Bad Habits To Break
Bradley Terrill was coming to help us fix a new problem. I still wasn't sure quite how I felt about all these other vampires around my home. Harry and I worked well as a team, but he also was smart enough to bail when I began to need my space. My New Year resolution of thinning the human herd aside, there were too many fanged creatures mucking up my personal landscape. Being much lower on the food chain in vampire land, I wasn't exactly equipped or even authorized to challenge any of these vampires.
Harry kept a hand gently on the small of my back, trying to keep my temper in check. He knew I was nearly ready to blow. Kenyon's desertion was just another topping to the already overflowing dish being forced on me. Jasmine was still cleaved to Morgan on my trashed couch, and she was nearly invisible in her attempts to physically crawl out of the situation at hand. And of course she had been told and seen it was not good to be around upset vampires if you weren't one.
Hearing the cops whimpering out their fears lying on their sides on the floor, I knew they were reacting to us strongly. I toned down my anger a notch, knowing my feelings were flooding their brains and causing them some unknown trauma. No need to break them that far down. A vampire's emotions were not at all something shared well with humans, not even with these polluted cops that I wanted out of my home. Fortunately, Brad was going to be here soon to take over the cop relocation.
One of the cops cried out, "Oh, God, no. Stop sucking my soul! Damn you all ..."
Ooops. My bad. I guess I was still pissed. Harry pinched my ass softly, unseen by Morgan or Jasmine from where they sat. Resisting the urge to whip around and toss Harry to the ground, I smiled a slightly fanged grin and said, "Morgan, why don't you take Jasmine out for some good night air. Let us know when Brad arrives and we will take it from there."
Morgan looked to his nearly green lady and nodded approval at the suggestion. "He said he was in the area and would be here in the next ten minutes." With that, Morgan hustled Jasmine out of sight.
Whatever it was that sent these cops on our trail, besides the lecherous lawyer Zachary Lee and his stupid idea that I was being harmed, was obviously aware of our group. I was getting pretty sick of pulling a trainload of watchers everywhere I went.
Days of blood-filled cups followed by nights of bodies torn apart, littering the castle, kept running through my mind. That was how I handled the last time I had too many eyes on me. The villagers still scared their children with stories of the bloody lady finding them when they slept and dragging them unseen off into the forest never to be found. It was nice to have bedtime stories told about you long after you have left.
I smiled wider and Harry kissed my cheek saying, "Next thing you know these guys will be moaning for your touch." Ah, those were the days -- all my victims both hated and loved me. Then I was a legend.
With current law enforcement, it was not as easy to decimate an entire town. Not undoable, just harder. That challenge I also have met at times in my past. Harry laughed a little and said, "Cassandra, my love, you need to let the boys handle this one. There is something more going on than just you having a bad year. Both Brad and Morgan are here and sanctioned in their kills. They can take care of these things easier and let you go back to finding out what Lani and her Goths are up to now."
Damn, he was right. I really had enough on my laundry list. Still I hated that I had to follow orders. Vampires love being over-structured in their rules and regulations. I tended to stray from those little rules, considering them to be more like suggestions. Just because the bosses said it was 'so' we should all trail behind the older ones while sweeping our hands outward and bowing low? Not in my life time. I grinned. Okay, maybe life time wasn't the right word choice. Harry kissed my mouth and distracted me.
"Hey, what's happening?" the Irish kid was able to fight the mental push with my distraction. I casually went to his head and pulled my foot back. A quick kick to his temple and he settled right down.
Harry laughed and held me in his arms for a minute. I felt safe. All this chaos not of my making was making me to be edgier by the minute. Leaning into Harry and just being held felt good. But my true nature was battling the safety. Harry heard my thought and untangled with a quick kiss. His fangs pricked my lower lip and I licked them slowly.
"Damn, we need to have a rogue night soon." I sighed out while casually kicking the cop in the ribs for good measure. His face had a smile on it as he was savoring my being relaxed. I hated when humans leeched on my feelings. Ironic I know, but hey, who said I had to play fair. Fair was for suckers.
Brad must have been driving well over the speed limit because a beat later Morgan was bringing him into see us. He had kept his closely-groomed beard. His hair was lighter than I remembered, but back in the twenties, men slicked their hair with so many different oils and greases, I was not greatly surprised. Light honey-colored eyes met mine. His face was ruddy and he looked content so he had fed recently. His presence pushed everyone aside in my brain. He washed over me with his strength and willpower. This vampire had definitely gone further up the food chain since we last met.
