HellCat: Guardian Of The Gate
The man standing in my doorway was clearly a vampire, if you knew what to look for... a human-drinking one, at that. The pale skin, perfect features, and muddy-colored brown eyes were a dead give away to me. I was able to clear my head as I gathered my courage, then asked, "You're Peter?"
With a nod and a smile, he said, "Yes, Ma'am."
Fuck my life seemed to be the perfect sentiment indeed. Dangerous, sexy, and southern. I took a deep breath, then said, "Well, get your tail inside, Peter, then we'll discuss the position."
He did, and of course, he didn't bat an eye at any of the duties I mentioned. He was even alright with tending to the horses, which just peaked my curiosity. I finally bucked up enough to say, "Let's cut the shit, Peter, because I know your contacts are about to dissolve. I've never told a soul that I know your kind exist, so if you really are here for the position -and you keep your teeth away from me- you can have it. If you were looking for a meal, on the other hand, you've come to the wrong place. I've been bitten before, and the guy was ashed before he could draw his first mouthful."
Peter sat quietly as I vented, then said softly, "Miss Isabella? I'm sorry ya were put through the pain of bein' bitten without consent, but I really am here for the position. It makes my job a lot easier if you know what I am, 'cuz human speed sucks sometimes. I woulda done it, though, 'cuz ya seem like a right-nice lady, and I could use the work to keep my hands busy. Doncha worry none about the horses, 'cuz I don't have a scent to animals for some reason, and they tend to like me. It'd be real nice to work with horses again. I could even help ya pick 'em out... if ya wish. As for my feedin', I only hunt criminals, so ya have no use worryin' about me takin' a bite outta ya."
After a second of thought, I said, "We'll talk more about how you pick the criminals you feed from later, but right now I need to know what a police background check would come up with, seeing as my father will be running one, once you fill out the forms."
Peter let out a sexy as hell chuckle, then said, "Clean as a whistle, ‘cept for the one prior speedin' ticket I got three years ago... on purpose. He can dig as deep as he wants, Miss, but it'll all come out in a favorable light. I'll tell ya the real background when ya feel ya wanna know. Just tell me to start talkin', and I promise to be honest with ya."
I nodded, then printed out the forms for Peter to fill out. He immediately started filling everything in as I went into the kitchen to pull out ingredients for a grilled chicken salad. When he laid the forms on the island as he sat down on one of the stools, I said, "Alright, Peter. Why don't you start the grill for me, please, while I get this faxed to my dad real quick. Just go out through the gathering room french doors right there, then look right. It's right there."
He smirked at me, then said, "Orders already? Sexy... a lady who doesn't waste time."
I chuckled while shaking my head, "Just go, you flirt, or I may reconsider the job offer."
Twenty minutes later, I sat down at the bar to eat my salad, but the last name on his application kept nudging at a part of me. I knew the name Whitlock from somewhere, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out where. "Okay, Peter. You talk, I'll eat. I'm pretty used to vampires watching me eat, but it helps when there's a reason they're looking at me."
He agreed with a smile, "Of course. My name really is Peter Whitlock. Well, it has been ever since I rescued my maker from the south. See, down there, it's all about fightin' for feedin' territory."
I nodded, "I heard a bit about that after this happened."
I showed him my wrist, causing him to growl slightly, "Ya said he was ashed, right? The one who bit ya?" I nodded, taking another bite of food as I waved for him to continue.
"I was moved up the ranks of a sadistic bitch's vampire army 'cuz of my gift, and ended up bein' the Captain to my maker's Major. See, he turned a female and me the same night, as punishment for rippin' apart and burnin' a newborn that bit the shit out of him. Charlotte didn't have a gift, though, so I took her under my wing... cared for her as much as I could. Around our year mark, my gift went bat-shit crazy on me, lettin’ me know that Charlotte was on the block to be culled. When it came time, I took up a protective stance in front of her, pleadin’ to Major to let us go."
After a breath, he continued, "I knew there had to be more out there than that bitch's fightin', fuckin', and feedin'... somethin' calmer, where we didn't have to watch our backs 24/7. He let us escape, even though he knew he’d catch hell for it, so I went back and got him out when my gift told me it was time. Since then, I feed only from murderers, drug dealers, rapists, slave ring dealers, or abusive bastards that don't treat ladies or children properly. My gift lets me know where, then I watch until I have proof. Then, only then, do I feed and make sure they can never hurt another livin’ soul."
I took a sip of my drink, then asked, "Your gift. Is it like visions or something?"
