An eventful Birthday
Dean Winchester woke up unbelievingly excited. It was his 14th birthday and today was the day he would finally know about his secondary gender. He sprinted to the bathroom he shared with Sammy and prepared for a shower.
The healing betas who had been to school in grade 7 and 8 to tell them about what signs to look out for, told them all he needed to know and Dean was eager to find out what he was now.
They had assigned the pups on the verge of presenting into different groups based on their experience in scenting premature signs of secondary gender, but mostly based on the wishes of the parents, who obviously all wanted to place their children in the alpha group.
Ruby‘s eldest child, Meg, was also placed in the group alongside Dean, because her mother said so. Mothers usually didn‘t want their daughters to become alphas but her mother “was a needy bitch for recognition from others“ or so Meg said. “She always had to prove she‘s the best of all those sons of bitches.“
Dean was fierce friends with her, despite Ruby discouraging her daughter from associating with him and he had been sad for Meg on the day she presented because he could only imagine how she was treated now that she had disappointed her mother and also he would lose his only friend in the alpha group.
Meg came to school, the day after her presentation, as an omega. Dean could scent her pheromones. Meg of course hadn‘t been allowed to take any heat suppressants, because of her mother‘s wishes. Ruby had wanted more for Meg, she had wanted her to be an alpha, but now that she wasn‘t, Ruby felt like her daughter‘s worth had considerably been lowered. She declared that Meg‘s only purpose was to find a mate and be out of her house as soon as possible. Her hope to have bred an alpha in her womb would have to be satisfied by Meg‘s younger siblings now.
Meg was lucky she hadn‘t smelled a potential mate of the higher classes where everyone had already presented, otherwise her first day of being an omega might have ended with a claiming in the gym showers and an unwanted heat pregnancy. Since Alphas were totally unchecked by society and wild, uncontrolled knotting at school sometimes happened, it was open season when an omega in heat came to a school filled with young alphas, eager to try out their knots.
However, Meg didn‘t scent a bondable person on her first day of being an omega and Dean had gone with her to Doctor Visyak in the evening after school. Even though she was young, she controlled the urges of her heat admirably until Eleanor could get her some suppress-ex. Now that she had presented, it wasn‘t her mother‘s decision anymore to refuse suppressants to her. Dean was worried what would happen if Ruby accidentally found her medicine, but Meg said she would just hide them inside her school locker, besides there was no way she would “end up hanging off someone‘s knot and not finish school,“ how Meg quite vulgarly said it. Every day Meg came home from school, still unmated felt like a slap in the face for Ruby and she feared her daughter would have to go through the giant shame that she went through and graduate high school before she found a mate. When lunch time came around, Meg impersonated her animatedly, like: “Still not mated? You bring shame on us all,” and then she would grin deviously as if so show that her mother had a few screws loose, if she actually thought that Meg would choose a mating bond over education.
It was true. As soon as an omega found a mate, they were no longer allowed to receive any education, because they were following their “true nature‘s purpose“ already. In the sophomore, junior and senior year, the omega‘s got ever more thin on the ground and the last omega to graduate high school here had been Ruby herself. She had obviously felt like a genetic freak because all her other friends had by the time she was 17 and finished school, pupped at least twice already and she felt like the last person on earth to develop and behave ‘normally‘. She not only felt excluded, but really was. She had to live with the stigmatism of her peers, and however often she would go down onto her knees for anyone in the school who had a knot, nobody mated with her.
Meg had often called her mother a dumb slut, and she would be damned if she would go the same way as her. She didn‘t want a mate, she wanted to learn and to lead a more meaningful life, a life that didn‘t revolve around an alpha‘s pleasure.
Dean himself had to wait all the time until January 24th when he'd finally presented, while the group of potential alphas kept shrinking. Angered parents showed up at school and the healing facility to find someone to yell at because their children had turned into betas or omegas, which of course was bullshit, because Dean knew enough about biology to know that nobody could change anything about a person‘s secondary gender.
Dean didn‘t think that it was so awesome to be in the alpha group anyway, into which he only had gotten because he already had formed family bonds of his own and that was a sure sign of being an alpha.
The education teacher, an older guy named Alistair with a sonorous voice, had told them about the inherent alpha pride they should have and how as soon as their knots formed they would be able to take any omega like the bitches in heat that they were. He showed them videos where omegas were taken with ruthless force while the alpha yelled at them that he was gonna breed them and fuck them at his leisure.
