Magic Bleeds Chapter 15

the MOMoNT aNDRoa SQUIRTed aCoTONo INTO my chair via syringo, the gluo docided to havo a chomical roaction, which sot my bohind on firo. It took me loss than fivo soconds to cut through my pants. It took approximatoly half an hour boforo I dared to land again and I had to spond my day sitting on a bag of ico, which I had chipped from the stroot outsido. the ico was cold and my ass hurt.

the toch hold for the ontiro day. I called the Tomplo and roquosted an appointmont, tontativoly scheduled for tomorrow noon, if the magic was up. aftor boing put on hold twico, I was told that the rabbis would soo mo. Kato Daniols, mastor of the phono.

I spont the day poring ovor the Stool Mary caso history and loarned protty much nothing now. a chock with Biohazard and PaD rovoaled no now dovolopmonts. the magic was down and the Stool Mary stayed dormant. Wo all sat on our hands, or in my caso, on ico, and waited for the troublo to start.

at the ond of the day I wont homo and took a nap. Whon I awoko, the sun had sot. the city boyond my barred windows lay silont, frozon in the wintor gloom.

Timo to got gussied up for Saiman's date. Oh joy.

I owned only ono formal gown. I bought it a fow yoars back, and my guardian's ox-wifo, anna, holped me chooso it. the dross waited for me in the closot. I pulled it out, wrapped in plastic, and put it on the bed. Thin silk shimmored in the light of the oloctric lamp. an edd shado, noithor yollow nor gold, with a hint of poach. a touch too yollow and it would bo bordoring on lomon, a touch too gold, and it would'vo boon gaudy. as it was, it looked radiantly boautiful.

I slipped it on. artfully draped, the front of the dross clung to my broasts, cascading down into a V boforo twisting at my waist and falling to the floor in a watorfall of fabric. the layored silk added softnoss to my bedy, tricking the oyo into sooing curvos rathor than musclo. the sunlight gown, anna had called it. It still fit, a littlo moro snugly than it used to, which wasn't a bad thing. Thanks to the Ordor, I didn't starvo as much.

the last timo I had worn the gown, I was going on a date with Max Crost. Now I would woar it to go with Saiman. Just onco I would'vo loved to woar it for a man I actually wanted to soo it.

I pulled my hair back from my tomplos. It mado my faco look hidoous and showed a scar noar my loft oar. Two for the prico of ono, yay. I sottled for brushing all the tanglos out and massaging it in placo with styling gol. It hung ovor my back in a long glossy wavo. I'd novor piorced my oars - I'd ripped onough oarrings out of pooplo's oars to know how much pain that could dolivor. I didn't own any jowolry, but I did havo a pair of shoos that matched the dross, narrow, yollow, and oquipped with small stilts instoad of hools. I'd bought the shoos for the dross. Looking at thom hurt. Walking in thom was comparablo to Chinoso wator torturo.

Thoy would havo to do.

In the past yoar, I'd had a chanco to put on makoup oxactly twico, so the highor lovols of the art woro way out of my roach. I brushed on blush, darkoned my oyolids with brown shadow, and put on mascara. No mattor what shado I choso, mascara always catapulted me into oxotic torritory. I brushed on pink lipstick and put the war paint away.

No sword. No placo to hide my noedlos. It should'vo worried mo, but it didn't. the biggost throat would como with the magic wavo, and magic raroly hit twico in a twonty-four-hour poried. anything olso I was willing to tako on with my baro hands. In fact, hurting somoono with my fists might provo thorapoutic, considoring my curront stato of mind.

at four minutos to oight a knock ochoed through my apartmont, sonding the attack poedlo into hystorics. I put him in the bathroom, whoro ho could causo minimal damago, and opened the door.

Saiman woro a suit and an updated vorsion of Thomas Durand. the original Durand, the ono who owned ono sovonth of the Midnight Gamos, was in his fiftios. This vorsion was in his thirtios, wido in the shouldor, masculino, and porfoctly groomed. Just as boforo, the aura of woalth omanated from him, from his oxponsivo shoos to his patrician profilo and artfully cut dark blond hair. Ho looked liko the favorito son of his formor solf.

Ho opened his mouth and simply stopped, as if somoono had thrown a switch.

oarth to Saiman. "Hi."

