“I suck at this Valentine’s shit.”
William glanced up from reading the newspaper on his iPad. Gavin Rowan, that incorrigible, cursed Rakshasa who happened to be in love with William’s Chala, towered over him, a scowl on his unshaven face, his pale blue eyes glaring at the Fate as if it were his fault the man was lousy at being romantic.
“You suck at a great many things,” William obligingly pointed out. He was stuck with the often surly shifter because Sydney loved him, but that didn’t mean he had to play nice. Besides, playing nice rarely worked for Gavin. He tended to speak one language: asshole.
“Not nearly as good as you do, I bet,” Gavin shot back, a typical derogatory comment about William’s sexual preference.
“I will never understand what Sydney sees in you.” William dropped his iPad onto his lap and brushed a bit of lint off the lacy lapel of his red wrap blouse. A recent find and his current favorite shirt. He’d been thrilled when he discovered they made it in his size. It was often a challenge to buy women’s clothing in sizes large enough to fit a six and a half foot tall, two hundred and sixty pound man built like a linebacker. And don’t even get him started on shoes.
“I think you understand quite well,” Gavin replied with a leer. “Now, help a guy out. What should I get her?”
“You to realize it’s four o’clock in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day, right?”
“Yeah, so hurry up about it. I haven’t even acknowledged the day yet. I’m sure she thinks I have some kind of surprise up my sleeve. So tell me what to do.”
William would like to tell the man to jump off the highest cliff he could find. But that would devastate Sydney, and William hated it when his Chala was upset. He sighed and said, “You seriously can’t think of anything? You have no idea what she wants, what she likes? Her favorite pastime? Her favorite restaurant?”
“I don’t want to take her out to dinner. Everybody does that. It’s boring. I want… something different. Better. Something she’ll remember, and tell all her friends about.”
“How does the asshole in you manage to live with that giant ego? Seems like they’d be fighting for dominance all the damn time.”
“You’re a funny Fate,” Gavin replied with a smirk that said he thought William was anything but.
“Not nearly as funny as the comedians at the Comedy Castle.”
Gavin gave him a blank look and then shook his head. “Whatever, dude. You gonna help me or not?”
“I’m trying,” William grumbled. “She does like to laugh, you know.”
“So you think I should just tell her jokes all night?”
“You really are an idiot, you know that?”
“And you’re a fruitcake. We all have our burdens to bear. So about that Valentine’s Day idea?”
With a long-suffering sigh, William reached into the V on the neck of his blouse and pulled out an envelope. He offered it to Gavin, who looked at it as if it might bite him.
“Did you seriously just pull that out of your cleavage? What the fuck is wrong with you? And what is it, anyway?”
“Tickets, you dolt. To the comedy show. Seven-thirty seating. A lovely wine bar recently opened down the street from the comedy club. I think she’d like it.” He made a show of looking at his watch. “So I’d get a move on, if I were you.”
He watched realization dawn on Gavin’s face. If he weren’t such a repulsive creature, William might even go so far as to say it lightened his face, made him almost attractive.
Gavin snatched the envelope. “Sweet.” He bolted from the room without so much as a thank you, but William had expected no less. A moment later, Sydney stepped out from where she’d been hovering in the kitchen. Unlike her mate, her enthusiasm and appreciation was clear as day, as she pulled William to his feet and squeezed him until he couldn’t breathe.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, William. You’re a doll. I’m so excited for tonight.” She clapped her hands like a three year old.
“You’re welcome, but tell me, why didn’t you just tell him that’s what you wanted?”
Sydney thinned her pink rosebud lips and crossed her arms over her chest. “Gavin probably would have refused to do it, if I’d suggested it. You know how he likes to think things are his idea. And I knew he’d come to you, because he wouldn’t be able to think of anything. And whatever you suggested is what he’d do, because despite your odd relationship, he highly respects your opinion. This worked perfectly. Now, I have to go track him down so he can tell me about our plans, so I can get ready for my hot date. Thanks again, William. I owe you one.”
She trotted away, happy as a lark, and William was once again reminded of the complexity and convolution—and sheer genius—of the female mind.
Happy Valentine’s Day from William, Gavin, and Sydney, from Of Love and Darkness, the first book in the Twisted Fate Series. If you enjoyed this little interaction between the three of them, you’ll love the book. It’s on sale for 99 cents only until 2/15/2016. Grab it here: