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World of Darkness: Attrition - Coffee and Graft [Complete]

Sam Spaid

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Just prior to midnight, April 30th

Samantha sat in the booth of the All Nite Diner and stared into the cloudy fluid in front of her. She was the type who didn't stir her cream into the coffee, she just dumped it in and drank. The plain white porcelain mug was thick and sturdy, worn with age and use such that even the chip on the rim opposite the handle had been worn smooth. The liquid inside roiled slowly mixing black with chocolate, tan and white. Eventually it would settle down to a medium brown, but by then the cup would be begging for a refill. Refills were free; the eponymous "bottomless cup o' Joe". She shifted her hips a little, resettling in the vinyl covered booth so that he gun and holster were not digging into her side. She sighed, recalling that before she had had Timmy she had been slim enough that her gun would never have dug into her side just by sitting in an old diner booth. Not that she regretted it. Timmy was her world, even if her life had taken a left hand turn when she became pregnant with him, there was never a moment where she wished she hadn't. She looked at her watch, and then over at the pies. As if by magic the waitress, a tired looking older woman, the kind that had probably come to LA long ago hoping to become and actress, suddenly popped up at the booth. "Refresh your cup?" Sam nodded absently. "Can I git you a slice ah pie? There's still one more piece ah the apple."

Samantha considered the fact that her jeans had been tight enough to require her to lie on her bed and inhale deeply to close the button; she shook her head in a negative reply. "No thanks, the coffee is fine." Her cup now a uniform dark brown Samantha tore the top off yet another tiny creamer, the cool sweat of condensation on its sides felt good in contrast to the warmth of the mug. Ploop. The creamer broke the surface of the coffee and disappeared into the deep brown pool starting the convective show once more. Sam scowled. "Where the hell are you kid?" she mumbled to herself as she closed her eyes and tried to form a picture in her mind of Timmy, asleep in his Transformers pajamas, grasping the worn Paddington Bear to his chest.

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As if by magic, 'the kid' was summoned. He walked in, looking a little off his game, but still well dressed. As usual, he didn't look around, but walked straight to her table. It was a sure sign he had cased the joint before walking in. The kid really had a good eye and a quick wit, if not the most tools in the toolbox.

In the year that she had known him, she had witnessed Adrian Moss's slow awakening to the instincts of a good detective. In the same way, while they were not exactly close, she had gotten to know him better. He liked to play at being mysterious, but really just had a rich parent/benefactor who indulged him in this adventure.

Adrian had grown in confidence and self-awareness in away that made him more attractive and less like a whipped dog. He talked about cases now and was developing a good inquisitvie nature. The course load he was taking at night school was paying off as his acadmic performance had gone from pathetic to high school. she figured he just might make it through City College after all. Maybe ... and money made maybe happen a whole lot more than normal.

Speaking of money.

Adrian settled down across from her, waited for the waitress to come by and give him a coffee. He always gave the same line - 'He would look at the menu', which he did but never seriously. He would stir some sugar in his coffee, but never drink it. In fact, the only thing she had ever seen in his mout was gum - usually doublemint. When the waitress walked away, Adrian slipped the envelope full of fifties over lightning quick. On the rare instances were their hands touched, she noticed how cold he was. Most be poor circulation.

Money put away, now the kid began to talk animatedly.

"So, what kinds of cases are you working on this month? How did that Cruz matter turn out? Was I right? Was it insurance fraud by the uncle?"

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Samantha slipped the money into her coat and zipped the pocket shut. Better safe than sorry, better paranoid than out three grand. The money made certain she could afford a nanny to take care of Timmy when she was working. As usual Adrian stared at the menu, and his coffee, with the disinterest of somebody who had no intention of partaking of either. And as usual he began with the questions, always the questions and never with the answers. She looked from her coffee to the pie and back to Adrian. "Yeah, fraud. Speaking of fraud, what's your deal really? You've got money to spare it seems but rather than actually work with me, or another PI, you just ... I dunno, coast. Why bother? You're gonna get your badge and not have a clue how to use it in the real world." She watched him, studying his expression, his reaction, waiting for the clue that would allow her to crack the nut that was Adrian Moss.

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He looked up at her and for just a moment he was like a Hawk studying a mouse, frightening in its total predatory nature. The moment passed and he was some under-achieving kid once more, pondering the question before him.

