Another phone call makes the need for answers more urgent.
I thought after the call I got the night before, I wouldn't be able to sleep. I had all bets on nightmares, but strangely, I slept like a rock. The sun already peeking in the window woke me up, and I bolted awake in bed. Nathaniel wasn't next to me, but Micah curled around me, looking into my face with an expression that I hadn't seen before. Apprehension? I didn't know what it was, but it bothered me.
The arduer fed for the time being, we got out of bed. Nathaniel insisted on taking care of it before we dozed off, and I was grateful for the extra time it gave me to rest more and take a shower alone in the morning. The shower seemed so much bigger when I was alone. Amazing.
I emerged from the shower and pulled out a black pair of jeans, black Nikes, and a red polo shirt. I wasn't feeling in a particularly aggressive mood, I just liked the red shirt. I threaded the holster through my belt and was still buckling it as I walked into the kitchen. Micah was at the table, Nathaniel in front of the stove, but there was something in the air. Tension that I had never experienced between the two. We had lived together for months, but the energy in the room was enough to make me almost want to take a step back. I walked forward instead, taking my place at the far side of the kitchen. There was already my favorite mug with a fresh french pressed coffee in it waiting for me.
Neither said a word as I sat down, and I waited. This was a new sort of thing, and I didn't want to say the wrong thing. What could possibly make these two fill a room with such negative energy? My mouth opened before I could stop it and I burted out, "What's up?" The energy in the room swirled, I could feeling it pressing against me as they both turned to look at me.
Damn. I sipped my coffee and looked at both of them, but inside I wondered why I didn't think first and talk later? Wait, I never had to watch what I said around these two, ever. Why should I now? If there was something going on, I should know what it was. If we were going to play Three's Company, I had a right to meddle. Well, not meddle, but at least know what was going on.
Neither said anything, simply stiffened. That roiling energy in the sir swirled around me again. I wanted to tell them to stop playing games, but I knew that when they were angry or had any heightened emotion, they couldn't help it. So I raised my eyebrows at Micah, but it was Nathaniel turned and answered.
"Remus Lupin called here this morning." He said.
I waited for more. Nothing. Well, it looked like I was pulling teeth on this one.
"Called here?" I asked.
I was already getting frustrated, "What did he say?"
"He wanted to talk to you." Nathaniel said.
"Ok, why didn't you wake me?" I said, wondering what had happened to make them both this anxious.
"I don't know. But he wasn't alone. I said I was going to wake you, and he started to apologize for calling at such and hour, but while he was saying that, something happened." He said.
"Look, you have to tell me what happened, I'm not too keen on playing twenty questions with you today." I said, taking another sip of my coffee.
Micah gave Nathaniel a look that was purely Nimir-Raj. There was no other way to describe it. He rarely used it, and when he did, it was effective. Especially because he hardly ever used it with "my" leopards. It made me think there was more to the situation than anyone was letting on. I started to go into my skeptical mode, the notebook in my head already out and ready.
"I don't know what happened." Nathaniel said, a hint of frustration in his voice. "The line was breaking up, I'm assuming because it was a long distance call, but there was something else there. I don't know what it was." He said, looking at me with an almost pleading look. A look I hadn't seen on Nathaniel for a while.
"Someone was there with him?" I asked.
"I don't know. All I know is the next minute I was hanging up the phone. I don't remember saying goodbye or anything. By the time I realized what I was doing, the other end was dead." He said, pulling croissants out of the oven, setting them on the stove and plopping into the chair beside me. There was no graceful movement, it was a defeated gesture. "I'm sorry Anita."
I didn't say anything for a long time. What could possibly have happened that would make Nathaniel act like that? He wasn't one who lost spaces of time, but this time it seemed that he had. Micah had a look that made him think Nathaniel was hiding something. I had no idea what to make of the situation. Nothing had ever made me doubt anything Nathaniel had said, but Micah was acting as though he was lying about something. Could Micah sense something that I couldn't? It wouldn't be the first time.
I helped myself to what Nathaniel had made, ignoring for the time the look that Micah was giving Nathaniel. I had a feeling that I was going to need food today. A plate of bacon appeared on the table and Nathaniel shrugged. "I was bothered, and cooking made me feel better until you got out of the shower."
I thought for a little longer. "I think we're dealing with some weird shit. We get a call at three in the morning last night. This man calls again not even six hours later, and you loose a few minutes of time. Now Micah thinks you're hiding something, he's convinced of it. Let me just think for a minute, is that alright guys? Put the psychic enery guns away for a minute, let's think about this." I said, motioning for Micah to sit in the chair next to mine. Nathaniel looked down at the table.
