***Part Six***

Edward rented a motorboat ease, grateful that he was familiar enough with the lake Olaf's cabin was on to know where he could bring the boat to shore and hide it in the brush with relative ease. He cut the motor and let it drift to shore, dressed in fatigues that would hide him in the plush forest type foliage the area offered armed to the teeth. He was ready to bring ten men down if need be. Hopefully, if Olaf were here he would not be prepared for Edward in like fashion.

The cabin was rustic looking, fitting right in with the other cabins on this private drive. The cabin owners were not intrusive, but they did let other people along the lake know when unfamiliar cars drove on the private road, which was why Edward had chosen to come into the area by boat rather than by car. A man fishing on the lake at dawn was nothing strange for upper Minnesota.

He found himself a good area, one that gave him view of the cabin yet allowed him cover and bunkered down, preparing for a long day of surveillance.


While Edward was conducting surveillance on Olaf, Anita was waking up just as Jean-Claude was preparing to rest for the day. She rolled over onto her side, still laying in bed and peered at him as he readied himself for the sleep of the undead.

"Have you changed your mind about my resting in here instead of the other room after yesterday, ma petite?"

"No," she said quickly with a shake of her head. "I was fine. It was a little strange, I won't deny it, but I don't want you in a coffin when you don't need to be."

He walked to the edge of the bed and ran the back of his hand along her cheek. "You are a special woman, ma petite."

"You're just saying that," she said, feeling a little flirtatious for some reason at the moment.

"I asked your pet nurse to come over at some point today. I want her to look at your back."

"I'm fine, Jean-Claude."

"Humor me, ma petite. I want to be sure you are, and you trust her."

"Yes, I do," Anita admitted. "And I will humor you this once, but as soon as these stitches are out I'm done humoring you."

"Thank you," he said before leaning down to kiss her. "And now it is time for me to go to bed, just as you are rising. I'd say it was not fair, but I unfortunately do not know the difference."

"I do," she quipped.

"I laid with you until sleep overtook you, ma petite. I had to feed, I had business to attend to, I cannot deviate from my normal patterns as much as I would like to remain here by your side."

"I know."

"I hope you know, I would stay with you if I could, but I do not wish to crowd you either."

"You're not crowding me, Jean-Claude, but I understand you need to do your thing. I guess I'll go have breakfast with Sheryl."

"She's looking forward to it, I think she enjoys having another human around during the day."

Anita was about to say something to that, Jean-Claude knew as well as Anita did that she was not a normal human like Sheryl was. But she let it go. "Great, so long as Asher doesn't get jealous and think I'm trying to steal her away."

"No, I do not think that is a worry of his, ma petite. If Asher trusts anyone here, it is you."

Anita stood from the bed and kissed Jean-Claude square on the mouth. "I'm glad. Rest well," she said and frowned. "Nothing happened last night that you require more rest than normal, did it?"

"Nay, ma petite, it was just an ordinary night, with the exception of the beautiful woman sleeping in my bed."

"Sweet talker," she said before turning away to head to his bathroom, ready to get on with her day since she was awake. She was actually looking forward to Cherry's visit. Sheryl was nice, but it would be nice to talk to someone who had information about her house and how those at her house were doing.


Edward saw smoke coming out of the cabin's chimney. If he had not been watching closely, he might have missed it. Olaf was being careful, the fire he had set was small but it still caused smoke to filter out through the chimney. "Gotcha," he murmured before forging a plan in his mind. It was going to come down to him or Olaf today. If Anita's well being was not at stake, Edward might have looked forward to such a showdown. He did look forward to it happening with Anita one day, because he knew that if she and Edward got to the point of a showdown it would be between the two of them with no Z factor.

He shimmied himself on the ground further into the woods, closer to the gravel road and away from the lake. He had to do it if he was going to get an actual view through a window into the house. Hopefully, Olaf would not be counting on Edward hunting him and he would be careless. He had been careless by setting a fire. Either that or it was a trap, but it had been so long since Edward had been to this cabin, surely Olaf would not believe Edward would remember the way any longer. There were so many lakes in this area, so many cabins, but Edward remembered.


Cherry arrived after lunch and Anita was more than glad to see her. Sheryl was a nice enough woman, but Anita had absolutely nothing in common with her. The woman worked as a substitute teacher when she was not working at Guilty Pleasures, so the librarian look was apparently not too far off. She did not truly understand Jean-Claude and Asher's worlds, though she thought she did by way of her association with Guilty Pleasures. Jean-Claude and Asher and those here in St. Louis were in general not ruthless, there were some who were despite the threat of punishment from Jean-Claude.

"Anita," Cherry said, appearing relieved at seeing Anita was in fact alive and well with her own two eyes.

"Hi Cherry," Anita said. "This is Sheryl, a friend of Asher's," she said by way of introduction all the while steering her away from Sheryl so they could talk in private. She knew it was rude, but she really did not care. "Let's get the exam over with," she added for effect.

"Nice to meet you," Cherry said with a glance over her shoulder at Sheryl and followed Anita to the bedroom. Cheryl stared at Jean-Claude on the bed.

"He's resting, so we're alone," she said wondering if Cherry had ever seen a vampire in this state before now.

"He looks so," Cherry paused.

"Dead," Anita finished for her.


Anita merely nodded. "I'm glad you came. How are things?"

"Fine. Edward and Elizabeth had a bit of a run-in yesterday, but I think Edward scared her enough. It's not every day one of our kind comes face to face with Death, gets threatened by Him and lives to tell about it."

"Edward can be very convincing when he wants to be," Anita admitted wryly.

