Dinner’s on me tonight. You know what I like.
The note on Angie’s fridge was terse, but it made her smile anyway. Nick had pinned a twenty under the magnet beside the note, making good on the promise on the paper. Anyone else would have found their amusement in the obvious sexual innuendo—though Nick himself would have been confused and slightly embarrassed at the implication. Nick Jakoby wasn’t that kind of guy. He definitely had a mouth on him when they were in bed—Angie couldn’t help the little shiver that ran down her spine at the thought—but he didn’t leave saucy notes. He didn’t play romantic music, or run bubble baths for the two of them—mainly because they wouldn’t both fit into her tub at the same time.
But he had left some sunflowers by her door two weeks before, with a badly drawn smiley face on the card—which looked suspiciously like an Orc. He’d also taken to driving by her job on patrol. Maybe it was weird, or clingy, but Angie didn’t mind.
She liked knowing Nick was nearby if she needed him. It also made it easy to avoid Jeremy, because the Altamira had stopped asking for protection money. Officers Jakoby and Ward driving by every day probably had something to do with it.
“Sweet and sour chicken.” Angie muttered, smiling wider. “I know what you like.”
She opened the fridge, pulling a beer out of the door, before going for the takeout menu in the drawer next to it, and proceeded to place the order. It was past seven, but he wouldn’t be off of work until at least eight. He’d probably show up around nine or ten, with his hood drawn up over his head, hiding his skin and his ears, from view. If anything, he looked suspicious, which Angie had told him when he’d showed up with his pointy ears shoved up under the hood. “Better than looking like an Orc.” Nick had retorted, his expression serious. Angie sipped her beer, waiting for the Chinese to arrive, so that she could take a shower. She sniffed her sleeve experimentally, frowning.
“I smell like day old chicken wings,” she muttered. That was the other thing—Nick’s sense of smell was terrifying. He could tell how many people she’d touched at work, what she’d had for lunch.
When the delivery finally came, Angie put the bags on the kitchen table, and headed for the bathroom. She turned the water as hot as she could take it, and stepped under the spray, careful not to wet her hair. When she felt she’d sufficiently soaked away her less than stellar day, she stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around herself. Angie made for the bedroom, walking past the empty kitchen—which wasn’t empty. She furrowed her brow, and backed up a few steps as her heart beat sped up.
It was Nick. Angie sighed in relief before she grinned at him. Nick smiled back, his eyes bright. “You scared me,” she replied, walking over to kiss his cheek. He smelled like the lemony soap from the precinct shower, and his thick skin was smooth under her hands. Angie wasn’t a romantic either, nothing in her life had left her much room for fairytale fantasies of love or devotion. That, and Jeremy did his best to beat them out of me. But she couldn’t ignore the tingly feeling in her belly when Nick looked at her, when those molten gold eyes traveled over her body.
“Surprise,” he said, his deep voice thrumming through her. “I got off early.” Angie nodded, smiling wide at him. He was in his street clothes—the same beat up jeans, and white t-shirt combo, with sneakers Angie suspected were the only ones he actually owned besides his precious uniform. She never got tired of looking at him—the high cheekbones, sloping up to wide, gold eyes, which always seemed to be watching her. She kissed his cheek, and she could feel him inhale sharply as his hands grasped her hips through the terrycloth towel as he moved his nose across the skin between her neck and shoulder. This had to be instinct, the way he searched out her scent. Angie wondered if he could still smell the bar on her.
“I’ll get dressed, then we can eat.” Angie felt him inhale once more, his large hands skimming absently over her curves. She recalled reading something somewhere about Orcs and their sense of smell—though she hadn’t really believed it until she’d met Nick. It had said they identified their mates by smell, not only visual appearance. Angie headed towards her bedroom, wondering idly if she could still find that old article. Do I put on makeup? Are we past that point? Does he even care? Dating was always stressful, but this was on an entirely other level. Angie wasn’t sure whether Nick even noticed whether she wore makeup or not—she didn’t know many Orc women who did. She didn’t know many Orc women in general, but that wasn’t the point. With humans it was all about what makeup she wore, when it was safe to leave things at his house, what to wear if she ever met their parents.
