Here's the scene that tipped the scale. I haven't edited it yet, so all comments are WELCOME!
Abi stood gaping at Artie’s now-empty spot. “What the hell was that? Artie, get back here this instant.” She glanced around. The door remained closed, nothing moved in the room. She waited for him to reappear. After a few minutes, she gave up and began to pace the wide room.
She’d noted much of it before Constantine’s lesson: his armor, polished and ready for battle; the twigs of incense and idols for repenting; maps and maps and maps. One small alcove near the door still remained, and she let her restless feet carry her to it.
A small frame held a portrait of a young woman, a pouch of dried flowers, and a strip of ribbon. The ribbon had been fingered nearly bare in spots. Abi picked up the frame. The woman looked about her same age. Daughter, wife, sister? Whoever she was, she meant a great deal to him, and was either dead or dying.
Abi traced the sill of the cubby holding the shrine. Not even a particle of dust rose into the air. She doubted the cleaning staff were the ones who kept this space spotless.
The door opened with a quick gust and she leapt away from the mementos. Constantine stood in the doorway. He glanced from her, to the shrine, and back. She waited for him to give her some explanation.
He closed the door and moved to his throne, still in the middle of the floor from last night’s episode. “Can we begin where we left off last night?”
Abi glanced at the frame again. He owed her nothing, but for a moment, she’d wanted to know about this woman who still held his heart. She shook the feeling away. She didn’t need to know about him.
Artie’s comments rang in her ears. Maybe she did need to know a little about him. Other than where he kept the gold. She stretched her arms above her head and popped her fingers. As she relaxed, she let all the wonderings and worries float away.
With each step toward Constantine she reduced her focus. By the time she reached him, her thoughts were contained and precise.
“You’re going to have to pay attention today. No fooling around this time.”
He tipped his head. “You don’t think I’m focused?”
“I think you’re capable. And yes, I think you played with it yesterday. This isn’t for playing. It comes with costly mistakes.” She stopped, and crossed her arms across her chest. “Why do you want to learn this anyway?”
His eyes flickered to the shrine before landing on the table of maps. “I have my reasons.”
“You’d better tell me what they are, or we’re not continuing.”
“My reasons have no contingent on your teaching.”
“I want to know.”
“You want to know for girl reasons. I am a warrior and answer to no woman.” His gaze flickered again.
She decided to leave it for now. She’d have plenty of time to fish around for answers while he bounced.