"Joel, we figured after Babette was pulled in from the streets and dropped immediately into the hole you'd need some company." Tammy nearly sounded sincere. Her husky voice was practically whispering in my ear yet her words somehow rung false to me. I'd just met the gal a few minutes ago, but lies tended to have a certain sound. I'd had plenty of practice hearing lies lately that was for sure.
She stroked a long pink polished fingernail down the side of my face then smartly tapped my nose. I wanted to cringe back from the touch, but knew that'd be the exact wrong thing to do. Tammy didn't strike me as a team player. She may have claimed to Joel that I was a 'keeper' but she seemed pretty damn fickle. I didn't think impulsive vampires taking an interest in me could end well. Vampires were new to me, but flaky women weren't.
"And boy is Babette pissed off!" Greta sounded delighted by the thought.
I was itching to say something but kept my mouth glued shut. Three vampires versus one human didn't seem like the best odds. Joel was still angry at their interruption. It also hadn't escaped my notice that nobody mentioned my less than stellar hubby, Billy and his cohort in crime, Oliver.
The redhead and blonde female vampires had invited themselves into my home unasked. It pretty much gave lie to the 'must invite vampires in or they couldn't cross the threshold' fairytale. I glared at Joel and worked at staying still. Like any good prey, I knew freezing was an effective weapon. It couldn't hurt to practice with the vampires given the possible alternatives. My desire to be free of the entire mess hadn't changed any with the addition of two more sets of fangs, but I didn't think running was an option. The acrobatic maneuvers they had made a few moments ago made me respect both the gals' athletic abilities to pounce on me before I'd make it half way down the staircase with little effort. I'd fall as easily as a dumb deer caught in a pincer move by two wolves or in the current situation, vampires, as it were.
Joel didn't let their presence go without comment.
"You've both been here before, haven't you?" He shook Greta by her neck with his one hand while with his other reaching over and casually yanking Tammy to his side by the roots of her blonde locks while catching her gaze with his. They made an exotic tableau with the dark haired Joel framed by the stunning, sensual vampires.
Tammy made a kissing motion with her pink frosted lips and said, "And what of it?" Answering for both her and her partner.
That explained the possible vampiric entry requirements being bypassed. My stomach flopped as it meant Billy had these two creatures visit him along with Babette. I guess he really did screw anything that moved -- dead or alive.
"Damn it, what the hell were you two thinking, running with Babette?" I was surprised he asked. I had a clue but kept quiet. Billy was seriously never touching me again. Thankfully, Oliver never had. I somehow knew he was in the mix with these two vampires without asking. He'd run over awfully fast to see the not-dead Babette. My skin crawled thinking of them with Billy and Oliver. Part of me wondered if they had video.
Greta giggled and said, "Joel, she's fun. Besides Babette'd told us that Billy was loaded and always up for a party." Glancing at me she added, "Sorry."
I'd give anything for a sharp stake and some holy water. Who was I kidding? I'd give anything to make this whole day just disappear. My life was ruined. I was still wondering at the possible video or even web cam action from their nooners.
The female vampires weren't struggling but simply staring dead eyed at Joel. He was busy murmuring something and I watched them slacken and he dropped both of them limply to the flooring. I was amazed to see them not moving. He brushed his palms together and said, "Kids, don't try this at home."
Catching my shock he said, "Josie, I made them -- I can break them."
Okay, I really wasn't going to ask.
Turned out I didn't have to, "I'm their vampire Master. I have the off switch. Yet, they shouldn't have been able to come here without Billy present -- unless they'd been here a few times."
I weakly nodded and knew that they must have been here a ton of times when I wasn't around obviously. Joel didn't meet my eyes for much longer once he saw me figure out his comment. I could have quite happily gone to my grave not knowing the faces of my husband's lovers. Now I had three lovely creatures permanently etched in my brain and shadowing my heart. The phrase 'the heart wants what the heart wants' tasted foul on my soul. Billy's heart wanted things I couldn't even fathom.
"Now what? You mind swipe me and dump me in some insane asylum?" I didn't have a clue.
Laughing he said, "They don't have insane asylums. Best I'd be able to do is have you locked into a fancy rehab place out in the middle of the desert or Utah."
"Same difference." I shrugged as if I had a choice.
My heart had begun racing as I played out all the scenarios running through my brain. His two vampires had yet to move. They looked to be the type of women who'd begged to become vampires no matter what the cost. Because he controlled them he had apparently succumbed to their sort of temptation. I don't know what clued him in to my thoughts but he hissed at me, "You are wrong."
"But here they are, your toys." I pointedly looked at the prima facie evidence.
"Babette had bled both of them to a coma, she was going to kill the entire bar if I didn't let her make them into vampires. Instead I made them so she'd have less control." He tried to make it all sound so reasonable. Yeah, a nice fern bar, with Babette picking through the crowd for possible playmates -- just something every boy or girl dreamed of right?
"Looks like they've slipped your leash fairly often." I was feeling bitchy while trying to figure out if there was video.
"As Billy has yours." He countered, drawing blood on my heart with his pointed reply. I shuddered and the two vampires moaned. Chills ran up and down my spine.
