Part One: Maria
Author: Regala Electra
Summary: “So if I’m a witch, Dean, what of it?”
Warnings: Sexual Content, Language, Violence
Word Count: 5,600
Author’s Notes: This story has been a long time in the making and I have to especially thank pheebs1 for the valuable beta-work in the early stages of putting this story together. And my eternal thanks to the lovely ignited for listening to my many, many rambles as I worked on the final draft.
Feedback is appreciated.
she spoke of Santeria while Santana played on her stereo
"I had all my warts removed," she tells him, voice thick with sleep. Her lips look naked without lipstick, makes her natural frown look less severe, weird how he ain't freaked at all by her earlier revelations, by what she is, plain and simple, an honest-to-god witch.
He keeps on tracing patterns on her bare thigh, faint near-black hairs only visible when the sunlight hits her skin direct, light somehow making its way past shut curtains. It's too quiet here, normally makes Dean want to fill up the space with words, but he doesn't. Just takes it in, a familiar kind of quiet.
After all, he and Dad gotta stop her daddy before sundown tonight.
"No green skin either," he agrees, taking a long time to drag his fingers down her stomach, over the swells of her, all rounds and curves. He knows it gets her annoyed and that's the point of the stalling. Further twist to her lips, pout, oh it's on, she grabs his wrist, rubbing her pussy against his fingers, demanding orders he'd love to follow, only they ain't in English and he mutters No hablo español getting her to hiss, “The hell you don’t.”
Still, this kind of language isn't made with spoken words and he gets the jist of it right quick.
First it’s the Gipsy Kings, playing like a low murmur. That’s what he notices before he sees her, music warbling and pitchy, bad stereo that needs to be replaced. The whole store’s seen better days, heydays have come and gone several decades ago, avocado walls and chipped checkerboard tile floors were on the outs back in the late ‘70s.
Then she turns around and he ain’t paying attention to being stuck in the usual time warp.
She’s dark: eyes, hair, skin and best of all (if you’re asking him and hey, damn well better, ‘cause he’s digging it), mood. He’s looking for a challenge, honest to god bitch that’ll distract him from this being a goddamn year since Sam took off for college, which he really isn’t gonna think about, because he’s a got a job do.
Which means lying and he does it best by kicking off with a smile, making his way towards the surly chick who looks like she has no idea why he’d have any interest in speaking with her. Refuses to smile (and later, he learns that it’s because that’s what makes her face light up, god forbid she let anyone figure out she’s a fuckin’ knockout).
All Dean knows about her within thirty minutes of doing his kind of investigating (his brother once called it blatant flirting, but hey, you gotta go with what works, so you know what? Forget him and fuck his smug attitude about how Dean gets his info, point is, he gets it) is that her daddy’s into some deep ass Santeria black magic.
She’s careful not to give too much away about whether she’s involved, good job too, 'cause when she shrugs it does amazing things to her tits. Leaves him slack-jawed for a couple of moments, but it don’t matter, trying to make him look past her face. Dean can spot a liar pretty fuckin’ easy considering he ain’t the most honest of folk.
‘Sides there are more important things than caring if he’s getting the runaround from a liar, from all the research he and Dad have done, what they’re up against thinks it’s more than just a nasty critter or twisted spirit, nope, if they’re right, they might be going head-to-head with one of the Orishas. A freakin’ god. Yeah. That’s what he and Dad are in the thick of, battling gods, but Dean doesn’t mind getting a rep for being a godkiller.
So long as he stops a killer god, he’s doing right, you know?
Time to pull out the big guns, uh, so to speak, no way he’s drawing his gun out in public, and he ain’t lettingher know he’s packing, he’s reeled her in and now’s the time to get some real stuff to work with. Always hated all the goddamn prep work and speculation, it’s Sammy who was good at it, as much as he might’ve bitched, he had a knack for it, better than Dad almost. And shit, there he goes again, thinking about Sam—and no, no fucking way, he’s not doing it anymore, goddamn...moping about what should be but ain’t.
