Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 25

“Vergil, in my office, now,” Lieutenant Brewer said the moment Vergil walked into the squad room.

“Is something wrong?” Vergil asked as soon as he was there with the door closed behind him.

“Possibly. Mr. Harwood made bail.”

Vergil nodded. “Not too surprising I guess. Has he gone to ground somewhere or is he trying to… No, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to try to start up again.”

“So far no signs that he is although he’s been in contact with a couple of his partners who also made bail.”

“I hope you’re not planning on my trying to infiltrate them again. I think he knows my face a little to well.”

“And that’s what’s bothering me. Word had reached us that he’s put out a contract on you.”

“Shit happens. People have tried to get me taken out before. I’m still around.”

“Which is why I called you in here,” the lieutenant said. “I want to keep you around for a good while longer. An attitude like that won’t help it happen.”

“What did you have in mind then? You think I’ll sneak out of town and go into hiding? Not happening.”

“Detective Orbryn…” The lieutenant shook his head in exasperation. “You’re not invincible and he’s not a happy camper. He’s pulled in one of the best around to do the job. A man called ‘Calaul’.”

Vergil knew the lieutenant was upset. The man rarely if ever used his surname unless he was extremely pissed off with him, or as now, worried about him. So he nodded, pacing to the dirty office window for a moment, staring through the grime at the street below them. Finally he turned. “How do you know who they hired?”

“Believe it or not, you’re not our only undercover operative. The best, granted, but we do have others and they hear things.”

“Sorry, should have figured. All right, I’ll pull a vanishing act for a bit but I am not leaving town.”

Lieutenant Brewer smiled slightly. “I didn’t really figure you would. As long as you go deep enough to keep anyone from finding you it should be sufficient.”

“It will be. I guess I should get out of here now.”

“Use the…” The lieutenant didn’t get to finish his sentence as Vergil was already out the door, heading toward the hallway outside the squad room.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 24

Simeon stepped aside to watch as Vergil cut up chicken and vegetables. Then he heated oil in a deep frying pan preparatory to stir frying everything. “Did you grow the vegetables?”

“Some yes.” Vergil smiled proudly. “I have a fairly decent garden out back.”

“You have a ‘fairly decent’ one in your windows.”

“Well…” Vergil shrugged.

“Hey that wasn’t condemnation or anything. I like all the plants.”

By then Vergil had put everything into the pan, including some fresh herbs, and was carefully stirring them together. Simeon was surprised when he realized his mouth was watering from the aroma. When Vergil was ready to take the food out of the pan he glanced at Simeon. “You’re sure you don’t want some?”

“Well, maybe a little bit, just a taste.”

Taking two plates from the cupboard, Vergil heaped most of the stir-fry on one, putting a small amount on the second, and set them on the table along with cutlery and two glasses of wine.

Once they were seated Simeon tasted his cautiously. “It’s just a good as it smells.”

Vergil grinned. “So not boring?”

“Not in the least. It’s been a long time since I’ve had something this good. Well, actually, it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten much of anything at all.”

“Maybe next time I’ll…” Vergil dropped his eyes, concentrating on eating.

“If all your cooking is as good as this I’ll take you up on that.”

Vergil smiled but said nothing in reply.

They ate in companionable silence. When they were finished Simeon insisted on clearing up and doing the dishes despite Vergil’s saying it wasn’t necessary. “Neat freak here, remember,” Simeon said with a laugh.

Once he’d put away the last dish Simeon checked the time. “Now, I’m afraid, I’ll have to do the unforgivable, I’ve eaten, now I must run. Off to work that is, not literally run.”

Vergil chuckled at the joke. “I figured that’s what you meant.” He walked to the door with Simeon, hesitated then asked, “Will I see you again? I mean…”

Simeon put a finger under Vergil’s chin, tipping his face up, and bent slightly to brush a light kiss over his lips. “You will definitely see me again if that’s what you want.”

“I do.” Wrapping his arms around Simeon’s neck, Vergil did as Simeon had, pressing the lightest of kisses on Simeon's lips before stepping away. “Now you should go I suspect. Don’t want your bosses getting mad at you.”

