Fred is back in a whole new unadventurous adventure and you won’t want to miss it!
Krystal stepped back, admiring me now that I was fully adorned in the required wear of the evening. “You know, you clean up pretty nice.”
“I would take more comfort in that notion if I weren’t so keenly aware of the fact that I’m going to be walking in with the absolute definition of beauty. How well I clean up is unimportant; no one will even realize I’m there once they see you.”
Krystal stared at me for a moment, then did something I was completely unprepared for. She blushed. Only a touch in the cheeks and for no more than a few seconds, but it was unmistakable. The rising of blood is not the sort of thing my vampire senses were likely to overlook. Then, as quickly as it was there, it was gone, hidden in a flurry of movement as she stepped closer and kissed me firmly on the lips. By the time I pulled free, there was no trace of those red cheeks. Instead, she wore her usual half-wild grin.
“Keep up the sweet talk, and I’ll end up making us late for this thing.”
“Wonderful as that sounds, I would be too embarrassed to leave this room if the others heard us . . . being affectionate. Which would be unavoidable, since at least two of them have enhanced hearing, possibly three depending on which potions Amy has taken so far today.”
“Actually, I sent the kids off to school,” Krystal replied, gently teasing one of the buttons on my pressed, white tuxedo shirt. “I thought it might be nice if we went over together, just the two of us. It’s been awhile since we managed a real date, and since I’ve got an out-of-town gig coming up, we probably won’t pull one off for another week or so.”
“I’ll have to plan something special for your return, then.” I gently ran my hand across Krystal’s cheek, perhaps unconsciously trying to sense the heat that had been there only minutes before.
“Please do. I like hanging out with the gang as much as anyone else, but even I like some romance from time to time. Just . . . you know the deal.”
“No reservations that can’t be canceled,” I said.
She nodded and took a step back, finally breaking the half-embrace we’d locked ourselves in since she fixed my bow tie. “Yeah. I hate that we have to make that a rule, but I never know when a call is going to come.”
“You don’t ever need to feel bad for doing your job. We came into this with open eyes. I knew who I was committing to. Sometimes, I have to let plans fall away due to your more pressing matters; sometimes, you have to watch movies that don’t have slapstick or explosions with me. We’ve all got our burdens to bear.”
“It could be worse,” Krystal conceded. “At least you clean up nice. Just don’t get too comfy in that tux.”
“I daresay it would take a mage of legendary caliber to make such a thing viable, so I doubt it will be an issue.”
“Good, because Albert is staying with Neil tonight, which means we’ve got the apartment all to ourselves.” She threw me a glance that, even on my least socially adept day, I could have correctly interpreted. After having been with her for so many months, I knew its meaning in an instant.
“Ah, um, right. Yes.” I would love to report that I’d reached a point where I was finally less bumbling when it came to discussing intimate matters; however, such was simply not the case, as my swarthy dialogue proves.
“Whoa there. Put a leash on it, you wild animal. We’ve got to get through a party first.” Krystal shifted gears from sultry to playful, trading her telling leer for a flirty wink before I’d even finished recovering.
“I believe, when tuxedos are involved, it’s called a gala,” I said.
“Fred, I’ve been to a few ‘galas,’ and trust me on this: no one will ever call a therian party a gala, no matter how fancy they make the guests dress. Now, shake that cute ass. If you’re late to these things, all the good food is gone.”
Krystal slipped her arm through mine, pulled open the bedroom door, and the two of us headed out, en route to what was supposed to be a lovely party surrounded by a few friends and a myriad of potentially deadly strangers.
I only found it mildly disconcerting how normal that situation seemed at the time.
About the Author
Drew Hayes is an aspiring author from Texas who has written several books and found the gumption to publish a few (so far). He graduated from Texas Tech with a B.A. in English, because evidently he’s not familiar with what the term “employable” means. Drew has been called one of the most profound, prolific, and talented authors of his generation, but a table full of drunks will say almost anything when offered a round of free shots. Drew feels kind of like a D-bag writing about himself in the third person like this. He does appreciate that you’re still reading, though.
Drew would like to sit down and have a beer with you. Or a cocktail. He’s not here to judge your preferences. Drew is terrible at being serious, and has no real idea what a snippet biography is meant to convey anyway. Drew thinks you are awesome just the way you are. That part, he meant. Drew is off to go high-five random people, because who doesn’t love a good high-five? No one, that’s who.