banner banner banner
A Fistful of Charms
A Fistful of Charms

Полная версия

A Fistful of Charms

Рейтинг: 0
Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2019
Добавлена: 29.06.2019
Читать онлайн
Настройки чтения
Размер шрифта
Высота строк
< 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 ... 22 >
На страницу:
10 из 22

I took a step back, alarmed. “Jenks, she’s only worried—”

“The hell with you both,” he snarled. “I’m outta here.”

He turned, wings a blur of red. Ticked, I tapped a line. Energy flowed, equalizing in the time it takes for a burst bubble to vanish. “Rhombus,” I snapped, imagining a circle. A sheet of gold hummed into existence, so thick it blurred the walls of the surrounding alley. I staggered, my balance questionable since I hadn’t taken even the time to pretend to draw a circle in the air.

Jenks jerked to a stop a mere inch in front of the circle. “You sorry stupid witch!” he shrilled, seeming at a loss for something worse. “Let me out. I ought to kill your car. I ought to leave slug eggs in your slippers! I ought to, I ought to…”

Hands on my hips, I got in his face. “Yeah, you ought to, but first you’re going to listen to me!” His eyes widened, and I leaned forward until he shifted back. “What is wrong with you, Jenks? This can’t just be about me not telling you what Trent is!”

Jenks’s face lost its surprise. His eyes touched upon the bandages and bruises on my neck, then dropped to my pain amulet. Seemingly by force of will, his eyes narrowed with an old anger. “That’s right,” he said, hovering an inch before my nose. “It’s about you lying to me! It’s about you not trusting me with information. It’s about you pissing all over our partnership!”

Finally, I thought. Finally. I gritted my jaw, almost cross-eyed with him so close. “Good God! If I tell you what he is, will that make you happy?”

“Shut your mouth!” he shouted. “I don’t care anymore, and I don’t need your help. Break your circle so I can get the hell away from you, or I’ll jam something where it shouldn’t go, witch.”

“You stupid ass,” I exclaimed, warming. “Fine!” Furious, I shoved a foot into the circle. My breath hissed in when the circle’s energy flowed into me. At the end of the alley the passing people gave us a few curious looks. “Run away!” I said, gesturing wildly, not caring what they thought. “Leave, you cowardly ball of spider snot. I’ve been trying to apologize for the last five months, but you’re so preoccupied with your stinking little hurt feelings that you won’t listen. I think you like being slighted. I think you feel secure in your downtrodden pixy mentality. I think you get off on the ‘poor little pixy that no one takes seriously crap’ that you wrap yourself in. And when I believed in you, you got scared and ran away at the first sign that you might have to live up to your ideas!”

Jenks’s mouth was hanging open and he was slowly loosing altitude. Seeing him floundering, I surged ahead, thinking I might have finally shaken him loose.

“Go on and leave,” I continued, my legs starting to shake. “Stay in your stinking little basement and hide. But Matalina and your kids are coming back to the garden. You can shove a cherry up your ass and make jam for all I care, but I need them. I can’t keep those damn fairies out to save my dandelions, and I need my garden as much as I need backup on a night with a full moon. And your bitching and moaning don’t mean crap anymore because I’ve been trying to apologize and all you’ve done is shit on me. Well, I’m not apologizing anymore!”

Still he hung in the air, his wings shifting to a lighter shade of red. He didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands, and they tugged his bandanna and fell to his sword.

“I’m going to find Jax and Nick,” I said, my anger lessening. I had said what I wanted, and all that was left was hearing what he thought. “Are you coming with me or not?”

Jenks rose. “My going north has nothing to do with you,” he said tightly.

“Like hell it doesn’t,” I said, hearing the first heavy drop of rain hit the nearby Dumpster. “He may be your son, but it was my old boyfriend who got him in trouble. He lied to you. He lied to me. And I’m going up there so I can kick Nick’s ass from here to the ever-after.” Even I could hear my sullen tone, and Jenks gave me a nasty smile.

“Be careful,” he goaded. “Someone might think you still like him.”

“I do not,” I said, feeling a headache start. “But he’s in trouble and I can’t just let whoever it is kill him.”

A bitter, saucy look returned to Jenks’s face, and he flitted to the end of a two-by-four sticking out of a can. “Yuh-huh,” he said snidely, hands on his hips. “Why are you really going?”

“I just told you why,” I snapped, hiding my bitten hand when he looked at it.

His head bobbed up and down. “Yada yada yada,” he said, making a get-on-with-it gesture with one hand. “I know why you’re going, but I want to hear you say it.”

I fumbled, not believing this. “Because I’m as mad as all hell!” I said, the rain falling steadily now. If we had to continue this conversation much longer, we were going to get soaked. “He said he was going to come back, and he did, just long enough to clear out his apartment and take off. No good-bye, not even an ‘it was great, babe, but I gotta go now.’ I need to tell him to his face that he crapped all over me and I don’t love him anymore.”

Jenks’s tiny eyebrows rose, and I wished he was bigger so I could wipe the smirk off his face. “This is some female closure thing, isn’t it?” he said, and I sneered.

“Look,” I said. “I’m going to get Jax and pull Nick’s sorry ass out from whatever mess he’s in. Are you coming with me, or are you going to waste your time taking smut runs for a paycheck you will only waste on a plane ticket that will leave you hospitalized for three days?” I slowed, thinking I could chance appealing to his love for Matalina without him flying away. “Matalina is scared, Jenks. She’s afraid you won’t come back if you go alone.”

