The following day when Danny met up with Lily for their mourning briefing she was surprised to find out that he was going with her for the day. This time when she woke up she took her shower and got dressed the whole time she was in the shower she felt a chill even though the water was steaming enough to fog up the mirror and make the walls slick. There was something unnerving about this place sometimes. She pulled her hair into a tight pony tail and looked herself over in the mirror she finally wouldn't need any more makeup to hide the last of the bruises. They seemed to last forever. She touched a spot on her shoulder one of the places she had been kicked for just a second she had an unshakable fear that at any moment Larry was going to kick in her bathroom door and drag her back to their apartment. As quickly as the thought was there it was gone again, he had no way to know where she was and if he did he couldn't get past the gate. She was safe here regardless of the weird chills she sometimes got or the other strange things that happened from time to time she did fell safe. She dressed in a dark grey pantsuit put her shoes on and headed out into the hallway as soon as she did she felt an almost overwhelming pull towards the elevator. It wasn’t a physical pull but more like a strong desire to get to it. She arrived to see Danny leaning against the elevators call button wearing a pair of jeans and a grey polo shirt that almost matched her suit exactly. He was wearing a pair of heavy black leather boots that looked like they belonged on either side of a big motorcycle. His hair was parted on the left and he had it combed up into a small wave going towards the right.
“Good morning.” He greeted as he got himself up off the wall.
“Good morning” she answered him.
“So what do you have for me today?”
“Well see um have you ever bought a car before?”
“A car? yes once I got it used... crap... I haven't seen my car since everything happened I don’t even know what happened to it. How could I forget about my car?”
She was obviously upset about it. Danny wasn’t sure why, he hadn’t had a car in a few years and had been fine.
“Do you want to go check on it before we get started today?” he asked her.
“Yeah that would be great. Wait before we get started?”
“Yeah I’m going a little stir crazy I'm heading out with you. there are something’s about the job that I need to talk to you about and some questions about what happened to you that I need to ask I’ve been waiting but I can’t really wait anymore so I figured today was as good as any.”
He turned and pressed the elevator call button. The elevator door opened a few seconds later since they were the only people who needed it between Remi using his more direct route and Volnam jumping out the nearest open window when he needed to do something Danny waited for Lily to get in before he entered and hit the button for the main floor. As he hit the button he wondered to himself if it actually was the main floor everything that got done was done on the fourth floor and everything else happened on the third floor. Shouldn't one of them be the main floor? The door opened when they reached the first floor they both stepped off the elevator into the hallway and both stood just outside the door but seemed to hesitate before moving any further than that. Lily noticed that Danny was waiting the same as her she never knew why she hated moving off the elevator but the first floor was just wrong it was fundamentally or elementally wrong she didn’t know how to explain it other than it was not right. Danny took a steadying breath and began to almost jog down the hallway that would most quickly place at the nearest exit. After a few seconds he saw that Lily had quickly taken her pumps off and was right behind him. This time it hit him as a sickening wave of dizziness and had his stomach twisting in knots. A turn down another hall and his legs began to cramp up he thought to himself that that was a new one. Normally the first two floors did things to him mentally he hadn't had anything happen to him physically yet, he kept going they were not the extremely painful cramps that drop people to the ground or anything they were the ones that you got when you just woke up after sleeping in the wrong position. The dizziness was getting much worse the world in front of him was starting to spin in on itself. He could see the door in front of him and was just about to fall flat onto his face when he felt someone catch him under his arm and keep him upright until they made it out of the building. He was gasping for breath and bent over double with his hands on his knees shaking as if with the chills from a severe fever. He fought to regain his composure he had no clue that it could be that bad. He had only made the trip out a handful of times between when the work had finished and now. None of them came anywhere close to that he was going to have to talk to Volnam and see if this was right or not It should weaken visitors not kill the occupant. He looked up at Lily who looked fine and felt like a wuss.
