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Black Magic Sanction


Black Magic Sanction: Page 12


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She needed some help. A place to stay. Glenn is putting her up until she finds her feet."

Jenks was silent as he looked at the car's ceiling, so I turned to Ivy - waiting.

"It's not any different from you foisting Ceri off on Keasley," she muttered. "I couldn't bring her to the church. Glenn is helping her out is all."

"Helping her right out of her clothes, I bet," Jenks said loudly, then darted to my shoulder when Ivy flicked her finger at him.

"She is not having sex with Glenn," Ivy continued. "I'd know."

"Yeah, you'd know because you're dating him," Jenks said. "Did you give him the dating guide yet?"

"Jenks!" she said, dismayed now, and he darted away from her snatch for him.

"How about kissing him? Did you at least kiss him yet?" he asked, laughing.

A low noise came from Ivy, almost a growl, and she seemed to melt into the cars darkness.
My breath slipped out, and I put my blinker on to get in the lane for the bridge traffic; someone would let me in. Yeah, she'd kissed him - within an inch of his life, I bet.

I curled in my lower lip and glanced at Jenks. The pixy gestured for me to go for it, and I did. "Have you bitten him?" I asked, needing to know. He was my friend, too.

Ivy said nothing, and Jenks hummed his wings. "Did'ja?" he needled. "Did he?"

Still she said nothing, telling me she had, and I wondered if this might be a big mistake or one of the best things in Ivy's life. Glenn was nothing if not solid. "He doesn't want to go vamp, does he?" I asked, half joking but afraid of her answer. I was the last person to advocate shunning vampires as friends, but if you didn't know what you were doing, or the vampire was a real predator, you were in trouble. Glenn and Ivy were all of the above.

"No."

She was down to one-word answers, but she was still talking. Jenks's relieved expression told me it was more than she'd told him - which made me feel good. "Good," I said, careful to keep my eyes on the passing traffic to give her some privacy. "I like him the way he is."

"You'd like him more as a vampire. I can tell. I've seen it before." She sounded wistful, and I looked across the dark car at her, trying to hide my alarm.

"Ivy..."

"He doesn't want to go vamp," she said, flicking her eyes at me and then away. "That's one of the things I like about him."

Jenks winced, wings flat against his back. He knew as well as I that what you wanted didn't mean crap if the vampire you were with wanted something else. She was alive, so she couldn't turn him - only dead vampires could do that - but she could bind him, make him a shadow. Not that she would mean to, but accidents happened in the throes of passion. Hell, I roomed with her, and that was hard enough. Adding sex or blood to the mix could be deadly, which was why I'd finally made our relationship strictly platonic - that it had taken almost two years of confusing emotions and two bites between us to do it was beside the point.

I darted a nervous look at Jenks. "And he's okay with you going somewhere else for blood?" I asked hesitantly. Ivy never talked to me about her boyfriends. Her girlfriends either.

Gazing out the window at the night, Ivy said softly, "Who said I was?"

"No fairy-assed way!" Jenks exclaimed, and I gave him a look telling him to shut up.

Turning to us, she shrugged in embarrassment. "I told you I didn't need much. It's the act, not the amount. I'm not going to make him a shadow. Piscary taught me to be careful, if nothing else." Her eyebrows were raised in challenge as a flush colored her usually pale face. "Jealous?" she asked as she took in my alarmed expression.

Oh. My. God. "No, I think it's great," I finally stammered. Ivy and I had a... balanced relationship. Adding blood to it, no matter how right it felt, would destroy exactly what we admired most in each other. Her dating Glenn was a very good thing. I think.

"Urn, you won't say anything to his dad, will you?" she asked. "Glenn wants to tell him. He's not embarrassed as much as not wanting to - "

"To deal with Edden telling him it's a bad idea to date your coworkers," I finished for her before she could even think to bring up the dangers of dating a vampire, even a living one.

Ivy pointed to a break I could slip into, and I hit the gas, eager to be moving again. "I'm being smart about this," she said as the car swung and we shifted from the momentum.

"I won't say anything unless Edden asks me first." Ivy and Glenn? Am I that blind, or was I just not looking for it? The bridge was ahead, and beyond that, the lights of the Hollows.

