing numbly in her head. She didn’t think she was up for that again. It had been a while since the two did anything fun that wasn’t focused on her phobia; the change of pace would be nice. “What did you have in mind?”

Scott started to wag his tail. “We can go to the town park! I haven’t been in like … a week! We can play ball, and get ice cream, and play ball, and eat lunch, and play ball—!”

“I think I get it.” She gestured a hand to get him to quiet down. “I don’t think I have anything going on this weekend. I haven’t gone since I was a kid.”

“Then let’s go!” Scott almost rolled in the grass, tail wagging at max speeds. “Please? Please? Pretty please?”

She cocked Scott a mischievous smile. “You know what? Sure, let’s go to the park!”

And that’s exactly where Vicky found herself that next day. Dressed in a light blue, shoulder-less dress, a big, floppy sunhat, and sandals, Vicky made sure her father dropped her off that afternoon across the park so he wouldn’t see Scott. The park was littered with monsters that weekend, with families sitting down for picnics and birthday parties, while several others used the park to get their cardio in and hang with friends. Vicky had packed her own basket as she scanned the fields for Scott. Eventually, she found him on a small hill under a tree with a torn up blanket, waving her over.

“Vicky, hey! I’m right here!” Scott cried out as she ascended the hill as if she hadn’t seen him earlier. The wind seemed to pick up the closer she got to Scott, ruffling her dress and threatening to send her hat flying.

She caught it before it could make plans to visit the next state over. When she glanced back over to Scott he seemed frozen, his awe ever present. “Wow … you look really pretty.”

Her shoulders tensed at the compliment. A smile brushed her lips. “Do you always compliment your friends like this?”

Placing her sandals on the side, Vicky kneeled on the blanket. Scott smiled all the same. “Course I do! I love letting my friends know how awesome they are!”

Ah, she should have guessed. Somehow the comment made her slightly disappointed, then confused as to why she felt that way. It wasn’t like she was going after Scott. He was too simpleminded and goofy for her tastes.

Yet when she looked back at him, taking note of his open Hawaiian t-shirt and shorts, his smiling face, his cheery demeanor down to the rippling muscle covering his body …

She shook her head, pushing those thoughts aside and the growing blush on her face. He was a werewolf. Even if she worked tirelessly on her fears to be comfortable around his kind, dating one would be too much. It just wouldn’t work out, not with her family.

“What’s in here?” Vicky cast her eyes down to her basket, which Scott was solely focused on. He sniffed at his curiously, raising his head. “Is that meat?”

Using the opportunity to get away from her thoughts, Vicky nodded her head, opening the basket. “I thought hey, since we’re going to a park, why not pack a picnic?”

Taking out her giant battery, Vicky also unpacked her large metal box, opening it to reveal a few sandwiches and a mountain of fries. She also withdrew a couple of sodas from the basket, tossing Scott one. “I brought chicken and bacon sandwiches from when we last went to the diner.”

He effortlessly caught the soda with one hand. “Bro, you’re the best!”

“Oh, go on.” Vicky chided, placing a hand on her cheek and gesturing toward Scott. She meant it as playful banter but Scott decided to act on it.

“Okay! You’re super cool, you’re super sweet, you smell like apples, metal, and fresh clothes, your smile is amazing, you dress super pretty all the time, and you don’t give up!”

Vicky blinked for a moment, her smile nervous but hopeful. “You really think so?”

“Yeah! Of course! You’re one of the nicest monsters I’ve known!” He even laughed again, how cute and strong it was.

She didn’t know how much longer she could take his compliments before her head melted off her neck. Why were his comments only now making her blush so much? Maybe it was his open shirt. Yeah, that had to be it.

Scott didn’t seem to understand why she started taking deep breaths, hoping to calm herself down before she got excited. When her eyes caught his bag she used it as an out. “What did you bring?”

“Oh, this?” Scott grabbed for the cloth bag, spilling its contents onto the blanket. Chew toys, bones, a rope, a Frisbee and a ball tumbled out. “I brought stuff for us to play with!”

The Frisbee caught Vicky’s attention. She picked it up, the familiar blue striking a memory in her mind. “Is this the same Frisbee from the first day of school?”

“Yup,” Scott nodded his head, squeaking one of his squeaky toys. “I haven’t played with it since because I’ve been so busy with practice and you.”

Vicky eyed the Frisbee for a few more seconds before an idea popped into her head. “Hey, Scott …” Rising to her feet, she tossed the Frisbee, letting it soar away. “Fetch!”

“What?” Scott immediately dropped the squeaky toy, eyes set on the flying Frisbee. He nearly kicked the blanket out from underneath him as he scampered off towards it. “I got it, I got it!”

She nearly laughed when Scott almost tackled into a hot dog stand to try and catch the Frisbee but he successfully dodged it, grabbed the Frisbee from the air and slammed it onto the ground as if he had made the winning play. It was when he came running back up the hill that Vicky felt her flight mode kick into high gear. She tripped on the blanket in an attempt to run off, falling on her back while Scott stared down at her. His words were garbled from the Frisbee in his mouth. “Puh bokay?”

With a helping hand, Scott helped Vicky back to her feet, brushing off some of the dog hair that littered the blanket. He spit out the Frisbee, handing it back to Vicky. “Do it again! Please?”

She made sure to take the side not covered in Scott’s saliva, sending the Frisbee flying again. After a few throws Vicky got used to Scott bounding up to her and she didn’t panic as fiercely. He’d simply wag his tail, drop the Frisbee and ask for her to throw it again, which she did. By the time Scott came back up the hill after the thirteenth throw sweat glistened on his skin. Vicky was already sitting back down on the blanket, handing Scott a soda.

He eagerly took it, almost downing the bottle in one go before pausing for air and sitting next to her. “Man, I’m pooped! Gonna take a moment to breathe.”

“I can get started on lunch.” Vicky reached into her basket for her jumper cables, playfully snipping them in Scott’s direction.

Scott cocked his head to the side. “How?”

This is where Vicky snickered. “Watch and learn, big boy.”

Hooking the cables between the box and her battery, Vicky flipped the switch as the box jumped with electricity. Scott seemed entranced by the entire thing, even when Vicky grabbed the box to juice up. When she turned off the switch their food was properly fried alongside her hair, which stood straight up. “All done!”

“Really?” Warnings did nothing when Scott ignored them and stuck his hand into the box. He immediately pulled it out with a yelp. “Wow, you’re right! The burns don’t lie!”

“Jeez, Scott,” Vicky shook her head. “Give it a minute to cool down.”

After said minute the two began to eat their food. Vicky was halfway done with her sandwich and lazily watching other monsters when a thought hit her. Were her and Scott on a date? She did dress nicely for the occasion as did Scott, the two were eating lunch on a small hill together and hanging out. It would be so easy for other monsters to think that just how much Scott complimented her and how often he made her laugh. Every other time she thought like this she just told herself if monsters asked about it she’d correct them. Now, though, part of her almost didn’t want to.

What was wrong with her today? They were purely friends and she had just made her first move with Liam. She had to stop entertaining these thoughts. With this in mind, Vicky lowered her sandwich away from her mouth. “You know, I used to come here all the time when I was little. Dad would monopolize the tables over by the grill and I’d run around and scream and climb anything that I saw.”

Her eyelids lowered. “I had so much fun until we stopped coming. I wish we hadn’t. Just me, dad and—”

“Tintin?”

The name froze Vicky. Her sandwich almost dropped out of her fingers, her head turning to look at Scott. Her tone was chilling. “Where did you hear that name?”

Scott—who at the time was eating some fries—let the food slip through his fingers. He shrunk under her gaze. “I heard you mutter it when you were drunk. I’d been meaning to ask but it never seemed like a good time.”

Of course, it was when she was drunk. Another reason to never get that hammered again. Vicky sneered at herself before ultimately letting out a sigh and finishing her sandwich. “Tintin was my pet when I was a girl. I loved him so much, he was my best friend.”

Scott picked back up the fries, still electing to eat them. “Can I meet him?”

Vicky’s heart broke, her voice solemn. “No … because he’s dead.”

“Oh …” His tone matched hers, making her only want to slink away more. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”

“Not your fault.” It was a quick reply, Vicky opting to look at the blanket more than Scott. “But I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

“No, that’s fine. We won’t.” Something moved in the corner of her eyes, grabbing her attention. When she looked up Scott was there, gazing at her with warmth and comfort. “Come on, let’s go play. That always cheers me up.”

How was it that Scott always knew what to say and what to do whenever Vicky was sad? Even when they were complete strangers Scott tried his all to get her to smile. Maybe Scott just did this for everyone, maybe it was in his nature, but Vicky wanted to believe at that moment he was doing this just for her. Forcing herself to smile, a simple nod was all she gave and took his awaiting hand to travel with him down the hill.

 

Scott went back to catching anything that Vicky threw his way. She never thought she was that great at throwing and got the hang of it the more she tossed the ball, with Scott always returning it. He ruined a few picnics when he trampled through them and almost ran into a tree when she threw the ball into one, but it wasn’t enough to put a damper on their mood. Soon enough Vicky joined in on the fun, with Scott even throwing the ball a few times for her. She was much slower in retrieving it and didn’t lodge it into her teeth, which Scott never understood.

When they weren’t throwing each other a ball they went for a walk around the park, with Scott interested in meeting every dog they came across. He even got on his knees to sniff every dog’s butt and would either get playful with the animal or bark at it to shoo it away. In between throwing the ball and meeting dogs, the two rested underneath the biggest tree in the park, staring up at the sky through the shining leaves and talked about the small things in life. Vicky also showed off her impressive climbing skills, which were to say she clung to the tree and slowly inched her way up. Scott was impressed, nonetheless.

In due time, the sun started to set, the park-goers slowly decreasing until only a few were left. Vicky hid underneath the shade of a tree as Scott came running back with ball in hand, sweaty and exhausted. He wiped his forehead, panting. “Bro, I need a drink. You got any more soda?”

“Just drank the last of it. Sorry.” Vicky rattled the empty bottle in her hands, scouring the nearby park. “Maybe there’s a water fountain nearby.”

Scott scanned the park too, suddenly beaming. “Found one!”

He bounded off while Vicky tried to see where he was going. When she found his destination she startled, chasing after him. “Scott, wait!”

“Is it done?” Faith looked between her, Joy, Hope and the bottle sitting in the middle of the table. The book Joy had buried her head in earlier was shut and set down.

“Looks about it. With this, we’ll be able to gain the upper hand on Zorphis, reclaim the lost city and finally put an end to this arc for season 4!”

The coven nearly lost their shit when Scott took their bottle, drinking the entire thing. “Ah, that hit the spot! I’ll buy you girls another water for the one I drank.”

“You idiot!” The coven screamed as one. “You drank our potion! It took us weeks to find all the ingredients!”

“Potion?” Scott glanced at the bottle and back to the girls in a confused manner. Vicky came right at the moment Scott’s feet left the ground, his body slowly ascending. “Wh-Whoa!”

“Scott!” Vicky didn’t have much time to act. Hands outstretched, she jumped up and caught his hand to try and pull him back down. In doing so she completely forgot just who she was trying to pull and instead of her pulling the muscular jock down, her arm strained as she was pulled up with him. Letting go would have solved her problem but she also didn’t want to leave Scott to drift into space, her feet kicking madly back and forth. “Help me!”

“I gotcha!” With one powerful tug, Vicky was pulled up enough for her to grab onto him and pull herself onto him. Sitting on his open chest did things to Vicky she didn’t want to be feeling at the moment, deciding to worry more about their new problem than the hot implications of their positions. What if flew so high gravity gave up on them and pushed them into space? What if the potion wore off and they fell to their deaths?

Scott’s laughter was not helping the stressful situation. “I got super powers! I can fly!”

“I don’t think that’s accurate!” But Scott chose to ignore Vicky’s complaints, whose restraint was waning with Scott’s pecs right near her hands.

He stretched his arms out and pushed them back, propelling them forward with his own whooshing noises. “Look at me! I’m a flying werewolf!”

They seemed to stop climbing at around forty feet, with several monsters exclaiming and pointing at their situation. At this height Vicky could still feel the coven’s rage burning into them, her eyes only wanting to stare at Scott’s chest. This was not the situation Vicky wanted to find herself in today. “Come on, make noises with me! Whoosh!”

Vicky warily looked back over to Scott, who was more excited than she had ever seen him. Part of her wanted to complain and try to find a way down or feel him up, but when would she ever be in this situation again? With Scott egging her on she let out her own whooshing noise, with Scott shouting. “Louder!”

“Whoosh!” Alongside her sound effects, Scott kicked his legs making them fly faster. It felt like he was swimming in the air and probably wasn’t the best way to control his new powers. It worked, though.

“I’m a superhero!” Scott laughed, his energy infectious.

Vicky pumped her own fists into the air. “And I’m your quirky yet lovable sidekick! Let’s fight some crime!”

“Yeah!” Flying away from the park, Scott managed to get a hold of his powers and gained the ability to fly up and down. With their dynamic duo, they stopped a robbery from happening just in the nick of time, which garnered them press coverage and a key to the city. One for Scott being the first flying werewolf in history and one for Vicky, who was the first to ride a flying werewolf.

It was a grand celebration but they eventually had to return back to the park. Vicky was resting on Scott when they both felt his body falter, the potion having seemingly run out. “Uh-oh.”

Thankfully they were close to the ground when Scott went from zero to a hundred. Vicky landed directly on Scott, hearing the air knocked out of his lungs in a painful wheeze. In alarm, Vicky threw herself off. “Oh god, I’m sorry! Are you hurt?”

A groan escaped his lips but belted into a loud laugh. Scott sat up, holding his head. “That. Was. Awesome!”

Knowing Scott was all right Vicky smiled, feeling her own laugh come forth. She kneeled next to him, her hand finding his and for a moment she brushed her fingers over his skin. The flock of butterflies came back to her stomach, lifting her head up to look at Scott just as his face came close.

She only had a second to react until his lips claimed hers.

It was a funny feeling, that first kiss. Vicky had always heard stories of monsters having their firsts on social media. How fireworks would go off when they found the right monster, how they would instantly know that they were the one.

Vicky couldn’t say she felt fireworks at that moment or anything that told her that Scott was supposed to be hers. Yet the gentleness of the kiss and how warm he was felt like syrup to her senses. She felt wanted, loved and cherished.

Scott slowly withdrew after a few seconds, hesitation and uncertainty lining his features and voice. “Oh. Oh jeez. I’m sorry. I just … I was so excited and …”

He was hushed by Vicky, who also shook her head. Her hands caressed his cheeks and pulled him back towards her for another kiss. She wanted more, she wanted to feel that warmth drape over her and keep her safe.

Scott placed his hands behind Vicky to keep himself upright, leaning into her as they kissed twice, thrice, four times. The butterflies swarmed in her stomach, fluttering across her heart, kissing at her lungs, sending her chest into a flurry of excitement. It was everything Vicky wanted and more, seemingly lost to the moment. When they parted for air she gave Scott a tender look as he sheepishly smiled.

Something told her what she had done was wrong, that she had put herself in more danger for foolishly giving in to her desires, for letting herself entertain thoughts of Scott. She told that part of her to shut up.

“Say …” Scott’s voice was still unsure, yet emboldened. “I’ve been meaning to ask … would you want to go to Homecoming? With me?”

An immediate yes came to mind but she stopped herself just in time to think over her situation. She had kissed Scott. Not the cheek kiss she had given Liam, but full on lips with passion. She now understood why she had gotten upset when Vera put her hands on Scott and why she was so disappointed when Scott comments weren’t solely for her. In trying to conquer her fears she had not only gotten to know Scott as a dear friend but also planted seeds of affection in her heart. Seeds that were finally sprouting.

She then thought to Liam and how everything seemed jumbled. They hadn’t talked about their situation and she never had a good time to talk to him. Even when he did give her a moment he was cold and distant, much like when she first met him. It was disheartening, to say the least.

While her heart still fluttered for Liam, she couldn’t ignore the growing feelings for Scott and the kiss they just shared. Now here he was, asking her to go with him to Homecoming, waiting for her answer.

Knowing it, Vicky leaned up and gave him another kiss. “I’d love to.”

Like fireworks his eyes lit up, tackling the two of them onto the blanket. She freaked for a moment until he calmed her with butterfly kisses all across her head. “Yes, Yes! It’s a date! We’re going to have so much fun!”

Vicky giggled at the sudden affection, allowing Scott to hug the near stuffing out of her. An abundance of love was being showered upon her and Vicky was happy to bathe in it, having never felt so bright and cheerful in her entire life. They stayed like that, giggling and kissing for a while until nightfall had overtaken the sky. Vicky had packed her basket and was ready to call her dad when Scott walked over with his stuff. “I can take you home if you’d like.”

“Are you sure?” Vicky’s finger still hovered over the call button.

“It’s not a problem! You can ride me!”

Vicky didn’t understand his implication until Scott started his transformation. His hair grew longer, his fingernails turning into claws as his arms shook violently. A loud gasp came from her lips, flailing her arms to get his attention. “Scott! Scott, stop!”

“Wuh? Oh!” He immediately shifted back before he could rip his clothes, pouting. “Right.”

Thank goodness Vicky had stopped him; otherwise, she would have bolted for the hills. “I can just get my dad to get me. He doesn’t mind.”

“But …” Scott continued to pout until his face lit up. “I know! I can carry you like this!”

Confusion lined Vicky’s face when he crouched down and patted his back. Vicky hesitated for a moment until he called her over. After a few tries, she successfully got onto Scott’s back, her legs looped through his arms as her hands held his shoulders. “Are you sure about this? My house is pretty far.”

“Yeah, this should be no sweat! You’re like nothing!” He gave her a confident thumbs up, making sure the blanket, basket and his bag were all secured before trotting off. Vicky kept one hand on her hat to keep it from flying away.

Only Scott the werewolf would offer to piggy-back her all the way home. The thought alone was silly and impractical, but she was beginning to discover she loved that about him. She gave him directions while he ran down the sidewalk and through the city, getting to the outskirts.

“Okay, now jus—” Vicky had her hand out and ready to direct Scott down the road when his voice covered up hers.

“I know where I’m going now.”

“… You do?” Vicky lowered her hand, watching in befuddlement Scott go down the right road, take the right turns. Concern came over her when he suddenly veered off the path and into the woods until he said something that made her teeth clench.

“This way is quicker.”

From then on Vicky held her tongue, watching, wanting to see where Scott was going to appear. They jogged in silence until Scott popped out at the top of the hill her mansion sat on, arriving at their destination.

“We’re here!” Scott chirped. He lowered himself so Vicky could get off, setting the rest of their stuff down. “See? I told you I—”

He faltered when he saw nothing but rage in Vicky’s eyes. She stomped her foot, yelling. “It was you!”

“Wh-what?” He pointed at himself, as if he was unsure if she was talking about him.

“You were the one at our door that full moon! How else could you have known your way here?” Her intuition was right all along, which only made Vicky angrier.

Scott practically backed away, hands out. “I-I don’t know! I just did!”

“You were at our door! You pissed on our doorstep! You tried to get into my house!” With each accusation she took a step forward, causing Scott to take one step back. Screaming would only bring attention and possibly her father outside, yet at the moment Vicky didn’t care. “Why did you try to break in?”

“I don’t know! I really don’t!” He cowered beneath her anger, glancing over at the door. “Here, let me check! I can tell who was here!”

Vicky crossed her arms, letting him run over to her doorstep. He leaned down for a moment to sniff at the block, and she wasn’t surprised when he raised his head with newfound shock. “Shit … that’s me.”

“Scott!”

“I’m sorry, okay? I can’t control myself when the full moon’s out! I don’t know why I came here but I’m really, really sorry!”

“Unbelievable.” Vicky breathed, slowly shaking her head. “That’s what I get, though, right? For hanging around werewolves? Them trying to break into my house and kill me!”

“What?” Scott seemed horrified at her accusation. “Vicky, I would never do that! Even if I don’t remember things I wouldn’t harm my friends!”

“You don’t know that!” Vicky seethed, fists trembling, barely able to keep her voice below a scream. “But I do! I know what that full moon does! You’re all nothing but crazed murderers!”

It felt good to get that out. Felt like the best thing to say at the time. Yet when the red cleared from her eyes she felt nothing but utter disgust with herself. Scott stood there, dejected, his eyes swimming with hurt, rejection, and despair. Her anger diffused immediately; ready to apologize. “… I need some time alone.”

“Vicky …” Scott whimpered as she opened her door. One final look was all she gave as she closed the door on him, not caring that she forgot her basket and battery outside.

She slid herself down the door, waiting until she heard Scott leave to let her tears stream down her face. She would have never expected the day to turn out like this and she wished she had never said yes to that hangout.

Chapter Text

“Wow, you were pretty brutal.” Amira leaned back on the stack of crates she sat on. They could hear the voices of monsters practicing their lines for their respective scenes on stage, waiting for their turn.

Vicky had just gotten finished retelling the weekend, half-leaning on another crate while her eyes struggled to stay open. The entire weekend Vicky had gotten no sleep. The thought of Scott prying her door open to come after her and her father was enough nightmare fuel to keep her awake. She had gotten several texts from Scott after she had shut him out apologizing and asking if he could do anything to fix the situation. After the tenth text, she had shut her phone off. Even when she came to school that Monday, Scott was nowhere to be found. She would have told the rest of the group about her situation but Oz had gone quiet on her since that day in the hall and Brian was always horrible at answering texts.

“I don’t know what to do …” Vicky groaned. “I know I should apologize, but I can’t!”

“You need to apologize, that’s for sure.” Amira crossed her legs and arms. “Scott didn’t deserve any of that crap.”

“What do I say?” Lifting her head, Vicky put on a cheesy grin. “’Hey, Scott! Sorry I yelled at you yesterday. I’m totally fine that you don’t understand why you came to my house and tried breaking and entering! The next time the full moon rolls around, I’ll just keep the door unlocked!’”

She slammed her head back on the crates. “You don’t have to be that dramatic. Just apologize for your behavior.”

Vicky tilted her head to look at Amira, hoping she couldn’t see the heavy bags under her eyes. “I feel if I do I’ll just get hurt.” Her fingers grasped at nothing, scraping across the crate. “I know what they become when the full moon’s out …”

Amira let out a huff. “Vicky, you can’t let your past dictate your life now. Whatever happened to you back then was just one incident.”

“But what if it happens again?” She picked her head up, panic rising in her voice. “What if I find myself too close and I can’t escape in time? What if he comes at me? What if—”

Her mouth moved but no words came out, only soft whimpers. Her mind was already shutting down at the feeling of sharp teeth piercing through the flesh of her neck. A very warm hand found its way on her shoulder. “Ssh, lamb. It’s okay. There is some caution to take with werewolves. I mean, no one tries to be near them during a full moon, that’s just stupid. I just think you’re going too far with this.”

“I don’t know what to do …” Vicky lifted her chin, staring up at the calmness in Amira’s eyes. “Homecoming is this Saturday. Even if Scott hates me and didn’t want to go anymore, I bet he talked with Liam about this and he’ll hate me too.”

The devastation slumped her shoulders, resting her head on the hard crate. “I’m going to be a sad, depressing loser for homecoming …”

Amira clicked her tongue, looking away for a moment. “Vicky, I think you should let go of Liam.”

“Why?” Vicky had enough strength to pull herself out of her slump to then slump on the crates after she switched to sitting on them.

Amira gave her a wary glance. “Ozzie didn’t tell you? He and Liam have been seeing each other. Like, a lot.”

It got her out of her head for the moment, eyebrows lurched. “Wait, what?”

Then again, this wasn’t new information to her. Whenever she saw Liam Oz wasn’t far behind. The same upsetting anxiety crawled up her intestines, clutching her chest. “B-but he kissed me! Well, he did it on the cheek, but that’s like first-base, right?”

Amira’s shaking head only made Vicky feel worse. “I think his route has closed up for you. Besides, you made out with Scott! Don’t you feel anything towards him?”

Vicky lowered her head, the anxiety replaced with fuzziness and even more nervousness. “I do … his smile always makes me forget about my problems and he’s so sweet in his goofy way.”

“There you go,” The same warm hand now patted her back. “You like Scott, Scott likes you. It’s a match-made! Just make up and go to homecoming together.”

The pats weren’t quelling her mixed emotions, murmuring. “It’s not that simple …”

“No, it is that simple.” Vicky spooked, she wasn’t expecting Amira to hear her. Her tone was straightforward. “Scott’s a lot more forgiving than you think. If you don’t make this out to be more than what it is than it will be that easy. Trust me, I’ve gotten into my fair share of fights with Damien but we always stick the landing when it comes to making up.”

Vicky wasn’t so sure of Amira’s words, however. She didn’t know how much longer she could experience feeling like a pile of exhausted garbage when Polly floated over. “Sssup sad fucks!”

“Polly, what’s hanging?” Amira lifted a hand up for Polly, who slipped her a small bag of white stuff in return. Vicky watched Amira eye the contents, grin and then stuff the rest away in a pocket.

“Oh, my bad.” A playful wink and a teasing smile was just a bonus for the bag she then gave her. “It’s the good stuff, trust me.” Vicky eyed the bag for a second longer and did the same as Amira. “So, what’s the drama this week?”

“Vicky’s having some troubles with Scott.” Vicky gave Amira a hard look, noting to herself to tell Amira to keep their conversations under lock and key next time.

Polly seemed more shocked than Vicky had expected. “Really? That totally sucks. I know just how you can get the party sizzling again.” A ghostly arm was slipped over her shoulder, with Polly giggling into her ear. “Give him like, the best blow job in the world. That gets me out of a lot of situations where monsters are pissed at me.” The mental image destroyed Vicky’s mind, leaving her a gawking mess while Polly leaned back, speaking louder. “Or go doggie-style, those werewolves like to be animals, am I right?”

Amira simply shrugged. “Sex does help. Didn’t you try having sex with a werewolf once, Polly?”

“Ohohoho, it was wild.” Polly rubbed her hands together. “But then like, he died a week later from overdosing on Wolfsbane. He still blames me for it, even as a ghost! Even though I know my stuff was legit and he was totally overdosing on that cheap crap! Probably was more rat poison than Wolfsbane.” 

There was a story to be told there, but for once Vicky didn’t want to hear it.

“Anyways, enough with the boring shit!” Throwing her hands into the air, Polly fanned out several envelopes she had stashed somewhere on her body. She handed Amira and Vicky each one, which, upon opening it, contained a syringe needle filled with glowing green goop. “I’m throwing a balls-to-the-wall insane party Friday night, so we can all get fucking fucked up before lame homecoming. Both of you should come and get down to get high!”

“You know I’m there.” Amira didn’t even look at the bizarre offering, simply stashing it in her costume. Vicky gave herself a moment to glance at it until Polly was in her face again.

“Everyone’s going to be there. Including Scott~”

The name brought only more misery to Vicky, remembering that she was trash. “What about Liam?”

“Huh? Yeah, he’ll be there too.” Polly lowered her eyelids, nudging Vicky. “You thinking of double dipping? If you are, I’d like to get in on that action.”

“Amira, Vicky, Polly! Get your asses out here!” They turned to the shrill cry of the director from the stage. Liam, Damien, and Brian were already off the stage, strolling past the girls with minimal glances.

“That’s us. Let’s break a leg while looking damn sexy.” Polly gave another wink before floating out. Amira hopped down first as Vicky followed, eyeing the invitation still. Liam and Scott were both going to be there, the day before homecoming. One final chance to make a move.

“I’m going to confront Liam.”

Amira stopped, turning to face Vicky. “That sounds like a bad idea.”

“I don’t want to get serious with Scott until I know how Liam feels about me.”  She shot her a serious glance before stowing her invitation out of sight. “I’ll ask him at the party.”

“And if he says he’s interested in you?” Amira cocked an eyebrow, challenging Vicky.

Their eyes caught one another yet neither said another word. The cry came back louder. “Move it or lose it, girls!”

They hurried onto the stage without another warning. After rehearsals, Vicky was treated to a watery surprise when half of the school was flooded thanks to Miranda’s attempts at ‘vanquishing the airpeople’. It canceled class but it also made the entire school, students and all, have to clean up the aftermath. Damien tried to get it done faster by equipping the student body with flamethrowers, which quickly turned into flooding the school again just to put out the raging fires.

Long story short, after getting a mouthful of salt water and downing another five cups when the school was ablaze, Vicky really had to use the bathroom after school. She didn’t even care if the bathroom was still flooded—since her clothes had been sticking to her skin since the last hosing—though she did mind the crab that was trying to lay claim to the toilet. After a very short-lived karate battle, Vicky had won the toilet.

She was just about done washing her hands when the bathroom door was slammed open, staring down Josh and a couple of other wolves that decided to follow. “There you are!”

Vicky barely had time to react before Josh strode over and swung her over his shoulder. Her mind blanked and her body rag-dolled in the wolf’s grasp, too petrified to do anything else. “Dog, you’re really fucking light.”

Held captive, Vicky hoped to god they weren’t going to take her somewhere private and continue to sexually harass her. Instead, she was taken straight to the gym and sat on the bleachers. Right next to Scott.

He looked just as surprised and confused as she was, though he probably didn’t feel like a complete asshole like she did.  Josh pointed a finger at her. “I don’t know what you did, but Scott has been a sad loser the entire day! So whatever you did, undo it!”

“Bros!” Scott set his football helmet off to the side instead of where it was originally in his lap. “This isn’t cool! You shouldn’t have dragged Vicky in here like this!”

“No, it’s fine!” Vicky was the one to interject, even going to so far to hold her hands out that like would suddenly stop the conversation. With the floor hers, she timidly looked at Scott. “I’m … sorry about what I said yesterday. I was way out of line.”

She didn’t even feel right looking at him, choosing to stare at her lap instead. His tone was grounded. “It’s fine.”

“No, it’s not!” Her eyes shot back up, feeling even angrier at herself. “I said horrible and terrible things to you! You have every right to be angry with me!”

“No, really, it’s fine!” A sympathetic smile came over his lips while his eyes looked apprehensive and upset. “I get it. I messed up and I scared you. I don’t blame you for saying those things.”

“That wasn’t your fault, though. That’s not your blame to take.” Like a delicate vase, Vicky was hesitant and gentle when placing her hand over his. He slightly bristled. “But I made you think it was. I should have never hurt you like that.”

“I was pretty hurt …” The truth stung her but she more the deserved it, seeing his features take on the same emotions as his eyes. “But I was more scared that you wouldn’t want to see me anymore. I thought you’d hate me forever.”

Vicky slowly shook her head, her voice delicate. “I can’t stay mad at you. You know that. I’m so sorry for making you feel that way.”

“I’m okay if you are.” Scott’s ears perked up, his hand overturning to take hers. She felt him lightly squeeze her hand, noticing slight hope in his eyes. “Are we okay?”

And just like that, the world felt a little more right. Vicky slowly nodded her head, pushing herself to scoot closer and peck his cheek. “We’re okay.”

Like nature intended, Scott’s smile found itself right where it needed to be. Her heart felt like Scott’s smile, bright and cheerful when they both heard several sniffles around them.

“Bro, that was so fucking romantic.” Josh sniffed, using one of his teammate’s shirt to blow his nose. “We’re not crying or anything! We’re just sweating so hard it’s blinding us!”

A new blubber came from the Coach, who apparently was there the entire time. “Working together as a team to work through your emotional issues … Now that’s what a team does for one another! I’m so proud of you two!”

“Really? Thanks, Coach!” Scott accepted the praise while Vicky wanted to slither away and hide under the bleachers. She’d have to remember the next time she got into an emotional conversation to keep it somewhere private.

 Wiping the last of the tears from his eyes, Coach picked up his whistle. “All right, that’s enough sentimental love for now. Let’s get to practicing!”

The whistle pierced the air, getting the pack to run towards the open doors towards the football field. Scott was a few steps behind, strapping his helmet onto his head. “Wait up, bros!”

He was almost out the door before he did a complete 180 and ran back towards Vicky. She only had enough time to stand up as Scott’s arms surrounded her, swinging her in the air and settling into a nice, tight hug.

She hugged back as fierce as she could, which was probably nothing to Scott. He even tried to kiss her, though, his helmet stopped him from being able to accomplish that, simply butting his forehead into hers. It made her laugh. “Silly wolf.”

He chuckled as well until another whistle blow prompted him to set Vicky down, wave and head off towards the field. She waved back, the last one left in the gym yet she felt she was soaring through the clouds. Amira was right, it was just as simple as that.

And if he says he is interested in you?

One simple sentence was all it took to have Vicky crash landing back into her pit of despair. Part of her wanted to forget Liam, to close that chapter of her life and be content with Scott. But that day in the car kept replaying in her head. That warm smile, the rosy glow on his cheeks. Even when they fought in the hall he was clearly blushing when she complimented him. He might have been aloof and awkward with how he felt about everything but Vicky had no doubts in her mind that Liam did like her at some point. Why else would he be so bold as to kiss her in the car? To be so vulnerable?

They still hadn’t talked about that moment since then; perhaps Liam did still like her. If he did, what then? What about Scott?

She shook her head, trying to physically get the thoughts out. She didn’t want to and wouldn’t worry about that until Friday. Right now, she wanted to feel happy.

Her hand instinctively went to her phone, ready to text her dad until her gaze floated over to the open gym doors. A second later, she had pocketed her phone and jogged out towards the field. The team was already stretching when Vicky made it over. Scott noticed her immediately, mainly because she walked straight over to him. “What are you doing here?”

“You wanted me to come to practice, right?” Vicky put forth her cutesy act, cocking her head to the side and sticking out her tongue.

His smile was the answer she needed, pointing to a few bleachers. “I’ll be over there. So do your best for me, okay?”

“I’ll do more than my best. I’ll do my super duper ultra best!” His reply sent her giggling.

“I’ll be counting on it.” With a cute turn, she playfully jogged over to the bleachers, setting her stuff down and pulling out her homework. When the team was in a lull or taking a break Vicky got to work on her homework and study, but mainly watched when the team was doing their exercise routines or laps.

Vicky only had limited knowledge of Scott’s skills when it came to football or how he was compared to the rest of his family. What she did see from him set the bar high, from him almost taking the lead in running to pushing through several over teammates trying to dogpile him when he had the ball. She knew Scott was pushing himself for her, but she hoped he was this good even if she wasn’t there.

Once practice was over and the team was heading home, Scott came right over to where she was. He plopped himself on the bleachers, panting and not caring he was laying more so than sitting. His head was ripe for the petting, though, upon doing so she realized his hair was entirely drenched in sweat. Half of her wanted to immediately yank her hand away and wipe it on her clothes, but Scott seemed to loosen up even with just a couple of strokes. For the sake of him, she continued. “You did good.”

“Thanks.” He cracked open one eye to glance at her sweetly. She reciprocated the feeling until she noticed him move up to kiss her.

A large rock crashed into her stomach, forcing her hand between them. “Whoa, wait.”

Scott lifted his upper half, mostly hurt while Vicky back-pedaled. “I mean, I’m feeling pretty sick right now. I don’t want you catching whatever I got.”

“You’re sick?”  He scrunched his eyebrows together. “But you kissed me on the cheek earlier.”

“Well, I felt fine then, but now I’m feeling sick.” It was enough for Scott to buy it, though lying to him wasn’t a great feeling.

He looked highly concerned. “That’s terrible! If you’re sick you can’t come to school, and if you can’t come to school then we can’t hang out! You should be home, resting so you get better faster!”

“Right! That’s exactly what I should be doing.” Vicky hopped up from the bench, pulling out her phone. “But uh, I’m sure I’ll be better tomorrow.”

“Well, if you aren’t you shouldn’t push yourself! Just get better and then we can hang out some more!”

“Will do!” She shot him some finger pistols before briskly turning around and speed-walking away. Part of her really wanted that kiss to make her feel better, but the rock was too heavy in her gut. It was almost as if Liam was right behind her, grabbing her shoulders. She couldn’t feel right kissing him again until she had this figured out.

Only Friday would tell if that rock disappeared or crushed her entirely.

Chapter Text

Vicky assumed Polly’s party was going to be at her place. The wild rave in an abandoned casino smack dab in the middle of the city quickly dismissed that idea from her head.

All week Vicky had been avoiding Scott, from faking an illness to jumping out of windows, which, she was getting surprisingly good at the landings. She did give herself a break every now and then to make sure Scott didn’t think she was avoiding him, but whenever he tried to kiss her it was back to the lies and excuses. Her heart shriveled every time she had to see the disappointment on his face at the denial, only for it to bounce back into reassurance and ignorance. She hoped tonight would finally break her free from this seemingly endless cycle of shenanigans.

Getting ready for the party, Vicky made sure to wear a dress short enough to not catch on anything while also free enough to let her go wild. A little jewelry also didn’t hurt anyone, so she got out some dangly earrings, necklaces, and bracelets to jingle for when she shook what her father stitched together. After that, it was calling a Lyft to get her to her destination and where she found herself now.

Standing at the front, Vicky pushed open the door only to then immediately slam it when a chair came flying towards her. She heard and felt the weight of the chair smack the door alongside several hoots and hollers until it devolved into nonsensical chatter. Cautiously, she reopened the door and slipped inside.

Loud, thumping music shook the entire building and her heels stuck to the floor from spilt alcohol and other things Vicky didn’t want to think about right now. If the building wasn’t a mess before it was certainly a disaster now; with several monsters throwing anything they could get their hands on at each other, while others busted through the walls from either fights or too much roughhousing. The air was choked with smoke and weed, coming from several different areas in the building where monsters gelled into their seats, staring blissfully at nothing. Bartenders were serving alcohol to anyone that came near the stand, asking or not, and several old casino tables had been crowded around where people placed bets or gambled on everything they had and had stolen. If anyone wasn’t doing any of those things they were like the rest, stomping their feet on the ground and dancing to the beat.

Vicky could already pick out Vera at the end of the building, as that was where the largest crowd was. She was center, shuffling cards to dish out another round of poker to any unwilling sap that sat down to play. Miranda was also nearby, talking to someone Vicky assumed was her serf and handing them a stack of money to play at the table. From the petrified look on its face, it was more than likely Miranda’s money wasn’t the only thing it was betting on.

Damien could be seen on the dance floor, or, rather, she saw plumes of black smoke and wisps of fire in the middle of the crowd. It was more likely that Amira causing the fire, but if she was here than Damien was sure to be around her. Polly was getting a little too friendly with the DJ, her eyes red from overdosing as she twerked right in front of the monster’s crotch. No Scott, Liam, Oz or Brian to be seen at the moment.

It was as loud, crazy and as raunchy as she had heard parties be and Vicky couldn’t wait to partake in all of its nasty glory. First, she’d hit up the bar and get herself insanely drunk while also playing a few rounds of poker or blackjack to start off the night. Then, when the alcohol and any drugs she’s ingested really kick in, she’d make her way to the dance floor and party until she’d wake up in another country with a tattoo on her back, a cage full of peacocks and the arm of some washed-up celebrity.

Before she could do any of that, however, she had to find Liam. It was mostly the reason she came. Her resolve left her at the thought of confronting him, wondering if she should get started early on hammering herself and then going to talk to him. They didn’t call it liquid courage for nothing.

“Vicky, you made it.” The voice was barely audible from the music and mad party-goers. The hand on her shoulder spoke volumes. Vicky moved away from Brian, who slightly swayed from side to side. His eyes were light red and his lips curled into a funny smile. “Didn’t think you’d come.”

“Are you kidding? This is the stuff that dreams are made of!” Vicky took another gander at the craziness surrounding them. “I want to black out and party hard till the world stops!”

“Well, you got the entire night.” Brian laughed. She had never heard him laugh; it was deep and very jolly. With a slow slip of his hand, Brian pulled out something small and placed it in her hand. “Here, let me start you off right.”

Vicky eyed the rolled up joint and the sudden light Brian produced. It was almost too tempting to resist and she almost threw the joint into the fire to then suck off until she was as high as a kite and let the night take her wherever she wanted. Instead, pesky responsibility stayed her hand. “Later. I got something I need to deal with first.”

“Oh, more drama?” Brian let his hand flop, not caring to move his thumb off the trigger to douse the fire. “I won’t distract you. Before you go, how do I look?”

He had ditched his fluffy jacket for a T-shirt tuxedo—which already had stains on it—and a pair of loose jeans. Vicky smiled. “Like you didn’t have enough money to go to the Laundromat because you spent all of it on drugs.”

“Perfect, that’s exactly what I was going for.” He gave Vicky a snap and ran a hand through his hair. “I’m going to ask Polly tonight to homecoming. Think I got a chance?”

“You? Pfft!” Vicky threw down one of her hands. “She’d be a total idiot to not go with you! But you better hurry, she seems eager to get down on the DJ.”

“When isn’t she?” Brian let out a snort and ruffled Vicky’s hair. With a yelp Vicky puffed out her cheeks, causing Brian to laugh again. “You’re a good friend, Vicky. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

“Totes!” With a crisp high-five, Brian continued to snap his fingers as he disappeared off into the crowd, dead set on finding Polly. Vicky didn’t know much about Polly, but if she was fine with sleeping with any poor soul she met then she knew Brian would be good.

With Brian gone, Vicky went back to her earlier objective just as she caught a glimpse of purple. It was just a quick blur from the dancing crowd, but her gut told her it was Liam. She tried to push her way through the crowds until the beat of the music had her swaying her hips and stepping around others to her destination. Some gave her a few funny looks at how awkward her dance moves were, but she assured herself one day they would catch on.

Upon exiting the crowd, Vicky stepped over to one of the more relaxed parts of the party. Lots of couches, lots of wasted monsters and lots of cuddling. Her eyes immediately locked onto the man-bun in front of her along with the back of Oz’s shadowy head. They sat on the same curled couch, dangerously close to one another.

If Liam had been alone she would have walked in front of him and engaged him, only Oz was there and she didn’t want to make it awkward. So, instead, the rational approach was to get on her hands and knees and crawl over to the back of the couch to listen in. Ignoring the odd stares she got, she rested her back on the couch when she sat down, barely able to hear the two over the party.

“I don’t think I can take another …”

“What happened to that spunk you had when the party started? I distinctly recall you proclaiming your plans to try all of the mixed drinks.”

“That was five drinks ago, Liam. If I have another, I’m going to hurl.”

“Hm, then you might be ripe.”

“Ripe?” Vicky surprised herself when she frowned at Oz’s lighthearted laugh. “What are you saying?”

“Come now, Oz, you should know that partaking in any alcohol will eventually lead it to enter into your bloodstream. If you’re drunk off your ass then your blood is probably ripe with the stuff at this very moment. And, if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t partaken in any drinks this night …”

Her nails dug into the back of the couch, listening to Oz stammer. “Y-You’re going to um …”

“It’s no fun if you’re the only one getting tipsy.” Liam’s tone was teasing; she could hear the smile in his voice. It was a side of Liam she had never seen before, only for Oz. “Do you have a problem with that?”

Her body moved on its own accord, standing up and slamming her hands in between the two. “I do!”

“Vicky!” Oz nearly fell off the couch, his phobias gasping in shock as he tried to situate himself. His bright red cheeks went along perfectly with his shock. Liam, however, didn’t even flinch at Vicky’s sudden entrance. “Wh-Were you listening in?”

“Course she was, though, she did a poor job of it.” Vicky was cut off by Liam, who gave her a nasty stare. “You didn’t think I’d smell you lurking around? Let’s tick another box off on your stalker-list.”

Oz and Vicky were just as shocked to know Liam knew about the situation. Vicky tried to size herself up, gripping the couch tighter to steel her nerves. “Why would you play around with Oz then? I thought we had something!”

“Had something?” Liam practically scoffed, looking more disgusted with each passing second. “You think that kiss on the cheek meant I was yours? Please, don’t be so full of yourself! I was merely exacting my revenge for when you sexually assaulted me on the bus! You treated me like a fool, stalking me like I was some sort of object for you to go after in a silly game! So I decided to get even on the playing field by humoring your little charade.”

Oz was reintroduced into the conversation when Liam slipped an arm around his shoulder. “You can’t stand the idea that perhaps I have my interests elsewhere, that perhaps there’s someone else I yearn to be with. Oz has been a gift from the metaphorical heavens, a gift for putting up with you.”

“He-Hey, Liam,” Concern lined Oz’s features and he leaned away, though, he did nothing to remove Liam’s arm off of him.

The rock manifested itself back into Vicky’s stomach, growing larger and heavier with each stinging sentence. Every time she wanted to speak, he cut her off. “So, how does it feel to be the fool now? The embarrassment? The heat of emotions burning a hole in your chest and face? Remember this moment, Vicky Schmidt, for I won’t say it again.”

He practically seethed when he floated up from the couch, rearing his head next to hers. “I will never go out with you.”

Finally, the rock burst from her chest and with it a stream of hot tears ran down her cheeks. Her lips quivered as her hand moved on its own to create a hard slap across Liam’s face. Neither did he try to fight her or even cover his bright red cheek, simply resigning himself to staring at her. She harshly whispered, for if it was any louder it would have only been sobs. “Go fuck yourself.”

With that, she left. She heard Oz call out to her but she didn’t stop to hear him out, wanting nothing to do with either him or Liam again. Of course he had no feelings for her, why would he? Not when he had Oz to latch onto; she should have known the second both stopped talking to her to make their own love nest. Amira was right all along; she wished she had never pursued Liam.

“Vicky, wait!” A nasty sneer was all she gave Oz, who hesitated once he saw it.

“You want him? Go ahead, have him! You don’t have to worry about me anymore ruining your lives.” Her hands wiped her cheeks again, startled when she saw her makeup smeared on her skin. Her hands immediately covered what was left of her face and dignity, running off with no direction and hoping she’d find the exit.

Was it the loud thumping music that numbed her senses, or her heart crying out? She thought Liam rejecting her would have unraveled her complicated feelings into a linear path. Only now, she was unsure about everything she had done. She had forced herself onto Liam and was reaping the consequences of that. She even entertained thoughts of him while she was with Scott, jeopardizing that relationship with her silly antics of keep away in a vain attempt to see if she could win Liam back. Truly, she had been the fool all along.

She was taken away from her thoughts when she bumped into another monster, letting out a hurried ‘excuse me’ until a hand grabbed her shoulder. “Vicky? It’s me!”

Scott’s voice cut through her defenses and stiffened her body, peeking out from her wall of hands to see him. His bright, cheerful demeanor vanished in an instant and he crouched down to get closer. “Whoa, hey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

His hands gently touched hers and she allowed him to slowly bring them down to reveal the rest of her humiliated face. One of his hands grabbed for a monster behind him, and after a loud ripping noise, Vicky felt a piece of cloth run over her cheeks to wipe away the runny makeup. She felt like a cherished doll, which only broke her heart further for her deception. “… Am I a fool?”

“No! Course not. Why would you ask that?” Scott didn’t understand the situation and Vicky had no strength to retell what just happened. She was ready to ask him to let her leave when he stood back up, scanned the room and took her hand. “Here, come on.”

He let her pull them back into the party, Vicky concentrating on keeping her face hidden than trying to figure out where they were going. When Scott pulled on one door they entered into an abandoned stairwell and up the stairs. She didn’t question where they were going; maybe Polly liked to have parties at this one particular venue as she felt the vibrations of the music through every step. When they reached the top, Scott led her out onto the roof, where some chairs had been placed as more of an afterthought.

She sat down on the side of one lounge chair while Scott sat next to her, still keeping her hand. “Okay. What’s wrong?”

Her mind wanted to tell Scott everything, to berate Liam and tell him how awful a monster he was for leaving her in such a mess. She almost did when she remembered the last time she told Scott something negative about Liam. It made him upset, and while she could care less about Scott’s ideas about Liam, she didn’t want to bring Scott down to her level. Keeping this in mind, Vicky took a shaky breath. “There was this other monster I liked but it was never clear if he liked me back. When I tried to ask him he snapped at me and told me that he’d never date me. So … yeah …”

“You liked someone else?” Scott seemed a little distraught over the news.

Vicky, sadly, nodded her head. “I thought maybe I had a chance but I was just annoying him. When you kissed me at the park, I got really confused and I didn’t want to decide on anything until I knew how he felt back. That’s why I was so distant this last week. I didn’t want to hurt you but … I didn’t know what else to do. I’m sorry.”

“And … and he hurt you?” Vicky bit her lower lip, nodding again. She bristled only slightly when Scott pulled her into him for a tender hug, the warmth of his fur bringing some calm. His voice sounded funny. “Do you want me to talk to him?”

“No.” Vicky’s hand restlessly gripped his shirt, her voice tired. “I just want to stay here with you.”

They embraced in silence for several minutes. Vicky stared up at the sky, reflecting on her internal thoughts and feelings. Her heart had been crushed into itty-bitty pieces and she wanted nothing more than to bawl her eyes out until she had no more tears to cry. Yet, she also felt those same pieces melt into a warm pool of comfort and belonging just from being near Scott. It was conflicting, to say the least. “Oh, Flippers is out.”

“Hm?” She felt a little lonely when Scott let up from the hug to point at a small cluster of stars.

“Flippers, that’s what I call those stars. Because they look like a turtle.” He etched lines between the stars. “See?”

“… Kind of?” Vicky had to squint her eyes and strain her brain to even think about the image Scott thought of.

“It’s easier to see where I live. There, the sky is full of stars and there’s so many other ones you can see.” Scott’s ears fell. “I don’t know why they don’t come out whenever I’m in the city. Maybe they’re too shy? I tell them that they shouldn’t be, that the city is full of nice monsters, but they always stay home. Flippers is one of the few that will come with me.”

Vicky found Scott’s disappointment mildly cute. She scooted closer and hugged her knees, resting her head on his upper arm. “You’ll have to introduce me to them all sometime.”

His gaze fell from the sky and to her. She gave him a small smile, overlapping her hand with his. She expected him to smile back, to agree with her. Instead, she watched confliction cloud his eyes. “Vicky … do you like me?”

Vicky blinked as Scott slumped his shoulders. “Why would you ask that?”

“I mean, you said you liked some other monster and you distanced yourself from me. We haven’t really talked about our kiss or kissed after that evening in the park.” Scott nervously glanced away. “I really like you, Vicky. I haven’t felt this way about any other monster and every time we have to be apart I get really bummed out. I wanna stay with you so badly. I wanna protect you and make you smile. But I don’t want you to feel like you have to return those feelings because of that kiss. So … if you like someone else … we can just stay friends.”

It made sense for him to feel that way. Vicky stared at the floor and reflected on the then and now. Liam had just rejected her and Scott was allowing her to leave on good terms if she needed to. If she had any qualms about getting into a relationship with Scott then now was the time to take that step back and think about things. In fact, that would probably be the best thing for Vicky at the moment. Scott, endearing as he was, was still a werewolf and that would complicate things not only with her family but with her ever-present fear for his kind. Her heart had also been shattered and she wasn’t thinking rationally because of it. It would be best to take Scott’s offer and think on things, to make sure she knew what she wanted before locking herself into a route. It was for the best.

Hands taking his, Scott turned just in time to see Vicky get on her knees and push her lips up against his.

It was like downing an entire bottle of Xanax; immediately she felt calmed and relaxed, like her body had been shot into outer space and she was floating through time without concern for anything. It was almost maddening going this long without his touch and she made sure she conveyed how badly she missed it at that moment.

When she parted he looked dazed, as if he saw the fireworks she never did. “Scott, I might have had feelings for another monster, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel anything for you. I wouldn’t have kissed you back at the park if I didn’t like you. I like you a lot and … I want to be with you …”

“Really?” His ears perked and his tail stood at attention. “Then … then can we be a couple? Like boyfriend and girlfriend?”

The way Scott asked his question like he was a child learning the concept for the first time made her chuckle. A single word could start or end what they had at that moment, remembering that she just told herself to step back and think about her predicament. Sadly, her mind had no control over her mouth, which belonged to her flurry of emotions inside her heart. “I want to be if you do.”

Saying the magic words, she watched an explosion of love and endearment fill his bright blue eyes. His hands clasped around hers tightly, tail wagging. “Yes, yes I want to be! I want to be your boyfriend and you to be my girlfriend! I want you to watch me work extra-hard at practice and go back to Auntie Bebes and get more food, and walk you home and take you to school, and hug you and kiss you and make you feel happy just like how I’m feeling right now!”

They embraced for another hug, their laughter twisting together to form a cute melody. Vicky had never felt so relieved and happy as she let Scott claim her lips, his hands on her back. He leaned onto her, feeling herself fall back and onto the cushion of the lounge chair while Scott held himself over her to not crush her.

He pulled away for a second to allow them to catch their breath and Vicky looked up into his clear eyes. She could almost see her reflection in them when it was interrupted by him leaning back down to take more of her. She didn’t resist, moaning into his lips, her hands pulling on his shirt. It elicited a low groan from him, her thoughts drifting away until a loud slam startled both of them.

Scott pulled away but kept himself above Vicky, glaring at the intruder while Vicky tried to see who it was upside-down. Brian stumbled his way through the doorway, swaying more drastically than earlier while holding a lit cigarette in one hand and a bottle of beer in another. He was unsuccessful at getting the cigarette to his lips before he crashed onto the ground. “Brian!”

Scott let Vicky out as the two ran over to help him up. He groaned pitifully. “Just let me die here …”

“Brian?” This was not how Vicky left Brian last. His eyes were blood-shot and clearly overdosed on something and his attempts to push them off were more than sad. Together they set him down on the chair they were using seconds ago to make-out on, sitting on either side of him. Scott leaned away; whatever was on Brian’s clothes was clearly affecting his nose. “What happened?”

Brian stared at Vicky for an uncomfortable amount of time, grumbling. “She said no, but that was after she laughed her ass off at me. Said she doesn’t commit to anyone. Free spirit bullshit.”

Vicky’s eyes widened, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Brian, I’m sorry.”

He knocked her hand off. “Don’t pity me. I thought I had a chance … guess I was wrong. What a moron I am …”

The words stung Vicky, enough that she gave Brian a hug even when he tried to shove her off. “I know the feeling …”

When she let go Brian was staring at the two, slurring. “So … you two an item?”

They glanced at one another as Vicky noticed Scott’s hand slip behind Brian. She took it, gently squeezing it. “Yeah. We’re an item.”

The confirmation sent a flutter through her chest, and from the way Scott looked he felt the same. Brian grumbled, finally able to lift his cigarette to his lips and blow out a puff of smoke. “Good for you. Looks like I won’t be making it to homecoming.”

“Aw, Brian, no.” Vicky let go of Scott’s hand, resting hers in her lap.

“I mean, what’s the point? You all got your hot dates and I’m all washed up. There’s no point in going if you’re all going to be occupied.”

“That’s not true,” Scott piped up. “In fact, you can hang out with us tomorrow!”

Vicky wasn’t expecting Scott to suggest the idea, but she was struggling to come up with anything else. Brian scoffed. “And be a third wheel? Pass.”

“No, Scott’s right. You can hang with us!” Vicky wouldn’t feel right going now if Brian was going to be depressed at his apartment alone. She eyed Scott warily. “We don’t have to be lovey-dovey tomorrow. We can just chill and be buds. With you!”

“I don’t want to ruin your homecoming.” Swigging the last of his beer, Brian cared not where he threw the bottle and the accompanying shatter of glass.

“You won’t, really. It’s fine.” Vicky made note of where the bottle smashed to make sure her heels wouldn’t end up full of glass. “We’ll have an amazing time. The three amigos!”

“Yeah! Wait, what’s an ‘amigo’?” Scott looked to her for an answer, his confusion entertaining.

Vicky felt her persuasion skill increase when Brian let forth a brief and sad chuckle. “Fine, we’ll try it.”

“It’ll be a lot of fun.” She gave him a reassuring pat on the back as he gutted a groan.

“I think I want to just go home and die now … I don’t even remember half of the crap I put in me …”

“No problem! I can take you!” Scott perked back up and hopped to his feet.

Brian laughed again. “Yeah, if you want puke in your fur! The rocking will only make things worse. Just call me a Lyft and we’ll be good.”

Vicky was the one to make the call while Scott carried Brian downstairs and through the main room.  Her nerves ate at her as they passed through the party, eyes darting everywhere in fear of finding Liam or Oz again. Thankfully, she didn’t see either by the time they exited the building.

Handing him a wad of cash—so he wouldn’t have to fumble for his wallet—Vicky and Scott waited with Brian until the car came to get him and waved him off as it drove away. Vicky was the first to turn back to Scott. “So … are you okay with this?”

“Yeah, it’s totally cool! I don’t know Brian that well but I know he’s buds with you. And any bud of yours is a bud of mine!” Scott nuzzled his cheek next to hers. “Or should I say … any bud of my girlfriend’s.”

Vicky giggled as his beard tickled her cheek. “Yeah. Your girlfriend.”

The music was still audible from where they stood. Scott turned back to it. “Do you want to go back inside?”

Vicky gave the doors to the mad party a melancholy look. It would be easy to go back inside, down a bunch of drugs and waste the night in hallucinations and funny words. For once, Vicky didn’t feel like being crazy. “Nah. Not feeling it.” She checked Google maps quickly, a smile on her lips. “You wouldn’t happen to have your ball on you, would you?”

It took less than a second for the rubber ball to appear in Scott’s hand. He stared her straight in the eye. “Always, bro.”

Where he hid that, Vicky didn’t want to know. Taking a few steps forward, Vicky twirled and let her dress dance with her. “Let’s go to the park.”

Once the words left her lips Vicky’s walk changed into a sprint, knowing exactly what was going to happen next. In seconds Scott had already passed her, taking her outstretched hand and leading the way. “Yeah, let’s go play!”

She laughed at his enthusiasm, her heels clicking just as loud as her laugh as they ran through the night.

Chapter Text

Vicky always dreamed of having a boyfriend. Of having a monster who would laugh with her, share secrets with her and engage in hot make-out sessions and passionate love well through the night. She always imagined they would be slim, well dressed, and able to show off their smarts in a variety of situations. The perfect gentleman with a secret streak of robberies or art theft that they would only confide in her. Liam seemed just the candidate for her dreams to become a reality.

If she had known that her boyfriend would turn out to be a loud, energetic, and really foolish werewolf, she would have taken the train over to the next country and berated herself till the end of time. Present Vicky, however, was more than satisfied with whom she ended up with. Finally, homecoming had come at last.

The doorbell ringing should have been a joyous moment. It always played out the same; with the girlfriend just done dressing and going to the door to show off her stunning looks to her boyfriend and have him marvel and awe at her beauty. But Vicky remembered telling Scott that she would meet him at the party, so the ringing only sent her into a panic.

Her makeup was not done at all and her dress was still hung up in her closet. She ran down the stairs in her sweatpants and large T-shirt only to trip halfway and barrel down the rest. Her father came up from the lab, wiping the blood off his hands with a white towel. “Vicky, what did I tell you about running down the stairs?”

“Not to …” She groaned, the doorbell ringing again.

Her father narrowed his eyes. “If it’s those Jehovah’s Witnesses again I swear to their non-existent god—”

“No, it’s okay. I got it, dad!” She scrambled to her feet, her father having passed her for the door. Using her inner drama queen, she sniffed the air dramatically. “Is something burning?”

“What? Oh crap, the muffins!” Her father’s eyes widened, dropping the bloodied towel in his haste to the kitchen. With her father gone she answered the door.

Her worst fears stared down at her, Scott grinning ear to ear while Brian looked nonchalant. “Hi! We’re here to get you!”

“Sup.”

Vicky whispered harshly through the door, checking to make sure her father wasn’t coming back. “Scott, I told you not to come here! I’m not even dressed yet!”

“Whoops! We can just wait for you inside then.” Scott tried to push past her as she tried to push him back out.

Her feet sliding behind her wasn’t a good sign that her plan was working. “No, no! Scott, you’ll be shot! Stop!”

“Strange, the muffins are fine.” Upon hearing her father’s voice, Vicky harshly bit her lip. Her hand dug into the decorative bowl next to their door and the various wooden balls inside.

Snatching one, she tossed open the door, throwing the ball with all her might. “Scott, fetch!”

“Whoa, ball!” His attention immediately went to the ball. Because they were situated on a hill the ball picked up speed, tumbling down the road. Brian was left on the doorstep as Scott chased after the ball and disappeared from sight in time for Vicky’s father to walk over.

“What’s going on here? I—” The door was taken from Vicky, her father’s interest in Brian.

“Uhhh, sup?” Brian awkwardly spoke.

Vicky scooted in between them. “Dad, this is Brian. One of my friends I’ve mentioned? He’s taking me to homecoming.”

“I thought I was taking you.” She could feel her father’s gaze on Brian, hoping the discussion would end before Scott came running back up the hill.

“Nope! Change of plans! We don’t need a ride or for you to step out of this mansion for the rest of the night!”

Her eye twitched, wishing that her father would leave. At first, he seemed like he was going to until a sly smile made him stay. “I see what’s going on here. Is this the boy I’m going to be sharing you with?”

“Uh, what?” Vicky knew that Brian’s nervous glance was only solidifying the accusation in her father’s head.

Quickly, she faked a laugh. “What? No! We’re just friends, dad. Just a couple of sad, lonely fucks who didn’t get dates to homecoming so we decided to go together.”

The nasty glare Brian gave her told her she’d be apologizing profusely for that later. Her father seemed content with the answer. “Sham, I could use more corpses around here. Actually, can I examine you for a moment?”

“Uuuuhhh …” Was all Brian said as he was ushered in. Vicky watched him eye the display case holding her child body, which made her squeeze the door for a second.

“Vicky, don’t you need to get ready for your night? I’ll entertain Brian while you get ready.” Already he was leading Brian down into the lab who gave her a wild, frightened look.

She shot him a thumbs up back. “Thanks, dad!”

With her father gone, Vicky looked back outside to see Scott on all fours, scampering back to the house. Immediately, she let her phony act drop and was prepared to slam the door in Scott’s face if he tried to bolt in. “Ah, ah! You stay out there, Scott.”

“What?” He spat the ball out of his mouth to speak and pursed his lips. “But I’m your boyfriend! Can’t I come inside and meet your family?”

“Not unless you want to go to homecoming full of silver bullets.” She sighed; she didn’t have time for this. There were so many other things she needed to stress about like her makeup being just right and hoping the dress she picked was fabulous. She kissed the sadness right off his face with a quick peck. “I won’t be long. You can wait for me in the woods if you want, just hide somewhere that you can’t be seen.”

“Aw … all right. Don’t be too long, okay?” He turned tail and made his way down the steps, Vicky smiling.

“Promise.” With that, Vicky slammed the door.

With Brian occupied and Scott hiding, Vicky went right back to her room to prepare. Her makeup took longer than she wanted but with her dress already picked out it was as easy as slipping it on. With a light spray of perfume, Vicky could finally call herself perfect. Perfection, however, took an hour out of their night. Hopefully, Scott was the patient type.

With her ready it was a simple as going downstairs, retrieving Brian from the experimentation table and pushing him out the door. Her father had followed them to the door, waving them off. “Have fun tonight, Vicky! Don’t let the dredges of society ruin it!”

“Wouldn’t dream of it!” Vicky hollered back, finally relaxing when she heard the door shut.

Brian moved out of Vicky’s space, lighting up a joint he had pulled from his pocket. “Thanks for rubbing salt in the wound.”

She awkwardly smiled. “Sorry. All filters come off when I’m panicking.”

Rustling from the woods alerted them to Scott’s presence. He briskly jogged over, exhaustion clear on his face. “You took forever! I counted to a hundred like … a hundred times!”

“Aw, I’m sorry.” Vicky opened her arms to receive Scott, who happily took the opportunity to pick her up and swing her around. She laughed in his arms until he pulled her in for a quick kiss. She hummed into his lips when his mouth moved away and his nose hovered near her neck.

Her whole body uncomfortably bristled, feeling his breath on her skin. “You smell so nice … like flowers.”

“I uh, I thought you’d like it.” Hands on his chest, she lightly pushed back to get him away from her neck.  He seemed confused by her gesture when Brian coughed.

The two turned to him, who blew out a few rings of smoke. “I can still go home if you two want to be alone. Really, you don’t need to do this.”

“No, we’re cool!” Scott set Vicky down, who put on a bright smile. “Just three buds chilling!”

“Right!” Scott chimed in. He then proceeded to crouch down, signaling for them to get on. “Let’s go to homecoming!”

After calling a Lyft—which disappointed Scott but Vicky didn’t want him to be sweaty for the party—the three stepped out of the car at the entrance to the school. A banner was placed over the skull, announcing, ‘Homecumming!’

“Oh god …” Vicky could already hear Brian snickering, trying his hide his head in the hand with the lit joint.

Scott didn’t seem to understand the error, grabbing both of their hands. “Come on, let’s get to partying!”

The party was held in the gym if one could call it that. Unlike the insanity of Polly’s party the night before, there were so little monsters that there was enough room to get around other party-goers. A sad area was reserved for refreshments and punch and a CD player provided the music rather than an actual DJ or band.

This is homecoming?” Vicky almost felt foolish for putting so much effort into her appearance. Her normal attire would have sufficed and then some, but the other party-goers were just as dressed up so she didn’t feel that embarrassed.

“Guess the budget is tight this semester.” Even Scott didn’t seem impressed, rubbing the back of his neck. “Well, the games should bring in enough money to make Prom even more awesome.”

“See? What did I tell you? Laaaame.” Polly’s voice caused Brian to hitch his breath. She floated over to the group, rolling her eyes when she noticed Brian. She eyed him mischievously. “Hey, boo, you’re looking sexy. Wanna help me liven up this party with a couple of our favorite friends?”

In her hands dangled several different pouches of things Vicky assumed weren’t allowed at the party, eyebrow waggling intensifying. Brian uncomfortably shifted his weight, his eyes locking with Vicky’s. “Uh, not really. I’m hanging with Vicky for the night.”

Polly’s teasing dropped alongside her hand holding the drugs. She frowned. “Aw, are you still upset about last night? Come on, boo, you know me. I don’t commit to anything but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our normal shtick. Now come on, wingman.”

She gave him several playful winks, shaking the bags in the air. Vicky figured it would be enough for Brian to leave with her, but he held firm. “No, I really don’t want to, Polly. Go have fun by yourself.”

Polly frowned even harder and lowered her shades onto her face. “Ugh, whatever. I’ll pump up this party myself. When you’re done being dramatic I got your fun right here, boo.”

Her hand slapped her ass and while the other blew him an air kiss before leaving the trio. Brian turned and walked in the opposite direction. “Time to go die in a hole.”

“Brian, no!” Vicky caught his arm, pulling back. “So what if Polly’s also here? Doesn’t mean we can—”

She would have finished her sentence if she didn’t see Liam and Oz straight ahead. Oz nervously scratched his cheek as Liam spoke with a happy smile, even laughing. Her heart shattered back into a million pieces, finding herself leading Brian to the exit. “You’re right. Let’s go die in a hole.”

“You finally get me.” Brian took Vicky’s hands into his own as she tearfully nodded her head, almost as if they were waiting for a light from the heavens to cascade over their sorry asses.

It was Scott who broke up their dramatic moment. “We can’t leave! We just got here! What about dancing and having punch and being with all our friends?”

Brian and Vicky shared a pitiful laugh, but Scott’s puppy dog eyes were no match for them. In the next moment, she and Brian were sitting at one of the few tables in the gym while Scott went to get them all punch. Vicky couldn’t stop staring over at Liam and Oz, feeling the dredges of last night resurface. Brian leaned over, head hitting the table. “Didn’t work out with Liam, huh?”

“No. More like it was a total disaster.” Vicky let a disappointed sigh escape her lips. “He yelled at me and I slapped him in the face.”

“Ouch. Didn’t think you had it in you.”

“I didn’t either,” Vicky tried to focus more on Oz, who was trying to grab Liam’s hand. The vampire saw it and took his instead, causing the fear to blush even harder. “Oz tried to talk to me but I blew him off. Part of me thought he’d hate Liam too after what he did and leave him but … I guess Liam’s more important to him.”

Brian slowly lifted his head. “Hey, you might have beef with Liam but don’t go dumping that on Ozzie.”

“But he was there when Liam attacked me! Liam admitted he was using him to make me jealous!”

“Look, I don’t know the entire context, but Ozzie’s kind of a doormat.” The way Oz looked everywhere but behind was telling that he had spotted them earlier and was avoiding eye contact. “I’d hear him out before you go writing him off as a jackass. He probably thinks you hate him now.”

Vicky slumped her shoulders, her voice pouting. “Is it wrong that I kind of do?”

“Yes.” Scott arrived with the punch as Brian took one. He spoke into the red plastic cup. “Don’t make him choose.”

“Choose what?” Sitting himself down, Scott handed Vicky a cup. A smile was her thanks as she took it from his hands. Her thoughts should be focused on him, but all she could think about was Liam in the corner. What would he do or say if he saw her? Probably ignore her, just like he’d always done.

“Nothing, Scott.” Brian shot Vicky a wayward glance as she tried to get her mind off of last night. Her eyes fluttered over to the make-shift dance floor, pushing herself out of her seat. “Come on, let’s go dance.”

Scott followed behind as Brian chose to stay at the table and drink his punch in peace. Vicky’s moves were as awkward as it was to be in the same room as someone she physically assaulted. Scott didn’t seem to mind them; in fact, he was about as awkward as her when it came to his flailing arms. Some of his moves looked more like work-out positions than actual dancing. It made her feel less uncomfortable with the other monsters staring at them, letting the beat of the music flow into her body and her nerves out the other.

“Hey, Vicky!” The corpse stopped her outrageous dance move—which included two solo cups she found on the floor—to listen to Amira. Unlike her uncoordinated mess, Amira had style and flow to her mesmerizing movements. “You made it!”

“Yeah!” She swayed to the music in the lull, watching Damien not too far off impress a crowd of monsters with his equally sexy dance moves.

Amira stopped when Vicky picked back up her dance. She waved a hand in front of her nose. “Wow. That’s some rank moves.”

“Yeah, they suck pretty badly.” The embarrassment no longer bothered Vicky, though, coming from Amira her cheeks lit up.

Amira stopped her. “Follow me.”

Going slow, Amira led Vicky through a series of dance moves. It took her a few good tries until she got the rhythm down, successfully able to mimic what Amira was dishing out. “Yeah, baby, shake that ass!”

“I’m shaking it!” Vicky hollered back, forgetting entirely that Scott was right next to her until she found him staring at her.

Her face lit up, bringing her rear in until Scott started laughing. “Aw, don’t stop! You were doing so good!”

He even tried to mimic the move, which was so bad that Amira stopped dancing entirely to laugh at him. Vicky couldn’t help but also giggle, joining Scott in the funk.

Eventually, they took a break from their hard-partying to sit back with Brian, whose face was flushed red. The smell of alcohol was prominent in his speech. “Amira, hey.”

“Party of one, huh?” Amira slid right up on the table, clinking her plastic cup with his. “You’re brave for still coming.”

“Thank these two dorks.” Brian motioned over to Vicky and Scott, who had scooted their chairs closer to one another.

Amira flashed them a look, smiling. “Aw, such sweeties. Looks like everything worked out?”

Vicky softly smiled back, feeling Scott’s arm around her shoulder. “Yeah, tonight’s been perfect!”

“Since we’re all here …” The djinn’s eyes scoured the room until they landed on the corner opposite of them.  Vicky’s gut clenched when she yelled across the gym. “Ozzie! Get your ass over here!”

Oz startled, spilling his drink onto the ground as Liam shot Amira an annoyed scowl. After a brief moment, Oz walked over. The way he stared only at Amira meant he was purposefully averting his gaze from Vicky, who didn’t appreciate being ignored. “Uh, yeah?”

Amira ushered him closer with her phone in hand. “Let’s get a picture of all of us together. To remember this moment.”

Brian simply shrugged while Oz awkwardly glanced at Vicky. His eyes snapped back to Amira, probably because of the upset look she gave him didn’t help his situation. “S-Sure …”

Amira also ushered Vicky to come closer. She got up from her seat, Scott doing the same just as Amira held up a hand. “Whoa, big guy. Outcasts only.”

“Aw.” Scott sat back down while Vicky took her place. With her in the center of the photo, Amira instructed Brian to get on the table while Oz and Vicky were to take up positions on either side of her. Fiddling with the filters meant Vicky and Oz had to stay relatively close to one another; Vicky continuing to stare at him with a miffed look. He was trying his hardest not to look in her direction, she even thought she saw some sweat form on his skin. After everything he heard yesterday, why would he decide to stay with Liam? Maybe they weren’t such good friends as Vicky thought, crushing her stare into a depressed look.

“Smile!” Vicky’s attention went back to the phone above them when Amira shouted. Happiness sprung onto her face as she beamed at the camera, hoping it wouldn’t pick up the stress and awfulness she felt at the moment. With the picture taken, Amira lowered her phone to see the results. “Ooh, I dig it. I’ll send it through the group chat.”

“K great thanks for the photo gotta run bye!” Oz didn’t even look at the photo before dashing off, leaving the rest of them confused.

Amira glanced to the group to try and get some reference as to why that happened. “What’s with him?”

Brian let out a low grumble as he sat back down. Vicky was the only one frowning as she retook her seat. Just then Damien spun over to their table, fingers pointed at Amira. “Hey, hot mama. The dance floor’s gotten cold.”

She smirked back at him, hopping off the table. Each step she took released a small plume of fire, rejoining Damien to reignite the party. Vicky wished her love life could be just as easy as theirs, unable to help the envy that shot through her. “Uh, I’m feeling a bit funny.”

She checked over with Scott, whose eyes were having a hard time seeing straight. Now that Vicky thought about it, she also felt a bit funny. There was a small throb in the back of her head and her body felt just the slightest bit lighter than normal. She took another sip of her drink. “Huh, me too.”

“That’s probably the drugs kicking in.” Vicky’s mouth clamped shut as Brian poured some of his flask into his punch. “I like mine with a little more liquor.”

Shit, Polly did say she wanted to pump up the party, so when Vicky stared at the punch in her hands it became all too clear how she’d gone about doing it. Scott was about to take another sip of his when Vicky pulled down on his wrist. “Scott, no. The punch is spiked.”

“Really?” He slightly slurred, staring intensely at the contents of his cup. Or, about as intensely as he could with a thousand yard stare. “But I don’t seeee anything.”

“It’s dissolved.” She had already drunk half of her cup; if she stopped now hopefully the effects wouldn’t be too strong. Yet it was rather tempting to just chug all of it and see just how fucked up she could get. Maybe it would help her have a better time, maybe she could finally relax and forget about everything that was bothering her. Maybe finally she would be rid of these awful feelings about Liam.

“Aw, fuck it!” Slamming a fist on the table, she chugged the rest of her punch and even took Scott’s cup and drank all of his.

Brian grinned when Vicky set both cups down. “Enjoy the ride.”

Nothing had changed after drinking so much punch, just that she felt bloated and had to use the restroom more often. The longer Vicky hung out the party, however, the more her mind switched from anxious to all-out crazy. She was warm and jittery, happy and bubbly, and ready to tackle any challenge that dared to face her. She felt like she had climbed a mountain with her pinkie toes, punched a T-Rex and sang the Chucky Monkey theme song in the most alto voice imaginable.

 In what felt like three seconds she was back on the dance floor with Scott and Brian, back to her uncoordinated flailing. Someone had brought a giant sperm whale to the party and he apparently was also the new DJ to this insane party, going by S.P. Ern. Part of the roof had a giant hole blasted through it, there was a pile of lawn gnomes that monsters were using as make-shift pipes to huff anything that could be smoked and the bleachers were on fire with Damien and Polly performing a striptease smack dab in the middle of all the billowing flames. All of this could have been Vicky imagining it in her drugged state but she hoped it wasn’t that. With a loud cry, Vicky twirled through the crowd until she bumped into someone.