Lily saw Danny begin his combination race walk jog down the hall and reached down and yanked off her heels and took off after him. A few steps into the hall and she felt the uneasiness that she always got moving out of the building it reminded her of when she was a little girl there was an abandoned house in her neighborhood and all the kids made up stories about it being haunted and then being little kids and having completely scared themselves with their own made up stories they just had to go into the place at night. There is always something creepy about those kinds of houses any house that is not a home anymore feels kind of off and for little kids at night that feeling is amplified. Now she wasn’t a little kid and she hadn’t heard any stories about the place. She was an adult and she both lived and worked here and she was almost completely paranoid moving down the hall she heard whispers, remembered things that she had done when she was younger and got away with and always felt guilty for later. There was a constant feeling that something menacing was right behind her. No matter how quickly she turned to look over her shoulder she could never catch sight of it. Anytime she made the trip out for the day she always tried to make sure she knew everything she had to do ahead of time so she would only have to go out once and come back once. She hated the few occasions when Danny decided to order out for a meal because she hated having to make the trip down to pick it up from the driver. As she watched Him moving down the hallways though she realized that her discomfort was nothing. With each step she could watch him get worse. It was like watching someone catch a terminal illness and then have it almost completely run its course in the space of a few minutes. When he finally tipped forward and was actually going to fall forward she had already prepared for it, she moved up and ducked herself under his arm and kept him up. She understood why he started off at a jog. He looked like he was going to keel over dead; if he had been walking it might have killed him. She was watching him hunched over making sure he didn’t lean to far forward and bounce his face off the sidewalk when he looked up at her. His expression was somewhere between embarrassment and surprise.
“Well now... huff... I guess I need to start jogging or something right?”
“Yeah or get a wheelchair for the hallways.”
“I think if I had it I’d crash it and die alone cause no one wants to go for a stroll to find me.”
“I’d have to look for you at some point to get you to sign for my paycheck.”
“So what is that in there?”
Danny was back up right now. Mostly looking like nothing had happened.
“What in where?”
“You know what I mean, the hallways on the first and second floor why are they so wrong?”
“It’s too early in the day for this conversation but it is one that I’m planning on having with you while we are out. How about we get to the heavy stuff at lunch?”
“Why your own place seems like its killing you is part of the heavy stuff? OK I can accept that. So where first?”
“Cary Auto Mall?”
“So you weren’t kidding about the new car thing?”
Cary is a small town just outside of Raleigh it’s where people in North Carolina go to pretend
They are not in the south anymore. It was one of the most regulated towns Danny had ever heard of. Things from laws stating that all the buildings had to be painted the same color going as far as how much water could be used to water a person’s yard. There is even a law in place that mandates that all shade awnings had to be the same shade of bluish green. So from the street everything pretty much looked the same if you missed a window display or something that would tip you off to the place you were looking for you just went on by. The advantage to Cary when looking for something like a car was the Cary auto mall. The place was like its own little car city. Every dealership you could think of was tucked into one corner or another. If someone had an idea of what they wanted and didn’t already have a car, with a little effort they could get from dealership to dealership on foot. If going on foot was someone’s plan though, they probably didn’t want to wear high heels, Lily would have liked to know if that was someone’s plan before they left for the day. But someone didn’t inform her of this part of their plan so she was not as comfortable as she would like to have been. She was trailing a few feet behind now. The grass was not helping at all and she finally broke down and just took off the shoes. As she did Danny noticed that she had stopped and turned to see what she was doing.
“Ohh yeah I bet those suck for this huh?” as he said it he motioned to their surroundings.
“Yeah a little. You could have warned me we would be hiking as well as car shopping. So there wasn’t anything you liked at the infinity dealership or the Mazda place?”
She had her shoes looped over two fingers and was up and ready to go again.
“Do you even know what you want?”
“A car... I mean not a truck or an SUV or anything. I know I want a car but I want something mean looking you know something that fits the first Warlock in a few hundred years.”
“Fits a what?”
“What do you mean a what?”
“I mean what’s a Warlock?”
“You have got to be kidding me... Right?”
Danny stopped walking and turned to her with total surprise on his face. The blank look she was giving him back was telling him that she really didn’t have a clue what the warlock was.
