A/N: Yep, this is the sequel to Tasteful :D Huzzah! Yeah, I know I just finished Tasteful but I decided to go ahead and start writing the sequel since I was still in the mood for it. I'm not going to make you read the first book first or anything, but I highly recommend it since I might not explain everything in here! Okay? So...just a word of warning there. Oh, and this story takes place four months after the end of Tasteful, just so you know. I'm not going to write a summary because I didn't on Tasteful, but I will have one up on my profile eventually, so you can check there later if you want. It'll be at the bottom under Tasteful. :D I hope you come to like this story as much as you loved Tasteful! I hope I can do the first story justice. Thanks!
This chapter's in Taylor's POV. Chapter two is almost done XD
Let us begin!
Sequel to Tasteful
Warning: This story contains violent content, foul language, and slash (yaoi, M/M, whatever you want to call it), so if you don't like that, then don't read it. You've been warned. Also, rating may go up.
Chapter One: Quick Job
The warehouse was dark.
That was Taylor's first thought as he pushed the door open. It opened with a low creak and he winced at the sound because if the didn't give his location away, he wasn't sure what would. A cool breeze caught the door and threw it against the wall with a loud clang, tearing it from his grasp and he all but cursed to himself. Muttering beneath his breath, he stomped inside, catching the bitter taste of anger as soon as he did so. Someone inside was definitely unhappy - as well they should be, too. They night was about to get a lot worse.
Narrowing his eyes, he peered through the darkness as he migrated in the direction of the bitter taste, gripping the edge of the knife in his grasp, readying it for use if he needed it. He was never given a gun - that was never his. Why Corbin never gave it to him, he didn't know. It wasn't like he was a bad aim or anything. He shoved the thoughts out of his head in order to focus and continued forward.
"Tom?" Taylor asked into the brightening darkness around him. His eyes were adjusting and he could see a figure appearing before him. It had to be Tom, the guy they were after - the man who had used magic to murder his wife and who had then fled the scene, thus capturing the attention of Corbin. "Tom, look, you're surrounded."
Technically that wasn't true - only Taylor was in the building. He could taste Lo moving around outside, though - those annoyed emotions, so familiar and reassuring that they instantly calmed him despite the danger and harm this guy could do to him. Corbin was also somewhere outside, Taylor knew. Blaise too, probably. She was somewhere out there despite the fact that he hadn't wanted her to come on this job - she was stubborn, though.
"Why don't you just give it up, man?" Taylor asked calmly, taking a tentative step forward, keeping his knife held lightly at his side, ready to use if necessary but he hoped he wouldn't have to use it. He could taste Lo's emotions getting closer. He could also taste Tom's nervousness. Good - maybe that meant he was going to give in and this would all be over before it really began.
Then again, nervous people were sometimes like caged animals - eager to attack and get away. Taylor hoped this was not one of those cases. He wasn't eager to get attacked today.
"We won't hurt you," Taylor coaxed gently. "I promise."
"Then why the fuck are you chasing me?" Tom hissed, and just like that, the moment snapped and he lunged, flicking his wrist. Taylor didn't hear any words coming from his mouth, but suddenly all of the air left his lungs and he felt his throat closing on him, cutting off his air. The knife dropped to the ground with a clatter as he brought his hands up, clutched at his throat as though feeling for whatever was constricting his breathing, but nothing was there - there was no cause for it.
Magic. That was the only explanation. Tom was using magic to hurt him, to cut off his air, and he didn't know what to do to stop him. All he knew was that he couldn't breathe and his mind was going hazy and dark, and-
Like a bullet, a black dog shot past him with a feral snarl and sharp fangs bit down hard into Tom's leg, ripping into the flesh. A massive head shook, tearing at the flesh, ripping for all it was worth, and Tom fell back with a sharp cry of pain, gasping and choking for breath as he smacked at the dog, his concentration broken. Taylor felt like he could breathe again and he sank to his knees, gasping and coughing as he choked for breath, sucking in deep gasps of air.
