Covenhouse Christmas (part 2)

Covenhouse Christmas post 2 of 5

The cab smelled like blood and soap. Mostly blood. I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I fed, and I was kicking myself for agreeing to take Jim with me. An hour’s drive to Denver, a trip to Target, a trip to the tree stand, an hour back…. It was excruciating. I had to distract myself. “So, how long have you been working – ” For me? At the covenhouse? – “under Simmons?”

“Couple months.” I felt his eyes on me, assessing. “Heard you were away with Mr. Black.”

I nodded.

“So he’s your – boss?”

I wiggled my hand back and forth. It wasn’t inaccurate, necessarily.

“Your husband?”

“Oh, hell, no.”

He laughed. “Same name.”

“Coincidence.” Kind of.

“Glad to hear it.”

What? Why? Conversation was supposed to distract me from wanting to jump him. “So you like the job?”

He shrugged. “Good hours, excellent pay. Too excellent. I think I might be waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

I made some sort of non-committal noise. We did pay well – because eventually, after the probationary period was up, we expected complete secrecy, an almost impossible level of discretion, and that the staff put up with vampires. I was pretty sure that we didn’t expect them to be our blood banks, though. And I was completely, totally, absolutely sure I wasn’t supposed to fuck them.

Yeah. Here’s how that went down: Grant told me not to. Which didn’t make the blood and soap smell sitting next to me any less appealing. Especially not after I noticed his rough, long-fingered hands and almost broadsided a Subaru. “I’ll make sure to mention a pay cut.”

He laughed again, a smooth tenor like honey. “Far be it from me to not get between a fool and his excess money.” That appraising look again. “But what do you do for him?”

“Odd jobs.” Well. Whatever it was, it did certainly entail ‘jobs’ of all sorts. “We’re – friends.”

“Friends who tour Europe together.”

“I’ll have to tell Simmons to keep you in the garage. You’re a nosy one.”

“And you’re the prettiest thing I’ve seen since I moved to that mansion. Can you blame me for asking?”

“Maybe. What’s your contract say?”

Another laugh, nothing like Grant’s. “Y’all are weird.”

You don’t know the half of it. “Mr. Black is…particular about things.”

“But there’s nine other people in the house. Aren’t they particular?”

“It is really not my job to discuss them. Or Mr. Black.”

“Does he make you call him that?”

I snorted. “He’s smart enough not to try.”

“You two don’t seem like a good match.”

Tell me about it. “I’m sorry?” My voice was icy; whether or not I agreed with him (and really, I shouldn’t let pique pick my partners), it wasn’t his damn business.

“Sorry.” He stared out the windshield. “So we’re getting everything for a tree?”

“Top to bottom. Maybe some outside lights, too.”

“None of them struck me as the decorating types.”

“That’s probably true,” I said, turning into the SuperTarget lot, “but I’ll make up for it.”

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