But with Nick, she was learning cultural cues, social structure…and when it was safe to leave things at his house. Which I still haven’t been to. After four months. Angie felt the familiar frustration bubbling up, but she stamped it down. Not now. We’re not fighting about that shit tonight. They had so little time together as it was, with his work schedule, she didn’t wan’t to rehash the fight. It was the first argument they’d had, and Angie hadn’t quite been able to put the memory to bed. Nick hadn’t directly told her that he was hiding her from his friends and family, but the way he’d balked at the idea of her stopping by his home, or—god for-fucking-bid meeting his parents, it was hard for Angie not to feel like some dirty little secret.
“I promise it isn’t like that, Angie.” Just because Angie believed him didn’t make it any less of a point of contention between them, but things were going well outside of that, and Angie couldn’t stay mad at him. Especially when he made it up to her—over and over again until she had trouble sitting. She swallowed, and tried to think of something else. Angie slipped on a pair of leggings, before donning a t-shirt, and running some product absently through her curls.
Nick was still in the kitchen, waiting politely for her to eat, though he’d set out plates, cups and utensils. It was almost adorable, him sitting there, hands folded, his brow slightly furrowed with thought. Nick was almost too big for her tiny kitchen table, his legs bunched up underneath it, though he never complained. His eyes brightened when she sat down across from him, and started to unpack the food. “Um, how was your day?” he asked, leaning forward in his seat. He still didn’t have the small talk thing quite down yet, but Angie didn’t mind.
“Not great, but the tips were pretty good. No grabby guys today,” she replied, dishing some food out onto her plate before passing it to Nick. She’d been surprised at first, watching him put away enough food to rupture a human’s stomach, but now she was used to it. “How was yours?”
“We caught the guy stealing all the stereos in Elftown today, he was trying to unload them on an informant.” He managed to keep the proud smile off of his face, but he couldn’t hide the gleam in his eye, and the way he puffed out his chest a little. That was one of the things she liked about Nick the most—he was genuinely good. He wasn’t like the rest of the LAPD, he didn’t have an ego to feed, or deep seated bigotries he’d joined to be able to freely express. He wanted to make a difference, he wanted to do the right things. Pity the system’s so fucked it barely makes a difference.
Angie reached across the table to squeeze his hand, grinning widely. “That’s fucking awesome! I’m proud of you,” she replied, and he squeezed back. “I hope you got a promotion,” Angie joked, before ravenously descending on her plate. She hadn’t realized how hungry she was—her boss had refused to allow any of the girls to break for lunch. He’d said it was “all part of the industry”. Part of the industry my ass.
“Ward says I should be up for one soon.”
“Oh, yeah, how is Ward?”
They finished up dinner, and Nick insisted on doing the dishes himself. He liked to show her he was useful, that he was good to have around, though Angie had never needed convincing. Angie was heading to the bathroom to brush her teeth when he wrapped his arms around her from behind, burying his nose in her kinky hair.
“I missed you last week.” His body was warm, pressed against hers, and Angie couldn’t help but relax back into his embrace. She leaned her head back and kissed his chin.
“Work was crazy,” Angie replied, squeezing his arm. “I get it.”
“I wanted to come,” Nick said, turning her to face him, probably so that she could she the adorably earnest face he was making. His eyes were trained on hers, his expression imploring. “But it’s been so busy, and—”
“Nick. It’s fine. Stop talking.” Angie said, her voice stern, even though she was smiling at him. He nodded, a grin spreading across his own face in response. Angie of all people could understand having a demanding job, and she wasn’t going to bust his balls over it.
“Got it. Stopping.” Angie tilted her head up for a kiss, which Nick gave without question. A low rumbling growl made its way through his chest, and she sighed against his mouth. His fingers absently stroked the skin on her sides where her shirt had ridden up. He took great care not to scratch her skin with his claws. He kept them filed most of the time, but that hadn’t stopped him from meticulously checking her over every time they had sex—looking for cuts and scrapes, anything that required more than a good night’s rest or a hot shower to relieve. Angie wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders, running her teeth over his lips. He growled again, and the hands at her waist tightened their grip, almost enough to bruise. Nick’s tongue swept into her mouth; longer, rougher and more sensitive than her human one.
He was a good kisser—for someone who didn’t have all that much practice. Filing his fangs was a recent decision, and for Orcs, kissing wasn’t really considered romantically necessary, but that had never stopped Nick from attempting to make her head explode with his mouth. Angie rubbed her thighs together absently as she stroked his shoulders. Nick made a low sound in his throat as he sucked hard on her bottom lip, before grasping both of her small wrists in one of his much larger hands, and backing her into the wall. His dextrous tongue traced a path from her mouth to her ear, and goosebumps rose on Angie’s oversensitive skin.
