I pressed the door [to my loft] open and stepped inside, coming around through the kitchen to put a bag of groceries on the counter. I turned and walked through the living room, intending to go and rest my forehead against the cool, blue walls the way I did when there was too much in my brain, as if I were putting my head in the freezer on a hot day. I'd read somewhere that blue was a calming color. Instead I whipped my keys at the lamp sitting next to the couch and it shattered in to a thousand pieces.
I fell over. I didn’t really sit down, and I didn’t faint. I just…fell. I curled up on my side. I wanted my mother. I wanted to undo the killing I’d committed earlier. I briefly but genuinely considered quitting the force and opening a bakery in some little town no one has ever heard of. Too bad I can’t bake. Maybe a bookstore, then. Yeah. One of those places with a bunch of antique maps in gilded frames and dog eared copies of War and Peave on the free shelf.
I didn’t hear the door buzzer at first. The grief had sunken in to all my limbs and I could barely move. I felt buried, as if they’d put me in the coffin alongside my mother’s corpse.
I made myself get up. I leaned on the intercom button. I couldn’t make myself say anything, but Saffie’s voice came through anyway.
“Ginny?” She sounded uncharacteristically diffident. I had a petty thought about how I hoped she wasn’t having a crisis she was hoping I’d handle for her. I was lucky because some quirk of my brain structure made me more resistant to trauma than some, but I was human. I had limits, and I was finding every single one of them today.
“Fuck. Come in.”
She showed up at my door so quick I wondered if she’d learned how to teleport. She was wearing a robin’s egg blue sweater and silver hoop earrings. Her white coat and dark wash jeans were both designer. Her flawless dark skin shone like she’d just been to the spa. In short, she looked fabulous and I looked like shit.
I stepped back to let her in, hoping she wouldn’t bring up the broken lamp. I went for my bag, digging through it like a starving coyote for the packet of clove cigarettes in the bottom. I jammed one between my teeth and lit it.
“Bad day, huh?”
Saffie asked, sounding like a farmer trying to calm a skittish horse. I couldn’t be assed to get annoyed over it. I felt as unpredictable as a skittish horse, anyway.
“I killed someone, Saffie.”
To my horror I welled up with tears and my throat closed. I got the shakes so bad I had to take a seat at the nearest bar stool, and the lighter tumbled form my hand.
“Jesus. What happened?”
“Vampire came out of nowhere. Tried to bite my throat out.”
Saffie walked over, close enough that I could smell her vanilla and black musk perfume. She dipped in to my pack of cigarettes, like she needed something to focus on too. She lit one of the cloves and drew a breath, taking the seat next to me.
“These things are fucking terrible.” She informed me. I managed a smile.
“They get the job done.”
“He was trying to kill you.”
I knew what she was getting at. I had been acting in self defense, and I knew that once the department reviewed the camera footage from my on board, they’d rule the same. But it didn’t really comfort me much. The guy was still dead. Sure, he was a vampire, but he hadn’t been in his right mind either. I suspected the guys in the house had been starving him, waiting to unleash him like an attack dog. He’d just had the misfortune to attack someone well trained and well armed. Now some family out there was missing their son, if they hadn’t disowned the poor bastard for being a vampire already.