As he slowly pulled out of sleep's cradle, Callum tried to roll over but the arm wrapped over his waist didn't let him move very far. He yawned as quietly as he could and managed to squirm and twist onto his back without waking the shifter fast asleep next to him.
Rubbing his eyes, Callum lifted his head up to try and peek at Mason's clock, his night vision easily letting him read the hands in the darkness of 3:09 AM. He settled back, turning his head to study his sleeping boyfriend.
Boyfriend. Even three months later, it was hard to believe that he spent more nights at Mason's apartment than his own during the week. And they didn't even have sex most of the time. They'd cuddle while watching a TV show or movie, talk, cook, eat, kiss, fall asleep; just be in each other's company.
Callum rubbed at his neck, just above his left collarbone. There was nothing there, the wound had healed quickly from his own altered genetics and Mason's saliva, but no paranormal could mistake the fact that he was marked, promised to a single shifter. He carried Mason's scent just as Mason carried his, no matter what they wore or how much they showered and caked themselves with soaps, shampoo, or deodorant.
Marking was just a half step away from mating. The only differences were that it didn't tie souls together and needed renewing. If a full blooded vampire marked a human, the human would still age. It wasn't a permanent bond. It faded with time and distance.
Last night, they had renewed their marks. The condom was tossed in a trashcan Mason had brought in next to the bed a while ago, they were both naked under the covers, and Callum still felt the subtle ache in his lower back.
Callum rubbed at the spot again and debated getting out of bed. He was thirsty and slightly peckish - not for blood because Mason kept him well sated in that regard - and he knew there was some leftover cake in the fridge from Evelyn and Georgia's second engagement party. The first one was for family, of which Evelyn had plenty, more than enough to split between herself and Georgia, whose had passed long ago. The second one was with friends, hosted by Mason at Haggard. It was more energetic and casual than the first one. A number of Evelyn's teenaged cousins had enjoyed themselves at it far more than at the family gathering.
Sighing, he traced Mason's softened features with his eyes. While he managed to get out of bed about 60% of the time without waking him, he still felt bad when he did. Mason knew full well about Callum's inability to sleep for more than five hours on average, but Callum still felt guilty when he accidentally ended up waking Mason on the nights they spent together. His stupid wolf would insist on waking up too and Callum more or less had to force him to stay in bed just long enough for him to fall back asleep.
Callum took the risk and gently began to slowly move Mason's arm from around him. A frown marred Mason's face for a moment but he didn't wake. Callum managed to move the limb just enough for him to slide off the bed, setting it lightly down on the pillow. Mason frowned again and shifted towards Callum side of the bed, gripping his pillow and nuzzling it before his face relaxed again and light snores filled the room.
Callum chuckled noiselessly and pulled the covers back up to Mason's shoulders, kissing the bare skin gently before pulling on yesterday's underwear and sneaking out of the bedroom.
He grabbed a glass and filled it with water before sipping at it as he opened the fridge. His eyes scanned the contents, the cans of blood a recent addition although the number had greatly decreased from his usual intake of it. Since him and Mason had gotten together, less of Callum's income went to preserved blood. He barely had any at his apartment.
His eyes skipped over the three cans and he found the box that contained the remaining cake. Callum pulled it out of the fridge and set it on the counter, reaching overhead to grab a small plate and then grabbing a small fork from the drawer at his waist. There were four slices left and Callum licked his lips at the sight of the sugar coated strawberries laid atop of the buttercream frosting that coated the sponge vanilla cake. It was delicious and Callum was secretly happy that Mason was the one to keep the leftovers.
He moved one slice onto his plate and put the box back in the fridge, pulling up a bar stool to sit at the island and have his cake and water.
The cake was cold and sweet, slightly hard from being in the fridge but it didn't matter. It still tasted fantastic and Callum was going to find out where Mason had ordered the cake from.
He ate slowly, savoring each bite and the quietness around him. When he was halfway through the treat, he heard shuffling and looked up to see Mason drowsily exiting the bedroom wearing only his boxers.
