Eliot was leaned back in the arm-chair, the latest copy of Arts Management in one hand as he sipped his coffee. He heard Parker walking toward him. Well, no, he smelled her jasmine shampoo as she moved toward him. She settled on the arm of the chair and leaned across the back to read over his shoulder. He still didn't know why the thief liked doing it, but he angled the magazine to lessen the glare for her. She played with his hair as they read. Part of him wanted to brush her away, but the rest of him was glad to see her connecting, however oddly she might be doing it. He offered her a sip of his lemon balm tea. She took a sip, then reached to turn the page.
Nate and Alec came through the door of Nate's apartment. Parker looked up. Eliot didn't bother. Nate would be going for a cup of the coffee Eliot had made and Alec would be grabbing a soda. With a crack and hiss, the Jones Orange Soda opened. Sophie wandered in from her office that lay in the space behind the wall of technology that Alec had installed in Nate's living room. She grabbed a tin of cookies and came to sit on the couch. "Ooo, cookies." Parker held out a hand.
Sophie looked at her with a raised brow. "These are my cookies. Your cookies are in the blue tin that's labeled 'Parker's Do Not Touch'."
"But you have Oatmeal Raisin. All I have left is ginger snaps."
"You don't like ginger snaps?" Eliot looked up at her.
"I didn't say that." She pouted.
"I'll make more oatmeal raisin this weekend."
"I'll trade you for the ginger snaps."
"Deal." Parker jumped up to retrieve her tin.
"The cookie market done? Can we get on with this?" Nate gestured to the screen. "Our mark. Leon Passat. AKA Leo Perovski. He bills himself as a psychic and fortune teller. He's got his entertainment sign up, so the cops leave him alone. He tells his clients the sign is just to keep the non-believers happy. It's the standard fake psychic schtick. He pulls in weak, scared people who either are in trouble or seem gullible enough for him to convince they're under a curse. Hardison, background."
Alec took over the briefing. "Leon's been running this psychic bit for ten years now. He likes older women. Standard con. He tells them there's a curse and takes their money to cure it. He's got money invested all over the place. Security on his condo is tight. The man's paranoid. No relatives. No girlfriend. No boyfriend. Nothing. Originally from Newark, New Jersey. He moved up to Boston twenty years ago. He worked as an investment banker, but moved on to selling fortunes and reading tarot cards. The cops have arrested him five times. No convictions. His latest victim is Maria Cevantes. Her son called the cops. They couldn't find anything illegal. She's got an assisted living nurse with her now, though, who's keeping her from spending her money on him. She fell and broke her hip last week. She's convinced it's because she didn't go to her regular session. Her grandson, Jonny, thinks she's going senile."
"Do we know any of his other victims?" Sophie crunched on a ginger snap.
"He keeps records." The geek smiled. "He's just not as good at computers as he thinks he is." He mock-polished his nails on his shirt.
"If those records ended up in police possession?" Nate nodded to himself. "This guy feeds on the fear of little old ladies." His eyes narrowed. "Bring up that picture of his shop again. He sells fear to little old ladies. We're going to sell fear to him. Hardison, figure out how to fake a haunting. Sophie, you're going to be a gypsy. Eliot, find out how much this man believes." He smirked. "Let's go steal us a curse."
"Creepy," Parker assessed as Nate went up the stairs to his bedroom.
"Remember, don't scare him. That's my job." Sophie's voice was a soft purr in Eliot's ear. He ran a hand through his hair. He sat in the waiting room, eyes roving. The more he saw, the less comfortable he was.
"Mr. Lawson, I am Leo Perovski." The fake psychic offered a comforting smile and a handshake. He drew Eliot into the back room. His eyes took in the carelessly designer clothes that Sophie had helped him put together. The retriever could practically see the dollar signs dancing in the man's eyes. "Please sit down. You're worried about a woman."
Eliot nodded shyly. He slumped in the offered chair. "My mama."
Perovski nodded. "She's getting older. It's normal to worry about that."
"She just isn't acting like mama anymore. And she's not that old. The doctors say there's nothing wrong."
The mark pursed his lips in disgust. "Doctors are good for broken bones, but breaks of the spirit? Attacks on the soul? They don't know anything about that. That's where I come in." He drew Eliot out about his "mama's" symptoms, which were all classic signs of depression. "Yes," the man said, "I can help you."