“Ey’, watch it!” Vicky spun to the offender until she realized it was Liam who she backed into. His cheeks were brighter than normal; no doubt he was under the influence of the drugs too. “Oh, it’s just you.”

“Yes, uh …” Vicky was not used to Liam having no ammo to fire back at her, seizing the opportunity. She had always been lacking in her boldness, but with liquid courage on her side, she couldn’t go wrong. “You know what I think about you? I think you’re trash. Purple, expensive, obscure trash wiiiith problems the size of a mini-golf course!”

Liam shrunk back all the while Vicky advanced, not realizing the other monsters around them were slowing their dance. “And you know what else? I don’t even care that you told me off and made me cry and shattered my heart into a million pieces! But I do care what you did to Oz! You better not be slinging him around just to hurt me or using him for your sparkly vampire needs!”

“Vicky?” Oz had hurried over to the scene when he heard shouting, while Brian was already on the scene, taking Vicky’s shoulders.

Despite being just as drugged, Brian seemed to have a better handle on his actions than letting the drugs take him completely like Vicky. “Hey, girl, you might want to quiet down.”

“I don’t need to be quiet!” She brushed Brian off her, pointing her finger at what she assumed was Liam. “Do you hear me, Liam De Golfcourt? You better be the best ffffucking boyfriend to Oz, or I’m going to kick your ass down the street and straight into the sun! I’ll tie you down and leave you to starve on the outskirts of a zoo, and I know how to do it too because I am a master sewer! I know so many stitches that your head will spin! My knots will send you to your demise! Do you hear me; I’m the goddamn knot master!”

The entire dance came to a halt, watching the ensuing drama. Polly was the first to respond with a hard laugh, her phone already pointed in the direction of Vicky and Liam. Snickers soon followed until it erupted into a full-blown choir of chuckles and giggles. The only monsters who weren’t laughing were the Wolfpack, whose skin was red hot and their hands covering their crotches.

Oh my god, Vicky.” Brian hissed through clenched teeth, trying to drag her off. Liam had crushed his cup in his hand, spilling punch over his skin and not registering it while Oz had covered where his mouth should have been.

“Yeah that’s right, laugh all you want! When you need a good knot to be tied you’ll regret you didn’t pick me to tie it!” Arms flailing, Vicky screamed the last of her words, ready to fight anyone that tried to say otherwise. She would have done it too, had it not been for someone hoisting her over their shoulder, recognizing the tail on the monster as Scott’s. With quick strides, Scott left the laughing mess.

Vicky’s anger immediately simmered into a goofy smile. “Hey, hey, we’re we going? I’m not done chewing Liam out.”

When Scott wouldn’t respond she focused on his rear, her hands pressing onto them. Scott stiffened which only made Vicky do it again. “Boop~ You got such a firm butt.”

Her hands tried to grope them when she was pulled off of his shoulders and pushed up against the lockers. His hands slammed onto the lockets on either side of her head. A low growl cut through the silence and she found some clarity at that moment. “Scott?”

Just when she began to think she went too far did he bend down to feverishly kiss at her. She moaned into his lips, allowing herself to slip back into madness while her arms slipped around his neck, pulling him closer. His mouth worked themselves off of hers, kissing her cheeks and jaw as it went farther down her body. It felt like hot magma wherever he kissed her, already feeling sweat form on her forehead. Her eyes snapped open when she felt his tongue lick up her neck a few times, trying to push him off. “N-no, no Scott. No neck.”

He paused for a moment, seeming to register her tone and words as he moved away from there. His hands fell away from the lockers to pick her up, stealing her lips again while her legs hooked around his lower waist. One of her heels slipped off her foot when she was hoisted into the air, seemingly not caring if she lost the other.  Not when she felt this high.

His fingers slipped underneath the left spaghetti strap of her dress, pulling it down her arm to expose part of her lacy, strapless bra. Everything he did seemed to bring her further into the insanity, feeling too hot to handle and wondering how Scott still held her when she was this scalding to the touch. She hoped he, too, was just as hot as her so that they could melt together and never stop.

“Vicky,” Her name came out in a breath, loving the way Scott uttered it. He continued to mutter it through their intimacy, listening as his voice lowered, his tone more possessive.

 One of her hands tangled into his hair as his lips slipped away to nip at one of the cups and tug it below her breast. His hand felt alien on her freed breast as he cupped it, thumb rolling over her stiffening nipple. She arched her back, gasping. “Scott!”

Vicky shuddered at the kiss he planted on the now perky nipple, soon followed by his tongue licking over and playing with it. His deep voice growled. “Mine. Mine.”

Another shudder coursed through her body, feeling a deep aching and how empty she was. Her hips ground against the bulge she felt growing when a beam of light encased the two. Her body was pressed tighter to his chest, hearing a very aggressive growl from Scott at the intruder. “Hey! Get a room if you want to do that, not in the halls!”

Her high was finally coming down; Vicky trying to rationalize what was going on when Scott bolted in the opposite direction. She was thrown over his back, having little time to grip his jacket and hold on. “Sc-Scott?”

His grip was iron around her waist, not responding when she called his name or asked what was going on. Scott was taking them somewhere, though, she couldn’t think where. The cool breeze of the night made her shiver when Scott exited out of the school and Vicky watched it grow smaller in the distance. Leaves crunching and trees swallowing them from behind told Vicky enough that they were entering the forest behind the school. It calmed her down more than she thought to have some idea of where they were.

The rocking was starting to get to Vicky, slowly losing consciousness, unable to feel Scott’s arm around her anymore. Her body fell off him almost instantly, but something caught her dress before she could completely fall to the ground. When she was placed back on him her fingers grasped hair, cuddling closer to the warmth the hair provided. The rocking was gentler as they moved; attributing the four feet she heard to the drugs she was hyped up on. No way could Scott move that fast.

The last thing Vicky could remember was Scott stepping up something, a light click and being deposited on something nice and soft. Her fingers tried to grab the cloth underneath her, too tired to open her eyes as a soft moan left her mouth. The weight around her shifted and the room grew a little warmer when she felt someone on top of her, kissing her gently. Her moans were just as gentle, turning her head to give Scott more access to her cheeks when he licked at them. His voice was strained like he was trying to focus. “Can I keep you?”

Her eyes peeked at Scott above her, his eyes swimming with insecurities and a deep hunger she had never seen in him before. Her thighs pushed against one another, letting another moan escape her parted lips. “Yes. I want you so badly.”

A low growl rumbled out of Scott’s throat, free of any aggression. It almost sounded possessive, Vicky ready for him to continue his onslaught and perhaps continue where they left off. Instead, he felt his finger drag over her lips to seal them, kissing her forehead. “Rest.”

At his command, Vicky felt her exhaustion and sleepiness overtake her senses. She dropped into a deep slumber.

Chapter Text

Vicky slowly rolled onto her other side, her consciousness floating back in as she murmured a quiet groan. Her bed felt much different than when she usually slept on it, more tough and bumpy than normal. When did she get back home? What time was it?

Slowly opening her eyes, Vicky expected to see her large window greet her, the translucent curtains unable to stop the rays of light streaming in. Instead, she saw a tan wall-paper lined wall with a crooked shelf nailed into it. A ragged, torn and dirty stuffed bear sat poorly on top of it, along with a chewed up Frisbee and a cracked frame. From her angle, she couldn’t see the picture inside, but that was the least of her concerns. She was in someone else’s house.

The fact hit Vicky, breathing newfound life and anxiety into her body to sit up. As she did she felt something tight under one of her breasts, soon realizing that her bra had been pulled down and her left breast was perky and free. Her hands readjusted the bra and her dress to hide it, her face turning a familiar shade of red when her thighs moved in a particular way and she felt a cold spot in her panties. She bristled. Nothing happened last night … right?

Homecoming was mostly fuzz and vague memories now. She could hardly remember what happened after she decided to overdose on Polly’s drugs, just some intense feelings of arousal and loud thumping. Whatever happened last night left her seriously aroused and she was in someone else’s house, racking her brain to try and remember more. She seriously hoped she hadn’t done anything to embarrass herself, that was the last thing she needed with all the drama in her life. The paper-bag-over-the-head look wasn’t going to be in for another five years and she wasn’t going to start early.

 “What do I do?” The voice came from the small window on the other side of the room. She recognized the whimper anywhere. “I almost lost it last night. What if I went too far? What if I—”

“Hush, you’re fine.” A new, definitely female voice spoke beside Scott’s. It was much older and more mature. It would have been easy for Vicky to suspect she was listening to a conversation she shouldn’t be hearing from two secret lovers. Honestly, however, that trope was so overdone, so tiresome, and annoying that she wasn’t even going to go there. She continued to listen. “You didn’t mate with her; that’s the important thing. This could have been a lot worse.”

Mate? That was an old word. With that one word, Vicky could piece together last night. Looks like she and Scott had gotten a little too frisky and almost had sex, a thought that excited and relieved her to know it didn’t go through. She wanted to be conscious for her first time, thank you very much.

Now that she thought about it, she hadn’t really thought about the possibility of going all the way with Scott before. Sure, she had fanaticized Scott shirtless more times than she’d like to admit during school, but sex? They had just gotten together in 48 hours so it would be a huge rush to suddenly want that.

And yet … Vicky did. Who wouldn’t want to bang a monster as handsome and sexy as Scott? He met all the qualifications to impersonate a Greek god and he was so loving to her already. She could only imagine how much more loving he’d be in between sheets, pleasuring them both. It made her squirm with a cute smile and her hands over her cheeks, suddenly wishing Scott was with her at the moment so she could feel him.

“What if I’m thinking about it?” Vicky’s heart skipped a beat, clutching the cloth between her fingers as fantasies rushed into her mind. Scott standing in front of the bed, working his way out of his shirt and sensually pulling down his pants to reveal the large bulge in his underwear. Him whispering her name, letting her feel his naked chest upon hers. He wanted her just as badly as she did. Her mouth clamped shut before her giddy giggles escaped and alerted the two outside that she was awake and listening in.

“You should wait. Get to know her better before you decide to do that. You want to make sure she’s the right one.” And just like that, Vicky’s giddiness left like a gust of wind. What, was she supposed to wait until they got married or something to do it? Sex was just a part of relationships these days, no way was she going to wait that long to pop her cherry.

“Yeah, you’re right … You always know what to say.” Her mood damped even more at Scott’s agreement with the woman. That’s probably why Scott stopped last night. She wanted to respect his wishes and she would never force him to do anything he wasn’t comfortable with, but she didn’t know if she could wait that long to get that intimate. Or even if she saw a future with Scott. Her thighs rubbed together, giving her light stimulation from the lingering fantasies. This was definitely something they should talk about.

Her breath hitched when she heard Scott. “I’m going to go check on her. Thanks for the advice.”

“No problem. You should invite her to breakfast if she’s up to it. I want to meet her.” Hearing this, Vicky dropped back onto the bed, pulling the covers back up her body and closed her eyes. Her ears zoned in on what she assumed was the door opening and closing alongside footsteps coming closer.

A hand nudged her. “Vicky, hey. You awake?”

She faked a sleepy mumble, slowly opening her eyes while stretching her arms above her head. “Scott?”

The football player stood over her, smiling to see her awake. “How did you sleep?”

“Not bad,” She sat herself up, looking over the room again like she was seeing it for the first time. What she hadn’t noticed earlier was the flat screen on the wall across from the bed, the nightstand on the right side and the laptop sitting on it. “Where are we?”

His smile wavered. “We’re, uh, at my place. I accidentally took you here after homecoming.”

So this was Scott’s house. It was a lot smaller than she imagined, or, the bedroom was smaller than hers. Then again, assuming Scott was rich was as ignorant as Miranda assuming the same thing. It looked like only two could live here comfortably judging on what she could see. Any more and it would have been a tight fit.

“Sorry I did that. I should have taken you home but I wasn’t in my right mind.” Scott sat down on the edge of the bed next to her, ears flattened. He seemed more embarrassed than upset over what he did.

Vicky scooted closer to him. “It’s cool.”

His ears perked up. “Really?”

 “Yeah, it’s whatever.”

Her hand took his, giving him a reassuring smile as he perked up. “So … my family is making a big breakfast this morning. You want to stay for it? I know they’d love to meet you.”

Scott never really talked about his family much, aside from that he has a mom that’s an Alpha and that he was related to the entire football team. Her nerves were already nibbling at her, but she decided to humor him for a moment. “Dunno. How big is your family?”

“Oh, huge!” He held his arms out to the side, emphasizing how large. “I got my brothers, my mom, Uncle Gary, Aunt Bessy, and their kids, Uncle Jason and Aunt Izzy, Grandpa Max and Grandma Jesse, the entire Wolfpack, and Cousins George, Bobby, Mary, Susan, Thomas, Harold, Bob, Tommy, Russell—” Vicky’s pupils shrank the longer Scott kept going. Eventually, he had to pull out his phone and start listing contacts, which never seemed to end. “—And Bobowaska.”

“So all of them will be at breakfast?”

“Yup! Well, not Bobowaska. He’s a hermit in the snowy regions of Russia. Likes to keep to himself.”

That didn’t make Vicky feel any better. Her stomach was sick at the thought of being around all those wolves, sticking out her tongue. “… I’ll skip this time.”

Scott’s ears flattened. “Oh.”

Her right hand instinctively went to scratch behind his ear, bringing back his smile and even a pleased groan. When his leg kicked the air and he gripped the bed she laughed, apparently finding a really good spot. A soft moan came from him and it rekindled the arousal she felt that morning. It would be easy enough to crawl onto his lap and push him down onto the bed, maybe have her way with him. But she didn’t want to be caught if breakfast was around the corner. She also remembered Scott’s earlier words and begrudgingly slipped her hand away. “Could you take me home? I should probably get there before dad punishes me even more.”

He nodded his head, getting up from the bed as Vicky did the same. He had gotten out of his tux and was back into his bright red football jacket and jeans, while she was still wearing her dress and the crusty makeup from last night. With one heel found she crouched down and checked under the bed for the other, unsuccessful in finding it. “Hey, do you know where my other heel is?”

“Not really,” He took her heel to give it a quick sniff, and then sniffed the air in the room. “It’s not here.” Great, there goes a hundred and twenty bucks. “If I find it I’ll give it to you, okay?”

“Thanks,” After collecting her stuff, which was really just herself and her purse, Scott helped her out of the small house.

Her first impression when she stepped down the steps and looked outwards was poverty. Everywhere around her were mobile homes; some new and a lot old with varying degrees of damage. One house had a clothesline set up with clothing already hanging to dry, another had several broken TVs littered outside of the place and one had large dirt holes scattered across its front lawn. Vicky turned back to see Scott’s place was also a mobile home, with a small patch of flowers growing along the side of the house and several toys strewn throughout the lawn.

It was eerily quiet, though, the sun was just barely rising above the horizon and Vicky couldn’t hear any cars where they were. Scott nudged her to continue moving, following him between the houses and towards the entrance to the park. She turned back to read the dingy, fading sign above the entrance; Howls.

Scott took Vicky home the same way he’d always been, with him giving her a piggy-back ride. In the recesses of her mind, she remembered a different riding experience last night, one with softer fur and quicker gaits. Part of her knew how Scott accomplished that experience and she stopped herself from going there. She didn’t want to think that Scott transformed right in front of her.

As per Vicky’s instructions, they stopped just before they reached the top of the hill, in case her father was up and about. She slid off his back, noticing how uncomfortable he seemed. “You okay, Scott?”

“Yeah, I’m just …” He paused for a moment, then shook his head. “Never mind. I’ll pick you up for school tomorrow?”

She remembered Scott saying he wanted to do that from now on after they decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend. She twisted a lock of her hair between her fingers. “Hm, sure, but let’s meet here so my dad doesn’t catch you.”

“Great,” His smile was soft and lovely, leaning down to give her daily kiss. She reciprocated, noticing their kiss lasted longer than normal, with Scott lightly humming. Her tongue brushed his lips, wanting entrance and he pulled away with bright red cheeks. “Be safe, okay?”

His ominous statement made her lose her playfulness, giving him a confused smile. “Uh, okay?”

It was enough to make Scott relax, turning away and jogging back down the hill. Scott was acting a little weird, weirder than normal, but he didn’t seem eager to tell her. Maybe he was still bummed about her not wanting to eat breakfast with his family, resolving to make that up to him another time.

Walking to her house in one heel, Vicky hoped her father would be down in the lab so she could sneak to her room, take a shower and pretend she was there the entire time. She unlocked the door and opened it to be confronted by a wall of green in a lab coat. “Vicky 13 Schmidt!”

“Uh … Hi dad.” Vicky nervously smiled, raising her hands as a sign of peace until her dad snatched one.

She was pulled into the mansion as her father shut the door behind her. “Where the hell have you been? I tried calling and texting you but you wouldn’t answer!”

His voice made her flinch, her dad’s lectures were the worst. Picking up her heel, she tried to play his anger off like he was in the wrong. “Relax, dad. I was at a friend’s house. Totally safe.”

“Well next time let me know that.” His glare turned into a frustrated sigh. “For a moment I thought you wouldn’t be around when the full moon hit tonight.”

“Whoa, wait.” Everything Vicky had thought of came to a halt, looking back over at her father. “That’s tonight?”

“Exactly! I even texted you that but apparently, my texts aren’t good enough for you.” Already her phone was out, scrolling through the several missed texts and calls. It was there, along with a bunch of other texts asking where she was and to call him. That’s why Scott was acting so funny, maybe he thought she’d get upset at him if he told her. “Anyways, I rented us a hotel room for the night.”

“We’re leaving?” Her father nodded at her question.

“I want to test a hypothesis and maybe we’ll finally get some sleep. Be ready by five.”

He didn’t linger any longer than he needed; going back down to the lab to tinker with whatever he did down there. Hesitantly, Vicky clicked her tongue, fidgeting in her spot. It was probably best that they did leave for the night, especially if Scott came back around. She still didn’t understand why he sought her out during the full moon. Was it because she was so familiar to him that she’d be an easy target?

It was a nauseating thought and one she stopped in its tracks. She headed up to her room without another peep, having a good idea as to what hypothesis her dad wanted to test. As much as she wanted to leave the house now, it wouldn’t do her any good to continue worrying until it was time to go.

Flopping on her bed, Vicky took to her social media accounts to try and pass the time. She was a little surprised to find a lot of messages on her pages from monsters she never knew about ‘knotting it up’ and even some dick pics that were both sad and horrifying. It wasn’t until she found herself linked in one of Polly’s posts that she got her answer. It was her screaming her face off at Liam at the party, threatening him to be a good boyfriend to Oz or she’d fuck him up while also proclaiming she was ‘the goddamn knot master’. The laughter in the background was more than enough for Vicky to grab a pillow and scream into it, kicking her legs on the bed. Of all the stupid, terrible things she could have done, she picked a goddamn fight with Liam and made a fool of herself. She still didn’t get the whole knot thing and why that was so funny or the dick pics, but if she had any inclination of trying to be friends with either Oz or Liam after this it was down the drain.

The video ended with Scott carrying her off while the crowd just pointed and laughed. She couldn’t be more thankful for Scott doing that, lest she say anything else to destroy her reputation. The way Scott acted was bizarre; he was stiffer, more attentive and swung her easily over his shoulders almost without a thought. She had never seen him act like that. Then again, they were hyped up on Polly’s secret stash, so maybe it was more the drug’s fault. He almost acted like an unthinking animal, and, going back to the state she found herself in that morning, it might have been truer than she thought.

She spent the rest of the day embarrassed and talking to Brian and Amira, who had no restraint with their teasing. Amira had a great night with Damien, listing off the different positions they tried and all the juicy details of fucking in the palace of Hell. Brian didn’t really know how to think about his situation, saying he blacked out shortly after Scott took her away and woke up at an abandoned children’s arcade with him and Polly naked in the ball pit. Even when she asked them about Oz it sounded like he had just as fun of a night, with Amira stating he’s been extremely happy ever since Liam took him back to his place for drunk sex. When she tried to press further on how Oz felt about her neither would open up, if they knew at all.

All of her friends had been fucked up that night except her. Envy went through her mind that she was still the virgin of the group, upset that she was stuck with the cute boyfriend who had higher standards than literally anyone else at the entire school. Whatever the case, a fire plumed in her guts, taking over her thoughts. She was going to get Scott Howl to fuck her to oblivion if it was the last thing she’d do.

By the time she declared this in her head it was almost time to go. She threw what she needed into her backpack just as her father came to get her, the two left shortly after. The hotel they stayed at was ritzier than even their house, with her having her own room and phone, which meant room service and refrigerator snacks.  After racking up a bill on just that, Vicky draped the fluffiest robe she could find in her room over her, laid on her bed and flipped through her text messages. She looked at the last one she sent to Scott yesterday about their plans for homecoming, checking the clock. It was well past eleven. Her thumb pressed the call button and let the rings fill her ears.

It went to voicemail almost immediately. “Hey, monsters on the other end! I’m Scott! I’m recording this message because Liam taught me how to do that just now!”

“How many times must we go over this?” Vicky’s heart sank when she heard Liam’s voice in the background, clearly annoyed. “Just tell them to leave a message and hang up.”

“But what if I want to talk to them?”

“You’re not actually talking to anyone. It’s just a recording so that when monsters, like me, want to call you we can actually leave a damned message instead of it rejecting our advances.”

“So … who am I talking to then?”

“For the love of—”

The voice mail ended there, probably because they ran out of time. Vicky shook her head at Scott’s dumb antics when she heard the loud beep that let her know she could speak. “Hey Scott, it’s Vicky. I know tonight’s a full moon and you’re probably not in your right head at the moment, but I wanted to leave this message. You don’t have to feel like you need to keep things from me. I’m a big girl and while a lot of this stuff with werewolves stills scares me I want us to be open with one another.”

The sentiment was sweet and she would have ended it there, had she not felt a flirtatious nature come over her. If she wanted to capture Scott’s lust then leaving a trail of breadcrumbs would only help. She spoke slower, her voice airy. “I miss you so much, Scott. I can’t stop thinking about you when we’re apart. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow, waiting for and on me. You’re such a good boy, my good boy~”

If that didn’t light a fire in his guts then she’d have to step up her game. She playfully giggled at her own ingenious idea. “Don’t play too rough tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye~”

Her lips kissed the air near the phone just as she disconnected from the call. Soon after, she snatched a pillow, squealing into it while her legs kicked wildly in the air. She couldn’t believe she just said all that, to Scott no less. It was almost too agonizing to wait until tomorrow to see the fruits of her labor, hoping this would kick Scott’s butt into gear.

After dicking around on her phone for a few more hours Vicky finally conked to sleep, only to be rudely woken up by her dad in the morning when they had to leave. It was a lot earlier than Vicky would have liked but she brought zero things to get ready for school, so it was necessary they went home so she could get ready on time.

Upon arriving at the house, Vicky’s heart leaped into her throat. Their new front door had been knocked into the house, with deep scratches hollowing out the middle. Her father was the first to get out of the car, his tone serious. “Stay in here and do not come out until I tell you to.”

Vicky wasn’t going to argue with her dad on this, allowing him to go inside first. An uncomfortably long time passed until her father came back out, motioning for her to come inside. Baby steps were all she took over to her father, who was now carrying his pistol. “It’s not here. Must have left when it realized we were gone. I’m so glad we decided to leave, who knows what it could have done.”

Aside from a few things knocked over the house seemed untouched. Her dad left her to go back to her room where an unusual surprise waited for her. She grimaced at the wet spot on the ground in her room, but her attention rested solely on her heel on her bed. The same one she had lost the night before. She picked up her shoe and took careful examination of it, equally surprised and unnerved. “Wow, he found it.”

“He?” Vicky gasped, turning around to face her father, who lingered at the door. She quickly realized the corner she trapped herself in, eyes darting up to her father. He narrowed his. “You came home with one shoe one. That’s the missing heel, isn’t it?”

“Uh, yup!” Vicky nervously giggled, feeling the need to hide it behind her back. “I lost it at my friend’s house, but I asked him to drop it off if he found it. Guess he did last night.”

“Your friend came over after this?” He gawked. “After our house was broken into?”

“He probably wanted to make sure we were okay.”

“Is this the same friend you slept the night with? Who you were so distracted by you didn’t respond to my texts or calls and you lost a heel at his place? Is this also the same monster who’s been dropping you off and the supposed ‘friend’ that’s picking you up today?”

“Um …” Technically one time was Liam, but to answer yes would lump him together with Scott. She didn’t like the look her dad was giving her, her shoulders hunched. “What are you getting at?”

His eyes narrowed even further, Vicky waiting for her dad to accuse her of seeing a werewolf. Then, his glare sprung into a knowing smirk. “You have a boyfriend!”

Well, he wasn’t wrong. An awkward smile was her response while his smirk grew. “I knew it! Honestly, Vicky, do you think I’m that judgmental as a father that I’d forbid you from dating anyone?”

“Kind of?” Vicky rolled with the punches, walking over to her door. “But whoops, I should get ready for school! Gotta freshen up for my boyfriend!”

Her dad’s hand beat her to the doorknob. He cocked an eyebrow, still smirking. “I want a name.”

Her heart dropped back into her stomach. “Uh. Well, I mean, what’s in a name? Do we really define our whole lives, our very center of our being on just a single word?”

“You’re not philosophically getting out of this. I just want his name and then you can go get ready for school.”

A name. She could just tell him it was Scott, but she knew her father. He was someone who didn’t leave any stone unturned; whatever name she gave him he was going to do extensive research on. She couldn’t endanger Scott like that. But hey, Scott just gave her a million different names yesterday, and she was sure she could come up with some random joe’s name if she put some effort into thinking about one. So long as she didn’t say Scott, nothing could go wrong.

Liam.” Of course, that was the only option that was objectively worse than just saying Scott. It just came out so naturally and he had been in the back of her mind since last night. Her stomach sickened at the immediate regret she felt, wishing she could have a do-over.

“Liam?” Her father blinked, looking slightly nostalgic. That wasn’t a look she expected from him. “I’ve heard that name before. Somewhere.”

He stared off into the distance while Vicky faked checking the time. “Yeah, well, I really have to get ready dad. Please let me go?”

When he came back to the world of the living his hand slipped off the door. “All right, young miss. You can keep him a secret from me for a little longer, but I want a proper dinner night with him sometime soon.”

“Aw, dad,” Vicky tried to playfully mask the deep and petrified situation she had just placed herself in. With a slam of the door, Vicky waited until she heard her father leave to groan into her hands and sink to the floor. How was it that every time something went right she found a way to royally fuck it up? She should think about writing a book on how to get someone to loathe you because that’s exactly what was going to happen with her and Liam, if he didn’t downright kill her for this.

Dragging her hands down her face, Vicky stood back up and went to turn on the shower in her bathroom and hopefully wash away the disgusting feeling she had for herself. If things weren’t interesting already, things were now getting spicy.

Chapter Text

Being late was not something Vicky was used to, but she was pushing it today. She had caught herself monologuing about her situation in the shower, so she spent little time grabbing her clothes and throwing them on. Her hair was still drenched, using the socks on her feet to shuffle around on her carpet as fast as she could. When she built up enough of a charge she applied it to her hair, sending all those delicious volts to naturally poof up and dries her hair. The burning smell was abnormal, but nonetheless, now wasn’t the time to worry about it. She raced out the door minutes later.

When she found Scott, he was resting on the side of the curb, staring glumly at a few orange and brown leaves on the ground. Her sprint slowed, dubious if her voicemail caused that reaction.

Then he caught a glimpse of her and perked up. “Hey!”

“Hey, Scott.” They both embraced one another a tight hug. “How was last night?”

“Oh, you know. The usual.” His shoulders tensed but he tried to play it off with a half-hearted shrug. “I still haven’t found your heel. I really thought I was close yesterday.”

No mention of the full moon. Vicky took Scott’s backpack and slung it around her back while he bent down. She was a little surprised he couldn’t remember the night; maybe he had some validation for last month. It made her feel like an even bigger asshole for it, that’s for sure. “You already returned my heel.”

“I did?” His shoulders bunched again, suddenly forcing a smile. “I mean, yeah! I did! Must have forgotten! But now you got your pair back, so everything’s okay!”

“Yeah …” Vicky slowly frowned. By now he should have fallen to the ground, begging her to take him. Did her voicemail have no effect on him? She leaned close to his ear when she got on and Scott took off for school. “Did you get my voicemail?”

“Voicemail?” He slowed for a moment until he picked back up momentum. “Nope! What’s a voicemail?”

She almost bit her tongue, baffled at his response. “You know, voicemail! You can leave a message if someone doesn’t pick up their phone?”

“You can do that?” Scott’s apparent interest only put her on edge.

“Scott, you have a voicemail set up! Liam helped you with it?”

“He did?” This was getting ridiculous. “Oh, but I did see something new on my phone! I don’t know what to do about it and it’s freaking me out!”

It wasn’t until they got to school that Scott showed Vicky his situation. She exchanged him his backpack for his phone, noticing the icon signifying that he had a message. “See? You got my voicemail.”

“That’s a voicemail?” He took back his phone to inspect the alert. “What do I do about it? Is it bad? How do I get rid of this alert?”

“Here,” her finger hovered over the icon after he angled it down for her. “You just go to your inbox and listen to it. Nothing special.”

“Like this?” His finger almost tapped the button just as she let out a gurgle of a scream.

The phone practically fell from his hands when she slapped his wrist down. He caught it before it could greet the floor. “No, no, not while I’m here! You should totally listen to that when you’re alone and no one else is around to hear it!”

She gazed up at him with crazed eyes, her teeth bared like a rabid animal. Her reputation was already tarnished; she did not need anyone to hear her secret and lusty voicemail aside from the intended. It was almost not worth it due to all the stress it’s been giving her. Scott gave her a wild stare but pocketed his phone. “All right. I’ll let you know when I hear it!”

Her limbs jelled with the threat gone; giving him a pitiful and relieved look. “Thanks …”

Together, they took one another’s hands as they begun their ascent up the stairs to school. It would be their first day at school as an official couple, already anticipating what the other students will say. Vicky Schmidt, the most terrified of werewolves now dating one. How brave of her! How courageous of her to push past her fears and get into an interspecies relationship!

“Sup, Knot Master.” Her confidence died in a matter of seconds when Polly floated by her, shooting finger pistols her way. “We need to talk asap about all those knots you know~”

A groan escaped her lips but Scott’s cheery mood kept her from walking back out of the school to never return. Funny stares, snorts, and hidden laughter were the responses she got, deciding to embrace the humiliation instead of shy away from it. With that her grip on Scott tightened, puffing her chest out and feeling proud for being the laughing stock of the entire student body.

They parted when Vicky had to go to class, and luckily it wasn’t that long when a wrecking ball came through the windows from a failed dance move on the possessed wrecking ball’s part. Thus, Vicky got let out early along with the rest of the class.

While touring the halls, she came upon two small tables set up near the cafeteria, with a giant blob with a backwards cap behind one. Valerie sat behind the other, busy taking selfies of herself while Vera sat alongside her, showing her something on her phone. It got the two laughing. ‘Let’s Go Skiing! Greeting Cards for Sale!’ was scribbled on the banner taped to the table the blob sat at, while an electric sign proclaiming ‘Vera’s Powdered Donuts’ sat on the girl’s table. Vicky knew Valerie from when she had to buy a blowup pool, a pack of used diapers and the world’s most dank sticker book for a moment she didn’t really want to remember. She still thought she paid too much for it all.

The blob noticed Vicky. “Hello, new friend! I’m Blobert, what’s your name?”

Even though Vicky had never seen this monster in her entire life, something about those black eyes of his had already won her heart. She felt all her anxieties and stress melt off her just like its floppy form like it was the best day of her life. “I’m Vicky!”

“What a nice name!” Blobert’s compliment made her giggle. Vera just eyed the two with a smile, which seemed way too nice for someone like her. “We’re selling donuts and greeting cards to help the school raise enough money for a field trip to the alps over the winter break!”

“Wait, seriously?” It almost sounded too good to be true, with Blobert nodding his head about as well as a giant mass of blob could.

“The school hasn’t done this in over fifty years! But thanks to Vera we convinced the board to let us set up a fundraiser to get the money so we can go! Would you like to buy some greeting cards and donuts to help support our cause?”

“Yeah, buy our shit and get us a vacation,” Valerie leaned near Blobert’s table. “I’m going to scream if we’re stuck here for another dry Christmas, so you might as well spend that sweet money here and give us all a sweet treat.”

Ignoring Valerie, just from Blobert’s voice alone, Vicky would have showered him in credit cards and all her jewelry. “Fuck yeah! I want to go on a snowy vacation!”

“Me too!” Aside from the metal box on Blobert’s table to keep the money, a few plastic bins full of cards was what Vicky had to choose from. She fingered through the cards, pulling out one that caught her off guard. ‘Sorry I lied to you about my boyfriend and hid the fact that he’s a werewolf from you for so long. I love you lots and hope that you can find it in your heart to accept him for who he is.’

“Wow, these are oddly specific.”

“Isn’t it great? Whenever you need a little help in a tricky situation, greeting cards can always make things better.” His smile was so pure, so innocent. If Vicky didn’t already have a cinnamon roll Blobert would have been a for-sure must-have for her.

“They work super well,” Valerie pointed her phone at Blobert, who smiled for his photo. “I got out of going to jail for selling illegal drugs on campus grounds once. I have a stash of them on me in case of emergencies.”

That was good to know. Flipping through the other bin, Vicky also found another card that piqued her interest. ‘If I made you feel uncomfortable I never meant to. I still value our friendship and I’m sorry if I hurt you or made you think I hated you in any way. Also, your cardigan is amazing and you’re a ray of light in my life.’

This would come in handy as she put it with the other card she had found. She skimmed the rest, looking up to Blobert. “You wouldn’t happen to have one for breaking the news that I lied to my dad about who my boyfriend was and asking for their vampire help to bluff my way through it, would you?”

Blobert pursed his lips. “Sorry, but I just sold my last one a few minutes ago.”

That made her question just what poor sucker was in the same boat as her. And maybe to figure out whom they were so she could steal their card. Two was good enough, but Vera piped up just before Vicky could make the purchase. “Don’t you want some donuts with those sentimental cards?”

Several boxes and bags of powdered donuts littered Vera’s table, slipping one of the larger boxes near her. Her venomous look was poisoning in itself. “You wouldn’t want us to fall short of the vacation by just a few bucks, would you? You want this vacation just as badly as us, so a little extra dough would only help us closer to our goal.”

“Yeah, like, what’s your problem?” Valerie wrapped an arm around Vera. “My sister worked super hard on these donuts. She spent hours in the kitchen making them and they’re going to a good cause! You’d be like, a metaphorical monster to pass up her hard work.”

“And Vera’s donuts are super delicious!” Out of nowhere an opened box of donuts sat on Blobert’s table. It was bright blue, unlike the pink boxes Vera was pushing on her.

Vera let out a sweet, innocent laugh, which was two words Vera shouldn’t be associated with. “Both of you are so kind. I couldn’t ask for better company.”

Vicky shrunk when her venomous look sharpened. “Now … how many boxes should I put you down for?”

With Blobert’s angelic presence and Vera’s malicious stare, Vicky walked away sixty bucks short with two greeting cards and two boxes of powdered donuts. The donuts were almost three times the price of the cards, destroying her appetite for them. They better reach their goal for swindling her out of that much cash.

When she wasn’t thinking about how empty her wallet had become her thoughts drifted to fluffy snow and nipping cold. A snowy vacation would be the perfect getaway; skiing in the mountains, relaxing with some hot chocolate, partying it up with her friends and having some quiet moments with Scott.

Next period was theater, where they spent the entire day doing more rehearsals. She gave one of her boxes to Juan, who seemed really eager to get his hands on the donuts. He could have them for all she cared.

In her haste to get out of the house this morning, Vicky forgot to pack her lunch, and she was short on cash to buy any. Looks like she was having donuts for lunch. As she spied the lunchroom she noticed Scott hunched over a table, checking his phone. The closer she got the brighter she noticed his cheeks, answering her question on if he heard her message. She slid into her seat, a teasing smile on her face while her hand slid over his. “Hey, baby.”

“H-Hey …” He swallowed whatever he was eating, his voice a little dry. “So, um …”

“Yeeeees?” Her finger made circles on the back of his hand, batting her eyelashes a few times. Finally, her plants were going to bare their fruits.

“I sort of … forgot the instructions you told me on how to listen to that thing.” Like that her fruits exploded; face reddening the more he talked. “And you told me Liam knew about voicemail sooo …”

“Oh my fucking god,” Shame was all she felt, burying her head in her hands. “Just. Stop. I don’t want to know anymore.”

Yet Scott persisted, also hiding his face. “Liammighthaveheardtheentiremessageandi’msosorryi’mjustasembarassed!”

“Scoooooooott!!” Vicky nearly slammed her head onto the table. Of course it was Liam. Everything about her life had Liam thrown somewhere in there. She didn’t know what cruel story she was put into to have everything embarrassing and shitty about her be relayed to him, but she wanted out of this terrible romance plot thread immediately.

Her hands were getting tangled in her own hair, pulling them to stop the stress overdose in her body. Just thinking about Liam gave her heart attacks; she wanted to jump out the nearest window if she ever saw him again. What a cruel twist of fate that she now had an overpowering fear for the very same monster she lusted over and the monster she feared she now passionately lusted over.

“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry!” Scott lowered his head as if her words beat him down, resting his arms and head on the table. “Do you hate me?”

With a few deep breaths, Vicky pulled one hand out of her hair to tussle his. From her sigh and his pleased hum, it was clear it was calming both of them down. “No, I don’t hate you. The damage is done, might as well own it.”

Intensity burned in her eyes, her voice the most serious it’s ever been. “Let’s fuck, Scott. Let’s show the entire school our unbridled, hot love for one another!”

His mouth dropped to the table, sitting upright. “Wh-Right now??”

“Yes!” She swatted Scott’s lunch and her box to the ground, threw herself onto the table and lift one leg up into the air. She hoped she wasn’t the only one seeing the anime sparkles surrounding her, arms extended, screaming. “Take me now, you precious hunk of wolf!”

In her right mind, she didn’t expect this to work. She wanted her first time to be somewhere private with maybe a bunch of candles and a soft bed; not the hard, gross cafeteria table in front of all of her peers. But dammit she was getting impatient.

Scott’s entire body locked up and she could see a mixture of arousal and terror fighting for control, especially with the crowd of students closing in on them. She saw he wanted her and he wasn’t one to get especially shy about anything, so why wasn’t he taking the bait? Sweat formed on her skin as she awkwardly continued to hold her pose, lips pressed together. Regret was the only thing she could feel now.

“Eey, go Knot Master!” Polly was not helping her feel any better, especially when she got her phone out and held it out to record whatever came next.

“Looks like someone got into Vera’s donuts.” Her eyes snapped over to the other side of the table, right over to where Brian was peeking into her box. He lifted his head, nibbling on one. “You high, Vicky?”

She didn’t get Brian’s context clues, but he was giving her an out if she ever noticed one. Tapping into her inner drama queen, she faked a hearty laugh. “Vicky? Who’s Vicky? I’m Turtleofstopus, the Star Lord! I deliver stickers to good elderly people in assisted living homes!”

Her act sent a unanimous groan through the crowd, along with several ‘false alarms’, ‘man, this fucking sucks’, and ‘I wanted to see some hot sex’. Polly was the only one who wasn’t disappointed, head turning when everyone went back to their seats. “Huh? Come on, the fun’s about to start!”

“Here’s your fun, Polly.” Brian pushed the rest of the box of suspicious donuts onto Polly, who gasped.

“Oh, yaasss! Vera makes the best cocaine donuts! Mine!” Snatching the box, Polly grinned as she pulled a striped straw out of her back pocket and began to snort the cocaine right off the donuts.

With the rest gone, Vicky exhaustedly dropped her limbs. Scott scratched his head. “Wait, what just happened?”

“Vicky is loopy right now. I wouldn’t take anything she says seriously.” Brian helped Vicky up and off the table. “I’m going to take her to the nurse.”

“That makes sense,” Scott lowered his ears, taking one of Vicky’s hands before she was dragged off. He spoke loudly. “Uh, I don’t know if you can hear me right now, but I got a game on Saturday that I really want you to come too. Text me if you can!”

How Scott attributed loopy to deaf was one of those unsolvable riddles about Scott. She nodded her head then realized she should still be acting. “Thanks, Mr. Garbanzo! I’ll bring you stickers next week!”

Brian tried to lead her away but Scott wouldn’t let go. He tugged her back for a moment, whispering into her ears. “I’ll be more open about stuff. I love you.”

Like a paper in the wind, her thoughts and her act blew away, leaving her entirely empty. His hands let her go, allowing her to drift away with Brian, her eyes lingering on him. She didn’t notice Brian had taken her outside or his scowl. “Look, I get it. We’re all thirsty fucks but you gotta have some self-control. Even I was cringing from that desperate cry for sex.”

Ashamed was she should have felt but her cheeks were too warm, her hands cupping them. Brian lost some of his scowl at her lack of response. “Vicky?”

“Scott said he loved me.” Her blush spread to Brian, who looked away and stuffed his hands in his pockets. Her rampant obsession with fucking Scott ceased and from its ashes sprouted a new kind of unbridled passion.

“Well, you better do him right.” Was all Brian said in return while Vicky absentmindedly nodded her head.

“I’m going to make our first time the best.” Saying the words felt like her mind had finally come back to earth. Her earlier horniness had been replaced with an eagerness to plan the best first sex.

“I’m going to head back to lunch. You might want to hide somewhere until class.” Brian walked past her back to the doors to the school.

Vicky watched him walk off. “Wait, how are you with Polly? Did things work out?”

His hand landed on the door but didn’t push through. He gave her a bittersweet look which was enough to paint the picture as he went inside the building. She felt sorry for her zombie friend, figuring she should take him out for a drink to talk about it later. Right now, she needed to hide.

The bathrooms were always a great place to get away from everyone and just sulk in one of the stalls. Lunch was already half over, so she could just hang out on the toilet and listen to music until it was time to go back in. Upon opening the door, however, she saw Oz with his face close to the mirror. He looked more than concerned, his hands touching his neck and quietly whispering to the sprouted phobias. “Aw come on. I should have just brought the scarf …”

It didn’t look like he noticed her; she had time to leave before he did. But Vicky silently closed the door behind her, trying to keep her voice gentle. “Hey, Oz.”

Even when she wasn’t trying to scare him it didn’t work. He let out a yelp and turned towards her, showing off his problem. Two puncture wounds were clearly visible on his neck. “Vicky! How uh … I mean … What are you doing here?”

“Going to the bathroom?” He visibly slapped himself on the face.

“Right. Duh.” His eyes still wouldn’t meet hers, which only caused her grief at this point. The cards were still in her back pocket from purchasing them, hand tapping them just to make sure.

She tried to smile and set the atmosphere. “Got yourself a vampire hickey?”

His hand covered his neck, faintly blushing. “I-I forgot my scarf at home. I can’t go back out looking like this.”

If only that was all Vicky had to contend with. She chuckled without meaning to, noticing the hurt it garnered from Oz. “Trust me, after what I just did no one will be talking about your bite mark.”

Her response seemed to loosen him up. “Do I want to know?” His tone was lightly playful, edging Vicky to come closer.

She continued to laugh. “I sprawled myself on a cafeteria table and asked Scott to fuck me.”

“Oh my god, really?” Soon Oz was chuckling with her. “You’re crazy.”

“Crazy in love, I guess.” Vicky noticed how close they were in the mirror, having not been this close in weeks. It didn’t matter though when the laughter died down and the silence became too great. Their heads instinctively turned away, like it was wrong to look at one another. Unable to take it anymore, Vicky’s hand grabbed the card, thrusting it out.

“Here!” They startled, having said the exact same thing down to the card in their hands.

A quick exchange had them holding the other’s, Vicky opening the card up. ‘I never meant to be so distant. I didn’t know how you felt about the whole situation and I thought you might have hated me. I’m sorry I never talked to you until now, but I still want to be friends and you’re an awesome monster in my life. PS: Your sweater is dope.’

“Aw, Ozzie,” Vicky lowered the card while Oz seemed to share the same feelings.

He rested his hands on the sink. “I knew you liked Liam as much as I did, but I thought it’d be wrong of me to ask you to give him up for me. I mean, what if he didn’t like me? Then neither of us would get him. I never thought he’d like me so much though, and after that things just got complicated really fast.”

“Yeah, I know.” Vicky leaned back on the sink right next to his. “I started developing feelings for Scott and soon I didn’t know who liked me and who I even liked.”

He let out a defeated sigh. “I thought you hated me for the longest time since I basically stole Liam away from you. Even at the party, you seemed like you wanted nothing to do with me. I really wanted to talk to you but I got too scared. I’m so sorry for treating you like that.”

“Oz, I should be the one apologizing.” She rested a hand on his shoulder, garnering his attention. “You didn’t steal Liam away from me. It was clear he never liked me; there was no competition. I over thought things and hurt myself in the process, but I never intended to hurt you too. I thought you just wanted to be friends so you could get closer to Liam.”

“I could never throw someone under the bus like that.” Oz shook his head, lifting himself off the sink. “You’re crazy, but I miss talking to you. I really want to go back to being friends.”

She did the same. “We are still friends, Ozzie. I’m sorry this ever came between us.”

Arms open, Oz accepted Vicky’s hug. She squeezed him as hard as she could but had to start calling uncle when his started suffocating her. They let up with a light laugh. It felt so good to be talking again.

Vicky had taken a seat in the sink as Oz went back to staring at himself in the mirror, perplexed as to what to do about his situation. “Do you remember homecoming?”

He angled his chin a different way. “Not much. It’s all pretty fuzzy.” He awkwardly smiled through his eyes. “I did see that video Polly posted.”

“Yeah, well, even though I was out of my mind I mean every word of it.” She winked at him. “You tell me if Liam ever treats you wrong and I’ll kick his ass. You deserve the best.”

His eyes sparkled at her remark, then dulled just for a brief moment, like he was contemplating something. “Same. I hope you and Scott have lots of great times.”

When he didn’t seem eager to leave his reflection Vicky hopped off the sink and moved closer to him. “Take off your cardigan.”

Oz was confused at first but did as he was told. He handed it to her as she then draped it over his shoulders and tied it at the end. “There.”

He looked at himself in the mirror, snorting. “I look like some rich guy about to leave for tennis practice.”

“Well, that makes two of us.” She was already pulling her sweater over her head and tying it loosely around her shoulders. Her finger made the perfect fake mustache. “I must say, Ozzie boy, the fields today aren’t nearly as trimmed as they should be. What do they take us for, barbarians?”

Her grin was growing as Oz snorted some more, forming a mustache under his nose. “Quite right, Mr. Vicky! We should send a letter to the department of rich assholes to see that the fields are trimmed accordingly thanks to the underpaid lower class!”

“I like the way you think, Ozzie boy!” Unable to keep up their funny accents any longer, they nearly split their stomachs open with the laughter that came next.

Their attention was caught at Oz’s phone beeping. He faintly blushed when reading the text. “I should go. Liam’s asking where I am.”

“Go and knock him deader than he already is.” She gave him a playful hit on the arm, sending him over to the door. His eyes smiled until they didn’t, already opening the door halfway.

A tired sigh washed over Oz and he closed the door. “I can’t do this anymore. Liam lied to you.”

At that moment her eyes widened, her peace of mind ripped away from her. “What?”

“I know. He wanted me to not tell you but I hated keeping it secret for so long. I couldn’t stand how much it hurt you.” Oz gave her a defeated look, startled when Vicky came at him.

“No Oz, Liam’s right! Why the hell would you tell me that? I was finally right in my head and then you screwed it up!”

“Shit, really?” The panic had spread to Oz. “Aw fuck! I’m sorry! Just pretend I never said anything!”

“It’s too late for that! You opened up Pandora’s box of questions!” She latched onto his arms, keeping him from leaving. “What do you mean he lied to me? Did he lie about all of it? Part of it? Are you saying Liam still likes me? That he would go out with me?”

“Nope, nope, I said way too much!” Her hands grasped nothing as his body changed shape, slipping out of her fingers. His hand was already on the door, pushing through. “Gotta go, Liam needs me!”

“Don't you run from me!” She lunged for the door just as it was smacked in her face.

“I’ll text you later! Good luck with Scott!”

“Ozzie!” By the time she opened the door, Oz had disappeared. She let out an annoyed growl and stomped her way back into the bathroom, unable to process this new piece of information. This news shouldn’t bother her at all; she had a great relationship with Scott. Liam had made her feel like shit for the last several days, the name alone causing fear to grip her chest. This shouldn’t change anything.

Yet the idea that his kiss wasn’t a prank, that he was genuine in his actions when he did it … it made her heart and head hurt. She clutched her chest, letting out a shaky sigh. “Goddammit, Oz.”

A poor reflection stared back at her, disappointed in herself for letting this distract her as much as it was. She was slow when speaking to herself. “I am with Scott. This isn’t going to affect anything.”

With that, Vicky removed herself from the sink and exited the bathroom. She had a loving boyfriend and a football game to cheer him on at. The vampire had dug his own grave by mouthing off at her at Polly’s party and making her cry. She wasn’t going to let her weak heart sway her now, not this far in.

She was going to conquer this route and seal the deal with Scott, no matter the hurdles.

Chapter Text

Never before had Vicky been so excited to go watch football on a Saturday. The team had been practicing hard the week before the game, with Vicky watching them during practice. At first it was just to watch Scott, but eventually—after finding a stashed box of energy bars and water in the back closet on a rainy day—she started helping them by supplying snacks and beverages. Even if she got squeamish around the rest of the team, ever since she and Scott became an item they completely stopped their sexual harassment. In fact, they were kind of nice to her? It was too bizarre having come to know them as jerks for all her time at school.

The game was on home turf; their first play of the long season. Vicky tried to do some research on the game but ultimately decided to work it out after being bombarded with so much information. All she knew was that football season meant a lot of Saturdays out on the field, but maybe this was something Vicky could get behind.

Scott had practice early in the morning before the game, which meant Vicky had to get up too. She was definitely not a morning person, so she yawned and munched on some breakfast burritos she bought during his session. Knowing she’d be in the hot sun all day Vicky brought a sun hat along with a long-sleeved shirt, her short shorts, and thigh-high socks to keep herself warm from the autumn breeze blowing in. Halloween was just around the corner, which meant Vicky had to ask Scott what his plans were before the last second.

Once practice was over, the team hung out in the gym, waiting for the game to start. Scott stayed by her side while the rest of the wolves were socializing, playing around or telling dick jokes.

His tail fluttered with wags as her fingers stroked his hair. It had become a favorite pastime for both of them, with Scott laying in her lap while Vicky worked her magic fingers. “Do you think we’ll win?”

Vicky came out of her earlier daydream. “Definitely! You guys have been practicing so much. There’s no way you’ll lose.”

Scott wagged his tail faster, lifting his head to peck her lips. She returned the butterfly kiss just as Scott sat up. He searched his body until he procured a worn bracelet. “You know what this is?”

“A bracelet with your name on it?” She half-expected him to agree and drop the conversation altogether.

“Exactly! But it’s also my lucky charm.” His eyes turned nostalgic. “I’ve brought this to every game ever since I found it and it’s helped me with some close calls.”

Confusion lined her features when he took her hand and placed the bracelet on her palm. He curled her fingers around it. “Now it’s yours!”

Vicky didn’t understand the gesture, trying to return it. “Scott, that’s not how lucky charms work. You need to keep it on you.”

“I know, but I want you to have it. In case you ever need a little bit of luck!”  

His smile was almost too perfect, giving the worn bracelet a sweet look and put it away. “Thanks,” When he then held out his hand a puzzled stare overcame her. A crisp high-five was what she gave in return, but that didn’t work. “You want it back?”

“Nah, I want something from you now!” Pressure that wasn’t there now settled on her shoulders.

She fidgeted nervously. “Uh, like what? I don’t really have anything sentimental like your bracelet.”

“That’s fine. I just want something of yours to always keep with me. Maybe it’ll become my new lucky charm.” His eager, puppy-dog stare made her sweat. The gift he had given her was worth more than anything on her at that second, her hands digging through her pockets. There was her wallet but she didn’t want to die from the wrath of her dad. Her phone wasn’t an option and some gum wrappers lining the bottom would just be an insult. Her hands played with her hair anxiously until they came upon the hair band she’d used to tie her hair up into a bun. They hastily worked it out as she garnered it a look. It was one of her more favorite ones—with a blue beaded flower on the side—but it wasn’t something she’d go on an epic quest to retrieve should someone steal it to be used as the final ingredient in raising the dark lord.

Her smile wavered as she gently laid it into Scott’s waiting hand. “Heeere you go.”

The little band caused Scott to perk up, flexing it in between his fingers. “Aw, it’s got a tiny flower on it! And it’s blue!”

Vicky giggled at his awe while he stashed it away. “I’ll take extra good care of it! Maybe some more flowers will grow on it!” Her first thought was to correct Scott that the flower was fake, but he was gushing so hard over it that she decided not to ruin his fun.

“Ey, Scott! Get your gear on, it’s time to knock some skulls!”

Josh strode over carrying both his and Scott’s helmets. He tossed a helmet as Scott caught it in one hand. “Thanks, bro!”

“You should go grab a seat.” Josh addressed her, grinning like an idiot. “Make sure to root extra hard for us!”

Vicky was already out of her seat, nodding determinedly. Scott did the same with a goofy smile. “I’ll see you after we win?”

“For sure,” Vicky took one of his hands. “Go get them, my silly wolf.”

A high-pitched whistle from Coach stole their attention. “All right, team! Let’s go over the plan one more time!”

“Gotta go!” Scott took his hand back and leaped off the bleachers to meet with the pack while Vicky took this moment to exit out of the gym and back towards the football field. She knew events like these were packed and was still surprised at how many monsters had attended. The bleachers were gushing with waving limbs and bodies. She saw a few familiar faces, like Damien and Amira sitting together and sharing some hotdogs, along with Polly hooting and hollering by herself on the sidelines. Miranda had her own area set up, complete with a lounging chair and serfs to spray her with water, which several other monsters eyed enviously. Vera even had her own space in the middle of the bleachers, where monsters all around were throwing money at her while she wrote things down in a journal. No doubt bets to see which team would win.

The daunting predicament of finding a seat dawned on Vicky. She really should have left sooner to get a good spot; she didn’t want to stand like a few groups of monsters were doing at the moment. Glued to the massive crowd, her eyes almost didn’t see the monster she was about to run into. She caught herself before she bumped into the woman, who was carrying multiple tinfoil wrapped hotdogs, chips and a few beers in a bag.

Bright blue eyes cut through to her soul and she immediately felt insignificant and feeble. A strong desire to step out of the way and proclaim her greatness overtook her when her gaze dialed back. Now the woman seemed more curious than anything.

Vicky held up her hands. “Sorry, my bad.”

But before she could walk off the woman had her wrist in her hand. “Wait. Do you have a seat?”

Vicky could have sworn she heard that voice somewhere, maybe from a student when she was passing them in the hall. Her grip faintly reminded her of how Scott would always grab her. “Not really. Been looking for one.”

The woman soon smiled. “I got an empty seat. Come sit with me.”

Not that Vicky had much of a say as she was being dragged away. As she turned to follow, she noticed the black tail sticking out of her pants, her hairy arms, and wolfish ears. Was she a family member of Scott’s?

Up they went into the bleachers and past the crowds into a more secluded area overrun with werewolves. Immediately she tugged on her arm in hopes that she would slip through and lose herself in the crowd, but the lady had a grip of iron. She was led straight through the massive horde of wolves and sat directly in the middle of all the screaming, yelling, boisterous noises and grabby arms.

As soon as the lady sat down the rest of the werewolves sought her attention. “Did you get the food?”

“I smell food!”

“Mine better have extra onions! I wanted extra onions!”

Clawed hands of all shapes and sizes came straight for them. Vicky let out a yip and buried her head into the lady’s arm. “Okay, settle down! I got your food.”

Vicky nervously lifted her head the moment the voices quieted down. The lady didn’t even flinch from all the incoming hands as she rummaged through her bag. Every hand left with either food, drink or both. In fact, Vicky was even handed a tin-foil wrapped hotdog with a warm smile. “I bought extras, so you can have one.”

She took the peace offering, more focused on the lady than her newly acquired food. “Why are you being so nice to me?”

A small grin formed on her face. “Is it wrong for the mom of your boyfriend to show some kindness? What sort of family upbringing did you have?”

Vicky nearly squeezed her hotdog into mush. “You’re Scott’s mom?”

“The one and only,” She unwrapped her own hot dog, not bothering to chew first and talk afterward. “Name’s Gloria. Nice to finally meet you, Vicky.”

Just knowing who the woman was brought back the earlier pressure and amplified it by ten. Gloria’s skin tone and eyes were just like Scott’s, but the black pixie cut and her short stature didn’t match. That didn’t stop her from exerting an aura of power, which had to come from the fact that she was the alpha of the entire Howl family. No added pressure.

A swim jacket was loose around her lean body, which wasn’t what she pictured. Scott’s mom always popped into her head as someone with rippling muscles, shark-like teeth and a beard so full it made Scott look like he had peach fuzz. Her awkward stare must have gotten through to Gloria, who waved a hand. “Don’t worry; you don’t look tasty enough to eat. I don’t care if you’re not alpha material so long as you make my Scott happy.”

Another wolf peered out from beside Gloria, who seemed a lot timider and self-conscious than the rest of the family. His short blonde hair was as warm as his brown eyes. Gloria noticed him. “Oh, sorry. And this is Robbie, my husband.”

Robbie held out his hand for Vicky to shake. “Nice to meet you. Scott talks about you a lot.”

“I’ve been told more than once.” Vicky took back her hand to unwrap her hotdog. That was Scott’s dad? He looked nothing like him, and neither of them had brown hair. Maybe Robbie dyed his? “How did you know who I was?”

Gloria simply needed to touch her nose but added a wink to get her point across. “I must say, I had something else in mind when Scott told me you were ‘an electric corpse’. I thought he was going to bring home this giant eldritch monster from the 5th dimension or something along those lines.”

Vicky tried to imagine Scott bringing home something like that. “Sorry, guess you’re stuck with me.”

“Shame. I was really looking forward to that eldritch monster.” Gloria sighed dramatically. Her playfulness then changed to seriousness. “Scott told me you’re not comfortable around other wolves.”

“Ah, yeah,” Vicky scooted closer when a wild arm swung her way. “I’m actually not comfortable at all right now.”

“Don’t worry, I’m with you. No one is going to touch you if I say so.” She pat her knee. “But I get it. I was the same when I was younger. They get a lot friendlier when you become part of the family, trust me.”

Vicky didn’t really understand, but Gloria didn’t give her much time to think about it. “Has Scott talked to you yet about our culture? I know he’s told you some things.”

Vicky nodded her head. “Yeah, Scott’s been filling me in on a lot of stuff. It helps a lot.”

“Well has he talked to you about—” A sudden outcry from below masked her words, apparently some wolves were hungrier than others and tried to steal food.

Vicky flinched at the cry only to realize Gloria was waiting for her response. To ask her again seemed rude, and from how her gaze affected her earlier she didn’t want to disappoint her. It was probably something trivial like why Scott had the urge to piss on everything. “Yeah, totally!”

Her response seemed to work out some tension in Gloria’s face. “I’m glad. I told Scott to talk to you as soon as possible but I know he can get distracted so easily. Good to know he was on the ball.”

“Yeah, Scott’s been awesome.” Vicky tried not to blush too much thinking about her wonderful dork. She couldn’t wait until he pranced onto the field in his getup.

“Well, whatever you two decide is between the both of you. Scott only says nice things about you and you don’t smell like a threat. I’ll welcome you with open arms into the family if that’s what you decide.”

Vicky awkwardly smiled back. Odd that Gloria felt like she needed to have the family talk when she just met her. It wasn’t like Vicky was planning on marrying Scott in the next week. That was something to decide way later down the road, if Vicky even wanted to go that far with Scott. Maybe his mom was just old-fashioned—

And then it hit Vicky like a sack of bricks. The voice was familiar because she had heard it right outside Scott’s window that morning after homecoming. This was who Scott was seeking advice from. Old-fashioned was an understatement, this lady was all against sex before marriage; her brick wall in trying to reach Scott.

It soured her mood but not for long when the monsters around her started going nuts. The teams came running out with arms in the air, garnering yells of adoration and adrenaline from both sides of the field. For their school, the entire cheerleading squad was made up of succubi. Even with the modest cheerleading outfits where was no hiding their curves and bouncing breasts, which they seemed fond of showing off. No wonder the football team was constantly horny with girls like those egging them on.

Vicky winced every so often whenever the werewolves around her went crazy, but for the most part, she got to enjoy the game. She nibbled on her hot dog and watched Spooky High vs. Creepy High, which was a team comprised entirely of golems. They weren’t agile or fast but made up for it with how many wolves they could tank through once they had the ball.

Scott’s family was constantly yelling and shouting at almost everything. “Come on, Thomas! Bite its fucking head off!!”

“That was a foul and you know it! If you don’t correct it I’m coming down there myself and shredding you to bits!”

“Don’t be a wimp, George! Get in there and really mess them up!”

It was too much at the beginning, now it was almost white noise by the last quarter. Gloria didn’t hold back either. “Come on Scott! Let’s go Josh! Make mama proud of her boys!”

Vicky could see the fire and excitement dance in her eyes as the game continued on. It took her half an hour to figure out which one was Scott and afterward she focused solely on him during the rest of the game. The clock was ticking down to its last minutes and the teams were basically tied, with Spooky High starting with the ball. With a quick snap, the golems rushed the team, knocking down several teammates as the ball flew out of the mess and into Scott’s hands, who was already making his way towards the goal.

Vicky threw herself out of her seat, screaming at the top of her lungs. “Go Scott, go!! You got this, nothing can stop you now!!”

Except for the golem that was booking it straight behind him. He was the only one on the team who could actually run as fast as the wolves, diving for Scott at the last second. Vicky nearly covered her eyes only to see through the cracks Scott dive for the goal, his feet barely escaping the golem’s grip and landing him safely behind the white line. The timer clocked out at zero and horns blared incessantly.

 Vicky had never felt more alive at that moment, hopping up and down and performing the craziest jazz hands she could imagine as the crowds rushed down onto the field. So this was what it was like to be a football fan; Vicky could never go back now after this.

While families reunited, Gloria ran over to Scott, who picked her up and flung her around in his arms. Vicky sat back down on her seat, content to just watch from afar as Josh was also ushered over by Gloria, giving him a tight hug and a noogie. Robbie stood by and watched until Josh pat his back which resulted in him eating grass.  

Scott truly came from a family of animals. Loud, boisterous, and animated animals. Vicky was starting to grow fond of it. Maybe she could learn to love a family like this, noticing Scott wave at her for her to come down. She picked herself up from her seat, leaving those thoughts for the future and rushing down to join in on the fun.

Chapter Text

“So you don’t think this makes my butt look ugly?” Vicky took her eyes off of the mirror to glance over at Amira, who was resting on the only seat in the dressing room. Three full-body mirrors were positioned around Vicky, who was clad in only a lacy bra and even lacier panties.

“For the last time, you look fine, girl.” Amira groaned as she finished up a text to Damien.

“I know, I just, I don’t know!” Vicky gave herself another look. The navy blue was pretty but she just couldn’t decide on if she looked pretty wearing it. “I want something that will get Scott hard from just looking at me, you know? I got to make this first time special; one that’ll we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives!”

“I think Scott seeing you in any underwear would get him hard.” Amira stepped up from her seat to stand beside Vicky. “Look, if you’re not excited about it then you don’t buy it. It’s that easy.”

Vicky puffed her cheeks at her reflection. “I’m not excited about it.”

“Then we’ll get you something else.” Vicky sighed; this was the fifth outfit she had tried on since they got to the lingerie store. There were only so many times she could ogle herself in the mirror before it became tiresome.   

After Vicky switched out to her clothes, the two left their stall to go back out to the front. Several other monsters were shopping for the same things they were as Amira directed her back over to the humanoid section. Vicky let out another sigh as she put back the lingerie where they found it and continue to skim what was left.

Amira eyed her. “Don’t get depressed on me. This is supposed to be a fun outing. We’re buying you sexy things, that’s always fun.”

“Yeah,” Vicky ran her hand over the plush bras in one particular drawer. “I’m just nervous. What if Scott doesn’t want to have sex so soon? What if he really wants to wait until he’s married? I don’t think I could wait that long or commit to wedding him just for that.”

“Well, let’s get some priorities straight.” Amira stopped her search. “Do you like Scott?”

“Yeah.”

“And you like being with him?”

“Course.”

“You’re not just with him for the sex, correct?”

“Yeah.”

“So is it such a deal breaker if he doesn’t want to immediately fuck?” Amira waited on Vicky, who looped a few strands of hair around her finger.

“Well no … but I would like to do it.”

Amira rested a hand on her side. “I think you’d get a lot more accomplished if you just talked to him about it instead of throwing yourself on a table and ordering him to take you.”

Her cheeks turned pink at the reminder, hearing Amira’s smile in her voice. “And if you do find out Scott doesn’t want to have sex, be okay with it. There’s nothing sexier than respecting your partner’s boundaries and what they’re comfortable doing. If that’s such a deal breaker for you then you know it wouldn’t have worked out. But don’t force him to do something he’s not whole-heartedly consenting to.”

Vicky felt slight relief at Amira’s words, nodding her head. “Yeah, you’re right. Next time I see Scott we’ll talk about it.”

“If you want my honest opinion though, that boy is lusting for you hard.” Vicky’s cheeks brightened, wringing the panties she’d just picked up.

“Huh? Really?”

“Definitely. The wolf is hungry and he wants to feast on little blue riding hood.” She bopped Vicky’s nose with her finger. “I don’t know why he’s holding himself back, but I don’t think you need to worry about getting his libido started.”

The thought brought a dazed smile to her lips, giggling at the sudden lewd thoughts. Amira shook her head and went back to searching. “Oh, look at this!”

Her giggling stopped when Amira held up a baby blue bra, complete with a small bow in the center and a lace outline. Excitement overtook Vicky and with their eyes connecting Vicky was sent back to the dressing room with a matching bottom and thigh-high stockings.

“I’ll look for some other stuff, brb,” Amira called from beyond the door. Vicky took her time getting the outfit on but when it was all adjusted she gave herself a long look in the mirror. The bra was plush and super comfy, her butt framed perfectly thanks to the panties and the stockings were just as silky smooth as her underwear.

Unable to help her growing giddiness, Vicky gave herself a wink and blew an air kiss at her reflection. “Hey there sexy.”

When she heard the door knock Vicky let Amira back in, who carried a small handful of things. Vicky struck a pose for her. “Well?”

Amira’s smile grew the longer she stared. “That’s the best one yet.”

“Right? This is the one, I’m totally buying it!” Her eyes were still trained on her reflection, wishing it was Scott she was staring at. Finally, she had some ammunition for this battle of lust.

She was starting to pull down the panties when Amira held up a hand. “Hold on girl, I found some other things you might like.”

Vicky stepped over to see what Amira had picked up. Her face blew up in red when Amira delicately lifted a red collar up from the pile, dangling it in the air. “They said they could put a name tag on it and engrave it~”

Vicky tensed at just the thought of it around her neck. She never thought about wearing one before, always regarding the article of clothing to goths and actual anthropomorphic monsters. But the thought of it resting snugly around her neck as she knelt in front of Scott, feeling his hand in her hand and praising her, “My good girl …”

“U-Um …” Vicky choked, the image wrecking her mind and intestines.

Amira laughed. “Too much?”

“More like the final nail in the coffin if my dad found it in my room.” Vicky tried to calm herself down by loosely pulling on her hair.

“Yeah, that would be catastrophic.” Amira set the collar back down, moving to pick up a pair of handcuffs. “How about these? Nothing says power play more than getting handcuffed.”

 The metal glistened in the light, Vicky forcefully smiling. “Um, maybe later. Not having control is a little scary.”

“Don’t knock them until you try them.” With a wink, Amira set them back down. “Hm, let’s see …”

The third item Amira held up was a long ribbon which matched her outfit. “What about a blindfold? It really helps to heighten all your senses when you can’t see. Even the pleasure.”

She even wrapped the ribbon around Vicky’s eyes, encasing her in darkness. Vicky tensed again, laughing nervously. “I don’t knoooow. I want to see for my first time.”

“Girl, you’re not working with me.” Amira lowered the blindfold. “Or are you just that vanilla?”

“I’ve never done this before! I don’t think I should get that freaky my first time.” A small pout worked itself onto Vicky’s face.

Amira lowered her hands. “Getting freaky is what makes it even better. But fine, how about this,” Moving behind Vicky, Amira brushed her hair back and pulled the ribbon around her neck. Vicky felt a small jolt of anxiety at the fabric on her skin, trying to stay calm. After a few seconds, she felt the ribbon rest snugly around her neck. “There.”

Vicky was left staring at herself in the mirror, a large bow resting behind her neck. Amira peeked over her shoulders, practically seeing stars in Vicky’s eyes. “I look so cute.”

“You look damn sexy is what you are.” Amira gave her a firm pat on her shoulder before standing up. “I think we found the perfect outfit. I’m ready to hit the food court if you are.”

Vicky eagerly nodded her head, undoing the bow around her neck when a knock came from the door. “Occupied,” Amira responded, hearing a gasp come from the other side.

Vicky knew that gasp from anywhere, though she almost didn’t want to believe it. Rushing over to the door, Vicky threw the door open just in time. Oz was almost out of sight, attempting to drag Brian with him as the four locked eyes with each other and the little red undergarment in Oz’s hands.

“Uh-Uuuuuhhhh …” Oz squeaked. There was no escaping the vicious grins of the girls. In minutes, Oz was standing before the same mirrors Vicky was beforehand, wearing the bright red underwear he had been clutching tightly in his hands.

“I don’t know, is it too red?” Vicky rubbed her chin, still in her own lingerie while Amira and Brian stood behind the poor fear manifestation.

“I kind of like it. It really pops compared to all the black.” Amira was in the same position, nodding her head.

“No, I think Vicky’s right. It might be too red.” Brian leaned near Oz, uncertainty lining his features.

“Please, just let me die …” Oz weakly muttered, his entire body quivering.

Vicky popped beside him. “Aw, come on, Ozzie! Don’t be like that. Though, why were you in a female lingerie shop?”

Oz trembled even more. “W-Well, Liam is always saying how he finds mainstream ideals to be a bore, so-so I thought maybe this would um … pique his interests?”

“Yeah, I could see him being a closet freak about men in panties.” Amira understood as she shifted her attention to Brian. “What’s your excuse?”

“I found him standing outside the store.” Aside from a simple shrug, Brian wasn’t anywhere near as rattled as Oz about getting caught. “I said I’d go in with him and help him pick something out.”

“On the basis that we’d not tell the others!” Oz nearly shouted, his face getting redder with every passing second.

“Too late.” Vicky poked her tongue out, gripping his shoulders as she stared at their reflections. “Look at us; both getting all dolled up for our boyfriends. You should get a bow too, to accentuate that juicy neck.”

“C-can I please have my shirt back?” Whimpers were all that made up Oz’s voice now. Amira needed only to hold it up as he snatched it away, swiftly pulling it over his chest. Even if he was still pantless he looked more relaxed.

“Okay, so why else were you here?” Amira asked Brian.

“Why else? To get a costume for Halloween.”

“That’s soon?” Vicky stopped playing around with Oz as Brian cocked an eyebrow.

“Yeah, it’s like a week and a half away.”

“What?” Her hand was on her phone, eyes lighting up at the date. “Crap, you’re right! I don’t have any plans or a costume yet!”

“What do you usually do, Vicky?” Amira gave Oz a quick glance as he scurried to gather the rest of his clothes.

“Nothing, that’s what I did! Dad used to take me out as a kid but he stopped when I got older and no one treks up to our mansion for candy!” She threw her hands into the air. “I cannot spend another Halloween locked up at that mansion. I’ll die of boredom!”

“Settle down,” Amira held her hands out to make Vicky lower hers. “You know, it’d actually be nice to do something as a group. I don’t have any plans made, do you, Brian?”

“Nope, but I do know Polly’s going to be throwing a massive party in New Westshire.”

“Oz?” The fear had just zipped up his fly, back in his old attire. He seemed less embarrassed now, rubbing the back of his neck. “I tried to get Liam to make plans but he doesn’t seem that interested. Says doing anything on Halloween would be ‘too mainstream’.”

“Then it’s settled. I say we all meet up and do some trick-or-treating on our way to Polly’s party!”

“I’m down.” Brian was already typing the event into his calendar, while Oz pulled out his phone to do the same.

“Yeah, I’m for it.”

“Vicky?” Amira then looked to her.

Her hands fiddled with her bra. “It sounds amazing, but I’ve never been to a human city. I’ve heard horror stories about the blatant racism that happens over there.”

“They’re usually more tolerant of us on Halloween.” Brian pocketed his phone. “Or, at least, they can’t really stop us if we’re all coming in hordes. Some humans just think we’re in costume.”

“And if they do try to give us grief we’ll just torch their asses.” Amira demonstrated with a quick lighting of her fingers before extinguishing it.

It had been a while since they all did something together. Gaining a sense of confidence, Vicky smiled. “All right, let’s do this!”

“Sweet! Let’s go get costumes while we’re here then!” With plans made, the group waited outside as Vicky got redressed and paid for her outfit. Afterward, the group toured the mall until they found the seasonal Halloween store, which was showcasing some new suits from the hit game Pokemans. It was a bit crowded with Halloween so close, but they managed to work their way through the other monsters to start their search. With costumes in hand, it became a dress-up montage of everyone taking turns trying on their costumes with the approval or disapproval of their peers. Luckily for Vicky, she found a costume she liked in the first three outfits she’d picked.

The rest were still trying out costumes as Vicky made her purchase and added her bag to the ever growing pile of stuff she had to carry. She couldn’t wait to show both to Scott and decided to linger around Oz while Brian and Amira were trying on other costumes. “Nothing speaking to you?”

“I kind of like this cloak,” Oz pulled out a green cloak off the rack. “But I can’t find anything that goes with it.”

“It is nice.” Vicky rubbed her thumb over the fabric, scanning some other racks to try and find something that matched. Oz kept the cloak with him as he followed.

“So, have you and Liam talked since the party?” Vicky paused her search, feeling that familiar spike of fear at his name.

“Not really, no. I haven’t really been trying to find him.” She turned away from the racks, narrowing her eyes. “Speaking of which, you want to elaborate on that juicy bit of information you squealed about?”

Oz this time didn’t flinch. “I don’t want to get stuck in the middle of that. Look, Liam came with me to the mall when I branched off to go …” His eye twitched, “Explore. He texted me that he was waiting in the food court when I was done.”

Vicky blinked for a moment, feeling like she understood what Oz was implying. “You want me to go talk to him?”

“I don’t like seeing the bad blood between you two. Makes me feel like I always have to pick who I want to see and that’s kind of stressful.” Oz went back to looking through the rack. “I’m not forcing you to, but if you want to talk to him, he’s here.”

While Oz went on searching, Vicky took a moment to think on his proposal. It would be good to talk to him and finally resolve this issue, but just imaging him right next to her left a bad taste in her mouth. Still, she made up with Oz and she didn’t like the idea of putting him in an awkward spot. She was deep enough in the pits, how much worse could she bury herself? “Thanks, Oz. I’ll take the offer.”

“Good. And when things are all cleared up, let’s go on a double date sometime.” He winked.

Vicky responded in kind. “Good luck finding a costume.”