"Well, it isn't like you are going to turn me in, now is it? Sam - Ms. Spaid - I take cases at night. Wierd cases people want off the books and away from any headlines. I look into missing people were the parents can't afford a real PI, or haunted houses, or really nutty stuff that no one believes in. Stuff they send you to counseling for, if not outright commitment."

"Sometimes it pays and sometines it doesn't, but it will help me with the Law if I have a PI's liscence and can ask some questions that I have to go through intermediaries to find answers to right now. I am working."

He couldn't say who he was working for, but a good PI didnt' tell, did they? He stirred his coffee, looking down into it.

"I didn't want you to think I'm coasting though. You've been a big help to me. This time next year, I'll have my liscence because of you and I won't forget it."

He looked up at her intently,

"I'm just not doing this for the money, because sometines money shouldn't matter."

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Samantha studied the young man before he as he replied. There was something about the way he spoke, he was not bullshitting her. Not only that but he was either personally effected or a true believer. She added a new item to the list of reasons why she could not, would not, ever consider sleeping with him. At the top of the list were his cold hands and an apparent pathological hatred of perfectly good pie. Inside she sighed, it had been far too long. Taking care of the physical need was one thing but there was a distinct lack of mature emotional intimacy in her life. Single mom syndrome.

She took a sip of the coffee and reconsidered the pie, with ice cream. She set the coffee cup down, noting the marbling of the cream as the contents of the cup mixed slightly more. "Clearly the money isn't an issue. Nobody does this for the money, and you seem to have plenty anyways. Do you really expect to see something? A ghost or an alien or something? You seem smart kid, I find it odd you would believe that tripe." She considered that there was an alternate answer; perhaps Adrian was like her, able to see things, clairvoyant visions, post-cognition. Sam had read more than a few book on the subject since her own touch of the bizarre had surfaced. Maybe everything else weird and unexplained was real, and maybe she didn't have to be alone in this.

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Adrian mulled over what she told him.

"Tripe? Okay. When I was a kid I believed in super-heroes. They aren't real are they? I guess I believe because I want to believe. I've witnessed some things that I can't explain. It's enough to make me want to find out more."

"I can understand your disbelief, but why are you so sure? Don't you want to believe that there could be more? Life after death, different shades of our reality?"

"Or am I sounding moronic now?

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Samantha sighed and shook her head, her dark ponytail swinging. "Not moronic, just ... I don't know. People who really believe in the paranormal, I mean really believe like you seem to, they aren't common and usually aren't rich or even remotely normal." She was doubting the latter even as she said it. Finally she relented and, as the waitress came by to fill her coffee again, Sam ordered a slice of pie. "So, you actually seen anything? You know all ghostly and supernatural like?" Before he could reply she took a bite of the pie, "You want a piece? I'll buy, this stuff is fantastic!" She waited for his reply, watching to see how he would react.

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"Who said I was remotely normal," Adrian said cryptically. "And yes, I've seen something once. I saw something in a video image I couldn't see wit the naked eye. It really made me believe in something beyond death. I can't tell you were - client is pretty attention-phobic."

"No pie for me. I have a big dinner after this and it would look bad if I had food on my stomach."

Well, that's the absolute truth. The pie was a bit odd. Normallly she didn't give in before he was ready to leave. Was something up?

"So, have you seen anything? Ghostly or supernatural like? Normally you don't ask me many questions, but I like it."

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Samantha arched a delicate brown eyebrow. Her fork, laden with cinnamon apples and golden brown tender flaky crust paused half way to her mouth, "You have a big dinner at ..." she looked at her watch, a cheap Timex digital, "At what? Two a.m.? I know you are a night owl but come on, what are you a bogeyman?" She snorted and popped the fork full into her mouth. Samantha considered Adrian for a moment as she lazily chewed the confection. "I've experienced some things. Things that I'm still not sure I can properly explain, but I do believe that there is a scientific explanation."

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"I'm a bogeyman," Adrian says with a lopslided grin. "She's worth waiting for," he lies.

"Well, if you ever run across something else you don't currently have an answer for, give me a call. I'd like to see if I can record it - just remember my works schedule. Nothing before 8pm."

"Thanks for the food offer, by the way. It certainly smells heavenly and looks delicious."

Not totally a lie. It was only the thought of him eating it that caused him to want to vomit.