"Whatever." I was exhausted.
Joel pulled out a cell phone and placed a call while holding up a finger indicating he wished me to remain quiet. I nodded and went back to the office. I didn't need to stand and watch those vampires come back to life or what ever it was they did. After all, as the only one with a real pulse and personal blood source I didn't think I felt like making an involuntary donation. They'd out-maneuvered Joel more than once.
From the chair I could still hear his side of the conversation.
"Hello, Ridley?" A pause.
"Yes, they are here. Where were they earlier? Uhuh. And nobody thought that was odd?" Someone was talking awfully fast on the other side. I couldn't make out the words but the shrill tone was pretty loud.
"Fine. Send over Gustafson and Sanders with the carpet cleaning van. There's a rug to be removed and some bedding. Tomorrow we'll work out the rest of the clean up." Another silence then, "I will be here to let them in with the homeowner."
I wondered if I needed to be conscious for that or not. I heard him disconnect then some sounds of tearing. I launched up to see he'd returned to the master bedroom and grabbed up the top sheet. He was shredding the large linen into three-inch thick strips. With a precise set of flips and turns he bound them both up. I saw he'd used a strip on each as a gag. They wouldn't be fanging into me if they woke. Hell, they weren't showing any signs of waking. They weren't moving or breathing. It was like watching a child play with very expensive, pretty dolls.
He then took the comforter and rolled Greta inside. He came back into the office and nodded to the rug underneath my chair. I got up and he removed the hand tied Persian carpet from the wood flooring and rolled Tammy inside with a minimum amount of fussing. This looked like something he'd done a million times. For all I knew it was a monthly occurrence.
Effortlessly he placed them both at the head of the stairs and came back to join me in the spare room. I reluctantly mentioned my new concerns regarding Billy and what had been possibly going on while I was working. Any thoughts of keeping my home were long gone and I was wondering how long it'd take in the current market to sell the place on a turn-key type arrangement. I couldn't think of much I'd want to keep given all the ugly sexual escapades running through my sick mind.
"Josie, what's wrong?" His eyes met mine and he arched an eyebrow.
Cute but not safe, was what passed through my mind, while I tried to frame my worries. "Billy's idiot friend, Oliver, is known to take video when he has sex. Consensual or not and it tends to end up on various porn sites on the Internet if he doesn't just sell them outright on Craig's List." I slowly offered.
Joel turned three shades of white. A stray thought nastily floated through my mind and I went ahead and asked, "They fang in when having sex don't they?"
He nodded while tapping his lip with a slender finger. The buffed nail glistened and he looked over at me. Slowly he sat down and sighed.
"It just keeps getting better doesn't it?"
I kept quiet, as I didn't think it was a real question.
My silence was rewarded with a resounding smack of his hand onto the desktop. The porcelain frogs hopped and a few toys toppled. I jumped a bit too.
Throwing me a glance, he pulled his cell phone out again and began searching for a number.
"Hello, is Jason Treadle there?" His tones were buttery and calm.
Another unheard conversation. I kept still anyways. No need to remind Joel about my presence. As he kept meeting my eyes, I somehow doubted that he'd forgotten me in the least.
"Yes, see if you can find him. Let him know it's Joel Paulson on the line please. Thank you." He was more patient than I thought possible.
I heard the call go on hold and Joel shook his head and began putting my knickknacks back upright while waiting.
A full two minutes lapsed and my desk was back to normal. I heard the call go off hold and a thunderously deep voice boomed out, "Joel, sire, I am sorry I didn't realize you were looking for me."
No speakerphone was needed, as Jason was a loud man. I sat back and tried to pretend like I wasn't hearing both sides of the conversation. I wondered at the term 'sire' and if that meant Jason was another one of Joel's vampires.
"No problem, Jason. What sort of time do you and your team have available for me?"
"No team anymore, just me and Jeff Milner, the guy who answered the phone. We pretty much can cover it all without anyone else. About five years ago I invested heavily in some good code and wickedly fast machines, reducing the workforce." Jason sounded very confident.
I wondered if they knew they were being downsized or got zapped by the vampire memory swipe. I looked at my fingernails and wondered how long it would take to get them as shiny as Joel's nails. Distracted, I tried to keep from over-thinking. It wasn't working.
"Good enough. I have a project for you. Can you pull in other resources if needed?" Joel was patient, I had to give him that.
"Doubtful I'll need anyone else. Jeff's pretty good. Hell, he's nearly as good as me!" The man laughed loudly and with his heart. Maybe he wasn't a vampire. Once that thought chased through my mind I saw the grin on Joel's. Nope, he was. My brain was ready to explode at the sheer number of vampires I'd 'discovered' in the space of twenty-four hours. How'd I miss them? It seemed like they were damn near everywhere.
"We need to chase down a porn ring that may or may not have gone out on DVD copies. And fast -- Babette and two of her close friends partied with two humans." Joel spelled it out.
"Damn, that's ugly. I'll start on it now. Can we find out what is the preferred site from the humans or are they already out of the picture?" Jason was talking casually about the possible death of Billy.
Staring directly at me Joel said carefully, "Both the men are still alive but on ice."
Somehow that didn't give me any comfort.