So this happened before the first post I put up, but I wanted to tell you how I … knew, I guess … that Nico was my girl. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Anyway, read on. You’ll also see what I do for a living.
I watched my target from the shadows of the recessed wall, peering in through the glass of the second story window, taking count of how many constantly surrounded the mark. There was no way around it. The mark was never alone, even when the bastard went to the bathroom. It was no damn wonder why the price on his head was so high. I could picture a motorcycle in my near future with this cash cow. Maybe even a house, since I didn’t really have one particular place to live. I just sort of jumped around to different houses, mostly staying with my twin brother Trent and his girl. What can I say? I miss the fucker when he’s not around.
I checked my gear for the umpteenth time and drew in a deep breath before withdrawing the dagger and placing it between my teeth. My mark was in position.
“Fuck, this is gonna hurt,” I mumbled with the blade in my mouth.
I phased into the room, appearing directly behind my target. I pulled the dagger from my mouth as I grabbed the man from behind. Arabic curses flew through the room as surprise and chaos took place while I slid the dagger across my mark’s throat and then jutted it into the right side of his back between his ribs, piercing the lung. Before I could keep a better hold on him, the heavy bastard fell to the floor dead as guns pointed at me. Rounds fired and I cursed as I quickly phased out of the building. I hit the alley and stumbled a few steps, bringing my hand up to hold my right side as I grunted. When I pulled my hand away to look at it, a dark substance glistened in the moonlight.
“Just fucking great,” I said and staggered down the alley. It was a wonder I could phase after that wound. “Hit my damn liver. Bastards.” I supposed I could have phased straight to Trent’s house, but Thalia would have a damn conniption if I got blood all over her floor again. Not to mention that it was daylight on that side of the world. The sun wouldn’t kill me, but I sure as hell didn’t like having its rays send pinpricks all over my body. No way. I’d need blood, and fast. But not just blood. I also needed a healer with this wound. Only one woman came to mind and I grit my teeth at having to see her again because she’d certainly have a few things to say regarding my absence.
I leaned against a wall and tried to concentrate, wondering if I’d even make it to her house in a phase because flying certainly wasn’t a damn option right now. “Okay, let’s get this over with already.” I pushed the pain aside, closed my eyes, and fell to the floor.
“What the hell?” she said and jumped from her sofa as I landed between it and the television. “Jesus!”
I looked up from where I knelt and attempted a smile. “Not quite, but I have come from the holy land.”
“What the hell happened to you?” she said as she came forward. She stopped in front of me, not offering to help me stand.
I pushed myself up with a grunt. “Good to see you, too, Nico.” Then I wavered to the side.
Nico grabbed my arm to steady me. “I suppose you need a healer. You gonna pay me this time?”
I sighed and looked into her dark brown scrutinizing eyes. “Woman, what the fuck do you want from me?”
Her brow arched. “Hmm, let’s see, your last payment for services rendered would be a good start, and then payment for this time … up front.”
“Up front?” I said. “Are you fucking serious?”
She nodded. “And then, of course, an apology.”
“What the fuck for?”
“You know what it’s for,” she said as she led me to the back room. She turned me around and pushed me down on the table, and then held out her hand. “Come on, you’re wasting valuable healing time.”
I growled as I pulled out my wallet. “You’re such a bitch sometimes, you know that?”
“Yeah, yeah, but you love me for it.”
“I don’t love you, period.”
“That’s the fucking problem,” she said.
I looked up at her after handing her a few bills. “That’s what you want me to apologize for, not loving you?”
“No, for not admitting it, dumbass,” she replied as she counted the money. “You’re short.”
I grinned. “Actually, I’m 6’3”.”
“Always the jokester, aren’t you?” she said. “I meant you’re short on cash, by a couple hundred. Pony up.”
I growled again. “I don’t have it on me right now, but I just did a big job.”
“Oh, what a surprise!” she replied. “I can’t do it, Shawn. Not this time. The economy is killing me.”
“Come on, not even for a friend?” I asked, my odd eyes pleading … I hoped.
“Ha! And you’ll what, return tomorrow with the cash?” she said. “Highly doubtful. I know you too well.”
As she turned, I grabbed her arm and pulled her back around. “Nicolette … please. I need your blood.”
She raised a brow. “And?”
I closed my eyes. “And your powers.”
I opened my eyes again, staring at the tall brunette who always challenged me, the only woman who could really see through my bullshit, and probably the only one who would put up with it. My eyes grew soft as my hand let go and traced a line down her arm to her nimble fingers. I scooped her hand up and held it while still staring into her eyes.
“I need you.”
A smirk turned up the corners of her full lips and she stepped forward. “Take your shirt off and lie back so I can look at it.”
I smiled, removed my gun holster, pulled the shirt over my head, and lay back on the table while Nico pulled on her smock and a pair of gloves. She walked around the table and looked at my side.
“Hit anything vital?” she asked.
“Liver,” I replied.
“Did it go through?” she asked while pushing me up to look at my back.
“No, the fucker’s stuck in there,” I said. “You’re gonna have to take it out. It’s fucking burning. I’m surprised I even made it here.”
I shook my head. “No, that shit doesn’t affect me. You should know that. This is something new because it isn’t a regular bullet.”
“Can’t push it out?”
“Nope. Tried that.” I growled with pain. “Didn’t work.”
“Okay.” She gathered the tools she needed and began working on me. Before I realized the time, I heard a clink hit the stainless steel bowl. “There you go. Nice slug, Shawn. Never seen anything like it.”
I turned my head to view the slug she’d pulled from my body as she tilted the bowl for me, then I grunted and closed my eyes. “Fuck, it still burns.”
“And you’re still bleeding,” she said. “Ready for the next step?”
I nodded, keeping my eyes closed, and heard the gloves snap off. Then the fragrant bouquet of fresh blood filled my nostrils, and I felt it drop onto my wound. I always did love the scent of Nico’s blood. It seemed to soothe me into a place I could never quite reach on my own. My fangs elongated, forcing my mouth open.
“You smell like chocolate,” I said.
She laughed. “Really? That’s weird.”
“Not just any chocolate, though,” I said. “The finest chocolate known to man, like Belgian chocolate.” She remained silent, so I had to open my eyes. “It makes sense, you know.”
“How’s that?” She placed a piece of gauze over her slit wrist.
I looked down at my healing side, though it seemed to be taking its sweet time. Nico reached back to the counter, holding her wrist up so the gauze wouldn’t fall off, and took a pinch of something, bringing it back to me and sprinkling it over the wound. I hissed when it touched my skin and I fell back while she chanted in some ancient language I had yet to decipher.
“Well, you know, because you have chocolate brown hair and eyes,” I said through the grimace.
“Oh, well yes, that makes perfect sense,” she replied.
My right eye opened. “No need to be a smartass. I’m just commenting on how you smell to me and the reasons therein.”
She smiled. “How are you feeling?”
“Still burns a little,” I replied.
“You need to drink,” she said. “Come on, sit up if you can.”
I pushed myself up with her help, and then she removed the gauze pad from her wrist. My fingers laced around her hand and arm, and I brought her wrist close to my mouth while staring into her eyes. In one quick sweep, my tongue ran over the slit and closed it.
“What are you doing, Shawn? You need to drink.”
I grinned. “I have a much better idea.” I swung my legs over the edge of the table and pulled her against me. My hands took her face and I brought her forward for a kiss.
“I don’t think you have the energy for that,” she whispered against my lips.
“Sure I do,” I replied. “I always have the energy for you, Nico.”
I kissed her and slowly pushed myself off the table. When I stumbled, she grabbed me. “Really, Shawn, I don’t think …”
I placed a finger over her lips while she draped my arm around her shoulders. “Just get me to your bed, woman.”
“What if I say no?”
I grinned. “You won’t … because you love me.”
Nico removed her hand from mine and slapped my chest. “Don’t think this gets you out of paying me.”
“I would think no such thing,” I replied as she helped me through the house. “You have to make a living, and I’m about to get paid handsomely for what I just did.”
“Must’ve been one hell of a job,” she said and her eyes darted to my side. “Considering.”
“Oh, it was, my beautiful witch,” I said.
