Chapter 15 Until Death Do Us Part Epilogue
“Does it get any better than this,” Ellen kissed Jon on his shoulder as they both recovered from the latest sex feast. They had spent a lovely morning in bed.
Now it was time for a bath.
As Jon washed her hair, she felt her body relax on top of his and for a moment-in-time, she forgot who and where she was while he massaged her scalp with something that smelled like happiness.
“That shampoo,” she smiled, her eyes closed, her mind drifting along with her body. “That is lovely,” as she joyed in him massaging her scalp.
“I formulated it to your specific pH,” he kissed her ear. “It compliments everything about you.”
Laughing, she turned and faced him. “That’s not possible,” she shook her head at him. “I was just lost to the moment and thinking it smelled like happiness.”
“M-m-m-m,” his face was thoughtful. “So tell me Ellen, are you happy?”
“I…” she paused and sitting up concentrated on his eyes while she thought about her emotional, mental, and spiritual state. “Yes,” she nodded her head. “I am content,” she smiled at him. “I am genuinely pleased to be at this time and place in my life. It is an odd thing to say, but I once more have equilibrium to my emotions.
Now that I am back in balance,” her voice hesitated, as if she might curse this blissful state. “I had no idea the depth of my despair. Or that grief had consumed me and left nothing but an empty shell.
Thank you,” she said gently, her voice a mere whisper, as she rubbed her hand on his chest.
“It is my pleasure,” he softly rubbed his nose against hers.
Leaning her head back against his him she closed her eyes and thought about nothing other than the bliss of being held in his arms.
Once out of the tub, it had taken a while to get dressed. Jon was fascinated by her body and kept trying to help her take the clothes off that she was putting on.
After their last romp, Jon had gone to the kitchen to make her breakfast…or brunch…or maybe lunch.
When she came in, he was on the phone.
She recognized that look. He was peering around in his mind to possible outcomes. After he hung up she said, “What?”
“That was Gilly. They close on the fifteenth of December. They would like to be moved in by then. He was just asking if I had an idea of when Joniad was going to meet her untimely end.”
“What do you think?” she asked as she opened the honey. “To make this happen, she is going to need to know how to find you. Do you think Reggie told her?”
“Gilly and I were just discussing that,” he responded as he took off the kettle. “Reginald would not have made her a gift off this address. That is just a given because that is not the way a Twillard does business. Our motto is always hold out for something more. Now, if you remember how pleased he was that she had spelled him with a little something extra so he could get in the first blow against me…” he smiled at her.
“O-o-o-o,” Ellen’s mouth was a circle as the thought pushed through and you could see the look of disgust on her face.
“That’s right,” Jon grinned, “she did something so she could track him. There are several different ways to work that. I suspect it is very low tech, so to speak. Like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs. Reginald would have been looking for something more sophisticated. So he did not spot this. This spell would be simple. Probably using the sap of the Sizzle Tree. With some effort she could see it during the day, but it would be easier to see at night. Think of it like a sparkler. ”
“Oh,” Ellen nodded. “That is actually very clever.”
“Yes,” Jon nodded, “the simple magics are often the best. She knows I live in Tulsa and work at a hospital. She would begin there and start going through the list. Once she found Reginald’s markers, she would then just follow them until she could track him here.”
“If she gets any closer in proximity, would you be able to tell?” she asked.
“No,” Jon replied. “that has not held true so far. I just get the vibration when a family member crosses over and then it fades.”
“Then we shall be steadfast and stalwart,” she smiled at him, “keep the family away and keep a loaded pistol within reach.”
Sitting at the kitchen table, she was surrounded by recipes and cookbooks and Jon at the sink, chopping and mixing, as she sipped her morning tea and thought about baking a different cookie everyday so that she could give away cookie plates to her neighbors at Christmas. “Ellen, just look at you,” she smiled to herself as she ran her fingers lightly across her mother’s recipe card. “You now looked forward to every day.”
Her mornings started waking up next to Jon! Followed by all the nice things that went with waking up next to Jon!
