Alec froze just inside the door of Jam Pony, a stunned expression on his face, not unlike that of a person who had just walked into a wall.
"What the hell?"
Sketchy glanced back, finally realising that Alec was no longer beside him.
Alec frowned at him.
"You don't smell that?"
How could he miss it? The air in here was thick with it, almost suffocating. It was sweet and dark and primal and woke an uncontrollable need in him; it smelled of lust and sex and…
He grabbed Original Cindy's arm as she passed.
"Boo had to head home. She was feelin' a little…delicate." Cindy eyed him consideringly. "You ain't lookin' too hot either. You aiight?"
"No," he replied gruffly. He released Cindy and turned on his heel, striding out of the place. Cindy straightened her sleeve haughtily, brushing off some imaginary dust.
"What's up wit' him?" she demanded, turning to Sketchy in the hopes that, for once, he'd have more than half a clue what was going on.
Sketchy just shrugged eloquently.
Max felt a little more human after her third cold shower. Only a little, mind you, but it was better than nothing. She wandered into the living room, robe on, towelling her hair dry and hoping that she'd be able to get through it this time without anything majorly disastrous happening.
That hope, however, and all the good work the shower had done faded abruptly as the door to the apartment slammed open and Alec stormed in, his face dark. He grabbed her by the collar and pinned her roughly against the wall.
"I hate you," he informed her with a snarl, before crushing his mouth to hers in a vicious kiss. She laced her fingers into his hair, tugging brutally to bring him closer, teeth clashing, his hands fumbling with her robe as he pressed her harder into the wall.
Need, lust, heat and pressure were building inside her, between them and she needed more. Wanted it harder, faster, meaner. More blood, more skin, less clothes.
Then, as she tugged at his jacket and shirt, it was as if someone flicked a switch and she pushed him away with all her strength, at the same time he pulled back, sending him backward, tripping over the coffee table.
He scowled up at her, his eyes dark with lust and venom, his lips swollen and bleeding slightly at the corner. His hair was a mess, his jacket half off his shoulders and his shirt rumpled.
It took all her willpower to stay slumped against the wall, probably looking more than a little rumpled herself.
"What the hell was that?!" she demanded. Anger was a safer bet than lust and…She lost her train of thought as he licked away the blood on his mouth and sat up.
"What the hell are you trying to pull?" he shot back, his voice rough. "Going into work like that – anyone'd think you wanted me here!"
"I was only there for ten minutes!"
"So what, did you rub yourself over everything before you left?" he spat, pulling himself to his feet. "Your stink was everywhere."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Max snapped, tearing her eyes away from the skin at his stomach she got a glimpse of as he moved.
"What, you think you're the only one who got cat DNA? Your freaking pheromones were all over that dump."
"And like a typical man, you followed your dick and it led you here," she sneered at him. "Well you can take it elsewhere, Romeo, 'cause you ain't getting anything from me."
He was moving towards her again, and she kept very still, refusing to back down or move to meet him.
"You have no idea how much I don't want this," he told her darkly.
"I think I've got a vague idea," she shot back.
"I doubt that."
"You're not allowed to talk," Max told him. "Get those pants off."
He tugged her to him again and kissed her roughly.
Original Cindy bustled back into the apartment, fully expecting to see Max pressed up against the window ogling the construction workers on the site across the road. She paused, however, when she spotted Max in the kitchen, in loose pants and a vest top, all the visible skin covered in scratches, bites and bruises.
"Woah, Boo, what happened to you?"
Max looked up and glared at her.
"I don't want to talk about it," she muttered, as Alec came out of the bedroom, similar marks up his arms and neck, looking equally pissed off. Cindy stared.
"Oh no, you din't…"
"Shut up," Alec growled, shrugging his jacket on and shouldering his way through the door past her, not even sparing Max a glance. Cindy's astonished gaze stayed on where he'd been for a moment, before moving to rest on Max, clearly waiting for an explanation.
"Don't ask," Max advised.
"I thought you couldn't stand the boy," Cindy said.
"I can't." Max moved past her.
"Then why did you…?"
"It's…complicated." She disappeared into her bedroom.
"When isn't it complicated wit' you?" Cindy muttered, heading into her own room.
At work the next day, Max let out a yelp when she was tugged around the back of the lockers and slammed against them roughly, Alec's furious face filling her view.
