Sarah lay in the bed in the midst of insomnia rolling restlessly, worrying about Tina and Jac’s whereabouts, cradling her book. By now Sarah started to naïvely believe that Tina and Jac had just left Louisiana to started college for another year. Alone in the hotel room she read her found diary while everybody else went out to blow off steam.
Meanwhile at the bar Desiree closed her eyes, threw her hands in the air seductively smiling as she gyrated to the slow rhythmic bass beat. Her eyes wandered over Viddarr and his eyes locked onto hers. When she opened her eyes, she couldn’t help but be drawn by Viddarr’s animal magnetism.
“Who is that?” Desiree inquired, gesturing to Viddarr at the bar.
Desiree broke from Tequila and she did not even wait for Roxy to respond back before twirling off the dance floor and dangerously closer to Viddarr who saw her in the corner of his eye.
“Hey, wait for me, bitch.” Roxy smiled as she ran to keep up with Desiree.
Viddarr ignored Devon’s pleas as he watched Desiree and Roxy slide up to the bar. Whole conversations lost to Viddarr as he paid no attention to Devon anymore. One woman, Desiree, impulsively clawed at his pants and the other woman, Roxy, stroked his bare chest.
“Hi, I’m Roxy,” she batted her seductive eyes, and then she pointed with open palms to the suddenly shy woman. Her whole body paralyzed she couldn’t even tell Viddarr her name, “and this is Desiree.”
Roxy motioned towards her scantily clad friend, still tongue-tied and shy; she looked mesmerized by Viddarr’s presence.
“It’s like Desire with an extra E.” she said smiling shyly when she summoned up the courage to talk to Viddarr.
Viddarr guessed she used the line a lot, but she was more desirable than Roxy. They were barely 19 or 20 not yet old enough to drink legally which he could tell by the pink band on their wrists but old enough to enter The Wolf’s Den, which had an 18 and older policy.
He held both women’s hands and soaked up their appearance. Roxy had blue eyes and long recently bleached blond hair with pink stripes and bangs. She smelled of cigarettes and had an artificial tan that Viddarr with his preternatural senses could smell the decay and looked at the lines that had already begun aging her before her time. She covered the minute lines on her lips and eyes with sparkly pink makeup.
His eyes gravitated towards Roxy’s lip liner and the shine of her plump full lips. The tightness of her rhinestone black shirt made her small but perky breasts more prominent. Viddarr cringed when he read her shirt, “vampires suck, but I like it!” She had delicate curves that her zebra stripe spandex pants accentuated.
He slowly raised her arm up and gingerly kissed her hand and took in her fragrance, then turned his attention on Desiree. Her appearance was obviously more appealing to him. Shorter, she stood about five foot; her obviously dyed black hair was put up in braids. Her pale complexion made more striking with powder white foundation. Her blue eyes made even deeper due to the purple-black eyeshade and three piercings. Her thin pierced lips colored black still had her trademarked shy smile. On her neck was a necklace, she wore a jewel encrusted pentagram. Her black tank top was a belly-showing baby Tee. Viddarr stared at the push-up bra but his eyes darted down to her exposed pierced belly button and her low slung green and black plaid skirt. The skirt was the colors of her Catholic high school of Pointe Coupee, her old stomping ground where she went before going away to college. That was why when Sarah suggested a trip to New Orleans she had been gung-ho for a road trip and it certainly showed in her exuberant face. A colorful tattoo peeked out from the top of her skirt on her hips. Fishnet ripped stockings and black platform military boots. Viddarr took in her fragrance too and it was all that he could do to contain himself her nearness all but driving him insane. He put his hands on her exposed hips, and then he turned his head and kissed her, a lingering kiss on the side of her neck.
“I am the proprietor of The Wolf’s Den; my name is Viddarr, pleased to meet you, Desiree. Care for a drink?” Viddarr said with a proud huff.
“Thank you, I’d love a drink.” Desiree softly whispered her voice smoky, oozing sexuality, her brain a swim with pheromones.
Roxy looked down and playfully pushed Desiree, “hey look at his feet! They’re enormous... You know what that means!”
Desiree’s cheeks turned a bright red in embarrassment, “Roxy shut up!”
Roxy didn’t disguise the fact that she was boiling up with jealousy. Her eyes staring angry daggers at Desiree but she didn’t care, something about Viddarr was mysterious and untamed. She had goose bumps and a warm longing in her nether region.
