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Bloody Drumsticks

The ratt-tatt-tatt of a machine gun was loud in the small apartment. Blood and guts splattered across the television screen. Mike swore, ducking to the side in his favorite chair narrowly dodging another zombie. One that looked surprisingly like Dragon. With the twist of his wrist and a twitch of his finger, he drew a pistol and blew Dragon-zombie’s head clean off its shoulders.

“Call him.” Crandall paced through Mike’s peripheral vision. Mike ignored him, tapping the game controller to reload as the next wave of zombies appeared from down the block.

“I’m not calling. Give him time to work.”

“We left there two hours ago.”

“In the middle of the night.”

“So?”

Mike sighed. He did not want to argue. It wouldn’t get either one of them anywhere but annoyed. Instead, he said nothing, opening fire on the next wave of zombies closing in on his position.

He heard Crandall snort, a too familiar sound that told Mike he wouldn’t be giving in so easily. When Crandall stepped back into his peripheral view – this time close enough to the television screen to interfere with Mike’s game with no warning – Mike decided it would be best to postpone his own distraction until Crank settled down. He hit pause, set the controller on the arm of the chair, and frowned up at his lover. He loved Crandall with every bit of his being, but sometimes – like tonight – he could be a huge pain in the ass. They both knew it, and they both knew that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Still, the love was there, for both of them. It gave Mike patience.

“How about some music?” Mike sat still. If he couldn’t divert Crandall, he’d play on and do his best to ignore the man’s demands. “We could work on that new song.”

“You trying to get us kicked out of this shit hole?”

Mike closed his eyes and resisted another sigh of frustration. When he opened them he said, “Acoustic.”

Crandall crossed his arms tighter over his chest. He looked like he was trying to break his own ribs in a bear hug. Before he could object, Mike tried again. “Chris will do what he said he would do. So we can either pass the time with something enjoyable or we can argue about it. Do you really want to fight, Crank? Because it’s not going to get you an answer any sooner.”

Crandall’s scowl drifted into confusion momentarily, and then shifted into resignation. He dropped his arms to his sides and rolled his head around, loosening tense muscles. “It’s not a new song,” he said. “LP recorded it years ago, and we can’t do it acoustic tonight. I want the piano version. Just you on the piano, and me singing. You’ll sing Shinoda’s part.”

“I…” Mike tried to remember the song. My December. He couldn’t recall the lyrics, and while Crandall might’ve played the piano arrangement for him as some point, Mike was blanking on the tune. “I don’t sing.”

“Bullshit. I’ve heard you.”

“Not on stage.” He wasn’t sure why he was objecting. Mike liked to sing, but he liked creating music much more. He loved the power behind his drum set, and he enjoyed writing the rest of the music with Crandall. Crandall had always been the singer and had always written their lyrics – when they bothered to use their own songs. Just as often, Crandall picked out songs to cover. This was a first – asking Mike to not only play something besides his drums on stage, but to also lend his voice to the performance. He wished he could remember how much Linkin Park’s co-lead contributed to that particular song.

“Shit, Mike, you won’t have a lot of lines. Try it before you tell me off.”

Mike did sigh this time. “I’m not telling you off. I’m telling you—”

“That you’re chicken shit?”

With a laugh, Mike shook his head. “Alright. If it gets your mind off being a pain in the ass, I’ll work on this song tonight. We can decide whether it’s worthy of performance later.”

“It is.”

“I’m sure it is. I’m just not so certain that it will be after changing my role in all of this.”

He wasn’t sure Crandall heard his last objection. Crank had already walked out of the room, probably to grab his keyboard and sheet music. Just another one of his lovable quirks – when most people would’ve said “I’ll just grab my gear” before leaving, Crandall simply walked out of the room, knowing damn well if Mike thought about it, he’d know exactly where Crandall was going and why. So why announce it?

Yep, lovable. Or at least quirky.

Mike chuckled, smiling fondly as he got up to shut off his game. He’d sing tonight. For Crandall. But singing and playing the piano on stage? Well, maybe after Crandall pried bloody drumsticks out of Mike’s cold, dead hands.

 
 

Torn

Mike was torn. He knew once Crandall set his mind to something he’d do it. He could still picture numerous instances. Most recently, the way Crandall worked out until he was nearly falling asleep on his feet, intent on keeping up with Ash during their sparing sessions overnight.