“I’m pretty much my own boss, and I rarely get mad at me. However, yeah I should leave. I’ll call you.”

“I’ll answer when you do. Well, if I can.”

“I understand.” They kissed again, less tentatively than before. “Be careful out there,” Simeon said softly when they parted.

“Usually am, and you too.”

“I always am.” Simeon opened the door, stepping onto the stoop. “Until next time, good night.” He headed to his car, turned back when he got to it and smiled when he saw Vergil watching him.

There will definitely be a next time, he thought as he got in and drove away.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 23

Simeon woke to find he was alone in a strange bedroom. He immediately remembered why it was strange, and why he was alone.

Now the question becomes do I stay and wait until he comes home, or leave because he might well regret that he opened up to me last night.

Common sense said he should get out of there. Simeon suspected Vergil had revealed more about his past life to him than he had to anyone since he arrived in this world.

In fact I know he did. After all, talking about it would let the listener know he was not human. He’d no more open up to a mortal about what he is than I would.

He got up, dressed quickly, and went downstairs to the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator, he chuckled to himself. There were several kinds of liquid there but no blood.

Ah well, I guess orange juice will have to suffice for now to quench my thirst.

After pouring a glass he wandered back into the living room. He hadn’t really taken a look at it last night. He wasn’t too surprised to see plants on open shelves set in the large windows at both ends of the room, or the flowers on the table in the dining room. Vergil was an elf and would have the inherent elven love of all things natural. There was little in the way of furniture, the two armchairs with the table between them in front of a fireplace that was flanked by bookshelves, a small but surprisingly sophisticated entertainment center on the wall between the kitchen and dining room doors with two more chairs facing it.

Very minimalistic.

He wondered it that was a protest against how Vergil had grown up. From what he had told him last night he was used to luxurious surroundings, even if some of his time spent in them had been as a slave.

Crossing to the bookshelves he perused some of the titles, unsurprised to find both books relating to Vergil’s work and ones on horticulture. He chuckled when he found one section holding a wide selection of fantasy titles, wondering if Vergil found them as amusing as he found the stories about vampires.

He finished the juice and returned to the kitchen to wash the glass and put it away where he found it.

“Are you always so neat?”

Simeon turned to find Vergil standing in the doorway. He looked better than he had last night, more relaxed Simeon thought. “I am. Not OCD about it, but sort of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ neat.”

“I wasn’t certain you’d still be here when I got back.” Vergil crossed to the refrigerator and began to take out the makings for supper, cocking an eyebrow in question as he did.

“I’m not much on eating,” Simeon admitted. “Not that I can’t but after living as long as I have all food seems… the same, and rather boring to be honest.”

“Understandable. Humm, I might have…” He dug deeper in the fridge. “Ah ha” He held out a plastic-wrapped steak. “I think it’s still good. I can sear it for you; I mean if you want to stick around.”

“Just how long has it been in there?”

When he checked the ‘sell by’ date Vergil winced. “Too long.”

Simeon laughed. “Then I think I’ll pass.”

After tossing the steak into the garbage, Vergil asked, “But you’ll stay?”

“Sure, why not. I do have to go to work but my hours are flexible.”

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 22

When they reached to second floor Simeon was stymied. There were four doors, all closed. “Which one?”

“Umm…” Vergil blinked and pointed.

Simeon chuckled. “You are tired I think.” Putting his arm around the smaller male’s waist he steered him in the right direction and opened the bedroom door. When Vergil seemed hesitant to enter, Simeon put one hand at the small of his back to urge him forward until they reached the bed.

Vergil sat, looking up at Simeon. “You’re...?”

“Stop asking. Take off your shoes, then your socks, or do you want me to do that for you.” Without waiting for a reply Simeon dropped down on one knee to help, since Vergil seemed intent on unbuttoning his shirt instead. “For a mere elf you have a nice body,” he commented as he eyed Vergil’s torso.

“Mere elf? Mere..?” Vergil’s amethyst eyes sparked with annoyance.

Simeon grinned. “That woke you up.”

