(Because Adidas_Fiend was in Aruba this week, he was not present. Thus, there will be no Roman this game.)
In the nightclub, after talking to Mr. Clay about the symbolic importance of the Cathedral, Don turns to Will and says, “Let’s talk about your girlfriend.”
Will shifts in his seat. “I don’t see why we have to,” he says.
Don asks, “How far is this going to go?”
“You mean third base?”
Don sits for a moment in silence. Then, he says, “No. Not third base. You are going to parties. When did you get a personal life?”
“I had a personal life!” Will protests. “I have four characters on WoW at level 60!”
“This is dangerous,” Don tells him. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you put an end to it.”
Will shakes his head. “Look. It’s not dangerous. It’s just hanging out, you know. I’m not endangering the Masquerade or…”
“WILL!!!” the petite blonde in the tight leather pants shouts, nearly spilling her drink all over her baby tee. She rushes over and hugs him. She looks at the others. “Is this a party? Can I join?”
Before Will or Don or _________________ can say anything, she jumps in Don’s lap. “I’m Daphne!” she says.
“You know her?” Don asks Will. Daphne is already texting Melanie.
HEY GF! I W/UR WEERD BOI!
“Of course he does, silly!” Daphne says. “We hang out all the time.”
Don asks her, “You mean with Melanie? Will’s girlfriend?”
Daphne laughs. “Melanie has a lot of boyfriends,” she says.
Don looks at Will. Will lowers his eyes.
_________________ says to her, “Come here, Daphne.” She obeys. He walks her down to the bathroom. She follows him. When he drinks her blood, she forgets and wanders away. _________________ returns to the others. “We don’t have to worry about her anymore.”
Don’s phone buzzes. It’s Trent. “He shot Laura,” Trent says over the phone.
“What?” Don asks.
“He shot Laura,” he tells him. “But he’s dead now.”
“Who?” Don asks. “Trent. Are you all right? Who’s Laura?”
“He shot her,” Trent says.
“I’m sending someone to get you,” Don says, looking at Will. “You’d better go get him. He sounds like he’s been drugged or something.” Then, he talks to Trent again. “Listen. Meet Will by the West Dinkytown Bridge.”
Will grabs his messenger bag and heads to the stairway leading up to the roof.
Meanwhile, across town, Trent makes his way to the Bridge. On foot. When he gets within a few blocks, he notices someone is following him. He dodges into a dead-end alleyway. He waits.
A slim figure in a heavy coat steps in front of the alleyway. Trent squints to see who it is. Then, he decides he doesn’t care. He pulls out his gun and fires. A shot at the leg.
The bullet hits its target, makes the sound of metal on metal, ricochets into a wall. With a woman’s voice, he figure at the end of the alleyway says, “Thank you for shooting first. It means I won’t break the contract.”
She drops her overcoat. The armor under it lights up the alleyway with a brilliant blue. She draws a sword two times bigger than she is. She screams a warrior’s cry and rushes into the alleyway.
Trent fires again. Another ricochet. She slices him with the sword making a deep wound that bleeds blue fire. He turns the pistol in his hand and smashes it into her face. The move catches her off guard for a moment and he rips the helmet off with his left hand, thrusting the barrel of the pistol against her naked forehead.
And he stops. The woman’s face is almost identical to the little girl he saw murdered not an hour ago. Same eyes. Same hair. Same…
She slams the sword into his belly. Trent has never felt such pain. He falls to his knees. He looks up at her.
“Laura?” he asks.
She shakes her head. “Laura is my mother’s name.” She twists the sword in his belly and he writhes. “That’s for dirtying my mother’s name with your vampire lips.”
She kicks Trent to the ground. She puts her foot on his chest.
“Laura?” he asks. “He shot you. He killed you.”
“Too bad for you he didn’t,” she says. She raises the sword.
Up above her, Will shouts down, “Mathilda? Is that you?”
The woman in the armor looks up. “Will?” she asks.
“Don’t hurt him!” Will says, jumping down from the rooftop. “Please! Don’t hurt him!”
She looks down at Trent. “He shot at me,” she says. “That gives me the right to defend myself.”
Will reaches the street. “Please don’t hurt him. He’s confused. Can’t you tell?”
She looks down at Trent. He’s saying the same thing over and over again. “He killed you. He killed you. He killed you.”
Mathilda looks at Will. “Get your friend the fuck out of here. And don’t come back.”
Will nods. She leaves, taking up her coat. She puts it back on her shoulders and the armor and sword disappear.
“What the fuck happened?” Don asks. He’s looking at Trent. The wounds on his chest.
“He got hit by a lightsaber,” Will says.
Don frowns. “Dinkytown girls?” he asks. Will nods. Don shakes his head. “I wish we never drove into that place.”
(Somewhere, Roman is kicking something.)
“She’s dead,” Trent says. “She’s dead. He killed her. She’s dead.”
“What’s he babbling about?” Will asks.
“He went to see his great-great-great-granddaughter,” Will says. Then, he thinks about it. “No. I think it’s just his great-great-granddaughter. And someone shot her. So, he killed her.”
