Low Midnight Page 58

The first time he’d seen her use magic in a fight was in prison, against a ravaging demon. The only thing that could defeat that monster had been magic. Bullets sure wouldn’t have done it. She prevailed again, going up against some weather magician who had it in for Kitty. She explained the principles to him—was happy to explain—how one studied energies that already existed and worked to turn them, to use them against the person attacking, to build your own energy that you could use to defend yourself; that the world was made up of energy as much as it was made of matter and just because you couldn’t see it didn’t mean it wasn’t there. Among the twentieth-century reading she’d been catching up on, she’d been very interested in quantum mechanics, because she said it sounded so much like how she thought of magic.

If he thought about it too hard, he’d shut down. The implications were too big. He didn’t need to know how it worked, only that it did, and that he could use it when he needed to get himself out of trouble or make his intentions known in as decisive a manner as possible. So far, they’d done pretty well.

They had a couple of hours before they needed to hit the road, and Amelia spent that time reviewing the spells she thought she’d need and gathering the materials she’d use to work them. Not as simple as grabbing your revolver and checking the chamber, but what did he know? There might be demons.

He was on the freeway, halfway to Manitou, when he decided to call Kitty. Just in case something happened. Her phone rang once and went to voice mail. He clicked off the call rather than leave a message. A message wouldn’t have made any sense and would be too late anyway.

It’s Friday night, Cormac.

“Dammit,” he muttered. Kitty’s cell phone was off because it was Friday night and she was at the KNOB studio doing her show.

You could call Ben.…

He was not up to the lecture he’d get from Ben, and he couldn’t call Ben without telling him he was headed to a midnight showdown with Anderson Layne. Not that Kitty wouldn’t lecture him, but the lecture would somehow be easier to take from her.

Because you don’t have a lifetime of history with Kitty. When Kitty says you’re being reckless, you tell yourself she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and that she’s just being shrill. When Ben says you’re being reckless, you can’t ignore him because he knows you very, very well. And he’s usually right.

“Whose side are you on?”

What a silly question that is.

He turned on the Jeep’s radio and tuned it to KNOB. Her voice—rather, a more brash and manic version of her voice, her on-air personality—came through the speakers.

“—and what did you think would happen, when you invited your vampire boyfriend to your parents’ house for dinner without telling them he’s a vampire!”

A panicky-sounding woman answered. “That was the whole point of the dinner, to tell them that he’s a vampire! I figured it was the best way, if they could actually see him—”

“And your boyfriend agreed to this?”

“I—I—I told him they already knew.”

“So your Italian mother fixes a giant batch of garlicky pasta sauce that the vampire can’t eat, and you wonder why everyone’s mad at you?”

Listening to Kitty’s show was like driving past a car wreck—you couldn’t turn away.

“My mother hasn’t spoken to me since, and Gerald says that maybe we should take some time off from things, and this isn’t how I wanted things to turn out at all—”

“Then maybe you should have been up front with everyone in the first place. Boyfriends, parents, family dinners—this is primal stuff, you can’t screw around with it. You definitely can’t use these things as a hammer to passive-aggressively bludgeon everyone into thinking and feeling what you want them to.”


“I want you to practice something for me. Repeat these words: I’m sorry.”


“Say it. ‘I’m sorry.’”

“I’m sorry?”

“You need to apologize to your mother, and your boyfriend. And none of this ‘I’m sorry you were offended’ crap. You need to be sorry that you lied to your boyfriend and that you didn’t tell your mother that she probably shouldn’t cook a big meal for this particular gathering.”

“But all I did was make a little mistake—”

“Exactly! Apologizing is what we do after we make mistakes!”

The Midnight Hour’s audience often seemed to call in wanting validation. Wanting to be told that they’re right and everyone else in the world is wrong. Didn’t usually work out for them, and Kitty had a great talent for cutting through their bullshit.

Kitty continued: “Here’s the thing, and this goes for everyone out there: if having a boyfriend you can take home to meet your parents is important to you, and your parents are very traditional, then maybe you shouldn’t date vampires. Trust me, I’ve had experience with this sort of thing.”

Cormac had not met Kitty’s parents, or her sister and her family. He had no intention of meeting them, because it would be too weird. What would he say? Hi, I met Kitty when I tried to kill her, and I had a thing for her for a while, but now we’re just friends, but there still might be some feelings, and what? No. This was another reason she was better off with Ben, who went to her parents’ house for dinner on a regular basis. He was a lawyer, he could talk about his job. He knew how to make small talk.

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