Platinum Package

Karl smiled blandly as a distant explosion made his office tremble. The couple across from him looked as though they were giving strong consideration to hopping right back on the plane from which they had recently disembarked. Poor new people. He refilled their coffees, then nudged the paperwork a little bit closer. “It always sounds worse than it is,” he said soothingly, pushing his glasses back up his nose. “I promise.”

The woman—Susan—flinched as another explosion sent things to shaking and shivering again. Her husband looked pained and resigned. “We were told over and over again how wonderful this city is,” he said. “We were looking for more excitement than the country, but this—”

He was drowned out by a thundering boom. Karl picked up his cell phone and punched the third speed dial. “Who is it, today, Moira?”

“Sunrise versus TotL,” Moira replied, voice as eager as only a native’s could be. “What are you putting in? I won’t bother to ask on who?”

“My usual,” he said lightly.

“Sure, sure,” Moira chirped. “You always go for the villains, I don’t get it.”

“The Great and Wonderful Sunrise is smarmy and could use an ass kicking,” Karl replied. “Trick of the Light will stomp him. Now, I’ve got customers, got to go.”


Hanging up, he set his phone down and brightened his smile. “Now, then. Your home is on the west side, pretty close to the sea. I recommend our silver package, mostly to cover the water damage from the turbulence and the inevitable massive waves that crop up here and there. We’re running a special this month, so if you sign up for that you’ll graduate to the gold package automatically, and that price will lock in for one…” He trailed off as another explosion, much closer, shook everything hard enough his display window cracked.

Again. Karl stifled a sigh and kept his professional smile in place as he modified, “That price will lock in for two years. You know this is the very same insurance that the mayor uses.”

They seemed to brighten at that, and half an hour later Karl had enough commissions for the day he was able to close early.

He removed his glasses, shoved them in his top drawer, then raked a hand through his brown hair. He removed his tie and threw it on the desk, then debated between just grabbing a soda from his mini-fridge in the back room or going across the street for a good cup of coffee.

The explosions had died down at least. Stupid Sunrise—so determined to incinerate the Villain of the Week that he literally did not care how much damage he caused the citizens. Or the insurance companies, when they were forced to jack up prices.

He stood up and went to his ruined window, poking at the shattered glass irritably. It hadn’t even lasted two weeks! And the street beyond was utter wreck; looked like it was going to be soda—

A hand landed on his hip just as lips brushed his throat, a hint of tongue teasing. Karl laughed and tilted his throat to the side, shivering as a warm mouth continued up his throat. The hand on his hip slipped inside his shirt—and everything went still as Sunrise flew by on a low search, a scowl on his dumb, pretty boy face. Karl smiled blandly and waved like a good little citizen, even batting his eyes just to be annoying.

Teeth nipped his throat sharply, and as Sunrise vanished Karl was roughly turned around and dragged closer against seemingly nothing. If anyone happened to look too closely, they would see him making out with air.

Karl shivered as Matthew kissed him hard and deep, biting and sucking at his lip before finally drawing away. “Kissing you never gets boring,” Karl said.

Matthew laughed, and as sunshine finally broke through the smoke, bits and pieces of a person seemed to show, before they were gone again, as though eyes were playing tricks. “Did you put money on me?”

Snorting, because that was a stupid question, Karl replied, “I hope you broke his stupid nose.”

“Would I be a good villain if I didn’t?” Matthew asked smugly.

Karl ran his hands lightly along Matthew’s body, invisible but there. “Then as you just made me a hundred dollars, dinner is on me, once you make yourself presentable again. As much as I would love to take you out, Trick o f the Light, it’s hard to sell insurance in prison.”

Matthew laughed and kissed him again, and replied, “I’ll see you in an hour, then. The usual?”

“Seafood,” Karl said. “Thanks to your little spat with Sunrise, I made some extra money.”

“Mm, my favorite. Are you trying to get me to put out?”

“Yes,” Karl said, and stole another kiss, then shoved him away. “One hour. Don’t be late.”

Matthew laughed, and his invisible fingers brushed Karl’s lips, and then he was gone as suddenly as he had arrived.

Karl smiled and set about tidying the office before he walked to the seafood place.