I pulled up the audio version of the newest Iron Druid book, turned my phone on speaker, and when the tub was full, I sank into the hot water with a sigh. Luke Daniels could read a shampoo bottle and I’d listen, but my mind kept drifting off of Atticus’ and Oberon’s adventures, and was instead hopping from rock to rock in the garden of ADDATA, the Quimbys, and Gabriel. I wasn’t even annoyed when the phone rang and interrupted the story, because I knew I’d have to go back to the beginning of the chapter anyway.
It was on its fourth ring when I finally dried off my hand and reached to answer it, so I hit the speaker button just as I looked at the screen.
Gabriel’s name startled me so much I didn’t say anything – I just sat up in the tub and stared at the phone.
“Please say you’re not in the bath.” Gabriel’s voice was quiet, deep, and had a note of pleading in it.
“What do you want, Gabriel?” I moved again, and the water sloshed around me. I knew he could hear it because he groaned softly.
“Where to begin.” It was almost a whisper, and the words sent a shiver through me. He cleared his throat and continued in his normal, beautiful voice. “We had a call from Quimby. He said he’d found you and wondered what we were going to do about it.” I didn’t say anything, and the silence lasted two long heartbeats. “Are you okay?” he finally asked, quietly.
“He saw me turn from Bryn Mawr onto Sheridan. I lost him in the alleys.”
Gabriel exhaled. “Good.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be finding his money? Or his wife? Or something else he misplaced?”
“Do you have his money or his wife?” he asked.
“Okay? What exactly do you want from me, Gabriel?” I sat forward and the water sloshed again. I traced the ripples with my fingers as I heard his sigh.
“I don’t know. I just know that every time you move, I hear the water in your bath, and I imagine …” He exhaled sharply. “Be careful, darling. I don’t trust Quimby not to try to hurt you if he can. Don’t let him catch you.”
“You haven’t caught me yet, and you’re far more resourceful than that little man.”
He chuckled softly. “Yet.” He hung up the phone without saying goodbye, and Luke Daniels’ voice returned, continuing the story as I sank down in the water and let its heat lap over the chills on my skin.