A piece of my WIP

I just thought I’d give you a little piece of Infected: Revenant to prove I was still alive, and also, still writing. Please keep in mind this is unedited. May change a bit before reaching its final form.

Maybe paying a visit to Rosa’s Diner – a place he knew very well – was stupid, except he couldn’t imagine the cult knowing him that well.They weren’t organized enough to have a dossier.

It was only half full, which was a relief, but honestly, in places where they made food, that was usually the predominant smell for him. It was why he didn’t mind the bakery, no matter how long the lines. Food took precedent. One of the few things that he and the lion could agree with was food was good and deserved their full attention.

Maya may have given the greasy spoon an initially questionable glance, but it wasn’t at the forefront of her mind as they slid into a booth. “You hafta teach me how to drive a motorcycle. That was awesome.”

“You know Dylan would kill me if I did.”

“Oh come on. You say that, but you two are so lovey dovey that ain’t sticking.”

Before Roan could point out that loving a person didn’t mean you couldn’t argue with them, Sue, a waitress he knew very well, came over with a happy, “Roan! You’re back! And is this your daughter?”

She seemed so happy he hated to correct her, but he had to. Did he give the impression he was so hetero-normative assimilated that he’d want a kid? One thing he and Dylan agreed on early was they never wanted kids. Neither had any idea what a good childhood was like, and had no desire to learn on the job. “Actually, she’s my niece-in–law, Maya.”

Sue’s smile didn’t change one bit. “Nice to meet you, Maya. Do you live around here?”

“Sort of. Does Tacoma count?” Maya replied. She was so good at this, she had a future in being a detective. Or whatever lying well could get you. Besides President, because she didn’t have American citizenship.

“It does.” Sue looked back at him. “Does this mean you’re back?”

“No, just visiting, but how could Maya come to Seattle and not visit Rosa’s?”

“Aww. So what can I get you two?”

“We’ll have the breakfast special. And a cola for her and an ice tea for me.”

“You got it,” she said, turning swiftly and headed for the order counter. She was so used to his order she didn’t even need to write it down.

“I don’t get to order?” Maya asked with a frown.

“The whole reason we came here was the breakfast special. Trust me.”

She scowled, but only briefly. He got the sense she was waiting to ask him something. “So, uh, speaking of trust …”

“No, you can’t borrow the motorcycle.”

“Oh, I’m saving that for next time. I was thinking, maybe if stuff overwhelms you like the store did, why not send me instead?”

“What?” He felt like she’d left out some words.

“I mean, my sense of smell isn’t as good as yours, so I don’t get overwhelmed like you do. And I can describe what I’m smelling, and you know what it is by description, right? So we’ll tag team. I’ll go in where you can’t.”

Okay, now he was understanding her. “God, what a terrible idea.”

“Why?”

Sue picked that time to swoop in with their drinks. He thanked her, and had a sip of his tea before Maya resumed her pitch. “Why? It works for stealth too, ‘cause they’ll be expecting a white guy with neon red hair and ghost eyes, not some chubby Asian teen.”

There was so much wrong he didn’t even know where to start. Although she was right on that last point – people waiting for him wouldn’t give her a second glance. “Ghost eyes?”

“Yeah, eyes that stare right through you as if you’re not there. I think it’s just you dissecting all the scents of a room or whatever, but if someone doesn’t know you, it’s kinda freaky.”

“Oh.” Maybe that’s why he got funny looks at times. Roan had never considered how it must have looked from the outside. “Look, even if you could describe the scents in a way I’d recognize -“

“Smells a little like pee, sort of sharp,” she interrupted.

He hardly needed to think about it. “Fear smells like piss. It’s kind of ironic really.” And he suddenly realized who she was talking about. “Oh shit, you mean the tweaker at the end of the room.”He was tucked into a booth, having a quietly intense discussion with a woman who also smelled like a science classroom – hence tweakers; the chemicals bled through their pores – and Roan was roughly certain a break up was happening, and she dragged it to a public place so it wouldn’t get out of hand. Roan belatedly realized that was why he was nervously bouncing his leg beneath the table, in case he had to step in. Oh, if that guy wanted to start some shit, he had no idea what he was going to get.

“And I didn’t have to add any extra adjectives,” she replied, almost smug. “I don’t need a scent library right now, not when I’m next to the guy who could write a book about it. I’ll just be your stunt nose, so you won’t vapor lock or whatever.”

The idea itself wasn’t completely ridiculous, except she was a teenager. “I’m not going to put you into a situation where things could get dangerous.”

“Like you’d leave me there. Besides, I’ve been trained to fight by you and Grey motherfucking Williams. I think I got this.”

“Okay, first of all, getting cocky gets you killed. That’s rule number one. Second, I would never leave you in a dangerous situation by choice, but my aneurysms could happen at any time, and could leave me with no choice at all. Third, being trained by the best doesn’t make you the best. There’s a learning curve, and let’s face it, Grey is at the top of it. If it wasn’t for the lion he could probably beat my ass too.”

“At least you admit it.”

“Of course I admit it. I’ve sparred with him.”

“What was that like?”

“Like boxing with a Mack truck.” He could still remember how he would have sworn he could feel his skeleton vibrating with each hit. How Grey didn’t give people instant concussions was a mystery. “But despite this diversion, no.”

“Not every situation is dangerous.”

“All situations have that potential.” Okay, some more than others, but he wasn’t giving ground on this point.

She rolled her eyes. “When you can kick everyone’s ass, what’s the point of being paranoid?”

That was actually a very good point. But he did have an answer. “I’m not worried for me. Too many people I love have been hurt.”

“And you think you getting overloaded doesn’t hurt Dylan? Really? Are you paying attention?”

Wow. Roan sat back, and stared across the table at her. Teen girls got called out on their razor sharp words a lot, but no one ever seemed to credit them with being insightful. Then again, when you thought about it, all needlessly gendered thing contained a hearty dose of misogyny that was actually mind blowing. It was like society was made to glorify only cis straight white men and no one else. Who would have thunk it?

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