Thursday, March 21, 2019
At Andres' mansion, it's obvious that something is wrong. Phillida is out of sorts and on the warpath.
The woman smiled at Drea, holding out her hand. "We've already met, Andy," she said with a laugh. "You don't recognize me, do you? It's me, Carley Sampson. Jay's daughter."
"Oh, my God!" Drea gasped, her hand springing to her throat. Perhaps it was a tad melodramatic, but she couldn't stop herself. "What are you doing here? How on Earth?" She couldn't put together a coherent sentence.
Patting her hand on his arm, Kirk took up the thread of conversation. "Carley, we hardly thought to see you here. We had no idea that you and Andres were acquainted."
"We met recently," she said, smiling happily at him. "At a party that the modeling agency gave. I didn't know it, but I've been working for him over two years. And we never met!"
Drea's eyes narrowed. Andres never went to any of the agency parties and rarely admitted he owned half interest in it. In fact, it was rather a well kept secret that he often contributed designs to their shows. All under aliases of course, and very hush-hush.
"Really? How amazing that you met like that," she said, giving her sire a pointed look.
"I'm surprised to see you here," Margo said. "Given the circumstances."
"Oh, you mean Phillida? Well, she's been very upset...."
Margo frowned, casting a confused look at Drea and Kirk. "No. I meant in light of your father's death...."
"Haven't you heard? Didn't the police call you?"
"I've been here with Andres for the last week."
Kirk took her hand, drawing her away from Andres. Though his wife knew her better, it seemed natural that he be the one to give her comfort. Drea stood by Andres, placing her hand on his arm. With a look of alarm, he gazed into her eyes. They had known one another long enough, nearly 500 years, that they didn't need to speak to understand.
Carley burst into tears, throwing her arms around Kirk's neck, burying her face in his shoulder. Unable to keep away, Andres went to her, taking her gently in his embrace. That one, small gesture told Drea that this was no mere infatuation on his part. He truly cared for Carley. There was no doubt in Drea's mind that her sire was falling in love.
Andres held Carley as she wept. His eyes heavy with pain. Having been a soldier in many lives past, he had seen more death, causing much of it, than the rest of them combined. But this beautiful child hadn't the experience of a 914 year old vampire lord. Though he was quite jaded in many ways, callous in others, he had always been sensitive to the emotional pain of the women he loved. Drea knew this, for at one time he had loved her. They had grown apart since she met Kirk, and were dear friends, much like father and daughter. But there would always be a place in her heart that only Andres could fill. He might be an evil, blood sucking fiend, but he was her dark lord and always would be.
Because of that, or perhaps in spite of it, she approached Carley and Andres, putting an arm around each, speaking quietly. Kirk took Margo aside to the refreshment table. He was pleased to see that Andres' chef had either learned to cook or been replaced since their last visit.
"The food might actually be palatable now," he commented dryly as he picked up one of the hors d'oeuvres.
Margo sniffed a petitfour dubiously. It merited a taste. "Not bad. If I didn't know better, I'd swear we'd made these. They're delicious."
Kirk grinned, nodding. "I know this work."
He headed toward the kitchen with Margo trailing behind.
"Where are you going?"
"To say hello to an old friend."
He noticed that Rolf stayed with Drea, but Theo followed him. They entered the kitchen and heard a familiar voice bellowing loudly.
"You stupid little twits! What've I got to do, stand on my ruddy head to get you to do this proper? Oi, mate! No! You can't take that tray out like that. Look at this mess. It's bloody awful." He continued in that vein for several seconds before realizing he had an audience.
"What're you doing my my kitchen?" He demanded, before he recognized them. "Kirk? Margo? Damn me, if it's not two of my favorite cooks of all time. When're you gonna come work for me, love?" He asked Margo after kissing her lavishly. "Surely he ain't paying you enough to put up with him?"
"Her put up with me?" Kirk looked offended, but shook the huge, red haired man's beefy hand. "More my putting up with her."
"She still has those temper tantrums?" He nearly broke Kirk's fingers when he took his hand.
"But of course, I am French! I would never expect a mere Englishman to understand." She tossed her head grandly.
"Good to see you, Silas," Kirk clapped the bigger man on the shoulder. "I'm glad to see that Andres finally got himself a more than adequate chef."
