I'm going to be posting some excerpts from Vampire Caprice this week and next, up to and beyond when I get this thing published. I'll have something from Vasyl, something from Rick, and something from Bill and something from my evil-doers.
So, without further eloquence... the scene:
When we finished eating, Chris asked if I still wanted to go with him down to the Springs tomorrow.
“I'd like to, but I'll have to see if it's alright with my boss.” I stood with my plate, and stepped out to help him clear the dishes.
“What's alright?” The voice came from the other end of the kitchen, behind me. A spot that I hadn't even considered. I looked toward the steps I'd taken upstairs earlier. The large frame that belonged to Tremayne stood next to that gliding stairway, in the portion that went down. To me it looked like a dark hole. Obviously he had come up from the “lair”. I thought this odd since when last I saw him he was reading in the front room.
“Uh, that I take the day off tomorrow and do what I want?” I said with a hopeful edge to my voice.
“Oh,” he said. “We'll talk about it. Come downstairs when you're finished. Have a night cap with me.” He turned, and I watched his golden head disappear down into the “lair”. A nightcap? With a vampire? With Tremayne. I didn't like the sound of it and a chill ran all the way up my spine.
“I gather that's the vampire lair?” I said, feeling a little more than petrified about going down there. Especially with Tremayne.
“It's nice. Really,” Celia said. “There's a wet bar down there, couches, a fireplace.”
“Vampires,” I added drolly.
“Technically only one vampire right now,” Rick said. Oh, that's helpful.
I slid my eyes to him and pressed my lips, giving him a WTF look. Tremayne was certainly one vampire that I wasn't all that sure I wanted to be alone with again, after that near miss the other night.
With dinner finished, I helped Chris load up the dishwasher, and tried to dawdle as much as I could, putting it off with Mr. Tremayne.
Rick was playing Wii with Celia in the living room while I made small talk with Chris. Five minutes later Rick came in to get a beer. “Haven't you gone downstairs yet?” he said in an exhaustive voice, like I was being a naughty child.
“No,” I said. “I'll be alone with him.”
“Oh, pl-EEZ!” he said. “You guys were pretty comfortable the other night.”
I caught Chris looking at me from across the room. I could think of nothing to say in my own defense. It was obvious to Chris that I was probably Tremayne's squeeze on occasion, and not just his employee.
I was between the proverbial rock and hard place. I couldn't stand the guilty feelings, and the looks I was getting from Chris, and Rick was not helping matters.
“C'mon, Brie,” Rick said. “He just wants to have a drink with you and talk.”
Maybe it was the inflection in his voice, implying that I was being silly, and Tremayne had no ulterior motives in mind, but I caved. The voice inside my head said, You're gonna kick yourself... later.
Without a word, I stepped over to the entrance of the lower section of the house. There were lights on down there, they just weren't very bright. Holding on to the railing, I descended into the dank vampire lair. I had to block images from events bombarding me. It was like walking through a cloud of images each one clawing for supremacy. I had to pause to stabilize my chi and keep from having a massive synaptic over-load. A lot of human-vampire orgies had taken place down here. What was one more? Shut up!
Soft music drifted up to me. It sounded like sexy jazz. Crap. A few steps down, I found myself at the bottom and now faced a French door with a sheer curtain over it. As though on automatic pilot—or under a vampire thrall—I grasped the brass door latch, opened it, and stepped through, quietly closing it behind me.
“Hell-o?” I sang.
“In here,” Tremayne called from somewhere deeper. I smelled exotic incense, or maybe candles burning. Okay, sexy music and candles. This wasn't good.