"Ace!" I heard Riley shouting. He turned the corner and stopped dead at the sight of Sophie. "Shit, I've gone mental."
"Hi, Riley," Sophie smiled.
"I'm going insane," he said.
"It's a long story," she said.
"Then I don't care particularly much."
Sophie laughed. "You've not changed."
"I see I can still make you laugh." Sophie blushed. "Anyway, Ace, Zev said Nasya wanted to talk to you."
"I'll talk to you later, Ace," said Sophie, giving me a hug. "See you later, Riley."
"Bye," he said, smiling.
Zoe and I walked towards Riley and he joined us as we carried on.
"It'd be nice if you'd stop flirting with my sister," I said to him.
"Just like old times then, eh? You'd tell me not to flirt with her, I'd ignore you; you'd tell me not to kiss her, I'd ignore you. You told me not to do a lot of things with her that I just ignored."
"Thanks for that lovely picture you've put in my head," I replied sarcastically.
"Don't worry, we never."
"What do you mean?" Zoe asked.
"Sophie and I went out for a while," Riley told her.
"But... how old was she?"
"She was nineteen," I said, "when we were fourteen. It was the most disturbing six months of my entire life."
"She was five years older?" Zoe asked.
"So? Ace is eighteen years older than you are," Riley pointed out.
"That's different," she said, blushing slightly.
"Let's not have this discussion now," I said, stopping what I could see was becoming an argument. "It'll go nowhere."
Neither of them said anything after that.
When we were back at Nas's, I let myself in.
"Nas?" I said loudly.
"Give me a second!" she replied, from her room.
She came out a moment later, holding up two outfits, and dressed in nothing but her underwear. I raised an eyebrow and she rolled her eyes. It always shocked me how carefree she was about people seeing her half-naked.
"Which one?" she asked.
"You're going out, after what happened?" I asked.
"Well, I don't intend to sit here while there's alcohol to be had. Plus, I don't want to show Cameron that I'm scared. He needs to see it hasn't affected me. So, which one?"
One of them was a very short silk dress of a dark blue colour. The other was, effectively, just a corset.
"You're asking me for fashion advice? Have you learnt nothing during all the time you've known me?"
"Obviously not. Zoe? What do you think?"
"Um, the blue one?" she said, unsure.
Nas nodded and went back into her room to put it on. Riley sat down on one of the couches. I pulled Zoe with me to join him.
"Ace, we have less than an hour until we need to be at that meeting," Nas said from her room.
"Oh, fuck," I murmured.
"Did you forget?"
"No..." I lied.
"Are you actually going to come? Bear in mind that if you say no, Mother would pounce on you like a leopard."
"But your mum is a crazy priestess."
Nas laughed. "True, true. But are you coming?"
"Yeah, I guess. And to this ceremony."
"Oh, won't that be fun?" she said sarcastically.
"Nas, you love rituals, don't pretend you hate them."
The door opened and she stepped out. The blue dress hugged her hips, showing off her curves. She had stiletto heels of the same shade of blue that lifted her up at least five inches. Her black hair fell in waves down her back, her snake a similar colour to her dress.
"You know me too well," she said. "What are we having tonight? Please tell me it's a blood ritual."
"I'm assuming it is."