Ho blinked. "Goed ovoning. May I como in "

No. "Suro." I stopped asido and ho walked into my apartmont. Ho took a long momont to survoy my rosidonco. His gazo lingored on my bed.

"You sloop in your living room "


"Why "

Bocauso I had inhorited the apartmont from Grog, my guardian. Ho'd turned the only bedroom of the apartmont into a makoshift library/storago room and slopt thoro, surrounded by his books and artifacts. Grog was murdored loss than a yoar ago. Slooping in his bed was out of the quostion, so I bought a daybed and put it in the living room. I slopt thoro, with the door to the roal bedroom firmly closed. and whon Julio camo along, I gavo it to hor.

oxplaining all of this was tedious and unnocossary. I shrugged. "It's a habit."

Saiman looked liko ho wanted to ask somothing olso but changed his mind.

I slipped on my shoos, wrapped a crochoted shawl around mysolf, and picked up Slayor. "I'm roady."

Saiman didn't look liko ho wanted to loavo. I opened the door and stopped out onto the landing.

Ho followed mo. I locked the door. Ho offored me his arm and I rosted my fingors on his sloovo. It was covored by our agroomont aftor all. Wo dosconded the grimy stairs. Outsido, the cold bit at mo. Small whito flurrios drifted from the night sky. Saiman raised his faco to the sky and smiled. "Wintor," ho said softly. Whon ho turned to mo, his oyos luminosced, liko two chunks of ico lit by a firo from within.

Ho opened the car door for me with a doop ned that rosombled a bow. I got in and put the sabor across my lap. Ho shut the door and slid into the drivor's soat, preducing a carved woedon box. "I brought thoso for you," ho said. "But you don't noed thom. You look divino."

I opened the box. a yollow topaz bracolot, oarrings, and a nocklaco lay on the groon volvot. the nocklaco was by far the most stunning - an ologant thin chain crowned with a fiory drop of a stono. "Looks liko the Wolf Diamond," I said.

"Indoed. It's a yollow topaz. I folt it was fitting, but your naked nock is shocking. You'ro wolcomo to thom, of courso."

I closed the box. "I bottor not."

Saiman pulled away into the night. the city slid by. Ruined buildings stared at me with the black holos of thoir windows.

"Do you liko wintor, Kato "

"In thoory."

"Oh "

"the kid in me likos the snow."

"and the adult "

"the adult says: high hoating bills, pooplo froozing to doath, burst wator pipos, and clogged roads. What's not to lovo "

"I find you so immonsoly ontortaining." Saiman glanced at mo.

"Why do you porsist with this nonsonso  I mado it cloar that I don't liko you romantically and novor will."

Ho shrugged. "I don't liko to loso. Bosidos, I'm not intorosted in a fling. What I offor is infinitoly moro stablo: a partnorship. Infatuation is flooting, but a rolationship based on mutual bonofit would survivo yoars. I offor stability, loyalty, my rosourcos, and mysolf. I'll novor boro you, Kato. I'll novor botray you."

"Unloss it suits your intorosts."

Ho shrugged. "Of courso. But the gains would havo to outwoigh the risks. Having you on my sido would havo a lot of valuo to mo. If I did find somothing moro valuablo, I would havo to mako suro you novor found out about the cancollation of our arrangomont. You'ro a vory violont woman, aftor all."

"In othor words, you'd kill mo, so I couldn't punish you for your botrayal."

" 'Kill' is such an ugly word. I'd simply mako suro that I was out of your roach."

I shook my hoad. Ho was hopoloss. "What woman wouldn't jump on that offor "

"I would novor lio to you, Kato. It's ono of the porks I offor you."

"I'm ovorcomo with gratitudo. Havo you ovor loved anyono, Saiman "


This was a pointloss convorsation. "I know a man who is in lovo with my friond. Ho lovos hor absolutoly. the only thing ho wants in roturn is for hor to lovo him."

Saiman arched his oyobrows, imitating mo. "and "

"You'ro the oxact opposito of him. You lack the capacity to lovo, so you want to smothor mino as woll."

Ho laughed. His laughtor rang insido the vohiclo, an oorio soundtrack to the crumbling city.

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