Upon entering his house, Vic stripped off his dark suede jacket, careful not to aggravate the injury to his arm, and hung it on the coat rack just inside the entryway, examining the cut and bloodstain made by the knife. He shook his head and muttered, "Damn. Well, maybe the dry cleaner down the street can take care of it."
He turned away, refusing to cry over spilled blood. He accepted it was his own fault for wearing the thing while searching for a bounty. He tossed his keys into a small bowl on the inside table he also used for mail and went into the kitchen to get a beer, unable to stop thinking about the last few hours with Kevin.
Due to the chance of infection, they decided it was best to sleep separately tonight, warding off the temptation for sex, so Vic had come back to his place and Kevin had gone to his home. It was not an arrangement either liked, but it was a necessary one.
The conversation at the bar only a half-hour ago had been both a disappointment as well as revealing. So much concern from Kevin, and they had only really been exploring their feelings for each other for less than a week now.
If anything it made Vic wonder where the relationship was going, and if he should really let his wishful thinking get the better of him.
Was Kevin developing feelings for him deeper than simple attraction? If so, then were those feelings simply from a deep-rooted connection due to their interactive, though choppy past encounters? A connection based on similar losses and circumstances? Did Kevin need to be near Vic as more than just a lover?
Vic rolled his eyes as he took another swig from his bottle of beer. He could allow his mind to go where his common sense feared to tread, letting his imagination wander into the forbidden grounds of hoping against hope, but in reality, no one had ever been able to truly stop their heart from desiring what it always desired… to fall in love with someone and have that person fall in love with them.
Vic shut his eyes and leaned back against his kitchen sink. His arm throbbed as the local anesthetic started to wear off. He would have to take a pain pill in a bit, but not right now, not while he was drinking and thinking… and hoping.
A shadow swept across the kitchen window facing the backyard, and then the sound of something crashing to the wooden deck broke his line of thought.
Vic froze. He focused his hearing and listened intently. The house was dark except for the light in the living room. None of the security lights had kicked on regardless of the fact something was out in the backyard. He quietly set his bottle of beer on the counter and pulled his .45 from the holster still strapped to his waist. It didn't matter that the wound had been inflicted on the arm he normally used to shoot. Vic had been trained to use a gun with both hands, and so he gripped the butt of the .45 in his left hand and took in a deep breath.
He stealthily moved out through the back door and examined the area around the deck. He saw nothing, smelled nothing and heard nothing but the normal sounds of outside; crickets singing one of their final songs before fall hibernation, dead tree leaves rustling in the evening breeze.
He took a step off his deck and the movement caused the security lights to flash on, yet even with extra illumination, he could see nothing except for a planter that had fallen from its wire stand—an aloe plant, its broken leaves spilling their healing liquid onto the wood of the deck. As was his nature, he quickly sent up a prayer to Demeter to ask her help in the plant's healing. He reached down and carefully set the potted plant upright again. Hopefully he could save the rest of the plant later, but right now he needed to make sure no one was creeping around his backyard.
It could have been a cat, or a raccoon or a squirrel rummaging around, sure, but the thing passing the window had been too tall for a four-legged beast.
Vic's heart pounded against his ribcage, as he moved quietly over to the big pine tree in the center of his backyard.
Careful to not make noise, he put his back to the trunk, holding his gun up, and inched around, listening for any foreign sound.
In a flash of movement, too quick for him to react, he felt a hand clamp down on his gun hand, squeezing it with incredible strength, forcing his fingers to let go of the butt. The gun dropped to the ground and another hand grabbed him by the back of the neck, pulling him forward.
Everything happened too quickly and he was suddenly looking into gray eyes and a deathly pale face. He opened his mouth to yell, when the urge to call out was stifled by a vise-like squeeze to the back of his neck. He winced, pulling in a quick intake of breath.
The hand was cold like death, and the smell of the grave triggered a nasty memory in his subconscious.
Something… something from a past he wasn't sure was his own filtered through his inner vision, and he fought to chase it, to grab it and face it head on. But it was too elusive, like a specter riding the wind.
"I'm afraid I'm going to need a bargaining chip in the days and months ahead, beautiful one. Don't worry. You won't remember any of this."
The warm and sensual, calculating and confident voice entered Vic's mind and soul making him fall under the heady effects of both the touch on his body and the voice caressing his mind. Cold lips brushed over the back of his neck, under his hair, and the sharp sting of teeth sank into his flesh.
In seconds everything disappeared into darkness.
(Coming soon to Kindle. :D)