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Samantha noted that he was lying about his date. What she found odd was the tone in his voice when he said he was a bogeyman, she couldn't detect a lie and his grin seemed false. Not for the first time she wondered what this young man was hiding, what he didn't want her to know. He always left first and always arrived after her. She'd never gotten more than a cell phone number, a prepaid one at that, from him. Of course she'd run his name through DMV records for a favor and gotten his car and address. He never seemed to be there however, the mail was always collected but she'd never once seen him coming or going. She wanted to know what this man was all about, and she decided tonight was the night.

He looked ready to bolt, and she was only a few bites from the end of her pie which narrowed his window further. She reached for the small purse she carried and pulled out a business card and retrieved a pen from her bag. She scrawled her cell phone number on the back and slid it over to him. "That's my personal number. In case you want or need help." She noted an image of it in her mind as he picked it up and slid it into his wallet. She had him now, even if he didn't know it. "That's not for booty calling, just in case you think you got funny ideas."

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The words 'Booty call' caused his eyes to light up in an unexpected manner. Was it hunger or Lust? He didn't look like the kind of man desperate to date, especially 'slightly overweight' single mothers. It was somewhat unnerving which was uncharacteristic for the quiet, polite young man.

"No booty calls - got it."

Maybe it was a little hurtful that he was thinking about her in that way for the first time. She wasn't that bad looking, was she?

He turned to go then half looked over his shoulder.

"Same Bat time, same Bat channel next month?"

A piece of pie in her mouth, Sam nodded.

"Have a nice night, Detective Spaid," he chuckled. Adrian walked out the door with a purpose. He was a man with somewhere to go. The young Mekhet looked down at the textbooks lying on the floor as he got in.

This is worth it, right?

He started the engine and looked back over to Sam, but she looked lost in thought. It was time to go hunting, before all the feeding ground closed for the night. He would probably have to take someone to their house to feed successfully, but he could stand that tonight.

Booty Call ... on Sam? That's like hitting on my Sister, if I had a sister.

He had always buried his desire to feed on her. He needed her and had begun to like her over the months they had been together. She had a kid - he could smell him on her, she would hold him so tight before leaving. No sign of a man in her life. She was relatively honest, but needed the money, so she had never had a husband, or had a messy divorce. It really wasn't his business.

The pie has smelled delectible. Too bad he couldn't have any.

Adrian made his way to South Beach, found his parking spot and made his way in. He found four slightly older women, only one close to being sober and moved in. He cut the sober one out of the herd, but she was resistant. Fortunately, one of her friends was more amenable and they were soon heading for her place. She attempted to give him a blowjob in the car, but then passed out. At least she dind't vomit. That would have been disgusting.

At her house, located by opening her purse and looking at her driver's liscence, he half-dragged her to her home and worked the door open. Adrian took her through the house, eyes accustomed to the lack of light down a hall. From the sound of breathing, they weren't alone in the house. There were two others. He got her to her bedroom - the bathroom smelt like a bathroom and the laundry room smelled like bleach - and got her to her bed.

Feed, or tuck. Feed or Tuck

Adrian decided to feed on her first then tuck her in. He had just liked the wound when he heard the door open a bit. The damn carpeting had silenced the treading of feet. Still ...

The girl had to be fourteen or fifteen. Her face structure was like her mothers, but her hair was shoulder lenght and straight. Her eyes were wide open and held many questions. Inwardly, Adrian shrugged. She wasn't screaming.

"Help me get your Mother in bed?" he whispered. After a second she nodded and pulled the sheets back. He picked her up, struggling, and placed her beneath the sheets. Together they padded out of the room.

"She's not normally like this," the girl told the vampire. As she studied him, a second question came up,

"You're awful young, aren't you?"

"I'm twenty-one, almost twenty-two. We just met and I gave her a ride home."

"You were going to have sex with her, weren't you," she said, half-resignation, half-accussation.

"That was on the list of possibilities, I won't lie. Ummm ... are you going to be okay?"

She nodded to the Monster that went bump in the night.

"I'll be going then."

She nodded. "That would be best."

"Night," he said as he turned the handle and stepped out into the night. It was good to be gone from this place. His beast wanted the girl. The more innocent the better. Adrian was glad to have saved that shard of his soul.

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She didn't miss the way Adrian's eyes widened, though she was surprised by it. She started to wonder if maybe there was something far baser behind the man's motivations, but quickly dismissed the idea as ludicrous. Had he been interested in sex he would have made a move months ago, and pounds ago, she reminder herself sadly. He left and she finished the pie and drained the coffee. A ten spot from her wallet was left to cover the tab and she gathered her things and left.

