I rather thought it was a bad thing. Thruor and Loki would know the truth, of course, but I didn’t want anyone else thinking I’d converted. On the other hand, I had a story close enough to the truth ready to share – boy wouldn’t leave me alone and Will was just a friend who’d agreed to discourage him.
It really was close enough, even if part of me still wanted to ask the demon about bored succubi. That part was dangerously close to the part that was willing to admit Martin was…fascinating. It was a part of me I badly wanted to redirect to some other, safer target, but I really didn’t have any right now. Any mortal I dated was going to be in danger. Any supernatural couldn’t be trusted to actually like me, given…
I wished I could remember exactly what my bloodlines were, but that alternated with being oddly glad that I couldn’t. So, William escorted me a safe distance from the school each day. Martin didn’t stop waiting for me at the gates, but he scowled at Will, keeping his distance. And, for the most part, people believed my story.
Which made Martin very unpopular indeed. I hoped we wouldn’t push this too far and drive him into using a different tactic to stay close to me.
We needed to get him to realize this was the way things were staying, get him complacent. Maybe even get him to approach.
In the interim, I had research to do. And something even more important.
Bruce was out of hospital. This was the first time I’d ever been to his home. He wasn’t on a bus route – I had to dig into some of my carefully-saved modeling money to get a cab. But I felt I needed to be sure he was okay.
His house was a townhouse, and I actually sensed a barrier of sorts around it. It didn’t stop me, but I knew it was there.
Wards. Probably set against demons or something. Maybe I’d ask him. When I knocked on the door, he answered it with a calico cat twining around his feet. She looked up at me and mewed.
“Hey. I…are you alright?”
“I think so. Lacey, enough.”
The cat mewed again…definitely a talker…and detached herself from his legs to rub against mine in a manner that people who didn’t know cats would think was friendliness. I knew she was claiming ownership, but still reached down to rub behind the ears. “She’s cute.”
“She’s a little attention slut,” Bruce warned. “Come in.”
I did so, and felt a bit of pressure leave at the invitation. The wards again, I thought. Inside, it wasn’t what I had expected. A very neat place, very clean except for the cat hair on the couch. To one side of the living room was a shrine containing a hammer, and statues of Thor, Odin and a goddess – I couldn’t quite see which one from here, but thought it might be Freya.
“Do you really think you got hexed?”
“Maybe. I’ve strengthened my wards. Want some coke?”
I nodded. “Any time. I’ve been…busy. Demon problems.”
“Dealing with them?”
“I called in a professional.” I settled down on the cat-hair-stained sofa and Lacey promptly jumped up to investigate my lap.
He was right. She was totally anyone’s for whatever attention she could get.