At first Beverly sputtered out slowly a few details about Giselle and Theo's escape. Growing impatient Charlotte tapped her nails on the steering wheel she stared directly into Beverly's eyes trapping her into talking. Amber had begun to listen in spite of her reluctance.
"Okay, so like that is what they were wearing," Beverly had finished a long drawn out explanation of how hot both the vampires had been dressed. She hadn't realized they were vampires then but the aura they were projecting was the exotic sensual kind that only a master vampire and mate could hold. Charlotte nodded to pretend she was listening while she found yet another crack in her nails. She really had let her hands go to hell. It was truly pathetic. She wondered if Amber knew of a good nail stylist around town. Catching sight of Amber's own chipped ebony painted stubby fingernails gripping the back of Beverly's seat she figured it wasn't likely. She sighed deeply.
"What? Is something wrong?" Beverly's eyes widened looking totally terrified at her having possibly made some horrible mistake.
She reminded Charlotte of a deer in headlights. Beverly was so tempting. Difficult as it was she resisted doing anything and uncurled her clenched fingers from the steering wheel. The dead white knuckles were a total giveaway she wasn't having a good time.
Somehow her fingers gripping the wheel went unnoticed by Beverly and Amber briskly smacked the back of Beverly's head saying, "No, you idiot. You are boring Charlotte to death over here. Get on with it. I get that they were dressed totally rad but come on what happened?" Amber wasn't stupid and knew that her friend was blowing it.
Charlotte appreciated the interference and Beverly moaned, "Ouch! That hurt, Amber."
She stretched Amber's name out into a few syllables. Even Charlotte was impressed. The amount of control exerted over her friends proved that Amber would make a good vampire some day. If she lived long enough to be turned -- that was still up in the air. The moan reminded Charlotte that Jim was still on her trail. She needed to get back to Kenyon first and clear up the slight misunderstanding.
So she was still planning on returning the jewelry to the vampires she knew and definitely would give the rest to the council. Since she hadn't spent all the money she had liberated that was still possible. This reminded her that she probably should give these girls a bit -- they both totally could use facials and a good spa day! That's if they made it to morning. She still wasn't sure about that part. Something about these two made her feel too old. Never a good thing for a vampire, they tended to strike out at the humans that offended them.
Something in her eyes must have convinced Beverly to stop stalling. She sucked in air deeply and said, "Okay, as you know I was waiting out back to get into the club. Usually some losers come out for a smoke and a grope. I duck inside and get to my partying." Here Beverly blushed slightly and tried to look innocent. She failed. Charlotte also liked Beverly's use of party as an action verb.
"The backdoor swung open near where I was crouched," mentally Charlotte pictured the back of the building and remembered there were crates and trash cans off to the side of the doorway. She still was trying to recall if she had seen Beverly the night she was there. Nothing sprung to mind and she didn't think now was the time to ask Beverly if she had seen her. No desire to go down that path she let Beverly tell her story.
"At first I thought it was a couple of the regular dancers because of how smoothly they both moved. Then I saw it was the club owners. I've never actually talked to them but we all knew who they were. I already told you what they were wearing. But their movements were faster than I had seen them move before -- usually they seem to glide like on a sheet of glass. Smooth and flawless, I guess." Beverly's speech had got faster and livelier.
"They jerked outside talking fast about someone named Charlotte and how life was all 'fucked up' now. They said how they knew they should have just run after she had visited but they had been too happy to see her again and enjoyed her playing. That's the word they used, 'playing' like it was some kind of game. There was talk about somebody named Jim who they had seen come into the club and how they set their human crew on his ass. They hoped to make it over to Europe before Jim could find them." She gulped and shuddered.
"They let the door swing shut slowly and I caught it without them seeing it. I went inside. I had no idea what was going on when I did it. I really didn't. I figured it was going to be some weird orgy or something. I hadn't a clue." Beverly began tremble.
Amber patted her friend's back softly and said, "You okay?"
Beverly said, "No, I don't think I ever will be. There wasn't anywhere for me to go once I had seen it all. I went home. You called me and made me to tell you what I saw. Here I am. I don't like any of it but I'm just a kid. Who the hell would have listened to me?"
She had a point.
Gulping deeply Beverly said, "There was this couple standing at the front of the club. They were surrounded by a dozen or more of the hard core regulars. You know the ones that never talk to us, Amber?" Amber nodded.
"Okay, so like this guy in the middle of the crowd was really huge. Like almost seven feet tall. He had these totally scary light blue eyes. I would have thought he was one of the bouncers but I know all of them. He wasn't bad looking but so serious. The muscles on his stomach were the complete package but he was tossing the regulars off him like they were tissues. They were discarded in heaps. And then this little girl came from where she had been standing unmoving beside him." She rapidly sucked in more air as she shook slightly. She wasn't hyperventilating yet but close.
