"How'd you sleep?"

"Fine," I lie. "Your bed's comfy," I don't lie. "You?"

"All right," he says, but he's been yawning all morning so I'm not sure how much I believe him.

"Is there anything you need in particular?" He asks, switching the subject. We're walking to the grocery store and he's looking over the shopping list he put together earlier this morning. The sun is hiding behind the clouds, the sky is gray, it's chilly, and still a bit foggy. "Like a certain type of food."

"Chocolate, definitely," I say, nodding my head, "and I guess we should get whatever goes in a salad."

He adds the two items to the list, right under cereal and coffee mix. I stifle a laugh at the thought of the cowboy sitting at the table, eating cereal and drinking a cup of Joe, reading over the newspaper. I don't know why it's so funny to me, it just is. The idea of a cowboy doing modern, normal things is just too much.

"Do you watch TV?" I ask. He nods. "That's awesome," I mumble to myself, but I think he hears me. "What shows?"

"I like the dramas, those crime-solving shows. Those are good."

"No reality TV?"

"Please no."

I laugh as we grab a cart from outside of the shop and head inside.

Wendigo Way Grocers is the one and only grocery store in Spook City, and it seems to have just about everything. It's packed full with creatures of all shapes and sizes. A family of gnomes are arguing with a goblin over at the deli. Fairies are flying around the store, carrying their special-sized baskets filled with nuts and berries. Werewolves are looking at the different types of canned dog food. It all seems normal, if you can see past the fangs and fur.

I look over at Chance. He looks so cool and calm, so I try and do my best to copy him as we walk through the different aisles.

Everything's going fine until we get into produce. That's where we meet him - with his shaggy black hair, his plastered on smirk, his piercing red eyes. The way Chance is looking at him, with nothing but pure loathing, makes me start to think I shouldn't be thinking this guy's handsome.

"Who's the new girl?" he asks Chance, eying me all the while. His gaze is sharp, I can see the wheels turning, and it's making me a little nervous; I feel like he can almost see into my soul. You know, if I still had one. Do I have one?

"None of your business, Montgomery," Chance grumbles as he places a bag of cherry tomatoes into our cart. For the salad.

"No need to be rude now, Ford. I'm just trying to have a decent conversation, nothing shady. You know how I like to be in the loop. We are in public, after all. We can at least be civil. Oh, hey, how's the nose?" His smirk grows and I can tell he's trying not to laugh.

I thought the cut on Chance's nose looked pretty fresh and I'm starting to think this guy was the cause of it.

He holds out a hand to me. It's pale and looks like it's never seen a day of hard work, unlike Chance's whose are rugged and ghostly suntanned. "Ace Montgomery. Friendly neighborhood demon."

"Far from friendly." Chance mutters to himself, so quiet I can barely hear him. The scowl on Ace's face tells me he heard it, too.

I accept the handshake, definitely not missing an opportunity to see what's going on this guy's head...


I try again, but still nothing. It's not like it was with Chance, how I could tell he was deliberately thinking about nothing. This is like a block, like a wall. Roaring static, like a radio that can't seem to find a signal.

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