I looked at Eve and froze. Oh, crap. I put my plate down on the countertop, licked bacon grease from my fingers, and said, "Get her out of sight."

Eve nodded. She quickly put her own plate onto the counter, grabbed Claire's wrist, and hustled her to the pantry. Where the secert door was. I walked out the kitchen door and made my way to the door. I could hear Eve telling Claire to get in the secert room.

"Inside," she said."I'm going to turn the light on out here, but try to keep that flashlight off if you hear voices. It could showthrough the cracks."

A few seconds later Eve walked out and nodded to me. I locked the door and opened it. It was the police .

"Is there a problem Officer?" I said trying to be polite. No need to piss them off.

"No just a standard inventory." Yea right. I thought.

"Sir, there's nobody living here but what's on the roster. Just the three of us." I said. "Which one are you?" the officer asked eyeing me.

"Shane Collins, sir."

"Get your third in here," he said. Crap.

"Well, I would, but-Michael's not here. He's out until tonight. You want to check back then?..." I suggest as he looked around the kitchen.

"Never mind." he said . He looked at a paper that I didn't realize he was holding.

"You're Eve Rosser?" he asked.

"Yes, sir." Eve sounded respectful, but brisk.

"Moved out of your parents' house-eight months ago?"

"Yes, sir."


"At Common Grounds, you know, the coffee-" he interrupted her before she could finish.

"You. Collins. Any employment?" he said turning back to me.

"I'm between jobs, sir. You know how it is." I eplained.

"Keep looking. We don't like slackers in Morganville. Everybody contributes." Jackass .

"Yes, sir. I'll keep it in mind, sir."

He paused and glared at me.

"You left town for a couple of years, boy. What brings you back?" he asked. Had to bring that up didn't guy was really pissing me off. I frowned.

"Homesick, sir." I asked. Not caring that I sounded like a smart ass."Missed all my old friends."

Eve clear her throat and glared at me. Then turned back to the officer

"Sir, I'm sorry, but I've got work in a half hour...?" She said. It came out as a question. He didn't ask her, just looked though the papers he was holding.

"One other thing. Here's a picture of a girl that disappeared fromher dorm lastnight. You haven't seen her?" he asked. It was a picture of Claire. What the fuck? Why were they looking for her?

"No." Eve and I chorused. It would have been funny if we weren't in this solution.

He must not have believed us, because he didn't sound convinced.

"What's in here?" He didn't wait to hear a response; he just opened the outer door of the pantry. Crap. He's gonna find her. Now we're in deep shit.

"You always leave the light on?" He asked. What a smart ass.

"I was getting some jam when you rang, sir. I probably forgot to turn it off," Eve sounded nervous. Damn, Eve claim down.

"Sorry." she said and turned the light off.

He looked in between them for a minute. Then said "You ring the station if you see that girl. She's got herself in some trouble. We're supposed to help her get straightened out." He started toward the door. Thank god.

"Yes, sir," Eve said, and shut the pantry door.

"Alright, y'll have a nice day," he said with a smirk as he walked out the door. What was that all about?

We waited until he heared the car doors close and for the car to pull away. Then walked back to the kitchen. Eve opening the pantry, turned of the light, and fipped the switch. The sercet door opened.

"It's okay," she said, and helped Claire out of the hidden room. Pshh, It was not okay. "He's gone."

"Oh, the hell it's okay," I said behind her. I folded my arms across my chest,and rockedback and forth, frowning. "Those assholes have her picture. They're looking for 'd you do,Claire? Knife the mayor or something?" I asked her. She must have done something or they wouldn't be looking for her. I might feel sorry for her, but she was not worth the trouble we could get in.

"Nothing!" she blurted. "I-I don't know why-maybe it's that they're just worried because I didn't show up last night?" Yea right. They Don't worry about us.

"Worried?" I laughed bitterly. "Yeah, that's it. They're worried about you. Right. I'm going to have to talk this over with Michael. If they're going to turn the town upside down looking for you, either you're too hot to stay in Morganville, or we need to get you under some kind of Protection, fast." I said.

"But-maybe the police-?" she started to ask.

"That was the police," Eve said. "Told you. They run the town. These guys work for the vamps-they're not vamps themselves, but they're scary enough without the fangs. Look,can you call your parents? Get them to pull you out of school and take you home or something?" Eve suggested. That was what she should do. Get out of here while she can and never come back.

"But-I haven't done anything!" she said, and looked from Eve to me, and back again."How can they be after me if I didn't do anything?"

"Life ain't fair," I said, with all the certainty of two more years of experience at it.

"You must have pissed off the wrong people, is all I know. What's the girl's name? The one who smacked you around?" I asked.


I froze. No fucking way.