Callum ended his shift feeling rather glum. Mason had already left when he returned from his break and Callum did his best to stop worrying needlessly over the shifter. When asked about his mood, he played it off as being tired and lethargic due to not having fresh blood in a while. None of them were experts at vampire physiology so he got away with the excuse rather easily despite his inability to lie believably. Although, when he thought about it, he still felt really full and more vitalized after drinking Mason’s blood. Usually the buzz died down and he felt normal, well, as normal as a halfie vampire could feel, after a couple hours but Mason’s blood ran through his system like he was on an extended adrenaline rush.
Callum walked down the street in a daze with a subtle frown on his face. He was still trying to convince himself that he didn’t care about Mason and his weird mood swing. That he was totally fine with Mason more or less ignoring him. That it didn’t matter that Mason had growled at him threateningly.
It had been two days!
How did he go from hating him to being… worried about him? Callum had to keep reminding himself that Mason was the reason high school was torture for three and a half years. But whenever he tried that point of view, he recalled how Mason had said that he was only a dick to Callum because he was a stupid teenager in love. Well, he was still stupid and in love, just a grown ass man now. Or did he not love Callum anymore? Or was this whole “I love you” thing really a just a giant, immature, clichéd prank?
It all made Callum’s head hurt. His life had never had so much drama before. Well, it had, but being half turned and this whole mess with Mason were on completely different ends of the spectrum.
Callum sighed and waited for the pedestrian crossing light to turn green. He wasn’t paying attention to anything and so he yelped when a hand wrapped around his arm.
A man scowled at Callum but he was pulled away before he could be on the receiving end of a lecture on blasphemy or whatever.
Callum was pulled into the nearby alley and his heart rate spiked, the situation being far too familiar.
“Let me go!” he screamed, thrashing. He couldn’t hear anything other than his heart pounding away in his ears, throbbing. His eyes were screwed shut and he writhed and tried to punch his attacker but he kept hitting air. He couldn’t bring himself to open his eyes.
“Let me go! Fucking let go!” he continued to scream.
The hand let go of his arm but only for a moment. In seconds, Callum was pulled flush against something warm and firm and arms went around his shaking body. One hand rubbed circles into his back under his bag and another pet his head. A second heartbeat pounded rhythmically in his ear, much slower and less erratic than his own, but not exactly calm either. Hushed words that he couldn’t decipher met his ears and he felt his panic die down from the new sensations. His breathing slowed and he relaxed against what he realized was a body.
“…okay, you’re safe. I won’t hurt you. You’re safe. Just keep breathing nice and slow. In and out. Listen to my heartbeat. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Callum finally opened his eyes and looked up, meeting a pair of worried dark blues that were staring down at him.
Callum blinked and slowly pushed away, looking around the alley and getting his mind back to the present rather than the past.
“Mason,” he finally said, looking back at the shifter who looked about ready to grab Callum up in his arms should Callum freak out again.
“Hey,” Mason said softly. “You okay?”
Callum nodded slowly, “Y-yeah. Yeah. Fuck.”
“I swear I didn’t mean to scare you, if I knew you would have freaked out like that I wouldn’t have grabbed you. I tried calling out for you but…”
“I didn’t hear you,” Callum said, easing Mason of the suspicion that he had been ignoring the shifter. “So, what did you need?” Callum was going to avoid any attempts Mason made at trying to figure out just why Callum had freaked out so badly. Callum cursed himself. He wasn’t a weak, lanky human anymore. He was a stronger than the average human, lanky, half vampire.
“I just wanted to apologize,” Mason said.
Callum frowned in confusion. What did Mason have to apologize for?
Mason rubbed the back of his neck, looking at the ground shamefully, “For being a dick at the diner and growling at you. And now for scaring you like that. I’m really sorry.”
“Oh.” Callum was surprised. He wasn’t expecting Mason to apologize, he didn’t think Mason even needed to apologize. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it. Honestly, I should be the one apologizing for not leaving you a note or something when I left this morning. And I never thanked you for taking care of my drunk ass.”