His face emptied of emotion, and for a moment I thought I’d gone too far. “I can do this on my own,” he said angrily. “I don’t need your help.”

My thoughts went to his iffy food supply and the cold northern nights. It could snow in May in Michigan. Jenks knew it. “Sure you don’t,” I said. I crossed my arms and eyed him. “Just like I could have survived those fairy assassins last year without your help.”

His lips pursed. He took a breath to tell me something. His hand went up, finger pointing. I made my eyes wide and mocking. Slowly his hand fell. Still standing on the two-by-four, Jenks’s wings drooped. “You’re going?”

I fought to keep my surge of hope from showing. “Yes,” I said. “But to even have a chance, I need a security bypass expert, reconnaissance, and someone I trust to watch my back. Ivy can’t do it. She can’t leave Cincinnati.”

Jenks’s wings hummed into motion, then stilled. “You hurt me bad, Rachel.”

My chest clenched in guilt. “I know,” I whispered. “And I’m sorry. I don’t deserve your help, but I’m asking for it.” I pulled my head up, pleading with him with my eyes. For the first time, his face showed the hurt I’d given him, and my heart broke again.

“I’ll think about it,” he muttered, taking to the air.

I took a faltering step after him. “I’m leaving tomorrow. Early noon.”

Wings clattering, Jenks flew a swooping path back to me. I nearly raised my hand for him to land on, but it would hurt too much if he shunned it. “I suppose that’s early for a witch,” he said. The pitch of his wings rose until my eyeballs hurt. “Okay. I’ll come with you, but I’m not coming back to the firm. This is a one-shot deal.”

My throat closed and I swallowed down a lump. He’d come back. He knew it as much as I did. I wanted to shout an exuberant, “Yes!” I wanted to whoop to make the passing people stare, but what I did instead was smile shakily at him. “Okay,” I said, so relieved I was almost crying.

Blinking profusely, I followed him to the head of the alley. Though Jenks would have snugged under my hat before, to get out of the rain, it was too much to ask just yet. “Can you meet me tonight at the church after midnight?” I asked. “I have a few charms to prep before we head out.”

We left the alley together, the lighter gloom making me feel as if we had come out of a black hole. We were both walking on eggshells; the patterns were familiar, but the sensitivities were so very fragile.

“I can do that,” Jenks said apprehensively, glancing up at the rain.

“Good. Good.” I listened to my feet hit the sidewalk, the thumps jarring up my spine. “Do you still have your half of the phone set you gave me?” I could hear the hesitancy in my voice, and I wondered if Jenks could too. I had kept the phone he’d given me for the solstice. Hell, I had almost made it into a shrine.

I popped open Ivy’s black umbrella, and Jenks flew under it. Five months ago he would have sat on my shoulder, but even this small show of trust caught at me.

“David brought it over,” he said stiffly, keeping to the distant corner.

“Good,” I said again, feeling stupid. “Can you bring it with you?”

“It’s a little big for me to slip into my pocket, but I’ll manage.” It was sarcastic and biting, but he was sounding more like the Jenks I knew.

I glanced at him, seeing he was trailing the faintest wisp of silver sparkles. My car was just ahead, and I wondered whether he’d take offense if I offered him a ride home.

“Cowardly ball of spider snot?” Jenks said when I opened the door and he darted inside.

Swallowing hard, I stared across to the sidewalk and the people running for cover as the clouds opened and it began to pour. He was back. I had gotten him back. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a start. Breath shaking, I folded the umbrella and ducked inside. “Give me a break,” I said as I started the car and turned the heat on full to warm him up. “I was pressed for time.”

Four (#ulink_d32dc408-0d23-5e89-81f8-58ecb19ed1ef)

I held up the black lace top in consideration. Sighing, I decided against it, folding it up and jamming it back into the third drawer down. Sure, I looked good in it, but this was a rescue run, not spring break. Taking the short-sleeve peach-colored cotton shirt instead, I set it atop the jeans already packed in the suitcase my mom had given me for graduation. She insisted it hadn’t been a hint, but I reserved my doubts to this day.

Moving to my top drawer, I grabbed enough socks and undies for a week. The church was empty since Ivy was out getting Jenks and his brood. The rain pattered pleasantly on my small stained-glass window propped open with a pencil, getting the sill wet but little else. From the dark garden came the trill of a toad. It mixed well with the soft jazz from the living room.

In the back of my closet I found the red turtleneck sweater I’d stored last week. I shook the hanger from it, carefully folded it, and set it with the rest. I added a pair of running shorts and my favorite black tee with staff on it that I’d gotten while working Takata’s concert last winter. The temp could hit eighty as easily as thirty-five. I sighed, content. Midnight rain, toad song, jazz, and Jenks coming home. It didn’t get much better.

My head rose at the creak of the front door. “Hey, it’s me,” came Kisten’s voice.

And now it was better still. “Back here,” I called, taking two steps to the hall, one hand on the doorframe as I leaned out. The lights were dim in the sanctuary, his tall silhouette mysterious and attractive as he shook the rain from his full-length slicker.
< 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 ... 22 >
На страницу:
10 из 22