Regardless of Crandall’s stubbornness, Mike couldn’t let him walk into that club with blood on his mind. He grabbed Crandall’s arm as Crandall swung the passenger door open. Before Crandall’s feet hit the pavement, Mike pulled him back and wrapped his arms around him, pulling his back against Mike’s chest.

Mike sighed against Crandall’s ear resisting the urge to release him when he felt Crandall tense, the anger and anxiety coursing through Crandall’s body as clear as lust and desire had been moments ago. “Wait,” Mike whispered. “Please.”

“You’re not going to talk me out of this.” Crandall stopped struggling but Mike could still feel the tension in his body.

“I get it.” Mike brushed his lips over the hard ridges of Crandall’s ear. Crandall’s kryptonite. “I understand, but listen.” He paused, kissed Crandall’s ear. “If you go in there now, with all those vampires in the club, you’ll never succeed, let alone survive.” He paused again, licked Crandall’s earlobe. “Wait. Wait for her to be alone and vulnerable. No one will know it was us.”

Us. Mike wanted nothing to do with killing the handmaiden to one of the strongest vampires in the city, but he would. If Crandall insisted. And he’d pray they weren’t discovered. Thank God they turn to ash and dirt. No body, no evidence.

“Alright.” Crandall squirmed away and sat up straight in his seat. “I’ll wait for her to leave.” He twisted sideways to face the back door of the club.

“Crank. C’mon, man.”

“What the fuck? Did you mean what you said or were you fucking with me?” Crandall’s glare turned on Mike for the span of three seconds before diverting back to the club.

“No, I meant it. Just not tonight.” Mike cranked the key and the engine growled and grumbled to live. “Though, shit, man, two seconds ago you were ready to skip breakfast. Come home and finish what you started. She’ll be around to stake another night.”

Crandall shifted his gaze again but Mike could tell his attention was on that door.

Mike leaned closer but left space between them, testing Crandall’s resolve. “You may as well go hang out with Jon and Beryl if you’re going to wait for Nica. I’m not sitting in this parking lot all night.”

Crandall’s  gaze dropped to Mike’s mouth, his lips parted soundlessly. Crandall’s body both relaxed and tensed, as if he was considering grabbing Mike right there in the car, or demanding Mike join him in the passenger seat. Didn’t matter. Mike knew the look. Crandall’s mind was on sex. A very good place for it to be.

“So are you getting out or are you getting fucked?” Mike grinned as Crandall sucked in a sharp breath and nodded.

“Home?” Mike asked.

“You fucking suck.”

Mike’s smile turned wicked. “That can be arranged.”

“Oh, hell, yeah.” Crandall swayed forward but paused, his lips two inches from Mike’s. “Fuck, yeah,” he whispered, barely audible, yet more powerful than any sound Mike had heard recently.

Crandall sat back in his seat, his gaze out the front glass, staring into the night. Mike nodded. Perfect. No fighting, just fucking. A perfect ending to a night of music. He sat up and faced forward. As he shifted the car into reverse, Crandall spoke up.

“What about that shit on your window?”

“What shit?” Mike glanced Crandall’s way.

Crandall threw the door open and was out the door before Mike could shift into park and grab him. Crandall plucked the card from under his windshield wiper and climbed back into the car. Just the note. Good. For a brief moment, he’d thought Crandall had suddenly decided to go through with his suicide mission after all.

When Crandall handed the note to Mike, he took it reluctantly. He shoved it between the console and his seat, then shifted into reverse again.

“Aren’t you going to read it?”

Mike considered parking again but decided if he didn’t get moving soon, he’d be tempted to fuck Crank right there in the parking lot to make his point. “Not interested,” Mike said as he turned to look out the back window.

He rolled the car back, and then shifted into drive. As he drove through the small parking lot designated for staff and bands only, Crandall fished the envelope out from beside Mike’s seat.

“If that’s going to piss you off again, it can wait until tomorrow.” It didn’t work. Crandall said nothing and slid his finger under the flap, breaking the seal. He pulled out an equally pink piece of note paper and tossed the envelope on the floor.

Mike sighed. “What’s it say?” he asked as Crandall remained quiet.

