1 | The Infamous Pool Party
Rave music. Chips and dips. Grills sizzled. Punch drinks spilled, scattering questionable scents. Splashes and laughs. Teenagers in bikinis and shorts danced under disco lights. The wild, electrifying atmosphere in this ridiculously huge summer house made this the littest pool party of the year.
It was hot. It was dirty. And, let’s not forget, illegal.
Everyone was having fun, except for one handsome guy with blonde hair who forced his way out of the crowd to find some seats.
“That’s it!” he said before his lean, hairless torso plopped down on a chaise lounge. “I am sooo done with girls.”
“It’s nice to see you too, Jesse,” said the guy in the chair next to him.
“I’m sorry.” Jesse gave him a fist bump. “Good to see you, man.” He grunted as he laid down, arms numb at his sides. “I’m just so pissed, you know? You think you know someone, but you don’t.”
“Lemme guess.” His friend took a sip from a beer bottle in his hand before his next words. “Sarah ditched you.”
“Sarah ditched me,” Jesse admitted in a low tone. He lowered his head almost like he was embarrassed to say it. “I was hopin’ that—”
“You would ditch her first?”
“What?” The look of betrayal in Jesse’s blue eyes made Gray chuckle. “Don’t look so surprised.” He brought the bottle to his lips for another sip.
“Gimme that.” Jesse took Gray’s drink. “Don’t look so surprised,” he mocked before gulping the rest of the beer.
“That’s a new record for you, though. You’ve been seeing her for like what? A week?”
“I know! Right?” Jesse twisted his body to the side and nodded with a proud grin. “She should be thankful for that.”
“Thankful?” Gray raised his left eyebrow; the one with a vertical scar that looked like it was shaved by accident. “Do you hear yourself right now?”
“You know what I mean.” He sneered and turned away in a sudden pull. His beautiful face showing signs of a pouty child about to have a tantrum. “Nobody ditches me. Nobody! I ditch them first. I sleep with them one night and I break up with them the next day.” He raised his palm for a dramatic shrug. “That’s my style. The girls know it. They have to respect that, right?”
Gray shook his head and scoffed.
When Gray didn’t answer, Jesse mumbled, “You’re just jealous ’cause you’re still a virgin.” He sipped as if he didn’t say anything.
Gray’s attempt to sound offended failed miserably. His voice was light, his mouth stretched into a sweet loving smile, and his gray-colored eyes twinkled whenever he looked at Jesse. If one could describe how Gray felt around him in one word, that would be ‘Happy.’ Gray was happy around his silly, cocky friend.
“Nothin’,” Jesse replied, suppressing a smile.
Jesse had a mysterious charm within him. No matter how many times he got into people’s nerves, they couldn’t stay angry at him. They never stopped liking him. His presence alone was fun. His reckless, sometimes childish, behavior filled the place with joy.
“You know that style of yours is gonna get you in serious trouble one day.”
Jesse’s demeanor suddenly changed. His smile faded, a frown crossed his face, and his eyes glared at a dancing couple, especially at the cheerful brunette with long, silky locks.
“Look at her, dancing with other dudes like last night never happened.”
“Who?” Gray glanced at the girl then back at Jesse. “You mean Sarah?”
Jesse silently watched the dancing girl, unintentionally ignoring Gray. His eyes squinted as if focusing on something. He tilted his head with heavy eyelids that were about to go into a dream.
“That’s how all girls feel when you—” Gray stopped talking when he noticed that Jesse wasn’t paying attention to anything he said at all.
Jesse was busy admiring Sarah’s pleasant booty and it made him feel better—much better than he actually forgot all about their breakup. His eyes moved to check some other girls’ curves.
That red-head Amanda has the roundest butt and the biggest boobs. I’d do her. Yum, look at the ass on that one... Oops. That’s Michelle. I already did her.
He kept watching until he stopped at some muscular thighs and a cute, tight butt—a guy’s butt.
