When Emily was far enough away, Danyael burst out laughing unable to keep it in any longer, “Was that what you call flirting?”
“I was hopping you hadn’t seen that,” I said rubbing my forehead in embarrassment. “Did you actually have something to say or did you just call me here to mock me?”
“A bit of both,” he said still laughing. “Let’s stop by my office first, I have a spare that probably fits you,” he said pointing to my stained shirt.
I finished the beer in two quick gulps and followed him to a narrow hallway leading to the back of the building. The music faded away as we approached his office.
He unlocked the door and moved a few boxes out of the way. The small room was a complete mess. Papers were piled carelessly on his desk, trash covered most of the floor and the walls were stained. It could make anyone claustrophobic but Danyael somehow felt right at home.
He threw me one of the black promotional shirts he kept in a box by the large filing cabinet and sat down on the chair behind his desk with a large grin stamped on his face. I knew that face; he had something in mind.
“Whatever it is, my answer’s no,” I said changing into the shirt.
He lifted his hands in submission. “I didn’t say anything,” he said before bursting into another fit of laughter.
The shirt turned out to be too tight. I looked into the box for a larger size and pulled out a thong with the bar’s logo on it. “Really?” I raised an eyebrow at him. “You have too much time on your hands.”
“Hey, the girls go crazy for them. You should give one to Clumsy Girl,” and he laughed once more almost falling backwards in his chair.
I rolled my eyes and changed into a larger shirt. “I guess this will do for now,” I said flattening it. “So, what’s so important?”
“Oh, I wanted to show you the new V.I.P. room. It’s finally done.” He smiled, pleased of himself.
“What?” I said raising my voice. “You dragged me all the way down here just for that? You could have showed me on the weekend, I have work to do.”
“What weekend? You work all the time,” he said with a frown. “You need to get out of the house once in a while,” he added standing up.
“You know I hate coming here,” I said, not amused by any of this.
He playfully punched me on the arm and a low growl escaped my lips. He smiled arrogantly, undisturbed by the scowl on my face.
“I didn’t force you to come, you did that on your own. Now lighten up and follow me,” he said already moving towards the door.
“I’ll lighten you up,” I grumbled under my breath.
He looked at me from over his shoulder and raised an eyebrow. “Is that a challenge?” He said with a small smile.
“Don’t push your luck,” I said meaning it. He had a way of pushing me into situations I would otherwise never get into.
He shook his head and sighed. “Just smile… Please.”
I forced a big smile that made him cringe.
“Close enough,” he said giving up.
We walked back to the bar’s main area and he took the time to greet everyone he crossed on our way to the other side of the dance floor. I stood by silently as he introduced me to random people whose names I didn’t bother to retain.
“Why do you do this?” I projected in his mind. “None of these creatures matter to me.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. A good network of contacts goes a long way,” he projected back with a wink.
We climbed the steps leading to the lounge area located next to the DJ booth and he moved the velvet rope that blocked the way with a proud smile.
The navy blue carpet matched the colour of the walls and lowered ceiling, giving it the look of a luxurious cave. Tables and chairs were dispersed across the room while white sofas were lined up on the back wall with pod lights hidden behind them, bathing the room in an eerie glow.
The lounge was high enough to overlook most of the bar. The chairs were much more comfortable and the music thankfully wasn’t as loud. Danyael sat down at a table near the railing just as Cindy came by to hand us two beers.
I took a sip of the cold liquid and tried to relax, grateful to be away from the crowd. “I have to admit, you did well. It looks great.”
“Thanks. I was going for elegance without being too overwhelming. You know, it’s slowly coming together. With enough work, this place will always be full and you’ll get your money back in no time,” he said turning to face me.
“You don’t have to repay me,” I said looking down towards the dance floor.
“I know,” he said with a faint smile. “Speaking of money, I found these amazing lights online. Placed just right, they would make lines on the floor that look like a vortex. They would look perfect over the… are you even listening?”
“Hmm?” My focus was completely lost to the hypnotizing stream of energy coming from the dancing crowd below us.
I noticed Emily in the middle of the mass. Her eyes were closed as her body waved to the rhythm of the music. She was appealing, but a human none the less.
“You like Clumsy Girl don’t you?” he asked, taking me by surprise.
I shrugged. “I wouldn’t go as far as saying I like her.” I leaned back into the chair.
“Why don’t you ask her out?”
