I was thinking about how everybody seems to need love. Even tough types who pretend they don’t, probably do. Even if it’s just a friend’s love. What is it about having people care about us that makes us happy? I know there are some single people who will say they’re perfectly happy on their own. But they aren’t truly on their own because being single doesn’t mean you don’t have family and friends who love you.
What is it about being loved that makes you happy? Why couldn’t you be just as thrilled on your own?
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Now here’s an excerpt from Assassins Are People Too:
I stepped into the elevator, noticing my favorite twentysomething blond guy tucked neatly in the corner, holding a huge potted plant. We’d exchanged flirty glances over the months, but nothing more. He shifted his baby-blue gaze toward me and then slowly disappeared behind the fronds of the shrub. Hiding wouldn’t do him any good, because I made it a point to know who my neighbors were. It was safer that way.
The ding of the elevator distracted me from my musings, and when a tall Hispanic guy entered the car, I gave him all my attention. He was new to the building. Something was off. He was sweating way more than was normal for January in New York. I didn’t care for the way he watched me out of the corner of his eye either. He was hunting.
We all rode in companionable silence for a few floors with various people getting on and off. I noticed Slick—that was my nickname for the Hispanic guy because of his perspiration issue—glanced impatiently toward Blondie occasionally. I had a strong feeling he was frustrated that Blondie wasn’t getting off the car. That only made me even more suspicious of him.
As we neared the top floors, I guess Slick came to the end of his patience. He stepped to the side and slammed his palm on the elevator Stop button. The car lurched, and Blondie fell forward, dropping his plant and landing at my feet. Since I’d fantasized about him being on his knees in front of me numerous times, it distracted me just enough to give Slick time to take a swing at me. I barely got my arm up in time to block the punch.
I didn’t like Blondie being too near the action since I would’ve hated for his pretty face to get messed up. “Get in the corner,” I growled at him, wrestling with Slick.
Blondie scrambled back to his favorite spot, his eyes huge. Slick and I traded blows for a few minutes, and I did a few front kicks to show off, but Slick still somehow managed to get a knife out of his pocket. I had to give it to him. He was pretty good. I slapped the weapon out of his fist, and he whacked the side of my face with his elbow. I saw stars for a second. Slick shoved me against the mirrored back of the elevator and put his big, beefy hands around my throat.
This was embarrassing. The last thing I wanted was to die in front of Blondie. I kneed Slick in his groin, and he grunted like a bull, only loosening his grip slightly. Was he wearing a cup, or did he literally have balls of steel? It was hard to say.
I was getting light-headed from the lack of oxygen. How had I let this happen? I’d been too distracted by Blondie, I guess. I was going to pass out. Shit. That meant I was going to die, because Slick wasn’t here to play Twister—he was here to end me.
There was a flash of movement and shards of ceramic pieces and potting mix rained down on my head. Suddenly I could breathe. Slick was at my feet moaning, and Blondie was staring at me as if he wanted to be sick. His plant was in a pile on top of Slick, and I was alive because of it.
He’d sacrificed his rubber plant for me. What a guy.
I smacked the button to get moving again, and the elevator came to a stop at the next floor. When the doors swooshed open, I grabbed Blondie’s hand and pulled him after me, past the half-blind screeching lady from 36B. If I’d been alone, I’d have finished Slick off. It was risky not to. But if Blondie was stressed over his plant dying, he’d probably have a coronary if I killed Slick in front of him. We couldn’t go to my place. That was obvious. But I didn’t want to leave the building immediately in case Slick had someone watching the exits. I slipped into the stairwell, and we trudged up three flights of stairs to Blondie’s floor. From there I headed straight for Blondie’s apartment.
“Open it,” I commanded in a clipped voice when we reached his door.
“How did you know my apartment number?”