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(Earlier parts are linked on the Amie’s Fiction page.  I’m working on turning this into a full novel and have revised a lot of it to accommodate a longer and more involved story.)

I was blushing. Dammit! This was so not a good idea. Even talking on the phone with him was dangerous.

“Cute.” My voice went sharper than those molecule splitting quills. Oh well, better than breathy. “Seriously, I need a favor. But,” I held up a finger even though he couldn’t see… at least, not that I knew of, “I will give you something in return.”

His, “I’m listening,” brushed over my skin like a heavy breath, calling the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck to attention.

I rubbed my arm with my free hand. The hairs didn’t go down. And I wanted to risk being in a room with him?

“I’m on an assault case right now and the Defense is using what we’re calling the Gods Defense. He’s saying Dionysus made him break a guy’s nose in a bar. The defense lawyer and I both subpoenaed Dionysus and I think he’ll just ignore it.” I took a deep breath and Apollo was still silent. “Should I just keep explaining while you pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, or can I cut to the chase?”

“By all means, Cassandra.”

I really wished he’d stop saying my name like that.

“You talk to Dionysus, get him to agree to obey the subpoena, come to the office to be interviewed, show up in trial, the whole shebang, and I’ll meet with you in person.”

“So you can establish a precedent for such an action?”

“So you can show the country you really do intend to work within our system and not try to take it over. Like you guys have been claiming.”

I don’t know why I felt the need to add the last part. Maybe because I didn’t get exactly why they were trying to integrate into society. They were gods after all. They could just tell us to take our system and shove it.

“Consider it done.”

Huh? My brow pinched up and my jawbone went jelly. “Excuse me?”

“I have already spoken to Dionysus. He will call your office Monday to set up a time for his interview and I’m assuming the court will tell him when to appear.”

Actually the subpoena said that but I had more important things to worry about than correcting him. “But… you…” My hand flew out and Webber jumped off my lap. “He was already planning on answering it?”

“No. This was a joint decision by all of us. We told you to plead it out. If you could not, you would have to come to me.”

My stomach twisted up and I felt the blood drop from my face. The mirror across my room shot my image back at me. I’d always been teased about looking like Snow White with my black hair and pale skin. Now I looked like her after she ate the apple.

He didn’t… he wouldn’t… yeah, yeah he would.

“Apollo, is there a basis for Reily’s client’s defense? Did a god make him attack someone?”

“Why would you think that, Cassandra?”

Horror hit me in my stomach like a solid punch and I closed my eyes, trying to take deep breaths. “You planned this!”

His voice was oh so calm as he said, “You now get what you want and so do I. Meet me in my theater in an hour. Use the employee parking. I know how you loath paying for parking. I will tell the guards to be expecting you.”

“What… no… you son of a bitch!”

He’d already hung up.

“DAMMIT!” I threw the phone down and it bounced off my carpet, landing with a thud. I grabbed it, shoving it into my purse.

I stomped across my bedroom with all the weight my little body could manage. I banged open the closet door. I nearly tore the buttons off my top taking it off. I yanked a ball gown off its hanger, chucking the plastic garment bag as I marched across the room again. I slammed the bathroom door. None of it helped.

I’d been played.

And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

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