Try this on for size…..
I’m sitting in my office, slinging playing cards across the room into a hat I haven’t worn for a little over two years. I think the style of it is wrong, or perhaps I don’t really like the color. When the demon walks into my office, the only thing that disturbs me is that she blocks my only accurate attempt of the morning.
The card bounces off her bare midriff and flutters to the ground, amidst about two other decks worth of failed attempts. Perhaps I don’t like the hat because it doesn’t catch playing cards worth a damn.
I look up at her, which would be a mistake if I were human. She is flat gorgeous, with every luscious curve and delicious line perfectly displayed, though only barely covered. Even demons can have a rudimentary knowledge of modesty, mostly because it’s easier to move about in the world of humans if you obey their social laws.
“Am I disturbing you?” She purrs. “This is a detective agency, right?”
I grin. “Fallen Angel Detective Agency, at your service.”
Her returned demure smile is another attempt to lure lustful thoughts. I’m not immune it at all, just in much more control than the normal human. I mean, I am a Fallen Angel, so yes, baser instincts are things I deal with, but she’s forgetting that once an angel, pretty much always an angel.
She kept trying. “And you are?”
I decide politeness might be the right approach. With two decks of cards on the floor and nothing in the hat, the morning was really slow. “Raphael.”
I extend my hand and she backs away a half step.
The purr is gone from her voice, replaced by fear. “The Raphael?”
I grimace. “Not that one.”
I really need to change my name. “Just call me Rafe. How can I help you?”
She ignores my hand and I pull it back before the situation becomes awkward, or at least more awkward than it already is. She studies me for a few more seconds, I assume to allow the awkwardness to fully settle in like dye in a tattoo.
Finally, she sits, which is a treat to see, watching all those barely covered limbs stretch and bunch in such perfect unison. No, seriously, I’m immune to her charms and she’s not really trying anymore since the name mistake. Like I said, fallen, so yeah, I might be a bit of a lech.
“You can call me Lila. I need help with my boyfriend.”
An iron door slams down on my lecherous thoughts. I should’ve known. “You demons aren’t actually known for your loyalties, especially in relationships.”
Lila pouts. “I expected judgement, but is that really necessary?”
“I’m not denying you your feelings, or judging you at all Lila. I’m spouting facts on your race. Can you name three demons that have stuck by their loyalties?”
Her pout continues in all its cuteness. “I care about Zyzx. Judge demons as you will angel, but I care about him.”
Okay, that stings a little. “I’m not an angel. I’ve fallen from grace, so I don’t carry the hammering judgement my kind normally does.”
Lila’s pout turns to triumphant smile, gorgeous. “So I shouldn’t judge you by what you are, but rather who you are?”
I start again. “My apologies. How can Fallen Angel help you with your boyfriend?”
Lila’s pout comes back. “I think he’s cheating on me.”
Irony, thy name is Lila. “Why do you think this?”
She waves her hand around with a disgusted look. “The usual reasons. He stays out with his friends all the time and makes excuses for why he can’t spend time with me.”
I get up and cross to the window. The view from the Catholic Life building is nice. Yes, I know, irony is everywhere. San Antonio is a beautiful city and its where I call home at the moment. Humans have always amazed me, and I think they always will.
Lila joins me at the window, gazing out the pane, but I don’t think she sees anything in particular. “I can give you the name of the bar he hangs at.”
I look at her, actually sympathetically. “I’ll look into it, but I’m not going to make any promises. This isn’t a lot to look into.”
Lila sighs and opens her purse. “I know and I’ll thank you ahead of time. Look, I know he’s a demon and that means he’s going to do what demons do, but I want to know anyway. Is that so bad?”
I’m not sure my lopsided grin sends the right message. “As long as you’re prepared for the disappointment.”
She pulls out a wad of cash, and by wad, I mean a roll and the bill on the outside is a Franklin. She places a finger over my lips to hush my coming protest. “I know it’s more than you charge but consider it an extra fee for time sensitive work.”
She tosses the roll over her shoulder and it sails across the office to land in the hat that has no playing cards in it, which I prefer the money anyway. Without another word, Lila leaves me, her hips swaying in perfect time. Demon girls shouldn’t be allowed to wear high heels, and not just because they make capable weapons in a pinch.
No sooner than she walks out, my associates walk in. Cassandra, all four foot eleven of her and Marco Espinoza. His gaze is locked on the last remaining visible trace of Lila. I swear he licks his lips. Humans, so easily glamored.
I say, “Hey Pix, Marco. We’ve got a case.”
I call her Pixie because of the short cropped blond hair. She’s my right hand, most of the left, and if I had a center hand, some of that too. She works with computers, billing and even though I am an angel, she’s happy to put me in my place if necessary.
Marco is big and angry a lot, but if anyone, or anything gets near Pix, they’re going to get a face full of Marco. I don’t really wish that on anyone. He won a Golden Gloves trophy and immediately determined that gloves were for idiots, real men believe in knuckles.
Pixie smiles at me and glances at the hat, obviously spying the roll of hundreds. Her smile gets bigger. “Raise your rates?”
“Nope, we are currently employed by an overly generous demon.”
Marco grunts. “Hmph, demons can’t be generous.”
“Maybe not, but this one gave me a lot of money to look into something. Pix, take that down to the bank if you’d be so kind. I’m going to a bar.”
Marco’s gaze perks up a bit. One of the few things that catches his attention besides Pix, is a stiff drink. “Part of the case Marco. Can you start a record? Her name is Lila.”
“You believe that?”
I grin. “Not in the least, but I believe the money.”
Pixie nudges Marco. “C’mon big guy, let’s go get this deposited and then we’ll go to Sonic for a huge soda. We’ll create the case file when we get back.”
God, I love that girl.