Sure, he was one of the country's top five most valuable assets. That made him important.
But he was irritating as hell.
A giant dork.
Way too young.
Way too neurotic.
Straight. Or. Well. In love with Sarah, at any rate. The way he acted with the little twerp Grimes, the anti-plague kiss, the way he was so damned interested in Casey's feelings—that was another can of worms.
No, same can of worms. Same damned can of worms.
Casey gazed at his framed picture of President Reagan. That was a time that had made sense. The cold war, Tom Clancy novels, Patrick Swayze in Red Dawn...everything was simple then. A light changed on the video surveillance window on the laptop. Chuck flopped down on his bed, one arm pillowed under his head. His eyes tracked over the tiny camera hidden across the room from him, back and forth, and then focused on it. He waved.
"You, uh, you're probably busy cleaning your guns or something, Casey, but I just wanted to say if you wanted to, you could come over and hang out. Or something."
Chuck waited a few seconds, as if he thought the camera was going to talk back to him. Then he sighed, rolled over so his head was at the foot of the bed, and hit the start button for his game console. "Right, so…" He jerked a thumb sideways with idiotic charm. "I've got Grand Theft Auto 3 and no one to play against." Chuck made eye contact with the camera again. "So, uh, you know where my window is."
Casey pinched the bridge of his nose. Video games. An invitation to play video games.
Squishy. Like a bunch of grapes popping in your fist.
Casey stood up, shook it off, and found a coffee stain on the counter to eradicate. That didn't really make it better. It didn't take long enough. It didn't require enough energy. Or violence.
And the day Chuck kicked his ass would be the day…would be the day Casey sucked him off. A shudder ripped through him. On the monitor, Chuck was prone on the bed playing with his toy. With his large, strong, dexterous hands gripping the controller.
Casey swallowed hard; then he turned away, turned off a light, and took the shape of Chuck's hands with him into the shower. Later, he'd reread part of The Sum of All Fears, and if the sound of Chuck's voice—real or imagined—kept him from sleep, Casey could always get up and sharpen his knives.