Sorry about the delay, got a lot going on right now. I will continue to post as i get the chapters written. Please leave comments or PM me if you want to know anything.
I just stood there in the doorway staring at Deputy United States Marshall Jacqueline Dupree. I had met Jaq as she told me to call her about five years ago after the mishap in Todash space. As I wasn’t thinking clearly at the time and didn’t actually know I had come back into the world five years before I disappeared from it; I had given her my real name. I hadn’t told anyone here what had happened to me though Arthur had said he knew what happened to me and wanted to talk, but back to the problem at hand. I told Jaq nothing of what I was when we met and simply disappeared into the night when I left. That was most likely a mistake considering she was a cop. I had more important issues on my mind such as a self-fulfilling prophesy. My brain finally registered that she was looking at me expectantly while the room behind me had gone as silent as a tomb. “Jaq, I told you before to call me Andrew or is this not a social call?”
“It’s not entirely a social call Andrew, do you have time to talk or am I interrupting something?” she asked as she scanned the room over my shoulder. I could only imagine what thoughts were going through her head at the collection of people gathered here. Obviously there was me, a man who hadn’t changed in five years. Next there was Sindee who was a petite spirited read haired doctor and new Mage. She hasn’t had time to get the haunted look in her eyes that most of us who know about the greater world get from constant exposure to the unbelievable things our here. As the quote goes; “There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Then you see Marcus, a man of at least eighty who looked all of sixteen unless you paid attention to his eyes as the years he’d seen are in them.
Then there was Kyra and Talia, Talia was Kyra’s grandmother and they’re both Werewolves. Due to the unique genetics involved Talia looked like Kyra’s mother at the oldest and was dressed like a soccer mom among the rest of us here. Kyra looked exactly like she was a nineteen year old college cheerleader. Tell me they didn’t stand out in this menagerie of individuals.
Then you had Arthur Masters and his staff members from the Existence. Arthur was muscularly built and next to Talia appeared to be the oldest among us, and in truth I think he was older than anyone knew. He was dressed in denim jeans and a t-shirt with a leather duster over them. He looked like a biker except for the clean shaven face, bright intelligence in his wary eyes and the way he presented a profile target making him harder to hit if things went south. His security head and companion Samantha, who preferred to be called Sam, was as petite as Sindee but looking at her stance and eyes you could see the predator if you knew to look for it. Sam was a Vampire and not someone I ever wanted to be on the bad side of. George rounded out his group and I don’t think I ever met a larger person then him. George was a Werewolf. He was a very quiet person and if he held still you could mistake him for a wall or statue, he was also the best hand to hand combatant that ever lived according to Sam and as such was Arthur’s personal bodyguard when they weren’t at the club. This was one hell of a time for a ghost of a past that shouldn’t have even existed to come into my life wearing a badge. “Come on in Marshall Dupree,” I said as a turned and headed across the room to Sindee.
“You can call me Jaq as this isn’t official beyond me just finding you and closing an old case that was niggling away at me for years,” she said as she scanned the room with cop eyes, taking in the measure of those around her. I saw her pause at George and look him over a couple of times making sure she saw everything.
“Ok Jaq, allow me to introduce everyone here.” I took Sindee’s hand in mine, “this is my fiancé Sindee.” I pointed to each person as I introduced them in turn, “The others are Marcus, Kyra, Talia, George, Sam and Arthur.” I looked at everyone quickly and continued, “This is Jacqueline Dupree, last time I saw her was five years ago on the Fourth of July. I was in Wolf Lake, Wyoming and had to leave abruptly as some of my memory returned and I rushed to handle some personal issues.” I hoped that they understood enough to not say anything strange and make the situation worse.
Jaq looked surprised at the word fiancé but controlled her reaction before continuing, “It’s a pleasure to meet y’all. “ She turned to Sindee and shook her hand, “I only met him briefly and I gotta say you’re a lucky woman. Do you mind if I borrow him for a few minutes to talk?”
I was less than comfortable right now and knew I would be explaining a lot later. Sindee answered her question before I could, “Please be quick as we are celebrating the fact that we got the keys to our new home today.” She stressed the word our in that reply.
“Won’t be more than a few minutes on my part ma’am.” Jaq grabbed my upper arm and led be back outside the front door to talk. “So Andrew, you haven’t changed a bit in the last five years, some outfit too I see.”
