Fanged & Fabulous | Chapter 14 of 34

Author: Michelle Rowen | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 4312 Views | Add a Review

Please hit next button if you encounter an empty page

Chapter 5

Would you look at that line?” Amy said as we entered the crowded coffee house.

“What did you expect? It’s a Saturday afternoon.” I glanced around, feeling immediately claustrophobic and more than my share of paranoid. We were surrounded by a lot of people I didn’t know. Buzzing on caffeine and biscotti. Why did I come out today again?

Death wish, table for two.

“Oo, I see a table.” She beelined to one near the window that had been abandoned all of two seconds ago. I sat down. The chair was still warm. And oddly sticky.

“Look,” I moved to the seat next to me and shifted to get comfortable, “I don’t want to spend a lot of time here. I have things to do. Assassination attempts to avoid. Besides, I have a date with Thierry tonight so I need to have time to prepare.”

“How do you prepare for a date with Thierry?”

Since I’d never really had an “official” date with him, I wasn’t entirely sure. “Um. A little red lipstick and a calming meditation CD?”

She eyed the lineup. “It won’t be long.”

“Famous last words.” I cleared my throat and thought of the smoking remnants of my life. “Wait, let me take that back. That’s a phrase I never want to say again just in case it happens to be true.”

The wide hips of a passing woman bumped into my shoulder and I glanced up to make sure she wasn’t carrying any concealed weapons along with her caramel macchiato.

Suddenly a sound rang out above snippets of conversations I could catch with my surprisingly sharp vampire hearing (to match my increased sense of smell) —though some conversations, like the one about body piercings between an older woman at the table in the far corner and her much, much younger boyfriend, were not ones I really wanted the chance to overhear.

The sound was coming from Amy. From her purse, specifically. She reached into it and pulled out a thin pink cell phone, which was the cause of the odd sound, a sound I now pinpointed as a tinny rendition of “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred.

“This is Amy,” she chimed into the tiny contraption. “Uh huh?”

There was a long silence and I watched her face lose its happy Amy glow.

“I see. Well, alrighty then. Thanks for letting me know. No, I appreciate you telling me. I really do.” She shut the phone up and stared at it. “That heinous bitch.”

“Who’s a heinous bitch?” I inquired. Amy rarely, if ever, got mad enough to call somebody else a bad name—a trait I didn’t happen to share with her. I didn’t even think she knew the word “heinous.” But obviously I was wrong.

“My neighbor.” She looked down at the small, expensive piece of technology as if it was the cause of every problem she’d had since birth. “My nosy old bag of a neighbor.”

“And? What did she say?” I glanced outside at Lenny, who’d just started to chase two kids with deadly looking skateboards down the street.

Skateboards in January? There should be a law.

She slumped down into the seat across from me. “She just saw Barry.”

“Oh, I feel badly for her.”

Amy glanced at me sharply. “I wasn’t finished. She says she saw him with another woman.”

Your Barry.”

She nodded stiffly.

I frowned, trying to focus my wandering thoughts enough to understand. “I’m sorry. She saw Barry doing what with another woman?”

“Talking. Closely. And touching each other.”

I shuddered at the thought. “I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“Yeah, of course. It’s nothing.” She nodded. Then a frown creased her pretty face. “Why would you assume that it’s nothing?”

“Well, this is Barry we’re talking about.”

“I know you don’t like him, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an incredibly desirable man, you know. He’s had many girlfriends over the years.” She sighed. “Women are irresistibly drawn to him. It’s not his fault. He’s blamelessly charismatic.”

I blinked at her. “If you say so. But really, you guys are newlyweds. So if you’re thinking that something fishy is going on—”

She nodded, looking suddenly sad. “I was right to be worried. He’s cheating on me.”

“Amy! How can you say that?” I shook my head. “Weren’t you just doing the ‘Barry’s so hot’ cheer outside?”

She slumped down in her chair. “I’m trying to fool everyone into thinking I’m fine. That my marriage is wonderful. But I can’t take it anymore. It’s all a sham, Sarah.” She let out a long breath. “I was afraid of this. But I’m not surprised.”

I reached across the table to grab her hand and squeeze it. I’d never seen Amy so down, so ready to accept defeat without even putting up a fight for the man she married. “Maybe you’re just overreacting. Maybe this is nothing at all.”

