Marcus looked at Renee and asked, "Why are you so upset? They are looking for Buddy and Jessie. They will be found soon. You'll still be getting married next month."
He was ignoring that she didn't want to be married period. It was like she hadn't said a single word. Selective hearing was apparently also a werewolf trait. Or just male -- she wasn't sure anymore. From everything Jessie had blathered about when dragging her to the bridal shop she knew that women had the reputation of being obnoxious and unreasonable when wedding planning was involved. That was why most had so many different 'handlers' near as she could figure.
There was the Maid of Honor, a title meaning the lady next to the bride wearing one of the worst looking dresses imaginable, that was to assist the nervous young bride-to-be in making such important decisions as the color of the tabletop arrangements and who else got to make the bride look pretty. From the discussions Renee had also concluded that she was only supposed to pick less stellar friends and family members to further let the bride shine. She didn't have a large cadre of family members to pick from being a vampire and her friends weren't exactly lining up to be a part of the wedding. And she didn't have tons to choose from either. Kenyon was going to pick out some minions to fill out her side of the wedding party.
Since her mother was long dead, she didn't have to worry about having a parent dictating who to invite and how to arrange the dinner tables. Jessie had some horror stories from when she was human how her mom and she had battled royal over the choice of roses in the bouquets versus the orchids Jessie had wanted. Jessie won. Most of the stories Jessie had prattled on about resulted in Jessie throwing a fit and getting her way like a two year old at a party. Renee kept that to herself.
And last was the official wedding planner. That was the core leader and control freak extraordinaire who was the only one who could actually get away with countermanding the bride's wishes with pithy comments or etiquette pointers and win. Renee didn't give a damn about much, so it wasn't a bad job for the wedding planner, Arturo. Kenyon had more of an opinion than she did about protocol and the looks of everything. It was his wedding as far as she was concerned. Arturo was a petite, prissy vampire minion who had been in charge of many events and weddings both vampiric and non-vampiric. Kenyon had been gleeful he was able to get the renowned planner and made sure he reminded Renee of it often.
"Happy, happy! Just want a girl wants. To be married to a perfect stranger. Can I jump up and down now?" Her words were laced with as much venom she thought she could get away without causing him to turn furry and attack her. She'd actually welcome such a bloodletting at the moment. Just thinking about all the plans made her blood pressure spike and her anger roar. She'd like to tear him apart or at least suck off a pint for fun and knowledge. Blood was knowledge. And Marcus had some hidden layers.
Growling he said, "Fine, jump if it'll make you happy. It doesn't matter. Your vampire leader wants you home." He grinned with some serious attitude. The bad werewolf was having fun pushing at Renee's buttons.
"I am in my home. Kenyon just wants me to come play with him. He's my Master, not my boss." Renee informed him with her own smile.
She didn't know how to explain it. Once vampires got past the fledgling stage and were living independently, their Master didn't have as much control. She even knew vampires who lived countries apart from their Master with no ill effects. But werewolves didn't appear to have the same structure of command. Pack mentality was foreign to her but she did know that it existed. She may have skipped reading the files Kenyon had given her on the werewolves, but she did know some things. It was hard being a supernatural for centuries and not pick up some basic knowledge.
DB, Damson Barlow, being the vampire rep with the werewolves was really bugging her. Kenyon only used him when he wanted some bloodshed. The fact he'd been talking with Marcus on the werewolf's dime bugged her. Marcus had called DB, not the other way around, and that concerned Renee. DB wasn't a good little vampire but a wickedly nasty piece of sociopathic work. She didn't see how he'd help them find Jessie and Buddy, but Kenyon had sent him as the vampire representative so it wasn't her call.
Damson was well over six feet tall and clean-shaven head to toe from what Renee knew. And sadly, after one of Kenyon's recent blood orgies she knew it was, in fact, head to toe. It wasn't a matter of his having some medical disorder like alopecia areata, loss of hair over the whole body, but he nightly shaved himself completely. He may have been losing his hair when he was first turned, but the rest of his skin had stubble from the little that Renee had unintentionally seen.
The all-white complexion just added to the disturbing factor in DB's appearance. His eyes were non-descript brown but deeply hollowed by shadows. The thin colorless lips weren't even accented by his fangs. His fangs looked fragile and weak to Renee but then she didn't much care for DB and might have been missing some fine quality her Master saw in him. But she sincerely doubted it.
"You are on a leash just as much as I am."
"Fine, whatever. Why'd you call DB? He's a zero." She tried to make a point.
