Warning: this story contains an explicit sex scene.
* * *
* * *
Dwight’s shift was nearly over when a bunch of bikers rolled into the diner parking lot. He frowned a little and turned towards Kim to give her a heads-up, but found her already looking at the windows. They exchanged quick looks. These were no Pharaohs. The one percenters didn’t show up often in this part of town, but when they did, they always managed to stir trouble. Still, as long as they paid and behaved, they would be served like anyone else.
About a dozen bikers barged in and made themselves cosy in the booths to the distress of a few customers. Dwight grabbed a bunch of menus, a notepad and went out to them, so that Kim wouldn’t have to. They were all both cooks and waiters here anyway, that was the diner’s policy.
“Good afternoon, kind sirs. May I start you off with some water or coffee or any other non-alcoholic beverage?” Dwight welcomed the scary lot with a charming smile.
Luckily the bikers seemed to be in a good mood. They laughed a lot and only made a couple retarded comments about the things on the menu and about there not being alcohol, before they finally got around to ordering. And then they broke just one glass when Dwight brought their drinks. The glass wasn’t even filled anymore when that happened. So far so good, Dwight was mentally crossing his fingers. Maybe he could moderate this situation from start to finish.
“Let me get this right, you want four burgers but only one side of fries?” He arched an eyebrow at one of the bikers. The guy was blond, very tall and clean-shaven. He looked to be in his mid-twenties and was sticking out among his fellow bikers who were all clearly older and haven’t seen a razor in the last month or two, and that in the best case scenario.
“Mhm,” the biker confirmed seriously. “Not a single extra fry. I’m watching my waistline.” Having said that he burst into a toothy grin. Some of his companions laughed, while a few of the rounder ones seemed to take issue, but not enough to make a scene of it.
“Gotcha.” Dwight chuckled. “Well then gentlemen, please allow us a bit of time to cook this heap of delicious food for you. If you want to add something to the order or need anything else, please come over to the counter. We’re kind of understaffed this week, so I’ll need to keep an eye on your patties.”
Some ten minutes later the same younger biker turned up in front of the counter. “Hey, cook, a few more guys have joined us. We’ll need three more burgers, sides of fries, coke, the whole shebang.” The weight-watching blond looked even bigger now that he was standing. He seemed amicable enough, though. And pleasing to the eye. There was just so much of him… but in a good way.
“Sure thing.” Dwight quit staring at the beefcake in front of him, swirled around and grabbed three Coca Cola cans from the fridge, passing them over the counter. “Actually, a few orders are almost ready. Would you mind waiting for a sec and taking them to your buddies? Then we can get the other stuff cooking quicker, plus you’d have my undying gratitude.” Dwight grinned and turned without waiting for the guy to answer. He retrieved the fries from the fryer, dropping them on everyone’s plates, then quickly finished up with five burgers and set the orders on the counter, pleased to note that the biker was still standing there.
The blond mountain of a biker picked all the orders up skillfully and with grace, perhaps used to carrying a lot of things at once, or perhaps simply more agile than one would expect of such a big guy. In a moment he was back at the counter. “Yanno, if it makes it quicker, just hand me stuff, I’ll carry it to our table.”
“That’d be quite fantastic of you, thanks a bunch.” Dwight eyed the biker appreciatively, then set two more full plates on the counter. “More stuff including yours will be ready in a few minutes by the way.”
“No problem. Those few lucky bastards have started eating at once, you know. And it smells so good, had I stayed at the table, I’d have to kill one of them and take his portion. A bar fight is the last thing this place needs, so here I am.” He picked the plates and made another trip to the table and back.
“You know, I really appreciate when people are of this mindset.” Dwight told the guy when he came back around, even though there was still a couple of minutes till the patties would fry. “We just want everyone happy and well-fed, while possibly keeping the staff and furniture out of it. For your help, how about double cheese and bacon on the house? I mean, unless you think your waist would be in peril, but don’t worry, because I’m not adding even a single free fry.”
“Sounds good.” The sexy beefcake flashed his teeth in a smile. “I guess I’ll have to carry my bike around instead of riding it for a bit, but if the food tastes as good as it smells, it will be worth it.”
“It will be delicious.” Dwight grinned back. “And you will be tempted to come here again on your own later, you’ll see.”
Watching the big blond’s butt as he walked away with more plates a few minutes later, Dwight found himself hoping for just that.
* * *
A week later Taylor — as he had to call himself these days — sat at the counter of the small diner the Undying had dragged him to before. The food at the gang’s own joint was a stale cancerous mess one could hardly call food at all. The bikers were a smelly lot, perhaps it was the stench that had dulled their ability to taste things properly. It was therefore surprising one of them had picked this particular diner out of the vast offering of styrofoam mediocrity all around. Must have been an accident, or more likely, a part of the turf war with the Pharaohs who gladly frequented this place, but Taylor was pleased with the find.
The huge biker wolfed down his sunny side up eggs. He wasn’t sure how come most other places managed to butcher a dish so simple, and yet they normally did. These here eggs had the perfect consistency. They weren’t fried on months-old oil. And all in all, they were just right, as was the bacon, and the bread and the…
“So how’s that waist-keeping going?”
