Chapter 8: Uninvited Guests

“Eight months,” said the stuffy male voice through the receiver. 

“What do you mean, eight months?” I let out an involuntary growl, shaking with anger. “I was told a few weeks, a few weeks ago!”

“I don’t make the zoning laws, Mr. Black; I just relay the information I’ve been given. The shortage is only in the tri-county area.”

“Well, yeah. No one lives anywhere else! I need transportation to go to the store, and decent internet so I can work remotely.”

The man’s only response for an uncomfortable minute was the furious clacking of his keyboard. 

“Okay, this is promising. It’s something I think you and your significant other may like.”

“He’s not—” I caught myself, remembering one of the hidden state contract clauses I meticulously read before signing. 

“What was that?”

“Never mind. So where is this place?”

“It’s a little town in Clemon County called Norwich.”

“Where is Clemon County?”

The man paused, as if choosing his words carefully, which made me more anxious. “It’s a border town a little way to the northeast.”

I growled again. “That’s not a little way! The reason I chose this area was because the bus goes everywhere. I don’t understand why I can’t just live around here. There are enough apartments in the city, and it’s not like I’m dangerous or contagious or anything.”

“Again, I don’t make the laws. Given your requirements, it’s either Norwich or you’ll have to relocate to another state, and I’ll be frank with you: no bordering state is even going to let you drive through it in your condition. Think it over, look up the town and call me back with your decision. By law, I have to tell you that it’s illegal for a half-turn to live on the streets. If you don’t find something suitable, you’ll have to go to Stonebrook until you transition.”

“What’s that?”

The man paused again. “It’s a place for adolescent half-turns that have nowhere to go. There are also adults as well.”

“So, it’s an institution?”

“It’s a free place to live as a last resort.”

“It sure as hell won’t be my last resort,” I said, my tone mirroring my mental exhaustion. “I’ll look up this town and see if it’s worth going to. If not, I have someone else I can live with.” With that, I ended the call and set the phone face down on the wooden spool table. It was a little after seven in the morning, and I was outside, sitting on a damp deck chair, watching low clouds race by overhead. 

The door cracked open and Simon limped out onto the porch, holding two mugs of coffee in both hands. Stripes of dried blood clumped in the fur along his torso and legs, but there weren’t any signs of injury. Whatever Derrek did to him last night healed up fast. 

“You look like shit,” I said, carefully grabbing the handle of the mug he gave me. 

Simon snorted. “I ain’t been fucked that hard in about ten years. Kinda miss it.”

“Miss it? You look like someone wrapped you in barbed wire and yanked it off.”

“You’ll understand when you turn. We fuck a lot different. It’s either rough and hard, rough and violent, rough and short, or rough and rougher.” He ran his tongue along the edge of his sharp teeth, but I noticed right away the larger right canine was missing. “It ain’t ever gentle though.”

“I gathered that.” I pointed to his muzzle. “Simon…”

“It’ll grow back by tomorrow.”

The door opened again, and Derrek strutted outside holding his own mug with an image of a surfboard and a red heart around it. 

“Good morning, Art,” he said, taking in a huge sniff of air, his tail swinging behind him as he glanced at Simon. “Looks like it’s going to be busy today.”

“Why’s that?” I asked.

Derrek gave a nod to the ocean. “Look at the rip current. Storms off the coast are making the water extra choppy today, and people never pay attention to the warnings.” He sat his mug on the table and grabbed the older werewolf’s muzzle, gently prying it open with his thumb. “Heh, I didn’t know it actually fell out.”

Simon pulled away and whistled through the empty cavity where his tooth used to be. “Wasn’t paying attention when I landed on the floor. I’ll look for it later. I bet I could make an awesome necklace for Art.”

“You mean, you’ll give me the tooth Derrek fucked loose? How romantic. I’ll pass,” I said, holding my hand up.

“I’ll take it.” Derrek sat on the other side of the table and sipped his coffee. “It’ll be a good conversation starter.”

“Alright then,” Simon said, holding his mug up. “We good now?”

Derrek said nothing; instead, he smiled while stroking the soul patch below his thin, black lips. 

“I’ll interpret that as a maybe,” Simon finished. 

Derrek put his hand on my shoulder, startling me. “You okay? You look more stressed out than usual, and that’s saying something.”

“Ever heard of a town called Norwich?”

