Best Friend For Hire, Entry 194

“Let us off here.” stated Portentia in an area that didn’t look nearly as bad as I had imagined. Then she looked over at me and said, “I know Mila can take care of herself, but we’d stick out like a sore thumb in such a fancy car. Probably should do something about your clothing as well.” Apparently, we weren’t there yet. The drive was too long, giving me plenty of time to come up with doubts about the situation. I probably could handle myself nicely against more average criminals if we were assaulted. I knew Portentia didn’t have to worry about getting shot. What if someone more dangerous came at us though? I could probably scare off a couple werewolves now if they weren’t too determined to do me harm, but… I shuddered as I remembered my earlier encounter with Death’s daughter. There was nothing either of us could do if she came. “Oh! If you’re cold, we can get you a hoodie like mine. No offense, but even your hair is a bit too clean cut for this area.” claimed Portentia. “So says the girl with perfect white hair and skin.” I replied. She grinned at me and said, “Thank you! You wouldn’t believe how paranoid I’ve been about it lately. Everyone at your place is so beautiful. I sometimes wonder if you even notice me.” Thankfully, Mila spoke up just then, saying, “There is a thrift shop just ahead on the right, master, if you do wish to change. I’ll remain here and care for anything you wish to take off.”

“Okay. Thank you, Mila.” I told her before stepping out. I couldn’t really bring myself to back out, not with how excited Portentia seemed by the idea. I was somewhat surprised when we went inside. The store was very clean, and at least half the clothes seemed to be from this era, though some were obviously not. “Oh! Try this on!” exclaimed Portentia, holding up a shirt that looked fit for Hawaii. I donned the shirt and felt Jarod would approve of how ridiculous I looked in it when I checked in the mirror. Portentia certainly did with how she was smiling. “I think that might make you stick out even worse!” she suggested, laughing as she slid the shirt off from behind me. More silly shirts followed in quick procession as she wanted me to try more and more. When we came across a black hoodie, I was shocked to find it exceptionally baggy on me. Clothing for tall guys could be tricky at times. “I’ll just get this.” I told her, thinking things could be far worse. I thought for a moment that she would push for me to try more, but she let me off with a shrug. “Let’s just hope no one looks too hard at your feet. Since I don’t recognize that brand, it’s gotta be expensive.” she claimed. I couldn’t argue that my shoes were a bit pricey up front, but they were also quite durable, meant to last for years. As we left, I put a spell on myself to adjust the temperature a bit, now having three layers of clothes.

Portentia lead the way out as I texted Mila, telling her that I wouldn’t need to drop anything off. I stopped in my tracks and had to look behind me to make sure we hadn’t ventured through some sort of magic portal. Within a block, the clean neighborhood behind me gave way to rundown buildings and an expansive amount of graffiti. Some of the painting was obviously done by a very skilled hand, such as the depiction of a girl on a skateboard flying over an angry police officer while smoking a joint. Others were just poorly written words as well as symbols I didn’t recognize. My eyes were darting everywhere as I felt exceptionally uneasy. What did Portentia normally do, just walk around looking for a fight? Were there specific crimes she sought to stop? She obviously didn’t care about jaywalking, not that all the sidewalks were even usable. I came to a stop after hearing glass break nearby, probably down the alley ahead. Portentia, however, just kept walking. “Umm… don’t you think we should…” I started saying, before remembering she wouldn’t be able to hear me. I hurried to catch up and tapped her shoulder. When she turned to me, I pointed and said, “I just heard glass break. I think from over there.” She nodded and nonchalantly walked past the alley, not even seeming to look down it until halfway. I, on the other hand, stayed back, not knowing what to do. She turned to head down the alley, still walking, so I crept up and took a peek.

A rotund man was unmoving on the ground. I prepared a spell that I could use to knock someone backward if needed, or even knock a weapon out of a hand, before following. Slowly walking behind Portentia, I looked around for whomever did this. She caught me as I slipped, nearly falling. There was some sort of oil on the ground next to the dumpster. “What are you doing?” I asked, seeing Portentia feeling the guy’s pockets a moment later. Of course, she didn’t hear me. I was too nervous to think. I tapped her on the shoulder before asking again. “Finding out where he lives. How else are we going to get him home?” she replied. “But what if he’s injured? Shouldn’t we get him to a hospital?” I inquired. Portentia looked through the wallet she pulled out of the guy’s pocket as she said, “Most of the people in this area don’t want to end up in a hospital for anything minor. He probably just slipped like you. Can’t you smell the alcohol?” Now that she mentioned it, I could. There was also part of a bottle still clutched in the man’s hand and shards all around it. Portentia lifted the man with apparent ease, not caring that his alcohol-soaked shirt was pressing against her. Despite this, she asked “Care to give me a hand?” I nodded dumbly and hunched down to put his free arm over my shoulders as I attempted to take some of the weight. Carrying an unconscious man wasn’t precisely easy, and I was thankful when we arrived at his home only a block later.

“Oh! What happened to my Louis?” asked the elderly woman who answered the door. “We found him unconscious in the alley. I think he just slipped.” I explained. The woman looked less than pleased as she shook her head, gazing at the man we carried. Then she motioned for us to follow her and told us “Well, get him in here. Good Lord knows we don’t want the neighbors to see him like this. Smells like he got into my eye medicine again. I keep telling that boy he can’t handle his liquor, but do you think he ever listens to me? Not once, I tell you. Not once. Just set him here on the sofa, will you.” A young boy ran in from the other room, gasping when he saw the unconscious man. “Is Louis dead?” he asked with amazing calm. “No, of course not. Nothing’s going to kill my Louis. You mark my word, he’ll be sticking around here till long after I’m gone.” replied the woman. I was thinking of how we might excuse ourselves when the elderly woman said, “Well, you two sit right there, and I’ll dish you up some pie. Louis will want to thank you when he comes around.” When Portentia sat down, I knew I was in for the duration. Louis woke up shortly after Edna, who turned out to be his grandmother, returned with a couple large slices of homemade apple pie. One thing lead to another, and we found ourselves there for several hours before Edna had to go into work. Portentia and I excused ourselves, though Louis wanted us to stay for another round of Life. I had never seen such bad luck in that game before today. This “date” was even weirder than I expected.


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