The Order of the Knights of Emiliani (an excerpt)

By the time Des caught up with Paige, dusk was setting in, the movement of the sun casting dramatic shadows across the other girl’s face.

“Did you catch her?”

Des nodded and sat down in the grass next to Paige. The day had been far more eventful than Des had expected. She pulled her hair down, letting the curls fall around her body as a blanket from the wind. She let her fingers drift over the phone in her pocket, thoughts of calling Shawna flashing through her mind. It shouldn’t take too long for her to find a flight back to Santa Monica.

“Are you heading back now?” Paige asked.

Des nodded again. “I really shouldn’t waste anymore time here.”

“Oh.” Paige pulled her knees up to her body, her chin fitting perfectly in the space where they met. “That’s too bad.”

“Why’s that?”

“I was hoping you’d want to get dinner with me,” Paige said.

When Des turned to face her, she found Paige’s eyes wide, her lashes a glittering frame for an earthy design. Des could say yes, could tell Shawna that it took her a few more hours to catch the succubus, could take some time to pretend to be normal.

Des sighed. “I don’t have roots, Paige.”

Paige smiled. “Yeah, I know. I just thought it was worth a shot.”

Paige stood up, brushing dust off of her overalls. She extended a hand down to Des who accepted it, using the other girl’s strength to pull herself to her feet.

“Get home safe,” Paige said. “I’ll tell Winston you took care of the problem.”

Des nodded, watching as Paige headed back to wherever she’d been holed up. Paige was an anomaly, the sort that Des hadn’t expected to encounter in such a small town. Des really knew nothing about her, her last name, where she came from, if she had a family, and yet, there was a sort of familiarity in watching her go, almost as if Des were watching herself leave as she had so many times before. It was evident in that walk that said, “No matter where I am, I’m always where I matter.” Maybe that’s what it meant to be a Knight, to have no roots, to be needed everywhere yet nowhere at all.

Paige paused, her head whipping around to look at Des one last time. “If you’re ever in Phoenix, call me.”

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