Charity Case (Alex)

New York City’s skyline came into view over the horizon but disappeared as the Lincoln tunnel entryway dipped below the ground. I’d been staring at the city wishing the weather was warmer so I could have the top down. Driving Serenity in the winter was not my favorite thing to do, but I had a woman to see and this the fastest way in and out of the City I so despised.

I had bad memories here, but it was more than that. The crowds, all the people, but more so, all the supernatural people made a home in the City that Never Sleeps. New York was home to vampires, and werewolves and worst of all the Venatori – the killers of men like me.

Last week one of those bad memories came back to haunt me. I was reading the headlines on my phone while lounging poolside with Veronica – my last mark. A wealthy woman who was embezzling from a Children’s Hospital – of all things. She was their accountant – well sorta. She worked for the company that did their accounting and she didn’t actually know she was stealing from the kids. Veronica just saw an influx of cash.

I only really cared because Kate had cared about this charity. She’d lost her son to a childhood cancer. Only to lose herself to a different strain of the disease years later. Normally I’d have taken Veronica for all she was worth, but this time I did it for the kids. I did the honorable thing and sent the information to the FBI before I left with little more than a kiss goodbye. She thought I was just going to get ice.

But that was when I saw the headline, “Daughter of Kate Blanchard to Auction off the entire Blanchard Estate.” I had more than enough information on Veronica so I bailed and now me and Serenity were heading back into the city that held the worst of my memories – almost as horrible as seeing the mangled body of my mother lying on a slab in the morgue. I’d been seventeen then, and Kate had saved me. Only to fucking die a year later.

A car blared its horn behind me pulling me from the despicable memory. I pulled up all of a cars length and flipped the guy the bird in the mirror. We were getting nowhere fast.

After I got through the Lincoln tunnel it would be a short ride, though probably still take me well over an hour to get to the apartment Kate left me when she passed. I’d stayed there a few times but I hadn’t been back in years – 5 years to be exact. I didn’t want to think about the reason. It was enough that I had a job to do. I couldn’t believe the little conniving bitch was selling everything her mother owned. I could just purchase it all but what was the fun in that? No, there were better ways to get the sort of revenge she deserved. I had heard all about the family squabbles and the ill-intent for her mother in the year we’d been together. All I could think then was spoiled little brat. Now I was thinking mercenary bitch!

What I wouldn’t have given for one more day with my mother. Just to say goodbye. But Janice Pritchard didn’t have the same kindness towards her mother. If it hadn’t had been for me Kate would have died alone. I didn’t like seeing her die. It had reminded me too much of my own mother, despite the fact the relationship hadn’t been similar. Losing someone was always hard.

I could still hear the rattle in of Kate’s breathing as she took her last breath. It was the stuff of my nightmares.

The first thing I would do when I opened the apartment door was take a shower, then I’d call the cleaning lady to schedule a full cleaning. The place had to be full of dust even though I had it cleaned once a month. I couldn’t wait to lay down in the bed. It was my bed. I’d bought it, picked it out and it was heaven. I needed a good night’s rest before I started my assessment of Janice Pritchard.