What He Doesn't Know Won't Hurt Him
They had spent the last of the daylight hours casing the area, paying special attention to possible hideouts, before they stopped for an early dinner to discuss their next steps. “Well, we can’t just wander around all night hoping he just falls into our laps.” Lizzie swiped a french fry off Adrian’s plate. Now that her stomach stopped growling she felt she could think out a plan. The college district was prime hunting ground for vampires, but it was a large area and Lizzie knew that if they were going to find their target they needed to narrow their search.
“Most likely one of the bars,” Adrian suggested.
“Right, it’s Friday night and drunk people are easy,” Lizzie gave a little giggle then added, “Easy prey.” She pulled out a tablet computer, and checked a listing of bars in the area. Needs to be popular for a crowd, young pretty things, multiple exits. “What does divey mean?” Lizzie looked up from the listing at Adrian.
“Uh… seedy I think,” he said without much confidence.
Lizzie gave a shrug and pulled up two bars from the list. She handed the tablet to Adrian who looked it over then gave a nod of approval. “Our best bet is to split up and each take a bar. He’ll probably try during peak hours when he’s less likely to raise suspicions,” Lizzie suggested.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to split up. What if he leaves and we lose him because we’re waiting for each other?” Adrian’s brow was pinched in a deep crease.
“We just check in by phone every hour, besides they’re not too far from each other.” Lizzie pointed to the bars on the map.
“We’re not really dressed to blend in at a bar,” Adrian said pulling at his worn out t-shirt.
“We’ll be fine!” Lizzie didn’t have any female friends, but she felt she had watched enough bad television that she could pull something together.
“I don’t like this idea, let’s run it by Mathers first,” Adrian insisted.
“Fine, we’ll talk to Mathers,” Lizzie said with a huff. “We need to check in anyway I guess.” She took out her cell phone and dialed Mathers’ number.
“Hello?” he answered casually.
“Hey! It’s us. We haven’t found anything yet, but we think we’ve narrowed it down to two places and we’re each going to stop by one and see what we can find out.” Lizzie did her best to keep her communication over the open line cryptic.
“So divide and conquer? Do you think that’s best?” Mathers responded. Lizzie knew they needed to show confidence as well as good tactics. Lizzie didn’t want him to sense any misgivings either of them had.
“I do sir,” Lizzie said without hesitation. Adrian tried to grab the phone away from her but she stood and took a step away from the table, pulling it out of his reach.
“Lizzie, let me talk to him!” Adrian whispered angrily.
“Borzini agrees with the plan?” Mathers asked, a hint of suspicion in his tone.
“Yes sir,” Lizzie lied. Adrian was always too cautious, a little risk was worth earning a good Acolyte assignment.
“All right then, you have a go.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Reilly, keep your head on a swivel,” he told her sternly.
“Yes sir, we will.” The phone clicked off.
“Well?” Adrian asked.
“The plan’s a go.”
“What?! Is he insane? Partners are supposed to stick together.”
“Hey! We have our orders. Now, we don’t have a lot of time and I need to get to that drug store on Palm.” Lizzie set some money on the table and headed to the car, Adrian squawked at her the whole way.
At the store Lizzie picked up eyeliner, mascara, dark red lipstick, and big hoop earrings and a cheap green button up shirt for Adrian. She put her hair in a high ponytail then changed into a red tank top with her leather jacket, dark jeans, and old boots. She thought she made a passable young adult. She met Adrian at the car, and she thought he looked good with his short cropped black hair combed for once. The shirt fit his slim build well and the green brought out the jade in his eyes. If he could stop brooding for five minutes she might even call him attractive. Lizzie put her seatbelt on and waited for him to start the car, but he just stared at her for a minute.
“What? Did I smear my lipstick already? Damn it!” she jolted up to look at the rear view mirror and check her makeup.
“It’s fine. You look like a girl for once,” he said. Lizzie curled her hands into fists and glared at the glove box. She was trying to hold back her anger, but wasn’t doing a very good job. Adrian put an apologetic hand on her arm.
“I just meant that you usually don’t get dressed up, ya know like girls do sometimes.”
“Whatever. Come on, let’s just get going.” she pulled her head high and tried to focus on something else.
Adrian dropped Lizzie off around the corner from one of the bars. Her palms were clammy and gross, she’d never tried to get into a bar before. Don’t screw this up, she warned herself as she walked to the door. The bouncer asked for her ID and she handed it to him with what she hoped was a charming smile. She held her breath tight while he checked it over.
“Left hand please,” He asked as he handed her back the ID.
“You need a stamp.” He held up a small self-inking stamp of a star.
“Oh right.” She raised her left hand. He put the blue ink on her skin and gestured her inside. It was still a little early and the bar was fairly empty. A few people sat in the intimate booths along the wall, a beer or cocktail in front of them. It took her eyes a while to adjust to the dim red lights. There was an empty stage with a DJ platform and two giant speakers standing like watchmen on either side. It was already warm inside, and she was tempted to take off her jacket, but opted to deal with it. The bar was a long wooden affair with shelves of liquor bottles prominently displayed on the back wall like trophies. Bright white strips of light illuminated the floor and workspace for the three bartenders. She took a seat at the far end with a good view of the main entrance. Hunters aren’t allowed to drink, but when the perky blonde took her order, what she wanted was champagne, but like a good little girl she told the bartender that she was driving and asked for a pop.
