Friday, August 11, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors – 55

Jared studied the man for a long moment, reading the emotions crossing his face. Finally he said, “You’re Norris.”

“That would be me, which means you know Daniel.” Norris looked him over before chuckling softly, almost to himself. “You’re the vampire he told me about, the one he said was a good friend.”

“I am.” Jared stepped back to let Norris enter. “I’m afraid Daniel’s a bit under the weather at the moment,” he said, pointing to the comatose man sprawled out on the sofa.

“The kid never could hold his liquor if it was the good stuff.” Norris crossed the room to kneel down by the sofa, brushing a strand of hair off Daniel’s face. “He looks older, but I guess that’s not surprising. I haven’t seen him in well over fifty years and then it was just briefly.”

“The time he returned home because your mother had died.”

“Yes. That’s when he mentioned you.” Norris looked up at Jared. “Can I assume the two of you are more than just friends, since you seem to be living here too, if the bathrobe is any indication?”

Jared chuckled. “We could be just roommates.”

“Umm hmm, and I could be Sasquatch. Look, I know my brother’s bi and it doesn’t really bother me. Not like it did the rest of the pack. I figure it’s his business and no one else’s.”

“Well thank you for that,” Jared said a bit dryly. “I know he wasn’t expecting you, so may I ask why you’ve suddenly shown up here after all these years.”

Sitting back on his heels Norris considered the question. “Other than to find him? Would you mind if I wait and tell you both at the same time?”

“Not in the least. Are you staying somewhere close to here?”

“Actually,” Norris admitted, “I was hoping…” He shook his head. “I can’t ask that. Is there somewhere you recommend?”

“Yes. We have a spare bedroom. It’s small but you’re welcome to it, for the time being at least.”

“You’re sure? I mean you don’t even know me.”

“You’re Daniel’s brother, that's enough of a recommendation.” Jared smiled. “Besides, I think if you decided to cause any trouble I’d be quite able to handle it. I’m not as young as I look.” 

Norris chuckled. “Which of us are? All right, I accept your offer with thanks.” After standing up he looked down at his brother and asked, “Are you planning on leaving him here?”

“I was going to, yes, but I guess upon further consideration I probably shouldn’t. He’ll wake up grouchy and sore which is not something either of us want to deal with.”

“Been there, done that with him in the past. Allow me.” Norris hauled Daniel up, tossing him over his shoulder. “Which way?”

Jared led him to the bedroom, where Norris unceremoniously dumped Daniel on the bed, laughing when his brother muttered, “How rude,” before falling back to sleep.

After giving Norris a brief tour of the apartment and helping the were settle into the guestroom, Jared returned to his bedroom. Stretching out next to Daniel he wrapped an arm around him so that his head rested on his shoulder and was soon asleep, despite the low, rumbling snores echoing in his ear.

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