"Good evening, Ms. Parway."
His red tuxedo vest brings more color to his cheeks, giving his face a healthier glow. Unlike most of the men here, he has broken the white and black color code by wearing the stark colored vest with a black dress shirt underneath. His tuxedo jacket and tie are black. A red folded handkerchief is tucked neatly into his tuxedo suit jacket pocket.
For once, he isn’t wearing his police hat and his short dark golden hair is combed back, almost appearing amber in this lighting. But even here, at a party, he still carries the tense and authoritative gaze of an on-duty officer as he scans the sea of people in the ballroom while sipping a clear glass of yellow looking milk, probably eggnog of some sort.
“The witches who trespassed into our headquarters and harassed ya yesterday were all caught on tape. Turns out the flash of light ya saw Ms. Parway was a generator that blew across the street at the stop lights...we will kindly wait until the party’s over to arrest the perpetrators. Wouldn’t want to ruin this important evening, would we?” he announces tiredly, setting down his glass on a drink stand while approaching me and I shrug my shoulders.
If they were to arrest the ones here, I’m sure it would create a scene and who knows how they’d react being ‘publicly humiliated’ for their illicit behavior.
I’m just glad we were able to identify them. It’s a relief to know the reasoning behind their panic attack was due to a non-supernatural cause. I feel much better now, knowing the police have made some progress. Progress that I can now be part of too.
“That’s wonderful news,” I breathe out, feeling a little left out from the fun going on in the ballroom.
It’s much colder out here, especially without my shawl on. I’m really regretting leaving it behind at my seat. Sooner or later, I’m going to have to march right back in there and find Will. He’s probably looking for me now.
Our view of the crowd gets cut off rather abruptly when two kitchen staff members pass us with giant mobile racks of cooked chicken and ham. I suppose the official dinner is starting, I had thought the table buffets set out were our main course!
The food smells divine.
“If you’ll excuse me,” Nick says abruptly, his eyes still searching the crowd. Maybe he is looking for someone. Did he come with a date? He had to.
“Oh, of course,” I reply quietly.
With a curt nod, he turns away from me and heads into the ballroom parting ways with me and trailing behind the man and woman pushing the food away from us and into the ballroom.
I wonder if Heinrich was invited too. The two of them seem inseparable back at the police department. Where one goes, the other is never far behind. Even when Nick came to my house and saved me, Heinrich was there.
They both are always discussing the latest news together at the station and usually patrol together too. Just as my mind struggles to imagine the rather intimidating and buff vampire in a tuxedo, I spot a familiar head of brown hair in the ballroom heading towards me.
“There you are! Don’t worry, I got her kicked out of here. I can’t apologize enough for her behavior,” Will explains, but he looks distracted, “...who were you talking to just a moment ago? I thought I saw the police chief sulking over here earlier. Don’t tell me he came to crash the event, this is a very crucial night for all of us.”
He hands me my shawl and clutch with a boyish grin. Eager and ecstatic to wear my warm shawl. I quickly slide it over my shoulders.
“We were just talking about work. Did you know I wasn’t on the guest list? That’s the reason I’ve been waiting out here,” I answer lightly, ready to go back in the ballroom and this time not get thrown out.
Will leads me by the hand back into the ballroom over to the fountain near a group of other couples.
“Are you for real? I specifically told them I was coming with you, unbelievable. Who was the one who asked you to leave?” Will asks me sounding bothered.
He rests his hand on the bare skin of my back between my shoulder blades. His hand is warm and comforting, making me relax, but only a little.
Looks like mostly everyone is seated at their tables already. So we should probably hurry up and find ours before we end up being the last ones seated. Since Will is kind of an important person here being head of the coven, we probably should have already been seated.
“No, it’s fine. I’ll just sit near you. Who else is at our table?” I ask curiously, but he curses sharply, looking around the room.
Then perking up, he points at a table three tables over from where we are. It’s already full though except for one seat. Uncomfortable, I cross my arms as realization sets in.
They really weren’t expecting me to be here. When we walk up to the tables, my assumption is proven correct when I read the name cards on the white expensive milk glass dinner plates. The five coven members already seated give me sorrowful looks, one of them is an older warlock and he stands up quickly offering me his seat next to Will.
“Oh! No...no, thank you. It’s fine. Really, I couldn’t take your seat...” I trail off feeling distraught and distressed.
Will stands behind the chair of his assigned seat. If looks could kill, well the server frantically apologizing to him would be dead. Unintentionally, he begins to make a scene. Raising his arms in frustration as he’s clearly a newbie server and has no idea how to help me. Will starts raising his voice and I bite my lip looking between the two of them.
