Sunday, June 25, 2017

Guardian Angels – Protection (19)

Kip sat in the back seat of the car with Jamie in his lap, making very certain Jamie couldn't see what was happening while the police dealt with Stewart's dead body. Only when the ambulance drove away did he release his tight hold on his son, although he didn't let him move. He asked Cass, belatedly he knew, "Are you all right?"

"Yes. He never even came close to hitting me before I took him down." She knelt by the car door, looking at him closely. "Your throwing yourself on the ground helped, as well as Jamie's making it to the car so fast. At least I didn't have to worry about the two of you at that point."

"My angel took me here," Jamie told her. "Real fast. Like that!" He snapped his fingers.


"Honest, Dad, he did. I swear. Right at the same time you fell down."

Kip frowned. "I… I didn't fall. It felt like someone pushed me, which is crazy. Maybe I stumbled?"

"You probably have an angel too," Jamie said, nodding his head hard. "I bet so, but you can't see him because you're grown up, maybe."

"I don't feel too grown up right now," Kip muttered. "I feel like a scared kid." He looked at Cass and Mack, who had joined them at that point. "Is it really over?"

"It really is," Mack replied. "Cass nailed him, but then we knew she would. We were just here…in case."

Something finally sank in and Kip glared at them. "You planned this whole thing, knowing he'd undoubtedly be here. You put our lives in danger without even warning me!"

"Kip," Cass said quietly, "if we'd told you, you wouldn't have acted naturally."

"Naturally? Naturally? We were huddling in the doorway and then trying to make it to the car as fast as possible. How's that natural?"

"It's exactly what he'd have expected. That's why he was waiting behind that bush"—she pointed—"at the end of the building. Best guess is he figured he'd shoot you, beat it around the building, and make his escape before I could react to what was happening."

Kip looked at her in shock. "You knew he was there?"

She smiled slightly in reply. "Who do you think fired the first shot? I spotted him, but I needed to wait until he moved enough for me to get a good bead on him. He was stupid enough to half-stand to see over the bush and that's all she wrote. I got him in the shoulder, he decided to shoot back, and I nailed him."

"It sounded like a gun battle."

"Only because you're not used to being around gunfire," Mack said, patting Kip's shoulder. "Now I suggest we all go back inside before the reporters descend."

Kip looked around and realized there were two TV trucks, as well as a lot of spectators, behind the crime scene tape the cops had strung up. The last thing he wanted was for Jamie to have to face cameras and microphones. Setting Jamie on his feet, he got out of the car. They walked quickly into the building, with Cass and Mack right behind them. Only when they were all in the elevator did he begin to feel safe. He wasn't the least surprised that Jamie clung tightly to his hand on the ride up and all the way into the apartment.

When they were inside with the door locked, Kip took a deep, relieved breath. "I think…"

"Don't think," Mack said. "Just relax and try to unwind. Jamie, do you want something to eat?"

"Uh-uh." Jamie shook his head.

"Kip, do you?"

"I think I'd probably lose it if I did." Kip sank down on the sofa and Jamie immediately huddled beside him.

Mack's phone rang at that moment. He answered, saying "Send them up".

Two minutes later, Kip heard the sound of running feet in the hallway. When Mack opened the door, Emily dashed in with Rob not far behind her. She slowed down when she saw Kip and Jamie, coming to a stop in front of them.

"You could have called to say you were all right," she said angrily. Then she was hugging Kip tightly, tears streaming down her face. "When Officer Smith told me what happened… My own husband didn't even bother to tell me what they were planning." She glared at Rob.

"And spoil the surprise?" Kip said with a shaky laugh.

"Surprise my ass. Damn it, you could have been killed."

"But we weren't," Kip replied, untangling from her embrace. "We're fine. Well…we will be, once it sinks in that it's over." He smiled wanly, taking her hand. "Be glad it happened here, not after we got to your place where Stewart might have shot both of us in front of your family."

