My #TuesdayTeaser this week is from Shifting Chaos, the final installment of The Sleepless City, an urban fantasy series written with Anne Barwell.
Lucas was still going on about the as yet un-started painting when they were halfway down the stairs to the kitchen. He stopped and scrunched his nose.
“What is that smell?”
The all too familiar sound of Jonas and Simon arguing accompanied the foul odor up the steps. They’d had words almost every day for the last five days. The same amount of time Blair had been gone.
Declan skirted one way around them and Lucas the other. Lucas poured some coffee and stood off to the side.
“When was the last time you ate decently?” Simon barked.
“I had a bag of blood yesterday, mom!”
“Don’t take that tone with me,” Simon shot back.
“Don’t take that tone? I’m not…”
“If you weren’t acting like a petulant child, I wouldn’t treat you like one!”
Ben rubbed the spot between his eyes, looked over at Declan and mouthed, “Stop them.”
“Jonas, Simon is worried, we all are,” Declan said softly. At the same time, he took Jonas’s arm and turned him away from Simon. “Ach, what happened?”
Jonas huffed and deflated. “I was on a call and some drunk threw up the last week’s meals all over me.”
“I see that.” Declan put a hand on either side of Jonas’s neck and forced him to look directly at Declan. “Mon ami, go change your clothes, then drink some coffee and have some breakfast. Take time off, stop making us all miserable and go to New Mexico and be with Blair for as long as it takes him to make his arrangements. Please.”
Jonas’s face fell and his shoulders sagged. “I tried. He told me he didn’t want help. I’m not even sure he’s coming back.” He picked up his damp tie and let it fall back into place. “Blair gave me this tie.”
That made Declan feel about two inches tall. “Of course he’s coming back.”
“How can he not come back? You’re soulmates.” Simon’s tone changed from angry and frustrated to concerned in a heartbeat. He and Jonas might’ve fought like rabid dogs at times, but they cared very deeply for each other.
“According to Lucas and Ben, Blair did consider an apartment closer to downtown,” Declan said.
Simon twisted around and sized up Ben. “You knew about this? And didn’t say anything?”
“Bloody hell.” Ben shook both hands at them. “The three of you have been so wrapped up in each other’s lives for a hundred and whatever years you have no clue what’s it like to be the new guy. Lucas was new once, too, but you took him in for completely different reasons.” Ben stopped and ran a hand through his hair. “Yes, I went with Lucas and Blair and we looked at a few apartments about a mile from here six months ago!”
“You went with him?” Jonas turned to Lucas.
Lucas sighed. “Don’t look at me like a kicked puppy. Yes. Blair is my friend and he asked for help. All he needed to do was look around at his options. He spent five years in seclusion. You have to admit we can be a bit…”
“Insane,” Ben finished for him. “I mean, this run around and dispatch ghosts and goblins and whatever else is thrilling and all but can be a little overwhelming. Never mind dealing with the Supernatural Council and their bullshit. The four of you have a system, Blair and I are learning to fit in.” He looked at Simon. “I never said anything because I didn’t want you or Forge or Declan to take my words the wrong way and hurt your feelings. Lucas and I lived with other people before we came here, and our only other family hadn’t died.”
“Jonas, people deal with change and loss and transition in different ways. Ignore what Blair said and go to New Mexico.” Declan gave Jonas’s neck one final squeeze before letting go of him.
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