Its expression said it was in no hurry to get close to me at the moment. Its expression said it was revolted by my all-too-brief power over it, by a mere human having dominion in any manner over something so glorious as itself. “Why have you come here? What of ours is here, sidhe-seer?” it demanded.
Unzipping my purse, I nudged the ball of foil from the tip and closed my hand on the spear, but left it tucked inside. I wanted to preserve the element of surprise. “Nothing.”
“No, really, there’s nothing here,” I said truthfully, not that I would have told it if there had been.
“It has been five days, sidhe-seer. What did you take from O’Bannion?”
I blinked. How in the world did it know that?
“He died trying to get it back, that’s how. I know where you stay,” it said. “I know where you go. It is useless to lie to me.”
I preferred to believe the Fae had read the thoughts on my face, not plucked them from my mind. I bit my tongue to keep from whimpering. It was doing something to me again. It had my pearls again. And was working between my legs with them, one hard, cool ball after the next.
“You want to know what we took? I’ll show you what we took!” I curled my fingers tightly around the base of the spearhead, yanked it from my purse, and drew it back threateningly. “This!”
It was the first time I ever saw such a look on a Fae’s face and it would not be the last. It filled my veins with such a heady rush of power that it was very nearly equal to the insane sexual arousal I was feeling.
V’lane, prince of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, feared something.
And it was in my hand.
The imperious Fae was gone. Just like that. Blink of an eye, if I’d blinked. I hadn’t. He’d vanished.
I sat, breathing deeply, clutching the spear, and trying to regroup.
The room seeped slowly back into my consciousness: a buzz of noise, a blur of color, and finally, snippets of conversation here and there.
“What do you suppose she’s doing?”
“No idea, man, but she’s got a great ass. And talk about your tits to die for!”
“Cover your eyes, Danny. Now.” A mother’s tight, pinched voice. “She’s not decent.”
“Looks better than decent to me.” Accompanied by a low whistle and the flash of a camera.
“What the hell is in her hand? Should somebody call the cops?”
“I dunno, maybe the paramedics? She doesn’t look so well.”
I glanced around, wild-eyed. I was on the floor, surrounded by people on all sides, a circle of them, pressing in on me, staring down at me with greedy, curious eyes.
I sucked in a ragged breath that wanted to come back out as a sob, crammed the spear back in my purse—how in the world would I explain having it?—yanked my skirt back down over my bottom, clasped my bra over my bare breasts, fumbled for my shirt, yanked it over my head, picked up my shoes, and scrambled to my feet.
“Get out of my way,” I cried, plunging blindly into the crowd, shoving them aside, vultures, one and all.
I couldn’t help it. I burst into tears as I raced from the room.
For such an old woman, she sure could move fast.
She cut me off less than a block away from the museum, darting in front of me, blocking my path.
I veered sharply left, and detoured around her without missing a beat.
“Stop,” she cried.
“Go to hell,” I snapped over my shoulder, tears scalding my cheeks. My victory over V’lane with the spear had been completely overshadowed by my public humiliation. How long had I been sitting there with parts of me sticking out that no man had ever gotten a good look at in broad daylight unless armed with a speculum and a medical license? How long had they been watching me? Why hadn’t someone tried to cover me up? Down South, a man would have draped a shirt around me. He would have taken a quick glance while he did it, I mean, really, breasts are breasts and men are men, but chivalry is not entirely dead where I come from.
“Voyeurs,” I said bitterly. “Sick scandal-starved people.” Thank you, reality TV. People were so used to being taken straight into other people’s most intimate moments and viewing the sordid details of their lives that they were now far more inclined to sit back and enjoy the show than make any effort to help someone in need.
The old woman got in front of me again and I veered right this time, but she veered with me and I crashed into her. She was so elderly and tiny and fragile-looking that I was afraid she might topple over, and at her age, a fall could mean serious broken bones and a long recovery period. Good manners—unlike those creeps in the museum, some of us still had them—temporarily eclipsed my misery, and I steadied her by the elbows. “What?” I demanded. “What do you want? You want to bean me in the head again? Well, go ahead! Do it and get it over with! But I think you should know that I couldn’t help seeing this one and the situation is—well, it’s complicated.”