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   Chapter 15 The Ravenwood Arms

The Ravenwood Arms By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 20546

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:31


Chapter 15

We arrived at the small airport that served as home base and Malak reported to James that all had gone well with no problems at either site. Wendy shot me a glance at his statement, but kept her mouth shut. James was all smiles and good will.

"Excellent to hear, " He beamed. "Did you have any further questions?" he asked Wendy as he completed the paperwork and sent it to the printer.

"I think I learned all I needed, " she replied, her smile bright and empty. I wondered what exactly would make it into her article and was somewhat nervous about the fallout.

"Good, good, " James said. Marcie walked in the printed sheets and James scanned the information before signing both copies and passing them to me. I looked it over. It was the standard payment page I saw after every job. I signed the pages, handed one to James and folded the other into a square to slide into my back pocket. As I did, my stomach rumbled loudly. I felt my face color.

"Well, I won't keep you then, " James said. He waved us towards the door as though shooing ducks into a pond. No one commented on my rumbling stomach. The three of us went into the parking lot and Wendy got into her red Fiat while I joined Malak in his Escalade. She waved as she left the parking lot. As usual Malak remained stoically silent for our drive back to my apartment.

The flight was a long one and I managed to get enough sleep that my stomach was more of a concern than sleep was. It was only a few minutes past eleven am when I arrived home and my body was still wanting dinner rather than breakfast. To quiet it, I ordered Chinese from the local take-out place I favored and played with Winston until it arrived. After lunch, I thought about taking a nap, but didn't feel like settling down. Instead I took myself to The Ravenwood Arms, figuring that if I couldn't sleep, I might as well paint.

"Well now, I didn't expect you back for at least another day, " Davis said with a smile as he handed me a paint roller.

"Got back a little while ago and wanted to get back into a normal schedule, " I told him as I began on my section of wall.

Davis nodded, familiar with the middle of the night job site excursions. "How did it go?" Davis asked as he picked up a brush and began doing the cut work around the windows and doors.

"It was …interesting, " I decided. "James had me do two jobs, one on a new build and one on a renovation, I suppose so Wendy could get a feel for both types. We had some issues on the first site." I told him about the shadow creature attacking the power cord and about my shields pushing it back.

"I didn't know they were smart enough to go for the cord, " He said frowning.

"Me neither, " I said with a little shudder. "Something to remember for the future though."

Davis nodded in agreement, then tilted his head in question. "Was Malak any help?"

"No, " I said shaking my head. "But to be fair, I didn't call him. I used the shields to push the creature back and it fled when I locked them into place. Greg stuck close by as Wendy was pretty shaken." I smiled chuckled to myself. "When we opened the car door he wasn't quick enough to turn off his audio book so we got to hear a bit. Greg and Wendy both seemed surprised by his selection."

Davis smiled. "And what was this trip's choice?"

"Betrayed, " I replied and relayed the snippet we overheard before Malak turned it off.

Davis laughed. "I wonder if that will end up in Wendy's story."

"No clue, " I said shaking my head. "She kept asking 'is this normal' during the trip so I don't think it was what she expected." I frowned wondering how Wendy's tale of the Ravenwood Arms would affect not only my working relationship with Malak and James, but my ability to rent out the apartments. "I suppose if no one wants to rent the apartments, I could move into them." It wouldn't earn me any money that way, but it would at least keep me from having to pay rent elsewhere.

"I don't think you are going to have a problem renting the apartments, regardless of Wendy's story, " Davis assured me. "Although I did wonder if you were planning on moving in."

"Did you?"

"Something your friend mentioned when she stopped by yesterday."

"Friend?" I asked wondering who had stopped by.

"Gracie something or other, " Davis clarified. "She was looking for you and seemed in awe of how good the building looked."

"Ah that friend, Gracie was the one who took me to the auction in the first place."

"So she saw your accidental purchase?" He asked. I finished my wall and moved on to the next.

"She did, " I confirmed. "Since she was outbid on everything she tried for, I figured I would be too. Alas, here we are." I smiled. Thus far my accidental purchase hadn't been that big a problem, but I wasn't going to tempt fate by saying that out loud.

