Titania Love Callahan-Smith really hated New York City. The stench, the sounds, the too tall buildings. She wasn't digging it. She couldn't even see any stars! This place wasn't for her.
Her friend and coven sister, Reagan G. Snow, on the other hand...
"I love this town!"
Titania sighed. "I miss Michigan."
"I don't. No jobs and nothing ever happens there. Here, something's always goin' on. I'm lovin' it."
"So, if it was a choice between your old city of Indianapolis, Indiana or here you would choose-"
"Here," Reagan said, flashing a grin at her. "Definitely here."
"And what does your inner animal think of this atmosphere?"
"She thinks that there's plenty of food about, lots of good shelter, and this big park and many alleys to explore and conquer. Why? What does yours think?"
"What she always thinks when surrounded by urban dwellings: too many humans, smells and sounds, not enough open space, and too scary. I can't wait to go home. When will we get too?"
"Once we complete our self-given mission. Turn right here and we should see the park. And there it is in all its glory: Central Park!"
"Well, the site of it has calmed down Thy," Titania said as they entered.
"I still can't believe you named your animal self," Reagan said, shaking her head.
"Lyrica named her," she said as they left the sounds of the city behind. "I didn't."
"Speaking of Lyrica, when is the N.A.W.W.C. coming home from their trip to Australia?"
"Don't know. Lyrica's still studying for her healing and conjuring tests. They haven't found a judge to test her yet or either one. Sparky's still trying to work out that alliance with the Australians. They keep asking for odd stipulations, and Sparky has to negotiate with them all. Raine's studying the natives' techniques on healing. She was unable to do so the last time she was done there. Oh! And the Morgan twins are gaining some ground on my 'problem.'" Titania said making air quotes with her fingers at the word problem. "Everyone else is trying to stay busy and entertained."
"So they're still working on finding more of your kind?"
"Yep. Kyle thinks she might have seen my full-blooded animal while on a nature walk, but he's not positive. So he's continuing to walk that trail, this time with a camera, just in case he spots it again."
"So they don't plan on giving up on your cause anytime soon, huh?"
"Looks like it."
"But you have?"
"Don't start. I hear it enough from them."
"Still, it's a big world. Others could be out there somewhere, hiding."
They walked in silence for a few feet before turning off the path and walking through an open glen. The sounds of the city were really faint now; the sounds of insects taking over. Titania allowed herself to relax, shaking the tension from her shoulders. She sighed in contentment.
"So what does it feel like being the only one of your kind?"
And Ti tensed up once again. "Are you sure you weren't a reporter before your turn?"
"Nope. But I was a private eye. And no changin' the subject. I really want to know: what does it feel like being the only one?"
Titania sighed and thought about her answer. "Annoying."
Reagan blinked in surprise. "Annoying?"
Titania nodded her head. "Annoying. And embarrassing."
Titania stopped and leaned back to look up at the sky. She still couldn't see any stars, but she knew now that was because of the clouds overhead. "People treat you more carefully. Like you could break with just a touch. That gets irritating after a time. Then there are the people who feel bad for you. Tell you that it's too bad that your endangered and close to extinction. Telling you that it's up to you to continue the species. I used to get embarrassed whenever someone mentioned mating."
"I bet. So, we hunting here?"
"Looks good. Do you have the knife?"
"Yep," Reagan said, pulling the switchblade out of her pocket. "So who's being bait this time?"
"You," Titania said immediately. "You bleed longer than I do."
"I don't know whether to take that as a compliment or insult," Reagan mumble as she slashed her hand.
They continued walking, allowing Reagan's blood to land on the ground. After awhile, Reagan asked, "Are you sure this is the best way to attract vampires?"
"Only way I know," Ti said, shoving her hands in her pockets and looking up at the clouds. "I predict more rain in our forcast."
"If you say so," she said, watching as her hand finished healing. "Should I cut it again?"
"No. We'll just wait now." Suddenly she tensed, and pulled her hands from her pockets. "One approaches now. Get ready."
Reagan gripped the wooden stake in her pocket and looked around, just using her eyes, not her head, as she had been taught by Titania. This was her first hunt, and she didn't want it to be a flop because she wasn't aware. She slowed her breathing and opened up her senses, though she knew that Titania would be aware of the vampire first, her abilities more developed than her own. So when Ti turned toward the direction that they had just come, Reagan was turning seconds behind her, tightening her grip on the stake.
She heard the vampire approach before she saw him, and when he finally came to a stop thirty feet away from them, all she could do was stare.
"Are you ladies all right?" he asked, moving his eyes from the blood path to them in confusion. "Are one of you hurt."
Ti, Reagan softly thought toward Titania like she had been taught. He's wearing a kilt.
Ti sighed. "He's one of the good vamps," she said, not bothering to keep it private. "Throw him back and lets try this a different night."
Reagan gave a small wave and a raised eyebrow at the kilted vamp before following after Titania.
"Wait a minute there ladies," the vamp said, zooming around to block their path. "What do you think you are doing?"
"Fishing for vampires," Reagan said, pushing her shoulders back and shoving her hands in her front pockets.
Titania crossed her arms and lifted her eyebrows. "Not that it's any buisness of yours."
