Boys of the Bite: A Gay Vampire Anthology [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Cecilia Tan
eBook Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: Vampires are ever young, ever beautiful, and ruled by the cravings of the flesh. In Boys of the Bite, the gay male side of the vampire's legend is explored in every erotic possibility. From historical settings where vampires move through high society to modern vamps you find at the all-night laundromat, these lusty men know how to hunt, whether for love or just a midnight snack. Mixing stories by gay male authors like R. R. Angell and Ken Panadero with some of Ravenous Romance's stars of m/m romance like Ryan Field, Boys of the Bite gives every reader plenty to get his or her blood pumping.
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance, Published: 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2009
by R. R. Angell
7 Reader Ratings:
"Overall I would rate Boys of the Bite well worth the price of entry, and a nice sampler of gay erotic romance stories that put a twist in the old tropes but never escapes or subverts them."--Emily Veinglory, "The Fleam Vampire Book Reviews" (4 out of 5) "I would not be surprised if you read this book and the result is spontaneous combustion. If you like graphic sex scenes with creatures of the night, this book is for you."--Readaholic
Wanting Needing Having
Another Saturday night and all I want is to get out of the office and dance until dawn. Well, close to it, anyway. Maybe find another Rugger. Ah, Rugger. More on him later. I want to be all over him right now, but duty calls; the job dictates.
I've got patients for Dr. Lowell queued in exam rooms One and Three, and another sitting in the waiting room. Dr. Lowell hasn't shown up yet. We've been open since ten at night and it's already ten fifteen. So where is he? I'm drumming my fingers on the desk.
What? Me nervous?
I run a sanguinarian clinic located in Bethesda, Maryland, only one of three in the country. The other two are in Cincinnati and San Francisco.
Our clinic covers the East Coast, but we get people from all over. Dr. Lowell is good, a true pioneer, and he's got connections with the National Institutes of Health, just up Wisconsin Avenue. He's amazing that way. Not that the NIH is researching our problems, or even knows about them.
"Doctor Lowell's office, Dillon speaking," I answer the phone. "How may I help you?"
"Hi, Dillon, it's Frederico Apollitano. I called a couple of days ago? From Ibiza? I'm back in the States and I need to see Dr. Lowell as soon as possible."
"Remind me again who you are, okay?" You can never be too careful. We've seen this guy before, but I like hearing his dark, Mediterranean voice.
"I was at trance night at Playa de Talamanca and I," he says, hesitating. "I drank something that I think had ecstasy in it."
"Really?" I say, noticing that Dr. Lowell's private line is in use. It's about time. He must have breezed in the back entrance. At least the doctor is in.
"Okay, fine," Frederico says. He's clued in that I like his accent. Good boy. "There was this group of women from Boston, and the blond finance babe and I hooked up in the bar and danced for a couple of hours. We started making out, and I couldn't help myself, I drained her right there in the crowd. She wasn't the only one on the floor. People just dance around the bodies, you know?"
I don't get it. They say you can taste ecstasy in their blood, but he sucked her dry anyway. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
"Any symptoms?" I ask. The woman in the waiting room glances up from her magazine.
"Symptoms?" Frederico is slow on the uptake. "I got a few. I woke up the next night itching like crazy, and I've got a strange stomachache. My chest and upper arms are as sore as a sinner's rosary beads."
I bet they are. "How long ago was this? Was that the last time you ate, and did you have a full meal?"
I look at my nails. The patient from exam room one puts his diagnosis form and a prescription request on my window ledge. Dr. Lowell is starting to crank them out. Finally.
I hate summertime. Late sunsets and early sunrises mean very short office hours. We're open 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., Monday through Friday, from May through August, and add Saturdays from ten to midnight. It's our busiest time of year. Guess it's all that exposed skin. Who can resist?
"Three days ago, and that was the last time I ate," Frederico says. "It was a full meal. I drained the bitch."
Frederico is getting a little too gold-chained for me.
