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Lights stabbed into Zheng’s eyes, piercing his skull like an ice pick. Did anyone use ice picks anymore?
The warm, beloved voice pulled Zheng out of his floating world. He moved his head, careful not to dislodge the dozens of jackhammers happily pounding away.
“Aaron? What happened?”
Someone’s warm hand brushed the hair back from his forehead. “What do you remember?”
“Please stop touching him.” A less welcome voice interrupted Zheng’s appreciation of Aaron’s touch.
He groaned. “Orion?”
“In the flesh, which oddly enough is the same I can say about you,” Orion replied cryptically.
The sound of squeaky shoes on the tile alerted Zheng that someone else had entered the room.
“Detective Garlin, I’m Blair, your nurse. How are you feeling?” a feminine voice asked.
“M-my head hurts.” Confusion clouded his brain. Why was he in a hospital and who the fuck was Garlin?
“That will fade, you had a bad fall and suffered a minor concussion,” the nurse explained as if now he’d understand why she’d changed his name.
Concussion. Maybe he had temporary amnesia, but why would he remember Aaron?
Zheng pried open his eyelids. Aaron’s handsome face swam into his vision.
How could he forget him? He loved Aaron. An ache that never seemed to go away twisted in his chest. “Hey.”
Aaron’s relieved smile warmed him like the summer sun. “Hey, yourself. You gave me a scare when you didn’t wake up. I thought I’d done something wrong.”
“Never.” His ex might not want Zheng in his bed but Aaron had a loyal heart and wouldn’t turn his back on a friend.
“I’ll let the doctor know you’re awake.” The nurse gently pushed him back down. “Don’t try to sit up. Maybe your friend there can feed you some ice chips.”
“I’d be happy to,” Aaron said.
Zheng waited until the nurse had left before he spoke. “What’s going on?”
Holes in his memory had him struggling to figure out how he’d ended up in the hospital.
“What do you remember?”
Aaron’s unusual reticence had Zheng’s instincts screaming. He searched his mind. Colors, smells and pain whipped through his memories, flaying his senses. One image slammed into him and stuck in his head. “I was killed,” he whispered.
Zheng touched his neck. No scars or bandages met his fingertips.
“Yes.” Aaron took Zheng’s hand in his. “You were killed and you asked me to save you, remember?”
An image of Aaron’s tearful face flashed into Zheng’s head. “I remember you being upset.”
“You could say that.” Aaron’s eyes lit up with amusement. “Do you remember Benjamin?”
Orion laughed. “And people wonder why I don’t want him dating my daughter.”
The vampire had convinced humans to deal drugs in Orion’s club to send a message. Zheng recalled going with Aaron to the vampire’s mansion. “Wait, I was attacked. A vampire attacked me.”
“Yeah, he’s dead,” Aaron said. “I blew his fucking brains out.”
Zheng squeezed Aaron’s hand. As flippant as Aaron seemed, Zheng knew his ex would’ve taken the death very hard. For all his bluster, Aaron had the gentlest heart of anyone Zheng had ever known.
“What happened then?”