CDandHBFH 03 [Caspian Dukes and Vereint Georges]

Title: Caspian Dukes and His Best Friend’s Husband
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Frame set: Allies & Enemies, “Good Times”
Characters: Caspian Dukes, Vereint Georges, Warrick Tobias, Melissa Kim
Pairings: Vereint Georges/Warrick Tobias
Genre: friendship, superhero, meta
Summary: Vereint and Caspian go see a movie together.

“What’s that look about?”

Caspian startled slightly. “Sorry. I blame Warrick’s show for bringing up old memories.”

“Oh yeah, they tend to do that. One minute you’re laughing, and the next you’re remembering the awful teacher you had in the sixth grade. It’s emotional manipulation,” Vereint said. “That, or black magic.”

“Hah. Right?” Caspian forced himself to relax. They were going to eat some food, do a little shopping, and watch a classic movie. Everything was fine.

* * *

Vereint felt as if he’d done something wrong. Not in the “Whoops, forgot I wasn’t a supervillain anymore” way, but in the accidentally stepped into someone’s flashback kind of way.

Caspian was usually such a happy-go-lucky guy that it was a bit jarring to see him be serious, broody even. He wasn’t supposed to even have an expression like that, as though he’d been kicked too many times and expected to be kicked some more.

Vereint nearly suggested they turn the taxi around and go back to the penthouse. Warrick would know what to do to fix Caspian’s mood. Warrick would take one look and know exactly what to say to make everything all right.

Instead, Vereint decided they were going to do this. They would have a good evening and Vereint would do what he could to turn Caspian’s mood around. It was what a friend would do.

“It’s my fault Warrick is so into Asian dramas, you know,” he said.

“What?”

“Seriously. It’s my fault. I got him to watch A Tale of Two Sisters and he ended up really liking it.” Vereint could see Caspian relaxing. “He looked up the actress that played Su-mi, and somehow ended up discovering the the girl that played the younger sister. He is probably Moon Geun-Young’s biggest fan.”

“I have no idea what you just said, but it sounds like Warrick’s MO.” Caspian fiddled with his phone before tucking it into his pocket. “I bought our tickets. You should tell me more stuff about Warrick.”

“Why do I feel like you’re gathering blackmail material?” Vereint asked.

“I just have one one of those faces?” Caspian made what was supposed to be an endearing expression.

Vereint snorted. “Is that face supposed to work on me?”

“I don’t know, is it working?”

“Kind of,” Vereint said. “Did Warrick’s sudden obsession with kdramas spook you?”

“I’ve gotten used to it over the years, but it was definitely a surprise at first. It was very unexpected of him.”

“He always tries to keep us on our toes, huh?” Vereint smiled fondly. Warrick was one topic of conversation he could stick with for hours.

“He’s a good guy. You’re lucky to have him,” Caspian said.

“I know,” Vereint agreed.

The taxi cruised to a stop and Vereint was surprised to see they were at the restaurant. The drive from Tobias Towers usually felt longer.

“We’re here,” he said. “This conversation goes on the ‘To be continued’ pile.”

He offered the driver some cash, then climbed out of the taxi. He breathed in the rich scent of garlic and beef that wafted his way when a group of laughing people left the restaurant. The smell made his stomach rumble.

“I am starving,” he said. “I was expecting to get some food after the meeting. We usually get some delivery.”

“What kind of meeting was it?”

Old instincts and deep-seated shame made Vereint want to hunch his shoulders, but he refrained. He had no reason to feel ashamed for seeking out the help he needed.

“I signed up for some group therapy,” he said after swallowing heavily. He avoided meeting Caspian’s eyes. “It’s been doing a lot of good.”

The silence dragged a few seconds too long, but Caspian’s “That’s good” sounded sincere.

Vereint decided to ignore the awkwardness. He strode up to the restaurant and held the door open. “These guys make the best pho in town. Have you ever eaten here?”

“I don’t think so,” Caspian said. “I would definitely recognize that big striped tiger painting. That thing is awesome.”

“I’ve tried to buy it, but they told me no.” Vereint smiled at the hostess when she came to meet them. “Two please. Can we get a booth?”

“Certainly. Come this way.”

They settled in after giving their drinks order–one soda and one pot of tea to be shared. Vereint barely glanced at the menu before setting it aside. He was here for the pho and that was what he’d be ordering.

