Misguided Angel Page 16

If at first she had been reluctant to take the title, Mimi had slowly warmed to the idea, especially once she'd realized she could use it to her advantage. As the fearless leader of the Coven, she could do anything she wanted. It was the first week of November. She'd been in office for a month now, and had yet to wield her power over something she dearly wanted--taking care of the Coven had come first. But today was finally the day. Today she would have a little conversation with one Oliver Hazard-Perry. She'd had him fetched from the bowels of the Repository, and her secretary rang to inform her of his presence in the waiting room.

"Send him in, Doris," Mimi ordered, preparing herself for what was sure to be a fight.

The wretched human Conduit was her only link to her traitorous brother, and she was determined to beat any information as to Jack's whereabouts out of him.

Oliver walked into her office. She barely knew the boy, and in the past had only paid attention to him because of his proximity to her rival for Jack's affections, but even she could discern that he looked different since she last saw him--something in his eyes--a hooded stillness that wasn't there before. But then again, who hadn't changed since the bonding disaster? She herself had looked in the mirror the other day and had been horrified to see a haggard, grief-stricken spinster looking back at her. Tragedy was wreaking havoc on her sun-kissed cover-girl looks. It had to stop.

"You rang?" Oliver asked. His face was a mask of deeply felt suffering, so it surprised her that he could still made jokes.

Mimi tossed her hair over her shoulder. "That is not the way a human addresses his superiors."

"Forgive me, madam." Oliver smirked. He made himself comfortable in the guest chair.

"How may I be of service?"

She got right to the point. "You know where they are." The minute her brother had left town, Mimi had sent an army of Venators and mercenaries after him, but so far none had been successful in bringing him to justice. Once Jack had left the Coven, he had disavowed its protection as well, so that his spirit was not traceable through the glom.

" They?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow.

"My brother and his . . ." Mimi could not bring herself to say it. "You know where they went; the Venators told me you were there at the airport when they disappeared."

Oliver clasped his hands together and looked firm. "I can neither agree nor disagree with that statement."

"Don't be coy. You know where they are and you have to tell me. You work for me now.

You dare defy the Code? You know the punishment for Conduit insubordination is twenty years in solitary," she snarled, leaning over her desk and baring just a hint of her fangs.

"Oh, we're bringing the Code into this, are we?"

"If I have to," Mimi threatened. As a Repository scribe, Oliver was low man on the totem pole. He was collateral--nothing more than an underpaid clerk. Whereas she was Mimi Force.

She was Regent now! She was the only thing keeping the Coven together at this point.

Oliver smiled a crafty smile. "Then in my defense, I must plead the Fifth Commandment."

"The Fifth?" Bells of recognition began to ring in the back of her head, but Mimi ignored them. She was all-powerful; he was the one playing games. Crush the human cockroach! No one dared defy Azrael when she wanted something.

"Forgive me if I sound patronizing, but according to the Fifth Commandment of the Code of the Vampires, there is such a thing as Vampire-Conduit Confidentiality. It is within my rights not to divulge any information about my former Blue Blood mistress. Look it up. You'll find it in the Repository Files. You can't touch me."

Mimi picked up a Tiffany lamp from her desk and hurled it at Oliver, who managed to dodge it at the last moment.

"Temper, my dear. Temper."

"Out of my office, worm!"

Oliver made a show of slowly straightening up and gathering his things. It was obvious he was enjoying her frustration. Yet before he left, he turned around to address her one last time, and his voice was gentle. "You know, Mimi, like you, I am also bereft. I'm aware it doesn't mean very much coming from me, but I am sorry this happened to you. I loved Schuyler very much, and I know how much you loved Jack."

Jack! No one had dared say that name to her face. And it wasn't love she felt for her twin, but a confusing whirl of shock and sorrow. Love? Whatever love she had left had turned into a bright, glittering hate, a hate she nursed deep in her soul until it shone like an emerald.

"Love," Mimi hissed. "You familiars know nothing about love. Delusional human, you never felt love; you only felt what the Kiss required you to feel. It's not real. It never was."

Oliver looked so wounded that for a moment Mimi wanted to take it back, especially since his were the first words of sympathy she had heard since losing everyone who had ever meant anything to her. Still, it had felt good taking her hate and directing it outward. Too bad Oliver had tried to help. Fool: he'd only stood in the line of fire.

FIFTEEN

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The punching bag swayed back and forth like a pendulum, and Mimi gave it another satisfying kick--right in the center. She'd come straight to the gym after leaving her office for the day. She didn't need anyone's pity, least of all that stupid Repository scribe's. Times really had to be tough if a human was feeling sorry for a vampire. Especially one of her lineage and status.

What was the world coming to? She had survived the crisis in Rome and weathered the journey to Plymouth, only to be the object of a Red Blood's sympathy? Absolutely ridiculous. She punched the bag again, sending it whirling to the other side of the room. Her muscles ached from spending the last four hours kickboxing the crap out of it.

She pictured Jack's bloody face bowed in humiliation and begging for mercy. How satisfying it would be to unleash her fury at last. Every minute of every day she was consumed by revenge; she lived and breathed it; her anger fueled her will to live. Where was he? What was he doing? Was he even thinking of her at all?

Why couldn't she just leave it alone, she wondered as the bag spun and knocked her off balance for a moment. She didn't even want Jack anymore--she had understood as much at the altar. He didn't want her, but she didn't want him either. So why was she so obsessed with his death? Because someone had to pay for Kingsley's. Kingsley was gone; he was dead, or trapped--it didn't matter. It was easier to feel a murderous rage against her brother than an overwhelming grief at her lover's demise. It killed Mimi to think that Jack had survived while Kingsley had not. That Jack was happy, somewhere out there with his half-blood concubine, and she was alone. Someone had to pay for the scope of what she had lost--someone had to pay. If Mimi couldn't be happy then she certainly didn't see why anyone else should be.

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