For a lot of people, Adam Thurston’s election as mayor meant the unemployment line. Many of his staffers and volunteers now had to find other things to do, since Adam was loathe to fill his administrative and advisory positions with people who helped him win the campaign. Fortunately, Spencer Matthews was an exception; he relished knowing he would likely become the mayor’s most trusted adviser.
All those months of hard work, all those missed classes at Northwestern, paid off. Spencer was now footsteps from the city’s most powerful position; he had more access to the mayor than anyone else in Chicago--even his wife Nicole.
Such access had its advantages...particularly when one had designs on bringing down the mayor. Spencer had nothing against Adam on a personal level--he agreed with the mayor’s staunch anti-vampire message, and Adam seemed like a decent enough guy. But that decency would be his downfall, because being mayor meant having power--and Spencer wanted that power.
And he didn’t have the decency to keep himself in check. Nor did he have a family to keep him in line. Whatever Spencer wanted, Spencer got...because he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“So,” he grinned in the doorway of his apartment, loosening the red tie around his neck, “we going out or staying in tonight?”
Jamie's blue eyes were fixed on the screen of her laptop. She was checking her bank account online and frowning. Business had been steadily slowing down, and she wasn't sure why. On top of that, her hours had been cut at her legit job in favor of some new chick from New York with big, fake boobs. Someone needed to tell her boss that Coyote Ugly was very ten years ago. "Um, we might have to stay in." She looked up at Spencer. "Unless you're okay with paying...again."
While Spencer had plenty of money to spare, the blonde hated feeling like a gold-digger. It was a silent accusation from the few people who knew about their relationship. She wasn't from a well-to-do family, or even middle class, and that followed her in everything that she did. Who else would charge people for talking to their dead relatives?
Hanging the tie on the rack in his closet, Spencer came out of his room, unbuttoning his white dress shirt. Leaning over the back of the couch, he planted a soft kiss on Jamie’s temple before walking to the kitchen and grabbing two bottles of beer. Popping the top of both of them, he handed one to Jamie as he plopped down on the couch beside her.
“It’s fine with me,” he shrugged, taking his first swig. “Been to so many parties the past week, I could use a quiet night here.”
Appearances to the contrary, Spencer wasn’t a socialite. He mingled and made connections when necessary, but small talk was far from his favorite thing to do. He smiled briefly, taking another drink before setting his bottle on the wooden coffee table and placing an arm over Jamie’s shoulder. Everything was in motion; before long, accusations that Adam was dealing V would make the rounds.
With any luck, those rumors would explode into full-blown public knowledge, and the immensely popular mayor would be on the stand, trying desperately to define the word “is.” It was one thing to get a blowjob from an intern, but to deal a highly addictive and dangerous drug, made from the very creatures you claim to hate?
Spencer quivered with anticipation of the fallout.
She closed her computer and set it on the coffee table. "You seem exceptionally jubilant tonight," Jamie told him, watching his face. "Got anything you want to tell me?" While she waited for his answer, she picked up the remote control and clicked on the television. Of course it was already set on Fox News. She rolled her eyes and started scrolling through the on-screen guide. Sometimes she managed to repress the fact that she was sort-of dating the poster boy for the Young Republicans.
“Just loving life right now,” Spencer answered with a knowing smile, polishing off about half of what was left in his bottle. He found Jamie’s aversion to his news channel annoying, but Spencer let it slide, since he wasn’t exactly in this to debate political matters or because he was awed by Jamie’s intellect. Long as she wasn’t in his apartment watching that other station, with the blowhard ex-sportscaster and the manly-looking lesbian, he would let it slide.
“Adam winning means one hell of a promotion for me,” he added. “And a nice hike in pay to go with it. Might not need that law degree after all.”
Which was fine, because Spencer had always preferred Georgetown to Northwestern anyway.
Picking up her beer and opting to leave the channel on -- she wouldn’t really be watching it, anyway -- Jamie nodded slyly. “Yes, because you need the raise. But I get it. Months of hard work paying off...all that good stuff.” The blonde crossed her bare legs beneath her. Not for the first time, she wondered what she was doing there. It was like drinking too much on a night out; it was bad for you afterward, but during it just felt great. And that went for her relationship with Spencer, on many different levels.
“So...when does the mass extinction of vampires begin?” she half-joked, taking a long drink.
“The day Adam’s sworn in,” Spencer announced proudly, polishing off the rest of his beer before setting the empty bottle on the table. He took his shirt off, tossing it over the back of the couch before leaning back again, his arm returning to its post around Jamie’s shoulder. Spencer hated undershirts, so he now sat bare-chested in front of the TV.
Glenn Beck, nutso that he was, blabbered incessantly on the TV. Spencer cringed, finding himself less inclined to follow the wackiest of this station’s contingent. He didn’t mind Bill O’Reilly, and even Sean Hannity was fine in small doses, but that Beck freak gave the conservative cause a bad name.
Of course, a segment three weeks back calling Adam a Nazi for wanting to protect Chicago from vampires didn’t help. Sometimes Spencer had to wonder whose side the Reagan Doughboy was on.
Adam wanted to sue, but Spencer talked him out of it. Not that it would matter, if Spencer’s plan came to fruition. “You gotta admit, the message struck a chord,” he added. “People are scared, and for once, they really should be.”
"Maybe," Jamie replied non-comittally, her eyes absentmindedly following the news scroll running across the bottom of the screen. She finished her own beer and set the empty on the table. "I think I met a vampire once. He came into the bar -- and no, this isn't the beginning of a lame joke -- and he just wanted a drink. Of Tru Blood, not from any of the customers." She turned and faced Spencer.
"What about you? Have you ever actually, you know, met one?"
