Last call came all too soon yet not soon enough. There were only a few stragglers at the bar so I grabbed a tray and went to collect the empties from the tables. By the time I got back Ben was doing his thing at the tills and I handed the tray off to Dulcie and grabbed a cloth to go wipe down the tables and stack the chairs on top, ready for the cleaners to come through in the morning.
“Thanks hon,” Dulcie said with a smile that I didn’t return, in fact I had pretty much ignored her all night. I don’t know how I felt towards her after hearing her conversation with Tate. I was also in disbelief over his opinion of her as a ‘good kid’. Delusional was one of the words I would have chosen now. My surprise over her not being sure who the father of her baby was had been overshadowed by my shock that Tate could have been, but now that was gone, I couldn’t help but think about that.
It showed how different we were and that I had been right to worry about her. Just not about how sweet and innocent she was. I guess I had been taken in by her sweet looks, much like Tate still was. Not to mention Orson and Art who had growled and bumped chests when Dulcie flirted with them both all night. Ben had ended up escorting them both to the door while Dulcie did her little miss innocent act.
Which clarified how I did feel towards her.
“I think that one’s clean,” Ben’s amused voice interrupted my reverie and I looked at the table I had been scrubbing with a vengeance.
I nodded and moved on to the next one as Ben stacked the chairs.
“You sure everything’s okay with you Poppy?” Ben trailed after me, stacking after I wiped.
“Fine,” I assured him with a smile.
“Did you want to talk about your bad date? We could go get a coffee?”
My hand faltered as I analysed Ben’s voice. He sounded… nervous? I peeked at him through my lashes only to find him looking at Dulcie where she worked behind the bar, cleaning up.
“No thanks,” I said and Ben’s eyes jerked back to me.
“What?” he asked with a distracted smile.
“Coffee,” I reminded him of his offer from seconds ago and he at least had the grace to look embarrassed.
“Oh right.” He nodded then stacked the table I had just cleaned which happened to be the last one. “Well, any time you want to.”
He waited for my nod of acknowledgement then was striding across the bar to help Dulcie stack the dishwasher. I finished my clean up quickly, noticing the way Ben and Dulcie were acting, their low voices, the way they moved into one another’s space. While I worked my anger towards Dulcie faded. There was just something about her that made it hard to stay angry. I was still annoyed with her as she had interrupted things with my wolf.
I started to smile as I watched Dulcie, she was so sweet… I frowned at that thought though because I didn’t think she was sweet. Ben obviously did though as he smiled up at her from where he knelt at her feet as he loaded the dishwasher. And that was wrong, Dulcie should be the one loading the dishwasher. She looked over at me with a smirk as I stared in astonishment at her beauty until Ben’s voice broke… the spell!
“Not again Dulce,” he said with a snarl and she looked back at him quickly, but it was too late. Ben was on his feet, his arms crossed over his chest as he glared at her and I felt my anger towards her returning too. “You okay Poppy? Did she get you too?”
“What the hell was that?” I muttered with a shake of my head.
“Sorry.” Dulcie didn’t sound at all sorry. “I didn’t want you to be mad.”
“I warned you not to try that on me again,” Ben said with a growl and a flash of teeth and Dulcie pouted.
“It’s not fair, she gets to do it all the time,” she said and pointed at me.
They both turned to look at me and I felt my heartbeat quicken and my mouth went dry. They knew?
“That’s different.” Ben dismissed with a wave of his hand. “Poppy isn’t trying to hurt anyone. Are you Poppy.”
I considered acting dumb but really, what was the point? Plus, maybe I could try being myself for a while? Imagining the surprise in Tate’s face when he walked in to find Red not Poppy waiting I shrugged and grasped my ring.
“Not hurting, just hiding,” I confirmed. “But I don’t need to anymore so Poppy wont be in tomorrow…” I slid the ring off my finger and sighed with relief as the spell lifted.
“Wow,” Dulcie whispered while Ben stared at me, his mouth agape.