He dodged it all, "No, he's the rep for Kenyon as of two days ago. What, like you didn't get the memo?"
He needled her with an all-knowing smirk. She snarled.
"He's an accident waiting to happen. But you seem to be close to him. What'd you do -- a few jobs with him? Share a warm corpse or something?" The digs hit home.
He flushed and said, "Whatever."
Mocking her own word choice earlier he watched her flush.
"So now you and DB are best buddies?" She aimed lower by smiling with her fangs out.
"Hell, no. He's the vampire appointed rep for the wedding. I would think you would know this already. Why don't you head home to Kenyon and catch up? I'll meet up with DB and we'll track down our wayward couple in no time." He said.
"But will they be alive?" She countered.
"I don't know if Jessie is alive to start but Buddy is fine. If he was dead we'd know." Renee learned something new about werewolves. Like vampires, they were connected. Kenyon wasn't Jessie's Master and Renee wasn't connected vampirically to Jessie but her Master would have let Kenyon know if she'd been killed.
"Okay, you go play with your new buddy, DB. I have calls to make of my own," Renee strode for uncaring, but seeing the smirk still plastered across Marcus' lips, she was pretty sure it fell short of convincing.
The moon played through the living room window back-lighting Marcus as he started walking away when she remembered something -- or rather someone.
"You're leaving Carlos here?" Renee was shocked she'd forget her intended sleeping off his meal.
Laughing Marcus said, "No, that'd compromise my protection of him. There are more than one way to get past all your witchy traps and spells and I can't have him harmed before the ceremony." Renee wondered at his phrasing, was it okay then for her to have him killed afterwards? She tucked it away for future consideration. She'd make a hell of better widow than wife.
Marcus went to get Carlos while Renee considered her options. For all of her bravado, she did have to come when Kenyon whistled. Before all of the troubles, she wasn't as worried about her standing with Kenyon, but with DB sniffing around, some fears were pushing forward. Flipping open her own cell phone, she called Kenyon to confirm where he wanted her. At least that was what she told herself while gnawing at her bottom lip.
"Where are you?" was the first thing out of his mouth. That dropped between them and went down to her stomach.
"Just letting my unexpected guests get out of the house before heading over to Dark Whispers." She flat lined her voice and waited. She didn't have long to wait.
"Very good. Please hurry." And he hung up on her that was something unexpected -- the word hurry. Kenyon rarely watched the clock. He treated everything and everyone like the vampire world -- not pushed by time or the clock. For him to say hurry made her want a time out so she could figure what was happening to make Kenyon worry. Master vampires never lost control or worried in front of lesser vampires. That was a hard-core rule as long as she'd been a vampire.
Marcus had Carlos with him and Renee was surprised to see how ruffled the werewolf looked. Carlos' eyes were a bit wider and Marcus was clenching his jaw. It was as if Renee had missed something. That disturbed her on a few levels. What did they whisper about when she was talking with Kenyon? It'd only been a few words yet the two werewolves looked like they'd been fighting for hours.
Seeing the frown, Carlos stiffened his spine, "I am sorry to have been so rude to leave you. It has been an exhausting evening and we must go find out what's happened with Buddy."
It hit her.
Her cell rang in her hand, it was Kenyon, "Yes?"
"Jessie was just slain. Her Master called me immediately. Get here now. Bring the weres if they are still there." He hung up, not waiting for confirmation or argument. While she was listening to Kenyon, Marcus pulled out his cell phone and she overheard him being told by another werewolf to go with her to Dark Whispers.
"Well, I guess we are heading to the club." Renee wondered if they were as worried as she was.
"Might I suggest we drive you?" Carlos was being nice but there was something missing. Renee mentally stumbled over what was missing. Carlos was being polite, but not flirtatious in any manner. Glaring at Marcus, she figured out what else they'd talked about while coming back to the living room. Marcus told Carlos about her views on getting married. She hadn't realized how much easier it had been when Carlos was thinking she was infatuated with him. The distance stretched as she tried to formulate a reply.
"Do you think it's safe for us all to travel in the same car?" Her attempt at placating was ignored by Carlos, but Marcus replied.
"It doesn't matter anymore. With the death of our kin the rules are changed and nobody would be foolish enough to challenge us now. This may not be related to your upcoming union but it definitely is going to affect the supernatural communities of werewolves and vampires. To act against us now wouldn't be smart nor politically savvy." Marcus spoke assuredly and Renee nodded as if she cared.
All she could think was Jessie's true death wasn't going to go unanswered. There would be heads severed and lives lost before daybreak.
-- Lydia Manx