"Mama won't come here," Eliot warned him. "She thinks psychics are devil worshipers."
"You and I both know that's not true." Perovski reached out and tapped Eliot's bracelet with a knowing smile. Eliot returned the smile as he dipped his head and looked up through his lashes. "You wear this for luck. And it's worked." He tapped the second bracelet. "And you wear this one for strength. And it's worked." The man paused, considering. "She won't come here, but that doesn't mean I can't help her. I'll make her a bracelet. Surely she'll wear a present from her son. Something bright to cheer her up." He grimaced. "I hate to bring money into something like this, but it will take a week's time and some special ingredients."
"Just tell me what you need. It's my mama." Eliot leaned forward. "She means everything to me."
Perovski grimaced. "It'll take two thousand to just get the ingredients."
Eliot bit his lip. "You need that in cash?"
"Preferably. My suppliers are skittish about modern technology."
"It'll take me a few hours."
"We could set an appointment for this afternoon? How about one?"
"Right. I'll be here."
Perovski took Eliot's left hand in both of his. "Everything will work out. Just trust in me. We'll get to the bottom of this."
Eliot put his free hand on the man's wrist. "I do." He left the man with a shy smile and a soft goodbye. As soon as he was in his car and down the street he let himself shudder.
"Was he really flirting with you, man? Seriously?" Hardison's voice was awed. "That takes balls."
Eliot snorted. "Nate, you on?"
"He's a believer."
"That going to cause us a problem?"
"Need to check out the victim's place. Did he give her anything? Like jewelry or tea?"
"I'll IM her grandson." He could hear Hardison typing.
"Oh, don't even try that. You can send a text message. You know what IM is."
"What makes you say he's a believer?" Nate tried to get the conversation back on track.
"He recognized my charms, mostly. He had some protective symbols up. I don't think he has a lick of control, but he knows something and he believes he'll be protected. Charm on his front window is supposed to confuse cops."
"Does it work?"
"Nah. He didn't put any vervain in it. Probably couldn't stand the smell."
"Jonny says he gave her some tea and a necklace. She hasn't been wearing the necklace since the fall."
"Tell him I'll be showing up. Have him tell the nurse I'm doing a cognitive evaluation and I'll need a list of her medications."
"I'll google for the questions." Hardison's offer was instant.
"Nah. Don't bother. Dated a geratric specialist for awhile."
"Okay, are you playing some kind of game? How many careers do you need to collect for the trophy?"
"Looking for a hacker and a fashion designer. You applying?"
"Boys!" Sophie interrupted. "Not unless Parker and I get to watch."
Eliot and Alec didn't say anything in response to that.
"Hardison, is the bug from Perovski's office transmitting properly?"
"Loud and clear. Unfortunately." Alec rolled his eyes. Nate settled down to listen to the patter for awhile. "So what's up with Eliot? Good luck charms?"
"He's still alive." Nate shrugged.
"It just doesn't seem like his thing."
That caught Nate's attention. "And what do you see as being 'his thing'?"
"You know. Knives. Throwing stars. Really bad Kung Fu movies and hockey. Cooking. Playing with people's minds."
The older man smirked briefly at that. "He specializes in items with a supernatural history. Say, the Hope Diamond. A Monkey Idol."
"Don't talk about that damned monkey," Eliot snapped through his comm. "You two do realize that I can hear you right? If you're going to talk about me, at least have the decency to mute the comms."
"Oops." Alec corrected that oversight. "So, you were talking about Monkey Idols?"
"Eliot's a specialist." Nate shrugged. "Enough that Sterling hired him for a job."
The hacker shuddered. "He took Sterling's money?"
"And his girlfriend, if I remember correctly. That might possibly have been my idea."
"You are a vindictive bastard, Nate."
"It's Sterling. He tried to seduce Maggie once."
Alec bit his tongue hard. Well, that explained why Eliot hadn't tried to call Maggie since the Davids Job. If he knew Nate's ideas of jealous revenge were twisted like that, there was no way he'd pursue the woman. Sophie came through the front door of the apartment with two handfuls of bags. "The crowds were insane today. Is it some sort of shopping holiday I'm unaware of?"
"And you set Eliot up to seduce Sterling's girlfriend? Truly, Nate? I thought you liked him."
"I don't like Sterling. I never have. He's a self-centered, self-serving, jerk."
"Don't hold back like that, Nate. It's bad for your liver."
