One positive thing about the Midworld: they had good food.
I discovered that when Ghast ordered a meal from a nearby restaurant. We didn’t even have to go outside. About half an hour after he placed the call, a small Asian man brought the food right to our apartment. I could get used to that kind of thing.
Ghast paid the delivery guy and closed the door. “Hungry?”
My stomach growled at the aromas filtering out of the large paper bag he held, and I followed him to the small round table in one corner of the kitchen. He split the food onto two plates, and we sat down. For a moment, I regarded the contents of my plate. Unaccustomed to Midworld food, I had no idea what sat there. It smelled wonderful, but looked like a pile of unappealing colors and globs.
Ghast showed no hesitation. He picked up his fork and shoveled some food into his mouth. “Try it. It’s quite good, and you’ll need to become used to this kind of thing.”
“I don’t want to get used to this human stuff.” Hesitantly, I took a forkful of food from my plate and put it in my mouth. It did have quite a good taste, and I decided I’d manage to eat it. When I swallowed, my stomach happily agreed.
“You haven’t much choice,” Ghast said. “I truly believe it’s the only way you’ll be able to prove Alejandro Ruiz’s innocence.”
“That might be harder than we thought, if angels are involved.” I toyed with my fork. “Angels gave the vengeance department the case. Angels visit the little girl. Angels may be involved in the false accusation. Angels allowed the soul of a suicide into Heaven.”
“Although I rather doubt their involvement in the accusation, it is possible,” he agreed. “Assuming the accusation is false. As for the suicide, this soul is not the first to go to Heaven. It’s dependent upon the reason the person chose to die.”
After the time I’d spent with Alejandro, I had no doubt about the accusation. “It’s false. I don’t think that man would hurt anyone for any reason, least of all his child or his ex-wife. Whatever her reason for killing herself, I don’t think Alex had anything to do with it.”
A thought flickered into my head. “If she’s his ex-wife, when would he have abused her? He said they’d been split up for over a year. They didn’t live together, and he almost never saw Keeley. He wouldn’t have had any opportunity.”
“Perhaps the abuse occurred before the separation,” Ghast suggested.
I shook my head. “The file said she killed herself to escape his abuse. She wouldn’t have any need to escape something that ended over a year ago.”
“Good point.” He ate a few more forkfuls before adding, “It does sound more likely to be a lie. However, that doesn’t mean the lie involved anyone other than her.”
“It would have had to,” I said. “I don’t think a soul would be able to fool an angel. Don’t you guys have built-in lie-dar or something?”
“We do have the ability to detect when we’ve been deceived,” he said. “Still, a particularly persuasive soul might be able to convince one of us.”
“How likely would that be?”
“Not very.” He set down his fork. “You realize you’re accusing a member of the Heavenly host of dishonesty. Perhaps more than one member. You have no proof, and you have no reason. You also cannot discount the possibility that Alejandro might have hurt his ex-wife as she claims. Perhaps he became angry at her refusal to allow him access to the child, and they fought about it.”
“I don’t believe he’d harm anyone for any reason,” I said stubbornly, twisting my fork through the stuff on my plate. “You saw how gentle he is with Keeley. Do you really think he’d do anything to her or her mother?”
“In my opinion, he wouldn’t.” He chewed a forkful of something and swallowed. “However, we’ve seen him with her only today.”
“You saw him then. I wasn’t with you.”
“Fine.” I tried another piece of food. It tasted as good as the first, even though it looked no better. “Even so, I believe he’s innocent. Someone set him up.”
“And again, you have no reason why anyone would do this. You can’t make a claim without cause, Omara. Especially when it comes to the Heavenly host.”
“I suspect it has a lot to do with Keeley. When she said I was nice, it sounded like she knew, not like it was just something to say. It seemed like she’d seen something inside me that made her say it. Like she’d looked right into me.” It sounded ridiculous, but I didn’t have any other way to describe what I’d felt from Keeley.