"Trained with the best," he said with a grin.
"Why, thank you, Silas."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
The vampires make plans to go to the vampire council. Tommy wants to come, but Margo and the others are adamant.
Drea made a trip to the cleaners just before it closed. She brought back a magnificent suit for Kirk and a fine evening dress for herself.
"I forgot these were there," she said with a contented sigh. "At least the buggers didn't get them when they trashed our apartment."
"We'll meet you at your place at nine," Kirk told Margo. "And Tommy?"
"I know, chef. I'm not coming. I promised."
"No being the curious, stupid, heroic type, right?"
"I promised that too, chef."
"You're a good kid, Tom. For your own protection, you can't be anywhere around."
"I told Margo I wouldn't come," he said emphatically. "How bad can they be, though? You three are the best people I know."
"They aren't like us there," Drea said, her eyes wide. "There are factions who hold to the old ways and those who hold with the new. We are of the new breed. Sometimes even we aren't welcome. If they think that our involvement in Jay's death has put the rest at risk, they will shun us, cast us aside without a thought. We risk everything by being day dwellers, striving for normal lives. Phillida and her followers would cut us loose without a thought, but they don't dare."
"Because my sire is our leader," Drea said.
"He's the one who turned you?"
She nodded, not wanting to look at him. It wasn't something she was particularly proud of. One of the most bloodthirsty vampires of all time, Andres Cavedo, was her sire. He and Phillida were among the first and oldest in the country. He was the leader, but she sat at the head of the Council. Phillida could not abide Drea, but unless she wanted to risk the wrath of her lover, she did her no harm. Since he was probably among the few who could, or even would, dare to give her the true death, she obeyed his rules.
"He's a cold, heartless bastard," Drea said quietly. "But for some reason, he cares about me. He has done much to protect us over the years because of it. However, I do not willingly cross him. Andres has his limits and he is not a patient man."
"But it's Phillida you're going to see?"
"She is head of the Council. Andres is their ruler, but even he must follow the laws, many of which he put in place. The Council is like the British Parliament. They make and pass laws, but Andres has final say in most things."
"Is he an old vamp or a new one?"
"Andres is rather more progressive than some of the others. It is his innovation that came up with the artificial blood. He also developed the sunscreen and the medicine we take. He's an absolutely brilliant scientist."
"But not a nice guy," Tommy concluded.
"No. I'd say that nice guy was about as far as you could get from his true personality. I think the words evil, blood sucking fiend would describe him better," Kirk answered.
"I'm decidedly staying home," Tommy said with finality. "And I may never leave the house again," he added. "You've just added greatly to my paranoia," he told them.
"He knows nothing about you, Tommy," Margo tried to make him feel better. "He will leave you alone. Don't worry." But she didn't feel very sure of herself.
Margo came by as planned and the three vampires went to Andres' mansion together. If it was possible for a vampire to feel butterflies in her stomach, Drea had them. Clutching Kirk's hand, she walked up to the front door with Margo close behind. The door opened before they got to the front porch. Inside, twin male vamps bowed deeply to Drea, less so to Kirk and Margo. They had been pets of Phillida's before she turned them twenty something years ago. Handsome, buff, sexy, they were no less wicked and nasty tempered than she. Drea hated having them behind her, but could do little about it.
They were joined in the foyer by friends of theirs. These men provided security for Andres, though they had also accompanied Drea in her early years. Both of them were more loyal to her than to their master and sire, but neither of them advertised it. Drea didn't feel as worried about the twins with Theo and Rolf at her back.
"He is in a good mood," Rolf murmured as he hugged her. "She is not."
"Lovely," Drea whispered. "It's her I need to speak to."
"Not tonight," Theo said, shaking his head a tiny bit. "Been a bad week, with one thing and another."
"What's wrong?" Margo asked softly.
Theo started to tell her, but was interrupted by Andres' entrance. More specifically, Andres and his entourage. He never went anywhere without at least six others, mostly female. Drea noticed that Phillida was not among them.
"Drea, my dear!" He called from the stairway across the huge expanse of foyer. "To what do I owe this unexpected visit?"
