Natural Beauty Excerpt

Chapter One

The dose tore through his body, making him hyper sensitive to every touch, but no one touched him. He felt abandoned and quivered, crying out in frustration.

Finally, a hand landed on his shoulder. Someone shook him, and he cried out in fear when he met blue eyes.

“Alex!”

Alex jumped awake and shied away from Elias, but the voice finally registered. It was a woman’s. He looked up, finding his mother looking at him, concerned.

She perched on the edge of the bed. “Did you have another nightmare?”

Alex noticed he’d woken up with a boner, and his body wouldn’t stop shaking as he rubbed his face to rid himself of the dream.

“Yeah,” he croaked.

“You have to talk to someone. If you don’t want to tell me or you dad what happened to you in all these years, then at least talk to a shrink.”

“No.” He’d never reveal the existence of the Cubi race, and he definitely wouldn’t tell some Freudian philosopher who’d just turn everything on its head and give him a diagnosis about sexual deviance for being able to make up a story about having been kidnapped by sex demons and fucked thoroughly for five years.

Arriving with an arm in a cast had earned him enough pity that his parents hadn’t pushed for an explanation, but they hadn’t stopped asking questions. They worried. Of course they did, they were his parents. They wanted to help him, yet they didn’t have even the basic understanding of what he’d been through, and he already knew his dad’s opinion on a man having sex with another man. Didn’t matter he’d been drugged while screaming for a fat cock.

He hadn’t even wanted to leave the house since he’d returned. He hadn’t even gone to the store with his parents to buy him new clothes. They’d kept two sets of his just to be able to keep up hope, but the rest had been given to goodwill along with all his possessions. He’d returned home just shy of being declared dead so at least he didn’t have to go through the bureaucratic hassle of being written back into the system of the living.

As of now, the worst had been his dad grumbling about how he’d be reckless enough to get a tattoo that couldn’t be covered by a t-shirt. Alex hadn’t explained that he hadn’t chosen it because it would be opening a can of worms he couldn’t and wouldn’t explain.

“Do you want a glass of water?”

Alex nodded, trying for a smile. His mother left, and Alex lifted his covers to look at his traitorous member. He then looked at the clock radio in his old room. It was only three in the morning.

Alex woke up again around eight feeling drained and disappointed. He could hear his parents talk in the kitchen, so he got up and finished his business in the bathroom, quickly. By the time he made it to the kitchen, they’d just sat down with breakfast and the newspaper.

His father looked up and nodded a good morning, then returned his attention to the newspaper. Alex helped himself to coffee and a slice of fresh bread. The scent reminded him of Jenny baking in the big kitchen of Daniel’s palace apartment. How could he feel homesick when sitting at home with his parents? He’d wanted to get out of the House of Dahlidin since the Cubi people had caught him, and even though he’d become somewhat okay with his life there, then he’d always dreamt about coming home. Now he was, and he didn’t feel at home at all.

“Alex, I want you to come out with me today,” his dad announced.

Dread spread in Alex, and he tried to suppress it, conscious that it was a ridiculous feeling. “Why?”

“Because you need to man up and get a grip of your life.”

Alex glanced at his mother, but she looked more like she wanted to tuck him away in a drawer full of cotton so he’d never get hurt again. He also knew it would be pointless to discuss his dad’s announcement any further.

“Yes, sir.” Alex focused on eating his breakfast and waited for a section of the newspaper. His dad finally folded one up and put it on the table, and Alex waited to see if his mother took it. She didn’t, so he did. He hadn’t followed anything since he’d been back, and watching the News at night with his parents was mostly Alex trying to discern whether any of it had to do with the Cubi. As the weeks went by and the nightmares got worse, Alex thought about the Cubi more and more. Now that his dad wanted him to join the human world and get a nine to five, Alex wasn’t so sure he should have said yes to returning to the human society.

After the military had moved in on the Great House of Dahlidin, the Cubi had gathered all the breeders in an attempt to keep them out of harm’s way. Finally, the Cubi began dividing them into smaller and smaller groups, and Alex ended up in a group that was asked whether they wanted to stay or leave since the House was running low on provisions. One thing all the breeders in Alex’s group had had in common was a collar of a high ranking Cubus.

His group had been led through the forest by six armed Cubi. It had taken days, and the humans had fed the ones they could. But no one fed on Alex because of his arm. Once in some town, a Lady had handed him a bus ticket, a sandwich, and fifty bucks before she’d hugged him and wished him good luck.

They had cared.

A few days after he returned home, the dreams began coupled with violent tremors. It was like withdrawal. He’d wake up close to rapture, having dreamt of being dosed and fucked silly. Sometimes, he woke up screaming from reliving the torments at the hands of Elias. Other times, he’d leave one room in his parent’s house and stop short when the room he expected to enter wasn’t the one he did. It was like his mind had stayed with the Cubi, and he almost felt disappointed when he didn’t walk into the salon at the palace apartment but into his parent’s living room.

He didn’t even know what had happened to the Great House or the Cubi people.

It was just human news about a lot of things he hadn’t followed, and he felt he stood on the sideline of society and tried to jump on a wagon that sped by too fast. Then a full page ad caught his attention. The most beautiful woman he’d seen since the Great House adorned a full page, and the photographer was none other than Heimli. The ad was for a new collection of clothing called Beaudon. Don? That was the ending of a Cubi male name.

His heart quickened, and he read the ad to find something he could google.

“Do you want more?”

Alex looked up, finding his mom was apparently talking to him. “No, thank you, Mom.”

“I must say, wherever you’ve been the past years, you’ve become very polite,” Alex’s dad said, sitting back with a weighing glance turned on him. “Maybe you should work with customer service.” His dad stood and pushed the chair in, pausing. “I can make a call for you if you’d like.”

Alex didn’t get the time to respond because his dad nodded his that’s final nod and left them to clear the table. Alex stood, filled his hands, and carried it to the kitchen.

“You know he loves you, right?” Alex’s mother asked while packing away the cheese. “That he just wants what’s best for you.”

“Yeah, I do. I just don’t feel ready.”

“Ready, son?”

Alex turned to find his dad in the door to the kitchen with the car keys in his hand. “Yeah, let me just get my stuff.”

Alex suppressed the sigh until he made it to his room. He grabbed his wallet, shoved it into his back pocket, and followed his dad out the door. He wondered where they were going.

Two hours later, Alex was back in the car, and he regretted even getting up that morning. His dad was smiling proudly and droning on about how good it would be for Alex to get to work, that he should be happy he got one in that economy, that all the great ones had started at the bottom, and that Alex would soon feel like a real man because he could earn his own money.

Filling shelves at the store and other ad hock work. That’s what his week would consist of. Dammit. What was it that held him back from rejoining society? It wasn’t that stocking shelves was beneath him or anything, but he couldn’t get his head around the boss’ way of talking to the employees. Other than his first six months in the stables, Alex hadn’t been talked to like that by anyone. And not even in the stables. Yeah, it had been bad for a while, and some of the Cubi, like Elias, were not pleasant to be around, but most were friendly.

He couldn’t understand why he kept trying to compare the two societies. He’d hated it there at times, longing for freedom, and now he had it and all he’d yearned for was nothing like he either remembered or had chosen to focus on during his captivity.

Was it just that he’d gotten used to being with the Cubi? Would rejoining the human society be a matter of time, too? He hoped so.