I was going to rub my wrist raw. The silence in the room was deafening, and I kept my gaze down. I let out a small hiccup, my piece of pie and cup of tea sitting cold in front of me. I didn't want to eat it, and I didn't want to have any tea. I had just bared a part of myself that I was told I would never have to bring up again.
All to the monster family.
No one spoke for the longest time. I refused to look up, switching up my wrists and rubbing them frantically. The thought of Dominic now made me sick, and looking back, I should have seen it all coming. But I thought I was in love, and was willing to look past all of that crap just to be with him. And I got burned by it.
There was a creaking noise behind me and I looked back. Skeletal hands with golden rings greeted me, and I looked up to see Red staring out the large window. His claws had dug into the fabric of the chair, and I reached up to touch his hand.
His head jerked in my direction and he stared at me, his crimson eye lights glowing bright and even seeming to waver a little. It was like they were flickering in and out of existence, but I couldn't tell if they were. It was happening too fast for me to see.
Asgore was the first to speak, and his voice was gruff.
“I apologize that this has happened to you,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “It seems you were dragged into this world rather than willingly coming into it, much like Captain Undyne thought.”
Undyne was looking away, her features pinched. She was staring at the ground, and Alphys was holding her hand while looking at the table. Toriel looked horrified, with both of her paws held up to her muzzle and Frisk looked ready to actually cry. Even Flowey looked upset over this. Mettaton looked utterly aghast, all four of his arms over his chest plate. Papyrus looked like he was shaking, his gloved hands shaking as he gripped the arms of his suit. Muffet looked ready to start a riot. None of them could look at me.
I looked at them with a tiny smile. “It's alright. I'm not mad. I thought it would be best to clear the air.”
Wingdings came from my left, standing between Asgore and I. He clasped a holed hand on the Don's shoulder. “It seems we were wrong,” he said softly. “Maybe we should let her go.”
All eyes turned to Red. Even myself, turning in my seat a little. He was still looking down at me, and his eye lights were almost nonexistent as he watched me. They flicked over my face, taking in my features as he ripped his claws from the chair, stiffly turning to the window. He clasped his hands behind his back and I could hear him take in a deep breath.
I thought he didn't need to breathe?
“Sans, please...” Toriel trailed off when his shoulders stiffened, but she continued, “If she doesn't want to be in this anymore, she doesn't have to.”
“THAT'S CORRECT, BROTHER,” Papyrus nodded. “SHE IS FREE TO LEAVE. SHE HAD THE CHOICE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER ONCE, WE DON'T WANT TO KEEP HER IN SOMETHING SHE WANTS NO PART OF.” He paused, looking over at his brother. “WE NEED TO RESPECT THAT, SANS.”
"i c'n respect that jus' fine,” Red said, turning his head to face everyone. “what'cha fucks 're forgetting to remember 's th' same guy that she thought she was leavin' in th' dust 's back on her doorstep.” His gaze sliced to me. “'m not lettin' her out of m' sight.”
It was quiet in the room minus the creak of leather from people shifting in their chairs. I held eye contact with Red, narrowing my eyes at him. Not a single person spoke up but no one went to tell him otherwise.
It was true. As much as I didn't want to admit it, Red had a fair point. Dominic wasn't supposed to come back around. He was supposed to leave me alone, so long as I never mentioned anything about what happened within the family. I had agree to that when they sent me back to my parents. I thought he wouldn't come after me. After all, he's the one who told me I wasn't worth the effort. I wasn't worth keeping around anymore. I was old. I wasn't good enough.
I tried coming up with any excuse, but nothing came to mind in the moment. We kept glaring at each other until he moved away from the window and looking behind me to Asgore. I huffed and turned in my seat to look back at the table, rubbing my wrist furiously.
Red's hand came down and snatched my hand, prying it away gently from my wrist. I kept glaring at the table, but the contact made my heart skip a beat. Even something as innocent as that could get my blood pumping from him. I couldn't say I hated it, but I definitely didn't appreciate it. Maybe I had just gone too long without getting laid.
That must be it.
“listen, sugar,” he said now, drawing my attention back up to him. “i know ya don't want nothin' t' do wit' this life. but ya don't got th' choice anymore. th' second that prick brought ya 'n, you were doomed.” His eye lights flickered for a moment before he continued talking. “fer now, yer gonna be stayin' wit' m' bros an' i. we c'n keep an eye on ya an' make sure ya ain't gonna get kidnapped or some shit.”
