22 // LUCIFER

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AUTHOR'S NOTE:

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AUTHOR'S NOTE:

Remember that other author's note, dear Hedonists? The one I wrote way back at the beginning of this story, before we all started on Casey's crazy little journey? If you skipped it, you might want to go back and take a look before you read on, because if it was referring to any chapter, this was definitely one of them. Just a small warning ;-)

*

'You're looking for the horns, aren't you?' Ethan said, one eyebrow raised, brushing off my gawping stare with a shrug. 'It's okay, it's only natural.' He ruffled his hair, parting it near the front with his fingers. 'See? Nothing there, I promise. You also won't find any Devil's hooves or a forked tail for that matter, although you're more than welcome to look for the tail.'

He shot me a brash grin, but then looked away quickly, a self-conscious flush rising to his cheeks.

'Why did you tell me that?' I said. My mouth was stunned-dry. I wanted to pick up the bottle and take a drink but was afraid he'd see my hand shaking.

'About the tail?'

'About the book. About your parents.'

The paper angel remained on the table in front of me. I hadn't touched it. Couldn't.

He rolled his eyes. 'Right, so is this where you tell me I'm spinning you another yarn?'

'No. What I meant was, you didn't need to tell me that. You could have lied about the book.'

'You asked me, and I told you. Do you want me to lie to you, Casey?'

He slipped off the stool, collecting both bowls and moving over to the basin, where he turned on the tap and attacked them with hot water. He was scowling, heavy lines furrowing his forehead, his lips pursed together. Before the basin was even half full, he turned off the tap and spun to face me.

'What is it with you, eh?' he said, glaring. 'You didn't believe me when I told you that you were being hunted by Angels and you demanded I tell you the truth, even though I already was and then when you do believe that I'm telling you the truth about something – which you asked to know, as you so rightly pointed out – suddenly you're saying I shouldn't have told you!'

'That's not what I'm saying at all,' I snapped, jumping down from the stool.

The anger flared bright and furious, not just because of his reaction but because I didn't want this. I didn't want to be at loggerheads with him, not when I knew it must have taken a lot for him to tell me, and not when I could see something beyond his anger, like he'd just picked at a scab and suddenly remembered how he got the injury in the first place.

Taking a few deep breaths, I tried again, taking a few steps towards him.

'What I was trying to say, in my not-so-skilled way – because believe it or not, I'm not that great with people either unless I've had a little bump of something to get me going – is that I'm assuming that this is another one of those things you don't really talk to anyone about, and not just on account of you hibernating all these years.' I edged closer. 'You don't like talking about it, because it makes you think of them, and you don't like thinking about them. Not now they're gone.' 

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