A week had passed, but Dejon was still here. I would love to say that he was fitting in nicely with the others, but I hadn’t been persuaded to hire him and could only guess what he thought of my friends.
Why was he still here? I had initially said he could stay one night, but each day I kept coming up with another reason to let him stay longer. Thanks to Alma’s “errands”, he surely had the funds to rent a place. She always was generous in her pay. Mila had informed me that he was looking at possible places daily, but he hadn’t gone to visit any yet. He hadn’t left the house at all, usually not even leaving his room.
Over the weekend, Dejon had mostly kept to himself despite being in the ballroom, only speaking when someone spoke to him. The more relaxed he appeared, the more disinterested in everything around him he became, at least at a glance. He was watching and listening. Of that, I was certain.
He obviously avoided Kayla, shrinking into his chair more whenever she came bounding into the same room as him. I thought he was going to use his magic on her at one point when she tried talking with him, but he managed to restrain himself, probably because I was present. He was perfectly polite with Jemal, though he simply seemed curious about how Jemal felt about the job when he found out that Jemal was new here.
Brandon and Brenna were as nice as ever around Dejon, but they didn’t really make too much effort to try making conversation. Portentia wasn’t very proactive in trying to befriend him, but I didn’t really expect her to be. She had a pretty large secret to keep. Raine had avoided Dejon entirely up until Wednesday where she snuck into the room, dashing to the seat farthest from him with such insane speed that I took a moment to realize she was there. She hadn’t spoken with him yet.
Emma, however, seemed frustrated that she couldn’t even get Dejon to crack a smile. She kept trying daily, but she tried in vain. Despite her beauty and flirtations, he was nothing more than politely indulgent towards her. Perhaps he saw, like I did, that she wasn’t really interested in him.
The most reaction I saw from him since the day he arrived was when Aaliyah first came strolling into the room. He logged out of Ancient Tribes of Earth the moment she stepped into the room, obviously recognizing her. He didn’t try talking with her though, watching as she discussed my schedule and asked for a number of signatures for business deals she was making on the company’s behalf. When she waved and smiled at him, he waved back, logging into the game after she left the room.
Later, I asked Aaliyah if they knew each other. She smiled and told me that she knows everyone, which I didn’t doubt. Her “job” required it. I was almost tempted to press her further, but I knew she would’ve told me anything else she wanted me to know if there was something.
Was I keeping him around because I was curious about him? Perhaps. I wasn’t certain that he would fit here, but I had trouble picturing him in any job. Cosette had offered to keep an eye on him for me. Vampires were “highly resistant”, as she put it, to having their minds affected by magic. I turned her down, feeling Mila could keep tabs on him with even greater ease. I did wonder how Dejon would react to finding out there was a vampire living here. He probably didn’t believe in them anymore than he had believed in magic.
“Who’s that?” asked Deyanira after strolling into the room with Brandon.
“Dejon. He’s not actually working here, just freeloading at the moment.” replied Brandon.
“What!? Why hasn’t James tossed him out?” she asked.
“I think he’s still deciding on whether or not to hire me.” stated Dejon as he stood and faced them. Then, holding his hand out to Deyanira, he said, “As Brandon said, I’m Dejon Powers.”
Deyanira snorted as she replied “Powers!? Seriously? You’ve got to fit in here. I’m Deyanira.” She shook his hand, still smirking. “So what powers do you have, Powers?”
“Excuse me?” he asked. “What do you mean?”
Pretending not to be paying attention, I quickly put a protective spell on Brandon and Deyanira, just in case.
“He can mess with your head if you make eye contact.” explained Brandon.
Annoyance flickered across Dejon’s face but quickly disappeared. “And what can you do?” he asked. “I feel like I’m the only one being kept in the dark.”
“Sorry, buddy, but you don’t work here.” stated Brandon, shrugging again.
I hadn’t told anyone they had to keep Dejon from learning their abilities. They simply did.
“Tell me.” ordered Dejon.
I was surprised that he didn’t attempt to use his power.
Deyanira playfully gave Brandon a shove and said, “Oh, Brandon. Give him a break.” Then she turned to Dejon and told him “I’m just an ordinary person. No fancy magic. Brandon can transfo…”
Brandon quickly covered her mouth, yelping a moment later. “You bit me!” he exclaimed.
