“There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you’ve got to
do is turn around & say, ‘watch me’.” Layne Beachley
So, last Friday night… also in the day … we ended the serial of Amalia and Mia on a dramatic note! In which, if I’m not very much mistaken, Mia knocked Amalia out with a spoon. Woo! Great work! We saved the day! But now what? Well Amalia’s continuation is here while Mia’s story starts now! Being taken away for an interview is totes stressful. I am so glad this is all in the very real and truthful past because it actually happened. Mm.
Coincidentally, before we get this show on the road, Amalia is also doing a pretty sweet giveaway at the moment involving Thor and sandwiches. Yes. Yep. I’m not even kidding. So if you’re so inclined clicky over to see!
In-between the tapping of Tyler’s shoes against the stone steps, and the jangling of Baldur’s keys on his belt, I decide we have two ways to handle what appears to be an upcoming interrogation; either we lie or we (probably) die telling the truth. I wring my wrists as the air cools and we round a corner. I’m not sure if it’s the curses Bragi was throwing at me or the idea of telling nothing but the simple truth; something has me feeling green and ready to pitch over. Tyler catches my arm, steadying me and tilting his head but I have no words.
How do you tell a dear friend you think they are about to die? In all my months of frantic research, and slipping out of the house to consult parafiction experts, and asking other immortals if this is perhaps just a phase, I never did find the courage to say it. I feel like naming the thing I fear will give it more power. He is so strong on the outside, but I see the cracks forming within him.
Baldur invites us inside an office and I begin to consider a third option. I hold it for a while, genuinely considering it, before tossing it away. I’m not sure I could even convince Tyler to help me cast the spell. He’s such a party pooper when it comes to the ramifications of unlicenced magic.
When I glance over to him, I find him fingering a tassel from a wall hanging beside the desk. Maybe he’s wishing our place was this fancy. I know I am. The entire office is furnished in elaborate asgardian carvings, from a waste basket to bookshelves, and few tasteful hangings. What really catches my eye, however, is the fax machine sat in the corner on top of a pile of books. It hums, purrs, and jitters as Baldur passes it. He thumps a fist against it.
“Makes all the right noises, never actually delivers the electronic telecommunication-like messages,” he says with a pained smile. “Gave it a few grapes the other week but, alas, apparently the imps inside weren’t so inclined!”
“Ah,” I say. Having embarked upon a similar line of explanation not long ago, to Thor in regards to google+, I don’t think it wise to start explaining the fax machine. My brilliant diagrams and graphical representations didn’t get Thor to stop calling it google-simplistic-calculations-an
d-slow-socialisation-device. Plus we have a lot of other explaining to do anyway.
Baldur settles in his seat, motioning for us to sit, before he speaks. Tyler crosses his legs as he sits, steepling his hands to form a kind of I find you highly interesting and also a little insane pose. Sometimes I regret teaching him that, maybe not today. I choose to simply lean against the bookcase, hoping to somehow draw strength from the books as Baldur says, “So, Admiral Hayson, Mr Tyler, I believe there is a fair chance you know why I requested your presence here, in my office.”
“If this is about the damage to the pillows,” I begin knowing full well it is not, “we can totally reimburse you. Just as soon as my undead anonymous offshore account is unfrozen. Honestly. I’ll buy you a hundred pillows, no problem. Also, I was totally going to ice Amalia’s bruise just as soon as Bragi was contained. Just FYI. I did kind of almost take first aid training course once. Totally legit.”
“Perhaps, you would care to tell me about Adler Green,” Baldur says quietly. His eyes don’t look through me, they look into me, as silence falls. I begin to wonder whether he is actually really upset about the Amalia-spoon incident as my knees start to shake.
“We’ll tell you anything you need to know, sir.” The chair scrapes, teetering, as Tyler stands eyeing me with concern. “Provided you can lift the word-incantations Bragi threw at Mia?”
“No we won’t!” I say, finding the strength somewhere to shirk out of Baldur’s eyes and step forward. It is only as I arrive at the desk that I realise maybe this was not the best way to word my decision to lie to Baldur. The world gets heavy, and my arms tremble, as he leans forward with a sigh.
“I rather think you should,” Baldur says, hand inches from my own. “I will, of course, endeavour to revoke Bragi’s curses.”
I feel the world sway again as if stuck on a pendulum as he considers me, and I begin to think maybe I should. But it is a lazy, and logical, thought and I immediately dismiss it as not my own.
“We can’t,” I whisper, and when I glance up Baldur’s silver eyes regard me with something half pity half need.
The need side seems stronger, swirling in the currents, and it is something I recognise. There is so much I need in this world, a decent shower, shoes without holes, a spare pair of undies, the comfort of sleeping in a real bed and not making do with an almost empty coffin down at the new vamp arcade, certainty regarding Tyler’s future, and my needs seem to call out to his as I cave.
“I asked Tyler to date Adler to gain certain information,” I say, glancing down to fiddle with a figurine on the desk. “So, there is that.”
I shrug, Tyler takes this as permission as he says, “Adler Green, born Daphne Williams but you know how it is with the young immortals, sir, always needing a trendy name. The current fashion is for a good simple surname coupled with what vampires deem a modern first name. Anyway. Adler is deeply involved in many things. Uh, glitter trafficking for one. Then there’s the crumpet stealing from the Were-Quarter, supplying dust to the Tags, that is Tag-alongs, uh…”
I glance up, watching Tyler mumble and count of a list on his hands. We could be here for a while, frankly it would be shorter to list illegal and immoral things Adler is not into.
“The important thing is information,” I say as Tyler’s mumblings get quieter and his frown deepens. Part of me regrets asking him to go for her, and letting him get attached, but it was the only way I saw of following a hunch. Adler holds information and at the time I had hoped that meant she knew more about zombies ageing; specifically Tyler.
“Adler deals in black market information, specifically,” I continue with a sigh. “Anything, from the latest cleaning sites for your newly turned to reformed voodoo priestess addresses to where you ate lunch last Saturday. She deals. That is, ah, her deal.”
Baldur raises a brow as he says, “I believed the place to be a highly respectable eatery at the time, I can assure you.”
“Sure,” I say a little too quickly, knowing it’s too late to tell him this was theoretical information. “Anyway! So! Information! A few days ago, actually in the hosiery section of our local department store, she starts asking Tyler about Asgard. Tyler, that is we, don’t really know much so there was no harm done really…”
“Perhaps you would care to define “really”?”
“Well,” I say swallowing loudly, “in retrospect I think we were fine until she started asking about Amalia. That is, coincidentally, also when we contravened the whole “no fights between zombies and vampires” thing. Haha. Oops.”
Oh snaps! The suspense! It is all looping back! So. Mmm. In unrelated news I recently finished a YA book from the library that smelled of smoke. The entire time I was sniffing it, as you do, wondering why and how you would smoke a pipe next to a book. Coincidence of coincidence! Or perhaps not. The book, I cannot tell you it’s name in order to avoid spoilers you understand, ends with a forest fire of smokey awesomeness! My current theory is that the publisher sprayed all the print with some stuff for effect. Awesomeee.