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I opened my eyes a second later and Lucky was still sitting there, calm as could be, with a little grin twitching the corner of his mouth. He stood, turned slowly around, and reached out to Eve, snatching the shotgun from her hands like you’d take a lollipop from a toddler. Then he wrapped both arms around her and picked her up, twirling her around and laughing like they’d just been reintroduced at a party.
“Oh, Eve, I have missed you! No one since the Garden has had such a fire! I am sorry I haven’t called on you since then, but I’ve been dreadfully busy. You know, wars to starts, pestilence to spread, famine to sow, death to deal, and all that awful pale-horse Revelation garbage. But it’s good to see you, and I promise to come chat with you and little Cain in a few moments, once I’m done talking to the boys here.” With that, he spun a shocked Eve around, patted her on the butt, and shoved her over to where Cain and the other women were standing staring at us.
“Yeah. About that, Lucky. We might want to move this conversation inside. After all, you did just have a giant frigging glowing angel fly off over the pool, and Eve just shot you. Those things tend to attract attention these days. So why don’t we all adjourn to my room, and you can tell everybody what you’ve got to say to me and Junior?” I picked up the bag of beer, grabbed Junior by an arm, and started making my way into the hotel.
“Probably a good idea, Adam. The local constabulary may be making an appearance soon, and it’s probably better if I’m not seen. Something about a bar fire earlier this evening…” He followed us into the hotel, and I stood waiting for the elevator with the Prince of Darkness and a twenty-something tattooed redneck street preacher who was supposed to save the world. If he could keep his eyes off my daughter’s tits long enough to do it.
When we got to the room, Lucky led Junior inside, grabbed the bag of beer, and shoved me backwards out into the hall, shutting the door firmly in my face. I hammered on the door for a minute, but Lucky just called out a few profanities and I finally gave up. I walked down the hall to the room Eve was sharing with Emily, and knocked on the door. They let me in after a second, and I joined Eve, Emily, Myra and Cain in the small room. It was more than a little cramped in there with just a couple of beds and one chair, but we all managed to find someplace more or less comfortable.
After a long moment Emily piped up. “What do you think he’ll do to Sidney?”
“Nothing.” I replied. “If he wanted to hurt the kid there are a lot better ways, sneakier ways that won’t get him in deep shit with Father. My guess is he’s telling the truth, that he just wants to talk to the kid. He’s probably got a lot riding on whatever Choice the kid makes, and he’s looking for an edge.”
“You actually think he’s telling the truth? He’s the Father of Lies? His name is synonymous with deception and misdirection? What makes you think that he’s telling the truth?” Myra asked incredulously.
“Because it’s what we don’t expect. I’ve seen him use this trick before. He tells you the truth when you expect him to lie, and then he can lie with more impunity when it suits his purposes.” I said. “He’ll probably keep the kid in there for a while, make friends with him, fill his head full of just enough truth to confuse him, and send him back to us thinking that Lucky’s just a guy who’s gotten a bad rap in history.”
“Yeah, he’s a fuckin’ prince.” Eve muttered.
“Yeah. Look, babe, I’m not exactly a fan, either, but I can’t kick his ass and you can’t shoot him, so we’re kinda stuck right now.” I was getting a little frustrated, and Lucky had all the beer, so I headed for the door.
“Where are you going?” Myra sounded frightened as I reached for the handle. “You’re not going after him, are you?”
“Nah, I know better. I’m gonna go get some ice and a soda from the vending machine. Anybody else want anything?”
“I’ll go with.” Emily hopped up and stood beside me. We got out into the hallway and she looked up at me. “Now tell me straight, what do you think Luke, er, Lucky is doing with Sidney?”
Crap. She had it bad. “I really don’t think he’s going to hurt him. If he’s supposed to make a Choice I don’t think Lucky can hurt him, or everything goes all screwy. I mean, he’s capable, but I don’t think he’s allowed. And there are some rules that even Lucky won’t break. Don’t sweat it, honey, Junior’s gonna be fine.”
“If you say so.” But she still sounded a little dubious.
“Don’t sweat it. You don’t get to be this old without being a decent judge of character.” I tried to sound cavalier, but I don’t know if I pulled it off.
“You got to be that old because you’re immortal, not because you’re a good judge of character.” She pointed out. Smartass kids.
“Yeah, if I was, I probably wouldn’t have ended up hanging with all those Mongolians back when Genghis Khan was running roughshod over most of Asia. I just thought he wanted to ride around and party. Who was I to know he wanted world domination? My Mongolian was never that good anyway.” That at least got a giggle out of her, and we took our ice bucket and armful of soda cans back to the room. We were there for another hour or so before there was a knock on the door and Sid came in, looking awfully pale beneath his tattoos.
Emily leapt to her feet and rushed over to the kid, ushering him to a seat on the bed. I got up and out of the way, as did her mom. Cain tossed him a soda while Eve looked down the hall to see if she could catch any glimpse on Lucky’s location. I kept an eye on her, hoping she wasn’t going to try and put another slug into the fallen angel. Eve’s never been known for restraint, and sometimes it seems like her motto is “if at first you don’t succeed, shoot it again.” I didn’t need the attention, or the redecorating bill on my credit card. You’d be amazed how hard it is to keep a good credit rating when you don’t officially exist.
“What happened? Are you okay?” Emily asked.
“I’m fine. We just talked. Well, he talked. I listened.” Sid replied.
“What did he have to say?” I asked. “Remember, junior, deception is kinda his whole gig.”
“He talked about a lot of things. A lot about my Choice, and what was going to happen depending on what I Choose.”
“Did he happen to mention where you’re supposed to make this Choice, because we’re kinda flying blind right now.” Cain asked from the chair.
“Washington.” Michael pushed his way past Eve and into the room. “The Choice shall be made in Washington, DC. I will be leaving immediately.” The angel looked pissed, so I didn’t even bother with my standard snarky comments.
I just nodded to Myra, grabbed my room key from Junior and we headed to our room to pack. Emily and Eve started tossing things into a bag, and I glanced over at Cain, who was still sitting in the chair watching all the action.