“Yeah, guess it did.” Reaching down, Vergil began to unbutton Simeon’s shirt. When he’d finished he took in the well-defined chest in front of him. “Yours isn’t too bad either, for a vampire.”

“Just how many other vampires have you seen half-undressed?”

“Humm… Maybe none?”

Simeon snorted. “Thought as much.” He stood, folding his shirt over the back of a chair. He held out his hand, waiting for Vergil to give him his shirt then did the same with it. After neatly setting his shoes next to the chair, socks lying on top of them, he asked, “Do you sleep in something? If so where is it?”

“Actually, usually, nothing.”

“A man after my own heart. However, under the circumstances, if you’d be more comfortable in sweat pants just tell me where to find them.”

Vergil scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Stop treating me like I’m going to break, or go fleeing from the room before you can see me naked, or vice versa.”

“Believe me seeing you in the buff is not going to send me fleeing.” Simeon started to unzip his slacks, smiling to himself when he realized Vergil was watching with more than a touch of interest. As he let his slacks slide off his hips and felt Vergil’s eyes still on him he wagged a finger at him. “We’re just sleeping. You’re about to pass out where you’re sitting.”

It was apparent Vergil was going to deny he was, but a yawn proved him a liar.

“Lie back and I’ll get your pants off you,” Simeon ordered with a laugh.

Vergil did after unzipping them, lifting his hips to facilitate their removal. Simeon’s look lingered for a long moment on the elf’s package and then his pale, muscular thighs. Fighting a rush of lust he took both pairs of slacks to the chair, folding them as well.

“Nice ass,” Vergil muttered, the last part sibilant as he yawned again.

Coming back to the bed, where Vergil was now curled on his side, Simeon slid in behind him. After wrapping his arms around him he whispered, “Close your eyes and sleep.”

Vergil snuggled against him with a murmured, “You’re cold.”

“Just cool, and it comes with the territory. You’ll get used to it.”

“Mmm humm, I hope… so… plan on…” were the last words Vergil managed to get out before falling asleep.

“I do too, Vergil. But time will tell.”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 21

“I've been in the city, about sixteen years," Simeon replied. "In the country, since just after the war.”

“Which war? Gods know there have been enough of them.”

“Oh. Yeah. World War Two. I decided I wanted to see if the States lived up to the hype. They do, both the good and the bad.”

“And the ugly.” Vergil actually smiled as if he meant it. “Sorry, couldn’t resist the movie allusion.”

“A bad one. The allusion not the movie that is. I gather you’re feeling a bit better now if you’re making jokes.”    

Vergil thought for a moment then nodded. “I guess I am. Thanks for listening, and for making me talk.”

“It was my pleasure.”

“Pleasure?” Vergil cocked an eyebrow.

“Alright, perhaps ‘pleasure’ wasn’t the right word under the circumstances. Your history certainly wasn’t what I’d expected.”

“I’m sure.” Vergil stared off into space for a second before shaking his head. “And it is just that, history. I can’t change it but now, maybe, I can put it behind me. Or at least not let it get to me the way it has for the last couple of days.”  

Leaning back, Simeon studied him. “It made you what you are, a seeker of justice for the downtrodden. That’s not a bad thing to my way of thinking.”

“I’m just a cop,” Vergil protested.

“‘To serve and protect’. Isn’t that what’s emblazoned on the police cars. I suspect it defines you to a T.”

“Gods, Simeon, now you’re making me sound like a saint or some such. I’m just an overworked detective who right now needs to get some sleep.”

Simeon laughed. “Is that a not so subtle hint I should leave?”

Looking at him quite seriously, Vergil debated how to reply. Suddenly, inexplicably, he didn’t want him to leave. Not yet.

“Vergil, that’s wasn’t a question that should take so long to answer.”

“Yeah it was. I am tired but… I’m not certain I want to be… to sleep… alone.”

Reaching across the intervening space, Simeon took both Vergil’s hands in his. “If you need someone to hold you until you fall asleep I will. If you want someone to wake up next to in the morning I might not be the best choice. I don’t wake up until afternoon, late afternoon.”

