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Authors: Jeanne C. Stein

Tags: #Fantasy, #Contemporary, #Fiction, #General, #Horror

Crossroads (4 page)

BOOK: Crossroads
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My cell phone rings just as I’m pulling into the garage at the cottage. Caller ID shows it’s my partner, David.
“Hey—”
“Where are you?” he asks, interrupting.
No greeting. “At home. Why?”
“Stay there. I’m on the way.”
He’s gone before I can comment on his abruptness or ask the reason behind it. He sounds angry, and I can’t imagine why. Business has been going well. I’ve been playing nice with our new partner, Tracey, an ex-cop. She’s proven herself good at the job and through her contacts, we’ve had more work than the three of us can handle. I’ve managed to stick around the last month. No unexpected trips out of town, no excuses for missing telephone calls or office duty.
So, what’s his problem?
I let myself in through the back door and start a fresh pot of coffee. At least having just fed, my head is clear. No risk of snapping David’s off, literally or figuratively, if he pisses me off.
Blood—the vampire equivalent of Valium.
The coffee is ready. I set the kitchen table for two and take a cup out to the living room to look through the Sunday paper while I wait. I’m no sooner settled onto the couch when the doorbell rings.
As soon as I answer the door, David storms his way past me. “Are you alone?”
“If you mean is Stephen here, no, he left.”
He traipses into the kitchen.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I shut the door and follow him. “Somebody stomp on your kitten?”
He ignores me. Pours a mug of coffee. Takes a drink. Stalling tactics, I assume, because his hand is shaking.
Then he turns.
David is a big guy. He played a decade of professional football before injuries sidelined him. But while he adjusted to life without constant pain, he found he missed the adrenaline rush too much to mire himself in a typical desk job. Bounty hunting was the perfect fit. It takes detective work to hunt a skip down, cunning and resourcefulness to trap him, physical strength to bring him in.
It takes the ability to make the hair on a skip’s arms stand at attention when David skewers him with
the
look.
The “don’t fuck with me because I’m not in the mood” one he’s giving me now.
The only effect it’s having on me, though, is the urge to punch him. Hard.
I push my palms against my thighs to keep from giving in to the urge. I like him. Most of the time. I stare up into his face, narrow my eyes and frown to mimic his hard-ass expression. “What the fuck is going on?”
“I could ask you the same question.”
“Jesus, David.” Exasperation is churning my stomach. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He slams the mug down on the counter. “I was in Horton Plaza this morning. Guess who I ran into?”
The urge is getting stronger and tougher to resist. If I slugged him, when he came to, maybe he’d start talking sense. But I’ll give him one more chance. I temper my voice with reasonableness. “I wasn’t there. How the hell should I know who you ran into?”
He leans toward me, jabs a finger at my face. “Judith Williams.”
Uh-oh.
My face must betray the uneasiness that washes over me. Like catching your kid with her hand in the candy dish, David pounces. “You remember Judith Williams, right? Wife of the police chief who died last month? Well, I didn’t. I didn’t think I even knew her. Then I ran into her this morning and her face looked so familiar. She caught me looking at her and guess what she said to me? That I looked pretty good with clothes on. Too. Then she asked if I remembered the good time we had at that doctor’s house in La Jolla. And if I’d kept in touch with the twins.”
His scowl deepens. “Twins?” He shakes his head. “And all the time she’s talking, she’s laughing because she knows I haven’t a fucking clue what she’s talking about. Then she says, ‘You didn’t really buy that stupid story Anna told you about having an accident, did you? She knows what really happened. Ask her.’ ”
David draws a breath, lets it out with an angry hiss. “So, I’m asking. What happened to me? And what did Judith Williams have to do with it and who are the fucking twins?”
If I weren’t so busy trying to come up with a logical answer, David’s referral to the “fucking twins” would have made me laugh out loud. That happens to be exactly what they were. Judith Williams drugged David and kept him for three days during which time he not only had sex with a set of twins she was kind enough to provide for his enjoyment but with Judith herself and god only knows who else. It was certainly a novel way to handle a kidnap victim. But it worked. When I found David, he was having so much fun I had to bring the twins with us to get him to leave.
He didn’t remember any of it, which is why I came up with the accident story. That and the fact that Judith Williams is a vampire and took David to ensure I’d show up to play my part in a ritual she thought would kill me.
Didn’t quite work out the way she’d planned.
But she also told him that she was a vampire.
And that I was one, too. David’s amnesia was a blessing.
Was
a blessing.
Judith must be laughing her ass off now.
David takes a step closer. “Anna. I want an answer. I’ve had some crazy dreams since that ‘accident.’ Now I’m beginning to think they weren’t dreams at all.”
For the first time, his expression is more concerned than angry. “Was she saying that I had sex with her? And those two girls? Why would I do that? Why can’t I remember?”
The reason for his reaction hits me. I should have guessed it sooner.
David is a Boy Scout.
David has a girlfriend.
If he knew he had sex with those women, his conscience would force him to tell his girlfriend. If he suspected he’d had
unprotected
sex with those women, as is probable considering his condition when I found him, he’d want to kill me for knowing and not telling him and risking his health as well as that of his girlfriend.
Frankly, it isn’t something I’d thought about before now. Judith is a vampire, no problem there. But the girls are human.
What the hell do I tell him?
I pull out two chairs from the kitchen table, motion David into one of them, sit facing him in the other.
“Okay, David. I’m going to tell you what happened. First though, you have to know I didn’t think of the consequences of keeping the truth from you until now.”
His body tenses, his expression freezes as he watches me. “Go on.”
The words tumble out. A sanitized semi-factual version of what really took place.
“You were drugged. Somebody took you and brought you to a house where you partied. All weekend. You must have had sex with Judith and those twins and maybe others. It took me two days to find you and when I did, you didn’t want to leave. I did what I thought was best. Brought you home, let you sleep it off. When I went back to the place, to alert the police, everyone was gone. The place was clean. I’m guessing it was some kind of rave. Anyway, I should have told you the truth. I was afraid you’d go looking for the people responsible and do something stupid. And honestly, I didn’t see Judith Williams or anyone I recognized so I haven’t a clue who might have been there.”
Silence. Is he buying it?
David leans toward me. “None of this makes sense. How did they get me? Why did they take
me
?”
“Maybe you stopped in a bar somewhere. Someone recognized you, thought a local celebrity would be fun to party with. They must have slipped something in your drink. Shit. I don’t know.”
I stop. David isn’t listening. He’s hardly breathing. He’s so still, I wonder for an instant if he heard what I said. Does he realize the flaw in my story? Is he going to ask how
I
found him? Shit. What do I say to that?
There’s a shift in the set of his jaw, a flicker of light in his eyes. He’s remembering something. I know it in the way he’s looking at me and I know what it is.
He’s remembering what Judith Williams told him about me.
I jump up so fast, it makes David jump, too. My brain is twirling like a dervish, trying to formulate a response to what I suspect David is about to say.
He stands up, too. Looks me square in the eyes. “Those twins. They were students at SDSU. I remember that. And they gave me their phone numbers. Do you know what I did with them?”

