"Goddamnit all," Karl muttered to himself as the door to Hensen House slammed shut behind him.
His phone still was held in one hand from where he'd snatched it up from the passenger seat of his Buick. In the other, he held a paper sack filled to the brim with emergency baking essentials that he and his husband had needed for their baking-from-home business.
"Chris! I got all that shit you wanted," Karl called as he stalked through to the kitchen.
He stopped in the doorway when he saw that his husband was not in the kitchen as he'd expected.
"What the devil?" he asked as he looked around the room. "Chris?"
Karl paused long enough to dump the paper sack down on their kitchen table before he stalked back out of the kitchen again. He yelled his husband's name as he made his way to the living room.
"Christopher? You in here, darlin'?" Karl asked as he barged into the still dark living room.
Chris wasn't there yet a sudden giggle sounded from elsewhere in the house; Karl looked up as he realised that the sound had emanated from upstairs. Karl hefted a sigh before he began to stamp his way up the stairs, the phone still poised in his hand.
"Why didn't you answer your damned phone?" Karl yelled when he was still halfway up the staircase. "I couldn't remember what type of rice you wanted and you wouldn't take the call, ya bastard."
He didn't get a reply other than another little giggle. Karl growled in sudden frustration before he started to grumble about childish ingrates and goddamned infants. When he reached the landing, he reared back in sudden alarm. For one instant, he thought that a series of bloody splotches had marred the carpet that led into their bathroom; sudden thoughts of his husband laying hurt somewhere filled his head. Another giggle from Chris and another blink from Karl revealed that the splodges were nothing more than a series of deep red cakes in the shape of draconic footprints. They'd been strewn over the lighter coloured carpet in a fair approximation of a dragon's gait.
Karl huffed in sudden confusion before he stalked towards the bathroom; he slammed the door open once he'd reached it. Chris' name, that had previously been on his lips, faded when he took in the scene before him. More footprint-shaped cakes were scattered on the floor, which led in turn up to the shower cubicle. More cakes were piled around the base of the shower, and each one sent their cloyingly sweet vanilla scent up into the air.
Chris, meanwhile, was standing in the shower cubicle itself, enrobed in a large, inflatable dragon outfit; the wings and tail filled up most of the available space in rustling polyester. Karl could hear the hum of the costume's fan as it worked to keep the outfit inflated. Chris giggled again from the depths of the dragon costume even as he pretended to take a shower; the shower head itself was not emitting water, however.
"Come and join me, you old dragon," Chris said cheerfully. "Happy birthday, babe."
"Goddamnit," Karl roared. "I left you at home to focus on the cooking while I was out and this is how you spent your time? What a goddamned waste. You know we've got a load of orders to fill."
"Oh honestly, relax, Karly-bear. It was a goddamned joke," Chris said and though his face was hidden, Karl could imagine the pout that lay behind the dragon mask. "It's your birthday. Calm down a bit. We've got plenty of time for baking."
"You damned well calm down. You look ridiculous," Karl said as the first gruff chuckle began leaking past the cage of his fangs. "Look at you. Damned old dragon. I'll get you for that."
On a whim, he lifted his phone and accessed the device's camera function; he hit the record button and focused the camera onto his husband. Karl laughed when Chris immediately posed within the confines of the cubicle and pretended, once again, to shower beneath a waterless shower-head.
"Yeah, you can damned well pose, ya damned infant," Karl said. "If you're not careful, I'll put this video on the internet."
"Well, my face isn't showing so you may as well," Chris said as he giggled and gestured at Karl again. "Come on in and join me, big boy. Let me give you a birthday kiss."
"I ain't giving you anything dressed like that. You've already given me plenty of birthday kisses and some gifts, if you'll recall," Karl said as he slowly closed the distance between them. "Infant."
"Yeah. You said. I got that one," Chris said before he gave a woeful roar. "Better to be an infant than a grumpy old dragon like you."
"I ain't that old," Karl said as he finally stopped the recording on his phone. "I'm only about three hundred, if I'm a day."
"Still old in the grand scheme of things," Chris said with a shrug that barely moved the shoulders of the inflated suit. "Anyway, can you help me out of this damned suit, Karly-bear? It's getting stifling in here and it was a hell of a job getting in it on my own. I think I farted fifteen minutes ago and I'm still paying for it."
"Good," Karl gruffed as he set his phone aside.
He tried to hide his grin unsuccessfully and once Chris had stepped fully out of the shower cubicle, Karl helped his husband out of the dragon suit. He tutted when he saw Chris' face revealed from behind the mask; as expected, Chris was grinning and that smile revealed the double curve of both fangs.
"You should have seen your face," Chris said, as his grin gave way to a chuckle. "You looked like you were about to explode."
"Yeah, not only were you horsing around in a dragon outfit, you weren't answering your phone and you weren't working as you should have been. I had to guess what damned rice you wanted earlier," Karl said as his brows quirked into a frown. "And I had to stock up on blood from the hospital because I couldn't remember how much we had."
He remembered the solitary dash into sterile corridors just to steal enough blood to ensure their very survival on the days they were unable to hunt.