During the day they would face time and chat with her sister and with Gilly, Jody and the kiddos.
Being Auntie to three small ones was lots of fun!
And also helped to heal her heart. From time to time she would log onto a clothing site and as she scrolled through the small clothes looking to buy, the tears would slip down her face as she remembered her own baby and how she had cried when she had packed his newborn things away.
“Our son grew into a good man. The very best,” she wiped at her eyes. “And I know that I could not have stopped him from following his dream. Nor would I have wanted, too. Even if I would have known the heart-breaking outcome, Random was entitled to live his life, even if that meant sacrificing it.”
Running her hand across Random’s favorite cookie recipe, she now had three other little ones to love and cherish and for that she was grateful.
And Joniad…in a strange way, she was grateful for her as well because it proved that good could indwell in the worst of surroundings. Jon and Gilly had grown to be men that you could count on and be proud of and were not afraid to love, despite that gawd-awful evil bitch!
With joy in her heart, one day slipped into another.
Ellen was having a very good week as she cookied and planned surprises.
They were spending today outside. This morning they had put a turkey in to smoke and the weather was warm enough to do some outside work.
Hearing the crows call, she chuckled. Clive was doing very well, himself. There were lots of treats and shiny objects being left for him in the backyard as he held court, discussed crow politics with his flock and ran off anyone that was not of his murder.
Before she started her chores, she watched Jon build a crow house for Clive, shingling and siding it in old bark from the woodpile and had placed it high in the oldest oak. Besides the nesting area, there was a shelf where Clive could safeguard and admire his shiny bits.
As Clive talked long and loudly about his new home, other birds began to flutter in. Perching next to Jon, they would sing. That was all the cajoling her man needed to construct a house for them as well.
With the dry weather, she was able to move some firewood about, clean out her garden and cut back some dead limbs. They talked as they both worked. Jon was always someplace within sight, doing construction work for their feathered friends or lending her a hand. He was very good at the heavy lifting. Both with the physical and emotional needs.
When her tummy started to rumble, she knew it was time to stop for lunch!
With a grilled cheese sandwich and a mug of tomato soup, she was picnicking on the back patio, in the bright sunlight, protected from the wind. Jon was on the phone working deals. It sounded like he was off until the middle of December and then he was headed back to work. Everything was going to be just fine. Joniad would make her move, end up dead and their lives would go on. Yes, yes, she believed this with all her heart.
Picking up her dirties and depositing them on the back step, she went to tend the firebox on the smoker. The turkey was cooperating and the smoking process smelled delicious. Just as dark rolled in, the turkey would be done. It was late one-ish. The back yard now looked like that someone who gave a damn lived here.
“A small nap is in order,” she grinned. Wiggling her eyebrows at Jon who was still on the phone, she motioned with her head toward the door, wiggled her ass at him and headed that way. Into the dishwasher went the dirties, then her old, tired butt headed for the bedroom.
Laying her head on the pillow, she would wait for Jon to help her undress.
Was she dreaming? She must be. There was screaming and the smell of burning flesh. A red freakish glow encompassed everything. Was this Hell or the smoker? The smell began to be overpowering and she thought she might throw up. Then the scene shifted. Charles was in uniform sitting on the bed, running his hand through her hair. Rubbing his nose against hers, she felt her body settle back into the pillows. He was always up early. She could sleep for another thirty minutes. “Wake up sleepy head,” she heard him whisper in her ear. No wait, sleepy head…that was what Jon called her. Charles called her Tex. Why would Charles call her sleepy head? Her brain started to reason things out and she began her upward trek through layers of sleep.
With a start, she sat up. The darkness felt like midnight and it weighed her down. Opening her eyes, she tried to sit up and failed. Pushing the blanket off, she swung her legs to the side of the bed and stood. Only to pause for a second and get her bearings. She was still dressed so Jon had not come to bed.
The doorbell rang and she heard Jon walking towards the door. That was odd, he was not yet to the door when it opened and the shot rang out…followed by another.
“No…please God no…” the sob escaped from her throat as she grabbed her pistol. That was someone else! He had a silencer on his gun as well!
