This is a first draft of what is currently scene 22.
Context: the runaways have just spent their first night on the run in a motel room. They wake to find a man where there should be a dog.
Note: a springer is someone who can boost locks just by running their hands over them. The kiss alluded to sounds like Vlad kissed a dog. He didn’t. He was kissed by someone unexpected to distract him from river lust (the overwhelming urge to throw himself into a river – a vampire thing).
POV: third person, Jay’s perspective.
As soon as Jay Looper rolled onto his back, the kid scrambled away and jumped out of the bed, flinging the covers at him. A blonde girl he hadn’t seen before was peering over the dark-haired girl’s shoulder, a wary look on her wide-eyed face. The vampire was watching Sunny with amusement.
“Whoa! Who the fuck are you?” Sunny shouted. “What have you done to my dog?”
“Do I look like I’m in any position to do anything to anyone?”
“I dunno, man,” said the blonde girl, her voice husky with sleep. “You looked like you were in a position to bang Sunny good and hard.”
Jay grinned as he raised his arm above his head and stretched his body beneath the covers. “Get attached to the dog did you?”
“Where is he?” Sunny whistled. “Tripod?”
Jay groaned. “How can we be related?”
“Related what? Who are you?”
“Jay Looper,” said the blonde girl. “That’s right, isn’t it? The cherry guy.”
“The cherry guy?” said Jay, pushing himself upright against the headboard.
“I served you at Lucky D’s a couple of days ago,” she said.
“Nah, that was a guy,” said Jay. “Where’s my arm?”
Everyone seemed to notice Jay’s missing arm at once, a collective gasp rising, and all eyes momentarily on his shoulder before flicking to his face.
“That was me,” said the girl, turning into the blonde guy from the bar. His voice deepened. “And your arm is still in the van.”
“Can you get it for me, Sunny,” said Jay, looking up at the mussed-up kid still standing there, hands on hips. “And my clothes. They were behind the passenger seat.”
“How do you know my name?” said Sunny, pulling on his shorts.
“Even if he hadn’t already said your name just now,” said Jay, running his hand lazily down his chest, “I’ve heard it enough times in the last thirty-six hours. Besides, I came back to Vegas to find you. Or Jenna did. Fuck, I’m starving.” He threw the covers back and dropped his feet to the floor. “You got anything to eat in here?”
Jay had never been shy about his body, which was just as well, because everyone was looking at it while he paced around the room looking for food.
“You mind covering up your ass?” said Freya.
“You don’t like it?” he said, flexing his cheeks.
“It’s not as good as Indy’s,” said Freya.
Indy blushed, and Jay smirked. “Hurry up and get my clothes, kid. This lady is offended by my arse.”
“I’ll go,” said Indy, sliding out of the bed so he didn’t let any heat escape. He pulled on a pair of jeans from his suitcase, then looked up at the vampire. “What? I was too hot to keep the shirt on.”
“Vlad, right?” said Jay, a wicked grin on his face. Vlad nodded. “That was one hell of a kiss yesterday.”
Vlad scowled at Jay.
“Key?” said Indy, holding out his hand.
“You won’t need it,” said Jay. “Jenna trusts you by now.”
“Who the fuck is Jenna?”
“The van,” said Jay.
“Speaking of,” said Indy, “Astaroth said we need to change it. Any idea what that means?”
“When you get my stuff, tell her I said she needs a paint job.”
Indy put on a different face, and trotted outside barefoot in just his jeans. Freya snuggled further under the covers when the vampire looked at her. Jay wasn’t sure whether she was hiding from his body or hiding her own.
“I need food,” said Jay. “But not more than I need a piss.”
“Jesus, do you just say everything that comes into your mind?” said Freya.
“Usually,” said Jay, heading for the bathroom.
He slammed the door shut behind him, but he could still hear them talking. He stared at his reflection in the mirror above the toilet. Who the fuck puts a mirror above a toilet? Do normal people like to watch themselves pissing? He still looked like a dog. He needed a hairbrush and a shave. It didn’t look like he had any new scars, though there was a bruise on his ribs where the pain had hit. He had no idea what kind of curse would’ve turned him into a dog.
He flushed, washed his hands then threw water on his face. Someone banged on the door.
“What do you mean we’re related?” Sunny yelled.
Jay opened the cupboard beneath the sink, where there was a bundle of new toothbrushes. He chose a red one.
“Are you a fucking dog? Damn, that’s a bad trick to play on a guy. Were you my dog?”
“Of course he was your fucking dog, you moron,” Vlad mumbled.
Jay snorted a laugh, then brushed his teeth.
“Hey, are you listening to me?” Sunny banged on the door again. “I liked that dog. You suck.”
“What are you, four?” said Vlad.
“Shut up, Dracula. And how did you know I was in Vegas?”
Jay opened the door, and Sunny fell into him, straightening quickly.
