Jack was waiting patiently for them, studying one of the bullets Jayson had given him when the air around him stirred viscously. Papers and things scattered around the room in whirlwind of commotion. Jack glared at the space now occupied with the return of Jayson and Eryn. She laughed joyously, giddy from the adrenaline ripping through her veins. Leaning up just slightly, she meant to hug him but at that moment, Jayson looked down at her and their lips connected. A jolt of electricity shivered over her body at the contact.
He knew how to kiss. Jack coughed, and they broke away; a guilty sheepish look on one and a smirk on the other, his eyes glowing inhumanly bright.
“Welcome back, now do you realize why you shouldn’t go playing around with things you don’t understand that aren’t meant for humans?”
“Oh, lighten up, will you? It was great.”
Jack rolled his eyes, and his expression softened slightly. It was like watching a parent deal with a hyper 7-year-old. Patience warring with annoyance. She stuck her tongue out at him, and he returned the gesture good naturedly.
Jayson laughed at their banter, there was something about her that stirred a part of him long buried and forgotten. Jack was nearly as old as Jayson; though the immortal centurion looked barely 30. Jayson himself looked only to be in his mid to late 20’s. He bent down and unbuckled the amulet from around his calf, tucking it into his coat pocket; and exchanging it for the flask.
When they had finished talking, Eryn thanked Jack for telling her everything, and Jayson for literally running around the city with her.
“Anytime my fiery wildcat.”
His deep voice and rough Scottish brogue shivered over her, and she felt an illicit thrill run up her spine. Leaning on her tiptoes, she kissed him lightly on the cheek.
“It does create a certain thrill.”
That last comment was said so low, it was only meant for her, his orange turquoise eyes shone in the dim light of the workshop.
She looped her arms around him, pulling him close into a hug. He embraced her before quickly releasing her and watched quietly as she left after thanking Jack for his time. After she had left, Jack brought out two small shot glasses, which Jayson filled. Jayson filled him in on the status of the Blades and the Armies of Night. Jack told Jayson about what happened the last time they had spoken.
“From the last I heard, the Blades were in remission, but considering recent circumstances, they seem to be coming out of hiding.
The Armies of the Night have also been in remission, but we are almost done regrouping since the last war.”
“The night I disappeared, the Blades had killed my entire family… They had me outnumbered 25 to 1. It… was not a pleasant night I wish to remember. They destroyed everything.”
“Yeah, I figured that’s what happened. That reminds me; you still owe me money Jack.”
Jack chuckled deeply and knocked back another shot of liquor.
“It figures you would remember that, what has it been? A few hundred years?”
“Yea something like that.”
“Alright, I’ll cut you a check for a grand; then I got to close up shop.”
The two men were silent, lost in their own morbid thoughts of the past. Quite a few minutes passed before either one spoke again.
The flask was nearly empty and shadows danced in the flickering light of the workroom.
“She’s quite the character, don’t you agree?”
“I do, she’s definitely something else.”
“That she is… Do you like her?”
“There is something about her that appeals to me”
“Yes; she’s quite attractive, but I mean do you LIKE her?”
Jayson paused a moment, staring into his drink thinking. Finally, he shrugged and downed the liquor. “It’s too soon to say, I suppose.” He tucked the flask back into his coat pocket, and stood. “I’m trying to keep my distance from her, but the more time I spend around her, the more I find myself drawn to her.”
The immortal general nodded. He knew his friend too well. He also knew how dangerous an attachment to the girl would be; for both. He sighed running a hand through his hair.
“I know you know too well what will happen if something comes between you two; however, I also know how pointless it would be to tell you otherwise… You know she’s going after the other items, right?”
Jayson nodded, he figured as much. As reckless and irresponsible as it would be for her, he secretly hoped she would go after them so he could get the chance to work with her again. Jack looked solemn and bone weary. Jack got up then, motioning Jayson towards the front door.
As Jayson reached into his duster, he realized something vital was missing. The Amulet. Eryn must’ve taken it when she hugged him. Lucky Bitch pulled a fast one on him. Frustration and irritation marred with impressiveness and an undeniable liking for this girl churned inside him.