Thirty or forty minutes minutes later Sam was sitting in her living room ensconced in an overstuffed arm chair, her legs folded up underneath her. She focused on Adrian's image in her mind. It took a while, perhaps ten minutes, before the image began to resolve.

Click to reveal..

Spending a Willpower to activate Clairvoyance(5/6)

(18:26:35) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 8d10 and gets 5,2,2,10,7,5,2,2.

(18:26:42) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 1d10 and gets 7.

She found herself trailing behind Adrian as he entered a club and located a group of older women. He didn't waste time and soon she was watching him carry her into her home, taking her to her bedroom. A hard pit started to form in her stomach and she hoped she wasn't about to witness a rape. He leaned over the woman and kissed her neck. She cursed that she could not move the point of view as she perversely watched Adrian pleasure the woman. Her moans were bordering on an orgasm and he had not even moved from her neck. Samantha found herself longing to find out just how skilled Adrian was that he could provoke that kind of reaction with his lips alone. Her concentration faltered and the vision collapsed leaving her breathing heavily in her living room. "Damn, I need to get laid."

Finding him the first time had been difficult so Sam instead checked on Timmy before leaving once more, the nanny was still there, having been asleep when Samantha came home she hadn't bothered to wake the woman at all. She sat in her car and removed the chain from her neck, the locket that dangled from it contained a picture of her mother and father, and another of her and Timmy. She wrapped the chain around her fist and started the car. She focused on the business card that she had given Adrian earlier, forming a picture in her mind of her phone number on the back, the way the gel pen had bled a dot at the tip of the six at the end. The raised text with her name, the heavy cream colored card stock.

Click to reveal..

Spending a Willpower on Dowsing (4/6)

Difficultly to find Adrian = 6 sux

(18:44:56) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 5d10 and gets 4,4,5,3,2.

(18:45:21) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 5d10 and gets 4,7,6,8,6.

(18:45:31) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 5d10 and gets 7,8,2,7,10.

(18:45:36) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 1d10 and gets 7.

(18:45:43) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 5d10 and gets 1,1,1,10,8.

(18:45:48) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 1d10 and gets 10.

(18:45:51) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 1d10 and gets 10.

(18:45:54) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 1d10 and gets 9.

Total sux = 8 in 3 rolls (1.5 hours)

Samantha drove slowly, watching the locket as it indicated the direction she needed to go. It took over two hours but she ended up outside of a house just south of the UCLA campus. A two family home, probably rented as apartments to students at the university. She checked the locket and it was pulling to the left slightly, to the door for the upstairs apartment. She slipped the chain over her head and drove around the block once more. Looking around Sam spotted Adrian's mustang on the street a few houses down from the apartment. She parked a ways away on the opposite side of the street and turned the car off. Withdrawing a notebook from her bag she noted the time (nearly 5 am), and the address, before settling in for a good old fashioned stakeout. Luckily the coffee was still working, though unluckily she was going to need to relieve herself eventually.

[more to come]

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"Smitty, you ugly S.O.B. how the hell are you? Still working the graveyard beat? ... Yup, yeah. ... Say, you want to make a couple hundred real easy like? ... Thought you might, need a stakeout partner for the day, the sooner the better, my bladder is killing me." Sam gave Smitty the address and hung up. She was crossing her legs already and she hoped that he wouldn't take too long. Carl "Smitty" Smith, was one of the policemen from her graduating class at the police academy and one of the many cops that should could still call on for the occasional favor or, as in this case, a little paid help under the table.

Smitty arrived a bit after six a.m. and after she filled him in on which building and car he needed to watch Sam went looking for a bathroom. Luckily there was a donut shop nearby and she was able to take care of both of her immediate physical needs. She returned to the car with a pair of coffees and a half dozen donuts. Together she and Smitty ate and drank and watched. Around seven thirty a woman let the apartment but there was no sign of Adrian.

The day wore on and the great enemies of the stakeout reared their ugly heads; fatigue and boredom. Fatigue was easy enough to combat, they took turn sleeping, a few hours each, enough to keep them going but not enough to be restful in the long run. Boredom fell to crossword puzzles, word searches, twenty questions, and plain old chit chat. The young woman returned to the apartment just after seven p.m. and still no sign of Adrian. Sam was starting to get restless, wondering if he had somehow given them the slip during the day. She considered what she knew of the man and after sending Smitty home she waited until the sun set and planned to stick around until nine. If he hadn't show himself by then she would give up, she wanted a shower, she wanted to sleep and to hug her son. She waited, on eye on the door and the other on the clock as the minutes slowly ticked toward night.