“I hope your drink isn’t laced with roofies.” Roxy said obnoxiously under her breath.
“I’ll just be a minute.” Viddarr said ignoring Roxy’s spitefully riposte.
Devon patiently waited on the bar stool as Viddarr reached down under the bar to get a homemade liquor bottle and a custom glass. It was a fifth with a homemade label that said “190 proof” and on the glass a deep impression of a wolf’s paw made with clay. Viddarr popped the cork on the bottle, poured the liquor and added a pink powdery substance, Desiree assuming it was some type of granulated sugar, and then he stirred the mixture until diluted. The black lights made it flow a mystical purple as Viddarr offered the shot to Desiree. She grabbed the drink with both hands then gulped down the entire concoction.
“Wow!” Desiree spontaneously shouted in surprise as the shot emptied down her esophagus settling in her stomach.
Desiree staggered and put her arm on her jealous friend to balance herself. She thought she could feel the hair on her scalp growing. She squinted at the suddenly bright room; she thought the house lights had been turned on until she realized the house lights were and still off but she could see in the dark. She could see the world for the first time in the way it should be… alive with color and light. She could hear the crowds of people far away like they were whispering in her ears and she felt exhilarated.
Devon sat quietly on his barstool watching Desiree. Her eyes were dilated and they had a preternatural glow to them. His stomach twisted in knots as he saw half a dozen pair penlight eyes in a sea of people. He realized Viddarr had been recruiting reluctant and unwitting individuals he deemed worthy, new werewolves for Aticus’ army. He had hoped that Viddarr would see his side of things and the balance of power would change but he looked in Desiree’s glowing eyes and for the first time he felt completely hopeless. New questions arose, how long had this been going on just 100 miles from Royal Bay, how big had this gotten?
“What was that? Some form of absinthe?” Roxy didn’t wait for an answer to interrupt again, “Can I have a drink?”
“Yeah, sure,” instead of handing Roxy Viddarr’s special drink he grumbled as he reached out begrudgingly over the bar grabbed a bottle of top-of-the-line vodka and two shot glasses with his immense hands and said, “Here, it’s on me… Now if you’ll excuse me I have some business to discuss with my friend but don’t go anywhere when I am through discussing business I still would like to talk to you ladies.”
Roxy begrudgingly said yes but Desiree said nothing, too busy staring at her hands with amazement she just nodded. Roxy had to coax her back onto the dance floor. Finally Viddarr returned half his attention to Devon to resume their conversation. Now and again his eyes glanced back at Desiree her eyes aglow and still staring at him in awe from across the room.
“I think I love that girl; I think I finally found my lost soulmate.”
Viddarr said matter-of-factly, taking in all of her essence, “you can have the blonde one. Although be sure to use a condom, from the smell of her I don’t think her body could survive the change, besides that, she annoys me.” Devon laughed nervously, “I appreciate the offer, but no thanks.”
“There is a sense all throughout the area of Aticus’ presence, have you met with him?” Devon paused for he already knew the answer.
“Yes. You know I don’t agree with everything that Aticus is doing. I think he is ailing and that makes for immense and impulsive mistakes. I think that all of Aticus’ pack is like fruit flies; frankly all of the infernal pack means little to me. If they anger me I will smash them with my boot like bugs, but...” he paused as if searching for the perfect words, “together we are the Dogs of God! I want vengeance upon humanity and civilization itself. You of all people should realize that”
“I understand.” It would be no use in arguing with him. He was known for his stubborn headed and hot blooded nature and he didn’t want to be on his bad side.
Devon put a hand on the strong unyielding shoulder of his old friend. He got the fact it gave Viddarr a chance for revenge for what the humans had done to him. He knew Viddarr felt the power of the sense of being part of a grand divine plan. But it did not change the fact that Viddarr would not be on his side.
The barstool scraped the floor as Devon prepared to leave; he didn’t notice several wolves disguised in human clothing strategically staring at Sarah’s group. Dammit, he thought, I didn’t even fight for Viddarr’s allegiance. If he left now and didn’t say anything he was going to regret it.
“Fuck… Viddarr, Aticus is crazy. I can smell the silver sickness and forbidden spoils’ exuding inside him and any allegiance to him is foolish!” He didn’t know he was shouting until Viddarr’s eyes glowed red with anger.
