This is a long story about a guy named Kai who isn't fully human (hence, the title). There is a lot of plot and action, as well as sexual engagements that are detailed and intimate. This story is actually available on amazon and patreon too, but I have several places where I'm posting it for free. Copyright 2020 Kaizer Wolf
INNOCENT DEVIL’S HAREM CH. 09 -- His sexy housemate might be jealous.
(Copyright 2020 Kaizer Wolf)
Submitted to Sexstories: May 1, 2022
Tags: harem, supernatural, shifter, big tits, redhead, blonde, mystery
Thanks for checking out this story! This series is written like a novel, so be sure to start at Chapter 1 if you want to avoid any confusion.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy!
- CHAPTER 9: Dinner -
After giving Gabriella a quick warning, Serenity appeared in the kitchen, with Nick unfortunately close behind. “It smells amazing in here!” she commented with a grin…
A grin that didn’t quite seem to reach her eyes, despite her excited tone.
I felt like her statement was sincere, her excitement was real, but there was something bothering her. It made me wonder if her chat with Nick wasn’t going as well as she hoped, which I selfishly was okay with. Then again, this was the first time my friend had seemed interested in someone, so maybe it really was horrible of me to not want it to go well.
Gabriella’s response was just as cheerful. “Yep!” she agreed. “It’s almost done. Probably just another couple of minutes.”
Serenity nodded, noticing the bandage on her finger. “Oh, did you cut yourself?” she asked in concern.
I decided to respond. “Yeah, but it’s not too bad. That’s why we went upstairs, to get it all cleaned up.”
Nick seemed to be a lot more awake now, likely due to his caffeine pill having taken effect. He certainly was more animated as he chimed in. “Man, I haven’t had a home cooked meal in ages. I’m really looking forward to this.”
Gabriella smiled, since he was focused more on her, but didn’t respond. I realized she was truly serious, when we were talking in the car earlier, about not being overly friendly with other guys even if they weren’t trying to hit on her.
I decided to pick up the conversation, so it wasn’t awkward.
“Do you live alone?” I wondered.
He nodded, not missing a beat. “Yep. My mom passed away when I was younger, and my biological father is a deadbeat who skipped out on us right after I was born. I at least have my step-dad, but I moved out as soon as I was able to, in order to relieve the financial stress on him. My little sister still lives with him,” he added.
“Oh,” I said simply, not wanting to delve too deeply into his personal life. Although, suddenly I suspected I knew what the attraction Serenity had might be. Ironically, it was comforting knowing people who could relate, understanding what true loss really felt like. “Sorry to hear about your mom.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s fine. I know you both lost your parents, so we’re all in the same boat. It’s rough, of course, but time helps.”
I nodded in agreement. “So, just wondering, but how old are you?”
“I’ll be turning twenty-five here in about two months,” he replied.
“And you just moved here?” I continued.
“Sort of,” Nick admitted. “I used to live here, and this is actually where my sister was born, but my step-dad decided to move us away after my mom passed away. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve been back here.”
Serenity chimed in then. “Is it hard being back?” she asked seriously, concern knitting her brow together. I could tell from her expression that they had in fact covered this subject briefly, but it seemed as if she hadn’t probed much earlier.
He shrugged. “Not really. Like I said, time helps. It’s been a pretty smooth transition for me.”
“What made you come back?” I wondered.
“Oh, well…” He paused, shifting his weight awkwardly. “I know you guys don’t want to talk about it, so I’ll just say it’s the case I’m working on and leave it at that.”
Gabriella surprised us all by chiming in, opening one of the cabinets. “I’m okay if you talk about it. I just don’t want to answer any more questions. I already told them everything I knew, so rehashing the events of last night is the last thing I want to do.”
I realized she must be thinking the same thing I was, which was that this might be a good way to find out just how much they knew about this killer of serial killers. I then noticed that she was getting out the plates, so I moved to begin helping her again. Serenity likewise went to grab some silverware for everyone.
Nick shrugged in response to her comment. “Well, I wouldn’t mind talking about it,” he admitted, only to glance at Serenity. “It might be nice to get another detective’s opinion on the situation, but…” He focused on me and Gabriella again. “If I do, then nothing I say can leave this room. Granted, if anyone ever found out, I could just say I was disclosing information as part of an interrogation, even though that obviously isn’t true.”
I nodded, handing a full plate to him. Nick accepted it and sat down at the table. I then gave one to Serenity, who proceeded to sit beside her guest.
I tried not to grimace.
What was I even expecting anyway? It’s not like I could ever have her too. And certainly not without giving up Gabriella in exchange. If she was interested in this guy then I just needed to let it go, especially when there were much more pressing matters at hand.
Once Gabriella and I took a seat too, both of us sitting across from them, Nick picked up where he left off.
“So anyway, the code name we’ve been using for our mystery guy is the Impaler, since impaling his victim’s through the heart is his MO.”
Serenity quickly spoke up. “Nick, maybe ‘victim’ isn’t the best word to use, considering who you’re explaining it to.”