Needless to say that was an uncomfortable feeling as I didn’t expect anyone to remember what a person wore five years after it happened. “I’m sure it’s just something similar Jaq as I don’t think I have anything that old in my closet anymore.”
I’ve seen looks of disbelief before, but she gave new meaning to the do I look like that big a fool look as she replied. “Andrew, I’ve been coming back to your case ever since the night you left. I ran searches on your name a week after you disappeared. I got a surprise a when I got the news article and the police report from the mountains mentioning a sixteen year old kid who fought an managed to save some of his family from the serial killer that was hunting Cheyenne. That couldn’t have been you since he was only sixteen but the coincidence was surprising. I also recovered your prints from the bed and breakfast when I found that paper the other set was on became discolored and rendered that set useless. You weren’t officially a missing person but your disappearance was as sudden as your arrival so I kept looking into it in my own time. I applied for and joined the US Marshall Service and brought the file with me to the new job. I kept looking at it from time to time because I hate leaving things undone. My last promotion moved me out here to run a warrant team and I decided to have another look at my old case file and ran your fingerprints again. This time I’d got an address here in Las Vegas, strange coincidence again. I ran your name and history once the prints came back and found that you were in fact the same sixteen year old who fought the serial killer. Now as that didn’t make any sense I went to the address on file and found it deserted this evening. I did a check of property records and found out about this place and here you are exactly as you left me five years ago. Now tell me what’s going on and don’t try to lie to me. I may me a country girl from the sticks but you know better than to think I’m a fool.”
Arthur surprised us by clearing his throat by the door, “Perhaps I can assist in clearing this up Andrew.” He walked over to us and extended his hand to Jaq, “Ms. Dupree, my name is Arthur Master. I can explain things and will do so, however, not at this location.” He turned back to me, “We’re going to call it a night Andrew. Come by the club tomorrow night after you explain to Sindee what has occurred for you since Schrodinger’s Cat is out of the box so to speak. I’ll aid the lovely Ms. Jacqueline here in understanding what she’s experienced. Being that she is even standing here tells me more about her strength of will and ability to handle the truth of the world.”
Jaq was looking back and forth between Arthur and me while he was talking, “If you think after working five years to get here I am just going to walk away with you,” pointing at Arthur, “without getting any form of answer….”
Arthur interrupted her mid-rant, “Marshall, you’ll get your answers from me as I am more than qualified to give them. I probably know more about what happened that he himself knows. I also never said anything about you walking away without an answer. If you’ll give Sam the keys to your car she’ll drive it back to my club and you can ride with me.” At that Sam was already standing beside Jaq with her hand out for the keys.
Jaq was being confused by how quickly things were moving and handed her keys over to Sam without thinking about it. Sam Jumped in the car and headed out with it. George and Talia left right behind her. Arthur walked over to his Bugatti Veyron and waited for her to join him. He opened the passenger door for her and they drove off together. Marcus and Kyra headed for the campus dorms together as Sindee came out and locked the new house up behind her, “So Andrew, who is she and how did you meet her five years ago when you were only sixteen?” she asked as we headed for the car. This was going to be a long conversation so I suggested we head back to her house.
Once we got back to the house we would be moving from soon I made a pot of coffee and recounted the tale of my last five years to Sindee in short order. I didn’t go into any details of the training except to let her know that I had learned new things; and that we also had some new vacation properties available now. I told her about my trip to Todash and getting back to her drove me to fight a soul draining eternal darkness to find a way back. I told her about landing in the middle of the mountains, meeting Jacqueline and the kiss. I admitted to liking Jaq but I didn’t love her as I knew the only woman I loved was the one whom I was with now. I explained about the self-fulfilling prophesy including that I could have changed everything but it would have cost me my life with her and that I knew was an unbearable choice for me. I explained that I had lived five years without her and did everything I could to occupy my mind to keep me from rushing here and ruining everything.
Needless to say the kiss wasn’t her favorite part of the conversation but she said she understood the loneliness from my description of Todash Space. She never heard and could no truly imagine such desolation and darkness. Once I explained everything that had happened I just ran out of words and fell silent. Silence consumed the house around us as neither of us spoke.