Pushing her way through the ever-increasing population of monsters in the store, Vicky made quick steps over to the food court to finally confront Liam. He was easy to spot since he was the only purple vampire around, plus the lunch rush had just died down, so there were very few monsters looking to grab a bite. Liam seemed engrossed in a plate of Chinese food he’d picked up, carefully nudging some chopsticks into the perfect position.

Seeing Liam didn’t bother her too much, it was the idea of going over and talking to him that really freaked her out. She wondered if he’d even humor her or just tell her to leave. To try and calm down her nerves Vicky took a few deep breaths, steeling herself.

Whatever happened, happened. If she could love a werewolf she could sure as hell talk to a douche vampire.

“Are you going to come over here, or not?” Her nerves went crashing out of her body when Liam spoke up and gave her a dull stare. She really had to remember the boy could smell her.

Feeling slightly dejected, she awkwardly sat across from Liam, who pushed his food out of frame and set his phone down. His tone said just how done he was with the whole thing. “I knew this was inevitable after Oz shared with me his blunder.”

“Right?” Vicky rested her arm on the table while the other one was thrown up. “Like, things were fine as they were but now it’s back to chaos.”

“Yes, exactly!” Liam rolled his eyes. “But he thought that was ‘wrong’ and ‘immoral’.”

“Has he not seen Spooky High? Wrong and immoral are practically part of the curriculum! We’re supposed to be doing the stupidest things in our lives at this moment because we can!”

“See? You get it!” Liam leaned back in his chair, groaning. “I swear he can be cute when he wants to do the right thing, but this isn’t one of those moments.”

“Yeah, he’s adorbs.” Vicky left out a huff; at least they were bonding over something. “So, you want to tell me what you lied about?”

“Hm? Lied?” He curiously stared at her. “I didn’t lie about anything.”

His response hit her out of left field. She didn’t know whether to be pissed or very confused. “Wh-Then what the hell were we talking about earlier?”

“Oz?” Liam cast his glance elsewhere, but with a snap of her fingers, they flickered back over.

“Oh hell no, you’re not lying your way through more bullshit. You tore me down that night specifically to be an asshole, so I have a right to know what you lied about.”

“You don’t have a right to anything.” Liam sat back up, peering down at her. The same gaze that tore her down that night had returned and for a moment she started to shrink under it.

She almost relented until she slammed a hand on the table, forcing herself to scowl back. He was not going to rip her to shreds again. “Liam.”

They didn’t say a word, just keeping their gazed fixed on one another. Her skin crawled the longer she stared into those yellow eyes, every bone in her body wanting to flee or profusely apologize. Just when it felt like she couldn’t handle the staring contest any longer Liam broke contact first, pushing himself back into his chair. “Why do you care to know? I thought you were happy with Scott. Or is he just your rebound when I wasn’t an option?”

That made Vicky slam the table again, only this time it caught Liam off guard. “First off, fuck you for even insinuating that I would be solely using Scott as a band-aid to heal my broken heart over your sorry ass! I’ll have you know that he’s a delightful and lovable boyfriend and that I’m ecstatic to have someone like him care about me!”

“Then there you go! You don’t need me or need to know what I do and don’t lie about!” Liam waved his arm to the side. “Honestly, this is crossing over into borderline obsession! Why can’t you just drop this whole situation and move on with your love life?”

“Obsessed?” Vicky practically scoffed. “I should be asking the same question!”

“Oh, this should be rich.” Liam’s fangs peeked out from under his lips. “Please, explain how I’m the one constantly following you around and initiating contact even when you don’t want to talk to me!”

Vicky threw her hand into Liam’s face, pointing to one finger. “Let’s see, you felt it was your obligation to lock me in a room with Scott to try and ‘test your hypothesis’ about if I was afraid of werewolves.” She went to the next finger. “Then you lingered around me during theater and when me and Scott were having a private discussion! Third, you fancied my insane attempt to drive me home and kissed me when you dropped me off! Fourth, you dressed Scott up as a hipster to get me to like him more, which clearly meant you understood where I stood with you and decided to help him by making him exactly you! Do I need to go on?”

“I did that so you would get off my back!” Liam shoved her hand away, entering her personal bubble. “And all your ‘reasons’ are poor excuses with even poorer reasoning! Do you know why I’m not telling you what I lied on?”

“Because you’re an asshole?” Vicky didn’t care her voice was rising, she wasn’t going to back down from this fight.

“Because of this!” Liam’s words echoed throughout the entire food court, garnering the attention of every monster nearby. His eyes widened when he realized he was heaving, slowly backing down while Vicky lowered her hands to the table. When he spoke again it was a lot calmer and restrained. “What would you do if I did say I liked you? Would you suddenly gamble with your own relationship just to see if you could end up with me? Would you be okay with stabbing Oz in the back for that? For leaving Scott?”

Her frown deepened, holding back a scoff. “Of course not! I would never do that to them.”

“Would you really?” His stare was so powerful it felt like he had cracked open her skin and stared straight at her soul.  “Just now, you were hesitant to come over and talk to me. You could excuse it as you believing I still hated you, but let’s not lie to ourselves. You’re still unsure about me. Somewhere deep inside you still believe that you have a chance, and that’s why you’re so desperate to know. If I truly meant nothing to you after that night I scorned you, you wouldn’t care to know the answer.”

 Vicky couldn’t believe what Liam was saying. She stood up from her table, shouting. “I can’t believe you! You’re so full of yourself that you think I’m hung up over you? Go to hell! I—!”

But the longer she thought about his words, the more her voice drifted away from her, the wider her eyes grew and the more disgusted she felt at herself. “Oh my god …”

He was right. Liam was right. It was enough to make her fall back into her seat, objectively horrified with herself. She buried her face in her hands, trying to hide her grimace. “What is wrong with me? I shouldn’t even care but I do! I care so goddamn much about this!”

“That’s why I’m not telling you.” Liam’s tone was much calmer than her irrational one. “You got issues that only you can fix. Telling you the truth isn’t going to solve your problem.”

“Won’t it?” Vicky looked up from her hands. “If you really didn’t feel anything, if it was a joke, then why would you hold that information back when I can’t move on?”

Liam let out a begrudged sigh. “Because you don’t need to know. I was trying to help you get over me by berating you as I did, to move on.”

He clicked his tongue. “Only now Oz has done more damage than he’d ever thought by interjecting. Thus, we are locked back into this vicious cycle.”

Vicky kept her eyes down at the table, feeling a well of sadness and bitterness wash over her. Once more she felt like a fool for ever believing she wanted to chase after him. Her voice was quiet. “You really hurt me bad, Liam.”

“I know. Maybe I was a bit too harsh and for that … I’m sorry.” His apology came as a shock to her. “I didn’t know how else to change your mind.”

“We could have just talked.” Vicky slowly lowered her hands back down to the table.  

Liam kept his lips shut and she saw something flicker on his face. Doubt, perhaps regret. “At the time I thought I’d only make things worse.”

Vicky pursed her lips. “Don’t you mean it’d?”

Liam seemed to realize his mistake too, his voice not so sure anymore. “Er, yes. I thought it’d make things worse.”

There was digging to be had with that error, but Vicky was too tired to start. Exhaustion overtook every part of her, feeling gross and ugly just being near Liam. “I’m sorry for all the drama. I’ll leave you alone now, so you don’t have to deal with my stalker ass anymore.”

She scooted her chair back and stood up, ready to go home, lock herself in her room and berate her stupid emotions until she felt nothing. Liam’s sigh kept her from leaving. “You’re being overdramatic.”

“How?” Vicky turned back, feeling a well of tears just ready to come streaming down. She took a shaky breath to keep them at bay. “I was a nuisance and a stupid girl who crushed too hard on you.”

“Maybe, but I don’t hate you or want you out of my life.” Vicky felt something light up in her chest while Liam’s gaze softened. “You can be … kind of cool. When you’re not a lusting, awkward high school student. And I think you’re good for Scott.”

Without a word, Vicky sat back down; feeling like she was dangling on what he was going to say next. “I wouldn’t mind calling you a friend. But please, move on from me. It’s not helping you or anyone else if you continue to linger on these feelings.”

His words lightly stung but also gave her some relief. The need to cry left and she felt like she could breathe again since they began fighting. Liam was right again, it would be better for everyone if she finally nipped this in the butt. “Okay.”

Liam relaxed as if he’d been doing the same. “Thank you.”

Vicky didn’t know exactly where to go from there. She knew she had some deep-rooted feeling she had to pick apart and remove later on, but for now, she focused solely on keeping Liam in the friend zone where he belonged. Even if she still didn’t have her answer, it was best to let it drop and pretend the kiss never happened.

Liam went back to his phone while Vicky pulled out hers to do the same. “Hey.”

“No, you can’t eat my art piece.” Liam pulled the plate into the center, shooing Vicky away from her seat with his hand.

Part of her wanted to stick her hand into his fried rice just to get a reaction out of him. She decided not, at least, not this time. “Can I get your number? If we’re going to be friends I think that’s sort of a normal thing for friends to do.”

Liam hunched and Vicky thought he’d say no. He then sat up. “Why not? Just don’t spam me like a certain werewolf. My time is precious.”

Vicky smirked. If only Liam knew he was digging his own grave. “Sure thing.”

They exchanged numbers with Vicky lingering on Liam’s contact information. She never thought she’d get his name on her phone after everything that had happened, and even if things were still rocky she figured they could get to a better standing together.

When she was done with her phone she noticed Liam was eyeing her lingerie bag. At first, Vicky thought something might have been showing, but as far as she could tell everything was neatly boxed up and kept at the bottom. “So you’re serious about Scott?”

Or maybe he was a closet freak and knew about female lingerie lines. Vicky felt awkward but nodded her head. “I want to have our first time be special, so I’m not skipping any steps.”

“That is rather sentimental, but I wouldn’t lose your head if it doesn’t go as planned.” Liam set his phone down again. “Has Scott mentioned mating with you?”

Vicky’s face contorted into confusion. “Not yet, but I plan to talk with him soon.”

That caused Liam to sit up, slight alarm on his face. “He hasn’t?”

Vicky held her hands between her and Liam. “Don’t worry, I’m going to talk to him the next time I see him. I’m not going to pounce him or anything.”

“You were certainly eager to jump me.” Liam cast her a teasing smirk, which Vicky frowned at.

“Too soon.”

“So you don’t deny it?” His smirk grew when her face lit up. He resumed his duties on his phone while Vicky bubbled; she was definitely spamming him tonight.

Just then a thought occurred to her, causing uncertainty in her voice. “Does Scott know you were the one who yelled at me?”

“No, not to my knowledge.” Liam looked up. “I was honestly surprised you didn’t tell him.”

“Well, I’m going to.” She didn’t know how Liam would react to that, but if she wanted to put her full commitment into Scott she wanted him to know everything.

Liam shifted his gaze away for a moment, burying himself back into his phone. “Do what you think is best.”

It wasn’t an approval, per say, but it was the best she’d get from him. Just then she saw Oz and the others walking over with an abundance of waves. Vicky waved back just as she remembered one of the most important things. “Oh, and uh, Liam? I miiiight have told my dad you were my boyfriend in order to cast suspicion away from Scott. Soooo could you be my pretend boyfriend?”

She flashed her biggest smile, startled when Liam stood up out of his seat. “Well, this was a progressive conversation! I really should get going, Oz needs me!”

“Liam!” Vicky dived across the table to try and catch him, who simply floated over his chair and dashed over to where the group was. She threw herself off to try and catch him, the rest watching in complete confusion as Liam darted over, took Oz’s hand and bolted with him. “Liam, come back here! Let’s talk about this!”

“I can’t hear you over the sound of having a significant other that’s not you!”

Liam!”

Chapter Text

“Date night! Date night! I got myself a date night!” Vicky sang aloud. She swung her feet without a care from the bench she sat at, her hand grasping her newly acquired ticket into the park. Now that things were settling between Liam and her, Vicky took Oz up on his offer for a double date. It took a few tries but they managed to find a night that all worked for them; agreeing to meet up at their local boardwalk amusement park.

For their date, Vicky went with something semi-casual which involved a nice blouse with a short skirt and laced booties. She clacked the boots together when she spotted Oz and Liam coming into the park together, hands inseparable. Liam had ditched his man-bun for a beanie with a horizontal striped shirt, a loose jacket, skinny jeans, and high tops. Oz, on the other hand, simply changed into an orange vest with a button-up shirt as the rest of his body devolved into a shifting black mass that resembled legs and shoes. Liam paid more attention to his Instagram profile while Oz waved at her. “Hey!”

“Ozzie!” She delightfully cried, bouncing out of her seat.  They gave each other a celebratory high-five and a snap. “I can’t believe we’re doing this! I get to hang out with my friends and be mushy with Scott! It’s a win-win!”

“Yeah, where is the big guy?” Oz casually glanced around. “For someone so excitable I thought he’d already be here.”

“He probably is,” Liam pocketed his phone. “Scott’s the easily distracted type. I bet he’s staring at some booth’s prizes in childish awe.”

“Guys!” Scott was suddenly upon them, ticket in hand and panting. He still wore his famous football jacket but changed out of his normal jeans and white shirt for a black shirt and slightly bluer jeans. “Sorry I’m late! I saw some squirrels near my holes and I had to chase them away!”

“Your holes?” Vicky questioned as Scott scooped her up in a snuggly hug.

“Now that you mention it,” Liam squinted. “You haven’t stopped looking for my set of Copic markers that you ‘accidentally’ buried somewhere, have you? Because if you can’t find them you’re paying for them.”

Scott blinked, grinning nervously. “I-I’m sure I’ll find them eventually! It hasn’t been that long!”

“It’s been two years!” Liam hissed, suddenly dropping his temper. “They’re probably dried up or some fortunate sap found them by now. I really liked those markers.”

“I’ll find them! Don’t worry!” Scott set Vicky down as fast as he picked her up. “So, what are we doing tonight?”

“We could start with the arcade.” Oz’s finger showed the way. “They got some pretty neat games in there.”

“The arcade isn’t festive,” Vicky shot the idea down, looking around where they were. Her interests suddenly piqued. “Oh! There! That one!” Her finger pointed towards a haunted house in the distance with a long line. The sign next to it proclaimed that it was only going to be available till the end of the month. “We gotta go! It’s our destiny as monsters!”

“A haunted house?” Oz pulled on his collar. “I dunno. Getting scared isn’t my form of fun.”

“How is going inside a fake mansion our destiny?” Liam skeptically asked.

“I know what we can start with!” Scott took everyone’s attention over to the park’s main attraction; The Abyss. It boasted being the first ever rollercoaster on a boardwalk, but it was also known for how many times the darn thing fell through the floorboards and crashed into the ocean. Judging from the metal sheets beneath the ride and the steel supports all around it, it happened more frequently than not.

“Ah yes, The Abyss. How could I have forgotten?” Liam eyed the screaming monsters going down the hill with some envy.

Oz and Vicky exchanged nervous glances. “I’ve never gone on a roller coaster.”

“Same.”

“What?” Liam and Scott turned to their respective partners.

Shock soon turned into excitement, Scott’s tail wagging.  “Well that does it! We’re doing that first!”

They ran to get in line, with Scott and Liam retelling the story of their first time on the coaster. They had been the lucky group that survived the coaster’s third encounter with the ocean. Scott had gained an irrational fear of clownfish while Liam stayed in the water well after they had rescued everyone. He wanted to see how long he could stay underwater without anyone noticing. It was seventeen hours. Since then, Liam was attempting to go for the Guinness World Record of surviving the most roller coaster catastrophes on the exact same ride.

The longer they stood in line, the more eager Vicky was to try out the ride. It was when she sat down and had the large metal bar put over her that her nerves were shot, suddenly rethinking her decision. Oz seemed to be in the same boat, testing the bar.  “How is this thing going to keep me from flying off? What if I shift and slip right out?”

“I’ll be your lifeline then.” Liam offered his hand, causing Oz to blush and take it.

Mush was a good word for how Vicky felt just looking at the two. She slipped back into her seat, eyeing Scott. “Sooo how many times have you ridden this thing?”

“Oh, lots! I try to ride it at least once every time I come.” Scott grinned when the train jerked. They had begun their descent upwards.

Her hands gripped the bar tightly, feeling the first drops of sweat on her forehead. “You said this was safe, right?”

“It better not be!” Liam clung to her seat from behind. “How am I supposed to cement myself in history if the ride is finally safe?”

Her eyes zoned in on the bar, trying to jostle it in hopes of opening it. “Okay, this has been fun. Time to get off!”

“But the ride hasn’t even started!” Scott turned to her, giving her a big smile. “Just throw your arms up into the air and scream as loud as you can!”

“Like Scott said,” Liam’s voice softened when he moved away. “Enjoy the ride.”

The coaster jutted down the hill before Vicky could get another word in. It was easy to metaphorically say her heart jumped into her throat, but from the sudden lump and the insistent beating, it might have been truer than she thought. Screams from both her and Oz filled the air as the coaster took them on three loops and sideways just as the boards uttered a groan. Not long after the coaster sank burst through the metal and became the amusement park’s infamous water ride. Thankfully, they were perched near the top of the ride, so their cart didn’t take an underwater trip. It still submerged half of their bodies, though.

 When they got back into the park Vicky was completely soaked, hands trying to warm up her arms from the bitter cold while Oz wrung out his vest. Scott appeared frazzled but that was no surprise since he screamed the moment they crashed into the ocean and wouldn’t stop. Liam was the only one grinning, writing something down in his phone. “That makes two! I knew tonight was a good night to come! Only eight more times and then I’ll feel satisfied in my victory.”

 He twirled back to the group, perky and bright-eyed. “What’s next on the list?”

Vicky and Oz shared a glance. “Arcade.”

With the Halloween events going on outside, the arcade wasn’t as crowded as it usually was. Oz didn’t care either way and plopped down at Turbo Wave Rider 301X. Scott stood behind Oz while Liam and Vicky took up spots beside him. “Hey, I remember that game! I love how the little guy flies off the board.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty funny,” His focus was more on the game, checking the high score only to gasp. “No way! Someone dethroned me!”

Atop the subtly titled OZZ was the even subtler name FUK. Vicky didn’t even need to say anything just as Oz pushed a quarter into the machine. “Ohoho, this is not standing. Prepare to get dethroned.”

The first few rounds were interesting, but by the fifth attempt, her attention was hardly there. Scott pumped his fists in the air as Vicky glanced to him. “You wanna go play something else?”

“Sure, but after Oz beats Fuk’s high score.” His voice picked up with a shout. “Yeah! You got the dolphins out!”

With Scott distracted, Vicky decided to look at the other games in the arcade. Dance beat mania sounded fun if she wasn’t alone and the basketball game looked enticing but sports were never her strong suit. She searched a little longer until she spotted a crane game filled to the brim with stuffed animals. Vicky pressed her forehead up against the glass, noticing a derpy, chubby green dinosaur that had a big red bow tied around its neck. “Ooooo, gimme.”

She started fishing for quarters and found a few, but her attempts to get the dinosaur were anything but successful. Her hands dug through her purse, hoping to find another quarter when a purple hand handed her one. “I think you dropped one.”

Vicky looked up to Liam, who leaned himself on the machine. She took the quarter with thanks. “Got bored of watching your boyfriend?”

“Oz can get aggressive when he’s playing video games.” Liam glanced in the direction where Scott and Oz yelled at the machine. “Plus Scott’s giving him company.”

Quarter in hand, Vicky went back to the crane game. The claws sunk around the dinosaur only to weakly pull up, the claws slipping away. “Augh! Stupid game! Probably rigged.”

“Which one are you going for?” Vicky pointed out the dinosaur, puffing her cheeks.

Liam then scooted her away from the machine and put his own quarter inside. Vicky was a little surprised at the gesture and scooted closer to watch. Like her, the crane wasn’t willing to put any effort into grabbing the plushy but that didn’t stop Liam from trying a few more times. It became evident that the game was also getting to Liam, who, on his last try, threw his hands up in the air. “This is so rigged!”

“Right?” Vicky pouted, puffing her cheeks to maximum volume. “I bet if Polly was here she could just phase through and get it for me.”

“Well, I can’t do that.” He turned around, scanning the room when he suddenly called out. “You!”

The slime monster mopping up a spilt drink pointed to itself. “Do you work the arcade?”

The monster nodded and that was all Liam needed to start smirking. His eyes dangerously glowed. “I got a task for you.”

One hypnotized worker later and the two were left with the plushy jackpot. Vicky immediately scooped out the dinosaur, hugging it insistently while hopping from one foot to the next. “Oh my god, he’s sooo cute! I’m naming you Turtam, the fiercest dinosaur! Rawr!”

Liam picked out a few plushies for himself, cradling them under his arm. “The wrongs have been righted this day. Truly, my powers know no boundaries.”

His stuffed animals found themselves on the ground when Vicky threw herself at him, giving him a tight hug. “Thank you, thank you!”

A bright blush surfaced on her face the moment she fathomed what she just did. She threw herself off, awkwardly coughing. “Uh, platonically of course. I platonically thank you.”

“Um, thanks,” Liam awkwardly responded, picking back up his loot just as Oz and Scott walked over.

Oz looked especially proud of himself. “Let’s see Fuk try to beat that high score.”

“Scott, look at all the plushies we got!” Vicky set down Turtam to scoop up a handful of prizes and throw them into the air. “We can drown in cheap plushies!”

Oz picked up a small elephant, rubbing his thumb over the material. “It is pretty cheap. Still cute.”

Capturing Turtam, Vicky then plucked a teddy bear from the pile and presented it to Scott. “Ta-da! A teddy bear for your teddy bear my teddy bear.”

Scott blushed at the gift while Vicky pecked his cheek. “Thanks, Vicky.”

“I dunno about you guys, but I’m feeling peckish.” Oz’s eyes faintly smiled. “Competitive gaming always makes me hungry.”

“Yes, festive treats!” Vicky did a small victory jump as Oz and Liam walked past to browse the stalls. She was just about to follow behind when something warm and heavy fell on her shoulders.

Vicky spun around to see Scott had lost his football jacket. He smiled oddly. “You looked cold. Just wanted to keep you nice and toasty!”

“Oh, thanks!” Vicky drew the jacket around her. “Feels like forever since I wore this.”

“You can wear it as much as you like,” Pride worked its way into Scott’s features. “I think it looks better on you anyways.”

“What?” Vicky faked a surprised gasp. “This is like your signature outfit! What’s a Scott without his football jacket?”

“A Vicky with my jacket?” Vicky mildly blushed while Scott smiled. “I don’t mind, really. Seeing you wear my jacket calms me down.”

Vicky couldn’t make the connection how her wearing his jacket made him calm. Maybe that she wouldn’t die of low-key hypothermia? She accepted his peck on the lips, hearing the faint growl in his voice. “You look really nice in it. I should lend you more of my clothes.”

With her blush intensifying, Vicky covered it with her hands. “W-We should catch up with Oz and Liam.”

 Scott took her hand as they walked out of the arcade, Turtam tucked under one of her arms. They met up with Oz and Liam over at one particular stall where they sold spooky pastries. Oz held in his hands a few orange and black straws with what looked like eyeballs stuck on the ends. Liam beamed. “Alright, lighting is right, filters are set, just the right amount of people aren’t lingering in the background …”

Vicky felt her devil’s tail pop out of her skirt, suddenly running at Oz and wildly jumping. “Photobomb!”

Her screams startled Liam into dropping his phone while Oz screamed. Vicky’s jump was a little too close to Oz, resulting in some of the eyeball sticks flying upwards as she and Oz crashed onto the boardwalk.

Oz was quick to shove the giggling Vicky off of him. “What was that for?”

“I saw an opportunity and I took it.” Vicky shrugged, hopping up to her feet. “How did the photo come out?”

“You think we got a photo out of this?” Liam wiped his phone off, disgruntled at the tiny chip on the corner. “The best thing we’ll get is a blur.”

“I want to be in a picture!” Vicky felt Scott’s arms around her and his tail tap her back. “Take one of us!”

“This isn’t a photo session,” Liam droned.

Oz picked himself back up. “I’ll take one of you guys.”

“Thanks!” Vicky handed Oz her phone, smiling brightly in the camera while she held Turtam to the side of her. The photo gallery swiftly filled up with other pictures, such as one with Vicky pretending to eat the fallen eyeball on the ground and Oz gagging in the background, Liam and Oz together in front of the wreck that was the Abyss, Scott riding the carousel with Vicky right behind him and Liam pointing to the two with a smile and rolling eyes, one with Oz morphing his hand into a spider and hesitating near the back of a golem and gargoyle kissing and the ensuing picture of the gang running off from the golem angrily chasing them, and one of the group all sitting at a table with various snacks and deep-friend confections, waving and smiling at the camera.

Vicky scrolled through them all as they walked alongside one another, carrying a balloon Scott had gotten her earlier. “Man, this has been such a good night. We should do this more often! Maybe try to shoot for once a month?”

“I think that’d be fun,” Oz threw what was left of his funnel cake into the nearby trashcan, patting his stomach. “I think that’s enough food.”

They all stopped when they heard frightened shrieks, the haunted mansion lingering in the distance. The line had lessened as the park was beginning to close, Vicky eyeing the group. She inhaled loudly, ready to proclaim her plans when Liam held up a hand. “Don’t even bother. We’re not going.”

“But it’s October!” Vicky clutched Turtam tightly to her chest. “It’s customary to do things like this!”

“And that’s exactly why I’m opting out!” Liam held his head high. “To readily allow myself to participate in the most mainstream festivities society has to offer is beneath me. I would rather take a bath in a scorpion-infested tub than go in there.”

“Hmph! Hipster.” Vicky simmered when Liam puffed his chest out. Her hands caught Scott, tugging him to her. “Scott and I will go then!”

“We are?” Scott seemed mildly confused, soon catching up. “Awesome! I’ve wanted to do it all night!”

“We’ll wait for you two out here.” Oz gave them a sheepish wave while guiding Liam over to a nearby bench. Liam smiled sinisterly while Vicky stuck her tongue out and pushed Scott towards the entrance.

The line was so short that they only had to wait a few minutes to get the okay to go in. Scott took the lead while Vicky trailed behind, their hands keeping them together. Several cardboard cutouts littered the halls, proclaiming mortgages, bank loans, tax forms, and politics. Vicky shuddered.

“You and Liam have been getting along really well.”

“Hm?” Vicky stopped reading the scribbles on one of the cut-outs, nervously smiling. “U-uh, yeah, he’s tolerable.”

“I’m glad you two are friends. Makes me happy to see my friends getting along with my girlfriend.” He looked back at her, smiling. “I’ve been so happy since we started dating. Having someone I can cuddle with and hug and give kisses to.”

Their journey was halted when Scott bent down to rub noses with her. She heard something in front of them roar but the sudden punch Scott delivered left the employee crying out in anguish. “Are you happy with me? Have I been a good boyfriend?”

Vicky’s cheeks grew warm. “Of course you have. I couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend.”

“I’m glad,” She shuddered when he nipped her ear, standing back up. He tugged her along, who mindlessly followed. She yearned for more from him, noticing they were mostly alone and uninterrupted.

“Hey, Scott,” Vicky clutched his hand tighter, cheeks burning red. “Have you ever um, ever thought about … maybe … taking our relationship … to the next level?”

“Level?” Scott looked back innocently. “Like in a video game?”

“N-No,” Her hands worked themselves into her hair, twirling locks. Maybe she should try again. “You know how couples do things? Well, we should start doing things.”

“Aren’t we doing things right now?” Scott amusedly laughed, prompting Vicky to awkwardly do the same.

Man, where was her boldness when she threw herself on the table and yelled at Scott to fuck her? She didn’t know how she had gotten this tongue twisted, mind ready to scamper off and retreat from her embarrassing failures. The room felt too stuffy, Vicky slowly withdrawing the jacket around her shoulders to try and cool down.

She almost slipped her arm out when she felt Scott grab her shoulder. “Don’t!”

Her eyes caught his and the panicked look on his face. Vicky stopped her work. “What? I wasn’t going to throw it on the floor or anything.”

It didn’t calm him down. She thought she saw something stir in his eyes, but what she couldn’t peg. His smile was forced. “It’ll be cold when we get outside. Y-you should keep it on.”

He let go of her when she didn’t fight him. The jacket still hung halfway off her shoulder. “Is everything okay?”

Scott opened his mouth and then immediately shut it. He fidgeted in his spot. “Just do it for me? Please?”

She didn’t understand what was wrong with Scott but he didn’t seem eager to share. Slowly, she drew the jacket back up her shoulder. “Okay …”

They continued their walk through the attraction, but Vicky wasn’t paying attention to the horrors of being an adult. Scott’s reaction played out over and over in her head, trying to nail down what expression that was and why he’d reacted that way. Something felt possessive about it all, but Scott never showed any signs of being overprotective. Perhaps she was too tightly wound up from everything on her mind.

“You do like me, right?” His voice lulled her into the moment, noticing how insecure he sounded.

Vicky’s eyebrows pushed together. “Yeah?”

“And—and you like being a couple, right?”

“Yeah?” Vicky slowed, pulling on his hand. Fear welled up inside her stomach; maybe Scott was catching on as to who the monster was back at Polly’s party. Why else would he suddenly bring up how chummy her and Liam had been the entire night? She didn’t want to have this discussion now. “I love being with you. You’re the only monster for me, Scott.”

He bristled, slowing down to take both of her hands. His shoulders bunched; looking the most vulnerable she’d ever seen him. “I-I’ve been thinking about something. For a bit. I never knew when it’d be the right time to ask.”

Vicky was so uncertain where this conversation was going. Was he going to propose they have sex? Or was he going to call her out on her affiliations with Liam? Either way, her stomach knotted at either end. “I know we haven’t known each other for long and I know we just started dating but I can’t stop thinking about you. I just want to know if maybe you like me the same way I do.”

She swallowed some saliva, sweat forming on her arms from how hot the jacket was. Just when Scott was about to deliver his clarity did a figure jump out from the fake scenery, brandishing two pistols. “Prepare to die, fuckers!”

Vicky and Scott hugged one another, screaming until it tapered out when they noticed who it was. “Oh hey, it’s the Slayer!”

Even with the pistols, Vicky couldn’t feel terror when she had seen the girl being shoved into her mashed potatoes yesterday by Damien. In fact, every time she saw her it seemed like she was getting into more bodily harm than actually dishing it out.

“Are you going through the mansion too?” Scott slowly wagged his tail even with both pistols aiming at his chest.

“No! I’m here to kill you!” The Slayer repositioned one gun at his head. “Don’t’ you get it? I’m ambushing you!”

“You are?” Scott gained his thousand yard stare. “But we go to the same school!”

“How does that change anything?”

“Because we’re fellow students in arms!” Scott bellowed out a small laugh, finding jokes where none could be had.

Vicky groaned, not knowing whether to be thankful for the distraction or extremely pissed. “Can’t you do this another day? We’re on a double date.”

“Death waits for no one!” Vicky rolled her eyes at the Slayer’s cheesy line. As the Slayer started up her monologue, Vicky pulled her balloon down and started rubbing it on Scott’s jacket. “You two are trapped with no hope of escaping! I’ve been waiting all night for you two to go inside this fake mansion! Do you know how long I squatted in those fake bushes? Five hours! I almost gave up! You’re supposed to do things like these first, at least be courteous!”

It wasn’t until Vicky felt her bolts tingling that she let go of her balloon, lunging for the Slayer. “Wait, what are you—!”

Gripping the pistol, the reserved electricity used it as a conductor, sending hundreds of volts through both bodies. While the Slayer spasm and shook, Vicky grinned at the recharge, feeling more energized than she had the entire day. Smoke sizzled off of the Slayer’s burnt body, falling to the floor with a loud thump. “Nighty night!”

Despite the shock of a lifetime, it hadn’t knocked her out. The Slayer grimaced, struggling to rise to her knees. “You fuckers! I’ll kill you all!”

“See you at school tomorrow!” Scott waved as he retook Vicky’s hand. They didn’t get too far when a grenade rolled their way, the safety pin missing. The rest of their tour was spent screaming and running as the grenade turned the haunted mansion into a roaring fire of misery and death. They dashed out of the exit to see black smoke billowing from the top and other workers fleeing the scene.

Oz ran over to them. “Are you okay?”

“Just a run in with the Slayer,” Vicky grumbled.

Scott then let out a dejected cry. “I dropped my bear!”

“Hm, a haunted house that’s on fire …” Liam strolled over, eyeing the flames overtaking the roof. His smile grew. “Now that’s something I can get behind. Care to stroll through with me, Oz?”

“Uh, no thanks.” Oz winced as part of the roof collapsed. “Let’s get out of here before the police arrive.”

“But my bear!” Scott seemed ready to dive back in, Vicky grabbing his arm.

“Let’s go, Scott!” Vicky had to pull for most of it their run, but eventually, Scott started to take the lead. After they left the park Liam and Oz opted to get the car while they wait outside, which Vicky was all for. Running in booties was not the comfiest thing to wear. Scott held his head in his hands, staring glumly at the ground while Vicky softly smiled. “Hey, it’s okay. It was just a teddy bear. No biggie.”

“But you gave me that bear.” Scott sighed, pressing his legs together. “Sorry for losing your gift.”

Vicky hadn’t really put much thought into giving the bear to Scott. She didn’t realize how much it meant to him. Her stare went down to Turtam, which was a gift from Liam to her. It had to start somewhere …

“Here,” Vicky held Turtam out, much to the surprise of Scott. “You can have him.”

“What? No, you love Turtam.”

“But I think you’ll love him more.” Vicky insisted, placing the plushy in his lap. “That’s my new gift to you. To remember this night.”

“Even if Liam got him for you?” Scott sounded on edge, Vicky hitching a breath. Did he watch the entire exchange they had?

Vicky thought about taking Turtam back but held fast. “What matters is who I’m giving him to now. And that’s you, Scott. My boyfriend.”

The tension in Scott’s face loosened, finally picking Turtam up in his hands. Vicky held the dinosaur’s neck, speaking in a goofy voice. “Take good care of me, Scott! I love you!”

Scott just laughed. “Aw, I love you too Turtam.”

Vicky giggled when Scott kissed the plushy. Just as her hand slipped away she felt his lips upon hers, sharing her own kiss. She felt his hot breath on her lips. “But I love you more.”

Vicky could only blush, allowing Scott to make-out with her until Liam and Oz pulled up to take them home.

Chapter Text

Halloween was just one of those days that empowered monsters. Maybe it was the spooky atmosphere, maybe it was all the decorations and festive events or maybe it was because it was a holiday celebrating them. Whatever it was, Vicky awoke perky and ready for the day. Over half of the student body had decided to don their costumes early for the upcoming night. Vicky was slightly envious she hadn’t thought of doing that too.

“Oh, look! It’s Joseph Turnip! And oh, over there! Manager William Steele!” Scott was just as excited, pointing out different monsters in slightly different business suits and human masks as they walked the halls together.

“How can you tell them apart?” Vicky took several glances at both but still couldn’t tell the difference.

“It’s easy. William has gold cuffs because he got a bonus for working so hard and spent it on them instead of donating the money to charity like he said he would!” Scott lowered his hand. “I should have brought my costume to school. Then everyone could point at me and be amazed!”

“Right? I’m bummed I didn’t think of it either.” Vicky puffed her cheeks, stopping at Scott’s locker as he put away his backpack.

“Tonight is going to be so much fun! We should go trick or treating! Or, shoot, we should have gotten matching costumes! We could have been like a horse!”

Vicky didn’t want to know if Scott would have made her the front or the back, thankful he hadn’t thought of that sooner. “Actually, I’m going to be walking around with Amira, Brian, and Oz tonight.”

“Can I come?” Scott closed his locker, tail wagging at the idea.

She lingered on the idea for a moment. “How about you meet us at Polly’s party tonight? We can dance, have fun and go trick-or-treating if we get bored.”

“Sounds great!” The bell then rang to alert the students to get to class. Scott gave Vicky a quick kiss. “I’ll see you at lunch!”

Just before he could run off, Vicky caught his jacket. “Actually, could we sit somewhere else for lunch? There’s some stuff I want to talk about.”

She let go when he wasn’t so gung-ho about leaving. “Sure! Where would you want to go?”

There wasn’t a lot of options, as eating in the halls wasn’t allowed ever since students would use the opportunity to find hiding places and smoke, stinking up the entire school. “How about the bleachers on the field?”

“Great! I’ll see you then!” Not wanting to be too late to class, Vicky and Scott left it there and went to their respective classrooms. It seemed as though even the teachers couldn’t escape the giddiness of Halloween because instead of doing any actual work they just made candy apples and watched horror films.

The candy apple making was cut short when Liam muttered the wrong words, courtesy of Damien, which turned all the apples into frogs. Damien still tried to dip them into the candy melt either way, but not before chasing after them with his newly acquired knife-gun.

Meanwhile, Polly used her station to solely cook up drugs, which she then made into caramel bites and gave to the whole class. By the time Vicky found her head she was half-lying in a tree with a clown costume on and lizards in her pockets.

Thankfully she had gotten rid of all the lizards and the clown costume in time for lunch, where she headed out to the field. Scott was already waiting for her with his cafeteria food. “Sup!”

“Hey,” She plopped herself beside Scott. He had already eaten half of his spaghetti and meatballs, while she couldn’t be bothered to even take out her sandwich. She wasn’t feeling hungry, knowing the discussion she had to have.

It must have been apparent on her face when Scott stopped eating. “Something wrong?”

“Kind of?” Vicky lightly shrugged her shoulders, not really knowing where to begin. Probably best to start at the beginning. “You remember when I told you that I liked a certain monster but they didn’t like me back?”

Scott stopped hunching, his voice uneasy. “Uh, yeah, I do remember that.”

She rested her hand on his leg, hoping that would give him some reassurance. Bracing herself, she let the weight of her actions rest on her shoulders. Scott must have had a hunch; it was time to come clean. “Well … that was Liam.”

Surprise went through his entire face, fork dropping into the noodles. “Really? You liked Liam?”

The same surprise went through her. “You didn’t know?”

“How would I know that? No one told me!”

 Vicky blinked hard. So much for Scott having a hunch. “Then what were you going to say back at the mansion?”

“I—!” Scott caught himself, snapping his mouth closed. When he reopened it his voice was much louder. “Nothing! Nothing at all!”

His tray was set aside, trying to steady his voice. “Besides, this is more important right now. I mean, I guess I thought it was him? But I just thought that was me overthinking things and … other reasons.”

Vicky didn’t really know what to say, letting Scott lead the conversation now. “So you did like him?”

She solemnly nodded her head, feeling like a child who was being accused of a crime by a parent. “And—and that he yelled at you? And made you feel bad?”

More nods. Scott was usually easy to read, but the sudden cloudiness of his eyes and hardened expression made it unclear as to what was going through his head. He looked to be processing the information until she saw something entirely new in his eyes. Something bestial, something pissed.

Without thinking it, her hand moved to scratch behind his ear, taking him off guard. A pleased groan escaped his mouth as he lowered his head further to try and get closer. The aggression reverted back into his innocent look, soothing her. “But it’s okay now. I talked with Liam and he apologized to me, so everything’s cool.”

Scott pulled himself away from Vicky’s hand, frowning. “I don’t know. I don’t like that he yelled at you and made you sad. That makes me sad, knowing one of my best bros made my girlfriend upset.”

He slipped his phone into his hand. “I’m going to talk to Liam about this.”

A small burst of panic coursed through her body, placing her hand over his screen. “Scott, I just said it’s okay. You don’t need to talk to him.”

“Yes, I do. He’s my bro and I want him to know that’s not okay.” He removed her hand, proceeding to open up his messages with him.

“Scott!” By then Vicky lunged for the phone, missing it entirely when he raised it above his head. She fell straight into his lap, trying to get up and after the phone. “I said no! I don’t want you making a big deal out of this!”

“I’m not making a big deal out of this!” Scott didn’t lower his phone until she stopped attempting to wrestle it from his hands. It just wasn’t a fight she was going to win. “I just want to talk to Liam. Let him know how I feel about this.”

Instead of texting Liam, Scott put his phone away. His hands brought her into his lap, sitting sideways to be able to see his head. “I’m pretty sad with you too for hiding that.”

Vicky lowered her gaze. “I know. I just didn’t want to upset you or hurt your friendship with him.”

Scott rubbed the back of his neck. “Kind of like how I didn’t want to upset you with the full moon?”

Her heart skipped a beat, suddenly gaining her full attention. His hands cradled hers, rubbing his thumbs over her skin. “I know I’m not a very good boyfriend. I can be forgetful and do a lot of stupid stuff when I’m excited, but I want you to be open with me too. That way we don’t have to worry about keeping secrets or getting into problems because of it. Even if it might hurt us, I’d want to still tell you than having to keep it bottled up.”

His voice was so gentle, just like everything about him. Vicky’s heart fluttered at the proposal, yet she felt part of her still tense. The overturned photo left a cramp in her stomach, choosing to ignore those feelings and that conversation for another day. “Yeah, okay. No more secrets.” She craned her neck to reach his cheek, leaving a kiss. “And you’re not a bad boyfriend. I think you’re wonderful.”

Her lips left red blushes on his cheeks, dipping down to give her an array of butterfly kisses which she giggled at. His tail wagged once more, his tone like honey. “I love you so much.”

Vicky’s blush grew worse, especially when Scott stopped kissing her to stare at her. “Is-Is there something on my face?”

“Do you love me?”

The question was so powerful; Vicky had never said those words outside of her father or inanimate objects that stole her heart in a second. She lightly bit her lower lip, chest aflutter. “I-I love you too …”

Her heart felt like it exploded into an array of confetti, unicorns, and lasers after uttering the words. Her reward was more kisses from Scott, which she happily accepted. She heard a low growl rise up his throat, feeling like she had heard it in a dream as her tongue brushed his lips.

This time he permitted her entry. He tasted like meat and tomato sauce, which was no surprise, but also hints of something savory that she’d never tasted before, wanting more. He was also enjoying his time exploring her own mouth, their tongues intertwining as she felt like she was trying to lick him clean. She wanted more; she wanted everything about him, her thighs pushing up against one another.

“Scott,” His name left her lips in a soft, wanting breath, coaxing another growl out of him. Then she felt it; something beneath her present and growing larger.

Everything stopped, immediately making the connection of what was going on the same moment Scott’s cheeks went bright red. He placed her back on the bleachers without a word, crossing his legs to hide the bulge and turned his head away. Vicky was just as red, her eyes staring at his legs, remembering Amira’s words when they went lingerie shopping.

“I-I’m sorry …” Scott’s voice was hoarse when he spoke, swallowing some saliva. “I should go …”

He started to stand up when her hand hastily rested on his thigh. He almost collapsed entirely, looking at her with wild eyes and for a second Vicky questioned what she was doing. Her fingers slid further up, her voice almost inaudible. “Don’t go …”

They didn’t break eye contact, Vicky wondering, wanting whatever happened next. What happened next, however, was a rocket crashing into the football field, its timer set for ten seconds and counting. Scott grabbed her faster than she could blink and jumped over the bleachers, hiding both of them behind the bathrooms.

Instead of a ballistic ball of fire, a shower of puppies burst from the rocket to litter the field. Scott and Vicky were left a gaping, frozen statue, even with all the puppies pawing at Scott’s legs for a good pet.

“The landing site was all wrong!” Miranda came stomping onto the field, picking up one of the puppies. “And puppies? I specifically ordered dogfish, not land puppies!”

She let the puppy in her hands fall to the ground, turning angrily towards Damien, who had several of them on his body. “So what? We got a bunch of fucking puppies now! I’m naming you Tooty, and you Cotton, and you, oh, you’re going to be named Butterbuns.”

The two then noticed Scott and Vicky off to the side. “Ey, Scott! Look at all these dogs! We’re going to build an unstoppable army of killer mutts!”

“No, we aren’t, because we got the wrong dogs!” Miranda practically screamed. “Dogs can’t breathe underwater! Ugh, my plans are ruined!”

“Not mine!” Damien cackled, cuddling the puppies on his head and shoulders.

Scott slowly let Vicky down, neither one looking at the other. Of all the times for the crazy shenanigans to happen. Scott’s voice warbled. “Random excuse! Gotta go!”

“Scott!” But the constant yapping of the puppies was enough to overpower her voice, watching Scott retreat. She scowled, glancing down to a Dalmatian pawing at her legs. She scooped him up, holding him at arm’s length. “This is all your fault.”

It whimpered in response. Vicky angrily held it to her chest, letting it lick her cheeks. “… I’m totally keeping you.”

Collecting her backpack and stuffing her newly acquired puppy inside, Vicky tromped back to towards the main building. It was inevitable now; the next time she saw Scott she was pushing him up against a wall and not budging until they finally talked about this.

“Hey!” Vicky was almost to her next class when she heard the yell, turning back towards the noise. Josh and the entire football gang were right behind her, giving her looks she wasn’t comfortable with. “We need to talk.”

“Sure, after class!” Vicky almost made it inside when Josh picked her up by her backpack, growling in her face.

“Now!”

Getting dragged down the halls by her backpack was not a pleasant experience. If she hadn’t just stuffed her brand new pet inside she would have taken the loss and scurried off without her backpack. They finally let her go in the empty gym, only to corner her into the wall. “We know what you’ve been up to with Scott.”

Her expression dulled at the mention. Then again, when hasn’t Scott blabbed about everything they do? “What, are you also going to tell me sex isn’t appropriate until after marriage?”

“What?” Josh seemed taken aback, especially when Vicky pointed a finger at him.

“You know, it’s mindsets like those that ruin relationships! What if we both realize we’re terrible sex partners? What if Scott has certain kinks that I’m not comfortable with or vice versa? What do we do then, huh? So long as we’re being safe, sex shouldn’t be such a huge taboo that it’s only acceptable after you put a ring on it!”

“The fuck you going on about?” Vicky’s finger drooped, her rush of irritation draining into fear. “We don’t give a shit about that! You’ve been teasing Scott and it’s been driving him nuts. Dog can’t think of anything else!”

“Oh,” Vicky dropped her entire arm, anxiously smiling. “Uh, no problem then! Just give me some alone time with him and maybe half an hour and problem solved!”

She shrieked when Josh hit his hand on the wall, leaning closer. “No, I don’t think you understand. Scott wants to mate with you, get it?”

Vicky’s smile grew wider; she didn’t want to die today. “N-No? What’s the difference?”

She had never seen him so bewildered, even the rest of the pack looked dumbfounded. He almost snapped at her, specs of his saliva hitting her face. “Mate! He literally wants to tie his knot and stuff it inside of you! He wants to claim you and add you to our family! It’s a sacred mating ritual for us!”

Oh. Oh. Vicky had closed her eyes earlier to keep the spit out of her eyes, opening them wide in response to Josh’s clarification. Liam’s sudden concern now made a lot more sense. “Wolves mate for life, not that flimsy marriage shit other monsters do. When you become mates, you’re officially part of the pack and you’re forever his. Do you know what happens if a mate cheats or has an affair?”

Vicky tried to get a word in, but Josh’s growling shut her up. “They’re slaughtered by the pack.”

The word alone sent a deep shock through her entire body, her heart unable to beat. The image of hordes of wolves descending upon her, ripping into her flesh and bone caused her legs to buckle, falling to the ground. Her body quivered like a feather in the wind. A hand tried to take her wrist and she shrieked, swatting it away. “No! Stop!”

She feebly tried to hide behind her arms, unable to receive oxygen no matter how fast and how deep she breathed. Josh’s voice had calmed down, but it still held an infliction of anger. “Scott really likes you. It would be a shame if you fucked him up and then dropped him for some other pretty face. So I’m telling you before it gets that far; don’t even think about fucking my cousin until you know for sure you want to be with him. Otherwise, I suggest you find some other boy toy to tease.”

Trembling, Vicky was left in her corner as the pack left her alone, trying to curl up as much as she could into herself. Memories and haunting screams as a child were all she could see and hear, choking her of air and all ability to think rationally. She heard someone say her name but it sounded like it was being said a thousand leagues under the ocean, faint and unable to reach her conscious. A sudden warmth could be felt on her right side and something press down upon her head as she tried to breathe shaky breaths, her eyes staring at nothing.

Time meant nothing to her as she slowly picked back up the pieces of reality. She identified large arms around her, the gym was in her vision, and a shushing tone spoke softly in her ears. “Hey, hey, it’s all right. Don’t give up on the fight. Hey, hey, it’s okay. I love you in every way.”

“Scott?” Her voice sounded so foreign to her like she had awoken from a long dream.

His arms hugged her tighter. “Vicky! Are you okay now? What happened? What’s wrong?”

She pulled away enough to look at up at him. His beautiful smile, the way his eyes lovingly stared down at her with concern and worry. She wanted to push herself closer to that warmth, to lay everything bare and have him protect her from all the things that scared her.

Instead, she wrought herself loose from his grip, taking several steps back. Scott got up in alarm. “Vicky, what’s wrong? Please, talk to me.”

“I’m—” Was all she could get out before it became choked, feeling tears push past her barrier and into the open. Scott wanted to mate with her; he wanted to be with her forever. She barely had any time to process what had just happened, his inviting appearance turned frightening. It was too much.

With a quick heel turn, Vicky ran from the gym, hearing Scott call after her. If he wanted to he could have easily caught up, picked her up and demanded an answer, but he didn’t do any of those things. Vicky was free to call her dad, wait for him on the steps and hurry inside the car without any resistance.

She couldn’t hide her red eyes while entering the car, frightening her father. “What happened at school? Were you attacked? Did someone touch you?”

Vicky shook her head, bringing her legs to her chest as her dad drove away from the school. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

He seemed to respect her wishes for now, allowing her to sit in silence all the way back home and to her room in peace. Closing the door behind her, she unzipped her backpack and let the puppy out to sniff at the room while she fell onto her bed. Utter misery was all she was, saddened to think if she should even continue dating Scott. She liked him a lot and she did want to be with him, but thinking about becoming his mate this early was too much. The last thing she wanted to do was lead him on, but apparently, she’d been doing a great job of it if that confrontation was anything to go off of.

Her phone lit up, checking it was from Scott. Her eyes went over his text several times.

Talked to my bros. Heard what they did. I’m sorry that they were so mean. I wanted to say something sooner but it never seemed like a good time. Can we talk about this?

Vicky fought with herself on if she should respond or not. He would see that she had read his text messages and if she was in his position she’d be heartbroken if he ghosted her. Her fingers moved slowly.

I don’t know what to say. It’s a lot to take in.

His response was fast.

I get it. Take your time. Let’s talk after the party tonight. I’ll explain everything.

Another dramatic party. Vicky lost all interest in going if it meant having another emotional moment and not having any fun. Then again, maybe things would play out differently and it was Halloween. She had plans with friends and she’d never forgive herself if she locked herself away for the rest of the night to listen to sappy music and cry on her bed. She could put off these feelings for later, typing back.

  1. I trust you.

Having left school early, Vicky had all the time she needed to get ready for the night. She had to make a quick trip downstairs to grab some paper towels after the puppy decided to mark her room, but once it was cleaned up Vicky busted out her newly acquired make-up, her finest hairbrush, and costume. She also withdrew something else she picked up at the mall with was a silver box with a lock and key. She rummaged through her old clothes until she found the bracelet Scott had given her, placing it safely inside—along with the apology card—before locking it and stuffing it in her closet. In case her dad went snooping for boyfriend evidence.

When she was about to close the closet door it hit upon the Liam plush, sitting sadly on the ground. Vicky picked it up for a moment, remembering she had cast it to the closet when she had gotten home after homecoming and forgot about it entirely. She turned it over once in her hand and placed it near her sewing machine. It would serve as a good decoy for now. Perhaps she’d make a Scott plush in the future if they even had one now.

The thought bummed her out and threatened to send her back into her pit of depression. What if they decided they weren’t right for each other anymore and broke up? It was so easy to worry about but Vicky had to power through the thoughts, telling herself tonight would be a good night.

It wasn’t until the sun started to set that Vicky heard a knock on her bedroom door. Her father walked in just as she untwisted her lipstick. “Vicky, your frie—”

His sentence ended in a shriek when the puppy bolted over to him, yipping and wanting love. He ignored the dog’s cry for attention, stomping his foot on the ground. “Vicky! What’s this puppy doing in the house?”

“Don’t be mean to Garbanzo!” Vicky quickly got off her stool to clutch the puppy near her chest.

“You already named it?” Her father loudly sighed. “No. Absolutely not. You’re not keeping it.”

“But dad!” Vicky continued to pout, squishing Garbanzo closer to her face. “You should have seen him! All alone in a pile of puppies, begging for a home! He’s not even a wolf!”

She merely squished the dog into his face. “Does he look like a killer to you? Hm? Does he?”

Her father gave her a dead-panned stare until Garbanzo licked his face. His attention diverted to it, his features softening. “Hmmm fine. But he’s your responsibility.”

Vicky withdrew her weapon of manipulation to smooch her father’s cheek. “Love you, daddy.”

He simply rubbed his cheek. “Anyways, your friends are downstairs. Is that what you’re going in?”

The scrutiny on his face made her less confident, but she tried to mask it by sticking her tongue out and pawing the air. “Yup! I think I look purrrfect!”

“Oh god, was that a cat pun?” Amira’s voice from down below made Vicky set Garbanzo down on her bed and rush out. This time she made sure not to trip and fall down the stairs, eyeing the rest of the group. Oz must have found something to go with the cloak, for it was thrown around his shoulders with a large, dusty spell book under his arm. Brian lounged on the couch in a set of leather armor that was battle-worn and even torn in some places. A large axe and helmet rested next to him that looked a little too real. Amira was showing much more skin in her belly dancer outfit, complete with glittery, transparent cloth from her bracelets to the golden bands on her upper arms.

As for her, she had traded in her favorite blue for purple; wearing a short dress with short, puffy sleeves. Fishnet stockings covered her legs while black heels hid her feet. Coming with the dress was a long tail that was attached to the back, giant purple paws with black soles and a pair of purple cat ears. To help pull the look together she painted her nose black and whiskers on her face. She popped one of her legs up, pawing at the air. “Don’t I look cat-tastic?”

Oz snorted while Brian just groaned and threw his head back. “Don’t tell me you’re going to do that all night.”

“Someone’s a sour puss!” Vicky giggled at the even louder groan she got in reply.

“You ready to head out, Vicky?” Amira asked as Vicky patted her side to notice her purse wasn’t with her.

“Not yet! I’ll be back in a meow-nit!” She dashed back upstairs, Brian’s agony her music.

When she ran into her room she slowed, seeing her father sitting on her bed. Garbanzo was already cuddling up to him, while he stared at the picture frame in his hands. The very same one she had kept covered. “I can’t believe how much you’ve grown up. I thought for the longest time that something might happen and I’d lose you just like the others.”

Vicky felt a lump in her throat, smiling through it. “I gotta go, dad. Just came back for my purse.”

She slipped past him to snatch her matching purple purse. When she tried to go past him again he stood up. “Come here.”

She took the hug her dad gave her, feeling his hands stroke through her hair. “Be safe, okay? You worry me sometimes with how energetic you are.”

Her lump shrunk, hugging her dad back. “Nothing bad is going to happen. I’m a big girl.”

“I know. Just let me be a dad.” He let up from the hug, looking down to their third addition to their family. “I guess I’ll hang with Garbanzo tonight. Text me when you’re on your way home.”

“Fiiiiine.” Vicky playfully rolled her eyes. “Honestly dad, you’re so suffocating.”

“That’s what a helicopter parent does.” He playfully responded, Vicky leaving him in her room with the old photo. Her nerves calmed by the time she’d gotten downstairs, retrieving her plastic pumpkin bucket while the rest had their own means of carrying their candy.

She winked. “Let’s go be monsters!”

Chapter Text

Even in the 21st century, it was fairly easy to find rampant prejudice between human and monster societies. Monstropolis was one of the larger cities that were impartial to humans moving in, but rarely ever saw humans doing so on account of the high tensions between both factions. It was only in the last century that monsters tried to fight for equality in the mainly human-populated world before losing the trials and setting out to make their own civilizations away from humans. While there were many movements, treaties, and peace offerings from both sides to stop the unfair prejudice, few saw the light of day.

Monsters were usually frowned upon coming into certain human civilizations, save for certain holidays like Halloween, but New Westshire was supposedly monster-friendly. Vicky certainly hoped so; she wasn’t ready to be chased out of town by a mob with pitchforks and torches just to reenact a racial scene.

Oz had offered to pick everyone up for the trip, with the rest of them fighting over the radio, showing each other funny memes, gifs and catching up. It was an hour’s drive until they entered into the human city, with Vicky less than impressed with what she saw. It was all too normal, save for the human families walking around with small costumed children to lit up houses. Oz parked his car on the side road in a more populated neighborhood and filed out.

Vicky busted out some funky dance moves the moment they stopped the car. “Trick or Treat! Trick or Treat! Gimme something good to eat! I feel so alive!”

“We haven’t even started yet.” Brian eyed her oddly while swinging his axe over his shoulder.

“I know, but I haven’t done this in forever! We have to hit all the houses and get so much candy we’ll be sick for weeks!”  Her eyes sparkled at the vision, gasping loudly at a few kids that ran by dressed up. “Look at all these costumes!”

“Okay, settle down,” Amira calmly spoke as Vicky hopped in place, giddy as a child. “Let’s just start with the house we parked near.” She gestured to the house closest to them, the rest following.

Vicky was the one to ring the doorbell, smiling wide when an elderly woman opened the door. “Trick or Treat!”

“Oh my! Well aren’t you four dressed so nicely!” Bowl in hand; the elderly woman dispersed a handful of candy into each bag.

“Thank you!” They moved away from the house to check out what they got.

Amira flashed a grin. “Sweet, Reese’s!”

Vicky wasn’t so happy. “Aw, I got the handful with all the chalk candy.”

Brian didn’t say anything, causing the group to turn to him. A bright red apple was in the palm of his hand. “I … I got an apple?”

“What? I didn’t see her give out any fruit.” Amira commentated while Oz tried to hide his snicker. Vicky had to agree, it was kind of funny. After a few more houses were hit and Brian got a banana and a kiwi he was more than upset.

“The fuck is going on?” Oz finally couldn’t control his laugh, bellowing out at Brian’s misfortune.

Brian dropped the banana to pick Oz up by the collar. “Okay funny guy, what did you do to my candy?”

“I-I couldn’t help myself!” Oz opened his spellbook, showing off a specific page. “I cursed your bag so anything that fell in would turn into fruit. I wanted to see if it’d work.”

“Great, it works. Now undo the curse!”

“Hey!” Brian didn’t let go at the sharp infliction, the group turning their attention to a small crowd of humans coming near. From the signs they held it was pretty clear about their stance on monsters, the forefront person sneering. “You’re not welcome in these parts. Leave!”

The four just looked to one another, Brian dropping Oz to equip his battle axe. “And if we say no?”

“Then it’s a fight you’ll get!”

“Fine by me! I’ve wanted to try this baby out for weeks.” Before Vicky knew what was going on, she felt a strange pull that made her move into the middle of the road along with everyone else. Her, Brian, Oz and Amira were all lined up on one side while the crowd was on the other side while everyone else either watched from the sidewalk or ignored them.

Options popped into Vicky’s head as she touched her chin with one finger, swaying back and forth. The option to flee, eat her candy, use one of her friends for a sick combo move or fight presented themselves to her. She chose to fight, clasping her paws together and furiously rubbing them. Her hair fluffed up as bolts zapped up her arms and into her bolts, pulling the paws apart to show off her electrified hands and ran towards the crowd. With an epic flip in the air, she landed on one of the humans, driving her paws into their chest. The area around them dispersed with electricity, kicking off the human to do a 360 flip and land in a pose. “Me-wow! How’s that for a charge?”

While she returned to her fixed position, Oz let go of his spellbook to hover in front of him. They furiously flipped to a specific page but Oz chose to ignore it and stomp a foot on the ground. From it a black substance flowed to the crowd and surrounded one human. His screams were horrific as he started to sink into the mass, with horrifying tendrils rising up to claim its victim. It slithered back to Oz, who simply lifted his foot.

 For Brian’s turn he ran at the crowd, his axe cutting up into the chest of one human and swinging in a full circle to slash a small radius. Amira threw her hands into her hair to throw several balls of fire. Several combusted into flames and ran from the scene, while some succumbed to their fiery death.

Then it was the human’s turn. They rushed the group, Brian able to block a few signs with his axe and Oz with a barrier he had cast over himself. Vicky wasn’t as lucky, covering her hands over her head from the onslaught of signs. “Ow, ouch! Hey! That hurts!”

Eventually, they withdrew, but Vicky was less than happy that her cat ears were now bent. She ran over to where Brian was. “Help a corpse out, Brian!”

Paws charged, Vicky applied the electricity to Brian’s axe, who surged from the jolt and ran at the crowd. He pivoted on one heel, using the axe to madly swing his body, affecting a larger area and dispersing the electricity to every soul the metal touched. They returned to their spots as Amira ran over to where Oz was. “Let’s bring the flames, baby!”

Oz recited another incantation that caused the book to billow smoke which formed into a massive swarm of bats. With a quick light from Amira, the flames turned the fighting mass into one giant fiery bat, swooping down at the crowd. That took out some more humans, but the crowd was still large and ready with burnt signs to continue the onslaught. Someone even pulled out a gun, which Vicky took more damage from but apparently didn’t sustain any bullet damage.

Having enough of this battle Vicky pulled out a whistle she never knew she had and blew hard into it. “Let’s finish this fight!”

Knowing exactly what to do Oz, Amira and Vicky all ran towards Brian, who got down on his knees and held his battle axe over his head. One by one, Brian launched them into the air, with Vicky using her time flying upwards to rub her entire body frantically, creating enough discharge that her hair stiffly stood straight up. Amira let her entire body go hot with flames as Oz yelled the longest incantation he knew, his entire body shining brightly as a gigantic, ethereal bow formed in front of him, the arrow for it shining brighter than the sun. Vicky latched onto one side of Oz as Amira took the other, dispensing their elements into his body and in return into the arrow. Flames of orange and jolts of yellow danced up the weapon as Oz fired it off, bathing the rest of the crowd in a huge explosion of light, fire, and electricity. When they fell back to the ground a huge crater was left where the group was, bodies strewn everywhere.

“Holy shit, did we just kill them?” Vicky felt accomplished and some sort of bar fill up—but not fully to gain her a new level—but corpses were corpses.

Brian was less than shocked, wiping away the blood off his blade with one of the human’s shirts. “I’d be surprised if they survived that.”

Vicky didn’t know how to feel about what they had done. She had never killed anyone before, wondering what agonizing, soul-crushing, depressed-as-fuck mood awa—

“Hey, I found some wallets!” Amira was already looting one of the corpses, holding up the prize.

The rest of them gleefully looted the rest of the bodies, their bags filled with candy and people’s identifications, cash and credit cards. Vicky was beaming. “Best night ever!”

After that, no human disturbed them or tried to hit them with anti-monster signs, which Vicky was very thankful for. They focused on gaining more candy, but only after Oz sadly undid his curse on Brian’s bag. By the time they reached Polly’s party, their bags were stuffed to the brim.

If the last party Polly threw was packed, then this party made it look like no one came. It was hard to even get inside the building, let alone get past both monsters and humans dancing and going insane. They all went in together, only now when Vicky stopped to try and catch her breath, she noticed she’d lost her entourage. “Oz? Amira? Brian!”

Her voice was hardly able to get out from the loud yelling and ear-splitting music, almost dropping her bucket when someone bumped into her from behind. She was jostled further into the crowd, trying to get her bearings while crying out for anyone she knew. She wasn’t the type to party without any friends and this party was turning out to be a massive dud.

“Vicky?” A different voice replied, Vicky turning every which way to try and find the source. Scott had pushed his way through the crowd, swatting people away as if they were cardboard cut-outs. The tension and anxiety returned, and from the way Scott held himself he was just as nervous. “You made it.”

“Yup. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Her fingers awkwardly swirled a piece of her hair, not bothering to yell at the top of her lungs to talk, which was the only way to really hear anyone. Scott had traded out his football jersey to wear a grey business suit with his hair slicked back, his beard groomed and holding a briefcase. “What are you supposed to be?”

“I’m Gerald Winchester, the CEO of Vexcorp!” Scott perked up a bit. “I got four kids—three from my first wife and one from my second wife—two dogs and a three story-house in the suburbs! I gotta watch my cholesterol and sugar levels so I don’t die from a heart attack or my type 2 diabetes!”

“Sounds like a daily struggle!” Vicky half-heartedly commented, feeling antsy under Scott’s gaze.

“What are you supposed to be?”

Vicky awkwardly smiled, pulling out her cat pose from earlier. “I’m a cat! Meow!”

“But cats don’t look like that.” Scott hunched over to get a better look at her.

Vicky felt even more awkward than when her dad was judging it. “Well, I took some creative liberties. I think I look purrfect.”

“You do look very nice.” She breathed when Scott stopped examining her. The tension seeped back into the air, robbing her of anything she felt like saying. It would have been easy to fish for more compliments, except it felt wrong to tease him even more than he already was. Should they just go talk now? What should she do or say? She still didn’t even know how she felt about him, let alone ready to make a decision that would alter her life forever. The urge to flee was high.

“I’m going to get us some punch.” Scott apparently also wanted out of the situation, moving his way back through the crowds. The night was going so well, why did Scott have to come from a stupid family of wolves that had stupid mating rituals.

“Uh, Vicky,” She spooked at the voice behind her, spinning around to see a less than enthused Brian. “You need to leave. Like, right now.”

“What?” Vicky couldn’t believe what Brian was saying. “But I just got here! Why do I have to leave but you can stay?”

He tried to respond, but the random hooting and hollering were making it hard for Vicky to hear him. He caught onto that, his lips moving in a way Vicky knew was cussing as he grabbed her hand and pulled her to a quieter area. “Because Polly just told me she’s going to spike Scott’s drink and make him go full wolf.”

“What?” Vicky’s eyes shrunk, clutching her purse tightly. “Why? Doesn’t she know I’m here?”

“Why would Polly know about your fears?” His eyes were more focused on scanning the crowds than focus on her. “Look, things are going to get wild real fast, I know how Scott is when he’s crazy, so I’m warning you now so you can get out of here to somewhere safe.”

“Thanks a lot,” Her tone was more sarcastic than she wanted. She was grateful for the tip but also extremely miffed at her new situation. Nothing was going right for her, everything was falling apart and she was tired of all the bullshit.

Clutching her bucket tighter, Vicky pushed her way through the crowds and towards the exit, wondering what she’d do for the rest of her night. Probably depressingly eat her candy and hear about how fun the party was without her. This sucked.

As she pondered whether to find Oz and ask for a lift home, something large and fuzzy blocked her only exit. “Where are you going?”

Scott gave her a quizzical stare, both of his hands holding identical red cups filled with punch. Her eyes zeroed in on the drinks; no doubt one of them was already spiked. If Scott drank the wrong one she’d be right in front of him when he lost control. “I gotta go.”

“What? But you just got here! What about our talk?” He whimpered, ears falling down. Irrationality was sinking in at the prospect of witnessing another wolf attack and she was desperate to push past him and leave and that’d be it. That’d probably also be the end of their relationship, which stopped her from doing so while also caging her in this unwinnable predicament. Then again, Scott hadn’t drunk the spiked punch yet …

 “Scott, did Polly give you a special drink?”

“Huh? Oh yeah, she did!” His puppy-dog eyes melted away. “She told me I had to drink a specific one because she put meat in it!”

“Great! Which one?” Vicky watched Scott eye both drinks, narrowing his eyes until it resulted in a goofy grin.

“I can’t remember!”

Her immediate response was to go back to her initial plan and bolt, but she kept herself from running. It was a 50/50 chance she’d pick the right one and spare Scott, or choose wrong and have Scott transform. She never felt so pressured in her entire life to make the right choice. “Think, Scott. I need you to remember which cup it was.”

“Uh, boy, being put on the spot is kind of stressful.” He eyed the two cups again, sniffing them curiously. “It’s really hard to tell the difference.”

An odorless powder, of course. Vicky grit her teeth as Scott attempted to remember. “Was it left, or right? Right or left? Left then right? Right then left? Up? Down? A? B?”

The thousand yard stare overtook his face as his brain was pushed into overdrive. Vicky was about ready to snatch both when Scott handed her the left one. “Well, if you taste meat than that one’s mine. So let’s try them!”

Vicky looked to her cup as Scott tapped his against hers. “Bottom’s up!”

Vicky lifted her cup to her lips, watching Scott do the same. It all came down to this. The pressure was too great. Punch splattered on the ground when Vicky ripped the cup from Scott’s hands, downing his drink and then proceeding to do the same with hers. Even when she gagged she didn’t stop until both cups were empty, throwing both to the ground with a warrior’s cry. She’d never felt so alive and bloated.

Scott frowned. “Hey, not cool!”

“It was for your own good, Scott!” Vicky wiped the remnants of the drink from her mouth and burped. She felt incredible; finally, she’d taken destiny into her own hands and wrung its pretty little neck. Nothing could ruin the night now!

“Oh my god, what the fuck did you just do?” A nearby shriek came from Polly, who floated over with the intent to murder. Vicky took a moment to look at her costume, which was sexy Twister. Somehow she pulled it off.

“I stopped a catastrophe, that’s what!” Vicky showed off her triumphant grin, never feeling better.

Polly frowned harder. “No, you dumb fuck! You’re about to cause one! Do you have any idea what concentrated wolf hormones are going to do to your body?”

“Uh, what?” But by then Vicky felt light-headed, suddenly unable to keep her balance. Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to ingest a random drug meant for werewolves, her breathing shallow. “I-I feel funny …”

“Shit, it’s starting.” Polly turned and phased through the crowds, shouting. “Damien, Brian, Liam! Get over here now!”

Vicky’s vision blurred and her head throbbed as her legs wobbled in her heels. With just one step she almost collapsed, Scott thankfully catching her. Every part of her skin felt too hot to the touch, unfocused on how panicked Scott sounded. “Vicky? Vicky, are you—”

His voice vanished only to feel his nose bury into her neck, inhaling deeply. She bristled and let out a soft moan, exposing more of it to him. His voice hoarse and deep. “You smell really, really nice …”

Vicky preened at the compliment, her breath hitching when she felt his tongue lick up her neck, avoiding her bolts. Her body was going volatile, weakly grasping onto any part of him she could reach. She thought of nothing else but wanting to be with him and let him do whatever he wanted to her, moaning. “Scott~”

Mate.” He growled in return as she was lowered onto the cool ground. Her hands were already trying to work herself out of her dress to cool off, her legs spread wide open, wanting, begging. His lips were already playing with hers, feeling his hand grab her skirt and lift it up.

“Get the fuck off her!” Just then a blur of red knocked Scott away and Damien stood above her. Scott rolled and got on all fours, his claws cracking the ground while Damien hoisted Vicky over his shoulder.

“Mine!” He snarled, his eyes cloudy and unfocused.

“Scott!” Vicky whined, her feet lightly kicking Damien as her hands tried to do the same. “Help! Help!”

“You shut up!” Damien jostled Vicky which enraged Scott enough to transform. His suit was ripped to shreds, stuck between his wolf and humanoid half as the crowd turned into a frenzied panic. He cried out at Damien, who took cautious steps back.

Monsters and people were stuffed at the exits trying to get out as Scott lunged at Damien. He barely dodged his claws and ran for the windows, breaking glass and stumbling on the landing. As he ran Scott smashed through a different window, hit the building adjacent and came after them. In an alleyway with no other exits, Damien was soon tackled to the ground; Vicky slipping out of his grasp and rolling further away.

She let out a pained cry, which distracted Scott from trying to rip into Damien’s arm to rush over. He nuzzled his nose into her neck, garnering a coo while he placed her over his shoulder. Damien quickly got to his feet as Scott ran off. “Shit! Scott, get back here!”

Scott exited out onto the streets, indecisive on his next move as a glass bottle smashed into his head. He whipped his head to the attacker as Brian led the charge, axe in his hands as Liam and Polly followed behind. “Focus on getting Vicky away!”

“What about you?” Liam asked as Brian smirked, a spark in his eyes.

“I’m going hunting.” With that Polly and Liam swerved to the side as Scott threw his fists onto the ground, cracking the cement. Brian slid underneath the wolf and rose to his feet, using the back of the axe to hit into his spine.

Damien had caught back up, throwing himself onto Scott’s back as he tried to wrestle him off. “She’s not consenting! Get that through your fucking head!”

“He’s not going to listen. Vicky’s emitting some powerful fumes that scream, ‘look at me, I’m available and down to fuck’!” Polly cried, flying straight towards the chaos. “I’m coming in hot!”

Scott tried to grab her but she phased through him instead, freezing the werewolf in his spot. With a few blinks, his eyes took on a bright blue hue, laughing. “Eeey, look at me! I’m a big strong wolf that likes to sniff butts.”

Damien slid off as ‘Scott’ started flexing his muscles. “Me likey the muscles. Bet I could surplus a monster truck with this bod. Oh, maybe I should give it a go!”

“Whatever, just get Scott away from here.” Damien shook his head just as Vicky’s wailing started back up. Liam tried to grab a hold of her but she slipped past, throwing herself onto Scott’s chest.

“Scott, please! I need you …” Her hands weakly grasped his fur as she sobbed into it.

‘Scott’ bristled, a faint growl to his voice. “Ooooh, so that’s what the big guy smells. I can see why he went full crazy … because I’m feeling a little crazy myself …”

“Polina, focus!” Despite Liam’s words, the werewolf got back on all fours, covering Vicky with his body and snarling at the group.

“Mine!”

“Dammit, Polly!” Damien jumped back as Scott nearly tore into his chest, using his back leg to kick Brian throw a store window.

He bristled just as Polly tumbled out of his body, violently shaking her head. “Sorry guys … lost myself a bit …”

Damien brandished his knife while Scott hit him to the side with one of his hands. Brian, who had climbed out of the store covered in glass, jumped down to snatch Scott’s tail and yank as hard as he could. It got the werewolf’s attention, quickly moving around to swipe at Brian. His claws met flesh as he tore through Brian’s clothes and left the zombie with more than just a gaping wound.

“Plan B!” Polly flew over towards Scott, avoiding his fury swipes only to wrap her arms around his neck. She thrashed every which way with his violent tossing as Brian mimicked Polly’s action. Unlike her, however, he pulled back on his neck as much as he could. It caused Scott to rise up on his hind legs and teeter backward, revealing the prize underneath.

Vicky sobbed as she crawled towards Scott only to be yanked away by Liam. “No, no. Bad Frankenstein’s monster.”

“Scott!” Vicky was practically crying, which only further crazed Scott. Liam shrieked when Scott whipped everyone off his back and charged at the two.

Thankfully Damien got in between the two fast enough, cracking the ground beneath him to get a hold and took the brunt of Scott’s charge. He almost teetered, pushing back as hard as he could as his back was clawed at to get him to yield. Damien let out an agonized scream, maliciously staring at Liam. “Fucking move!”

Polly was over in a flash to help Liam by picking up Vicky’s kicking legs. “Hey, watch it! Ugh, you’re banned from the rest of my parties. You hear me? Banned!”

With some of the weight lessened the two floated off towards the sky, hearing Scott let out an enraged roar the farther they got away. Liam didn’t feel he could settle down yet, especially when Scott broke through Damien’s hold only for the demon to sock him in the face. “That was your plan B? To ride him like a bull?”

“No, I’m not that stupid.” Polly stared at him dully. “I always keep tranquilizers on me in case of party emergencies or I just want to relax. I only got a little in him before he shook me off. If I can get the rest in him it’ll be nighty-night.”

They both watched Scott smash his back into the wall when Brian tried to remount him, destroying part of the store wall with it. “He can’t get us while we’re up here, right?”

They swerved to the side when Damien hurtled past them, screaming at the top of his lungs before landing on a car and setting off the alarm. Liam and Polly glanced nervously down until Polly gasped. “3 o clock!”