He looked at Gabriella apologetically. “Oh. Right. It probably isn’t best to refer to that serial killer from last night as a ‘victim.’ I’m sorry about that. It’s just how we refer to people who are killed.”
Gabriella simply shook her head. “It’s fine.”
He continued. “And in fact, that’s why this case doesn’t have more personnel involved with it. Since all the vict…” He paused, clearing his throat. “I mean since all the people killed have been murderers themselves, who were all in the act, it could be ruled as self-defense. Technically, intervening to defend someone else from imminent danger falls under that category.”
I decided to interject. “So, then why do they have you on the case at all if that’s what they think?”
Nick sighed, taking a bite of food before answering. “Well, because the only way to determine if that’s true, is to question the guy. Basically, my job is just to find him, so they can bring him in for questioning.”
“And how close are you to finding him?” Gabriella asked cautiously.
Nick eyed her for a second before answering. “You don’t want me to catch him, do you?”
Gabriella was surprisingly well composed as she responded. “Can you really blame me? The guy saved my life after all. I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for him. Like, you realize that, right? I’d be dead right now. And only after some really horrible shit happened to me.” She scoffed. “Of course I don’t want you to catch him.” She then quickly clarified. “Not that I’m holding anything back,” she added. “I really did tell them everything I knew last night, especially since that was before I knew they’d try looking for him. But the guy didn’t stick around long enough for me to even get a good look at him, not to mention it was so dark in the woods.”
Nick sighed before continuing. “Well, the guy technically doesn’t have anything to worry about if he really is doing this in self-defense. However…” His voice trailed off for a moment. “Well, let me just say that, since I’m the only person on the case, it means I don’t have to share what I know with any of the other detectives…” He then glanced at Serenity briefly. “What I mean is, I’m closer than they think.”
Since Nick was focused on my housemate, she asked the question we were all thinking.
“How close, exactly?”
Nick scratched the back of his head briefly. “Most people who are aware of the case think there are only three vict…I mean murderers who were killed. However…” He paused, glancing at me and Gabriella. “There’s actually a fourth incident that happened about nine years ago, and I’m fairly confident it’s the same guy.”
I glanced away, my eyes suddenly unfocused as I attempted not to react, knowing exactly what he was talking about. It was the one time I failed to make it in time -- the one time when I killed out of revenge for the victim who’d been slaughtered, instead of killing to prevent it.
I’d only been nine years old…
And to make it worse, the woman had been very pregnant, which really meant there’d been two victims instead of one.
“Jeez,” Gabriella commented, regarding the length of time. “How old do you think this guy is?”
I was honestly impressed she didn’t seem to react, discovering for the first time that I’d killed someone when I was so young. At the very least, it sounded like Gabriella thought that I was well outside of the age range for the suspect, since obviously a kid couldn’t be the Impaler.
Unfortunately, Nick’s response wasn’t reassuring.
“Well, to answer that, I have to tell you a little about the first incident. This one is different than the rest, because the person being attacked, the true victim in this situation, didn’t survive.”
I saw Gabriella glance at me from the corner of my eye, which unfortunately didn’t go unnoticed by Nick.
But thankfully, he continued after barely a breath. “However, as it turns out, the paramedics were able to revive the woman who’d been attacked.” He paused. “At least, briefly. She didn’t say much before she officially died, but she was able to give them a de***********ion of the person who had tried saving her.” He paused again, glancing at everyone at the table as if he was telling a really good scary story around a campfire. “A de***********ion that was later ruled out as a symptom of delirium from blood loss.”
Fuck, this wasn’t good.
I tried not to react, but couldn’t look him in the eyes at this point, hoping that me staring at the wall behind him looked more like me just being pensive. However, Gabriella did stiffen in her seat next to me.
Thankfully, Serenity took up the questioning. “So? What was the de***********ion?” she said curiously, being the only one who looked fully calm now.
Nick looked at us all again before responding. “She said a young boy saved her, around eight or nine years old. If that’s true, and we assume she was off by a few years, then our perp…I mean our mystery guy, is probably between the ages of sixteen and nineteen right now.”
Unexpectedly, Serenity looked alarmed, though I was more focused on trying not to react myself. Because while she might be shocked to hear that kind of de***********ion, I was much more concerned by the accuracy of it.
When neither Gabriella nor I responded, Serenity chimed in again. “But surely,” she exclaimed in disbelief. “That can’t be right. How could a little boy kill a grown man?”
Nick nodded in agreement, sitting back in his seat. “That’s one of the reasons why it was thrown out as delirium. However, then again, how does a normal person shove a blunt object through a grown man’s sternum?”
Serenity caught the small detail in Nick’s statement.
“One of the reasons?” she repeated.
He nodded, smiling at the fact that she’d caught on. “Yes. The other reason is because of her de***********ion of the boy. She said he had yellow eyes, white hair, and that his skin was really dark. But not like my skin. She said his body was gray.”
