Benefit of the doubt
“What happened between you two?”
My head tilts to the side as my eyes look at a confused Kai. “What do you mean by that?” I ask, eating a piece of still bloody cooked meat. The blood of it makes Foxy nod at how delicious it is.
A few days had passed since Xavier and I changed our relationship status from Platonic Friendship to Sleeping Buddies. We’re following the rules, acting as if nothing happened between us, so Kai already picking-up on it isn’t a good sign.
“It’s been a few days since you and Xavier have fought,” he points out with a piece of cherry tomato attached to his fork.
My gaze follows the movement of the fork, moving between Xavier and me. “So what if we don’t fight?” I retort.
“You’re kidding, right?” I follow the masculine voice, finding Jason give us a bewildered look. “You guys can’t pass two days without fighting for something useless like that debate about a tiger against a lion.”
Xavier grabs the table’s attention by chuckling. “That was a simple conversation about our different perspectives. I still believe that lions win against tigers.”
My eyes roll at the last statement. “No, idiot, a tiger beats you because of their weight, amongst other things, and there’s not much you can do about it. It’s literally an upgraded version of you.”
“Ridiculous. A lion wins hands down against a tiger—”
“Now, let’s not get carried away. There’s a reason why I’m the leader, and you’re not pretty boy,” Richard intervenes with a prideful smirk.
Xavier puts down his fork and knife to cross his arms over his sculpted chest. “Because you’re rich and old.”
Richard’s hand goes over his heart. He feigns a shocked gasp. “I’m only thirty-two! Plus, money doesn’t mean anything. You’re rich as well, man.”
“No way. If I built this mansion and the clinic, I would already be broke as fuck,” Xavier says, shaking his head.
“That’s because you don’t know how to grow your money, but leaving that aside, tigers’ mouth bite, speed, weight, and even height surpasses the lions’ one. In a fair fight, the tiger wins, but the lion has the Pride to back him up, so I’d be dead soon after the kill,” Richard explains, shrugging his shoulders.
I put my hand on Xavier’s shoulder in a comforting way. “Sorry, man," I say with a pitiful look on my face.
The feline beside me growls, pushing my hand away. “You never back me up,” Xavier grumbles out.
“That’s because you’re always on the wrong side,” I say, getting back to eating my dinner.
I can feel his eyes on me, and sure enough, when I glance at Xavier, a brief exchange happens that makes my heart stop beating for a moment. His eyes glowed, looking at me in a weird way.
“Ah! Right there! What was that, huh? Are you guys sleeping together?” Kai says, his jaw dropping at us.
A short silence follows before Xavier and I burst out laughing at the same time. We point at each other with a wide-eyed look on our faces that translates to ′me and him? Never!’.
“What a ridiculous assumption,” Xavier breathes out as I nod in agreement.
Jason nods his head as well. “They definitely slept together. It’s so obvious.”
“But we didn’t,” Xavier retorts, glaring at the red-haired man.
“Oh really? How old are you?” Jason asks out of the blue.
I raise an eyebrow. Xavier won’t fall for that trick.
I watch the lion frown but answer him anyways. “Twenty-seven.”
“Where are you from?”
“What’s your favorite color?”
“What’s your feline form?”
“What’s his name?”
“Have you slept with Alexa?”
“Yes— I mean, no! No! Gods, I knew it was that dumb trick.” Xavier groans while the others laugh.
“We didn’t have sex,” I butt in, “Mr. Lyon simply revealed his attraction to me and his desire to spend one night with me. I’m pretty sure he said yes because he dreamed about it.”
Kai and Jason give me a dubious look. The duo glance at each other, sharing a knowing look before shrugging at the same time. “If you say so,” Kai says, finishing his dinner.
Nala changes the subject, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. The rest of the night passes in a blur. It ends with me in a fetal position underneath the sheets, reading a book from my phone.
The sound of my doorknob turning pulls me away from my fantasy land, and I peek my head out of the covers to see my intruder. My eyes glow in the process, giving me night vision.
The door opens, and Xavier quietly closes it, tiptoeing toward my bed. He usually sleeps with only his boxers, so seeing him with a shirt and long pants is quite surprising.
