Graveyard Shifts: A Pat Wyatt Novel (10 page)

BOOK: Graveyard Shifts: A Pat Wyatt Novel
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His eyes were sad. “I wasn’t invited.”

“Well,” I playfully slapped his arm and stifled an “ouch” (the man was hard as a rock), “now you are.”

“But what about…?” His eyebrows rose in silent question.

I wagged my finger at him. “You let me worry about ole Sammy boy. Besides, I told you I didn’t care. What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
Oh, I don’t know. Samuel could take you into a graveyard and suck all the blood out of your body?
I blinked away last night’s dream.

“I don’t know, bébé. Sam’s a pretty powerful guy. But you’re right. I shouldn’t care either. You wanna know somethin’?” He smiled, his green eyes sparkling as he looped his fingers through mine, swinging my arm back and forth.

One thing was for sure: he could make me smile. “What?” I asked quietly.

“I missed you,” he admitted. “I woke up this mornin’ with a terrible thought…you know…that I would never see you again.”

“Now you know that would never happen. You’re stuck with me for life, Wolf.” Oh, no. I shouldn’t have said that. What if Charlie heard me? Then we would be in real trouble. “And how could you miss me?” I changed the subject. “We just saw each other yesterday.”

Mike looked down at his shoes, and then into my eyes. “I just did.”

That’s when the little red warning light went off in my head. If Charlie really was outside listening then Samuel would hear about this conversation eventually, and I really did not want that to happen. “Mike, you’re a good friend,” even as I said it, I knew I was hurting his feelings, and he would probably think I was being indecisive. “Let’s not ruin it, okay?”

“You’re right,” he agreed, taking a deep breath. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” it really wasn’t. “Just as long as you remember that I’m married to your boss.”

“Did I ever mention that I hate him?” he asked, his scrunched face making me laugh.

“Only about a hundred times,” I said, leaning up to give him a kiss on the cheek. In hindsight, that wasn’t such a good idea.

Mike moved his hand, swiping a curl out of my face as I looked into his sparkling eyes. He smiled, bending himself so his face was only an inch from mine. I just stood there, wondering what he was doing, but it didn’t take long for me to find out. He placed my head in his hands, kissing my forehead, nose, cheeks, and then my lips.

At first, I pulled away, and then he pinned me gently against one of the bookshelves with his lower body. The kissing came again, but this time I kissed back. This was so wrong. But really, I didn’t care. Mike was the one I had wanted ever since I’d met him. And as the cold came again, it was beaten back by the warmth of Mike’s body against mine.

Our lower bodies were grinding together while his hands roamed up and down my sides. Then he broke free from our overzealous kissing, only to start moving his lips down my neck.

My body was on fire, but when he pulled down my collar, he jumped almost a mile backward. “What the hell is that?” Mike asked, looking like a scared little rabbit.

“What are you talking about?” I was livid as I checked myself over to see if I was intact. He pointed to my neck, just above the collarbone.

My hand flew up, tracing my flesh carefully. Two bumps I hadn’t noticed in the shower were right there. “Oh my…” I ran through the study and the sitting room, banging my way through the double doors, so I could see the mirror. I shut my eyes tight, telling myself it was all a big mistake. That it couldn’t be real. That they were just…but there they were. Two perfectly circular parallel bite marks right above my silver chain.

The scream just came out.

“What happened?” Mike came into the dining room, breathless. “Are you okay?”

I shook my head. “No.” My voice was panicked. It was real. The dream was real.
Now, Pat. There’s no such thing as…
It made me nauseous just thinking about it.

“They’ll go away,” Mike tried to comfort me, but I was beyond that. “I’m sure it’s nothin’.” He smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. There was something not being said. But I’m sure if it was, I would have fallen to pieces.

I nodded. “You’re right.”
That’s right, Patricia. You probably just slept on something.
There was no need to jump to silly conclusions. I fixed my shirt, taking a deep breath (or ten). “There’s no need to be upset.”

“Right,” he said, his breath warm against the back of my neck. “Now, where were we?” He wrapped his arms around my waist, kissing my jaw.

“Mike.” I turned, holding up my hands. “We can’t do this right now.” Of course,
now
I had some sense. “I’m sorry about this. I hope you can forgive me.”

“Oh, right,” he breathed, rubbing the back of his neck (a definite nervous habit). “Of course I forgive you. There’s nothing to forgive. I was the one who…you know what?” He shook his head. “It really doesn’t matter. Just forget it ever happened.” He walked out of the room, and I followed.

