Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(47) by Jennifer Estep
Funny thing, though.
We never did finish watching that movie.
I managed to hang on to my good mood right up to when Deirdre and Finn strolled into the Pork Pit arm in arm at one o’clock the next afternoon.
“Right on schedule,” Bria muttered.
“At least she’s punctual,” Silvio added.
Bria glared at the vamp, who shrugged and went back to his tablet.
Silvio had been at his usual seat at the counter since this morning, but Bria had only shown up five minutes ago to meet the pair for lunch. She watched Finn escort his mother over to their booth in the corner and help her sit down.
“He never does that for me,” she said.
I threw a dish towel over my shoulder and waggled my eyebrows at her. “Jealousy does not become you, my dear.”
Bria snorted. “Jealous? I’m not jealous. I’m just sick of her. Even when Finn and I are alone together, she’s all he wants to talk about. I swear, if I hear one more story about how adorable he was spitting up as a baby, I’m going to throw up myself, all over the two of them. We’ll see how adorable they think that is.”
Her blue eyes glimmered with dark anticipation. The more Deirdre came around, the snarkier Bria got. I kind of liked this sassier side of my sister. Or maybe I just wanted someone around who thought Deirdre was as insufferable as I did.
Bria sighed and grabbed the blackberry lemonade she’d been sipping. “Well, let’s go see what Mama Dee is up to today.”
“Yeah. That’s what she wants me to call her.”
Silvio snickered. Bria shot him a glare, and the vamp coughed, as if trying to clear the laughter out of his throat.
I snickered too. “I don’t know whether to weep for you or fall down on the floor and start laughing hysterically.”
Bria made a face. “I know, right? I want to stab myself in the eye with a toothpick every time I say it. But Finn keeps saying how great it is that Mama Dee and I are getting along so well.”
“Oh, Bria! There you are!” Deirdre waved her hand. “Come join us, honey!”
Bria eyed the trash can beside the cash register like she was going to need it. After a moment, she sighed again, longer and deeper. “The things we do for love,” she muttered.
She plastered a bright smile on her face, spun around on her stool, and marched over to their booth. Deirdre leaned across the table and made a couple of loud smacking noises as she air-kissed both of Bria’s cheeks. Bria returned the gesture, although her smile slipped just a bit, and she started eyeing the metal napkin holder like she wanted to brain the other woman with it. I wouldn’t be averse to that. Not at all.
“And where is Miss Gin at?” Deirdre exclaimed, her voice even louder than before. “Gin, honey! There you are! Come say hello!”
Then it was my turn to screw on a smile, which I only accomplished by grinding my teeth. That familiar ache in my face started almost immediately and shot up into my temples. Bria was right. The things we did for love.
“Oh, yes,” Silvio said in a low, amused voice. “Do go say hello to Mama Dee, Gin.”
I turned my smile to him and added a bit more teeth to my expression. “Keep in mind that I’m still an assassin. One who can make people disappear quite easily. Especially certain cheeky vampire assistants who enjoy mercilessly mocking their bosses.”
He gave me an innocent smile in return. “And do say hello to Mama Dee for me too, while you’re at it.”
“You’re a dead man, Silvio.”
He chuckled and went back to his tablet.
I made sure my smile was locked in place before heading over to the corner booth. “Hey, y’all. What can I get you today?”
Deirdre ordered her usual grilled cheese and sweet iced tea. Finn and Bria both opted for fried chicken salads topped with honey-mustard dressing.
I started to turn away, but Deirdre grabbed my arm. Even though she wasn’t actively using her power, invisible waves of her Ice magic still rippled off her fingers. The cold, frigid sensation soaked through the fabric of my long-sleeved T-shirt and chilled my skin underneath. But I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of knowing that a simple touch of her hand was enough to make me hiss with pain, so I ground my teeth even tighter and kept my blank smile fixed on my face.
Bria winced in sympathy, though, since she could also feel Deirdre’s magic. Like me, she avoided touching the other Ice elemental as much as possible. Bria had warned Finn about his mother’s Ice power, about how she was much stronger than she was letting on, but he’d ignored my sister the same way he ignored me.
“Oh, Gin, I’m so glad I ran into you today,” Deirdre chirped.
I shifted on my feet so that her hand fell away from my arm, which had already gone numb from her touch. “You’re glad that you ran into me in my own restaurant?”
Bria snickered. Finn looked at her, and she covered her laughter by gulping down more lemonade.
Deirdre ignored my sarcasm. “I wanted to remind you that tomorrow night is the opening of that little jewelry exhibit I put together to benefit my charity foundation. Of course, you and Owen are invited. And on the VIP list.” She winked at me.
“Of course.” I ground out the words through my fake smile. “We wouldn’t dream of missing it, especially since this is only the third time you’ve invited us now.” Finn frowned at me, but I jerked my thumb over my shoulder. “Let me go put your order in. I’ll be back with your food in a jiffy.”
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