Dinner with Friends
The place Alex led the rest of us to was fancy and I was dressed for the occasion – me in my Armani and the green shirt that my hair matched. I was grateful my nails were chipped, the black nail polish was working with the rest of the outfit. Alex’s new watch setting off the whole thing. I looked like I belonged even if I didn’t feel it.
Alex kept his hand in mine as we walked through the rows of fancy tables lined with white linen and crystal glasses. I even bet the silverware was real silver and the plates fine China. I kept my hands to myself, well except for the one in Alex’s hand. I felt like a bull in a China shop. Like I could break anything with a glance.
Chill, baby. Alex whispered in my head. I sighed and let go of my shield. I couldn’t keep the world out of my head and not feel like I was going to burst like a balloon. As we sat down, Alex pulled my chair out for me and I sat down, the world became a muddled mess of patterns and I had to close my eyes while I readjusted. My body was stressed to the point of exhaustion. Anxiety over missing Alex, the depression that came with his rejection, finally paying it’s final toll on my body. Alex was the only one who knew. His hand pressed against my thigh after he sat down. Ant on the other side of me extended his shield to me. I felt his magic pass over me – extending around our table. His power was extraordinary.
I opened my eyes and looked at him questioningly. He smiled, “That help?”
I nodded, “What did you do?”
“Figured Alex could use some help keeping you in check. It’s two fold – a trick my mother taught me to feed on the power around me, and block anything else coming at us.”
“Wait!” Benji cried out, “You are feeding on us?”
Ant shook his head, “Not you. You don’t exude power, Nox does, I do, Mother does, Alex does to an extent, but I’ve only really noticed it when he’s been with Nox. Another side effect, no one can really hear our conversation and definitely not our thoughts.”
Alex nodded slowly as he started to understand, “So you are feeding on the power that people try to read us, as well as the power inside your bubble?”
Ant nodded, “Yes. And Nox’s power is the only one I’m siphoning.”
“Thank you.” I said but looked at Alex, “Is that alright with you?”
Alex nodded and put his hands around the back of my neck and pulled me close enough to kiss but didn’t press his lips to mine, “Fuck, Baby, if I could do that I would.” Then he kissed me hard.
When we broke apart I pressed my forehead to his, “You do so much more.”
Alex laughed. “I make you crazy.”
I bit my bottom lip and grinned at him, “Crazy for you.”
Alex let me go but his hand trailed down my arm and he entwined his fingers with mine.
The waitress dressed in a black tuxedo suit poured four glasses of water, “What can I get you gentlemen?”
Alex answered quickly, “We will have a bottle of your finest red to start. And what would you recommend.”
The waitress spouted off her recommendations but I wasn’t listening to her. Alex was talking to us. I recommend the filet mignon and whatever sides you like. They don’t like substitutions but they will do whatever we want.
Ant laughed in my head, but that was the only response I got. Benji just nodded.
Alex nodded when she was done. “I think we’ll all have medium rare fillet mignon with whatever roasted house vegetable you have and your macaroni and cheese with bacon.”
Alex looked at me with bright smile. That’s good?
I just smirked and he rolled his eyes. He knew what I ate, and while I didn’t really like macaroni and cheese, the bacon had been for my benefit.
The waitress started to speak but her frown faded to a smile and she nodded, “Right away.”
When she was gone I asked, “Which one of you compelled her?”
All three of them looked guilty, but no one fessed up. “Fine.” I said with a mock growl.
Alex squeezed my hand while the three of them chatted about various things. Me I focused on one thing – Alex’s hand in mine.
An appetizer came that we didn’t officially order. Was a caprese salad – something I’d eat – tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and several Italian meats with a balsamic vignette lightly drizzled over the top with more in a small bowl. I didn’t ask who ordered it, it didn’t really matter. The wine paired nicely with it and I sipped and nibbled at the food in front of me – as well as a piece of warm fresh bread. We were not at an Italian restaurant – more like one of those places that served whatever the hell they wanted and you paid a fortune for anyway.
Ant said something and I looked up having heard my name. Ant repeated, “Nox, you think Benji will like New York?”
I shrugged, “I guess, why is he visiting us?” I looked to Alex asking.
“You really weren’t paying attention?” Benji asked. “They said you weren’t. Lost in your head.”
Ant laughed, “No lost in Alex. He’s stressed out.” Ant looked at me with a friendly smile, he was used to me zoning out, “Benji and his family are moving to New York.”
“Why?” I asked.
Benji rolled his eyes, “Because vampires want to kill me and I don’t know why.”
“You overheard something you shouldn’t have.”
“I swear I didn’t.” Benji announced. “Ant says it was about a book. Alex too. That is the only thing they think it could be. But I heard nothing about a book.”
“Scarlet says Brandon is talking to Abraham about the New World Order.”
“What’s that?” Benji asked, “They said something about it.”
Ant answered for me. “NWO is all about taking the helm of the world. Exposing the supernatural and taking control. Just being part of it can lead to your death.”
I asked, “So what did you hear, Benji?”
He looked at me, “So now you are paying attention.” He kinda growled at me, but it wasn’t directed at me, as he sighed, “They were talking about it that’s all. Abraham kept saying no. Vegas works perfect.”
“Did any of you hear Abraham change his thoughts?” I knew all of them had individual dealings with the man. But no one said anything differently.
Ant added, “He’s rather closed off – the telepaths won’t read him well.”
I nodded. “That’s okay. I’ll ask him when I see him.”
“Is that what you are doing for the Venatori?” Alex asked.
“Yeah. Scarlet wanted me to find out and take care of Abraham if he was going to change the status quo of Vegas. It works here, however bizarrely but it works. As long as the Clandestine Providence isn’t broken then Abraham gets to live.”