“You wanna share some gyoza and terriyaki chicken?” Caspian looked at him over the top of the menu he held.

“Sure,” Vereint said. “Get an order of white rice with the chicken. It’s good stuff.”

The waitress came back with their drinks and they ordered. Vereint added barbecue pork and edamame to the order.

“That’s going to be a lot of food,” the waitress said.

“We’re hungry,” Vereint said, giving her a smile.

“I’ll be back shortly with your food,” she said.

Once they were alone, Vereint poured them both cups of tea. “It’s kind of nice to get out of the house every once and a while. It keeps the walls from closing in on me.”

“Well, if you ever need an excuse to go out, I enjoy eating free food and I’m always down with having company when I go to the movies,” Caspian said.

“I’m always happy to spend Warrick’s money. We could go on shopping sprees and eat out at expensive places,” Vereint said. “We could have a lot of fun while Warrick and Melissa binge-watch kdramas. It could be our thing.”

It was only after he’d said it that Vereint wondered if he sounded completely pathetic. He was the needy friendless guy latching onto his husband’s best friend like some kind of suckerfish.

“Sure,” Caspian said. “Sounds fun.”

“Cool,” Vereint said suavely.

His moment of social awkwardness was smoothed over by the waitress arriving with the food. She carried everything on a large tray and there was a bit of time where plates and bowls were arranged around the table. After the waitress left, there were a few minutes where Vereint and Caspian busied themselves preparing their pho the way they liked it–Vereint added a handful of beansprouts and most of the jalapenos to his along with a good amount of hoisin and Sriracha.

The scent of the pho made his stomach rumble hungrily. With his metahuman metabolism he could have gone weeks or even months without eating, but that didn’t mean a steaming bowl of pho didn’t bring out his appetite.

Vereint ate his first mouthful of noodles and swallowed his appreciative moans down as well. Food-related sex noises weren’t something he was prepared to release into a crowded restaurant.

“So good,” he murmured.

Caspian grunted in agreement, taking a bit out of a gyoza. “I can’t believe Warrick’s never told me about this place.”

“It’s because he’s selfish. He doesn’t like the idea of anyone eating good food without him.”

“Hah.” Caspian was a neat if hearty eater. Food made it into his mouth without a single drop being spared, his lips closing as he chewed.

“What was it like growing up in the ocean?” Vereint asked.

“Wet. Very, very wet,” Caspian said. “It’s so wet you don’t even notice it anymore. It feels like flying when you go anywhere and there’s so much nutrient in the water that just breathing keeps you from being hungry.”

“Sounds lovely,” Vereint said.

Caspian laughed. “Yeah, if you like the taste of fish and swimming in your own toilet. Food can be cooked using geothermal vents, but there’s the risk of sudden heat spikes flash-boiling the chef. Culinary delights are few and far between under the sea. Tasting food from the Above World for the first time was a true revelation. I’ve never looked back.”

“Huh. I always thought life under the see would be great,” Vereint said. “I guess Sebastian lied.”

“Never trust a crab. They spend so much time in their shells that they’ve got no clue how life really works,” Caspian said.

“Good to know.” Vereint nibbled on a chicken strip speared by a wooden skewer, glad the cook hadn’t used too much teriyaki sauce. “This chicken is delicious.”

Caspian took a bite out of his own chicken. “Mm, you’re right. This place is going on my list of places to revisit.”

Vereint set down the skewer and lifted his fork to begin eating his pho. After a few minutes he asked Caspian, “Can you really talk to crabs?”

Caspian laughed.

TBC…

Would it be “geothermal vents” under the ocean? I know what I’m thinking of, but I don’t think I’m using the right terminology :/

Here I am, back from outer space

I have returned!

I didn’t go very far, I was just away from a computer for a few weeks. It sucked, but I made it out alive. Plus I had time to do some writing… which didn’t do me much good.

Our first attempt at aquaponics has ended in failure :( The fish died and were sadly buried in the garbage can.

It wasn’t our fault — I’m a registered fish killer, but these ones were not my victims. The pet store sold us ich infected fish that ended up floating belly up. We should have gone back for a refund, but by the time we realized the fish in the store’s tanks were covered in spots and acting sickly, we’d already thrown the deaders in the garbage. So the whole fish experience was a waste of money and a wash. Sucks.

