Something There That Wasn’t There Before

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“Absolutely not! And that’s final.” Vachon couldn’t believe they were having this conversation. He took a deep breath. “I think I’m the man in love with you who knows that if you do this, you’ll get hurt. Or worse,” he explained.

“Oh, so you just assume because I’m a woman I can’t handle it and I’ll get hurt. Thanks. Your trust in me is overwhelming.” Tracy crossed her arms and looked away.

“Tracy.” Vachon walked over and put his hands on her shoulders. “It has nothing to do about trust or about you being a woman. I trust you. But you have to trust me, too. These guys are some of the worst vampires out there, and Dante is the worst of the worst. And you’re mortal.”

Tracy turned, pleadingly, to Nick. “Help me out here?”

Nick raised his hands into the air in response to the look Tracy had given him. “Oh no. I’m not getting in the middle of this. I haven’t lived this long only to have my partner stake me when I’m not looking because I said something she didn’t want to hear.”

“I may do it anyway. I thought partners backed each other up. Thanks,” she replied.

“I’ll do it.”

In response to the fourth voice entering into the conversation, three heads turned in the direction of the bar.

“What?” Urs said to Vachon. “I’m a vampire. Nick and I together would be better at holding off an attack. Sorry, Tracy,” she said as she turned to the woman, “but I have to agree with Javier on this one. I don’t want to see you hurt either.” Urs shrugged her shoulders and sent Tracy a smile.

Smiling down at Tracy, Vachon pulled her closer. “Please don’t do this. I lived this long to find you, don’t do something that could end it. Please?”

Looking in his eyes and seeing the fear there, Tracy relented. “Okay. Alright. This time. But all three of you are going to have to start realizing that I can take care of myself.”

“Yes, dear,” Vachon replied, giving her a kiss.

Nick was relieved Tracy was fine with this new development. He was sure he would have been able to protect Tracy, but Vachon had disagreed. “Now,” Nick said, turning to Urs and smiling at her, impressed that she would do this with him. “Let’s come up with a cover story and how you’re going to get the bug into the office.”

 

As planned, the next night Nick picked Urs up from the Raven. As she walked up to him, he smiled and took in her appearance. “Wow. You look stunning,” Nick told her as he held open the door to the Caddy.

She tucked the train of her gown into the floorboard so that it wouldn’t get caught when the door shut. “Thank you. You look very handsome as well.”

Nick smiled and closed the door. Walking around to the driver’s side he got in and started the car.

“Well, shall we go?” he asked.

“Let’s.” She smiled in reply.

As they drove, Nick turned to her. “You’re sure your good with the cover and the plan?”

“Yes. Are you?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be? Walk into a club full of vampires with a beautiful woman on my arm who falls on my every word …,” Nick joked.

“Falls on your every word?” Urs laughed. “I don’t remember that being part of the cover story.”

“Well, sometimes you have to ad lib in these things,” he replied.

“Duly noted.”

“So now where was I? Oh yes. Falling on my every word, and then going off to plant the listening device while I distract them.”

“Easy as that. We’ll be home in no time.” Urs replied.
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“You were saying?” Nick leaned down and whispered.

“What?” Urs was too busy trying to count the number of guards to actually pay attention to Nick.

“You were saying we’d be home in no time,” he reminded her.

“About that … I might have been a little hasty in my choice of words.” She couldn’t believe the number of guards this guy had. It seemed that he had a full-on army of both human and vampire soldiers. And Tracy had wanted to do this, she thought.

“Well, we’re going to have to find a way to plant the bug. I’m just not sure how we go about that now.” Nick was impressed. Well, as much as he should be impressed by a man with an army immediately at his disposal. And there were guards at every door out of the club area, including the one that he knew led to the office. More guards than they had thought there would be. He wasn’t sure how exactly this was going to play out, but they were there, so they were committed. Too late to turn back, so Nick continued to walk into the battle with Urs by his side. “You’re still good with this?”

“Yeah.” Urs spotted their mark sitting in a high-up table, smoking and surrounded by ladies. She heard music and looked around the room full of people. She noticed the piano where an older man sat playing a mournful tune and a small temporary stage with its own microphone. So Dante was old school, she realized. He liked jazz, cigars, brandy, and ladies dressed to perfection in beads and gowns made of the finest silk. She was very familiar with this type of man and knew how to distract Dante from everything else and claim his full attention. “Nick, I’m going to need you to go along with this.”

“Okay, but what ….” Urs had walked away from him once he had started talking. Nick saw she was headed straight for the piano, and as soon as reached the man playing, she leaned down and whispered in the player’s ear.

