“Do you think he’s single?” He asked quietly.
Nova looked up from her laptop, silver eyes resting gently on her best friend. Marshall wasn’t looking at her, instead his dark purple eyes flexed like a cat as he focused on whomever he spoke of. Nova frowned when she watched him hide behind his coffee cup, biting the plastic lid gently. She didn’t need to look at whoever Marshall was talking about, “does it matter?” She asked quietly, knowing it was a bit harsh, but she was getting exhausted with his constant search for the perfect guy- for him, not her, and that that she was looking or anything…but there was one big problem with Marshall’s goal… “Is he Draco?” she asked.
Instantly she regretted saying the words out loud because Marshall’s usually bright eyes lowered as he tapped his cup on his lips in defeat. He didn’t need to answer because they both knew that whomever Marshall spoke of was indeed human, not Draco, like Marshall himself.
Their silence was filled by the sounds of the bookstore; the rustle of pages, the ding of the cashier’s opening drawer, the quiet mumbles of the customers, and the slurps, coughs, and grunts of those sitting at the café tables around them.
Nova studied the man before her, seeing what others could not. Normal humans would simply see a young man with sandy blond hair, shaved tight against his whole head except for the top, where three inch locks seemed to poof forward like cotton candy. His eyes, to a human, were light blue and pulled slightly at the edges so they had an almond appearance. Of course, Nova was human too, but she knew all about Dracos, which made her at least a little bit different from the rest of humanity.
As of late, Marshall seemed to be letting Nova see through part of his disguise. What Nova saw was not sandy blond, but hair that was bright teal, and his light human blue eyes were actually completely black except for the iris which was purple with a pink boarder against his slit pupils.
A lot of Dracos were seemingly letting their guards down lately, revealing their colorful appearance in the most public of places all around town. If they didn’t stop, they’d start bringing too much attention to themselves. That was something Nova had to talk to her father about. She made a note of it in her booklet, then itched under her forearm. The action caught Marshall’s attention.
"Bug bite?" He asked with a raised brow, then finally took a sip of his coffee.
"I don’t know," she replied, now itching her shoulder. "It's a bit late for bugs isn’t it?"
Marshall turned to look out the window of the book store. The trees were decorated with red, gold, brown, yellow, and hints of rebellious green leaves littering the streets.
"Probably just dry skin," Nova mumbled, scratching her belly. She returned to her notebook, looking for the sections of notes she left off on.
"Or your clothes," Marshall gestured with his coffee cup to Nova’s thick wool sweater and old dusty denim pants. She waved a hand and returned to her paper work, (homework really), from her father to distract her now that she had just recently graduated college three months ago.
"Sixteen Dracos landed on earth for a new start this month," she said absent-mindedly, checking off the family names and highlighting their contact numbers. She’d have to call them and schedule appointments to meet in person. Marshall hummed in response, then put his coffee cup down.
"Any of them got...a relatable reason...why they came to earth for a new start?" He tried to ask casually, but Nova had already double checked for him moments earlier, knowing he’d ask sooner or later.
"No," she watched her friend deflated, folding his arms on the table and resting his head on them. "They all came with their families, there were no single Dracos, at least none of age.” Marshall simply pulled at a loose string on his long-sleeved plaid shirt. Nova frowned, “I guess there was a big enough feud in the community for them to leave the moon," she tried to mumble away the silence so Marshall wouldn't get lost in his depressing and lonely thoughts.
She itched behind her knees.
"I’m sorry Marshall," Nova reached for his forearm and squeezed in support. "There just isn’t any other...gay..." she hushed the word, "Dracos registered on Earthe...at least not yet."
Marshal snorted, but rested his hand on her own on his arm, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand in a response to her comfort.
Nova wasn’t homophobic. Gay humans were, for the most part, welcome and active here on Earthe. But Marshall was a Draco, a shape shifting dragon-looking alien from the dark side of the moon. Forbidden to mate with humans, no matter how gay and welcoming they were, Draco and human hybrids were an idea crushed at the first thought. It was one of the many laws Nova’s family enforced, as did all her ancestors from decades before her. Now that Nova had graduated college, it was her responsibility and job to keep track of all Dracos on the their side of the planet and their family, friendly, and employee ties with the humans they’d interact with during their stay.
She didn’t want the first Draco she reported to her uncle, the leader of their family, to be her best friend Marshall; a young gay male that wouldn’t reveal the species secret just because of the simple fact that his human partner wouldn’t spawn a hybrid child. But rules were rules, if Marshall was allowed to mate with a human, why couldn’t others? How could they really keep track who was actually gay and who was keeping up an act to get around the human population and threatening the species secret?
It was a tough situation for Marshall, one that they’ve talked about in the past numerous times before. Obviously, her best friend forgot that. “I’m going to go talk to him,” he suddenly decided, sitting up and getting ready to leave the table. Nova gripped his sleeve, yanking him hard.
“Not looking like that you’re not!” She hissed.
Marshall, clearly confused, leaned back towards Nova. “Like what…?” He looked at himself, wondering why he wasn’t fit to approach another being. Nova rolled her eyes before scratching her wrist and clearing her throat.
"You’re illusion,” she started matter of fact.
“What about it?”
“Can I even ask why your illusion is down?"
Marshalls eyes widened as he looked up at her, "what?"
"For the past few days now," she gestured with her free hand towards his head. "I can see you have teal hair and purple eyes, why are you letting your illusion down?"
Marshalls skin literally crawled in response, as if he was double checking his illusion. "And it's not just you,” she continued, “it's a few other Dracos I’ve seen on the street," Nova frowned. "Are you guys trying to make a statement or something?"
Marshall looked confused, his teal brows pulling together.
"Nova there’s nothing wrong with my illusion..."
She itched the inside of her elbow, and Marshalls eyes darted to the motion. In an instant, the Draco grabbed his friends wrist.
He yanked up her sleeve, revealing clear scales growing from beneath Nova’s skin. They gasped, frozen at the table and staring at what couldn't be possible.
"Dude," a teen passing by stopped at their table, "nice work. Bet your sculpting is just as dope." The kid left and Marshall quickly pulled Nova’s sleeve down to hide what was obviously seen by all.
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Hey, I'm Maryah Stevens, a 25 year old, self-published, college graduate, married, 1st time mom! Phew!