Season Four– Episode 2 – “Troubled Paradise”

“Strange Nights”

 

SEASON FOUR – EPISODE TWO

Copyright 2016 – Abyssal Books
Published 4/23/2016
By Bryan Holland

Forward by the Author

Strange Nights has been going on for years now. I never thought it would go this far. I never thought I would stick with it. I know my fan-base isn’t huge, and most of these stories are horribly written due to the fact that they are first drafts. Despite the low fan base, I’m grateful for the people that do find it interesting and the feedback I’ve gotten over the years. If anyone recalled the first messages about “Strange Nights” I had when I first started this, it was a way for me to escape the realities of some really tragic times in my life; in 2011, my father, and my best friend (both the same person) passed away of Alzheimer’s disease. I dedicated the first episode to my father, didn’t bother editing, and just went full-steam ahead into the depths of my imagination because that’s what I needed to do in order to move on and continue. The world building and character creation was like therapy. I pumped out one episode every month and used this series to escape from sorrow. This episode is another special episode in the fact that, I had a wonderful friend help me edit a “Strange Nights” episode (this one) for the first time; that’s right! You’re looking at an edited episode, with input, advice, and heartfelt effort that probably surpasses the par.  Thank you, Kate, for helping me keep the dream alive. And thank you, all my fans for enjoying this story for what it was, what it is now, and what it will continue to be; a great escape, and a kickass adventure.

Chapter One

Baller

 

Jordan’s days off were going to be anything but ordinary in Los Angeles. Jordan’s lips revealed her perfect teeth as she skipped through the shopping center while emitting random giggles. Luis, however, struggled to keep pace with the hyperactive giggle on two legs as he scrubbed his shoes across the tiled aisles as if being dragged against his will. He watched as the girl picked out lamps, pots, pans, clothes, and even a UHD TV for her place.

“How much money you got, chika?! Damn…” He shook his head and whistled.

Jordan bounced around him and giggled gleefully, “More than you’ll ever have with all the drugs that you could ever sell.. Well, I mean, unless you end up being the supplier for Charlie Sheen.”

“You’re a cop! Cops don’t make a lot of money.” He gave her an incredulous smirk and cocked his eyebrow.

“I wasn’t always a cop!” Jordan pointed at him and poked his shoulder at random intervals for no reason watching his face flush in frustration.

“What were you before?” He pinched her finger and grabbed.

“In school!”she broke free and stepped on his toe and bounced around the corner.

 

Luis rubbed his temples as he breathed deeply as he tried to ignore the pain in his foot. Jordan looked up at him holding her hands behind her back as she leaned forward with interest – for all of three seconds.

“Make yourself frozen and go to the useful aisle before we leave here without your food.” She grinned at the confusion on his face.

“What?!” He shook his head.

“I said, make yourself useful and go to the frozen aisle.. Oh! A microwave!” Jordan exclaimed and shot off into housewares.

Luis squinted hard and tilted his head to the side as if looking at a monkey that had just decorated in elephant shit. He kept reminding himself that this was an adult he was with, and it wouldn’t be wrong to just split. Jordan knew what he was thinking. She didn’t have any need to keep him around, but she was having a lot of fun with the guy and wanted to see how far she could take it. He fumed that he let her push him so far, but for some reason, he just couldn’t help but to wait to see what she would do next.

 

When he showed up with her again, she knew that she had his curiosity.

“How much can I get?” He raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms.

“Well,” Jordan tapped her chin. “Mmm, no more than two hundred dollars worth, but that’s if you’re going to stay for like, long periods of time. Where’s your normal house, anyway?” She glanced up sideways at him.

“Only about fifteen minutes away by car.” Luis scratched his short black hair and looked down at the girl. Jordan nodded a little at him and then shrugged her shoulders.

“Why are you sticking around, Luis?” She turned to coffee mugs to avoid looking at him.

“Don’t Know… Some reason.” He shrugged and picked up a metal cup and imagined bonking her on the head.

“Well, you don’t like me, physically…” Jordan stated the obvious. She stopped his murderous tirade mid sentence when she stripped and jumped in the shower without a curtain. Luis nodded.

“You ain’t scared of me.” He said flatly as he appraised her.

“I don’t need to be.” She gave him a sheepish grin that said try it and I’ll kick your ass.

“That’s what has me wondering about you.” He slacked a hip and put his tongue in his cheek.

“I’m a cop! I can handle myself against mediocre gangsters.” She gave him a satisfied smile when he kicked the bottom of a shelf in housewares and groaned through his teeth.. A Wal Mart employee walked over to them and Luis turned around and squared up with him for a moment.

“Do I look mediocre to you?” He demanded through clenched teeth.

“Excuse me?” The Wal mart employee looked at him startled with disbelief.

“Mediocre?!” Luis lost his voice at the end of the cre half of the word.

“Uh.. I don’t know, but you can’t be kicking things.” He looked at Luis pointedly.

“Get out my face!” Luis briskly stepped toward the employee, scaring him into turning and running through the kids clothing section. He was soon lost in a jungle of low income parents and cheap-ass china-made consumables.

 

He felt a tap on his shoulder followed by Jordan’s voice.

“Are you going to go to the frozen section now?”  She cocked her head to the side.

 

**

 

Jordan was busy putting the shower curtain up while Luis put away his food in the kitchen. Another knock at the door but before she could answer it herself, she already heard Luis unlocking it. She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes. She made a mental reminder to herself to tell Luis that it was still her house, even if did he tried to invade it. She straightened her white t-shirt and wiped her wet hands on a towel before entering the living room just as wo well dressed men pushed past Luis, pale, and from what she could see, without a heartbeat. She could tell that he was being a little protective and she thought it was cute. She just didn’t know whether it was because of his ego, or if he really wanted to protect her now. It was just another mystery to solve. She shook her head and turned her attention back to the men.

 

“Good evening, Ms. McKenzie…” He looked to be in his forties, with startling blue eyes in contrast to his jet black hair, and the suit was probably hiding quite a toned body. His friend, in his twenties, just as pale, with a full head of blonde hair, didn’t say anything. Jordan knew what they were and she knew they were probably pissed for not being formally introduced the way normal Vampires did in the city upon first arrival.

“Might we have a moment alone?” His tone was menacing.

 

“Over my dead body, bro!” Luis stepped in.

“Eh, that…” He turned and smiled wickedly. “… can be arranged.”

“It’s okay, Luis.” She put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a meaningful look.

“Don’t know who you messin’ with, homes…” Luis said through clenched teeth as his body trembled with tension.

 

Jordan squared her shoulders and walked straight backed into the bedroom and closed the door so that Luis wouldn’t get himself killed. Her first thought was to kill him days ago, but the playfulness in her kept him alive like a new favorite toy.

“Sorry, guys.” She locked the bedroom. “I was just busy setting up my job here and then I met Luis. Made things bunches difficult to come see you but I was going to do it.” She turned and rested her back against the door and crossed her legs at the ankle. Making sure they took note of her cocky attitude.

“You can’t take a ghoul in this city without proper approval,” His blue eyes flashed at her.

“Oh, he’s not a ghoul… I haven’t fed him my blood, and he doesn’t know we exist.” She cocked her head and started cleaning her nails.

The younger vampire coughed to get attention. “Did you kill someone recently?”

Jordan nodded at the younger vamp. “Yeah. Hector Ramirez. He was beating the system, intending to hurt an innocent girl.” She gave him a look that dared him to challenge her.

“You seem to care about the human system more than our system,” Blue eyes shifted his weight and tucked his hands behind his back.  “There are reasons why you have to check in with us before operating in the city. Hector was a blood-runner.”

“Oh,” she shrugged, “Either way, he was getting beatie on some girl.”

“They’re just humans…” Blondie interjected.

