“Thank you for your help Dr. Pace,” Del said as the healer departed from Del and Badrah’s house.
“You see, this is the reason I need to increase my reaction speed,” Rain said, stretching out her arms, her healing having just been completed. “I’m really getting tired of needing a healer.”
“Don’t worry Caramel,” Sammy said, sitting down next to Raina and putting his arm around her shoulder. “I’m sure me and the boys could help you with that. Certainly more than some old man.”
“The way I remember it, that old man shot Casey and made the rest of you piss your pants in fright.”
“Hey, I didn’t piss myself. Whether or not I shit myself is a whole other story.”
“You are so gross,” Raina said, leaning in to make out with Sammy.
“Are they married?” Badrah asked me with a sound of disapproval in her voice.
“No,” I answered, not really understanding why she’d ask that. “They’re kids.”
Sammy and I had never really hung out, but Raina seemed to really care about him. So as soon as we arrived at Del and Badrah’s house, I called him and let him know what was going on. The fact that he came rushing over immediately proved he was worthy of Raina.
“So you guys seriously fought a demon?” Sammy asked, the question directed at Raina.
“”Fought” isn’t really the word I’d use,” Raina said. “It was more like we tried not to die.”
“No kidding,” I said. “Our enemies just keep getting tougher.”
“Again, we are very sorry about all of this,” Del said, walking over to the rest of us from the front door.”
Del and Badrah’s house was really nice. It wasn’t overly fancy like Raina’s place, but it was super colorful in every room. It was like I was inside a rainbow. There were also a bunch of curtains and pillows all over the place.
The kid who’d unleashed the demon was still asleep upstairs, so while we waited, I figured it was worth trying to make friends with Del and Badrah.
“So how did you two meet?,” I asked them.
Del grabbed Badrah and pulled her in for a brief kiss, after which he put his arm around her waist and began answering my question.
“I was 23 I believe, I’d just gotten my doctorate in genetics, and my favorite teacher, Dr. Gerbe, had lined me up with a job at Saxon Dynamics.”
“But, while a taxi was taking him to work, I called it over,” Badrah said, continuing the story. “We started talking and found that we had a lot in common.”
“So I asked her for her number, took her out to dinner, and since we had such a good time, we decided to introduce each other to our parents.”
The buttery smoothness of the transitions between when one of them stopped talking and the other one started made it clear that these Del and Badrah had a lot of experience telling this story.
“I was still in school,” Badrah continued, “But my parents liked Del so much that they pushed me to continue seeing him.”
“And after a few months, we realized we truly were in love, so we got married.”
“Aww,” I said. “That’s so sweet.”
Del went in for another kiss, but Badrah gently pushed him back.
“Hey Ray, if we got married one day, what do you think our story would sound like?” Sammy asked Raina with the clear intention of wanting to do a bit.
“I dunno,” Raina responded playfully. “Maybe something like,” as she went on, she did her best, though still pretty funny, impression of Sammy. “He attacked me called me a horrible person, but after being attacked by a possible demon, we decided to start going out. Violence: It brings people together.”
The two laughed for a bit before they went in to heavily make out.
Both Del and Badrah were visibly discomforted. Did they just not like other people kissing in their house?
“Hold on,” Badrah said. “You’ve seen demons before tonight.”
Raina and I looked at each other, both of us nodding.
“We’re not sure, but we know that one of Fencer’s enemies isn’t human, so since demons are real, we figure he might be one,” I said.
“We’re hoping the kid you’ve been taking care of knows a way to fight him,” Raina said.
“You really shouldn’t be calling him a kid,” Del said to Raina. “I doubt he’s much younger than you.”
Sammy shifted around in his seat, looking slightly uncomfortable.
“Everything alright, Sam?” Raina asked.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s all good,” Sammy said, standing up. “But uh, Carter, do you think we could talk for a minute? In private?”
“Uh, sure,” I said.
As Sammy and I made our way into Del and Badrah’s kitchen, Raina smacked Sammy’s ass. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d noticed how their kissing upset our current hosts and was just trolling them.
Their kitchen was just as colorful as the rest of their house. There was an enormous spice rack next to the fridge, and the kitchen table was covered by a cloth with a hexagonal pattern.
“So what’s up?” I asked. “Is everything alright?”
Sammy was tapping his foot pretty rapidly.
“I’ve gotta know,” he said. “Were you and Ray ever a thing?”
“Phh,” I laughed hard. “What?! Dude, you know I’m 21, right?”