He chuckled, "No, Sweets, nothin' like that. I just get this tingle in my brain that tells me stuff. No pictures or sound, but it's like one second the info isn't there, and the next second it is... kinda like an invisible news flash. It's not based on paths or decisions, and it's never once failed me. In fact, it's saved my neck more than a few times. Speakin’ of... in about 10 seconds, Papa Police Chief's gonna be callin', so ya might wanna pull out your phone."
He was right. Charlie’s ringtone sounded just as soon as I pulled my phone from my back pocket. He told me that he dug pretty deep, but found nothing out of the ordinary about Peter. He seemed to be hard-working, held down jobs well, and didn't have trouble with the law. I smirked at Peter, then said, "So you think he's worth giving a shot to? He didn't creep me out like the guy before my lunch break. I didn't even let that guy through the gate, telling him the position was already filled. I was thankful I didn't, when he cussed up a storm and slammed his vehicle door. This Peter, though. He doesn't give me that feeling, plus he was excited about all the work I'd keep him busy with."
Charlie said Peter passed the test, so once our conversation was done, I said, " 'Kay, Dad. I'm going to call and tell him. I'll check in in a few days to let you know how it's going."
We hung up a minute later, then I turned to Peter. "You have a 90 day trial. If you go get my laptop from the coffee table, I'll print out the contract for you to look over." He grinned widely, but walked at human speed to retrieve the laptop.
I chuckled when he got back to me, then shook my head, "You could have used vampire speed, you know. I'm pretty used to it. My main method of transportation, when with the coven I was connected to, was actually riding on their backs."
He smiled as he tapped his temple, "I know, but I also know it's been a while since ya've been around 'em, and I didn't wanna scare you." I thought that was considerate of him. Once I printed out the contract for him to look over, he scanned it thoroughly, then signed with the pen on the counter.
His comment about not being around the coven for a while clicked something in me as I walked to the study, to put the contract and application in the safe. When I walked back out, he was sitting on the couch, so I asked as I settled in the chair, "Do you know who they were? The coven?"
He shook his head, then scowled while saying, "I just know somethin' went wrong... real wrong... and then the one ya were closest to did somethin' that changed ya."
I nodded, "Guess it's my story time, isn't it? It's not all sunshine and roses, but the worst part is that the underlying wound of them leaving like they did cut the deepest."
He settled back against the cushion, then said almost softly, "Only tell me what ya feel ready to, Isabella. I have all the time in the world, so there's no rush."
I took a breath, then started my story. "My mom left my dad when I was a baby, taking me with her. We ended up settling in Phoenix after we moved around for a while. We made a home there. I got to spend four weeks every summer with Charlie, my dad, but they were always the highlight of my year. Renee, my mom, was always flighty and scatter-brained, so all the bills, shopping, cooking and cleaning fell onto my shoulders by the time I was 12. She settled down quite a bit when she met Phil, but since he was a minor league baseball player at the time, he was away from home a lot. Renee would get depressed when he was away; it only got worse after they married. I could see how happy they were when he was in town, knowing the only reason why she didn't travel with him, was because she was staying for me."
I shook my head, then continued, "I made the decision to move in with Charlie not far into my junior year, so that Renee could travel with Phil. They moved to Jacksonville only a couple of months later, since Phil was picked up by a major league team. They did well for themselves, always calling to tell me how much they missed me. Anyway, my first day at school was a total disaster. I was the shiny new toy in a small town, with everyone thinking they knew me before they even saw me. I was at lunch when I first saw them, the beautiful untouchable people. There were 5 of them, all with the strangest gold eyes."
Peter's growl cut me off as he practically hissed, "Ya mean to tell me the Cullen coven was the one ya were connected to? My maker's fuckin' coven, and he left ya... with knowledge of our world... to fend for yourself?"
That's when it clicked, causing me to groan loudly, "Fuck, that's why Whitlock sounded so familiar. Jasper's your maker, isn't he? I remember he and Ali telling me a bit about his background and his beast after Phoenix, because his beast was who destroyed the nomad. He never gave his beast a name, though, so I didn't connect him with your Major."
His eyes slowly started turning black, his voice steely calm as he said, "Isabella, I’ve never considered my maker as anythin' less than a brother, but right now, I wanna rip his fuckin' head off. Please tell me they at least left ya an emergency number to contact if you needed help, or showed ya a care package they left for ya in a safe place." I shook my head, and instantly Peter was out the gathering room door, dashing down into the woods with a roar.