“Mike,” I called after him. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt his feelings.

He held up his hand, his back toward me. “Don’t. I’ll just…um…see you tonight, all right?”

“Sure,” I managed to say without running up to him and jumping on him, but I restrained from making a fool out of myself. “I’ll be seeing you.” Then he was out the door without another word.

As I stood in the foyer alone, I realized that I had become something I hated.

I had become “complicated.”

.

chapter

NINE

“What the
hell
is wrong with you?” Tina screamed when I explained what happened this morning. “I swear to God. You’re only happy when you’re miserable.”

It had been one heck of a morning. Tina decided that we’d go into this little boutique called Jane’s. It was stylish and quaint, but it definitely had too much pink for my taste. And after I protested, Tina said she’d keelhaul me if I didn’t at least go inside and try something on. So I was in the dressing room trying on my fourth frilly peach dress of the day when I just happened to mention the little escapade I had in the study.

Let just say that Tina had a few choice words for Mike, and then she zoned in on my sanity (a favorite subject of mine lately).

“That’s not true,” I protested as I stuck my hand out of the purple velvet curtain pretending to be a door. She handed me another dress and gave me one of her Tina stares, which isn’t a force to be reckoned with. It consists of one eyebrow cocked, a pursing of the lips, a folding of the arms, and a narrowing of the eyes. This may sound strange, but that look makes your skin crawl and exposes you like an x-ray all at once.

“Okay.” My nerves were shot, so I agreed. “It’s a little true.” She cleared her throat, and I sighed. “All right, it’s a lot true. Happy? The good thing is we stopped in time.” Well,
I
did anyway. “So it probably won’t happen again. Besides, if you consider what my husband is…” I paused remembering what happened in my dream. “You’re lucky that’s all I did.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked, her face softening into a smile. I grabbed her wrist, pulling her into the dressing room. “Whoa,” she breathed, “are you crazy?”

“That’s what I thought at first, but then I saw these.” I moved my hair away from my shoulder and showed her the very faded—but still very much there—marks.

Tina’s mouth dropped open. “What the hell?” she asked, touching the bite marks. “What did you do?”

“Me?” I scoffed. “I didn’t do…”
Remember, Pat. You’re in a public place.
“Listen,” I said, wrapping my arm around her shoulders, “I think Samuel made these marks.”

She began to laugh, but this was no laughing matter. “Why would he…?”

“Would you listen?” I whispered heatedly, interrupting her. Sometimes she could get on my nerves. “Last night I dreamt that Samuel was a v…” I couldn’t say it. “A v…” still couldn’t say it. “V…” Tina smacked me on the back, “Vampire!” Finally, the word that was stuck in my throat came out.

She looked at me for a minute and then laughed loud and hard. “So? It was only a dream.”

I admit she was right, but there was something pulling me toward this ridiculous conclusion. Maybe it was the fact that even though she laughed at it, I didn’t feel that it was genuine. “I think,” I said at last, “it’s more than that.”

“You’re kidding, right?” She seemed to sober up faster than I had expected.

If only I was,
I thought as I started to pace. “No, I’m not. Here are all the facts.” Now to put my skills to good use. I had been collecting facts, and it was time to see if they added up to my conclusion.

“One, he’s always cold. Temperature-wise, that is.” Fact.

“Two, he has this unhealthy obsession with my cross. Almost every time he sees it, he growls and tears it from my neck.” Fact.

“Three, I never see him in the daylight. He says he’s working, but I found out that’s a lie.” Fact.

“Four, he has some sort of influence over my mind. I think one thing, I say another. It’s ridiculous.” Fact.

“Five, he can hear everything, and I do mean
everything
.” Fact.

“Six, he got really defensive when I called him Sam. Everyone else can call him that, but I can’t? It’s like he wants me to be his slave.” Not a vampire attribute, but still a fact.

“Seven, he’s really strong. I’m talking super hero.” Fact.

“And last but not least.” I pointed to the marks on my neck. “Need I say more?”

Tina just stood there while I ranted. She didn’t say a word, which was unusual for her, but she did nod a few times, so at least she was listening. And when she finally spoke, she was calm, cool and collected. “Sit down,” she said, gesturing toward the plush purple bench against the wall.

