"Carlos, tell her," Marcus offered, trying to break the mood. Renee was hungry and pissed off. It was going to take something pretty special to distract her. The luggage alone wasn't quite doing it for her. Unintended houseguests were a human problem. Vampires and werewolves didn't usually just drop in with bags. Renee knew that her Master would consider this somehow her fault. The phone call she needed to make to her Master was not nearly as important. Finding out why her fiancé and his bodyguard were not in their own lush green, and pack filled territory was critical.
The nearly full moon lit up the front porch and Renee thought that Carlos looked larger than normal and not big as being human but more along the lines of furring out possibilities. She wasn't ready to push an unknown button on her intended. But Marcus had no such limits.
"Fur face -- spit it out. Your future wife needs to know." Marcus wasn't backing down. There was a bit of ozone in the air that was crackling between them all. At least Renee hoped it was ozone, and not anything from the dark side. With her night she wasn't even going to try to think about it. Like any good train wreck she just stayed on the tracks and headed to the tunnel. That light on the other side had to be the sky, right?
Marcus' aggressive behavior gave Renee pause. She wasn't exactly sure who was higher in the pack. She'd been told when her Master began convincing her that she had to be married to another supernatural by winter fest that Carlos was equal to a minor prince in royalty, or pretty much her status in the vampire hierarchy, but it sure seemed to her that Marcus was in charge of Carlos The idea that there were two werewolves standing in front of her, and the werewolf with the most scent of death and mayhem was in charge of her future husband was chilling.
Growling slightly Carlos spun back towards her while saying, "The rogues found me and tried to assassinate me tonight. Marcus and I escaped and fled our territory."
A ton of questions flew to her mind. The most important one was who the hell had enough juice to make two strong werewolves flee their hard won territory? Renee couldn't think of any polite way of asking.
Marcus grinned, shrugged and said, "Twelve of them; only two of us."
That sort of answered her question. Not completely. Nothing sprang to mind other than rants and fangs. So Renee waited. The ticking of the SUV engine reminded her she had to ask Jessie if her ex-boyfriend Buddy was coming to the wedding. Horror skittered through her head as it dawned on her that she'd automatically started planning for the wedding as if it was important. The whole idea was hell. And here she was sugar coating it in her twisted mind. Being engaged must be some sort of illness, because never in her most vivid nightmares did she envision caring who'd be invited to watch her being offered up as some sort of primitive sacrifice.
Carlos puffed up and said, "We knew you'd want us safe."
Renee bit back an edgy reply and continued to wait. She hated waiting but didn't have a choice. There was more going on and if she kept her mouth shut one of them would fold. She glared at Carlos figuring he was the weaker of the two. And anything Marcus said would be possibly a lie if not misleading. Renee trusted him about half as far as she could throw him -- if that far. Another click of the Suburban's cooling engine broke the silence and tick of time passed all the while she kept staring directly at Carlos. In the back of her mind, she wondered -- if he dropped his eyes, did it mean he was her bitch now. She'd have to check out the dynamics of werewolf pack behavior before she crossed some taboo.
Carlos caved and said, "We need sanctuary."
That sealed the deal. Now she had no choice. He was her intended and thus her burden. She really hated being a fiancée but it was what her Master commanded. All she wanted was a few dozen silver bullets and some holy water. She was pretty sure it would reduce these two to dust. Not having any such bullets currently at hand she had to wait for the opportunity. Besides she really wasn't crazy about wearing some frilly lace lined white dress. If the groom was dead it wasn't like her Master could expect her to be married, right? Only time would tell. Cuteness aside, Carlos was expendable as far as she was concerned -- if she could get away with killing them and not getting caught or filmed again. That damn YouTube and the web video scene was not something she wanted to mess with ever again -- intentionally or not. Her Master would have her head for sure if she got caught on camera for a second time.
Smiling nicely she said, "Okay, let's head inside and sort this out."
She pulled out her house keys and opened the door. Formally she invited them both with, "I bid you entry. Leave your swords by the portal and your worries behind."
Smarmy but necessary. She still had to follow supernatural protocol. There was a better ceremony for visiting vamps and invited guests, but it would suffice to let them pass without being chomped by her wards. She wasn't averse to zapping Marcus and scorching his fur, but it would be bad manners to fry the fiancé. Even if she was still intending on trying to kill them if the possibility showed up, she wasn't going do it at her own home without some preparation. She wasn't that stupid.
Marcus started as he hit the doorjamb and said, "What the hell? You're a witch also?"
The blue light danced over them both and a loud popping sound followed them into the foyer. Carlos chuckled and said, "Nah, that's from her friend, Gilly. She's been around Renee forever."
It was her turn to be surprised. Renee spun and asked, "How the hell do you know about Gilly?"
