Fated Destiny Ch. 03byJohnEvans©
"Tomas, wake up...breakfast!"
Tom awoke with a start and grabbed the sheets closer to him. Looking over at the door, he saw Maria standing there with a sardonic look on her face. When she saw his reaction, her lips curled upward into a sarcastic half-smile.
"Don't be afraid, little chicken. I will not eat you," she said with her Spanish accent. "Hurry up and get dressed. Sergi is waiting for you in the dining room. Don't forget to make your bed."
"Make my bed?" asked Tom in confusion. "Yesterday you said...ah...er..."
"Yesterday you were a guest," replied Maria, throwing back her raven black hair before leaving.
Tom climbed out of bed, dressed, and quickly made the bed. He had to borrow clothes from James. The pants had to be rolled up at the cuffs and the shirt was too snug around the chest. Today was Monday and Tom felt both a little guilty and a little happy that he did not have to be back at work until Wednesday. He headed downstairs and met James near the front foyer.
"Howdy, partner," greeted James when he caught sight of Thomas. "It looks like my duds don't quite fit. We'll have to run you over to your place later. The doc is in the dining room."
Tom turned and walked into the dining room. Sergi and Anya were sitting at the table. At Tom's entrance, Anya looked up and gave him an appraising glance up and down. With her eyes lingering on his too tight shirt, she pursed her lips together and gave out a loud wolf whistle.
"Anya!" admonished Sergi.
Tom almost blushed, but then remembered what Anya had said to him yesterday.
"You want to see the rest of it?" he asked her, reaching for his shirt buttons.
Tom was surprised to see Anya's eyes widen in surprise. She then blushed bright red and looked away. Sergi laughed that someone had finally given her as good as she gave out. Tom started to smile himself when a voice interrupted him from behind.
"I would like to see more."
Tom spun around and found himself staring down into Gretta's big brown eyes. She was dressed back into her French maid's outfit and Tom found his eyes moving downward to the very impressive cleavage she was showing. With a start, Tom realized where he was looking. His head snapped upward and he blushed just as much as Anya just had. Tom quickly sat down and stared at the tablecloth to keep from looking at Gretta.
Gretta looked at Sergi and shrugged her shoulders. She set Tom's plate in front of him and left the room without saying another word. Tom just sat there staring at the omelet and bacon strips in front of him. Sergi sighed and shook his head.
"Eat, Thomas, before it gets cold," said Sergi. "What do you think of our encounter yesterday?"
Scary, but not all that dangerous," replied Tom as he took a bite of his omelet. "I'm surprised that it is all real and we don't hear more of it."
Sergi and Anya both broke out laughing.
"You do hear about it all the time," chuckled Anya. "They're ghost stories."
"Humans want a physical world where they have control," said Sergi. "Ghosts, spirits, and supernatural creatures frighten us because they are outside the normal realm of human understanding. They are also not that common. Most require some trigger to appear, like the Gray Man who walks along the State of North Carolina beaches just prior to a hurricane."
"So, it was probably Haskin's death that made Vinetta appear," said Tom. "What was so special about Haskin's death?"
"We may never know," said Anya. "It may have been that Sandra Haskin was in danger while her second husband was alive and an appearance of Vinetta's ghost may have proven fatal to her."
"And remember, Thomas, that not many people will talk to other people about what they have seen," added Sergi. "Father Roberts would be fired and probably defrocked if he told his congregation about the incident. Mrs. Vinetta, who has dropped her Haskin's name, does not want to be seen as...slightly touched in the head, shall we say? What proof could either one offer?"
"Desiree is not like Vinetta's ghost," stated Tom strongly. "She kills."
"Of course she is not," said Sergi. "She is a vampire, not a ghost. Ghosts are tied to a particular event or place. If she is as old as I think she is, she has killed hundreds. Finish your breakfast. We are meeting in the living room to discuss the problem of Covington."
Tom finished off the rest of his omelet and bacon. He then followed Sergi and Anya into the mansion's living room. The large room had sofas and chairs placed strategically around the large fireplace. Tom was not surprised to see James and Gretta there, but had not expected Maria, Hannah, and a distinguished looking, bald-headed man.
"Good morning, sir," said the man in a cultured English accent. We have not met yet. I'm Dobbs, the butler."
"God morning, sir," said Tom, holding out his hand.