So yeah, the surface stuff’s all been dealt with, enough that he’s not walking away empty handed, now it’s time to get what he really needs, only she stops him.
Looks down at his arm, her hand tugging at his jacket, unspoken: stop. It’s a weird moment, he’s not sure if she’s gonna squeeze his arm but she lets go, making sure no one’s listening.
(They probably are, Dean’s kinda walked into a lion’s den here but he’s walked into worse situations and he’s fine with talking his chances so long as it gets the job done.)
With a shake of her head, she tells him that it’s no place to discuss such things, during the day, at the cramped little bodega. She gestures to an old lady who fails at being subtle, trying to pick out a sack of masa flour from a long row of the same brand, each bag no different from the one next to it.
So he gets a note tucked into the front pocket of his jeans. A wink too, as she wanders out of the store, her purchases tucked away in a plain brown paper bag.
Huh. Not exactly how he expected things to go, but he takes what he can get.
Yeah, so he’s gonna follow, right after he makes a quick call to Dad, lets him know that it looks like Dean’s found a way to get some real answers.
Dad doesn’t need to tell him to be careful, never been like that, just tells Dean they’re running out of time, and yeah, Dean knows, probably only a day or two before some else winds up sacrificed for a fuckin’ monster. Sure, it might call itself a god or whatever, but people are ending up dead, that’s a monster in Dean’s book. Not that he has a book.
The address is scrawled in too-neat handwriting. He’s never believed that you can tell much from a person’s writing, but he can picture her sitting somewhere, examining things over and over again, until things are just right. The obsessive type, straight and narrow, except where her daddy might be doing some really fucked up stuff and she realized exactly why Dean wanted to talk to her.
Fuckin’ skeptic too. She’s kinda hot in a possibly evil kind of way.
Glances back down at the note. She even put periods between the P and the M and telling him to see her later at 7 o’clock.
It’s a walk-up, her place, and she’s on the fifth floor, apartment E. He knocks on the door and when she opens it, she’s dressed differently. Better and that’s an awesome sight.
She’s wearing a soft yellow top that ain’t barely legal but gives him a hell of a view. When she angles back her head, he sees the big old yellow gold loop earrings, two of ‘em in each ear. Huge but thin, super thin, and he’s gotta respect the craft of making those, metalwork musta been a bitch.
Her hand’s on the edge of the door when she opens it, like she’s ready to slam it shut. Dean notices the old gold ring on her finger, family heirloom, like a strand of spun gold, too delicate for its own good. Yellow and gold, it’s deliberate, not just because she looks goddamn tasty in the colors, lightens up the natural dark thing she’s got going on, only just realizes back at the little bodega, she’d been decked out in all black.
He’s invited into her kitchen and she tells him it’ll just be a few more minutes. Dean doesn’t need to ask what.
She's got some chicken bones splayed out on a battered cutting board (the meat, cleared from the bone, is cooking with the rice) and holds back her loose curls when she peers into the big pot over her electric stove.
He takes inventory of the apartment, assessing things because there’s no fucking way he’s gonna get himself all turned around because of surprises. He can at least tell they’re the only two people inside the place, which is a good way to start the evening. Only good time someone else shows up is ‘cause a threesome’s in the works and that ain’t happening. Dean’s not that lucky.
There’s a cheap painted portrait of the Virgin Mary hanging up in the small living room. Random CDs tossed around a so-so stereo system, probably second-hand or taken when she moved away from home, wherever that is, he and Dad haven’t even gotten a handle on where her father’s staying (hiding out).
She tells him he’s free to look around after she catches him craning his neck to look down the narrow hallway to the bedroom.
“You cool with people snooping around?” Dean asks, trying to keep it casual despite it being a good idea, a quick walk through never hurt anybody and hell it’s what he’s doing with the basic recon anyway.
