“Do you ever sleep, Gavin?” He shook his head and smiled. “I only need an hour or two, sometimes none at all, but that’s not often.” I looked up and a waiter was coming over to us.
“Can I get you anything else?”
Not for me.
Gavin glanced at me and nodded which a human wouldn’t notice, before answering, “Just the cheque please and the meal was great, thanks.”
He stacked the plates, picked up a small dish from the table beside us and sat it on our table.
“Thank you. I won’t be long and I’ll tell the chef.” He smiled and left with the dirty dishes. I picked up one of the chocolate mint sweets, popping it in my mouth quickly.
I love these.
“A chocoholic, are you?” I just smiled, not wanting him to see brown teeth – bit off-putting. Gavin carried on, “Now I know what to get you as a treat.” I flashed my eyes at him and laughed, now the chocolate had gone.
“And I don’t put on any weight, no matter how much I eat.”
“I wonder if Weight-Watchers know about that?” Gavin spouted. I don’t think they sell venom by the bottle.
We were in fits, laughing like a couple of idiots when the waiter returned with the cheque. Gavin pulled notes from his pocket and gave him forty quid.
“Keep the change and we’ll be back.” Difficult to say when you’re trying to stifle laughter.
The waiter grinned at us, “Thank you, Gavin.” He left us with a smile on his face.
“He knows you well.”
“He ought to. I’ve eaten here every day since I moved to this town, but it’s the first time I’ve brought anyone in with me. That’s why Raffi was a bit formal when he was taking our order.” Gavin became serious across the table, “What time do you feed, Jane?”
“My regulars are there in about an hour or so; why?”
“I live up the street from here. We could talk in my car and I’ll drive you there when it’s time.”
“Save your petrol. I jaunt, so it takes a second to get there.”
“What the hell do you mean by jaunt?”
“You obviously haven’t tried it. I just think myself there. It’s easy and you could do it, although you don’t have to feed like me.”
“We should go – they’re closing in a minute, Jane. On the way out Gavin waved at Raffi, who was leaning on the counter with a broad smile on his face. “He likes you.”
I giggled and stepped into the street. Gavin took hold of my hand and turned us to the right. We didn’t talk and after a little while, the houses we walked past were massive.
He must have a bedsit or rents a couple of room.
I heard him smirk beside me, “What was that for?”
“I gamble at the casino a couple of times a month, Jane. They, the force, know all about it, I made damn sure they did. They weren’t really surprised, either. Perhaps other hybrids do the same? I don’t know, but I’ve made a nice living out of it. I don’t go mad, just enough to keep filling the coffers.”
I was trying to get my head around that when he turned us onto a gravel drive. I stopped dead, “You own this?”
He looked back and gave my hand a little tug. “I didn’t want to scare you off – that’s why I said we’d talk in the car.”
I threw at him, “You forgot to mention it was parked in front of the largest house in the bloody street!” All he did was grin. He coaxed me up the drive to the house, which was enormous, Georgian and painted white. His car was flash, too. I saw the name Lexus on the black boot.
“Don’t drive a mini, then?” I asked, as sarcastically as I could.
He chuckled and pulled keys from his pocket, “Come on. I’ll make some coffee and show you around.”
He opened the door, turned and held his hand out. When I stepped over the threshold it was like stepping back in time. I’d only seen the interiors of Georgian houses in books before – never in real life.
A chandelier was lit above us. I followed Gavin down the hall to the right of the broad central staircase. My eyes were everywhere, trying to take it all in.
He opened the door at the end and turned on the light. It flooded the most fantastic kitchen I’d ever seen. There was a modern island running down the middle, made of pine. That unit housed the hob, sink and the preparation area. Around the walls were cupboards in old scrubbed pine, along with a couple of antique dressers. China filled the shelves, reaching the ceiling on both of them. There were French doors to the garden, I presumed – to dark outside to tell. There was a long window to the right and in front of that was a scrubbed pine table with bent-wood chairs, tucked underneath.
I heard a tap running – turned around to see Gavin, filling a kettle at the sink. He sat it on a base and switched it on. “This house is beautiful, Gavin. How on earth do you have the time to look after it like this?”
“I have a cleaner and do other bits through the night. No sleeping comes in handy.” He laughed and opened a top cupboard for mugs. “How do you like your coffee, Jane?”
“Black, two sugars, please. Don’t take this the wrong way, but why would you want a house this size?”
“WHAT!” I screamed at him.
He said in a calm voice, “Sit down, Jane, and I’ll explain a few things to you.”
