CW: Strong language, adult situations, gore, sexual innuendo
Vlad’s House, Henford-on-Bagley
“Are you insane?” Vlad asked as he nudged one of the wooden planks dubiously with his foot. They were standing in his backyard by the pool; two thin boards stretched across it like balance beams.
“No,” Alice replied with an ominously calm smile. “This is our bet. Double or nothing, remember?”
Truthfully, Vlad had thought they were talking about sex. He told her as much, which she brushed off.
“It’s a simple matter of coordination and balance,” she explained, “We just use the boards to walk across to the other side of the pool. Whoever makes it without falling in wins.”
“Wins what?” They’d been over this, but Vlad was still hoping to find a loophole.
“If you win, we spend the afternoon being entertained” —she made mock quotation marks— “at the Chalet Gardens Home Show. And if I win, we spend a totally normal and fun afternoon doing hot yoga.”
“You don’t want to do hot yoga. You just want to torture me.”
“You don’t have any proof of that.” She arched an eyebrow, “You just met me. You don’t know; maybe I love hot yoga.”
And maybe Vlad was actually a Tartosian settee. He resented her implication about the Home Show. It was one of the few things he’d brave the presence of mortals to attend.
He picked a piece of lint off his suit. “And we’re wearing formal clothing because…?”
She tilted her head and gave him another one of those calm smiles. “A double or nothing bet is always a formal occasion.”
Elmyra’s Boxing Gym
Werewolves were hard to pin down, even if you knew exactly where they were supposed to be.
“I’m back again for Nina. I know she’s not here,” Bella held up her hands in placating gesture, “How about just giving me a heads up when she comes by?”
Baako Jang, the boxing gym owner, gave her a resigned look. “Lady—”
“Detective. I don’t got nothing for you.” He jiggled his keys and pushed the door open. Bella followed behind him, watching as he flipped on the lights.
“Why am I gonna tell you when one of my patrons comes by? You either want her because she caused trouble, or you want to cause her trouble.”
“There’s another possibility you didn’t consider.” Bella handed him her card and 500 simoleons. “Maybe she’s the one in trouble, and I’m here to help. There’s another 500 in it if you call me.”