A whistle casually escaped Jesse’s lips. He’s cute!
“Jesse?” Gray called him a few times then cut the concentration by waving his hand. “Jesse!”
“I’m sorry.” Jesse blinked a few times before facing Gray. “What were you sayin’?”
“Do you remember what you were talking about just now?”
“Umm.” Jesse scratched his head. “Girls?” A sheepish smile formed on his face.
“Yeah...” Gray waited impatiently at the edge of his seat. “And?”
“Yeah.” Jesse cleared his throat. “As I was saying. Girls, man.” He shook his head.
Gray face-palmed himself. He slid his hand down and decided to give Jesse a break. There was no way he would remember that they were talking about Sarah at this point.
Jesse continued, “I’m telling you, I’m so done with them girls. Especially high school girls. I can’t wait to go to college.” Jesse rolled to the side in a hustle to fully face Gray with a grin. “You know what?”
Gray leaned closer as if they were about to whisper a secret.
Then, out of the blue, Jesse revealed, “I think I’m ready to date boys.”
“What?” Gray blinked in surprise.
“Come on. Don’t tell me that it never crossed your mind.” Jesse smirked. “Don’t you think it’s fun to try somethin’ new before college?”
Gray blushed at the sight of Jesse’s dreamy eyes gazing deeply into his. A thin veil of sweat covered his face. A warm feeling filled him. Gray blushed and lowered his eyes just a moment before Jesse blinked away and got distracted by the commotion happening by the pool.
Gray waited for Jesse to finish what he was talking about, but he never did.
Jesse seemed to have drifted off into a daydream. His eyelids drooped while watching the boys throw each other into the pool. Wet, hairy, macho bodies.
Jesse bit his lower lip. His pale cheeks gradually shifted to pink.
Gray’s eyes tracked where Jesse was looking at. He was staring at a guy’s ass. Then at the sculptured muscles of his back. Then at his tight thighs, dripping water after a nice swim in the pool.
Jesse was stripping that guy naked in his mind.
Gray glared at the boy with eyes once silver and kind now glowed as if on fire. His fists tightened and his jaw clenched. Then, a single word came out of his mouth.
“Huh?” Jesse pulled himself out of his fantasies. “Did you say somethin’?”
“Umm.” Gray gulped. “You said you’re thinking about going out with boys?”
“Oh, that. I was kidding.” Jesse sunk into his chair to hide his embarrassment. “Hahaha.”
“Oh... Oh. Hahaha.” Gray laughed awkwardly with him. “Yeah, right. Dating boys. You got me.”
“Yeah.” Jesse finished laughing with a sigh. “Nice party, by the way.” He lifted the bottle to take a sip but discovered that it was empty. “Gah! I need a drink.”
“I’ll get it!”
Gray never stood up this fast in his life. He rushed toward the house, pushing through the raving horde. Despite being in a hurry, he didn’t forget his manners. “Excuse me. Excuse me.” When he finally got inside, he passed the bar where he was supposed to get the drinks from. His eyes darted between people who were chatting, drinking, and eating. He moved around as if looking for something... or someone.
He asked a passing guest, “Have you seen my brother?”
“No. Sorry.” She shrugged.
He moved around then asked another guest the same question.
They answered, “No, but you might find him where food is.”
Gray walked a few more steps then stopped. His face lit up.
“Brad!” He raised his hand up high. “Brad!”
Next to the food table, Brad turned around with a sandwich in his hand. The first thing noticeable about him was his size. He was the tallest and sturdiest man in the room, sharing the same brown hair and tan skin with peach shade as Gray’s. A wing design completely covered one of his muscular shoulders.
Brad smiled with a mouth full of food and waved.
When Gray met face to face with him, the first thing that came out of his mouth was, “Jesse wants to date boys.”
Brad stopped chewing and his sandwich slipped from his fingers.
“I-I-I don’t know what to do. What should I do? Help me, Brad. Please.”