_________________ touches Trent and looks with his Mekhet sight. He sees everything Trent has seen the last few hours. He nods. “That’s right,” he says. “He’s been watching his family. Someone shot the little girl. She turned into sticks and strings.”
“A fetch,” Don says, shaking his head. “His great-whatever-granddaughter is a Changeling.”
_________________ nods. “And he killed the man who did it. Detective Ben Schullson.” He points at Trent’s jacket pocket. “He still has the badge.” Then, he tilts his head. “But Schullson was talking to someone inside the house. Someone Trent couldn’t see. Someone sitting next to him. Invisible.”
Will says, “She said he shot first. So, she didn’t break the contract.”
Don nods. “A good thing we don’t have a contract with Dinkytown…”
The other vampires glare at him.
“… except for that one, of course. Of course that one.”
Will scans Don’s face. _________________ scans his aura. After a moment, they both nod.
“All right,” _________________ says. “We pissed them off again. We don’t want them blowing up the club.”
Will says, “We should meet them. Clear things up. Make sure everything’s cool.”
Don nods. “And after that, nobody goes into Dinkytown. Never again.”
Will has Mathilda’s phone number. He calls her. Arranges a meeting at the bridge. He promises they will not cross it.
An hour later, the four Boys are standing at the bridge. Waiting.
Mathilda shows up. She’s not alone. She’s got a white-haired man with her. He looks like he’s made of scars.
“Hello, lads,” he says. His eyes and grin are Bedlam.
“We don’t want any trouble,” Don says. “What happened tonight was a misunderstanding. My friend Trent was confused.”
Trent reaches out with his hand. He puts it on her shoulder. He says something the Boys have never heard him say before. His voice is like a china cup.
“Are you okay?”
Mathilda looks at his hand. She slaps it away. She holds up an old photograph. She thrusts it into Trent’s face. “Is this you?” she asks.
He looks at it. Years of memories flush up into his heart. Memories of breath. Memories of laughter. Memories of tears and joy. Memories of the simple pleasure of laying down after a hard day’s work. It’s almost too much for him. A crimson haze passes over his eyes. But he sinks it. Ties it to an anchor and sinks it down into his belly.
“Yes,” he says.
Her eyes are like the blue fire of her sword. “You think just because you’re in a picture you mean something to me?” she asks. She throws the photo down at his feet. He watches it tumble through the air.
Then, she takes out another one. She doesn’t show it to him. “You want to see a picture of her?”
That red mist rolls over his sight again. He fells the other Boys’ hands on his shoulder. He swallows it down again.
“You mean nothing to me,” she spits at him. Then, she throws the other photo to the ground. She turns and walks away.
The white-haired man grins. “Good night, lads,” he says. “Don’t come back.”
Dawn. Sleep. Darkness.
In the middle of that darkness, Trent awakens. The white-haired man is there. Trent reaches for his gun, but it isn’t there.
“Shh,” the white-haired man says. Then, he takes something out of his pocket. It’s a photograph. Her photograph.
“Listen, lad,” he says. He takes a flask from his pocket. “Where I come from, if a family don’t have problems, it ain’t a family.” He drinks from the flask. He looks at Trent. “You know what I’m sayin’?”
Trent nods. The man offers him the flask. Trent drinks from it.
And he tastes it.
Then, a swirl of darkness. Sleep. Darkness.
Come darkness, Anton Fix is the first to call.
“Have you seen the Sheriff?” he asks.
Don is grateful the Mekhet cannot see him on the other end of the phone. He tells Fix, “No.”
“He’s gone missing,” Fix says. “We’d like him located.”
Don says, “If we see him, we’ll do something about it.”
Fix thanks him and hangs up the phone.
Lethe arrives shortly thereafter. “I was on my way somewhere else,” she says, “and thought I’d drop in and say ‘hello.’”
Don shows her the picture from Will’s phone. The picture of her putting the St. Paul Sheriff’s body in the Prince’s trunk.
“Anton Fix called,” he tells her. “The Seneschal of St. Paul would like to know what happened to his Sheriff.”
She shakes her head. “I have no idea,” she says. “And, if a recognized vampire of St. Paul was attacked and dispatched, I’m sure the Prince of St. Paul would have a legitimate complaint against the regency of Minneapolis.”
Don nods. “Understood.”
Lethe says goodbye. Don turns to say something to Will… but Will is gone.
Tex-Mex Burgers with Cajun Mayo! (from allrecipes.com)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 1/3 pounds ground beef sirloin
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup diced white onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 slices pepperjack cheese
- 4 hamburger buns, split
- 4 leaves lettuce
- 4 slices tomato
- Preheat grill for medium-high heat. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground sirloin, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce using your hands. Divide into 4 balls, and flatten into patties.
- Lightly oil the grilling surface, and place the patties on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until well done. During the last 2 minutes, lay a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Spread the seasoned mayonnaise onto the insides of the buns. Put burgers in the buns, and top with lettuce and tomato to serve.