Kendra practically hit the door running, just in time to see Tobias start walking down the sidewalk.
He wasn’t going vampire speed, thank goodness, but he wasn’t letting grass grow under his feet either!
“Tobias!” Kendra shouted at him as she sprinted after him.
He never reacted to her voice.
So, she ran after him and caught up just as he turned the corner onto another street.
Reaching out, she grabbed his arm to stop him.
He turned with a hiss, his eyes red and rimmed in blue.
“Don’t you hiss at me, Tobias Vogel! I wouldn’t have…” she stopped talking and tensed. She then very softly said, “Push back the vampire Tobias, we have company.”
Kendra looked around slowly as she allowed her extra senses to take over and saw a man across the street. After looking both ways, he began to cross the street with a phone to his ear.
A car turned the corner then, slowing until it stopped. Once it did the man behind the wheel got out.
“We’ve been looking for you everywhere Kendra. The boss said he had some information on our…” the man stopped glancing at Tobias. “Our suspect and couldn’t get up with you. We looked where you were staying but you weren’t there, so we went to your sister’s house. We found her house just in time to see you sprinting down the sidewalk. We thought you might have seen our suspect and were chasing him.”
Okay, maybe that made sense, but she had her doubts about the story. If they were just looking for her, why was one guy across the street instead of in the car? Kendra thought.
Shaking off her doubts she plastered on a fake smile. “No, no suspect, just the brother-in-law. He forgot something, and his brother sent me after him. Anyway, you’ve found me.”
He grabbed some papers from inside the car and walked around to hand them to Kendra as he studied Tobias.
Kendra saw him take a deep breath as he stepped close.
“I’m Jarod Williams,” Jarod said as he held out his hand for Tobias to shake.
They shook hands and Kendra could almost feel Tobias shudder at shaking hands with a hunter, yet he never let it show on his face. In fact, his face stayed completely emotionless.
Jarod turned to look at Kendra then. His eyes were hard as he said, “Here’s what we found. If you need back up let me know. Boss wants it taken care of tomorrow night, no excuses.”
Kendra frowned. Mr. Ripple had told her to do it quickly, but he knew she had to almost start from scratch. Why the big rush on it suddenly, and being told no excuses? Didn’t she always get the job done?
“So, why couldn’t the boss get a hold of you, which caused him to have to send us out as a search party?” The other guy asked from where he leaned on the car smoking.
Kendra looked over at him and decided she didn’t like his looks much. She’d remember to steer clear of him.
“I was at my sister's for dinner,” Kendra replied politely.
“How did this keep you from answering your phone?” Car dude asked.
“Oh! My phone!” Kendra exclaimed as she put her hand down to pull it from her pocket and frowned. “Rats! Stupid skirt, no pockets! Sorry, I must have left it in my purse,” she groaned and smacked her forehead with the palm of her hand. “Which is in my car.”
The other guy scoffed. “Just like an air-headed woman. I don’t see anything special about you myself, so I don’t know why the boss brought you in. What makes you so much better to work this case than us?”
“Shut up Craig,” Jarod growled.
Craig shrugged and threw down his cigarette stub. After making sure it was out, he got in the car.
“Sorry about that,” Jarod apologized. “Craig has issues with this case and female hun…females in general. I’ll see you tomorrow after you look at the information. Goodnight.”
Then he got back in the car and drove off.
Kendra gave a relieved sigh that they were finally gone. So, turning back to Tobias, she found him walking away. She called out, “Tobias!”
He kept walking.
She once more found herself running after him as he walked up a driveway toward a house.
“Please Tobias, don’t ignore me. Tell me what I did wrong?”
He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and finally spoke. “You are a hunter and I am a vampire. When I told your sister, I would like to meet you, I never expected to be so drawn to you.”
“Okay, but can’t we look past our differences and…”
“Nein, we cannot,” he said.
“Why Tobias? I really like you and well, I’m drawn to you also. There’s just something about you that makes me feel all funny inside. I’d like to see where it might take us. Is that wrong?” She asked.
She heard him pull in a deep breath and let it out slowly before he turned to face her.
“I’m not the love’em and leave’em type Kendra,” Tobias growled out.
“I didn’t say you were, but I don’t see any harm in…”
Once more he cut her off to say, “Nein. Kimberly has told us of your parade of boyfriends. I will not be one.”