“Shit about vampires liking history, and that we should take a tour on the Freedom Trail some night.”

“Not tonight.”

“Definitely not tonight.” Crandall tossed the letter on the floor and reached for Mike. Mike stomped on the gas, pulling out onto the main road as Crandall’s fingers walked up his inner thigh. It would be tough to drive home with Crandall’s hand wandering, but Mike had no other choice and wouldn’t have it any other way.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in confrontations, Flirtations

 

Feeling Better

Crandall rode in silence as Mike maneuvered his ‘Stang through the city streets. Jon lived on the outskirts, in a quiet little neighborhood a couple of miles from the last T-station. Sometimes, Jon would pick them up at the station so they didn’t have to drive through the city, but tonight, Jon’s wife  had his car while hers was in the shop for a few days.

Crandall preferred it this way. He hated riding the T. He hated traffic more, but since he wasn’t driving, he preferred this – Mike’s old car, and Mike as his only company.

Travelling could be so exhausting. So many people. It seemed he rarely got a chance to be alone anymore. Mike didn’t count. Crandall liked having Mike around. More lately, of course, but even before they’d started having amazing sex, Mike seemed the exception to Crandall people-hating rules. Ash was okay, and Crandall liked him, but Crandall was ready to start apartment searching on behalf of his friend.

He needed his space, his sanctuary, his peace and quiet where he didn’t have to work to conform to society’s expectations of polite small talk, tolerance of irritations, and other things he could avoid by simply staying home. This afternoon, he’d left work early to take a much needed break from people, but Ash had the stereo blasting while he belted out awful lyrics from annoying electro-dance tunes made popular by stupid sheep who listened to whatever the local station played whether it was good or not.

Crandall picked a fight by telling Ash he’d never find an apartment if he melted his brain listening to shitty music. It started low and went downhill from there. By the time Mike got home, Ash was sitting on Crandall’s back, pushing his face into the carpet while Crandall strung together curses and threats of painful and drawn out bodily harm.

“Okay now?” Mike asked, breaking into Crandall’s internal world.

Crandall grunted, and expected Mike to drop the conversation at that.

“C’mon, man, cut Ash a break. He is looking for a place, but he had a good deal before. Cheap. We don’t make much from the Crane. He can’t move into just anywhere.”

“Fuck.” Crandall snorted a sigh.

“I thought you two were getting along.”

Crandall stared out the side window, watching shadowy buildings flash by. “We were. We are.” He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the rest. “I need my apartment back, Mike. I can’t completely relax with guests in the house.”

“Don’t think of Ash as a guest.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“I know, man. I know. You’re okay with me around. Ash can be that kind of friend too.”

“I don’t want to fuck Ash.”

Mike made an odd snorting sound. Crandall opened his eyes and turned to look at him. “Are you laughing at me?” Crandall asked.

A smile snuck through as Mike shook his head. “No, not like that. I’m glad you don’t want to sleep with Ash.” He chuckled, then his expression sobered. “We lived together okay before we started sleeping together.”

“I don’t get it either.”

They drove for another couple of miles. “Would you rather blow off practice tonight, get some quiet time in?”

“Fuck no. Music is…” Crandall shook his head. “It makes it better.”

“Okay, good. So you won’t try to kill Ash when we get home?”

“Only if we stop for pizza, and Jon has some MJ on hand.”

“Right.”

Crandall shifted in his seat so he could lay a hand on Mike’s thigh. “I didn’t mean to start shit tonight. I wanted to lock myself up alone for a couple of hours before practice, and Ash was home, making a racket and being a dick about it, and I lost it. I need to be alone sometimes, Mike. You know that.”

“I do.” Mike nodded. He covered Crandall’s hand with one of his own. After another couple of miles, he added, “Feel free to hole up at the Crane if you need to. You’re welcome to the office; bring your laptop and headphones, and just crash.”

That was Mike, always thinking. It wasn’t Crandall’s business, but the guys had embraced him as one of the team with all the vampire hunting bullshit. Dragon wouldn’t mind Mike’s offer one bit, and Ash, well if Ash was at the Crane, Crandall wouldn’t need a place to hide out.

Crandall rubbed his chest with his free hand. Damn Mike, made Crandall give a shit about someone. About Mike. He’d been good for Crandall. Very good.

