"WHAT did you say?" my business partner, Marty, nearly shrieked at me this morning in the club's office. I had come to tell him I was leaving.
"I said I am going to have to relinquish my part of the club," I told him. I was sitting in a chair, he was practically cowering over me. Marty was a Haebrokl demon; intimidating sort. Lots of teeth.
He shook his head at me and grumbled. "You're the irresponsible sort, Son," he told me. "You kids these days don't know how to make up your damned minds. And now I'm stuck running this place by myself again. Damnit, Lorne."
"I-I'm sorry, Marty," I said apologetically. "Something's come up, and I really need to go back to Los Angeles. I have some unfinished business I need to take care of." I looked up at him and gave him a meek smile. "Besides, I'm sure you won't have to look too hard to find a replacement."
"It's not that, Kid," He told me. "It's that I'm completely baffled by you. When you first came here, you were practically begging to let you in. And now that you're here, you're ditching out. I know I can replace you easily, but I was starting to take a liking to you. And this place was actually starting to take off, too. I mean, now that we managed to get a big-name act come in."
I gave him an innocent smile. "About her.." I started.
Marty gave me an arched brow and a quizzical look. "What about her?" he asked, carefully.
"Um," I said nervously. "She's coming with me."
Marty threw his hands in the air in a gesture of mixed frustration and exasperation. He buried his face in his hands. "You're taking my act, too? Why? Why does she need to go with you?" he asked. His eyes suddenly narrowed. "You're not sleeping with her, are you?"
I said nothing, but looked away.
"Damnit, Lorne!" he cried, his hands moving to rub at his temples. I could see the vein on his forehead pop out. And speaking of popping out, it was time I got the hell out of there. Marty looked like he was ready to hit something, and I didn't want that something to be me.
I stood up and got out of my chair. "Listen Marty," I told him. "I really am sorry. You need to understand my past goes way back, and it's not something I can escape. If I don't go back to Los Angeles to face it, it'll come here and bit me in the ass in the worst way possible. In the end, it probably wouldn't be a very good thing for you to have to deal with. It might end up getting your club destroyed."
He was giving me a confused look. "Just trust me on this one," I told him. "I need to do this. I have to go."
He continued to seethe, but I didn't care. I tossed him my set of keys, gave him a curt smile, and left.
Tomorrow, Nia and I would leave for Los Angeles. I grew ever increasingly more anxious, and somewhat reluctant, to see my friends again. I could only hope for the best.