A CHEEKY TASTER

Cassian Libertas threw down his pen in annoyance as the lights went out. He had been working almost from the moment he had woken up and still had what seemed like an ever-growing mountain of paperwork to get through. He was about to stick his head out of his office and commence with the yelling, when someone beat him to it.

           

Shouts and curses flew through the air, along with the sound of running feet. Throwing out a curse of his own he got up and swiftly made his way to the bar area where the disturbance was coming from, glad that his eye sight was so good in the dark.

           

People were crowded around the DJ booth, some kneeling, others standing, all surrounding what looked to be a body lying on the floor.

           

Shoving his way through, Cassian stopped dead in his tracks when he saw who was lying on the ground.

           

Griffin’s closely cropped hair was still smoking and his hands were nothing but charred stumps. His skin was bright red and covered in welts, the flesh bubbled in some places. His chest was heaving and he was trying hard to sit up. Taking charge, Cassian immediately began barking orders to the crowd.

           

“Get him some blood, and lots of it. Find a few Donors if possible. He’s going to need a watcher too.” If a Vampire was injured they needed blood to help the body heal, but there was also the danger of blood lust overcoming them. A watcher was usually another Vampire, one strong enough to protect the Donor and make sure the injured vamp didn’t feed for too long.

           

“Someone get me as many bed sheets as possible and soak them in cold water. Get him wrapped up and ready for transportation. I want him taken up to my apartment for now, put him in the guest room.” Immediately the crowd dispersed, everyone running off to gather the requested items and make the necessary calls.

           

Cassian bent down close to Griffin.

           

“Don’t worry, my friend. We shall soon have you right again.” He turned to the only remaining Vampire, a woman by the name of Elena. “What happened?” he demanded.

           

“Griffin was setting up the sound system, something must have gone wrong with the electrics again. He was plugging in the soundboard to the mains and everything shorted out. We heard Griffin yell and then nothing. As soon as our eyes adjusted we saw Griffin lying on the floor. And that’s when you came in.”

Cassian nodded his understanding and grabbed one of the bags of blood a nearby Vampire handed him and sunk his fangs into it.

“Hold his head up,” he instructed Elena. Carefully, she knelt on the floor and lifted Griffin’s head onto her lap. His mouth was already open as he panted shallowly in an effort to manage his pain.

Slowly Cassian poured a little of the blood into his mouth and watched with baited breath for Griffin to respond. He sighed with relief when he saw his throat work as he swallowed it down. He tipped a little more in and slowly fed him the rest of the bag

“Any news on those Donors?” he called over his shoulder as he started on a new bag.

“Two are on their way, Sir. Miss Angelica has promised us that they have dealt with injured before and know what to expect.”

Cassian nodded, that was good. An injured Vampire was by no means gentle with their food.

More Vampires returned, each carrying a pile of sopping wet bed sheets, as Cassian poured the last of the second bag into Griffin’s mouth. He got to his feet and stepped aside to allow them to wrap him up in the cool material.

“Meeting, five minutes, my office.” He called out as he headed back out the door.

 

Cassian looked around his office at the assembled Vampires. Elena was sprawled on his sofa, Alec had taken the visitors’ chair and Avery – an import from Scotland – was lounging casually against the door frame, looking rather relaxed.

Avery was the first to break the tense silence. “What are we going to do without Griffin? The club is due to open in less than a week and no one else knows the job like he does.”

Cassian pondered this for a moment, not wanting to voice the idea that had been percolating as he waited for them all to arrive, but he could see no other option. He sighed deeply before breaking the news to them all.

“As far as I can see we have only two options, option number one is for one of you to take over Griffin’s duties,” he paused to take in the stricken looks on their faces. “Or option two, we get the day manager – Amy I believe her name is- to take over both jobs for a little while.” He saw the relief on their faces before he dropped the bombshell.

“The only problem with that option is that Amy happens to be an uninitiated mortal. That means that we will all have to be on our guard. She must not find out about us, ever. No Donors in public, no special cocktails, nothing while she is around.” He glared at them all to emphasis his point, giving Avery an extra special look all of his own.

Avery held his hands up in surrender. “Fine, fine. Not a word will pass my lips. But I have been wondering, not to question you, Oh Great Master, but why do we have an uninitiated working for us in the first place?”

Cassian had been wondering the very same thing. If he didn’t trust Logan so much he would think that his wife was mad.

“Topaz hired her. She said she had a feeling, whatever that means.”

Avery perked up instantly upon hearing that Topaz had been involved. “Great! Is she hot?” He rubbed his hands together in glee.

“Tope promised me that she would be on the lookout for my Soul Mate, maybe it’s this Amy girl.”

Cassian shook his head. “I wouldn’t know, I have never met her.”

“Why not?” Elena spoke for the first time.

He glanced at her, ready with a rebuke, but seeing no attitude to her question, he shrugged.

“I had no need to. Griffin was dealing with her. She seems to be doing a good job, her paperwork is always in order and she managed to get us a good discount with our liquor supplier. What more do I need to know?”

“Well you’ll have to ‘deal’ with her from now on, won’t you?” Avery asked innocently.

Cassian sighed, he realised when he was beaten. “Yes, I guess I will.”