"Well, we can never have enough blood," Chris said with a carefree shrug. "But that's neither here nor there, at the moment. Now we have to carry on cooking."
"Hurrah. You should have been doing that anyway," Karl said as Chris began gathering up the deep red cakes from where they'd been strewn. "What a waste of ingredients."
He gestured towards the sponge footprints and Chris lifted one thick eyebrow at his husband.
"They'll get used," Chris pointed out with a shrug. "We have a customer's baby shower coming up. They'll get recycled for that, somehow. Carpet lint and everything."
Karl just huffed in disgust and began to help the other vampire to gather up the remainder of the discarded cakes.
"Why were you in the shower anyway?" Karl asked as he plucked the last of the cakes from the floor. "Why couldn't you have been in bed or something?"
"That was too obvious and too cheesy," Chris pointed out as he began leading the way downstairs. "Besides which, we'll have enough time for bedroom antics later on."
"Is that a threat or a promise?" Karl asked with a gruff exhalation.
Chris laughed as they made their way into the kitchen.
"A promise. Definitely a promise," Chris said as he placed his armful of cakes on the table. "And you can hold me to that."
"I'll hold you to something," Karl muttered as he dumped the contents of the paper sack onto the wooden expanse of the tabletop.
Chris laughed as he began helping his husband to put some of the purchases away and in time, Karl joined in with the chuckles.
Later that night, when the vampires had finished up with their baking chores, Chris slumped down on the couch and scrolled through the videos and pictures stored on Karl's phone. He laughed when he saw the video taken of himself earlier in the evening, as he stood beneath the shower-head in his dragon suit. He checked to see whether Karl was about to enter the room and once he was satisfied that his husband wasn't going to approach any time soon, Chris opened up the 'Hensen House Bakery' Instagram account. Once he'd logged in, he uploaded the video amongst their myriad posts with many an explosive giggle. A few moments later, Karl wandered in and slumped down on the opposite couch. Karl glanced over when he heard Chris' continued giggles and caught sight of Chris' suddenly too innocent expression; Karl then groaned.
"What have you done now, kid?" he asked in a distinctly world-weary tone. "And don't say nothin', Chris. I know you. You've got that look on your face when you're up to something."
"I have not," Chris laughingly objected. "And to answer your question, I decided to post that video to the internet before you did."
"What video?" Karl asked with a genuinely baffled frown.
"The dragon costume video, that you said you were going to put on the 'net," Chris said and grinned.
"That was a joke," Karl said slowly. "Ain't as though I really was intending to do it."
"Too late now. I've already done it," Chris said and laughingly showed his husband the appropriate Instagram post.
"Jesus," Karl said in disgust as he reached for the phone. "How do you delete these things?"
"No, Karly-bear. Leave it. Someone might get a laugh out of it," Chris objected as he snatched the phone out of Karl's immediate grasp again. "I'll take it down tomorrow night if there are no views or likes or whatever."
"You better damned well hope it doesn't," Karl said gruffly. "Can't believe you did that."
"You shouldn't have recorded the video in the first place then. It was like a red rag to a bull leaving it on your phone," Chris said and poked his tongue out at his husband. "Anyway. Enough of that. What are we watching?"
He gestured vaguely towards the television set.
"Not anything with dragons in, clearly," Karl said glumly as he got up again.
Chris laughed as Karl examined their DVDs and pulled one at random from the rack. They both then settled down after Karl had put the disc in the player; once the disc had loaded, they then immersed themselves in the movie for the rest of the night.
"Karly-bear? You know that dragon costume video I posted on Instagram?" Chris asked the following night.
"How could I forget it? Have you taken it down yet?" Karl asked gruffly.
"Yeah, that's the thing. It's had nearly fifty thousand views already and loads of likes and shares and comments and everything," Chris said and giggled. "Seems like everyone else liked my prank better than you did."
"Yeah, it's 'cos they don't have to live with your shit like I have to," Karl said despite his sudden grin. "Has it really got that many views?"
"Yeah. Look. We've got ourselves a genuine viral video, babe," Chris said as he showed his husband the video in question. "You know this might be good for business. We should keep that stupid video up. The more people look at it and share it, the more people will become aware of our bakery business and so might be tempted to order stuff from us. Think of that, babe."
"Well. Since you put it like that, it's not such a bad thing, I guess," Karl said gruffly as he examined the Instagram post closely.
"Told you it was a good idea at the time. You just swore at me and called me an infant," Chris said and grinned widely at his husband. "Perhaps we could even upload more content like this in the future."
A faint flicker of a smile crossed Karl's face even as he pocketed the phone. He also pointedly ignored Chris' comment which made Chris laugh in turn.
Chris then stood and stretched before he said - "Anyway, Karly-bear! Fancy catching a human take-out?"
"Wouldn't mind," Karl said and grinned.
Chris grinned and nodded, yet said nothing more to that. Once they'd dressed in their hunter's finest, they left the house. After the last faint throaty burbles of the Buick's engine had faded away towards Atlanta, the house stood still and empty; it quietly awaited the return of its vampire inhabitants once more.