Agent Glissandi Musette Chambers, Glissandi to all but her enemies, squatted in the low-running surf. She stared into the ocean and hungered for its buoyant hammock. She listened to her lover pacing behind her and tried not to entertain the anger she heard in her beloved’s voice.
Mina—Wilhelmina to her long-dead parents, Agent Weinberg to everyone at SearchLight, and Mina to Glissandi alone—was fuming about the separate flights they’d had to take to get to this touristy Costa Rican beach. She seemed to have forgotten it had been her decision to take different airplanes. She seemed to have forgotten that she’d only insisted on disparate travel plans because she was angry at Glissandi.
She seemed, in short, to be mad at the world and yet unwilling to address it.
That was Mina all over. Type A, ruler of the whole alphabet, and leader of the free magical world.
Glissandi wriggled her toes and then sat, ploof
, on her butt in the water that ran up the beach like puppies and could drown without a thought only a dozen yards out. The seat of her gold-on-pink bikini was soaked at once, but wasn’t that the point of such clothing? She hmphed softly and listened to Mina trudge back and forth in the failing light of a brilliant Costa Rican sunset.
“—had to wait almost three hours for my flight to catch up with yours, and for what? Because the mechanics couldn’t get their computers to all agree on the same thing?” Mina stopped pacing; her shadow fell over Glissandi like a blanket. “What are you doing?” she asked in a slightly milder tone.
“Enjoying the water.” Glissandi patted the damp sand beside her. “Join me?” She reached out to the boundary of her undine magic, checking to make sure no humans were prowling up on them. So far, her magic was keeping all humans and other magical creatures away. That was good. Technically, so close to sunset and the darkness that would follow, this beach was supposed to be deserted. But the human patrollers would only be expecting humans here, given that the world at large knew nothing of magical creatures. This ignorance wouldn’t protect Glissandi and her lover if a human blundered into them, but at least they were safe from all of their own kind. No magical creatures—from the grand fae to the elementals to the lesser beings like brownies or werewolves—knew their leader and leader’s newly appointed right-hand guard were sitting on a beach as day traded its place with night.
All of which made Glissandi feel safe and secure. And seemed to piss Mina off.
Then, surprising Glissandi, Mina sank down beside her and even took her hand. “You still don’t want to talk about it?” the slightly older undine asked.
Glissandi shook her head. Absolutely not, she thought. “Not here.” Or anywhere.