What I hadn’t expected from Martin was the line he’d use the next time he managed to corner me.
Which was Saturday, out on the mall. It was a cool day, cool enough for sweaters but not, yet, jackets.
I glared at him. “Leave me alone.”
“I just want to talk.” There was something almost puppy dog about him.
“I know who you are.” Hopefully that would disarm him. Hopefully I wouldn’t have to be more specific, in case William’s educated guess turned out to be wrong.
“Good. Then you know I mean business.” He reached for my wrist and pulled me down onto a bench next to him.
He was strong enough that I couldn’t resist, caught off balance. “I already worked that out.”
“I don’t want a roll in the hay. Well, I do. But since I worked out who you are, I’ve wanted you as my consort.”
“I figured that part out too. What makes you think I’d be even remotely interested in you?”
The word disarmed me. I glanced out across the grass. “Safety?”
“Odin doesn’t trust you except as a means to try and bring Loki to heel. When Surtur comes for you, he won’t be courting you nicely. He’ll just take you.”
“He’ll try.” I said it grimly. “Besides, he already tried the courting nicely. Offered to make sure I survived Ragnarok.”
“He can’t make that promise. I can.” He let out a breath. “Look. I’m not unadulterated evil any more than Loki is.”
“You’re a demon.”
“The only difference between me and you is politics.”
I’d thought something close to that line before. “And deeds? Come on, Mr Succubus-On-Each-Arm.”
“That was play.”
My lips quirked. “Play that probably involved a few guys losing their souls.”
“What’s that to you? Besides, what makes you think the propaganda about people in hell burning forever is true?”
“I don’t think it is.” I did turn to look at him at that point. “Martin. I’m not interested. Do you really think somebody would leave me alone if I went to hell with you?”
“Sure they would. They don’t want to piss off my boss.”
“I don’t particularly want to either. But I want to piss off mine even less.” I thought of Odin.
“He’s using you.”
“Of course he is. But he’s using me to try to achieve something I’m rather interested in seeing myself. The answer’s no.” I looked at him. “Seek your consort elsewhere.”
“I’m not giving up. Not yet.” But he did stand up and walk away.
I watched him go, thinking once more that he was rather too worthy of the watching.