Then it was my turn to shoot smirks at him. He can’t be doing that well with her if she’s not taking up the opportunity to have him in her apartment. If I was childish, I might have mouthed ‘I’ve been in there’. Maybe I could be childish just this once.

She turned to me, pulling me out of my thoughts. “I’m assuming you noticed that I didn’t leave the files on your desk like I usually do.” I hadn’t noticed. “I actually didn’t get a chance to finish updating them -”

“That was my fault, I took her to lunch.” Could he have made it more obvious that he was trying to mark his territory?

“- but I’ll sort it at dusk.” She had ignored Max, which he didn’t like.

“It’s okay.”

“Say again?” She seemed astonished. Did she wonder if I’d come here just to make snide remarks about trivial things? Well I had done trivial stuff in the past.

“It’s okay,” I repeated.

“You’re being reasonable.” Suspicion entered her eyes. “You’ve either done something you shouldn’t have or you’re after something.”

I gave her a devilish grin. I’m only after the same thing I always want.

What would that be? My blood, or my body?

Put those two together.

She shook her head at me, stifling a giggle.

Max snickered. “I’d say he’s done something and feeling guilty about it.”

“Jared doesn’t do guilt,” she told him.

Except with you, I almost said. Christ I’m losing it.

The playful banter continued as we all strolled to the apartment building. Max got increasingly agitated about it and tried further marking his territory by touching her or complimenting her. She only giggled each time. I was pretty sure that she knew what he was trying to do and she was just humouring him. But even that didn’t make me want to pound him any less. Max saw that and so done it all the more. Therefore I was already beyond incensed when he turned up at my apartment door forty-five minutes later.

“What?” was all I said.

He pushed past me, took a quick glimpse at the interior of my apartment and then exhaled heavily at me. “I want you to leave her alone.” The nervous tremor in his voice disappeared as he continued to speak, “I’m not here as a squad member talking to his superior, I’m here talking to you as one guy to another. Leave her alone.”

As a gesture of boredom, I stuffed my free hand in my pants pocket while using the other to swirl the contents of my NST bottle. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“All she’d be is another notch on your bedpost. You can get sex anywhere, you’ve got three consorts to give you it whenever you want, just leave this one woman alone.”

“What would you know about what I want?”

“I’ve heard all about how you treat women, that you’re only out to get laid. Fine, that’s your business. But Sam’s worth more than that. Or at least she is to me.”

Inwardly I groaned before shooting a rhetorical question at him. “Are you and her together?”

“No.”

“Then I don’t see how what Sam and I do or don’t do has anything at all to do with you.” I gestured toward the door with my head but he remained still. Like an idiot.

“Okay, let’s look at it this way. We both want her. But you don’t care about her, I do. So don’t you think it’s only fair that you just leave her be?”

“Let’s look at it another way. Sam doesn’t want someone to care about her, she wants to keep it simple.”

He frowned. “How would you know?”

“She told me. After everything she’s been through, I don’t blame her.” Yes, that was me making a point to him that there were things about her and her past that he didn’t know and that she had trusted me with. “I’d seriously think before you go declaring your undying love for her. She’ll run a mile.”

“Yeah, right, like I’d listen to your advice. You’d say anything that’d mess up my chances with her. What’s the matter? Feeling threatened?”

“You obviously are or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“I – I – Oh f**k you, Michaels. Be smart and leave her alone. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.” His tone was sharp and clipped.

In vampire speed I placed myself nose to nose in front of him. “I really hope you can follow up on that threat ’cause you’re going to need to.” What bothered me more than the threat was the way he talked about Sam like he had rights to her. “Let me ask you, she ever let you kiss her?” His silence answered that. “You mean you’re making all this effort and not even getting any action?” I shook my head and whistled. “You’re missing out. She’s one really good kisser.”

His eyes widened and lots of veins and tendons in his face and neck were bulging. It could have been mistaken for envy, but it was more to do with anger. He had realised that he was only embarrassing himself by coming here with this all high and mighty attitude only to find out that he’s not the expert on Sam that he thought he was.

Once his face was no longer contorted he flashed me an ugly smirk. “I better go, I don’t want to be late for my dinner with Sam.”

“Don’t choke on your food now, will you,” I called over my shoulder as he passed and left the apartment.

What a son of a bitch. Barging into my apartment. Confronting me. Threatening me. Acting like he had any rights where Sam was concerned. I should’ve just decked him. Full points for me for not losing it. But did that mean I was going to just let this go, that I could let this go? Oh no. Not a chance. His evening was going to be cut short.

(Sam)

I stared hard at the menu, not really reading it, trying my hardest to ignore the anger that was steaming off Max and making him unbelievably uncomfortable to be around. I’d already asked four times if he was okay, each time getting a ‘yeah, great’. Only he wasn’t great – far from it. And now I was brassed off. He was the one who wanted to come here. How was it that I’d become the one keeping a conversation going to fill the silence? I’d given up on that now, meeting the silence with silence, fully intending to walk right back out if he didn’t perk up within the next ten minutes.

At last he spoke. “I never got a chance to ask you what all the crap was about with that guy last night.” He sounded like a deflated version of himself, like someone had sucked the enthusiasm out of him. “Something about him being responsible for the death of his best friend...?”


Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires
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