Alright, here it is ;) Not that it's been that long since I last posted, but still. Here is the sequel to Road Trip, the third in the Tasteful Series. I know Road Trip wasn't my best writing and it could have gone so much better, but at least we're here no, eh? I do hope this story comes out nicely. However I will tell you it won't be near as long as the others ;) The fourth book, Monster, will definitely be long, though. Thanks so much for reading the first two installments, and I do hope you enjoy this one as well! As always, reviews make me update quicker ;) So if you're hard pressed for an update on any of my stories, reviews are the best way to go! :D
I am not going to put a summary here. Nope. Instead, I am going to wait until this SITE FIXES ITS FREAKING SELF and will let me update my profile without deleting all my lines and not letting me see the freaking update page. So if you want a review, get onto the site about fixing! Seriously I am about THIS close to leaving this site entirely because I am SICK of all the errors.
So, since it won't let me upload very well and certainly won't let me edit, if things come out italicized, bolded, or underlined, I am sorry. You know how it's supposed to be if you've read this far; just ignore it if it happens.
Thanks so much!
(THERE IS A BREAK HERE)
Sequel to Road Trip
Warnings: This story may contain violent content, the rating may change, and it involves a slash pairing. If this bothers you, then DO NOT READ IT.
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Chapter One: New Rogue
To say he didn't know what to do would be an understatement. Christmas was fast approaching and Lo hadn't the slightest idea what to get Taylor, or if he even had to. They were in a relationship - that meant he had to get a gift, right? Except, Christmas had never been his favorite holiday. In fact it was safe to say Lo hated holidays. They had never been good as a child and they certainly hadn't been good in his adult life, either. Holidays weren't joyous or happy; no, not in the Talbot family. They were just reminders of things lost, pain, and harsh ways.
Lo wanted to change it this year, have the holidays not suck because he actually had someone there with him now, someone who cared and who he also cared for. Of course, wishes rarely came true for him. Even though he wanted things to change, wanted to enjoy the holidays like normal people or at least pretend he did so Taylor's Christmas wouldn't suck, he wasn't sure if it'd happen.
"I'm back," came a welcome voice from the door of the apartment. Lo heard it close with a quiet snap and exited the kitchen to find Taylor juggling bags. Lo quirked a brow at the black-haired emotion taster. Taylor smirked. "What? A man has a shop if you want presents. No peeking!" He hurried off to his bedroom - not the one he and Taylor were currently sharing but Taylor's actual bedroom on the other side of the apartment.
Lo shook his head and sighed. Obviously Taylor had put thought into his shopping and had gotten gifts. No doubt some would be for him. But Lo still had no idea what to get. He didn't celebrate Christmas. In fact, he preferred the whole holiday season didn't exist. But it was different now, being in a relationship. Holidays were important.
He couldn't remember celebrating Christmas last year, when he and Taylor had only been two friends forced to live together. The holiday season has passed by without a word, without thought, just as always. Had Taylor celebrated? Had Lo just ignored him? He thought back but couldn't remember.
The phone rang and Lo hurried to answer it, wanting to distract himself. He plucked the phone from the cradle and brought it to his ear, answering with a grunt. "Yeah?"
"Evening, Logan," came Corbin's voice. "How are you?"
"I'm fine. What do you want?"
Corbin rarely called without reason.
Plus Lo could use a good distraction right now. A job would do just fine.
"I have a job for you."
Of course he did. He always did. It was why Lo both hated and anticipated his phone calls.
"Yeah? What kind of job?" Lo asked, walking through the apartment. He thought about telling Taylor to get in here because they had a job, but decided he'd wait a bit longer.
Besides, Taylor would probably accuse him of trying to peek at his presents. Lo nearly snorted at the thought.
"There's an unusual rogue on the loose," Corbin replied.
"When isn't there?" Lo sighed. Rogues. What was with the fucking rogues? Always rogues. "How is it unusual?" He entered the kitchen to grab a drink, which was a bottle of water. Taylor had thrown out most of the alcohol, stating if they wanted a drink they could drive down to the nearest bar. Lo was sure it was just because Taylor got bored, sitting around in the apartment all the time.
"I cannot get a definite read on it, exactly."
Hmm. That was strange. As an energy alter, Corbin was able to read the energy of practically anyone. Or anything.
"Okay…any ideas of the rogue's abilities? What it is?"