"What the hell did you do to me?" he hissed, his nose practically touching hers.
"I could ask you the same thing, asshole," she spat back.
"I can't get your goddamn scent off me!" he growled, tightening his grip on her collar and lifting her slightly off the floor.
"Try washing." Her hands came up to grip his wrists, holding herself up.
"I've tried," Alec snarled. "And every shower I've had's ended…Never mind how they ended. What did you do?"
"I thought it was you!" She brought her legs up and kicked him in the stomach, steadying herself against the lockers as he stumbled back a step. "I thought you'd done something to me!"
"I wasn't the one who was stinking the place up." He slid closer to her, boxing her against the lockers again. "I think you did this on purpose. I think you want me to come back. Your problem's 'cause you didn't get enough last time and you want to bring me back for more."
"Why would I want to do that?" Max demanded. She could smell him, warm and there, sparking off everything the scent of him and sex in her room had started. She wanted to wipe that smug look off his face. She wanted to wring his neck. She wanted to throw him on the floor and ride him until he cried. "You're an egotistical, annoying, juvenile asshole."
"And you're a self-righteous, holier-than-thou ice queen."
"Better not stick your dick in again then," she spat. "It might get frostbite and drop off."
"Like you could manage without it," Alec drawled.
"Like you could."
"Yeah. We'll see who's first to crack." She smirked at him. "Not that it'll make any difference. It's never happening again."
"Oh I'm more than okay with that." He smirked back. "But you'll be sorry when you snap and I say no."
"Like that'll ever happen." She eyed him. "I'd almost think you want me to ask for more."
"It does a man's ego good."
"Yours doesn't need any help." Max gripped his shirt. "But get this straight, it's not happening again because it's wrong. You look like my brother."
"What is it with you and brothers?!" Alec demanded, disgust evident on his face. "First that Zack guy perving all over your ass - "
"Dream on." He snorted. "You want me, not the other way round."
"We'll see who cracks first," Max said, although she was dangerously close to doing so then, watching the way his throat moved.
"Damn right." He darted forward and kissed her roughly, biting her lips sharply, before pulling back. "Starting now."
Max watched him strolling off calmly, angry at him and the fact that she was already set to drag him into the back room.
"He is not gonna win this," she said, straightening her shirt. "He can only dream that I want him. Dickhead."
This was pathetic. It was worse than pathetic. It was sad and pathetic. She'd only seen him this morning.
She was pacing, feeling twitchy, full of nervous energy and need that was normally confined to heat. She wasn't sure whether she wanted to be in her room, which was soaked in his scent and sex and they mingled together and made her ache. She didn't know whether it helped or not.
It'd been what, eight hours since she'd last seen him? No way was she gonna cave. No way. She didn't even like the guy.
She realised of course, that this was totally insane when she walked past her bedroom door again, pausing to take a deep breath and savour the smell.
Oh screw it. It was a stupid bet anyway.
She had barely made it two steps towards the door when it opened and Alec stormed in.
"Shut up," he ordered, before she could do more than open her mouth. "Don't say anything."
It occurred to Max that she should probably fight more, but he was here and warm and smelled ohsogood, and he was propelling her forcefully towards the bedroom.
He'd lost anyway. She'd mock him later, when her mouth wasn't so busy elsewhere.
"I should've known you'd be the type to leave right after," Max sneered, watching Alec pull his jeans on, while her hand explored a rather nasty bite just below her left ear. "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am."
"I'd stay and snuggle," Alec said smoothly, snagging his shirt and wincing slightly as it caused the long, deep scratches on his back to twinge. "But you're about as cuddly as a porcupine."
"I'd rather have a porcupine than you any day."
"I'll tell Animal Protection to keep an eye out." He zipped his jacket up. "What's now?"
"Generally, the putting on of clothes is followed by leaving." Max gave a little wave. "Buh-bye."
"You know what I mean, Max! We couldn't even make it a day! Hell, I only just got my pants back on and my body's telling me to dive in again!"
"You're just desperate, clearly."
"I'd believe that a lot more if you weren't being a smart-ass to my crotch."
Flushing in shame and anger, she wrenched her gaze up to meet his.
"I hate you," she told him darkly.
"The feeling's more than mutual."