Derrek shook his head, but Simon’s face lit up. 

“Norwich? What about it?” Simon asked. 

“Apparently, it’s the only halfway decent town where I can get housing. The problem is, it’s far away and rural.”

“If they offered you a place there, take it!” Simon’s ears pointed straight up. 

“Why? What do you know about it?”

“I got some friends from there that really love it. That town’s practically made for us. They got a healthy population of werewolves and half-turns, and the humans are freaks. I’m talkin’ demonic occult type shit.”

“And I should jump at the chance to live here, because…?” I muttered while typing the town name into my phone. 

“Think about it, Art. It’s practically Halloween every day. There’s always something spooky goin’ on, and the town’s surrounded by woods people say is haunted. Plus, we ain’t gonna be the only werewolves. The humans will love us.”

“Yeah, I bet.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“You used the words demonic and occult. What if they’re dangerous?”

Simon shook with laughter, and so did Derrek. “What the hell’re human gonna do to us?”

“That’s not what I’m talking about… What if—”

“The hocus pocus is real?” Derrek interrupted.

“N—no. God, I’m not stupid.”

Derrek raised an eyebrow. “You think people who believe in that stuff are stupid?”


“Careful how you answer,” Simon said. “Derrek was big into that stuff back in the day.”

I turned back to Derrek. “Is he serious?”

“Nah, I just hung around with people who did, and you might be right. If any of that magic actually worked, Simon’s dick would have shriveled up and fallen off years ago.”

“Oh hell naw,” Simon shouted, the fur on his neck sticking straight up. “You really had ’em do spells ‘n shit on me?”

“That was years ago, and last night it looked like it was still all there.”

“That ain’t funny, man! You know about the rule of three, right?”

Derrek shrugged. “It’s not like I did the rituals. And you were pretty excited about being around this stuff earlier.”

“This is different. Christ…” Simon looked down at his lap. “My dick hurts.”

“Oh come on, Simon,” I said, laughing at how superstitious he turned out to be. “You were fine before Derrek said anything.”

“My dick was hurtin’ before.”

I pointed to the dried blood along his torso and thighs. “You’re right. There’s no other explanation for that. It must be witchcraft,” I said dismissively while scrolling through the internet search results. The town was just as rustic as Simon made it seem; the buildings and houses were old, and there was a lot of nature around the area. “I hope this place has decent internet.”

“I hope they’ve got someone who gets rid of curses.”

“You’re fine, Simon. I didn’t have anything of yours to use in the ritual.” Derrek stood and calmly walked over to the door while Simon eyed him suspiciously. “I just remembered something.” He ran inside and slammed the door shut behind him.

Simon leaped out of his chair and dashed inside after the other werewolf. “I rescind my offer! You ain’t gettin’ my tooth!”

I leaned back and shook my head, scrolling through more information while the two scuffled inside. The loud pounding of the floors and Simon yelling hysterically at Derrek lightened the mood. It seemed the two were going to be fine, but I was still uncertain about my future. The last big move I made didn’t turn out so well, but I was younger then, and I was alone. This time I’d have someone, and Simon was trying. 

His OnlyFans idea was actually pretty good, and despite my objections, it sounded fun. There was no way in hell I’d tell Simon that, though.

Dark shades protected my eyes from the harsh afternoon sun, since I’d spent most of the day lying on the beach reading a book I borrowed from Derrek’s shelf. The werewolf was an avid reader of epic fantasy, but I managed to find a normal-sized book I thought was contemporary fiction. I was half-right, and it ended up being a fascinating read about the theorized origins of the werewolf gene. It seemed science-y at first, but it quickly dove into the absurd, which made it even more fun to read.

Adam stopped in front of me and grabbed the book out of my hands. His hair style changed since the last time I saw him—shaved on both sides, with the same long dreads in the middle. The thicker fur-like hair on his arms, chest, and legs dripped with sea water, and he wore only a pair of torn white swim trunks and sandals.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“I need to talk.” Adam glanced at the cover and rolled his eyes before plopping down next to me and tossing it back into my lap. “Are you and Simon gonna live with Derrek?”

“No, why?”

“That lying bastard. I’m not going to let him use that as an excuse next time I ask him if I can stay.”

“Don’t you have a place of your own and actual parents who want you back… for some reason?”

