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The Interview That Never Happened *full txt*

Posted by on May. 8, 2009 at 11:00 AM
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The Interview That Never Happened

Last night, I showed up at the Brotherhood’s compound for a scheduled interview with Butch and Vishous. They kept me waiting- which shouldn’t have been a surprise and wasn’t. And the interview didn’t happen, either. Also not a surprise...

Fritz is the one who lets me into the Pit and he fusses over me as he usually does. I swear, nothing makes a doggen more agitated than if they can’t do anything for you. He’s getting so worked up, I actually hand him my purse- a move marked with the kind of desperation usually associated with folks who perform the Heimlich on a choking person.

Now, I’m not in the habit of turning over my day bag to other people- even a butler who’s suffering from a terminal case of the need-to-pleases. But here’s the thing. My purse has a lot of pale-ish leather detailing and the strap that runs over the top and down the front has a streak of blue pen ink on it. No one notices this relatively tiny mess-up except me, but it’s bugged me since I did it and I’ve wanted to get rid of the imperfection like you read about. (Hell, I even went back to LV and asked them if they could take it out. They said no, they couldn’t, because the leather is porous and has absorbed the ink into its fibers. I assuaged my depression with sundry purchases, needless to say.)

As I hand the bag over to Fritz, and ask him if there’s any way he could get the pen ink out, he glows like I’ve given him a birthday present and beats feet out the front door. Just as the Pit’s huge eight-paneled, fortress-worthy, portal-from-a-dungeon-movie slams shut, I realize my only pen, the one that made the mark, is in the dayum bag.

Fortunately, V and Butch tend to be memorable so I figure I’ll just take mental notes.

The Pit is empty except for me. Jane is out, doing physical exams at Safe House. Marissa is there as well, still running the place. It’s 3 a.m. and Butch and V are supposed to be coming home from fighting soon. The plan is for them to do me and for me to move along smartly when they’re done. Interviews aren’t high on the Brotherhood’s list and I understand. They get precious little free time and they’re under constant stress.

I check my watch and find it hard not to worry. Man, I don’t know how their shellans stand waiting for them to get home. The what-ifs must be a killer.

I look around. The Foosball table is hale and hearty-looking, fresh as a fricking daisy. This, of course, is the new new one, though. The old new one gave up the ghost during some kind of showdown involving a can of Silly String, twelve feet of duct tape, two paintball guns and a Rubbermaid container the size of a small car. At least that’s what I heard from Rhage. Who has a big mouth, but never lies.

Across the way, on V’s desk, the Four Toys are humming away, the computers looking like a bunch of gossips all huddled together, trading stories about who is where doing what within the Brotherhood’s compound. The stereo system stacked behind them looks just as high tech- like you could use it to do a brainscan on someone if you had to. Rap is on, but not as loudly as it’s been in the past. 50Cent’s Curtis. Yeah, I kind of figured it wouldn’t be Kanye.

What I can see of the kitchen is kind of a shock. It’s neat as a pin, the countertops free of glasses, the cupboards all shut tight, the clutter down to a minimum. I’m willing to bet there’s something else in the refridge other than Taco Bell leftovers and packets of soy sauce. Damn, there’s even a bowl of fruit. Peaches. Natch.

Change, I think. Things have changed here. And you can tell, not just because there’s a pair of black stillies next to the couch and copies of The New England Journal of Medicine in the midst of all those SIs.

Looking around, I get to thinking about the two guys who live here now with their mates. And I remember back to the good old DARK LOVER days, when V and Butch spent the night in that guestroom upstairs at Darius’s. Butch asked about V’s hand. V i.d.’d Hard Ass’s death wish. The two of them clicked. My favorite part was when Wrath came in the next evening and gave them a Well, isn’t this cozy. I think you remember what their response was, right?

Here we are, two years later and they’re still together.

Then again we members of the Red Sox Nation are a loyal lot.

But everything is different, isn’t-

The door in from the underground tunnel flips open and Butch comes in. He smells like lesser, all sweet baby powder. I put my hand up to my nose to keep from gagging.

“Interview’s off,” he says hoarsely.

“Ah... that’s okay, I don’t have a pen,” I murmur, measuring how grim he looks and how he weaves in his boots.

