Friday, January 7, 2011

The Rain Taxi

Where was the blasted thing? She rummaged through her bag for her passport, the latest in a long-line of dozens. They were easy enough to get either through imaginary offspring or legal migration. People always said you were the spitting image of your aunt, mother, or grandparent, she’d yet to have them put two and two together. It was a bit depressing how easy humans were to fool. Or rather, people saw what they expected to see, and no one ever expected a vampire no matter how many Anne Rice, Twilight, True Blood, or latest vampire novel fad. There, in the bottom of her purse, it was lurking.

“And how long will you be staying in Germany, miss?” the bored attendant clipped out.

“A week, perhaps two at most.”

“Business or pleasure?”

“A little of both, I’m a designer. Plan to visit some of the local shops.”

“That’s not very common here, most of the designers go to Paris or Milan.”

“I know, but most of the equipment is actually made here.”

“I see, very good.” The man waved her through as if the answer meant nothing to him, which was probably true. Just a random polite question to a stranger to see if she raised any flags.

She snorted to herself and rounded the exit corner. A tall man was standing there with a sign that read, Catherine O’Connell and Elizabeth Jones. Damn, her assistant…she had forgotten to pass along the note that she had canceled at the last minute to run off the Bahamas with her boyfriend.

“I’m Catherine O’Connell.” She paused to readjust the bag on her shoulder.

“Benjamin Weimar, your translator.” His blue eyes twinkled down at her.

“You’re not German?”

“No ma’am, I’m actually from Altanta, a city in the US. Landed here a couple years back on walk-around looking for relatives.”

She tilted her head back to get a better look at the giant staring down at her. “I’m a traveler myself and that demands a certain flexibility. How is your business German?”

“Passable, but my business etiquette is even better. I’m guessing that’s what you’re looking for. Most Germans actually speak English so there must be a reason you want me along besides translation.”

Catherine sighed, well…at least he was charming. “Yes, it’s the nuances sometimes. Germans are so well….black and white. Sometimes you need someone politely standing by draining the color out of my words.”

Ben chuckled back. “Yes, well…it grows on you.”

“Very well, let’s go.”

“Don’t you have an assistant in tow?”

“Oh, Lizzie? She’s in the Bahamas with her boyfriend at them moment. A last minute surprise anniversary gift from him so I’m left scrambling to keep up the pieces. So let’s find the exit and you can show me the sites. Did you order a taxi?”

“Actually, I drove.”

“You drove? In Berlin? Are you out of your mind? And how did you even manage the fees?” she choked back her words. Her tongue still got away from her. Hell, if the man had a car…a real car in Berlin…it would be a godsend. Hopefully she hadn’t accidentally offended the man and ruined her chance at her own private ride in Europe.

He laughed at her, an honest to God belly laugh. “Wait until you see it before you pass judgment. She’s clean and black, and the VW isn’t a bad company.” Then he reached out and picked up her bag. “Let me carry your bag and get the door.”

Chivalry, she almost resisted for a moment, then decided it was a nice return to the 1940s. A man hadn’t opened a door for her in New York in 20 years. And if he tried to run off with her bags, she could always pounce him. Being a vampire had it’s perks.

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