Taylor looked up to see the familiar smirking blond cook.
“Going well, in my opinion,” Taylor bragged and pulled his shirt up, revealing his sculpted abs. “Yep. It’s still there.” He let the shirt fall back down.
“Wow, yes, no extra fries for you, mister, gotta preserve that natural phenomenon.” The cook laughed. “Was that an eight-pack? You could probably sell tickets to that show. Advertise it something like… ‘The World’s Eighth Wonder!’, yeah, that would be appropriate.” The lithe blond guy was looking at him a bit strangely, but it was hard to place the expression. Anyway, he was still smiling, so it must have been a joke.
“Capitalizing on nature’s beauty would be gross and dishonorable,” Taylor said. “My father raised me better than that. I only ever boast for free.”
The cook arched an eyebrow at him now. He seemed surprised. “Nicely put. Beholding nature’s beauty is always high up on my to-do list. Pity I cannot contemplate it sufficiently while stuck at work. Who knew I’d get a glimpse of it right here. It’s my lucky day.”
“Say, then how about later today, after you’re done with work? I know a place right out of town, there’s a serene small lake, hardly any campers ever, so if you like nature, that’s a treat. A breath of fresh air to save us from this choking maze of concrete boxes.”
The cook looked openly confused for a moment, blond eyebrows going through a quizzical maneuver, but his expression quickly cleared up. “Huh I… I actually think I’d like that. But it’s going to be a couple more hours till I’m off. We could probably use some of that time to get to know each other a bit before we, you know, go somewhere together. I’m Dwight.” He extended a hand to the biker over the counter.
“Taylor.” The biker shook his hand. “A pleasure to meet another aficionado of the outdoors.”
The look of puzzlement on the cook’s face never went away.
* * *
A small voice in Dwight’s head repeatedly screamed that it was not a good idea to go to the lake in the woods with a one percenter, and a huge one like that, no matter how cute and strangely eloquent he seemed. Despite exchanging some more sentences at the diner earlier today, he was painfully aware he didn’t actually know this guy. Taylor had lured him out on this trip with the strangest pick-up lines ever, and Dwight had always been way too adventurous for his own good, so he accepted and now he would have to face the music.
These kind of bikers were a real nasty lot, they did bad things to people like him. For all Dwight knew he could end up dead come nightfall. But oh well, he should have thought about that earlier. Now they had already hit the road, and he could as well try to embrace this handsome beefcake, instead of holding onto the grab rails. It was safer to hold onto the rider anyway. Cosier too. He wrapped both arms around Taylor’s famous waist.
“See?” The biker yelled back at him against the wind. “Had I eaten just a bit more, you wouldn’t be able to hold on.”
Dwight was instantly relieved. If going to the ‘serene small lake’ was some kind of metaphor or this guy was just pretending to be kind of gay to mess with him, while actually intending to draw him out into a remote place and murder him later today, at least he would die entertained.
* * *
The lake was really there.
And it was as still and picturesque as advertised. The surface of the water was smooth as glass. Trees crowded the banks with only a few spots where the edge of the water was accessible. It felt almost surreal that something this pristine could be found so close to the city, and that Dwight had never found it before.
The biker took a deep breath and stretched.
“Here we are! Now we can contemplate the lake as long as we desire. There’s also a neat brook not far from here if you prefer flowing water.”
“It’s beautiful here.” Dwight felt a bit more at ease. But they were alone, and he still wasn’t sure where this was going. In his biker gear Taylor did not strike him as someone who appreciated lakes, brooks and trees. Or someone who could be able to express himself the way Taylor did. There was something odd about this guy, a sense of misplacement and wild genuity. Sure, Taylor could break him in half if he wanted, but despite being intimidated, Dwight had a good feeling about him. He dropped on the grass next to a pine tree and patted the spot beside him.
The biker sat down next to him. “I thought I’d go look for some berries, but I guess this close to the city they’d be inedible anyway.” Taylor sighed. “At least we’ll get to watch the sun set into a horizon that isn’t rooftops.” The guy picked up a pinecone and turned it in his hands, then he closed his eyes and seemed to just take in the fresh air and the quiet of the woods around them. Or perhaps he was preparing to kill and drown Dwight. Who knew?
Dwight decided to trust him but remained wary. Nothing horrible happened for a solid few minutes, so after a while, he broke the silence. “You know, I haven’t been out of the city for months now, feels like I’ve been wasting the summer away. How do you even know this place? Excuse me for saying but it just… doesn’t seem somewhere bikers go.”
Taylor winced a little. “I’ve only been with them for a couple of weeks. I’m not sure I’ll endure more than a month. They’re smelly and boring too. Now that we’re here, I realize that I’d much rather spend my days outside of the city altogether, but not on those polluted lifeless highways, ergh.”
Dwight was looking at him with open curiosity now. “You’re quite full of surprises. I would have never guessed you for an actual nature lover. Earlier today you described the city as a maze of concrete boxes. Is that really how you feel?”
