War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch (5 page)

BOOK: War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch
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I closed my eyes. I was in
so
much trouble. No real man breathing
actually possessed this balance of sensitivity and toughness. Did they? And how
like me he was in that retreat back to toughness after the show of sensitivity.
"…And I am, by the way a crack
shot…back in the days on the force when we drank till twelve and pissed till
dawn..."
I was in way over my head. And I needed to talk about it with
the only person on God's green earth that would even halfway understand. I hit
Stacy's intercom button. "Smoke break," I said, when she answered.
"Now."

"Cal's on a roll, trying to get him out the
door. I need to get him out of here first."

"How long?"

"Ten minutes?"

"Hurry.
Please."

There must have been something in my voice
bordering on desperation. She appeared at my desk in seven minutes flat. I knew
the effort it took to get Cal Spencer out the door with the minimum of seven or
eight boxes of notebooks and files that accompanied him to any deposition or
hearing.

"Damn, you're better than I
am,
little sister, fast work!"

"Yeah, whatever!
Let's go!"

We went down to the parking garage and
settled in the front seat of my car. Fully a quarter of the BLAH girls smoked
and in these days of anti-smoking, I took that as confirmation that being a
legal secretary was a high-stress profession and not one for sissies. It made
girls who'd never even looked at a cigarette run screamin' down the halls to
bum one.

"Well?!?"
Stacy lit up and turned to face me. "So—give!!"

"Oh, Antsypants," I said,
reverting to my big sister's pet name for baby sister. "I am in
so
much freakin' trouble!"

I lit up myself and pulled out the last
emails between us that I'd printed. "See, it's like this—"

I talked at what probably approached the
speed of light and I'm not sure anybody but a sister would have understood me.
Then I mutely handed her the printed sheets.

Her eyes moved rapidly down, her expression
changing, softening.

"
Ohhhh…"
she breathed
. "
Ohh
, my Lord! He writes just like you do, this is almost prose
poetry in places." Her expression hardened. "Dump him."

I started. "Excuse me? You just
said…"

"Not the prose poet, Ari, get real.
Scott. Dump Scott.
Yesterday.
Now.
Last week. Last year."

"I know you've never really liked him,
Antsypants, but he's what I need."

"Like hell!
This
—" she shook the paper emphatically. "
This
is what you need!"

"I've never even
met
him!"

"Yeah, but you're going to. You can
lie to yourself if you want to, but you can't lie to me. Or him either,
apparently. Now, go
get
him! I know
you better than you think, and it's time to wake up! You've been sleepwalking
for years,
get over it
! And for God's
sakes, go get laid by somebody that knows how to do it!"

"I'm not getting
laid
,
I don't know where that
thing's
been
! And just wait till we
go back in and I show you his picture! With his career! He's ex
-
Fort Lauderdale PD and ex-Florida
Bureau of Investigation! Can you say chick magnet?"

"And you're so sure of where Scott's
thing's been for the last year?"

"Well, actually, pretty sure,
yeah."

"Oh, hell, so am I. I was just being
pissy 'cause he's so damn
boring
! But
Ari, where it's been ain't been doing
you
a lot of good."

"Excuse me?"

"I said don't try to lie to me. I know
better. And I've seen you BFH and
AFH,
don't forget.
And I know what you looked like
during
FH!!" That was private slang between
myself
and
Antsypants for "before" a certain individual whose name I did not
permit to be spoken and "after" a certain individual whose name I did
not permit to be spoken.

I sighed and Stacy pounced.

"So, you'll go back in and tell him
where and when?"

"Yeah," I breathed. And then more
strongly, I re-affirmed.
"Yeah.
I think I'm going
to do just that."

"Praise God and
Hallelujah!!"

I sat back down at my computer and stared
at the screen.
And started typing.

Here's
the deal…this Thursday would work for me. There's a little funky Mexican
restaurant called Rosita's, pure Mexican Georgia Redneck on Pio Nono. It's a
dive but I love it. If you let me know when you're close, I'll leave to meet
you. My cell is 555-7777.
Text or call when you're outside Macon.
And I'll
take the rest of the day off to finish Christmas shopping and you can trail
around after me if you still feel so inclined after lunch. You might not even
like me, you know. My voice might grate on your nerves. I'm a bitch from hell
when I get mad. I'm really not very touchy. Whichever one of us gets there
first, just
stay
in the car and wait till the other
arrives. And we can get the first hug you keep harping on out of the way, and
if you want, even a first (probably last) kiss out of the way, 'cause I'm not
stupid enough to think that's not going to happen, instead of sitting there
wondering about it all through lunch. Though I warn you, I smoke, which I've
never told you. And I'm a coffee addict. So I will taste of smoky coffee. So if
you want to wait till after lunch when neither of us will taste anything
because Rosita's salsa is freakin' hot, or forego altogether, that's okay.
Ordinarily, I'm considerate enough to brush my teeth or at least chew gum when
I know I'm going to be in close proximity with others, but I'm going to be so
damn nervous and so flat-out scared, I won't even try to lie about it, I'm
going to smoke like a steam-shovel all the way there.

I hit the send before I could change my
mind, something I'd become quite familiar with over the last few weeks. Five
minutes later my cell phone announced the arrival of a text.
"Please don't be afraid of me baby
girl"
There wasn't a name, but not much question about the source.

"
I'm
not afraid of you…I'm afraid of me
" I sent back.
And
programmed his number into my cell.
And that afternoon, with the
exchange of a few emails, it was so arranged that sometime between 11:30 and
12:00 on Thursday next, two days away, my life as I knew it would be over.

