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Teodor picked his way through the debris. As much as Amanda hated staying at Chaser's house, she hated coming back to the base more. She refused to join him. It would be easier if he was on all fours, but he was carrying the money.
He could smell the fire that had raged in here years ago. Teodor stopped. Someone cleaned the place. Someone that could lift support columns that weighed tons. Teodor shook his head. The one place he did not want to come back to and Steopa made it his home.
Teodor heard noises ahead of him. He climbed over more debris to see. Steopa had his back toward him, in the next room. He lifted a couch that had been bolted to the floor. The rusty bolts snapped and popped. Steopa shoved the couch to the side of the room.
Steopa the giant. He stood seven feet tall, slender for his height. But at his size made him wider than most men. Tonight, he wore his long black hair, braided back. He kicked a piece of moldy foam out of his way.
“Why are you still here?” Teodor asked.
Steopa shoved an old iron lung machine to the other side of the room. “I could be in a graveyard,” He said, turning around. “But this place is drier.”
Teodor chuckled. “I have a favor to ask. That money you have been giving us. I need to keep it somewhere safe. Someone tried to take it today.”
“Your room mates?” Steopa asked.
“Or their friends.”
“You could stay here.”
Teodor shook his head. “Amanda will not step foot in here again.”
Steopa leaned against an old x-ray machine. “None of us should.”
“Then why are you staying here?” Teodor asked.
“Because I want to make sure nothing is disturbed,” Steopa said. “Besides the hunting is good in this area. Many of the people here are from the old country, they know what it is like to have a vampire among them.”
“I'm actually enjoying not hunting,” Teodor said. “It is easier to get my meat from the grocery store. It's not warm, but I don't have to worry about getting shot.”
Steopa gave Teodor a small smile. “How is Amanda?”
“She's adjusting well, but we are living with some real jerks, you know. When they run low on money they will sell anything to get money. Even our stuff.”
“I am surprise you let them.”
“I'm trying to not change in front of anyone,” Teodor said. He blushed. “I want to keep it a secret.”
Steopa shook his head. “You are a werewolf, you do not need to hide.”
Teodor opened his mouth to argue. It took a lot of guts for Steopa to say that. Teodor and Steopa had always seemed to get along, but lately Teodor could see why vampires and werewolves sometimes didn't like to be around each other.
“Then what are you doing here?” Teodor asked. “Don't give me that you are making sure no one disturbs anything. No one knows it's here. And most of the ones that do know are dead.”
Steopa stood up. He glared at Teodor. “What are you saying?” He asked, a slight growl accenting his voice.
“I am saying that you should be outside,” Teodor said, trying not to yell. “I have been watching the news, there is nothing on it. Are you even hunting?”
Steopa took a step forward. “I am careful.” he said, each word spoken with weight.
Teodor shook his head. “Sorry, that was rude of me.”
There was a long pause. “Perhaps it is because we have not hunted together,” Steopa said.
“Those were some good times.”
Steopa walked over to another pile of debris. “I will keep the money here for you,” he said. Steopa moved another large piece of medical equipment. “Are you really enjoying pretending to be human?”
Teodor had to think. “There are days I missed being able to walk down the street and get respect as soon as people saw me,” he said. “But that was in the old country, where Dad still hunted the farmers for fun. I can't do that here.”
Steopa nodded. “It is very different.” he chuckled. “Have you gone to the movie theater, yet?”
Teodor nodded. “Yeah, Amanda and I go a lot.”
“Humans have strange ideas about vampires,” Steopa said.
Teodor had to agree. He glanced at his watch. Amanda didn't want him gone too long. Chaser was having another party tonight. Teodor apologized and said his goodbyes. He hurried home.
Chaser's drive way was full of cars. Teodor's stomach sank. It wasn't going to be the regular get together tonight. This one looked like it was a full blow hedonistic orgy. Teodor went around the back. Amanda was siting on the back steps. Jimi Hendrix was blasting from the stereo.
Amanda smiled relief when Teodor came around the corner. “Glad your back, babe,” she said.
Teodor sat down beside her. “How many people are in there?”
“God knows,” Amanda said. She had a glass of water in her hands. “But there are some real slimes in there.”
The screen door opened. Jerry came out. He looked down at Teodor and Amanda and sighed. “You too?” He asked. “I'm never gonna get some sleep tonight.”
“I went down to the lumberyard,” Teodor said. “Setting up an interview, this week.”
Jerry smiled. “Good. You two need to get out of here.”
“What about you?” Amanda asked.
“I would, but if my ex even smells I have my own place she will want more support,” Jerry sighed.
Amanda finished her water. “I'll be back,” she said, jumping up and going back inside.
The screen door slammed behind her. Teodor looked up at the stars. He hated how the city muted them. When he would run in the woods, the stars were his only guides. Jerry lit a cigarette. The smell almost made Teodor retch.
“Amanda told me what happened earlier,” Jerry said, taking a long drag. “If it's any consolation. I got some stuff taken too.”
Teodor shrugged. “They didn't get anything important.”
He heard a loud laugh coming from the kitchen. Teodor moved down the stairs, to avoid the cigarette smoke. There was another loud laugh. Teodor turned his head to look.
He could almost see Amanda, most of her was blocked by the door frame. There were two men standing on each side of her. By the looks of it, there was at least one more. Teodor turned around. Jerry glanced over.
The men were large, not a big as Steopa, but were much larger than Teodor. Teodor had a thin frame and build, which most people assumed made him weak. He always like to surprise them. One of the three reached over and tried to grab Amanda's head. She shoved them away.
Teodor stood up. Jerry quickly put out his cigarette. “Shit,” Jerry said under his breath.
The brown haired man, pushed Amanda against the counter. “Come on sweety, we only want some fun.” he said, in a deep voice.
The look Amanda gave him would have told anyone in their right mind to stop what they were doing. But these three had liquid courage running through their veins. Teodor opened the door. He could tell Amanda was holding back. She wanted to let the wolf out.
They had promised each other, they would not do that in front of other people. There were times it was hard. This was one of them.
Teodor walked over to the men. “Excuse me,” he said. “Amanda and I have to go.”
The blond man gave Teodor a small glance. He already filed Teodor in the part of his brain that said, not a threat. He turned to Amanda. “What do you want that shrimp for?” He asked.
Then he made his mistake. He locked his lips on Amanda's. The growl was in Teodor's throat before he could stop it. But that did not stop the assault on Amanda. He felt his teeth changed. He couldn't do it, not now, not with so many people here.