Stories

A Tale of Blood and Roses, Part 3, by Keira Heckman

#blood and roses #fantasy

Maccan ran a hand over his perfectly smoothed hair before he set off down the hallway again. Jake didn’t follow this time. Instead, he went to find Rosalind.

He found her in Exam Room B sitting on an examination table dressed in jeans and an old t-shirt. He folded his arms as he leaned against the doorframe and waited for her physical examination to be over. She sat with her legs swinging slightly, crinkling the white paper beneath her.

The nurse crossed over to her. “Open your mouth, please.”

Rosalind did as she was told while the nurse peeled the microphone from the inside of her cheek.

“Am I done?” Rosalind asked the nurse. Her eyes met Jake’s and she raised an eyebrow.

The nurse nodded. Rosalind jumped down from the table and skipped over to the doorway where Jake stood. “What’s up?”

Jake stood up straight and walked down the hallway in the same direction he had come, gesturing for Rosalind to follow.

“De-briefing?” She asked, matching his stride with ease. Her tone was coloured with a mixture of sarcasm and annoyance. Rosalind was much more of an act first, ask questions later agent. She had been taken in by the agency at twelve years-old and climbed through the ranks until she had found a position that fit. She made an excellent field agent, but he pitied the person that had to fill out her mission reports, until he remembered that was his job now. He sighed mentally, budget cuts.

He nodded. He glanced at her shirt, “Daddy issues?” he raised his eyebrows at her as he read the words printed on the yellow fabric.

Rosalind smiled, “It’s funny cause it’s true.”

Jake liked it when she smiled. It brought out a small dimple in her left cheek. When you added her bright blue eyes, lined with perfectly winged eyeliner, the contrast of her pale skin, and auburn hair, the result was a very pretty face.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without eyeliner.”

“And you never will,” she teased.

Jake swiped his ID badge on the card slot in the door and pushed it open. “After you,” he said as he held it open for her.

“You know I can open a door for myself, right?”

Jake rolled his eyes, “I know you can open a door. I was being gentlemanly.”

Rosalind smirked as she stepped through the door. “Wow, there really is a first time for everything.”

Jake stepped through after her, shaking his head slightly as the door sealed shut behind them.

The size of the room was unclear because of the amount of technology that had been stuffed into it. A large screen took up most of one wall, while piles of old modes of computers, keyboards and base units took up another. The air smelled of dust, heated plastic with a faint scent of Doritos.

Rosalind saw a swivel chair in the center of the room and sat on it, one leg tucked under her, the other she used to spin herself in slow circles. Jake took the spare chair and moved it over a monitor in the corner of the room. He switched the monitor on and the screen showed an open document—a rundown of Rosalind’s latest assignment.

Jake sat on the chair, his eyes darting across the screen. He could see her spinning in the corner of his eye and sighed, “Please stop, you’re giving me motion sickness just watching you.”

“Sorry,” Rosalind wheeled her chair over to him.

“Okay, so what do we know about the assignment?” Jake asked, scrolling through the file.

“Known locally as the faceless man, seven feet tall, great fashion sense, oh, and I killed him,” Rosalind smiled.

Jake looked up at her, “What did you miss?”

Her look of triumph was replaced by one of confusion.

“Nothing.”

Jake turned back to the screen and read from it. “The faceless man disables his prey by emitting a high frequency sound. Victims have reported dizziness, disorientation, migraines, temporary deafness, and even blindness.”

Rosalind put a hand to her head, “The headaches.”

Her eyes widened, “Is that why I fell? The disorientation? Because I never fall, you’ve seen me train. I’m like a cat. I always land on my feet.”

Jake nodded, “It’s the most probable explanation.” He closed the tab and turned his chair back towards Rosalind. “About your fall…”

Rosalind read his face like a book, “What did Maccan have to say about it?”

Jake was taken aback, “How did you—”

“I could tell by your face. You get this look after you’ve spoken to him, like you’ve been sent to the headmaster’s office for something you didn’t do. So…”

Rosalind leaned forward in her seat.  “What did he say? Am I in trouble?” Her face was serious but there was a sparkle in her eyes.

Jake sighed, “He said your fall was an embarrassment to the agency and told me to deal with it.”

Rosalind looked relieved as she slumped back in the chair. “Oh, that’s not too bad. Just put a note in my file and delete the footage. It’d be a shame to mar my perfect record, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make if it’ll get Maccan off my back.”

He got up from his seat and walked across the room, running a hand through his hair. “I don’t know if I can just do that, Rosa. He was pretty ticked off. So,” He looked down, “I’m assigning you to Camilla.”

Rosalind’s jaw dropped, “Vampire duty?! But it wasn’t my fault that I fell. It was no face guy and his high frequency sounds!”

“I know that, but Maccan—” Jake started but Rosalind spoke over him.

“Did you at least explain to him—”

“I tried but he wouldn’t hear it. Besides, I think it’s for the best that you lay low for a little while.” Jake walked over to a monitor and turned it on.

Rosalind got to her feet. “And if I refuse?”

Jake looked up from the computer. “Well, technically, I’m your superior-”

“Not necessarily,” She shot back. Her anger clouded her pretty features.

“I’m your superior and I could report you to Maccan,” Jake finished.

Rosalind stared at him for a while before she spoke. “Fine. I’ll go babysit a three-hundred-year-old but it’s a waste of my talents, and we both know it.” She strode past him but stopped at the door.

She turned, “And you’ll report me to Maccan? Now who has daddy issues?”

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