February 2014


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Jan. 11th, 2013


When Daniel entered a room, everyone paid attention. Over two hundred years old and the arrogant bastard could still hold an entire room under his thumb. Even in a dingy diner out in South Dakota. It was barely past midnight but the place held fifteen humans, mostly natives who enjoyed a late-night meal.

"I bought us tickets." The handsome werewolf with his blonde hair and bright white teeth came and sat across from him at the table the thirty-something waitress had placed him at. His hair was still wet from the motel shower. Even soppy wet hair didn't deter from Daniel's rogue-ish good looks. If anything, it made him even more appealing. There wasn't a pair of eyes in the diner that didn't glue themselves to him.

Mark stabbed at his scrambled eggs. "When does it leave?" His own voice and perhaps the sound of his fork hitting the plate made them all turn their gaze back where they belonged.

"Five a.m. and don't be so surprised." Daniel leaned back in the old chair and waved to the waitress. "A coffee, ma'am? If you please. With cream and sugar?" The waitress beamed as if honored that he'd ask. She nodded and scurried over to start a fresh pot of coffee. Mark glared down into his own cup of hours-old brew.

"I guess you'll be expecting me to wake you up then?"

Daniel grinned. "You know how I feel about alarm clocks."

He did. Daniel hated them with the oddest passion. Mark was sure it had something to do with his old friend's days as a cowboy. "Fine then. Where's the airport?" Mark hated to fly. He had only barely gotten over his distaste of automobiles a few decades ago. But their destination was too far and it would be foolish to make the entire trip on foot.

"Not too far," Daniel said with a mild shrug. Mark took that to meant that it was farther than they both would have liked but South Dakota wasn't known for it's many aiports. They didn't have a lot of options. "Alexander called me a few minutes ago. I don't know why since he talked to you a few hours ago."

Mark looked up from his coffee, surprised. "What did he say?" He was curious what their vampire friend would have to say that he couldn't have said earlier. Alexander was not the type to forget anything. Something else must have come up that he hadn't known about.

"He talked to the girl. He seems to be under the impression that she won't say anything."

Mark wasn't one to sigh. He thought it made him sound old, like his father. "She won't say anything yet."

Daniel nodded just as the waitress brought over her new pot of coffee and her best white cup. "Thanks, sweetheart." He smiled at her and she beamed again, setting the sugar and cream down as well.

"Would you like anything else?"

"Same as my partner here, ma'am. Thank you," Daniel finished with a tip of his imaginary hat. She left, in a hurry to please him, no doubt, and Daniel's attention was back on Mark. "Here, give me yours." He stretched his tanned arm out and stole Mark's cold cup, replacing it quickly with his own warm cup. The waitress must have popped it in their old microwave to have it this hot. "Don't give me that grumpy look. I know how you hate cold coffee." He even began to fill the new cup, adding the perfect amount of sugar and cream that he knew Mark liked.

"If I wanted hot coffee, I could have gotten it myself." But his glare was half-hearted. It was difficult to be upset with Mark over anything when he was flashing that smile of his.

"Ah but you know, you can catch more bees with honey." Daniel stole a piece of egg off his plate and popped it messily into his mouth.

"You have too much honey." Mark abandoned his eggs (Daniel was stealing pieces too fast for any to be left soon anyhow) for his new coffee. The liquid burned down his throat but settled cozy in his stomach. It was too sweet for any human to enjoy which made it perfect. He licked his lips in satisfaction. "Did Alexander say anything else?"

Daniel muttered around eggs and ketsup which meant yes, there had been many things said but nothing important. Mostly Alexander being Alexander, the proud peacock. Vampires were always generous with words but their friend was something entirely. He liked to play with his words, wrap them in a puzzle and invite someone to figure out the answer. A clever vampire could use it to fill his plate. Alexander had, at one point, but now filled his ego instead.

It was a strange relationship the three of them had. Mark, Daniel and Alexander. Wolves and vampires rarely mixed together without blood spilling.

Which made this New Hope such an odd place. It wasn't the only town with different species coexisting together peacefully but it was, by far, the largest. Mark had never liked large towns. He preferred the lonliness of the mountains and the valleys. With just him and those closest to him. If only he could keep them all there, always.

"What are you thinking?" Daniel had finished Mark's plate and was filling his cup. No sugar or cream. Daniel never had a taste for much sugar.

The waitress brought by two plates of scrambled eggs with as much grace and quiet as a church wife. She must have seen how quickly Daniel had eaten. They both thanked her and she left just as she came. The hot food gave Mark a few minutes before answering. "I'm not sure the kids will want to leave." Daniel frowned immediately but said nothing. "We can't stay in New Hope, Daniel. You know that."

"Alexander said it wasn't that bad of a place. It's not like Seattle."

Mark had to count to twenty before he stopped seeing red. The anger he felt over what happened in Seattle, not even a decade could erase it. It felt as fresh as if it all had happened that morning. Though Daniel recalled the city with a light voice, Mark could feel the mutual rage.

No. New Hope would not be like Seattle. He would make sure of it.