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Shades Of Cool

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The place honest-to-god smelled.

Stepping off the ferry, Zach’s olfactories were assaulted with the offensive stench of sweaty tourists and their futile attempts to cover up such a smell. It didn't help that he had spent the past hour sitting next to an alpha who was absolutely caked in scent enhancing deodorant, which just made him smell like musty pickles, and a younger brother who was moments away from spontaneously combusting from excitement. It felt like he was fighting a two front war, with wrangling Gray back into his seat ever so often, and fending off the rather suggestive and unwanted comments pickle boy kept making.

Regardless of how he smelled, he was very adamant on learning about Zach's life, asking questions like, “What's a little omega like you doing at Jurassic World? Is that noisy pup yours?” And Zach's favorite, “Got an alpha back home to take care of you?”

Zach scoffed, and replied with a dry, “Why don't you fuck off and take care of yourself.”

But none of that mattered. The man had left the ferry and joined the mass of tourists at the docks. The Mitchell brothers lagged behind the crowd, with Zach cautiously scanning the diverse mix of people, while Gray gawked and soaked in every bit of dino memorabilia the docks had to offer.

If it were up to him, he'd let Gray roam free while Zach kept a watchful eye. Gray lived for this kind of stuff and was excited entire weeks before hopping on the ferry to Jurassic World. But aunt Claire had emailed Zach (which was a strange way to contact your nephew) that they needed to look for her assistant, Zara, because she was tied up with, “Park business I cannot disclose at this time.” Which, translation, just meant, “I don't have time for you.”

Not that it hurt. His aunt was always an enigma, sending his mother postcards that were definitely written by an assistant. He could only recall seeing his aunt once when he was a child. Gray was just born, and Zach hadn't presented yet, so the Mitchell brothers knew their aunt as much as she knew them.

Zach's arm was nothing but a leash, with Gray tugging his sleeve in every direction possible with an innocent, “it's too hot for that hoodie, hurry up Zach!”

He wanted to quip back something witty and sharp just to have the brotherly banter he so adored with his brother. But lingering in the crowd ahead was a woman dressed more for a board meeting rather than an amusement park. Park-goers avoided her like the plague due to the rotten look on her face.

Anybody that pissed must be working for his aunt.

Zach eventually mustered enough strength to reclaim control of his sleeve, and tugged Gray in the direction of his aunt's assistant. As the brothers approached, she let the sunglasses resting on her nose slide a bit, just enough to give the boys a quick up and down look before sliding them back up.

“You must be my boss’ nephews,” She noted as the brothers were eventually close enough to have a proper conversation. She smelled of coffee, exhaustion and omega, and Zach winced a bit because yeah he's been there too.

“You must be our babysitter,” Zach let slip. Zara snorted a bit, taking off her glasses. And Zach was utterly embarrassed. Yeah, he may be eighteen and just growing out of his angsty teen phase, but he’s definitely not the person to give snide remarks to people who don't deserve them. Pickle boy was an ass, but this girl is just doing her job.

“Ah shit, sorry. It's just-”

“It's fine,” she waved it off. “I've had a long day too.” With that, she gave a little 'follow me’ motion.

Seeing Jurassic World commercials on T.V is one thing, but it sure is different walking amidst it all. It's breezier than expected, which is a weird thing to notice. It's also larger… way larger than he expected. The bustling shopping district goes on for miles it seems, with petting zoos around every corner.

And oh yeah, fucking dinosaurs.

The ones in the shopping district are tiny, cute creatures that are the equivalent of prehistoric reptilian puppies. Gray squeals and yanks on his brothers sleeve because , “ZACH THEY’RE SO CUTE I HAVE TO TOUCH THEM,” while Zach reminds him that, “we have to unpack our bags at the hotel, then you can ride them or whatever.”

The three of them walk for a little while, hotel nowhere in sight. Zach loves his brother and all, but having a child attempt to snatch your whole arm away while blurting everything he knows about dinosaurs kinda gets a teensy-weensy bit overwhelming, and Zach needs some down time at the hotel.

“Are we getting any closer?” Zach tried speaking above the roaring energy of the park, but has to repeat himself a second time to let Zara know he's talking.

“Almost there. Don't worry, I wanna get out of the heat too.” She responds, continuing to push through the crowded street of people. ‘It’s not the heat’ Zach wanted to say.

“You're aunt didn't tell me how old you guys were, aren't you a little too old to need someone to supervise you?” Zara commented.