“I’m not mad, I figured you’d leave if you woke up before me,” Mason reassured him. He grinned teasingly, “And, I’ll take care of your cute ass forever and if you move in with me, then we won’t have the problem of you leaving without a note and feeling bad.”
Callum had to hold back a smile and ignore the sense of relief at seeing Mason starting to act like normal. He forced himself to roll his eyes and scoff. Although, he couldn’t help but ask, “So, what happened this morning then if you weren’t mad at me?”
“It was just my wolf being irritable. I haven’t shifted in a while and he’s getting antsy. Dealing with him makes me pretty cranky and you just happened to be on the receiving end of my irritation. Can I make it up to you somehow?”
Callum scratched his head, “You really don’t need to…”
Mason pouted, “Please? I feel really bad about snapping at you.”
Now Callum was the one feeling guilty. There was really no reason for Mason to want to make anything up to Callum, but the poor shifter looked like he was about to break down from the needless guilt.
“Uh, can I see then?” Callum blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
“See what?” Mason asked. His eyes twinkled and Callum had a bad feeling about whatever was about to come out of his mouth. “I’ll show you my dick whenever you want, love. My body is at your sexual disposal.”
Callum blushed and groaned, “You are such a pervert. I meant your wolf. And are mood swings part of this wolf-shifting withdrawals thing?” Seriously. One second he was a kicked puppy then he was a lecherous wolf.
Mason shrugged, “Sometimes. And I’d love to show you my wolf although that doesn’t really feel like I’m making anything up to you.”
“I’ve never seen a wolf up close,” Callum shrugged. “Much less a shift, trust me, you’d be doing me a huge favor.” Callum had tried to look for quality videos of shifts but he never found any that he could use as reference. His only references were other comics that drew a couple of the stages but Callum wanted every second of them in order to draw them as accurate and realistic as possible. He hated when things that were real weren’t drawn accurately when the art style was meant to be realistic, one of his bigger pet peeves.
“Then wanna go now?” Mason asked.
Callum frowned, “Go where?”
“There aren’t too many places here where I can shift and let loose some energy freely. I usually drive out, about an hour away, to this field of sorts. It’s commonly used for shifters who live in big cities. I was going to head over there anyway so you could join me. I promise to bring you back before eight if you’ve got nothing planned for the rest of the day. We can grab a bite to eat as well while we’re there.”
Callum hesitated for a second, tightening his grip on the strap of his bag, but nodded, “Uh, sure, I guess.”
Mason grinned brightly, “Great, let’s go. I left my car at Haggard.”
As they walked towards Keynes, Callum asked, “Why on earth would you name a club Haggard?”
Mason chuckled, “I asked my uncle the exact same thing when he opened it up. It was pretty much randomized.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, he wanted to use an adjective so he found a randomizer thing that went from one to twenty six, it landed on eight so he had to pick an adjective that began with the letter H. After that he asked a bunch of people to list adjectives that would describe him that began with H. He typed up all the words he got into a randomizer and the website picked haggard.”
“That is probably the stupidest naming story I have ever heard,” Callum said, bursting out into laughter. When he calmed down and looked to Mason, his face burned at the look he was on the receiving end of. Mason was just staring at him with a warm, soft smile. The only emotion he could describe it as was loving.
“So, uh, where’s your car?” Callum said, looking away. They had reached Keynes and the club was just a block down. There was no queue as it was still quite early and most clubs didn’t open until around seven or eight, six at the earliest.
“Right over there,” Mason said, pointing to a dark green car that Callum was sure cost more money than he would ever make within a lifetime.
Mason unlocked the car when they were near it and Callum dumped his bag onto the floor as he slid into the passenger seat, grumbling under his breath when he could feel just how expensive the leather upholstery was as he pulled on his seatbelt. The inside of the car was as smooth and sleek as the outside with accents of a green that was suspiciously close to the color of Callum’s eyes.
