She came inside to see Carter at the kitchen table, mouth smeared in gore as he bit strips of flesh off a squirrel. “Fuck, that’s gross,” she told him, hanging her bag on a hook and shrugging off her coat. “What, did we run out of Triscuits? Where did you even get that?”
He looked up at her blankly, like a dog that doesn’t understand what it’s done wrong, but is very sorry anyway. “The park. They’re easy to catch when they’re hibernating. I wanted meat.”
“There’s a Chinese place around the corner, you know.” She looked at her table in disgust. “At least use a plate. Or, like, a paper towel. You need to clean this up when you’re done. With soap.”
He nodded dutifully, then gave her a sheepish smile. “I take it you don’t want any, then.”
“No,” she told him, trying not to smile. “People don’t eat like that. Even if they hunt. Which nobody does around here.”
“Oh, okay! Sorry.” He licked the corner of his mouth and added, “Is it, um, okay if I finish though?” His puppyish brown eyes and pleading expression made quite a contrast with the clots of blood clinging to his jaw.
She laughed and groaned. “God, might as well, just get me when you’re done.” She sailed past him into the living room, trying to ignore the wet sounds coming from behind her.
This incident notwithstanding, Carter was a good boy. Most F1 werewolves were a handful, and he was no exception, but he was enormously food motivated and liked her to be happy with him. She flopped down on the couch and started flipping through her calc homework. She’d only gotten through the first problem when she heard the sound of a chair being pushed back in the kitchen, and he called, “Hey, where are the paper towels?”
“Under the sink,” she told him patiently. “Where they always are.”
“Right, right.” More clanking and clattering as he opened doors, likely making even more of a mess as he tried to clean up. She couldn’t help but smile.
They’d met in freshman year, when he was still breaking out of his jury-rigged restraints every other full moon and already had been called to the dean’s office twice for sleeping naked on the quad. She hadn’t known much about werewolves then, and had been scared at first. Now she knew how to handle him even during the change, though she had a couple impressive scars to show for it.
She attempted to wrap her mind around u-substitution one more time and tried not to think about the sound of running water. They were supposed to go on a date tonight, if she could get this done fast and he could make the kitchen look less like they’d just committed a murder.
“What should I do with the bones?” He called out.
She sighed. “Just put them in the trash, I’ll deal with it.”
It took about an hour for her to get through enough of her problem set that she started to wonder what was taking Carter so long. She closed her notebook around her pencil and peeked her head into the kitchen to see a mountain of pinkish bubbles coating the room and a very wet boyfriend. “Carter.”
He looked up, wide-eyed, and shot her his most sheepish smile. He’d cleaned himself up at least, and there was nothing at all to soften the impact of that endearing look on his face. “You said to use soap!”
“How are you still this bad at cleaning up blood?” She came in and rolled up her sleeves. “I’ll help. Give me that.” She took a saturated sponge from him.
He leaned his head on her shoulder for a moment. “Thanks, babe.”
“You’re lucky you’re so cute,” she told him and kissed him softly. She tasted pennies. “Eurgh. Go brush your teeth.”
“Yes ma’am.” He saluted and bounded out of the room, and she turned her attention to cleanup with a sigh. She’d have him properly housebroken one of these days.
Alla Hoffman loves the strange, the intimate, and the mildly unnerving. They’ve invented at least one imaginary city, and never met a monster they didn’t want to grab a drink with. They live in the general vicinity of HP Lovecraft’s hometown.