Author: J.R. Ward
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Released: 27 March 2012
After a moment, Blay glanced over his shoulder, toward the door into the butler’s pantry. Clearly, it was the beginning of a back-away.
Hey, as you leave, Qhuinn wanted to say, will you do me favor? I think my left ventricle is on the floor, so don’t step on it as you pull out? Thanks. Great.
“Are you feeling okay?” Blay murmured.
“Yeah. I’m going to go work out with John.” He’d already said that. Fuck. This was a train wreck. “So there you go. Where you headed?”
“I’m going to go… get some food for Sax and myself.”
“No Last Meal for you guys, either. Guess we have that in commom.” Someone bust out the pom-poms and cheer for the team. Yay. “So, yeah, enjoy yourself. Selves, I mean -”
Across the foyer, the vestibule door swung wide and John Matthew came in. “Son of a bitch,” Qhuinn muttered. “The bastard is finally back.”
“I thought you said he was–”
“I was covering. For us both.”
“You weren’t together? Wait, you get caught without being with him–”
“It was not my choice. Trust me.”
As Qhuinn beelined for Mr. Independent, Blay was right with him, and John took one look at the pair of them and his ahh-satisfied expression got ghost sure as if someone had booted him in the ass with a nine iron.
“We need to talk,” Qhuinn hissed.
John glanced around like he was looking for a bunker to jump into. Yeah, well, tough balls for him; the foyer was essentially empty of furniture, and the dumb bitch couldn’t jump far enough to reach the dining room.
Qhuinn, I was going to call–
Qhuinn grabbed the guy by the back of the neck and shoved him face-first into the land of pool and popcorn. Just past the threshold, John pushed free and went gunning for the bar. Picking up a bottle of Jack, he ripped the thing open.
“Do you think this is a fucking joke?” Qhuinn jabbed at the tattooed tear that was under his eye. “I’m supposed to be with you every second of the night and day, asshole. I’ve been lying for you for the last forty minutes–”
“It’s true. He has.”
As Blay spoke up from behind, it was a surprise. And kind of nice.
I went to see Xhex, okay. Right now, she’s my priority.
Qhuinn threw up his hands. “Great. So when V is stabbing my pink slip into my chest, you can still feel good about yourself. Thanks.”
“John, you can’t light-head stuff like this.” Blay went around and grabbed a glass, like he was afraid their buddy was going to suck the bottle down whole. “Give me that.”
He took the booze, pured a healthy dose, and…Drank it himself.
“What,” he muttered as he got stared at. “Here, take it back if you want.”
John took a swig and then stared into space. After a moment, he shoved the Jack in Qhuinn’s direction.
Rolling his eyes, Qhuinn muttered, “At least this is the kind of apology I’ll accept.”
As he took the bottle, it dawned on him that it had been ages since the three of them had been together. Back before their transistion, they’d spent every night after training in Blay’s old room at the guy’s parents’ house, pissing away the hours playing video games and drinking beer and talking about the future.
And now that they were finally where they’d wanted to be? Everyone was going in a different direction.
Then again, John was right. The guy was properly mated now, so of course his focus was somewhere else. And Blay was having a rockin’ good time with Saxton the Slut.
Qhuinn was the only one pining for the GODs.
“Fucking hell,” he muttered to John. “Let’s just forget it–”
“No,” Blay cut in. “This is not okay. You cut the shit, John–you let him come with you. I don’t care if you’re going to be with Xhex or not. You owe this to him.
Qhuinn stopped breathing, focusing everything he had on the male who had been his best friend and his never-been lover… and the ever-after that was never going to happen.
Even after all the things that had gone on between them, and all the fuckups on his end, which were legendary, Blay still had his back.
“I love you,” Qhuinn blurted into the silence.