Invision (Chronicles of Nick #7)
“So this is your great solution? Really? When the going gets tough, the tough drown themselves in chocolate milk and beignets?”
Irritated at being disturbed, Nick Gautier arched a brow at the sarcastic tone that normally he’d appreciate. But right now, he didn’t want to hear it, especially not from some cocky demon overlord who was supposed to be his subordinate bodyguard.
Besides, it was easy for Caleb to judge. Lord Malphas was tall, ripped, and had those perfect dark good looks that got him anything he wanted. Any time he wanted it, without even having to use his powers of persuasion.
Provided it didn’t come from one surly, unreasonable Cajun half-demon teen who was currently trying to drown his misbegotten woes in a mountain of beignets and chocolate milk.
So yeah … Caleb had it right. This was what Nick wanted to do with the rest of his life.
Growling low in his throat, Nick reached for another powdered sugar–covered pastry. “Don’t you have a baby to eat or village to terrorize or something?”
With a deadly grimace, Caleb dared to pull the sugary confection from Nick’s hand before Nick could stuff it in his mouth.
He was lucky Nick didn’t take a plug out of his flesh.
“Or are you trying for a diabetic coma?” Caleb dropped his gaze to the six plates on the small round table that were stacked in front of Nick. All of which attested to just how upset Nick was that he’d gobbled them down like a Charonte demon on a three-day bender after an all-week fast. “Please tell me you didn’t eat all of those on your own.”
He would tell Caleb that, but it would be a lie.
Nick passed a grudging grimace to his friend. “What do you care?”
“We care, boyo.”
He winced at the sound of Aeron’s deep, lilting accent as the ancient Celtic god came up behind him through the small crowd that was seated at the Café Du Monde around him and Caleb. Tall and muscled, the blond war deity moved to stand beside the demon so that the two of them could stare down at him with the same disappointed smirk.
Beautiful. Just what Nick had put on his Christmas list. The mutual disdain of two ancient beings who wanted to collectively kick his half-demonic ass for being a churlish baby.
And why not?
He was long past due for a good old-fashioned pity party. All that was missing was the balloon animals. And H?agen-Dazs.
Along with zombie clowns from hell, trying to eat the tourists and kill Nick for his powers. ’Cause face it, here lately that was how every party Nick attended ended.
“So that’s it, then? You’re just going to quit?”
Oh yeah, that helps. Bring in the girlfriend. ’Cause I just don’t feel worthless enough.
Nick sighed as Nekoda Kennedy piled on with the other two. Lithe and ever graceful, she was still the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen offscreen. With brown hair and vivid green eyes that usually lit up whenever she looked at him, Kody had won his heart the first day they met and had held it in her hands ever since.
But right now …
He just didn’t want to hear it from anyone. Not even his angelic girl.
Hanging his head, he pushed his chair back to face her. “What do you want me to say, Kode? You saw what I did. It’s hopeless. I’m going to end this world. Whether it’s tomorrow or a thousand years from now. I’m going to lose it all. Break bad and tear humanity apart.… Doesn’t matter what we do. Whatever we try. We just delay the inevitable outcome. So I’m going to sit here with my eats. And just…” He let his voice trail off as the full horror of his future played through his mind for the five millionth time.
He was the end of everything.
All he loved.
The entire world would one day fall to Nick’s army of demons.
Yeah, there was something to put on his college applications. That ought to have schools lining up to accept him. Who wouldn’t want that as their alumnus? We have graduated senators, presidents, movers-and-shakers, and the Malachai demon who ate the world whole …
It was the one reality Nick wanted to deny and couldn’t. Everything eventually came back to that one inescapable fact he wanted to run away from and couldn’t.
I’m only sixteen. Too young to deal with this crap.
He was supposed to be worried about his grades. About keeping his girl happy. Staying out of trouble. His mom finding his friend’s porn magazines stashed in his room. Getting to work on time. Making curfew.
Not hell-gates and demons coming for the throats of his family and friends.
Definitely not about the fact that his birthright was to bring on the destruction of the entire human race.
Suddenly, Nick stood up as a severe panic attack hit him so hard that it left him reeling. Unable to cope with it, he stumbled toward the rear exit of the café that led toward the French Market that ran parallel to the Mississippi River.
This time of day, it was completely empty. Thankfully.
His heart pounding wildly and with no real destination in mind, he rushed down the back alley where bronze statues were poised beside benches as he tried to catch his breath and find some semblance of sanity in this madness that had become his extremely complicated life.
Yet as he ran, those statues seemed to be watching him today with their beady, blank eyes.