About a Vampire (Argeneau #22)(14)


by Lynsay Sands

Sighing, he scanned the other windows in the house and then glanced over the neighboring houses again. The next hour would be taken up with doing that over and over . . . unless Holly woke up and moved downstairs. If that happened, he’d have to move to a window on the lower floor.

Justin knew he didn’t really have to watch this closely. There was no one in the house with her so no risk that she’d bite anyone, but he wanted to watch her. He enjoyed watching her. Besides, who knew when her hunger would kick in? They’d been giving her blood right up until about five minutes before she’d woken up. But she was a new turn. Hunger might claim her at any moment, or might not arrive for hours. The amount of blood a new turn needed was always more than a mature immortal, but it could vary widely depending on the physical well-­being of the one turned. Justin had spotted an insulin pen and blood tester in her purse as he’d looked for her keys and knew Holly had been a diabetic before the turn. But he wasn’t sure how much damage her body had incurred over the years from the ailment. That would affect her need for blood, though he wasn’t sure by how much.

He supposed he’d just have to wait to see.

Four

“Holly? Holly! You slept through your alarm.”

Moaning sleepily as someone shook her shoulder, Holly turned onto her back and peered blearily up at the fair-­haired man bent over her. “James?”

“Yeah. Get up, girl. You’ll be late for work,” he warned and turned to walk out of the room.

Holly stared after him with confusion and then glanced at the clock on the bedside table. 8:11. She had slept through the night and—­

“Crap!” she muttered and tossed the sheets aside to get up, realizing only then that it was actually the towel she’d fallen asleep in. Catching it up again, she stood and wrapped it around herself, then moved to the closet. She had to dress and—­

Holly paused in front of the closet but rather than search for clothes, she merely shifted her feet as she thought. She wasn’t even sure she had a job anymore. She’d missed two days and might be fired. She really needed to call and find out and . . . she was starved. Turning, Holly headed out of the room. She would eat first, and then call, and then dress. At least that way she would know what she was dressing for . . . work, or groveling at the temp agency for a new position.

A grimace claimed her lips at the very thought. Holly hate, hate, hated working for the temp agency, but appreciated the job at the same time because they were willing to work around her class schedule.

Holly had worked full-­time to support them while James had got his applied sciences degree at the local college. He’d worked too, part-­time, like she was doing now. The degree had got him a job with a low starting wage, but a lot of promise for the future. Now it was her turn. So, James had his full-­time position and she had her part-time gig with the temp agency while finishing her degree. They were presently between spring and summer courses, so she had been working full-­time the last week and was supposed to this week . . . but she’d missed two days. The temp agency may already have put someone else in her position.

Holly walked down to the kitchen and peered into the refrigerator, examining the contents. She’d gone shopping the night before her unfortunate trip to the cemetery and had bought loads of fruits and vegetables. Most of them were now gone and what remained didn’t look very appealing.

Sighing, she closed the door and glanced to the cupboards. There should be cereal. James didn’t eat cereal . . . and she had spotted a milk carton in the refrigerator. Whether there was any actual milk in it was another question. James had the annoying tendency to put empty cartons, or nearly empty cartons, back in the refrigerator. She started toward the cupboard where the cereal should be, but then changed her mind. Cereal just didn’t seem appealing to her at the moment either.

Holly turned in a circle and then moved to the phone. She may as well get the call done. If she did have to go to work, she had to get moving and then she could grab something to eat on the way.

Holly knew the temp agency number by heart and quickly dialed it, then waited patiently for Gladys to answer. The woman took her business very seriously and showed up as early as 7:00 A.M. or even before that when things needed doing.

“Good morning, Temps for Hire.”

Holly forced a smile into her voice and said, “Good morning, Gladys.”

“Holly! Good morning, sweetie. I’m glad you called,” Gladys said sounding happy. “I have to tell you, you’re really making points for us at Sunnyside. They love you there.”

Holly stilled, her eyebrows rising. Finally she asked in cautious tones, “They do?”

“Oh, my, yes. Every time I call they give me nothing but compliments on you and your work.”

Holly hesitated, but then asked, “And when did you last talk to them?”

“Yesterday. I called for my weekly checkup,” she answered promptly. “And they gave me an even more impressive report on you than last week. Keep up the great work, my girl. You’re making the company look good.”

Holly closed her eyes briefly and gave her head a small shake. This didn’t make any sense at all. It seemed they hadn’t tattled that she’d missed two days’ work. That or they hadn’t noticed, which didn’t seem likely . . . unless neither the boss nor his daughter had bothered to show up themselves. But that couldn’t be. Someone had to have been there to answer Gladys’s call and give that stellar report.

“So, what did you call about, Holly?” Gladys asked when she remained silent.

Grimacing, she bit her lip briefly as she tried to come up with an excuse for calling, and then said, “I just wanted to remind you that I can only work part-­time again after this week.”

“Oh, yes, your classes start again,” Gladys murmured, the sound of shuffling papers coming through the phone. “Well, that’s okay. I’ll put Nancy on the days you can’t work,” she assured her, and then asked, “You did schedule your classes so you have two days free each week again, didn’t you?”

“Yes. I e-­mailed my class hours to Beth on Monday,” Holly assured her and glanced toward the ceiling when James called her name from upstairs.

“Oh, good, good,” Gladys said. “I’ll get them from her and work out how to handle the Sunnyside taxes. In the meantime, I should let you go. You need to leave for work soon, I’d guess.”