Asking a human on a date was out of the question. We had been over this subject multiple times before and it never ended well.
“Where did you find the lights?” I asked, changing the subject.
“Nice try. Go talk to her. At least this one has a sense of humour,” he said with a smirk on his face.
“How much are they?” I asked ignoring his comment, “Do you even know how to install them or will I find you nicely toasted like the last time you played electrician?”
I smiled at the memory of him nearly burnt to a crisp. He had mixed wires together and had learnt the hard way that even angels could get electrocuted. He was lucky that I had been close enough to heal him on time.
“You’re an ass,” he said narrowing his eyes. “This is the closest you’ve been to a date in... How long has it been again?”
I refused to answer, unwilling to approach the subject.
“Look, I’m sure this one won’t try to burn you… Oh, wait she already did.” He laughed but quickly stopped when he noticed the angry look on my face. “Why won’t you give it a try?”
“You know exactly why.” I reached in my wallet, handed him a blank cheque and returned to my beer.
“What’s this?” He looked at me confused. “Are you trying to buy my silence? Because even you can’t afford that.”
I almost spat beer on the table trying not to laugh. “It’s for the lights,” I said wiping my mouth.
“Oh awesome. Thanks,” he said smiling widely. “You’ll see, I’m going to install them over the DJ booth and aim them in the middle of the dance floor… where the aliens invaded us last week. It was horrible. They landed right by the entrance and asked for green vodka... You’re not listening to me again are you?”
“Sorry. It’s been a long day,” I said rubbing the back of my neck. “Please be careful. I’ll give you the number of the electrician I hired last time.”
Danyael raised an eyebrow. “A long day of what? All you do is stare at a computer all day and I’ll be fine. It’s not that complicated.”
I opened my mouth to argue.
“Alright, alright. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. I’ll call the damn electrician,” he snapped.
I smiled. For once I had won over my stubborn brother.
Silence settled between us. Danyael was figuring out exactly where his new lights would go while my eyes kept returning to Emily still dancing with her two friends. Warmth moved to my cheeks. I couldn’t tell if it was her or the beer that caused it but quickly dismissed that thought. It had to be the beer.
“It’s not the beer,” said Danyael from across the table.
“Don’t spy on my thoughts,” I projected to him through our telepathic link. It was one of Father’s gifts to all angels.
“Guard them better then,” he projected back with a shrug.
Cindy startled me when she came by to pick up our empty bottles. “It’s great to see you Shawn. You should visit us more often,” she said with an odd smile. I could feel lust seeping out from her.
A strange thought came through my mind as she put the bottles on her serving tray. I hesitated but impulse quickly took over.
“Can I ask you for a favour when you have a moment?” I asked leaning forward in my seat.
“Of course, I always have time for you hun. What will it be?” She leaned closer as I whispered something that shrunk her smile. She paused for a short moment before continuing. “That’s… cute. Ok, I can do that for you.”
Danyael looked at us confused. I ignored him and sat back in the chair. What I did had two purposes, let Cindy know I wasn’t interested in her and… I still don’t know what came over me for the second except that maybe Danyael was right.
Cindy disappeared behind the counter and came back with two pitchers of beer and a bowl of pretzels on her serving tray. She worked her way through the crowd and placed everything in the middle of Emily’s table.
“Here you go sweetie, from the boss himself.” She pointed at me and rapidly went back to work without saying another word or even glancing my way.
Emily looked our way and shyly waved a thank you. I tipped my head in reply still unsure of why I had done that. Guilt maybe?
“Good man,” Danyael said patting me on the back. “It only took you what? Two hundred years to bounce back from the last one.” He laughed and sat back in his chair.
“Not here,” I whispered shooting him an angry look.
He shook his head and motioned around us. “The music’s too loud, no one can hear us.”
“And how are you so sure of that?” I said letting rage seep through my voice.
My eyes narrowed dangerously and the air around us chilled. He looked me square in the eyes with an alarmed look. The sudden drop in temperature allowed his breath to become visible for a brief second before he managed to counteract my energy outburst.
“Are you insane? You complain about me saying something wrong and you do this. Do you want to be discovered?” He projected to me.
“Why not? You seem to want us to.” I projected back to him. “If they use enhancing spells, there is a small possibility that hunters can hear us.”
His eyebrows met and he pushed me out of his mind.
“All it takes is a whisper,” I said out loud.
“Whatever,” he said waving me off to finish his beer quietly.