Butch trips over his own feet and bangs off the walls as he goes down to his bedroom.

Great. Now what do I do?

I wait for a minute. Then I go down the hallway because... well, in a situation like this, you want to help, don’t you? When I get to the door of his room, I catch a shot of his naked back and quickly look away.

“You need anything?” I ask, feeling like an idiot. I may write about the Brothers, but let’s face it, I’m a ghost in their world, an observer, not a participant.

“V. But he’s coming-”

The front door bangs open and my head whips around like it’s on a pull-cord.

Oh... sh**...

Now, see, here’s the thing about V. He doesn’t like me. Never has. And considering he’s nearly three hundred pounds of vampire and he’s got that hand of death thing happening, every time I get around him I am reminded of all the panic attacks I’ve ever had in the course of my life. They come back to me. Each one of them. At the same time.

I swallow hard. V is dressed in black leather and bleeding from a shoulder wound and in a bad f***ing mood. One look at me, and he bares his fangs.

“You have got to be kidding me.” He all but rips off his leather jacket and throws it across the Pit. He’s more careful as he removes his daggers. “Man, this night just keeps getting worse.”

I kept my pie hole shut. I mean, like there’s any response to that kind of welcome? Short of hanging myself in the bathroom, I’m pretty confident there’s nothing I can do to cheer him up.

Vishous stomps by me to get to Butch and I make like a wall hanging, trying to get as flat as I can. Which is easy. I’m built like a plank to begin with, long and flat.

I’d like to point out that V is huge, by the way. HUGE. As he passes by, my head barely reaches the top of his shoulder and the size of his body makes me feel like I’m five years old and in a sea of grown ups.

As he pauses in Butch’s bedroom doorway, I find myself unable to leave even though I know I should go. I just can’t, though. Fortunately, V focuses on the cop.

Poor Butch.

“What the f*** were you doing?” V barks.

The cop’s voice is rough, but not weak. “Can we shelve this for about ten minutes? I’m about to throw up-”

“Did you think those slayers weren’t armed?”

“You know, this shrewish wife thing is so not helping-”

“If you’d used your brain for once-”

As the two start in on each other, I think, okay, I am ready to leave. Too much testosterone in the air like this and I get woozy. And not in a good way.

I back down the hall, wondering what the hell I’m going to do about the interview I was supposed to have with them, when I realize... bloody footprints. V has left bloody footprints. And he must have been injured quite badly, given the amount of glossy crimson on the floorboards.

Stupid male. Stupid, arrogant, miserable, reclusive SOB. Stupid, reckless, pig-headed, nasty-tempered, bull-horned, I-am-an-island, close lipped bast***-

Have I mentioned that after the horrid process of writing V’s book that I have a couple of issues with him, too? He’s not the only hater in our relationship.

As Butch and V continue to growl at each other like a pair of Doberman’s, I get pi**ed. I march over to V’s leather jacket and grunt as I pick it up off the floor. The thing weighs almost as much as I do and to be honest, I really don’t want to know what’s in it.

But I find out because I go through his pockets.

Ammo for his Glock. Hunting knife with lesser blood on it. Solid gold lighter. IPod that I’m willing to bet is stacked with hardcore rap. A little black book I don’t flip through (because hey, that is SUCH an invasion of privacy.) Wrigley’s spearmint gum. Swiss Army knife (probably because his hunting one doesn’t have that nifty scissors attachment.)

Cell phone.

I flip the RAZR open and hit *J. Two seconds later, Jane answers the ring.

“Hey, you. How’s my puppy?”

Yeah, she calls him puppy. I’ve never asked for deets. V would just bite my head off and it seems too intrusive to ask Jane herself. Although Rhage would know... hm...

“Hi, Jane,” I say.

“Oh, it’s you!” She laughs. Jane has a warm laugh, the kind that makes you take a deep breath and release it nice and slow because you know everything’s going to be all right if she’s involved. “How’s the interview going?”

“It isn’t. Your man’s injured, Butch is down for the count, and I get the sense that if I don’t leave ASAP, I’m going to be shown the door by your mate. Head first.”

“Oh, for God’s sake, V can be such an a**.”

