Name: Luke

Day/Time: Saturday, 4:04 AM

Current state of mind: Chill

What are you wearing? Black pajama pants and a gray hoodie

What are you listening to? Hard To Handle by The Black Crowes

What are you drinking? Beer

Where are you? My room

What’s up, I’m Luke. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the Coven’s security and tech analyst. You’d think we wouldn’t need that kind of thing with the powers we have, but it’s because of our powers that we need it. I’d go into details and explain, but I don’t feel like getting into all that right now. Right now, I just want to chill by the fire and drink my beer in peace.

It’s been a long night—hell, it’s been a long weekend, and it’s not even over yet. This time of year keeps us all busy with the Thanksgiving holiday and upcoming Winter Solstice. All the charity functions, community events, and Solstice festivities take up a hefty chunk of our time. And that doesn’t include our war with Jared and his groupies of demons and rogue witches. Though things have been quiet on that front lately. Too quiet. It’s the kind of foreboding quiet that weighs you down and eats at your gut. It festers in your mind, driving you mad with apprehension. You know the shit storm is coming, but you don’t know when it’s gonna hit or the severity of it.

We’ve been doing our best to be proactive and prepare for the worst. We’ve been working spells, doing recon, and scouring the internet and social media sites, but we’ve come up with nothing. I can’t say I’m surprised, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Needless to say, tensions have been high and we’ve all been in need of some relief.

Marissa and Ash suggested that we all hit up the nightclub downtown. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t thrilled about spending my Friday night watching hordes of drunks dry-humping each other on the dancefloor. Naturally, Nick shot the idea down. Daniel and I had his back, and we were all about Team Stay Home. Unfortunately for us, the others were all for going out, including Holly, which was a surprise. She’s the responsible one out of the group and with all the weekend activities she had planned, I thought for sure she was gonna vote to stay home. I thought wrong. Not that it was gonna change my mind — or so I thought. Turned out I was wrong. Again.

Marissa got it into her head that all of us needed to go out as a group. No one was staying behind, no excuses. Once she sets her mind on something, she doesn’t let it go. She’s as persistent as she is stubborn. She’s a lot like Nick in that aspect. Twenty minutes and three guilt trips later, I caved into her demands. Apparently, I have “sucker” stamped on my forehead when it comes to her. Hell, she even rode with me to the club, like I would turn around and bail on her. She’d just hunt my ass down and drag me back out again. Besides, I like to keep my word. If I say I’m gonna do something, I do it.

Anyway, we got there, and the place was shit packed. The line to get inside wrapped around the building and halfway down the block. Fortunately for us, we bypassed the crowd and went in the back entrance. We took up residence in our usual booth in the VIP Lounge, which is located on the upper level and away from the throng of inebriated idiots. It’s even got its own dancefloor with plenty of room to get your move on, if that’s your thing. In my case, it’s not. But the girls took full advantage of it after some shots of liquid courage.

Other than some minor drama between Ryan and Ash, the night was going smoothly. Everyone was getting along and having fun. Daniel, Holly, and I were hanging out and chatting, when Marissa stumbled over and dragged me onto the dancefloor. She was in no shape to dance. So, I led her over to the bar instead and eased her down onto one of the stools where she could sit, all nice and safe. I ordered her an ice water. She ordered two shots of Fireball. And then bolted—well, staggered off.

I figured she was gonna be sick, so I asked Holly to go check on her and make sure she was okay. But Holly came back a few minutes later, saying she didn’t know where Rissa took off to. Holly and Daniel went to check the main level of the nightclub, while I headed outside.

And there she was. Standing all by her lonesome in the private parking lot, arms wrapped around herself and shivering in the freezing cold. The snow was coming down in heavy spurts, but she didn’t seem to notice. Hell, she didn’t seem to notice much, including me. At least, not until I was right behind her. Then she spun and tossed a fist at my chin, but I caught it easily. Too easily. Her normally swift reflexes were slow, her typically lithe movements uncoordinated and sloppy thanks to all the booze she’d taken down. She was a standing target, ready to be taken out.

She was shaking, her teeth chattering so hard I thought they were gonna crack. I took my jacket off and wrapped it around her. And yet as I tried to get her inside, she refused. She wouldn’t budge. I was ready to toss her over my shoulder and just carry her back inside. I didn’t give a damn if she laid into me later or not. I was in no mood for a bout with hypothermia. Been there. Done that. Don’t recommend it.

Just as I was about to veto her decision on becoming an ice sculpture, she grabbed my arm and begged me—actually begged me to let her stay out there. Marissa’s not the type to beg anyone for anything. Something was up, but I didn’t know what. I couldn’t let her stand out there alone and become one with the elements. So we compromised and headed to my car, where there was heat.

We sat in silence for a short while as we watched the snowfall. Something was weighing on her, but I wasn’t going to force her to talk about it. If she wanted to chat, she would. If not, at least she’d have some peace and quiet to think things through. Eventually, she opened up. She talked, and I listened. As much as I wanted to give her advice, as tempted as I was to solve her problems, it wasn’t what she needed. She just needed someone to hear her out, so I did.

We must’ve been in my car for a long time because Nick had come out and told us it was closing time. Naturally, he was all suspicious and in big brother mode, but he’s got nothing to worry about. Rissa and I are just friends. Nothing more. He knows that and he knows I’d never do anything to hurt her. But I can’t blame him for being protective, especially with everything that went down in the past. But that’s another story for another time.

I’m gonna crash. I’ve gotta long day ahead of me and I could use some sleep. Have a comment? Drop it down below and I’ll get back to you.

Happy Holidays,

Luke