Justine Ch. 03bykalamazoo707©
Justine looked in the same direction that the dog was looking but sensed nothing other than the knowledge that someone was coming. Whoever it was hadn't gotten to the city yet and it was much too close to morning to go out again. As she calmed down the dog did too, his hackles relaxing as he lay at her feet. Justine absently scratched behind the dog's ears suddenly grateful for the company.
Thinking about the morning made her wonder about the whole daylight issue, could she go out? She opened a container that held the livers in it and drank the blood that had accumulated at the bottom then she gave the meat to the dog who to her surprise wasn't begging but patiently waiting.
"Here you go." she said as she fed several pieces of meat to the dog. "Who do you belong to and what are you doing wandering the streets?" she asked the dog who tilted his head to the side and gave her a quizzical look as if to say, "you are aware you're talking to a dog aren't you?"
Justine drained the blood from the other container but saved the meat to give to the dog later. Still hungry but not famished, she took out a steak, ate it and gave the bone to the dog who accepted it gratefully.
"You're like me aren't you?" she asked the dog, "out here all alone.... I'll tell you what, why don't you stick with me?" Justine asked the dog who had stopped eating and was watching her, "unless you have someplace else to be." she added.
The dog laid the bone down, walked over to Justine and licked her face and for the first time since she had become a vampire, Justine laughed.
"You have to have a name." she said pushing the dog away. "How about Rover?" she asked. She could have sworn that the dog raised its eyebrows at her.
"No? Willard? Oscar? Come on buddy! Give me a..... Buddy? You like that name? Then Buddy it is!" Justine exclaimed not at all concerned that she was carrying on a conversation with a dog. The dog's tail wagged rapidly as he started licking her face again.
"Ok, Ok!" Justine said still laughing, "Your name is Buddy!"
Buddy went back to his bone leaving Justine alone to plan her next move. The question about the daylight continued to nag at her, "for once it would be nice to know what I can do before I have to find out the hard way." she thought as she looked toward the one window toward the front of the basement.
She could see the signs that the sun was going to rise soon and made a decision, she was going to see if she could stand the sunlight. Buddy watched her as she approached the basement window and then abandoned the steak bone, trotted over to her and stood by her side.
Nervously Justine placed her hand on Buddy's head and waited. She looked out of the window and watched as the sun slowly rose. Finally the first rays of the sun shone through the window beckoning her to move closer. Slowly Justine stretched her arm out prepared to pull it back if there was pain.
She held her breath as the sun touched her skin for the first time in two days. The warmth of the sun felt.... Neither good nor bad, it really didn't feel like anything. It wasn't long before her hand was bathed in sunlight to her pleasure and surprise it tingled but didn't hurt or burn.
Taking courage from her experiment, Justine stepped further into the sunlight letting it hit her face. It was several minutes before her skin began to itch and burn which told her what she needed to know, she could stand to be in the sunlight about forty-five minutes. It wasn't a huge amount or time but it as time enough to get to a place of safety if she should have to leave wherever she was before it got dark. She wondered it she could condition herself to withstand the sunlight for a longer amount of time and added that to her list of things to find out.
Quinn was up early in spite of the fact that he really hadn't slept. Every time he closed his eyes he saw the image of the beautiful black woman who had been so inadequately dressed for the cold weather. His mouth went dry every time he thought about her and he wondered how he could find her.
Tired of lying in bed Quinn got up and headed toward the shower. On his way he looked at his reflection in the mirror. "Quinn O'Dell you need a haircut." he told himself as he ran his hand through his thick auburn hair whose length was barely collar length. His green eyes which he considered to be his best feature felt grainy and dry from the lack of sleep from thinking about the woman. "What is it about you?" he murmured as he stripped out of the lounge pants and tee shirt that served as his pajamas.
As the hot water ran over his body Quinn thought about the unnamed woman and hardened. The erection both shocked and pleased him. Pleased because the thought of a woman could still rouse him and it had been a long time since a woman had done that for him, shocked because the woman was a stranger.