“Music?” Mason asked as he started up the car. It barely made a sound, just a light, steady hum and the lights on the dashboard lit up.
“Sure,” Callum shrugged. It would at least fill in any awkward silences, which were sure to occur during the drive to and back to wherever Mason was taking Callum.
“Radio on, station 134.9,” Mason said aloud. Immediately following his words, the radio started up on the dictated station and some old rock music start playing through the speakers.
“Voice control, of course,” Callum drawled.
Mason chuckled as they pulled out and set off down the road towards the city limits, “Not impressed?”
“Should I be?” Callum questioned back.
Mason shrugged, “If you are, it works in my favor. If you want to change the station, just ask. It only responds to my voice so I can avoid people messing with my car even though I don’t let many people on.”
“This one’s fine,” Callum assured him. “So, where exactly are we going?”
“Secret~,” Mason sang.
“Did you just…” Callum stared at Mason. He could practically see the tilde at the end of Mason’s one word sentence.
Mason only grinned and winked at Callum before starting to hum along to the song playing on the radio. It was a Nirvana song, if Callum recalled correctly.
“Mason, seriously, how am I supposed to know that you aren’t kidnapping me?” Callum tried again.
“I would never take you anywhere against your will,” Mason replied.
Callum snorted, “Yeah, like I went on our last two dates completely voluntarily.”
“So you admit we went on two dates and this is our third.”
Callum made a noise of frustration and crossed his arms over his chest, looking out the window, “I am not talking to you for the rest of the drive.”
“You are so cute when you sulk,” Mason chuckled.
Callum did not rise to the bait but it didn’t stop him from mentally defending himself. He was not sulking. He was ignoring. They were two very different things. And he was not cute.
“God, I just want to pull over and kiss that pout away,” Mason groaned.
He was not pouting. He was not going to bite the bait. He was not going to give in. He was no—
The car stopped, caught in traffic, and Callum was not prepared for his chin to be gripped and turned to the left for warm lips to land on his own that were parted in surprise.
A wet, slippery tongue used his surprise to slip past his teeth for a mere second before pulling away and leaving Callum even more shocked than before with an addition of heat at his cheeks.
Mason grinned and ruffled Callum’s hair before stroking his cheek, purposely swiping his thumb over Callum’s still parted lips, “You going to keep sulking? Because I am totally fine with kissing away all your pouts.”
Callum’s face was beyond the color red. He made an unintelligible sound in the back of his throat and swiftly turned his head back to the window, refusing to look at Mason.
Callum felt Mason’s eyes on him right up until the light turned green and the cars began to move again.
Mason started humming again and Callum stared out the window, occasionally sneaking glances at Mason but snapping his eyes back to the window whenever he found himself staring too long.
After about forty-five minutes they had yet to leave the city. There was far too much traffic and even Mason found it odd.
“There’s never this much traffic to leave the city during the weekdays,” he frowned.
Callum shrugged, “Maybe there’s an event or something.”
Callum let his head rest on the window. He was never fond of cars, they always made him drowsy. Along with getting him really drunk, sticking him in a car and going on a long drive was a surefire way to get him to fall asleep. He stared out at the other stalled cars and jumped when his phone buzzed in his pocket, followed by his ringtone.
He fumbled for his phone and swiped along the bottom of the screen once he saw that it was Georgia calling. “Hey, Georgia.”
“Cal, where are you?” Georgia asked and then yawned.
Callum raised a brow, “When did the party end?” Remus’ parties always lasted an inordinate amount of time. The shortest one Callum had ever heard of had lasted six hours, and the longest being close to thirty-six. Callum still wasn’t sure how that was even possible.
Another yawn later, Georgia replied, “An hour ago? Maybe two. I’m so tired. But seriously, where are you? I’m in your apartment.”