He greeted the three of them effusively, hugs and kisses, compliments and smiles. Of course, they had to greet each of his entourage as well. Drea knew most of them, some she even liked. He had adorned himself with the four most beautiful women in the coven and the two least attractive men. One of the women, the one on his right arm, was unknown to Drea. She had too much color in her cheeks to be a vampire. Drea assumed, rightly, that this was his new pet. Now she began to see why Phillida would be in a snit. This young woman was far more lovely than she had ever been.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, March 14, 2019
The police officers have left, and the caterers talk a little bit about their lives before being turned.
"We have to tell the Council," Kirk said quietly. "Phillida has to know."
"You're right," Drea said. "We'll go tonight."
"I'll come too," Margo said. "Phillida always liked me better than you."
"Can I come?" Tommy asked innocently.
"No!" Margo said rather more loudly than intended. "No, my sweet darling. Phillida isn't like the rest of us. She refuses to take the medicine. She feeds from artificial blood, mostly. But sometimes, if the blood lust is strong, she takes—brutally—efficiently. I would not lose you to one such as she. For you are my own, my heart." She stroked his cheek gently. "For your safety, you'll stay home."
Tommy's kiss was as ardent as it was innocent. "As you wish, my love."
"In the meantime," Drea said, wiping her eyes. "We have work to do." She and Margo walked into the kitchen, discussing the jobs of the day.
"That we do," Kirk said absently. He took out his cellphone.
"Who you calling, boss?" Tommy asked.
"Jay's daughter. Maybe she can shed some light on why her father was murdered. If not, I intend to find out. If he was killed because of us, I want to be the instrument of that justice."
"Should you really get involved? I mean, if it's because of you, don't you think you will just make things worse?"
"I don't know, Tom. But one thing I've learned, sometimes a man has to make things worse before he can make them better."
Tommy shrugged, spreading his hands. "What do I know? Maybe you're right. I don't want to see anyone else hurt, that's all."
"Me either." He dialed his phone, waiting for an answer. "That's the last thing that I want." He waited a moment for someone to answer, then walked a few paces away from Tommy.
The young man headed to the kitchen after the women, knowing that Kirk wanted to be alone. He had no idea what Kirk was going to do or say, but hoped it helped. He couldn't bear the idea of losing Margo. In the short time he'd known her, he had come to love and admire her more than he had ever thought possible. In fact, he was closer to this diverse trio than he was to his own family.
"What do you need me to do?" He put his arms around the shoulders of the women, smiling broadly.
"For now, stand there looking handsome," Margo told him. "Then you can start prep for the ratatouille."
"Gee, thanks," he said with a smirk.
"You're so welcome. Now, Drea, about tonight's visit. What do you plan to wear?"
They walked into the cooler, leaving Tommy alone in the kitchen. He knew better than to get involved, but he was curious. What would the vampire mansion be like? Would it be like the movies, where they lounged around feeding off enslaved humans? Or were their pets more like he was, willing participants? Were they normal looking? Did they flaunt their fangs? Would he recognize one if he saw one in public? Would they recognize him as the partner of a vamp? Was there some sort of sign? A signal? With these questions and more whizzing around in his brain as he worked, he nearly cut his own fingers off several times.
The women came back out a few minutes later, each holding ingredients they would need for their various dishes. Tommy tried to ignore them, but they were still talking about their visit to the mansion.
"Are you sure you don't want me to come?"
"No," they answered in chorus.
He tried asking several more questions, but they refused to answer. Eventually, he stopped asking. As the day wore on, he had another thought. He could always follow Margo there. After all, how bad could the other vamps be? Margo, Kirk and Drea were like him, only stronger, smarter and healthier than anyone else he knew. He could follow and stay hidden, never been seen, and have all his questions answered.
He started humming, whistling, then singing a ridiculous song by Tunng. Although he had a good voice, the song he chose was particularly irritating. "We're catching bullets in our teeth...."
Margo swaggered up to him, carrying a butcher knife casually in one hand. "Don't," she said, laying his hand on the cutting board. "Even think about it. Do I make myself very, very clear?" Placing her hand over his, she stabbed the board between their thumbs and forefingers, nicking his skin while splitting hers. She lifted their bleeding hands to her lips, sucking gently on his. She held her own hand up, showing him how the cut healed before she licked the blood off her thumb.