“Nobody is just human,” she turned her head at him and furrowed her brow. She couldn’t believe these idiots had forgotten what it was like to be human.

“Despite what you feel about humans, we’re going to need another blood runner in return. Looks like you already have a Human.” Blue eyes grinned at her.

“No! No, no, no… No…” She stomped her foot. “Luis…I’m just playing around with him. Who was Hector a runner for?” She turned her head back and forth several times between the two men as she continued. “Look, he was obviously under some girl, right? Why don’t you ask her find some other guy for the job?”

“How often have you two been involved?” The younger vamp asked.

“What?!” She squeaked. Did she hear him right?

“She just got to town. Don’t assume such things.” Blue eyes hissed as he smirked at her discomfort. “Blood runner by the end of the week. Find someone you can use. Luis would be the smart bet.”

“There’s a problem there,” she held the hem of her shirt to keep them from shaking. “I don’t have time to get a runner, it wasn’t my fault you picked a jerk to do it. I’ve never had a runner before, and Luis doesn’t like me like that. In fact, I repulse him.”

They both laughed, “Well then, you have a problem. Welcome to L.A…” Blue eyes handed her a card with his number before he and his younger apprentice walked past her, unlocked the door, and left her bedroom.

Luis watched as the two men left. She looked at Luis sympathetically for a moment and thought about what to do. She heard about how L.A. kept the older traditions, but she didn’t realize that these older Vampiric traditions would end up biting her in the ass.

 

“Luis… Can I ask you a personal question?” She stammered and then gathered her confidence around her.

“Uh… Whatever…” He waved her off still glaring at the door as if daring them to come back.

“Would you ever consider me attractive?” Her voice didn’t sound like her own, if she’d had a pulse, she would have been blushing.

He laughed as he looked her up and down. “Yeah! Yeah, sure…Grow about two more feet, and a couple of breasts, get back to me then.”

“At least you’re honest.” She sighed and went back into her bedroom. She felt like crying but then, she remembered that this man might be dinner anyway. For the first time in a long time, she wished she could use a mirror to look herself over. She looked down at her flat chest and seriously considered some stuffing. Of course, for all she knew the local Vampire Coven might have a problem with is being dinner, but after a comment like that, it was going to be hard to resist. Jordan may have been a cop but there were all these other Vampire laws out there that she was supposed to follow. Titus, her tutor, gave her the rundown of all those laws when she was in New York City with her mother. There was a lot to remember and she couldn’t keep telling him “TLDR”, Too Long, Didn’t Read.

 

Jordan stepped out and called the man right away.

“Just out of curiosity… I know what a blood runner does, but where does he get it from?” She tried to sound confident.

“People go missing off the streets every day.” He hissed.

Her jaw dropped with complete surprise as the line went dead.

“No way…” She said to herself shaking her head as she tapped her phone against her palm.

 

– New York City –

 

Titus Atticus tapped the board to explain the significance of the Roman Empire’s fall and caused the class to laugh at him once again when the interactive projector changed pages three times.

“The hell is this?!” He glared at shook his hand as if the remote was burning a hole through it.

The class laughed harder.

“Why you think that’s funny? You try making butter sometime from scratch. Then you might know my frustration with this new fangled thing.” He glared at the class and stomped his foot as they laughed louder.

“Of all the wretched modern technology, the board is supposed to be a teaching aid! Not a damned hindrance! Well, anyway. If they had to ask me about it, Rome didn’t fall as much as it did dissolve away after the gradual arrival of the Christians and…” The projector shut off on him and he threw the remote. This time, the entire lecture class laughed. His phone started ringing.

“Ah! That must be modern society telling me to shut the hell up. On that note… Just – read the damn book and get back to me tomorrow. Chapter Six everyone. It’s filled with filthy lies!”

 

The class hurried out while Titus looked at his phone and smiled before putting it to his ear. It rang again and sent pain into his skull.

“Blasted… Piece of technology!” He tapped the screen and then put it to his ear again. “Jordan?”

“Hello!”

“What good fortune… Have you decided to come back yet?” He furrowed his brow.

“Mmm Nope! I was calling because I have kind of a little problem.” She sounded deeply troubled.

Titus took a deep breath even though he didn’t have to breathe.

“What is it?” His response was deadpan and serious.

“The Sanctum Coven here wants me to — Start ‘Blood Running’ for them.” She sighed.

“What?!” Titus’s lip curled at the thought of it. “Surely not! Why?!”

“While I was working, I drained someone that was going to hurt some girl. It turned out that he was one of the Coven’s major Blood Runners. I didn’t know – I couldn’t have known.” Her voice rose with a hint of panic.

“Let me guess,” Titus rubbed his opposite ear with his free hand. “You didn’t announce yourself properly and with your luck, you ended up winning the lottery of ill’s.” He dropped his hand hard on the podium.

“Lottery of – what?” Her voice rose at the end with incredulity.

“Never mind that. Did you visit the Coven properly upon arrival?” He asked already knowing the answer and shaking his head.

“No,” Jordan admitted. “I had to work. Then, when I was working, I —,”

“Just so managed to kill the one mortal connected to the immortal world in all of Los Angeles, thus causing a perfect snafu.” He started pacing and waving his free hand.

“Yep… That pretty much sums it up.” She said flatly.

“Well, you’re going to have to do it. It does give you leisure to have a ghoul. Before you do though, you’re going to need to contact the Coven and tell them no more than a liter a week. You have a mortal job to do and in the L.A. Coven’s bylines, no mortal-involved vampire is expected to provide consistent supply. You do what you have to do. Meanwhile, I’ll try and get you off the hook but it may take some time.” He plopped heavily into a student chair and put a hand to his forehead.

“Thank you so much!” Her relief was almost tangible.

“Yeah, yeah, I live to clean up your messes!”

 

***

 

Jordan woke up on her second free day to a phone call just before the sun went down. She sat up in her bed and pulled her Android off the charger to answer it.

“Paul. I’m not supposed to go in for another twenty-three hours.”

“We’re playing some basketball down here at the station and we are down a player. Do you know how to play?”

She giggled and that was the only answer he got. Within minutes, she arrived at the station wearing a “JORDAN-23″ Jersey.

“Are you doing this just because you need filler? Or are you actually going to put me on the team?” She giggled at him. She looked around the basketball court to see an entire room full of mostly unfamiliar faces; all cops. One of whom, stepped over to her, a tall man with brown hair, white skin, and plenty of muscles. He looked down at her and then to her partner.

“This is the muscle you’re bringing to the party?” He spat with disdain.

A couple of other players laughed.

“She said she played ball in New York all the time. Let’s see what she can do,” Paul shrugged but didn’t take his eyes off him.

“How old are you?” An older detective asked. He was clearly asking for the laughing rights of his buddies but he suddenly flinched at the young cops skill at getting into motion in a flash. Jordan laughed at his reaction when he suddenly didn’t feel the ball in his hand.

“Old enough to take you on. What ya got?!” She started dribbling across the court while walking backwards with a fierce grin.

“Paul, better tell your new partner she better put her money where her mouth is.” Someone shouted.

She winked at Paul and jumped into the air. In her predatory mode, everything stood still and she had the ability to control just how far off the ground she would jump, calculate the trajectory of the ball by lining her hands up with her eyes, and at the apogee of her jump, the world moved so slowly around her that she had all the time in the world to make the slightest of corrections with her fingertips before the ball left her hand. Once she felt the last sensation of the balls outer skin fly away from her fingertips, the world moved at its normal pace again.

 

The ball flew through the air over the length of the basketball court and landed dead-center into the net with a swish. The room got quiet for a moment.

 

“Oh are we playing for money! Great!” She threw her head back and laughed as she put her hands on her hips, while the police officers who joined in on this apparent before-work/after-work ritual, simply eyed her.

 

“Lucky shot… But yeah… Everyone throws in twenty.”

