The car Kirk led us to was the same dark blue four-door government sedan he'd had at the diner when I first met him. I sat up front on the black fake leather bench seat while Harry sat directly behind Kirk. This served two purposes. I could see what Kirk was doing without being obvious about the fact I was watching, and Harry could simply snap his neck if the need arose. It was amazing how often that need had presented itself over the years.
While sitting in the passenger seat I double-checked my handbag for quick access to weapons or camera. I had felt naked not snapping pictures the past day or so, but then, I had other distractions and didn't think Harry needed crime scene pictures from our little outing.
Night had fallen with its usual dreary January quickness between the time Harry had first let Kirk inside my place and we finally all walked out. The nip to the air as we'd headed for the car reminded me that there was a bit of winter left to the season. I casually took my camera out and began snapping pictures. Kirk was busy fretting at first and hadn't noticed me snap his picture while fooling around with my lens supposedly adjusting the focus. He eventually noticed when I finished out a roll and switched it for a new one.
"Hey, what did you bring that for?" Kirk sounded shocked that I would bring my camera.
"Relax, Kirk," Harry was using his special vampiric tones for Kirk. "She takes it everywhere. If the idiot at the party hadn't pulled it out she may have had some pictures for you to look at from Dark Whispers."
Oh, so he had been watching. I thought it was cute he blurred the facts with some fiction. Yes, I had in fact intentionally destroyed a roll of film on New Year's Eve at a party. But it was unexposed and I had handed it to Zack, my supposed date of the night, so he wouldn't realize I had kept the pictures of his self-picked replacement date and him kissing and much more. The much more would be worth the time to share with his co-workers. Mentally I filed away the idea I really must send some of those precious snaps to Zack's lawyer buddies before too much time passed. Harry could figure out who the girl was in the pictures, and then I would make sure she had photos to hand out at the senior prom. I smiled in pleasure at how much fun I would have with those little errands. I didn't think a few scanned copies would hurt the office Internet site either. I would hack that one night and make sure the headshots were updated.
Kirk caught the grin on my face and shuddered without a word. He just nodded and frowned as he continued down the highway. I kept snapping casual pictures of the surrounding cars and people whenever we hit a stoplight. I turned and took a picture in Harry's direction while taking the time to zoom in on the cars behind us in traffic and snapping them in a few frames.
A slip here and there, and I finally caught some of the folks trying to tail us. They were pretty good, but I had enough range with my zoom lens that I knew I would be able to enlarge and see who was who behind us. Harry had been right; I was always taking pictures.
I wanted a few hours in my dark room to run through the negatives from the past few months and see who all had been in the background. I wasn't big on people shots, so rarely did I blow up the ones that were too busy with humans from the negatives I developed. Usually my nature negatives were printed but now this little problem made my hobby a bit more critical. I needed to see who all had been tracking me, when and where. I was nearly positive nobody had seen me take anybody for a snack, but I was not sure and my film would tell.
We headed into a section of town I hadn't been to any time recently. I wasn't one for going into the business districts of a town as a rule, and the party clubs were further out on the edges, so I had a vague idea of where I was. We pulled up to a typical boxy boring three-story building. Kirk took a minute to pull his cell phone out and push a button to call someone. I could hear Morgan answer from my side of the seat. So could Harry. We waited to see what Kirk wanted.
"Hello, we are here. Do you want us to park in the garage or on the street?" Seemed Morgan hadn't told Kirk everything on his little call earlier. But then Morgan tended to keep secrets.
I could hear Morgan say, "Please park in the garage by the elevator." With that the call was disconnected on Morgan's end.
Kirk looked at us and said, like it was his idea, "Let's park and head up to the office." I found it pretty funny, since most of the underground lot was empty; it was after the magic hour of five, and nine to fivers were just that -- out the door exactly at five.
We parked precisely next to the elevators in one of the many places available. Kirk acted as if he hadn't been instructed to find that spot but just happened upon it while driving in the garage. Harry and I made a point not to meet each other's eyes. No need to tip our hearing range off to the human. We knew Morgan would be upstairs waiting for us. So did Kirk but he was under the illusion he now had some sort of upper hand.
Got to love that sort of optimism. I could feel my hunger rising with the thoughts of how soon I might have Kirk's blood teeming through my body. I shuddered. My mind fixated on the throbbing vein in Kirk's neck. I could smell his blood. His fear was just under the surface asking for my attention.
