Sloppy Seconds Ain't My Style

Movie On The Lawn 

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

 Larkspur, for all of it's hustle and bustle where a younger demographic was concerned, remained seemingly unclaimed. There was a presence of course, a musty and feral scent of wild animal. But to her knowledge, there was no pack of shifting wolves or cheetah's or whatever else. Therefore, by a sort-of presumed code of contact ... it was open season.

 The trip to the stadium had been an easy enough drive - the crowd big enough to earn a self-contained smile, the police presence enough to dull it. Less than surprising or threatening, it felt more like a secondary annoyance than anything else - a small nest of gnats she would need to dismiss before digging in. This bit of horrifyingly chipper cinema was approximately two hours of long, plenty of time to settle on an individual and lure them away from the lawn proper and to death (or in the very least, injury).

 But for now people were still settling in on their tarps and blankets, pulling out their folding chairs from bags and laying out their snacks as if they were running a buffet themselves. So she walked the perimeter, pushed strands of hair from her face and kept her free hand comfortably in the pocket of her jacket.

 And then ... there. It was enough that she stopped short between two parties setting up for the night, a couple and a family of three - the sight making her squint a bit before deciding that she was not crazy after all. Ignoring the way that the presumed mother of a particularly rambunctious child stared at her - as if she could will her into moving along, she stepped forward anyway and settled comfortably on the idea of following for the time being.

Small world.

The curfew came to an end and Larkspur celebrated with a fucking after dark three-day movie extravaganza on the stadium lawn. This was tempting fate with everything that happened lately. Fresh off her forced vacation and reinstated, Morgan loomed near one entrance, a tight knot of apprehension twisting in her gut.

Movies in the park should have been a light affair and easy work. Drunken shenanigans and maybe a few scuffles were the extent of such events. Morgan wrinkled her nose, weed floated through the crowd, but instructions were clear to use a gentle hand tonight. She only got snippy with blatant or prolific usage. God, she hoped no one was shooting up out there.

Movie goers streamed past without care, claiming turf and setting in for the cold evening's entertainment. Morgan frowned at a few that past wearing little more than hoodies. For fuck’s sake, she was cold, even in thermals. She shook her head as they disappeared into the throng of blanket-toting locals.

Morgan clapped her gloved hands and rubbed the palms together vigorously, her warm breath condensing on the night's air. Her mind wandered past the domestic troubles this many people gathered together would produce and onto the supernatural. Creatures that made the night theirs held her focus. Her green eyes moved from face to face and attempted to discern how many were already dead. They all looked the same to her. Morgan cursed beneath her breath; unable to tell if this was paranoia or vigilance.

 It would be absolutely insane to say that she had never forgotten a face over the course of the past two hundred and fifty-one years. But she didn't make a habit of forgetting one quiet so quickly - especially when they were dressed more or less the same way, especially when they were supposed to be dead or incarcerated.

How unfortunate.

 Having not stuck around to see what came of her little suggestion on the night at the casino, she wondered if the miserable fellow that had nearly been dead in the parking lot had made it out unscathed as well. Tragic. Still, it made her wonder - curious as she tilted her head and tried to glean some sense as to how the woman was handling herself these days. So confident and stern in those few moments back in Red Rock ... now on lawn duty at a public event. While it was no jail sentence of untimely death, perhaps in it's own way that was a subtle form of punishment as well - she imagined she would hate it were the tables turned.

 Mulling over her options, her mind honed in on the word public, the knowledge that they were surrounded by a fair share of people and that a scene would be ... ill-advised, perhaps. "Well don't you look on edge."

She tensed and drew a sharp breath; her eyes widened as her stomach lurched. That voice. Morgan would never forget that voice. As adrenaline pounded through her temples, her hand reached for her sidearm. But Morgan ceased her hand before she touched the grip. Her hand formed into a fist at her hip and she put a precious few feet distance between her and the vampire.

Vampire. Fuck. Face to face with the predator, Morgan was forced to admit this was all real. Despite everything, she still clung to the frayed thread of hope that this was all a nightmare. Strangling the terror that threatened to overwhelm her, Morgan held the fear beneath the surface until it stopped kicking. Exhaling an unconsciously held breath Morgan, she managed to meet the woman's mirthless black eyes.

