And still, there was no response.
I dropped my braid and my hands curled into fists as I stared up until the stupid—so stupid—burn behind my lids forced me to close my eyes. “Do you know? I’m pregnant. I’m going to be a mother and Seth is going to be a father and you…” My voice cracked as a knot formed in my throat. “You’re going to be a grandfather. Do you not even care?”
Opening my eyes, I stood there in silence as I lowered my chin. Hot tears crawled their way up my throat—stupid tears. So stupid, because I wasn’t even sure why I was so bothered by the lack of response. Yes, he was my father, but he hadn’t raised me, and he hadn’t given me any real indication that he was remotely interested in forging any type of father/daughter relationship.
But damn, it still hurt.
Letting out a ragged breath, I wiped at my damp cheeks. “Pull it together,” I ordered myself. “No time for tears.”
After taking yet another deep, cleansing breath, I flipped my braid over my shoulder and then left my room. Knowing that Cora and Gable were good to go with Colin, I was going to do the next best thing I could do since Medusa was currently a bust and my father was off doing who knew what.
I was going to practice with the elements.
Clouds were beginning to fill the sky when I walked outside again, blocking out the sun and dropping the temperature. Since I was going out to the field that tended to get windy on a calm day, I wished I’d grabbed a hoodie or something, but I kept walking. Maybe the clouds would clear.
Nearing the infirmary and cafeteria buildings, I rounded the corner of the building, passing a group of students who were clustered together, off to the side on the lawn. I reached the edge of the sprawling portico that surrounded the entrance to the cafeteria. I stepped out—
From between the thick marble columns, a heavy, metal outdoor chair flew across the walkway, smacking into a nearby tree.
Something big barreled right at me. I jumped to the side, planting myself against the building as I narrowly missed being taken down by a…by a person. Pushing off the wall, I spun just as the person slammed into the walkway with a sickening crack. Marble underneath him splintered.
Whirling around, my lips parted on a sharp inhale as I stared out over the courtyard in front of the cafeteria. People were everywhere. Halfs. Pures. Sentinels and Guards in the middle of them, shouting orders. It was absolute chaos.
And I’d walked right into the middle of it.
The sun had gone down, and flames were flickering from the brick fireplace despite the fact that it was summer, and if I saw another basket of fish and chips come out of the kitchen, I might actually burn the building down.
So far, the trip to Pluckley had turned up…nothing. The patrons of the pub were, frankly, so mortal I was bored to tears. No fighting or even shouting. Well, there was a game on the TV, and that had caused some yelling, but nothing to raise an eyebrow. Not even a ghost, much to Deacon’s disappointment.
And Alex and Aiden had left for a little while and did some scouting around the few local businesses. Nothing suspicious there.
I was more than ready to get out of there and get back to Josie, but…
There was a weird feeling building between my shoulder blades. Had been for the last two hours. As I sat in the wooden chair, drinking bitter ale, this sharp tingle began and hadn’t gone away. It reminded me of the feeling you get when someone is eyeballing the fuck out of you.
Except for curious glances from the townsfolk, no one was paying a damn bit of attention to us. I kept looking over my shoulder and seeing nothing. The only thing I managed to do was commit the faces of the patrons to memory.
If the demigod was here, he was nicely hidden, and short of going door to door, we needed a better plan.
“What’s the game plan?” I asked once Alex had returned from the restroom.
Aiden leaned back, draping his arm along the back of Alex’s chair. “I think we can give it a couple of more hours, but I don’t see the point of staying the night.”
Deacon looked up from the menu of desserts. “I am so staying the night.”
“You’ll have to pull my cold, dead body out of here if you think I’m going to miss the chance to stay at the B&B down the road. Do you know—?”
“I really do not think they want to hear about whatever ghost may be haunting that place,” Luke cut in as the tingle between my shoulder blades intensified. He ignored Deacon’s narrowed gaze. “We can head out. Check out the town again. Maybe—”
A sudden heavy thud drew our attention. I looked over my shoulder just as a bar stool rolled across the uneven floorboards. My gaze flew to the bar. Several men stood there, their backs to us.
Aiden pulled his arm off Alex’s chair as she twisted in her seat. “Could just be someone drunk.”
“Could be,” Alex murmured.
A man in a dark shirt stumbled back a step just as a shorter, older fellow with gray hair picked up his tall mug of frothy, amber liquid.
“What is your problem, Kent?” the younger man demanded. “You’re acting like an utter twat.”
“Whoa.” Deacon’s eyes widened. “That’s hardcore.”
Said twat turned, gripping his mug. “You’re taking a piss at me.”
“What?” whispered Alex. “Did he just get peed on?”
I snickered. “That’s not what it means.”
Aiden shot her a quick grin before refocusing on the bar.
Whatever the younger guy said in return was lost in laughter and jeers coming from the peanut gallery at the bar. Nothing was too out of the ordinary about this. Seemed like just a drunken argument.
“Bloody arseholes.” The younger man shoved his fist out, making the universe sign for jerking off before he turned from the bar.
Without saying a word, the old man—the man old enough to fucking know better—tossed the drink and the glass straight at the back of the younger man’s head.
The man jerked forward, his knees smacking off the floorboards as he gripped the back of his head.
“Holy crap on a cracker,” gasped Alex, shooting out of her chair.
“Why you go an’ do that?” someone at the bar demanded, stepping back with a scowl. His blond hair was a mess, like he’d been out in a wind tunnel.
The old man, who was starting to remind me of Santa Claus, waved the man off. “Stop sticking your beak in, you massive bellend.”
Blondie shot forward, slamming his fist right in Santa’s face. The old man pinwheeled backward. He was going down. Probably going to break a hip.
I kicked my feet up on Alex’s empty chair and crossed my arms.
Aiden was fast, though, flying out of his seat and catching Santa by the shoulders before he fell and hurt himself.
“Careful there.” Aiden straightened him, letting go when he appeared sure the man wasn’t going down.
Santa spun, his red face blotchy. “Who are you?” He looked Aiden up and down with an impressive level of distaste only a British person could muster. “Nothing but a silly cu—”
“Don’t finish that sentence,” Aiden advised. “Seriously.”
“Yeah?” Santa shot back, as belligerent as ever.
Aiden stared down at the portly man, his voice flat. “Yeah.”
Someone let out a shout that would’ve made a banshee proud. Luke rose just as the man who’d taken a glass to the back of the head charged the bar with a stool high over his head.
Alex shot forward, snatching the barstool out of the man’s hands as blood trickled down his neck. She put the stool down. “Now, that’s not nice. You could really hurt someone.”
The man turned on Alex and then he looked at her, really looked at her. “Well, you ain’t no minger.”
I had no idea what “minger” meant, but Aiden didn’t like the sound of that. He was next to Alex in a nanosecond. Wrong move, because Santa was still on the move. He picked up the barstool.
“Oh, shit.” Luke’s eyes widened as Deacon reached over, picking a cold fry off my plate and popping it in his mouth.