A tear slid down her cheek. “I’m not enough woman for him. I told you before that he is a very sensual man. He has needs that I’m just not able to fill.”

I tried to cover up my shudder by squeezing her hand harder. “Don’t say that.”

“I thought he was the one,” she continued. “That after all these years I’d found my knight in shining armor. But . . . ” She sniffed and her voice grew shaky. “I’ve just set myself up for a-a-another h-h-heartbreak.”

Now I leaned over the table to give her a hug, before I got up in search of a napkin that I returned with and handed to her. “Listen to me, Amy. Barry may be a lot of things. Gross things. At least to me. But I seriously don’t believe he’s cheating on you. I want you to be happy. Listen, if you’re that upset about this, I’ll check things out. I’ll be really subtle, too.”

She blinked and a tear splashed down to her cheek. “You’d do that for me?”

“Of course. I’d be happy to spy on your husband for you. What’s a friend for?”

“I really appreciate it.”

“Anything to help distract me from the fiery pit of despair of my own life is a good thing. And then I’ll be able to tell you that there’s no way he’d want to be with another woman. Even though I still feel like staking him for turning you into a vamp on your first date.”

She pouted. “I just don’t know.”

I shook my head. “You guys might have your problems, but I think Barry’s in this for the long run.”

She dried her face with the napkin, and nodded. “I hope you’re right.”

Frankly, so did I.

Amy left me to look after the table and scare off anybody looking to steal it. She joined the end of the long lineup. I sat there by myself and glanced out of the window at Lenny, who was back from his skateboarder takedown and pacing in front of Starbucks, trying to look inconspicuous and failing miserably.

It was good to know he was there. He seemed like a bit of a musclehead, but he was a musclehead who was going to look out for me.

After five minutes I glanced up at the line. Amy was still waiting and was on her cell phone again, talking to who knows who. Maybe Mr. Charismatic Barry himself.

It was going to be a bit of a wait. I put my head down on my folded arms with the intention of resting my tired eyes and trying to put my problems briefly out of my mind, but found myself quickly spiraling off into dreamland.

I was all alone at Midnight Eclipse. The chairs were placed upside down on top of the tables so the floor could be easily cleaned during the off hours. The long, black lacquered bar hugged the wall. The stage was to the right—small but adequate enough to put on a good show.

I felt a hand on my shoulder that trailed warmly down my back, stopping at my waist to turn me around.

“Sarah,” Quinn said, staring down the length of me before meeting my eyes. He smiled and I could see his fangs glint in the soft light of the club. His dark blond hair was brushed off his face. His blue eyes flashed. He wore a dark suit with a pale blue shirt.

“You should know that this isn’t real,” I told him. “I’m dreaming right now.”

“Yeah, I know.” He grinned wider and raised an eyebrow. “Interesting, though, that you’re dreaming about me, isn’t it?”

Then he crushed his lips against mine, his strong hands sliding down my body to pull me against him. I didn’t fight it. My fingers worked their way up to tangle in his hair and I opened my mouth to the deepening kiss.

After a moment, I pulled away from him, feeling confused, turning as if in slow motion to look at the stage. The lights were on, flooding the performing area with bright light, almost too bright for me to register what was up there.

But then I saw.

It was Peter, eye patch and all. The vampire hunter who’d wanted me dead. The one that I’d shot in self-defense. But instead of me onstage with him, as it had been that terrible night, it was Thierry.

His face was rigid and emotionless. But his eyes weren’t. Those bottomless silver eyes watching me and Quinn were filled with pain.

Peter approached the microphone. “Hey, bitch. Remember me? I haven’t forgotten about you. Not by a long shot.”

Icy fingers played along my spine and I shivered. “You’re dead.”

He grinned. “Yeah, I am. Some things do change. But some things never do. You think you could get away with what you did to me with no consequences? You’ve got a world of pain headed directly your way, darlin’. A universe of pain. And it’s only just begun.”

“You deserved it,” I told him, feeling both guilt and anger fighting inside me. “You tried to kill me. That’s all you did—kill vampires. For fun. Don’t even try to tell me that you believed we were all monsters.”

