Harry was still not answering me about why the cats were so strongly tuned in to me and add in Cinda was now beginning to pace a bit too quickly for my comfort. I sucked in a bit of the cold air and wondered if I should tell them what I thought. When he was opening the door to let the cats back inside, Harry had also cooled the room. No snow drifted inside but it was cold enough for snowman-building in the doorway. I heard the radiator in the room click on and the hissing of the steam escaping as it began warming the room. Feeling a slight bit warmer at the idea of the heat, I collected my thoughts. Both cats allowed me to pet them while they continued to groom and clean themselves. I felt calmer just touching the monster cats. Their fur was soothing and there were no signs of whatever they had destroyed outside. There was still a chill to their coats from the snow they had tramped through when they were out causing damage and getting bloodied.
"What is going through your mind?" Harry asked me, staring deeply into my face. I lowered my glance, not sure I wanted to share. I wasn't that big on sharing. Cinda knew this and had slowed down to a mildly crazed pace. She watched me closely. Glad I was providing her evening's entertainment.
"Quite a few things. But I think I'll wait to see what happens when this Mitch guy meets my feline companions. After all, you have implied he is there to teach me." I let my response bounce around in both Harry's and Cinda's brains. Cinda slowed down even more by stopping as she went to look out the window. I could see snowflakes pelting the glass without any signs of slowing. I didn't like the look of the snow at all. There were icy hard pieces mixed with the fluffier flakes. Basically a winter whiteout. Hell of a time to be traveling off to places unknown. Cinda must have agreed because she backed away from the icy pane without venturing an opinion. Even Harry arched an eyebrow behind Cinda's back at me, noting that oddity.
The phone rang. I picked up figuring it was going to be Erika. It was.
"Put Harry on the phone." Her tone wasn't even remotely friendly. But then her manners were in place as much as ever, I thought and handed the receiver to Harry without a word.
His side of the conversation didn't offer much to pick at and both Cinda and I were stuck waiting for the terse yes and no answers to be put into a coherent sentence at least. We didn't have long to wait. He hung up with not more than, "Will do."
"That was Erika," I resisted a smart ass reply since I was the one who had handed him the phone. I already knew that. "She gave Art something to sleep."
I pondered if Art knew he was being drugged or it was going to be a surprise. Cinda did more than ponder, she asked, "What did she do, drug his milk?"
Harry smiled slightly, "Yes, actually that was exactly what she did. I had given her a sample of a new form of sleeping aid and it seemed to work rather well."
He looked pretty smug. I guessed it was probably a vampire produced drug. Harry continued, "So now that he is out for the count we can focus on finding how long we are stuck here. And it keeps him from getting out and causing some harm."
Talk about your basic understatements.
"Harry, won't he be angry when he wakes up?" Cinda cut to the chase.
"No, side effects are memory loss and feeling ill upon waking. He will just assume he is coming down with something. Erika doesn't plan on telling him what happened. Besides, Gwendolyn," Harry turned to me, "you apparently broke his left hand. Erika prodded him and from the way his fingers did and didn't function it seems like at least three bones are broken, possibly more. We don't intend on getting him x-rayed any time soon so she taped his hand and talked him into a glass of milk with a couple aspirin." Harry paused while I noticed that he and Erika seemed to have worked all this out before I broke Art. I refused to feel guilty about it and Harry didn't seem to expect anything from me either.
"Wow," Cinda was amazed, "You guys really thought this all out before hand, now didn't you?"
Harry didn't reply. Not like I expected him to confirm anything like that to Cinda but I was not surprised in the least. This was definitely an interesting development.
"So is Erika coming back here or what?" Cinda was mildly curious and I watched a bit of Misty leak through for a moment. She was also curious about where Erika would be. Here I thought they were such close friends now. It seemed they were all still fighting over Harry.
"She'll wait for me to return to my room and then meet you back at yours. We don't need Art wandering off." Harry sighed. He didn't bother to try to figure out why Cinda wanted to know, but figured out it had to do with him and as a man wasn't going to ask any questions. No need to complicate anything with information. I suppressed a small smile. For however old a vampire he was, he still was very male.
"Okay, Gwendolyn, let's get out of your way for now. Try to relax and let us know when you get up. Erika and Cinda are in room 202 and I am in 208. It's just around the other side of the motel. So if you need anything, call." With that he moved Cinda out with a gently placed hand to the middle of her back. She nearly purred with the contact.
"Bye, Lynn. Call me if you can't sleep," Cinda still wasn't aware that insomnia was now probably the least of my problems. I didn't bother to correct her. Waving them off I closed the door in time to hear the steady thumping begin next door. I guess they sobered up enough for another round of bad sex. From the soft moans the man still was doing something wrong. I tried to block out any spare ideas. It definitely was going to be a long night.