"Parker? Can you pick up the cash for me?" Eliot's voice came through the comms clearly. "Oh, by the way, Nate, if you're telling Hardison about the deal with Sterling, remember to explain exactly what you had to do in order to get me to do the job. It loses all the spice if you leave out the bottle of tequila and the Catlin."
"Catlin? George Catlin. You distracted me so that he could get his hands on that painting!" Sophie put her hands on her hips.
Eliot chuckled. Alec studied his computer screen. That had been cruel, underhanded, and perfectly timed. Eliot had style.
Perovski took Eliot by the arm and led him into the back room. He intertwined their fingers in the few minutes they were walking. He took the envelope and made it disappear into a box under the table, all without letting go of the hitter's hand. Eliot focused his eyes on the silks that covered the table. "Now, John. I can call you 'John?'" Eliot nodded. "I'm going to get to work on this charm for your mother as soon as I can. In the meantime, I have some tea for her. Something to give her a little more pep. You'll see that she drinks a mug every day?"
"Of course, Mr. Perovski."
"Leo. Just Leo." The psychic smiled at Eliot. He set a small wooden box on the table. "I want you to be careful, John. Very careful. Curses can begin to affect the people around the cursed as well. Don't go anywhere without your charms."
"I never do."
"I will see you next week at the same time."
"Of course, Leo."
"Be safe, John. Bright blessings flow on you."
"And on you."
"I think they already have." Eliot willed himself to blush as he ducked his head. This guy was so beyond not smooth that it was almost painful. Leo escorted him to the door.
Eliot didn't say a word until he had a chance to check that there were no trackers on his sleeve and none of the charms were missing. He was sure the man wasn't that good. He stopped at the next gas station and went to the bathroom. He submerged his wrists and sleeves into the cold water to soak them. There wasn't any trackers he knew of, not even Hardison's, that were good underwater. He frowned at the bracelets. Damn it all, he couldn't dump them when he might be seeing the guy again, but he didn't trust them. He took them off and wrapped them in the handkerchief Sophie had demanded he carry. It was silk. He'd drop them into a neutral spot for awhile. He put the small pack into the trunk.
"Okay, tell me you have somethin', Nate, because if you want me to sleep with this asshole, you are out of luck. I've already had a con-artist psychic and this one ain't nearly as cute."
Parker made quick work of the commercial alarm system. She frowned, looking for something more interesting. There wasn't anything else. She quickly placed the small cameras and recorders throughout the apartment. "Hardison?"
"Coming through perfectly. Now, put the projectors in the bedroom and the kitchen. Point them toward the walls."
She nodded, even though he couldn't see it. "Projectors are in place." The one in the bedroom turned on, projecting a very large face like from the Wizard of Oz. It was the face of someone from one of Hardison's favorite shows. He smiled, showing far too many teeth. "The bedroom's working."
They tested the kitchen. Then, Parker let herself out and reset the alarm system. She walked down the stairs and tripped. She converted the trip into a roll, but still ended up with a bruised knee.
"Showtime, Sophie." Nate settled back with a cup of coffee to listen to the grifter as she entered Perovski's shop. Parker settled on the back of the couch, an ice-pack on her knee. He cocked his head at that. "Are you okay, Parker?"
"I don't want to talk about it." She chomped down on some of the chocolate chip cookies that had appeared in their tins over-night. Nate didn't want to think about how domestic their team had become. Eliot was supplying cookies on a regular basis. Which meant he was also coming in and out of Nate's apartment without saying anything, or making any noise in the middle of the night. Nate frowned, unless the hitter had Parker letting him in.
Oblivious to the fact that Nate was pondering cookies over her, Sophie made her entrance. Her skirt and earrings chimed as she swept into the psychic's waiting room and directly to his back room. She settled herself in the chair. "You will return what you have stolen, or you will lose everything," she stated, allowing a soft tinge of a Romanian accent to color her words. "You are dealing in things you do not understand and knowledge you have no right to and have misused."
"What the Hell are you talking about? I haven't stolen anything."
She leaned forward, her eyes pinning the man to his seat. "You are using the reputation of a clan that is not yours. You are tarnishing that reputation by stealing from the helpless and the weak. You will return what you have stolen or you will lose everything. This I promise you, Leo Passat."
The psychic sat back as if he'd been slapped.