Callum glanced at Mason to see that the shifter was watching him. He turned his head immediately and answered, “Uh, I’m going out of town for a bit. I won’t be back till pretty late, probably. And how many times have I told you to stop breaking into my apartment? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
Georgia ignored his scolding and questioned, “Why are you going out of town? You never even leave your apartment unless it’s for work, grocery shopping, feeding, or I drag you by your hair.”
“No reason,” Callum said. “A…uh, friend wanted to show me something and it’s out of town.”
“You have no friends,” was Georgia’s immediate reply.
Callum frowned, “I do too have friends. I have you, Grayson, Dean and Martin, and… and… uh, other people.”
Callum could picture Georgia rolling her eyes, “Whatever. But seriously, who are you with? If it was one of them, you would have said their name. Oh my gosh, are you on an actual date? Two nights in a row, that has to be a record.”
Callum groaned, “I am not on a date. And last night was not a date either.”
“Who are you with, Callum? And don’t bother lying because you are horrible at it.”
Callum groaned. He did not want to tell the truth but it was true, he was a horrible liar and Georgia was the queen at detecting lies, even when she couldn’t see the person.
“Can’t I have my secrets?” Callum groaned.
“Nu-huh, Cal. Who are you with?”
Callum pleaded. “Let it go just this once? Please.”
Georgia sighed, “Fine. I’ll let you go for now but when I see you next, I will make you tell me who you’re on a date with.”
Before Callum could stress that he was most certainly not on a date, Georgia cut the line.
“I’ve never been someone’s dirty little secret before,” Mason mused.
Callum immediately denied, “You are not my dirty little secret.”
“So I’m your sexy little secret?”
Callum made a noise of frustration in the back of his throat, “I hate you.”
Mason chuckled and inched the car forward, “There’s a very fine line between love and hate, Callum.”
Callum grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest as he sunk back in the seat but immediately sat up when he realized that Mason would take his actions as sulking and pouting. Which he was definitely not.
The traffic didn’t ease up. They only managed to inch forward every once in a while and Callum felt drowsier and drowsier as time passed. Soon, he wasn’t able to keep his eyes open and drifted off against the window.
Callum grumbled when he felt a hand on his shoulder, “Georgia, go away.”
The hand didn’t leave and only started to gently shake him.
Callum slapped at the offending limb. “Go awaaaaay,” he whined, burrowing further into the corner he was in.
He heard faint chuckling but the hand retreated and Callum relaxed, thinking the disturbance had past. Just as he was about to fall back asleep he felt himself being turned to the left and furrowed his brow. He was about to tell Georgia to leave him alone when warm lips met his and a tongue slipped into his mouth. His brows furrowed further as the person who was most definitely not Georgia kissed him, coaxing him into relaxing and then kissing back.
Callum pushed his head up to get more pressure as the skillful person swept their tongue around Callum’s mouth. There was something familiar about this person’s kiss but Callum couldn’t figure it out. His sleep addled brain just found the person to be really good at kissing.
A soft moan left Callum’s mouth, swallowed by the person kissing him, as the pressure and force increased and his bottom lip was squeezed between a set of teeth. In the back of his mind, Callum knew that their lips were going to be red and swollen, it was a slow kiss but hard. Callum lifted his hands to slip around the other person’s shoulders. Their hair was short, only coming to the nape of their neck so Callum assumed he was kissing a man. The person also smelled like musk and a clean aftershave, scents that he had never smelled on a woman who hadn’t been in close quarters with a man.
When the person started pulling away, Callum frowned. He wanted more kisses. They were really nice kisses. He reached up to try and pull the person back down, but something across his chest pulled him back.
Callum finally opened his eyes, blinking blearily as he looked down to see what was restraining him. A seatbelt.
Why was he wearing a seatbelt?
Callum looked up and frowned at Mason who was sitting in front of a steering wheel, body turned to face Callum with his right arm leaning against the headrest of Callum’s seat. He was grinning, eyes alive, a light flush on his cheeks, and his lips looked a bit red and slightly swollen as if…
“Oh god,” Callum lit up, realizing what had happened. He covered his face with his hands, sinking further into embarrassment when Mason laughed.