“Which is why I dedicated LOVER UNBOUND to you.”

“I’m coming right now. Let me just tell Marissa.”

As I hang up, I realize the Pit is much more quiet now... and that there’s a glow coming from the hallway. I tip-toe down and freeze when I get to the doorway of Butch’s room.

They’re on the bed. Together. Vishous has laid down and wrapped his arms around Butch and his whole body is glowing softly. Butch is flush against the Brother, breathing slowly. V’s healing power is working. You can tell because the smell of lesser is going away.

V’s ice white eyes flip open and nail me with the unblinking stare of a predator. My hand goes to my throat.

In this moment between us, I wonder why he hates me so much. It hurts.

The response I get is his voice in my head: You know why. You know exactly why.

Yeah, I kind of do, don’t I. And strike the kind of.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper.

He closes his eyes. And that’s when Jane materializes right next to me.

Jane is only a little different as a ghost than she was as a human. She takes up space the same and sounds the same and looks the same... and as she gives me a hug, she feels as warm and solid to me as she did before what happened to her happened.

“Baby...” V drawls from the bed.

Dayum, that’s an erotic sound.

Jane looks into the bedroom and the smile that lights her up is breathtaking. Jane’s not super-gorgeous. But she’s got a intelligent-looking face to match her enormous brain, and as I like smart people, I really like her.

“Hey, pup,” she says to Vishous.

V smiles at Jane. Have I mentioned that before? When he sees her, his truly smiles. With everybody else, he just smirks. If he feels like it.

“Heard you’re hurt,” Jane says, putting her hands on her hips. She’s wearing a white doctor’s coat and has a stethoscope around her neck, both of which are solid to the eye. The rest of her is a little hazy, unless she wants to pick something up or hug someone in which case she becomes fully present.

“I’m fine,” he shoots back.

“He’s hurt,” Butch and I say at the same time. V glares at me. Then soothes the cop by running his hand down the male’s spine.

Is it a sexual touch? A while ago, before Jane came along, I would have said yes, it was. Because that’s the way things were. But now that Jane’s in V’s life, that stroke is one of comfort.

“Meet me in our room when you’re finished,” Jane says to her hellren. “I’m going to check you out.”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about,” V replies on a husky purr.

I follow Jane out because it’s starting to feel a little voyeuristic staring at V and Butch together... (I’d like to put in here, by the way, that Jane isn’t bothered at all by how close the two males are and neither is Marissa. Which shows you how secure those two females are. How secure and how well-loved.)

“So Safe House is really coming along,” Jane says as we go into the book-filled bedroom she shares with her male. The place could be a library if not for the king-sizer in the center and the two of them are happy with it that way. They are both big readers.

“Yeah, I’ve heard.” I pick up the title on the bureau. It’s a biochemistry text book. Grad school level. Could be either of theirs. “You have how many females now?”

“Nine mothers, fifteen children.”

Jane starts to talk and her enthusiasm and commitment are obvious in her animation. I let her go on, but I’m only half listening. I’m thinking back to a conversation she and I had about three months ago, in June.

It was about death. Hers. I asked her whether she was disappointed with where she’d ended up. As a ghost. Her answering smile held a lot of well, duh in it and she’d said to me something I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since: Forty years as a human versus four hundred with him? she’d murmured, shaking her head. Yeah, I have a real hard time doing that math. Right. I mean, the tragedy gave me life with the man I love. Where’s the disappointment?

I guess I can see her point. Yeah, there are some things they don’t have. But Jane was very well into her thirties when the two of them met. Which means she’d have been lucky to get another two to three decades with him before the aging process really sank its teeth into her. And that’s assuming she didn’t get cancer or heart disease or something else God awful that either killed her or crippled her. Also, she’s already lost her sister and both her parents and jeez... countless trauma patients. After all the death she’s seen, I think it’s kind of nice that she gets a pass on that from now on. And she doesn’t have to worry about V’s dance with the Reaper. She can go back and forth to the Fade. They will always be together. Always.

So she’s living eternity. With the male she loves. Not a bad deal.

Plus... erhm, from what I understand the sex is still out of this world.

“Off with your clothes,” she says.