“OK. Calm down.” Brad swallowed his food then placed his hands on Gray’s shoulders. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Gray opened his mouth.
“Tut-tut,” Brad shushed him. “Sloowwwly.”
“All right.” Gray exhaled sharply. “He said he might date boys. Then he stopped talkin’ and stared at... Kai’s body.” He sneered when he pronounced that name. “Then he laughed and said he was kidding.”
Brad opened his brown eyes wide. “Well, what are you waitin’ for? Go ask him out.”
“But he said—”
“He’s lying. Now, go before he hooks up with somebody. You know that boy can’t keep his pants on for two minutes.”
“OK. OK.” Gray turned around then turned back to Brad. “I need to bring some drinks. He wants to drink.”
“Then go, go, go.”
“OK.” Gray was about to leave, but he rotated back to give Brad a hug. “Thanks. You’re the best.”
Brad patted his back then released him. He watched Gray disappear into the crowd, wearing the happiest face ever. Brad’s eyes glistened and his lips pulled into a half-smile. It was adorable watching his little brother panicking over his potentially first date.
He only needed a push, and Brad offered it.
At that point, Gray was panting like he ran a thousand miles and sweating like a pig. The nearing moment was too much for him. His nerves were trembling in every vein. He grabbed the drinks and carefully walked back so he wouldn’t spill them. A timid smile never left his lips.
He reached the seating area where he left Jesse, but he couldn’t find him. He turned around and around until he saw him talking to someone by the pool. His smile grew wider, stretching the old scar on his upper lip.
He approached him, battling the heavy pressure in his chest. That nervous but good feeling that takes one’s breath away. Every step forward made him closer to the moment he has been waiting for.
Gray Montero was about to ask Jesse Calaway out.
When the crowd scattered below the half-moon sky, the person Jesse was talking to became visible. It was none other than Kai, the same boy Jesse was drooling over earlier.
Gray stopped. His smile fell. He almost dropped the two glasses in his hands from the shocking scene that was happening a few feet in front of him.
Jesse was flirting... with a boy... and it wasn’t Gray.
He laughed and swayed, licked his upper lip and rubbed his neck, looked down and moved his leg back and forth, back and forth.
Gray’s hands shook. His blood boiled, transforming those gentle eyes into burning orbs like twin suns. His breathing became difficult and loud. His chest inflated and deflated with disturbing sounds, almost like he was growling.
The glasses shattered in his hands, causing them to bleed. Large shards broke into little pieces when they reached the ground. The sounds attracted a couple of people, not one of them was Jesse.
No. Jesse was too busy flirting with another man.
“Oh, my Lord. You’re hurt.”
This was not anger.
“Hey, you OK?”
This was rage.
Gray was about to lose control over his body in front of all those innocent people who were trying to help him.
Suddenly, he found his hands covered with a towel. Gray raised his head to see the person who was helping him.
It was Brad. It had always been Brad to the rescue.
Gray was shaking. Completely out of control. He watched the white towel become painted with scarlet red. The tip of his fingers briefly peeked, but instead of fingernails, they turned into claws.
Gray pleaded Brad with teary eyes that translated exactly what was on his mind. Help me. Help me.
“Close your mouth,” Brad interrupted.
Gray felt his teeth growing into sharp fangs. He bit his lips to shut his mouth tightly.
Brad gave Gray a stern but calm look as if he was telling him, I’ve got you. Everything is under control. He effectively concealed the claws under the towel.
“He’s fine, y’all,” Brad declared. “He’s fine. I got this.” Then he whispered to Gray, “Let’s go to the storage chamber.”
Gray nodded. His shoulders stiffed from the fear of being exposed for what he really was—a werewolf.
His fangs were growing fast. He couldn’t keep his lips sealed anymore. And to make matters worse, there was hair growing on his upper jawline up to his ears. He raised his towel-covered hands to hide his face.
Brad took Gray by the shoulders and rushed him inside the house.
The brothers were never seen for the rest of the night.