“I enjoyed it, you enjoyed it, and I would love to do it again,” the shifter said. Callum could imagine Mason wiggling his eyebrows.
Callum ignored the suggestion and removed his seatbelt, refusing to look at Mason as he asked, “How long have I been asleep?”
“About two hours. The traffic was pretty bad so it took much longer to get here than it should have. But, we’re finally here so get your cute ass out of the car.”
Callum grumbled but clambered out of the car, grabbing his bag on the way, and looked around the area. They were parked in a makeshift parking lot made of dirt. A few other cars were also parked but none were of the standard of Mason’s. The parking lot was in front of a dingy looking diner and across the street was an expanse of forestry, a large patch of overgrown grass that blended into a clump of trees that went as far as Callum’s eyes could see.
Mason walked over to him, locking up his car. “It’s not much, but it gets the job done. This area is under protection of the PBC for shifters and the like to have an area to stretch out since there’s only major cities for miles.”
Callum nodded. The PBC, or Paranormal Beings Council, had ownership of a number areas of land that were preserved for paranormals. Some lakes were reserved for merfolk, a couple forests were protected for the fae and shifters, etc. There were also blood banks created for the sole purpose of having a blood supply for vampires.
Mason stretched his arms over his head and then began to divest himself of his shirt, taking Callum by surprise.
Mason laughed at Callum widened eyes and growing blush, “I don’t want to shred my clothes.”
“Whatever,” Callum said, turning. Callum had forgotten that one tiny detail. There was no way he could ask Mason if he could videotape his shift now. The stupid shifter would only make some perverted comment or another even though the video would only have been used for referencing purposes.
Callum kept his gaze on the field and forest. Seeing as it was nearing the summer, the days were longer so the sun was still out even though it was nearing six. Even though he wasn’t much of an outdoor person, he could appreciate the beauty of nature.
Mason shook him out of his daze by grabbing his hand and leading him down to the field. Callum tried to free his hand but gave up with a disgruntled sigh when Mason linked their fingers together and squeezed.
“I thought you didn’t want to shred your clothes?” Callum questioned when he saw that Mason had only removed his shirt and shoes, leaving him in just his jeans and underwear that was sticking out from the slightly sagging waistband of his jeans.
“You want to see me naked that bad?” Mason teased.
Callum blushed as he glared and Mason laughed.
“I just removed my shirt and shoes to ease my wolf a bit. Streaking isn’t quite my thing. However, if it was just you and me in a room, I wouldn’t mind at all.”
They reached the clearing and Callum took a seat against a large rock. Now he had a little issue. He wanted to see Mason shift, he wanted to record it. But Mason was going to be naked. Nudity never really bothered Callum, but nudity and Mason in the same situation was just asking for lethal levels of perversity and embarrassment.
“So why exactly do you want to see a shift?” Mason asked as he undid his button and fly.
Callum shrugged, looking away, “No reason really. I just wanted something for referencing purposes.”
Mason chuckled and Callum saw his jeans drop from the corner of his eye.
“If you want a reference, wouldn’t you have to look or record it or something?” Mason asked, amused.
Callum felt his cheeks heat, “I forgot that you had to be naked to shift.”
Mason laughed and Callum heard more shuffling until a pair of jeans was tossed onto his lap and a shadow fell across him. He looked up on reflex but immediately looked away when he saw Mason standing over him in nothing but a pair of green silk boxers.
“Get your phone out. I’ll keep my underwear on so you don’t have a little issue,” Mason teased, glancing at Callum’s crotch.
“You wish,” Callum grumbled but took out his phone and opened up the camera app, putting it on the video camera setting. He pointed the lens to Mason who had moved to stand a bit in front of him. It was unfair how the setting sun cast a warm gold glow on the man, making it appear as if he were some ethereal being. Yes, it could be argued that shifters and the like were ethereal beings but the point was that Mason looked like a god from Greek mythology.
