Chapter 22: The Road to Recovery

Simon snored, still in a food coma from going back for leftovers throughout the night. He and Austin kept turning the kitchen light on and off, and I dreaded what kind of mess they’d left behind. 

Since my side of the bed was against the wall, and Simon had junk piled on the floor at the other end, I had to climb over him. His gut protruded further than usual, but werewolf bodies burned a surprising number of calories, even while doing absolutely nothing—which was fortunate, considering Simon would spend the majority of his days doing as little as possible if I let him. 

When werewolves put on weight, muscles overcompensated to keep them somewhat fit. This resulted in a much higher basal metabolic rate, and instead of that rate rising or falling over months, it can happen in hours. 

That bit of useful knowledge was the result of my frequent descent into multiple rabbit holes of internet videos on werewolf physiology. I was still disappointed by how relatively little information there was about what we are. Aside from that bizarre book I read at Derrek’s about our  possible origins, there hadn’t been nearly enough research.

Or maybe there had been, but that thought led me into conspiracies I didn’t want to consider.

Simon snorted as I straddled his bloated abdomen. I wanted to stay on top of him, my naked body against his silky mane as I drifted back to sleep, but I couldn’t remain in bed all day.

I climbed off and slipped on a pair of shorts and a shirt. It wasn’t unusual for me to go commando often, especially since my dick had grown after going half-turn. I couldn’t wear the comfy briefs I did when I was human, and boxers felt so weird. It was easier to just let it hang, which often got me quite a bit of attention.

That ugly couch was still stinking up the room, which meant I didn’t dream up Simon’s romantic dumpster diving for our vintage movie date night. His habits were hard to break, and he still enjoyed digging around in garbage for things he considered treasures, even though between the four of us, we had enough money not to worry as much. 

As I stepped into the hallway, Adam brushed by me before stomping into the bathroom. 

“Good morning,” I said.

“Go to hell.”

The door closed and locked before the light flicked on. I’d need at least two cups of coffee before dealing with that. I may have screwed things up so much with him that a simple apology likely wouldn’t suffice this time. Though I understood why he was so easily irritable, our conversation yesterday shouldn’t have happened—at least, not the way it did.

The kitchen looked exactly how I expected. Empty bags were strewn about, and paper plates full of chicken and rib bones were just left there, but that wasn’t what really bothered me. After all the meticulous cleaning and extermination I did when we moved in, it may as well have been for nothing as five roaches skittered about before disappearing between the stove and counter. 

This was going to require four cups of coffee at the very least. 

Whirring and banging rattled the wall in the dining area that divided Austin’s garage from the rest of the house, and since the other side of the thin wall in the kitchen was the bathroom, I could hear every off-key note Adam belted while in the shower. 

“Someone’s gonna die today,” I muttered, filling the entire coffee pot with water before scooping triple the amount of cheap ground coffee into the filter. As that brewed, I set to work on cleaning the mess Austin and Simon left for me. 

The kitchen sparkled as I sipped on a seventh cup of bitterly strong coffee, pretending to solve Goldbach’s conjecture in my head before getting to work scrubbing burnt food off the stove drip pans. After I was done with the dusting and the sweeping in the living room, I found myself on all fours, cleaning grout in the bathroom with an old toothbrush while shaking like a heroin addict.

Simon crept into the doorway, before sitting on our oversized toilet with a loud groan.

“Gotta poop,” he said, holding open a two decade old Reader’s Digest he brought in with him. 

“Ugh. At least wait for me to leave,” I said, throwing the toothbrush into the sink as I ran out of the bathroom, shutting the door behind me just in time. 

I stepped back into the living room while Adam ate potato chips on the couch, scrolling through his phone. When he’d shove a handful into his mouth, smaller bits of chip would fall to the floor. 

“C’mon, man. I just cleaned this place.”

He glared up at me, then down at his sleeveless shirt before dusting more onto the couch and floor. 

“Missed a spot,” he muttered before scrolling again. 

Not wanting to make things worse, I turned around and walked through the hallway toward the back door. Now wasn’t the time for a heart-felt apology, especially since I wanted to throttle someone. Eventually, I’d need to fix what I broke. Adam was going to require some extra work.

As I opened the door, Austin stood at the edge of the woods, staring at nothing in particular. His tail swayed gently, so I knew he was in a somewhat decent mood. My bare feet lightly padded through dewy grasses until I was next to him. 