"She scared me more than he did. She called him 'Master Jim' and asked if it was her turn yet. Her voice was small like she was barely holding herself together. But I could hear it perfectly clear from the back door. I had chills running up and down my body. I wanted to vomit, scream, run or do something. All I could do was hunch down and watch what happened."
She paled and turned to Charlotte asking, "Are you like them?"
Charlotte shook her head slowly and kindly lied, "No, not in the least."
Reassured Beverly beamed and said, "Good."
Amber grew impatient and smacked the back of her friend's head again saying, "Spill it! What did you see?"
"Well, the girl with the Jim guy was dressed totally Goth. She had jet black hair down to her ass. She was wearing tons of flashy jewelry and practically encrusted in silver, it was all over her body. She wasn't much bigger than me but somehow was different. She made me want to run over to see if she's okay! Me! I never go near anyone. You know this, Amber." She trembled.
Amber nodded and told Charlotte, "Beverly is a bit reserved."
It wasn't said like an insult but a basic fact. Beverly bobbed her head and said, "So like I said I wanted to go over and stroke her hair and tell her everything was fine. It wasn't fine at all. She had begun to do this creepy thing to the people on the ground. She was kissing their necks and licking them. I stayed hidden even as much as I wanted to run to help her." Beverly then said what Charlotte dreaded but knew was coming.
"She had fake fangs in her mouth and was tearing at their throats. Nobody was running away but laying there happy. I don't know why they were happy! Their blood was everywhere." Beverly hissed.
Looking directly into Beverly's eyes she let her powers rise and suggested, "Go to sleep now, Beverly. You are so tired."
The vampiric suggestion with comfort and exhaustion pushed at the girl and she yawned, "I'm going to take a little nap." And her head lolled and she was out solid.
Lightning quick, Charlotte reached into the back seat and grabbed Amber before she could finish her thought or action. Amber had been seconds away from bolting. She roughly hauled the girl kicking and squirming over the seat and pushed her into the limited space between her and the sleeping friend.
"You won't be so easy." Charlotte knew this and was forced to see what she could offer the kid. First things first: she had to work out what happened to Giselle and Theo.
"What are you?" Amber said firmly and fumbled at removing Charlotte's hands from her body.
"Just someone passing through who needs to find out if her friends are okay. I need to talk to Beverly a little more and you need to keep your mouth shut and let me work this out. Okay?" Charlotte pushed a little deeper into Amber and found a chink in the barrier. A twist of the mind and Amber relaxed and slumped down groggily next to Beverly. The two small girls were curled into each other like kittens.
"Wake up, Beverly. I need you to talk to me just a little bit more okay?" Her voice was soft and she flicked gently the tip of Beverly's nose and Beverly giggled.
"Mom, let me sleep five more minutes, okay?" She was half asleep and thought she was in her bed. It worked for Charlotte.
"Tell me more about that scary club," her voice was whispering into Beverly's mind and across Amber. Amber's eyes were glazed as she was semi-awake and fighting the sleep push, she sighed softly saying, "This is too cool." Charlotte stroked her eyes shut and Amber fell deeper into a haze. All the nervous teenager energy was shut down and the car was filled with electricity.
"Okay, but Mom, I didn't mean to be there. Am I in trouble?" her voice stammered and Charlotte whispered back, "No, dear, just tell me everything you remember." Whispers masqueraded her voice and she must have sounded enough like Beverly's mom in the teenager's brain.
"That evil fanged girl was being so mean. She began to push at all the kids on the ground and made them bleed more than they should. I saw her lick and drink from this one kid's throat. I think it was Kevin. The big guy she was with told her to slow down and let him talk to someone. He pulled up Brian from the floor. You remember me telling you about Brian? He like lets me come in sometimes when he goes out back to smoke. I wasn't supposed to let anyone know. He thinks I am cute but jail bait." At this Beverly giggled and Amber reached over and petted her friend's head. Amber had fought most of Charlotte's vampiric slumber but she was calmer than she normally seemed to be.
Calmer Beverly continued, "That feels good, Mom. Thanks."
"Brian looked at Jim and began talking about Charlotte. Saying she was in the club a week before with Giselle and Theo. And talked about some party they had. And ummmm ... well then Jim began to lick at Brian's neck and he had fake fangs too! Mommy, they scared me." Beverly was reliving her experience and her fear was flooding the car it was all Charlotte could do to keep her own fangs in her face.
Whimpering softly Beverly was forced to continue by Charlotte; she had no choice. She had to find out what had happened.
"They began to lick and bite the people around them and as they did they called out what they heard whispered in their ears from the people on the ground. Nobody was even trying to fight them anymore they were all lining up to be touched and licked. It was so weird. Jim called out that Giselle and Theo said Charlotte was going down to the coast of Florida and going to play in the Caribbean. They thought she was sticking to the highway and would make the tip of Florida by daybreak. Oh, and they talked about the car she had. It was this really neat convertible. And ... " She trailed off and stopped talking. Beverly was sleeping again. Whatever she saw after was causing her to shut down.