Leaning with her elbows on the bar, Janette watched as the dance floor cleared with the approaching dawn. One by one, the patrons filed out of the club to go about their day-time business if they were mortal or to seek shelter from the sun elsewhere if they were not. All, except one customer who lingered in the far corner of a booth.
Janette was slightly surprised that she hadn't noticed his presence earlier. Now she moved over to the booth and took a closer look at her customer. Dressed in black jeans and a matching leather jacket, he regarded her with a weary smile on his face.
"Nicolas, you look like something the cat dragged in. Are you planning to stay the day?"
"If I may."
Janette's face grew concerned. Usually she had to use all her female skills in order to persuade him into spending the day at the club. And now he even asked for permission? "Chéri, what's wrong?"
Nick sighed. "I got shot three nights ago. The bullet went right through my arm."
"Oh, chéri. Your arm seems perfectly fine to me," Janette observed.
"It is, of course. The problem is that Schanke and two other officers saw it. My arm was fine within two minutes, but the police think I need a week to recover."
Three nights earlier
Nick and Schanke were called to an address where a potential suspect had been sighted. They approached the door accompanied by two additional uniformed officers when Nick suddenly heard a shot fired from the opposite roof. He pulled Schanke to the ground, covering him with his own body. A hiss escaped him as he felt a sharp pain in his upper arm. "Are you okay?" he inquired, rubbing his arm absently.
"Yeah, thanks, Nick," Schanke replied and gulped as he saw a bullet hole in Nick's jacket. "Contrary to you."
"It's nothing," Nick dismissed the incident. He wanted to go after the shooter, but the presence of so many mortals prevented him from taking off in his usual style.
"Nothing? You've got two holes in your jacket, meaning the bullet went right through your arm. I'm calling for paramedics," Schanke insisted and pulled out his cell phone.
"No paramedics," Nick interjected. "Take me to the morgue. Nat can stitch me up."
Shaking his head, Schanke complied and took Nick to the morgue where Natalie applied a bandage for appearance's sake. Much to Nick's annoyance she issued an order of sick leave for the duration of one week.
"Did they catch the shooter?" Janette asked.
Nick shook his head. "They found the gun on the roof, but no sign of the shooter. I should have hunted him down while the trail was still fresh." Sighing, he lamented, "With that bandaged arm, I'm not supposed to play the piano and I'm not supposed to paint. If Schanke brings over one more bowl of Myra's chicken soup, I'm going crazy."
Janette had listened with mock compassion. "So you came here for a reprieve from your mortal burdens?"
Nick smiled in confirmation and caught her hand, brushing his lips along the vein in her inner wrist while gazing deeply into her eyes.
"I'm sure, I have something else to offer than chicken soup," Janette commented and rose to pull him with her towards her private quarters.
"I was hoping you'd say that," Nick rasped.
* * *
Across town, Lucien Lacroix sat with steepled fingers in his armchair and savoured the sensations he received from both his children. They were passionate creatures as individuals, but joint together they created waves of pleasure that caused his eyes to change. As usual his attention was focused primarily on Nicholas. It was far too rare that the boy let go off all restraints to revel in his nature.
Over the course of the previous year, Lacroix had come to accept that he would not see Nicholas kill any time in the near future. So this tryst was an excellent change from the discipline the boy observed. The ecstasy he felt across the link each time Nicholas sank his fangs into Janette's pliant neck was well worth the little effort it had taken to set things in motion.
Lacroix knew from experience that Nicholas had a tendency to run if he received too much attention. He just had to make sure that Nicholas ran in the right direction. From his recent little chat with Detective Schanke, Lacroix had gained the impression that the good detective would swamp Nicholas with attention should Nicholas be hurt. All he had to do was to hire a sniper who now rested peacefully on the bottom of Lake Ontario...