“I can smell you.” His lips ghosted against her ear, and Angie shivered, before licking her suddenly dry lips.
“Such a big nose you have,” Angie replied, unable to help the little whimper that escaped her throat as he palmed her breast roughly through her shirt as he buried his nose in her kinky hair. She’d known his nose was sensitive, but not enough to smell the growing wetness between her thighs. Nick chuckled lowly, before lowering his head so that his breath puffed against her neck.
“All the better to smell you with, my dear.”
“And—ah!—what big eyes you have, Mr. Wolf,” she gasped as he nipped harshly at her shoulder. He released her wrists in favor of cupping and kneading her ass, and Angie sighed, letting her head loll to one side as Nick continued to bite and suck at her throat. The “no bruising” rule she’d tried to enact when he’d become a regular guest in her bed was a useless endeavor that he was almost physically incapable of following. He was so much stronger than she was, and Angie was more than willing to break that rule—plus a few others—in exchange for the raw, needy fervor with which he attacked her body. If this is what it’s like when I don’t see him for a week, I don’t mind his fucking schedule.
“All the better to see you with,” He replied hoarsely, as Angie stroked the length of him through his jeans. “Angie, take your shirt off. Please.” Nick said, tugging on the hem of her cotton t-shirt. She nodded, her fingers lingering at the edge of the offending garment. It was funny, how he could be so aggressive one minute, and then gentle and well mannered the next. I should move us to the bedroom, Angie thought absently, though when he began to impatiently tug at her clothing, his mouth hot and insistent.
“What a—fuck—big mouth you have.” Angie could feel him pressed against her, sandwiching her firmly against the wall. Nick sucked hard on her pulse point, and she found herself wondering how different it would feel if he had real fangs. The thought sent a surprising swell of wet warmth to the apex of her thighs. Almost instantly Nick groaned loudly, the sound a little pained as he ground his hard cock against her belly. He tugged Angie’s shirt up above her head, tossing it behind him, forgotten. She’d neglected to wear panties, so when his eager fingers stroked the crotch of her leggings, he grinned lasciviously at their dampness.
“Are these cheap, Angie?” he asked, tugging frustratedly at the tight, clingy clothing. Angie shook her head dazedly, moaning as he pinched her nipple roughly.
“Yeah. Three bucks at Forever—hey!”
Suddenly Nick was ripping them off of her, the elastic snapping smartly against her hip as the waistband tore in his hands.
“Sorry. I’ll get you another pair.” HIs tone was only slightly apologetic.
And then his fingers were at her cunt, rubbing circles around her clit, and testing her soaking entrance. Angie moaned, her voice ragged. “Nick!” She wasn’t sure whether she was reprimanding him, or praising him, though at the moment it didn’t matter.
“Turn around, Angie,” he replied, his voice low and slightly strained, like he was holding back. She did so, stepping out of her ruined leggings. Angie braced her hands against the wall, pushing her hips out and up. Nick growled in what sounded like approval, his hands running over her bare skin. “You always smell so good,” he moaned, laving a rough kiss on the small of her back. He dipped a finger into her throbbing center, and pumped it a few times as he kicked out of his jeans. Angie peered behind her, all thoughts of making it to her bed completely forgotten as she clenched hard around his invading fingers. Nick was leaning over her, his golden eyes bright and almost glowing in the low light of the hall. He gripped his thick cock tightly in one hand, the flattened head leaking thick beads of pre-cum already. Angie expected to feel the throbbing-burn of him pushing inside her, but instead, his weight lifted off of her. She turned her head questioningly, but Nick was already kneeling down.
“Nick?” His breath puffed across the swollen lips of her pussy, and he dragged a single finger up her slit. He’d never done this before—not with her at least. She’d assumed he either didn’t like to, or was too embarrassed to ask. Either way, she waited with bated breath.
“Please,” Angie said breathlessly, hating how it came out sounding like a plea. Nick let out a light chuckle, but before she could respond, the words were driven out of her mind as his rough tongue made contact with her pussy. “Oh, fuck.” He worked his tongue through her folds, forward towards her clit, making her gasp. Angie’s legs shook, and she doubted that she’d have remained standing if his arms hadn’t been securely wrapped about her thighs, holding her upright.
