Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 26) - Page 47

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"And what is your relationship to him?"

"He's my fiance."

Dunley raised eyebrows and looked at Micah. "Is that right, Mr. Callahan? Are you and Mr. Graison engaged?"

Micah nodded. "Yes."

Dunley turned to me with his notebook and pen in hand. "Someone told me that Mr. Graison was your fiance, Marshal Blake."

"He is."

Dunley looked at me and then back at Nathaniel and Micah and then back at me. "How does that work, Blake? Bigamy is still illegal."

"Marrying more than one person is illegal, but there's no rule against being engaged to more than one person, as long as everyone knows about everyone."

Dunley frowned, staring down at his notebook as if he wasn't sure that what he'd written made sense. "So you're all engaged together?"

"Yes."

"All the news says that you're engaged to the master vampire of St. Louis, this Jean-Claude."

His asking that meant he'd known exactly who I was before he ever knocked on the door. "I am," I said.

"So are any of you actually going to be marrying each other?"

"I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but I'm going to be marrying Jean-Claude, because as you said, we can only legally marry one person at a time."

"And you, Mr. Graison, who are you marrying?"

"Micah and I are planning a wedding," Nathaniel said. He was watching the police officer's face now. He was still trying to look pleasant, but I knew his eyes and they showed that he was thinking hard, trying to figure things out. What the hell was going on?

"So, Blake, you're planning to marry someone that isn't here this weekend, but you're engaged to the two gentlemen here, and you're sleeping with Mr. Spotted-Horse and Mr. Wyatt Erwin." Knowing Ru's name meant he had probably talked to the others first.

"I told you I'm not sleeping with Bernardo, and since you brought it up, I'm not sleeping with Wyatt either."

"You're not sleeping with either Spotted-Horse or Erwin."

"No," I said.

"And yet you got into a fight with another woman over both the men you're not sleeping with, plus a fight over Graison here."

"I told you, I didn't fight with anyone, over anyone."

He looked back to the two men at the bed. "But you are sleeping with these two gentlemen?"

"Yes," I said.

"And all the men are okay with you sleeping with all the other men?"

"We share really well," Nathaniel said, drawing his knees up to his bare chest and trying for winsome, but mostly hitting lascivious, or maybe that was just how he made me feel. Was he trying to distract Dunley, or just tired of the questions?

"Mr. Graison, are you sleeping with Mr. Callahan?" Dunley asked.

"I am." Nathaniel smiled as he said it.

"What about Mr. Spotted-Horse?"

"No."

"Mr. Erwin?"

"Nope."

"And you, Mr. Callahan, who else are you sleeping with?"

"Why the twenty questions, Officer Dunley?" I said.

"Just trying to get a sense of what happened, Marshal Blake."

"What has happened, Officer Dunley?"

"What do you think has happened?"

"Oh, for the love of God, Dunley, just tell us what's happened."

"So you're lovers with Callahan, Graison, Spotted-Horse, and Erwin?"

"I'm just work friends with Spotted-Horse, as I keep telling you. Erwin is just a friend and employee."

"According to witnesses, you were in a passionate embrace with him at the pool yesterday."

"I really can't explain what happened with Wyatt by the pool, or if I can, I don't owe the explanation to you."

"Well, I'll make a note that you don't want to be helpful in this investigation."

"What investigation?" I asked. Something bad had happened, and whatever it was had probably happened to Bettina, last name Gonzales. I wondered if Bernardo had even known her last name before they had sex. I doubted it, but maybe last names weren't that important for a one-night stand.

"Are you sleeping with anyone else in the wedding party, Marshal Blake?"

"No."

Dunley nodded and made another note. "How many other men here in town are you sleeping with that aren't in the wedding, Marshal?"

I debated whether I should answer at all, or if it mattered that the police knew about Nicky and me. "And if I was sleeping with anyone else in town, why would that matter?"

Dunley had to look back through his notes and made enough of a big deal out of it that I wasn't sure if he really needed to check his notes, if it was something he did to give himself time to think, or if it was supposed to mess with our nerves. If it was the latter, he could have saved the act.

"So the three of you are all lovers, all engaged to each other; is that it, Ms. Blake?"

"It's Marshal Blake, and yes.

"

"You don't seem to care if I call Marshal Spotted-Horse mister."

"He's not here to feel insulted. I am."

"You're standing here in a robe in a hotel room with a naked man in your bed, and a second man in a matching robe, and I'm insulting you by calling you Ms. Blake as opposed to Marshal Blake; really?"

"Are you implying that a woman who has multiple lovers is such a slut that she can't be insulted, Officer Dunley?"

He looked at me and thought it through; then he glanced back at the still-open door. Another officer had shooed away the civilians sometime during it all, but still Dunley didn't want to get accused of some kind of sexual insensitivity, not unless he could prove it was all part of his clever questioning technique.

"I would never use that word, Marshal Blake."

"Good to know, but it is what you think of a woman who would sleep with multiple men, isn't it, Officer Dunley?"

"Absolutely not, Marshal Blake."

"Really. I could have sworn that you implied that rather strongly just now, Officer Dunley."

"I most certainly did not."

"Then what are you implying, Officer Dunley, and why do you have this intense curiosity about our personal lives?"

"Just trying to get an understanding of what might have happened between you and Bettina Gonzales."

"Nothing happened between us, Officer Dunley."

"That's not what her friends say."

"I can't help what other people say, Officer Dunley."

"Don't you want to know what her friends said happened between the two of you?"

"You've already told me what they said."

"No, Marshal, I did not."

"Yes, you did," Micah said from the bed.

Dunley frowned for a second and then recovered with a smile that I think was supposed to be disarming but wasn't in the least. He was questioning us like we were suspects or at least persons of interest. Something bad had happened to Bettina. She wasn't my favorite person, but she didn't deserve whatever would make the police question people like this.

"What's happened to Bettina--Ms. Gonzales?" I asked.


Tags: Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Horror
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