How did it come to this? How was Francis simply standing there, in the middle of the parking lot, watching this orc girl try to think through what they were going to do on their day off? If this was not even a month ago, he would have grabbed her by the hips, forced her to simmer down, tell her to blurt out the first thing on her mind, and, when that inevitably failed, take her back upstairs to his place, hold her tight, and force her to watch cheesy movies from years gone by. Well, either that or right to the bedroom, but… he really wasn’t feeling it at the moment.
Instead, he was actually quite pleased with simply watching her… When Cassidy made him want to rip his eyelids off with her indecisiveness. When he was ready to throw in the towel before the midway point of the first date… Perhaps this was a sign. Maybe he has finally matured and has accepted people’s inability to make cohesive, detailed plans on the fly, that they weren’t as gifted as him to find the solution to what everyone likes at the drop of a hat.
Or, more than likely, it was because this was always how Dixie was. She wasn’t trying to think of ways to impress him. That frazzled orc wasn’t attempting to go outside of her comfort zone (since the entire world was outside of that). Instead, she was trying to fight that, to push it back and find some way, a path of solace to peace and camaraderie… There was that, and the fact he was listening to the other him’s talk. It was his first group “therapy” session, and it was agreed upon by all of them that they were fine. There was nothing wrong whatsoever. The dark shadow in the back agreed, too, but was a shadow of its former self –which, what would a shadow of a shadow of a shadow actually be called? The idea that a shadow had a shadow was already baffling enough on a metaphysical level, but for it to have another incarnation after-
“Burning moonlight, Dix,” Francis blurted, smirking as she jumped. “It doesn’t have ot be anything too complex or fancy.”
“Oh, I know. I know… It’s just… What could we possibly really do? After w-what happened, I don’t want t-t-to push you too hard. Goodness knows what would rub it raw-”
“A bit of sandpaper and a quarter twist as you stroke… Do you even have a car, by the way?”
“Of course n-not.”
Why did she make that sound so… Oh. Yeah. It definitely makes sense now that I think about it.
He sighed… and spread his wings.
“Well, I would say I could fly you, but I’ve been shirking off actually exercising them. It’ll have to be something local-”
“The movie theater!”
“Eh? Seriously? We could go back upstairs and watch-”
“N-no. Definitely the movie theater. T… I heard the wolf p-pack talking. They are having a m-marathon all this week.”
“W-w-well, I didn’t… catch… that… But Lupe and Luna were e-excited. Mandy not so much-”
“Ah! Must be sci-fi, fantasy, and anime stuff, then. Those two are mega nerds.”
“O-oh… i-if you d-don’t like it-”
“What, you kidding? I love that shit.”
“R-really? Then let’s go!”
“I shouldn’t say. After all, you just made up your mind.”
“Not anymore! What is it?”
“Well, if you say it was brought up by the wolf pack-”
“T-then there’s a good chance they will be there.”
“Yep, but it shouldn’t be that big a deal. After all, the last time I saw them I tried to make them into a flambe when they were begging to be fucked… No. Really. It shouldn’t be a big deal so let’s go.”
He couldn’t hold back his laughter as he “nudged” her towards the street, her heels hissing the entire way, lost to her gibbering and fluster. She gained some traction on her own sometime around the fast food joint, but still needed his guiding hand to keep her moving forward. Why was she so worried, anyways? He promised the day to her. Did she think he was simply going to abandon her to go dance with wolves and fill a kennel? He had already shown he was a man of his word and would never abandon a friend.
Ah, but if she wasn’t frazzled and a hot mess trying to act confident it really wouldn’t be Dixie. Emphasis on hot. He could feel her heat through that sweater –which he found out had a large, oval opening in the back that ran from the middle of her back down to her cheeks, exposing her black thong. He… discretely googled the type it was, and it added to his laughter. A virgin killing sweater!
“What’s so funny?” Dixie said, wondering why his laughter was renewed. They stood at the ticket booth, its keeper off for the moment. Probably fucking in the broom closet. God knows I would if I had to work this shi- “Francis?”
“Oh. I looked up what your sweater was.”
And the heat amplified, rolling off her like the flames from his maw.
“O-oh… W-w-w-well, E-Ezra g-gave me it. I t-t-thought w-with you, it would g-g-g-g-give me a reason to finally wear it.”
“Aww… That’s so sweet. You’re trying to get me to bang you. Little Dixie is awakening to her sexuality.”
He patted her head, and his barks rattled the old building. Dust fell from the worn ceiling, which he needed to be more careful if that was the case. Dust was its foundation, after all- but how could he when the flames just kept rising from the little orc girl. Her lovely pink skin was almost crimson, and not just her face. Her entire back was turning that shade, as well as gathering sweat.
