“Why couldn’t we have met at the Ritz? This place smells like piss,”
Bianca spun on her heel. Overhead, rain was beginning to fall. Each drop landing on her exposed skin burned away at her just a little more.
“Do you have what I need or not?” she demanded. Contemptuously, she eyed the expensive clothing the figure before her had donned. “You’re asking for trouble coming to this neighbourhood dressed like that,”
“Are you concerned for my safety?” he smirked, his grey eyes glowing softly. “Very touching, but there’s no need for that Sweetling. There’s not much in this world that frightens my kind,”
“You’re right,” she crossed her arms if only to hide her shaking hands. “Your kind is what mothers used to warn their children about,”
“Interesting choice of words,” he began slowly to pace a circle around her. “I believe however, they didn’t quite warn their children. Those mothers promised that we’d bring peace. Which we did,”
Fighting the impulse to bare her teeth, Bianca sucked in a deep breath. The sharp smell of rotting food, human waste and unadulterated misery grounded her.
“I have what you seek,” he said in a low voice, his smile turning oddly gentle.
“So he’s alive?” she demanded, hardly daring to let herself hope. “Luis is alive?”
“For now,” he nodded, studying her closely.
“Where is he?” Bianca could feel her pulse picking up its pace. “How do I…”
“Slow down,” he shook his head. Stepping in close, close enough she could pick out the fancy stitching in his fitted blazer, he placed a hand on her shoulder.
“You’re shaking. You’re cold. I told you we could have gone someplace more comfortable,” he sounded almost worried. Almost.
“Comfortable places tend to have problems with people like me,” she said stiffly as she attempted to shift away from him.
“Sweetling, you’re under my protection,” his hold on her tightened ever so slightly. In the half-light, his hair was a burnished gold. “There’s no person, no creature in this world that can touch you without knowing my fury,”
The corrosive rain was now falling away from her, sliding down an invisible dome she couldn’t see. Warmth began spreading through her limbs, and the delicious comfort of it all irked her very soul.
“I want my brother,” she stated for want of any other useless sentiment.
“And you’ll get him,” he said quietly. “But it’s not that easy. You should know, even if you get him back…he might need some help becoming…himself once again,”
Gazing up at his beautiful face, Bianca remembered when she thought of him and creatures like him as holy.
What a fucking laugh.
“Why help me at all?” she asked after a while. “Your kind has made it clear that me and mine are undeserving of forgiveness. That we’re undeserving of grace or salvation,”
Some nameless emotion flitted across his ethereal features.
“Who said I’m helping you out of the goodness of my proverbial heart?” he asked, his tone dangerously playful. “I have interests that require…human intervention,”
“I will not…” she started.
“You will,” his tone brooked no argument. “Because you want your brother back, safe and whole,”
Snapping her mouth shut, she choked down a scream of pure rage.
“Be a dear and deliver it to my man down by the wharf won’t you?” he reached into his pocket and drew out a small, lumpy package. “You’ve met Pete before,”
“What is this?” she asked, curious despite herself.
“Nothing you need to concern yourself over,”
Before she could react, he was pressing a light kiss to her forehead.
Snarling indignantly, she jumped backwards even as her fingers closed around the package.
“Do this now, and meet me at eleven at the Ritz,” he instructed. Giving her a once over, his smirk returned. “Tell the concierge when you arrive that you’re there for me. She’ll ensure you fit the dress code,”
Without another word, he was gone, leaving behind only the sound of falling rain, and the loud whisper of massive wings.
“Asshole,” she muttered, before stalking off into the night.