Serenity was giving him a bizarre look now, seeming speechless.
Gabriella finally chimed back in, clearly wanting to seed doubt while she could. “So then, I guess she really was delirious, by the sound of it.”
Nick shrugged. “Maybe. Most people would agree with you. However, I’m not most people. I let the evidence tell me what’s true, even if that evidence seems to defy what we consider normal.”
Serenity responded with a frown. “That’s surprising to hear you say,” she admitted, only to clarify as she looked up at us. “Nick’s almost famous in the detective community. They consider him to be a genius. He’s known for having solved some really difficult cases.” She then focused on him again. “So, it’s just weird to hear you say you’d believe that kind of de***********ion.”
Nick held up his hands, seeming embarrassed now. “No, no, no,” he laughed. “I’m not really a genius. I’m just really good at solving puzzles, but I’m completely average in all other areas. In fact, I almost flunked out of high school because my grades were so bad, and barely made it through the academy.” He laughed again. “But they were willing to let some of my grades slide, since I’m so good in other areas.”
I cleared my throat then, knowing my silence probably seemed odd. I needed to participate and engage just like everyone else, or else I might raise suspicion. “What do you mean by puzzles?” I asked casually.
He shrugged. “Just what it sounds like. I’m really good at seeing how all the pieces fit together, like…” His voice trailed off as he thought about it. “Like, some people can view an object in three dimensions in their mind, rotating it as if it was really in front of them, which isn’t that rare. But what is kind of rare is that I can do that, not only with objects, but with situations too. I can see a situation in more dimensions than most people, being able to rotate it in my mind and see a depth deeper than everyone else. My brain picks up on the little things and pieces them together.” He sighed. “But really, like I said, that’s the only area in which I could be considered above average.”
Everyone was quiet for a few seconds.
Gabriella cleared her throat. “Well, at the very least, I think that the woman’s de***********ion was either due to delirium, or else the guy who saved me isn’t the same person, because surely I would have noticed if he had yellow hair and white eyes.”
“White hair and yellow eyes,” Nick corrected her.
“Oh, right,” Gabriella replied with a straight face. “Either way. It was dark, so I didn’t see those features, but surely I would have noticed that.”
I couldn’t help but smile slightly at her intentionally misstating the de***********ion. I knew she was smart, but her critical thinking skills sincerely were impressive. At the very least, I felt like she was handling herself well.
Nick only grunted, seeming to acknowledge her comment without response, since he’d promised to not ask her questions about it. “Well, anyway,” he continued. “That’s about all I have to say about the case.” He then focused on me, switching subjects. “So, how long have you two been together?”
I glanced at my girlfriend, seeing that she was going to respond.
Gabriella smiled. “Well, I’ve been interested in him for a few weeks now,” she admitted. “Ever since I met him. However, I only just worked up the courage to ask him out last night.” She laughed humorlessly then. “Nothing like a near-death experience to make you stop dragging your feet.”
Serenity and Nick both seemed sympathetic, with him immediately apologizing. “Sorry, I wasn’t trying to bring that up. I didn’t realize you just started dating. You both seemed so close, I assumed you had been dating for at least several months.”
“Really?” Gabriella said in surprise, seeming genuinely shocked.
Nick nodded. “Yeah, that’s one of my things. I can read people really well -- see a level deeper, so to speak. At the very least, I can see you two are highly committed to each other already.”
“Nick!” Serenity exclaimed, looking almost alarmed that he’d say that.
I wasn’t sure if it was because she was worried that saying such a thing might ruin our fledgling relationship, or something else entirely. She almost looked upset.
However, Gabriella responded in the affirmative. “Yeah, I guess you could say that. You’re definitely not wrong.”
Serenity immediately looked at us both then, seeming almost confused now.
I decided to meet her deep brown gaze, my thoughts and words formulating even before I really had time to process the reason behind what I was saying. But her reaction triggered it, because I saw a hint of something else there.
Something that I wanted to provoke, and draw out, if it really existed.
I wanted to see how she reacted to me shamelessly agreeing with Gabriella.
“Yeah,” I affirmed. “Honestly, I think I want to marry her, and might even ask her soon. Just need to get a ring first.”
Much to my shock, Serenity sincerely looked flustered. “B-But, you two just started dating,” she exclaimed. She then looked apologetically at Gabriella, before focusing on me again. “I mean, I think she’s great,” she continued, her tone suddenly unconvincing. “But you just started dating. It’s not even been a full day!”
Nick jumped in, taking our side. “This kind of thing happens sometimes,” he explained. “Trauma, especially, can make people become emotionally attached to each other faster than normal.” He then nodded toward us. “Gabriella had a near-death experience, and Kai realized he almost lost her. It’s just like she said, she stopped dragging her feet, and he did too. It’s only natural for them to bond so quickly, given the circumstances.”
My older friend’s expression dropped, going from shocked to almost depressed.
