DJ: You came. And you’re on time.
Strafford Law appears and sits down on my red suede sofa. He leans back and spreads his muscular arms over the back of the couch, making him appear more dominant than I’d like him to be. The beautiful punk is smiling too, and I’m immediately suspicious.
DJ: What? Why are you smiling?
Strafford: Can I not jus’ be happy to see you, wan? (The Irish wanker winks at me) And did you expect me to be late?
DJ: (nodding) Yes.
I have no idea. So I change the subject.
DJ: You came out of your self-induced retirement to guard the Oracle, a mortal girl you didn’t even know. Why? And don’t tell me it’s because of her pretty red hair.
This changes his tune. His smile fades.
Strafford: Chloe’s hair is divine.
He’s very defensive and I think it’s cute. But I don’t say so.
DJ: I know. I’ve seen it. Answer the question.
Strafford: (grunts) I knew she would need me.
DJ: (I cock my head to one side) You knew she would need you? Or you wanted her to need you? I’ve met Chloe and she’s one tough girl. She’s definitely not the needy type.
I’m screwing with his psyche. Chloe does need him. They all need him.
I need him.
Strafford: You know how I feel abou’ Chloe, wan. There’s nothin’ more to say abou’ it.
DJ: There’s always more, Your Highness. (He glares at me and I smirk at him. I’ve made my point so I move on.) Gods have a lot of children. How do you handle having so many siblings?
Strafford: There’s nothin’ to handle, really. Mos’ of my siblings hate me. The others I try to avoid at all costs. Except for dealin’ with Ace and the twins, I’ve kept to myself for the mos’ part.
DJ: But that’s all about to change, isn’t it?
Strafford: (glaring) Unfortunately.
DJ: You sound put out about it though I’m not sure why. Change is essential to life, Your Highness.
Strafford: Says who?
DJ: (shrugs) I don’t know. Me, perhaps?
Strafford: (snorts) Note to self. Erase “change is essential to life” quote by Diantha Jones from memory.
DJ: You are such a prick sometimes.
Strafford: So wha’? You created me. Blame yourself.
Well, he has me there.
DJ: Why do you hate L.A. so much?
Strafford: (Leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees. His eyes narrow in on me, but I’m not Chloe. He can't intimidate me like that. Much.) You love to push tha’ button, don’ ya wan?
DJ: Hell yeah. The only time you show true emotion is when I mention him. I’d love to see what you’d do if he were just to pop in right now.
Strafford: (he smiles, but I can tell he wants to choke me out) Now you’re jus’ being mean.
DJ: Oh, come on with the whining. I thought you were the big, bad ass Strafford Law?
Strafford: (licks his lips, sits back) Oh, I’m definitely tha’, wan.
He means so much more than what he is supposed to mean, and I wonder if Chloe has witnessed this Strafford in action yet. Probably not. Poor girl.
DJ: (clears throat) How old are you?
Strafford: Twenty-two. (His eyes narrow again) I’m not too old for Chloe either.
DJ: (I bite back my smile) Wasn’t even thinking it. Four years is nothing...
Strafford: I really can’t understand why she likes you so much.
DJ: (I glare the punk down) Because I’m awesome.
Strafford: Accordin’ to whom? (Now it’s his turn to bite back a smile)
DJ: (I can’t help but smile too) Okay, last question. You are not only a Prince, but you are the leader of the Quad, the guardians sworn to protect the Oracle. That’s a lot of responsibility. Are you worried even the least bit that you won’t be able to fulfill your duties to the fullest extent because of your past...experiences?
I see his jaw clench, but I know he plans to answer. It just takes him a while.
Strafford: I will admit, I’m not the person I used to be, but tha’ doesn’ mean tha’ I’ve forgotten how to be tha’ person. I will do wha’ever I have to to protect Chloe. I’ve sworn to it, and on my life, nothin’ will hurt her while I’m still breathin’. All who try, will meet my sword – blade first. I was born a killer and I’ll die one. On tha’, you have my word.
I smile. Strafford’s confidence is very attractive. Too bad the Fates have no plans of making it that easy for him...
But I don’t say so.
DJ: (standing) Well, you might not understand why Chloe likes me, but I sure understand why she likes you. Who would be worried about anything with you around?
I expect a cocky grin at that point and I’m not disappointed. I don’t mind too much. Strafford’s smile is TO DIE FOR.
DJ: Thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.
Strafford: (stands as well) Anytime, wan.
DJ: Oh, and one more thing. (I gesture at the window) I can see the castle in the clouds from here. The black one.
Strafford: (smiles) Of course you can, wan.
And then he is gone.
I walk to the window, thinking that maybe this time the castle won’t be there. It is, and as I stare up at it, awed by its majestic beauty, a mystical voice speaks out behind me.
What did you tell him about the prophecy?
I don’t turn around because I had already been warned not to the last time they had come to me. I needed no reminders.
DJ: I didn’t tell him anything. Therefore, he can’t tell her anything.
Good. Make sure it stays that way.
And then, they too, are gone.
I smile. Their secret is safe with me.