“I can… deal with that.”

Simeon stood, pulling Vergil to his feet. “You’re sure?”

“About this, yes. For tonight at least I want to be held as if I… I mattered as a person.”

“I understand,” Simeon replied softly. He glanced around, saw the stairs in the small hallway off the living room, and led Vergil toward them.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 20

“Good gods.” Simeon started to reach out to touch him but stopped when Vergil pulled back out of reach. “What happened next?” Simeon asked quietly.

“The war spread, the man who owned me fell to his attackers, his estate was taken by those fighting on my father’s side. Unfortunately they had no idea I was my father’s son. When I tried to tell them they just laughed. One of them took a fancy to me even though I looked like what I was by then—a menial slave, half-starved, clothed in nothing more than a thin shirt and a pair of worn breeches. He took me, in all the ways you can imagine.”

Again Simeon reached for him, managing to capture his hand. “No wonder you do what you do now. What I don’t understand is why you are here.”

“In the end the king and his forces prevailed. My… owner was captured. Since I was part of the spoils of war I was almost executed along with him and the rest of his followers. Only Andaer’s intervention kept that from happening. I was given a choice, use my power over animals in the service of the king, or be marked as a freed slave and then exiled.”

“Obviously you chose the latter. This ‘marking’, was it physical or mental?”

Freeing his hand from Simeon’s grip, Vergil unbuttoned the cuff of his sleeve and pulled it back to reveal a symbol burned into his wrist. Then he turned, lifting his hair. The same symbol had been burned into the nape of his neck.

Gently Simeon traced a finger over it. “To do this was cruel, but if it saved your life…”

“Andaer saved my life. The mark and my exile gave me a new life, a worthwhile one.”

“How do you explain this if someone asks?” Simeon touched the mark on Vergil’s wrist.

“A youthful bet with a friend. Kids do some strange things to their bodies. Look at all the piercings and tattoos they have.”

Simeon nodded. “I suppose you’re right about that. How long have you been in exile, if I may ask?”

“About… Damn, now that I think about it I’m not sure. I’ve moved around so much I’ve lost track.” Vergil tapped a finger pensively on the table, smiling slightly when Simeon covered his hand in annoyance. “I know I started out in New York. One of the gates is there, in Central Park. I was able to pass myself off as a German immigrant because of my looks.” He chuckled. “It was that or Irish and I don’t look Irish. Besides, saying I was German explained my not knowing the language. I got jobs as a laborer.” He smiled wryly. “Something I was very familiar with. Then I met a man, a policeman. He was bemoaning the lack of good men to recruit onto the new police force. From there, as they say, the rest is history.”

“By my rough calculations then I’d say you’ve been here since the mid eighteen hundreds.”

“That sounds about right.” Vergil stretched, picked up his cup and took a drink. “Damn.”

Simeon laughed. “Now it’s too cold.”

“Pretty much, yeah.” Setting the cup down, he looked at Simeon. “I know you said you’ve been around for two thousand years. How long have you been here in the city?"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 19

As Simeon settled down in one of the two armchairs, putting his tea down on the small table between them, Vergil studied him.

Do I trust him? Probably. But do I want to open up to him? He frowned as he perched on the edge of the other chair then took a big gulp of coffee. “Damn,” he muttered.

Simeon chuckled. “Too hot?”

“Yes.” He set the cup down beside Simeon’s, drumming his fingers on the table afterwards.

“That’s quite annoying,” Simeon commented.

“Sorry.” Vergil stopped. He put his elbows on his knees, clasped his hands together and rested his chin on them, staring down at the carpet.

“Does whatever’s got you tied in knots have to do with something which happened here, or something in your past life?”

“In my past, before I came here. You read the paper you ‘found’ in my bag. You know what it said.”

Simeon nodded. “It was basically a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ letter saying you were a free man and had permission to be in this world. It was signed by Káno... I forget what his name was, by order of the Aran. To the best of what I remember of your language Káno means commander and Aran is elven for king.”

“Right on both counts,” Vergil muttered without looking up.

“So, my immediate question would be were you a soldier or in prison?”

