So, on this cold November morning, where a good dozen police officers were going to be in a certain second floor apartment sifting through evidence and taking copious pictures eleven floors below us, instead of her typical, skin baring garb – that, yes – she’d be wearing at least until advent, Teresa was in a turtleneck, with sleeves covering her skin, all the way down to her wrists. And, instead of her typical, mid-thigh skirt, which generally showed off her great pear of legs, she was wearing a pair of black slacks.
This wasn’t to say she still didn’t look good. But I knew what she was hiding.
You see, Teresa is a werewolf. And, despite what some people still think, and occasionally fill the conservative airwaves with, it wasn’t her fault. She just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And yeah, the guy who killed her is still in jail, and will be for most of the next twenty years. It’s tough way to die – raped and stabbed to death, but she’s recovered well, considering. And she did a good interview too. I was lucky to have her on staff.
So, when I got into the office that morning, I looked over at her desk, so what she was wearing, and we went through the monthly ritual.
“That time of the month again?” I asked with a smirk on my face. I’m sure it was a smirk on my face, as she offered me one of her patented glares. Then she told me off. It’s something we do. It cuts the tension and gets both of us through the day better, than say, if I was all sensitive and politically correct about her condition, or so she claims.
“When are you going down?” she asked, doing something strange with her lips. At least she was bothered too.
Oh, bloody apartment 213, or so that’s how Arturo had described it while crossing himself several times.
“I’m not,” I told her. “You haven’t been through a death like this in the building. I’ve got to send out emails. Emily’s going to need to hear about this before she sees it on the morning news. Vaclav too. I’m going to have to compile a shit-load of forms and waivers for him to go through.”
She still stared at me, eyebrows raised, then lowered.
“Fingers dropped by a few minutes back.” She told me, looking confused. “He told me he’s expecting you. I thought-”
“You thought what,” I snapped back, couldn’t help myself. “That an apartment sprayed in a suicide’s blood was something I need to see? That I had any reason to go down there?! Oh sure, nothing says good morning like watching a bunch of cops cleaning up a ‘suspicious’ death scene.”
“I’m–”she started in response, then stopped herself, clearly taken aback at my reaction. You know, I was too.
She started again.
“He acted like you know all about it. He’s a police detective. What was I supposed to do? Tell him to f-off?”
Oh great, now I’d made her angry. Just the way to start morning at the office.
“I’m sorry,” I told her, looked her in her angry and hurt dark brown eyes. “I didn’t mean that. You did okay, you didn’t know. He did. That’s on him. I’ll handle it. All right?”
She nodded slowly, crossing her arms, probably watched me as I crossed the room to my office.
I turned the knob on my door, marked – yeah – MANAGER, glanced back at her after I’d opened it a crack.
“It’s bad, isn’t it?” she asked, her upper lip curling, seemingly caught between dread and morbid curiosity. “Arturo told me it was bad.”
“Then you should believe him,” I told her. “But if you don’t, take a look outside and tell me what having all those police vehicles down there means to you. Shit happens, and we have to deal with it.”
“I’m sorry,” she offered, now mollified.
“Yeah, me too,” I replied, tried a smile.
She stared at me, as if expecting more. What more was there to say?
“We’ll get through this,” I told her. “It’s happened before, it’ll happen again.”
But – as I was to find out – I was wrong, and in all the worst ways.