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Chapter 9

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Giving Kaiden a bright, and possibly slightly embarrassed smile, Sean closed the distance to scoop Trevor up.

"People say dogs are man's best friend, but I've always thought cats are way cooler," Sean commented as he approached the truck with Trevor in his arms, gently scratching underneath the feline's chin to comfort him.

"Sean..." Trevor whined, but there was no way he was letting him go alone. He did, however, blame Sean for their impending doom. "Chills, bro...and not the good kind," the cat mewled softly.

"It's fine, Trev, just chill," Sean breathed as he opened the passenger door with one hand and set his friend on the seat with the other before climbing in himself.

After he grabbed and pulled the seatbelt across his chest, Sean tried to get Trevor settled on his lap. A few moments after the truck's engine roared to life, the radio kicked in at full blast picking up where it had left off when parked.

Despite Kaiden's swift response to turning it down, Trevor's ears had flattened, and his claws had sunk into Sean's jeans instinctively.

"Heh, sorry bout that. I crank it up when I'm alone," Kaiden explained as they pulled out of the salon parking lot.

"It's...fine," Sean winced, trying to carefully extract Trevor's needle-like talons from his lap. It always blew Sean's mind how even in something thicker, like jeans, those little claws could just poke straight to skin.

After giving Kaiden a short explanation of which road to take into the woods towards the river, Sean spoke up again.

"So...are you and Nate siblings?" He'd succeeded in keeping his tone casual, despite how just saying the other boy's name made him a little embarrassed. He didn't know if Nate had said anything about what they'd done, and although Kaiden didn't seem to be the judgy-type, it was still in the back of Sean's mind.

"Close." Kaiden snorted softly. "We're cousins, but he's like a brother. His parents weren't the greatest," he explained. "So, he's lived with me and my dad most of his life."

Kaiden didn't know why he'd divulged that information. Maybe it was the lingering scent of Nate around Sean that made him feel obligated to give a little history...some context... or even an excuse for his cousin's possibly poor behavior. Or maybe it was just that he felt comfortable talking to Sean. Whatever the case, Kaiden seemed perfectly fine chatting with him openly. He just left out anything that involved the pack or mentions of wolves.

After Kaiden parked, Trevor couldn't have been more eager to be the first out of the truck. They took a short hike from there, following the river uphill until it had mostly dwindled to a wide, but shallow brook with a few tiny waterfalls.

In Sean's mind, they couldn't have picked a better location on a nicer day to just sit and talk, and relax. Although Kaiden did have one more offering, besides his presence, to top off the experience. Sean wasn't at all in the habit of smoking, nor did he particularly enjoy the skunky aroma of it, but that didn't stop him from giving it a try when Kaiden offered him a hit off the blunt he'd lit.

By the time Kaiden's phone went off about an hour later, it had startled Sean so badly that he nearly threw the blunt between his fingertips. He held it directly in front of Kaiden, all too eager for the older boy to take it back, now that he'd been scared into thinking he'd somehow been caught by his parents for a split second.

"Who's that?"

The slightest smirk stretched across Kaiden's features at Sean's reaction as he lazily dug out his phone and skimmed the text message. It was from Dakota. He took the joint between his lips while Sean held it, his fingers already occupied in response to his uncle.

Kaiden exhaled a pungent cloud like some swamp dragon. "Just the Fam."

"...Oh." Sean's hand had hung in the air for a tiny bit longer than it probably should have as he stared at the lips that had nearly brushed his fingertips. "Everything okay?" he wondered when he saw one of Kaiden's dark brows twitch at the message on the screen.

"Hm? Yeah, it's cool." Kaiden brushed it off with a smile, trying to not let his inward disappointment become too apparent as he sent his own message in return. "They just want me back soon..." This time his dissatisfaction came through in his words. "Pft, families... right?" He chuckled.

"I'm sure yours is just sooo proud to have you as a member..." Trevor commented, his green eyes narrowing in the rocker's direction.

Sean momentarily regretted taking a few hits from Kaiden's joint whenever he passed it to him, because Trev's sudden commentary had seriously given Sean the creeps for a second. Was it crazy that he had to remind himself that hearing his cat talking wasn't crazy?

"...Right," Sean mumbled. "Do you have time to run us home?" he wondered, before adding, "Cuz we could walk too, it's not a big deal if you're not okay to drive."

"I always like being fashionably late." Kaiden laughed in his normal, laid-back way.

Any thoughts on Sean forming a friendship with Nate's cousin?

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Any thoughts on Sean forming a friendship with Nate's cousin?

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