I look down at the black outfit I have on and wonder if I spilled anything on myself. But no, it’s Vishous. He’s finished with Butch.

I get out of his way as he comes in and yeah, I look down at the floor as I hear the rustle of clothes getting removed. V laughs in a throaty way and I smell his bonding scent. I’m willing to bet the second I leave they’re going to...

Erhm... yeah.

Great, now I’m blushing.

Jane curses and I hear a box getting flipped open. I look up. It’s a First Aid kit and after she finishes cleaning what seems like an enormous gash in Vishous’s thigh, she takes out a needle and black surgical thread and a syringe I’m thinking is full of Lidocaine.

Okay, I’m so looking down again for this part. I love to watch medical shows on TV, but I always have to avoid the gory sections- and as this is happening right in front of me, it seems twelve times more vivid. Or maybe twelve hundred time more so.

I hear V hiss and Jane murmur something.

Crap. I have to watch. I glance up. Jane’s hands are very much a solid and she’s stitching up her man with quick precision like she’s done this a million times. Vishous is staring at her, a dippy little smile on his face-

“It’s not dippy,” he cuts in. “I do not have a dippy little smile on my face.”

Funny, now that he’s with Jane, he’s softer all the way around. He’s not exactly nice to me, but I don’t wish I was wearing body armor anymore.

“It’s kind of dippy,” I say as Jane laughs. “But I mean, sure, it’s dippy in a very, I’m-a-warrior-vampire-I-eat-lessers-for-lunch sort of way. You’re straight up gansta. No one’s going to mistake you for a lightweight.”

“Wise of them,” he says as he reaches up to Jane’s hair with his glowing hand. It’s kind of cool what happens. The instant the light of him hits any part of her, she becomes solid and the longer he touches her, the greater the area becomes. If the two of them are cuddling on the couch, and yes, he does cuddle with her, she’ll become wholly solid and stay that way for a time afterwards. His energy pulls her form together.

Which is kind of romantic.

Out in the hall, I hear a door open and shut and footsteps coming toward us all. I know it’s Marissa because I can smell the ocean... and because I hear Butch start to growl with an erotic kind of welcome. Marissa pauses and pokes her head into V and Jane’s room. Her hair is cut now so it’s just down to her shoulder blades and she’s wearing a very nice black Chanel suit that I wish was in my closet.

The four of us talk a little, but then Butch gets impatient and calls out for his female and Marissa smiles and leaves. She’s taking off her jacket as she turns away. Probably because she knows her clothes aren’t going to be on for long.

“There,” Jane says as she snips the thread. “All better.”

“I have something else that needs attention, true?”

“Oh, really? Would that be the graze on your shoulder?”


As V reaches for her hand, I clear my throat and make for the door. “Glad everyone’s okay. Maybe we can reschedule the interview. Yeah... um, take care. I’ll see you later. Have a good-”

I’m saying all these things because I’m feeling awkward. Like the intruder I am. Jane replies with some nice words as V starts to pull her down to him. I shut their door.

I walk down the hall and take a last look around the Pit’s living room. Change is good, I think. And not just because in this case, there is less Frat and more Home to this place now. I like the change that’s happened because those two guys are settled and happy and their lives are better because of who they ended up with. And Butch and Vishous are still together.

I step out into the September night and have to wrap my arms around myself. It’s cold in Caldwell; I’ve forgotten how upstate New York gets cold so early. I find myself hoping my rental car has heated seats.

I’m getting into the car when the front door to the mansion opens and Fritz comes rushing out. He’s like Tattoo from Fantasy Island, holding my bag up while he runs calling through the dark, “The purse! The purse!”

I get out of the sedan. “Thanks Fritz, I would have forgotten.”

The doggen bows low and says in a heartbroken tone, “I’m so sorry. So very sorry. I couldn’t get the pen mark out.”

I take my bag and look at the strap. Yup, the little blue streak is still there. “It’s okay, Fritz. I really appreciate your trying. Thank you. Thank you very much.”

After a little bit more soothing, and my declining the offer of a picnic basket of food, he goes back into the house. As I hear the door thunch shut, I stare down at my bag’s defect.

The moment I noticed the pen streak, I’d wanted to get a new purse. Totally. I kind of like things perfect and I was so frustrated I’d messed up my own bag... its imperfection made it lesser in my eyes.

