Color Me Surprised
While the men continued to pore over the various pieces of identification between them all and tried to establish whose badge was higher on the pay scale, Jasmine and I stood back and let them hash it out. She was very calm, given we had a corpse beneath the basement under-flooring and three vampires in the room with a medium. But then for all I knew this was her normal nightly entertainment.
"Not hardly," she breathed out, catching my attention. Morgan had fed off her for far too long if she could read me that easily. I tapped that thought in my head and pushed it way back. The eavesdropping vampires were bad enough, but to find now we had mediums tuned in was disturbing.
We watched the men bond with the vampires with inside smiles. Officer Paul Madison was older than he appeared. I aged him at about mid-fifties. Still tender, but some hard-earned beef to him. Gray hair shot through with remnants of his youthful brown. The crew cut was short and serious, fitting with the uniform and the neat gray mustache. There were no brown strands to distract from his firm, straight-lined lips. His eyes were a dark brown and he must have just come on shift, because he didn't appear to be dragging. Officer Burroughs still looked far too young to possess his eyes. They were blue and extremely serious. Irish blood was heavy in this child, and his fear was rising up as he looked at the badges of my fellow vampires.
He must have had second sight to a degree, because he was positively bristling all around his well-tailored edges. Neither Morgan nor Harry were anywhere within his personal space and Jasmine and I were clear across the room. Yet instinctively he knew something was odd about us. Damn Irish genes, always had something to clue them in about us. I have drained my share of second-sighted Irish in my time, as well as had Morgan and Harry. We exchanged looks and slight shrugs.
Letting Jasmine guide the conversation seemed like the only safe option available to us. Meeting eyes, we nodded imperceptibly and waited to see what we were supposed to be accused of doing. An unseen child screaming was pretty much a guarantee of seeing cops if not other branches of the local child protective services agency and their assorted heavy-handed legal companions. Having been tracked and trailed over nearly all the lands, we knew how narrow the view was from the police side. More than a few vampires had been screwed by trying to game the cops, forgetting they don't go anywhere without calling in and letting their stationhouse know where they were headed.
"So officers, what is the problem exactly? We don't have any children, and I am still puzzled who would make such a false claim, wasting your time." She injected just the right amounts of bewilderment and concern. Officer Paul nodded and said, "I am sure of that, but we need to look around if it is okay with you."
Again that was not a real question, but more of a declarative statement. Jasmine nodded her acceptance of the search while toying with the black sash to the stunning dressing robe she was wearing. Her blue-white skin was complemented well by a dark green, embossed silk dressing robe she had been wearing since we first came into her home. Her long hair seemed to have a life of its own. The golden-brown highlights were gleaming in the kitchen lights and her eyes danced with energy. Even if I hadn't known she was something different, it was pretty obvious she was more than just average. The police smiled and went about their business of casually peeking into every edge of the house they could see. Funny how they missed the door to the basement. I kept my thoughts blocked and watched them both walk right past the frame as if it wasn't even there.
Worked for me.
Soon they finished and apologized profusely for bothering us at such a late hour. I mentally noted both of their badge numbers and features. One never knew when a cop would be needed, and since they had already shown they were susceptible to mental pushing, I figured it wouldn't hurt to keep them on the back burner. Besides, with Jasmine's proximity to Kenyon's club I knew that they must be partially responsible for this area. It made sense to me that Morgan could make them not see a door that was smack dab in the middle of the house. They had probably been pushed around mentally by a few vampires here and there.
Once they were out the door Jasmine dropped into a chair saying, "Well that was fun!"
Morgan walked over and began to stroke her face softly. I could see Morgan's weakness: he was linked to this witch woman soul deep. Seeing this made me warm; he could never threaten what Harry and I had. It came to me then that I was now involved in some pact with Harry and Morgan. It was unspoken, but obvious to me as we splayed around the room trying to appear nonchalant about all the evening's entertainment.
Harry was the first to venture a comment.
"Okay, now we know your watchers were bored tonight, Jasmine, don't we?"
She bit a bitter laugh back and said, "They really don't like vampires. Go figure."
We looked around and tried to keep the smirks off our faces. Then it dawned on me we had a body to dispose of in the sub-basement. Jasmine rose quite nicely to the occasion saying, "Oh, don't worry about that, Cassandra, it will be removed a bit later today. I already organized that bit of my world." She shot me a look. Her appreciation for my taking out her playmate was obvious. What ever it was Jackson did to piss off Jasmine, it was pretty obvious she wasn't regretting her decision to let Morgan handle it.
