So, since I had fun with the last little short story I set out for you, I decided to give you another. This one is about Jason after he returns to work post-serial-killer. You’ll want to read Havoc’s Cry before you go any farther, since you won’t even know who Jason, Philip, or Jeffrey are until then. I don’t think you’ll get too many spoilers from this one, but I’d read the novel first anyway.
Without further wordage … Jason Medlin in Jason’s Return
Jason walked through the doors to Blood Haven and sighed. After the whole fiasco last week with that serial killer in his house, the last thing he wanted was to go back to work. But he had to, so here he was back at the club. From the outside in the daytime, it didn’t look like much. After dark though, when the neon lights came on, it would be a bright spot in the black night with as much color and flashing lights as any dance club.
He slid through the employee entrance around the side of the building and skirted the edge of the dance floor. The club wouldn’t get busy for another couple hours when the after-work crowd showed up, but he still didn’t like walking on the dance floor just to save himself a few steps.
Opening the door to the back, he slipped into the back stage area. One of the biggest draws to Blood Haven was the shapeshifter dancers. Women went absolutely crazy just for the chance to dance with a werewolf, and the men didn’t even strip. Blood Haven was a clothes on performance, but it was still a show. Tonight, Jeffrey was going on stage to slip his skin. An on stage transformation would draw in the crazies like moths to a flame.
Jason’s hand shook as he reached for the knob to the dressing room. Stepping into the room, he surveyed who all was working today so he’d know how hard this was going to be. After last week’s ordeal with the serial killer in his house, the last thing he needed tonight was to deal with Naomi or Omar and their stupid werewolf prejudice. As a lion, he shouldn’t even be working with this bunch of werewolves, but he really was good at his job. Naomi insisted he was gay, but he wasn’t. He just didn’t like her. Other girls were great.
“Hey, Jason, how you doing?” Jason spun to see Philip coming up behind him. As a bouncer, Philip didn’t dance much anymore. But he’d been there last week when everything when to hell in a hand basket. Philip had always been decent to Jason, even treated him like a real person instead of just a submissive with no brain.
“I’m okay,” Jason whispered softly. “Where’s Jeffery?” The two were never far apart. Jeffery had been at the house with the killer too, but his Léaina had forgiven the two wolves and assured Jason that both were good guys. If she said they were okay, then he trusted her.
“I’m here,” answered a deeper voice from just outside the door. “Get out of the door and let me through.”
Philip chuckled and stepped out of the way, revealing Jeffrey’s only just barely smaller frame. Since he danced shirtless for women most nights, Jeffery kept his body in great shape. His brown-almost-blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail, baring the clean lines of his face. Jason looked him over with a critical eye, noticing the taller man’s baggy eyes and the two-day shadow across his chin. Maybe Jeffrey wasn’t doing much better in the aftermath either.
“Shave first,” Jason instructed. Even as he gave the pseudo-order, he couldn’t meet Jeffrey’s eyes. That was too much challenge, especially after an order. Philip and Jeffery were more easy going than the other wolves, but even they would put their back up to a direct challenge from a submissive like him.
“Yeah, yeah,” Jeffrey replied as he moved to one of the many sinks in the corner of the dressing room. “You go do Omar and come back. I’ll be ready.”
Jason glanced over at Omar and fought not to frown. Moving towards the other wolf, he steeled his back against the inevitable and slid in front of the mirror. He looked over the face that was to be his canvas for the night, and sighed again. Omar was allergic to chocolate. It gave him a rash up his neck. But for some reason, the wolf was addicted to the stuff. Jason had told him over and over again to lay off the sweets, but Omar just snapped at him to keep his nose out of other people’s business. If Omar didn’t cut it out, Matthew would fire him.
“Omar, you ready?” Jason didn’t know why the woman wanted to dance with Omar, even if he was a werewolf. Even on the days he was rash-free, Omar hated life. Of course, he liked being the center of attention, so maybe that’s why he did this. Or maybe being a werewolf didn’t give him a lot of options. Or maybe his alpha ordered it and Omar wasn’t strong enough to disobey.
“Get on with it, pretty boy,” snapped Omar. Jason sighed again, pulling open the drawer in the vanity behind him. All the right colors for Omar were in drawer with Jason’s neat handwriting labeling the outsides of the black compacts with a silver sharpie. He pulled out the base color and got to work, ignoring Omar’s grumbling. Darn wolf didn’t know when to shut up.
“Close your eyes,” Jason tried. He held a tube of mascara in his hand, and knew that this was exactly why Omar hated him. Jason wasn’t gay, but he did like makeup. He liked taking a plain face and making it beautiful. He liked finding the perfect combination of colors and the artistry required to make them work together.