Nick moved closer just as the piano player’s fingers touched the keys again. Urs had taken the stage and was holding a microphone. Before he could register what was going on, she started singing, and he found himself enchanted by her voice.

Urs knew she had to have the right emotion in her voice for this song and Dante did not spark that within her. But she knew who did. She held the microphone and sang directly to Nick.

This is the end
Of a beautiful friendship.
It ended a moment ago.

This is the end
Of a beautiful friendship.
I know for your eyes told me so.

We were always
Like sister and brother
Until tonight when we looked
At each other.

That was the end
Of a beautiful friendship
And just the beginning
Of love.

We were always
Like sister and brother
Until tonight
When we looked at each other.

That was the end
Of a beautiful friendship
And just the beginning
Of love.

The music ended, and the audience broke out in applause. Their target had been making his way forward to the stage when she had been near the end of the song. By the time the applause had died down, both he and Nick were at the stage. Urs made sure to take Nick’s hand, and, staring at her, he helped her down.

“My dear, that was amazing! You have the voice of an angel.”

Urs saw their mark smile as she extended her other hand for him to take. “You are most kind, sir.”

“Allow me to introduce myself: Dante Vickers.” He kissed the back of her hand, then released it.

“I’m Urs, and this is Nicholas. We’re passing through on our way to Montreal. We heard about this club and simply had to see what all the fuss was about.” She smiled while Nick stuck out his hand.

“A pleasure to meet you, Dante,” Nick replied, pulling Urs protectively closer to his side now that she was free from Dante.

“Would you care to join me at my table for a drink?” Dante motioned to a solitary table in the back of the room, on a level above the rest of the club. It was his favorite spot, a quiet place where he could sit and easily observe his club and the people coming and going. He gave a sign and the ladies at his table hastily left.

“We’d love to, wouldn’t we, honey?” Urs tugged on Nick’s arm.

Nick wanted her to go find the office, but he had not gotten the guards away and she was insistent with her tugging. “Of course. Besides, when could I ever deny you anything?” He followed her over and sat down in the chair Dante offered him.

After the waitress served their drinks, Dante asked, “With a voice like that, surely you have performed on stage before?”

“Yes, in New Orleans, a long time ago. I don’t talk about it often, but I did enjoy the music.” Urs took a sip from her drink.

“Well, it’s a shame that such a voice is not heard more often.” Dante raised his glass in a salute. “So tell me, Nicholas: what do you do?”

“I used to be a professor, but now Urs and I travel the world.” He put his hand on her arm. “Kindred free spirits and all that,” Nick answered.

“Well darling, it’s actually getting late. I think we need to be on our way, our friends in Montreal don’t like to be kept waiting.” She stood and offered Dante her hand. “It was a pleasure to sing for you and to make your acquaintance, Dante. I hope we can stop back in if we’re ever passing through again?”

Dante took her hand and kissed the back of it. “Of course my dear; you will always have an open invitation here.” He extended his hand to her partner. “Nicholas, you are a very lucky man. I wish you both safe travels.”

“Thank you, sir. Good night.” He took Urs’ hand and led her outside. Once he had helped her into the Caddy and reluctantly let go of her hand, he got in and pulled away from the club. Once they were safely on their way, he turned to her. “Okay, why the hasty exit? We still needed to place the bug in his office.”

“I actually already planted the bug. And since that was the only purpose of our being there, it was time to go.” Urs didn’t make eye contact with Nick and kept looking out the window. “A man like that conducts his business from his table. He can observe the goings on in the club, and everyone can see that he’s in charge. I planted the device under the tablecloth inside the leg joint. It’ll pick up all of his conversations.”

“Good job.”

“Well, as you said, sometimes you have to ad lib.”

“Thank you for all your help tonight.”

“Thank you. We worked well together.”

Nick nodded and they rode in silence for a while. He very much aware of Urs near him and what he had been thinking about at the club. Especially her song. “I had no idea that you could sing like that.” Nick turned the corner and came to a stop in front of the Raven.

“There is a lot about you don’t know Nick.” Urs opened the door, and just as she started to get out, Nick touched her arm.

“Urs?” Nick said, and she finally turned and looked at him. “I’d like to know more, about you. If you’d like to tell me.”

She smiled at him. “I’d like that. Come by the club some night, and we’ll talk.”

“It’s a date.” He replied while leaning over and then kissing her cheek.

Smiling, even more, she got out of the Caddy and made her way into the Raven, reflecting on the night’s events. It really was a night to remember.