Home > Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard #1)(25)

Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard #1)(25)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

This is an argument we have a lot.

Molly eventually bought a pair of turquoise flats, which cost more than a community college education, and we went to the Apple store so she could get the laptop bag. Then we settled down in the cafeteria with Jamba Juices.

Molly took a big slurp, not disguising her enjoyment. “So what’s going on with you and the dog?” she asked cheerfully.

“Nice,” I said. Will and Dashiell seem to get along pretty well, or at least they’ve developed a good working relationship, but there’s not a lot of love lost between most vampires and werewolves, a conflict that the movies have actually gotten right. Both groups prefer each other to the damned witches, though, and I don’t blame them. “Nothing is going on, because nothing happened.”

“Really? Your mouth says no, but your eyes say yes.” Her own eyes sparkled, and I relaxed a little. It was as though the serious moment from that morning had never happened. Maybe I had just been paranoid about that after all. Maybe Molly had just been trying to be a good friend or something.

“You watch too much TV.”

“That may be true,” Molly said, “but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Are you into him?”

“Nah,” I said. I explained about my suspicion that Eli just likes me for the calm I can give him, trying to be delicate so she wouldn’t think I was accusing her of the same. I made sure to downplay my connection to Eli, though, just in case she was reporting to Dashiell. Then I told her about Eli being chosen as my new “partner,” and she wrinkled her nose in sympathy.

“That sucks,” she said.

“Yeah.”

We were quiet for a while, and then Molly asked me about the investigation. “My friend Frederic says you’ve been running around with this cop, digging into Old World business. Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

There it was. Looks like I hadn’t been paranoid after all. Her tone had been trying for lightness, but she wasn’t used to having to operate human emotions, and the intensity had leaked through.

I shrugged. “They can’t really hurt me.”

“Of course they can,” she said sensibly. “Being up against a normal human doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt; it just means they’ll have to use run-of-the-mill ways to kill you.”

“Gee, I’d hate to have a boring death.”

“I’m not kidding, Scarlett.” Her face was open and solemn, and she suddenly looked much older. Wise and sad.

I sighed. “I know you’re not. But at this point, I don’t have much choice. If I don’t help Cruz, he says he’ll talk about Old World business. Which means he’ll die.”

“Since when do you care about one human death?” Molly asked, not unkindly.

I looked up at her, shocked. Had I really gotten that casual about dead bodies? I mean, sure, I need a certain distance to be able to do the work, but I couldn’t be that bad. Molly just saw me as uncaring because she was that way herself.

Right?

“It would be my fault,” I said finally. “He only knows about the Old World because he saw the werewolf at La Brea Park, and he never would have if it wasn’t for me.”

Her brow furrowed. “So what? It’s one guy.”

Was this how I came off, too? This was something to think about later. “Look, if I help the cop, he might find whatever’s doing this faster. And catching this thing will help me in the long run,” I said, giving up. “Fewer crime scenes to clean up later.”

“Hmm, stopping the crime scene before it happens. Interesting idea,” she said, nodding as though I’d finally made sense. The moment passed.

“So,” she began again, with a small wicked grin, “what does this cop look like?”

Before I could answer her, my phone rang “Werewolves of London.”

Will.

Molly, who had programmed the phone for me, cracked up. I glared at her and answered the phone. At least I’d talked her out of her first choice, “Who Let the Dogs Out.”

“Scarlett. I have a problem.” “Problem” is code for “job.”

“Where?”

He gave me the cross streets for a wild area near Laurel Canyon Park.

“I’m on the way.”

“Thank you. Oh, and, Scarlett? I took the liberty of calling Eli for you.” There was a smile in his voice. Oh yeah. He definitely knew about Eli and me. Stupid wolves.

I hung up the phone and checked my watch again. Five thirty. It was rush hour, so I’d be pressed to get to the job at all. There was no way I’d have time to drop Molly off, too.

“Molls, you want to go on a job with me?”

“Sure!” She bounced in her chair. “I never get to come!”

“Let’s go.”

Chapter 10

The GPS led us to a grassy area near the Laurel Canyon dog park, which I had visited once with a high school friend, a long time ago. It’s the biggest dog park in the city, with a special area for little dogs, a water fountain that doubles as a doggy splash zone, and a bunch of small, scrubby hills for rolling up and down. It’s basically doggy heaven. We had hit traffic on the way, of course, and Eli was already there when I pulled up, along with a sheepish-looking young man I’d seen before at Hair of the Dog, and Caroline Brooks. It looked as if they were standing in the middle of nowhere, but even my human nose could pick up dog smells through the open van windows, and I could see a bit of chain-link fencing peeking out from the bushes. I figured we must be right behind the dog area.

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