Merry Christmas Graverobber
Graverobber was standing in front of the gates of the Largo mansion and was now hesitating on what to do next. Usually, when he spent the night there, he'd get to Amber's bedroom in his own way – meaning, through the window and completely unnoticed. But today was special: he was an official guest, he was expected, and Amber had assured him he was announced and wouldn't have any problem entering the house if she wasn't there to welcome him. She had been very busy ever since Rotti Largo had died, and it didn't change on Christmas Eve.
Completely engrossed in his thoughts, he didn't hear the black car that pulled over next to him.
"Well well well, what do we have here?" a small laugh came out of the rolled down window at the back.
Starting, he quickly turned around and met a pair of amused blue eyes.
"Fuck, Amber! You scared me," he groaned, relieved however to see her.
"Hey you chicken," she smiled back, "you want to hop in the car? The driver will leave us in the garage and we'll get inside the house from there."
"I… I don't know if it's such a great idea after all."
"What? Getting in my car?"
"You know what I mean," he sharply replied, rolling his eyes.
Sighing, she turned to her chauffeur, said a few words and then stepped out of the car. She squarely faced him, her hands on her hips; in her red-and-black striped suit, with her dark hair done in a tight bun, she was definitely impressive.
"You made a promise, remember? I told you how important this first Christmas was for me and my brothers, and I really want you to be there, with me."
Damn her and her new found self-confidence! At that moment, he liked her better when she was just another pitiful Zydrate addict. How had he gotten into that mess anyway? He remembered the night he had made the dreadful promise to spend Christmas Eve with what was left of the Largo family: he had shared a delicious meal with Amber, then they had had one of their best fucks ever, and just when he was dozing off, she had talked him into agreeing to this little gathering with her two weirdo brothers. Food and sex and sweet-talking… That woman knew how to have her way with anything. She was the devil in disguise, and people didn't give her enough credit for that.
"Alright, alright! I had to try at least," he finally conceded.
"Good," she nodded before wrapping her left arm around his right one. "I'm so happy you're here with us! It's going to be the best Christmas ever!" she continued, giggling like a little girl.
Graverobber simply shrugged in surrender and followed her up the alley leading to the main door. Just when she was going to open it, he stopped her and hesitated before blurting out:
"Am I okay? I mean, my clothes?"
He had tried to dress somewhat nicer than usual, putting on a black shirt under his trademark coat and a pair of black pants over his worn-out boots. He had even gone as far as tying his locks back. And now he felt like a tool, a fucking trained pet straight out from the circus.
"You're great, don't fret about it. My brothers are bound to find something to criticize about you anyway, so you'd better toughen up now."
"Thanks, that's very reassuring… Remind me again why I agreed to spend Christmas with Freak and Creep?"
"Because you like me enough, and it'll always be better than spending it on your own in your graveyard or whatever dumpster you decided to take up residence in this week."
"Wanna bet?" he grumbled once they had stepped inside the mansion.
"Welcome to the Largo home!" Amber theatrically announced.
"I've already been here you know."
"Only in my bedroom."
He gave her a sideway glance and chuckled:
"What? What does that mean?" she asked, surprised.
"When you're asleep, I sometimes take a walk around the place."
"You sneaky bastard!" she exclaimed, hitting his arm. "I guess we can skip the tour then, and go straight to the living room," she added, guiding him up the main staircase.
"Yeah, about that… When will your brothers be joining us?"
He didn't want to sound nervous, he wasn't a pussy or anything, heck he was a grave robber, he thrived on danger. But these two guys… they scared him. A lot more than he would be willing to admit to anyone, even to himself.
"Oh, with them you never know. I told them to be home by 9 pm. Guess it'll be a surprise!"
"And a lovely one…" he murmured, but Amber didn't seem to have heard him.
She lead him through a corridor and into the richly decorated room that they used as a living room. The fireplace was lit and it gave the whole thing a cosy atmosphere. At least it softened it up a bit, because all the family portraits hanging on the walls didn't make Graverobber comfortable at all. He would never venture there usually because he feared he might run into Pavi, or worse, Luigi, and without Amber by his side, he didn't want to take the chance.
"Sit down, make yourself at home. Do you want something to drink?" Amber asked him.
"Hell yes, and not water," he replied, settling in a leather armchair by the fire.
"Here you go, not water," she laughed, handing him a glass of whisky.
She was definitely in a good mood, and it unsettled him a bit. He was more accustomed to the darker side of her personality, even if she had quite changed since she had taken over GeneCo. More… mature, maybe. Yes, that was the word. But right now, she was acting way lighter and younger.
He snorted mentally: little Amber Sweet might not be a Zydrate addict anymore, but she was sure as hell a Christmas addict. Part of him found it ridiculous, but the other one found it cute, and that unsettled him even more. Since when did he find Amber cute? He was more and more convinced that this evening was a bad idea: he was starting to lose his mind, and Freak and Creep hadn't even showed up yet.