That’s
what you want to know?”
Part of me is so relieved, my knees are weak. The other part can’t believe what he just asked.
“I tell you that you were drugged and brought to a stranger’s house where you partied for two days and all you want to know is if I kept the telephone numbers of who you were partying with?”
He rubs a hand over his face. “No. I have plenty of other questions. Maybe the twins can provide answers. But first I have to find a way to break what I did to Miranda. We have to get tested for god only knows what.”
Whoa. So not a good idea. “Why would you tell Miranda?”
That earns me an “are you crazy?” look. “Why do you think? Evidently, I had multiple sex partners during a weekend she thought I was recuperating from an accident. I have to tell her we should get tested for STDs and worse because if I was drugged up enough to have sex with strangers, it’s a safe bet I was too drugged up to use protection. She’s not going to understand. Fuck,
I
don’t understand.”
The Boy Scout is back. Just as I predicted. Luckily, I’m not a den mother. “Wait a minute. Get tested yourself first. There might be nothing to tell.”
His expression tells me that argument is not going to fly. So I go with, “Think about it. If you tell her, she’s most likely to break up with you. Or kill you. Or both. What’s the worst that can happen if you wait?”
“And what excuses do I use for not having sex with her while I wait for test results?”
“Ever hear of using a condom?” It pops out. He’s giving me the look again. “Then don’t see her for a little while. Go to a private doctor or clinic and request a rush. Shouldn’t take too long.”
The hard look evaporates into one of desperation. “Shit, Anna. How could I have let this happen?”
“You didn’t do anything. It was done to you. The best thing now is to do damage control. Take care of the things you can.”
“No.” David’s hands curl into fists. “The best thing I can do now is find those twins and see what they can tell me about that night—or
nights
if what you tell me is true. Then I’ll go after Judith Williams. If she’s behind what happened, I’ll press charges.”
Another bad idea. “Do you think anyone will believe the wife of the former police chief—the recently
murdered
former police chief—is involved in drugs and sex parties? Shit. David, I have a hard time believing it and I dragged you out of that house.”
“Then we’ll go back to the house. You know where it is. There’s bound to be evidence. And she admitted to me that she was there. That should count for something.”
He’s got the locked-jaw look of somebody hell-bent on action. “What about those telephone numbers?”
I can’t believe this is happening. If he pursues this, I’m screwed.
“I threw them away.” I threw them away all right, into a drawer in my desk. I figured I’d follow up with the girls and see how much they remembered about their weekend at vampire central. I haven’t gotten around to it. Now I think I’d better just burn the fucking things.
David is not happy at the answer. He blows out an impatient breath and slams a hand down on the table. “Then I guess that leaves Judith Williams, doesn’t it?” He stands abruptly and takes his mug to the sink.
I follow, pat his arm and steer him to the door. “First things first, David. Take care of those tests. In the meantime, I’ll call Detective Harris and see what he knows about raves being held in the area.”
No reaction so I plow ahead. “And David, forget about Judith Williams. For now. She’s too smart and too well connected to let herself become implicated in a crime. The fact that she said what she said today proves that. It’s your word against hers and you can bet she won’t repeat it again in front of witnesses.”
David gives no indication whether he intends to follow my advice or not. He leaves looking as dejected now as he looked angry when he came in.
My fault. Why didn’t it occur to me that there might be greater physical consequences to his sexcapades that weekend ? All I was concerned about was his remembering that Judith told him we were both vampires. At least she didn’t throw out that nugget when she saw him this morning.
I wonder why. What is the bitch up to now?
Fuck. Just when I thought I was at a point when I could look ahead for once, I get hit with three titanic reminders of my past. All compliments of humans in my life: Detective Harris, Max and David.
Well, can’t do anything about Detective Harris and for all I know, David might be off chasing down his girlfriend in spite of our conversation. The only one I can do something about now is Max.
BOOK: Crossroads
6.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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