“Zach’s coming over tonight,” Laura says as she walks through the front door, a laundry basket balanced against her hip.
Derek doesn’t give the slightest indication that he’s heard her, keeps his nose buried in a well-worn copy of Lord of the Flies. Laura reaches out and flicks his ear on her way to her bedroom, ignoring his yelp of protest. She spends a few minutes putting her clothes away and tidying up her room before returning to the living room. Derek pretends to read but she can tell by the tilt of his head that his attention is on her.
“Well I know you heard me, but did you actually process anything I said when I walked in?” she asks.
Derek rolls his eyes. “Yeah yeah. It’s a day ending in y, so Zach is coming over. Wouldn’t it be easier to tell me when he’s not coming over?”
“He’s not over that often. And you can grumble all you want, I know you like him.”
Derek's mouth twitches slightly and Laura knows she's right.
“You working tonight?” she asks, even though she already knows the answer; Derek works the door at one of the many interchangeable hipster bars in Brooklyn, and has his schedule hanging up on the refrigerator.
“You know I do. Why are you ask… oh Laura, no,” Derek says as he scrunches up his nose.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she replies, feeling a slight heat bloom across her cheeks.
“Come on! It smells bad enough when you two come back from running the cliffs and doing god only knows what.”
“Okay, first of all Zach and I do not stink. Second, this is my apartment too. Third, I’m the Alpha so shut up.”
“That’s your argument? ‘I’m the Alpha?’ Just open the windows or something."
“Just for that we’re doing it on your bed,” Laura says. “Twice.”
“Hey, you’re the one who chose New York, buddy. I never would have met Zach if we hadn’t moved here.”
Derek heads down the hall to his room, to get changed for his shift. “Yes, and I’m literally made of regret now.”
Laura rolls her eyes and bites her tongue against commenting on the proper use of the word “literally.”
By the time Laura hears Zach's footsteps in the hallway, she and Derek have stopped sniping about her sex life and have moved on to the tried and true argument about Derek wasting his talents.
"All I'm saying, Derek, is that with a little more school you could probably find a job doing something you actually like. You wouldn't have to keep working at crappy bars. It's like you don't want to let yourself be happy."
Derek growls and throws open the door, pushing past Zach who had his hand poised to knock. When Zach huffs out a laugh, calling "always nice to see you," Laura hears another growl in response.
Laura greets him with a kiss as he pushes the door closed behind him.
"I'm sorry, he's just being-" Laura begins but Zach cuts her off.
"He's just being Derek. You can't control him."
Laura lets her eyes go red. "I could if I wanted."
Zach nods and moves closer to her. "You could. But do you really want to do it that way? Is that the kind of Alpha you want to be?"
Laura sighs and lets her eyes return to normal. "No," she admits. "I just want good things for him." Zach hums in support as she leans into him, inhaling his scent and feeling the calm come over her almost at once.
She smiles and lets him gather her close. "So are we going out tonight?"
He leans back to smile down at her. "We could if you want, but I was thinking maybe we could stay in." There's no mistaking his tone, or the shift in his scent.
Laura tugs him over to the couch. Derek is going to complain later but she can’t bring herself to care. Not with Zach hovering over her, a slightly wicked smile twisting his lips and heat in his dark brown eyes.
The first kiss is tentative, a brief brush of lips before Zach pulls away. Laura reaches up, pulling him down flush on top of her. She trails her mouth along his jaw before reaching his mouth. This time there is nothing brief or tentative.
Laura arches up into his body and feels the outline of his hardness pressing against her thigh. Her eyes flash red and she feels her fangs begin to lengthen before she pulls back on her control. Zach chuckles softly and nips at her ear before nuzzling at the soft skin of her neck. She feels more than hears the words when he asks “What do you want?”
Laura feels a greedy thrill as she grabs his thick black hair and pulls up so she can look into the flickering gold of his eyes.
Sometime after round three Zach crawls over to the phone and calls the pizza place down the street. Laura just watches from where she's propped up against the wall. Neither she nor Zach seem to have the energy to get up off the floor.
"No bell peppers on anything!" Laura calls out. "I don't want bell peppers to have even looked at my pizza"
Zach sighs and puts their order in before crawling back over. "You realize one of us will have to get up when the pizza gets here."
Laura smiles quick and sharp. Zach just rolls his eyes.
"Yeah yeah, you're the mighty Alpha. I'll get up and fetch the food." He's sitting in front of her now and she reaches up with her foot to push his face away. He grins as he grabs it and bites down on her big toe. It's meant as a joke but she feels her eyes go red as her control wavers.
"Is this a thing?" he asks as he drags his teeth down the side of her foot. She twists her leg to give him more access and tilts her head.
"I... I'm not sure. Maybe?"
Zach smiles and mouths his way back up to her toes. When he sucks lightly on the big toe, Laura giggles and pulls her foot back. "Apparently not," Zach laughs as Laura sits up and crawls into his lap.
"I think it's just a you thing," she says, kissing down his neck, her arms snaking around his shoulders. She brings her mouth to his and he smiles through the brief kiss before gently pushing her off of his lap. She pouts as he stands up.
"Where do you think you're going?"
There's a sharp knock at the door and Zach pulls on Laura's purple flower robe to go pay for the pizza. When he gets back she's managed the mighty feat of getting up off the floor and is now sitting on the couch, the blanket that usually rests on the back wrapped around her shoulders. Zach slides in next to her, putting the pizza down on the table.
"Your bell pepper-less pizza, my Alpha."
Laura grins wide and happy as they start to eat. He's been saying that a lot lately. "My Alpha." She knows this is serious; they've talked about going upstate, having her meet his pack, his family. They don't do the whole 'I love you' thing; not often anyway, but she knows that's what this is.
They finish eating and Laura cleans away the empty box, letting the blanket fall to her feet as she gets up. She walks down the hall knowing that Zach is tracking her. She stands in the doorway to the bathroom.
"Ready for round four?" she asks, laughing brightly when Zach is suddenly there crowding her back over the threshold. She pushes her robe off his shoulders as she moves them toward the shower. "I'll take that as a yes."
They've made it into the bed by the time Derek finally comes home from work. Laura hears him take one step into the apartment, stop, and then the muttered "gross!" before making a hasty retreat to his room. Zach's breath ghosts over her shoulder as he laughs behind her. She falls into sleep, smiling and content.