Man, he was bored.
Austen’s stomach growled, reminding him he was hungry too. In case he’d forgotten. Like that would happen. It seemed like days since he’d last eaten, but really it had only been one night. The sweet old lady at the café where he usually had breakfast was in the hospital, and he’d used his last few bucks to bring her flowers. Not like her good for nothing kids were going to do it. They barely even called her as it was. Austen hung around long enough to know these things. Bringing her flowers was the least he could do. She was probably the only one in this whole shitbag town who gave a fuck about him. Then again, she seemed to have a thing for feeding stray cats, and wasn’t that what he was? Just a big stray cat?
“Fuck that jerkoff,” Austen grumbled. HPF asshole.
Austen smiled at the memory of the guy cursing up a storm after finding his tires slashed. That’s what he got for being a condescending anti-Therian prick.
With a sigh, Austen stood and stretched from his perch on the fire escape. He’d made a little nest for himself with plenty of blankets and pillows. He’d sealed up the landing above his head so when it rained he didn’t get soaked. The building was half abandoned anyway, so he just slept inside when it was too cold. He was free to come and go as he pleased. No one to push him around, tell him to shut up, or put out their cigarettes on him. He ran up the fire escape then climbed the ladder up to the roof where he looked out into the city. He flipped it the bird with both fingers.
Now that he was done feeling sorry for himself, he leaned on the ledge of the three story building and watched the plebs go by. Who should he pickpocket today? Tourists were always an easy mark. All these people were so freaking boring. Oh! Hold the phone.
Austen perked up at the sight of a tall, black haired Therian in a leather jacket. “Well hello, sailor.” The guy was older. Late twenties maybe. Austen watched those long jean-clad legs walk down the street. The dude was huge. He had broad shoulders, and pitch black hair that curled just under his ears. His black biker boots were scuffed, and he had on an old school rock band T-shirt under his open jacket. His chiseled jaw was full of stubble. Now that was all man right there. There was something about the way he walked too. Like he was stalking. Most definitely a Felid. Austen could tell by the way he moved. There was something else though. Like he was special or something. Or maybe he was just hot.
Curious, Austen hurried to the ladder, and then rushed down the fire escape. He took off around the block so he could come up on the guy from behind. His heart was pounding furiously. Man, what he wouldn’t give to be eighteen! Not that a guy like that would go for him anyway even if he were old enough. Didn’t mean Austen couldn’t have a little fun. He needed to keep his skills sharp, and he had a feeling Mr. Tall, Dark, and Broody was just the guy for the job. It was the first time Austen had been curious enough about someone to get this close.
Feeling his adrenaline pumping, Austen took off, bumping into the guy as he ran past.
“Sorry!” Austen called out after him, grinning when he heard it.
“Hey! Get back here you little shit!”
Oh damn. It was on now. Austen stuffed the wallet into his jacket pocket and bolted, weaving through traffic and pedestrians, making sure not get himself caught in any mobs or get hit by a car. They were a block away from Central Park. It would be so easy to lose the guy in there. He chanced a look over his shoulder and yelped. Holy shit, the dude was practically on him! That’s when he saw the tattoo. Oh, fuck! Jaguar Therian. Maybe he should have planned this out a little better.
Austen sped into the park, up West Drive, running through the trees and back around toward the rocks where he liked to sun himself sometimes. He hauled ass through the park, making sure not to run into any cyclists or soccer moms pushing strollers. He ducked and dodged, hearing the guy cursing out after him. He had a nice gravelly voice. How long before the dude gave up and called the cops? Reaching one of the bridges, Austen leaped over the railing, landing on his feet on the gravel path below. He ran back under the bridge before ducking behind some shrubs and boulders to catch his breath. Damn, the guy was good. He didn’t seem interested in giving up either. Austen grinned.
“Come back here if you know what’s good for you!”
Austen bit down on his bottom lip and sneaked a peak. The guy had barely broken a sweat, but the rapid rise and fall of his chest said Austen was definitely putting him through his paces. This was fun. Silently, Austen walked up the slope to one of the paths before whistling down. Bright amber eyes narrowed at him.
“Get your scrawny ass over here!”
Austen blew him a kiss and took off, laughing at the sound of the guy cursing him to high heaven. This dude was way too much fun. After a couple of close calls, Austen lost the guy. He hated to admit it, but he was a little disappointed. The guy had actually kept up with him, for the most part. Shame.
“Guess dinner, and breakfast, and lunch, and dinner is on you…” He opened the wallet and almost threw up. That handsome face looked up at him from a very official looking ID.
Agent Sloane Brodie. THIRDS, NYC Division.
“Oh fuck is right.” The gruff voice had Austen snapping his head up. And up. How tall was this fucking dude? There were redwoods that were freaking shorter. Austen swallowed hard. He should kick the guy in the balls and make like the wind. Agent Brodie held his hand out, and Austen looked from it to the wallet and back then up at Agent Frowny-Face.
“Um, you dropped this.” Austen handed the wallet back. The dude’s eyebrows jumped so high Austen thought they might fly off his face. He tended to have that effect on people. Austen took a step back. “So, uh, no harm no foul, right? You got your wallet back, which is very nice. Leather? You seem to like leather.” He looked down at his wrist. “Look at the time. I’d love to stay here and, uh, brood with you but I got a thing I have to do.” He quickly spun on his heals when a hand clamped down on his shoulder, holding him in an iron grip. Austen closed his eyes. Shit.
“I don’t think so, kid.”
Double shit. Of all the freaking dudes in the city, why did he have to pick this guy? Better yet, how the hell was he going to get out of this one?
Part 2 next week!
Copyright © 2014 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.