And then thawk as it hit the living tissue…and another…thawk, and another…it was either a Glock or a Ruger. The shots just kept coming…as tears ran down her face, her heart shattering into a million pieces as she ran to do battle!
As she entered the living room, there stood the bitch from hell, laughing as she alternated bullets between Jon’s head and his chest.
Bringing up the pistol, she aimed for the back of her head and started firing. When there were no more bullets, her anguished soul screamed as she ran to what was left of Jon’s body!
Cradling his head and chest, “No, no, no, no, no…” as the grief of countless lifetimes flooded her! For the husband that she could not hold and tell goodbye and now for this being that she loved and she could…her tears and anguish consumed her!
Rocking back and forth, she held him clasped to her, his blood everywhere. Desperately, she was trying to absorb the heat and color that was now fading from his body. Kissing his face, her arms clinched tightly around him…as she rocked back and forth holding him, crying out his name over and over, not ever wanting to let him go, as her tears mingled with his blood.
This was not supposed to have happened! How had this happened? There had been no warning! No cry of alarm!
She had been betrayed! “Clive, you fucker, you are dead! Yes, you fucking traitor! You let that evil into my home and you are dead! dead! dead!” She screamed and then the tears started again.
“Ellen,” she heard her name being called as she looked toward the door…and blinked.
“Jon…” her voice stuttered in disbelief.
“Yes,” he was on his knees beside her. “Who is this?” he asked. “Here, let go, I am safe, you are safe, but I need to see to him.”
“You,” she sobbed. “It is you,” her voice cracked. “Am I dead?” she asked him, the pain radiating out from her as she was once more crying. “I do not mind being dead if you are here,” she got past her tears.
“No, beloved, no,” his voice was gentle as he disengaged the body from her arms. “No. I am fine. You are fine,” as he put the body to one side and pulled her into his lap, his arms around her. His arms fiercely holding her next to him!
“I take it that body over there with its head removed is Joniad,” he raised her face to his and smiled.
“Yes,” the dead body on the floor spoke and then sat up.
Ellen shrieked and jumped; even Jon drew back, both to stunned to speak.
“I taught Ellen how to do that,” he chuckled. “Nice shootin’ Tex,” he grinned as he brushed the blood from his body as his chest and face were once more whole. “She is also pretty good with a knife in hand-to hand combat. Worked with her on that as well.”
“Charles…” her voice was a whisper. Then in a louder tone, “Charles…”
“Please don’t shoot Clive,” he smiled at her. “I asked him to be quiet today and not to sound the alarm. I assured him we had this. He really is very enamored of you. It would break his heart if he thought you were angry with him.”
“Charles…” she sputtered, so much anger in that one word as tears threatened to fall, again.
“Hello Ellen,” the impish grin was gone.
“You…rat…bastard,” all the anger she had harbored and wanted to unleash on him was slipping away from her. “I have been so angry at you. Hated you at times,” her voice shook with emotion. “Was there a reason,” her voice caught, “that you could not talk to me before now?”
“Of course, Ellen, there are always reasons.”
“Do I get to know those reasons?” she asked, her voice full of hurt.
Smiling at her, he pulled his knees up to his chin and wrapped his arms around his legs. “You had to want to get to this time and place. As did Jon. He loves you,” his voice was full of joy. “I heard him say so. And he adores you. And rightly so,” his voice was soft and gentle. “Just as you obviously love and adore him.
Smiling at her, her reached over and brushed the blood from her body. “The resemblance between us is remarkable, don’t you think? Could have fooled anyone.”
Ellen looked from one to the other. “Yes,” was all she could think of to say. Before her was her husband, whom she had mourned for ten years. And yet, she was being held by her beloved and her joy in him knew no boundary. The difference was staggering.
“Whenever they would draw blood from you,” Charles’ eyes held hers. “There is a reason you always asked if you were feeding the vampire. You remembered him and found me.”
“I…I don’t remember…that…” her voice was soft.
“A part of you does,” Charles smiled at her.