I knew there were a lot of potential reasons for why she seemed so somber now, such as just the realization that I was growing up, or maybe even the fact that starting a relationship with Gabriella would mean I’d move out eventually. Both possibilities would be reasonable downers, given her situation.
But a part of me, deep down, wanted the reason to be something else, even though I wasn’t thinking it through at the moment.
Nick continued, his tone hesitant now. “Although, what I can’t figure out is -- excuse me if this is rude -- but you both seem so...” He paused, choosing his words carefully. “Cautious, around each other.”
Fuck. He really did pay close attention.
I tried to give Gabriella a confused look, surprised that she was mirroring my expression, both of us probably alarmed that he’d hit the mark perfectly and doing our best to hide it. We were cautious around each other, and we were both trying to pretend we had no idea what he was talking about.
I decided to respond, since Gabriella didn’t seem like she intended to.
“What do you mean by cautious?” I wondered, trying not to sound defensive.
Nick held up his hands. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. You both just seem like you’re extra careful around each other is all.” He paused. “Well, at least when others are watching. Sorry if that sounds rude, but I don’t really know how to explain it without sounding really rude.”
Gabriella decided to state the obvious. “You think we’re hiding something?”
All my muscles stiffened, shocked my new girlfriend would be so blunt about it, and suddenly wondering where her thoughts were headed. I met my housemate’s now alarmed gaze, almost feeling afraid now, knowing that there wasn’t a single secret I had that I wanted Serenity to know about.
Similarly, Nick stared at Gabriella for a moment, before nodding slowly. “I didn’t want to say it, but yeah. That’s kind of what it looks like.”
Without missing a beat, Gabriella replied immediately. “You’re right.” She then looked apologetically at Serenity. “I’m really sorry.”
It took everyone a second, including me, before it dawned on all of us what she was implying. On the one hand, I realized this was the perfect way to remove Nick’s suspicion, but on the other hand…
I almost expected Serenity’s face to grow red in anger or embarrassment, in response to finding out that I’d screwed her best friend, but instead the blood drained from her face, suddenly looking as pale as a ghost, her deep brown eyes becoming extra dark.
I attempted to recover, not wanting any backlash to fall on Gabriella. “It was my fault,” I tried explaining. “She wanted to respect your wishes, but I pretty much begged her…” My voice trailed off when she visibly winced, her eyes pained.
Serenity looked like I’d just stabbed her in the heart.
Like I’d betrayed her in the worst way possible.
Was it because she trusted me to listen? Did she feel like she’d failed me, by letting us stay alone at the house?
Or was it something else entirely?
In contrast to Serenity’s devastation, Nick seemed mortified. “Oh, fuck. I am so sorry. I should have just kept my mouth shut.” He shook his head, giving Serenity a sideways glance. “Sometimes I swear this gift I have really is a curse.” He then attempted to help cover for us, as if he was trying to further apologize. “Serenity, I believe them when they say they’re going to get married as soon as they can. They really are that committed, whether they did anything or not.”
His words made it worse.
My friend slowly pushed away from the table, looking like she was about to pass out. “I need a minute,” she said in a strained voice, getting up and moving toward the stairs.
Gabriella gave me a concerned look, probably not expecting her to take it so hard, prompting me to hesitate before getting out of my seat too. However, just as I made it to the stairs, Serenity already almost halfway up, she stopped to look back at me, likely having heard me scoot out of my chair.
She gave me one pained look, before shaking her head, continuing up the stairs to her room.
I wanted to go after her, even despite her silent objection, but I knew her well enough to know that sometimes she sincerely did just need a minute, like she said. However, as I stood there, my thoughts finally began catching up with me, realizing what I was trying to do.
I was trying to make her jealous.
I wanted her to be jealous. And not just for my own sake, to know she might love me more than she should. But I also wanted to make her realize that she was jealous. I wanted to make her realize she might love me more than she should.
However, if that was really what I’d just done to her, which I couldn’t help but doubt now that I thought about it, then what kind of position did that put us in?
Because nothing was different. We still practically grew up together, separated in age by a whopping five years. Not to mention, I’d have to give up Gabriella to pursue something that likely wouldn’t go anywhere.
And then, as I stared up at her closed door, it really sunk in how pathetic I was being.
Of course, that wasn’t why she was upset.
She wasn’t jealous!
She was fucking upset because she felt like a failure! Because she’d trusted me to keep my dick in my pants, and I’d betrayed that trust. Her reaction was no different than it would have been for my own mother, since my friend had been forced to play that role in my life for the last five years.
Fuck, I was an idiot.
Taking a deep breath, I sat down at the foot of the stairs, holding my head in my hands while I listened to her upstairs. She wasn’t crying or anything, like she might be if she was heartbroken or something. Instead, she was just silent, sitting on her bed, her breathing surprisingly slow despite her fast heartbeat.
I heard Nick apologize again to Gabriella, but she didn’t respond, probably just nodding or something.
I could smell that my girlfriend felt guilty again, but honestly this was a smart decision. As much as I hated it, this got Nick off my trail, preventing him from thinking the secret we were hiding was something bigger than traditional teenager stuff…
Well, technically only I was the teenager, but same idea.