"Excuse me?" says the guy at the window.
"I'll be with you in a sec, hon." I glare at him. He's a newvee, and going to be a pain in the ass. Works for some nonprofit downtown in their IT department as a network something or other. Impatient shit. Guess he wants to make the clubs before they close. Wouldn't that be nice? I hold a finger up. No, not that one.
"Frederico? I have an opening in about forty-five minutes. Are you in town?"
"Great, that's just six stops away on the Red Line." I give him directions to our fourth-floor office in the Howl Building, and add his name to the queue. If he's on time, we'll get out of here by witching hour and maybe I can go dancing.
I turn to the newvee in the window. "Yes?"
"My paperwork?" he says, pushing the prescription and the diagnosis sheet through the window.
Not the way to my good side. I look at the paperwork an extra-long moment, then separate the pages and hand him his pink copy. He tries to hand me his prescription for Warfarin.
"First time, huh?" I say. He nods. "Take it to any pharmacy, it's a legit prescription. They'll take your plan information."
"But aren't things..." He pauses, and I enjoy the moment. "Aren't we different now?"
He wants to be special. Get over it, honey. I have to take the next patient back pronto, or Dr. Lowell will fall behind.
"You have a digestive disorder due to your condition," I explain. "You have to thin the blood so it won't clot so much until you metabolize it. That's what the Warfarin will do. The pharmacy isn't going to write Take before each meal on it, but you do that, and it will do the trick. Okay?"
He nods. "Thanks," he says, and leaves.
I hate insurance forms. I really hate them. Newvees always have to have their little jobs until they can save enough money that will generate cash in perpetuity and that takes at least forty-five or fifty years of constant saving. That is, if they have a financial planner. We partner with Merrill Parker and Company to provide financial consulting services to all our newvee patients. That way we get paid. Eventually.
"Ms. Adler? Doctor Lowell will see you now." I usher her into the examination room, and pull a fresh paper cover over the examination table, tossing the old one. I see she is looking a little tanned. It's either the makeup, or she's got the Congo flu.
"Please remove your outer clothing, and hop up on the table," I say. I lay out the vacuutainers for the blood work Dr. Lowell is going to want. Too bad. I'll have to stay an extra hour and process them, which means I won't get to the clubs until about 1:30.
"You may leave your underwear and bra on. There's a hook on the back of the door for your clothes."
Back out front, Dr. Lowell's 10:45 is writing his name on the pad. It's for a follow-up exam, so I'll have to pull his chart. Fortunately he's vintage, so there won't be any insurance forms. He's also cute. I come back from the file room and patient two is done and standing there. Frederico should be here any time.
It's one hell of a Saturday night.
My thoughts turn back to Rugger, and last night's little snack. He's on instant replay in my head, and I can't seem to stop the loop.
* * * *
Friday night. I barely made last call at Club Noir, a gay dive down an alley off of P Street in D.C., the crowd already pairing off for the night. I lean against the gray-carpeted wall, watching slick skin flash and pulse under the lights. Lloyd would not approve, but all that blood pumping is making me hungry. What I do isn't Lloyd's concern anymore.
I smell him first. Sweat from dancing. Clean. No drugs. Traces of too much cologne. Obsession, I think. A hint of cinnamon. A beer drinker.
"Buy you a drink?" he says, leaning in.
I look him over in the shifting light. Forty-ish, about six-foot-one, close-cropped hair. The muscles in his neck are well defined and overlaid with veins, as is his hairy forearm and the hand that clutches his beer bottle. He looks Croatian: black hair, olive skin, a squared head and broad nose. Not from around here. I'd definitely have noticed him.
He sighs and looks away. Takes a drink. I know that look. He's thinking he'll go back to his hotel room alone tonight.
"I'm Rugger," he says, turning back to me.
Hot name. "Dillon," I say. "Where does Rugger come from?"
"It's short for Ruggero," he says looking me over. I'm thin, a couple of inches shorter than he is. Very non-threatening. "I'm in town on business," he says.
