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There must be an easier way. Valerian grimaced as he retracted his fangs, sealed the punctures with a flick of his tongue, and let his inebriated, middle-aged snack slide down the wall to rest in a heap at his feet. After a moment of wrestling with his irritatingly overactive conscience, he bent to prop the fellow up comfortably against the brick wall of the alleyway. Well, as comfortably as one could be, considering the lucky donor was not only drunk, but also a pint light. With one last glance around to confirm he was still unobserved, Val re-entered his club through the heavy metal door he had left propped open with a dairy crate. Low tech solution to the automatic lock mechanism, but anyone who knew Val also knew he wasn’t one to waste magic on trivialities. Not that he had power to waste anymore. Middle-aged for his kind, it was getting harder by the decade to take enough blood to keep his power level up. Middle-aged? Ugh. Val shook off the disturbing thought.
That need currently sated, he was free to concentrate on the current crisis. Or crises, he corrected himself resignedly. Damn problems never came one at a time. No, they hammered at him like the waves on the North Shore of Maui. He stopped in his tracks at the tempting thought of Hawaii, and whipped out his cell phone, sending a brief text to his travel agent. With a bit more spring in his step, Val resumed his path through the back of the club, winding smoothly without pause past customers and employees alike as he headed straight into the office.
“Get that lightweight tossed out, Val?” Killian, his oldest friend and business partner, quipped from the couch.
Val rolled his eyes at the lame joke, but restrained the comeback K was obviously looking for, instead using a tiny push of magic to shove Killian’s feet off the coffee table as he slammed the door behind him.
“Geez, relax Valerie. What’s got your knickers in a twist?” Killian took a moment to stretch his endless, jeans-clad legs out in a quiver in front of him before dropping his heels right back on the table with a thump.
“Don’t call me Valerie,” Val automatically replied, before his gaze narrowed on Killian. His copper-haired friend looked entirely too innocent, and Val knew there was nothing more dangerous than K with that sweet look on his face. He gave a mental nudge, found nothing, and gave up with a grunt.
The ennui was starting to really get to him, but he also didn’t need the upheaval that was about to land on his doorstep. “K, don’t you ever tire of making the same tired jokes over and over again?” He began pacing back and forth in the confined space. “And sitting here night after night scuffing up my table with your damn boots before finding some overly endowed bimbo to take home and swap bodily fluids with?”
Killian stared at him with a sincere frown creasing his pale forehead. “Are you okay, Val? You seem a little, uh, tense.”