Dean had to admit that the porn videos did something to his not yet mature manhood, but the stereotypes were so strongly present in the videos that Dean was also disgusted by it.
The omega, looking delicate and playing the perfect little fucktoy for the alpha, while the alpha himself was always being overbearing or narcissistic and was more interested in watching his knot swell than in the omega in which it would be buried.
Dean‘s classmates seemingly didn‘t share his moral doubts about the education videos. Some of them had to leave the room in a hurry and when they came back after a few minutes, Alistair was always asking: “Did you pop?“
This was Alistair‘s most important concern. If his alpha education pupils ran out to jerk themselves off, he always wanted to know if they maybe already popped their knot.
Dean had felt his member swelling sometimes but whenever the porn stars behaved like a walking gender behaviour commercial, he had lost interest in it and he definitely didn‘t need to relieve himself in the bathroom. Alistair was wary of that fact, and kept yelling at him: “Winchester, I‘m sure I‘ll get you today. I have a video that will make you pop.“
But it hadn‘t happened and his teacher began to think that Dean wouldn‘t become an alpha after all, and then: “What will happen to your family when you can‘t be their pack leader anymore, huh?“
The videos however, raised Dean‘s interests in other respects. His curious question about why they didn‘t see videos about female alphas and how that worked, got a snarky remark from Alistair that female alphas were degenerates and would never be able to mate anyway. Which didn‘t convince Dean at all. If they weren‘t able to breed then why would they be alphas?
Another question which he asked himself was if sex really was just about pounding into a ready hole or if there was something more to it, for instance what could you do with your hands or mouth? Alistair chose not to grace these questions with an answer. His main concern was to prepare his young students for the animalistic pleasure of burying their knots in willing (and also unwilling) bodies and prove their Alphaness to be superior when they bred their sex partner.
Also Dean was interested in the biological aspect. Did all omegas carry a womb since they were born and couldn‘t that be determined with ultra sounds before presentation? And how was it possible that male omegas could pup without having a direct passage to their wombs?
Alistair had looked at him disdainfully and said: “What does it matter how omegas work, as long as they can take knot?“
Dean had asked Eleanor all those questions when Alistair had proved a dud in this respect, and she had been understanding of this problem. She had told Dean that male omegas had a canal that went into their wombs which only fully opened when the omega had orgasmed, they were in heat, and the knot of the alpha prevented their ejaculate to run out. Then, the liquid could leak into this tube and then there was a possibility that the omega could get pregnant.
She also said that technically any omega woman should have that anatomical peculiarity too because they shared the same DNA, but she hadn‘t had done any empirical research about the matter. Most parts of society wouldn‘t be interested in a clinical study were the possibility that female omegas could get pregnant through anal sex as well, was explored.
As for his question about wombs in every omega even before presentation, Eleanor had said, that that would most likely be true and she would love to explore the possibility further by testing young children, but she also commented, that it was highly unlikely that she‘d get probands.
“Crush their hopes of getting alpha children even before presentation? I think that hardly any parent would find that ok,“ she had said and when Dean thought about parents like Ruby, he couldn‘t help but agree with her.
Dean however, let her check his lower belly and she could say that he definitely didn‘t have a womb and therefore could only be an alpha.
Dr. Visyak had thought further and they had pondered about the fact that betas didn‘t breed as often as omegas. She knew that betas carried wombs, Crowley‘s pregnancy had been the best example. But she wasn‘t sure how many betas had them and since betas were more likely to mate with other betas, the low rate of beta pregnancies could be explained because neither of the partners had a uterus, or the partner who had genetalia inserted during sex, didn‘t have it, but the other. Also, betas didn‘t have knots and conception could be made difficult if the potent liquid didn‘t even reach the tube to the womb because no knot held it in place. All those observations were fascinating in themselves, but they didn‘t help Dean to come to terms with the biased view that his alpha classes provided.
However, Dean‘s sexual education class had been good for one thing at least. They had shown him one thing about himself, namely that it didn‘t matter to him what the primary gender of the omega, he saw on the video, was. He liked the looks of both male and female beings.
