Chapter 8Mature

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Winter solstice
October, 17th

 Once I'd demonstrated to Keith that I could sprint-hobble across the road while drawing a gun he agreed to take me to fulfill my important business affairs. So out of breath I hobbled in to the car and we flew off to my meeting a couple of days late.  

“This is it?” Keith asked parking the car outside a scrubby looking café, the name Coffee Bean barely visible past the red painted symbols, on the brick wall, that kept demons at bay. 

“What’d you expected a dark smoke filled basement?” I asked.

“Something like that.”

I climbed out of the car and we walked to the café, past the young broody, panhandlers smoking outside.

"He's over there." I nodded to corner booth to my right before hobbling off in that direction.

Sitting in the booth was a raggedy looking man in a paint splattered plaid shirt keeping company with a cappuccino.

“Rick.” I said taking the seat across from him.

He looked up from a napkin from which he’d been doodling.

"You're late, I was already writing your obituary." He said.

I glanced down as his doodle, of an intricate flower.

"I love the beginning." I tensed.

"Always great to see you Kate." He said.

"actually it's Millie right now."

Rick laughed.

"You're having too much fun with that whole anonymous bit."

I shrugged.

He glanced over to Keith who was standing at attention behind me. He looked pretty impressive in his trench coat and sunglasses. I'd made him put on the glasses to hide his supernatural eyes. No one else would buy the whole angel thing. They'd actually run him through.

"Whose this?" Rick asked.

"My body guard." I said, though as I said it I realized just how un-bodygaurd like Keith looked.

He was tall and lean, sure he had some pretty nice muscle that might aid in rock climbing or--juggling but not demon slaying.

"What does he protect against?" Rick asked hiding an laugh.

"He's very agile and good with a sword, you'd be surprised." I said defensively.

"Hmm." Rick turned to Keith.

"What's with the shades, the sun light hurting your eyes?" He asked.

Of course there was no sun light under the layers of demons and spirit blackening the sky. And even if there was it wouldn't be present in this dimly lit cafe. Rick wasn't stupid nor was he polite. The glasses had been a bit of a stretch.

Keith tossed me a look somewhat hindered by his glasses but I got the jist of it.What now, genius?

"doesn't he talk?" Rick asked. "what's up with his eyes?"

I cringed, Rick was uber paranoid.

"It's okay Keith I trust him." I said.

Keith looked at Rick.

"You trust him?"

I nodded.

"Yeah she trusts me." Rick echoed.

"Then what am I doing here?" Keith asked easily relaxing in his stance. "I'll be at the counter, call me when you're leaving." Keith said turning and walking to the counter, he raised his hand to his face pretending to remove his glasses but didn't. Once he was far enough away I saw him drop his hand.

"Some body guard."

"So Rick," I began.

"You really need a bodyguard?" Rick asked.

"Yeah." I said shaking my crutch at him.

He laughed.

"Right."

"I need your help." I said.

"No really. I thought this was a date." He tensed.

In his former life, the time before the apocalypse, Rick had been an oil painter just another starving artist in New York. Titanic had found him at a street sale when she’d gone to sell some paintings of her own. He’s bread winning job had been has an electrician.

Now he was even more of a starving artist but for other reasons. His artistic skills of precision and design had gained him the job as a symbol artist. And that was an endangered position, work was scarce and demons were always on the hunt for these guys. He’s bread winning job was still as an electrician.

However, Titanic and I used him for other things, he had connections that could get you just about anything if you had enough money or leverage.

"Here." I said pulling out my cell phone.  "I have a message I need you to trace."

I tossed him the phone.

He played the message.

The End

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