He instinctively stood and launched the barstool so hard it hit the wall and splintered. He was face to face with Devon before he could respond, drool spilled out of his mouth as fangs grew in. His body still, rigid, as he searched for the will and self-control to stop the anger and rage that threatened to transform his powerful body to a sleek engineered killing machine intent on tearing Devon’s body apart.
“I have no sympathy for humans! Humans slayed my fiancé long ago and I have been hunting for my soul mate’s reincarnation ever since! Pathetic humans mercilessly hunted me down! They cut off my arms and legs setting fire to my body sealing me up to die! It was a blessing that I was sealed in. The lack of oxygen starved the fire out. Hell you were there they fucking skewered me through my ass! Yeah, sometimes Aticus is impulsive and a moron but he is also a means to an end! The only reason I didn’t tear you apart when you first entered my club, old friend was because I owed you my life for saving me. You deserve safe passage.” Viddarr had calmed down now, partly because of their long standing friendship, and partly because he knew Desiree remained watching. “I’m sorry about your sire, Stefan, I truly am. And if you get the opportunity to kill Ice I won’t retaliate but until then Aticus’ plans continue.”
“Thank you, for a safe passage, an oath, then,” Devon put his hands on his shoulders again.
Devon finished his drink. He slammed the shot down on the table and got up to leave with his head slung low, defeated and turned to face the exit.
Viddarr stopped him and twirled him around, “you sure you don’t want Roxy?”
“No thanks, my friend, maybe next time.” He said anxiously laughing.
Devon knew he had to make a new battle plan for dealing with Aticus but first he had to get out of The Wolf’s Den before he imprinted his scent in the air where Aticus’ fledgling pack could find him anywhere in the area.
The double doors of The Wolf’s Den slammed shut behind Devon as a sense of foreboding grew. Viddarr watched the wooden bar door close behind Devon leaving him alone to observe both gorgeous women from Sarah’s group. He began to pour another special drink for Desiree and then proceeded to fill a shot glass full of vodka for Desiree’s shadow, Roxy. Viddarr motioned for the girls to come back.
Desiree never took her eyes off of Viddarr even when Devon and Viddarr met or even when Roxy dragged her away. Now magnetic attraction had thrown Viddarr and Desiree both together again. In the pulsing strobe lights in a dark corner Michael Miller and Tracy Seller looked over at Lance and Tomas for their orders now that the threat, Devon, had gone.
She drank from the Wolf’s Paw before Viddarr offered it, her alluring voice made the longing stir up again, “I missed you.” Viddarr laughed.
“Was that your business partner?” Roxy asked between shots.
Viddarr politely shook his head no.
“Viddarr, isn’t it?”
“Yes its Viddarr or Viðarr, among other names.” He said, while trying not to respond to Desiree’s flirty dancing, so torturous, trying to talk to Roxy while Desiree writhed and slithered for Viddarr’s benefit dangerously close to him.
“Oooh, you’re so mysterious.” Roxy said sarcastically, clearly irritated by his lack of interest in her.
Viddarr deliberately tried to ignore her as she paced the floor about ready to go after the last ditch effort to gain his attention, “what’s that tribal tat all over your body stand for?”
Roxy overtly attempted to touch him on his exposed hard, marblelike branded and tattooed stomach.
“It signifies my involvement with the Úlfhéðnar. You heard of the Norse berserkers, haven’t you? Well we’re an exaggerated line of werewolves. Warriors, a part of the Norse,” although Roxy asked the question Viddarr answered Desiree directly, keeping eye contact with her at all times, “A little more North and East originally.”
Viddarr made no attempt to hide his lupine nature to Desiree. The fog of denial even now with the digital age, the truth that lycanthrope’s are real and among them often fell to the wayside. Now just myth, legend, and movie fodder, besides, he felt confident in the relative safety and protection in HIS Den!
Roxy staggered and slurred when she spoke, “Oh you’re into werewolves. I’m a vampire person myself.”
“So you know dead things well, huh?” Viddarr growled.
Offering up Desiree’s obscure knowledge of the occult and trying to get Roxy out of trouble for her smart mouth she said, “Do you know that there is a legend that if a werewolf dies he comes back as a vampire?”