"You. You got some fucking nerve." Morgan hissed. Her nostrils flared. The urge to empty a magazine in the vampire's chest was real, but what would that do… piss her off? Would it slow her down? Would it hurt? Would she bleed without a pulse? Fuck, she knew nothing about these undead fucks. If the man at the casino was to be believed, the bitch needed to burn.

 The human heartbeat was a language as much as English or French, easy to understand if you had the experience for it. The officer with whom she had danced with in the past recognized her, or in the very least the frantic rhythm of her heart suggested as much. That was power, that was nice - to know that a couple words and a show of face could rattle someone to such a degree without so much as lifting a hand her way.

 Speech was a little harder to decipher for all it's common use - a little easier to forge as the other woman sounded more irate than anything else. Less appealing by far, but she supposed there was something to be said for the nerve that was shown then and there. "Ma'am," She kept her voice low but firm, slowly slid her hand from her pocket and settled in side by side - as if they were partners surveying the growing crowd of the evening's events together. "I'm going to need you to calm down."

 Her eyes focused on no one in particular, moved from face to face - took in clothing and snacks and a whole lot of shit that she didn't exert the effort to sustain. "I would hate to alarm the general public - it would be anarchy ..." She watched her from her peripheral, a flicker of an upwards turn to her lips now. "Did you fumble the shot? Sorry I couldn't stay around to watch."

Standing beside the undead bitch and surveying the crowds gathered without a care in the world, Morgan was all but seized with dread. She felt as if given the leash of some barely tethered beast and carnage was but a slip of her fingers. Alarm wasn't her worry, wholesale slaughter teetered upon her mind's precipice. The situation needed to be controlled.

Morgan realized something she instinctually knew outside the casino when she followed the woman's order without question. She was little more than a plaything to this vampire, a distraction to pass the inevitable eternity undeath offered. Why else would the bitch stand beside her now, wearing that fucking smirk? This was just a game to her; a lethal game Morgan was eager to win.

"Fuck you. You should have stuck around." She spoke with the promise of an impotent threat. "What do you want?"

 The agitation made her smile a bit, listening to the hurtled anger and the threat that was veiled so thinly she was sure it would have drawn a handful of stares if anyone had been near enough to hear it. "That isn't very approachable of you." More of a fact than anything else, she let her eyes wonder to the screen and considered the question. What did she want?

A meal, some excitement, really - she wasn't all that picky.

 The fact of the matter was that this opportunity had just fallen into her lap and who was she, really, to question fate? "An apology would be nice - you interrupted me while I was working the other night. Now I guess I'm interrupting you, not so nice, is it?" Reaching up, she made a point not to get too close, to not touch the other woman as she snapped her fingers to try to draw her attention back to her completely.

"Excuse me, officer, I'm speaking to you - can you look at me while I'm talking, please?"

Morgan snorted bitterly and shook her head. A fucking apology? Really? The bitch had some nerve after almost making her shoot some civilian. So, this was what immortality looked like then, tit for tat? Morgan had better things to do than this and ached to be gone of this fucking vampire. But she remained simply because it meant the bitch wasn't eating some innocent. Engaging still felt like a mistake and paranoia thrummed within her, wondering whether or not the decision was hers.

The bitch snapped her fingers and caught her attention. The question was reasonable, had it come from anyone else. Morgan knew she was being rude, and she ignored the request before thinking better of it. Do what she wanted and maybe she wouldn't drink some kid.

Morgan turned her head and forced a smile.

SUGGESTION #1: Success!

 She straightened up a bit when the woman looked at her directly - pleased, at least if the hint of a somewhat lopsided grin had anything to say about it. How bold, how incredibly foolish on the officer's behalf. She thought of all the things she could do, ranging in nature from deplorable to minor in the grand scheme of things. From another potshot at a civilian to a sudden and exuberant dance around the field. This, by a landslide, was one of her favorite tricks - beside the occasional outing, the sensation of sun on her skin.

 Her smile fell all at once regardless - calm and composed as she kept her eyes on her and her tone level. "Apologize to me for the inconvenience." The apology itself held little value, more so wanting to make sure that they were both intimately aware of the pecking order between them.

"I'm sorry for the inconvenience." The words past her lips with surprising sincerity before Morgan realized she spoke. She stood dumbfounded before the other woman. Comprehension came a moment later and her eyes narrowed, face flushed with anger in the cold.