A side door was thrown open. Calm emotions entered Taylor's mouth - a smooth taste - and he knew that Corbin had entered the building. Footsteps moved toward Tom and he heard the metallic clamp of handcuffs. Tom was hauled to his feet and ushered out of the building as the black dog padded toward Taylor, blue eyes watching him. Taylor took in another deep breath before he smiled at the dog and reached out, scratching it behind the ear.
"Good boy," he said with a smirk. "I'm fine."
The dog then began to transform, bones shifting and growing, fur turning into skin and clothes. Taylor wasn't sure how or why the clothes shifted as well but they always did, which he figured was a lucky break. The black dog a moment later turned into a tall human with blonde hair and blue eyes, his closest friend and companion, Logan Talbot, or Lo for short. As soon as the dog form disappeared and the human form appeared, the bittersweet taste of concern emerged in Taylor's mouth.
"I'm okay," Taylor told him, running his fingers through his black hair, sighing heavily as pain began to build somewhat behind his golden eyes.
Lo grunted in response. "We should go," was all he had to say about that.
"She went to bring the car around a few minutes ago."
Taylor nodded and he and Lo exited the building.
Corbin and Blaise took Tom away - where, Taylor didn't know but he didn't really care, either. All he knew was that Tom was out of his and Lo's hands and they were free to go home, back to their apartment. Lo drove his car, a cherry black Mustang of a somewhat old make but it looked nice despite the damage it had been through in the last year, back to their apartment complex and parked easily along the front curb. Not many people drove by or seemed to live in the complex, which was what they liked about it. It meant easy parking access and not a lot of public visitors.
They entered the complex and took the stairs up to their level - Lo had something against elevators and Taylor decided it had something to do with the dog half of him and the fact that he could turn into a dog - where they then keyed the lock to their door and pushed it open to enter their apartment. Corbin had demanded that they live together - it was the only way he'd originally let Taylor leave the library, or their base of operations here in town and where Corbin lived, after Taylor had first joined them. He'd told Taylor to take Lo with him for 'precautions', and at the time, Taylor hadn't known what that had meant. He had only tasted emotions - what precautions had he needed?
Now, though, he was starting to wonder if maybe Corbin had always somehow known of his monster side. Not when it would have activated, but known it was there, hidden under the surface, waiting to strike. Feeling a bit uneasy, Taylor brought a hand up and clutched a few fingers around the necklace that dangled around his neck from a fine silver chain, a dragon claw holding onto a golden orb, the same color as his eyes.
"You okay?" Lo's voice broke the silence in his mind and Taylor glanced toward his friend. The bittersweet taste of concern rolled through his mouth, rocketing over his taste buds and he nodded, releasing his hold on the necklace.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, because he was. He was just thinking - nothing wrong with that, right? Lo narrowed his eyes at him as though not believing him but kept his mouth shut on the matter, dropping his jacket on the back of the living room couch before disappearing into the kitchen. Taylor sighed and unzipped his own jacket, taking it off slowly.
"Damn it," Lo growled from the kitchen, causing Taylor to frown. He walked into the kitchen and saw Lo peering into the cabinets as though they were indeed the enemy he had been searching for, his blue eyes cold and narrowed.
"What?" he asked.
"We're out of food."
"Oh…so I guess you're ordering a pizza, then."
"Why me?" Lo shot him a look.
Taylor smirked. "Because I'm taking a hot shower and you can't stop me."
"We'll see about-"
Taylor yelped as Lo reached out to grab his arm and ducked away from his friend, quickly shucking off his shirt as he lunged toward the bathroom door. He slammed it closed behind him and locked it, hearing Lo pound on it on the other side. Lo growled.
"Fine, but you're paying."
"You'll have to find my money first." Taylor snickered.
"Don't think I won't."
"It's under the carpet."
Taylor cursed. "Damn it! How'd you know?"
"You forget I'm part dog."
