Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Take a Bite Outta Crime Part 17 by Dellani Oakes
After further conversation with Phillida, more facts come to light – chiefly that several vampires have disappeared from the modeling agency owned by Andres, for whom Carley works.
Margo blushed slightly, looking away from Phillida and Kirk. Andres had seduced her much the same way when he met her, as he had Drea as well. The evil old vampire could be quite persuasive when he wanted to be. Centuries of practice made him a masterful lover as well.
"That's not so surprising," Kirk said quietly. "Many women have found me charming enough to bed me the same night." He winked at Margo.
"Don't kid yourself," she teased. "Not all of us are easy."
He held up his hands in defeat. "Never mind. The point is, my dear, that is not the most damming evidence."
"Then he started to buy her presents, flowers, chocolates. He took a ruby necklace from the safe and gave it to her. My necklace!"
Kirk knew that the necklace was, in fact, Andres'. One he'd made when he was a jeweler in Sicily three centuries ago, but he said nothing. Why draw attention to himself or interrupt her narrative?
"He continued to see her, lying over his whereabouts. Lying about what he was doing. He gave up the investigations into the disappearances and began to flaunt their relationship, openly going with her to parties. He even traveled to Milan when she was there for the spring fashion show! Milan! He never took me to Milan."
She had been to Milan, with or without Andres, so many times, Kirk had lost count. She was starting to lose the thread of her narrative, so Kirk brought her back.
"What of the disappearances? Has anything been discovered?"
"No. That is why I wanted to speak to you. I know that you have investigated crimes involving our people before. You were very successful. As Andres owns the modeling agency, he can arrange for you to do the catering or, as might be more effective, for you to model."
"The girls can, not me." Kirk protested. "I've got a face for radio."
Margo giggled, hiding her laughter behind her hand. Kirk was devastatingly handsome and was well aware of it. He was also shy and didn't like to draw attention to himself.
"If we went in as both," Margo said. "We would have access to different areas. If Drea and I went in as models...."
"Not Drea," Phillida said with finality. "She's Andres' spawn. She is not loyal to me. She would betray me."
"No, she wouldn't," Kirk protested.
Margo squeezed his knee, shaking her head at him.
"If you don't wish us to involve her, we won't. However, I think you can trust her to help out. She is loyal to our people, even if you and she don't get along. She would do it for all of us, to protect us."
"Perhaps," Phillida said quietly. "I'll think about it."
"I can't help thinking the modeling agency is the key," Kirk said.
"I will go as a model," Margo said. "I have done so before. I think I can still handle the strut."
"Drea can handle our regular catering gigs with—the help." He had almost mentioned Tommy. "We have only small parties coming up. No trouble for her."
"One of those to disappear was Vincent," Phillida said sadly.
Kirk and Margo knew Vincent was the first pet she turned. He had been with her for nearly 700 years. Though they were no longer lovers, they were the best of friends.
"He was working a show, modeling Andres' fashions. He disappeared six weeks ago. This is not like him! He is not one to wander off."
"Had he met someone?"
"No. He was involved with Rubina. She also has disappeared, shortly after he did."
"This is serious. How many are missing?"
"Twelve of us?" Margo was appalled. "So many."
Coupled with the things that were happening to them, this was disturbing news. Kirk didn't feel he could tell Phillida about their situation now. It was more important to talk to Heinrich than ever. Excusing himself, he went in search of the 521 year old man. He found him in the library sipping sherry and smoking a hand rolled cigar.
"Kirk, delighted," he said, giving the younger man a limp wrist. "You wanted to see me?"
"It's about the disappearances—and something more."
He told Heinrich about their recent experiences. As he spoke, the older vampire's face clouded. Soon, he was so angry, he actually had color in his cheeks.
"And it has taken you so long to tell us? Surely these two things are connected!"
"It's been two days, Heinrich. We had no idea what was going on," Kirk reminded him firmly. "We came here tonight to apprise you of our problems. We had no clue you had some of your own. Now that we both know, we can work to the common goal—figuring this out! I need anyone with military or law enforcement experience."
"You know our kind don't often tend toward upholding the law," Heinrich said with a smarmy smile that left Kirk irritated.
"Perhaps not, but I'll bet some of them did before they were turned. I need to talk to them. Can you arrange that?"
"This is a party, Kirk."
"This is an emergency, Heinrich. Philly's a wreck. Andres is so wound up in his new toy, he hasn't a clue what's going on. I think it's time to clarify. We can't protect ourselves if we don't have the facts."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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