I was sated by the mortal and yet somewhat confused by the whole vampire/medium combination. I had heard they existed, but to see the actual creature was a bit off-setting. I know it seems silly, but I had really thought they were bits of exaggerated fiction rather then reality.
Morgan let Jasmine draw him towards the door saying, "We are going to retire for now. You and Harry are welcome to any of the rooms available. They have good locks and quality deadbolts and you should be undisturbed." With that he and Jasmine left the room.
Harry smiled, "So this has been an interesting evening."
Talk about your basic understatements. I smiled back at Harry and replied, "Definitely a few more details we need to figure out. Like when did Morgan find himself a lady? And why one with such an unusual bend?" My mind still was jumping around that issue. I wasn't going to solve it without more research and I was pretty tired. I found a bed and collapsed for a few hours.
Mid day found us all back in the kitchen drinking coffee and tea. Jasmine was the tea drinker. It somehow fit her exotic looks and energy level. I was enjoying the strong coffee when Morgan decided to start the conversation.
"Okay, Jackson is gone now. The removal took place right after dawn and I found out who reported the child screaming here last night." He was next to Jasmine fingering the sash while he spoke.
"Who?" Harry asked.
"An attorney by the name of Zachary Lee. That ring any bells with you guys?" He looked right at me.
Damn the fix-up date from New Year's Eve.
Harry snickered and said, "So you left him a bit confused and angry, did you?"
I thought back to the pictures and my attitude. Nope, nothing wrong there. Still needed to hack his law firm site and drop in the pictures of his playing tonsil hockey with the kid at the New Year's Eve party. Granted I hadn't returned his message but did he honestly think I would?
Morgan arched an eyebrow saying, "Care to elaborate?"
"No, not really," I replied calmly. Taking out my cell I dialed up my friend Liz.
"Hey, Liz, how is the New Year treating you?" I said after she picked up the call.
"Where have you been?" Liz sounded upset. Oh-oh. I waited to find out what was going on to make her so demanding. I didn't have a second to reply before she started in on me.
"I went by your house last night and it had been trashed. I called the police and still, after dialing everyone I could think of, I couldn't find you anywhere. I even called Zach. What did you do to him? He said you were off with some weirdo and he was going to save you. I thought you guys didn't hit it off that well." She took a breath finally. I could hear the fear and puzzlement in her voice.
"Stop, Liz, this can't be good for the baby." That shut her up. I let my brain process all she told me and began to placate her with words. "No, Zach was definitely not my type." I laughed into the receiver and continued, "Hell, he was supposed to be on a date with me when he picked up that teen, and from the last message on my phone I heard her giggling in the background, so he can't exactly be heartbroken. Probably upset that I wasn't calling him and sobbing for him to take pity and to let me be his. Liz, how did you ever find such an arrogant man for me?" Hopefully she was redirected by this little question. I wasn't as sure that the fact Zach Lee was looking for me also was in anyway good news. She began to sputter and explain how he was not so bad.
I let her talk for a few minutes before asking, "What was it you said about my home? It had been robbed?"
"Oh, sorry I forgot. That has to be more on your mind then stupid Zach. Oh, god, you don't think Zach did that to your house?"
No, I honestly didn't, but it didn't hurt to give a little push that way, "Liz, he was pretty upset I didn't answer his messages. Maybe he did it in anger. Did you tell the police about him?"
"I didn't even think of it, let me call them and tell them. Can I give them your cell number? I wanted to hear from you first. Don't you ever check your voicemails? I must have left you over a half dozen messages last night."
I hadn't noticed the little envelope in the corner of my cell screen. I pulled back the phone and noticed there was a little message envelope sure enough. I shrugged at my audience while listening to Liz wind down her anger and tell me what I wanted to hear.
"Forget it, I am not giving them your cell number." She convinced herself with out any input from me, "They didn't seem overly worried about your place nor you being missing. I did clean up a bit and had the locks changed. One of the messages tells you where the key is hidden outside."
That was sweet, but pretty useless as our keen observers probably watched her place the key without her even sensing them. Harry caught my eye and began to click away on his hand-held computer device. I didn't even have to ask him and he was already changing the locks again and giving the place a clean sweep. These Goths and ghouls were starting to really get on my nerves.
I thanked her for her help and hung up.
"Well, it may be a bit more complex than just my bad date. It seems the house was broken into and the police were involved. The little cops from last night will eventually put two and two together. This will not be fun." I told them all. I, too, could make understatements when needed. I feared how much more of an understatement that was.
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