The SIG .45 was cradled in her left hand, and cupped by her lap. It was aimed directly, she knew, at Ahadiel’s nose, her finger curled around the trigger. She didn’t remember thumbing the safety off, but as she changed the focus of her eyes she could tell that it was. Slowly, calmly, she pushed the safety on and slid the SIG under her right arm.
“Testing me?” she asked. The rush of exertion overcame her, and she slumped back into her seat. She needed sleep and nothing more strenuous than lifting a glass of absinthe. In her current state, her right arm wouldn’t be able to manage even that.
“I came to offer you my touch,” Ahadiel replied. He lifted perfect fingers toward her.
For a moment, she hesitated. Ahadiel was more than simply a beautiful creature, he was perfect. His skin flawless, and his body the epitome of trained and toned without being muscle-bound and cumbersome. She could admit to herself that there was an attraction, if only physical, for her. But that was not what Ahadiel meant.
“Don’t,” she said the word with as much command as she could muster, pleased that her voice didn’t crack. She could feel the blood in her veins light on fire as she spoke the syllable. Her body reacted to the thought of another conflict, though she knew she didn’t have enough energy left to fight.
Ahadiel looked from her hand to his, closed his fingers and dropped it to his lap. Two perfect chocolate hands, almost good enough to eat. If he’d been mortal, she’d have been well past tempted by now.
“I trust the rogue is banished?” Ahadiel asked, though it sounded more of a statement.
“Have I ever failed?” Del replied, her voice was tired again as some of the heat in her blood ebbed away.
“Yes,” Ahadiel replied. “You have, and on more than one occasion.”
“Such questions do not make sense to me. You have failed, otherwise why approach the subject?”
“Go to hell.”
Ahadiel smiled, broadly, with perfect, brilliantly white teeth, the color they try to make them in toothpaste commercials.
“You asked,” his voice trailed off and his face lit up with his smile. “Where is young Marrin?”
Del almost laughed. The idea that Marrin could be called young was ludicrous. It was like calling Mt. Everest short, or the Grand Canyon shallow. While he was younger than Del, it was only by a thousand years or so. In a lifespan such as theirs, that meant that he was the college-age nephew to her recently graduated, and now working in New York, auntie.
But it was not the same for Ahadiel.
To him, who had seen the First Light of the Creation, all things that did not date within a millennium of the Beginning were “young”. He counted his age in eons, epochs.
“I sent him out for milk,” Del replied, and let the sarcasm show plainly in her voice.
“The Throne is pleased with your recent successes,” Ahadiel began again.
“Aren’t we all,” Del replied. “I even cleaned my room and did all my homework. Do I get an ice cream?”
“We would like to offer you another job.”
He said the statement simply, almost as if he was asking her to take a left at the next light. As if she would accept and that would be the end of it.
“By ‘you’, I’m guessing you mean ‘you guys’ or the more proper ‘y’all’?”
“You have been more . . . successful since Marrin joined you,” Ahadiel replied.
“I don’t like him.”
“Yes, you do. You like him very much. You like him because, in this vast world, he is one of the few you can call kin. You like him because he is younger, and in some ways less mature, less experienced than you. You like that because it gives you the opportunity to teach. You like to teach your skills, it has given you a sense of self and of generation, something forbidden you. Also . . .”
“Fine, fine,” Del interrupted. “I like him. It’s you I hate.”