I Once Loved Jake: The Way He Loved Me
I don’t know how long it was until things started to change, but they did. Oh, it was pretty harmless at first. Even a bit flattering, in its own way. I didn’t notice, or didn’t want to notice, when Jake went from telling me how beautiful I was to how beautiful I was in his eyes. It was such a small distinction, nothing to worry about, and it only reaffirmed what I thought I knew: that I was the center of Jake’s universe. He started acting a bit more possessively, and I gave him all the leeway he needed. I didn’t really need to spend time with this or that male classmate, not if it was at the expense of Jake.
After all, Jake loved me, or so I thought. I’d certainly fallen hard for him.
So I followed him around, attached to his arm, smiling and wagging like the clueless kit I was. Sometimes he’d reach over and stroke my ears, and it was heavenly. Such a small gesture, yet it seemed to communicate more clearly than words how much he cared for me.
It didn’t bother me when his compliments drifted more and more towards the place where they would eventually end: that he appreciated me but nobody else would. I had Jake, and he loved me, or so I thought. Jake understood me like nobody else could.
Jake knew how to read me, and he soon figured out exactly how to play me.
But it hadn’t yet gotten to that point the first time I met Konah. Jake had talked about the guy before, and I’d understood there was something more to him than just a friend. I didn’t know then that Jake was a werewolf, so the possibility didn’t occur to me that Konah was the only other member of a small pack on that primal level of Jake’s brain which was governed by twisted instinct. That part of his brain didn’t exist to me yet, so how could I guess?
I just knew they were close. When he introduced us, there was more in what he said than just the words. He was proud, I think that time he was honestly proud, though he made it look like he was proud of me rather than of Konah. I know now I never had a chance to measure up, but I couldn’t have guessed that back then.
“This is Konah, my stepbrother.” There was so much more loaded into that word than what it implied. “Kon, meet Ina. Don’t worry, he’s not as dangerous as that eyepatch makes him look. In fact, he’s almost as nice as I am.”
Honey blonde, with a slightly wavy mohawk flopping to one side and falling into his face, Konah didn’t actually look dangerous, eyepatch or no. The patch and the scar across his nose looked out of place, but didn’t change the impression that he was a pretty easygoing guy, all things considered, nor did the wyverndrake on his shoulder, its long, thin tail wrapped loosely around his neck. Hearing Jake’s introduction, he laughed.
“Surely I have to be the nice one. I’m her boyfriend, after all.” And Jake’s hand slipped down my side to my waist, squeezed me against him. I was his girl, and I loved it.
I could only hope he wouldn’t make a scene. It wasn’t as though I could avoid Konah, not when Jake had specifically brought me too meet him. I’d never been to Jake’s dorm room before, and I did want to make a good impression. But not too good. If Jake thought I was interested in his stepbrother, things could get ugly in a hurry. He’d never hurt me, not then, and I didn’t for a moment think he would, but causing unrest between him and Konah wasn’t something that appealed to me.
So I smiled, though it was a shaky sort of smile, and swayed my tails a little, as I held my hand out to this person who was for some reason so important to my boyfriend. That’s what I thought he was, then. My boyfriend. As though Jake could ever belong to anyone. “Nice to meet you, Konah.”
He took my hand, squeezed it. The smile he gave me was much more confident, pleased. Maybe pleased that Jake had found someone, I don’t know. I don’t talk much with Konah. He’s Jake’s friend, after all. Then he lifted my hand to his lips, still smiling, and kissed the back of it. “Pleasure’s all mine.” While there was an element of show to it, there was also undeniable sincerity.
Jake’s eyebrows pinched together for a moment, and he swatted his stepbrother and roommate across the back of the head. My heart seemed caught in my throat as I saw Konah stagger a little. The drake took off from his shoulder, all three wing pairs flapping, and chittered at Jake, taking dives at his head and grabbing for his hair as he, laughing, waved his free hand at it like one might try to chase away a stubborn fly. Konah straightened up, shook his head like a wet dog, and laughed, too, at the little thing’s antics. His words had edge, but his body language said clearly that he was just acting, when he turned to Jake, stabbing his chest repeatedly with a finger. “Now what was that for?”
