From the Emerald Seer novella, Whiskey, Mystics, and Men, allow me to present one of my favorite encounters between Angeline and Dorian.....
“Is he awake, Watson?” Angeline stepped into the foyer and set her bag on the antique side table. She tossed her keys and phone on top and gave the small man a quick hug.
“Yes, Miss Angeline. He is in the lab. I will bring the food and drinks to you there.” Watson lowered his voice to a barely audible whisper. “I think you will find him much changed. Please be kind.”
“Always, Watson.” Angeline assured Dorian’s most loyal familiar. Contented, he nodded and gestured toward the back of the loft. She made her way down the back stairs to Dorian’s lab.
“Dammit!” Dorian’s voice carried down the hall with a pungent odor of burnt plastic. Angeline could hear the strain in his voice and for a moment considered walking back out the way she came. “Angeline? Is that you?” Too late. Damn vampires and their heightened senses.
“Yes, I desperately needed a break and thought maybe we could watch an old movie. You still owe me a showing of Casablanca.” Angeline entered the room, mentally preparing for whatever she may find. Dorian stood at the far side of the lab hunched over a microscope. A few burners were lit under bubbling beakers and a pair of white boards covered with scribblings blocked the genus maps along the back wall. Watson could not have prepared her for the change in Dorian. Sporting a filthy lab coat over stained lounge pants and a faded white t-shirt he barely resembled the vampire she remembered. His hair hung limp and greasy and dark purple circles beneath his eyes emphasized the pallor of his skin. If a vampire could look tired Dorian would be the poster child for exhaustion. Angeline had to force a smile to disguise her shock.
“Don’t look at me like that, fairy girl. Do not lie to me either. You are lousy at it.” Dorian turned back to his microscope. “I am not in the mood for company. Please see yourself out.”
“Like hell, Dorian.” Okay, so sweet and flirtatious would not work. Angeline crossed the room with purpose and grabbed his arm, in hindsight not the best idea but it got his attention. Dorian wheeled to face her, his face etched with fury. Angeline gritted her teeth and held his gaze. “We are not going to fight now. You are going to stop this madness and join me for a meal. I need my friend and you clearly need me so get over yourself already.”
“How dare you talk to me like that?” Dorian’s voice rose, his pinhole pupils disappeared completely and his fangs elongated. She’d seen that before but in a much different context.
“How dare I? How dare you? When is the last time you have fed? Look at you! How can you help anybody like this? I thought you were tougher than this, Dorian. Snap out of it!” Angeline grasped Dorian at the shoulders, ignoring how thin they felt. “I am not going to pity you; we cannot afford pity right now. You know what is coming and you are useless like this.” She stood there, glaring at him with all the resolve she could muster and waited. Time seemed to stop but for Dorian’s face changing expression – fury, fear, confusion – and finally his pupils returned, fangs retracted, and he focused on her.
“Yes. Now, are you quite through your hysterics?” Sliding a hand to the side of his face, Angeline forced him to keep eye contact. “Watson called me. He said Gregoire left.”
Dorian cringed as if slapped. “Yes. He did.”
“Okay, so he left. You have lived how many centuries? Fought how many times with each other?” Angeline knew there was more to Dorian and Gregoire but she would deal with their issues later. “Dorian, let’s go upstairs. Let me help you clean up, we can watch a movie and you can tell me whatever you want or we can sit in silence. But this has to stop.”
“Will you stay tonight, Angeline?” Dorian seemed himself again, or closer to himself than he’d been in a while. Wrapping her up in his arms, Dorian held her close for a long moment.
“Will you stop this crazy mission of yours?” Angeline stepped back and arched an eyebrow quizzically.
“It is not crazy. It could be crucial. It could –“ Silencing him with her fingers on his lips, Angeline gave a warning look. The vampire nodded in agreement. “Perhaps a break would give me some clarity.
“Or, perhaps I could fill in one of the blanks for you over dinner?” Angeline knew part of the hybrid mystery but did not realize Dorian’s level of obsession and admittedly had been rather caught up with other things. She took Dorian’s hand and gently guiding him upstairs to his elaborate bathroom. He silently allowed her to start the shower and lay out clean clothes. “I will be waiting downstairs to tell you what I know but only if you are clean, groomed, and dressed like the Dorian I know. Deal?”
“Agreed, fairy girl. Well played.”
“Learned from the best, vampire.”