Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Assassin's Retirement: Chapter 18, Part One #amwriting #blogstory #gentleman

Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement! This chapter has been on my mind for a couple of weeks. It's a look inside Alonzo's head after Zane's altercation with Crimson Comet.

If you have stumbled onto this blog story and want to start from the beginning, I have added a Table of Contents at the bottom of this page with links to the other chapters in the story.

He wanted to walk away...
Fate wouldn't let him.

Copyright Lexi Ander

Chapter Eighteen – Guns Ablazin'

Alonzo vibrated with nervous tension. Last night he'd told Zane about the Maricoxi, but he hadn't explained what it meant for Zane personally. He couldn't bring himself to say anything, not yet. He wanted to enjoy belonging somewhere for a little while before it was taken away.

As he tried not to worry, he flipped a chocolate chip pancake and kept an eye on Cord and his bandmates. Alonzo's nose twitched every time Xander got close, pheromones from sex and semen clung to him like a second skin. Xander had been busy last night. Four separate scents wafted from him, not to mention Xander gave Alonzo an eye-full a couple of times while he was on watch. It was as if Xander was making a silent offer, "Come here, and I'll worship your body."

If this was a Maricoxi clan, Alonzo might have taken Xander up on that offer, once he was relieved of his duty. But this wasn't a clan. He'd lived abroad long enough to know very few places practiced or even accepted polyamorous households. Besides, clans were much larger than typical households. For a moment, Alonzo indulged himself and imagined what it would be like if this was a small, humble clan. His heart ached with a yearning he never allowed himself to feel over these long barren years. He could never be a part of a clan again, but he had Zane, and he wouldn't do something that would spoil what they could have. So when he'd made his last rounds and Xander stood there in the window with all that olive skin on displayed, Alonzo had acknowledged Xander's offer then politely turned him down. 

He wondered if Zane knew the members of Crimson Comet were lovers. When Zane had returned to the house last night, he smelled of Xander, not sexually, but as if Xander had been close enough to mark Zane with his scent. While Zane had been trying to decide what to do with the band, Alonzo had caught brief flashes of arousal from Zane. Perhaps he would ask Zane about that later.

Everyone kept glancing up, watching for Zane as they talked. It seemed they had a holiday concert in Reno before the band headed back to the recording studio. When Xander stiffened, Alonzo listened hard, hearing one door close and then another. The band waited but Zane didn't arrive. Alonzo quickly removed the pancake before it burned completely. He set it aside for himself so it wouldn't be given to Zane.

"Do you need help?" Midnight picked up the fork for the bacon before Alonzo could reply.

He didn't say anything but watched Midnight from the corner of his eye. This man knew he was Maricoxi and a guardian. Very few Others remembered his people for they rarely revealed themselves to anyone. The Maricoxi hid, sometimes in plain sight, waiting for their God to call upon them. The world had been destroyed four times and four times their God had spared them, hiding the Maricoxi from the destruction. There where people, Others, who would take advantage of that. He wasn't comfortable with Midnight knowing who he was especially since Crimson Comet had manipulated Zane.

"I am originally from Columbia," Midnight said as he turned the bacon. "A son of La Madremonte."

Alonzo considered as he poured four more pancakes onto the griddle. Midnight's hair, black as pitch, was combed back from the forehead. It didn't touch his shoulders, but the ends curled forward, still slightly wet. His thick beard and mustache were carefully trimmed close but still looked soft to the touch. He could be who he said he was. La Madremonte, Mountain Mother, was a Colombian spirit much like an Irish banshee. Depictions of her varied, never portraying her in a favorable light. She was a powerful ally to have with her moderate control over the weather. In the past, she had caused invaders to become confused and lose their way. At night, mortals claimed they were chased by her screams and wails. If Midnight was who he claimed, then he may very well know a couple of Maricoxi clans, for some clans shared the mountains with her.

"You are far from home," he finally replied. He was suspicious of Midnight's reasons for speaking with him.

"As are you, amigo," Midnight pulled the bacon from the heat, moving the pieces to the paper towel covered plate before placing new, raw strips in the pan. "It is not natural for you to be alone." Midnight glanced at him, as if gaging Alonzo's reaction before minding the bacon again. "Xander said Zane didn't smell like you at dinner last night. You need more than one person in a clan."

"I have been living for years as mortals do and have been fine."

"But, ese, you are not mortal." Midnight leaned closer and lowered his voice. "Does Zane know you are immortal?"

Alonzo frowned and pressed his lips together. Of course Zane didn't know. He had barely touched on what Maricoxi were. Giving forty thousand years of history before bed was not feasible. Alonzo could not giveaway all their secrets, especially if Zane decided to turn him away.

He glanced out of the corner of his eye at Midnight, distrustful. Why was he even asking? But Alonzo was saved from answering such a personal question by the sound of Zane and Skyld coming down the hallway. He took the pancakes off the griddle that were ready, poured four more, and was wiping his hands on the tea towel when Zane rounded the corner.

Butterflies took flight in his stomach. Zane looked… Alonzo wasn't sure what adjective he wanted to use. It had been so long since he'd been around someone who gave him this deep sense of rightness. Everything about Zane called to him, pricking his instincts, giving him hope that he didn't have to be alone anymore. Sure, he was immortal, and Zane was not. He couldn't bring himself to care. Zane could draw his last breath tomorrow or seventy years from now. Alonzo's God could appear on the front lawn and call Alonzo to him. He would be swallowed and would not return to the world until the destruction was over. Destruction that would steal Zane away. No, there was nothing to be gained by worrying about tomorrow. The present was what mattered, and he would cherish every second he spent with Zane.

The band members of Crimson Comet all gazed at Zane with varying degrees of hunger, even Raine who sat sullenly at the dining table. Next to Alonzo, Midnight made a rough noise in his throat. "I hate it when Cord is right," Midnight muttered almost too low for Alonzo to hear.

Xander prowled like a wolf, his long curly black hair falling free to his waist. He cupped Zane's face in his hands and kissed him soundly. Alonzo waited but felt no jealousy prick him when Zane responded. He would have to explain to Zane that he was wired to see to a leader's—Zane's—and to the clan's needs… though these men were not a part of Zane's clan, he sensed the potential was there.

So when Xander back away, leaving Zane wide-eyed and panting, Alonzo gave Zane a slight nod and smile, letting him know it was all right.

"You have kissed him twice now," Anson groused before swooping in to steal one for himself.

Zane's cheeks flushed a bright red as he pushed Anson away. Rounding the island, Zane stopped before Alonzo. His gaze was direct and unwavering. Alonzo found that confidence sexy as hell.

"I woke alone. You should have to let me take a shift."

"I did not mind, bello." Alonzo couldn't keep the pleased rumble out of his voice.

"Well, I do. You don't need to carry such burdens alone." Zane's gaze held a fierce determination.

Alonzo bit back a groan of want. Did Zane realize what he was saying? No, of course not. How could he?

"Next time, I want to wake up with you."

"Okay." Alonzo didn't know how he would work it, but Zane would get his wish.

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 -
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Seven, Part 2 -
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Eight, Part 2 -
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Nine, Part 2 -
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Ten, Part 2
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fourteen, Part 1
Chapter Fourteen, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Fifteen, Part 2
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighterr, Part Two

Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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