We’re trying again with some new fish that my brother special ordered. Hopefully I’ll be growing lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes in just a few days. Fingers crossed!

CDandHBFH 02 [Caspian Dukes and Vereint Georges]

Title: Caspian Dukes and His Best Friend’s Husband
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Frame set: Allies & Enemies, “Good Times”
Characters: Caspian Dukes, Vereint Georges, Warrick Tobias, Melissa Kim
Pairings: Vereint Georges/Warrick Tobias
Genre: friendship, superhero, meta
Summary: Vereint and Caspian go see a movie together.

I don’t know why Caspian is so broody here. Maybe it’s because his mother was a jerk.
—-

The elevator door dinged open and Caspian walked across the lobby with Vereint.

“There’s that new sci-fi thriller about the brain bugs,” Caspian said without much enthusiasm. The poster was glossy and exciting, but the premise was a little too close to his real life.

“I saw that last week,” Vereint said. “The best scenes in the whole movie were all in the trailer. I hate when they do that.”

“Ugh,” Caspian agreed. He kept pace with Vereint while staring at the screen of his phone. “There’s a new Adam Sandler movie.”

Vereint’s grimace was louder than words. Caspian continued the search. Megacity had many cinemas, most were modern movie theaters, but others were small corner theaters that were nearly hidden away from the public.

“Ooh, there’s a showing of Lawrence of Arabia at the Chinese Theater,” Caspian said. “But it starts at ten.”

Vereint glanced at his watch before pushing open one of the double doors and stepping outside. He politely held the door open for Caspian. “That gives us nearly three hours to kill. We could get something to eat before the movie. Plus Melissa’s birthday is coming up and there’s always cool stuff in the Asian Village.”

“Is that where the giant Hello Kitty came from?” Caspian had been stunned at the size of the monstrosity, which took up one whole corner of Melissa’s large bedroom. The white puffy marshmallow of a doll was so massive that Melissa had let one of her friends use it as a mattress during a sleepover.

“How do you know about that?” Vereint asked. He stepped close to the curb and waved his hand. A taxi obediently pulled up in front of him. He opened the door and gestured Caspian in first.

Caspian talked even as he got himself settled. “She showed it to me. I’ve never seen such a big stuffed animal before. I didn’t even know they really made them like that.”

Vereint directed the driver to take them to a pho restaurant in the Asian Village. “I had no idea either,” he told Caspian, picking up the thread of conversation. “My mom showed up with it and expected us to know where to put it. That thing’s way too gigantic, and even though Hello Kitty is cute, that doll is creepy. I’d give it away, but Melissa loves it, the spooky thing.”

“I don’t know. It’s kind of cool,” Caspian said. “Hello Kitty is so cheery I can’t even imagine what could bother you about it.”

“That’s because you’ve only seen it with the lights on,” Vereint said. “Trust me, it’s a whole different story coming across that thing in the dark. It’s positively malevolent. It just seems threatening.”

Caspian rolled his eyes with a laugh. “Next time I face Mindscape, this conversation is going to come back and haunt me, I just know it.”

“Warrick would never give you any peace if he heard you were terrorized by a giant Hello Kitty,” Vereint said. “You might even stop being his favorite superhero.”

“I’m everyone’s favorite superhero.” Caspian met the taxi driver’s eye in the mirror and gave her a polite nod. As an open superhero–especially one with physically inhuman features–he was used to being recognized. At least the citizens of Megacity didn’t come after him for autographs all the time–they were too cool for that.

Being famous was never something Caspian had ever stopped to think about. He’d gone from his birth place in Atlantis to the Above World, and he’d never known anything other than fame. Or maybe it was infamy in Atlantis, where his human blood made him his mother’s greatest shame.

He hadn’t hesitated to leave Atlantis for the Above. There were always people staring at him, examining him from head to foot as though silently wondering what he was made of. It should have made him self-conscious, but he’d never cared. He’d never let himself care, refusing to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing his vulnerability.

He was Caspian Dukes and he didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought. He was a warrior, brave and true. The blood of Atlantean royalty flowed through his veins. Who cared that it was diluted by the humanity of his father? He was what he was: a hero.

TBC…

EDIT: “head to food” lol.

* * *

Check out “Allies & Enemies” at: All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookStrand, Goodreads, iTunes, Kobo, Less Than Three Press, Smashwords. — superhero, urban fantasy, mm, drama. Darkstar x Blue Ice.