Taylor rolled his eyes and turned on the shower, shucking off the rest of his clothes as he did so. He stepped into the soothing, hot water and let it wash over his shoulders and head, relaxing sore muscles.
He stepped out of the shower a few minutes later, the room smelling of soap and shampoo, full of steam since it was so small. He toweled himself dry and wrapped the towel around his waist before leaving the bathroom to walk down the hallway and to the left, where his room was. He entered his room and dug around for some clothes, tugging them on quickly. Now dressed in a light red shirt and blue jeans, his black hair wild and dripping wet still, he turned to leave his room and nearly collided with Lo, who was entering his room.
"The guy said it would be about-" Lo started as the two nearly collided. They both stopped walking at exactly the same time, their chests nearly touching. Taylor looked up sheepishly. Lo was only about three inches taller than him, but still.
"Um…hi," he said. Then he blinked. "What'd the guy say?"
"Uh…about thirty minutes," Lo told him, looking down at him. Taylor nodded and smiled, moving as though to step back. Lo did so as well and they stopped invading each other's personal spaces.
Taylor rubbed at the back of his neck and nodded. "Alright. How much?"
"Twenty?" He bit on his lower lip and nodded. "Alright. Yeah. Okay."
A smirk twitched on Lo's lips. "T?"
"You talk too much. I may have to shut you up."
Taylor glared at him and crossed his arms, folding them across his chest as he gave his friend a narrowed look. "I do not talk too much," he argued. "Why do you keep saying I do? Normal people talk, Lo, that's just what they do. Just because you don't like to-"
Lo rolled his eyes and leaned forward, stepped the distance it took to close the gap between them. He crushed his lips against Taylor's somewhat forcefully and Taylor's hands came up, grabbing at his shirt, not pushing him away but not pulling him closer either. He kissed the blonde back in kind, deepening the kiss as he added pressure, tilting his head somewhat. They broke apart a moment later when oxygen became an issue.
"You left me no choice," Lo sighed. "You wouldn't shut up."
Taylor glared at him. "You know, a lot of people would get annoyed with people who don't let them talk."
"I'll let it slide - for now. I guess there are much worse ways of shutting me up," he said, smirking somewhat, his hands still clasping onto Lo's gray shirt. He could feel the warm body beneath.
Lo smiled slowly. "Much worse," he agreed, bending his head to press their lips together again. Taylor smiled into the kiss, drawing Lo in closer as he tugged him in by his shirt. It was still hard to believe that four months ago, they had been only friends, oblivious to their feelings. Four months ago, kisses had been shared by accident and neither of them had known what it had meant, leaving them both utterly confused and conflicted.
Fingers carded through Taylor's damp hair. A snort echoed from Lo.
"Wet looks good on you," Lo said.
Taylor pulled back, narrowing his eyes at him. "I'll take that as a compliment," he said slowly.
Lo shrugged. "Take it however the hell you want."
Taylor rolled his eyes. "You know, you're really killing the mood, here."
Lo blinked at him. "There's a mood?"
"Wow. Not much of a romantic, are you?"
Taylor sighed and pushed away from him, shaking his head. "Thirty minutes, huh?"
"Alright. I say we play some cards."
Rolling over when one woke up was a natural movement, at least to Taylor. It was something he'd always done and would probably always do in the future. However, his arm colliding with a warm, solid body - that was new and he still wasn't quite used to it. In fact, it still took a bit of willpower not to jerk away and fling himself to the opposite side of the bed each time it happened every morning.
For the past three weeks now - well, two and a half, but who was counting? - he and Lo had decided to have a new sleeping arrangement. If they were really going to give this a true and worthy shot, then why not use only one bed? It was logical, right? And Lo's body was warmer than any blanket Taylor had encountered, that was true, except…waking every morning to find someone there next to him was a strange, new concept and he wasn't entirely sure what to think of it.
