The audience quieted like a group of admonished schoolchildren.
A growl ripped through the room like an angry demon. I looked down and realized it came from my stomach.
“Are you okay?” Adam whispered.
The growl came again, this time even louder, drawing the eyes of the council. Lightning knifed through my midsection. I doubled over, clutching my stomach with both arms.
Cold sweat bloomed on my forehead, my chest. Searing pain tore through my intestines. I fell to my knees, groaning. Adam knelt next to me, his face a mask of worry. A circle formed around us. I opened my mouth to plead for help.
And projectile-vomited all over the feet of the ancient and venerable Hekate Council.
An hour later, I finally limped out of the bathroom to find Adam, Maisie, Orpheus, and Rhea waiting for me. Light-headed and covered in sweat, I felt about ten pounds lighter than when Adam carried me into Maisie’s room.
I had no idea what the potion they gave me was called, but I had a few colorful name suggestions. I also wanted to kick Rhea’s ass. But first, I needed to lie down.
“Feeling better?” Adam said, coming forward to help me.
“Well, let’s see,” I said, collapsing into a chair. “I think I threw up a kidney, but otherwise I’m fine.”
Giguhl jumped into my lap and peered into my face.
“Eww.” He waved a paw in front of his face. “Puke breath.”
I swatted halfheartedly at the demon. I wasn’t in the mood for his teasing. Especially since I’d rinsed with mouthwash before I left Maisie’s bathroom.
Adam handed me a glass of water with a wink. I sent him a weak but grateful smile.
“Rhea, do you know what caused Sabina’s… violent reaction to the potion?” Maisie asked the silver-haired female.
Rhea shrugged. “There’s no telling. If I had to guess, though, she had a lot of karmic smut to work off.”
Maisie nodded as if this made perfect sense. “Well, she seems fine now. Hopefully, this will give her a clean slate going forward.”
I really hate it when people talk about me like I’m not in the room. But I could hardly argue that I didn’t have karmic smut. I’m not into New Agey bullshit, but I’d certainly committed my fair share of sins. And frankly, I kind of liked the idea of having a fresh start. I’d have preferred it not involve vomit, however.
“Sabina, I took the liberty of having rooms readied for you and Giguhl. I assumed you didn’t have other accommodations lined up.”
I shook my head. The thought of where I’d sleep hadn’t even occurred to me. I guess on some level I’d figured I’d be staying with Adam, but it made sense Maisie would want me to stay with her. She certainly had plenty of room, whereas I had no idea where Adam lived or if he even wanted to put up with Giguhl and me as houseguests. “Sure, that’d be fine. Thanks.”
“Excellent.” Maisie smiled. “Your room is right next to mine, so we’ll be able to catch up on the last fifty or so years of each other’s lives.”
I forced a chuckle. “Great.”
“Wait,” Giguhl said. “Does this mean I finally have my own room?”
“If it’s okay with Sabina?” she said, glancing my way.
Giguhl looked at me hopefully. I shrugged and nodded. Sharing a room with Giguhl wasn’t high on my list of priorities, especially once he morphed back into demon form.
“Will I have cable?” he asked.
Maisie smiled curiously at the demon. “Of course.”
He pumped a paw in the air. “Yes!”
Back in L.A., Giguhl had discovered the home shopping channel. Back then, I’d tolerated the purchases because it kept him out of trouble. But now I had no job and was living off savings. “Don’t get too excited there, demon. The home shopping channel is off-limits.”
I glared at him. “I said no.”
Giguhl crossed his arms. “Fine.”
Maisie cleared her throat. I looked over, embarrassed. “Sorry, Giguhl has a small shopping addiction.”
She nodded slowly. “Ah.” She was obviously still confused but polite enough not to push the issue. “So now that the cleansing is done, we can get started on your magical training right away. Rhea, when do you want to do the vision quest?”
I looked at Adam, who wouldn’t meet my eyes. “Wait a second,” I said. “I thought Adam was going to continue teaching me magic.”
Maisie and Orpheus exchanged a look. “Actually,” Orpheus said, “there’s been a change of plans. I’ve asked Adam to work on a special project for me, so he’ll be unavailable to teach you.”
“What kind of project? Surely he can fit in a few magic—”
Orpheus cut me off. “I’m afraid that’s impossible.”
“Why?” I knew I sounded argumentative, but part of the deal I’d cut with Adam before agreeing to come to New York was that he’d teach me magic. I didn’t like the idea that less than an hour into this, they were already reneging on the agreement.
Orpheus’s jaw went tight; he obviously didn’t like being challenged. “It’s none of your damned bus—”
“Sir,” Adam said suddenly. “If I may? I’d like to speak with Sabina alone.”
Orpheus glared at Adam for the interruption but finally relented. “Fine.”
Adam nodded at me. Frowning, I rose slowly and followed him into the hall. Before the door was even closed, I rounded on him. “What the hell’s going on?”
Adam sighed. “The mission Orpheus gave me is in North Carolina. That’s why I can’t continue our lessons—I won’t be here.”
My stomach dipped. “What? Why?”
He leaned in, as if he wasn’t supposed to be telling me this. “Queen Maeve is dragging her feet on committing to helping the council if we go to war. Orpheus needs me to go to the fae court and find out why.”
I crossed my arms. “When?”
“What!” Panic gripped my chest. Even though everyone I’d met so far was nice enough, the thought of being stuck here alone with a bunch of virtual strangers didn’t appeal. “So you’re just dumping me off and leaving me alone with a bunch of strangers?”
Adam ran a hand through his sandy hair. “Sabina, it’s not like that. Believe me, I’d rather stay, but my first responsibility is to the council.”