“Sweet,” he grunted, the guttural sound of his voice making her pussy clench. He probed at her slick entrance, groaning when Angie couldn’t help but press her hips back eagerly, wanting more.
“Stop teasing me,” she whined, and felt him smile against her, that treacherous tongue undulating against her one last time before he straightened up, panting. Angie chanced another peek around her shoulder, but Nick was staring down at the apex of her thighs, his luminous eyes sending shivers up her spine. He grasped her hips roughly, yanking her back against his swollen cock, forcing the blunt head of him inside. She hissed, the sting of his sudden entry making her clench around him. Nick mumbled something in Orkish, his voice low and needy. I’ve really got to start learning that fucking language—“Fuck, Nick!”
He pulled back until Angie whimpered at the loss, and then thrust home, the force pushing her cheek against the wall. Nick leaned over her, shortening his thrusts as he pushed her hair aside to grip the skin of her neck between his teeth. Angie felt a primal thrill run through her as he bore down, his teeth bruising her tender flesh in their grip.
“Uorkormajal…Lat ayh uorkormajal… Angie!”
His mumbled Orkish sent another bout of hot sticky warmth to her thighs, despite the fact that aside from her name, she didn’t recognize a word he’d said. Can’t think.
Every thought was focused on the sensations emanating from between her legs. With every thrust Nick filled her to bursting, pushing her to her absolute limit. If not for the fact that he’d already been as deep inside her as he could possibly get on several occasions, Angie would have doubted that he could fit his cock inside her. Nick groaned, gripping her hips with rough hands as he ground out her name again, in between more unrecognizable words. There was a sweet ache where the blunt head of him pushed up against her womb, and despite it she still found herself pressing back against him, spreading her legs wider, so that he could fuck her deeper, harder, more.
Angie could feel that tingling tightness, deep inside, where Nick was rubbing against her walls in the most deliciously mind numbing way. Her breath hitched, and a strangled cry erupted from her throat when her Orc lover raised his hand to her ample ass with a loud smack, the pain sending shocks straight to her clenching pussy. Angie didn’t even have time to consider her orgasm before she fell headlong into it, clenching hard around Nick’s cock as she cried out. This seemed to be all he could take, and Angie felt him spurt inside her. Nick pressed himself against her hips, locking them together as he panted, emptying himself into her throbbing cunt.
“God… Angie…” Nick ground out, his face still pressed against her neck. There will probably be a bruise. The thought made her throb around him again, and he sucked in a loud breath. They stayed like that for a few heartbeats, until Angie’s knees threatened to buckle underneath her. He caught her with a gentle hand under her soft belly, sliding free of her tight hold with a wet sounding pop. “You okay? Sorry, I—”
“Please don’t be sorry,” Angie said, allowing him to help her upright, and look her over for any damage. “You don’t have to do that.”
“Yes I do.” Nick replied lightly, brushing her hair away from her shoulders to look distastefully at the mark he’d left between her shoulder blades. He tried to peer around her shoulder at it, but Angie slapped his hands away.
“No, you don’t.”
“I hurt you.” Nick looked angry, but to at her. At himself. He reached around her back to stroke the skin just below the sore spot where Angie assumed the bruise was. Angie could see the beginnings of frustration in his molten eyes, and she grasped his chin with a gentle hand.
“No, you didn’t. Nick, I would have stopped you if you were hurting me. I promise.”
He didn’t seem satisfied with her answer, but he allowed Angie to grasp his hand and lead him to the bedroom. As she tossed her leggings into the garbage and donned a fresh t-shirt she watched Nick get into her almost too-small bed. It didn’t matter how they began the night, they always ended up wound around one another, with limbs entangled and Nick’s face buried in the hair he’d sleepily loosed from her scarf.
“You’d really stop me? If I hurt you?” he asked again in the quiet darkness of Angie’s bedroom. She stroked her fingers down his muscular chest, sighing. His question hung in the air between them. “Do you really think you could?” His voice was low, and colored with self loathing. She’d never really considered what she’d do if Nick had ever been violent with her—given his considerable strength, she doubted there was anything she could do besides hope to outrun him.
“That’s irrelevant, because you wouldn’t hurt me.” She replied, her tone brokering no room for argument.
“But I could.”