“I… feel like that too. A lot. Everyday. So… thanks for taking me out here.” He put his hand in the grass next to Taylor’s, and when the man didn’t react in any way, he moved it a bit closer until their fingers touched. A risky move, but he was brave like that.
“No problem…” Taylor looked down at their hands and raised an eyebrow. “You’re welcome I guess…” He nodded and proceeded to do nothing about it, looking kind of clueless.
Dwight raised an eyebrow back at him. It seemed he would need some time to figure this guy out. Surely this was the strangest date, or the strangest prelude to being murdered he’d ever attended. He smiled at the guy.
Taylor smiled back at him.
They sat there, sometimes in silence, sometimes chatting about hiking, about New Coalport’s parks, travel and the habits of birds and animals. It was uncanny how much Taylor knew about nature, it was almost like talking to a personification of National Geographic, but Taylor claimed he didn’t know what that was.
They watched the sunset paint the water gold, orange and red, and as it began growing dark, they set out to roam the woods. Despite the dusk, they did manage to find a few wild strawberries. And even though they tasted pretty mediocre, and Taylor claimed that he could always taste the fumes inside them, the find was still exciting. As the hours passed, Dwight began feeling a little bit uneasy again but blamed it on the nightfall rather than on Taylor’s ominously tall shape beside him. To make sure it was not Taylor that scared him, Dwight put his hand in the biker’s. And the big guy let it stay there as they walked together through the woods, the twigs barely making any sound under their feet.
They came back to the lake again. As it grew fully dark and colder, Dwight couldn’t help but shiver a little. Seeing that, Taylor proposed they head back and gallantly offered Dwight his leather jacket. It was way too big for the cook, but it was very warm from being on Taylor and protected him well from the night air, as Taylor drove them back into the maze of dirty, neon-flooded streets. The smaller man hugged him all the way until they reached the doorstep of Dwight’s apartment building.
“How about we do this again sometime?” Taylor proposed eagerly. “Maybe on the weekend? We could go further away, maybe even hike.”
“I’d love that.” Dwight agreed, as he hopped off the bike — safe and sound — and began climbing the front steps. Whatever they’d had today was… not quite a date. At least Taylor did not seem to see it that way for now, but he also did not seem to mind holding hands, or Dwight holding onto him on the bike. It was strange but even though Dwight couldn’t say he figured the big guy out quite yet, he knew he wanted more of whatever this was. It felt like being beside a wild animal that knew it was caged and wanted him to release it. Would it hurt him if it got out? Dwight wasn’t sure, but he felt excited to see that day and find out. Why was he even having these thoughts…? He didn’t know, but he lingered on the stairs. “Do you want my number, or will you just drop by the diner before the weekend?”
“I don’t like phones. I’ll just drop by. See you, Dwight!”
Amused, Dwight waved him goodbye. He had no idea what he just got himself into, but it seemed it was gonna be fun.
* * *
It didn’t take a long time for Dwight to know for sure that Taylor was not at all what Dwight had been afraid he could be. The friendly blond mountain of a man would take him to the woods, to national parks, and all kinds of other remote locations — often carrying his motorbike between the trees or across winding mossy paths, careful not to get it caught on tree trunks or otherwise disturb the nature — and instead of murdering Dwight there, he showed him hidden landmarks and told him stories. Yes, stories. Some of them sounded quite plausible and pertained to whatever area they were exploring, while others were bizarre and clearly made-up. Like the one where Taylor and his father lived for some years in a hut in the woods and hunted as wolves, now that was quite the fairy tale material. And Dwight wasn’t even sure he had heard that one right, but did not ask for a clarification, because Taylor hardly gave him a moment to interject once the topic of wolves had been established.
As it turned out, Taylor was really, really invested in wolves.
It was all totally weird, but at the same time Dwight had never clicked quite like this with anyone before. They would run around the forest, swim in the lakes, quietly watch wild animals for hours. They would hold hands, and sometimes, as they sat under a tree, Dwight would drift asleep on Taylor’s shoulder.
Three weeks into their acquaintance they were already breaking into the city’s zoo by night together. It was apparently something that Taylor had done before, although as he admitted, never with company. What prompted their crazy venture was a couple of beers and the fact that according to Taylor, there had been talk of installing cameras in the zoo, so it could be the last moment to easily visit. And by visit, he meant, jump into the wolf pen.
Despite his initial reservations, Dwight followed Taylor right into that madness, and not only did they survive the encounter, but they ended up prancing and cuddling and howling with the wolves, the latter of which they kept doing even as they were coming back now. They scored weird looks from the occasional passersby still haunting the streets, but they didn’t care. It was Saturday, the night was still sort of young, and Dwight had made up his mind.
“How about you come by my place, stay the night?”
“Sure,” Taylor agreed, as eagerly as ever.
* * *
Taylor bowed as he walked through the door to Dwight’s apartment. It wasn’t small, it was that Taylor was too big, had alway been, would always be. He was used to that. And Dwight’s place was very cosy otherwise. It was tidy and decorated with various natural elements. Dry reeds in a vase here, collages of autumn leaves there, images of nature everywhere he looked. With strange happiness, he recognized some small mementos that Dwight had picked up during their recent trips. Taylor strongly approved of all this.