A breathy sigh heaved from his lips, and Zara turns, a little amused by his reaction, “I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know how old we are.”

Zara tutted her tongue. “So, she's the distant type?”

“A whole country kind of distant.”

“Yeesh!” Zara giggled before reaching into her pocket to pull out her phone, swiping a couple times, and returning it. “Well, it looks like you'll be having dinner with her tonight, maybe you could catch up with her then?”

Zach gave an eye roll, “What, did she get thirty minutes off her schedule?”

“Fifteen,” Zara corrected. “Keep this on the down low, but your aunt is kind of a bitch for not clearing her schedule enough to even say hi.”

“Swearing is bad,” Gray chimes in and the two omegas share a laugh.

“My lips are sealed,” Zach returned. “But hey, at least you won't be fetching coffee for anyone while you’re ‘watching’ us.”

“Thank the gods.”

Zach and Zara share banter back and forth while they make their way to the hotel. If Zara lived back in the States, the two would definitely be friends. They bond quickly over their shared disdain for Zach's aunt, and Zach can already feel a friendship growing, can pick out the fresh lavender scent of new friend coming from Zara.

Eventually, they found their way into a colossal glass building that Zach is surprised he didn't notice back at the docks because this place is enormous. Inside is sleek, silver, and modernly pretentious. The building is cold on the inside, and Zara huffs as she takes off her pearly suit jacket to get cooler. The two of them head to the front desk while Gray plays with a holographic strand of DNA with bulbous cartoon eyes.

After what seemed like hours of walking, the three are finally through the door to the where the Mitchell brothers would be staying for a couple weeks.

“Well shit, your aunt went all out, didn't she?” Zara floats about the room, eyeing the kitchenette. “I've worked here for two years, and I'm still in a dingy staff apartment.”

The boys’ luggage sits in the middle of the room, with a quaint little card that Zach doesn't even bother to read as he flops on bed in the other side of the room.

“What time is the dinner?” Zach's speech is muffled by the pillows he lays his face in, and Gray chuckles.

“Around seven, we’ve got a couple of hours to kill.”

Zach rolls over on his back, “I don't mean to sound all cold, because you're actually pretty cool, but we?”

Zara winces, “yeah, sorry. It's shitty, but your aunt said she needed me there to take her calls and emails and stuff like that so she can give you that Fifteen minutes of time. If you want, I could sit at another table-”

“Nah, it's fine,” Zach said. “She's trying, and you being there might make it less awkward.”

“If you say so.”

“ZACH!” Gray bleated. “Can we go to the petting zoo now?!”

Zach wants to sink into the mattress, to dissolve into the sheets and rest. He sighs, meeting Zara's eyes and can scent a tinge of understanding through Gray's lemony citrus of excitement.

“Hey, Gray right? Why don't you let your brother rest for a bit, and I'll take you out.”

Gray shoots a look at his brother, “Can I?”

Zach entertains the thought. Yeah, it's very irresponsible to just drop his brother off with a woman he's only just met. But she already has that friendly scent that radiates he'll be safe, and it was her job in the first place to look after kids, even though Zach is anything but. Gray, however, is a kid. If their aunt can trust Zara to look after the nephews she barely knew, Zach could let Gray wander a little under Zara's eye.

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“YES!” Gray fistbumps the air and clings to Zara's sleeve. “You smell nice.” Zara smiles and pats the mop of messy curls atop Gray's head.

Zach mouths a quick 'thank you’ before Zara heads out with Gray, and she winks in response.

“Okay, you ready to ride a baby Triceratops?”

Gray leaps out the door.

Chapter Text

Zach was sort of punk rock. He loved a good guitar riff, heavy drums, and angsty vocals. The music was more of a statement than a genre. Omegas were supposed to be submissive, designed to be docile. And with that, came years of oppression. Zach was fortunate to have presented during the midst of the omega civil rights movement. Unfortunate, however, was that some people did not change with the times. So Zach’s affinity towards the punk movement was the perfect 'fuck you’ towards those who believed his secondary gender defined him.

However, having Hayley Williams shout in your ear really wasn't the most peaceful way to wake up. Zach startled with a jump, wrangling himself from a nest of pillows and blankets to turn off his stupid alarm. Once the only thing left was a dull ringing sensation in his ears, he checked the time. It was 5:30, and Zach already wished he could sleep through the dinner later that night.

Zach pulled his phone from its charger, and started for the bathroom (maybe or maybe not tripping on a stray pillow on his way there). Once through the door, he was a little more than awestruck. The tiling was incredibly ornate, and almost everything was carved from marble in various earthy tones. Zach definitely felt like the cheapest thing in the room, and he was pretty sure his frowning reflection in the mirror devalued the entire thing by half.

