CV 211Time was irrelevant, but I had been hugging the end of the bar for at least an hour now. Not that it mattered. I'd called Dominique and told her I'd be off on my own for a whileI might have said something about being a total fuck-up, or maybe I'd just thought that. My phone was propped up between the glass and the lazy position of my fingers, snidely reminding me of the time.The glass contained nothing but lukewarm water and nearly melted ice. I'd watched it more than I'd been drinking it. Something about the way it twisted the barroom when I looked through it, my head tilted and about to fall off. I felt like shit.No one could possibly tell that from my appearance, thoughthank God for small favors, honestly. I'd bought a blue long-sleeved shirt from the first open shop I'd passed on the way here, wherever here was, and except for the mud all over my shoes, there wasn't a sign of the morning on m
CV 210I could always not answer. And that was a lie. I picked up my cellphone and stared at it for a few seconds before finally answering. "What, Dominique.""Please Armand, there's no one else I can call." She was either on the verge of tears or faking it really well, but at this point it didn't really matter, did it? I'd lost. After all I liked Dominique and what she meant to Abby, and even if my
thing, had gotten fucked up beyond belief that was all the more reason for me not to screw it up for my little adopted sister. Also, I was a grown man with a little girl in tears on the other end of the line; like I'd said, I'd lost.I took a very long drag off my cigarette, "Fine
can you meet me at the 'Finer Living' Café in about half an hour
? I'm gonna need a lot of coffee if I'm going to be getting behind a wheel
ugh." I glared at the last bit of amber liquid in my glass, all too aware of the fact that I wouldn't be able to down it before I left like I'd pl
CV 209The phone was my enemy. It kept ringing even while I glared down at my knees and rehearsed myself in my head. I still didn't know what to say when I finally heard Armand's voice saying, "Hello?" Especially since he sounded like someone had just beaten him up with a golf club."Hi I'm sorry for calling but you're the only person who can help me!" I tried to catch my breath, but it was somewhere on the other side of the room."
Who is this?"My breath torpedoed back into me. "Oh yeah. Um. I'm Dominique, Abby's g-girlfriend." I sniffed. This was hard.There was a long silence before he answered. "Dom-Dominique, I can't talk right now, can I call you back?""But you won't!" I was whining
! Not conducive to getting help. "I mean, I really really need your help."The phone crackled a little as he sighedno, he was smoking into the phone. "What is it?" Deeper drag."Are you smoking?" No, no, don't do this, Dominique, this is not the issue at hand. "And why are you in
CV 208I sat at the end of the bar, hunched over a glass, and staring at my dismal reflection between a bottle of JD and another of Liebovitch. I looked like shit. It was almost impossible to tell I'd had a shower and a shave less than three hours ago. My coat had fallen open but I didn't have the energy to hold it closed. The metal legs of the barstool were freezing against my bare feet.It was over. It hadn't really started
and it was one thing to wake up the next morning hung-over and numbly depressed, but to be faced with him like that immediately
when everything was still so fresh. I hadn't even had the time to condition myself to the change. I'd barely had time to take in the good things. Potential turned dream turned nightmare, and all in less than 24 hours. I swear the human psyche was not built for this kind of crap, call it design faults if you will, bugs in the system, but no one should have had the capacity to take in everything I'd been through in such a short time.I
CV 207For a few moments, I just stood where he'd left me and stared at the wall, imagining all the ways I could have actually done that right. I could have apologized, for an appetizer. I would've even meant it. That would not have worked, though. No one believed me when I apologized, whether it was me or just the image I portrayed.I was used to feeling like this, it happened a lot. Less so recently, but I'd been working too much to have time to destroy other people's liveser, attempt a relationship. It was so much harder to care about somebody who actually wanted me around. Maybe something was terribly wrong with me. Probably something was terribly wrong with me.With visions of vodka dancing in my head, I almost went into the pubbut then my brain kicked me in the backseat and I turned around to lean on the wall. I really needed to get a shirt.I stuffed my hands in my pock
CV 206Breathe. That would be a good start Armand, focus on inhaling and exhaling, then you can worry about walking in a straight line rather than zigzagging down the pavement. I was so angry I felt drunk. And obviously not the good kind of drunk.
trust me to take it there. The one place it would be far too stupid and dangerous for anyone in their right mind to take it. Sure enough, there was a pub across the street. I battled with myself for the few seconds in which my will was still functional, then made a sharp turn and started across the street. I slipped a bit in a puddle near the sidewalk and for once was glad I wasn't wearing shoes.
would they let me in without shoes?
Probably not. I reached down and maneuvered my pajamas a tad lower on my hips so they'd cover my feet a bit. Ugh. It worked well enough.I was about to go in when someone hollered across the street, "Armand, wait!"I turned around to see Ambroise rushing across the street, started forward when a taxi ha
Am 71"Well," Mikey began, "the time to worry about is now, the nighttime. If you feel he isn't sufficiently protected in this house
" he looked around the homey living room as if surveying a stronghold. "I'd be honored to offer the safety of my home, we can place as many guards and enchantments as needed around his room. Though of course
that means that if the Creature hasn't yet taken notice of your family, the probability that it will is more than doubled. I really can't tell you which choice is the right one." He fell silent, looking from Abbot to Abbot."I should go
" the slightly quavering voice of Eric suddenly spoke up, "It knows about me, I can tell, I can feel it.""Then it's best you come with me." Mikey got to his feet. He gave the Abbots a sad smile, "I'm sorry
she tried to keep it at bay as long as she could
but Audrey's always had a bad habit of choosing friends who harm each other. One of the things that makes her such a good diplomat.""Please
Am 70It was a good thing I'd left the living room bugs active, or Jake and I wouldn't have heard Nat's dad and his doomsaying. I leapt to my feet and practically flew down the stairs, I don't think I actually stepped on more than three of them. Jake followed right behind me, although I doubt he knew exactly why I was running down to the living room, I'm sure he had an idea, and I was not going to let him stop me.All of the adults looked up at me in surprise, and Dad started to say something. I cut him off in a burst of agitated words. "I'll abdicate! If I refuse Grandmother, she'll kick us out of the clan and then Eric won't be a prince anymore!!" We'd spent enough time in the demon world to know all about evil things, and even if Eric ran away from the human world, as long as he matched this prophecy, he'd be in danger. And the demon world was more welcoming to Creatures of all creeds no matter how dark their pur
AM 69There was no easy way to go about this, Mikey realized, looking up at the concerned face of Mr. Abbot. Mrs. Abbot was beside him looking tired and red eyed, Mikey made a point of meeting her hurt and intense gaze. "My sister told me about you, she's been telling me about you for years. How brave you are
I'm afraid I'm going to have to call upon that bravery tonight, for you to hear what I have to tell you."The Abbots looked at each other, then Lyra said carefully, "
We're ready.""Aud Rose lied to you tonight. She couldn't bring herself to tell you the things I'm about to because she cares for you too much, precisely the reason she has stayed away all these years.
Do you remember her friend Gy?""The incubus." Lyra said suddenly, "The one she went out with before Cayn
he was at Van and Cayn's wedding
"Mikey nodded, "Aud and Gy have been friends for a very long time
ever since something happened to them both when they were very little, one of the resu