“What?” Was all Liam could say before Brian’s ass smacked into his face.

He went tumbling back to earth with the zombie, leaving Polly struggling to keep Vicky up by her legs. “Augh, Liam! Get your ass back up here! I’m slipping!”

She awkwardly floated in the air, feeling herself being pulled back down to the ground while Vicky continued to struggle against her. “Ooh if you don’t fucking stop struggling I swear—!”

She never got to finish her threat, however, when it was eerily silent in the streets. Her head looked everywhere. “Where’s Scott?”

Just as the words escaped her lips did the window near her shatter and a pissed-off wolf come lunging through. Polly screamed at the top of her nonexistent lungs, letting Vicky go to fly off as Scott caught her in time, rolled onto the ground and got back into his full stride with Vicky in tow.

Liam finally managed to get Brian off of him, noticing Damien out cold and Polly nowhere to be found. He cursed under his breath, having no idea how to salvage the situation when a needle came into view. He snatched it, checking it to thankfully find it unscathed just as he locked his sights on the werewolf making a break for it.  “Scott! You’re going to regret this!”

It wasn’t that hard to catch up with Scott, as he didn’t have to worry about pedestrians, cars or other objects when he could just fly. He could tell the tranquilizer was doing its job as the wolf was swerving with the occasional falter. Just as he dived down to try and snatch Vicky away Scott made a sharp turn into a new alleyway and left him to get a face-to-face introduction to a stop sign.

When Liam regained his senses his head throbbed, but that wasn’t his biggest concern at the moment. He checked his phone to notice ten minutes had gone by, which was plenty of time for Scott to knock Vicky up. “Shit!”

He was back in the air in less than a second, not caring for the human crowd around him to see if he was all right. One sniff and he caught Scott’s musky scent along with Brian’s blood just a few blocks back and the rank odor of human around him. He ignored everything else and chased after Scott’s trail, hoping he wasn’t too late. After weaving through a few alleyways he was led to a construction site, where a newly built apartment complex was ready to be unleashed upon the public. He went through the open door, able to see clearly through the darkness. “Scott? Scott!”

A skittering noise alerted him along with a quiet moan. He hurried through the lobby and down the halls, slowing when he found one of the apartment doors forced open. Cautiously he made his way in, his fingers working themselves into the grips of the syringe in case he needed to act fast. Heavy breathing came from the bedroom, Liam slowly pushing the broken door open.

Vicky looked to be unconscious, her breathing labored as Scott laid over her in a possessive way. His breathing was heavy, unmoving as he stared directly at Liam.

Liam took his hand off the door, causing Scott to let out a warning growl. He took another look at Vicky, noting her fishnet stockings were still on her legs and her dress didn’t look disturbed. He’d have to get closer though to make sure. Knowing this he directed his eyes at Scott’s, clicking on his hypnosis. “Stand down.”

Scott’s eyes dilated as he blinked once and moved off of Vicky to lay at the foot of the bed. Liam took that as his indicator that it was safe to come over now, shutting off his hypnosis and floating over.

Now that he had the freedom to do this, he really wished he didn’t have to. Just touching Vicky’s body was all kinds of uncomfortable for him, giving Scott a wary glance. “Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m just making sure you didn’t do anything to claim her in your heat-crazed stupor.”

Scott more than likely didn’t understand him in his hypnotic state; he was more saying it out loud to reassure himself. Hesitantly, he lightly pulled up her dress to make sure there wasn’t any opening in her fishnet and then surveyed her arms and neck. Relief washed over him when he couldn’t find anything that indicated Scott had raped her, lowering her dress and making sure nothing was showing. Scott eyed him the entire time.

The only thing Liam could attribute to this outcome was that Polly’s tranquilizer had done enough damage to tucker Scott out. He couldn’t think of any other reason why the horny wolf wouldn’t mate with Vicky right then and there when he had the chance. Still, keeping Vicky here was too dangerous, especially if another wolf came sniffing by and smelled her.

Just as he began to pick her up he heard whimpers coming from Scott. The wolf was unable to move but he was boisterous in what minimal language he could muster. Liam clicked his tongue. “This is for the best. You’re not in your right mind.”

However, Liam was now presented with a pickle of a situation. He could easily pick her up and take her back to his car, but he didn’t know how many other wolves had come to New Westshire. Bringing her back out in the open could prove to be a dangerous move, especially if he was alone. Then again, he could drag her out of the apartment, down the street and over to where he parked, which would be a vast difference compared to the normal trope of the lead male protagonist carrying the love interest away from danger, probably to their home to then castrate about later. It was very tempting, Liam had to admit. But he also didn’t want to waste the next hour dragging a horny corpse down the streets and put his arms through that labor.

He decided to call up Oz, setting Vicky back down on the bed. Better to have his boyfriend help handle the situation than drive a wailing, heat-driven corpse back to her place by himself. He quickly got his location from Google maps and gave Oz the address, putting his phone away after the call. When he turned back around he was startled to find Scott half-laying atop of Vicky, still whimpering. “Wh-How did you—?”

He turned back on his hypnosis, pointing to the edge. “Over there. Now.”

Scott did as he was told, Liam letting out a groan. Using his hypnosis always gave him a headache and Scott’s teary eyes were not helping. “Don’t give me that look. You brought this upon yourself by having feelings for an idiot.”

Liam looked back over to Vicky, whose breathing had settled down. “Honestly, you two are practically made for one another. You both lack social skills aside from shouting and getting excited about everything, you always look on the positive side of life, you find joy in simplistic things, you both are annoying and you both make me want to take a cold shower and leave you two here.”

He sat on the other side of the bed, looking at the syringe only to set it on a nearby table. “You’ve never had trouble telling me what was wrong. What makes her so special that you stutter and get all embarrassed like a terribly written love interest in some cruddy, cheap romance? She’s so awkward and spontaneous and doesn’t have the gall to even talk to you about her problems, let alone me.”

Liam sat his head in his hands. “To be bluntly, emotionally open … I’m worried she’s going to hurt you. I don’t know if she can commit like you can. But then again, you always were eager to please everyone. I just wish you weren’t so open with every monster you met. Maybe then you’d have fewer problems with how others perceive you.”

Liam felt the bed shift, glancing back to notice Scott had changed back. He sat off the edge of the bed, his arms resting on his knees and his back hunched. Liam was going to ignore that his friend was completely naked. “Are you awake?”

“Kind of …” Scott’s voice was slurred, not moving. “Vicky told me about you … how she liked you and you hurt her …”

Liam raised his head, his ears picking up a faint sniffle. “I’m afraid I’m losing her. Everything I do keeps scaring her off. What do I do? What if she never wants to see me again?”

“I think you’re overreacting.” Liam lowered his head back into his waiting hands. “But you two do have some serious problems you need to talk out. I suggest starting there.”

“Ever since she told me, I’ve felt really angry and really upset. I don’t like feeling this way, I want to just be myself, but I can’t stop thinking about you two together.”

Liam listened, sighing. “The reason Vicky feels that way is because I kissed her on the cheek.”

Even in the darkness, Scott’s blue eyes shined through. He could see the animal part of him wanting to come out. “That was before you two started dating.”

“Do you like her?” Scott was almost afraid to ask. “Do you think Vicky would be happier with you?”

His eyes shifted back over to Vicky, sleeping soundly on the bed. “No. I’ve got no interest in her and I don’t think she’d be any happier around me.”

His response seemed to quell the beast, Scott returning to a mess. Liam smacked his knees and sat up. “Tomorrow you two are talking this out. But tonight, you’re staying at my place.”

“Really?” Scott seemed to cheer up just the slightest at the mention.

“As fun as it would be to send you running off naked back home, I want to thoroughly discuss this more in depth where I’m not sitting in the crime scene for destroyed property.”

Liam’s phone vibrated, letting him know Oz was outside. Scott had leaned back to take one of Vicky’s hands, rubbing his thumb over it. He stared only at her; confliction, worry, anxiety, and melancholy stirring inside his eyes. There had been only one other time Liam had seen Scott this upset, letting go of that memory for now.

Right now he had pieces to pick up.

Chapter Text

Vicky had the worst night’s sleep. Her head throbbed like her brain was too big for her skull. She was achy, stiff, and she had the worst crick in her neck. It was almost unbearable waking up without immediately sending hundreds of volts into her body. The second she got home she was throwing herself into a power line.

 With that lovely thought in mind, she slowly sat up and noticed she wasn’t home. She wasn’t at Scott’s either, judging by the living room and very clean mini kitchen. Very experimental paintings hung on the walls, from literal paint splotches to some were the entire canvas was empty save for one small green circle in the middle.

If Vicky wasn’t at Liam’s place she’d eat her bolts.

Just as she began to wonder why she was here, she heard a loud snore beneath her. Beneath the couch was Scott, who seemed perfectly okay sleeping on the carpeted floor, naked as the day he was born.

Her face lit up as she turned away, using her hand as a divider to keep her eyes from wandering back over. What the hell happened last night? She couldn’t remember anything past downing too much punch and feeling extremely emotional. Hopefully, she didn’t do anything too embarrassing to warrant more blackmail from Polly. Knowing her, that was exactly what happened.

“Scott?” His name caused the jock to stir, sit up and let out a large yawn.

“Vicky?” He had a hard time opening his eyes, but when he managed to keep them open he looked anxious. “Did you sleep well?”

“Not at all, I feel like shit.” Vicky let out a groan when her brain painfully throbbed. “I’m going to need some Naproxen, stat.”

Scott was already on his feet. “I can try to find some.”

“Scott!” Vicky covered her eyes, though part of her desperately wanted to peek. “Why are you naked? Put some clothes on!”

“Huh? Oh!” She didn’t look until after she heard some shuffling and was given permission to. He was still naked but the towel wrapped around his lower waist did help. “Liam doesn’t have anything my size.”

As if waiting for his cue, the door to the bedroom door opened with Liam and Oz stepping out. Since there was no school today—an official hang-over Halloween holiday—they didn’t have to worry about rushing out of the apartment. Liam had chosen to wear his pink sweater while Oz had a beanie and a zip-up jacket.

“Afternoon, everyone.” Liam smiled coolly. “I hope you enjoyed bumming at my apartment because it’s never happening again.”

“We’re going out to grab a bite.” Oz took Liam’s free hand, garnering a cute smile from Liam. “Well, I’m going out to eat. Liam will probably just take pictures of it.”

“Not just the food.” Oz blushed at Liam’s teasing remark, the two sharing a kiss.

Food sounded like the best thing in the world right now. She couldn’t even remember what she ate last, hopping up onto her feet. “Count me in.”

“I want food.” Scott also seemed eager to go, his tail shifting the towel. Vicky was about to protest on account of his wardrobe when Liam scoffed at them both.

“Oh no, you’re not ruining this outing for me. You two are staying here and fixing your own relationship before you go destroying other ones.”

Vicky scoffed back. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me.” Liam was already tugging Oz over to the front door, pulling out his keys. “Don’t touch anything, don’t play with anything and especially don’t go into my bedroom. I’ll know if you’ve been in there.”

“But what if I need to use the restroom?” Scott whined as Liam opened the door and swung Oz out.

“Go outside.” Was the last thing Liam said before shutting the door and hearing him lock it.

Vicky let out a small huff, crossing her arms. “Rude, much? Where does he get off saying that?”

Eyes on the kitchen, Vicky made her way over to the sink. The cool water felt nice on her hands as she rinsed her face off, listening to Scott’s apprehensive tone. “Liam said we shouldn’t touch anything.”

“Well it’s his fault for leaving us in his apartment.”  Black water ran over her fingers as she finished getting her make-up and face paint off, using her phone to check and make sure her face was clean before turning off the sink and washing her face with a nearby dish towel.

Scott had taken a seat on the couch when Vicky returned, letting out an even deeper sigh. “Do you remember what happened last night?”

“Not really,” His voice sounded a little funny, eyes averted. “But Liam gave me the rundown.”

With Scott telling the story it was short and mildly confusing, but Vicky got the general gist. By the time Scott had caught up to them sleeping at Liam’s her face was buried in her hands, groaning loudly. “Oh. My. God. I’m soooo sorry.”

“You didn’t know that’d happen, it’s fine!” Scott put a hand on her shoulder but she didn’t feel anything from it.

“I just didn’t want you transforming in front of me. I didn’t think that would happen!”

“It’s okay, really!”

Her hands settled in her lap, scrunching her eyebrows together. “Why do you keep saying that? Why do you keep forgiving my mistakes? I literally just induced a heat episode from you and we crashed Polly’s party!”

“Because it was an accident!” Scott lightly shook her shoulder. “And you didn’t know. Besides, no one got hurt! So there’s no need to be sorry!”

“But what if someone did get hurt?” Her skin felt clammy, her stomach sickening. “You want to mate with me. What if Polly hadn’t drugged you, you got away and raped me?”

His hand left her shoulder, unable to look at him. “… I don’t want to think about that.”

“But we need to talk about this. About us.” It was a conversation that waited a long time to be brought up, but now that they were there, Vicky wanted to continue pushing it off.

Scott’s shoulders fell, placing his hands awkwardly to the side. “Yeah, we need to. I don’t know if I can answer all your questions but I’ll try as hard as I can.”

“That’s all I want.” She steadily took a breath. “I want to know about your mating rituals.”

“There’s not a lot,” Already she could see the dust and cobwebs being pulled away as the cogs turned in his head. “Mating is our term for marriage, but it’s not really like a marriage? When a couple mates they stay mates for life and become part of the family.”

“So if we mated I’d become a Howl?” Vicky asked, the conversation feeling so foreign on her tongue after having only dated for just a few weeks.

Scott nodded his head. “You’d be treated like you were blood-related and be looked after. My family is super nice and we’re really good at making each other smile! I know they’d love you!”

She decided to ignore the last part, keeping herself focused on what was important. “What else?”

“Hm, well … the most important thing about mating is the mark.” Scott pointed to his neck as an example. “When wolves become mates they bite the neck to mark them permanently and it lets other wolves know that they’re taken.”

Vicky felt her own hand touch her neck, her nails feeling like teeth. “What about sex? Can werewolves never have sex without mating?”

“No, we can have sex and not mate.” Scott’s cheeks grew bright pink. “But whenever I think about us doing it my teeth feel too big and itchy. I’m afraid if we tried doing it I’d instinctively claim you.”

So that was why Scott was always holding back. Vicky suddenly appreciated Scott’s decision to turn her down every time, even if it hurt at the moment. She took another deep breath. “Does it always have to be the neck that’s marked?”

“Um, no?” Scott took a long pause to think about that. “So long as you’re marked we’ll be mated, but the neck is easy to see so that other wolves don’t try to move in on someone else’s mate.”

She couldn’t imagine being bit anywhere would be pleasant, trying to quell the nightmarish thoughts of Scott biting into her neck like an apple. She didn’t think she’d ever be comfortable with that even if she wasn’t terrified of wolves. “And … the whole cheating thing?”

Scott’s eyes narrowed. “Wolves aren’t supposed to get sexually intimate with anyone else but their mate. To betray your mate is like betraying the entire family.”

“Do they really kill them though?” Vicky couldn’t wrap her head around the brutality of it all. “Isn’t that a bit too much?”

Scott didn’t answer her, staying silent. A storm brewed in his eyes. “Usually it’s the other mate’s duty to kill the one who broke the vow. If they aren’t able to then the pack will step in and do it for them.”

Vicky couldn’t look at those eyes another second. “What about if the mate is raped or forced into sex?”

A dangerous growl had her gasp, not expecting Scott’s attitude to completely shift. His teeth were partially bared, showing off his canines. Even with all her training, in this form she felt utterly terrified of them. “Scott?”

Her hand touched his and that seemed to snap him out of whatever thought he was thinking. He closed his mouth, shaking his head. “In that case, that’s not the mate’s fault. The pack will go off to kill whoever hurt the mate.”

At the very least, Vicky was learning more about werewolves than she thought she’d ever know. Her fingers curled downwards into her lap as a voice nagged in her head. “Scott, why do you want to mate with me? I mean, I’m really flattered, but we haven’t really known each other that long. Aren’t you afraid that we might not be right for one another? Don’t you think you’re rushing this?”

Scott leaned back on the couch, sighing. “Sometimes? Whenever I see you scared I wonder if this is really right or if this’ll work out. But whenever I see you smile, I smile, and I’ve never met a sweeter, cuter and amazing monster in my life.”

Vicky smiled at that, then cast her eyes down. “I’ve really enjoyed our time together, but I still kind of got some baggage with Liam.”

“Okay, well we can get it when we leave.”

Vicky should have known better, groaning. “No, Scott. Not actual bags. I mean like I don’t really know how I feel about him.”

“Like you still like him?” Scott was at attention, his ears drooping. “Even when we’re together?”

“No!” Vicky held up her hands. “No? I don’t know! He’s rude and insincere and an asshole and he clearly likes Oz a hell of a lot more. I would never try to break the two of them up but I can’t help but feel something whenever I talk with him. I can’t really explain why, I just keep lingering on him.”

She was grasping for straws, wishing she could find some way to explain her predicament. She felt stupid for having this much of a hang-up over a douche, hoping something out of her mad rambling made sense to Scott.

Eventually, he hunched over, his voice quiet. “… So you still like him?”

Defeated, Vicky sighed. “Yeah. I kind of do.”

Her hand took his, speaking faster than she could think about what she wanted to say. “But believe me when I say I’m trying my hardest to get over him. Because I don’t want Liam anymore, I want to be with you. I love being your girlfriend and I don’t want this to get in the way of that.”

“So … you do want to mate with me?” There was some hope in Scott’s eyes, hope that Vicky couldn’t share.

“I don’t know, maybe? But not right now. I don’t want to make that decision until I know for certain what I want.” Vicky cast her eyes away. “I’m sorry I can’t return those feelings. At least not yet. I hope you don’t think I’m a cock tease.”

“No, no. I don’t.” It was her turn to feel Scott’s hand on hers. “I’m okay with waiting. I’ll wait as long as you need until you want to do it.”

“Are you sure?” Vicky looked back over to Scott.

The sincerity in his eyes was enough of an answer; his nodding head only confirmed it. “I just want you to be happy. And I hope I can be that happiness for you.”

Vicky blinked a few times, each time garnering more tears. Scott was alarmed as they fell down her cheeks. “I’m such a terrible girlfriend. All you do is keep forgiving my mistakes and being kind and caring when I don’t deserve it. Even when I tell you I have feelings for someone else you don’t hate me. You don’t deserve a monster like me.”

“Hey, no, don’t say that.” When he scooted closer she pushed her head into his chest. “You’re not a terrible girlfriend. I will admit, when you told me about Liam I got really jealous, but I didn’t want to push you away. All I could think was what I did to make you not love me or if Liam had something I didn’t. He’s much smarter and cooler and he even wears glasses. But I get it.”

“Get it?” Vicky sniffled.

“I get why you would like him. I can relate. But the thought of losing you to him didn’t sit well with me at all and I started thinking things I wasn’t comfortable with.”

She felt him pull her closer. “I was afraid to let you know because no one likes a jealous boyfriend and I thought you’d leave. It felt like everything I did just pushed you farther and farther and I didn’t want to lose you for good.”

“Scott,” Something warm dripped onto her cheek, stopping all thoughts. “You don’t have to hide that from me. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Are you sure?” Vicky’s heart wrenched at his sobs. “I know how much wolves scare you and I’m a wolf. I don’t want you to be scared of me; I don’t want to lose you.”

Vicky made sure she thought about her next words carefully; she couldn’t bear the idea of harming Scott any more than she had now. “I’m not scared of you. You’re too lovable and too nice to be scary. I might have been scared at first but that was before I knew what a wonderful werewolf you were. After all, you were the only one who wanted to help me through this and look where we are. I would have never known what a beautiful wolf you were without you.”

Her heart skipped a beat at his choke, hugging her tighter. “I love you, Scott. I’m not leaving you.”

Her lip quivered when she heard Scott try to pull himself together. “I-I love you too. I love you so much.”

That was all it took for Vicky to join in on Scott’s tearful cry. She felt horrible and terrible, yet newly refreshed and awake. They couldn’t do what they had been doing any longer; she couldn’t put Scott through that much pain again.

When they finally got a hold of themselves Vicky pulled away, wiping her eyes. No doubt her and Scott’s tears were now on the couch, but if Liam complained he could take it up with her. “Okay, we need to set some ground rules. I think us wanting to be transparent was a good idea, but we really need to act on it. No more secrets, no more hiding things. Let’s be open about everything.”

Scott sniffled, his eyes red. “Yeah, totally.”

“With that being said,” Vicky took a long, deep breath, readying herself. “Dad thinks I’m dating Liam because I told him I was.”

She winced when she saw Scott’s first reaction go back to being hurt, taking a deep breath and trying to mask it. “But you’re not.”

“Right, but dad thinks I am because he knew I was dating someone.” Vicky shook her head. “I never knew when to bring it up. Dad hasn’t met Liam yet but he’s going to want dinner with him sometime. But if you’re not okay with this then I can just tell my dad we broke up or something.”

Scott cast his eyes down for a moment, Vicky’s heart unwilling to beat until she heard his verdict. It felt like years passed before he finally looked up again. “I’m okay with it.”

“Really?” Her eyebrows went up her head. “You just said you were jealous.”

“It makes me a little, yeah, but Liam gets to be your pretend boyfriend. I’m your real boyfriend, so I feel less threatened.” He even smiled, which completely blew Vicky away. Scott wasn’t just physically strong, that was for sure, and it was something that made him even sexier in her eyes.

Her lusty thoughts put her back on task. “Also, I think we should refrain from turning the other on right now. I want to fuck you, like, really badly, but I don’t want us to end up in a situation where you accidentally mark me if we haven’t agreed to it.”

“Yeah, I don’t want that either.” Scott’s smile fell into a pout. “But you can’t stop being cute.”

“And you can’t stop being a gorgeous hunk of muscle.” Maybe Vicky needed a filter for her inner thoughts.

Scott didn’t seem to mind the compliment, even taking some pride in it. “Hmm, well, I could try to put on a few pounds and you could start wearing ugly clothes.”

Vicky physically cringed at the idea of an overweight Scott, shaking her head rapidly. “No, no, we don’t need to go to that extreme!”

“So, no more touching one another?” Scott’s dejected face at the idea left her feeling depressed too.

“No, not that either.” Vicky thought long and hard for a moment. “How about … we come up with some safe words? In case we’re having a terrific make-out session and we think we’re going too far, we’ll say the word to let us both know we should stop.”

“But what should the word be?” Scott tapped his finger on his chin. “Butterball? Frisbee? Mom?”

Vicky snorted at the last one, feeling slight embarrassment about the knowledge she was about to share. “Well, I kind of learned about some safe words recently. We can do a stop light system. Green can mean we’re okay to keep going, Yellow can mean we need to stop and talk about it, and Red can mean we need to completely stop what we’re doing.”

“I think I can remember that.” Which Vicky took that she should text it to him later just in case. “I like it! You always come up with good ideas.”

Vicky felt a smile brush her lips. “And you always say the perfect things.”

Scott pleasingly hummed, dipping his head as Vicky let him kiss her. Every time they did this it felt more wonderful than the last, with Scott pulling away after a few kisses. Her lips felt so lonely, giving him a sad stare as he bopped her nose. “Don’t give me that look or else I won’t be able to stop.”

She pouted, almost wanting to tempt him to come back but they did just talk about not teasing the other. This was going to be harder than she thought. With a defeated sigh, she leaned back into the couch, trying to ignore the cute wolf next to her. “While we’re making a list, let’s get back to working on my fears.”

“What else is there to do?” Scott also leaned back, popping his back from being hunched over for so long.

The thought left a bad taste in her mouth, but they had to continue. “Like your wolf form. I want to get comfortable with you changing around me.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right!” Scott sat back up. “Well, we could start now if you want. Once you get super comfortable I can take you for runs in the forest, and it’d be much quicker to get to school.”

She tensed. “Not today, but we should start soon.”

“Maybe tomorrow?”

“Maybe.”

Vicky relaxed back onto the couch. This conversation went a lot better than she had expected, feeling so much better about everything now. They had a plan and were going to work towards making the relationship better for the both of them. Things were looking up.

Vicky didn’t get to enjoy her newfound sense of confidence for long when Scott asked the million dollar question. “So … will I ever get to meet your dad?”

Vicky gave Scott a solemn look. “I want to, eventually, but I don’t know when.”

“Maybe I could help him get over his fears too.” He gave her a half-hearted smile.

She smiled back, but it was short-lived. “I just don’t want him to hurt you.  I’ll figure something out and when I do I’ll let you know.”

“Okay. I trust you.” His kindness, his trust in her was too much. Vicky took his hand, not having to pull to get Scott to come back over, continuing where they left off.

She fell backward as Scott repositioned himself above her, their moans sweet music to their ears. They froze when they heard the door unlock and a disgusted sound. “Wh-Not on my couch!”

“Hey, Liam!” Scott looked up only to get a broom to the face. He held his hands up as Liam continued to hit him. “Ow-hey, that tickles!”

“Off, off, get off the couch!” After the two were properly removed from the couch, Liam let out a sigh of relief while Oz went into the kitchen to put away his leftovers. “Well, it looks like you two are doing better.”

Vicky took Scott’s hand, grinning. “Never better. Thanks for locking us in your apartment!”

Oz came back over, slinging his shoulder around Liam. “We’re going to be throwing a game night this Tuesday. You two want to come?”

“I’m up for it,” Vicky spoke as Scott did the same.

“Great! I’ll buy extra snacks.”

“Well, since you two are perfectly fine,” Liam tapped the broom on the ground. “Get out of my place!”

Liam was persistent in them leaving, Scott stumbling out as Vicky looked to her bare feet. “Wait, my shoes! My candy!”

“What shoes?” Liam cocked an eyebrow but shut the door on her face before she could go check. What was with her and losing heels?

“I should probably go home and get some clothes on.” Scott looked to the only thing keeping him from flashing everyone he came across. “You okay with getting home some other way?”

Vicky smirked. “What, you don’t want to run half across the city in just a towel?”

“Nah, that’s not as fun as others make it out to be.” He flashed a grin. “But can I call you tonight?”

 “Sure.” She started to get on her toes when Scott dipped down to meet her halfway. They shared a tender kiss, Vicky breathing. “I love you, baby.”

He returned his own kiss. “Love you too. Talk to you tonight!”

They took the elevator down to the entrance together, Scott jogging out the second the elevator opened. By the time Vicky got outside, she found only Liam’s towel on the ground with Scott nowhere to be found. She simply smirked, shook her head and called up her dad.

Chapter Text

“Lost more footwear?” Her dad asked as Vicky stepped into the car.

She closed the door with a firm snap. “What can I say? He sweeps me off my feet.” She even threw in a free wink, amused at her dad’s suffering.

She didn’t have to wait long for her dad to show up and get her, asking questions about her night and how much candy she got. Lies were made up on the spot to try and cover her ass, saying she left them at Liam’s and that she was too tired to talk much about her night. It was sort of the truth, even though she was bitter about losing all that candy and credit cards.

When they got to the house, however, Vicky was greeted to shit on the ground, piss puddles dotting the house and a chewed up couch cushion with stuffing spread everywhere. Garbanzo desperately ran over, pawing at her legs for attention.

“Garbanzo! Bad boy!” Vicky stomped her foot, causing the puppy to scurry off. She eyed her dad as he walked in. “Dad! Why did you let it get this bad?”

“I’m sorry, but I thought we agreed you could keep him if you took responsibility for his actions.” Vicky’s mouth fell open, her dad handing her a mop he left specifically near the door. “I want the house smelling like a spring breeze in an hour. Also, you should give him a bath; you don’t want to know what he’s rolled around in last night.”

“Daddy!” She stomped her foot again, but no amount of whining was getting her out of this cleanup. She settled with begrudging stares as she mopped up the puddles and took out the crap, making sure to spray Febreeze everywhere, especially on her dad. Afterward, she juiced up to get rid of the stiffness in her joints and gave Garbanzo a good washing, using a clothespin to keep her nose shut as she scrubbed whatever nasty thing the puppy rolled around in out of its fur. By the time the puppy was ready for a nap so was Vicky, instantly falling asleep thanks to her bed feeling like the world’s softest clouds after Liam’s dreadful couch.

When she woke up it was to knocking, not bothering to respond as her dad walked in. He held a very old newspaper in hand. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to be dating Liam De Lioncourt, are you?”

Vicky lifted her head, feeling more awake as Garbanzo snuggled closer to her. “You know him?”

“So you are.” A bewildered look overcame him. “I can’t believe he actually went back to high school.”

“You’re not making any sense,” She sleepily sat up, pulling Garbanzo into her lap as her dad sat near the edge. “Are you going to explain your mysterious ramblings or what?”

“I’m getting there.” He lowered the paper in his own lap. “Believe or not, when I was your age Liam was a teacher at my high school.”

Vicky’s eyes nearly fell out of her head. “Shut up. For real?”

“Yes, though, he quit after three semesters. I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones to get his class.” Paper in hand, her father let her take the newspaper. “Back then he was all about trying to bring back fashion trends that died out decades ago. The results were disastrous, to say the least.”

Lioncourt Goes Up Against Supreme Court was printed in big, bold letters. A blurred image of what Vicky could only assume was Liam being walked up the steps of the courthouse with police escorting him was blown up for the main picture. “Is this for real?”

Her father nodded his head, then pulled out a different photo. “His look was so outdated and mortifying it killed seventeen monsters and the Supreme Court ruled that he was banned from any fashion trends that were before the 2000’s. They burned every image that showcased him but I managed to sneak this through the purge.”

She switched out the newspaper for the photo. Upon glancing at it her bolts singed with electricity, hair standing on end and the discharge was so great it broke a window and scorched the floor. It was indescribable what was on that photo. So horrifying were its clashes of the 90’s, 80’s and 70’s that if it were to be described the reader itself would more than likely meet the same grave fate of those seventeen monsters. The only thing that was safe to say was that Liam had a full, voluminous mullet with no signs of remorse.

“Holy shit …” her hand robotically handed it away, her father still snickering.

“So? How does he look now?”

Vicky had to be physically shaken back into their plane of existence, the image forever burned inside her memories. “He’s a hipster now.”

“I can’t say I’m surprised.” He stood up. “Anyways, I just wanted to show you that. When will you be bringing him over? I want to schedule a dinner night.”

“Are you that gung-ho about embarrassing me in front of my boyfriend?” Vicky stuck out her tongue, hoping to coax her father in a different direction.

“Maybe, maybe not. I think I have a right to get to know who you’re spending all your time with.” He slipped the photo into the newspaper. “Let’s plan on Friday. We can have seafood and those little pizza bites you love so much.”

“Uuuuh I don’t knoooow,” Garbanzo leaped out of her lap to go and claim her pillow. She cowered under her father’s parental stare. “But, uh, it’ll probably work!”

With the right answer given, her father’s gaze softened. “I’ll be down in the lab if you need me. Enjoy the rest of your day off.”

Vicky fell back onto her bed after her father had left, letting out a dramatic sigh. She was going to have to pull a miracle out of her ass to get Liam to participate. For now, she had practically a week to think of a solution and turned her attention to snuggling her puppy.

Thanks to Halloween being on a Thursday, Vicky didn’t have to worry about school again until Monday. With her knitting needles out, Vicky was just finishing up a scarf she had been working on for a few slow weeks when Scott’s call came through her phone. She set her needles down, about to answer when she paused. She should stick to nicknames in case her father heard her voice. With that she answered, Scott’s face popping up on screen. “Hey, baby.”

“Vicky!” His smile was never brighter. From the pillow underneath him, he looked to be chilling on his bed. “How are you? Did you have a good day?”

“It’s been chill,” She snuggled deeper into her nest of pillows, making sure her camera was still on her face. “What about you? Did you flash anyone on your way home?”

“No way! I don’t have to worry about that when I’m a wolf.” His laugh was honey to her ears, wondering why she had never thought of doing this before. She could easily fall asleep to his voice every night. “I got a great workout in and hit the showers, then mom made some chili and now I’m just watching some TV.”

Since he mentioned it, Vicky couldn’t hear the TV in the background. Scott had probably muted it before the call.

“Do you still live with your parents?” Vicky couldn’t really fault him, considering she was still living at her dad’s. Scott’s place didn’t look ideal for a family unless they all shared the same bed. Vicky didn’t know if she wanted to think about that idea.

Scott beamed. “Nah. One of our relatives moved out so we pulled straws to see who’d get their place and I won! I’ve been living here since … uh … I can’t remember …”

“Must be nice having your own place.”

“Oh yeah, super nice! It’s way easier to live here than with my mom; now I’m not bumping into everything!” Another laugh, which made her giggle with him. “But hey, you should totally sleepover sometime! We could stay up all night and look at the stars, or watch Netflix and chill, or go on long walks in the woods!”

Vicky blushed, figuring Scott didn’t understand the term ‘Netflix and chill’. The thought was tempting. “Now’s probably not the best time. I’d be too tempted to kiss that sweetness off your face.”

“I wouldn’t mind that,” She blushed harder at the pleased hum, tapping her feet together.

“This is going to be a lot harder than we thought, huh?” Vicky chuckled, trying to avert her fantasies.

“Totally! Should we change topics?”

“Yup!” She repositioned herself to lay on her stomach, head resting near the foot of her bed. “I was thinking … since we got the weekend and all, can we work on my fears?”

“I’m down. Where did you want to go?”

Vicky chewed on her lower lip. “Mmm, I don’t know. Somewhere private so we don’t scare any monsters.”

Scott swiftly answered. “Oh, I know! Let’s go to the woods!”

Vicky felt her gut clench at the thought; it would be a good place to hide. She also couldn’t think of anything else. “Mmmmmm I don’t knoooow.”

“It’ll be fine, trust me! I’ll make sure nothing bad happens to us and this time of year its super pretty!”

Scott would be with her and she hadn’t really gone into the woods since she was a kid. She let out a brief sigh. “Okay, you’ve convinced me.”

“Awesome! I’ll pick you up at our normal spot.”

“Sounds good.” Vicky looked at the clock, figuring she should get off if she wanted to get to bed in a relatively good time.

“Also … since you call me baby, I was thinking of giving you a nickname.”

“Oh?” This caught Vicky’s attention, her eyelids lowering. “And what were you thinking, baby?”

His voice was timid, yet innocent. “Ever since Amira called you lamb that one time, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I-I’d like to call you that if that’s okay.”

“Lamb?” It wasn’t her favorite nickname, better than Knot Master. Maybe she’d find she liked it more when Scott said it. “We can try it.”

“My little lamb.” Vicky felt a shiver go through her at Scott’s velvety tone. “Is that good?”

“That’s really good, Scott.” Vicky giggled, her voice airy. “In fact, you’re such a good boy, always treating me so nicely. I should reward you for being so good to me.”

A blast of heat warmed her up at the growl she heard. She saw lust swim in his eyes, breath quickening. “Please, reward me. I wanna be good.”

Her thoughts ran wild from his needy response, ready to tell him to come get her when she heard a creak on the stairs. Her body froze, leaving her cold and empty, listening for any other indicators that her father was nearby. Scott’s electronic voice over the phone brought her back to her senses. “Vicky? You there?”

“… Yeah,” Her voice softened. “I gotta go, baby. I love you.”

“… Love you too.” His voice was just as disappointed as she felt, sighing into her bed. She didn’t know how long she could keep this up.

Finishing up her scarf, Vicky went straight to bed and found herself being carried by Scott through the woods the next day. Scott seemed to know his way around the terrain while Vicky took to observing the nature surrounding them.

With autumn in full force, the air had gotten colder, with leaves falling off their trees and littering the ground in their kind. Vicky wore a knitted hat and scarf she had made for herself along with some boots and a jacket to keep herself from getting too cold. Even if she couldn’t regulate her own body temperature she didn’t like being cold. Scott had also changed to some hiking boots and a long, flannel shirt, but kept his jeans regardless.

She pointed to her right, catching Scott’s attention. “What about over there?”

“That works.” It was a small opening amongst the dense trees and a large rock jutting in the middle. Scott trotted over and set Vicky down on the rock, who adjusted her position to get comfier.

Her legs dangled off as Scott then took a minute to survey their surroundings, sniffing the air and looking out in various directions. Vicky, meanwhile, worked her backpack off her shoulders and sat it beside her.

“Okay, we’re all good!” Scott walked back over. “You want me to shift?”

Vicky knocked her soles together, eyes darting away. “That might be too much. Can you transform parts of your body?”

“Oh yeah, that’s easy! What part?”

Vicky stared at his arm. “Let’s start with your hand.”

“K!” Scott took a moment to work his sleeve up past his elbow, holding it out so Vicky could get a clear view.

It quivered when the process began, hair rapidly growing over his palm, knuckles, and fingers until they were completely swallowed in a thick patch of fur. She could hear the bones crack as his fingers grew longer, replaced with long, sharp claws at the end. The entire process had Vicky entranced.

When the quivering stopped Scott flexed his fingers, making a fist and laying it bare. “Neat, huh?”

She simply nodded her head, her hand leaving the safety of her bubble to linger over his. He set his hand into hers so she could feel how soft they were. She used her other hand to feel the top, running her fingers against the hairs. He almost felt as soft as Garbanzo and something else she could faintly remember.

Her attention then went to the claws, which admittedly scared her more than she liked to admit. Her fingers trailed down them, awed at the smoothness and pinched the ends to test how solid they were. “Does it hurt?”

“Nah, not anymore. It did when I was a kid, but that’s because I wasn’t used to changing.” Scott proudly beamed.  “Now I don’t feel anything when I switch between forms.”

Only half of her was listening. She was solely fixated on his claws, nervously laughing. “Oh man, oh maaaaan. They look so sharp.”

“Yeah, they can easily rip through most things.” Scott took his hand back only to strike at the rock. Vicky yelped, nearly losing her balance as shallow marks permanently scarred the outer layer.

“Wow,” Vicky breathed, her heart pounding. She surveyed the claws again to see no chips or breakage, just as flawless as when she touched them. “So … it can rip through flesh easily.”

“Totally! It’s like sticking my finger into butter!” Scott happily laughed, Vicky biting down on her lip. His laugh soon died when he noticed her face. “We usually use them to hunt prey or attack bad people. I sharpen mine on trees.”

Vicky rested her hands on either side of her, casting her eyes to the leaves on the ground. “Can you really not remember anything that happens when the full moon comes out?”

Scott rested his back on the rock, leaning beside Vicky. “Nah. I usually remember a feeling, like happiness or irritability, when I wake up. Not much else. I can usually guess what happened.”

“Like?” Vicky drew her legs up, resting her head on her knees.

“Well, if I wake up with my bros, then I know I was running with them that night. If I’m covered in blood and my belly is full, then I know I ate. That sort of stuff.”

Vicky bit her lip at the thought of Scott drenched in blood. “How do you know that you didn’t slaughter a monster?”

Scott’s smile was tender. “Because I can still taste my meal in my mouth. It’s usually something like deer or squirrel or other small creatures. I haven’t tasted anything funny yet.”

The answer still didn’t sit right with Vicky, who hoped she wasn’t looking gloomier with every question. “What did you feel these last two full moons? Can you remember that?”

“Irritable.” Vicky lifted her head, surprised at how fast Scott answered her. “And sad? Like something was stolen from me and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t reach it.”

Vicky shared the same befuddlement as Scott. A question had been weighing on her mind since they first started this discussion, deciding to take the risk. “You told me back when we first kissed that you would never harm your friends even if you were under the full moon’s influence. How do you know that? How can you be so confident?”

Scott popped his back using the rock. “I like to think that when the full moon comes out we just revert to our most primal instincts. I mean, if we were all just wild wolves than why would I know who my bros are? I think I can tell the difference between whose family and who’s not during those moments. That’s why if I saw you guys during a full moon I wouldn’t harm you. Because I know I love you.”

“Then why …” Scott was taken off guard when Vicky’s voice shook. Her gaze was fixated on her boots, her neck uncomfortably itchy. “If they loved me so much, why would they still hurt me? Why would they look at me like I’m some prime steak? Why would they try to kill me? I thought they loved me as much as I loved them …”

“Vicky?” Scott laid a hand on hers when his head darted to the side. Vicky felt his hand grip hers, causing her to look up.

Between the trees stood a couple of wolves. Vicky breathed in sharply, her hand squeezing Scott’s as he took a few steps forward. “One sec.”

Their hands parted when the distance became too great. He jogged over to the waiting wolves as Vicky sat and watched. She had almost lost herself there, taking that moment to steady her breathing and get her thoughts back under control. Scott didn’t need to know about that just yet.

Scott crouched down but Vicky couldn’t hear anything they might have been saying. The wolves eyed Scott as he stared at them, concern flashing across her face when the wolves stepped past him and over to where she was.

 If she hadn’t brought up her feet before she would have now, anxiety overtaking her as the wolves stopped a few feet away from the rock. Their black eyes were only on her.

“Vicky, this is my Aunt Jessi and my Uncle Lance.” Scott walked past the wolves and back by Vicky’s side. “They recognized you from the game!”

Vicky couldn’t say the same, giving them an uncomfortable smile with a small wave. “Um. Hello. Nice to meet you again.”

Both wolves looked to one another for a brief moment before over to Scott. He nodded his head. “Gotcha. I’ll see you back home!”

The wolves then made their exit, trotting off farther into the woods. Vicky didn’t look back over to Scott until she couldn’t see them anymore. “What did they say?”

“They were just out on a stroll when they smelled us. They were concerned why you were so scared, but I filled them in on the situation. They hope you get over your fears soon.”

Vicky’s ears burned red, her tone flat. “Thanks, Scott.”

“No problem!” Her tone was wasted on him, who merely smiled back.

Vicky tried to share in his ignorance, yet it only felt fake. Everything about her felt fake and stupid. Her eyes lingered on his hand. “Shift for me.”

“Huh?” Scott lost his smile, suddenly unsure. “Are you sure? I thought you just said you weren’t ready for that.”

“I know … but I want to see it.”

He still seemed unsure but eventually relented. “I’ll go slow.”

He started from the top, fingers working to unbutton his shirt. His sudden striptease had Vicky hold out her hands. “Uuh, what are you doing?”

Scott gave her a befuddled look. “Getting ready? If I transform now I’ll just rip my clothes and I just bought this shirt.”

“Oh. I guess that makes sense.” Vicky both thought and said that aloud. It still made her blush as Scott set his shirt down on the rock, working himself out of his pants and shoes. The way his muscles gleamed in the sunlight, the hair on his arms and chest, down to his clear blue eyes. Vicky had to think about her school work to keep her focused and not on Scott, who set his pants down with his shirt. “All set!”

Thankfully Scott kept his underwear on, but the rest had been tossed aside. She let her eyes linger on his crotch a little too long before ripping them away, but she had done enough damage to make Scott squirm. “A-anyways, you ready?”

Vicky nodded her head, not entirely sure if she was mentally prepared for what awaited her. Scott took a deep breath, his arm with the turned hand twitching. She watched the hair crawl up both arms until it became thick fur. Scott let out a gruff groan, broadening his stance, hunching over.

His form grew larger, the hairs spreading to his chest as his head started to change shape. His face was lost under a mat of hair, his mouth elongating into a snout, his jaws open to display the quickly sharpening canines.

Vicky hitched a breath, suddenly feeling very, very small as Scott’s breathing grew hoarser and savage, unable to stop hearing the bones pop and crack. When his sharp eyes settled on her she balled up, her fear overtaking her. “Stop, stop! I can’t do it!”

She tensed even further when she heard Scott come over, flinching when she felt him touch her. “No!”

“You’re okay. Look, it’s all right!” Vicky slowly loosened at Scott’s soft tone, creaking open one eye. His face was back to normal, albeit more concerned and his body was its usual hairy self. “See?”

Her hands settled back into her lap, her feelings of fear being replaced with disappointment. She threw her hands down, screaming. “God, why can’t I just get over this?”

“It’s fine if you can’t right now. We’ll just keep working on it.” It didn’t stir any confidence inside of her, still feeling like she had let him down. Here she was, still afraid. Would things ever change? “Your hat looks so soft.”

Vicky pulled herself out of her depressive thoughts as Scott ogled her hat. His hand reached for the ball attached to the top, squeezing it. He gasped. “It is soft! And squishy! Oooh I really like this!”

A small chuckle worked its way up her chest as Scott continued to play with the ball, fascinated by it. “I can make you a hat if you want.”

“Really?” Scott let go, looking just as surprised as when he realized her hat was soft and squishy. “I can have one of these?”

Vicky nodded her head. “I can also make you a scarf. It’s pretty simple.”

“I want a hat and a scarf!” Scott cooed. “Can it be green? No, red? Maybe blue? This is so hard!”

She laughed some more as Scott picked up his pants to put his clothes back on. “I wish I could be as happy as you.”

Scott stopped when he buttoned his jeans, looking at her melancholy face. A bittersweet look came over his. “I’m not happy all the time.”

“To me you are.” Vicky accepted the peck on her lips.

“That’s because you make me happy.” That brought forth a smile, one he shared. “So, do you want to continue practicing?”

Vicky shook her head, scooting over and patting the rock. “I’m tired. Let’s just sit.”

After Scott put his shirt back on, he joined her in sitting, wrapping his arm around her lower waist and pulling her closer. She enjoyed feeling his warmth on her again, reaching for her bag and retrieving a thermos and a few mugs she brought along. Steam wafted up from the thermos as she poured them a drink, handing Scott a mug. “Want some tea?”

He took it with thanks, sipping on the warm brew as Vicky screwed back on the cap and drank her own. He eyed the mug. “What flavor is this?”

“Black,” Vicky then slit her eyes, taking on a gruff tone. “Like my soul.”

It got Scott to snicker along with her, the two relaxing against one another. Listening to the sounds of nature surrounding them.

Chapter Text

Out of all of Vicky’s classes, gym was the worst.

“Don’t turn your back against the enemy! Keep fighting to the end!”

“Oh god, there’s a knife in my eye! Why is there a knife in my eye?”

“Suzy, no! Stay with us, Suzy!”

“It’s too late for me … tell Aaron … I loved him …”

Vicky cowered behind the basketball pole, flinching at the ear-piercing screams on the court. It always came down to this; an all-out war on the battlefield where if you weren’t smashed into a concussion for the next week you were blown up, stabbed, poisoned, waterboarded, set on fire or coaxed into believing your ball was covered in a terrible, incurable disease.

“Little help over here?” Vicky yipped at the sudden voice, noticing Brian who dodged an incoming dodgeball to throw his own powerful one back. The one that missed him lodged itself into the back wall.

“Are you nuts? I’ll be destroyed!” Vicky covered her head with her hands. “I’m staying here!”

“Now, now, that’s no way to help the team!” Vicky flinched again when Coach crouched beside her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “How can the team morale be high and the team feel confident if all of their members are only thinking of themselves? Your team needs you, so get out there and show them just how much you care about their well being!”

Vicky gritted her teeth when she heard another blood-curdling scream along with an explosion, a wing landing near them. “Screw that! Every monster for themselves!”

Coach didn’t agree with Vicky’s fool-proof plan to stay alive. With a friendly but extremely pushy shove, Vicky skittered back onto the court, her legs wobbling at the prospect of being out in the open. It seemed like they were down to the final two on each side, with Damien and Scott on the opposing team with her and Brian as their last defense. The rest of the players were either being rushed to the hospital or chilling on the bleachers. Liam and Oz had gotten out earlier to be on their phones while playing footsie. Amira shouted at the top of her lungs. “Kick their asses, Damien!”

“Root for the team you were on!” Brian hollered back, leaning far enough back to dodge another ball that came flying his way.

Damien’s eyes were full of bloodlust, squeezing the ball to its breaking point. “I’m going to fuck up your faces so hard you’ll be unrecognizable!”

The ball flew from his hands straight at Vicky, who screamed and tried to cover herself with the ball she found on the ground. Brian jumped in the way to deliver his own blow, their balls respectively hitting the other. Coach blew his whistle. “LaVey, Green! You’re out!”

“Fuck!” Damien swore; tail swishing like crazy as he ran off the field. Vicky relaxed a bit at Brian’s sacrifice, suddenly squaring off with Scott.

He wagged his tail. “Just you and me now!”

That only made Vicky feel worse, knowing Scott was one of the best players when it came to the sport. Actually, any sport now that Vicky thought about it. He could nail a fly half across the court if he wanted to, watching him expertly spin the ball on his finger.

The crowds cried out for her blood. “Nail her, Howl!”

“Get her out of the game!”

“Fuck her up!”

Their chant had Vicky’s legs wobbling all over again. Her aim was wonky at best, random at worst, deciding to just risk it all and run towards him with her own battle cry. Scott got into a stance the moment she bolted at him, arm raised to smack her into the ground.

She came to a skittering halt, her screams of bloodshed now screams of fear when she didn’t feel anything deck her head. Lips pressed together with wide eyes, Vicky lowered her ball to see Scott right next to her, still primed to hit her at a moment’s notice. She looked to and fro for several moments and when nothing happened she bopped the ball into his chest. “Boop.”

An eruption of boos and victory screeches came from the bleachers, with Coach ending the game with a loud whistle blow. Vicky knew Scott let her win that and she was perfectly fine with it, leaving with the rest of the girls back to the locker rooms to get dressed.

“You really got Scott wrapped around your finger to get him to lose a match,” Amira commented as she carefully removed her shirt over her head. It wouldn’t be the first time she accidentally pulled her shirt through her fire and had to get another one.

“Yeah,” Vicky giggled, already out of her gym clothes and worming her sweater over her head. “Ever since our talk we’ve been doing really well.”

She had filled Amira in on everything the night before, making sure to leave in the juicy parts. “You two got together at Polly’s party, right? You’re coming up fast to the one month anniversary.”

“We are?” Vicky stopped dressing, straining to remember what day it was. “Crap, you’re right! That’s like a week away!”

“Better start thinking of gifts.” Her hands smoothed out her dress after she’d slipped it on, grabbing for her tiny jacket to work up her arms. “Or maybe you two can go out for a date night.”

“I don’t know …” Vicky continued to dress, suddenly stopping. “Wait … has me and Scott ever gone on a date?”

Amira closed her locker, giving her the same, confused expression. “Didn’t you and Scott go on a double date with Liam and Oz?”

“Yeah, but does that really count?” Vicky sat down on the bench behind her, head propped up by her hands. “We’ve been together for almost a month and we haven’t gone on one date alone! That’s pretty sad.”

“You still got time,” Amira sat down next to her. “You should ask him out today! Go somewhere you two like to go and have fun!”

“Yeah, I’ll do that.” The bell rang, with Vicky noticing she was devoid of any pants. She frantically worked on whatever else she needed and scurried out of the lockers with the rest of the students. Scott was walking with Liam, beaming about something when she caught up. “Wait up!”

“We were just talking about you!” Scott offered his hand as Vicky took it, keeping up with his gait.

“Well don’t stop now,” Vicky waved a hand, playfully winking at them both. “What are you doing today after school?”

“I gotta help some relatives move their stuff.” Scott slightly frowned. “So no practice tonight.”

Vicky didn’t take the news that badly, patting his hand. “No problem. We’ll just continue Wednesday.”

“Sounds good.” Scott’s class was before hers and Liam’s, giving him a goodbye kiss as he dipped inside.

Liam didn’t wait for Vicky when she did so, having to run to catch up. “Ah, ah, ah! I’m going to need you at my house Friday night.”

Liam didn’t bother to pick his head up from his phone. “And why do I need to do that?”

Vicky lightly punched his elbow. “Because my dad wants to meet you! ‘Pretend boyfriend’!”

She added an extra wink to get the message across. He dropped his arm, almost hissing under his breath. “I thought me running away at the mall was a good enough answer. I’m not doing that. Never.”

“Never you say?” Vicky was prepared for this, dipping her hand into her backpack to retrieve a photo.

“Yes, never. There is nothing you could do or say that would make me wa—” That was as far as Liam got when his eyes locked onto the photo. What came next was the loudest, most feminine scream, so loud in fact that Vicky’s ears started to bleed and several classroom door windows shattered.

“Wh-Ho-Bu-Where the hell did you get that?” Vicky shoved the photo back into her backpack when Liam darted for it.

“Let’s just say I got an insider.” Vicky stuck out her tongue, the look of sheer horror and panic on his face almost as adorable as when he was aroused into silence on the bus. “And unless you want this photo floating around on the internet you’ll be at my house on Friday at 7.”

“You can-no, you wouldn’t do that.” Liam’s fear soon turned into rage, but Vicky knew he was merely masking the growing fear. “You’d be arrested for putting for reintroducing that back into society! Monsters would die and unexplainable phenomenon would rip the very fabrics of space and time!”

“Not my problem you decided to challenge reality.” Vicky’s smirk only grew wider to see Liam’s long face. “We don’t have to kiss; you just need to pretend to be my boyfriend.”

“How about this,” Vicky suddenly couldn’t feel her limbs, Liam’s eyes taking on a very dangerous glow. “You tear that photo apart right now.” Unable to control herself, her hands retrieved her blackmail, ripping it to shreds until the pieces fluttered to the ground. “And burn it!”

After starting a toasty fire in the middle of the hall, Liam was satisfied, turning off his hypnosis. Now he was the one with the smug look. “I’m sorry, were you saying something about blackmailing me? I don’t see what you could possibly have to do that, so we’re done here.”

He started to leave with a spring in his step as Vicky let out a deliciously evil laugh. Liam slowly turned around and she knew he knew what she was going to say next. “Oh, you thought that was the original? I got lots more where that one came from, Liam boy.”

He stiffened for a brief second until he lunged right at her. “Give me those photos!”

Vicky was already off running, manically laughing and twiddling her fingers. “You can never stop me, Lioncourt! I’ll bury you in your past!” Trying to outrun a vampire was a fool’s dream, so when he did catch up to her she squinted her eyes shut, voice dripping with power. “Try and mind control me now! I’m unstoppable!”

“You crazy, insane corpse!” Vicky felt his hands violating her backpack, her smile the biggest its ever been. His voice sounded kind of off, she thought she heard some enjoyment in his angry outburst.

“I didn’t bring the original, I’m not that stupid. You can look for it at my place, Friday night at 7.”

She knew she had won when Liam tried to muffle an irritated, albeit confusingly delighted cry, and lightly shoved her backpack. “Fine, fine! We’ll do this your way you black-mailing, insufferable—!”

“Thanks!” Vicky chirped, wishing she could see the look on Liam’s face. No doubt he was seeing and showing red.  No wonder monsters were constantly blackmailing one another, this was the most fun she’d had the entire day.

 “Vicky,” Vicky opened her eyes when Liam sounded serious. “I’ll help you, but on one condition. Oz has the final say in this. He’s my actual boyfriend, so if he’s not okay with this arrangement you can’t hold it against me to want to respect his wishes.”

Vicky calmed down from the high she’d been on, hiding her hands behind her back. “That’s fine; I gave Scott the ultimate say too.” She re-zipped her backpack after Liam had defiled it with his intrusive fingers. “I’ll even burn the original after this is all over for extra reassurance.”

“And if Oz says no?” Liam seemed a little hopeful, slowly raising an eyebrow.

Vicky giggled. “Then I’ll just have to use that photo in some other way to get you to do my bidding.”

Liam faked a laugh, his eyes hidden behind the glare of his lenses. “My, what a funny Frankenstein’s monster you are! I’ll get you for this.”

“Good luck with that!” Vicky laughed, sprinting off before Liam could do anything. “See you Tuesday!”

~

Thunder bellowed from outside, sending another jolt through her even inside the apartment building. It had been threatening to rain all Tuesday and finally, the skies had opened up into an applause of rain and lightning. Vicky had her umbrella hooked to her wrist, the rainwater dripping onto the floor while her other hand rasped on Liam’s door. Oz was the one to open it, his smile in his eyes. “You made it!”

“You know I wouldn’t miss this.” Vicky held out a dripping plastic bag she had in her other hand. “I brought pizza bites! These are to die for; you’ll never go back to other pizza bites.”

Oz took the bag with thanks while Vicky stepped inside. Brian waved to her from the couch while Damien and Amira watched the rain from Liam’s porch. Miranda was sitting all prettily on an expensive, satin pillow and looking over the board games left out, while Vera already had a glass of wine in hand and was admiring the rain from inside. Liam was currently nowhere to be found as Vicky took off her rain boots and rain jacket, setting all of her wet stuff down near the designated area where a pile of soaked garments sat. Afterward, she followed Oz to the kitchen. “Say, Oz, has Liam talked to you yet about our little arrangement?”

He glanced back at her for a second. “Yeah, we talked through it. Honestly, if Scott’s okay with it I am.”

Vicky felt some of her earlier tension loosen until Oz leaned his arm on the counter, his voice quieter. “Liam told me about everything. I don’t expect you to try anything but … I hope you won’t be angry with me if I do decide I’m not okay with this.”

Vicky matched his softness, making sure the others weren’t listening in. Granted, she was a little miffed Liam gave Oz the impression she’d try to make a move on him, but that was for another conversation with another douche vampire. “No, no, you’re perfectly fine. I’m just doing it to get my dad off my back. I’ll keep you informed about everything that happens.”

“I really appreciate that.” Oz lifted himself back up. “If anything, I’m more concerned about Liam than you in this arrangement.”

“You think he’s going to make a move?” Even now, Vicky had to wonder if perhaps Liam was listening in somewhere as the two conversed. Might as well shove a knife where she could.

“God, no.” Oz even chuckled at the thought, which both entertained and killed Vicky in the slightest. “Liam told me Scott’s the jealous type, which totally caught me off guard. Didn’t think the big guy had it in him but apparently, he’s really bad about it.”

“Seriously?” Aside from the conversation her and Scott just had, Vicky couldn’t recall anything that would peg Scott the way Oz was. “Scott’s so lovable and goofy. He’s never been possessive around me.”

“Maybe he’s hiding it.”

Vicky gave him a dead-panned stare. “Yeah and Scott’s also great at keeping secrets.”

“Touché,” Oz fished a pan out from some random cupboard, preheating the oven while Vicky continued to ponder.

“Liam seems to know a lot about Scott.”

“I mean they are friends.”

Vicky shrugged her shoulders. “Well, yeah, but it feels a little more together than just that. You get me? Like they know a little too much about one another.”

“If you ask me, I think you should stop gossiping and ask.” Oz and Vicky flinched at Vera’s cold tone. She had made her way over at some point, her snakes looking just as bored as her. “Nothing ever gets done by sitting on your asses and making theories. If you’re that desperate for the truth you should seek it out for yourself.”

“R-Right …” Vicky buried her chin in her shirt, Vera sighing.

“The only interesting thing happening right now is your conversation, and even that is dull and a waste of my time. Where are Polly and Scott? I’m not even done with my first glass and I’m ready to grab the bottle and down it all just so that I can experience something.”

“They should be here soon!” Miranda, always the positive one. “They’re probably just taking their time so that they don’t drown from all the rain!”

“Miranda, do you ever listen to yourself?” Vera gave her a concerned, pitiful stare.

The nonverbal gesture only bounced off her head. “All the time! I have a recording serf record everything I say! That way if I want to listen to myself I can! It also helps that it picks up voices around me so that I have proof of their treasonous intentions to the Merkingdom! Makes executions go by much quicker!”

“Who’s up to par-tay?” Oz’s phobias popped up and wailed when the front door was kicked in, Polly floating in as Scott trailed in right after. “The Prank Masterz—”

“With a Z!”

“—are here to stay!”

“I brought the chips!” The bag was already half-eaten, chips spilling out when Scott held them up.

“And I brought the dip!” Polly’s right hand pointed to her pussy, laughing. “Jk, I brought actual dip! But I’m not throwing the suggestion out.” Her other hand revealed the guacamole she hid behind her back. Then again, it wasn’t hard to spot it through her see-through body. “You guys better love me; I had to give up some hard shit to get my hands on this.”

“Finally,” Vera downed the rest of her glass, holding it out as Oz frantically ran to the fridge to refill it. “Took you forever. Don’t mind us waiting on your slow asses.”

Liam slammed his bedroom door just as hard, glaring at Polly. “Polina, what did I tell you about destroying my apartment?”

“Aw come on, sourpuss. No need to be a downer.” Polly just gave him a wink, letting Oz take the bowl from her as she floated over to Brian. She purposefully sat in his lap, tilting his chin her way. “Hey, boo~ You haven’t replied to my messages. You wanna get down to get fucked?”

The room took on a cold chill as Brian moved his head away, finding more interest in the floor than Polly. “I don’t want to talk about this now. I came here to play games.”

Her eyelids fell along with her playful attitude. “Why won’t you talk to me? Are you still seriously hung up about everything? Even after homecoming night?”

“I don’t want to talk about this.” Brian gritted his teeth, going so far as to remove Polly from his lap. She let out a quiet gasp, her disposition turning into slight anger. Even Damien and Amira had stopped what they were doing to listen in from the open door.

Vicky could already feel the awkwardness as Liam interjected. “I’m not turning my apartment into a safe space for breaking relationships. If you two got words to share, take it outside, but I’m going to have a game night with or without you.”

“I will,” Vera added with a dangerous smile. “For a fee, of course. I don’t take charity cases.”

“Y-Yeah, let’s just all enjoy each other’s company!” Oz added alongside it, taking the chips away from Scott. It broke the tension just a bit, but it still lingered like a bad odor.

Vicky had taken her place beside Scott, giving him a friendly smile until she realized he was sopping wet. “Did you run here?”

“Yup! It was a great run too!”  He nuzzled his nose with hers, garnering a playful giggle until she felt his tongue lick up the side of her cheek. She was stunned, his voice gravely in her ear. “You smell like rainwater and pizza.”

That shouldn’t have aroused her, but it did, garnering looks from the rest of the party. Pushing Scott’s happy face away, she stuttered as she tried to get her bearings. “S-So, who’s up for game night?”

After bickering on what game to play for ten minutes they all decided on a round of Cards Against Humanity. Vicky sat in Scott’s lap under the pretense that he wouldn’t look at her cards, occasionally leaning her body back to rest on his chest. Laughs were made and boos were dished out as they went into their fourth round, with Polly taking the lead after having won two rounds in a row.

Vicky very much enjoyed it, though her eyes kept drifting over to Brian and Polly, who were having a less than stellar time. Occasionally Polly’s hand would touch Brian in specific areas and he’d just glance at her or take her hand off him, garnering either a teasing smile or an irked expression. She knew she wasn’t the only one who was watching it either, with everyone’s eyes shifting uncomfortably to and from their drama.

It was when Polly’s hand landed on Brian’s thigh and scooted higher did Brian throw down his cards and grab her wrist. Everyone stopped the game when Polly was yanked out of her seat. “W-Hey! What are you doing?”

“Outside. Now.” Brian tugged Polly with him as they exited out the front door.

The atmosphere had turned tense, Damien rising to his feet. Amira scolded him. “We shouldn’t listen in.”

“Then don’t, but I am.” He moved closer to the door, head pressed to the side for optimal eavesdropping. Vera turned to her phone and held it to her ear while Miranda leaned in close to listen to what Vera was hearing. Oz was reluctant to get up while she felt Scott stiffen, no doubt able to hear the conversation already. She, however, didn’t have special hearing nor was that polite to let juicy gossip slip away from her. Thus, she found herself beside Damien, pressing her ear as close to the door as possible.

“What’s your problem?”

“My problem? You’ve been cold and distant ever since that night at my party. I thought things were fine after we 69’d in the ball pit!”

“I was drunk off my ass when we did that and you were too! If I wasn’t I wouldn’t have done that. You know how I feel about you, how I feel about relationships.”

“And you know that I’m not a monster you can tether down. I want to be free to do whatever I want, whenever I want, yet you still insist that I just drop all that you so can have your security blanket.”

“I didn’t insist anything! I just feel awkward and offended you want to treat this like nothing happened between us. I don’t want to pretend nothing happened.”

“Come on, boo. Why do you want to ruin what we already got? You’re my wingman, my right-hand man when it comes to all this crazy shit. We make a great team, we get to fuck one another whenever we want and get high together! Isn’t that enough?”

“I like hanging out with you Polly but I don’t want this to be our relationship for the rest of our lives. I kind of want a little more … I want to go beyond friends with benefits. Something secure, maybe with some quiet moments. That you’re not going to be gone when I wake up in the morning or out sleeping with several other monsters and tweeting about it.”

“Well, you’re asking for too much.”

“I think what I’m asking for is reasonable if you even cared about this as much as I do.”

“You think I don’t care? You only care about yourself! I am a literal free spirit and I am not going to let your commitment issues ruin my fun.”

“You’re the one with the commitment issues! You know what, fuck this. This isn’t worth it.”

“Oh, what. You going to continue to sulk and bitch about how I’m the problem?”

“No, you’re not going to hear a word from me because I’m done. Go find some other monster’s chain to yank.”

“Fine, maybe I will! Good luck getting your drugs because I ain’t supplying you with anymore!”

Vicky nearly fell when Damien had opened the front door, causing her, Amira and Oz—who had decided to eavesdrop—to stumble forward. Polly gasped at the sudden intrusion while Brian scowled. “Augh, rude!”

“You two can’t break up! You make every party lit!” Damien protested.

Brian crossed his arms, letting out a fake laugh. “What break up? We didn’t have anything to begin with.”

“We had an awesome dynamic and you just had to go and ruin it!” Polly lifted a ghostly finger up to Brian, who simply rolled his eyes.

“Whatever. I’m out.” Brian didn’t even go back in for his shoes, stuffing his hands into his pockets and leaving as Polly gawked.

“You know what? I’m out too! You’re officially not my wingman anymore and banned from all my parties!” She lowered her shades to hide her eyes, floating off in the opposite direction and through the apartment wall.

“Come back! Cease! Halt!” Miranda had joined them outside the apartment, hand held up as the other was placed over her chest. “I command you two to come back and talk through your feelings! This isn’t how true love works!”

“Yeah, what Miranda said!” Damien threw down his hands, voice raising. “Talk it out or fight to the death! Don’t do this wimpy, ‘we’re not talking’ shit!”

“Let them go, Damien. They need some time to think.” Amira pulled back on Damien, who relented for just a second before kicking his foot through the wall.

Liam snapped at Damien. “Don’t take your anger out on my apartment! Do you know how long it takes for things to get fixed around here?”

“Fine, fucking sue me!” He reached into his pocket and threw out some cash, finishing his blowup with an irritated huff. “This blows. This isn’t how you patch up a fight.”

“Well, Polly never wanted to be in a relationship.” Amira sat on the arm of the couch. “I warned Brian but he still wanted to give it a chance.”

“And he gets nothing out of it! He was so devoted too.” Damien sat beside Amira. “Things are going to get fucking awkward now.”

“A bit.”

“Vera, what should we do?” Miranda ran back inside. “You have tracking devices on them! We have to find them and show them what love is all about!”

“Hm, no,” Vera had stashed her phone away, more than disgusted. “I have better things to do than patch up a piss-poor relationship. If Polly doesn’t want to commit she shouldn’t have to. I won’t participate in something I don’t actively support.”

“But Vera!” Miranda whined. When Vera wouldn’t look at her she ran over to the door. “Fine! If you won’t help then I’ll use all the resources the Merkingdom has to bring them together! This won’t stand!”

Damien sat still for two seconds before grabbing his things. “I’m chasing after Brian. Telling him he’s stupid for leaving it on this sour of a note.”

“Then I’ll locate Polly and show her the error of her ways!” Miranda and Damien shared a nod of understanding.

“You’re going to stay out of this!” Vera shouted, but Miranda had already begun running down the halls. Vicky jolted as Vera’s wine almost spilled on her, the gorgon tailing her. “Miranda!”

“Leave them alone, Damien.” Amira was already on her feet, blocking Damien from the door just as he was about to make his departure. “This isn’t our problem.”

“Yeah, just give them some space, bro.” Scott was also on the scene, giving him a sympathetic smile. “Even I need some time alone! I’m sure they’ll feel a lot better once they relax and do something fun.”

“So you just want to leave them like this?” Damien scoffed. “They’re being idiots and you’re just as bad if you think is acceptable!”

“You going after them is only going to make things worse!” Amira didn’t back down, planting a foot closer to Damien and leaning forward. “You need to calm down and let them work this out themselves!”

“Don’t tell me what to do!” With a firm shove, Scott teetered backward as he slipped through the opening and ran down the hall.

Amira snatched her heels and her umbrella, running after him. “Damien! You fucking get back here!”

Oz, Vicky, and Scott stepped out into the hall to watch Amira disappear around a corner. Oz’s voice wavered. “This isn’t good at all.”

“Yeah …” Vicky felt a bit disheartened at what she just witnessed and like this was partially her fault. She should have gotten to Brian sooner to talk through his emotions but she was so wrapped up in her own life she completely neglected him. She almost wanted to run after him just like Damien but figured he’d probably not only beat her to it but also beat her down if she tried to catch up.

“We should probably call this a night.” The rest turned to Liam, who floated over to the door. He looked wary. “The weather forecast predicts raging storms, enough that it might flood. I already sent out a group text to the rest so you two should get home before you get caught in it.”

Vicky felt slight panic rise from her chest. “My house is halfway across the city. I don’t know if dad will make it in time.”

“Don’t worry.” She felt a firm pat on her shoulder, Scott giving her a thumbs up. “I’ll get you home safe and sound!”

“You?” Vicky shook her head. “You’re not faster than a car.”

“No, but it’s faster to travel through the woods.”

“If you two want to get home I suggest you go now.” Liam already had Vicky’s items in hand, handing them over. “Oz, you’re staying here.”

Oz followed Liam back into his apartment, eyeing them wearily. “Stay safe, okay?”

It seemed like Vicky had no choice, nodding back as she quickly got on her boots, rain jacket, and umbrella. Scott had only brought himself, taking her hand and jogging down the halls. She tried her best to keep pace with her clunky boots. “You can’t piggy-back me to my house from just the woods.”

Scott had caught them the elevator, pulling Vicky inside and pressing the ground floor button. His next words shook her. “Who said anything about piggy-backing?”

 “Scott!” Vicky pulled on her hand, but Scott was firm in taking her outside. The rain was coming down in buckets, already starting to flood the streets as the world seemed barren of any other life.

“No time to talk. We gotta get you home.” Scott peeled off his football jacket, handing it to Vicky. “Can you hold my clothes?”

Vicky took his jacket and continued to stare at him disapprovingly. “Scott, we can’t do this. I’m too scared of your wolf form. I’ll just call my dad and—”

“You just said you wouldn’t have enough time!” Scott had already worked his shirt off, setting it on top of his jacket. “And I don’t want to endanger your dad like that. So I came up with a brilliant plan!”

Brilliant was a dangerous word with Scott. “Like what?”

“If you close your eyes, you can’t see me, so you can’t be scared!” He seemed so pleased with his answer.

Technically it wasn’t a bad idea; it was pretty smart for a guy of his intelligence. But even so, he was still going to be in his giant wolf form, a thought that rattled her. “I don’t know Scott …”

“Just trust me on this, okay?” He bent down to give her a sweet kiss, his eyes begging for that trust.

Vicky didn’t really have any other options, biting her lip. “I trust you.”

“Great!” He then handed her his pants and shoes, which were all a bit to carry. “I’m going to change. So close your eyes.”

Vicky didn’t need to be told twice. She snapped her eyes shut, hearing the same bone-crunching and monstrous noises from before. She tensed, beginning to think this might have been a bad idea when she heard a low rumble near her. “Get on.”

It was Scott’s voice, yet deeper and more hoarse. Vicky inched her way forward until her feet hit something soft, figuring it was Scott. Her hands grabbed for the fur on what she assumed was Scott’s back, climbing up him until she laid herself down. She pinned the clothes between the two of them, her voice shaking. “O-Okay … I think I’m good.”

With that she felt Scott lunge forward, the heavy rain pelting every inch of her body in cold torrents. She shivered at the cold, clenching Scott’s fur tightly in her fingers as he jostled and jerked with every stride. It was like she was riding a mechanical bull at a Texan restaurant, only it was a lot softer and a lot more real, yet the urge to fly off was still the same.

“You okay back there?” He asked, trying to stop herself from shivering at the inhuman voice.

“Y-Yeah. Peachy.” Despite the fear, she wanted to open her eyes, to see what Scott was seeing, to finally rid herself of her fears. Maybe if she just took a peak it wouldn’t be so bad …

 Slowly, she creaked one eye open to see trees rushing past and hear mud splashing. It was when she tried to look forward and saw the massive beast beneath her did all of her anxieties swarm her.

Her fingers slipped away from his fur, body crashing into the mud as Scott’s clothes scattered between them. She frantically sat up, watching in horror the mountain of a wolf turn directly at her, its slits for eyes trained on her.

Her mouth was open but no screams came out. She couldn’t breathe no matter how deeply she inhaled, chest heaving up and down. Her neck itched like there was a torturous pressure strangling it, crushing her throat, tearing her vocal cords out. The image before her blurred, the cloudy sky becoming red and hazy, the wolf shifting into a smaller, much more aggressive form. Advancing on her, snarling, jaws wide open—

“Vicky!” Suddenly her vision snapped and she peered up at Scott, whom she felt cradle her. They were both drenched from the rain, Vicky trying to pick herself up but stumbling to find her balance.

“Wh-What happened?” Vicky mumbled, only remembering the terror that struck her as a child.

Scott got up onto his feet and picked up his soaked clothes. “You went all spacey like you did that time I found you in the gym.”

Vicky didn’t get what Scott meant, feeling very disorientated. “H-How long have I been out?”

Scott shrugged his shoulders, taking one of her hands. “The storm is rolling in. I can smell it. We need to get somewhere now.”

“But I’m not home yet!” Vicky wanted to say more but Scott was already pulling her away.

“I know where we can go. Eyes closed and hold on tighter.”

She did as she was instructed, taking Scott’s clothes and climbing back on when instructed. This time she kept her eyes closed. She berated herself for carelessly endangering the two of them like that, wondering where Scott had in mind.

The rain turned icy and steadily increased its speed; Vicky wincing as it felt like needles were being stabbed into her skin. The storm had rolled in, hoping they were close to their destination. A few minutes later Vicky felt the rain stop entirely and Scott tug on her. “We’re here. You can get off now.”

She let go only to stumble into ankle-deep water, her boots keeping the rainwater out. That might have been the only part of her not drenched.

She heard fur shake and felt the water spray at her, not happy Scott was deciding to shake himself down right next to her. When she felt his hands take his clothes she opened her eyes and saw several trailer houses beside them. She then backed up to notice they were in front of Scott’s house, who had unlocked the front door. “Come on.”

Her boots squeaked as she stepped up the steps and into his place, Scott shutting and locking the door behind her. “Are you sure we’ll be safe here?”

“Totally. Mom said something about how the houses were built so that they can't flood.” Scott pushed past her and over to the bathroom door, stepping in and coming out with two towels. He tossed one to Vicky, who dropped Scott’s clothes onto her feet to catch it. They landed with a splat.

“Oops. I should wash those.” He came over and scooped the clothes into his hands, eyeing Vicky. “I should probably wash your clothes too. They’re pretty muddy.”

Her cheeks lightly blushed. “I don’t have any clothes here.”

“You can borrow mine!” Scott eyed the bathroom for a moment, then smiled. “And you can use my shower to get all cleaned up!”

Vicky would have protested, actually, no. She was covered in mud, freezing and didn’t want to stay in her sopping wet clothes any longer than she had to be. What protesting was there to be had? “Sounds like a good plan to me.”

She struggling to rip off her boots, placing them by the door as her socks picked up the puddle by the door. She squished as she walked over to the bathroom. “I’ll just leave my clothes in front of the door.”

