“Yeah, well, we know that’s bullshit,” Dane said derisively, and he wouldn’t even look at me when he spoke. Not out of fear but like looking at me was beneath him.
“We believe you’re involved with the serial killer,” Samantha said, ignoring her friend’s inappropriate outburst at me.
“What?” My jaw dropped. “No, no. I’m not. I’m trying to find them, but I don’t know who it is.” Thomas and Samantha exchanged a look but neither of them said anything, so I blundered on. “And what do you even care? I was told that vampires don’t give a shit because only humans were killed.”
“We take life very seriously,” Samantha looked at me gravely. “All life is sacred, even humans.”
“Thanks,” Bobby muttered when she smiled at him.
“If vampires don’t care about human murders, then why do you?” Dane asked, picking at something on his fingernail.
“My friend was murdered,” I said.
“You’re friends with a human?” Thomas sounded surprised and eyed me up.
“Yeah. I am.” I gestured to Bobby to emphasize my point.
“Interesting.” Samantha’s eyes flashed with something, and I saw a darkness flicker underneath.
“Whatever your involvement is with the serial killer, you need to let it alone. Now,” Thomas said.
“Why should I?” I asked.
Before he could answer, Nurse Janice or Francine came out from the back room, carrying two coolers for Violet and me. Thomas wanted to say something, but when he saw her, his mouth closed. I glanced back at her and saw the same Stepford smile she always had.
“Hello, Mr. Hughes,” the nurse said, setting the coolers on the counter. “Will you be needing anything from us?”
“Not today.” Thomas smiled back at her, but it looked strained. He nodded to his associates, and the three of them turned and walked out of the blood bank, the bell above the door chiming behind them.
“Okay. That was weird, right?” I looked over at Violet.
“Yeah. Were they following you?” Violet narrowed her eyes at me.
“I don’t know,” I said, and my mouth felt dry. They had just walked in here, saying they’d seen me, and left without buying anything.
“They might be following you,” the nurse said. We’d been staring at the front of the shop to watch the vampires as they left, but all three of us wheeled around to face her.
“Do you know who they are?” I asked.
“Yes, of course.” She smiled and blinked her eyes, but said nothing more.
“Can you tell us who?” Violet asked, her words much snippier than I would’ve gone for.
“No. Confidentiality.” Her smile turned apologetic, and she gave a helpless shrug.
“So there’s nothing you can tell us about them?” I asked.
“Oh, no, I can tell you something.” The nurse lowered her voice and leaned closer to the glass. “They aren’t people you want to mess with. They’re vigilantes. Miss Smith is familiar with them.”
“Of course she is,” I sighed. “And she’s not here right now.”
“Wait.” Bobby pushed in between Violet and me to get closer to the glass. “Vigilantes? You mean like Batman?”
“What is with this kid and Batman!” Violet groaned.
“He’s only the most awesome thing ever,” Bobby shot back, glaring at her.
“Hey, you guys shut up!” I snapped, and they fell quiet as I turned my attention back to the nurse. “What are they vigilantes against?”
“Why, vampires of course.” She stood up straighter and scanned the UPC symbol on the cooler. “Vampires can act out if someone isn’t watching.”
“And they’re watching?” I asked. She punched something in the computer after she scanned the coolers. “Are they part of an organization?”
“No.” The nurse opened the slide glass window and set the coolers in front of us. “You’re all set.”
“Is there anything else you can tell us?” I asked, and Violet grabbed her cooler off the counter.
“No, I’m sorry.” She did the apologetic smile again. “Miss Smith probably knows more than I do, anyway. She used to work with them.”
“Awesome. Thank you.” I sighed and grabbed my cooler and turned to start walking out.
“Oh, you, sir!” The nurse pointed to Bobby. “Were you going to donate today?”
“Um, no, sorry,” Bobby said, following us out. “I already give away too much for free.”
As soon as we pushed the doors, I looked around. I half-expected the trio of vigilante vampires to be waiting outside to jump us, but they weren’t. I wanted to walk quickly to the car, but I had to slow down to match Bobby’s pace. Milo would kill me if I let something happen to him.
“Did Olivia leave any number for you to get a hold of her?” I asked Violet as I popped the trunk.
“No. She doesn’t believe in cell phones.” Violet tossed her cooler in the trunk, and I did the same.
“But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Bobby said. “I mean, most vigilantes are good guys. They’re on our side. They’re trying to stop the same killer we are.”
“Maybe.” I slammed the trunk shut and got in the car. Bobby climbed in before Violet and arranged himself on the hump in the center, and then Violet got in. “But if these vampires think I’m with the killer, and they’re out to get him, then they’re out to get me too. And that’s not good.”
“Yeah,” Violet agreed as I started the car. “And besides, that Dane guy seemed like a major douche.”
“Yeah, and what was with his clothes?” Bobby asked. When I floored the car, he flew backwards, hitting his head on the glass.
“Hang on,” I told him belatedly.
“That happens sometimes with the older ones,” Violet said, referring to Dane’s sense of fashion. “They get really, really out of touch with trends, especially if they live off the grid. Olivia’s told me some about what she used to do. When she was working, she’d move around a lot. She usually only reentered society when she got called in.”
“You mean somebody like summoned these guys to come here and take care of this?” I asked.
“I would guess so,” Violet shrugged. “If they really are friends of Olivia’s, they’re probably more familiar with the area.”