by Teresa Cain



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For once, Davy really, really didn't want to cancel. Tonight wasn't just a date, it was a celebration. An anniversary celebration. He and Iolanthe had been together six months today (wow!), and it was also the night before an emergency meeting called by the investors to see where the company was at the moment. There were rumors of debt and threats of forced bankruptcy and Mark wanted them fucking reassured ZauberCorp was still in the black - even if it meant keeping every one of the administrative personnel working all damn night to get the figures together.

And that included David.

But he'd had to cancel so many times on Iolanthe because of company business, but this had been important to her. He could see the hurt and disappointment in her eyes. Hurt and disappointment and...


She was pissed.

Not angry, not furious, but pissed. The feathers on her wings were starting to fluff, rising like the hackles on an angry pit bull, going nicely with the sparks flashing her golden eyes.


What the hell was she doing with duct tape?

* * * * *

"Aerael, I promise you - tonight I definitely cannot play... not unless you and the other investors don't really want those figures in tomorrow's meeting."

The black-feathered incubus plucked the pen out of Mark's hand and hauled him to his feet. "Screw the figures... we've gotta get to Davy's office."

"What? Why?"

"I met Iolanthe on the way over here. She had on her 'I'm pissed and I've just done something very bad to make myself feel better' face. She said something about Davy canceling an anniversary dinner tonight. She also said something about him being really fucking attached to his job now, so I think we'd better go make sure he's not lying around his office in several quivering vampire lumps."

The two rushed for the stairs, not wanting to wait on the elevator, then flew past the startled secretary, into Davy's office -

- and stopped.



"Yeah yeah," Davy muttered petulantly, his face completely red to the roots of his blond hair. "Now get me fucking down."

Mark was never one to lose his composure in any situation (except for sex... and only then with Aerael), but he knew he would lose on this one. His mouth twitched once, twice... and then he began to positively howl with laughter. At first he thought the office had a strange echo, but then he realized Aerael was laughing right along with him. The two clutched at each other for support while they howled until the tears ran down their cheeks.

And all the while Davy glared at them.

Iolanthe had duct taped the vampire to the wall.

She had done a very thorough job. Somehow she'd gotten him naked beforehand, and then had obviously used an entire roll or more of the stuff to attach him to the glass window wall - which meant he was mooning any of New York's fliers that happened to fly by. His arms were bound above his head so couldn't find the leverage to push himself free. He was a vampire fly in a duct tape spiderweb. His chest, arms, wings and legs were positively silver with the stuff.

"She h-had to have used m-more than one roll," Aerael gasped, hugging Mark. "Oh sweet Bacchus..."

Mark gently disengaged himself from the incubus, who staggered over to the desk for continued support. Snickering, he gestured to a very strategically placed piece of tape. "Now that is going to hurt when it comes off."

"Mark, will you kindly shut the hell up and get me off the window?"

"How did she get you to stand still for this?"

"It wasn't my fault! She used enough of her glamour that everything was a pretty pink fog!"

"What happened to your null field?"

"I always keep in reigned in for her," Davy muttered sullenly. "By the time she let up enough that I realized what she was doing, I was already really taped up. Now will you please get me off?"

Aerael giggled. "I don't think Mark's into incest, but hey, I could probably - "

"Shut up, Aerael. Mark, get me off this fucking glass before someone sees me!"

"Too late. Two succubae just flew by and are giggling quite emphatically. Ah, one of them just mouthed 'Nice ass.'"


"This just begs for a picture," Aerael said, shoulders still shaking. "It'd look great on the company newsletter."

"Didn't I tell you to shut up?"

Aerael grinned a feral grin. "Say Mark. I think the problem of getting the tape off without flaying him in return is a bit of an engineering problem, don't you think?"

Mark stepped back, giving the duct taped cocooned vampire a considering look. "Hmm... perhaps you're right. I could try and burn away the tape using Chaos magic, but I really have no idea how it might react."

"I bet Gabe could come up with a likely solution. He's bright like that."

"No," Davy growled, eyes narrowing to little slits. "You are not getting Gabe up here. Dammit, Mark! Put down the phone!"

* * * * *

The centaur arrived, stared, then actually lay down and began to roll with laughter. His legs kicked convulsively and he lost himself in his mirth for several minutes, which only set off Mark and Aerael again. Mark finally had to be led off before he gave himself an aneurysm, promising he'd be back later to help.

When Gabe finally composed himself, he quickly deduced that rubbing alcohol would probably be the best solution, so he called up several team members and had them bring as much alcohol as they could find in the labs.

"You could have only called up the guys on your team," Davy hissed, blushing even redder as one young woman giggled profusely.

"Nah. No way."

"Yes, what was I thinking?" Davy replied dryly. "You're far too evil for that. This is all over the company, isn't it?"


"I'm gonna have to kill myself as soon as I'm free, aren't I?"

"Possibly. There won't be a female in this building who won't fall into giggling fits at the sight of you for weeks on end. Mark will never let you live this down. Aerael will tease you until you have to kill yourself. By the way, no offense, but I think I'm in love with your girlfriend now."

"Really?" Davy muttered, glaring at the ceiling and trying not to hear the giggles. "Want her?"

* * * * *

Iolanthe was curled up on the couch in purple cotton PJs, halfway through a half-gallon of double-chocolate-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough ice cream and watching badly made 70s porn when Davy stalked in through the balcony window.

"So... finally get done, huh?"

"I'm going to kill you."

"How'd they get you down?"

"I'm going to fucking kill you."

"Bacchus! Why does it smell like alcohol in here all of a sudden?"

"I'm going to tie your wings together and throw you off the fucking balcony."

She finally turned and gave him a bland stare. "You never cuss convincingly. You're really going to have to work on that."

Davy stared at her for a long, silent moment, then turned and slowly began to stalk back outside.

"Hey! Where are you going?"

He paused. "All night sex shop. Handcuffs. Lubricants. Whips. Chains. Anything else that catches my eye and looks capable of making you scream. Then back here... if I don't make a stop for duct tape first."

Iolanthe slumped back into the cushions and smirked. "Now that's what I call an anniversary celebration."


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