Dwight smiled at him encouragingly, as he caught him actively looking around, and Taylor reflected that expression. It felt good to spend time with this little cook. He was a kindred soul. Someone who finally not just understood but also shared his yearning for the natural world.
Dwight offered him a drink and then noted they both had to shower or the whole flat would smell like wolves. Taylor wouldn’t mind that, but he understood. He told Dwight to go first and stayed behind admiring the hand-made decor and studying the photographs of Dwight’s family that hung on the walls.
When Taylor came out of the shower the flat was dark except for a dim warm light flowing out into the corridor from one of the rooms. Taylor ventured in that direction, puzzled when the open door led him into the bedroom. Strings of toned-down colorful lights were installed on the walls, intermingled with roots, branches and more dry leaves. Dwight was sitting on the large bed in just his pajama pants. When Taylor entered the room, he bounced up to his feet, and walked a few springy steps towards him over the carpet, taking him by the hands. The small blond cook looked him in the eyes, eyebrows raised and smiling, then pulled him towards the bed.
Taylor followed, one eyebrow raised, confused about where that was going. But Dwight kept leading him forward, and so he followed. After a little slip, an ‘oops’, and a chuckle, Dwight managed to climb up onto the bed backwards. From up there, he grinned at him mischievously, as he guided one of Taylor’s hands to rest on his butt and deposited the other around his waist. Taylor was patiently waiting for some sort of explanation, but instead Dwight cupped his face and… he kissed him.
Taylor stared back at him. His hand gripped Dwight’s arse, and for a moment he leaned into the kiss, mind going blank, sensations overflowing. The small guy had such nice firm buttocks, his dainty blond beard tickled pleasantly, and his mouth was so soft and warm and teasing, Taylor wanted to punch his teeth out and fuck it bloody. The thought made him recoil from the kiss and stare at Dwight in shock. This was Dwight. His friend. He wasn’t going to mutilate and rape his friend. Taylor shook his head slowly, wide-eyed.
“No…” he said, still shaken by his own impulse.
Dwight stood on the bed, balancing on his heels as he looked at him playfully. “Aw, have I goofed up and misread you? Don’t you want to have some fun together?”
“I don’t want to hurt you.” Taylor shook his head again. “You’re a good friend, and I like and respect you.”
Dwight smiled. “Oh, I know you like me. And it’s fine to like me this way too. I’ve sure been wanting this for a while, and I thought you might have too…” Dwight bit his lip, and arched an eyebrow at Taylor.
Taylor looked openly distressed and disturbed. Did Dwight really want to die? “Are you sure?”
The smaller man was clearly amused instead. “Yes. Absolutely.” He opened his arms invitingly. “Come on, wolfie. Don’t be shy.”
Taylor hesitated. But Dwight seemed to have made up his mind. And his own body was starting to ache for action. Taylor threw himself on Dwight, slamming him into the bed that creaked dangerously under them. He kissed Dwight, licking his willing mouth and his bare throat, his chest, his mouth again. He grabbed handfuls of Dwight’s pajamas and pulled them down. He unzipped and slid down his own jeans and briefs, he pinned Dwight against the bed, kissing him again. His hands gripped the smaller body, ready to hold Dwight down, to restrain his hands at the first signs of struggle.
But Dwight didn’t try to struggle. He chuckled, and he lapped at Taylor’s jaw, only encouraging him further. He kissed him, gently biting his lips. His eyes were gleaming with excitement. Pulling away from one of the kisses, he held a finger to Taylor’s lips. “Hold on a sec, wolfie. We need some stuff.” He flipped over to his side and started to get to his knees, trying to move closer towards the nightstand.
Taylor stared at him for a second, then grabbed him and pulled him towards himself. Dwight laughed and crawled away again. Taylor gaped, baffled and unsure how to proceed. His prey never laughed. He pulled Dwight back again, gentler this time. Dwight just kept giggling. Taylor looked at him with a mix of exasperation and sadness. Why did he have to kill him? It was a pity. Dwight was so fun to be around. On the third attempt Taylor allowed the smaller man to finally reach the bedside table and retrieve whatever he wanted, then he pulled him back towards himself again.
“Let’s see this weapon of mass destruction.” To his surprise Dwight got a grip on his erection and slid a condom on it. Taylor blinked at him in utter confusion. Nothing made sense anymore. Dwight smeared a generous amount of lube on his cock, giggling at Taylor’s expression. “And now we’re all set to continue!” Dwight pecked him on the lips and fell back down with his back on the bed. Then after a second’s consideration, he flipped onto his stomach instead, getting up on his fours and wiggling his butt at Taylor. He looked over his shoulder and waggled his eyebrows. “Come and get some, you wild thing.”
Taylor did. In a moment he was on top of Dwight, in a heartbeat he was inside him, one of his hands gripping Dwight’s hip, while the other landed on the sheets next to Dwight’s head.