“Nobody’s perfect.” He shrugged. “We’re all monsters down deep, darlin’. Every one of us. You gotta embrace that monster. I did. If you believe any differently, then you’re fooling yourself.”

“Let Thierry go.”

Peter started to laugh. “You think you’re in control of anything? You’re all fools. And you,” he regarded Thierry. “You should have killed yourself when you had the chance.”

“Peter,” I took a few steps closer to the stage. “You want me. Why don’t you leave him alone and come and get me?”

He stared down at me. “Oh, I’ll have my revenge, darlin’. Don’t think I won’t. And you’ll never see it coming. But I don’t want you to forget about me in the meantime.” He glanced out at Quinn, then back at Thierry. “Two men, huh? Aren’t you the lucky one?”

My hands curled into fists at my sides. “Go to hell.”

Peter laughed louder. “Why don’t I make things a little easier for you?”

He turned and plunged a wooden stake into Thierry’s chest. Thierry gasped, his silver eyes widened, and he fell to his knees. I ran up to the stage.

“Thierry!” I reached up to touch his face.

“I’m sorry, Sarah—” His pain-filled words sliced through me like knives. “—I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you.”

And then he dissolved before my very eyes. His handsome face melting into nothingness, his body collapsing on itself until there was nothing left of him but a dark stain on the stage. I could hear Peter laughing. Quinn tried to pull me into his embrace but I pushed him away.

I shook my head and felt the hot tears cutting lines down my face. And then I screamed—

“—NOOO!!!”

I woke up and stood up from the table at the same time, flailing about from the intensity of the dream. I hit something and heard an “oof” sound. And then a crash. Followed closely by a splash.

My heart beat wildly and my breathing came in rapid bursts. I glanced around as I got my bearings, my hands still clenched into fists. Ready to fight.

Still in Starbucks. It was just a dream.

Just a dream.

I let out a long sigh of relief.

“That was a double espresso moccaccino, I’ll have you know,” a female voice said. “Five bucks and now it’s gone. Oh God. Look at my shoes.”

I glanced in the direction of the voice. A blond woman glared at me. I looked down. Next to her stained Manolos was a mocha-colored puddle.

“I am so sorry.” My voice was shaky and a little raspy. My heart was pounding so hard that I felt it in my eyeballs. “I’ll buy you a replacement. For the coffee, that is. A little . . . club soda might be able to clean your shoes up. Are those suede?”

She jabbed a finger at me. “You have something stuck to your face.”

“I do?” I reached up to feel around and touched paper. I peeled it off my forehead to find that it was a yellow sticky note with Amy’s handwriting on it.

Had to go. Didn’t want to wake you, looked like you were having a good dream. Talk later . . . Amy

She stuck a sticky note to my forehead while I was sleeping.

I wish I could say it was the first time she’d ever done that.

I glanced at the girl. She was pretty. Somewhere in her midtwenties, with long hair—alternating streaks of darker blond and platinum—done in two haphazard braids hanging well past her shoulders. She wore a three-quarter-length red leather coat. One of her high-heeled, stained shoes tapped angrily against the tiled floor.

Those were some nice shoes.

Too bad they were now ruined.

I glanced at the table. Amy had left me my coffee. Alas, not a moccaccino. It was a tall regular coffee that smelled like it might have brushed past some hazelnuts somewhere between here and Colombia.

I grabbed it and glanced at the angry blonde, feeling rather sheepish and still shaky from my visit from the nightmare fairy.

“Okay, then.” I nodded. “Lovely to meet you.”

“We didn’t meet.”

I smiled and nodded again. Usually the best way to deal with an unfortunate situation just before you escaped.

And then I grabbed my bags and left. Pushing open the front door of Starbucks and feeling the cold air hit my face.

Lenny tried to be all subtle again in following me. He kept far enough back that after a minute, I didn’t notice him at all as I hurried along the street.

“Hey!” a voice called out behind me. “Stop!”

I glanced over my shoulder. It was the blonde. Oh, great. Probably wanted me to pay for her shoes. Well, it wasn’t as though I’d banged into her on purpose. I picked up my pace. All I wanted to do was get back to George’s. That dream had seriously freaked me out. I needed recovery time away from hunters and pissed-off, caffeinated fashionistas.

Her heels clicked against the cold pavement as she began to chase after me.