The vampire looked at them in shock. "Are ya crazy? What makes you lassies think you can hunt a vampire?"
Before Reagan could answer, Titania held up her hand and glanced behind her. "Another comes."
She tensed up once again and turned her body ninety degrees so she could still see the kilted vamp. She relaxed again when she saw that the new vamp was also kilted.
"What's going on?" the new one asked, looking down at the blood and back up at them.
"These lassies think that they can hunt our kind," the first vamp said, raising an eyebrow in disbelief to the new one.
"Tattle tale," Titania muttered, rolling her eyes. Reagan smiled.
"You ladies think this is a joke?" the new one asked.
Titania face grew hard, and Reagan lost her smile.
"I think he's challenging us, Rea," Titania said, lowering her head.
"I believe your right," she replied, pulling out her stake.
"Do you really think you can take us with that?" the first one asked, looking unimpressed.
"I'll take that one," Reagan replied, glaring at him.
"Fine by me," Titania said, and with that, they both attacked.
Reagan wasted no time. She knew that vampires were faster and stronger, but she knew that she was also fast and strong. Stronger than she was before her change, at least. She struck out at the vampire, who dodged her attack and raised an eyebrow.
"That the best you got?" he asked.
Not allowing herself to get angry, she continued to punch and strike at the vampire, who dodged every one. 'Time to take it up a notch,' she thought, and reached for her inner animal. She felt her strength grow, and she immediately sped up her moves. Now she was getting hits in. Strong hits. She smiled when she saw his surprise when she punched back a few feet. Her smile grew wider when she saw his anger.
"Enough," he shouted before disappearing.
Reagan concentrated on her outer senses, and felt the air move behind her. Without another thought, she spun around and impaled the now-appeared vampire with her stake, missing his heart by a few centimeters. She quickly jumped back a few feet as he fell to his knees in pain. He looked down at her stake and then back at her.
Take a deep breath, she slowly let it out and raised a triumphant eyebrow at him. "I didn't have to miss," she told him.
"I believe ya, lass," he said, his arrogance gone.
"What took you so long?"
Reagan looked over at Titania, who was sitting cross-legged on the ground, chin in hand. The vampire she fought was beside her, wiggling to get out of the silver chains. He looked like a trussed up pig. She had wrapped silver chains around his wrists and ankles and had then tied his arms and legs together so he could barely move. She had also gagged him with her handkerchief, which was why Reagan hadn't heard him. He looked really pissed off.
Reagan smiled. "Show off." She looked over at the one she defeated. "Still think we're joking?"
"No, I believe ye now," he said, pulling a cloth out of his little purse and wrapping it around the stake. "Can ya release Angus now? We have a bachelor party we need to attend soon."
Titania raised an eyebrow at that, but she stood up and quickly unwrapped her handiwork before quickly moving away.
The one called Angus removed the gage from his mouth and glared at them both. "What be yer names?"
Titania didn't say anything, so Reagan sighed and answered, "I'm Reagan Snow, and this is Titania Callahan-Smith."
"Ye both be shifters then?"
"Somewhat," Titania answered, her face becoming a mask once again. Reagan knew why she was acting this way this way but was still annoyed at her tone.
Before the vamp could question Titania's answer, Reagan supplied, "She's born; I'm bitten."
"Would you like a job?" Angus asked, crossing his arms.
"No," Titania said, as Reagan said, "Yes."
"Why?" the staked one asked, before pulling the stake out of his chest. He pushed the cloth tight against his bleeding wound, and handed the weapon back to Reagan.
Titania shrugged. "Don't want one, don't need one."
"She hunts for the pleasure of it," Reagan explained. "I hunt to keep her safe." Titania snorted at that, but Reagan ignored it.
"So you want to work for me then?" Angus asked.
"Sure," Reagan said. "I wouldn't mind working for ya."
"You don't even know what you'll be doing for us," the other one said.
"Security and such, right?"
The vamps looked at her in surprise. "How did ya-" the bleeding one began.
"We hear rumors," Titania interrupted. She waved her hand at their kilts. "You kilted ones work for a security company based in Scotland. It's how we knew that you weren't bad."
"I own that security company in Scotland," Angus said. "MacKay Security and Investigation."
"Whatever," Ti said shrugging her shoulders.
"So how do I sign up," Reagan said.
"You know where Romatech is located?" the bleeding one asked.
"No, but I can find out," she said. "I haven't got your name yet."
"Conner Buchanan," he said, looking sheepish. He cleared his throat. "Come to Romatech sometime tomorrow night. Tell the security guard at the entrance that I'm expecting ya, and he'll let ye in. I'll meet ya in the lobby, and we'll get ye set up."
"Cool," she said, nodding her head in understanding.
"Okay," Titania said, clapping her hands. "Time is flying by, and I'm missing Letterman. Later all." And with that, she turned her back on them all and headed out of the park.
Reagan sighed. "Her parents were killed by vampires when she was very young. Though she knows there is a difference, she still doesn't like any of you. So I'll see you tomorrow."
She turned her back on them and hurried after Titania. "Well, that was rude of you."
"And I don't care." Titania replied, and they exited the park in silence.