Home > Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(6)

Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(6)
Author: K.F. Breene

Thirty bucks toward the four hundred and fifty total I needed for the serum.

“How’s this online school? Any better than the last one?” I asked, keeping my voice light.

“A bit. It’s still a little slow.”

“Or you’re just a little smart.”

He grinned and shrugged.

“So trees are your new object of study?” I looked through the fridge, picking out the items closest to going bad. I wasn’t a great chef, but I was a creative one. Give me a few ingredients, however odd, and I’d make a dinner out of it. I’d learned from the best and had a crapload of practice.

“Yes. Trees first, then on to the ocean.”

“Are you still doing history?”

He leaned his elbows onto the table and his smile dwindled. “I’m keeping pace, but…”

“You have to keep that up.”

“Why? It’s mostly about Chesters.”

“You shouldn’t use that term. It’s not polite.”

“Fine, whatever, but all the stuff in the books is about them. Magical people have only been in the open for the last hundred years, but we’ve existed since humans have. Why can’t I read up on our history?”

“You can. You should. But you need to do both, remember?”

“They don’t teach human history in magical schools…”

“Yes, they do.”

“Only in high school, and then only the essentials.”

“That’s because they are elitist assholes. You need a thorough understanding of your world, Mordecai. And that includes human history.”

He let out a frustrated sigh. “Fiiiine.”

He might’ve been the sweetest kid on the planet, but he was still a teenager. I personally couldn’t remember how long puberty lasted, but apparently fifteen wasn’t out of the woods yet. More’s the pity.

“What’s for dinner?” he asked, crossing his arms and leaning back.

“No idea. I’m just looking over all these super-tasty ingredients.”

“Your grimace says you’re lying.”

Didn’t I know it. I wasn’t a huge veggie fan in general, but I absolutely hated half of the ones laid out in front of me. Whoever had cultivated Brussels sprouts should be shot.

But beggars couldn’t be choosers. Una down at the Natural Earth Shop, a non-magical crack-dweller who had made a nice little life for herself, was kind enough to give me some produce and other essentials. It was much better than starving.

“Need me to chop something?” Mordecai asked, wrestling his hands out of the blanket wrapped around his shoulders.

“Yeah.” I pulled a few potatoes out of the bottom cupboard. “Handle those, will ya?”

The front door slammed, rattling the glasses. “Bitch better have my money!”

“Daisy’s home,” Mordecai murmured, sticking a hand out for a peeler.

“Jesus. What’s up with her?” I delivered a cutting board, peeler, and knife as Daisy’s petite frame stalked by with balled fists.

“Bitch clearly owes her money, and she wants it,” Mordecai answered.

I gave Mordecai a chastising look. “No swearing.”

“You swear all the time.”

“That’s because I’m a surly adult and the owner of the roof over your head. Do as I say, don’t do as I do.” I stepped out so I could see down the short hallway that led to the two bedrooms in the back. “Daisy?”

Daisy reappeared in the doorway of her and Mordecai’s shared room. She stalked toward me with a clipboard in hand, red blotching her porcelain, doll-like face. She was the sweetest looking kid ever, but with a very colorful personality.

“I need your phone, Lexi. The cordless is out of battery.” She stopped in front of me and put out a hand.

I let my stare beat into her for a moment, not moving.

She gave me a dramatic sigh. “What?”

“What do you mean, what?” I left it at that. Like Mordecai, she was in hormone hell. Right in the thick of it, too. Fourteen going on fifty going on nine, she was at war with her body and womanhood. She was non-magical and had been sucked into the system as a toddler when her mother died of a heroin overdose. Bouncing from one foster home after another, she’d been battered and beaten, ignored and forgotten, until she’d run away at ten.

I’d found her offering herself to a homeless guy in a box in exchange for food and a place to sleep. At ten. Hunger would drive a person to extreme things.

Because of me, she was still a virgin. Also because of me, she had been declared lost and presumed dead in the non-magical zone. She lived in the crack of the societies with us because she had nowhere else to go. Not if she didn’t want to be returned to the system until she was eighteen.

