GrowlBoys – STRAY – Chapter 3 – Faun’s Leap

Alex’s eyes looked off, past his computer screen. The alerts and messages tried their best to grab his attention, but he was lost in thought, thinking back to his remarkable night. He could practically still smell the musk of his lover’s body after their passionate fuck, exhausted, sweaty, and magical.

Eddie was unlike anyone else he’d ever met. He could see it in his eyes and the way his body connected with him. There was something there. Something special. His hand wanted to reach for his phone to text him, see how he was, contact him in someway. But Eddie had no phone, no email, no way to connect with him. Alex had never wished more that he had a landline that he could call and hear his voice.

The clock on the wall kept on its slow creep, bringing him closer to quitting time and being able to get back to his home. To Eddie. He wondered what he’d do with his day, hoping he would stay. Alex knew the world wasn’t safe for him, scared of what it didn’t understand and what was new and unusual. And Eddie… well… he’s one of a kind.

Seeing Eddie transform was unlike anything he’d ever seen. The way his body took on a different shape, furred and muscled, with his wild, animal face, glowing eyes, and pointed ears. Not only that, the look of fear in the young man’s eyes was powerful and unmistakable. He seemed to know what was coming because he’d seen it happen to him before. Alex’s heart melted and opened up, wanting nothing more than to protect him from that knowledge and keep him from ever having to be afraid again.

That’s over, Alex thought to himself. Eddie would never need to be afraid again. Now that he’d found his way into Alex’s life, he was going to make sure he was safe. He looked at the clock again. Only a couple minutes had passed, but it felt like hours. He needed to return to him.

When five o’clock finally came around, Alex left in a hurry. He barely said goodnight to his co-workers as he rushed out the door, feeling his heart race with an excitement and energy he’d never felt before.

He could barely hold his keys in his hand steady enough to open the lock to his apartment door. Once he felt the final click in the handle, he rushed in, eager to see his furry friend again. And, if he was completely honest, he was desperate to fuck him again!

He threw his keys on a counter, dropped his coat and bag, and went right for his bedroom. His eyes were wide and excited, looking around. His bed was still messy from the morning and his laptop was on the end of the bed, but off. But no Eddie. He went into the kitchen, thinking maybe he was making something to eat. But no Eddie. He looked into his bathroom with the open door. No Eddie.

Alex felt his stomach sink. He was confused. He played the morning back in his mind. It was so perfect. Eddie seemed so happy. Why would he leave? He didn’t have a key to get back or a way to get in touch with him. He wouldn’t have a way to come back. Did I scare him? Was it too much?

He felt foolish. What was I thinking? Of course this was too much. We’d just met! Alex was definitely feeling strong feelings, despite it not even having been 24 hours since they met. He sat on his bed, feeling defeated and embarrassed. It was then that he saw his roommate walk by his door.

“Caleb! Did you see a guy here when this morning?”

“Yeah! It was crazy! Did Damien call you?”

“Damien. …Our landlord? Wait, where’s Eddie?”

Caleb looked confused. His brow furrowed as he started to put it together. “Eddie? You knew him? I’m sorry, he seemed shady and strange, you weren’t here, I wasn’t sure what to do so I called our landlord. I thought we’d been broken into!”

Alex felt a rush of anger around his neck. His face felt hot and he wanted to attack Caleb. He paused for a second and tried to think clearly. Of course Caleb had no idea who this was. He didn’t make a habit of having guys stay the night, let alone stay in their place unattended. He’d deal with Caleb later, but he had to find Eddie.

Pulling out his phone, he looked through his contacts, scrolling through for Damien’s number. Caleb was going on and on about how freaked out he was and how Alex should have told him, but Alex focused on his phone, texting his landlord:

“Damien… Caleb told me about this morning. Where’s Eddie?”

His phone screen stayed still for a long period. Alex’s forehead began to sweat, knowing that with each passing minute, Eddie could be anywhere on the street, alone and cold, hungry and scared. The idea of him being back in an alley at the mercy of the city made him sick to his stomach.

Suddenly, the screen glowed bright with a new message from Damien:

“I took care of it. Don’t worry.”

“I need to know where he is. Please tell me what you did with him.”

The screen was still again. Alex wanted to throw his phone, scream, run through the streets, looking for Eddie. Instead, he got another message:

“Meet me at Faun’s Leap.”

What the fuck is this, he thought. He’d never really spent much time with Damien. They’d only interacted when he moved in and one other time when he fixed something in the kitchen. Still, he’d never known Damien to be evasive or mysterious. If he’d called the cops, he would have just said it. And if he simply kicked him out, he would have said it.

Alex’s face went pale when he thought about another possibility. What if Damien found out what Eddie was? What if he decided to use him or exploit him for his own purposes? The idea made Alex furious. He needed to get to the bottom of it and he knew this clandestine meeting would not be easy.

Alex put on his jacket, took a few deep breaths, and grabbed his keys. Faun’s Leap was a the tall part of a public park, climbing up to a tall cliff that overlooked the entire city. People often went there to make out, take sunset photos, and fly their drones over the runners and dog walkers. It was a strange place to meet someone, both public and private.

Alex was about to leave when he thought about the possibility of a fight. Not wanting to lose out, he went back into his room, pulled open the drawer to his side table, and pulled out a switchblade. He’d had it for years, mostly as a joke. But as he’d moved to the city, he knew he might need it for protection. He’d never though he’d need to use it, but the moment had come that he had something to fight for.
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