I threw on Vance’s robe and headed towards the kitchen for some pizza. I watched TV while I ate and had a couple of beers. A picture on the sofa table caught my eye so I decided to check it out. It was an old sepia-toned photo of a family. Upon closer inspection, I could make out a teenaged Vance with what I assumed were his parents.
The man in the photo, appearing to be in his twenties, was very handsome with Vance’s light hair and eyes, wearing a finely tailored pin-striped suit with a dark, wide brimmed hat. The dark-haired woman was dressed in a mid-calf length dress, covered with a fur shawl. She had a bob haircut and a long strand of pearls. When I looked closer, I could see the tip of her pointed ear poking out from behind her hair. Yep, definitely a fairy. Vance was wearing a pair of knickers with a button-up sweater vest and a long sleeve shirt. You could clearly see the resemblance. Physically, he seemed to represent both parents equally. Based on the clothing, I would guess this photo was taken sometime in the 1920’s. Oh my God, that would make Vance over one hundred years old!
I browsed through the other photos and saw him throughout different periods of his life. There was a picture of him getting a commendation of some sort, in what looked like the 1940’s or 50’s. Another one had him wearing a tux, sitting in a red 1960’s convertible with his arms stretched across the bench seat. God, he looked so happy. He was laughing with his entire body. It made me wonder who had been at the other end of that camera. Maybe I felt a little jealous that it wasn’t me. Moving on….
Next in line was a photo of him standing with a couple. All three of them were wearing big smiles. They were in a boat over what looked like Lake Mead. The couple looked familiar but I couldn’t place them because they were wearing hats and large sunglasses. What am I saying? This picture was obviously taken before I was even born. But why are the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now? Shaking it off, I looked at the most recent picture on the table. Vance was someplace tropical, standing with an elderly couple. They were clearly human based on their ages, but there was nothing to indicate his relationship with them. It seemed that he’d had a very full and happy life at some point. I wondered when that had changed. He was certainly not the carefree guy that appeared in most of these pictures. He carried too much pain from his past. That was for certain.
I decided I’d had enough of my stroll down Vance’s memory lane. I had so many questions that only he could answer, and I would drive myself crazy if I continued to think about it when he wasn’t there to fill me in. I went into the kitchen and rinsed my dish, placing it in the dishwasher. I then walked back into his bedroom and really took a look around, since I hadn’t gotten a chance to do so earlier. The room was elegant, yet very masculine. The vaulted ceilings made the room appear even larger. Wide arches with recessed lighting spanned the mocha-colored walls. His king-sized bed was placed in the middle of the back wall. It had a tall, dark brown padded headboard with cream-colored bedding. There were cherry wood nightstands on each end sitting next to tall, rectangular windows. In the far right corner was an oversized apothecary chest with beautifully ornate carvings. A small sitting area was off to the side of that, consisting of two arm chairs and a bookshelf.
The master bath was towards my left through a set of double doors. There was a large walk-in closet immediately on my left with a double sink vanity to the right. The cream-colored granite countertops matched the tiles below. Wow, the glass-enclosed shower looked like it could fit ten people! I started getting visions of being pressed up against that wall in a delightfully compromising position. The shower stood next to a Jacuzzi tub which promised equally enticing fun. Oh my!
Vance probably wouldn’t be home for a while so I figured I should get some sleep while I could. I quickly washed my face before grabbing one of his t-shirts and crawling into bed. Smiling, I closed my eyes as I pictured the possibilities upon his return.
I woke sometime later at the sound of a door closing. I listened for a bit and could hear someone walking towards the bedroom. “Vance, is that you?” I called.
“Yeah,” he said as he stepped into the room. I felt him sit down on the bed as he reached to turn on a lamp. “Sorry, I was trying not to wake you.”
“What time is it?” I asked sleepily, still snuggling under the covers.
“About twenty minutes before five,” he replied.
“Wow, you were gone for a long time.”
“Yeah, it’s been a long night.”
“What happened?” I asked.
He reached out and started petting my hair. “Shh, honey, don’t think about that right now. Don’t worry; it wasn’t anyone from the bar. Look, I’ve been awake for over twenty-four hours and I really need to get some sleep. I’m just going to hop in the shower real quick. Go back to sleep. I’ll be in bed shortly.” He turned off the lamp and walked into the bathroom, shutting the door. I heard the shower turn on and I closed my eyes thinking about how I liked the way he called me “honey.” I fell back asleep listening to the spray, only waking for a moment when Vance nestled in behind me under the covers.
I woke up later that day into a much brighter room with Vance lightly snoring behind me. Oh yeah, I could definitely get used to this. I couldn’t see the alarm clock without twisting out of his arms so I just lay there enjoying the feel of him. I didn’t work on Tuesdays so I had nowhere to go. I was perfectly happy with the idea of staying in bed with him all day. I leaned back into his body and was disappointed to find him wearing a pair of boxers. Maybe the fact that I had chosen to cover myself prompted him to do the same. Damn, I didn’t think about that last night. I should’ve gone with the birthday suit. We could have picked up right where we left off….
