Author's Note: Well, here's another Grizzly Science story for your enjoyment. It takes place sometime after "Grizzly Christmas".
Grant sat at the booth in Grizz's Bar n' Grill alone. Brent had called him several hours ago on his new cell phone that he'd be a bit late getting home. On mutual agreement, they had both chipped in for two phones several years ago, when they couldn't reach the other immediately.
He decided that he'd surprise Brent with some takeout, so he had called ahead to find out if they had takeout service available. They did, to his pleased surprise, so he ordered what Brent and he liked when he arrived at the bar.
He sat back, glancing at several good-looking men with cursory attention, not settling on any one of them. He grinned mentally as his dick twitched at several bearish men who were playing pool.
The bartender had his takeout all wrapped up within a half hour, and motioned Grant over.
Grant slid out of the booth and made his way to the bar counter. He dug his wallet out, and just after paying the bartender for the food, he was jostled lightly from behind.
The person behind him blinked owlishly, then apologizing profusely, and sat down at a stool several feet away at the bar.
Grant scowled gruffly. "It's fine."
He gazed at the new customer and frowned. He looked a little despondent, grimy and his clothes were rumpled as if he slept in them all the time. He looked vaguely appealing despite being buried under grime and soiled clothes.
He was sporting a scruffy goatee along with a roundish face that made him appear younger. The clothes were baggy, not giving him a clue on what was under them. Not that it really mattered to Grant at that point.
An idle thought wandered into his mind whether he was homeless or not. Grant shook his head mentally. It was the young man's life, and he had nothing to do with how the chap lived it. As Grant turned around to leave, he saw the fellow slump his head into his hands.
His heart was conflicted -- he was slightly torn to at least ask the fellow if he was alright, and his rational side told him to just keep going -- the fellow wasn't his business, after all. His rational side won out for the moment, with a sigh of reluctance, he started to leave.
With another backward glance as he exited the eating establishment, he saw the fellow talking to the bartender -- for an order, he surmised.
A few minutes drive later, he pulled into his driveway, then carried their takeout inside the house. He didn't want to wait for Brent to come home at ten to eat his own dinner. He'd stick Brent's share into the oven when he returned home.
He tossed his keys on the table near the door after closing it, then carried their food to the kitchen.
* * *
Several hours after eating and then enjoying a cigar, he sighed as the clock struck eight o'clock. Just two more hours before Brent would get home.
Inhaling the scent of the stogie, he smiled in relaxation. His shirt had been unbuttoned halfway down, and sleeves rolled up. It was not quite cold out yet, but the nip of fall was starting to appear at night.
After a few moments of puffing at his cigar, and feeling impatient, he finally stood up. He walked to the front window to the left of the door, and peeked outside hoping that Brent would be pulling in early.
He swore under his breath as he saw a dark figure rummaging around his garbage -- hidden by most people by the hedges that lined the front yard.
Yanking his cigar out of his mouth, he quickly laid it in an ashtray, still burning. He made his way back to the front door, and silently opened it slowly then closed it behind him.
Padding lightly on the steps like a lion about to pounce on his prey, he made his way toward the figure, then frowned in puzzlement. There was something suspiciously familiar about the build of this person.
He crossed his arms across his furry, broad chest, and cleared his throat quietly.
The figure whirled around, and nearly knocked off one garbage can behind him in fright. A spark of recognition flared in his eyes as he froze.
Grant growled softly recognizing him, his voice laced with menace. "What are you doing?"
The guy darted a glance toward the front entrance, and Grant tensed, waiting for him to make a move. The guy never had the chance to escape.
Grant growled in a warning rumble then grabbed the guy's arm. This guy wasn't going to escape that easily. His initial grip felt a small amount of muscle in the man's arm, but as far as he knew, he wasn't as strong as he was. He dragged him up the stairs then forced him into the house.
The guy struggled against him, but Grant's grip was too strong to shake off.
Shoving the bum into the house, Grant grunted, then closed the front door behind him.
He marched over, grabbed his cell phone from the table, and dialed an operator. "Give me the number to the police station, please."
The scruffy guy panicked and grabbed Grant's arm that was holding the phone. "No! Don't call the police, please!"
Grant felt the guy's strength actually pull his arm down slightly, and was surprised. Then angry. He snapped the phone shut and growled, while grabbing the younger guy by the shirt in his other hand then drew him closer.
He punctuated the words with forceful emphasis. "Why? You were going through my trash. Why shouldn't I let the police deal with you?"