It was rare if anyone could sneak things away from him without his knowing about it. He walked to his car parked down the street, his thoughts on a peculiar girl with luminous green yellow eyes; oblivious to the spectre watching him from the dark shadows.
It had been a couple of weeks since he had talked to Eryn. A low growl and the screech of metal on metal rang through the night. He bolted toward the sound coming from the alley up ahead. The sleek Black Panther lashed out with metal claws and was met with the lethal blade of the vampire she was fighting. Snarling, she stepped back, keeping her back to the wall. The vampire had her effectively cornered at the back of the alley. Her heavy tail flicked back and forth and her eyes glowed reflectively from the streetlight.
The vampire stood close six feet, its face demonic showing the full length of his fangs. He hissed back and lunged forward, his blade arcing downward. She deflected it with a growl pushing him back just enough that she could slip further back into the corner.
Staying well back in the shadows he watched and waited to see how she handled the fight and if he needed to step in. She feinted forward, baiting the vampire into lunging forward.
With a howl of outrage the vampire lunged in, intending to end it; but as he was flying forward into the corner she lithely slipped under him and watched panting heavily with wary amusement as the vampire was severed into several pieces. She smirked as the vampire’s body slid to the ground with a wet splat.
Warily, he edged forward; unsure if he should be impressed or if he would end up with the same gruesome fate as the Blade. The ground beneath the vampire body was soaked with dark blood. A frigid wind blew through the alley, tossing his duster behind him and causing the girl to shiver, blowing into her hands as she toed the severed leg.
She started at the deep Scottish brogue coming from the shadows behind her.
Whirling, her lips drawn back in a snarl she let her fingers become metal claws again. Jayson stepped into the pool of light cast by the streetlight, the light of his cigarette glowing orange red in the darkness. She immediately relaxed, and transformed back into a human. His right eye seemed to reflect more in the range of light.
“Were you following me as well?”
“No; well… sort of.”
She raised an eyebrow and he shrugged before setting the vampires body on fire.
“Can I ask what you did to cut it up so effectively?”
“Razor wire; I set it across the back end of the alley. I knew he had been following me for a couple days so I set the trap and led him into it.” She sneered at the burning corpse.
“Thank you. But what are you doing here?”
“I was looking for you; honestly.”
He added at her suspicious glare.
“Are you really going after the other vampire jewelry?”
“Did Jack rat me out then?”
“Kind of to be honest, I figured you would anyway.”
“Then yes, I am. It would be fascinating to learn and see what the other items can do; and possibly how they interact with each other.”
“Ugh… fine, if you insist on going after the other items, then I insist on going with you.”
She began walking away from him. Her stride purposefully fast, he caught up easily keeping pace with her short angry strides.
“I have bad luck with partners so I don’t think you want to work with me.”
A hardness had crept into her voice, and her posture had gone stiff.
Understanding dawned when he realized that her old partner JB had died on a mission and that she was still blaming herself for his death.
“If in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not human. I’m not fragile.”
“I never said you were. I just said I have bad luck with partners.”
“Eryn; calm down; I’m not the one who hurt you.”
Realization and shame crossed her features, and she stopped at the mouth of the alley, breathing deeply struggling to get her emotions under control. Jayson waited patiently for her. He had forgotten how unstable humans could be at times. But she was handling herself well despite her short outburst, and that was mostly because he had touched a nerve.
“I’m sorry for upsetting you. But I do believe it would be in the best interest if we looked for them together.”
She quietly considered his words. On one hand, it would be nice to have someone have her back again… on the other; every partner she ever had, died because of her. She didn’t know if she could handle another partner. But he was right, he wasn’t human and he wasn’t fragile.
“Maybe… I’ll think about it.”
He nodded; only time and understanding could heal that jagged wound. When she seemed composed enough, he reached forward slightly and drew her into his embrace. She stiffened a moment before curling her arms around him.
“Do you want to do something fun?”
“Like what?” She laughed, the vibration of her throat reverberated against his collarbone, and the hunger stirred.
“How about a race? I’ve got a variety of vehicles we could have some fun with.”