Chapter One Hundred and Twenty
When Eric and I entered the office, pleased expressions pasted on our faces, Linda had her back to us. I could smell the vapor of frustration coming off her like a tart perfume. She was was trying to cram some invoices into the chock-full filing cabinets. The edges of yellowed papers peeked out of the not-able-to-close drawers.
She turned when we entered the room and complained.
"I simply can not get another sheet of paper into this thing! You have invoices going back to the stone age. They need to be weeded out to have only the current accounts up here. You can store the archived ones .." she waved her ringless hand in a brushing away gesture ".. wherever."
"That would be a good idea," Eric said. "While you are sorting them out you can go through the boxes on the couch."
He glanced at the two stacks of grey cardboard boxes. I counted, there were eight boxes, all full to bursting.
"Me?" she protested shrilly. "Me? You have to be kidding! This mess started before I was born! I'm going to need big time help to tackle this project."
She calmed down and thought for a moment. "Ginger is useless .... I could get Katie Marie and Bertha Jewel. I know they're both looking for work."
Katie Marie was Tara and J. B. Durone's adopted daughter. Their marriage hadn't survived but they both loved Katie Marie with all their hearts so they set aside any animosity to provide a harmonious life for their daughter. Bertha Jewel was J.B.'s youngest sister.
"Pam could help at night," Eric offered.
"I don't think so Dad," Linda laughed. "She just about spits nails whenever she has to do any paper work. Mike Malone would be a better choice. His great- nephew has an accounting firm so Mike has helped me out in the past."
"Perhaps we should hire his accounting firm," Eric suggested.
Linda pointed out, "They're in Ireland, I don't think it would be worth shipping them here to sort old invoices. No, I can do it, I'll just need help. Maybe Taryn and Lingza can help at night too. Lingza can carry the sorted boxes to wherever you decide to store them."
Since Taryn and Lingza had become an "item" they were inseparable. Lingza wouldn't be up to sorting files but he would come in handy if anything heavy had to be moved. Of course, with all the vampires around Linda would have her pick of moving personnel. Lingza and Taryn lived in Linda's apartment building. Lingza often took care of Linda's poodles while she was here.
She added, "Once we get this mess sorted out maybe we could redecorate the office. I don't think it's been painted or changed since the Ford administration."
Eric looked around at the shabby office and concurred. "I might redecorate this whole back area. The club profits are good enough."
Linda's eyes lit up. "Could we do it all in an 80's disco theme? You know, mirrored balls, neon lights, psychedelic patterns?"
"I believe the psychedelic theme was from the 1960's, however, we can do whatever suits you, as long as the office area doesn't become more alluring than the club for the patrons," Eric said with a twinkle. He was enjoying his daughter's initiative especially because it meant her continued interest and involvement in her parents and their enterprise.
"Linda, I was hoping for a chance to talk to you privately," I told her.
"In the basement," I added. She knew we couldn't be overheard there.
Linda looked puzzled but agreeable. "Sure, Mom. Want to go now?"
"Yes," I said, butterflies in my stomach at the enormity of what I was going to tell her.
Linda grabbed her purse and said, "Let's go."
Eric said, "I will wait here. You can leave your purse with me if you want." He meant that her ring would be safe under his protective eye.
"Thanks Dad." She set her purse down at his feet. "You won't go out and leave it, right?'
"I will not move from this spot, except to sit at the desk and use the computer," he confirmed.
We left Eric with the purse and headed towards the basement. I saw Pam across the dance floor. She was at the door checking ID's, her huge skirt acting like a fabric turnstile to stop patrons so she could check their credentials and decide if their outfit was steampunk enough to get a free drink voucher.
I quietly said, "Pam". Amid all the pounding music and ambient noise she heard me speak her name, as I knew she would. She turned to look at me.
I pointed straight down with a questioning look on my face, meaning, "Is is all clear to go to the second basement with Linda?" I didn't want Linda to walk in on some glamoured donors or worse.
Pam smiled and nodded the all clear. Then she turned back to the door, frowning at a group of giggling girls in Granny gowns, maxi skirts and a bridesmaid dress. They were trying to get free drink vouchers but they weren't in proper steampunk attire.
Pam shrugged and gave them vouchers. I guess she was relaxing her rigid standards since I saw people in all sorts of costumes - tuxedos, military jackets, camouflage, ball gowns, a wedding dress and the like. They all had Jack The Ripper cocktails in their hands. Maybe I wasn't the only one that had no idea what steampunk was.
We went through the regular basement to the second basement, the only thing left of an old building that had stood next to Fangtasia. It had been leveled and a paved parking lot covered where it had stood. The basement had not been filled in. Instead it was reinforced, making an underground room without windows.
Eric had waterproofed and soundproofed it. Now it was a cozy place for the in crowd of vampires to bring a donor and feed in peace. It wasn't legal but human laws were not vampire laws. We only had to appear to comply.
After I shut the door I sat down next to Linda. I could still smell the blood of the men I had fed from, though I knew Linda couldn't smell it. The air was exchanged and purified with a hepa filter to make it nice for our human guests.
"Linda, I spoke to Anna Hita tonight. She made you an offer that I think you should know about right away. We were discussing your involvement with Jure.."
She interrupted, her temper flaring up. "You were discussing me?"
"Only in a good way. You know Anna Hita is like a grandmother to you. She cares very much about your happiness. I had mentioned that you were conflicted about Turning because you wanted to have children .."
Her eyes grew wide with indignation but I plowed on with what I wanted to say, "I know I shouldn't have been telling her this but anyway, let me get to what she said. You know how she helped me have Daddy's biological children? How she went back in time and ... anyway .. she helped?"
Linda nodded, a slight frown between her brows. She was trying to process her irritation with my big mouth at the same time she was trying to figure out where I was going with this.
"Well," I said relieved to have finally gotten to the point, "She has offered to do the same thing for you and Jure, if that's what the two of you want."
Linda sat back, her mouth open in surprise. I had managed to shock her speechless.
more to come ..... (Greetings Fanpires! I could not ask for more than your continued presence and your most generously kind and supportive words. Your interest is the bedrock of my desire to keep going. Thank you for making this year so great, looking forward to 2013! When I was a kid I thought we would all have flying cars by now ... instead we have flying vampires. Isn't life strange?)