"It was equally well protected," Rob put in. "I just didn't let Emily and the kids know, because I didn't want them panicking. He wouldn't have gotten within five hundred yards of the house."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 31

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” the young elven waitress said timidly, “but there is a problem with one of our customers.”

“One that the bouncers can’t handle?” Jared asked. Most of those were trolls—large enough and strong enough to take on most anything.

“It’s a bakeneko and it has reverted to its cat form. At the moment it is in the wee folks’ area, hunting.”

“It couldn’t go after the mice in the basement,” Daniel grumbled as he got up. “Okay, lead the way.”

Once they arrived on the second level it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out in which room the problem was. High-pierced shrieks of fear seeped out into the hallway from behind a closed door at the far end.

“Shall we?” Jared said as he strode toward the door.

Daniel grabbed his arm before he could open it. “Be careful. These damned things throw fireballs, in case you’ve forgotten.”

“I hadn’t.” Jared shot him a look. “I’ll be fine.”

Opening the door, he moved quickly into the large, airy room. It was as if he’d been transported to a forest glade replete with flowers, flowering bushes and exotic trees, some that no human would have recognized. Any other time it would have been idyllic. At the moment it was far from that. Fairies, pixies and other like creatures flittered in panic high above the ground, while brownies and gnomes zig-zagged between the bushes trying to avoid the golden-furred bakeneko as it chased after them. It leapt up suddenly to a low-hanging tree branch sending a fireball at a fairy who had dared to land on a nearby tree. The fairy shrieked as one of its wings was singed, plummeting towards the ground. The bakeneko jumped after it, claws outstretched.

“Bad cat,” Jared hissed; catching its attention before it could capture the fallen fairy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 30

“Okay,” Daniel said an hour later, “if there’s any form of sexual activity, regular or otherwise this place doesn’t cater to, for damned sure I can’t think of it.”

“And you found some of them interesting,” Jared said with a laugh, glancing down at the now waning bulge in Daniel’s jeans.

Daniel smirked. “You weren’t impervious either, I noticed.” He led a slightly protesting Jared to the dance floor in the main club, putting his hands on his partner’s hips. “Relax, go with the flow, move to the music.”

“There’s music?” Jared tilted his head as if trying to hear it above the pulsating beat that came from the speakers.

“Yes, smart ass, you know damned well this is music. Just relax.” He slid his hands around to cup Jared’s ass, pulling their bodies tightly together.

“Very primitive music,” Jared agreed reluctantly, “Primitive and erotic. It’s a wonder half the supes in here aren’t fornicating as we speak.”

Daniel glanced upwards, rolling his eyes. And then he chuckled and pointed to the ceiling. “Apparently a couple of fairies agree with you.”

A quick look up and Jared was shaking his head. “I’m not a prude but that’s just a bit more than I needed to see.”

“You are a prude,” Daniel whispered, nipping his earlobe, “My own, personal prude.”

They continued to dance through two more songs before Jared had had enough. Taking Daniel’s hands he led him to the edge of the main room. “Either we leave or we leave here. I’m going deaf.”

“How about the jazz room? We can have a drink, sit back and you can unwind.”

“Please the gods, yes!”

Once they found a table along one wall in the smaller club, the pair settled on the banquette, ordered drinks, and sat back to enjoy what Jared considered real music. The room was dark, and with everyone’s eyes focused on the band Daniel was seriously thinking of taking advantage of the situation. He began tapping his fingers on Jared’s leather-clad thigh in time to the song, inching up slowly but surely to his intended destination.

“Enforcers,” a voice said diffidently.

Both men looked up and sighed in unison, though Daniel’s was more of a growl than a full-blown sigh.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 29

“Loud enough for you?” Jared hissed when they walked into the main room of the club.

“Almost,” Daniel replied with a laugh as he looked around. The room took up the center of the huge warehouse space, rising up the full two stories. A balcony ran around the perimeter with tables against the railing for those who preferred to watch rather than get into the thick of things on the main floor.

