Vision in Silver Page 86

“I don’t see a problem with you and the Crows going across the street to buy whatever Mrs. Tremaine doesn’t want. As for going to the stall market, I’ll talk to Simon and Henry. Get their opinions first.” He picked up a pen and moved a couple of papers on the desk. He’d seen a human in a movie do that as a way to end a meeting. Apparently, the females hadn’t seen that movie. “Don’t any of you have work to do?”

They beamed at him before they filed out the door.

Vlad watched them go, relieved he didn’t have to make this decision on his own.

A pack of human females and some Crows in a building full of things to buy.

He sat back and sighed. “And humans think vampires are scary.”

Douglas,

Trip delayed. Concerns at work. Overseas connections erratic due to storms in Atlantik. If possible, will call. Aunties request instruction manual for gifts you sent.

—Shady

Shady,

First part of instruction manual already on its way. Will wait for information about your travel plans.

—Douglas

CHAPTER 41

Thaisday, Maius 17

Simon opened the door to one of the rooms above the Liaison’s Office, then stepped aside to let Pete Denby enter first. The man wanted a little den of his own in which to work. After some thought and discussion among the members of the Business Association, it was decided that an office above an office made sense—as long as Denby’s clients were young enough and healthy enough to climb the stairs.

“Do I want to know what this room has been used for?” Pete asked as he looked around.

“It was used for sex.” Simon thought that was obvious since the main piece of furniture was a bed, but humans didn’t always see, or smell, the obvious.

“I’d heard there were rooms above the social center for that.”

“Yes, but these are . . .” Simon frowned, not sure how to explain the difference.

“The executive suites?” Pete didn’t sniff everything the way a Wolf would have, but he was checking out every part of the room.

Simon nodded. “More private. But they haven’t been used much, and we don’t need both rooms for sex anymore.” Actually, he couldn’t remember a time when both rooms had been needed on the same night.

Pete eyed him but said nothing. Instead, he checked out the bathroom, even flushed the toilet and ran water in the sink and shower, before going over to the windows that looked out over the delivery area and the Main Street entrance. “You don’t have any office space in the Market Square?”

“We have some, but here you could have human clients who weren’t connected to the Courtyard.”

“You’re optimistic.”

“Why?”

Pete shook his head and smiled in a way that made Simon think the man had tasted something bitter.

“I’d like to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and I’ll need to replace the furniture that’s here with office furniture,” Pete said as he turned in a slow circle. “I’d also like to put up a partition of some kind to create a reception area and a private office.”

“We can move these things and store them. The consulate might have a desk and other things you could use. You would need to buy filing cabinets for your papers, but we can find humans or Others who can help build a wall.”

“Appreciate it. I’d like Eve to take a look at this space. She and some of the girls are helping Mrs. Tremaine this morning.”

“Tremaine?”

“The woman who sold you the two-family house. She’s leaving behind some of the furniture, and one or two pieces might suit an office. And speaking of houses, I think the owner of the two apartment buildings will be accepting your offer in the next day or two. Eve said he and the real estate representative did have a couple of people looking yesterday, and they were talking it up as good income property.”

“Eve must have good hearing.”

Pete laughed. “Not as good as the Crows who were perched on the roof, but the windows in Mrs. Tremaine’s house were open and the apartment owner wasn’t keeping his voice down. Anyway, the prospective buyers were getting enthusiastic about the coffee shop and bookstore and fitness center right across the street, and the convenience of a park close by. Definitely a selling point to tenants with children. Which is when the Wolves started howling and the prospective buyers realized they were looking at the Courtyard.”

“That explains why Jake Crowgard asked the Wolves to howl,” Simon said.

“I called the real estate representative a little while later and reminded her that there was an offer on the table for the asking price of both buildings, and my client would pay in cash. I think I’ll get a call very soon. We won’t be able to close by the end of the month on those two buildings, but you’ll be able to take possession of the double by then.”

“Good. Eve can decide which den she wants. Ruthie can have the other one.”

“What about Lieutenant Montgomery and Lizzy?” Pete asked. “They can’t keep living in an efficiency apartment.”

He hadn’t figured on them staying there. But none of the humans seemed eager to take the Lizzy outside of the Courtyard. “Why isn’t the Lizzy safe now?”

Pete ticked off the items on his fingers. “She heard something, saw something, knows something that can implicate the person who murdered her mother.”

Simon huffed. “She was in a stall teaching Boo Bear how to poop in the toilet. Then she went to the train, which she was supposed to do, and came back to find her mother, which she wasn’t supposed to do.” That last part could have gotten the pup killed. “And she’s short, even shorter than Meg. What could she have seen with all those grown humans rushing around to catch their trains?”

“You’re probably right about Lizzy being safe now.” Despite saying the words, Pete didn’t sound like he really believed that. Then he added, “However, I’ve heard that Celia Borden may challenge Monty’s right of custody. And sometimes when there is a fight like this, one of the people will hire someone to snatch the child away from the parent who has custody.”

Simon stiffened. “That female would take the pup away from her pack?”

Pete hesitated. “I’m not saying Celia Borden would try, but you have to admit, you have excellent security, which is something I’m sure Lieutenant Montgomery values right now.”

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