“I don’t have anything to hide. And if you’re in my kitchen too long, I’m going to make you cook. Wouldn’t want that, yeah?”
He doesn’t know the right answer, no way he’s gonna be fucking honest, so he fucking whiffs it, agreeing, “Yeah, no way.”
The living room smells like old perfume, like it got soaked into the walls and scrubbed wood floor. There’s a the worn rug in the middle of the floor and when he kicks it over with the toe of his boot, he doesn’t see any markings on the floor. There aren’t any candles hanging around, either, nothing being worked up in this space at least.
Dean does see what looks like a little lab kit on a coffee table, loose leaf papers covered in her strange anal-retentive handwriting. Hard hurt hits him in the gut, thinks of Sam doing homework, across beds, on the floor, kitchen table, wherever, point is, he was doing it, even with Dean teasing him the entire time. He didn’t write as neat as this chick does, maybe it would be better to check that she’s not some kind of fem-bot instead of a freakin’ black magic mama jama.
There’s an old blue couch worn in all the right places, kinda ugly, but well-loved all the same. Still, unless he wants to start rifling through her medicine cabinet, and almost does when he goes the bathroom, not wondering if it’s rude to take a leak, he has to piss, and he does. The bedroom’s clean too, like, she even folds up her sheets and has ‘em neatly tucked in. So fucking careful of everything she’s got going on.
He takes that in and heads back into the kitchen, leaning back against the wall. Just watches her as she cooks.
Her back stiffens and she asks him if he’s thirsty, insists that he have a beer and she’ll have the same. Dean should be surprised by the glass jar of the dark red liquid—blood—in the fridge, the little white label with the date printed on it, but he isn’t, maybe because it’s so damn fuckin’ clinical and cold, good warning that he tucks away, glad that he’s prepared for whatever the fuck she’s planning on.
Ignores that his stomach’s rumbling because dammit, last time he ate mighta been breakfast, still, that don’t mean he’s gonna let himself be poisoned or something.
Shuts the door and looks at the random things stuck on her refrigerator. A post-it reminder to buy some eggs (flan is underlined, whatever the hell that is). There’s a couple of photos (some female friends, ranging from hot to not, a photo of her and her parents when she was just in grade school, he guesses, she’s wearing a Catholic girl school uniform and just looks cute) held up with chipped magnets in the shape of fruits. Bananas and apples. A faded strawberry cracked in half, the paint on the seeds chipped away, showing white underneath.
“So what’s in the pot?”
There's the smell of onions and garlic in the air, heavier than it was before, and it’s making Dean hungrier than he’s been in a long while.
“Food, not poison,” she says, like she’s a fuckin’ mindreader. Must read it off his face, fuck, because she asks, “You’ve been wondering what I’m making. It’s only food. You are a guest.”
“So there’s nothing in there but some chicken and rice?”
“And everything else in the sofrito,” she says, her voice teetering between rhythmic Spanish vowels and harsh New York consonants. There’s a slightly nasal quality that disappears when she slips into Spanish, as though she’s more comfortable in that language. “I’ll add the cilantro last.”
Like he’s invested in what she’s doing, even though she knows better.
“Do you want a taste?”
Hell yeah he does. But he’s got business here and she’s too much of a good distraction. “You first.”
She picks up a spoon from the countertop, getting a heaping spoonful and clearing it off in two bites. Holds fingers to her mouth, making sure there isn’t anything there. “Mmm, the poison really adds something, you know? Better than sazón.”
I’m sorry, he means to say, but she doesn’t let him. Cuts him off at the pass.
“I let a pretty gringo come to my home and don’t offer him anything to eat, then my mother’s raised me wrong.” She says it like it’s an old family joke, private and held close to the chest.
“How many of them ask you about Santeria?”