I turned the next corner and waded through a small swarm of warmly dressed sidewalk stragglers and looked over my shoulder just as I tossed my untouched coffee into a passing garbage can. It was too hard to juggle with my other bags. Even though the stupidly bright sun made me a bit weary, my slightly increased vampire speed (plus comfy footwear) helped me to move at a definite clip.

But moccaccino-girl was still coming.

After a minute when I couldn’t lose her, I stopped and turned around. “Listen, I don’t know why you’re following me, but—”

She skidded to a halt, panting a little, and held up a shopping bag in front of her. “You left this in Starbucks. Damn, you sure can walk fast.”

Talk about sheepish. “Oh,” I took the bag from her. “Thank you. Sorry, I didn’t realize what you wanted.”

She shook her head. “It’s okay. Nice store, by the way.” She raised a matching bag of her own.

I smiled—closed mouth so as not to show off my pearly frights to an unsuspecting stranger. “Great minds think alike. And sorry about the shoes. Really.”

“To tell the truth, these are fairly old.” She glanced down at them with a sigh. “I guess I can use this as an excuse to buy another pair. What was the problem in there anyhow? Do you lose control of your bodily functions like that all the time or was I your first victim of the day?”

I shifted my bags to my other arm. “I fell asleep waiting for my friend to come back from the lineup. Had a bad dream and woke up flailing like an octopus. If octopuses flail.”

“You’re lucky you’re able to fall asleep so easily,” she said.

“I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

I felt uneasy standing there in the middle of the sidewalk in the broad daylight. It wasn’t safe. A hunter could be watching me right now while trying to figure out how to kill the Slayer of Slayers in a way spectacular enough to impress his buddies. I suddenly got a visual of a thousand tiny wooden Sarah-seeking missiles flying through the air. Or just one big one. Either way, not a good place to be for long.

“I’m going to grab a taxi,” I told her.

“Do you mind if I share one with you?” She glanced up at the surrounding skyscrapers with a confused expression. “It’s so hard to get used to things around here.”

“You’re not from around here?”

“No. Actually, I’m from Florida.”

“And if you’re from Florida, why would you come to Toronto in January?” I asked. “If I had a choice I’d rather be sitting on a beach right now.”

“You can get sick of beaches.”

“That’s crazy talk.”

“Then call me crazy. I’m Janelle, by the way. Janelle Parker.” She shifted her bags to offer me her gloved hand. “You can call me Janie.”

“Sarah,” I told her, as I shook her hand. I left off the last name. Nobody needed to know my last name. It might get me in trouble, and it didn’t matter who I was talking to. Nope. From now on I would just be Sarah. Much like Madonna. Or Cher. Or Mary-Kate and Ashley. “Welcome to Toronto. Which is actually Cherokee for ‘we will ruin your designer footwear upon arrival.’ Where are you staying?”

“The Royal York.”

I whistled. “Fancy. How long are you in town for?”

She shrugged. “It’s business related so it could be a day or two. Maybe more. I’ve got some personal stuff to attend to as well.”

“Do you have family here?”

When she didn’t say anything right away, I glanced at her sideways to see her moisten her lips and blink hard.

“Family’s one thing I don’t have to worry about anymore,” Janie said grimly, but then seemed to shake her melancholy moment away. She turned to offer me a bright smile. “You just never know what’s behind the next corner, do you?”

I nodded. “Ain’t that the tru—”

As we passed the next corner—ironically enough—a hand reached out to grab my coat and yank me into an alleyway. I went sprawling onto the ground in a heap, surprised, with the wind knocked out of me, the contents of my shopping bags spilling out onto the pavement.

Something blocked out the sun. Was it an eclipse? I squinted up, feeling dazed. No, no eclipse. It was a behemoth of a man blocking the sun and my potential escape.

“You’re Sarah Dearly, right?” he asked.

My thousand tiny missiles dissolved and were replaced by the image of one huge man who’d just pulled me into an alleyway, away from the maddening crowd who were apparently the only thing keeping me alive until now.

Yup.

Spectacular death. Right here. Right now.

Oh, shit.

Comments

user comment image
Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

Share your Thoughts for Fanged & Fabulous

500+ SHARES Facebook Twitter Reddit Google LinkedIn Email
Share Button
Share Button