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“Helen, for God’s sake, would you just stop hovering?”
Helen’s been my best friend since pre-school, and getting killed in a car crash the summer we turned 25 hasn’t slowed her down a damned bit.
When I say Helen hovers, I mean she actually hovers. She’s a ghost. Scared the holy living crap out of me when she showed up beside me in an emergency room cubicle 30 minutes after she died in my arms. I remember exactly what she said, “Jesus, Jensen, you thought you were getting rid of me that easily?”
I watch as she levitates down in front of my desk. The happiest day of her afterlife was when she figured out being dead meant one great big shopping trip with no credit card bills. Most ghosts I’ve ever known wear what they had on when they kicked. Not my girl. She accessorizes at will, and even she can’t tell me how she does it.
Right now, if I had to guess, I’d say she’s been watching one of those Kardashian-flavored shows again. It’s a damn shame that Helen is dead. Butt for butt, she could give Kim a run for her ass. Pun intended. And Helen’s got one up on Kim. She’ll be 25 forever and never drop a dime on Botox.
“You look like road kill, babe,” she said, perching on the edge of my desk. “Was he worth it?”
From behind me a cultured male voice purred, “If my heightened senses are an indication, the scent of satisfaction lingers on her skin.”
Any other guy implies I smell of “satisfaction,” he gets decked. With Johnny, however, I’d have to use a stake. He was born in 1782. Got himself turned by a vampire sometime around the War of 1812. He’ll be forever 32. He’s already giving me grief about my 40th in a couple of years. Don’t think it hasn’t dawned on me that at least in living years, I’m rapidly becoming the Mother Superior of this outfit.
“Back off, Fang Boy,” I growled, sipping my black coffee.
“You need only supply the necessary blood, darling Selby, and I will happily out distance . . .”
He paused and I counted in my head. Creepy vampire powers in . . . one . . . two . . . three . . . “Dwayne. Dear merciful heavens. Did you actually have relations with someone named Dwayne?”
“Can it, Johnny Dead Note, and drop the Masterpiece Theater accent.” He can tell from my expression that I haven’t had nearly enough sleep for a morning round of repartee with a revenant. Johnny telegraphs a silent apology, which I accept, and I get us down to business. “How about you dial up to the 21st century and tell me what came in on the board last night?”
I didn’t even have time to blink before Johnny was perched on the corner of my desk opposite Helen. I’ve known him for ten years and I’m still not used to how he moves without moving. I know Johnny works hard at passing for human, but he’s an old vampire. His kind aren’t just faster than we are; they inhabit a nether region of utter stillness and preternatural awareness somewhere between this world and a place we can’t even begin to comprehend.
So, yeah. That’s us. Me, Helen, and Johnny. You know how there’s always the token gay guy on the reality show? I’m the token vital sign around here. My besties? Flat-line city.