“Get your queer hands off me!” shouted Omar. Okay, so today was a bad day. Jason pulled back; he just didn’t have this in him tonight. His hands fell to his lap and he gritted his teeth, eyes fastened on his own feet. All he could think about was getting out of here and getting home. He could call his Léaina and she would make it all better. He just couldn’t deal with this right now.
“Omar, I need to finish this mascara,” Jason tried.
“You’re trying to dress me up like a queer!” Omar shouted, rising to his feet. Jason cowered back against the mirror, his hands moving to cover his sensitive ears. “I will not stand by and let you unman me!”
Omar’s hands closed around Jason’s wrists, yanking his hands away from his ears. Jason cried out, but he couldn’t fight the stronger man and he dared not strike the wolf. Omar’s other hand closed over Jason’s shoulder and shook him so hard that Jason’s teeth rattled.
“You keep your gay boy hands off me, and listen when I talk to you,” Omar continued. “I’m dominant to you and you will do what I say if you want to keep your pretty face intact!”
Jason whimpered, but there was nothing he could do. Why did this have to happen tonight? He just wanted to go home. No, not home. He couldn’t deal with his bedroom right now, not with all the memories of blood and fighting. Jason wanted to go to FPD headquarters and find his Léaina. He wanted to curl up on the couch next to her and watch a movie. Not an action movie, maybe a romantic comedy. Would she like that?
“Yo, Jason,” Jeffery called. Jason tilted his head towards the other man, but he didn’t lift his eyes. “I’m all shaved up. Come paint me up and let Omar finish his own face.”
“No!” shouted Omar. “He’s going to finish the job. But he’s going to stop making me look like a freaking girl!”
“Nope, Omar, stand down.” That was Philip. The large wolf sauntered over, and everyone knew to get out of his way. Contained violence was written all over his face, and it was scary. Philip shoved his way between Omar and Jason, forcing Omar to let go.
“Jason, Jeffrey’s ready for you,” said Philip. His voice was even, smooth, and strong. But his eyes never left Omar’s face. Of course, Philip was dominant, and Omar couldn’t meet his eyes for long. Jason knew this wasn’t over; but, right now, he just wanted to escape.
“Okay,” Jason allowed, dropping the tube of mascara back into the drawer and slamming it shut with more force than it really needed. “Fine.”
If Jeffrey ordered it, then Jason wouldn’t get into trouble with Matthew. But really, he didn’t even care anymore. So he moved to perch on the vanity in front of Jeffrey and surveyed the newly clean-shaven face. Jeffrey’s hazel eyes begged to be decorated, but Jason had to be careful. Jeffrey couldn’t look like a clown, or like a girl. He needed subtle. But Jeffrey’s skin, unlike Omar’s, was perfect. So Jason skipped the base layer and got right to the good stuff. A light line of eyeliner and some mascara to emphasize his eyes without making him look feminine, but always remembering that the stage lights would wash out his face if he didn’t add enough.
So Jason lost himself in the routine of painting the perfect picture. He used a hair dryer to style Jeffrey’s shoulder length hair so that it framed his face without going into girly. For some reason, long hair was back in style on guys. Jason didn’t understand. He kept his own curly brown hair at his ears, and that was as long as it ever got.
“Give me the shirt,” Jason ordered. Jeffrey skinned out of the T-shirt, and Jason helped get it over Jeffrey’s face without ruining his work. Jason ran a critical eye over Jeffrey’s toned abs and defined six-pack. The women loved that, and Jeffrey was just enough of a flirt to love that they loved it. “Spin.”
Jeffrey chuckled. “You’re so bossy when you’re working.”
Fear flashed through Jason and he dropped to his knees. “Forgive me.”
“Get up, Jason, I’m kidding,” Jeffrey laid a hand on Jason’s shoulder. “We claim the same mistress, Jason. That makes us pack, or whatever lions call it. Come on, stand up and finish making me utterly flirt-worthy before I have to go on stage.”
Heaving a deep sigh, Jason stood to his feet. “Honestly, Jeffrey, I don’t think I can improve on that.” Jason waved a hand to encompass Jeffrey’s broad shoulders and jealousy-inducing pecs.
“Then I’m off,” Jeffrey said. “Why don’t you head on home, or over to our Ayame’s, okay? I’ll tell Matthew that I sent you home.”
“I can finish,” Jason insisted, but his heart leapt at the thought of escaping to his Léaina a little early. She wasn’t expecting him, but she’d never turn him away.
“Dude, you’re pale as a ghost and shaking so bad that I’m surprised my eyeliner isn’t crooked,” Jeffrey clapped a hand on Jason’s shoulder with enough strength to stumble the smaller man. “Go home, man.”