“Thanks!” Closing the door, Vicky took a moment to reflect upon her appearance in the mirror. She never expected the night to devolve like it had, hoping the rest got home safe and sound, especially Amira. Her first thought was to text Brian to see how he was doing, reaching for her phone and trying to turn it on only for it to stay dead. She’d have to ask Scott for a charger when she was done.

Turning on the shower, Vicky had just wormed her sticking shirt off her head when she heard a light knock at the door. “I’m getting undressed!”

“No problem, I’m not coming in. Just wanted to tell you that school’s been canceled tomorrow and they’re expecting severe flooding, so they’re telling all monsters to stay inside until further notice.”

Vicky felt some sense of excitement at the prospect of not having to go to school tomorrow and having another free day. “Guess you and me are stuck together until then!”

Scott laughed about it, but Vicky felt a sudden weight on her shoulders. Spending the entire night and day with Scott was more than a lovely thought; it was comforting and relaxing too. Then Vicky felt the familiar heat rush to her cheeks and below her waist.

A whole day at Scott’s. Together. Alone.

She could take him anytime she wanted while they were together and that was what caused her to panic. Like a bar of chocolate being dangled in front of her nose, she didn’t know if she could resist that treat. And she didn’t know if he could either.

Chapter Text

Scott’s bathroom was a lot simpler than hers. He didn’t have piles of different perfumes, moisturizers, make-ups, creams, emergency stitching supplies, a few car batteries, and hair accessories all over his countertop; just some deodorant, his toothbrush and toothpaste, a razor with shaving cream, and a bottle to help detangle hair.

Vicky eyed the brush, already feeling the tangled ball her hair would become once it dried off. She decided against it, in favor of pulling the detangle bottle closer to the edge.

His shower was also minimalistic, with one bottle for shampoo, body wash, conditioner, and a sponge. It was a lot harder than the pressure she was used to at home, taking forever to heat up. With her shower at home, she could easily spend an hour just basking under the soothing water and play with bubbles, but she had other things on her mind tonight. This also wasn’t her home and she didn’t want to rack up a water bill. Throwing a towel over her, Vicky felt much more fresh and relaxed, as if she hadn’t been swept up by rainwater and mud.

Earlier, she’d scooted her clothes outside when she didn’t hear Scott lingering nearby. So when she cracked it open and found a small pile of clothes she took them in. She didn’t have to try anything on to know nothing would fit; from the pants that would just fall off her waist to the shirts so tall and large, she could wear them as a dress.

She had thrown her bra outside with the rest of her dirty clothes but kept her underwear; she wasn’t going commando. That would be as bad as her just walking out naked with a sign that said, ‘take me now’.

The door was lightly knocked upon. “All done?”

“Just about,” Vicky picked up one particular article of clothing, a devious idea coming to mind. Throwing it over her head and liking the feel of it on her skin, she stepped out.

Scott’s goofy smile vanished in an instant, replaced by awe and hints of lust. Vicky had decided to wear Scott’s football jersey, the ends just reaching the mid-thigh point. She knew him seeing her in this would have that adverse effect and still wore it regardless. She swung her arms behind her back, cocking her head. “How do I look?”

Hot.” Scott lightly shook his head as if that would help him. “I mean, it looks great. I really like it.”

“Thanks,” The hardwood floor was cold to the steamy bathroom. Her shoes were placed closer to the door and the trail of water she’d left to the bathroom cleaned up. The washing machine could be heard scrubbing their clothes as Scott stepped into the bathroom.

“I’m going to clean up too. Get comfy and help yourself to the fridge.”

“Will do.” Vicky tended to herself as Scott closed the bathroom behind him. She scoured the small home, noting the living room had been converted into a home gym. Several tiers of dumbbells—from itty bitty to massive—were stacked on a metal shelf, along with a bench for bench pressing and a metal box that held several bars with comically large weights. Steps and a tangled jump rope lay off to the side, but there was enough room for Scott to try and fit a couch on the right wall.

Her fingers peeked through the blinds to pitch black and loud rainfall, retreating her fingers. She really hoped her dad wasn’t out searching for her. She stepped back over to the bathroom, knocking. “Scott? You got a phone charger I can use?”

“In the bedroom!” She heard him over the shower and made her way there. Sure enough, his charger was by the nightstand but quickly discovered they weren’t compatible. She clicked her tongue, swiping Scott’s phone and punching in her dad’s number.

Her call immediately went to voice mail; her father never answered numbers he didn’t recognize. “Hey dad, it’s Vicky. My phone died so I’m calling from my boyfriend’s. Just letting you know I’m at his place and I’m safe and sound, we’ll be riding out the flood together. I love you lots and I’ll see you when it’s safe enough to come home.”

She set Scott’s phone back where she’d found it, hoping that would be enough to calm her dad down. The shelf she wasn’t able to see properly came back into view.

Stepping over, Vicky plucked the cracked photo off the shelf. Gloria and another werewolf smiled happily at the camera, holding a small, furry baby with big blue eyes. She guessed it was Scott the couple was holding, melting at the sight of baby Scott. Scott had to have more of these; she had a deep aching desire now to see all of his baby pictures.

Yet as cut as her boyfriend was when he was just a puppy, she lingered more on the father. She’d seen this monster before, racking her brain for where when she remembered. This was the monster she saw in the photo at Auntie Bebe’s, the very same one that was bothering Scott. Now that she thought about it, the woman in that picture had the same name as Scott’s mom. Vicky felt really stupid now to not remember who his mom was, but the photo didn’t capture her long ears or canines or anything that indicated she was a wolf. Maybe she wasn’t when his parents were first dating. After all, it was common knowledge that werewolves could turn humans with a simple bite.

An uneasy feeling went through Vicky; she’d never seen this werewolf. There was Robbie, but that wouldn’t explain how Scott got brown hair from a black and blonde haired couple. A cracked photo could have just been from an accident, but symbolism would beg to differ and she questioned if she should ask Scott about his family life. Something was wrong here. Then again, she didn’t feel it was her place, especially when she wasn’t even family. Scott was very loosed lipped, so he might have a reason for not wanting to bring it up.

She set the photo back where she found it when she heard the shower turn off. Minutes later Scott came into the room, a towel draped around his shoulders and wearing a pair of flannel pajama pants. Vicky smiled up at him from the bed, hoping the picture wasn’t off angle that Scott would notice. “There’s my good boy.”

His growl was almost akin to a purr, sitting down at the edge of the bed and leaning in close. “There’s my little lamb~”

She felt her body shudder, accepting Scott’s fronts to kiss her, lightly moaning into his lips. She heard his tail thump on the bed, tilting his head to the side to garner more access to her mouth, which she let him explore. She pulled apart for a second to catch her breath, desperate to dive back in. “We should do something else.”

“Right,” Scott seemed to be thinking the same thing, hands leaving their bodies. Vicky pouted inside her head at their predicament while Scott settled on the TV. “We could watch a movie.”

“I’m down.” Vicky chirped, trying not to focus on Scott’s exposed upper half. She couldn’t tell if he normally slept like that or if he was trying to get back at her for the jersey. Either way, she couldn’t stop staring, which made it all the harder to resist the temptation right in front of her.

Scott was having just as hard of a time not ogling her, hearing a faint strain in his voice. “I’ll pick out some movies if you grab us a snack.”

“I already found my snack.” It was out of her lips before she could even begin to comprehend what she’d just said. Both were left a blushing mess, Vicky throwing herself off the bed and over to the door. “I-I mean, sure! Of course! I’ll go do that right now!”

“Great! I’ll pick out a movie!” She could hear the strain rising, her throat constricting over her stupid voice. She flipped on a light as she scoured his cupboards, finding a bag of popcorn hidden behind two giant bottles of protein powder. As the popcorn popped Vicky threw all sorts of disgusting, off-putting thoughts into her head to try and calm down, her thighs rubbing together when she felt slight wetness.

She couldn’t believe she’d just said that, hoping the movie would calm the two down enough to forget about their insatiable horniness. She was doing a fine job of destroying their rule after they just had a great talk about their relationship.

Finding a bowl to put the popcorn in, Vicky came back into the room with self-control as tight as iron. It was just a movie night, nothing more. Tender moments without hot sex could be just as wonderful and amazing; they didn’t need that to make their night special.

“Got some popcorn,” Vicky presented the bowl as Scott turned to her after laying some movies onto the bed.

“Got some movies,” He beamed when both froze. Vicky’s eyes immediately went to the tent in his pants while she heard Scott sniff the air, his irises blowing up.

No one did anything for several seconds until Vicky grabbed a random DVD, holding it in the air. “Movie!”

“Yes!” Scott snatched it from her, almost shoving the box into the DVD player slot and ruining it. “Let’s watch this movie!”

“Cool! Great! Let’s do that!” The bed flopped when they both jumped on it, keeping themselves at the edge of their respective sides with the popcorn in the middle. Vicky’s face felt too hot, stiffening when she felt the first trickles of her arousal stain her panties. This wasn’t good; she was losing her self-control at a rapid rate. She had to think of something else, anything to keep her at bay.

Her eyes snapped to the popcorn and then over to Scott, who appeared just as choked up as her. His eyes bore holes into the door only to snap to her when she held up the bowl. “P-Popcorn? Want some?”

She lightly shook the bowl, giving him a small, awkward smile. His eyes lingered on the food for a second until they went back to her. His eyes were almost predatory, instilling some fear into her while igniting a fire in her stomach. He slowly pushed himself up, knee trapped between his body and the bed. His voice was firm and animalistic. “I want you …”

The popcorn scattered to the ground when Scott pounced, knocking Vicky down underneath him. She had little time to think when he feverishly kissed at her, demanding in his entrance. She moaned loudly, granting him permission into her mouth while keeping in mind that she was halfway off the bed. Scott seemed to remember that and rolled them back onto the middle, continuing their mad make-out.

Vicky worked her lips off of his to breathe deeply. “What’s your color?”

“Hm?” Scott blinked at her, Vicky having to repeat the question. “Green. You?”

“Green.” She breathed as Scott came back down on her, his hands fondling her breasts. She reveled in the warmth radiating off his skin. She could never get enough of it, enough of him. She didn’t know when Scott had changed their positions but she soon found herself lying atop of him, her fingers getting tangled in his hair as his hands held her back, pushing her closer to him.

She felt his tent from earlier when her legs brushed over him, bringing back some rationality to her sex-fogged mind. “Color.”

“Green,” Scott panted, his hands moving further down to grab at her hips and reposition her. She sat straight up, feeling Scott ground his clothed cock over her, letting out a whimper. She gasped and soon moaned, working her own hips to grind harder, hoping Scott couldn’t feel how wet she was.

“Scott.” She gasped, eliciting a pleased growl from him. It would have been so easy to just let things happen and shut her mind off, but she knew only tragedy would befall both of them if Scott tried to bite her. She pushed against her lusty thoughts, her voice actively trying to betray her as it continued to moan. “We-We need to stop.”

“I don’t wanna,” Scott’s hand froze despite his pleading. She looked down at him and into his lusty yet apprehensive eyes. “I wanna mate. Mate with you. Everything you do drives me crazy.”

Her resolve was waning the longer she felt him under her, desperate to pull down his pants and ride him like there was no tomorrow. She felt so empty and it was driving her mad, having to hold back every time they were together. “We can’t mate. I’m not ready for that.”

“But it hurts,” Scott whined. “I don’t know what to do …”

Vicky bit her lip, trying her best to think through the situation when she was desperate to let go. It was obvious the sexual tension was coming to a head for both of them, her voice shaky. “Scott, can you promise me you won’t bite me if we do fuck right now?”

“Huh?” His eyes swam at the proposal, it was apparent he also had to fight his urges. “M-Maybe …”

“Maybe’s not good enough. We both know how horny we are and if we don’t do something about this we’ll snap and probably make things worse. I want you so badly Scott Howl you have no idea, but I’m not fucking you unless you promise me you won’t mark me. If you can’t promise me that I’ll get off you right now and sleep on the couch.”

She desperately didn’t want to do that but there was no other choice. She could always masturbate later when she got home but having the real thing right beneath her was maddening and too tempting to resist. She wanted to finally break free from this sexual tension and go wild, but she needed to make sure Scott could control himself.

His eyes were conflicted and he seemed unsure of himself. Just when Vicky was going to make the decision for him and get off did he stare her down. “Okay. I promise.”

Those two words were the keys to letting Vicky shut down completely, smashing her lips back into him and grinding freely on his crotch. He growled into her lips, holding her more possessively as she found herself laying on the bed, Scott holding himself above her.

Mine,” he growled, his hands pulling down his pants along with his underwear, setting himself free.

“Yours,” She breathed in response, her skin feeling on fire as Scott worked her out of her clothes.

What happened next was indescribable for Vicky. They always said the first time would be painful and that was true, having to stop or slow down a few times for Vicky to work through the pain, but aside from that she enjoyed their first time. Scott was a lot bigger than she had imagined and that was also painful taking all of him, but she imagined it’d get a lot easier the more times they did it. This was also when Vicky finally realized the context behind ‘knot master’, which also admittedly hurt like hell and kept Scott from pulling out. Because she was undead, though, she didn’t have to worry about contracting anything or worry about the risk of pregnancy. Just as Vicky experienced her first orgasm she startled when Scott grabbed a nearby pillow and almost snapped it in half with his teeth. His way of keeping his promise, Vicky thankful and frightened of how powerful the bite was and what that’d feel like on her skin.

All in all, they soon found themselves snuggling against one another thanks to Scott still being knotted inside of her, sweaty and tired from their depravity. Vicky hadn’t felt this relaxed and worry-free in weeks since she first entertained ideas of doing this, having finally accomplished her task. She heard his voice next to her ear. “Does it still hurt?”

“A bit,” Vicky didn’t try to shift her weight that much, her face close to his. “I loved it though. That was so worth it.”

“Same,” Scott breathed, sounded about as relaxed as she was. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too.” They shared in a tender kiss, Vicky closing her eyes. “Just think, now that we’ve done it once, we can do it as many times as we want from now on.”

“If you say that I’ll never let you go.” Scott light heartedly chuckled while Vicky hummed.

“I wouldn’t mind that.”  She heard him softly growl at that, licking her cheek a few times before letting out a yawn.

“I’m tired.”

“Same.” His arms pulled her closer until their breasts touched his chest, sniffing her hair.

“I can’t wait till we’re mates.” His words were swimming with love, yet Vicky couldn’t entirely reciprocate. She wormed her little sticks for arms around his huge frame, letting out her own yawn and drifting to sleep.


When Vicky awoke it was to a shattering noise, sizzling, and Scott’s irritated voice. “Crap.”

She sat up in bed, finding only her with a massive spot empty. It bummed her a bit not to wake up with her teddy bear, stepping out of bed. She felt lightly sore after their lovemaking, Vicky looking for Scott’s jersey on the floor and picking it up. She didn’t check to see if she was wearing it the right way before leaving the bedroom and into the kitchen.

Scott was picking up the pieces of a broken plate, looking up at her prettily. He had thrown back on his flannel pants along with an apron over his chest that proclaimed ‘hawt daddy in da kitchen’. “Good-mornin’! How’d you sleep?”

“Really well,” Vicky noticed the action going on the stove, her smile growing. “Aw, are you making breakfast?”

“Yup! I do this every morning to make sure I start the day right.” He threw the broken pieces into the trash and turned back to the stove while Vicky took a seat at his small dining table. He had already set the table, albeit sloppily, with a carton of half-drunk milk and orange juice sitting in the middle.

Vicky poured herself some milk. “I could have helped.”

“I didn’t want to wake you up. You were sleeping so cutely, I couldn’t ruin that.” She heard a click and some plates move as Scott scurried over. He placed a plate for her, which housed some thick slabs of bacon, ham, turkey, and chicken along with a somewhat burned slice of toast and scrambled eggs. Aside from the eggs and toast, everything was raw.

“You eat this much every morning?” Vicky uneasily asked. Guess she was eating eggs and toast.

“Oh yeah, to keep my energy levels up between all the workouts!” Scott didn’t mess with utensils as he tore off a huge chunk of bacon with his teeth. “If you can’t finish it I’ll eat the rest.”

She decided the eggs would be good to start off with, taking a bite. “Hey, this is good! And extremely hot!”

“Thanks! I just took it off the stove!” Vicky totally wanted to eat the rest of her breakfast with a burned tongue, blowing on the remainder of her food to not damage the poor organ anymore.

Upon her next bite, she flinched at the giant crunch, picking something white and hard out of her food. “… Is this eggshell?”

“Yeah? Is that bad?” Scott continued to eat his eggs without stopping. “They provide extra protein!”

Okay, she was done with the eggs. As they quietly ate their breakfast, which consisted of Vicky nibbling on burnt toast, she thought back to last night. For once she could look at Scott and not feel a deep, burning desire to smash him into whatever surface was available and ground into him. She wondered if he felt the same way, watching him devour an entire slab of turkey in three bites. “So … did you enjoy last night?”

“Defs,” Vicky swallowed, trying not to gag at the taste. “I feel so much better like I can relax.”

“Me too! It feels really nice, knowing we can do that anytime so long as I can find something to bite.”

“Right?” After munching her way through half of her toast she didn’t feel compelled to eat anymore. Not when the fact that they could literally fuck whenever they wanted burned on her mind.

Scott soon blushed, his voice insecure. “So … wanna do it again?”

In any other romantic story, Vicky would feel compelled to say no, that they should only reserve those times for when it is most tender, most important and book-ended by several filler chapters where the readers have to wait weeks until they see another steamy make-out session. But Vicky had no qualms about that. “Fuck yeah I wanna.”

Scott’s eyes clouded, letting out a low growl as he got up from his seat. Vicky met him halfway, enraptured in his arms and starting with that first, passionate kiss when loud howling outside stopped them.

“Scott, Scott! Get out here, dog!” He let out an irritated huff but they went to see what the problem was. It was still drizzling when they opened the door, the sun nowhere in sight and the water had risen up to the last step up to Scott’s house. Vicky was amazed at how bad the flooding got only to turn her attention to the kayaks out on the water. The wolf pack was tilting and rocking their boats, howling and cheering as Josh pumped his oar in the air. “We found some fucking kayaks! We’re sea dogs, yeah!”

They laughed when one of the kayaks tipped over, some of the wolves falling into the water only to then push the other kayaks over. “Come join us!”

Vicky snorted at their playful antics, feeling Scott’s tail swish behind him. He seemed torn about the idea of going out and playing with his cousins or staying with her. She chose for him as she pat his back. “Go have fun.”

Scott only turned to her for a moment, seeing the love in his eyes swell as he quickly pecked her lips, threw his apron off and dived into the water. “Wait for me! I wanna be a sea dog!”

She laughed when he ran over as best as he could in the water, attempting to get into Josh’s kayak and overturning it in the process. Josh had thrown the oar away and tackled Scott down into the water, who quickly resurfaced to try and bite his neck as Josh tried to do the same.

“Vicky, I didn’t smell you were here.” Vicky poked her head out further to see Gloria lounging in a tube, not bothered by the light drizzle. When her tube drifted close enough she got out and stepped into the house, Vicky closing the door behind them. “When did you get in?”

“Last night.” Gloria was inspecting the food Vicky hadn’t eaten, picking up a slab of turkey and ripping a third of it off. “Is it okay if I stay here until the flood goes away?”

“That’s fine, you’re Scott’s girlfriend. I wouldn’t kick you out.” She took another bite when her eyes widened and Vicky could hear her sniffs. Her eyes stared directly at her, a knowing smile forming on her face. “Seems you two got busy.”

Vicky’s cheeks turned red, feeling a little humiliated as Gloria then stepped around her, eyeing her up and down. Confusion overcame her when she pulled on Scott’s Jersey to take a look at her neck. “Scott didn’t claim you?”

Vicky stepped back, the shirt pulling away from her fingers. “We’re not ready for that yet.”

“Ah, I see. Understandable.” Gloria finished the rest of the turkey and then took a seat on the couch, tapping it for Vicky to come over. “You do make Scott really happy, I hope you know that.”

“He tells me all the time how much he loves me.” Vicky softly smiled, as if hearing him say it.

“You’ll have to let me know if he does claim you. We throw a big celebration whenever we welcome new family and of course your family is also invited to join in.”

“Thanks.” Vicky wondered how her dad would even react to that news. Pretty badly, she concluded, pushing that eventual discussion off as much as she could. With Gloria here she thought back to the photo, deciding to test her theory. “What was it like for you?”

“For what?” Gloria kicked her leg over the other, getting more comfortable.

“When you were integrated into the family.” Gloria’s look seemed a little warier, Vicky deciding to throw her information out. “I saw your photo at Auntie Bebe’s. You were a human.”

“Ah. I told Bebe to take that photo down several times.” Gloria let out a huff, her leg falling off and onto the ground. “Yes, I was born a human and moved into the monster world. I never thought in my life I’d become the Alpha to a pack of werewolves and a mother to a dozen beautiful boys but here we are.”

A dozen left Vicky gawking, wondering how a stick like her could even retain that shape after so many births. She seemed amused by her face. “Yup. Twelve. Robbie keeps talking about having another and I just look to him and say, ‘okay but you’re carrying that one’.”

She laughed, it was just as hearty as Scott’s. Vicky awkwardly laughed with her. “Twelve kids… you think that’d be enough.”

“My man loves kids.” Gloria looked smug saying so. “Whenever our babies grow up he wants another to relive those days.”

“Well, he at least has Scott. I don’t think he’s ever going to stop being a wide-eyed kid.” Vicky playfully teased, but the unclear look Gloria gave her indicated something else.

“What do you mean?”

Vicky felt a bit bad for baiting Gloria like she was, but she was too curious about the family dynamic. “I mean … Robbie is Scott’s dad, right?”

A sorrowful look replaced Gloria’s relaxed features. It looked as though she sat heavier on the couch. “No, Robbie isn’t Scott’s dad. I had Scott with my first husband, Richard.”

Vicky didn’t know if she should continue prying but opted to. “The werewolf in that picture when you were a human? The one in Scott’s room?”

Gloria seemed interested to know about the photo, eyes staring off into his room. She heavily sighed. “That’s him. My first boyfriend, my first husband, and the one who turned me and brought me here. We loved each other so much, he was such a goofball.”

Vicky timidly smiled. Robbie’s existence already spoiled the ending to this story. “What happened?”

In a show of anger, Gloria bared her fangs, taking Vicky off guard. “He’s dead. Been dead for a long time. Poor Scott was just a baby when he died. Never knew his dad.”

The news shook Vicky. She knew Richard was more than likely dead, what shocked her was that it happened when Scott was so young. Whether it was an accident or by something else she didn’t feel it was her place to ask. To hear Scott never knew his own father though … that cut Vicky deep. “I’m so sorry.”

 “Don’t be.” Gloria huffed. “Things are better off without him.”

Vicky still felt horrible for prying, wondering now what deep, psychological problems Scott might have from never having a father or even knowing him. She felt Gloria pull her close for a half hug. “But that’s nothing you need to worry yourself over. What happened in the past is the past; we look to the future now. I just want you to know not to rush things with Scott if you don’t feel comfortable about mating and to not get into it if you aren’t completely for it.”

She patted her shoulder and then stood up, stretching her back and reaching for her tube. “If you have any questions about anything just let me know. I’ve grown kind of fond of you.”

Vicky appreciated the comment but she still felt horrible for what she’d learn. She understood now why Scott never brought up his dad.

“Vicky, you should come outside!” Scott threw open the door only to pause when he saw how upset she was. “Vicky? Mom? Is everything okay?”

“Oh, sorry honey.” Gloria sympathetically smiled. “I didn’t mean to upset your girlfriend. We were just talking.”

“Okay …” Scott wasn’t so sure of that, Vicky trying to regain her chipper attitude.

“I’m fine, Scott. Just sad your mom keeps eating my breakfast.”

“What? Mooom, that’s Vicky’s food! I made it for her!”

“Sharing is caring, sweetie.” She took another slab of meat, standing in the doorway. “I’m going back out. Have fun today.”

 “All right, mom. I love you.” They quickly shared a nose nuzzle as Gloria stepped back out into the water, not bothering to get back into her tube. Scott then looked over to Vicky, stepping back into the house and his sopping wet pajama pants. “You sure everything’s okay?”

“I’m fine, really.” Vicky didn’t know what to do with this new information, deciding to keep it to herself. When Scott was ready he’d tell her. Hopefully.

“Okay … You should come outside with me. My bros are having a water gun fight.”

She could faintly hear their laughter from the gym. She gently squeezed his hands. “Fine, but after that we’re coming back inside for sexy shower times.”

Scott nuzzled his face close to hers, letting out a pleased growl. “Sounds good to me.”

He led her towards the door, the two leaving the confines of Scott’s house to go and play in the rainwater with the rest of his family.

Chapter Text

Thanks to the hot climate of Monstropolis, the flooding died down well into the evening after the rains stopped at noon. Vicky got bombarded by her dad the moment she walked through the door, who asked several questions regarding her safety and where she was. She answered them all to the best of her lying abilities until she was able to slip away and recharge her phone to let the group know about her step up in their relationship, to which she got approval across all boards.

As for how she spent the rest of her day, it couldn’t have been any more loving as she and Scott got very well acquainted with each other’s bodies in a multitude of different rooms. From how stiffly Vicky walked to her house she knew she’d be sitting funny for a good week. It was still worth it.

The next day, Vicky had decided to spend her afternoon in the library. With one hand she held up a book titled, ‘The Joys of Bird Watching’, while she secretly read up an article titled, ’50 Different Ways to Please Your Werewolf Boyfriend’ on her phone. Apparently, alpha didn’t have to be used in formal settings; it was a name a lot of werewolves got turned on by when called out by their mates since it evoked power and control. Maybe Scott would like to be called that, storing that information for later. Just as she was getting to the halfway point did she hear the chair across from her scoot.

Liam took a seat next to her, not bothering with the book façade to play on his phone. “Good to see you weren’t washed away. I would have checked on you two but my hands were tied.”

“Metaphorically?” Vicky set her book down, trapping her phone underneath it.

Liam oddly chuckled. “Literally.”

She immediately brought the book up to hide the bright blush. Liam didn’t have that privilege. “… So, you finally did it.”

Her blush worsened. “Scott tell you?”

“Please, I can smell it reeking off your skin.” Liam dully answered, his nose shriveling. “And yes, he’s been raving about it since last night.” He set his phone down and adjusted his glasses. “I just came over here to run over our plan for tomorrow. We need to keep our stories straight if we’re going to fool your dad into thinking I’m your boyfriend, so tell me everything I need to know.”

Vicky ran down what she could remember about what her dad knew along with what she’s told him, with Liam interjecting sporadically with his own lies to help make their stories stronger. With notes open, they copied down their stories with the promise they’d memorize it for tonight. Vicky scanned over the list she had to memorize, racking her brain. “I think that’s all?”

“It better be; I don’t want any wild cards while we’re pretending to care for one another.” Feeling slightly more satisfied, Liam picked back up his phone. “You’re also keeping your end of the bargain on this, right?”

Vicky stuck out her tongue. “I said after this is all over, not after this one date.”

He groaned louder. “Fine, but this better not be recurring. Eventually, you’ll have to own up and just show Scott to him.”

“Ooor I could wait until I’ve graduated and just never tell him about this part of my life.” Vicky’s smile turned into a forced grin, not convincing Liam or her. She let it fall as Liam floated out of his seat. “Wait.”

“Forget something?” Liam didn’t sit back down but he didn’t fly away either.

Her eyes narrowed. “You just said I reeked of Scott’s semen.”

“Yeah? And?”

Vicky stood up, taking the vampire slightly off guard. “Hooow do you know what that smells like?”

The question completely shattered Liam’s outer shell. He hovered there, gawking at the sudden corner he’d put himself in. “W-Well, I mean, like I said! Scott was telling me all about it last night so of course I would assume the funny smell coming off you was him! Really now, you wouldn’t actually—!”

His voice got quieter when Vicky let out a loud, dramatic gasp. “Liam De Lioncourt! Are you saying—?”

“Whatever it is you suspect it’s completely wrong!” He loudly blurted out, getting the entire library’s attention. He cowered under all the gazes and darted away, Vicky chasing after him.

“Oh. My. God! How long? How long were you together?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Liam shoved a few students aside as Vicky did the same.

“I can’t believe this. It makes so much sense! Scott goes to you for everything, you helped him set up his voicemail box, you even admitted being concerned for him you uncaring hipster! My mind is so blown right now I can’t even—!”

She was jerked back and pushed into an empty classroom, Liam shutting the door. Vicky considered having gone too far with how beet red Liam’s face was. “It was one month and it’s not something I like bringing up. So could you please shut the fuck up?”

She shrunk under his seething. “Sorry.”

Liam let out a long sigh, dropping his hand off the door. “It was more experimental than anything. We both decided that it wasn’t going to work out and decided to stay friends, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t go blabbing to everyone you know about this, especially Oz.”

She would have questioned why, since if their relationship was public it would just be common knowledge, but she wanted to respect Liam’s wishes. She faked zipping her lips up and throwing the metaphorical key. “My lips are sealed.”

Liam just groaned. “Honestly, I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle of putting up with you. You’re just as bad as Scott.”

Vicky felt a little hurt at the comment but smiled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“I wouldn’t.” Liam’s shoulders sagged, reopening the door. “I’ll see you Friday night.”

“See ya,” She watched him leave, contemplating if she should bring this up with Scott. She was curious to know more about their past relationship but let it drop for now. She had another relationship to worry about.


The next time Vicky saw Liam was when she heard the doorbell ring. She had gotten dolled up for their fake date, opening the door to see Liam had changed into something more fitting for the event, yet the man-bun and bowtie stayed. “There’s my muse.”

The way Liam spoke, with every word filled with tender care, made Vicky’s heart flutter, her cheeks lighting up. “H-Hey, baby. You look really nice.”

“As well as you,” He cupped her chin, leaning in and for a horrified moment, Vicky thought he was actually going to kiss her. She was slightly disappointed and also relieved when his face hid behind her cheek, making a kissing noise and pulling away.

“Dr. Lioncourt,” The two looked over to Vicky’s dad, his only wardrobe change being that he wore a striped tie. As a giant insect, he didn’t really have the need for clothes, but the tie was pretty snazzy. “I never thought I’d see you again after you went into hiding from the FBI.”

“You always were a stickler, Murray.” Vicky felt awkward that Liam knew her dad on a first-name basis, though he was his teacher at one point. They quickly shook hands. “I never thought you’d have offspring yet here we are.”

“You know, I’ve always wondered if you got an actual doctorate in art or if you just decided to call yourself that.”

“I like to think my art skills are superior to many,” Liam started, flashing a small grin. “But yes, I did decide to call myself doctor. It sounded better that way.”

The mood was pleasant, which was exactly what Vicky wanted. Her dad was eager to show off the mansion while Vicky excused herself to the bathroom. She’d heard her dad’s speech enough times. She took the available time to text Brian.

Hey cool dude. You okay? ; P

She wasn’t expecting an immediate response, pocketing her phone just when it vibrated.

Fine. Just chillin.

You sure? That was pretty bad at Liam’s game night. : X

It’s whatever. Idc.

Well, I’m here if you want to talk. Well, technically, Liam’s at my mansion impressing my dad on our fake date, but I’m here if you need me! : D

… Ok. 

Pocketing her phone, she left the safety of the bathroom, hoping her father was done. She found Liam alone by a specific set of windows, ones that made Vicky’s back icy. She knew exactly what Liam was staring at out there, looking over his shoulder and spotting her. He said nothing, his look composed as they then heard her father call to him from another room. He left to follow, with Vicky moving over to the spot. It was almost dark enough to not see the writing, but Vicky could clearly see the outlines of several graves in their garden. Graves she didn’t like thinking about.

Eventually, after her dad showed off nearly every room, they had sat down for dinner. Liam sat right next to her, her heart pounding when he took her hand. “You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t partake in dinner. I don’t eat food anymore.”

“Shoot, that’s right. I might have some blood leftover from the last specimen I brought home.” Her dad started to get up from his seat when Liam held out a hand.

“I have an acquired taste that’s rather picky. Besides,” Vicky’s heart skipped a beat when Liam tilted her chin towards him, his smirk all too present. “I have just the perfect snack whenever I do get hungry.”

Liam certainly didn’t talk about how grabby he’d be during their pretend play, the blood rushing to Vicky’s cheeks every time he touched her, smiled at her, talked to her in the gentlest of tones. Her mind shut herself down before she could start to fantasize, remembering that Liam personally told her to get over him. This was all just an act, he had no feelings for her and that revelation calmed her down.

“Well by all means,” She felt Liam’s tender hold tighten and her cheeks flare at her father’s laid-back nature. He gestured a hand. “It’s only fair if you eat as well with us. I’m sure Vicky’s used to it by now.”

“Dad!” Vicky’s cheeks couldn’t get any redder, Liam’s fingers now digging uncomfortably into her skin. He seemed bewildered, flustered and even paranoid, his smirk wavering.

“Th-that’s fine, really. I much prefer to savor the moments when we’re alone.”

“Don’t be shy! If you’re hungry feel free to use my daughter as you please. The idea that her blood is enticing enough, even as a corpse, to satiate your appetite speaks volumes about all the sweat and tears I put into finding her blood.”

Oh my god, dad shut up.” Vicky nearly spat through gritted teeth, wondering if she could get any hotter than now. 

“Well, if you insist,” His velvet tone stopped all thoughts. Was he actually going to bite her? He pulled on her wrist to follow him, her father eyeing the two with a more analytical look.

Liam led Vicky to the first room he could find, closing the door behind him. His mask immediately came off, looking rather spooked and slightly irritated. “Your dad is quite something. I pegged him as the type to disallow any touching or feeding but he’s the exact opposite. I don’t know whether to admire that or be very uncomfortable.”

“So you were trying to piss my dad off?” Vicky frowned.

“You never said this had to be a good date. If your dad found our love to be forbidden I’d have to do this less often.” He let go of her hand, straightening his bowtie.

Vicky put her hands on her hips. “I think you’re doing a great job of impressing him but you’re not biting me.”

“Absolutely not, Scott would be enraged and rightly so.” Liam lowered his hands. “I don’t want a muscle-bound werewolf having personal vendettas against me.”

His attention flickered around the room, floating over to a nearby desk to raid. “Maybe we can find a marker …”

As Liam focused on the situation at hand, Vicky felt her devilish nature take over, her hand withdrawing a photo she’d kept on her that night. She’d stashed it on her earlier in case she found a moment to tease him, taking the opportunity. “Hey, Liam …” His eyes glanced at her before down to the photo in her hands. They immediately went back up to her giggling face. “Want it?”

She thought she saw a hint of pleasure just as it twisted into rage. “Unhand that photo!”

She let out a playful cry and dashed to the other side of the room, laughing. “You’ll have to catch me!”

“We don’t have time for this! Your father is waiting for us!”

“So you don’t want this back?” Vicky shook the photo in her hand, wiggling her eyebrows. “Come on, I believe in you!”

She tried to run over to the door but Liam’s hand snatched her wrist. “A-hah!”

“No!” She shrieked in excitement, pulling back on her arm which pulled Liam forward. Her eyes snapped open when Liam was pressed up against her, able to feel his chest and something else down below. Liam seemed just as mortified, his hand darting away as Vicky let the blank photo fall to the ground. “U-Um …”

“That was my bad. Sorry.” Liam closed his body off with his arms, turning himself away. “I might have a thing for blackmail.”

“O-Oh!” It was oddly specific but it made sense. Vicky’s voice warbled, trying not to think too much of the implications of what just happened. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to have some fun … I didn’t mean to um …”

“It’s fine!” Liam batted a hand in the air, not looking at her. “You didn’t know. No harm done.”

Awkwardness joined the silence, Vicky clearing her throat to try and get rid of some of the tension. “We should probably go back to dinner …”

“Yeah …” Liam turned back to her and she couldn’t stop herself from staring directly at his crotch. Thankfully he had settled down, which helped her to calm down as well. The implications were deafening but she tried not to think about them. They strode out together, her father just about done eating some crab legs.

“That was quick,” Her father commented as they both sat down.

Liam regained his mask, though neither of them could hide the pink in their cheeks and ears. “I try not to exert too much fatigue on my muse. Wouldn’t want her to collapse.”

“That makes sense. The dinner wouldn’t last too long if Vicky was out cold.” Vicky grumbled at her father’s response, picking up her own crab leg and some pizza bites. Her father set down his utensils. “So, Liam, my daughter is missing a pair of heels.”

“Ah, those,” Vicky had confidence in Liam as this was something they had gone over earlier. “Since she sleeps over so often, I figure why not just keep something of hers with me to remember her by.”

“So … you’re into feet?” Vicky had to clamp her mouth shut from hollering out in laughter, Liam faltering for a second.

“That is not what I meant at all.”

“I don’t care,” Her father waved a hand, “I honestly never pegged you as someone who liked that but then again you are a wild card.”

When Vicky finally got a hold of her snickering she took a bite of her food, feeling Liam seethe in his seat. She patted his hand under the table reassuringly as his hand slip away. “Oh, you wouldn’t happen to know about a monster named Scott, would you?”

Vicky nearly choked on her food as Liam stared intensely at her father, feeling as though their façade was for nothing. “What are you talking about dad? I don’t know a Scott.”

“Funny, I thought I heard the name when you were talking to your boyfriend a few nights back.” He felt his critical eye on her, suddenly wondering if this entire dinner was a ruse. “Furthermore, why don’t you come to our house when Vicky goes to school or gets dropped off? It’s almost as if you don’t want me to meet you, or perhaps, someone else?”

“Well—” Liam started only for her dad to cut him off. He pulled out his phone and immediately Vicky realized her grave mistake.

“Or how about we just call your phone right now? The same one Vicky used to call me during the flood?” His hand hovered over the call button. If Scott picked up or if it went to his voicemail she’d be screwed either way, trying to find a way out of this situation. She had left too many bread crumbs and now her dad was getting to the source.

“My, you certainly aren’t easy to fool.” Vicky gave Liam a mortified look. He couldn’t expose them now. “Yes, there is a Scott involved.”

“Liam, no!” Vicky almost tackled the vampire when he got up out of his seat.

“We’re in a polyamorous relationship!” He squeezed Vicky close to him, voice rising. “Yes, your innocent corpse of a daughter is being shared by myself and another monster! Twice the lovers, twice the intense passion of lovemaking and apartments! Oh, dear Vicky didn’t want to worry you about her hot and steamy love life, but alas my muse, we have been found out.”

Her father was taken aback, this was probably not the route she thought the night would go. He looked to her with fresh, albeit uncertain eyes. “Is this true?”

“Uuuh yup!” Vicky nodded her head, pressing herself up against Liam. “Oh, Liam! How could you tell my father of such news? I thought we swore an oath to keep our three-way hidden to all but us!”

“Forgive me, Vicky! But I would never want your father to think that this is all an elaborate lie and that I’m really dating someone else while you’re dating a monster your father does not approve of!” Liam dramatically threw his arm to the side and rested it on his head. “Can you ever … forgive me?”

Vicky could have sworn she saw sparkles surrounding him, rolling with the punches. “Yes, dearest Liam! I’ll forgive you if you can forgive me of my blunders that I really should have thought through so as to not put us into this awkward, uncomfortable situation!”

“I’ll try Vicky, I’ll really try.”

“Wow, you two really ham it up.” They both lost their composure as her father went back to eating. “Really, Vicky, two guys? Why did you feel you’d have to hide that from me? It’s not that I have the final say in your love life, you’re a grown woman.”

“Because I thought you might get upset and oh, I don’t know, pull out a shotgun and shoot my other lover in the face?” Vicky hypothetically threw out there, sitting back down while Liam looked about done with everything in life.

Her father was shocked. “Vicky, I would never! I mean, not unless they were a werewolf, but that’s impossible.”

“Yup! Totally impossible.” Vicky’s smile couldn’t have been more forced.

“So is Scott the one that’s been picking you up every morning?” Her dad’s judgmental stare was all but gone, having taken the bait.

Vicky nodded her head as Liam took over. “He’s extremely shy and he doesn’t like to be open about our love herd. When Vicky told us that you knew about me, Scott didn’t want to jeopardize the relationship because we didn’t know if you’d accept our love.”

“He’s also invisible.” Liam shot her an annoyed glare from Vicky’s blurt. She eyed him for a second. “An invisible monster. Doesn’t wear clothes or anything! It’s practically impossible to tell where he is or what he’s doing!”

 “A vampire and an invisible monster …” Her father pondered that for a moment before jumping back into the conversation. “I hope things work out between the three of you. Of course, I’ll also want to meet Scott for dinner as well.”

“I think that’s physically impossible.” Vicky tried to laugh off. “Because he’s invisible. Remember? Can’t see invisible monsters.”

“You know what I mean.” Her father gave her a smug look. “You know, every January there’s this grand ball that’s held for leading mad scientists in the world to show off their creations. Why don’t you invite your boyfriends to come?”

“Daaad,” Vicky rolled her eyes, groaning. “Can I not go this year? I feel like some dolled up, well, doll, every time we go.”

“Of course not, we have to be there.” Her father brushed his hand to the side as if he were physically pushing it away. “You’re famous in the science community. Everyone loves you!”

“Everyone loves touching me,” Vicky murmured under her breath, eyes angled at her pizza bites.

She held her breath when Liam slid an arm around her. “I can’t speak for Scott but I’d love to attend. If it means giving our little Vicky someone to interact with.”

“See? You’ll have at least one boyfriend with you. It won’t be that bad.”

Vicky just continued to grumble. After the mini heart attack, the dinner went smoothly from there. The questions from then on were easy to answer and after goodbyes were said Vicky walked Liam back to his car.

She waited until her father went back inside the mansion to speak. “God, that was a mess.”

“I think it could have been worse.” Liam unlocked his car, his hand lingering on the handle. “If I’m being completely honest, that was kind of fun.”

“That was fun? I’m exhausted and stressed.”

“I liked the challenge of coming up with a solution on the spot for Scott’s role in all of this.”

Vicky’s heart slightly swelled, then deflated when the air got awkward again. She fidgeted with her hair while Liam tapped his fingers on the handle. “Soo … do we need to talk about this?”

“I don’t think we need to.” Liam sighed. “I should have said something when you presented that silly photo in the first place.”

“Maybe you should have.” Vicky nervously laughed, feeling a pit in her stomach. “What with the whole ‘get over me, Vicky’ talk we just had. Makes a girl a biiiit confused.”

“Please,” Liam lightly hissed, regret on his face. “Don’t think too hard about this. Mistakes were made but it won’t happen again.”

“All right …” Vicky didn’t seem completely convinced, but there was no point in digging deeper where nothing was.

Liam entered into his car, trying not to sound so awkward. “I’m off to be with Oz. Nothing like staying in and listening to music on an old record player to make the night.” He closed his door, starting up his car when Vicky bent down and knocked on his window. He lowered it questionably until Vicky held out a small wad of cash. He tentatively took it. “What’s this for?”

Vicky felt slight nostalgia. “Gas money. And for putting up with all this madness. I really appreciate you helping me out. Thanks.”

He seemed lost in nostalgia for a second too, putting the money into his cup holder. “Burn that old photo and maybe I’ll be more sympathetic to your causes.” She stood up, letting Liam’s car back up. When he didn’t turn around and drive off she was mildly concerned, his head poking out of the window. “For your information, Scott loves a good belly rub.”

He then drove off into the night, leaving Vicky with a sweet if not devilish smile and a brain working overtime. She would have to get Liam alone and ask him for more notes on what Scott liked and didn’t like. After all, they were now werewolf buddies in arms.

As she walked back to the door she checked her phone again, seeing Brian had failed to reach out to her. Her eyebrows furrowed, shooting off a text.

All done for the night. We almost blew it! :C But thankfully things are back on track! >:)

It was only after Vicky went back into her house and got dressed for bed that she saw Brian had texted back.

Cool.

She frowned.

Are you sure you’re okay??? >: / Because I think you aren’t.

I’m fine. Not your problem anyways.

Well I’m making it my problem.

Don’t.

Too late! : D

Ugh.

Let’s meet up tomorrow and grab a bite after school! My treat!

Fine, so long as they have beer.

Vicky nestled back into her pillows, Garbanzo coming over to sit in her lap.

Then it’s your lucky day, because I know just where we can go. Ever been to Auntie Bebe’s?

Chapter Text

“Gotta say, this place really likes photos.” Brian rested his head in his hand, mainly just looking around the establishment at all the picture frames.

Vicky bounced in her seat. “I know, right? I’ve only been here once but I want to see them all!”

“Look who’s back,” Bebe casually stepped over, resting a hand on her hip. “And with a new monster! Name’s Auntie Bebe, I’ll be taking care of you two tonight.”

“Thanks,” Brian startled when Bebe smacked down the menus. Vicky had anticipated it so she wasn’t quite as spooked.

“Scott wasn’t able to come this time?” Bebe inquired as Vicky opened her menu. “He usually never misses an opportunity to come running here.”

“I’ll bring him next time.”

“So, am I getting you one of everything again?” She cocked an eyebrow, almost challenging Vicky to pull her stunt again.

If she was the sole proprietor of her household she would have wiped that smirk off her face. “Nah, I’ll just get the loaded road-kill burger with extra fries.”

“What about you, sweetie?” Brian lowered his menu, pointing to their spirits selection.

“What do you got on tap?”

“We got Guinness, Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Heineken—”

“I’ll get a Guinness, tall, and your best ribs.”

“Sure thing,” She wrote both their orders down, then took the menus. “I’ll be right back with that beer.”

Bebe scurried off while Brian fixed his attention back to the wall. Vicky tapped her fingers on the table. “So, what happened after you left Liam’s?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Her fingers stopped drumming the table at the lack-luster response.

Brian lowered his elbow, squinting while his finger pointed out a photo. “Is that you?”

Vicky tried to follow his finger, focusing on the frame Brian had pointed out and gasped. She vaguely remembered taking a photo with Scott when they were here, but she never thought it’d be as embarrassing as this. Scott was his normal, cheery self, with an arm around her shoulder and waving at the camera. She, however, had decided to grin, showcasing some lettuce stuck in her teeth and the ketchup stains on her shirt. Her cheeks were thoroughly flushed from being intoxicated and her peace sign was droopy and pathetic.

“Can I say no?” Vicky squeaked.

“Holy shit, you’re so wasted.” He choked through a laugh. “You do not clean up well.”

“Shut up! I was drunk!” Vicky puffed her cheeks, even going so far as to give Bebe a furious stare when she returned with Brian’s beer. He happily drank it as Bebe gave her a sympathetic look.

“We do redos, sweetie, if you want.”

“Yes, I demand a redo!” Her hand banged on the table enough to rattle it. If Brian had set his beer down it would have ended up in his lap.

“Get Scott back in here then and I’ll redo it.” She didn’t buckle even after Vicky’s desperate cries, leaving her to sulk onto the table while Brian kept staring at it.

She groaned when she heard that famous camera snap all phones had. “Please don’t show that to the rest.”

“Too late,” He snickered, setting his phone down after his scandalous deed. Vicky was about ready to throw the frame off the wall and call it a day when Brian murmured. “Kind of reminds me of Polly.”

“It does?” Vicky lifted her head, giving it a mean glare. “I guess. She does like to get drunk.”

“She’s always drunk or high, but that’s kind of what I like about her.” Vicky turned away from the photo to look at Brian. His eyes were off of the frame, staring through the window by his booth. “She’s so spontaneous and isn’t afraid to do what she loves or let anyone talk her out of it. She’s crazy and rebellious and insane and I love every bit about it.”

Vicky rested her elbow on the table, propping her head up. “Why don’t you try repairing your friendship then?”

Brian’s head turned away from the window, his features solemn. “Because I’m done wasting my time. Amira was right; Polly wasn’t going to change but I still kept thinking, ‘maybe she’ll like me enough to commit’. Guess I was wrong.”

He downed some more of his beer. “When I first woke up, I felt nothing. I was nothing. Pain was dull to my senses, emotions were dull to my senses, my situation was dull. Everything was dull. When Polly got me started on drugs and inviting me out, I finally felt something. I found things that could make me feel amazing and awful at the same time, I learned to love through all the crazy sex positions she put us through. Polly literally lit up my life.”

His eyes narrowed, his fingers grasping nothing. “But I guess she never saw me beyond a friend with benefits. It was fun while it lasted but we’re just too different. To make Polly commit wouldn’t be right of me, so it’s time I moved on.”

“Brian …” Vicky moved to overlap her hand with his but he slid his hand away. “I’m so sorry. Does Polly know all that?”

“I’ve told her a few times, but I think she was high off her ass whenever I did. Then again, I probably was too.” Brian finished the rest of his beer, slightly disappointed. “I’m tired of pretending things are okay. I don’t want to go back to being friends if it means having to watch her entertain all these other monsters and wake up all alone after an intense party to know she’s off sucking some other monster’s dick. It’s too much.”

He gripped his chest where his heart was, leaning back in his seat and letting his head tilt back. “I’ll be alone for Prom and after that… I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just enlist into Hell, try to work my way up to a General position or something. Damien seems all for it.”

“What? No way! I’m sure they’re other monsters out there who are pining for you? Or-or maybe you’ll find someone else! Don’t give up hope now!”

Brian tilted his head up. “Please, Vera scares me too much and Miranda only dates monsters whose annual income has at least eight digits.”

“You could always date another monster that’s not one of the main six?” His cold stare only brought her down.

“Don’t worry about me. I’ll move on from this.” She could hear the bitterness and sadness in his tone, feeling the same.

“But …” Vicky had nothing to add and Brian knew it. She didn’t know how to fix Brian’s situation, especially if Polly didn’t want to pursue Brian back. It could mean that the two just weren’t meant for each other.

Bebe had come around with their orders. As she set their food down, Vicky eyed Brian’s empty glass. “Bring him a couple more Guinness’.”

She saw him flash a small smile as Bebe brought over another frothy mug. “Thanks, Vicky.”

“Least I can do.”

“I leave for a couple ofminutes and I got a bunch of sad sacks in my pub.” They both looked to Bebe, who shook her head. “This isn’t going to do. Looks like I gotta pull the camera out early.”

“Oh, photo time!” Brian had no idea what was going on as Vicky smushed herself into his booth. She snuggled extra close, eyes bright and cheery as she put up both of her peace signs.

“God, you’re such a child.” Brian teased, Vicky happy to hear a smile in his voice. A bright snap and some colorful pens had them signing their names. Vicky smiled proudly at the photo beneath her, it was a million times better than the one up above. She was sort of falling into Brian’s lap in this one but at least she didn’t look drunk as hell. Even Brian managed to pull off a relaxed smile and held his beer in his free hand while his other was keeping her from falling onto him.

“Thank you dears,” Bebe took the photo from them after they were done signing their names. “I’ll hang this right up. Now eat your meals and smile.”

“Yes, Ma’am!” Vicky reseated herself, ready to tear into her burger when Brian lifted his finger again. “Hey, there’s another one with Scott.”

Her eyes followed, looking to a photo crowded with monsters. The entire football team was crammed into a circle booth, raising frosty mugs into the air. Scott was off to the side, his beard shorter and his muscles less pronounced as he held a bottle of soda instead of a big boy mug. Vicky kept lingering on Scott, poking his portrait. “He’s such a cutie.”

“He is pretty handsome,” Brian said through a mouthful of ribs. Dark-colored sauce stained his lips as Vicky went back to her burger. “Amira said something about your one month anniversary coming up? When’s that again?”

Vicky had just situated her mouth to take the perfect bite when the news hit her. The burger flopped unceremoniously onto the plate, her greasy hands gripping her head. “Today!”

Brian’s eyes widened. “You forgot what day it was?”

She hardly listened to Brian, her fingers flying across her phone and calling up Scott. He picked up quicker than she thought. “Vicky, hey! I was just thinking about you!”

“Scott, today’s our one month anniversary!” She didn’t care if she was screaming it or that the entire pub was staring at her.

Scott sounded just as panicked. “What? Today? No way! Did you remember?”

“No, I just remembered now!”

“Oh, shit we gotta do something!”

“I’m at Auntie Bebe’s! Get over here now!” Hanging up, she threw as much cash as she had on hand at Brian. “I’m so sorry, Brian, but I gotta get out of here! Whatever that doesn’t cover I’ll pay you back later!”

“You don’t have to—” Brian never got to finish his sentence as the door to the pub was knocked down. Scott burst in with a wild look, head darting every way until Vicky started waving her arms. In the next second, she was over Scott’s shoulder and he was running out of the restaurant, the two practically screaming.

“I’m so sorry I forgot I would have picked you up something or planned a date night but I forgot!”

“I’m sorry I didn’t think we’d been dating for an entire month I don’t have any gifts or cool chew toys I’m so sorry!”

Their squeals went back to screams as Scott continued to run down the street, attracting the attention of every monster they passed. He especially garnered attention when he smashed through carts, skidded over cars and ignored the rules of hopscotch.

“Wait!” Scott paused before he could jump through a window and into a barber shop, holding Vicky out in front of him. “I do have a gift for you! It’s at my place!”

“Then let’s get it!” Scott threw her back over his shoulder, getting comfortable as he ran to her house. Her eyes continuously stared down at his ass, tempted to touch it but now wasn’t the time to be distracting Scott, especially when he kept running through things like a stunt double.

The closer they got to her house the more Vicky noticed her dad’s car wasn’t parked in the driveway. “Hold on.” She coaxed Scott to hide in the bushes, opening the door to her place and shouting. “Dad? You here? Hello?”

Only Garbanzo came scampering up to her, tail wagging and starved for attention. Vicky picked him up, assuming her father had gone out shopping for groceries. It still wouldn’t be a bright idea to bring Scott indoors in case her dad suddenly reappeared.

Scott’s horrified gasp nearly had her screaming, the werewolf right behind her. “Vicky, how could you?”

“What? What did I do?” She spun around to see Scott past the doorway. So much for keeping him outside.

His expression was a mixture of betrayal and aggression, pointing fingers at Garbanzo. “You’re seeing another dog! And he gets to stay with you? How could you, Vicky?”

Garbanzo continued to pant and wag his tail, even when Scott crouched down and gave him a nasty glare and a few barks. “Shoo! Go away! Vicky’s my girlfriend!”

“Scott, he’s just a puppy!” Vicky turned her body away in case Scott grabbed him. “I’m not romantically seeing Garbanzo! Gross!”

“You’re not?” Scott lifted himself up, genuinely confused.

Even after being with Scott for an entire month he still had his insanely stupid moments. “No! I would never do that to you.”

She set her puppy down to give him a sweet kiss for confirmation. It seemed to help calm Scott down, his head swiveling everywhere. “Wait, I’m in your house. I want to see it!”

“Scott, wait!” Her words were lost on deaf ears as Scott scampered inside, sniffing everything from the furniture to food to even their freshly cleaned laundry. At first, she just followed him around, trying to coax him back out but when he lifted his leg near a spot she knew Garbanzo had peed she resorted to smacking him with a broom.

“Scott, you can’t be here!” Vicky yelled as she trudged around the second floor. She had lost the giant wolf somewhere between the elevator and the game room, broom in hand. “If my dad gets home now we’ll both be dead!”

She moved to her bedroom only to find him not there, but the open door told her he had been at some point. The Liam doll next to her sewing machine had been moved, Vicky hoping it hadn’t hurt Scott too much. The overturned frame was now standing upright, Vicky giving it a hardened stare and pushing it back over. “Shit.”

Going into her yarn basket, Vicky retried her gifts and quickly stuffed them into a bag she found in her room before leaving. “Scott! Please come here!”

She worked her way back downstairs, noticing the back doors opened. She exited through them and into their massive yard that boarded the woods beyond their estate. Scott was huddled near their small graveyard, the last place Vicky wanted to find him.

She sat on the stone bench near the graves, her hands feeling the cool stone. Scott lifted his head, clear confusion in his eyes. “I don’t understand.”

Vicky formed a bitter-sweet smile. “Like I said, I was created by my dad.” Her eyes lingered on the four rows of graves, almost all of them engraved with her name and a different number. “But I wasn’t the first. He was terrible with names.”

Scott gazed back at the tombstone; Vicky 4 Schmidt. Vicky wondered what was going through his mind. “Does it bother you?”

Her smile became half-hearted. “It bothered me a lot when I was little. Dad kept telling me how I was the most successful of all his creations, how I had outlasted every single one. At first, I was proud, knowing I was the superior Vicky. But then I started to hear how the rest of the Vicky’s died. Vicky 2 survived three days before her heart failed. Vicky 6 tripped down the stairs in less than a week because her eyes fell out of her head. The first Vicky didn’t even survive the first day. She just spoke gibberish and drooled until her brain finally gave out and she died in her sleep. I started thinking: what if I failed like the rest? What if something was wrong with me and I’d drop dead like all the others? It scared me so much. I was almost afraid to leave my room. Would dad mourn for me like the rest? Would he just make another Vicky and then tell her how lucky she was to outlive me? Was I nothing more than a mad scientist’s dream to my dad?”

Scott was staring at her now with more than just concern. “After the attack, dad didn’t let me out of the house. I didn’t want to leave either. I was so scared of just suddenly croaking and becoming another failed experiment, another corpse to bury in the backyard and be forgotten about. I almost ran back to that spot.”

The tip of her shoe tapped Scott. “And then you decided to take a chance on me. You got me out of that rut. Thanks.”

Scott smiled, moving away from the graves to hold her. She embraced his warmth just as he tensed. She couldn’t get the words out fast enough before she was on his back, gripping onto the freshly grown fur of his wolf form as he darted into the woods.

Her heart raced when she realized what Scott had done, shutting her eyes like she always did. Then she thought of other moments with him; of her feeling his changed hand and him racing them towards her house through the storm. Every time he had been as gentle as possible, in full control of himself. The last time she tried to watch she sent herself back into the represses of her mind, but Vicky wasn’t a child anymore. She wasn’t helpless, she wasn’t meek and she certainly wasn’t going to let this win.

Gripping the fur tighter, Vicky forced herself to open her eyes. Scott was large beneath her, larger than any animal she had seen. His fur was just as brown and soft as his hair. He was running faster than Vicky knew until he slowed to a complete stop. His ears stood straight up from his head, slowly turning his head right to left until he crouched down. An indication to let her off.

She slowly slid off him and took a few steps back, her eyes never leaving him. When he looked to her he bristled and she saw clarity in his bright blue eyes. The long snout, his strong legs down to his four paws and tail. He was every sense of the word a wolf. It was breathtaking.

In just a few seconds Scott had reverted back to his human form, stark naked. “Vicky! I—” He paused when a breeze swept through the trees, his cheeks reddening. “Oh man.”

He dropped to the leaf-infested ground, his tail swinging in front of him to hide his family jewels. Vicky also helped by lending him her sweater, which he tied around his waist.

She found it amusing how much he squirmed. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I heard someone coming to the mansion and I thought it was your dad and I know you don’t want me to meet him so I took off but I took you too and—!” He sharply inhaled, forgetting to breathe. “Anyways, I’m sorry! I won’t do that again.”

He uncomfortably looked up to her, as she made her way over. Kneeling, Vicky ran a hand through his hair. “You’re fine.”

“It’s not fine,” Scott leaned into her hand, keeping his eyes on her. “I keep messing up.”

“You had good intentions. Really, it’s no big deal.”

“But it is a big deal. You’re scared of wolves and whenever you see one your eyes go glassy and you don’t speak and your breathing gets shallow.” Vicky could almost see the mental whip Scott kept beating himself with, mildly alarming her. Being self-conscious was one thing but Scott beat himself up a little too much.

“I’m not scared of this wolf.” She stroked him gently as one of her hands cupped his cheek. “Did you see me have glassy eyes this time?”

“No … but your heart beat fast.” The fact that Scott could notice that when his ears weren’t pressed to her chest impressed her. She’d have to keep that in mind if she ever needed to have a private discussion and Scott was nearby.

“Well, considering I’m not having a mental breakdown from seeing you, I think we can call this a success. Don’t beat yourself up over this, it’s fine.” She leaned down to tenderly kiss his cheek, continuing to stroke his hair.

“The full moon will be here soon …” Vicky slowed; she almost didn’t catch Scott’s mumble. His eyes sought reassurance from her.

Her hand moved away, staying near Scott. “We’ll cross that bridge when it gets here. For now,” She picked up her plastic bag, holding it out for Scott. “Happy one month anniversary.”

He took the bag and slipped one hand inside. His ears twitched, pulling out the hat and scarf in awe. “These are for me?”

“I hope they fit.” Vicky took the blue hat, which was adorned in white bones and slipped it over Scott’s head. She took the matching scarf and wrapped it loosely around his neck. “If they don’t, I can readjust the size.”

Scott touched the hat and scarf, his child-like wonder surfacing. “They’re so soft! Are these bones? I love bones! I can’t stop touching them! I love them so much! Thank you!”

Vicky giggled while Scott continued to marvel at the home-made gifts. She even accepted his kisses in return and him licking her face. “You’re welcome! Sorry I didn’t get you anything else.”

“Nah, these are great! I’m going to treasure these forever.” His smile quickly faded, lowering his hands. “I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything …”

Vicky rested her hand on his shoulder. She was quick to write off the lack of gifts when she instead focused on the noises around them. She couldn’t hear any cars or any signs of other people around. She bit her inner cheek. “There is something you could give me …”

“Really?” Scott didn’t have time to react as Vicky used his new scarf to pull him onto her. Her lips claimed his until they moved down the jaw, past the neck, and onto his chest. He grunted. “Vi-Vicky …”

“Would you say I’ve been a good girl?” Vicky met his eyes with her own impure ones, breathing shallowly. “Look at these gifts I’ve given to you. Given to my alpha.”

Scott shuddered; looks like the book was right. “I-I’m not the alpha. You know that.”

“You’re my alpha,” Vicky could feel Scott leaning into her, placing her hands behind her to keep from falling onto the leaves. “And alphas reward their girlfriends for being good girls. All I could think of was you when I made those, wanting to feel my alpha hold me and reward me for such wonderful gifts.”

He groaned above her, noticing how much her words were undoing him. His voice was strained like he was desperately trying to hold on. “Out here? Are you sure?”

She nodded her head, pushing herself up to whisper into his ear. “Play with me, alpha. I want to be your good girl~”

Her tongue licked up his ear but never reached the top. Scott had pinned her down just when she tried to finish, his tongue entering her mouth as she moaned loudly. One of his hands was working her shirt up while the other took his hat and scarf off, setting them down beside them. His tone was gravely and serious. “Good girl. My good girl. Mine.”

“Alpha~” Vicky cooed, almost unable to contain her excitement. It was risky as hell and not the most comfortable place to be having sex in the middle of the woods. Vicky could care less at the moment, wanting only to feel Scott above her and using both of them to pleasure one another.

She was taken out of the moment when Scott licked up her neck. Her chin bared him entrance, lightly pushing on him. “No, Scott. No neck.”

He lightly whined but understood, going back up to her face to continue his licking. It slowly brought her back into the moment but it was harder for her to relax. It had to come up in conversation sometime, he had even seen her photo in her room. Someday she’d have to sit down and tell him about what happened when she was a girl, but she didn’t want to bog down their fun with such a heavy moment after the one they went through. Someday, but not today.

Chapter Text

Things slowed down the next couple weeks but that didn’t stop the normal slew of hijinks at Spooky High. With finals coming up, Vicky saw Scott less in the ensuing madness to study. They’d tried their hand at studying together a few times before deeming it impossible. She’d gotten the hint after their third attempt to teach each other ended with them making out, private or publically. She wasn’t too worried about her grades, though. If it was anything like homeschooling she’d pass with flying colors without trying too hard.

Things were even looking up as Vera and Blobert had raised enough money for their ski trip. Everyone in their class—which was fairly small now that Vicky thought about it—was invited out for a one week trip to the mountains with paid lodging. They would be set to leave the day after finals. Vicky could hardly wait for their trip.

However, there was one thing standing between her and her perfect snowy vacation. And it wasn’t finals.

 A cold wind swept into the mansion as Vicky’s dad shut the door behind Brian. “Are you sure you want to be doing this? We’ve been having some werewolf problems these last full moons.”

“Don’t you worry your head, Mr. Schmidt,” Amira set her bag on the couch while Oz was already relaxing on it. “We can take care of ourselves if something happens.”

“You want me to do good during my finals, right?” Vicky called down the stairs. She hopped down with pillows and blankets in hand. Garbanzo happily followed. “What better way to study than to have a study night!”

Her dad’s expression hardly changed while she buried Oz in all the fluffiness. His cry was muffled under blankets, Vicky hugging her dad. “We’ll go upstairs if it gets hairy.”

“All right …” Her father still didn’t seem entirely convinced. “If you guys hear any noises or pounding go straight to Vicky’s room.”

“Thanks, daddy,” Giving her father a sweet kiss, Vicky cutely smiled as her father ascended the stairs and went to his room.

Amira was already beside Vicky. “So? How do you feel?”

“Like a bucket of nerves!” Vicky stiffly turned to show off her forced smile. “Scott hasn’t failed to come yet. I’m sure he’s coming tonight.”

“Is it just him?” Oz finally got all the blankets off him only for Garbanzo to take his rightful place in his lap.

Vicky shrugged. “I don’t know. I think so? We weren’t here last time so I don’t know if his family came with him.” Stepping over, Vicky sat next to Oz, trying to calm her nerves. “What if Scott gets in tonight? What if he goes straight for me? What if he hurts us?”

“Relax, I doubt Scott will do any of that.” Amira plopped down beside her, curling her hand around her waist. “I’m curious to know why he keeps coming. It’s obvious he smells you.”

“Maybe he just wants to be near you.” Oz got to work petting Garbanzo. “You said he’s running on pure instincts. I bet he just wants to know you’re safe and be close to you so he can protect you if anything happens.”

“Or he’s a crazed wolf and doesn’t understand what he’s doing.” Amira and Oz shot Brian a glare. He was already pulling his battle axe out of its sheath. “We can’t rule it out. Even if Scott is being friendly I wouldn’t trust him on full moons. They hunt and kill on this night; it’s not a stretch to say they don’t care what their prey is.”

Vicky let out a strained wheeze, Amira’s glare hardening. “Don’t be an ass, Brian.”

“What? We need to be ready just in case.”

“If I can ask,” The room fell quiet for Oz, who seemed reluctant to finish his sentence. “Why are you so afraid of werewolves?”

All eyes fell on her. She bit her lower lip. “I, uh… I don’t…” Staring at all the curious expressions of her friends finally took its toll. She sighed heavily. “You know what? I’m tired of keeping it a secret. Might as well lay out the whole story.”

She excused herself for a moment to head upstairs. When she returned her infamous frame was in hand. She wasn’t in a hurry to rejoin her friends on the couch. “As you guys might or might not know; I’m the 13th Vicky my dad created. I was doing so well, being the longest Vicky to survive. But dad was always scared something might happen to ruin that. He wanted to make sure that nothing bad would happen to me, that there was someone always around to protect me.”

She sat back down between Oz and Amira, with Brian moving over to take a glance. Vicky could hardly stare at the photo inside. A younger her laughed, her feet and dress muddied from playing outside. Her arms were wrapped around the thick neck of a large canine. Stitches covered its body just like her, with a variety of different dog parts making up its body. Its tongue hung out of its mouth, seeming content. “That’s Tintin, my dog. Dad made him especially for me to be that protector when I was running around and having fun. I loved Tintin more than life itself and I thought Tintin did too.”

Brian squinted. “He’s not a werewolf.”

Vicky shook her head. “No, but dad did something to his brain. He never told me exactly what; just that he had found a werewolf specimen and was transplanting parts of its brain into Tintin. He said it would make him more protective of me, stronger and ready for battle in case of an emergency. When the experiments began happening Tintin started showing more aggression. Dad even hit him a few times to get him to behave but he never lashed out at me. I just thought he was grumpy because of all the time he spent on the lab table.”

The further Vicky got into her memories, the shakier her voice grew. “On the night my dad threw his annual dinner party Tintin went crazy. I hadn’t seen him all day so I went to search for him during the party. I found him but … but he was acting strange and he …”

No words came out. Even with her mouth open, she couldn’t force herself to talk about the moment. She swallowed tentatively, feeling Amira’s arms hold her. The small gesture kept Vicky from falling back into the repressed memories. “A-anways, I thought I was going to die. Dad shot Tintin right in the head before he could kill me and I just lied there. His corpse over me …”

“Christ, Vicky.” Brian breathed.

“Ever since then, we’ve both been afraid of werewolves. Even if I wasn’t attacked by one, the fact that it was because of dad’s experiments that Tintin hurt me lead me to believe it has to be something wrong with werewolf nature. To kill anything they see during the full moon. Even loved ones.”

Her voice was quiet saying the last sentence. Amira let up on her hug when Oz spoke. “I’m sorry that happened, Vicky.” She accepted his apology even if the fault wasn’t his. “… But it doesn’t make much sense. I mean, why would that make Tintin attack you?”

“It doesn’t have to make sense.” Brian’s tone was stern, tapping his axe on the ground. “We can’t let Scott get near Vicky during the full moon. If her dog did that to her I don’t want to know the damage a fully grown werewolf can do.”

“You think Scott would really do that?” Oz glanced at Brian, tone slightly baffled. “He’s a giant teddy bear.”

“You think those comments from his family about being covered in blood was for kicks?” Brian narrowed his eyes. “They kill. It doesn’t matter what it is. To blindly put trust in Scott when he’s not fully sentient is crazy.”

Slight tension formed between the two men, furthering Vicky’s stress over the situation. Amira gave each a hard glance. “We’re not doing anything until Scott shows up. For now, I think we need to relax.” She retrieved her bag, pulling out a DVD case only for her finger to slide to the side and fan out several others behind it. “Anyone up for some old monster horror?”

The tension didn’t die down but both were sensible enough to let the debate drop. One pajama change and finding the remote later, Vicky laid on the ground staring up at the bright TV. Oz was beginning to doze off by the third movie, Brian was helping himself to some popcorn they had popped and Amira was focused on her phone when there wasn’t screaming.

Her father wasn’t stupid and probably knew what they were doing instead of their supposed studying but didn’t come down to stop them. Having such wonderful friends put Vicky at ease, ever thankful they decided to come over and be with her on this full moon. Her father was all against it at first until she listed off the fighting capabilities they presented at Halloween, convincing him enough to stand their ground.

Now she wondered if that was the right thing to do. The clock on the DVD player rolled past six, Vicky staring intently at it. She was on full alert now; glancing every couple minutes just to see the time when it would happen.

It finally came around 10:09. A loud bang woke Oz up, who was half asleep on Brian, while he sat up and tightly gripped his axe. Amira paused the movie while Vicky rose to her feet, hunched and hands on her head. “Oh god.”

“It’s okay,” Amira tried to reassure her, twitching when another, louder bang hit the door.

“He’s never been this early.” Vicky took cautious steps over to Oz, instinctually hiding behind him.

Brian stood in front of them all, throwing his axe over his shoulder in preparation. “If he gets in, you run. We’ll handle this.”

Another bang, Oz flinching with Vicky. He voice choked. “C-can I run too?”

Amira would have commented when the fourth bang elicited a sickening crunch. The door leaned in, Vicky shivering when a bright blue eye peered inside. Not a second later the bangs increased in succession, the door lamenting to its attacker.

“Vicky?” Her father’s voice came from upstairs, his shadow carrying the silhouette of his shotgun. “Get upstairs right now! All of you!”

Amira had turned to say something to Vicky, her mouth moving yet none of her words reached her ears. All she heard was her pounding heartbeat in succession to the bangs. She was frozen in place, eyes dead set on Scott outside the door even when Brian stepped in front of her, his lips also flapping without motivation. The only sound she heard was the door’s last estranged cry as it gave in.

A hand wrapped around her wrist and forcefully pulled her back. She bristled at the sudden coldness of the outside as Oz led her away.  Her ears slowly started to work, hearing Amira and Brian shouting at them and Oz’s panicked breathing. She felt the same, trying to keep up with him as they ran through the graveyard.

Everything was on fire, from her lungs to her legs to her arms down to her mind. Yet if she stopped for just one moment to let herself think, to let herself breathe, then she would be swallowed whole.

“Almost there!” Oz’s seemed to be pulling her towards the shadow of a tree, wondering how that would save them. The cries of Amira and Brian rang and she choked back a scream when she heard paws scampering over wood and dirt.

Her mind blacked out the moment something heavy fell atop her. Her senses failed to work in unison, hearing a petrified scream and her name long after she felt fur on her skin and a crushing weight on her back. Her eyes saw fragments of her mansion in the distance and the woods, Brian’s mortified face and the barrel of a shotgun.

Finally, her senses came back to her when her body landed on cold dirt. She scrambled to get up on her two feet. Get up and keep running. Everything shut down, however, when she heard a low growl.

She wasn’t near her mansion anymore, completely lost somewhere in the dense woods. The full moon provided minimal light, enough to only allow Vicky to see as far as she could stretch her arm and nothing more. It was just enough light for Vicky to stare into Scott’s wolf form, his blue eyes fixated on her.

His muzzle was already coated in blood, enough for Vicky to faint but she used all her strength to keep herself awake. Fainting now would be the end of her. Screams flooded her throat, almost suffocating her and she kept them down just the same, too terrified to invoke Scott with a sudden outburst. All she could do was stare intently at him and let her tears drip down her quivering chin.

The growling ceased as Vicky blinked the tears from her eyes, silently praying that Brian would find her or her dad. Then Scott moved forward and Vicky flinched, squeezing her eyes shut, choking back a pitiful sob.

Teeth splitting her flesh weren’t what she felt, as she had been expecting. Instead, she felt his tongue on her cheek, licking up her face and near her eyes. She was confused on what Scott was doing when he moved to her other cheek, repeating the action. A few more tears escaped and Scott licked them away.

Scott was trying to wipe away her tears. The realization gave her the strength to crack open her eyes and breathe. He moved his head away, staring at her. Unlike his normal eyes, these were cloudy, dull and unreadable. She had no idea what was on his mind or what he was thinking, left wondering why he was doing what he was.

She flinched and hitched a breath when Scott tried to step forward only to lift his paw and undo his action. His tongue met her cheeks again, continuing to lick them even after her tears had stopped.

So far it didn’t seem like Scott saw her as a snack, which brought the faintest bit of relief to her. The blood on his muzzle was still transfixed on her mind, wondering if he was saving her for later when he grew hungry again.

Her fears felt confirmed when a heavy paw hit into her chest. She went down easily, the wolf stepping over her to lick at her lower jaw. She bristled under him like she had been dropped into the cold ocean and gasped when his tongue ran over her neck. It drove her mind into a frenzy, holding her breath and waiting for Scott to snap her neck. Again she was proven wrong.

 He seemed more focused on her bolts, his teeth clicking every time he teethed them. When he placed a paw on her upper chest and began to painfully tug desperation took over. Her voice warbled, pitiful and pathetic. “Pl-Please … stop …”

And stop it did. His teeth unlatched from her bolt, staring at her once more with those big blue eyes and removing his paw. She almost thought she heard a whine come from him.

His eyes looked away, stepping off of her and off into the darkness. Vicky only dared to lift her head, knowing there was a likely chance if she ran Scott would come right after her and she wasn’t delirious enough to think she could outrun a wolf.

When Scott didn’t come back Vicky sat up only to hear the sound of something large being dragged across the ground. Scott returned with something else in his teeth, the mass large. The black, dead eyes of a deer had Vicky gasping, its chest already carved out with its white bones striking in the darkness.

Scott fit his nose and muzzle back into the perfect hole he’d made earlier and Vicky had to sit and listen to the squishing and squelching sounds of the muscle and organs of the deer be devoured. Scott’s head pulled back to snap off a big chunk of muscle and instead of chomping it in his teeth he set it beside Vicky.

The blood was still fresh on the presumably cold meat, Vicky grimacing hard and staring at Scott. He stared right back, like he was waiting for something to happen. Was he expecting her to eat it?