He's staying at the hotel on P Street. Not far.
Hotel lobbies suck, all glitter and mirrors. In this particular hotel there's a mirror right inside the entrance, another one above the fireplace, then there are the elevator doors. Yikes.
It might be better to grab a bite on the way home instead. He's hot, though. And I like older men. Relatively speaking, of course.
"Rugger," I say, shifting to his left and getting his attention as we walk through the automatic doors. I stroke his face and turn us left toward the big room. One down.
"Look at these flowers!" I push him toward the credenza, away from the fireplace, and sniff the giant arrangement. Two down. The elevators are around the corner. Last hurdle. He gets impatient and goes to call an elevator.
From experience I know there are three elevators: two on one side and the third directly across from the second one against the wall. That's the tricky one. Of course, that's the one I hear open.
He's a little drunk, but I take no chances. I grab the giant flower arrangement and swing it in front of me. The splash of color fills the mirrored doors. I step into the elevator, crowding him and blocking his view.
"You can't do that," he says, taking the arrangement from me like someone correcting a child. Heck, I was twenty-four when I was made, sixty-three years ago, and I looked young then, but he's managed to make me feel sufficiently chastised. Where'd that come from? I press myself against the wall by the control panel, out of view of the mirrored doors across the hall. I push the OPEN button while he puts the arrangement back. I smile, a bad boy, and he laughs and kisses me as the doors close. Phew.
I hesitate in the hallway outside his door. He's already inside.
"Second thoughts?" he says, and cocks his head. There's something mysterious and dangerous about him, not the usual lonely resignation.
I shake my head.
"Please come in, then," he says.
The invitation is all I need. The room is large with an office area and sofa opposite the king-sized bed. Nice bathroom, and I notice I look great. Rugger is closing his laptop as I approach him.
"Hungry?" he says.
"Actually, no." I'd eaten a few days ago and wouldn't need to again for several days, but a little nip would be nice. I'm just horny and it begins to show. Rugger notices, too.
Everyone thinks we don't have beating hearts and coursing blood of our own, so we couldn't possibly get erections. Then how come everyone agrees there is spurting blood when we get staked? It's all drama, drama, drama.
We are very sensual beings. Especially when we're feeding. The only difference is that we don't produce viable seed except when we're in season. We can have orgasms anytime, but it's only once every few years we can actually Make. Being in season has its own set of problems, and I am just entering the cycle. Bummer for me. I'm not ready to fall in hormone-driven love right now.
Ready or not, as they say.
He leans into me, and tastes my lip, slips his thick arm around me, pulls me to him. I put my hand in his hair, stroke his back and he tries to explore my mouth with his tongue.
"I'm not into that," I say. "But there are so many other things we can do."
I push him toward the bed.
* * * *
Frederico keeps me late with his, "I don't wanna be sick," routine. Cute, but tired. He can walk home, as far as I'm concerned.
Sampson calls my cell as I'm driving downtown. The subway closes at two and reopens at five. With daybreak around five forty-five, there just isn't time to get home by Metro. So we either drive or cab it in the summer. I had hoped to just park the car in my garage and walk down to Club Noir without going inside the VB&B we run for transient patients. It's so difficult to find a good rent-a-lair on short notice, especially if you are damaged or disabled in some way.
Sampson is such a classic newvee. I wish we could quadruple his salary just to get him out of here sooner. He's been with us five years. He was made when he was nineteen. Forever a pretty boy with no particular skill set. Talk about a curse when it comes to making a living.
"Hi," says Sampson, not even glancing at me. Did he forget he called? Probably. At least he's where he should be, in the small area we call the lobby, behind the oak desk, watching the security cameras. You'd think he'd be watching Wheel Of Fortune reruns or something.
I wait, unnoticed. "What is so interesting?"
"Two guys are fucking in the alley behind the Dumpster." He doesn't look up.
