A Few Days Before…
I didn’t know what to say. I was flabbergasted, incredulous to the point of panic, and angrier than I think I had ever been in my entire life. I held my crackerjack Paranet ring in my hands, shaking slightly in abject fury.
Texas had decided to try to be winter tonight, and I sat with Midori in her new Prius, engine on and heater to full. A side of my brain mused at what I knew of the Wars of Faerie Courts and local meteorolgy and concluded that using the term “War” and “battlefront” to describe the switching extremes in Texas temperatures was apt on a number of levels. That musing, however, cost Midori her serious radio (or was it Sirius? Can’t remember) as the raging tide of my emotions found a weakpoint in my mental floodgates. Emotions are Power, even for minor Practioners like me, so it had easily been enough to hex whatever Star Trek-inspried dashboard on my best friends new car. Midori had sworn at that point, simultaneously calling me an unwholesome name and being thankful I hadn’t knocked out the engine or the heater. I had managed to cast my Paranet Relay spell thru my ring earlier without hexing anything only because Midori had wisely turned off the car until after I had finished the minute or so of incantation.
“Eri, Erica-chan,” Midori sing-songed in a dry pretty sarcasm that was utterly unique to her, “you blow out my iPhone again and you will kindly be walking home.” I cleared my throat and aoplogized as she continued. “What are you listening to back there anyway?”
I took a moment to compose myself. “A coup,” I whispered, barely believing the word myself.
“Oh. Wait, who is having this coup?”
“The Freakshow. Jamie’s Ex and Donna just ousted Belle for Head Honcho.” That had come out clearer, anger rising in my voice again.
“Eriiii…?” Midori sing-songed again. I took the hint and kept my boiling emotions in their internal kettle where they belonged.
About that time, the passenger door opened and the car rocked slightly as someone with a heavy scent of menthol ash and industrial cleaners climbed into the car in a hurry.
“Drive. Now.” Claret’s voice was strong and deliberate, and oddly lacking it’s usual hostility.
Midori took her time putting her seat belt back on in silent defiance, a frustrating tactic she occassionally used when Claret got too bossy.
“OhMyGod #*$%&)& Drive!” A sense of desperation took hold of Claret’s voice, and I could hear her leather pants squeak against the leather interior of Midori’s passenger seat as Claret turned back and forth, I believe, to look behind us. Midori sensed it at the same time I did and made appropriate haste.
After a few minutes, Claret turned back around to me in the back seat, still not wearing a seat belt. “You get all that?” she asked, tossing a plastic ring identical to mine into my lap.
“Yeah, I heard everything. Your clarity potion really helped.”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Claret stammered, still unused to sudden insurgence of random non-reciprocal compliments in the couple of weeks all three of us had been living together. “But, so, what are you going to do? Are you going to tell?”
“God, Claret, this isn’t high school. Am I going to inform my friend that his raging child-abducting ex-wife is back in town? Yes. As I should. That’s why they didn’t invite me to their little shin-dig, because they knew I would tell Jamie about it. Do I think he will call down the Wardens and the Inquisition upon all of our heads? No.”
“Why not?” Midori and Claret asked together.
I just smiled my mysterious ass-kicking half-smile that I learned from my mother. “Because he won’t have to.”
A pregnant pause filled the car as we sped down the streets.
“But Erica,” Claret asked with obvious concern, “What about the Watches?”