“You won’t.” Angie tilted her head up to find his gaze locked onto her, a frown etched onto his handsome features. “Look, if I said stop, would you stop?”
“If I said no would you listen?”
“Of course!” Nick looked practically offended at the insinuation, even though he was the one questioning his own moral fibre. “I’d never…”
“Exactly. You’d never hurt me. Not on purpose, anyway.”
“That’s exactly the fucking problem, Angie!” He said frustratedly, sitting up. Angie sighed, rubbing her temples. She supposed she could understand his fear—she’d seen what he’d done to Jeremy. But Nick had never made her afraid for her safety, not once. Whatever urges he was afraid of, he’d never given her any indication that she was in danger, or that he was close to giving into them. Angie wondered whether Nick’s fears were of her, or for her. Either way, she was confident in her assessment.
Nick didn’t seem too keen on upping the ante from “disagreement” to “all out argument”, and he sighed, wrapping a large arm around Angie’s shoulders and drawing her to his chest. Angie fell asleep quickly, not hearing the words he murmured into her hair.
Nick woke first the next morning, and was struck with the insane urge to look at the mark he’d made on her creamy skin. Part of him was disgusted at the animalistic display, but part of him was… pleased. He liked holding onto the scruff of her neck like a dog, growling out his claim. Angie slept peacefully, not stirring as he shifted the curtain of her kinky, impossibly curly hair to view the purpling mark on the place where her neck met her spine. He got out of bed before he could do something he regretted, like stay long enough to make himself late for work.
Angie was lucky—the bar didn’t open until eleven, meaning she got the luxury of sleeping in almost every morning. While Nick had to be up as early as he could manage every morning, rushing to the precinct. He showered, before checking his phone. There were several messages from his parents, and a terse few from Ward, which immediately made him nervous.
W: Hurry up. Internal Affairs here again.
Ever since the Wand, Internal Affairs had been breathing down their necks. It made Nick nervous, knowing that they knew something wasn’t right, that something wasn’t being shared. But Kandomere had made it explicitly clear—no knowledge about the Wand, the dirty officers, none of it was to be shared. Not with Internal Affairs, not with anyone outside of the Magic Task Force. He buttoned up his shirt, before checking that he had all of his things—badge, gun, taser.
“Well officer, I wasn’t aware this was going to be a hit and run,” Angie’s tired voice came from behind him, still groggy with sleep. Nick turned to find her standing in the doorway, wearing only a t-shirt. Her lion’s mane of hair was out of it’s nightly scarf—courtesy of Nick himself—and he watched as she ran a hand through it sleepily. “Leaving without saying goodbye?”
“I didn’t want to wake you up.” Nick couldn’t help crossing the room to bring her against his chest. It had never been like this with anyone else, the insatiable need he felt all the time to be near her, to surround himself with her scent. The second time he’d spent the night, he’d asked her about her perfume—only to discover that she never wore any.
“Irritates my nose,” Angie had replied, raising an eyebrow. “Why?”
“I’ll be back tonight,” he added, unable to stop his hands from straying underneath the hem of her shirt to caress the smooth skin beneath. Angie sighed, before rubbing her nose against his shirt.
He breathed deeply before forcing himself to let her go. Angie leaned against the wall as he exited, and Nick’s mouth went a little dry upon remembering the events of the night before, which had occurred on that same wall. She flashed him a knowing grin.
“See you later.”
It was still early, and there was almost no one outside on the two block walk to where he’d parked the cruiser the night before. He shrugged off the lingering giddiness, and tried to direct his focus onto his surroundings. He could almost hear Ward’s voice in his sensitive ears. Keep your guard up. Watch your back. Once you got your uniform on, nobody gives a fuck about those commendations, partner. Nick started the car, letting it warm in idle as he situated himself. His phone vibrated again against his hip, and Nick glanced at it.
W: You better be close.
He set the phone down on the passenger seat, and pulled out into the street. The L. A. traffic hadn’t quite started just yet, so Nick could navigate the city with relative ease. Angie also lived closer to the precinct than he did, so his ill-tempered partner wouldn’t be waiting much longer. By eight, he was pulling up outside station, the car slowing to a stop just indie the officer parking lot. There was a memorial for Hicks, Ching, Pollard and Brown by the door, and Nick tried not to glower angrily at it as he passed by—no one else knew what murderous scum they were, and unfortunately, it wasn’t up to Nick to inform them. His desk was right across from Ward’s, who was sitting, staring frustratedly at a cup of dark coffee.
