We walked downstairs to the bar, but Josh wasn't there. After a short search, we found him in another room with a huge pool table (why didn't Esmeralda show me this before, I would have loved to try it out at least once) with another few guys and two girls hanging around. He appeared to be playing against another guy, but it wasn't his shot. I had no idea who was winning though. Neither of them looked particularly happy or sad about the whole situation. Just a game, perhaps.
"Hey Josh, you know of any old book stores in the city?"
He smiled at Esmeralda. "What do you take me for, a geek?"
She grinned. "Yes, actually. So?"
The other guy made his shot, some ball was pocketed and he smiled. Josh sighed a little. "Alright, there's one second hand book store near the devil's crossing. It's not really an old bookstore, but it has books, has plenty of them and is fairly cheap."
"Thanks, I knew I could count on you." She gave him a small kiss on his cheek.
He grinned. "Meh, tease." He turned to me. "So, I hear you've found a place of your own Amy?"
I smiled, a little surprised. "Eh yeah, I got lucky I guess."
He shrugged. "You make your own luck. Anyway, enjoy your books, it looks like my shot now."
"Thanks, I'll need it."
As we left the room, Esmeralda poked my side. "Don't worry about him, he's actually winning that one easily."
She laughed. "A nickname for a very busy crossing. The traffic lights don't actually allow you long enough to cross on foot. Bit too many accidents on or around it and the city council do nothing of course."
"Typical." Not that I interested myself much for things like that. But a place like this, probably operating on the somewhat blurrier side of the law, cared more about this. "Don't they realize?"
She shrugged. "I don't know, there must be numbers somewhere."
We were silent for a few moments while we walked onwards through the city.
"Someone else found out."
I nodded. "Yes."
"Is that a problem?"
I smiled. "Not really. I suppose I let her find it out, but..." I took a breath. "She wants me to take her."
Esmeralda giggled. "You can flirt with every one you like."
I blushed. "No, not that. Eh... Turn her."
"Into... I see." She closed her eyes but continued walking for a few steps. "Have you ever?" She looked at me, seeing my expression. "I guess not, that's why you're talking to me about it." She took a longer breath. "You know, I thought about it when I realized you might be one, actually. But it wouldn't be for me. Is she... eh... aware?"
I thought about the implications of that question. Could you willingly ask for this state? To know the limitations you'd have, but also the possibilities? In a way it was a trade-off. Like super-fast but no longer allowed to eat chocolate. No, that was stupid. Food... I could still taste food, but it was bland compared to the sublime variety in blood. Did Seriph realize?
"I think so."
"Then what have you to lose?"
"My humanity, I guess."
She pulled me to a stop on my arm. "Why? If she really wants it for good reason, why would that detract from your humanity. You're not less human just because you're a little different. God, I really sound like a self-help book now."
I smiled. "But you make a point."
"Are you forcing it on her?"
I shook my head. "Definitely not."
"Then consider it. She wants something you can give. Just think about the value of it and if you would consider it worth giving. I guess you could compare it to a kiss on her lips. You wouldn't kiss everyones lips, even if you'd kiss them somewhere else."
"Strange advice, but I'll think about it."
We continued walking, Esmeralda smiled. "Hey, I never said I was a good girl. I'm just saying what I think."
"I still think you're a good person."
She winked at me. "Sometimes."
We finally arrived at the bookstore they mentioned. I could see why they gave this crossing a nickname though. One of them was a major street in the city, two lanes wide on each side with some traffic lights for cars and pedestrians. There were quite a few people here still. Thursday night appeared to be the night for late hours in a lot of stores. Especially here. I never really walked here anyway, as the stores here were more serious. Though they had books.
The store itself was modern yet bland. Simple shapes and lighting that did little else beyond their desired function. But that didn't matter, because inside, I saw the bland, wooden, well lit bookcases filled to the brim with books. All well categorised and ordered, with two people working in the store and even a few customers at this hour.
Smiling, we headed in.
Do not judge a book by it's bland, well lit cover?