"Not exactly. I just have reports of a rogue wandering around two towns over. I said I'd send someone to check it out. I heard he likes to frequent a bar called Joe's Tavern."
"Alright," Lo sighed. "We'll check it out. You want us to go now?"
"Fine." Lo hung up and dropped the phone on the couch on his way toward the hallway leading to Taylor's room. Once there, he rapped his knuckles against the emotion taster's door twice before pushing the door open. Taylor stuffed a few bags under his bed and turned to smile at him. "We have a job. Get your ass in gear."
Taylor rolled his eyes. "Ah, some things never change," he said as he got to his feet. "Good thing I'm ready still. What about you, Mr. Speedy? I don't see any shoes on your feet." Taylor looked down for good measure.
Lo curled his toes instinctively. "I'm getting there," he said. "We gotta go two towns over."
Taylor sighed. "Of course we do."
"Yeah, well…c'mon." Lo exited the room and entered the living room, where he slipped his shoes on and stood, grabbing his keys off the small table next to the couch. "Ready?" He looked at Taylor.
"Sure. Can we get food on the way or is this urgent?" Taylor asked. "I'm starving."
Lo shrugged. "I guess we could eat on the way. It's at least a forty minute drive."
Taylor smirked. "Good. I'll pay." He turned and opened the apartment door, exiting. Lo sighed and followed after him.
Down the stairs they went - Lo hated elevators - and exited the apartment complex to climb in Lo's car, a cherry black Mustang. It was an older version but it looked nice, Lo thought. Plus it was his car and it got them from point A to point B.
Lo keyed the ignition as Taylor climbed into the passenger seat. They pulled away from the curb and down the street, to a nearby café. Lo stopped outside and left the car running, turning to Taylor.
"Go grab us something to eat," he said. "I'll wait here."
Taylor nodded and got out of the car, entering the café. Lo tapped his fingers against the steering wheel impatiently as he waited. Now that he thought about it, his stomach was growling and food sounded good. He was also thirsty. He hoped Taylor remembered to grab drinks.
A few minutes later Taylor exited the café and came toward the car. Once he was inside, he thankfully handed Lo a drink and held the bag on his legs. "Okay," Taylor said as he started pulling plastic containers of food out. "I got you a cheeseburger and fries - that okay?"
Lo grunted in response and grabbed the boxes from Taylor, opening them to snatch a fry. He pulled away from the curb and soon they were on the road again.
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It was freezing. Taylor had never cared for the cold, not as a teenager and certainly not now. Perhaps as a kid he'd enjoyed it, the snow and ice, but he couldn't quite remember. Now he shivered as he and Lo got out of the car and headed inside the bar Corbin had told them about. As he entered he allowed his wall to go down, the wall given to him by his necklace. Immediately he tasted an onslaught of emotions and sighed as he headed toward the counter. Lo followed after him.
They ordered two beers and Taylor turned on his bar stool to look around the interior of the bar, glancing at everyone and tasting their emotions. Apart from mild anger and drunken jealousy, he couldn't taste much. Sighing, he put his wall up while he took a sip of his beer - he knew from experience how awful emotions could make beer taste - and then allowed his wall back down as he looked around the bar once more.
"Anything?" Lo asked.
"No, not really," Taylor replied, shaking his head. "Nothing out of the ordinary for drunks."
Lo grunted and chugged his beer. "Let me know if you taste something."
"I will." It was common sense; Lo didn't have to tell him.
A few minutes passed in a comfortable silence as they waited and watched, looking around the bar. Taylor knew Corbin had said this bar, but that didn't mean the guy was here at this moment. He could have been anywhere. They'd probably have to get a hotel room and stay here for a few days.
He had to admit he wasn't thrilled at the thought. He and Lo hadn't stayed in a hotel since they'd gone on their road trip. Lo had stated very firmly he wasn't partaking in any more road trips. Taylor couldn't blame him. There had been a few fun parts, sure, but all in all the trip had sucked. They'd come across a job, his necklace had broke, Blaise had been put in the hospital, and he'd lost control. Plus he and Lo had broken up for a time - if one could even call it that, it was more like taking a break. They'd gotten back together, of course - and they'd established that, yes, it was a relationship.
Perhaps that was the only good thing that had come out of the road trip - defining what they had.
Lo cleared his throat suddenly and Taylor glanced at him. Obviously the blonde had said his name a few times now, as the blue eyes were dark with what Taylor would call worry, though he wouldn't dare say it.
"Sorry," he apologized. "What?"