“I left my money in the locker room. I didn’t know we were playing for money.” She turned to Paul who shrugged his shoulders, “You can pay me back later if we lose.”

“WHEN you lose!” The older officer jeered. “That little girl can’t take us.”

 

Paul turned to Jordan while the teams gathered into their five-person groups.

“Was that really luck?” He raised his eyebrows askance.

“Nah. I’m from New York.” She jabbed his rib lightly, “I’ve taken down worse..

“Seriously!” He whispered louder.

She smiled at him. “You should see me dunk, beyotch!”

Paul looked at her with a mixture of a grin and something else in his expression that she couldn’t quite place. She knew that he was probably judging her attitude and wondering if he should have ever invited his new partner at all. She patted him on the shoulder and smiled as the other three officers for their team walked over.

“This is Felix Raymond, five year veteran,” Paul pointed to a red headed man in his late twenties. He smiled and shook her hand. She continued to shake hands as Paul introduced her to everyone. “… Lana King, Mitch Bowler, Daniel Smith.”

“Hey guys!” Jordan smiled. Lana looked to be in her mid twenties, fit, and lean. Mitch was in his thirties and looked like he needed more exercise, and Daniel Smith was in his fifties easily, but he kept in shape. She could tell just by their demeanor that they were used to losing to the other five players and this was going to be fun.

“So did the other guy really get sick?” She crossed her arms and looked the team.

“Uh… No.” Mitch blushed and sighed. The other officers gave similar impressions.

“When was the last time you won?”

“Hardly ever,” Paul admitted.

“Okay. Lets beat them. Come on.” She slapped her hands together and walked toward the other team. “You guys ready for this or what?”

 

Jordan didn’t ask Paul to stand on the line for the toss. She stood in front of the older man that criticized her looks. He laughed and made a few offhand comments about her being too short to take the ball from him. The referee threw the ball high into the air. What the few people in the bleachers as well as the collective team did next was open their jaws wide with disbelief. She pushed the ball downward so that it would fly toward Paul but her partner was just as stunned as everyone else to see someone not even five feet tall, jump ten feet into the air to retrieve the toss. The ball bounced off his chest and fell out of bounds before he could do anything.

 

“Holy shit!” Someone shouted. “Did you see that?!” She turned her head to see who was talking. It was someone on her team, Daniel Smith.

“I hope you did at least. I’ll push the ball toward you next time!” She quipped with a wide grin. Once again, she winked at her partner to let him know that she was only saying it in jest.

 

The other team had the ball again. Jordan’s eyes darkened just a little by accident as she slipped back into predatory mode. She lowered her head slightly to reduce eye-contact. The legs on the court moved slower, the sounds stretched out into low moans and long cheers as she pushed against the slowing of time. She always hated the long wait it took to get things done when feeling this way; the way only a Vampire could experience life at a fast pace. To anyone else, she was running normally, but to her, she would have the ability to react faster than anyone else on the court. This gave her the advantage to scoop the basketball out from someone, spin, and toss it toward Daniel this time.

 

Daniel, just as stunned at Jordan’s swift accurate movements as her partner had been during the toss-up, let the ball bounce off his chest before reaching out to grab it as well. The court suddenly started moving faster as her eyes went back to the bright blue, human that everyone knew and adored, however, she was rolling them at the same time; out of bounds again.

“Hmm… And everyone was wondering about me being a bad player…” Jordan squeaked in jest during a giggle. One of the other officers pushed at her boney shoulder. She looked at him and he stared right back. “What?”

“Try that again…”

It was the man that she took the ball from. She kept the grin and nodded.

“Thanks for the invite!”

“… Wasn’t an invite.”

This man took the game too seriously. This made her want to do it even more.

“Oh, well, by all means, see if you can avoid it at all costs. Cause I’m taking your balls!” She grinned wriggled her eyebrows.

 

Anyone within earshot giggled. The officer on the other team turned a slight tint of red. Now, she really wanted to win. The problem was, she wanted to win as a team. It was too easy to grab the ball and throw it in the net. That wouldn’t gain her any friendships if she just stole the whole game out from everyone. She wanted to get her team to work together if they could, but so far, it seemed as if they were simply playing to play and not for any sort of learning experience or to get better at it. She contemplated letting the game play out for a little and then getting back into her groove. That might allow for her team to get loose enough to not be mesmerized by her swift movements. She then realized that she was still thinking about herself too much. Jordan didn’t try to snatch the ball again next time. Just because her teammates were human, didn’t mean they didn’t have some sort of strategies of their own.

 

The opposing team easily took claim to the first three points. That was okay though. Paul was starting to break a sweat. Jordan noticed that the rest of the team was perspiring as well. Jordan took a quick moment to pretend to drink some water. She poured some on her hands and ran it across her face and neck in an effort to blend in. She ran back onto the court and got to experience the ball being passed over her head a few times. It was clear that she wasn’t the center of attention. A few years ago, that would have been a problem but she understood better now, even though the rest of her never changed.

 

“I can see why they didn’t invite you except for a last resort.” The older man that jabbed at her about her size earlier had said while guarding her. Jordan wanted to bite him for that but it wouldn’t have looked well with all the witnesses. Even so, it was just the thought that made her smile. “What’s wrong?” He kept jabbing at her, verbally. “Don’t feel like talking?”

 

Jordan ran past him now that the ball was in play and moving toward her free throw line. There was only so much ridicule she could take before she felt compelled to do everything she mentally told herself not to do. Once again, she felt her predatory nature kick in and things started moving more slowly. Paul watched Jordan as she jumped in with speed and precision, stealing the ball from the champion of last nights match as if he were a rookie, and threaded herself through the guards as if they were standing still. She stopped at the key-line and jumped into the air, releasing the ball just right. There was no sound as the ball careened through the air and fell seamlessly, straight into the center of the hoop.

This went on for five more minutes until the team realized that Jordan could handle the ball. That’s when they started handing it to her more often than usual. The opposing team called a time-out and Jordan quickly ran towards her team.

“Alright,” Felix said, showing confidence she hadn’t seen in him before. “I didn’t expect you to be so good at this game.

“I’m from New York…” She grinned and winked.

“Shut up with that, Jordan.” Paul laughed and shook his head. The team leaned forward, all bent over their knees while they talked their strategy.

“We’re still two points behind these guys and we need one shot to win it. We need to get Jordan the ball one last time because she hasn’t missed a single shot that she’s made.” Felix’s eyes glistened with anticipation.

Jordan shook her head.“No, I don’t’ like this.”

“What’s not to like?” Lana King said as she wiped the sweat from her blonde eyebrows, still slightly out of breath from running the court.

“I’m not your ace in the hole – thingy… I’m your team mate! If we’re going to win this game, let’s switchie… Everyone knows you want to get me the ball. Let’s find the one person that’s going to be bunches open… Right? And we give them the ball, regardless of who it is! I don’t want to win if it’s just because I’m good at the game. I want us to win or lose as a team.” She raised her brows emphasis..

“Yeah,” Paul nodded. “Sounds good.”

“If you say so,” Mitch Bowler shrugged his shoulders. “Hey… This is the closest we’ve come to winning in three months, right? That alone makes me feel better. I thought we were losing the touch or something.”

“Hell no…” Felix laughed. He put his hand in the center and Jordan quickly placed her hand on top of his. Paul put his hand on top of hers and she smiled at him. The hands stacked and the broke away after three shakes.

 

The attendees in the bleachers had doubled by the time they were almost done. Second Shift was coming off and it was almost their turn. They had the ball and three other cops started guarding Jordan, just as she’d suspected, they all assumed they were going to try and get the ball to her. As soon as the game started back up, Jordan was knocked off her feet and the referees stepped out with their whistles. Instead of winning the game with her teammates, she ended up on the edge of the free throw line. It was an easy enough thing to do and they asked for it by fouling her. As she made a perfect dunk, three times in a row, she hoped that next time, the team would be more adapted to a new playing style that involved being equal rather than just passing her the ball. She felt a warm fuzzy feeling about the team she had just joined that was perfectly willing to simply play as a team and not just try and win all the time – despite the fact that they had indeed just won the game.

