Breed Book 3, Part 12

Drake popped the top off a hard lemonade with the bottle-opener built into the fridge. “I’ve heard, through the grapevine, that this is your drink.”

Irene was coy, “I’m not technically old enough to drink that,” she said.

“And I’m not technically offering it to you.” He set it down on the counter, and took the beer he was nursing to the couch.

“Yeah, he didn’t technically offer me one, either,” Iago said, brushing past her to get into the fridge. He used the same opener to pop the top, then took a swig. “You really should drink it while it’s cold, cause as a wise girl once said, you can’t possibly have more if you hadn’t had any.”

Irene frowned, then picked up the bottle. Iago clinked with her, then took another swig.

He nodded towards the front room, then took a running leap over the back of the couch, landing next to a nonplussed Drake. “Now normally,” Tucker started, plodding down the stairs, “a young woman such as yourself drinking with a pair of older college bros like this I might warn. But I’m honestly not sure either of them would know what to do with a woman if one fell in their laps. They’re probably more dangerous to each others’ hymens- and I mean that in literally every sense of the word.”

Drake raised a middle finger to him without leaving the couch. “What he gestured,” Iago said.

Tucker stopped in the kitchen and ducked his head in the fridge. “Mind if I grab one?” he asked.

“Go ahead,” Iago said. “But I’m not getting the next pack.”

“I mean, I don’t think any of us should be driving after drinking. I’m not sure the same prohibitions apply to teleportation.”

“I- provided I can walk straight- I can grab it. But I’m not paying for the whole thing.”

“Oh. Yeah. Of course I’ll chip in.”

“Uh,” Iago said.

“And of course I’ll chip in for my brother, who somehow never seems to have any money whatsoever.”

“Have I told you lately how pretty you are?” Iago asked, batting his eyes at Tucker.

“Not… really the vibe I’m going for these days.”

“I meant macho,” he said, thrusting out his chest, “Manly. Strapping.” With every new word his chest got wider.

“I really hope he said ‘ping,’” Drake whispered loudly.

“I did; don’t be a dick.”

“Thanks,” Irene said, sitting in a lounger opposite the couch, “for the lemonade.”

“It was our pleasure,” Drake said. “We watched you, on TV. I’m not typically a believer…”

“In like, God?”

“God. Humanity. Good having any shot at not getting its pelvis kicked in by evil.”

“You made his shriveled, black, cold little unfeeling lump of coal of a heart feel something, if only for one fleeting, solitary moment, is what he’s trying to say,” Iago said.

“But I was hoping to say it with a tiny bit more dignity.”

“And I wanted to rob you of that. Because it’s funny.”

“Somehow we’re still friends.”

“Because drinking alone is sad.”

“I didn’t use to drink, either.”

“Yeah. But then being sober in this world became sadder.”

“That’s fair,” Drake said, and polished off his beer. “So fair I think I need a drink.”

“Admitting it is the first step.”

Drake groaned while standing up. “Is your plan really to make me really want to drink, then make me feel really bad for wanting to drink?”

“I think assuming he has a plan is giving him too much credit,” Irene said.

“Yeah,” Tucker agreed. “he’s an agent of chaos.”

“The bonding equivalent of a loving wedgie.”

“Loving?” Drake and Iago asked together.

“I think that’s between the two of you, your butts, and your underpants. I promise I won’t ask, and I’m hoping you don’t tell.”

“I like her,” Tucker said. “Because she can call you out on things that would be too weird coming from a blood relative.”

“I’ll have you know I’ve spoken to multiple girls in my classes,” Iago said.

“I don’t think that’s the strong defense you think it is,” Drake said from the kitchen.

“Just because my brother’s pathetic, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook,” Tucker called into the kitchen.

“I would mostly raise the objection that between school, the world being on fire, holding down a part time job and occasionally being called on to break and enter or otherwise use my skills to help people, I’ve got a full dance card.”

“And fully half of those dances are happening across a fricking table from Demi,” Tucker said, “who it doesn’t take a mind-reader to know would ride you like the last pony on Earth.”

“Is that the kind of thing a guy is supposed to want?” Irene asked.

“No,” Tucker said, stopping Iago. “Don’t corrupt her.”

“I wasn’t going to; I was going to say Demi’s got kind of,” Iago puffed out his cheeks.

“Really?” Tucker asked, frowning, jabbing him in the beer gut with an accusatory finger. “My brother obviously emerged from the shallow end of the gene pool; I got all the good stuff, and left mom’s bits parched, so it’s only somewhat his fault. But I expected better of you.”

“What?” Drake asked. “I didn’t say anything.”

“Exactly. In that you didn’t refute any of the dipshit dribbling out of Iago’s mouth. Demi is a beautiful, smart, fun, funny, aggressively sexual person. If she just wasn’t your type, that might have been one thing, but because she put on a little weight…”

“He’s, like, Mr. Fitness,” Iago said. “Runs constantly. Even the beer he buys is light beer.”

“That at least explains the taste,” Tucker said, making a face. “Though clearly your lack of taste extends beyond beer.”

“Seems harsh,” Iago said.

“And sort of beside the point,” Drake said. “We’re here to raise a glass to Irene.”

“Crap. He’s right,” Tucker said. “Sorry,” he said directly to Irene. They raised bottles, and clinked over the coffee table in the middle of the room.

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