I ground my teeth together. After a moment, I deflated, dropping my head. I could feel my shoulders slump forward, and I knew I wasn't going to win this. Red was right. With Dominic this close, I couldn't stay by myself. I've seen him do some questionable things and he wasn't afraid to go to some dirty lengths to get what he wanted.
“Fine,” I mumbled. “But I'm telling you, all of you, that I want no part in any of this.” I waved around the table. “I want nothing to do with it, and I don't want to stop working with Grillby. I need to keep moving. And if he sees I stopped showing up for work, depending if he knows where I work, he's gonna get suspicious instantly.”
Asgore looked at me, furry brow raised. He sat with his hands linked together over the table. Wingdings was standing beside him still, his hand sliding off of his shoulder. Papyrus looked at me, blinking slowly. Everyone was watching me, various expressions of surprise on their faces. I looked away back at the table and tugged my hand from Red.
Or tried to. He held firm, his phalanges tightening just a tad. I kept staring at the table, but I knew he didn't want me to rub my wrist. Instead, my other hand played with the extra fabric of my pants.
“My child, would you mind coming with me?” Toriel asked suddenly, standing up. “I would like to speak with you privately.”
I looked up at her, my brows raised. She was standing now, coming around her husband to come stand next to me. She held out her paw and when I looked around the table, it was nothing but nods and smiles. Even Frisk gave me a thumbs up and Flowey made “shooing” motions with his leaves.
I nodded, taking my hand from Red and placing it in her paw. She smiled at me and led me out of the quiet room. The door shut with a soft click behind us and she turned and headed for stairs. I had to practically jog in order to keep up with her; her legs were so long, and one of her steps was equal to at least three of mine.
We went down the stairs and entered a huge dining room before going into the kitchen. The monsters in there all waved to her, giving her smiles and talking about the dinner plan tonight. I stared with wide eyes. The last time I had seen a high ranking member of the mafia talk to their cooks or maids it usually ended in them getting fired or smacked. The thought made me cringe.
“This is Levy. She and I will be doing the cooking tonight with Grillby,” I heard her say. “I know a few of you wanted to go home to your families early today.”
I looked up at her. It struck me now, how insane she could look. Her eyes, her little twitches here and there. Even the eye shadow above her eyes made her seem a little crazed. But she was so kind. The monsters gathered around us and introduced themselves, giving me a smile and even a handshake if they could do it. One monster, Woshua, even stopped washing the floor long enough to say hello. He was actually kind of adorable.
They eventually cleared out, and Grillby came down a moment later, pushing up the sleeves of his shirt. Toriel clapped once, grinning as she went to the huge fridge toward the back of the room.
“Alright, my child,” she said, waving me over, “since you are our guest of honor, why don't you pick what we make tonight? Asgore isn't too picky of an eater, and Flowey...” She giggled a little behind her hand. “Flowey doesn't like eating his greens.”
It took me a minute to process why that would be funny, but when I did, I grinned and hid my face behind my hands. When I was done laughing, I took stock of what they had in the fridge. Even in the freezer and what they had in the cupboards. After gathering what I could, I turned to her.
“Maybe we could do a chicken cordon bleu?” I suggested. “It'll be a lot of work, but if there's three of us, it should move just fine, right?”
Grillby smiled down at me and placed a hand on my head. The small heat from his hand was welcome, and it warmed me to the bone. I grinned up at him and Toriel began pulling things out that she needed from the fridge and freezer while Grillby helped me gather stuff from the cupboards.
Maybe it would also help distract me from my own story, and the sympathetic gazes of the monsters I began to think of as friends.
Red took over Levy's abandoned seat, dropping his head into his hands. He scrubbed furiously at his eye sockets, causing bone to scrape together in his frustrations. He didn't even think how bad it was getting until Wingdings grabbed his wrists and slammed them back onto the table. Tiny bits of bones and dust fell with his hands and Red looked up at the eldest brother.
Wingdings was staring down at him, his eye sockets narrowed and eye lights moving over his face. He released the middle child before taking a seat beside Papyrus. The others began to move in a little closer, and Frisk was the first one to speak.
“So what are gonna do now?” he asked. “I'm not comfortable with letting this creep get closer to her.”