"It's not 'sir'...just Dobbs," corrected Dobbs, indicating a seat for Tom.
"Our group takes a little getting used to," said Anya. "We're all equals, but for some reason, some of us wanted the additional work...or,...," She glanced poignantly at Gretta. "...to play dress-up."
"I trained to be a butler and have been one most of my life, as you well know, Miss Anya," stated Dobbs patiently. "I would be uncomfortable if I was without a position."
"And, besides, if we don't do them, we'd have to hire them out," said James. "That maybe means getting some unreliable folk poking into stuff they shouldn't be in or talking about things they shouldn't say."
"We are here to discuss an encounter Thomas had," said Sergi. "Most of us are familiar with it, but I would like Anya to give us a summary."
Anya quickly summarized Tom's encounter with Desiree Covington. Tom turned bright red when she coolly described Desiree sucking off Mr. Silverman. She told everyone of the police involvement. She then read the ancient Roman text they had found and finished up with a description of the type of entity her grandfather thought Covington was.
"A vampire," gasped Hannah in wonder and fear.
"A sex vampire," corrected Sergi. "A female vampire that hates all males. Do not let that fool you, though. She will kill women just as easily."
"What do we do, doc?" asked James. "This ain't like a ghost that has a set purpose which needs to be fulfilled before it moves on."
"No, James, she is not," replied Sergi. "She will be the most dangerous foe we have ever faced. Remember, she not only has great power, but also great limitations. Sunlight will kill her as well as a stake through her heart. Vampires do not sleep, but they must rest, usually during the day, either in their coffins or on the cursed ground they were buried in. They can not cross through running water, like a stream or river, but they can travel over it."
"She took control of my mind," said Tom. "How can we fight that?"
"Her will is formidable," agreed Sergi. She can dominate the weak-willed or unwary easily. Covington surprised you in the office. I do not think anyone here would call you weak-willed. Now that we know who and what she is, we will be able to resist her domination. The main thing is not to become trapped with her. Over time, she will break through anyone's will."
"The plan, sir," reminded Dobbs quietly.
"Quite right, Dobbs," said Sergi. "We must first track down her lairs. She will have several and have plans made for escapes from those places. Thomas, I hesitate to ask this, but we need to know everything about Covington. Is it possible for you to get her financial records from your firm?"
"Those files are confidential," responded Tom, taken aback by the request. To hand over the files went against everything he had been taught. "I know she is worth millions."
"Tom, it is not what you think," said Anya quietly. "Her money is blood money...probably taken from her victims. We want no part of it. Her wealth fives her leverage and grants her freedom of movement. Where she has spent the money can point to where she has set up her places of refuge."
"Thomas, I am wealthy in my own right," said Sergi. "It is up to you to decide whether to obtain the information or not, and whether to trust us with that information. Think on it. James will drive you home so you can change clothes. Please be back here before noon."
"Why/" asked Tom. "What happens at noon?"
"Lunch," replied Sergi, standing up and heading out of the living room. "The police detectives will also be here to interview you."
"Do you mind if I tag along with you?" asked Anya of Tom.
Before Tom could answer, someone stamped a foot behind him. He turned around to see Gretta standing there with a petulant look on her face. With a loud harrumph, she turned and flounced out of the room.
"Uh, it's alright with me if it's okay with James," said Tom, slightly flustered by Gretta's obvious irritation.
"Whoa there, partner!" exclaimed James, holding up his hands. "Don't get me in the middle of this! It's just a quick out and back, Anya."
"Beats sitting around here," said Anya.
"Okey-dokey," said James, not hearing any disagreement from Tom. "Let's go, you two."
Tom was half-expecting James to pull out the Rolls. He was just as happy to see James slide behind the wheel of a Cadillac Deville in the four-car garage. The other two vehicles in the garage were a Ford Mustang convertible and a Land Rover geared up for the outdoors. Anya followed his gaze.
"Grandfather loves the Rolls Royce, but it is not the most inconspicuous car around. The Mustang is mine. It's a 1967, which I restored."
"Sweet ride," admired Tom, taking in the cherry-red finish and the white interior.
"Thanks," said Anya, declining the front seat as Tom opened the door for her. She sat in the back with Tom, allowing James to place his Stetson hat on the seat beside him. The trip to Tom's apartment was uneventful, except that Tom was highly conscious of the exceptionally beautiful girl sitting beside him.
