“So, you told her?” FoxFace said so calmly.
I chewed my cheek. I looked anywhere but across the desk, where FoxFace was sitting. I sat on my side of the desk in her office, hands bandaged, blood washed away, and a glass of water at my side. But the last thing I wanted was a silly drink.
Bella had tried to kill me. For real now. She’d set the vampires upon me, after having me smear blood on my neck. Yep, just so they knew where to aim. Uh, she’d put a lot of thought into getting me eaten? Like, who did that? And why?
The worst part was that I knew why. What had she said again? ‘I can’t let them have you’? Jesus fuck, what the hell? Did she think I would turn on her? Or did she think that now I was merely a liability?
But how could she want to kill me? I was her big squeeze! We were lovers and after everything we’d been through, she just – sicced her vamp squad on me?
But she loved me. I knew that for a fact. I’d felt in through her power. She loved me.
I jumped, then scowled at FoxFace. “What?” I snapped.
“I am speaking, and you will listen,” she said in a tone that demanded respect. Well, request denied. I lounged back in my chair, crossing my arms over my chest. I stared her down, challenging her to… I didn’t know what. But I hated her. It was all her fault. She had taken the collar off me, broken my bond with Bella, and nearly got me murdered.
“Listen,” said FoxFace. I rolled my eyes to the ceiling. She took in a sharp inhale. “Do you really want to do this the hard way?”
Go on, show me, I goaded her silently. I refrained from saying that, at least, but I left my eyes up on the ceiling. What-ever. Talk away, girl, you can’t force me to listen.
FoxFace took a deep breath. Then, in a low murmur, she spoke.
“Your eyes are wide, your ears are open. Your lips are sewn shut, your body is still. Look at me, and listen.”
Oh, fuck, I thought as I felt my head tilt down and my eyes focus on her. My ears strained to hear whatever she had to say and – try as I might – I couldn’t move. And my mouth was definitely shut tight.
Pleased with her witchcraft, FoxFace clasped her hands on the table between us. “Now that I have your full and undivided attention, I am going to say something. And I’m only going to say it this once.”
I would have nodded, but that wasn’t really an option anymore.
“Now Chaos, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I run this whole ‘dealing with the mumbo jumbo’ project. I own you. And if ever you want to not be owned, and have freedom to dilly dally your day away, I highly recommend you- mmm, stop being an ass?” She smirked, pausing before adding. “You can nod.”
I distinctly refused to do so. No nodding from me – though I really got her point, and was busily trying to think of a way out. Maybe I had to… kill her? That wasn’t really my thing though. Killing too many incarnates could turn a soul demonic, and I really didn’t want that.
I wished I had my dice. Decisions were hard to make when you didn’t know the outcome before hand.
“So,” she said sharply. “Here’s what you want to do. In order to get on my good side you’re going to bring me Bella, unharmed, fully functional, and in one piece. Try and pull any stunts, warn her again – I know you warned her, that’s probably why you had a horde of vampires trying to eat you – and you will see what I do to spirits that disappoint me.” She nodded curtly. “Permission to speak freely.”
“Fuck you!” I snapped the moment my jaw would work again. “You don’t-” get to boss me around? I rethought my sentence. “I’m the child of the Grim Reaper, and of Life. You don’t want to get on my bad side. My family will come for me.”
FoxFace’s eyebrows rose. “Do you take me for an idiot? I couldn’t have picked a better soul to take possession of. Your family is neutral in all aspects and refuses to meddle in affairs. They will let you rot. And my sources tell me that you have no one who will come to your rescue, point blank. You have no alliances. So do you want to try that bluff again?”
I gritted my jaw. How the hell did she know so much? Weren’t mortals usually all scared of the Grim Reaper and thought all spirits were boogie men or something like that?
“How do you know so much about me?” I scoffed. “And what makes you think you’re right?”
FoxFace gave me a deadpanned glare. “My sources don’t lie.”
“Sources?” I sneered. “Who are they?”
FoxFace cracked a rare smile. “Don’t you wish you knew?”
I scowled – then thought of who I needed to help me. Lucifer. If anyone knew how to weasel your way out of curses and hexes, it was the man himself – or herself, depending on Lucifer’s mood.
So I put on my dapper charm, snapped my fingers, and fixed all of my problems just like that. Ha ha. No.
“Lookit,” I said calmly, trying to think of ‘what would Lucifer do?’ as a way to come up with a great lie. “I have an idea.”
“Is that a rare thing?” FoxFace asked so seriously it took me a minute to catch it. But once I did, I put on a plastic smile.
“How about I go catch Bella and bring her to you?” I said in my suave tone. “And here’s how I’ll do that. I’ll go to the spirit world, catch her, and bring her back.”
FoxFace looked completely unimpressed. I cleared my throat, trying again. “This means you help me get to the spirit realm.”
FoxFace steepled her fingers between us. “You think you’ve got a friend who will rescue you from me? Or do you really think you can outrun me?”
Uh, neither? Because Lucifer is no one’s friend?
“I have your blood,” she said coldly. “You’re not outrunning me. So just get Bella, and bring her here. How complicated is that?”
I pressed my lips together. My mind spun. Trickery was not my strong suit. “Look,” I snapped. “Just send me to the spirit realm. Can you do that?”
“Tell me why,” she said, mildly amused. “Because I know Bella isn’t there. She’s in this plane, and seems intent on staying here.”
I leaned forward across the table. “That’s because she wants to get three portals together to get into the plane of nirvana. She-” I paused, not sure how much to say or what to say even. It’s not like Bella had unveiled her massive plan to me. “She wants to get there,” I finished lamely. “So,” I took a deep breath, biding time to spin my lie. What could impress a witch? “I’m going to get Lucifer to help me,” I said outright.
I swore I saw FoxFace smirk. It egged me on. “With him, I won’t get hurt and you will definitely get Bella.”
FoxFace unsteepled her fingers and lay her palms flat on the desk. “You think you can get Lucifer to catch Bella for you?”
“I can be convincing,” I said, feeling rather successful.
FoxFace smiled nastily. “Go ahead then. I’ll have a portal made for you to the underworld. But-” she pointed a finger at me. “If you don’t bring Bella back this time, there will be consequences.”
I snorted. “You say that like I’m irresponsible.”
She raised her eyebrows. I decided it was best not to add any more comments to that mess.