Cohorts Anonymous


Meeting a client’s jealous cohort/girlfriend ranks up there in my favorite things right after meeting a vampire lord in his lair on Halloween and offering to negotiate a treaty between werewolfs and vampires in a Belizan jungle.  In other words, I wouldn’t call it my best move.  But I’m one and one in these type of high risk choices and at the very least, dealing with humans has always seemed to be more about letting them know they’re still ranked higher than an outsider like me than about an actual grievance.

Companions are always wildcards.  Remember Renfield?  Not strictly the book version but more of the classic movie version.  Crazy and selfless.  I’ve met those kinds of  companions.  I’ve also meet the kind that were talented in letting their vampire think that it was all about the vamp but was really all about that sense of power the companion inherited being in the company of One Who Is Vampire.  Those were the companions I steered clear of…many of them wind up dead by their original vampire or by the next vamp that comes along to overthrow a territory.

So as I watch Morena empty her pistol into the target with a precise and smoldering calm, I wonder at what she is doing with Jesper, how they met, and what past man in her history had not listened to her advice.  And lived to regret it.  She’s wearing her all black uniform which I guess she does out of utility but serves to make her look sleek and dangerous.  She’s well kept without looking frivolous.  I suspect that she gets hit on by drunk guys at bars that can’t tell she’d just as soon kick them in the nuts as talk to them.  If she even goes to bars.  Somehow, I can’t see her wasting her energy.

She finishes her clip and I lift up my ear muffs.  “You wanted to see me?”on_range_lg

She ignores me, replaces her clip, and begins firing again, forcing me to slap the muffs back in place.  I can’t tell where she’s aiming on her target but I can imagine it’s dead in the heart.  Her look from the night before…that’s what I’ve been focusing on.  Not any of the other things about that night.  I haven’t scribed notes.  Haven’t dared to yet.  Too fresh.

She finishes another clip and finally sets her pistol down, bringing the target forward.  I can’t help but step forward to see the results.  As I suspected, she’s shot so many tight shots that it’s tore a huge hole right through the heart of the target.  I remove my safety gear. 

“Nice,” I say out loud, under my breath.  This is what I have to deal with.  I find myself wondering if she knows those skills are useless against the supernatural.  I clear my throat.  “You wanted to see me?”

She continues to ignore me, doing something with her weapon.

“Fine.”  I turn on my heel and start to go.  I have a limit to my patience too.

“I don’t want you to see him again.”  I stop walking and turn back to her.  She’s slowing removing her safety equipment.  She’s not looking at me.  I think she’s embarrassed that she feels this way.  “I’m beginning to think it was a bad idea contacting you.”  Her hand rests on her gun.

“Why?  Because you think my helping him is going to make you less useful?”

That stings her and I’m stunned to her the words fall out of my mouth.  Where is this emotion coming from?

Her eyes flick up to me, liking the challenge.  “I don’t like you attitude.”

I take a step forward.  “Good.  Because I’m getting sick of yours.  You were the one that wanted me to help him and now that it seems to be doing some good, you feel threatened.  Dare I wonder why you have no human boyfriend?”

Her hand flinches over the gun but she stops herself.

“I don’t make a habit out of counseling humans but you should consider getting some.  You’re wound tighter that he is. ”  I’m done feeling sorry for her.  So strange how quickly that shifted.  I begin to wonder in some part of my mind when the pissing part of this contest will start.

Whether it’s my standing up to her or her instinct with the gun, I can see her resolve slipping.  “Yeah that would be a great conversation.”

“Morena, you have to stop thinking of me as competition.  I’ve been hired to help a client.”

“He doesn’t look at you like that.”

I throw up my hands and turn to go, so not wanting to cover this subject.

“You were right.”

That stops me from walking out.  Turns me back around.

She continues.  “I’m new at this.  Jesper told me I would have to learn to accept him with other women, that it was just in a vam…his kind’s nature to have more than one, uh, companion.  I guess you’re just my first taste of that.”

“I’m not sleeping with him.”

“But you will.  Eventually.”

A pained smile crosses my face, probably hoping to cover the blushing.  I shake my head.  “What makes you think that?”

She assess me for a moment.  “Because I think you protest too much.  You feel it too.  I can see that much.  It’s different this time.  For you.  Oh you’re putting up your guards, maybe even will put up a good fight but he’ll get through it.”  She sighs.  “He just gets to you.”

She needs to know so much more.  Positive vampires just draw you in.  She’s never met anything else, doesn’t know anything else.  it’s unfair how special she thinks he is.  Well, except the glowing eyes part, of course.  Which she doesn’t even know.  And now isn’t the time to think about that.

Morena begins packing up her things, thinking she’s had the last word.

“Jesper isn’t the first vamp I’ve met nor will he be the last.  The more you know about them, the less fantastical they’ll seem.  Believe me, it’ll almost get ordinary, their abilities.”

“Right.”

We share a look for a moment.  It’s a tenuous peace at best, one that I recognize I need to work on.  I can’t proceed with his treatment at night while waging war with his companion during the day.  At some point, tests will be needed that will strain her trust.  Probably sooner than later.  She’s looking at my amulet, much like he had.

“You wanna tell me how you guys met?” I ask, hoping to find some common ground.

“You wanna tell me why you’re so certain of your own immortality?”

Common ground indeed.  This subject was so much easier.

“Let’s take a walk.”

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