Anya was sharply dressed in a white blouse and black slacks. She kept looking outside and appeared preoccupied. Her manner was more disconcerting to Tom than when he had been sitting next to Gretta and she kept grabbing for his knee. James parked in the lot for Tom's apartment complex.
"Why don't you come on up?" asked Tom nervously. "It should only take me a couple of minutes."
"Be happy to," replied James nonchalantly, recognizing Tom's fear of entering his apartment alone.
They rode up the elevator to the twelfth floor. Tom opened the door and peered inside, almost expecting to see Covington to be there waiting for him. Tom's apartment was a simple one-bedroom place with mismatched furniture typical of a bachelor and new college graduate.
"Sorry the place is such a mess," said Tom, stopping in the front hallway to kick a pair of shoes into the coat alcove.
"Aw, man, quit trying to buffalo us," scoffed James, edging past him and looking in each of the rooms. "You ain't seen messy and dirty until you've seen my place. How's about we grab your gear and go."
Anya saw Tom visibly relax as James' cursory look-around let him know that no one else was in the apartment. It was not until just at that moment that she realized how new and frightening all of this was to Tom. She had grown up with supernatural beings and events until it was second nature to her.
Tom went past her to the bedroom and closed the door. Anya looked around the small living room and concluded that Tom was not a slob. Everything was in its place, but without it looking prissy. There were photographs on a bookcase of an older coupe that resembled Tom enough to identify them as his parents. The bedroom door opened and Tom came out wearing blue jeans and a faded button-down shirt.
"I have what I need," said Tom, hefting a collapsible gym bag. "I put your clothes in here, James. Do you mind dropping me off at work? I'd like to get my car and I can follow you back to Dr. Maleski's place."
James grimaced and looked at his watch. "I don't mind driving you around, partner, but if that's what you want...we got the time, but you gotta promise to head straight back. The doc said not to let you out of my sight."
"I promise," said Tom with a smile. "I would like to stop and pick up a couple of things I left there when...when...uh..."
"Hey, no problem," said James. "Let's get along then."
James quickly drove them over to Tom's workplace and parked in the garage located next door. The three of them walked through the main door and Tom was surprised by the level of activity going on inside.
"Busy place," commented Anya.
"Not this busy," corrected Tom with concern in his voice.
The three secretaries were hurrying back and forth between the file room and the offices with stacks of files in their hands. The senior agents were all talking on the phone as their eyes browsed the open files in front of them. Tom caught sight of Mr. Hart coming out of his office followed by his executive secretary, Tamara Stevens.
Tom was always a little frightened of Tamara. She dressed fashionably with a sense of style that showed off her body without flaunting it. She was in her early thirties with shoulder-length blond hair and blue eyes that always seemed to appraise the person she was looking at.
"Hello, Miss Anya...Tom," greeted Mr. Hart. "I wasn't expecting to see you until Wednesday. We haven't heard from Mr. Silverman. Have you heard anything?"
"No, sir," replied Tom. "What's going on, if I might ask?"
"Damage control," replied Mr. Hart. "We're contacting our clients for a friendly chat, so that when this story of his disappearance breaks, they won't go to pieces worrying about if he has stolen their money or not. We're just giving them some assurance that we are watching out for our clients."
"Is any money missing?" asked Anya.
"No, and we have triple-checked each account," stated Mr. Hart. "I looked at your grandfather's account right after I checked Ms. Covington's. They're both in perfect order. Ms. Covington called me this morning and requested that I take over her account. I'll be moving both her's and your grandfather's to a confidential file under my control."
"I just stopped by to pick up a couple of things I left here Saturday," said Tom. "I'll be here bright and early on Wednesday."
"I know you will be," said Mr. Hart warmly. "I wish I could say things will be back to normal by then, but I doubt it. The SEC may be here by then. If you all will excuse me, I need to get back to work. Miss Anya, it's been a pleasure to see you again."
"Come on," whispered Tom urgently to Anya and James after Mr. Hart and Tamara went back into his office.
"What's the matter?" asked Anya, following after Tom as he quickly walked down a corridor.
"Your grandfather asked me to get Covington's file," said Tom as he led them to Silverman's office. He could not suppress a shudder of fear as he crossed over the threshold. "Once Mr. Hart gets it, it will be impossible for anyone to get a look at it."
