“Unacceptable.” Vic threw the plastic bag on the floor.
Ricky cringed, relieved that the bag didn’t burst. “It’s all I could get. Deal with it.”
“It’s plasma.” Vic put his face close to his and bared his fangs. “I need whole blood, human, not this centrifuged crap.”
Ricky glanced around the dressing room, but Bo was adjusting his leather pants, Kalila was leaning into the mirror and doing something with her hair, and Nevin was entranced by a cup of tea. Only Lazaro returned his gaze, and it was with a scowl that Ricky knew meant even bigger trouble than he was in right now.
He turned back to Vic. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to get blood products? I’m not a member of the medical profession – I’m just a band manager.”
“Not my problem.” Vic tossed himself into a chair and looked up at him with baleful eyes. “Vampires need fresh blood. It’s in my contract. Get me a girl, if you can’t get what I need in a bag. I don’t like that pre-packaged stuff, anyway. I only tolerate it to indulge your ridiculous human squeamishness.”
Ricky sighed and was about to say something, but the way Lazaro’s eyes bored into him was giving him the creeps. “What’s with you? Don’t tell me you don’t like your catered meal, either.”
“Pig brains are disgusting.”
There was no arguing that point, but as far as Ricky was concerned, the zombie drummer's usual fare was worse. “It’s not like I can just walk into the corner store and buy a human cerebellum, you know.”
“Maybe I should eat yours.”
Ricky sucked in his breath and met Kalila’s eyes in the mirror, pleading silently for help.
Kalila gave a little shrug. “The boys are right. You have obligations, Ricky.”
“But—” he went to stand behind her. “The contract is unreasonable. It holds me to standards no human can meet.”
“So?” She conjured a lipstick and pouted at her reflection. “What do you think of this color? Too much?”
“I think your expectations are too much.” Ricky plucked the lipstick from her hand so he would have her full attention. “You know as well as I do that you conjured my signature on that contract. You can’t hold me accountable to things I never agreed to in the first place.”
Kalila vanished the lipstick with a gesture, then turned her attention back to her mirror. “Too bad. You’re on the hook now, so do something.”
“Do what? Make humans available as food sources for your band members?”
Vic stood up and glanced at the clock on the wall. “Sounds good to me. I’ll go do this set, and when I get back here, you better have a solution waiting. Preferably type O.”
Lazaro nodded and followed Vic toward the door. “She should be a college graduate too,” he said. “Someone with dense neurons.”
Ricky watched them leave. “Well, sure. Just make it sound easy, why don't you? Any other qualifications?”
Bo grabbed his guitar and brushed past him. “Make sure she’s sexy. I could use a snack, myself.”
Ricky fumed and was about to run after them and tell them to get over their ridiculous expectations when Kalila approached and cupped his cheek in her palm.
“You can do it.” Her voice was a siren song on a sultry night. “I have faith in you.”
Her kiss was fire and honey; a hot whiskey glow that burned through Ricky's body and left him weak in the knees. He stared at the empty doorway after she left, his ears straining for the sound of her guitar and his body yearning for her touch.
He would find a way to satisfy her bandmates. It would probably get him arrested, but what the hell, she was a djinn. She could spring him.
Ricky took out his BlackBerry and punched in a number. If he was lucky, the blood bank was open late and would deliver.