I sat, and she got on her knees in front of me, placing her hands on my lap. Then she cleared her throat, “Okay. You know I love you, right?” she asked, and I nodded. “And you know I’m always here for you, right?” I nodded again. “So I would be a shitty friend if I didn’t tell you that,” she paused, taking a deep breath. “You sound completely insane!” She threw her hands up at me. “I mean, you have this imaginary case against your husband. You have no proof except for two very faded marks and the fact that he doesn’t work during the day.”

I pouted. “There’s more to it than that.” Had she not been listening to a word I ranted?

She laughed without humor. “Right,” she said. “Like the fact that he doesn’t like crosses. Did it ever occur to you that he might not be that into religion or that he has a different faith? Oh, he’s strong,” she sounded like a damsel in distress, batting her eyelashes to make her point. “Poor you! He has good hearing. He’s cold and all those other bullshit excuses.” She placed her index fingers on her temples and sighed.

“Pat.” Her voice was calm. “I think you made up all these things just to make him the bad guy. Maybe the real reason you’re so against him is you don’t want to get your heart trampled on again. So you made up a story in your head just so you wouldn’t get close to him.” Tina was brilliant, and sometimes it scared and annoyed me.

I took a breath. “Maybe you’re right.” After all, now that she had laid it out for me, it made rational sense. But there was still something pulling me toward him being a vampire. Maybe it was that fact that even though she had wrapped it up in a neat little bow, it seemed forced somehow, like she was trying to make my mind go in a different direction. “I guess I did make up all those crazy things and jump to a ridiculous conclusion,” even if I still thought it was true. I hung my head, wishing I could disappear. “I am messed up.”

“You’re not messed up,” she said, sitting next to me and placing her arms around me. “You’re just afraid of getting hurt. It’s perfectly natural to act this way.”

“You really think so?” I asked with a grimace. I knew the answer.

“No,” she said bluntly. “But you’re a writer. I would’ve expected nothing less. Your imagination just can’t be helped. Now,” she paused, getting up with her hands raised excitedly, “I saw this magnificent dress in your size that I think you would look
fabulous
in.”

That perked up my spirits. “Will it make my sister green with envy?”

“Jessica will die when she sees you in it.” She smiled, walking out of the dressing room with purpose.

What was wrong with me? I placed my head in my hands. It had all started innocently enough then I went and accused my husband of being a vampire. What next? I was going to start thinking that Charlie was an elf, or worse, that Mike was a werewolf. Just the thought of Mike’s name in my head gave me a pain in my heart, and it didn’t make any sense. I never had this kind of reaction about a man before, not even when I was engaged to that moron, and I certainly didn’t have this reaction toward Samuel.

The cold came around me again, pulling me into the memory of Samuel caressing my face, getting on his knees in front of me. He pulled my legs apart, and then…suddenly I couldn’t breathe. The memory was darkened by something, and I couldn’t think of when he had gotten on his knees and done
that
.

“Ugh!” Honestly, what was wrong with me? “I’ve completely lost it.” Then I realized, “Great! Now I’m talking to myself.”

“Here you go, honey,” Tina said, as her hand came through the curtain.

I jumped, and my eyes came to rest upon the most beautiful black dress I had ever seen. “Where’d you find this?” I asked, taking it from her. It was perfect!

She poked her head through. “All the way in the back.”

“It’s gorgeous,” I managed to say through my awe.

She shrugged. “Yeah, I know. Now try it on so I can see if it fits you right.”

I made sure I did it slowly so I wouldn’t ruin it before I could actually wear it. After it was on, I felt like I had transformed into a different person. The front of the dress was just low enough so you could see the tops of my breasts, and it showed the girls off nicely. It was floor length, making me look taller and the fitted bodice made me look thinner. Then when I looked at the back in the mirror, I saw how lacy and seamless it was all the way up to my neck, and it made my butt look fantastic. Usually I worry about my shoulders (they’re kind of on the broad side), but the way the dress fit, they looked so dainty and delicate that I was afraid to touch myself.

I pushed the curtain aside with a flourish. As soon as I walked out of the dressing room, Tina gasped. So did the arrogant sales woman behind the counter.

I did a little twirl so Tina could see the back. “What do you think?”

This handsome man was waiting for his girlfriend outside of her dressing room, and when he saw me, he whistled and said, “Damn!” After, the woman walked out and hit him.

I blushed, turning to see Tina’s smiling face. “Need I say more?” she asked, and I nodded. “You look amazing! Now put these on.” She handed me a pair of black pumps. “And these.” She gave me star and moon earrings and a black chunky bracelet. “So I can see them together.”

