The chatter suddenly dropped off. The only sound in the pub was the rhythmic thump of the fan over the bar and the squeak of the floorboards as more than one person walked in. Lila turned on her seat at the bar to see what or who caused the normally boisterous Catspaw Pub to fall deathly quiet.
“Oh, hell no,” she groaned, recognizing the three individuals walking through the door. “I really didn’t need this right now.”
She turned back to the bartender, who also happened to be the owner of the Catspaw. “It’s okay, Jer. I know them and I’ll make sure nothing happens. I promise,” Lila said.
Jer resumed wiping down the bar but gave Lila a hard look. “I’m trusting you girl and I’ll serve them… this time. But in the future meet them somewhere besides my pub. My regulars don’t like people knowin’ where they hang out.”
“I didn’t…” Lila started and then gave up. Jer knew she hadn’t arranged any meeting, but it wasn’t really up for discussion. “Thanks, Jer,” she said.
The three newcomers walked up to the bar. The two women took seats on either side of Lila while the man stood behind Lila on her right. The noise in the pub slowly returned to normal levels. Jer put three beers down in front of them.
“What the hell are you guys doing here? I thought I told you we weren’t ever meeting in a public place,” Lila growled in a low voice.
“It’s great to see you, too Lila,” the woman on her left said in a bright voice. Her eyes shifted briefly to red, and Lila could see the points of her fangs start to slide out.
“Venette, stop. I am happy to see you, but having a vampire, shapeshifter, and telepath walk into a bar looking for me isn’t exactly ‘keeping a low profile’ in case you hadn’t noticed,” Lila answered.
“We’re sorry about this Lila, but we have a big problem,” Xavier rumbled from behind her. The big bear-shifter sounded unusually worried.
Lila tilted her head to see Xavier and sighed. “Yeah, I figured as much. What’s going on?”
Yulia tilted her head toward Jer at the other end of the bar.
He’s trying to listen in. The telepaths’ voice sounded in Lila’s head.
Lila slanted a look down to Jer and jerked her head in a short ‘no’ gesture. His brows came together in a brief frown, but he moved further down the bar and struck up a conversation with one of the regulars.
“He won’t say anything. You can trust him.” Lila glanced back at Xavier. “I’m assuming that whatever problem this is, it won’t affect the pub? That’s his main worry.”
“No… at least it shouldn’t,” Xavier said.
“Well, we’ll have to make sure it doesn’t. I like this place and Jer too much to cause him trouble. Okay, so what’s going on that you three had to come in here and announce to the world that we’re all working together?” Lila looked at her three visitors. They exchanged looks and Vanette shrugged.
“There’s a Death Mage coming this way and he’s looking for you,” the petite vampire told her.
“What? Who? Me?” Lila managed to keep her voice low.
“Well, we overheard a couple of merchants gossiping. Apparently, this guy hasn’t been quiet about looking for you. He’s asking for you by name. He was in Gremasse and I think he’s heading here next. He’s good at masking his thoughts,” Yulia told her. The telepath had a scowl on her face. She wasn’t used to anybody blocking her abilities.
Xavier tilted his head toward Yulia. “Yeah, really good at masking. Yulia couldn’t get his name. He never told it to anybody he talked to so she couldn’t even pull it out of somebody else’s head.”
Lila put her head in her hands. “It has to be Damiano. It just has to be.” Rubbing her hands over her face, she swallowed hard against the urge to scream.
“I’m gonna need your guys’ help,” she said quietly.
“Of course,” Xavier rubbed his large hand up and down her back. Vanette put her hand over Lila’s where it rested on the bar and Yulia sent a small wave of comfort.
Lila took a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s go back to my house and figure out how I’m gonna deal with Damiano once and for all.” She waved at Jer and put more than enough to pay for their drinks on the bar. She wanted to make it up to him for the less-than-desirable publicity she’d brought to his pub. Hopefully Damiano wouldn’t stop in while looking for her.
The odd foursome walked out of the pub into the warm summer night.
This is just a snippet from what, I haven’t figured out yet. ‘nother Mike is responsible for my prompt challenge at More Odds Than Ends: A telepath, a vampire, and a shapechanger walked into a bar… My prompt went to Leigh Kimmel: The garden gnomes had been busy yesterday. if you want to poke your creative side, head on over to More Odds Than Ends and pick up a spare and have at!