Picking up where part 1 left off. Let me know what you think.
By the time I reached the balcony outside Marilee’s apartment in the mid-Wilshire district, I felt I had recovered sufficiently to attempt a slow change. Thus, I only slightly frost-damaged Marilee’s window-box full of spider plants. Getting Marilee’s attention turned out to be more difficult. I pounded on the glass sliding door for several minutes, and had just about made up my mind to break it open and pay for it later, when Marilee came out of the bedroom, wrapping a robe around her voluptuous body. She scowled when she saw me standing there naked on her balcony, but she opened the door and let me in.
“And just what do you think you’re doing then?” she demanded in that charming fake English accent of hers. It drives the men crazy. She stood there in her robe trying to look intimidating, tapping her bare foot. The only reason it worked, given her current height and appearance, was that I knew her well enough to know that she actually was intimidating. At the same time, I knew her well enough to know that she wasn’t really angry, she just had appearances to maintain. However, I was in no mood for the usual fun and games.
“Clarine is dead,” I said without preamble, and her face immediately softened. She placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed, then gestured for me to sit on the couch while she went back into the bedroom to chase off whoever was in there. I could hear muffled words, a protesting squawk. A few moments later a half-naked man stumbled out of Marilee’s bedroom and with only one hurt-filled glance at me, he was ushered out the door and was gone.
Marilee fixed two glasses of scotch, one for the each of us. It usually amuses me how old habits cling on long after they stop making sense. Still, it was good scotch and I savored the taste as she came to sit on the couch next to me. She put a hand on my shoulder again once she decided enough silence had passed, and she asked “Do you know who did it yet?” Her voice was all silk and velvet and hidden knives. Clarine had been her friend also.
I shook my head no, sipping the scotch one more time. “No,” I confirmed the headshake, “Someone… I’m thinking a Russian maybe. Smelled a Russian shampoo at her apartment. I was trolling the Fairfax area. Ran into a bar full of bargast.”
Her perfectly sculpted eyebrow rose, and without words she stood, crossed to the kitchen, and returned a moment later with a large plastic packet. She handed it to me wordlessly, and continued to stand there as I gratefully tore it open and squeezed the contents into my mouth, gulping it down like a man in the desert finding a bottle of water. The taste hit me like it always does, even after all this time, and I moaned in pleasure.
I began to recover a little of my strength, and I nodded thankfully at her. She smiled in return, and took her seat again. “I assume,” she murmured softly, “I assume that when you do find whoever did this, it would take kabalaudh technology to find any DNA?”
Closing my eyes, I nodded slowly. She said nothing, but I could smell the change in her chemistry as she acknowledged my promise to extract retribution. There was a moment of silence, and then she asked, “So what now?”
Eyes still closed, I murmured, “Now, I recharge the batteries for a few minutes. After that…” I opened my eyes and looked at her sheepishly. “Can I borrow some clothes?”
She laughed then; a delicate if somewhat brittle sound. “Yes, of course you can love. Do you have any sins that will fit something I’m likely to own?”
My return smile was without mirth as I said “I think I can find something appropriate.” I did a very slow shift, and since the mass differential wasn’t much, it did no more than warm the air in her apartment. Which really, I was fine with being as I was still nude.
“Oh! My! God!” Marilee gasped, “I didn’t know you… when did you ever meet her?” The shock in her eyes was easily worth the price of admission, as the saying goes. I snickered and shook my head.
“Clothes?” I reminded her, and she was able, with a little prodding, to pry her eyes off my face, and stumble into her bedroom. I followed slowly behind, expressing a change here, a trait there, until I was less easily recognizable.
Almost an hour later, a sultry redhead in a slinky black dress left Marilee’s apartment, and resumed the hunt.