We walked through the halls back to Cari’s apartment and into a room with a shadowed corner. I hated this shit. Ant grinned at me. “We’ll hole up at the villa. Damain won’t much care for your attire, but some of the others will. But we are going to a whore house, you might want to change.”
A voice from behind us made me turn around. “Oh good you’ve not left yet.” Ryan sauntered into the room carrying a bag. “Cari said I needed to go with you. Added protection or something.”
Ant raised his eyebrow. “Sure she did. You didn’t beg at all.”
Ryan gave a sheepish grin. “I was surprised she let me go. But she said Kai Viddens would be enough of a partner, I could keep his son safe in return.”
“You are my body guard?” I asked.
“Something like that. More like keeping Ant in check.”
“Don’t think I can manage that?”
“Of course you can. But how could I resist the chance to fight ‘long side Il Cane’s pet Venatori.” He grinned.
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s go.”
Ant took my elbow and Ryan took his other one and he pulled us through the shadows with him. It was a gut wrenching experience. Once we were standing in a set of shadows across the world I emptied the contents of my stomach on the cobble stones of the villa. It was darker here. Everything was quiet. Ant said, “It’s midnight here. You good for a few hours?”
I nodded. “Great. Who are we meeting?”
Ant lead me through a set of rod iron doors that lead into the house. I couldn’t make out much in the darkness. But it didn’t really matter. There was a man rushing towards them blathering on in Italian. I didn’t understand a word he said. Ant was talking to him quickly. Ryan grabbed my elbow. “Come on, you can change in your own room.”
Ryan lead me through the halls of a well light mansion. I couldn’t really get the scale of it, but it seemed to go on forever. Ryan grinned, “We are going deeper into the hillsid. Easier to build that way for a vampire. The main house is tiny. But Cari has made sure she had room to keep refugees if necessary. Same at the estate in Dangeburg and the Night Life building. You’d think she feared a war.”
“She probably does.” I said offhandedly.
“You are right. She probably does. All knowing right?” Ryan laughed.
“Who am I meeting?”
Ryan sighed. “Damian Vallejo.”
“Head of the incubus blood line. Old vampire. Sire of Il Cane. Anything I should be wary of?”
Ryan laughed, “He’s an incubus.”
“So in otherwords his go to move is to seduce me?” I chuckled.
Ryan nodded. “You got it.”
“I’ll dress appropriately.”
Ryan opened a door and the room looked elegant at first glance, but when I stepped inside it was more than that. The bed was made of mahogany and inlaid with gold leaf. The mattress was feathered and the bedding was silk. “Fuck! I’m not some prince.”
Ryan laughed. “All the rooms look like this for guests.”
“Well not like this one. This is the lease extravogant. You don’t have any DiVinci or Picasso paintings. Just the matching Van Gogh.”
“You do mean to say prints right?”
Ryan shook his head, “Nope. Real deals. The furniture is mostly antiques too.”
“Geez, I’ll sleep on a cot on the floor.” I laughed.
“The beds are comfortable.”
I set my bag down and pulled out the pair of black pants Allison got me and one of the button downs. I didn’t bother asking ryan to leave as I kicked off my shoes and pushed my jeans down.
“You aren’t shy.” Ryan grinned.
“Should I be worried? I’m pretty sure you are straight and not interested. And it’s not like you ain’t see a guy before. Unless you are shy.”
Ryan laughed and watched very blatantly as I changed into a more dress appropriate set of attire to meeting a memeber of the vampire council. “It took me a long time to get used to Cari’s caviler approach to nudeness. Mia and I grew up in a time where the nake body was shunned and only for your eyes. The time of the devils and such. Cari grew up before me, but she grew up a whore in a whore house for a lont time. Sex and naked are two separate things than love and shame for her.” He asked, “What’s your excuse?”
I laughed. “I want people to look.”
“Why?” Ryan asked then started to stammer, “Not that you aren’t … ya know. Good looking I guess.”
I shrugged. “If they are looking at my body then they aren’t seeing the personality flaws.”
Ryan shook his head, “Then they aren’t looking at your back. That had to fuck you up bad.”
I sighed. “It did. I’m finally getting past it. But in doing so I think I screwed things up with Sage.”
Ryan laughed. “He’ll forgive you when you come back alive.”
“I doubt it.” I sighed. “Shall we go meet the big bad vampire?”