"That explains why she was looking for you, " Davis said. "She mentioned another auction coming up and wasn't sure if you were moving here or still needed a new place."

"Another auction?" I shook my head. "Do you know she has managed to break her thumb with my hammer, twice in the time I've known her? She does not need to tackle a house renovation on her own."

"Well she did manage to almost step in a paint pan and trip over a power cord in the ten minutes or so she was here."

"Did she?"

"Yup, Scott caught her and made sure she managed to leave the property in one piece."

"Remind me to thank him, " I said as I continued to roll paint on the walls.

"I don't think he minded, " Davis said. "In fact, I think he ended up with her phone number."

"Really?" I thought about it. "Well she is single, the two of us are actually the last unmarried ones in our group, everyone else paired off a while ago. You might want to let him know that she knows nothing about the magical community though, despite being my friend for a number of years."

"I thought as much since she asked if you were away again escorting another shipment to its destination. But Christy is going to be disappointed."

"Why?" I asked frowning.

"I think she was hoping you ha

the corner of my bedroom. The things I found in the back of my closet astounded me. "I probably had enough Halloween costumes in there to outfit a squadron of partygoers, " I told myself as I pried myself out of bed and got ready for Winston's morning run. "Who even needs that many wigs?"

The morning run blew the cobwebs out of my mind and I felt ready to face the day. After comparing schedules with Sean, and promising to keep my cell phone on during the day in case of emergencies, I headed off to the apartment building. Once there, Davis set me to work and left me alone.

The rest of the week passed in routine fashion, morning run, talk with Sean over coffee and working on various projects around the apartment building. The following week, I had to return to the workshop to work on a few pieces for one of our major clients and so missed the final two weeks of construction as Davis and his crew finished the work. At our apartment, Sean's belongings were slowly packed up and we made decisions about which furniture was officially mine and which items were officially his as he prepared to move. Winston started making circuits throughout the apartment, checking to make certain he hadn't missed anything when he was out on his walks. He stared at the accumulating boxes as though they were portents of doom and took to sleeping in front of the door in case we decided to sneak something past him in the night.

Cole and I were making a final check of the order to be shipped out and loading the last of it onto the waiting truck as Davis put in an appearance at the workshop. He watched as we finished up and as the truck pulled out I turned to him.

He held out the building's keys to me, jingling them like bells. "Construction's through and we are ready for staging. You have me, Scott and Mike to help with furniture moving as well as whoever you have ready."

"Nice, " I replied taking the keys from him. In between working on the custom pieces for our client, I worked with Sammy to gather staging elements. Much was cribbed from our storage areas while other items were rented from a staging company to fill it out, after all we generally had only furniture, and the few decorative pieces we needed to stage our showroom on hand. It was the same company Sammy worked with to buy staging items for our showroom actually. In fact while some was rented, other pieces had been purchased so that we could use them in our show room displays once the apartments no longer needed the dressing, thus rotating our own stock and freshening the space.

"We are ready to go, " I told him. "Everything is ready to ship over." I pointed to the store room. As I already talked to the staff and arranged for them to help, it was all hands on deck as we loaded the delivery van for the first shipment. It took several trips to get everything into the appropriate apartments and by the time everything was in place, the work day was over. Each apartment featured an ungainly heap of items.

"I'll be arranging them tomorrow, " I told Davis as I let my crew go for the night.

"I can stop by and give you a hand, " Davis said. Scott made a comment to Mike that I couldn't quite catch and both of Davis' brothers chuckled while he shot them a glare. The two men walked off unconcerned with their brother's ire.

"That would be nice, " I told him. "We can get everything arranged and then Sean can take the pictures and decide which apartment he wants to claim."

"He hasn't decided yet?" Davis asked.

"No, he narrowed it down to one of the two-bedroom apartments, but wants to see it finished before he makes his final decision."

"I can understand that, " Davis said nodding. "What are you doing tomorrow night after we get all of the arranging done and Sean takes his photos?"

"No plans, why?"

"I was thinking dinner, " Davis said.

"As in a date?" I asked with a smile.

"As in a date. I figure arranging can't take all day and then we will each have time to go home, shower and change before I pick you up."

"I'd like that, " I told him with a smile.

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