Sindee stood and walked across the room to me. Taking my hands in hers she pulled me to my feet and towards our bedroom door. Neither of us spoke as that would break the mood that settled upon us. She led me over to stand beside the bed. We stripped each other slowly, running our hands over the skin in gentle caresses. Tonight was not about animal attraction or wild passion but about slow sensuality of emotion and movement as we were wrapped in each other’s arms and bodies. We fell asleep together, taking comfort in the fact we were here and now despite how close we came to being parted forever.
We woke a little later in the day than we normally do as it had been a long and late night for both of us. Today was the day the furniture and appliances were being delivered to the new house and we had to be there to have it arranged properly. We disentangled ourselves from each other and the sheets before jumping in the shower quickly. We got dressed and spent the rest of the afternoon setting up the new house. Since there were plenty of workers bringing the furniture into the house it went quickly. The house was ready that evening but we’d be moving the clothes and our personal items in with us the next morning. Tonight we had plans to go see Arthur at the Existence. I wish I could have been there for the explanation he was giving to Jaq but I figured it was safer for me not to be there.
We went casual to the club tonight, comfortable jeans and nice shirts for both of us. Sindee chose stone washed denim jeans and a silver-gray silk blouse to offset her red hair and gray eyes, while I chose block denim and a black silk shirt, my emerald colored eyes stood out with such dark clothing. We were meeting up so Arthur could talk to me and I could find out the fallout from Jaq making her appearance. Any aspiring time travelers out there should think before doing it, as an accidental time traveler I’m regretting what has come to pass and I actively avoided changing things.
Sindee drove us down to the club around six-thirty so the sun hadn’t quite set and we’d get a meal before everything got started. When we arrived there was no line out the door, the parking garage was empty and it looked like the normal security was doubled or more outside. This didn’t sit well with me as this place was always packed even near dawn the few times we’ve been here. Sindee was waved into the parking area so she parked the car and we headed in.
We walked into the front bar area and it was the same in here as it was outside. No one other than the staff and security team inside, the catwalks had at least twice the normal team up there that I could see, made me wonder what I couldn’t see. Since the bar area was empty other than security we walked through into the club section and there we got a small surprise. The normal Tables and chairs were removed into the side rooms to open the room up more that it normally was, considering the size of the room. In the middle of the main dance floor a large, long table had been set up under the spotlights.
Arthur sat at the head of the table; he was dressed in a custom cut Armani Suit in a dark grey with a black shirt and no tie. I felt underdressed immediately. Sam was wearing a the classically cut black dress, however I noticed the waist tightened a little high and the skirt was slit to allow full range of motion. Even dressed to the nines Sam was ready for a fight. Jacqueline, and I won’t call her Jaq looking as she did at this time, was dressed in a simple column dress in plum that fell all the way to her ankles. The sides were slit to mid-thigh showing off her long slender legs. Her hair was up in a complicated braid that left her neck bare further accentuating her long from and framing her blue eyes. She was seated to Arthur’s left in the first seat on that side while Sam was buzzing around the room as usual. Arthur and Jacqueline were having an animated conversation and he was being his normal charming self apparently as she was smiling and laughing with him. I took this as a good sign as she wasn’t screaming or trying to arrest any of us. The rest of the staff that were seated at the table already along with my friends who had already arrived we dressed more casually so I didn’t feel as bad about being underdressed. Guido wasn’t sitting at the table as he was running back and forth bringing the dinner to the table from the kitchen. There were two seats left at the table when we walked over. Both were to Arthur’s right, directly across from Jacqueline and Sam’s seats. Yeah!!! This wasn’t going to be awkward at all.
I should have known better than to borrow trouble by assuming the evening was going to be anything but simple. We had a nice meal, quiet conversation and great company followed by dancing. The definition of a party and what we were celebrating was the success of the prior evening and another bastion of defense in the Ascension War as well as another soldier for it. Arthur had explained everything to Jaq and apparently she agreed to aid in any way possible. Having a US Marshall helping us would be an advantage in finding someone if we needed to. I couldn’t tell you if there was anything else going on beyond what Arthur said but he had his eyes on Jaq the entire evening. I had hope for them to get together, Arthur has always had this haunted look in his eyes and needs someone with spirit to breathe some life back into him.
The night went quickly, too much so for me; and now we were ready to start the next stage in the war. I had to prepare and train Sindee, the new pack and any other allies I could gather for the coming fights. The dawn would bring new troubles and planning so I intended to enjoy the night.