“You okay?”

“Mmhmm,” he grunted, still staring straight ahead. I tried to get a sense of what he was looking at, but aside from a few birds, there wasn’t anything moving out there. 

Turning back to the house, I walked over to the cold fire pit and sat on one of the lawn chairs, my heart rate finally dropping to a steady, less concerning rhythm as the caffeine started to wear off. Austin followed and took the seat next to me, but didn’t say anything. We listened to the wind whisk through all the trees, and after my morning of chores, this was rather nice. 

“Ever feel like taking a walk in the woods?” he asked, keeping his gaze toward the trees. 

“When Simon and I were out there, it was nice. I kinda thought about just staying there, but I quickly changed my mind when I got poison oak all over my body.” He smiled at that. “Are you having those thoughts again?”

“They haven’t come back since that night.”

“I think that thing with Mosavi made everything worse.”

His ears stood straight. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.”

“I’m sorry Austin. I don’t know what came over me. Mosavi did that thing—”

“I liked it,” he interrupted. 


“I liked it,” he repeated, this time looking down at me. “I think about it all the time.”

The words in my head were an incomprehensible mess of responses, and for the first time, I had no idea what to say.

“When I saw what you did to Simon last night, I got kinda jealous and fried his nips.”

“You…actually liked that?”

“You can add that to the list of messed up shit about me.” He chortled and looked away. “When I joined the marines, I got that feeling. When sergeants would shout commands at me, it was kinda hot. I didn’t have to make the decisions or think too much. All I had to do was follow orders.” He shifted in the chair and crossed one leg over his knee. “I wanted to be told what to do.”

“Dude, that shit’s fine in the bedroom, but you can’t let people do that to you in real life. Is that why you neglect Adam?”

“He wants me to take control and make the decisions all the time. I can’t deal with it.” The hackles on his neck stuck straight and he raised a brow at me. “When you commanded me to fuck him, that was hottest thing anyone’s ever done. When I was screwing him, I imagined you on top of me, shouting in my ear. Sometimes you’d lock me up, or I’d picture you beating the shit out of me while strapped to that cross.”


“I know,” he said, his expression returning to normal. “That’s why I’ve been thinking about paying the mayor a visit.”

“No! That guy’s bad news.”

Austin shook his head.

“No one gets me, and Adam’s never gonna understand.”

“Just tell him what you want, and stay away from Mosavi. I mean it. I’ll let you guys have that briefcase, if you want it—if I can find where Simon hid it.” 

“It’s not the same if you have to tell someone.” More unusual laughter snorted from his nose. “I used to get really rough with him, and I wanted him so pissed off that he’d do that stuff to me as revenge. But, all it did was make him more submissive while resenting me. It’s why I haven’t been in the mood to do anything with him lately, but when you tell me what to do—” His ears folded backward. “This is fucked up, isn’t it?”

“I want to say no, but I’m not a shrink,” I said with a sigh. “I haven’t exactly been patient or understanding with Adam as well. He’s been in pain, and you should tell him what you want him to do. See how he responds. I’ll mediate if you want.”

“What do you mean, pain?”

“The whole shifting thing. I think he needs a lot more attention than I can give him.”

Austin’s eyes widened. 

“God damn it,” he whispered. “I forgot about that shit.”

“About what?”

He jumped up from the chair and hurried to the back door, not responding as though he didn’t hear me. The door shut behind him, and I remained outside, bewildered while staring out into the woods. If anyone understood what Adam was going through, it would be Austin. I wondered how he handled the transition from half-turn to werewolf when he was younger. Perhaps that was another conversation we’d have as I continued getting to know him better.  

A bird let out a cackle high in one of the trees, but I couldn’t see what it looked like. I could only hear its creepy call echoing to the same type of bird further away. After a few minutes, more of the birds sang, their calls seeming to echo and reverberate through my head in a deafening chant.

“Arthuuuur,” a soft, feminine voice whispered in my ear, causing the hair on my neck to stand straight. “Come out and meet us.”

Tens of red, beady eyes stared unblinking from the shady pines. A familiar, hot and heavy sensation pressed in from all around, more intense than when Willa escorted me through her restaurant. What was this terror? It was the same primal screaming from the wolf to take cover, and this time, I wouldn’t ignore it. 

Trying to remain calm, I stood and made my way to the door. When the knob clicked, the woods fell silent and the voices vanished.

