Z M Dawson
All Rights Reserved, 2015
“I didn’t find anything tying Stephen Foster to swans or Swan Lake.” Emma rubbed the side of her temples and blew out a frustrated breath.
“Well. I think I may have found something. It is a bit far-fetched, but makes more sense than anything else we have come across.” Bea looked uncertainly across the table at her tired, fractious partner. “Just listen and then you can tell me I am losing it, after, okay?”
“Okay. At this point anything would be better than the nothing we are getting from just working the case the normal way. If we cannot connect the music box and then find a way to track it, we are going to have to go outside the box. So, yeah, I will listen.”
“Swans were thought to symbolize beauty in the 1500s. The royals had them waddling through their gardens or floating among the lily pads in their fountains. Women were compared to them in verse and song. That is when having a long, graceful neck became the thing in Europe.” Bea shifted sheets of notes and then straightened them, which made Emma smile. “As totemic symbols they were thought to bring messages in dreams, to symbolize a time to use intuition, or rely on insight.” She put the paper down and looked up at Emma. “I think our guy knows what they mean symbolically and he has the music boxes made based on this knowledge.”
“Not bad.” Emma smiled and sat back in her chair. “So, he has these boxes made and he gives them to the woman he is romancing. Because that is what he thinks he is doing.” Emma made a face which made Bea laugh out loud, causing the skinny librarian to look up from her paperwork. The woman was only in her thirties but the glasses perched on her nose and her style made her seem much older. Emma and Bea were the bane of her existence, because they always showed up on her shift and they always made too much noise for her liking.
“Who is who? Is he dreaming of them because he loves them and when he can no longer wait to be with them, he strikes? Or does he see them in some way as needing to released from this world to a place of beautiful dreams?”
“That would be the million dollar question. I am also wondering if we are going to find like crimes.” She neatened her papers and carefully put them in her case folder before putting them into her computer case. “Now that we have formulated our own ideas, let’s go see if anyone else has dealt with him and what ideas they had.” Bea yawned.
“Tomorrow morning. You still aren’t 100% and you can go longer between feedings if you take care of yourself. So, home, a relaxing movie and then bed, for you. We can meet at the station at seven tomorrow.” Emma said when she noticed that her partner was still overly pale.
“You and seven don’t get along.”
Emma shoved her paperwork in her computer case after she shoved her laptop in it. “We will make friends with each other, for your sake.” Emma picked up a stack of books. “Whose turn is it to check out the books?”
“Yours. This way you will pay your fine.” Bea said as she headed for the counter.
“Mother Hen!” Emma hissed at her with a smile in her eyes.
“Eternal Child!” Bea said coolly and raised her chin before turning away.
The librarian had watched the whole exchange. She approached the counter and stuck her hand out for Emma’s card. When Emma looked through everything and found no card, the librarian just shook her head.
“I figured. But I thought I would ask just to see if I might be having a string of luck and should enter the lottery.” She smiled humorlessly. Emma and Bea were the fly in the ointment of her day, for they had been coming in since they started working with the police department. “Emma, I know you have a fine.” She tapped some keys on the computer in front of her. “Whoa!” Her light brown eyebrows disappeared under her toffee-colored hair. “That will be $27.50, please.”
Bea laughed, which set off the librarian.
“I do not see what is remotely funny.” Though she was fighting a chuckle as she looked for her wallet in her computer case. While she dug, the librarian checked out the books. Emma finally came out with a crumpled twenty, a wadded up five, two carefully folded ones, and two quarters that looked like someone had pulled them out of tar on the street.
“Thank you.” The librarian said the corners of her mouth pulled down like she was trying not to smile.
“You are welcome.” Emma said through clenched teeth and left Bea to pick up the books.
“You qualify for sainthood. You carry a gun and she is still alive.” The librarian said seriously.
“You have no idea.” Bea shook her head as she loaded her arms with books. “You have no idea. Bye.”
“Goodbye.” The librarian said sternly.
Emma opened the door to her townhouse and was immediately assaulted by two huge paws and a wet lap of a tongue up her face. She chuckled and rubbed her huge Rottweiler, Thel, short for Othello behind the ears. He barked once happily and then got down so she could put her bag and her share of the books down. When she had accomplished this he led the way down the hall and into the living room, where Phe regally regarded her from the back of the sofa. Emma stepped over to her to brush her beneath her chin, her favorite place and placed a gentle kiss on her silky brow. Phe lightly licked her nose and then jumped down to go and brush her buddy, Thel. They laid down to wait for their humans to say hello to each other.
Emma leaned over the back of the couch and just stared at the beautiful specimen of man who was engrossed in an action movie’s explosions. She shimmied herself over the edge so she could give Thad a kiss and he grabbed her and pulled her down onto his rock hard abdomen. He kissed her until she saw stars and then let her breathe before diving in again. Finally, as Emma fought to catch her breath, she could feel his lips smiling against hers.
“You are earlier than I thought you would be, with the detour this afternoon.” He said as he pulled her to his side and settle her head in his shoulder.
“Bea still looked wiped. We are going to meet at the station at seven in the morning.” Emma grimaced just thinking about it.
Thad’s beautiful mouth was hanging open. “You are going to meet when?”
Emma snarled. “Seven.” She shoved at her hair. “She looked all pale and fragile and yawned and I heard the words come out of my mouth before I could stop them.”
“She is still struggling?” Thad was instantly concerned.
“Yeah. It is always bad when she tries to deny the hunger. And she has never eaten much to begin with, so she does not have energy from food to help out.” Emma closed her eyes as Bea’s face from that afternoon filled her mind’s eye. “She has never cut it this close before. We almost lost her. She almost died.” She opened her eyes and made sure he was looking into hers. “Thank you. You helped me save her life.” Emma kissed him softly.
“I love her, too, Em.” He kissed her back just as softly. “I just wasn’t sure how I would feel about feeding her. I guess I have seen to many vampire movies. I would sure it would feel…wrong, somehow.” He smiled mischievously. “If I had none how great it would feel, I would have said yes a long time ago. And I expect to be included often.” He stroked Emma’s cheek. “I know sometimes you will want to be alone. And I am still okay with it.”
Emma made sure he was looking into her eyes. Her expression was somber. “I am okay with it being just the two of you, sometimes.” She looked down, not sure what he would think of her being okay with it.
“If you are okay with that and the situation arises then fine. I do not think I want to seek it out or that Bea wants to be with me, just because.” Thad said seriously.
“Bea loves you, just like she loves me, Thad. She just didn’t want to cause any problems for us, if we couldn’t handle her in our bed, so to speak.”
“Then count me in. Threesome. Twosome. I am definitely in!” He leered at her and made her laugh.
“So, what did you cook for dinner?” Emma asked teasingly.
“I made my very famous chili.” His brow furrowed. “I seemed to have tons of energy after you left. I thought it would drain me, but the opposite was true.”
Emma climbed back over the back of the couch, making Thad grunt because she used his tummy to push herself up. “That is one of the amazing side effects of feeding, plus as you will see when we are still and not hungry, that we are very horny! I always came home ready to jump your bones when I saw you.”
Thad had managed to stand up. He smirked when he saw Emma’s eyes fixate on his unbuttoned, skin-tight jeans. “I just thought you were horny.” He hooked his thumbs in his belt loops making the jeans gape in interesting ways.
“You wearing anything under those jeans?” Emma managed to whisper.
“Not a stitch.” Thad grunted as Emma jumped him and they landed on the floor in a heap.
“Dinner can wait. I want to devour you first.” Emma smiled wickedly and began to feast.
Thel and Phe, just sighed indulgently and left their humans to it.