He felt awkward and out of place.

Not only that, but his little power nap had him looking worse off than before. Yeah, he felt refreshed, but his under eye bags were slightly puffier, and his hair was several shades of gross. He also slept in his clothes, and everything was wrinkled. Zach had never experienced any of the wild nights his drunkard, teenaged peers have, but he looked absolutely ravaged.

Zach new for a fact his aunt was very high maintenance, had heard many stories from his mother's childhood to confirm this, and was pretty sure if Claire saw him in his current state, she would most likely have a stroke.

He had a good chunk of time before Zara and Gray would return to take him to the dreaded dinner, so he decided to freshen up with a shower. The tile in the shower was freezing underneath his feet, but that soon changed as hot water steamed up the entire space. He washed his hair and body with a scentless soap he brought from home. He chose scentless for two reasons. He did not really feel the need to broadcast his scent to others, and he was quite happy with how he smelled in the first place.

Toweled off and dry, he changed into another set of clothes consisting of a baggy hoodie and dark jeans. He would have brought dressier clothes, but he refused to dress to impress. He's here to hopefully fix the relationship between his aunt and mother, not to look nice.

There was a quiet beep that came from the door leaving the hotel room, followed by the citrusy excitement of his brother. Zara trailed close behind Gray as they entered, and if it were possible, she looked and smelled more exhausted than before.

“Oh, you're up!” Zara attempted a smile, but flinched a little when Gray barreled between them and launched himself at Zach.

“Oh my God Zach it was so much fun I got to ride a Triceratops she was so nice her name was Emil-”

Zach gave him a comforting squeeze, “looks like you had fun.”

“Lots.” Zara chimed in. “Do you mind if I use your bathroom? I wanna look professional in front of your aunt.”

Zach nodded, “of course.”

Zara heaved a large sigh, thanked him, and moseyed into the bathroom to do whatever she needed.

A moment passed before Gray wandered over to the mini-fridge, grabbed a bottle of water that had to cost at least ten dollars, and chugged it down.

“Slow down there buddy, don't need you drowning on me.”

“S’not drowning,” Gray managed after a large gulp. “Isn't it too hot for that hoodie?”

Zach replied with an eye roll. He had a love-hate relationship with Gray's curious nature. Loved it because his brother was always starry-eyed, learning new things. Hated it because he was prone to asking questions with difficult answers.

“I want to wear it,” Zach eventually answered. “And you haven't presented, you wouldn't understand.”

“I hate when you say that,” Gray frowned, putting down his water. “Maybe I want to understand.”

damn this kid is too mature.’ Zach thought. Gray is an old soul, and far too intelligent for his age.

“...I'm omega and you're not, I'm gonna leave it at that,” Zach gave. He wants to tell him that it's because he didn't like the wandering eyes of unmated, arrogant alphas. But he kept it quiet, because he didn't need his brother worrying over things like that.

The door to the bathroom opened, and out came Zara, hair curling gently and her makeup retouched. “Alright boys, ready to face the music?”

“Ready as we’ll ever be.”

 

Gray was right, maybe it was a little too hot for the hoodie. The sun might have been setting, but there was no longer a breeze, which made everything feel stuffy and uncomfortable. One perk of being omega, however, was that his body ran cooler than betas or alphas. The only place of respite would be the air conditioning during the dinner.

The three entered a building on main street named Colossal Cantina. Zach couldn't help but let out a snort at the choice of font on the sign, which was far too fancy and intricate to read without studying the damn thing. The insides of the restaurant were Spanish themed, and was packed to the brim with tourists and families.

A line was formed inside the venue, and Zach panicked a little because it wouldn't look good on Zara's behalf if her boss’ nephews were late to their dinner. But Zara bypassed the line entirely, giving sympathetic smiles and one particularly nervous, “excuse me” to an angry beta father. Once she was at the front of the line, The hostess’ eyes bulged a bit. “Oh lord, Ms. Dearing is in back, follow me.”

As they follow the hostess, Zach scented something unpleasant. He scents the sour tang of pickles. He tried to convince himself that somebody in the restaurant just really loved pickles, but he caught the eyes of pickle boy himself, sitting in a booth with two other men, staring at Zach. The alpha had the audacity to wink as they walked by, so Zach flipped him the bird in return.