Adam and Austin’s bedroom door was closed, but there weren’t any sounds coming from the other side. The bathroom door was also shut, and I assumed Simon was still working off an impacted bowel from all the meat he’d consumed. As I approached the kitchen, however, Simon sat at the dining room table, nodding his head to the radio while peeling potatoes. 

“I thought you were still in the bathroom,” I said, sitting in the chair next to him. “Why are you making more food?”

Simon turned down the small, portable radio next to him. “These are gonna go bad soon if I don’t cook ‘em now.” He looked over at me. “You hungry?”

“Not at the moment,” I said, my mind still waffling between Adam possibly hating me now, and Austin’s interesting revelation. Plus, I couldn’t stop thinking about those voices. What was that? “What you did last night was really sweet.”

“I knew you’d like it. You always pretend like you hate somethin’ until you actually give it a chance.” He smiled and dropped a peeled potato in the bowl, pointing to himself with the dull side of his paring knife. “Like me.”

“That all depends on if you’re going to clean that nasty couch today. I saw roaches in the kitchen this morning.”

“A little more protein wouldn’t hurt ya,” Simon said, picking up another potato before noticing the disgust on my face. “I’m just kidding. I’ll clean it.”

“Am I an asshole?” I asked, gauging Simon’s shifty eyes.

“Uh…” He set the knife on the other side of the table. “That depends. Do you know where I hid the briefcase?”

“I guess that’s my answer.”

“Ever since that night with the mayor, you’ve been a little short.”

“I’m on edge,” I responded, resting my head against my knuckles. Willa’s words came rushing back, and I tried to push them away. 

You want to be him, don’t you?

“You gotta learn how to deal with that stuff in a constructive way instead of takin’ it out on the pack.” He nudged my arm. “Like riding my dick whenever you get angry.”

“It’s always about sex with you, isn’t it?”

“Naw. I’m just telling you to start using me the way yer supposed to. That’s why we’re kuu mates. You think all this is just to get free housing? All half-turns need a trusty werewolf that’ll be there when they need to blow off steam.”

“I thought the whole kuu thing was a recent policy.”

Simon nodded. “Yeah, but this stuff’s been happening well before that.”

I tilted my head, trying to remember what I was told about all this. 

“Then why do we even need these?” I pointed at my earrings. “If half-turns and werewolves end up together anyway, why do we need some kind of magical bond?”

Simon paused in thought for a moment and shrugged. “I ain’t an elder, so I don’t know what the purpose is for any of this shit. I just know that we’ll get a free ride when it’s over.”

“And you know this, how?”

“Because—” He paused again, stumbling over his words. “Because that’s what we’ve been told.”

“Have you actually seen any of these places? Do you know anyone who’s reached the end of the contract?”

“No, I guess not,” he muttered. “You think it’s all a lie?”

“I don’t know what to think anymore. Just some of the shit Mosavi said makes me wonder. He mentioned kuu-bound werewolves being easier to control. You were passed out drunk, so you didn’t hear it, but that’s been bothering me a lot.” I tried unclasping one of the golden hoop earrings, but it wouldn’t budge. “I can’t take these off, either. If I try to pull them too hard, they send a shock through my hands.”

“Now that you mention it, I did feel weird after he put those in yer ears. They did something with my blood to them earrings, but all that stuff happens behind closed doors.”

“That feral elder in the woods was the only one that didn’t seem to have some kind of agenda. When I was around them, I was a lot more at ease than when I’m around Mosavi or his wife.”

“What was she like?” he asked, picking up another potato.

“I think she’s a witch.”

Simon fumbled as he sliced, letting the knife fall into the bowl. 

“What makes you think that?”

“A feeling,” I responded. “There’s weird shit going on in the woods now, too. The confusing thing is, she warned me not to go out there because of the witches. If she’s a witch herself, she’s either a good one who protects werewolves from other witches, or she’s really greedy. Both explanations would make sense seeing how Norwich has such a huge werewolf population.”

“If yer right, the mayor ain’t the one running the town. Witches are bad news, man.”

“I still don’t know if she is or isn’t.” I looked back up at Simon. “You know something, don’t you?”

He scratched his head and pondered for a moment. “I wish I could remember. Don’t know why I’m so scared of ‘em, but I know something happened when I was younger. It wasn’t good; that much I know.”

