Page 10

Jason (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 23) Laurell K. Hamilton 2022/8/5 16:58:19

Jason's room was one of the suites complete with bathroom and epic shower. We closed the door to the main bedroom part, and the silence was just the breathing of the ventilation heating/cooling system. All the rooms down here were carved out of a natural cave system, so we didn't actually need a lot of cooling, or heating, but if you did need it, you needed it, and Jean-Claude didn't really believe in skimping. He was spoiling us all, I think.

J.J. kissed Jason and said, "I'm going to freshen up and change into something more comfortable." She walked toward the bathroom, big bag swinging at her side.

I called after her, "Is it really more comfortable, or just the opposite?"

She laughed. "You'll see soon enough."

"Shit, that means I need lingerie, too."

She looked over her shoulder as she opened the door. "Oh, I don't know, you naked would be fine." She gave me a smile that went with the comment, then was through the door before I had a comeback. Just as well, because I didn't have a comeback. I just stared at the closed door feeling suddenly all deer-in-the-headlights.

Jason hugged me. "Don't get all weird about that, okay? Remember, she likes girls a lot more than she likes boys."

I drew back enough to see his face. "You're not the only boyfriend she's ever had, are you?"

"No, but I am the only serious one."

Nathaniel hugged me from the other side, and for a minute I was held in the warm comfort of a boy sandwich. I liked that, and they both knew it. It helped calm me down.

Nathaniel kissed me. "I'll go get you some lingerie, and shoes."

"I can get it," I said.

He grinned at me. "You'll agonize over the choices, or use it to delay coming back; I'll just pick something awesome for you to wear."

I couldn't argue with his reasoning, so I didn't try. I could be taught. He went, I stayed, and Jason held me. I realized he wasn't touching just to reassure me.

"You're nervous, too," I said.

"She means more to me than any woman ever has, Anita; it's kind of scary."

"And wonderful," I said, arms around his waist, staring into those spring-blue eyes. He looked worried and had stopped trying to hide it.

"Yes," he said, "wonderful, but still scary."

I hugged him, putting my face against the warmth of his neck. "We got this."

He held me tight, the strength in his arms pressing me against him. "I hope so, Anita. God, I hope so."

I wanted to keep being comforting, but we needed truthful more. I rose back to see his face and said, "I've tried to help Richard make peace with some of his girlfriends and it's never worked well."

"Like Envy," Jason said.

"I think if Richard had been having rough with you, he'd have behaved himself with Envy."

I shrugged. "He didn't have time to see Envy, date the new mundane chick, and fit BDSM booty calls into his schedule. He has a full-time job and a lot of family obligations with his parents and siblings in town."

"Richard likes sex rougher than almost anyone else in our group; when you play that hard, you can't skip it."

I agreed. "Not without it coming out somewhere else."

Jason nodded. "Which lost him Envy." His face fell into sad lines.

I moved my hands so I was gripping his shoulders, and I shook him a little. "Snap out of it; we are not Richard. We are all more in touch with our needs, and priorities, than that."

He smiled, and it almost filled his eyes.

"You're getting J.J. and me in one bed at the same time; come on, if you don't make at least one lesbian fantasy joke, I'll be disappointed."

He gave me the full smile then, making his eyes shine with it. "If I said I'd never fantasized about the two of you in bed with me, I'd so be lying."

I hugged him, smiling. "That's my lecherous wolf."

He hugged me back. "Thanks, Anita, for everything."

I wanted to say, Thank me after this works, but that would have undone all the reassurance I'd just done, so I just said, "You're welcome."

Nathaniel came back with my clothes and a pair of silk shorts for himself. J.J. opened the bathroom door in a pale-blue baby doll nightie thing. It clung to her body, with touches of lace here and there. She'd combed out her long, straight hair so that it surrounded her face like a shining curtain. She'd also darkened her eye makeup just a little.

All three of us looked at her. Jason said, "You are amazing; that you love me just makes me think better of myself."

She grinned, and it reminded me of Jason. "The look on all three of your faces when I stepped through the door was just about perfect."

"What would have made it perfect?" Nathaniel asked.

"We'll discuss that later; right now everyone else is way overdressed."

"Anita and I will change, and let you guys have some alone time." Nathaniel took my hand and started leading us toward the bathroom and J.J., shining in the doorway.