“No. Not kidding. Does it have to do with what you do on the fourth floor all day every day?”
“Yeah it has everything to do with it. I’m up there studying almost nonstop the whole time or listening to Volnam lecture.”
“Who? I never see any visitors.”
“Well this came sooner than I had planned. This is all part of what I wanted to talk to you about at lunch.”
“OK fine. At least tell me who this Volnam is.”
“I guess the easiest way to explain him would be to say that he is my tutor, but that would be oversimplifying it by a lot.”
Tutor? Lily thought to herself, she guessed maybe it was some kind of teleconference thing, like over the phone with a camera. She knew that Algie had that kind of stuff set up at his office and used it all the time. She wanted to press him for more but he kept saying that he was going to explain everything to her today and lunch time couldn't be more than an hour or two away so she let it go again.
They rounded a corner and Danny froze in his tracks Lily was a second too late to notice and bumped into him.
“You have got to be kidding me.”
He said more to himself than to her. She looked past him to see that it was another dealership this time Dodge. A huge sign was set up in the front of the lot in huge block letters it read Limited time only see the soon to be re-released Dodge Demon.
“Common we gotta go get a look at that one.”
“It doesn’t look like it is out yet, didn't you want to get a car today?”
“I need to see what it looks like.”
She was going to ask another question he thought but he didn't feel like answering it so he just started walking towards the dealership. The traffic was lite so he just crossed the street where he came to it Lily in tow.
As he made it onto the lot he began to go through all the steps to focus his mind if there was this new dodge demon on the premises and it looked halfway like anything that should be named demon he was going to try and drive off in it today. It would be an excellent way to practice some of what he had been training in non stop for so long now.
“Hey there Edward Alsop nice to..”
Edward was a well dressed well groomed young black man in his mid or late twenties. Danny looked at his appearance and the random thoughts that flew wildly back and forth over the surface of most peoples’ minds at the same time. it was harder to focus on both but it gave him a much stronger first impression that most people were ever going to get. Once he had felt out a strong focus to make a deal a drug addiction and an obsession with expensive Italian leather shoes the young warlock figured he had seen enough of a first impression. He cut the sales person off just into his introduction and asked about the Demon. Edward let him know it had just arrived the night before and it was being unloaded off of the trailer that it came in on. He then asked if there was anything Danny or his lady friend wanted to look at while it was getting ready for display.
“I think I wanna see the demon out of the box we won’t get in the way will we Lily?”
Lily shrugged and shook her head no and just stood quietly behind the bossman. While she listened she could feel something in the air she wasn’t sure what it was but it was similar to a feeling she had from time to time whenever she made her way up to the fourth floor.
“I really can’t have anyone back that...”
“OK man here’s how it is. This isn’t my girlfriend or wife or anything like that. She is my personal assistant. Which means that I make enough to have a personal assistant. It also means I probably have enough to buy any car in the park the only reason I’m here is because of that sign right over there.”
As he spoke he pointed back over his shoulder to the sign announcing the Demon.
“So do you think I could see what I’m here for?”
He spoke forcefully, even rude in most people’s books but while he did it he pushed feelings of respect and awe even a fair amount of envy and then he stopped talking and just waited for his response. Volnam had taught Asmodan early on that people without power will often seek out people that do have it and just wait around hoping to catch some that drops. Some even hope that they will get a little just for being nice even if it’s on some level that they don't even consciously register there is a small voice inside that tells them hey he’s got more than he needs if I’m nice maybe he will give me a little. With people, human people power is usually equated to money. Volnam was always quick to point out that with demons power usually meant armies slaves or the raw power to just will you dead and have you explode a few seconds later. Whatever the reasoning Ed asked Danny and company to please come inside while he checked on a few things. They were lead into the lobby and then into a lounge with a flat screen playing the current sports game Danny didn’t bother looking to see what it was. Lily looked mildly interested which he wasn’t expecting
“There actually are chicks that dig sports when they aren't trying to land a guy?”
“Really? Chicks and dig? I didn’t know you were a fifties sexist.”