He wasn't wrong; that was her magic driven friend who'd put up the wards. Gilly wasn't a recognized practitioner but nevertheless had the skills. Renee never called her a witch but it was an accurate term.
"Your Master gave me a file." Carlos had the smarts to step back one large step out of range.
Renee tried to keep calm. There were more than a few things that would be embarrassing in a file about her and she wasn't even sure how to ask or if she even should. Her Master was still mad about the whole YouTube fun but it wasn't like she wanted to be downloaded all over the universe. And besides she was myth breaking the whole 'vampires cast no shadow' and 'vampires can't be seen in mirrors' legends that run around storybook land. Hell, that alone should give her extra credit points. Everyone thought the video had been faked and discounted the spattering blood as a cheap Hollywood trick. Funny how real blood looks totally phony on the Internet.
Marcus grinned at her and just like that she knew he'd seen the file also. He just hadn't put together Gilly with the magic wards around her home. Life sucked some days. And so did she.
And she was still too hungry.
"Sit," she pointed to the living room couch and chairs letting them pick their spots while she kicked off her shoes and headed to the kitchen, "I'll be back in a second. Feel free to sniff the corners of the room or whatever it is you do."
Marcus growled while Carlos said, "Leave it."
She grinned as she fled the room thinking maybe Carlos had more stones than she'd thought. Picking up the landline, she called the second number on speed dial.
"Mandarin and More, your order please." The sing-song voice was familiar and she grinned, "Hey, Ming, it's me."
"Miss Renee. Long time. You want the regular?"
"Send two orders of the number twelve also. I have company."
They hung up and Renee wandered back to the living room knowing at least one of her needs would be met in thirty minutes or less.
"Who'd ya call?" Marcus was pacing.
She'd forgotten how good their damn hearing was.
"Take out. So hope you both like Chinese. I got you both the same thing." She didn't much care but was being nice. The number twelve was called Kings Feast and normally fed about five people. Given what she knew about the werewolves and their metabolism it would probably just keep the edge off their hunger. With the full moon nearing, she figured two hungry werewolves wouldn't be ideal roommates.
Carlos smiled, "See, Marcus, I told you she would be the right person to seek."
Marcus looked like he'd swallowed something distasteful and wasn't sure if he should spit or swallow. Renee resisted slapping him on the back and kept her face relaxed. It wasn't a good idea to taunt a pacing werewolf. Besides, she was looking forward to the Chinese takeout.
Renee sarcastically said, "Okay, so you came here because you wanted Chinese food?"
Laughing Carlos said, "No, that's just a perk."
"Don't you guys have some other pack you could have run to?" She was genuinely puzzled.
"That's not possible." Marcus didn't offer anything more.
He hadn't stopped his pacing. His path was large but still the loop was measured out in a large pace of nervous energy. That food better hurry up if she planned on keeping her guests happy.
Renee sat slowly down in the chair opposite the couch that Carlos had chosen. The deep green velvet furniture was more comfortable than it appeared and Renee accented the rich fabric with russet pillows and throws that created a comfortable room with the dark oak end tables and the large centerpiece of a coffee table. Authentic Tiffany lamps placed on the side tables were casting off muted soft light making the room far cozier than the current additional occupants.
She resumed staring at Carlos. It was tough, but she ignored Marcus and his deep strides eating up the space in the room with a dark rising anger. She was pretty sure she could slice and dice him with the knife she had tucked into the lining of the chair. It happened to be a nice old-fashioned cake knife. A heavy sterling silver knife -- not silver bullets -- but with her vampiric strength it would easily decapitate Marcus if he got out of control. That could be justifiable in both vampire court and werewolf pack rules.
Something in her eyes must have let Carlos know she wasn't kidding.
"We can't go to the other packs because we don't know how the rogue werewolves found us. And I couldn't endanger them with my troubles." He had those cute puppy dog eyes pulled out and was working them as best he could to try to sway Renee.
Renee picked up on the unsaid, "You also don't want to land into pack politics and find out that those trying to kill you aren't rogue but sanctioned."
It wasn't a question but Carlos nodded.
Marcus snarled, "The men weren't werewolves I recognized. They had that fresh meat smell about them."
She wasn't sure she wanted to know what was 'fresh meat' to a killer werewolf. In vampire terms it was minion or wanna-be vampires offered as a gift to visiting vampires for use in any manner desired. That ended up pretty ugly at times and from Marcus' tones it meant more in werewolf packs.
Carlos had no such concerns about her knowing and supplied the necessary information, "Yeah, they couldn't have been more than two lunar cycles old and didn't have anyone's marks on them. Mostly those sorts are strays. Once a pack finds them they are killed instantly. Rarely do they last more than six months. But I do admit they seemed more organized than the usual rogues."
That filled in most of the blanks for Renee.
To be continued ...
The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.