"You have until sundown tomorrow to start making amends. If you do not, then my curse will become active." She spoke the words Eliot had taught her in a low hiss. "Do you understand, Leo?"
His eyes narrowed. "Get out. Don't you dare threaten me."
She laughed. She stood, skirt rustling against the silk on his table. "You cannot scare me, gadjo." With a flip of her wrist she set off the smoke and flash. She left while he was still coughing. She ducked into the alley by his office and zipped off the bottom of her skirt. She pulled off the shawl and scarf that had been over her hair. She got into the car next to Eliot who was wearing his favorite knit cap and a pair of fingerless gloves. "You look as if you're homeless," she informed him.
He snorted. "And you look like your workin' with your skirt that short."
"I'll have you know, this is a one of a kind piece."
"Good. I'd hate to think the gypsy look was coming back. I hate long skirts."
Sophie raised her brows. She took off the wig that lengthened her hair to the middle of her back. "Why? They can be enjoyable."
Eliot shook his head. "Too much fabric gets in the way. They bind up the legs making it impossible for running. They hide your legs, so there's nothing fun to look at. And they're a pain to fix if they get torn."
"Your sister?" she hazarded.
"Someone had to fix the damn things and no one else could manage it." He paused. "Of course, after awhile her skirts all looked like crazy quilts, but she didn't mind." He shook his head.
"Hardison, did you get that tea tested?"
"It's cinnamon apple tea with a dose of caffeine. Nothing you wouldn't get in a Celestial Seasons box."
Nate nodded. "It probably is commercial tea in a pretty box. At least this time. He'll save anything he's doing for the next batch." The mastermind looked at Eliot. "Do you think he's serious with the flirting or is it just to get the money?"
Eliot ran a hand through his hair as he considered. "He's serious. I don't know what button I hit, but he's definitely serious."
"And our client's grandmother?"
"I was talking to the home care nurse. He says she's been doing better every day. She's not allowed to have teas because she'll get dehydrated. The PT evals are showing her hands getting steadier. I got a sample of the tea she was given. Hardison?"
"Here's where things get interesting. It's laced with speed and ecstasy."
"She's taking a lot of meds. There's gotta be a contraindication somewhere. Cognitively, she's not as confused as her grandson reported. Also, I found five hex bags on her property, which is probably why they've been through six home care nurses so far. This one should last."
"Hex bags? Seriously, man? You buy into this stuff?"
Eliot looked at the hacker. There was a twinkle in his eyes that Nate didn't trust. He interrupted before the Eliot-Alec show could begin. "To what purpose?"
"Confusion, clumsiness. He didn't want to kill her, but there's enough there to cause accidents. It's probably why the nurses have been getting hurt, the cars aren't running properly, and they have a wiring problem."
"Where are these bags now?"
"Wrapped up in one of Sophie's scaves in my trunk."
Sophie's eyes narrowed. "Which one of my scarves?"
Eliot shrugged. "It had horses on it."
"Horses? Wait! You have them wrapped in my Hermes scarf?"
The hitter blinked innocently. "I don't know. Did it have horses on it?"
"Bring them up here. I want to be able to identify them." Nate raised his brows. "Is that a problem?"
"Don't know that we want to bring that sort of thing in here. How about you come down to them instead?"
Nate blinked. "You think they're that dangerous?"
"I think he's that sloppy. They should be focused on an individual, but they aren't."
"Can you neutralize them then?" He gave Eliot a moment to think about that. The hitter nodded. "Then neutralize them and then bring them up for show and tell. Sophie, Hardison, start filming the hauntings. Parker, track our subject. I want to know anywhere he goes." The thief made a face, but nodded. "Eliot, how soon before show and tell?"
"Give me an hour."
Nate nodded. "Then, I need you to fake up something that will make him believe Sophie's cursed me. Something I can ask him to neutralize that's outside of his power."
"Now that's gonna take awhile."
"It doesn't have to be real," Nate pointed out.
Eliot, Parker and Sophie all looked at Nate. "What good's a fake if you can tell it's a fake?" Parker asked. "Good forgeries take time."
"Right." Nate shook his head. "Get to work." He waved them off with a hand. "We'll meet back here for a late dinner. Parker will let us know when Passat goes to bed."
Eliot spread the defused hex bags on the breakfast bar. Nate took one of the stools to study the bags. "Teach me." He gave Eliot a lopsided smile.
Eliot raised his brows. "Something you need to tell me about you and Sterling, Nate?"