Ignoring Avery’s smirk, he picked up the phone, dismissing them all with a wave of his hand.

 

Amy was lying in the bath when she heard her mobile phone ringing from her bedroom. She hadn’t given the number out to many people and since Tanzi and Saph were normally the only ones who ever phoned, she knew it must be important.

She jumped up, banging her head on the shower rail, and slid her way across the floor. Reaching for a towel, she wrapped it loosely around her body as she threw open the bathroom door and dived into her bedroom. By her calculations, she had about 5 seconds left before the phone cut the call off. Throwing herself bodily across the bed, she snatched the phone up from the bedside table and stuck it to her ear.

“Hello?” she managed to gasp out.

        

There was a long pause before a deep, male voice purred in her ear.    “Is that Amethyst Summerland?”

           

Amy took a few deep breaths and tried to compose herself. Who could be calling her? She didn’t want to talk to anyone. The voice in her ear was still speaking, asking her again if she was there.

           

“Yes, who is this?” She finally said in her best ‘confident and in control’ voice. She didn’t recognise the voice- which was smooth and sexy with a hint of an accent that she couldn’t quite place- but she was very interested to find out whom it belonged to. If the owner was half as hot as the voice someone would have to scrape her up off the floor.

           

“My name is Cassian Libertas, I’m -”

           

“The owner of Carpe Noctem,” she butted in, so happy that she didn’t have a weirdo on the end of the phone, that her usual cautious nature was momentarily squashed.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” She apologized, great Amy, interrupt your boss, that’s the way to make a good impression, she mentally chastised herself.

           

“That’s quite alright, it’s good that you recognise my name.”

           

She was starting to get cold, sitting on her bed in nothing but a towel, her wet hair hanging down her back, and wished he would speed it along, but there was no way she would dare to say that in a month of Sundays. Instead, she dragged the duvet around her shoulders and snuggled it close.

           

“I have a reason for calling. Griffin met with an accident earlier tonight, and I find myself in the unenviable position of asking for your help.”

             

“Oh, my goodness, is he OK, what happened? Is there anything I can do?” Poor Griff, he was such a nice guy, friendly, but not an over the top, touchy feely person, which she appreciated.

           

“He will be alright in time, it appears there was a fault with the club’s electrics again, he was working on the sound system when it shorted out. I called to ask if you would be able to help by taking on a few of Griffin’s duties.”

           

She paused for a moment, thinking it over, not sure if she would be able to handle the extra responsibility. Her inner voice, the one that always sounded suspiciously like Jason, piped up, telling her quite cruelly, that she was already making a pig’s ear of her own work, let alone anyone else’s. But she ruthlessly told it to shut up. She knew she was good at her job, she was simply letting her ever present self-doubts get a hold of her. She was better than that.

           

Aware that her boss was waiting for her answer she took a breath and then spoke in as calm a voice as she could muster.

           

“Of course I’ll help, but I’m not sure exactly what I can do.”

           

She heard him let out a breath, as if he had been holding it in anticipation of her response. “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, it would be very helpful if you could come in a little later, tie up the loose ends of the day shift and stay later into the evening. You will be paid extra for your time of course.”

           

Amy shook her head, even though she knew he couldn’t see it. “I don’t need to be paid extra, I’m happy to help out anyway I can. I’ll be in later tomorrow,” she paused, never comfortable with asking for anything. She mentally counted to three then spoke.

 

“If you could leave me a list of the things I would be required to do, that would be a big help. I’m afraid I know rather little about the workings of the night shift and if we could possibly have a face to face meeting to discuss it, that would be even better.” There, you’ve done it, that wasn’t so hard was it Amy? But the little voice in her head piped up again. Yes, but you haven’t heard his answer yet, have you? You’ve done it now, you stupid girl.  Again, she firmly told it to go away.

           

Cassian seemed to take a moment or two to think about it, like he was weighing up the pros and cons before answering. Maybe she had made him angry, maybe she had overstepped the mark by asking. He was the owner, surely he would have thought of everything without her asking for it? But when he did speak his voice was as calm as before. “Yes, that would be a very good idea. I shall arrange it immediately.”

           

They said polite goodbyes and hung up. By now she was totally dry apart from her hair. She got up, chucked the towel into the wash basket in the corner of her room and yanked on her pyjamas. She ran a brush though her hair to get out the worst of the tangles and settled down to sleep. It looked like it was going to be a very long day tomorrow.

 

 

           

Cassian hung up the phone, looking thoughtfully at it for a moment or two. That hadn’t been what he expected at all. He hadn’t met the girl, but Griffin had said nice things about her so he was sure she was capable of doing her job as well as helping with the evening shift.

That wasn’t what was bothering him. It was the way his body had reacted to her voice. A voice that was sexy smooth, seductive in an unknowing way, like she wasn’t trying to sound sexy, it just came naturally. Yet there was an underlying thread of something he couldn’t quite put his finger on, but it raised his hackles and made him want to scoop her up and protect her none the less.

And that was just stupid, it wouldn’t do for him to be thinking anything like that for a woman, let alone an employee. He’d never needed a woman and wasn’t about to start now, they just lead to trouble.