Viddarr’s eyes widened in surprise and respect, Viddarr acknowledged Desiree with a shaking of the head, “yes, yes I did my dear… I have seen many mystical things. Ghosts, poltergeists, vampires and (He said this loud, slowly and distinctly so Desiree could distinguish the reference) vampyres. I profess that I still do not understand them all… But sure, I tell you they exist.”
He didn’t have the time or the energy to explain the complex nature of it all; his hands rubbed Desiree’s outer thighs as she pressed her back to him. He breathed in her intoxicating scent of honeysuckle, sunflowers, blueberries and a natural womanly scent.
She spun around to face Viddarr. The closeness momentarily surprised her she felt a jolt of electricity at his sheer closeness, captivating her. She snapped back into reality and spoke. “Ya, I read that passage somewhere in one of my occult books. The myths sprang up somewhere in Eastern Europe I think.”
Sure he could smell her, Desiree had definitely been reincarnated, his lost love come back to earth he trusted her with a secret, whispering in Desiree’s ear, the mere mention of werewolf captivating her, “I am a lycanthrope I am glad I didn’t die coming back a bloodsucker.”
Viddarr laughed the conversation off, he flipped her dyed hair back, exposing her slender neck and whispered, “It’s all a technical process of evolving, exsanguination, heart stoppage and sometimes burying the body in the nutrient rich Earth…It is all a confusing and technical mess... Maybe I will explain it to you sometime. Let’s just say I’m grateful I still breathe life!”
She was enthralled by him, partly from the drug laced drink and the rest instinctual.
“I would love to be a werewolf, the raw power and freedom of it all,” their closeness hard to bear but she had no intention in backing away from him.
“When I was a kid I used to imagine running around in the woods on all fours and...” she was interrupted before she could finish.
“Desiree, you couldn’t stand to be a werewolf, they’re too hairy! You couldn’t stand it; you are always waxing your legs. Hell, you even wax down there!” Roxy tried to lift Desiree’s skirt up to show the crowd for all too see and embarrass her, but Desiree slapped her hand and backed up, blushing.
“It’s all such bullshit,” Roxy was now beyond trashed and belligerent. “The silver bullet and immortal werewolf only came about because of Hollywood films.”
“Oh no, dear lady, you’re bullshit; Jean Chastel blessed three silver projectiles for the beast. By blessing the bullets it only took one lucky silver shot to take down a lycanthrope they nicknamed the Beast of Ge’vaudan,” He laughed to himself, “but I knew him as Pierre.”
“He took three silver bullets with him, but in blessing them it only took one slug to hit him in the head, thereby killing the legend of the Beast. I would have torn Jean Chastel apart, but I didn’t too much like Pierre, he was an asshole.” Viddarr wrapped his hands around Desiree and whispered, “I say good riddance to old trash.”
In the midst of their current conversation Roxy had found someone else as drunk as she was to tongue wrestle with. Now Viddarr could devote all his attention to Desiree.
“As for living forever… it’s a host of information out there, you just have to look between the lines. Cursed to walk forever, blah, blah, blah first off, if living forever is a curse than I’m cursed and I love it. Young changelings die in some way in a year or two before the wolf’s blood makes them resistant to all but silver. Luckily it is in the wolf’s nature to survive.” Viddarr went to get a knife to cut lemons and limes.
“Watch this.” Viddarr said.
Viddarr looked around to see a distracted Roxy dry humping a patron that got more attractive with every shot that she drank. The tempo increased and people were crowded on the dance floor unaware of Viddarr and Desiree. He turned around and proceeded to cut his forearm. The knife scored along in a line continuing through until he stopped at the wrist. He nicked the artery; blood spurted out before Desiree. He growled, fangs bared, blood was already pooling on the bar spilling down over the railing. Desiree was horrified but she couldn’t look away.
His hand stretched, widening until it looked like a huge twisted paw. Talons appeared as fur rippled up his bloody arm. The gaping wound began to heal itself like a zipper leaving just a matted mess of fur on his healed arm. Then suddenly the fur receded leaving a barely noticeable red scar the length of his arm. Desiree watched this, mesmerized.
She believed anything that Viddarr told her. “Some old ones have died from severe, mortal wounds, other than silver wounds. I cringe when I see a silver bullet headed for my forehead or an inferno.... But being Úlfhéðnar, fire won’t destroy me or though I fear it still, even a silver bullet to the brain; I have been around a long time.”
