Dancing with the class was pretty amazing. Even as the little girls giggled at my mistakes, I had fun. And Angelina made time for me at the end. She congratulated me on my nuptials and was upset that I hadn’t invited her. “We could have taught you and the Mister how to tango.”
“I can tango.”
“Yes. But he doesn’t dance.”
“Then how do you know he can tango?”
“Because he knows how to use his body to manipulate his marks.”
Angelina’s eyebrow rose. “A con man?”
“To my private detective, you mean?”
She rolled her eyes, “I’m not so stupid as you think. Things happen in this world that neither do I want to know about and you won’t tell me. I’ve known you and Dorian Vega far too long to think otherwise.”
I gave her a simple nod and the subject dropped. “And that guitar instructor?”
Angelina chuckled. “You might find one here.” She handed me a card, and I frowned at the address. Not only was it in the Night Life building I knew the fucking name on the card. “He’s excellent. He learned from all the greats.”
“Thanks.” I said hoping she didn’t hear the sarcasm in my voices. Of course, Ryan would have learned to play guitar. And when Angelina said he learned from all the greats, he probably learned from ALL the greats from the past, present and I wouldn’t put it past my fucking friend to learn from the future artists too. Bastard. But Angelina recommended him, and Ryan was my friend, but the problem was he was tied to Ant who was tied to Alex who were both tied to me. This was going to be some fucking secret! I wasn’t sure how that was going to go.
I texted Ryan. You busy?
His response was almost immediate Never for you, my King.
I growled, he did that on purpose. A second text came in shortly afterwards. What’s up? Ryan knew my moods almost better than I did. It helped he was also my therapist and my friend and so much more. I’d relied on Ant, or so I thought, turned out it was Ryan who was doing the most good in my life while I dealt with my loss of Alex. And now that Alex was in my life, Ryan was helping us both through the trials and tribulations that come with any relationship. He wasn’t always in therapy mode, but he was always in friend mode.
I sent him a reply, Meet for coffee, have a favor to ask.
I sent him the location of a coffee shop that was in vampire territory. Far enough away from all our normal hangouts so Alex couldn’t catch scent of anything going on. Though being in vamp territory was probably a dead give away too. But I had to stay away from our usual haunts if I wanted to keep this a secret. There were ears everywhere and when the love of your fucking life could hear people’s thoughts, it made keeping a secret that much harder.
I met Ryan a few blocks from the coffee shop. He’d taken the train and I’d walked. He smiled at me with sparkling green eyes. He was ready for trouble. “So what’s up we couldn’t do this at home?” He glanced down at the guitar I held in my hand between us.
“I bought Alex a guitar for his birthday, but I wanted to learn to play some songs on it for him.”
Ryan smirked, “He’s going to hate you keeping secrets.”
“It’s a surprise. Angelina gave me your number said he’s learned from all the greats. And by that I assumed you mean all the greats going back to when the guitar was first created.”
Ryan laughed, “I’m not that old.”
“Yes you are.” I rolled my eyes. He smirked. I knew exactly how old he was, he looked young, like sixteen young, but he’d seen more than any other sixteen year old alive. He had PhD’s in psychiatry and other things I never asked about. He was older than dirt and he knew it. He was older than Ant by about 20 years. And younger than Cari by 50 some odd years. Tony was only a handful of years older than Ryan. And they were all pushing over eight hundred years of life.
We walked into the coffee shop and Ryan made his way to the counter, “I got you.” He said and I found a seat for the two of us in a quiet corner at a table. The place was nice, the coffee was decent and it didn’t cater to the supernatural. Everything here looked perfectly normal and there were no supernatural signatures present except for me and Ryan. Two blips in the normal world. No one here would know what we were planning.
Ryan came back with my black coffee and his own mega ultra cream filled spiced drink I had no idea what it was. But it was full of empty calories and very little coffee. But when you were in stasis as Chevalier, you couldn’t grow your hair, grow old, women couldn’t have children, but men could do so for as long as their lives preserved on, even tattoos were difficult to get new. It was possible with magicked ink but it wasn’t easy to find you couldn’t just go to any old tattoo parlor.
“What were you thinking of learning?” Ryan asked.
“Stand by Me.”
Ryan grinned. He knew the meaning the song held for both of us, we’d talked about it numerous times. How Alex had played it to me as a kid, and how he used it now to calm my more powerful downward swings. He even used it to calm Hunter. It was a powerful song full of lots of meaning.
“That’s just for Alex, but I want to surprise him during dinner with a song I’ll record and throw into the mix for his morning birthday breakfast.”
Ryan chuckled, “You spoil him.”
“He loves me.” I said as if it answered everything. And for me it did. The mere fact that Alex loved me made me soar. I could get through anything with Alex by myside just being there to catch me when I fell. And I was always bound to fall.