Her question was answered when he nuzzled the piece closer to her, his nose tipped with its blood. Vicky was not going to eat raw meat; that was beyond her comfort zone, especially when it came from something Scott had been eating earlier. She didn’t want to upset the wolf, however, and slowly reached for the meat, making sure Scott saw what she was doing. She almost puked in her mouth when her fingers touched it. It was still warm.

She set the oozing hunk of flesh in her lap, making a mental note to burn her pajamas if she ever made it out of this alive. Her doing this caused Scott to go back to the deer, hearing him rip out another chunk and devour it.

The licks, the feeding, and Scott listening to her. If Vicky didn’t know any better it almost felt like Scott was taking care of her, much like a parent would for their child. But none of this made sense.

Werewolves were crazed animals during the full moon, which only hunted and killed whatever they saw. She should have been dead minutes ago by Scott’s instincts but here she was, sitting next to him as he wolfed down his acquired kill. Tintin loved her, Scott loved her, why were their outcomes different?

Her throat constricted, feeling fresh tears resurface. “Is … is this because you want to mate with me?”

Scott lifted his head up from his meal to stare at her. Her voice shook as much as her body did. “Do you think we’re mates right now?”

Scott said nothing, no indication of any changes in his features. It was enough to bring about a sad laugh. “Y-You wouldn’t hurt your mate, right? You would want to protect her and keep her safe. Th-that’s why you’re being so nice to me … but if I wasn’t …”

A sob racked her body, her vision a blur of blue from all the tears. “If you didn’t like me that way … would you have killed me? Ju-just like Tintin? Is that why he attacked me? B-Because he didn’t love me that way?”

She felt his hot tongue on her cheeks again, feeling him smear the blood of the deer upon them. It should have grossed her out if she wasn’t on the verge of a mental breakdown, her voice breaking. “A-all I did was love him, and he-he never loved me … I felt so betrayed, s-so unloved … I-I never wanted to feel that again, never wanted to get near another wolf again so I couldn’t be h-hurt like Tintin did to me …”

Nose running, Vicky sniffled as her hands shakily rose. Scott stopped when they touched his fur and she would have pulled back if he moved. He continued his licking, allowing her arms to wrap around his neck. That sweet warmth cuddled against and shattered her entirely. “I just want to feel loved!”

Face buried into his fur, Vicky howled into it, her heart shriveling. Deep, repressed issues surfaced and she could only submit to them, her sobs loud and ugly. She felt like a child all over again, crying for her father to come rescue her.

She felt Scott nudge her shoulder to get her to raise her head, eyes stained red. Her voice was barely above a whisper. “I want to be safe. To be protected. To never have to worry about these things again. Can you do that for me? Will you love and protect me?”

His licks calmed her, bristling again but not in displeasure. Her arms held him tightly, too afraid to say her next words aloud. She pushed herself back into his fur, one of her hands making small strokes on his neck. “If you can … if you can really do those things for me … then I want to mate with you … I want to be yours …”

Vicky stiffened when Scott’s paw pushed her back down. He resumed licking her neck, bringing about her uneasiness and concern. Every lick shot fear into her veins, trying to tell herself she didn’t need to fear anymore. Scott was with her, she was safe. He would always protect her and it helped alleviate some of the tension.

When his teeth pulled on her bolts again she had to get him to stop. It made sense now; Scott was trying to mate her and the bolts were in the way. Vicky hadn’t thought of the obstacle since marking never seemed like a possibility in her mind. Even so, if Scott was going to do it she wanted him to be conscious for it and not out in the woods covered in deer blood. No, she couldn’t let him mark her now.

Pushing back on him, Scott got off her with another whine. She couldn’t really tell him her reasons for doing so in his state, deciding to give him a small, tired smile to try and reassure him things were okay. Her smile seemed to convey that as he went back to his meal, leaving her plenty of time to think on what she had just said.

Vicky maybe got in a few freak outs by the time Scott was done defiling the deer. He’d finished the piece she didn’t dare eat and dragged the carcass away, or, at least out of sight.

He trotted over, nudging her to lay down as he took his place beside her. She laid on her stomach with her arms as a make-shift pillow as she felt Scott drape his upper half over her body, his head resting on her back.

It was more than likely a possessive position to keep Vicky near him and safe, something that quietly comforted her. With her worries mostly quelled her earlier fatigue took no time to lull her to sleep, even if the ground was uncomfortable and there was a branch sticking into the side of her armpit.


It must have been early morning when Vicky awoke, for the sky was bathed in pinks and purples. The wolf over her had reverted back to dumb old Scott, who was still sleeping soundly above her. She strained her neck to try and see him and what little she could he seemed extremely content.

She could hardly reach a hand up to pet him. “Morning baby.”

A lazy smile appeared on his face, his groan lovely. “Mornin’ lamb …”

After a few seconds, his eyes snapped open, sitting up on his knees and noticing his surroundings. “Vi-Vicky? What? Wait, huh?”

His eyes bulged out of his head while Vicky sat up, her entire body sore from sleeping on the hard and very cold ground. “Why are you out here? What happened last night? Did I do something? You got blood on your cheeks! I did do something! I’m so sorry! Are you mad? You are mad! I’m sorry, I’m really, really sorry!”

“Scott, it’s okay!” Vicky held up her hands while he whimpered. She set to work petting his head and behind his ears to try and calm him down. “You didn’t do anything wrong last night.”

“Bu-But …” He tried to start back up his hysteria just as she found the right spot behind his ears. He shuddered, letting out a soft moan, allowing Vicky to continue.

“It’s okay. You were a good boy last night.”

“I … I was?” He preened at the compliment, tag slowly dragging across the ground. “I was good?”

“Yes, you were so good, baby.” She inched herself closer to kiss his lips, hearing him softly growl to all the affection. When their lips parted she caressed his cheeks with her thumbs, ignoring the blood still on his face. “Do you remember how you felt last night?”

Scott didn’t have to think long about it, happiness in his features. “At first I felt frustrated, like these last full moons. But then I felt relieved? Then sad, then anxious but finally I felt happy.”

He kissed her on his own accord, half-heartedly chuckling. “M-maybe I was dreaming, but I thought I heard you call me your mate. It made me so happy to hear that. What a dream, huh?”

Vicky knew he was waiting for her to awkwardly laugh with him or to deny his claims. She felt all the more excited to dispute them, watching his face morph into confusion at her next words. “That wasn’t a dream.”

Scott leaned back for a moment, his mind reeling. “Wait … wait. You mean … you want to … with me? Mate?”

That came out so awkward and jumbled, Vicky loving every bit of it. And not just that, she had come to love every inch of him, from his cute toes to his soft hair. She took his hands, staring him straight in the eyes. “I want to mate with you, Scott Howl.”

The words to describe the merriment, the joy and happiness on Scott’s face wouldn’t do it justice. She found herself back on the ground as Scott nuzzled into her neck, kissing her everywhere he could as his tail went nuts. His tongue brushed up against her neck again, her hands pushing on him. “Scott, wait.”

He pulled away, clearly confused and Vicky couldn’t really blame him. “I want to make this moment special.”

“How so?” Scott cocked his head, asking a question she didn’t have a concrete answer to.

“I don’t know, just feels like something that should be more special than out in the woods.” She bit her lower lip, trying to come up with a plan on the spot. “Well … what if we waited until we went on that ski trip? We could get a nice room with no one to bother us and spend the whole night together. Maybe get dinner before it to celebrate.”

His smile only grew, tail beating the ground. “Okay, we can do that.” His hands then moved to touch her bolts, which didn’t hurt her but felt odd having his hand so close to her neck. He quickly retracted it, rubbing his fingers together. “Is that silver?”

“What?” Vicky felt her own bolts. “I don’t know. Dad made these for me in case I needed an emergency electrocution.”

“My mom said that all werewolves are allergic to silver and my fingers feel tingly.” He lowered his hand. “We’ll have to figure out a way to get those off your neck if I’m going to mark you.”

“About that …” Vicky lightly squirmed. “Could we put it somewhere else? I’m really not comfortable with you biting my neck.”

Scott looked slightly disappointed by her remark, bouncing back from it like he always did. “Did you have somewhere in mind?”

“Not yet. I’ll think on it though.”

“Okay,” Vicky accepted the hug Scott gave her, giving her own back. He nuzzled his head into her neck again, breathing deeply. “I’m so happy. We’re going to be mates.”

“Yeah,” Vicky breathed, content to just watch the sunrise like this. Hiding her relationship from her dad would get harder from here on out, feeling slightly torn that she was just diving into this after such an emotional moment. Vicky didn’t want to think about those things, wishing to let the moment take her. Just her and Scott against the world.

Chapter Text

The first knock was always the hardest. Vicky nervously glanced over her shoulder to make sure Scott was gone. Her hair was tangled and full of sticks; her pajamas had blood splatters and caked in dirt. Her cheeks had remnants of saliva and blood painting them and her feet were scratched with leaves trapped between her toes. There wasn’t any good way to explain what happened.

She hardly held up her fist to knock when the door was thrown open. “Vicky!”

She lurched at Oz throwing himself at her only for Amira to do the same. Had it not been for Brian catching Amira’s shirt the entirety of them would have landed in her yard.

“G-Guys! I’m okay! I’m fine!” Vicky pleaded, trying to pry Oz and Amira off her.

“Okay? You’re covered in blood!” Oz let up when they heard her father’s voice snap. Vicky flashed a nervous grin as her father parted the group and tugged her inside.

“It’s not as bad as it looks!” Her father threw a stick out of her hair, hands holding out her arms and inspecting her body. “I-uh ...”

“What happened?” The deep concern in her father’s voice was raw. He crouched down to get eye level with her, hands firmly grasping her shoulders. She’d never seen him so panicked.

She opened her mouth, ready to tell the truth. That things were fine, the werewolf wasn’t a murderer and that she’d just made plans to become its mate. “… I uh, I got away. The wolf got into a fight with a bear and I used that moment to escape. Just been wandering around the woods trying to find my way home.”

Her gut wretched at the lie, but she felt she had no choice. Her father’s worry disappeared, pulling her into a tight hug. “That’s my girl. You were so brave to take that chance and run. I couldn’t be prouder.”

“Yeah …” She pat his back but glanced at her friends. They seemed less convinced.

Her father stood back up, his hand loosely in hers. “We’ll get a bath started and then look over your body to make sure no damage was done. I’m afraid I’ll have to ask your friends to leave.”

“Can I walk them out?” Vicky didn’t know how cute she looked with dirt and blood all over her.

“Fine, but be quick.”

“Thanks, daddy.” With another hug, Vicky gestured for her friends to follow. It wasn’t until she closed the door that she let out a huge sigh. “I’m in so much trouble.”

“Did Scott really attack a bear?” Oz asked.

Vicky shook her head. “Here’s the story…”


“Everything okay?” Vicky disinterestedly picked at her food, a frown on her face. She perked to hear Scott, who stopped shoveling his sludge of Mexican enchiladas into his mouth.

“I’m fine.” If only she felt that. Since she’d told her friends about her arrangements they were skeptical but congratulatory. But it wasn’t enough to settle the antsy feeling she had about her dad. Someday he’d find out. She just hoped it was when she was ready for it.

Scott frowned. “You don’t sound fine.”

Vicky was thankfully saved when Brian came over, a tray of his own sludge in hand. “Mind if I sit here? Congrats by the way.”

“Pull up a seat and thanks.” Vicky gestured to any of the open seats.

“Thanks!” Scott chirped, wrapping an arm around Vicky’s waist and pulling her close. She was more thankful for Brian than he knew. “We’re really happy about it!”

“Must be nice.” His slightly envious tone told her Polly was on his mind. He poked his food twice as much as she did when Polly floated into the cafeteria. Brian and her eyes locked for a split second before she upturned her chin and floated past to sit with Miranda and Vera.

Scott cautiously ate his food as Vicky wasn’t hungry anymore. The cafeteria quieted to a still; so much so that she could actually hear the clock ticking on the wall.

The sudden silence erupted at Damien’s scream. He nearly broke his table in half as he stood up. “I’m tired of you two being fucking morons! Just talk it out already!”

“Damien!” Amira snapped. He rolled his eyes at his name.

“Fuck off! This isn’t your problem!” Polly was the next to stand up, her hands ghosting through the table.

“I’m making it my problem!” Damien slammed his hands harder, shaking the entire cafeteria and cracking the table. “You two are so emotionally constipated you make hard asses look like oversensitive bitches! The only thing you two are creating is awkwardness for all of us and a shitty position for yourselves!”

“So what? You’re telling Polly to get back with Brian because that’ll make her happy?” Vera scoffed, setting her fork down to join the standing club. “How sexist can you be? Polly doesn’t need anyone to make her happy. She can live her life how she wants; man or no man!”

“Yeah! Tell him, Vera!” Polly pumped a fist towards Vera.

“I have to agree with Vera. Commitment in a relationship should be something both parties want, not the end goal towards a fulfilling life.” Liam floated up, pushing his glasses up his nose. “If Polina wants to stay single and fuck every monster at the school she’s free to do so. She shouldn’t have to be subjugated to ridicule and scorn because of her decisions to live life the way she wants to.”

“You’re on fire, Liam!” Polly floated over to Liam, giving him a high-five which he gladly accepted. “Get off your high horse, Damien! I can do whatever the fuck I want!”

“I’m not on any horse!” Damien roared. “I don’t care how you live your life but you hurt Brian badly! Guy’s a wounded dog!”

“Hey!” Vicky shrunk when Brian accepted his invitation to the stand-up club. “Knock it off, Damien. I don’t even care anymore. I’m the one at fault for going after her when she wasn’t interested.”

“Don’t you hear yourself, Brian?” Everyone turned to at the random whiney. Miranda was perched atop a white stallion, whose serfs fed it carrots. “Those are the words of a prince’s broken heart! You two were so cute together, like party royals! To see you two broken is unheard of for a happy ending! You can’t give up! If you do now, you’ll lose her to another prince!”

“That’s right! True love conquers all!” Damien chimed in. “Now talk!”

“Ugh, are you done?” Polly rolled her eyes, growing bored with the conversation. “I’m done with Brian! He wasn’t my type anyway; all gross and green-skinned.”

That lit a fire if Vicky had ever seen one. Brian advanced quickly onto Polly, who yelped in fright. “Excuse you? Don’t you fucking lie to my face. You and I both know just how needy you get when I push all the right buttons.”

“Oh yeah?” Polly met his fury with her own, her breasts almost touching his chest. “I could drop you into a quivering mess right now if I wanted to! I know all your kinks and sex fetishes and I am not afraid to use them to prove to you that I’m the only one who can fuck you right.”

“Don’t pretend like you’re the only one who has arsenal.” Brian hissed. “You got a laundry list and I memorized the entire thing. You wouldn’t even last five seconds if I had my way before you’re begging to go down on me. Or did you forget last Christmas?”

Polly gasped dramatically, biting her lip hard and balling her fists. “You wanna go? I’ll fuck you up and down this school so fast your head will spin right off and you’ll never be satisfied by anyone else ever again!”

“Bring it! I’ll fuck you so hard you’ll come back to life only for me to pleasure you so hard you’ll die of euphoria!”

“Wait!” Miranda’s serfs broke the two up, the cafeteria able to hear their labored breathing. Miranda’s horse was guided over. “The school is not an appropriate place for such competitions! I propose a duel where you two shall fight for one another’s love!”

“… To the death?” Brian gave Miranda a quizzical stare, who happily nodded her head.

“As is customary of my people! What else would it be?”

“We’re both undead …” Polly also didn’t seem impressed with the idea.

“Love the idea Miranda but here’s a better one,” Damien scooted himself into the conversation, madly grinning. “We get two teams together to help make their fighter the sexiest monster they can be and put on a show for the competition. Whoever comes first loses.”

“Yaass, I’m all for that!” Polly pulled down her shades, grinning. “Try not to leave a huge mess when I make you orgasm, boo. I promise I won’t laugh too hard.”

“Like you’re one to talk.” Brian huffed, finding his own powerful grin. “Every opponent I’ve faced has fallen to me, especially you. You better bring your A game because I only play to win, Polina.”

It was obvious both of their smack talk was turning the other on. Vera and Liam immediately took their place behind Polly while Damien and Miranda backed up Brian. Vicky knew she had to back Brian up, surprised to see that Amira was on team Polly. Damien was just as shocked. “Amira!”

“What? I told Brian Polly was off the market.”

This left Scott and Oz. It seemed easy to Vicky, obviously Scott would be with her when Polly screeched over her voice. “Prank Masterz gotta stick together, Scott! I’m going to need your lovable charm anyways.”

“Coming!” He rushed over to where Polly held out a hand for him to smack. Vicky shared in Liam and Oz’s disappointment, but she welcomed Oz over with open arms.

“We fight on the first day after winter break!” Damien’s grin was insane. “We’re gonna crush you all with our sexy bodies!”

“Hah! Good luck with that. I’ve seen you perform Damien and I’m not scared.” Polly madly cackled, taking her team to the other side of the cafeteria. Damien growled as Brian calmed him down enough to bring their party over to their table.

The rest of the lunch period was spent meticulously going over all the stuff Polly was into. Judging by the list Brian produced for them they had a lot to work with. Vicky tried to keep up with all the information but wasn’t able to provide anything but her phone number when it came time to exchange numbers.

Rehearsals came right after lunch. Since Vicky had done most of her scenes last class she got to sit today out. She lounged leisurely on the crates in the back, playing around on a game on her phone. Scott, unfortunately, had to be out on stage for every scene. He was part of the foliage.

 “Alas, a beautiful rose hidden by the dark and all alone. What fool would leave such a delicate lady by her lonesome?” Vicky knew that voice, eyes narrowing. The Interdimensional Prince stood beside her with one hand on his forehead and the other extended towards her with a beautiful blue rose. She had seen him around school hitting on anything that had a dick or breasts, even if said thing was an inanimate object. Vera and Liam even tested it out once by sculpting a well-endowed monster statue, which the Prince happily took back to his estate while leaving them to laugh.

 She knew she’d be targeted eventually, hoping that when it did she’d have some of her friends nearby to roast him. So, of course, the time he comes is when she’s all alone. “Go away. I have a boyfriend.”

“That hasn’t stopped me,” He tossed the rose to the side without care when she didn’t take his offer. His hand took hers, gazing into her eyes with his perfect smile and glittering eyes. “I’m all for sharing such a wondrous beauty such as yourself. The people from my kingdom would write ballads about your marvelous appearance and erect statues in your name!”

“Yeah, no thanks.” Vicky forcefully took her hand back. “I’ve seen you around the school. Find some other monster to patronize.”

“Your words hurt me, my love!” The Prince swooned, holding out a sudden piece of paper and pen. “But fine! If you truly wish me gone, then sign this paper!”

“This is a marriage contract!” Vicky was getting slightly heated, smacking the paper out of his hands. “Are you this desperate for someone? Go get laid with a prostitute or something!”

“But a prostitute would not compare at all to you! Also, prostitutes aren’t cheap!” His hand snatched her wrist as he opened a portal with his free hand. “Come, once I show you my kingdom you’ll never want to leave my side!”

Vicky half fell off the boxes, trying to free her wrist. “Let go of me, you creep!”

“Hey!” Vicky felt like a ragdoll as her other arm was snatched and jerked out of the Prince’s grasp. He seemed irritated until he realized they were both surrounded by the entire wolfpack. Their lips dripped with drool as they snarled at the offender. Vicky was pulled into Josh’s chest, who still had on his bandit costume.

The whole wolfpack was just fodder for her to battle throughout the play, so their role in the performance was very short and quick. Josh sneered at the Prince. “You wanna try that again? Or how about I rip your throat out right now?”

Vicky had expected Scott to come running, not his entire family. They didn’t seem to care much for her earlier, so their sudden heroics were mildly amusing and really confusing.

The Prince cowered under all the gazes and drool. “Wow, I suddenly realized I have to be going! Bye!”

He reopened a portal and jumped through it as it sealed shortly after his departure. The pack closed their mouths and settled down when the threat was gone, Josh letting go of Vicky’s hand. “You okay? Did he hurt you?” Vicky was more confused when Josh sniffed her hair, grimacing. “Eugh, he got his girly perfume scent on you. Nothing Scott can’t fix later.”

“… Why did you help me?” Vicky asked, feeling anxious with so many of Scott’s relatives.

“Scott said you were his mate-to-be,” Josh said like he was talking about the weather. “We can’t let his mate get kidnapped by some creepy space prince! You’re practically one of us now and you don’t mess with one of the pack without getting all of us angry.”

Even if what Josh was saying was true, it was still so foreign to her. So this was one of the many perks to becoming a mate, huh? Vicky could get used to having an entire football team be her bodyguard. “Thanks Josh. I really appreciate the help.”

“No problem!” His pat nearly sent her to the ground. “We’ll be seeing you around.”

They left with several pushes to one another and talking about potato chips. Vicky felt slightly safer, wondering if she could get them to do silly things on her behalf.

“Having fun with the wolfpack?” She looked over her shoulder at Liam coming over. She didn’t get a chance to open her mouth as Liam cut her off. “One of the actors had to be rushed to the nurse when Damien brought an actual sword instead of using the prop. Scott volunteered to help which was why he had failed to save you in your darkest hour.”

“That’s okay. I’m sure Scott will have plenty of other chances when we’re mates.” She gave him a playful wink, hopping back onto her crate.

Liam wasn’t smiling. “Have you thought all of this through?”

Vicky lost her playfulness, going still. “What do you mean?”

“You’re getting mated to Scott. That’s one of their most sacred rituals.” Liam took the crate next to her, eyes still piercing. “To mate is to be together for life. Till death do you part.”

“Spare me the info dump, I already know all that.” Vicky batted a hand. “I thought it over and I decided I want to be with him. We’re already making plans on how we should spend the day and where the mark will go.” Vicky pointed to her leg. “I’m thinking maybe my thigh? Scott wants it somewhere more visible but I can’t risk my dad seeing it.”

Liam’s eyes lingered a little too long on her leg. He snapped his gaze away. “When you say you thought it over, do you mean you’ve thought long and hard about it for weeks? Or in a span of five minutes?”

Vicky lowered her leg, lowering her eyebrows. “Don’t be an asshole.”

“I’m being an asshole because Scott is telling everyone he meets about this.” Liam exasperated. “Do you realize what you’re doing? Because I don’t think you do. You’re engaged to Scott. This isn’t something you can push aside if you decide later on that you made a huge mistake. Scott is entirely committed to this, but are you? Have you really thought this through?”

“Course I have!” Vicky shot back. “You think I would lead Scott on like that? God, I would never say yes to this if I wasn’t all for it! You always think that I’m a flimsy slut or something; that I’ll just jump from one man to the next if I get bored with them! I’m not like that. I’m committed to this.”

“So you’re finally over me?” Liam cut the crap, his eyes boring into hers.

Her heart skipped a beat at his sudden seriousness, feeling so insignificant under him. She swallowed, feeling as though she’d finally found a foothold to stand and face Liam. “Yes. My partner is Scott.”

He continued to stare at her even after her declaration She’d begun to sweat just as his gaze broke and a smile came rested on his lips. “Well, glad to hear it then. I’m sure you’ll make Scott very happy.”

His hand was icy on her back. Vicky instinctively leaned away from his touch. “Okaaay, who are you and what did you do to Liam?”

“I can’t show my congratulations?” Liam smirked, hopping off the crates. “By the way, do you want a lift to the airport? I’m sure your dad is expecting your boyfriend to take you there on your winter trip.”

His hand slipped through her hair, pulling it towards him teasingly. She took her hair back. “Save your theatrics for when you got an audience. But, sure. I’d like a lift.”

“Excellent. The flight leaves early, so be up and ready when I come. Good luck with your finals.” With a wink, Liam left her to her thoughts. Strange didn’t start to describe what that was. She worried her lower lip, wondering if Liam was practicing some new moves on her for when they saw her dad. That must be it.

It wasn’t long before she flinched at Scott’s cry and saw the wolf making a beeline for her. “Vicky! I heard what happened! Are you okay?”

He was quick to pull her flush against his body, his hot breath on her neck. “He even got his scent on you!”

“Scott, I’m okay.” Vicky liked the sudden attention. Her body bristled at the wet lick up her neck.

“Gotta scent you … let them know you’re mine.” He growled under his breath. Vicky let out a sound that was a mixture of shock and delight when his hand found her ass and lightly squeezed.

Vicky had no qualms about letting Scott have sex with her whenever, but the crowded auditorium watching wasn’t sexy. Her eyes were everywhere but on him, the tension so thick it stiffened her joints.

Scott must have caught on because he stopped all advances to give her a concerned stare. “Maaaybe we shouldn’t do this here.”

“We could go to the bathrooms.” More private but still risky. The fact that Scott said it so quickly left Vicky contemplating if the bathrooms were the designated area for couples who wanted to screw their brains out during school.

“How about we just wait till later.” She lightly pushed on him, which he now knew as her way of asking to be put down. Scott did so with sagging shoulders and a drooping face. She could relate. “You don’t have to worry about that dork Prince stealing me away.”

“I know, I’m sorry. I’m just very antsy right now whenever I see you hanging around other monsters.” His hands fidgeted to prove his point.

“Really?” Vicky didn’t feel like sitting anymore, deciding to lean on the crates instead. “How long have you been feeling like this?”

“A while,” Scott muttered, eyes staring at the ground. His tail hung shamefully in between his legs. “I told you I get jealous.”

“Scott, I don’t think you know what that word means.” Vicky gave him a half-hearted smile to try and get him to reciprocate.

“Yes I do.” His pout was his answer. “I’m really bad with it. I just try to ignore it. Jealous boyfriends are bad.”

“Yeeaaaah,” Vicky droned, still keeping up her smile. “But if something is bothering you, you can tell me.”

He eyed her reluctantly. She didn’t know how friendlier she could look. “I just… think I’ll be like this until we mate.”

Her smile started to fall, doubt in her eyes. It felt like Liam had never left. “Are you afraid I’m going to run off with another monster?”

“No! I trust you.” He pulled her into a tight hug, enough to remind her who she was talking to. “I’m scared of another monster trying to take you before I can. The thought makes my mind go crazy and I start panicking if you’re not around me.”

“Oh,” She felt shameful for even suspecting Scott of such horrible thoughts. She rubbed circles into his back, leaving a kiss on his cheek. “You don’t have to worry about that. I’m not going anywhere. And if someone does try to steal me I’ll come running and screaming for you, okay? That way they know that they can’t have me because I’m already yours.”

The idea seemed to please Scott from the way he growled. She tried to think of brighter things, her voice quiet. “Just think; in a few days, we’ll be on an airplane to the mountains where we’ll be able to see each other all the time for the next week. We can drink hot cocoa, get into snowball fights, go skiing, bathe in a Jacuzzi, and lots of other things.”

The smile in his voice warmed her heart. “It’ll be great.”

“Yeah,” She took his hand, lightly squeezing it. “It will be.”


“Dad, where’s my ticket?” Vicky pulled her head up from searching her desk drawers, desperation in her eyes. Her bags were all packed and stuffed with as many things as she could squeeze inside, ready to be taken downstairs. She scurried from her drawers to her nightstand. “I can’t lose that!”

“You mean this?” Liam leaned his head and arm into the room, holding the ticket in between his fingers. He lightly shook his head when Vicky snatched it. “Already losing your head and we’re not even on vacation yet.”

Her response was a tired look, eyes shifting over to her luggage and sinisterly smiling. “Good boyfriends take their girlfriend’s luggage downstairs for them.”

Liam gave her a playful smile, floating over to her luggage. “If I must.”

Not even an outlier that Liam was displeased. Vicky was horrified at how good Liam’s acting skills were, happy that she wasn’t the one carrying her heavy bags. Her dad waited for them near the door with Garbanzo, who was content lying on his stomach. “Don’t forget to give him a bath and take him for long walks!”

“You act like we never had a dog before.” Her father responded, letting Vicky smooch his cheek. “Have fun and be safe, okay? I don’t want to get any calls about you losing a limb on some mountain or getting buried in a pile of snow.”

“Aw, where’s the fun in that?” Vicky giggled, already dreaming of her snowy wonderland. She could picture it now; her and Scott on a romantic walk through the snow-laden lands. He’d turn to her with that silly smile of his and lean in for a kiss. She giggled like a child, already impatient for her dream to come true.

 Her thoughts popped when Liam’s cold hand gently took her chin and angled it towards him. She started to suspect something was on her face just as she felt his icy lips upon her cheek. He stared down in adoration. “Come along, my muse. Oz is waiting in the car.”

She didn’t say anything, her eyes wide in shock and staring directly into his sweet ones. Several seconds later her mind caught up. “U-Uh, yeah.”

Her wave was robotic as they left the house. She didn’t walk with him down the steps, a deep frown on her face. “What the hell was that?”

Liam turned back to her and there it was. The dull, bored look that she had always seen him in with his tone matching. “It’s called acting. I think your father would start catching on if I didn’t show some sort of affection.”

Her hand cupped her chilly cheek, stepping down with each step heavier than the last. “We didn’t agree on that.”

He shrugged. “Improvisation isn’t supposed to be planned.”

Their eyes weren’t level when she took that last step. Her glare didn’t waiver. “Don’t do that again. We can come up with some other things but my face is off limits.”

Liam didn’t continue the conversation, simply taking her things over to his car. Vicky tentatively followed, her eyes on him the whole time. When she entered the car, Oz was listening to his music in the front. He popped an earbud out. “What kept you?”

“You know dad. He’s a bit overprotective.” A sudden weight leaned upon her in the back seat, followed by her hand intertwining with air.

Scott’s voice came from nothing. “I’m so excited! Going on vacation, woo!”

Liam slipped into the car, getting them off the driveway and down the hill. From the empty side of the back Scott magically appeared, pulling something out of his ears. “Thanks for the invisible ear plugs, bro! You can have them back!”

Vicky could see Liam’s grimace in the rear-view mirror, holding a hand back. “There is no way I am putting those disgusting things into any hole on my body. Keep them. You’ve ruined them.”

“Really? Thanks!” He stuffed his empty hand into his pocket.

He then snuggled closer to Vicky, whose hand hide her cheek. “So when is our flight taking off?”

“Don’t even worry about that.” Liam’s smugly replied. “We’ll have plenty of time before the plane even docks at the airport.”

Vicky didn’t like the sound of Liam’s voice. “How early are we talking?”

She should have known something was terribly wrong the longer his smirk grew. “You think I’d get us to the airport two hours early? Everyone does that. Instead, why not be the first ones there if we’re six hours early!”

“Six hours!” Eyes set on the door, Vicky grabbed the handle and yanked to no avail. “Goddammit, Liam! You got me up this early so that I can sit at an airport for six hours? Let me out, I want to go back to bed!”

“Never! You resigned yourself to this fate when you accepted my offer.” Liam cackled, clearly reveling in Vicky’s misery.

“I tried to talk it down, I really did.” Oz turned back to Vicky, the same pained look in his eyes. At least she wasn’t the only one who was suffering. “You know Liam.”

“You need to work on your persuasion skills.” Her attention went back to Liam who continued to laugh. “And you need to stop being an unpredictable maniac!”

“At least we’ll spend it together?” Scott wrapped an arm around her shoulder, snuggling her close to him. It helped soften her frown, slowly letting go of the handle to place on Scott’s thigh. They were off on an adventure with friends and each other; to play, have fun and make merriment. By the time she would come home Scott and she would be officially mated, which left her heart fluttering.

She was ready to welcome the snow, the relaxation and her new path with Scott.

Chapter Text

Vicky couldn’t believe just how much snow welcomed them.

Stepping out of the airport, the bone-chilling winds greeted her with a shivering hug and the snow kissed her cheeks in kind. They had been flown to a smaller and personal airport right next to the resort, where roads weren’t a thing and tall cedar trees raised their heads towards the heavens. Snow powdered the ground in a clean and smooth blanket and drooped on every branch, shining from the light. Vicky had always been so jealous of Christmas specials that portrayed heavy snow while she lived in a city where snow was just an ice day.

Now, Vicky never wanted to leave.

“Welcome to the Tundra Resort,” A White Horn waited for their group at the edge of the canopy of the airport out to the white world. Her reindeer half was dusted with light snow while her upper half was clothed in a heavy jacket, scarf, and hat. Her eyes were just as silver as her hair, calming and gorgeous. “My name is Ginger and I’ll be escorting you to our lovely resort along with assisting you in any needs you have. We are honored to be having such esteemed guests stay with us, so—”

“Yeah, thanks and all, but could you hurry it up?” Damien stuttered, his entire body wracked with shivers. “It’s fucking freezing out here!”

Vicky could attest to that; she and almost the entire class were shaking uncontrollably, save for the students covered in fur. She soon felt slight warmth when Scott wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her close to his body. She smiled up to him, snuggling her cold cheek against his hot one.

Ginger brought a mitten to her hand. “My apologies, Prince Damien. We shall move right along then.”

Gesturing a hand towards the snow, a chilly wind swept under the canopy and through the student body. Glacies formed from the wind and ice, floating down to pick up their bags only to be swept back into the wind and off towards the cedar trees.

From the airport, more white horns strutted out, most female with some males sprinkled in. “Under good conscience, we can’t allow you to walk to the resort. The snow is very deep and we have been having issues with some local wildlife, so we shall escort you to the resort on our backs. Do not worry about us, we are able to lift weights four times the weight of ourselves.”

With that, most of the white horns sat down to allow students to climb onto their backs. Vicky took Scott’s hand, wondering which one they should ride when Ginger stepped over to them. Her mitten still covered her mouth, noticing how red her cheeks were from the biting cold. “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but stare. I would be honored if you would ride my back to the resort.”

“Hey, thanks!” Vicky could feel Scott’s tail brush her with every wag. “Can Vicky come too?”

“Oh, sure, I guess.” Ginger’s elated tone dropped, her eyes giving her an odd look before dazzling back at Scott. “You’re a werewolf, correct? Perhaps we could go walk in the snow sometime. The mountains are especially beautiful when the sun sets and the snow is gently falling.”

Vicky immediately felt threatened at the proposal, her grip on Scott tightening. Her hand wrapped around Scott, staring straight at Ginger. “I’m his mate-to-be, so I’d appreciate it if you stopped hitting on my boyfriend.”

“Who’s hitting me?” Scott blinked, slightly confused.

Ginger’s eyes fixated on her, and for a split second, she could see disappointment and bitterness in her eyes until it relaxed back into its calm, alluring form. “Ah, my apologies. I did not know. I’m sure you two will make a happy couple.”

“We’re already happy,” Scott beamed. “We’re going to be mated!”

“Congratulations.” Ginger softly smiled, Vicky seeing it tug at the corners. “If there is anything we can do to help with this special occasion feel free to ask.”

Ginger lowered herself so that she and Scott could get on. Vicky made sure to sit right next to Ginger, who seemed displeased as Scott sat in the back. Vicky couldn’t be happier.

Once everyone was situated, the white horns stepped out from the canopy and into the winter wonderland. Her nose was bitten by the icy snow and lifted her scarf a little higher to try and cover it. Scott seemed to notice and leaned against her. She leaned into him to try and get warmer, letting out a soft hum when Scott stiffened. His head lifted up, staring between the trees as Vicky tried to get a look.

She couldn’t see anything aside from the snow and trees. “What’s wrong?”

He stayed stiff for several minutes until he finally lowered his head. She could feel he was still taut, his voice next to her ear. “We’re in another pack’s territory. I don’t think they like us.”

His words made her stiffen. She had just gotten used to Scott’s eccentric family but they were definitely an odd bunch compared to the wolf world. A pack of unfriendly wolves put a damper on some of Vicky’s cheery mood and she cuddled closer to Scott in a vain attempt to feel safer.

Eventually, Scott began to calm down, enough so that he started pointing out birds he saw or awed at the snow. Vicky giggled and joined him in the pointing, just as fascinated as him with everything. Ginger probably didn’t appreciate them bouncing on her back, causing Vicky to continue doing it.

Pettiness wasn’t in her nature but she started to understand how Scott felt about being anxious seeing him around other monsters. What other white horns or winter monsters would take one look at his stature and try to seduce him away? The idea made her stomach churn and outwardly frown.

Soon enough the resort came into view. It was massive and appeared like a fantasy castle made of wood built upon the edge of the mountain. Going up from there were gondolas taking monsters up the mountain to a tiny lodge atop. Several sounds came from the group; most awe-struck. Polly was one of the few to squeal.

They were let down near the entrance, where the snow and ice had been cleared away and escorted inside the resort. All of their bags were waiting for them near the entrance, Ginger taking the lead of the group while the other white horns picked up their bags. “We will now escort you all to your rooms. We are currently at max capacity this season so some of you will be sharing a room. We hope this is acceptable but if you have any concerns let us know and we will try to accommodate your needs.”

Vicky’s heart jumped at that; she really hoped she wasn’t sharing a room with five other females. They were then lead to their rooms, with the guys following the male staff while the females were led by Ginger. Miranda and Vera got their own rooms, as expected. They probably phoned in ahead for them. An entire room also went to the several serfs Miranda had accompany her, who all looked concerned when they only saw two beds in the room for the forty of them. Vicky couldn’t be paid enough to be one of Miranda’s servants.

When it came to Vicky’s room she was put in with Amira and Polly with two beds, which wasn’t as disheartening of an idea. She set her bags on one bed while Polly and Amira kept their bags to themselves. “Aren’t you going to unpack?”

Amira’s eyes were on her phone until they looked up and gave Vicky a sympathetic look. “Sorry, girl. Damien just texted that he got a private suite and that he’s got a king-sized bed and a Jacuzzi. I’m not passing that up.”

Her mood lightly sank as Amira twirled around and took her stuff out of the room, leaving her with just Polly. The girl was already lying on the other bed, texting someone as a slip of paper was in between her fingers. “Got an invite to keep one of the staff’s beds warm tonight~ I’m not passing up some hot half-reindeer sex.”

Did that get Vicky’s mind wandering. “How would you even do that?”

“Pretty easily. I’ve been with a lot more complicated monsters and still got the angles right.” She gave a playful wink. “It’ll be just like fucking a centaur.”

While Polly continued to text her one-night stand, Vicky explored their room. They had a rather small bathroom with a shower/bath, toilet and sink with one head. They also had a sliding door closet, Vicky ending her search near the window. They had an okay view of the mountain and the surrounding area, noticing what appeared to be a small village further down the mountain. She’d have to explore that sometime.

Leaving her bags behind, Vicky toured the halls and came out to the main foyer where dozens of other monsters were spending their day resting near the huge fireplace or going in or out of the snow. Her hand went to her pocket, checking her phone to message Scott to meet with her when she saw he had already left her a text.

Gotta take care of something with the family. Be back soon!

They had just gotten there and already Scott was out and about. She couldn’t fathom what his entire family needed to do except maybe go around and piss on all the trees. Actually, that’s probably what they were doing.

“Vicky! There you are,” Vicky jolted at the high-pitched voice, turning around to see Miranda standing right behind her with two serfs escorting her. Miranda seemed just as chipper as normal, wearing bright pink and incredibly soft winter clothes including a jacket, skirt, mittens, earmuffs, and boots all with accompanying bows. “Scott told me that you and he are being ‘mated’.”

“Ah, yeah,” Vicky relaxed; she almost thought Miranda was going to ask her to do a ‘favor’ for her. She never knew with Miranda what she had in store; one minute she was singing Disney songs then the next she was wickedly cackling over the hanging of someone less fortunate than her.

“I’ve never heard of this term before so I had my serfs do a little research on my behalf. They say it’s like marriage, is that true? Are you two getting married? Because if it isn’t and they lied to me I might have to order some beheadings.”

Vicky blushed, not wanting two deaths on her hands. “Kind of? It’s like an even deeper togetherness that uh, keeps the two mated for life.”

“Mated for life! How romantic!” Miranda spoke in a sing-song tune. She seemed enamored with the entire idea. “One of my dear friends is getting married! I can’t believe this is happening! How will you two wed? Have you made arrangements?”

Vicky couldn’t help but get slightly excited with Miranda; it was a special occasion. “Not really. We haven’t talked about it at length.”

“What?” A shocked gasp escaped Miranda’s lips. “You haven’t thought of anything? But it’s your wedding! You must do something grand and spectacular; to let everyone know of your special day!”

Vicky lost Miranda but understood in a sense. “I don’t know what werewolves do when they mate, and Scott might want to keep it small.”

“Why would he? Weddings are meant to be grand so that the entire kingdom knows of their new King and Queen. This is no exception, even if you two aren’t royalty by any means.” Miranda lightly puffed out her chest. “I happen to be the perfect wedding planner because I’ve dreamt of my wedding ever since I was a little girl! We shall have everything set up in time for your big day! But we’ll need so many things, like a dress, rings, a carriage, giant ice sculptures, exotic wildlife, food, music, serfs, an organ, several adorable animals …”

Vicky’s eyes sunk the longer the list became, all the while Miranda kept her cutesy smile and wistful attitude. She spooked when another voice slithered through her ears. “If you need a dress then we’ll have to go shopping. I’m not attending any wedding of Scott’s if they can’t even kill their audience with their outfits.” Vera sat right next to Vicky; her smile more wicked than genuine. “Of course, you’ll be paying for my services. I don’t give fashion advice for free.”

“I heard something about fashion advice,” Liam and Damien were passing by when they were coaxed over, Liam seeming more interested. “Where is the hideous outfit so that I may ridicule and judge the monster wearing it?”

“We’re making plans for Scott and Vicky’s wedding!” Miranda chirped. “Vera is going to help Vicky pick out a dress, but there’s still so many things left!”

“A wedding? Whoa, I thought you two were just biting each other or something.” Damien’s shock soon turned into excitement. “This is big! We can’t let this be some janky, piss-poor wedding. It’s gotta have everything!”

“Exactly!” Miranda’s eyes glimmered. “We’ll need live music, of course.”

“I think I could arrange that.” Liam was already pulling out a rustic piece of paper and quill. “Maybe we could even get Yogurt Resort here to do the music. Their music is completely wrong for a wedding, which makes them the perfect band to play! I’ll get started on an invitation right away and send my dove off.”

“You’re also going to need a hairdresser and makeup artist.” Damien shifted his weight, his shoulders tense. “I might know someone who’s been itching to do those for a wedding. I—he would totally be up for it if he’s not busy or anything.”

Just like with the weapons, Vicky felt the conversation slip away from her and out of control, downward spiraling into plans for a huge wedding that she hadn’t even agreed to yet. With hands outstretched she tried to get a word in. “G-Guys, I have to talk to Scott about this, I can’t just— Guys, hey! I can’t make any plans! Hey!”

“We must get to work immediately!” Miranda threw her finger towards the sky, then snapped it as her serfs came to attention. “Call my daddy and let him know I’ll need more serfs, along with anything else we’ll need for a wedding! I’ll create the perfect wedding even if it kills several of my serfs!”

“But!” Vicky whimpered, feeling Vera pat her shoulder as she got up from her seat.

“We’ll go shopping tomorrow. Be ready by noon and if you get me any earlier I’ll sick my snakes on you.”

“But!” Her words were lost to the babbling of the group, who all looked excited to begin work on the big event. They left together, throwing ideas at one another as to what the theme might be, her stomach clenched when she thought she heard a circus wedding.

Speaking of clenched stomachs, Vicky took this time to check her grades, hoping they had been posted. It had been a few days after finals, expecting the grades she received. None of them fell below a B, knowing her dad would be proud to hear of it.

While she sat in the foyer her eyes kept going to the massive windows spanning the wall, where the mountain invited her to come out and see the snow. After a quick change in her room, Vicky left the resort dressed head to toe in the warmest clothes she could buy from home. It was still nippy outside, especially on her exposed nose and cheeks, but the rest of her stayed warm for the most part.

Her first step into snow took her foot and ankle, her body wobbling as she wasn’t ready for such a drop from the cleared off entrance. When she found her foot her next one was less uncoordinated, kicking snow up behind her as she continued her wobbly, awkward walk. It reminded her of when she was little and pretended to destroy cities with her feet.

A few kids rushed past her with a sled over their heads, Vicky turning in the direction they ran to see a small store renting them. With card in hand, Vicky trudged away from the shop with her own sled, giggling like a lunatic as she searched for a spot where she could test this baby out. There were several hills of varying sizes littered around the mountain, so of course Vicky chose the largest one she could find for her first time. As she started to ascend the hill she noticed Oz taking his own walk outside.

With some coaxing and arm pulling, Vicky was able to get Oz on the sled with her, who held tightly onto her when they started their descent. It was great for a couple seconds until Vicky immediately lost control of the sled, ending with them tumbling down the mountain and their bodies sliding to a stop at the bottom, their sled lodged into a tree nearby. Vicky pulled her head up from the snow, her knitted hat over her eyes. “That was amazing! Let’s do it again!”

“Not if you’re driving!” Oz jumped to his feet, wiping the snow off of his body before it could stick and melt. “Why did you pick the biggest hill to go on first?”

“Go big or go home.” Vicky madly grinned, readjusting her hat. “Come on! I’ll race you up there!”

They sledded a few more times with Oz guiding them to a safe landing every time, while Vicky always crashed whenever she had the reigns. Eventually, they went inside to grab a bite to eat and chill, Amira and Brian joining them for some soup in bread bowls for dinner. Brian complained that he was stuck with Oz and Liam in his room, already knowing this was going to be awkward for all of them as Oz merely blushed and didn’t say anything. Meanwhile, Amira was listing off all the perks of staying in Damien’s room, from room service to their own hot tub to a plasma screen TV right in front of the bed and a mini bar. Vicky contemplated going to the front desk and throwing down her dad’s card for a room like that but decided against it in fear of being grounded till she graduated.

By the time Vicky had changed into her pajamas and lounged on her bed it was well past dark. Vicky had texted Scott several times throughout the day about her adventures, seeing he had read them but no replies back. She would have gone to his room to check in on him but she had no clue where he was placed. She pursed her lips; where did he go?

A knock on her door took Vicky out of her worrying. “Polly?”

“It’s me …” The voice caused Vicky to hop off her bed and open the door. Scott’s nose and cheeks burned bright red as he was dressed in warm flannel pajamas while holding his pillow and a blanket. “Can I sleep with you tonight?”

Just to see Scott was safe dissolved all of her worries. She greeted him with a hug, his cold transferring to her. “Of course you can. Where have you been all day?”

She closed the door behind him as Scott took a seat on Vicky’s bed, setting his blanket and pillow down. “We had to go and meet the pack whose territory we’re in, to make sure they don’t think we’re moving in or anything. It was so long and boring, I wish I was hanging out with you than doing that.”

“Well, you’re with me now.” Vicky sat beside him, noting that her bed wasn’t going to fit both of them. Her eyes glanced to Polly’s unattended bed, thankful she was out sleeping with someone else. “Can you help me push the beds together?”

One push later they had made a make-shift queen-sized bed, Vicky sitting back down and smoothing out the blanket under her hand. Scott lightly leaned on her, his nose going to her neck and exhaling. “You smell so nice.”

Vicky lightly blushed. “I’ve been sweating and rolling in snow all day. Don’t know how nice that smells.”

“I like it. Your scent always calms me down.” As if to prove it he took another whiff, Vicky feeling him relax more.

Her hand patted her pocket. “Have you checked your grades yet?”

“Yeah,” Scott’s tone saddened. “I failed most all my classes. Coach wants us to at least have C’s but I don’t have any of those. If I don’t improve by February I’ll be kicked off the team.”

“What? Shit, that’s not good.” Vicky’s own tone saddened. She felt it’d be bragging and rubbing salt in Scott’s wound if she told him she passed all her classes.

“How about you?” He lifted his head for a moment, Vicky forcing a smile.

“Not bad, nothing to brag about or anything.” She let Scott dip back down to breathe in her scent, wondering just how intoxicating it was. His voice was soft. “Can we mate now?”

Now?” Vicky parroted, shifting her weight while Scott pulled away. “Didn’t you want to make this special?”

“I do,” She could see a pout form on his face. “But with all these new wolves around, I’m even more anxious. They’re letting us stay here but that doesn’t mean they won’t try anything. I can’t stand the thought of someone else marking you before I can. Please, can we?”

Vicky’s hand slipped around her neck, her body bristling at Scott’s teeth puncturing her skin. “I don’t know … it’s not something that I’m all too excited to experience. I need to psych myself up for it.”

His drooping face crushed her heart, trying to quickly think of a solution to this mess. An idea popped into her head. “How about a hickey? You can even put one on my neck so that others can see it. Would that work for now?”

A spark ignited in Scott’s eyes, his face recomposing itself. “That could work. I like that idea.”

“I like it too,” Vicky moved one hand to his thigh, catching his attention to give him a kiss. He accepted her advances, moaning into her. She was ready to go the full mile when Scott pulled back.

“Oh, I forgot to ask how this morning went with Liam. He said it went well.”

Vicky felt the familiar cold of Liam’s lips on her cheek, her hand already there covering the spot. Months ago she would have done this to preserve the feeling, only now she felt like she was hiding it from Scott. She didn’t imagine Liam would bring it up to Scott, wondering if she should until she thought about the hurt on Scott’s face. He just said how anxious he was about her; she didn’t want him to snap at Liam for something as trivial as this.

While she didn’t like what Liam had done, she didn’t want to hurt his and Scott’s friendship. “Yeah, it was fine. You know Liam, he’s quite the actor.”

Her hand slid further up his thigh to try and distract him from inquiring further, her voice sweet and smooth. “But I don’t want to talk about Liam. I want to feel you.”

Her fingers had worked their magic, gaining Scott’s affection again with just as sweet kisses. When Vicky reopened her eyes Scott was right above her, licking at her neck as her body shuddered. It was still hard for her to relax but she kept telling herself to, knowing one day this wouldn’t bother her as much anymore. When she felt his fangs brush her skin she stiffened and let out a frightened gasp, Scott lifting his head up. “Did I bite you?”

“N-no,” Vicky felt slightly embarrassed, her cheeks fully red. “I just … have a hard time relaxing …”

Scott eyed her neck and up to her flustered face. “Okay. I’ll start near the shoulders. You can even use those colors if it bothers you.”

She had completely forgotten about them, surprised that Scott even remembered. He dipped his head back down, asking for her color. “Green,” She breathed just as his wet tongue started to lick over the area. She was starting to like being licked like a lollypop as much as Scott, who let out soft growls with every stroke.

His teeth brushing her skin caused her to stiffen again, hearing Scott’s questioning voice and responding the same. She had to keep telling herself Scott wasn’t going to harm her, wasn’t going to betray her trust in him. She was safe, loved and she wanted him to know she trusted him and wasn’t afraid of him anymore.

She could hear and feel him suckling her skin, his teeth ever present as they gently cradled her skin. Her head tilted to the side while she let out a soft moan, her hands antsy as they bunched in his hair. She lightly held his head to allow him to move closer to her neck, breathing shallowly and trying not to move so much.

This wasn’t as bad as Vicky thought; she was kind of enjoying it. His name came out every few breaths, along with a few other babbles of how much she loved and cherished him, garnering pleased growls from him in return. When he finally reached her neck she felt more than prepared, telling him again her color as he continued his routine. She lightly tensed, her feet brushing against one another at the strange feeling of her neck being sucked and bitten, but she felt no fear. Only butterflies and arousal for the werewolf above her, the one she wanted to mate wholeheartedly with.

When Scott pulled away her hands moved down to his shoulders, seeing his partially clouded eyes and the lust that overtook them. He was practically grinning at his work, which Vicky couldn’t and wouldn’t see until she got out from underneath him and found a mirror. Vicky was willing to wait.

“Mine,” He growled, repeating the word with every kiss he placed on her from her face to her neck to her breasts as his hands worked away her bra. Her feet hit upon each other again, her thighs hugging one another as her hands flew to his shirt to undo the buttons, excitement growing in her chest.

She would have easily let Scott have his way for the night but she wanted something more, feeling a sweeping sensation of confidence and boldness from her neck being touched.

Just as Scott had gotten her bra off her she pushed on his chest, taking him off guard and rolling him onto his back. She immediately crawled atop of him before he could stop her, lowering herself to attack his lips and grind herself on his growing erection beneath her.

Feeling high as a kite, her eyes then snapped to his neck, performing the same as he had done for her, licking up his skin. It was a salty taste and the abundance of hair on his neck made it a little awkward for Vicky, wondering if she would get used to it. The whimpering moans from Scott, however, drove her to continue her work, feeling Scott tilt his head to present even more of his neck. It was almost maddening how powerful she felt in that moment; to have him submit to her so easily with just a few licks.

“Look at you, giving yourself up to me so easily,” Vicky panted, stopping to admire Scott’s face for just a moment. His eyes were barely cracked open, his cheeks flushed with shallow breaths. “You’re such a good boy, Scott. My good boy.”

She could feel him shudder beneath her, taking in a deep breath like it was his first ever. “Pl-please …” His voice choked. “Mark me. I wanna be your good boy …”

A fire ignited in her stomach, driving her back onto his neck to lick it a few more times until his skin was between her teeth. She sucked on it as she had felt Scott do to her, his moans and inane babbling solidifying in her mind how amazing everything felt.

When she felt satisfied she sat back up, staring down at her work. A bruise was her reminder of what she had done to him, imagining Ginger staring at it the next day and seething in jealousy. Now she knew why Scott wanted to mark her so badly, it was empowering to think of all the monsters that would see them and know they’re taken.

She could have left it at just that when she saw how much more space she had on his open and vulnerable neck. Dipping back down, she continued her onslaught, determined to leave enough love bites that even a scarf wouldn’t cover the entire thing. But she wouldn’t stop there; tonight she didn’t feel like being the one underneath Scott having her brains screwed out.

Tonight was all about him and how she could reward her good boy.

Chapter Text

A creaking noise had Vicky slowly coming to her senses. The arms she remembered wrapping tightly in to fall asleep was gone, cracking her eyes open to notice a large silhouette stand up. It moved to the bathroom, but not before dipping down to retrieve something and sneak inside. Scott must be going to the bathroom and with that conclusion in mind, she let the sleep reclaim her.

The next time she woke up was to the bed dipping and something crawling in. Light poured in from the closed blinds of their window as she embraced the hug Scott gave her. She always felt serene whenever Scott cuddled her. It usually was an indication that things were okay, that things were right with the world. It also let her remember the hot scenes of the night before, especially the one last night.

Scott’s arms tightened around her when she shifted, his voice slurred with adoration. “Mornin’ …”

“Morning,” She wiggled around in Scott’s arms, noticing the dopey smile on his face and the relaxed look in his eyes. There was so much love in his features her heart skipped a beat, the two sharing a slow and tender kiss. “How did you sleep?”

“Great,” He snuggled closer to her. “Last night was amazing. Wanna do that again.”

“Glad you liked it.” She bopped his nose with her own, chuckling under her breath. “I wouldn’t mind doing it more often. You were so good for me, you always have been.”

He nuzzled his head near her neck, his chest rising and falling while Vicky stroked her fingers through his hair. The bed was so cozy and relaxing, she could have stayed there the rest of her life if they weren’t at a winter resort. Thus, Vicky eventually pulled herself away from cuddle town and left the warmth of their bed to the mildly cold room. Already her nipples stiffened, her spine tingling as Vicky tried to find any sort of clothes to cover up in. When she couldn’t she let out a huff. “Too cold, I’m going to shower.”

Scott sat up to stretch while Vicky flipped on the light in the bathroom. The rushing water woke her senses up, hoping it didn’t take a year for the hot water to reach them. As she waited, she eyed the mirror, eyes widening at her reflection. Aside from her messy hair, her lower neck was covered in bruises, her hand hovering over the damage and lightly pressing one. She winced at the dull pain, noticing Scott enter in. “You did a number on me.”

“Yeah,” Scott hummed, his eyes on her reflection. She could see his lusty smile. “It’s a good look on you.”

“Oh yeah?” Vicky felt a smirk when she saw the damage she had done to Scott. A large cluster of hickeys was left between his shoulder and neck, seeing his blush. “I love how we match.”

His growls were music to her ears as she noticed she was the only one naked. She eyed his long flannel shirt and thick winter pants. “When did you get dressed?”

“I usually go for a run early in the morning,” He lightly commented, turning on the sink to wash his face and brush his teeth.

While Scott was working on his hygiene, Vicky checked the water again only to recoil at the boiling temperature. She turned back the dial just a bit but not before bending in a way that kept her ass high in the air, lightly shaking it. “You wanna shower with me? I’ll clean you up real good.”

Vicky yipped when her rear was pinched, back straight as a pole while Scott chuckled. Her face was glowing bright red, noticing the blush on his. “Don’t tempt me.”

“What if I want to?” Wiggling her eyebrows, she hopped into the bath and pulled the curtains between them, turning the dial to change faucets and get the shower going. She backed up as much as she could, hearing clothing hit the ground. When the curtains were pulled back she playfully squealed. “Pervert! Don’t you know it’s rude to stare?”

“I don’t think I’ll get in trouble for this.” Scott murmured, stepping into the shower and pulling the curtain back. She had nowhere to run, squealing again when Scott’s arms encased her, leaving butterfly kisses on her skin while his hands traced her body. Vicky let out a pleased moan, hand fumbling behind her for her body wash.

When her hand tapped it she brought it between them, squeezing the bottle as a few bubbles floated up from the spout. Scott seemed mesmerized by the bubbles, popping one with his finger as Vicky giggled. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

They took their time in the shower, making small talk and allowing their hands to wander freely. After that, it was getting ready for the day, with Scott retrieving some of his stuff and plopping it on their make-shift bed. He almost put away his toothbrush when she pinched part of it, tugging his hand back to place it near the sink. “You’ll be coming back tonight, right?”

They decided a nice stroll through the snow would be a great way to start their day, making sure they had on all the essential gear. Vicky switched her hat for a pair of earmuffs and her snow pants for a skirt with thick socks, while Scott was already bundled in the hat and scarf she’d knitted for him. His gloved hand waited for hers as they left the room together to find the nearest exit.

They walked away from the resort and through the freshly fallen snow, Vicky marveling at how tall the trees grew. “It’s so beautiful here.”

“Yeah, I always wanted to see snow.” Scott tapped one of the branches they walked past, watching the snow slide off and mix with the snow on the floor. “It’s not as fluffy or soft as I thought it’d be.”

“Mostly just cold and sticky.” Vicky smiled, her cheeks burning from the intense cold. She covered her lower face with her scarf, breathing through the material. “So, has anyone talked to you since you got back?”

“Not really, I just grabbed my stuff and came straight to your room.” Scott occasionally looked back to see how deep their footprints were, clearly impressed.

Vicky’s face heated up. “Apparently Miranda thinks we’re getting married soooo she might be putting a wedding on for us.”

“What?” Scott pulled back on Vicky to stop, mildly confused and perplexed. “… I guess that’s cool, but I don’t know if I want a wedding. It’s not really a tradition of ours.”

“Yeah, I was going to ask if there were any other rituals that came with mating.” She tugged on him to keep moving. Standing in one spot wasn’t going to help her stay warm. “Do you have to go through some legal process to make sure the state verifies you’re together or have a witness?”

“Uh …what?”

Vicky playfully shook her head. “How do you let other people know you’re together?”

“Oh! Mom told me that a looong time ago the mark was enough to let others know they were a couple. Now, though, uh … I think they go to this place called a ‘registrar office’? I’m pretty sure Uncle Larry works at one.”

“Sounds like a ball of fun.” Vicky sarcastically replied. “Anything else?”

“Usually after a pair mates, the families throw a huge party to celebrate. We’ll probably have a barbeque and play football! Mating parties are like the best. We just threw one last month for my third cousin, twice-removed Sally and her mate Jojo!”

Vicky found it cute how much he oozed excitement as they came upon a semi-frozen stream. Water ran down a small hill, the sides completely frozen over. They both made a noise akin to awe, Vicky wondering if the frozen part would hold their weight. Probably not. When Scott made the move to try she pulled back on his arm. “Don’t! If you fall in I won’t be able to get you out!”

“Aw, but I wanna see if it’ll hold me.” Scott pouted, placing his foot back on land.

“Try it when there’s someone who can rescue you.” It was a tempting idea, she couldn’t dismiss that, but that was not how she wanted to spend her first day at the resort. Half frozen in a block of ice. Her mind drifted elsewhere the more she took in their scenic surroundings. “Do you guys still do rings?”

“Like wedding rings?” She nodded. “Not really. The mark is all the couple needs to show that they’re together.”

“Oh.” Her voice matched her disappointment, her lips in a small pout.

Scott took his full attention off of the world, cupping her hands in his. “Did you want a ring?”

It was an honest question, her pout lessening. “I guess I just assumed we’d get rings for each other. Since I’m going to hide my mark I’d like to have something visible to show we’re together.”

Her eyes flicked back to her fingers, fanning them out. “Now that I think about it … I don’t know if I want to do a ring specifically. Maybe we could do something else.”

“Let me know if you think of something. I’m down to get matching accessories.”

His approval meant a lot to her, knowing she’d have to think long and hard on what she wanted. Her breath curled in front of her when Scott suddenly held her tightly staid deathly still. “Scott?”

He didn’t respond, looking in the direction he was to see a few figures amidst the trees. Their skin was ungodly pale, wearing an amalgamation of different pelts as clothing. There were three in total; two men and one woman who strode over to them. They looked to be around the same age, Vicky eyeing the bright white tails that swung behind them.

“Lookie what we found,” One of the wolves sang. “A submissive alpha and his bitch, all alone in the freezing cold.”

“This is our spot,” The woman spoke, Vicky feeling her eyes particularly on her. “No inferior couples allowed.”

Scott’s arms tightened their hold on her, his voice removed of any emotion. “Your alpha said we’re free to move around.”

“Do you see our alpha here?” The other man chided, gaining a smirk from both of his companions. “I bet you like to follow every order that any mutt gives you, huh. Well, here’s an order for you. Take your rotting bitch and don’t come back. I don’t want to see your stupid face over here again, because if I do I’ll tear it off with my own fangs.”

Vicky’s heart raced, her own hands gripping Scott’s arm tightly. This prompted a laugh from the woman, leaning her head close to hers. “Aw, are we scaring you? Wittle corpse need her big stwong alpha to keep her safe? I could just eat a face this pathetic. In fact, that’s not a bad idea …”

The woman jumped back when Scott nearly bit her head off, hearing his aggressive growl. The three immediately brandished their fangs, snarling.

“You wanna go?” One of the males growled. “Just try to fight us; our entire pack will be here within seconds to make a mess of your sorry asses.”

“Scott, please!” Vicky was not going to get herself caught in a fight, using her hands to cup his cheeks and try to look at her. Even when she tried to jerk his head he wouldn’t stop staring at the group. “Let’s just go.”

“Listen to your bitch.” The group lowered their stances as if they had won the fight, closing their lips. “I almost feel sorry for you; being so desperate to stick your knot into anything that’ll let you that you tie it with a fucking corpse. Good luck continuing your house, dumbass.”

The group burst into laughter, Vicky feeling more upset than embarrassed. She had to pull Scott away, who continued to glare and be tense long after they had left. Vicky simply followed their earlier footsteps, anger replacing her fear once she knew they were safe. She had half a mind to grab Damien and stomp back over for a good old fight to the death, but evoking the anger of an entire pack of wolves was not how Vicky wanted to die.

Scott had been deathly silent since they left, Vicky squeezing his hand. “Hey, you okay?”

He didn’t answer her until she moved in front of him and reached up towards him. He bent over to allow her to kiss him, letting go of some of the tension. “I didn’t do anything … I just let them say that stuff …”

Vicky could see the conflict in his eyes, torn between upset and disappointed. With him bent over her hand reached under his hat to pet his hair. “That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes it takes the bigger monster to walk away than to stay and fight.”

“I wanted to fight,” Scott’s eyes hardened. “I could have taken them easily. Bunch of betas …”

Vicky didn’t exactly know what beta meant, more concerned with Scott’s attitude and posture than definitions. She had seen glimpses of this whenever she brought up something he didn’t like that happened to her or scary situations, but he usually snapped out of it quickly.

This wasn’t the case now, like he had become someone else entirely. “I’m glad you didn’t. You can’t take on the entire pack by yourself. Besides, I wouldn’t want to see you get hurt like that. Now come on, smile for me?”

Scott didn’t say anything back, still drawn within himself even when she tried to coax a smile with her own. He moved his head back up, her hand slipping out from underneath his hat and left in the air to hang. “Promise me you won’t walk around the resort without me.”

She understood his implications, yet her hand fell along with her smile. “What if I’m with friends? Is that okay?”

Scott opened and closed his mouth in the same moment, clear frustration in his face. “Please? It’s … really hard to control myself right now. I don’t want you getting hurt.”

Maybe it was the wolf part of Scott that was speaking to her at the moment, maybe Scott was afraid of doing something he’d regret. Either way, Vicky could see the strain and confliction Scott was going through and personally didn’t want to put him through any more. She nodded her head. “Okay.”

One simple word seemed to break the spell over Scott, releasing him from his torment. She could see almost all the stress jump off him, finally able to smile. “Thanks for understanding.”

“No problem.” She retook his hand, tugging. “Let’s go back to the resort.”

He pulled back on her, causing her to lose her footing until she felt his arms hoist her off the ground. She blushed madly from the bridal-style way he held her, nuzzling his cheek against hers. “I love you.”

She softly giggled, kissing his nose. “Love you too.”

As Scott carried her back, Vicky took to relaxing and admiring the snow all around them. It was very pretty but she was getting pretty darn cold and could use a piping hot mug of hot chocolate to warm up and a warm fire with Scott cuddled next to her. Scott seemed chipper, though his voice was hesitant. “If you do find yourself alone out here … it’s best not to run. Running tells us that you’re scared and easy prey. If something goes wrong, give me a call on my phone and stand your ground, okay?”

“All right.” That was good information to know, but she wouldn’t have to worry about it so much since she wasn’t going to trot off without Scott.

When the two passed the automatic doors into the resort their jaws nearly hit the floor. Half of the main foyer was crowded with merpeople, who were scurrying to and fro with furniture, bouquets of flowers, lists, marble columns, and other items. Miranda’s voice could be heard shouting over the hustle and bustle.

“I want that table over by the fireplace and do not let the ice sculptures even so much as melt or I’ll have your gills! You, where’s the menu I asked for one minute ago? Are you trying to be incompetent? And where is my giant organ and organ player?”

Miranda made waves through the crowd of servants, who gave her plenty of room to walk by. Two servants briskly walked behind Miranda, holding two different shades of pink cloth in their hands.

 Miranda made a bee-line for the two, smiling. “Greetings, soon-to-be-newlyweds! The helicopters just arrived this morning with everything we’ll need to plan your perfect wedding! Now,” The serfs held out the cloth, Miranda lightly touching both. “What color shall the drapes be? Seashell pink? Or Coral pink?”

“Uh,” Vicky was set down as Scott couldn’t keep his eyes on one thing for too long. It almost looked like his head would spin off. “I’m actually not a huge fan of pink? I’d rather go with blue or green.”

“Goodness no! Blue or green wouldn’t go with anything I brought!” Miranda seemed slightly offended, turning to look at the colors myself. “Pink is a splendid color, my favorite! Why wouldn’t anyone like it? Let’s go with seashell pink.”

Both servants dispersed after a well-placed bow, while Miranda clasped her hands together. “We should be ready in five days, tops!”

“Five days?” Vicky’s heart felt wedged in her throat, choking on it. “We haven’t agreed to any of this!”

“That’s fine! I already know once you see it you’ll be thanking me for all the hard work I’m putting into this!”

Vicky could hardly believe the delusional world Miranda thought she was in right now. She was ready to burst that bubble and drop her back into reality when Vera was suddenly at her side. “There you are. I told you to be ready by noon and you kept me waiting. I’m charging extra for that.”

“Oh, is it time to shop for the wedding dress?” Miranda’s eyes grew. “I’m coming!”

“But!” Vicky felt déjà vu at this sudden gag coming on again, trying to get herself heard. “Can we just slow down and talk this through?”

“Yeah!” Scott was right there with her, ducking his head when a legion of doves flew over his head along with a few servants chasing after them. “We’re still trying to figure things out!”

“There you are,” Suddenly Vicky wasn’t the only one with pushy wedding coordinators breathing down her neck. Liam, Damien, and Brian nearly pounced on Scott, pulling him by his arms. Oz simply followed behind like a lost puppy. “We’ve located five different tuxedo stores down the mountain and we’re going to every single one until we find something that can get rid of that hideous lumberjack stereotype you prance around in.”

“Clothes shopping?” Scott’s nearly gasped, suddenly flailing his arms. “Help, help! I don’t wanna go clothes shopping! It’s so boring!”

“Sacrifices must be made for the sake of looking fabulous!” Liam held his head high.

“Yeah, don’t be a wuss.” Damien tugged extra hard when Scott grabbed onto the doorway to try and stop them. Vicky couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Scott as he wailed and tried to pry himself free of the boy’s grasp until she realized she was in the exact same boat as Scott. Unlike Scott, however, the moment she tried to latch onto the doorway Vera’s snakes hissed at her, giving her a few good reasons as to why she didn’t want to do that.

At least the journey down the mountain was nice. They took a few white horns that were happy to help them down to the quaint village. There was hardly a car on the road and snow monsters of all shapes and sizes were out doing their normal daily routine. For a small village next to a ski resort, there were far more wedding shops than Vicky thought could be possible; from wedding dress stores to shoe kiosks to bakeries advertising colossal wedding cakes.

Vicky was pushed into the first gown shop they found, hastily finding herself already in a dress and put on display for all the girls that came on the outing.

“Blah, that looks awful.” Polly and Amira had tagged along at some point during the trip down, with the aforementioned ghost pulling down her shades. “If you’re trying to get Scott to never fuck you again then wear that.”

“I think Vicky looks majestic!” Miranda was at Vicky’s right, eyeing the dress up and down. “Like a beautiful seahorse!”

That would make sense, as the dress was made out of scales and coral. In Miranda’s hands was a bejeweled bridle, which left Vicky madly blushing. “It even comes with a bridle for the seahorse that’ll whisk them away to their honeymoon!”

The way Vera eyed Miranda screamed, ‘really, you’re that dense’ as Amira got up from her designated seat to tug at Vicky’s dress. “Feels pretty heavy. Isn’t the dress supposed to be light?”

“Oh no, it should have at least several inches of bullet-proof and sword-proof material! How else would the monarchy survive the wedding if assassins try to murder them?”

“I don’t think anyone wants me dead.” Vicky could hardly breathe with the corset strangling her waist, wondering if she’d pass out first from the lack of oxygen or collapse from the blood not reaching her legs.

“Not that you know of!” Miranda seemed pleasantly happy to announce that.

Vicky was ready to rip the corset off and strangle Miranda with it, but Vera seemingly beat her to it. She stomped her heel on the ground. “Are you actually considering this dress? It’s so disgusting I’ll have to bleach my eyes after we’re done with this outing! Get her out of that dress now before I tear it off!”

In just a few minutes, Vicky was placed in another dress. It was more simplistic and modern, with one shoulder and a shorter train than usual. Vera smiled, her hands lightly grasping her shoulders. “This one is more suitable. The perfect dress for the busy woman.”

“Boooorriiiiiiing!” Polly drawled, letting her head roll back on the chair.

“I like it! Less is more these days.” Amira eyed the price tag, hissing. “How is it this expensive? There’s nothing on it!”

“It’s called paying for the brand,” Vera gave the price tag a casual glance like it was nothing. “You don’t actually think there’s a significant difference between materials to warrant that much of a price difference, do you? You could just buy something cheaper that’s made from the same materials, but then you wouldn’t have the brand name associated with it, and really, that’s all that matters.”

Vicky finally got around to looking at the tag, her heart stopping. “Yup! Nope! Get me out of this dress!”

The next one Amira had picked out. It was much shorter than the usual wedding dress; the train behind her didn’t even touch her feet. “Yeah, now this one you can dance in!”

“Where’s the armor? The scales? This doesn’t even go with the theme of the wedding!” Miranda clearly didn’t like the dress, picking up a piece of it and tossing it to the side. “Do you want her to die before she even gets down the aisle? Are you conspiring with the assassins?”

“Girl, there’s no assassins.” Amira had more than just a dead-panned look for Miranda, who huffed and tossed her hair back.

“It’s not bad,” Vera added. “I do like how short it is. In case you have to run to a meeting right after the wedding.”

“Ugh, none of you girls get this!” Polly finally lifted herself out of her slump, floating over with grabby hands. Vicky shrieked as Polly personally took the dress off, leaving her in just her underwear, the veil, and the heels. “The wedding is all about the fucking afterward, so let’s just skip the dress entirely!”

Vicky gawked, though she wasn’t trying to cover herself as she had been in and out of clothes all day. “I am not wearing just my underwear!”

“Well duh! You’re going to need the veil and some lingerie.” The lusty look Polly had sent chills through Vicky’s spine.

“This is highly inappropriate!” Miranda had tossed her first dress at Vicky, who caught it and immediately regretted it when the heavy weight sent her to the floor. “Vicky must wear the first one! It matches the theme!”

“I’ll personally burn that dress and any other replicas of it before I attend a wedding with the bride wearing that hideous abomination!” Vera hissed, still holding her dress.

“No dress! No dress!” Polly chanted, making herself louder than anyone else. Vicky managed to crawl her way out from under the dress, using the girl’s spat as valuable time to scurry off, redress and flee from the store.

She was thankful that no one followed her out, jogging down the street as best as she could with all the ice when she noticed Liam hanging outside of one store. She flailed her arms at him. “Liam! You gotta hide me! All the girls are insane!”

Liam just pointed to the alleyway in between stores, Vicky giving him a quick thanks when he stood up. “Ah, before you go.”

Vicky slowed not before she ducked into the alleyway. “Scott’s phone died so he wanted me to relay a message to you. He says to meet him in room 332 at the resort at 9PM tonight.”

Scott had made plans for them? She hadn’t been to the third floor of the resort, smiling. “Thanks!”

Leaving Liam, Vicky hid around the village for most of the afternoon as the girls eventually came looking for her. She hid in stores, jumped into piles of snow and even hid in a trashcan for an hour, which was one of her stupider decisions. Once the coast was clear, Vicky headed back up the mountain to the resort, where she promptly showered three times to try and rid the smell of garbage from her skin.

Nine came speeding up on Vicky faster than she had expected. She hadn’t seen Scott since they were both dragged out of the resort, wondering when the goofball was going to charge his phone and get back to her. She did shoot him a text for when he did finally see it, displaying how excited she was for the night. What did Scott have planned for them? Maybe another walk? Or dinner? Maybe they would find some way onto the roof and look at the stars together, remembering that night at Polly’s party when Scott pointed out Flippers.

When nine rolled around, Vicky made her way up the resort, having put on a cute winter dress she’d bought just before the trip. The third floor was much nicer than the first floor and the doors were spread out farther, indicating bigger rooms.

Her heart raced the closer she got with each passing number, smile big when she came to the right door. She knocked on it a few times only to realize the door was open. “Scott? I’m coming in.”

It was twice the size of her room, with a large king-sized bed off to the side, a mini-fridge and a TV mounted to the wall for optimal binge-watching while snuggling in bed. Drapes covered part of the wall, which, when Vicky pulled them back, showed off a small balcony with a view of the mountain. Vicky let go of the drapes, noticing rose petals on the bed. “Oh Scott …”

This was so romantic; Scott had gone above and beyond in trying to impress her. Only she didn’t see Scott waiting for her in the room, turning around. “Scott? Where are you, baby?”

No response, Vicky turning back to look at the bed. A sudden, startling truth slapped her in the face, breathing aloud. “Scott can’t afford this …”

“No, he can’t.” The voice turned her veins icy, hastily turning around to notice the door shut. Liam clicked the lock on the door, pulling at his bowtie and letting it unravel. “But I can.”

