by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) See this piece’s entry on the Shousetsu Bang*Bang wiki. Finn’s phone lit up with a call, which was unusual enough, but even stranger still was that it wasn’t immediately identified as his best friend Scam Likely, who called him several times a week. It was an unknown number, still, though. He […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) illustrated by neomeruru Read this piece’s entry on the Shousetsu Bang*Bang wiki. Louis was sure of two things: one, the new guy was literally, actually a demon. Two, the new guy was fucking hot. He didn’t mention it to anyone, of course. For one thing bringing it up either thing in […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) “Before you do this I need you to record a message to your mom absolving me of any guilt if you die,” Ben said as he got the framing right on the video on his phone. “It’s going to be fine,” Jey said, and then grinned at the camera. “Mom, I […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) “Good god,” I said as I stepped through the door and put my briefcase down. “I never thought it would end up finding being bowed to tedious.” I collapsed heavily onto the sofa, loosening my tie and rolling my neck. “Not that all the bowing in return made it any better. […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) illustrated by engine (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/351057.html) Year 346 AL Bretagh closed the door behind him, shut his eyes, took in a breath of four counts, and let it out just the same. He rubbed his thumbs to his temples; he’d had a headache building for hours, but now that he was somewhere […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/336526.html) “Buy you a drink?” came the slightly nasal voice from Tom’s left. “Could I, I mean? Buy you a drink.” Tom did not yet look over to see the source of this offer, instead neatly poking at the ice in his vodka cranberry with his straw. “I do seem […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/335014.html) omg check your email, the IM window from Amy popped up, followed a few seconds later by, omg why aren’t you checking your email!!! buhhhhh busy!! Nicholas typed back, which he actually was, in the very unpleasant spreadsheet sort of way. Usually he was just lazy. so worth it […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/309898.html) “She’s not even pretty,” Faruk said, and popped another candied nut into his mouth. “Ugh. Yes she is.” He was speaking to no one in particular, of course, save for a tray of little pastries, some cheese-stuffed dates, and the bowl of candied nuts he’d settled himself next to. […]
by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/307527.html) I woke up to find the other half of the bed empty and let out a small sigh. I’d made all sorts of attempts to get Augustine to turn into the kind of man who’d linger in bed for a cuddle, from sleeping on top of him to asking […]
I leaned my arm against the bar, right next to the stool he was perched on, and said, “Well, hey there, slick, how about you tell me what it takes to get bought a drink around here and I’ll tell you what the first two I want are.”
He leaned back a little, unhunching his broad shoulders from where he was sort of curled in towards his drink, and gave me a long up and down. “You prove you can fit two shot glasses in that mouth and I’ll buy you whatever you want, sweetheart,” he said. We both lasted about two straight-faced beats before he turned on his stool and held out an arm. “C’mere and give me a hug, you little fucker.”
“You need to get one,” Gillian said to me. “You’re making me sad. You’re making everyone very sad.”
“A little sadness is good for people,” I said back. “It lets you appreciate the full spectrum of human emotion. The highs and lows.” I knew I wasn’t going to win this one, though. She was tenacious, like a little terrier, and dedicated to preserving my well-being, like a little terrier.
“No!” she said, and poked a finger right at my nose. “No spectrums. And no more of you being stubborn and afraid of change.”
I took a deep breath and hunched my shoulders up towards my ears. “I’m not afraid of change,” I said, and then let out the breath. The shoulders stayed right where they were, though. “Okay, I am, but I’m also just lazy. And I’m fine with how things are now!” I reached into my pocket. “Look! Look at this little guy. He’s still doing so great after all these years.”
Gillian took one look at my phone, my very ancient phone that had a cracked face so I couldn’t tell who was calling me and flipped open like an arthritic clam and had a dangly charm of one of those little Japanese waving kittens hanging off of it. She grabbed me by both biceps and said, “Too sad!”
I shook a ton of hands and smiled all sparkle-white to the boys in their suits when we got out of the restaurant, and kept smiling until every last one of them got into their black cars and drove away. “Motherfuckers,” I said, when I was alone, and stopped smiling. I’d have much better wrinkles if I didn’t have to smile so damn much. If our deals worked out, I’d send them the bill for the Botox.
