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February 19, 2024

Here Comes The Bride, Part 5

By Lydia Manx

Waiting for Carlos to answer, she mentally tapped her fingers. She couldn't help her anger but the night had been really crappy. She still didn't know why her fiancée was calling. The whole wedding preparations were making her crazy. The Suburban made an odd gurgling noise and she saw an idiot light flit on and off quickly. She didn't have a clue which light and mentally shrugged. The crackling of her cell phone reminded her Carlos was still on the line.

The cross-contamination of supernaturals wasn't overly popular. Rogue vampires and rabid werewolves would do their best to slay anyone they could who was involved with the wedding. It wasn't like there wouldn't be repercussions from both communities -- but long held prejudices and hatreds outlived any personal concerns. Quite a few vampires and werewolves were willing to risk possible beatings, even death, if it kept the two parties apart. Unintentionally she and Carlos were becoming a modern day Romeo and Juliet. She hoped their ending wasn't the same.

"Oh, so you're okay then?" Carlos wasn't given to overblown displays of concern and her snippy comments didn't change him any. Unless he furred out, which she'd yet to see, his mood was pretty much solid citizen with minor warm fuzzy emotions. It frightened Renee a bit how calm he could be. She wasn't wired that way and he took it all in stride. He wasn't the typical werewolf, for that she was more than a little thankful, but it could all be a role he was playing to keep his pack happy. Part of her wondered how he'd deal with her fanging out and sucking down a pint.

"Sure am. Thanks for asking," she tried for cordial. This whole engagement period was wearing her down. She didn't have a rulebook and he didn't seem to give a damn what she did. But then he'd call her out of the blue and be perfectly aware of her daily activities. She tried to pretend it was just normal fiancée concern but was pretty sure it was more along the lines of her Master telling his pack leader how her evening had gone. Or he had her followed by folks like Buddy -- which wasn't out of the realm of possibilities given the bumper cars on the freeway. Mentally she thought she'd have a talk with Jessie and ask a few pointed questions about how exactly Buddy was involved with Carlos. The packs weren't structured exactly the same as her vampire clans and that was something she should find out about soon if she wanted to keep her future in-laws happy. Not a good thought.

"Why'd ya call, Carlos?" Renee wasn't going to dance around the issue anymore. Her house was only a few miles further and she needed her wits about her once she pulled into her driveway. The call she had to place to her Master weighed on her heavily.

"Renee, couldn't I just have simply called to say hello?" She could picture him smirking. The damn dimples were unexpected. It seemed wrong that a big bad werewolf would have deep dimples framing his lips. Coupled with his bright caramel colored eyes and his dark curls he wasn't remotely ugly. She just wasn't exactly sure what to do with him. Part of her wondered if she'd have to scratch him behind the ears when he was in fur form or something. Another question to ask Jessie since she had Buddy -- the boyfriend with fur -- she'd know.

The silence had stretched while she brooded. "Doubtful." She bit out while pulling Jessie's Suburban into her driveway. She hoped Jessie would get finished playing tonsil hockey with Buddy soon or at least get back to her house and pick up the damn monster SUV. The more Renee thought, the more she figured that the two of them deserved each other. Buddy would have to take a beating or two for the damage to the vehicles and that alone curled her lips up in a slight smile. As for Jessie's punishment she had some stray ideas involving high heels and a wedding planner. The torture would be divine and far more entertaining than bloodletting or flaying of skin.

"Well?" She asked. It was his turn to talk and maybe finally explain why he was calling.

Slowly she negotiated down her drive with the obscenely large car. She was thankful that it was a long driveway or she'd have been screwed hiding the vehicle. The curved, tree-lined path set her house back from the easy view from the folks passing by. Her neighborhood wasn't bad but a sweet car like the fully loaded SUV was always a temptation no matter how much gas was being sold for at the pumps. The sound system alone was worthy cracking the doors open. The mall brats had well demonstrated that temptation with their failed attempt at car jacking. Basic slim-jims weren't designed for snatching high end SUVs but instead the older models of cars with roll up windows and push button locks. She knew that even if the kids had missed that minor point in auto theft one-o-one they would have ended up using a trashcan through a window before much longer in order to get to the Suburban.

The vampires rarely used audible alarm systems because the reward of getting a car stolen was the pleasure in using the lo-jack device to retrieve the vehicles and take down a stupid human or three. Had the kids successfully snatched the car it would have temporarily inconvenienced the vampires but in the long run cost them more than the embarrassment dished by Renee and Jessie at the mall.

Now Carlos was quiet. Then she saw why. She'd been mistaken in assuming he was far away at his country home. He was currently leaning against the main post of her front porch. A rather large piece of luggage at his feet made her wonder what he had in mind. She didn't recall issuing an invitation. She snapped her cell phone shut and sighed. The moon was nearly full and her mind was wondering how it'd work on him. In her head she knew older werewolves had control of when and where they shifted --mostly -- but there were scattered tales of mistakes made in the moonlit world. Most of those involved claws, teeth and fury. Having never been slashed open by a werewolf she could only imagine how much it hurt to heal.

