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White Witch, Black Curse
White Witch, Black Curse

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White Witch, Black Curse

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018
Добавлена: 27.12.2018
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Ivy looked up from her keyboard, and I dropped my bag on yesterday’s unopened mail and collapsed in my chair. “You want some lunch?” I asked, seeing as it was nearing midnight.

She shrugged, eyeing the bills. “Sure.”

I knew it bugged her, so I left the mail where it was under my bag, and I lurched back to my feet with tomato soup and cheese crackers in mind. If she wanted something more, she’d say so. A pang of worry went through me as I pulled a can of soup off the pantry shelves. Glenn liked tomatoes. God, I hoped he was okay. That he was unconscious had me concerned.

Ivy clicked through a couple of Web pages as I made good with the can opener. I hesitated at the sight of my copper spell pots, then reached for a more mundane saucepan. Mixing spell prep and food prep wasn’t a good idea. “Research?” I asked, hearing in her silence that she was still upset about something.

“Looking up banshees,” she said shortly, and I hoped she didn’t know how coy she looked with the end of the pen between her teeth. Her canines were sharp, like a cat’s, but she wouldn’t get the extended ones until she was dead. She wouldn’t get the light sensitivity or the physical need for blood to survive until then either. Ivy still had a taste for it, however, and though it made her devilishly hard to live with, she could do without.

The lid came off with a ting, and I sighed. “Ivy, I’m sorry.”

Her foot moved back and forth like an angry cat’s tail. “For what?” she said mildly, then stilled her foot’s motion as she saw me notice it.

That my methods are getting faster results than yours, I thought, but what I said was, “For sending you out to Kisten’s boat?”

I hated the question in my voice, but I didn’t know what was bothering her. Ivy looked up, and I studied the rim of brown around her eyes. It was wide and full, telling me she had control of her emotions. “I can handle it,” she said, and I frowned, hearing something else.

Turning my back on her, I shook the congealed soup into the pan with a dull thwap. “I don’t mind going out with you.” I did, but I was going to offer.

“I’ve got it covered,” she said more forcefully.

Sighing, I searched for a wooden spoon. Ivy dealt with the uncomfortable by ignoring it, and though I wasn’t averse to avoiding issues to maintain a pleasant living space, I tended to poke sticks at sleeping vampires when I thought I could get away with it.

The phone rang, and I caught Ivy’s dark glare as I whipped around to answer it.

“Vampiric Charms,” I said politely into the receiver. “How can we help?” I used to answer with my name, until the first graffiti incident.

“Rachel, it’s Edden,” came the FIB captain’s gravelly voice. “Glad you’re home. Hey, we’re having trouble getting the fingerprints out—”

“Re-e-e-eally?” I interrupted, making a mocking face at Ivy and turning the receiver so she could hear him with her extraordinary vamp hearing. “Imagine that.”

“They keep going to the wrong office,” the man continued, too intent to hear my sarcasm. “But we do know the banshee tear belongs to a Mia Harbor. The woman’s been around since Cincinnati was a pig farm, and I wanted to ask you to come down tomorrow about nine and help us interview her.”

I leaned against the counter with a hand to my forehead. What he wanted was for me to bring a truth amulet. Humans were adept at reading body language, but a banshee was devilishly hard to interpret. Or so I’d heard. The I.S. never sent witches after banshees.

Ivy was staring at me, brown-rimmed eyes wide. She looked surprised. No, shocked. “Nine is too early,” I said, wondering what was up with her. “How about noon?”

“Noon?” he echoed. “We need to move quickly on this.”

So why did you kick me out when I was making progress? “I need the morning to make up a truth charm. Those things are expensive. Unless you want a five-hundred-dollar bill for it tacked onto my consultant’s fee?”

Edden was silent, but I could hear his frustration. “Noon.”

“Noon,” I said, feeling like I’d won some points. Actually, I had a truth amulet in my charm cupboard, two feet away, but I didn’t get up until eleven most days. “As long as we’re done by two. I’ve got to pick up my brother at the airport.”

“Not a problem,” he said. “I’ll send a car. See you here.”

“Hey, has anyone looked at my car yet?” I said, but the line had gone dead. “Tomorrow,” I said with a smile, setting the phone back in its cradle. I waltzed to the fridge for the milk, then looked at Ivy when I realized she was still just sitting there. “What’s the matter?”