“Making me look bad,” Jake replied, reaching into his pocket for something and offering it to the small, still-angry reptile flying around our heads. It instantly forgot about his crimes, took the date between its tiny jaws, and zipped off to perch somewhere with its treat. “You trying to steal my girl, Kon?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, though you get points for good taste.” He punched Jake in the shoulder; Jake barely shifted. “Though I don’t know what she sees in a big brute like you.”
“That mark on your nose says you’re no better than me.” It was something between them, I could tell, the scar on Konah’s face and presumably also his missing eye, which Jake was so careful not to mention. Something I had no right to know or ask about; it was the first time I felt that way around Jake and it worried me a little, enough that I squeezed his arm harder, at least.
He noticed my discomfort, caressed my head, and changed the subject. Oh, he was thoughtful back then, Jake. It was all part of his plan. Maybe he treated me a bit like a dog, with those caresses, but I wasn’t about to care; dogs like it because it feels good, and it doesn’t feel any worse to me just because I’m sentient. Even if he’d done it in a way that was demeaning, and I don’t think he did that then, not in front of Konah, I wouldn’t have noticed. I was too busy being head over heels for him.
The first time I saw Jake’s bed, it almost made me turn and leave. If only I had been so bright. It wasn’t that his explanation wasn’t true; he told me the heavy restraints attached to the bedposts were there to keep him from hurting himself or someone else when he slept uneasily, and I’ve seen that first hand. But if I’d left then, that would have been it, and it would have saved me a lot of pain. He didn’t tell me what exactly it meant for him to sleep uneasily, and conveniently also forgot to mention that this was primarily a concern during the full moon, but I don’t think Jake has ever told anyone the whole truth about anything.
In that bed, the heavy leather cuffs hanging unused from their chains, Jake pretended to make love to me. He was gentle, considerate, warm, everything books and movies would have you believe signifies true lovemaking, but I know better, now, like I didn’t then.
It was just as well that I’d gone to a doctor and managed to wrangle birth control pills from them when I first started seeing Jake, or there would probably have been a fight. He didn’t even ask if I was, indeed, protected against pregnancy before he, slowly, sank into me, his lips locked with mine. The sensation was unfamiliar, his entrance eased by his fingers spreading me and rubbing at just the right spot until his hips were pressed against mine and I was squirming under him.
He let off, then, slowly pulling back, one of his hands gently fondling one of my breasts while he rubbed his cheek against my jaw, his stubble catching my fur like a very shallow wire brush. Everything about the encounter was new to me. I’d never had sex in bipedal shape before, as the tods I’d had my few prior encounters with hadn’t been mages themselves. I’d never slept with anyone outside my species, and both the shape of Jake’s hard shaft inside me and the slow, steady rhythm of his strokes were exotic, exciting.
The thrill of the whole situation was winding me up even as he was inside me, and I remember shuddering under him as my first climax seized me, remember his arms wrapped around me and his head leaning my muzzle against his shoulder as it passed. He gave me just enough time to properly feel what he was doing again before he picked up his pace, just a little, still moving deliberately and somehow managing to find places in me that I didn’t even know existed.
The second time I came that afternoon, he didn’t stop, just groaned in reply to my moans and whimpers, keeping me at that high long enough for him to get there, as well. I know I panicked for a moment when I felt his hot seed inside me, but after that split second, when I remembered that I’d already taken measures to prevent something like this from being a disaster, I was purely grateful.
Jake had made love to me, I was convinced, and from that moment, I was trapped.
Jake’s proof that his methods worked.
And if he whispered to me, in the afterglow when his semen was leaking out of me and matting my fur, that nobody could love me like he did, well… He was right.
It was just not the kind of love I thought it was.