Morgan rationalized the first suggestion to shock or not fully realizing what the vampire was capable of. She promised herself the next time would be different. She wouldn't be taken advantage of again. But it had been just as easy as before for the vampire bitch to make her act against her will. The further ramifications of that command went unconsidered; Morgan could have made the 11 o'clock news at her suggestion.

"God damn, bitch." The words were out before she had mind to reconsider them.

 She had most certainly been called worse things over the course of her long and sordid existence, but still it put a fleeting damper on her smile as she crossed her arms and shifted her weight from one leg to the other. "Careful." This was not a command, suggested or otherwise, more a threat than anything else - a fair warning that perhaps Cassidy Morgan was toeing a particularly dangerous line.

 "I'm being nice to you. Do you know how rare it is that I'm nice?" She tutted the other woman's hasty response and stood up a bit straighter as she looked about. "An apology is a gentle reprimand ... just imagine what else you could do here. All these people, all these eyes on you ..." She trusted in the inherent gift and curse of imagination to fill in the cracks for her.

 "What's your name anyway?" Another snap of her fingers, this one more intended for the simple sake of hopefully grating on the other woman's nerves. "Hurry up. I'm getting bored."

Morgan frowned, her jaw clenched as the vampire outlined the many possible outcomes of this conversation in the fewest words possible. That she fell under the vampire's thrall so completely once again worried Morgan greatly. She hated being powerless and swallowed the anger that threatened to boil over.

Retorts festered in her mind as the bitch clicked her fingers again. She swallowed those as well. This wasn't the time for rebellious thought, not while surrounded by so many civilians. Maybe if she could get the woman alone? No, they'd both be unshackled by the crowd then and Morgan paled to imagine what would come of that. The fucking vampire had the advantage

"Morgan." She cleared her throat and tried to put the confidence back into her words. "And you?"

 She had adapted to all sorts of names over the course of her life. Some for business, some for discretion - hell, even in Mountainside she had dropped names that were not her own to Were's met in passing. A single cop that was neither beast nor Vampire did not merit that particular degree of paranoia, and as such she shrugged and watched her intently. "Margaux."

 "I don't like the name Morgan." A simple matter of fact it seemed, an opinion no one had asked for but she unfurled as though it were common law. "You didn't answer me - did you fumble the shot?"

Morgan wasn't too fond of Margaux either, but bit back a retort, favoring to keep things civil. She needed to play this smart.

"I missed." And thank fuck for that. They wouldn't be having this conversation if she made the shot and Morgan would be in a much darker place right now. She tried not to dwell upon that and knew where the blame lay. "Why'd you make me do that?" And she could already hear the vampire's flippant response in her head.

 'Why'd you make me do that?' What a horrifically pure and misplaced question to asked - she was surprised by the lack of embarrassment Morgan seemed to have from asking it out loud. She shot her a look that she hoped conveyed a single word - seriously? Her hands jingled the change in her pockets, listening to the coins there knock against one another as she looked around.

 "Because you cornered me. I suppose I could have just told you to leave ..." It had come to mind, however passing that thought had been. It was like asking why someone knocked down a stack of dominoes or why people felt the desire to touch a wall when a sign advised that the paint was wet. It was ingrained in her, a set of impulses that went right along with the need for blood. "But that wouldn't have been nearly half as fun for me. Disappointing to hear that jerk off is waddling around somewhere though."

Morgan stared back and anger rose at the look her question evoked. It was naïve to think the vampire had a reason other than entertainment. The urge to throw the ensuing panic to fate and she wanted to see what sixteen rounds of 9mm would do to a vampire. But Morgan stayed her hand. Margaux's time would come.

Speaking with the dead was a new experience for Morgan and this conversation offered little in the way of reassurance. Whatever shreds of humanity flitted about the woman's face were all that remained of her soul—and while that word held religious significance, it wasn't Morgan's intent. The soulless sent kids out in suicide vests, they tortured and mutilated for fun, and reveled in their madness. A pulse didn't mean shit.

"Sorry to disturb your meal." Maybe a petulant response, but Morgan smirked all the same. This was uncharted territory akin to an armed standoff with a brutally quick end. Keeping the woman talking seemed the best course, distract and engage. "I'm sure that jerk off won't be going out at night anytime soon."