His thoughts were interrupted when Amber walked toward the door.
"Hey, where are you going?"
"I'll be back in a sec, I just need to get changed."
"Wait!" he called her, standing up.
"I won't be long, I promise. Just stay here and enjoy your drink," she smiled before exiting.
Damn it. Damn her. Alright, he could do that. Wait for her here. Everything would be fine. It was just a fucking Christmas dinner with his girlfriend's family. Just that. Pretty inoffensive compared to, say, stealing Zydrate from fresh corpses in a graveyard full of security guys armed to the teeth.
Calming down, he meandered through the room, stopping from time to time in front of a Largo portrait, examining the painting and its subject. He didn't acknowledge the sound of the door opening and thought Amber had indeed been quite quick.
"Excuse me-a, but-a who the hell-a are ya and what-a are ya doing-a here-a?"
Wincing, Graverobber turned around and met a surprised gaze behind what looked like Amber's face. Luck was being a bitch to him tonight.
"I… Mmm… I'm with Amber," he finally let out, tensed.
Pavi sized him up, looking him from head to toes, while the young woman clinging to his arm glanced around the room, amazed. The short silence that followed was one of the most excruciatingly painful Graverobber had ever experienced.
"Oooh, so you are-a Graverobber-a! Good evening-a to ya, I am-a Pavi Largo-a," Pavi exclaimed suddenly, startling the drug dealer.
Amber's brother crossed the room and shook his hand, which made Graverobber break out in a cold sweat. Pavi was even freakier in person, even more so when he was just standing a few feet away from you.
"Nice to meet you," he told him, trying to sound as convincing and relaxed as possible.
A giggle came from Pavi's date, who had claimed Pavi's arm again.
"Graverobber? What kind of ridiculous name is that?" she pointed out, bringing a mocking smile to Pavi's lips.
"And what is your name, sweetheart? Something much plainer I bet, to match your looks," he replied sarcastically.
"That-a is a good-a one-a!" Pavi laughed candidly, dismissing completely the girl's offended stare.
Graverobber had a half smile: if he could make Pavi laugh, things might not be as awful as they seemed to be. But then again, the guy was a complete freak who relied on his charm and smile to lull people. That was why the drug dealer was relieved to see Amber walk in the living room again, looking quite ravishing. He liked her better with her hair freely falling down like that, and her bright red dress would have given a hard-on to Santa Claus himself.
"Pavi!" she immediately shouted, striding toward them.
"Well-a hello-a sista! You look-a lovely-a."
"Cut the crap and tell me who the fuck this is!"
"It appears-a to be-a your boyfriend-a of the moment-a, I believe-a."
"Not him you moron! I'm talking about the cunt glued to you!"
"Hey!" the cunt in question protested.
"She is-a a Gentern-a I met-a today."
"You know how much this Christmas means to me, and you bring your latest whore? I cannot believe it!"
"So you can-a bring-a your whore-a but I cannot-a?!"
"He is not my whore, shut up! Don't call him that!"
"Whore-a, boyfriend-a, that's the same-a!"
The screams were getting louder and louder, and Graverobber was now trying to fuse discretely with the wall behind him.
"What the fuck is going on here!" an even louder scream came from across the room.
Oh great. Luigi was home. The little Largo family was now complete. Maybe if he let them deal with all this by themselves, he would be able to sneak out and keep a low profile in his precious graveyard for some time. Or forever. Yeah, forever sounded good.
"Pavi brought his newest slut to our Christmas dinner!"
"She did-a too-a!"
"Pavi, Amber, shut the fuck up!"
They both fell silent, and Graverobber found himself holding his breath.
"Who's that bum?" Luigi asked, pointing at him.
"He's my boyfriend, Graverobber. I told you I'd invite him over for Christmas," Amber replied, still looking daggers at her youngest brother.
"That is your boyfriend? Fuck, sister, your standards have fallen pretty low, like, six feet under," Luigi exclaimed, and Creep and Freak laughed loudly. Luigi in fact seemed mighty proud of his little joke.
"At least I've known him for longer than a fucking day!" Amber spat.
"What-a can I say-a? It was-a love-a at first-a sight-a."
"Yeah, you're right: that is actually your completely sane, 100% true to life vision of love. I don't even know why I'm surprised anymore," she mocked him in response.
"I may-a not-a know what-a love-a is, but-a I certainly-a know I hate-a ya!"
"I hate you even more!"
Oh boy, they were at it again. Luigi's face contorted with sudden rage, and before anyone could realize what was going on, he drew out his knife and violently stabbed the Gentern until the poor girl was lying on the floor, stone dead.
Speechless, Graverobber turned to the other two Largo siblings, waiting for their reactions.
