Welcome to the Darkened Road. My cover image for the story and all characters, powers, places, and overall setting of Anita Blake world are the creation of Laurell Hamiliton who I admired and love. I hope you all enjoy my take on a novel I love.
I stood outside the club, Guilty Pleasures, watching as people ran into the line, all eager to meet the Master of the City, Jean-Claude. Vampires had become rather public and Jean-Claude had become their portrait guy for their good PR campaign. I took a deep breath trying to calm myself by connecting to the closet body of water that I could find which happened to be a lake about 20 miles east of me. (Did I mention I'm an elemental?)
The application in my hand was wrinkled from the tight grip I had on it. I was nervous. I took another deep breath looking around as I walked into the club in front of the line, since I was applying for a job the bouncer let me straight in. It caught me several looks from the girls who desperately wanted to enter the club. Oh well.
I walked up to the hostess and smiled the best I could manage. "I'm here to see Jean-Claude." She nodded and went to the phones quickly saying a few words before returning to me. "Go through to the back second door on the right." I smiled thanking her as I began to head to the back. This job was something I needed, working at a human establishment had been hell for me.
On top of the chaos of my life my father had just passed. He wasn't the greatest father, but he was the last family member I had. For the last few days since his death all I could hear every day was his voice, usually from the times when he was beating a lesson in to me. They were always the same: I was the last of my kind and should make friends with stronger supernaturals then myself. Especially, since I was not in the Rya anymore and needed to politically ally myself. I needed to do my princess duty to my people. The same old speech, from a father who never wanted to give up the throne. He only passed because we were outside of Rya, my home. He didn't handle this realm well and forgot he wasn't a king here. He was shot smart-mouthing someone on the shot. Unforunately, it seemed I finally had to surrender to his advice because I couldn't work with just humans, being the last water elemental in this millennium made it extremely difficult.
I walked towards the second door on the right and took one last brief moment to gather myself putting on the mask I had trained myself to wear years ago. I knocked before attempting to open the door, old habits my grandmother stowed in me never dying. A voice that I couldn't describe with any word but butter came through the door. "Please come in."
I could hear the age in the voice and knew that for once some of the rumors were true and Jean-Claude was an old one. Slowly, I opened the door to reveal a black office. I mean black, the black paint could be mistaken for a night sky but it was the only think that gave way to any other colors. My vision moved forward to see a refined gentleman sitting at his desk. His shoulder length black curly hair gave the impression that he was from Latino descent but his face quickly refuted that claim. I took another step into the office.
I noticed the girl on the couch that I had not immediately focused on and then smiled brightly. An actual genuine smile seeped through the mask I usually kept in place as she recognized me as well. "Mizelle!" She screamed leaping from the couch and throwing her arms around me. I was thankful she didn't use my real name, besides most people referred to me by my middle name anyway since it was often the name I gave.
"Hello to you to Anita." I said hugging her back.
"Where have you been?" She said her facing growing slightly serious since last time we had been together I was on the run from the father that had just passed.
"I've been in the city." I said smiling.
I noticed Jean-Claude rising from his desk and immediately tensed up my mask reshaping my face letting no emotion through. Anita noticed the gesture but said nothing. Jean-Claude flashed a smile that probably would have made regular women sink to their knees. He bowed softly and glanced at Anita.
"It appears you are a friend of my friend and vampire servant." Anita looked at her with the stubbornness she had and I smiled inside knowing she was exactly a servant.
"Yes, it would appear that way." He extended his hand in the ways of Shakespearean times asking for mine own as he introduced himself. "I'm Jean-Claude Master of the City of St. Louis."
I placed my own hand in his being respectful since I did not yet know his capabilities. "I'm Mizelle."
He raised my hand to his lips and brushed the skin gently with his lips. "A unique name that is."
I nodded as I removed my hand. "Yes, it is. Anyway, I came here looking for a job as a waitress or bartender." I said extending my resume. I was trying my hardest not to be a dancer considering I didn't dance that well and I couldn't conceal weapons if half my clothes had to be off.
"The job is yours." He said without even glancing at the resume. "Your father sent the resume about two weeks and told me to await you."
I wanted to growl deep in my throat but I thought it best not to. I would love to speak to Daddy Dearest and find out why he did such a thing. It would explain the strange part of his will that had mentioned the club randomly. I was angry, highly but I was trying to hold it in. Anita, however, looked at him in pure shock, sometimes she wasn't the best at hiding her emotions.