The explanation to his father could have gone better in Jack’s estimation. Better still would have been not having to do the deed in the first place. Crazy nonsense, random encounter vampires, cat killing werewolves, house full of monster killers, one dearly beloved friend lost and another hurt, a sister in love with a weird Irish werewolf, oh, and let’s not forget the bizarre command power he didn’t understand or have full control over – any one of which would have made Jack think twice about having a possible albeit innocent mole in the house – there was zero chance he was letting this get any further out of hand.
It made Jack strangely more irritable to find Thompkins humming as he typed merrily on one of his laptops. A quick glance confirmed that it was the play by play Jack had ordered. Why Thompkins was so danged happy about it, Jack couldn’t guess. Maybe he was finally convinced Jack wasn’t going to kill him at the first opportunity. Maybe – but that didn’t seem right to Jack. The next question was why the heck did it annoy him so much?
That was easier – he really didn’t like what he had done. Necessary, yeah, but still. Slavery ended a hundred and fifty some odd years ago and about eighty too late then. This just wasn’t right. Thompkins had been used and discarded only to have Jack himself do this? Wrong, so wrong on so many levels. His father hadn’t said so – hadn’t said much at all, really, but Jack knew he had to be disappointed in his oldest, and stupidest, boy.
He couldn’t change the past but he could get on with the future. The ramifications of Thompkins relationship with Jack’s sister were now a hopeless confused mess that Jack would have to sort out somehow. He’d leave that to later – he needed now to make some kind of sense out of this madness.
A short talk with Mr. Myers confirmed the suspicion that Oscar and Mayer, the cats, had both been Mr. Myers familiars. No match for a werewolf without their slayer the cats had still put up a fight. Mr. Myers had found enough fur and blood to train his sword.
That had made the short talk a bit longer – so some swords can get a ‘taste’ for a particular target. A sword with a communicative owner – which Mr. Myers as a empathetic type slayer naturally was – could learn the taste and identify the target if the sword got close enough.
Adding ‘talking inanimate objects’ to his growing list of weird things in his life, Jack moved on. Going to his own computer, he opened the email Mr McKenzie had forwarded and reviewed the answers to the long list of his questions. If he ever did meet the Mistress, she was probably going to be annoyed with him, too, just from all the pestering.
Five more conversations, including a large pow-pow of the entire company, left Jack drained, no further along than he had been and beginning a beaut of a headache. After everyone finally left and the clean-up was done, Jack downed more aspirin than he should of and hit the hay. His last conscious thought was ‘Why the heck is he still typing?’
The next morning, Jack would ask the question. Coming out of his room, he found Thompkins right where he’d left him, albeit now surrounded by food and drink.
“What – didn’t you sleep at all?”
Thompkins shook his head without looking up, “No, Sir, I got going and wanted to work.”
“Dumb question – you can stop if you want, right?” Jack asked, holding his head and walking to the kitchen.
“Oh sure, why do – oh, I get it. Yes Sir, I can stop if I want – you allowed it.”
Jack winced at the word ‘allowed’ and poured a large glass of orange juice, “Okay, just checking. Oh, and for the record, if I do something that stupid, say something, okay?”
Thompkins was way too happy for Jack’s peace of mind at the moment. Jack downed half his juice and nearly that much of the aspirin bottle.
Jack came back out, sooner than he really wanted to. “Okay, from what Tresmayne tells me, you couldn’t betray us now if you wanted – which I know already you didn’t.”
Thompkins nodded, still typing.
Jack continued, “That was – that was why. Just to be perfectly clear – and because I don’t want to make a stupid mistake – you don’t need my permission for anything you wouldn’t normally need it for. Borrowing my sweater, yeah; coming and going as you please, no.”
Thompkins looked up with a wide grin, “Yes Sir – got it. Thank you!”
Jack nodded and returned to the kitchen. He’d had enough. Sometime soon he’d have to ask but for now, he just couldn’t take Thompkins strange happiness at a time like this.
Finishing his cereal and juice, Jack glanced at the clock. Weirdness would have to wait – work wouldn’t and he sure as heck wasn’t explaining being late to Mr Salvador today.
For Crystal the morning was better. Used to the being up at all hours and able to sleep walk at will, she had gotten more of her eight hours than Jack had and could function fine on what she’d gotten. Her mind wasn’t on the strange goings on at the sanctuary across the street – they were on whether or not her final grades were posted. Once breakfast and parents were attended to, Crystal made a beeline for school.
That afternoon, still on top of the world with a B+ in Intro to Logic, Crystal strolled up the street to her home. On the stoop across the way she saw Thompkins sitting on the balustrade and typing on his computer, surrounded by a gaggle of teenage girls all giggling and laughing about who knew what.
Crystal ran inside to dump her books and give her mom the good news. That took longer than Crystal had thought because her father was home early and she had to tell him as well – which resulted in a celebratory dance around the living room and two bowls of Rocky Road.
An hour later, Crystal emerged to find the teenage crew gone and Thompkins still hard at work on his computer. The sun was dipping below the roof line as she crossed the street.
Thompkins stopped long enough to look up, “Hello, Mis.. er Miss Crystal. How are you today?”
“Great, I passed all my finals. Yourself?”
“Wonderful – I think I’m about halfway done! It’s going much better than I’d hoped.”
Crystal smiled, “Yeah, I imagine so – makes a difference when you’re willing.”
Thompkins nodded, taking her meaning, “Yes, it does.”
Crystal seated herself, “If I’m being too pushy just say so – but have you told Jack how you…”
“…Feel about his sister?” Thompkins finished the sentence. “No, before last night there was no reason and there hasn’t been time really since. You are very astute.”
Crystal shook her head, “No, I’m a girl – some things we get that guys don’t. Others, like the point of watching NASCAR, only guys get.”
Thompkins chuckled, “I’m Canadian – I’m afraid I don’t get the point of watching cars go around in circles really fast for hours on end. Golf is more interesting to watch – when paint drying isn’t on.”
It was Crystal’s turn to chuckle, “So, you’re okay with the possession?”
Thompkins stopped typing and looked up, smiling broadly, “Oh yes, I…” he suddenly stopped speaking and glanced at his watch, “Oops, I’m sorry – it’s almost time to call my mother. I got so busy…”
Crystal smiled, “No problem – I’ll see you later.”
Thompkins nodded in reply, scooped up his laptop and raced for the door.