Chapter One Hundred and Forty
I needed to talk to Linda without Jure being there.
"Jure, could you please excuse us for a moment? I need to discuss a private matter with Linda," I said in my most pleasant and polite tone.
Jure seemed unaware that I had discerned his thoughts about the death of his brother. I didn't want to say or do anything that would clue him in to what I experienced. So far he had done nothing wrong. In fact, he had behaved admirably, telling me the truth and avenging his wife's death. I could not fault him, a big relief for me. I didn't want to be the ugly cockroach of disapproval on Linda's wedding cake.
He nodded politely and said, "Of course."
He handed Linda the sheaf of papers he was still holding and left the office without looking back, rolling down his sleeves on the way out.
After the door closed behind him Linda put the papers down on a teetering stack and said, a tad tartly, "I hope you haven't just lost me the only assistant I had."
"I hope so too," I said. My mind was on something else. "How did Jure know where to find you?"
"He drove me to work tonight," she said, not understanding my question, or pretending she didn't understand.
"No, I meant, when you were at Amelia's, how did he know where to find you? How did he know you were upset?"
She looked at me sideways with a disbelieving squint, like I must be pretty dense if I didn't already know the answer. It was a look her and her sisters had perfected in their teens and still served them well. It was a look that brought me to my senses.
Of course. She had his blood enough times to form a connection. With them both being telepaths that connection might be very strong. I hadn't thought of her having his blood. I tried not to feel shocked that my baby girl had exchanged blood with a vampire. She was an adult, she was engaged, she was in love. And she was with a vampire.
What else did I expect? Why was it so hard to wrap my mind around the very same behavior in my daughter I had engaged in when Eric was courting me? I guess it was just human, or vampire, nature. In a way it was reassuring, Jure would know instantly if Linda ever needed help, as long as it was night time.
"OK, I get that. How did he call you from the bathroom? Remember, when you walked out like a zombie? Why did you do that?" I asked, feeling at last I had a legitimate question.
"He can send me messages," she said, a tiny twinkle in her eye.
She grinned triumphantly. "Nope, he texted me before he came down the chimney. I had my cell phone in my pocket. I walked out like a zombie because I knew you were going to think he was using some kind of mind control on me. I was just teasing you," she said, giving me a hug. "Sorry."
She knew what I was going to think? Now she was a pre-telepath? No, she just knew how fast I jumped to conclusions, sometimes the wrong conclusions.
"I get it, you want me to trust you and your judgement. You want me to not worry so much about you."
"It's like you're reading my mind, Mom," she said with a laugh, giving me another hug. "Jure is a good guy. Don't always be thinking he's up to some tricks. And don't think he controlled my mind so I would say this to you either. There's no end to that kind of paranoia, is there?"
She was right, of course. If he could control her mind he would have her say this very thing to me. On the other hand, what was he using all this power for, if he was? Keeping Linda crazy about him? She always felt that way. And she actually wasn't crazy about him. She seemed entirely sane. In the absence of any weird behavior I was just going to have to assume things were on the up and up.
"You're absolutely right. I'm going to do better, be less suspicious. I'm happy for you. That's my new attitude," I said resolutely.
"Where's Dad?" she asked, changing the subject now that she had me on her side.
"He had to deal with the liquor license guy," I told her.
"Not that skinny guy with the green contact lenses? He always hits on me when he stops in. I almost put his eye out with my diamond engagement ring the last time he was here and he still didn't get it. Keep him out of the office, OK?" she asked.
"I'll go head them off right now," I told her. I owed her one since I had been so irritatingly protective.
I left the office and went down the hall into the club. Everybody was Wang Chung-ing in a line dance. A quick glance around showed me no Eric. Then I recalled I was supposed to meet him by the car. I left the club and immediately saw him in the parking lot. I flashed over to him.
"How did it go?" I asked him, shooing a rather large moth off my dress. I had moved so fast I hit him. Fortunately the moth was able to fly away.
Eric jerked his head at the big new Ram 3500 in the next line of cars. It was four door, candy apple red with every possible bell and whistle the truck could be decked out with. The chrome was almost blinding, even in this dim light. Inside a thin man lay with his collar unbuttoned and his head lolled back in the rear seat.
A couple of thin lines of blood trickled down his neck. Next to him Pam was reapplying her peach lipstick, her skin a rosy just-fed pink. She looked up from her compact mirror and winked at me. Then she took a tissue and stopped the blood before it stained his less than sparkling white collar.
Pam would heal him before he woke up, I was sure. He would never know what hit him and he would most likely never bother us again unless Pam took a shine to him, then she would drag him around as he grew thinner, paler and more enamored of her. Then he would go away, never to be seen again.
"Pam is discussing our license with him right now. I am sure he will not feel the need to bother us about the trivial and capricious complaint of a drunken patron that was ejected for poor behavior. What did you learn?"
I told him that I suspected that I had picked up the story Jure was planning to tell me from his body language or his facial expression. I didn't say, and Eric didn't ask, about any possible mind reading. It was not a good thing to be able to read a vampire mind. Vampires were very protective of their secrets.
I was just about to tell him about Linda's request that I back off in my mother-hen worry when Eric and I both heard a helicopter approaching. That was odd, we weren't in any flight path. It got odder when the chopper flew to our lot, circled, then set down in the empty lot next door. All the other shops in the mall were closed at this time of night so it had plenty of room.
We both recognized the helicopter. As we watched the door swung open and Cleopatra got out.
No, it only looked like Cleopatra.
It was Anna Hita at her most exotic. Her skin tight, sleeveless, ankle length, greenish-bluish dress was covered in over lapping sequins like fish scales and split to the knee on both sides. Her flat sandals flashed with stones that might have been real diamonds.
Numerous gold bangle bracelets, from wrist to elbow, were definitely set with real diamonds. Her jet black hair was done up in an elaborate bun made of dozens of tight braids, each braid beaded and wrapped with gold threads. Only her bangs, cut straight across slightly above her arched brows, blew around in the down draft from the chopper blades.
The chopper powered down so the blades kept rotating slowly. Anna Hita walked towards us in a sinuous and elegant way. People started to come out of the club to see the helicopter. Pam, always quick to step in where she would be needed, hopped out of the truck and said to Eric, "Master, I will clear the lot."
"Thank you," Eric said.
Pam walked towards the club, lifting her arms to get all eyes on her, then sending out a shock wave of glamour towards all who had emerged and looked her way. As one they turned and went back into the club except for a few stragglers she had to glamour individually. Maybe she mentally offered them free drinks.
Before she went in the employees entrance she turned, dipped one knee and called, "Good evening, İmparatoriçe," to Anna Hita.
Anna Hita smiled and said, "Good evening, lovely Pam." She waved, her bracelets making a musical tinkling sound.
Then she faced me, the smile leaving her face. "My child, we must talk. Something very serious has occurred."
more to come ..... (Happy April! So glad you could stop by. You always put a smile on my face and a song in my heart. See you next Saturday, til then, be well.)