Except the Infinityglass.

Today we’d hit on all the major religions before she asked me to eat a late breakfast with her.


“How could I refuse? No, I mean, I really can’t. Not you. You’re the boss.”

She popped up off the ground and held out her hands like she was going to help me up.

“Are you serious? I outweigh you by at least a hundred pounds.”

She rolled her eyes and held out her hands in a more exaggerated way instead of answering, so I gave in. She pulled me up so easily we had an accidental chest bump. The grin she gave me when we made contact was full of suggestion.

Talk about conflict.

The Infinityglass started as a thing, then a person, and then morphed into a vibrant personality, but the past two weeks had humanized Hallie in a way I hadn’t been prepared for. I still didn’t know enough about her, but now it was on a hundred different levels, and they didn’t even include the scientific angle. This was probably not good.

“How do you feel about bacon?” She pulled a strand of dark hair around her finger, twisting and untwisting.

“Passionate.” I followed her down the stairs.

“I knew you had good taste. Speaking of passions, you never told me how you got interested in the Infinityglass in the first place.”

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I followed her into the kitchen.

“My dad. In the bedtime stories he told me, the Infinityglass was shaped like an hourglass, and the sands inside were powerful. They could reverse time, stop it, speed it up. It could transfer abilities between people who had a time-related gift. It had unknown magic that could be used to cure all the world’s ills.”

She turned away from me and opened the bread box. “The perfect fantasy story.”

“I know how goofy that sounds, especially now that I’ve met you. Unless you’re full of sand.”

“I’m full of something, but it ain’t sand.”

She was joking, but the set of her shoulders told me that something I’d said bothered her. “The stories are a good memory of my dad. I always imagined going on an adventure with him to find the Infinityglass, kind of the way people chased the Holy Grail.”

She popped four pieces of bread in the toaster and said, “I fart in your general direction.”


“Monty Python. Holy Grail. ‘I fart in your general direction.’ You need an education, big boy.”

“I know Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The girl continued to impress while simultaneously throwing me off my game. “I just can’t believe you know it.”

“I never leave my house, remember? Movies—good movies—are my friends.” She took jelly out of the fridge and honey from the cupboard, put the jars on the table, and leaned against the edge. “I have to apologize. We’re out of bacon.”

“You don’t have to make me breakfast,” I said.

“Sure I do. My humanity stole your quest potential. I feel like I owe you.”

“The quest just looks different than I thought it would.” A lot different. “It’s more complicated than I expected it to be.”

“It sure is.” She stared at me for a long time.

I stared back.

The toast popped up and we both jumped.

“I’m sorry I’ve put it off for so long. So you’ll understand my head space: loyalty is an issue.” Hallie buttered the toast before offering me two pieces.

I took the bread. “I don’t blame you, and I’d feel the same in your situation. But if we approach this logically, you have to tell me what you do know, or I can’t help you discover the things you don’t know.”

“And vice versa.” Hallie sat down with her toast and got busy tearing off the crusts, focusing on them instead of me. “Let’s start with basics. Do you know what Chronos does?”

“What the world thinks it does, or what it really does?” I asked.

“The world doesn’t know about Chronos.”

“Mine does.”

“The Hourglass?”

I nodded. “For a long time, we just referred to Chronos as The Powers That Be. We thought you were like … an absentee-landlord governing body. According to Liam, that’s what Chronos used to be. Protectors of time. He left when your mom took over, and I guess things changed a lot after that.”

“They changed even more when Dad got involved. He didn’t think she was making the most of her resources. I can promise governing was the last thing on his mind. Even less so now.”

“What is?” I flipped open the top of the honey to pour some on my toast and waited for her to continue.

“Industry. He locates artifacts, artwork, jewelry, etc., and we go get them. Most often, they’re related to time, but not always.”

I snapped my fingers. “That’s how he knew what horology was.”

“Dad belongs to at least three different horological societies. Anonymously, of course. Where do you thinks he gets his tips on what to steal?”

“The things he sends you to steal. How does that work?”

“First, I gather intel on the jobs. I learn work schedules, security systems, weakest links, things like that. I do it all by changing my appearance.”

“You case joints. Like a burglar.” A stray drop of honey landed on the edge of my plate. I slicked my finger over it and licked it off. “And now I’m imagining you in spandex, scaling the side of a building.”

Hallie didn’t respond. I thought I’d offended her, somehow, but when I looked up, she was staring at my hand. “Hallie?”

“What?” she asked, startled. “Sorry. What did you just say?”

“Um … nothing.” I put down my toast and wiped my finger on a napkin. “The jobs. Chronos. I thought your dad didn’t like for you to leave the house.”

“That’s where the time gene comes in. I have … there’s a guy who can teleport. We do jobs together, or we used to. Dad trusted him to make sure I stayed in line. Turns out, trusting him was a stupid choice for both of us.”

I tamped down the desire to tell her about Poe. “How?”

“He sided with my mother. She and my dad are still married, even though it’s a really weird arrangement. I’ve seen pictures from their wedding and from when I was a baby. I remember how things used to be. They were either really good actors or they were happy at one point. Sometimes, I think I was nothing more than a phase to her.”

“You and your mom aren’t close?” I asked.

“Not even in the same galaxy.”

Sadness or anger drew down the corners of her mouth. Then I realized it was grief.

“She called me a couple of weeks ago, dropping a bunch of hints, and that’s one reason why your revelation at Lafitte’s didn’t surprise me. I’d heard of the Infinityglass before. I used to get bedtime stories, too.”

Another thing we had in common.

“At first, I thought she was just looking for something that Chronos had retrieved. But she used one of the few soft spots I have for her against me, reminding me of the stories, and told me I was the Infinityglass. I wanted to call her a liar, but … things have changed for me. Recently. Another reason you didn’t surprise me.”

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