1. Derivatives

“So pub is short of public house then?” One of the things Eddie adored about schooling in England the most was the sensible drinking age. His lips were still wet from the latest pint and veins starting to race with warmth. “Well then, Abby, what does public house mean?”

“An alehouse for the general public instead of an exclusive club.” His exotic cousin shook her almost finished glass at him with a roll of startling eyes. “You’re such a yank sometimes.”

“Well I am from the States.” It wasn’t as good of a come-back as it seemed in his head but Eddie grinned anyway. Abby rolled her eyes for a second time and leaned dangerously close to touching noses. Her smile warmed his muscles and her fingers tickled at his stomach. The mild belly he had sunk in time with tipsy laugh.

“See, I told you it was a brilliant idea to come out with me for the evening.” She quipped and her smile grew in a fair ratio to how many sheets to the wind she was. There was nothing more the artist wanted to do at the moment than press Eddie back against worn walnut bar and snog him silly. However as this was a pub that meant that they were in public and well known in Devonshire as cousins. “Sometimes one does have to get their nose out of a computer screen, or their house guest.”

“Abigail!” Eddie’s indignation was utterly false and he gave her face a playful push away via finger to nose. “You can’t put your nose into a computer!”

That broke the half-Hindi into a peel of giggles and she slapped a hand over her lips before it could transform into childish snorts. She batted his hand away and lounged back against the counter with elbows. The low cut neck of her royal blue top strained to keep cleavage in and drew Eddie’s eyes down as expected. Pleased as a peach she ordered herself another round and motioned one for Eddie too.

“You’re so trying to get me drunk.” He clucked his tongue.

“No, Eddie.” The drain of the last of her drink was erotic down to letting traces of left over bubbles slid from the side of her lips. Abby used the empty cup to gesture across the bar. It as bustling as one would expect for a Friday night being so close to the university after all. No one here had to worry about class work until a panicked Sunday evening at the very earliest. “I just want you to get out and live a little. Besides, I like spending time with you.”

Eddie had the common sense to blush and then kill his pint as well. With a smack of lips he thudded the glass on the counter and pushed it away. The darkest corner of the house was packed with folks booing over a soccer game that was going tits up for the local team. That didn’t keep them from ordering more drinks and food to go with. Alcohol was good for every mood. The mathematician wasn’t sure what team colors they were wearing. Football was still a mystery called soccer to him after all. His ankle turned to brush against Abby’s and eyes returned to being trapped with hers.

“Me too, Abby, me too. It’s fun here, just a bit loud. Is it always like this?” He blinked with the most adorable naivety.

It made Abby grin fresh and she shook her head. “Only after a certain time. Before that it is dead quiet save for layabouts and drunks.”

“So frat boys?” He shot back and tilted into her gravity once more. All around him laugher mixed with heated conversation, and was stirred to a frenzy with shouts for more drinks. The nerd was pretty sure that the Presidents wouldn’t want to come down here when it was busy though. As far as he knew Woody liked mixed drinks and Quincy had a long running affair with stout. James had commented once that he didn’t drink for religious reasons and well, who was Eddie to argue with that. His gaze drifted away from his cousin to drink in all the people around them. There were so many fashions present but most were casual as all hell. For a moment he lingered on a pack of girls at one table who were slamming shots and looking for tonight’s treats. They were all dressed a bit too light for the weather in the best way to accentuate curves and reveal too much. He didn’t catch their eye and neither did they catch his.

Thus Eddie looked back to Abby starting at the where his tennis shoe teased at the inside of her knee. It meandered slowly along the inside of her thigh with all the weight of roaming fingers. It skipped off of jean covered sex and to the slip of her midriff that could be seen. Beyond that his lustful look crept up blue shirt that illustrated her bust quite well. She’d purposefully neglected to wear a bra revealing cleavage Eddie adored setting his cheek against.

Abby was very pleased by the direction of his eyes but Eddie was being a bit too obvious. With the circle of harpies over there she didn’t need the rumor mill started up. So Abby trailed blunted nails under whisker plagued chin and lifted his eyes to her smile before forcefully turning his head to see that their drinks had came. “Stop undressing me with your eyes.”

