Billy walked along the sidewalk in silence. She had to clear her head; her parents were driving her mad. They talked in hushed tones and grim voices until she made her presence known, and then it was all smiles and sympathy for Uncle Tim's wife, themselves, and her. It was enough to drive her up the wall.
She'd always loved wandering around the city aimlessly-when you drove, you had to have a destination. Here, all she had to do was walk until she found something interesting, or decided to go home. Simple.
But today she didn't derive as much pleasure as she usually did, her mind was whirring and she was so deep in thought she didn't even see what she passed, and didn't know how far she'd walked.
If this has something to do with Uncle Tim and dad, it's obviously not something that they did in the past. They haven't known each other long enough. Uncle Tim only moved here the past year. So, it connects them only by work, which means it could be a co-worker, an employee problem, a problem with the boss, or the entire company. But who is this mysterious 'He' mom keeps referring to? And why does she sound so worried every time she talks to dad?
Billy kept walking, but suddenly decided on a sudden change of plans. She had a destination now. She was going to go to Lorre, and see if anything there struck her as different from last year. She doubted it would help, but anything was better than home at the moment, and there was a slight possibility it might aid her puzzling.
She walked along the sidewalk, so lost in thought she didn't even see him until it was too late. Billy found herself face to face with a chest covered in a green sweater. And it wasn't an old man…she could tell that much.
"Oh, my gosh! I mean, oh, I'm so sorry. I wasn't looking where I was goi…" Billy trailed off as she stared into emerald eyes that looked as if they'd seen a ghost. "Um, are you okay?"
"Yes," he said suddenly, in a deep voice, with a smooth and polished British accent.
"Oh, well then, sorry again. Uh…" she wasn't quite sure what to do. Normally she'd apologize and go back to walking, but the man was unnerving her with his stare. "Uh, have we met somewhere before?" She thought perhaps Meg had introduced them, and she'd forgotten or something, although this man wasn't exactly someone you'd forget. Easily. Or at all.
"No. I don't believe we've been introduced. My name is Richard. Richard Hawthorne."
What was she to do?
"Billy. Billy Detrionne. Listen, I'm really sorry, but I gotta go." She was distinctly uncomfortable, and though she thought they'd never met, it seemed her mind was telling her she…remembered him somehow.
"Of course. Anyway, the fault was mine. Good-bye, Miss Detrionne."
Billy felt eyes on her back as she walked to the end of the block.
She felt a little bit dizzy as she rounded the next corner, and as she was chiding herself for getting silly over some random man… her vision fuzzed out. Panicking, she edged over until she felt the cool wall of a building hit her outstretched palm… and then she felt nothing at all.
T'lar stood tall, floating above the rest of the consulate. His eyes blazed red as hellfire, but were cold as black onyx stone.
"She is a danger to us, T'lar. A human is not meant to live among demonic race. This power-"
"You are just afraid she has more power than you!" A young demon-the youngest on the Consulate- stood, eyes flashing and hands waving wildly. His skin was the dark color of the rock he rose from, but his hair and eyes were pale. A contrast demon; not camouflage. Their power was greater, for they held more risk, and so the Consulate turned to hear his words, if begrudgingly.
"I'm shamed to be a demon if you would turn coward the moment something unexplained came along!"
"We've dealt with the 'unexplained' as put it, for seventeen years. I think that is quite enough."
T'lar looked at Dael, who was about to make another argument, and slowly shook his head. Dael looked around the room, and saw each face set subtly against him.
T'lar bowed to his court.
"We will accept your decision."
"T'lar." The Head of the Consulate looked appraisingly at him for a moment, and then turned to his younger companion. "Dael."
T'lar swept out of the consulate room, with Dael following in his steps. Neither spoke. They stood, still silent, in the hall outside the Consulate's chamber of stone, and waited.
"Well?" A soft voice spoke from the shadows, a sultry voice, one vaguely reminiscent of mist and twilight.
"They, well," began Dael, but he was again cut off.
"Don't soften it. What have they said?" The voice was cold.
"The consulate won't be budged." T'lar spoke first, his voice rigid. Dael looked to T'lar, as if he could no longer find his voice.
"So, it is as I thought." The speaker stepped from the shadows, a youth tall and slim.
"T'Aliare, I implore…"
"Dael, it's for the best." T'Aliare's voice was like ice, and brooked no room for refute. Dael tried anyway. T'lar stopped his futile arguments. T'lar had seen the steely glint in her sea-colored eyes.
"Let her go, Dael, for her sake, as well as ours."
T'Aliare was already moving away from them.
"Are you quite alright?" Billy felt the pain pounding at her temples reside, as she opened her eyes to the sight of a newly familiar face.
"Um… I don't know. I just…" she looked around, she was on the street, sitting against the wall of a boutique; she felt her jeans were slightly damp from the concrete sidewalk. "I think I fainted, or something." She felt slightly embarrassed as the words left her mouth; she was no ditzy Victorian heroine.
"Perhaps it was the weather?" He was being kind, and Billy suddenly smiled at her "savior." He extended a hand, and pulled Billy to her feet. "Can I help you get anywhere?"
"Well," Billy started to say Lorre, but decided maybe it wasn't a good idea for that day, and said instead, "how about to the bus stop?" She would go and see Meg. Her life was taking a twist down some kind of mysterious and dark spiral, and there was no one she'd rather talk it over with. At least Meg wouldn't call her crazy.
"I'd be happy too." Richard walked closer than needed, but it oddly didn't bother Billy. She almost inquired to why he'd turned around…but then, decided she really didn't care.