Series 1 Episode 4
Rumbling through the whole of Crystalshaw, the howl startled anyone in its path. Nobody knew what it was, it just sounded like a low-pitched grumble, but Drew identified it flawlessly. That was the howl of Dylan Drummond, and it was meant for him. The noise had travelled all the way underground, into Drew’s family bunker. Except now it was only his. The howl meant that Dylan needed him or was summoning him.
Drew had kept his head low after the party, and Dylan’s frustration at being protected by him, so Drew was adamant that he’d have to learn the hard way. After he makes his own mistakes. After he kills someone.
Now he had realised he needed Drew after all – that’s what the howl really meant. Typical. Still, Drew knew he had to rush to his aid, but he was feeling smug about being proved right.
Cowering down against the wall, Yasmin was fearing the worst. This huge creature had just stormed into Lily’s bedroom via the window, despite being on the third floor. Its size was breath-taking. It had to be the alpha. Now it was going to kill her. Its arm, with claws much like Dylan’s, was extending. Ready to hit back and slash into her.
For the second time that day, she shut her eyes and braced herself for the pain. Just as she did, she heard a deep grumble from outside. Almost like a howl. She winced open her right eye and saw the beast pounce back through the window. Yasmin panted, and looked over to Lily. Both of them were full of relief, but incredibly flustered.
“What the hell was that?” Lily asked worriedly. Yasmin was speechless. She didn’t know for sure anyway, but Dylan’s secret seemed to be at risk of being exposed.
Waiting patiently, Dylan was praying that Drew had heard his call. Of course, he was aware that the alpha would also be able to decipher it. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He could find out who or what the alpha actually is.
He glanced around his bedroom while he waited, his eyes immediately being drawn to the photo of him and his parents from before he turned thirteen. He missed his dad like crazy. His mum was amazing and he had the best relationship possible with her, but his dad was a huge loss. Things at home always felt that bit emptier. He never had any siblings, and a dinner table of two was never the same. He and his mum had become closer, but it felt exceedingly bittersweet.
He turned to the door, and almost had a heart attack when he saw Drew stood there unannounced, wearing a blank expression on his face.
“What the hell dude?” Dylan jumped in fright, “Haven’t you heard of knocking?”
“I’ve been hearing plenty of stuff tonight, and so has every person in Crystalshaw you douche,” Drew scolded.
“Want to tell me why you weren’t at school?” Dylan kept his voice raised.
“You wanted space, I gave it to you. It’s that simple,” Drew bluntly answered.
“I’m sorry, I just didn’t want somebody on my back, watching my every step,” Dylan lowered his voice, trying to justify himself.
“You have no idea about any of this. You need me on your back, because otherwise, people will end up dead. You almost killed Jono the other night, but who was there to protect you? I was,” Drew argued firmly. Dylan couldn’t disagree. To avoid admitting he was wrong, he shifted the subject along.
“How does that explain the email? You know, the one you sent said boyfriend of mine today,” Dylan was getting wound up even thinking about it. However, he couldn’t ignore just how cute the word “boyfriend,” felt now he had one.
“The alpha could come at any point. Whether you want to join him or not, you need to be on the top of your game,” Drew explained, “People like Jono distract you, they weaken you.”
“This is what I don’t get. Why would the alpha want me to join him? Join him to do what?” Dylan was exasperated.
“Wolves hunt in packs, werewolves are just the same. The alpha is the pack leader, only he can pass on the bite. We are betas and together we make each other stronger,” Drew described.
“He bit you too?” Dylan wanted clarification.
“Not this alpha, but another. She’s long gone,” Drew reminisced.
“So, who is this alpha?” Dylan desperately queried.
“I don’t know, that’s what I need you to help me find out,” Drew bargained.
“What? You sent my boyfriend an email scaring him off, then vanish and run the risk of letting me kill someone, you bully me right from the start of high school, and now you want my help?” Dylan was gobsmacked at Drew’s temerity.
“You don’t know it yet, but you need me,” Drew boldly stated. Dylan sat down on his bed, exhausted.
“Why don’t you start proving it?” Dylan suggested.
“Alright,” Drew took note, “Tomorrow night. Full moon. You’ll be at your worst. I can teach you how to fight it when the moon’s impact is greater than ever.”
“Wait, it gets worse? Is this nightmare ever going to stop?” Dylan was fed up, “All I wanted was to be a normal guy, who goes to a normal school and gets a normal job.”
