Robert walked into the living room and said, “I'm moving Belinda's body into my car. President von Niederhausern will meet me at the university. We're going to make it look an accident, and arrange for the police to find her body.” He looked uncomfortably at Roger then back at me. “He wants to talk to you, Maryanne. Wants to know exactly where you found the body and how."
I'll drive out to the university in a little bit. Do you need any help moving her body?” I asked.
“No, I got it. Thanks.” Robert shut the door behind him. I turned to Roger, forcing myself to face the anger in his eyes.
“Yer helping von Niederhausern? What the hell is wrong with you, girl? He's a vampire!” Roger shouted.
“Is he the Inceput Vampire that won my mother in a poker game? That's what I want to know,” I said.
“No, yer daddy killed that one real quick. But House Seara knew yer daddy was in the area, and they made targets of him and yer mama. Came after Brooks and me, too, 'cause we got in the way of that first poker game. A House Seara newbie had been facing off against one from House Inceput. The latter couldn't have cared less, but the former was almighty pissed. We had a hell of a fight on our hands.”
“Surprising that House Inceput didn't target mom and dad too,” I murmured.
Roger slapped his hand against his leg and stood up. “No. Surprising was Robert Brooks, Senior going to work for a blood sucker like von Niederhausern. After everything yer daddy and mama did fer the man – yer mama once saved the man's life, Maryanne! How he could betray the Wells family after that, and take the sfi vow. Robert Brooks is fated to burn in hell, and he deserves to.”
“Wow,” I said.
“Yeah, wow. Now you answer my questions. What are you doing helping von Niederhausern?”
If Roger didn't think it was good for a friend of the Wells family to take a sfi vow, he'd be even less pleased to learn a member of the Wells family had done so. It was time to lie. “Remember the zombie bindweed incident?” I asked.
“Hell, yes. I can't sell my cows for beef because of it. Even though the university sent medicine over that cured the cows, people are still scared they might be zombie beef. I'm stuck with those cows until they die.”
“Yes, that zombie bindweed incident. Well, my friend Absola and I were trapped on the campus by the bindweed. So were Robert, Charlotte, and Charlotte's brother Matt. Robert's dad and von Niederhausern rescued us. The vampire decided we owed him for that. I said I would owe him a favor. Just me; I made sure the others weren't involved.”
Roger looked skeptical. “It don't make no sense. Why would a vampire save the bunch of you?”
“Because we were all trapped together, and Robert Brooks was with us. The vampire was coming to save the son of his sfi slave.” Like hell he was, I thought. He never would have saved Robert if it hadn't been for me.
“I guess that makes sense,” Roger said slowly. “But you still shouldn't help him. Yer playing with fire, Maryanne.”
“I know, okay? I...have my reasons. Its a calculated risk.”
“Ya mean you got a plan? To stop a new vampire war.”
“Yes,” I lied. “Please don't press me for details, Roger. I'm still getting everything lined up. When I'm sure things are set, I'll start telling people what I'm doing.”
“Yer daddy know about this?”
“No, and you can't tell him,” I said quickly. “I'll explain it to him in my own way. Crap, until tonight I didn't know he was aware vampires existed.”
Roger pulled a fresh toothpick out of his shirt pocket and stuck it between his lips. What happened to the first toothpick? I wondered. Ew, he must have dropped it in the living room.
“Don't git why yer daddy hasn't told you 'bout yer family history,” Roger said.
That makes two of us.
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