“Now to give you reasons. You both now stand on this side. We are here to run interference for you so that this time you get to live your happily ever after along with the rest of the planet.”
“I don’t understand,” Jon said.
“Jon,” Charles began, “if you had survived as human and been left here, you and your descendants would have found the cures for all manner of ills….the planet would be in far better shape with respect for the plant life…knowing it all had healing properties.
You should have been allowed to live out your life on this earthly plane. When you were stolen from your human mother, this altered the course of history and left this planet the worse for it.
If you and Drust had been left alone, there would have been a child from that union. You three would have settled here and help put the planet back on track. But that was not allowed to happen, either.
Third time is the charm,” he stated simply. “With what time remains, you and your children will help save the plant life that is now being destroyed at a tremendous rate.
A bit late in coming, but it is coming.”
Charles’ eyes held onto Jon’s. “Drink the tonic that you fix for Ellen every morning. This will correct your vampire DNA. And when the time comes, if you wish to grow old and pass from this life, drink it in the evening as well.
However,” Charles smiled at him, “for now, you will still be king of the Supernaturals, we can’t take you out of that position. You are needed in that capacity.
Finish your life’s work, Jon. The planet will thank you. And especially Clive.
That one,” he motioned to the headless body on the floor. “Has no thanks in her. Her torment has not even started. We have been waiting for her to die on this side. Evil,” his tone was hard, “is to be punished.”
Now,” he stood, “I will take the body and its head. I have someplace special in mind.
“Charles…Random and Helen…?” Ellen’s voice trailed off. “Do you see them?”
“Ellen,” his voice was gentle, “when we three lingered between life and death, making the decision to stay or go…we knew that Jon was coming back to you and what it would mean. So we decided to cross over so that we could be here to help you along. What we could not do for you as human, we can do for you as spirit. We wanted you to be happy and we loved you too much to stay.
And his love for you,” he smiled at her, “is the stuff of legends.
Now, I am taking the head and body to Vegas…just watch the national news. This will be the headline for one night.
And please see to Clive. He trusts me but only up to a point,” he chuckled. “He wants to know for himself that you are just fine.”
“Thank you,” she smiled at him. “For everything.”
“I am the one to thank you,” his voice was serious. “I often wondered just what you saw in me. In my heart, I knew I did not deserve you.” His eyes went to Jon. “From one life to the next,” his gaze was back on Ellen, “we carry with us love. And for some, more than others.” Lifting his hand in a salute, he smiled at her. “As always, duty calls. Rejoice and be glad in this day, for it is a day that the Lord has made.”
There was a loud “Caw” at the window on the front door along with what sounded like frenzied pecking!
“I’ll…” Ellen glanced at the door and then back. Charles was gone and so were the blood and the body.
“You see to Clive,” Jon smiled at her, “and I will open a can of liver supreme, he seems to enjoy that, and after some attention from you and a hearty meal, all shall be right with Clive’s world.”
Putting on a jacket, and grabbing a throw, Ellen went out and sat down. Clive landed on his perch next to her. “I have to apologize to you,” she said. “I thought you had betrayed me. I was ready to shoot you. Charles told me that he had asked you to remain silent. And I thank you for that. We were able to rid this world of a true evil without damaging anyone else.
He also said that you were out here waiting anxiously to see for yourself that I am just fine. You are a good friend, Clive. And I am sorry for what I thought about you.”
Clive sat perfectly still on his perch. The only thing that moved were his eyes. “Charmer,” he said softly as he landed on her shoulder.
“Yes,” she smiled at him and ran her finger down his beak, “you are a charmer.”
When the door opened and Jon walked out, Clive chuckled. “Charmer,” and then he wolf whistled.
“I think you have him figured out,” she said as Clive laughed and then settled on Jon’s arm and began his feast.
They sat in silence while Clive ate. When they heard the click of his beak on the bottom of the can, he ruffled his wings and with a hop settled on Ellen’s shoulder.
“Thank you,” she began. And with a yelp and a hiss of “You rat bastard!” Clive chuckled and flew off.