“And you can be all of that,” Drew spoke more softly, understanding Dylan’s frustration, “But we have two obstacles in the way. The alpha, and the full moon. I wanna help you Drummond, and I wish I had someone like me when I was bitten.” Dylan didn’t respond. He wanted to know more about Drew and his back story, but the time for that would come later. Prying was never going to help.
The next morning, Dylan woke up feeling sick with dread. The idea of the full moon making the wolf even worse than it was already did not make him particularly comfortable. Perhaps he should have anticipated it though. It’s a common part of the myth, isn’t it? Werewolves and the full moon go hand in hand, just like school and homework. Or he and Jono. Dylan liked the thought of that better.
Maybe he should have done some research. However, the time for that hadn’t presented itself. The past few days had been a continued whirlwind, but on the bright side, it was almost the weekend now. Once Wednesday was out of the way, it was always plain sailing until two days of rest, relaxation, and re-watching his favourite shows on Netflix. The Good Place never got any less entertaining. Dylan particularly enjoyed Tahani and Janet. He was often drawn more easily to females in TV shows. It seemed a common thing amongst gay guys too, judging by Twitter. Every single post by a female popstar was followed by a succession of replies from the gay community, using slang words such as “wig,” or a bunch of letters that looked like they punched the keyboard and hoped for the best. That was supposed to mean excessive laughter, Dylan assumed.
However, he felt distanced from that community, and the general stereotype of what a gay guy is supposed to be. It always felt exceptionally exaggerated compared to any gay guys he had met in real life (not that there were a vast number of those).
This didn’t bother him though. He wasn’t looking for similarities with the entire gay community. He was perfectly satisfied with how much he had in common with Jono. The idea of being in a relationship was still so exciting. Every time he thought about it, he felt warm inside, and like he could jump for joy. Part of him wanted to sing it to the world, but maybe he wasn’t ready for that just yet.
He sighed. Another school day beckoned, despite being on cloud nine inside his head. The worst part of the day had arrived. Time to force himself out of his beautifully cosy bed, with the duvet preserving his body at the optimum warm temperature.
“You’ve bunked school?” Caroline came storming into Dylan’s bedroom before he had the chance to get up. Oh dear. He had hoped his mum would never hear about that.
“Do you know how hard I have to work to keep this house afloat? So you can have the best life possible?” Caroline ranted, “Yet you can’t be bothered to go to school for a few hours a day. Get some perspective, Dylan.”
“Sometimes there are more important things to worry about than the life cycle of a plant,” Dylan muttered, before tucking himself back under his covers. He heard his mum slip outside, the door clicking back into place.
Not moving from under the duvet, Dylan wiped a tear from his cheek. Things were going to shit, and he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop them.
As he walked up to the bench that he and Yasmin always frequented, Dylan noticed that it was a tad busier than usual. Not only Yasmin was sat there, but Lily too.
“Hey,” Dylan smiled, exuding his usual friendly vibe.
“Please don’t hate me,” Yasmin skipped any idea of small talk. Dylan was confused. Why would he hate her? What had she done? It had to be something to do with Lily.
“Last night, after you left, it attacked us,” Yasmin recalled, “The alpha.” Dylan’s eyes widened, sending a message to Yasmin. A message that said “why the heck are you saying that in front of Lily?”
Then it twigged. Lily knew everything now. She had to. However, that was not the biggest problem. The alpha attacking was way more severe.
“You didn’t think to tell me this?” Dylan was more baffled at how late he was informed than anything else.
“I’m doing that now, aren’t I?” Yasmin replied, “We’re fine, it ran off when it heard some growl sound.”
“That was me,” Dylan quietened his voice, as if he were sharing his deepest and darkest secret. Well, he kind of was.
“Did it attack you too?” Yasmin pondered.
“No, I didn’t see it. I howled to find Drew,” Dylan explained.
“Looks like it worked too,” Lily remarked, glancing over at the group of sporting jokes approaching the entrance a few feet away. Drew nodded a friendly nod to Dylan, who reciprocated.
“He’s gonna help me with the full moon tonight,” Dylan told the girls.
“The full moon? Of course! It’s all part of the legend,” Yasmin thought. Ever the bookworm, Dylan knew she must have read some werewolf fiction before. The original concept of werewolves must have come from something, right?
