If there was one thing Richard really hated, it was being summoned like a dog. And yes, he was well away of all the canine jokes one might possibly attach to that statement. He was however, not in the mood for jokes of any kind. He’d been having a nice nap on his sofa in front of the TV when Jean-Claude had invaded his dreams and demanded his presence at the Circus of the Damned. And, bastard that he was, he had refused to tell the Ulfric what the whole thing was about.
By the looks of it, he wasn’t the only one though. Anita’s car slammed into the parking lot right after his and they met up to walk together to the side entrance of the Circus.
“Do you know why we’re here?” He asked, not quite able to keep the growl out of his voice.
She fidgeted for a moment before pulling something out of her pocket and handing it to him. With a questioning look, he unfolded the piece of paper and quickly scanned over the list he found. A list about all the strange things they had noticed about his current pet project.
Growling for real this time, he bunched up the paper, fighting the urge to throw it at his ex girlfriend. “You had no right!”
And as always, Anita fed of his anger to fuel her own, balling her hands into fists as she hissed, “I had every right! You know as well as I do that there’s something off about her!”
“That doesn’t mean you had to go running to Jean-Claude!”
“I am his human servant, in case you forgot, damn it!”
Richard took a deep breath and forced himself to relax. Slowly, ever so slowly, it worked and he forced his feet to turn and walk him toward the door with careful, even steps. After a moment’s hesitation, the animator hurried to catch up and fall in step beside him. It was a move so typically Anita it made him want grind his teeth. She could never walk behind someone, not for a second. No, she always had to walk next to or in front. She never gave an inch, not even for those she claimed to love.
Not getting angry at Anita was hard. Very hard.
“Have you ever noticed,” he asked as soon as he trusted his voice again, “That you’re happy to be Jean-Claude’s human servant only when it suits you needs?”
He slipped through the door before she had a chance to answer.
Whenever Richard stepped inside the fake living room under the Circus of the Damned, he couldn’t help the feeling that he was walking into a porno movie. The glittery tent like walls and ceiling, the white furniture and especially the thick white fur rugs.
The people scattered around the room didn’t help matters at all. Jean-Claude was sprawled on the biggest couch next to Micah, Nathaniel at their feet. Damien stood guard behind the three of them while Asher leaned against the mantle of the fake fireplace with his usual carefully poised arrogance, hiding half in he shadows, half out of them. He played light like other people played instruments.
Anita sat down between the Master of the City and her Nimir-Raj while Richard stopped on the other side of the coffee table, glaring at the three of them. Well, mostly the other two thirds of their triumvirate. Micah seldom gave anyone reason to be mad at him.
“So,” he demanded, feeling the anger bubbling up inside of him yet again, “What’s your plan? Scare a human teenager out of her mind by playing the big bag monster? Great plan. Do you want me to break out the chainsaw for additional effect?”
Nathaniel attempted to smother a snort but didn’t entirely succeed. As usual, the master vampire he was ranting at completely ignored his temper and mildly offered, “We are not completely incompetent, my wolf. It is not Miss Summers we have asked here tonight.”
Knowing from the smug little smile that he was not going to get a better answer without seriously blowing a fuse first, Richard admitted momentary defeat and stalked to the nearest armchair, throwing himself into it with more force than strictly necessary.
For a few minutes the only sounds in the room were the low crackling of the candles spread throughout the room and the soft slide of Anita’s hand through Nathaniel’s hair.
Then the door leading upstairs was flung open with a gusto that let Richard know before he saw, that Jason was the one entering the room. The blonde werewolf sauntered in, clad as always in leather pants and not much else. He took a quick look around, grinned at Anita and slipped past her to fling himself at his Ulfric’s feet. His head came to rest against the alpha’s knee, claming him down immediately.
Which was a good thing, considering that the person Jason had left standing in the middle of the room, looking forlorn and more than a bit uncomfortable, was no other than Jay, the weretiger.