“Yeah, you’d better.” I dragged a chair away from the table and sat down, furious with him.
He quietly finished making the coffee and brought it over to the table – turned back for the mugs and sugar and sat opposite me. I watched him push down the plunger and pour the coffee. He knew I was livid with him and passed me a mug, then the sugar. When I was stirring my coffee he began to talk.
“I had a bedsit like you thought, but when I saw you in the pub, the first time I ever went in there, I bought this house for you.”
“That’s crazy, and you know it!” He smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
“I just knew we’d be together one day, and I was prepared to wait forever if I had to. Tim’s not a hybrid and I knew that one day you’d get sick of his antics with other women. How you kept it from him, I’ll never know?”
“He was the first boyfriend I ever had. That’s why he went with other women because I wouldn’t let him. If he’d seen me change…” Tears filled my eyes until I couldn’t see. I heard Gavin’s chair scrape across the floor. The next second he had me in his arms for a cuddle.
“Don’t get upset over that, Jane. Not here. Not ever. We’re on the same playing field, just so you know. If I’d gone with a human, I’d have killed her. It’s different for female hybrids and I assumed. I’m sorry.”
“That’s not why I’m crying, Gavin. I wish you’d said something before today, that’s all.”
He pulled back to look at my face, “You need a little repair job on your make-up.” He giggled.
I smirked, “More than a little – you’re wearing half of it.” He looked down at the mascara all over his shirt. “Sorry. You’ll never get that out.” He laughed at me and searched for my bag, not knowing where I’d left it.
“It’s in the hall.” He sped out of the kitchen in a blur and came back in a second later with my bag in his hand and a happy smile on his face. “If you can do that, you’d be able to think yourself to another place.”
“I’m sure you could show me how it’s done,” Gavin said with a twinkle in his eyes. I took the bag from him, sat down, drank some cold coffee and choked as it hit my lungs. I couldn’t get my breath, so I waited for my body to sort it out. I could hold my breath for ages but Gavin was staring at me, horrified.
“Breathe Jane, please.” I still waited as it wasn’t quite right. A few minutes later I breathed in properly.
“Don’t know why you’re worried, I wouldn’t have died.” He sat opposite me with relief in his mind.
“Sorry, I’m so used to being around humans, it didn’t cross my mind.” He watched me repair my mascara streaked face, with a smile on his. He looked content, with his elbows on the table and his chin resting on his hands.
Once it was done and my stuff was shoved back in my bag, beside my feet, I looked at my watch.
“I should go. They won’t wait forever and I’m hungry now.” I stood up and bent down for my bag, to throw over my shoulder.
“Don’t go, Jane. I have enough for us both. Feed here.”
“That’s impossible. You said they supplied you, so how could you have enough for me?” Don’t play with me, Gavin!
I wouldn’t play games with you! “I buy it, Jane. The blood they supply was only half the amount I needed, and they mixed it with animal blood. I complained to the guy who delivered it and was told it was government cuts. I’ve bought my own since then.”
“That doesn’t surprise me; they probably hoped you all would, in the end.”
Gavin smiled with a nod then he became serious, “You know how I feel about you, Jane; you’ve seen it, but I wouldn’t want to frighten you off, either, if I rushed you.”
Are you for real?
A second later, he was on his feet with his arms around me. “That wasn’t bull-shit about the house. The deeds are in a bureau in the sitting room. All you have to do is sign them at a solicitor’s and it would be in joint names, instead of just mine. I want you to feel secure and this relationship to be on an equal footing. And one last thing, you’d never have to feed like that again. The fridge upstairs is well stocked, too.” He stopped talking and waited for me to fully understand everything he’d explained.
I pulled back to look into his eyes. All I saw was his love for me and the tears welled up, I was so overwhelmed by his kindness. He cuddled me again until I stopped sobbing.
He felt me relax, and said gently, “Half the top floor is yours when you move in, Jane. We do this at your pace, I promise you that. You’re hungry, come on.” He held my hand and I knew in my heart we were destined to walk life’s path together. He smiled at me after he’d heard my thoughts and squeezed my hand gently on our journey up the staircase to the next floor.
At the top, he took me to the left and stopped at a door along the hall. “The fridge is in here. Take what you need and I’ll show you to your side of this floor.”
I watched him turn the porcelain doorknob and push the door open. The light was on in the small white room and what filled my vision was a steel fridge with glass walls on three sides. Gavin felt me tense and squeezed my hand. He understood how shocked I was at the sight of it laid out like that. I stared at the stack of blood bags on each illuminated shelf and the pangs of need groaned within my mind. Gavin glanced at me, he’d felt it, too. He opened the fridge door, took four out and showed me where to snap the tubes to drink from them.
