Ring Around His Heart
“Ash, come look at this.”
“Whatever it is, we don’t have time.” Abandoned buildings marched away from them and dwindled into the heart of Night City. Asher’s dark gaze picked out two shadows stiffly moving through the dark. “Do it and let’s go.”
“There’s something buried.” Jayden’s voice was tight with strain.
“If you don’t hurry up, we’ll be buried,” Asher said.
“The snow’s a little melted. I can get it out.”
The lurching shadow men passed the mouth of an alley two blocks down. “We don’t have time to build a snowman, Jayde. Plant it and let’s fade.”
“It’s a ring. Here. Take a look.”
Asher turned in time to catch a glint of red hurtling toward him. He caught it in his free hand, and held it up to the star light. “Plastic. So what?” He glanced at the man he loved, the only man who could drive him crazy and live to tell about it. “Two minutes, and we’ll be fresh kill. Act like we came here to do something.”
Jayden pressed his ear to the brick wall beside him and muttered, “You’re the most unromantic man I ever met.”
“It’s the whole assassin thing,” Asher said. “Makes me edgy.”
“Makes you hot.” Jayden walked his fingers up the wall, then ghosted his fingers into a crack between bricks. “Done,” he said.
Flicking his wrist and letting his knife slide into place, Asher grabbed Jayden and wrapped him close with one arm. “Kiss me.”
Jayden’s blue eyes were alive with fury. “Not until you say you’re sorry about the ring.” He pushed at Asher, who was strong enough to hold Jayden just about till the last star fell from the sky.
"I didn't meant it." Asher would have said anything to get them below street level. “Sorry about the ring.”
“You don’t even remember it, do you?”
Two years ago, when they’d met in a diner greasy enough to slide off the sidewalk, Jayden had been a short order cook. Asher had been a man built to kill, with a heart buried so deep, he’d forgotten he had one. Jayden had found it, and worked his way in.
Sliding his fingers through Jayden’s light brown hair, Asher said, “You gave me a ring just like it on the first burger you made me. I almost cracked a tooth.”
“I thought you’d notice something screaming red on top of the bun.”
Asher had been busy noticing Jayden’s eyes and wondering if he’d come home for dinner and stay forever. “I was distracted.”
“If I told you it was your good cooking, would you believe me?”
“You said you liked my cooking.”
“I do.” Asher glanced over Jayden’s shoulder. The shadows were only a block away. “If I died right now, I’d want you to burn my burgers the rest of eternity.”
Jayden tried to kick Asher low and hard for that, but Asher caught his lover close. If they’d been naked, they would have been skin to skin down the length of their bodies.
Their lips were only a breath apart. Jayden said, “You wouldn’t want anyone else burning your dinner?”
“No one,” Asher said.
“That’s more like it.”
They kissed and at the skin on skin contact, Jayden’s body melted into Asher’s, making them foggy ghosts. Asher made them heavy enough to pass through the buckled pavement. Seconds later, the molecular bomb Jayden had planted blasted through the zombie nest.
As they drifted down, Asher snagged the plastic ring with a tendril of his mind. He’d cracked the first one to bits. He’d keep this one forever.