Chapter Text

Vicky cautiously kept her distance while Liam advanced, her back left thigh hitting the nightstand. Her hand reached for the vase she saw earlier on it and held it between them. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Don’t act so surprised,” Liam placed a hand on the rim only for Vicky to knock it away. “You knew this was going to happen eventually.”

“No, I didn’t,” Vicky tried to keep her breathing calm, eyes trained on the vampire in front of her. He could easily snatch the vase away from her hands so she stepped around the nightstand and continued to back away. “Because you wanted to end things. You said it yourself!”

“Come now, haven’t you learned by now I have a silver tongue?” Liam continued to persist her, ripping the vase away. He tossed it back onto the bed, her hands trying to keep him at bay. His voice still whispered into her ears. “All those things I’ve said? Lies. I’ve had my eyes set on you ever since you first introduced yourself to me. You drive me crazy with your cute antics and your devious nature. Why else would I have kissed you in the car? Or grew aroused when you engaged me in that blackmail? Do you really think all those times I’ve been your fake-boyfriend I wasn’t enjoying myself?”

His words left her stunned, wide-eyed and staring directly into his own. She couldn’t tell if he was lying to her still, she never could. If he was now it made no sense, feeling a tight fear grip her chest. Her voice shook. “St-stay away from me. I’m in love with Scott.”

“Are you really?” Liam’s hands grabbed her wrist, pressing her up against the nearest wall. She tried to fight against his strength but found she was unable to move. “Because I have a theory. You don’t love him. Scott was just a distraction from your real feelings for me. A toy to play with until I came around and confessed my love. Why else would you hide everything I do from him? I kissed you, I was aroused by you and you shared none of that. I took those as little signs that we were playing a game. To see how much we could get away with behind Scott’s back.”

“Shut up!” Vicky shouted. “I didn’t want him to get angry at you!”

“Exactly! You hid it for the sake of my safety.” Her heart skipped a beat when his hand grasped her cheek, nails digging uncomfortably into it. “Ah, my muse, you truly are my greatest inspiration. I must admit, when I smelled Scott’s claim on you I grew extremely envious of what he’d taken from me.”

Her body stiffened, her gut twisting itself when his tongue licked up her neck. “But he hasn’t claimed you yet. I could easily destroy that now, make you mine like little Oz …”

“H-How could you say these things?” Her voice choked, warbling as much as she shook. Shock was the only thing on her mind, her flight or fight mode unable to comprehend what it should do at this moment. “Scott’s your best friend! You two dated! What about Oz in all this?”

“Don’t get me wrong, I still have feelings for Oz.” Liam brought his head back up, staring deeply into her eyes. The wild lust, the fierce determination. He was serious. “But I’m perfectly fine sharing myself with two gorgeous monsters. We could finally make that polyamorous relationship come true …”

His lips were near inches away from hers. Vicky continued to struggle against his grip, fear eating away at every nerve. His voice was slimy and putrid. “Now … shall we take this to the bed?”

He came off from a hearty shove, her eyes locking onto the vase. With one swipe she sent it down atop Liam’s head, glass shattering and cutting into her hand. She yelped and dropped the rest, staggering back while Liam kneeled in a pool of fragmented glass. “Don’t you ever touch me again, you fucking creep!”

She didn’t stick around to see what Liam would do next and fled with a loud slam. Her first instinct was to go back to her room, lock it and shut herself away from everyone but Liam might look there first. Instead, Vicky took herself back down to the first floor and hid inside a janitor’s closet, burying herself behind the window cleaner bottles and the mops.

She curled up as small as she could and felt the first wave of paranoia set in. She sobbed into her hands, feet pointed inward as her heart turned inside out. The only thought that ran through her head was how utterly foolish she was to not see this coming sooner. For playing this mind game. There was only one other time she’d felt this vulnerable and betrayed and that was in between the teeth of her beloved Tintin. It felt like the fangs never left her neck.

“Vicky!” She loudly gasped, freezing completely still. The voice was hard to make out through the closet, but it sounded enraged.

Her feet kicked her back until her back pressed up against the wall and even then she continued to push in hopes of going further. The doorknob jiggled insistently, her shaking hands grabbing one mop, ready to try and defend herself if it was Liam.

She screamed when the door was ripped off its hinges but the blue eyes told her she was safe. Scott was panting, half-transformed with fur over his massive arms and his snout half elongated. Never before had she seen him so wild and utterly terrified.

She choked back a sob, the mop clattering to the ground as her hands outstretched for him. Immediately she was enveloped by his arms, sobbing into Scott’s chest like a newborn baby. She didn’t know how Scott had found her or why he was so distraught, deciding it didn’t matter at that moment. He was there, holding her and protecting her from anything that would try to come after it.

Cradled in his arms, Vicky continued to bury her face in Scott’s shirt, her hands quivering as they wrought the fabric. She didn’t feel safe until she heard Scott close a door behind them, lock it and sit down on what she assumed was the bed. He didn’t stop holding her the entire time, softly shushing her as she tried to regain control of her emotions.

Neither of them spoke, not a word was said between the two until Vicky finally felt some semblance. She hesitantly brought her head away from his tear-stained shirt, looking up at him. She wanted to see those baby blue eyes peer down at her sweetly, telling her things were okay, that they were okay. Those eyes weren’t there.

Scott gave her only a mild glance as they returned to the door, piercing and dangerous. The way he held her was tighter, colder than his usual warm self. Her safety net felt full of holes. “Scott …?”

He murmured something inaudible as she tried to sit up. She didn’t feel as comforted yet when she tried to leave his grip on her tightened.

“Scott, let me down.” She tried to not make it apparent she was growing frightened.

It spiked when Scott reared his head at her. “You didn’t say anything! Was all that he said true? Did he do those things to you?”

Vicky gripped his shirt, only it wasn’t to stay close. Her eyes widened. “Y-you heard that?”

“Yes?” He turned his head away, shutting his eyes. “Liam talked with me today. Said he didn’t trust you or your feelings towards me. He said he was going to prove it and-and then I found myself somewhere completely black and I watched what he did.” The last words came out as a snarl. “I couldn’t do anything …”

Vicky had a hard time processing just what was going on. Of course, it was another one of Liam’s complicated bastardizations of trying to figure her out. But that wasn’t the primary concern. No, it was that Scott had been an involuntary guest to it all. “Scott …”

Her hand tried to brush his cheek just as he snatched hers and set it in her lap. He breathed shakily, his voice grave. “I want to know everything that led up to that. Now.”

Immediately, she felt her mouth puke up everything that had happened between her and Liam, from when she first gained interest in him right up to when he attempted to sexually assault her in the hotel room. The entire time she felt sick to her stomach for keeping all of it inside of her, wondering if she would actually vomit when she had no more words to upchuck. Scott stayed silent the entire time she talked, staring at the wall.

When she had no more words to say Scott didn’t respond. More than anything she wanted him to look at her at that moment, to tell her things would be okay between them. His lips parted, eyes suddenly staring at his lap. “Is that everything?”

Vicky nodded her head, too afraid that a wrong word would make her see the hurt in his eyes again. He breathed heavily. “Why did you hide that from me? I thought we promised we would be open with one another.”

“I don’t know,” Vicky admitted. “Part of me was afraid it’d cause a rift between you two.”

“That’s not something you hide!” Scott finally looked at her, her heart shriveling to see the betrayal that she caused in his features. He looked like a kicked puppy in every sense of the word. “You should have at least stopped these fake dates, but you didn’t! How am I supposed to take all that? That my girlfriend lied to me about my best friend in order to make me feel better? Were you planning on hiding that forever?”

“I don’t know!” Vicky wanted to retreat from the shouting but her comfort was the one causing the stinging accusations. She had no rebuttal because what he was saying was validated and the truth.

There was a whimper to his tone. “I’ve been open with you. It’s been super hard for me but I’ve been trying to do it. I even told you about my jealousy and I trusted you to do the same …”

She uttered his name, flinching when his voice grew louder. “I can’t trust you, Vicky! I-I don’t know what to think right now. I’m so angry and upset and frustrated and hurt …”

It looked like the same emotions were wrestling for control over Scott’s face, the wolf restless. He sat Vicky on the bed to pace around the room. Vicky didn’t know how to repair the damage, didn’t know what words to say to make Scott feel better. “I’m sorry …”

Scott’s eyes flickered to her for a second and she saw the innocent vulnerability she had subjugated him to. It almost seemed like the shouting would stop.

His eyes clouded over, striding way too fast. She was taken off guard when he pushed her onto the bed, crawling over her. “Scott!”

“Not enough,” His voice was nothing but a growl, body bristling when she felt his tongue lap over where Liam had violated her. Her stomach felt shot. “Not enough!”

She struggled against his hold, realizing she wasn’t strong enough to go up against the werewolf. There was nothing nearby to grasp and try to get him off, entirely helpless. “Gotta mark you. Mate you. Let them know you’re mine!”

The firmness of his tone shot an icy chill through her veins, quickly replaced by panic when he grabbed her bolt. She screamed as she lurched into the bed with a loud snapping noise, Scott throwing something behind him that clattered on the ground. Instantly his mouth dived for the spot between her shoulder and neck, feeling his teeth sharpen on her skin.

Her breath was frantic as she kicked her legs as hard as she could into his crotch. Flashes of Tintin above elicited terrified screams. “Stop, stop! Get off me! Get off me!”

Her cries turned into wailing, startling Scott enough to lift his head. His snout was quickly disappearing back into his normal nose, the cloudiness in his eyes receding. She stared up at him in tears, teeth haven bitten through her lips and shaking uncontrollably.

He leaped off her, stumbling backward and tripping over the nightstand next to the bed. Both fell to the ground but he still kept backing up, shaking his head. “Oh god … what did I do?”

She barely had the strength to sit up, her arms weak and fragile as she sat up enough to be able to see Scott. Their eyes connected for a brief moment.

Scott bolted.

He was out of the door before Vicky could even utter a word, slamming the door behind him and shaking the walls. Vicky felt if she left the bed her entire body would shatter like glass, stricken with horror over the events that had happened. With trepidation her hand felt her throat, feeling no puncture wounds or fresh blood. Just the crude snapping point of where her bolt had been ripped off.

Unable to leave, unable to process everything that had just happened, Vicky fell back onto the bed and wept until her eyes could cry no more tears.

Chapter Text

Not a minute had passed before people came to investigate Vicky’s screams. What they found was a scuffled room and Vicky crying helplessly into her bed, curled up and desperate to feel anything despite the crippling depression that was rapidly consuming her. News spread like wildfire at the resort and it wasn’t long before everyone knew what went down.

Amira had gotten Vicky to sit up, who clutched the blankets around her body. Brian sat behind her staring at the window, his right hand grasping her left one. She stared at nothing on the ground and felt just the same.

“What the fuck happened here?” Damien barked at her. She didn’t know if he showed actual care in her moment of desolation or if he was annoyed that his time with Amira had been interrupted for this. She didn’t care either way. “Hey, I’m talking to you!”

“Damien!” Amira snapped at him, almost pushing him away. “You’re not helping the situation!”

“You know what isn’t? Her not talking!” Damien reared his anger at Amira. “Monsters just saw Scott bolt from the resort like he’d just killed someone and Vicky looks like she wants to die! Nothing’s going to get solved by her being quiet!”

“It was our fault!” Vicky zoned in on Oz, who was the only one of their outcast group who didn’t sit down with her. His eyes reflected just how freaked out he sounded. “We went too far! I-I just thought if it would get them to talk—!”

“What?” Oz held his hands between him and Damien. “Who’s we? What the fuck did you two do?”

“This is not the time to get aggressive!” Amira finally stood up from the bed, putting herself in between the two. She spoke through clenched teeth. “We need to find Scott and comfort Vicky. Not accuse everyone!”

Amira and Damien’s fight fell on deaf ears. Vicky continued to stare at the ground when a blur of yellow moved in front of her. Oz was on his knees, begging. “I’m so sorry, Vicky. I just—I didn’t—I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

Words might have comforted or bruised Oz, depending on how she felt. She left him with deafening silence, eyes going back to her feet.

She paid attention to the conversation when Damien’s voice wasn’t just screaming. “Okay. Okay, you’re right. I’ll go look for Scott.”

“I’ll come with,” Brian got up from the bed, gently squeezing her hand before letting go. Her hand stayed where he left it.

Oz teetered on what to do, ultimately rushing out the door after the boys. “Wait for me!”

Vicky was left with Amira, who sat back down and stroked a hand through her hair. “It’ll be okay.”

 She didn’t ask her what had happened or why she was like this and it comforted Vicky. She felt she had no voice at the moment, no will to speak. Just stare at the ground until the world stopped turning.

That night Vicky went back with Amira to Damien’s suite. She felt slight awkwardness to be in the demon’s room with all the weapons strewn about everywhere, but she didn’t want to lose the anchor she’d attached herself to.

They’d made her a make-shift bed on one of the couches and watched mindless TV, though, Amira stared more at her phone. Eventually, Damien came back, pulling Amira away to talk about something. Probably bad news. Probably that Scott hated her. Never wanted to see her again. Even after Damien and Amira went to sleep she still stayed up. Staring at the blank TV. Mind thoughtless.

Sleep eventually took her early in the morning. When she awoke it was to an empty room, drawing the blankets around her tightly. If she looked in the mirror now she might see a younger version of herself, drawing colorful blankets over her body with the same emptiness in her eyes. It was just how she felt after the attack. She didn’t speak for a week and barely ate anything. Now she was back in that same state.

Sluggishly she checked her phone, seeing several messages from different people. Amira had left one about her and Damien stepping out for breakfast and would be back soon with something for her. Brian had also left one, saying he would spend the day with her if she wanted to. Then there were the dozens of texts from Oz, who seemed to lose part of his sanity halfway through the ramblings of apologies and immense guilt. Through the texts, she gleaned a better idea of what had happened.

Liam wasn’t reassured about her decision to go through with the mating, especially when she was hiding their mishaps from Scott. He wanted to push how far her feelings for him were, to try and scare her into action. He was going to do it alone but Oz agreed to help by restraining Scott, who was a vital piece of the confrontation because Liam didn’t trust her enough to even tell Scott what happened if he did attack her. From the way she’d been handling the situation … she believed that.

Scott was supposed to leave her alone and wait until she told him about what happened, but things didn’t go as planned. Then it went back to more apologies. She didn’t have any strength to reply to any of the texts, placing her phone down when a soft knock came to the door.

Amira came in soon after, holding a plate with fruits, yogurt, and scrambled eggs. “Hey. Got you some food.”

Vicky moved herself to the table across the room, Amira taking the seat across from her. Her eyes bore holes into the hot eggs, shifting her gaze up to Amira. She had brought the remains of a smoothie with her, awkwardly sipping on it and looking out the window. “They couldn’t find Scott last night. Damien said they trekked up part of the mountain but no one was able to find his trail. Well,” Her eyes narrowed. “I’m sure his family would have found him, but they’re not cooperating with us. They keep saying we need to leave Scott alone. I’m just worried Scott’s going to get too cold out there.”

Vicky blinked, settling to stare at her eggs again. Amira’s tone grew tense. “The resort won’t help us either until he’s been gone for three days and ‘properly missing’. Can you believe that? Three days is going to kill a monster in this weather! I nearly set one of the reindeer people on fire! Stupid dumbasses!”

She huffed, then looked bewildered like she just realized she’d been talking to Vicky the entire time. Her hand slipped over hers. “Oh, but, it’s okay. I’m sure Scott will come back soon. He probably just needs a moment to himself. Don’t worry.”

Vicky could at least do that. She felt apathetic towards everything, so worrying wouldn’t bother her. “Oz told me what happened. Or, as much as he knew. I can’t believe Oz would help Liam do something so … evil.”

She even got up and gave her a hug, feeling warmth encase her. It wasn’t the same warmth as Scott’s, keeping her arms to the side. “I’ll be with you all day today if you need it. No one’s getting close to you unless you want it.”

After staring at her food for half an hour, Amira moved them from Damien’s room back to hers. She helped her get dressed for the day, asking her if she wanted her snapped bolt. Vicky took it and placed it on the nightstand that Amira had sat up. The less she thought about last night the better she’d be. When they moved to the foyer, Vicky could see work had been halted on the impersonation wedding. Miranda sat over by the bar with Vera, who both eyed the two before going back to their talk. She might have been crazy, but she thought she saw some sympathy from them besides themselves.

Oz seemed to be in his own personal hell, hands over his head as he sat impossibly still on one of the couches. He tried to come over but Amira shooed him off when Vicky didn’t say anything to warrant him coming closer. If she didn’t have the energy to fix her own problems she had no time reassuring him his sins were forgivable. And even if she did, they weren’t and she felt no reason to extend him that forgiveness. He chose to participate, which meant she felt justified in the sick feelings she associated with him.

Brian was in one of his own funks, bouncing one of his knees as he scratched at his neck. She didn’t know the extent of his drug problem but Polly cutting him off seemed to have a profound effect on him. She had never seen him this jittery. Speaking of the ghost, she hovered near the fireplace, too bummed to even talk to the group of hot dark elves sitting right next to her. Her eyes were locked on her phone, sending a flurry of texts from just how fast her hands moved. She didn’t pause for a second.

Damien lingered near the door of the resort, his tail stabbing the air multiple times as his hands clenched his jacket. He looked ready for a fight, any fight if he could instigate one. The only monster she didn’t see was Liam, who had probably gone into hiding after the events of yesterday and Oz blabbering to everyone about what they had done.

She didn’t know how her problem could have snowballed this badly to affect everyone. It was astounding how much it damaged their status quo.

The rest of the day felt like it was dragged through the mud. Time went by so slowly, with Amira trying to keep some sense of hope and light-heartedness up. She took her on the gondolas up the mountain to see the view, they took long walks on the beaten trail for visitors, and even did some sledding. Vicky could see how worn out Amira was from everything she was doing, giving her some semblance of thanks by buying her some hot chocolate at the end of the day. She appreciated her efforts, knowing she’d be in her spot if Amira was feeling just as blue as her. But she couldn’t find the voice to say it.

By the time night rolled around Vicky stayed up, staring out the window while Damien and Amira were fast asleep on their bed. Would Scott come back tonight? What if he didn’t? What if he never came back? She finally felt the tiniest cracks form in the block of ice she’d been petrified in, and the only thing that seeped in was misery and paranoia. If she could see Scott now she’d get on her knees and apologize until her voice was hoarse and unable to speak. She wanted to see his smile more than ever and silently sobbed herself to sleep thinking about it.

The next day felt like it was going to be the exact same drawl that yesterday was. Scott hadn’t returned. No one had any leads.

Amira left to get Vicky breakfast again as she sat on her bed, trying to watch TV. She didn’t hear anything the people were saying, turning it off and staring at her pitiful reflection in the TV’s screen.

A knock came to the door, but no one opened it. Vicky was about to get up and help open it when a solemn voice came through the wood. “You in there, Vicky?”

Vicky stood perfectly still, utter disgust welling up in her throat. Liam spoke again. “Can I come in?”

A large part of her that wanted to open the door and deck Liam in the face for even asking, yet she decided to listen to the quieter half that was scared of what Liam would do if she let him in. She didn’t trust him anymore, he was too unpredictable.

She surprised herself when her voice broke through her long silence. “No.”

It felt foreign to speak after not doing so for almost two days, yet it felt revolutionary to have that sort of freedom again. Liam didn’t say anything back and she wondered after several seconds if he’d left. Then she heard his sigh through the door, hearing him at his most vulnerable. “I’m sorry. I really fucked up.”

It drew her closer to the door, but her hand stayed far away from the door handle. It was unlocked, Liam could come in any time if he really wanted to. The fact he didn’t try spoke volumes. Her voice was flat and quiet. “Are you just saying that because of what Oz did?”

“No,” She didn’t believe him, still trying to push away the thoughts of attacking him as he did with her. “I didn’t come here asking for forgiveness either. I truly believe what I did was awful and I wanted you to know that I’m sorry about it. About everything.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” She felt her anger rising, hands clenching into fists. “You had no right stepping in like that. You assaulted me, you hurt Scott and you interfered in our relationship to the point where I don’t even know if we have one anymore.”

Droplets fell from her chin, the shaking in her fists moving to her entire body. “What you did was inexcusable. I will never forgive you for what you’ve done.”

“… I understand.”

“Do you?” Vicky’s voice snapped. Her hand snatched the door handle, pulling back her other fist as she threw the door open. She was ready to swing as hard as she could into his face and create black when she took a good look at him. The vampire was already flinching, unable to fully close his blackened eyes. Bright red marks peeked out from underneath his rolled-up shirt. She didn’t want to see the rest of the damage underneath it.

Her fist slowly lowered, eyes widened. “Did … did Scott do this?”

Liam hesitantly straightened and she saw just how insecure he was in that moment. Gone was the Liam that had assaulted her in the hotel room, gone was the normal hipster she knew. Here stood a vampire beaten down and trying to do something to right his wrongs. “I let him. It’s the least I could let him do for what I had done. This,” he gestured to himself. “Was always part of the plan.”

It was like a hard slap in the face. Suddenly his half-transformed self when he opened the closet made a lot more sense. She wanted to laugh at his pain and say he deserved it. But the only thing she felt was pity. She closed the door on him, trying to recollect her thoughts. Her head rested on the door, hands pressing up against it. “I don’t understand you …”

“I didn’t make it easy.” Liam’s voice came through, muffled by the wood. “Are you well versed in any romance stories?”

Vicky didn’t lift her head. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Just follow me for a moment.”

Vicky thought about the books she used to collect as a child. “Yeah, I had tons of them.”

“Then you know how the romance is handled in them. It’s fantasized as something that’s destined, something grander than life itself. An object so desired that it’s a tier society believes they have to achieve in order to say they lived a happy life. It’s about rose petals, waxing poems, flowery descriptions, and true love. Sure, the main protagonist and the love interest might hate one another in the beginning, but it’s destined that the two are meant for each other, that they’ll get past their differences. And what about the ever-popular love triangle? How two people pine for the same person, but it’s stated clearly at the beginning who the main protagonist is destined for. The other option is only there to cause drama.”

“You’re not making any sense.” Vicky shook her head. “Get to the point.”

“My point is … love isn’t what we read it to be.”

Vicky scoffed. “What are you implying? That I thought I was the main protagonist in some shitty romance novel?”

“Let me finish,” She stilled the rest of her anger. “I didn’t think that but I was concerned you subconsciously did. The truth of the matter is I thought you were interesting. Just that. Interesting. A route I could follow if I wanted to; an option. When it boils down to it, I could have fallen in love with just about anyone under the right circumstances. Oz, Brian, Amira, you, possibly even one of my friends. You were just one route out of many I could have pursued. And I did for a moment.”

He sighed. “Then Scott came to me. I saw the way he lit up, talking about you and saying how incredible you were. I realized that while my flower had not blossomed for you yet, Scott’s had gone into full bloom. I stepped aside for him because I believed he would treat the relationship more seriously than I would. But that didn’t mean I stopped finding you interesting. Even if a person gets over their crush, they can’t ever forget what made them come to crush on them in the first place. Your smile, your crazy way of doing things, down to the childish demeanor. You bring something to the table no one else does and it’s endearing.”

Vicky didn’t know how to process what Liam was saying. Her fingernails lightly scratched the door. “I felt I had a solid grasp of relationships … but I didn’t see that in you. I had this uneasy feeling that you believed that I liked you more than I let on. I gave you an inch and you saw it as a mile. I saw how Scott made you light up as he did at my apartment, but when you kept coming back to me I grew concerned. I had moved on with Oz, finding that we meshed better together, but you were still stuck on me.”

She swallowed some saliva, having to think back to that first tragic night. “That’s why you yelled at me at the party?”

“I didn’t lie when I said I did that to break things off. I thought you would leave me alone but you still kept coming back. Like we were destined to be together in some crappy C-rated movie. I felt you were unfaithful to Scott, that you would drop him like a hat if I gave you what you wanted. I couldn’t bear the idea of Scott destroying his life over someone who would leave him the second they saw that the ‘true’ love interest shared their feelings. I wasn’t going to let him become that distraction.”

Vicky heard the raw emotion in his voice, from the way he talked down to his inflictions. This was the truth. The real Liam showing himself. Vicky turned her back to the door, sliding down it to sit on the ground. “That still wasn’t right of you to do. You should have trusted me when I told you I wanted to be with him.”

“I know. But I felt like I was getting a lot of mixed messages. You weren’t talking to Scott. Miscommunication is the biggest downfall of relationships, and if you wouldn’t speak about what I did to you, then what were you going to share with him? What if this wasn’t an act? I could have easily pinned you down and had my way with you if I really wanted it. You let yourself walk right into that dangerous situation, all because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.”

“So what? You told Oz you got horny for me?” Vicky eyed the door.

“Yes,” Her eyes widened. “He didn’t take it well at first, but we talked through it and I explained myself to him. Oz trusted me in those moments with you, yet you didn’t trust Scott enough to tell him the truth. That’s why … that’s why I thought this was the only way. To finally get you to tell the truth.”

From the way the door pressed up against her, it felt like Liam was sitting directly behind her. Vicky’s heart felt tight, placing a hand over it. “I made mistakes. I hurt Scott because of it. If I could redo everything I would, and you’re right in some regards. I lingered on you for too long and I never talked to Scott.”

She shakily took a breath. “But you didn’t trust me enough to make my own decisions. So I guess we’re both at fault here.”

Liam didn’t reply. She didn’t need him to. Her voice was quiet. “Do you think Scott will forgive me?”

“… I think he will.” The small confirmation, even if it came from Liam, breathed a tiny bit of life back into her. “But right now … I don’t know. This isn’t like Scott to leave and not come back.”

The life died inside her chest, the same paranoia pouring back into her. “We need to find him.”

“Not we,” Vicky inhaled through her nose at Liam’s dismissal. “Scott won’t want to see me. Not by you. Not after what just happened. It’ll only give him the wrong impression.”

“Then help me locate him.” Vicky’s voice came off more desperate. “You can smell him out, right? No one else can, and the resort won’t look for him until tomorrow. It’s the least you can do.”

The silence was too long, Vicky ready to demand it of him just as Liam spoke up. “Okay. I’ll get you as close as I can and then I’ll depart.”

She stood up, hesitating to open the door. She knew what lay beyond and still pushed through, holding the blankets close to her. Liam floated by the door in a sheepish manner, guilt deep in his features. Neither could look at one another.

She quickly threw on some jackets over her pajamas and took three blankets to protect herself, hurrying out before Amira could come back and explain the situation. They had wasted enough time as it was; Scott could very well be in danger and needed every second until they got there.

They departed through the back, Vicky having to raise her arms so that the ends of her blankets didn’t drag through the snow. It was infinitely colder in her make-shift winter outfit but she would endure the pain.

They walked for more than an hour, having gone so far from the resort it was impossible to see from where they were. All the while the only sounds were of chirping birds and the occasional falling snow. Vicky kept her head focused on the ground and trying to think of warm thoughts. Liam hadn’t put anything on to protect him from the harsh winter, shaking arms trying to warm himself up. She didn’t feel the need to ask if he wanted a blanket.

They stopped on a slanted hill. Liam kept his eyes above her head. “Scott’s smell is really loud here. I should go.”

“But we haven’t found him.” Vicky protested, yet it didn’t stop Liam from passing her by.

He seemed apologetic. “I can’t let him catch whiff of me. If you don’t find him in half an hour text me and I’ll return.”

He flew away before Vicky could say anything else. Shivering, she was left alone in uncharted territory.

She took a few cautious steps forward, the air deathly silent. “Scott? It’s Vicky. I came to get you.”

When the words died in the forest she started speaking again in a vain attempt to comfort herself. “I’m so sorry about everything. What I did was wrong and I should have told you right from the start. I’m willing to tell you everything now, even my past. Please, let’s go back to the resort together and talk.”

Mouth closed, the only response Vicky heard was the crunching of her boots. Scott might have stayed in this area for a while but that didn’t mean he was still there. Her heart felt like it was breaking again, having never felt so alone in her entire life.

A random noise perked Vicky’s spirits, noticing a beastly shape hiding behind a nearby tree. She started walking towards it, hope swelling. “Scott?”

She immediately froze when the creature that stepped forward shined bright with white. She gasped, taking a step back until she realized there were others around her. They were much too big to be normal wolves, trying to find her voice amongst the circle they made. “I-I’m looking for someone. His name is Scott, he’s a werewolf like you … have you seen him?”

The myriad of growls in response curdled her blood. If she was this deep in the other pack’s territory, what did that mean for Scott? Sure, he was strong, but not strong enough to take down an entire pack of wolves. The image of Scott’s bloodied body buried somewhere in the snow made her heart race, sweating through the blankets.

One crunch was all it took for the pack to descend.

The wolves turned and charged straight at her. Vicky fell to her knees, pulling her blankets over her body as if that would save her. Just when she should have felt one of the wolf’s bodies pin her down and tear at her flesh did she hear an ear-shattering roar and something huge above her. She didn’t dare move or look up from her blankets, knowing only one monster that would be out here, ready to jump in and save her and be just as beastly as her attackers.

The next sounds were too much for her ears. She heard yips and pained cries, snarls and growls as the snow was tossed around her. Scott’s feet darted around her, probably fending off every angle he could when he had the chance. A sudden intrusion tried snapping at her leg, causing her to scream until it was pushed back followed by a high-pitched yip.

Not a moment later she felt her blankets being pulled up, trying desperately to keep them down. “Vicky! What are you doing out here?”

Her eyes saw a wolfish head peeking into her hideout, calmed only by the blue eyes. “I came to get you!”

She quickly rose to her feet, the snow had melted into her pajama pants and stung like needles on her legs. She tried to throw the blanket off her head but Scott pulled it back down. “No! Don’t see. Only make you upset.”

She didn’t need to know more. She kept her blanket over her head, hearing soft whines from Scott. “You shouldn’t be here. I just—”

He froze, ears attentive to something she couldn’t hear. Without a word he got down on all fours and sat in the now. “Get on. Now!”

She did as she was told, mounting Scott and gripping his fur with one hand while holding her blankets with the other. Scott shot off like a rocket before she could get a good grip on him, pushing herself down onto his back to hold on better. One of her blankets fluttered off her body, causing her to turn her head to try and see where it would land. Instead, she saw a growing legion of wolves chasing after them, eager to catch up and probably kill both of them. Her grip tightened.

Just when the chase seemed to start did they all branch off, diving into the trees or back down the mountain. She soon got her answer when a faint rumbling grew deafening, staring up at a plume of white snow traveling down the mountain.

“Scott!” He had to know he was running straight towards the avalanche, unable to tell what he was thinking or doing. Her arms wrung his thick neck, bracing herself to pull back with all her weight to get him to change direction.

When she looked back up the mountain she noticed a small cave Scott was racing to, the avalanche almost upon them. “We’re not going to make it!”

In the last seconds, Vicky buried her head into Scott’s fur, muffling her screams into it when she felt his powerful legs leap. They crashed into the cave, rolling deep inside as the snow encased the entrance and blacked out their world.

Chapter Text

“Scott?” Vicky tried sitting up but found it impossible tightly wound up in her blankets. She wormed one of her arms out, placing it on the stone ground. She hissed, it felt colder than the actual snow outside and bore needles into her skin. Still, she managed to push herself up enough to get on her knees, working herself loose of her captivity.

Nothingness was all she saw. Even with her hand held to her face, her black vision didn’t shift. She didn’t know which direction she was facing, how far they were in or how deep the cave went.

“Vicky?” Scott’s voice echoed off the walls, giving her no indication of where he was.

Her arms extended outwards, feeling the air. “I’m over here.”

“Over where?”

“Over here!”

She nearly fell when something large bumped into her from behind. Once they knew where the other was Scott moved towards her front, laying himself around her. She patted his fur to try and tell where his head was. When she found it she stroked it, gaining mild comfort from the action alone. Something thumped behind her; apparently, Scott had missed this as much as she had.

For a few minutes, they stayed silent, Vicky absentmindedly stroking his fur while Scott rested, tail wagging. She knew they had to talk, they literally had nothing else to do, but now that the situation was upon them it was daunting and her throat closed up. She felt just as mute as when Scott had almost marked her.

“How did you find me?” Scott was the one to break the ice.

Vicky’s gut clenched, she didn’t know what to say. She heavily sighed, her words heavy. “Liam helped me track you.”

A low growl rumbled through the cave. “Did you go to him?”

“No. Liam came to me to apologize. I asked him to help since no one else could find you.”

She felt him shift under her, the growling faint. “What is he to you? Do you want to be with him? Is that why you’re okay with all the stuff he did? Why you didn’t tell me anything?”

“Scott,” Vicky’s hands fell away when Scott suddenly got to his feet.

“I’m serious!” His yell boomed from the enclosed space. “I don’t know what to think of us anymore! You keep going to him for everything and it’s driving me insane! Is it because I’m not smart like him? That I make stupid decisions or get easily side-tracked? Why don’t you come to me like you do to him? You’d rather make up a fake boyfriend and pretend to date him than trust me enough to meet your dad!”

“Scott, my dad isn’t stable!” Vicky raised her voice to match his. “I don’t want you getting hurt!”

“But I am hurt!” Scott fell into a whimper. “Even if they aren’t bruises or cuts … I’m really hurt. Maybe … maybe we shouldn’t mate. If we’re this bad …”

Vicky couldn’t breathe. The aura of warmth left and Scott’s feet pattered away. She heard his heavy breathing die down like he was holding his breath. She felt just as cold to the touch as the cave.

Hands placed on the floor, she started crawling over to where she thought Scott was when his voice cut her. “Don’t. I want to be alone.”

She sat back on her knees, her chest a deep cavity of what it once was. She felt picked apart, piece by piece and her remnants were splattered all over the ground. Her fault. This was all her fault.

Warmth turned to icy chills as a few tears fell from her eyes. Her lip quivered, muffling a sob into her blanket. “Vicky, no. Please …”

Despite Scott’s words, she couldn’t help herself, stifling a choked cry. She didn’t know how to fix the situation, how to make Scott feel better. The lingering threat of them never leaving this cave never occurred to her because an ever deeper, more terrifying situation was happening at the moment. When she choked back another sob she felt Scott brush back up against her. His wet tongue was on her cheeks, making them only chillier from the biting cold.

“I’m sorry,” Vicky sobbed; wrapping her arms around what she assumed was Scott’s neck. “I’m so sorry!”

Scott didn’t say anything back, continuing to lick at her skin. She tried to stop her tears, to try and save what little dignity she had left. “I-I’ll tell you everything. Everything.”

What came next was her own avalanche. Scott stopped licking her cheeks to sit beside her, letting her hug his neck as she spilled everything that she knew. Her childhood, Tintin, the reason she’s scared of wolves, her thoughts and feelings down to her insecurities and greatest fears. She couldn’t stop talking, too afraid that if she didn’t share everything Scott would run off and never come back. It was when she got to her favorite ice cream flavors that Scott stopped her. “That’s enough.”

Vicky’s breath hitched, waiting for Scott to get up and leave. “But I’m not done …”

“You don’t have to literally tell me everything,” Scott nudged her cheek with something cold. “I just want you to trust me. Be open with me. Like we said we would be back in Halloween.”

She nodded her head, sniffling. “I promise.”

Another wet strip went up her cheek. “I’m happy you did share this with me. I’m sorry about your dog.”

Vicky sniffled, stroking his fur with her left hand. “I don’t think you make stupid decisions.”

She felt him slightly bristle, but he didn’t pull away. “You and Liam are two completely different monsters. Just because I may like some things about Liam doesn’t mean I want to be with him. I like so many things about you Scott; you’re one of a kind and an amazing person. To see you keep comparing yourself to him makes me worry.”

“I felt like I was fighting for your attention …”

“And I’m sorry if I made you feel that way. I never intended to harm you like that.”

“It’s just,” Scott shifted his weight again, and she felt a presence lingering on her. “Remember when you asked me if wolves were very possessive about their land and I didn’t know? I thought you meant in terms of the pack. Because my mom is the alpha of our pack, I don’t feel as possessive as she does about the land we live on. That’s her job to worry about it.”

She felt some of his weight shift onto her. “But when it comes to our personal belongings, we get very possessive. I know it’s not right of me to think of you like one of my toys, but it upset me a lot seeing you around Liam, like he was taking you away from me. That’s why I … I did that in our room. I didn’t know what else to do to stop him. I just kept thinking that I hadn’t claimed you yet and if I did then this problem would go away. Liam couldn’t take you. You’d finally be mine.”

Vicky clutched his fur tighter, snuggling her cheek into it. She couldn’t believe how much turmoil she put him through, sickening her to her stomach. “Even when we did those fake dates?”

Especially those.” The growl in his voice caused her to stiffen. “I had to go out and run and hunt just to let go of the tension. You don’t know how many times it crossed my mind to just go to your house, push Liam out the door and claim you on the spot.”

“Then why did you say it was okay for me to do them?” She lifted her head, trying to stare in the direction of his eyes. “I wouldn’t have done it if it hurt you that much.”

“Because you said you loved me. And I wanted to believe in that. That if I let you go with Liam you wouldn’t come back his.”

“God, Scott,” Vicky ran her fingers through his hair. “I wish you would’ve told me all this.”

“Tell you what? That my possessive instincts are making my head spin and that you can’t see any of your friends?” He huffed. “It’s not a problem you can fix. It’s something I constantly struggle with. I thought it was finally calming down when we went on this trip but …”

Vicky nodded her head; she knew what he was going to say next. “That’s why I came out here. To get away. Clear my head. Get some stress out. If I hadn’t left that night I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

“Do you feel any better?” She shyly asked.

Scott huffed again. “No … but being close to you is helping.”

Another wet lick. “Knowing that you’re here. With me. Just us.”

The fact that Scott wasn’t pushing her away anymore made Vicky feel some comfort. She turned her head, feeling his tongue brush over her lips. It was hardly the kiss she wanted, yet she didn’t find any disgust in it. She steeled herself with her next question. “What do you want to do? About us?”

Scott’s tongue receded, sighing. “I-I want to still make this work. But I need some time to think. Need time to heal.”

“Okay,” Vicky nodded her head, even if his answer rung in more guilt.

“Maybe … we could do something. Just the two of us. No one else. I would like that.”

“I’ll see what I can scrounge up.” She tried to smile but found it hard to retain. Her voice turned shy. “Can I have a kiss? Are you comfortable with that?”

She felt his weight shift off her, fearful that she might have asked for too much. It was when she felt a new pair of hands touch her arm that she realized Scott had shifted. It took them a few tries of fumbling for one another until his hands were on her cheeks. In the bitter cold of the cave, his kiss made her insides glow like a warm fire.

Lips parted, Vicky didn’t dare move back for more, not wanting to rush Scott. She felt his warm breath linger, then the air grew cold around her lips. A bittersweet smile showed on her face.

When fur brushed her arm she knew Scott had changed back. He curled around her body, resting on the ground. She couldn’t help laying over him, drawing her blankets tighter around her to try and stay warm. She tried her phone for any signal, not surprised to have received nothing. Liam would hopefully know something was wrong and come investigate.

Just being near Scott, knowing they were going to take small steps now towards repairing their relationship took most of the heavy burden off her shoulders. She found herself falling to sleep in a matter of minutes.


 

When Vicky awoke it was to a loud, shrill yell. “Vicky! Scott! You in here?”

Scott jolted—he must have fallen asleep at some point too—to try and find the source of the noise. Vicky did the same just as a specter of light dropped from the ceiling. Polly had an ethereal glow around her body, hand over her eyes as she scoped out the area. Vicky threw her hands up into the air. “Down here!”

Polly zoned in on her voice, her features lighting up. “Eeey, there you two are! Was I interrupting something?”

A snarky grin plastered her face, wiggling her eyebrows. Vicky only laughed out of politeness, able to see part of Scott through Polly’s light. He had morphed into his wolf-humanoid form, standing up on his back paws. Scott was a big fellow, but in this form, he easily towered over her. She noticed his gaze linger as if waiting for her to do something. She picked herself up, slipping her hand between his clawed fingers. He curled around her small hand.

“Lemme get Damien and Amira. We’ll probably get you out before you got time to do anything raunchy.” She floated backward and into the mountain of snow, restoring them back into the dark.

They didn’t have to wait long when the light returned in a column of fire. When it died down Damien and Amira were stepping through, both of their hands engulfed in flames. “There you are! Do you know how many hours we wasted out here trying to find your ass, Scott? I lost part of my vacation playing search-and-rescue!”

“Sorry,” Scott said, though his tone said nothing of the sort to Vicky.

Damien rolled his eyes. “You owe me for this. Glad you’re not dead or anything.”

Amira appeared like she wanted to say something but just followed Damien out. Together, they walked out of the cave and into the evening sky. After having no light for hours the sudden brightness of the sun was too much. She squinted, wondering if the snow was always this bright.

When her eyes did readjust it was to see that all of her friends had come on the excursion to rescue them. Oz was the first to throw himself at Vicky, knocking them both into the snow. “Vicky! I’m so sorry! I know what we did was unforgivable a-and awful and stupid and—!”

“Oz!” Her voice took him off guard, enough for her to grab some snow and shove it into his face.

He blinked several times, phobias covering their mouths with their hands. He sat up to give her enough room to rest on her elbows. “Just stop. I’m not mad anymore.”

“R-Really?” His voice sounded hopeful and she wasn’t expecting the sudden tears in his eyes. “E-everything’s okay now? W-We can be friends?”

It was hard to stare him in the eye, wanting to say yes but knowing she couldn’t. Not yet. She eyed the snow. “Well … things are getting better. And that’s what’s important.”

His sudden hug pushed them back into the snow. He’d never hugged her so tightly, whimpering. “Thank you … thank you!”

She held her arms out from her body, but slowly pulled them in to hug back.

“Where’d Scott go?” Brian asked. Vicky let up to push Oz back. He stood up and helped Vicky to her feet, noticing Scott gone from the equation.

Damien shrugged. “He said he wanted to go back early. Can’t blame him. He fucked reeked. Probably off to take a shower and sleep in an actual bed.”

It eased some of her worries but her chest still felt empty. It made sense that he might still want to be alone. It didn’t make her feel any better. “How did you guys find us?”

The mixture of uncomfortable looks told her all she needed to know. Damien crossed his arms. “Look, he knew where you guys were, so we did what we needed to do.”

“It’s okay, I’m not mad.” She partially lied. Liam had pulled through, but that didn’t mean they were suddenly good. She didn’t want to think about him right now or how he felt.

“We should probably head back.” Polly floated around Vicky, taking her shoulders. “You’re probably freezing! There’s a Jacuzzi on the second floor with your name on iiiiiit.”

She winked at her before rising off the ground. She made a noise as he feet left the ground. “We’ll get you lots of booze and chocolate to forget everything! My treat!”

“Polly!” It was all she did to try and stop her. In retrospect, a hot Jacuzzi with wine and chocolates sounded divine, wondering when was the last time she also cleaned up. At the very least, it’d at least bring a smile to her face. It was the only thing she wanted right now.


 

When night slipped around, Vicky crawled into bed after setting her new wine and box of chocolates on her dresser drawer. She checked her phone one last time, noticing messages from everyone but Scott. Where was he? What was he doing? These questions floated around in her mind like some unending carousel. With a heavy heart, Vicky set her phone to charge and tried to fall asleep, placing a pillow underneath her to try and recreate the feeling of Scott holding her.

Just when Vicky finally felt sleep take a hold of her did she hear the door creak open and close. She wondered if Polly had come to finally sleep in their room when the bed dipped and the pillow under her was tugged away. Vicky was about to open her eyes to see what was going on when a body fell beside her and arms wrapped around her frame.

Her eyes shot open, feeling Scott’s breath on her neck as he situated himself, cuddling up against her. It was enough comfort and companionship Vicky needed to close her eyes and instantly fall asleep.

Chapter Text

The next three days were a weird funk. Vicky took her time screwing her head back on, mainly staying with the company of Amira, Brian, and Oz for most of the day and getting into crazy shenanigans to try and brighten her spirits. By night Scott would always crawl into bed just when she was about to fall asleep, yet every morning she would wake up alone with Scott gone. She figured he was using his days to do whatever he needed to heal, wishing she could also be with him during the process. But Scott needed this time and sitting around moping wasn’t going to solve anything.

Liam carefully started showing himself around the foyer more often. Thanks to his undead condition his wounds healed, yet she could see the emotional scars even when his skin was flawless. Vicky never came over to check on him and Liam didn’t stick around whenever she walked into a room, having this odd, unspoken rule that neither of them knew they were following. She knew it’d be a while before she would see his snarky grin and holier-than-thou façade parading around their click.

Miranda seemed satisfied with the state her and Scott were in because come next morning servants were dashing around the resort once more, getting things ready for their wedding. Vicky tried pleading with her to stop this madness but she had none of that, even going so far as to show that she bought the seahorse wedding dress and that Vicky could just ‘work off the price’.

It was on the fourth day that Vicky woke up and Scott wasn’t gone. Scott always was the big spoon whenever they cuddled. She tried once to be the big spoon as an experiment. It was laughable how short her arms were compared to how big Scott was. He seemed to still enjoy it, even if one could hardly call it spooning.

She felt his arms twitch and heard a loud yawn, his body shuddering. Vicky turned to face Scott, enjoying what little time she caught of him. “Mornin’.”

He replied with the same, sleepy grumble, eyes opening. They shined with love but it was plain as day the distrust that also was now present in them. Someday, she hoped to regain his trust enough to never see that look again.

Words were lined up on her tongue, ready to ask if he was going to leave when his arms tugged her closer to him. Her chest pressed up against his bare one, planting a kiss on her forehead and several on her lips.

She softly moaned, having been starved for attention. She squirmed as close as she could, letting Scott continue his butterfly kisses on her face. When the barrage of kisses stopped she whined.

Her fun was short-lived when Scott moved to get out of bed. She sat up, clutching the covers. “Wait.”

He was almost off the bed when he turned back. Vicky apprehensively smiled. “I-I did some research. There’s a small town just a train ride away that’s having a winter celebration today. I was wondering if maybe …”

She clutched the sheets tighter. “You wanted to go? It’d be just us for the whole day.”

Hope filled her when Scott perked up, only to be dashed when the light in his eyes diminished. “I dunno …”

Vicky’s teeth grazed her lower lip, unsure of what Scott would do. She’d gotten lucky catching him today and she had backup dates on standby if Scott said no. It felt like this was the only thing she could do to show him she was trying. When it looked like his answer was clear her voice blurted out. “We-we could always stop if you aren’t having fun. It doesn’t have to be a full day.”

Desperation seeped in her words, regretting her blurt out. She didn’t know what her face conveyed to him or that she had been holding her breath.

The light from earlier returned, trying to work his own smile. “Okay. We can try.”

Relief came over her. It was a start.

They took to either corner of the room to dress. Vicky was unashamed in sneaking peeks of Scott while he dressed, hoping she turned around in time when he looked over. She felt a hot stare on her back whenever she wasn’t looking and took a risk by wiggling her butt. A muffled growl was her response. Whether it was due to arousal or a warning, she couldn’t tell anymore.

Once they were snug and cozy they left the resort to the small village, where the train station was stationed. Vicky happily paid for their tickets, noticing Scott’s tail loosely wagging at the sight of the passenger train they were about to embark on. The only thing that made her happier was seeing her knitted hat and scarf around his head.

“Is this real?” Scott spoke in awe. “I always wanted to ride a train.”

Unlike the sleeker and modern designs of today, the train they were boarding was old fashioned, from the steam-powered locomotive to the golden rails boarding the steps. Vicky nearly skipped over to Scott, holding out his ticket. “It’s an hour’s ride to the town. Nothing but mountains and tunnels.”

Scott’s tail wagged even harder as he took his ticket. “Does it do the whistle? The choo choo like all those play train sets?”

He even made the motion of pulling down the whistle with his hand. Vicky giggled at his antics. “It better! I didn’t pay for a train that doesn’t have a whistle. That should be a crime in itself.”

“I want to hear it,” Scott eyed the front until he couldn’t any longer when Vicky pushed him into the car. Rows of seats waited for them, Vicky giving Scott the window seat when he zipped right into a chair. She scooted next to him as he was enamored by the outside world. “We’re on a train! My cousins are going to be so jealous when I tell them!”

“Why not take a pic?” Vicky already had her phone out, holding it up in front of them. Her grin was large, checking to see if Scott was ready for the shot. When he wasn’t smiling back her grin faded, slowly withdrawing her hand. “Or you could tell them later …”

Scott went back to looking out the window. Vicky nervously bit her lip and scooted away, leaving a few inches between them. After a few agonizing minutes, the whistle blew, exciting Scott and signaling the train’s departure. Scott was so big it was impossible to see out his window, so Vicky took to staring at the one across from them.

Already, this felt like a disaster. Vicky wasn’t used to Scott being so guarded and quiet. It only made her feel sicker inside, knowing she was the cause of all it. With a deep breath, she forced the feelings down. Now wasn’t the time to fall back into depression. Now was the time to show Scott how much he meant to her.

In an hour’s time, they had arrived at the next station. Scott jumped off the train with a spring in his step, marveling at the cobblestone street and the oil lanterns of the village. Vicky kept right behind him. “It looks just like the villages in those stories mom used to read to me as a kid! Oh! Do you think Satan lives nearby?”

Of all the monsters to still believe. Scott glanced back for her answer and watched the light in his eyes disappear again. She didn’t even have to say anything. “Um, nevermind. I think I remember he lives in Hell.”

Vicky didn’t know how much longer she could put up with this without bawling her eyes out and profusely apologizing some more. A cheery ringing of a bell took their dreary mood and threw it into the garbage when they noticed a yeti selling hot cups of cocoa. Vicky was already speeding over. “One second!”

After paying for the drinks Vicky rushed back over holding two mugs of hot cocoa. Little chocolate rain clouds hovered over the cups, filling them to the brim before falling into it as chocolate whipped cream. She cocked her head, trying to stay cutesy as she handed Scott a mug. “Careful, it’s hot.”

He took it with quiet thanks as the two blew into their mugs. They even found a snow covered bench to rest on, with Scott having wiped it down for them. A rush of warmth spread through her body, melding with the deep chocolate flavor and the hint of peppermint. Vicky closed her eyes, allowing herself to forget everything for just this moment.

It was when she heard Scott take a sip that she opened her eyes. A frothy cream mustache tickled his upper lip. “This is so good! Can we get another one? Or two? Maybe five?”

There was that light again, feeling as though she were center stage; the only light on her. She nodded. “Whatever you want I’ll pay for.”

“Really?” Like that, the light drenched her in darkness. Scott lowered his head. “I mean, that’s okay. I can pay for my own things.”

“No, please, I want to do this.” Vicky reached over to lay her hand on his. It moved away from hers, leaving her to listen to the sounds of other merry monsters pass them by.

They finished their cocoa in silence. Vicky felt uncomfortably hot, sweat forming under her knitted hat while Scott tapped his nails on the mug. She couldn’t read his expression.

She swung her legs up and kicked herself off the bench. “C-Come on! We came for the festival, right? We’re going to miss out if we just keep sitting here.”

Ordinarily, this would be the moment she took his hand and whisked him away, but his earlier action made her too afraid. He got up on his own, trying to smile. “Yeah. Let’s check it out.”

They walked side-by-side as they explored the festival. Merchants and vendors were out peddling gifts and food even with the snow falling continuously. Kids ran by with balloons and frosted cookies, while the parents sipped on hot drinks and laughed. Scott stopped at a nearby vendor selling custom-made-never-thawing snowflakes while Vicky took an interest in some knitting needles carved out of wood native to the area.

“I see you like the needles,” Vicky eyed the giant centipede vendor. “Maybe I could interest you in some silk to go with it? My wife makes it herself.”

He gestured to the giant silkworm in the back, who took to rocking in her chair and knitting. “No thanks.”

“What the girl needs is some beads in her life!” Vicky felt her personal bubble pop at the slender selkie that slid over. “Come, I got many beads to sell from my homeland! They’ll go great in any weaving you make!”

“That’s okay! No thanks!” Vicky tried to back away but the selkie caught her hand before she could.

“Please, just one peek! I insist!”

Vicky tried to politely wrench her arm back, smiling nervously. “No thank you! I got places to be!”

A large hand broke the tie the selkie had with Vicky. She was yanked over to Scott, his grip tightened around her wrist. “She said no.”

“Ah, my apologies!” The selkie held up her hands as a show of peace. Her voice conveyed how terrified she was. “I meant no harm!”

Vicky got herself situated in time to see Scott lean forward, glaring angrily at the vendor. “Don’t ever touch her again.”

“Y-Yes, I won’t. Just don’t hurt me …”

“Scott,” Vicky moved in front of the merchant, taking her hand back. She was surprised how out of character he was when he lifted his head. She couldn’t tell if he was about to direct that anger at her or himself. He brushed past her, stuffing his hands in his pockets while Vicky chased after him. “What was that? You were way out of line.”

Scott didn’t talk to her, simply keeping his head down. It got to the point where Vicky jumped in front of him. “Scott!”

He simply moved around her. Vicky staid frozen, watching him walk away, feeling as though the pieces of their relationship were dissolving away. Everything was wrong.

The sound of laughter made Vicky look over to a snowball fight happening down the street. Scott watched the ensuing fun as Vicky slowly walked back over.

She stood beside Scott, trying to keep up her smile. To try anything.  “Wanna join?”

“Maybe,” He murmured, eyes focused on a dryad being pelted by a floating eyeball.

Eyes glancing down, Vicky took the chance when Scott wasn’t looking to scoop up some snow. She didn’t give herself time to think on if this was a good idea before throwing it at his face. Scott bristled at the cold, shaking the snow off while Vicky tensed at his next move.

Scott eyed her for just a second before scooping down, pelting her with his own ball. She staggered back, surprised he’d just done that before another snowball came at her chest. “Hey!”

She returned the kind gesture, running off into the battlefield while she heard Scott call her name. A large pile of snow made great cover, throwing a few duds until she eventually hit the giant penguin strutting his stuff in the middle of the arena. She got pelted on every side from a group of fairies and laughed as she got a few of her own hits in. Just as she was making a small pile of snowballs did she shriek when an avalanche of snow fell from above.

Her arms flailed as she pulled herself out, hearing a hearty laugh she hadn’t heard in forever. Scott stood above her, laughing at her predicament just as she tossed a snowball at him. Their laughter mixed together, Scott not seeming to care that she was pelting him as he picked up another pile of snow, aiming to hurl it at her. She covered her body with her arms, squealing for the inevitable shock of cold.

But it never came.

Vicky stopped laughing when she realized that, lowering her arms to see Scott frozen. The earlier joy had been swept away, letting the snow fall to the ground. He walked off the battlefield without a word.

Her lips met her teeth, biting down over the wounds she’d made. She hurried after him. “Scott …”

He didn’t stop for her until he’d walked himself into an alleyway with a dead end. Vicky cautiously stepped near. “Scott, please. Talk to me …”

No reply. Vicky felt a sharp pain but didn’t know if it was her re-piercing her lips or her heart. Her head lowered along with her voice. “Just … tell me you don’t want to do this. We’ll go back to the resort and I’ll leave you alone.”

“No, it’s not that.” Vicky was surprised at how strained Scott sounded. There was too much confliction in his feature. “I really want to have a good time. I really want to have fun with you! I just … can’t!”

“Because of me?” Vicky asked with bated breath.

“No! I just—!” His voice ended in a growl, turning his back to her.

Vicky’s feet moved on their own accord, hands reaching for him. “Please, talk to me. I don’t know how to help you.”

“You can’t help me.” His voice cut through her, physically flinching. His body shuddered before his eyes peered beyond her and back out to the open. “I need to go.”

He tried going around but Vicky’s hands latched onto his clothes. Irrational thoughts plagued her mind. “No, please! Is it something I did wrong? I’m sorry! I just wanted to help!”

“Vicky,” His hands forced her off, picking up the pace of his gait. “I have to leave.”

She managed to catch his jacket, tugging hard. “I’m sorry! I won’t do this again; just tell me what I did wrong!”

When Scott turned back his face blurred from the tears. Something warm ran down her cheeks, hiccupping. “I love you, Scott. Please, don’t leave me again …”

She felt like she was falling to pieces, having Scott so close yet so far away. She didn’t know how else to fix the problem, desperate to take anything he would give her. Her breath hitched when she felt his arms wrap around her, pulling her tightly against him. And just as he had done that he let go, running out of the alleyway.

“Scott!” Vicky tried to give chase, but Scott was nowhere to be seen when she came back onto the streets. Her freshly fallen tears dripped down her quivering chin and her knees dropped her to the cold snow.


 

Scott didn’t understand why he had to run. He just needed to. To get away. Away from all the complex thoughts and hardships. Away from the heartache and hurt. And away from anything that triggered it.

His shift came so naturally he didn’t know he had gone full wolf until the town was miles away and he trotted on all fours. This was how he’d spent every day since he found Liam wrapped around Vicky. Just out in the wild with just his instincts to guide him. Eventually, the feelings had to go away. Eventually, he’d feel better and be himself.

Vicky’s fresh tears and the defeat on her face made him slow, dipping his head towards the snow. His own heart ached to wipe those tears from her eyes, to shush her and tell her things were okay. Somehow, the words just never came.

He pushed back the depressing thoughts the longer he thought about it. It hurt too much. He came out here to get away, and with that new thought in mind, Scott trotted off in search of prey. Maybe some food would help him calm down.

Just as Scott sniffed the air a burst of fire came from his right. He stood his ground and growled at the intrusion. A hand came from the fire and swatted it away, leaving Damien standing in the cold. A bunch of metal chains with locks was enclosed in one fist. “There you are! Pro tip: Answer your phone when someone texts you, dumbass.”

Scott shifted to his wolf-humanoid form; it was easier to speak that way. “Sorry.”

“I’m not surprised to find you out here. Sulking as usual.” Damien crossed his arms, glaring.

Scott’s fur slightly bristled, keeping his fangs out of sight. “Leave me alone.”

“Oh I’ll leave, just wanted to get your advice on something.” Damien’s tail swished behind him while his eyes moved to a few trees. “Should I do handcuffs or just plain old rope?”

Scott cocked his head. “For what?”

“For your girlfriend.” Scott’s eyes widened as Damien burst into a demonic grin. “I’m planning on fucking your little bitch.”

Damien’s statement was so wild Scott had a hard time processing it. Damien could tell, smirking. “Your blue balls aren’t keeping her warm at night, so I figured I’d come and do you a favor. You know what? Why even settle for one or the other? I’ll handcuff her wrists and bind her ankles with the rope. I bet she’ll love it.”

It all sounded so foreign coming out of Damien’s mouth, yet the gleeful look didn’t lie. Scott rose up on his hind legs, snarling. “Is this a joke?”

“The only joke here is you. While you’re out here sulking and being a loser, you’ve been leaving little old Vicky by herself. She looks like she needs a good time. A break from your sorry ass. Lust is one of the seven deadly sins, and I am well versed in making sinners.” Damien stuck his forked tongue out, licking the air.

Every word sent Scott further into anger, his hands falling into the snow. He could easily break into a run in this stance, fangs bared. “You stay away from her!”

“What are you going to do about it? Sulk some more?” Damien spat at the snow. “You’re so dumb you didn’t even realize Liam was making moves on Vicky. No wonder she let him when she has such a stupid boyfriend. I bet you couldn’t even stop me if you tried.”

“Wanna bet?” Scott’s found it harder to speak, his throat wishing to close up and sink his teeth into the demon’s chest. His vision became as red as Damien’s skin.

“Nah, you’re not worth it.” Damien turned his head away, summoning a pillar of fire. “I got a corpse to fuck. I’ll make sure to tell you all about it when she’s squirming in my arms.”

Back turned, Damien stepped towards the fire, middle finger raised to the sky. Scott felt something inside him snap, letting out a deranged cry before charging at the demon. Damien turned in time to brace himself, the two smacking into one another and tumbling through the snow.

Scott landed on top of Damien, jaws coming down for his neck. The demon was quick, his hands grabbing his mouth and pushing against him to keep the teeth from sinking in. “How does that make you feel, huh? I’m going to fuck your girlfriend straight to hell and have her keep my bed warm!”

Scott’s snarling grew in volume, feeling Damien slip one hand away to punch the right side of his face. He staggered backward only to feel something heavy jump on him and choke his neck. “How does it feel?!”

Scott’s hands quickly located the demon, throwing him off his back and pouncing. Damien was quicker, pushing himself on his hands and launching his feet at his chest. Scott felt the wind knocked out of him and faltered for balance just as Damien swiped at his feet.

As his feet left the ground Damien grabbed his chains, wrapping them around his arms and tugging. The chains were cold against his fur, trying to snap at Damien as he repeated the process with his legs. Securing the lock, he yanked as hard as he could, Scott making a noise.

As he struggled to get out of his confinement Damien towered over him. “How does that feel!”

The chains must’ve been enriched with something, finding it impossible to snap them and unable to find any way out. His chest heaved as his mind panicked. He had to get out. He had to stop Damien. But he couldn’t, there was no way out. No way for him to do anything. Just like before. Just like with Liam.

Like a dam bursting, Scott felt his heart surge and a wave of tears surface. The chains shifted to accommodate his human form but the only thing he felt was absolute misery. A warm hand took his, pulling him to sit up. “Easy, big guy.”

The chains that had once bound him had all but dissolved, leaving Damien kneeling next to him. Melancholy was all he saw in his. “I’m here.”

He hugged him faster than he could imagine and wailed at the top of his lungs.

Chapter Text

Scott had never felt this depressed in his life. He’d had close calls before in the past, but he’d always been able to pull himself out before it got too serious. Damien held onto him as he sobbed his eyes out. “Damn Scott, how long have you been keeping this in?”

“S-Since I saw what Liam did …” His whimper was pathetic.

“You haven’t gotten any of this out? No wonder you’re a mess.” Damien gently pulled away. “It’s fucking cold out here. Come on, we can talk at my place.”

Scott sniffled as Damien helped him up. The fires of hell surrounded them for a blazing second to disperse away. Scott had been in Damien’s room a few times, so he knew where they were when he saw the torn bed and the slew of weapons on the wall.

He was given a robe to wrap himself in and took baby-steps over to Damien’s couch. The demon plopped down with a large sigh. “All right, have at it. Tell me what’s on your heart.”

Awkwardly, he sat down next to Damien. His eyes were downcast at the dagger on his coffee table. “I failed.”

Damien rolled his head back. “And what did you fail at?”

“Everything!” Scott flabbergasted. “I failed at keeping Vicky safe, I failed at keeping myself in check and I failed at being a good boyfriend!”

“And why do you think you failed at those things?”

“Because I did! Look at this mess!” Scott threw his hands into the air. “Nothing is right! I can’t even be around Vicky without feeling like I’m going to attack anyone who looks at her! I should have known something was going on behind my back but I didn’t, and now this happened!”

“It’s called ‘keeping secrets’. Of course you didn’t know; that’s not your fault.”

“But it is!” Scott brought his hands to his chest. “If I had just been a good boyfriend then Vicky would have told me. She would have trusted me enough but she didn’t.”

His voice slightly shook, feeling a new wave of tears surface. “Because I’m just a dumb, happy-go-lucky jock who can’t keep his mouth shut.”

The sobs returned, bringing Scott back into despair. Damien let out another sigh. “Okay, let’s not lie to ourselves. You can be pretty dumb and happy-go-lucky and you do have a huge mouth that can’t shut up.”

Scott nodded along, his ears flattening against his head. They flickered when Damien leaned forward, squaring him in the eye. “But that’s what makes you you, and bro, you fucking rock. You can be goddamn annoying when I’m pissed and you’re doing some stupid cheer to try and cheer me up, but I appreciate it. When the group is being pessimistic, you try your hardest to root for us against the odds. And who the hell am I going to challenge to an eating contest if we weren’t friends? Liam? Polly? Get fucking real.”

It was hard not to feel flattered, thinking back on all those fun times. He felt a small smile brush his lips before it was stolen away. “That doesn’t change what happened. Vicky didn’t trust me, so I must have done something wrong to cause that. Why else would she hide it from me?”

“Maybe because Vicky has her own problems?” Damien shrugged. “I mean, fuck, not everything is the other person’s fault. Amira and I have plenty of spats and not all of them are because of something she did wrong or didn’t do. Sometimes I can’t control my anger and it gets the best of me. Sometimes it was an accident but I don’t know that until later.”

Scott glanced back to the dagger. “You’ve been to the coliseum to watch me battle. When you see all my opponents, do they all run in with swords and strike the same way?”

“Do they?” Scott’s curious expression was genuine.

It was met with disappointment. “No, loser. That tells me how much you pay attention.”

He sheepishly smiled. “Whatever. Anyway, my point is they all come in with a different weapon and different moves. That’s their style. If an archer judged himself based on a swordsman than that archer would be fucking terrible. You can’t judge yourself on others because there’s only one of you and no one else will ever be like you. You can always change; try a different weapon or fighting style, but never stray from what you are. Because that’s what makes you unique.”

Scott looked back when Damien lightly punched him in the shoulder. “And that’s what makes you so loved.”

The smile on Damien’s face broke Scott’s internal walls. He pulled him in for another tight hug, trying to hide his tear-stained face in his shoulder. “I’m glad you’re my friend, Damien.”

The firm pat on his back brought immense relief. “Also, don’t bottle up your emotions until you’re about to explode. That’s stupid and can cause emotional scarring, dumbass.”

“Sorry,” Scott sniffled. Something cold brushed his arm, Damien holding up a bottle of whiskey.

“Wanna drink?”

Scott lifted himself up, nodding. Glasses were dispensed and the first round was chugged, along with the second, third, and fourth. In a matter of hours Scott completely forgot how many glasses he’d downed, his face warm and hot as Damien was laughing his ass off. “Guy looks at me like he’s never seen a spleen before! So I offer to show him his and he bolts!”

Scott’s laughter was loud and hearty, smacking Damien hard enough to drop him to the ground. “That’s hilarious! A spleen, hah!”

Damien kept laughing with his leg still on the couch, holding up his glass. “Another round!”

Several empty bottles of hard liquor littered the coffee table, Scott’s hand bumping into the one he sought to grab. It shattered on the ground, Scott giggling. “Whoops!”

“Did you fucking break it?” Damien chuckled. “Do you know how much these liquors cost?”

“A spleen?” It got the two rolling in laughter, Damien throwing his shot glass at the wall.

He picked himself up to wretch a full bottle, guzzling from the source as Scott just watched, fists pumped. “Chug, chug!”

After dousing half of the liquor on just his head, Damien threw the bottle where the remnants of the shot glass were. “I’m motherfucking god and no one can stop me!”

He fell back to the ground with a wet squish, Scott feeling the bubbly laughter waft away. He sat staring at his empty shot glass, trying to remember how he got this drunk. Damien slurred as he grabbed Scott’s pant leg. “Hey, hey. We should invite the girls over to drink. Get a party started. Make one big orgy. It’ll be great.”

“Sure, sure,” Scott nearly dropped his phone in retrieving it, going through his contact list. Vicky’s name came up first, staring at the name in slight confusion before logic hit him like a train. He sat up. “I left Vicky at that town!”

“What?” Damien held up a hand, not bothering to do anything else. “Just go get her then. Gonna be a good party.”

Even in the haze of his drunken state he could recall in detail the absolute misery and desperation in her face. He was on his feet faster than he could think, panic overtaking his thoughts. “I gotta find her! I can’t believe I just left her like that!”

He got down on his knees, shaking Damien. “You gotta take me back! I need to find Vicky!”

“Bro, broooo,” Damien sluggishly picked himself up. “You’re giving me a headache. Just hold on a fucking second.”

Hand extended, a pillar of fire shot up through Damien’s room. “There. Bring lots of—!”

But Scott didn’t have time to listen to the rest of Damien’s request. He shot through the pillar as quick as a bullet, landing in frigid, icy snow. He tried picking himself up, the starry sky greeting him as he shifted into his wolf form. His balance was hindered by the alcohol and he was starting to form a splitting headache but neither of these things stopped him in his pursuit back to the small village.

The village streets were empty, the stalls closed as Scott trotted through. Vicky’s scent was still fresh, letting his nose guide him when he stopped. A figure sat alone on a snowy bench, shivering in the cold. Their head hung low, hands weakly grasping its arms as their feet were crossed together. Several empty mugs and shopping bags sat alongside them, and when the figure turned to notice him his heart broke.

His feet took him over as fast as he could; changing back in a clumsy way that had him tumbling over himself and hitting the bench. Vicky’s eyes widened, getting up from her seat. “Scott!”

He cared not for the pain in his joints from the rough landing, standing up to grasp Vicky in his arms. He held her as tightly as he could. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry.”

He continued to whimper, feeling Vicky’s cold, gloved hands wrap around him and her choked sobs. He own tears returned, nuzzling her close to him to try and get her warm. “I won’t ever leave like that again …”

His next objective was getting them somewhere warmer. His first instinct was to find some cave nearby, but he instead opted for a nearby hotel. He couldn’t risk Vicky getting any colder. Soon enough he was placing Vicky on top of the sheets and searching the room for any spares. He wrapped whatever he could find around her, settling on the bed to pull her into his lap.

He kept his head buried near her neck, breathing in deeply the smells of her. There was always that metallic smell from her bolts, but he also smelled fresh snow, chocolate, and the raw scent that was just Vicky. It ebbed away almost all of his anxieties and concerns, content to just sit there and let the scent make his mind go blank with comfort.

Vicky shifted in his hold, perking his head up to feel her soft lips brush his. He saw a deep desire in her eyes, brimming with vulnerability and insecurities. It was almost too painful to look at, knowing he’d been the one to cause all of that deep-seeded worry. His lips came back on hers, gentle at first until it picked up into a feverish pull to feel everything about her. Vicky was just as eager, her weight on his teetering him back enough to fall onto the bed. His hands wandered her body while her moans caused him to bristle.

The way she called his name brought his inner animal out to play, his fingers pulling the blankets off her body to then work on getting her free of her clothes. Tonight he wouldn’t think, just let his instincts take over.


 

By the time Scott regained consciousness it was with a splitting headache. He cracked open his eyes to see blinding light through the window, snarling and closing them. He’d have to remember not to get that drunk with Damien again, trying to remember what happened last night after him and Vicky made out. Upon turning over in bed he’d found the answer, Vicky laying across and sound asleep. She was covered in blankets but lifting the blankets showed off her nude body. His face lit up.

Gently lowering the covers, Scott was undecided on if he wanted to get up to use the restroom or sink back into sleep. He studied her relaxed face, heart warmed at how innocent she looked. Her head was tilted just the right way to show off where her bolt had been snapped and the long line of skin from her head to her shoulder. The hickies were faint, Scott’s teeth itching to do something about it.

He pushed himself out of bed to the bathroom.

After relieving himself, he washed his hands and splashed some water on his face. He hunched over the sink, staring into his own reflection. The love bites Vicky gave him were just as faint, slightly pursing his lips. Thinking back to that time felt like years ago, sorely missing the way Vicky smiled, how joyful she was and everything in between.

Opening his mouth, Scott paid little attention to his teeth. They were too blunt right now to do any good scarring. Something stirred inside of him, anxious to lay claim. He’d heard others in his family call it their ‘inner wolf’, but Scott never understood that. They were wolves, so why would he have a tiny wolf inside of him? The analogy never stuck with him, he’d just always thought of it as his instincts, but that wasn’t the right word either. Already he felt tense at the thought of anyone seeing Vicky in such a state beside him, hand gripping the sink.

He really had to do something about this. Not to mention it was already light out, he’d missed his morning run. He was really off his game, he’d have to make it up and then some. Maybe that’s what he needed. A good run and he’d get rid of some of this tension and the growing one with missing his routine. He had to be the best. He had to be.

“Scott?” The sudden voice caused his hand to flex, suddenly having a torrent of water shoot up into his face. He sputtered and fell back into the bathtub, yipping.

The door opened and Vicky rushed in only to put her hands up in a feeble attempt to stop the water. “Augh!”

She took the same route as Scott except he caught her so that her head didn’t hit the edge of the tub. Their eyes met and Scott sheepishly smiled. “Hi.”

Vicky blinked and Scott felt a strong desire to kiss the innocent look off her face. Then the innocence disappeared with guilt. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? Why?” Scott still felt tiny sprinkles coming from the sink, which was making a small pool on the bathroom floor. “I broke the sink.”

“Not that,” She solemnly shook her head. “I saw how drunk you were last night and I still decided to make an advance on you.”

“Oh.” Scott felt his cheeks brighten again. “It’s no problem. I don’t blame you.”

“You did?” The innocence returned, along with the pesky insecurity. Scott wanted to personally take it aside and tell it to go away, but that’s not how problems were solved.

Instead, he nodded his head and kissed her nose. “I wish I could remember it. You were probably wonderful, like always.”

Rosiness sprinkled her cheeks and for a second Scott let himself believe that things were okay. The solemn look returned. “Are you ready to talk?”

A lump formed in Scott’s throat at his awful actions yesterday. He sighed. “Yeah. But maybe not in the bathtub. I’m getting cramped.”

Once Vicky got up Scott was next, leaving the mess in the bathroom to go back to bed. Before Scott found it hard to talk, even when they were stuck in the cave. Now words flowed out of his mouth without reason or coherent thought. Everything he’d told Damien was relayed back to her, waiting on her response. Vicky stared at the pillow she’d tucked under her arms. “You couldn’t do anything about that moment. That wasn’t a failure.”

“But I’m your boyfriend, and what good am I if I can’t protect you?” Scott felt his mood dip. “What if something like that happens and I fail again? Can I even call myself a wolf if I can’t protect the ones I love?”

“You’re beating yourself up for things that were out of your control.” Vicky brought a hand over to his cheek. He cupped it tenderly, leaning into it.

“I hurt you too.” His eyes went to her snapped bolt and the momentary flinch of her hand told him everything. “I lost myself. I’m so ashamed that I ever thought of doing that.”

Vicky bit her lower lip. “It’s fine.”

“It’s not,” Scott took her hand off his cheek. “I don’t need you to pretend it was to make me feel better. I’m owning up to it and I promise you that’ll never happen again.” Her mouth cracked open, as if she was ready to rebuttal his statement. He was glad she decided not to, sighing. “I never asked you how you feel about our relationship.”

Vicky slightly readjusted her sitting. Her hand was taken back to brush some of her hair back, squeezing the pillow tighter. “I still want to be together and I still want to be your mate.”

“Even after what I did?” Scott seemed a little hesitant. “Don’t tell me things I want to hear.”

“I’m not,” She shook her head. “Part of me is still scared. Scared of what happened that night. But my love for you hasn’t changed. I just wish I never hurt you like I did.”

His stomach knotted yet his heart felt lighter than air. He let out his own sigh. “I want the same.”

Vicky stared up at him with wide eyes. “But back in the cave—”

“I know what I said and after I did said it I wanted to take it right back. My heart belongs to you and I never once stopped wanting to be your mate.” He softly smiled, hints of pain showing through. “But despite that, I think we should wait a little longer.”

Her shoulders drooped, yet her hold on the pillow loosened. “That’s probably a good idea.”

“Doesn’t have to be months or a long time. I just kind of think trying to do it now with all these complicated feelings and what just happened would ruin some of the magic. Maybe wait until we’re home? When things settle down?”

Vicky oddly chuckled. “I don’t know how magical getting bitten will be, but I’m willing to wait a little longer. Get our heads screwed on first.”

“It will be,” Scott reassured her. He leaned in close to cup her cheek. “And we’ll be much happier.”

“Happiness sounds nice right now,” Her chuckles grew soft, resting her hands on his shoulders. “Maybe Polly has some happiness shots on her. I could use five.”

