The first thing I did when I got out of the shower was check the message Alex had sent.
A shower sounds good. Sure you don’t want to take one here.
I was sure. Though it could be tempting. The sex had been good, but I was in love with him, and I knew it. Having sex with him again would only land me further down that rabbit hole. And I was pretty sure I was never climbing out of it again.
After dressing and making sure my eyeliner looked good – covered up the fact that I had been having a rough day – or days. It was thicker than usual, and there was some eye shadow applied to help hide the bags under a light swath of color that matched the green shirt I was wearing. I wished I had time to treat my hair to the same color, but I didn’t have any green wax to apply over the blue that was currently dying my hair.
Hunter was sitting on the couch when I went upstairs to get him. He was still flipping through the same magazine. “Are you actually reading it?” I asked him.
He looked up and smiled brightly at me, “Not really. There is a puzzle in it I’m working on.”
“And the answers are in the magazine?” I asked.
He shook his head, “No, you are the puzzle. I’m trying to figure you out.”
“And I’m in the magazine?”
Hunter giggled, “No, silly. I was trying to figure out why you liked this magazine.”
He held up the cover of some hunting mag that Abby had left figuring I was a guy I liked guns and ammo. “Abby supplies all the magazines. I don’t think I’ve read a single one.”
Hunter grinned, “But you read this.” He held up my current book – the last and final book of a series I had read a billion times over. I’d read it while Alex made me food.
“Yes, several times.”
“Do you think any of that magic is real?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Who’s to say now. I mean vampires and werewolves are real. Dragons are real. Telepaths are real. Whatever you are – you are real.”
Hunter grinned, “You are real.” He stood up and took my hand, “I’m ready to go home.”
“Okay, kid. You hungry?”
Hunter smiled, “We can stop at Bonnie’s on the way home. She’ll know what to make.”
“How about we call them, so it’s ready when we get there.”
Hunter agreed and I let the boy make that order. I added my own order to the menu in a separate to go bag so that I could take it after dropping Hunter off. Hunter just shook his head and muttered, “You’ll stay for dinner.”
He hadn’t thought I heard, “Is that a prophecy?”
Hunter looked at me wide eyed and shook his head, “Da, will talk you into it.”
I didn’t like that fact. He was right, if Alex asked I’d probably stay.
Hunter held my hand the whole way to Bonnie’s. His small hand fit nicely in mine and we chatted about things. I couldn’t tell you what they were as they were just little things. But they were relavent at the time. He was a smart kid. And he didn’t seem to want to overwhelm the conversation like most kids did, he listened when I rambled on about something. It was a dance of sorts. Like we’d done it thousands of times, but we’d never done it.
There was a odd sense of familiarity as we walked up the stairs to the fourth floor where Hunter said the common spaces were. Which I had no idea what that meant. I mean I understood the need for common spaces, but in a house, they weren’t usually called that.
The kitchen was the first place we walked into and I was flabergasted by the sheer size of the space. It was like walking into a restaurant kitchen but with so much more space. Everything was impressive and I wanted to run my fingers over the stainless steel benches. If it wasn’t the silver of stainless it was a beautiful marbled white and gray tile.
“This is Da’s favorite room.”
“I can see why.”
Hunter grinned. “That’s not why.” He tugged me through the kitchen area into a seated lounge where everyone was gathered on cell phones.
Isabel, the dark haired woman from the park, ran over to Hunter and pulled him into a hug. “There you are. Where have you been? Why did you run away?” She threw more questions at him but I was looking at Alex who was watching me.
“You didn’t tell them?” I asked him from across the room.
He shrugged. “Hunter wanted you to bring him home. Who am I to ease their fears when the boy has a plan.”
“I brought food.” I said. “Hunter made the order at Bonnie’s.”
I said the name of the diner and all heads perked up and Rider’s twin brother was grabbing a bag from my hand, and so was the eldest girl of the bunch. She looked like Alex, had his eyes, she had to be his real kid. Made me wonder how many of them were his here.
“Just me.” She said, “I’m Quinn.”
“You can read minds too.”
“Yes, but I’m not trying to,” she looked to her dad guilty, “He just leaks so much.”
Alex laughed, “I know. He doesn’t know any better.”
Alex grabbed a styrofoam box and the bag I still carried with me, “Come on, let’s go someplace a little more quieter.”
I frowned but I followed him out the door to a patio outside. He shut the door and there was silence. Or rather less talking noise, and only the drone of the city to keep us company.