Adam sat on the bus stop bench, a few doors down from the detective’s house. He’d retrieved his clothes after the older man, Ted, had set his cat form outside the door. His cell phone showed a couple text messages. He’d texted back that he was still watching, even though it was a lie.
The young man who’d held him had been Sima’s pet, the one she talked about fondly and claimed had been stolen from her. The sound of her name had been trauma enough to send him hiding under the bed. If Sima had her way, that’s all he’d be.
At dinner, Wren had smiled. She’d laughed and joked, and she’d been his Wren again for a couple precious hours. Trauma affected different people in different ways. He couldn’t just abandon her, not when she’d refused to leave him to the mercy of the hag. She had kept her word, and gotten them both out and…
He looked down at his hands, then stood. He’d taken two steps back toward the house when the phone rang. His hands shook, but he managed to keep his voice calm when he answered. “Wren?”
“Mi corazon…” Wren’s voice suddenly trailed off. “No, that’s Spanish. What’s it in French again?”
“Mon coeur.” He smiled.
“Ugh, for a romance language that just doesn’t work. What about German?”
“No, that’s worse.”
“It’s fy nghalon in Welsh.”
“I bet you a blow job you can’t say that three times without choking.”
“Fy nghalon. Fy nghalon. Fy nghalon.” He smiled.
“Be honest.” Wren laughed. “You shape-shifted your tongue for that.”
“Mitt hjärta. Mogo wangu. Mijn hart. Cor meum.”
“How the hell are you even doing that?”
“I have google translate on my phone.” He smiled. “It’s toku ngakau in Maori.”
“Anyway…” He could almost see her rolling her eyes. “I was calling to see if you’d seen anything yet.”
“I was just about to call you. Had to sneak back to my phone.” A thousand options ran through his head. “They got back. Sounds like them running across you and Rosa was a complete accident.” He hesitated. “They apparently made some silver bullets just in case it happens again. Wren, I’m not sure this is a good use of our time.” He crossed his fingers.
She sighed. “Maybe you’re right. Alright, check in with your team and see if they learned anything else.” She was quiet again for a couple seconds. “Hey, there is a little cafe called ‘Spice of Life’ there on the boardwalk. Why don’t you meet me there and we can peek in at some of the galleries?”
“I’d love to.” He smiled.
“It’s a date.” She hung up.
For a long moment, he just stared at the phone in his hand. Then he looked back up at the house. Technically, nothing he’d said had actually been untruthful. That should get it past Sima, and from the sound of things the people in the house didn’t need much longer to… He realized his hands were shaking, and he stuffed the phone back into his pocket before turning and walking away.