Godfrey Alistair hated nothing more in his life than slackers. Kalen Beckwith was one of them, nowhere to be seen as usual. Godfrey scoffed and hurled a towel at the floor. If he had one word to describe this kitchen, it would be calamity. Veins popped from his head and his face became a boiling red. The cooks weren’t cooking fast enough, and the servers moved like sloths. Honestly, such incompetence would never slide by in his kitchen.
He made it his mission to find Kalen, that lazy werewolf, and put him in his place. As Godfrey passed by the kitchen he saw a glimpse of green hair and froze. He rubbed his eyes and blinked. There was nothing behind the racks.
Must have been my imagination…
The cool ocean breeze gave him a much needed cooldown from the kitchen’s inferno. He leaned against the rail of the yacht and stared off into the sea. Godfrey released a heavy sigh and reached for a comb in his pocket. He was still foremost a butler and gentleman. He combed his disheveled hair and removed his white gloves. A loud belch broke through his moment of solace. A belch that routed a group of seagulls resting on a pole.
He saw a man resting against the wall smoking a cigarette and holding a bottle. Godfrey narrowed his eyes and stiffened his posture. Kalen, the bastard. Slacking off as usual. Kalen wore the standard chef’s uniform with a white apron stained with food and a hairnet over his bald head. His beard was scruffy and lacked any kind of groom or etiquette. Kalen stared blankly at the stars; the bags beneath his eyes blue and jaw a downward grimace.
Godfrey shook his head, distaste etched on his face. He looked up at the clear night sky where stars and constellations blazed. A full moon shimmered upon them. So the old butler untucked his shirt and rolled his sleeves and sat next to Kalen. Then he snatched the bottle and took a drink.
“You damn yanks can’t make whiskey to save your lives…” he said.
Kalen shrugged, his voice slurred. “Who said we drink it for the taste?”
The head chef stared at her with dark determination in his eyes. Chef Mactavish was an older gentleman with fine green eyes, dirty blonde hair, and a fiery attitude. Though despite his age, firm and tout muscles laced his arms and legs. He constantly boasted to the staff of his triathlon wins, the many restaurants he owned worldwide and his cooking shows. His presence alone made Lyn sweat beads.
She stood before him with a silver platter in her arms. The chef placed an old brass key on it.
He raised a finger as if scolding a child. “Now then,” he said. “You will bring the tray to Ulysses’ chambers, unlock the door, leave the key and tray and then lock the door behind you. Do you understand love?”
The chef smiled and patted her shoulder. “Good. Oh, and by the way… Don’t fuck this up!” he gritted.
Lyn exaggerated a smile and took off with the tray. She pushed open the double doors to the ballroom as she passed other servers. Classical music played in the background as patrons danced. She glimpsed Rain in the corner, surrounded by a group of wealthy young suitors. Sullivan, dressed in a splendid white suit passed her and they exchanged a smile. He left the fragrance of cinnamon in his wake.
The stairs to the next floor lived at the other end of the ballroom. She just had to make it past the decadence of the wealthy and elite. She was halfway there. Her body lurched forward suddenly, and she nearly dropped the silver platter. Lyn’s heart stopped as she looked over her shoulder.
She recognized the congressman from the helicopter. He wore a smirk, and she was certain this asshole had just smacked her rear. He looked the type with a silver beard and hair in a black and white tuxedo. A silver fox, to be exact. The most dangerous and lustful type. The man that didn’t take no for an answer.
Lyn smiled. “Pardon me, sir.”
She bowed and kept walking.
Then she heard him yell with drunken indifference, “You’re going home with me before the night is over!”
The congressman pulled out his checkbook.
She peeked into Ulysses’ sitting room. It wasn’t what she expected and there was no sign of the old billionaire. She sauntered into the room and kicked the door shut behind her. Just as the chef directed, she placed the tray on a small table with the key. A paper target next to her riddled with tears and arrows caught her attention. Two lamps both dimly lit provided the room’s only light, giving it a somber atmosphere. Windows were non-existent and furniture covered by white sheets lined the walls.
Infatuated by the arrows as an archer herself, she pulled on one still lodged in the target firmly. She heard something cut through the air followed by a loud thump. Lyn shrieked as an arrow hit the target dead center inches away from her hand. She turned to see Ulysses standing before her with a bow in hand.
Ulysses nodded. “So, tell me, Lynda Valeska. Are you here to kill me?”
Lyn stifled a gasp and hardened her expression. “How do you know who I am?”
Ulysses chuckled. Blood dripped from his lips and he coughed. “Sullivan isn’t as sneaky as he thinks he is. I’ve known the boy for years. He would be nothing without me.”
Lyn reached for the pistol strapped to her thigh and centered its sights on the old man’s head. Ulysses kept a blank countenance even though he stared death in the face. He wiped the blood from his mouth with a handkerchief. Upon closer inspection, Lyn recognized his frail limbs and meek posture. His back had a slight hunch. He walked with a noticeable limp and his cough was deep and hoarse.
She squeezed the trigger.
“You really are as beautiful as they say you are,” Ulysses said. “Drake is a lucky man-”
She gave him a rueful look, and her humanity dissipated by the second. Then the tears came. “SHUT UP! You have no right to bring up his name- You old bastard! I’m gonna kill you-!”
She pressed the tip of her barrel against his forehead. Ulysses dropped his bow and though he never fluttered, she could see the terror in his eyes.
“What did Sullivan tell you? That I’m responsible for killing him?”
Ulysses chuckled. “That figures. But since I’m a deadman, anyway. Let me tell you one thing…”
Lyn tilted her head. “Go on.”
“Sullivan is the one responsible. He controls the four horsemen. He was the one that ordered them to kill Drake. And…” He looked at her with snakelike eyes. “Drake is alive-”
Ulysses sighed. “What do I have to gain from lying to you my dear? It’s the truth and you know it. If you don’t believe me, just go to London. That’s where you’ll find him-”
She squeezed the trigger, and the gun fired like a clap of thunder. Streaks of fire struck and grabbed Ulysses’ head. Gunpowder lingered in the air and she heard a thump. She waved away the smoke and saw Ulysses' stiff corpse lying on the ground.