Vampire Games (Chapter Forty-one)

The gate was six feet high, made of wrought iron that was curled into vines that culminated into spikes.

As far as I was aware, there weren't any security cameras. And if there were, I wasn't worried. Since I wasn't wearing make-up tonight, anyone reviewing the footage would seriously question their sanity, or the equipment. They would see moving clothing, and not much else.

Yup, I'm a weirdo.

I glanced up and down the street, saw that I was alone, gripped one of the iron spikes, and jumped. I was up and over in a single leap, landing lightly on the other side.

There were no guard dogs, although a fat white cat skittered off past the BMW and clawed its way over a side fence. I decided to follow, this time hurdling the side gate in a single bound, no hands needed. I cleared it by a foot or two, and marveled again at my own athletic prowess. I wondered how I would fare in the Olympics.

Maybe Michael Phelps was really a vampire.

Or a mer-man.

Once in the backyard and away from prying eyes, I scanned the side of the house, looking for my opening. No, I wasn't against breaking a window or smashing through a door, but if there was another opening, I would take it.

The house was Spanish colonial and epic. The plastered walls were smooth and tan, and I was beginning to wonder just how much a karate champion made. There, on the third floor, was a wide veranda with an open French door.

I gauged the jump…and realized it might be too high for even me. Thirty feet was pushing the limits of what I could do until I spotted a drainage pipe snaking down near the balcony.

Good enough.

I gathered myself, took a breath or two, then leaped as I high as I could. At just over twenty feet up, I grabbed the drainage pipe and used it to catapult myself the remaining ten feet, where I cleared the balcony railing and landed smoothly on the deck.

The balcony reminded me of a particular crime lord's balcony out in Orange County. Same beautiful construction. Stone columns. Marble railings. Epic view of the Pacific Ocean. At the time, the crime lord's night had not gone very well. In fact, he'd ended up dead. We'd see how Andre Fine would fare.

There was a sound behind me. A woman's voice. Humming.

I turned in time to see the same blond woman I had seen in the passenger seat emerge from the bathroom. She was fully naked and surgically enhanced. She was working a towel through her wet hair when she saw me. Her mouth opened to scream.

I was moving. Fast.

Just as a strangled cry escaped her lips, my hand clamped around her mouth. My other hand grabbed her around her waist and now, I was dragging her quickly across the polished wooden floor and into a walk-in closet. I threw her inside and shut the door, but before I did, I saw way too much jiggling.

Far, far too much.

There was a heavy, antique dresser along the nearby wall, and I wasted no time putting a shoulder into it. Heavy was right. It took me a few seconds to move it into place in front of the closet, cleanly knocking off the door handle in the process.

The woman inside found her lungs and let loose with the mother of all wails. Andre Fine, looking cut and chiseled and very fine himself, emerged out of the bathroom with a toothbrush dripping from his mouth.

"Jill?" he mumbled around the brush.

"She's presently indisposed," I said, "but still very jiggly, which, I'm sure, is how you like her."

He spun at the sound of my voice, the toothbrush flung out of his mouth, splattering foam across the wooden floor. He ignored the toothbrush. I figured I would, too. Instead, he stared at me and was no doubt doing his best to process what he was seeing. Instead of his bodacious and very naked girlfriend, he was looking at a spunky, dark-haired vampire with lots of attitude.

His eyes next went from me to his freshly relocated dresser now standing guard in front of his closet, a closet from which muffled cries and screams and banging could be heard. Andre Fine's face went through a number of emotions then, the most prevalent being disbelief and shock.

I get that a lot these days.

Andre was a tad under six feet but held himself well. Like a fighter. He balanced easily on the balls of his feet. His body was extremely muscular. His six-pack undulated with each breath. His aura was a vibrant green, flashing with wild energy around him. The faster the energy, the more likely he was to spring into action. More muffled shouts came from the closet.

"What's going on?" he said.

"We're going to talk," I said.

He scanned the room, tilting his head a little, listening hard. He was someone who trusted his senses, his instincts. I could see that. That was probably why he was such a good fighter. Except now the information that was being returned to him had to be a tad confusing. A woman alone. A house broken into. His jiggly girlfriend was imprisoned in a closet, a closet which was now barred by his heavy dresser.

"Who's here with you?" he asked.

"Just little ole me."

Without taking his eyes off me, he nodded toward the blocked closet. "Who moved that dresser?"

"That would be me."

He stared at me for another two seconds. "I'm calling the police," he decided.

"No, you're not."

"Do you have a gun?"

"No."

This time he actually shook his head, no doubt trying to clear it. "How did you get in?"

I grinned and pointed at the balcony. I grinned because his robe had fallen open and I could see his wahoo. Not very impressive. Then again, I had been dating the hulking Kingsley.

"Your weiner's showing," I said.

He ignored me. "Why are you here? What do you want?"

"We're going to talk about Caesar Marquez. And you're going to put your little wee-wee away."

He did so, absently, tying off his robe.

"You're here alone?" he said, clearly confused by this notion.

"Yes."

"Do you have any idea who I am?"

"Yes. You're Andre Fine. Five-time karate champion and, according to some, an expert at dim mak. Or the touch of death."

He shook his head some more and walked out into the middle of his room. He turned and faced me. "And you broke into my house?"

"Technically, I didn't break anything. Think of it more as appeared. I appeared in your house."

"You have a lot of balls."

"I have a lot of something."

He stared some more and the energy around him crackled, picking up. His bright green aura turned brighter. Added to the mix were some hot pinks and reds.

"Who do you work for?" he asked.

I shook my head and walked toward him. "New rule. I ask the questions from now on."

He watched me closely, eyes narrowing. He was also slowly getting into a fighter's stance, perhaps unconsciously. Jill screamed again from inside the closet, banging against the sturdy door.

I stopped a few feet from him. "You're confused as hell, aren't you? Poor guy. A woman comes here. Rearranges the place. Makes your big-boobed girlfriend disappear. Stands here alone, unarmed and unafraid. Confusing as hell, I imagine."

His eyes continued to narrow, even as he continued lowering into a fighting stance.

"Makes you want to do what you do best, huh?" I said. "To fight?"

He'd had enough. He lashed out with a straight punch that was much faster than I had anticipated.