She stopped in front of a column and started hitting her head against it. Behind her, Abigail had a firm grip on Khait’s arm. They’d already lost him in the airport six times. He kept wandering off to look at things, or simply stopping to stare while they continued walking. Fortunately, as they’d disembarked at a different time than the rest of their team, they’d managed to avoid him being noticed. “Alright.” She turned toward Abigail. “What do we —”
“There are more of those moving stairs.” Khait pointed, a huge grin on his face. “Can I ride them?”
“You set a TSA agent on fire!” She glared at him.
“You told me to.”
“I most certainly did not.” She frowned, then looked at Abigail who was sighing. “Did I?”
“The line was slow and you wished someone would light a fire under them.” Abigal gave a small shake of her head. “You’ve really got to eliminate the words ‘I wish’ from your vocabulary.”
“Ugh.” She pointed at Khait. “That fiasco with the baggage claim was all him.”
“She has a point there.” Abigail shrugged as she looked at Khait. “Was making things fly off the conveyor belt really necessary?”
“You seemed in a hurry. I was trying to help.” Khait gave Abigail an innocent, wide-eyed look.
“The thing with the bathrooms?” Bridget folded her arms.
“Which thing are you refere —”
“The fact that there was more than one proves my point.” She uncrossed her arms and jabbed a finger into his chest. “And the thing with the cop? Not okay.”
“What is a cop?” Khait blinked.
“The guy you made piss hims—” Abigail sighed. “The second guy you made piss himself? Law enforcement.”
“You were concerned about the professor. I was attempting to assist by creating a distraction.” Khait shrugged. “Everyone else was highly amused.”
“He’s got a point there, Bridge.” Abigail snickered. When Bridget glared, Abigail rolled her eyes. “Come on, that cop was totally being an ass.”
“I…” Bridget started to raise her hand, then sighed. “Okay, that one you are forgiven for. The rest though?” She poked Khait again. “Not okay.” She took a deep breath. “I wish you wouldn’t use magic without my permission or Abigail’s, and you may not whammy Abigail to get her permission.”
Khait started to nod, then frowned. “So, if bulls were about to trample someone, I shouldn’t —”
“Or if you are saving someone’s life, but I wish you’d be discreet about it.” She glanced at Abigail. “Better?”
“Yes.” Abigail nodded.
“What is whammy?” Khait tilted his head.
“Argh.” She started walking, then stopped in her tracks. A horrified thought had just come to her. “Abigail…”
“I have a studio apartment.”
Abigail opened the door to the guest bedroom. “Okay, you can sleep in here.” She looked around, and didn’t see him. “Khait?” She walked out of the hall to find him staring at the refrigerator with rapt fascination. “Khait?”
He opened the door of the freezer, stuck his hand in it, grinned like a child, then closed the door before repeating the action. He did it twice more before turning to her and pointing. “You are sorceress?”
“No.” She chuckled. “It’s electricity. Check this out.” She walked over to the stove and turned the burner. He jumped back a foot when the gas lit. “I mean, it’s not as cool as setting a TSA agent’s underwear on fire while he’s wearing them, but it helps with making breakfast.” She turned it off. “Oh, come here.” She caught his arm and pulled him into the living room. Then she shoved the remote into his hand. “Press the down on the red circle.”
Khait obeyed, then his eyes went wide when the television came on. He touched the button a few more times, turning it off and on again. “The pictures move like in your magic pocket thing.” He turned the remote over in his hands. “This is a wand?”
“We call it a remote.” She chuckled, then grinned. “Oh, you’re gonna love this.” She dragged him outside to the jacuzzi her dad had bought her. He gave her an odd look when she pulled the top off. “Put your hand in.”
Slowly, he obeyed, sticking his hand into the water. She waited a moment, then turned it on. He actually yelped when the jets started, yanking his hand out as though afraid it would boil. She laughed, then put her hand in. He started to move as though he intended to stop her, then just stared. “It is…” He slowly put his hand back in. “Cauldron?”
“It does get hot.” She nodded. “Like a hot bath though, not to boil anyone.”
“Hot bath without slaves?” He blinked. “Are you a queen?”
“Yeah.” She nodded. “Let’s go with that.”