 

In the bleachers, Jona Sanchez and Jessica Lu sat together.

“That was actually surprising.” Jona, Jordan’s boss exclaimed.

“She seems a bit too good for her age.” The detective eyed her as she jogged across the court.

“She’s older than she seems though,” Jona reminded the detective.

“There might be more to her than meets the eye all around. I’m still trying to find out what happened to Hector. I think she killed him.”

That response got Jona to laugh. “She’s many things but I don’t think she’s a murderer.”

Jessica shrugged her shoulders and patted her friend on the back a few times.

“See ya around.”

 

*

 

Paul entered the showers at the station. The winning team usually stuck to one end of the room while the others took the other side this was usually the part of the game they hated the most, but since they won this time. He was more than happy to hear the excuses from the other team. Everyone was always friendly but there was usually some jeering and  hazing, but nothing too extreme.

He wondered how Jordan would react to a naked room full of men, with the exception of a few women, with nothing on but their newly crushed egos. Instead of timidness, he witnessed a confident person strut through the tiled room with nothing on and nobody said a word. He went back to washing his hair and chatting with his fellow officers.

“So, New York, huh?” Lana King asked as she washed the soap out of her long brown hair. Jordan nodded as she rinsed her shoulder length blonde hair under the stream across from Paul.

“Yep!”

“You learned to play basketball like that in New York City?” Felix, the redhead pulling his head out of the water.

“No, not really. I just remind Paul I’m from New York just to make him all angry and stuff,” she trailed the last few words with a giggle. “… but I really learned how to play basketball in Iowa while my mom was off in the city.”

“You missed your calling. You should have joined the NBA,” Paul spun and pointed at her.

“They don’t allow girls on the guys team,” She replied with a heavy sigh. “With my medical condition and all, it would make things super-toughie…” She shrugged.

Mitch Bowler raised his eyebrow and looked at the little girl. “Toughie?”

“You really don’t look like you’re nineteen,” Daniel Smith’s deadpan voice struck the room with a definitive boom that he probably used to calm disgruntled people down. Jordan took a step back and gave him a sidelong look as she silently grinded her teeth. It only took a moment for her to recover from the verbal assault on her bubble of false reality.

“Yeah, but you looked!” She squeezed the retort through her teeth. “And thank ya kindly for noticing and pointing it out!” She gave a little bow and that made her whole team blush as she walked out of the stream without turning the nozzle off. “I can’t help it if my genetics are weird or that I didn’t pig out at burger-shot.” A sudden squeak to her voice ended the discussion. She hated that it showed how much that “little” observation actually hurt and affected her. She looked away from him and pretended to study the tile at her feet.

“What’s the condition anyway?” Lana asked in a mock New York accent.

“Mild Porferia. Even in its mildest of cases, it causes an extreme aversion to sunlight.”

“Like a vampire?” Lana gave her a look of incredulity.

“Yeah!” Jordan looked up from the floor with relief and relaxed her shoulders as she walked back under the water. “In fact, they thinkie that’s where the lore came from. People back then were afraid of what’s different and next thing you know, it’s ‘vampires’ instead of a genuine medical condition. And it doesn’t help that the affected sufferer drinks a little blood every now and then.” She grinned sheepishly as she watched their reactions.

Paul looked at his partner and tilted his head to the side a bit. “Wait, what? You drink blood?” His jaw almost hit the floor and he looked like he might faint where he stood as the blood drained from his face.

Jordan smiled and snapped her teeth a few times at him. He winced at the snapping echos of her playful reaction.

“Yep! And you’re my new partner so, you gotta help me out ever once in awhile.” She wiggled her eyebrows as she watched her partners eyes widen. She broke out in a laugh and shook her head. “I’m just kidding!”

 

    Chapter Two

 

Jordan giggled at her partner from the passenger seat of their squad car while he pulled out of the police parking lot and into the L.A. night. He was still a little confused by his partner’s revelations.

“So, you really drink blood?” He blurted out louder than he intended.

“Only a little. If my condition gets worse. It’s why I needed a night shift job. It’s not like I’m a vampire or anything.” She was proud she could deliver such a magnificent lie.

“Does that explain why you don’t ever eat with me. You always have those smoothies?” He quirked an eyebrow as he glanced her way.

“Too much food unsettles my stomach.” She waved him off.

“You hardly eat at all, and you’re so athletic. That explains why you look like a late bloomer.” He pointed out knowing it was a sore spot thanks to Officer Smith.

“Huh?” She pulled her legs into the passenger seat to sit Indian-style where it was most comfortable for her.

“You don’t have the body of a nineteen year old at all.” He turned and scanned her with his eyes.

“Stop reminding me, ‘kay?” She glared at him.

“Sorry…” He hunched his shoulders and actually look chagrined.

“I keep asking people if they find me attractive. People I might want to date, or – you know, have some fun with, and nobody wants to touch me because of that.” She shrugged and turned to look angrily out the window.  “It’s starting to get really, really, really super-sad!” She pouted as she leaned her head against the window of the patrol car.

“Sorry,” He grimaced. “So like… You’ve been asking people for fun?” He quirked an eyebrow.

“I’ll take anything I can get.” She pulled her head away from the window and bit her bottom lip while smiling at her partner.

His eyes once again widened as he clenched the steering wheel. “You aren’t shy, are you?”

“Nope…” She giggled at his discomfort.

“So, just out of curiosity, who all have you asked?” He wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

“Well, okay… Only one guy so far, but I’m making a list!” She pointed her finger up in the air and smiled wide.

“Who?”

Jordan shook her head violently while she reached in a small bag she brought with her to get her hair ties. He laughed at her and almost seemed to enjoy the sheer agony in her reluctance to admit to the truth.

“Oh come on! You’re my partner! We’re supposed to know these things!” He clasped his hand on her knee and gently pushed.

“Kay’ then.. You first!” She finished putting her blonde hair up into pigtails. She pulled her legs out of the Indian-style position and undid her seatbelt so that she could sit facing toward him with her chin resting over her right knee. Paul did a double take and then blushed. “Ohh! Come on!” She kicked his shoulder and the car twitched a little.

“Hey!” He protested. “Okay! Alright… Remember the receptionist?”

“Mmm not really.” She closed her eyes and furrowed her brow in concentration.

“The Asian chick!” He blurted out with a chuckle.

“Oh! Why didn’t you just say so! Yeah! I’ve seen her, but I never really talked to her. I thought she was a cop?” She cocked her head to the side.

“No, she’s just the front desk receptionist. She works for the community service division while going for her college degree. We had some fun!” He wiggled his eyebrows up and down as he smiled sheepishly at her. He was dangerously close to looking like an imp.

“Ooh! Okay.” She nodded and then laughed as she shook her head.

“Your turn.” He took on a serious tone.

“Eek!” She squeaked. “That meth-head drug dealer, Luis!”

The patrol car suddenly pulled over to the side of the road, stopped, and the lights came on. She smiled at her partner and giggled through her teeth.

“Are you trying to ruin your career or something?” He growled in disgust.

“No! I just think that I can change some people.” She said defensively.

“Some people can’t be changed.” He clutched the steering wheel and looked down at his white knuckles.

Jordan rolled her eyes again. “Just – drive!” She demanded as she nudged his head with her foot. “Besides, he’s like everyone else. He doesn’t like me like that. Nobody does.” She sounded hurt.