“Get me some too,” Scott felt his own laughter come forward. The kiss came naturally.

Chapter Text

Hey guys.

I got some bad news.

I’ve been at this Monster Prom game for 10 months straight. 10 months of writing every day, planning, editing, figuring out what to do best and if I need more research. 10 months of figuring out characters, creating stories, building up the world of Monstropolis and starting new tales. I told myself that I’d finish these projects I started.

But I can’t.

I had a mental breakdown a couple nights ago where I just couldn’t take the routine and pressure to do good anymore. I had taken on too many stories and the ones I had left to tackle were huge and daunting. I was so afraid of messing up that I started to hide in other stories, hoping I’d get the inspiration back but I never did. Now I realize what I had been doing for almost a year wasn’t healthy and stepped back and thought long and hard about what I needed to do.

In short, I’m putting a stop to all my Monster Prom fanfics. It’s become unhealthy and I wish I could say that I’ll be better after a needed break, but I won’t. And I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging without any response for months on end.

I do have reserve chapters that I can post if you guys are curious to see where I stopped, but once we hit the end of those that’s it. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you guys, my fans, the ending you deserved, but I don’t have it in me to continue.

To everyone that stuck around, thank you. Thank you for reading my work and giving me a chance to entertain you all these months. You’ve been a delight and I’ve cherished every single kudo and comment I’ve been given. You all are amazing.

If you guys do want to see what I had left, let me know. Otherwise, this is the last you’ll hear of me. Once again, thank you for coming this far and I hope you find other stories that you can lose yourself in.

Chapter Text

“You two aren’t getting married?” Miranda looked ready to scream, hands shaking at her sides.

Vicky’s smile was all but forced, gripping Scott’s hand tightly in hers for some consolidation. “We just think now’s not the right time. We’re just postponing it, that’s all.”

“What am I going to do with all this?” Her hands waved at the beautifully decorated ballroom. If one would call a room puked with pink beautiful.

“Throw your own wedding?” Scott curiously glanced at the ballroom, seemingly sharing in Vicky’s uneasiness.

“With who?” Miranda threw her hands into the air, gawking. “I can’t believe this! After all the time and energy I spent making this the perfect wedding!”

“Sorry,” Vicky continued to force her smile, but she didn’t feel nearly as bad as she sounded. It was almost relieving knowing she wouldn’t walk down the pink aisle in a horrifying dress to the laughter of her peers.

“Vicky!” As Miranda stormed off to call off the event Amira, Brian, and Oz came running over. Their faces were slightly panicked. “We just got your text. The wedding’s canceled?”

“Yeah, we weren’t really feeling it,” Vicky looked to Scott, who nodded his head. “But we’re still going to mate. Just a little later.”

“Oh, good,” Amira let out a breath. “I thought this entire thing was a bust. How are you two doing?”

“Okay,” Scott replied. “We’re kind of just trying to pick up the pieces.”

“Enjoy each day instead of lingering on the past,” Vicky added, getting a forehead kiss from Scott. Ever since their talk in the hotel, things had gone back to baby steps. Scott was trying to be more affectionate and she was trying to be more vocal. Things were still icy, but Vicky felt happy with where they were. It was the best it was going to get for now.

While her friends shared their opinions, her eyes went to the entrance. A faint hint of purple ducked behind the door. Vicky slightly frowned; looking to Oz whose eyes kept lingering over where she’d seen the movement. Amira’s loud voice snapped her back into the moment. “Well, that’s good. It’s a relief to see you two back together. Had us all worried.”

“Aw, sorry.” Vicky awed, taken off guard when Oz pulled her in for a tight hug. She reciprocated as best as she could as Brian and Amira did the same.

The small action threatened to send Vicky back into tears, biting her lower lip. “Come on guys, I’m stronger than that.”

She nearly bit through her lower lip when Scott joined in on the hug, feeling his scratchy chin nuzzle hers. “We’re stronger than that.”

“Okay, getting awkward.” Brian off-commented, causing the group hug to disband and give Vicky ample time to wipe away any forming tears. His smile was relaxed. “So, did you guys figure out what you want to do on your last day?”

And just like that, Vicky felt like things had never changed. Scott was just as bug-eyed as Vicky threw her hands on her head, screeching. “Last day? God! How are we so bad at knowing what the hell day it is?”

“Uh, that’s a no?” Brian asked, but his question was lost to them. Next thing Vicky knew she was being thrown over Scott’s shoulders and leaving her friends.

He rushed her out of the room, back to their screams that made her reflect on their first month anniversary. Vicky’s voice died down when they entered the hall, seeing Liam nowhere. Scott stopped running. “Vicky?”

“Oh, sorry.” She picked back up on her screaming, but her heart was not entirely there. Not when she kept thinking about where Liam was in all of this mess.

Their first stop on their last day was to rent a sled; Vicky taking Scott up to the highest point on the mountain. She let Scott drive despite her desperately wanting to do so. It went well for thirty seconds until their trip down was just them rolling in the snow and trying to avoid the trees. By the end of their descent, they were laughing with snow plastered on every inch of their bodies.

They went and did this a few more times, then came in to have hot cocoa and eat some loaded potato soup. Vicky got two bread bowls for extra bread while Scott added so much bacon he was chased out of the kitchen by staff. They threw snowballs, they made snow angels, and they even went on another long walk through the forest, hands intertwined with each other.

Fireworks were set to go off that night as the resort’s way of saying goodbye. By the time the evening rolled around, monsters were already picking up good spots. Scott and Vicky were inside, snuggled up near the fireplace with their heads resting on one another. Vicky couldn’t help shake what she had seen earlier, wondering the whole day where Liam had been. Had he and Scott talked? Where was everyone on this issue?

Scott seemed to notice something was wrong, speaking. “Thinking?”

“Yeah,” Vicky took a sip of the last of her hot cocoa. Even though they promised to be honest now, it always gave her goose bumps to mention this topic. “Thinking about where Liam is right now. He’s been very distant.”

“Good,” Vicky gripped her mug tightly, looking up at Scott. His eyes had hardened staring at the fire. She also felt his arm around her harden, pulling her just that much closer.

“That’s kind of mean to say.”

“Vicky, he stepped over the line of what was cool and what wasn’t cool. I’m not forgiving him right now for what he did.” Scott muttered. “I don’t think I ever will.”

Vicky felt hotter being near Scott than the roaring fire they sat next to. It was uncomfortable, to say the least. “Are you going to talk to him?”

“Not right now. Thinking about him makes my blood boil.”

Again, Vicky thought she saw a blur of purple in the corner of her eye. She looked to the doorway out of the foyer, eyes hardening. “Hey, Scott. You should get us a good seat for the fireworks show.”

“Oh yeah, that’s going to happen soon.” His grip on her melted, his eyes softening. “We could sit on the roof?”

“Sure,” Vicky nodded her head, half paying attention. “I’ll meet you there. I need to do something first.”

“All right.” With a kiss, Scott got up and trotted out of the foyer towards the main roof. Vicky waited a minute until getting up herself, walking over to the doorframe.

Upon turning the corner, however, Oz was waiting for her. “Need something?”

“Oh, uh,” Vicky felt slightly foolish, fingers twirling a lock of hair. “I just thought I saw something.”

“You mean Liam?” Vicky felt her skin bristle, eyes narrowing.

“So he was here.”

“Look, Vicky,” Oz gestured to the main foyer, getting Vicky to follow him. “Liam and I have been talking and we think you shouldn’t talk to him or seek him out right now.”

“I was just going to check on him.” Vicky took slight offense. “I’m not coming over to kiss him on the head to feel better.”

“I know, I know your heart is in the right place.” Oz sat near the empty bar, Vicky taking a seat next to him. “But you have to consider Scott’s feelings right now. It’s clear that this has done some damage between them and Scott doesn’t want to see or talk about him right now. So how would he feel to know you’ve been leaving to go and check up on him?”

“Scott would understand, he’s not possessive like that.”

“But it’d also hurt him. And you two aren’t in a good position right now in your relationship.” Vicky physically flinched. “Scott wants to trust you but you’re not giving him a reason to by going and doing things like this. You’re your own person and no one should tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, but I think you doing this is only going to tear you two apart. Liam doesn’t want your sympathy or you seeking him out, anyway.”

“So, that’s it?” Her mood dampened, her high from earlier coming back down to earth. “I just pretend he doesn’t exist? Pretend that none of this happened and let Scott continue to be angry?”

“I’m just saying you should let these two solve it out themselves. If we tried to intervene, even if we think what we’re doing is right, would only cause more damage, and right now Scott needs someone to lean on. Liam’s hurting bad and I know Scott is too, so don’t make him worry even more that his girlfriend is tending to Liam more than he is.”

Vicky gazed glumly at the table, placing her elbows upon it. “I just want things to go back to normal …”

“Me too,” Oz sighed. “I’m still really sorry.”

Vicky gazed at Oz for a moment, sighing. “I should go find Scott. Could you at least tell Liam I said hi?”

Oz’s glance was bittersweet and said enough. “Yeah, okay. I’ll back off. Enjoy the fireworks.”

“You too.” They parted, Vicky not glancing back. Her heart weighed heavy in her chest, feeling restricted on what she could and couldn’t do. She made her way to the rooftop, which was surprisingly devoid of most monsters aside from a few harpies.

Scott had picked a spot on the middle, Vicky crawling up the shingles to get where he was. “Hey! Did you get to do what you wanted?”

“Not really,” Vicky sat next to him, the cold already sending shivers up her spine. “But that’s okay. It can wait.”

Scott snuggled her closer, appreciating the warmth as they stared upwards at a sky full of stars. Vicky’s eyes widened, breathing. “Wow …”

“Right? It’s just like when I’m home. The stars here are different.” Scott pointed upwards at a small cluster. “That one I’m naming Mousey. Because it looks like a mouse. And that one over there is Candy, that one is Trumpet and that one is Zoom.”

“What does Zoom look like?” Vicky stared hard at that one constellation.

Scott laughed. “It’s a car! That’s why I named it Zoom, because cars zoom through the streets!” Vicky giggled, playfully shaking her head. “Here, you name one.”

She stared at the stars Scott already took, squinting to try and make a picture. “Oh! That one looks like Turtam!”

“Really?” Scott followed her finger. “You’re right! It does! Turtam followed us out here!”

“Guess he got worried,” Vicky thought she even saw his silly bowtie, Scott cuddling closer.

“I don’t think he has anything to worry about.” Scott sounded so assured in his voice, causing her breath to hitch. The heaviness in her heart flittered away, smiling dearly at her mate-to-be. He seemed to be thinking the same thing, leaning down to give her a few kisses.

Making out until the fireworks started would be a great way to spend the rest of the night, but a thought formed in Vicky’s mind. Scott needed to trust her and she needed to give him a reason to. The idea always haunted her, reconsidering her options only to squish those thoughts. It had to come around eventually; it was a perfect time as any to do this.

Scott seemed confused as she went to her contact list, her dad’s number lighting up. Her skin slightly crawled, staring up at Scott who was getting increasingly confused as to what her plan was. Steeling herself, she pressed the call button and turned it onto speaker.

The rings were deafening in itself.

“Vicky?” She hitched her breath, noticing Scott bristle in the corner of her eye.

Every bit of her being wanted to shut the phone off, throw it off the roof and never return home. But she had to do this. “He-Hey, dad.”

“I wasn’t expecting a call from you. I figured you’d be too busy playing in the snow to remember me. How are you? How’s the vacation?”

Vicky felt a familiar forced smile until she forced it away under an aura of calm. “It’s been good. Got to sled down the mountain and chill with friends.”

“Good! I’m happy to hear that. No serious injuries?”

“Dad, I’m not that much of a klutz.”

“No, but you certainly jump into things without asking questions.” She rolled her eyes. “You’ll have to show me pictures if you take any. Have you been having fun with your boyfriends?”

Vicky immediately looked up to Scott, who seemed resigned to defeat. He eyed the door off the roof, ready to leave when her wrist snatched his. His eyes were wide, Vicky trying to speak calmly. “Actually dad, that’s kind of why I’m calling. Liam and I got into a fight and we broke up.”

“What? That’s terrible. I’m sorry, Vicky.” She tried not to let her earlier depression resurface, nodding her head.

“Thanks. It gave me some time to think about where my priorities are and to reflect on what’s important to me. Scott has been so loving and comforting and someone who I can depend on. We really love each other dad and … I want a future with him.”

“I’m glad you found someone you can feel that with, Vicky.” Her father’s tone was soothing. “You know you still owe me a dinner with him.”

“Actually,” Vicky’s eyes locked with Scott’s. She extended her hand. “I have Scott with me right now.”

Scott’s eyes blew up, eyes going from the phone to Vicky several times. Vicky gave him a reaffirming nod, his hands grasping the phone. He held the phone up to his face. “H-Hello?”

“It’s nice to meet you, Scott. Vicky has told me some things about you, but she likes to play the guessing game. Thank you for being so good to my daughter and making her happy.”

Scott’s tail stood at attention, his voice boisterous. “Y-Yeah! Of course! I’m glad I can make Vicky happy! We love each other so much; I’ll take good care of your daughter! I’ll make sure nothing bad happens to her or that she gets hurt or anything that’ll make her sad! I promise!”

“I’ll hold you to it,” Her father lightly chuckled. “Oh, but look at the time. I got fermenting brains whose water need changing. Tell Vicky she needs to call more and that she needs to bring you over. I want to properly meet you.”

“Okay! I’ll do that!” Vicky shook her head, guess her father didn’t realize he was on speaker.

“So eager. Anyways, have a good rest of the day.” The call ended, leaving Scott to lower the phone and place it in her hands.

He beamed like the sun. “Thank you for that.”

“It’s the least I can do.” Vicky put away her phone. “And we’ll make plans for you to meet him.”

“Really?” His ears twitched, tail wagging. “Really really? I’ll finally meet your dad?”

“Well, we’ll take some precautions,” Vicky wondered how much a bullet-proof tuxedo would cost. “But yeah. No more secrets.”

Vicky’s left the roof to sit in Scott’s lap. His hug was tight, but bearable, trying to hug him just as hard. She heard his voice muffled through her clothes. “I love you.”

Vicky’s heart skipped a beat, gripping his jacket. “I love you too.”

A boom alerted them to the starting fireworks show, encased in each other’s arms as they watched the sky light up in various colors.


 

“Are you sure I can’t meet him right now?” Scott was hesitant to let go of Vicky’s hand, leading them towards the entrance to the airport.

Vicky’s eyes were sympathetic. “I want everything to be just right when we do this. I promise it won’t be too long.”

“Okay,” He bent down to steal a kiss, having to let go of Vicky’s hand. They walked out of the exit in separate directions, watching her run over to where her father was waiting for her.

He embraced her in a tight hug, Vicky’s smile was bright as they talked amongst one another. Scott could pick up the conversation easily, her father asking her how the flight was before freaking out at her missing bolt. She sheepishly smiled, making some off-handed comment about breaking it in a sledding accident. The way her father fussed over her reminded him of his own mom, hoping he could earn that affection from her dad.

Then her father’s eyes landed on him and a scowl formed. “The mutts didn’t bother you, did they?” It was clear in Scott’s ears, face falling in hurt. Vicky eyed Scott apologetically, turning her father around with some other comment about wanting to get food to eat.

“Ey, Scott, there you are.” A heavy weight came down on his shoulder, Josh beaming at him. “Thought I lost you there! Wanna grab a bite? I’m starving!”

Scott’s eyes lingered where Vicky and her father was, turning to Josh. “I don’t know. I’m not that hungry.”

“Not that hungry?” Josh gave him a bewildered stare. “Whoa, you must be still down. Food will change your mood! Maybe we can also go and play with the Frisbee again! That always cheers you up!”

Scott shrugged, feeling Josh’s pat. “I wouldn’t worry. You picked a good mate-to-be, she’ll be a good addition to the family. Even if she’s not a wolf.”

Scott softly smiled at that. “That Liam guy, he’s trouble. Tried to make off with your mate and you haven’t done anything about it.”

Josh turned him to stare over at Liam and Oz, who were making their way out of the airport. Scott frowned. “Violence isn’t the answer.”

“Violence is always the answer, bro. How else are monsters supposed to know you’re serious?” Josh’s pat was a little firmer. “He betrayed you, stabbed you in the back! What makes you think he’s not going to try and steal your mate again when you aren’t looking? Probably thinks you’re weak, that you’re a pushover!”

“I’m not a pushover!” Scott’s tone turned into a growl, forcing Josh’s hand off him.

Josh bared his fangs. “Then do something about it! Let that vampire know to never mess with our family ever again! He’s made a mockery of our name and if you don’t do something about it then we sure as hell will!”

Scott froze, hiding his teeth away as Josh stood back up. He came back over, his grip tight on his shoulder. “Family comes first, Scott. That’s all we have when the world turns against us. You have to protect what’s yours. Protect your mate, Scott, and do what needs to be done.”

Scott felt numb; eyes locked onto Liam just as they pushed past the doors and left the airport. His smell was rank in his nose, remembering just how frightened and helpless Vicky was in his grip. How emotionally destroyed she was in the closet, hands extended to him, tears streaming down her face.

Josh smiled. “Now come on. Let’s get something to eat. I smell barbeque!”

Chapter Text

Vicky was used to waking up by Garbanzo stomping into her chest to play at this point. She groaned as the puppy panted above her, licking her cheeks. “Garbanzo, no. Wanna sleep.”

She didn’t miss this when she was on ‘vacation’, cracking one eye open to see not only Garbanzo but her father in the background. A pair of bright red devil horns were perched over his eyes and antenna, holding a festive gift in his hands. “Merry Christmas, Vicky.”

“What?” Both eyes popped open, sitting up so abruptly that Garbanzo fell onto his stomach. “Oh, shit! It’s Christmas!”

She threw her covers off without much care to welcome her father’s open arms. “Merry Christmas, dad!”

“You must have had one tiresome vacation if you forgot today.” Her dad chuckled. “You’re usually good about remembering things.”

“Yeah,” Vicky nervously chucked in reply. “You know how it is …”

Picking up Garbanzo, Vicky wheezed as the two left her room for the downstairs. “Garbanzo! What have you been feeding him?”

“He’s a growing Dalmatian; he’s going to get heavier.” Her dad led the way downstairs, winking. “But he might have been getting some scraps from dinner.”

“Dad!” Vicky whined, lifting her head away from Garbanzo’s tongue. “You’re going on a diet, mister! No more scraps for you!”

Vicky had spent the last several days holed in her room making presents, so she hadn’t the time to really notice the decorations. The mansion was lightly decorated; her dad stopped putting up extravagant decorations after she was ten. Still, the little bells over the doors and the Satan Klaws placed around the house filled her with festive cheer.

The most well-decorated item was the tree, as it always was every year. It was larger than three of her stacked high and brightly lit with colorful bulbs and ornaments. Presents littered the tree underneath, including the bags she left for her dad and friends.

“Presents!” Vicky got to her knees, setting Garbanzo down as she shuffled over to the gifts. A pair of horns was stuck onto her head, taking a moment to adjust them as her father sat down beside her.

Her greedy hands started to grab every present she saw when her father picked up a smaller one, handing it to her. “Let’s open this one.”

“I don’t get to pick?” Vicky stopped her mad hoarding, one present falling out of her arms and to the ground.

He nudged the present forward, getting her to set the others down and take it. Unwrapping the small thing was easy, staring down into a glass box with two large bolts sitting on top of a cloth. Unlike her normal bolts, which were beginning to get slightly rusty, these were bright silver. A rock formed in her stomach. “Are these made of silver?”

“Not entirely. It’s a combination of titanium and silver.” Her father took the present back. “Since you need a new bolt it’d make sense to just replace the old one too. I figure after presents I could put you under and make the exchange.”

Her hands twirled her hand, the rock growing larger. “Uh, how about tomorrow? I’m really busy today with friends and seeing Scott. I wouldn’t be happy if I was under that loopy gas all day.”

Her father looked a little shocked, easing into a comforting smile. “You know, I was expecting you to take me up on the offer. I guess you don’t feel like you need to hide under those bolts anymore?”

A melancholy smile appeared on her face, shaking her head. “This year has really helped boost my confidence. I’m not afraid of the things I used to be when I was a kid.”

Her thoughts turned to Scott, hand brushing over her neck where the bolt was snapped. “That’s great to hear. Especially since graduation is coming up. Have you started applying to colleges?”

Her hand gripped her neck, smiling brightly. Shoot, she knew she forgot something. “Um, not yet! Been too busy but I’ll get started for sure tomorrow!”

“MCU has a great program for upcoming mad scientists, and TSA was just rated the best school in the country for aspiring re-animators.”

Vicky withdrew her hand, faintly smiling. “Hope you don’t get your dreams crushed if I decide not to follow in your footsteps.”

He just laughed. “Yeah, maybe it’s for the best. You’d get too attached to every project.” A hole punctured through her heart, trying to keep up her smile while her eyes glanced warily at the graveyard outside. “But you’re great with the body; maybe you could go into nursing or become a doctor?”

“Dr. Schmidt,” Vicky lightly gripped her chin, holding her head high. “But then there’d be two Dr. Schmidt’s. Or, well, maybe just one if I get married.”

“With your boyfriend, right?” Vicky shyly nodded her head, cheeks burning bright. “Well, marriage is a long ways away. You should continue to study hard and finish school first before you even think of doing that.”

“Ok,” Vicky lightly squirmed, trying to calm down the small fire that blossomed at her plans. “Did you ever want to get married?”

“God no,” He was amused by the idea. “It’d only get in the way of work. No, I never sought out love but I didn’t want it from the beginning. Too much hassle and I don’t need a significant other to have wonderful offspring.”

Her heart melted. “Aw, dad.”

He moved over to give her a hug. “I love you, Vicky. Never forget that.”

She hugged her father back, feeling warm sentiment but her eyes couldn’t stop staring at the graveyard. When her father moved back to his spot she picked up one of her bags, tossing it her father’s way. “Catch!”

He nearly missed the present, Vicky laughing. “Less talk, more presents!”

They enjoyed a heartfelt morning by the tree, unwrapping presents and drinking hot chocolate as Vicky talked about her last week in the Alps. She had to get creative with her story-telling, saying that Liam got jealous of Scott and tried to push her too far, so they broke up and Scott helped her through the healing process. Her father took her word at value and offered his sympathies, but Vicky barely heard it over the tower of lies she’d placed her father upon. She hoped he didn’t have that rough of a landing when she finally brought him to earth.

Who was she kidding? This was going to devastate him and she felt she had no other option but to keep lying until it was time for the reveal. She really needed to do that research into bullet-proof clothing.

Their conversation ended when Vicky heard the doorbell, dashing over to the door to get it. Amira grinned at her with presents in hand when the door swung open. “Hey! Am I early?”

“Nah, you’re fine.” With a quick hug, Vicky gestured Amira to come in, who was soon greeted by her father. Minutes later Oz arrived, with Brian being the last after they texted and called him several times since he overslept.

Her father retreated to his lab while Garbanzo happily chewed on his new bone, a gift from her. Vicky had come from the closet with more devil’s horns, tossing each their own pair. “Merry Christmas!”

They replied in kind, Amira holding her band awkwardly. “Uh, did you forget my hair’s fire?”

“We got spares,” Vicky sat back down near the tree. “We’re not starting presents until everyone has their horns on!”

Oz’s little phobias made their own pretend horns to wear, while Amira’s pair caught fire the moment she place it on her head. Brian didn’t try to move to adjust his slanted pair, more than drowsy. “Couldn’t we have done this … I don’t know … not so goddamn early?”

“Aw, where’s your spirit?” Vicky picked up her bag, tossing it Brian’s way. He jolted when it landed in his lap. “Besides, I’m spending the rest of the day with Scott in the afternoon.”

Vicky slid Oz and Amira her presents, the rest handing out theirs. Everyone had three presents by the end of the exchange, Oz trying to ignore his phobias, who desperately reached for the gifts. “So should we take turns?”

“Me! I go first!” Vicky was already stuffing her hand into Brian’s bag, pulling out two different bottles of alcohol. One butterscotch schnapps and the other whipped cream vodka. “Ooh, these sound really good.”

“You’ve only been drinking beer, right?” Brian asked. “I got you a starter vodka, but that schnapps will put some chest hair on you. Gotta work your way up the potency chart if you want to get to the good stuff.”

“I do want to drink the good stuff.” She set the bottles down, running over to hug Brian. “Thank you!”

Oz was next in their small circle. He chose Vicky’s gift, pulling out three different scarves from her bag. “Scarves …”

“In case of bite emergency,” Vicky playfully nudged his elbow, causing him to blush.

“You know I own some, right?” He set her gift to the side. “But thanks. They do look nice.”

“My turn!” Amira settled with Oz’s gift, tearing away the paper to hold a book in her hands. “’How to be your baddest self; a self-help book on being the most confident person you can be’. Aw, Ozzie.”

Vicky was lost on Amira’s sentiment; she figured the girl excreted confidence in everything she did. The sentimental look they both shared said otherwise. “I finally found it in my basement. I knew I had it somewhere.”

“Thanks for digging it up.”

“Is it my turn?” Brian sat up as the rest looked to one another. He started with Amira’s, pulling out of the bag two solid bricks of something white. His eyes lit up. “Whoa, how the hell—”

“It wasn’t easy, but I managed to pull some strings.” Amira shrugged her shoulders. “I know you’ve been relapsing hard. Don’t snort it all in one day.”

He kept eyeing the gift before looking at Amira. “Thanks … Just, wow … thank you … ever since Polly cut me off I’ve only been able to find cheap fixes. Most of these guys put more chalk in theirs than the good stuff.”

“That’s the real deal; no chalk in there.”

Brian looked ready to cry right then and there, Oz speaking up. “You can do my present next.”

“Me too.” Brian seemed bewildered at the sudden investment in him.

He did Oz’s gift next, pulling out an extravagant wicker basket filled with fruits. He laughed. “Go fuck yourself, Oz.”

The rest joined in on the laugh, Oz shaking his head. “Check the bottom, ass.”

He threw one apple at Oz before doing what he was told, hitching a breath as he pulled out something large and green. Unfolding it revealed a jacket just like his, except not in disarray. “I thought they stopped making this jacket.”

“It’s called scouring the internet.” Oz playfully responded.

He finally ended with Vicky’s gift, who was more nervous about hers. Amira and Oz seemed to have hit the jackpot with their gifts, she hoped hers would do the same. He first pulled out a photo frame she’d bought, chuckling. “You’re such a child.”

She smiled, it was the picture Bebe had taken of them when she took him there for his first time. “I had to call Bebe like four times to convince her to give me that photo. She says you gotta come back with me though in exchange for a new one.”

“Fine,” He set the photo down, her last gift being taken out. His eyes widened, with Amira and Oz getting up to see it. Four little plushies of themselves were stitched together by the hands, all smiling with button eyes. “Oh my god.”

“Did you make this?” Amira looked over to Vicky, who nodded. She got up to join the rest. “Took me a few sleepless nights after we got home, but we care about you, Brian. I just want you to know we’re always here if you need us.”

He set the plushies down, glancing to each friend. “You guys …”

Tears surfaced as his shoulders shook, choking back a sob. He hid his face in his sleeve. They all sat down on the couch to give him a big hug. His voice wavered. “You guys are my best friends … I love you so much.”

“We love you too, B,” Amira responded. “Things will work themselves out.”

While Brian took a moment to recollect himself in the bathroom, the others chatted amongst themselves. When he returned they went back to presents. Brian had gotten Amira and Oz liquor as well, with Amira getting Oz the little red lacy undies and a few books from his favorite author when he stopped hiding in a shadow in sheer embarrassment. Vicky’s gift to Amira was a few glass decorations while Oz’s gift to her was a bag of frozen pizza bites and some new knitting needles.

Vicky went with Amira’s gift last. Her hand grasped something soft but firm, gawking when she held the present in the air. A pretty blue collar dangled in her hands, with her name inscribed upon the bone name tag. Upon the back was an inscription: If lost, please return to Scott Howl. Inaudible squawks came from her mouth as Amira laughed her hardest, almost falling to the ground. Unlike Oz, this was the only gift in her bag.

Oz glanced to and fro with a slightly confused expression. “What’s so funny? It’s a collar for Garbanzo.”

Brian had already started on his new cocaine, smiling oddly through red eyes. “That’s not for the dog.”

It took Oz a moment to understand what Brian meant, his face lighting up bright red. “O-Oh …”

“I’m going to kill you!” Vicky was up on her feet as Amira dashed down the hall and up the stairs.

Amira’s laughter turned to cackles as she chased her around until she shut her bathroom door on her face. Vicky nearly tore it off its hinges as Amira dissipated down the sink drain, Vicky yelling into it. “Do you hear me? I’m going to find you and end you! You’ll never hear the last of me!”

“I haven’t seen you wearing those in months,” Vicky’s lifted her head, spinning around to see Amira lingering at the door. She had tilted forward enough to expose what she was wearing underneath, standing straight up. “Scott’s going to like his gift.”

Vicky couldn’t find the words, only able to stand and blush as Amira laughed. “Don’t be so embarrassed, we agreed they look great on you! Is this the first time you’ll be showing them off?”

Vicky nodded her head. “I, um …”

“Hey, you don’t need to tell me,” Amira gave her a wink, taking the collar from Vicky’s hands. She snapped it around her neck. “Maybe you can put this to good use right away. Just think on it.”

With a snap, Amira left the bathroom, probably to go back downstairs. Vicky angled her head to stare at the name on the dog tag, squirming.


Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.

After taking the collar off and placing it away, Vicky went back down to hang out with the rest until it was time to go. She waved them off as they left making plans to get lunch, using what little time she had left to pack her things for the night. With another hug from her dad, Vicky left the mansion to go to their normal meet up, Scott already waiting for her.

His smile was bright and cheerful. “Merry Christmas, Vicky!”

“Merry Christmas,” Vicky responded in kind as they hugged and kissed. The hug only ebbed away most of her worries, feeling as though they hadn’t done this in years. “How was your morning?”

“It was great! I got so many presents! I’ll have to show you them all when we get back! Oh, and I got your present all ready too!”

“M-me too,” Her hands rubbed his shoulders, trying not to sound flustered.

Scott was already waiting for her, crouched down and smiling. “You ready?”

Vicky bit her lower lip, slightly unsure by her sudden idea. “Actually, could I ride your wolf form instead?”

Scott stood up in alarm. “What? But I thought you were scared of it.”

A dull pain surfaced the harder she pressed on her lip. “I’m not scared when it’s you.”

He still seemed unsure but didn’t respond, moving to take his jacket off. She stuffed his clothes into her bag and swung it back around her shoulder. “You sure about this? I don’t want to upset you.”

“I’m sure,” She wasn’t sure herself, but if they were going to mate she had to get used to loving every form he was in. She met his apprehension with reassurance, nodding her head for him to start.

He took a few steps away and nothing happened for a few seconds. Then she heard the same bone snapping and popping and watched the hair on his hands spread up his arms and mat into fur. His body grew larger to accommodate the growing muscle, his legs bending back into hooked legs and his feet turned into massive paws. His fingernails got lost in large claws, his tail elongating. The hair on his head grew into a wild mane, his eyebrows coming together as his nose was replaced with a snout to accommodate all his new canines. His wide, blue eyes turned into slits, the color almost dulling until labored breathing signified the transformation was complete.

Vicky couldn’t stop staring at Scott, holding a breath she didn’t know she had held and her body parts frozen. She had watched it all and the presence of the large wolf brought some panic to her senses. But she felt something new, a sense of awe to be in the presence of someone so powerful and bestial.

Her lips parted, whispering. “You’re beautiful …”

The only indicator in his face was his eyes slightly widened and his body bristled. He got down on all fours as Vicky walked over in a trance. She crawled on top of his back, securing herself by grabbing mounds of fur. Scott must have known she was ready for he soon took off, Vicky jerking at the speeds he reached. They zoomed down the hill and straight into the woods, where Scott ran past rows of trees and landmarks without a single thought. Vicky held on tightly, less out of fear of falling off and more to understand what she was doing. She was riding Scott in his wolf form and she wasn’t afraid. She wasn’t afraid.

What felt like mere seconds had them at the door to Scott’s home. He let her off and she opened the unlocked door. He trotted inside, but not before pinching her backpack and taking it with him to his bedroom. Vicky figured he wanted to be left alone and sat in the kitchen. While she waited she tugged at her turtleneck, slightly anxious.

Scott then walked on through, readjusting his jacket. “How was the ride?”

Vicky’s attention was just on his lips, Scott calling her name but rationality had left long ago. Her lips were soon on his, throwing her arms over his neck and kissing madly. A low growl rumbled on her lips. “I love you.”

His hands made their way to her ass and gave it a good squeeze, causing her to moan deeply for him. She felt him lift her up and place her on the table, placing both hands behind her to stop himself from falling into it as their teeth clacked together. Just as things were getting good Vicky moved her mouth away, Scott’s still open and desperately wanting. She bit her lip again in temptation, it could wait till later. “I got you a present.”

“Me too,” They parted to each receive their gifts, which were coincidentally in Scott’s room. Vicky fished hers out of her backpack while Scott set his down on the bed. “Open mine first.”

Vicky wasn’t going to argue with him, she did love presents. By the way they were oddly shaped and completely covered in tape made it both interesting and hard to open. When she did get the wrapping off Vicky almost laughed, holding a bright orange chew toy in her hands. “Thanks, Scott.”

“It even squeaks!” He squeezed the middle to prove it, garnering a high-pitched squeak from the toy. “I wanted it so badly, so that meant it’d be a great gift to give!”

Vicky considering giving it to Garbanzo, though the last time Scott saw the dog he wasn’t on great terms with him. She wouldn’t want to put a deeper wedge between them. She set the chew toy down in her backpack, picking up the other gift Scott got her. It was a small box, about the size of her hand and when she opened the lid she saw a piece of black fabric and half circles of metal. She took the item out, holding it up to identify it. “Is this a choker?”

“A what?” Scott shook his head. “No, it’s a collar. I uh, I got it back in the Alps. You said you wanted something to show off that we were mated. There were a lot prettier ones than that, but it was the only one I could afford.”

He sounded ashamed to admit that. Vicky took his hand, pecking his cheek. “I love it. I’ll wear it every day.”

“You will?” Scott’s voice rose in tone, happiness bright on his face.

“Of course, and I’ll find something you can wear in return.” The gift was not helping her raging libido, telling herself to calm down. She reached for her gift, holding it out to Scott. “Your turn.”

Scott dipped his hand into the bag, gasping when he suddenly withdrew it. A squeaky toy was in hand. “Oh my god, a chew toy!” He squeaked it, gasping loudly. “And it squeaks! I love it!”

The squeaks continued, Scott’s tail creating enough wind to make a fan jealous. She giggled at his antics. “There’s more presents in there, you doofus.”

“Huh? What?” He looked lost, like no other present mattered. The next items were a lot bigger, Scott’s mouth forming an O-shape at the sight of them. Vicky had gotten started on these presents way earlier, happy to see Scott so enamored. He held in his hands two well-made plushies of themselves, each holding half of a heart. She pushed the two together. “When they’re together, they make a heart. See?”

“Wow,” Scott looked to the two, then held out the Scott plush for her. “Here you go.”

“What? It’s your gift.” Vicky refused to take the plush, yet Scott insisted.

“I want you to have it. So that I can be with you whenever we’re not together.”

How could she say no to that logic? Plus, she did really like the work on his, from the cute tiny jacket to those big blue eyes. “Fine, you won me over yet again.”

“Yay!” He rubbed his nose against hers, tail whirling behind him. “I love you so much. Merry Christmas.”

Vicky softly smiled. “Merry Christmas.”

With presents over, Scott insisted they watched a few Christmas movies. He had all the classics like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Nutcracker. He mostly got excited for Rudolph and the Grinch, but Vicky enjoyed laying in bed as they tuned out of reality to watch old time favorites. For dinner, the two raided his fridge for leftovers from his family’s festive lunch, which consisted of so much meat any vegetarian would die upon sight.

Just as the credits rolled on the fourth movie it was well into the night, with Scott getting up to turn off his TV. “This has been a great day. I’m so glad we got to spend it together.”

“Yeah,” Vicky murmured, groggy from all the binge-watching.

She turned on a nearby lamp as Scott put the DVD away. “Ready for bed?”

The mention of sleep sounded great, but Vicky had other plans in mind. She shook her head, taking Scott’s hand and leading to lay down. “I got another present for you.”

“You do?” Scott sat up in bed as Vicky climbed off, taking her place in front of the bed.

Her anxiety spiked at that moment yet she pushed past it, her voice sultry. “A present just for you, Scott. That no one else can see or touch. One just for my alpha.”

His growl of approval gave her some confidence, starting the show. Her hands accentuated her chest and curves, lips parted as they gingerly grasped the bottom of her turtle neck. She swayed her hips ever so slowly as she worked the fabric up and off her arms and head, tossing it aside to reveal the lingerie bra and the blue-collar Amira had given her. She still felt embarrassed to wear it but the moment Scott’s eyes locked onto it his claws jutted out, tearing into his bed. All the embarrassment had drained away.

Continuing to move, Vicky slowly undid the buttons on her jeans, using circular motions to lower her pants down her legs and beyond her feet. She’d practice this routine more than a dozen times in front of her mirror back home in preparation for this moment, her fingers running back up her legs and sides to her breasts. She continued to sway her body while her hands ducked behind to undo the bra, slipping it out from her arms and allowing it to flutter down with the rest of her clothes.

Her hands caught each breast and nipple, pinching and tugging as a gasp escaped her lips. It was already causing her to wet her panties, noticing the large bulge in Scott’s pants as his hands tightly wrung the bed sheets. He didn’t tear his eyes away or stop the deep growl in his throat.

While one hand continued to play with her chest she moved the other down to tug at her panties, slipping those off as well. She kept the socks on as she kicked the panties away and crawled onto the bed. Her face hovered over his, able to feel his hot breath on her as she grabbed his wrist and guided his hand to touch the metal name tag. “I’m your good girl, Scott. Good girls get played with, don’t they?”

“Yes,” Scott’s fingers gripped the name tag, pulling her down onto his lips. She let him take over the make-out, rubbing her wet arousal over his clothed cock as he madly snarled.

Her entire body felt hot to the touch, her mind melting but she had some semblance to pick it up before it gelled entirely. She worked her lips away to present her neck, panting. “Mate with me. Right now.”

“What?” Scott blinked rapidly and she noticed what looked like a train wreck happen in his features. It was extremely hard for him to reign in what had just been unleashed. “A-are you sure? You don’t want to wait?”

“I want you so badly, Scott. Want to mate with you.” Vicky breathed, trying to suck in some cold air to freeze her lusting thoughts. “Dad is going to change out my bolts tomorrow.”

“What does that have to do with the bite?”

Her hands grabbed his head, pushing him into her neck. “Because I want it right here.”

She felt his whole body shudder and his cock twitch under her. He removed his head and she could see the resistance was waning rapidly. “Vicky, I don’t think you understand. The bite is permanent. If we do it there you won’t be able to remove it. Are you—”

“I’m sure, Scott,” Her head nodding was so violent she thought her head would snap off and roll away. “I can’t live my life without you anymore. Every day I think of you and how badly I want this. I want to be your mate, Scott. I want to be yours.” She was on the verge of tears with how badly she was begging, both for his bite and for his knot. “Please, Scott! I love you so much! Don’t make me be—”

Her words were cut off when Scott shoved his tongue inside her mouth, his hands wrapped tightly around her. Her eyelids fluttered, giving into the kiss and everything that was the moment when his lips dipped down to lick insistently at the skin between her neck and shoulder. Her arms gained goosebumps at the sensation, whimpering as his voice dropped several tones. “Mate, mate, mate.”

Nothing could have prepared her for what came next. Splintering pain, like white-hot needles punctured into her skin, anguishing her enough that her cries sounded murderous. It felt like Scott was trying to take off a chunk of her skin with how deep he bit, and just as soon as the pain erupted did Scott withdraw his bloody muzzle.

His eyes were wild and his breathing labored, craning his neck upwards to let out a deafening howl. Vicky flinched at the noise, suddenly able to hear faint howls outside the closed window. No doubt Scott had just alerted everyone in his family to what he had done. Kitten licks lapped over the massive bite mark as Vicky clung to Scott like her life depended on it, her body shaking.

He continued to lick at it until the blood finally stopped, leaving her with gaping wounds that would surely scar over and stay for life. Looking upon the fresh wound and the wolf that had given it to her made her almost flash-back to when Tintin had her neck in his jaws and the pain she felt then.

This, however, was entirely different. Scott’s bite was anything but malicious and harmful and she was not a young, naïve girl anymore. The mark was nothing to be ashamed of; it was one of adoration and love, given to her by her new mate.

“Mate, mate,” Scott sang in a happy tone, each lick to her cheek loving and carefree. “Mates now. Gonna be mates forever. Gonna be happy.”

“Y-Yeah,” Vicky only felt dull, throbbing pain and a wave of tiredness wash over her. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to do this before they had their fun.

His face reverted back to his normal appearance, resting Vicky down on the bed. “Sleep. Then we mate.”

Now that was a word Vicky could get behind, allowing herself to rest and fall deep into sleep. In an ironic twist of fate, her trauma started and ended with a bite.

Chapter Text

There were many things Vicky loved about winter. The cold weather, the ability to wear scarves and mittens and cute accessories, the cookies and decorations, and those cold mornings when she woke up to be surrounded in fluffy warmth from her bed.

This was one of those mornings, shifting under the covers as her head felt cold from outside cover land. She tugged sleepily on the covers, raising them over her head to keep it nice and toasty. She could feel Scott right on her back and his arms over her, pushing her head back to try and press more up against him. Instead, a sharp pain came from her fresh bites, snapping her awake to hiss and recoil. It was enough of a jolt to get Scott to stir. “Vicky?”

“Augh, hate,” Vicky groaned, forced to keep her head still.

She protested when Scott removed the covers from her head to kiss at her forehead. Despite her puffy cheeks, he smiled. “Morning, mate.”

“Mornin’…” Her hands tugged on the covers. “Too cooooold.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Scott snuggled even closer. Something akin to a purr rumbled in his throat. “This is wonderful. We’re mates now. I love you so, so much.”

“Love you too,” She tried tilting her head up to meet him in a kiss, but another jolt made her drop her head onto the pillow.

Scott sat up in bed, less concerned than she was at all the pain. “Here, let me check it.”

Her hands sluggishly tried to stop him, but she was too tired and cranky to really do anything. He gently sat her up, Vicky wishing she had the comfort of the covers to drape herself in. One of the things she hated about winter was being buck-naked in a cold, cold room.

He carefully moved her hair away from her bite, which stirred up little shots of pain just from them running over it. “Scott.”

“Sorry,” He sounded sincere, her eyes meeting his as they both looked at it together. The marks, once bright red with blood, had dulled but were still fresh. “Let’s clean you up.”

He scooped her up into his arms and walked her over to the bathroom, where he promptly got the shower running. Steam covered the walls and mirror as Vicky stepped in, almost landing on her ass to get away from the hot water and the torrent of splintering pain that came with it.

After adjusting the temperature, Vicky inched her way back over as Scott mainly shielded her from the rain. She felt like a pup with how careful Scott handled her, soon sitting on his bed with a fluffy towel wrapped around her while Scott made some breakfast.

Eyes scanning the room, Vicky found one of Scott’s shirts on the ground and used it as a makeshift dress. She wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and keeping anything off the mark would help. As she entered into the kitchen Scott had already placed some eggs on the table, Vicky made her way over to sit. She hoped Scott didn’t just throw the entire eggshell in this time.

Scott came over with a hot pan, placing down a slice of burnt toast while kissing her cheek. “Feel any better?”

“Not really,” Vicky took the burnt piece to nibble on. “It’ll take a bit to heal.”

“I know, I just want to check on you.” He left back for the kitchen, resting his pan on the flaming stove. “You can rest in bed all day if you want. Napping usually helps me when I get hurt.”

The idea was like a warm blanket wrapped around her, smiling faintly. “I’m sure dad will have something to treat the pain when I go home … When he’s done freaking out over the wound.”

“That’d be great! Maybe he could help you get your stuff too.”

Vicky had just found a piece of egg she deemed edible, only now it slipped off her fork. “Get my stuff? Where am I going?”

“Back here?” Scott looked up from his cooking. “We’re mates now and mates live together. That’d just be silly if they didn’t.”

He had a good laugh from the idea, while Vicky’s stomach only churned. “Scott … I can’t live here.”

“Why not? I got a house, a bed, and food and me and all the squeaky toys we need!” He nearly threw the pan he was holding from how fast he turned to her. Those saddening puppy-dog eyes returned. “Do you not want to live with me?”

She couldn’t bear to see those tear-stricken eyes again. “No, no, that’s not it! I just mean I don’t think I should move out of my dad’s house. We’re still in high school, you know?”

“A lot of my family moved out when they were super young.”

“But that’s your family,” Vicky didn’t really know how to word this right, awkwardly fidgeting. “I guess what I’m saying is … I’m not entirely comfortable leaving dad to come live with you. He doesn’t even know about any of this, let alone that we’re having this talk. I think the surprise would be too much.”

“Okay, then let’s talk to him.” Scott placed the pan back on the stove, turning off the fire. “I don’t think its right to keep this up for so long. He can even come to the mating party.”

“Scott, you don’t understand,” Vicky placed her head in her hands, not caring if some of her scrambled eggs flopped off her fork and back onto the plate.

“No, I do. I’ve been listening this whole time,” She felt his hands wrap around her waist from the back of her chair and his head perched delicately on hers. “Your dad is scared of wolves and he’ll hurt me if he sees me. I get it. But we got you to this point, right? I believe with enough love and openness your dad will come around too. To keep hiding this is only going to hurt him. He wants to be a part of your life and I’m sure he wants you to be happy.”

Vicky withdrew her hands to look upwards at Scott. She saw patience in his eyes with a calm smile, leaning into his cheek. “Every time I think about you meeting him it’s with his shotgun in your face. He’s just really scared after what Tintin did.”

“And we’ll show him that wolves can be nice and friendly.”

She let out a defeated sigh. “You going to be my dad’s self-appointed comfort wolf?”

“Yeah, as long as he needs it.” Vicky closed her eyes, finding some comfort in his words. She chuckled the more he talked. “And after he’s okay with wolves you can move in with me. Or, oh, maybe I could move in with you! Your house is so big! And your bed looks really soft!”

“You should see the game room.” Vicky laughed some more when Scott gasped, feeling his tail pat the side of her thigh in its wagging fit. She didn’t know how Scott did it, but he always knew how to calm her down and make it feel like things were going to be okay.

The sudden slam of the door opening had Vicky jolt, scraping her bite mark on the back of her chair. She reeled in burning pain as Josh poked his head in. “Scott, holy fuck! You mated last night, bro!”

“I did!” Scott chirped happily, which spurred the entire football team to come scampering into his house. Of course, she didn’t stop feeling claustrophobic being closed in with so many wolves around her.

They eyed her mark with wide eyes and lots of cussing, some even tugging at her shirt. “Hey, let me see it!”

Scott swatted the hands away, glaring. “Don’t touch.”

Josh pushed his way to the forefront, astonishment bursting from his face. “Dooooog, that’s one hell of a bite! It looks great!”

“Thanks!”

“You know what this means?” The pack’s ramblings quieted down, Josh grinning. “Means we got a sister now! One of us! One of us!”

She was hoisted into the air before Scott could really do anything to stop them. She tried not to show how much agony she was in as she was thrown up and down to the chanting of the football team.

“All right, settle down,” Vicky was snatched out of the air by Scott as Gloria walked into the house.

“Aunt Gloria, Scott mated!” Josh pointed out as Gloria waved her hand down to try and settle him.

“I think we all heard that last night.” She made her way through the crowd of parting wolves. Vicky felt the cold ground on her feet as Scott let her down, Gloria moving in for a loose hug. “Welcome to the family. Everyone wants to meet you.”

Scott’s hand brushed up against hers and took it, feeling him squeeze lightly. Vicky could feel her ball of nerves tightening. “Maybe we could meet later? I’m really not dressed and I’m kind of in constant pain whenever I move.”

“You’re still hurting?” Josh huffed. “Well, I guess that makes sense since you’re not a wolf. Bet you can’t even lift a hundred pounds without breaking a sweat! But that’s okay, we’ll lift it for you!”

“Play nice, Josh,” Gloria let Vicky go just as she felt Scott wrap his arms loosely around her waist. His head sat on top of hers, unable to see the expression he wore. “I promise they won’t touch. They’re all waiting outside.”

With a snap of her fingers, the pack followed her outside, save for Scott and Vicky. It felt like worms were crawling through her chest, she’d never seen Scott’s family in its entirety. Unless the football game counted, but she somehow doubted that scratched the surface.

“Do you want to go out?” His question was so out of left field it nearly smacked Vicky in the face. She was so used to Scott just doing rather than asking.

“I don’t know, I should …” She lightly bristled when Scott tucked his head and kissed her cheek.

“Everyone will love you, promise. And if you get uncomfortable we can come right back in.”

She softly smiled. “When did you get so cautious? What happened to the werewolf I mated with who ran first, never asked questions?”

Scott chuckled. “I’m still there, but I gotta protect what’s mine.”

Her heart fluttered, cheeks brightening. “I thought you said that feeling would go away when we mated.”

“Instincts never go away. I just feel a lot more comfortable saying it out loud.” She shuddered when his voice had a faint growl in it. “Soon we’ll smell just like one another. Then no one will mistake who you belong to.”

Vicky never thought possessive talk would arouse her this much, letting Scott leave her butterfly kisses on her cheek and soon down to the other side of her neck. She gently pushed away. “Okay, let’s go meet your family before I give them something to smell.”

The seductive wolf she’d been talking to seemingly vanished, Scott wagging his tail. “Awesome! You’re going to love them.”

He held out his hand for her, which she took without thought. She was still nervous about throwing herself into a literal pile of wolves, but with Scott at her side, she didn’t feel so alone.


 

It was always hard to leave. Vicky’s heart wasn’t into the wave she gave Scott as he turned tail and went back down the hill. After such an intimate night and meeting Scott’s massive family, she almost didn’t want to leave. His family was just as loud and animalistic as she’d thought, but no one touched her, which helped immensely to try and acclimate herself. Some appeared skeptical about Scott’s choice in monster to mate with, but with Gloria’s approval, no one was going to say it outright. Their mating ceremony would take place right after New Years, remembering that Gloria highly incentivized bringing her family, as it wouldn’t be a party without them.

Her family …

Vicky touched at her turtle neck again, which she managed to worm over her head without too much pain. Just as she turned around to open the front door it swung open itself. Her father peered down at her. “There you are. You really should text me when you’re coming home.”

“Sorry, I’ve been caught up in some things.” Her father closed the door behind her, Garbanzo waiting for her on the other side. He seemed less excited to come romping over, sniffing her legs experimentally. He probably understood what had happened.

“I got the lab all set up. Shouldn’t be more than a few hours.” Her father took her bag only to drop it on the couch on the way to said room. “I should probably do an examination while you’re out. It’s been a while since I’ve inspected all your parts.”

Vicky hummed in response, feeling as though every step down into the lab was another pound of pressure on her shoulders. Her father’s lab looked the part as would any mad scientists’ lair, only her dad wouldn’t let it succumb to chaos and everything was fairly organized. Vicky hopped up onto the examination table as her dad fetched some gloves. “How was your day yesterday? Did Scott like his gifts?”

“Yeah, he did. It was nice.” Vicky tried not to let her anxiety show, her father turning to her in mild confusion. She knew what he was expecting, yet she couldn’t get her arms to move to take off her shirt.

“Well?” He asked to spur her into action. She bit her lower lip, causing him to walk over. “Lift your shirt up.”

When she didn’t move to do so his hands grabbed the bottom. She shut her eyes as the material was lifted over her head only for it to drop, her father let out a loud gasp. “Vicky!”

She bit her lip harder, still unable to look at her dad. “Oh my god, what the hell happened? Who did this to you? When did this happen?”

“Dad,” Vicky croaked, forcing herself to open her eyes and look upon her father.

The sheer panic and fear in his eyes made her want to continue hiding, yet she wouldn’t allow herself that. “No, it’s okay. I can fix this. You won’t ever have to see this again.”

Her eyes widened, hands gripping the edge of the table as her father frantically moved to the other side of the lab where several fridges were kept. “No, dad, you don’t understand.”

“I understand completely! But it’s okay, I don’t think any less of you.”

“What?” Vicky furrowed her eyebrows as her father opened one of the fridges, pulling out a few long lines of flesh.

“You should have never been ashamed to show me this. We’ve gone through this once before, we can go through it again. But I’ll get rid of it. I won’t let whatever did this to you scar you like that. Not my daughter.”

“Dad,” Her grip tightened, her voice raising.

He ran back over, his hand running through her hair. “It’s going to be okay, Vicky. I’ll handle everything and find who did this.”

The smile on his face was one of compassion and consolidation. It only made her see red. Her hand grabbed his wrist before he could touch it. “Don’t you fucking touch it!”

Her father froze as Vicky bared her teeth, unable to control the volume of her voice. “You have no idea what the fuck I’ve gone through to get this! I’ve jumped through hoops, I’ve hurt the ones I love the most and made a complete and utter fool of myself! I am not letting you take this away from me! I earned this! This is mine!”

She hopped off the table before her father could do anything, backing away. “I’m not letting you touch me unless you promise not to mess with my mark.”

Vicky,” Her father was exasperated, clearly a mixture of confusion and judgment. “What has gotten into you?”

“Promise!” Vicky yelled back.

Her father’s eyes hardened, reaching for a needle he’d laid out earlier. “Absolutely not! I’m not letting you walk around with such a grotesque mark like you were some chew toy for a wild animal!”

“Oh, why? Because your buddies at the ball will think I’m damaged material?” Vicky let her mouth hang open. “I’m so sick of feeling like just a decoration for you to flaunt!”

She turned and ran back up the stairs, brushing past Garbanzo who waited at the top. She heard her dad call back to her and his feet on the steps, panic scattering her thoughts to every corner of her mind. She could run into her room and lock the door, but she’d only be trapped. Her feet took her to the front door, hand on the doorknob.

“Vicky 13 Schmidt!” She sucked in a breath when her father exited the lab, glaring. “You will march your butt back down to the lab! I’m not going to say it again!”

“No!” Vicky clenched the doorknob tighter. “You can’t make me!”

“Why are you being like this?” Her father threw his hands up. “I’m only trying to help you! That bite will scar, it’ll be permanent unless I change it out! You’ll forever be haunted by that thing that hurt you! Is it blackmailing you? Are you afraid it’ll come after you?”

“No! And that thing is my mate!” It came out as a scream, Vicky too emotional to really understand what she was saying.

Her father stopped cold in his stance, his pupils shrinking. “What did you say?”

Just then the door burst open. Vicky fell to the ground, her father already half-covering her with his body as a large figure blocked the sun out of the doorframe. “Vicky! I heard screaming and—!”

Vicky lifted her head, Scott staring down at the both of them. Everything was turning into a nightmare, croaking. “Scott.”

Scott?” Her father squawked, looking upwards at him. Vicky could feel her father quiver above her and see the sheer look of paranoia in his eyes.

Scott sheepishly smiled. “Uh, hi, Vicky’s dad.”

Chapter Text

“Scott, what are you doing?” Her words came from clenched teeth, stunned silent by the horrific moment playing out.

“I—” Was all Scott got out before her dad yelled over him.

“Stay back!” She felt her father grip her tightly, sneering towards Scott. “Get out of my house! You filthy, disgusting mutt!”

“Dad!” Vicky pushed her father away as she stumbled to her feet. He tried reaching for her but she darted over to where Scott was, embracing him in a hug. “Don’t talk to him like that!”

“Vicky!” Her father shouted. “Get away from that animal!”

“No! Scott’s my mate and I love him!” Vicky puffed her cheeks out, anger residing in her glare.

“You’ve been dating a werewolf this entire time?” Her father’s words came out like venom. “And you let it mark you?”

“Yes! Maybe I didn’t tell you because of this!” Her shouting decreased in volume, trying to keep herself steady. “Scott helped me get over my fears. I’m not afraid of werewolves anymore, dad. He’s the sweetest, most caring monster I’ve ever met in my life and I’m proud to wear his mark.”

“Aw, Vicky,” Scott’s tone was slightly awkward, but his cheeks were just as rosy as hers.

The emotions fighting for control of her father’s face were all venomous; Vicky choosing to look away and focus on Scott. “I thought you went home.”

“I was, but you told me your dad was going to change your bolts. I sat under the window because I was curious about what’d he say.” His ears were tipped with red, hugging Vicky tighter when he looked at her dad. “I uh, I meant what I said when we talked. I’ll take great care of Vicky and I’d really love to spend some time with you. I know wolves can be scary, but not all of them are bad!”

Get out of my house,” Scott’s face fell at the serious tone. “I don’t ever want to see you near my daughter again.”

Vicky felt Scott loosen his hug, her anger directed back at her father. “You’re not even giving him a chance!”

“I will never give them a chance!” Her father shakily rose to his feet, fists clenched. “They nearly killed you! Destroyed this family!”

“The only thing destroying it is you!” Vicky’s chin shook as her anger ruptured. “You talked to him over the phone! You told him you’d hold him to his word! You accepted him!”

“That was before I knew what he was! Which you lied about!”  Her father sneered. He marched over to take her hand when Vicky was lifted up and above Scott’s head. He backed away a few steps, tail in between his legs.

“Let go of my daughter!” Her father cried out.

“But Vicky is scared and sad. Can’t you hear it?” Scott whimpered. Vicky had to crouch as Scott moved through the doorway. “I’m not bad. I’m a good boy. I can help you just like I helped Vicky if—”

“If you don’t get off my property and let my daughter go I’ll blow your brains out!” Scott froze as her father continued to shout. “I never want to see you here again! Your kind is nothing but wild, unthinking animals! Go!”

She felt Scott flinch as eyes drawn upward. Gently setting her down, he squeezed her for a second, hands completely falling away to run off. She chased after him, desperation driving her just like on vacation. “Scott, no! Wait!”

Yet no pause of his gait or wagging of his tail brought him back, disappearing into the trees. She fell to her knees, the sharp pain unregistered. She felt numb all over again.

Vicky,” Her father’s voice was all it took to sharply turn back with seething in her eyes.

“I hate you!” Back on her feet, they took her towards the direction Scott had vanished. She had no hopes of catching up to Scott but she could get away from her dad. Her name was called out several times but she ignored every one, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Her running turned into somber walking when her burning muscles became too great. Her attempts to keep up with their jogging lessons never saw fruition.

Her phone was next to her ear as Scott’s voicemail wouldn’t stop answering her. “It’s me again. I’m really sorry about my dad. Did you go back home? I’m in the woods right now … looking for you. Please call me back when you get this. I’m sorry.”

His phone number came up four times when disconnecting. He could have left his phone at home, or maybe he lost it in his run. The silence was too great for Vicky, wandering aimlessly somewhere she wasn’t familiar.  

Thoughts turned to her friends; would they be able to find her? What if she ran into something while she was alone? Trepidation inched its way through her mind, eyes darting from various trees as she expected to hear a lonesome howl and a hot breath down her neck any second.

Then, the world lurched at her when her feet caught something large. Leaves crunched and scattered in her fall as Vicky propped her upper half on her elbows, looking to what she tripped over.

Brian snored loudly beneath her leg with a cloud of white sprinkled all over the forest floor. Vicky used the foot that caught him to kick him in the stomach. “Brian!”

“… Hngh?” It took a few kicks before he even began to squint his eyes. “… Hey, Vicky. What are you doing in my apartment?”

“Apartment?” Her head turned comically. “I didn’t think you were struggling that badly.”

He tiredly shrugged, seemingly resigned to his situation when awareness came. “But …” He slowly started to sit up, nearly repeating Vicky’s act. “Wait … no … I don’t live in the woods.”

Sluggishly, Brian sat up and then immediately slouched. He blinked and gave their surroundings a hard stare. A hand ran through his hair, white powder sprinkling onto his shoulders. “When did I get here? How long?”

Vicky just shrugged to then suddenly cover her mouth, gasping. “Your arm!”

Brian lifted his left arm to half of it torn to shreds along with his jacket. He furrowed his eyebrows. “Goddammit, not again.”

With a wet snap, the arm landed with a thud, blood seeping into the jacket. “I must have really been out of it.”

“Do you need some help?” Vicky had already taken his arm, minding the blood dripping out of the opening as Brian used the tree next to him to get up.

“Nah, well, maybe.”

She worried her lower lip. “I got a sewing kit and machine in my room. Maybe if we get a trampoline or jetpacks we can get in without being noticed.”

Brian didn’t ask about Vicky’s mad ramblings, just eyeing her confusingly. “I got supplies at my place. You free?”

Vicky gazed at the woods for a brief second. “Yeah, but I might need to bolt if Scott texts me.”

“That’s fine.” Brian turned to walk, Vicky following. Her turtleneck kept brushing against her bite mark, wincing at the pricks. It was like Scott was still with her with his bleeding baby blue eyes.

~

Brian’s apartment was much closer than Vicky thought. They walked down the hill together as Vicky caught Brian up on what had happened in the last 24 hours. She was able to keep her breathing and voice steady as she got through it, all the while her mind was buzzing the longer Scott took to reach her.

“Sorry to hear that,” Brian minded the glass littering the parking lot of his apartment complex, Vicky taking her time to avoid it. “You got any plans?”

“Just that I’m not going back.” Brian slowed to eye her, Vicky puffing her cheeks in defense. “He’ll just remove my mark or pull me from school.”

“I mean, if you need a place to stay I can make room.” They climbed the stained and old stone steps up to Brian’s apartment door. “But my place isn’t really … ‘livable’.”

“It can’t be that bad,” Vicky tailed after him only to be greeted with a horrible, rotting stench. Piles of unidentifiable junk, Styrofoam to-go boxes and clothes littered what should have been the living room. A coffee table had various hooka machines, boons and used needles crammed up against each other, the couch had a wild game of poker going on with a bunch of rats, and the fridge was half open with a hand sticking out.

“… Wow.”

Brian tossed his torn jacket into some random pile near the kitchen, going down the hall towards his bedroom. Vicky inched her way in, hand over her nose. “Uh, Brian?”

She pointed to the rats yet Brian didn’t even turn back before answering. “They pay rent.”

She gave the rats another curious glance, who were now throwing fists in the air. She hopped over small garbage piles as Brian stopped her before they pushed open his door. He stared through the crack with growing concern. “… The hell?”

Brian pushed in as Vicky minded her step. The bedroom was just as bad, with half the window blinds torn up and part of the window covered in duct tape. The bed looked to be the only thing not covered in grotesque objects, just the ghost that was passed out.

She had on a sexy Santa costume, which was really just a bright red bra and a mini skirt so short her thong was visible with a Santa hat lying half off the bed. A few choice bottles of peppermint schnapps and a jug reading ‘POLLY’S TOILET WINE’ were scattered on the mattress with stains that looked new.

“Polly?” She opened her eyes, rolling in bed to sleepily stare at them.

Her words were slurred. “What are you two doing in my apartment?”

Hurt flashed across Brian’s face as he sighed, tone dull. “Didn’t know you moved in.”

Polly blinked a couple of times, Brian’s words not registering. She sat up in bed, mouth open. “… Wait… I don’t live here.”

She took a moment to stretch her limbs, swinging her bare legs off the bed. Clarity came in tandem to her perky tone. “Fuuuuuck, I must have come when I was black-out drunk. Probably just mistook it for my place.”

With a firm shove, she pushed herself off the bed, not bothering to clean up her mess. “Welp, this has been fun. See you two party poopers later.”

Brian and Vicky made way for her but she never came through. She slowed as she lingered on Brian. “Lost your arm?”

“I got it,” Vicky held up the heavy limb, thankful it stopped squirting blood.

“I got it,” Brian repeated more firmly.

Her expression wasn’t convinced, making a small noise. “Come here.”

“I said I got it.”

“No, you don’t. You’re terrible at holding yourself together.” Hands on his shoulders, Polly pushed Brian deeper into the garbage dump and sat him down on the bed. “Let Dr. Polly examine you.”

Brian took to staring out the window as Polly examined the wound. She clicked her tongue. “Dude, this is pretty fucked up. Were you a chew toy for some bear? Go to some wild party?”

“I don’t know what happened.” He winced when Polly pulled a white tooth out from the wound. “I guess something mauled me while I was unconscious.”

“Rotting flesh isn’t for everyone.” Vicky stopped her pursuit into the bedroom when Polly sniffed at Brian’s hair. He shuddered for a moment, Polly leaning away. “Hold up. Is that cocaine? Who hooked you up?”

“Amira gifted it to me.”

“Amira? Shut up.” Polly let out a groan, brushing the drug out of Brian’s hair. It created a white cloud above their heads. “Uuugh, I wondered why she wanted two pounds of the stuff. She’s usually my hooka girl. Fuck, should have known it’d be going to you.”

“I wondered why it smelled like you.” Brian glanced back at her with sweet, sad eyes. “Guess I kind of lost it … thinking about you.”

The hand in his hair stopped brushing it to smooth it down. Her hand reached for his other shoulder, her eyes sharing the same reflection. “Aw, boo …”

The yip and sudden crash of Vicky into Brian’s pile of clothes ruined the moment. She squirmed and gasped as she got back up, heaving for fresh air where none was found. Polly’s laugh was too loud for this early in the morning. “Is this your first time traversing Brian’s wasteland? An extra perk about being a ghost.”

She floated back over, taking the arm from Vicky and grimaced “Eugh, you lost a huge patch of skin. Not that I don’t mind but there’s maggots in it.”

Maggots?” Vicky’s hands were quick to be brushed all over her clothes, doing a few checks of her back and legs to make sure nothing was crawling over her. Polly’s added laugh didn’t help.

“You know where the rubbing alcohol is?” Brian asked as Polly playfully shook her head.

“Duh. It’s my emergency rations when you’re all dried up.” With a little more pep, Polly floated through the wall. “Keep up, Vicky. I’m gonna need your help.”

She eyed Brian momentarily, who gave her a firm nod in response. She followed Polly as best as she could to the bathroom in time to watch her chuck the arm unceremoniously into the bathtub. She bent down and phased a hand through the cupboard, retrieving a large bottle of rubbing alcohol.

“Got a match?” Polly inquired, unscrewing the cap and dumping nearly half of the content on the rotting limb. Vicky stuck her tongue out as his gash squirmed in white as the maggots tried to find a hiding place.

“No, but I can create electricity.”

“Oh, even better.” Polly grinned at her. “Charge yourself up, baby!”

A spark was produced after a few seconds of furiously rubbing her sleeves together while Polly fished out a few Q-tips from the medicine cabinet. She held them out for Vicky to touch; the tips igniting as Polly playfully threw them onto the limb. The fire trailed from the tip all the way up his arm, engulfing it in red flames.

Polly watched the fire singe all the maggots, beaming. “Nothing like a good purge to destroy all insect life. Sorry little maggots, but you chose the wrong condos to settle in.”

Vicky politely turned her head away, finding the event unappetizing. “Done this before?”

“Loads of times. Brian always goes to the craziest places when he’s high or blackout drunk.” Polly kept an eye on the fire, turning to Vicky. “One time I found him in a garbage compressor. I hit the wrong button to try and get him out and instead he gets compressed into a garbage cube! He had to take like seven showers before he stopped smelling like trash and diapers.”

She laughed amusedly. “Honestly, I don’t know what the big guy would do without me. Probably be a pile of limbs somewhere.”

Polly’s laugh fell silent as if she were reflecting on something. Vicky turned back as Polly turned the faucet, drowning the limb and any flames that tried to stay. Retrieving the arm, Polly led the way but stopped and turned back to her before she had a chance to come in. “Go get me a hunk of flesh from the fridge. I’ll get ol’ missin’ limbs together.”

Getting to the fridge was the hard part. She had to climb on top of the counter to avoid the sea of take-out Chinese food boxes, opening the fridge with one hand while the other stabilized herself on the narrow space of counter she could crawl on. Most of the shelves were overflowing with different body parts; a hand dangled down from the top shelf while a leg was bent a little too far in to make it fit on the bottom shelf. Vicky assumed this was how her dad’s limb icebox looked too, except more orderly and not in an actual fridge.

She spotted a plate holding hunks of flesh stacked high with plastic wrap covering it. She’d managed to tenderly pull a hunk out without pulling the plate out and onto the floor, nearly losing her balance in the act. It felt slimy in her hands as she stuck her tongue out with a gross sound.

As she made her way back, she stopped near the slightly ajar door. Polly and Brian’s tones were low but she could hear them well enough.

“…It’s not like this hasn’t been easy for me either.”

“Doesn’t seem like it.”

“You think I like getting drunk off my ass and asking for my wingman when no one’s there? Hell, the sex isn’t fun anymore because I just keep thinking about you.”

“… You have?”

“Duh. You were great in bed.”

“What happened to you being done with me? All gross and green-skinned?”

“You know I was lying.”

“It still hurt.”

“… I know. You weren’t the only one.”

Her hand was already pushing on the door before she could stop herself, garnering both to look away from each other to glance at her. They sat together on the bed, Brian’s arm in her lap as his hand sat longingly close to hers.

Vicky swallowed. “Um … if you two miss each other … wouldn’t you want to try and make it work?”

“Boo, it’s not that simple,” Polly’s eyelids fell as her fingers stroked over his arm. “It’s hard for a polyandrous and a monogamous relationship to work. Maybe even incompatible.”

Vicky couldn’t swallow that pill. “But look at you two! You’re both pining for one another! If you really cared you’d try to make it work.”

Her words seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. Polly and Brian simply turned their gaze away, faces solemn. “I can’t believe this. You two are really going to let personal preferences kill this? I’ve had the forces of nature and everything stand in my way of being with Scott, but we still push through! Because we love each other! And we know that together nothing can stop us!”

Vicky,” Her anger blew away quickly as his sharp eyes connected with her vulnerable ones. “This isn’t your problem. Don’t make it one.”

Her earlier speech now felt like a temper tantrum, voice quiet. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

She moved over to hand Brian the hunk of flesh. “I … should be going. I should find Scott.”

“I bet he’s off frolicking in the woods.” Polly half-heartedly smiled. “Man, his smile sounds great right about now.”

Vicky’s heart panged, trying to force a smile. “Yeah … it does.”

Just then several knocks came from the front door. Brian sat up as Polly floated faster to it as Vicky trekked her way back through the garbage dump. Polly poked her head out from the door, body twitching only to unlock it and throw it open. “Scott! I was just thinking about you.”

“Hey, Polly,” Vicky froze in her spot at his voice, noticing the big tall oaf standing in the doorway. When he noticed her he phased through Polly, stepping on all kinds of nasty things with boxes flying from his wagging tail. “Vicky!”

She accepted the hug with gusto, burying her head into his chest as she felt his tail pat her legs. They’d only been separated for a few hours but his hug felt like years. She wormed her head up to stare at him. “Where have you been? Did you get my messages?”

“No, I went off to be sad.” Scott’s bright eyes dimmed, his tail drooping. “I’m sorry I made your dad upset. I thought I was being a good mate by wanting to protect you.”

“You were, don’t listen to what my dad says,” Vicky reassured him, feeling remnants of the earlier fight sour her mood.

“Something go down?” Polly asked, with the two staying silent. Brian had made his way over, taking Polly’s hand with the only one he had.

“I’ll explain. Good to see you, Scott.”

“Hey, Brian!” Scott’s chipper attitude returned if for just a moment. “Where’s your arm?”

Polly held the limb up playfully, waving with his other hand. “Here I am!”

“There it is!” Polly held it up in the air as Scott high-fived it.

“Shame that you need this back so soon. Could have pulled a lot of pranks with it.” Polly lowered the arm, eyeing the two mischievously. “But we’ll leave you two love birds alone.”

“See ya!” Scott shifted his attention back to Vicky when the two closed the bedroom door. His cheeriness left, voice grounded. “What are we going to do?”

Vicky smoothed her fingers over his shoulder, glaring at some junk on the ground. “I’m not going back, that’s for sure.”

“Why not?” Vicky hated how innocent he sounded. “He’s your dad.”

“He can rot for all I care. He’s nothing but a racist and an awful dad.”

“But he’s your family.”

“So? You’re my family too.” Vicky looked back up to Scott, noticing his big blue eyes and frown. “Don’t give me that look.”

“It’s not good when families fight.” Scott set Vicky back down into the junk. She winced at the squishy thing her right foot stood in, trying not to think about it. “You should go back and talk it out with your dad. I don’t want to make you angry at him because of me.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.” Vicky’s voice was sharp. “I’m not going back until he apologizes to you.”

Scott’s ears drooped, Vicky trying to keep her anger off of him. “Then where will you go?”

Her expression softened. “Well, we’re mates. I’ll just … stay with your family?”

“Really?” Vicky shouldn’t have been as surprised to hear the surprise in Scott’s voice. “We’ll live together? As mates?”

A smile worked itself free to see his tail begin to wag. His ears perked up along with his smile. “Where else did you think I’d go?”

“I dunno. There’s the woods and… um, you could have rented out a hotel…” His ignorance was too much.

She tugged on his shirt to lower his head, pecking him on the lips. “You’re silly.”

Scott’s smile turned warm and fuzzy, scooping her back up for a proper kiss. The storm felt as though it were finally parting, but Vicky knew better than to believe things were okay. She had to confront her dad sometime. A rematch was in the distance. But Vicky wasn’t going to budge from her spot.

Until he uttered those magic words, Vicky was staying a Howl.

Chapter Text

Hey guys, long time no see. Since the unveiling of the last chapter I've been working hard on this final summary chapter, so I hope you enjoy it. 

How the story would have progressed was all up in the air from here onward. I had notes on big things I wanted to hit, but things constantly kept shifting and growing longer. So while this might not be exactly detailed on what could have happened, I’ll go over the things I wanted to do:

The next chapter would have been Vicky trying to rough it out with Scott as a Howl. Coming from a life of luxury; Vicky would have had an extremely difficult time adapting. She can’t use her cards, all of which have been canceled by her Dad, she only has the clothes on her back, no charger for her phone, no cash on hand, none of her stuff, surrounded by Scott’s extremely noisy and blunt family. Vicky goes from a chipper gal to a tired, exhausted mess who starts slipping up constantly. Scott keeps urging Vicky to go home and makeup with her dad to which she refuses.

While Vicky is with Scott, his family throws a celebration of their new marriage. Vicky’s father doesn’t show up, obviously, but it tears Scott up that not all the family is there. Vicky tries to get him to not care about her dad but he refuses, saying that he won’t feel right about their relationship when things are so strained. It puts a damper on their entire day.

He offers to take her to the park one morning only to divert and take her back to her house, with Vicky being shocked he not only lied to her but that her dad is waiting. He’d taken his number off of Vicky’s phone and called to let him know he’d be bringing Vicky back. He apologies to Vicky and says he can’t give Vicky all she needs right now and that she needed to reconcile with her dad. Seeing that Scott is still trying to gain the respect of her father and looking out for her, she accepts his proposal and moves back in with the intent that she’ll change her father’s stubborn ways while she’s there.

The next year rolls around and school comes back into session. It’s clear as day that Liam and Scott are avoiding one another and that brings a lot of tension to the charismatic team, especially with what happened at the resort. Polly and Brian try to keep things light with the upcoming battle between them, which does improve the mood a bit.

Josh and the Wolfpack keep egging Scott to get his revenge on Liam for what he’d done at the resort, something Vicky catches onto and tries to stop. She’s too late, however, when a snarky remark from Liam in the cafeteria sets Scott off and into his feral form, a