“Should I use my fingers instead?” He was wise enough to keep the question low but too loose of tongue to keep it in.

Flushing Abby just lifted her drink to drown the smile. People jostled past them to try and find a spot, get a drink or hold it till the restrooms. There was almost a constant ebb and flow akin to the ocean itself as folks came and went from having a fag outdoors. After all in the civilized world no one tolerated one another’s smoke any longer.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” His foot slid away from Abby’s leg so he could stretch across the bar with a pardon here and there at the folks drinking around them before grabbing the pub’s menu. He gave it a wiggle once he sat back down. “So what’s the best food to have here at the Horne? Most of this stuff I haven’t tried yet.”

“Ah well let’s take a look, Eddie. Feeling a bit peckish?” The laminated menu was snatched away and Abby furrowed her brows. “As I recall though it is all greasy rubbish.”

“What else do you expect at bar?” Eddie took a deep drink and realized that by the time he was going to be done with this another pint was going to sound like a fine idea, or a shot to three of whiskey. Damn he was having a good time. After filling his lungs he let out a long swirling puff of breath.

“True.” Abby flexed the muscles of her back. She realized by the time she was done with this drink she was going to want Eddie to take her home. Of course that would mean that she’d be horny and drunk around Pi but at the moment she didn’t worry about that. In fact at the back of her mind she wondered if there was a bed in the house big enough for all three of them. “Fish and chips? They are supposed to be greasy after all.”

“Sounds great.” He nodded and curled closer to her. An invitation to head back now and trade drunken kisses was on the tip of his tongue but at the very moment someone started to curse loud as the front door smacked into him. The jostled fellow was shoved away right into the coat rack but he didn’t say a word. Instead he just stayed there and fought to right it not looking at the offenders even if everyone else’s eyes turned to them.

Richard Chadwick’s right-hand thug, Millard, eyeballed the poor gent until the fellow slipped out with a nod. Rich and John continued on looking for a table and zeroed in on one that only had two of its four seats occupied. They loomed at the edge of it until Millard joined them and by then the table was being emptied so they could take it up. Rich just smirked and cracked his neck before looking over to the table of sorority sluts and casting them a hungry grin. They giggled and many of them waved; all of them at the tabled eyed up the three rugby players with equal appetite. Abby rolled her eyes and looked back over to Eddie who was still watching Rich with narrowed eyes.

“It’s not worth it, Eddie. Remember my warning.” She murmured and turned, leaning out far with a press of ripe rump to wave down the tender. Those fish and chips were definitely needed. Rich’s beady gaze moved from the trollips of the round table to Abby’s ass and he blatantly stared. That was until Eddie bristled. Because of it Rich’s attention swayed and met his nemesis’ eyes. His expression turned cutting and he motioned for his usual beer to a waitress before slapping her behind. The hand fresh from groping he made a shooting motion to the woman. She giggled and obliged.

“What is he stuck in the seventies?” Cracking his neck Eddie looked back to Abby’s rump as it came down and just smiled. Okay well it was a nice thing to see but he preferred the slope of her hips and lovely eyes His hand adjusted her hair then hold of his beer so she could get too offended. “So are we going to go with food then or?”

“I just ordered. Weren’t you listening? Silly Yank.” The artist smiled. “Fish and chips.”

“Can we not put vinegar on them this time?” He pleaded and then subconsciously rolled his shoulders as Rich drifted over through the crowd. Every time the man got close it went right under Eddie’s skin.

Abby thought noticed him first with a flick of crystal blues amid dusky flesh. Her chocolate painted lips turned down. “Bullocks.”

“Hey there, Vance and Sweetmeat. You two having a good time?” Not that the brute did as much as even look at Eddie before butting in between them and setting heavy hand on the bar. His chest puffed and eyes didn’t stay on Abby’s face for long before he started right down her top. Wide shoulders twitched in front of Eddie’s eyes as if in challenge. The geek just took another draught of liquid courage.

“I’d say we are, Chadwick.” Abby’s tone went flat. She shifted back and worked on pulling up her shirts. That was until Rich curled a hand over one of her hands. “Hey!”