She took in all the exits and burned them into her mind as she was taught, then settled in for an evening of people watching. By ten o’clock the bar was packed and she was thankful for access to a chair, even if it was putting her butt to sleep. Her phone chimed and she looked down to see an update from Adrian.
Just more annoying music, and some girl who keeps asking me if I was a model.
She stifled a laugh and replied back. Was she cute? Too bad she’d end up in jail if you took her home.
He responded quickly with a Ha ha and an annoyed looking smiley-face. She looked back up at the room and did a survey for any new faces, but she was losing track with so many. The sentry speakers were booming some trendy dance song that throbbed in her ears. She ordered another pop and leaned a cheek against her hand.
“Don’t like the music?” a voice beside her asked. She looked over and saw a man in his early twenties with dirty blonde hair that had enough styling gel to updo Bigfoot. He had hazel eyes and a very easy smile. He was clean cut and well dressed in a button up and casual slacks. She looked around to see if he was actually talking to her.
"I said, you don't like the music?" he repeated.
"Oh. No, not really," she smiled and took a drink of her pop.
"I'm Kyle," he said offering her his hand.
"Mary," she said without hesitation. She had made a number of fake backgrounds for these kinds of assignments, it was like being in a James Bond movie, except they had to use forgettable boring names. He smiled then jerked forward as two girls, who were several drinks in already, were apologizing as they sloppily maneuvered their way back to their table of friends.
"Sorry about that," Kyle said with another one of his charming smiles, but she noticed he didn't move back much.
"It's okay," she maneuvered herself more comfortably on her chair and took a drink to give her hands something to do.
"Can I get you another one?" Kyle asked gesturing towards her drink.
"Oh, I'm good. I'm driving later," she said maintaining her excuse to avoid alcohol.
"So, since you're not here for the music or a drink why are you hiding out in a bar all by yourself?" Kyle leaned against the bar with one elbow.
I guess he means to stay, she thought irritated. "I'm waiting for a friend." It wasn’t exactly a lie.
"Ah, she running late?"
"Something like that." Her phone chimed with a text message and she looked at the message from Adrian.
Are we sure we're looking for a guy? There are a lot of women here. Adrian asked.
What are the chances of it being a girl? Slim... but if you think you've found it I can come by. I've got some random guy talking to me.
She looked back over at Kyle, "Sorry, my friend. He got lost on his way here."
"Oh, he? You have a boyfriend?" he asked looking disappointed.
She laughed, "No, he's not my boyfriend. We've known each other since we were kids," she kept laughing to herself thinking of Adrian and she as a couple.
"Oh, so you're single?"
"Uh yeah," she said distractedly waiting for Adrian’s response. Weird question… she thought until she remembered that she was in a bar. Here was an interested cute boy right in her face and she hadn’t even noticed. She felt her cheeks warm in a blush, and suddenly forgot how to speak full sentences.
"So, what kind of music do you like?" Kyle asked.
Her mind was blank. Music? Do I like music? she tried to think about what she was listening to earlier today. "Rock music, I think," she stuttered out.
"You think? Do you not like music?" Kyle asked confused.
"No... I mean I like music, rock music," she said, trying to recover her composure.
Kyle smiled at her warmly and started to talk about different artists he liked and the conversation became infinitely easier. Some time later she heard her phone chime again and looked down, realizing that she'd missed a couple of messages.
Nothing yet. What guy? Are you okay?
Lizzie, is someone harassing you? Do you need me?
I'll be right there.
"You're friend again?" Kyle asked with a concerned look on his face.
"Yeah, giving him directions. He's hopeless with things like that," she said with a smile.
"Let me buy you another pop, while you wait," he said taking a chair that had been abandoned next to them.
"Sure," she said enjoying the attention. Kyle ordered them both drinks from the blonde bartender then excused himself to the restroom after ordering her pop. Lizzie took that moment to look over the crowd. She noticed a couple sitting at the other end of the bar, a young woman in her early twenties with a popstar thin figure and dirty blonde hair pulled up into a clip. She was wearing a corseted style blue top that Lizzie admired. The woman stood and headed towards the back restrooms giving her male companion a telling smile. Lizzie felt her face warm again as she understood the meaning behind the look. As Lizzie watched her leave she saw the girl was wearing incredibly tall heels that she couldn’t help but be impressed by the balance required to stay upright in them.
The woman’s date pulled out a bill fold from his shirt pocket. He was very well dressed in a deep burgundy button up tucked into black slacks. He was older than the woman, thirty at least, but very handsome with a strong jaw, a build that must take hours every day to maintain, and deep dark eyes that drew your gaze to him. Lizzie watched him a moment more as he walked towards the coat check window. He walked with an unearthly grace, almost floating amongst the increasingly wild crowd. Then a waitress tripped and nearly dumped her tray full of stacked glasses on him, but he caught it, and her, with a speed that perked Lizzie’s attention. As he handed the waitress back her tray and gave her a smile, the edges of his teeth just showing, she saw it. The exaggerated canine teeth that would just look odd to any normal human.“Gotcha,” she whispered, and jumped off her chair.