I took it all back. Gene was a complete asshole. And so was Ari.
At 11:46 p.m., a light still burned in the living room at the house across the pines and Gene’s ugly Saab, which he’d said belonged to his parents in Seattle, was still squatting in Ari’s driveway.
Promiscuous Gene alone in the house with Ari—suddenly gay Ari—at almost midnight on a Sunday night, with crisp new bedding on the king-sized mattress. I had plenty of time to fill in the blanks on their sleepover while alone in my own puny bed, riveted to the soft glow coming from outside my window.
We weren’t even one day into this excruciating neighbros situation, and I was up, out of bed, scrounging for pants, eager to fulfill my destiny as a total fucking jackass.
I snagged a flashlight from the kitchen drawer and a sweatshirt from the back of a chair, and tiptoed into the mist. I knew exactly what I was doing, thank you very much, and did it anyway. I could deal with the consequences later.
I should have told Ari when I’d had the chance. I mean, how hard would it be to have a normal conversation about my sexuality? That fucker Gene—Gene the Amnesia-Inducing Machine—must have beaten me to the punch. Both punches. Every single punch. He’d probably spilled all the seedy details of my life to Ari, before spilling some seed of his own.
They were most likely naked.
183’s dim living room light led me into the fog-laden night. Wet moss cushioned my footsteps as I slithered silently through the trees, the flashlight cutting a white path on the ground. A splatter of droplets sent my heart momentarily racing, but I yanked my hood up and set my inner stalker free.
At the break to Ari’s driveway, I left the scent of evergreen and killed the flashlight, allowing my eyes a few seconds to adjust. No moon tempered the cloud cover, and it was pretty freaking dark. When I could make out the strip of concrete dividing the front yard into two equal portions, I crept on.
The front walk offered unencumbered access to the house from the street. Anyone could walk up to Ari the teen werewolf’s door and look inside. Obviously this lack of security served my purposes, but the layout seemed awfully inviting for a TV personality’s house. Real people were nuts. Ari should have hedges or something. At the very least, a fence.
I climbed the porch steps and tiptoed toward my target—the unadorned, double-hung living room windows. They allowed a clear view of the leather couch and matching club chairs we’d carried in from the truck earlier. There was no sign of—
“See anything, Scoob?”
Holy God. I launched into the air, my feet literally clearing the floor by a good half foot and, since I’m taller than your average bear, my skull rang the new light fixture like a gong. I landed, clasping my chest in a spot-on impersonation of a shrieking, shrill, shrewish Mrs. Allen. Except the language was one hundred percent mine. “What the fuck, man? I mean, what?”
Inches away, my old hombre Ari relaxed against the porch rail, the absolute portrait of tranquility, arms crossed, eyes gleaming demonically. “Fancy meeting you here, neighbor.”
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