Sexual pain, that’s a novelty if I’ve ever heard one.

Putting my hand on my shoulder, I pull it away only to find fresh blood bleeding up through my shirt.

That little…

I suppose first blood goes to her then.

Not that I will try to one up her. No hair will be harmed on her damn head. She might very well end up with a bright red bottom though. If she wants to behave like a child, then I’ll treat her like the obstinate one she is.

Walking into the bathroom, I flip the light switch on to survey the damage of my clothes and body. Thankfully, neither Meredith or I were injured in the explosion.

Cherry was a loss though, as were all the workers and clientele.

I think this should be put down as a gas main explosion, not an attack. If word were to get out it was anything but an accident it would look very bad on us as a whole. We’ve stayed out of the national spotlight, and now with the governor we have in place, it’s even easier to stay in the shadows.

But if it came out that we had another gang war on our hands…

Damnation. Everything we’ve been building up and putting in place could be put under the microscope. The current political climate does not bode well for criminal enterprises.

Walking into the kitchen, I grab a garbage bag. Then I pull my cellphone out as I head back into the bathroom.

I scroll through my contacts list and I have to scroll pretty far down before I find who I’m looking for.

Putting the phone down on the counter, I press call and turn on the speakerphone.

It’s five long rings before I hear a voice. “Fire Chief Martin.”

“Chief, this is Simon Whitmore,” I say as I start untying my bloody tie.

There’s a long pause and I can’t tell if he is trying to willfully forget my name or if he’s sensing the oncoming headache I’m going to cause.

“Simon, how can I help you?” he asks quietly.

“I was calling to find out more about the gas main explosion that occurred at Lucky Tails tonight.”

“Gas main explosion…” he starts off and I can tell he’s not happy to hear the news.

“Yes, it’s very tragic that we had such an awful accident at the club.”

“There’s no way that it could—”

“Chief Dennis Alan Martin. You have three daughters. One’s in Yale, yes? And the other two are still in private schooling within the city, I believe… Which one do you love the most?” I ask as I toss the bloody tie into the garbage.

“How dare you! You son of a bitch!” he says with a deep growl.

“Quite true. Now answer me, which one do you love the most? Is it the Ivy League child? What about the soccer star? Which will bring you the most pride? How about the youngest daughter? Nothing notable about her yet.”

“The gas main explosion was an unfortunate accident, due to unforeseen circumstances,” he says quickly.

“You still haven’t answered my question,” I press.

“Look, I’ll say anything you want, Simon,” he says in a rush and I can hear the terror in his voice.

“Thank you for your concern and diligent inspection during these upcoming days. I’ll make sure to send a fruit basket over to your home,” I say before pressing the disconnect button.

Another scroll through the contacts and then I push on yet another person’s name.

Two rings this time. “Detective Sommers.”

“Detective, it’s Simon.”

“Simon, good to hear from you. Though I have a feeling this isn’t a call to see how I’m doing,” he says with a sigh.

I really do wish people would be happy to hear my voice…

No, actually I don’t.

“Indeed. I need you to find out what you can about the gas main explosion tonight at Lucky Tails. Names and addresses of all the visitors, any information that could help us identify the part of the gas main that exploded…”

“Got it. I’ll try to get you everything as it comes in. Any issues and I’ll contact you. Anything else?” he asks.

“Yes, make sure you work very closely with Chief Dennis Martin on this. If there are any issues, no matter how small, please inform me,” I say.

“Will do. Have a goodnight, Simon.”

“You as well,” I say and push the disconnect button.

Removing my shirt completely, I wait to look at where she bit me.

I don’t dread looking at what I know to be a vicious bite mark. No, I wait because I fear the exhilaration I’m sure it will give.

Why would I feel such an emotional high? I have no clue. I’m in new territory with all these emotional and hormonal threads. Long before I was an adult, I, like many others, reveled in the hormones and lack of self-control only a youth could possess.

Now I must keep a rigid control of myself. I’m not some unthinking neanderthal.