Categories > Books > Anita Blake > Friends1 Reviews
Caleb reaches out for a friend. Pairing: CalebxGregory Non-Canon/ten chapters/completed 7/10
It was good to be out of Anita's house and away from her constant supervision; good to have his own place but some things hadn't changed. Evidently it was his destiny to be Nathaniel's watcher. When he'd tried to say no Anita informed him it was his duty to make sure Nathaniel was safe, part of being a Pard member.
"Caleb, I'm counting on you to do this for me. Pard members take care of each other. You don't want to disappoint me, Caleb." Anita made disappointing her sound like something he'd be really sorry about; he wouldn't disappoint her.
He still didn't understand why it was his job to keep Nathaniel. He wasn't sleeping with him. But he could count on a call from Anita, at least once a week and usually more, to take Nathaniel somewhere. He'd tried to discuss it with Merle but Merle just gave him that cold stare and he'd backed off. The last conversation he'd had with Merle involved threats. He knew Merle well enough to know they weren't idle threats either.
"Caleb." Merle had said his name like it left a bad taste in his mouth. "Caleb, you are a no good trouble maker and I don't want to hear that you gave anyone in the Pard a hard time." Merle took his knife out and carefully tested the razor sharp edge on his thumb; it drew a fine line of blood, and coated the edge of the knife.
"If you know what's good for you and you like all those fancy piercings, you'll do just what you're told. And like it." Merle had reached over with the knife and flicked the silver ring in Caleb's belly button, pulling on the ring until the skin stretched taut before he released it. Merle wiped the blood off his knife using Caleb's denim covered thigh, then flipped the blade back in place. Caleb shivered when he thought about it. Merle's cold smile was the most frightening part.
Sharing an apartment with Gregory was not what Caleb expected; not what he'd hoped. He'd thought Greg was interested in him but Greg was almost invisible since he'd moved in, and decidedly less friendly. Caleb had suggested they do things together. Gregory was always busy. He was nice to Gregory and tried to talk to him; Greg went in his room and shut the door. He saw more of Greg on stage at Guilty Pleasures than he did at the apartment and he was spending way too much time doing that.
"Hey, Greg. Let's catch a movie. I'll let you hold my hand." Caleb spoke in his most sultry tones and had smiled his best smile. It never failed, until now. Gregory had eyed him coldly and said he had to rehearse. Caleb offered to go along and watch. "No" was all the answer he got. He thought Gregory was playing hard to get but there were no more friendly conversations or long glances; no more blushes. He'd never tried so hard with so little result. And Gregory's nearness was driving him crazy. He should go out, see people, bring them home and let Greg know other people wanted him. Instead he just acted like a fool and sat in the apartment; alone.
What had he been thinking when he asked Caleb to move in? The more he saw him the more he thought about him, the more he wanted to be with him. Caleb didn't think about him that way. He didn't even want to be friends. He was full of smart remarks and sarcasm, even his invitations to go out sounded insulting. Now he didn't even offer insult or sarcasm; they hardly spoke.
Gregory stayed away as much as possible or had people over; anything to avoid being there alone with Caleb. The apartment was full of him, his scent, his presence, him. He could stand in the doorway of Caleb's room and watch him sleep, dark curls falling over his eyes, brown skin against white sheets, curled up, hugging his pillow. He had the answer to his question; no tan lines.
Caleb's new job kept him busy. Minding Nathaniel ate up more time. Gregory never seemed to be home, and if he was there were other people there, too. Caleb hadn't considered how much of the Pard he'd be seeing when he'd decided it would be a good idea to share an apartment with another leopard. Somehow they seemed more tolerant of him since he'd moved in with Gregory but he wasn't sure if it was a good thing or not.
Everyone but Gregory seemed more comfortable with Caleb's physical presence but he couldn't get any closer to Greg not when they were alone. Sometimes he thought the Pard got in his way but at least Greg was there when they came over. When they were all together at least Gregory didn't shy away from him; he was comfortable as long as Caleb didn't push. Caleb began to look forward to the Pard's visits, the chance to be close to Greg.
Merle just looked hard at him if he dared complain, anyway; sometimes he took his knife out, and wiped it down, watching Caleb the whole time. It made Caleb nervous and very co-operative. Yeah, he'd be damned happy to watch Nathaniel. Yes, it was great to have the whole Pard sitting in the living room, every evening. Once a week at Anita's house? Terrific!
Tonight was the weekly get together at Anita's. He couldn't get out of that either. At least he wouldn't have to worry about keeping Nathaniel out of trouble. Maybe Gregory would give him a ride to Anita's, or he could call Merle, no contest there. If he were lucky Gregory would be home when he got off work.
Occasionally he fantasized about walking in the door, yelling out "Honey, I'm home!", and then catching Greg up in his arms and planting a big kiss on his mouth. He didn't fancy explaining that to Merle. Merle had no sense of humor. Of course in his fantasy there was no reason to drag Merle into it because no one complained. He didn't think Ozzie and Harriet did the things he thought about doing with Gregory, but in his fantasies Gregory was more than willing.
There was a note on the counter. Caleb, if you need a ride meet me a Guilty Pleasures this afternoon. Greg. Okay, he could do that. Even if it meant that the whole Pard would be in the car and at Anita's. He might as well get a job as a stripper; he spent enough time at Guilty Pleasures. He would get some sleep until it was time to meet Gregory. His dreams were filled with slender blonds who were soft and warm and disappeared all too quickly.
"Hey, Caleb." Nathaniel always looked happy to see him. He was about the only one. "Going to Anita's?" Nathaniel liked the weekly get-togethers. Nathaniel was disgustingly happy these days, Caleb thought darkly. He guessed compared to what he knew about Nathaniel's old life things were pretty good.
"Yes, when do we leave?" Caleb wasn't anxious to be there but he didn't want to sit around and do nothing either. There wasn't anyone else in yet. The club was usually empty in the afternoons except for dancers rehearsing. Gregory was nowhere in sight; Nathaniel looked ready to go. "Where's Greg?"
"He's almost finished; he's making sure his music is cued right." Nathaniel looked expectantly at the stage as the lights changed and the music came up, Caleb's eyes followed. Watching Gregory dance had always been a pleasure; he could wait to go to Anita's. Nathaniel stood up "I forgot something backstage. I'll be right back." He was gone and Caleb was sitting alone in the dark watching the stage.
Gregory wondered how he'd let Nathaniel talk him into this, why he'd thought it would be good idea? Caleb saw him dance all the time; he never paid any attention. What would make this different? The music started, the spot light found him, too late to think about it.