"Why are you awake?" Callum sighed. "It's like four in the morning."
Mason didn't answer, only stumbled his sleepy way to the kitchen and draped himself over Callum's back, hugging the halfie around his neck and nuzzling his face into Callum's neck.
"Didn' wanna sleep alone," Mason finally replied, resting his chin on Callum's shoulder after he was done scenting and rubbing his face into Callum's skin. "Ahh," he continued, opening his mouth expectantly.
Callum rolled his eyes as he forked a bit of his cake and fed Mason who growled happily, the vibrations of his chest travelling to Callum.
Callum finished his cake that way, a few bites for him and a few to Mason who was happily holding him from behind, half asleep. When all that remained were a few crumbs and bits of smeared frosting, Mason picked up the plate and Callum's empty glass, disposing them in the sink before quickly returning to wrap himself around the halfie.
"You're extra clingy this morning," Callum commented, dragging his fingers through Mason's hair. He had turned around in the bar stool when Mason put away the dishes so Mason was standing between his legs, hugging him from the front with his cheek resting on Callum's shoulder.
"Mhmm. Lunar eclipse next week," he replied.
Callum cocked his head to the side curiously, "They're special?"
Mason nodded into his skin, "Shifters find it harder to resist instincts and fae have ceremonies. Leo, Bennett, Celeste and I aren't going to be at Haggard that night."
"So...your wolf instincts involve constant bodily contact?" Callum chuckled as Mason hugged him tighter.
"That's a result of it. The wolf instinct part is that my wolf recognizes you as our mate and wants you as close as possible. Although I will admit that I'm not fighting against him all that much."
"You said the eclipse was next week. Even with full moons you don't feel it until the day before or of."
"Eclipses are much stronger. Even experienced shifters can't resist like they can during a regular full moon. And it's a total eclipse so it's going to be even worse, or better, depending on how you look at it."
Callum blushed as he felt Mason's smirk. Full moons resulted in an incredibly insatiable Mason.
Mason sighed wistfully, "Too bad we won't get to experience it together. I won't be coming home until the effects wear down."
"Why?" Callum asked, frowning. Truthfully, he was looking forward to that night now. If full moons were incredible, he couldn't imagine an eclipse with Mason.
"I won't be able to resist mating with you."
Callum was well aware of the fact that the only thing kept them in that threshold was him. He knew Mason loved him and he loved Mason, but he couldn't help but want to wait and get to know the shifter more. In the past three months he had learned a great sum about him and it made him realize how little he actually knew. Yet Mason knew so much about him from being observant in high school. Mason had even gotten him to scan pages of his comic and start uploading them online, being encouraging and supportive. He was the first person to read Callum's work in progress, even helping out by taking on the role of beta reader, pointing out areas that sounded off, correcting grammar, offering suggestions, and showering him with affectionate and sincere praises.
Mason did so much for him and Callum felt like he wasn't up to par. He knew he was the only one that thought that, but he couldn't help it. Even though he too wanted more than anything to be able to truly call Mason his, he didn't want to feel this imbalance when they did finally bond.
"Hey." Mason's voice snapped him out of his internal self loathing. Mason lifted his head from Callum's shoulder and pressed his lips to Callum's, moving his hands to hold the halfie's face and gently angle it so their mouths aligned.
Callum closed his eyes and kissed his wolf back, arms going around his torso. The sweetness of the cake and strawberries had taken away their morning breath and they kissed languidly, When Mason finally pulled back, his eyes were a slightly darker shade of their usual blue.
"What have I told you about this 'overthinking until you make yourself feel horrible' habit of yours?" Mason asked him, pretending to be stern.
"Not to," Callum replied like a child that had been scolded for taking a cookie from the cookie jar without permission.
"Right. And what have I said about mating?"
Callum blushed at that, not wanting to repeat what Mason had practically drilled into his head whenever the topic came up.
"Callum, love," Mason urged. The firm line of his mouth was twitching.