“What happened?” Jon asked as she sat there rubbing her head.
“He pulled out some hair,” her voice got progressively louder, “by the roots, that little rat bastard.”
“Gone to line his nest,” Jon chuckled. Taking her hand he became very serious. “You want to talk?”
“Not just yet,” she replied. “Emotional overload and I need time to process. I am not very quick on the uptake. But you should call Gilly and tell him that the wicked old bitch is dead.”
Moving back inside, Jon took out his phone and gave Gilly the short version.
“We are on our way over,” they both heard Jody. “I want the full story. Facial expressions, if there was a last gasp from her dying mouth, everything. The kiddos have had dinner and are in jammies and ready for bed. Let’s make popcorn. I want all the gory details!”
“Dinner!” Jon stood up and started with a run toward the back door. “I forgot about the turkey! I was getting ready to bring it in when I heard you screaming.”
Jon was in the kitchen carving the turkey when there was a stampede of very small feet. “We need bibs,” he called out as he received his kisses and yummy noises were being made as two little sets of eyes watched him and fingers were pointing and asking for a taste.
“Pajamas were a good idea,” Ellen laughed as they all sat at the table and had samples. “Pass the Sweet Baby Ray’s,” Jody sighed with gusto as she speared another piece of meat and put it on her saucer.
“This is really good, Jon,” Gilly nodded in agreement as he helped himself to another piece.
“Gretta,” Jon looked over at her as she started banging her spoon. “I shall finely mince you another piece as well. No though,” he gave her a kiss on the nose as he got up, “to the BBQ sauce.”
“We have two more days until Thanksgiving,” Ellen said as she forked another piece. “Do you think this bird will last that long? Or should we do another?”
“Oh yes,” Gilly said with his mouth full. “Definitely another.”
“M-m-m,” Jody nodded in agreement. “We set up with my folks to have Thanksgiving lunch with them. ‘Cause we did not know what Joniad’s status was going to be. But, we’ll be over to have dinner with you.”
“And do a walk through of the yard,” Gilly smiled at her. “We’ll be in the house in time for Christmas!”
After their small feast, they retired to the living room and talked. Eventually babies were curled up on an adult with a lovey. Whiskey was poured. The conversation continued well into the night.
“So,” Jody nodded in understanding, “Jon is still going to be King but he is to drink the tonic everyday so that the plant based vampire is corrected. But he can drink it at night also if you two want to grow old together.”
“Do you think that would work for me?” Gilly asked.
Jon shrugged and when he did so, he shifted Sara just a bit who smiled in her sleep. “I don’t know,” he was thoughtful. “I am half human. The glass in the morning nullifies the vampire, the glass in the evening is to correct the human to this aging cycle.”
“Think on that,” Gilly replied as he kissed Gretta on top of her head. “And we shall figure it out. I want the tonic. I am not,” he clipped his words, looking at Jon, “going to bury my children. I want to age with Jody.”
Jody felt her heart lurch. Her husband…was all she could think at this moment, hers! Her heart was full. An angel had come calling, the bitch was dead and roasting in Hell and there would be family living on the same block! And Jon and Ellen could have a family! This was all good news! She was looking excitedly at Ellen. “Ellen, you are drinking the tonic everyday so that you will be fertile again,” she smiled, “and have babies. That will be nice. Cousins are a nice thing to have. Especially ones that are close by. I love mine.”
At this moment, Ellen had no come back for that. That Jon would have children, she joyed in her heart. That he would have them with her? She was thinking more along the lines after she died, he would pick another mate. Someone younger…
They all listened as the clock counted down to midnight.
Good at judging a room, Gilly knew something was not right. Jody looked a bit embarrassed, knowing she had overstepped. Jon was watching Ellen, hoping to see happiness there. On Ellen’s face…it was hard to judge. Of course, she was still in emotional overload. Dead husband walks back in; blowing the head off your evil mother-in-law; you are sixty-two and thinking babies…time to change the subject. “So what do you think the morning headlines out of Vegas are going to be?”