Laying it bare, not a smart move, but Dean’s going by his gut—intuition—and he can’t help but thinking she’s happier not having to jump through hoops. Almost seems like she breathes a little easier just then, stands up a little straighter. She does arch her back as she rolls her shoulders, which is just nice to see.
“I brought home a white boy once,” she starts to say. She isn’t answering the question. Not really. “He wasn’t even Catholic, took a look at the Virgen and fled. Don’t know why he thought a Latina named Maria wouldn’t have the faith.”
“I told you different?” She goes to smile at that, but thinks better of it. Presses her lips together, manages a crease despite the thick layer of lipstick.
“Just gave me a last name. Herrera.”
She nods approvingly at his pronunciation. Waving a hand, she says, “My grandmother, when she was born, oh, they wanted her to be so American. They named her Betty. So when she had children, they had good strong American names too and then my mother fixed that and named me Maria. There’s so few Marias in the world, why not add one more?”
That’s where she turns to him, hard look in her eyes, asking him for to challenge her. He knows better than that.
Dean hides the twitch of his lips by taking a long pull off the beer. It’s an import he hasn’t ever had the pleasure of drinking before and it’s surprisingly good.
Turning off the stove, she says to him, “So what do you believe in?”
“Didn’t realize this was time to get out my bible and start believing.” Dean believes in monsters. In people being fucking weird. In not getting what he wants, so he may as well take what he can get.
Dean doesn’t believe she’s casting a spell or that her food’s got some kind of a truth serum in it, not when she starts off eating first, telling him, a little acidly, that she’s sure he’s got someone watching his back, then finishing it off with a simple declaration.
“The way you act, you’re not alone,” she says, gently, first nakedly honest thing she’s said to him.
And so, this happens, sharing and not caring but something like it, don’t matter if he thinks she’s a fucking liar and might have a bit of wicked in her bones. Tells her his real first name after she says, “I don’t think a normal Steve Harris smirks after saying the name. Please, don’t think because you’re talking to a lot of brown-skinned people that some of us don’t listen to Iron Maiden. I do understand why you’d do it. You’re not looking for easy answers, hmm?”
So while she scoops out a heaping mound of chicken and rice (and other things mixed in, he thinks he can see potatoes, peppers and green olives), he gives out his real name.
“Dean,” she says, trying out the name and liking how it rolls out on her tongue. Maria sits sideways with her legs crossed, not tucking them under the small table. “I hope you don’t mind that I took out most of the bones.”
Or that you probably killed the chicken yourself, Dean thinks, but that doesn’t stop him from eating. Home-cooked meals aren’t something he always gets to have. Beggars ain’t got a say in being choosers.
Sure, he knows this bird coulda been an animal sacrifice and hell, maybe it was, it should spook him or give him pause, but it’s actually damn tasty. He might say something to that effect, because she says a pleased thank you, only Dean’s real invested in finishing off his plate so he takes too long to say the customary you’re welcome.
Fuck, maybe this is a spell and this here’s a dying man’s last meal but it doesn’t seem that way, especially when she asks him if he’s gonna eat that olive, last one on his plate and he pops it in his mouth before she steals it.
Before he damn near licks the plate clean, she serves up sweet bananas, little mushy, real damn sweet and a fuckin’ perfect ending to the meal.
“I’m cheating, but you probably don’t know that,” Maria tells him, tossing a paper box (with the brand name Goya on it) in the trash. She nukes the package in the tiny overhead microwave located over her stove, divvying up the portions in equal halves. Gotta admire that she enjoys food and the beer too, already on her second bottle, Dean the same, ‘cause well, he has to keep up.
He’s nowhere near drunk, no fucking way, but he really can’t stop staring at her, and she notices it, has her eyes cast down, poking at dessert.
Shit, if she is casting a spell on him, he isn’t minding it all that much, but he does keep himself ready, sitting crossways like Maria. Tips his beer towards her, saying, “My compliments to the chef,” while his other hand grazes the outline of the knife tucked in his boot.
