When we were outside and several blocks away from the strip before Benji opened a door to a building in the side of some diner. It smelled like the kitchen was nearby cooking some kind of Asian food. “Korean” He said without me having to ask.

“You know that’s as weird as when he does that,” I said.

Benji shook his head. “Sorry. I forget that you weren’t asking out loud.”

I shrugged, “I’m used to it.”

Benji lead me down a narrow hallway into a smaller room with a rod-iron bed frame and a plain blue mattress with a desk and a chair the only other furniture. He offered me the bed and pulled around the chair to face it. “This is a safe place to speak. Vampires don’t come into this part of town.”

“Vampires? You know about vampires?” I asked in shock that he would one know but more importantly he’d say it so casually.

He gave me a slow cautious nod before he added “Only recently. Well I never gave it much thought before, but yeah. We know vamps can do what we do. It’s why we stay away from them. But Alex is working a job around vamps and they can’t know his name, or that he’s friends with me. So no Alex anything. You don’t know me either.”

“Another reason I should just go.” I said but I didn’t get up. Vampires, friends I had never heard about, why I wasn’t supposed to know these things – all valid reasons to stay I told myself.

Benji chuckled. “Alex and I met after his mother died. We were working the same crowd and ran into each other in the stupidest ways – telepathically listening to each other and holding a conversation we didn’t mean to have from across the room.”

“Alex doesn’t do anything by accident.” I said.

“That’s true, but I like I said, we met each other by accident. Working the same crowd in my game and we decided to team up.”

“And you’ve never slept with him?” I asked.

Benji smirked, “He’d probably have liked that if I liked boys.”

I licked my lips and tried not to say anything. “I can read your thoughts you might as well say it.”

I shrugged, “Why do I have to say it if you can read my thoughts.” And I let my thoughts wander to all the best parts of Alex and how he might fit with Benji. It wasn’t exactly a fantasy I’d entertain more than once, but it had the desired affect on Benji. He was red even through that dark olive skin of his. I smiled.

“You two are perfect for each other.”

“Tell him that,” I growled.

“I have, actually. He refuses to read your texts. I will admit that is one damn cute kid you got there.”

“Not mine yet, but soon,” I said.

“And the little girl?”

I looked at him a little confused. Benji nodded, “Your friend posted a picture with you and her daughter.”

“That would be Mia. And my sweetheart Naya.”

“She’s cute too.” Benji said.

I nodded, “She is. Best thing that happened to Mia was being a mother.”

“Alex is not himself right now. He’s going crazy over you and he’s trying to forget you.”

“All the more reason for me to leave, Benji.” This time I did stand up.

“Nox, come on. You flew all this way out here. You don’t even want to tell him off yourself. Don’t be a dick like Alex. You’re here. If it’s over at least end it right.” He smirked, “But I think if the two of you get in the same room you’ll work it out.”

“All we do is fight.”

Benji laughed, “That’s all Alex ever does; fight – or run away. Looks like he’s doing both now at the same time now.” He looked at me and frowned. “Why did you come here?”

“I was worried about him. He wasn’t replying to anything. He wasn’t at his apartment – either of them. He wasn’t even telling me to leave him the fuck alone.”

“We have dinner tonight. Me and him in his room. Let me take you there, you can shower, change and then you and he can sit down and talk.”

“I have nothing to change into, this is what I have,” I said. “I’m going to catch the next flight out. He obviously doesn’t want me.”

“No.” Benji stood up and got in my face. “You will not go anywhere. I can make you stay.”

I sighed, “That’s exactly how this fight started, Alex nudging me into doing something that I knew I shouldn’t do to keep my sanity.” I stepped away from him. “You touch me and you’ll find yourself on the floor in a heartbeat.”

Benji sighed as he backed away. “Alright. I won’t do that. But talk to him.”

“I’ll think about it,” I said. “What time is dinner?”

“We are doing it at 6 local time. That’s in three hours.”

I nodded. “Alright. Plan your usual. I’ll decide if I want to be there.” I didn’t wait for a confirmation. I just left Benji the same way I came in.

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