Back again this week for Tuesday Tales. This week we’re heading back to Shadow Play. The prompt this week is Wired.
“You are making no sense Mom. Why would I give up this job?” Riella tossed her gym bag on her bed with a huff. A session at the gym relaxed her in the past right now it felt like tiny shards of glass shifting behind her eyes.
“Riella this one might be too dangerous. Perhaps you should pass on this one.”
“You can’t be serious. Nate and I have handled worse situations than this and you want me to walk away from the Black Widow?” Riella pinched the bridge of her nose in a futile attempt to temper the growing pain.
“I just don’t think it’s wise when there are so many Penumbra around.” Nervousness tinged Eveline’s voice.
“What are they going to do to me?” A brief mental image of what one Penumbra in particular could do to her danced behind her closed eyes. Quite a few things came to mind actually but not something she wanted to share with her mother.
“Riella Daci’na Lovari you know good and well what they are capable of. Look at what happened to your father.” Eveline chastised.
“Full name mother? Really?” Riella blew out a breath of frustration. “How can I compare this to what happened to my sperm donor? I never met the man and all you ever told me was it was the Penumbra’s fault.”
“Damn it Riella! You know it’s more complicated than that. Please just listen to me and stay away from this one. I don’t care if it’s the Black Widow. Nothing is worth getting mixed up with those shadowy creatures.” Anger crept into the nerves and concern Eveline’s voice initially held.
“Mom you know I’m not wired that way. If I shied away from every job that dealt with a species that made you nervous I’d be broke and you wouldn’t have your nice new house in Florida.” Riella cradled the phone against her shoulder as the wall slid away and she stepped into her workroom. She dropped a few different herbs into her mortar and pestle to grind.
“Wired that way or not you need to take care. The Penumbra make me nervous plain and simple and you have been more careless since Alexander…”
“Nope not having that conversation Mother. What is it with you and Nate wanting to talk about Alex. Let me get him for you and you two can lament over what I do and don’t do not that he’s gone. I’m not going to discuss it.” Riella stepped out of the workroom with the now ground herbs.
“It’s not good to bottle it up. It wasn’t your fault.” Eveline’s tone reverted back to that of a concerned mother.
“I’m not bottling it up Mom it’s just not something I want to or need to rehash.” She poured the herbs into a small strainer that hung under the spout of the tub. “It happened he’s gone and there’s no bringing him back. I got lucky with Nate.
“Nathaniel was not luck little dove. It was meant to be and the Goddess granted you the strength for it. I’ve heard you working in the background. Take your bath and relax. Just promise me you will be careful.”
“I promise Mom. I will be careful. I love you.”
“I love you too. Give Nathaniel my love.”
“I will.” Riella turned the phone off and tossed it on the counter. Her neck released a satisfying crack as she stretched it to one side and then the other.
“And how is Mom?” Nate leaned on the doorframe to the bathroom wearing nothing but his jeans.
“She’s fine. Worried as usual.” Riella met his eyes in the mirror. “She wants us to give up this job.”
Nate pushed off of the doorframe and turned the water on in the tub. He moved behind her and massaged her shoulders as he looked at her in the mirror. “She just wants you safe.”
“She used my middle name.” The corner of her lips pulled up in a smirk.
“Very worried then. Black Widow?”
“Penumbra.” A soft moan escaped her lips, Nates skilled fingers working on the worst of the knots in her shoulders.
“You know I’m not thrilled with it either but I’ll follow your lead on this.” His fingers slipped down to the edge of her sports bra and slipped it over her head.
“She tried to use my father to make her point.” She slipped her yoga pants off and sunk down into the steaming water.
“How did that work?” Nate gathered up the clothes and tossed them in the nearby hamper.
“Not real well. How can you use a man that I’ve never met as leverage? Especially when we have no idea what happened to him or anything beyond his first name. If that was really his first name.” Riella reached up with her foot and shut the water off.
“Do we continue?” He slid up on the double sink between the two to sit.
“I don’t see any point in stopping now. It’s a scouting mission nothing more. Even if Sarabella gives us a kill request it doesn’t mean we have to take that job. Besides the Sirens are insane if they think they can kill the Black Widow. No one has been able to on over 100 years.”
he inhaled the steam that rose from the water letting the mixture of herbs relax her.
“I agree with your Mom.”
Riella popped one eye open to look at him. “Don’t start Nate.”
“I’m not starting. Just don’t trust that Penumbra you’ve been dealing with. He’s shady.”
The laughter bubbled up before she could stop it. “Shady? Really? He’s a shadow demon Nate.”
“Hardy har har. Laugh it up. I don’t like the way he looks at you.” Frown lines etched across his forehead.
“The way he looks at me?”
“Yes like he wants to screw you silly.”
“Maybe I could stand to be screwed silly.” She splashed some water in his direction.
“With him you might get more than you bargained for. I don’t know it’s just a gut feeling.” Nate hopped down off the counter and grabbed a towel out of the linen closet.
“Does no one remember I can handle myself?” Riella took a deep breath before she slipped under the water fully. She enjoyed the complete sensory deprivation occasionally after a stressful day. Nothing from the outside world. No one harping on her about her responsibilities or what she should or should not do.
A light tap on her forehead told her she had been under longer than Nate liked. She stayed under another minute before she emerged. “Yes?”
“You know I hate it when you do that.”
“But you know I like it when I do.” She used her foot again to pull the plug on the tub and let the water out.
“You also went under while I was talking to you.” Nate held open the towel next to the tub.
“I get it you are both worried. I don’t need to hear it again.” Riella took his offered hand and stepped out of the tub into the waiting towel.
“That’s not what I was saying.” He wrapped the towel around her and rubbed her arms through the cloth.
“Then what were you saying?” She tucked the towel into itself just over her breasts.
“I know you can handle yourself. Just making the observation that anyone from the outside would think we have a very strange relationship.”
Riella took the second towel he held out and rubbed her hair with it. “Why because a demon hunter and a Genesis demon are best friends?”
“I was leaning more towards the, me coming in to talk to you while you’re taking a bath but that works too.” Nate shrugged.
“Please you’ve seen me naked to tend to wounds this is nothing.” She grabbed her fluffy robe off the back of the door and slipped in on, letting the towel fall to the floor.
“What would Shadow Boy say about this?” Nate resumed his position against the doorframe.
“Should I call and ask him?” Riella’s laughter filled the bathroom.
“No thanks. I’m good.”