Suddenly, with a look of panic, the server abandons Will and makes a beeline for the ballroom doorway. A few coven members at the table next to ours laugh among themselves. First, the champagne spill and now this. I’m not welcome here and they’ve made it clear as day. Well, maybe my name not being on the seating list was a mistake.
“Um...” I mumble, feeling lost.
How easy it would be for me to just release my magic and give the laughing witches the trip of their lifetime-to hell.
That would be doing what they want me to, proving to them I’m some sort of demonic witch. So all I can do is stand here and listen to the giggles and whispers spreading through the tables around ours, their voices poison seeping into my heart and mind.
I watch as Will chats up the table of werewolves next to ours. He asks them if we can borrow the extra chair at their table, but they shake their heads ‘no’ as the seat gets taken by its occupier who returns with an armful of half full wine glasses for their table.
“Val, just wait a second. I’m going to go around the room,” Will says after returning to me and I glance around the huge ballroom.
I doubt there will be many, if any, chairs available. They all look taken. The mayor is already on stage making announcements about the main courses we are eating tonight and the businesses founding tonight’s festivities.
Will catches the attention of another server and tries to ask them for help. Meanwhile, the other servers pass by me and already have our table’s main courses set down. People are eating now and less interested in my situation, thank goodness.
Food is more important than their stupid fears and rude behavior.
So I try to muster a small smile. Back before my family passed away, my parents always told smiling makes one happier. My attempt at a smile is pretty pathetic though because it quickly forms into a frown.
Looking disgruntled, Will marches away from the server and I cross my arms feeling nervous. He couldn’t have had any luck going off of his clenched jaw and tightened fists. His magic is getting a little out of hand too, shaking the silverware of the table he had planned for us to sit at.
“Will calm down. I will go look for a seat somewhere else. I can always stand over by the buffet too,” I offer.
He slumps his shoulders looking defeated. “They would have already gotten you a seat and spot at our table if they weren’t so caught up in the news,” he answers.
The humans actually believe the news now too? They can’t seriously believe I’m the white witch. The riots have only been going on for a few days. They can’t be biased already, I’m sure the servers just have a lot going on tonight.
It’s just a simple mistake.
Someone behind me pats the carefully brushed top of my head lightly.
“Ah, Mr. McCaster. I’ll save you some trouble. Ms. Parway, we have an open seat at my table,” Nick offers in his smooth voice, stepping up next to me.
His grin isn’t exactly genuine but forced as he shakes Will’s hand.
“No, we are already taken care of,” Will grunts, quickly closing off Nick’s offer.
Two servers come up to our table. One carries a plate for me and the other carries a chair. I kind of feel like I’m getting the royal treatment as they set down a fresh platter off food encased in a silver covered platter right on my plate.
“Splendid,” Nick says after habitually clicking his tongue.
Excited, I thank the servers and sit down ready to finally dig into the warm delicious food. Will is still standing though, he pulls out something from his tuxedo jacket. A thick looking stack of dollars.
With a frown, Nick takes the cash from him and stows it inside his jacket.
“Will, you know that’s only half the payment. I’m not impressed,” the police chief tells him lightly.
His eyes darken with something else though. Perhaps, the threat of the words gone unsaid.
“Hurry up and eat young’uns, your food is getting cold,” the older warlock at our table says through a mouthful of mashed potatoes.
How easily I forget not all the coven members are stingy old deranged fear mongers.
Will finally comes over towards his seat, but he stops short and rests his hand on the back of my chair. The police chief and him have some kind of weird staring contest, either that or a very delayed goodbye. Nick’s head is cocked to the side slightly and his chin is raised as if he’s waiting for something, but Will looks straight ahead at him as if standing his ground. It’s awkward and I’m not sure what to say to break the silence.
Finally, the tension is broken when Nick speaks up.
“Yes, enjoy your food,” Nick tells us slowly, before heading to his own table.
“What was that about? What are you paying him for?” I ask Will quickly after he sits down.
“Security, but it’s only temporary. I’m leaving town next week. Remember? I told you the supreme mistress and my family are visiting her for the holiday. Unfortunately, I have no choice, but to go,” Will tells me.
I didn’t forget, I just don’t see why I can’t go with him. I rather not bring up that conversation again, it really would ruin our night and probably everyone else’s here at the table who’d have to listen.
“What for? Do you want them to watch the house while you are gone?” I ask him instead, surprised he would entrust his family’s home to vampires knowing their hatred of them.
Will told me the Silvets bought most of their land once his family moved. They did not sell their actual house yet though, so they still have belongings in it.
“Something like that. Boy am I hungry,” Will answers simply, dropping the topic and digging into his plate.
I stab my slab of ham with a fork, unsatisfied by his answer and thinking about why I’ve been excluded from his trip. It really all boils down to the supreme witch being afraid of me, just like his family is now too.