“Hey hey, wolfie, ouch, slow down, be gentle with me.” Dwight growled, scoldingly. When that gave Taylor a small pause, he added. “I still have to work half a shift tomorrow, let’s play wild but not that wild, okay?”
Taylor blinked rapidly, trying to make sense of the situation. He was going to fuck and kill Dwight. And Dwight had seemed to be ok with that. But now he said he was going back to work… Taylor shook his head. But his dick was already inside Dwight, and damn, Dwight’s ass was so deliciously tight and hot. Taylor bit his lips, unsure what to do other than… thrust of course. He held himself back, burying himself into Dwight so damn slowly he wanted to growl. In fact he did.
“Is this slow enough for you, morsel?” He bowed down and bit Dwight’s shoulder. Just enough to mark, to hurt just a little.
Dwight moaned sweetly. “Ahh… fuck… It’s pretty good now, yes… Just let me… let me adjust for a moment… shit, you’re huge.” He thrust back against Taylor a couple of times.
Taylor snarled. “Is this all you can take? All you want?”
The smaller man gripped the comforter tighter and snorted, ever amused. “Well, I don’t know, what else do you have to offer?”
“Nine wolf cubs… you can bear by me…” Taylor panted into his ear.
“Nine… wolf cubs you say?” Dwight laughed into the pillow he pulled towards him. “Alright, I’ll take those.”
Taylor grinned, confused, but delighted. “So you shall have them.” He fucked Dwight harder, but still kept himself in check. “You will bear my seed and my offspring, your hot wanton flesh will serve that purpose well… Ah, how it craves to be penetrated, your body begs for more, my sweet little thing…” Taylor kissed Dwight’s neck, lapped at his ear and purred. “Say my name.”
“No, that’s not my name. Not… really.” Sinfjǫtli sighed with delight.
“What… is your name then?” Dwight moaned, face flushed and eyes closed.
The wolf man told him.
“Sin…fjǫtli…” Dwight breathed, the words ragged with passion.
“Yes-s-s…” The bigger guy grunted as he buried inside Dwight again and again. “Yes, say it again, beg me for mercy… or for more…” he added with some puzzlement, but also a sliver of contentment.
And Dwight said it again and again and again. He wanted no mercy, he just begged for more.
They moved all across the bed, shagging like animals in heat. With Dwight crawling a bit away just to tease Sinfjǫtli, and the man grabbing him by the thighs and pulling him close again or pursuing him to thrust back inside him, to claim him and to couple and breed with Dwight like a wolf would with its bitch. Sinfjǫtli was rough, but mindful enough not to injure, keeping his instincts at bay even as they screamed for him to break Dwight’s arms, his legs, his ribs, and tear him open… Instead Sinfjǫtli just bit and licked and scratched and fucked him wild and then gentle, whenever he remembered himself. By the time they were done, Dwight’s face was flushed red, his hair was a mess, and he was covered with bite-marks, but he still laughed, and he kissed and called out his true name. He called it out one last time, his body tensing.
Sinfjǫtli’s mind was going numb with pleasure. When he came to his senses Dwight was still breathing heavily below him, grinning.
Taylor withdrew, suddenly aware of how wrong all this was. Dwight was alive. He was happy. None of it made sense. He shook his head again. “You can’t tell anyone,” he said urgently. “No one can know.”
“Shush, shush, wolfie.” Dwight dropped down on his back, then stretched, leisurely, looking exhausted, but utterly satisfied. “This is wa-a-ay too good to share with anyone else. I want you all for myself. Come over here.” He outstretched his arms towards Taylor and wiggled his fingers a bit.
Taylor watched him for a moment, then slowly lay down on top of Dwight, trapping the smaller guy deep in the mattress. Noticing Dwight had some trouble breathing like that, Taylor shifted his weight onto his elbows and knees, not wanting to crush his… partner… Taylor’s face grew long. He had no idea what he’d got himself into.
“Aw, my wolfie.” Dwight lifted himself a bit and kissed him sweetly. “My Sinfjǫtli.”
Sinfjǫtli furrowed his eyebrows and stared back at him in confusion.
“But fuck, next time we do it, I need you to go a little bit tamer on my butt. I don’t sit much at work but if I try tomorrow, oh boy.” Dwight chuckled with slight reprimand and pecked Taylor on the nose.
Next time… There wasn’t supposed to be a next time. But there was going to be one now. Sinfjǫtli felt a strange thrill the likes of which he couldn’t remember experiencing for centuries.
“Alright…” he muttered and kissed Dwight on the lips. “I will take care… next time.”
“Sweet.” Dwight murmured and took the kiss back. As their tongues moved against each other lazily, he ran both palms over the sides of Taylor’s face and through his hair. Finally he dropped back on the bed, his eyes drifting closed. “Oh man this was so good I’m just dozing off. Lie down and hug me, big guy.” He turned his back on Sinfjǫtli and curled up. “I’m feeling totally knocked out… but you can scoot back to the shower if you wanna. Though I don’t mind you all sticky. But… if you do… please unplug the lights on the way back to bed, I can’t be… bothered to get up. Hrr…”
“Sh. I’ll stay.”
