This is part of an ongoing story for the Challenge.
If you're just joining me, please start with A is for Abby.
I IS FOR INTELLIGENCE
Abby returned to her loft with pizza in hand. She was about to toss down her satchel when she heard Demetrius. His voice was quiet and intense, talking about something going on in the old house at the end of the street. There were no houses on her street, only apartment buildings.
After a half minute more, she realized he was reading. Reading out loud.
Abby crept around the corner and peered into the loft. Demetrius was sitting in her window seat with the window wide open. Tawa was propped up across from him. He had the newest Burrows book in his hands. He paused in his reading and started to ask Tawa a question.
"You!" Abby gasped and stormed over to them, tossing the pizza onto the coffee table. "You can hear her. You've been making fun of me all this time for talking to myself and you can hear her!"
"Hey, darling. It's no reason to be mean to the pizza." Demetrius gave her that grin that infuriated her and made her stomach do flips at the same time.
If it's any consolation, I didn't know he could hear me either until yesterday. Tawa didn't sound very sympathetic. In fact, Abby was sure she sounded amused.
"Yesterday?" Abby growled and threw up her hands before pulling at her hair. "Why didn't you tell us? Do you realize how infuriating you are?"
"I didn't do it to annoy you, but it was an amusing game." Demetrius slipped out of the window seat and bent over to open the box, snagging a piece of pizza. "You never asked how much I knew about the Fearless. Well, the old tales say something about a spiritual guide for each warrior. In centuries past, the guide was wished into a sacred object - perhaps a statue or a symbol of one's faith."
I remember those days. I was in a statue of the Greek Goddess Artemis for a couple of generations. Tawa sighed wistfully.
"Yet your sacred object was a stuffed hippo." Demetrius chuckled as he took a bite, cheese stretching out. He used his tongue to skillfully reign it in.
"At least it's something I can carry around easily and not draw any attention. I think lugging around a statue would slow me down a bit." Abby stared at that tongue. She slammed her palms into her eyes and rubbed them.
We didn't go with our girls when they fought. That has been something new I've experienced with you, Tawa said. After being in the washer for the third time this week, I think I prefer being in an unmovable statue.
"Anyway," Demetrius continued. "As for being able to hear Tawa, I'm from a line that has some telepathic abilities. I don't have any active abilities, but my senses can pick up things on other wavelengths. I didn't say anything at first because I was trying to respect your relationship with your guide. I didn't want to intrude unless invited."
"So why did you?" Abby folded her arms.
"I got tired of listening to her whining about being stuck in the washer and took her out." Demetrius shrugged as he took a second bite.
I wasn't whining. Tawa sniffed.
"That I can believe," Abby said to Demetrius and picked up a piece of pizza for herself. "Okay, now we can all talk together. Anything in the book worthwhile?"
It's full of bad prose and self-entitled teens complaining their parents won't let them stay out past ten. Tawa snorted.
"As a guide for the Fearless, you have no insight into literature." Demetrius fetched the book from the window seat.
Yes, because I spend so much time with a book in my hands.
He ignored Tawa and held out the book to Abby. "Monsters praying on children. It's written simply, but speaks to the basest of fears. Great use of tension. Not graphic, but enough detail to be frightening. Leaves a good amount to the imagination." He raised a brow at that.
Abby stood motionless, pizza in hand. He knew what he was talking about. He knew literary techniques. No longer just a hot body, he had a keen mind. Nothing turned her on more than intelligence. She was so screwed.
"Did you hear me? It's triggering the imagination of its readers to realize their fears." Demetrius frowned slightly at Abby who still hadn't moved. He wiggled the book at her, waiting for her to take it.
Abby slowly reached up and took the book. Her hand fell heavily back to her side, the book bonking against her thigh. "Oh, I heard you."