“We have some unfinished business,” he said. “You didn’t fulfill your part of the contract.”
Keeping a demure distance between us, I sat beside him on the bench. “I want to renegotiate my terms.”
He put his sunglasses back on, then slapped his thighs before standing up.
I jumped at the smacking sound. It wasn’t like the sound of skin against skin. It was more like a hand slapping a rotten melon – a sort of squishy, slosh.
Quentin had been cooped up in the crypt for three years, I was surprised he was in such good shape. There was a slight green tinge to his skin, and a musty smell that lingered on his clothing, but I could expect no less.
“You’ve had more than adequate time, why such an extended delay?” He walked a few yards away, stopping to lean on a wrought iron fence surrounding the nearby Langford family plot.
“The time frame is the stipulation we need to discuss.” I stayed on the bench, giving him room to pace.
“Are you having difficulties singularly or in the coupling process?” He turned abruptly, his hands jammed into his jacket pockets.
“Neither, really,” I mumbled. “I thought, perhaps, you could be better served with a more, uhm, designer host.”
His whole body slumped forward. “What are you talking about?”
“I thought, I could find a better host through a donor and surrogate. Then the offspring would have very specific characteristics. I will vet all candidates thoroughly, I assure you. With just me, trolling for an ideal specimen… Well, you’re pretty much resigned to get whatever you get.”
“I chose you for a reason. The donor is of no consequence, other than to provide his seed.”
He walked back toward me, bending down to look at me directly once he stood in front of the bench.
“You’ve gone and done something stupid, haven’t you? Like gone all sentimental on me, what?”
I sat as far back as I could, gagging on his putrid breath.
“Nothing like that, I am thinking about your needs.” I scooted over, trying to get out of his reach. “It’s not been easy to find a willing donor.”
He threw his hands in the air with a grand flourish. “Who said anything about a ‘willing donor’? You don’t want to give over your baby, do you?”
I couldn’t tell him that I had already spent most of the fortune he bequeathed to me. The money was my most attractive asset. Without it, beguiling some gullible male into producing a child with me was unlikely.
Quentin needed a new host. He contracted me to provide one. if I couldn’t, a condition of forfeiture was to accept total liability. My time was up.
Now, he would have to find his own host, using my life force to infuse himself with enough energy for the hunt.
He reached out and grabbed my arm, then pulled me through the open crypt doorway. My whole world went black.
Loosening his tie with one hand, Quentin stepped out into the cold clear winter air and flew.
*Sequel to Contractual Obligations