(continues from here)
I pushed open the door to my favourite haunt and stepped inside, trying not to smirk too much.
“Two wolves walk into a bar,” I muttered to Shawn.
He’s about my height, similar build, and with my spell, looks just like me.
Shawn grinned at me and said, “The first one asks,’What are you having?’”
Red, I think but he hasn’t finished his joke.
“The second one answers, ‘Oh the usual. The hair of the dog.’”
I shook my head at him, huffed out a little laugh. “Don’t give up your day job man.”
He growled and went to go by me but I grabbed his arm. “Forget a drink, I’ll have a blonde or two,” he said as he tried to shake me off.
“That one.” I pointed him towards Dulcie and let him go then I found an empty table with a view of my girl.
I’d stayed away for a week, waiting for her to come looking for me but as usual, I was the one doing the chasing. Though I technically wasn’t here to see her, I couldn’t help but look. She was gorgeous, flashing that reserved smile, keeping her distance from everyone. I wondered how she felt, seeing my face on everyone. Was it making her crazy?
I looked at Shawn as he placed a drink before me then sat down.
“She’s sweet but not my type,” he said with a shrug and started to scan the room.
“I know what you mean,” I agreed as I eyed the man talking to my particular type. My eyes narrowed and I pulled my cell out to send a message: What are you doing deartháir?
I watched as the man nodded at something Red said to him, his head tipped back and he laughed before he looked down.
My cell vibrated in my hand and I read the message: I assume you want discretion brother, should we step outside?
I tapped out a quick reply: Just say nothing and bring me a drink ya maggot
I sipped my own whiskey as he stood up and had another talk with Red. This one ended with him writing something for her and I scowled as he approached, a trio of glasses in his paws.
“Evening.” He nodded at Shawn as he took a seat.
“Why don’t you give us a minute?” I suggested to Shawn who nodded and wandered over to the pool table, no doubt to hustle someone.
“How are you Tate?”
“Why are you here Rand?” I countered, in no mood for small talk.
He snorted and shook his head at me. “I could smell your magic from a mile away. I admit I’m surprised to find it all over a lush blonde. Didn’t think that was your type.”
He was always a literal pain in the ass. “Okay, let’s try this. Why are you looking for me?”
“Can’t a brother just visit a brother?” he said too cheerfully and lifted his glass to me. “Sláinte.”
“Sláinte,” I responded automatically and we drank. “So? What do you want?”
“Well now that you mention it, I was hoping for some advice,” he said, his eyes dancing around the room.
“Advice,” I scoffed, knowing my brother all too well.
“Well. Maybe a little assistance,” he hedged.
“With what?” I asked cautiously. My brother was in the family business of demolition. Need a building destroyed? Call us. I had enjoyed the work but felt the need for more and had branched out. Ingress and egress I liked to call it. No one got hurt too much, just the odd scare here and there. But locking people in closets got, let’s say boring, and I’ve since moved on. I’m now into antiquities, selling and buying. Mostly selling, with a side of acquisition and procurement.
“There’s this building,” Rand began which didn’t clarify anything for me.
He shrugged self-consciously. “A house really.”
“A house?” I gave him a little hurry up gesture. This was going to take all night if I had to pull every word out of him.
“The thing is, I just can’t blow it down.”
“You can’t…” I shook my head in confusion. What did he mean? That’s what we did. Of course he could.
“I’ve tried everything Tate, there’s always some problem.” He growled with frustration. “A wet fuse, a faulty detonator.”
I frowned, unsure what he thought I could do to help. “Check your equipment before the job.”
“Of course I’ve done that. I’m not a tool,” he snapped defensively.
He gave me a run down on the attempts he’d made to destroy the place and at the end of it I had no more idea than he did what the problem was.
“I think I best come take a look,” I conceded with a sigh, my eyes on Poppy as she eyed everyone in the place suspiciously.
Rand followed my gaze and pushed one of the glasses towards me. “It’s sorry I am to be taking you away from your chase brother,” he spoke quietly. “Even if I am surprised as she’s not your usual type, she is lovely.”
I threw back the shot of whiskey and felt myself grin at the memory of the games my Red had played and was playing with me.
“All is not as it seems deartháir. And a few days away will only add to her frustration.”
“And yours eh?”
“And mine,” I agreed with a low laugh. He had no idea how long this chase had gone on, frustration was my constant companion. Helping him blow down a building would be my absolute pleasure.
“Funny thing for you brother.”
I gave a nod for him to continue, not taking my eyes away from Poppy.
“Your girl didn’t know how to spell Faolan but you can relax, I wrote it down for her.”
I didn’t hear what he said after that, hope flooded me. Hope that she had wanted to find me but couldn’t. Hope that she hadn’t given up on me, on us. I watched her reserved smile, her watchful eyes and considered lifting the spell. Then she lifted her hand to push back her hair and I saw a flash of gold on her finger. Not silver, gold. I swear I felt like the Grinch, my heart growing two sizes at the sight.
I went to stand up, go to her and Rand’s hand clamped on my wrist. “So you’ll help me with my little problem then?”
I stared hard at Poppy, willing her to look my way. Her eyes locked on me and I wondered if she knew me, even from a distance. I wondered if she could tell that her days alone were numbered. I would help Rand and then, the chase was back on.
“Of course. Let’s go blow this thing down.”
Shawn rejoined us and I filled him in on what was happening.
“I’ve had a stubborn building or two,” Shawn told us. “Want another opinion?”
“Why not,” Rand shrugged then finished his drink and we stood to leave.
“What do you call a lost wolf?”
“What?” Rand encouraged Shawn as I shook my head and walked away.
“A where-wolf,” Shawn said with a laugh.
I took one last look at Poppy, found her watching me with a frown. “See you soon darlin'” I said for ears alone, then I stepped though the door into the night, the shadows surrounding me.
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