“What are you doing that for? Unless you’re taking more off.” His teeth gleamed like a shark.

Of course the sculptor was less than impressed with his ‘charm’ and tried to jerk her hand away only to have it squeezed. “Hey!”

“That’s enough, Rich.” Eddie gave his glass a swirl and motioned for a refill even though he was half-done.

“I’ll say when it’s enough Vance.” Rich’s growl didn’t make Eddie shrink. The line however did set his goons chuckling and one of them even whistled. They both angled forward and the harpies started to gossip with clear disdain. “And I don’t think I could ever get enough of a woman like you, Abby.”

Abby’s tone went from flat to edged and her eyes narrowed. “Yeah you can, this is already too much.”
Eddie rolled his shoulders and drained the last half of his pint. Had he been anything close to sober the mathematician would have noticed the bar was growing quite and tense. Besides the football fans. They could care less about college drama.

“Leave her alone, Dick.” Eddie started to stand before Rick bumped him back down with a turn of his bulk. The floozies and wingmen cackled. Keyboard softened fingers curled to fists and Eddie felt angry shakes begin. “Come on man.”

“Dick? Yeah that’s original. Shut the fuck up, Vance.” Rich didn’t even finish looking at him before turning to Abby once more. The Brit snapped her whole arm this time to get it loose. Rich let go but used the confusion to put a hand on her left breast. “No holding hands? That’s fine, my hand’s better here.”

“Leave her alone.” This time Eddie’s voice held a tone of deep warning. Millard and John toasted one another with their recently arrived drinks. Rich just ignored him for now.

“You asshole!” With her hand free Abby tried to slap the wanker across the face. He caught her wrist and twisted. She whimpered and knew deep down inside no one from the staff to the other college kids were going to help. The football fans were still being rowdy in their loss but several of them were starting to notice something going on. A gasp broke from her as he twisted her arm and pressed her to the counter with the bulk of his chest. Hand stared to move inappropriately.

“You like it in the asshole? My aren’t you a naughty girl.” Rich continued to ratchet up the lewd behavior. His hand didn’t stop and in fact the jock was more turned on as she struggled. “This has to be better than fucking your own cousin.”

“Knock the cobwebs out of her snatch!” One of the sorority girls called out before they all giggled with drunken hatred.

“I said-“ Eddie tried to stand up a second time and Rich was too busy being a stereotype to knock him back down. The tremor of his rage had infected the nerd’s voice now. It made it all warble and little bite and that elicited more cruel amusement from those interested. Nearly all the other peers had turned back to their drinks and just pretended this wasn’t going on.

Abby tilted to meet his gaze and gave him a pleading look. “He’s just trying to goad you, Eddie. Hey, hey bartender help here!”

“See. She needs a real man instead of some little dicked yank.” Obscene Rick ground his crotch against her chair and just laughed. Across the room two of the larger soccer hooligans weren’t laughing. In fact they shared a firm nod and got up.

“I guess she does.” After schooling the quiver still with a breath Eddie let his voice drop to defeated.
Rich felt he got the satisfaction he needed but still moved offending hand from Abby’s handful down the line of her stomach.
Eddie wasn’t letting up yet though, not really. “Oh hey here’s your drink.”

“Mother fucker!” The thick tool yowled. As soon as Eddie’s full ale hit the counter he’d snatched it up and tossed the contents against Rich’s back. The harpies gasped and the wingmen’s eyes went wide. At the very least the action got Rich’s hands off of Abby as well as weight. The bastard was stunned for the first few seconds as he watched the wetness spread across the front of his sweat shirt and felt it dripping through his hair. “You are so fucking dead.”

Abby scooted away and tried not to smile.

Expecting to see Eddie cower when he whirled around the star player instead was met with disdainful courage fueled by spirits. That and Eddie just couldn’t let this offense to his cousin stay. Not that he had any idea what to do next. He’d not been in a rumble since middle school and that was just schoolyard wrestling.

Common sense had been smothered by booze. “Still breathing, Dick.”

