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Looking for Trouble


August 6, 2016 by Lyn

This story takes place at the end of the third week of the fifth year of the Addergoole School (after Chapter 49b)

“Well, that was interesting,” Shiva murmured, as she and Niki meandered across the common area. She didn’t really want to talk to Magnolia, but, having made the lie, she had to follow through.

“Emrys’ new pet?” Niki asked thoughtfully. “Yeah, she seems nice.”

“And cute,” Shiva added, smirking at Niki, loving the way he flushed and tried not to meet her eyes.

“Well, yeah,” he muttered, “she was a little bit attractive.” He glanced up at her nervously, clearly worried he was going to make her jealous. He’d learn.

“I thought she was utterly edible,” she countered, grinning even wider and licking her lips for emphasis.

“Shiva!” he protested, but he was smiling now too. “Was she the one on Hell Night…?”

“The one that walked through like royalty? Yeah, I think she was.”

“Emrys is way outclassed.”

“I wonder if he knows it?”

“Probably.” Niki frowned thoughtfully. “He’s not as dumb as he looks.”

“I know,” she nodded. “He just likes to play the brute.”

“You wouldn’t really trade me in for him, would you?” He looked up at her with naked vulnerability that she wasn’t entirely certain was feigned.

“Of course not, honey.” She kissed him gently. “I wouldn’t trade you in for anyone.”

“Thank you.” His relief looked genuine enough to make her a little cranky – did he really think she was the sort of monster to pimp out her Kept?

He had, however, perfect radar for when he’d pushed the pitiful line too far. “I’m going to go get a drink,” he decided. “Do you want anything?”

“I’ll just have some of whatever you get.” He frowned sulkily, but she’d known he would. For someone who had forsworn all personal possessions when he knelt to her, he had an unhealthy territoriality about his stuff, and especially his food. She enjoyed tweaking it now and then, as she did all of his sillier buttons.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, in that bland way that was pissier than his argumentative tone. “Any preferences?”

“No,” she smirked, as if he really cared and wasn’t just being a punk, “I’ll enjoy whatever you get.”

“As you wish, Mistress.” He bowed deeply and wandered in the general direction of the drinks, and Shiva continued on in the direction of her lie.

Magnolia was involved in some heavy-handed flirtation with Anwell, who, as was common for him in such situations (which was to say, most of the time lately), had a wide-eyed prey-face on, as if he wasn’t quite sure if being eaten was a good thing or not. Knowing Mags and Ivette, Shiva could sympathize.

“Hello, Shiva darling.” She didn’t sound pleased to see her. Shiva smiled anyway.

“Hey Mags. Hi, Anwell. Don’t worry, you’re just a convenient excuse.”

“Why thanks so much. What am I excusing again?”

“I needed a polite way out of a conversation before a Fifth got irritated at her boyfriend.” She smirked. “I’d rather be a willing participant in the make-the-girlfriend-jealous game.”

“Aah. Well, I’m almost always willing to be a polite way out.” She smirked at Anwell, who flushed a strangely-attractive greenish color.

“Not everyone’s looking for an exit,” Shiva reminded her mildly. Not that she’d listen.

“No, some people want an entrance instead,” she purred. “How’s your Nikita doing?”

“Lovely, thank you.” She wished, not for the first time, that she had some female friend she could trust, someone to confide in – or even a mentor who wouldn’t try to dissect every problem down to its root causes in her childhood. Sometimes, her absent father wasn’t to blame, but Mendosa had read a little too much Freud.

“Really?” Magnolia raised an eyebrow. “He looks a little under the weather.”

“That’s just his ‘I’m not getting my way’ face.” She regretted it the moment it was out, but Anwell’s snorted laugh somehow made it all better.

“He does, doesn’t he?” he snickered. “He tried to pull that on Alex the other day. It didn’t work all that well.” He grinned at Shiva. “You know you can just tell him he’s being transparent, right?”

Yeah, right. “I think that works a little bit better if you’re not sleeping with him,” she answered dryly. “He did the same thing to Ty last year.”

“Yeah, well, Ty deserved it. You don’t. Smack him when he starts pulling that shit.”

She blinked at him. “That’s more than I’ve ever heard you say at once.” Also, pointing that out meant she didn’t have to answer what probably should have been blindingly obvious.

He turned blue-green again, not quite looking at her or at Magnolia. “It just pisses me off when people act like that. It’s fake.”

Magnolia’s lips twisted a little bit; she clearly didn’t like this side of Anwell. Well, maybe she’d leave him alone, then – the boy could use a breather after a year of Ivette. “Are you sure your boy is just sulking?” she asked, looking over Shiva’s shoulder. “He seems to be in a bit of trouble.”

“He’s a big boy,” Shiva said lightly; Mags may have tired of her presence, but she was enjoying this new Anwell. Still, Niki was her Kept, and Magnolia her crew; she glanced back in case there really was something to see.

“Not that big,” Magnolia purred, amused and tense at the same time. “Let me know if you need help.”

“I think I can talk us out of this. If you see blood…”

“I’ll be over there with claws out, honey. Luck.”

“Thanks.” She slipped through the gathering party, forcing a casual smile. The Thorne Girls had her Kept surrounded; a group of strangers had surrounded the Thorne Girls. What had Niki gotten them into?


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