Ambrose sat in the bar with a cup of hot water that he was not enjoying. Someone thought that it would be a wonderful little surprise to place a slice of lemon in his cup.
He did not appreciate it.
Hot water should taste only like hot water. Not like hot lemonade. Disgusting.
He tried another sip and nearly vomited. “It isn’t even a good lemon.” He rose to his feet and threw the glass at the dart board on the other side of the room. It hit the bull’s-eye with a conversation-killing crash.
The waiter rushed over to him. “Sir! We don’t allow that sort of—”
Ambrose grabbed the waiter by his shirt front. “I don’t care what you allow. You people ruined my hot water.”
The waiter squawked.
“I was really thirsty too.” He smiled. “Too bad I’m not hungry.”
“But-but-but I only serve the drinks. I don’t even make them.” His voice wobbled in uncertain scales.
“Oh, well. Take me to the person who makes them so I can throw THEM at the dart board.”
“But-but-sir. We always put lemons in our waters. It’s our specialty.”
Ambrose snarled and told him in an unholy mix of German and French curse words what he thought of their specialty.
The waiter squawked again and frantically flailed his arms as if he were trying to fly away.
Ambrose tensed up as the tip of a stake poked the middle of his back.
“I think you should let that nice man go. Don’t you?”
“I do!” said the waiter.
“Or what? You’ll blunt the tip of your stake against my back?”
“Or else I’ll get physical and stake your heart.”
Ambrose laughed softly. “All right then.” He released the waiter who flew to safety. “Get physical, hunter.” He glanced over his shoulder. “Maybe you’ll get lucky and I’ll change you.”
“You’ll die first.”
“We’ll see.” He spun around.
The hunter grabbed him and threw him towards the back of the room.
He landed in a crouch and charged towards the hunter – a Germanic woman in jeggings and a halter top. For some reason, she had no shoes on.
He crashed into her and pushed her up against a table, interrupting a couple’s anniversary dinner. The couple looked on utterly aghast as Ambrose lunged for the hunter’s neck.
“Well! We’re never coming here again.”
“Indeed, Ermentrude. Indeed.”
The hunter kicked and pushed him away from her neck. She tackled him to the floor.
“Waiter!” Ermentrude called out. “Check, please.”
They wrestled and tossled until she had him pinned with the stake poised above his heart. “You move. You die.”
“If I don’t move, I’ll die anyway.”
She smiled, but there was no joy in her pale blue eyes. “That’s true.”
“So, what are you waiting for? For me to beg for my life? Should I whine and sob for mercy?”
“You can try that.”
“But it won’t do any good. You hunters are all the same. Ruthless.”
A gentleman in a fine black suit appeared next to them. “I’m sure I’m interrupting a very tender moment, but could you kindly get yourself off that vampire?”
“I will. As soon as he’s dead.”
“Hahaha! That’s a good one.” He pulled out a pistol and pointed it at her. “But really. Could you get off of him?”
Ambrose lay still, not daring to speak or move.
She looked down at him.
“I will have you know that I am not a very good shot. But I don’t think I’ll miss this time. It will be a horrible mess, though.” He pressed the gun against her head. “With the skull and brain fragments everywhere.”
She dropped the stake. “Fine. You win this round, Caten.”
He laughed. “I always win.” He lowered his weapon, but he did not put it away.
The hunter stood and gave him a baleful glare. “One of these days, someone will get you.”
“Do you mean someone like you, cupcake?”
“Maybe. Maybe not.” She stuck her glaring face into his. “But trust me, Caten. It will happen.” She strode over to the bar and ordered a stiff drink.
“Silly little girl.” He put the gun away and helped Ambrose up. “My name is Mark Caten. I run a small business for unhumans or, as the PC crowd would have me say, extraordinaries like yourself. I’ve recently lost my lead vampire. Would you care to take his place?”
“You’re offering me a job?”
“Yes. Will you accept?”
Ambrose ran his hand through his hair. “Well, I don’t have a job and you just saved my life. How could I refuse?”
“I knew you’d see it my way.”