"Stay away, Tommy. I mean it. If anything happened to you.... Stay away. Promise me." Her eyes held more emotion than he had ever seen. Even when she had her kitchen meltdowns, she didn't exhibit this much pain.
"I promise," he whispered.
"Thank you. Now be a good boy and prep that eggplant, would you? Ratatouille for two hundred doesn't make itself."
"Yes, chef," he replied, swallowing hard.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
The police pay another visit, this time in reference to the creepy visitor.
"Oh?" Drea and Kirk exchanged a look, both wondering if it was anyone they knew.
"I did some checking," Eddie Scott said. "Did you know that your buddy's death wasn't the only weird thing that happened at the fish market?"
"Really?" Kirk couldn't help asking, leaning toward the police officer. "What else?"
"Well, the entire crew quit a few days ago. They were having odd things come up missing, then they were being haunted."
"At a fish market." Kirk couldn't believe it.
"Yeah, strange howling, odd noises, people seeing things. Your pal Jay didn't mention this to you?"
"No," Drea said with a frown. "He never mentioned a thing."
"I heard that weird noise like someone pulling a knife behind me," Kirk said. "Anyone experience that?"
"Matter of fact, the first guy who quit. He kept hearing that sound behind him, even when he was alone. Then he felt a blade at his throat, but there wasn't anyone there. There was no blade there either," Eddie added. "Just the sound and the feeling."
"The brain can make things seem very real," Kirk said. "Like phantom pain from a severed limb."
"Oh, I know," Eddie said. "We kind of pooed that idea, but more than one person heard the blade behind them. And they hadn't talked about it to each other, which made it more credible."
"So the guy quit over that?"
"That was the last straw," Sandra said. "There had been other things, break ins, robberies.... Believe it or not, yours is not the only business persecuted like this. The rental place down the way, the florist, even Betsy's Cleaning Service."
All businesses that the caterers used. Drea and Kirk exchanged a look. The two police officers didn't miss it.
"What?" Sandra sat forward, concerned look on her face.
"It's just," Drea paused, wringing her hands. "We know all those people. We do business on a regular basis with them. I have more face to face with them than Kirk, but we know them."
"Do you think we're the common factor?" Kirk asked. "I mean, that could be coincidence."
"How often is the florist going to need fish?" Drea snapped. "Of course it's us! And after that creepy man was in here earlier, how can you say it's not?"
"What creepy man?" The police officers chorused.
Drea told them. She left out her suspicions about his reasons Let them make their own conclusions. In the meantime, they had an investigation to conduct and the caterers a business to run.
"He sounds like a real loose screw," Sandra said. "What could he possibly want?"
"There's no telling. It was like he was speaking some kind of bizarre code. I told him to go away and left the room."
"If he comes back, be sure to call me," Sandra said.
"Thank you. It would make me feel better knowing that someone believes me."
"With all the strange things going on, I'd love to find a quick fix," Sandra said. "But I don't expect to be handed to me. If you're right, if you two are in the middle of this thing—why?"
"Beats the hell outta me," Kirk shrugged. "Honey?"
"No idea," Drea said. "I can't imagine why anyone would be after a couple simple caterers like us. We're harmless."
"Completely," Kirk agreed.
"Well, if you think of anything else, you'll call?" Eddie asked.
"Absolutely. Thank you so much for coming by," Kirk said.
"Come by when you're ready to talk menus," Drea said with a smile for Sandra. "Who's the lucky fellow?"
Sandra's eyes flickered over to Eddie. "I'd tell you, but I outrank him." She winked at them and they left together.
Drea managed to keep her calm resolve for a moment after the police officers drove away, then it crumbled to nothing.
"Why is someone doing this to us? What have we done to deserve this?"
"Nothing, love. It's not for what we've done, but for what we are."
"We're people. Just like anyone else," she said with a sniffle.
"No, we're not, boss," Margo said as she walked out of the kitchen. "Except for Tommy, none of us is normal."
"I thought that for once we'd managed to find our niche," Drea said, wiping her eyes. "I thought that for once we'd shown the world we aren't dangerous."
"Darling, there will always be those who hunt us simply because we're different."
"But we don't hurt anyone! With all the modern advances, we don't even need to feed on humans unless it's consensual. With our medicine, we can control the blood lust. It's simply not fair!"