“Anyone’s guess,” Ellen said, as she looked around the room. “But Charles was most specific that we would know when we saw it.
Woof,” she smiled and yawned. “Long day. Now, your room is made up if you want to sleep here.”
“Snow has started,” Jon said. “I can hear it. I think it would be for the best.”
“Thanks,” Jody grinned. “We enjoy sleeping over.”
“I’ll make breakfast,” Gilly said and got a round of applause.
“Those little soufflés were a big hit,” Jon smiled.
“Every day should start with chocolate,” Jody grinned.
“Well,” Gilly chuckled, “yes. I live to serve!”
Phillip was asleep when he heard the banging on the door. It was five o’clock in the fucking morning! No one got married at five! But they never turned anyone away! Grandma’s number one rule of business. “Chain them to each other in misery,” she would cackle. “We are always open to do that!”
“Coming!” he yelled. “I am coming!”
“Police,” was called out as he pulled back the curtain on the front door.
Opening it, there were flashing lights out in the street. “We would like to speak to you.”
“Of course,” Phillip responded, pulling his robe tighter around him.
“Would you please step outside,” the officer by the name of Bryant asked him.
“Of course,” he replied. “What is this about?”
“There is a headless body tied to a cross in your front yard. The head is stuck on the top of the crucifix.’
“What!” he gasped and drew back in horror.
“We are going to need your name and the name of anyone else that lives here.”
“Yes, of course,” his voice shook in terror. “My name is Phillip Concord. I am the caretaker. Lucille Heavens is the owner. She has a suite upstairs.”
“If we could speak to her please,” Officer Bryant asked.
“Yes, of course. But she might not be in. She did a lot of marriage ceremonies today. Last one was at midnight. She often goes to The Strip and gambles and has a drink or two before she returns home.”
“Officer Byrant,” he heard his name being called.
“One moment please,” he smiled.
“Of course,” Phillip said, not wanting to act like a ghoul but trying to look around and spot the body.
Walking down off the porch, Bryant was met by Officer Brown. “We compared his print on his driver’s license to the ones on the weapon we found at the scene. They are all over it.”
“Just fucking great,” Bryant said as he prepped his mind for the coming events.
Together he and Brown went back up on the porch. “Phillip Concord, you are under arrest. You have….”
“What! No!” he screamed. “No. I did not do that. I would not. I am not even a real minion! On a cross! I would never! That is not my style. That is her style! You know she loves Jesus! It was all Grandma Lucy, only she really is Satan…Lucifer! I would not commit murder! I would have to clean it up. She did this and probably fled back to Hell. She made deals with demons and other unholy beings. I am just a pawn in this!”
“Well shit,” Officer Fielding said as he stood next to the patrol car as all the TV cameras across the street were streaming live to only God knew where. “We have probable cause,” he said into his radio. “Get a warrant. He probably killed her as well.”
As Phillip was escorted down the steps, past the wall of morning glories, he could see the lights of the news vans. “I did not do this,” he started yelling. “I am not responsible! I just work for Satan! Not even a true minion! I don’t even drink blood or eat raw body parts! And I have no idea how to suck out anyone’s soul! Grandma Lucy really is Satan! She did this, not me. She threatened to peck out my eyes and eat my soul if I spoke of this to anyone! Of course she would hang a body from a cross on her own front lawn! She is in love with Jesus! You should see the painting that she did of him. Covered one entire fucking wall of nothing but Jesus!”
Dark Hole Bar, Las Vegas, Nevada
Satan was now wearing her younger, cowboy, persona. White hat along with her white shirt, jeans, boots and working chaps. She looked rugged and saddle worn and capable of holding her own in a fight. Lighting a cigarette, she threw the still lit match down on the floor. She smoked and waited.
It was quiet in here. No glaring lights, no slot machine noises, just alcohol, cigarettes and a floor so nasty that even the barkeep spit on it.
There were no wanna bes in here. This was a place with a purpose. It specialized in depression. And for those humans that frequented here that held no purpose, it was a short ride off a cliff.
