Lisa paced. “Nothing. Nothing. Nothing!” It was the only word she said for the last two days. Every lead, substantial or remote was followed, eagerly, by anyone who witnessed the bloody mess the night creatures made, but they turned up nothing. It seemed like the historians might be right. The creatures of Set did not actually exist,
“Maybe the night creatures are taking a break for the holiday season,” Ashish suggested. Lisa frowned, but did not respond. Ashish got glib when he was frustrated.
“Nothing!” Lisa spouted and slammed the papers down on her desk.
Latasha rolled her eyes. Preston Caine was even on the cartoon channel. Mama stopped cooking to watch. James, who was home from the marines paid attention. John and Leah, of course, stared dumbly like it was still their favorite cartoon. Even Latasha’s older brother, Leon, stood by the kitchen counter and watched.
“Why should his being white matter?” James asked as the cartoon came back on.
Fortunately, for Latasha, the doorbell rang. It was Mini and Wendy, and they brought Keisha with them. Keisha shuffled inside and looked at her feet as she spoke softly.
“I heard it was a spider that killed Janet.”
“That’s right,” Wendy said. “The city medical examiner confirmed that.”
Latasha reached out and hugged Keisha. “Merry Christmas,” she said. Latasha and Keisha both found some tears, and some of those tears were for Janet.
There was no more trouble after the mall because Emily only went to Molly’s house for lunch with Molly and Cathy. They refused to go to the bowling alley, and Emily could not blame them. Otherwise, she hardly went out at all, and mostly because Riverbend wanted to stay home where David was. It got sickening. If Riverbend was not following David from room to room, he was following her.
Emily finally retreated to the back step, cold as it was. She could not stand to watch them dance anymore and she did not know what she could do about it. Riverbend came out after a short while and sat beside her.
“You shouldn’t disappear like that,” she said. “I was worried.”
“I thought you were busy,” Emily responded a bit sharply. She was jealous, truth be told. She had not found a man attractive since Pierce, and it was beginning to frustrate her. “I thought you and David were playing some kind of game.”
Riverbend looked away and spoke frankly. “We eat and sleep and fall in love the same as humans, only I don’t know how you humans do it.”
“What, eat or sleep?”
“Well, how do elves do it?”
Riverbend grinned a very elfish grin. “If I was home and he was an elf I would just walk up to him and tell him I love him.”
“Yes. Very much and I can’t seem to help it, though Lady Alice, the one you call Zoe would be very angry with me if she knew.”
“Isn’t she like your goddess or something?”
“Yes, goddess of all the little spirits of the earth, air, fire and water.”
“So what makes you think she doesn’t already know?”
Riverbend’s elfish grin got even bigger, if that was possible. “But how do you do it?”
“It is always different, but I would say it would not hurt to try it your way. But what if he doesn’t love you the same?” Emily had to ask.
Riverbend looked upset for a moment. It was the first time Emily had seen the elf upset. “That is why I haven’t said anything,” she said. “He isn’t an elf. I can’t tell what he is thinking or feeling, exactly. The human body reads differently.”
“Just fine,” Emily said as Riverbend stood up beside David. Emily thought they looked like a very fine couple, despite her misgivings about the whole thing.
“I was just wondering if Captain Riverbend needed help keeping an eye on you.” He gave Riverbend a little salute.
Riverbend stomped her foot and looked up. “David,” she said. “I don’t want you to salute me.” He needed no other invitation. Riverbend’s left foot stomped the ground several more times after that, but it was softly. Emily got up and went around front to get back into the house.