“We’re wearing the same shirt,” he pointed out with a smirk.
“Except I’m wearing it better,” I remarked.
Josie made a soft choking sound as the demigod tilted his head to the side, expression perplexed. “That’s not possible. You do not have the body that I do. I’m a ten.”
I stared at him, brow rising. “Are you for real?”
“Am I not standing here?” Hercules chuckled, lifting the coffee cup. “I know. I know. Seeing me, the Hercules, is hard to believe, that such a legend could be—”
“I know this part is hard to believe,” I said, reaching down and clasping Josie’s hand. “But I don’t care, and if you could, like, I don’t know, eat shit and shut the fuck up, I’d be forever grateful.”
I pulled Josie around to the back of the SUV, letting go of her hand to throw open the hatch. Slipping her bag off her shoulder, I tossed it into the back and added mine with it.
“I think he likes you.” Aiden leaned against the bumper.
Alex snorted as she walked by.
I snatched the aviator sunglasses off his head and slipped them on. “I’d also like it if you’d eat shit—”
“Seth.” Josie smacked my arm and then smiled apologetically. “Sorry. He’s not much of a morning person today.”
“Would’ve never guessed that.” Aiden folded his arms. “I was thinking we’d stop near Vegas for the night. That’d leave us about five hours and get us to Malibu sometime in the afternoon, depending on when we leave.”
Luke stopped by, his gray beanie pulled low. “We just need to keep our eyes open for daimons. We’ll be super-close to a huge colony out there.”
“We got this.” Alex bumped her hip against Aiden’s. “Nothing like taking out a few daimons to break up the boredom of a long drive.”
“Like old times.” Aiden lowered his head, kissing her. “But let’s try not to have a repeat of that.”
“True.” Luke backed off, walking over to where Deacon was rummaging through the back of the SUV, which reminded me of something.
I grabbed my bag and opened it. Reaching inside, I found the slender tablet and pulled it out. “You forgot this.”
Josie’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Ah, I totally forgot my e-reader. Awesome.” She popped forward, kissing my cheek as she clutched it close to her chest. “Thank you. I’d go crazy without this.”
“That’s sweet,” Alex teased, punching my arm. “You’re such a sweetie, a big old ball of sweetness.”
“People are really annoying this morning,” I grumbled.
Alex laughed as Aiden dragged her over to the other SUV. “It is very sweet of you,” Josie said, stepping back from the rear door. “Thank you.”
“Uh-huh,” I muttered.
Marcus appeared outside the wall, flanked by several Guards. He spoke to Aiden and Solos first, and then frowned at something Hercules said. Only gods knew what it was. Probably something about the size of his muscles.
I turned, brushing the dust off my hands, as Marcus and crew made their way over to us. The dean smiled tightly at Josie and then those cool emerald eyes landed on me. “We’ll be waiting to hear from you all once you arrive in California and locate the first demigod.”
I nodded as Marcus spoke to Alex and Aiden. The game plan was to take the demigod to the University and then head to Canada. Bending over, I picked up another duffel bag. This one was loaded with enough guns and weapons to bring Homeland Security screaming down on us. Several of the blades inside were wrapped and protected after being dipped in the Pegasus blood.
Which made flying a bit tricky.
We could use compulsion on a few mortals, but all of TSA and everyone nearby? Yeah, that would be a pain.
“You’ll be seeing us again, sooner than you expect.” Hercules paused long enough to slug down some coffee. “It will take no matter of time for me to zero in on who you’re looking for.”
“That’s good to hear.” Marcus’s tone was bland.
“All right. We’re ready to head out,” I announced before Hercules could launch into a massive speech on how awesome he was.
Hercules tossed his cup aside. It hit the ground, breaking into four large sections. A vein popped along Marcus’s temple as Hercules headed for our SUV. “I’m riding with you guys.”
Solos stopped, bag in hand, and veered around sharply, heading for where Aiden stood.
“Oh, no,” I called out, smacking my hand on the rear door. “You’re going with us, buddy. Oh yeah, you’re going down in a ball of flames right along with us.”
Josie giggled as Hercules yanked open the back passenger door. The SUV shook and groaned under his sudden weight.
“You aren’t going to be laughing in an hour,” I warned her.
Prowling around to the back of the SUV, Solos tossed his bag in. “You’re lucky I like you.”
I closed the rear door. If I was going to have to deal with Herc-The-Dickface, I wasn’t going to suffer alone. Oh no, my kind of misery demanded company.
Alex darted over to her father as I walked around to the passenger side of the SUV and opened the door for Josie, who already had her nose buried in her e-reader. She barely looked up as she murmured her thanks. Shutting the door, I turned and caught Aiden’s gaze.
He wasn’t exactly smiling. That damn look was on his face, one I’d seen a dozen times, usually back then, before Ares. Before Alex Awakened on her eighteenth birthday. The same look he gave me whenever he saw me with Alex.