Those movies, where they wake up with a headache after the party, they're all fucking liars. If a headache is like having your head beat to a bloody pulp than sure they're quite on the spot. Cracking an eye open I was quickly reminded of how brilliant it was living in the foggy city. Instead of waking to a blinding sun I found myself looking into a a dull gray light.
Leaning up I could see the fog covering everything. Nudging Josh I decided we both needed a shower before heading to the boat. I looking down I realized I was in a pair of white boxers while Josh was wearing nothing. Shaking my head I pushed him off the bed. The small yelp and groan were like music to my ears.
Then there was a scream from that side of the room. " Oh my god! Get him off me! Oh my god he's fucking naked!" I chocked at the laughter that wanted to pour out of my mouth. Guess that means Josh found Alex. "I'm so sorry Alex, I didn't mean to!" "Get off me then! And put some underwear on! I can feel that disgusting thing pressing into my leg... Oh god it got harder you sick freak!"
Rolling my eyes I stepped around the bed and grabbed Josh by the back of the neck. "Come on Josh, need to get you clean before our trip to the rock. Besides, I'm sure Alex needs to relieve the tension in his underwear now." Snickering at Alex's cries of indignation I pulled Josh behind me into the bathroom. Closing the door behind me didn't stop us from hearing one last yell about my nerves from the smoker.
Chuckling I pushed Josh toward the shower as checked myself in the mirror. Looking back at me was definitely a wild man who hadn't shaven his light beard or had a haircut in a while. "Josh, after we're done you should definitely cut my hair a bit. Make it look presentable." Josh's grunt was the most he answered me. Looking into my eyes I found two dull orbs that were a sickly white and my skin had become a gray color. Pulling off my boxers I let out a chuckle when I realized everything was that color now.
The turn of a knob and the sound of water falling behind me told me that Josh had finally found the knobs. "Hey Josh, didn't realize that being infected would change 'everything.'" I turned my heard toward him and wiggled my eyebrows. Josh rolled his eyes and shook his head before picking up the soap I'd left in the shower. Josh started washing his chest before replying simply with,"What ever you say Wolfy."
Since Nashville, Josh and I had become quite close and his silent exterior and attitude had melted away. Living together had only sped up the process.
Leaning against the sink I felt a smile tug at the corners of my lips. Before I would have thought it was a fling, or maybe even a hero thing since he had saved me numerous times. Now? I chuckled softly at the thought. Now I was in love with him and he seemed to be in love with me.
Shaking my head I strode forward and wrapped my arms around Josh. Rubbing my claws gently against his nipples I used them as leverage to pull myself flush against him. Leaning down I nibbled on his ear, watching my sharp teeth so that I didn't cause him to bleed. "Ya know Josh,if all goes right today, we might be able to finally have some alone time to go to the next level." I felt Josh hum in approval but I knew he wasn't paying attention to my words, only my actions.
I stopped rubbing his nipples and slowly rubbed my semi hardness again his rear. My hand trailed slowly down his chest onto his thigh. Giving them a small squeeze I continued moving down and grasped his desire. Josh leaned back into me, exposing his throat in the process. Letting out a breathless chuckled I leaned down to his ear. "You'll get what you want... just not now." And with that I let go and stepped out of the shower. Quickly I grabbed a towel and headed back to our bedroom.
As I reached the safety of our room, now with less Alex, I decided to get dressed in my most official clothing. Today was a big day, not only was I seeing the various settlements again but we were going to be looking over the "CEDA" case. Something that had been bothering me since Pittsburgh.
Two hours later found me in a navy blue suit with red undershirt standing at the old ferry terminal. Josh was wearing a black dress shirt with dress slacks. My favorite part though was his skull tie. I rolled my eyes at how skater he was being. "It's weird no longer acting like most infected. I remember finding you and you just hopped around like every other hunter, now look at your Josh. You're standing there in a dress shirt without a lick of blood on you." Josh chuckled and shook his head. Much like back when I had just been infected, Josh turned silently serious and gazed out at the bay.
