The Vampire Gene (Chapter 2, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 2


I woke up with a face full of white fur. The kitten had migrated up to my pillow as I slept, and was curled around my head like some kind of weird hat. I noticed an unfamiliar but somehow comforting weight around my left ring finger. Angus walked in then, carrying a steaming mug of coffee. I dragged my hand out from under the covers and gazed at the ring encircling my finger.

"Like it?" Angus smiled at me and placed the mug gently on the bedside table.

"It's beautiful," I sighed. "Mum's going to do her nut."

"We can keep it a secret if you want," he suggested slowly.

"Nah. I'd better man up and confess. They will find out about it eventually, and Mum will be hurt that I kept it from her. What time are we going across?"

"Ten minutes. That supper that I ordered has just arrived - vegetarian lasagne. We can carry it across and pretend we made it ourselves..." His voice trailed off as he grinned at me.

"She'd never buy it," I told him flatly. "She's tasted my cooking far too many times, poor woman. I'll get dressed and be down in a few minutes," I hinted.

"OK, OK, I'm leaving. Nice hat, by the way." He ducked out and shut the door behind him as I picked up a pillow and laughingly hurled it at him. The kitten woke up and stretched nonchalantly, while I sat sipping my coffee and contemplating the evening ahead.

Yup, Mum was definitely going to do her nut.


Rebecca's mother took the news of our impending nuptials remarkably well. It was turning out to be something of a habit of hers. She just seemed to absorb the most astonishing and improbable news with uncharacteristic calm.

Joe looked a bit bewildered, and Mark just grinned like a maniac throughout, clearly enjoying the show. Rebecca, who resembled a deer in the headlights for the first few minutes, seemed to relax as she realised that nobody was having hysterics at the news. The food I had ordered from a nearby catering company was delicious, and we polished it off, the boys going back for seconds and even thirds. I left them just after nine. I had a few things that needed doing tonight, and the Hardings were all starting to yawn in earnest. Cat included.

I walked back to where my car was parked on the road outside. Fergus had texted the details of the person who had posted the video of Rebecca's altercation on YouTube, as promised; name, age, address. It was more than enough - I had often had to work with much less. I locked up the house and armed the security system Fergus had had installed a few days ago. I had a couple of handguns and a sniper rifle of very dubious provenance in the safe, and I didn't want anyone getting their hands on them. Finding the thieves would be easy enough, but it would take time, and I didn't need any distractions now.

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