Sampson's sponsor dumped him after seven years. No palimony for boy wonder. He lived out of the wallets of his tricks until he developed some rash or bowel problem, and that's how he came to us. He worked off his medical debt, then stuck around. You get what you pay for.
"Sampson," I say. "You called me. Remember?"
"Oh. There's a guy got brought in earlier. I put him in Twelve."
That's one of the rooms with stainless steel furniture and no carpet. Easy to clean. "Banged up pretty bad," he said. "Got bashed and knifed outside some bar. Looks like someone was trying to stake him."
Sampson was thinking for a change. How rare. "Anyone up there with him?" I ask.
"Nah. His ride dumped him and left. Some old guy." Sampson points at the security screen he's been watching the two lovebirds on. "Actually, that's him there."
It turns out Sampson wasn't thinking after all. I bolt for the back door and leap over the fence just as the guy starts snacking on his paramour.
"Hey, buddy," I say. The guy looks familiar. He shifts his body so I can't see what he's doing. "Hey, are you deaf?"
I shove him hard and he turns on me and gives me one of those dripping-fang bad-breath hissing fits, hands up and ready to slash. I recognize him immediately. Nice nails. I do a quick sidestep and knee him in his fat groin. His fly is open. I hope he cut himself on his zipper.
"No bringing food onto the premises," I say. "You know the rules, Senator. Draw attention to us, and we draw attention to you."
"Dillon, son. I can explain this here..." he says, sidling away.
I feel like I'm always cleaning up after these guys. I swab snack-boy's neck with some of Dr. Lowell's famous Bite-Be-Gone, and lay the kid down behind the Dumpster. He'll wake in a little while. The senator is nowhere to be seen. Back inside, I tell Sampson to monitor for activity in the alley and to turn on the floods if the senator comes back.
I get to Club Noir at last call, order a glass of red, and lean against the wall and watch the dancers spin through the pulsing lights and fog-machine atmosphere. Nice. Like London. Never been there.
"Care to dance?" Rugger is beside me.
We merge into the mass of shirtless gym lords bouncing to the rhythm. I can hear all their hearts beating under the music like trash blowing down an alley. One hunk bumps me and I catch the blood-rush of the popper drug surging through him. He smells like ether. Intoxicating. Black light washes over us. A strobe flickers to life, and I want his life right now.
Rugger spins me around, distracts me by running his hands under my shirt. His fingertips are electric. I peel my shirt off and tuck it under my belt, then start tugging at his shirt. He bats me away and I feel the heat of his hands on me, pinching my waist, stroking my nipples, my neck.
As a rule, I never do second dates, but I want this one. I want it now.
"Let's go," I shout, and he dances harder.
I take his hand and drag him toward the door. He's looking for someone back across the room. "Are you with someone?"
He snaps his head around to me. "No. Just looking for my drink."
"You don't need it. You need me," I command, and he clings to me like Velcro.
Outside his hotel, I say, "I'm out of condoms. I'll meet you in your room in ten minutes."
He nods as if punch drunk, and walks inside. Good boy.
Up the street, I slide around the building into cool shadow. An estrous bitch has pissed beside the Dumpster where an old junkie now slumbers. I smell the advertisement and grin at the confused male beast nosing around there. The dog sees me, but her scent keeps him from slinking away.
I slip up the wall of summer-warmed brick, silent as a shadow, and through a window into the ninth-floor hallway. Rugger is waiting one floor down. The lights are off in his room, but I see every vein, every hair on his body.
"Where'd you get these?" I touch one and he winces. His pain arouses me, and I long to taste the bitterness of a lingering bruise. He'll have a few more when I get through with him.
"I got into a fight in the alley on my way to the bar," he says.
"Several people got attacked tonight," I say. "I wish I'd been there to even things out."
I want to protect Rugger.
These are fragile creatures. I go easy on him until we're both spent, and that takes a long time.