“Thank you,” Crandall said softly. He squeezed Mike’s thigh. “I appreciate that. You. Definitely you.” He smiled and leaned his head on Mike’s shoulder. “I bet a blow job would make me feel more grounded.”

“Not while I’m driving.” Mike’s voice broke. He was definitely thinking about it, even if his words objected.

“Okay, later.” Crandall sat up straight in his seat. He brushed against Mike’s crotch before removing his hand from Mike’s lap, feeling much better than he had all day.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in confrontations, Friends, Love & Lust

 

Now or Never

Crandall was standing in the break room, filling his travel mug with fresh coffee, when the sounds of gossiping surrounded him. He ignored the three women, refusing to acknowledge their sudden presence in the room. He would dump the contents of several tiny plastic cups of half-and-half into his cup and high-tail it back to his cubicle.

“Oh. It’s you.” A sharp voice snarled out of the gaggle. Crandall rolled his eyes before turning around to face the women.

“Who else would I be?” Crandall said. He started to walk past them, but then remembered his promise to Ash. He paused in front of the girl, staring right into her creepy pale eyes.

She met his stare. Something Crandall wasn’t used to. He hadn’t done it on purpose, but he knew he’d developed a look that unnerved a lot of people. Especially people who didn’t know him. Ginger, apparently, didn’t seem bothered by it all.

“Why are you such a jerk?” she asked.

Crandall blinked and looked away. With his gaze over her right shoulder, he considered telling her to fuck off again, but he decided that should wait until Ash had his shot at her. He couldn’t see why Ash wanted to meet this pain the ass, but it wasn’t up to him to censor that desire.

“I just fucking am,” Crandall said. He sipped his coffee, grimacing at it before continuing. “You want to talk with someone nice, that’d probably be Ash.”

She waved a hand in front of his face. “Don’t you dare tease me.” She put the offending hand on her hip and said, “I don’t have to listen to you.”

Crandall snorted and returned to the coffee counter. He ripped open three sugar packets and poured them into his mug. He stirred the coffee and tossed the plastic straws in the trash. When he turned to leave the break room, the girl was still scowling at him. He couldn’t imagine Ash falling for this girl, but it was his right to try. Maybe it’d be entertaining to see her unleash her snotty fury on someone else.

“Hell if I know why, but Ash wants to meet you this afternoon.” He watched her scowl flicker into confusion, hope, and then doubt and anger.

“Don’t you mess with me, Crandall Jacobsen.”

“I couldn’t be bothered,” Crandall said, and then walked past her. She didn’t follow him this time.

#

Crandall’s desk phone rang precisely at 3 p.m. He hit Disconnect on his desktop and tossed his headset in the corner before answering the offending device. “Yeah?” Then, after a pause, “Yeah, I know. I’ll be right down.”

Before heading to the lobby to meet Ash, Crandall stopped on the second floor. He walked into Ginger’s cubicle, side-stepped a tall, scrawny man talking to her, and said, “Ash is here. Come on.”

The beanstalk sputtered about interruptions, but Crandall had already turned and walked out of the cubicle. If she was as interested as she had said, she’d follow. If not, Crandall wanted coffee that actually tasted good and didn’t leave his stomach acidic and grumbling.

Crandall took the stairs down to the lobby. By the time he hit the landing, he heard Ginger calling after him from the top. At the bottom, as he pushed through the door that let out down the hall from the security desk, Ginger caught up with him. She grabbed his arm. Crandall stopped and spun around raising a fist. Ginger immediately released him and backed away a step. “Whoa,” she said holding up her hands, palms out. “Just wait a second. Huh?”

“Don’t touch me,” Crandall said lowering his fist.

“What’s he doing here?” Ginger asked, also relaxing.

“He invited himself.”

“Why?”

“I’m not in his fucking head.”

“Crandall, please.” She smoothed her hands over her hair.

“I told him you asked about him, so I guess he’s curious.”

“Okay, good. Thank you. How do I look?” She smiled and clutched her hands together, striking some kind of girlie pose that Crandall had seen often enough when they were flirting with other guys. Girls were fucking complicated. Shaking hips, making up eyes and lips, dressing in all kinds of different styles that somehow communicated moods and needs to each other.