“You should hurry, Jane,” he uttered, when he took hold of my hand, to retrace our steps to the top of the stairs. There, he flicked a switch on the wall that lit up the landing on the other side of the house. That’s where we headed and he stopped us when we’d reached the third door down, on our left. “This is your bathroom, Jane. Everything you need is in there, you’ll see. Come down when you’ve finished and I’ll drive you home for some of your things.”
Although I was ravenous, how could I not give him a cuddle? “Be prepared to meet Shirley Temple, down there,” I said to his chest. I knew he was giggling, his whole body moved with it, but I heard no sound with my ears, only his voice in my head.
D’you know the words to: ‘Good ship lollypop’?
I giggled; he let me go and hurried back to the blood room. I knew he was in the same state as me.
I rushed into the bathroom, slamming the door shut with my back against it. My hand searched the wall for a light switch and when I clicked it there was no time to look around; the urge to feed obliterated reason. I was stripped in seconds and under a stream of water in the shower, consuming the blood faster than a human could register. Now the hardest part. I did what I’d always had to do. My head; rammed against the tiles. My arms over my head with my hands balled into fists. The urge that took over once the blood spread through my body, was more than I could stand. Now I had Gavin’s thoughts pounding the inside of my head, with his needs, making matters harder to deal with. I closed that part of my brain down; no option, to avoid seeking him out. The change happened faster than normal. Boy, was I pleased about that? It over-rode the urge and I could relax and enjoy the buzz. I turned and rested my back against the wall, under the water that cascaded over my body. My mind took me on a journey in a fantasy of my own making. I’d had to block that part out, where I used to feed, but once I was home I could run through feeding, in my mind, and set my emotions loose to envelop me. I was in another world and had no idea how long it was before the feelings subsided and I could think rationally again.
I turned the water off and looked down. My foot had touched one of the bags, strewn across the shower tray. What the hell do I do with those?
Don’t worry, Jane. There’s an incinerator in the cellar so use a bag in the cupboard under your basin. Had to think of everything or the cleaner would’ve dropped dead. I giggled and heard him do the same.
I noticed a large towel hooked on the wall, just within arm’s length of the shower door. I grabbed it, and wrapped my body with the most luxurious towel I’d ever touched and stepped out of the shower. The opulence of the bathroom made me stagger when I registered all that I’d missed, in my deranged urge to feed. The bathroom was huge and I not only felt marble under my feet, but the whole bathroom was, too. White marble, with faint green flecks, here and there, picked out by the small gold chandelier above my head, matching the taps on the large roll-top bath, taking centre stage in the middle of the floor. I felt a tear in my eye and wiped it away with the corner of my towel. Only then did I feel how wet my dripping hair was and looked down at the water on the floor.
Now you’re ruining the place! I looked around for more towels and found a glass-fronted cupboard, in the corner of the bathroom, stuffed with them. I grabbed one quickly and wrapped my head in it, pulling another to dry the floor. When I stood up, I faced shelves, stocked with tonnes of beauty products, to die for.
This lot must have cost the earth! I opened a bottle and the aroma of the most expensive perfume flooded my senses. I felt so emotional I could have cried. Get dressed and get out of here, before you flood the place, you idiot!
That’s exactly what I did and found Gavin in the kitchen drinking coffee. He looked up and smiled, “I think you like your bathroom.”
“Well that’s the biggest understatement, I’ve ever heard.” I dropped the bag, hurried over and kissed him.
It was Gavin’s day off the next day and we didn’t leave the house after I’d kissed him in the kitchen. In fact, we shared his bed when I had to sleep. He tired me out. That was a lie as we never get tired with anything, but I had to sleep for a few hours, most days of the week. On the other hand, he must have been bored to death, watching me sleep.
“I wasn’t bored, Jane.” I opened my eyes and giggled at his smiling face.
“That’s cheating; digging around in my head.” I gave him a kiss on the end of his nose. “I’m off to christen my bath. It’s a lovely day and I should get some of my clothes from my bed-sit.”
He gave me a cuddle, “Yes, we got a bit side-tracked last night. I enjoyed it and I know you did.”
I leant on his chest with my elbows, “As it’s your day off, do you fancy coming to the local pool? It’s the only place I’m free of the ghosts that hound me. I know it sounds daft to…”
“Stop right there, Jane – come with me.” I must have looked confused – I felt it. He lifted me out of the bed and carried me down through the house to the kitchen.