And things were thick. The large dance floor was filled with Supes of all kinds. Some were in their accepted human forms, while others didn’t bother to hide their less-than human attributes. Spotlights swirled all the colors of the rainbow over the dancers giving a kaleidoscopic feeling that was almost dizzying. On the back wall there was a long bar outlined in green and gold neon lights. The wall, what could be seen of it behind and above the backbar, was deep red brick that extended up to the ceiling of the club above the balcony. Scattered along the two side walls were many small seating areas with tables and cushioned chairs in various sizes and shapes, again to accommodate the various Supes.

“Shall we explore a bit before I go deaf,” Jared shouted as the music seemed to amp up painfully, at least to his ears.

“You got it.” Daniel steered him toward a door to their left.

When they reached it, a satyr bent to whisper something to the lovely kitsune clinging to his arm, before greeting Jared. “If you're hungry, there’s a room with willing donors at the far end of the hall. To the left is the jazz club, much smaller than the main club and,” the satyr chuckled, “much quieter. Above us on the second level, you’ll find several small club areas that cater to the wee folk or those that prefer not to mingle with the rest of us.”

“He means the spirits,” the kitsune explained, “and the harbingers. Since this place is for fun, some of the customers take it badly when a banshee or a nix stops them to predict their impending death.”

“I can see where that could be a bit off-putting when you’ve just come in for a drink and some relaxation,” Daniel said, shaking his head before asking, “What’s on the other side?”

The satyr’s face lit up, a lustful grin on his lips as he raked his eyes over Daniel. “Come with me and I’ll show you.”

Daniel swallowed hard. He had nothing against a bit of recreational play but he wasn’t about to indulge in any without Jared in tow. However the look in the satyr’s eyes, as he took a quick glance at Jared and then back at Daniel, said that wasn’t an option in his opinion.

“How about we let the young lady give us the guided tour of that side,” Jared suggested, having caught the by-play. “I’m quite certain you have better things to do ,sir, than show a couple of new customers around.”

The kitsune, being a fox who was wise to the ways of the world, immediately linked her arms with Daniel’s and Jared’s, leading them over to the other side of the club. There was a protracted growl and then an accepting chuckle from behind them and when Jared looked back over his shoulder he saw the satyr was already homing in on another hapless customer.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 28

“We should visit that club.” Daniel looked guilelessly at Jared before taking another bite of his steak.

“Should we now? And just which club would that be?” It wasn’t as if Jared didn’t know exactly which one Daniel was talking about, but he was in the mood to yank his chain a bit.

“You know; the one close to where we found the wand.”

Jared frowned in thought. “Not certain I remember a club near there. Is it one of those jazz clubs?”

“Jared! Damn, come on, Mor told us about it. It’s the one for Supes.”

“For Supes?” Jared stroked his chin pensively.

“I swear I’m going to up your dose of ginkgo biloba. You’re going senile,” Daniel growled.

“Day-walkers do not go senile, thank you very much,” Jared hissed before laughing. “I know the club you mean.” He ducked away when Daniel took a swipe at him. “And it might well be worth checking out.”

Daniel grinned. “I totally agree. So get dressed in something that doesn’t make you look like you just stepped out of a corporate board meeting and let’s hit it.”

Looking Daniel over Jared muttered, “I suppose you want me wearing something like that.” His partner was in tight jeans and a mesh shirt. Neither item left much to the imagination, as Daniel demonstrated by standing and turning slowly. Jared pulled him up against his body, running his hands down the front of his jeans to the bulge that grew exponentially with each stroke of his fingers.

Daniel leaned back against him, groaning low while reaching his hands back to cup Jared’s ass. “Keep that up and we’re going nowhere.”

“And this would be a problem for what reason?”

Using all of his waning will-power Daniel pulled away. “I know what you’re doing Batman, you’re trying to distract me so you don’t have to change into those sexy leathers you keep hidden in the back of the closet.”

“Caught me, Catman,” Jared said with a grumbling laugh. After pulling Daniel back long enough to kiss him thoroughly Jared headed off to get ready.