Sinfjǫtli pulled Dwight close, letting the smaller guy nestle against him. This was strange, and he had no idea where it could be going. But it was new, and it felt like the beginning of something magical. Something he had never had before.
“Sleep well, Dwight,” Sinfjǫtli whispered into the smaller guy’s ear.
“Night night… Sinfjǫtli.”
* * *
It was morning, and his prey was alive and cooking breakfast.
“So, Sinfjǫtli, is it?” Dwight asked as he flipped over another pancake. “That sounds kinda European. Is it Swedish? Finnish?”
“It’s Old Norse.”
“Huh, okay. Do you know what it means?”
“Yes, it means yellow spot.”
“Yellow spot?” Dwight looked amused.
“Yes. When I was a wolf, I used to have a yellow spot on my side.”
The cook chuckled. “So which generation immigrant are you? I’m like who knows which. My family came from Ireland back in the nineteenth century. Time of the Great Famine.”
Taylor was taking long to reply, so Dwight turned to him.
“Some generation, I don’t know.”
“I see. Well, I guess we’re all immigrants here. Like you know, made from stardust and stuff.” He looked back at the pan briefly, then turned back to Taylor. “So, any other secret names that I should be aware of?”
“Oh, that sounds nice too. I’m afraid I’m kinda boring with mine. You can call me Dwi.”
Dwight stacked another pancake on Taylor’s plate. The big guy hadn’t even touched his breakfast yet.
“So, are you waiting till there’s a tower? How many levels are we going for? Ten? Twenty? Challenge accepted.” Dwight laughed, then arched an eyebrow at Taylor, growing more serious. “No but really, what’s up?”
Taylor looked at him. He had been looking for a long time. Ever since he woke up and his first thought was to make things the way they should be and kill the man sleeping in his arms. Ever since Dwight opened his eyes and kissed him good morning, clearly not knowing just how close he had come to being like all the others before him, and how close he still was to sharing their fate. Torn apart and dead, in the ground, at the bottom of the bay or burnt into ashes and mixed into concrete. Taylor had watched the smaller man go to the shower and come back to dress, make conversation, joke and bustle happily in the kitchen. All as if this was normal somehow. As if nothing was going to happen. As if there was a different way this could go. But it couldn’t. Could it?
Taylor was silent, staring gloomily at the pancakes on his plate.
Dwight perched on the stool opposite to him. His kitchen was arranged like a miniature diner of sorts, only the counter was small and placed in the center, and there were two stools on both sides of it. “What is it, big guy? Is it about yesterday? You wanna talk it out or something? Because if that’s it, then we totally should.” Dwight touched Taylor’s hand, and tilted his head, looking Taylor in the eyes. “Communication is key, and all that jazz.”
Taylor took his hand away and looked aside. He exhaled loudly through his nose, but made no other sound.
“C’mon. You’re clearly unsure about something. Tell me. I like you a whole damn lot, wolfie. I wanna make this work.”
“This can’t work.”
“Okay, that’s a start. Tell me why you think it can’t, and I’ll tell you why it absolutely can.”
Taylor sighed and looked up at him with a sour expression. “I can’t do this. It’s… “ he hesitated, frowned and looked away. “If my father found out, we’d both be dead.”
Dwight raised his eyebrows. “Wow, are you sure it’s that bad? Gotta admit, coming from you that sounds kinda spooky. I mean, I don’t know your dad, except… from like that story you told me where he put a snake in the sack of flour and then had you make bread… which now that I think of it, does actually sound quite bad… But you seem pretty damn independent to me. And you clearly enjoyed it last night. It was like… releasing a caged wolf back into the wild. I’d dare say it’s in your nature to swing this way, I felt that even before, and I was right. If you try to stay in the closet forever, you’re just gonna hurt yourself, wolfie.”
Taylor hid his face in his hands and leaned heavily on the counter. He breathed deeply for a moment and then fanned his fingers, looking at Dwight with exasperation. “I am not… a pansy.” He sighed. “Not feminine. I like to fuck a guy, but I am not… a… gay… Damn it.” He hid his face in his hands again. “I like you, Dwight,” he murmured into his hands. “But I can’t be this way.”
Dwight smiled a little. “Okay, so let’s start with the feminine part because that’s like the craziest thing I’ve heard all week. Just… what? You’re the butchest, manliest guy I’ve seen in a not-on-the-TV context, you’re the ultimate beefcake, and fucking a guy doesn’t make you any less of a macho man. Like yeah okay, I get it, it could make you bi or gay or whatever if anyone cared to label you, but who’s doing that? I sure am not.” Dwight shook his head. “Plus if anyone ever does, you really don’t strike me as someone who has any reason to be worried about it. I am not eight feet tall, and I still don’t give a shit what others think, never did, never will. Yeah, my friends and parents support me, and I know that not everyone is so lucky like that. But even if your dad would disapprove, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up to him and be yourself when you want to.” He poked Taylor on the forehead with a finger. “You’re you, I’m me, we’re both adults. We’ve explored some nature together, and now we’ve also explored some other aspects of it, and it was the best, wildest sex I’ve ever had. I loved it.” He grinned. “And I think you also loved it. I’m not saying think of yourself as gay from now on. I’m just saying, don’t be afraid to express yourself. I’m saying, let’s do it again, and again, and then one more time, and then let’s talk about it and see how it goes. Plus if I recall, we’ve already agreed to keep it secret anyway.” Dwight spread his arms, like it really wasn’t a big deal. Then he watched Taylor, hoping for some response.
