Finally, some fiction from me! This begins the first chapter of a serial novel I’m going to be winging. I don’t know how often I will actually update it, but at this point, I hope to do so once a month.
Contents: Mature language, cigarettes, nudity, blood, violence.
Jess showed up at my apartment wearing nothing but a long white t-shirt and some high heels. I couldn’t tell if her eyes were all glassy from weed or from crying.
“Just a sec, all right?” I said through the tiny space I’d opened up to talk to her. I shut the door again after she gave me a quiet nod.
I turned back to the bedroom, but stopped short and turned to go into the bathroom. I’d made a mess. Looking at myself in the mirror, I found I’d managed to spill blood down my chin and neck and—fuck, did I get blood on my dick? Goddamn it.
I did a rush job of cleaning up and finally put some clothes on, just throwing on a t-shirt and a pair of athletic shorts in lieu of underwear. I checked in on the lump in my bed. I could still hear Seth’s heartbeat, even if it was kinda weak. He needed the rest anyway. I shut the bedroom door to give him some space.
Finally I made it back to the door only to realize Jess was already curled up and sobbing on my couch. I raised an eyebrow and came to sit by her, yanking a blanket from the back of the couch and covering her up. She didn’t say anything to me, only pulling part of the blanket up to her face.
I watched her for a moment, but when I realized she wasn’t going to volunteer any information, I sighed.
“All right. What the fuck happened?” My eyes darted over her while I assessed her current state. “It was fucking Johnny, wasn’t it? Piece of fucking shit. Need me to kick his ass?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Can I just sleep here?”
“I don’t have any food,” I said.
“That’s okay. I’ll just eat this Luke Skywalker blanket.” Even though her eyes were puffy and red, a genuine smile touched them and she put it into her mouth to chew on.
I returned the look with a scoff and a playful push to the back of her leg since I was sitting with her ass pointed at me. I tugged the blanket out of her mouth. “Don’t make fun of me, or I’m not getting you any tacos.”
She gasped and lifted her head out of her fetal position, eyebrows high. “You’re getting me tacos?” she asked. From the way her lip quivered, I thought she was about to cry.
And then she did.
“What? I’m—Did I do something?”
“You’re getting me tacos,” she whined, tears falling down her cheeks.
I stared at her with my mouth open, uncertain how to take that.
She breathed in through a stuttering gasp. “I just thought you’d be mad I came over, but you’re going to buy me tacos, and I just—Oh, Lai, thank you.” She sat up and leaned toward me.
Understanding, I relaxed some, putting my arm around her and allowing her to lean against me while I rubbed her arm. “You’re so fucking drunk right now.” I chuckled. It took her a few minutes of otherwise comfortable silence for her crying to die out completely, hiccups too. I had to wonder if it was only tacos that she was sobbing about.
“Cigarette,” she demanded, holding her hand out.
I snorted. “Demanding little beast, aren’t we?”
“I can be a big beast, if you don’t get me a fucking cigarette.”
Laughing, I eased away from her and stood up. “Want some pants while I’m up?”
“Give me your shorts,” she said.
I looked down at my shorts. “Pretty sure they won’t fit you.”
“Uhm, I’m a fucking shifter, duh. There’s not a pair of pants in the world that don’t fit me.”
Huh. “Good point. Just wait right there.”
“You’d better come back with tacos too!” she called when I’d made it to the bedroom.
I rolled my eyes in an endeared way and quietly shut the door, glancing at the bed again. I took a few careful steps over to Seth and looked at his face. Still asleep. Who knew the hot mailman would be so open to dating a vampire? I wondered how long I could make it work for.
When I came back to the living room, I passed Jess the lit cig and then held up a pair of black gym shorts.
“For you, ma’am,” I said before tossing them into her lap. And then I held up a pair of pink lacy panties. “And I’m pretty sure these are yours too.”
She snatched them from me. “Are they clean at least?” Her cigarette bounced between her lips while she flipped the blanket out of her lap and stood up.
“I wouldn’t just keep a pair of dirty panties around—Actually, that’s not a bad idea.” I shrugged.
“You’re disgusting.” She pulled on the underwear before I could remember I wasn’t supposed to be watching. She didn’t seem to care, though.
I turned my back to her and got my cigarettes back out to light another one, this time for myself to keep.
“So did you get laid tonight?” she asked.
I heard her plop back onto the couch, so I turned back around, letting the smoke roll out of my mouth slowly. I sat next to her and readjusted the Luke Skywalker blanket to cover us both. “Would I have come to the door naked if I hadn’t?”
“Don’t try to act like you wouldn’t. I’m surprised you got dressed at all.”
“I thought it wouldn’t be appropriate.”
“That’s a fucking first,” she said with a laugh.
