Sooooooo... I apologize for the slow updates on Hope and Ruin, and What Doesn't Kill You, rest assured they are both in progress.
In the meantime, have something funny.
The light streaming through the window and falling directly across his eyes felt like the biggest fuck-you Aster had ever woken up to. Groaning in pain, he rolled over, hauling the blankets over his head to block out the piercing sunshine. Let's see, cotton-mouth, pounding headache, only scattered recollections of the night before...
Yep, Aster was hungover alright. Next time Nick proposed tequila shots, he'd be sure to run in the other direction. No doubt the Russian man was nursing his own hangover, his lovely wife no worse for wear after Tiana'd neatly drunk the three of them, including Sandy, right under the table. That women could drink paint thinner and still pass a sobriety test, Aster was certain. Moaning again in discomfort, he tried to burrow a bit farther into the oversized bed with the ridiculously soft mattress. Really, forget gambling, if you were going to blow money in Vegas, you had to do it on the most lavish hotel room you could afford.
That was when the lump beside him suddenly yawned and stretched.
Aster swore, throwing himself backwards in shock, winding up with his back on the floor and his legs still on the bed. He swore again, quieter this time, as the throbbing in his skull reminded him that loud noises, moving too fast and bursts of adrenaline we all totally not his friends right now. It was enough to momentarily distract him from the rustling of the other body on the bed.
He was also stark naked, he realized, just as the rustling resolved itself into the narrow face peering at him from the edge of the mattress. The kid was barely drinking age, if he was at all, as Aster had a momentary flash of panic that he'd gone and banged some teenage minor and any minute now the cops would be kicking down the door to arrest his ass.
His ass which hurt, so apparently the kid had been doing the banging, but really, at this point he was just splitting hairs. Also, the kid was staring now, a Mona Lisa smile on his lips as he took in the rumpled Aussie flopped on the floor, feet still sitting just next to the boy's head.
"Morning Sunshine. Let me guess, you have a hangover, and you don't remember much?" Aster nodded, feeling somewhat stuck for words. "Figures, you were pretty tanked when you ran into me on the street yesterday. Here I was hoping for breakfast in bed, then another repeat of our wedding night. You're a hellcat between the sheets, do you know that?"
Aster had fully intended to open his mouth to deny pretty much everything the kid had just said, but instead his throat seemed content to make a noise like a dying cat, something like a squeak and a hiss, and he found himself groping awkward to find the floor to push himself up, still pained and disoriented.
And obviously delusional; if he'd married some crazy little twink last night, he'd remember at least a bit of it, of the preacher saying some nice words, and Aster had spent a good ten minutes trying to comb down his wiry curls, and smooth his wrinkled t-shirt with his hands, and look, there was a shiny silver band on his ring finger this morning, wasn't that novel. Bits and pieces of the previous evening began to creep back to him; stumbling into the street after the drinking contest for some fresh air, running straight into the elfish creature before him, one of the myriad of street performers that walked the strip. One thing had led to another, and the boy had declared he wasn't going to put out for just anybody, and Aster had suggested marriage, because it's Vegas, why the hell not? It had all made perfect sense at the time to drunk Aster. Unfortunately, it had also made perfect sense to sober stranger, too.
At least, Aster thought with a sense of rising hysteria, he wasn't going to jail for statutory. No, he'd be serving an entirely different kind of life sentence. He wondered what the precedent was in Nevada for annulling a Vegas marriage. This must happen all the time; surely they had some kind of drive-through service for it, wouldn't they?
The face disappeared as the kid rolled to his feet with an easy, languid motion. He too was naked, covered in a cacaphony of little marks from both teeth and fingertips, exactly the kind you'd expect after a hard and fast tumble. He walked with a lazy grace, flashing that little smile back over his shoulder at Aster, before he bent very deliberately showing off his, erm, 'best ASSet,' to collect his clothing from the ground.
He then proceeded to shimmy in an exceptionally provocative way into a white dress, complete with what looked like a rather convincing sewn-in pair of false breasts. It wasn't until he settled the matching blonde wig over his close-cropped brown hair, retrieved from beside the bureau onto his head that Aster realized he was looking at a very male Marilyn Monroe impersonator.
And really, no boy should look that good in the iconic white dress and blonde bob. The drawn-on beauty mark had smudged during the night, but a trace of eyeliner remained, making the boy's brown eyes pop. He was on the shorter side for a man, all sleek, lean lines like a swimmer, the cut of the dress helping to disguise his lack of hips. The smug little grin made his amusement clear, and damn if that wasn't a very good look for the kid, who was rather handsome in his, er her, no his way.
The identical silver band winking up from his finger confirmed what Aster already knew; that drunk him must have thought so, too.
The boy turned, grabbed Aster's pants from over the chair by the window and tossed them at him, the denim smacking heavily onto his face. Which did nothing for his headache, but did do plenty for his motivation to stand up and get dressed. He quickly slipped them on, patting down the pockets to make sure his wallet and key were still present. The same t-shirt was next, fuck it, the kid had seen him naked and howling last night, he could handle him in yesterday's clothes. Finally decent, he turned to face his companion, surprised to find an almost hungry gaze trailing over his recently-clothed body.
A body that was suddenly very eager to be unclothed again, if in fact sex was a possibility.
"So, what now?" Aster said, voice still slightly hoarse from sleep, all the while furiously reigning in his libido. The boy grinned at him, like quicksilver, sharp and sexy.
"Now Aster Overland, we have breakfast." Aster frowned.
"Wait, I took your last name? What the hell?" The boy shrugged, making for the door, pausing only the throw his response over one slim, pale shoulder.
"You thought it was better than 'Bunnymund.' And my name is Jackson, forgetful husband of mine. Now, are you going to buy me eggs, or what?" With that, the boy flounced out of the door, dress swirling about his legs in an intriguing tangle, barefoot but with a pair of delicate white stilettos hanging from one elegant hand.
Aw hell, in for a penny, in for a pound. Aster shut the door, hurrying down the hall to catch up. They had a divorce to discuss over said eggs after all.
Or maybe a lifetime together to plan, Aster thought, casting his gaze sideways to admire Jack's exquisite profile. This was Vegas right? Anything could happen, and right now, there were only two things Aster knew for certain:
One, Jack was sassy, fun, and gorgeous; essentially everything Aster had ever wanted.
And two, Nick was never going to let him live this down. Catching sight of Jack's wicked little smirk again from the corner of his eye, Aster figured he didn't mind his friend's teasing; in fact it just might all be worth it.