 
 
 
 
 

Chapter Eight

 

 
He
caught a batch of rain on I-75 coming up, so I got there first. I sat, smoking
furiously, with an unwrapped piece of gum on the seat beside me at the ready,
watching the traffic for a slowing Chevy Equinox. I'd known he'd drive either a
small SUV or a pickup—what else would be logical for a bounty hunter—but I'd
forgotten to ask the color when we exchanged vehicle information. Probably
silver, a good color for the shadows. And there it was, a silver Equinox,
slowing for the turn. I closed my eyes, doused my cigarette in the dregs of my
coffee cup, grabbed my stick of unwrapped gum and chewed furiously for a few
seconds before hastily removing it and throwing it in the coffee cup after the
cigarette. I got out and stood waiting, leaning against the door as he walked
towards me.

Six-three, he'd told me early on,
thirty-nine,
old
enough to know better but to do it
anyway. There was more silver in the dark hair than there'd been in the
picture. He smiled and opened his arms and for just a moment, I actually gave
in and hugged back. Then he lowered his head and found my mouth and for just a
moment, I kissed back. He pulled away.

"God, you taste good. Found time for
the gum after all, I see." His mouth returned to mine and I gave in again,
but not for long. It seemed to satisfy him, though, at least for the moment.
"Hello, my precious half-witch, half-bitch, baby girl," he said.

 
When
the waitress asked if we wanted booth or table, I automatically said booth. I
needed that table between us. That didn't work out so well, though, as he slid
in right next to me.

"Too close?" he asked.

"No," I lied.
Worlds
too close. To the waitress, I
said "Small guacamole salad and a chili rellano, please. And tea."

He perused the menu briefly and flipped it
shut. "Two chicken burritos, please.
Unsweetened
tea."
And under the table, he rested his hand on my knee. An electric
bolt of heat shot through me. I knew I should pull my thigh back over. Instead
I felt it lean towards him.

I turned to the bowls of salsa and chips as
though seeking sanctuary from a church altar. The first bite reminded me with a
jolt that even though I loved Rosita's food, her salsa wasn't my favorite as it
was made thin and, to my tastes,
exceedingly
hot. And our tea wasn't even on the table yet. And today, I wasn't even
going to love the food because I was going to have a hell of a hard time eating
anything. I glanced around.
Nobody here that knew me.
The attorneys ate at Rosita's occasionally, but almost always on a Friday when
they made it a tradition to eat what they termed "funky". And nobody
from Scott's accounting firm ever came in here, which had figured highly in the
choice of meeting spot.

"Safe?" he asked, amusement in
his voice.
"Nobody here to run tattling back to the
fiancé?"
I'd forgotten he had a Floridian non-accent rather than a
southern accent.

"So it appears," I said, leaning
back. "Good drive up?"

"After I ran out of
the rain.
Wanta loosen up a little bit before
you break?"

"I don't know if I can. And I don't
even know what to say or talk about or—"

"Well, you've been just overflowing
with questions in the emails lately."

The waitress deposited the plates with the
usual warning they were hot, and I picked up my fork, promptly burning the hell
out of my mouth on the first bite of rellano.
To hell with
this.
Yes, I'd been overflowing with questions. Questions mostly
unanswered.

"Yes, I have, haven't I, and you've
studiously avoided answering most of them, too." I turned to face him, but
instead of any of my prior questions, I had a new one.
"Half-witch,
half-bitch?"

He laughed.
"For the
moment."

"For the
moment?
"

"Until you figure it
out.
I'd thought there was no way you didn't
know. Or at least have some glimmer of an idea."

"About
what
?"

"That you're a witch. One of the most
powerful ones I've ever run across. And
nobody
with that much power could possibly not
know
.
At least a little bit.
Guess I thought wrong on that
one."

Okay, I was in the Twilight Zone. "And
you know this how?"

"Because I'm a
warlock.
War-N-Wit, remember?
Inc."

"Inc.
Of course."
I sat and stared, not
believing I was sitting here listening to this. "And you know I'm powerful
because—"

"Because you're
basically a telepath.
You read people. And right
now you're thinking that I'm a lunatic, but you just can't make yourself quite
believe it.
Right?"

"I don't
read
people, I—"

"The hell you don't. Those thumbnail
sketches you do of people all the time? Way beyond descriptions of eye and hair
color, baby girl. You read their
souls
."

"And you're—you don't know what I'm
thinking right now!"

"Yes, I do. You're broadcasting.
Got to work on those shields, baby girl."

"Even if I'm broadcasting, you
couldn't—"

"Yes, I can."

I stared.
"Because
you're a telepath, too?"

"Mostly.
A few other abilities thrown in, but mostly that,
yeah.
Let me tell you something, baby girl, any good profiler is
basically a psychic. Any good law enforcement man is a profiler. And I've lost
one guy in my entire career and he went to Mexico and died to get away from
me. I called the attorney looking for him and told him to get an exhumation
order and I'd bring in the coffin, I was so damn mad at ruining my record."

I was
not
still sitting here listening to this. Was I?

"It's not what you're thinking,
precious. Witchcraft is the old religion, the old truth, the truth that
everybody used to know but has forgotten. It's the magic running underneath,
through everything, through everyone, the
good
,
the power, the music of the universe. And everybody has the capability if they
want to reach for it. Witches and warlocks are those of us who, consciously or
unconsciously, know how to tap into it. Remember telling me about being a
really good cook when you don't even like cooking? What's cooking but the most
essential form of making potions? Listening to nature and what it tells you to
combine with what? When you actually reach for that power instead of just
subconsciously using it—" He shrugged. "You have no idea what you'll
be able to do."

BOOK: War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch
3.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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