The two shook on their deal and continued down the path. It wouldn’t be much longer before the pair would reach the exit, and Lizzie refused to waste a single moment with her old friend. “So aside from the promotion, how’ve you been?”
The angel scoffed. “You make it sound like I get perks with this gig… But I’ve been alright, I guess. Keeping myself busy, keeping the court on their toes. Tony will be eighteen next year, so I’ll have to prep him to lead after my term–“
“Wait, what?” Lizzie interrupted the prince. “Tony’s your pick for successor? Shouldn’t the next guy be Connor or Ricky? They’re older than he is–“
“Palladinos don’t sit on the throne,” he said, shaking his head. “Their family hosts the vessels of a few of our warriors, not royals. There’s no point putting one in power unless there’s no other option. You’re right about Connor, though–he’s long overdue for a term, but the council keeps handing him the shit end of the stick. The Montgomeries on the council are outvoted; the Halls are, for some goddamn reason, siding with my dad and Uncle Enzo. Apparently one of my aunts is behind all of this–“
“Holy shit, there’s actually a woman in power in your court?” Lizzie half-joked, genuinely shocked by the news.
He nodded. “Yeah, I know how the court looks from the outside, but the women in our family have influence over the men. Aunt Des was our psychic before Alexa was recruited, so she’s still the council’s go-to telepath–and her future sight is a huge asset to them, so I get it.”
“Future sight?” Lizzie’s head was spinning from all the information. I knew spirit politics were crazy–I didn’t realize there was so much involved. “But if she can see the future and everyone is making moves based off of that, then not making Connor prince is beneficial to the court, right?”
“Maybe,” he admitted with a grumble. “Or maybe she’s only doing what’s beneficial for the Alagonas.”
“Is that really what you think?”
“How can I not think that?” Monty said, slowing down their procession to an idle as they neared the gate. Lizzie could see his old motorcycle just beyond the exit, a silver helmet hanging from one of its mirrors. She could see the reflective surface peeking out through the headgear’s visor. “All she and the council have ever done is look out for our family. They’ve never cared about anyone else, and the entire court knows it.”
Lizzie grimaced. “I guess all this political crap hasn’t helped your friendship with Connor, has it?”
The two had inched closer to the angel’s bike. He gingerly plucked the helmet off the mirror, handing it to her as he let out a huff.
“No, it hasn’t. I was hoping to sit down with Connor and explain what little pull I had, but he won’t see me. He avoids me whenever possible.”
“Can’t you just order him to meet with you?” she asked, hugging the silver headgear. “Prince’s influence affects all members but the advisor and psychic, right?”
He scoffed. “Yeah, that’d work out great. ‘I know you’ve been passed over for positions in leadership twice now, but I’ve forced you to stand before me against your will so I can ask for your forgiveness.’ My pops would be proud.”
“Knowing him, he actually might be…” The human grumbled.
The prince offered her a contrite smile. “Still don’t like him?”
“Why would I?” Lizzie demanded. “Mona might have forgiven him, but I haven’t.”
Monty seemed to hesitate before responding; his expression had shifted from apologetic to stern as his emerald eyes became unfocused. It was only for a moment, but Lizzie could recall this same distracted demeanor from their short time spent as roommates.
Alexa must’ve reached out to him.
When he refocused on the human, his tone and expression softened. “Let’s get you home, kid.”
He mounted his bike and brought it to life, gazing back at her patiently. Without another word, she put on the helmet and climbed on behind him, planting her head behind his right shoulder. Her arms wrapped tightly around his torso, gripping his hoodie in two little fistfuls. They took off with a rev of the engine, the uproar flooding her ears and forcing her to rely on her sight.
It had been years since he had taken her for a spin on his motorcycle–Lizzie hadn’t realized how much she had missed the experience. Watching her surroundings fly by in a flash, feeling her stomach do somersaults as they made tight turns…
It didn’t take long for her to realize that they were moving at a far greater velocity than her memories claimed. Mona had revealed a few years back that Monty always sped on the bike–as a spirit, his strength and agility were naturally superior to an average human’s, so going a moderate pace was not gratifying for him–but he had made a point to take it easy when riding with Lizzie.
So this is what I’ve been missing out on! she gushed inwardly, adrenaline coursing through her.
When they arrived at her and Mona’s home, she hopped off the bike and pulled off the helmet.
“Thanks! I really missed that.”
He offered her a somber smile and took the headgear from her. “Glad I could help.”
The light brown specks on his aura were wider and darker than before Alexa had reached out to him. He straddled the bike, its engine still running.
Her heart sank. “You gotta go, right?”
“Yeah,” he admitted. “Something’s come up that needs my attention. I can still be your ride home for the rest of the week, though.”
“No, you don’t have to–” Lizzie began, only for him to cut her protest short.
“Maybe not, but I want to,” he smirked, easing on his helmet. “Besides, how else will I get to meet your human friends?”
She cringed at the idea. “Ugh, never mind. Stay away from my school.”
“Too late!” he shouted from within his headgear. “See you tomorrow!”
The angel surged forward, made a U-turn, and sped back up the road. The roaring of his motorcycle faded into the night, leaving Lizzie alone beneath the moonlight.