“He’s the kind of man who if you gave him a gun and told him he had two choices—“shoot one of your dogs or shoot yourself in the head”—he’d put the gun to his ear and pull the trigger.”
“Hell, Jules, you’d do the same thing if someone did that to you and your goddamned cats,” Blake said in amusement.
“No,” Julian murmured with a shake of his head. “No, there’s a third option. People like us, we’re third-option people. We take the gun, stuff it in the person’s mouth, and eliminate the problem. Walk off into the sunset with our kitty.”
“Would you believe me if I told you I was shot?” he finally asked with a mischievous glint in his black eyes.
Cameron stared at him. “Shot? Like, shot? By a gun?”
Julian tilted his head and nodded. “It’s hard to be shot with a knife.”
“It's never too late for stalking”
“Someone would have to be out of their mind not to come back to you. I walked through a blizzard to get here.”
“Preston,” Julian’s hoarse voice said from under one of the pillows. “Please kill me,” he requested miserably.
“I’m sorry, sir, but that will have to wait. You have a visitor,”
“No, Julian murmured with a shake of his head. No, there's a third option. People like us, we're third option people. We take the gun, stuff it in the person's mouth, and eliminate the problem. Walk off into the sunset with our kitty.”
“He was eating me!” Julian insisted pitifully. “I had to get a shot! Two shots! And I have to go back for more rabies shots! I’m probably going to wake up with fur”
“Oh, by the way, did you know you’re gorgeous?” “Yes, I was aware,”
" Preston fired into the air, and it scared him. The dog, not Preston. And then he ran off to go find Blake and left me there. Bleeding. Preston did. Not the dog,” he told Cameron very seriously. “And then Blake laughed at me.”
“And stop calling me sir!"
"Of course, sir.”
“For all I know, you look different by sunlight," Cameron prodded.
"I'm actually a blond," Julian deadpanned.”
“Is Julian really Irish?” Cameron asked Blake as he looked down at his drink.
“I have no fucking idea,” Blake answered in frustration. “I’ve never heard him use that one. I’ve heard British, Boston, Spanish, Kurdish, French, Texan, and surfer dude, but never Irish. Might mean it’s the real one, if he never used it,” he said in a distant, rambling tone.
Cameron blinked at him. “Surfer... dude?”
Blake waved his hand around. “You know, ‘Chillax, bra, we just gotta harvest some dead presidents’ kind of shit.”
“I know he's not stupid," Julian whispered in a stricken voice. "He's not...he's not one of us, just like you said. he's the kind of man who if you gave him a gun and two choices--shoot one of your dogs or shoot yourself in the head--he'd put the gun to his ear and pull the trigger."
"Hell, Jules, you'd do the same thing if someone did that to your and your goddamned cats," Blake said in amusement.
"No," Julian murmured with a shake of his head. "No there's a third option. People like us, we're third-option people. We take the gun, stuff it in the person's mouth, and eliminate the problem. Walk off into the sunset with our kitty.”
“Have a good night,” he offered. His voice was flustered. The man gathered his belongings. He nodded at Cameron as he buttoned his overcoat. “Tuesdays are always good nights,” he murmured.”
“Does it matter to you that I love you?” Julian asked as he looked away and up at the house.
Cameron stared at Julian, wishing he could see his lover’s eyes.
“It’s the most precious thing in my world,” he answered brokenly.”
“It was embarrassing enough to have a crush on a patron. It was worse to have a crush on someone who’d never actually spoken to you before.”
“I told you that you had to brush them.” Cameron laughed again as the dogs cavorted. “But they’re worth it. Did you ever remember their names?”
Miri rolled her eyes. “No. I called the yellow one No, the red one Bad Dog, the white one Get Off That, and the blue one Stop It,” she said drolly, referring to the colors of their tiny woven collars.”
“So did you shoot him?” Cameron asked awkwardly before running his fingers across Julian’s cheek.
“No,” Julian answered grudgingly. “He was just doing his job,” he sighed, as if that was the only thing he could say to console himself for not killing the animal that mauled him.”
“Love is just a word most of the time.”
“May those who love us love us,” Lancaster said suddenly as he held up his wine. “And those that don’t love us, may God turn their hearts. And if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, so we’ll know them by their limping.”
“Julian remained where he was, watching him silently. “Loving each other isn’t enough now, is it?” he asked, his voice flat and lifeless.
When Cameron looked back at Julian, he couldn’t keep the pain out of his eyes. “I’m afraid it’s too much,” he said, voice breaking.”
“Subtle? How is getting down on your knees and begging subtle?” “I could make it subtle,”
“It hurts you," he said in realization.
"What does?" Julian asked.
"People being afraid of you. Maybe even... Lovers being afraid of you?" Cameron asked softly.”
“I love you, Cameron,” Julian whispered as he held Cameron to him tightly. “Please don’t ever doubt it again.”
“Cameron tensed. “I suppose there’s getting-hurt danger, and then there’s the end-up-dead kind of danger,” he said shakily.
Julian was silent, his head still lowered as if he was afraid to look up.
Cameron drew his hand back, watching it tremble. “Is this… this fear, is it what you deal with every day?” It hurt. It scared him to think that Julian might live in fear day in and day out.
“Every day but Friday,” Julian answered without pause.”
“He loved me," Cameron insisted in a rough whisper. "He would have let me know he was alive."
"Oh, I don't know," Lancaster drawled with a slow, malicious smirk. "Love is just a word most of the time.”
“Julian,” he whispered pleadingly. “Please don’t leave me.”
“In a culture that worshipped its ancestors, to die without offspring was next of kin to damnation.”
“No guinea of earned money should go to rebuilding the college on the old plan just as certainly none could be spent upon building a college upon a new plan: therefore the guinea should be earmarked "Rags. Petrol. Matches." And this note should be attached to it. "Take this guinea and with it burn the college to the ground. Set fire to the old hypocrisies. Let the light of the burning building scare the nightingales and incarnadine the willows. And let the daughters of educated men dance round the fire and heap armful upon armful of dead leaves upon the flames. And let their mothers lean from the upper windows and cry, "Let it blaze! Let it blaze! For we have done with this 'education!”
“It wouldn't give me more time here, but if I was part of something like that, maybe my life wouldn't be so small. Maybe I could make a difference before my time ran out. Maybe I'd matter.”
“When you look in the mirror, what do you want to see: yet another reminder of your hopeless attempt to be the girl of his dreams, or you? The answer should always be you.”
“If to raise malicious smiles at the infirmities or misfortunes of those who have never injured us be the province of wit or humour, Heaven grant me a double portion of dullness.”
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