The bathroom door opened, and Austin crept into the dining room, his eyes wide as he stared at me. 

“I need you to…do that thing you do.”

“What?” I asked as he got closer to the table. 

“I can’t get in the mood, and Adam’s waiting for me.”

“Well shit. Ain’t never seen that happen before,” Simon said. “Want me to suck yer dick? I bet I can get it nice and hard for ya.”

“That’s not gonna work,” he muttered. “I tried everything.” Austin got down on one knee in front of me. “You know what I need.”

“Alright.” I stood up and pointed to the bedroom. “Get in there and fuck your mate, soldier!” 

Austin stood still, his eyes not changing color like they usually did when I gave him a command. 

“Something’s different,” he said.

Had it worn off? Mosavi said it could take a while, but it had only been a few days.

“I don’t know how to do this on the fly,” I said, trying to stare directly into his yellow eyes. “Do you feel any different?”

“No,” he whispered. “Try slapping me around.”

“What the hell?” Simon asked. “Did I miss something?”

“You could say that,” I said, shakily gripping the back of Austin’s neck as he remained on one knee. “This doesn’t feel right.”

Austin turned to Simon. “Can you fuck my kuu mate?”

“You don’t have to ask me twice,” Simon said eagerly as he stood from the table. 

A shot of jealousy made the room turn silver. 

“Sit the hell back down, Simon,” I growled, turning back to Austin, my hand now clamped tightly on the loose skin of his neck. I leaned in, baring my teeth, and his eyes began to lighten to blue. “Get in there. I want you to fuck him so hard that he begs you to stop, and when he does, you fuck him more. Understand?”

“Yes…sir…” Austin whispered, his tone breathless as he stumbled to his feet, his cock now completely erect. He ran to the bedroom and slammed the door behind him, and my vision returned to a normal hue as I took a deep, calming breath. This disturbed me. It was almost as though someone else was using my body to speak; however, if Willa was telling the truth, this was me.  

“I thought you weren’t gonna do that no more,” Simon said, sitting back down. His tone sounded disappointed, but his scent told me something else. 

“He needed it.” 

Adam shouted something unintelligible but euphoric as their headboard slammed repeatedly against the wall. 

“God damn,” I added. “I’ll sort out Austin’s problem later, but this might be something I can’t fix.”

Simon started drooling. 

“When I’m done with these potatoes, you want me to do that to you?”

The half-turn urges came on in full force, especially as the sounds from Austin and Adam’s room ramped up. I hastily removed my shirt, and unbuttoned my pants, letting them fall to the floor.

“The potatoes can wait,” I said, rushing to our bedroom with Simon running to catch up.

Hours had passed, and it was mid-afternoon by the time all the house went quiet. The way Simon rutted me was unusually rough, but I wasn’t complaining at all. If anything, it was good exercise for him. 

He lay asleep, and I rolled over him out of bed for the second time that day. I needed to check on Austin, because I remembered the command I’d given him didn’t exactly tell him to stop. Would he have continued, even when he probably should have passed out? The guy was willing to punch himself in the face last night at my command, and again, I wondered how dangerous this could end up being, especially if I wasn’t thinking clearly and Austin took something a bit too literally.

I threw on my discarded clothes and rushed into their bedroom. Adam was sound asleep with a smile on his face and his dripping ass in the air. The sight was a relief. Even though he was probably still pissed at me, it was nice to see him smile. 

Now I needed to find where Austin had wandered off to. He wasn’t in the living room, and when I opened the door to his garage, it was empty. Perhaps he was outside, staring out into the woods again. A sudden sick feeling hit my stomach as I thought the worse, and I tore off toward the back door. 

As I ran outside, I sighed in relief as Austin sat cross-legged on a lawn chair in front of a lit fire pit. 

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked.

I held my chest and ambled toward another chair across the pit. 

“Nothing,” I replied before sitting. “Everything went well?”

He grinned, but didn’t respond. 

“You know, we should probably talk about this.”

“What’s there to talk about?”

“What happened earlier might be a sign that something’s wrong, Austin. I think this whole ‘me commanding you’ thing is fucking with your head.”

“I disagree. It’s probably the most normal thing in a while.”

“So I’m just supposed to keep doing this for the rest of your life?” I shook my head. “Dude, we need to find another solution. Also, if Adam finds out about this—he already resents me enough, and if you’re thinking about me while fucking him, things are not going to end well.”

