There's a pattern here. She knows there is. But it's subtle, it's so subtle she thinks she might be imagining it. A flyer appears on the wall of the coffee shop, announcing that his band has a show there that week. There's so few details that she thinks she must be mistaken, someone else here must have decided to use that same band name, it wasn't that creative- but she goes back to look again the next day, just to see, and it's gone.
She finds a jelly doughnut left on the hood of her car while she's out shopping. They're Kevin's favorite, and she has to talk him out of eating it- they don't know where it came from, it can't be safe, just throw it out, see how someone's already cut it open? It's oozing red jelly out over the roof of the car.
Little things, one at a time. Spaced apart enough that she's never quite sure they're related to each other. A week before something new happens? Two? Once there's two incidents in three days, then nothing for almost a month. She could be imagining it.
She finds a stuffed dog in their front yard. It's very generic, one of those silly plush dogs you can get at any store for a few bucks, and it's arguably, plausibly, a dog toy. But the tag on the dog's collar says 'Tammy'. And it's been torn almost to shreds, viciously. And none of her neighbors have dogs.
Tamara calls the Watcher's Council. And then she calls Bella.
"Bella?" Tamara tries very hard to keep her voice steady. It manages to quaver nonetheless. "I seem to have a bit of a stalker problem."
"Uh, okay, do you want to talk to my dad? I told you he's the chief of police, right?"
"...A vampiric ex-husband stalker problem."
"Oh! Okay. I can tell you where I got my ultraviolet porch lights? I can sleep over at your house, maybe?"
"Yes and thank you to the first. Maybe to the second. I don't worry about the house, it's a vampire, but- maybe an eye on Kevin?"
"I mean - keep him indoors at night, obviously. What's the vampire doing that tips you off?"
She ends with the puppy. "It was just the last straw. It's- we had a dog that looked like that, back in England. And Tammy's what he used to call me, and... and..." her voice breaks. "I thought I was imagining it. He was dead!"
"But nobody staked the contents of the morgue," says Bella. "Right. Does he know you're a Watcher or was this relationship before you got into Watching, will he know that a teenage girl you hang out with is likely to be the Slayer...?"
She regains control of herself after a struggle. "He didn't know. It was just a side job, I did almost nothing for the Council , until he- didn't die, those bloody liars."
"What does he look like? Do the pranks indicate that he's managing to move around during the day in some way? They haven't been strictly centered around your house..." Bella shakes her head and relays where she got the ultraviolet porch lights. "Oh, also, you can borrow Prom Ghost if you want, but you have to look after her anchor."
"Once or twice they were during the day. Mostly at night or in the evening. I don't think we're looking at the Gem of Amara or some such. Prom Ghost- would that help? If she saw him, what could she do except yell? She's still insubstantial, yes?"
"She can also be invisible, so she could warn you without him knowing he'd been spotted," says Bella. "Substantiality is connected to her emotional state - she doesn't normally get angry enough to turn solid, but it's possible she could get pissed off at a vampire who was after you, especially if you get along. You do have to leave the TV on for her, though, she doesn't sleep - mute with closed captions is fine. She'll watch anything with shirtless actors, American Idol, Saturday Night Live, and cooking shows."
Tamara snorts at this description of viewing preferences. "Well, I won't say no to the extra alarm system. Wouldn't say no to much, right now. Not with Kevin to worry about."
"Minnie's a sweetie," says Bella. "I'll bring her over now if you want."
"Just... tell her I apologize in advance if I seem... short. I'm rather unsettled at the moment."
Bella's car pulls up twenty minutes later.
Tamara opens the door and waves. She doesn't invite them in. She doesn't say anything at all, in fact. She's being extra careful.
"This is not a real gemstone. It's not extra-durable, either. Soph gave Minnie enough moving-around room that you don't need to keep it somewhere obvious; do you mind if I hide it for you, so in the worst case Minnie's still retrievable?"
Tamara has to take a second to think through what Bella means by 'worst case', but nods once she's parsed it. "I can't think of a reason I would need the stone myself. Might as well be safe."
"Okay. Go - stand in a bathroom or something and I'll find a place to stash it."
"I'll be in Kevin's room," she says instead. She's too polite to say that she'd rather not have a stranger in Kevin's room, ghost or no. Tamara takes the opportunity to put Kevin to bed.
"Done," she calls when this has been accomplished.
"So... what now?" she asks. "I'm not in... a good place, for decisions, right now."
Minnie pops into visibility. "I didn't see anybody just now," she reports. "But it's the daytime."