The images on the multi-story screen flickered and static crackled on the radio. Ricky paid no attention, warm and sleepy with Kalila wedged against him, dozing on his shoulder. With a little effort, he could almost convince himself that Kalila was a mortal girl and this was an ordinary date at a nostalgic drive-in theater.
A buzz of static sawed through the movie dialogue again.
“You mind fixing that?” said a voice from the back seat.
Suppressing a sigh, Ricky reached to adjust the knob. “That better?” He glanced at Nevin in the rearview mirror. “I don’t know why you don’t fix it yourself, since you’re the one with magic powers, and—” Ricky frowned and twisted around in his seat, ignoring Kalila’s look of sleepy indignation. “Where are the others?”
Nevin shrugged. “I think Bo got discouraged that no one in the movie was taking their clothes off, and Vic and Lazaro probably went for snacks.”
Cursing, Ricky fumbled for his jacket. “Dammit, they promised they would sit quietly and watch the movie.”
Kalila shoved her hair out of her eyes. “And you believed them?”
“Don’t start. You could’ve warned me.” Ricky got out of the Lexus and zipped his jacket against the cold. Since they could be anywhere, one direction was as good as any other. He picked a starting point and began walking the rows of cars, looking for foggy windows and signs of mayhem. Getting only puzzled looks for his trouble, he decided to try the concession stand.
The teenage clerk was leaning against the counter watching the movie with a suspiciously dreamy expression on her face. Nevertheless, when Ricky quizzed her about his missing band members, she seemed candid in her assertion that no one had been to the counter in the last half hour, and her neck was free of bite marks.
Baffled, and increasingly concerned, Ricky started toward the entrance kiosk, glancing around as he walked, as if he might find his missing vampire, zombie, and incubus hiding in the brush at the side of the road. When he got to the booth, the cashier smiled politely and assured him she had seen no one, but the concern in her eyes and the tiny crease between her brows told Ricky she questioned his sanity.
If only she knew! Ricky pulled his jacket tight around his body as he made his way back to the Lexus. On the giant screen, a car chase was in progress, but he found it annoying rather than exciting. Here he was at a run-down drive-in theater in some dismal little town on tour, with three missing demons to account for. No Hollywood chase could match that for drama.
He pulled open the car door and leaned inside. “I can’t find them, Kalila. Do you have any—?”
Wedged into the back seat, Lazaro, Vic and Bo grinned.
“It’s about time you came back,” Kalila said. “I was beginning to think I’d have to go looking for you.”
“You’re missing a great movie,” Vic added.
“Where the hell have you been?” Ricky said.
Bo shrugged. “We needed to use the restroom.”
“Don’t lie. You guys don’t use the restroom. What were you up to?”
Kalila reached across the seat and tugged at his sleeve. “They’re back now, so just come watch the movie.”
Ricky didn’t want to let the matter drop, but he was cold, so he climbed in and shut the door. He turned around in his seat. “Whatever you were doing, it was a big risk and I don’t appreciate it. If any cops come nosing around the hotel later tonight, I’m not taking up for you.”
“You worry too much,” Kalila said. “And we can hire our own lawyers.” Gently, she nudged him back into the proper position to see the movie. “Can’t you just relax and enjoy what we came here for?”
Before Ricky could answer, she snuggled up against him and laid her head on his shoulder. He hesitated, wanting to be angry, but she was right. Whatever was done, was done, and demons could look out for themselves.
He adjusted the sound on the radio, then on impulse, stole an arm around her and pulled her close.
On screen, police cars gave chase, their strobes flashing red and white into the night.