I want Del out of this rooming house. Out of the business, too.
Just have to come up with a plan. Without him knowing I’m behind it.
Money’s not the problem. Got more than enough. Dead Vampyres don’t need what they leave behind. And I sure a hell don’t spend much of it on myself.
Del won’t go for my financing him. For damned sure. Too much pride.
But. Smiling as the idea hits me.
“I like that one.” Wandering around the shop, the clerk in tow. Waited till the owner was gone. She’d have recognized me. Stopping. Studying another picture. Or pretending to. “That one too. Wrap them up.” Handing the startled clerk cash for them.
Once a week I do this. Then store the paintings. Can’t let Del know I’m his ‘angel’.
A month after I’ve started this.
“You won’t believe it,” Del bounces into my room. “My work is really, really selling, Trev.” Waving the commission check at me. Grinning ear to ear.
“Hot damn.” Grinning back. “What you going to do with all that money?”
He bites his lip. “I…I want to find a new place. A nice one.” He looks at me. Must think that that bothers me 'cause he says, “I’ll still be around here. I work here.”
Nodding. “I think you’re moving is a great idea. Couldn’t you…” Putting some hesitation in my voice. “Why don’t you quit the business, Del. If you’re making money on your painting you should concentrate on that.”
“Maybe.” He frowns. “Maybe. But not yet. I need to be sure, Trev. I’m not looking for a big place, but it’ll take all this to move in and get food and you know.”
“Yeah. I get it.” Taking a chance. “Look. I know you’re doing better now but what if I lent you some money. Just to tide you over till you really get going.”
“No way! I won’t take money from you or any man. I’m not a leech.”
Not thinking what I’m saying. Just hurt he won’t let me help him. “Not the way I see it Del. Considering what you do for a living.”
He looks at me in shock.
Yeah, I just screwed up big time. And not sure what to do to change that. “I didn’t mean that the way it came out. Honest.”
“The hell you didn’t.” He turns away, crumpling the check in his hand as he starts for the door.
“Del. I’m sorry. Please.”
“Screw you Trev. Now I know what you really think of me. I thought…” There’s a catch in his voice. “Never mind.” He’s gone. Slamming the door after him.