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   Chapter 17 The Ravenwood Arms

The Ravenwood Arms By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 18392

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:32

Chapter 17

We arrived home a little earlier than usual and together, which was a rare occurrence and sent Winston into spasms of doggie delight. "He is not going to take this move well is he?" I said looking at Winston as he capered through the living room.

"About that, " Sean said slowly. "Are you sure I should still move into one of the apartments?"

"Of course, " I replied.

"But with all of the others…, " He trailed off.

"And you not getting an apartment is going to leave room for all five thousand of them to cram in?" I replied, lifting an eyebrow at him.

"True, " Sean said with a little sigh. "There are just so many."

"I know, " I told him. I let out a small snort of laughter. "And I thought we were going to have trouble finding tenants."

"You?" Sean said. "This whole mess started when I called to try and pay for an advertisement." Sean chuckled and I joined him. Suddenly as though a dam had broken the two of us were both laughing like lunatics, tears streaming from our eyes, bent nearly double as the somewhat hysterical mirth came bubbling out.

Finally, the laughter tapered off and we both quieted. Winston barked once and then trotted over to the door, picking his leash up in his mouth and waiting for normality to resume.

"Okay, " Sean said wiping his eyes and moving to the door. "I'll take Winston out and you start getting ready for your date. We can read the article together when I get back." It came out as half statement, half question, but I nodded in agreement with the plan.

"Deal, " I told him. As he and Winston went off to the park, I headed to the shower.

By the time they returned, I was more or less ready to go. Giving my feet a break, I stayed barefoot, placing my heels next to the couch so I could slip them on at the last moment. I was adding a few basic items to my small clutch purse as Winston barreled through the living room. As Sean filled his bowl for the evening, Winston did his pass through the house making sure nothing had been removed in his absence.

"You know when we move your stuff to your new place, we might want to take him along to show him where you disappeared to, " I said. "That way he might not freak out so badly when the stuff disappears."

"Might be a good plan." He looked over my outfit and made me turn so he could take it all in. "Very nice, " he told me. "Better with the heels, but nice."

"Thank you." We both looked at the laptop on the kitchen table and sighed simultaneously. "Article?"

"Article, " he agreed. Sean powered up the laptop and pulled up The Whisper's website, logging in with his password. "Oh, " he said as it came up. "Front page. I thought I'd have to look for it in one of the sections."

"Front page?" I repeated feeling nervous. "I thought maybe lifestyle or local."

"It explains why we've been getting so many calls." Sean said. "Nice title too, 'Keeping the Shadows at Bay'. That's going to catch a few eyes."

"I suppose we better hear it."

Sean nodded and began to read the article out loud. For the most part, it started off as I expected. Wendy covered my buying a building in a mid-range neighborhood and making the apartments blend in instead of making them high-end. She covered the legalities of why I could shield the apartment building in the first place.

"I'm not sure if that bit makes me sound protective or paranoid, " I said as Sean reached the part where the three layers of shielding were described.

"I think she is going for both protective and making a point to the Commission since they don't always pay you to shield quite as thoroughly, " Sean answered. "Especially considering this next bit. Listen, 'While this layered shielding, to many, seems unnecessary, reports show that attacks by the shadow creatures have risen by more than thirty percent in the last five years.' I didn't realize that."

"Me neither, " I said frowning. "Although, it does explain why I'm now doing more than one shielding a month these days."

"Mmm, " Sean said nodding, his eyes still on the screen. "Here's Bradford's bit, " Sean said. He scanned the paragraph and chuckled. "Listen, 'When discussing the rise of attacks Bradford Addison called the rise abominable and expressed his distaste for the Ravenwood Arms Apartments claiming that Alice Appleton should work to shield those who truly needed protection rather than lining her own pockets. He went on to claim, "Many of the community's elite, even in her home town have no shielding on their apartments and she should be required to see to their safety before seeking her own profit." When this reporter pointed out the legal restrictions surrounding the shielding of residential properties, Bradford waved off such concerns claiming it was merely Appleton's lack of compassion that left these wealthy apartment renters shield-less.' Oh my, shame, shame Alice." Sean said shaking his head.

"I'll have to work on my compassion, " I told him dryly.

"It gets better, " Sean said. "She asked James about this as well. James confirmed that legally you couldn't shield those apartments as per regulation, that you rarely turned down a commission and if you did so it was due only to scheduling conflicts, " Sean said paraphrasing the article. "In addition, he pointed out that the jobs you turned down were often undertaken by you at a later date when your schedule allowed it."

Sean smiled. "Bradford is not going to be happy about this part, " Sean added. "She

Malak picked me up a little while later and once in Romania and the shielding job complete, he refused to leave his hotel room until our flight departed. He even took his meals inside. Maybe he thought vampires would get him. Or maybe gypsies. Personally I can't see either wanting to carry him off, but it sounds better than saying he was sulking because I threw off his schedule."

"Maybe he ran out of audio books, " Davis suggested, a glint of amusement in his eyes. "So you wandered around Romania alone?" He asked.

"No, the contractor for the site I was sent to shield and his wife, Helena, showed me around since the shielding was actually the last thing needed on that project and there was a lag between it and his next one. I got to eat with them a few times. Helena made this fantastic soup. I wanted to smuggle a cauldron of it home with me. Trust me, I did not miss Malak."

"I can see that, " Davis said nodding.

"So see, I take vacations, " I replied. "Sort of. So what about you? When was your last vacation?"

"Around New Year's last year, " Davis replied. "I went to Paris."

"For New Years? Sounds like fun, " I told him. We shifted the details of the apartment building as well as the various issues it raised aside and passed the rest of the drive discussing trips, both business and pleasure, as well as some of the fun and often times frantic happening's around them. By the time we pulled into the restaurant parking lot we were both laughing and in a good mood.

We entered the restaurant and were shown to our table. True to the name, the decor featured wine barrels and offered a large selection of locally produced vintages. The floor was made to resemble old cobblestone, the tables were covered in white cloth and low candles were arranged in the center of the tables. The table's elegance contrasted pleasantly with the designed rusticity of the rest of the room. The menu featured items where wine was often one of the components of the dish. We placed our orders and the menus were whisked away by an efficient waiter in black.

"So did they ever find your luggage, " I asked, resuming our earlier conversation.

"Well they found a piece of luggage, " Davis said with a grin. "And admittedly on the outside it resembled my bag, inside however was a different story. They were clothes designed for what had to be a very thin, rather short man. The airline rep insisted it was my bag, so I held up the pants, which only came to mid-calf."

"What did he say?" I asked.

"The clerk told me that he had heard that capri length pants for men were being touted by designers and complemented me on being fashion forward."

I laughed and shook my head.

"So figuring if the actual owner of the suitcase was found I could easily reimburse him for the dress shirt if nothing else, I slipped it on to prove my point."

"Oh no, it was a hulk-a-rific moment wasn't it?"

"All that was missing was the green skin, " Davis said nodding. "Buttons went flying, seams pretty much exploded." Davis flexed for me as the waiter brought our wine. "It was quite something."

"And what did the clerk say to that?" I asked after the waiter left again.

"He informed me that sudden weight gain was cause to see my doctor, " Davis responded with a laugh. "And when I got home I purchased a very lovely set of neon green luggage, which I decorated with personalized decals to ensure my bags looked like no other." We both laughed.

"My, doesn't this look cozy, " a bored voice drawled from my left. Startled from our conversation, both of us looked to see Bradford Augustus Addison the fourth walking up to our table.

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