That said, he turned on his heel, stomping up the stairs and into his house.
Kendra stood, stunned and staring after him.
It hurt, it really did, more than it should have considering they’d just met. The fact was her parade of boyfriends had mostly been fake if he’d just given her time she could have explained that to him.
So, she turned and ran all the way back to her car. Getting in, she quickly drove back to her motel. Once inside her room, she flung herself on the bed and cried.
Sometime later she stood and stripped, putting on sleeping clothes crawling back into bed she fell into an exhausted sleep.
Kendra woke up later sweating and shaking from a dream she could barely remember. What stood out the most about her dream was the fact that she was screaming Tobias’s name, and he never came.
Rolling over she glanced at the clock and seeing it was six-thirty she decided to get on up.
Walking over to her desk she sat down and began looking at the papers Jarod had given her the night before. It wasn’t much, but it would help.
So, booting up her laptop, she got to work.
Tobias crawled out of bed that morning with a tired sigh. What was it about Kendra that had dug deep into his psyche and made its self at home? He wasn’t an innocent, he’d had girls when he was younger. As he’d gotten older he’d even gone on a few dates, but he kept them platonic because he didn’t want to worry about his urges to bite.
Giving another sigh he made his way to the bathroom and his shower.
I have a lot to get done today. Maybe working on an engine will distract me from the beautiful hunter that is Kendra. With that thought in mind, he dressed in jeans and a t-shirt before he grabbed his coveralls and headed out the door.
Tobias snuck in the back door of the dealership hoping to avoid his Bruders. It didn’t work, because apparently his Bruder Leo knew him too well and was waiting for him.
“I heard you skipped out at dinner in a snit last night,” Leo said, his arms crossed over his chest and a frown on his face.
“Dinner was over, so I didn’t skip out. Also, I’m not a girl, so I don’t have snits,” Tobias snarled, pulling on his coveralls. “What’s it to you anyway?”
“Tobias, she’s a nice girl who is now family by marriage,” Leo said, relaxing his stance. “You need to relax.”
“What she is, is a hunter,” Tobias hissed. He then headed for the car that needed valve cover gaskets replaced.
He heard Leo hiss back at him before he said, “Don’t hold that against her Tobias. Besides, she won’t go after you unless you do something wrong. Just think of her as…as a police officer. Yeah, a police officer for vampires.”
“It isn’t the same Leo. It doesn’t really matter anyway since she’s only going to be here a couple of days,” Tobias mumbled from under the car. “I can avoid her that long.”
“Nein, Tobias, that’s rude,” Leo huffed. “Have you given any consideration, at all, to how it would make Kimberly feel if you ignore her sister? What if she treated you that way?”
He did like Kimberly, and his Bruder loves her so much. He didn’t want to hurt her, she’d been good to him, even if he didn’t talk much. He had this feeling though that he could easily become attached to Kendra if he didn’t watch himself. Then when she left…he didn’t want to be hurt either.
He also knew there was no getting around Leo, better to just agree and be done with it.
“Fine Leo, you win,” Tobias said, giving in. “I will speak if spoken to, but don’t expect me to go out of my way to interact with her.”
Kendra was beyond exhausted. For three days she had been tailing the rogue vampire, Martin Valdez. Every time she thought she had him, he somehow slipped away from her and she was beginning to get seriously annoyed.
The only good thing was that, so far, he hadn’t killed anyone again. Well, that they knew of anyway.
The first night it had been her phone going off and startling her because she could have sworn it was on vibrate!
The second night, she’d seen him slip into an alleyway and was sure she had him. About that time a guy and two girls had come out of the door in front of her and the girls had pushed the guy, laughing about something. Well, he must have been drunk or something because he stumbled right into her. By the time she had gotten loose from him and his apologies, and made it to the alleyway the vamp was long gone!
Mr. Ripple was getting upset, and probably wondering if he’d made a mistake in bringing her in. He couldn't be any more upset with her then she was with herself though. She didn’t usually have this much problem getting the vamp she was after.
She had gotten so close to him last night though, that she had realized he had no smell. When she asked her boss, he told her he would look into it because no smell usually meant human and they knew this guy was a vamp!
Tonight though, tonight was a whole new set of problems for her it seemed.
It started when she got up after taking a bit of a nap. She had ached slightly all day, but now she ached almost to the point of tears and felt as if she had the chills. She was also so sick to her stomach that she felt like throwing up, and her eyes burned. It made it really hard to focus because focusing made her head hurt.