CDandHBFH 01 [Caspian Dukes and Vereint Georges]

Title: Caspian Dukes and His Best Friend’s Husband
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Frame set: Allies & Enemies, “Good Times”
Characters: Caspian Dukes, Vereint Georges, Warrick Tobias, Melissa Kim
Pairings: Vereint Georges/Warrick Tobias
Genre: friendship, superhero, meta
Summary: Vereint and Caspian go see a movie together.

“I’m back! The meeting was cut short and…” Vereint stopped, looking around the room. “What the…”

Caspian was cradled sideways in his usual armchair, his legs dangling over the arm. He slept with his mouth open, his head tipped back to expose the long line of his throat.

Warrick and Melissa shared the couch, Vereint’s The Nightmare Before Christmas blanket spread across their laps. There were used tissues piled on the coffee table amongst the remnants of earlier snacks. Both of them had red eyes and streaming noses.

The twin expressions of shocked surprise Vereint received made him laugh. The sudden bright sound startled Caspian into jerking upright in his chair. “What?”

“It’s okay, go back to sleep,” Vereint said. He smiled at the way Warrick embarrassedly swept tissues off the couch into an empty chip bag. “What are you watching that has the two of you so emotional?”

Helpless tears streamed down Melissa’s face. She blew her nose into the handful of tissues she held. “It’s a Taiwanese drama, ‘Autumn Concerto.’ I wasn’t expecting it to be like this–he’s such a jerk!–but it’s so sad. It’s full of feelings.”

Caspian groaned and sat up in his chair with a spine popping stretch. “I was lured here under false pretenses. Instead of the promised action movie marathon, I got to watch Warrick pretend that he wasn’t crying. I feel cheated.”

“This is a great show! It’s not my fault that you lack all semblance of good taste.” Warrick was trying to sound aggrieved, but his eyes kept cutting toward the TV. He came across as distracted.

“How many episodes does this show have, and what episode are you on now?” Vereint asked. He didn’t want a repeat of the Dong-yi debacle where Warrick mainlined the show without saying there were 60 episodes.

“There’s 34 episodes,” Warrick said. “I think this is episode 20, but I’m not sure.”

“Hm.” Vereint turned toward Caspian. “Since my plans for the evening are shot, do you want to go see a movie with me? These guys can finish watching their show and neither one of us has to cry.”

Caspian looked from Warrick and Melissa huddled on the couch with teary eyes to Vereint. “This is not a hard choice at all. Let’s go.” He nearly leapt out of the chair to reach his shoes where they’d been kicked under the coffee table.

Vereint waited for him patiently, then gave Warrick and Melissa a little finger wave as they left. “Laters. Me and Caspian are off to actually live life, rather than watch it on TV.”

“This story is beautiful. You have no idea what you’re missing,” Melissa said.

“I’m good,” Vereint said. And they left.

* * *

“So, what movie do you want to see?” Caspian asked. He leaned against the elevator wall as he scrolled through movie show times on his phone.

“Whatever you want,” Vereint said. “The world is our oyster.”

Caspian felt a little strange, since he’d never hung out with Vereint alone, but figured it would be a fun experience. It would be good to get along with his best friend’s husband.

Vereint Georges-Tobias was a quiet kind of guy. He lurked in the background of most situations, letting Warrick handle things. When he did put himself forward, he easily dominated any conversation and quickly became the center of things. He was the most unassuming and effortlessly popular person Caspian had ever met, and he truly and deeply loved Warrick.

On first meeting Vereint, Caspian had seen the handsome face and the doting expression Warrick wore when he looked at him, and he’d figured there was going to be trouble. Vereint was yet another greedy pretty boy out to take Warrick’s money and break his heart. The fact that Warrick actually had feelings for Vereint only made things worse.

Vereint had surprised him in a good way. Witty and charming and surprisingly sweet-natured, the feelings he had for Warrick couldn’t be anything less than sincere. It was a relief for Caspian, who had genuinely worried.

A heart-broken Warrick was not something he ever wanted to see.

TBC…

—-

Check out “Allies & Enemies” at: All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookStrand, Goodreads, iTunes, Less Than Three Press, Smashwords. — superhero, urban fantasy, mm, drama. Darkstar x Blue Ice.