Baltimore wasn’t much of a lounge or club town. It had a relatively small number of bars of all levels to choose from and people seemed content with that. However, when a new two floor lounge opened in Federal Hill a few months ago called Bite, people actually stood in line the night of the grand opening and every weekend since. People were not just drawn in because of the drinks with clever paranormal references in their names like Bloody Kiss, Faetini or the Full Moon Cosmo. Nor was it the dark and seductive ambiance of deep red almost brown walls, dark wood floors, suedes, satins and leathers. No, people came because of the vampire owner, Gabriel or Gabe as his friends called him.
He opened several variations of the lounge in other cities which competed with, and usually won against, other paranormally owned night life. However, this was new to Baltimore . Although the city ranked in the top five largest paranormal communities in the country, the paranormal residents usually liked to remain inconspicuous. Gabe didn’t mind being noticed.
For all those who hated and feared the paranormal, there were just as many who were curious and even in awe of them. Some who wanted to join what they believed to be the seductive world of the vampire and have everlasting life. Others who wanted to rub elbows in hopes of an interview or photo op for the newspapers or simply even a subject for a thesis paper.
Marley was only in Baltimore for a little over a week and hadn’t had the opportunity to visit Bite. She was hoping that on a Thursday night it wouldn’t be too busy. However, Bite was located in one of the busiest nightlife sections in Baltimore and on a Thursday night at only 9:30 the place was getting busy.
There was no line yet, only a massive looking bouncer dressed in a tight black suit at the front door which was covered by dark red velvet curtains. She hoped she was dressed appropriately in a closed neck blue halter and dark gray zipped leg skinny jeans. She paired it off with peep toed black heels, a black clutch and hair pulled back loosely in a messy ponytail.
Carlos stood beside her in a simple blue button down shirt, jeans, and black loafers. Marley had to admit he looked pretty hot but she would never tell him that.
She stopped him before they walked up to the doorman. “Okay, you’re going to be good, right?”
Carlos crossed his arms and looked at her sideways. “No.”
Marley sighed. “Oh come on, you told Tyson you wouldn’t cause any trouble. How are we going to talk Gabe into joining us if you sit there scowling at him?”
“Tyson should have done this.”
“Tyson and Cassie were unsuccessful and Gabe and I go way back. He’s like family. And he’d be encouraged to join if he knew your alpha trusted you enough to join. Plus you’re my partner and we have to do these things together. He’s harmless really.”
Carlos gave her a disgusted look. “He’s a master vampire and he’s rogue. He’s trouble.”
Marley shook her head and took him by the arm. “Come on McGruff, slap on a smile and do your job. No one said it’d be easy.”
They walked to the bouncer who glared down at them from his over 6 foot 5 frame. “Hi, I’m Marley and this is my guest. Gabe should have my name on your list,” she said sweetly.
He gave her a look of disinterest. “ID,” he stated.
They showed him their driver’s license and he parted the velvet curtains apart.
“Should you tell him we’re here?”
“Tell someone inside,” he said in a deep dull voice.
“Thanks for nothing,” Marley muttered as they stepped into the dimly lit club.
“How can any humans see each other in here?” Carlos complained, looking around.
“I don’t think their supposed to.”
“You think humans and vampires meet up here for ‘donation’ purposes?” he asked, making quotation marks with his fingers.
Marley nodded. “Probably. It’s a safe environment and Gabe has some V.I.P. rooms for that. He also makes sure the humans have their vampire blood donation cards.”
Marley grabbed Carlos by the left wrist and guided him to a bar on her right around a small crowd of people dancing to the blaring house music playing. She waited patiently for the male bartender’s attention. “Is Gabe here? He’s expecting us. My name’s Marley,” she said.
“He’s around here somewhere. Can I get you a drink?” the bartender replied with a blank look.
Marley sighed and shook her head. She turned to Carlos who was busy looking around at the crowd. “I see some wolves in here,” he said.
“Great,” she stated as she took out her cell phone and began to text Gabe her location.
"I also see fairies and other lycans here. He must be making a killing. It’s like neutral ground here. Everyone comes in and doesn’t hide who they are. Just here to have a good time,” he stated, awe in his voice.
“That’s Gabe’s thing. That’s why I don’t get why he would say no to this group,” she said, closing her cell phone. “It’s like he’s broken the high school barrier in the supernatural community.”
Carlos frowned and looked at her. “The what?”
Marley raised her eyebrows and leaned against the glass bar top. “You never heard that before?”
Carlos shook his head. “Enlighten me.”
“All the major groups fall into your typical high school cliques. Vamps are the rich snobs, wolves are the jocks, fairies are the emo types, panthers are your artsy types, witches are the hippies, leopards are the outsiders, lions and tigers and bears; oh my; are the bullies, birds are the goody two shoes, the rats are the thugs, the hunters are the hall monitors or the principals,” she explained matter-of-factly.
Carlos frowned again. “Who has time to think of things like that?”
Marley quickly shook her head. “Hello, don’t you watch OH?”
Carlos sighed in frustration. “What?”
Marley spread out her arms. “Otherwordly High!” she yelled. “It’s the number one show on Fox.”
Carlos scratched his head. “If I don’t need to watch it for work then it doesn’t get seen by me.”
“Tragic,” Marley replied, giving him a sad face.
“It’s just all so different,” Carlos said, straining his neck as he looked around the lounge with burgundy painted walls that held pictures of popular vampires and mahogany floors.
Marley chuckled. “You don’t get out much do you? This club is no big thing in bigger cities like L.A. , New York or Chicago. You should see the night life in Vegas!”
“Yeah, my nightlife is pretty tame. I usually stay in and watch a movie with my girlfriend, Dorothy if I‘m not on the nightshift at work.”
“Her name’s Dorothy? Really?” Marley nodded slowly. “What is she like 70?”
Carlos frowned at her. “Yes. She’s a werewolf too.”
“Figures,” Marley replied, snorting.
“Are you seeing anyone?”
Carlos turned his head from her. “Figures.”
Marley huffed and turned from him. “Ass.”
Carlos grinned and tapped his foot to the beat of the now hip hop music blaring through the speakers. A DJ located in a small booth hanging from the ceiling in the center of the club caught his eye. There were no steps or ladder to get him up there. He probably flew.
“What do you think he is?” he asked.
Marley turned, face annoyed, and looked up to where Carlos was looking. “Well not many beings can fly or jump that high, so some simple deduction might say an older vampire. Or maybe some type of flying lycan like a were bird although those are very, very rare. Fairy maybe. Do some detective work.”
“Well, I can’t pick up his scent from this far down and with this many people around. Just too many scents.”
“Slipping already?” Marley stated as her phone vibrated.
Carlos shrugged. “You could feel free to try or are you just not that skillful?”
Marley glared at him as she grabbed her phone from her pocket. “You know, I don’t like you.”
Carlos grinned. “I can’t help but not care.”
She flipped her phone open to see a text from Gabe stating that he was on the second floor near the pool table. “Come on,” she said.