That she was black was neither here nor there although he had never thought about being with a black woman. As far as he was concerned a woman was a woman and one thing that one never did or tried not to do was piss them off. From what he could tell, the reaction of a pissed woman was the same no matter the race, age or nationality. He stopped himself from traveling down the mental road of a relationship with this woman. He didn't even know her name much less where she lived. He had screwed up finding out her name by approaching her on the street instead of in the store around other people.
He finished his shower, dried his six feet four inch frame and dressed for the day. It was a cold but sunny day and he decided to go out walking. He had a meeting but he didn't have to be there until after lunch, fortunately this was an inside job so he wouldn't freeze his ass off. The employer a rich old woman wanted him to design an indoor garden but the plants had to be real and the room had to have the illusion of being outdoors. So he in conjunction with an interior decorator and an artist were working together on the project.
The job was paying big bucks further cushioning his savings giving him even more of a comfort zone for when he decided to move. As with all of his jobs he took before and after pictures for his portfolio but this one he was taking pictures throughout the process. He loved this job and it wasn't all about the money, he loved having his creativity challenged and loved working with other people except for this time.
The artist was Leila Calhoun who was quite beautiful and in some ways reminded him physically of Amanda but that was where the resemblance ended. Leila was loud, crass, domineering and she wanted in his pants, a fact that she made clear from the first time that they met.
He already knew how the conversation would go when the meeting was over, she would offer him a ride home because it was so cold out and then she would throw hints that she wanted to come in and when he didn't offer she would blatantly tell him that she wanted to fuck him.
Once he became fully aware of her agenda, he stopped meeting her outside of the woman's home to talk about the project and never accepted a ride home from her.
"I'll be there fifteen minutes early." Quinn told her when she called the day before.
"Come on Quinn!" she wheedled. "I promise that it'll be all business."
"I'll see you tomorrow at 11:45." Quinn told her and then hung up.
Quinn wondered how he could have gone from not wanting to be involved with someone to thinking about the woman that he saw last night almost non stop. Once again he wondered how he could find her, Philadelphia was a big place and she could be almost anywhere. Then he had a thought, she was walking so that meant she couldn't be that far away from Chinatown and given the way that she was dressed.... He was going back with the hope that he saw her again.
Mikhail arrived at the Philadelphia penthouse just before sunrise; his body felt like it weighed a ton as he dropped his bags and stumbled to the king size bed. He barely got his shoes off and got laid down before he was dead to the world.
When he rose, he called Jeremiah to let him know that he had arrived.
"I'm here, any clues on where your girl is?"
"No Damn it!" Jeremiah replied, "It's like she just dropped off of the face of the earth."
"Are you sure that no one is helping her?" Mikhail asked.
"We've talked to every vampire that we can find." Jeremiah said exasperated, "and no one has seen her."
Mikhail walked around the penthouse as he talked; he found that it helped him to concentrate.
"Where are you?" Mikhail asked.
"At the office, why?"
"I'm coming over so stay put."
Mikhail hung up his mind working; there was something that Jeremiah wasn't telling him about this woman. He went to the fridge, took out a bag of blood and warmed it in the microwave before pouring it into a glass. He began to ask several questions with the top one being, how was she surviving without help? The second question was why no one could find her.
Instinct was telling him that this was going to be no simple hunt and that he was going to be earning every dime of that two million dollars that he was to be paid for finding her.
Pam stared at Malcolm as he waited impatiently for her to decide. She fought her rising panic and forced herself to calm down. What she needed was time but the question was whether Malcolm would give it to her.
"I need time to get used to the fact that I'm going to be sold like a piece of meat, so could I please take that bath that you mentioned-alone?"
Malcolm eyed Pam suspiciously, he had sensed a subtle shift in her mein, one that he would have missed if he hadn't known her from the office or just spent the last several hours with her. Normally the change wouldn't have concerned him but he was getting a feeling in the pit of his stomach that he didn't like.
"Take your time." he replied as he released her from her binds, "but don't do anything stupid like try to run, you won't survive."