“Sorry I’m late, partner.”
Ward looked up at him mutely, before jerking his head towards the chief’s office. Through the slightly drawn blinds, Nick could see Internal Affairs officers Yamada and Arkashian. The former was sitting on the edge of the chief’s desk, gesturing casually at the rest of the office, while the latter sat rather uncomfortably in a chair.
“What do you think they’re here about?”
“Who knows? Probably the four dead cops and the two live ones who witnessed their deaths.”
Nick felt a cold weight settle in his stomach. The Magic Task Force had already tied up any and all loose ends, erased all evidence. He supposed it didn’t stop them from feeling something was amiss, though there was nothing they could prove. “It’s been a year.”
Ward shrugged. “If they had anything, the MTF would have silenced them by now.” He sipped his coffee, eyeing the office. It was easy to tell that their presence made his partner uneasy, but he was right. Either they’d have been slapped with injunctions and investigations by then, or Kandomere would have made them shut up and disappear. “They’re chasing their tails.”
Like Ward, their presence unnerved Nick. “Yeah.” He replied, settling into his desk. “Chasing their tails.”
Paperwork took up the better part of their morning, and by the time they left for patrol, it was almost midday. Internal Affairs had long since left, and Nick swore he saw Arkashian’s eyes linger on him for a moment, just before departing. It was hot now, and Nick let the cruiser’s air conditioner run for a few minutes before they got in.
They drove in silence for a few minutes before Jakoby was compelled to break the silence. “How’s Sherri?”
“Better, now that I’m not getting shot on my break.” Ward’s tone was clipped, but not unkind. “When are you going to get yourself a nice big Orkish girl?” He asked, his head turned towards the window as they drove just under the speed limit, scanning for any unusual activity. Nick started, the car jerking a little as he tensed. Ward’s eyes flicked towards him, narrowed in annoyance. “You need me to drive, rookie?”
“No. I—no. It’s fine. I’m fine. I’m…” he debated whether or not to tell Ward anything at all. This was one of the few times that his partner seemed content to engage in idle conversation, and he knew Angie felt like he was hiding her. To her benefit, she was smarter than he’d given her credit for—because he was. Just not for the reasons she suspected. Nick wasn’t stupid, though most people assumed differently given a single look at his stocky frame. He knew he was a target, and he knew that most people—even some of the officers he worked with—would love to see him disappear for good. Adding a human lover into the mix… it was like asking for trouble.
But he also felt very strongly about Angie. He…liked her. Despite their differences, he’d chosen her, and it pained him to know she thought he wasn’t proud to be hers. Ward had always been tolerant enough, and he tested the waters, answering his partner’s expectant dig.
“I’ve actually been seeing someone,” he replied, trying to sound casual, but failing immensely. “She’s. Um, well I wouldn’t describe her as Orkish…”
Ward looked at him fully then, his eyebrows raised. “How would you describe her?” Nick was quiet for moment before Ward prompted him again. “Jakoby. How would you describe her?” His tone was insistent and demanding.
“Human. You, um, you actually know her. The domestic disturbance, about four months ago?”
Ward’s jaw dropped, and he turned in his seat to face Nick, his voice rising. “You’re fucking someone we responded to?” Ward demanded incredulously, slamming his hand against the dashboard. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“I thought you’d take it better than that.” Nick replied with a frown, flexing his hands against the steering wheel. “We’re not just fucking. She’s my…. we’re dating.” Nick could practically hear Daryl’s eyes rolling, but he wanted to be clear. He felt driven to clarify that she belonged to him—frustration at Ward’s tactless generalization was churning in his gut. It was strange that his crude comments about his time with Angie would rile him up like that, but they had.
“Y’all are serious?” he asked incredulously, his tone indicating that somehow, that was worse. “
“I’m tired of fucking being shot at, Jakoby!” He replied, gesturing to the location of his gunshot wound.
“We’re cops,” Nick shot back, glancing from the road to the face of his partner. “We get shot at all the time.” Ward, for his part, looked equal parts shocked and disbelieving. Nick could hear his rapid exhalation of breath, his frustration palpable. “You’re in an interracial relationship,” Nick reminded him.
“Yeah, and I get shit for it,” Ward huffed, leaning back in his seat. “People are going to fucking hate you. Again.”
