It's Wednesday again! That means another installment of Lost Inside! Today's chapter employs the prompt: "It was only a joke." Now, if you missed it... I posted a mid-week update! If you haven't read it yet, go here first, then come back and read today's flash update. Enjoy!!
Lost Inside Chapter Four
Benny crossed his arms over his chest and raised one eyebrow. “No. I told you to let him go. He’s working, not here to dance, and I heard him tell you that himself. Now I’m telling you it’s time to leave.”
The new bartender yanked his arm back, and the drunk idiot who’d grabbed him let go. He scurried back around the corner. Benny didn’t move, not even to flick an ear. He’d walk this guy out, if he didn’t leave on his own.
Well, the moron would make it outside. Walking was optional. The icy drizzle could cool the hot head down. “Are you going to make a stupid choice right now, or do I get to have some fun?” Benny yawned, exposing his fangs. He’d enjoy this.
The human’s face turned red and he clenched his ham hands into fists. Nope, he wasn’t going to take the easy way out. Benny might stand a head shorter than the pudgy bastard, but his shoulders were just as wide. And Benny’s bulk was created by bands of thick muscle he maintained by his two hour a day workouts, not guzzling a six pack every night.
Of course the human swung and missed. Benny stepped to the side, grabbed the man’s wrist in one hand, twisted and slid behind him, yanking the man onto his toes and threatening to dislocate his shoulder. The human bellowed.
“Tsk, tsk…” Benny stretched his free hand next to the man’s face, his razor sharp claws glowing red in the bar lights. He dropped that hand onto the bastard’s shoulder and began shoving him toward the door. “You should have just left. But then, I wouldn’t have had any fun at all.”
He grinned evilly at Jerret who was manning the door. Benny’s younger brother shook his head and didn’t move from his stool. Benny slammed the drunken mauler into the door, using his face to open it. The man howled and began to struggle. Benny dug his claws in and slid them down the man’s back, tearing his shirt and leaving shallow scratches behind as a reminder.
“You can’t hurt a human!” Benny rolled his eyes. He hadn’t broken the man’s arm or dislocated his shoulder, which he could have, easily.
“I didn’t hurt you. Besides, I highly doubt you classify as human. Don’t come back,” he hissed in the drunk’s ear, ignoring his blubbering. “Or my claws won’t just get a taste of your skin.”
Benny shoved the man forward. The human didn’t try to come back at him, though Benny was ready for it. He sighed. The coward was barely any fun at all. The cold air felt good under the overhang. The rain had increased into a steady drumming. Benny stepped aside for two guys heading into the club.
Maybe tomorrow would be better. The only glimpses Benny’d had for the last week of his mate were through the big window Yuri liked to sit in, reading or watching the rain from the safety of the Falcon home.
It wasn’t enough.
Benny was going to go crazy, one of these days. Maybe even one day soon.
Ellis sat at the bar drinking a cranberry and vodka. Davis was in his office doing something or other. Benny’d been working for two weeks straight without a single incident. He’d worked out for hours in the early hours of the morning after his shift to wear himself out.
A nervous energy had grown inside him. He fidgeted on his stool next to Ellis. He wasn’t technically working, but if anyone was stupid enough to hit on The Snake’s mate Benny would get first dibs on punishing them for their temerity.
Ellis glanced at Benny when he wrapped one foot around the leg of his stool and tapped his toe on the black metal bar at the base.
“Ants in your pants?” Ellis shouted over the music.
“No,” Benny snapped.
“Geez.” Ellis snorted. “It was only a joke.”
Benny sighed. “I know.” He stilled, his hands falling into his lap. “Sorry.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
Did he? Benny wasn’t sure if he could, much less wanted to. But since he’d mated Davis and fought in the attack against Mishtar, Ellis had changed. He wasn’t quite like a Snake, though he had fangs and venom, but he was more than human.
“It’s too loud in here.” Benny didn’t want any ole asswipe hearing about his problems. They were his.
“Let’s go up to Dav’s apartment.” The Snake had practically moved out to live with Ellis in his apartment, but he kept his apartment above the club.
Benny followed Ellis past the dance floor and up the stairs in the back. He collapsed on the couch Ellis gestured toward. The slender man took a seat in a chair.
“So, tell me how you feel.” Ellis tented his fingers under his chin and blinked owlishly.
Never in his dreams had Benny imagined he’d bare his feelings… and laugh first. Ellis grinned.
“You know, I’ve never seen you laugh before. “ Ellis cocked his head.
Benny sobered; his smile faded. “Not much to smile about in a while.”
It had been a year since he’d lost his mate. Yuri still lived… but Benny wasn’t sure he was anymore. It was like the world existed in a fog around him, except for when he was angry. Then everything was sharp and clear.
But even that was getting harder and harder to feel. Ellis listened when the dam inside Benny finally broke and everything spilled out. It was supposed to be cathartic.
But he didn’t feel any better.
Tears shone in Ellis’ eyes when Benny fell silent. “I get up for him. To see him each day. I eat, drink, and breathe for Yuri. Because I see him happy sometimes, so I have to just deal. Right?”
Ellis shook his head. "No. No, you shouldn't have to just deal. I'm going to find a way to help you."
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