"So you've said." Pam snipped and then regretted it.
The feeling in the pit of Malcolm's stomach grew; something was happening that he didn't understand.
"You will watch your tone with me is that clear?" he snapped back at her.
"I... I'm sorry, I'm still trying to get used to the idea that Justine is gone." Pam said. "She's.... she was like a sister to me."
"I understand." Malcolm replied but the feeling in his stomach remained. "Go have your bath; we'll talk when you're through."
Malcolm watched Pam as she walked into the bathroom and shut the door behind her, he didn't believe her. He didn't believe that she believed that Justine was dead. They needed to get rid of Pam too, he would offer to pay the money for her and to find another woman for the vampire but it couldn't be Pam. The problem was that he had nothing concrete to go on and if he killed Pam without permission from Jeremiah, he himself would be killed. All that he could do for now was to watch and wait, he wasn't even going to go to Jeremiah with his suspicions, as with Justine his warnings would fall on deaf ears.
It was finally dark enough to go out. The first thing that Justine did was go to a bank machine and took out another 500.00. The next thing she did was to make another trip to the grocery store to buy more containers of the beef and chicken livers. At the spur of the moment she asked the meat clerk if he knew of anyone that sold fresh blood. He gave her an odd look and blinked rapidly.
"You're her!" he exclaimed drawing the attention of the security guard in the back. "It's her!" he called again.
Justine looked around her and panicked for just a second before calmness set in.
"How do you know me?" she asked.
"I don't." the clerk replied realizing his error.
"You just said and I quote, it's her." Justine said calmly, "I could be wrong but that sounds like you either know me or you know of me so which is it and don't lie to me again."
Justine was aware that the security guard had called for reinforcements without knowing how she did it; she vanished from the store and reappeared several blocks away. She leaned against the wall trying to catch her breath and fought the waves of nausea that threatened to end with her vomiting her meal. Suddenly she remembered Buddy. Just as he was going to head back to find him, he was there looking at her and whining softly.
"I'm ok but how did you....."
"Hello again!" a voice from behind her said.
The afternoon meeting went longer than he thought and that was Leila's fault with her nitpicking and being a general pain in the ass. Quinn had hoped that the meeting would be a quick one so that he could run home and get his camera. His plan was to go back to Chinatown and hope to run into the woman who hadn't been far from his thoughts since he first saw her and take pictures of her if he could do it without her seeing him.
When that didn't happen, he stopped at a CVS pharmacy and bought two disposable cameras. There wouldn't be a problem with getting them developed and then having the photos put on DVD. He had just walked out of the pharmacy when he saw her leaning against the wall.
He rushed across the busy street and got to her just as she was about to walk away. When he saw the big dog sitting by her side he stopped short, he wasn't very fond of animals especially ones that looked like they could attack without provocation."
"Hello again." he said from behind her.
He saw her shoulders stiffen before she turned around and for just a second wondered if he shouldn't just walk away but he couldn't. When she turned around to look at him, Quinn's mouth was so dry that he felt as though his tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth and when she spoke to him....
"What do you want?" Justine demanded when she turned to face Quinn. She was still a little nauseated but she was beginning to better.
"I... I just recognized you from the Chinese market and I...."
"Are you following me?"
Quinn's face turned beet red as he tried to come up with an answer and decided on the truth.
"Kind of?" Justine asked with an eyebrow arched.
"Alright, yes." Quinn replied, "I was going back to Chinatown hoping that I would see you."
"What do you want?" Justine asked.
"Your name?" Quinn asked hopefully, "My name is Quinn O'Dell"
Justine was about to tell Quinn to get lost when Buddy growled and the hairs on the nape of her neck stood up.
Without a word she walked away as fast as she could. This man could not be seen with her, his life depended on it. She didn't have time to give it anymore thought; she had to get away from him. She looked over her shoulder to see Quinn following her and if she kept at her current pace and with his long legs he'd catch up to her in no time. Not really seeing any other choice, Justine took off with a speed that surprised Quinn who was gaining ground on her. He stopped short not sure if he had really seen her take off like a rocket.