“Not for long.” Rich gave him a heavy push which nearly knocked Eddie off of his feet and crowded people off of their stools nearby. Not staying off balance for long Eddie tried to manhandle the jock with a hard push to perfect abs. Rich didn’t move and shoved him once more. People gasped and got up from their drinks to step away.

Even though Abby shot the bartender a pleading look the coward just turned away to busy with bottles. Frustration mounted and she considered breaking a bottle over the back of Rich’s head but that would bring his two friends over. What to do? What to do? She adored the fact Eddie was standing up from her but he was going to get his ass kicked. She turned back just in time to watch the last two adults in the bar, the football watchers, help Eddie to his feet.

“Why don’t you take this outside and kick his ass, son?” One of them gave Eddie a grin and a confident pat on the shoulder.

His mate nodded and fixed Eddie’s collar for him. “The big ones tend to hit hard but are as slow as they are dumb.”

“Fuck you.” Rich lifted his chin and growled. Neither of to the older man shrank. If fact the first one let go of Eddie and cracked his knuckles.

“Now you listen here, kid.” While smoothing down United colors the gent just smirked. “My friends and I are trying to watch the game. You keep causing a ruckus me and all me mates are going to use you for a few kicks out in the street. Have us a proper bit of football, understand? Now get the fuck out.”

Eddie was sent toward the door with another pat and he gave Abby a pleading sort of look. He’d definitely never took a step outside with someone. Nor did he think he had a chance against Rich, especially if his two friends followed him out. The pair of soccer fans though had that covered too. Once it was clear that Rich wasn’t going to man up they veered for Millard and John on the way back to their game. The pair was invited to join in the fun; well more suggested that they should. Rich watched his confused goons while tugging at the back of his shirt.

Screw them; he could bust up Eddie all by himself anyway. Without even shooting a look back to the woman he was just minutes ago assaulting he headed to the door. She was just an ends to a means and both of them knew that. Abby though wasn’t going to just sit here and let her cousin get pulped. Quid slapped down the abused woman didn’t want to give a tip but she didn’t have the time to wait for change. Eddie went out first, followed by Rich, then topped off by Abby. Her face pulled tight for a moment as she heard one of the girls on a night out call something vulgar in her way. She just responded with a lift of two fingers.

“So how are we going to do this, Vance?” To up his intimidation factor the Chadwick’s boy tore sweatshirt over his head and tossed it over the hood of the nearest car. Underneath he still had a grimy sleeveless shirt on from workout today and of course leagues of muscle along with tribal tats. He flexed both biceps and Eddie just swallowed.

“Twenty paces?” He joked and subconsciously sucked in his gut. The geek realized he was probably doomed. Fists were raised and Eddie drew in a breath. Right he wasn’t going to be able to joke his way out of this. “Either that or you apologize to Abby for being a wanker.”

Not surprisingly Rich didn’t do that, in fact he answered with a fist. To Eddie’s credit he was able to fend that one off with a forearm even if it made bone underneath hurt. His luck didn’t hold up for long. Rich’s second swing crushed the dork’s jaw and Eddie recoiled before bouncing off of the brick wall. Then down he spiraled into the Horne’s sandwich board. Today’s specials were wiped away and replaced with blood. Eddie’s world spun and he struggled to get up but stumbled over the sidewalk sign.

“Edward!” Abby cried in warning but didn’t dare move forward yet. Her eyes danced about looking for something hard to strike the rugby player down. There wasn’t anything immediately available. She frowned and winced.

The forewarning didn’t defend Eddie from the kick to his ribs. Coughing hard he rolled away from the second strike and scooted across the sidewalk. Yeah this wasn’t going very well at all for him. He was going to go home with a few less teeth and some new broken bones of that Eddie was sure. This was a pretty bad idea!
Damn you stout, damn you right to hell!

“What’s all this then?” It was a typical line for a typical looking bobby to say right down to the spinning of nightstick and silly cap. His partner was lifting flashlight though to get a better light. Both clearly were not pleased at coming across a drunken brawl in the street.

