The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(27) by Lynsay Sands
“Because speech patterns and accents are learned while you are young and tend to stick,” Katricia said with amusement, and then added, “Surely you have met transplanted foreigners who still have heavy accents after years living over here?”
Stephanie nodded. “Yeah, our neighbor, old Mrs. Marcetti, had a really thick Italian accent and she moved to Canada when she was like fifteen.”
“Yes, well, she still has it because she was old enough that it was ingrained by the time she moved here,” Katricia announced. “It’s difficult for her to change it now, and so it is for us.”
When Stephanie scowled at this, Victor quickly said, “However, Stephanie is right and our speech probably does make us stand out, so we are trying to modernize our speech pattern . . . with her help, of course.”
“Ah,” Basil said with amusement as he noted the way Stephanie relaxed. “I see.”
“So?” Victor asked, arching an eyebrow. “Yes or no to blood?”
Basil hesitated. As far as he knew, Sherry hadn’t seen anyone feed yet. She hadn’t even seen fangs yet either, at least not his. She hadn’t asked again when he’d returned from the council meeting and he hadn’t reminded her. He was concerned about how she would react. It was one thing to be told vampires or immortals exist, but another entirely to actually see their fangs and witness them sucking blood up like pop through those pointy little fangs.
“She has to see it sometime,” Katricia said quietly. “I think she will be okay with it.”
“Yeah,” Stephanie agreed, “She might be a little weirded out at first maybe, but in the end I think she’ll be fine too.”
“Right,” Basileios murmured, and then glanced to Victor. “Yes, I guess I shall—”
It was as far as he got, Victor had already retrieved four bags and was now tossing him one as he kicked the refrigerator door closed.
Basileios easily caught the bag. As he slapped it to his fangs, Victor tossed a second bag to Katricia, and then set a third on the counter beside the pile of goodies Stephanie was still unpacking. He then walked around the counter, saying, “Blood before junk food, Steph.”
“Ahh,” she complained. “Can’t I just—”
“You know the rules, kiddo,” Victor interrupted, before slapping the last bag to his own fangs.
Basileios smiled around the bag at his mouth. He was aware that Stephanie still found consuming blood difficult. It didn’t help that she had no fangs, so had to drink it out of a cup like red milk. But the exchange just seemed so much like one between a father and daughter that he couldn’t help smiling. Also, he was glad to see his brother so happy again. It had been a long while since he’d seen Victor so content.
“You’ve got your own en suite bathroom,” Elvi chattered, opening the door to show Sherry the bathroom. “And this room is away from the road, so the sounds of traffic shouldn’t bother you.”
“Thank you so much, Elvi,” Sherry said sincerely as Elvi closed the bathroom door. “I appreciate this.”
“You’re more than welcome,” Elvi said sincerely. “Besides, while we offered to have you stay here on the house, the Enforcers will pay, so you really don’t have anything to thank me for.”
“Oh, I see,” Sherry said on a chuckle, and then shrugged and added, “It’s the thought that counts, though, and you did offer to put us up.”
Elvi smiled. “I like the way you think.”
Sherry grinned and turned to open the suitcase Elvi had set on the bed. She now knew why the woman had insisted on carrying it up for her. Elvi felt she had to because Sherry was apparently an official guest.
Aware that Elvi was moving toward the door to leave her alone, Sherry quickly asked, “So what’s Basileios really like?”
Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that Elvi had stopped by the door and turned back with surprise on her face.
“I only met him yesterday,” Sherry pointed out quietly. “Yet apparently I might be his life mate, but, really, I don’t know him from Adam. I’d appreciate anything you can tell me.”
Elvi hesitated, but then nodded with understanding and moved back, settling on the bed beside her suitcase before admitting, “This is the first time I’ve met him.” Before Sherry could comment, she rushed on, “But Victor says he’s a lot like Lucian, which is why the two constantly butt heads.”
“They butt heads?” Sherry asked with interest, forgetting all about unpacking.
“Apparently,” Elvi said with a shrug. “Victor said the two were always at loggerheads when they were younger. Until Basileios moved away. Victor said it was to get away from Lucian, who likes to boss people around.”
Sherry frowned. “Does that mean Basileios likes to boss people around?”
“That’s what I asked,” Elvi admitted on a laugh, and then said wryly, “I mean, Lucian is great, but I don’t think the world is ready for two tyrants like him. But Victor said no, Basileios has more of a live-and-let-live kind of personality. But that he’s got a strong character like Lucian and an even stronger sense of right and wrong. The problem was that while Basil doesn’t try to boss others around, he also doesn’t like to be bossed around . . . and that was an issue with Lucian as a big brother.”
Sherry nodded, not surprised to hear this. She didn’t know Lucian any better than she did Basileios, but it didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that the guy thought he was a feudal lord and the entire population of the world were his subjects.
“He’s not quite that bad,” Elvi said solemnly, proving that she too could read her.
“I thought I was supposed to be hard to read, and probably impossible to read for new turns,” she said with a frown. “Are you an old turn? I got the feeling you were newer.”
“Really?” Elvi asked with interest. “Why is that?”
“I don’t know,” Sherry murmured, and then after a moment to consider it, said, “I think because you don’t speak as stiffly as the older ones. You use short forms like don’t and aren’t, while they tend not to shorten their words as often. You sound more today compared to Basileios, Katricia, and Drina.”
“Yes, they speak more formally. Though Stephanie is trying to change that,” Elvi said with a faint smile, and then admitted, “And you may have been harder to read at first, but once you were put together with Basileios . . .” She shrugged. “I’m afraid you will become easier and easier to read for a while.”
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