“Apparently, I’ll be at my worst tonight, which means I need to avoid Jono,” Dylan thought, looking to Lily.
“Why are you looking at me?” she asked.
“Can you take him out after school? Shopping, running, whatever, just stop him from trying to contact me,” Dylan requested.
“I guess. Look, I know I’m new to this, and sure, I’ll help as much as I can, but I don’t want any trouble. Leave me out of all that,” Lily explained.
“We’re new to it too,” Dylan noted.
“Which is half the problem,” Yasmin added.
Slipping into maths, Dylan ensured he was sat in his usual place – not particularly near Jono. In any of the classes he had actually attended that week, Jono and Dylan had been making sure they sat together. Of course they would, Dylan didn’t want to be apart for longer than necessary.
Today was one of those necessary moments though. He could not let Jono suggest plans for that night. He wanted nothing more than to go on a date with Jono, but what he wanted and what he needed were not the same thing. He hated to admit it, but Drew was totally right. He had to make sacrifices. Although he was not willing to go as far as Drew was expecting him to. He could be strong to defeat the alpha, and he could keep Jono. Not one or the other. He just had to stop Jono sitting next to him.
Yasmin was to his left, a lad he barely knew called Jamie was in front as always, but a spare seat was to his right. Dylan had to ensure it was taken.
“Psst,” he tried to get the attention of Brett, who was one of Drew’s clique, and didn’t seem to think much of Dylan. Or think much at all.
“What?” Brett looked at him as if he’d just murdered a puppy.
“Sit there,” Dylan ordered, pointing to the desk.
“No,” Brett bluntly answered, “Isn’t your boyfriend sitting there?” Brett spoke as if he were teasing him. Obviously, he was unaware that his taunting was now just proclaiming a fact.
“If you’re trying to provoke me, you’ll need to think up something much more original than that,” Dylan enjoyed having the upper hand for once.
“Whatever Drummond, I’m not gonna be your boy toy,” Brett continued. Dylan knew he wasn’t the brightest spark in the box. This conversation had done nothing to persuade him otherwise.
While Brett was talking, Jono slid into the seat in question. Drat. So much for Operation: Avoid Chadwick.
“Hey,” Jono flashed his usual charming smile.
“Hiya,” Dylan did his best to act natural.
“We’re moving back to our house today, which is good as the hotel seemed to be a state when I got back last night. Lily wasn’t saying much and dad was baffled too. Anyway, what I wanted to ask was if you fancied coming around to meet my parents properly. We can celebrate,” Jono explained.
Dylan was wondering how Lily had explained away the alpha attack. It seemed she hadn’t bothered. Interesting. Now was the time to whip out his pre-prepared excuse.
“I thought Lily was taking you shopping after school?” Dylan lied.
“No, I don’t…,” Jono tried to protest.
“Yeah, I heard her mention it. This morning, to Yasmin,” Dylan prodded Yasmin for some back-up.
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” Yasmin added.
“I see. I think it might be cancelled though, cause I just saw her getting a detention off Mrs. Johnson for texting in the corridor,” Jono mentioned.
“Oh,” Dylan couldn’t formulate a proper sentence. Or one that was appropriate to say in the classroom at least.
“So you’ll be there?” Jono questioned. His adorable washed out blue eyes stared longingly at Dylan. He couldn’t say no. His brain wouldn’t allow it.
“Of course, as if I’d miss it,” Dylan smiled. It was a façade though, because on the inside, the only sentence his brain could compute was “oh shit.”
During breaktime, Yasmin felt she had to approach Drew. He was queuing to buy a snack, so it was the perfect time to quickly jump in. She had been there for Dylan on every step of this rollercoaster week, and she had to ensure that she stayed in the loop. The last she wanted was drama caused by Drew’s apparent offer of help. Because she would have to pick Dylan back up after. Sure, she was his bestie and vice versa, so she would always be there for him, no questions asked. She shouldn’t have to be, though. She prodded Drew on the shoulder.
“What?” he rudely greeted, his eyes still more fixated on the food sat waiting to be dolloped onto his tray.
“We need a chat. About Dylan,” Yasmin firmly nodded.
“As if it would be about anything else,” Drew retorted. Yasmin rolled her eyes. He was still the same Drew he always was. Just as arrogant and dismissive. Many girls found it attractive, but not Yasmin. She had standards.