"Are you cold?" Kirk naïvely asked, seeing my shiver and misinterpreting it for me being chilled.
"No, I am perfectly fine." I felt my teeth pricking my lower lip. I thought of baseball and little league. Not working. Damn. I kept seeing his blood pouring down my throat and quenching my desires and needs. Harry heard my thoughts and tried to distract me.
Even though he knew the answer perfectly well, he asked, "Cassandra, so have you ever been here before?" His hand brushed the back of my neck. Waves of awareness washed over me, not helping my current situation at all. He guided me into the waiting elevator by softly pressing my lower back.
Trying not to lisp on my fangs, I carefully said, "No."
Kirk took over as tour guide saying, "Well, this office building has only been used by our branch of the government for a few months. It used to be owned by some lawyers but their practice went belly up when it was discovered that they were emptying the coffers of the city by overcharging on cases and other wrongdoing within the community. The offices haven't been touched so the décor is not ours but the former occupants."
With that, we slowly exited the elevator we had traveled up to the third floor in near soundless comfort.
I had liked the mirrors that lined the large elevator, making me think of some fun to be had with Harry when Kirk was gone. I had casually tipped my fingertip to one of the mirrors before we exited and was not surprised to see how the tip reflected. Obviously the lawyers had used one-way mirrors to line the structure when making the elevator. So the lawyers had watched their clients ride up and I would wager the reason there hadn't been any music was so they could hear any conversations. I was amused that the lawyers had been caught. They must have forgotten to pay off the right set of folks. Silly humans. Before we'd left the elevator, I sketched a slight finger wave to Morgan knowing he was watching us somewhere on the third floor.
The floor was an open design with a huge art piece off to one side and a large black marble desk -- for the absent receptionist, I assumed. There was not a piece of paper anywhere on the desktop and a simple flat screen monitor with no visible phone or keypad. The whole operation smelled like money. Definitely not government-standard equipment. I had to admit Morgan knew how to keep a comfort level no matter where he was. I could see by Harry's perusal he hadn't been here before either. Interesting.
Kirk had fallen silent when confronted with the empty receptionist desk. I think he expected the normal flow of the office to be going on since he had been called in to see Morgan. A slight frown creased his forehead as he tried to puzzle out what was pretty obvious to both Harry and me. This was not his typical office visit.
All of the large oak doors were closed around the suite, except for the one in the far right corner. I could feel Morgan sitting there, waiting for us to find him.
With strong strides Kirk headed for the corner office. My fangs were fighting for space in my smile and Harry gently caught my hand and pulled me back with a quick, "Cassandra, my dear, you need to contain yourself for a bit. Morgan may have other plans."
The thought of Morgan did quell my thirst for a moment. I had been scenting Kirk's fear now for nearly a full day and wanted to drain him dry. I wasn't sure if I could be a good girl, but followed Kirk anyways. My fangs went back a bit. Harry smiled and rewarded me with a quick kiss on my forehead. The doorway was near and I could hear Morgan growl a hello to Kirk.
Together we walked into the office. Morgan sat regally behind a large rosewood desk. He looked as deliciously dangerous as ever. His features were strong and definitely traced to the Nordic British combination of genetics he had sprung from so many decades ago. His hair was pulled back, but I could still see it was blond and curly. No surprise, since he was a vampire. We tended to keep our charming features, barring any close encounters with the wrong elements. Kirk was oblivious to the undercurrents between us and his new handler. Harry was not happy. I was still hungry and Morgan was in charge. Not a pretty picture.
Oblivious, Kirk introduced us to Morgan with a sweeping hand, "Here she is, Cassandra Pepper. Her cousin was Greg." Oops, he forgot he hadn't told me that Greg was definitely dead.
Morgan tipped his head to me with a smile and said, "How nice."
Shaking his head at the strange reply from his new handler, he indicated Harry saying, "And this is Harry Adkison. He is my boss." Funny that didn't seem to be true but hey, we went with the lie.
Harry was stiff at the introduction from his soon-to-be-former employee, and we ignored Morgan's condescendingly sweeping gesture for us to sit down. Kirk quickly scrambled into a chair and looked back at us to join him. We remained standing behind him and smiled to Morgan. This was going to be interesting.
Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2018-12-10
Image(s) are public domain.