“Good thing I wasn’t entertaining tonight.” She pulled me through the doorway of her bedroom and walked me over to her bed.
“Entertaining? Like, who would you be entertaining?” I asked as I sat down. My eyes narrowed and I pulled her onto my lap. “Not a guy I’d have to hunt down and kill, right?”
Nico laughed. “You crack me up, Shawn. Half the time, you want nothing to do with me, and the other half is usually all business.”
“This ain’t business, babe,” I said. “You’re mine, and I’ll fucking kill any man who comes near you.”
“Then I suggest you pay more attention to me,” she said matter-of-factly. It stung, but she was right. I’d pretty much been ignoring her lately. Of course, I couldn’t help some of that, what with Cianán returning and my “job” that took me all over the damn world. Thank God all that shit with Rayven was before I met Nico.
“I’m here now, Nico.”
“Yeah, but you’re injured,” she replied. “Would you be in my bed this night if you hadn’t gotten hurt?”
I looked down and watched as my fingers intertwined with hers. “I don’t know. It’s hard to say what I would’ve done after that if I hadn’t been hurt.”
“I’ll tell you exactly what you would’ve done,” she said. “You’d have gone to the nearest store, bought a bottle of whiskey, and probably would have gone to your brother’s house for some gaming or something to celebrate.”
My eyes refocused on hers. Fuck, she knew me well. “You really know how to kill a mood.”
She sighed. “You killed it a long time ago, Shawn. You can’t expect me to wait around forever. I don’t have that long.”
My eyes brightened. “We can change that.”
“Why, so I can have forever of you ignoring me?” she said with a shake of her head. “No thanks.”
Silence filled the air while I thought about the things she said. The darker side of me wanted to say fuck it and leave, but there was a side of me trying desperately to come out and cling to something normal, something like my twin had with Thalia. I hadn’t had that since Piper. And it was her death that sent me over the edge into the darkness and broke my link with my twin brother—a link that wasn’t restored until recently, after a year of silence.
“Hmm?” I knew she waited for me to say those words. It was the reason she kept silent, so I could think.
“You know … I do … in my own way,” I said.
She smiled. “I know.” Her fingers traced the side of my face. “We’ll just have to work on you saying it.”
“Don’t get your hopes up on that one,” I said. “I’m damn near impossible to crack.”
“Oh, believe me, Shawn, I know this,” she said and kissed my cheek. “But I do see a change in you.”
“Yeah?” I said, and she nodded. “It’s Trent’s fault. I’ve been hanging around him too much.”
“Well, I think your brother is good for you,” she said. “He balances you, brings light to the darkness.”
I chuckled. “Only a witch would see that.”
“And only a witch will see it when you start to step back into the shadows,” she replied, her eyes full of serious.
I smirked. “So you’re saying I should keep you around?”
“Only if you’re going to pay attention to me,” she said. “Otherwise, let me go.”
I shifted her body and pulled her back onto me as I fell back to the bed. “I can’t do that, Nico.” My fingers combed through her dark locks and I pulled her face down to mine. “I can’t let you go.”
She smiled as her lips brushed against mine. “Don’t make me get out my love and fidelity potions.”
Laughter came forth in a loud burst and my body shook from it. “Damn, woman, you want me to be an honest man? I’m a fucking vampyre.”
Her fingers brushed against my lips. “If you want me to stick around, you’ll have to be an honest vampyre.”
My brow arched. “What about what I do for a living?”
“That’s different, and I’ve never asked you what it is,” she said. “I don’t intend to start asking you now, unless you’re a gigolo or something.”
“Hey, there’s a thought.” She slapped me, and I quickly turned to my side, rolled, and pushed her to the bed. “I’m kidding, Nico. Jesus.”
She laughed, and then turned her head up and to the side. “Drink, Shawn. You’re going to need the energy.”
My fangs jutted down again and I placed my mouth against her neck. Then I punctured the soft flesh and drank of her until the burning subsided, savoring the sweet nectar of her that reminded me of and tasted so much like chocolate. I’m kind of a freak about chocolate, so if I had my own damn supply, I sure as hell wasn’t about to give it up for anything in the world.
Besides, I kind of lo … you know … L-word her.