“I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s not like we’re sleeping together.”

“It’s a huge deal. He’s insecure, and he’s about to go through a change that might devastate him. I fucked up our friendship, and now I might have fucked you up too. Do you really not understand, or do you not care?”

“I told you already. I’m not a good guy.”

“Nah, you’re just being a dipshit.”

“How about this,” Austin said, throwing a stick into the fire. “You keep doing that thing to me until Adam shifts, then I’ll talk to him about what I want him to do—if he even stays with me. Deal?”

I let out a sigh and stroked my fuzzy chin in contemplation. This was wrong, and we both knew it. However, Adam wasn’t going to be a half-turn for much longer. I wondered if Adam would even be willing to do what Austin wanted, but no one really knew how anyone would end up after the change. Adam was showing a lot of aggression, and while that was irritating given the current situation, it may actually keep the two together. 

“We do it in secret without Adam knowing. I’ll give you commands, but after all this is over, no more. I don’t know the long-term effects of this, and I don’t want to do anything to make you worse.”

Austin smiled again. “I know you care about me, which is why it feels good when you do it. When it wears off, I…can’t explain it. It’s like a fog lifts, and I can see things clearer. I think it’s helping.”

“I don’t know enough about any of this stuff to fully trust it.”

“You’re a good friend, Art.” His voice sounded…warm. It wasn’t like him at all, but was that a bad thing?

“You are too, and that’s why I’m worried,” I said. “Also, don’t let what Adam said back then stop you from trying to talk to him. He’s older now, and he’s going through enough that I think he’ll listen. You should tell him everything about yourself.”

“Not yet. I wanna wait and see what happens after he shifts. If we’re still together, I’ll tell him.”

The back door opened and Adam limped outside before catching sight of me. He turned around, about to walk back inside. 

“C’mere,” Austin shouted.

Adam froze. “What?”

Austin gave me a nod, and I stood before walking back to the house. 

“Let’s hang out,” he said, prompting a very confused expression from the half-turn. “If you want to.”

“What’s going on?” He looked at me, but I replied with nothing but a smile. His cute little tail wagged. “What did you say to him?”

“Nothing much. Must have been some really good sex,” I replied before stepping all the way inside.

The next day, I walked alone on the road near our neighborhood, staying clear of the town. The streets out here were less traveled, and I ended up at the place where Simon was teaching me how to drive. The woods were on one side of the road, but there was a hilly field on the other. It was nice to have some alone time for once.

As I made my way through the tall, golden grass, I climbed to the top of the hill before lying on my back, staring up at the blue sky. It was around sixty degrees, but the breeze made it feel a bit chillier. I closed my eyes and let the sun warm me as I relaxed to the sounds of nature. Norwich was so rural that there weren’t any other noises aside from birds, wind and the crunch of footsteps beside my head…

My eyes snapped open, and a dark man in a black suit looked down at me. 

“What a coincidence,” he said, kneeling next to my head, his eyes glowing silver as he grinned, the sharper canines peeking from his lips. A sweet smell of tobacco and cologne mixed with his musk caught my nose as I tried to sit up, but his hand fell to my chest, pinning me to the ground. “It is a beautiful day. Let’s talk for a while.”

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 22: The Road to Recovery

  1. Poor broken Austin. Boy pulls hard on my heartstrings every damn time. Its bittersweet to see him “healing” in such a manor, but if it helps set his soul at ease, I’m overjoyed for him. As long as he is happy I’m happy. Now to see how that lil selfish prick fucks shit up. Even if the circumstance is fucked up, I hope Austin will finally be at piece with what is to come, even if Adam has to be the one to do it. -_- Art & Simon being adorably gross together is a pleasant counter balance to Austin’s mental health recovery/Adam’s narcissist insecurity. Stay at home himbo boyf really does suit Simon. Not a scene that he is involved in that I don’t end up swooning over his cheesy(often raunchy), attempts at “romance” or laughing my ass off at something he is/has done to elevate Art’s cholesterol. What horrible shit does Mosavi and his bawdy wife have in store for Art now. Eagerly looking forward to the next chapter!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor Austin needs some serious help, he can’t live the rest of his life like this.
    And what a way to meet Mosavi again. On such a beautiful day too. XC

    Eagerly awaiting more chapters~
    LOVE what I’m reading so much~


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