"I expect the first payment within 24 hours of my acceptance and the rest within 12 hours of my completion notice." This was my favorite part. Well, second favorite.
"There is no need to worry about your payment" he flattened that word between his teeth and looked at my office in one swift eye roll "it has been directly deposited to your bank account. The second half will be sent in the same manner when you inform me our business is finished."
I looked at him for a moment, shocked. When did he have time to do that? Maybe I was losing my touch for detail spying. I did not see him move outside of when he adjusted in the chair just once. I narrowed my eyes.
"Don't take this as an insult, but I am going to check on that." I sauntered over to my computer. As much of a saunter as I could muster after my leg had been in the same position for too long and had more than fallen asleep on me. I limp-sauntered over and sat down, quickly pulling up my bank account. The total astonished me more than the fact that it truly was there.
I looked up at him, "Mr. Lagueux, we never discussed this price." Not that I truly want to complain but there had to be a misunderstanding or something I am unaware of. I would very much like to be aware of everything when it comes to my cases.
"I do not think of this just as a business deal but a favor. A favor, Nina-" there he goes throwing so much seduction in my name that I was not sure if I even owned it anymore-" that I must show my gratitude on. And a little more for silence from anything that may ask you of your current endeavors." Ah, I thought, there it was. The cherry on top of the undead secret machine standing in front of me. There was more. And there were others involved.
I stood and walked around to the front of my desk. I leaned slightly on it and crossed my arms.
"My life is measly to you but worth living Mr. Lagueux. Therefore I put value in it. I cannot be bought unless I truly know what to expect. You see, if I find myself out there biting off more than I prepared to chew, then I will not be a happy business partner. This is what this acceptance has made us: partners. You need me and if you do not respect me with all the information I could possibly need then I do not respect you." I continued but said the next piece, taking a step towards him, even if I had to strain my neck just a little. "I do not wish to take back my acceptance so why don't we have a more honest conversation?" I lifted an eyebrow for further effect.
He was silent for a long time. I stayed there staring down the vampire in my office. I was nervous and afraid. But there is one thing that life has taught me more than anything: if you do not speak up, if you do not advocate for yourself and the treatment you deserve, then no one will and you are stuck with the way of the world. And the way of the world is cold and lonely.
He finally broke the silence. First, he quirked his mouth into a half smile. A genuine beautiful smile.
Then he nodded and spoke with a tone that I could not fully identify, "The boy is my family. He was part of my line that survived as humans through the ages. I kept them under watch. I was never going to turn him but to keep it hidden, I told my underlings that he was a possible future clan member. He is the last survivor of my bloodline. His parents were in a car accident when he was a baby. After him, my blood is no more." He abruptly stopped talking. Woah,,,that was not what I was expecting. No wonder there is pain in him. He watched his line go extinct in such a violent and preventable way.
He strode to the door. "I have shown respect as this is a secret no one knows. If it comes out, it will not hinder me much but I wish for it to stay unknown. If it does get out Nina, I know who to look for. Are we understood?" I nodded as a reply. I was still reeling from the information he gave me. I was also confused on why he actually told me this. He must really want the boy caught.
And then he was gone. Within a moment's blink I was alone. I looked over at the wedding ring by the chair that he had been sitting on. I picked it up and gathered my things. This was a big case and I think closing up shop would be better than waiting for no one to stop by. I grabbed my bag and strode out with a little more pip in my step than when I arrived at work. The money in my bank account was not the only reason.
I parked my motorcycle on the sidewalk in front of my house. Backing up 8 feet was an art. I continued on my way to the yellow door and stopped. It hummed and almost screeched in my mind. This was the warning for all who came by, although it recognized my aura so it was less obnoxious sounding. If you can call nails on a chalkboard not so obnoxious. The insistent thrummung was relaxing to me though. It meant things worked the way they were supposed to.
The inside of the house was safe. Nothing can get through these wards. Not a single soul, living or undead. I whispered a few things and pushed my hand through the thick air and soon, the wards melted down. They slipped to the threshold and lay there, ready to be put to work again. As soon as I opened the door and walked through, they snapped up so fast, I could feel the rush of air on the back of my ankle as it clicked on the wooden floor.
The house was technically not mine. It was a friend's that happened to be in Germany causing havoc on her mind. She was a writer that traveled for more than just her novels. She was a shapeshifter. They were the lone wolves of the supernatural world. They flitted about and enjoyed their freedom and independence. She had many houses all over the place due to her very long life. I could never get her to formally admit how long it was though. A secret she apparently intended to take to her grave.
She kept this house very minimalist and only had the bare minimums. No television, no end tables, no chairs and there were no utensils. After moving in about 10 months ago, I made it a little more like home. Still no utensils but there was a tv. Priorities. Not that food did not matter to me, I just preferred my fork from whatever restaurant I ended up going to. Cooking was never amongst my skill set. It never went along with knife throwing or sword slashing, I was a little old school with my setup, but I was taught by someone that considered the knowledge all but old when he learned it.
My heels clattered as I threw them off to the side, The stairs were only a few feet from the entrance, I had to remember to move those or walk over them. I felt my way to the kitchen and flicked the light on. I should have some leftovers from the chinese food from the night before. I washed the plastic fork and left it on the counter. Everything right where I had left it. I smiled at the simplicity of how happy that made me. My ex-husband had always moved my stuff. It was one of those repeating arguments. I could never find anything and he would never admit that he was the one who insistently moved my things.
I picked up my dinner and moseyed over to my small white leather couch. I plopped down and turned on the tv. As simple as it gets.
I finished my early dinner quickly. After I cleaned up, I grabbed the documents that Mr. Lageux had left for me. I also brought over a notepad. I left the tv on and kept up to date on the newest criminal entertainment shows as I notated the documents. The last of the bloodline of Lageux. Hmm. I wonder if there is a way to save the boy. It is rare but there is a chance. Why would he not want to try? He did not mention taking the boy alive, not once.
I jotted down the addresses that he frequented and then put the distances in my computer and put down how far and in which directions they were as well. I needed to see the police report of the mothers death. They would have labeled it an animal attack. Although, I would love to see how they explained that one. Her house was an apartment on the 4th floor in the middle of downtown. I think it was time to call in a quick favor. One of many.
I thought about dialing, but then I wouldn't be able to see his face when I sauntered through the doors.