Grabbing the remote and changing the channel to ESPN--he really didn’t feel like staring at that pudgy face pretending to cry anymore--Spencer took in a deep breath. He wondered how to proceed; admitting that he sometimes kidnapped vampires in order to steal their blood probably wouldn’t go well, and he couldn’t chance Jamie calling the cops.
Spending time in jail would do nothing for Spencer’s plan.
But there was something else. He gave a weak smile, leaning back into the couch again. “One tried to attack my dad once,” he said. “My dad got a promotion at the ad agency, and we went out that night to celebrate. We staggered out of the bar, and this redhead starts tailing us. She starts coming onto dad, which...should’ve been a red flag from the start.
“She showed her fangs, and I just freaked. I pushed her into a trash dumpster, grabbed by dad and we hightailed it.” He chuckled darkly. “Dad hasn’t had a drink since.”
"Ah," Jamie said quietly, eyes still on the t.v. "I guess it's sharing time now." She sat back, supported by the cushions on the sofa.
"It was lucky you got away, I guess," she continued, her hand moving to rest on his knee. "What with the reputed vampire super-strength and all." A smile touched her lips then, her head tilting to the side. "See, Matthews, I never suspected someone like you would have moves."
Spencer laughed. “If you consider running away to be ‘moves,’ sure.”
He turned down the volume on the TV, tossing the remote aside as he leaned in to give Jamie’s lips a small kiss. He smiled, before lowering his head again for a deeper, longer-lasting kiss. The arm around her shoulder tightened, while his other hand roamed along her bare thigh. Spencer’s eyes closed as the kiss deepened even more.
Breaking the kiss, Spencer chuckled. “Unless you meant something else...”
"Well, I think there might be a reason why almost all our nights in seem to end this way," Jamie remarked, hands moving to his shoulders. "And our nights out..." She closed her eyes, getting into the kiss as they adjusted on the sofa. Pulling back, she bit at her lower lip nervously. "Honestly, though...is that bad? I mean, we could do something different if you wanted..."
Spencer frowned in confusion. “What’s bad?” he asked, running his fingers through her blond hair. He planted kisses along Jamie’s forehead and temple, arms wrapping around her waist as hands slid under the waistband of her jeans.
“Nothing bad on my end ...”
“Doing the same thing...almost every night. Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t boring you.” The smile returned, and Jamie ran her own hands down his chest, over his taut stomach. One slid into his pants pocket flirtatiously. After a moment, though, she jolted upright.
“What is this?” In her hand was a capped, silver-tipped syringe.
Spencer’s blood ran cold when he felt Jamie’s hand on the syringe in his pocket. His brain locked up momentarily, before he scrambled to come up with any explanation that wasn’t the truth. Not that Spencer had a moral disposition toward lying, he was just really good at it considering his line of work.
But lying on the campaign trail was one thing. Lying to a girl who let you into her pants? Another matter entirely.
Taking the syringe from Jamie’s hand, Spencer’s fingers trembled. He forced his gaze to the tube, if for no other reason than to keep from having to look at her. Spencer didn’t feel shame for this--at least, he didn’t think he did--but he knew she’d never understand. Because really, was there ever a good reason to be dealing with V?
“Oh,” he finally said, placing the syringe on the coffee table with a nervous chuckle. “I guess, I uhh...I must’ve forgotten to throw that away.” He swallowed hard, stared at the wall. “It’s my dad. He’s...diabetic.”
Jamie looked at the discarded syringe, juxtaposed strangely next to the remote control and empty beer bottles. "Oh. I didn't think they were that big." She ran her fingers through her hair idly. Wondering if the mood was dead now, she leaned back against the sofa. "You never told me he was diabetic."
It was a throwaway comment; Jamie never really talked much about her family either. It wasn't interesting to her, so she figured it would be even less so to others, especially Spencer, who might as well have been raised on another planet.
Still, she wasn't sure she fully believed him.
“Yeah, it’s,” Spencer paused, leaning back against the arm of the sofa, “it’s a recent thing. We just found out last month. Can’t say I’m surprised, though--the man loves his greasy food.”
Which was technically true, aside from the fact that Clayton Orenthol Matthews had been dead for almost seven years now. Heart attack in the middle of a board meeting, freaked his secretary out so badly that she spent three years seeing a psychiatrist before they found her splattered remains on the D.C. subway tracks.
Spencer had handled it well, all things considered. He had a good relationship with both his parents, but a childhood spent with nannies and maids left him feeling...detached from his parents. Being an only child only fostered that distance.
“Used to love his beer, too, but he gave that up after he was diagnosed.”
Her brow furrowed, eyes still on the surgical steel tip of the needle. "Well, that sucks," she said absentmindedly. Suddenly, Jamie stood, grabbing her top and putting it back on. "I'm actually kind of hungry. Do you want to go to Pauline's and get something to eat?"
Something about his apartment was making her feel claustrophobic. She was afraid she was about to lapse into an 'episode', and Spencer still didn't really know about her 'gift'. It was like someone trying to push a door open on her, and she was just barely keeping it closed. Usually that meant someone, somewhere, was trying to tell her something.
Oddly enough, eating something quelled it for a little while. "Unless you're afraid of greasy food now."
Spencer frowned when he saw Jamie put her shirt back on, but forced himself into a smile as his hands fidgeted at his sides. “No fear here,” he said. “You’ve seen what’s under here.
“Picture of health.”
Glancing at the syringe, Spencer felt a growing uneasiness. He chided himself for leaving the empty tube in his pants instead of pitching it once the V had been properly administered. The last thing he needed was someone finding out. Because in this internet age, where literally anyone could get famous, that was a definite possibility.
There was a reason Mayor Thurston rejected the idea of creating Facebook and Twitter pages.