"Life isn't fair, Drea," Margo said with a tone of concern. "You, of all of us, should know that the best. Your life was taken from you long ago, snatched away by a monster. The rest of us, we agreed. You didn't turn Kirk against his will, nor me either. It was what we wanted. I would have died without you. The disease that was eating away at my body, my soul, was cured when you turned me. You and Kirk can be together forever. And if Tommy ever decides this is the existence he wants, then I'll turn him too. But only if he wants it. In the meantime, we have one another."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, March 07, 2019
Drea has had a creepy visitor, which really upsets her. Kirk tries to calm her down.
"What if he was a Hunter?" Her question cut through the calm he tried to create.
"What if he was a Hunter?" Her question cut through the calm he tried to create.
"Then we deal with him on his own terms. The way we always do." His lips continued to caress her hands.
Drea shivered, a tingle running up her spine.
"What if he won't take a bribe?"
"The choice is then simple—turn or die."
"He could kill us, Kirk."
"We are not without skills and resources, my love. The Council...."
"The Council will throw us to the dogs. Look what happened to Jasmine!"
"She was careless," he replied gently. "Sloppy. We would have dispatched her ourselves, had it not happened."
"How can you be such a heartless bastard?" She asked, jerking her hand away. "Jasmine was our friend!"
"Perhaps, but she put us all at risk. She was too outrageous and obvious. Showing your fangs in public, even as a Halloween costume, is bound to attract the wrong kind of attention. Then taking up with that group of depressed teenagers. What was she thinking?"
"She was lonely." Her fingers touched his cheek, brushing his hair gently. "Just as I was—until I met you. Turning you was the best idea I ever had."
"You did it for the sex," he said, taking her wrist to his lips.
"At first, but then I fell in love with you. I have loved you for so long now."
"Four hundred years," he said, nuzzling her palm.
"Four hundred and one."
"Together, yes," he said, nibbling the base of her thumb. "But married four hundred. And you look as beautiful now as you did that first day. So young, vibrant...."
"Even so...." His eyes turned dark, stormy as he continued to caress her arm.
With a flick of his head, his mouth opened wide, clamping down on her wrist. His teeth sank into her arm. Drea gave out a shuddering sigh, a shiver of pleasure running up her spine as he fed. Not to be left out, she took his arm, doing the same. Soon, their lips met, their blood mingling between them.
There was a tapping on the door.
"Chef?" It was Margo. "Are you busy?"
"Moderately," he said, his voice low and husky.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly. "But put 'em back in, the police are here."
"Shit!" He hissed. "We'll be right out."
"Let them taste the new hors d'oeuvres you're experimenting with," Drea said, wiping blood from Kirk's lips with a damp towel.
He did the same for her, checking their wrists and sleeves for any traces of their encounter. The scars were gone, no telltale blood on skin or sleeve. Fixing her hair, Drea took the lead. Kirk shifted his chef's uniform around his lean, muscular frame.
Officer Scott and a female police officer they had never met, were waiting in the front. Margo was feeding them the new pastries she was working on. Each of them had a glass of sparkling water at hand.
"These are delicious!" the female officer said excitedly. "I'd love the recipe."
Margo giggled, taking up the tray. "Thank you for the compliment, but I don't have one. I toss in whatever seems like it would be good. I don't measure."
"Oh, then you have to make these for my wedding reception," the woman said. "I'm getting married in two months."
Margo grinned, batting her eyelashes. "Talk to the boss!" She waved to them, taking her tray with her to the back.
"May I introduce Detective Sandra Perelman?" Officer Scott said proudly. "She's in charge of your case."
"Our own detective? Why are you in uniform?"
The young woman shrugged, shaking their hands. "I just got promoted. Until today, I was a beat cop, Eddie's partner."
Officer Scott wiggled his fingers. "I'm Eddie."
"I just found out I passed, so Ed's telling everyone I'm a detective, though it's not official until tomorrow."
"But your assignment on the case is?"
"Yes, it's genuine. Eddie's taking me around, filling me in on details, introducing me to everyone."
"Oh, I see," Kirk said, not sure he did at all.
"I apologize for not calling in advance. We were in the neighborhood and decided to drop by. Some pretty crazy stuff has been happening in this part of town lately."
