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Toxic #33: The Importance of Supportive Athletic Wear

Oct 29, 2014


Here’s the thing: vampires have the same anatomy as humans. Which means things hurt them the same as humans. But they get over it. Fast. And then they get pissed.

Glen was down for all of ten seconds. It gave me time to shove the marker back into my pocket and backpedal a few feet. It gave me time to thank Vincent in my head, in very colorful language, for the useless rock. It didn’t give me time to get my shit together and come up with a new plan.

Glen’s eyes were solid black when he stood back up. Whatever he’d been planning for me now included death. But a ding of metal somewhere to the left of us distracted him. It distracted me, too; I’d heard the same noise in New York right before the attack, and it didn’t do good things to my heart.

The fact that it was Damian, perched on a fire escape with his face shadowed in the moonlight, didn’t help as much as it should have. It made bad echoes roll through my head, memories of wing-tip shoes connecting with my skull.

When Damian saw we’d noticed him he moved, sliding gracefully down the ladder to the ground. “Glen.”


Damian tilted his head, studying the vampire. His face, usually animated by that devil streak, was as blank as an unused canvas. “I know you weren’t planning on attacking Tizzy. Not in a public space where anyone could see.”

Glen’s Adam’s apple bobbed. “She…”

“You know the rules. No attacking people in public. The damage control involved gives my father a migraine.” Damian stepped closer, his pewter eyes frozen into ice. “Plus she’s my friend. I know you wouldn’t piss me off by hurting my friend.”

A shadow darkened Glen’s face, but he nodded. “Right. You’re right.”

“Thought so.” Damian smiled, the carefree devil back. But only on the surface. His eyes were still killer cold. “I think it’s time to go home, Glen. Now.”

I held my breath as the vampire disappeared back down the alley. After the adrenaline rush I’d been on, the lack of oxygen made my vision frame with sparking stars. Luckily Glen moved fast.

“How long were you up there?” I asked, once I’d finished gasping air back into my lungs.

“Long enough to realize I should wear a cup if I’m going to piss you off.” He pulled his cell out and dialed.

“You’re not calling Vincent, are you?” I didn’t need him hearing about this. I’d never hear the end of it.

He held up a finger. “Dad? Yeah. Glen’s loose. Can you send someone over to pick him up?” He paused as the yell of angry vampire blasted out of his phone. “I don’t know how he got out. Especially since Matilda is the one with the brain. He went after Vincent’s girlfriend on the Commons.”

“I’m not…”

He stuck his hand over my mouth, shutting me up with the faint taste of sugar and cherry. “No, she’s fine….” He rolled his eyes as more yelling blasted his ear. “Dad… Dad, I have the same hearing as you. Can you stop trying to make me deaf?” He made a face at whatever his dad’s response was, muttering, “Freaking drama queen.”

I giggled under his hand, and he shot me a tilted smile. “Look, just get someone to put him on a leash. He seemed pretty pissed off and you know how he gets once that happens.”

He took his hand off my mouth and stuck the phone in his pocket. “You need a ride home? My car’s up the street.”

“My dad’s picking me up. It’s sleepover night.”

“Hmm.” He looked me up and down, and then raised the hand I’d jabbed with the earring. “Baiting vampires, were we?”

“I didn’t want him treating the shop like a McDonald’s drive thru.” I chewed my lip. “I’m not Vincent’s girlfriend, you know.”

He smiled, that wicked light back in his eyes. “I certainly hope not. I don’t like to share.”

“I’m not your girlfriend, either. And if you knew I’m not dating Vincent, why’d you tell your dad I was?”

“You’re not my girlfriend yet, but I live in hope. And I told my father you were with Vincent so he’d leave you alone. He hates anything I like.” He wrapped his fingers in mine. “You okay?”

“Yeah. Though Vincent may not be after I talk to him. His marker was useless.”


“A fairy marker. It was supposed to call in backup if I got in trouble. As if.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Vincent gave you a marker and it didn’t work?”

I shrugged. “Maybe I used it wrong. I don’t know.”

He shook his head, sending his white-blond spikes, and my stomach, dipping. “There’s not much to make work on them. You pull it out when you’re in trouble and it does the rest.”

“Well, then it’s a dud. Or something.” A beeping horn warbled, so lame—and familiar—that I didn’t have to look around to see who it was. “My dad’s here.”

Damian sighed, all hint of deviltry and humor draining from his face. “Look, meet me in Arabus’s cave and bring the marker. Tomorrow at six?”

“Is that your lame attempt at asking me on a date?”

“It’s my attempt to figure out why the marker didn’t work. With Vincent’s credit, it should have. And it should have called in some hellacious backup. Though if you’re saying yes to a date…”

“You never give up, do you?”

He grinned. “Hey, I saved your neck tonight. Some people might think you owe me.”

“Yeah, well, last time we hung out I got the fairies pissed off. Hanging out with you seems to be as bad for my health as what you saved me from.” But damned if it wasn’t tempting when he grinned like that.

My dad beeped again, and I glared at the street. “I’m not supposed to go anywhere near the Dragon until the fairies leave, you know.”

“I’ll send Barnabus. He’ll get you in.” He squeezed my hand. “Come on. Arabus can look at the marker and tell us what went wrong. Then we’ll get a burger or something. Just a nice, boring night with no danger.”

I closed my eyes. When it came to vampires, following my instincts always led to bad things. But in this case my instincts were telling me to stay away and it was my hormones that wanted something else. So maybe for once I should ignore my instincts. Or was that wishful thinking? Specifically thinking about his kiss and wishing it would happen again.

I sighed. “Fine. One dragon and one burger. But if I end up needing to be rescued by Arabus again, I’ll shove that marker somewhere a cup won’t help.”

© A.M. Schilling  2014. All Rights Reserved.



Toxic: Installments