Before I could sit down Ant was pulling my coffee cup from downstairs from my hand and depositing a warm ceremic mug of coffee in it to replace it. “This is better.”
I didn’t question the vampire, he knew how I felt about my coffee. I took a sip and grinned at my friend then I sat down in the most uncomfortable chair in the room. There were a pair of the antique chairs, probably from the 18th century made of wood. The sat opposite of the very modern look couch with it’s sleek lines and leather upholstry. My back was to the door, but I was okay with that. I knew where the exit was and there was no one that could sneak up on me other than those that were right in front of me. And I was confident the shadows behind me were too shallow to allow for vampires to pass through.
Il Cane was looking at me with curiousity. She was privy to my thoughts on a minor level. Embraced from all the vampire lines gave her certain powers of each line. It wasn’t perfect like in a Primeval Vampire, but she touched them all in some form or fashion, as did Ant.
A tall blonde man dropped a plate of cookies on the coffee table in front of him and he took the seat next to me. He grinned at me, “You remember me?”
I nodded, “Ryan Elliot. I remember you from the club a few years back though we never were properly introduced.”
Ryan offered his hand. “And you are Nox Sétanta, former Venatori and friend of my friend.”
I grinned at him as I shook his hand. “A pleasure.” I almost lifted his hand to my lips to flirt but I didn’t think flirting with an 900 year old human was the best move. It might be a good fight, but he was tied to a vampire – and one of the strongest vampires alive. I didn’t need that trouble. I turned to my attention to Cari. “I’d say I was in a hurry but thanks to this meeting my date got cut short and now she’s pissed at me.” I rolled my eyes and left out the bit where I was pretty sure all of my lovers were probably going to be pissed at me.
Ryan glanced at Cari and frowned. “This could have waited. There is nothing we can do tonight to help Kai Viddens nor is there anything Nox can do. He has a family and he has to talk things over with them. You know how pissy Ant and I get when you just walk out on us.”
I shrugged. “What’s done is done, but can we get on with it?”
Cari smiled. “A little quid pro quo. I will help your father find the vampire or vampires terrorizing this city. In exchange, you will go to Rome with Ant and stem Damian’s fears that Valence is out to kill him.”
“Why would he think that?” I asked.
Ryan answered. “Valence has outright attacked one of Damian’s houses in retaliation for some slight Damian is not about to tell us over the phone. Cari would go herself, but Valence tends to attack when we step foot on old soil. Her villa in Italy being the only exception. And Damian will not leave Rome. And Ant is not the most diplomatic person so he can’t go. We’d enlist Tony, but he’s dealing with their own set of problems with his uncle. He’s pretty tight lipped about it all.”
Ant laughed, “Why not you? You have something better to do?”
I glared at him and he sighed adding, “Sorry. Touchy subject.”
I sighed. “I have a family to take care of.” It was the truth. But I felt lost doing that. This was the frist time I’d actually felt any sort of excitment. But I knew going would only cause more problems.
Cari’s voice was soft in the presence of my emotions. I heard it over them, in my head, but also as she spoke them. “Ant speaks highly of you. You are free of Venatori restirctions, yet possess the skills needed to stop Valence if that is what is necessary.” A slight smile spread across her lips as she continued, “And a little adventure would brighten the dour mood.”
I sighed. “I can’t say yes right now. I need to talk to Sage, Dee and Dev.”
Cari nodded. “Talk with your family. I need an answer tomorrow night or I’ll have to go and diplomacy won’t work.”
Ryan sighed. “You are worse than Ant.” Cari left. She headed towards the hall in the back of the room. Ryan looked at me. “Don’t mind our mistress she’s moody.”
I grinned, “Aren’t we all. I should go. I’ll let you know.”
He nodded. “Call Ant. Let him know.”
“Will do.” I grabbed a cookie and gulped down my coffee before leaving which drew a chuckle from Ant. “See you soon,” he called after me.