The Polanski Brothers: Home of Eternal Rest(2)

By: Dakota Cassidy

Joy clucked her tongue. Poor Alan. She wondered if he had children. He was pretty badly decomposed. It would take some work to make him presentable. Andrew left quietly, knowing Joy took this task very seriously and to heart.

“Well, Alan,” Joy said quietly, “I’ll make sure you’re fixed up just right, I promise.”

If she had a heart it would constrict, thinking about this man’s potential family, but she had a job to do and that was to embalm Alan. When his family came in to speak with her father, the funeral director at Polanskis, she’d discreetly ask for a picture of Alan in life and then she’d return him to a reproduction of himself in death. Or at the very least, try to.

Joy leaned over Alan and patted his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Alan. Did you have a family? Children?” She spent far too much time wondering about the lives of visitors to her embalming table and far too little time actually living one.

A life, that was.

Of course you couldn’t really “live” if you were undead, now could you, she mused to herself. “Okay, Alan, let’s do this.” Alan stared blankly back at her. “I know,”

Joy chuckled, “I’m talking to dead people again.”

* * *

As the Perkins family gathered for the seven o’clock viewing, Joy smoothed her conservative black suit over her hips and went to greet Alan’s friends and family. Joy often took on the role of counselor, sympathetic shoulder and bathroom locator. As it Dakota Cassidy

The Polanski Brothers: Home of Eternal Rest

turned out, Alan Perkins didn’t have any children or even a wife, but he had droves of friends and distant family members lining up to view him. And of course, there was his mother Adelaide, weeping softly as she had from the moment she was allowed to view his body. Joy swallowed hard and tears stung her eyes at the very thought of any one of her family members dying. Well, except maybe Darren… he was a sleaze bag bottom feeder who’d lived for centuries just to make Joy miserable and she still wouldn’t wish death on him. But to lose her father or mother -- one of her siblings? She couldn’t comprehend it even if they did tease her unmercifully about her smelling issue. Being a vampire had its troubles, but it beat the shit out of living for eighty years and croaking.

She caught a glimpse of a flower arrangement dangerously close to spilling over by the foyer and moved to prevent disaster. Joy inched her way through the throng of people in the waiting room, and came out the other side of the crowd to the marble foyer. As she made her way to the flowers her shoe slipped out from under her and she stumbled, only to be caught by a firm grip and a hard chest covered in a navy blue suit.

If blood ran through her veins she might have blushed at her clumsiness. Jesus, she was like a bull in a china shop!

“No, you’re not. The floor’s slippery,” a deep, gravelly voice said.

Joy looked up from the chest her face was so ungracefully mashed against and cocked her head. “I’m sorry?”

Oh… wow.

A very tall, rather redwood-tree-like man gazed down at her, his gray-blue eyes intent. “I said no, you’re not like a bull in a china shop.”

Had she said that out loud? No, she hadn’t said anything.

“Yes, you did,” he insisted. His gaze darkened and his grip on her arm tightened.

“No, I didn’t.” Now back the fuck off, Neanderthal man… or I’ll use my mighty vampire resources and kick your redwood ass.

His hard jaw clenched and Joy watched in fascination as the muscles tensed, rippling under his skin. “I am not a Neanderthal,” he muttered indignantly. “And I’d like to see you try.” He shook his dark brown head, obviously as confused as she was.

Dakota Cassidy

The Polanski Brothers: Home of Eternal Rest

Joy squirmed out of his grip and brushed at her suit to straighten it. This was officially a “what the fuck” moment and she wanted out. “If you’ll excuse me, I have things to take care of.”

He didn’t move. The solid wall of his body remained firmly rooted in front of her. “Did you say vampire?” His deep voice raised an octave and his eyes darkened.

No again. She hadn’t said a word. Okay, he was freakin’ her out. Was he a vamp?