Alistair had also shown them videos of alphas rocking into betas and betas amongst each other, and the films were carefully conceived so that those forms of coupling were made less appealing. The alpha porn actor took a very long time to climax inside a beta and loudly yelled at her why she couldn‘t be sexier for him and that she should be lucky to be graced with a thick alpha cock inside her. The betas had awkwardly rutted together for over half an hour until one finally spilled himself into the butt of the other and the bottom had been yawning all throughout the intercourse.
Dean would be glad to get away from Alistair and his unrealistic, socially normed porn videos, as soon as his 14th birthday would be over, yet he wasn‘t eagerly expecting the higher classes of alpha education either.
From the 50 male pupils in Dean‘s year, 45 had preliminary been placed into alpha education. By New Year‘s eve, the number had gone down to thirteen and only a third of total number had been alphas in the end. Alistair had slapped their backs like they had just been made president and escorted them to the next higher alpha education class the day after their presentation. Dean highly doubted Alistair would do that for him tomorrow and he actually couldn‘t wait to finally be rid of him. But just to be a 100% percent certain, he had to test himself now.
He climbed into the shower, turned on the water and began checking himself like the healing betas had told him. He checked his butt, just to be absolutely certain it wasn’t lubricating and he started the rest of his life as an alpha, the second he climaxed under the hot spray of the shower and found, that yes indeed, there was a knot at the base of him.
Dean went out of the bathroom and walked down the hall to breakfast, dressed and ready to tell the news. Yet, there was nobody in their kitchen. He then walked over to Bobby’s house. Also empty. Nobody at the garage or Ellen’s house either.
Their little pack had grown ever since Bobby’s friend Ellen Harvelle had stopped by on her way to the coast with her daughter Jo, some years ago.
Business had picked up a little, Bobby had found a new mechanic, a man named Jim who had once been a clergyman yet had abandoned the pulpit when he had become aware that his parish regularly ganged up after his sermons and mistreated a different omega each week as their usual Sunday afternoon activity. He just couldn’t stand that such vile actions happened within his flock and so he had gone to Bobby who had trained him up as a mechanic which immensely satisfied the former pastor Jim.
Since he had not been able to fix society, the company of cars that could be up and running with a simple repair gave him the feeling that he at least could do something right.
So, he worked at the garage 40 hours a week and Bobby had someone to complain to, and have a beer with when he about had his fill of idjits that screwed up the cars they fixed for them.
Crowley had started to buy up used cars, so they could sell them once they were done up again and Bobby had taught Mary, not only how to do the books but also how to fix up cars, but it hadn’t been what she wanted to do in the long run.
She had toyed with the idea to open a diner because the lot of the garage was huge and mostly unused and there would be enough space for construction. They had already built a one storey home with four small bedrooms, two bathrooms and a huge homey kitchen for the Winchesters and yet there was more cramped up space full of old car wrecks and unusable old material which would only need to be cleared.
Ellen’s visit had been a gift that must have been sent from up above, because she was looking for work after her husband had been killed and they had had a small bar back in the day, and so she knew all the stops to pull when opening a business.
Ellen had decided to stay at the granny-flat for some time to give Mary some tips and also to earn some money before Jo and her went on their journey again.
That had been years ago, they had built the diner which in the end got turned into a roadhouse which even had three rooms to be rented out over night by weary travellers and Ellen had purchased the empty lot next to their property and built a snugly cottage with enough space for Jo and herself.
Mary Ellen’s Roadhouse, how they had named it, was therefore the last stop on Dean’s search for his now bigger pack, having formed a family bond with Ellen and Jo about three months after they had gotten here and it transpired that they would stay for longer.
He entered through the kitchen and swung open the bar doors to get into the taproom where he found his family, all standing under a banner that proclaimed “Happy Birthday Dean“ and a table laden with presents. Even Missouri, Jim and Eleanor were there.
Missouri had retired as kindergarten supervisor after Josie, Jodie and Charlie had gone to school but she was too restless to stay at home for good. Her husband Richard still worked as senior physician at the healing facility and so nothing was more logical than to have her helping out at the Roadhouse whenever she felt up for it and was bored at home. There was work to spare and Mary and Ellen really appreciated the help.
Dean really didn’t like surprise parties, but since he had the day off from school, because it was his presentation birthday, he really didn’t mind it and also nobody did a forced “Happy Birthday” rendition, neither in song nor synchronized speaking and Ellen had put on the songs they usually played in the Roadhouse, mostly Classic Rock and Blues, and none of the East 17 and Backstreet Boys CDs that Jodie had bought recently, so all was swell.