When the door opened, she had no need to look up. It was Beelzebub, and his stench preceded him wherever he went.
“Som’bitch, on time,” she said as he sat down.
“Always,” he smiled and moved his toothpick from one side of his mouth to another.
“I have the gems,” she said as she motioned to the barkeep. “Beer,” she yelled and then turned back to face him.
“So,” when he smiled at her, she saw his teeth…those of the demon variety. “What’s your new gig and who did you piss off?”
“What?” her voice was angry. “Just what the fuck are you talking about?”
“Not seen the news?” he laughed out loud.
“No,” she shook her head.
“Turn it to news,” Bel shouted at the old man. “Now.”
With a horrid fascination she watched as her world changed in front of her eyes.
“Som’bitch, som’bitch, som’bitch! How…?” she said nothing else as she heard about the 911 call that set all of this in motion.
“I stopped by your place first. Hoping to catch you at home and off guard. Maybe in a kind and loving mood. I had a real big boner and it throbbed and hurt like hell. So you know how special it was. I wanted some nasty release. Maybe I could entice you to want me. You were not there. Instead I found this. Crucified. And headless. And a weapon. Being a good citizen, I called it in. After all, folks with children might drive by.”
Rolling her eyes at him, he continued.
“The woman, at one time, she was a tasty bit. Of course, I had to cum in her mouth,” he said simply as he admired his manicure.
“That,” Satan shook her head in disbelief, “is just disgusting.”
“Well perhaps,” he chuckled, “but enjoyable non-the-less. So who is the female?”
“I have no idea,” she replied as she listened to the commentators speculate about where Grandma Lucy was and if she was a body that would never be found.
“I think you are lying,” Bel smiled at her, showing all of his teeth this time. “I have had my fun and this is amusing, but I am here for the gems.”
“No,” she replied with a shake of her head. “The deal is off. Someone is gunning for me who is more than you. Or maybe there are several someone’s gunning for me including you.”
Growling at her, she growled back. “Som’bitch, do not,” was all she said. “Pay for our beers and walk your ass out of here.”
When he hissed at her, she slammed her beer mug into his hand.
“Fucker,” he licked his lips as he glared at her. “Your time is coming. And I will peck out your eyes and eat your soul.”
“Som’bitch, that sounds like war,” she smiled at him and winked. “Get the fuck out.”
Sitting with her beer, she watched the news. Even the local clergy had rolled out of bed to add their take on the situation.
“Well just fuck,” she sighed. “Som’bitch-ch-ch-ch-ch, I have seriously pissed off someone in Old Town. Looks like I won’t be going back that way. Pity, I did so enjoy the dwindling Arkansas River during drought season. Reminds me of another time and place.” It would not do to get lost in that fantasy. Not now…not with someone looking to replace her.
Whoever it was that had killed Joniad, they took her head off with bullets. “Nice shootin’ Tex,” she toasted her mug to the air, “you are a very special som’bitch; may I never meet you,” she said with something that sounded like respect.
It was time to get back to the present. A daily fix of misery was required at all times. “Time to open a new shop. Maybe a magic shop. I would be smoking hot at that. They will all want to be able to do my magic and it will be impossible. Many sombitchs will die trying. Maybe some will make enough money at it to be addicts. But they will all be jealous.”
Sipping her beer she realized that sounded a whole lot like work because she would have to be always present and she liked not working for a living. There was no way around it. If you were going to do the magic, you could not have minions. “Well just som’bitch! I am going to miss the Grandma Lucy gig,” she sighed. “Oh fuck and misery, I am missing it already.”
With small children and snow, there was not much of a chance of sleeping in. Not even to six.
Jon and Gilly had the kiddos dressed and out the door and down to admire their new home in a winter wonderland.
When Ellen came into the kitchen, Jody was making hot chocolate and Gretta was happily sitting in the highchair having a well-diced hard-boiled egg. No spoon required! There was nothing but happy baby!
But there was now a serious chocolate smell coming from the oven and all eyes went there.