He turned away and sifted sand through his fingers. “I’m not pathetic enough to live with my parents at this age.”

“At this age? Aren’t you like sixteen or something?”

“You’re one to talk.” He threw the rest of the sand onto the ground and glared at me. “My living situation has changed.”

“What do you mean? I thought you lived with your werewolf in an apartment?”

“I do, but… it’s complicated. I had to keep him a secret for reasons. So, as far as the state knew, I was living by myself. I got a surprise audit a few days ago for the first time, and they’re gonna kick me out.”

“What about your werewolf?”

“He’s the whole reason I’m in this mess, and he treats me like shit for my trouble. I’d rather break the kuu and live with Derrek.”

“Is that why you both were arguing the other night?”

Adam sighed. “I wish I’d gotten the kuu from him. He keeps telling me he has a boyfriend and doesn’t want to get involved with a half-turn, but I’ve never seen him serious with anyone. I get it; he doesn’t like me. No one does.”

“I like you,” I said through my teeth. “When you aren’t being a brat.”


“If you get kicked out, what’s going to happen?”

“They’ll put me in Stonebrook, and I don’t wanna go to that place. I heard they do weird experiments on half-turns.”

“I’m sure they don’t do that. That would be a violation of human rights.”

“Yeah, human rights.”

“We’re still human… somewhat.” A huge, blonde-furred werewolf with a lighter mane emerged from the ocean, shaking the excess water from his coat. Derrek glared at him for a moment before focusing his attention back on a few swimmers wading a bit too far from shore. 

“God damn it. I thought he wasn’t going to come today.”


Adam pointed at the werewolf I’d been watching, his sharp focus settling squarely on me. That was one of the creepiest stares I’d gotten from anyone since I turned. 

The half-turn tugged at the tight chain around his neck and began to pant.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just… damn it.”

The werewolf stopped in front of us and dropped to one knee in front of Adam. 

“Why don’t you just ever say what I told you to say when you need to be fucked?”

“Oo-kay,” I interjected, grabbing the werewolf’s attention again. “You’re Adam’s werewolf?”

“No,” he grunted, glaring at Adam. “He’s my half-turn. Isn’t that right, boy?”

“Yes sir,” he replied, his head down while the werewolf slipped a finger under the kuu, gently tracing along the underside.

“Are you in the army?” I asked, noticing the embossed silver dog tags dangling from a chain around his neck.

The werewolf let go of Adam and sat cross-legged in front of us, snatching the jewelry out of sight before I could read the names. He tucked them into the thicker fur of his mane. 

“Nah. Just found these lying around somewhere and thought they made me look badass. Could you imagine a werewolf in the military?” Though he tried to hide it, there was a subtle nervousness behind his haughty laugh.

“Why not?”

He ignored my question and extended his hand. “Name’s Austin.”

“Art,” I replied, returning the handshake. “I couldn’t help but notice a moment ago that you’re kind of a dick.”

“Oh?” He squeezed my hand tighter, and I yanked it away. 

“Why do you treat him like that?”

“Art, stop,” Adam whispered, jamming my ribs with an elbow. He turned back to Austin. “I don’t wanna do this right now.” 

The werewolf sniffed the air. “The hell you don’t.” His eyes settled on Derrek’s beach house. “C’mon.”

There wasn’t any more protest from Adam as he obediently scrambled to his feet. Austin slung the considerably smaller half-turn over his shoulder and plodded toward the beach house. The look on Adam’s face told me everything I needed to know about the situation. 

The blonde werewolf turned toward me. “Wanna join?”

The hair on the back of my neck stood straight and my stomach knotted. 

“I’ll pass,” I said, cracking open the book I was reading earlier. Though I was nonchalant in my dismissiveness, that was unexpectedly harder to refuse than it should have been. There were more than a few embarrassing quirks to the half-turn condition. We were smaller and weaker than full-turned werewolves, but our libidos matched up perfectly. This was something they loved to take advantage of, and it was a giant elephant in the room everyone ignored and pretended was normal. Maybe it was, but I didn’t like this.

“Suit yourself.” He turned back around, and Adam looked up at me.

“It won’t take long,” he muttered. “It never does.”

“Hey,” Austin shouted. “Sounds like I need to find something to fill that smart mouth of yours.”

Sweat beaded on Adam’s forehead, and the slight smirk on his face put me more at ease.