“My mate Eddie here just had a bit too much to drink, officers.” Richard showed some smidge of wit to come up with such an excuse so quickly. In spite of being under the watchful eye of the law he bent down to help the nerd to his feet. “Took a nasty spill over the sign, didn’t you Eddie?”

It wasn’t the copper’s doubting faces that Eddie turned, nor did he look up at Rich’s, but rather to Abby’s. The exotic woman took only a moment longer to mull over what the best course of action would be in which she ran bottom lip under front teeth before giving Eddie a strong nod. The geek warred with his conscience as silence drug on but eventually relented. Straightening up he panted and wiped at the side of his lips.

“I guess I didn’t see it. I just need to go home and sleep this off, officers. Thanks for the concern eh?” He tried to laugh but really didn’t have the spirit for it. Nervousness twisted his already aching gut and he watched the two lawmen give suspicious looks. Spinning nightstick was tucked under arm.

“If you say so, sir.” The first officer shifted attention from Eddie and back to Rich. The nightstick didn’t stay still for long as he used it to gesture inside. “Why don’t you head back inside and we’ll see that your friend here gets to his car alright.”

“Sounds lovely, thanks officers.” As he put on his best smile the brute was far better at lying than Eddie would ever be. Not that he convinced the bobbies that there wasn’t anything going on but it was clear that they weren’t going to press too deeply. After drifting back and getting his shirt Rich gave Abby a smug wink and Eddie a cutting wave before heading back into the full roar of amusement within the bar. No doubt he’d be flexing and exaggerating the tale in just a tick.

Eddie sighed and dusted himself off then finally smiled for real, if a bit shaky, when Abby wrapped an arm around his. His eyes swung back to the cops and he shrugged. “Sorry for the trouble officers.”

“Just try to stay out of it, okay?” The second peace keeper sighed and gave his friend a tap on the arm before gesturing along to some sod who was drunkenly trying to pick his car keys up off of the ground. Both policemen groaned and shook their heads before heading off in that direction. Friday night in a college town was always a pain in the ass. “And don’t pick fights with guys bigger than you.”

The first bobby shrugged. “Unless you’ve got an edge anyway kid. It pays to be smart you know.” He tapped the side of his hat with billy club then was off to deal with the drunk

Abby on the other hand felt sobered up. Once the officers were occupied she gave Eddie’s arm a tug and head back for her jag. With a few steps she gave his side a much needed elbow before lifting the cuff of her sleeve to worry after split lip. “What the hell were you thinking, Edward?”

“Oh hell I don’t know, defending your honor.” Not that the mathematician moved from her tender attentions as they rounded into the parking lot. It was clear that Abby was flattered but her lips remained down even as his lifted. Then one eye twitched and he hissed in pain. “I can’t just let that fuckhead manhandle you now can I?”

“I suppose not but it would have just been better to leave. The Chadwicks aren’t the sort of people that we want to draw the attention of.” Fingers moved from her cousin’s lips to stroke brown mop back into place as best she could. Once they were out of sight save for who might be in night draped cars Abby tilted up and pressed her lips next to his wound. “Thank you, Eddie. Just be more careful okay?”

“You’re the one that got me drunk.” His hand settled over the sharp stroke of her cheek. Thumb caressed under brilliant blue orb that seemed pale even in the deepness of the evening. “You just have to explain to Pi why I’m bleeding.”

“Feh.” Clearly Abby wasn’t looking forward to that. “Wanker.”

“Not as often anymore.” His tease made her squirm and what of his lips that was unmarred caressed across hers. The copper tease was shared before they both stepped back and Eddie glanced around for her car. He didn’t let her get too far away as fingers linked up. “From now on though I think just drinking at home’s a better idea.”

“First step toward having a problem, unless you’re suggesting we throw more get togethers?” The holding of hands was allowed as Abby lead him to her baby. Once there though after a flex of fingers the artist let go and unlocked the car. It wasn’t until they were both inside and buckling up she spoke up. “I think I’d like that and I am sure that Pi would too. All three of us like being around people.”