“Red,” he whispers out with his eyes starting to glow.
I blink up at him. “What are you doing here?” I whisper back.
“I can’t sleep, move,” he quietly orders as he lifts up the light sheets.
I roll my body until my back is pressed against the wall while Xavier slides his tall frame inside.
“Why are you so dressed?” I can’t help but ask in a whisper.
Werecats, as you know, have high sensitivity hearing. I believe these walls are also thin, so the quieter we speak, the better.
“I didn’t want to grab attention while sneaking in here,” he quietly replies. “What are you reading?”
I shake my head, giving my back to him. “It’s a gay love story, not your type,” I say, feeling something warm pressing against my back.
“Try me,” he murmurs.
I sigh. “It’s a boy love story about—”
“Nope, stop right there. I thought you meant lesbians.”
“If it was about lesbians, I would have said that it’s a lesbian love story, you idiot,” I whisper.
“Whatever, keep reading, I’ll just sleep,” he says, putting his hand around my waist and pulling me closer to him. I don’t let his presence affect me and just continue the book.
Not even two pages later, I feel something poking my lower back. I exhale loudly. “Keep your willy down,” I say in my normal tone of voice.
Xavier shushes me. “Keep quiet, I’m trying to sleep.”
“You’re trying to get laid, and with that thing begging for attention, I can’t concentrate on my book,” I confess, feeling quite flustered.
Xavier stays quiet, and I take it as a sign that he’ll try to calm down. I get back to reading but get interrupted again. “Can I ask you a question?” he asks.
I sigh, locking my phone. “What is it?”
“Why do you think that you’ll give Dante another chance if you guys were to meet again?”
I frown. “What’s with your obsession with Dante?”
Xavier’s arm squeezes me for a second, making goosebumps crawl on my body. “Just answer me.”
“Well, I know Dante, and the man can be persuasive as hell when he wants something. He knows that he’s good looking and he’ll use it to his advantage. I know myself when I’m with him, which is why I’ll succumb to his charm in no time if he were to make the first move.”
Xavier buries his head on my neck, pulling my body even closer. “Even though he’s a bad person?” he whispers.
I slowly nod. “Yeah, well, he’s not that bad. I might have exaggerated a bit. He’s just... Dante. My words aren’t enough. You should have met him.”
“That won’t last long anyway,” he murmurs under his breath, making me frown.
“What does that mean?” I ask.
I can feel his head shaking from one side to the other. “Nothing,” he replies, kissing the back of my neck softly. A shiver runs down my back because of it, making me shift my body for a moment.
The action leads to me rubbing against his evident boner, and Xavier covers his groan with a fit of fake coughs. A soft smile tugs at my lips. Cute.
My eyes widen.
Did I just describe Xavier as cute?
A hand sneaks underneath my shirt, gently grasping one of my breasts. “Why did you stop?” the feline whispers before kissing the back of my ear.
The overwhelming scent of vanilla comes back. I push Xavier’s hand away to turn around, my gaze staring into his glowing one. Our legs beautifully intertwine with each other as my arms wrap around his neck. “I wanted to see your face,” I whisper back.
Xavier’s eyes pop out, his ears turning into his lion’s ones. A shy smile sneaks onto his lips, and he softly kisses my nose. “Cute,” he murmurs before our lips meet in a slow, heart-pounding kiss.
I wouldn’t mind spending the night just kissing him like this. The scent, although strong, is addicting. I pull away to bury my head on his neck, inhaling deeply. “What are you doing?” he asks in a quiet voice.
“Your scent is addicting,” I say, kissing his neck.
“You can smell it? Even now?” he asks.
I frown, pulling away to look at his confused face. “I shouldn’t?”
Xavier quickly shakes his head. “No, no, it’s fine. I’m just surprised.”
He smiles, looking at me weirdly again. Every time he gives me that look, I find it harder to breathe. Plus, the quickened pace of my heart isn’t helping. “Nothing, it’s just a good sign. Now, let me kiss you again,” he says as he leans toward me.
I let him kiss me with a thought stuck in my mind now.
What is he hiding?