“Please don’t get the leash again, daddy.”

And with that, I rolled my eyes and continued reading while they disappeared into Derrek’s house. 

The sun was setting, and Derrek and Simon were swimming in the ocean while I was out for a jog on the beach. They seemed to be playing around at first, but when Simon went under and Derrek disappeared after him, I grew concerned. I stopped running and fixated on the area they were moments ago, waiting for someone’s head to pop back up. When neither emerged after a minute, the real panic sat in.

What was I going to do? I could barely swim in a pool of stagnant water, and now my werewolf was drowning and there was nothing I could do about it. I paced back and forth, shouting their names over the crash of the waves, growing more hysterical by the minute. Out of the corner of my eye, much further out than before, both of them emerged, struggling to pull something along. 

It took them a good five minutes of struggling before they were closer to shore and able to stand. What they were doing out there became apparent when Simon slung a heavy blue marlin over his shoulder and hobbled along while Derrek kept him steady in the turbulent water. 

“What the hell are you guys doing?” I asked, running closer to get a better look at the fish. There was a huge gash along the underside of its head where Simon or Derrek’s powerful jaws made contact. 

“Gettin’ dinner,” Simon said, giving the fish a slight shake. “Want some sushi?”

“You guys scared me. I thought you were drowning out there.”

Derrek threw his heavy, sodden arm over my shoulder. “No one’s ever drowned on my beach, and Simon’s a decent swimmer when food’s involved.”

“I’m so hungry, I could eat this whole thing,” Simon said, drool roping from his mouth. 

Derrek snatched the fish away and tripped Simon, who fell face-first onto the dry sand. 

“Don’t even think about it, fatty. This is for the three of us.”

Simon climbed to his feet, shaking the sand out of his wet fur. “Oh when have I ever done that for real?” 

“Christmas of ’86, when we went camping, remember?”

Simon scratched his head. “Uh…”

“You volunteered to cook up that stag we killed that would have fed the ten of us, and everyone was so excited about it because you were the only one that knew how to actually cook?”

Simon opened his mouth as if to object, but all that came out was a meek “ohhh…” 

“Yeah. And because you were my friend, we were both not invited to any more campouts. And need I bring up Thanksgiving at Jessie’s?”

“Alright, you made yer point.”

“I’m honestly surprised you haven’t gotten any fatter,” Derrek added, poking Simon’s muscle gut with his free hand. “If you weren’t a werewolf, you’d probably be in a Rascal, taking up an entire aisle at the grocery store.”

“Alright, alright. I got a bit of a problem.”

“Your problem is you take everything in excess.” Derrek’s tone went from scolding to light-hearted when he looked over at a frustrated Simon. “Well, at least you’re getting better about it.”

We approached the porch, and Derrek slapped the fish into Simon’s hands. “I’ve gotta build the fire in the barrel. Can I trust you to prepare this thing?”

“You bet. I bought the right spices for this and everything.” Simon walked into the house, but quickly reemerged. “You expecting company, Derrek?”

“Are they still in there?” I asked, looking up at the confused werewolf. 

“I don’t really wanna interrupt the fun.” Simon looked down at his dick, which was now poking out from the patch of pubic fur. “Er, maybe I do.”

Derrek threw open the door and stomped inside. “What the hell’s going on in here?” That was the last coherent thing I heard as the door slammed shut behind him. 

“Four hours,” I said, rather impressed—if a bit worried for Adam. 

Simon let the marlin fall to the table before sitting next to me. 

“Well shoot, that got me in the mood. You wanna—” 

“This is not exactly the time, Simon.”

He shoved me with his elbow. “Hey. Wanna watch me fuck this fish?”

I shot the werewolf the most disgusted glance I could muster. 

“I’m joking… or am I?” He flashed his eyebrows and stroked the dead fish seductively with his index finger. 

“You’re so disgusting,” I said, cracking a smile before breaking into a fit of laughter. “God, what the hell is wrong with you?”

Simon pulled me closer. “I like it when you laugh. You should do it more often.”

We sat like that for a while longer, not saying anything as we listened to the angry commotion coming from inside the house. Why was liking him so hard to admit? Every time I’d think him and I couldn’t be more wrong for each other, moments like these made me realize how comfortable he made me. There was a charming guy in there, hiding underneath all the personality flaws—or what I perceived were flaw. Perhaps those were what attracted me the most to him. He was real, and he was funny, and he had those moments where he was sweet and caring. 

