Copyright Lexi Ander
All the members of Crimson Comet were still where he left them in the dining room. By the gestures and expressions, they were arguing. Zane never bothered to learn lip reading. It was more of an art than an ability. His mentor told him not to waste the time but now he wished he'd given it a try. He really wanted to know what they were arguing about.
Cord broke away from them and stepped out the back patio, taking a cellphone out of his back pocket and putting it against his ear. "Hey, it's me. No, it didn't." Cord ran his hand over his beard, tugging. "What happened was that asshole tried to kill Midnight. Yeah. It’s the first time he's targeted anyone other than me. We don’t understand either. If not for Zane, Midnight would be dead. Prince and Zane went after him. No. Prince is not saying what Zane saw, but we could guess with the stench. No, Zane left when Prince eluded to us knowing he's an assassin. Yay, instead of explaining what was going on. We didn't get a change to. He left. I don't know, he might shoot us on sight. I know what you said, but being that candid with someone who is human… I'm sorry, Ella."
Zane ground his teeth. He wasn't able to follow some of the conversation, but that part he understood loud and clear. His manager knew who he was. Cord wrapped up the conversation after asking Ella for help and went back into the house. Prince waited for him and they spoke a few words before Cord moved deeper into the house.
Prince remained in the dining room. He went to the area behind Midnight's chair and pulled several things from the wall, returning to the bank of windows.
"Seriously, does this guy have a death wish or what?"
As Prince gazed outside, he shifted the items from one hand to the other, back and forth. Zane remained very still as Prince's gaze scanned the area. Prince was at the disadvantage, looking out into the dark from a lit space. He wouldn't be able to see what was in the dark, but even with that hinderance, Zane remained still.
After a few minutes, Prince placed what he held on the dining table. He took the slip of paper he hid earlier from his pocket, read it once more before folding it, and placing it on the surface as well. Zane suspiciously watched Prince stride from the room.
Quickly, he lowered himself to the ground where he crouched, indecision warring within him. He cursed at himself, looking back to the house. Anyone of the six men could come back around at any moment. If he went back inside and was caught, what would he say?
Even knowing he was being reckless, he decided his course of action. He ran in a low crouch from the tree cover to the back door. He was glad the automat lights were still on otherwise he wouldn't have even attempted this endeavor.
The French doors were well oiled and unlocked. Zane seethed a little bit. Someone was trying to kill one or all of them and they weren't doing anything to ensure their safety. There was a level of hell for that special kind of stupid. What were they thinking?
Silently, he eased the door shut, hoping that no one was nearby to sense the draft. Staying low he crossed to the table. He listened intently. There was still arguing going on if the raised voices were an indication. As much as Zen wished he'd had a couple of bugs on him to leave behind, or that he could hang around longer to eavesdrop, he reminded himself there were dead bodies in his truck.
Crossing to the table at a low crouch he reached up and took the folded piece of paper. On second thought, he also grabbed the tube-like items under the paper. A nearby noise had Zane scrambling under the dining table. The table cloth hung over the edge, the ends brushing the seats of the chairs. As long as no one was looking at the floor underneath the table, Zane was relatively hidden. He remained absolutely still and silent.
Someone stopped at the place setting for Xander and it sounded like they were eating. Zane's skin itched. One wrong move and he would be found out. He was ready to be gone but was forced to listen to who he expected was Xander, consuming the rest of his interrupted meal while grumbling about stubborn willful mean making things harder than they needed to be. Zane's legs were beginning to cramp and he worries they would hinder his movements when Xander was called to mitigate the ongoing argument. He couldn't hear everything that was said, but he heard his name a couple of times and surmised he was at the heart of the disagreement.
Zane counted to thirty after Xander left, snarling. The patio light had switched off, but he couldn't do anything about that. Listening for another few seconds to ensure someone else didn't come back into the room, Zane hurried from under the table and was out the door in the blink of an eye. The automatic lights switched on but Zane was already sprinting into the forest. He didn't stop until he reached his vehicle. It was past time for him to go home.
Prince stood in the dark room watching the back patio through the sheer drapes. He didn't move when Xander came up behind him, leaning back into Xander's loose embrace. The patio suddenly illuminated. Zane was briefly visible until he disappeared into the trees.
"His heart beat didn't change when I surprised him in the dining room." Xander said before kissing Prince behind his sensitive ears. "Even when he was tracking La Chupacabra, his heart didn't falter. It increased some when he ran after that asshole, but hell, Zane was almost as steady as a rock."
"I left the note and bone darts for him. You shouldn't have surprised him," Prince admonished. "He's an assassin. He could have simple shot you instead of hiding."
Xander shrugged. "I hoped he'd reveal himself. We need discuss not only what he can do for us as well as what we can do for him. He smells, enticing. Alluring in a way I haven't scented since leaving my homeland." Xander's sigh gave away how truly disappointed he was. "Are you sure he will help us? He spooked at the mere hint we knew what he was. Ella told us he was trying to retire. Perhaps we should let him. There has to be someone else as qualified as he is."
Prince stroked down Xander's bare arms, his thick hair tickling Prince's palm. "In my experience, men like him don't retire, not really. They don't know how to be like everyone else. Perhaps they were never meant to be a part of the general population."
"That seems a little fatalistic and an unfair assessment. Not all assassins are alike," Xander reproved.
Prince caught Xander's gaze in the reflection of the window and smiled. "Sometimes I forget how young you are. Yes, there are those who can step away, but they are few and far between."
"And you don't believe Zane is one of them?" Xander nuzzled the nape of Prince's neck through his hair. Prince stiffened and held his breath as one of Xander's hands dipped below the waistline and cupped Prince through his slacks.
Prince groaned, giving Xander his full weight, sure in his belief Xander would catch him. "I guess we shall see."
Deftly he turned in Xander's arms, relishing the way Xander carded his fingers through Prince's hair before grasping the strands hard, jerking Prince's head back. Xander bit Prince's chin, nipping along his throat. Prince moaned with every stinging bite, letting Xander take his mind off assassins, both foe… and possibly friend.
Table of Contents
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
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