Taylor sighed again. A big unsettled part of him said he should just kill Dwight after all. Break his neck. Cut him into small pieces and take what’s left to be incinerated. It was a tempting option. It would solve this once and for all. What Dwight said was confusing, like pieces of one puzzle someone tried to jam into gaps of an entirely different one. It didn’t fit, it couldn’t fit. It wasn’t just what others thought. It was ergi, it was weakness, it was shameful. He’d dishonored and humiliated Dwight, and was now severely tempted to keep doing so habitually. Without meaning dishonor or disrespect and while treating Dwight as an equal — nobody in their right mind did something like that. If his father found out… He should have just killed Dwight… Taylor looked into those caring blue eyes watching him so attentively and shrunk under that gaze.
No, he couldn’t kill Dwight. Dwight was his friend. He was fun, energetic, brave and adventurous, more so than many burlier, manlier men who did not share his shameful inclinations. Somehow Dwight wanted men to penetrate him, and yet he was anything but passive in every other way imaginable. It was paradoxical, but true. He was supposed to despise Dwight, but instead they got along so well… Sinfjǫtli groaned and hid his face in his hands for the final time.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know if I can do this. I need to think on it,” he said honestly.
“Sure.” Dwight smiled kind of sadly. “I don’t mean to bully you into a relationship, you know. Sorry if I sound that way. It’s your life, you’re the boss. I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page. What I’m saying is: I really, really like you, Sinfjǫtli, and if you want more of this, I’m game. But it is all entirely up to you. Now, please, eat your damn pancakes.”
Taylor grabbed his hand and looked him in the eyes. Uncertain, conflicted and also a little sad. “I like you too. I really do. I… I just need time.”
Dwight looked back at him with complete confidence and a spark of challenge in his eyes. “Pancakes, big guy. They ain’t got much time left in them. Unlike the other thing, which can wait. Take all the time you need with that, seriously. I mean, I’ve only known you for a little while but I can already tell for sure that I’ve never felt so in-tune with another guy. I think this could be the start of something wild and remarkable, so do get back to me on this!” Dwight shook his finger at him.
Taylor said nothing and just nodded. Then he pierced several pancakes with his fork and cut out a many-layered piece. He stuffed it into his mouth and chewed.
Dwight smiled and dug into his own fair share of pancakes.
* * *
For a week there was no sign of Taylor. Then he turned up at the diner one day and awkwardly suggested they could go pet some wolves at the zoo again.
And as the blond mountain of a man sat on the ground, roughhousing a wolf, Dwight found that he couldn’t get more than nods or half-syllable replies out of him anymore. Every now and then Sinfjǫtli glanced at him with unease and often hid his face in the fur of his grey-white lupine companion. It was the strangest response to a dating proposal that Dwight had ever seen. It pretty much felt like the big guy was scared of the topic that hung in the air, and found wrestling with the wolves therapeutic somehow.
Dwight suspected that this might have actually been the case. ”Let me guess. You have been coming here to vent over this past week?”
Dwight sighed. “Well that’s one way to deal with things… What will you do when they install the cameras?”
“I’ll throw rocks at them. Or bribe the night shift guards.” Taylor shrugged. The wolf he was wrestling was playfully biting his bicep, and Taylor bowed down and bit the wolf as well. The animal made a sound of displeasure, and wriggled in his grip.
That was the first two-sentencer that came out of Taylor’s mouth since the invite to the zoo. Dwight smiled a little. “Honestly I was expecting more of a ‘I’ll find a pack of wolves in the wild’ kinda resolution.”
“I did consider going to some national park, but all of them are too far. Not sustainable in the long-term.” Taylor flipped his wolf over, scratching it roughly on the sides, which caused even more biting and whining. Another wolf walked over to them and licked Taylor’s face. They were clearly well-used to him at this point. Taylor made an effort of keeping his eyes only on the wolves, but he did glance at Dwight once.
“I missed you,” he said quickly. “How have you been?”
Dwight couldn’t help but be amused. That was exactly the kind of weirdly truthful response that he had been hoping to hear. “Me? I’ve been okay. Work as per usual. It’s you I’ve been worried about. Missed seeing you. You don’t have to avoid me, you know. Did you get to think about whatever it was you wanted to think about?”
Taylor nodded. Then he said nothing for a while. Finally, with his hand in the mouth of the playful wolf, he said, “I don’t think I can do it… I mean be more than friends. Let’s just stay friends, if that’s alright with you.” He finally looked at Dwight, and there was clear longing in that look, and something else, perhaps worry, perhaps sadness.
