I took my phone out and open the text Sage had sent me earlier when I ran into someone. I apologized and moved without ever looking up, but the man stepped into my way and I looked up.

When I saw who I’d run into, I took a step backwards. I hated that smile on his face. He spoke with feigned happiness, “Well, hello, Nox.”

“Garrett.” I said as I felt the fear rise inside.

He laughed. “What are you doing up at this hour?”

“I was working.” I blurted. The need to be elsewhere grew inside. I could feel my heart racing and I knew I was sweating, I could feel my shirt clinging to my skin.

“A case kept you out? Not your birthday?” He asked like he was interested in the answer.

“Yeah. We were scouting out a known location – a bar – of a target.”

“You weren’t seeing your blue-eyed friend?” Garrett asked.

How the fuck did he know about Sage? Did he see him coming or going from my apartment? I frowned. “I wasn’t with my friend. I was with Walker Moore. He couldn’t find a dragon. I was helping him.”

“Walker Moore?” He nodded as if he understood, “I didn’t think you worked with anyone.”

“I don’t. Dae’lin assigned me.” I moved to the side, “I’m tired. I want to go now.”

He smiled at me. I winched as he put his hand on my shoulder. I saw the laughter in his eyes but he never did more than touch me. He was trying to scare me. “By all means. Sleep.” I didn’t like that smile on his face.

I nodded my head and pulled away from his grip. “Good night, Garrett.” I hurried into the stairwell and took the stairs three at a time until I reached my floor. But once up there I stopped and leaned against the wall and slide down with my knees against my chest and my head tucked between my knees. Why did he always make me feel like I was five again? I closed my eyes for a few moments.

My phone buzzed again, and I pulled it out of my pocket and glanced at the time. What the fuck, it was 4 am already? I didn’t remember falling asleep but I must have. It wasn’t that late when we got back.

I glanced at the reason my phone had disturbed me and I saw a second message from Sage.

Mysterious blue-eyed boy
646-555-2519
Sun, 06/24/2015


I hope work is going well. I’m going to sleep, hopefully I’ll see a picture soon.
1:14 AM


Mysterious blue-eyed boy
646-555-2519
Sun, 06/24/2015


Can’t sleep. No picture? :(> 4:26 AM

I sighed. Three hours of time lost in the stair well. I had to look like shit, my body ached and my butt was numb from sitting on the cold concrete floor of the stair well.

Me
646-555-4512
Sun, 06/24/2015


I’ve not made it to bed yet. Sorry.
4:26 AM

I took a selfie, and I was right I looked like shit but I sent it anyway.

Me
646-555-4512
Sun, 06/24/2015


Though I apparently found sleep in the stairwell.
4:26 AM

I didn’t get an immediate reply, so I got up and opened the door to the hall and headed for my apartment. My phone buzzed that annoying I don’t know who you are text as I unlocked the door. I looked at it once I got inside and shut the door behind me. I got up and opened the door to the hall and headed for my apartment. My phone buzzed that annoying I don’t know who you are text as I unlocked the door. I looked at it once I got inside and shut the door behind me.

Mysterious blue-eyed boy
646-555-2519
Sun, 06/24/2015


You look like you had a good night?
4:27 AM


Me
646-555-4512
Sun, 06/24/2015


I had a shitty night. Almost got flambeed by a dragon, got bitched at by my boss and ran into the demon spawn who was my mentor as a boy. And aforementioned lost three hours in a stair well.
4:27 AM

I removed the white over shirt and tossed it into the hamper and removed my jeans and shoes and flopped down on my bed while I waited for Sage to text back. Maybe he had fallen asleep.

I held up the phone above me and took another selfie as promised. My bed. It was 4 am, and I was just going to bed. I hadn’t done this in years.

I sent the selfie to Sage.

Me
646-555-4512
Sun, 06/24/2015


As promised. I need sleep now.
4:35 AM

I crawled under my orange comforter and the peach sheet underneath and curled around a pillow not expecting to hear my phone ring. I answered it without thinking.

“Hey.”

Sage answered back, “Hey. I’m sorry you had a shitty night. Can I make your day any better?”

Sage couldn’t see my drowsy smile. “Maybe after a few hours of sleep.” It was my birthday after all and I had nothing else planned except more work.

“Do you want to stop by? We can get a bite to eat… Nox?”

I startled. “I’m here. Sorry, in that post panic state, I’m drained. I’ll call you when I wake up, all right? We can do something.”

Sage breathed a sigh of relief. “All right. Call me. Good night, Nox.”

I smiled, and I wished I could see those beautiful blue eyes in front of me, “Night, Sage.” The phone went dead, and I curled around the pillow again with the phone tucked under it in my hand like it was the only thing holding me to the mysterious blue-eyed boy.

The Last Phoenix (in order)