Crandall rolled his eyes and said, “Either you like each other or you don’t. The color of your socks will not help you succeed.”

“But–”

But nothing. Crandall turned and walked down the short hall that would lead them to the lobby, and to Ash.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in confrontations, Friends, Ginger

 

Mike’s Rancor

“You should leave,” Mike said.

“Can’t.” Nica turned her back to him, making a show of checking out the small kitchen.

“Why. Not?” Mike ground his teeth and clenched his jaw. He didn’t care why she was there, and he wanted her out. She was lucky he didn’t stake her right now for hurting Crandall.

And Ash, he reminded himself. He and Ash were close, like brothers, but seeing Crandall bloodied in his own home make Mike see red. He struggled to rein in his anger. The only thing keeping her alive was the uncertainty about how valuable she might be to the vampires who knew where he lived.

“Max wants us to work out our differences,” Nica said, still facing away. “We have to work together or you’ll never catch Judas.”

“Until you are willing to work with us, I doubt you’ll get very far.”

“You know what?” She spun around, the fire back in her eyes. “Just fuck you!”

Mike hardened his expression and took the two steps forward he needed to tower over her and glare down into those angry eyes. “You hurt my friends so I’m in no mood to talk.” He spoke very low and quiet. “If you don’t leave, I will personally drive this stake through your heart.” He hadn’t meant to draw the weapon, but as her eyes widened and her gaze dropped, his followed. They both stared at the stake pressing a divot in her once-pretty now blood-spattered blouse.

“You wouldn’t,” she whispered. The quiver in her voice betrayed her. Mike let a small smirk creep across his lips at the sound of her fear. No matter what happened before he arrived, Mike knew three hunters in close quarters were plenty fearsome to all but the worst vampires.

“Out,” he said. “Now.”

She took a step back, her gaze flicking between his eyes and the stake. “Max would kill you.”

“Oh?” Mike’s smirk curled into something mostly evil and dreadfully unlike him, but Nica had hit the one nerve that couldn’t be stretched. Crandall. “Are you more important than Judas?”

“You can’t do this without my help.” Desperate. She sounded very, very desperate.

“Out!” Mike roared the word and took a fast step forward.

Nica jumped and back-peddled two steps before she recovered her demeanor. “Fine!” She snarled the word and wrinkled her nose at him. She strode to the counter, and tipped over a canister of cocoa mix. She drew her finger through the mess before heading toward the door. As she passed Crandall in the living room, she paused and said, “My number is on the counter. Call me when you realize you’re screwed without me.”

The moment the door closed, the vampire on the far side, Mike rushed to Crandall. He took a deep breath and reminded himself that if a Hunter survived a fight with a vampire, he survived, period. They healed fast. Crandall and Ash would be stiff and sore for a day or two, but they’d live.

It didn’t help. He trembled as the adrenaline high abandoned his body. Nausea twisted his stomach in knots. If it hadn’t been Nica; if it’d been another vampire who hadn’t agreed to work with them…

Mike pulled Crandall into his arms and buried his face against Crandall’s neck. Mike tried, and failed, to bite back the whimper of relief. “I’m glad you’re okay,” he said.

Crandall squirmed. “I’m not okay. I fucking hurt. Stop squeezing bruises.”

Mike snorted a chuckle and drew back. He captured Crandall’s face between his hands and pressed a kiss to his lips. When Crandall shoved him away, muttering about personal space, Mike laughed. “Ash? You good?” he asked.

Ash eased himself off the sofa, rubbing his lower back as he stood. “More or less.” He looked away, studying the mess that was the coffee table. “I…” He glanced at Mike and Crandall — Crandall trying to put space between them and Mike unwilling to let Crandall out of his reach – and then at the floor again. “I was out of control. I’m truly sorry.”

“Hey, man,” Mike said. He still didn’t know exactly what happened, but the least of his worries was the cheap yard sale table.

“I’ll buy you a new table.” Ash shook his head again. He seemed to be arguing with himself in silence, but instead of saying more, he turned away and said, “I’m going to grab a quick shower.”

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Blood Hunter, confrontations, Nica

 

Interference

A lamp tilted across the seat of Mike’s gaming chair, its shade missing. The junk that had been on the coffee table now decorated the floor, and what remained of the coffee table surrounded it like some kind of warped modern art with a jagged wooden frame. A human sized dent in the plaster crumbled, its dust whiter than the wall had been, sprinkling snow along the floor.

