It was nearly 11:30 by the time the driver dropped Silas and I off at the east entrance of the White House. We were dressed in simple slim suits, with alternate ties of red and blue. The chauffeur opened the doors in the back of our limousine, and we both stepped out, looking quite confidant. We had earpieces in, in order to evacuate if our protection services deemed it necessary; but that didn’t seem like that was going to be an issue.
A White House staffer met us at the door, holding it open while we breezed through, and led us down a maze of hallways. Although we knew the White House layout by heart, we didn’t want to make a scene by denying her most gracious services.
She led us into the outer offices that surrounded the Oval Office, and I noticed, besides a lone light or two shining on overworked looking faces, not many people were here to witness our meeting. I knew Ronald did that on purpose. Silas and I held hands until Ronald stepped out of his quarters to greet us. I made sure to wipe the sweat from my palm off on my pants before shaking his hand.
“Lucius! Silas! God, it certainly has been a long time, hasn’t it?” His ruddy face was folded into a natural and breezy smile, taking out hand in turn and shaking it vigorously. “Since ’76?”
I chuckled. “Right you are, sir.” We made solid eye contact for a few seconds, and then Ronald put his hands behind both our backs and steered us into the Oval Office, and shut the door on the chattering staffers that were left practically gapping outside. Why, they most likely wondered, would the President be entertain a couple of teenagers. At nearly midnight?!
Ronald strode past us and went to the cabinet. He appeared again with a bottle of brandy and got out three glasses. Looking at us suggestively, he took the glass stopper out of the bottle and poured. He returned with the three glasses, giving one to Silas, one to me, and the other he took to the green striped couch opposite from us. Smoothly gyrating the glass, and thus the liquid inside, he peered into it as off looking for answers. He inhaled suddenly and then shot us a look.
“This was a sudden meeting,” he stated. He looked between us, giving signals of confusion and lack of control. I could sympathize, although some of what I was to divulge to him was way past his business in knowing.
I sighed and unconsciously reached out for Silas’ hand, which he took. I ignored the subtle look of disapproval that came from Mr. Reagan’s visage.
“Yes,” I ultimately sighed, after gathering my thoughts. “It was. And it was my intention of keeping you out of the loop, to be sure.”
Reagan scoffed. “What’s new? The Elders can’t be bothered with following the governments suggested regulations, besides the government employees who clean up after you guys.”
I again ignored his plea of exasperation. “But this is off the record. The Elders don’t know I’m here, but the VIB does.”
Reagan looked at me incredulously. “The Vampiric Investigation Bureau? Why? Don’t they normally operate within the realms of your domain? Why do they need outside help?”
I looked at him, gauging his subtle reactions to my words. I resumed, not stopping to look away from his face. To his credit, he led my gaze. “Because, quite frankly, the VIB needs help. This is bigger than even them, and they begrudgingly asked for myself, on their behalf, to ask you for that help.”
He coughed, and shifted in his seat. “Well, I’ll need more information than that.”
I was way ahead of him. I let go of Silas’ hand in order to be able to gesticulate. I leaned forward as to grab Mr. Reagan’s attention. “Look, there was some strange activity in Moscow. Legion 67 reached out to us, saying something about a suspicious death in their midst. We need to join forces, quietly, and get to the bottom of it. We just don’t have enough resources.”
He looked between the both of us, and sighed. “Fine. I’ll make some phone calls tomorrow. But tell that damn VIB they’re no better than a regular bureaucracy.” He took off his reading glasses and rubbed his temple. “Damn. Can you at least tell me how the suspicious death transpired?”
I grimaced. “I’m sorry. No.”
“This is a favor, you hear me?” He was obviously upset, but he’d just have to get over it, and he knew it. He knew that if something that had to do with vampires got out of control, there would be dire consequences. “I’ll make the calls. But the minute you find out what’s going on, I want to know about it. Alright?”
I finished off the rest of my brandy, as did Silas. I carefully set it down on the coffee table, spinning it slightly before I let go, admiring the crystal glass. I looked up at him without raising my head. “I’ll see what I can do.”
I stood, as did Silas, and I held my hand out to shake. When we got done with parting pleasantries, he asked, “Nancy and I are planning to go out to dinner tomorrow with a few friends. Would you care to join us? We’d love to have both of you.”
I looked at Silas, and then back to Mr. Reagan, and grinned. “Sure,” I said. “It always good to have a few friends in Washington.”
Author’s Note: Sorry for the long hiatus. I’ll only be posting chapters around 1,000 words periodically as of right now. Life’s starting to get in the way!
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