Allen has had enough. His latest job went south, his favorite car has been totaled, people keep wanting his lover dead, and on top of all that he still has not a single damn clue what to get his lover for Christmas—a gift he desperately wants to get right, because otherwise he fears he’ll be spending New Year’s alone.
Then he finds himself forced to take an unusual job on Christmas Eve, and Allen wonders if they’ll even live long enough to exchange gifts…
My Christmas story comes out in just shy of a month ^__^ It’s a sequel to Delivery with a Smile, and it also ties in to a verse that I think will make peeps who have been with me a long time very, very happy :3
With that in mind, here is a snippet.
The chance of finding a Christmas present so late was slim to none, but Allen had to try. His family had never been much for holidays, but there was always a present. He drove to the main downtown shopping district, and parked on the street, shoving quarters into the meter before venturing off to the shops.
Two hours later, nothing had really snagged his attention and he was growing increasingly frustrated with all the other shoppers. He didn’t like crowds, especially when someone in that crowd might be inclined to put a bullet in his back. Allen sighed and paused in front of a shop window that displayed a saccharine scene of Santa, Mrs. Clause, and a dozen children. He vaguely remembered malls packed with people eager to meet Santa; his parents had used them to train him on paying attention, on focusing and not getting distracted, on keeping his eye on the target no matter what, and far more besides.
He walked on, lingering at another window that displayed a set of suits; the pinstripe especially caught his eye, and Allen wished they could go home. He hadn’t bought a new suit in forever, and his tailor was probably starting to think he’d finally managed to get himself killed. Allen smiled faintly, thinking how much hell he’d catch from Jack for having his own tailor.
The scuff of boots alerted him that someone was behind him, but the prickle along the back of his neck was what told him he was fucked. Allen turned and pulled his gun all in one smooth move—and rolled his eyes as he saw who it was holding a gun in his face.
“Hello, Shakespeare,” Allen retorted, and lowered his weapon.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Don’t call me Sweet-tart.”
Laughing, the man lowered his gun, but didn’t put it away. Allen eyed him warily, wondering what was up, but hopeful it wasn’t too awful if he was still alive. His father had started training him when he was seven. Tybalt Azura had started his training as a private assassin for the Azura Syndicate when he was three. He barely cleared five feet, had short, spiky black hair and the trademark azure eyes. He looked like a punk-rock pixie and people dreaded hearing his name. “Long time no see, Sweet.”
“Could have gone longer,” Allen replied. “What the fuck do you want, Tybalt? I haven’t done anything to cross Azura, and I’m allowed on his turf. It was a legitimate hit. Why were you sent?”
“Because anyone else we sent out would have come back crying,” Tybalt said congenially. “Azura wants you for a job.”
Allen gestured sharply. “Not interested, and even if I was, you’d have to go through my handler. I know you know I have one now, Tybalt.”
“Mm, yes. Didn’t believe it ’til I saw it, though. He’s already in the limo.”
“You son of a—”
“Ah, ah, ah,” Tybalt said, and lifted his gun again. “Your boy is fine, if likely to be a lot pissed off when he wakes up. Get in the car, Sweet-tart.”
Allen obeyed, but only because he knew he had little choice in the matter. He climbed into the ostentatious limo that pulled up the curb, rolling his eyes at the pointless melodrama. “I see your boss still has a flair for the ridiculous.”
Tybalt only smirked and relaxed back against the soft leather of the seat opposite Allen. Ignoring him, Allen moved to where Jack was slumped in a corner, gently checking him for injuries. “What did you do to him?”
“He took a knock to the head, he’ll be fine,” Tybalt said. “I have to admit I didn’t believe the rumors that you’d found Marcus Brighton and taken him as your handler. He’s damn near a fucking urban legend or something, but there he sits, pretty as you please. Where the fuck did you find him?”
Allen sat back, though he left a hand wrapped loosely around Jack’s arm. “He found me, and decided to stick around.”
“You do know what the contract on him is, right?”
“I find it funny, Shakespeare, that after all this time you still think I’m a fucking idiot. Yes, I know what the contract is on him. If even one of you attempts anything—”
Tybalt cut him off with a laugh. “We have better things to do with our time than help the Brighton family with revenge. If anything, we owe Marcus our thanks.”
“The name is Jack, you fuckwit,” Jack said, voice groggy but the anger in it sharp. “Who the hell are you?”
“I work for Azura,” Tybalt replied.
Jack eyed him speculatively, then grunted. “You’re the one they call Mercutio or whatever.”
“Everyone’s a comedian,” Tybalt said with a sigh. “We’re here. Try to behave; I don’t like to shoot people on Christmas Eve.”