"Has anything like this ever happened to you before?" I asked Nathaniel.
He looked up at me sadly and shook his head. "It was the strangest thing. I was talking to him one minute, and the next it was like, I just forgot what I was doing. But I hadn't hung up yet, and the line was dead." He pointed out.
"Are you sure?" Micah said.
Nathaniel nodded. "I pulled out of it, and the phone was already buzzing."
"What do you mean, pulled out of it?" I asked. "You said you lost a few minutes. Tell us exactly what happened, Nathaniel." I said, leaning forward.
"I don't remember a few minutes. But when I realized I was hanging up the phone, it was like I was waking up. I had to blink a few times, you know." He said. "It's hard to describe, I've never felt anything like that before.
I sat back. There was nothing we were going to find out about this man, Remus Lupin, from a hang up call. I knew that for sure. "Let's think. We should try to see if Richard got ahold of Jean Claude like he said he was going to."
"Richard hasn't called yet." Micah said. "It's still early. Let's finish breakfast and then we'll see if anyone knows what's happening in London." He said. The energy that had been rolling off of him seemed to retract back into him.
"Why did you get so upset with Nathaniel?" I asked. "When I got in here, the engergy was enough to make me think twice about coming in here."
Micah looked at Nathaniel, the look on his face not all that pleasant. "Nathaniel was lying. I could smell it." He simply said. Nathaniel and I must have looked bewildered, because he continued. "Not about all of it, but he was lying about something."
I looked to Nathaniel. "I swear, I told you everything I remember." He said. I looked at Micah.
"That much is true. But about the call, something isn't right." He said. Nathaniel nodded.
"I know, I feel it too." Nathaniel said, "And I'm just as confused as you."
"Whatever. Just please, Micah, don't let that happen again until we know for sure what's going on." I said. I didn't know how I could deal with it if the two men in my life stalked around the house like untrained cats, hissing at every move. It made me more than nervous.
We finished our food in silence, none of us wanting to bring up the issue that had made itself a priority overnight. I was still deeply disturbed as to why this man wanted to speak with us. I rushed through the food that Nathaniel placed in front of me, and before long, we were in the car and on the way to the Circus. Jean Claude was asleep for the day, but someone was there with answers. Hell, maybe we would even catch Richard.
As it were, we did catch Richard. Walking to his car. I assumed he didn't like visiting the Circus, and I was correct. He had a woman with him, and she seemed to be looking around like the place was completely new to her. A new girlfriend. Richard was just burning through them.
"I've never been here in the daytime." She was saying as we got closer. I hoped she wasn't the vampire type, I didn't think Richard could handle losing another woman to a vampire. I cleared whatever thoughts were in my head and looked at Richard with a bright smile. It was the one I reserved for clients. I think he knew, because there was an identical forced smile from him.
"Anita, it's good to see you again." He said. "This is Madeline."
I held out my hand to the other woman, she took it with that look on her face that is pure woman. A sizing up of the competition. I fought the urge to let her in of the fact that I had sex with her man more than once a week. See, I was trying too.
"Anita Blake, nice to meet you." I said, putting my hand down as she obviously wasn't going to shake it. Richard obviously had gotten rid of politeness on his list of things to look for in a woman. I wasn't put off though, there are a few people that I refused to shake hands with.
"Madeline, wait in the car, I have to talk to Anita for just a moment." He said, steering her by her elbow to the car. She protested, but he whispered something to her and she got in the car with no more complaints. The three of us waited for him to come back to where we were standing.
"Did you talk to Jean Claude?" I asked. I didn't want to keep dear Madeline waiting.
Richard nodded, frowning at me. I swear, I didn't say anything though. He must have chosen to ignore whatever look he saw on my face and said, "Yeah, I talk to him, Byron was there, he seems to know the most about what was happening in England when he left. I told him the same things I told you, and Jean Claude said he would be getting in touch with a few people he knew." Richard looked over his shoulder to the car.
"Why were you here so late?" I asked.
"Madeline insisted on coming with." He said.
"She was there when you got the call?" I asked. "Sorry, I shouldn't have asked that, forget it."
"Yeah, she was there." Richard said shortly. Look, we were both trying.
I didn't ask anything else, and he didn't offer. I watched him as he walked back to the car. I really didn't care about Madeline, but the subject was still a sore one between us. I turned back to Nathaniel and Micah. "I guess there's nothing to do but wait until they wake up." I said.
Micah nodded. We walked back to the car in silence.