"You don't care about anything so long as we're happy," Callum muttered.
"And?" Mason wasn't going to let him exclude the last part.
Callum pouted for a moment before surrendering, "And we cuddle and kiss and you can tell everyone and their mother's mother that we're in love and together."
Mason grinned, hugging Callum and resting their foreheads together, "Yup. I love you and you love me. And that's all that matters."
Callum sighed and ducked his face to Mason's neck. "You're too good to me," he muttered, kissing Mason's neck in a show of affectionate gratitude.
"You're just too hard on yourself," Mason responded with a kiss to Callum's temple.
They stayed like that, Mason standing and Callum sitting, arms wrapped around one another, for about three seconds before Mason added, "And speaking of being hard..."
Callum snorted and rolled his eyes, pulling back and giving Mason a less than impressed stare, "Really?"
Mason smirked boyishly, cocking one shoulder, "It's about four am, too early for breakfast?"
"We just ate cake," Callum said by way of a response.
Callum found that a pleasing idea and nodded. Mason kissed Callum once more before releasing him to set about making the halfie's tea and his own coffee. Both men were loyal to their breakfast drink of choice and quickly learned how to make their lover's the way they liked it.
Callum stayed seated and watched Mason move about. He had tried to get up and help, but Mason growled while pouting, ordering Callum to keep his butt in the bar stool.
Watching Mason move about in his kitchen, Callum was reminded of his own and how little he used it. He hardly used it prior to his relationship with Mason and now that he was barely even in his apartment, his kitchen was gathering dust and cobwebs. He would have to return there soon and take care of it. His rent for the month was almost due and now that he thought about it, his lease was almost up as well.
Callum's face had expressed his thoughts and when Mason turned around with their drinks, he tutted and set the mugs on the island, pulling up a bar stool and sitting, facing Callum.
"Now what're you thinking about?" he asked, sliding Callum's mug towards him.
"Nothing, I haven't been to my apartment much. My rent's due soon and I need to renew my lease," Callum replied, bringing his drink to his lips. He inhaled deeply before sipping at the sweet and warm liquid.
Mason hummed, sipping at his own drink. He looked over the rim and set and said, "You know...I've been kind of wondering when would be the best time to ask you to move in with me."
It took Callum a second to process the sentence before he was choking on a mouthful of tea. He spluttered and gasped, coughing the liquid out of his lungs with Mason standing to attention and rubbing his back, apologizing over and over. When his lungs were under control, Callum could only gasp, "What?"
"So I guess that time would not be now," Mason muttered, rubbing Callum's back firmly once more before grabbing some napkins for him. "I want us to live together," he reiterated. "We practically already do and the days you go back to your apartment are the worst."
Mason had a point. Callum felt indescribably lonely when he spent the night at his apartment for one reason or another, and he did practically already live with Mason. His apartment was more or less a storage area.
Nibbling his bottom lip, Callum looked to Mason who was trying and failing to not look so incredibly hopeful. Callum smiled softly and leaned forward to kiss Mason's lips that had been just barely pursed into a pleading pout.
"Are you sure?" Callum asked upon pulling back so their lips barely brushed together.
"Of course I am. But I don't want to push you into anything," Mason replied, hands reaching up to frame Callum's face.
"You're not pushing me into anything, Mason. If anything, you keep letting me stall," Callum replied. Before Mason could reply, Callum added with a small grin, "When can I officially move in?"
Mason had Callum up off his feet, crushed to his chest to the point of barely being able to breath, and kissing every inch of skin he could reach within seconds after shouting an exuberant 'Immediately!'
When the shifter finally calmed enough to let Callum's feet reunite with the floor, he was all broad grin and shining eyes.
Callum shook his head and placed a chaste, loving kiss to his lover's grin. The two spent the rest of the morning celebrating the impending and much welcomed change.
A/N: A bonus chapter to celebrate my graduation from high school (literally like an hour ago). Both Callum and I have a big move a head of us - granted, his is probably the funner one.