“Any particular way you want me?” Mason asked.
Callum shrugged, “Maybe a bit diagonal. Like, not completely profile or facing me.”
Mason adjusted himself and shot Callum a grin, “You gonna ‘lights, camera, action’ me?”
Callum rolled his eyes, “Shift already. I bet your wolf is going nuts.”
Mason chuckled but didn’t say much else as he took a deep breath. Callum pressed the record button and made sure Mason was completely in the frame but otherwise forgot about his phone as he watched Mason shift. He had always thought it would be painful what with the person’s bones rearranging itself and fur sprouting from their skin. But Mason looked like he was in anything but pain. His face was relaxed as fur the color of his hair slowly grew on his arms and legs, starting at his hands and feet and crawling up to his face. His jaw and nose extended to form a muzzle as his spine curved and he had to fall onto his hands and knees. Crunching and grinding noises filled the air as he went through the shift until standing before Callum was a slightly larger than average brown wolf with grey and white accents and dark blue eyes, the remains of green boxers littering the floor. He was gorgeous.
Mason stretched out and looked to Callum before trotting over. Callum stopped the recording and set his phone down beside him. Mason sat down in front of Callum’s crossed legs, cocking his head to the side slightly.
“At least you’re not some typical black alpha wolf,” Callum muttered.
Mason made a noise that Callum figured was the wolf equivalent to laughing. Callum rolled his eyes, even as an actual wolf, Mason found him amusing.
Mason got up and walked around to be next to Callum and leaned in to nuzzle his muzzle into Callum’s neck.
Callum couldn’t help but laugh, Mason’s fur tickled his skin. He brought up a hand to push the wolf’s face away but Mason quickly licked a stripe up the side of Callum’s face before backing off and grinning wolfishly.
“Ew, gross! Mason, I do not want to be slobbered on,” Callum whined, grabbing Mason’s jeans and rubbing the pant leg against his face to get the stickiness off his face.
Mason made more wolf laughing noises before plopping his head down on Callum’s lap, his ears were twitching and his tail was swaying back and forth. Mason’s ears held Callum’s interest and before Callum realized what he was doing, his hand was gently rubbing over one of the velvety limbs. Mason’s eyes closed and he made a low growling sound that vibrated in his chest, almost like purring.
“I thought you were canine, not feline,” Callum mused as his hand drifted from Mason’s ear to the back of his head.
Mason huffed but kept his eyes closed and continued to make canine sounds of pleasure as Callum stroked his fur. When Mason grew heavier in his lap, Callum realized that the wolf was actually falling asleep on him. Callum immediately halted his petting and shook Mason into waking up.
Callum shooed him off, “You came here to run so run. And no more slobbering over me. I do not like dog drool.”
Mason whuffed as he got to his feet, feeling indignation at being called a dog, Callum figured but he wasn’t going to take his comment back. Mason couldn’t hold his annoyance for long though and bumped his muzzle into Callum’s cheek in some form of a kiss before bouncing off.
Callum watched Mason run around the field for a little while, forcing himself to calm down and forget about how he had been feeling as he pet Mason. The act was much too intimate for him and he refused to think on it. Soon enough, another animal joined Mason, a shifter probably as it was a panther and a real panther would not have approached a wolf like Mason, and Callum was certain there were no panthers in this area.
He didn’t know how long Mason planned to stretch his legs so he grabbed his bag and pulled out his sketchbook and a pencil. This sketchbook was one he carried around almost everywhere and was mostly just doodles. The sketchbook he always kept at his apartment was solely for his comic.
Callum flipped open to a new page and began to sketch the field in front of him. He never really drew sceneries other than a couple practices from what he could see out his window so the field was a nice change. At some point he started sketching parts of Mason’s shift from memory, as the whole process was fresh in his mind. He drew Mason’s arm through a couple stages, gradually adding more fine lines of hair and making the arm thinner, morphing into a wolf’s front leg. Then he worked on Mason’s face transforming into that of the wolf that was running around.
