Blood Jewel Excerpt-
I waited until she was asleep to leave her side, slipping away as quietly as a thief in the night. My family was no longer gathered in the dining room and I walked outside to find Gia and Lairah in the pool taking a late night swim.
“Tell me you didn’t leave your bride in the bed alone,” Gia huffed.
“She’s not my bride. She’s my fiancé and I need your help with something big. Tomorrow is Chansey’s birthday and I need some ideas. I want to take her into the city and do something special, but I have no idea what.”
“Well, you made the right decision by coming to us instead of that buffoon you call your best friend. Really? What is his deal?” Lairah said.
“I think he’s jealous,” Gia answered. “And yes, Solomon...I know you can hear me inside the house.”
“Take it easy, girls,” I urged.
“Alright, we’ll forget the buffoon and get back to the task at hand. You’ve already given her the most precious piece of jewelry she’ll ever wear. Any type of bling-bling you come up with will only pale in comparison, so you shot yourself in the foot when it comes to jewelry,” Lairah told me.
“She loves your art, so paint her something. You can have it ready by tomorrow because you’re so awesome,” Gia suggested.
I blew that one, too. “That’s not going to work. I did a soft pastel of her on the day I met her, so anything I did would pale in comparison to that. Now, I’ve shot myself in the foot when it comes to art.”
Solomon walked out of the house and added, “Nice going, one trick pony.”
“In my own defense, she was never suppose to see it. It was supposed to be for my own private collection.”
Sol jumped into the pool with the girls and then came up. He ran his hands back over his slick dark hair. “I’m not jealous. If anyone is jealous it’s the two of you with your crazy ideas and dreams of romance that’s never going to happen for you. Both of you are living vicariously through this poor human girl and she’s probably scared to death to tell either of you ‘no.’Shame on both of you.”
“You’ve become such an ass since Curry found Chansey. There’s no way you’re not jealous. I just haven’t figured out if it’s because Chansey is taking Curry away from you or because you want an Agápe too,” Gia accused, then bumped fists with Lairah.
A smug look crossed Sol’s face. “Well, this ass has a perfect idea for Chansey’s birthday, so do you want to know what it is or not?”
I threw my hands up. “Hey, I didn’t accuse you of anything. You’ve always been an ass in my book and that hasn’t changed since Chansey came along,” I joked.
He nodded in recognition and said, “You damn skippy.”
I was anxious to hear his suggestion. “So, what’s your idea, Skippy?”
“If I’m right, Chansey is so going to dig this and you’ll score some major fiancé/husband/Agápe points with her. Do you remember when you went back to Pascagoula about twelve years ago and went by your house?”
I was puzzled by where this was going. “Yeah , I remember.”
“If I recall correctly, you had just become very interested in photography and you took a lot of pictures of the house. You made me look through like five thousand pictures I cared nothing about, but I remember the owners were in some of them and they were having a birthday party for a kid out in the yard. Is it possible for that to have been Chansey and her family? If it was her, then you saw her for the first time when she was a kid and you captured it on film.
He was right. I went crazy taking pictures that day and used every roll of film I had with me. “You are absolutely brilliant, Sol. Girls, you can’t call him a buffoon anymore.”
Gia splashed water at Sol and said, “You don’t know if that was Chansey and her family, so we reserve the right to call him a buffoon until we have proof otherwise.”
Sol dunked Gia and when she came up, he said, “You are both going to eat your words on this one, girls. There’s no doubt in my mind that those negatives are full of Chansey Leclaire and her family because he was like a madman with all of the pictures he took of that girl and her family. At the time, I wondered if he was some kind of weird vampire pedophile, but it all makes sense now. It didn’t matter that she was a child. Even then, he was drawn to her because she was his Agápe.”
“I think you’re right and what makes this even more awesome is that Chansey told me today that she has no pictures of her family together because she lost all of them in Hurricane Katrina.” I started walking toward the house. “I’ve got to find those negatives before Chansey wakes up. Thank you, Sol. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m pretty awesome,” he boasted.
I went to my old darkroom where I kept my negatives filed away and began my search. Ugh! I should have filed these by date or something because I had years and years of negatives to search through. My heart pounded as I searched and I prayed Sol was right. Please let it be Chansey and her family.
After twenty minutes of searching, I found the negatives from that day. I held them up to the light and saw the outline of a family but even my vampire vision couldn’t make out if it was Chansey and her family or not.
I stopped using film when digital photography became popular, so it had been years since I printed photographs from negatives, but I didn’t need any of those supplies because I could scan the negative and upload it to my computer. Got to love technology.
I silently went to my bedroom and moved all of my necessary equipment to another bedroom so I wouldn’t wake Chansey and ruin the surprise. I scanned the negatives and waited to see the images on my computer screen. And there she was...a young Chansey with her family. I was ecstatic because I was going to be able to give her the one thing no one else could...an intact photograph of her family together.
I printed the best one on canvas and chose a few others for an album before I went back out to the pool to tell the others my good news.
I held up one of the photos and said, “Well, ladies, here’s the proof. I’m afraid you better come up with another name for Sol besides buffoon because he was right. It was Chansey and her family.”
“Dammit!” Gia swore as she slapped the water. “I’m sorry, Curry. I didn’t mean that. I’m happy for you.”
Sol got out of the pool and reached for one of the two towels on the table. “I think Mr. Fabulous has a nice ring to it.”
Lairah was fuming. “Well, I think jerk off sounds more like it. You didn’t bring a towel with you, so that means you just stole one of ours.”
“Sorry ladies, it’s one of the perks of being Mr. Fabulous,” he said as he used one of their towels to dry off.
“You make me want to throw up,” Gia gritted through her teeth.
Sol enjoyed the aggravation he was causing and said, “Darling, you haven’t thrown up since you were human.”
“Whatever, jerk off.”
Lairah attempted to cool Gia saying, “Calm down, girl. You’re giving him way too much satisfaction by getting all riled up.” She turned to me and continued, “I was thinking while you were inside. I know of a cool band playing tomorrow night at a club on Bourbon. My friend, Jett, plays bass. Chansey is musically inclined, so I know she will love to hear them. Why don’t we all meet at the club after you take her to dinner and we’ll celebrate her birthday together with a night out on the town? We’ll show her how to party vampire style.”
“I think she would love that and your suggestion gave me an idea. Do you think I could get your cool band to do a special song request?”
“Jett will do anything for me,” Lairah promised.
“And is your friend, Jett, a human or a vampire?” I questioned.
“He’s human, but he’s so cool. I wish he was vampire because I could so dig him if he was. What do I need to tell him to play?”
“Van Morrison’s ‘Steal My Heart Away.’It was playing during our first dance.”
“Nice one,” Lairah complimented.
“It was such a bittersweet first dance because I thought it was our first and last. I loved her so much and I thought I was about to leave her forever.”
“It was your choice to leave, you ignoramus. Nobody forced you. Maybe you’re the buffoon instead of Solomon,” Lairah laughed.
“That’s what I’m talking about...someone else being the buffoon,” Solomon interjected.
“I realized my mistake and it won’t happen again. That I can promise you.”