During the night, I awoke briefly as Ayami transformed. I’d already shown her how to get to the back door – the roof didn’t suit her needs. Fortunately, it already had a dog door and she could just get out without any additional transformations. I went back to sleep and didn’t wake again until she returned at dawn. Slayers should not have creatures as roommates – I don’t know how Jack couldn’t sense James coming and going but I sure could with Ayami!
Sunday is normally a busy morning for me. But since I wasn’t actually supposed to be home, I couldn’t very well go to church with my parents. I did invite Ayami for next week – presuming we were supposed to be home then. We settled for watching her church’s service online.
My parents were invited to lunch with a business associate of Daddy’s – okay, this plan had a few bright spots, I admit. Business lunches are usually a bore – no one really knows anyone and all you can talk is shop.
Ayami and I had leftover fried chicken and baked beans. She had brought her homework with her – which included a correspondence course in English. I helped with that and we called Jack who was similarly stuck at home for her questions about metallurgy. Evidently, welding is much more complicated than ‘heat this, attach that’. I probably should have taken notes but I was seriously debating dropping that art class as I listened to the conversation on speaker. Yikes, that stuff is complex! I’d like at least one semester without migraines!
Still waiting for my parents, we went through the kitchen as part of one of her English assignments. Actually, I wish we’d done stuff like that in high school Spanish – I might have passed with better than a B and I might remember some of it now. Anyway, we were taking things out and Ayami was learning the names.
“This?” She held up the thing that let’s you drain stuff. She would find that thing – I never remember its name and Mama wasn’t home.
“Um, it’s a… drat, I don’t remember. Leave it out – Mama will know when she gets here.”
Ayami smiled and nodded, trying not to laugh at me. “This?”
“That’s a ladle.”
I nodded and she wrote it down on her sheet. “What’s it called in Japanese?”
She told me – no, I don’t remember. I don’t even know why I asked.
“Juicer.” I told her, then spelled it for her.
She needed twenty items and I was spelling colander when my parents got home. Mama identified the strainer and spelled the word for her. Mama started on dinner as I put the things away.
Ayami called Kimberly’s folks to get permission to stay with ‘a friend from church’ overnight. Mama took over and talked to Kimberly’s mom. That was a big hassle – Mama already knew Mrs. McVay and had to explain that Ayami had misspoken. I got on the phone and explained that we’d shared the service and Ayami had come over and one thing lead to another.
I should never be allowed to do that kind of thing. I made matters worse, of course. But in the end, since she knew where Ayami was and the people she’d be staying with, Mrs. McVay gave her approval. Kagome would be by with a bag for Ayami. That got Kagome on the phone and Mama invited her as well. She looked at me and I nodded. Since Kagome knew about Ayami, it wouldn’t hurt to have her here.
Two hours later, Kagome was on the stoop with two bags. By then I realized how completely stupid this whole plan had been. I could have just invited them both. Then I realized that I hadn’t asked Ayami about Kagome until it was way too late for that. Sheesh, I know I’m not a strategist but I can usually plan a pajama party better than this!
In the parlor, having put Kagome’s things away in my room, I brought Kagome up to speed. I didn’t tell her the whole tale – I wasn’t sure Jack would approve and it would take forever anyway. I did explain about being a slayer – after making sure she knew I wasn’t a threat. For a normal person suddenly thrust into our abnormal world, she took it really well.
We spent most of the night with me researching werecats for Kagome – there was a ton she didn’t know and she had a million questions. About ten, Ayami transformed and headed out.
“I still don’t understand – what is Ayami doing?” Kagome asked.
I sighed, “Okay, remember what I said about familiars?”
She nodded solemnly.
“The warlock has a lot of small rodent familiars. Last night, Ayami was scoping them out – tonight her job is to catch as many as she can. Jack set up a special cage in the basement of his building – she’ll put them there.”
“Not kill them?” Kagome asked.
“No.” I shook my head, “First off, we don’t know enough about the warlock – he may not be doing this willingly and it would be cruel to slaughter his familiars like that. The second part Jack would have to explain but we need at least some of them alive.”
“Did you not say they could not enter that building?”
I nodded, “Normally, they can’t. Jack will be down there to ‘invite’ them in. Oh, hold on a sec.” My phone was buzzing. “Hello?”
It was Jack. Mr. Myers was with him to collect the names – all familiars have to have names and it helps to know that so Jack can dis-invite any escapees – they are still mice, after all. They wanted me to double check with Samantha but I didn’t need to – she’d already let me know she was detecting familiars in the building. So had Finley – he’d nearly scared me out of my skin, hollering at me while I was talking to Kagome. Satisfied, Jack ended the call.
We went back to discussing werecats and Kagome gave me the long version of how Ayami had been infected. I think it did her good, being able to ask someone about all this stuff. It was late but an idea had crossed my mind. I called Jack.
“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Good, if construction doesn’t work out she has a real future in extermination. Twenty mice, a hamster and four gerbils thus far.” Jack replied.
I chuckled, “Would it be okay to call Lisa this late?”
“Should be – She and Thompkins are watching anime with my geek brothers at my place.” Jack replied.
Finishing that call, I quickly got Lisa on the line. She was delighted to ditch the geek brigade and come over. She explained that ‘One Piece’ and ‘Space Dandy’ were too weird for her and she’d be right over. I hung up with no idea what she’d meant.
Kagome knew exactly what she meant – and they spent the next hour discussing “Inu-Yasha” and “Yona of the Dawn”. I did learn that they were comics – what the Japanese call ‘manga’ – made into animated TV shows. Evidently, I lead a sheltered life.
Having gotten Lisa’s anime situation straightened out, I got down my copy of “Weres of the Orient” by a Spaniard named De La Rosa and handed it to Kagome.
I grinned, “Silly question – what is the title of that book?”
Kagome’s eyebrows went up but she humored her sanity challenged friend, “It says “A Beginner’s Guide to Tatting” by a Ms. Renee Johnson. What is tatting?”
“Making lace.” I answered, “Lisa?”
“Seriously?” Lisa asked.
“It’s “Weres of the Orient” by Pedro De La Rosa. Beginning tatting?” She responded.
“Yeah, the normal looks like stuff the slayer is interested it. I was ten, okay?”
She chuckled, “I spent a summer on macrame – understood.”
Kagome was eyeing us like we’d lost our minds.
I went on, “Kagome’s cousin is a creature and I’d like to loan her the book.”
The light went on, “Ah, and you want to see if I can teach her how to see it as it really is?”
I nodded and turned to Kagome but she had already caught on. Lisa went straight to work. I flipped through Paget’s “Fairies of the Night” while they talked. I had just enough of an ear on the conversation to see why Jack had been so impressed with his sister’s teaching abilities. In a little more than an hour, there were two normal people who could read our script. Two weeks earlier, I’d have sworn it couldn’t be done.
Lisa left since she had classes in the morning and it was after midnight. Kagome and I were up a little longer then we turned in, sharing my bed and leaving the daybed to Ayami. Just after dawn, I awoke as Ayami entered the room. She’d evidently already transformed because she went straight to bed. Yep, never rooming with a creature, I promised myself as I went back to sleep.