"Wolfy, you know this isn't going to go well any way you look at it. No matter what we find out, we already know these maps are being spread about and the reason can't be good." Josh turned and looked into my eyes. "Even worse is that I know you'll want to chase what ever the hell it is down."
I glanced away and looked towards the ground. I was suddenly starting to hate how easy it must be for him to predict what I'll do. Even more when we both know I'll still do it. Looking up from the ground I cast my gaze upon the remnants of San Francisco and the mighty bay area.
Josh and I remained silent after the boat arrived to take us to Alcatraz. After docking we were greeted by Nelson. "Good morning Wolfy." I grinned and shook his hand. "Good morning Nelson, may I introduce you to my lover Josh. He's the one I spoke about yesterday."Nelson nodded and reached his hand toward Josh. I watched cautiously as Josh took the accepted hand and nodded, remaining silent like his old self again.
Nelson smiled and turned around leading the way. "While you've been gone various trade agreements have come and gone as supplies has been changing hands rapidly. Remember Napa Valley? A few weeks ago they were hit by some raiders that ended up triggering a horde. From what we've heard, any survivors were taken to a slave camp way up north. Security was increased at Vallerjo. Also a new colony has joined us from Sonoma, they were already in an increased security before the attack but from what we've heard, they've been working on upping it even more."
We passed under a few old arches from ancient stairways as Nelson kept talking. "We've also moved meetings into the warden's house, which we rebuilt. We needed a place that wasn't an old cafeteria so we rebuilt the warden's house using supplies from each of the colonies." Nelson continued explaining how each colony gave something to make it possible and how it brought them together. We reached the warden's house a few minutes later when he was starting to explain that before the attack Napa had even given us a bottom of wine as their gift to commemorate the final structure.
We entered the white structure to find most of the colonies sitting around what was pretty much a dinner table. A few looked up to see whom entered and to my joy I recognized most of them. Vallerjo seemed to have just been reading a file when we walked in. As soon as he caught sight of me he let out a deep chuckle.
"Well look what the dogs dragged in, it's New San Fran!" Chuckling I waved him off. " Yeah but I'm here to discuss business not politics, though I hear Nelson did a good job taking over for me." Vallerjo continued to chuckle and waved to the seat next to him. Stepping around the table I took a seat next to him while Josh sat next to me. After that a few more colonies I'd made good with welcomed me back as well.
After getting my papers in order I put on my political face and awaited Nelson to start. Catching my eye I nodded at Nelson, he returned the nod and slammed his gavel down. "Alright, calm down everybody and let's get to work. First off I'd like to welcome New San Francisco back. He's been away adventuring across the US trying to find us some new contacts and in his place I've tried my best to voice New San Fran's opinions. Now that we have that out of the way let's turn to article 17 section 18. Last time we met there were reports of various colonies receiving papers with CEDA markings. Is there anything new to report?"
Vallerjo stood up next to me. "We finally received the packet yesterday. From what we can tell our papers are telling us there is some weapon being kept in the south."
Sunnyvale quickly stood up "That's interesting Vallerjo, our researchers have been going over the data we collected and we seem to have coordinates for something off the coast of New Orleans."
I felt a arm brush against me as Josh stood up ."Hello, I'm Josh. I'm an adventurer and was inside a colony near Nashville. They too had papers but theirs declared there was a supplies shelter in New Orleans. They were sending an expedition to see if those claims were true."
Nodding I stood up next to Josh holding my folder. I pulled out a photo of what looked like the French Quarter. "It seems we too have evidence that there is something going on in New Orleans. I also know that CEDA was isolating small towns and using them for research before killing off survivors. My own home town was used for those experiments. Files I found there indicated the infection might have been started via some company working on some new wonder drug. There is even a paper that seemed to insinuate that CEDA has been around in the background just in case a rouge virus did escape. Unfortunately the one thing our files have on New Orleans is that it was to be one of the East Coasts final holding points."