“Why are we down here?” He didn’t answer. He reached up, flicked switches on the wall and then he unlocked the back door. When he pushed it open the most amazing pool room filled my vision. “Oh my God!” He laughed while I almost strangled him with a hug.
“It’s what you’ve always wanted. I heard you say what you’d love, if you won the lottery, so I looked for a house with a pool.”
I laughed. “You have to do the lottery to win it.” He giggled and put me down.
I walked in and the walls were high with a glass roof to let in sunshine. Huge potted plants adorned the corners of the largest indoor pool I could ever have imagined. I ran, dived down to the bottom and swam from one end to the other, length after length and noticed Gavin above me swimming on the surface. When I finally came up for air he was a bit shocked at the time I’d spent under water.
“How did you get away with that at the local pool?”
“I couldn’t, Gavin. They’d have thought I was drowning. I did annoy the others where I live.” His turn to look confused. “I used to lie under the water in the only bath in the house.”
His laughter echoed off the walls. He hauled himself out, effortlessly; held his hands out to me and lifted me as if I weighed ounces.
“I’ll make some toast and then we’ll collect your stuff, Jane. You can swim whenever you want now.” He opened a cupboard in the wall that backed up to the house and pulled out huge towels for us both. Once I had that wrapped around me, he gave me another for my hair.
“I’ll be packing my straighteners for this mop,” I informed him, as I wrapped my head in the towel.
“I like it, Jane.” I looked at him in surprise. Are you mad? “No, I’m not mad. I think it’s beautiful and your crowning glory.”
On the way to my bed-sit, Gavin noticed his boss standing outside a house, talking to Uniform policemen.
“Do you mind if we stop for a minute, Jane? I may need to know what’s going on when I’m at work tomorrow.”
“I don’t mind, go ahead. Two women are dead in there.” Gavin’s jaw dropped.
“How the hell do you know that?” He searched my eyes, waiting for an answer.
You must have forgotten the Indian restaurant!
“They’re tapping your boss on his shoulder, that’s how.”
“Sorry. Would you mind coming in there, Jane? I think this could be a way in, for you to work with me.”
“I mean it. He won’t be able to refuse when he sees what you’re capable of.”
Okay, you win.
As soon as I’d opened my door the ghosts made a bee-line for me. I won’t help if you don’t leave me alone! Your choice? They backed off and let me have some space.
Gavin took hold of my hand. I know this is asking a lot.
I want to work with you, Gavin. It’s interesting and I’d never given it a thought I could’ve helped with anything like this. He squeezed my hand gently as we walked over to his boss.
He saw us approach. “I thought this was your day off, Gavin?”
“It is, sir. We were just passing and Jane, my girlfriend, told me there were two dead women in there. She’s a medium, sir.” His boss glared at me.
“Where were you, between the hours of 4 and 8 am, Miss?” Gavin was pissed off with his boss, jumping to that conclusion about me.
I yelled, “It’s Hanson, as you could find out if you look at your files about Neil Robertson!” And then I leaned closer to him. “And where you were, was not in your wife’s bed, where you should have been.” Gavin laughed in my head and squeezed my hand. His boss turned red, cleared his throat and looked relieved his other officers couldn’t hear me.
“Sorry, Miss Hanson.”
“Yes, I bet you are. We’ll get along famously if you call me Jane. Now John, do you want my help or not? I have lots to do today. I’m moving in with Gavin and these two women have been trying to get your attention for at least an hour.” He looked staggered and glanced around, trying to see them.
“You’re wasting my time, yes or no?” Gavin smirked beside me. Well…it’s offered on a plate. Is he a bit slow?
John quickly had a change of heart. “We could use all the help we can get. What can you tell me?”
“Now you’ve seen sense, John, give me a minute to ask them a few questions.” I caught the glance he gave Gavin, who nodded back to him when he let go of my hand.
I turned to the women. “When I ask you anything, please don’t talk together or you’ll get me muddled.” I knew Gavin had a notebook in his hands to take down their answers. He could hear them through me, now. I’d given him access to my deeper thoughts. I glanced at his boss who stood there dumbfounded. It was time he knew a few home truths.
“Gavin’s psychic, too. Obviously, you haven’t read his file properly or you’d have used his talents, before now. He wasn’t dumped on you, for no reason, John. Your clear-up rate has been crap for a while. About time you used the recourses you were given and maybe you’d get the promotion you seek which would stop your wife nagging.”
“You see all that?”
