Home > Meant to Be Immortal (Argeneau #32)(12)

Meant to Be Immortal (Argeneau #32)(12)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Good question, CJ thought dryly, but said, “I’m afraid all of Dupree’s officers are busy at the moment, so he asked me to keep an eye on Mr. Argeneau until one of his men becomes available.”

Mac nodded solemnly. “So, I’ll need a room close to hers. In case there’s trouble.”

CJ narrowed her eyes on the man. There was just something about his expression and tone of voice . . . She got the feeling he wasn’t worried at all, but was happy to use the excuse of his safety as a way to stick close to her, though she couldn’t fathom why. They were virtual strangers.

“Oh, dear,” Mrs. Vesper said unhappily, drawing CJ’s attention back to the older woman as she confessed, “I’m afraid that won’t be possible.”

“It won’t?” Mac’s smile slipped.

“No,” she said apologetically. “I’m all full up, you see.”

“Really?” CJ asked with surprise. “I was your only guest when I left tonight.”

“Well, yes, but then the Wilkersons showed up.”

“The Wilkersons?” CJ felt sure the lady had mentioned the name once or twice while she’d been chattering away before CJ had left for the police station, but she hadn’t been paying that much attention then.

“Yes, dear. You remember, I told you that Ned and Mary Wilkerson’s three sons and their wives and kids were coming,” Mrs. Vesper said, and then turned to Mac and explained, “You see Cindy Wilkerson is getting married, and her brothers and their wives are in the wedding party, as groomsmen and bridesmaids. And then Bobby, the oldest Wilkerson boy, well, his four-year-old daughter, Nina, is the flower girl, and she is the sweetest little thing.” Mrs. Vesper shook her head with wonder. “A pretty sprite with big blue eyes and long, curly blond hair. She’s going to look adorable walking up that aisle. Yes, she is.” She sighed at the thought, and then seemed to realize she’d gone on a tangent, and quickly said, “But anyway, the wedding is tomorrow. Well, today now, I suppose, and they’re staying until Sunday.”

She huffed out a breath, and then turned back to CJ. “They all moved to British Columbia for university, one after the other, and ended up settling there. Cindy’s the only one who stayed in the area. Well, the boys and their families flew in on the same flight and were supposed to land in Toronto at eleven. I expected them here shortly after you left for the station, but their flight was delayed a couple hours. They only got in about forty-five minutes ago. The whole lot of them were exhausted. I’d just got them all settled and managed to climb into bed myself and turn off my light a minute or two before I heard your car pull in, so I got back up to let you know so the noise of kids and others wouldn’t startle you in the morning.” She shook her head unhappily. “Between you and them every room is full up. I simply have nowhere to put another person.”

“Oh, I see,” CJ said with a frown. That was a problem.

“Except perhaps with you,” the old lady added thoughtfully.

CJ gaped at the suggestion. “Mrs. Vesper!”

“Well, dear, your room does have the salon attached,” she pointed out, and then said to Mac, “It’s the room you were in when you stayed here.”

CJ felt her heart sink at Mrs. Vesper’s suggestion. Her room was actually a suite with a bedroom and attached salon that was a small sitting room with a dining table and chairs set up at one end by a large picture window, and a couch, coffee and end tables, as well as a TV set up on the other end closest to the entry. CJ had paid extra money to get the suite with the salon so that she could use the table to make notes after her interviews, and would have somewhere to relax at night other than the bed. She had not rented it expecting to have a roommate.

“And I do have a lovely little cot, very comfortable. I’m sure Mac would be happy sleeping on it in the salon. And this way, you will be better able to guard him than if he was in another room altogether,” she pointed out.

“Well, if that’s the only solution to this problem, I suppose we’ll just have to make do,” Mac said cheerfully.

CJ scowled at the man with irritation. Of course he was fine with it. He was taking over her room. As the one under threat, he’d be safest in the inner room, the actual bedroom, with the bed. She’d be the one stuck on the cot in the sitting room of her own suite, between him and the entry. Bastard, she thought with a sort of amused disgust. She couldn’t decide if he was the luckiest son of a bitch alive, or she was the unluckiest. She supposed that was probably an odd thought considering his home had just burned down, but he’d survived, which was pretty damned lucky to her mind, and now he was getting her bed. Bastard.

“You know,” Mac said suddenly. “I feel safer already just at the idea.”

“I’m sure you do,” CJ said, rolling her eyes.

“Well, it’s all settled, then,” Mrs. Vesper said happily. “I’ll just get that cot, shall I?”