“No boyfriends back home?” He asked as he pulled back out onto the road and waited at a stoplight. He tapped the steering wheel, waiting with focused anticipation to hear about his partners love life.

“I had a few. The last one, he sort of went his separate way, but we’re still good friends.” She answered not looking at him.

“With as small as you are, you’d make excellent bait in sting operations.” He quirked an eyebrow as if imagining it.

“I’m here for real police work!” She protested.

“You don’t think catching perverts isn’t real police work?” He eyed her dubiously, “It’s probably the most important police work there is, protecting kids.”

 

Glass shattered followed by a thunderous boom as pellets filled the interior of the vehicle. The majority of glass and bullets sprayed over Jordan on the neck and shoulders. She lurched forward and fell against the laptop computer that was now blown to pieces. Paul rolled out of the car and pulled her across the driver’s seat by her blood spattered collar. He caught a glimpse of the license plate of the vehicle as it sped through the red light. She closed her eyes and went limp  while Paul shot back at the vehicle, her body worked the foreign objects out of her system. She felt the pellets emerge inside her tattered uniform. She opened her eyes a moment later and sat up. He grabbed her and pulled her in close to his chest and she couldn’t understand why he did that, but it felt strangely good to be wrapped up in his arms.

“It’s okay… Shh, it’s alright. We’ll get you to the hospital…” He crooned as he gently rocked her. She smelled his blood and resisted the temptation to lick it off of him. She sighed with relief when she realized he had only been nicked by the pellets and would be okay. She realized that he thought she was dead and was simply coping with the loss rather than really assuring her that she was going to be okay. It was more that he was trying to convince himself that things would be okay.

She realized that she would have to make a cover story and get help to rectify the situation before he could call it in. She felt her fangs extend and she sunk them into his neck before he could protest. He gasped and tried to pull away but she kept drinking until he went limp in her arms. She carefully pulled Paul into the back seat of the patrol car and closed the door. She sighed and dialed a number she didn’t want to call any time soon. The line rang for only a short moment before she heard the voice of creepy blue eyes that visited her home.

“I didn’t expect you to call so soon regarding Luis. Liked you a bit more than he claimed, I suppose?” He said in mock amusement.

“Not exactly. Sir, with full respect and stuffies – I need your help regarding my employment and our secrets.” She stammered.

“Please – go on…” He said as dryly as Scar from “The Lion King”.

Jordan leaned against the glass sprinkled police cruiser and took a deep breath.

“I just had a gang member from the gang that ran your blood runner, try to kill me tonight. They keep track of our uniforms, and mine is all peppered with buckshot and blood. Paul, my partner… He’s hurt… Our cruiser is shot up, too.” She sighed, “This is bad business, and I hate to ask, but I do need your help to clean this up.”

“Ah, you fledglings… Get the cruiser off the road. We’ll send a tow truck. I’ll have uniforms ready for the both of you. Just do what you need to do to fix Paul. We’ll send a car for you.”  He said through gritted teeth. His frustration was almost tangible.

“Do you know where we are?” She sat back on her heels confused.

“We have the best cell phone pin-pointing system money can buy…” His voice was smug, and she could just picture slapping that look off his face.

The line went dead. She pulled the police cruiser behind an abandoned house and re-opened the rear car door. She pulled Paul out let him sit next to the back tire. She bit into her wrist and pressed it to his lips. Grabbing the back of his head, she made sure that he couldn’t do anything other than drink. When she felt that he had drank enough, she pulled her wrist away from his lips and rubbed the wound a little until it vanished. The self-inflicted wound began to heal completely at the same rate that Paul’s injuries mended and forced the buckshot out of the skin. She also noticed that one of his tattoos faded away as his skin pushed the ink out to the surface.

“Oh, oops…” She grimaced as she wiped the ink away. She knew Paul was going to wonder about that little discrepancy. “I’m sure ya didn’t want that ugly tattoo, anyway.”  A tow truck arrived at the same time a rental car arrived to pick them up. A pale man with short dark hair stepped out and stuck Paul with a needle.

“This will keep him unconscious longer,” he explained.

 

The vampire entered a hotel room while helping Jordan carry her partner.

“On to the bed, get his clothes…” He barked as he easily tugged the dead weight.

She helped strip her own partner completely nude and if she could’ve blushed, she would’ve. He had looked different when they were in the shower before. She remembered that he had a few scars on him; none of which existed now. She decided not to mention it to the Vampire or else he may take more drastic measures to avoid the incident.

“Now you…” He ordered as he jabbed a thumb in her direction.

Jordan frowned and then quickly vanished in a cloud of mist and her clothes dropped to the floor. Just as naked now, she reached down and grabbed her duty belt along with everything on it. The Vampire pulled all the clothes up into his arms. “Spend the day with him.” He ordered as he reached into his pocket and threw her two boxes of Trojans and a roll of cash. “Room service only. Don’t let him leave. Remember, you and him got drunk last night and then ended up here.”

“He doesn’t like me like that.” She stammered completely stunned and suddenly self-conscious.

“Not my problem.” He grinned as he eyed her and stalked out of the room.

 

She shook her head at the trick she was about to play on him. She didn’t like it one bit, because it would get him worried about their careers. Technically, it would be a true worry even though nothing ever happened. Partners sleeping together wasn’t a policy worth breaking, but nevertheless, that’s the way the local Coven wanted things to go and she had to follow their rules. Even if it did ultimately get them fired. She even had more worries, because the coven would be looking for a replacement bloodrunner even sooner now that they’ve helped her. She was in their debt.

Jordan pulled her partner into bed and pulled the covers up to his neck. Then, she went to the bathroom and filled one of the rubbers part way up with soap and then threw the rubber on the floor. It looked convincing enough. Daylight would come soon, and she knew she would want to sleep. Would guilt bring nightmares? She thought about the upcoming onslaught of horror on her partners face when he thought that, somehow, he had slept with her, and broke his vow to be professional. She knew that she had to come up with another excuse. She picked up the fake evidence of their sexual encounter and flushed it down the toilet, from there, she went to mist and found her police department from the air.

A fine mist traveled down through the air vents, she re-materialized in a vent above the office of Jona Sanchez. She always wanted to sneak around air ducts. The problem was, ninety pounds pulled the air ducts out of the wall and Jona’s ceiling caved in. Jordan went back to mist before the pile of ceiling tiles and torn out ventilation slammed into her boss’s chair. She continued up through the wrecked vent and rematerialized in the locker room. From there, she got extra cash, and had some clothes to put on. Jordan left the locker room with a pair of shorts and a surfing-tee shirt. She quickly called a taxi and went to the more seedier parts of town to find a hooker.

 

Jordan didn’t have her cell phone, but she knew that the people at the Vampire Coven were prepared to set Paul up with her to make it seem like he had gotten drunk and made love to her. The least she could do was let him keep his dignity enough to where he thought he did it with a hooker. On second thought, she wouldn’t need a hooker. She told the Taxi Driver to just take her back to the hotel. She reached into her pocket for the hotel-room key, only to remember that, the key was in her old uniform that was getting repaired, and the only way to go back in would be to go to mist, unlock the door, and get dressed all over again. Jordan cursed herself for not thinking far enough ahead to enact her plans. It had been a while since she actually paraded around in mist form to remember the limitations that came with sneaking around in a gaseous state.

 

Jordan re-materialized on the other side of the door and grabbed her clothes just outside. She turned to a man that was standing behind her already, almost right next to her. Jordan flattened herself against the door as two sets of uniforms were piled on top of her clothes by the other Vampire.

“When you call on us, you leave the work to us. Don’t deviate from the plan.” He scowled at her.

“Do we have to do it this way?” She hunched her shoulders and pleaded with the Coven Vampire.

“This is the way we decided. You called us. Your new car is in the back. We matched it with the same serial numbers, transferred the computer, and enabled the tracking chip to activate when you turn the car on. Nobody knows you are here.”

