Crandall wedged himself in the corner of the hall where the doorway led out into the club. Half of his body hidden by the door jamb, he spied on the growing crowd. He heard footsteps, but didn’t turn. He knew every mortal that had been permitted in the hall and dressing room. The vampire, Sidney (no idea how he knew) still stood beside the door to the dressing room, watching Crandall like the predator he was.
“What are you doing?” Mike’s voice, low and near his ear, sent a silent shiver through Crandall’s body.
“Watching people.” He didn’t look at Mike. He didn’t move. Mike could get as close as he wanted, and that was close, without bothering Crandall. Especially in that moment, while his attention was completely focused on searching every face in the crowd.
“I don’t like them.”
“I know. That’s why it’s weird.”
“No, I mean,” he paused, licked his lips and tilted his head to the side, following the movements of a short vampire with long mahogany curls. She’d been at their first show, right up front. She’d laughed at him when he waved his stake around on stage and called out the vampires. When the others were wary, she found him amusing, and now, she was back.
“Crank?” Mike’s fingers brushed the small of his back, cautious but concerned.
“None of them are attractive,” he said. He turned to face Mike, folding his shoulders into the narrow corner. “Isn’t it weird?”
“That you’re not trying to get in someone’s pants? No. You’ve never been like that.”
“Yeah, that. I stared at that vampire – Angelo – for a long time. The way Beryl acts around him, he’s got to be hot stuff, and he’s not ugly or anything, but I’m not attracted to him.”
“Why would you want to be?”
“I’m attracted to you.”
Mike’s head whipped around, checking Sidney, or the closed door to the dressing room; basically everything. “Shh, damn it.”
“He knows.” Crandall shrugged. “He saw the tape last time.”
“Still, man, c’mon.”
“It’s not just the guys either. I didn’t see one girl that got me going.”
“What’s your point?”
“You get me hard as fuck.” His hazel gaze locked on Mike. Long, dark hair cascaded around his drummer’s paranoid expression, hard muscles flexed under the snug tee that would be ditched by the third song, if not before they hit the stage. He shaved this evening, before leaving for the show. He didn’t always do that. Crandall wanted to drag him into a quiet room somewhere, alone.
“I do NOT want to talk about this here,” Mike hissed.
“So what’s wrong with me? I don’t give a fuck about sex.”
“I beg to differ.” A smile flickered through his irritation like the snippet of a wet dream.
“With Beryl, she initiated everything from our first date to every fuck thereafter.”
Mike, with a quick glance over his shoulder, angled himself to better keep an eye on both the hall to the dressing room and the doorway that led into the club. “I don’t need to hear about your escapades with her.”
“I’m getting pissed off,” Mike said, crossing his arms over his chest. The black ink of his tattoo sleeve swarmed and writhed. Thorns, Mike had said at first, but when the vines extended down his right arm visit after visit, they started to look more like tentacles to Crandall.
“No, you’re not. You’re scared, but I’m keeping my voice down. I didn’t think you were hot before you kissed me.”
Mike’s wary gaze snapped back to focus on Crandall.
Crandall laughed. “Does that offend you?” he asked.
“No, but you are making me nervous. What’s your point?”
“Why do I not, even trying, find no one else attractive? Why are you different?”
Mike sighed and leaned close to Crandall’s ear. “Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you. I like having you all to myself.”
Pushing him back, Crandall said, “I’m serious, Mike. It’s weird.”
“You’ve never taken interest in other people. Why is it bothering you now?”
Crandall turned, peeking out the doorway with his body half-hidden by the frame and the narrow corner. “I don’t know,” he said. “But it does.”
The girl with the mahogany curls stepped up to the doorway. She met Crandall’s stare as his eyes widened in surprise. She had a heart-shaped face, plump, red lips, and bright eyes in a shade of green so vibrant he wanted to ask if they were contacts.
“Hello,” she said. “My name is–”
In a flurry of moment, Sidney pulled Crandall back, crowding him against Mike as he maneuvered himself between the hunters and the vampire. Jackson appeared from whatever shadowy corner he’d been sulking to grab her arm, snarling at her as if he’d take a bite, kin or not.
Stunned by the speed of his bodyguards, Crandall said nothing, watching the scene unfold with the comfort of Mike’s chest pressed against his back. Mike would realize soon enough that he’d wrapped a protective arm around Crandall’s shoulders.
Up Next: Music Doesn’t Lie