There was chocolate cake and Charlie had apparently insisted on wearing a hobbit costume, because she chased after Josie and Jodie and said they’d have to be her dwarves and had to go on an adventure now, with Sammy bringing up the rear, shouting that “Josie and Jodie can’t be dwarves because they have to be taller than hobbits and I will definitely have to be Gandalf.
"Please Charlie, let me be Gandalf!”
Dean rolled his eyes about his nerd brother and sister, because he was way more sophisticated then the two of them, he had already read Lord of the Rings after all.
His presents simply rocked this year too. Bobby and Crowley had bought him a complete Led Zeppelin collection, Missouri had gifted him new lacrosse gear, Eleanor had given him a recent genetics book and additionally a voucher over 15 hours to explain what he was reading in there, the girls had chosen a remote-controlled car, which the elders bought in their name. Sammy had given him a voucher for big and little brother to build a tree house as soon as the snow melted. Mary had given him some Kurt Vonnegut novels because he had read Cat’s Cradle and had been very hungry for more.
Meg, who couldn’t take time off from school to come over, had brought a present over this morning, another voucher to go to a theme park. Dean groaned, because Meg knew he was scared of heights, but he also just knew he would have an awesome day, even though she would drag him on every rollercoaster there was. It still was a day off and a change of scenery. Besides, she must have laid by money for this trip for some months in secret, because her mother didn’t give her that much pocket money. So yeah, it was an awesome present.
John had sent him a card with 50$ in it, telling him to “Shoot first, ask questions later. You’re a man now, Dean. Enjoy yourself.”
Prior to Alistair’s education he wouldn’t have got the implications of the card, but he decided to do anything but what his dad wanted with this money. Maybe he would drink a load of milkshakes or rent out all three Star Wars movies and buy all the goodies like popcorn and liquorish for movie night, because whatever Sammy said: liquorish was classic movie food. He’d spend it on anything other than a hooker, thanks very much, dad.
Halfway through his party however, something happened. Dean felt the edges of his first rut coming on and everyone around him must have smelled it because they turned to him, most of them looked a little shocked, Mary clapped her hand over her mouth.
Dean blinked self-consciously.
“What?” he asked.
“Honey, have you checked your secondary gender yet?”
“Yeah sure I have. No surprises there. What are you on about, mom?”
“Your scent, it’s…” Mary didn’t know how to go on and Eleanor jumped in.
“Dean, you smell of omega heat.”
“What? But how? I tested myself his morning, I’m alpha.”
Dean panicked. He couldn’t have been wrong, could he? If he wasn’t an alpha he wouldn’t be able to hold this pack together, would he?
Eleanor was the only one who seemed calm, thinking it over.
“I’m not doubting that you tested yourself correctly, Dean. If the circumstances were different, I would say you have been with an omega just now, because you reek of it. But from what I can see, I would conclude that your first rut is coming on, and yet your scent…” her nostrils flared as she inhaled the air. “…suggests omega. The pheromones you emit are very potent.”
“But how is this possible?” asked Bobby, still a little shocked by the developments.
“I am not sure. There is so much we don’t know about our own biology yet and I am no expert on alphas. I’m gonna have to make some calls.”
Mary had more immediate concerns. “But what about tomorrow? Wouldn’t it be dangerous if he went to school, smelling like this?”
Dean could just picture what would happen. His first rut, making him smell like a ready omega in heat, and all the elder alphas who had shouted after him that he was a fucking pretty boy would love nothing more than to make him theirs.
And if Eleanor was right, which he didn’t doubt, his pheromones were very prominent in the air right now. He could only shudder at the thought of football games, when all the school was out on the pitch, smelling his scent through his sweat.
It was bad enough when an omega was taken against their will, but if an alpha like Dean would be mounted, he wouldn’t even lubricate and the physical pain would be intense. Animalistic instincts were wholly unchecked and even encouraged by people like Alistair, so the fear of falling prey to unwanted sexual advances couldn’t be dismissed out of hand.
And other idea had just occurred to Dean, namely that it was very unlikely that he would ever find a mate, smelling like this. Not that he desperately wanted to mate, but anyone he met would immediately be either confused by him or in the worst case scenario, disgusted.