Mike didn’t notice any of this. Nor did he spare more than a glance at Ash, sprawled on his back beside the sofa, groaning and attempting to roll over. He rushed to Crandall’s side and dropped to his knees. Crandall reclined awkwardly against the wall that separated the living room from the kitchen. Above his head, another sizable break in the wall held the shape of his upper body.

“Crank.” Mike croaked out his name, reaching cautiously for Crandall’s throat. He told himself that he trailed his fingers down Crandall’s neck in a tender caress, and not looking for a pulse. He couldn’t assume the worst. Crandall’s head lolled on one shoulder. Blood ran from his split lip as well as a gash over one eye. He looked like he put up a hell of a fight.

Before Mike’s fingers found what he sought, Crandall’s ruddy lashes fluttered, and a string of curses dripped from his swollen, cracked lips. “Fucking, goddamn fuck.” He licked his bloody lips. “Shit, mother fucker.” He shifted, winced, and rubbed his eyes. Mike pulled Crandall into his arms, hugging him tight to his chest and burying his face in his messy red hair.

“Thank God,” Mike whispered in a harsh rush of his exhale. He hadn’t realized he’d been holding his breath at all, but now, breathing in Crandall’s scent, he savored the movement of his chest against Crandall’s as they both took slow steady breaths.

Crandall squirmed, but Mike didn’t loosen his grip. Crandall snorted in his ear and said, “Where is that mother fucking, ego-fucking-tistical, over-fucking fanged, diva-bitch? Did she finally get the fucking hint and leave?”

He didn’t know who Crandall was talking about, but his question was answered when a short, pale vampire appeared in the doorway that led to the kitchen. Despite her height, she tower over them both.

Mike pushed Crandall aside as he lunged up and forward with a feral roar. His instincts were quick, but Nica was faster. She ducked back into the kitchen. Mike stumbled and fell across the linoleum. He rolled with the momentum, and then leaped to his feet with his back to the same sink where Crandall had first kissed him. With a flash of concern, Mike realized his tumble let her get between him and Crandall. He could hear Crandall in the other room, cursing at Nica, and cursing Ash to get his “psycho blood-thirsty ass” off the sofa and make things right.

“Don’t,” Nica said, holding out a finger as if scolding a child. “They started it, but I will finish it if you force me to.” Even in his anger, Mike recognized the change in her demeanor. She’d always been gentle, playful, and even a little bubble-headed, but now she bared fangs he’d never seen in her mouth, and fire sparked in her eyes. In the hand not pointed accusingly at him, she held a bloodied towel. She looked dangerous. She didn’t want to be, but she’d proven she could.

He lowered his hands to his sides. He remained tensed, ready to move if she threatened Crandall, but curiosity reeled him in. Something set her off, and he suspected he knew who. “Okay, talk. What the hell is going on here?”

“Fucking Ash.” Crandall wove into the kitchen, grasping at the frame around the doorway, and swaying like the floor beneath his feet bucked against gravity. “He fucking flipped out. I tried to calm him the fuck down, but he lost it. Fuck.” He pressed the hell of his hand to his forehead, lowered it, snarled at the blood, and then pressed again. “Fuck, I hurt.”

“Maybe you should sit,” Nica said with all the affliction of one who didn’t give a damn if he fell on his face or not. She checked her nails, using the damp, bloodied paper towel to wipe her knuckles. When she was done, she wrinkled her nose at the mess and tossed the towel at the sink.

Mike looked back and forth between them. His instinct was to help Crandall to a chair, but he knew better than to jump in uninvited. Instead he frowned at Nica and demanded answers.

“So what?” he snapped. “You show up unannounced, scare the crap out of Ash, and then act all put out when he reacts to a vampire in his home?”

Nice glared but said nothing.

“That sums it up,” Crandall said.

“How’s Ash?” Mike asked.

Crandall shrugged and unsteadily turned around, disappearing back into the living room. Mike listened for a moment. He didn’t hear a body fall, and several seconds later muted voices drifted his way. Talking was good.

For now.