What was it about me that made him try to be a better person? He didn’t have to. We were stuck with each other now, and he could have easily treated me the way Austin treated Adam, and I wouldn’t have been able to do a damn thing about it.

The door slowly creaked open, and an embarrassed-looking Adam stepped outside with Austin following, a snarling scowl on his face. 

“You could have at least let us finish,” Austin said, turning back toward an equally angry Derrek. They were both about the same size and build, which had me wondering who would win if they started fighting right now.

“You finished enough. I’ve gotta sleep on that bed with your spunk everywhere.”

“Hell yeah,” Simon chimed in. “Bet it smells great in there.”

Everyone glared at him. 

“What? Don’t act like you guys don’t like the smell of sex.”

“Hey, is that a blue?” Austin asked, looking down at the fish. “Who caught it?”

“I did,” Simon said proudly. “Was just about to season this baby. You guys wanna join?” Simon’s ears fell off to the side as he looked up at Derrek. “That is, if it’s okay with you, buddy.” 

“Oh, why ask? Everyone invites themselves in my house and fucks on my bed. Why not stay for dinner, too?”

“Great. Sounds like a yes to me,” Austin said, eliciting an annoyed hiss from Derrek. “We’re going to need another fish, though. I bet I can get a bigger one.”

Simon stood up and playfully shoved the taller werewolf. “I bet it’ll be smaller. Takes a lot of skill to catch these.”

“You’re on, shorty.” 

Austin pouted as we all sat around the table eating slices of grilled marlin with a few smoked cods. It seemed the other werewolf couldn’t live up to his boast after all. 

“It’s good cod,” Derrek said patronizingly, with his mouth full.

“Oh shut up,” Austin muttered, taking another bite of marlin steak. “Damn.”

“Good, ain’t it?” Simon put another piece of steak onto his plate. 

“How’d you learn how to cook like this?” Austin asked, taking a much larger bite than before. 

“There’re two f’s in life I love the most: food and fuckin’. May as well make ’em both as good as possible.”

“I’ll eat to that,” Austin replied, patting a disgruntled Adam on the head who looked more like a pissed-off wet cat than a half-turned werewolf. He hadn’t said much since he walked out of the house. It was strange. His werewolf didn’t seem so bad; in fact, he and Simon seemed to hit it off pretty well. Derrek, on the other hand, was less than friendly toward him.

“Do you and Austin know each other?” I asked, trying to strike up a conversation that would give me a bit more insight while hopefully not irritating either of them. 

“Yes.” Derrek’s sharp, one-word response was a subtle hint not to press it further.  

“I used to take swimming lessons from him when I was a half-turn,” Austin chimed in. “Man, how long ago was that? Six years?”

“How old are you?” I asked. 

“Twenty-four,” he said. “How old are you? Like seventeen?”

“I’m twenty-two, asshole.” 

Adam snickered, likely remembering the jab I took at him earlier for the same reason.

“For real?” He let out a throaty laugh. “Dude, you haven’t even gotten your thicker coat yet. What, did you just turn or something?”

My face got hotter. “Yes.”

“Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone hitting half-turn at your age. Then again, you do look like you’re still in high school.”

“Fuck. That’s kinda hot.” Simon shoved me playfully.

“You’re crossing a really creepy line right now,” I said, scooting away from the older werewolf. 

“It’s been my experience that smaller half-turns end up turning into monsters. I was about Art’s size,” Derrek said. “And you were even punier, Austin.”

“Yeah, but the marines made a man out of me. Well, not exactly a man.” 

“Wait,” I interrupted. “I thought you said you weren’t in the military.”

The werewolf went silent and continued eating. 

“Way to blow your cover in the dumbest way possible,” Adam said. “This is why we’re being evicted, by the way.”

“Why? Because he was in the marines?”

“No, because he went AWOL, and they’ve been looking for his ass. That’s why I couldn’t list him on the state contract. I didn’t know that until after he gave me this stupid collar.”

Derrek sighed. “How long do you have?”

“A week, maybe. I don’t know what I’m going to do. If Austin and I get separated, I lose my chance to not end up a bum on the street when I turn.”

“Your parents told you they’d take you back in. What about me?” Austin snapped. “I didn’t get to make a kuu with a werewolf back then, and this is my last chance.”