Tom was familiar with Silverman's filing system. It only took him a few seconds to find Covington's thick file folder. He grabbed the staple puller and stapler off Silverman's desk before heading out the door.
"Here...pull the staple out of this," ordered Tom as he handed Anya the first sheaf of papers out of the folder.
He turned into the alcove where the copier was located. Anya yanked out the staple and Tom placed the papers into the top hopper. He handed another set of stapled papers to Anya as he began printing out the first set.
"Uh-oh!" warned James, who had been keeping a lookout for anyone coming down the corridor. "Hart's assistant is heading this way."
"Stall her!" hissed Tom. "If she catches me with these papers..."
"Gotcha!" replied James as he headed down the corridor to cut her off.
Tom broke out in a sweat and he tried to calm down as he hurriedly copied papers as fast as possible. He almost jammed the copier once by not aligning the papers in the hopper and Anya hissed in anxiety. Tom's whole focus was on copying and listening for Tamara's footsteps.
"Easy," cautioned Anya after he almost tore a page in half. "James will keep her busy."
"Yeah, but he's not the one who's going to be fired and sent to jail for this," said Tom testily.
Tom did settle down, but maintained a stony silence as he and Anya made copies of the entire file. As Anya stapled together the last group of pages, he sighed in both relief and chagrin.
"I'm sorry," he apologized to Anya. "It's just..."
"Don't worry about it," interrupted Anya, stuffing the copies into her purse. "Let's get this back before it is missed."
Tom picked up the file and headed back up the hallway to Silverman's office. Halfway back, he stopped dead in his tracks causing Anya to run into his back.
"What?" asked Anya.
"Mr. Hart," said Tom quietly as he saw his boss with his hands on his hips looking around the office area as if searching for someone. "Quickly, in here!"
Tom opened the door to the storeroom and hustled Anya in. They both froze when they realized that they were not alone in the large room.
"What was that?" Tom heard Tamara ask out of sight on the far side of the stacked shelves.
"I didn't hear anything, darlin'," replied James, "except the beating of our hearts."
"You're one smooth talker," murmured Tamara. "I think I'm going to have to watch out for silver-tongued Texans."
Tom and Anya heard movement on the far side of the room, which was followed by a feminine moan of pleasure and a masculine gasp of ecstasy. The moan and groans became louder as did the kissing. Tom felt his face become hot with embarrassment and turned to head out the door. It was then that he saw the knob on the door begin to turn slowly.
Tom firmly grasped Anya by the shoulders and pulled her backwards. The door slowly opened, forcing Tom back up against a shelf. There was barely two and a half feet between the door and the shelf with Tom and Anya sandwiched in between. Mr. Hart slowly crept into the storage room.
Mr. Hart was only a foot away from Anya and Tom as the door closed silently. His back was to them as he cocked his head to hear the sounds of passion emanating from the back. Tom held his breath, sure that Mr. Hart would turn around and see them. Tom blinked his eyes in surprise when Mr. Hart began to sneak forward and turned at the end of the aisle.
Tom tapped Anya on the shoulder and pointed down towards the end of the aisle. She looked at him in surprise, shook her head, and pointed towards the door. Tom knew that if they opened the door Mr. Hart would catch sight of them. He again pointed towards the end of the aisle and slowly moved in that direction. Tom knew the shelves along the far wall were about three feet deep and there was a space between two of the shelves where he and Anya could hide. With any luck, they would not be spotted.
Tom looked around the corner of the aisle and saw Mr. Hart crouching several feet away. The moaning was getting louder in the back area and Mr. Hart seemed to be watching what was going on there from between the shelves.
Tom saw the break between the shelves on the far wall and pulled Anya towards it. His eyes widened in fear as he saw Mr. Hart tense up and begin to turn around. He flattened his back against the wall and pulled Anya tight up against him. Holding his breath, he prayed that his boss would not walk down the aisle to investigate what he thought he saw or heard.
"Oh, my! What they say must be true!" gasped Tamara in passion. "Everything is big in Texas!"
"You keep pulling on it and it's gonna shoot off right in your hand," panted James, who then groaned loudly. "Squeezing it will do the same thing."
"So...what's your point?" Tom heard Tamara ask.
"I've got a better idea," said James. "Let's spin you around like so...bend over slightly...and..."