“Neither.” Vergil’s mouth tightened. What the hell, it’s gone this far. “I was a slave.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” Vergil spat out, lifting his head to stare at Simeon defiantly. “I. Was. A. Slave.”

“Oh I heard you all right. I wasn’t questioning your words; just the fact there is slavery in your world. I though elves were freedom-loving people.”

“There’s freedom and ‘freedom’, just like here. There’s also war, just like here. My father was a warrior lord. He was captured by his enemy. My… servitude bought his freedom.”

“His enemy. Singular?”

“Yes. It was a war between our families to begin with, although it spread soon after his release. Unfortunately for me that was too late. I became a slave to the man whose hatred my father had earned.” Vergil worried his lip. “The hatred was justified, although I didn’t know it at the time. My… captor was a close ally of the king’s. My father… wasn’t.”

“Your father must have been a real bastard to be willing to give you to this man.”

Vergil shrugged. “I suppose he was. I suspect he figured his freedom was paramount so he could continue the war. One could hope he thought he’d win and get me back.”

“What made you so important that you became a bargaining chip?”

“I have a special rapport with animals. Much more so than most elves. I can make an animal do anything I command it to.”

“A nice plus I suppose, if you could make a wolf or some other beast attack your enemies. It could come in very handy in wartime.”

“Exactly. The man, his name was Andaer, was certain he could persuade me to do just that. When I refused…” A shudder ran through Vergil’s body. “He wasn’t cruel, he didn’t torture me in order to make me do what he wanted. Instead he sold me, with the condition he could buy me back if I changed my mind. He sold me to a neighbor who needed a, well house boy would be the description you’d understand I suppose, although house slave was more like it. I was forced to do all the work no one else would lower themselves to do.” He snorted morosely. “In an estate as large as his there was no lack of chores. For two years I was at everyone’s the beck and call. If I rebelled, which I did at first, I was starved into submission.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 18

As they waited for their cars to be brought around Vergil paced. Simeon was sorely tempted to step in front of him to still his movements, resisting only because he suspected it would do no good. It was patently obvious the elf was distressed about something. Something more than the recent happenings. However getting him to open up about what it was would not be easy.

And why do I even care? Simeon wondered. Because we’re forming a friendship of sorts, as tenuous as it is?

The parking valets arrived with the cars, the one driving Simeon’s apparently reluctant to hand over the keys. When Simeon kidded him about it, Vergil chuckled. “Can’t say that I blame him, it’s one hell of a vehicle.”

“A minor indulgence.”

Vergil shook his head as he opened the door to his own car, the brief moment of amusement vanishing, his somber mood returning. “See you again, sometime. Maybe.”  

“The way things seem to be happening with us, I suspect so,” Simeon agreed. He watched Vergil pull away and made a quick decision. Because his car was so distinctive he gave Vergil a good lead as he began to follow him, hoping he was so deep into his thoughts he wouldn’t notice. Apparently Vergil hadn’t because fifteen minutes later he drove into his driveway, got out and went into the house without a backwards glance.

Simeon parked in front then sat for a few minutes, wondering if what he was planning was such a good idea after all. What the hell, I’m here. The worst he can do is slam the door in my face.

Vergil didn’t, although from the look on his face he was tempted to as he asked, “Why are you here?”

“I want to see how the other half lives?” Simeon replied with an ingratiating smile.

“I rather doubt that.” Vergil hesitated. “Well, since you’re here, would you like to come in? I’ve got coffee brewing.”

“Come in, yes, coffee, no.”

“Oh, right, sorry.” Vergil stepped aside. “I forgot.”

As Simeon entered he laughed. “I can drink coffee, I just hate the stuff. On the other hand if you have tea I’d be open for some.”

“That I can do.” Vergil led the way into the kitchen where he set water to boiling. As they waited he asked again, “Why are you here? I mean really.”

“Because you need to get whatever’s bothering you so badly off your chest. As I said earlier I’m a good listener and I don’t talk about what people tell me.”

“You also said, if I remember rightly, that you don’t condemn.”