I wondered when Harry had given Erika the drug she fed to Art. Then it dawned on me it hadn't been given to her for Art. This was something he had wanted to test on someone and Art just happened to fit the bill. I also wondered more than a little if it worked on vampires as well as humans. I had yet to drink anything other than blood but I imagined I could drink other things. I was puzzled by my lack of thirst other than the silly blood cravings. I was trying to minimize how driving the bloodlust was to make light of what I was, but my thoughts kept weaving around in odd circles and unusual patterns.
The thumping and creaking noises battered the shared wall and muffled sounds and words warred with the loud purring of the cats in my room. They had settled back onto the bedspread on their bed and were noisily purring. I joined them on the bed and took pleasure in the soothing sounds of them and their now warm bodies. I drifted off.
I woke to more pounding. This time on my door, not the shared wall. The cats had staked out their spots on my body and weren't happy with my moving. I shushed them half asleep and wandered to the door. I looked out to see white snow covered everything in range of the lens. That included the person huddled on the doorstep. The coat and hat worn were light colored and pretty much covered in snow. And it was gray and gloomy and still snowing, of course. Figuring the cats could and would take out anyone who tried to harm me I slowly opened the door.
"About damned time." I didn't recognize the man on my doorstep. There was something about him that made my stomach tighten and the cats began muttering. They weren't upset but they were quite happy to see whoever this was.
He was tawny. It looked like he had used a bit too much of the Coppertone Q-T product. His hair was light brown with reddish-gold highlights. He had the most amazing brown eyes shot full of golden chips of color. The jacket and hat were cream colored making his unusual coloring more noticeable. Just like that I looked at the snow melting off him and knew this was Mitch.
"Hey Mitch." I said drolly. Why bother hiding that I had figured out his identity? His eyes rounded with surprise and he stomped his way into the room. I shut the door behind him and went back to the bed the cats had vacated. They were busy purring and marking up his pants and knees. They really could arch their backs. I waited to see why he was in my room not Harry's.
He looked down at El Diablo and Banshee and didn't move a muscle. They were doing their usual somewhat scary cat speak so it was probably a good idea. I noticed both of them were totally fluffed out. Their fur was nearly double in size and I wondered how threatening Mitch found their posturing. I certainly wouldn't want to face them. After a very long two or three minutes they turned as one and jumped back up to the bed next to me. They were pleased to mutter and murmur while they settled in and purred loudly. They no longer were puffed up but seemed to be content.
"Damn, Harry wasn't kidding. You really picked up some good guardians. And you also figured out that I am Mitch. Mitchell Mason to be precise." His tone was smooth and reminded me of warm caramel.
He shook his head and reiterated, "But then you already gathered that now didn't you? How exactly did you figure it out?" It seemed to me that this was something unexpected for Mitch, someone guessing who he was. He must have thought he was going to shock me into instant obedience and general subservient vampire fledgling behavior. That alone was keeping me mildly amused. I didn't think there was any other choice given how the cats acted and everything Harry had told me. With Art decompressing way too fast to even track I pretty much figured Harry had called Mitch and gave him a heads up last night. I wasn't exactly sure how Mitch got here but truly I wasn't overly surprised.
His command to speak was ignored and I just simply shrugged and shifted up so I leaned against the headboard while the cats twined around in circles to find a better spot. My shrugging had disturbed their napping spots. Banshee pushed her face up to mine and huffed out some rotting kitty breath. Her eyes were close to mine and she was trying to communicate something to me. I didn't understand her but took a stab.
"Oh, Mitch, this is Banshee and El Diablo." Banshee purred and removed her face from mine so that must have been what she wanted.
He nodded. "Nice cats."
I smiled. It wasn't like they were mine. I barely knew what to do with them. Banshee leaned heavily against my arm and I carefully stroked her head. El Diablo, not to be ignored, pushed at my hand and I also ran my fingers through his coat. They both seemed to be satisfied at my touch so I relaxed and looked at Mitch still standing at the doorway. The icy jacket had thawed and water dripped off him and a puddle was forming at his feet.
I arched an eyebrow at him and waited. I saw no need to fill the silence. He tried to out wait me but failed to realize I could remain quiet for days, and had in the past. There was this awkward look on his face as snow melted from his hat and dropped off in a clump at his feet. He removed his hat and tossed it on the desk. The jacket was unbuttoned and laid over the desk next to his hat without a word. I was pretty impressed. Most women didn't last this long and few men. My silence was unnerving, I had been told by more than one person. Another minute or so passed and Mitch continued to be quiet. The only sound in the room was the hiss of the escaping steam and the purring cats.