"You are not suggesting what I think you're suggesting."
The hitter laughed. "Well, it would explain the nasty little lover's spat you've got going on."
"Keep it up and I'll start feeding you frozen pizzas and hot dogs."
"Fine. This is a standard clumsiness hex."
Parker limped into the apartment. Eliot collected her and sat her on the breakfast bar without saying a word. He wrapped the sprain and handed her an ice pack. "You want to talk about it?"
The rest of the team looked up from thier projects. "You tripped?" Nate prompted.
"There's something wrong with the stairs in his building. I tripped. Twice." She pouted. "It hurts."
"Are the cameras and projectors in the apartment working?"
"Yes," the hacker confirmed.
Eliot cocked his head. "Did you trip when you went in to plant the cameras?"
Parker nodded. She took down her ponytail.
"Okay, don't go back there until I give you a charm."
"Like this?" She pointed at the necklace he was wearing.
"Yep. Like this."
Hardison shook his head. "I don't believe you're buying into this stuff. I mean I know you're a cowboy and a technophobe, but I didn't think you were superstitious."
"If it saves my ass, I'll send up a prayer to Genesh when I'm in India, and wear an anti-hoodoo charm in New Orleans. I ain't proud."
"Now, I ain't saying that we follow all the commandments, but..." Hardison shook his head. Nate frowned at the hacker.
"We'll talk," Eliot soothed. "So, dinner? I'd guess ya'll are expecting something home cooked?"
Nate blinked. He resisted the urge to give the hitter puppy-dog eyes. Sophie didn't bother with that sort of restraint.
"S'okay, man," Alec said. "I've got dinner on the way. The Thai place down the street delivers now."
Eliot grinned. "I'll start the tea." He patted Parker's undamaged knee. "You stay right there and I'll get you some aspirin."
"Nate, take this with you. And wear this under your shirt. Don't let the strap show."
The former insurance agent tucked the small bag into his pocket. He tied the necklace around his neck and tucked it away. "Symptoms?"
"Losing weight. Can't sleep. Starting to see a demon and the gypsy who cursed you. Tell him you've lost the weight quickly. That you're getting the shakes. You're tripping and falling. Dropping things. Tell him you found the bag hanging on your front door with a nail in so deep that it took all your weight to get it out."
Nate raised his brows.
"You put glue on the nail before you hammer it in."
"You've done that?"
"Oh yeah." Eliot's smile held something cruel and nasty. "I'll set one up for Passat today."
Nate changed the subject. "As soon as I'm out, Sophie's going to start popping up around him. Did you get those contacts for Parker?"
"Yeah. One set of red and yellow eyes. She's getting used to them today." Eliot grimaced. "I better go make sure she hasn't run into any more doorframes." The retriever left to go find Parker in the team space that used to be the apartment next to Nate's.
"Can you fight him on a magical level?"
The younger man thought for a long moment. He nodded. "Yeah. He's dangerous, but he's an amateur." He smiled suddenly. "I'll just bat my lashes at him if he looks like he's getting focused."
Nate nodded with an answering smile. "Be ready."
"I always am."
"How can I help you today, Mr?" Perovski's walk-in client looked at him through dazed eyes.
"Bryant. Ben Bryant." The man's voice was distracted. He kept looking around him as if he were expecting something to jump out at him. He was sweating slightly and his hands were shaking. "I need your help."
"Of course. Why don't you come into the back with me?" Perovski studied Bryant. His black hair was tousled. His chin had at least a day's worth of stuble. His clothes hung on his frame as if he were a scarecrow. "Now, what's wrong, Mr. Bryant?"
"She cursed me. The bitch cursed me." Bryant shook. "Two weeks ago I was 250. I haven't been able to keep a bite down. You're my last hope. Every other psychic I've gone to has thrown me out as soon as they saw this." The man dropped a hex onto the silk covered table. "Just because I threw some freeloaders off of my land."
Perovski's eyes widened at the packet. He knew what it was in theory. "Did she give this to you? As a present?"
"It was nailed to my door. Took all my weight to get the nail out." Bryant shuddered. "I was fine that night, but the next day it started. I couldn't keep anything down. The shakes. The demon woman who's stalking me. The whispers in the night. I can't sleep. I can't eat. Get rid of this thing for me. Anything you want."
Perovski fixed his eyes on the hex. He chewed his lip. "Why did she hex you?"
