Laurel and Hodges Cemetery
To Vlad’s credit, he didn’t ask any questions. He waited patiently outside of the funeral home, raised an eyebrow when Alice directed him to the coffin, gave her a look when he saw the date on the grave, but he did not so much as wonder aloud about what was going on.
For her part, Barbara Jean had been a difficult revenant. She refused to go to ground without at least one glass of nectar and a few copyedits to her obituary. Alice had allowed both, smothering a sigh when she complained about the lining inside her coffin, and holding in laughter when Ben attempted to comfort her with stories about the Underworld.
“I’m not interested in your biased view, I plan to survey the place for myself when I arrive,” Barbara told him primly, as she pulled the lid closed on her coffin.
By the time they got to the graveyard, Ben departed with a simple wave. He had been subdued, for which Alice was grateful. She didn’t need any additional audience for her time with Vlad.
Sticking his shovel into the dirt, Vlad gave her a crooked smile. “Am I to receive no payment for services rendered?”
Alice perched herself on a grave. “What kind of reward were you looking for?”
“I would say answers, but you’ve restricted me from asking questions,” he drawled, leaning back on the stone and stretching out his long legs. “I can only imagine that I am, in fact, courting a criminal mastermind.”
“I contain multitudes,” Alice laughed, throwing his own line back at him. She ignored the part about him courting her, she didn’t know how to process that information.
Somewhere, a part of her brain screamed that she should tell him everything but she reigned it in, Miko’s daily warning to keep a low profile still fresh in her mind.
“How do I know you’re not the criminal mastermind?” Alice accused. “You could be anyone with all of your secrets.”
This, of course, was a cop-out. She was the one hiding big secrets, Vlad was just trying to avoid laying out all the emotional pain of his past life.
A muscle ticked in his jaw. Gracefully (to Alice’s great annoyance), he pushed off the stone and crossed over to her. “Well, I planned to tell you more on our date, but since we’re already here…” he gestured around them.
Alice immediately jumped down from the tombstone. “Here? As in…the graveyard?”
“I told you,” he shrugged. “Romance.”
Alice snorted, but she was secretly pleased. She really liked graveyards. In fact, she suspected that even when she was normal, this would still be the case.
“Unless you have other business with the dead tonight?”
If he only knew. “Nope! Nothing else! Just being a good samaritan. Let’s go on this grave date!”