“Thank you, Captain Obvious."
"I'm on the Senate," he reminded me. "It's Lord Obvious.”
“If I'm not supposed to be awake, why are you here?" I mumbled.
"To be the little spoon.”
“But you were Mine. My child. And I would not give you up.”
“I didn't eat."
"What difference does that make?"
"I'm not like you. I can't recharge by feeding off someone. I need food."
"I know that! When was the last time you ate?"
"Yester--why the hell didn't you eat?"
"We had to go buy condoms, remember?"
"And you couldn't grab a sandwich on the way out?" he said hysterically. "I'm gonna die because you couldn't grab a sandwich?”
“More worryingly, my baby fangs were out, which usually happened only when I was perilously close to tipping over into Mr. Hyde territory. I quickly drew them back in. It didn’t help much. I still looked like Dracula’s daughter. Which was completely unfair, since he’d only been an uncle.”
“They’ll have to eat first. And by the time they’re finished, you’ll be back.”
“With the condoms.” “Right.” “For the giant orgy you’re convinced we’re about to have in the backyard.”
“Dory! Just go!” “I’ll go with,” Ray said, getting up. “I need a snack.” Which was how I ended up condom shopping with a vampire.”
“Come and take your seat, Lady Dorina.”
“He’s stupid about you,” Ray said, glaring at me. “And you’re stupid about him. You’re both stupid about each other, which would be great if you weren’t also really fucking stupid—” “Ray.”
“—and can’t see it. That’s all. That’s all I’m saying.”
“Mine, I thought deliriously, as a shadow swept over us, like a cape had been thrown over the sky.
Mine, as my hands stroked up that strong back, velvety and warm, where every dip and line of muscle fit sweetly into my palms.
Mine, as the storm trembled in the air around us, and shook the earth beneath us.
“Mine,” I murmured, as blue eyes met mine, wide and startled. And then closed again as he took my breath in a kiss so consuming that I barely noticed when the storm continued on toward the horizon, the midnight wings showing vague starlight through in patches as it passed overhead.
As it missed us.
“Yours,” Louis-Cesare groaned”
“So I guess this makes me your sidekick, right?” he asked. “Like I could be…” “Robin?”
He scowled. “I ain’t no Robin.”
“What’s wrong with Robin?”
“What’s wrong?” Ray rolled his eyes. “Two words: green Speedo. And he was lame. Batman was always having to save his ass.” I didn’t say anything.”
“And why not?” “You know why! This is a bad idea.” “Perhaps I like a challenge.” “Perhaps you’re a glutton for punishment!” “Perhaps I am in love.”
“You know, I was gutting this loser the other day, and I thought, It’d be more fun fighting that little dhampir. I wonder if she’s recovered yet. And here you are.”
“Lucky me,” I said.
Scarface grinned. “You know, I might even let you live. You’re funny.”
“And then I got to my feet and stumbled toward the door again. And got halfway there before I realized I was naked. Of course I am, I thought angrily, and went back to the bed for a sheet. God forbid I actually wake up dressed anymore.”
“Start ringing things up then. This won't take long."
"I don't care." I push some at her. "These."
"These?" She looked dubious.
"Why not these?"
She glanced at Ray. "'Cause if that's your man, I'd say you can leave these off."
"Oh, no, you didn't." Ray said.
"What's this shit?" Ray demanded, looking at the saleclerk.
"Honey, truth hurts, but ain't no way you're a Magnum."
"Well, I ain't no medium!"
The clerk smiled. "Yeah, but I was being generous."
"What are you doing?" The clerk demanded as Ray grabbed another box. "I ain't rung those up yet."
Ray pulled out a foil package and tossed the box back on the counter. "So ring it up."
She arched an eyebrow, but didn't bother, maybe because she was watching him unbutton his fly. I caught his wrist. "What are you doing?"
"Proving a point."
"Not in the middle of the store, you're not."
"Ain't nobody here," the cashier reminded me. "And ain't no way he's filling that thing out.”
“But his face was drawn and his eyes were pained as he looked down at me, and there was a strange expression on his face: defiance and fierce pride and something that looked like wonder, all jumbled up. And suddenly, I wanted to stab Lawrence all over again.
I killed him for you, I thought, staring upward.
“Damn it, the man needed a keeper. Yeah, sure he did. A dark-haired, dimpled, dhampir keeper, which wasn’t going to happen, so just shut up.
Sometimes I didn’t think it mattered what Mircea did in my head, because I was already crazy anyway. “It’s like someone invented you just to mess with me,” I said resentfully. “Quoi?” I sighed.”
“Dorina?" Louis Cesare's voice was loud in my ear. The one I had squeezed against the
phone, which was squeezed against my sore shoulder, becuase I was using both hands to
keep Ray's point in his pants.