“I need you to promise that you’ll keep him safe,” Yasmin explained, opting to ignore his remarks, “You’re better equipped to do that than I am. He’s my best friend, Drew, and I don’t care if you don’t actually like us, but you can stop him doing anything stupid. I’d be an awful friend not to be having this chat with you.”
“I’ll do what I can. Drummond has a mind of his own, he’s unpredictable, especially in wolf form,” Drew explained.
“Thanks,” Yasmin didn’t forget her manners, even if Drew didn’t particularly deserve them. She left him to it, jumping out of the queue. Now to spend some time with people she actually liked.
Glancing at Lily, who was sat elegantly opposite him at the table in the canteen, Dylan was wondering what she was thinking about. He didn’t know her very well, but here she was. Hanging out with him at break. Quite why she wasn’t with her own friends was beyond him. On the bright side, it gave him a chance to chat to her. I mean, she was his boyfriend’s sister after all.
“Jono told me about the detention,” Dylan tried to strike up conversation.
“I’m sorry,” Lily replied, knowing she failed her part of the plan, “Normally I’m subtler with my texting.”
“It’s alright. I just need to wing it tonight,” Dylan considered.
“I’ll be home for dinner, if you need a hand then just signal to me, alright? We’ll make it through together,” Lily offered.
“Sure,” Dylan responded, “Thanks. You don’t have to do any of this.”
“I know, but Jono’s my brother, and I’ll do anything that keeps him happy,” Lily responded, “Oh, and don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.” Dylan smiled. He didn’t doubt Lily for a second – who would believe her if she told anyone anyway? – but the reassurance was comforting.
Just as Lily finished, Jono plonked his tray down on the table and sat himself next to Dylan.
“Hey,” he grinned. Also joining the table were Jono’s friends, Freddie and Josh. Both of them were in most of Dylan’s classes, but until this week, he hadn’t really spoken to either. Just like the vast majority of his classmates.
Freddie had long, wavy blonde hair, which drooped down to his upper chest. It always looked beautifully silky to Dylan, who had longed many a time to run his hands through it, though it was slightly unkempt.
Josh on the other hand kept a close eye on his hair, constantly checking in the mirrors that it looked how he wanted. It was shaved regularly at the sides, with a cute bunch of curls on top. Each time Dylan saw Josh, the hair on top looked increasingly untamed, but he couldn’t deny how much he loved the look of those autumnal loops of hair.
In short, Jono must have had the best-looking friendship group in the entire school. Not that either of the others came even close to Jono, of course. Ultimately, he enjoyed finally being part of a larger friendship group.
“What’s going on?” Jono questioned. Dylan and Lily glanced at each other. They needed a cover story, and quick.
“Mrs. Johnson, and how I cannot stand the sight of her,” Lily quickly thought up. Well, it wasn’t a million miles away from the conversation starter, Dylan guessed.
“Oh, she gave me an hour’s detention for sucking a mint in class the other week, she’s crazy,” Josh recalled.
“You did turn up twenty minutes late to be fair, there’s nothing she hates more,” Freddie added. Dylan breathed a sigh of relief. Crisis averted.
Yasmin finally re-joined the group, and she could hardly believe her luck. She’d saved herself a seat next to Lily, opposite Jono and Dylan, and Josh had sat to her right. He was totally her number one crush and had been since she first laid eyes on him. The look on her face made Dylan laugh. It was like Christmas had come early for a second.
And for a minute, everyone had forgotten about anything werewolf related.
As soon as he got home, Dylan rushed through the corridor and up the stairs to his bedroom. He didn’t want to speak to his mum after what happened that morning.
Besides, he had no time to waste. School finished at three o’clock, and it was now 3:37 after his walk home. Jono was picking him up at four, which left only twenty minutes to make himself look his very best. He had to make a great impression for Jono’s parents. For a short while, he had to pretend he didn’t enjoy dressing and looking scruffy. Even though just about everyone was the same. Funny how humanity works.
Anyway, he had to find his nicest shirt. Jono said the dress code was smart casual, so while he had some leeway to wear his usual comfy jeans, he had to impress with the top half. He emptied the middle draw in his chest of drawers, where ninety nine percent of his clothes were laid (not always neatly) and rummaged around to find the particular shirt he wanted. There were so many tatty shirts that were much too small.