"That he can be. He actually seems nice underneath it all," Cherry said and Anita glanced at her curiously.

"Yes, Edward is nice, for a bounty hunter, Cherry," she stated feeling while she was no one to talk she needed to remind Cherry of just who and what Edward was.

"I'm aware of who he is, Anita. I was just saying, he was relatively nice to us. Jason said he was actually not scared of him while he was at the house."

"He's gone?" Anita asked, feeling a little panicked. Did Edward leave her to fend for herself after all?

"To look for whoever it is he's looking for, yes."

"Oh," Anita said, surprised at how relieved she was to know that Edward was out hunting. She did not envy Olaf being Edward's prey and she knew she should feel bad that she was glad that a human was his prey but honestly Anita just felt relief and hope that this would all end quickly.

"Let's take a look at your back, shall we? Jean-Claude seems to want the stitches out, so I brought some things along to take care of that if it appears to be time." Anita shed her shirt, having foregone a bra yet again today for comfort and presented her back to Cherry so that she could determine if her back had properly healed. "It actually looks pretty good, Anita, I don't see any reason why they can't come out. I'm sort of surprised the doctor didn't take them out at the hospital."

"I, um," Anita shrugged. "Well, let's just say I didn't give him the chance to really."

"Imagine that," Cherry said with a light laugh. "The scissors are going to be cold. Do you want to sit down while I do this?"

"Um, I'm not sure where I can sit and you could still do that," Anita said trying to think of where. "The stool," she said, gesturing to the stool that was in front of her vanity.

It took Cherry a while to remove the stitches and Anita had to force herself to sit still through the process. But finally it was done and Anita was free. She was free to move, though she knew her back would still balk at any sudden movements. She was free finally to make use of Jean-Claude's glorious tub and she could not wait for that.

Too soon for Anita's liking, Cherry stated she had to leave. She really had no reason for coming to the Circus, so she did not want to stay too long and draw attention to herself. She had been there long enough that one watching her might think she had come to apply for a job, but if she stayed too long it might arouse suspicion.

"Thank you, Cherry," Anita said, offering the lycanthrope a smile.

"You're welcome, try and stay out of trouble for a little while this time, why don't you?"

"I promise I'll do my best."

"I don't believe you, but I'll go home today and pretend that it might actually happen," she said offering Anita a saucy grin while stuffing the small bag of medical supplies she had brought with her into her purse. "Be well, Anita," she said before turning to leave. Anita heard her say good bye to Sheryl on her way out.

Sunset came and Anita sensed when Jean-Claude came to. "Good morning," she said, glancing up from the book she was reading.

"You're reading?"

"It's either read or spend time with Sheryl."

"She's not that bad," he replied as he stood from the bed.

"No, but hours upon hours with her is more than I can take."

"Did your nurse friend not pay you a visit today?"

"Yes, she came by," Anita said as she stood from the comfortable armchair she had been reading in. She turned her back to him and lifted her shirt so he could see her back was free of stitches.

"It looks so red, ma petite."

"It will heal fine, Jean-Claude," she replied quickly, hearing the anger in his voice. She felt when he had come up behind her and waited to see what he would do.

"I hope so, ma petite," he said tracing a finger lightly over the almost fully healed wounds on her back. She flinched at the contact, but then relaxed into it. "You worry me so, triumverate be damned."

"I don't do it intentionally."

"That's actually what makes me worry so, ma petite, I know you do not go looking for it, it just seems to find you. I wish you would just stick with your animating for a while."

"I think Edward would agree with you."

"I may not care for him exactly, but he is a smart man and on this I would agree with him. Take some time and get well, get strong, and give me some time to recoup from the agony I went through not knowing if you were alive or dead."

A knock on Jean-Claude's door interrupted them. Few would interrupt him when the door was closed, so Anita gathered it was important. "Just a minute," Jean-Claude said while he slipped into a silk smoking jacket and made his way to the doors.

"A Mister Forrester on the telephone for you, Sir."

"Thank you, Philip, transfer it here to my room, won't you, as you can see I'm not dressed to come upstairs quite yet."

"Yes, Sir."

Jean-Claude went to his side of the bed and sat, waiting for the extension by the bed to ring. When it did, he promptly answered it. "Monsieur Forrester, a pleasure to hear from you again."

"Send the nurse to me," Edward said. His voice sounded different, off, weak.

"Excuse me, Monsieur Forrester."

"I need the nurse."

"I need to know where you are, I will give her use of my jet, of course," Jean-Claude offered, sensing that if Edward was asking for help from a lycanthrope that all was definitely not well.

"Monsieur Forrester?"

"Outside of Brainerd, Minnesota. Have you something to write with?"

"Yes, Edward," Jean-Claude said and took down the directions Edward provided him. Jean-Claude had enough experience with death and the stages leading to it to know that Edward was close to losing consciousness. "I will put her on the plane shortly, Edward."

"Oh," Edward said with effort. "Olaf is taken care of," a small gasp for air. "Might want to send someone who can take care of the mess," another gasp for air. "So much blood," he said and then there was nothing. The call was still connected, but no more sounds came from Edward's end of the phone.

"Keep the phone to your ear, ma petite, if your Edward talks to you, talk back to him, try to keep him talking. I have to arrange for the jet and to have your nurse friend perform her duties yet again."

"Is he okay?" Anita asked, taking the telephone automatically from Jean-Claude.

"I don't know," Jean-Claude admitted somberly. "I don't know, but he did say that Olaf was no longer a problem. So I imagine you can return home when you're ready," he said before leaving the room.

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