Now I measure the thing in the moonlight, looking at all its little dings and faults. Man... it’s been with me for almost two years now. I’ve taken it to New York City to meet with my editors and my agent. On vacation to see my two best friends in Florida. It’s been to signings with me in Atlanta and Chicago and Dallas. It’s held my two cell phones: the one I use for my friends in the states and the one for my friends overseas. I’ve put in it receipts from car tows and bank deposits and dinners out with my husband and movies with my mother and my mother in law. It’s held pictures of people I love and change I didn’t want and business cards of folks I needed to keep in touch with. It’s been locked in my car during walks with my mentor and quick trips into shops for bottled water and...

I smile a little and toss the thing into the front seat of the Toyota Prius I rented from Enterprise. I get in and close the door and reach for the key I’d left in the ignition.

A knock on the Prius’s windshield scares the sh** out of me and I nearly dislocate my neck to look toward the sound. It’s Vishous with a towel around his hips and a bandage on his shoulder. He points down like he wants me to disappear the window.

I do. A cold breeze comes in and I hope it’s just the night and not him.

V gets down on his haunches and puts his massive forearms on the side of the car. He’s not making a lot of eye contact. Which gives me a chance to study the tattoos on his temple.

“She made you come out here didn’t she,” I say. “To apologize for being a pri**.”

His silence means yes.

I run my hand up and over the wheel. “It’s okay that you and I don’t get along. I mean... you know. You shouldn’t feel badly.”

“I don’t.” There’s a pause. “At least, not usually.”

Which means, he actually does feel bad.

Jeez. Now I don’t know what to say.

Yeah, this is awkward. Very awkward. And frankly, I’m surprised he’s staying out here with me and the car. I expect him to go back to the Pit and to the two people he feels comfortable with. See, V doesn’t do relating. He’s a thinker, not a feeler.

As time passes, I kind of decide that his presence with me now proves that yeah, in his own way, he really does care that it’s been rough between the two of us. And he wants to make amends. So do I.

“Nice bag,” he says, nodding to my purse.

I clear my throat. “It has pen on it.”

“You can’t really see the mark.”

“I know it’s there, though.”

“Then you need to stop thinking so much. It’s a really nice bag.”

V bounces his fist against the car’s panel, as a little goodbye kind of thing, and gets to his feet.

I watch him go into the Pit. Across his shoulders, cut into his skin, are the Old English letters: J, A, N, E.

I glance at my purse and think of everything its held and everywhere its been. And I start to see it for what it does for me, instead of what it lacks because of that imperfection.

I start the car and turn it around, being careful not to hit Rhage’s purple GTO or that giant black Escalade or Phury’s sleek 650i or Z’s Carrera S4. As I leave the compound’s courtyard, I reach into my bag and take out my cell phone and call home. My husband doesn’t pick up because he’s asleep. The dog doesn’t answer because he doesn’t have opposable thumbs so operating the hand held is difficult for him.

“Hi Boat, I didn’t get the interview, but I got something to write about anyway. I’m wired so I’m just going to drive until I get to the other side of Manhattan. Probably end up crashing in the middle of the day in Pennsylvania. Call me when you’re up.”

I tell my husband I love him then I hang up. Phone goes back in my bag. I focus on the road ahead, thinking of the Brothers...

There’s nothing new in that. I’m always thinking about them. I start to get stressed about Phury.

On a whim, praying to get my head to shut up, I lean forward and turn on the stereo. I start to laugh. Dream Weaver’s on.

Cranking the music as loud as the Prius can bear, I turn the heater on full bore, put the windows down and floor the accelerator. The Prius does what it can. It’s no GTO, but the effect for me is just as good. Suddenly, I’m enjoying the night, just like Mary did when she needed to get away from herself.

Racing through the night, hugging the curves of Route 22, I am the bird that fly, fly, flies away. And I hope this stretch of between Caldwell and real life lasts forever.

by on May. 8, 2009 at 11:00 AM
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by New Member on May. 8, 2009 at 9:13 PM

That was good, I've read it before. I really wld LOVE to know what the deal is w/Ward and V???? Anybody else have any clues??

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