“Make me a werewolf.” She spoke softly, her eyes wide and hopeful like bright stars in the sky, “please.”
Her arms wrapped around Viddarr’s massive neck. They were face to face now and she was touching his entire body.
“I have already made you lycanthrope. Follow me and I’ll guide you through the trials and tribulations,” Viddarr quietly said, He couldn’t stand it anymore he pulled her closer. Viddarr’s lips smashed into hers as her lips yielded and parted reciprocating his fervent kisses.
A long lingering passionate kiss made Desiree warm with excitement. She explored Viddarr’s mouth. He felt the stainless steel post as he further explored her tongue his member ached for her. Her fingers slid down to his buttocks as she pulled his waist in to her until she felt his hard manhood through her skirt. With one hand he scooped her up to his waist then with the other hand brought her legs up to his pelvis. Her inner thighs wrapped around his hips, her ankles interlocked.
Their lingering kiss stopped and Desiree softly kissed his exposed collarbone. Viddarr gripped her hair and pulled her head back, his tongue circling the nape of her neck. His hot breath giving her chills as he effortlessly walked with her to his office.
Viddarr checked the door, locked. He jiggled the doorknob for good measure. With one good forceful shove the door broke open wide. Splintered fragments of the doorframe rained down on the expensive carpeted floor. He and Desiree were in now; he didn’t look back as he slammed what was left of the door shut with a moan that echoed around the hot lovers. He didn’t waste any time, as soon as he entered his office he pressed Desiree against the wall. His eager hands tugged at her stockings, as Desiree nibbled his warm salty chest. He gripped the waist band of her stockings and panties. With one strong jerk the fishnets and underwear tore to pieces settling on top of his boots. The stockings hung down like a spider web from the floor up to her platform stilettos.
“Oh God,” She said breathless.
Now Desiree’s smooth, wet, pink flower of desire only inches from his jeans. Frantic hands fumbled to unstrap his belt buckle. With one hand still secure on her firm buttocks, Viddarr helped her with the other hand to undo his belt and unzip his pants.
His large engorged member now exposed to her. Desiree’s hands slowly stroked his manhood as she pulled his hips closer to hers. She wanted all of him, every inch of him so Desiree impatiently pulled him into her.
She gasped as Viddarr entered her. His thrusting cock was almost too much for her to bear, enveloping every inch as she rested her shoulders against the wall and straddled his hips. She closed her eyes arched her neck and sang out songs of longing ecstasy. Their mouths met and lingered again oblivious to office walls and windows that rattled as pitchers fell to the floor and shattered.
Supported by the wall Viddarr started rhythmically grinding. He stopped supporting Desiree’s body they were two persons in one. His hands rubbed up and down the length of her glistening taut thighs then made their way to her shirt, lifting it to expose her bra. One hand made short work of the white push-up exposing tender perky breasts. Small, pink Areolas and nipples excited him further. He hungrily devoured one nipple before he consumed another.
Desiree could hardly believe she was doing this; at 17 years old when she had sex for the first time her boyfriend promptly dumped her after the two minute coupling. He ran off as soon as the deed was done. She had sworn off sex ever since as a nasty and painful experience. But she could hardly contain herself around Viddarr. She couldn’t help herself with his strong animal like magnetism. She breathed in his intoxicating scent. She could not shake the fact she knew him in a dream, another life. She knew that she would do anything Viddarr would want her to do. Wave after wave crashed over her as she moaned through an orgasm, her toes curling with enjoyment.
Viddarr couldn’t help but bite her on the top of her breasts, Desiree squealed with excitement. A sharp quick bite but she knew it drew blood as a warm sticky liquid trickled over her breast, “aahh!”
“Am I out of line?” Viddarr grunted an impassioned question. She could tell by his voice that it was an apology as well as a question. But the knife and spontaneously healing forearm intrigued her. She somehow knew she had trusted him with her very life. She shook her head no and gave him a come hither smile hard to resist,
“No... You can do it again if you want,” The conversation didn’t break their rhythm as he thrust into her, as if trying to consume all of her body.
Large beads of sweat now formed on her forehead she glanced at her lover, not even breaking a sweat. He now bit her other breast, harder still but careful not to use his fangs or he would cut too deeply into her flesh. She was dizzy now but she didn’t want it to stop. He now lunged into her with reckless abandon once, twice, three times as his white hot fluid spilled into Desiree.