“Don’t make any one-armed bandit jokes,” said Jay, narrowing his eyes as he looked down at Sunny. “I see how your mind works.”
Sunny scowled. “I wasn’t going to.”
“Good. Because even with one arm, I could knock the living shit out of you. I’d use my prosthesis as a club. How about that?”
“I’m sorry I called you Tripod,” said Sunny, looking contrite.
Jay thought he was adorable. “I’m just kidding.” He slapped Sunny’s shoulder. “Hey, lighten up. I was kidding.”
“He doesn’t like being touched,” said Vlad.
Sunny spun around to look at Vlad, then back at Jay.
“You’ve been snuggling up to me for thirty-six hours straight, dude,” said Jay.
“British guys shouldn’t say dude,” said Sunny, a sulky pout overtaking his mouth. “Y’all sound stupid saying dude.”
“One’s criticism is duly noted,” said Jay, in his best imitation of the Queen. In his normal voice, he said, “No comment on the snuggling?”
Sunny shrugged. “You were a cute dog. So … we’re related?”
Jay nodded. “Brothers,” he said, as Indy came back in with his arm and caught an eyeful of genitalia.
“Still naked?” said Indy, throwing the clothes on the bed, and handing Jay his arm. “You couldn’t wrap it in a towel or something?”
Jay sat on the bed. “What took you so long?”
“You didn’t tell me I’d have to coax the door open. I damn near had to seduce your van to get it to let me in.”
“Did you call her an it?” said Jay, turning away from everyone as he set about attaching his arm. “She doesn’t like being misgendered.”
“Man, that ain’t funny,” said Indy.
“And I ain’t laughing. She doesn’t like being called it. Vans can have feelings too, you know.”
“Shut up! Shut up!” Sunny’s hands were up in the air, and his head was down. He looked like a preach meme. “How can I be your brother?”
“Willow Wyatt is my mother,” said Jay.
“But you’re British.”
“English, yeah. So?”
“So how can we be brothers?”
“You’ve heard of travel, yes?” said Jay, raising an eyebrow. “I guess our mother got around. I don’t know. I never knew her.”
“You don’t look like her,” said Sunny.
“I look like my dad,” said Jay, a thunderous feeling starting to build in his head. He pulled on his jeans, then his t-shirt.
“I look like my mom.”
“I know. I’ve seen pictures of her. She’s very beautiful.”
“Are you saying I’m beautiful?” said Sunny.
“Dude, you’re my brother.”
“Dude, no dude.”
“I can’t help it. I had an Americanised childhood. It was traumatic and left me with linguistic throwbacks and cultural scars.”
For a moment, Jay thought Indy and Freya were shagging in the other bed, then he realised that Indy was sitting on the floor by Vlad, who was still huddled beneath the blankets on the tiny sofa.
“What are you doing?” said Jay. “You look like Houdini trying to get out of a sack.”
“I’m getting dressed,” Freya hissed.
Jay laughed. It earned him twin glares from her lover boys.
“So Indy? You can flip between the D and the V?”
“You’re a gross little man, you know that?” said Indy. “I liked you better when you were a dog. Speaking of, it’s a bit rich dragging me for flipping when you can turn into a dog.”
Vlad sat up, which tugged at the covers behind Indy. He leant forward and turned as the covers slipped off Vlad’s chest. He might’ve had more scars than Jay. He watched the two men look at each other, and a wave of shame washed over him.
“First,” said Jay, “I wasn’t dragging you because you can flip. I was, as you say, being a gross little man. I forget sometimes that other people are … people. I’m not fabulous at being around others, so sorry for being offensive. And second, I can’t turn into a dog. I don’t know how that happened. I was cursed or something, and it somehow wore off.”
“It didn’t somehow wear off,” said Indy. “Whoever cursed you is dead. That’s how this shit works.”
“He was fine when I left him,” said Jay. “Well, not fine exactly. Maybe he was eaten by wolves.”
“Some guys came into the casino looking for you,” said Indy. “The day after I served you at the bar.”
Jay had heard them discussing it in the van, but he really wasn’t ready to talk about any of that. “What guys?”
“Angels,” said Freya, emerging from her cocoon fully-dressed. “There’s a photo of one of them in your van.”
“I doubt it,” he said. “I don’t know any angels.”
“They know you,” said Freya. “The one in the photo has blue hair now though.”
Jay’s grin was so instant that he knew he’d given himself away. “I told you—”
Freya rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, you don’t know any angels.”
“She says I’m an angel,” said Sunny. “That my real father is an angel.”
“I know one angel,” Jay amended.
“So, it’s true?”
“Yeah. You’re a springer, so it’ll be Sandalphon. His whole line would make a fine organisation of burglars if they weren’t so angelic.” Jay snorted as he remembered the not-so-angelic branch of Sandalphon’s tree.
“The angels were from Cascade,” said Freya. “That makes you as wanted as we are. Isn’t that fun?”
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