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You expect some problems going to and from your car in LA. You dont' expect to find your 'Mentor' sitting down the street in her car waiting for ... well, maybe you. Adrian was glad he was Cloaked in Shadow. He stealthed across the street with deliberate care and snuck up on her. Her car had a lived in look. There was coffee containers, and only about half of them had lipstick stains. There were enough donuts to kill a diabetic. She was wearing what she had worn last night and smelled like she hadn't bathed. At least she didn't smoke.

Then she took up her binoculars and looked back to were he had come from. Adrian carefully moved aorund the car for a better angle. He was staring at Gwen's. That made him angry. He had to shut that down. Why the hell was she stalking him?

She was a pro. There was no reason to tail her in a car. That was a good way to lose. If easy sex had taught him anything, the direct path was the quickest way to get what you wanted.

Before she turned around,

"Hello Samantha Spaid."

She spun around and her hand went down ...to her weapon?

"Why are you spying in my girlfriend's apartment? If you wanted to know about her, you could have asked my last night, or maybe your following me."

He leaned on the door, but not so much to make her think he was reaching in.

"I can't have you following me, Samantha. If someone paid you, give it back. I'm not worth the hastle and they can't be paying you enough. If you are in trouble, I can help. I know things. I repeat, I'm not someone you want to be following. It's not worth the pain."

His voice sounded soulful and sad, as if some terrible truth hung on his heart.

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"Yeee!" Samantha shrieked in exactly the womanly way that she hated to hear other women do. "Christ on the cross Adrian!" Her gun was already in her hand, "How? How did you ... Jesus." Her heart was racing, it thudded in her chest and for a moment her vision seems to pulse in time with it. Adrian was already speaking by the time her heart started to return to a normal rate.

Originally Posted By: Adrian Moss
"I can't have you following me, Samantha. If someone paid you, give it back. I'm not worth the hastle and they can't be paying you enough. If you are in trouble, I can help. I know things. I repeat, I'm not someone you want to be following. It's not worth the pain."

She sighed. "Are we going to do this right here or maybe we can sit down, have some coffee, a slice of pie perhaps?" He stared at her, his expression was almost sad. "Listen, you know how it is. In this business no knowing your client's agenda is almost as bad as not knowing the target's. I know ... well shit, I've learned more about you in the past twenty four hours than I had learned for a year prior. How the hell do you think that makes me feel? Then all that cryptic crap last night?" She shrugged, "So I followed you, eventually you ended up back here. Listen, I can't be caught up in something over my head, I need to know if some shit you're in is gonna end up on my doorstep in a flaming brown bag." For a little woman she had a fiercely determined look in her eyes, the kind that brokered little argument. She put a hand on the keys in the ignition, Adrian almost didn't see her hand was shaking. "So. Coffee?"

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"Sure thing. One car or two?"

"Two," she said after a moment.

"I'll follow you then."

Adrian walked back to his car and pulled out. He followed Sam back to the donut shop. Inside, she had to stop herself from ordering a half-dozen tasty pastries. Instead, they both got coffees.

Sam noted Adrian doing his usual sugar routine while she took over the bowl full of creamers. Finally, Adrian broke the silence.

"What do you want to know, but mind me you may not like the answers. There are things I can't answer either."

"By the way, that was some driving last night. I never saw you, and I like to think I'm careful."

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The Cheshire grin on Samantha's face was something that Adrian hadn't seen before, it took off a few years and for a moment he had an idea of just how she must have looked in college. "I'm a woman, we have mysterious ways. I might be inclined to explain if you can tell me how you got right up to my window without me seeing you?" Sam had started to compile a list of everything she knew about Adrian, the facts were strange at best, together they painted an unlikely picture that she wasn't sure she was ready to believe.

