We slowly got up from our patio table and headed inside to go out the front entrance. I actually was far more relaxed than I should be, but still I would need to play with Caleb's memories later this evening. I hated doing magic power words in front of humans or vampires. But Harry'd known my secret from long ago. So, had he not wanted me alive, all he'd have had to do is whisper that I was not only a vampire without a Master, but I was also a witch. If anything was ever told to the Vampire Council about vampires having witch blood I well knew that there'd be a personal enforcer sent to immediately rectify such a situation promptly. No ugly trial or silly coverage by the press to weigh in on the action to be taken, just my head separated from my body, my bones burned, and then the earth would be thoroughly salted along with some other arcane anti-witch mayhem.
Okay, so I wasn't exactly what most humans thought of as a witch, but I knew that I definitely had enough skills, talents and power words to be immediately executed by Council enforcers if I was discovered. My original family bloodline was full of witches who'd been literally burned and buried by fire and time. Never had a whisper of my Dark Secret been recorded. My family -- the humans I'd been born into before my Master found me -- had died off over two hundred year ago. As it's well known, Christians did not suffer a witch to live any better than the vampires. Harry obviously had kept my secret.
As we neared the entrance of the building a lady jumped up from her seat at the bar and careened hard into a man who'd been standing right behind her holding a full drink he'd just collected from the busy bartender. My brain sputtered at the idea that I was going to be wearing another drink down my leg in less than twenty-four hours. To my surprise the man deftly spun away from the ignorant woman while slurping rapidly from his drink keeping it from leaving the glass and going anywhere but into him. He walked a good foot away shaking his head obviously ignoring the lady and her reckless action. Harry flashed me a quick grin.
"Nice move. Bethany, I like how that man did a great job of rescuing his drink," Harry said into my ear softly.
Grinning I countered, "Years of college drinking parties and overcrowded bars. I heard the man's thoughts clearly." Smiling I added, "Also at the price of the drinks here he doesn't want to waste a drop." Harry chuckled softly in agreement.
It was apparent to me the woman had been clueless that she'd body slammed another patron. From her looks, she wasn't used to thinking of casual strangers, and how her needs were put ahead of everyone -- as she thought was her due from her own overblown sense of inflated self-worth. Whipping her cell phone to her face while stomping right in front of Harry and I as we were heading for the exit, she was utterly oblivious to us.
It was then I smelled her.
Women have used crushed flowers and various plants and herbs for centuries to mask their own personal scent, thinking that they could attract better mates. Over the years, the fragrances and aromas have thankfully been considered a form of urban warfare, and offices have banned employees from drowning themselves in fake quite obnoxious scents. Night clubs and bars soon found patrons wearing less aftershaves and colognes as social shaming was widely used to dictate humans' behaviors better than any laws. It was wonderful. Sadly, the lady who was now rudely chattering loudly on her cell phone hadn't got the memo. Her heavy use of some cheap, over-processed perfume was assaulting my nose. From Harry's startled eyes I could see that he'd just got a whiff of the fairly rancid human.
My eyes were actually watering as I consciously tried to fake breathing while giving the lady as much room as possible in the crowded restaurant. Naturally my luck was not that good. I could easily see that the doorway was a bottleneck of humans trying to get seated as patrons were trying to leave and get their cars back from one of the two or three valets out in front of the stand. The beach was crowded pretty much all hours and the valets were the best way of getting in and out of restaurants. I had figured that I was calling an Uber when Harry said, "Bethany, I have a car." He produced a valet ticket as we stood frozen surrounded by beautiful people all trying to keep us fixed in place.
The lady's stench was starting to make my head pound despite my not having to actually breathe very much. I would take in just enough oxygen to appear to be a human. Sadly, her cell call was not quiet. No, she was a very loud woman.
"Karen, I told you to meet me at the Poseidon over an hour ago. Do you not want this job?" Her voice was pitched sharp and full on bitchy.
"I certainly don't care," she cut off the unseen woman, "You said you wanted this job. Never mind." With that she tapped the call off, abruptly hanging up on whomever wasn't here.
I let out a slight sigh of relief. I just wanted to get the hell outside and away from all these drama filled humans. They were all tuned way too tight for my comfort. They definitely brought out my predator instincts. Not just the massive amounts of plastic surgery they all seemed to be addicted to -- more eye lifts, cheek implants, face lifts, tummy tucks and Botox than a daytime soap opera cast. These "beautiful people" were nearly toxic from all the crap they had implanted and injected into their bodies. I had celebrated the call ending too soon.
While she was still blocking our exit and the befuddled little hostess trying to step around the women in the area between the entrance way and the restaurant, she pushed a few buttons on her phone. I am fairly certain my mouth gaped open as I watched her self-centered behavior. We were still inside the restaurant with the pungent woman fully centered between us and the beautiful beyond of the great outdoors where I could see the handsome valets collecting and giving out keys and tickets. The hostess had three people frozen behind her unable to move past the woman's bulk.
