“So you’re saying I just don’t understand how easy it was to kill people back in the day.”
“Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.”
“But it’s not the olden days now, Damian. How have she and her kiss of vampires gotten away with it in the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries? People freak out if someone is late sending them a text. It’s not so easy to disappear a person now.”
“It’s harder now, much harder, but not impossible, Anita. You’re a U.S. Marshal. You know better than I do how modern killers work. You’ve worked enough serial killer cases here in the United States to know just how good people can be at getting victims and hiding the bodies. And that’s human serial killers. Think how much better they would get if they’d had centuries to perfect their techniques.”
“I’ve worked cases where the perp wasn’t human.”
“I know that, but my point is still valid.”
“How many vampires were there in your group?”
“It was small, but then we were hiding. The more vampires you have, the harder it is to feed and stay undetected.”
“I get that, but how small is small?”
“Never more than a dozen vampires, and usually less. We were harder to hide than the humans and shapeshifters that were part of her retinue.”
“One of the reasons that vampires have human servants and moitié bêtes, beast halves, is that they can both move around better in daylight than their vampire master,” I said.
“She-Who-Made-Me could walk in daylight.”
“That’s right. I’m sorry. It’s such a rare ability that I forgot.”
“Perrin and I were the only two of her vampires that were able to live in the light, even holding her hand. All the others that she’d tried to take for a walk in the sunlight had burst into flames and died, while she laughed at them. It was an envoy from the vampire council that suggested the evil thought that made her risk burning both of us alive.”
I’d literally shared the memory with Damian once, and I didn’t want to do it again, so I said the words. “He said, ‘Perhaps the reason they can walk out with you in the sun is not you sharing power with them’”—and Damian joined his voice to mine, so we finished the speech together—“‘but that they have gained power of their own, to sun-walk.’”
We looked at each other. “I really wish we didn’t keep sharing the worst of each other’s memories, Anita.”
“Yeah, why can’t either of us remember puppies and rainbows when we go all vampire and master?”
“I never owned a puppy,” he said.
“Oh right, the dog died when you were thirteen or fourteen, and then the dog rose from the dead and came home to crawl into bed with you.”
“Okay, maybe not puppies, maybe just rainbows,” I said.
“Sharing good memories would be better, but you’re the master here, not me, so your wishes dictate the nature of our relationship.”
“Are you saying if I can’t find my happy thoughts, then none of us can?”
“When we share memories, apparently so.”
“I’ll talk to my therapist about trying for more cheerful memories.”
“Is it helping? The therapist, I mean.”
I thought about it, then nodded. “I think it is.”
“What made you decide to finally see a full-fledged therapist? I know you were getting some informal counseling from the witch that works with the werewolf pack in Tennessee.”
He was right. I’d been doing a little therapy while I was learning to control my metaphysical abilities with my magical mentor, Marianne. I was still seeing her from time to time. Nathaniel and Micah had both gone with me, because I wasn’t the only one who needed to ask someone more knowledgeable about “magic,” but real hard-core therapy wasn’t Marianne’s job.
“Oh, I don’t know: my mother’s death when I was eight; my father’s remarriage to a woman who had problems with me being half Mexican and ruining her blond, blue-eyed family picture.”
“Which means you don’t want to tell me, because you give almost no emotion to any of that,” he said, looking at me very directly out of those greenest of green eyes. They really were the purest green eyes I’d ever seen in a human face. Hell, I’d only seen a few domestic cats with eyes that green. He swore they’d been the same color when he’d been alive.
“When I go too long without talking directly to you, I forget how impossibly green your eyes are.”
“Which means you really don’t want to tell me why you started therapy.”
“What, I can’t compliment you?”
“First, I’m not sure that was a compliment. Second, you almost never compliment me, so yes, it’s a distraction technique for you, though your best distraction is what you started with: trot out your tragic family history and most people would leave you alone about it.”
I gave him an unfriendly look. “If you know I don’t want to tell you, then why are you still pushing on it?”
“Maybe I’m thinking that if I understood why you went, I might go, too.”
“Is that why you wanted to meet? To talk about going to therapy?” I didn’t try to keep the surprise off my face.
“No, but it’s not a bad idea.”