Fact one; she had not once seen Adrian out during the daylight hours, he had even said to not even bother trying to get hold of him before eight p.m. Fact two; she'd not once seen him eat or drink anything, ever. He would order coffee but seemed to do nothing but stir sugar into it. Fact three; his hands seemed almost unhealthily cold, poor circulation was one thing but this was more extreme than that. Fact four; he'd managed to get right up to her car, practically put his head in the window without her having even the slightest clue he was out there. She'd checked the building and knew that unless he had scaled a six foot fence and come around the block solely to approach her from behind he would have had to come out to the street. She'd also been making a point to check this side of the street just in case he had done that very thing. Fact five; he'd almost brought that drunken woman to orgasm last night simply by kissing her neck. Sam found herself getting flush, her heartbeat speeding up, just thinking about the vision he had had. She crossed her legs and stared at her coffee trying not to think of it or him for a moment.

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He thought about it. He thought about it some more. He thought about it even longer before coming to a decision.

"I have a mental trick. I can make people ignore me," he tried to make the God's Honest truth seem like a joke. "I bend people's minds away from noticing me and my movements. It's a subconcious thing."

"Beyond that ... Listen, you are normal. Live a normal life and don't look any further. I'm not kidding when I say that people will kill you if you look too much further. It is the way it has to be. In a year's time you never have to see me again, or we can part ways now and I'll find someone else to 'help' me out. I don't want to see anything bad happen to you."

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If anything could throw cold water on feelings of lust it was a veiled threat. Just as suddenly as it had overtaken her the moment lapsed and was replaced with equal parts fear, worry, and anger. She wondered if he would do something to her just to hide whatever secret he was hiding. Sam immediately thought of Timmy, he would end up with his father, his useless sack of crap father. She almost broke down at that thought. The man could barely handle being a good father for two days a month, and he only managed that because he knew that it would hurt her in the process. "Are you threatening me?" her voice was quiet, the question had an undercurrent of anger and surprise.

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"Oh no," he said sincerely. "Didn't you tell me once threats were for the insincere? Promises are for the doers."

"I am warning you that I am involved with people who have a secret and its a secret they are prepared to kill over. YOU ARE NORMAL and thus not invited. Can't you just accept my heart-felt warning and move on? You've had a taste of what I can do and I'm barely above a no-body. I can't protect you ... as much as I'd like to," he admits sadly.

He made to move out the seat.

"I don't want to see anything happen to you. I had this dream about being a PI, that's all. I should have found another way that didn't involve you. I apologize."

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Her hand shot out and clamped down on his wrist, preventing him from leaving. His skin was cold, not just cool but actually cold. It wasn't right. "Listen buster I don't think you understand. You need to think about things a little more before you go charging off. You see, I'm already involved. No doubt whomever you are afraid of has already seen you and I conversing before. That puts me on their radar, and bad people love to go through the ranks of your friends and family in order to make you sweat, or force your hand." Sam released his hand, staring at her own, his skin, his flesh was just wrong. She had a bad feeling about that, something that her mind rejected because it didn't want to know.

Adrian was taller than her, not that it took much, Samantha was barely five foot three, and even sitting down in the booth Samantha was to some extent looking up at him. Across that literal and figurative gulf she looked into his face, his eyes. "How do you do it? How do you do, you know ... your Jedi mind trick thing on people?" Sam thought about Timmy and wondered why she felt compelled to keep pushing this, to risk whatever had Adrian frightened. "Tell me and ..." She breathed deeply, "I'll tell you how I found you."

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Adrian sat back down, but he looked worried.

"Jedi Mind trick ... it's like a song in my head, or more like an image of myself being sucked into the shadowy stuff that exists between realms. This stuff, from what I've been told, is what seperates the human mind from the ... supernatural - spirits, ghosts, and worse."

"I cloak my self in these Shadows and nobody not trained to sense such disturbances can sense me. I can also hide things - not people, but things. I've hidden a door before so that no one detected it, but that's tough. I can also sense such distrubances, but not well."

"Now, how did you find me? I thought it was because you are such a good detective, but now I'm thinking it was something else ... because of what you said. What's really going on here?"

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Sam took a deep breath, she tried to quell the nervousness that was stirring her stomach into cartwheels. "I can find things. Given enough time I can find just about anything I can picture in my mind. Remember that business card I gave you last night? I didn't write my number on it purely so that you'd have it. I made it distinct from all the others like it. I was able to track it down just by picturing it in my mind." It was true, even if it wasn't the completely truth. Still the method was unimportant to him. She looked at him, dark strands of hair that had escaped from her ponytail framed her face on either side. He had said he believed and he clearly acted as though he did, now she waited to see what he would make of her.

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"Wow ... I mean, wow that's pretty neat, not wow I don't believe you."

Adrian looks deeply into the faux-wood table.