“I-i-i-it’s not like t-t-that,” she said at last, and slapped down a twenty as the wage slave finally made her appearance. The orc lass didn’t even wait for the girl to ask. “Two for the marathon! And two bottles of wine.”
“It’s that cheap?” Francis exclaimed, then groaned. “Must be rot wine, then. Better off scouring a pan than actually drinking.”
“No, it’s brewed locally by Petunia Corvin,” the good little servant stated, punching out two tickets for them. She was a harpy, but nobody cared for the nameless masses that do the menial labor –more a blessing than they will ever truly realize. “She keeps this place up and running. If it weren’t for her, we’d have been out of business long ago. She runs a special for it: Anyone who purchases a ticket can request a bottle of her wine.”
“Huh. Guess that’s one way to drum up business, and more women drink wine than men so actually a solid business strategy.”
“D-do you like wine?” Dixie said, whining. “I completely forgot to ask.”
“It’s cool, and yeah. I’m no Fraisier Crane, but I love a good, dry red. Specifically either a Merlot or a Pinot Noir. Keep sweet whites away from me, though; make my teeth ache.”
“How about a Zinfandel?” The clerk said, reaching under the kiosk. Francis heard a fridge pop open, as well as a clatter of glass before a deep blue bottle was placed before him. The dark concoction inside was almost like blood, ravished by the light that separated and gleamed on that rough glass. She, also, pulled out a bottle of white, which Dixie took without a second thought. Thankfully, she had already popped the cork, working on Francis’s as she explained. “Corvin is better known for her sweet whites, sadly, but she makes one helluva Zinfandel if I do say so myself.”
“Eh. Let me taste and see.” He took the bottle from her as the cork was released and raised it to his- nose. To his nose first. He took a deep, long breath… yes… the tannins were in check, not too much- good acidity. He could probably peel paint from the wall if he concentrated it enough… the black pepper was notable- but there was another spice in the mix… was it… “Does Corvin use rosemary in her process?”
“No idea. I just sell it.”
He hummed, and made note of the berry- berries at the last of the inhale. Blueberry, raspberry… and… elderberry? The last time he had elderberry in a wine Jacob went nuts and tried to hack everyone apart with a hatchet. Francis helped channel that into a rival gang a few blocks down… He got pretty far, too. Racked up a body count of 47, but, inevitably, bullets won out. He might have died, but he would always be known as the Black Cherokee. In a small way, Francis missed that little spaz. He made the best sounds when they played fighting games- but that was then… Back when he was sixteen. Time sure does fly.
However, he finally tipped the wine into his mouth, letting it coat his tongue, fill that small basin with its bite… It was good. Not the greatest. It was quite apparent that, even when she tried to make a “dry” wine, she still couldn’t get the process right. It left the Zinfandel in a strange purgatory, where it was neither sweet nor dry. Its texture was more akin to a jelly than a juice, which actually was a good thing. The overall flavor was able to stick, where it truly excelled. The blend of the berries, the black pepper, the tannins, the rosemary -yes, rosemary- along with that limbo of being both a dry and sweet and, of course, that texture; it created a wash of sensations, an experience that played upon all the senses. He didn’t want to chug the wine for how thick it was, but also wanted to drink it for that blend of flavors that caressed-yet-beat the palate.
He let the bottle fall… then pulled out his wallet, slamming down a twenty.
“I’ll take five,” he said.
“Five?” Dixie squeaked. “Y-you liked it that much?”
“See? Didn’t lead you wrong, did I?” The clerk said, tittering… but sighed. “Sadly, that’s not even enough for one bottle. That Zinfandel is $60.”
“But you get a free bottle with a ticket… I’ll take two tickets, then, and two bottles.”
“That I can do. Would you like me to prepare them for when you come out or-”
“You kidding? I’ll drink them all during- but, uh, just give me the cork opener. I’ll pop them when ready.”
“Are you going to be okay?” Dixie said, and they finally set off for the dark room, already booming into the hallway with laser sounds and over-the-top screaming. “I think those are 14% alcohol per volume.”
“That all?” He chortled- but was still a gentleman. His wing reached out and pulled open the door for her, letting her pass. She was caught off-guard with how fast it moved, but stepped through all the same, waiting for his presence behind before moving on down into the dark hallway. The lasers, the ships grew louder with each step, and, as they rounded the bend, the light of the screen washed over the audience… of fourteen people. Only fourteen… Francis knew it was the holidays. Most people would be gone by now, but it was always a… relieving feeling to see a theater that wasn’t packed. He didn’t have to worry about being in anyone’s way, and, with the middle seats, he could sprawl his legs -and now wings- out.
They took the center of that split between the top and bottom sector, and relaxed before the cheesy goodness. Dixie put up the armrest and rested against his chest, sipping from her white wine occasionally –which Francis wished was even more sporadic. Smelled way too sweet… and it wasn’t long before it seeped out of her pores, into her increasing sweat. After the third movie, she started to fidget something fierce, pulling at that sweater, and, after they returned from the bathroom, decided to ditch it. Instead, she pulled Francis’s wing over her, covering for the fact she wore a spaghetti-string purple bikini top… and nothing else.