"The fey, damm it!" I told him. "They're for the fey!"
"Which one?" Louis Cesare asked, his voice going velvety soft.
"All of them- No Ray! Ray, cut it out!"
"All of them?”
“This had expectations written all over it. Expectations that I was going to fuck up royally because I wasn’t the kind of gal who wore designer nightwear and knew what all the forks were for. I was the kind of gal who thought the nightgown drawer was where old T-shirts went to die and who had only started using forks in the last century.”
“I felt rather than heard someone come up behind me and I didn’t have to wonder who. My vagina had just gotten a heartbeat.”
“Not if we kill them—” I began, only to cut off when a sudden rushing noise filled the air. And Ray grabbed my gun and went ballistic on something on the wall over our heads.
“Die! Die! Die!” he screamed, emptying the clip and causing spent shells to rain down all around us. And okay, maybe I’d been wrong about the calm thing. Because he was just standing there, trembling and panting and staring—
At the air-conditioning vent that he’d just shot the crap out of.
“—first.” I took my smoking gun out of his limp fingers and patted him on the back. “See? That’s the spirit.”
“What is your problem?” I asked, scooping the freezing mess out of my cleavage.
“We got unfinished business,” he reminded me.
“My name’s not Bill.” He chuckled. “Yeah, I loved that movie. Shoulda brought a katana, but it seemed like an unfair advantage.”
“Success. I turned back to my sandwich, only to find that it wasn’t there anymore. Maybe because it had been hijacked.
“Give me that!” I told the vamp, who was holding it firmly against his chest, a determined look on his face.
“What ees zat?” he demanded, eyeing my prize.
“Cheese.” I held it up.
“Zat ees not cheese.”
“How do you know?”
“Eet is orange.”
“A lot of cheese is orange.”
“Non! No cheese ees that color. Cheese comes from zee milk. Zee milk, eet ees white. When ’ave you seen milk that looks like zat?”
I held up the square of little slices and pointed at the bold-faced label. “Processed American Cheese.”
He snatched the package, without letting go of his hostage. And eyed it warily. “Eet says ‘cheese food.’” He looked up, obviously perplexed. “What ees thees? Zee cheese, it does not eat.”
“Then why are you getting dressed?” “Maybe I don’t like being the only naked one in the room,” I said sarcastically. And immediately regretted it. “That is easily remedied,” he told me, and pulled off his sweater.”
“They-" He stopped and just blinked at me for a minute. "You know, people are always saying that you're cuckoo. Looney Tunes. Off the freaking edge. But I tell 'em, no, she's okay. She's got some...anger management issues. But you know what? They're right. You're nuts.”
“I don’t know. Just pick one.” “Well, there’s a lot of choice. I mean, you got your flavored, your ridged, your pre-lubed, your thin, your super-ultra-thin, your super-ultra-thin-pre-lubed, your…Huh.”
“Huh what?” “Would you look at this?” he asked, examining a small box.
“It says it glows in the dark.”
“What’s this shit?” Ray demanded, looking at the salesclerk. “Honey, truth hurts, but ain’t no way you’re a Magnum.” “Well, I ain’t no medium!” The clerk smiled. “Yeah, but I was being generous.”
“Can we just do this?” Ray asked tightly, clinging to Zheng’s already slightly elongated arm. Because Louis-Cesare wasn’t the only one with a master power around here.
“Let go,” Zheng told him. “I’m the rubber band; you’re the spitball. And spitballs don’t hold on to rubber bands.”
“Die in a fire,” Ray told him savagely. But he let go.”
“I lay there, no longer fighting, since my head was spinning too much. And because I wasn’t going to win anyway. And because I kind of liked the feeling of sensual captivity, at least by this particular jailer.”
“It should have really ticked me off—the conceit of it, the more than a hint of possession, the presumption that he could just walk into my bathroom anytime he liked and— And I didn’t care. I wanted to turn in to the feel of those hands,wanted to sink into all that warmth, wanted to preen like a cat being stroked, wanted— Wanted. And it scared the hell out of me.”
“But don't look over your shoulder, and don't dwell on what we can't change. Keep your eye on the horizon and focus on what we need to do now. Upwards and onwards. Alway.”
“Now a guarantee of happiness—that's a great deal. But a guarantee to be allowed to pursue the jackpot of happiness? Merely an opportunity to buy a lottery ticket. Someone would surely win millions, but millions would surely pay for it.”
“My bird can drive her break straight through your neck and into your artery in less time than it takes for you to draw a weapon, and she already dislikes you intensely. If I were you, I'd do my best not to antagonize her further."
"I thought the bird obeyed you."
"Better not antagonize me either.”
“one of the key features of a black hole: different observers have paradoxically different perceptions of the same events. To”
“Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning. ”
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