Light Up the Night--Only Three More Days!


Half an hour later, Heather stared at Drew in amazement. “What do you mean it’s your first time decorating a Christmas tree? You don’t mean, like, ever do you?”

Drew’s lips curved into the teasing grin he seemed to reserve just for her—the one she was quickly becoming addicted to. “I believe that is generally what the term ‘first time’ indicates.”

She passed him another ornament—a shimmery Mercury Glass ball—still shaking her head in disbelief. “How is that possible?”

Drew shrugged. “There’s no mystery to it,” he replied, peering at the fragile sphere as though the answers could be found within its shiny, gold-and-silver-flecked depths. “The opportunity simply never arose.”

“Not even when you were human?” 

“Nooo. Especially not then.” 

Heather’s eyebrows rose at the unexpected hint of bitterness in Drew’s voice. She was about to inquire further, when Marc appeared, accompanied by one of the mystery guests she’d noticed earlier, and clasped a hand on Drew’s shoulder.

“Hey, man, good to see you. What’s up? I wasn’t expecting you tonight, was I?”

 “Uh, no,” Drew answered. “I was just, um…”

I invited him,” Heather said, bristling at what appeared to be a suspicious glint in Marc’s one good eye. His tone was off as well, making him sound ever so slightly possessive. What the hell, Marc? “And, speaking of things that no one expected, I wasn’t expecting there to be a Christmas party here tonight either.”

“Yeah, well, that makes two of us.” Marc glanced around, seemingly bemused. “I don’t know what to tell you, sweetheart. I think it was a spur of the moment kind of thing.”

“Well, we need to have another one—on Christmas Eve. Like the one we had last year, remember? Family only.”

“Marc nodded “All right. That sounds nice. Let’s do that.” Then he turned back to Drew. “So, did you need me for something, or…?”

“Yes,” Drew replied, visibly squaring his shoulders, as though he were expecting a fight. “If you’re not too busy, I’d like to have a word with you.”

“Sure thing.” Marc nodded toward the man beside him and added, “Aiken and I were just going upstairs to have a drink in my office. Why don’t you come with?”

“Now?” Heather blurted in dismay. “But we’re not finished!”

Her disappointment was only partially mollified when Drew flashed that smile at her again. “Thank you so much for sharing your tree with me. It’s not often I receive the gift of a new experience. I’ll treasure it.”

“You’re welcome,” Heather said with a sigh. “Come back when you’re done, if you want. I’ll save you an ornament.”

“We’ll see,” he answered, which she figured was code for not a fucking chance; especially given the look in his eyes—like he was saying goodbye. 

An instant later, the ornament she’d been holding was plucked from her hands. “Hey!” She turned to scowl at Nighthawk as he attached it to a branch far above her head. “I was saving that for later!”

 “You don’t save ornaments,” Nighthawk scoffed. “That’d be silly. Anyway, where you been all night? I coulda used your help earlier when we were setting things up. And what’re you doing coming here with that housie?” Which was laughable—as if they both didn’t belong to a House now, too. But it was hardly the first stupid thing Hawk had said tonight.

“That’s none of your business,” she replied. “Oh, and, by the way, this is not a submarine.”

Hawk looked confused. “What?” 

“You know—that thing you said earlier about the door being open? This isn’t a submarine.”

“I know. Isn’t that what I said? The door was open and obviously you can’t do that on a submarine.”

 “Right. Which is why that makes no sense. What you meant to say is that this isn’t a barn.”

Hawk shrugged dismissively. “Okay, sure. Whatever. Have it your way. It might as well be though.”

 “Might as well be…what? A barn?”

“Yeah. I mean, granted it’s missing hay, and pitchforks, livestock, all that country shit. But it’s as big as a barn, right? So…”

“I don’t know why I even try,” she muttered, just as Jason, another of the vampires who’d been hanging around the warehouse lately—not one of theirs, but less annoying than most—gave a smothered laugh. 

Hawk rounded on him. “What are you laughing about? I bet you’ve never even seen a barn.”

Jason’s eyebrows rose. “Farm boy, remember?  I’m country born and raised, son.  So, yeah, I have. I even helped raise a few, back in the day. And she’s right—or closer to it. Because what you really wanted to say was, ‘were you born in a barn?’”

“Why would I wanna say that?” Hawk demanded. “It wasn’t a Christmas reference. And, anyway, that would be born in a stable, right?” 

 “What? No. That’s not— I didn’t— It wasn’t…” Jason stammered to a halt, clearly confused by the turn the conversation had taken. “Are you serious? Or are you putting me on?”

Just then, a commotion broke out at the other end of the warehouse and claimed Hawk’s attention. “No, no, NO!” he shouted as he stormed off into the fray. “Not like that. What the hell are you doing?”

Jason watched him go with a bemused expression, then asked, “Is he always like this?”

“Pretty much,” Heather replied. Then, feeling as though she was being disloyal—because, for all his faults, Hawk was family—she added. “He means well.”

“Uh-huh. Which is just about the worst thing you can say about anyone.”


“Nothing.” Jason held out an ornament—a frosted globe with a lacy design etched into its surface. “Here, did you want this for when Drew comes back?”

“Thanks,” Heather said, taking the ball with a small sigh. “But I don’t think he’s coming back.”

“No? Well, you might be right. But he looked like he was enjoying himself, so if he doesn’t come back, you can count on there being a good reason for it. Because I’ve known Drew for a good while now, and one thing he’s never struck me as being is foolish.”


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