Reconstructionist 2: first excerpt
Do not read if you haven’t read Catching Echoes (Reconstructionist 1) yet.
Tangled Echoes (Reconstructionist 2)
I was pacing. Again. Despite the early hour, my mind was already whirling with unarticulated thoughts and unanswered questions. The same as it had been for the past three months. That was why I was at the legal firm of Sherwood and Pine at eight in the morning on the eleventh of January. Seeking answers. For the seventh time.
Hence the pacing. And the ever-mounting frustration.
I strolled across the width of the brightly lit office for the umpteenth time, turning back at the front edge of the black leather sofa. Then, avoiding the matching set of chairs situated before the large oak desk inlaid with curly maple, I steadily wore the tightly woven beige carpet in the other direction.
I was aware that pacing made me appear weak, or worse, indecisive — though I was neither. Plus, the witch seated behind the desk wasn’t paying any attention to me.
As it had been for every single one of our previous visits, Ember Pine’s attention was riveted to the magical contract carefully laid out across her desk. I’d presented the magically imbued sheets of black-inked parchment to her three months before. Conveniently, her office was situated in a business tower a few blocks north of my apartment in downtown Seattle. Inconveniently, the only way she could read the document that had turned my entire life upside down was while I was in the room. The contract went blank if I was more than a few feet away.
Hence my perpetual pacing.
Ember’s straight-edged nose was so close to the page she was holding gingerly at the edges that her bluntly bobbed dark-auburn hair brushed against it. Wary of disturbing the magic embedded within the contract, she’d worn cotton gloves during my first three visits.
She was murmuring quietly, peering through her gold-rimmed glasses from the tiny black lettering of the contract to her notes as she worked through what had to be her third pass on the document this morning.
Seven visits. Thousands of dollars in legal fees. My life in the balance. And evidently, the application for membership into the vampire Conclave — signed by my uncle and presented to me by Kettil the executioner in my bathroom at the beginning of October — was unbreakable.
As in, on pain of death.
Ember unfortunately hadn’t been able to figure out yet whether that meant the demise of the signatories — aka Kett and my Uncle Jasper –- or if it also included the only other names remaining on the contract — Declan and me.
I was seriously hoping for the former, blaming the vampire for this predicament almost as much as I blamed my power-obsessed uncle for offering up the entire Fairchild coven ‘For Consideration.’ Presumably that was to cement the deal, though he wanted the immortality for himself.
Speaking of being obsessive, I’d prepared for each of these meetings with Ember almost as carefully as I would have if I’d been about to come face to face with my maker. Given the context of the contract, the dark humor of that sentiment wasn’t lost on me. But nevertheless, I had smoothed my blond hair into the simple French twist I favored, double-checking that my nails were perfectly French manicured and that my navy-blue tweed sheath dress was pristinely pressed.
I hadn’t seen the vampire since he’d given me the contract. And though I had no intention of reaching out to him myself, I kept expecting Kett to abruptly appear, demanding my acquiescence while I traversed the few blocks from my apartment to Ember’s building.
And when he didn’t, I ignored the nagging disappointment that lingered for the rest of the day.
To be continued …