Callum was so engrossed in his drawing he jumped in surprise when he heard, “Damn, I knew you drew a lot but that’s amazing, love.”
“Holy shit, Mason, you scared the crap out of me,” Callum gasped, hand over his thumping heart and sketchbook quickly flipped closed. He turned to glare at the shifter and saw that he had put his jeans back on. That only made Callum remember that Mason’s underwear had been torn to pieces in the shift and Callum hadn’t seen Mason carrying any spare underwear which led to the conclusion that Mason was currently going commando. Callum looked away.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to. I’ve been sitting next to you for the past five or so minutes and couldn’t keep quiet.”
“It’s fine,” Callum replied, putting his pencil back in his bag. As he was about to pack away his sketchbook, Mason stopped him by plucking the book out of Callum’s lap.
“Mason! Give that back!” Callum demanded.
“I will, I just want to see for a bit,” Mason replied, holding the sketchbook out of Callum’s reach as he went through the pages.
Callum’s face heated as Mason’s eyes went over the drawings. Nothing was too incriminating but he didn’t like people looking at his work. It was an insecurity he’d have to get over if he ever decided to post his comic online but for now, he wanted to keep his drawings private.
“Mason,” Callum whined, reaching an arm over Mason’s shoulder to try and grab his sketchbook. “Please.”
“Save pleading like that for bed, love,” Mason teased as he continued to keep the book out of Callum’s hands until Callum grew desperate and tackled Mason from behind, reaching out to grab his sketchbook.
Mason was taken by surprise, grunting as he hit the ground and Callum managed to snatch his book back, quickly crawling off of Mason and sticking the sketchbook back in his bag.
Callum got to his feet, slinging his bag over his shoulder as Mason rolled onto his back to sit up with a groan, “Overprotective much, love?”
“I told you to give it back,” Callum said.
Mason got to his feet, dusting himself off as he grinned, “You still lose yourself when you draw.”
Callum frowned, “What are you talking about?”
“You’d always get in trouble at school for doodling in class. The teachers would be standing right at your desk and you never had a clue until they spoke directly to you or knocked on the desk or something. It always made me wonder what it was you were drawing.”
Callum rubbed the back of his neck, “I just doodled random stuff. It was nothing interesting.”
Mason walked over to him with a grin and slung his arm around Callum’s shoulders. “Everything you do is interesting, love,” he said and placed a kiss to Callum’s temple as he led the way back to his car.
Callum tried to pull away, especially after the kiss, but Mason once again proved just how much stronger he was by keeping Callum tucked into his side. Callum just grumbled and went along with the shifter. And if he were being a bit honest, he didn’t actually mind having Mason’s arm around him all that much. But that was only because it was getting a bit cold with the sun having gone down and wolf shifters had naturally high levels of body heat.
“So I know I said I’d get you back home before eight but it’s almost seven forty and even if I broke numerous speed limits, there is no way we’ll get back until at least nine, if traffic isn’t as bad as on the way here.”
Callum shrugged, “It’s fine. I’ve got the evening shift tomorrow anyway and it’s not like I sleep much.”
They stopped at Mason’s car but Mason only went to the hood to slip his shirt and shoes back on before returning his arm around Callum and leading him into the rather rundown looking diner.
“It’s not the best looking place around, but they do have a killer cheese burger. Not as good as Tracy’s, but it’s still up there,” Mason assured him as they entered and went to a nearby booth.
There were a few people in the diner, seated in a booth or at the counter. There appeared to be only one waiter, a long limbed man who reminded Callum of something out of a Tim Burton stop-motion film.