He cursed when he realized that he still hadn't gotten her name.
Pam took as much time as she could without arousing suspicion, now that she had forced herself to calm down and think logically. Justine wasn't dead, she would have felt it ... she was coming and she Pam had to find a way to stay where she was for as long as she could.
She climbed out of the tub, dried off and wrapped one of the towels around her. The question was how long did Malcolm have to get her ready for her buyer? As she brushed her hair she realized that she felt different. It wasn't a huge difference but different all the same, stronger she thought. She brushed her teeth and went back to the bedroom where Malcolm was impatiently waiting for her.
"Do you feel better?" he asked.
"Yes thank you." Pam replied, "May I ask a question?"
Malcolm hesitated but then gave her the go ahead.
"How long is my .... Training?"
Malcolm looked at her, "no, something isn't right here." he thought. "As long as it takes." he replied reluctant to give her any information."
"Liar" Pam thought to herself as she gave Malcolm what she hoped was a sincere smile. "So now what happens?" she asked.
Malcolm didn't like the lack of fear that he heard in her voice, he knew that it could have been resignation but he didn't think so.
"Have you decided to comply?" he asked.
Pam's mind screamed "no!" but the knowledge that she had to buy more time and that her body was saying yes decided the matter for her.
"I... I don't have too much of a choice do I? She asked.
"There's always a choice." Malcolm replied.
"Yes but mine are do as you say or die and like I said, I really don't have much of a choice."
"I will take that as a yes." Malcolm said, "Now lose the towel and come over here."
For a brief moment the Pam who was scared half out of her mind appeared and it was that Pam that Malcolm saw. It was that Pam that made the nervous flutter in his stomach ease but it was the stronger Pam that he led to the big bed so that he could begin her training.
Justine went back to the vacant house that she was staying at and thought about her options, she was no longer sure that going to a hotel was the best thing to do. Unless.....
"Come on Buddy, we can't stay here." she said as she picked up her bag. She had decided to go to a hotel after all her rationale being that they would expect her to go into hiding again after almost being caught. The almost being caught meant something else, she couldn't just walk the streets whenever she wanted, she had to choose her times carefully but she was no longer going to hide out in vacant houses.
As they walked, Justine paid close attention to Buddy, he had sensed danger just seconds before she did. At the moment he was relaxed his tail wagging so fast it looked like a blur. Justine stopped walking and looked at Buddy, "are you really a dog?" she asked.
Buddy looked back at her quizzically, "I guess you are." Justine mumbled and started walking again. She needed several things with the most important being more food for her and Buddy. She had to leave the store before she got and paid for the meat. The other thing that she needed was her laptop but did she dare go back to her apartment to get it? "It's probably being watched." she said under her breath. Her only options were to do without, go to an internet café, go to her apartment or just buy a new or used laptop. The first option was out, she had to have a laptop and going back to her apartment wasn't a good idea either at least not until she knew who was looking for her which left the internet café and buying one. The internet café would leave her too exposed which left buying one.
She did a mental cash count in her head. If she used cash the purchase of the laptop would take quite a bit of her cash which meant that she had to use one of her cards. The question then became which was less risky, going to her apartment or using her card and she decided her apartment as she could be walking into a trap if she went to the bank. Deciding that there was no time like the present, Justine went back to her apartment building and waited outside.
She wondered if she could make herself vanish like shed did from the store but she didn't know how she made it happen. "Damn!" she swore under her breath, "do I need a pair of ruby slippers or what?" Justine looked down at Buddy and rubbed his head and wondered if just thinking about it would work. With no other feasible ideas, Justine closed her eyes and thought about her bedroom. When she opened them she was in her bedroom, very nauseated but pleased with herself. Not taking the time to recover from her nausea, she quickly packed up her laptop making sure to pack the charger as well. She looked around her bedroom and wondered if she had time to pack anything else, "another change of clothing." she mumbled as she ran to her closet and grabbed not one but two sets of sweat suits.