"Thank you," she said, her entire posture easing as she settled into the seat. "Glenn... I wasn't expecting this. He's not after my blood, and we like the same stuff."

From the rearview mirror, Jenks snickered. "Guns, violence, crime scene photos, leather, sex, and women. Yeah, I can see that."

"I think it's good," I said again, hoping he'd shut up, but it was pretty nearly the same list that had brought Ivy and me together.

Jenks laughed. "Has he let you hold his gun yet?"

I smiled as Ivy stiffened.

"The man has a big gun," the pixy continued, his words innocent, but his tone full of innuendo. "It's got shiny bullets. You like shiny, don't you, Ivy? I bet Daryl has seen his gun."

"God, Jenks! Grow up!" she exclaimed, and the pixy snorted.

We inched forward another car length, and Ivy swung her hair away from her face, the oncoming traffic lighting it. "You're okay with this?" she asked, as if she needed my approval, not because we'd almost been more than roommates, but because we had both loved Kisten and he was dead. I nodded, and she relaxed. My shoulders slumped at the reminder of his bright blue eyes, his lips curving up in a smile I'd never see again.

"Nice," Jenks said from the mirror. "Now she's thinking about Kisten. Way to go, Ivy."

I shrugged, eyes on the road. "And that's okay," I said, comfortable with the ache.

Ivy was silent as we moved forward and stopped, moved forward and stopped, lost in her own thoughts, probably tinged with guilt. I'd already had my rebound relationship. Solid, dependable, fun Marshal, who could scuba dive and roller-skate. It could have been a really great friendship, seeing that he liked complex relationships and I was nothing if not that, but then I got shunned and he left. I didn't blame him. I'd actually seen him a few weeks ago at the Old Newport Theater with a woman who had red hair longer than mine. He hadn't even waved, just looked at me and walked away with his arm around her waist.

A space opened before me, and I hit the accelerator as my lane started to move. I picked up speed, turning onto the bridge and bumping over the bad pavement. As I had expected, traffic eased, and I let up on my death grip on the wheel. Ahead of us, the Hollows was beautiful with light, and I sneezed, jerking unexpectedly. "Bless you," Ivy said and Jenks chuckled.

"That's funny," he said. "A vampire blessing."

I would have agreed with him, but my gut cramped up, stopping my words. "Ow," I said, putting a hand to my middle. Ivy turned to me. "You okay? You look green."

"I feel green." Twisting, I took a quick look behind me to see if I could shift into the exit lane. "My gut cramped up is all. I'm fine." But I wasn't. I was dizzy, too. It was almost like the time - Shocked, I looked at Jenks. He was looking at me with the same horrified expression. Crap. It was after sunset. Someone was summoning Al, and since I had his summoning name, they were going to get me instead.

"Rachel?" Ivy questioned, clueless.

No! I thought, scared. I wasn't a demon. I could not be summoned like this!

But I'd been summoned before by black-arts witches trying for Al, and this was exactly what it had felt like.

My breath hissed in as another wave of pain hit me. A horn blew behind us, and I yanked the car back into my lane. "No," I panted through my teeth. "I won't go. You can't make me."

"She's being summoned!" Jenks shrilled, and Ivy's face, now close to mine, became terrified. "Ivy, she's being summoned!"

"Pull over!" Ivy exclaimed. "Rachel, stop the car!"

I couldn't think, it hurt that bad. My hands gripped the wheel and I seized, the engine racing until I jerked my foot off the gas. The car lurched, and my head hit the wheel. Tears pricked, and I held my breath, trying to make the world stop spinning. Damn it, I should have insisted that Al give me my password back. But as long as I had his, he couldn't abduct anyone.

"Ivy! Do something!" Jenks yelled as another pain ripped through me. I let go of the wheel to clutch my middle. Ivy grabbed the wheel as the car swerved. Vampiric incense rolled over me, and the car jerked as it hit the curb and swung back.

My head hit the wheel again, and a horn blew. "Ow," I moaned, trying to open my eyes. I could smell ashes. I wouldn't go. I was not a demon!

Vertigo hit, and I reached out, grasping anything as the ground was jerked from me, hands digging into the door, the seat..

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