"There, problem solved. Can we move on? I'm fucking hungry," Luigi said, heading toward the table at the other end of the room.
"I am hungry-a too indeed-a," Pavi nodded, following him.
"Yeah it's getting late," Amber approved.
What the… That was one hell of a deranged family. Stunned, Graverobber didn't move when Amber took his hand to lead him to the table.
"What's wrong?" she asked, a bit worried.
"What's wrong?! Are you serious?" he hissed between his teeth, not wanting to catch the Largo brothers' attention.
"Oh, you're talking about the Gentern."
"Of course I'm talking about the Gentern your brother just murdered in front of us! What else would I be talking about? It doesn't even seem to be bothering you at all! And yet it's bothering me, a goddamn outlaw who flirts with death and corpses on a daily basis."
"Well, what can I say? I'm used to it I guess. And as long as Luigi doesn't do it in public, as I strongly advised him, it's not hurting business."
"For fuck's sake Amber, do you realize it could have been me?"
"Mmm, now I see. You don't give a damn about the girl; it's about you being scared shitless of my brother. Awww, that's so sweet!" she smiled, caressing his left cheek.
That woman was as crazy as her brothers. Why did he even lay eyes on her in the first place? Why was he in a fucking relationship with her while there were plenty of girls out there way more normal, and with way more normal families?
"Don't worry, they're not so bad after all. And as long as you're with me, nothing will happen to you," she added, kissing him lightly on the lips.
It left him wanting more, but now was not the time, especially not in front of her brothers. The whole situation was already creepy enough.
They shared a copious dinner that Graverobber, however, was only able to enjoy once the servants had disposed of the body and cleaned the blood spilled all over the wooden floor. That evening was turning him into a squeamish wuss. Yeay.
"I told Sarah to keep the corpse, just in case you'd want to extract Zydrate from it," Amber whispered to him over turkey, and he felt touched by the attention. He wouldn't turn up his nose at some more Z, that was for sure.
Dinner went well, much more than he expected. He actually found some of Luigi's jokes funny, even if sometimes the guy tried too hard to get their laughs and approval. As for Pavi, he certainly knew how to talk about his numerous conquests, and some details and situations were both spicy and impressive. Amber looked a bit bored and didn't comment much: she probably had already heard those stories a hundred times.
"And-a what about-a ya? You've been-a very quiet-a the whole-a evening-a," Pavi said while they were ending the meal with a good cup of strong coffee.
"There's not much to say."
"Really? I'd think robbing graves would give you plenty to talk about," Luigi replied matter-of-factly.
Graverobber stared at the guy, trying to evaluate his mood, but Luigi seemed truly relaxed, amorously holding on to his coffee.
"Who told you I robbed graves?"
"Come on-a, we are-a not-a stupid-a! Your nickname-a gives it away-a!"
"Maybe I just liked the sound of it," he retorted cockily.
Luigi burst out laughing and turned to Amber, raising his cup.
"Fuck me, I don't dislike your date, sister! He's hilarious, just like his clothes and haircut!"
"Plus-a he is-a as interesting-a as us-a!" Pavi warmly agreed.
"Interesting?" he mouthed to Amber, raising one eyebrow.
"Interesting like in 'twisted interesting'," she murmured.
He didn't know if he should feel flattered or appalled by all this Largo praising. Maybe both? Hell, he was no angel and he completely embraced his dark side, but the Largos were on a whole other level of darkness. Well… As long as they didn't feel the urge to kill him or steal his face, he could settle with being welcomed by the weirdest siblings on earth.
"Alright, now that you've bonded with my boyfriend, maybe we can exchange gifts?"
Luigi started opening his gifts, a set of expensive shirts from Amber and a shiny new knife from Pavi, which earned the latter a very disapproving look from their sister.
"Thanks you two, these are perfect! I can use your gift Pavi without having to worry about ruining my shirts anymore. Yes, yes, perfect!" their older brother let out, waving his new toy around and admiring it under the light.
Pavi enthusiastically opened his: Amber had chosen a richly decorated mirror, too fancy for Graverobber's taste but it seemed to suit Pavi just fine judging from his ecstatic comments; and Luigi had picked… What was that? Oh. Okay. A lovely new face for Pavi's collection. How thoughtful. Not to mention tasteful.
"Luigi-a, where-a did-a ya find-a this? It's so-a beautiful-a!"
"Yeah Luigi, where did you find this?" Amber dryly added. The gift didn't seem to please her. Thank god, he was still dating the least crazy Largo.
"None of your business, and I can't tell anyway 'cos it's a fucking present, it has to remain secret otherwise it's no longer a present. Open yours instead of pissing me off."
Amber sighed and unwrapped the little package which revealed a fancy fountain pen and a small, framed picture.
"The fountain pen was my idea: thought it could be useful for you, since you're now a very successful businesswoman. And if you're not happy with the papers you're supposed to sign, you can still use it to stab the fucking peasants that tried to screw you over with a shitty deal!"
