Contents: Marijuana use, cigarette use, nudity, explicit sexual language/imagery, gun mention.
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On a new mission, I tucked the cigarette behind my ear and found Jackie’s car in the Red Tech Donor Station parking lot. The Porsche was silver and filled with a dark gray leather interior. She must have been serious about me leaving if she was volunteering her car for my bare ass and nutsack to sit on. I had to adjust the seat, pushing its base backward and leaning the seat back some, though less than I had expected. I’d never seen Jackie wearing any shoes other than high heels, and they made her taller than both Micah and Ras, neither of which were particularly short men.
I shut the door and felt the tug of the gown getting trapped in it. With a frustrated sigh, I opened the door again and pulled the gown into the car. This must have been what women had to deal with when they wore dresses. I adjusted the mirrors and started my search for a lighter, discovering quickly from the puffy leather around the gear shift that Jackie knew how to drive stick, which was also something I knew how to do, only I’d never actually done it before.
I dug my fingers into every storage space I could find, short of climbing into the back seat which was nearly non-existent anyway, and finally I gave up finding something to light my cigarette with. I assured myself I could just smoke when I got home, and like a dumbass, that’s where I went. Only to find crime scene tape across my door.
I knew Micah’s cops weren’t going to arrest me, but I didn’t know if maybe they’d try to drag me back to Micah’s, and again: like fuck was I going to Micah’s.
I parked Jackie’s shiny silver Porsche in the lot of Jess’s apartment building between a Civic with dull red paint and bright red duct tape strapping the passenger side mirror to the car, and an old Buick with a dent in the driver’s side door and a trash bag for a window. When I got to Jess’s apartment, I knocked on the door, throwing a nod to a dude who’d come out of the apartment down the hall and given me and my hospital gown a dirty look. Honestly, it wasn’t quite the fashion statement I wanted to make, but I could’ve gotten used to all the attention my ass was getting. When the door opened, it was Johnny.
I sighed and took a step back to look at his punk ass—literally, that tattered punk rock aesthetic. Fuzzy shaved head, arms and hands covered in edgelord tats, dirty high-tops, and his studded white belt that didn’t hold up shit or his sagging black skinny jeans.
“Where’s Jess?” I asked. I tried to look past him into the apartment. He closed the door a little bit more.
“Out,” he said. “What the fuck are you wearing?”
“Been playing Doctor with your mom. Guess we got carried away.” I pushed my way into the apartment, but Johnny didn’t put up much resistance. “Don’t mind me. My ass is just cold.”
Rolling his eyes, he walked back to the couch and dropped into the dent his flat ass had carved out over a few months of overstaying his welcome. The apartment was a fucking mess, covered in old fast food bags and cups and laundry that couldn’t possibly be clean, but I was sure Johnny would have argued the pile on the arm of the couch was ready to wear. The couch had ceased to belong to Jess and now was Johnny’s bed, which I heard about during Jess’s frequent complaints about him. She’d talked a few times about finally kicking him out, but she never did, and I just didn’t fucking get the attachment she had to the prick.
The clutter extended from the couch to the walls which were over-decorated—completely the opposite of my taste, which was pretty minimal and not to mention clean. The centerpiece of the art, if you could call it that, was a collection of masks hanging in the middle of the wall above the couch. They were full-face, hard masks with different designs painted on. Some had animal-like ears or noses, and others extended even more into the realm of weird with exaggerated noses or eyebrows or other features, but they all had the common theme of complete cover, including screens over the eyes. I’d seen the masks before, and when I asked about them, Jess didn’t want to talk about it. Sometimes I’d seen Johnny take one off the wall and bring it with him when he left to go out. Between Johnny and the pigsty, I tried my best to get Jess to hang out literally anywhere else.
“So you bust out of the mental ward or what?” Johnny asked, picking up the purple bong from its home between an empty Starbucks cup and a Taco Bell bag stuffed with the trash from other fast food restaurants and sprinkled with ashes that told me it was now also home to the contents of an ashtray. He lit the bowl with a cheap, decorative lighter that Jess had probably picked out, and he took a bong rip without offering me a pull.
Which reminded me I could smoke.
“Hey, let me see that,” I said, demanding the lighter while I felt behind my ear for the cigarette, but before I could secure the transaction, Jess came in.
“Oh my God, J-Rad,” she said excitedly while she focused on shutting and locking the door with her arms full. “Someone has to be hooking here because there’s a fucking Porsche outside.” She shoved the door shut with her hip, and leaned awkwardly to use one finger to turn the deadbolt, her arms full of more Taco Bell bags and cups. When she turned, she nearly dropped all of it. “Lai!”