I stepped out of the middle of the sidewalk, because I wasn’t a goddamn tourist, and dug through my purse looking for a cigarette. “Fuck,” I grumbled when I found nothing. I’d technically quit, but technicalities meant sometimes there were emergencies, like having just spent four hours watching a bunch of douchebags eat steak. Not even a lighter in my purse; one of the girls had probably done a sweep of my condo and thrown out all of emergency supplies the last time she’d visited. Children! Always doing annoying things like caring if you lived to be a grandmother.
I gave up on tobacco and pulled out my phone instead. I could at least try to get some other stress relief, like a stiff drink and a sympathetic ear to bitch directly into.
Working tonight? I texted to Alejandra. I need estrogen. And alcohol.
I glared at my email until I got the buzz of her response. just finishing up. stop by and I can guarantee both.
“Thank Christ,” I said as I texted back that I’d be there soon, and hailed a cab.
I heard from someone once it was good etiquette to have someone announce your presence before going in to meet with a lady, so that’s why I made sure to bounce one of Aveshi Karaen’s guards off her door real hard before going in to make introductions. Trevor wasn’t so much hung up on etiquette, though, so his guy just got a punch in the nose and went down in a big puddle of swishy purple fabric. Fuckin’ purple on these guys.
I picked up my guy again with one hand and gave him another good bowl right into Aveshi’s door. His helmet made a real nice ‘thok’ sound against it and he groaned. He’d be real purple himself tomorrow. So I was doing him a favor. Trevor got their dumb purple guns off them and I swiped the keycard I’d nabbed earlier through the lock. We were pretty well announced, I figured.
Aveshi was just sitting in her fluffy chair with her hands folded on her lap when we came in. She picked up a long thin pipe off the table next to her and brought it up to her mouth, resting the tip between the split in her lower lip as she took a draw. She leaned her head back and let the smoke curl out of her nostrils. She was supposed to be the real scandalous type with how she wore her veil to show her mouth and nose, but I wasn’t impressed. You see one salaari under their veils and you seen them all, and I’d seen more than one. I’d seen three.
It was such a rotten cliche, to be smitten with the cute boy behind the counter at the coffee shop, but, well, cliches had to start somewhere. At least in Adam’s defense, he had only been caught in deep smit for the three minutes he’d been waiting in line. The boy in question had soft eyes and long lashes and a scruffy chin and smirky lips and Adam was just fine with waiting as long as possible while he got practice at staring while pretending not to stare.
When it was Adam’s time to come up to the counter, though, he saw the barista’s nametag read ‘Smug.’ Well, at least he was properly labeled.
“What can I get you today?” he asked, and up close Adam could see he had the loveliest eyes, rich brown like strong tea.
“Tea…” Adam blinked rapidly. “Ah, no, pardon. A large cappuccino, please.”
The barista — Smug, Adam supposed — gave a glance over to the girl behind the espresso machine, who was muttering to herself and seemed to be having a bit of trouble. “Might take a few minutes more, if that’s all right with you.”
“Oh, that’s fine, just fine,” Adam said. He was the last person in the queue at the moment, so he felt no guilt for lingering.
“Right, thanks,” he said, and tilted his head back to call to the girl. “Large cappuccino please, Marian.” He got a faint grumble in return, and Adam stifled a laugh. Smug — it was ridiculous to even think of that as a name, but it was easier on the internal monologue than ‘Perfect Handsome Man at the Coffee Shop I Wish to Marry’ — told him how much he owed for his drink and handed it over. The register clanked and jingled and Adam just watched his face. Handsome eyebrows, even; he’d never thought of eyebrows as something to be handsome.
He shook himself out of his charmed reverie. “Ah, my change?” he said. Society had to keep functioning, even in the face of infatuation.
Smug just smiled at him. A bit smugly, to be perfectly frank. “I think you’ll find it’s in your hand, sir.”
Daniel paused a few steps away from the checkout counter and grimaced. God damn it, for how much of a burnout Eddie clearly was, he took an impressive assortment of shifts. This was what he got for not going to the “good” 7-Eleven. Daniel shook his head at himself and raised his eyes to heaven for strength so he could just get this over with.
He put his two six-packs of Sam Adams up on the counter and pulled out his wallet without making eye contact. He could still feel it, the slow, stoned pull of Eddie’s gaze as it went from the beer to his face. Just hearing him start to smile made him want to punch him in the face.
“Oh, hey, Harold!” Eddie said. “Where’s Kumar?”
Daniel gritted his teeth. “Fucking your mother,” he said, and Eddie just let out a laugh like a baked donkey.