"You okay?" Lo asked.
"I'm fine. Just thinking."
Lo nodded. "I was going to ask you something. But then you went to Mars without telling me."
Taylor shook his head. "Sorry," he said again. "I'm good now. What were you gonna ask?"
Lo shifted on his barstool. His gaze skittered away. Oh, this was going to be good.
"What the hell do you want for Christmas?" Lo finally grunted in one quick breath.
Taylor stared at the blonde for a moment, and then started chuckling. Lo's face darkened in anger.
"No, no, I'm not laughing at you," Taylor said quickly, resting a hand on Lo's arm to calm him. "I just…that came out of nowhere, man."
"It's not nowhere," Lo said. "Christmas is in three weeks."
"So it is," Taylor said with a shrug. Then he paused. "You don't have to get me anything."
Lo stared at him. "You got me something," he said. It was a statement, not a question, so Taylor didn't bother replying. "Don't tell me not to get you something, idiot. What do you fucking want?"
Taylor laughed again. "Wow, you manage to sound angry even when you're trying to do something nice." He shook his head and smiled. "Sorry. I don't know what I want. I'm good with what I have. I don't need anything."
Lo glared at him. "So, nothing? That's your answer?"
"Sorry, Lo. I don't know what to tell you." He shrugged. "Surprise me, if you simply must get something."
Lo snorted and shook his head, taking a drink of his beer.
Then the blonde stiffened and looked around with narrowed eyes. Taylor frowned at him, looking around for action, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He tasted nothing out of the ordinary, either, other than Lo's suddenly cautious emotions.
"Lo?" he asked quietly. "What is it? Something wrong?"
Lo grimaced and rubbed at his head. "I think someone's blowing a damn dog whistle or something," he grunted.
Taylor smirked. "You can hear dog whistles even when in human form?" He shook his head. "Somehow this doesn't surprise me."
Lo shot him a glare. "It's not fun, you know."
"I know. I'm just saying. Your dog half is showing."
"You're an asshole."
Taylor shrugged. "Takes one to know one."
Lo snorted. "Figures you'd say that." He grimaced again. "Damn it, I wish that noise would stop."
Taylor listened but heard nothing. "I don't hear anything."
"No shit. I think it's just at a frequency dogs can hear or something."
Lo shrugged. "Taste anything yet?"
"Besides your weirdness? Nope, nothing," Taylor replied, smirking when Lo narrowed his eyes at him. It was fun to mess with the blonde.
"I'm thinking this is a dead end."
"I'm thinking you're right," Taylor agreed.
"Great," Lo huffed. "Damn it. We're going to have to get a damn hotel room, aren't we?" He grimaced again, this time at the thought rather than some noise Taylor couldn't hear. Taylor could taste the annoyance Lo felt at the thought of having to stay in a hotel.
Lo hated hotels anyway; the fact they'd gone on that road trip only seemed to have made things worse. Lo would rather sleep out in the car than get a hotel room.
"Looks like," Taylor told him. "Sorry, man."
Lo rolled his eyes. "Whatever. We'll stay another hour or so and then find a damn hotel."
Taylor nodded. "Alright."
Lo's phone suddenly rang and the blonde scowled as he fished it out of his pocket and brought it to his ear. "Yeah?" he grunted.
Taylor sighed and drank his beer, putting his wall up for the time being.
"No, haven't heard anything. Well, except some kind of damn whistle I think someone is using. Taylor can't hear it but I can. It's fucking annoying." A pause and Lo scowled again. "Are you serious? Is that even…? Okay, yeah. Got it." Lo hung up without saying bye and glanced at Taylor. "Looks like we've got work to do."
Taylor sighed. "I hate it when you say that," he murmured. "It means I'm going to spend all night cleaning my mouth, right?"
Lo smirked faintly. "Perhaps," he conceded as he stood and put down a few bucks on the counter. "Let's go."
"Go where?" Taylor asked as he followed Lo out of the bar. "What'd Corbin want?"
He was pretty sure it was Corbin. The only other person who had Lo's number was Blaise, and Lo just usually hung up on her if she called.
"The rogue we're looking for is apparently gifted in the art of sound." Lo's voice twisted around the words 'gifted' and 'sound' angrily. "It's making that fucking sound I can hear."
"Oh?" How interesting. "Wait a minute…people can seriously have the ability to control sound? Are you serious?"
"Still skeptical, T?"
