I pulled up the number to call Liam. He was my go to when I needed to speak to Dom personally. And that was when I remembered I hadn’t seen Marshal yet, so much for seeing Desmond. Not that I really needed to do that. I’d slept through my alarms. How the fuck had I done that. I sent Marshal’s assistant a text
N: Hey Mary, tell Marshall I’m sorry I didn’t make it today. I had some personal problems to deal with.
M: No problem, Nox. Marshall hardly noticed the cute annoying boy who is always bugging him on Wednesday morning was missing.
N: Glad to be noticed :) I’ll make it up to you (him) with a decent breakfast.
M: You know he won’t get any.
N: He won’t even notice! :)
With that out of the way I called Liam.
“Yo.” The werewolf answered.
“Hey Liam, Nox.”
“I know who it is.” He chuckled on the other end, “To what do I owe this displeasure?”
I grinned, “I need to talk to Dom. Like him, not you.”
Liam sighed, “You don’t want my good looks?”
“I’d settle for them, but duckling, I need the big boss man. It’s about Val.”
Liam groaned, “I see how it is. You want to see Val over me.” Liam spit on the ground. “I’ll get on it boss. I’ll call you back with the details.”
“Thanks man.” I hung up and knew that Liam would get it done, he always did. I could have called Dom myself, but that was a call I only liked to make in an emergency. And this was hardly an emergency.
I started down the hall to the elevator I didn’t feel like taking the stairs. As I rode down I sent Alex a text. He seemed fond of Drake before maybe it would interest him. But I don’t know, he hadn’t responded to my last text. It kinda felt like it was over, but he went through all that trouble to fix it, for what? To tell me so he could take it away. It was what he said he wanted to do after all. I didn’t want to think about it. So I just typed the message anyway, until he told me to fuck off I was going to keep sending them.
N: I just thought I’d let you know that I was heading down to Drake’s apartment to pick up some of his things. You think he’d like anything special?
I didn’t expect an answer, anymore than I had received one about lunch tomorrow. But I’d keep my lunch open for him. Any lunch. I sighed as I looked down as the ground approached. The panic started to rise but I kept watching as the ground grew closer. It was only slightly less unnerving going down with the ground approaching.
But by the time we had reached the ground I was hyperventilating. I managed to get off the elevator but I sat down at his table and ordered a cup of black coffee and held the warmth of it in my hand and breath deep of the strong aroma to calm down. I would fight everything that made me me if that was what Alex wanted. Fuck I’d give him the world if he asked for it.
As I sipped my coffee someone sat down across from me. I looked up to see Ant, but it wasn’t Ant, it was his father, it took me a second to differentiate between the two. “Did Ant send you?” I asked.
“He did. He’d have come himself but the sun is high in the sky and your room is locked down.” He gave me a smile. “You don’t look good.”
“I’m fine.” I lied I didn’t want to talk about it with Ant’s father much less anyone else. Talking with Margo hadn’t helped either.
Tony laughed. It was heartwarming. It was part of his vampiric power to calm individuals around him. He was a strong empath. “You don’t feel fine, Nox. Ant’s worried. He said you were beaming happiness and then all of a sudden it was broken anxiety and high point depression. I can feel the anxiety wafting off of you.”
I shrugged. “I’m fine, Tony.” I stood up and threw my empty cup away. “I have to go to work.”
“I can walk with you.” He said. It wasn’t a request and who was I to stop a fucking Prince of the Underworld. But it wasn’t like hell, it was another name for Sanctuary, the home of the Primeval Vampires. A place made with magic inside of a mountain someplace on the other side of the Earth. The only way to enter is to shadowwalk. Some Primeval Vampires have never even seen the light of day.
We walked out of the AU building. With Ant I would have flirted some, but Tony was not his son. And we weren’t that close and even if he had a male playmate, I wasn’t about to think Tony would appreciate some fucking kid flirting with him.
And while Tony looked my age he was 900+ years old. He was younger than Cari by 20 plus years. Which in vampire years was nothing. My measly 25 years was nothing to him. We walked in silence for a while until we boarded a train. “You walk in the open?”
“No one ever stares?” He asked.
I grinned. “I like the stares.”
“So the flames are normal?” Tony asked.
I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed. “No. Normally it’s just orange, or red or blue. Not multi colored. I was messing around with a friend.”