They round a corner to a more private section of the restaurant, and there sat Claire, talking quite angrily with someone on the phone. Once Claire caught sight of her assistant and nephews, her expression softened, and she hung up.

Gray was the first to greet her. He ran to her before she could stand from her seat and latched himself to her side. “Hey aunt Claire! It's so nice to meet you!”

Her voice was crisp, and clear as she mumbled, “You too,” into Gray's hair.

Zara took a seat beside her boss while Gray sat on the other side of the table. Zach stood rather awkwardly as he evaluated his aunt. When the scent of family hit his nose, he teared up slightly. Not because he was sad. No not at all.

He was furious.

She abandoned you’ the most primal part of his omega hindbrain told him. ‘ How dare she smell like family.

The thought was a little irrational, but he didn't feel his emotions any less.

He took a seat next to his brother, wanting to sink into the hardwood of the chair.

“Hello, Zach,” Claire tried with a smile. “You’ve both grown so much since the last time I saw you.”

“I was a baby!” Said Gray. “You’re prettier than I imagined.”

Claire’s smile shifts slightly, her pearly white teeth hidden behind her lips. “Does your mom not have any pictures of me?”

Before Zach can stop himself, the words, “not any family pictures.” Slip, and his aunt adjusts her shoulders, taken back slightly by the comment. By now, Zach's agitation is palpable, and he's pretty sure anybody can scent it in the air.

A waitress came by, and they lull their conversation in favor of ordering drinks. Zach ordered iced tea with lemon in hopes he can use the fruit to mask the scent of anger in the air. He truly doesn't want to be mean towards his aunt, it's his hindbrain and hormones at the moment that aren't thinking straight.

“You’re omega,” Claire tried Zach again in hopes to cut the awkward silence. “You look good.”

At this point, Zach can scent the alpha status radiating from his aunt. She’s probably feeling just as sensitive as Zach (if not, she's better at controlling it). She most likely is feeling sorry for herself, with not being there for her family. So Zach tried to lighten up. The lemon also works, masking the remnants of anger in the air.

“Thank you,” Zach smiled back, and there is relief in the group.

“Karen- your mother didn't tell me you presented.”

“It's nothing important, really.” Zach tried with a smile. But his omega hindbrain still felt uneasy.

Claire sighed, “God, it's been too long.”

Another moment of silence passed

“Um…” Claire started. “I forgot to tell my assistant, but I did end up clearing my schedule. I could take you both anywhere after dinner, if you would like.”

Zara celebrated silently in her seat as Zach gave her a sly wink.

“Also, another thing,” Claire fidgets a bit. “I hate to ruin dinner, but I invited one of my colleagues to chit-chat over our future velociraptor exhibit. Hope that doesn't bother you.”

'You couldn't fucking wait?’ Was the first thing that came to mind. But Zach calms himself, he doesn't want to ruin this because his mother would be devastated. He rimmed his glass with more lemon as he said, “that's fine.” They do have after the dinner to reconnect still.

Gray, at the mention of velociraptors, begins to gush over them, thankfully capturing the attention of Claire. With Gray blabbing and Claire listening, Zara was able to give Zach a sympathetic smile. Zach returned the smile with a shrug and chewed on his lip.

The dinner wasn't a total flop, but they haven't even ordered their meals, and Zach is beyond anxious over what could happen between now and later.

It was only a matter of time before something eventually did happen.

It all began after they ordered their meals. It was subtle at first, the scent of alpha. Zach knew what an alpha smelled like, but this was different. A beautiful mix of tanned leather and fresh soil after rainfall. It was almost dizzying.

Zach kicked Zara's foot underneath the table and stage-whispered, “Do you smell that?”

She furrowed her brows in confusion, taking a small sip from her glass of water. “Smell what?”

Left confused, and maybe a little turned on, Zach messed with the lemon in his drink once more to distract himself. Ever since he had presented, Zach had scented a fair share of alphas who smelled more than delicious. But never pursued anything. But this scent just smelled so right. It sent his hindbrain absolutely crazy.

“Oh, there you are Mr.Grady,” Zach heard his aunt say. He turned in his seat, and there was the origin of the scent.

The man's appearance screamed alpha. He was tall, easily over six foot, and sun-kissed tan. His gait was prowling and predatory, and for a moment, the man's eyes bore into Zach's. The man stared long and hard as he approached the table. The alpha was wearing a work-worn henley that hung low around his neck, sharing a tantalizing glimpse of the thicket of hair on the man's broad chest. Zach swore he could see the man's nostrils flair ever so slightly. Was he scenting him? Zach no doubt must of reeked of arousal. To avoid embarrassment, he spun around and squeezed the hell out of the lemon rind to mask the scent of anything scandalous in the air.

