Book 1, Chapter 15

Throwing his wallet onto his cluttered coffee table, Julian let out a great sigh and fell face first onto his sofa cushions. His feet were killing him and the smell of cigarette smoke still lingered in his hair. He groaned into couch, dreading the time it would take to soak his day away in the tub.

Julian was not a man who believed in karma, per say, but if he were, he would have to wonder what, exactly, the universe defined as “evil actions.” He felt very good about the things he’d been accomplishing lately, the kinds of jobs he had taken and the way in which he had spent some of his reward money. By his reckoning, fate owed him a couple favors, particularly of the tall, dark and handsome variety. But no. Instead the powers that be felt it was necessary to send him a job.

Work and money were two things Julian wished very hard had little to do with each other, and with his small fortune to sit on for a while, he was reluctant to accept any new job offers. Still, as many wealthy people--most notably, his father--had put it, the rich stayed rich by not spending their money. If he wanted to keep his carefree lifestyle, it was best to take work when it was offered and consider his newfound wealth a substantial rainy day savings. So he had taken the job offered him: a simple investigative mission to trail an adulterous wife. That sort of case was all too common; many husbands wanted hard evidence of adultery in order to more convincingly file for divorce.

Women, it seemed to Julian, were the leading cause of homosexuality in males and lesbian was just a feminine term for masochist.

Julian had contacted his client, gotten the details of his assignment, and that night, he had followed the woman in the picture to her secret rendezvous. He’d sat in a bar for hours waiting for her to make a move, watched a man in a long coat pull her near, and the two of them run off to a seedy motel. He’d gotten his camera out, taken photos of the couple in flagrante delicto and then come to a sickening realization as he reviewed the pictures a little later.

The man who had picked the woman up was his client. He hadn’t been hired as a private investigator, he was being paid to help fulfill the couple’s voyeuristic fantasies.

Just thinking about it made Julian want to vomit, though his love for his couch prevented it. The man was blacklisted from his client registry, that much was certain, but that hardly seemed like revenge. What does a man do, though, when a couple is getting off on the idea of him watching them and taking pictures? He couldn’t kick the door down and confront them--they might have exploded in orgasmic bliss or, even more vomit-inducing, tried to persuade him to join them.

His better judgment had told him the best thing to do was to walk away and delete all the photos he’d taken, but that was also a rather unsatisfying way to handle it. He wanted to throttle them both and announce loudly to everyone that the two were disgusting perverts. But no, he had to remain professional. Julian hated it. He was thirsty for blood and there was nothing he could do to satiate that thirst. He would have to just lay with his face in his sofa until the shock wore off, and learn to accept that some people were selfish and sick.

He wondered briefly if the Surge was in the habit of taking requests for a swift and untraceable attack on such perverts. It was a sweet mental image, one he entertained to the fullest. The Surge’s dark skin accented with tattoos and golden piercings, his shirt cast aside for no real reason, as he let Julian know it would all be taken care of.

It had been several months since Julian had seen Nicholas Rabbit, but still his image walked through his mind, a different name attached to his bad boy physique: the Surge. It made perfect sense. He fit the description of the man Phineas had seen ride by on his bike perfectly; he had known Julian had been looking for his brother and where he could leave information pertaining to the case. It all fit into place--everything aligned perfectly to point back to the good intentioned motorcycle-riding punk.

Julian rolled onto his back, letting his feet hang over the couch’s armrest as he smiled up at the ceiling. Rabbit being the Surge just seemed so perfect. He was everything Julian would expect in a vigilante with the added bonus of being attractive as well as cool. There was little profit to be had in his looks or demeanor though; all the SPD and the Department of Internal Affairs wanted was for the Surge to be tried and sentenced for crimes against the peace. That was why there was such a huge bounty on his head: in the hope that people would risk themselves to capture the man who could wield electricity like an extension of his body and then disappear in the blink of an eye. That’s what the rumors said he could do. The ones that were from more or less credible sources, anyway.

Perhaps it was more of a liability than a reason for intrigue that he thought the Surge was most likely Nicholas Rabbit. Julian admitted to more than a small crush on the latter as much as he admitted to a small case of hero worship for the former.

Could Julian turn him in? Was it better to hope that they were not one and the same?

That patch on the ceiling looked a little like a duck.

Sitting up, Julian forced himself from the couch and ambled to the shower, hooking on finger around his hair tie and letting it down. Perhaps he was getting ahead of himself. As much proof as he felt he had, none of it could be presented in court. Phineas had technically never gone missing; it was all refutable from beginning to end. No, whatever actions took in regard to the matter, they would have to founded on solid evidence. It was just a matter of acquiring that evidence, and Julian had a fair idea of how to do that. After all, he’d already tracked down the man’s home address and list of work contacts. It wouldn’t take long at all to run into him again. And then, somehow, he’d nail him.

He’d think of what to do with him afterwards later.

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