Finally updated. Well what do you know. Miracles happen. LOL.

Had some major formatting problems so I hope that's solved.

Anyway, same old, same old. As usual, read and review please. I thrive on feedback—good, bad, or ugly (well, not ugly. Vampires don't like flames.)

CHAPTER 4

"Alexi Borisnovo, may I present Donald and Myra Schanke. Don was my old partner back in Toronto."

Alex smiled. 'My, what nice teeth', thought Myra. In fact, all of Nick's friends had beautiful unnaturally pearly white dentition. It was as they all went to the same dentist who bleached them that way.

The auburn-haired vampire clicked his heels, military style. Alex had been born to the Russian nobility and the military bearing was natural to him. He had a commanding, yet fey way about him. Of ancient lineage, he considered the Romonov's upstarts and that got him confined to the Fortress of Peter and Paul. He met a vampire there and was brought over in 1905, just before the October Manifesto.

"Pleased to meet you. We have heard much about you, Detective Schanke. And also the lovely Mrs. Schanke as well."

He held his hand out and Schanke shook it, shuddering a little at the coldness. Like Nick and that Kitty woman, he had those hands—not frosty cold, but very cool. Little bits of memory were coming back, but for the life of him, he could not remember what that was.

"I would like to introduce my friend, Julio."

Julio turned out to be a Mexican national who could not speak English but understood quite a bit of it. He was also human, which meant that he would probably not live to see the morning.

The victim, for that was what he was to be, exchanged pleasantries with the two other humans and the vampires. He could say the basic hello and goodbye, but not much in-between so Alex acted as narrator for the Schanke's.

Myra took this news well, as Alexi's homosexuality did not bother her. Don did not take this as well as his wife. He still had some old prejudices about the reddish-haired Russian's lifestyle. As a human being with a basically good soul he knew this was wrong to think. However, the Catholic in him did not think that way.

"So, Mr. Schanke…" began Alex.

"Don. Or Detective, if you will."

"Fine, Detective Schanke. Are you of Greek origin? Nick tells us you have a souvlaki addiction."

"No, Polish."

"Ahh," Alex replied. The Poles were not always on Russia's side, though he spent much time in the country when the Tsar was at his hunting lodge in Spala. Though he disliked the Imperial Family, he knew where his fortunes lay. Then came 1905 and a drastic change in his destiny.

"Are you to be in town long?" he continued.

"Just this week," said Schanke, cautiously.

"Too bad. I'm sure Nick would love to have you stay longer," Alex snidely remarked, though the mortal couple did not pick up on it.

"I wish we could, but unfortunately not everyone has a fortune like Nick. Some of us have to work for a living."

"I work. I've worked since I was five." Cary was indignant.

"Five? Where were you raised? India?" Schanke joked at Cary's indiscretion.

Imperceptibly, the assembled vampires gasped. The brunette thought quickly.

"My family owned a business and I did small tasks for them—running around and all."

Myra was confused.

"What kind of running around. I thought your father founded that telemarketing company you were telling me about."

"He did." Cary was caught. Esme looked at him with narrowed eyes but Alex came to his rescue.

"He did small errands like cleaning ashtrays for his father at the office to earn his allowance; I believe you call it, yes?"

The other vampire nodded at the usage of the word. Kitty meanwhile quietly was trying to mesmerize them. The problem was that Myra was a resister and Schanke was immune, having been whammied too much in the past.

Luckily the music changed and Kitty drug her date to the dance floor before he could cause more damage. Alex stayed behind, watching Cary's every move. Everyone else moved off dancing and Alex asked Myra for a dance. She agreed and Don and Julio stood on the sidelines. Julio was not above twirling around the dance floor with him, but Schanke was.

"""""""""""

"You dance very well, Mr. Borisnovo."

"Thank you, madam. But please, call me Alexi."

"So, were you born in Russia?"

"Oui. Not too far from St. Petersburg."

"French also?" Myra teased.

"Well, madam, all Russians of the upper nobility spoke French. Russian was only spoken in the provinces."

"Have you been in this country long?"

Alex smiled and thought of how to answer that. Since being brought over during the Revolution, he had lived first in France, then Sweden, and then England then came to the States by way of Japan almost 30 years past.

"I have. For quite a while now."

"You seem to like Cary," the detective's wife hinted.

"Ah, very perceptive. I do indeed."

"Does he like you?"

"That madam is very hard to say. It is true that I care for him deeply though."

"Hard to say?" prompted the dark haired mortal.

Alex sighed and decided to let this woman in a little. Maybe she could help.

"The problem is that Cary, while a consummate flirt, says he is not that way inclined. He's a tease, though. He will allow the massages, the small kisses and was even of the inclination to lie on my lap on occasion, but nothing else. Cary draws a sharp line and I know what I could get away with and what I could not."

What he left out was the fact that Colin, the Enforcer, watched like a hawk and a healthy fear of Helena also kept him from crossing lines with Cary.

"Well, maybe while I'm in town I can see what I can do. He doesn't really seem to be interested in the women he's with now."

The woman was perceptive. Interesting how this might turn out. He led Myra back to her husband when the dance ended and promised to stop by later.

""""""""""

"Watch your friends, Nick." Esme told him again as they swayed on the floor.

"Whatever do you mean?" he asked.

"Alex is not above a little subterfuge."

Nick was puzzled. "Of what sort?"

"Cary," said the blond as she inclined her head in the other's direction.

"I don't understand."

"Your Myra is very easy to read. I think she's not above matchmaking and Cary would not be pleased. I'm sure you want them to still be alive when they get on the plane back to Canada, non?"

"You don't think Cary would..."

"Yes, I do think he would. You don't know him like I do mignon." She smiled. "Besides, Alexi is jealous of you. So the purpose would be duel." The dance ended with Nick totally mystified. But now it seemed that the Schanke's would be seeing a lot more of him then they probably ever thought.