With that, the Vampires left Jordan had to humiliate her partner. She sighed and looked at the bed where Paul still lie sleeping. She decided to jump in with him and explain things that the Vampires wouldn’t want her to explain. Ultimately, she couldn’t humiliate her partner or lose her self worth.

 

Paul woke up and looked around the room. He recognized it as a hotel room. He felt the sheets on his naked body and then jumped when he saw Jordan laying on her side, looking at him.

“Oh – hell no!” He screamed three octaves higher than his normal voice.

She laughed, “You’re right! We got bunches to talk about!”

He lifted the sheets to confirm that they were both nude and he shook his head. “No! No, no, hell no….” He kept chanting to himself more than her.

She reached out and grabbed his hands and held them firm to get his attention. “I need to tell you something…” She pleaded with him and tugged at his arms while he looked around the room frantically as if the room held the answer to their new found issues. “Hey!”

He returned her gaze to her.

“We used protection at least, right?” He raised his eyebrows in astonishment and question. He looked as if his eyes were going to pop out of his head and roll down main street.

“PAUL!” She yelled. “We didn’t have sex!”

“Well, then…” He raked his fingers through his hair, “What the hell are we doing here?”

“There’s a lot I have to tell you.” She bit her lip, “ You have to keep an open mind  and you have to believe me, or else you’ll get us both killed, okay?” She held his gaze, willing him to focus and understand.

“We’re naked, in a hotel together. What the fuck happened?” He demanded pulling his hands free.

No sense pulling any punches. She took a deep breath and sighed, “I’m a Vampire.”

He raised an eyebrow at her. “Jordan… This isn’t funny at all. We can get fired for this.”

He jumped when Jordan suddenly vanished before his eyes, replaced by a cloud of mist. He rolled out of his bed and found his gun and as he pulled it from the holster, he fell backwards against the wall and aimed with shaky hands at the mist. Jordan re-materialized behind him. “What – the hell was that?” His breath came in short bursts.

“Vampire go to mist!” She shrugged and laughed at his pale face and wide eyed expression.

“That’s a magic trick… Come on… Stop this!” He forked his fingers through his hair making it stand up like a hedgehog on steroids.

Jordan extended her fangs in front of him so that he’d actually see the fangs sprout from her gums. He twitched and looked at her in disbelief as she smiled with her canines.

He stepped back and found his uniform. She quickly blurred across the room and around him and pulled his clothes away from him so that he wouldn’t simply get dressed and walk out of the hotel room.

“What the hell is going on?” Paul demanded.

“Will you listen to me?” She asked with determination..

Paul sat on the edge of the bed. By the time Jordan was done explaining how the Coven worked, how she’d be in deep shit if they found out she even told him about Vampires, and how he would have to go on pretending that he thought he was secretly having a relationship with his own partner, while, at the same time, concealing anyone from work from thinking the same, he sighed and shook his head.

“So, we have to see each other for the illusion that the Vampires want to see, and at the same time, make it secret enough to where, Jona never finds out.” He sounded defeated as he put his head in in his hands. “Great, just great. Thanks. Thanks a lot!”

“Wanna stay here for the day?” She glanced around the room. “I can’t leave. The sun is up.”

He nodded and laid down and she held onto him feeling the warmth of his skin.

He fidgeted a little under the sheets. “This is weird.” He turned to face her because despite not liking her physically, he had these odd images of her sinking her teeth into his neck. “Is that why you look the way you do?”

“I was turned young, yeah. You know, my parents, my mom’s boyfriend… That’s it.” She shrugged.

“Vampires are myth… Fiction… This is…” He balled his fists and shook his head not wanting to believe.

“Crazy, I know.. Okay, so when those gangsters shot us up, I had to give you some of my blood. It healed, everything. It even got rid of your tattoo.” Jordan nodded to his arm. Paul sat up and continued to freak out. It was the lost tattoo in the end that finally made him believe.

“You’re a fucking vampire… My partner is a vampire… Vampires exist…” He breathed harder and started to panic a little. He then looked to Jordan. “We didn’t have sex?”

“No.” She shook her head to confirm his statement.

“How do we make them think we’re involved? What will they do if they find out I know?” His body was tense in her arms.

“I don’t think we want to find out.” She said flatly

“How are you going to explain this to our boss?” He whispered.

Jordan twitched. “You can’t tell them anything!”

“I have career to protect!” He glared at her.

 

Jordan jumped on top of Paul and sunk her teeth into him.

 

***

Jordan woke up on top of Paul. She was told that this sort of sudden attack wouldn’t be remembered. It had been a rough day having to explain to her human partner all the things that had to happen in order to maintain the other Vampires beliefs that they were a couple. In the end, he couldn’t handle the truth – at least, not completely; so a lie would do.

 

One problem solved.

 

Jordan smiled at Paul and nudged him awake.

“Did we have sex that time?”

“Yep.” She sat up and studied his face to see if he bought the lie.

 

“Alright…” Paul’s eyes widened but he couldn’t even look at her. He pushed Jordan off of him and walked toward the shower. “Now that I’ve officially gotten myself screwed in all ways possible, let’s figure out how to deal with that gang that tried to bust caps in our asses…” He vanished behind the bathroom door and Jordan couldn’t help sigh and cross her fingers before she went to mist and re-materialized in the shower with him. Paul jumped but she caught him before he slipped on the tile.

 

“So… Is this a – friends with benefits kind of thing?” He flattened himself against the tile while she leaned her shoulder against the siding door.

 

“Sure… If you want it to be more, just let me know!” She smiled and wiggled her eyebrows.

“If it’s more, you’re going to have to get rid of that gangster you’re letting stay in your house. How did that happen, anyway?” He crossed his arms and quirked an eyebrow with a slight self confident smirk.

“Done!” She smiled in answer. “Just give me a few days. There are some things I have to do.” She avoided the other question of how the sequence of events transpired. She wasn’t the best liar in the world and it was going to take some extra brain-power to lie to a cop, even if she was one, herself. It was a shame, she kind of liked the guy but on the other hand, he didn’t like her at all, so how was she going to convince him that he actually fell for her in any way?

 

It wasn’t the first time Jordan had done this, and it only turned out bad if the person in question died with her blood in his system within the next few days. The odds of that happening were slim. Luis had been alive for over twenty-five years before he met Jordan, and he could stay alive another three days. If she was wrong, and he died in some gang-bang, she would pay the price for siring a new Vampire. Luis never suspected that Jordan’s blood was in the energy drink that he downed in nearly one gulp. He sat on the sofa and looked at the empty can while raising his lip. That’s when he dropped the empty container to the floor and gasped while holding his hands to his chest.

“What the —,” He gasped and keeled over. She stepped into the living room and watched as he screamed in pain as whatever unclean filth that had accumulated in his system over the decades of drug abuse and hygiene neglect started dissolving away. The many tattoos on his arms darkened as the ink pushed itself out of his skin. It would wash away in the shower when he stepped under it. He coughed up horrible things on her carpet and Jordan knew she’d have to replace it, because there was no way that smell was coming out.His bones cracked, his back arched, and his flabby stomach fat seemed to dissolve away into nothingness. By the time he caught his breath, he had been cured of every negative thing in his body which included any addictions his brain kept a hold of. She smiled at him as he breathed hard and broke out in a sweat.

“You’re cured of all your deformities, addictions, and injuries.” She handed him a stack of cash. “Take a shower, take this, and remember – you don’t have to fall back into any of that. You have a new way out. You’ll have to avoid your gang though.” Jordan gave him a business card. “This is for your reference. I’ll vouch for you wherever you work, just as long as it’s not LA.”

Luis looked at the cash and then back at the young girl staring back at him. “This is enough to start a new life! What did you do to me?” He took another deep breath, having not felt a fully functioning lung capacity since he was a child. The idea both amazed and frightened him.

