Flash Fic Friday, Serial

Flash Fic Friday

**Finally a flash for you. It’s only been a month. I’ve been…the muse, when she appears, has had only very specific things to say. But I think she’s shown up for today, and we’ll see where this goes… Enjoy!**

It took me a surprisingly short amount of time to get used to living with a wolf shifter. I’d thought it would have been taken a lot, be a big transition, take time. I was purely human after all, not a magical cell in my entire body. And before I answered the ad looking for a roommate and moved in with Nico, I’d had very little contact with the paranormal world. Sure I knew, logically, that they were everywhere and probably dealt with them on a daily basis and never realized it. But in my personal life, everybody was human.

Nico changed all that, and now I was more entrenched in that community more than I ever thought possible. But living with him had been a dream. We got along great, we respected each other’s space and needs, and had very few problems. Nico’s house was big enough for the both of us and though he insisted he needed the help with the mortgage, which was why he’d gone looking for a roommate in the first place, I was pretty certain he just liked having another person around. He was ultimately a pack animal. Having someone else in his space made him feel connected or whatever.

We’d never actually discussed it. Not once in the year since I’d moved in. At first it had seemed to personal, especially when we didn’t know each other that well. But after a while, it didn’t even matter. I got a cheap place to live and a roommate who respected me, and he got what he needed as well. The only thing I’d ever asked him was why he’d so readily invited me to move in, after just a few minutes of meeting.

Nico had simply tapped his nose, given me a wink, and said, “Scents don’t lie.”

Which was how I learned just how sensitive a shifter’s sense of smell was, and how everyone gave off scents that clued shifters in to emotions and feelings. Apparently, the better a shifter knew someone, the better they could figure them out. All by smelling them. I’d gotten used to Nico sussing out my moods just with a big inhale. And the nosy way he’d press until he got me to talk.

Which was why I was desperately trying to calm down and get on an even keel before the Nico got back from his run and a big, gray wolf walked through the back door to smell me and start asking questions.

It turned out, I didn’t have as much time as I thought.

Nico had installed lever handles on all the doors so his big paws could get him in and out. When the back door bounced open, I squeaked and jumped up, all but racing over to the fridge to pull out ingredients. Maybe I could cover up my scent with garlic and onions?

“How about burgers?” I said, speaking far too quickly. I took a breath and pasted on a smile. “Big juicy ones with all the stuff you like? Won’t take but a few minutes to get them going.”

Wolf Nico huffed a breath and stalked forward. I wasn’t scared anymore, and that was a shame, because fear would have definitely drowned out whatever else he could pick up.

“No on the burgers? Beef stroganoff instead? I know how much you like that. We have the—Nico!”

Having a cold wolf nose pressed to the small of your back would startle anyone. He’s gotten his muzzle under the hem of  my t-shirt and was sniffing furiously, his breath wafting across my skin. It made me shiver. Nico ignored me and my attempts to push him away, snuffling and sniffing all over me. I finally managed to side step him and put some distance between us.

I ignored the fact that I’d only been able to do it because he allowed it.

Nico shifted back into his human skin, easy as anything, right there on the kitchen floor. Naked and panting, he took a second and shook himself, then stood. I’d long ago gotten over my human hangups about nudity, so it didn’t even phase me. Though I had to keep my eyes on his, because there was no doubt Nico was one hell of a beautiful man. That I would love to get my hands on sometime. Though I always did my best to keep those thoughts in check because I didn’t want to ruin what we had by getting any sort of romance involved. In this case, though, maybe I could use it to my advantage. Maybe arousal would cover up the other scents.

“Sean?” Nico’s voice was rough from the shift. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I assured him quickly. Too quickly, probably. I cleared my throat.

“Oh, so you’re lying to me now. Is that the thing we’re doing now?”

I scowled, because the droll tone was uncalled for.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m okay. I promise.”

Nico stalked toward me, even measured steps eating up the floor between us, until he was right in my space. He wrapped a hand around the back of my neck, then slid his thumb forward enough to get it under the edge of my jaw. He used that to tilt my head up so his gaze met mine.

“What. Happened.” He bit out the words, all growly wolf and I probably shouldn’t find that hot. Probably shouldn’t be touched that he was so ready to defend and protect me. He was my roommate and nothing more.

But I couldn’t lie to him and he knew I was upset. Hurt, but not physically. Stressed and sad. He could smell it all and I should haven’t started cooking before he even came home, something pungent like that curry he liked or maybe 40 clove garlic chicken or—

Nico gave me a little shake, just enough to get me out of my head, and stared at me with his implacable brown eyes.

I sighed heavily, a gust of breath that came from my toes. “Cathy.”

That’s it. Just one name. And I didn’t need to say anything more. He knew about my impossible coworker who made my life so much harder. Of the way she tried to undermine and micromanage. Of how she gatekept knowledge and blew up when I made an honest mistake but if she did the same it was no big deal. Of how it made my work day stressful and made me anxious, since I was always walking on eggshells.

Nico growled, low and menacing. “I’ll kill her.”

I chuckled at that, though it was weak. “You can’t. You wouldn’t look good in orange.”

He squinted at me and pulled me even closer. I barely stifled the gasp. I loved it when he cuddled me.

“Quit that fucking job.”

I laughed again, this time a little more real. “I need a job, Nico. I have to be able to, you know, afford to live.”

“I’ll take care of you.”

Goddess, if only. I patted his chest and tried to pull away. I didn’t get far. So I smiled up at him. “That’s sweet. And I appreciate the thought. But I can handle it. It’s just frustrating. It’s not like I can actually live off you but it’s a lovely thought.”

“Of course you can. I can take care of you. You’re my mate.”

Nico went still.

I stared at him.

He stared back.

Neither of us spoke. Barely even breathed. Nico shut his eyes.



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