"I don't think any of us are,” Undyne said, rubbing her temples. “I feel like shit for thinking she was still in bed with them. Stars...”
“I think Sans is right,” Wingdings said. “While I don't agree with the fact his scent is all over her–” He snapped his glare over to Red, who shrunk back a little. “–I think it would be a good idea for her to stay with us until everything is taken care of.”
Mettaton let out a small giggle, clapping one set of hands together as he regarded Red. “So I wasn't just imagining things.”
Red rolled the lights around in his head. “'it wasn't on purpose,” he said. “i did 't outta anger.”
Alphys snorted, tapping a claw a few times on her clipboard. “I-I don't think you c-can use that as an excuse a-anymore.” She regarded him with a raised brow. “The night of t-the dinner she w-was covered in your scent.”
Red sighed. He really hadn't meant to. But during her story, he couldn't help but feel protective over her. She'd been so young, so ready to see where her life would take her. And this one guy had come in, ruining it. She had thought he was her knight in shining armor, and he turned out to be an asshole in tinfoil. It made Red's teeth grind.
He looked back at the group. “look, 't doesn't matter now. Right now, we need t' figure out what we're gonna d' from this point forward.”
Undyne nodded, running a finger over her eye patch. “She works with Grillby. So whenever she's working, he can keep an eye on things while she's there.”
Wingdings and Papyrus both nodded. “THE HUMAN COMES HOME TO US FOR THE TIME BEING,” Papyrus mused. “BUT I THINK IT WOULD BE BEST IF SHE DOES STAY WITH US IN THE MEAN TIME.”
Wingdings muttered his agreement. “She's pretty useful around the house. Could get her a little maid outfit...”
The growl that cut through the room made Wingdings pause. Everyone looked at each other and grinned while Red's eye light dimmed out. One even vanished for a minute before Wingdings chuckled at his brother's reaction.
“Calm down, Sans,” he said, waving off the angry skeleton. “Listen, she'll stay with us, and she'll be fine when she's out working at Grillby's. But when she goes out, or to and from work, she'll need someone with her.”
“i c'n escort 'er t' an' from work,” Red said gruffly. “'less 'm busy that day. sh' can't come wit' me on m' work days.”
“I can take over those days,” Undyne offered. “Or Papyrus, depending if he's available, too.”
“What about me?” Frisk huffed.
Asgore placed a large paw on his son's head. “Sorry, young one. You're the Ambassador. There's people after yo already. Don't need two open targets.”
“Do you think this prick's boss is after her? Or helping him in anyway?” Flowey asked now, turning to face their dad. “I mean, what if he's not working alone?”
“from what sugar said, this guy got a whole lotta power on 'is own,” Red said, his voice hinting at a snarl. “i don't think 'e's got anyone helpin' 'im. but 'ts possible.”
Asgore stroked his beard, nodding to himself. “For now, we'll keep an eye out. She seems like a nice girl. And Grillby has spoken highly of her before. She just had a rough patch that shouldn't have happened to her.”
Everyone agreed silently. Red nodded and stood, making his way out of the room while everyone talked about the next steps. He sauntered his way into the hall and down the stairs, humming to himself. When he placed a hand on the door handle to go out for a smoke, he heard her giggling and he paused.
It was only then he noticed the smell of chicken. The scent was drifting through the air, and he could smell her along with it. He could her the laughter in her voice, and could hear Toriel and Grillby talking to her. He could hear the banging of pots and pans, and when one of them dropped she let out a frightened shriek quickly followed by laughter.
He went out the door and closed it quietly. He brought out one of his cigars and lit it with his magic, snapping his fingers in front of it. As the smoke filtered through the air and the smell of cherries surrounded him, he pressed a hand to his sternum. The way she made him feel was frightening, but something about it was exhilarating. She was so full of life, and even with everything that had happened to her, she persevered. It was no wonder her soul was so...beautiful.
He needed her more than he needed anything in that moment. Something about her tugged at him, and he needed to figure out what it was. Caring for someone this much could get him killed. Stars, it could get any of them killed. Humans were far and few in between when it came to their family. Asgore didn't trust any of them enough,except for those Frisk had personally vouched for. And even then, they were usually kept far away from the important business.