“Serves you right for trying to shush me up!” she retorted. Then she quickly said, “He can alter his size and shape. Pretty nifty, huh?”
“Really? So does he use that energy stuff?” asked Dejon.
“Nah. I’m like you. Fey magic.” replied Brandon.
Looking curious, Dejon inquired “Fey?”
“Yep. Magical folk.” Brandon smugly stated with a nod.
Unless Alma had tested Dejon’s DNA, the source of his magic was still just a guess, albeit a good one, given that he wasn’t descended from the Slayer family. Alma had checked with Adelmar, given the usefulness of his gift.
“Care to meet one?” I asked.
Dejon turned to me and questioned “Can I?”
“Yes. I’ve decided that I’m too curious what she’ll think of you to not know.” I told him, creating a series of flashing lights behind my home with a spell. My little friend would notice and come to me. Keeping her away from Dejon had been somewhat of a chore this past week.
“Is Mila fetching her or something?” he asked.
“No, but she’s coming. Don’t worry.” I assured him.
“Do you still want to work here?” I asked, after I observed him getting nervous.
“Of course.” he replied.
“Why?” I asked.
“Good pay, flexible hours, and an abundance of perks.” he told me.
“What about the people?” I asked.
Looking somewhat curious, he inquired “What about them?”
“You really don’t care with whom you work?” I questioned.
“Come on, James. You have a great group here.” stated Deyanira. “Dejon’s gotta like them, right?”
“I really don’t think he does.” argued Brandon.
“I could try finding out.” offered Cosette with an unnervingly dangerous smile.
I assumed she was offering to use a vampiric form of compulsion on him, since she had mentioned knowing one before. Her typical silence in things was probably a measured step in making her words have greater impact when she wanted to make a point. Alma had mentioned to me several times that Cosette seemed very well educated, and Alma tended to be a harsh judge on such things.
“You’re all fine.” stated Dejon, looking around to everyone. “Maybe a bit noisy, but the rooms are soundproof.”
Only to his ears. Raine would argue the point even more easily than I would, and I often heard things echoing from the halls.
“A little noise helps you realize you’re not alone.” encouraged Deyanira.
“I know.” he replied glumly.
Did he really prefer being alone? “What would be appealing about working as a best friend for hire if you prefer being alone?” I inquired.
“I like people in a general sort of way. Now and then, I just need time alone is all.” he stated.
He was being honest, which surprised me. I really had been getting the impression that he didn’t care for company at all, coming out here just to study us. Jemal and Kayla stopped in the doorway, looking into the air as my little fairy friend flew past them. I nearly laughed when Dejon suddenly went slack-jawed as she started projecting her day into all of our minds. Deyanira was grinning. She always seemed to enjoy the sensation.
“What… what are you doing to me?” asked Dejon.
“That is how the fey communicate.” I told him. “Unique, isn’t it?”
Dejon’s mouth was hanging open again as he nodded.
My little fairy friend was showing us a fairly typical day, flying quickly through the trees as she dodged leaves and branches, chasing after other fey, and using her magic at whim.
“Those creatures… what are they? What is that place!?” he inquired in a hushed whisper.
“The land of the fey!” exclaimed Deyanira.
“Also known as part of my backyard. As you’ve been told before, don’t enter the forest alone. You might never leave if you do.” I cautioned, though I’d go looking for him if he somehow managed to get himself into the forest.
“This is all real?” he asked.
“This place takes some adjustment. Trust me, man. I know exactly how hard that was to believe.” stated Jemal. “The forest is like a thousand times more intense. You really don’t want to be there without James.”
“Emma never seems to mind.” I argued.
“Yeah, but that’s Emma. She’s… you know. One with them.” he insisted.
I laughed, easily understanding Jemal’s point of view. Seeing Emma’s magic for the first time impressed me greatly, and her abilities have grown greatly with greater use. Watching her ancestor and her at play could convince most people that Emma truly was wholly one of the fey.
“I really do want to work here.” stated Dejon.
“Let me think about it for a while longer. I’ll let you continue to stay here while I’m considering.” I replied. He had submitted a formal application as well as an apology the day after he arrived, but would he really be able to convince someone he was their friend without using his gift? “Friendly” certainly wasn’t the first adjective which popped into my mind when I considered him. I needed to put him to the test.