“Don’t know what you’re thinking, considering I let you come here, but I listen when someone starts asking questions about...” She tries to find the words, but doesn’t. “You think my dad’s behind the murders, don’t you? Letting an orisha take over his body and...kill.”
She hesitates at the word, not out of fear, but a harsh reality dive, suddenly taking in the big picture, Dean can’t imagine how awful it would be, not trusting family. Tries to, for a moment, think what if Dad ever went too far, did something darkside but shit, can’t picture it all, makes his full stomach do flipflops, just trying to picture it.
He doesn’t quite know how to answer her, considering all fucking signs point to yes. He only says, “You or your daddy ever crossed paths with a dude called Chago?”
“Santiago Martinez?” Maria can’t help a bubble of laughter rise up in her voice but she somehow kills it before it spills out. “That crazy pendejo’s been trying to get my dad’s attention ever since he moved here. Not a New Yorker at all and not even from Miami. Or Cuba. There’s something wrong with his accent, like he’s been all over. Always been something wrong. Like he’s been to wrong places.”
Dean raises an eyebrow at that. “You can tell just from a person’s accent...?”
“Why wouldn’t I? I’m half of everything. Cuban and Puerto Rican. American, too. I listen for it and it’s easy. I’ve been raised in the middle of it all,” she says, taking away their plates and scraping off remnants into the garbage can.
“So you been raised to use the black magic. Your dad ever hurt anyone, Maria?”
There’s no answer at least right away. But he watches her, how she’s rigid not because she’s pissed, more like she’s trying to control herself. As she starts clearing away plates and utensils, loading up the dishwasher, Maria explains, “I know who I light my candles for, but I don’t pray for the ill health of others.”
“But your daddy...”
Not a question, all Dean is doing is letting it hang in the air, expecting her to lash out, but all she does turn around, close her eyes, taking in a deep breath.
“If he did anything.” She clips it off, like she finished whatever she meant to say. Then, eyes opening, cracked smile, fuckin’ disarms him, she says, “It would explain my parents' divorce. And why I haven’t been able to contact my father for the past two weeks. He once was one of the most popular santeros. He made miracles happens.”
“The kind of miracles that wind up with lots of dead—”
“You deal in death yourself, Dean.” She sweeps a hand over the chicken bones, still on the cutting board. “I had some questions of my own, before you arrived.”
“That’s great. But you never asked about, oh, all those murders happenin’, never thought—”
“I have, cabrón,” Maria snaps, hip-checking the dishwasher shut. It doesn’t stay shut, popping open again and she mutters, defeated, “Dammit.”
“So you ain’t getting any signs from the spirits, huh?” He stands up at that, has to keep from totally invading her space, doesn’t want to piss her off, she’s done enough damage to a machine, hate to see it when she gets really mad. “Only figured out, what, that I’m a—”
“You have reasons,” Maria says. “Good reasons. The other one, hmm, I did not ask of him, he is close by. You want answers and I will give them to you. If my father has betrayed his duty, has abused his abilities, I cannot protect him from God, let alone men.”
“You think you can live with it?”
He tries to keep from flinching, getting hit with the steely look in her eyes full-on, and he almost succeeds.
“You have no idea,” she says, a new kind of steadiness to her voice, forcing the rhythm out of her voice, “about Santeria at all and you plan to battle against one, if not two, active priests.”
“Well, I do like playing things by ear.”
She tilts her head a little, looking at his right ear. “That is a perfectly useless sacrifice. Coffee,” she says abruptly. “We should have coffee and I will explain things.”
Over coffee, Dean gets himself an insider’s take on Santeria, stereo turned on loud enough to make it impossible for any neighbors to eavesdrop.
She tells him how things can be summoned and how they can be defeated, nearly spills hot coffee on herself when she starts off, her hands shaking but she steadies herself.