By the sixth, her bottle was empty, and her inhibitions were gone. She wasn’t interested in the movies any longer. Instead, she was fondling his wing, caressing its leather, the digits, leading to his back. Her fingers fumbled on the join, rubbing it before moving onto the back, shaking as she tried to “soothe” it. He looked down at her between drinks, between scenes, and saw that her eyes were heavily-lidded. And staring up at him.
The midway point of the movie finally hit, an explosion of action, and she used that opportunity to lurch into his arms, hugging him. She sniffled by his ear, nuzzled his neck, all the while her hands still rubbed and clawed at his back. And, again, the heat pouring off of her –and the smell. It took him everything he had not to gag, but was thankfully subdued by that red wine. Down to the last, sadly. He didn’t even have a buzz, but it was good wine… He would need to meet this Petunia Corvin, if only to see if he can… persuade for a better d-
“Francis,” Dixie said, drawing it out into his ear. “Are you feeling better?”
“Very. Cheesy movies are the shit, and the wine was kickass. They were but icing on the cake, though, since I got to hang out with you.”
“You’re just saying that… I’m no one special.”
“Yeah, and that’s why I’m not just saying that. You ARE nobody special, and that’s a good thing.” He eased her back, looking into her tired eyes, and mussed with her hair, tousling it. “You don’t have anything special going on. You don’t have a family to honor nor a business to worry about or anything else. You live for only you, and are making the most of it. You give so much to others and, through your own strength, alter and help lives. You are nobody… but you became somebody.”
Tears welled in her eyes, but a smile spread across her face.
She sobbed- then kissed him- only to gasp and pull away.
“O-oh-oh m- I’m sorry- I’m sorry! I didn’t m-”
“You need to hush yourself,” Francis said, shirking his shoulders to the hisses behind.
“Oh… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean- I mean, I’ve wanted to for a while b-”
She squeaked… but melted into his arms, still rubbing his back as her tongue met his. Sweet and mostly dry, coming together at last- parting once more as she eased back.
“I really shouldn’t be doing this,” she mumbled, sniffing. “You are in a bad place right now and I’m taking advantage of your weakness… This isn’t right. This isn’t right! This is… this…”
She moaned, and met his lips again. This time she did not break away, kissing through the entirety of the end credits of the sixth movie then the beginning of the seventh. Her hands trailed up his back, over his neck, holding it a moment before moving further, cupping his face. Her thumbs circled and scratched softly at the scales on his chin, rubbing his strong cheek bones as her hands made it to their final destination: His hair.
Francis might not have been buzzed, but he becoming intoxicated, inebriated, putty under her rubbing hands and fermented lips. His arm wings opened, rubbing along her sides as his normal hands caressed her back. His regular wings clawed at his own shoulders, squeezing her against him- only to be ruffled as she finally pulled away once more.
“No,” she said, sobbing. She pulled one hand away from his hair, denying him the ruffling he loved so, covering her face. She looked… disgusted. “No… I shouldn’t be doing this… What would Ezra think? She would absolutely hate me for this. Unforgivable… I… I need to go… I need to go! I’m so sorry; this was all a mistake-”
“I would say!” Mandy boomed, making the orc girl jump. Rather, bounce in Francis’s lap. She warily looked back over her shoulder, seeing the wolf pack, blocking the screen while their eyes shined from the projector’s light. The alpha scoffed, reaching out and ruffling the orc’s hair. “Here I thought you were cool, Dixie.”
“What do you want?” Francis said, as dry as he could –which, given how much dry wine he had… was still not as dry as he wanted.
“You, of course, but that’s not the problem. Little Dixie here still can’t control her volume and it was becoming a nuisance. We were coming down here to tell you two to go find a room, but then she started this shit.” She grabbed Dixie’s hair, pulling her up, straightening her from Francis’s clutches.
“O-ow-hey-” She began, but went silent as Mandy continued.
“Look. It’s obvious that you like the guy, but unless you grow a fucking spine and take what you want you’ll never be happy.” She shoved the orc against Francis again, smushing her head into his chest. “If Ezra wanted him so bad, she would have stuck around and got him on the rebound like you’re trying.”
“N-no! That’s not-”
“Do you mind!” Someone screamed from above.
“Oh, calm your tits! This is the shittiest movie so far,” Lupe exclaimed. “You are literally missing nothing special.”
“Isn’t this the one made by the people who did the Matrix?” Francis said, which made Luna scoff.