I have to get this guy! I want him eradicated so I can go to bed and sleep for a week, or until this flu I have is gone, gone, and gone!
She’d been following Valdez as he roamed slowly down the sidewalk for twenty minutes now. He seemed to be in no hurry and only slowed to flirt with the women he saw. So far, he hadn’t had any takers on his charms though, so he’d kept going.
Suddenly she began to feel as if she was being watched, but she didn’t dare look or she’d lose Valdez again and she couldn’t afford for that to happen.
Valdez had stopped and was talking once more to a woman. This one seemed receptive to whatever nonsense he was spouting in her ear.
The woman was twirling a finger in her long black hair and Valdez was feeling her arm up.
Was he looking for a hookup or a drink?
Kendra narrowed her eyes as she slowly moved closer to where they stood. She needed to be far enough not to catch his attention, but close enough to stick with him.
The girl must have agreed to something because the next think Kendra saw was them headed for the alleyway.
“Okay Kendra, you have to make this fast, before this flu does any more damage,” she told herself softly.
She knew her strengths and her weaknesses. There weren’t many hunters who could beat her and she hadn’t had a vamp to best her yet. She knew though that with the shakes and nausea she was fighting, she could easily be thrown off her game. That could cost her if she wasn’t careful, and she wasn’t ready to die tonight.
Slowly following them into the alleyway, she waited for the right moment to strike. When she saw him bend the girl forward, and a flash of fang, she took her chance. She was hoping he would be occupied to the point that he wouldn’t be paying as close of attention to his surroundings.
So, fingers crossed, she pulled out her stake and positioning it for a flyby, she took off running.
Valdez must have felt the change in the air because he pulled his head up with a jerk. His fangs were covered in blood, and when he spotted her he hissed.
The woman jerked slightly, causing Valdez to lose his concentration and allowing Kendra to take advantage.
With a quick lunge, her stake landed its mark and Valdez was dust!
The girl was semi-lucid, but after screaming, she hit the ground in a faint.
Kendra hit the ground with a groan.
The run had taken everything she had, and she had no more. With her eyes closed, she tried to take deep breaths, she needed to get out of here before the girl woke up, but she was shaking too hard to move.
Her ears perked up at the sound of footsteps, male and stealthy. She knew she’d been followed!
Kendra slowly forced her eyes open and hid her stake under her body. It was as good a weapon as any if she needed it.
“Kendra? Are you hurt?” A male voice asked.
The voice was familiar, so calling out she asked, “Jarod?”
“Have you been following me?” She asked as she slowly rolled over to face where he was behind her.
“Um… yeah. Boss was worried about you when you came to the office earlier. He seemed to think you weren’t well. Was he right?” Jarod asked as he knelt next to her.
“Yeah, he was right. I think I have the flu and it’s kickin' my butt,” she explained. “Help me up?”
Having him touch her was a mistake because as soon as he touched her hand she screamed and jerked away holding it to her chest! It felt as if he had put fire on her skin.
“What? What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?” Jarod asked, panic in his voice.
“I-I don’t know,” she whimpered. “Your hand felt like fire burning me where you touched me.
Jarod pulled off his long-sleeved shirt and put it around her, making sure not to touch her skin. Then, he pulled the sleeve down over her hand to take it again. He quickly pulled her up, by putting his arm around her, before helping her to his car.
Kendra whimpered but bit her lip to hold it in. He was only trying to help, and he didn’t need to know that the shirt only took the edge off the pain.
“Maybe I should take you to the hospital,” he said as they started on their way.
“No, I just want to go to bed. If it gets worse, I’ll call my sister to take me, but thank you for offering Jarod.”
Jarod nodded. When they reached her motel room he helped her inside. He then asked, “Are you sure you’ll be okay here by yourself?”
“I don’t need a babysitter to watch me sleep Jarod,” she said, “because that’s all I plan on doing. Tell Mr. Ripple that Valdez is no more. If I don’t get up with him tomorrow, then I’ll call him as soon as I get rid of this flu.”
“Alright. Goodnight then,” Jarod said and left.
Carefully getting up off the bed, she locked the door and took a quick shower.
Then, she huddled up in the bed a shivering mess. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath hoping for sleep.
Maybe tomorrow would be better.