* * * *
There's a voice mail from Rugger waiting for me when I get up. But first I have to make sure Sampson put the laundry in the dryer last night. He did, and the towels are nice and fluffy and scented with foxglove, the way I like them. I'm pleased Sampson is starting to get it after all these years. The guests notice these things.
Sampson is sleeping in. Boredom, or just Sunday night? I don't get these kids. I pound on his door and go up to check the house voice mail. Dr. Lowell heard about the senator's friend and will be dropping by about one o'clock. He requested my presence. The man is as dedicated as they come. I wish he'd get a life.
We had a life together. Once. All those years and it went so stale. The safety of togetherness is a prison. There's no excitement, no danger, nothing new. All routine and then some. That's why I moved out last year. You think he'd notice. Nope. Dr. Lloyd Lowell's practice is booming. That's all he notices these days. He stopped noticing me.
I sift through the mail from Saturday. The city wants us to know they'll be replacing our water and sewer lines and we will be without service Wednesday and Thursday during working hours. Something about lead pipes. They don't need access to the house.
I also have two credit card offers and Delta wants me to join their frequent flier program. Most of us belong to the Federal Express bonus program, guaranteed nighttime delivery worldwide. Lloyd and I get a couple of free trip vouchers every year. Lloyd rarely goes anywhere, chained to his patients as he is, so I don't travel much either. I think that should change. He's my ex now, so he's Dr. Lowell to me, not Lloyd.
Maybe it's time I took someone under my wing. I call last night's snack on my cell phone, and hope he wants another round. The more I think of Rugger, the more delicious he gets.
"Hi, Dillon," he says. I can tell he's tired. "You weren't there when I woke up, or I would have had you for breakfast."
Cute. Maybe I shouldn't have left my cell number on his nightstand.
"You were amazing," he says. "Can I see you for a drink tonight? It's not too late, is it?"
"Oh, I'm still a little tired from last night," I lie. "Maybe just one drink."
We meet at Blue at ten thirty and he gets a nice bottle of Bordeaux. I hadn't told him I liked wine, but I guess he remembered from last night. Nice of him.
Last night was something. I can still hear the blood racing through his system, feel his heat as I pierced thin skin while he moaned. I was surprised to find I was fully in-season. No wonder I enjoyed his company so much. I had to watch it or I'd be inviting him to join me for the next few decades.
The problem with dating in-group is that we're prone to being fickle. Well, not all of us. There are no consequences, so there are few relationships. It's rare that you find someone who wants to settle down. Dedication and commitment is a lot of work, the labor of love. It's easy to become jaded after forty or fifty years. You're bound to get hurt. How many hundreds of years of someone can a guy take?
Then there's the human element. Love a human, you're bound to get hurt. They get old and die, true, but they are like fabulous desserts: you eat them up so fast, it leaves you wanting more. You go through a few years with one of them if you have the self-control, and you think you want things to last. So you talk about it if you're a gentleman, at least the concept anyway. Then you feed and are fed upon, and bliss is yours.
Then you realize you have traded places with the first problem.
You ever wonder where that term comes from?
"So, Rugger. What brings you to D.C.?"
"Business. But I like it here. It's so different from where I live." I tilt my head and swirl my wine around. "Green Lake, Wisconsin," he says. "I live in Green Lake, Wisconsin."
"How unusual. What's up there?"
"A lake, great fishing, especially ice fishing in the winter. We drag small houses out on the ice for a couple of months and live in them on the weekends. We make temporary villages with named streets and everything. It's cold, about ten below, most of the time. There's only about an hour or two of daylight so the ice gets pretty thick."
"Sounds like heaven," I say. I am only interested in touching him, stroking his arm, searching for tattoos as Sampson calls it. It's just the season talking. But for now it feels good.
"Dillon? Will you have dinner with me tomorrow?"
"I work nights during the week," I say.
The bartender has a silver martini shaker in his hand. He sees me looking and shakes it hard while he looks me in the eyes. He's ticked that I'm talking to Rugger and haven't flirted with him in over five months. I'll have to switch bars soon.
