“Yeah, whatever,” Mike said, wishing her to leave, but at the same time grateful to be done with the ‘coming out’ conversation. For now.
“No,” Crandall said.
“No?” Mike asked. “Why not?”
“No.” Crandall shot him a nasty look, and then stared at Nica for several seconds before continuing. “If you knew the story, they you could help us out on this. I’d ask him for that after the show, but if you don’t know shit, then you won’t be helpful, and I don’t have a thing to say to that bastard Fang.”
Nica met his stare with as much force of will as Crandall’s. “Okay,” she said. “Let’s say it’s not too difficult to accidentally overhear stuff once you’re stuck with the vampire bug. Let’s say, I might’ve accidentally overheard some stuff I shouldn’t’ve been a part of. So what? How’s that help you?”
Crandall’s glower shifted slightly. Not quite a smile, but not a frown either, he shrugged and looked over her shoulder as if the wall itself held the solution to the vampire’s prophecy. “Since you need it all fucking spelled out, it goes like this: we have to kill a vampire, and you’re a vampire, so you can provide us useful information about them.”
He ignored the warning tone in Mike’s voice and continued, “So do you know what’s what, or not?”
Nica eyed him, apparently debating her choices before admitting or denying what she knew.
“Don’t bother trying that vampire mind trick shit. I don’t bullshit.”
“I don’t need to read minds to know that,” she said. She visibly relaxed, and then smiled and nodded. “Sure, if Max approves, I’ll help you guys out. I might have to hang out with you at practice and stuff, so I can, you know, be available for questions, or whatever.”
“We practice during the day,” Crandall said.
He frowned. “Fuck you.”
Mike stepped forward, a wary hand resting on Crandall’s left arm. He wouldn’t put it past him to swing his stake at the girl simply for standing up to him. Not that he’d ever threw a punch at anyone, but the Hunter blood did weird things to their instincts, and Mike wouldn’t risk it feeding off Crandall’s natural born fury at the world at large.
“The dojo?” Mike asked.
Nica nodded. “I’m probably out of line here, but I suppose Max’ll want an agreement on actually attempting the… thing. You know, in exchange for my help? Because if I’ve overheard anything, I’d be fairly certain that’s why he’s been shadowing you.”
“What?” Mike’s head snapped up, searching the woman’s face for a clue. “He’s been following us?”
“If you can’t say it, I doubt you can help,” Crandall said with a snarl. He shook Mike’s hand off his arm, but otherwise did not move.
“I won’t say it because I technically don’t know what “it” is yet.” She winked at him. “I’ll deliver your message and let you know what Max says. ‘Kay?”
Crandall said nothing, but Mike nodded when she looked to him. “Great,” she said. “Have a great show!” She stepped forward, pushing up on her toes, she kissed Crandall’s cheek. She spun around and headed back down the hall. At the doorway, she paused and looked back. “Beryl knows, by the way, and Jon suspects. It’s all good around here. Timelessness tends to overcome short-lived society hang-ups. Or whatever you want to call it.” To their confused stares, she shrugged one thin, pale shoulder and then ducked through the doorway and into the crowd.
Up Next: She’s Right