Scott frowned as he looked over his clothes. Most men didn’t have a suit to their name; he didn’t seem to have anything but. As Josie saw him in a suit everyday, he wanted something different for their first date. He didn’t want her to feel like she was on a date with her boss… even if she was.
He finally decided on a pair of black slacks, a black sports coat, and a red silk shirt he had gotten for free when he bought two suits at Men’s Wearhouse. It was dressy enough for a nice dinner, but was definitely not court attire. He even got daring: he not only didn’t wear a tie, he left his top collar button undone.
He wrapped a happy, wriggling Po in a towel—hoping to keep blonde hairs off his black clothes—and got into his car.
“Do you want to go see Josie?” he asked Po. Po didn’t pay any attention. He was out of the towel and was standing up in the passenger seat, looking out. Every ten seconds, he would get down, run a few frantic circles around the seat, then stand up on the door again, looking out.
A minute later, Scott pulled into Josie’s driveway. But before he could turn off the ignition, Josie came hurrying out of the house wearing a short, lacey black dress, which clung to her curves in all the right places. It had spaghetti straps, which left a lot of creamy white flesh exposed—save her neck, which was discreetly covered with a lace choker-collar. Her black high heels accented her long legs.
She opened the door a moment later, and gave a start. Then she laughed. “Hello, Po,” she said, as the puppy danced and licked at the air, absolutely beside himself with happiness.
“I was going to leave him in your yard…” Scott started to say.
“Okay,” she said, scooping up Po in the towel before he could finish. She strode over to the gate and put him inside the fence.
Scott watched as she bent down, talking to the dog. “God have mercy,” he muttered to himself.
A moment later, she hung the towel over the fence, then came quickly back to the car.
“I would have met you at the door, if you had given me a minute,” Scott said, as she got into the car.
She laughed a little and actually blushed. “Oh.” He knew then that she was as excited and nervous about their date as he was; that made him feel better.
The spread of pink across her cheeks also made him hungry. But he tore his gaze away from her and concentrated on backing out of her driveway. The woman at least deserved to eat her own dinner first.
“You know, this is my first date since my divorce,” he admitted, as he drove them to Nashville. “Actually, it’s my first date in two decades.”
She laughed. “Well, given that my last three dates were arranged by my mother, this might be the first date I’ve actually enjoyed in a while.”
“I will endeavor to make you enjoy it,” he promised. He was rewarded with a brilliant smile.
Scott took her to a dinner theater in downtown Nashville. He liked the idea of combining dinner with something else. He was afraid it might be awkward otherwise—her eating and him doing nothing but watching her eat.
Their waiter handed them menus, but as soon as he was gone, Scott put his on the table. “So, there’s something I’ve always wanted to know…” he said.
“Yes?” she asked, looking over the menu at him.
“Is ‘Josie’ your real name, or is it a nickname?”
She smiled a little. “A nickname.”
“What’s your real name?”
Scott was a little surprised. “That’s such a beautiful name. Why don’t you go by it?”
She shrugged. “People have always just called me ‘Josie.’ I guess ‘Josephine’ is a bit of a mouthful.”
“You’re not from Clarksboro originally, are you?”
“No, I’m from here in Nashville.”
“How did you end up in Clarksboro?”
“Well, I was already in Murfreesboro, working for Judge Blackman, when I saw your ad.”
Scott frowned. “Yes, well, I hired you despite that.”
Josie frowned as well. “What do you mean?”
“Judge Blackman presided over my divorce.”
“Oh,” she said, her eyes widening. “I didn’t know that.” Then she shook her head. “It doesn’t surprise me, really. Judge Blackman is very traditional and a very conservative Christian. He almost always sides with women on child custody cases, anyways, but with you being a vampire….”
“So, why did you want to leave?”
She smiled. “The truth?”
“Mm-hmm,” he nodded.
“Because he’s very traditional and a very conservative Christian.”
“Well, besides him asking me questions like, ‘Why don’t you believe in Jesus?,’ he treats his secretaries like it’s still 1940.”
Then, suddenly, Scott laughed.