Nick nodded. “I know.” He grinned, and looked over at Ward. “But she’s really hot.” Ward grimaced instead of smiling back at him like Angie would have. “You’re worried this puts you in danger.” Nick replied straightforwardly, not bothering to check his partner’s expression. He could tell by his tone that Ward was worried, he didn’t want to be a target—not again. But he also didn’t seem angry, which was a massive weight off of Nick’s shoulders—one he hadn’t even realized he’d been carrying.
“Great. They’re gonna hate you more because you couldn’t be decent and take one of the ugly ones.” He glanced at Nick sideways, before chuckling. “Guess you won’t be makin’ that face anymore.” Nick looked at his partner in confusion.
“The ‘oversharing orc partner who’s getting his conjugal love on,’ face.”
“I make that face?”
“Fuck yeah you make that dumb ass face. You’re making it now.”
Nick cut the wheel, rounding a corner. It felt kind of freeing, not to treat his girlfriend—I can say girlfriend after four months, right?—like a secret anymore.
Ward grumbled as they slowed when they passed the bar, now realizing how easily Nick had worked it into their routine without him noticing. “Now I get why you drive by here all the fuckin’ time.”
“I haven’t told anybody. Just you.” Ward sighed heavily, and Nick realized this was exactly the kind of relationship he was trying to avoid. “And I’m careful. I don’t let anyone see us together.”
“That makes her feel great, I bet.”
“Yeah, not so much.”
Nick took one last look at Lopez’s in the rearview mirror, satisfied that Angie was as safe as she could be. Maybe Ward took pity on him, or maybe he’d become genuinely interested, but he spoke again.
“I used to drive by the hospital. When I first joined, and we got serious. Me and Sherri.” Ward’s voice was quiet, and it seemed he hadn’t thought about the memory for a long time. “Don’t hide her.” Nick could barely see his partner looking at him from the corner of his eye. “But once people know, you better be fucking ready.”
When he got off of work that evening, he stopped by one of the many mexican places on his way to Angie’s apartment, to pick up dinner. Angie hated cooking, and though she always didn’t do a terrible job at it, he found she was always appreciative if he took care of dinner—which usually meant takeout. His parents had been asking where he’d been spending all his time—he’d been telling them he was sleeping at the precinct, though he doubted they believed it.
Nick made sure to pull his hood up as he exited his car—after his talk with Ward, suddenly, driving the police cruiser around on his off time didn’t seem like such a smart idea—and headed for the entrance to the building. There weren’t a lot of Orcs that lived in this neighborhood, but they were a common enough sight that no one batted an eye at him being there, which reduced the likelihood of him being recognized. He knew she kept the spare key under the welcome mat, and Nick had simply stopped putting it back, hooking it onto his own keyring. Angie didn’t complain.
He opened the door, unsure of whether she would be off work yet. It was after eight, though if she had to close, she’d be home late. To his surprise, she was home already, and from the look of it, she’d arrived just before he had.
“Hey,” she replied, grinning tiredly. He came forward for a hug, kicking the door closed behind him. He sniffed her, frowning a little. It wasn’t her fault—she worked around people, their scents were bound to rub off on her. It just put him on edge when she smelled like strange people he didn’t know. Especially men. He was still embarrassed at the first time he’d scented another man’s touch on her bare skin, though Angie had told him he’d more than made up for his faux pas.
Even so, Nick couldn’t help but sniff her with distaste, and Angie caught it, rolling her eyes.
“You know where I work, Nick. I can’t help it.” He grunted in response, pulling her close and tucking her head under his chin. “How was your day?” Nick thought about Internal Affairs, and wondered whether he should share with her any of the unpleasant truths he and Ward had discussed earlier. He opened his mouth to speak, just as Angie sighed and wrapped her arms around him, pushing her face against his chest. Nick’s mouth snapped shut and he instead buried his face in her hair, the scent of fresh jasmine enveloping him.
“Long. And also considerably better now that you’re in it.” He felt her laugh against him, pressing a kiss against his shirted chest. He gestured towards the kitchen table when Angie managed to disentangle herself from his arms. “I brought dinner.”
“All hail the conquering hero,” she replied, flashing a bright smile. “Let me hop in the shower. I know I smell like guy-sweat and pork sliders.”
“Want to watch a movie? I’m off tomorrow.”
To be continued…