What the Devil Are They Saying?
Always. He set the platter on the round table near his seat. But took the blue one to allow her his plush red chair.
She came down the ladder and eased over. Glancing from him to the chair warily.
“On what condition?”
“On my generosity.”
“Like everything here?” She spat.
“I’d give you everything, if you chose to stay.”
“I did choose to stay. And soon as you were well enough, you chained me again.”
“Touché.” He slid over the crystal bowl of smoked nuts. And poured her drink. “Sugar?”
She nodded. “It’s strange to see you doing something so menial.”
“You think me above a warm cup of tea?” He tossed her a look.
“I think you’re more comfortable with a weapon in your hand.”
Or a woman.
“Likely.” He admitted. “I’ve served precious few women.”
“When was the last?”
“You. When I shared my dinners with you.”
“And before me?”
He shifted uncomfortably.
“I had only one female friend I cared for. Though not as you’re implying.”
“Who was she?” Elsabet asked more quickly then she meant.
“Calisto.” He muttered.
Elsabet slammed her tea down.
“Not like you think…” Calisto’s haunting voice emerged from the distance. Elsabet looked around, trying to spot the hazy outline of the other woman.
“Then how?” She demanded.
“Who are you talking to?” Bast frowned at her.
She glowered at him.
“We were friends.” Calisto said. “He’d have none of me.” Her voice was somewhat laughing as she admitted it. “Thankfully.”
“Explain.” Elsabet turned in the chair so quickly her silver-blonde hair whipped around her. Blue eyes narrowing and turning stormy as she spoke to the darker part of the library.
“Is she here?” He demanded. “Ask her about Raese.”
“You hush.” She held out a finger to him.
Clearing his throat in annoyance, he did as she bid. Sensing that perhaps Calisto could clear up the issue better then he could. Then I can find out where Raese may be.
“There was a time I had no one. No friends, no acquaintances. No one in the world that cared about me.” She sighed.
Elsabet sensed Calisto was too weak to manifest and too weak to stand, so only her voice continued. “He helped bring me and my Raese together.” Elsabet heard the smile in her voice.
Her gaze moved back to Bast. Finding him leaning forward, eyes intent and hands linked before his mouth as he waited patiently to find out about this discussion he couldn’t hear. Despite the temptation, he resisted the urge to link into her thoughts. Trying to give her the room to listen to the other woman without his interference.
“Bast is quite the matchmaker.” Calisto laughed softly. “Always meddling in the lives of his brothers to try and help them find joy.” She paused. “And here you are, holding all his hopes for joy in your small hands.”
Elsabet’s head spun back to the darkness. “Is that true?”
“Is what true?” Bast sat up. Awash with curiosity.
“Absolutely. Look at him. He looks like a gorgeous golden puppy awaiting your attention.”
Elsabet’s eyes moved back to rove Bast’s face. His hands flopped to the tabletop. “You truly must tell me what is going on. I’m utterly in the dark.”
Don’t enter her mind. Don’t enter her mind. He chanted to himself. Sorely tempted.
“She’s trying to tell me your merits.” Elsabet said dryly.
“Bless you Calisto.” He smiled. “That’s why she was my friend.”
“Was that all she was?”
“Of course.” Bast blinked at her. “She and Raese are perfectly suited and I’ve eyes for another.” He tilted his head to look at her. “Someone I suspect I’ve been waiting centuries for.”
“You’re speaking of me?”
“You merely say pretty words as a means to an end.”
“Nope.” He shook his head slightly. “I’ve never lied to you.”
“Would you?” She gave him a sideways look.
“Never. I suspect you’ve had enough of that in your life. However long that may’ve been.”
Elsabet gnawed her lip.
Making him shift uncomfortably. “You must stop!” He blurted.
“Whyever must I stop?”
“Elsabet.” He growled. “Unless you intend to take pity on my needs you must not taunt me.”
“What would you do?” She lifted a brow.
“Seduce you mercilessly.” His voice deepened in warning. Eyes flashing gold like precious coin.
Her eyes widened.
She thought I’d harm her? His arousal was immediately doused with the familiar feeling of disappointment.
“You’re mistaken about me.” He whispered.
“I’m not so sure…”
“You should be.”
But the weight of her words pierced him like a sword. “Ask her about Raese.” He said. Clearing his throat, he rose and strode from the room, trying to hide the pain she’d caused him.
“Look what you’ve done now…” Calisto said. “Why so heartless?”
“I don’t know him.”
“You do. Better than anyone.”
“Better than you?”
“Better than anyone.” Calisto’s voice turned chastising. “You should ask yourself why you work so hard to keep him at arm’s length.”
Elsabet eyed the darkness. “What about Raese?” She asked hesitantly.
“If I’d known anything new it’d have been the first thing, I wouldn’t have wasted time on repartee. I’m tired.” Calisto sighed.
“I must go…” Her voice was already breaking as it faded away.