Release Date: August 25, 2009
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher Link: http://www.loose-id.com/prod-Immortality_is_the_Suck-1000.aspx
Blurb: Adam's an undercover vice cop dealing with a dark past. He's no stranger to bad nights; in fact, he's lived a lot of them. But he won't survive this one. First, a drug deal he's working goes south. Then his partner and sometimes-fuck-buddy Peter has to watch him bleed to death. But the kicker: he's not sure what's worse. Watching Peter cry over him or waking up undead. Peter's a good cop in love with a bad man. Or a bad vampire, now. Watching Adam die was the worst thing he could imagine. Until he woke up. Now their relationship's in crisis. Adam's in the middle of a vampire enclave at the center of Los Angeles motorcycle clubs and Peter just can't hack it. Adam thinks he's fine with that. He's a commitment-phobe. But he's about to discover, immortality is seriously the suck.
Peter and I had a history. I sat on the bus, while it made its slow, lurching way down Wilshire Boulevard and let myself dwell on that. Thinking about what sort of reception I might expect. Because, you’ll remember, Peter was there when the LAPD closed in to arrest me. Or, I suspected, they would have closed in if I hadn’t bled out there in his arms.
Peter crying and begging me not to die should have warmed the cockles of my heart, I guess, but mostly it worried me.
Because when I say history, I mean it in every sense of the word. I’m talking a proverbial encyclopedia’s worth of history between us.
Peter and I met at the police academy. I was out of the Marines, battle scarred literally and figuratively. I won’t go into why I mustered out, but let’s just say it was a mutual decision. There’s not a hell of a lot of options for ex-military, despite what you see on the recruitment ads, so when I heard the LAPD was bringing in a “New Wave” of officers, I decided to give it a shot.
I passed the academy entrance exam by the skin of my teeth. An 80 percent, when the lowest possible score was an 80 percent. Peter, on the other hand, was straight out of the UC school system with a degree in criminal justice. He’d probably passed the academy exam with one eye shut.
We shouldn’t have been best buddies, but Peter, bless him, had glommed onto me that first week and had stuck like glue ever since.
“How’s it going?” I looked up from my book. The young, buff, golden boy I’d noticed that first day stood on the other side of the library table. LAPD blue polo shirt stretched over hard round muscles. Strong neck, square chin, dark blue eyes. He smiled.
I covered my paper with its erasures and unfinished equations and said, “Great.”
A hand across the oak table. “Peter.” We exchanged greetings. “You know,” he said, pulling out a chair and straddling it, “you’re gonna be top of our class in ballistics.”
The rifle range was the only place I didn’t feel like an idiot. “I’ve got a leg up, I guess. Been using a gun for five years now.”
That steady gaze. Peter could make you feel like he read your soul. “Marines or Navy?”
I felt a smile crack my face for the first time in days. “I’m no squid.”
“Where were you stationed?”
“Used to be a little village in Afghanistan called ‘Timba.’ Now it’s called ‘pile of rubble.’”
Years later, those dark blue eyes searching mine could still make something turn over inside me. “That where you got that scar on your knee?”
He must have noticed it when we were doing our laps. I felt an unaccustomed warmth beginning in my chest and rising. “I was lucky the docs were able to paste me back together. It’s ugly, but it works fine.”
“It’s not ugly. Bet all the ladies think your war wound is sexy.”
I let my gaze drop to my paper. “Listen, I’ve got to get this done.”
A pause. I could feel him gazing at the top of my lowered head. “I had stats the last year of college,” he said. “So this time is like a review for me. Tell you what. I’ll help you with the stats if you give me a few pointers on the range?”
I looked up and he was giving me another one of those smiles. I found myself smiling back. “Deal,” I said.
Peter was probably half the reason I’d made it to graduation. We’d stayed in touch afterward. Even when we’d been assigned to beats on opposite sides of town, we still met once a week for a dinner or to watch a game. Peter was why I’d headed straight for Homicide too, if I were to be honest. He and I studied for the exam together and he was, once again, one of the main reasons I passed.
Don’t get me wrong. I was a pretty good cop. The LAPD sets a standard, just like the Marines. And, just like the Marines, I knew exactly how far I could push it before it became a problem. I took care to never push it that far.
But Peter was always headed for glory. He was a supercop. And me, well, the highlight of my career was those few years I partnered with Peter in Homicide. Then, I drifted into Vice, where I found a calling working undercover. And that’s when it all started heading south.
Just to be clear, the LAPD does not indulge undercover officers in the use and abuse of drugs. But over the course of the next five years, I became adept at the utilization of loopholes, a line here, a snort there, until one day I woke up and I was hooked. I still busted bad guys, but I was circling the drain. It all came to a head one day when Peter dropped by my place unannounced and found me on the floor with a needle in my arm.
Short story long, he gave me an ultimatum. Clean up and come clean with the head of Vice, and he’d be there for me. Keep up what I was doing and he’d walk away. He sat me through withdrawal and maybe he thought he’d accomplished something. Maybe he had. I wasn’t what you’d call clean, but I’d kicked the crack and that was saying something.
The chief of Vice hadn’t been what you might call supportive but they were decent enough to treat me like they would any officer wounded in the line of duty. I’d been on a three-month leave when the Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms had approached the chief of Vice with a proposition. Same short story even longer, that’s what had led to me infiltrating the Mongol Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. I was perfect. I knew the distributors; I was in trouble with the law. The OMG embraced my evil ass. Which took me to the present day.
Thing was, between Peter and me, there was the other history. The one in which I’d show up at his door, unannounced, and no matter what, no matter when, Peter would let me in and we’d do it on the floor, against the walls, and in the shower for a few days and then I’d split.
These days I guess they’d call us fuck buddies. Peter was the man you called when you woke up in a jail in Tijuana, the one who came out in the rain when your ride blew a flat on the 110. The two a.m. booty call.
Peter crying while yours truly met his justified sorry end? Was a disturbing occurrence and one to contemplate with due consideration.
But then the bus halted at my stop and I jumped out instead.