I looked up from where I was digging in the dirt, the setting sun reddening me and the chrysanthemums. "Sabrina?" She didn't look to great, a little hot, a little tired, deep blue circles under her eyes, dirty, but when had that ever been different? "What are you doing back in LA? How was home?"
"Long story, but I'm back for some music stuff. The guys and I are taking a little break, but the producer wanted me to come down and keep working." She looked down at the little white gate that separated her from my garden and pushed at it a little. I could tell that she wasn't telling me everything, but since we'd come to an agreement on tour and might even call each other friends, I decided not to push.
"Oh, sorry," I said standing. "Come on in." I brushed the dirt off my bare knees and walked to the fence, shutting the gate behind her. "An enchanter owed me a favor so I had this no demons pass the fence until invited thing done. Kind of an expansion on the whole vampire threshold thing. Had a little trouble about figuring out how to make me the default, but it works like a dream. Nice huh?"
"Yeah." She said, looking around at my little white house, my garden, the tile roof and the view of the city from the hills. "Really nice. Expensive?"
"Incredibly, but I loved it, so I worked it out. Not as bad as you might think considering the location. Do you need a place to stay? I've got a study and a cot. You'll have to share with all the books."
Sabrina smiled for the first time since she arrived. "Thanks." She paused, unsure where to go from there and her eyes travelled over my place again. "I guess you did well after you left the tour. I was sure Jay would go after you again before you actually got on the plane."
"Yep. I thought he would too. But it was really about time I left; seven break-ups is enough. When I came here and he was in the hospital I think he took my offer to move to LA because he couldn't think of anything else to say. Surprise was always my best ally in that relationship. The worst part about leaving wasn't the end of all that, but not being able to sing back-up for you anymore."
"So you didn't go back to Connecticut?"
"No. I pissed them off when I left. And that I wasn't in the final bizarro show-down, even though I meant to be there for that was a bit of the end of it all. It made it a lot harder not having me there. I was the instrument of infiltration you know. I came back here and found this place instead. Or it found me, but that's another story. I worked in this law firm in town doing translations, Spanish and believe it or not, some demon languages for a while. Then I found out that like most law firms they don't really care about how good you are if you can pay. Actually, they're pretty much instruments of evil and like to be that way and I decided that I couldn't work there as a fragment of the slayer. There are so many nasty things in LA. I am really glad I live outside the city."
Sabrina was standing in the middle of my garden path, still looking a little lost. I realized that she was wearing that blue parka I'd given her and some long pants. An outfit usual for her, but not for the August weather. "Aren't you hot? Do you want a change of clothes? Come on inside." I opened the door to the tiled front entry and led her to my Spanish kitchen, turned the fan on in the open window. The sheer curtains started to blow inside.
"Here," I said, coming back from my room with a t-shirt, a pair of shorts and a towel. "Bathroom and shower are down the hall about 5 feet on the right."
She had picked up one of the business cards I'd left lying on the table. "Nice," she said, pointing at the title of Consultant on Demon Affairs and Translation. "But do you think it's the best idea to announce on your business card that you are for the Powers that Be?"
I smiled. "I find that it prevents a lot of potential misunderstandings and well, if some guy ends up being slayed for coming to find me I can always say 'he knew I'm a champion'." She took the items I held out to her and stood. "Take your time, I'll make something to eat, it's a little past dinner, but I haven't eaten and I can't send you to bed hungry."
While she was in the shower I turned on the radio and made sandwiches and decaf iced lattes. In LA I was right on track with my espresso maker. Amaretto waltzed in the open kitchen window and sat on the counter watching me.
"That is the coolest tile in your bathroom." Sabrina had arrived, she looked better, but the darkness under her eyes was still there.
"I know, the whole house has those accents, that's one of the things I love about it. Sit down and have something to eat. Maybe you could tell me about how everyone is doing over there on the other side of the country and how your trip home was."
Sabrina was quiet for a long time. Then she told me about Chris and Jake, and Lindsey. She told me about the guy called Keraptis and Chris' sacrifice to save everyone, but how Keraptis had run Jake through in the last moments. How Joey had gotten the Slugger out, but Neil had died in the last moments because no one had been awake to save him from Whisper's goons. She told me about the group of demon hunters and their crazy leader and how he was convinced Sabrina was evil, that she had left town mostly because of him and less because her producers had wanted her to come. The edge of twilight, the zombies, everything.... And for the last two months she'd been a little adrift, visiting all of the old haunts trying to figure some stuff out about herself; she came to me because she knew she could trust me. I cried. The sun went over the last of the horizon and what light was left in the sky came through the window and tinged everything in my kitchen blue. Sabrina said she was sorry that I had to find out that way.
I took a shuddering breath and realized just how late it was. "Thank you for telling me. I really should go to bed. I have a meeting in the morning with a psychic who specializes in contacting the dead. I am hoping that he can help me with Jack's soul..." I trailed off. What was I supposed to say to that. Standing, I led her to the closet and we set up her bed in my study. "Sorry it's such a tight fit. You can red anything you find in there. I have some good fiction." I tried to smile. Sabrina gave me a hug and went into the room, shutting the door behind her. I went to the bathroom. It felt good to brush my teeth and wash my face. This night was unbearably hot.
On the way back to my room, walking in the dark, I noticed a light coming out from under the door of the study. Sabrina must have been in there reading with a flashlight. The light was rather cool, almost blue. I wished that I could find something to read that would tell me the answers to what I'd just heard.