Ivy leaned back into her chair, her expression worried. “I met Mia Harbor once. Right before I was assigned to work with you in the I.S. She’s an…interesting lady.”

“Nice lady?” I asked as I dumped in the milk. If she had been around since Cincy was a pig town, then she was probably a really old nice lady.

Ivy’s brow was furrowed when I glanced at her, and she put her eyes on her screen. Her behavior was off. “What is it?” I asked as neutrally as I could.

The pen she was tapping stilled. “Nothing.”

I made a scoffing sound. “Something’s bothering you. What is it?”

“Nothing!” she said loudly and Jenks buzzed in.

Grinning, the pixy landed on the island counter between us in his best Peter Pan pose. “I think Ivy’s pissed ‘cause you found the banshee tear and she didn’t,” he said, and Ivy’s pen started tapping again. It was so fast, it almost hummed.

“Nice going, Jenks,” I muttered as I stirred the milk into the soup. The ticking of the burner was loud until the gas lit with a whoosh and I turned it to low. “Where’s that buddy gargoyle of yours? He’s supposed to keep watch at night.”

“I don’t know,” he said, not worried at all. “But he’s as hard as a rock. I wouldn’t worry about him. Maybe he’s visiting his folks. He does have a life, unlike some of us here.”

“I think Rachel finding that tear was great,” Ivy said tightly.

I glanced over my shoulder at Jenks, and at my encouragement, he went to make irritating circles around her. He could get away with a lot I couldn’t, and if we didn’t find out soon what was bothering her, it might be too late to head it off when we did.

“Then you’re mad because you’ve been working on Kisten’s murder for six months, and Rachel got farther in six minutes by sniffing the floor,” he guessed.

Ivy leaned her chair back on two legs, balancing as she measured his flight, probably calculating where she’d have to be to catch him. “Both are valid ways of investigation,” she said, her pupils widening. “And it’s only been three months. I didn’t look the first three.”

I continued to stir the soup with a clockwise motion as Jenks rose up in a column of sparkles and darted out of the kitchen. The pixy noise in the sanctuary had reached dangerous levels, and I knew he wanted to handle it to give Matalina a break. She was doing great this winter, but we were all still worried about her. Nineteen was old for a pixy.

That Ivy hadn’t done anything to find Kisten’s killer for the first three months wasn’t a surprise. The hurt had been that bad, and she thought she might have been the one who had done it. “I don’t mind going out with you tonight,” I offered again. “Ford left the ladder.”

“I’m doing this myself.”

I bowed my head over the soup, breathing in the acidic scent and feeling Ivy’s pain now that Jenks wasn’t here cluttering everything up. I’d been Kisten’s girlfriend, but Ivy had loved him, too—deeper, on a gut level, with the strength of the past, not like my new love, based on the idea of a future. And here I was, making her deal with the pain. “Are you okay?” I asked softly.

“No,” she said again, her voice flat.

My shoulders slumped. “I miss him, too,” I whispered. I turned to see her perfect face frozen in grief. I couldn’t help it, and risking a misunderstanding, I crossed the room. “It’s going to be okay,” I said, touching her shoulder for an instant before I withdrew and went into the pantry for the crackers.

Ivy had her head bowed when I came out, and I said nothing as I found two bowls and set them on the table with the crackers between them, shoving my bag and the mail out of the way. Uncomfortable with the silence, I hesitantly stood before her. “I’m, uh, starting to remember a little,” I said, and her dark eyes flicked to mine. “I didn’t want to tell you in front of Edden because Ford thinks he’ll reopen the case when he finds out.”

Fear flickered behind her eyes, and my breath caught. Ivy is scared?

“What did you remember?” she said, and my mouth went dry. Ivy was never scared. Ticked, seductive, chill, occasionally out of control, but never scared.

I shrugged, trying to look nonchalant when I pulled back, a sliver of my own fear sliding under my skin. “I know for sure it’s a man. I got that today. He caught a splat ball without breaking it when I tried to shoot him. And he dragged me down the hall on my stomach after I tried to get out.” I looked at my fingertips, then put a hand to my middle. Eyes on the hallway behind her, I whispered, “I tried to claw my way out through a wall.”

Ivy’s voice was a thin whisper. “A man. You’re sure?”

She doesn’t still think it was her, does she? I nodded, and her entire posture slumped.
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