He leaned forward, across the table, smiling at her. “Our professional relationship is rather 1940’s too, don’t you think?”
She looked confused. “I think you treat me very well.”
“No, I was talking about our other relationship.”
“Oh,” she said, catching on. Then she laughed. “Okay, yeah, I guess it is.”
When the waiter returned, Josie ordered grilled chicken. Scott hoped she didn’t think he couldn’t afford to buy her the steak.
“And you, sir?” the waiter asked, turning to him.
“Oh, nothing for me,” he replied, handing the man his menu.
“Nothing, sir? Nothing to drink, even?”
“No, thank you.”
The waiter looked perplexed for a moment, then a look of realization dawned on his face and he nodded a little, taking the menus. “I’ll get this in for you, ma’am, and I’ll be back with your drink in a moment.”
True to his word, he returned a few moments later with two glasses. One was full, but the other only had a small amount of red wine in the bottom. The waiter put the full glass in front of Josie, and put the other glass in front of Scott.
“I thought you might like to try this, sir.”
Scott waved it away. “No, I can’t drink wine.”
The waiter leaned a little closer, speaking low and conspiratorially. “I think you can drink this, sir. Have a sniff,” he said, discreetly pushing the glass a little closer.
Curious, Scott picked up the glass and sniffed it. It was blood. Surprised, he drank it.
It was no more than one mouthful, but it was like a taste explosion in his mouth. It tasted every bit as good as blood straight from a person, except it had the added benefit of being alcoholic.
“Wow,” Scott said when he put his glass down.
The waiter smiled, looking pleased with himself. “Would you like to have a full glass?”
“Yes, I would,” Scott said eagerly.
The waiter whisked away the glass and returned a minute later with it filled.
“Where did you get this?” Scott asked, taking an appreciative sip.
The waiter squatted down beside the table, speaking in a low voice so that only Scott and Josie could hear him. “That’s our chef’s personal creation. He’s been toying with the idea of making it commercially available.”
Scott pulled out his wallet and handed the waiter his business card. “Tell him that I want to buy some. Even if he doesn’t take it to market, I would still be very interested in buying it. By the case. In cash.”
The waiter smiled a little and slipped Scott’s card into his shirt pocket. “I will give him the message, sir, and let him know you enjoy it.”
“It’s wonderful.” Scott took another sip.
“He also makes a vintage which is non-alcoholic, if you prefer.”
“This is great for tonight, but I’d like to buy some of both.” Scott looked at the glass, then shook his head, marveling. “This is just so far superior to the store-bought stuff.”
“Gus—our chef—said that what they put on the market is a crime against the senses. He trained as a chef in France for three years, so he has a very advanced palette—as you can imagine. That’s what lead him to make this. He said you have to apply winemaking theory to this, because it’s just another form of wine.”
Scott nodded. “I can see that. I had already noticed that I can taste when someone smokes; the nicotine is in the blood.”
“Exactly. Gus says you can’t make a good wine from grapes grown on top of a landfill, and you can’t make a good… human wine, if you will, made from people who treat themselves like garbage.”
Scott nodded again.
The waiter stood up. “If that gets cold, let me know and I’ll reheat it for you. Oh, and for the record,” he added, leaning in, “never use a microwave.”
“I had already figured that out,” Scott replied. “I use a coffee pot to warm it up.”
“That’s what he uses too.”
After the waiter hurried away, Scott took another drink, then smiled. “That young man just earned his tip.”
Josie smiled, looking at the glass curiously. “Does it taste better than me?”
Scott honestly considered her question for a moment. “It tastes… different. I think it’s exactly what he said—blood is like wine and people are like grapes; no two vintages and no two people taste alike.”
“Trust a lawyer to wiggle out of answering a question,” she said with a teasing smile.
“I’ve never taken from you after you’ve been drinking, so it makes it rather hard to do a comparison.”
She picked up her own wine glass. “Well, we’ll just have to try it later tonight, won’t we?” The look she gave him made him quickly down the rest of his glass.
Read the entire series–The Bloodsuckers: Vampire Lawyers of Middle Tennessee