“Unless you’re going to tell me you’re a mass murderer or a pedophile or something equally heinous, no I won’t.”

Vergil smiled, barely, as he poured the boiling water into a cup, dropped in a teabag, and handed the cup to Simeon. “I’m none of those.” Fixing coffee for himself, he suggested they go into the living room.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cover reveal for 'You Belong to Me'

Cover reveal for 'You Belong to Me', created by the incredible Reese Dante. Coming in the near future from Dreamspinner Press. 

Very unofficial blurb:
Corey Byrne loves his family, however he's not out to them, making things tense during his Christmas visit. Returning to his job at a homeless shelter, he finds someone has left him a very expensive watch. Soon, he begins to get messages from the anonymous gift giver. Then a friend of Corey's is murdered in Corey's apartment and undercover detective Scott Reed is assigned to protect Corey. As they work together to find the killer, they realize they are beginning to care for each other. Scott is unwilling to act on his feeling unless Corey comes out. Then the stalker strikes again and the question becomes, will Corey survive and in the process allow himself to accept Scott into his life.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 17

“Look, I’m sorry, but it would have been bad enough for a gay cop, if what the newspapers implied happened is true. Putting a straight man in undercover to catch men like that…” Simeon was startled when Vergil laughed. “I’m serious,” he said a bit testily.

“I know you are but you have your facts wrong. They did send a gay cop in. Of course my lieutenant is the only one who knows I am.”

“Well I’ll be damned.”

Vergil cocked an eyebrow. “Aren’t all vampires damned? At least according to the myths about them?”

“Now that wasn’t nice. It’s like saying all elves are… umm…”

“Smugly fantastic? Awesome beings? Physically superior to any other race? Stop me when I hit the one you were looking for.”

Simeon laughed. “I guess you aren’t in the least bit modest.”

“Hey. I didn’t say I was all those things.”

“No, I suppose technically you didn’t”

A smile lit Vergil’s face for a moment. “Playing with semantics, Simeon?”

“For what it was worth, yes. But, my dear boy, all this still begs the question of how you’re doing.”

“I’m not really a boy and you know it.”

“Merely a turn of phrase. So?”

Vergil spread his hands in resignation. “Probably, well definitely better than the men we rescued. I at least only had to go through the… shall we call it initiation process. They were living in…” His face closed down. Picking up his beer he drained the bottle then waved at a passing waitress, holding it up so she’d know he wanted another one.

“Guessing games again, Vergil? Hell, servitude, slavery?” As he said the last word Simeon saw Vergil’s eyes darken in pain that the elf immediately tried to hide by turning to watch the band. Reaching out his hand, he laid it on Vergil’s arm. “You can talk to me. You know I won’t tell, and I will listen and not condemn.”

“Actually, I don’t know that,” Vergil replied tightly. “Besides which, there’s nothing to talk about. I’m here, in one piece and to all intents and purposes undamaged, so drop it. Please.”

For the moment Simeon did. He changed the subject, talking about music since they were listening to some very good jazz, and then moving on to other impersonal topics. Eventually it was late enough he could suggest they leave. Vergil agreed, they finished their drinks, and then headed outside.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 16

Simeon read the story in the newspaper as he drank his breakfast. He had the distinct feeling Vergil had somehow been involved in closing down the prostitution ring since the story said the men who’d been forced into it were all homeless and had been recruited thorough a day labor place.

No wonder you wanted me to ignore you the other morning. So what will you be the next time we happen to run into each other? A drug dealer, or maybe a gunrunner? Of course that presupposes we will see each other again.

Shrugging, knowing it was highly unlikely, Simeon finished his meal, tossed the empty bag and went to get dressed. He was off today and decided it was time to have some fun for a change. And the best place to do that was at a local jazz club he sometimes frequented.

With that thought in mind he went upstairs to get dressed. He doubted they’d let him in the way he was at the moment, totally naked. A few minutes later he studied his image in the full-length mirror on one wall of his bathroom. He was wearing black slacks and a dark red shirt that, in his opinion, suited him quite well as it set off his raven-black hair and piercing blue eyes. Not that it really mattered; he was going for the music and nothing more. If he had wanted more there were other clubs for that.