I grinned. “I guess you finally got those tacos.”
She practically threw the food at Johnny and knocked some stuff off the coffee table so she could fit the new cups on there.
“You know you could just throw all that stuff away instead of living in it,” I said.
She threw her arms around me, pinning my arms to my sides. “Shut up! I thought you weren’t going to be able to run your fucking mouth for at least another week! So tell me what’s up. Are the cops after you? Are they after me?” She looked up at me with big glassy eyes, and this time I knew it was weed.
I shrugged. “I honestly have no fucking clue.”
Jess stepped back, plucking at the part of the gown that covered my stomach. “So you escaped?”
“Something like that.”
“Bro, fuckin’ put some pants on.” Johnny’s voice came from somewhere behind me.
I turned around to find that Johnny had a prime view of my ass and not much else. He’d grabbed a pair of basketball shorts—were those mine?—from the dubious pile of clothing nearby and held them out to me.
I studied his earnest attempt to get me dressed, and then I looked him in the eye while I reached back to untie the gown straps behind my neck. As soon as the knot was undone, I yanked off the gown, added it to the laundry pile, and sat my naked ass down right next to Johnny on his nasty couch. I scratched around the edges of my bandage and settled in like I owned the place.
He stared at Jess and dropped his hand and the shorts into his lap with a long, nasal sigh. “Tripp, your boyfriend’s on thin ice.”
“Looks like you two have something in common,” Jess said while reclaiming the bag of tacos from him.
“Two things in common,” I said. I leaned toward Johnny to explain. “I’m not her boyfriend either.”
Johnny fixed me with a tight scowl, but I smirked at him, practically daring him to try and kick my ass. I knew he wouldn’t try, knowing he was a punk coward, and smaller than me in probably every regard.
Jess shoved a half-wrapped taco into Johnny’s mouth and then dropped five more tacos in his lap.
“Pity tacos for the man in the friend zone,” she said with a teasing smirk.
Johnny frowned and stared up at her while he took the taco in his hand and broke off a huge bite.
I grimaced and sat back in my seat, watching Johnny tear through his chicken taco like it would disappear if he didn’t eat it fast enough.
“Is that actually any good?” I asked. “Real food makes me puke just from the taste.”
“What? Can’t ya eat?” Johnny asked with an overflowing mouth of lettuce and sour cream, only able to pronounce the Ts by using the crunch of the taco shell as a replacement consonant.
“I can drink blood. I can drink booze. And I can eat food. But only one of those tastes any good or makes me less hungry. Guess which.”
“That sucks,” announced Jess from her new perch on the arm of the couch. She put her feet in my lap, and while I didn’t mind it, I did lean away from her a bit just waiting for a tortilla crumb to break off and torpedo straight at my face.
Johnny crumpled up the wrapper to his first taco and dropped it on the floor.
Lifting a hand as though I was going to say something about it, I screamed internally. It took a lot of willpower not to grab a trash bag and clean their apartment for them. Not my problem, though. Nope.
“I just can’t have any garlic,” Johnny said. “Even smells bad. Like it still smells the same…but bad.” He nodded sagely to himself as though that made sense.
But as nonsense as it sounded out of context, it did actually resonate with me. Probably the first time Johnny had ever said anything I’d been on board with.
“That’s how food and stuff is for me now,” I said. “Like an apple still tastes how I remember it. I just hate apple taste now. It’s like my brain just filtered it into the Bad Flavors file. Protein-rich foods are better, but still terrible.” I shook my head.
Johnny seemed to get excited I could relate and turned to face me, but the second his eyes saw my dick, which I still hadn’t bothered to cover, he dropped the thought of talking at all and continued with his tacos in silence while facing the poster-covered wall and the television in front of it again.
I tried to catch Jess up on what had happened without getting into too many details about Matthew. Only the people who needed to know about my past with him knew anything about it. Even Ras didn’t know everything.
So Jess got the abridged version—and Johnny too, though I tried to speak to him as little as possible. We put on a movie and spent the rest of the night passing the bong while I tried to find the one cigarette I owned. I finally gave up and for a little while the cravings subsided, but then Johnny lit up one of his own, and with only one left after that, he refused to share. If I hadn’t been so irritable, I wouldn’t have blamed him. I wouldn’t have done any different. But I was jonesing, and I’d never wanted to punch Johnny in the face enough to actually consider doing it before.
“It’s just a fucking cigarette, dude,” I said, two seconds from getting on my knees to beg. Smoking weed had helped keep the cravings and the headaches and the irritability at bay for a while, but it still wasn’t nicotine. “As soon as I get back to my cash, I’ll buy you a whole pack. I just need one. That’s it.”