“Chick doesn't make someone sexist.”
“Well it sure doesn’t have the same ring of respect that lady or women have does it?”
She sure must be getting comfortable around me in a hurry Danny thought to himself he knew she wouldn't have been messing around with him like this a few weeks ago. He decided he liked it better this way after thinking about it a few seconds.
“So I guess at this rate I will probably be sexually harassing you right? Smacking you on the ass as you walk by the water cooler on the fourth floor break room?”
“Not if you want to keep on having this particular personal assistant in your employment. I’m not trash at least not anymore.”
She added a hard edge to her voice as she spoke and her voice had picked up a little volume not yelling but definitely more emotionally invested than she would be with just joking around. He knew what had to be going through her head what she was thinking about. He didn't need to read minds or play with her feelings to guess that. He turned towards her his body language as serious as he could make it and looked her straight in the eyes which as he did it he realized he shouldn't have something inside her was about to snap. Had she stood up for herself before and been beaten down for it? Well too late now.
“Lily you were never trash. The only trash was what got put on the curb that day; you won’t have to take crap like that from anyone while you are working with me. I swear.”
As he said her name she started to look down and away from him he could see her shoulders tensing up her neck begin to shrink down into them. He reached his hand out towards her chin he knew as he did it that the physical contact probably was another wrong move but he countered anything negative she might start to think as he did it. As soon as his index finger touched her skin he began to flood her with feelings of safety and comfort. Man this is easy he thought to himself. He could probably beat her himself and as long as he was focused while he did it she would think she was on top of the world afterwards. As soon as he thought it he got mad at himself for it. What kind of a prick thinks something like that? What a dick he was for having something like that in his head in the first place. Once she was looking at him and he removed his hand all the rising feelings of self-disgust almost immediately vanished. OK that was odd he would have to think about that one later. She was looking him in the eye now as he spoke to her. Her eyes had become a little misty not close enough to look like she was going to really cry or anything more like when someone had a really big yawn and their eyes started to water a little. She pulled a napkin from her handbag and dabbed at them for a second and then smiled at him.
“I know because the next man that treats me like that I’m going to kill.”
Truth! Danny could tell a lie from a truth without even trying to and from what he could tell since Volnam had taught him how. From what he could tell he was right almost every single time, and she was telling a complete truth she had resolved to kill the next man that treated her wrong. That’s awesome he thought. If more women would just kill the bastard the first time through maybe the asshole network would pick up on it and they would all start keeping their hands to themselves.
Was all he could get out around the massive grin he now had? A minute or two more passed as they both absently watched the commercial break and Mr. Ed came back in.
“My sales manager wasn’t too pleased with me pushing him but he said we can have you around back while its being detailed before it goes up on the display ramp. its right back this way.” He waited to see that they were on their feet and ready to follow him, then he headed off down a series of Hallways that comprised the back portions of a car dealership that most people never have a reason to see. They came out to a fenced in area that was full of cars that had yet to be moved out onto the lot some had visible damage that Danny assumed was either something that happened to them as they were moved to the dealership or the result of an accident on the lot once they had arrived. They rounded a corner and ended up behind what seemed like the paint shop. There were blasts of mist coming off of the polished black surface of the hood as a team of employees worked a pressure washer and a foaming brush at the end of a long handle. There before them was what Danny had already decided was his new car. From the top of the hood slanting down onto the side quarter panels and then sloping halfway onto the driver and passenger doors were two deep red stripes that looked like they were made from some of the bloodiest red rubies ever mined crushed and mixed with crystal clear paint. On the portion of the stripes that ran along the quarter panel and the doors it read Demon in a thick script like lettering that was fine enough to look as if it were hand written but bold enough to be read at a distance. The whole body style screamed aggression, all of its body lines crisp and easy to see the car flowed forward. Even sitting still it looked like it was moving towards something. The windows were dark at first Danny thought it was a two door car but he soon noticed that it had half doors that laid up directly against the front doors. Danny had seen a viper once before it was smooth with all rounded corners it looked like it worked with things like aerodynamics to help it move through the air. This Demon in front of him looked like it laughed at the laws of nature and did whatever its driver commanded it to regardless of physics.
