Summery: When college student Naomi's father is murdered, the police practically ignore her case. In an attempt to find the killer, she seeks out a professional independent detective. Naomi isn't rich - and finds herself calling men and woman asking for way too much money. Naomi finnaly finds a man who doesn't work for money - He works for blood. Vannen's a vampire, and in exchange for helping her find the murderer, Naomi lets him bite her. Let's just say that's where the fun begins.
For: Sexual themes, Violence, Language
"Look, sir, I'm getting a little upset about this now. You're utterly ignoring this case. The longer it sits there the harder it will be to find the murderer. Someone like that cannot run free! When the hell are you gonna take another look at these files?" I threw down the binder down on his desk. "I'm getting a private investigator. I can't take this anymore."
I walked out of the room, and slammed the door behind me. The nerve of some people!
At my dorm that night, I searched through the all the phonebook, newspaper, and online ads I could find. I called Mr. John Stantas first.
"Excuse me, Mr. Stantas?" I asked into the phone.
"Yes, 'mam? How may I help you?" He answered.
"I'm in need of a private investigator on the the murder case of my father. How much do you charge?" I asked, knowing I couldn't afford whatever he said.
"Depends. Murders can run anywhere from 10,000 to a million bucks. Murders are a lot of work to investigate. If there's a lot of evidence already, it could cost less than $100,000." He explained.
"Oh. I see. I'll get back to you if I need your help. Thank you, sir." I couldn't afford that! The $10,000 would even be pushing my budget. A lot.
I hung up, and called Mary Anne Trooper.
"Ms. Trooper? I was wondering what you would charge for the investigation of my father's murder?" I asked.
"Oh? Well, I really can't say without the details. Prices run from $25,000 to well over sereval million. Time and evidance are factors. And if we can't find the killer, we charge a flat rate of only $10,000 for every three months spent on the case." She explained, soundng very polite, probably thinking I was rich.
"I'll get back to you if I need your help. Thank you." I hung up, and searched through the ads again, looking for one that said something about low rates.
That's when I found it. It read "Come in and find out for yourself. We don't charge you like the other investigators. We take one case at at time, so that that case it all that's on our minds. We're currently looking for our first case!"
"First case, huh? Ah, well, then it's probably even cheaper than I thought." I told myself. "I'll go in the morning. There's no phone number, that's odd."
I closed the newspaper, set it down at my desk, and stood up. I let out a big sign, and walked to my bed. I laid down, curled up, and went to sleep.
The next morning, as soon as I woke up, I ripped out the ad from the newspaper, took a shower, got dressed, and hurried out the door.
When I arrived at the said address, I was a little creeped out by the look of the place. It was dark and had a medieval look to it. It was old fashioned, and didn't seem to fit on the streets of downtown L.A. It looked like one of those old churches, but it sure wasn't.
I rang the doorbell. When a man about my age answered the door, I freaked out. "Oh my God! Brad Pitt went goth!" I laughed at what I'd said, even if he really did look like a gothic versian of Brad, and then remembered why I was there. "My name is Naomi Evans. I'm looking for Vannen Dorth." I held out the ad. "I need a private investigator."
"I'm Vannen. Come in." He opened his door wider and invited me in.
The house was dimmly lite, and most of the lights were candles, not electric lights.
He walked me over to his kitchen table and pulled out a chair for me. "Make yourself at home. Would you like some coffee?"
"Sure. Sugar, no cream... I've looked around and I can't afford other investigators. I'd like a price quote for murder." I asked, sitting down in a chair at his table.
"A murder, huh?" He started to make the coffee. "Before we discuss payment, can we talk about what happened and what you already know?"
I didn't really want to talk about it, but I knew I had to. "It's my father's murder. He was the C.E.O. of a company. A big company, actually. Chances are you've heard ot if, Prosense? Bigger Credit than Visa these days. There were a lot of people with reasons to want to get rid of him - but I can't believe someone actually did. I really wasn't close to my father, and I didn't have anything in his will, so I can hardly afford to get an investegator. There were three people on the will, and the money was split nearly evenly between the three. The first was my father's best friend, Joe E. Jaques. I don't think he did it, I knew him quite well and he was really very nice. The other two I didn't really know - they were brothers, John and Derren Carlen. They worked for my father, and were supposedly good friends with him. They run the bussiness now." I finished.
Vannen finished the coffee, and poored it into two lavender mugs. He brought them over to the table, set one in from on me, and sat down in the seat accross from where I was sitting.
There was akward silence for a moment, but Vannen spoke up. "Have you found any clues?"
