Rand dropped his coat off at his apartment and met me at a diner he frequents. We sat in a booth near the back. While it’s unlikely anyone would purposefully listen in on our conversation, people who happen to overhear us talking of demons might get the wrong idea.
“So a dog attacked you, eh?”
…I don’t have to start the conversation with business.
Garrow is still looking over the menu, eyes never leaving the page.
“Yup. Mangy mutt. But at least I’m not dressed like a regular at Walmart.” He folds up his menu and gives me his damned self-satisfied smile.
I sit for a moment, and consider abandoning the body, to leave Rand looking like a lunatic, but decide against it.
“Point. What are you getting?”
I look over the menu myself. It has felt so long since I’ve had the sense of taste, but I am salivating. How do you keep yourself from ordering everything?
“I’m considering an omelet. Might go crazy and fill it with spinach. What about you?”
“Haven’t had human food in a while, I kind of want everything.”
“Sadly the pockets of a freelance demon hunter don’t stretch that far. I recommend the French toast here. It’s terrible, but absolutely an experience.”
Our waitress walks up, a woman named Daisy. As I turn to look at her, a chill shoots up my spine.
“Ya’ll know whatcha orderin’?” she asks, unceremoniously.
I can’t explain it, but when she looks at me, I could swear she lingers. Her eyes dart above and behind me, just for an instance, like she can see my now non-existent wings.
Rand speaks up first.
“Yes, could you please get me a bacon omelet with spinach and peppers and just a bit of mild cheddar cheese? No sides. And an orange juice to be brought with my meal.
Garrow gives her his winning smile after his order. She somehow appears unaffected.
“Right. And you miss?”
“I’ll have a waffle.”
“Oooh, the waffle meal is a good choice.” Rand interrupts. Daisy and I both stare at him.
“And if you could, please top it with some whip cream and strawberries?”
“Uh huh. Anything else?” Daisy looks ready to leave.
“No, that will be all, thank you.”
“Right. Be right back with your orders.”
Daisy walks off.
Rand’s silence has gone on too long.
“You know, if I didn’t know any better I’d say you ordered your waffle with whip cream on purpose.”
“Don’t forget the strawberries,” I coyly respond. “Or did you forget that part of the night?”
I take a long sip from my water, staring down the now blushing British man across from me. He quickly looks down, quite possibly in shame.
That’ll teach him to make fun of my clothes.
“What’s your big plan for hunting down your demons,” Rand quickly asks.
I think for a moment. While there’s been plenty of time for me to come up with something cleverer, I hadn’t dedicated enough time to the thought.
“I suppose they’ll come to me.”
Rand rolls his eyes.
“We went over this.”
“Did we now?”
Rand leans in a little closer, his voice noticeably quieter, but not quite a whisper. Like he’s genuinely afraid.
“We can’t take that chance. We don’t know what these things are capable of, or what they even want.
“We do know they like hurting me.” I point to the spirit thread in my chest, which, now that I think about, isn’t visible in the false body.
I think he got the point anyway.
“That’s precisely the problem.”
I give a small grunt of disapproval.
“Okay, so what do you want to do?”
His eyes get shifty, and his voice even quieter. I’m not going to like this, am I?
“Well, if you want to find information about demons, who better to ask than another demon?”
I’m not quite following. My eyes must have given away my confusion, because Rand continues.
“We could ask someone at The Milton.”
He did not just say that.
“Are you insane?! An angel and a devout in that literal God forsaken place? I thought you were trying to keep me from doing something stupid!”
“I have a contact there who might know something.”
My mouth drops as I try to find the words.
“How long have you been going there? Why? What in The Presence possessed you to go there? Wait, are YOU possessed?” I stat trying to remove the false body, but Rand puts a hand on my shoulder.
“I get it. It’s a horrible club for low level demons, evil spirits, and the possessed. But it’s also a place the bigger baddies stay away from. You and I could easily wipe out everyone there.”
He leans back trying to look cool.
“Here’s the catch though: those little guys hear things. And even better, they’re there getting drunk. If we’re going to get information somewhere, that’s the place to go.”
For once, he’s dead wrong. This is bad. This is an outstandingly bad plan.
“Garrow, I want you to really understand how much it pains me to say this, but I’d rather go back and apologize to the doc than go there.”
“You know him though. It’ll be a few days before he’ll see you in person again.”
Ugh. So frustrating. Maybe this is the best plan. Maybe the entire bar attacks at once and overwhelms us.
But I need information.
“Fine. I’m in.”