More than that, he could taste how uneasy it was making Lo. What was Lo thinking of it? He could taste how nervous Lo was. Lo never fell asleep first. It was always Taylor. Lo always tried to remain as far away from him at night as possible as though he were the plague and was entirely contagious and if they touched, even slightly, disaster would happen. Maybe this was a horrible idea. Maybe they shouldn't be doing this…
So why were they still doing this? It had been three weeks - well, two and a half…and they were still doing it, trying it…
Because both of them hadn't said anything on the matter. They just climbed into bed at night without a word and shut their eyes but Taylor always knew he went to sleep first because he could taste Lo's emotions all the way up until he went unconscious in a slumber.
Taylor sighed and opened his eyes, blinking up at the ceiling momentarily before he shifted his gaze toward Lo. Lo's tussled blonde bangs fell in waves over his face, half covering his closed eyes. Taylor liked watching Lo sleep even though he knew how odd that sounded. He often woke before Lo - who knew how much longer Lo stayed awake after Taylor went to sleep - and saw him like this, so peaceful, his expression so serene and relaxed, no lines in his face despite the scowl he usually wore.
Sighing, he rolled over and pushed out of bed, his feet landing on Lo's tan carpet. They had decided that Lo's room was the appropriate choice since Lo had the larger bed, even though it was farther away from the bathroom and on the other side of the apartment. It was, however, closer to the kitchen and it made it easier to get a drink first thing in the morning. Taylor entered the kitchen with a yawn, combing his fingers through his tangled black hair, wild from sleep. He filled a glass up with water and took a long guzzle of it, the cool liquid feeling refreshing as it drifting down his dry throat.
It was early - only around eight in the morning - and he knew Lo probably wouldn't be up for a few hours yet. Lo didn't usually rise until around ten or so.
It was hard to believe that this was their lives now - together. Sure, they had been living together…because they were friends and because Corbin had forced them to do so as a precaution, but still, it hadn't really meant anything back then. These past four months had changed everything - at least, they had for Taylor. He wondered if they had for Lo as well.
Tasting emotions allowed him to tell that Lo was nervous more often than he used to be - and that he did care - but it wasn't an exact science. He couldn't tell what Lo was nervous about, or why, or anything like that. What if Lo was having second thoughts? What if Lo didn't want any of this? Maybe that was why he stayed so far away on the other side of the bed. Maybe that was why it seemed like he couldn't sleep at night.
Taylor massaged his temples and sat down at the kitchen table. What if this was all just one big mistake? Sure, they'd kissed, and…
But maybe it was a mistake. They were still figuring things out. Maybe Lo had just been confused, and was still confused. That would explain his nervousness. Maybe he did care, but not like that. Maybe he just thought he did, but…
Taylor sighed heavily. He didn't know what to think anymore. He honestly didn't.
Did he love Lo? He was pretty sure he did even though he was still confused on the meaning of love. He hadn't really loved anyone before - except his mom, right? He'd loved her but he'd been young when she'd died. His father had been an abusive drunk. And then at seventeen, he'd graduated high school and had been kidnapped by that psycho, Red, and had been his prisoner for five years. Then he'd managed to escape and had been found by Corbin and Lo and for a year, he'd worked with them…and now this. Maybe he was just confused. But the way he felt when they kissed…the way his stomach twisted when Lo was hurt, when he'd gone missing and that crazy woman, Shelia, had taken him…
He closed his eyes and shook his head. He couldn't think about this right now. He needed a distraction.
Standing from the kitchen table, he put down his glass of water and moved toward the cordless phone, which was on the counter sitting in its cradle. He plucked it from the cradle and dialed in a familiar cell number before bringing it to his ear. A moment later someone answered and he smiled.
Yes, Blaise is in this book, too. She's another main character. She'll have a POV eventually, as well. She's just not as main as Lo and Taylor. Anywho, thanks for reading and Blaise is back next chapter :D yay! Thanks again and please review! I apologize for any mistakes/typos as I've had a bad headache all day (again...) and my painkillers make me sleepy...so, heh. Yeah. But yeah. Please review! :D