Our mornings were all pretty much the same. Except this morning everyone was busy packing while I made breakfast and ate alone. Rider and Ryan were taking care of most of the things around the house. Which wasn’t bad in and of itself but it left very little for me to do in most cases. I was bored and alone. Alex had gone out for an early meeting and I had to meet the Mayor in a little while so we had separated with a long tender kiss and both rolled out of bed and went our separate ways.
I seemed to go from one meeting to the next and on and on for the whole day. Only taking a moment to spend time with Alex at lunch. It was our time. His apartment becoming a second or third home depending on how you looked at it. It wasn’t big enough for more than the two of us, but it was our little slice of heaven. I needed that. And I had a feeling I would need that today after this meeting.
The walk to city hall wasn’t far. It was probably farther than anyone else would have liked but Griffon didn’t complain. Jae and Seraph would have. Griffon was the only one really who could keep up. Which was surprising since the other two were supernaturals with supernatural strength and speed. But it had been Griffon who won the race to the top. Vin had opted out of participating – mostly because as he said. Vampire. He could out run me if he wanted to. And Jae and Seraph could have as well – but their training hadn’t enacted endurance. It did now. Griffin and Ant ensured it.
Ant was head of my security, but it was Griffin who enacted it. He had become our go to guy. He’d proven himself. And while I still felt jealous when he and Alex shared a moment but I was getting better. Griffin chuckled as he followed me. “Your body language just screams I hate you.”
“Sorry.” I sighed.
He just laughed, “The fact you care that much that I bother you means a lot.”
“Yeah if only Alex believed it.”
I shrugged, “It’s the same fight we have all the time so I don’t know. And now it’s just getting worse.”
He shook his head. “He isn’t used to all this.” Griffin gestured to me in a vague sort of fashion.
“You mean me being openly into men, or the fact that I’m Venatori, or maybe it’s the whole family thing?”
Griffin laughed, “Yes – to all of it.”
We walked up into the front doors of City Hall and were greeted by a woman in a blue dress, a pair of spectacles hung against her chest, and her hair was done up in a very 70s era do. “Mr. Sétanta, we’ve been expecting you.”
She smiled. “Yes, sir, of course you are, your contact at Apex Unlimited informed us of your schedule and we prepared accordingly.”
“So I’m on time.”
She laughed softly, “Not at all sir, you are early, the Mayor isn’t ready to see you. But I am prepared to take you to a more comfortable venue.”
Griffin smiled and winked at me as we followed her through the lobby of City Hall and into an open hall and deeper into the City building. The room she took us to was large but not a conference room exactly, more like a sitting room. The lounge room had a small bar to the side and looked more like a library. “Mr. Sétanta, can I get you something to drink?”
“No thank you. And it’s Nox.” I said.
She smiled, “Nox, I can get you a soda or a whiskey. Phillip won’t mind.”
“A water with lemon if you don’t mind?”
The woman nodded, “Absolutely. And your body guard?”
I looked at Griffin and he shook his head, “He is on duty and is stubbornly proper.”
Griffin smirked as he found his spot behind me when I sank down into the crushed velvet couch. “This is too soft.”
I got up and found a harder leather chair and hoped that was alright. Griffin just laughed, “Alex would have found a use for that.”
“He’s not here.” I grinned at Griffin.
The woman came back in with my lemon water and handed me a portfolio. “The agenda the Mayor wants to talk with you about.”
I sighed. There was always an ulterior motive to everything I did. It really was becoming tiresome. I flipped open the folder and read through what the Mayor wanted to talk about. There was the Venatori support of the Police Department and the Stock Exchange. There was Venatori support for the schools and hospitals. I blinked at everything, “I should have brought Alex with me.”
Griffin raised his eyebrow and took the folio from my hands. He shrugged. “He’d be good at that and many other things. That’s not why we are here though is it?”
I shook my head. “He thinks so.”
“He thinks what?” A man wearing a stuffy suit and a patent leather shoes walked in with a few other men following him.
I stood up. “You have quite the list of things you want to discuss.” I said offering my hand. “Nox Sétanta.”
“Mayor Phillip Rogers. A pleasure. This is deputy mayor Ron Goff and my assistant Alan Bernard” He too my hand and shook firmly, almost too firmly like he was trying to push his limits with me. “You seem awful young to be taking over Apex Unlimited.”
I shook my head, “I’m not running the business sir, once we get things figured out since Mr. Green’s passing someone else can deal with the money situation.”
“I was informed you were Imperodo. Mark Green never came down here himself, he always send some lackey. I wanted to see what I could get away with.” Phillip Rogers grinned at me. “The agenda is just to see what you would do.”
I smiled. “I’d be happy to have my people take a look at whatever budgets or what not you need, but I’m not that guy. I’m just a hunter.”
“He’s more than just a hunter, Mayor.” Griffin said, “Don’t let his modesty cheapen his importance.”
I turned to look at Griffin. He smirked, “I was given my orders.”
“That included making me look like an idiot?”
Griffin laughed, “Yes. That was it. Let him speak ill of himself so that people underestimate himself.”
I sighed and turned back to the Mayor. “I am still learning what my role in the new regime is. But I came here looking for increasing the protections here in New York.”
“The protections?” He asked.
“A private conversation between you and me.”
“These are my trusted officials.”
I shook my head, “Sir, what I have to tell you would under normal circumstances get us both killed without impunity from the very people who sent me.”
He smirked, “A new ruler in town?”
“Something like that. You can share the knowledge as you see fit after I share it with you, but it’s not something you really want out. It can break the fabric of our world, your’s and mine both.”
“A secret? You can tell my men.”
I shook my head, “I cannot. I shouldn’t be telling you.” I stood up, “I am letting you know now paperwork has been filed for new construction. And I really would like to have a heart to heart discussion with you. But it has to be with just you.” I extended my hand and the Mayor took it. “It’s been a pleasure.”
“Sit down Nox.” The deputy mayor said, “Mayor Phillips is unaware of the things you wish to speak but I am not. The tattoo that should sit at your temple is gone, how?”
“Attuned to the occult?” I asked Ron Goff.
“My mother is wiccan. I thought to escape that life but it seems New York is full of it.”
I grinned and sat down waving my hand for him to join us. “And Mr. Bernard?”
“A carrier sir.”
“What pack?” I asked.
“My parents follow our Pack Leader without fail. They are friends with Abby’s family, the girl…”
I interrupted, “I know who Abby is, I check on her regularly.”
Ron Goff sat down and turned towards his boss, “Sir, there are many things in this world that you can’t begin to understand. Nox Sétanta is not too young to be Imperodo, for in our world it is power which reigns, and Nox has taken over the Venatori, the Lone Wolf Pack, has two blood lines of vampires following his lead, and the rest of us all follow suit because in New York City, this young boy has brought peace between the races.”
The Mayor looked stunned at us. “I’m just a hunter. Power maybe, but I’m not here to scare you. I’m here to help. Your crime rate has been increasing, and the solved cases has been decreasing because it’s mostly our people, and we police them ourselves. I need you and yours to get with me and mine and we need to formulate how to work this out – human and supernatural. Unprecedented, and it needs to remain secret. Humans cannot know we exist. Fear will run wild.”
“They would never believe me.”
I smiled at the Mayor and brought four balls of the elements into existence and juggled them, and let each ball drop to the ground with a distinct pop as they disbursed into nothing.”
His stare was disbelief but he’d seen what he saw. I looked to the deputy mayor. “Schedule a time with my people when we can have a formal introduction.”
Bernard was the one to answer, “It will be my pleasure.”
I stood up and gave the three men a nod. Griffin held the door for me and we left the Mayor staring after us. “That went well.” Griffin said.
“Could have gone better,” I said.