Book 2, Chapter 106

Ean and Sakura crept into Michael’s ritual chamber unnoticed by its occupants. Sakura, because she’s a freaking master ninja. Ean, because the occupants were too busy with their own conversation to notice anyone failing to be successfully sneaky. In response to my observation, Ean gave me a quick scowl and a subtle middle finger, which he disguised as readjusting his grip on the crowbar he was still carrying.

“So,” the necromancer Michael said while pacing next to his ritual table. “The next date would be what?”

Rachel tugged at her bindings. She didn’t bother with subtlety because Michael didn’t seem to care, or even notice — but then, she was still securely tied to the table, so maybe it didn’t matter. Also, they were now up to their fifth theoretical alternative to murder date. “I don’t know,” Rachel mumbled distractedly. Usually the other person had some suggestions for at least some of the dates. “Do you like to go bowling?”

Michael scowled. He did not like to go bowling — his fingers got stuck in the holes of the ball, last time. Mortifying. But moreover, he didn’t like how the conversation was going in general. “Coffee, lunch at a new restaurant, an early movie, game night at that boardgames store, and now bowling?” He stopped pacing and scowled down at Rachel. “Those are all things you’d just do with friends,” he accused. “There’s no kissing or being invited over for the night or any of that crap in any of those things! You’re just trying to friendzone me!”

Rachel, who’s nerves had been fraying all evening, couldn’t take it. Her fingers curled into fists and she yelled in frustration, which made Michael and Ean both jump back a step — not that anyone noticed Ean except Sakura. No one noticed Sakura.

After venting inarticulately, Rachel blew out a breath and tried again. After all, she had a vested interest in Michael not choosing the alternative to the alternative-to-murder plan. At least until she found a way to get away from him and call the cops.

“For the love of…” Rachel started to say in exasperation — but she caught herself and started over again, more calmly. “I’m demisexual,” she told Michael. “I’m only attracted to people that I have a close emotional investment in.” With every word, a little more emotion leaked into her voice. Mostly anxiety subsumed into anger. “Like, you know, my friends.” Her voice practically dripped with caustic derision at this point. “So if your idea of a relationship is just the kissing, PDA and late night kinky fucking, then getting ‘friendzoned’ is, like, your ticket in.

Michale gawped at Rachel while he tried to process what she’d told him. For her part, she had closed her eyes and was breathing heavily from the stress — mortified that she’d been so bluntly personal with someone she thought of as a deranged, murderous psychopath with the emotional maturity of a spoiled teenager. And the personality of a spoiled ass wipe. And the morality of a murderous psychopath. Right. Because he was a murderous psychopath, and she was trying her damnedest to seduce him — something her relationship history proved she had no fucking idea how to do even with normal people — so he wouldn’t psychopathically murder her.

Rachel was extremely close to breaking down and crying from the stress.

Finally, Michael scowled and stepped back forward. “Demisexual?” He said, just as derisively. “That’s not even a word. Seriously, Rachel, we could’ve had something beautiful. But if you aren’t even going to take it seriously, I’m just going to go ahead with the ritual murder now. Okay?”

Rachel didn’t really reply. She was just doing her best not to sob from fear and stress and mortification and fear.

So Michael shifted awkwardly from one foot to the other for a moment, and then raised his curvy dagger to cut out Rachel’s soul.

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

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