“If you call those things ‘people’-”
“Now is not the time for your piece, Luna,” Mandy said, pulling Dixie from Francis’s chest again. She turned her head, having her look into her eyes, at how they glistened. At how she licked her lips. “You have two options right now. Either you back down and leave and cry and masturbate at the thought of what could have happened while we bang the shit out of him ourselves-”
“That’s debatable,” Francis grumbled. Ignored as she continued.
“Or you can admit to yourself you have the hots for him and continue mouth-fucking each other –if not more; I’m not one to even begin to gauge what you are capable of.”
“Or… all four of you can back off and give her room to breathe and decide for herself,” Tina said, sitting in the opened chair by Francis. She had a bucket of popcorn, munching away as she glared at them. “Considering she’s a bottle to the wind, though-”
“Only a bottle?” Victoria said, chortling. “What a fucking lightweight.”
“Yes. Yes, she is, but it’s still enough for her to doubt herself-”
“I don’t doubt myself!” Dixie shrieked… and whimpered. She clambered off of Francis’s lap and gathered her sweater again, slipping it on. She tugged on the neck, looking upon her hands… and looked disgusted once more as thick tears fell down her cheeks. “I’m sorry, Francis… I need to go.”
“You do you,” he said, and settled back in his chair, focusing on the movie ag- “Wow. What is this shit? What’s with the bees?”
“A very dumb reason,” Lupe said, all four sitting behind him, leaning over their chairs. “I hate this movie. So much.”
“It’s not the worst,” Luna said- but, as it went on, Francis could not disagree more. There were snuff films with more feeling put into it. He actually sighed with relief once the credits started to roll, turned into a yawn.
“Getting tired?” Tina said.
“A little… There’s only one more movie left… What are you doing here?”
“Again. Home alone. Took care of the estate then decided to come bug you. Thought you would have been home from your date with Des by now-”
“Nah. She’s a no-show. Death tends to do that.”
“Wait. She died? When!”
“Saturday,” Mandy said. Which Tina scoffed.
“Figures. The one day I decided to skip just to fucking rest. No phone, no internet; just me and my music in a bath.”
“All day?” Francis said.
“All fucking day. Feel my arm. Smooth as silk.”
“So nothing out of the ord- HOLY SHIT THAT’S SMOOTH.”
“Goat milk does wonders… You can stop now.”
“I really can’t. Is your entire body like this?”
“It is- w- what are you d- ah!”
She fought against him, but she didn’t stand a chance. He pulled her into his lap, and all of his hands rubbed at every bit of exposed skin, feeling that soft yet plush sensation… The Fang finally sighed and relaxed, letting him indulge in her smoothness as she watched the movie-
“You know, you really should have gone after her,” Tina stated.
“Nah. That would only have made things worse. Ezra and I will be having a talk about it when she returns, though.”
“And? If it turns out Ezra really does want you?”
“Then Dixie missed her chance.”
She scoffed, giving him a dirty look.
“You really don’t care, do you?”
“Oh, I do, but things have a way of working out.”
“Right?” Victoria exclaimed, chuckling as she nudged his shoulder. “We were all so worried we’d miss our chance after you started dating that snake and harpy, but, in one fell swoop, both problems were taken care of.”
“Wait. Cassidy killed Desiree?”
“That’s the working theory,” Francis said, but the atmosphere had shifted in that moment. He eased the fang into the seat beside, stood, and looked at the four pups. Flames already coiling down his face. “However, I think it’s about time I wasn’t so nice. What you just said? Over the line.”
He didn’t even wait for a rebuttal, for any of them to move as he lunged over the seats, tearing into them. It was a good thing the final movie wasn’t so good, but it had the whole house in an uproar, screaming and running for the door as he tore into those four curs. Turned out he still had a soft spot for the little lamia, even if she did stand him up that day… and forever… She wasn’t coming back. There was no reason for her to come back… and Cassidy was most likely the perpetrator. Against his better judgment, against hope, that was the only possible reason. In one day, he lost two women he cared about, his heart crushed, broken, shattered upon the ground both times in quick succession. And these wolves reveled in it… Well, their loss isn’t too great, and it was the last bit of management he needed.
He wiped his mouth, pulling out the last tuft of war, and wheeled to see Tina standing at the entrance to the hall, still munching on popcorn. She cocked her head… then nodded as Francis held up his thumb. He lumbered over, yawning… and threw an arm around the Fang, feeling her smoothness one last time before it was marred by the viscera that streaked down it.
“Okay. You proved me wrong,” she said. “You do care.”
“Too much,” he grumbled, and groaned as the thought hit him. “This month begins the Thanksgiving holiday.”
“Uh, yeah. Thought that was established.”
That wasn’t the reason he was dreading it, but he didn’t feel like explaining his drama to her. He was there to take his mind off of things, and all he accomplished was finding a wine he liked, painting the room red, and getting a furball… At least he had a bit of arm candy to wrap things up. And she didn’t seem to mind.