Maybe he should tell her that he feels like a total fucking bastard, having her give up the goods on her own family, but he’s sure she wouldn’t take kindly to a wimpy apology, one that Dean doesn’t even know if he believes in, after all, it’s a matter of stopping this now and she’s got the goods, so he has to do what he’s gotta do.
Any guilt he’s got brewing, it don’t matter, not when Dean stands right behind her, later, helping her clean up some. She doesn’t expect it, staring at him clean out a coffee mug like she’s never seen a guy do it, raising an eyebrow when he even dries it off himself.
“Thank you,” she says and he’s pretty sure she isn’t talking about doing the dishes. She sounds relieved.
He leans towards her, not wanting to say anything and she goes all still, holding the side of the counter for dear life. He knows, in that moment, what’ll happen and it doesn’t surprise him at all. No surprise when she leans upwards and he bends down and they meet somewhere in the middle and she tastes like coffee and beer, familiar and home-cooked food and fried sweet bananas, caramelized just right, which is something he’s never quite tasted before, not in this way.
It’s an uneasy kiss, something that isn’t resolved when she breaks away and does this neat little twist to her mouth, a scowl that’s almost pretty. Her lips aren’t as full as they should be, but they get the job done.
Dean knows Maria’s the type to knee a dude in the crotch if he’s pissing her off, but she just looks at him, saying, “So if I’m a witch, Dean, what of it?”
Nothing, that’s what. He yanks her shirt over her head and kisses the hell out of her because she’s going to tell him what he and his Dad need to do to stop Chago (and her friggin’ father) and whatever-the-hell that thing really is, goddamn nasty creature calling itself a fuckin’ god. That’s how it’ll be and he knows that she’s got secrets tucked away and ain’t gonna tell him more than he asks, but he’ll at least get himself something good, while it’s still worth it.
She’s got on a black bra and Dean admires the view long enough that she almost smiles. It’s a hell of a sight, how she’s wearing a seamless thing that just keeps her curves in all the right places. Maria’s tits are round and full, the right sort of heavy. He can’t help making a noise of appreciation, deep in his throat, saying, “Fuck, you’re hot.”
Tugs a strap down and puts a hand on her breast before he takes it completely off, pausing to catch that look of fire in her eyes, asking for more. Unlike her hardass attitude and natural frown, her breasts are something else, soft and warm, the welcome touch of female pressing into the palm of his hand.
When he unsnaps her bra, he has to bend down, taking one nipple between his teeth. Quickfire scrape is all it takes to get a perfect little groan out of her and he throws Maria’s bra away, letting it fall somewhere on the floor. She stills as he rolls the other nipple in his fingers then runs his palm over the nipple. She’s not short enough that he can keep at sucking at her tits if he goes on his knees, so he just stays bent over, wondering how wet she’s getting.
Only once does he look up.
Her hair trails over her naked shoulders. Freakin’ unreal, how it moves so slow against her skin. When she looks down at him, maybe there’s something like awe on her face. Can’t be; no freakin’ way. She ain’t the type to let something like that cross her face so freely.
Shirts, jeans, underwear, socks and boots make an adult’s trail of breadcrumbs to her bed as he follows her, enjoying the sight of her big round ass freed from simple navy cotton panties. Jennifer Lopez wishes she had that ass.
Or those tits, ‘cause fuck.
She turns around at the last moment, standing in front of her bed, waiting for him to push her down and hell, he is not going to hesitate, even though he knows exactly what it is, an offering. There’s power in this, in hiking her legs over his shoulders and making like he’s about to do something monumentally stupid, his cock pressing up against her thigh, too close to the damp heat of her.
“Jesus,” she mutters, nails scratching against his back, a sensation that wakes him up, causes him to pull back a little, letting her legs slide of his shoulders. He’s back in the game, gets up and pulls a condom out of his wallet.
And nearly drops it when he sees her touching herself, fingers dipping in, and man, nearly forgets to breathe for a moment, at the sight of her. Then he’s back, all the way, because it don’t matter if he’s wired. He’s got time.