 "That's of no consequence to me." It had two meanings, although she had zero intention of specifying to Morgan's benefit. The doctor from the casino was of little value to her as a person, a minnow, a small little speck in a far more elaborate and grander ecosystem. Besides, she wasn't confined to the nighttime hours - though she wouldn't tell the officer beside her all of these without any sort of hesitation. She wasn't here to give her the whole Vampire rule book, after all.

 "The real question I suppose, is why in the hell are you out on my time?" Still barely a speck in the larger picture, but an admittedly bigger one than some gambler with a pissy attitude at a casino. "I am still a bit agitated about that whole night, you know." A metaphorical brush against the other, a threat in some way that was covered by many layers.

"Especially when you missed the bigger threat at the casino that night, bigger than little old me."

Morgan took the vampire's meaning to be the first. While a bar-side conversation revealed that vampires could endure daylight, it sounded too farfetched and Morgan wasn't in the right mind to read between the lines. According to Margaux, the old man was beyond consequence and Morgan believed it.

Now she read between the lines as the fangs came out. Morgan's face darkened and she was hard pressed to accept some vampire 'we own the night' bullshit. But before she could retort or truly comprehend Margaux's threat, her eyes narrowed with distrust.

"What are you talking about?" She regretted asking the second the words left her lips, feeling she was about to be spun a line.


 She dangled the information just out of reach, brought it close enough to the surface to offer an outline before she pushed it back down and plunged officer Morgan back and into the dark. It was an easy form of teasing, curated movement meant to draw her attention elsewhere - it worked like a charm. Certainly she had not won a fan in this woman, but then again she didn't need her drawing hearts in the margins of her official reports - she needed her out of her hair. And what better way to do so then to use her momentum against a common enemy?

 "There'a a shifter problem in Mountainside.[/] There was no need to lie, to suggest anything - it was a full truth for a change. [q]There was a cat one at the casino that night, I assume he's the one who called you, but I don't know for sure." She stretched her arms above her head, yawned and showed off a mouth full of dull and decidedly normal human teeth. "There's wolves in Cedar Creek, something is in Crestview, there's cat's in Belle Vista, ... I think that's it for now - save for a couple handful of stragglers."

"You should fuck off and focus on that - I shouldn't have to do all your work for you."

It chilled her to the bone to hear 'something is in Crestview'. Held against werecats and werewolves, it was the something that plucked at the imagination. For a creature of the night—bathed in the supernatural—to not have a fucking clue verged on terrifying. Morgan schooled her expression, not wanting to give Margaux any more ammunition.

It was true that the vampire, specifically this one, claimed the majority of Morgan's focus; shifters were a point on the horizon. And from what little she knew, only one of these freaks fed on humans—this was where she needed to be. But Morgan had been on the force long enough to know when she was being played. The act struck her as almost human. It was easy to forget that Margaux wasn't like her.

"What? Are you my CI now?" She shook her head and laughed at the absurdity of it. Morgan lamented how fucked up everything was these days. She almost missed the days when humans exclusively acted shittily to each other. "I ain't about to turn a blind eye to whatever you got planned here." It wasn't who she was.

Suggestion 3: Success

You know, for all of her bluster - this bitch was actually fairly stupid.

 'Whatever she had planned here'. Now that one, that one merited the rumble of a chuckle, shaking her head as she turned to look at the woman, inched in a bit but made absolutely sure to avoid any actual contact. "Here's what I'm going to do, Morgan - I'm going to go on my merry way. I'm going to kill one of these nice people, and I'm going to leave their corpse somewhere for you to find. Because you have a lot of lip for a little bitch with a short life expectancy."

 She ran her hand through her hair at a passing breeze, breathed in deep and closed her eyes as she mulled over her options before refocusing. "And you? When I turn away from you, you're going to forget every single thing you know about Vampires. Every face, every lead, every location, every theorized weakness, every encounter - including this one. All of it." If she wasn't going to follow the breadcrumbs that Margaux laid for her, then in the very least she was going to have to work off of a clean slate.

 "Now, you have a good night, Officer." Turning round without another word on it one way or the other, she headed for the heart of the crowd and the promise of blood.

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