“That’s not my fault.”

“Why did you leave the military like that?” I asked. 

Austin sat back in his chair and slapped his chest. “You know what I enjoy doing the most in life? Actually being alive. That’s why I left.”

“But there aren’t any wars right now.”

“Exactly. I don’t wanna get into it, but just know there’s a reason werewolves don’t join the military. Lesson learned… the hard way.”

I turned to Adam. “Do you lose your income, too?”

“Thankfully, no.”

“You guys should move in with us,” Simon blurted. 

“Brilliant idea. This way, we can also run into the exact same problem.” I gave Simon a slap on the arm. “Dumbass. I already had to lie to the government and say you were my fiancé so you could live with me. I can’t just add more people to the list of roommates.”

Simon grinned. “Fiancé, huh? Sweet! May as well make it legal. What do you say?”

“No. And that’s not how you propose to someone, either. God damn! You are the least romantic person I’ve ever met.”

“It was worth a shot.”

“You’re going to die single.”

Adam snapped his fingers. “Hey. About to be homeless here, which I think trumps… whatever the hell this is.”

“Maybe Simon’s onto something,” I said.

Simon’s ears perked up and his tail wagged, which meant he was about to say something stupid. “Hell yeah, I’m gettin’ married! Too bad the folks are dead. Although, if they weren’t dead by now, this’d probably do ’em in.”

I said nothing for a moment, staring dead-eyed at Simon before continuing. 

“I have a feeling they audited you because they are trying to get werewolves and half-turns out of the city and into the surrounding counties. I wasn’t able to find a house anywhere around here, and there were plenty a few weeks ago. Maybe call up the department and see if it would be legal for you to move there.”

“I’d have to list Austin the same way you did for Simon, and I can’t do that or they’ll take him.” He turned to the huge werewolf sitting next to him. “Then that’s it for my future.”

“Oh, and they’d probably kill me,” Austin said. “You know, in case for a moment you thought about anyone else but yourself, you little brat.” 

“Oh, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? The only thing you see me as is a fleshlight.” 

“That’s because that’s all you’re good for.”

“Alright, that’s enough,” Derrek shouted, pounding his fist on the table before turning toward Simon. “I thought you didn’t have a social security number.”

“I don’t,” Simon replied. 

“Last name?”

“You know I forgot that years ago.”

Derrek looked back at me. “How the hell did you put this guy on a state contract?”

“Well… I kind of made shit up.”

“And they didn’t say anything?” 

“Not a thing.”

Derrek and I both smiled and looked over at Austin and Adam. 

“You mean to tell me, all this time I could have just invented an identity and those idiots wouldn’t have questioned it?” Austin asked, growing increasingly frustrated. 

“For housing? I guess so, but for anything else? Don’t push your luck,” I said. “They didn’t seem particularly interested in knowing more about Simon. They just wanted us both out of the county. I wonder if they would have even cared if I listed him as my fiancé or if that was some legacy clause in the document? I was so frustrated by the process I didn’t even stop to consider the whys.”

“Well, there’s your loophole,” Derrek said. “Call the auditor, tell them you’re interested in moving to Norwich, list Austin under some bullshit name, and bam! Get a place to live.”  

“I don’t know,” Austin said, his ears off to the side. “What if Art’s was just a fluke, and they find out who I really am? They’ve got my picture in the system and everything.”

“They didn’t ask for a picture of Simon,” I added.

“Yer sure this was the government you were talking to?” Simon asked. “This is starting to sound kind of…” He picked up a grilled cod’s head and silently mouthed the word “fishy,” which admittedly made me chuckle. 

“Well, now I’m concerned,” I said, scrolling through the list of dialed numbers on my phone. I copied the one I called earlier and pasted it into my browser, relieved when the Southside Bureau of Nonhuman Housing and Development popped up. “This is legit. I’ll text you the number.”

“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt to ask,” Adam said, holding up his phone. 

Austin snatched the phone away. “Actually, it could. Never trust the government.”

“No shit, but we don’t have any other options. No one’s gonna know it’s you.”

After a few moments of hesitation, Austin handed the phone back to Adam. “Fine. I’ll tell you what name to use.”

A subtle but mischievous smirk crept up the side of Adam’s face. “Yeah. I’ll write it down.”

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