Franklin almost didn’t recognize her now that she was a vampire. Her hair was only shoulder-length now. It was still red, but it resembled blood rather than carrots. Her cheeks were flat and colorless, as were her lips. The only similarity he saw in her was her catlike gaze.

Still, he thought, she wasn’t bad to look at.

“Hello, Robert,” she said.

“Hello, Ireland.”

“It’s Vixen now.”

Franklin grunted.

“You change that ‘cause I liked it, too?”

Vixen chuckled.

“Well, it would appear that you haven’t changed much at all.”

“That’s because I haven’t. I’m still a selfish prick.” Franklin slid a cigarette between his lips. “So, you’re a leech now…”

Vixen’s eyes narrowed at him

“I resent that term.”

“Sorry,” Franklin replied. “How’s whore?”

She stiffened, then tilted her head.

“Still a pig?”

Franklin smiled. Back when he was cop, he hated the term. It meant nothing to him now that he was a private investigator.

“You wouldn’t be here if I were.”

She sat on his desk and leaned toward him. He noticed the crucifix dangling from her neck and smirked.

“Still a Catholic, I see.”

“Once a Catholic, always a Catholic,” Vixen recited. The proclamation was her grandmother’s. She had hated it partly for sounding haughty and pretentious, but mostly for being true. Franklin laughed, relishing the irony. She smiled in return, moving closer to him. Her alluring scent brushed him like a ghost, halting his breath for a moment.

“Seeing as how I enjoy your presence about as much as I enjoy going to the dentist,” he said, vacating his chair and walking around his desk, “I think it would be best if you get on with it.”

“Get on with what?”

“Whatever it is that makes you believe you’re welcome to sit on my desk.”

Vixen frowned. “You used to like flirting with me…

“Never been a truer statement to come from your pretty lips. Now, what are you doing here or get out of here. Take your pick.”

Vixen smirked, obviously holding back. Franklin didn’t bother guessing what it was, though. Torture couldn’t even get her to spill her beans.

Looking down at the floor, she said, “I need your help.”

Franklin laughed.

“And I suppose you know what I’m going to say next…”

She rolled her eyes and huffed impatiently.

“Why should you help me?”

“And you say…”

“Because I can make your life a lot harder than it has to be.”

Franklin’s smile fizzled.

“That’s not what I was expecting you to say.”

“Well, maybe you should stop expecting everything to be predictable.”

The End

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