I really should have known that this relationship never stood a chance. That was my first thought when my husband of nearly three years slipped into my bedroom to tell me that we were over. Like the separate sleeping arrangements hadn't been a big enough clue that I wanted out. He sat on the edge of my bed, telling me things about how I never let him in during the long years we had worked together or in our short marriage. I sat at my desk, nodding methodically as I silently thanked Tor and Loki and whatever other gods might have been out there that my friends had insisted we get a prenuptial agreement and that I had never allowed the merging of our bank accounts. But it was still very interesting that the first thought I had entertained after Allen's declaration was that dire prediction that my dear friend Rubedo had made about his own relationship with the lovable and adorable Momo Mizrahi. I found it funny that it was my marriage that lasted the shortest length of time between the two relationships. "I just feel like you have completely shut me out," Allen was saying as I tuned back into his one-sided conversation. He hadn't even noticed that I hadn't been paying the least bit of attention. "At first, I thought that some of this was about Jinn, but this goes way beyond! You obviously can't function in a relationship that's in the least bit normal!" My heart clenched tightly, then turned to stone in my chest. "Get out," I ordered, angrier than I had been in a long time. How dare he! How dare he bring up my brother at a time like this! And how dare he insinuate that he found me lacking because I wasn't normal! He looked incredulous and stunned. "Wh-what?" "Get. Out. Now." I bit out each word curtly as wave after wave of rage washed over me. I may have married this man –for the life of me I could no longer remember why, even if he could be called a man– but right now, I never wanted to see his face again. How dare he bring up Jinn! He was my brother, and I'd informed Allen a long time ago that Jinn was an off-limits topic. Then again, should it shock me that conversation was like everything else in our marriage: something he neglected to remember? Trembling in rage, I eyed him. His eyes went wide and he just stared at me a moment before fleeing like a spooked rabbit, glancing back over his shoulder at me a few times as though to make sure I hadn't released Fenrir to nip at his heels. Not that I had that much pull with the god of chaos, but that was neither here nor there: he was still horribly afraid of me. It shouldn't have surmised me, really. Allen hadn't seen me get well and truly angry in years. Every time I became passionate about anything –revenge, sex, friends, chocolate– Allen would become utterly terrified, as though my passions had been what had brought the Gnosis and the spirits to our door. I gave a very un-ladylike snort. Trust that particular moron to misinterpret utter anguish as passion. What was even more pathetic that not having had any good sex since before my relationship with Allen had begun was perhaps that my husband seemed bent on proving just how spineless he truly was. He couldn't even tell me that he'd cheated with various nameless and faceless women –I had to hear that from friends and the PI I'd hired to keep track of his movements. But then again, it wasn't as though I hadn't expected that, not with our love-life in the sorry state it was in. Perhaps, if I had wanted to be totally honest, I should have informed him of the warm spiral of stirring feelings in the pit of my stomach that was caused by one of our oldest friends, but then again, I liked having the high ground for our divorce and I had no doubt that Allen would insinuate that I had cheated as well if in possession of such knowledge. Sighing, I opened the cabinet next to my desk and pulled out the antique red-glass decanter that had been my favorite out of all of the wedding presents –it was from Rubedo, of course, because he knew me better than anyone else. I poured a large volume of bourbon from the decanter into a clear-glass tumbler. Silently, I stared at the amber liquid as my thoughts wandered. As I recalled, dark liquors had also been what Rubedo had preferred. When I was hurting deeply, there was only one man on Midgard I trusted to have my back and hide me away from the world: Rubedo Kukai. Not only was he filthy rich and responsible for wielding a heavy amount of power in Mystic, he was my dearest and very best friend. It was a bad business habit of his to drop everything and come running when I needed him; however, should I be completely honest, I would do the same. While neither of us was particularly strong at sharing our hurts, we'd found that we could share them with each other and it had bonded us closely together. Even better, he accepted me for who and what I am –and that included soothing my anguish and preventing me from ripping another hole in the fabric of space-time. Maybe I should pay Rubedo a visit, I thought as I took a long drink of the liquid fire in the glass. It's not as thought I'd ever be unwelcome with him, which would be a pleasant change from my own marriage.