Sunday July 27th – Midafternoon
Jo struggled to open her eyes. It felt like her lids had been glued shut and she had a terribly sour taste in her mouth.
She had a long, hard stare at an unfamiliar ceiling before realizing where she was. More importantly, she started to remember WHY she felt like crap.
She sat up slowly, clutching at the mattress as the world tilted crazily.
She remembered the Woman in White, the oh-so-charming Cooksey brothers, and an obscene amount of tequila.
Shuffling to the bathroom, she had a faint recollection of the brothers picking up her bar tab. That was fairly decent of them.
Washing her face, an additional detail surfaced – they'd all but threatened the bartender to cut her off. Well, that was less decent. Strike that – they were still jerkwads.
Immediate needs taken care of, she flopped back down on the bed, grabbing her bag to dig for some painkillers.
She came up with a wadded up ball of paper and tossed it aside.
Thank goodness – oh blessed Tylenol.
She kicked back the pills and carefully sipped some more water, trying to keep the pills down by sheer force of will.
Something about that paper…
She remembered, very faintly, the brothers trying to talk her out of hunting at all, listing all sorts of reasons girls weren't cut out for this kind of thing, and most particularly why a girl trying to hunt on her own was sheer folly.
She'd sat there, steam practically coming out her ears, and obviously her expression was none to friendly. They'd given up, but not before slipping her a sheet of paper.
"If anyone needed to join some book club for Hunters, you do. Maybe they can teach you not to get yourself killed."
She hadn't even looked, just wadded it up and stuffed it into her bag.
She looked again at the wadded paper, now on the floor next to her foot. Might was well see what that was all about.
She careful uncrumpled the paper to see a letter, on formal letterhead, addressed to Jake and Rob Cooksey.
She skimmed it quickly and then, not quite believing what she'd read, started through a second time.
She glanced at their logo – a bird made of flames. Okay, phoenix indeed.
Her heart was beating faster than she cared to admit. This…foundation…it was some kind of group for hunters.
A group that hadn't invited her, based on the two week old date on the letter.
Maybe they don't have a current address for you.
Or maybe they do…
Jo's stomach was churning and not because of last night's festivities.
What if, just what if, she could talk this group into taking her? She'd do whatever – filing, research, fetching coffee. Even if they wouldn't let her in the field either, maybe she would find a hunter willing to work with her.
She needed a mentor, a trainer, someone.
She read the letter again. Your abilities and special skills have come to our attention through various channels.
Jo sighed. "Abilities and special skills"?
What she needed was a fucking miracle.