"Where do you work?" he asks.
"In a night clinic," I say, turning to him.
"Not quite." Rugger's eyes are amazing. I could look in there forever, or for an hour anyway.
"Meet me for breakfast when you get off."
"I can't. I actually have two jobs. I also manage a B&B," I say, reaching for his hand. "It's complicated."
"I understand," he says. The edge of disappointment is endearing on a tough guy.
"I'll call you tomorrow night?" I lean over and give him a longer and sloppier kiss than I intended. The bartender breaks a glass, and I leave.
Sampson is behind the desk when I get back, watching a Queer Eye rerun. He just points up the stairs. Dr. Lowell is up there already, and I am late.
Up in Twelve, the patient is lying in bed on a Native Soil Travel Pad, another of Dr. Lowell's inventions. I've heard people using them for over a month when they are away from home base. This one is stained with this guy's blood, black and rich as molasses.
Dr. Lowell is bent over him, stitching up a laceration on the guy's chest. I see the telltale gray of deep bruising under the marble skin. A half-empty pint of blood is draining through the tube into the patient's mouth. The patient glances at me, then closes his eyes.
I can see the muscles working under Dr. Lowell's pink Polo, his tight little butt tensing as he shifts from foot to foot while he works.
"Dillon," he says, not looking up. "Could you hand me the BBG swab?" He holds out his hand and I deliver, as usual. My eyes wash down his neat blond hair, gray at the temples, his beautiful and slender neck, his broad shoulders. He looks like he's been skipping meals again, and I want to give him a taste of me to hold him over.
Lloyd stops and sniffs. "Are you in season?" He turns to me and those baby blues hook me again. I don't say anything.
"Hmm," he says. "That explains why you were rushing to go clubbing last night and didn't bother to check on the condition of the senator's friend, here."
Yes, I feel like a shit. At least it wasn't another arm reattachment or something. "Sorry," I say, sounding like Sampson. I don't tell him about the little altercation in the alley.
"That'll do it," he says, dropping the needle in the porcelain tray. "Dillon, meet me in the library when you're through cleaning up here." He doesn't even glance my way. "You'll be fine in a few days," he says to the patient. "Bed rest, a little fresh air. No need to come to the clinic until Thursday. Dillon will set up an appointment for you."
I dress the wounds and drop the empty pint in a hazardous waste container, then stow the IV rack in the closet. I throw back the curtains and slide the black security shutters back into their pockets, then open the window. The night breezes in, fragrant with blossoms and car exhaust.
Sometimes you just can't help yourself.
I slip out the window and down to the street to walk under the trees and streetlamps for a while. Couples pass me in the night on their way somewhere. A sleepless woman lets her dog run in the park, playing fetch, a cop watches from an unmarked car, sipping coffee. Except for the cars, this place hasn't changed much in sixty years. Most of the iron fences and little yards have been replaced by wider sidewalks. Some of the older trees were long ago replaced by saplings now fully grown.
I used to skip and dance here through hazy summer nights, gaslight streaming down empty sidewalks, new jazz floating through my head. I'd swing Lloyd around and kiss him, forbidden, in the shadows. The music in my head is different now. I still want to dance and skip, but I'm alone.
I find Rugger in his hotel room and lose myself for an hour or two.
* * * *
"Hi, is this too late?" I say into the office phone.
"After last night?" Rugger says. "No. I feel like I just got up. I'm lying back on the couch and thinking of you."
I hear him breathing, the quickening surge of his blood. His tongue drags across dry lips.
I'm not even going to think about phone sex, with all three examination rooms full, blood work spinning up in the back, and a walk-in reading Business Week in the waiting room and giving me the eye. I'm in full-blown season and hot to the touch. My senses are ringing. It's hard to focus.
"I was wondering if you wanted to come up to Bethesda and meet me for dessert this Thursday. Say 11 p.m.? I'd only have about a half-hour, so it might not be worth it for you to come all the way up here."
"No. No, that's enough," he says. "I'd like that."
