Home > Dark Dancer (Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill #3)(19)

Dark Dancer (Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill #3)(19)
Author: B.R. Kingsolver

“You’re looking well, Miss McLane,” Laurent said.

“I always try to dress for the occasion,” I said. Black Hunter’s uniform, hair severely pulled back in a braid, and two short spell-forged blades hanging from my belt signaled my feelings about the meeting.

“Yes,” he said. “I believe that is the same outfit you wore to the banquet where we first met.”

I smiled. “You remembered! How sweet.”

A vampire banquet usually provided humans to feed from. I had interrupted the festivities, and by the time I walked out of the castle at sunrise, more than two dozen vampires had met the final death.

Eileen looked distinctly uncomfortable. Michaela sat stone-faced, her eyes darting back and forth between Laurent and me. Laurent regarded me without expression, but I did catch a slight upward pull at the corner of his mouth.

“Well. Now that we have the pleasantries out of the way, I understand there are Hunters in town.”

“One less after last night,” I said. “I assume you heard about Ronald Winslow’s Thanksgiving dinner party.”

“Oh, yes. The remaining members of the Columbia Club are quite upset about that,” Laurent said. “Any old friends of yours?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing.”

“Ah. No, I’m afraid that my contact in DC is no longer viable, and I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting a Hunter, other than one.”

I shot a quick glance at David Cunningham. His eyes narrowed, and his stoic expression betrayed a flash of anger.

I finished my tea and set the cup and saucer on the table. Sitting back in my chair, I folded my arms across my chest. Laurent was the one who called the meeting, and I waited to see what I might learn from him.

The silence seemed to make everyone but me uncomfortable, and eventually, Laurent asked, “Why do you think Hunters have come to our little city?”

“Where else are they to go?” I asked in return. “You are the one who told me the Illuminati had been destroyed. Those who escaped are looking for a new home. Westport is only now emerging from a chaotic period. You are new and in a weakened position after the recent unpleasantness. The Columbia Club lacks unity. There are only a few places in North America where major ley lines intersect, and this is a rather out-of-the-way place where the Illuminati might be able to establish a foothold.”

“So, you think they have come to stay, that this isn’t just a brief visit.”

“The Illuminati do nothing on a whim,” I said.

Laurent nodded. I saw the eyes of various onlookers, including Eileen Montgomery’s, widen a bit.

“Are these ley lines that important?” Michaela asked.

I pulled energy from the nearest ley line and kept pulling it and pulling it. I began to glow. I knew that the other people in the room—none of whom were magicians—were starting to feel an increasing pressure. Everyone’s expressions began to show alarm. When the building started to shake, I let the energy flow back to the ley line.

When I was young and first came into my magic, I didn’t know how to stop the energy flowing into me until it exploded. When I joined the Illuminati, they isolated me until I learned to let the magic go gently instead of blowing up everything around me.

“Yes, they are incredibly important to mages,” I said, “and all Hunters are mages. How much power I can wield is in direct proportion to how much I can pull from a ley line.”

“And you think the Hunters, the Illuminati, are here to build a new base of power,” Laurent said.

I nodded. “A new home.” I considered holding back but decided it didn’t matter. “But I don’t think they know the Fae have already staked out the ley vortex—where the lines intersect. If the Illuminati try to take that over, I want the popcorn concession.”

Chapter 15

I managed to get hold of Jolene the following morning, and she said she and Josh planned to go by that afternoon. Using the map on my phone, I found the hospital where Trevor was staying and jogged down there.

The nurse on duty told me they had given Trevor two pints of blood and maintenance fluids but nothing else. She also told me that his girlfriend had been there for two days straight.

When I entered Trevor’s room, a very young blonde woman was sitting there watching him. She looked like hell, and I suspected she hadn’t slept much.

“Hi,” I said. “I’m Erin.”

“Heather. He hasn’t woken up,” she said, never taking her eyes off him.

“Have you been here all night?” I asked her.

She nodded.

“Have you been home at all? Have you eaten?”

She gave me a blank look.

“Okay. He’s not going to wake up today. Let’s go get you something to eat, then you can go home, take a nap and a shower, and come back tonight.”

She shook her head and turned her gaze back to Trevor’s sleeping face.

“Nope, that’s not going to do it,” I said, taking her by the arm and hauling her out of her chair. She stumbled and tried to pry herself free, but I dragged her out of the room, past the nurses’ station, and punched the down button on the elevator.