It was perfect.
“Someone start it.”
It was much more of a command than he had planned it to be he was already too excited. Much more of a command as he spoke Edward took a half of a step towards the car even though he didn’t have the keys and then he caught himself.
“I’m sorry but we have to wait until they are finished then they will have to turn it on to move it around to the showroom.”
Danny almost growled but stopped short. For a short second he wondered why he would even have growled in the first place.
“How many of them are you getting?”
“None this is it for now, they aren't on sale yet this is just a preview. I think they are scheduled for release year after next. The interior isn't even completely finished yet.”
Danny was starting to feel really agitated it must have shown on his face because Lily put a hand on his arm and lightly pulled him towards her.
“Danny calm down.” she whispered at to him.
“I am calm!” he grunted back at her.
“I will give you two a minute to talk”
Edward said as he moved over to look at the car from the opposite side.
“Are you really?” Lily asked glaring at him.
Danny didn’t answer he only glared back for a minute. Then he caught a glimpse of himself in a reflection on one of the cars tinted windows. Crap he looked pissed.
“OK... OK gimme a sec.”
He took a few breaths and decided that he might have opened himself up to too much working with Edward the way that he was. As he calmed down he began to think much clearer.
“OK let’s go get lunch...” He said and turned back towards the door that they came out.
“Damn cars gonna be mine though, just watch.” He mumbled as he held the door for her to go back inside. They made their way back down the hallways towards the showroom and Danny could hear hurried footsteps coming up the hallway behind them.
“Excuse me Mr.-”
Edward froze in his tracks. Danny didn’t use the commanding voice that Volnam went on and on about but he put just enough force behind it that it was very close to the same thing. It probably hit him in much the same way that it would have if it was his father figure and he was five and just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and knew that a whipping was about to be forthcoming. Once they were outside again Danny called out for Volnam.
“Get a hold of Algie and have him send a car for us.”
“Us?... Ahh you are spending time with her now are you? It makes sense you are male she is female.”
Danny was going to snap off a sharp come back or any comeback but the little snot of a demon caught him off guard and in this case it really ticked him off. Even suggesting that he could have a relationship with anyone but… He began to work on calming himself back down before he had a chance to really work himself up. Lily just waited beside him she knew that at some point she was going to get to ask her questions and she was just watching everything and mentally noting it away so that she could ask him when her chance came. He saw a look of concern flash across her face for an instant and he knew that she saw at least a glimpse of what he was trying not to feel. He really did have to work on not showing his feelings as freely on his face.
“Algie checked and it seems that one of his cars is getting serviced there already, meet with his driver and you can have that car for the day. She is stupid and ugly and week but she serves many purposes try not to do anything that would lose her to us.”
“We shall see. She is going to find out about us today.”
“Are you sure that you want to do that?”
“There is no point not telling her she lives with us. She had to carry me the last ten feet out of the building this morning there is only going to be more and more as time passes and it’s just going to get harder to explain.”
“Wait a little bit longer and I will help you make her your first Shiagge.”
“… ghh learn more of the language.” As he sent the words he also sent images of masses of Demons all sorts of sizes and breeds all standing row upon row with blank looks on their twisted evil faces.
“Ah ok Shiagge, it’s a type of mind slave isn’t it?”
“Learn more of the language.”
With that he could tell that the imp was no longer paying any attention to him apparently the conversation was over. He asked lily if she remembered what company makes the Cars that Algie’s company uses and they headed over to that dealership and waited in the showroom there was probably a ten minute wait and then one of the gentlemen that Danny had ridden with before approached the two of them.
“Mr. LeNoir I just got a phone call and it appears that I am with you for the rest of the day.”
“Outstanding, where is a good place for a sit down lunch?”
“What are you looking for?”
“… Italian, Mexican, French?”
Danny turned a blank stare at Lily and she looked up at the ceiling for a few seconds and finally
decided on Italian.