I stood just inside the door, the shadows creeping up my legs, twining around my hands. They knew a game was afoot but they didn’t know the rules any better than I did. I stared at the bar, watching Poppy flip her hair back as she smiled and poured a drink, the ring on her finger glinting in the light. I wasn’t surprised to see it, maybe a little disappointed but what did I expect? For her to take it off and turn up to work as herself? I had seen the way the bar owner looked at her the night before and I was glad for her disguise, happy only I knew who she really was.
I shook the shadows off and stepped down into the room, my energy was reaching for hers and she looked up, her polite smile fading. The bar wasn’t crowded yet so I had my choice of seats. Dulcie had a welcoming smile while Poppy was glaring at me, almost daring me to take one at her end. How could I resist?
I took the stool directly in front of her and greeted her with, “Miss me darlin’?”
She answered with a raised eyebrow, flipped a glass that she caught and set before me then picked up a bottle and waited until I nodded. She poured the drink then took my money with a little nod and moved away to serve someone else. I was tempted to check my fingers for frost bite but I just sipped my drink and watched her instead. Eventually she’d be back when I needed another drink and I could be patient.
When she came back the little minx tried to give me the silent treatment again so I kept my money pressed to the bar with a finger until she looked at me. I could almost hear her saying, “What asshole?”
I flashed my friendliest smile and said, “Poppy I was wondering if you could help me out with something?”
“I doubt it,” she said with a glare and tapped her fingers impatiently on the bar.
“Hey watch it!” I snatched my hand away with a nervous laugh. “You’re still wearing that poisonous ring darlin’.”
“Don’t worry about it darlin’, I wont be touching you any time soon so it’s really not an issue.”
The minx! Did she really expect me to let her get way with that? I thought she probably didn’t, she was trying to goad me. Why? What did I do? Oh that’s right, I flirted with the redhead last night. She was pissed at me for flirting with her and now I was going to piss her off even more.
“If you say so,” I shrugged as if I didn’t want her hands all over me.
“I say so,” she shot back with a sneer.
“Fine.” I lifted my finger from the note so she could take it then stopped her with my words. “I don’t suppose you know the redhead who was in here last night?”