“Mr.Grady is my father, you know that Claire,” The alphas voice was low and gruff when he reached the table. To make matters worse for Zach, Mr.Grady swiped an unoccupied seat from a family eating adjacent to them, and plopped the seat at the end of the table… right next to Zach.

“Sorry, Owen,” His aunt spoke his name with a kind venom reserved for ex-lovers, and Zach cringed at the thought of this alpha getting with his aunt.

Owen was no longer staring Zach down, but his nostrils continued to flair ever so slightly. The alpha scented something. Regardless of his hindbrain and its scandalous messages involving the man, Zach couldn't quite tell if he wanted to be the one being scented. However, being this close to the man, couldn't help but slow his breathing and take deep, heavy inhales of the alphas heady scent.

At this point, Zach was unaware of his own staring. He was unconsciously looking right at Owen, admiring his tawny brown hair, the low brows that rested above green eyes, the scruff that softened the alphas strong jaw, and ridiculously thick arms.

Zara must have noticed Zach undressing Owen with his eyes, and kicked him from underneath the table. He snapped out of his trance for a bit, catching the knowing glance of his new friend, who bit her lip to suppress a grin as she twirled the ice in her drink.

“These your nephews?” Owen asked, catching Zach's eyes once more.

“I'm Gray!” His brother practically yelled. “And that's my brother Zach, my aunt said you work with the Velociraptors?”

The man laughed low and slow, reaching over the table to shake his brothers hand, which Gray used two of his own the shake Owens with childish delight. He then went for Zach's hand, and he hesitates a moment before taking it in his own.

The sensation he felt was electric.

The alphas hand engulfed Zach's with rough, calloused fingers. The shake was firm and brief, but sent pleasing tingles up his arm and down his spine. He wanted to take the man's hand and nuzzle into it, which was weird. Zach's hindbrain went wild at the contact.

Thoughts of highschool biology crept their way into his rational brain. He remembered lessons involving the explanation of the secondary genders and their biological components, and the phenomenon known as the true mate. Yeah, humans created mate pairs with those they fancied and cared for. But by chance, someone may come across another whose biology is perfectly compatible with their own, and it sends the hindbrain wild.

It all started to make sense. The scent Zara couldn't smell, Zach's sudden wantonness, and the reaction to physical contact.

Shit, this man was his mate.

Zach pinched himself in hopes of distracting himself enough to get through the dinner.

“You're right Gray, I’m the Velociraptor trainer.” Owen spoke, and Zach couldn't help but shiver at the mention of Gray's name. It was so stupid. No, Gray is Zach's brother, not his pup. But the omega in Zach is lazy and satisfied that his mate even acknowledged a family pup.

Owen had to have felt the same way around Zach, it's in their biology. However, the alpha hid his reaction quite well, only giving subtle glances to Zach. Zach on the other hand, was sliding lower in his seat minute by minute, trying to hide from the overwhelming scent of the alpha sitting next to him, hoping that he doesn't embarrass himself.

The meal continued, with Owen and Claire taking up most of the conversation as they rambled over work related stuff. Zara worked away on her phone, managing her boss’ emails while Gray interjected himself into his aunt's conversation whenever dinosaurs were mentioned. Zach sat, and chastised himself over and over again. Never in a million years did he think that he’d react the way he did. He hated when alphas stared at him, he's a person and not a slab of meat! But Owen had reduced him to a drooling omega, and he didn't want that to happen again. Zach quite liked being in control of his thoughts.

“Zach,” His aunt called for his attention, and he jumps just a little. He felt rude for not talking for a while. “How’s your mother handling the divorce? It must be rough with-”

Well, that’s a way to get him talking.

Zach growled, actually growled at his aunt to shut her up. But it was too late, Gray whipped his head around to face Zach, bouncy curls following the movement. “What? Mom and dad are getting a divorce?”

The tears that welled in his brothers eyes made his blood boil. Zach was certain there were hot coals in his gut.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Zach spat. It's easy for him to say, almost like blinking, just something that needed to be done. “Why would even bring that up in front of Gray?”

Zach knew his parents were splitting up. The reason they're were sent here was to hopefully fix the relationship between Claire and their mother. But didn't quite put it behind his mother and father to finalize the divorce papers while Gray was out of the house, and tell him when they got home. Their mother told Zach that she wanted to be the one to tell her youngest son, so Zach kept quiet. But this was unacceptable. How dare this woman who falsely smelled of family hurt his brother.