“Pay me now, and you can have it.”
I laughed once. Loudly. “And when I’m done extracting my magical treasure chest from my asshole, you can suck my dick.”
Johnny’s ass lifted from his seat, and sensing he was ready to take a swing, I started to do the same, but Jess inserted herself between us.
“Boooooyysss,” she said, drawn out and sleepy sounding, her eyes heavy with excessive smoking, not unlike Johnny’s eyes at the time and probably the same for mine. With her feet on the cushions, she slid down into a seated position. She took Johnny’s face between her hands and he immediately sat back down, looking her in the eyes. “Let’s not fight, okay? It’s peace time.”
I got up and took another look through the cushions for my cigarette—my only cigarette!—finally ripping the one I had been sitting on off the couch and sending it bowling through the cups on the coffee table. I reached down and shoved my fingers through the crumbs and loose hair in the disgusting cracks and crevices, and still had no luck. I’d had it behind my ear. For about the eightieth time I checked there again. I’d even asked Jess a few times to make sure I hadn’t left it there. It was gone.
“Can you send him home?” Johnny asked. When I glanced over at them, he had his hands on her face too, closing in the space between them quickly.
“He’s gotta stay here tonight,” she replied. Jess kissed Johnny quickly on the forehead and let him go.
“Home sweet crime scene,” I said dryly.
When Jess turned around, her gaze went straight to my dick. “And you can sleep in my bed.”
I snorted and glanced down at myself. “Are you talking to me or my—”
“Shhh…” Jess smiled up at me with one finger over her puckered lips. She winked.
“Put some fucking pants on!” Johnny yelled. The basketball shorts hit me in the face and slid down onto the floor.
I grinned at Jess, ignoring Johnny completely. “I’m ready for bed when you are.”
Jess’s bedroom wasn’t much less cluttered than the living room, or the overflowing kitchen sink, or the bathroom that smelled like piss and mildewed towels. The bedroom smelled better than that, at least, and while it was cluttered, it was mostly bulky stuff like laundry, though I knew from being there before that Jess’s clean clothes made it into the closet or the dresser in a timely fashion.
Her style was distinctly grunge, preferring clothes and fabrics that had tatters and holes built in, or distressing and tearing them up herself just to patch them back together with a different interesting fabric. She wasn’t a seamstress, but I knew she liked to do crafty things when she had the time. She had a job as a waitress at a diner where part of her uniform involved adopting a completely different face and hairstyle. The benefit of being a shapeshifter. All I knew about it was what Jess told me, and that was just the basics.
Despite her edgy outward appearance and posters surrounding her bed and fixed to the mirror on her dresser, her covers and pillows were purple and pink, and there was one dingy, orange cat plushie that lived among the pillows and their mismatched pillowcases. The bed was big enough for two people who liked each other enough to spoon, though I suspected my feet would hang over the bottom edge.
Jess shut the door while I pulled back the cover and slid into bed.
“Why didn’t you just put the shorts on. They’re yours, you know. The ones I wore to look like your brother.”
“And miss Johnny checking me out? Never.”
Jess giggled and climbed into bed next to me, though she stayed sitting up. I picked up the stuffed cat to look at it for a minute, setting it on my belly while still holding its paws when Jess looked down at me.
“He wouldn’t check you out. He’s straight.”
“You’re the one who told me about him blowing that guy—”
She hit my side sharply with the back of her hand, fingernails stinging the skin over my ribs. “You’re not supposed to know about that!” she whisper-shouted at me. With a firm grasp, she yanked the cat plushie off of me. “And quit playing with my pussy without asking.” She gave the cat a quick hug and then set it aside.
With a sly smile, I turned onto my side and propped my head on my hand. “I haven’t had a chance to ask.”
I walked my fingers over to her knee and rubbed my hand in one slow, appreciative circle on her thigh before squeezing. She wore a pair of denim shorts and a tank top, which left a lot of her smooth skin exposed. I rubbed my thumb on her leg while I watched her face.
“You’ve been here all night,” she said. With her own mouth slightly open, Jess reached over and poked my bottom lip with her fingertip.
I captured her hand lightly before she could withdraw it, and I looked up at her with just my eyes while I brought her finger back to my mouth. I kissed her fingertip and unfurled her hand to press my lips to her palm and then her wrist. “Can I play with your pussy?” I asked softly.
Tilting her head to the side, she pushed her free hand into my hair: my weakness. I groaned quietly, edging closer to her without even thinking about it.
“‘Can I play with your pussy’ what?” she asked.
I froze with my mouth open on my way to kiss her thigh. “Can I play with your pussy…with my mouth?”