The intercom buzzes. I put Rugger on hold. "Yes, Dr. Lowell?"
"Bring two pints back to Three, please."
"Be right there." I look up and Mr. Business Week is leaning through the window. I go back to Rugger but the line is dead.
"When do you get off?" Mr. Business Week wants to know. Subtle.
The patient in Three has been living off AIDS patients. Says he's on a diet. He's as thin as a rail. We had a guy last week that was addicted to people with diabetes. He said their blood tasted sweeter and reminded him of Canadian Ice Wine.
Dr. Lowell says the same thing to them all. "A balanced diet is the best thing for a healthy body. Follow your instincts," he tells them. "That's why you have them."
My instincts tell me I need a few days off. Dr. Lowell frowns at me as I enter the examination room. Both he and the patient start sniffing. The patient leers at me. Dr. Lowell takes the transfusion pouches and says, "Thanks, Dillon. I'll be out in a minute."
He pushes me back into the file room when he emerges.
"Dillon," he says, avoiding my eyes. "Give Sampson a call and get him up here to cover for you."
"He's not trained," I say. Dr. Lowell is looking as frustrated as I feel.
"No, but he can answer the phone and take appointments. I've been thinking about shutting down for a few days anyway."
I'm floored. I'm grateful. I can go see Rugger. I don't remember my last time in season being anything like this.
Of course not. I was with Dr. Lowell.
On the phone, I give Sampson the directions again, and make him write them down. Mr. Business Week fills the window. Nice frame.
"So we go down to the camp showers," he's saying, and I hear the office door open and close. Great. Another walk-in. But Mr. Business Week is jabbering and in the way. "I did him clean as he was soaping up. I've never eaten Sri Lankan before. He was--"
I see Rugger standing behind Mr. Business Week and sub-vocalize a hiss that stops him mid-sentence. Rugger is looking nervous. I wave Mr. Business back to his chair.
"How did you--?"
"I did a reverse phone-number lookup on the Internet," he says. "Simple." He sets his briefcase down and leans into my window, looking around.
I make a note of more Internet databases I'll have to clean. It's getting harder to stay hidden. Maybe I can get the IT guy from the other day to freelance a little for us?
But right now I have to get Rugger out of here before he sees anyone else, especially Lloyd. "Let's go get coffee," I say, getting up.
"I can wait," he says.
I sure can't. I'm already out in the waiting room. I grab his briefcase and push him toward the door. I'm moving so fast that stuff in the briefcase is knocking about.
"Be careful with that," he says, trying to take the briefcase from me as I open the stairwell door. "It's okay. I got it." His scent is strong, his heart thumping.
"On second thought, let's go up on the roof. There's a great view of the National Cathedral and you can see the top of the Washington Monument if you squint." I bound up the stairs.
As we reach the roof, Rugger is breathing heavily. So am I, but it's not from the stairs. I'm feeling reckless. Giddy. We burst out onto the dark rooftop.
A Med-Evac helicopter glides overhead toward Suburban hospital. In the downwash I can smell the blood of an accident victim, and I feel my teeth swelling. And that's not all. I press Rugger against the elevator tower and kiss him like it's his last time on Earth. He's still out of breath and he struggles a bit.
"Rugger, do you like me?"
"I'm very happy I tracked you down," he says. "I feel like I've been looking for this all my life."
"Yeah," I say, elated by his answer. I can't say me, too but I say, "I know."
Lloyd is down there in the office, taking care of business as usual. Maybe Sampson and he could get along. Maybe Sampson could take over for a while, a couple of years, while I have a little fling. With the money Lloyd set me up with more than sixty years ago, I could go anywhere. I've never needed this job, never needed to work. Why am I here? I've got enough FedEx travel vouchers to go around the world twice at least.
"Would you spend an eternity with me?" I say. His mouth drops open and he's reaching for his briefcase. I don't really mean eternity, just a couple of years, so his answer isn't that important. I clamp down.