“The same friend who has you on a rollercoaster?” He asked.
I nodded. “The very same.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
I shook my head. “Not really. It’s just complicated.”
Tony looked past me like he was lost in a memory. “I remember when my love life was complicated. I loved her so much, I grew up loving her. And then everyone forbade us from even seeing each other.”
“But you still saw her.” I said.
“We did, which is why it was complicated. I love Sierra. I do, but Cari is something else. I can’t break the bond we forged. You are probably the only person outside of Cari’s small circle who knows the truth.”
I laughed. “It’s not because I’m friend with your son you know. He only confirmed what I knew to be a truth.”
“He told me. Anthony is very forthcoming with your relationship. His mother has him singing like a canary.”
“I’m not a secret Tony. I just see things differently. I saw the first time I’d met you two, the bond you shared was so powerful when you stood next to each other your auras merged.”
Tony chuckled, “Nick says much the same thing. I only have one piece of advice to give you about complicated. Uncomplicate it. When I told Sierra about Cari it was hard. She kicked me out of the house. She forbade the kids from seeing me. But China and Henry were grown by then and they could make their own decisions. Sierra and I are still friends, but the part of our relationship that had been love had already faded. Uncomplicate it.”
I sighed. “I think that’s the problem. We uncomplicated it. There are no hidden truths anymore. But it left a tangled mess, much like all my other relationships. My father’s, my mother’s, even fucking Dorian’s. It’s complicated with Sage, and Mia and with Ant.”
Tony nodded, “Then maybe that’s not what needs to be uncomplicated.”
“I’m the problem is what you are saying.”
He nodded and then shook his head. “I think you are making it too complicated. You either love him, or you don’t. Uncomplicate it Nox.”
I sighed, maybe he was right, but how the fuck did I go about uncomplicating myself. Though I hadn’t actually said it was a him, “Am I that transparent?”
Tony was weighing his decision visibly. He laughed. “Honestly, Nox I wouldn’t know a gay man from a straight man these days. I only know what Ant has told me about you. And if you are having relationship issues, it’s only with another man. You almost as predictable as Cari is.”
“I think I’m a little more predictable.”
Tony laughed. “Maybe.”
The train lurched to our stop and we got off. “I can leave if you are feeling better.”
“It’s up to you, Tony. I’m good either way. I’m just going to go unlock a safe, grab some kid things from the apartment and go back. But I do need to get in contact with Jack. I need him to tell me what’s on the USB stick in the safe.”
Tony sighed, “Cari and her chevalier are all in Italy in comunicado. Jack I’m told is going and I quote fucking insane.”
“You could always call your hacker friend. I don’t know why you use Jack when your best friend is just as good as Chevalier.” Tony laughed, “Or you could call… what’s his name… Reaper? He’s a rival hacker isn’t he? I can never keep up with all that shit. Computers, hell lights are sometimes more complicated than things I knew as a kid your age.”
I laughed and had to stop and lean against a wall to catch my breath. “That was almost 900 years ago Tony. Fuck there were no computers or fucking lights!”
Tony grinned, Ant looked exactly like his father and all I saw was my friend as he said, “My point exactly. You humans advance so fast.”
“I’m not human.”
“You know what I mean. But back to asking The Wicked Truth for help. I’ll see that the payment is a favor of Cari and you’d owe her.”
“That could work.” I said. “Can you tell Ant to come see me when night falls and we’ll go see Sage and offerup the favor.”
Tony nodded. “I can do that. You going to be okay? Ant will decide never to send me again if I come back with you in knots still.” He grinned, “Though I think that would benefit me in the long run. Running errands for my son.” I knew he wasn’t running errands for Ant, he was probably doing Cari a favor.
He laughed, “You are too intuitive for your own good. Yes, Cari made me come see you when Ant was restless. You are her favorite pet.”
I sighed. “And she’s my favorite master.” i said with sarcasm.
“I won’t tell her you said that.” Ant’s father said as he stepped into the shadows of the nearest ally. “Just call if you need anything.” He said. “And I mean the phone. I’ll have Anthony text it to you.”
“Thanks.” I said as he shifted out of sight to god knows where. I was where I needed to be anyway. So it didn’t matter really. I didn’t need a babysitter.