“Just no wild orgy stuff right?” Eddie wasn’t so much testing the waters as he was hedging against the possibility. It was where his drink addled mind went first as soon as Abby finished the question. Mostly it was centered on him, his dusky cousin and pale mentor writhing together in pleasure and just sort of grew from there. He imagined there had to be some sort of formulae to define the proper number and ratio for a sex party but Eddie didn’t think on it too hard. His hand moved to caress along the inside of her thigh as engine roared to life before teasing at hidden mound.

She squealed and squeezed her legs together to trap the hand instead of repealing it. “It’s official, you’re a horny drunk.”

“You sound like you like that.” His finger hitched enough to tease along hidden zipper. Eddie’s grin grew with her own and he leaned closer only to be pushed back as his cousin laughed.

“Keep your hands to yourself until we get home, Eddie, or I pull off somewhere will you? Buckle up I need to focus on driving.” Nevertheless the sculptor rolled her hips into his teasing hand before it could get away. As Abby moved shift stick the little voice in her head told her she shouldn’t be driving right now. Still when did the young ever listen to anyone even themselves? Out of the parking lot the jag glided onto city streets that were more or less quiet. The party night still had a few hours to go and they were turning in early. She grinned with a hot blooded shiver. With any sort of luck they could pull off onto old Crane road into the trees and have a nice slow screw.

Eddie was pretty much thinking the same thing.

Atop the Horne a shadow shifted. As often these last few weeks there was someone sneaking about in the shadows of Devonshire. The Charba had seen others in the gloom of night sulking now and again but tonight he seemed blessedly alone. Such activities didn’t surprise the holy assassin for this was a flashpoint where there would be a skirmish between good and evil and the players were still arriving. Many like he were not those for open activity but rather like spiders watching for their webs at the behavior of their meals.

What did surprise the Charba behind dark tinted goggles was running into Abigail and Edward here of all places. Neither had been observed the sort to drink to excess and in their hidden moments were displaying more than normal family affection for one another. However that was not a matter he could worry about at the moment either. Fingers twitched at the garrote between his gloves before he wound it up one more. Nor was it an opportune time to remove one of the potential targets but the anointed stalker would need to do so soon. Thinning out the field of Satanists would not only lead him to find who had summoned one of the prime evils but also remove more of the Morningstar’s pawns from the table.

He moved along behind the pub‘s gaudy sign hiding from the glow of its neon. This city was awash with sin at every level. He could feel it pulsing at the school, lingering in the wake of nearly every old family member that walked its streets. Perhaps Abigail and Edward were likewise tangled up with matters infernal. He would have to check the old records of the last of his order to visit this accursed stretch of land and see if the Booths were listed as disciples of the foul mistress. Oh while the Thirteen thought all those years ago that they were safe in their little tucked away slice of England the Church had been keeping tabs on them. After all it was all the better to keep all of one’s enemies in as little space as possible for when the time to cull came.

Charba sniffed and crouched at the other edge of the building. If it had not been for some many political upheavals places such as Devonshire would have been dealt with by now. Alas the Church was not immune to the tides of politics. Even if they were the arms of God in the world they were still men and prone to imperfection. He took a small hop to the neighboring building’s trellis and balanced along its length before curling into a shadowed nook to better watch going-ons within. It also gave him a better view of the football game. He had money down on this one. He would go home to see his sister once it was over.

As the jag cruised out of town and onto wet highway Eddie turned his eye and attention away from his hyper-focused lover to dew kissed trees in the night. Tongue slipped out to press against his wound and focus on the pings of pain it brought. It wasn’t the fact that Rich had nearly knocked some of his straight American smile loose that had him seething deep inside. First the bastard was using poor Woody to cheat the system and beating him like this was grade school and tonight he’d all but raped Abby at the bar. Something was going to have to be done but what? There was no way he could beat the shit out of the man and nor did he want to ask Pi to do something and alert the Society that she was a demon. His gaze unfocused as he thought on what that cop had to say.

He had to be smart, use his wits instead of brawn and anger. Where could he hit Rich where it hurt the most? Everyman had his pride and Eddie started to formulate a plan on how to take the jock’s away. It would be so easy. Tonight he’d dream of math and tomorrow he’d act on revenge.

To be continued

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