Finally, he found what he wanted. Right at the bottom of the pile, naturally, was his navy-blue shirt with white dots. He bought it for his mum’s birthday that summer and loved how he looked in it. The idea was that Jono would too. He yanked his red t-shirt from school off, and as he spun round, he almost jumped out of his skin when he noticed Drew in the doorway.
“You have got to stop doing that,” Dylan ordered, trying to recover from his fright.
“You can’t go out tonight, remember what we agreed,” Drew spoke firmly.
“Yeah, and I’ll come to yours after. My life still goes on,” Dylan justified.
“And someone else’s life might not go on any longer if you don’t listen to me,” Drew reminded.
“Lily will be there, she is my back-up. We have it covered, now if you don’t mind, I’m getting ready,” Dylan enjoyed embracing his inner diva.
“You’ll regret this, Drummond,” Drew warned, before leaving the room. Dylan glanced down the corridor after him – totally empty. Despite how he batted Drew off, he couldn’t deny that his words had a lasting impact on his mind.
Spending the night at home, as she usually did, Yasmin opted to do some research. It couldn’t hurt to read around the werewolf myths and legends. You never know, it could have brought up something to make the situation easier for Dylan. Something that would make Drew’s so-called assistance redundant.
She googled “werewolf,”, and instantly she saw a bunch of negative and quite frankly concerning words. She clicked on the first link (that wasn’t Wikipedia). One that, in its description, mentioned the full moon.
Yasmin read intently about what the myths stated would happen during the full moon. They varied. Some suggested that werewolves could transform at any time, but the moon’s power was stronger once a month, during the full moon. Others suggested that a human would transform into a fully-fledged wolf during the full moon. This terrified Yasmin in particular. When he had shifted before, he was at least still noticeably human in his appearance. His humanity wasn’t lost, and he could bring himself back. The thought of him losing that scared her, and he really could do anything.
She was worried for Dylan, and although she wasn’t trusting of Drew, she had to admit that he was the person who was best equipped to help him. She glanced at the clock. Only 4pm. The morning couldn’t come soon enough.
Beeping his horn, Jono signalled his arrival to Dylan. He had pulled up on the driveway, just in front of the door. He glanced at Dylan’s house. It was the first time he had seen it, and he admired the normality of it. Sometimes he wished he didn’t live in such a big place. Not that he was ungrateful, but some of the kids in his classes often turned their noses up at “posh boy,” Jono.
Just seconds after he beeped the horn, Jono saw Dylan emerge. Wow. He seemed to get even hotter every time he saw him. That shirt really complemented his hair too.
As Dylan swung open the door and plonked himself into the passenger seat, Jono leaned in for a kiss.
“You look incredible,” Jono described. He knew just how lucky he was to have Dylan.
“So do you, beautiful,” Dylan grinned. Jono knew they were thinking exactly the same. He tapped on his phone screen, hooked up to the aux system in the car, and “2002,” by Anne-Marie started playing.
“Have you heard this yet?” Jono questioned. He was big on his pop music, and although he knew Dylan liked similar music, he wasn’t sure how on-the-ball he was. Mainstream radio could be pretty slow.
“I’ve been meaning to. I’m so behind on new music,” Dylan responded. Honestly, every word he uttered sounded like the cutest thing ever.
“I’ll make you a playlist of some new stuff you’ll like when we get to mine,” Jono suggested.
“None of that Lil Uzi Vert nonsense please,” Dylan laughed. Jono couldn’t help but join in. He didn’t disagree with his obvious rap distaste. Some of it could be good, but boy, was this a rough time for the genre.
“I’m more of a Cardi B kinda guy,” Jono smiled, “Bodak Yellow is everything.” While he chatted, Jono was paying attention to the lyrics of “2002. A song about a love that blossomed sixteen years before its release, referencing popular songs of the time. He laughed to himself at the idea of he and Dylan recording a similar song name-dropping “Bodak Yellow,” and “New Rules,” in sixteen years’ time. Heck, the idea of them being together so far in the future felt like a premature thought, but a good one nonetheless.
The anticipation was rising in Dylan’s stomach, filling him with just about every emotion imaginable. It was borderline uncomfortable, but Jono’s attempts at conversation were a helping hand.
He couldn’t help noticing the full moon starting to show itself in the corner of the sky. It wasn’t at its peak yet, but he was feeling it already. His emotions felt much more heightened than usual.