A slight bow of my head; I said, "Thank you for coming." I hated the automatic subservient behavior hardwired into me as a lowly vampire in the pantheon. I hated it -- but still would have it no other way. Being a vampire was one of the coolest things in the world!
"Cassandra, a pleasure to see you again. I see you have been having a bit of trouble with the locals." Brad smiled and revealed no fangs. He was in control.
Then the Irish cop moaned out, "More of them. I must run! Help!" I pulled back my foot again and swiftly administered my brand of a mute button.
Brad shook his head and called quietly, "Riley, get in here now."
Riley lumbered into my view. I don't know how I missed him behind Morgan, but then, Brad had an amazing level of intensity; it was hard to look away from, even if the vampire in the shadows was six and a half feet tall and able to bench press a mini-Cooper without breaking a sweat.
"Where do you want me to take them?" Riley's voice was as deep as I anticipated. What I had not expected was him to casually reach over and pick both men up by their utility belts. Neither man was conscious for all practical purposes, but it wasn't like I cared. They hung doubled over from their leather belts with their heads nearly touching the floor.
Officer Madison groaned, "Oh fuck, they have me cornered." Riley turned quickly, and the swinging motion caused the cop's head to crack hard into the closest doorframe. That subdued the man pretty quickly. My man, Burroughs, was not making any sounds. But that last head kick was a bit harder than I planned. I figured at least a concussion or worse. Not my problem. Riley walked the two soon-to-be bodies into the living room proper. Jasmine had taken the time to make sure the drapes were pulled shut and tossed down some drop cloths she must have found under my kitchen sink.
We all stood and watched while they were put in the middle of the cleared space. The thuds they made as they were dropped from nearly waist high were audible to all of us. I wasn't sure what Brad was going to do with them, but remembering his past, I sure had some ideas.
Another vampire was standing near the entry door, regarding the policemen. Seemingly half the size of Riley, she was pallid, blue-white in the subdued lighting in the house. Her hair was so blonde it was nearly ivory. Hearing my thoughts, she looked up with the palest blue eyes I had ever seen on a creature.
Morgan introduced her to us as Riley and Brad were conferring off to one side. "Cassandra and Harry, meet Helen." We weren't big on last names as a rule for the quick introductions; those were usually the first things we changed as the years passed. "Helen has a greater talent in mind games than most vampires." From the intensity of her gaze I would say that was an understatement.
Riley and Brad had went over to Jasmine and began to ask her questions. She nodded and answered very quietly.
They were speaking nearly inaudibly over on the couch. I was interested in what they had to say, but Helen was staring at me as if I was the answer to some questions she had. Harry continued to stay close to me as he realized I was still nearly ready to blow. There were far too many bodies in my home, and now more humans to be disposed of or at least used for our side. The negotiations were continuing out of range and I was not sure if the cops were going to survive the discussions the vampires were having with Morgan's medium. Far be it that they ask me what I wanted done. I emitted a soft growl at my lack of control.
Helen had an odd look on her face. "Cassandra," her voice was syrupy sweet.
"Yes, Helen?" I tried to keep the distain out of my voice. I was trying to remember these folks were here to help, in spite of what I thought.
"You realize that we are just beginning, don't you?" She sounded so self-assured and nearly unbeatable.
Blocking my thoughts seemed like the smartest thing I could do, because I so wanted to thump her. Something about her made me feel territorial, and angry.
Harry wisely kept his mouth shut and let me deal with the newest vampire. She wasn't that old of a changed one, but her arrogance was extremely old fashioned. I could rarely recall any newly-fanged being so sure of themselves. But then she was running with Brad, and that afforded her more safety than most newlings. But given the chance, she would be out of my range of vision, if not more: out of sight, out of sound, out of my whole damn territory. Brad wasn't so high up in the vampire ruling party that he could retaliate if Helen pushed one of my buttons. I hoped.
Harry caught the tail end of that thought and raked his fangs over my neck while purring, "Enough. You will just have to wait."
Sighing, I answered Helen aloud. "Just 'beginning.' Yeah, you have been through exactly how many vampiric wars now?" I smiled my smug smile at her faltering look. "Oh, wait," here my nails were out, "you haven't even seen a vampire decade yet. So, you've been reading on the internet or something?"
Harry muttered into my mind, 'You want some cream with that, kitty cat?'
He had a point, but the rest of the crew were busy trying to plan the demise and relocation of the two humans still curled on the drop cloth looking pretty stunned. Neither of them had really come around since their heads had both sustained a minor injury or three.
"Okay." Morgan looked up very seriously, over by Jasmine where he had been perching while listening to the conversation. "We have a plan."