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On most nights, being an ordinary Beasor didn't bother Alden. He liked tending bar at his pub, and not having to worry about whether people liked him for who he was, or for what he could do for them. In Alden's world, there were four types of Beasor, and being an unremarkable one suited him.
Well, usually it did, but tonight something bothered him, and it had to do with his best friend, Percy. His friend was one of the extraordinary Beasors, and, as such, found himself constantly surrounded by hangers—on and leeches. They were all trying to get something from Percy. The way others fawned over and tried to use Percy upset Alden, but as long as it didn't bother Percy, Alden let it go.
Bright laughter lifted over the dull murmur of the crowd, and Alden glanced over to see Percy in the middle of a group. Percy caught his gaze and smiled at him. Alden grunted as desire kicked him in the gut, pooling in his groin. Thank the God he stood behind the bar, and no one could see the effect of Percy's attention on his body.
" are a little like the angels those people on Earth talk about all the time, huh?"
Alden turned to see Chal, a regular customer at the pub, leaning on the bar with a knowing look on his face. He poured Chal his usual mug of dark ale and set it in front of his friend.
"Sometimes I think know the effect they have on people, so they take advantage of it," Alden muttered as he flagged down one of his waitresses and put another glass of Pillian wine on her tray. "Take it to Percy. He should be empty by now."
"Yes, sir." She strolled through the customers with ease.
"Does he know you're in love with him?"
Alden ignored Chal's question, grabbing a towel to dry the clean glasses. The other bartenders had things under control, so he had time to chat with Chal.
"When did you get back?"
Chal took a swig from his mug, wiping his sleeve across his mouth when he was done. "Earlier today. It was a simple pick—up for one of my usual customers. Wasn't that big a deal."
"It's good to see you back." Alden leaned over and patted Chal on the arm. "Oh, by the way, I have an order of Pillian wine waiting for me on Clausen Three. Do you think you could make a run over there to get it for me?"
Being a Tramp, Chal could travel between the universes without harm, and Alden paid Chal to pick up deliveries of rare liquor and wines. Chal shoved his hand through his short brown hair and nodded.
"Let me check my schedule, but I think I can go in a day or two."
Alden shrugged. "There's no rush. Percy's the only one who drinks it, so I like to have some on hand for him."
Chal snorted and shook his head. "Seriously, man, why haven't you told him?"
Both of them looked up to see Percy standing at the bar, his long blond hair glinting in the low light of the pub. His lavender eyes darted between Alden and Chal like he had a feeling they were sharing secrets without him. Stupid really, because Alden only ever kept one secret from Percy and he wasn't about to spill his guts about loving his best friend as more than a friend.
"Tell you, your groupies need to be more careful. They almost knocked one of my waitresses over in their rush to fawn over you." Alden winked, letting Percy know he was joking.
Percy flipped his hair over his shoulder, and perched his hand on his hip. "Well, dear, just point her out to me, and I'll give her a big tip."
"You know she'll want more than just your tip, Percy, no matter the size." Chal burst out laughing when Percy's mouth dropped open in shock.
Alden joined in the mirth, while Percy blushed. Alden reached across the bar to pat his friend on the shoulder.
"All my employees know you prefer male parts to female parts, Percy."
Percy huffed in annoyance, but didn't move away from them. "You both are so childish."
"Maybe, but you still love us." Alden grinned.
"You're right." Percy glanced over his shoulder as someone shouted his name. "Damn. I'm going to go hide upstairs for a while, Alden. If that one leaves, call me."