"Alrighty then, so movies and books have it all wrong and vampires can be photographed, I gather. Do I have this right, Angus?" I was well aware that I sounded pretty snotty but I was getting sick of being out of the loop while I was the human who was directly in the line of fire.
"Yes, Miss Esmeralda, that is exactly right," Angus sounded sincere, but his eyes glinted darkly of more unsaid bits and pieces.
That was what was really pissing me off, but I didn't think I had any ability to touch that huge mountain of a monster called Angus and make him talk to me and if I was being honest, with Uncle Harry by my side there wasn't a real need. I knew eventually he would tell me the important stuff. He'd already helped me more than anyone else.
"Okay, so what is it I am supposed to do?" Frustrated, I looked back and forth between Uncle Harry and Angus.
With a soft sigh Uncle Harry replied, "Trust us."
I sucked in a deep breath of my own at that statement because I didn't know what else to do. I had nobody, yet I had Uncle Harry it seemed. I nodded and tucked my hands beneath my tush so I wouldn't start gnawing on my thumb. That habit was going to be broken come hell or high water. But either way, I was nervous and somewhat excited by all the newness of my life.
Uncle Harry laughed and said, "Don't worry, Emma, you are safe here. You can't be touched."
That comforted me a little tiny bit but at the same time I wasn't as sure of the whole statement as they both seemed to be. I'd been stalked in my home by local news crews, called and haunted by some creepy creature named Paul Owens, in a car accident and after all that chaos I popped to over Uncle Harry's to escape the smashing metal and police reports that followed accidents -- even those that had seemed orchestrated and planned. Let's not forget that this was all in the past hour or so. It wasn't normal by anyone's standards. I hoped. I wished again that I had some sort of encyclopedia or even a handout telling me what was what in the supernatural world.
Breaking into my musing, the phone in Angus' hand trilled again and he pushed a button answering with a rough voice, "Hello."
I heard squawking on the other side and Angus laughed, handing the phone to Uncle Harry with, "It's for you."
"I heard. And since it's my phone, that's not too much of a shock," Uncle Harry drolly answered while he held his hand out for the receiver. After Angus handed over the phone he put the receiver to his ear saying softly, "Penny, slow down. You are in jail aren't you?" Even I had heard that when Angus was handing the call to Uncle Harry. Penny wasn't precisely soft spoken and her voice carried very well.
My face flushed as I worried that I'd caused her to be stuck in jail because I had her rental documents with me when I'd unexpectedly popped over to California from Florida. Uncle Harry caught my eye and shook a finger at me -- admonishing me to stop thinking -- I quickly understood. I reluctantly nodded back while trying to push my instincts to run down deep inside. I knew I was safe for the moment at Uncle Harry's but still had this fluttering feeling in my tummy. He held the receiver a bit away from his ear and I could hear her clearly as she spoke loudly saying, "Fuck the damned rental papers. I'm in here because that fucking jackass Paul Owens is some sort of bigwig around here and he claimed that I stole a valuable art piece from his house. The fuckwit has this cult-like following -- from what I've heard from the cops who arrested me. It is like he walks on water and is the best friend of everyone he meets. Let's not forget that he swore out a formal fucking complaint saying he'd slept with me and afterwards he was missing some art piece the next morning. Naturally I must have stolen it and the cops popped me in this hole to get me to confess to the theft. Fucking shitheads."
Her anger was coming in loud and clear. Her language wasn't exactly PG but then she was in jail. I didn't need to see her to know she was probably jittering with energy and steamy hatred. I pitied anyone who'd have to share space with her. I wasn't sure what kind of creature she was, but pissed-off couldn't be a good combination with supernatural and confined, closed spaces.
Uncle Harry interrupted, "Do you need bail money?"
She screamed at him, "No, I need to be the fuck out of here without a fucking police record. Like I would sleep with that fey piece of trash? Who the hell is that ass to say such crap about me?"
Penny wasn't calming down in the least from what I was overhearing. That she'd supposedly slept with Paul Owens really pissed her off more than being in jail. That she was yelling fey would hopefully be misconstrued as something normal and derogatory not magical in nature.
Angus was grinning wildly and nearly doubled over trying not to burst out laughing. If Penny was here I wondered if she'd kick his ass and if he'd be able to hold his own. There was something really scary about Penny, even compared to Angus' size. I knew that she had a skill set beyond research and forgery. Uncle Harry waved a hand at Angus in a really dismissive manner that nearly had me chuckling but I cautiously bit my lip and waited. Angus ignored the gesture and leaned to the side of the doorframe, nearly filling the doorway with his body and his arms crossed with flexing muscles. Looking at his head nearly touching the top of the doorway I was reminded again how huge he was. Uncle Harry's home was built to a larger scale than most homes, but still Angus was larger than life. As if he was catching my thoughts, he winked at me and it didn't make me feel better, but I smiled back, probably really weakly from his slight smirk.
