Ace drew his shower curtains and stepped down on his mat, towel wrapped low around his waist. Just as he moved to tend to his scruff before the mirror, he tripped over something fluffy. Looking down, he saw Helios at his feet, ears flattened, eyes narrowed to slits. “How did you…?”




Helios licked his nose insolently, before bending to lick drops of water off Ace’s feet. He washed one spot assiduously, before hopping in the shower and looking up at the shower head. Then he looked at Ace, tail waving, and back at the shower head.

“I, uh.” Confronted with his bare chest, after the revelations of barely an hour ago, she found it hard to think. “It’s more what I don’t want? No anchovies or peppers? Anything else is fine.” Her shoulders relaxed, and she leaned into his hold, one hand resting on his skin. Impulsively, she kissed the bit of skin closest to her mouth.

Ace was completely oblivious, like he was moments before her outburst, of the effect he had on her. The lad was waiting patiently for his hair to dry a little more, so that little drops wouldn’t catch on the collar of his cotton shirt. Watching her as she spoke, a small smile spread across his face as he processed what she said before declaring, “Pepperoni, then!” Kissing the top of her head, he moved to dial the number he knew by heart with his free-hand, and press the phone to his ear.

“Sammy! I call hungry and loaded with cash.”

“Extra cheese?” she said, pleading. Then she fell silent, so Ace could talk to the guy on the other end of the line — someone he was obviously very familiar with. His smile — the little, sweet one — still made her heart skip a beat, and she wondered if he could tell.

“So … ” Summer said slightly awkwardly, “now what do we do? Am I allowed to sit you down and kiss you breathless?”

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