"Hmmm ... I know somebody who might be able to help you and put you in touch with others like you. Would you like that? They might be able to help you deal with what you do ... if that's what you want."

He looks into her eyes and takes her hand in his own. Suddenly she feels his arm grow warm, human-like.

"Or, I can try to take care of you in dealing with other, less savory, elements out there. If you can show me what you do, I can offer you some level of protection and give you an insight to what's going on."

He twists his head slightly, studying her.

"You would like that, wouldn't you? You want to know what's going on in the larger world - what's going wrong and what's going right."

Adrian lets loose a barely audible sigh,

"Don't say I never warned you though. Seeing the bogeymen for what they are means they see you too as someone special. Believe me, you are special and some things will want to control you, or kill you. This is the price of knowing."

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The sudden rush of warmth into his hand reminded her that there was still something not quiet right about this man. It reminded her of something else as well but she slammed that down before it could make itself known. She pulled her hand free of Adrian's. "I think that maybe that is quite enough. I'm not sure if you are trying to scare me but you are succeeding. I think you should go. I think I should go." She looks at her watch, its nearly nine thirty p.m. Samantha's thoughts go once more to her son who is now probably asleep having not seen his mother at all today. She sighs, "Our arrangement stands, and if you think you have work for me you can let me know." Samantha's hand closes around her small pocketbook, "Perhaps we may revisit this conversation some other time."

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Adrian nods,

"If I've scared you, I've done you and me a favor. There is a lot to be afraid of out there."

"If you want me to put you in contact with other people like you, let me know and I'll have them call you. They aren't professionals, but their the best I know."

He leans back,

"Thanks for keeping our arrangement. If I find something up your alley, I'll give you a ring."

The Vampire made no move to threaten Sam or to stop her from leaving. He even had a relieved kind of grin on his face, as if some risk had passed by him.

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Sam backed out of her seat and away from the table, her eyes on Adrian as though she expected something. Once she reached the door she walked quickly to her car and left. She felt like there was something she was missing, some clue that had eluded her. By the time she pulled into the parking lot at her apartment building she no longer so sure. Maybe it was just nerves and a lack of sleep.

Click to reveal..
Occult roll:

(20:35:12) ChatBot: (Samantha) rolls 4d10 and gets 5,7,1,1.

Samantha looked at the clock on the dashboard before she shut the care off. It was pushing toward ten. Her key flipped the deadbolt and then turned the knob on the door. Inside the lights were out but there was a quiet hum of chatter and the flicker of light from the living room that spoke of the TV being on. She flipped the small light over the sink on and found a clean glass. She drank down some cool water and heard the pad of footsteps behind her.

Rose was in her early forties and nannied for Sam and another family. She smiled at Sam and told her that Timmy had gone to bed without a fuss. Samantha thanked her and the older woman nodded and headed off to get some sleep herself. She hung her coat up and kicked off the sneakers, sighing as she pulled off her socks and the cool air of the apartment washed over her tired feet. Sam shuffled to Tim's room and stuck her head in for a few minutes, just watching him sleep and drawing some comfort from simply watching him sleep. After a bit she stumbled to her own bedroom, stripped out of her clothes and fell onto the bed. She was asleep almost instantly, her dreams muddled and disturbing.

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Adrian went the other way. Her number had been copied down and the original card left in a trashcan. No sense in being followed so easily again. He even checked his pockets to see if anything had been slipped in.

His mustang roared to life and he pulled away. The clubs were just heating up and tonight was a good one for the Labyrinth. Not so many that it was SRO, but enough to make the hunting worthwhile. He found his rocker wannabe and they were both in a dark corner soon enough. This time he drug out the feeding, taking his time and seeing to it that she felt like the romp was somewhat equal to the tiring after effects.

Tonight, he took her home and made sure she was in her bed. He had drunk deeply and his full, so she was more than a little drained. Work was probably a no-go for tomorrow and maybe the next day. It was a collateral risk he ran when he hunted people - they could sicken, or lose their jobs. The alternative was a more time hunting and less time living. It was a selfishness that he worried about.

He came back home to find Gwen still up working on a paper. They kissed and then had sex, spending some of that precious vitae. He echoed her declaration of love, though he knew it was a lie. He stayed with her out of guilt until early in the morning. When she went to bed, Adrian went home - to be alone and lonely as he felt. He was thinking about Sam as daylight stole away his waking mind.

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