"Be fair," Sandra interrupted. "Not just this part of town. Actually, all over town. We've had a string of weird, unrelated crimes. Or they seem to be on the surface. But the same names keep cropping up."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, February 28, 2019
The next morning, Drea opened the shop as usual. The front was being cleaned, but the side and back entrances were already spotless. Kirk and the staff were in the kitchen when the shop door swung open, a brass bell tinkling cheerfully. Drea smiled as she spun around to greet the newcomer. The smile pasted itself on her features when she saw the man. Not their typical customer, he was medium height, burly, tattooed, muscular and powerfully built. His sandy hair was close cropped, his eyes steely in his swarthy face. Even in a three piece suit, he didn't look normal.
Drea tossed her pale blond hair out of her face. "Hi, I'm Drea. Won't you come in?" She extended her hand.
He eyed her with disgust, not taking it. "I wish to book a party for the night of the full moon."
Drea blinked. Was this some sort of bizarre code?
Taking out her appointment book, she waited for him to expand on the topic. He didn't.
"You'll have to be more precise, sir. What date exactly?"
He glared at her. "I need a very special menu that I was told you could provide."
"Barr Nunne can handle even the most complicated...." Her voice trailed off when he glared at her.
Pen poised over her notepad, she waited expectantly. The smile was gone, frosted over with impatience. This fellow was some whack job who had wandered in off the street to test their reputation. He might be a competitor, but he had more the look of a soldier or policeman than a chef.
"What would you like to serve?:
"Blood sausage," he said, a hard edged glint in his eyes. He stared at her pointedly, looking for her reaction.
"There aren't many people who like that around here," she explained. "It's rather esoteric."
"Your chef can make it?"
"Of course, though it is something we generally would import. It's quite time consuming."
"I want it to be fresh," he demanded. "Fresh—blood." He elongated the words, pausing for dramatic effect, staring even more pointedly at her.
"You'll have to discuss that with our chef. He's unavailable at the moment. Surely that isn't the only item?"
"Steak Tartar." His head whipped around, snakelike.
Drea made a note, frowning. "I see, anything else?"
Drea flipped her notebook shut with an irritable snap. "I think that's quite enough, sir. Not only is your menu indigestible, but your attitude is disturbing, not to mention appalling. I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
"You can't do that. I'm a paying customer."
"We're booked solid for the next thirty days. I'm afraid we can't accommodate you. Good day." She headed toward the rear door of the shop marked Private.
"I know your secret," the intense man said, his voice suddenly layered with a heavy, dark accent. "You can no longer hide."
Drea ignored him, though she stiffened, the hairs on the back of her neck rising uncomfortably. Unhesitatingly, she let the door swing shut behind her. Visibly shaken, she went to the wine rack. Selecting a bottle of wine at random, she opened it, pouring a large glass, downing it in one, long gulp. She repeated the process as Kirk walked in.
"You'll make yourself ill," he said with a frown of concern. "What's put you in such a state?"
Drea told him of her encounter with the odd man. When she told him the man's parting comment, she went weak in the knees.
"He can't possibly know anything," Kirk tried to reason with her, but his voice lacked conviction.
"Of course he did! His method was crude, but he knows—or suspects. Why else would he want blood pudding, blood sausage and steak tartar?"
"He was probably just trying to gross you out."
"He—knows. We have to contact Phillida. The Council needs to know."
"You're right, of course. Will you knock off the wine? You'll vomit it all up in a minute. That's a very expensive vintage."
Drea grabbed a phial of dark red liquid from a steel box in a secret wall safe. She added the liquid to the wine, sipping the last drops from the phial. Rinsing it, she put the empty glass tube back in the box, hiding it once more.
He poured himself a glass of the modified beverage before pouring another for her. Raising his glass, he examined the liquid with a discerning eye.
"We knew there would be risks attracting this kind of attention, Drea."
"I know, Kirk. But so soon? I had hoped it would last awhile longer. You're just recognizing your dream."
"My love, my dreams were all answered when I met you." He took her hands to his lips. "You changed my life." He kissed her knuckles, turning her hands to kiss the pad of her thumb, as he let his lips drift to the center of her palm. "This is not the first business we've lost, nor will it be the last."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
"Don't start," he pointed at her angrily.
"The paramedic told him it was only food," Drea told her in a stage whisper.
