3 Straight by the Rules

3 Straight by the Rules by Michelle Scott

Book: 3 Straight by the Rules by Michelle Scott Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michelle Scott
Tags: Fantasy
Despite the office setting, Hell was more about pain and torment than synergy and staff meetings.
    “This isn’t going to be easy.”
    When were our jobs ever easy?  “Do what you have to,” I said knowing that Helen wouldn’t give us a moment’s peace until the assignment had been completed.
     
    When I arrived back at the door to my bedroom, I saw Ariel seated on my bed, watching the doorway.  She stared at it so intently that her eyes watered.
    My heart nearly stopped as I realized my niece’s sensitivity to the otherworld was increasing.  She knew a little about me, and she’d recognized Harmony as otherworldly, but now that she could spot doorways , there was no telling what powers she had.  Next, she might try entering those doorways.
    Wondering how much she could see, I leaned closer to the shimmering barrier that separated us.  When I did, her eyes widened even more.  “Aunt Lilly?” she asked.
    Shit.
    Ariel jumped off the bed and walked towards the doorway, her arms outstretched.  For a moment, I thought she’d pass through it and end up in the hallway with me.  To my relief, however, she kept walking until she reached the bedroom wall.  Frowning, she tried it again and again, each time passing across the otherworldly doorway as if it wasn’t there.
    Quickly, I left that doorway and found the one in the basement.  No way was I going to let her see me appear from the otherworld.  As I climbed the stairs to my flat, I realized I needed to have a talk with my niece about how human girls should not try to enter doorways leading to strange, otherworldly places.

Chapter Eight
    I planned on having that talk with Ariel as we drove to Midtown Ink, but she drowned out my attempts with her own nervous monologue.  “You’re suppose to let your ears heal for six weeks before you wear real earrings.”  She tugged on her earlobes.  “That’s what everyone said on the Internet.  But it doesn’t hurt too much, and you need to clean them twice a day every day, and you…”
    “Honey, you’ll be fine.”
    “I know,” she said but continued to pull on her ears.
    Neil’s shop lay in a suburb where trendy people too poor to afford the rent in Royal Oak or Berkley lived.  On his side of the street stood a resale shop, a vintage book seller, and a small, vegetarian restaurant.  This strip was hip in a seedy, thank-goodness-I-don’t-have-to-live-here, kind of way.
    Ariel pushed past me so she could enter the store first then stood, awed, in front of the spotless, glass display case full of jewelry.  “When I’m older, I’m having that done.”  She pointed to a poster which, to my horror, showed a woman with piercings in the thin membranes above and below her teeth.  I shuddered.  Even Tommy didn’t have anything so radical.
    “One step at a time,” I told her.
    No one manned the counter, but two people were arguing inside the private office.
    One of the angry voices belonged to Tommy.  “Why not?” he demanded.
    “Because you’ve just had surgery, that’s why not.”  Neil sounded even more upset than Tommy.  “And because if Jasmine found out, she’d set my store on fire and then throw me into the flames.”
    Tommy had been wanting more ink, but I had no idea his obsession had become this bad.
    “Then I’ll go somewhere else,” Tommy said.
    “You’re a damned fool!  Didn’t I warn you this would happen?  You, of all people, should know the first rule about getting tats.”
    Tommy didn’t reply.
    A large woman came out of the employee bathroom.  Her red-dyed hair had been shaved at the sides and hung long in back.  “Can I help you?”  Her voice implied the store was far too cool for someone like me.
    I’d opted for conservative, soccer mom clothes, but Ari had gone full-out Goth by wearing her favorite Marilyn Manson t-shirt, torn jeans, and black high tops.  She’d spiked her bangs, and her eyes were covered in so much dark eye shadow she resembled a football

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