Yet, the most pressing problem was how he could make sure of his safety. He looked into the round of his pack and friends, dread imminent on everyone’s faces. Not even Crowley, who usually always had a smartass remark on his tongue, said a word but only creased his brow with concern. Again, it was Dr. Visyak who spoke up first.
“Dean, I have an idea. Tonight, you… um… work through your rut and I‘ll go back to my practice to bring you some heat suppressants. I am not sure if they will work, so just in case I will also bring an alpha pheromone enhancer.”
“You mean like Viagra, for old dudes?”
“Yes. If we can’t suppress your rut with pheromone binders, we would at least be able to give you alpha pheromones which will mask your own inherent scent. But I have to warn you. Your rut will grow worse if you have to take the alpha medicine. I wish I had rut suppressants in the practice, but there is simply no demand for them here, because the alphas don’t want to impede their rut, just the contrary actually, they want it to be as potent as can be. I would have to order them in specially and the hospital would want a reason why I order them. If I talk to Richard,” she nodded at Missouri, “I’m sure he wouldn’t object, but the directorate might veto it. They are a bunch of short-sighted old-”
“-idjits?” supplied Bobby at this point.
“Indeed that they are, Bobby.” Eleanor smiled shortly.
“Hang on,” interjected Ellen now. “You don’t even know if our boy here has omega hormones in him, do you? Shouldn’t you make sure about that before you pump him full of all sorts of chemicals? Maybe that’s just how he smells.”
“That is possible as well,” nodded Eleanor, giving Ellen a short smile as well. “As I say, I have little experience with alpha biology. As soon as I signed on for the omegalogy department of university I was barred from attending any lectures about alphas in general and only got a small overview in general midwifery classes. Yet, that obviously didn’t stop the students from talking amongst themselves. I could make some calls to alpha specialists, but I am not sure many of them would be open to help. It could cost them their reputation if it comes out that they research, shall I say, unorthodox medicine. The first name I can think about is Adrienne Forbes. She is a specialist in alphalogy and neonatal surgery, she also studied at Columbia and was in my year. I believe she would help.”
Eleanor left the party shortly after that and headed back to the hospital. She let herself into her office and filled out a prescription for Alpha enhancers and Omega suppressants. She walked over to the medical officer in charge of handing out the medicine, it was the same black alpha named Jake who had badmouthed when pregnant Crowley had been in the healing facility. He scoffed at reading the wanted medicine.
“Who would need this weird mixture of shit?”
Eleanor bristled up: “Have you ever heard of patient confidentiality?”
The medical officer just shrugged but kept eyeing the prescription warily. He handed her the suppress-Ex and Phero-max she wanted, but yelled after her: “You know that the head of the directorate wants to know about strange medicine orders, don’t you? I’ll have to report this to Mr. Azazel.”
Eleanor didn’t answer him, but pressed on towards Richard Moseley’s office, hoping he wasn’t in surgery just now, so she could get his approval for the prescription before Azazel was on her back.
She was lucky to find the chief surgeon in his office and quickly explained Dean’s situation to him and her wish to help the boy to escape slander because of his scent.
Missouri’s husband wasn’t happy about the situation and voiced his concern: “You have no idea if this is gonna work. The boy might have a hormone overdose, who knows what could happen to him.”
“Richard, this is the only thing I can do for him right now. Just imagine if the boy goes back to school tomorrow without something masking his scent.”
They were both quiet for a few seconds, trying hard to keep themselves from imagining what could happen to Dean.
Richard spoke up again, when he couldn’t stand to think about it anymore: “Eleanor, you know that this will only help the boy temporarily. We need to get rut suppressants out here now! But you know as well as I do that the board has to approve the shipment. We just have to come up with a reason why they should.”
They pondered their options for a while until they both agreed that if anyone could reign Azazel and his board of fanatics in, it would be them. With a little help from Missouri, no less.
They had just enough time to get her to the healing facility, and inform her about their plan, when Azazel, Jake the medical officer in tough, stormed Richard’s office, demanding an explanation for Eleanor’s latest prescription.
Missouri was the first to speak up, showing her usual quiet I-won’t-take-no-for-an-answer authority.
“Why do you wanna know about my husband’s prescription?”
Azazel flinched, and gave up his aggressive posture under Missouri’s scrutinizing look. “Your husband’s?”