“Don’t be silly, Mrs. Vesper,” Mac protested, jumping to his feet when the old lady started to get up. “You can’t possibly carry the cot. Just show me where it is and I shall fetch it back.”

CJ watched the older woman lead Mac away, and then stood up with a sigh. She started to head toward the stairs, only to turn back for her half-empty teacup and a cookie. After a hesitation, she then grabbed two more cookies to take with her as she left the kitchen to go to her room.

CJ had never been the neatest person on the planet. Okay, the truth was she was a slob, she admitted to herself. It was hard not to admit it when she stepped into her room and saw the mess she’d left behind when she’d headed out earlier. CJ had driven down here in jeans and a T-shirt, but had decided to change to a more professional look before heading to the police station. She’d changed her mind at least three times about what to wear, tossing her clothing about as she pulled them on and stripped them off. In the end, she’d decided on a white blouse, dark blue pantsuit jacket, jeans, and cowboy boots. Not everyone’s idea of a professional look, she was sure, but that was one of the things she liked best about the SIU: they weren’t stringent when it came to a dress code. At least her boss wasn’t.

After years of climbing in and out of her police uniform, a more relaxed dress code was something she enjoyed. For the most part. Right now, though, CJ almost wished the SIU had a standard uniform as well. At least then she wouldn’t have such a mess to clean, she thought as she set her cookies and tea on the table in the sitting room of her suite and then rushed about, gathering her bra and panties, jeans, her T-shirt, and two different pantsuits. She was just rushing toward the double French doors leading into the bedroom when the door to the hall opened.

Hoping that neither Mac nor Mrs. Vesper had spotted her and her stack of clothes, she tossed them into the open suitcase on the bed and quickly zipped it closed. She then carried it out to drop next to the table where her laptop sat open, before turning to watch Mac wheel in an ancient cot. Honest to God, it looked at least fifty years old. It was one of those rollaway beds, where the ends folded up for easy storage. Closed as it was right now, she couldn’t see the whole mattress, but what she could see didn’t look promising. It had definitely seen better days, and CJ bit her lip, worrying over just how comfortable it would be.

Not that it mattered, she supposed. Comfortable or not, she was stuck with it, so CJ gave in to the inevitable and hurried over to shift furniture so that the cot would fit in the room. In the end, she didn’t have to move much. Shifting the couch and end tables toward the dining table a bit left enough room for the cot to be positioned in front of the door. Although it only left a couple of inches for the door to be opened before it would hit the side of the bed.

“There,” Mrs. Vesper said with satisfaction as Mac straightened from setting up the cot. But her smile disappeared nearly as quickly as it had appeared when she saw the stained mattress. “Oh, dear, I suppose you will need sheets,” she muttered, and turned to the door, only to find it didn’t open enough for her to slide out.

“Just a minute, Mrs. Vesper,” Mac said, and quickly closed the rollaway bed again so she could get out.

“I’ll be right back,” she assured them in a whisper, presumably to avoid disturbing the other guests, and then she slipped out into the hall and hurried away.

CJ eased the door shut behind her and then turned to survey the room. Even with the rollaway bed closed, the room seemed much smaller than it had without it. Or maybe it was Mac having that effect. The man was large too, she acknowledged, and moved around him to take up the seat in front of her laptop at the dining table. She then picked up her tea and started to sort through her emails, ignoring Mac until he asked with interest, “Are those cookies?”

“Yes,” CJ answered as she quickly grabbed them up to keep him from taking any.

“Not the sharing sort, I see,” Mac said with mild amusement.

CJ scowled. “Not when it comes to homemade chocolate chip cookies. And definitely not when it comes to someone who is stealing my bed.”

“Ah. Yes, well, they were good,” he acknowledged. “I— Wait, what do you mean stealing your bed?” he asked suddenly, a frown curving his lips down. “I’ll take the cot.”

CJ turned on him, one eyebrow arched. “I’m guarding your body, remember? That means putting myself between you and trouble. You’re safest in the bedroom with me between you and the entry.”

“But—”

“Besides,” she added, cutting him off, “the bed in there is queen-sized. Might be a bit tight but should fit two men fine if one of the officers shows up. He can sleep in there with you.”

“What?” he squawked with alarm.

CJ smiled at him sweetly, and then glanced to the door as it swung open and Mrs. Vesper hurried in with a stack of pink sheets in her arms.

“Here we are,” she said in a soft voice as CJ set down the cookies and jumped up to take the linens from her. “I’m afraid I only had pink ones left, but I know you’ll be the one on the cot since you’re the one guarding. I was hoping that would be okay.”

   
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