"He was murdered in his office. Finger prints are everywhere in there, pretty much everyone who works for him goes in there every once in a while. We have the murder weapon. It's a knife. The killer must have been wearing gloves, becuase there are finger prints on it, but they're my fathers." I took a sip of my coffee.
"Is suicide a possiablity?" He asked.
"No. My father was very religious. When I was a teenager, I cut myself once, and he told me suicide was the weak person's way out. He said they thought it would be a relief, but they found themselves in eternal pain for it." I sighed, and put both elbows on the table. "Can we discuss payment?"
"Sure." He sipped his coffe. "I don't accept money as payment."
I spit out the sip off coffee I had in my mouth and was furious. "I'm not a hooker!"
Vannen laughed and leaned back in his chair. "Hey, don't get me wrong, not like that."
I calmed down a little bit. "Sorry. Ok, then what do you mean?"
"You've seen vampire movies, right?" He asked. I nodded. "Well, guess what? I'm a vampire. You let me bit you, I find your fathers murderer."
I started laughing. "Good one. Ok, seriously, what kind of payment do you want?"
"Oh, I'm dead serious." He looked straight at me. "What do you say?"
I stood up and slammed my hands down on the table. "That's just sick! Of corse I won't! That's ju-"
I got cut off. "I need it to live, you know?"
"I need it to live. The blood, I mean. Don't think I like doing it. Vampires aren't evil. At least, not all of us." He still looked calm, and sipped his coffe again before saying anything more. "Some people are willing to... you know, get bitten, in exchange for something they want." He shrugged. "Guess I figure it's better than bitting the innocent."
I just started at him, still angry, but more confused. "This isn't funny. Alright, where's the candid camera?"
"There isn't one. Leave if you want, it's just an offer." He said. "But don't think about saying anything to the police about me, they won't believe you. And if they do, I won't find a problem in bitting you without asking."
I stood there, silent, for a moment. Then I blinked and asked, "Does it... hurt... to be bitten?"
"Sure. It's not the worst pain in the world, but it hurts. Before you say anything, you need to trust me completly. Once I bite you, unless I stop, I can kill you. Not saying I would. You should know though." He sounded blank.
I looked down at the floor for a moment, and looked up when I'd made up my mind. "I have to know who killed my father."
"So we have a deal?" He asked.
"Then let's get to work on that case of yours right away." He finished his coffee, and carried his mug over to the sink, and washed it out. I stared at him as he did. He looked so... normal. He didn't look like someone who was going to bite my neck. I waited for a candid camera, but there wasn't one. This guy was serious.
I pulled out the files I had with me out of my purse. "The police have the knife. They have pretty much everything." I pulled out a few papers from the back of my folder. "I have pictutes of all the evidence. I can probably get better pictures, but I'm sure if they'll let us take a look at the knife or the strands of hair they found. The found a dime too, which was probably my Father anyway, but they haven't checked on finger prints or anything yet. They're basically ignoring me."
Vannen pulled his chair around closer to me, and sat down again. "Let me see this." He said, picking up the picture of the knife. "This isn't just any knife. This is from feudal Japan. It's very old, and worth a lot of money."
"Why would somebody use that as a murder weapon?" I asked.
"I don't know. It's art. A piece of old, Japanese art. Know anyone who would have something like that?" He asked.
"No. And if they did, would they be stupid enough to use it as the weapon?" I answered.
"Or smart enough. It's they're smart, they want us to think they were so obviously framed. Maybe they made it so obvious they did it that we would assume they were framed." Vannen went on.
"Or maybe they did it and are just stupid." I suggested.
"That too." He laughed.
After two more hours of trying to make sense of the knife and a little on the dime, I looked up at the clock. "You know what, I have a class in half an hour and I have to get back over to the university."
After a moment of silence that seemed kind of akward, I tilted my head to the left and moved my hair from my neck. "Go ahead."
At about that second, he grew fangs. He didn't get ugly, as I'd expected from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer every Tuesday night for the last 4 years. Instead, all that changed were his teeth. I closed my eyes.
Within a few seconds, I felt fangs sink into my neck. It hurt like hell for about a second, but then it turned to general vertigo. I knew what'd he said was true, if he wanted to kill me, he could. I was under a trance, and I couldn't get out even if I'd watned to.
After what couldn't have been any more than 10 seconds, he pulled away. "Good bye." He said, as his fangs disappeared. He lead me to the door.
"Should I come back tomorrow?" I asked.
"Anytime is fine. Things don't get too busy around here." Vannen answered, closing the door.