He touched the triangle shaped button, and the image on the screen changed. Then he did it again. Abigail had told him not to touch the cross shaped button or the one beneath it, but the triangle buttons were alright. He touched it again. The colors of the image changed so that it looked like a drawing moving rather than a painting. Colorful horses and were picking apples. He stared. “Abigail?” He turned toward the room.
She came out a moment later with a small blanket wrapped around her. She’d wrapped a cloth like a turban over her hair, and was wet. “What’s wrong?”
“Where is this?” He pointed.
“Oh.” She laughed. “Oh, okay, that’s just a cartoon.”
“Okay, first off, almost everything you see here on the screen?” She sat down. “It’s just a story. Like a book, only with moving pictures. This one is for kids.”
“Ah.” He slowly nodded, then shrugged. “I was worried.”
“What had happened to the unicorns.” He shook his head, then glanced back at the screen. “They are normally much more dignified.”
Abigail made a squealing sound, then grabbed his arm and yanked him around to face her again. “Unicorns are real?”
“Yes.” He nodded, then hesitated a moment before shrugging. “They may all be gone now. The fey were going back to the old and hidden places.”
“They…” She looked down. “Why?”
“They were being hunted. The humans they’d befriended were being killed for…” He frowned. “You do not know of the inquisition?”
“Yeah, I mean, I know of it, but…” She exhaled. “Okay, let me get dressed.”
“Why?” He grinned at her.
“Because…” She laughed. “Because I don’t really think it’s a good idea to be naked around you?”
“I could also be naked?” His grin widened.
“Yeah, that makes it even less safe.”
She pulled on her least sexy pajamas. Then she put her bathrobe on over that. This was a really, really bad idea. Abigail stared at herself in the mirror, then sighed. A really bad idea. Then she turned and went back to the living room. The television was still on, but he was playing with the dimmer switch on the light, turning it bright and then dim again. She laughed. “Man can teleport himself onto an airplane, but he’s fascinated by a light switch.”
“You control fire, bend it to your will. Dominate and tame it so that it serves you with the slightest flick of a finger. The ultimate master of your environment…” He turned to face her. “How can I not be fascinated?”
“Okay…” She exhaled at his eyes met hers. “I think you’re maybe doing the whammy thing again.”
“What is whammy?” He tilted his head.
“It’s when you use your…” She shrugged. “Power to uh…” She swallowed. “Induce an emotional response.”
“Oh.” He laughed. “I am not doing that now.”
“Oh.” She took a deep breath. “Alright then.”
“What you are feeling now is simply your own desire.” He turned the light down halfway.
“You can sense my desire?” This was getting into very dangerous territory.
“I am an incubus.” He nodded. “I sense your desire. Your craving. Your fantasy. What you desire of yourself, and what you desire of me. The little wishes you have with each of your lovers that you’ve never been able to bring yourself to speak aloud.”
“Because you are…” She wrapped the bathrobe tighter around herself. “Because you are an incubus.” She exhaled. “You’re saying you can read my mind.”
“Not all of it.” He smiled at her. “Just the part of it that wants me.”
“I…” She started to protest, then frowned. Then she folded her arms and stared at him. “Show me.”
Immediately, he dropped to his knees, his head bowed meekly. She heard herself gasp. “She told you to do what I said.”
“Yes, mistress.” His voice was soft.
“That…” She caught herself. “Okay, what you are doing now, stop it. Get up.”
He gave her a confused look as he rose. “That is what you desired.”
“Yes, I mean…” She fanned her face with a hand. “That is very much what I desired but she told you to do what I tell you and you have to which means you have to do what I tell you whether you want to or not and that’s just not…” She exhaled. “Okay, the spare bedroom is made up and you can watch TV or get some sleep but I’m going to bed now by myself and going to sleep by myself and you’re not going to be in my room you’re going to be in the spare bedroom in which I will not be going because…” She made a small squeaking sound and fled the room.
“How was the —”
“He can’t stay at my place.” Abigail was shaking her head before Bridget even got the words out.
“You can move into my house and I’ll move into your apartment or you can just move in with me and I’ll turn the den back into a bedroom but…” She gave Bridget a frantic look. “I cannot be alone with him.”
“He didn’t —” She felt fury starting to rise.
