Author: Javanyet PM
You don't have to be 800 years old to have a past worth leaving behind. And no matter how far you think you left it behind, your past knows where to find you.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 13 - Words: 36,273 - Reviews: 11 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 07-01-07 - Published: 12-12-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3286203
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I'm looking for Detective Knight."
The man that stood in front of Schanke's desk was 30-ish, dark , good-looking and apparently aware of it. Very well-dressed, very polite.
"Detective Knight is out on a call. Is there something I can help you with?" It was a Wednesday, busier than most.
The man looked ambivalent. "I'm not sure… I'm actually looking for a friend of his."
This was all a little too vague for Schanke. "How about we start with your name?"
"Sorry. Jerry Remillard. I'm new in town and I'm looking up an old friend, and the closest I've been able to get is that she's a friend of Detective Knight." Reading Schanke's suspicions he added with a disarming smile, "I assure you , officer, I'm not up to no good. Maura Logue and I were friends back in Vancouver and I'm just trying to find a way to get in touch. I don't want to know where she lives, just how to reach her. Someone I spoke to told me that this might be the place to find out."
"Who might that be, if you don't mind my asking?" Schanke wasn't one to offer information about his friends to unknown parties.
"A local businesswoman by the name of Janette duCharme. The proprietress of Club Raven. Though I believed Maura had some connection there I'm afraid Ms. DuCharme wasn't any more forthcoming than to send me here. My apologies, really, I imagine this must seem rather shady."
"It so happens I know Janette. Have a seat, if you don't mind, and I'll give her a call." The stranger betrayed no objection, and sat in the chair by Schanke's desk.
"No problem, I understand completely."
"Raven, how may I help you?"
"Janette, Don Schanke here. There's a gentleman here at my desk asking for Maura. He says you sent him here."
"Ah yes, Mr. Schanke, one Jerry Remillard. I thought it best to direct him to Nicolas, as he seemed unwilling to share any details regarding why he was looking for Maura. I do hope she will forgive me for being a bit old-fashioned; I was unable to reach Maura at home and decided the best alternative was to send him to speak to Nicolas."
"Sure, okay. I'll have him wait for Nick."
"Thank you for your forbearance, Mr. Schanke. Do remember me to Nicolas and have him get in touch with me at his convenience." Janette had her doubts about this Jerry, though nothing concrete enough to mention to Nick's partner.
"Right, well Mr. Remillard feel free to stick around until my partner shows up. I can't guarantee when, but have a cup of coffee while you're waiting." He indicated the office coffee station.
"Thanks. But you have me at a disadvantage… your name?"
"Detective Don Schanke. Any friend of Maura Logue is a friend of mine," he reached out to shake the stranger's hand. Jerry got himself a cup of coffee, black, and returned to sit by Schanke's desk.
"So you know Maura?"
"Sure, I know her. Helluva woman." He'd rather not share personal information even if the guy seemed okay at first glance. Years as a cop had taught Schanke that "first glance" could lead to disaster. In fact under the "okay" there was something a little odd, something a little over-mannered. Schanke couldn't put his finger on it, but he took the guy for some kind of poser.
"You're right, there." Jerry paused and sipped some coffee, managing not to grimace. "I wonder if she's married, then. It's been some time since we've been in touch."
Nice try at casual interest, but Schanke wasn't giving anything up. "You old work friends, school or something?"
"No, I suppose you could say we were socially connected."
Uh-oh. Duh, Schanke made the connection. He'd heard vague reference to an ex-boyfriend Jerry. Nobody heinous or dangerous, just someone left behind for reasons Maura had shared with Nick and nobody much else. That's one of the things about Maura that was a relief to Schanke once he'd gotten to know her; she had no abusive or threatening relationships in her past (no mortal ones, anyway, though he had no idea about any other). He and Nick confronted enough of that on the job.
"Uh, yeah right. Well I have some paperwork to finish, so you just sit tight and Nick'll be back when he's back."