The 'boy' squeaked in surprise, and felt oddly turned on. Here was this big beast, and he was shocked that he hadn't been beat up yet.
He stammered out, "B-because... I was looking for food!"
Grant's fist slacked his grip in startlement. "But what about Grizz's? Didn't you eat there when I left?"
The guy stopped trying to pull back, and stared at a point away from Grant. He spoke quietly. "...Right. That. Um... That was my last meal there with the rest of my money."
Grant let go completely, feeling confused and guilty for some odd reason. "So you were looking for food in my trash?"
The guy nodded, looking a bit embarrassed, but made no move to leave.
Grant frowned, caution creeping into his features. "You're not following me, are you?"
The younger guy shook his head so vehemently that Grant was inclined to believe him.
"No, no. I had no idea you lived here. Your trash can was the only one I could find close enough that wasn't locked up..."
Grant kept a stony silence searching for an idea of what to say next. He suddenly realized that he had no clue on the other's name.
His voice sounded gruff, even to him. "So, what's your name, kid?"
The scruffy man suddenly went shy, and spoke quietly, "Vince."
Grant had to strain to hear him, and spoke, "Vince? Grant."
He smiled at Vince, who answered back with a tremulous smile.
Grant felt his heart skip slightly, then mentally shook his head. Putting the cell phone down on the table, he gazed back at Vince, critically studying him. "Now. Why don't you stay on the couch tonight? Have a meal and a shower. I can pop your clothes in the wash, and loan you some of mine to sleep in if you want."
Vince stared at the muscle-god and stammered. "R-really? I... I thought you'd just throw me out..."
Grant shook his head. "Nah. Don't worry about it. What do you want first?"
Vince thought for a moment. "Something to eat."
Grant nodded, and extinguished the cigar, then put it back in the case on the table for later. He walked over to the kitchen/dining room counter, and pulled out a tall chair. "Here. Sit. I'll find you something to eat. Do you not like anything in particular?"
Vince drug his feet to the chair, and settled down in it, feeling exhausted. He really didn't care if he had to eat broccoli florets right off the stem; he was so hungry that he probably would have eaten anything that was offered. He felt like drifting off, and let that feeling take him for a moment. "...Anything's fine."
Grant turned around, and was alarmed at Vince nearly going to sleep. "Vince -- what was the last thing you ate?"
Vince mumbled something under his breath, and struggled to open his eyes. "Uhh... fries."
Grant came over to Vince and shook him on the shoulder, now concerned. "Wake up, man! And when was the last time you ate before that?"
Vince tried to think. The days had blurred together into nights when he had to go without food. "Um, I tried to eat once a day, with my money, and then look for food."
Grant swore under his breath. Spying an apple he snatched it out of the bowl on the opposite corner and shoved it into Vince's hand.
His voice was an order. "Vince, eat the apple. Now."
Vince woke up a little more at Grant's insistence, and he dutifully took the apple, biting into it. At once, the tartness of the apple cut through his exhaustion as he swallowed the first bite. Real food. It'd been a while since he had any. The apple helped his mind clear, and his hunger ease.
Grant made sure that the apples were within easy reach, by bringing the bowl to the other counter in front of Vince. He stood there wondering what would be a good and filling meal without too much trouble.
The burly bear glanced at Vince, seeing that he was working on a second apple, and smiled at him. "Feel a bit better?"
Vince nodded shyly, and resumed eating the apple.
Grant went about to make a meal of cold cut sandwiches and peeled oranges. He figured that Vince could eat more apples if needed.
Grant set the plate down in front of Vince along with a large glass of water. "Here. I wasn't sure what to make, so thought this would be enough for now."
Vince nodded once with another shy smile, and eagerly dug into the food.
Grant had both hands on the counter, looking serious. "So, what happened?"
Vince's expression twisted into a grimace. "A lot of crap."
Grant nodded encouragingly. "Obviously. So tell me."
Vince gazed into Grant's eyes and tore them away, trying to avoid looking into the expanse of fur that was straining the older bear's shirt. "...Uh... My family disowned me. I lost my job. My friends couldn't help me while I was trying to look for another job."
Grant tapped his fingers on the counter, and studied Vince's cues. "Oh. I see." His loins were twitching slightly. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, wondering why. Vince was kinda cute, but it was hard to tell what was bugging Vince. He seemed a little shy, yes, but...
What was it about Vince?