Vance squeezed me tighter, signaling that he was awake. “Good morning, sexy,” he said. “How long have you been up?”
“Not too long,” I replied. “You got in so late I didn’t want to move and risk waking you.”
“Well, it sure was a nice way to wake up, seeing you in my bed. I’ve wanted you here since the first night we met.”
Wow, that was pretty forward. And I can’t say I hated it. I pulled his arms into me and kissed his forearm. I reached back to suggestively lay my hand on his thigh, waiting for permission.
Groaning, he said, “Karli, as much as I like your idea right now, I really have to get back to the station. If you move your hand any closer, that’s not going to happen.”
Feeling a little embarrassed, I removed my hand. “Sorry.”
“Don’t ever apologize for touching me like that. I just need to get back into work. I have to find this damn thing before it hurts another girl. We got a really good lead last night that I need to look into. The fact that you are lying in my bed right now is making it hard enough to leave.”
I turned around to face him and smiled. God, he even looked perfect first thing in the morning. So not fair! “What kind of lead?” I asked.
“The victim had a fresh entry stamp from Voyeur-Gasm on her hand,” he replied. “She had to have been there within hours of her murder. I stopped by the bar to talk to Leo last night and he’s having them pull some security footage. They’re sending the films over to his penthouse this morning. Since he can’t leave the building until dusk, I’m going to meet him there. Speaking of Leo, he told me about the strange noise in the bar the other night. Were you there?”
“Um, yeah. It was right after closing.” Quick, change the subject. “So, if I understand you correctly…you’re going to see Leo right now? To watch a bunch of people having sex?”
“No, Karli,” he chided. “I’m going to see the owner of the club to look for possible suspects. Most of the people who go to that place are regulars. There is a high probability that Leo will be able to name anyone she was with. I want to see who this girl made contact with during the hours prior to her death. Trust me, that bastard is the last person I want to spend time with but I really think this is going to fill in some pretty big gaps. In case you hadn’t heard, the noise at Pixie Dust turned out to be nothing.” He gave me a brief kiss on the lips as he was getting out of bed. He pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. “I’m going to get some coffee started. You’re welcome to join me if you’d like.”
I briefly visited the bathroom after he left and walked out into the great room wearing my clothes from last night. I found him standing in the kitchen and went over to accept the cup of coffee he was offering. I took a sip and asked, “So how long have you lived here?”
“A little over seven years,” he replied.
“I was looking at your pictures last night. It seems like you’ve lived a pretty full life. A very long life. How old are you anyway?”
He chuckled and said, “Do you have a problem with old geezers?”
“Vance, I’m serious! When were you born?”
“I was born in 1906.” I knew it!
“Are those your parents in the old sepia-toned photo?” I asked.
“Yes. That picture was taken when I was sixteen, shortly before I left for Faerie.”
“Where are they now?”
“They were killed,” he replied. “They were murdered by a Chicago crime family, two days before I returned. They strongly encouraged my parents to prepare potions that would remove someone’s free will. When they refused, a contract was put out on their heads to set the example for the rest of the supes in the area. I found them lying in our home, in cold blood, with close range gunshot wounds to the head.”
“Oh my God, Vance, I am so sorry. I can’t imagine. Did they ever catch their killers?”
“No,” he said. “The mob had too many cops on their payroll. That’s partly why I moved out here. The same family responsible for my parents’ deaths is the one who built some of the first hotels on the Strip. I came out here trying to stop the rising mafia influence in its tracks. Unfortunately, I arrived about a decade too late to make any real progress, though not for lack of trying. Thankfully, the problem eventually took care of itself.”
“Wow. I had no idea.” I paused for a moment to digest that. “Why did you stay?”
“Because I had to get out of Chicago. There were too many bad memories there. I needed to start a new life and Vegas gave me that opportunity.”
“Did you ever marry?” I asked, thinking about the picture of him wearing a tux.
His jaw twitched a little before he replied. “Yes. Her name was Maria. She was human.”
“What happened?” Now he was definitely clenching his jaw. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude. Forget I said anything.”
“No, that’s okay, Karli. I just haven’t thought about it in a long time. The short version is that she didn’t want the life I could provide for her.”
“Did you two have any children?”
After a brief pause he replied, “No.” He finished his coffee and set the mug in the sink. He just sat there in silence, fixated on it. “I have to get going. Feel free to stay as long as you’d like. I’ll leave the spare keys so you can lock up.”
Shit, he wasn’t making eye contact with me. I had definitely opened up some old wounds. I put my hand on his shoulder to get his attention. When he turned to face me, I said, “Hey, I’m really glad I came over last night, Vance.” I gave him the sexiest smile I could muster.
He returned my smile and pulled me into him. “I am too, Karli.”
“I’m going to take off too. There are some things I need to take care of at home.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m positive.” I grabbed his hand and led him towards the foyer, grabbing my purse. “Good luck today.” I reached up to lightly kiss him on the lips. I lingered there for a moment before pulling away. “We definitely need to do this again sometime really soon.”
