Chapter 8

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It was just after noon and every table at the Moonstone Café was occupied with students from the nearby University of Washington. The large front windows welcomed the dim sunlight as it struggled through a clouded sky. Diners sitting by the window watched passerby along the "Ave," the main business street. The fall quarter was now in full swing, and many students were getting a head start on mid-term reports and projects, so the food and drinks fought for table space with books and papers and laptops. Customers waiting for a table wandered through a wide archway that led into the adjoining bookstore to browse, some returning to the café to be seated with a new book.

"Hey, Solie, your order is up," the barista called from behind the counter.

"Thank you, Miss Jennifer," Solus answered to his human name. He deftly placed the two coffees and a platter of tea cookies on his tray and flashed a smile at the barista before making his way to his waiting customers.

He was enjoying a meal of his own in this crowded place. While he could take in real food, what really sustained him were the energies that the myriad of souls released. Powerful emotions like fear and rage were what most demons went after. Solus was fine with the more subtle but just as powerful emotions of jealousy, loss, and lust. The café was filled with feelings of panic and depression – some of the students who were studying must be doing poorly, he thought. There were also feelings of desire and jealousy, as some of the women in the café discreetly vied for his attention. This was a good place to feed.

He stopped at a table to serve two women, who giggled nervously. They both exuded a youthful sexuality and displayed an obvious desire to get in his pants. He took in the energy and savored the sweet sensation merging with his own aura.

"Is there anything else that I may get you ladies?"

"Oh, not right now, but, um, maybe later?" it was almost a hopeful question.

"Then I will check on you again. Excuse me."

Solus wasn't only here to feed. He chose this place for a reason. It was here that the Child of Light would fall into his hands. He walked away from the two women and moved on toward his intended target.

The girl sat alone, with a cup of tea and a scone, scribbling furiously at her assignment of the hour before she had to go to work. This wasn't far, in fact just next door at the adjoining bookstore. She worked as their accountant and merchandiser.

"Hello, Miss Alice, may I get you anything more?" he smiled as sweetly as possible.

She looked up and flashed a huge smile of her own. "Why thank you for asking, Solie. I think I'm okay for now."

"You're always here alone, you should have a friend come in with you one day," he suggested as he picked up her empty plate and expertly filled her tea cup with hot water. In his mind he reached out. You should bring your friend, Caisey.

Alice tilted her head as if listening. "You know, I think I will!" she smiled once more and gathered her things together. Noticing her cup was again full, she lifted her cup in salute and laughed. "Thank you, Solie. You are such a doll!"

Solus gave a slight shrug. "Of course." He paused before adding, " You have someone in mind then?"

"Oh, yes. A good friend of mine. She studies too hard, so I think a nice coffee break will do her good!"

 "Then I look forward to meeting her as well," he nodded his head and turned around. He ignored the other tables. His only thought was of the girl he needed. Caisey. And her friend Alice was going to lead her right into his arms.

He returned to the counter to pick up three more orders and made his way once again through the busy café. He placed each order perfectly and politely, even though he wasn't thinking about what he was doing now. He was busy thinking about what his next move was.

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