But her...she could easily fit right in. Even if it wasn't the life she'd had planned for herself. He wouldn't leave his line of work, and maybe she would keep to her word. But he doubted that. He noticed the way she leaned into his touch. The way her eyes lit up when he called her “sugar”. The way her body seemed to react to the lingering touches.
Oh, he noticed.
He loved the way she reacted to his attention. It made his soul thump in his chest. It made him achy, needy. He was never left like this. He was the one who could put on a grin and flash his rings and the panties would be dropping instantly.
But she was making him work for it. She was making him wait, and he couldn't take it. He was craving her touch. Her smell was driving him crazy. And living with her had become a chore. There were nights where he would just stand outside her bedroom door with his hands on the door, aching to go in and show her just who she belonged to now.
But he kept himself in check. He knew he had to take this slow, go at her pace. If he got ahead of himself, she would run off. And he couldn't stand that thought. Hell, the thought alone made him feel sick to his nonexistent stomach.
Taking another drag from his cigar, he reined in his thoughts. He had to be good. He had to pace himself or he could completely lose her.
“Red?” Speak of the temptress...
He turned to her, watching as she made her way out of the house, closing the door behind her softly. She had put her long hair up in a messy bun on top of her head and there was an apron covering her nice clothes. She had little bits of white in her hair and her cheeks were a rosy red.
She looked perfect.
“what izzit, sugar?” he asked lazily.
“I'm letting you know dinner is almost done...” She paused and she looked like she was about to say something else. Those wonderful fucking eyes looked over his face. In the light of the sun, the purple popped out, contrasting with the icy blue of her other eye.
She smiled a little. “And I wanted to thank you.”
He blinked. “fer what?”
Her arms were behind her back and she rocked on her heels as she talked, her face looking toward the yard. “For letting me explain things. For not judging me about my past. I'm not proud of it, and there are days where I wish I could scrub all my skin off so I can get rid of his touch.” She was rubbing her wrist again, a nervous tick Red didn't like; she would do it so hard and rough it would turn her skin red. “But...thank you. For letting me get it out. My parents don't know much. They know that Dominic helped them with my dad's care when the cancer hit. But I didn't tell them much else. They don't like that...”
She was rambling now, and the way her lips moved made Red shift on his feet. Her rubbing was getting rougher and he grunted, stubbing out his cigar and placing it in the butt tray Tori had gotten for him. He went over to her, causing her to squeak.
He took her hand off of her wrist and intertwined their fingers again, his other hand holding the one in his grip. She didn't flinch away from him, and she didn't protest. She just stared up at him with an open mouth, her plump lower lip moving up and down for a moment. Those goddamn eyes always pulled him in...
“fuck't,” he growled.
He gathered her close, his arms around her back and drew her to him, slamming his teeth down on her mouth. She let out a surprised noise in the back of her throat, but didn't fight him off. If anything, it felt like she was melting into his touch. He felt the brush of her lashes as her eyes fluttered close and one of her hands fisted around his tie.
Asgore's beard, this woman was going to be the death of him.
He slid his hand up her back, his phalanges running through her hair. Until he grabbed a chunk and locked it in his fist, pulling her head to the side to get a better angle. The tiny gasp that whispered across his teeth only made him growl as she reached up to wrap herself around him, her hands linking by his cervical vertebrae.
He had to rein himself in, temper down the real monster that was lying beneath the surface. He was clawing and howling, demanding to be heard, to be seen. To take her right there on the porch in front of this house, in front of everyone.
He finally managed to disentangle himself from her, moving back and watching her expression as she opened her eyes. Her face was flushed again, and her eyes flicked between his sockets for a minute before she removed herself from where she was pressed against him. She backed up a few steps. He could see it all over her face her mind was racing and probably trying to convince herself if what had happened was okay or not.
But, fuck, if he didn't want her right there. It wasn't a mistake, but he knew he wouldn't be able to convince her. He would have to let her come to that conclusion herself. It would be a long wait, but it would be fucking worth just to have her wrapped around him.
Wearing his mark, his collar, covered in his scent and laying in his bed. Wearing his clothes around the house and clinging to him every night before bed.
He grunted, shaking the thoughts off and plastering on a smile, holding an arm out for her. She watched him curiously for a moment before she smiled herself, placing her hand gently on his radius. Without another word, he led her into the house, scanning the yard one more time before entering.
The wait would be worth it.