In which Jedivan makes a call

Almost unbearably loud to Olivia, the sound of the rain on the penthouse roof had an oddly soothing quality.

She lay on the couch with her head in the other Olivia’s lap, eyes closed listening to the rain as the ghoul dried her hair with a small towel. Through the other Olivia’s thighs she felt her pulse, slow as if at peace.

It had been hard to make a doppelganger, but with things as they were… Goodwin Industries was a high-profile company now, with Olivia as its founder rapidly becoming a public figure, and the eccentricity excuse would only hold up so long before people started asking questions. Like; why were board meetings only held at night? Why were no press conferences held during the day? Why did no-one ever see her eat? Those were the kind of questions that attracted the attention of hunters, and with Grimouth’s exploding vampire population, hunters were only a matter of time.

Olivia looked up into the face of her twin, the large brown eyes with thick black lashes, the high cheekbones, the delicate but well-defined jaw. The smile that made your heart jump in your chest, just a little, if you weren’t kindred. She was a perfect replica, Shen had made sure of that.

If I met the true death, and she just carried on, would anyone notice?

Putting the thought from her mind, Olivia reached up, touching her retainer’s neck. The other Olivia sighed, leaning into the touch, and Olivia saw her aura pulse a deep vermillion, shot with blue. Running her thumb across her twin’s jaw, she felt a pang of regret for binding the girl. The blood was a leash on the heart; a necessary leash, but a leash nonetheless.

“Olivia.” The voice of John, her head of research, broke Olivia’s reverie. Olivia looked up, catching a flash of dark blue-green from his swirling aura as her eyes adjusted. “Your phone.”

“Ah, thanks.” Olivia rolled off the couch, taking the phone from John’s outstretched hand. Jed’s number on the screen. “Yo Jedivan. How can I help?”

“Hello… Olivia.” The gargoyle seemed a little taken aback by her informality. “I’ve tracked the suspect back to his haven. Some kind of coffee shop… 503 coffee.”

Olivia paused, thinking. The name seemed familiar. “Near Shen’s old surgery?”

“Old surgery? I thought-”

“Nevermind.” Olivia shook her head, pacing over to her desk. Since his sire’s apparent return to the city, Shen had lived with her in the high-security vault beneath Goodwin tower. “You got anything else for me?”

“There’s some kind of tunnel network underneath it. I can’t tell how far it extends. There are lots of people down there.”

“Huh,” Olivia took a seat, cracking her knuckles. “Interesting. I’ll see what I can find. Call you back.”

 

Olivia worked quickly, aware of John’s eyes on her back. No record of tunnel-making, not so much as a road resurfacing in the area, but the gargoyle had little reason to pull her leg on that. The business itself was another matter; the buying and selling of businesses was a matter of public record. Someone had bought the coffee shop several months ago, for considerably more than it was worth, and a filter of records on nearby businesses and properties showed a dozen others that fit a similar profile, all within a half mile of the building Jed had identified. There was no single buyer, only a series of pseudonyms, shallow identities with no web presence, presumably proxies for Victor.

She marked the locations on a map and sent it to Jed, a courtesy copy for Shen and Jack.

Looks like this is bigger than us, guys.

 

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