Chapter Five: Face Averted

"I thought you were going to the Casino." Elise's lips were pursed in distaste as she pulled off his reeking garments.

"I was."

"So? What happened?"

Naked and shivering, he stood in front of her. His head was bowed.

"Claudo? What happened?"

"Got a little sidetracked. That fucking drug. Saw some vamps, got kicked out. Same old, same old."

Elise snorted. "And what about Brody?"

Claudo shrugged. "It's too late now. The rats I killed this morning will have been found. You think he'll sit around waiting to be shot at? He's terrified of me."

She turned her face away, the bowl in her hands suddenly trembling. "You're going to let him get away?"

"Fuck no. I just have to pick a better spot."

She set the bowl down carefully. "Those vamps you saw. Was Leena one of them?"

Claudius whirled around, snatching her arm. "What?"

"You heard me."

He stared into her icy blues. Moments passed. The clock ticked louder.

"No." he said at last. "No, she wasn't."

Satisfied, Elise picked up the bowl again. "You're filthy. You need a shower."

"We can't afford it, Elise."

"Well at least get yourself cleaned up. I'll find you some clothes."


She went over to the sleeping pallet, face averted so he wouldn't see her cry.