“He didn’t do a damn thing other than be…” Abigail exhaled. “Bridget, he’s a damn sex god and it’s like he’s read every single sexual fantasy I’ve ever had and…” She gave Bridget a pleading look. “If you leave me alone with him I’m going to jump his bones.”
“Khait?” She stalked into the next room. “Did you whammy Abigail again?”
“No.” He was making toast. A lot of toast. A rather incredible amount of toast. He loaded yet more bread into the toaster, pressed the lever, then peered into the toaster with an almost childlike glee to watch the bread being toasted.
“Abigail…” She looked over her shoulder. “Why do you have nine loaves of bread?”
“I had two.” Abigail followed her into the kitchen. “I told him he could make toast for…” She trailed off as she looked around. “Khait, where did you get all this bread?”
“The other houses.” He beamed as the toast popped up, then quickly put it onto a plate so he could put new bread in the toaster.
“I told you not to use magic.” She found herself wishing for the umbrella again.
“Abigail said I could make as much toast as I wanted.” Khait pointed at Abigail.
“I…” Abigail opened her mouth. “I meant as much as you wanted to eat.”
“Oh.” He looked at the stacks of toast. “This is more than I wanted to eat.”
“Do you even need to eat?” Bridget blinked.
“Well…” Khait shrugged and appeared to be considering the question. “Yes?” He raised an eyebrow.
“How can you be uncertain?” Bridget stared at him.
“I have not had sex for over five hundred years. I may require another form of sustenance.” He shrugged. “Especially if I am to grant your wishes.”
“You get your energy…” Bridget took several deep breaths. “From sex?”
“I am an incubus.” He nodded.
“Bridget…” Abigail’s voice was barely more than a whimper.
“Eat.” Bridget shoved a plate of toast toward him. “The toast.”
He wrinkled his nose at the red substance, then tossed that piece of bread into the trash can and moved to the next option. The yellow stuff did in fact smell like mustard, though it claimed to be a French variety. He took a bite, then spat it back out. It didn’t taste anything like French or mustard. He tossed that bread into the trash, then moved to the next. The white substance made him grin.
“Why are you spreading marshmallow creme on your toast?” Bridget entered.
“Abigail suggested I try putting something on the toast, and pointed at the shelf in the cold box before fleeing in the direction of the bathing room.” He took another bite. “I decided trying the different ones may be preferable to disturbing her ablutions.”
“Yeah, she really needed a cold shower.” Bridget sighed, then pointed at two jars. “Pretty sure she meant the jam. Strawberry or grape.”
“I like this one.” He finished the toast. “It is very sweet.” He pointed at another jar. “I did not like that one.”
“Yeah.” Bridget sighed. “That’s cause that one isn’t food, it’s a skin treatment. And I’m pretty sure the…” She raised an eyebrow. “Can you be poisoned?”
“I am immortal.” He shrugged.
“Good, cause the main ingredient is petroleum jelly.” She exhaled. “Khait, what did you do to Abbey?”
“She has a fantasy. I offered to fulfill it.” He set the toast down. “She was initially receptive, then suddenly that changed and she insisted I not be in the same room with her until you came by again.” He looked down at the array of food items, then back up at Bridget. “She noted that the binding makes me incapable of refusing her.”
“Oh.” Bridget blinked. “Shit.” She started to open her mouth, then closed it again. Then she repeated the action. He was started to feel a little bit hopeful when she sighed and started shaking her head. “Except you’re five hundred years behind the times. I can’t just turn you lose and leave you on your own.”
“I am immortal.” He smiled at her.
“You’re not the only one I’m worried about.” She exhaled. “You threw a man off an airplane and lit another man on fire.”
“I see.” Khait nodded. “You disapprove of these actions?”
“You lit a man…” She stared at him. “On fire.”
“So, I must prove myself to you before I can earn my freedom?” He raised an eyebrow.
“Well, that’s uh…” She nodded. “One way to put it, yes.” She looked at the counter. “You can start by cleaning this —” She went silent as the mess vanished. Then she walked over and opened the refrigerator to see the items back in their proper places. “Okay.” She smiled. “That’s a start.” She pointed at him. “And stop filching things.”
“Yes…” He bowed. “Mistress.” He smiled.