Meeting Jono’s parents felt in some ways like he was going to the slaughterhouse. Parents could be overly protective where their kids’ love interests are involved. Although, having said that, he wasn’t sure Jono had told them that much.
“Do they know? You know, about…us,” Dylan skirted around the right words, but he was confident Jono would understand.
“No, they just think I’m bringing a friend round. You don’t mind, do you?” Jono sweetly asked, as if he needed Dylan’s permission.
“Of course not,” Dylan smiled, “Might not be such a bad idea for them to meet me first.”
“Exactly, I don’t want them judging,” Jono laughed, “They are nice though, I promise. They will love you just as much as I do.”
“Would be a bit awkward if they don’t,” Dylan joked. It was a genuine fear of his though. Disapproving parents was the last thing he wanted or needed.
“And here we are,” Jono spoke as if he were hosting a coach trip for old people as he turned into the driveway. Dylan glanced up to the treehouse and saw it lit dimly, unlike usual. Perhaps they would be going up there later. He certainly hoped so.
After Jono parked the car, he rushed out of his seat and round to the other side so he could open Dylan’s door, like his own personal chauffeur. Dylan couldn’t help but laugh. He appreciated it very much but was well aware that Jono’s chivalry was light-hearted.
Jono led the way to the front door, giving Dylan a chance to do a few last second appearance checks. No random bits of hair sticking up needlessly. All good. By now, his heart was beating out of his chest. He didn’t think he had ever felt so nervous.
Play it cool, Dylan, he told himself. If he ever felt like he was shifting, he knew he only had to look at Jono. He was the anchor.
Now stood in his doorway, Jono was holding the door open for Dylan. A true gentleman. As he strolled inside the now-familiar corridor, a woman in her mid-forties poked her head around the kitchen doorway.
“Hi boys. You must be Dylan, nice to meet you,” she spoke jovially. Dylan assumed she must be Jono’s mum. She had Jono’s curls, elegantly falling halfway down her back. Her auburn eyes were immediately warm and inviting.
“You too, Mrs. Chadwick,” Dylan politely smiled.
“Please Dylan, it’s Helen,” she insisted, “Dinner will be in an hour.”
“Thanks mom,” Jono placed a peck on her cheek. Obviously, he was a mummy’s boy. No shame in that.
Jono led Dylan into the living room – a damn sight tidier than it was during the party two nights before. He crashed down on the middle sofa, which was flanked by an armchair either side, with a huge widescreen television mounted on the wall in front. Dylan followed suit, enjoying the softness of the sofa. It was practically giving him a hug with its cosiness.
This was the life. Comfy furniture, a nice, warm house, and the best boyfriend he could wish for.
Finally driving home from her stupid detention with Mrs. Johnson, Lily was weary about the night ahead. When Yasmin told her everything about werewolves and Dylan the night before, it was a headache to understand. How could this not be out in the open? Surely the White House must know something so huge? Or maybe it was like an extremely rare medical condition.
Either way, she was surprised at how trusting of Yasmin she was. Her numerous ex-boyfriends had taught her how to catch a liar, and she learnt the hard way at that. She was confident Yasmin was being truthful, as ridiculous as the entire thing sounded. Tonight was the real test for her.
Thus far, she had taken comfort in the extra knowledge – knowing there was nothing she could have done to stop the alpha killing Shona, but would she be able to handle Dylan if the full moon sends him crazy?
Having said that, as much as she liked Dylan, her number one priority was always her family, particularly Jono. She would defend him to her death, no werewolf would stop that.
She pulled up onto the driveway and glanced at the time on her car’s clock. 4:57. Just in time for tea.
The last hour or so had flown by for Dylan. He felt right at home with Jono, and although they were not able to cuddle up in the potential view of his parents, it was still a joy to be in his presence. They had been watching last night’s Big Brother episode. Dylan was a superfan but had slipped behind that week. Other priorities came first for a change. One of those weeks.
“Evening,” Jono’s dad entered the room, collapsing onto one of the armchairs, “Welcome Dylan, I’m Steve, good to meet you properly.” He reached across and shook Dylan’s hand, more ferociously than Dylan would have liked. Grown men were often like that. He was more of a hugging person though. It seemed to be more of a generational thing, even the “lads,” had their own mainly hugs. It was so sickeningly hetero though. A tap on the back to assert their masculinity and prove it wasn’t sexual. If you’re going to share the love, just own it. They were too ashamed of being seen as gay. That was the biggest problem with the youth. So many huge steps were being made towards equality, but the fact coming out was still a necessity was beyond outdated. Society still had quite a way to go in Dylan’s eyes.