“I just put them in, the little soufflés,” Jody grinned and so did Ella and Gretta. “The oatmeal is sitting on the back of the stove and the family should be back in about five minutes. By the time they take off coats and have a sip of cocoa, it will be time for breakfast.”
“Most excellent,” Ellen grinned as she was met with happy sounds from Gretta.
“Are we waiting for the boys to check headline news?”
“Yes,” Jody giggled. “But we cheated just a bit. You would not believe what happened!”
After breakfast, the television was turned on and tuned in. There in living color, was the newest sin that Sin City had to offer up! The Home of Sin, Itself, was the banner running at the bottom of a news program and The Devil Does Vegas, I-15—The Highway to Hell, was another along with several other catchy titles.
“So Satan was living in Vegas for a while,” Ellen laughed out loud. “I mean it, that is funny!”
Jody was chuckling right along with her. “The news loves playing that bit with Phillip screaming that he really is innocent and that Satan lived in that house and is responsible.”
“They have an APB out on Grandma Lucy,” Gilly said as a photo of her flashed up.
“That body will never be found,” Jody said. “Where do you think she high-tailed it too?”
“Anyone’s guess,” Ellen said shaking her head. “Hopefully back to Hell. But we know where she will not be living. No home for sale on this block,” she smiled.
When the sun had cleared the horizon and with a bit more light to admire the snow, the family went outside to take another look at the house. Jon had carried down the sled and on went Jody and the kids as Gilly happily mushed along. You could hear up and down the block “Mush Daddy, mush!”
Ellen smiled as she heard them squealing with delight in the distance.
They were alone. The time had come. She could hold a rational thought and her emotions were not driving her. Well not much, anyway. Having breakfast with the family was probably one of the very best things for her right now. Listening to the small voices and the love they held…
…Love…was it Charles, Helen, or Random that had hurried her sister Lynn here on the day she was going to kill herself? And which of the three had pushed the snow in last night so that Gilly and Jody could not leave? Did it matter? No…she realized. She had not wasted her life. Perhaps love really was all that mattered.
She loved Jon and she felt her heart lurch…and his happiness did matter.
“Did you think I was Drust? Do you think…?” she asked Jon as they sat together in front of the fire?”
“Yes,” he nodded his head.
“Why?” she asked.
“To watch you and Clive together,” he laughed. “Drust had a crow. She called him Clive, King of the Crows. I think he was just as much in love with her as I was. She knew him first and when I showed up, he took to calling me a charmer. And could he ever wolf-whistle. I think she taught him that.
“So, what do you think,” he asked her. “A small wedding chapel in Vegas?”
“What?” she looked startled.
“Marriage. You and I.”
“You heard Charles. You are to have children…” her voice trailed off. “I think that means with someone other than me. Once your vampire traits are gone, you really will not have a lot to explain.”
“Where is your head?” he asked her, searching her eyes.
Shrugging, she said nothing.
“I mean it,” his voice was probing her. “In what space is your head? What are you thinking? Why would you think that I would have children with someone else?”
Ellen could feel the tears rolling down her cheeks. “Jon…I will die, you do not have too.”
“Do not,” he said. “Not ever again are you to say that. I will listen and discuss with you anything else but that. And do not start with all the sane, rational reasons. There is only my love for you and your love for me. You are to drink the tonic as well as myself. Once the vampire traits are gone, I should be fertile, you should be fertile and we are having a family. Do not doubt this. Our days shall pass in joy and wonder, and when your life draws to an end, so shall mine. We will grow old together and live full lives and have no regrets.”
“I know why,” she said wiping at her tears, “that Drust agreed to be your mate?”
“Why is that?” he asked softly.
“Because she believed in you. She placed her faith and trust in you.”
“And what about you Ellen?” he asked as he brushed the hair out of her face.
“Myself as well. I love you Jon,” she smiled at him. “And I consider it an honor and a privilege to be your mate.”
“What about my wife?” he smiled at her as he got down on one knee in front of her. “Will be you my wife?” he asked.
“Yes,” the tears started again. “Yes…yes…yes…” she sobbed as she pulled him to her and kissed him.