Jerry Remillard had had quite some time to think about the woman who'd walked out on him after an exciting night of music, champagne, and candlelit sex. That was also plenty of time to think about why she might have walked out. He suspected it had something to do with that last night out at the Goth club when he'd mentioned that kisses were for people that were "special". Fair enough, it was a dumbshit thing to say. And at first he'd shrugged off Maura's departure like any other person that had moved on, even though she'd been living there with him for a year or so. Yeah, he'd gone after her primarily for her "unique" biochemistry that made her a link to that dark life that fascinated him. And he'd always hoped their connection might lead him to a closer knowledge of that life. After this long he'd be damned if he could understand clearly the reasons why he might be motivated to come looking for her (he'd have to explaint that, of course), outside of the unique fact that she was the only one who'd ever put up with his obsession without actually sharing it. He had no way of knowing she had been, absorbed as she was in her belief he loved her, pretty much unaware of it. Jerry missed Maura, in his self-absorbed way. He missed the devotion and the attention, he missed the dark stories of a darker past. He missed her bone-deep need to be desired for herself, even if he knew that wasn't quite what he was after. And he missed the proximity to the Community. Any and all attempts to connect after her departure had been rebuffed (not that he'd had much of a foot in the door before, either). Worse, they had been ignored. Even the carouche had no use for him. He was, in vampire terms, a total geek and unworthy even of exploitation. He'd gone on with his semi-upscale life and friends, had plumbed the Goth crowd for willing partners in role play, associated sex, and mutually obsessive pursuits. But over two years later, even with no magic number or event to compel him, he'd figured maybe Maura might have found enough distance from his distance to be drawn to him again by whatever had drawn her in the first place. Something about safety and acceptance, he seemed to remember. It wasn't likely she'd have found it here, given her nature. She'd probably fallen back into the old protector/dependent role, and might even welcome the change he'd seem to offer. And it wasn't as if he meant her real harm. He'd never intended that. She was to him as mortals were to vampires, a treasured source of sustenance and now more than ever. That this would be considered an atypical personal interest escaped him, as she had.
"Hey Nick, someone here waiting for you. Jerry Remillard, this is Detective Knight. He's looking for Maura."
"Not looking for her, just wanting to get in touch," Jerry hastily interjected. "I'm no stalker, as I've told Detective Schanke." The fair-skinned, blue-eyed, strawberry-blond detective was quite the opposite of the type he expected Maura might be attached to even casually. When she'd met Jerry he'd known her to be associated with the tall, dark, foreboding types. Knight greeted Jerry with the same guarded manners his partner had displayed.
"You're looking for Maura Logue?" The "what for?" was silent but deafening.
"I already told Detective Schanke, we're old friends from Vancouver. I'm not looking for her address or anything, I'd just like to let her know I'm in town."
Nick shot a look at his partner, who explained, "He said he talked to Janette and she pointed him here. I called her to check it out, and she confirmed it. Said she thought it might be a good idea to send him here instead of going off to find her on his own. Jerry here says he was a close acquaintance of Maura's." He narrowed his eyes meaningfully, hoping Knight would scope the message, unaware that Nick didn't need to read his expression in order to read Jerry's increase in heart rate and erratic respiration.
"And what are you interested in hearing from Maura?" Nick asked as attitude-neutral as possible. He'd clicked onto the name "Jerry" as quickly as Schanke had, but wasn't as casual about the fact that there was no threatening history involved.
"Just how she is, what's new, like that. We were pretty close back in the day, I'm just wondering how she's doing. She's a special lady, it would be good to know her life is going well."
Nick took it in. Right, this is the first (and only, as far as he knew) mortal guy Maura had been seriously involved with, the guy who'd told her after more than a year that she wasn't special enough for kisses. Okay, Nick knew he was something of an obsessive about such things, but the distinction this guy had established went beyond romantic/pragmatic. And he was also obsessed with vampires. Judging from Jerry's demeanor Nick could assume he was unable to detect who was mortal and who was not.
"I could tell her you're looking for her. Where are you staying?"
"At the Grand."
