It goes where I go. At least until the new wears off.
“It’s like going stone cold sober for centuries, and then bam! I’m hit with an overdose—a Portocale gift and Portocale oranges in the same day, along with a debt to a Portocale,” he says very quietly, since he doesn’t want the she-wolves overhearing his moment of weakness.
“I didn’t come here to talk about you. I came to talk about me,” I remind him.
“Why do I give a damn about you? I’d much rather talk about me,” he volleys, narrowing his eyes.
“Can you get rid of them so we can talk about either one of us?” I ask on a bored drawl when the wolves tire of waiting on him and start without him.
“Take it to my room,” he snaps over his shoulder.
They roll their eyes, but still comply with an impressive amount of pep to their step. I’m annoyed that my heart is still beating enough to taste the pheromones in the air.
It’s driving me insane.
“She couldn’t see me but then she could,” I carry on once the female mongrels are in another room far enough away for me to stop getting a head rush from all the pheromones. “I walked around in her attic right behind her, and she never even looked at me until that bloody ghost said something that caused me to lose my concentration and I fumbled.”
“She pushed those damn crumbs into my mouth, teasing me, yet made out with you? I’m a fucking legend, and you can’t even get it up,” he carries on, not having the same conversation.
“It goes up just fucking fine, thank you very much. It’s just pointless to use it unless I want to end up fucking a corpse at some point,” I tell him, and then shudder and swallow bile before clearing my throat.
“All the more reason to make out with me and feed you the damn crumbs. It seems symbolic, which is stupid, since you were lurking in her room while she was changing and stuff.”
“She changes in the bloody bathroom because that ghost is always around. If she leaves the door open, she changes in the shower,” I defend.
“So you draw the line at creeping into the bathroom?” he asks, finally paying me attention.
“She salts it. My illusions won’t work beyond her salt lines—I’ve tried—and she’s a vicious little gypsy when she’s upset,” I grouse, huffing a little.
He gives me an irritated look. “And she kissed you? You had to do something to her.”
“My heart wasn’t beating until she affected me,” I remind him.
“Motherfucking crumbs. I should go over there and show her what it actually feels like to—”
“You have four bitches in your room right now who are waiting for you. How about handling them before you sit around the watering hole, shooting the shit about the one who fed you crumbs? Meanwhile, I have a fucking beating heart, and that takes precedence over your dick complex.”
“I do not have a dick complex,” he growls as he points a finger in my face.
“I have a dick complex.” The sudden confession comes from Anna The Overly Friendly Ghost as she pops up right beside me.
Emit curses when he startles just a little, almost giving us away. It’d be really stupid to let the ghost know that we know she exists when she’s so close to slipping into that delusional phase and consequentially becoming a nonissue.
“The complex is not having one. Inside me. Ever,” she continues. “So are these creepy tour thingies that supposedly do a show-and-tell on all the creepy things rumored to be around town for real?” she asks. “I mean, do they come by here and show tourists where the werewolves live and stuff? Or is it the pretend nonsense that people walk away from feeling silly and bored?”
Emit and I just look at each other.
“I bought the patio set I wanted,” I tell him, letting him know we’re done talking for now.
“As if I fucking care. We’re talking about the fact I don’t have a dick complex,” he growls, apparently not finished talking.
“Sure. If you really want to talk about your tiny sports car that you have to fold yourself inside of—”
“How does a car that’s too small have anything to do with my dick?” he gripes.
“Dick complex,” I remind him. “All men with tiny dicks get themselves a flashy red sports car.”
“You’re just making that up,” he argues very defensively.
“Am not,” I say with a cheeky grin.
“I hate it when your heart is beating,” he says before he turns and stalks away from me, slamming the door on his way out.
“I thought this was his house. Not yours,” Anna says, confused as she simply lingers. “For the record, I’ve seen his dick. It’s huge.”
I count to five before he’s stalking back in.
“This is my house. You get out!” he shouts.
Doing all I can to maintain a serious face, I move to my feet as he narrows his eyes.
“We’re not friends,” he adds as he takes a step forward, causing my smile to tense. “We’re forced into an alliance none of us particularly care for, after cutting each other’s people down for centuries,” he adds.
“Oh, this is getting interesting,” Anna croons, and I arch an eyebrow at him for running his mouth in front of the ghost.
Clearing his throat, he turns and slams a fist through the wall like he’s so frustrated he just has to hit something. Living in denial about his dick complex is amusing to watch.
