Sypha had never done the whole polyamory thing. She’d barely dated since high school, besides a few long-distance relationships that inevitably fizzled out. So jumping into a relationship with two guys who already had their own thing going on was overwhelming at first. On one hand she didn’t have to try not to check them out any more. On the other hand, her phone was now constantly blowing up—Adrian had started a group chat named TREVOR + PEOPLE WHO PUT UP WITH HIM, Trevor had renamed it to FUCK YOU ADRIAN, and they flirted like that for a week.
Surprising in its own way was the sense of being part of a team. Sypha had gone to university not knowing anyone; she wasn’t even sure there were other Speakers at the school. The friends she’d met in undergrad had graduated and move away. But now when she was ready to tear her hair out over a dense project group or a funding setback or her rent draining her bank account, Adrian would appear with a week’s worth of groceries and then actually cook it all. When she had to stay late on campus Trevor would sprawl out in an uncomfortable library chair as a human or her lap as a wolf. Being taken care of was new, and weird, even if she did like it.
But there was overwhelming, and then there was Trevor in a crop top.
Sypha halted in the open doorway, halfway through stomping off her muddy rain boots. Her boys were on the couch, Trevor’s head in Adrian’s lap while Adrian balanced a laptop one-handed on the arm. His other hand was absentmindedly petting Trevor’s exposed stomach like a cat.
Cold, damp air whistled in behind her and Trevor made a noise of protest. “Can you shut the door?” Adrian translated.
Sypha did, pulled off her boots, and marched up to the couch. “Is that my shirt?” she asked, even though she already knew the answer. It had begun life as an ugly College of Arts & Sciences T-shirt she picked up for free in a giveaway, and then when she got a big bleach stain on the bottom half she’d just sawed it off along with the sleeves. On her it hung loose. On Trevor it did not. His arms looked huge.
“Maybe?” Trevor said, blinking up at her. “It’s laundry day. This was all I could find on the floor.” He reached for the hem. “Do you want me to—”
“No,” Sypha and Adrian said.
Trevor rolled his eyes and held his hands up. “Alright, alright, I see how it is.”
Somehow Sypha doubted that. She dumped her backpack on the armchair. “I’m gonna make dinner, you guys want anything?”
“The blood of the innocent,” said Adrian.
“A bagel,” said Trevor.
“It’s like five years old, guys!” Sypha called back. She should have never shown them that Vine. “I’m making spaghetti.”
By making she meant heating up the spaghetti Adrian cooked last week, but whatever. While the spaghetti was heating up in the people-food microwave, she grabbed a blood bag out of the fridge, emptied it into a mug, and stuck the mug in the second microwave with a giant biohazard sticker on it. She leaned on the counter and was watching the mug spin when Trevor shuffled in and absentmindedly patted her ass. “What?” he asked, grinning, when she made a face him. “It was right there.”
Sypha stuck her tongue out at him. Trevor’s grin widened, and he reached up into the cabinet beside her. She eyed the long stretch of his stomach, the dark trail of hair leading down into his shorts—and her body reacted on instinct. Sypha hauled off and slapped his exposed stomach. It was so loud she jumped.
“Ow!” he nearly fumbled the bowls he was pulling down. “Sypha, what the fuck?”
She shrugged. “It was right there,” she said. Although now she could see a red handprint bubbling up on his skin, which was—okay, in some contexts she knew Trevor was fine with that, but she hadn’t meant to hit him that hard. Sypha kissed her fingertips and pressed them to the handprint.
“Jesus,” Trevor said, blushing all the way down his neck. And his chest. Oh god, she could see his blush under the edge of the crop top—and then he shoved a bowl at her. “Fine, I’ll go steal Adrian’s shirt.”
“You don’t have to,” Sypha began, but it was too late. He was already stomping off to the bedroom. She peeked around the doorway to the living room and found Adrian glaring at her.
How could you, he mouthed, gesturing furiously after Trevor.
Sypha attempted to convey her deep regret through a combination of facial expressions and interpretive dance, which did nothing to assuage Adrian.
Trevor poked his head out of the bedroom, looked between them, and frowned. “Am I interrupting something?” His shirt was still too tight. It wasn’t the same.