Griffin whimpered at the first beep of the alarm; the shrill sound set his teeth on edge. He poked an arm out from under the quilt, his face still buried in the pillow, and slapped at it. He finally silenced the vile thing. Before he could crawl out of bed, the door opened.
“Fin?” Basil stuck his head inside.
“I know, I know. I’m hurrying.” He rolled over and sat up, pushing the covers away.
“No need. Your school has been canceled due to the storm.”
Griffin groaned with delight and slumped back over, curling up on his side. “Father in heaven,” he mumbled into the bedding, “we heartily thank you for snow days. Amen.”
Basil laughed. “Well, before you get too comfortable, remember that you have shovel duty.”
“Can I do it after breakfast?”
“No. And I want you to go over and clean the Heflin driveway for Lewis before you tackle ours.”
Why don’t I just do the entire bloody street? thought Griffin as he sat back up; he glowered at Basil who grinned back and left. He dragged himself out of bed, pulled on some clothes, and headed outside.
After twenty minutes of less than enthusiastic shoveling, Griffin blew his damp hair out of his eyes, panting from exertion. That’s good enough, he thought, examining both driveways as snow began falling again. If Basil wants it done better, he can do it himself.
Leaning the shovel against the side of the garage, he patted his stomach as it gave a growl, then hurried inside for breakfast. After kicking off his boots, he headed across the living room, trying to decide between french toast and waffles. His pace faltered at the sounds of laughter coming from the kitchen.
Seated at the cluttered table, Sergei held his palm out to Basil who bent closer and peered at the sutures. Neither of them noticed Griffin in the doorway.
“Then what happened?” asked Basil, fishing through the open first aid kit.
Sergei’s eyes danced. “Why, she asked me for my cell phone number, of course.” He grinned as Basil shook his head in amusement and applied a clean bandage. “You know how it is for us Wind and Waters.”
The corner of Basil’s mouth twitched. “I do, indeed.”
A green snake twisted around itself in Griffin’s chest. Schooling his face, he stalked into the kitchen and made a beeline for the cupboard.
“A bit of a chore, eh, Fin?” said Basil behind him. “With all the snow?”
“Yeah.” Like you care. As he grabbed a mug, Basil spoke again.
“Sergei, you’re off rotation for the next twenty-four hours. And stop scowling—you’ll be cleared for duty by tomorrow if that hand heals well enough today.”
“But what about you?”
“Oh, I think I can handle a solo mission or two. But if I’m summoned, I need assurance you two will stay out of each other’s way.”
For a long minute, the only sound was the low moan of the storm outside.
“Gentlemen, I am waiting.”
“Fine,” Sergei said. He pushed his chair back, the legs screeching along the floor.
“Whatever,” said Griffin, staring out the window. Behind him, Basil growled in frustration.
“Sergei, sit back down. No, sit! Griffin, come here.”
Turning around, Griffin dragged his feet as he walked over and sat down across the table from Sergei. He pushed the first aid kit to one side, the empty mug still in his hand. “Can I at least get some coffee first?”
“No, you cannot get some bloody coffee first!” Basil took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Lowering his brows, he fixed an ice-blue gaze on them. “I’ve had enough of this cold war between the two of you. And I want it to cease. Now.”
“No more provoking each other. No more sniping at one another when my back is turned.” His eyes bored into one, than the other. “Do you understand me?”
Basil sighed and lowered his head, massaging his temples with his fingertips. “By the Light, kill me now.”
|Due to be released April 2012!|
Darby Karchut is still looking for a title for Griffin's series? Any suggestions? Feel free to leave them in the comments!