“I drugged you with something special and experimental,” she lied. She couldn’t tell him the truth. If he told anyone about a special drug that gets rid of tattoos, scars, and addictions, the doctors would find it completely impossible.

“The gangs gonna kill me! If they think all this O.G. was fake, they’ll busta cap in my ass!” His eyes were wild with terror.

“I don’t know what O.G. means, but, yeah! More incentive for you to get going! If you don’t get back into the same mindset as last time, maybe you’ll be all thankie one day!” She crossed her arms and stared him down.

Dhe rushed him out of the door with a twinge of regret. For some reason, she felt that, this wasn’t going to be the last time she ever saw him. That was sort of a given. She remembered with the first person she tried this with, he went back to his original life and ended up getting shot in the Bronx. Still, she felt happy knowing that she gave someone a second chance. She locked the door behind him and looked around the house that she truly had to herself for the first time – her first real place.

 

She only had a few minutes before work but she wanted to get her books out of the boxes first. When she knelt down, she had flashbacks to the time when all her pain started; her first apartment with her mother in New York City, where Jordan attempted to get the same books out of the same box once before, only to find a rapist with ties to the mafia inside her house. A family friend named Nero, who happened to be a vampire went out of his way to help her heal by giving her his blood without her knowing. Sadly, someone who sent a gangster to kill her, drowned her in a bathtub before the blood had completely ran its course throughout her system. Instead of dying, she returned as a Vampire. Now, here she was, giving someone a second chance. The only difference was, he probably didn’t deserve it and she hoped that he didn’t die in less than two days like she did, or else she’d probably have to go hunting for Vampires. She giggled to herself as she started loading books on the shelves. She adjusted her uniform and headed out the door. Paul was already waiting for her on the street when she got to the steps of her house. She smiled at him and she was sure she saw a blush coming from him.

 

“I saw you kick him out,” Paul said with a hint of pride in his voice.

She smiled and jumped into the car. “I hope he fixes his life up a bit. I helped him out as bunch as I could.”

“Bunch…” He sighed as he started driving. They had already had a briefing the other day that covered the next days events so they went straight to patrol.

“When’s the next basketball thingy?” She asked as grabbed her knees and stretched her shoulders.

“Tomorrow night. We have our player back though. Maybe you two could alternate?” He gave her sideways glance.

“Sure! I don’t mind watching.” She smiled her most brilliant smile.

“Where’s your cooler?” He quirked an eyebrow. “Now that I know why you bring blood with you…”

“I – I thought with you, knowing and all… I wouldn’t need a cooler when I have you.” She stammered.

 

The patrol car pulled onto the side of the road suddenly and the light bar turned on. Paul turned to her with his jaw still in the ‘dropped’ position.

“What?” She asked self consciously.

“I’m afraid of needles. I find ways to avoid the blood drive every time it comes to the department, and that’s not going to change just because I’m partnered with a… a Vampire Crime Fighter!” He declared flatly.

 

Jordan had a lot of things to consider and dwell on. She thought about how the coven wanted her to gather a blood-runner, and hoped that Titus would help straighten that out. She wanted to call him and ask so badly that her fingers itched at the thought of tapping the cell phone, but, she would then have to break it to Titus that she had once again let another mortal know about the existence of Vampires. If she had a heart, it would be in her throat with worry. She had a partner to worry about, too; a partner that knew entirely too much about her. She looked at him and nodded.

“Take me back to the house and I’ll get some. Sorry.” She sighed and shook her head. Paul turned the car around but she could hear him let out his breath as if he were going to say something and then changed his mind.

A second later, he finally said what he wanted to say. “Look, I didn’t mean anything bad by it. I just don’t – want to be that… You know?”

“I know.” She looked away from him afraid her face would show her thoughts.

“I know what we did last night was just because you were trying to prove something to me, anyway.” He almost sounded disappointed.She turned to him and her brow furrowed and he blushed and didn’t look at her even though she wouldn’t look away. Her jaw dropped and her eyes narrowed. She took a deep breath before eventually looking away. By that time, her small driveway was already in view.

Jordan stepped out and went back into her home. She popped her key in the door, ran to her kitchen and opened the door to the fridge. She instantly felt guilty. It was full of things she told Luis to buy, and she did have something to prove to Paul; he was right. She slammed the door on the fridge a little harder than usual as she juggled her thoughts. She jumped forward and nearly dropped her blood when a voice emanated from right behind her.

 

“The Covens of New York are of course alies of Los Angeles. Our Covenant Leader, however, doesn’t take too kindly to political squabbling in our affairs. This is your warning. We’re letting you off.”

Jordan turned to see the old blue eyes standing in her doorway. He was wearing a suit and tie, and seemed very calm despite giving another vampire an ominous threat.

“Sneak up on girls all the time? Or is this just a special occasion?” She retorted and tried to look innocent.

“This isn’t a game, Jordan. You can’t win another battle against the covens here. We’re here to help you and ‘have’ helped you already. We are here for each other but you have to abide by our basic rules.” He pointed at her.

“So, no bloodrunner?” She quirked an eyebrow and smirked at him.

“Follow the rules.”  He walked out the back door. Jordan made sure to lock it behind him before locking her front door to head back to the car. She didn’t say anything when she got back into the car with her cooler. The unsettling freedom at which the Coven Vampires seemed to enjoy breaking into her house was keeping her speechless. Paul on the other hand, thought that his new partner was quiet because she was mad at him for pointing out that she probably boinked him for the wrong reasons. She thought about giving in and telling him the truth, however, that would probably trigger her partner to go to her boss about a transfer, and then, the problem would just perpetuate to a new partner.

 

After a fifteen minute drive to their assigned area, they called that they were available on the radio. They stayed quiet for their various reasons; Paul, because he was convinced he did the unthinkable and got into a relationship with his partner, and Jordan, for feeling vulnerable in a world where her local Coven in New York couldn’t protect her anymore, as well as the guilt of lying to her partner in order to not be killed by said coven.

 

“What are we going to do about those people that shot at us yesterday?” He glanced at her

His sudden outburst made her jump, “We have to find them first,”

“Yeah… How?” He tightened his grip on the wheel.

She shrugged her shoulders. “They’ll probably find us.”

Paul rolled his eyes, “I’d rather they didn’t!”

“Yep… But what can we do? Did you get the license plate?” She tipped her head to the side in askance.

“EKR… Something… Big ass black truck. That’s all I remembered. It would have been easier if I just called it in.” He sighed.

“As far as the department knows, it never happened. It was a nope!” She grinned

“A nope?” He growled.

“New car! Fresh uniforms… Isn’t it nice? Lets enjoy it!” Jordan rolled the window down and her eyes suddenly focused on the edge of the window. The glass was about two inches thick. She flicked it and tilted her head. The Coven not only gave her and her partner a new car, but, they made sure that past mistakes could never happen again – short of a rocket launcher. New worries entered her mind; wouldn’t maintenance notice this? She was told that they swapped the serial numbers but it was going to be very obvious that this was a brand new car and not the clunker that was taken out of impound. Would anyone complain? Or would it just be a case of – not enough evidence to the contrary and the car is better now, anyway? The worries mounted.

 

A 2015 Mustang blasted into the highway at high speeds and took her attention off of her dwellings. She reached forward and turned the light-bar and siren on while Paul called in their pursuit. He breathed in deeply and cursed under his breath when the engine responded to his demands a bit too easily. The car rumbled with hidden horsepower that neither of the officers expected. Jordan grabbed onto the seat as they easily kept up with the Mustang.

“What the fuck?” He finally yelled.

“This car obviously has a few optional extras.” She grinned fiercely.

“Yeah!” He agreed as he kept in behind the Mustang. Once the driver of the other car realized that he was not getting away from them, he pulled over to the side of the highway. He took a deep breath and went to get out.