Nelson banged his gavel to get our attention. "So compiling what I've heard so far it seems like these papers are pointing to something in New Orleans. Now we need to decide if we risk an expedition to go find out what or if we just ignore it and move on to bigger issues closer to home." Josh, Vallerjo, Sunnyvale, and I all retook our seats as we awaited discussions and voting.
An hour later Josh and I were on a boat moving away from the Rock. We were leaning against the railing as the boat moved further into the harbor. "So Wolfy, close call on the vote. Six out of the eight delegates. I'm amazed Nelson pushed on with the expedition after such a close call."
I let out a chuckle and turned to Josh. "Yeah but Nelson wants to get to the bottom of this. I have no doubt he would have sent a team even if they decided not to." Josh turned around and leaned back against the railing. "Why do you think Nelson is so interested in some old CEDA papers?"
Sighing I glanced down at the floor before leaning back against the railing as well. "Well for one it's weird everyone has been getting these papers, but then there is the fact that violent criminals have gotten a hold of these papers. If there is one thing Nelson doesn't want it's those whom have less than civil intentions getting hold of a nuclear device left over. Mostly because New San Francisco has also made a few enemies with colonies like that who have no objections of wiping out a few thousand people to get revenge on two or three."
Josh glanced at me with a smirk. "Only two or three? Jesus who did you piss off?" I chuckled before averting my eyes. "Uhm, I slaughtered a camp of slavers and then 'stole' their merchandise. Freed an innocent young smoker but pissed off a boat load of people. Last I knew the kid was in Vallerjo with a good family."
I could feel the tension in the air as soon as I had finished speaking. After a few minutes Josh sighed heavily and turned so that I couldn't see his face. "You really don't know how to just let things be do you?" When Josh turned back to me I put on a huge grin. "Nope and you love me for it." Josh rolled his eyes and leaned in. A soft kiss was left on my forehead before he went back to looking at the bay. We stood there in silence for about ten minutes before Josh spoke up again.
"So let me guess, we should start emptying the bus?" Chuckling I turned away from Josh and started heading toward the front of the boat. Might as well see how close we are to land as well as let that sit with Josh for a few.
It turned out we were closer to land than I had thought and after we stepped onto land we went straight to the bus and started unloading it. Nelson hadn't created the wonder team yet but I already had a feeling I was the lead adventurer. We finally finished three hours after starting and had only killed about a dozen zombies to do it. Josh and I were now lying on the couch back at my place.
Inhaling deeply I took in his unique smell of sweat, infection, and a just a bit of grease. Nuzzling closer I smiled into his shirt. My mind was a million places at once but overall I felt relaxed. I don't know how but in the back of my mind I felt like something was almost over, it felt like ever since meeting Josh my life had been on a roller coaster and the ride was slowing down.
Vaguely I heard footsteps enter and exit the room but I no longer really cared. In a day or two Nelson would send out the expedition and we would be back on the road with a group of people heading for New Orleans. I myself was pretty done with traveling. At one time this would have been my dream but now with Josh I was ready to settle down, if only for a little while.
Curling up into Josh again I yawned, it couldn't hurt to just lay her and sleep for a little while could it? As my eyes finally closed that large gap between open and closed I heard a small snore come from Josh. Smiling I fell into a deep sleep next to him.
Three months this chapter has been bothering me. The ending just didn't want to come out so I'm sorry if it feels weaker than past chapters. I've started pushing forward with the last leg now, everything that was planted back in Pittsburgh is now coming full circle.
When I first started writing this two years ago it was just me writing a road trip story and seeing where it went. No plan, no plot, nothing. Then I started seeing themes and plot points and I figured out where I wanted to go and have slowly been building up the hints and tips that something was going on. Even now I have no idea what is coming next but what I do know is that I'd like to finish this before this story goes on three years old.
So thank you to those of you who started with me back in 2010, it's been a wild ride and it blows me away to still see so many people reading this story. I hope I don't disappoint any of you with the next 8 chapters.