"Sounds good," she said, and moved so we had room to move past her. We closed the door to the sound of her laughter and the low murmur of Jason's voice.

Nathaniel had chosen a black teddy and a pair of black strappy stiletto heels. The teddy was sheer, so that once I fluffed my breasts into the top part, my nipples pressed against the thin material, and when I turned around using the mirror to see behind me, let's just say it was one of those pieces of lingerie that pretended you weren't nude, but made sure you could see everything, just through a gauze of black sheer.

"I'd have picked something a little less see-through," I said.

"I know, but you won't mind if Jason tears this one off you, and you'd bitch if he tore the silk ones."

"Oh, yeah, we did negotiate that he could tear the clothes off my back."

"You say that like you don't enjoy it, and you do."

I looked away from the mirror so I couldn't watch myself get embarrassed. It was bad enough feeling it; didn't need the visual.

Nathaniel hugged me from behind and turned me so I could see us both in the mirror. "You look fabulous, and you're just competitive enough to want them both to have the same look on their faces as we did for J.J. when you come through the door."

That embarrassed me, too, but for different reasons. "I'm not competitive with Jade."

"You're sleeping with Jade."

"I'm not competitive with Envy."

"No, that's true, which is a little weird, actually."

"Because she's five-eleven, mostly legs, and traditionally model gorgeous; that would sort of freak out most women."

I shrugged with his arms still wrapped around me. "Her inseam is six inches longer than mine. We're built so differently that it'd be ridiculous to compare us, like making a Clydesdale and a Thoroughbred racehorse race each other. They're both horses, but that's about it."

He laughed, hugged me, and kissed my cheek. "That is the healthiest analogy I've ever heard from any girl. You really don't compare yourself to other people?"

"Not to women who are too different from my body type, no. That wouldn't make any sense. I did it more when I was younger, but I finally realized that trying to compare myself to women who are built tall and leggy is like trying to compete in the gym with the guys who were six feet plus--it's outside my weight limit. I'm a bantam and they're heavyweights, or in the old vaudeville terms for showgirls, Envy is a stallion and I'm a pony. Neither one is better than the other, they're just different."

"Difference can be good."

I nodded, smiling. "It can, and I'm not comparing myself to J.J. either, because she's a ballerina and her body is from some of the most strenuous

exercise on the planet. She's a professional athlete; I work out to run away from the bad guys."

"Or chase them down," he said.

"I compare myself to the other dancers, and some of the other men."

I turned so I could look directly at him, rather than at his reflection. "Are you saying you have body issues?"

He shrugged. "A little."

"You are one of the most beautiful men I know, and one of the best lovers ever; how can you have body issues?"

"I strip on stage, Anita. I get customers talking about my body in person and online; it's hard not to be self-conscious."

"So, me pointing out you're beautiful doesn't really help you work the issue," I said.

"No, because the issue isn't about logic, or even reality; it's an issue that's about illogic, and emotions, and the negative voices in everyone's head."

"Everyone has their issues, I guess."

He nodded, and then smiled. "But tonight, we get to have sex in the same room as Jason and J.J., and that totally rocks."

I turned and patted his shoulder. "You are my little voyeur."

"No, I'm your great big voyeur; it is one of my major kinks."

"You're a pretty big exhibitionist, too," I said.

"Yep, and tonight we get to do both. Let me change, and let's go do this."

"You have no qualms about this, do you?"

"If anyone can help J.J. feel comfortable with all this, it's us."

I nodded, because it was reasonable, even logical, but . . . "I'm not a voyeur, or an exhibitionist."

"Not really, but you are two things that will make this work."

"Jason's friend and lover."

"You got me there," I said.

He started taking off his clothes, and I turned around so I wouldn't be distracted as he stripped. Him undressing always seemed to make me want to touch him, and tonight we needed to save the distracting touching for group activity. Just thinking that in my head was a little weird. My life; sometimes it amazed me, sometimes it just made me go Huh?

BUT INSTEAD OF hot monkey sex, we ended up talking. J.J. didn't know me well enough not to ask one question too many. She asked, "What bothers you most about dating Jade?"

It was a list, and the itemized list changed order from day to day. I lay propped up on my side in my see-through black teddy and fuck-me heels talking very seriously. J.J. lay on her back in her blue silk nightie, face intent on mine, listening, nodding, adding a comment here and there.