"Threw some crooks off my property. Day after that this bitch in a gypsy outfit shows up and tells me I harmed her clan. Like I'm gonna be scared of some old Halloween costume? But then, this started."
"Harmed her clan. By throwing them off your property? What else did you do to them?"
Bryant shifted a little uncomfortably. "I might have called the cops on them. They arrest three of the idiots for fraud. Not my problem. Just getting rid of some crooks."
Perovski tapped his steepled fingers against his lips. "I don't know if I can help you, Mr. Bryant."
"Please!" The man's eyes were wide and a little wild now. "You've gotta help me. There's no one else left."
"You could try Salem."
re the first one who hasn't thrown me out. You're the only one who's even looked at that thing longer than a minute."
"Take it with you. Soak it in holy water. Pierce it with three iron nails. Come to see me if that doesn't do it." Perovski made a point of not touching the hex. He didn't want it transferred to him after all.
Bryant's hands shook. He took the hex and stumbled to the door. He threw up just outside the office. Perovski swallowed hard in sympathy.
Sophie watched the hallway camera over Hardison's shoulder. Eliot had fixed the hex to the door with superglue on the nail. She was fairly certain the man wasn't actually hexing Passat. Eliot was a lot more straight-forward when he didn't like someone.
"So tell me, where'd you learn this stuff?" the hacker asked.
Eliot shrugged. He tucked away his hammer and headed out of the building. His baseball cap and eyes down posture hid his face from the camera. "Around. You pick stuff up."
"Don't be like that. I bet I can find most of it with Google."
The retriever snorted. "Sure. And it'll all be wrong. This is just folk magic. It ain't the big guns. Just smart to learn how to protect yourself."
Hardison wouldn't let that go. Sophie hid her smile. "Protect yourself. Why do you believe in this crap?"
"You ever gotten sick?"
"You went to the doctor? Swallowed some pills? You believe in that?"
"That's science. It's real."
"Because you know it works."
"Because lots of people know it works. Magic doesn't work. It's just wishful thinking."
"When you got a sore throat last December what did I make you drink?"
"Tea with honey, cinnamon, and lemon. The lemon's to keep you from coughing. The cinnamon to give you energy. The honey to help kill off the critters living in your throat and making you sick. That's the same as me putting iron and salt into a bag to protect Nate from a hex."
Eliot growled. Sophie read the frustration there. "Because it's something you've always done?" she prompted.
"The tea? Yeah. Granny used to make it. The salt and iron? Nah. Picked that up after a string of bad luck in. . . in some place I can't talk about. Bubba G fixed it for me. Something his granny taught him. Then, Teacher noticed I was wearing the protection and started teaching me. After that, I just kept looking. There's a lot of things out in the big bad world, Hardison. Things that don't respond to coding and camera angles. As long as it's working, I ain't going to question it."
"That's the sort of thinking that keeps people going to faith healers and wasting their money on woo-woo bullshit."
"You believe in God, Hardison?"
The hacker was quiet. "Yeah."
"You ever met Her?"
"Him and no."
"So you got faith. You got faith that God's there. That your Nana's going to Heaven. That I'll be there to watch your back when you do something stupid and have gangsters threatening to chop off your fingers. It's all the same. I ain't saying that I'm not going to see a doc when I need healing. But I'm also not going to insult a way of life or a religion. I don't care who's church it is, you respect it."
"Seriously though? Good luck charms?"
"I'm still alive. And I probably shouldn't be. People pay good money for someone to take care of things that need special handling. If you ain't the kind to treat a diamond that houses the spirit of the client's daughter the way it needs to be treated, he'll be happy to have me do it."
"So it's a money thing?"
Sophie hid her smile.
"That make you stop asking me questions about it? Then, yeah. It's a money thing. What we're doing? With Nate screwing the man's mind? Ain't any different than a good hex. Victim believes it, it's real. Client believes it, it's real."
Parker rubbed her shoulder. The contacts were messing with her ability to judge distances. It was getting better, but she still wasn't used to having bits of plastic in her eyes. She let her face go slack. "Perfect," Alec told her. He was filming her for the projectors. She was supposed to start just appearing and disappearing. If he got a good look at her from the projection, she wouldn't have to wear the contacts as often. That was good. She frowned. Then tried on one of Eliot's glares. "Okay, now that is just creepy. Perfect."
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