“I’ll take the shoes and the earrings.” I took them from her. “But not the bracelet.” Sometimes I had to put my foot down when it came to Tina, or she’d have me looking as though I belonged in a brothel.

She pouted (something she does when she doesn’t get her way). “Fine,” she huffed. “Have it your way.”

When I turned to walk back into the dressing room, the man winked at me and gave me the “call me” gesture. It took all I had not to laugh.

After I’d purchased the dress and accessories (with the credit card Charlie had given me, so with Samuel’s money) and the man had given Tina his number to give to me, Tina dragged me over to the hair salon.

When we reached it, I blanched. “I don’t know about this, Tina.” I paused, looking at the glass doors. “Samuel likes my hair the way it is.”
So does Mike.
However, I pushed that thought aside, and focused on my reluctance.

She pushed me toward the salon. “That’s because he has sex with you. He
has
to say that. I, on the other hand, don’t swing that way and don’t have to give you such empty compliments.”

I didn’t know whether I should’ve been insulted or embarrassed as she grabbed my elbow, pulling me through the doors. She’d managed to shatter myself esteem and destroy my self-worth in one blow. “Ouch. Thanks.”

“Oh, stop,” she said, tapping my arm. “It’ll be fun getting a makeover.” Tina was determined to get her way about at least one thing.

Behind the desk, a young, dark-skinned man with purple spiky hair and eyeliner was holding a book in front of his face. “How can I help you?” he asked, not looking up from his book. I glanced at the title, and ironically enough it was
Interview with a Vampire.
This day just kept getting better and better.

“We need the works,” Tina spoke up before I could protest again.

He glanced up at her with a smile on his face. “For who?”

She pushed me in front of her, and I smiled down at him sheepishly. “For my friend here.”

“Oh,” he said as he body checked me (ouch!). “Right this way.” We followed him back to a stylish waiting room with ivory furnishings. “Have a seat, and someone will be with you in a minute, Miss…?”

“Mrs. Satané,” I corrected because I noticed that when I used my married name I got whatever I wanted. Good thing too because I did
not
feel like waiting for something I didn’t want in the first place.

“I’ll be right back,” he said, walking away (book in hand) to get my stylist.

“Why did you…?” Tina began, but before she could finish, he was back, gesturing for us to follow him. After that we didn’t have a chance to talk.

I was in that chair for over two hours, and about an hour in Tina had to go back to her place so she could get changed and be on time for the party. She left me alone while I still had the curlers in my hair.

They had plucked, trimmed, and waxed almost every visible inch of skin and hair, so the moment they were finished I had just enough time to get back and dressed. My new “personal stylist” whose name was Michelle, was a cute redhead with an Australian accent, and as she turned me around in the chair, she was so excited for me to see what she’d accomplished.

At first I didn’t see myself in the mirror, but as I looked harder, I slowly realized that the woman reflecting back was me. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t look anything like myself. This woman had beautiful silky hair, long black lashes, and smoky makeup that made her hazel eyes pop. Her lips were a deep red. Her cheeks were pink, and her skin was creamy white, not a dark circle in sight. It was amazing.
I
was amazing.

Michelle smiled behind me. “You’re beautiful,” she whispered into my ear.

“Yes, I am,” I agreed, and I just couldn’t wait to get home.

It was dusk in a hurry, and I had to knock on the door so Charlie could help me with my packages. When he finally came to my rescue, his mouth dropped at the sight of me. “You look gorgeous,” he complimented me. His mouth opened so wide I swear he could catch flies.

“Thanks,” I said as the dress starting slipping from my hands. “Now help.”

He jolted, realizing that I had a lot of stuff. “Sorry, Pat.” He apologized, and then he whispered, “Where would you like these?”

“Bedroom,” I whispered back, transferring all of my stuff into his arms, as I walked into the house. “Charlie, why are we whispering?”

He pointed to the study. “Mr. Satané is on an important conference call.”

“Oh.” I winked. “Gotcha.”

He walked up the stairs, leaving me alone. I hadn’t seen Samuel’s car in the drive, so I tiptoed over to the study, placing my ear against the door. I heard the ruffling of some papers while a low voice said, “No.” I couldn’t tell whether it was him or not until he said, “Enter.” A shiver ran up my spine. How did he do that?

BOOK: Graveyard Shifts: A Pat Wyatt Novel
9.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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