“What’s up losers?” Lily elegantly greeted as she joined the room, annoyingly sitting right between the two boys on the sofa.
“Lily, budge,” Jono hissed under his breath.
“Dinner’s ready,” Helen called from the kitchen.
“Perfect timing, I could eat a horse,” Steve stood up first. As he left the room, Lily looked to Dylan.
“So far, so good?” she quietly asked.
“I feel a bit odd, but I’m in control,” Dylan reassured her.
“Alright, let’s hope it stays that way. When are you meeting Drew?” Lily wondered.
“Ten o’clock, he’s given me this weird address,” Dylan answered. Drew had slipped him the location on a piece of scrap paper during geography last lesson. The address led to an underground bunker according to the maps app on his phone. It looked very suspect to say the least.
“What are you two whispering about?” Jono interrupted. Oops. Dylan almost forgot he was still within hearing range. Thankfully, it appeared he hadn’t really been paying attention.
“Oh, I was just saying that Dylan could have my place at the table, so you two can sit next to each other,” Lily lied like an expert. Phew. Crisis averted.
“Thanks,” Jono gave her a peck on the cheek. Dylan loved how close Jono and Lily were. He had no idea what it was like to have a sibling. The stereotype seemed to be that siblings fought – especially brothers and sisters. It was heart-warming to see how well Jono and Lily got along though. Kind of made him wish he had a big sister.
Jono stood up from the sofa first, and Dylan went to follow, but Lily held him back.
“We’ll do this,” Lily reassured him.
“Yeah, we will,” Dylan tried to be optimistic. However, the wolf inside was growling in contempt.
Dinner started well. It was obvious that Helen was a brilliant chef from the presentation of the dishes alone. Conversation was flowing nicely, and everything was going smoothly.
Every now and then, Dylan would catch himself staring out at the full moon. Summoning him. In a few hours’ time, he might have to unhook his anchor and fall victim to its call. He prayed that Drew had some good ideas up his sleeve.
“Who’s for dessert?” Helen keenly enquired.
“I couldn’t,” Lily lied. Jono laughed – he had mentioned to Dylan that Lily always pretended she didn’t want dessert. Then she would unleash herself when somebody “twisted her arm.”
“Oh, come on sweetie, your mom made it especially,” Steve persuaded. Dylan was shocked that a man like Steve hadn’t noticed Lily’s tactics yet.
“I suppose so,” she gave in. Dylan caught Jono’s eye and they both started giggling uncontrollably.
“Fancy a sundae, Dylan?” Helen asked. Dylan glanced at the clock. Still only six o’clock. He had loads of time. He could certainly afford to give in to one craving tonight. Maybe a sundae would fill him up so he didn’t fancy the taste of humans later. He shuddered at the mere thought.
“Sure, thank you,” Dylan never lost his manners.
“So Dylan, Jonathan tells us that you’re a budding journalist,” Steve began a new conversation. He had been asking questions all night, but Dylan didn’t mind. It was nice that Steve was so keen to get to know him.
“Yeah, I’m hoping to study journalism at college,” Dylan replied.
“That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to tell you but we got the go-ahead for the school paper,” Jono announced.
“That’s brilliant news sweetie,” Helen congratulated while putting the finishing touches to her mouth-watering sundaes.
“You’re running the school paper?” Lily responded, “Is it going to be a gossip magazine with Britney as the cover star?”
“No,” Jono protested while laughing, “I’m taking it seriously. Besides, Dylan will be the sensible one in the partnership I expect.” Gulp. “Dylan,” and “sensible,” in the same sentence was a rarity. Too much pressure.
“I’m sure you can look after yourself,” Dylan snapped.
“Of course,” Jono was taken aback by Dylan’s bluntness. Dylan glanced at Lily, who had an eyebrow raised. That was his signal. Time to go before he causes any more offence.
“I’m sorry, I really must go. Thank you for the dinner,” Dylan quickly said, before standing up and rushing out of the house.
“Dylan!” he heard Jono call after him. It hurt his heart to run out without a proper goodbye. He felt terrible, but he kept running. He slammed the door behind him and kept going, past the beautifully lit treehouse and into the main road.
As far away from Jono as he could get.