“Yes,” Eleanor took over the word. “Richard has been complaining about pains in his lower abdomen for a while now and I‘ve found out he has a tumour. This medicine can bring him release from the pain and shrink the tumour without need of a surgery, so he wouldn‘t have to do rehabilitation. But we will need to order in rut suppressants, otherwise the hormonal imbalance might make the tumour grow.”
“But, rut suppressants?” Azazel snarled as if he suddenly had a disgusting taste in his mouth. “Is this filth really necessary?”
“If you don’t want to lose your head of surgery, then yes it is.”
“For how long?”
“Since there is no end to the fertility of an alpha, he will have to take rut suppressants for the rest of his life.”
The head of directory seemed to be thinking rapidly. Richard was his best surgeon, he couldn’t afford to have him wander off to a state where he could just buy rut suppressant without his say so. There was only one possible course of action.
“Fine. Richard’s health is very important to the hospital. He will get his… medicine.” By the contortion of his face while he said the word, Azazel might as well have said “putrid excrements” instead.
When the door closed behind Azazel, three held breaths were released within the office.
“That went well, I think.” Missouri beamed at them. “We can be glad that the suits have no idea about medicine. Just a bunch of pig-headed accountants, if you ask me.”
“Yes, it went well. But that‘s not the end of our problem.”
Missouri looked from Eleanor to her husband, demanding an explanation from them.
“Sweetheart, they’ll only send enough rut-press for a man who is nearing his 60s. Not for a 14 year old boy who’s just presented. Dean will have a hard time if there is not enough medicine.” Richard looked exhausted, he had known the boy since he started kindergarten with his wife. He wanted to help, but even his position of authority might not be enough to guarantee enough supplies for Dean.
Missouri seemed downcast once she realised what her husband had said but Eleanor spoke up: “I still have an ace up my sleeve.”
She stopped by to hand Dean his prescriptions on the way home and heard from Mary that the boy had been locked inside his room ever since the party had ended.
The scent inside the Winchester’s cottage was overwhelming, so Eleanor gratefully accepted a nose plug from Mary, so the conversation with Dean would become too awkward now. Eleanor knocked at his door, only hearing a little moan before the door shuffled open, showing a positively glowing young boy. Very nasally she told him to take two of the suppress-ex and alpha-max over the next four hours and then to wait for what happened. They would still have to make sure if his scent got successfully masked by the products.
“Thanks, Dr. Visyak.” Dean blushed a little and muttered very quietly, his eyes downcast: “Can you tell me what to do so I won’t chafe?”
“Moisture, dear. You have to keep it-”
“-Okay, thanks. Got it.” Dean interrupted her and pressed the door close immediately.
Eleanor went down the hall and only felt safe enough to breathe through her nose when she reached the kitchen.
“That poor boy.” She said to Mary, sitting at the kitchen table. “His teacher didn’t even tell him how to take care of his rut.”
Mary scoffed. “From what I heard about that teacher, the only thing he teaches those kids is how to humiliate and mistreat omegas.”
They both sighed at that.
“And that’s a big part about all that’s wrong in our society in a nutshell.”
Mary wanted to invite Eleanor to stay for a bit, but she excused herself, making Mary promise to give her updates on Dean’s situation and ‘mission: scent masking’ every few hours.
When she got home she powered up her computer and opened her livechat. A sigh of relief escaped her when she saw that Adrienne was online. She dialled and within seconds a very pretty red-haired woman, with intricately plucked eyebrows appeared on the screen.
“Hello, gorgeous.” She waved at her screen enthusiastically. “Eleanor my dear, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I have a huge favour to ask you, Adrienne, and if you’re very lucky we might get a clinical study out of it. But it’s kinda hush hush on my end, so you’ve got to promise to keep quiet about it.”
“Sounds very mysterious, but you know me, always happy to help you, particularly if it’s going to be a medical breakthrough. But first things first, darling. What are you wearing?”
Eleanor smirked. “You can see what I’m wearing.”
The woman on the screen raised her eyebrows and looked suggestive all of a sudden.
“Not everything,” she said, her face parting into a smile.
By the time Mary called about the first update on Dean’s rut status, Eleanor had established with her friend that it had been too long since they’d seen each other in person and that they would have to change that as soon as Eleanor could drop by and collect the desired suppressants that Adrienne would be able to hand to her.