I finished my kiss to the skin just below the hem of her shorts and lightly grazed my teeth there.
She snorted unexpectedly and then laughed loudly at herself, head thrown back. “I was looking for a ‘please‘.”
I pulled back when she snorted, surprised, but I relaxed when she explained herself. “That’s not something I say.”
“Come on, Lai. It’s not that hard.”
“Jess, you played with my hair. It’s so hard right now.” I took her hand and pushed it down my front, letting go once her hand got to the cover so she could choose to see for herself just how hard I was.
She retracted her hand before it could make it all the way down there. “You didn’t say please.”
I moved to my knees, leaning over her, slowly guiding her to lie back using only my body’s proximity to hers. I wet my lips. “Please grind your pussy on my face.” I pushed my lips gently to hers, tongue flickering out to grab one quick taste of her lower lip.
“Much better,” she purred with a grin. She pushed both splayed hands into my hair, raking through it one direction and dragging her nails over my scalp on the way down to the back of my neck. “Make me good and wet, and you can do whatever you want with my pussy.”
I moved my whole body forward just to get the friction of her soft thigh against the side of my cock while I kissed her mouth again. I relocated my mouth to her neck to kiss and suck, first under her jaw and then farther down over her throat. I paused to feel her pulse against my lips. So preoccupied by the cravings of cigarettes and getting laid, I hadn’t realized how much I wanted blood—how much I needed it.
I opened my mouth and let my sharp, ever-present fangs sit gently against her skin while my tongue swiped in circles beneath it. It took a lot of willpower not to clamp down, but I needed this much, just that sensation that I was about to do it, though I had wound up only teasing myself. The thought of drinking blood was agonizing and sexy at the same time: painful because I couldn’t, and sexy because I shouldn’t. The temptation made my cock twitch.
I blindly found the button on her shorts and undid them and then the zipper with one hand, immediately following up by plunging my hand between her shorts and her cotton panties. I used my middle finger to trace the inviting split that led to her pussy, and I added pressure over her clit before going back to teasing, feeling around lightly.
Jess’s breath quickened near my ear just as her heart beat became more rapid in my ears and under my tongue. I could bite her right now, I thought. And I spent a moment fantasizing about the pull of blood from her veins if only I could sink my teeth in.
“Fuck,” I said, withdrawing from her suddenly. I sat back on my feet and covered my mouth with my forearm.
“What happened?” Jess sat up.
I held a hand up and leaned away from her. “Got a bit of a fang boner. Hold on.”
“Do they get bigger when you’re hungry?”
I scoffed. “That’s not how teeth work.”
“Do they pop out like they’re spring-loaded?”
“Also not how teeth work, genius.” I laughed and shook my head, letting my arm drop. I gave it a few seconds while I made sure the urge had subsided enough to continue. “Better now. I should probably stay away from the neck.”
“I’m not sure I’d rather have you bite my pussy.”
I leaned over, and in a few quick tugs I had removed her shorts and her underwear, tossing them to the floor haphazardly. “I wouldn’t dare damage the goods.”
I went down on her with her fingers tangled in my hair, careful to let my tongue do the work and not my teeth, and aside from managing to help Jess reach a leg-shaking orgasm, I kept my mouth to myself for the rest of the encounter. I was happy to put my dick to use anyway.
I managed to get her off a second time through a combination of tenacity, a big cock, and letting Jess ride me so she could do it how she liked while I thumbed her clit. It was a good recipe for a loud, creaking bed and unbridled moaning from Jess. She slowed down for a minute after she came, but she focused on me a moment later, leaning her hands heavily on my chest, careful of my bandage, while she bounced her ass on my cock. I would have helped, but I didn’t want to interrupt. She squeezed my face in her hand after she let me come inside of her.
Jess kissed me once on the mouth as she dismounted, and after we both caught our breath—which was still painful for me, by the way—she got up to get ready for bed. Waiting for her to get back in bed, I rolled over and fell asleep, assured by my tired brain that cleanup could wait until tomorrow night.
I had always been a morning person as a human, and as a vampire, that had translated into being an evening person who normally woke up before the sun could set. But this time was different. Instead of waking up naturally and starting my day with a shower and some chores, I woke up to being cracked in the eye socket by something hard. I let out a surprised shout, one hand raising to block whatever it was from happening again, while the other hand went to my eye. I blinked repeatedly, trying to make out the shape of the person who stood over me and to wake up my brain enough to understand what was happening.
Finally, my vision cleared and my brain powered up, and I recognized Johnny with his hand outstretched and trembling, the barrel of a handgun inches from my nose.