“You wouldn’t want to know the rest. Shall we get on?” I turned from him. If he had to ask that question, he was even thicker than I thought.
I looked at the two women. One had long, dark, straight hair that was matted with blood from the axe that was embedded in her skull. Her face was twisted and she tried to see me through the blood that had filled her eye sockets and had drenched her clothes. The other one was her daughter who had similar features and must have been attacked first. The gouges on her head and shoulders, her lower arms and the couple of fingers that were missing, proved to me she had put up quite a struggle before she’d bled out when the axe finally severed the arteries in her neck. How no one hadn’t heard the screaming, was beyond me.
“Karen, I know you fought like hell to stop him, but could I ask Lisa’s version first, please?”
She nodded her head. Of course, and thank you for helping us.
“You’ve been very brave; thank you, Karen. Lisa, could you tell me what happened; from the beginning, if you can?” She smiled. Her head was resting on her right shoulder where he’d almost decapitated her; he’d hit her so hard.
I’ll try and I’ll go slowly so your friend can write it all down.
“I write fast, Lisa. Just try and tell Jane how it happened.” Thanks, Gavin.
We could both hear Lisa crying. “I know this is hard for you and I know who did this, but I have to ask you to tell us so that Gavin’s boss wouldn’t think I was putting words into your mouth. Do you understand, Lisa?”
She sniffed. Okay. It was my dad. I knew I had a dad but I’ve never seen him before. He argued with mum at the front door and then he pushed his way in. Mum screamed for me to run upstairs and he followed. He grabbed my legs and pulled me down. My face hit the top step and I must have been knocked out. I felt the first time he hit me and I can’t remember anything else. I’m sorry.
“Don’t be sorry, Lisa, you did very well. I’ll talk to your mum now. Thank you.” She smiled and looked at her mum so tenderly.
“Karen, what can you add to Lisa’s statement?”
His name is Greg Lawton and well known to the police. I lived with him for nearly a year before Lisa was born. He knocked hell out of me throughout my pregnancy and thought I’d wait around for more. I walked out the day before Lisa was born and Women’s Aid helped me get settled in another town. I’ve been moving us whenever I heard he was in the area. When he turned up today, I’d no idea he knew where we were. He’d always asked around and that’s how I’d found out before. When he pulled the axe out of his coat, he was on top of Lisa. I pulled and scratched his face and head but I couldn’t stop him. He pushed me backwards down the stairs and I don’t remember much of the fall. We’re both dead, aren’t we?
“I’m sorry, Karen; yes, you both are.” They hugged each other and disappeared.
“They’ve gone, Gavin.” He knew I was upset and hugged me.
Gavin looked up at his boss. “It’s all there, sir.”
“Well, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.” He took the notebook from Gavin’s hand and read it.
When he’d read it all, he said, “I know it’s all down here but…”
I turned from Gavin, “No buts – let me hold your hands and I’ll show you what he did to them.” He just stared at me. “I dare you! You’re supposed to have some bottle if you’re a copper!” I yelled at him.
I knew he didn’t want to, but he had other Uniform policeman behind him and he wouldn’t have wanted to lose face with them. He gave Gavin his notepad and put his hands forward. I took hold of them and showed him, from beginning to end and he was under every blow they received. He cried out when he saw them coming and was on his knees at the finish when I let go of his hands.
I stood with my hands on my hips and yelled at him, “DO YOU BELIEVE IT NOW?” I was furious with him. “You should be thankful I didn’t push the pain they felt, too!”
He stood up and brushed his clothes down. Then he did something I didn’t expect at all; he put his hand out to shake mine. “Jane, I don’t think I’d ever doubt you again,” he said and then he smiled at me.
I shook his hand and giggled. “Thought I’d gone a bit far, there. Sorry, John, but you had to see – so, when are you giving me a job?” Gavin laughed behind me and I could hear the other coppers sniggering.
- HWSNBN Chapters 1/2
- HWSNBN Chapter 3
- HWSNBN Chapter 4
- HWSNBN Chapter 5
- HWSNBN Chapter 6
- HWSNBN Chapter 7
- HWSNBN Chapter 8
- HWSNBN Chapter 9
- HWSNBN Chapter 10
- HWSNBN Chapter 11
- HWSNBN Chapter 12
- HWSNBN Chapter 13
- HWSNBN Chapter 14
- HWSNBN Chapter 15
- HWSNBN Chapter 16
- HWSNBN Chapter 17
- HWSNBN Chapter 18
- HWSNBN Chapter 19
- HWSNBN Chapter 20