The Coffee House on Bourbon Street

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Chapter 13 What if I don't want to tell you what I am?

“What if I don’t want to tell you?” Ankou asked; a grin and arched eyebrow occupying his face. He was trying to rile her up, so far it was working. I locked eyes with Jess and then quickly hid my head to avoid her seeing the smile that spread across my face.

“Well... Then you won’t get to have Liz’s food,” Jess said with a crinkle between her eyebrows and the ends of her mouth casting downwards.

I looked up to see that the smile on Ankou’s face had widened and that even Thomas was smiling and watching the exchange intently.

“You really are stubborn,” Ankou said.

Jess huffed in exasperation. “Well, welcome to my humble abode where we actually want to know why the assholes we are housing are assholes,” she said with a wicked smile on her face.

The room was silent not counting the ticking of the clock, everyone was waiting for Ankou’s reaction. He exploded into boisterous fits of laughter.

“Oh god Lizzie, keep this one around, she has a good sense of humor,” he said after his laughter had subsided. He then turned to Jess with a smile, a dangerous gleam in his eyes accompanying it and said, “Hi, my name is Ankou. We might have met before briefly, in passing perhaps. To most people, I’m known as the personification of Death. But I’m also the Guardian of Graveyards, a place you will occupy.” He looked her up and down. “Sooner rather than later, it would appear.”

She laughed. “Really? You? The personification of Death? Is this some kind of joke? You look nothing like...” Jess said in an enraged voice, a tone of voice that she usually didn’t speak in. She sounded angry and to those that knew her, freaked out. But her appearance could have easily fooled you. From the outside, she looked like an avenging angel, deathly calm and on the verge of striking.

“No, I don’t look like her, do I?” Ankou answered, a wicked smile on his face, feigning indifference. But from his body language, I could tell that he was bothered by the confrontation. And that he didn’t actually want to continue having this conversation.

“How do you know who I’m talking about?” Jess asked, taking a step towards him. The picture of a lioness stalking her prey came to mind.

“Well, there are only so many versions of us, I honestly doubt that you have met all of us,” he said in a condescending tone while raising one of his eyebrows and taking a sip out of the mug in front of him, that I set there during the course of their conversation. He looked at me and said with a warm smile, “thank you, love”. I returned his smile. He was the only one whom I allowed to call me that, simply because he always used it as a code word for when he was uncomfortable with the situation and wanted an out. I picked it up over the course of our friendship, I had used it too on occasion in situations where he was with me, it had proven helpful and had saved our lives once or twice.

“Okay, we get it. You are mad because I brought someone into your apartment that you don’t know without asking. You are reacting badly to a simple question because you are tired and hungry. Enough already. Sit, eat and enjoy the food I have made. We can continue having this conversation after you have eaten,” I say. Jess looked like she wanted to argue. “This is non-negotiable,” I continue. I look at Jess expectantly.

“Fine. Have it your way,” she says while pouting and sat down on the couch next to Thomas, who wrapped his arm around her.

“Thank you,” Ankou answered in an exhausted tone of voice.

The conversation around the lunch table was rather dire and uncomfortable. And after all the food and dishes had been cleared, Ankou and Jessica sat down on opposite couches and quietly talked, while Thomas and I loaded the dishwasher. I looked over Thomas’ shoulder in time to see a hand being widely thrown around in gesture and a hearty laugh as a response.

“Well, that was weirdly easily solved. What do you think?” I asked Thomas, still looking into the direction of the two porcupines.

He laughed and said, “What did you expect? They both are your best friends, of course, they’d be somewhat similar in personality.”

I looked at him in surprise. “How did you know he was my best friend?”

Thomas smiled. “Your both too comfortable around each other for him to be an ex-boyfriend. But you are in tune with each other’s body language, so you must have spent a lot of time together at some point. I can tell you miss him, but something must have happened because whenever you look at him you get this sad faraway look in your eyes.”

I bit my lips. I really had missed him. The things we had been through, the good and the bad.

“As creeped out by your deduction I am, I can’t help but be impressed,” I smiled.

“Maybe talk to him about what happened?” Thomas suggested gently. “I don’t know what happened, so I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you have missed him, so maybe think about it?”

“Thanks. I’ll think about it,” I said.

Ankou stayed for dinner and we ended up watching Pirates of the Carribean. After the movie, he decided that it was time for him to get going. As he said goodbye to Thomas and Jess, I thought about what I should say to him.

I got up to walk him to the front door. Putting on his leather jacket, he avoided eye contact.

“You could have just called me if you needed help. I thought you knew that even though we aren’t close you could still call if you needed something?” I said timidly.

He finally lifted his eyes and said, “it hurt too much hearing your voice and knowing that you weren’t on my side but that we also weren’t a team anymore. It took me years to create a way for out how to deal with shit without you being around. Once I figure it out, I didn’t want your help anymore. I still don’t. The only reason I reached out is because something is about to happen and it’s too big for me to deal with on my own. I have talked to the old team and most of them were willing to participate if I got you to agree to help me.”

With having said what he wanted, regardless of the repercussions, he opened the door and walked out into the increasingly darkening night.
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