I was very tired after that, but what I pieced together from my notes later was this:
Mara was, in fact, a vampire. She had been born in France and had had ample opportunity (read: a few hundred years) to study art. She had moved to New Orleans during one of its early booms. Although she was fairly well known, she would occasionally go on sabbatical and people would sort of forget about her. I wasn't sure how that worked. I assumed by “sabbatical” she meant move to another place for a decade or six. Didn't matter.
She had heard from Dani that the law firm was considering me for a summer internship and saw to it that I had no other offers. That was another one where I figured it was best not to ask questions.
I wondered suddenly (but also didn't ask) whether Dani wore a cross all the time as protection from Mara. Maybe the goth lolita thing was convenient cover. Or maybe she was Christian. I was getting distracted. I needed to focus.
What mattered was that I had a few weeks to figure out what was going on with the fakes and if I could do anything about it through legal channels. I didn't feel like I could say no... not safely anyway. I act tough, I can take on pretty much any mortal, but I don't like to tangle with things or people or whatever that might come with nasty (and permanent) surprises.
I let Mara know that under Louisiana law, she was not considered a natural person, since she was technically dead, but that since this would fall under federal copyright law I'd do my best.
I woke up the next morning hung over and wondering if I had had a really really unsettling dream. And how I had gotten back to my own apartment and my own bed. I stuck a hand in the sun to see if anything would happen. It just got warm. So that was a relief. Sunday, huh? I looked over at the brochure from the opening the night before and realized that at least part of it had really happened. Coffee made the rest of it come clear. I'd have to call Maryanne soon. She'd want to know what's going on, and she might have some good advice.
IRAC, I told myself. Gotta IRAC or the baddies have won... so the issue here is whether copyright infringement is occurring and if so, can we stop it, and if so how. I knew that copyright had changed over the years, so I needed to figure out which works of Mara's were being copied and when they'd originally been produced. Law school taught me nothing if not how to operate methodically.
I had planned on some tourism this summer anyway. If the forger was selling them to tourists, I had an excuse to have fun. Discretion was going to be the hard part. So: to the Quarter to take the cemetery and voodoo tours!