So the first thing we did was get in a car and travel to the small town high up in the mountains where our victim lived. His murderer was in a state penitentiary in Denver. But I was fairly certain that would lead nowhere.

Michaela drove which was fine with me. She kept looking at me. “What?” I asked.

She chuckled to herself and stole a glance at me before she returned her eyes to the road. “When we were at HQ I couldn’t read you, now out on the road, I hear everything.”

I clampped my shields down tight and sighed, “Sorry, forgot.”

Michaela laughed. “You forgot?”

“I don’t usually shield unless I’m in HQ or out hunting on the trail type thing. It’s too much work with everything I have to manage.”

“You don’t have to shield, I just find it odd. Most Venatori hide everything and here you are just counting and calming yourself. What else are you doing that takes up so much energy and time?” She asked. She was the first person other than Dorian to actually take an interest in the why’s of the things I do.

Michaela laughed, “See like that. You don’t even hide it.”

“Hide what?” I asked confused.

“Your thoughts. I’m the first one to ask other than Dorian about your why’s.”

I shrugged. “I don’t need to hide anything. You ask me and I’ll tell you.”

“So what else is going on in that pretty little head of yours?”

I grinned at her and started explaining about the patterns I see. It was hard to explain when you can’t really visualize it. And she was driving so I couldn’t show her any drawings either. Maybe later. “Hearing, smelling, the patterns it’s all a lot to control, having to hold the shield puts undo strain on my system so I try to let it go. Inside my room I can be free of my shields because the runes shield me from everyone else. It’s only the public areas I need. And my roommates weren’t telepathic or empaths so there was no need to hid there either. And out here in the real world I can be normal, well as normal as Venatori can be.”

Michaela drove in silence for a while. “Why would you want to be normal?”

“I don’t want to be normal. I just feel more comfortable out in the real world among the humans, they are far more judgmental but I’m invisible there.”

“Girls should be beating down your door for the power alone.” Michaela said.

I laughed, “The girls who know me wouldn’t dream of it.”

“I remember you in the Academy. You kissed Dylan and got the shit kicked out of you. But it never stopped you from getting with Madison or any of the other girls who flung them selves at you for sex.”

“Sex is far different from wanting to have my baby.” I sighed.

“You don’t think anyone would sleep with you just to have a potentially powerful kid?”

I shrugged. “She has to look past all my other faults.”

“What faults are those?” Michaela asked.

“I’m half human. I’m not super fast, or super strong, I’m fragile compared to you.”

Michaela laughed. “That’s bullshit. You learned to compensate. When we hit HQ next, I’ll let you have a run at me. We’ll determine if you are fragile.” She rolled her eyes at me. “No rules, just a beat down. I think you deserve one.”

I laughed. “And if I win?”

“Then there’s proof you aren’t some fragile little girl who gets fucked up cause he’s a cry baby.” Michaela looked at me as she drove. “I’ve seen you fight Aaron. He thinks he’s getting the better of you, but you let him. Dylan took you by surprise otherwise the swim champion had nothing on you. You let them win.” She sounded very confident in her assessment of my abilities. Almost like she was trying to butter me up, or give me a false sense of confidence in my self. A test? It made me wonder why I was here.