As soon as it was dark, Scott slunk back to his apartment and spent the rest of his weekend hiding out. His mother called him Saturday night, after the news, and had the nerve to be upset that Scott hadn’t called her immediately.
Scott didn’t think she had a right to be worried about his health and well-being when she was scared to meet with him in person, but he bit his tongue (well, not literally) and said nothing. He supposed having a family member to talk to over the phone was better than having no one at all. And he did have to give her credit for wiring him money when his ex-wife threw him out of the house with nothing.
Perhaps she couldn’t help being caught between loving him as a mother and fearing him as monster from a horror movie. He wished, though, that she would just meet with him and see that he was really the same person he had always been.
“Did you really kill that man, Scott?” she asked.
“Yeah. I didn’t mean to, though. I just wanted to knock him down so I could take his gun away.”
“Hmm,” she replied. Scott winced, hearing—in that one sound—their relationship taking a big step backwards. If he had been human and had beaten the man to death, she would probably have said he was justified in defending his life. But, as it was, his actions just proved that he was a danger—that he could kill people without intending to.
He was halfway to believing the Society to Eliminate or Remove Vampires from the U. S. Maybe he didn’t deserve to be in normal society.
He quickly ended their call before he found himself feeling even worse. His brother, Brandon, sent a text message a little later that evening, asking if he was okay. When Scott responded that he had healed from his gunshot wound, Brandon replied with a smiley face and that was it.
Scott was mad at Brandon’s lack of consideration, and yet he didn’t want a repeat of his mother’s phone call. He knew, deep down inside, that he was being illogical—he couldn’t have it both ways—but it was easier to be mad at something concrete and tangible than to be mad at life and the universe in general, so he silently fumed over his brother’s text.
It took a lot of willpower for Scott to get up and get dressed Monday night and go upstairs to work. He was surprised to see Josie standing at the window, looking out at the street; he actually expected her to quit—especially after her comments Friday evening.
His footsteps echoed on the hardwood floor, catching Josie’s attention. She turned around, then hurriedly gestured to him. “Come here. You need to see this,” she said with a grin.
Curious, Scott joined her at the window. The sun had set, but there was still light enough outside to see the street.
And what a sight. There was a small group of people—it looked like about five—who were carrying posters and yelling. Scott would have bet some of his limited funds that they were there to protest him. But that wasn’t what was surprising. The surprising part was that Jim Rutherford was on the sidewalk yelling and gesturing angrily at them, his face red. There were a couple of police officers who appeared to be trying to get him to back-off, while Shirley was trying to shoo the protesters away. Neither set of verbal combatants seemed willing to leave.
“What’s going on?” Scott asked, amazed.
“Those protesters were here when I got here a few minutes ago. I think they’re with that SERVUS group, because they tried to stop me—”
“They blocked you from coming in?” Scott interrupted, looking at her.
“No, they just tried to get me to stop and talk to them. They said vampires are dangerous and I didn’t need to be coming in here because of you, blah, blah, blah. I told them the only person who had tried to kill me lately was a human, and the only person who had saved my life was a vampire, so they were preaching to the wrong audience.
“I noticed Mr. Rutherford’s car was still parked out front, so I went to his office and asked him if he knew there were people protesting on the sidewalk outside. He said, ‘no’ and went outside to investigate. They obviously said things he doesn’t agree with,” she said with a smile.
She glanced at him. “You’re… a little pink in the face.”
“Sunlight,” he said, continuing to watch the drama outside. The light was fading quickly and was no real threat to him. And as soon as he retreated to his windowless office, the sunburn would dissipate entirely in less than five minutes.
A few minutes later, Attorney Rutherford stomped into the office.
“Ridiculous!” Rutherford huffed, still clearly upset.
“What’s going on, Jim?” Scott asked, moving over to him.
“Damn racist bastards,” Jim grumbled. “Protesting you accidentally killing someone who came here to kill me and who nearly killed Josie. Looks like a human has the right to kill people, but vampires don’t have the right to save people from being killed.”
“Kill you?” Scott asked, surprised.
“Yeah, I reckon ol’ Scofield was after me; I’m representing his wife. We think maybe someone told him I was in the same office as you, but he got confused and thought you were handling the divorce.”
He shook his head. “I’m awfully sorry about that, Scott.”
“Not your fault.”
“Yeah, but I still feel bad that he came here looking for me, but you and Josie ended up paying for it.”
“We’re alright.” He glanced at Josie. “Are you alright?”
“I’ll get over it eventually,” she said, her strained smile valiantly trying to be teasing.
“Hell of a thing,” Jim said, shaking his head again. “Hell of a thing.”
Attorney Rutherford apologized several more times. Scott had some difficulty convincing him that everything was okay, and that he needed to go home for the night. By the time Scott saw him out the door, Josie had taken three phone calls.
She smiled up at him as he shut the front door. “You know the old saying, ‘Bad publicity is good publicity?’”
“Oh?” Scott asked, perking up. Did she mean what he thought she meant?
“I have three new appointments for you—two this evening and one on Wednesday. Everyone said they heard about you on the news. People want you to do their divorces.”
Scott found himself returning her smile. Maybe there really was an up to every down.
Read the entire series–The Bloodsuckers: Vampire Lawyers of Middle Tennessee