He wants to see her come against his hand before anything else and a new song kicks up on the stereo, one he doesn’t recognize.
She’s soaking and again, he has to appreciate it. “How long?” he asks and even he doesn’t rightly know if he’s asking how long it’ll take to get her off with just fingers or how long she’s been getting wet or how long they got. No, he knows the answer the last one, just this night, little slice of the morning, maybe, nothing more than that.
So he’s got to make it count, and he’s too impatient, has to taste the slight spice of her skin, licking at her clit when he’s got three fingers inside of her, not crazy tight, but good enough that she’s rocking hard against his hand and oh, she’s a fucking hellraiser.
And not quiet at all, no, not at all.
“Now,” she says, hoarse, before the let-down, but right after she’s come against his mouth and fingers, still twisting around, “fuck me now.”
Well, if she insists.
It’s a wild ride, bodies bucking against one another. Dean grits his teeth, willing himself not to come too soon and she moans in Spanish and he knows exactly what she’s saying. Christ, he’s never thought half of the things coming out of her mouth could be uttered so damn urgently. Or how weird it is that there’s like this gentleness to it, encouraging him, twined into all the nasty sex talk, harder, harder, I want it, I can take it, bite me there, fuck, yes, that’s it, dios mio, there, yes, and he can’t take it anymore.
Comes inside of her as she scream-stutters sì, sì, sì, sì, legs wrapped around him so damn tight he knows he’s going to have some amazing freakin’ bruising later.
Maria doesn’t want to let him move off of her afterwards.
He tells her he has at least visit the can (although he says a bit nicer than that) but he climbs back into bed and tries to get her into that crook of his arm he knows fits a woman just right. She refuses to do that and manages to get him pressed up close to her side. Asks quietly that he put an arm around her and she may have made a pleased cat’s laugh, a gentle purring noise deep in her throat.
“Caridad del Cobre,” she says to him, after their slow morning fuck, inspecting a blossoming bruise on her thigh, huh, he didn’t remember biting her there, but it’s definitely teeth-shaped.
Although he’s probably got some scratches on his back, so hey, fair’s fair. Takes him a long moment to get it, asking her, “What?”
“It's a perfume,” she explains, hands moving up her body to her breasts and damn if he forgets what she’s trying to tell him. “Not for the patroness of Cuba, but for Oshun. I made it long before Chago tried to—did—sway my dad.”
“So all we got to do is make ‘em smell better?”
She opens her dresser, handing over a simple bottle, plain as anything, wouldn’t even think it was meant for perfume if it weren’t for the neat handwritten label carefully taped to one side. It’s clear that she made it herself and it doesn’t surprise him one bit. Yeah, she's a perfumer, an actual friggin’ scientist in her day-to-day life, when she isn’t being this strange hybrid woman—not enough of a Latina and not quite American and too much of a witch.
“Just put it to a white-hot fire and let it burn away. That’s your answer. Tonight they will try to call the spirit and will fail because you will call it and silence it forever.”
“We’re killing a god?”
She shakes her head, wiping at a smudge of makeup, blush, on her face. “That would be wicked, no? You’re not killing a god. You’re stopping this all. And as for Chago and any others, my father,” she adds quickly, nearly swallowing the word father and finding it leaves a bad taste in her mouth, “please, let the police take care of that.”
“Yeah,” he lies to her. “We’ll do that.”
“Is there,” she shakes her head, staring again, “is there anything else I can do to help?”
He wraps one of her long dark curls in his fingers and says she's helped enough. She kisses his right palm (open-handed) and then his knuckles. Touches his fingertips with her own and matches them up perfectly. She does this all in complete silence. Then she traces the hollow at his throat.
“You’re a good man,” Maria tells him.
She's the most honest liar he's ever met.
end part one
Continue to Part Two: Rose.