"Your cell phone service is shit. You sounded much further away." She growled out while trying to gracefully exit the rather tall vehicle. Dignity wasn't always easy and she was uncomfortably aware of his eyes watching her wiggle off the seat and to the gravel-strewn driveway.

"I'm sorry. I'll look into getting a better service if it is that important to you." He was smirking again.

Renee arched an eyebrow at the suitcase resting at Carlos' feet now that she had hers firmly on the ground. She felt something else was out of place and spun to see Carlos' constant companion, Marcus, about a half dozen yards from them lounging underneath the huge willow tree in the corner of her yard. That shouldn't have surprised her, but she had assumed Carlos was alone. Her sense of smell should have immediately picked up Marcus' scent. Then she noticed he was downwind of her and there wasn't even a breeze so she mentally shrugged. It so wasn't her night.

"Oh, goodie, both of you are here. And I thought this evening was going to be dull." That left her lips flatly and with far more anger than she'd thought was in her. It certainly was quite the night for surprises. She truly hated surprises.

Marcus nodded and kept his distance. He wasn't stupid enough to get within arms reach of Renee. She was more than a little pissed and wasn't exactly hiding bothering to hide it much. Carlos breathed in and exhaled saying, "I didn't mean to upset you."

"Okay, so then what'd ya mean 'to' do?" Renee said.

It sounded like Marcus snickered but when she glanced back he was standing with his hands folded in front of his waist like any good hit man or gangster. Marcus kept his hair closely clipped and liked to wear nice suits in the charcoal to coal shades. The dark blue shirt and dead black tie did nothing to erase that disturbing image. But since it was dark he wasn't wearing his trademark wrap-around sunglasses for a change and she could actually see his dark blue eyes. Not that it was a good thing since they weren't sexy and cute to her, but disturbingly empty and hellfire shadowed. He'd have made a damn good killer vampire. From what she'd been told by others he was racking up the body count in the werewolf world rather impressively even by most vampires' standards. That gave her pause and she thus gave him wide berth in their chance encounters after hearing that bit of news. Whatever he'd heard about her granted her equal distain from his eyes. She didn't bother to ask because she would be more than happy to slash and burn the beast if need be without ever being the wiser. One of those little secrets she poorly kept out of her gaze at Marcus. The two of them could both meet the other's killer gazes she'd found. Most couldn't meet her gaze so he was something different than most creatures human or non-human. He not only met her gaze but also tried to tear into her through her eyes. She shook off his glance and turned to Carlos.

Beaming at Renee widely he winked one of the long ass sets of eyelashes at her and said, "Whatever you want, my dear."

Renee didn't buy it for a second but definitely appreciated the effort it took for him to try to mislead her. Werewolves had their own set of rules and she made a conscious decision to ignore the game being played. Fiancée or not, he had his own set of rules and she wasn't even privy to the book. That made her nervous. Very nervous, because her Master was expecting things from their marriage that she didn't even have a clue about and yet was being held to that standard. Her anger licked her throat and made her slow down. She wasn't going to just fold and follow the werewolf's lead but she still didn't want to screw up the works. Politics weren't ever pretty.

"Cut the shit. Something's wrong. Both of you are really far off your territory and there's no way that your visit is sanctioned by either side of the wedding party planners." Renee's voice was calm but she felt her fangs drop down just a whisper.

Vampires and werewolf politics were complex and multi-layered and casual, unannounced wandering into that arena spelt certain death.

Renee was still wickedly hungry but now had a bit of fear chasing that need. Which wasn't exactly a good thing for a starving vampire but it was all she had going for her. Being a naturally a somewhat concerned vampire she wasn't pleased with all the nasty chaos that the past few hours had held. She also wasn't ready to call her Master and confess to what was happening,but she still wasn't sure why they were here. Marcos was shifting behind her adding to the tension. Not actually shifting into his fur-faced demeanor but he was moving anxiously. Renee couldn't recall ever seeing him that animated.

"My dear, Renee, I am here for you!" It rang false even with his emphasis but Carlos was too busy smiling and trying to convince her that he was serious for her comfort.

It wasn't working. She was busy clenching her jaw and trying to be civil. The suitcase disturbed her much more than she'd ever admit. Both of the werewolves were trying far too hard to be nice to her. That alone bothered her because it wasn't the natural state of werewolves and vampires. They didn't naturally cling to each other. Her joining the werewolves with marriage was an alliance of more than a little consequence.

"Uhuh. And the check is in the mail. I promise not to..." here Carlos made some odd sound and cut her off with, "No!"

Renee suppressed a grin.

Maybe being a bride wasn't exactly a plan of hers but she had been having some interesting times for sure.

To be continued ...

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2009-02-09
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