“Once you sign up, I can transfer his character to your account,” Angela said. “So he won’t have to start over.”
“Thanks,” Harry said. “Now, about your pay. My usual babysitter charges ten bucks an hour, but if that’s not enough….”
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Angela said. “Consider it a favor.”
“You better be careful,” Harry said. “If you keep spoiling me like that, I’m going to start taking it for granted.”
“Hey, I’m not a complete pushover,” Angela said. “You just caught me in a generous mood today.”
“Well, whatever put you in it, I’m glad it happened,” he said. “Don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she said, chuckling. “Now go home before I change my mind.”
Harry laughed and headed for the door. Tommy followed after his father, dragging his heels all the way. Harry opened the door. Angela leaned against the back of her couch.
“Tommy, do you have something to say to Angela?” Harry asked.
The kid hesitated a moment, then said, “Thank you.”
“You’re quite welcome,” Angela replied.
Tommy glanced up and smiled faintly. Angela couldn’t look away in time. Darkness swelled around her and she plunged into it. She grabbed the couch to steady herself. Forced a smile.
“See you around, Angela,” Harry said.
“Bye,” Angela replied through gritted teeth.
Harry and Tommy stepped out into the hallway. The door swung shut behind them. Angela let go of the couch and sank to the floor. Her face was wet and her chest squeezed tight. She felt like she was drowning.
She focused on the pain, swimming deeper into it. For a while it seemed completely empty, but somewhere down in the crushing depths, something stirred: anger.
Heat began to rise inside her, just like last time. She took a deep breath and exhaled. Blue flames licked her lips. She tried to hold onto the anger, to deconstruct it, but it slipped through her fingers and sank back into the darkness.