“Okay,” Jason relented, just glad to be done for today. Maybe he really wasn’t over last week as much as he thought he was.
Jason pulled his silver BMW into the lot behind FPD headquarters and parked in the back. He slid out of the car and slammed the door, but he couldn’t go any farther. Propping his forearms on the hood of his beamer, he leaned forward until he could cradle his head in his hands. He might be a submissive, but he was still a man; and he didn’t want to walk in there with tears in his eyes. He’d broken down in front of his Léaina before, but it didn’t mean he liked it.
“Hey, Jason! That you?”
Jason’s head shot up, his lion’s eyes searching the darkness for the source of the voice. It was the one that saw the future. He hadn’t been in the house, but Jason had met him since then. Had he known Jason was coming?
“Hey,” Jason answered, but he couldn’t remember the guy’s name. They’d only met once, and Jason hadn’t been at his best in the last week.
“You looking for Tori?” the guy asked. Jason nodded. “Come on, I can let you in.”
“Thanks,” Jason murmured as he followed the guy to the back door. A black electric keypad with numbers locked the door, but the future guy knew the code. Jason wasn’t allowed to know it, even though he’d been inside almost every day this week. It didn’t matter. All that mattered now was getting in and finding her.
Jason followed the other guy down a hallway and through the lobby. The other guy waved at the girl behind the desk. She smiled back at them. “Hey, Jason. I’m Dead-Eye found you, I didn’t hear you come in.”
Dead-Eye, that was the guy’s name. Jason smiled at the girl. “I hadn’t come inside yet.”
“Oh, well, welcome back,” she smiled at him as she pressed a button from behind her desk. A beeping filled the room and Dead-Eye pulled open the door to the back. Jason followed him through and left the boring lobby. The elevator buttons were labeled with numbers, but Dead-Eye pushed the one that simple read D. Jason really had no idea why that was labeled that way, but it didn’t matter.
“Hey, Jason,” called another voice. This one was the loud one with the gorgeous strawberry blonde hair and ice magic. Winter. “You looking for Tori?”
Jason only nodded. None of these men were filling the ache in his heart. They hadn’t been in the house, and they didn’t understand. They tried, but they couldn’t. And they weren’t lycanthropes, so they didn’t understand what his Léaina meant to him.
“She’s in her room, do you know where that is?” Winter asked. Jason nodded again, setting off down the hall.
“Winter, go with him,” Dead-Eye commanded. “He can’t open the doors.”
“If he’s going to keep coming over, we need to get him a code,” Winter complained. But he clapped a hand on Jason’s shoulder and started past him down the hall. Jason didn’t say anything; because despite the fact that the guy was human, his touch was still reassuring. This man was Tori’s friend, and that meant something to Jason.
They walked through the white halls with Winter entering his code into the keypads whenever they reached a locked door. The halls were all the same. Stark, white, and terrible. Jason hated those walls, but so did his Léaina. Maybe she would let him decorate the halls? He could paint them for her. Beautiful scenes of beaches and palm trees or mountains covered in clouds. He could do that, if she’d let him.
“This is her,” Winter knocked at a closed door, also white. Jason thought maybe he should start with her room. Or even her door. This blank whiteness just didn’t suit her at all.
“Yeah?” called her beautiful voice from inside the room. Just hearing her voice calmed his heart and stilled the slight shaking that he hadn’t even realized had taken over his body.
“Visitor!” Winter called.
The door opened and he was presented with her face surrounded by her fire engine red hair that she wore down around her shoulders. She had beautiful green eyes that looked straight into his soul. Every time he saw her face, he itched for a tube of brown mascara and some dusky rose lip-gloss. She didn’t need much, just a little. She was already so beautiful.
“Jason,” she smiled up at him and the wall damming up his emotions just burst. He rushed at her, throwing his arms around her slightly shorter frame. She braced, and kept his weight from knocking her over as she wrapped her arms around his back to steady him. He sobbed into her shoulder, completely losing it.
“Shh, Jason, it’s okay,” she murmured softly into his hair. He tried to stop the flow of tears, but he just couldn’t. And with her, that was okay. He heard the door shut behind him and they sunk to the floor so she didn’t have to hold him up.
Finally, his tears dried up and his body stopped shaking. Her hands were running through his curls, and that was soothing. His heart slowed as his body relaxed into her touch. She was the center of his world, and he’d never leave her. Winter was right. Jason needed a code to be able to come visit. After she saved his life and fed him blood, Jason would always come to see her just to reassure himself that the world was still spinning.
“Let’s go watch a movie, okay?” Jason looked up into her face and simply nodded. When she stood, she reached down a hand and pulled him to his feet. She was strong, especially for not being a lycanthrope herself.