Jack’s mom had me over for dinner. Their whole family was there as usual and it was like the night before hadn’t even happened. It’s nice, the way they all get along – even when they are fighting, they get along. But they don’t fight much. I guess ’cause I’m an only child and sleep overs were the only time I was around other kids for more than a few hours I don’t ‘get’ family the way they do. It’s nice though.
Jack and I went to his apartment during dessert. Honestly, I couldn’t have put in another bite and they were wondering why I didn’t want cake? I did want it – her cakes are fabulous – but a girl can only put away so much, you know?
Thompson and Lisa were supposed to join us after dessert so I had to decide if now was the time or not. But Jack ended up deciding for me, although he didn’t know it. He asked if he could have some time with Lisa – Thompson was supposed to make himself scarce for a little while. I told him sure, I’d be on the stoop and could he send Thompson out to me so I could ask him something? He said he would and we chatted about more pleasant matters for a while. Neither of us ‘decided’ to do that – we just had the same urge to talk about something other than slaying.
Someday soon, I’d like to talk about a lot more than slaying. I really like Jack and I’m sure he likes me but all the slaying stuff gets in the way. But it was definitely not for tonight – less than a half hour later the buzzer sounded. I let myself out the bedroom window. Jack does it sometimes – it’s convenient when he’s not locking up – but that doesn’t happen often or his kid sister would be in his stuff. So he says – I’ve never seen Jane even try to go in without Jack being there.
It must have gone more smoothly than I’d have thought because a few minutes later, Thompson came out on the stoop. He seated himself across from me on the other banister.
He cocked his head at me. "I understand you want to speak with me?"
I nodded, "Yep. Don’t need to be so formal." I glanced meaningfully at the roof.
He took my meaning, "Er, perhaps another time in a less public venue, unless you prefer otherwise?"
"No, that’s fine. I’ll get back with you."
He went back inside and I trotted down the step as if to take a walk. I cut through the alley as I usually do and from there hopped up on the fire escape and headed for the roof. Thompson was already waiting for me. Jack said once we should bring chairs up here. I’m all for it. He was kidding; I’m not.
But we found adequate parking for our respective rears. He was nervous and it showed.
"Relax, I don’t bite or anything." I told him.
"Of course not." He said with all the conviction of someone who doesn’t believe a word of what they just said.
"It’s really okay. I understand – not easy to be close to a slayer, is it?"
He smiled slightly and spoke with reserve, "No, I don’t really know how Tresmayne does it."
"Is it hard for you staying with Jack?"
He shook his head slowly, "That’s the weird part. I find him almost comfortable to be around. I … don’t think I should explain, Madame."
"He feels like your master, huh? It’s okay if you don’t want to tell me. But so you know, he won’t get mad. Mr Colin had a long talk with him a couple nights after you arrived and he knows you could get… attached."
"Oh… My thanks to you. That does make it easier."
"Sure thing." I told him, "That’s not exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. I want to ask you something with the understanding that you can choose whether or not to answer and I won’t be upset no matter what you choose, okay?"
He nodded, but didn’t look all that okay.
I chewed my lip and thought for a moment, "No, seriously, if it isn’t okay with you for me to ask I need to know."
"I am afraid, Madame. I don’t want to anger you. I’d rather you just … I’m sorry, I’ve spoken out of turn."
"No you haven’t. You’d rather I just ordered you around so you don’t have to think about whether or not your response will make me mad, right?"
"Madame is very perceptive." He replied, looking away.
Well, this was going well. I sighed, mostly irritated at myself. I swear he winced.
"Okay, let’s start over. As far as I’m concerned, you belong to Jack and I do mean ‘belong’ as in property of, okay? Since you are someone else’s pet, I will treat you as precisely that – someone else’s property. I don’t get to kill you even if you totally tick me off. The worst I can do is tell Jack you’ve been a bad boy, understand?"
I really wanted to throw something at him right then because he actually breathed a sigh of relief. "Yes, understood, Madame."
I mentally noted I now had yet another thing to tell Jack that I was really sure he wasn’t gonna like. This was beginning to really annoy me. But it wasn’t Thompson’s fault so I told myself to forget it and move on. "Good."
"What would Madame like to ask me?"
I could see why Jack found this so grating. Gathering all my remaining patience, I smiled, "Well…"