It was dark in the bar, which was exactly what I had been looking for. I needed a place to hide and try to drown the memories for a while. Slipping onto a stool I waited for the bartender to notice me and then ordered a gin and tonic to toast my dreams with.

I much preferred to drink whiskey neat but this night was for the memories of what might have been and still would be if I could only find her . . . Cat, my one and only Kitten.

While I had been out with Rodney getting things set up for us to slip over into Canada with new identities for her, and her mother, she had run and simply left me a note. A Dear John letter, if you would. She hadn't believed that we could work things out with everything that was stacked against us, but I knew better.

I had been searching now for almost four years but kept running into dead ends. As a gift for her, when I found her, I had also been searching, fruitlessly I might say, for her father. It was almost as if the same person was hiding both of them from me, since I could always find who I was looking for before this. Now I had run into a dead end on both of them and was here to pickle my brain for a little and see if I could come up with a new direction to search in.

I hadn't noticed really when the young man had first slid onto the stool beside me but he had been there for about an hour and a half when he spoke to me. Taking a deep breath, he touched my elbow lightly and said, "I hope this won't be engraved on my headstone, but you haven't breathed this whole time. Care to tell me how you do that?"

Damn, an observant mortal! Mostly they never noticed what went on around them to closely but this one apparently had. I bled green into my eyes so that I could use a little mind control to make him forget what he had seen. "You haven't seen anything. All is normal."

He blinked at me in a fashion that reminded me of my lost Kitten, then said, "Is that supposed to work?"

I was flabbergasted enough to answer without thinking, "It always has before!"

He introduced himself as Randy and offered to buy me a drink if I would stay and talk for a little while. He intrigued me enough for me to take him up on that offer. We talked for several hours and I finally figured that he simply had a natural immunity to vampire powers. Every once in a great while we ran across a human like that but not very often.

When the bar closed for the night we made a date to have drinks again the following weekend. We would get together every weekend from then on to drink and talk about what was happening in our lives. He gave me a few pointers on using the internet to search for Kitten—he was a real computer genius.

That was how I came across a small paragraph in an Ohio paper about Danny Milton. Seems he'd gotten himself in trouble again and then vanished. I dug a little deeper into the story and found out about the couple who were killed in Kitten's old home. From there I followed the story until I found out that Milton had been shot in my old cave and he swore Catherine Crawfield had shot him.

He was now in the Witness Protection program but Randy had no problem finding out where he was located. I was not going to let him endanger the woman I loved again.

I slipped into that hospital one night, green-eyed him into quietness, and took him out of there after making sure not one single clue was left behind. I did, with very little hope it would work, leave behind the watch that I had made for Kitten when we were hunting rogue vampires together. Maybe she would push that button . . . . .

I took Danny Milton to Rodney and left him there with instructions to kill him and give him to another of the ghouls for dinner. If they cleaned their plate there would never be a sign of Danny Milton or what happened to him for anyone to find.

I would have loved to do torture him myself but I had long ago promised that I would not cripple, maim, dismember, blind, torture, bleed, or otherwise inflict injury on the stupid wanker who had caused Kitten such pain when she was sixteen. She knew me well—she had also made me swear not to stand by and watch while someone else did any of that stuff either. That meant that I had to turn him over to Rodney and leave without the enjoyment of seeing his face when he realized just what the consequences were of hurting Kitten like he had.

Although Randy knew what I was I didn't mention any of this to him. We kept to the lighter side of my nature during our talks.

We had been meeting on weekends for about four months when he came in full of the news about a woman he had just met and fallen head over heels for instantly. She sounded like a lovely enough lady but listening to him made me miss my Kitten even more. He realized this, since he already knew that story, and tried to tone down his enthusiasm a little, but I told him not to worry, it was nice to see someone happy after all this time.

Two weeks later he told me he was thinking of proposing to her even though it had been such a short time since he met her. He felt like they were soul mates and there was no reason to wait. We talked about that for the next two meeting and then the third weekend he came in and told me that she had accepted.

He bowled me right off my feet when he asked me if I would be one of his groomsmen and I was very glad to accept. He had gotten to be a friend in a way that no one had since Ian, Timothy, and Charles on the ship going to South Wales. He explained that he would have like to ask me to be best man but felt that he should give that honor to his brother Phillip and I agreed with him.

Since he could work anywhere he was going to be moving into Denise's house with her. It would take him this week to pack up his apartment and I offered to help him move but he said that everything had been taken care of on the other end.

After making arrangements to meet as usual after he moved the following Friday we both went our ways. I did some more fruitless searching, trying to find a trace of where my love had disappeared to but as usual found nothing.

I waited in the bar for Randy the next Friday and he was exclaiming even before he got to our table about the wonderful friend of Denise's who had helped them, mostly by herself, get all of his stuff moved into Denise's house. He was just saying her name, Cristine Russell, when the scent hit me like a ton of bricks . . . Kitten! There was no mistaking that scent, I had been searching for it and remembering it for the last four years and here it was right out of the blue. I made Randy tell me everything he knew about this Cristine Russell.

I was pleased to note that she was using my birth last name as her own and even more pleased that Randy had noted her address earlier this evening. I was going to find her now and we were going to have a talk about leaving, trusting, and working things out.