Serenity stayed in her room for probably only about five minutes, though it felt like an eternity, before she took a few deep breaths and got up. I rose to my feet even before she opened the door, with her meeting my gaze almost as if she expected me to still be waiting.
I was sure that the anguish in my expression communicated more than words would ever do.
However, she gave me a reassuring look after a second. “Sorry,” she said sincerely, still sounding a little sad. “I think I just wasn’t ready for you to grow up. Almost feels like it happened overnight.”
I tried to lighten the mood, though I felt anything but amused. “Well, I did technically only turn eighteen a couple weeks ago.”
She gave me a weak smile in return. “Trust me, I’m aware.”
I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to mean, but I knew now wasn’t the time to nitpick about details when we had company over.
When I didn’t respond, she sighed heavily before making her way back down the stairs. She then gave me a small hug in passing, before returning to the kitchen and apologizing to both Gabriella and Nick.
But especially Gabriella.
I noticed she didn’t seem as friendly with Nick, though I was fully aware that I might just be imagining it.
Once I finally returned to my chair, followed soon by my housemate returning to her seat since she was standing closer to Gabriella at first, Serenity resumed the conversation from where it left off.
Her gaze shifted to mine.
“You’re serious about marrying her, aren’t you?” she said, sounding more like a statement than a question.
I glanced at Gabriella, before nodding. “I mean, yeah…” My voice trailed off for a second. “Obviously I haven’t officially asked her yet, but…” I sighed, glancing away when her expression almost became a little endearing. “Ren, don’t make a big deal out of it yet.”
In part, I felt a little embarrassed, but also a little disappointed that she seemed kind of happy for me now.
It was obvious that Gabriella wanted to ease the tension too, trying to lighten the mood. “Shh,” she said playfully. “Don’t jinx me, Serenity.”
My friend smirked at that, before sighing again. “Okay, okay. I’ll drop it for now.” She then looked at Gabriella critically. “But where do you plan on sleeping tonight?”
Gabriella looked shocked. “You want me to go home?” she asked, sounding sad.
My friend quickly shook her head. “No, I wouldn’t make you do that. I know you need to be around people right now.” She sighed again. “I mean, where in the house.”
I quickly interrupted, since this conversation was heading somewhere that could be very bad for my skin.
“Can we talk about this later, Ren? We do have extra company over right now.”
Nick agreed immediately. “Yeah, and I don’t feel like I should be a part of this conversation. I mean, I just met all of you. I feel like I’m intruding on some pretty personal stuff.” He paused. “And I’m sorry again,” he added.
“Oh, sorry Nicholas,” Serenity replied, sounding sincere. She then picked up her fork to resume eating, her tone more chipper as she changed the subject. “So, how was the mall?” she wondered casually.
Gabriella and I quickly exchanged a glance before I went back to eating too, making it clear that I was leaving it up to her to talk about our mall experience. Thankfully, she didn’t miss a beat.
“It was great!” she exclaimed cheerfully. “We went because my mom told me they were having a sale at one of the bookstores. I ended up getting several new books. Oh!” she added, glancing at me. “I left them in the car.”
I nodded. “Actually, we left the cinnamon pretzels in there too. We should probably put them in the fridge for later.”
“Right,” she agreed, standing up. “I’ll go get them.”
“Are you sure?” I asked seriously, sitting more upright in my seat, indicating I was about to get up to do it myself. Of course, I was well aware she would be physically fine, but I was still worried about her being outside alone, especially since she might notice the spot where I’d killed the cop earlier that morning. I didn’t want her to have to think about it again unnecessarily.
However, she seemed calm and determined.
“Yeah, I’ll be right back. I want to show her what I got.” She then gave me an endearing smile, only to look at me apologetically, before rushing out of the kitchen and toward the front door.
The moment the door closed, Serenity was immediately on my case. “Okay, seriously Kai, what was that about? It doesn’t take a genius to see that something is up with you two.”
I shrugged, taking a bite of food to have an excuse to not answer right away. I tried to think of a good reason as I chewed, but nothing came to mind. In a weird way, I felt kind of emotionally drained about this whole situation now, especially with all the whiplash-thoughts I was having about my housemate’s reaction to everything.
Not to mention, the fact that she seemed fine now made me both relieved and depressed.
After I swallowed, I focused on Serenity’s crossed arms and sighed. “Well, I guess I’m just afraid she’s going to snap after everything, you know? She’s doing really well considering what happened yesterday, so I suppose I’m being a little overprotective.”
“Yeah, I get that,” Serenity said right away, likely knowing we didn’t have much more time before Gabriella would be back. “But, it just seems like she’s so careful around you. As if she’s always silently apologizing.”
Taking a deep breath, I put my fork down, deciding I should probably try to be as honest as possible in order to put my friend’s mind at ease. “Remember what you said this morning?” I asked her. “About me not knowing what to do with myself?”
She nodded slowly.
“Well, that’s really true,” I admitted. “It’s why I ran away when I first met her. She makes me really nervous -- in a good way. But still, she promised to try not to be so affectionate around others, so that I’m not so embarrassed…” I paused. “Because I overreact to the smallest things with her. So that’s why.”
“Oh,” Serenity said with raised eyebrows, leaning back in her seat, only to turn her head toward the kitchen entrance when we heard the front door open again. She glanced at me then, lowering her voice, her words coming out in a rush. “Sorry. I guess I shouldn’t be so nosy. It’s just hard, since normally we share most stuff with each other, and all…” Her voice trailed off.
I nodded, trying not to focus too deeply on what she was implying, since now wasn’t the time to contemplate any hidden meaning behind her words.
“We’re fine. Don’t worry so much,” I whispered, focusing on Gabriella’s cheerful expression as she reappeared in the room.
When she set the pretzels and books down on the table, I grabbed our snack from earlier and got up to put it in the fridge while she gleefully showed off her new books.
Thankfully, when I sat back down to eat, the rest of the meal felt a lot more relaxed, largely because my lifelong friend and girlfriend kept the conversation going as they settled into a comfortable subject regarding their shared interest.
My explanation for why Gabriella was so careful around me also seemed to help as well. Even if it wasn’t the complete truth, Serenity seemed a lot less concerned and suspicious now.
Once everyone was finished eating, I began grabbing plates to clean. Gabriella offered to help, and Nick even did too when I declined her offer, but I was fine doing it myself. Besides, having them talk filled up the time, making it not feel awkward that us guys weren’t socializing. Because I honestly didn’t really want to get to know Nick better.
Even if Serenity had no feelings for me beyond just being friends, I still wasn’t sure I was ever going to be okay with any guy she brought home. He seemed like a cool and easygoing dude, but him possibly being here because my housemate was interested automatically tainted my perception.
Once I was finished, Gabriella paused when I sat down, only to switch subjects. “So Serenity, you are fine if I stay here again tonight, right?” When my friend nodded, giving her a confused look, Gabriella continued. “It’s just, I need to run back to my apartment then, to grab some things. I’d prefer to do it before it gets too late.” She grimaced. “I’m not a fan of being out after dark right now.”
“Oh, of course,” she replied, seeming apologetic again. “You need me to take you?”
Gabriella quickly shook her head. “No, you have company over. Kai can take me. I just didn’t want to be rude by leaving suddenly.”
Now I grimaced, not liking the idea of Serenity being here alone with Nick, especially not in our house.
Serenity hesitated for a second, seeming pensive, before noticing my expression. I wasn’t sure if she was worried about what might happen at Gabriella’s apartment, or if she also didn’t want to be alone with a guy she barely knew, but I quickly pushed the first thought out of my mind, before it started affecting me.
Unexpectedly, Nick scratched the back of his head, only to chime in. “Actually, I should probably be getting back home too, if you don’t mind Serenity.”
She looked at him in surprise. “Are you sure? Maybe we could grab a coffee on the way back and chat a little more.” She paused. “But if you’re busy I understand,” she added.
Nick shrugged. “I mean, if you want, I’m fine with that. I can push things off for a while.” He sighed. “I’m kind of a workaholic sometimes, but there isn’t anything too pressing right now. I could always use more caffeine.”
Serenity smiled, though it didn’t reach her eyes.
I was glad to discover that Nick was actually a nice guy, volunteering to leave the house too, so that my friend didn’t feel awkward about it, but I still didn’t want her to end up dating him. Still, it was nice knowing I didn’t have to worry about him being the pushy one in the event that they did end up alone someplace.
Serenity unfortunately seemed set on the coffee date. “Okay! Coffee it is then.” She laughed. “I could drink it all day and still sleep like a baby.” She chuckled again at her own comment, returning her focus to Gabriella. “Well, I guess I’ll see you two in a little while then, after I drop Nicholas off. How long do you think you’ll be?”
I tried to keep my mind blank, knowing that even a simple answer to this question might affect me, depending on what Gabriella said.
She shrugged in response, glancing at me briefly. “We might stop for some coffee too.” She paused. “Or at least, I will get some…” Her voice trailed off as she gave me another quick look. “So, I don’t know, but it will most likely be before dark. Or, at least not long after.”
Serenity nodded. “Oh, right. Sorry.” She then glanced at the clock, seeing that it was almost 5:30 PM. “I guess I’ll see you two in roughly two hours then. I should be home by that time as well.”
“Sounds good,” I abruptly chimed in, rising from my seat.
I was trying not to feel depressed that Serenity suddenly seemed fine with me being alone with Gabriella, while also trying not to get aroused by the idea that the two of us might end up at her apartment for well over an hour, minus driving time.
Nick quickly stood up too. “Actually Kai, I was wondering if I could talk to you before you go. I wanted to show you something. Are you cool if we chat before you head out?”
I hesitated before nodding, seeing that Serenity seemed exceptionally concerned now. Which confused me. I mean, it was a little odd that Nick had something he specifically wanted to talk to me about, but she looked almost scared by that fact.
However, I suspected she was more concerned about me snapping at his somewhat unintentional invasiveness and chewing her newest ‘friend’ out.
At the very least, I doubted it had anything to do with the case at this point, since Nick didn’t seem suspicious at all anymore. And, honestly, I realized I’d been overreacting to the whole situation. The dude put a caffeine pill in his drink because he was tired, accidentally gave me the wrong glass because he was tired, of course having no idea it could affect me, and only ended up at our place because Serenity invited him over.
“Sure,” I agreed simply, giving my housemate a reassuring smile.
Nick reached his hand in his pocket, taking a step away from the table, only to then look surprised as he patted his other pockets. “Oh, I think I must have left my phone in your car,” he said to Serenity. “Is it unlocked?”
She nodded. “Oh, umm, yeah.”
“Great,” Nick replied, focusing back on me. “Care to join me?”
I nodded, assuming he wanted to talk more privately anyway. I gave Gabriella one last look as I followed after him. Once we were outside, Nick headed straight for the blue car and grabbed his phone, just like he indicated he needed to do.
I stopped by the hood as he closed the door and began messing with the device.
After a second, he glanced back up at me. “I wanted to send you a link to an article, if that’s alright. Care if I have your number or email to send it?”
I shrugged in response, figuring there was no harm in it. After rattling off my phone number, Nick nodded.
“Alright, it’s sent. Check it out later, when you have the chance. I think you’ll find it interesting.”
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, but the battery was still really low, so I figured I’d just ask about it instead.
“What’s the article about?” I wondered, trying to sound casual.
Nick leaned his arm against the car, seeming to relax as he thought about his answer. “Well, I mentioned I had a sister, right?”
“Umm, yeah?” I replied, now sincerely confused.
“Did I ever say how old she was?” he asked.
My brow furrowed. “Umm, no, I don’t think so. You just said she was younger, and that she still lived with your step-dad.”
He nodded. “She’s nine, actually,” he said simply, giving me a meaningful look, like I should find some significance in that fact.
But I didn’t have a clue why that mattered.
“Okay?” I prompted, quickly doing the mental math and realizing that she was a good fifteen years younger than him. Was he trying to make some kind of connection with me over the fact that Serenity was quite a bit older than me? Because that was kind of stupid, if he was.
However, he didn’t respond right away, eyeing me for a few long seconds, making it start to feel awkward. Finally, he elaborated.
“Remember that story I mentioned, about the Impaler’s first kill?”
Instantly, my chest and spine flashed gray underneath my clothing as sincere shock clawed its way up my neck, raising the fine hairs at the base of my skull. Suddenly, I felt like I was going to pass out, my entire world literally flipped upside down in barely half a second.
“They saved the baby?” I said almost inaudibly, my words sounding like they were coming from someone else.
Nick nodded once.
“And that was your sister?” I gasped in disbelief. “Your mother?”
I couldn’t stop the flashbacks from flooding my mind with horrible images that gave me nightmares for months when I was younger. Shit, I still had nightmares about it sometimes. However, then my mind began kicking into gear as I realized that my reaction was probably more extreme than it should be for the average person.
I quickly tried to collect myself, suddenly being acutely aware that Nick was watching me carefully. After a second, I cleared my throat, sounding sincerely concerned, since I knew that swinging too far in the relaxed direction might be suspicious.
“Wow,” I said, shaking my head in disbelief. “Shit, man. That’s messed up. I never imagined that the story you told us about would actually be so close to home for you.” I then paused, realizing the significance of the fact that Nick was specifically sharing this with me. “But why just tell me though?” I asked seriously. “Did you not want Serenity to know for some reason? She can handle a lot,” I added.
Nick shook his head, not answering my question directly. “The truth is, I’ve actually been on this case for a long time. Way before it was actually an official case. In fact, this was the first puzzle involving people that I ever became obsessed with, when I was only a couple years younger than you are now, and it’s the primary reason why I ended up aiming to become a detective.” He sighed. “I’ve always been on the lookout for the kid who saved my little sister.” He then paused. “Well, to thank him really. That particular serial killer targeted only pregnant women, and his MO was something I don’t even feel comfortable discussing, but let’s just say that my unborn sister would have had the worst of it.”
I forced myself to keep my thoughts focused, to avoid letting my imagination run wild at what horrible things I’d prevented by intervening. The scene I’d stumbled across had already been terrible by horror movie standards.
I ended up shaking my head, trying to physically rid myself of the memories threatening to invade my mind again.
I then focused back on Nick, seeing that he was still eyeing me.
Of course, I realized now why he was telling me. After all, he’d claimed that he was closer than people realized. However, no way in hell was I going to admit that I was the Impaler. If anything, he might just be baiting me, but there was no doubt I was a suspect at this point.
But there was no evidence, no proof, and my suspicious reaction was only hurting me right now.
I finally took a shallow breath, giving him a sympathetic look. “That sounds horrible,” I replied. “Like, just imagining what this guy did is really disturbing. And it’s even more crazy to think you have a direct connection to that situation.” I paused. “But you still didn’t answer my question. Did you not want Serenity to know about this? I just don’t understand why you’re only telling me.”
Nick shrugged, only to abruptly stand fully upright. “Well, I guess because you’re eighteen, and thus match the age range perfectly.” He shrugged again. “And, coincidentally, Serenity has been on all the recent cases where the Impaler got involved. In fact, it’s almost as if the mystery guy disappeared until Serenity became a detective. But…” he added with more emphasis. “There are a couple of others who were on those cases too. However, since I figured I was already here, I decided I would tell you in case you were him, so that I could thank you in person.”
I scratched the back of my head, trying to seem embarrassed. “Well, I’m not him,” I lied. “And it kind of feels weird having you thank me for something I wasn’t involved in.” I then intentionally became annoyed. “Wait, is that why you came over with Serenity? Just so you could talk to me?”
I didn’t want to imply that I was disappointed, because if that was true then I was actually relieved that he might not be interested. But then again, who was I kidding? My housemate was hot as fuck.
And sure enough…
Nick quickly held up his hands defensively. “What? No, that’s not how it is. She invited me over for dinner. I didn’t ask.”
“But that’s why you said yes?” I hoped. Dammit, why couldn’t I just keep my mouth shut?
He shook his head, holding up a finger. “It would be a reason to say yes, but it was not the main reason I did say yes.”
Fuck! But why was I even surprised?
Stupid genius. Why did Serenity have to be so hot? Or at least, why couldn’t he already be in a relationship or something?
I tried to keep my expression mostly neutral, maintaining a critical look as if I didn’t believe him. I then spoke up again. “So then, what are you going to do once you find the real Impaler?” I wondered, figuring that was a safe thing for a normal person to ask. “Obviously, it’s not me. I don’t even match the de***********ion. Granted, a de***********ion like that is hard to believe.”
Nick shrugged again. “I’ll try to find him, and then -- whether I do or don’t -- I’ll still end up classifying the case as currently unsolvable and let it sit on the shelf to collect dust indefinitely. I’m not about to get the guy who saved my little sister thrown in jail.” He hesitated. “At least, assuming the Impaler doesn’t reopen the case with a new vict…I mean, a new murder of a serial killer. I probably won’t be the one to take the case next time, and there are other people out there just as smart as me. Smarter even. They might figure it out.”
It was obvious he was giving me a warning to stop, in the event it somehow really was me. But I could also tell that Nick wasn’t completely confident in his assumption, which meant I’d successfully convinced him otherwise, and just needed to continue to play on that doubt as much as possible.
“Well, then do your best to find him, if that’s the case. Hopefully, he’s a nice guy and will take your warning seriously. I’m sure he would appreciate the thank you too, although I doubt he did it for a pat on the back.”
I wasn’t sure if that had been too much, but I figured it might be an assumption most people might logically deduce.
Nick finally sighed and scratched the back of his head. “Right. Anyway, I guess we should all get going. I just wanted to share all that with you, just in case. But I can see I still have some searching to do. Sorry about that.”
I shrugged. “It’s fine. I mean, it’s not like I’m offended or anything. Although, maybe don’t be so forward about it, if you talk to anyone else in that age range. I’d like to think I’m pretty mature for my age, but I don’t know that other eighteen-year-olds would respond to an accusation like that very well. You basically accused me of murder just now.”
“Sure,” he agreed, moving to walk toward the house.
Apparently, Gabriella and Serenity had been watching us out of the window, something I would have noticed if I wasn’t so shocked by Nick’s disclosure, because they opened the door the moment we approached.
Gabriella looked especially worried, prompting me to give her a reassuring smile, even if it didn’t seem to help much.
“Ready to go?” my girlfriend wondered hesitantly.
“Yep,” I agreed simply, moving to give Serenity a quick hug. We then exchanged a quick farewell and ‘see you later’ before Gabriella and I were climbing into my car while my housemate ran back inside to grab her purse. I then waited until she and Nick were getting into her car too, before beginning to pull out, making sure Serenity was following me down the driveway just to guarantee that they were really leaving the house.
Once we were a few miles down the road, finally going our separate ways at an intersection, I gave Gabriella my full attention, knowing she was patiently waiting to talk. And I was sure we had a lot to talk about, between the situation with my friend’s coworker, not to mention how we might proceed with our relationship now that Serenity knew we were an item.
Which reminded me about the fact that we were about to be alone again, in her apartment.
I tried to keep my thoughts focused as my chest began graying underneath my shirt in anticipation of what I felt confident was going to happen once we arrived.
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This is a long story that involves lots of plot and action, as well as sexual engagements that are detailed and intimate. This story is actually available on amazon and patreon too, but I have several places where I'm posting it for free.