"Wendy, hey, it's Violet here. I was just blown off by that bitch Karen. She was supposed to meet me over an hour ago at the Poseidon's bar. Get this, she said she couldn't come because her piece of shit son got slaughtered in some scuzzy downtown park that druggies and child molesters frequent." I almost gave myself a forehead slap at Fate's nasty little twists of karma. Harry's eyes flew to mine, and they were dancing with glee, I swear. I quickly gave his forearm a quick, hard pinch -- much like a kid does when being a total brat to a sibling.
The bottleneck was growing as the overloud woman was dramatically shaking her glued-in hair extensions. The fake locks fell halfway down her back in an impossibly dark shade of black usually loved by eighteen-year-olds who were wanna-be goth posers. Her phone was grasped in a gem filled fist while she was swinging her hair around, hitting the hostess' face and the large menus in her hands.
"Excuse us," the hostess forcibly pushed by the woman now using those same menus as a battering ram while cheerfully holding her other hand up flicking her slender fingers at the three people, she was valiantly trying to still get seated.
Violet's face took on a hue that was nearly in the same color spectrum as her name, a vein visibly pulsing an invitation. Harry gave a sigh of his own and took active charge of the growing scene. With lightning fast fingers, he snagged Violet's phone from her hand while shutting off the call sight unseen. Using his mesmerizing voice -- not quite the same as a command voice he'd used on Caleb less than a half hour ago -- he herded the purple woman outside saying, "Violet, you've had such a terrible evening. Allow me to assist you." His handsome looks and quick defusing of the volatile woman didn't go unnoticed, but his slight nod to me meant that he expected me to assist.
Pulling from my own reserve of arcane juice, I lightly brushed as many humans as possible softly and quickly before casting aloud, "How disturbing. Too many angry people. Let's forget this drama and enjoy the beach."
My aside seemed to be for Harry but it was actually an incantation. I kept pushing out the wave of energy through the crowd and felt everyone relax and their tensions flow out. Anyone who'd pulled a cell phone out to record the scene were distracted by another whisper, "Nothing to see here. Erase this waste of time." And like that we were able to escort Violet outside without any recordings of our 'assistance' to go viral.
Now we had a different concern. Harry gave his valet ticket to one of the runners with a folded bill while still holding Violet to him. I touched her arm softly skin to skin and asked, "Did you drive here tonight?"
She mumbled, "Hell, no. I don't need another DUI. I swear those fuckers wait for me." Yeah, Harry had her pretty well open to any suggestions or questions. Looking over to Harry I quirked an eyebrow asking his opinion. I knew where I voted but it was his call.
Harry nodded and said, "Violet, let us give you a ride home."
Slurring her words slightly she said, "Sure, damn, you are fucking hot."
It was my turn to grin and try to not to suck in any air around the woman.
So I totally knew cameras were watching our every move inside and outside the restaurant -- not to mention all the egocentric people just outside my physical touch who were doing running dialogue to their cell phone cameras as well as live broadcasting to their assorted "fans-for-likes" crowd who all were supposedly glued to every little action of these self-involved 'influencers.' Being conscious of it didn't thrill Harry or me. He shrugged and mentally pushed into my thoughts, "Go ahead, just do it." Smack dab into the middle of my brain I felt that little bit of advice. Happy to be given his approval struck me as a dangerous path for me to tread, but one I wasn't sauntering down, but running full steam ahead without over thinking the mess I was skirting.
I ducked my head slightly down so my eyes weren't visible live or electronically -- all of Harry's sleight of hand tricks couldn't always hide my talents. The pulling energy would definitely be noticed, so I yanked on the power available from the ocean and the closest fault lines deliberately triggering a massive rolling of the earth. Yup -- little witch-vamp tricks not approved -- I was causing an earthquake or two while casting an incredibly special spell designed to fry electronics and cameras in a given area of my choice.
People came quickly outside as the succession of a few small quakes rock 'n rolled the land beneath all of us, as earthquakes are prone to do. I noticed that a number of them hadn't neglected to take their drinks with them in their dash for the doors. A few people were excitedly squealing while many adopted the bored attitudes of the unfazed locals -- at least to all outward appearances. As a vampire I was dining on the panicking rolling fear coming off every single human present. "Seen It -- Done It" expressions aside, they all were scared to their very marrow with the fear that this was finally "The Big One" that was predicted to rip the beaches from the mainland mass of California to flounder horrifically into the Pacific Ocean. Their fears were actively feeding me and my spell. It totaled every live feed, camera and any sort of electronic device in a solid five-mile circle. I had been smart enough before I spun out the power surge to automatically circle me and mine inside safely along with Harry's car that thankfully had just arrived.