 

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in confrontations, Nica

 

Ally or Enemy

Crandall lay on his side with his legs hugged to his chest. Mike had, as was typical whenever they argued, suddenly decided he didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and that was that. He left. Hunting. Crandall would’ve gone with him if he had even a sliver of suspicion Mike would actually be looking for vampires. No, they were an excuse for Mike to brood alone. Crandall closed his eyes, but they popped open again a second later. He wasn’t tired anymore. He was too fucking pissed off to sleep. Damn fucking Mike. He loved the guy, but he was a hypocrite of the highest ranking. Mike didn’t want the world to know he loved men – and Crandall did understand that it wasn’t just him; Mike feared judgment on his desire for men, not on which man he desired – but when Crandall had a solution that would deflect suspicion from them, and help their friend, Mike took it personally. Bastard!

Crandall was still staring viciously at the wall hoping for sleep when he heard the soft knock on the door. He wasn’t surprised Ash was checking on him. He was just that kind of guy… in touch with his feminine side. Crandall snorted. Ash would deny it of course, wanting to be as masculine as possible to make up for his physical imperfections, but yeah, Ash fucking cared. He looked out for his friends, and as far as Crandall was concerned that made him a damn good guy. Besides, Mike, with his pouting, was more girly than Ash with his tits and compassion.

When the knock came again, Crandall said, “Go away.”

The door squeaked slowly open. Crandall made no move to turn around. “Crandall?”

“No one else here,” Crandall said.

“Do you want to talk?”

“No.”

The mattress sunk as Ash sat. “What happened?”

“I said no. No, I don’t want to fucking talk about it.”

“Okay,” Ash said. “If you change your mind–”

“I’ll let you know,” Crandall snapped.

Ash stood to leave, but paused as a knock sounded from the apartment door. “Who would visit at this hour?”

As Ash headed down the hallway, the presence of the late night visitor washed over Crandall. “Fucking shit,” he said, and rolled out of the bed. He rolled out of bed, taking only a second to glance around his cluttered room. He couldn’t remember where he’d dropped his stake holster and he didn’t have time to go to Mike’s room for holy water before Ash made it down the short hallway to the front door.

Ash had already thrown the latch and turned the handle by the time Crandall caught up with him.

“Wait!” Crandall shouted.

Ash pulled on the handle even as he looked up, startled at Crandall’s sudden flurry of energy.

Before either man could speak, the door blew open, knocking Ash back several feet. Nica strutted into the room on knee-high five-inch platform boots as red as the vibrant curls framing her heart-shaped face. She looked deceptively young, but certainly not innocent, as she spun around with a sweet smile on her plush, red lips and something dark in her emerald eyes. She ignored Ash and winked at Crandall.

Her smile fell quickly when Ash screamed and rushed her. He slammed into her with all of his weight. Though lanky and thin, Ash had muscle, leverage, and surprise on his side. Nica squealed as she hit the floor. Ash sat on her, grabbing at her wrists, putting all he could into holding her down as he shouted, “Hurry, Crandall, grab a stake!”

Instead Crandall grabbed Ash’s arm and pulled him off Nica. “Stop, she’s not going to hurt us.” Nica, as the weight was removed, lashed out with her fury, and her feet, planting both platform boots square in Ash’s stomach.

“Hey!” Crandall shouted, glaring at Nica for a long second before rushing to where Ash lay on the floor gasping for breath. Crandall crouched over Ash with both hands on his shoulders to hold him down. “Slow deep breaths,” Crandall said. “Is anything broken?”

“I…” Ash gasped and winced. “Maybe. No. I don’t… don’t know.” His eyes widened and his gaze snapped over Crandall’s shoulder. He tried to push Crandall away, but Crandall held him down.

“Lie still for a fucking minute and listen to me.” Ash made no sign of hearing Crandall, staring over him until Crandall glanced back and growled a few choice words at Nica. When she didn’t move, he said, “Back off or I let him stake you.”

Nica snorted. “Not likely,” she said, but she did turn away and move to the sofa where she perched  on the edge with her hands in her lap, shooting a frown around the room. “Where’s your boyfriend?”

“Shut up.” Crandall pinched Ash’s chin and turned his face away from the pretty vampire. “Ash? Listen to me. Are you hearing me?”

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Ash, Blood Hunter, confrontations