"That's nice, and very… helpful. Thanks Luigi."
Luigi flashed her a bright smile, looking utterly satisfied.
"And-a I found-a that picture-a in dad's stuff-a before-a ya. Ya like-a it-a?"
"Awww Pavi, it's so lovely! Thank you so much!"
Amber appeared genuinely moved and Graverobber cast a glance at the picture: it showed the three young Largo siblings gathered around Rotti in front of a Christmas tree. So cliché, but it seemed to bring back good memories to his girlfriend.
"And-a if ya pull here-a, ya'll find-a a hidden-a mirror-a. Practical-a, no?"
"Very. Thank you again!" she said, standing up to hug both her brothers.
The four of them ended up sitting in the armchairs near the fire, each with a glass of brandy, and the two brothers took on to fill the silence. After a moment, Graverobber didn't pay much attention anymore, his mind a bit hazy from that eventful evening and the heat coming from the fireplace.
"I think it's time for us to tell you goodnight, guys," Amber interrupted them when the clock hit 1 a.m.
"Didn't know you were such sissies, but alright," Luigi sarcastically commented as they all stood up.
Graverobber hesitated shortly before extending his right hand to the eldest Largo son who shook it firmly in return. A bit too firmly even, as the man leaned toward him, whispering:
"If you're only here for my sister's money, I'll cut you, understand?"
"Don't worry, I'm only here to fuck her," he whispered back, a glimmer of defiance in his eyes.
Luigi simply smirked and let go of him without further remark. Pavi closed the gap between himself and Graverobber and hugged him tightly. A bit too tightly even, as the man muttered:
"If ya hurt-a my sista, I'll gladly-a and happily-a take-a your face-a from-a your living-a body-a."
Pavi detached himself, a disturbing smile showing underneath his human mask, and Graverobber couldn't help shuddering. Man, these two still scared him, no matter what.
"Goodnight guys," Amber waved at them before leading Graverobber out of the living room and to her bedroom a bit further away.
"What did they tell you?" she asked him once she had closed the door behind them.
"Oh, nothing. Just being big brothers I suppose," he answered, shrugging his shoulders.
She dropped the subject and opened one of the drawers of her desk, retrieving a very small package.
"I didn't forget you, you know? I just didn't want to give you this in front of my brothers. They can be a real pain in the ass sometimes."
"Come on! It wasn't that bad, was it?"
"No, you're right. I'm still alive, so I guess it went okay," he chuckled. "There, I didn't forget you either," he added, handing her a small wrapped box.
She made a little surprised sound when she opened it, and she took out the necklace carefully.
"A tiny little glass vial full of Z. I made it," he underlined. "Just to remind us how we got into this mess in the first place," he joked awkwardly. Emotional moments like that had never been his thing.
"Thank you, it's adorable," she said, her cheeks lightly colouring.
"Yeah, well, great, glad you like it," he mumbled, looking away.
He quickly ripped open his own gift and found a set of keys.
"They're the keys to my heart," Amber explained.
"Oh. Okay. Nice. Thanks."
"God, don't be so literal! I was joking, you idiot! How lame do you think I am? They're the keys to the house, so that you can come in and out without breaking the law," she laughed.
"Give me a break, I had a tough night," he grumbled.
"Awww do you want a hug, you poor thing? Come here, let me hug all the pain away," she taunted him.
That woman knew how to push his buttons, for better or for worse. Shoving her against the wall, he kissed her forcefully and started undressing her. He was way more comfortable with that, and he had wanted to do it ever since Amber had walked into the living room with this devilish outfit.
"You don't have to use the keys if you don't want to…" she said softly in his ear as she took off his shirt.
"What? What makes you think that?" he paused, trying to calm down his breathing.
"I know you prefer to keep a low profile and do things your own, outlawish way. I don't want you to think I want to change… well, to change you. I just wanted to show you officially that, you know, you're welcome here anytime…"
It was now her turn to look away, ill at ease. He was somewhat taken aback and searched for the right words to say, but he really was no expert in that kind of situation.
"I think you make it clear every day," he let out.
"Sorry?" she asked, meeting his eyes again.
"That I'm welcome here, I mean."
"Thank you. For that. And for that evening."
"Welcome, I know," he interrupted her, grinning. "Your brothers still scare the shit out of me though, so if you don't mind, let's spend most of our time just the two of us."
"I don't mind at all," she smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Merry Christmas to you, Graverobber," she added before pressing her lips on his.
"Merry Christmas to you too, Amber," he replied between two kisses.
There he was, getting into the Christmas spirit… Fuck, what he wouldn't do for that woman. Mentally sighing, he concentrated on getting her out of her dress: she was in the end his very own Christmas present, and he finally got to unwrap it. Better late than never, as they say.