“Sure.” Dwight said without any hesitation. “If that’s what you prefer, then let’s roll with that. Will we still go on trips together sometimes?”
“Absolutely.” Taylor grinned, for the first time that evening. Then his expression softened, and he looked at Dwight fondly. “Anytime you’re free, I’ll take you wherever you want to go.”
“Okay, sounds good. So are you gonna be dropping by the diner every now and then? I mean, you know where I live, so that’s also an option. No strings attached.”
“Whichever is more convenient for you.”
“Either as long as I know in advance when we’re going. I mean, I could be busy sometimes.” A wolf sat down next to Dwight, and he reached out towards it carefully, scoring a cautious sniff. He brushed his fingers through the fur on its neck, and it let him.
“Of course,” Taylor agreed. “I won’t inconvenience you.”
And he didn’t. He came for Dwight often, taking him to all sorts of places just like before. But this time before climbing onto the bike behind him for the first time since they had sex, Dwight asked him if he really could hold onto Taylor without making him uncomfortable. All he got in response was a bewildered ‘sure’.
It was back to how it had been. Or almost. Because sometimes Dwight would catch Taylor staring at him longingly, then pretend he didn’t. But he did not act on it, and always insisted he just wanted to stay friends.
Three more weeks passed that way.
* * *
“Who is he?” Taylor asked in a furious, urgent whisper, leaning onto the counter. Even bowed forward like this he towered over Dwight.
They’ve barely opened and there was no one in the diner yet. Dwight was wiping the glasses he just re-washed. Whoever washed them yesterday must have been already half asleep. He arched an eyebrow at Taylor, unperturbed by his sudden appearance. “Good morning to you as well. Care to elaborate?”
“The man you took home last night.”
“Ah, that’s Jack, a guy I’m dating. Why are you asking, and what’s up with that tone?”
Taylor breathed heavily, he stood straight and walked away, further into the diner, then he returned, just as angry as before. “You’re sleeping with another man,” Taylor whispered angrily, but quietly enough so that Dwight’s co-worker on the far side of the room would not hear him.
Dwight snorted, with a good deal of amusement. “Duh? What did you expect? You told me we’re not doing this, you and I, so I’ve waited for almost a month to see if maybe you would change your mind. You didn’t, so I’ve moved on with my private life.”
Taylor looked even more furious. He leaned on the counter, then stood straight, paced about, then leaned on the counter again, then shook his fists in frustration. Finally, he dropped on the seat in front of Dwight, looking like he was swallowing a gallon of lemons all in one go. He looked at the cook miserably. “Can you not do that?”
“Not sleep with other guys? Like in, stay lonely forever, you mean? No, sorry. Can’t do, wolfie.”
“But you’re not lonely. We are friends.”
Dwight gave him a funny look. “Sure we are friends. But just that, as per your clear request. I’m not getting any younger, and I want to find someone to settle down with. And until I find the one, you’ll be seeing me with other guys. I’m sorry, but you have to get used to that.”
Taylor was devastated. He looked around himself as if searching for a source of support and appeared to find none. He rested his elbows on the counter and held his head in his hands, much like he did the morning after they had sex. He looked at Dwight with a pained expression. “Why are you doing this to yourself? Letting men have you? It’s wrong, but you’re dear to me, and I can’t despise you. But I can’t do that to you, because it would be dishonor to you, but you do that with others anyway…”
Dwight frowned. He set another glass back down, dropped the cloth, and leaned against the counter, looking Taylor in the eyes. “Listen. You have some very skewed idea of how these things work. It’s not wrong. And I don’t ‘let other men have me’. I just like to have sex with guys of my choosing, on my terms. It’s a mutual arrangement. Based on what you said before I thought you could relate, but I see I assumed too much. What’s your problem, wolfie? What do you not understand?”
“A lot of things…” Taylor sighed, escaping Dwight’s judging gaze behind his own fingers. “You. Me. The world. Right and wrong. Nothing makes sense anymore. My father once killed me for showing off and almost dying, and I still had an easier time back then.”
Dwight reached out and moved Sinfjǫtli’s hand off of his face until the man was looking at him again. “It sure sounds like there’s a lot to unpack here. But I can help you with that. I love unpacking things together. So listen up, here’s the deal. I’m throwing a Halloween party tomorrow night. A gay Halloween party. At my parents’ place. If you want to be with me, like actually be with me – show up, and I’m gonna dump Jack in a heartbeat. If you don’t come, I’m gonna read that as a final no, and I will keep dating other people. Then, if it really makes you uncomfortable, we can stop seeing each other altogether.”
The big guy gave him the most puppy eyed look Dwight had ever seen.
The dainty cook sighed. “You don’t have to come out to anyone there. Just come over. Wear a mask if you want to. Here’s something to help you gather the courage.” Dwght leaned over again and pecked him on the cheek. “I hope to see you there. Preferably a bit in advance.” He grinned. “We could always use some help moving the furniture.”
Ps. In case you’re wondering what’s up with the 9 wolf cubs, it’s all based on research, like lots of other stuff in this book! XD
And here’s some sketches: