The day had been a long one, with a project that Sam had had on the back burner for sometime, needing completion by four pm, he was really pushing it to get the final specifications done. He had organised a delivery boy to collect the tube from his apartment, to take over to Mister Delowan’s to reach his office by three, so although Sam had arranged to cook a wonderful dinner for Damion for around 7pm, he knew that he would be pushing it. One of his neighbors, Shirley Winters, an older lady that often looked out for the young Alpha, checked in on him at about two pm and sure enough, he had his sleeves rolled up and was working frantically. She let herself in, and heard the worried muttering of Sam. Pushing himself as per usual. He didn’t even lift his head from what he was working on, and she crept into the kitchen, easily seeing that he had preparations for a dinner. Questions raised as to who it might be? He had a lamb roast in the icebox and lots of vegetables on the counter. Looked like he was going to go all out for his guest. Sam never went to this much trouble for himself. Shirley chuckled and put on an apron, singing out to Sam.
“Such a busy boy. You keep working on that project and I will get this meal started.”
Sam looked up with a quizzical expression, only to have his face soften as he saw who it was. She was a widower who had been married some forty years before her husband finally succumbed to illness. Ever since then, she always looked for others she could help, rather than wasting away in her apartment, staring out the window.
“I don’t know what I would do without you, Shirl. You’re one in a million.” Sam chortled, taking off his glasses a moment and wiping the lens, that had become a bit grimy. Shirley pawed at him and then held a stern look. “Make me proud and get that work done.” She knew he did his work from home, and often popped in to catch up with him. Thought the world of Sam, and knew about his…sexuality.
“So…whose the lucky man?” She quizzed, looking up with a twinkle in her eye.
“Oh…only the most handsome bachelor in all New York.” Sam chimed, with a sing song like way of saying it. This only had Shirley near drop a knife in shock.
“Not…Lord Damion Marulo?!”
“The one and only. He …is beyond words. Shirley, I am madly in love with him. Just…wait till you meet him.” Sam seemed to gush about Damion, like a new lover would. Shirley giggled like she was back at school. Talking about love and boys.
“I intend to. You better introduce me, Sammy.” The sweet Shirley said, now getting the roast ready for the oven. This chatter would go on for a few hours, and thankfully, Sam got his work finished on time. Shirley was still in the kitchen, doing a little clean up, when Sam came in behind her and kissed the top of her head.
“If I was straight…I’d so marry you.” He teased, but in a way he meant it.
“I’m too high maintenance…and beside, I don’t compare to this young dish you are having for dinner.”
Sam found that statement all too funny. “If I’m lucky, I will get to eat him too.”
Damion finished up the work he had been doing for the day and sat back in his seat. He was still depressed about the conversation with his father that morning and hoped he could see things from Damion’s perspective. Glancing up at the clock, he noticed he still had an hour or so before he needed to be at Sam’s, but the prospect of returning home and seeing the disappointed look on his father’s face before then did not make him feel great.
With a sigh, he got to his feet and locked up his office for the evening. He would head to Sam’s early.
Outside, he had a brief moment of panic, trying to remember where Sam lived, until he remembered that his mother mentioned that she was able to “feel” his father in the back of her mind and always knew where he was. Using that instinct had served her well over the years and he used it now to guide him to his own mate.
Cloudtop Penthouse Building
Parking his car was relatively simple and he headed inside with no problems. Finding the correct elevator, in no time at all, he was at Sam’s door. He raised his hand to knock then stepped back to wait.
Hearing a knock at the door, Shirley was just finishing the gravy, and Sam was still hard at work doing the last of his project. Not wanting to disturb Sam, she wiped her hands and went to answer the door. Opening it, she got a pleasant surprise to see that it was the young Damion Marulo that Sam had spoken about…and his dinner guest. She was probably the last person Damion expected to see, and she made a whooping sound as she clasped her hands together.
“You’re early. Oh my, you are handsome. Please come in. I’m Shirley, Sam’s neighbor.”
If he came in, she would shut the door smartly and then guide him towards the open kitchen. Sam looked up from his work board and smiled brightly.
“Damion! I won’t be long. Shirley is helping with dinner.” He said, now rushing to get his work done, as Shirley rounded on Damion. She fussed and clucked like an old mother hen. “Here, let me take your coat and get you a nice shandy. You must have had a busy day at the office. You poor thing. Don’t worry..I won’t stay long and keep you two from….yes. Shandy?”
“Um…hi? Is…Sam here?” he asked, unsure if he had the right apartment.
“You’re early. Oh my, you are handsome. Please come in. I’m Shirley, Sam’s neighbor.” the woman introduced herself, clapping in delight. Damion edged past her into the room and saw Sam working. He breathed a sigh of relief at seeing him. Sam looked up and smiled when he saw Damion.
“Damion! I won’t be long. Shirley is helping with dinner.”
“Oh don’t rush on my account, Sam.” Damion stated as he shrugged out of his jacket. Shirley snatched it from him, much to his surprise, fussing around him like a mother hen.
“Here, let me take your coat and get you a nice shandy. You must have had a busy day at the office. You poor thing. Don’t worry..I won’t stay long and keep you two from….yes. Shandy?”
“Um…yes. Thank you.” Damion nodded, unsure how to act around the enthusiastic woman. He moved to Sam’s side and hesitated for a moment before brushing a light kiss across his cheek. “What are you working on?” Damion blushed, shocked at his own daring.
Sam was about to roll up his drawings, when Damion came to his side and brushed his lips to his cheek, in a show of affection. Taken aback by this, Sam simply winked and then he tapped his pencil on the paper and said. “This is a new development project I am working on, that…I just got finished. Think of a new type of apartment complex. A very wealthy young aristocrat ordered this be put together and I have been working my ass off to get it finished. Shirley is my savior. Came and helped get dinner ready so that I could finish.”
Sam then noticed something in Damion’s expression and he turned on his stool, tossing his pencil aside, and placed his arms around Damion’s waist. Being his alpha it wasn’t unusual to sense disquiet with his love, and it seemed to resonate off him. Shirley set down some drinks on a nearby counter and then went back to working on dinner, so they could speak intimately.
“Want to tell me what is wrong?”
He was brought out of his thoughts by Sam’s arms around his waist and the scent that was uniquely his. He caught Damion’s gaze with a questioning look.
“Want to tell me what is wrong?” Sam asked him. Damion sighed and looked down.
“It’s nothing really.” Damion stated, but put paid to that lie when he sighed once more. “I told my father…about us. His reaction wasn’t very…pleased.” Damion mumbled. “I think he hates me.” Turning away from Sam, he moved to the windows overlooking the city, his arms crossed. He felt so lost in that moment. His family, his father was everything to him and he felt like he was losing part of that. Things were changing in his life and he didn’t know which way to turn. He was so hurt and confused. “My mom and my sister…they’ve been great about this, my mum especially because she’s a demon…a succubus, you know?” he gave a sad little laugh. “She knows what it’s like to be different. But Dad…he takes great pride in our family and our pack…the way he looked at me today…it hurt. I know I need to talk to him, make him understand how I feel about you, about myself…but I don’t know if I could stand to look at him and see the loathing in his eyes.” Damion’s head dropped, his chin pressing against his chest and tried not to cry.
Shirley could not help but overhear the words of a tearful Damion, who was now unloading all his troubles on Sam. It was not unheard of for a boy’s parents to be upset about their life choice, in particular a father, who had pinned such hopes and aspirations upon their only son. She watched the two young men with old eyes, and felt like she herself had seen this same scenario before, only many years before. Shirley knew it was not her place to interject, and so she went on with preparing dinner, so the men could deal with this crisis.
Sam’s face fell when Damion pulled away from him. He could hear in those first few mumbled words that Damion was devastated with his father’s reaction.
“I think he hates me.”
“That’s very strong words, when you know that a father’s love should be unconditional.” Sam offered, as he watched Damion pad over to the window, looking lost and ashamed.
“My mom and my sister…they’ve been great about this, my mum especially because she’s a demon…a succubus, you know?”Sam nodded and said. “They are two very proud and beautiful women. I am grateful to see they have your back, Damion.”
But Dad…he takes great pride in our family and our pack…the way he looked at me today…it hurt. I know I need to talk to him, make him understand how I feel about you, about myself…but I don’t know if I could stand to look at him and see the loathing in his eyes.”
These words truly cut into Sam’s heart, and you could see the sadness now, as he realized that perhaps by his attentions, he had made Damion so very unhappy. Shirley motioned with the ladel, for Sam to go over to him and comfort the young man, which is exactly what Sam did. Quietly getting up from his stool and then walking over before reaching Damion and placing his arms around him, just holding him close.
“Damion. You aren’t alone, you know. Tell you what, you want to talk to your old man, bring me with you. I want to be the one to tell him, what a remarkable and fine man you are. That he would be a fool to lose such a wonderful son, whose only crime was falling in love with another man.” He then bent his head down and whispered in his ear. “I’ll stand by you.”
Damion listened to Sam’s words and felt his heart lighten. That Sam was willing to face his father, to fight for their bond, meant more to the young werewolf then he’d ever thought possible. He now understood the bond between his parents a lot more than he ever did. He turned in Sam’s arms, pressing his forehead against Sam’s neck.
“My life was empty before you came into it. I am so glad you found me. But are you sure you wish to face my father? He has quite the temper.” Damion wondered. “Maybe with Mum in the room, he’ll temper himself. He doesn’t want to stress her out, now that she’s pregnant. Only a few weeks in and she tires so easily.” Damion sighed. “But I want him to understand what you mean to me…that I cannot live without you.”
“My life was empty before you came into it. I am so glad you found me. But are you sure you wish to face my father? He has quite the temper.” Holding Damion now, in his arms with his forehead to his chest, and being asked if he was willing to face his father, since he had such a temper and could be unpredictable, Sam could only smile.
“Naturally I want to face him. I’m not ashamed of what I am, or of what we have. Its something I am willing to fight for.” Sam brushed his lips across the top of Damion’s head, and squeezed his arms around him, to try and be reassuring. He knew what Damion was feeling, for he had been there himself. The day he told his father, was one of the most difficult he had ever experienced, yet he was still standing tall, and making a life for himself. At sometime, we have to sever the cord to our parents, and they may not like our life choices, but they are our mistakes to make, just as they would have in their youth. It’s the only way we learn and grow.
“He is an Alpha, like me….and he will know when I tell him, that I plan to fight for my love, just as he would have for your Mother.”
Never a truer word was spoken.
Damion was glad he’d come to Sam’s early. This is what he needed, his mate’s presence to make him feel worthy. Whatever was going on between him and his father, he knew that Sam would stay by his side. Damion wrapped his arms around Sam’s waist and hugged him.
“Thank you, Sam.” Damion smiled, looking up for the first time. “Besides you, what smells so delicious?” he wondered, tugging on Sam’s hand to pull him into the kitchen.
The delicious smells that were coming from the kitchen, were all due to the care and culinary skills of Shirley, Sam’s neighbor. Since Sam and Damion had their talk, she had already carved the lamb and was setting out the plates of vegetables. Sam beamed as he was tugged along by a now very hungry Damion.
“Dinner is served, and might I say, I don’t think I did at all bad.” Shirley announced with pride. Sam kissed her cheek, as he reached for a chair and pulled it out for her. “And you are staying.” Sam decided, hoping she would sit down. Course she didn’t expect this, and flushed pink. “But you boys need time alone.”
Sam wouldn’t have a bar of it. “I’ll get the wine and Damion, you can entertain our chef.” He said with a wink, going to the wine cabinet and strumming his fingers across the various bottles. Shirley didn’t know where to look, but she was famished. She reached across to squeeze Damion’s hand to give added reassurance.
“Sam is a really lovely young man. I know he will do everything to make you happy.” Her kind eyes shone as she patted his hand to reinforce this, as Sam came back with an opened bottle of wine and started to pour a glass for each of them before sitting down himself. He raised his glass and said.
“To the two most important people in my life. Cheers.”
“Sam is a really lovely young man. I know he will do everything to make you happy.”
“Thank you. Oh! I’m Damion, by the way. Damion Marulo.” he managed, holding out his hand for her to shake. Sam returned to the table and poured them each a glass of wine before making a toast.
“To the two most important people in my life. Cheers.”
“Cheers” Damion smiled, raising his own glass. They got down to the business of eating and chatting pleasurably. Damion discovered that Shirley was a former opera star who had retired to New York and had met the love of her life here. She and Rochard had over 50 wonderful years of marriage together before he died and she honored his memory by living her life to the fullest.
She reminded him of his parents in a way. He smiled at her stories, laughed at her jokes and simply enjoyed being around her as she told a few embarassing stories about Sam and his father.
All in all, Damion liked Shirley and could see that she was like a second mother to Sam.