It wasn't long before Penny said, "Harry, this sucks. Get me a real lawyer. A damned good one at that."
He laughed and said, "Consider it done. Give the information to Angus and he'll spring you and we'll take care of Paul Owens."
With that he gestured to Angus to approach and he handed the receiver back to the large man and looked at me with concern etched on his face.
"None of this is your fault." He'd read my mind or my face. I knew logically that it wasn't my fault but still I felt responsible.
"Sure." I know that I sounded sullen but I felt worse because quite honestly, I knew that she wouldn't have been put in that mess if she'd still had the rental documents after the car accident. The police at the accident had taken her lack of paperwork as an excuse to dig deeper and it seemed like Paul Owens knew it. Made me wonder how accidental the car wreck was.
Angus had walked out of the room and was busy grunting at whatever Penny was screeching into his ear just outside the doorway in the hall. It nearly caused me to pity the man but then I figured he could take it.
"Emma, listen to me. This is not your fault. Granted Owens was aiming for you, but he already had a backup plan for whoever got in his way. Fey tend to think the long game, remember? He had the 'lost art' ploy set up for anyone who came to rescue you and the cop in place to bury the report and insert name as needed." Uncle Harry looked right into my eyes and waited.
Growling I said, "This sucks. I mean really, Uncle Harry? I did nothing wrong and all this keeps happening."
He grinned and said, "Not to worry. Penny will be fine and I might add she'll be paid an obnoxious amount of money to forget the whole thing. She won't have a record once the lawyers are done. Besides, now Angus has a lovely dinner table conversation for the next decade or two that he'll enjoy sharing."
Reluctantly I smiled at the idea of Angus at some formal dinner party sharing his story about rescuing Penny from jail. The image of him in an expensive tuxedo didn't ring true, but his laughing loudly over port and sharing the information with his buddies and possibly her friends certainly was easily visualized.
I smiled a bit wider at the image and Uncle Harry chuckled.
"See I knew you'd see what I meant. Now we need to figure out why Owens wants you so badly." His face took a decidedly downward turn as he said, "It has to be because of your true nature, and that he was so conveniently in your area meant he was on alert for your coming into your own." His gaze caught mine and then he said softly, "And he may have been behind your parents death."
Somehow I wasn't overly stunned to hear that. There was something about Owens that made it quite easy to imagine. I wanted him dead but doubted sincerely that he'd oblige me and fall over at my mere heated wishes. Uncle Harry caught my stray thought and said, "Emma, don't worry, he will be dealt with in good time. His manipulation of Penny, along with the possibility that he caused your parents' death means he's crossed lines that allows others within our world to retaliate. And trust me, I plan on retaliating the first chance I get."
Grinning widely now, I said, "Thanks, Uncle Harry."
Angus wandered back in the room saying, "She's a pistol, Harry. Can I have her?"
Laughing loudly, Uncle Harry said, "I don't think she's your type."
"Warm-blooded and feisty? Hell, Harry, that's my type." He chuckled and looked at me flashing me a huge wink.
I shuddered thinking of Penny and Angus as a couple. Oil and water maybe, but more like fire and rock. They definitely would fly sparks off each other I knew, even without much personal experience with dating. They both were strong-willed and very much in charge. I didn't see them cuddling on the couch watching a movie. More likely they'd fight over which one of them would get to beat someone up. They both had struck me as competitive and fiercely loyal. But maybe I was wrong and they'd end up married with little creatures like them. Whatever they both were. Looking at Uncle Harry, I pondered on if there was a guidebook for the supernatural somewhere around I could borrow.
Uncle Harry caught my eye and ruefully shook his head, "Angus, let's get her safe and sound, then you can try to woo her."
I mumbled, "Or stalk her."
Uncle Harry had good hearing and he laughed saying, "Yes, Emma, that's definitely in Angus's nature."
Angus' hearing must have been equally as good because he blushed and said, "Never mind. I'll go fix it." And just as quickly as he could appear, he disappeared down the hallway with the phone.
Uncle Harry sighed, "Well, at least life's not going to be boring with you around, my dear."
Shrugging I said, "Okay. So now what do I do?"
"You? Nothing. At this point Angus and I will take care of a few details and you will relax and try to get yourself settled. Consider this your home away from home." He smiled welcomingly at me and handed me another piece of paper.
This page wasn't one from the sheaf of pages with the felons and weird folks that had lived by me, but one from his bed. It rocked me to my core. This wasn't what I'd expected.