"Yeah! It's kind of hard not to be, you know." Taylor shook his head and sighed as he climbed into the passenger seat of Lo's car and the blonde slid into the driver's seat, keying the ignition. Soon they were on the street. "Okay, so…what are we supposed to do? How is this guy a rogue? What'd he do?"
Lo shrugged. "Not sure," he replied. "Put on your damn seatbelt."
Taylor realized he'd forgotten to snap it on, thinking about the sound maker. "Sorry," he said as he fastened it. "Better?"
Lo grunted and said nothing.
"Where are we going?" Taylor asked as Lo drove. Corbin had obviously given him directions.
"Empty warehouse up a ways," Lo said. "According to Corbin, a bunch of dogs started barking and growling at it. He wants us to check it out, said it could be the rogue."
Taylor smirked. "Are you going to be barking and growling at it too, dog-man?"
Lo slid his gaze toward him briefly. "You do know I can kick you out of the car, right? And you'll have to walk home?"
"Not true. I have wings; I'll fly home," Taylor corrected with a smile.
He was happy he was comfortable with his wings now. He could remember a time when he'd stated very firmly his wings were never coming out again. Now he could control them at will. He'd been practicing a lot since their road trip, and had managed to mostly perfect it.
Lo didn't say anything in response, just drove quietly.
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They parked outside of the warehouse soon enough. Lo scowled as he put the car in park and pulled the key out. Taylor looked at him. "Sorry," he said sympathetically. "You don't have to go in if you don't want to."
Lo glanced at him.
"I mean, I can go in if you want," he offered . "You don't have to get closer to the noise. I know it's bothering you."
Lo shook his head. "No." He climbed out of the car and that was the end of that conversation. Taylor sighed and climbed out as well.
Together, they walked toward the warehouse. Before they got to the main door, Taylor waved Lo on to circle around. Lo nodded and walked away while Taylor pulled the door open and entered the warehouse.
Darkness greeted him like a thick fog his gaze couldn't penetrate. He squinted through the blackness and could make out the faint outline of boxes. That didn't sound right; this place was supposed to be empty, so why would there be boxes? It made no sense. Moving forward, he made sure to keep his footfalls quiet as he inched through the darkness, slinking around stacks of boxes.
Obviously someone had been or was staying here. There had to be a reason behind those boxes. There weren't very many of them, only about four, two boxes in each stack, but there shouldn't have been any here.
Taylor was sure they had the right place.
A growl in the distance, in another room of the warehouse, just beyond the faint outline of a door up ahead, had him freezing in his tracks. He quickly recognized the growl as Lo, in dog form, and he charged forward, throwing the door open. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could make out Lo's black form on the ground, whimpering.
"Lo!" Taylor cried as he darted forward, dropping to his knees next to the form. "Lo? Are you okay? What's wrong?"
Lo just growled and whimpered, as though he were torn between anger and pain. Taylor looked around but didn't see anyone else in the darkness. Perhaps it was that sound Lo had heard earlier, growing worse.
Taylor slid his hand through Lo's thick black fur and whispered, "It's okay - just take it easy. Get out of here if you can. I'll check it out." Then he got to his feet and walked around Lo, checking the room, but he saw nothing. Letting his wall down, he reached out with his taste and found a trace of uneasy, anxious emotions from a room further in the back. "Stay here," he said to Lo. "Or get out."
Then he moved into the other room, a small room through a door. He allowed his sense of taste to lead him and pinpointed the location just ahead. It was both a perk and a curse of being an emotion taster. Sure, he could taste emotions and follow them, but it was hard to turn off. If he didn't have the necklace, he'd never be able to have a moment of reprieve unless he was alone. And even with the necklace, if the emotions were strong enough, he could still taste them, just not as strongly now that he had a wall he could put up.
"Hello?" he called into the darkness. He could make out an outline ahead of him, a person hunched over, clearly not enjoying the fact Taylor as approaching them. "It's okay," Taylor told the person. "I won't hurt you - I'm just here to help, okay?" He continued forward slowly, not wanting to frighten the person. If they already had Lo down on the ground, he wasn't sure he wanted to startle them into action.
The person shifted away.
Taylor inched forward and he could make out the person's face. For a moment, he only stared. Then his eyes went wide as he made the connection in his head.
"You," he whispered, "I know you."
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Again, sorry if everything is messed up! Or if the line breaks are gone…I tried! Anywho, thanks for reading and please do review! ;)