Jordan placed her hand on his wrist. “My turn! I haven’t done a ticket yet.”

“I’m supposed to show you how it’s done.” He frowned.

“It’s the same as New York. I get his license, run it, confirm his registration, write the ticket, and submit the report, right?” She pulled her shoulders up a little and sat on her left leg while facing him with a ‘go ahead and challenge me’ look on her face.

He rolled his eyes. “Alright… Go for it, but if Jona goes over the report and you didn’t dot your I’s… She’s going to be all over me,” he warned.

“Relax!” Jordan smiled. “I’m from New York!” She got out of the car and stepped away.

He rolled his window down and yelled. “Fuck New York!” with a smile.

 

Jordan giggled as she walked over to the driver’s side and flicked her flashlight on in the driver’s face.

“Hello!” She was almost at eye-level with the driver and only had to lean down a little. “Do you know why you’re seeing lights that are all flashy flashy in your rear view tonight?”

The driver, a young man in his mid twenties tried to shield his eyes from her light as he squinted at her. She saw that there was nobody in the car except him, and that he had obviously been smoking pot at some point in the near past. She audibly sniffed just to make him nervous.

“I’m sorry, officer… Would you like to go for a ride with me sometime? I’ll drive a bit slower?” He was the cocky type and she couldn’t help but giggle.

“License and registration pretty please…” She smiled sweetly. “… With cherry on top.”

“I thought cute young officers don’t give tickets to handsome men in sports cars?” He gave his most winning smile.

“Sorry, what did you say?” She asked as she accepted his license and registration.

“I said, I thought that cute young police officers didn’t give tickets to hot guys.”

“You’re right, sir… I don’t give tickets to hot guys. I’ll be back with your ticket in just a minute.”

 

Jordan watched the fake smile vanish from the man’s lips while she playfully waved the license and registration in front of his face.

 

*

 

Jordan and Paul found themselves in Sergeant Jona Sanchez’ office in the middle of their shift. Paul leaned in his chair and studied the crater in Jona’s ceiling that used to be a neat set of ceiling tiles. Her desk was peppered with debris and Jordan sat there with a smile. She hadn’t yet seen the aftermath of the damage caused to her bosses office from the correct vantage point. She looked pleased with herself as she sat in the chair next to her partner. Jona on the other hand looked as if she had been having a bad day. When she turned the dash camera on, it explained why;

“Paul… Fuck New York?” Jona shook her head at him. “We’re supposed to be representing a team that serves and protects our citizens. What does yelling ‘Fuck New York’ out your window have anything to do with a good representation of our fine city?” She growled.

“Sorry, Sergeant Sanchez.” Paul kept looking at the ceiling; clearly, he was too ashamed of himself to even look his boss in the eyes. She averted her stone-cold gaze to his young partner… “This brings us to you… What am I going to do with you?”

“I’m sorry.. What’s going on?” She asked innocently.

“Well, you obviously don’t know who Darien North is. I thought you liked Basketball?”

“Oh was he a Basketball Player?” She sat up in her seat with a wide-eyed with a grin.

“Yeah… The guy you pulled over. He’s talking about you as a big joke on ESPN. Thanks to the lawyers, he managed to grab your dash-cam footage and there’s a ‘Hash-Tag Officer McKenzie is Blind’ and the damn thing’s going out all over facebook and the internet!” She shouted as she waved her hands in a sweeping motion.

Jordan reached into her pocket and looked at her phone screen with a nod. “Wow! I’m getting bunches of hits!”

“You’ll just be lucky that the lawyers decided to cut the part where Paul says ‘Fuck New York’, but to tell someone they weren’t hot?! A famous basketball player of all people? Paul! Lead by example. You won’t ever hear anyone else in this department screaming ‘Fuck New York. There is NEVER any reason for that!” Her eyes flashed with her outrage.

“If you like, I can ask him if he wants me to jump his bones later?” Jordan asked with her brow half furrowed as she shrugged her shoulders. “What do you want?”

“Just – be careful what you say from now on… He wants you to appear on some interview for a redemption or something.” Jona handed Jordan a piece of paper; an invitation to an ESPN interview.

“Seriously?” Jordan sighed.

“I think you should do it. Put on a good face, and don’t make us look bad.” She said pointedly.

“What am I going to do?” She looked up bewildered.

“He’s challenging you to a one-on-one, and a date.” The woman half smiled at her.

“Usually the one-on-one comes after the date!” She declared with a disbelieving laugh.

“I need to be there, too!” Paul said defensively all the sudden. Both Jordan and Jona looked to Paul with surprise at how quickly he responded. He then looked away again. “Sorry, no – I, I mean… it’s just that I was there for the pull over. I wasn’t trying to take the limelight or anything. It’s just that…” He stammered

“Worried about the date?” Jona narrowed her eyes at him.

“No!” Both Jordan and Paul said in unison. Jona raised her eyebrows and closed her lips while raising her head slightly high with a surprised look on her face.

 

“Officers…” Jona sat down on her desk and crossed her legs as if getting ready to scold the both of them. Paul breathed in sharply and held his breath while he looked wide-eyed to Jordan. Jordan, placed her hand in front of her face and sighed.

“I think you need to come clean with me. I know this response and it’s never good.” She slowly sat down and eyed them.

“It’s not what you think. I’m just saying that – Jordan shouldn’t go alone.” He added grumpily.

“Yeah,” Jordan added,  “Department guidelines say that we cannot take charity offers from a person or persons that we’ve officially rebuked or investigated in the line of duty.” She half smiled satisfied with her cover.

“Oh for fuck’s sake… Give it a rest…” She growled.

“Shit…” Paul sighed and closed his eyes.

“We need the officers,” Jona said. She reached out and kicked Paul. He looked at his boss. “I need the officers,” she emphasized. “I need you two – to act professional. No words about this, to anyone… And Paul… What the fuck?! She reached her left hand out as if presenting Jordan in some grand entrance, or a shining example of how disappointed she was. Jordan suddenly started giggling.

“It’s not funny!” Jona said. “If I had a full department, I’d send you both out on your asses! What do see in this guy, anyway?” Jona then swung her hand from Jordan to Paul. “He’s a nerd in a uniform! You could have had him!” She pointed out the window to a fit, muscular SWAT man passing by the office. “Or him!” She pointed to a young Latino Detective that looked like he bought the monopoly on hair gel. “But… your own partner?”

“We never said that we did anything!” Jordan laughed harder..

“Jesus Christ… Don’t let me ever have to hear about it. Get out of here.” She dismissed them with a wave of her hand and a glare.

“Are we okay?” Paul asked.

“No!” Jona said. “Is this how they do it where you’re from? Isn’t your mother dating her partner?” She raised her hand.

“Well yeah, but – In New York…” Jordan started and stopped.

“FUCK NEW YORK!” Jona yelled it so loudly that everyone in the office heard it.

 

Jordan and Paul left the office with all eyes on them. Jordan emitted a toothy grin and waved at everyone in the office. Whispers rode on the wind of the central cooling as the office gradually went back to doing whatever it was before it was disrupted by the angry sergeant.

Jordan felt a tug on her arm. She saw Paul holding her a moment with a deadpan stare followed by a sigh and shake of his head. The next thing she knew, she was pushed backward, held in her partners arms. His lips touched hers and the whispers turned into loud chatter and wolf-whistles around them.

“Thanks for ruining my career…” Paul tilted Jordan up,patted her on the shoulder and walked off. Jordan almost fell back over but caught herself as she blinked aimlessly among her laughing co-workers and various clapping hands. She turned to see Jona rolling her eyes and closing the blinds to her office. She yelled back at him over the loud chatter, whistles, and claps.

“Don’t put that on me! That one’s totally on you!” She yelled.