"I'll remember that remark," Kirk growled, his eyes flashing dangerously. "If they still allowed it, I'd nail his skin to a wall."
"Darling, that's a tad harsh. He's just a boy."
"Good for discipline. Teach the masses the truth, that's what I say."
"And that's a good way to work your way into the hearts of the people," Margo said in a matter-of-fact tone. "Rates highly with the public when you fillet them."
"Shut up," Kirk said, digging around for a T-shirt in the plastic shopping bag.
He pulled out a brown shirt that said, Did You Eat an Extra Bowl of Stupid Today?, pulling it on without looking carefully at it. He groaned when he saw himself in the mirror.
"Did you have to?" he asked Drea.
"They didn't have much selection your size. Would you have preferred the ones with scythe wielding skeletons?"
"Not a lot."
"I feel the need for an upgrade," he said. "But I suppose that has to wait until tomorrow."
"You could go now. Keep in mind that the law doesn't like folks who break and enter," Margo said. "Before I forget, I brought the medicine and the lotion." She emptied her pockets, tossing the items on the bed. "Didn't we talk about this? Keeping it on you?"
"I have mine," Drea said. "It was Kirk who didn't."
"I was hardly expecting to be robbed," he said in his defense. "I keep some at work and in the car."
"And you should have some in your pocket."
"Your concern is noted, Margo. Enough lectures. Want to join us for dinner?"
"I'm expected at home. Tommy is cooking." She raised an eyebrow at the mention of the prep chef's name. "Thanks so much for hiring him, Kirk. Tasty!" She licked her lips lavishly, slurping.
"Don't want to know," Kirk replied, putting his fingers in his ears.
"He's a spicy, sweet, tasty treat," she concluded loudly. "Drea does, though. Don't you?" She raised an eyebrow, nodding.
"Not especially. I'm just glad you're happy. You deserve it."
"At least one of you is happy for me," she said with a fake pout.
"I'm happy, I just don't want to hear about how well you're getting along," Kirk said with a shudder. "You have a nasty habit of consuming your men, Margo. And I happen to like Tommy. He's a good kid and an excellent chef. I don't want you corrupting him once I have him trained the way I want him."
"On that note, I'll be going," Margo told Drea. "See you in the morning?"
"Probably. Provided nothing else is stolen, vandalized or broken into, we'll be there."
"Shall I come by for you?"
"Sure. I'll rent a car later in the day," Kirk said. "But I can't deal with that when I first get up."
"Alrighty then!" Margo got up, flouncing toward the door. "See you in the A.M.!" Blowing kisses, she left.
"She's going to dry that kid up like a weed," Kirk said to Drea.
"I think she really cares about this one," Drea replied. "She might decide to keep him."
"If she does, that's great. I don't mind. But she'll have to train him. I don't have time."
"I know, darling. But think how we felt about Margo when we first added her to the fold."
He nodded. "Well, we had to, didn't we? I mean, she did catch us in a rather compromising position. It was that or kill her, and I really like the way she works in the kitchen."
"I know. She has been an asset all these years, despite her histrionics."
They went downstairs to the hotel cafe for dinner. Neither of them had the wardrobe appropriate for the dining room. Not that Kirk cared. The odors coming from the restaurant told him he would not be satisfied with the cuisine. At least in the cafe he would not be expecting five star food, and he wouldn't be disappointed when something less arrived. Lowering his expectations was easier than lowering his standards.
After dinner, they decided to catch a movie, then went for a walk along the pier. Drea was all for a late night boat ride into the bay, but Kirk was starting to get tired.
"Forgot your medicine, didn't you?" Drea said, holding him close as they gazed across the water.
"Mm.... Even with Margo bringing it. As old as I am, as long as I've been taking it, I can still forget."
"I do too, on occasion," Drea said. "But it's important. It helps control those little outbursts like with the paramedic."
"That kid had it coming," Kirk disagreed.
"But darling, you almost let your fangs show. You mustn't do that in public. What will people think?"
He chuckled, nibbling her earlobe as his lips caressed her neck. "They'll think, Who's that terribly handsome, well preserved man nibbling on that beautiful neck? That's what they'll think."
"They're more likely to grab torches and pitchforks," she mused.
"Typical ignorance. Let's go."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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