Zara’s eyes were as wide as saucers as she watched the feuding family while Owen kept to himself.

“Well I thought-”

“Well whatever you thought was wrong. Fuck you, seriously, fuck you!” Zach's face was red hot, and his words are even hotter, being spit with absolute vitriol. “You know, my mom sent us here to fix whatever was going on between you two. But now I see why she doesn't talk with you.”

“I try-”

Try?” Zach scoffed. “That's fucking hilarious! You call maybe once a year But that's it, you only call! And maybe for half an hour, if that. My mom didn't even tell you when I presented. Probably because she doesn't care about what you think at all.”

Claire crossed her arms. The scent of pure rage was in the air, and Zach was choking on it as tears fell from his eyes. Claire's face was red, and her brows were furrowed, she was obviously hurt as well.

“Tell me, how old am I?”

Claire was silent.

By then, they were creating quite the scene, with a good majority of the families watching the drama unfold.

“Well isn't that perfect!” Zach threw his arms up. He doesn't even care that his future mate is sitting right besides him, because Zach is too furious to give a shit. “You don't try at all. You're so fucking distant! You know, my mom wanted to be the one to tell my brother. But oh well I guess, he gets to hear the news from his estranged aunt who he didn't even know what she looked like not even an hour ago. That is beyond inappropriate to bring up in front of a child. But I don't blame you. Your head is so far up your ass, you don't even know how to talk around kids!”

Claire bared her teeth and let out a low growl, “You don't know shit, I’m doing my best. You know, my sister could call me too!”

Zach wanted to throw his lemon at her, or better yet, his chair. “Fuck that. How many assistants does she have to call to even get to you? And maybe you forgot. But she has a family she's taking care of. You know nothing about family.”

His aunt stood from her seat, quick and abrupt, throwing the napkin that was on her lap onto her plate. “You're wrong,” She growled, menacingly pointing a neatly manicured finger at him, and stormed away. The clack of her heels could be heard as she walked out of the restaurant.

Zach faced Gray, who was sobbing with big, snotty, heaving breaths.

“I better- uh… follow your aunt. I'll talk to you later, Zach.” Zara stumbled out, getting out of her seat to follow her boss. She left, but not without giving Zach's shoulder a small, but comforting rub.

Zach went to console his brother, but he scooted from his seat. “I ha- have to go t-to the bathroom,” Gray sobbed out. Zach knew it was a lie, his brother just didn't want to be under the scrutiny of people he didn't know. He left his seat, and sulked away to a bathroom to cry in a stall.

Left at the table was Zach and Owen. Zach took it upon himself to lay his head down on the table, and hide in his arms as he silently wept.

“Look, kid-”

“Just fuck off, not right now.” Zach cut Owen off. A small part of his heart ached when he said that. Essentially, he just rejected his alpha, his mate.

“Listen.” The alpha's voice was almost a purr. He was trying to comfort Zach. But if anything, it just made Zach feel worse. “You need to calm down and get your brother. I'll take you back to wherever you're staying.”

'Okay, that's fair.’ Zach thought. It took him a moment to stop the steady stream of tears that fell from his eyes. But he eventually sat up, no longer hiding in his arms. The restaurant had reverted back to its original hum of chatter, which is a little relieving.

Owen reached over, and took one of Zach's hands in his, running soothing circles over the back of his knuckles with the pad of his thumb. “There's a lot we need to talk about.”

Zach nodded in response.

“It might not mean much,” Owen started. “But from what your aunt told me earlier, she was excited to see you and your-”

Zach yanked his hand from Owens soft grip, “Save it. What, are you fucking her?” He instantly regretted the words as they escaped his lips. He was just so confused. A lot had happened over the dinner, and it all happened too quickly.

Owen didn't respond. His eyes flickered away from Zach's for a moment, clueing him in on what he wished he didn't know.

'He is fucking my aunt.” Zach concluded with a breathy sigh. Of course Owen is, it's all fucking wonderful.

“You should go get your brother. I'll meet you outside.” And with that, Owen was up from his seat, lingering his eyes on Zach for just a moment before heading for the door.

Before Zach went to get his brother, he found a waiter and asked if he could leave the tables bill on a tab for his aunt or something, and the waiter did exactly that.

It was then time to find and console his brother. then have his future mate, who was having an affair with his aunt, walk them back their hotel room.

Dinner was officially a flop.