“Yeah, like that matters to her,” Sammy said sarcastically. “I’m 18, ya dingus.” He paused and put his hands in his pockets. “But really, you two have never dated, banged or nothin? Cause you two seem way closer than most friends.”
He was right. We were closer than friends. Raina was my best friend and I loved her, just not in a romantic way. I like to think that she felt the same way about me.
“You have nothing to worry about Sammy. Raina and I are just friends, always have been, always will be,” I said with a smile, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Wow, you are a total girl,” Sammy mocked, walking to the other side of the kitchen. “Hey, what is thing?” he asked, pointing to a blue stand mixer with his thumb.
“It’s a stand mixer,” I said a bit off balance. “Hey you know you just insulted me, right? At least, I think you did.”
“I call them as I see em. I’m not surprised Raina never hit on you. She likes her men tough!” Sammy exclaimed, flexing his bicep.
He wanted to be a dick all he wanted, but I wasn’t gonna stoop to his level.
“You know the way Raina told the story, your “fight” with Smog consisted of you getting punched through a wall and knocked unconscious,” I said. “Real tough guy.”
Okay, maybe I was gonna go to his level. But hey, even the best of heroes could probably be put in a bad mood. Especially if they’d just gotten their ass kicked by a demon.
“You wanna start something?” Sammy asked getting up in my face.
Then it dawned on me.
“Oh wow, you are seriously jealous of how close Raina and I are,” I said.
“I’ll show you jealous!” he shouted, getting ready to throw a punch.
“Ahhhhhhhhhh!” Raina screamed from the living room.
“Raina!” Sammy and I both shouted, rushing to her.
Raina was down on the carpeted floor, her eyes bulging, and her body shaking.
“You two!” Sammy shouted. “What happened?!”
“I don’t know,” Del answered as I crouched down next to Raina.
“Should I go get Dr. Pace back here?” Badrah asked.
“What’s happening to her Carter?!”
“I don’t know either Sammy,” I said. “Let’s stay calm and try and figure this out.”
Even though I was preaching calmness, I was anything but. At least no one else here knew that electricity materializing around my body meant I was freaking the Hell out.
“Carter’s right,” Del said. “Tell me, did the demon do anything to Raina that it didn’t do to you?”
I took a deep breath and thought hard about the fight we’d been in a couple hours ago. Any detail could be important.
While I was thinking, Sammy asked, “What about the doctor? I think your wife had the right idea.”
Del shook his head.
“Even if Dr. Pace could heal whatever is going on with her, we’d have to explain to him about demons, and I refuse to jeopardize an innocent boy’s future.”
“And an innocent girl could be dying right in front of you!” Sammy shouted.
“Please stop shouting,” Badrah said.
Raina’s head seized up, and she vomited up green slime.
“Come on Carter!” Sammy screamed. “What happened to her?!!!
Come on brain think…
It slashed her.
But it slashed me too.
What happened to her that didn’t to me?
I was hit by the creature’s goo. Raina wasn’t.
My hands were trembling. I had no idea what was going on.
She could be dying and there was nothing I could do.
“Haaaaaaaaaaa!” I screamed as lightning violently came out of my body and blasted Raina.
“What the fuck do you think your doing?!” Sammy asked, furious.
When the lightning stopped, I fell over.
“For what, Snipey?” Raina asked, as if there was nothing wrong, getting up and stretching.
“Ray!” Sammy yelled, wrapping his arms around her.
“Your electrical powers,” Del started. “I don’t know how, but it seems they stopped whatever was happening to her.”
“Ew,” Raina said, as Sammy let go. “What’s with the green goop?”
“I’ll tell you later,” I said standing up. “We’re just glad you’re okay.”
That was the third time today I thought Raina was going to die. I knew things were gonna be dangerous from the start, and even more so when we met Smog, but it was just dawning on me that our lives were pretty much in constant danger.
This was more than I’d bargained for.
“YOU!” a voice I hadn’t heard before shouted.
All five of us turned our attention to the staircase where a young Asian man was descending. He had a jet black mohawk, and wore gray sweats.
“No,” Raina muttered.
“You know this guy, Raina?” I asked.
The young man hopped over the handrail, and with a look of anger on his face, he marched over to us.”
“Well Raina?” he asked. “Do you remember me?” He was quite, but his voice contained pure fury.
Raina bowed her head down and started crying.
“DO YOU?!” The kid asked.
Del and Badrah looked concerned and confused as to what was going on.
“Hey, back off,” Sammy said, pushing the kid back.
“No,” Raina said, wiping away her tears. “It’s okay,” she continued, raising her head, and looking the young man in the eyes.