Gathering up his keys and wallet, he headed out to the garage and was soon driving his Ferrari into the heart of the city. When he got to the club he smiled at the awed and then disappointed look on the parking valet’s face as he tossed him the keys to the car and told him not to go joy-riding.

As always the club was packed with jazz aficionados, some at the bar but most at the tables surrounding the stage. The band was one of Simeon’s favorite local groups with a fellow who played a sax so mellow it could make a grown man weep.

He stopped at the bar to order a glass of dry red wine. While he waited for it, he searched for an empty table, spotting one at the back of the room which, hopefully, would still be available when he got to it. Luck was with him and he snagged it, sat and began contentedly listening to the music while slowly sipping his wine.

“How cliché. Red and black, Vampire?” a voice whispered in his ear as hands gripped his shoulders.

Simeon smiled, turning his head to look up at Vergil. “And just what brings you here, elf?” he replied just a softly.

Without asking permission Vergil pulled out the other chair at the table, spinning it around to sit with his arms crossed over the back. He took a long pull on his beer before answering Simeon’s question. “Good jazz and now good company.”

“You’re presuming I am good company.”

“True, but compared…” He shook his head, taking another drink of beer.

“You were the one who took down the prostitution ring.”

Vergil shrugged. “I helped.”

“False modesty, Vergil?” When Vergil ignored his comment Simeon studied his profile. “How bad was it?”

Again Vergil shrugged as he stared at the band.

“Not to sound like a psychiatrist but…”

“Then don’t,” Vergil spat out, rounding on him. “I’ve already had enough of that from the department’s shrink.”

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Cabbie and the Cop – 15

Vergil quickly backed down the hall, dodging into the room he’d been painting when he'd first come to the house. Someone walked rapidly past the door and up the stairs. He looked around for somewhere safe to hide should they do an all out search for him after they discovered he wasn’t in his room. There really weren’t any options, as the only object in the room was the workbench, and the closet and lavatory were both too small to hold anything he could hide under, in or behind. That left the windows. A fast check let him know that, unsurprisingly, opening them would set off the security alarms. Still, taking his chances outside the house was better than sitting where he was, waiting to be caught.

Unlocking the catch, Vergil took a deep breath, opened the window and jumped out. Look before you leap, stupid, he thought when he ended up being scratched by the bushes under the window. On the other hand they did make good cover. He worked his way between them and wall until he got to the corner of the house.

“He’s out here somewhere.”

Vergil clamped back a gasp of surprise. The voice seemed to come from right beside him—with good reason. He could see a man’s feet and legs just the other side of the bushes.

“Shall we let the dogs find him, sir?” another male voice asked.

Please do, Vergil thought. He had a special rapport with animals no matter how vicious they were. His wish was granted when the man in charge ordered his subordinate to tell the men to get back inside and the set the dogs to hunting.

Vergil waited until he was certain all the men were gone then crept out of the bushes. He sensed the dogs closing in on his location and stood very still, sending out feelings of calm and friendship. Two huge Rottweilers came into view racing towards him. Slowly Vergil lifted one hand, palm forward. The dogs came to a standstill directly in front of him, teeth bared.

“Mellon,” Vergil said softly but firmly, ‘mellon’ being the elven word for ‘friend’

Whether it was the word itself, the tone of his voice, or the feelings he sent to them, the dogs sat, a look of devotion on their faces. He petted each one in turn, wondering if there were others still out there searching, although he doubted it. Taking a chance, he moved swiftly to the trees at the edge of the property, and the wall behind them. The dogs followed, as if they were now guarding him.

Suddenly a man came into view. “Capture” he called out, an order for the dogs that they ignored. “Capture, you sons of bitches.”

Vergil almost laughed at the stupidity of the man’s words. Of course the dogs were sons of bitches, quite literally. Apparently the dogs felt the same way he did since they ignored the man while they watched Vergil leap up to grab a tree branch and use it to swing himself to the top of the wall. “Thanks, guys,” he said with a brief wave to the dogs before jumping down to the sidewalk.