“Kat!” The vampire bellows.
“Kat!” His fury reverberates through my home.
“Kat! Kathleen! Catherine! Whatever the hell you’re calling yourself this decade, get down here!”
Beside me, Logan growls in his sleep. Damn it, vampire, keep your voice down.
“No!” he answers, loudly. “We need to talk!”
Hold your horses. I’m coming.
I slide Logan’s arm from my waist and ease out of bed. Grabbing a robe, I pull it on as I walk down to the throne room/library.
Victor paces in the muted light, his muscles taut, his face contorted with anger. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him so angry. I smile. That angers him more.
He strides to me, bending down so he can meet my eyes. If he had the power to kill with a look, those emerald eyes would be my undoing.
“You helped hide her from me?” His words echo in the room and my head.
“Don’t growl, vampire.” I magic a glass of his favorite and offer it, stepping aside, away from his wrath.
“You’re fucking with my promise and you tell me not to growl!” He shoves my hand. The crystal shatters on the floor. Tiny pieces glitter over my phoenix.
“That wasn’t nice. I’m barefoot.”
“Like any of that will hurt you.”
He’s right. I try again with the drink. I am a good hostess in my own home. This time, I do not hold it out to him. I merely wave to the table closest to him and the drink appears. Sitting down, I say, “She’s been protected.”
“Your excuse is that you kept her safe!” He still hasn’t lowered his voice. I expect the boys to rush in at any moment.
“No. My excuse is that Adair asked me to help her keep every Evil thing from her daughter.”
This time he does growl, literally, low and deep in the back of his throat, primal and full of pain. His emotions, loose in my home do more to grab the boys attention than the initial rampage.
Logan snaps awake, rolls from the bed, knife in hand. Naked he pads to the doorway, presses against the wall and listens. After a moment, he gropes for the jeans on the floor, puts them on and patters barefoot and bare-chested through my home, searching for me. Nick, never asleep, presses against one of the doors next to the throne, slowly, silently turning the knob to open it and hear more.
“Was it your Loki blood to take her so literal?” Victor hisses. He paces, his hands tightening into fists and releasing almost rhythmically. It is a sign of his anger that he doesn’t react to Nick’s presence on the other side of the door.
I let Nick listen and silently praise him for not barging in, the Destined Hero.
“Probably the djinn, sweet bloodsucker.” I say, reminding him both of what he is and of what I am.
“I came to you for help finding her! You lied to me!” Victor turns to me, the agony of the past years firing from his green eyes.
Nick waves Logan to be quiet and they both crowd the barely parted door, watching, listening.
“I did not lie,” I say from my seat. I know it looks as if I am a queen and Victor is a mere subject. “I told you that you would find her when the time was right.” I stand and move closer, braving any way he may lash out at me. “You are not asking the most important question, my friend.”
I reach out and touch Victor’s arm.
He does lash out, sending me flying across the room into shelves. Books fall to the floor. One hits me directly on the head.
Through the mists of pain, I see the boys run in. Logan has the knife. Nick holds the gun. But they stop. They know what Victor is and that neither of their weapons will hurt him.
Logan looks at me crumpled on the floor, surrounded by books, holding my head. I do not move fast enough to stop him. He rushes at Victor, who merely shoves the boy back. Logan slams into the shelves beside me. More books fall. I put a hand on Logan and shake my head. “Don’t. He’s in pain.”
“He’s a vampire.”
“And I’m a witch.”(sort of…more than…)
Nick’s eyes dance between Victor and his brother and I on the floor. Not sure what exactly to do, his gun stays pointed at Victor, his weight shifts back and forth.
Pulling my legs firmly beneath me, I stand and face Victor. “My friend,” I say softly, “the question you need to ask is why now? Why did you find her now?”
This catches him. His rage falters.
Glancing at the boys he says, “Call off your dogs,” and reaches for the glass on the table.
I look at each of the boys, meeting their eyes.
Nick’s elbows bend, his gun aims at the ceiling. He looks at me as if I’m the crazy one in the room.
Logan sits up.
Victor swallows the golden liquid, nods in approval, his wrath seeming to dissipate. He walks over to Logan and offers a hand.
Logan looks at me and back at the vampire.
I nod. Logan takes Victor’s hand. He accepts Victor’s help to stand.
“What are the boys from the high school doing here, Kat?”
“Call me Kimi to maintain consistency. Victor, this is Nick and Logan DeBlanc. They are on a quest.”
Victor spins to face me, eyebrows high.
“Yes, Morgan’s boys.”
He studies them, Nick holding a silver .45 pointed at the ceiling and Logan, wearing only jeans, a rather large knife shining from his hand. Bits of blood smear the floor beneath Logan’s feet. Victor takes a deep breath and sits.
“Clean up your mess, Kimi.”
“Your mess, Victor.” I say, but I wave my hand and the crystal pieces sink into the tiles on the floor. I like the sparkles. They make my phoenix look alive. I crouch and rub the hem of my robe over the drops of blood left by Logan’s cut feet.
“Sit, Logan.” I motion to the chair facing Victor.
“Yes, Logan,” he mutters, “sit like a good dog.”
Logan sneers at Victor. I have to motion to the chair again. Logan’s eyes never leave Victor, but he sits.
“There is no need to antagonize. You’re pissed at me, not Morgan or her children.” I touch Logan’s feet. The tiny cuts heal nicely.
Victor holds up his glass. He studies it in the light. It is empty. He frowns. I give him a refill, and motion to the table where three more glasses appear.
I take one and nod to the boys. Nick comes around to the chair closest to Victor as if he can stand between the vampire and the witch. He slides the gun back in his waistband.
“Why now, Kimi? What is so special about now that I can find her?” Victor is a dog with a bone.
“Adair is weakening.”
Victor returns to the study of the glass in his hand. I know he is hiding bright eyes. He blinks, clears his throat and turns his attention to the boys. “I knew your mother once. How is she doing?”