Over my dead body.

So here we were. Irresponsible me and two teens, one magical, one not, both with troubled pasts. It could be worse.

“Okay, here’s how it is.” Daisy jutted out a hip. “I sold this guy weed, right? And—”

“I’m going to stop you right there.” I held out my hand. “Selling drugs is a nope.”

She rolled her eyes. “It wasn’t real weed. Hello? How dumb do you think I am?”

“Do you really want me to answer that?”

Her glare could’ve peeled paint. “It’s just a bunch of herbs all mixed up,” she said. “And before you ask, the coke is actually flour.”

“Nope.” I grabbed her by the arm and dragged her into the kitchen.

“Ew, stop!”

She tried to pull her arm back, but I held on tight until I deposited her in front of the judge and jury.

“Tell Mordecai what you are doing,” I demanded.

“I heard. The house isn’t very big.” Mordecai slid the peeler over the potato in purposeful motions.

“I’m going to go ahead and say that selling fake drugs is worse than selling real drugs.” I braced my hands on my hips.

Mordecai nodded slowly, and Daisy aggressively crossed her arms over her chest.

“I second that,” he said, not losing stride with the peeling.

“Collecting money for fake drugs is going to result in a bad situation, like a broken bone or a crushed head,” I continued.

“And it is morally wrong,” Mordecai said.

“Right, yes.” I pointed at him. “Morally wrong. That’s the real reason not to do it. And also because of the busted-head situation.”

I already mentioned I was irresponsible. In fairness, my mother hadn’t been any better, and I’d turned out okay, all things considered.

“Either way, though, you need to stop.” I faced Daisy. “You can’t do anything illegal. You know that. You have to stay out of trouble.”

Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened, as though I was the most irrational person alive. “Denny owes me two hundred bucks. With what you have already, we’d be able to get Gollum’s serum.”

Mordecai rolled his eyes, an action he rarely did. “I should’ve never let her watch Lord of the Rings.”

“Really? Because you’re somehow in charge of the movies I watch, Sauron?” Daisy tilted her head at Mordecai in what I could only describe as a snarky way. A teenager’s body language spoke volumes.

“Wait…what?” I asked, easily distracted.

“Mord-ecai has the same start as Mord-or,” Mordecai said dryly, pushing the peels aside on the table and pulling the cutting board closer.

“Ew, really? Look at the mess you’ve made.” Daisy stomped over to the counter. She slapped down her clipboard and snatched up a rag. She scraped the peels off the table and into her palm before depositing them in the trash.

“I can’t very well stand over the sink right now, can I?” Mordecai retorted, stooping to her maturity level, as he so often did. It was hard to rise above it, I had to admit. “You saw me earlier. And you should put the peels in the compost bin.”

“It all ends up in the ground—”

“What happened earlier?” I asked, rounding on Mordecai.

“He tripped over his own feet and fell on his face.” Daisy grabbed her clipboard again. “Seriously, Lexi, I have this covered. Denny is a complete moron. He’ll smoke it and think it is legit. I said I’d smoke it with him just to help his buzz along. I figure I’ll do— Stop shaking your head. I figure I’ll do some weird stuff, laugh a lot, and he’ll have a good experience. I’ll even kiss him. That’ll take his mind— Lexi, seriously, stop shaking your head. This is a good plan. Ol’ One-Eye needs that serum. His coughing is driving me crazy.”

“Touching speech,” Mordecai said, but his soft eyes didn’t match his dry voice. You couldn’t show too much compassion around Daisy for entirely different reasons than you couldn’t show it around me. Where I would burst into tears and be hard-pressed to stop the waterworks because of my worry and anxiety over the kids, she just didn’t know how to handle emotion. She’d had no experience with it in her life. Pity she’d seen a lot of, anger she was an old pro at thwarting, but honest-to-god compassion stopped her up and made her blink stupidly.

We were a messed-up lot.

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