I heard from the brothers again three days later. The older had been checked into rehab. Tyler was in a group home. I gave him some survival tips – I figured it was different for boys, but not that different.
Apparently I was now his personal hero. I hoped that wouldn’t turn into a crush. Part of me also hoped it wouldn’t turn into hero worship. Given the circumstances.
Not much I could do about it, though. I couldn’t control his mind and emotions.
He was only fourteen, too. I hoped that his brother could get clean. I hoped he could stay clean. I hoped that for all of them, all the kids out there. But it had me no closer to dealing with the real problems.
I told him he could call me any time he wanted, then headed to a shoot. Indoors, thankfully, it still being quite cold.
When there I noticed that there was somebody new. The woman who had come out of Red Flowers. The one with the demon’s mark on her soul.
We eyed each other across the room.
“What’s up, Jane, don’t you like her?” Patricia asked me, checking her trademark purple nails.
I lowered my voice. “Nah. I don’t think she likes me. She’s an escort, too.”
“Ugh. I hate that. Makes people think the rest of us are…wait, how do you know?”
“Long story.” But at least it gave me a legitimate reason to be seen as looking down on her.
Or would it be better to befriend her? Maybe she could still be saved from ending up in Hell. I dismissed that idea as she glared at me again.
“Wow. She’s trying to slice you up with her eyes.”
“See?” I said, not without a certain amount of wry cheer. “Doesn’t matter what I think of her, does it.”
“She’s probably jealous.”
Maybe she was. Or maybe something of the mark was giving her just the slightest glimpse of what I was.
Maybe she’d even been promised or given something more than the youth and beauty I suspected had been her request.
Maybe she’d been told she could become a succubus. Could she? I didn’t think so, but given what I’d seen on our side, I couldn’t be sure.
In the meantime, the tension between us was apparently obvious, because they kept us as separate as they could during the shoot.