He moved in for another soft kiss. “I look forward to it.”
I got back to my apartment, worrying about Vance and Leo being together. I couldn’t stop thinking about it on the drive home. I called Erica to see if she wanted to come lay by the pool, hoping she would distract me while we were catching up. She agreed and showed up an hour later wearing nothing but a hot pink string bikini.
“Wow, you would definitely get out of a ticket driving here in that!” I laughed.
“Hey, it’s almost a hundred degrees out there. I look good, so I figured why not?” she said, without apology. “You ready to hit the pool?”
“Yep, let’s go,” I replied, grabbing my towel.
When we got settled, she asked, “So how’s the love life? Did you break down and get in the middle of a warlock-vampire sandwich yet?”
“Omigod, Erica! No!” I exclaimed. “But that doesn’t exactly mean something hasn’t happened,” I admitted sheepishly.
“What?! With which one?”
I shamefully admitted, “Um, both.”
Erica laughed and gave me a robust pat on the knee. “Now we’re talking! A girl after my own heart! Spill the beans, Chica! I want all the details! Most importantly… measurements!”
I told her all about my make out session with Leo, and then my night with Vance. I also mentioned that Vance was part fairy and was teaching me about my people and upcoming change.
“Wow, that’s pretty cool. So Detective Hottie is a fairy, huh? What are the odds?”
“Well, he’s only one quarter,” I corrected. “But he did live on Faerie for a while so he knows a lot about them and their magicks. Pretty crazy, huh?”
“So what is he now, your own private tutor?” she asked. “How much does he charge for his services? One BJ per hour? Hey, you’ve already made one payment! Now there’s only sixty-nine to go!”
“Shut up, you skank!” I shouted as I playfully smacked her arm.
“Hey, hooker, watch it!” she laughed. “So what’s the deal with Chad? I heard he was in the other night trying to get you to take him back.”
“Omigod, I almost forgot about it!” I said. “Isn’t that nuts? The weirdest part was that I really think he was being sincere. I certainly don’t think he’s capable of changing his behavior, but his intentions seemed pretty genuine. It was very, very strange.”
“He just can’t handle the fact that you’re finally moving on. Fuck him! Or…don’t go fucking him, rather! It’s a shame he’s such an ass because he is fine, and he has one helluva cock! Maybe you can just masturbate to him every once in a while. Hell, he’d never know!”
“Ah, Eri, I can always depend on you to bring some class to the table,” I teased.
“Anytime, baby. Anytime.”
Erica left to get ready for work as I resumed thinking about my dilemma with the men in my life. What was I going to do about those two? I couldn’t keep burning the candle at both ends. Vance and I had this really deep connection that I couldn’t deny. But I couldn’t ignore the fact that Leo was beginning to mean a lot more to me than I’d ever thought possible. It went against everything I’d ever been taught, but I actually had feelings for a vampire. I’d just be lying to myself if I said I didn’t.
I didn’t get it. For the last year of my life, the closest I’d been to getting any was from a speculum at my gynecologist’s office. Now I had two beautiful, yet horribly complex men in my life that couldn’t get enough of me. They both had so much under the surface to explore and I found myself wanting to know everything about them. Both of them.
Since they were already plaguing my mind, I decided to call Vance. I wanted to know if he and Leo had made any progress in the investigation. “Hello, beautiful.” He answered the phone in an especially deep voice, making my toes curl.
“Uh…oh…um…. Hi.” Okay, so I was a little caught off guard by his greeting and I sounded like an idiot. After catching my bearings, I continued. “Have you had any luck with the footage from the club?”
“Yes, we have,” he said. “Quite a bit, in fact. I’m just about to wrap up here. Why don’t I come over to your place and tell you about it? I can’t stay for very long, but I think you’ll be interested in this.”
“Sure. I’ll be here.”
“Great, I’ll stop by the deli on my way and grab some sandwiches. Do you have a preference?”
“Turkey on wheat would be good. Thanks, Vance.”
“See you soon, Karli.” Oh, there he goes with the super deep voice again! This time it sent a little shiver to my girly parts. Yikes!
I didn’t have a lot of time so I washed up quickly and pulled my wet hair into a ponytail, put on a little eyeliner, mascara, and some frosty lip gloss. I think a girl always feels better with defined eyes and glossy lips. I put on my standard attire for ‘Spring in Vegas’ of a t-shirt and shorts. Okay, so I may have selected a slightly tighter shirt than I would normally wear. Sue me.
Vance arrived with sandwiches and went straight into the kitchen to get some plates. I enjoyed seeing him make himself at home like he’d been around forever, so I just sat at the breakfast bar watching him. He handed me a plate and started eating his B.L.T. while standing against the counter in front of me. “So, our victim was a very busy girl while she was at the club,” he said. “We have footage of her with several different men and women, but one stood out more than the others. Someone that even I recognized.”
“Who?” I asked.
I practically choked on the bite I was taking. “Say what?”
“I think Chad is our connection, Karli.”