The man was leaning against the counter talking to a girl who had black cat ears twitching atop her head. The black contrasted heavily with her practically white hair and Callum couldn’t help but find it an interesting combination. A lot of shifters retained their natural hair color in their shifter form, like Mason, but some human hair colors didn’t correlate with their animal counterpart, so cases like the girl at the counter weren’t uncommon but it was rare to see a shifter only partially shift. It was generally seen as rude in the company of humans or out in public once you were older than ten, but Callum figured that the diner was more paranormal orientated, leaning heavily to shifters, so no one really cared.
The waiter finished talking to the girl and strolled over to Mason and Callum after grabbing two laminated sheets. “Evening, folks, had a nice run?” the man asked with a charming grin. Callum still couldn’t figure out how it was possible for someone to have such long limbs and not look out of place.
Mason nodded as he took the offered sheet, “My wolf was going nuts, I haven’t had any time to come by.”
“Figured. It’s been a while since you came out here.” The waiter handed Callum the other sheet and raised a brow, “I haven’t seen you here before though.”
“First time, I’m not a shifter,” Callum replied.
“Oh? Mason’s never brought a friend before. Well, I’m Dake, need anything, just holler.”
“I’m Callum, nice to meet you.”
“He’s not a friend,” Mason corrected once the introductions were over. Callum had a feeling he wasn’t going to like what came out of Mason’s mouth next.
Dake raised a brow, “Well that’s kinda rude, bro.”
Mason smirked and Callum was too late to slap his hand over Mason’s mouth, “He’s my mate.”
Callum groaned as he blushed, “I am not his mate.”
“Fine,” Mason shrugged, still smirking. “Soon-to-be mate.”
“Ignore him, he’s delusional,” Callum grumbled as he quickly placed his order to a now laughing Dake.
Callum glowered at the edge of the retro-esque table after Dake took Mason’s order and left them alone with a teasing ‘good luck’, although it was ambiguous as to whom the well-wishing was for.
The two sat in silence, Mason staring at Callum and Callum looking around the establishment. His eyes kept straying to the girl at the counter though. She just looked extremely interesting and Callum felt his hands twitching to draw her from the back but that would be creepy and he was too awkward to go up and ask if he could take a picture of her to draw later. He couldn’t even ask for blood, something that was easily understood given his species, how was he supposed to ask for a picture? He settled for memorizing what he was seeing and letting his mind alter it a little when he would settle down draw her later. The main reason he was so interested in her looks even though he hadn’t seen her face clearly, was that she bore a great resemblance to a character in his comic. The coincidence was blowing his mind and he felt ridiculously amazed like a kid in a candy store for the first time.
“Typically on a date, you’re not supposed to be checking out other people,” Mason said finally, catching Callum’s attention.
The haflie turned his head back to look across to Mason who was glaring at the girl Callum had been watching. His arms were crossed over his chest, bottom lip jutting out slightly, as he brooded.
Callum rolled his eyes, “Two things wrong with your statement. One, we are not on a date. Two, I wasn’t checking anyone out.” Mason didn’t stop trying to shoot lasers from his eyes at the oblivious girl and Callum sighed but a small smile followed soon as he mused, “At least you’re back to normal now.”
Mason glanced at him and his pout turned into a knowing grin that Callum did not like one bit.
“Cal, love,” Mason sang.
“Don’t even try,” Callum warned even though he hadn’t a clue as to what was going through Mason’s mind.
Mason’s grin widened, “Were you worried about me?”
Callum’s jaw dropped as he spluttered, “N-no! Why would I be worried about you?”
Mason clasped his hands together and leaned his elbows on the table, still beaming, “You were so worried about me. Don’t deny it, love. You care about me. You totally love me. Your feelings from freshman year didn’t actually disappear, did they?”
“Shut up. I don’t. Mason, shut up!” Callum tried to melt into his seat as Dake was returning with their orders and pretty much everyone in the diner had their eyes or ears on them.
Mason continued to chant ‘You love me, you love me, you totally love me,’ like a four year old with a ridiculous grin on his face.
Callum’s face was burning hotter than the fires of a cyclops’ forge.