Chapter 2

The hot water felt wonderful against his sore muscles after spending three hours relieving his frustration out at the gym. The moon was almost full, and she had to go and tease him like that. Jared ground his molars at the memory. Jesus she can be infuriating. Turning his wrist over, he could see the thick veins itching for the moonlight. He shook his head, It would never work. A quick turn of the cold water woke him from his agonizing. His veins cooled and his head felt a little clearer. Stepping out of the shower, he wrapped a towel around his waist and peered into the mirror. Even the fog couldn't hide the fact that he needed to shave-again! He snarled slightly at his reflection and left the bathroom.

"I must say I rather like that look."

Jared spun around in time to catch a shadow slip from one corner of the room to another.

"Good evening, Damien." He greeted through clenched teeth.

"You don't look pleased to see me." A face morphed from the shadow against a marble pillar and then it slowly released Damien 's entire figure. "What's the matter, the lunar tide making you grumpy?"

"I'm not in the mood, go away."

Jared pulled open the fridge only to have it slammed shut again. Jared's lip curled, "I swear if you weren't the counselor's son…"

"You'd what?" Damien leaned over the fridge door after Jared pulled it open again and removed a beer.

"Not going to offer me one."

Slamming the door, Jared said, "I'm trying to pretend you're not here."

"So mean." Damien pouted.

It wasn't like Jared could throw him out; not only was he bound by authority, but he literally couldn't get a hold of the slippery devil. Damien was only solid when he wanted to be and for no other reason. He followed Jared down into his living room where he dropped onto the large white sofa. "I'm trying to relax, so if you have nothing important to tell me, GET LOST."

"Temper, temper...it so happens I do have something of import to deliver to you." Solidifying next to Jared, he pulled forth a photo of a voluptuous blonde, her body wrapped in a towel, her hair wet, and a well-tailored dress was slug over the bed covers.

Jared snatched the photo from him. "Where did you get this?"

"I've picked up a new hobby. They're quite good if I do say so myself." Damien said with a smirk.

He ducked the incoming swing then vanished leaving only his voice as an indicator that he was still hanging around, "We know where she lives, Jared. It is only a matter of time. If you don't fulfill your duty then we will."

Jumping up from the sofa, he roared, "She hasn't done anything wrong!"

"That may be your opinion or just your ignorance."

Jared searched for a place to focus his eyes, "I was told to observe her. And if I found she was dangerous then I would take care of it."

Another photo floated down from out of thin air. It was of a light-haired young man in his early twenties with two holes oozing from the side of his neck. His face bleached white.

"Seems your boss has been busy." Damien 's voice said again.

"You don't know she did this." Jared snapped back tossing his gaze this way and that.

Damien 's face solidified right before Jared's, "Do you know of any other vampires in the city?"

"Set your feelings aside, Jared, and do your job." With that Damien vanished, voice and all.

Foam spilled over Jared's hand as he crushed the beer can. "Of course they'd wait for a full moon." He chucked the can so hard against the wall it stuck there. Damn it. His eyes dropped to the two photos resting on the white leather. Charlotte, what have you done?

Emerging from her bedroom clad in a white tracksuit, Charlotte stopped short of exiting the hallway, *cough, cough*..."Frankie!...what is that smell?" In the kitchen, counter covered with pots, beakers, Bunsen burners, and some chalk like substance, Frankie popped her head over the chaos. "Oh, hey girl, I was just experimenting with something."

Charlotte fanned her hand in front of her face, "What on earth is it because it smells like roasted hair."

"Funny you should say that." Came her reply.

When Charlotte turned the corner, she found her answer. A small animal was strapped to a baking sheet; she could only guess it used to be a cat or what was left of one. "In Lucifer's name, what is that?" She asked a little horror stricken.

Frankie gave her a sheepish look, "Well, remember when I said I wanted to dig up a dead body and you said it was probably illegal...well I didn't have to dig this one up. I found him on the road."

Charlotte's face paled, "Frankie, I love you, but you can't go bringing dead cats into my apartment. You have a lab for this sort of thing."

Lowering her head, her eyes focused on the slick black fur, Frankie said, "He looked so beautiful, I didn't want him to go to waste. Besides...look."

Charlotte's expression turned from disappointment to shock. The animal started to move.

"My word, Frankie, you actually brought it back?"

A triumphant smile spread across the witch's face. "I hope you don't mind; I borrowed a little."

"A little what?"

Frankie held up a small test tube with a dark nearly purple substance inside.

"You used vampiric blood to bring it back!"

"Only a little, so he shouldn't…" Her defense was cut short as the cat began thrashing about trying to free itself from its confines with a horrible scream. "Frankie, if that thing gets loose…"

"Don't worry, he isn't a zombie or a vampire."

"Then what is he and how are you so sure!" Her voice rose over the screams of the distressed feline.

"Because he…" before she could explain the cat had ripped through its constraints and dashed out of the kitchen.

"Stop him, we can't let him leave here."

Frankie darted right and Charlotte went left in order to corner the frightened creature. Fur fell off in clumps as the feline scurried across the floor and under the sofa. Charlotte lifted the piece of furniture, and with a nod from Frankie, holding a pillowcase, she flipped it. "Ready…"

The sofa went up, the cat ran out, Frankie dove for it, but it shot past her. Charlotte dropped the sofa and lunged for the cat. Her hands slipped over its fur that came out in chunks as it dashed down the hallway. Oh Frankie, the poor thing. She followed it and found it curled and shaking under her bed.

Charlotte stood a moment staring at the depth beneath her bed and with a sigh transformed into a mist and pooled under the box spring, enveloping the frightened feline. When she emerged, it was panting heavily; pieces of its flesh were broken open and falling from its skull. Death was nothing new to Charlotte; she'd seen it for centuries, but it was the first time she held an animal in her arms that was begging to die. "I'm afraid it is too late for that little one. You are not alive, but incapable of dying, but I will not allow you to suffer." She reached down as if to strangle the creature calling its instincts to bite. Sharp white teeth pierced her flesh bringing a bead of blood to the surface, which it lapped up. Charlotte brought her other hand down on the cat's head where the wound was deepest. She ran her thumb over its bare skull and slowly the muscle and tissue regenerated until silky black fur filled the once grotesque gap. Its languid yellow eyes turned a brilliant gold, and he finally settled down to curl up on her lap.

When Frankie turned the corner, it looked like a normal cat content in its master's embrace. "I think he likes you."

Charlotte turned her stern blue eyes on Frankie, "I never want to do this again."

Frankie looked like a scolded child, and promised her reanimation days were over.

Slipping down beside her, Frankie looked longingly at the sleeping feline, "So what should we call him?"

"That's easy." Charlotte said with a smile, "Victor."