“She’s never going to let me use her vagina on one of you two. The violent wolf really will crush her body, and the Dorian Gray wannabe can’t even get it up in a room that is just down the hall from where girls sound like they’re getting orgasms without the prudish men.”
Anna disappears, and Emit pants as he catches his breath, groaning in frustration at the hole he’s made in his wall. It’s next to another three holes. His house is full of holes he needs to patch.
“She just called you a Dorian Gray wanna—”
“I heard her perfectly fucking well. She also called us prudish,” I muse, smirking, even as I hide the fact my jaw is secretly grinding over the Dorian insult.
She has no idea just how insulting that really is.
He exhales harshly while removing his hand from the wall completely, just as his bitches stroll back in, eyes raking over me. A few of them growl…until they feel me pushing their own pheromones back at them.
Then they drop to the ground, forgetting we’re even here, to pick up right where they left off in the bedroom.
“Fuck’s sake, really?” Emit snaps at me as I pat my jacket, feeling for my new mirror. “You can’t just leave me here with this mess. They could be at it for hours now, you prick!”
“It’s your house,” I call over my shoulder as I start to leave, but stop.
Emit is snapping at the girls to stop rooting each other in his living room and get out. I wait until he shuts his mouth to ask an important question.
“She wouldn’t really let Anna borrow that, would she?”
He seems to struggle to figure out what I’m asking for a moment, but then it must sink in, because I can see him thinking hard about it. Emit’s the kind of guy anyone can read.
“No,” he says like he’s certain.
“And you know her well enough to make that assessment with confidence?” I ask as I start backing toward the door.
He pauses and frowns. “No,” he confesses.
I disappear in the next instant, at least to his eyes, and I see him curse as his eyes dart around like he’s searching for me.
I leave his house and quickly drive to see the Portocale gypsy in question.
She really should start locking her door. Does the fool girl have a death wish? Not that a locked door could keep me out, but I’m not a death sentence, so I don’t count.
Well, I suppose I am a death sentence if things get out of hand, but they won’t.
I expect to find Anna chatting away in the house about Emit’s floor orgy, which will likely swing the odds in my favor in front of the young, mostly innocent, young Portocale.
Instead, I find her with her back turned, wearing some terrible knit slippers on her feet. They don’t even match, and you can certainly tell she’s the one who crafted them.
It’s become abundantly clear that her gypsy freak setbacks include being unable to use her threading abilities to the Portocale standard. Because any Portocale would balk at her for tarnishing the name.
The ghost is absent from the room, which is frustrating, since she keeps the Portocale talking, usually. I learn more when her lips are moving.
She’s actually swaying her hips to some music, and I lean back against the wall, silently content to simply watch her dance.
She pauses packing a small knit sack and the peculiar dancing stops as her eyes pop up to a corner. My gaze follows hers, but there’s nothing there.
In the next instant, she sighs heavily and glances over her shoulder. Her eyes collide with mine, and internally I curse. Still, because it makes no damn sense to me whatsoever, I move from side to side, annoyed when her eyes patiently follow mine and a little grin tugs at her lips.
“We had an agreement,” she tells me as she redirects her attention to her knit bag.
“I only remember you making empty threats,” I say as I give up the ruse of being under cloak.
She doesn’t even glance up at me as she continues on with her task. She finally drops her bag to the bed and moves over to her dresser, pulling out her mother’s cloak.
“People must threaten you often for you to be so desensitized to it,” she absently says.
“People threaten me daily. Hourly, if I’m around them for too long,” I say as my brow furrows. “Whatever are you up to, gypsy girl?”
“I’m trying to save Anna…my pet ghost,” she tells me, but leaves it at that, which is fine, because I have zero interest in Anna.
Chasing after a cure to a curse is about as productive as trying to swim up a waterfall.
Been there. Done that. The metaphorical waterfall never lets you win.
However, I am intrigued by her dedication.
“Portocale gypsies are usually so bitter and cold that they simply kill ghosts after luring them in as mediums to speak with the family or loved ones they’ve left behind. After the family goes, the ghost has advanced to the last stage of final decay, and the Portocale gypsy then consumes their energy,” I tell her, gauging her for her reaction.
She looks paler after hearing that, but shakes it off.
“Why is it you only want to tell me the worst things, and never explain the more helpful things that I could actually put to use?” she grinds out. “Stop sneaking into my house with your Grinch parade,” she adds as she pulls the cloak on and starts to walk out.
My hand darts out and grabs her arm, and my heartbeat kicks up a few beats. This was a shit idea, since I’m trying to make it stop beating again.