She stirred the heartache deeper into her coffee, mesmerised by the floating hopes that burst upon the blackened surface. Bags lay around her feet.
She’d bought clothes and pretty shoes and bangles that jingled a sweet tune when they wriggled on her wrists, but none of these things had served to soothe her.
The ache was still there and the ache would not go away.
She stirred slower. Bubbles burst and the café slowly emptied. This was the last place they’d met.
He wasn’t accustomed to big gestures. He never had been. The most he could manage was to buy her a cupcake and sit across the table, uncomfortable and restless. She should never have made him stay so long. She should never have stayed so long.
In fact, it was probably a mistake returning to the café.
The chopped message on her voicemail was all that was left. It was obvious what had happened. It was always obvious.
“Is everything alright?”
The waitress looked concerned, but Jodie tipped her a not too convincing smile and muttered something about a bad day at work. The girl quietly sympathised then left.
It always amazed her when normal people spoke without interrogation. It seemed expected that they would. Years and years of hiding from villagers whilst under his tutelage had led her to believe that they all question, that they all had hidden agendas and that they could all tell who and what she was.
It wasn’t the same for her opposite numbers.
Demons could walk into a place, spread fear and hate and death, brim the room with blood and gore, but the humans would always think it was one of their own who had caused the carnage and no victim would be left to spread the truth. But for Jodie and her kind?
She stirred her drink as if stopping would stop the world.
The humans were always searching for pure souls and such to prove the existence of higher powers. Searching like a disease. The teaspoon clinked against the side of her cup. Fingers seeped into her hair, holding her head in her hands.
If only he hadn’t been so blasé that last time when the little girl had seen him. Especially after everything he’d said. Didn’t the rules apply to him? What was the point in their existence if they didn’t? Not that it mattered now.
He’d told her a thousand times and a thousand times more, you couldn’t let anyone see you.
And that little girl…
She’d told somebody. And somebody had believed her. That was how trouble started.
And now the trouble had taken her father…
He wouldn’t tell them about her. He was less diluted in pureness and spirit than her half-mortal soul; he couldn’t betray her. It was unthinkable.
And what about him? Why wasn’t she out looking for him? But she was and the wait was killing her.
The sound of chair scraping tile lifted her troubled head. Arras sat down, smiling with twisted lips. He slid a piece of paper across the table top towards her.
She hated going to demons for help.
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