Book 2, Chapter 54

Since Rachel didn’t really have more preparing to do, she grabbed her book and went to the living room to read a little.  Freckles was waiting outside her bedroom door.

"Mow?" he asked in shock when she came out.

"That’s right," Rachel told him.  She tousled his ears affectionately.  "Mommy has a date.  I bet you don’t remember the last time that happened, huh?"

Freckles mowed again and Rachel walked over to the couch.  She dropped her book on the end table and frowned.  "Honestly, I’m having second thoughts myself," she told Freckles.  "I mean… it feels like something weird is going on."  She frowned and started to pace.

"Mrow?" Freckles asked nervously.  He had the right sort of eyes, and for him Rachel’s aura was whipping about fiercely: well outside the wards that were supposed to constrain it.

"Ever since I moved," Rachel continued, "Something has been off.  At first I thought I was just imagining things.  Then I thought it was just my coworkers being exceptionally weird… but now?  I can’t shake the feeling that…."  She stopped and frowned fiercely.

"Well, that’s just it," Rachel said.  "I keep getting these knee jerk reactions to people.  And sure, I’ve had them before – but I can count the number of times on one hand.  Now it’s every time I see someone…."

She started walking again, frowning to herself.  "It really is everyone, too," she finally said.  "I know I can depend on Ean if I really need to.  And I know Doom and Fred are sleazy egomaniacs that can’t be trusted at all."  She snorted.  "But I can’t trust that ‘knowledge’ even if I can’t help but feel that way.  I mean:  I also feel like you’re hiding something major from me, and you’re just a cat.  Or, when I saw Ean kissing that girl…  It felt like I’d caught my best friend and my boyfriend making out, but I’ve never seen her before in my life."

Rachel grimaced.  "I’m being paranoid," she said, and she turned toward the door.  "Screw it, it’s not like I have his number to call it off.  I’m just going to go now," she said and claimed her purse.  "Be good, Freckles.  I’ll be back later."  She snorted as she stepped out of the apartment.  "Well, I will be as long as that guy from the theater isn’t actually plotting some horrific malice against me," she added with a forced laugh – and closed the door.

"Oh shit," Freckles said.  "Shit shit shit shit shit!"  He ran up to the door.  "Rachel?  Rachel?!  Those feeling aren’t wrong!  Stay away from that guy, whoever he is!  Rachel?!"

But Rachel was already on her way down the stairs, and if she heard anything she just wrote it off as her overactive imagination.

Et Alia, Book 2: Black Magic, Secret Agents, Shakespearean Tragedies and Interoffice Dating

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