Panting, his seed spent, Viddarr rested his head upon Desiree’s shoulder. Breathing in her scent of sex and wild flowers perfumed with salty perspiration. Still inside her; reluctant to pull out and destroy the oneness that they had become, but he withdrew and Desiree’s trembling feet hit the floor.
Viddarr couldn’t help but stare at Desiree and breathe her familiar scent. She bore a striking resemblance to Amelia, who had been lost to him when she was so brutally murdered. He slowly slipped into madness with his loss. He sought for a soulmate for years until finding her as a young Veronica, his mate back in the 1600s. But her life was tragically cut short as well. Viddarr searched the world for whatever form she took, for his soulmate, frantically smelling her fragrance lest he forget her. Now the search was over, he finally found what he had been searching
for; strangely she too felt the same way as Viddarr,
“I love you,” Viddarr and Desiree said simultaneously.
He licked Desiree’s wounds on her trembling left bosom until only a faint scar remained. He then proceeded to the right breast. Slowly and methodically he softly licked the other tender bloody bosom until it too began to heal. His tongue proceeded south to her belly and shiny jeweled piercing. She closed her eyes and pulled her skirt up again revealing her mound as his tongue opened the folds of her flower his eager tongue tasting all of her.
Viddarr was getting an erection again as his tongue slowly circled her folds, Desiree’s back arched, moaning, drunk with bliss. Her hands combed through his hair as she pushed his head further between her thighs. Explosions of euphoria come over her. Viddarr lifted his head from beneath her skirt and pulled her body onto her knees, to the floor, her elbows folded on the carpet.
Her heat filled him with lust as his organ entered her again but this time he entered her from behind, a much more familiar position to him, used in the many meaningless, but lustful trysts with wolves and humans alike. However, something was different from all the encounters he had in the past, Desiree’s aura and familiar perfume was special and he knew in his heart the words he spoke were true. He thrust his organ into her until she began to experience wave after wave of delight, Nirvana. Viddarr’s hands gripped her hips as the lovers finished simultaneously. His hand transforming to a wolf claw and it tore the carpet on the floor to his office as he howled with excitement. Cheering erupted from the crowd who had mistaken the howling as some type of floorshow for the establishment so aptly named. Her mind willing to continue but her body physically exhausted she collapsed on the floor.
There was a knock on what used to be a door now caddy cornered and off its hinges destroyed only moments ago. Viddarr and Desiree pulled away from each other; Desiree desperately tried to fix her disheveled appearance as Viddarr opened the door that expanded like an accordion.
It was Roxy, she had wandered around trying to find Desiree; she had finally sobered up since the bartenders cut off the free alcohol.
“There you are! Desiree, I was wondering where...” Her train of thought had gotten derailed she had a horrified look on her face pointing to Desiree’s obviously bloody tank-top, “what happened?”
“What!?” Desiree felt her breasts, tender but healed. She totally forgot that they once were bitten. She looked at her bloody shirt then back to Desiree, “no, I’m fine we were just... Um...talking.”
Roxy looked Desiree up and down. Her hair was tangled and several rubber bands had broken. Her makeup was smeared from sweat and her black glossy lipstick was now nonexistent leaving her pink lips bare and her legs were shaking from the effort she exuded from making love to Viddarr. Roxy turned her attention to Viddarr who was buckling his belt.
“Oh, I get it...” but turning a judging eye onto her bloody T-shirt, “sort of. I hooked up too. His name is Michael Miller and he invited me to a party on Halloween night. I think it’s called the Blood Moon Festival or something like that.”
Viddarr was already walking to his desk to retrieve a handful of flyers, “Ah yes, it’s sponsored by The Wolf’s Den. All of the free food you can eat and unlimited alcohol. We still have room for more musicians and the location is yet to be determined though.”
Without a second thought Desiree offered, “I have the perfect place for the party. My friend Sarah just inherited this property that would be perfect, so large you could lose yourself in it.”
“I will ask her if it’s all right, but I know she’ll say yes.” Desiree’s caring eyes turned to Viddarr.
“That would be wonderful! Of course she’ll be heavily compensated for it.” His eyes bore into hers and he bit his bottom lip as he smiled.