I glanced back at the hallway. When Jess noticed me being dodgy, she did the same.
“I’m just seeing someone right now,” I said.
“Ohoho. That sounds like commitment.” She nudged me hard in the side with her elbow.
“I don’t know.” I took another long drag of the cigarette and checked again to make sure the hall was clear. “It’s still kinda new—”
“And he lets you feed on him. That must be nice.”
“Exactly!” It was a bit of a relief that she must have seen the blood and understood. It wasn’t easy to keep non-vampire friends all the time, but Jess was a true goddamned blessing. I turned toward her more, resting my elbow on the back of the couch. “It’s just nice to not call up a clean up crew. I’m not all about killing, but damn, I gotta eat. And then what are you supposed to do when you suck their blood and leave them alive?”
“I thought that’s what that subscription service was for? The Red Tech place? The people you feed on go to the police and no one takes them seriously and it never matters. You’re still paying for that, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, but then they still might send their beefy boyfriend or brother after you, and then you’ve either got more bodies on your hands or you get shot, and I ain’t fucking dealing with all that.” I shook my head and took another drag while Jess did the same. “I’d rather drain ’em, and call the number on the card—or! Have a hot boyfriend who lets me have snacks in bed.” I wiggled my eyebrows at her.
“I can’t believe I think this is a normal conversation.”
“What’s Johnny do when he feeds?”
“I try to stay out of that part of his life.” She sighed. “I pissed him off tonight. I’m sure he took it out on someone else. S’what he does.”
I looked her over, trying to remember the last time I’d even talked to Johnny. I knew she lived with him—or rather, that he was staying at her place because he was a fucking bum. I guessed that she was so sick of dealing with him that she didn’t even have enough energy to kick him out. I could only imagine how that would go.
“I’m really fucking surprised you hang out with that guy.”
“He’s a good guy.”
“Is he?” I asked, eyebrows coming together.
Jess ashed her cigarette onto the floor. “Fuck off, Martire. You don’t know shit.” She said it calmly, yet somehow that made it more unsettling.
“Do you realize how many times you’ve come by to cry about Johnny over the past few months? Over just the last month alone?”
“I do not cry about him,” she spat.
“Fucking really? Jess, you look like a fucking mess. Your makeup is running. You—”
“Fuck off, Lai!” she shouted. She rubbed the cigarette out on my blanket.
I yanked it out from her grasp and looked at her with the most offended look I could muster. “Motherfucking shit, Jess! You’re a goddamn psychopath.”
“A psychopath? I’ll show you a goddamned psychopath!” She kicked off the couch and climbed onto me to strangle me. My cigarette fell to the floor, still lit while I tried to grapple with her hands.
A normal woman, I could have bucked off of me with little to no effort, but Jess being a shifter allowed her arms to swell into those of a bodybuilder—until realized they were sprouting fur and she was becoming awfully gorilla-like.
I had to roll back and use my feet to kick her off of me, knocking myself to the floor and sending her tumbling over the coffee table and onto the floor with a crash as the TV fell down on top of her. She screamed some mixture of woman and gorilla screams while I rolled straight onto my cigarette. The good news was that I put it out. The bad news was that it burned like hell.
“Jess! Come on. This is just straight up fucking unnecessary!”
She launched herself toward me again, this time in full gorilla form, and I tipped the coffee table over to put something between us, still on the floor. A plastic ashtray spilled all over the carpet along with a day’s worth of cigarette butts. I picked up the table and used it like a shield, shoving it at Jess’s face and trying not to get smacked by her massive fists in the meantime. It worked well enough that I managed to get back on my feet, though my arms felt like they were bruising.
It was almost like a dance the way she tried to grab me, and each time, I had to pivot a little more to get away from her. I had half a mind to run, but I didn’t know what she would do if she was left alone with Seth. Or even just my stuff. I was pretty sure the Xbox would get smashed next.
Eventually, she figured out that she could hold the coffee table, and she ripped it from my grasp. She reared it back and swung it down hard. I put my arm over my head to block it, but the table broke, and I think so did my arm. I stumbled back until I fell on the ground. I could have taken her, maybe, but I didn’t want to kill her and I didn’t know what to do with a gorilla once I had it in my possession. “Come on, Jess! Just shift!”
“Stay down!” Seth stood at the end of the hall, looking feeble and shaky. He pointed a gun at Jess, and with that look of concentration pulling his eyebrows to center, I knew he thought he was protecting me.
Jess stopped swinging and turned her attention on Seth.
I clambered to my feet, feeling dizzy. I must have taken more of a blow to the head than I’d realized.
The blast of the gun thundered in my ears.
Who the fuck is Johnny?
Wondering what happened to Jess just before this chapter? Find out now.