"I fucking hate you guys, you know that?" I said to them.
Riley grinned sheepishly. "Sorry," he said. Darran joined in with his stupid grin.
"Well, it's a bit late now, isn't it? It's not like what I was doing was important, no. Of course not. It's not like it's the only thing that keeps our entire species alive, no way."
I stood up and walked back to the kitchen. I sat on top of the counter and the others sat opposite me.
"So have you two grown up yet?" I asked them.
"Ace, you say that as if it's ever going to happen," Riley replied.
"Nas will be at council tomorrow, won't she?" Darran asked, staring at me.
"Yes, Darran, as always, Nasya will be there," I said, knowing where he was going with it.
"Does Zoe know?" he asked.
"If your referring to my relationship with Nas, then yes she does. She's fine with it because she, unlike you two, believe me when I say that Nasya and I are in no way, shape or form in a relationship."
"Yes, but Zoe didn't know you then, did she?"
"Fuck's sake, Darran, I'm not going to do anything with Nas!"
"Well, it's a good job really, seeing as Zoe loves you," Darran said simply, as if it were nothing.
"What?" I asked.
"She loves you. She told me before she went to look for you yesterday."
Nobody knew what to say after that. Silence descended. It wasn't usually awkward between the three of us because we'd known each other for so long, but Darran had managed it with that statement.
"So..." Riley trailed before actually thinking of something to say. "What are the arrangements for tomorrow then?"
"Well," I said, "you'll have to take us and as soon as we get there, I need to go to some stupid meeting with the other coven leaders. After that, there's some sort of ceremony thing that I'll have to go to as well. While I'm there, you two will need to watch Zoe. She may be a vampire but she's not like the others. I also won't let them Induct her."
"Well, that's reasonable," Riley said.
"You know, Ace," said Darran, "it's a good job that a shit-load of people are scared of you because if they weren't, we wouldn't get away with half the crap we do."
"What, like accidentally notifying the American military of our existence?"
"You're probably right."
"I am right."
"Darran, you're always right," Riley commented.
"Guys, back to business," I said to them, getting their attention again. "Keep Zoe away from the alchemy labs, the dragon caves, the underground mines, the smith's, the stables, the forest, the lake especially."
"So basically keep her in one place and never let her out of our sights," Riley responded.
I nodded. "Basically yeah. If you think you can protect her from everything else that lives there, take her, by all means."
"On our own heads be it," Darran commented.
"I'm going out, are either of you coming?" Riley asked, hopping down off the worktop.
I shook my head but Darran went with him. As the door closed, the house fell silent. I closed my eyes, thinking about all the sounds that had ever been in the house. It was usually screaming. Lots of screaming. Sobbing and shouting were part of an everyday routine.
I looked around the kitchen and remembered what had happened to me in here when I was younger. I touched the scar from that day. The sound of the glass beer bottle shattering on the floor reverberated through my mind. I looked at the floor and wondered how much alcohol, blood and tears had fallen onto it.