“We’re going to get something to eat,” I announced.

“Good!” one of the nurses said. “Take her home and put her to bed once you feed her.”

The food in the hospital cafeteria wasn’t up to Rosie’s, but it was cheap. While Heather ate some soup and a sandwich, I called Lizzy and explained the problem.

“She’s been there for two days?” Lizzy asked. “Dear Goddess. Yeah, I’ll come give you a ride. Do you know where she lives?”

“I think in a dormitory at the university,” I said.

When Lizzy showed up, I pulled the girl out of the hospital and shoved her in the back of Lizzy’s car. Her reaction to being out in daylight was more appropriate to a vampire than a human.

“You live in a dorm on campus?” Lizzy asked.

“Uh, yeah. McCormack,” Heather replied.

We drove in silence for most of the trip, but when we neared the university, the girl stirred.

“What happened to him?” she asked.

“An accident,” I said.

“That’s all anyone will tell me.”

“It was ugly,” I told her. “I don’t think you want to know the details. He’s going to be all right. They have him medicated, but he should wake up sometime tonight or in the morning. Go back then, okay?”

We dropped her off in front of her dorm in the spot where I had first seen her with Trevor, then Lizzy drove me home.

When Trevor finally woke up, Jolene called me, and I took the train downtown.

Trevor’s room was so crowded when I arrived that it looked like a party. Jo, Josh, and Lizzy, Liam, Sheila, and another Gallagher sister, plus Heather, a doctor, and some other lady with a hospital nametag on her dress.

“Hey, champ, how’re you doing?” I asked as I pushed my way to the end of his bed.

He gave me a smile. “Pretty good.” His eyes shifted momentarily toward Heather, then back to me. “Josh tells me you saved my life.”

I shook my head. “Naw, I was just closest to you. Anyone could have applied a tourniquet.”

Trevor chuckled. “Some of my old girlfriends might have let me bleed to death.”

I winked at him. “Where would be the fun in that? I’d rather make you feel guilty.”

Everyone laughed, even Heather, although I could tell she wasn’t sure she found it funny.

“So, what’s next?” I asked.

Trevor motioned with his stump to the doctor. “They tell me that I need to go up to the medical school in Seattle to get a new hand. Best place on the west coast for a prosthesis.”

The doctor said, “It will take six to eight weeks to fit it and learn to use it. After that, probably an annual tune up is all that will be required.” He shook his head. “I don’t know how he healed so fast, but it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. The arm looks like the accident happened months ago instead of a couple of days.”

“Magic,” Jolene said, and most of us laughed.

“It’s a miracle,” Heather said. “He’s blessed by God.”

Lizzy, Jolene, and I rolled our eyes. Josh stifled a giggle.

“Is God going to pay for all that?” I asked.

The Gallagher sister said, “No, we will. Westport Waste hired him as our new technology director last week and enrolled him in our group health plan just in time. I was telling him that the insurance company seems to have lost the paperwork, but Michaela said we’d get that worked out.”

I almost giggled. Knowing Michaela, I was sure she would convince the insurance company that it was really their fault. I made a mental note that she paid her debts. It made me feel a little less guilty that I’d dragged my friends into her problem.

A nurse came and told us all that we had to leave so she could unhook him from all the equipment, IV bags, and fill out the paperwork so he could go home.

As we started to file out, Trevor called to me, “Erin, can you stay another minute?”

When I was the only one left, he said, “Truly, thank you. My own damned fault. You warned me not to rely on my shields when we fought that other Hunter. Considering what an ass I’ve been, I’m kind of surprised you didn’t let me bleed to death.”

I walked around the bed, bent over, and gave him a quick kiss. “I’m trying to redeem myself, remember? Besides, saving each other’s lives is what friends do, even if they do act like asses sometimes. Right? Don’t be an ass to Heather.” I ruffled his hair and then followed the rest of the crowd out.

The next time I saw Michaela at the sword club, I thanked her for paying Trevor’s medical expenses.

“Hell, it’s the least we could do,” she said. “When I asked for help, they didn’t even mention money, even though that’s how they make their living.” She chuckled. “And I really do need someone competent to do my computer stuff. I fired my IT director last week after we got hacked. I’m told Trevor is a wizard at it.”

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