Why was he not surprised, Nick wondered, after what he'd heard from Maura about Jerry. He was well-off when she'd been with him, no reason to imagine he hadn't stayed that way though she'd never told Nick what he did for a living.
"Fine. When I see her again," and he subdued Schanke with a subtle "partner look", "I'll tell her Jerry Remillard at the Grand is looking for her. No promises, though. She makes her own decisions."
"Well some things haven't changed, at least. Thanks, guys. I've come a long way to find her."
"I'll say," Schanke commented, "Vancouver to Toronto is a long way to come on an outside chance."
Jerry shrugged. "I've got time. See you." He walked out.
Immediately Schanke turned to Nick and said, "So why didn't you tell him you and Maura are a permanent item? You know he's The Jerry from back west."
"Yeah, I do. But why get mixed up in things that aren't my business? I'll tell Maura he's in town and leave it up to her."
"'Not my business'," his partner mimicked, "not much. Tell me it doesn't matter to you that your lady's ex is sniffing around for her after how long?"
"Two and a half years."
"But who's counting."
"Tha yoozsh." It was an expression picked up from teenagers in the neighborhood near the precinct. "Whassup?" they'd ask one another in greeting, "tha yoozsh" was the reply. Nick was on the verge of relating news of Jerry Remillard's visit but it magically slipped his mind when Maura reached up to greet him with a warm smooch, pulling his jacket off and dropping it to the floor with one hand as she held the back of his head with the other.
"Hey you," he kissed her back, longer and deeper. "Long night. How was yours?"
"Tha yoozsh. Kinda slow, really, which is why I didn't need you to pick me up. I've just been lounging around since 11:30."
Nick cast an eye at the collection of newspapers, catalogs, books, and empty seltzer bottles spread around and all over the sofa and side chair.
"So I see. Looks like power-lounging. Oh, look, a clear horizontal surface," he remarked, indicating the nearest chair at the dining room table, "I'd better take it while it's good." He sat down and ran weary hands over his face and through his hair.
"Here, let me take care of that, grumpy," Maura stood behind Nick and stroked her fingers up his temples and through his hair all the way to the nape of his neck, then repeated the motion several times. "Feel free to purr."
"Mrrr, don't mind if I do," he rested his head back against her, eyes closed. "Two new homicides tonight, two still working from last week, what possessed me to go into this line of work anyway?"
"Your deep, abiding sense of…" she bent and kissed his now tipped-back forehead, "guilt."
Nick dropped his head forward on the table with an exaggerated thump. "I knew there was a good reason." Maura pulled him upright again, this time massaging his neck and shoulders. Even if Nick's muscles didn't spasm like a mortal's, she knew it felt good to him to get "worked over".
"Mmm," he murmured, eyes shut again, "who in the world could be stupid enough to let this walk away?" He was thinking of Jerry, of course.
"Nobody we know." She gave his hair a gentle tug and headed for the stairs. "I dunno about you but I'm ready for bed."
Nick arched an eyebrow and looked pointedly toward the mess on and around the sofa. "What about the power-lounging fallout?" He didn't consider himself anal, but he did like a tidy living space. Maura returned to where he'd pulled away from the table and pivoted to sit in his lap.
"It'll be there tomorrow…" she kissed his throat and dropped her head onto his shoulder to expose her own. "You'd really rather do housework than keep me company upstairs?"
Nick returned the kiss but suggested in mock exasperation, "You think I'm that easy, do you?"
"Uh-huh," Maura nodded and hopped to her feet. "Dead easy," she told him before turning to dash upstairs.
"Ha, ha," he followed after with considerably less energy. He really had forgotten all about Jerry Remillard and his message. Sort of. By the time he got into bed and was met by an armful of warm, sleepy Maura it had gone entirely from his mind, sort of. The guy would probably leave town by tomorrow anyway.
It wasn't the first time Nick Knight had been extravagantly wrong both in behavior choices and predicting the future. It just never occurred to him "the guy" would show up at Raven the following night to test the waters that Nick assumed were long gone cold.